May 7, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Pascha/Healing of the Paralytic, Tone 3

Repose of St. Alexis Toth, Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy in America (1909)

Prosfora: E. Caldwell

Altar Servers: D. Abshear

Greeter(s): MK Smith

Epistle: E. Caldwell

Donut Sponsor(s): Petez

Chapel Cleaners: Doebler

Counters: B. Lootens & R. Wagner

9:00am Hours: M. Caldwell

9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

11:30am Fellowship Hour: Potluck

11:30am Youth Group

11:45am Church School

12pm Adult Discussion Group in the Fellowship Hall: Pascha - The Resurrection

12:30pm Church School Teacher’s Meeting


Today’s Hymns & Readings

Paschal Hymn: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.


Resurrection Troparion [Tone 3]: Let the heavens rejoice! Let the earth be glad! For the Lord has shown strength with His arm! He has trampled down death by death! He has become the first born of the dead! He has delivered us from the depths of hell and has granted the world great mercy!

Kontakion of the Paralytic [Tone 3]:

By Your divine intercession, O Lord, as You raised up the Paralytic of old, so raise up my soul, paralyzed by sins and thoughtless acts; so that being saved I may sing to You: “Glory to Your power, O compassionate Christ!”


Paschal Kontakion [Tone 8]: You descended into the tomb, O Immortal. You destroyed the power of death. In victory you arose, O Christ God, proclaiming rejoice to the myhrrbearing women, granting peace to your apostles, and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.


Prokeimenon [Tone 1]: Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us as we have set our hope on you!

Epistle: Acts 9:32-42

Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda. There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.


Gospel: John 5:1-15

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’” Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.


Hymn to the Theotokos: The angel cried to the Lady full of Grace: Rejoice, O pure Virgin.  Again I say, "Rejoice. Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb.  With Himself He has raised all the dead.  Rejoice, all you people." Shine! Shine! O New Jerusalem ! The glory of the Lord has shone on you. Exalt, now exalt! And be glad O Zion! Be radiant, O pure Theotokos, in the resurrection of your son.


Communion Hymns: Receive the Body of Christ, taste the fountain of immortality. Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise him in the highest! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


Restoring the Divine Image

So too the first man who arose from the earth--he, indeed, who begot all the evil that is in man--and it in his power to choose all the good and beautiful things of nature that lay around him. And yet he deliberately instituted by himself things that were against nature; in rejecting virtue by his own free choice he fashioned the temptation to evil. For sin does not exist in nature apart from free will; it is not a substance in its own right. All of God’s creatures are good, and nothing He has made may be despised: He made all things very good (Gen. 1:31). But in the way I have described, the whole procession of sin entered into man’s life for his undoing, and from a tiny source poured out upon mankind an infinite sea of evil. The soul’s divine beauty, that had been an imitation of its archetype, was, like a blade, darkened with the rust of sin; it no longer kept beauty of the image it once possessed by nature, and was transformed into the ugliness of evil.

            Thus man, who was so great and precious, as the Scriptures call him, fell from the value he had by nature. It is like people who slip and fall in the mud and get their faces so smeared that even their relatives cannot recognize them. So man fell into the mud of sin, and lost his likeness to the eternal Godhead. And in its stead he has, by his sin, clothed himself in an image that is of clay and mortal; and this is the image we earnestly counsel him to remove and wash away in the purifying waters of the Christian life. Once this earthly covering is removed, the soul’s beauty will once again shine forth.

            By our human efforts we can merely clear away the accumulated filth of sin and thus allow the hidden beauty of the soul to shine forth.

            This lesson is taught, I think, in the Gospel, where our Lord speaks to those who have ears for the mysteries that Wisdom teaches us: The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). I think that the text here points out that the gift of God is not separated from our nature nor is it far from those who choose to look for it. It dwells within everyone of us, ignored and forgotten, choked with the cares and pleasures of life (Luke 8:14), but is rediscovered when we turn our minds to it.

            But if we must confirm this doctrine in other ways, the same lesson is, I think, taught by our Lord in the search for the lost drachma (Luke 15:8-9)...and surely the hidden meaning of the coin is the image of our King, which has not yet been completely lost, but is simply hidden under dirt. By the dirt I think we must understand the uncleanness of the flesh; for, when we cleanse and sweep this away by a fervent life, what we are looking for will be made manifest. And then the soul that finds the coin rightly rejoices and calls in her neighbors to share in her joy. The soul’s associates are, of course, the various faculties of the soul, which the text here calls neighbors. For when the great image of the King is discovered and shines forth again, just as it was stamped on our drachma in the beginning by the Creator, stamped on the hearts of everyone, then do all our faculties unite in that divine joy and gladness as they gaze upon the ineffable beauty of what they have found. For she says: Rejoice with me because I have found the groat which I had lost (Luke 15:9). (Gregory of Nyssa, From Glory to Glory, pp.13-15)



2. Perhaps that blessed tree,

            the Tree of Life,

is, by its rays,

            the sun of Paradise;

its leaves glisten

            and on them are impressed

the spiritual graces

            of that Garden.

In the breezes the other trees

            bow down in worship

before that sovereign

            and leader of the trees.


3. In the very midst He planted

            the Tree of Knowledge

endowing it with awe,

            hedging it in with dread,

so that it might straightaway serve

            as a boundary to the inner region of Paradise.

Two things did Adam hear

            in that single decree:

that they should not eat of it

            and that, by shrinking from it,

they should perceive that it was not lawful

            to penetrate further, beyond that Tree.


4. The serpent could not

            enter Paradise;

for neither animal

            nor bird

was permitted to approach

            the outer region of Paradise,

and Adam had to go out

            to meet them,

so the serpent cunningly learned

            through questioning Eve,

the character of Paradise

            what it was and how it was arranged.


5. When the Accursed One learned

            how the glory of that inner Tabernacle,

as if in a sanctuary,

            was hidden from them,

and that the Tree of Knowledge,

            clothed with an injunction,

served as the veil

            for the sanctuary,

he realized that its fruit

            was the key of justice

that would open the eyes of the bold

            and cause them great remorse.

(St. Ephrem, Hymns on Paradise, 3, Treasure-house of Mysteries, pp. 44-46)


When Death Wept

When Jesus, the slayer of Death, came and put on a body (Ibesh pagra) from the seed of Adam, and was crucified in the body and tasted death; and as soon as Death perceived that he descended to him, he quivered in his place and became agitated at the sight of Jesus. He shut up the doors and did not want to receive him. However, he shattered the doors and entered to him [Death] and began to rob him of his possessions. As the dead saw light shining in darkness, they raised up their heads from the bondage of death and looked forth and saw the brightness of Christ, the King. Then the powers of darkness sat lamenting, for Death was destroyed and stripped of his authority. And Death has tasted deadly poison (sam mauta) and his hands slackened and he realized that the dead will revive and escape his tyranny. As he [Christ] conquered Death by spoiling him of his possessions, Death cried out and wept bitterly and said: “Go out of my place and do not come back. Who is that who dared to enter my home alive?” And then Death cried out as he saw darkness starting to disperse and some among the righteous ones who were lying down there, rose up to ascend with him [Christ]. And he said [to Death] that he will return at the end of time, and will release all captives from his authority, and will draw them to himself, so that they could see light. Thus, as Christ had completed his ministry (teshmeshta) among the dead, Death let him escape out of his region, for he could not endure his presence there. For it was not sweet for him to swallow Christ up as [it was with] the rest of the dead. And Death did not prevail over the Holy One and he was not subjected to corruption. (Aphrahat, translated by W. Wright, Hilarion Alfeyev, Christ the Conqueror of Hell, pp. 69-70)



Meditation on the scriptures teaches the soul the discourse with God.


Without the perusal of holy scriptures, the mind can never approach God.


The gate through which man finds access to wisdom is meditation on the scriptures.


(St. Isaac the Syrian, Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way, Matthew the Poor, p. 52).


Recent Posts on Fr. Ted’s Blog  


Sunday Adult Discussion  

The group is meeting today in the fellowship hall at 12:00pm to discuss Pascha - The Resurrection. All are encouraged to join in! The adult discussion group will be taking a break during the rest of May and will resume on Sunday, June 4 with a the group resuming their talks in the library about Fr. Thomas Hopko’s Spirituality Vol. 4. Victor Weis will be leading the group.


Church School Teacher Meeting

There will be a teacher meeting TODAY immediately following church school. We will be discussing the end of the year and plans for the 2017-2018 school year. All those interested in helping with the church school program are encouraged to attend the meeting. Please direct all questions to Kerrie Wiese.


Wednesday Book Study

Is meeting on Wednesday, May 10 at 11 am to discuss Chapter 9 of Changes that Heal.  


St. Paul Musical/Talent Show

Can you play an instrument, do a neat trick, a spot on celebrity impression, a handstand while balancing a stack of plates? Then please join us on May 21 following Coffee Hour when will have our 5th Annual Talent Show! A sign up sheet has been posted on the bulletin board in the fellowship hall. This is a fun afternoon for all; even if you don't participate so we hope to see you there! Contact Mary Schwaninger if you have any questions: 937-665-0500.


Prosfora Workshop

We will be having a prosfora workshop on Saturday, May 20 at 10am to about noon for anyone interested in learning how to bake prosfora. We’ll be showcasing different methods and recipes and hoping to encourage and get some new bakers! See Erin Caldwell or Dot Federinko if you have questions.


Ordination of Deacon Stephan to the Priesthood

You are all invited to the ordination of Deacon Stephan Gresh to the priesthood on Saturday, June 3, 2017. Divine Liturgy will start at 10:00 am with Archbishop Melchizedek walking in at 9:30 am. The ordination will take place at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, 222 Mary St., Belle Vernon, PA 15012. A dinner will follow immediately afterward. If you plan on attending, a sign-up will be on the bulletin board. Please sign up (or let Denise Gresh know) by May 21, 2017 so that we may plan accordingly.


2017 Graduates

If you have a name of a parish member who is a college or high school graduate this year, please email Erin Caldwell at We will have a prayer for them following liturgy on June 11.


St. Paul Mission Trip 2017

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to leave the comfort of your home for a week to spend time serving someone in need? Do you have an extra week this summer that you can spare to be the hands and feet of Jesus? We have an exciting opportunity for you! St. Paul’s is in the process of assembling a team to spend a week of mission work in Charleston, WV. The IOCC is putting together a home building team in Charleston, WV, July 16 – July 22 and we would like to send a team to assist. If you would be interested in joining us, please contact David Short at 937-823-0809 or as soon as possible with your interest or questions.


May Charity

This month part of our charity donation went to the ministry we have been doing at the St. Vincent de Paul center in Dayton. The remaining funds are being given to Dn. Steve Gresh who will be ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Melchisedek on Saturday, June 3rd at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Belle Vernon, PA.  



Birthdays: Nick Pacak, Mary Kay Smith

Namedays: Brian Garber, John Turri, Chip Pritchard

Anniversaries: Art & Mary Schwaninger


God grant you many years! 

This Week’s Schedule


Monday, May 8                                                        

Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian (98-117)

Readings: Acts 10:1-16, John 6:56-69

8:30am Matins            9:00am Office Hours

Tuesday, May 9                                                     

Prophet Isaiah (8th c.)

Readings: Acts 10:21-33, John 7:1-13


Wednesday, May 10 (fast)                

Apostle Simeon the Zealot (1st c.)

Readings: Acts 14:6-18, John 7:14-30

8:30am Matins

9:00am Office Hours

11:00am Discussion Group: Changes that Heal, chapter 9.


Thursday, May 11

Holy Equals-to-the-Apostles Cyril (869) and Methodius (885), First Teachers of the Slavs

Readings: Acts 10:34-43, John 8:12-20


Friday, May 12 (fast)

St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus (403)

Readings: Acts 10:44-11:10, John 8:21-30

NO Matins or Office Hours

Saturday, May 13                            

Virgin Martyr Glyceria at Heraclea, and with her, Martyr Laodicius, Keeper of the Prison (ca. 177)

Readings: Acts 12:1-11, John 8:31-42

NO Vespers

Sunday, May 14: Fifth Sunday of Pascha/Samaritan Woman/Mother’s Day

Martyr Isidore of Chios (251)

Readings: Acts 11:19-26, 29-30, John 4:5-42

Prosfora: Need volunteer

Altar Servers: V. Weis

Greeter(s): M. Brausch, M. Jobst

Epistle: R. Barone

Donut Sponsor(s): Topalov

Chapel Cleaners: J. Wiese

Counters: B. Garber, P. Friesel

9:00am Hours: Need a volunteer

9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

11:30am Fellowship Hour: Team 2

11:30am Youth Group

11:45am Church School