Fr. Constantineâ€™s Message
February: Marks the Triodion Period and Pre-Lenten Period
The month of February marks a major change in the Liturgical season, the Triodion period begins with the 4 Sundays before the start of Great Lent. These are Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, Prodi-gal Son, Judgement Sunday and Forgiveness Sunday. Lent begins a little bit later this year, on March 11th. Meanwhile we will experience the Triodion Sundays to prepare us and set the stage for this great period of spiritual awakening and self examination.
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Ypapanti) February 2nd
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple on February 2nd is known as, Ypapanti. It is one of the twelve great feasts of the Lord, although it is not well known by many Orthodox Chris-tians.
This feast commemorates the first meeting of the Lord with His people. It occurs on the 40th day after Jesusâ€™s birth.
The very first to visitors to meet the Christ Child were the shepherds and the Magi and they were limited to a small number of people, but on this feast of Ypapanti, (February 2nd), Christ appears officially in the midst of His people in the Temple.
The righteous elder Symeon, who held Christ in his arms and the prophetess Anna represent the chosen people of God. They were among the first to greet the Christ child in the Temple. Mary, by virtue of her miraculous birth-giving, was placed by God above the Mosaic Law yet as an obedient Jew, she chose to obey the Law by bringing her Son, on the fortieth day after His birth to the Temple in Jerusalem, to offer the preferred sacrifice. It was customary to bring an offering to the Temple as a symbol of thanksgiving to God for the birth of the child. Mary, and her husband Joseph offered two turtledoves as a sacrificial offering to the temple.
Little did she know (or perhaps she may have known) that in some mystical way the true sacrificial â€śOfferingâ€ť that she brought to the temple that day was â€śThe Lamb of Godâ€ť, her Son Jesus. The Orthodox Church, to this day, maintains this meaningful ceremony each time a child is â€śchurchedâ€ť on the 40th day after birth and the prayer of St Symeon is read.
February 2: Feast of Ypapanti
Ypapanti is an important event in the earthly life of Jesus (Luke 2:22-40), forty days after His birth. He was taken to the Jerusalem Temple, the center of the nationâ€™s religious life. According to the Law of Moses (Lev. 12:2-8), a woman who gave birth to a male child was forbidden to enter the Temple of God for forty days. At the end of this time the mother came to the Temple with the child, to offer a young lamb or pigeon to the Lord as a purification sacrifice. The Most Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, had no need of purification, since she had given birth to the Source of purity and sanctity, without defilement. However, she humbly fulfilled the requirements of the Law. At this time the righteous Elder Simeon (feast celebrated, February 3) was living in Jerusalem. It had been by Divine inspiration, St Simeon went to the Temple at the very moment when the Most Holy Theotokos and St Joseph had brought the Infant Jesus to the Temple to fulfill the Law.
The Elder Simeon (called the God-Receiver) took the divine Child in his arms, and gave thanks to God, and he spoke the words repeated by the Church each evening at Vespers: â€śLord, now let Your Servant depart in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You hast pre-pared before the face of all people, a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israelâ€ť (Luke 2:29-32).
St Simeon said to the Most Holy Virgin: â€śBehold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against. â€śYea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealedâ€ť (Luke 2:34-35).
Also at the Temple was an 84-year-old widow, Anna the Prophetess, daughter of Phanuel (Her Feast is celebrated on February 3), â€śshe did not leave the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day. She also, arrived just when St Simeon met the divine Child. She also gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of Him to all those who were looking for redemption in Jerusalemâ€ť (Luke 2:37-38). In the icon of the Feast she holds a scroll, which reads: â€śThis Child has established Heaven and earth.â€ť
Before Christ was born, righteous men and women lived by faith in the promised Messiah, and awaited His coming. The Righteous Simeon and the Prophetess Anna, the last righteous people of the Old Testament, were deemed worthy to meet the Savior in the Temple.
This Feast of the Meeting of the Lord is among the most ancient feasts of the Christian Church. Sermons exist on this Feast by the holy bishops Methodius of Patara (+ 312), Cyril of Jerusalem (+ 360), Gregory the Theologian (+ 389), Amphilocius of Iconium (+ 394), Gregory of Nyssa (+ 400), and John Chrysostom (+ 407). Despite its early origin, this Feast was not celebrat-ed so splendidly until the 6th century. After that it was celebrated as one of the 12 major feasts of the Lord.
Stewards for 2019, as of mid- January 2019
John and Sandra Apostoles
Panayioti and Avye Andonellis
Peter and Maria Bradshaw
Fr. Constantine and Marilou Cambas
Donald and Irene Cheek
Christos and Angeliki Christakis
Bill and Elaine Ellis
Peter Gundelfinger and Suzanne Smiley
George Karabakakis and Sigrid Scholz
Louis and Sue-Ellan Kolivas
Spyridon and Ekaterini Leristis
William and Flo Nestor
Paul and Kathy Nikiforakis
Roger and Connie Phelps
Panos and Popey Pitsas
Andrea Polizos and Doug Walker
As of mid-Jan:
14 contributing families (22 pledges)
â€śDo not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, â€¦ for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:19-21
Î—Î¤Î‘Îť Îź Î‘Î“Î™ÎźÎŁ Î’Î‘Î›Î•ÎťÎ¤Î™ÎťÎźÎŁ Î•Î›Î›Î—ÎťÎ‘ÎŁ; WAS ST. VALENTINE GREEK?
by Avye Andonellis
When I was at Target buying 70% off Christmas lights and such, I saw them stocking the shelves with Valentineâ€™s Day decorations. It was December 26th. It gets earlier every year, doesnâ€™t it? Even though Valentineâ€™s Day has had the â€śSt.â€ť dropped and the day is highly commercialized like all holidays are now, I like to celebrate St. Valentineâ€™s Day because itâ€™s the only secular holiday which celebrates love.
You probably donâ€™t know there were two Saint Valentines: Saint Valentine the Presbyter of Rome whose feast day is July 6th and Hieromartyr Valentine the Bishop of Intermna, Italy whose feast day is July 30th. Their stories have been confused and mixed together because both saints had the same name, lived in Italy, and shared the same type of martyrdom around 270 AD. Hieromartyr Valentine the Bishop was known as a healer for the blind and the sick.
It is Saint Valentine the Presbyter, however, who was a brave defender of the sacrament of Christian marriage and whose life became the foundation of St. Valentineâ€™s Day. The story goes that the Emperor Claudius imposed an imperial edict legally barring Christian couples from getting married. Valentine stuck to his beliefs as a Christian priest and continued to sanctify the marriage of Christian couples in di-rect defiance to the will of the Emperor, but in direct obedience to the will of God.
Through the centuries the history of St. Valentine became so fictionalized by the West that the Catholic church ended its veneration and com-memoration of him in 1969. They abandoned him to the pink and red hearts on the shelves of Target, if you will, instead of preserving his rightful place on an iconostasis shelf.
The Orthodox Churchâ€™s veneration of St. Valentine remains unchanged. Orthodox Christians still venerate St. Valentine and remember he sac-rificed his life, not for romantic love, but for the sacred love of the union of a man and woman in marriage. This is the true love to celebrate on February 14th!
Hereâ€™s an unknown fact: St. Valentineâ€™s relics are stored in Mytilene, the capitol of the Greek island of Lesvos where I lived for twenty years! They were brought back to the island in 2014 where they had been since 1907 until 1990 when they were moved to Athens. They now reside once again in the Church of Metastasis of the Virgin Mary, the only Catholic church on the island.
Why would the relics of St. Valentine be stored on a Greek island? Father Leon Kiskinis, the priest of the church where the relics reside says they were brought from Terni, Italy in the late 19th century by a Greek Italian priest named Theodore Barzini. Before his death he donated the relics to the church. Father Kiskinis added that there is a strong indication that Saint Valentine was either Greek or of Greek ancestry.
The oldest known image of the saint reads Îż AÎłÎąÎżĎ‚ Î˛Î±Î»ÎµÎ˝Ď„ÎŻÎ˝ÎżĎ‚ and was found in a sixth-century Santa Maria Antiqua church in Rome which served the cityâ€™s Greek community. There is also a fresco with the inscription:
â€śKnowing that Saint Valentine may have been Greek is a great honor for Greece and the Greek nation,â€ť Father Kiskinis says.
~Excerpted from an article on: www.grekodom.com/news/2018-02-14/valentines-day-the-greek-roots-of-the-saint-of-love
~Article source: Dr. Alexandros K. Kyrouâ€™s blog post from 2/14/2015 on blogs.goarch.org â€śThe Historical and Orthodox Saint Valentine
Prayer for Our Children
O Greatly Merciful Lord, who gives food to the birds of the sky and to all living things on earth, who watches over the flower that sprouts amidst the rocky cliffs: nourish, bring up and protect our children also. Help us O Lord to plant in their souls what is good and useful for the Holy Church and the nation, and what is well pleasing to You, that Your Holy Name may be exalted through them. Fill them O Lord with the enlightened wisdom and understanding, which comes down from You. Protect them from all snares of the enemies both visible and invisible. Command Your angels as always to be their enlightened guides and counselors in all-good worksâ€¦+Amen
Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
PrayerÂ forÂ Marriage
O merciful God, we beseech You ever to remind us that the marriage state is holy and that we must keep it so. Grant us Your Grace that we may continue in faithful-ness and love. Increase in us the spirit of mutual understanding and trust, that no quarrel or strife may come between us. Grant us Your blessings that we may stand before the people and in Your sight as an ideal familyâ€¦+Amen
A Prayer for our Neighborhood Families by: Archbishop Demitrios of America
I pray to you God, for the families of my neighborhood. Visit them and help them to overcome their troubles and bring hope to them. Make the daily cares that devour the heart disappear. Present solutions to lifeâ€™s problems. Settle the disturbed relationships among members of the different families. O Lord, remind the people of ourarea that You exist, that You are a strong and You are a loving Protector. Keep always O Lord, anything that causes the disappearance of peace from souls and the escape of rest from us.
Stay with us in our neighborhood, or town and this city of Keene and the surrounding areas and spread Your peace along throughout the day and the coming night. Let harshness of the life and its struggles not spread over into the families that call this place home. For You sent us the Comforter, the Healer and You are the Prince of Peace and in Your name we prayâ€¦+ Amen.
A Song of Praise
I will extol You, my God and King, and bless Your name forever. Alleluia Everyday I will bless You and praise Your name forever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall laud Your works to another and declare Your mighty acts. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures forever. Alleluia
The Lord is just in all His ways, And kind in all His doings. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and let all bless His holy name forever. Alleluia Psalm 145: 1-4, 13,21
I m p o r t a n t A n n o u n c e m e n t s / U p c o m I n g E v e n t s
Liturgical Schedule: Sundays: Orthros 9:15 am Divine Liturgy 10:00 am
Souper Bowl Sunday, Feb 3rd 2019
On Sunday, February 3rd we will host our own Souper Bowl here in Keene. Your ticket to admission is one can of Soup. Please encourage your children to bring a can of soup to church and please in the basket that will go to feed the hungry and less fortunate. Donations will be given to the Feeding Tiny Tummies.
Sunday February 10th 2019 Godparent/ Grandparent Sunday
This Sunday tradition is modeled after the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple found in Luke 2:22. In this event, Jesus was held in the arms of His godparent, the Righteous Elder, Symeon. We remember this by giving the opportunity for Godparents and Godchildren to stand together and reconfirm their baptismal vows. Godparents, Grandparents and Godchildren will be asked to sit together. Just before Communion, Father Constantine will read a baptismal prayer and ask both Godparents and Children to reconfirm their baptismal vows. When coming for Communion, Father will ask Godparents to come with their Godchildren and a light candle.
F E B R U A R Y S A I N T S & F E A S T S
2: Presentation of the Lord in the Temple
3: Photius the Great Patriarch of Constantinople
8: Theodore the Commander and Great Martyr
17: Sunday of The Publican and the Pharisee
24: Sunday of the Prodigal Son
Focus on: The Presentation of the Lord
Luke 18:14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble. themselves will be exalted.”
St. George Greek Orthodox Church
70 West Street, Keene, NH 03431 Phone: (603) 352-6424
2019 Parish Council Contact Information
Rev. Fr. Constantine Cambas, Presiding Priest, firstname.lastname@example.org
George Karabakakis, President, email@example.com
Avye Andonellis, Vice President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Demitri Leristis, Treasurer, email@example.com
Georgia Anderson, Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org
Panayiotis Andonellis, email@example.com
Maria Bradshaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis Kolivas, email@example.com
Connie Phelps firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Polizos, email@example.com
Wisdom of the Fathers
Preserve marriages in peace and harmony, nurture the infants; instruct the youth strengthen the aged; give courage to the faint hearted; reunite those separated; bring back those in error; defend the widows; protect the orphans; liberate the captives; heal the sickâ€¦.from the Liturgy of St Basil
Most people pray as if there is no God with them, or as if He did not heed their prayers. Let us also ascribe to the Lord at least the same amount of attention that good parents show to the requests of their children, at least that provident and attentive love which good parents have for their children. St John of Kronstadt
â€śDonâ€™t pressure your children,â€ť says Elder Porphyrios. â€śWhatever you want to say to them, say it with your prayers. Children donâ€™t listen with their ears. Theyâ€™ll only listen to what we want to tell them when divine grace appears and enlightens them. When you want to say something to your child, say it to the Theotokos instead and she will do all the work. Your prayer will become a spir-itual hug, which will embrace your children and captivates them.â€ť
Planning a party, a baby shower, a bridal shower, a wedding
reception, or a fund raiser? We have the Hellenic Hall just for you!