February 28, 2021~ Sunday of the Prodigal Son~
Sunday of the Prodigal Son
Through the parable of today’s Gospel, our Saviour has set forth three things for us: the condition of the sinner, the rule of repentance, and the greatness of God’s compassion. The divine Fathers have put this reading the week after the parable of the Publican and Pharisee so that, seeing in the person of the Prodigal Son our own wretched condition — inasmuch as we are sunken in sin, far from God and His Mysteries — we might at last come to our senses and make haste to return to Him by repentance during these holy days of the Fast.
Furthermore, those who have wrought many great iniquities, and have persisted in them for a long time, oftentimes fall into despair, thinking that there can no longer be any forgiveness for them; and so being without hope, they fall every day into the same and even worse iniquities. Therefore, the divine Fathers, that they might root out the passion of despair from the hearts of such people, and rouse them to the deeds of virtue, have set the present parable at the forecourts of the Fast, to show them the surpassing goodness of God’s compassion, and to teach them that there is no sin — no matter how great it may be — that can overcome at any time His love for man.
Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Plagal First Mode
Τὸν συνάναρχον Λόγον Πατρὶ καὶ Πνεύματι…
Let us worship the Word, O ye faithful, praising Him that with the Father and the Spirit is co-beginningless God, Who was born of a pure Virgin that we all be saved; for He was pleased to mount the Cross in the flesh that He assumed, accepting thus to endure death. And by His glorious rising, He also willed to resurrect the dead.
Apolytikion of St. Demetrios in the Third Mode
Μέγαν εύρατο εv τοίς κιvδύvοις …
Greatness has been found in danger. You are champion of the world. A victor who could turn the nations back. You boldly encouraged Nestor to defeat Lyaeus in the arena. Therefore, holy great martyr Demetrios, intercede with Christ our God, to grant us His great mercy.
Seasonal Kontakion in the Third Mode
Τῆς πατρῴας, δόξης σου…
O Father, foolishly I ran away from Your glory, and in sin, squandered the riches You gave me. Wherefore, I cry out to You with the voice of the Prodigal, “I have sinned before You Compassionate Father. Receive me in repentance and take me as one of Your hired servants.”
Prokeimenon. Plagal First Mode. Psalm 11.7,1.
You, O Lord, shall keep us and preserve us.
Verse: Save me, O Lord, for the godly man has failed.
The reading is from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 6:12-20
Brethren, “all things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” — and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two shall become one flesh.” But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body and in your spirit which belong to God.
The Reading is from Luke 15:11-32
The Lord said this parable: “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his belly with the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry. Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'”
Maria Papastamatis (6 months) survived by her husband George, sons Michael and Alexander (Maria), and granddaughter Christina.
Symeon Stewart (40 days) remembered by his friend Dimitra.
Patricia G. Makris (25 yrs), Constantine G. Makris (27 yrs), Irene W. Georgitson 30 yrs), survived by Barbara, Katina, and Jacob C. Hollander.
Schedule of Church Services
- 2/28 Sunday: 9am/10am Orthros/Divine Liturgy
- 3/6 Saturday of Souls: 9am/10am Orthros/Divine Liturgy
Also, we are live streaming our services.
Visit https://stdemetrios.org/ where a link to the broadcast will be found.
Parish Council News
This Sunday, February 28, the Parish Council will be sworn in for the new year. We thank them for their service to our community.
Dr. George Georgakakis-President
Harry Tangalakis-Vice President
Bill Ypsilantis-Assistant Treasurer
Marion Koliniatis-Assistant Secretary
Mona Monezis Kapakos
Mental Health Resources
Late last year, the Assembly of Bishops assembled a Mental Health Task Force to assist our Churches in this very important ministry to the faithful. I am therefore very pleased to announce that, as the result of the work of the Task Force, a National Directory of Orthodox Mental Health providers has been created. Visit https://www.assemblyofbishops.org/directories/mental-health/ .
I join my fellow Hierarchs in thanking the Steering Committee of the Mental Health Task Force, and all those Orthodox Professionals who participated in the creation of this directory, so that it might help the greatest number of individuals.
Praying for the continued health of all, both in body and soul, I remain,
Paternally yours with love in Christ,
+ A L E X I O S
Metropolitan of Atlanta
Saturdays of Souls
The Saturdays of Souls are March 6, March 13, and March 20. Matins will start at 9:00am with Divine Liturgy following at 10:00am. You may reply to this email to list the names of your beloved who have fallen asleep in the Lord. In order for them to be included, we must have the names by Wednesday prior to the Saturday Service.
“…The Greatest Of These Is Love” 1 Cor 13:13
We ask you to support the worship, service and activities of St. Demetrios Church. Giving to His Church is a way to thank God for His grace, His generosity and His many blessings. Let’s Step Up our gifts of Time Talent and Treasure!
Please fill out a pledge form by either visiting https://stdemetrios.org/our-parish/stewardship/stewardship-form/ or downloading this form. You can make contributions towards your financial pledge by visiting https://stdemetrios.org/make-a-donation/ .
St. Demetrios Festival Replacement
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Demetrios Church
Our annual Greek Festival has unfortunately been canceled this year. The Parish Council and Father Peter came to this decision after a lot of debate.
Prior to making this decision we actually did study what many other communities had done this past summer and fall as alternatives to their traditional festivals. Most put on a drive through food only festival. Our festival planning committee actually met 3 times this fall to begin planning just such an event. Unfortunately, we discovered that there will be ongoing construction on the sewer system in front of the church through the summer of 2021.
Each year our community counts on the Greek Festival to raise the $95,000 necessary to balance our budget and continue the ministry of Saint Demetrios. Our community cannot survive without these funds. Borrowing money for operating expenses is out of the question. The Parish Council and Father Peter therefore came up with the following strategy to procure the necessary monies.
Drs. Joyce and Anthony Kales and Dr. George Georgakakis would each donate $10,000. In addition, the community would use a portion of it’s annual gift from the William and Bridget Eaton Partalis Family Trust. We would also ask 10 parishioners to support what we are calling the “Saint Demetrios Festival Replacement Fund” with individual donations of $1,000. The remaining estimated $40,000 would hopefully be raised by asking each of our 260 parishioners to consider contributing $160 to the Festival Replacement Fund. This would get us to our goal of $95,000
At our Winter General Assembly meeting last month we actually had 11 parishioners step up and offer to be $1000 donors. Since that time we have been blessed with several more such donors.
We now humbly ask all of our Saint Demetrios family to please consider coming to the aid of our parish in this time of great need. Your gift of $160 will help ensure that our church survives this upcoming year in spite of all the unknowns associated with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Your gift ensures that Saint Demetrios will remain a healthy and vibrant Christian community when the world returns to normalcy. Please help Saint Demetrios continue its vitally important ministry.
You may mail a check to: (make sure to note Festival Replacement in the memo)
St. Demetrios Church
820 NE 14 Ave.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304
Or, visit https://stdemetrios.org/make-a-donation/ , choose General Donation from the drop down menu and note “Festival Replacement” in the comment section.
Sunday School News
- Oratorical Festival
The St. Demetrios Oratorical Festival is set for Sunday, March 21. The event will take place after liturgy in the church. To learn more, students and parents may contact James W. Carras at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below are the topics. Visit https://www.goarch.org/en/oratorical for tips and resources on the topics, the rules, the various scholarship opportunities, and the Metropolis level and Archdiocese level dates.
Junior Division (Grades 7–9) Topics
1. Discuss the challenges and opportunities of watching a church service that is live streamed.
2. Prayer is called a “conversation with God.” Discuss the meaning of prayer in your life.
3. During the pandemic, people noticed that our natural environment became cleaner. What can this teach us about our care for the natural world?
4. Why is the Church still relevant, especially for young people, in our increasingly secular, post-COVID world?
5. Choose one parable from the Gospel of Luke chapters 15 or 16 that is particularly meaningful to you and explain what we can learn from it.
Senior Division (Grades 10–12) Topics
1. During the stay at home period of the pandemic, Orthodox Christians had to find ways to practice their faith without attending church in person or participating in parish activities. Discuss what you learned during those days.
2. In July 2020, a Turkish court gave permission for Hagia Sophia to be converted from a museum into a mosque. Discuss the significance of Hagia Sophia in the history of Christianity and the power of monuments like it to inspire religious identity.
3. We live in a highly polarized society – left vs. right, personal liberty vs. common good, and other issues where it seems everything is politicized. How are we as Orthodox Christians called to navigate this environment?
4. St. Peter writes, “Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16). What is freedom and how does it become a basis for being a servant?
5. In the Psalms we read, “If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you.” (Psalm 130:3-4, NRSV). Discuss how an Orthodox Christian understands sin, forgiveness, mercy, and repentance.
Applications for the Dr. Helene Tzitsikas Scholarship for students enrolled in higher education as well as applications for St. Stephen’s Summer Camp are open. More information about the Dr. Tzitsikas Scholarship can be found on the St. Demetrios website www.stdemetrios.org. Information about St. Stephen’s Camp can be found on their website St. Stephen’s Summer Camp – Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta – Atlanta, GA (atlmetropolis.org)
Scholarship applications are available on line at the St. Demetrios website or call the Church Office 954-467-1515 Monday – Thursday. Deadlines for all applications are May 1, 2021.
- Metropolis Philoptochos Spiritual Retreat
The annual Metropolis Philoptochos Spiritual Retreat will be virtual this year, so we can engage with popular Orthodox author Federica Matthews-Greene and have fellowship with other women from across the Metropolis without the long trek to the Diakonia Center,
All women are invited. See the flyer attached and click here to register https://atlmetropolis.org/virtual-spiritual-retreat-2021
Matthews-Greene has written 10 books on the Greek Orthodox faith, and is Khouria/Presvytera at Holy Cross Antiochian Church in Baltimore.
Dear Ladies of St. Demetrios,
This has been a year like none other. Many of us and our loved ones have faced illness, unemployment, and loneliness. And yet the women of St. Demetrios have reached out to fill our spiritual, material, and emotional needs. It was women, through the Ladies Philoptochos, St. Elpis (Hope) chapter, who called to check on parishioners, got food and money to families who were suddenly unemployed, called and sent cards to the sick, reached out to our young people, and donated to the needs of greater Ft. Lauderdale.
But our patron St. Elpis wasn’t alone. She was the daughter of Sophia (Wisdom) and the sister of Pistis (Faith) and Agape (Love). To continue its work, Philoptochos needs ALL the wisdom, hope, faith, and love of ALL the women of St. Demetrios.
Please use the form below to join or renew for 2021.
- National Philoptochos Department of Social Services
Daughters of Penelope News
- Food Drive The Daughters of Penelope are having an Easter Food Drive Drive starting Sunday, February 28th thru March 28th. Non perishable items, grocery store gift cards or monetary donations will be greatly appreciated.
- Membership Drive We would love to have you join our wonderful Chapter!! Our next initiation will be in January 2021. Please contact Erin Ryan at 954 683-6452 or email@example.com.
- Virtual Bingo
- Comedy Night
Creative Expression and Research Contest
Light a Candle & Say a Prayer at Saint Demetrios
“It is impossible to imagine an Orthodox church in which candles are not lit.”
(Blessed Simeon of Thessalonica, 15th Century)
“I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
We know that at this time it can be difficult to pray from home and not physically be in the church. One of the first things most people do upon entering an Orthodox Church is to light their candle and offer prayers for one’s personal needs or that of a family member or friend, we also light candles to pray for protection and safety so that we may live this life without fear.
If you wish to light a candle, visit https://saintdemetrios.square.site After you select the candle(s) that you would like us to light and before pressing the “Place Order” button, please submit the names of your loved ones, those who are alive and/or those who have departed this life. During these times we would be happy to light the candle for you and read the names that have been submitted during the Divine Liturgy.
Dear St. Demetrios Family,
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Ft. Lauderdale is open to the faithful. We are complying with all CDC, State, Local and Archdiocese guidelines. Here is the list of things that will be taking place on Sundays.
1) Everyone must wear a mask in order to enter the church.
2) Before entering the church, the temperature of each person will be taken by a designated person. If the person’s temperature is above 100.4 F he or she will be kindly asked to return to their home, both for their safety and the safety of others.
3) Parish Council will direct each parishioner to the designated X in the pews for each person or household to sit starting in the front of the church and working their way to back.
4) A place to accept offerings will be provided in the Narthex upon entering or leaving.
5) Parishioners are not to move around the church during the services to light candles or venerate icons.
6) Names and phone numbers of each attendee at every service will be taken in the event that a subsequent infection requires tracing.
7) If you have any symptoms of coronavirus, COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell), you must NOT attend church, and immediately seek medical attention for yourself and your household.
8) Parishioners who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as defined by civil authorities are given dispensation not to attend services and will be asked to refrain from attending.
9) In terms of preventing the spread of this virus, we ask parishioners to follow CDC directives, which currently include: washing of hands thoroughly and frequently, covering your coughs and sneezes, avoiding sharing personal items, wearing a mask, and maintaining a social distance of six feet.
10) Honor is to be shown to Holy Icons and the Holy Cross by only doing your cross and bowing, keeping in mind not to kiss or to touch the Holy Icons and the Holy Cross.
11) No one is to enter the Holy Altar except the clergy and assigned adult helpers.
12) For Memorials, please write the names of your deceased for the clergy to pray for their souls (without Koliva).
13) Artoclasias will be celebrated as normal.
14) No service books will be left out for common use. This includes papers of any kind (bulletins etc.). Parishioners are encouraged to bring their own service books.
15) During Holy Communion – Communicants must line up row by row (with help from Parish Council) and remain six feet apart using the designated social distancing X’s that have been placed in the church. Communicants may remove their masks only momentarily to receive Holy Communion.
16) For the continued safety of those attending church services in person, parishioners should immediately leave when the service is finished. For the sake of others, please do not socialize in the Narthex or other areas of the church or its surrounding buildings or parking lots. Additionally, Sunday Coffee Fellowship hours will be suspended until further notice.
Yours In Christ,
Fr. Peter Zougras