Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message July 7, 2024

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

God Bless!

Please be prayerfully aware and mark next weekend in your calendars. The most historically significant events in the life of our young community will unfold in just a few short days. 

On Friday, July 12th, we will welcome His Eminence Archbishop Elpidiophoros of America, His Eminence Metropolitan Constantine of Denver, and His Grace Bishop Spyridon of Amastris who will participate in the formal opening of the doors of our new church. That evening, the hierarchs will attend a private dinner with the parish council and president of our Philoptochos. I would like to thank Chris and Suzanne Gamvroulas for hosting us on Friday evening. 

On Saturday morning at 11:00 am

We will host an open forum for our parish young adults and older teens, with our visiting hierarchs. This will give the future of our church the opportunity to pick the brains and examine the experiences of three dynamic bishops. Thank you to Presbytera Andrea for putting this event together.

Saturday Afternoon at 5:30 pm, COME ONE AND COME ALL 

We will gather outside in the parking lot were the SERVICE of THYRANOIXIA (Opening the Doors) will take place. This is a brief service with specific Epitsle and Gospel Readings, prayers for the Blessing of the Waters and prayers to formally recognize the opening of a new Orthodox Church. The Archbishop will then cut the ribbon on the doors, and we enter as he blesses our new and sacred space. Once inside, we will celebrate Great Vespers with the Archbishop presiding, together with the other hierarchs and guest clergy. 

We will then gather on the south patio of our lovely grounds for a celebratory dinner! We have the space, we’ll prepare the food, and we’ll roll out more tables if necessary. Please, you do not want to miss this joyous occasion! Don’t miss out! There is no set cost, and certainly to tickets required. You’ll have the opportunity to make a free-will offering if you’d like. Of course, any assistance will be greatly appreciated and go towards the overall (and well worth it) expenses of hosting three bishops, the archdeacon, and the visiting chanter, the internationally renowned Protopsaltis, Nektarios Antoniou. 

Thank you to Elaine Peterson, the Men’s Ministry and their committee for hosting our lovely dinner. 

Sunday, Morning at 9:00 am

The Orthros begins at 9:00, followed by the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy celebrated by the Archbishop of America. This is history for us. This is a great honor for us. This will be a joy beyond description. 

I do recommend getting to church as early as possible, and for many of you, being there as Orthros begins might be a fantastic idea. With Archbishop Elpidophoros celebrating, together with two other hierarchs, the dazzling spectacle of Byzantine liturgical splendor will be on full display – almost from the get-go! There will be sacred movements and actions that might not ever be seen within our sanctuary again. I cannot say when there will ever be three bishops, including the archbishop in one day. 

To be sure, it will be a long day, but Archbishop Elpidophoros tends to move things along, and I am very sure he won’t drag things out this time. It’s not about “getting a good seat,” remember, there is no bad place to sit at St. Anna’s. It’s more about soaking in the entire experience and not missing out on new and exciting things to see, and opportunities for blessings.

Following the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, we will gather in our fellowship hall and on the north patio for a celebratory luncheon in honor of our visiting hierarchs and guests. Again, free-will offerings are appreciated to help defray the costs of the luncheon. Thank you to Barbara Hillas and her crew for heading up this effort. 

My Beloved in Christ, I cannot believe that we are at this point in our history. At the end of next month, we will celebrate our 10th Anniversary as a parish. In that short amount of time, you have ushered steady growth, you have purchased property, you have transformed a retail warehouse into a proper place of worship equipped with classrooms, a bookstore, clergy office, fellowship space, new restrooms, and a full commercial kitchen. All in less than ten years! God has richly blessed us, and now it is our responsibility to put every square inch of our church building and grounds to work for the Glory of God, for the spiritual benefit of His children, and for the good of our neighbors and greater community.

We are now basically out of the construction business. Congratulations, God bless you and thank you! You have all worked so hard and sacrificed so much. Let next weekend be the beginning of countless memories and sanctifying blessings received within the sacred walls and grounds of the St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church in Sandy, Utah. I remain,

With Much Love and Appreciation in Christ,

Fr. Anthony Savas