St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

Bulletin 208 - December 16/December 29, 2002

Chronicle of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
Diocesan Bishop - His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN
Parish Priest - Fr. Rodney Torbic
296 Old Route 21
Carmichaels, Pennsylvania 15320

December 16/December 29, 2002
Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
No. 208

Galatians 3:26-28
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus

Services This Past Week

December 22 - Thirty two people attended Divine Liturgy. Three communicants.
December 23 - One person came for the Akathist to St. Sava and Prayer Service to St. Sava.
December 26 - The Matins service was read. The Vesper service was read.
December 27 - Nine people came for the Divine Liturgy. One communicant.
Four people were present for the Vespers. Fr. Djokan Majstorovic served. Fr. Rajko Kosic was in attendance.
December 28 - Six people attended Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Mission-Fairmont. The Ninth Hour and Vesper service were read at St. George Church.

Services This Week - Call to Verify Weekday Schedule

Today - Divine Liturgy.
MMonday-7:00 PM - Akathist to St. Sava and Prayer Service to St. Sava
Thursday - Matins and First Hour - 8:30 AM. Ninth Hour and Vespers - 4:30 PM
Friday - Matins and First Hour - 8:30 AM. Ninth Hour and Vespers - 4:30 PM.
Saturday - Divine Liturgy - Holy Trinity-Fairmont - 10:00 AM. Vespers at St. George Church at 3:00 PM.

Remember Monastery Marcha with Prayers and Contributions

Important Dates

December 29 - Sunday of the Holy Forefathers - Today
January 5 - Sunday before Nativity
January 6 - Eve of the Nativity
January 7 - Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ
January 8 - Synaxis of Most Holy Theotokos
January 9 - St. Stephen the Archdeacon and Protomartyr
January 14 - St. Basil the Great. Circumcision of our Lord.
January 18 - Feast of the Holy Cross
January 19 - Theophany - Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ

If you are too busy to are too busy!

Parish Life

1. Thank you to Mickey Bezjak for coordinating the Nativity Retreat on Friday and to all supporters, contributors and participants. Thank you to Dolfi's Restaurant for providing the lunch.
2. Adult class this coming Thursday morning following the service.
3. The Nativity Fast continues until the Divine Liturgy of the Feast.
4. Thank you to all contributing to the special collection for Shadeland last Sunday.
5. It is good to see former parishioners living elsewhere returning this time of the year.

A Thought From Father Rade Merick*

The message of Christ was clearly a radical pacifism, and that remains the Christian ideal if not reality. Islam is inherently more militant. Where the Christian concept of heaven is of joy in God's presence freed from enslavement to passions and lusts, much of the Muslim concept of heaven seems to be a satisfaction of passions and lusts. The ideal martyr for the Christian is one who doe not seek out martyrdom but accepts it for oneself rather than renounce his or her faith in Christ.
*(Path of Orthodoxy Dec.2002)

Remember St. Sava School of Theology Students in Libertyville, Illinois

To Consider

1. The days of preparation for the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ.
2. The different aspects of fasting.
3. The benefits of fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
4. The love of God.
5. The glory of God.
6. The different ways God is manifested in our daily lives.
7. God at work in our bodies.
8. God at work in our minds.
9. God at work in our hearts.
10. God at work in our homes.

Activities of the Parish Priest

1. December 22 - Visited parishioner in Uniontown Hospital.
2. December 22 - Visited St. Elijah Parish in Aliquippa regarding Adult class.
3. Was at the Diocesan Center in Mars on Monday and Tuesday.
4. Participated in Retreat on Friday.
5. Served Divine Liturgy in Fairmont on Saturday.
6. Visited parishioner in Fairmont on Saturday.
7. Visited parishioner on Monday in Carmichaels.

From the Desert fathers

He (Isadore the Priest) also said that for forty years he had been tempted to sin in thought but that he had never consented either to covetousness or to anger.'

Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday of Holy Forefathers
Luke 14:16-24

Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready. But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused. And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused. Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore cannot come.' So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind. And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is no room.' Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.'

The Feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ is a religious feast. The Feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ is a feast of the Holy Orthodox Church. Preparations for the feast and activities identified with the feast should be consistent with the religious basis of the feast.

All that we do as Orthodox Christians should be consistent with the teachings of the Holy Gospel, consistent with the life of Jesus Christ. Parish churches should do everything consistent with the prayers of consecration. All parish activities should be consistent with the teachings of the Holy Gospel.

We are in the Nativity Fast. It is appropriate to consider the condition of our souls, the direction of our lives, the amount of sin we commit.

Serious believers find complete fulfillment in the Church. Serious believers find direction, hope and purpose in the Church. Believers experience Jesus Christ in the Church. Believers are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Believers come to know of their history in the Church. They come to know of their future.

The present Gospel message reveals the range of excuses individuals will use in declining invitations to a great supper. The Lord Jesus Christ invites men, women and children, Orthodox believers everywhere, to partake of His precious Body and Blood.

Partaking of the precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ results in unity with Christ. We become different each time we partake of the precious Body and Blood of Christ. We are strengthened in Christ, with Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ extends an invitation to all individuals to come to Him. Our Lord said: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Mt.11:28) We find rest in Jesus Christ. We find peace in Jesus Christ. We find direction in Jesus Christ. We find strength in Jesus Christ.

Excuses are not sufficient for serious believers. Men, women and children desiring to be united with Jesus Christ answer His invitation. Serious believers draw near to Jesus Christ. Serious believers cast away all obstacles preventing unity with Christ.

Jesus welcomes returning sinners. Jesus welcomes those who have been absent. Jesus welcomes those who genuinely repent of their sins. Jesus said: "there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine just persons who have no need over repentance. (Lk.15:7)

The Nativity Fast is a time for Orthodox believers to focus on their sins. It is a time to repent and return to God. The Nativity Fast is a time for relinquishing the sins of life. Repelling of sin and vigilance is always necessary.

Today we celebrate the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. We are mindful of Christ's forefathers according to the flesh. Abraham is notable among the forefathers in being commemorated today. Serious believers regularly remind themselves of the complete faith of Abraham as an example to be followed.

In addition to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Daniel and the three youths in the fiery furnace are mentioned in connection with the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. Orthodox believers come to see history differently. Orthodox believers come to view history in relationship to Jesus Christ. Each day, each year, each event is viewed in the context of Jesus Christ.

The lives of the saints and martyrs and the holy fathers and mothers of the Church help to form our view of history. The work of the Church through the ages, the work of the Holy Spirit through the ages, the presence of God through the ages, all define history for believers.

We do ourselves a great disservice when we decline invitations to learn more about Jesus Christ, when we decline invitations to learn more about the Holy Orthodox Church. We do ourselves a great disservice when we are distracted by sin and temptations and fail to be faithful to Christ.

Orthodox Christian beliefs did not come into being in a vacuum. Orthodox theology and practices can be traced through the centuries. Centuries of experience give form to the Church as the Church is known to believers today. Through the centuries, the undeniable record has been established.

The birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated in the Church and is on our minds at this time of the year. The birth of Jesus Christ is central to our attention. Now is the time to reach deep within ourselves in prayer and contemplation to carefully examine our relationship with God.

Preparation for the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ requires discarding sin and practices in our lives keeping us from Jesus Christ. No excuses are sufficient to decline Christ's invitations. Our Lord said: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Mt.16:24)

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. December 16/December 29, 2002.
Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. Prophet Haggai. St. Theophania.

Fr. Rodney Torbic

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