St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church

Sunday Bulletin

Sunday, December 31

30th Sunday after Pentecost    Tone 5.

 Leavetaking of the Nativity. Sunday after Nativity. Holy Righteous Ones: Joseph the Betrothed, David the King, and James the Brother of the Lord

Today’s Schedule:

Altar Server: D. Abshear

Greeter(s): D. Short & Maria Brausch

Epistle: Need volunteer

Donut Sponsor(s): Need sponsor

Chapel Vacuum: Need volunteer

Candle care: Need volunteer

Counters: D. Gresh, B. Lootens

9:00am Hours: Need volunteer

9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

11:30am Fellowship Hour: Potluck

5:00pm New Year’s Akathist: “Glory to God for All Things” 

Hymns & Readings:


Resurrectional Troparion: Tone 5

Let us, the faithful, praise and worship the Word, co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, born for our salvation from the Virgin; for He willed to be lifted up on the Cross in the flesh, to endure death, and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.

Nativity Troparion: Tone 4

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone to the world the light of wisdom. For by it, those who worshipped the stars, were taught by a star to adore You, the Sun of righteousness, and to know You, the Orient from on high. O Lord, glory to You!


Troparion of the Righteous Ones: Tone 2

Proclaim the wonder, O Joseph, to David, the ancestor of God; you saw a Virgin great with child; you gave glory with the shepherds; you worshipped with the Magi; you received the news from the Angel. Pray to Christ God to save our souls!

Kontakion of the Righteous Ones: Tone 3

Today godly David is filled with joy; Joseph and James offer praise. The glorious crown of their kinship with Christ fills them with great joy. They sing praises to the One ineffably born on earth, and they cry out: “O Compassionate One, save those who honor You!”

Nativity Kontakion: Tone 3

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. Angels with shepherds glorify Him; the Wise Men journey with the star, since for our sake the eternal God was born as a little Child!


Prokimenon: Tone 5

You, O Lord, shall protect us and preserve us from this generation forever!


Epistle: Galatians 1:11-19

But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.


Gospel: Matthew 2:13-23

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” 

For Further Reading:

The Eucharist and Christmas

In his worldly obedience he emptied himself, and his emptying is the only example for our path.  God who became a child, God who fled into Egypt to escape Herod, God who sought friends and disciples in this world, God who wept from the depths of his spirit over Lazarus, who denounced the pharisees, who spoke of the fate of Jerusalem, who drove out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, who finally, and most importantly gave his flesh and blood as food for the world, lifted up his body on the cross between the two thieves – when and at what moment did his example teach us about inner walls that separate us from the world?  He was in the world with all his Godmanhood, not with some secondary properties.  He did not keep himself, he gave himself without stint.  “This is my body, which is broken for you” – shed to the end.  In the sacrament of the eucharist, Christ gave himself, his God-man’s body, to the world, or rather, he united the world with himself in the communion with his God-man’s body.  He made it into Godmanhood. (Mother Maria Skobtova, Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings, p. 78)


Christmas Changes Us 

The Magi, divinely warned in a dream, return to their country by another road. They must avoid Herod. In the spiritual sense, he whom God has led to the crib can certainly go back home, to his own country, to his house; but it will be by another road. That is to say, the motives, the attitudes, the manner of existing, the means used, can no longer be the same. When one has gone to Bethlehem, a radical change takes place. (Jesus: A Dialogue with the Savior by a Monk of the Eastern Church, pp. 8-9)


New Year’s Resolution & The New Commandment 

The commandments to love God and neighbor are found in the law of Moses. They are not commandments for God’s people. They are the commandments “written on men’s hearts” and given “by nature” itself (Rom 2.14–15). They are the commandments given by God, in His Words, to man “from the beginning” (1 Jn 2.7).

In the new covenant Church of Christ, however, there is a “new commandment” (1 Jn 2.8). It is the “new commandment” given by Jesus Himself to those who believe in Him.

A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (Jn 13.34).

The new element in this “new commandment” is not the teaching of love, for this was written in the law. The new element is that believers in Christ must love as Christ Himself loves. The new commandment is to love “as I have loved you.”

Christian love must be the perfect love of Christ Himself which is wholly divine. Christian love must be the totally self-emptying love of the Lord Himself. It must be the divine love of God the Father poured into men’s hearts by the very Spirit of God. It must be the love that is absolutely faithful, perfect, eternal and divine. (Fr. Thomas Hopko, The Orthodox Faith Vol. IV: Spirituality, pp. 101-102)


The Incarnation of God is our Salvation

It is important to note that, in accordance with Irenaeus’s general understanding of the human person, the focus of Christ’s work is located in the flesh: it is in the flesh that Christ suffered, and through it that he reconciled the flesh which was in bondage, bringing it into union with God. Nevertheless, the work of redemption is solely the work of God, the incarnate Son, throughout:

            The Lord has redeemed us through his own blood, giving his soul for our soul, his flesh for our flesh, and has poured out the Spirit of the Father for the union and communion of God and men, bringing God down to men through the Spirit, and lifting man up to God through his incarnation, and by his granting to us incorruptibility, firmly and truly, through communion with him. (AH 5.1.1)

            Again, it is God, who in man, by himself becoming man, accomplishes the economy.

            ...That the manner of Christ’s incarnation preserved the manner of Adam’s formation is due both to the fact that Adam was a type of Christ and to the need for Christ’s flesh to be that of Adam, if he is to recapitulate all in himself, so becoming the head of all those whose ‘head’ had been Adam. (John Behr, Asceticism and Anthropology in Irenaeus and Clement, p. 62 & 63)


Recent Posts on Fr. Ted’s Blog:


How to Have a Happy New Year?

End the old year and begin the New Year in prayer! Join your fellow Orthodox Christians in praying the Akathist: “Glory to God for All Things” this afternoon at 5pm. If you have never come to the Akathist before, it is a beautiful praying thanking God for absolutely everything we experience in life. Written by a Russian Orthodox Bishop in a Soviet gulag, he found everything to be thankful for. We who live an exceptional life in America and think we are so blessed, should show that to God by coming before the Holy Trinity to offer our thanksgiving for 2017 and asking our Lord to bless 2018.   


Wednesday Book Study

Our group meets Wednesday at 11am to discuss the Theophany service and the Great Blessing of Water. Please join us as learn more about an Orthodox understanding of creation.


Church School Schedule

Church school will not meet after Liturgy today December 31. All classes will resume on January 7.


Theophany Services

This week we celebrate the Feast of the Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Feast commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan. We will keep the Feast liturgically by celebrating the Royal Hours of Theophany on Friday, January 5, at  8:30am (1st & 3rd Hours) and at 11am (6th & 9th Hours). Royal Hours consist of the chanting of psalms, other scriptures and festal verses - an opportunity for you to meditate on the meaning of the Feast through the Old and New Testaments as well as the hymns of the Church. We will celebrate Vespers at 6pm on Friday, January 5 followed by the Great Blessing of Water.  Then we will celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the Feast on Saturday, January 6 at 9:30am, again followed by prayers for the Blessing of Water. It is customary at the Feast to do the service of the Great Blessing of Water, and then those present take the blessed water home in containers you bring from home.  You can bless your home with the water, drink it for health, or bless any object, or anoint the sick with it. A prayer service for you to bless your own home is printed and available in the church entranceway. If instead of blessing your home yourself, you want Fr. Ted to bless your home, please sign the list on the bulletin board. He will contact you to set up a date to come and bless your home.  

Catechism/ Inquirer’s Class

A couple of people have asked about the possibility of starting a new Catechism/ Inquirer’s Class in January, 2018. Please let Fr. Ted know ASAP if you or someone you know is interested in attending the class beginning in January. Contact Fr. Ted at


End of the Year Donations

For those who wish to make an end of the year charity donation to the parish and have it counted for their 2017 tax year, today is the last day to do so. Any donation received by the end of the Liturgy will be counted as part of the 2017 donations. We do need your donations to help keep the parish financially healthy. While the Parish Council has kept expenses within the approved budget, donations have lagged behind expenses for the year. We thank all of you for your generous contributions and all the ways in which you contribute to the parish as part of your stewardship of your time, talents and resources. Your donation this week will help us continue to grow our parish. The tithe belongs to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30).


St. Paul Prayer Team

If you would like to submit prayer requests for the prayer team, forms can be found on the greeter’s table. Please place requests in the box on the greeter table or by email to If you would like to be a part of praying with the team - and pray daily for others in the parish, or if you have further questions please contact Mark Pearson.


December Charity 

As we did last month, we are giving our charity funds this month to several different families who are in financial need to help them get through difficult times. Please do remember to pray for all families, that God may protect and bless them.


Thank You Friends and Family of St. Paul Parish

Thank you again this year for all of your kindnesses, prayers and support throughout the year.  Thank you for the Christmas gift of love and for all your gifts throughout the year. I feel as a priest to be most blessed because of you the members of the parish. I pray that God will bless our parish with continued growth in 2018, and that God will bless each of you in the New Year with His peace, joy and love. Fr. Ted


Notes from the 20 December Parish Council Meeting

Present:  Fr. Ted, Brian Garber, Kerrie Wiese, Ann McLarnan, Bruce Garber, David Short

No new Financial Report was yet available.

The 2018 Pledge Drive has received 66 pledges representing 97 members with a total of $184,110 pledged.  The adopted 2018 Budget is $266,680. 1) Council discussed the extremely high water bill - the building will be checked for leaks and the water softener company will be asked to look at our unit which is running excessively. 2) Council discussed the decline in pledges for the past few years and the potential of ending 2017 in the red. Though the parish is still healthy and keeps strictly within its budget we did have several families move away in 2017 which has reduced the amount of pledges and the income of the parish. 3) All the men serving in the altar must also have background checks completed as soon as possible. 4) Council discussed an idea for having a young adult ministry in the parish and is looking for volunteers to lead this ministry. 5) Council discussed the Risk Committees work with helping the parish for emergency preparedness (for example a tornado, a fire, an active shooter, etc). Plans are being worked out to deal with various contingencies that might arise. Dealing with such problems are a normal part of any organization.



Birthdays: Jacob Turri

Namedays: David Mohler, David Bleney, Evan Alba

God grant you many years! 

This Week’s Schedule: 

Monday, January 1

The Circumcision of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. St. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia (379). Sunday before Theophany. 

Readings: 2 Timothy 4:5-8, Mark 1:1-8

NO Matins or Office Hours


Tuesday, January 2

Forefeast of the Theophany. Repose of Ven. Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov (1833)

Readings: Hebrews 12:25-26, 13:22-25, Mark 8:22-26


Wednesday, January 3

Forefeast of the Theophany. Holy Prophet Malachi (400 B.C.).

Readings: James 1:1-18, Mark 8:30-34

8:30am Matins            9am Office Hours      

11am Adult Discussion Group: Theophany and the Great Blessing of Water


Thursday, January 4 

Forefeast of the Theophany. Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles.

Readings: James 1:19-27, Mark 9:10-16


Friday, January 5

Eve of Theophany. Hieromartyr Theopemptus, Bishop of Nicomedia, and Martyr Theonas (303)

Readings: 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, Mark 1:9-11

8:30am 1st & 3rd Royal Hours of Theophany

11am 6th & 9th Royal Hours of Theophany

6pm Great Vespers and the blessing of the water


Saturday, January 6


Readings: 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, Mark 1:9-11

9:30am Liturgy for Theophany          

5pm Vespers


Sunday, January 7

31st SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 6. Afterfeast of the Theophany . Synaxis of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John. Sunday after Theophany.

Readings: Acts 19:1-8, John 1:29-34

Prosfora: D. Federinko

Altar Server: V. Weis

Greeter(s): MK Smith, M. Adrian

Epistle: M. Pearson

Donut Sponsor(s): Fencik

Chapel Vacuum: Need volunteer

Candle care: Need volunteer

Counters: B. Lootens, R. Wagner

9:00am Hours: M. Pearson

9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

11:30am Fellowship Hour: Potluck

11:45am Youth Group/Church School


Upcoming Dates to Remember

January 21     Zacchaeus Sunday

February 1     Presentation of Christ in the Temple Vespers-Liturgy, 6pm

February 2     Festal Matins, 8:30am