St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

Bulletin 215 - February 3/16, 2003

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

February 3/16, 2003
Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
No. 215

I Thessalonians 5:8
But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

Services This Past Week

February 8 - Two people came to Ninth Hour and Vespers.
February 9 - Thirty people came to Divine Liturgy.
February 10 - One person came to Matins and First Hour. Two people came to Akathist to St.Sava and Prayer Service to St. Sava.
February ll - Three people came to Akathist to St.Panteleimon and Vespers.
February 12 - Two people came to Divine Liturgy. Two people came to Akathist to Jesus Christ and Vespers.
February 13 - One person came to Matins and First Hour. Three people came to Akathist to St. Panteleimon and Service of Thanksgiving.
February 14 - Three people came to Matins and First Hour. Three people came to Ninth Hour and Vespers.
February 15 - Four people came to Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Mission-Fairmont. One person came to Ninth Hour and Vespers at St. George Church.

Services This Coming Week - Call to Confirm Weekday Schedule

Today - Divine Liturgy.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday evenings - Services at 7:00 PM.
Thursday and Friday morning - Matins at 8:30 AM. Thursday afternoon - Vespers at 4:30 PM

Remember Monastery Marcha with Prayers and Contributions

Important Dates

Today - Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee - St. James, Archbishop of Serbia
February 21 - St. Sava II of Serbia
February 21-22 - Diocesan Assembly - Midland
February 22 - Apodosis of Presentation
February 23 - Sunday of Prodigal Son
February 26 - St. Simeon the Myhrrflowing
March 1 - Memorial Saturday
March 2 - Meatfare Sunday
March 9 - Cheese-Fare Sunday

If you are too busy to are too busy!

Parish Life

1. A collection is being taken today for a St. Sava School of Theology student suffering from severe illness.
2. Adult class will be held following Matins on Thursday morning.
3. Home blessings continue.
4. Gary Shuckhart was here to help out with door frames this week. He has helped before.
5. An Executive Board meeting and parish meeting are to be scheduled soon.
6. We are expecting a small guest choir from Steelton the weekend of March 22/23.
7. Continue to pray for Nadezda Rogish. She is making progress

A Thought From Father Dr. Danilo Rogich*

St.James was one of the great protectors of Studenitsa Monastery, the foundation monastery of St.Simeon-Stephen Nemanja. Venerable James travelled throughout the Byzantine Commonwealth in order to provide Studenitsa with the proper liturgical and canonical texts for the upbuilding of monastic life as well as for the fortification of the Monastery's library and archives. Most importantly, the ascetic James was a shining spiritual example to the monks of Studenitsa (and various other monasteries), as he was an evangelical preacher of "the narrow way" to salvation of the soul and body through prayer, fasting, and the contemplative life of Orthodoxy.
*(Serbian Patericon. St.Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, California.)

To Consider

1. Orthodox life in the community.
2. Opportunities to witness as an Orthodox Christian.
3. Opportunities to pray for others each day.
4. Opportunities to do charitable works each day.
5. Opportunities to read the Holy Scriptures each day.
6. Opportunities to attend church services each day.
7. Opportunities to begin anew each day.
8. Opportunites to see God at work each day.
9. Opportunities to experience the goodness of God each day.
10. Opportunities to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ each day.

Remember The Students at St. Sava School of Theology - Libertyville

Activities of the Parish Priest

February 8 - Blessed two homes. Pastoral visit to parish family.
February 9 - Served Pomen for +Pete Krivosky at Yoskovich Funeral Home.
February 10 - Funeral Service for +Pete Krivosky at funeral home. Burial at Greene County Memorial Cemetery.
February 11 and 12 - Went to Diocesan Center-Mars.
February 13 - Visited family member of parishioner-Magee Hospital. Visited Nadezda Rogish-UPMC-Presby-Pittsburgh.
February 14 - Visited with parishioner.
February 15 - Served Divine Liturgy - Holy Trinity Mission-Fairmont

From the Desert fathers

He (Nilus) also said, 'Prayer is the seed of gentleness and the absence of anger.'

The Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
Luke 18:10-14

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and said this prayer to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men---robbers, cheats, adulterers; or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on everything I get.' But the tax collector, standing at a distance would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but struck his chest and said, 'God be merciful to me, the sinner.' I tell you, it was he who went home forgiven, rather than the other; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The Holy Orthodox Church places great importance on the present Gospel message. Each year this Gospel message is proclaimed in churches throughout the world. Orthodox believers preparing for the coming of Great Lent are asked to consider the two men, the Publican and the Pharisee.

The Pharisee considered himself to be good. He considered himself to be better than others. The Pharisee gave money to the temple. He fasted. The Gospel message does not speak about the Pharisee's heart. There is no evidence of the presence of love, of compassion, or of concern for the soul.

Humility is not found in the the description of the Pharisee. The Publican was sorry for his sins. The Publican made his desire for forgiveness known.

Centuries before the words of the present Gospel message, David said: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart---These, O God, You will not despise." (Ps. 50/51:17)

God looks at the heart. The heart is the battleground. In the heart, we battle sin to seek the Kingdom of God. We are all sinners. The Lord Jesus Christ came to call sinners to repentance (Mt.9:13). The present Gospel message is a direct reminder for us to come before God with a repentant heart.

If we look to the services of the Church, to the Holy Scriptures, and to the writings and lives of the saints, we become sensitive to sin in our lives. The battle against sin is a daily battle. The battle against sin is a life-long battle.

When an Orthodox Christian adopts the attitude of the Pharisee, he or she puts his or herself in peril. Jesus Christ taught humility when He washed the disciples feet (Jn.13:5). Jesus Christ taught humility when He was arrested and did not struggle or exert authority against His captors (Lk.22:51)

Trusting in God requires fundamental belief in God and God's teachings about humility. Trusting in God requires conviction. Trusting in God places the self before God, at the mercy of God.

God controls the world (Gen.1:1). Orthodox believers attending Vesper services hear the opening Psalm (103/104) each day and get a glimpse of the greatness of God.

Our worldview can become too narrow and confining. We need to look beyond ourselves to God. God helps us to determine the purpose of our lives. God defines the world for us. God provides the very life we live.

The pride of the Pharisee should be compared with the words of Jesus Christ spoken in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said: "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature." (Mt.6:27) We are dependent on God for our lives.

The Publican was forgiven. Orthodox Christians experience forgiveness when coming to God in Holy Confession. With forgiveness comes the responsibility to seriously live according to the way of God.

The battle against sin is a daily battle. It is necessary to put on the full armor of God. The holy Apostle Paul told the Ephesians: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Ep.6:11)

The devil is ever present. It is necessary that we be on guard against the wiles of the devil. The Publican came to know of his sin. He wanted a different life, a better life, a life approved by God.

The arrival of the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee alerts Orthodox believers to the presence of sin in their lives and the need for a return to God. The arrival of the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee is a marking point in the movement of the Holy Orthodox Church through the liturgical year. The Holy Orthodox Church proceeds with certainty and order through the year.

Serious Orthodox believers attempt to live their lives in conformity with the liturgical year of the Church and honor the order, feasts and fasts of the Church.

The Publican in the present Gospel message is an example for Orthodox believers seeking forgiveness from God. The prayer for God's mercy has a place in the heart of every Orthodox Christian at all times.

Commonly known as the "Jesus Prayer", every Orthodox Christian should be familiar with these words and make them a part of daily life: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

Orthodox believers are constantly faced with choices. We are responsible for our choices. We will reap the results of our choices.

The Holy Gospel provides a foundation and direction for decision-making. The words of the Lord Jesus Christ deserve our utmost attention. They need to be part of our daily lives. Our daily lives should be shaped by the words of Christ, the life of Christ, by the life in Christ.

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee.
February 3/16, 2003.
The Righteous Simeon and Prophetess Anna.

Fr. Rodney Torbic

Back to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels - Home Page