Weekly Sunday Bulletin – Sunday of Orthodoxy

Apolytikion for the Resurrection Ἦχος Δʹ

Τὸ φαιδρὸν…
When the tidings of the resurrection from the glorious angel was proclaimed unto the women disciples and our ancestral sentence also had been abolished to the apostles with boasting did they proclaim that death is vanquished ever more and Christ our God has risen from the dead and granted to the world. His great mercy.

Apolytikion for the Triumph of the Icons

Τὴν ἄχραντον Εἰκόνα σου…
O Christ our God, begging forgiveness of our sins, we venerate Your Pure Image, O Good One. Of Your own will, You condescended to ascend upon the Cross in the flesh and deliver those You created from the bondage of the enemy. Wherefore, thankfully, we cry out, “When You came to save the world, You filled all things with joy, O our Savior”

Apolytikion for St. Demetrios

Μέγαν εύρατο εv τοίς κιvδύvοις…
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!

Kontakion

Τῇ ὑπερμάχῳ Στρατηγῷ τὰ νικητήρια..
To you, Theotokos, invincible Defender, having been delivered from peril, I your city, dedicate the victory festival as a thank offering. In your irresistible might, keep me safe from all trials, that I may call out to you: “Hail, unwedded bride!”

First Sunday of Lent – Sunday of Orthodoxy

There are three major Christian denominations in the world today: Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Protestanism. Each has its own customs and traditions. The Protestant Churches have eliminated most of their customs, traditions and symbols during the last 400 years. The Roman Catholics adorn their Churches with religious statues. Orthodox Christians grace their Churches with Holy Icons. Iconography (the painting of Holy pictures) does not have as its aim to reproduce a saint or an incident from the Gospel or the lives of the saints, but rather to express them symbolically, to impart to them a spiritual character. In Byzantine Iconography the saint is not represented as he is in actual life, that is naturalistically, but as he is now in the heavenly kingdom, as he is in eternity. This is called Liturgical art.

A noted writer once said about our art as he visited our most famous Church (St.Sophia which is now in the hands of the Turks in Constantinople), “Below the dome of St. Sophia I felt that the Byzantine idea has a world wide mission. Never in all the evolution of human art have painters succeeded in spreading the heaven before us so superbly, so truly, so profoundly at no other time did the feeling of rhythm and artistic knowledge find such a mature expression; at no time was art so living and real.” Western painters paint with their eyes’ the Byzantine painters paint with their heart and soul.

These Holy pictures called Icons have always graced our Churches since the Apostolic age. During the seventh century, a Byzantine Emperor attempted to remove all Icons from our Churches believing that Icons should not be worshiped but only God. He actually succeeded in doing away with the Icons, and for over 150 years Orthodox Christians were banned from using Icons in any many, shape or form in the Churches and on March 11, 843 AD a great celebration was held in the Church of St. Sophia. There was a great meeting held during that period which defined the position of the Icon in Orthodox worship. The Icons produce within us a sense of repentance of our sins which sanctifies our soul. They are spiritual mirrors through which we see the Heavenly Saints. They are the symbol of our faith in Jesus Christ in accordance with our Orthodox tradition. This is why this Sunday of the restoration of the Icons in our Churches is called “Sunday of Orthodoxy” It is truly a victory for Orthodoxy which has withstood for almost 2000 years. The Sunday of Orthodoxy is celebrated all over the world and is one of the most important feast days of our Faith.

(Lives of the Saints and Major Feast Days by Rev. Fr. George Poulos)

Epistle Reading

St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 12:1-10

BRETHREN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father.

Gospel Reading

John 1:43-51
Sunday of Orthodoxy

At that time, Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and he said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”