Weekly Sunday Bulletin – Sunday before Nativity

Apolytikion Ήχος Γ-3

Εύφραινέσθω τα ούράνια…
Let all things above in heaven rejoice, and let all things below on earth be glad. With all the might and strength of His arm an eternal deed the Lord did perform. Beneath His feet He has trampled down death by death, and first born of the dead has He become. From the womb of Hades has He delivered us, and to all the world has granted His great redeeming mercy.

Apolytikion for Forefeast of the Nativity in the First Mode

Ἑτοιμάζου Βηθλεέμ…
O Bethlehem, rejoice; Ephratha, make thou ready; * for in her womb the Ewe-lamb doth bear the Great Shepherd, * and lo, she now urgently maketh haste to give birth to Him. * On beholding Him, the righteous God-bearing Fathers * all rejoice, and with the shepherds sing hymns in praise of * the Virgin that nursed a child.

Apolytikion for Sun. before Nativity in the Second Mode

Μεγάλα τὰ τῆς πίστεως…
Great are the achievements of faith! In the fountain of flame, as by the water of rest, the Three Holy Children rejoiced. And the Prophet Daniel proved a shepherd of lions as of sheep. By their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.

Apolytikion of St. Demetrios

Μέγαν εύρατο έν τοίς κινδύνοις…
The world found in you a great champion in dangers a victor who could turn the nations back! As you restrained Levi in the arena, you also inspired Nestor to courage! Therefore, holy, great martyr, Demetrios, entreat Christ God to grant us great mercy!

Seasonal Kontakion in the Third Mode

Ἡ Παρθένος σήμερον…
On this day the Virgin cometh to the cave to give birth to * God the Word ineffably, * Who was before all the ages. * Dance for joy, O earth, on hearing * the gladsome tidings; * with the Angels and the shepherds now glorify Him * Who is willing to be gazed on * as a young Child Who * before the ages is God.

Memorial

Vasiliki and Constandinos Marchelos (4yrs) survived by their children Adrianne & Nick Diakonikolas, Spiro & Nikki Marchelos, Louis & Martha Marchelos, grandchildren Irene (Tommy) Drivas, Vasiliki , Victoria, Marionna and Stephanie and 2 great-grandchildren

Trisagion

Zaharias Haralambis (9yrs) survived by beloved wife Clara, 4 children, and 11 grandchildren.

40 day baby blessing

Vasil and Marina Tashkova and big sister Victoria are proud to present Dara for the traditional baby blessing

Wisdom of the Fathers

I too will proclaim the greatness of this day: the Immaterial become incarnate, the Word is made flesh, the invisible makes itself seen, the intangible can be touched, the timeless has a beginning, the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, always the same, yesterday, today and forever. . . This is the solemnity we are celebrating today: the arrival of God among us, so that we might go to God, or more precisely, return to Him. . . Revere the nativity which releases you from the chains of evil. Honor this tiny Bethlehem which restores Paradise to you. Venerate this crib; because of it you who were deprived of meaning (logos) are fed by the divine Meaning, the divine Logos Himself.

St. Gregory the Theologian

Oration 38, For Christmas (Patrologia Graeca, 36, 664-5) found in The Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clement, New City Press, NY, p. 41, 330-390

Through their prayers for, and alms on behalf of, the deceased, Christians display the relationship between this world and the world to come. The Church in this world and the Church in the other world are one and the same the one Body of Christ one the Church Militant and the other the Church Triumphant. It can be compared to a tree which has roots beneath the earth comprise as well as branches above the earth, but both the roots and the branches comprise one organism. This metaphor also illustrates how we on earth who comprise the Church Militant can receive help from the saints and the righteous ones in the Heavenly Church Triumphant. Saint Athanasios says: ‘As it happens with wine inside a barrel which, when the vineyard blooms in the field, senses it and the wine itself blossoms together with it, so it is with the souls of sinners. They receive some relief from the Bloodless Sacrifice offered for them and from charity’ performed for their repose. Saint Ephrem the Syrian cites that same example with wine and the vineyard and concludes: ‘And so, when there exists such mutual sensitivity even among plants, is not the prayer and sacrifice felt even more for the departed ones?’ ‘[At the Eucharist] the bread itself and the wine are changed into God’s body and blood. But if you enquire how this happens, it is enough for you to learn that it was through the Holy Spirit, just as the Lord took on Himself flesh that subsisted in Him and was born of the Holy Mother of God through the Spirit. And we know nothing further save that the Word of God is true and energises and is omnipotent, but the manner of this cannot be searched out. But one can put it well thus, that just as in nature the bread by the eating and the wine by the drinking are changed into the body and blood of the eater and drinker, and do not become a different body from the former one, so the bread of the table and the wine and water are supernaturally changed by the invocation and presence of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Christ, and are not two but one and the same.’

St. John of Damascus

An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book 4: Chapter 13; Eerdmans pg. 83, 8th century

Epistle Reading

The Reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 11:9-10; 32-40

BRETHREN, by faith Abraham sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundation, whose builder and maker is God.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets – who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated – of whom the world was not worthy – wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us,that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Sunday before Nativity

The Reading is from Matthew 1:1-25

The book of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.