St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

Bulletin 263 - January 5/January 18, 2004

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

January 5/January 18, 2004
Sunday before Theophany
No. 263

Galatians 1:23

But they were hearing only, "He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy."

Services This Past Week

January ll - Twenty four people came for Divine Liturgy.
January 12 - Two people came for Matins and First Hour. One person came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.
January 13 - Two people came for Matins and First Hour. Three people came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.
January 14 - Three people came for Divine Liturgy. Four people came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.
January 15 - Three people came for Matins and First Hour. Six people came for Vespers.
January 16 - Two people came for Royal Hours, First, Third, Sixth and Ninth.
Three people came for Akathist to Jesus Christ and Vespers.

Services This Coming Week - Call to Confirm Weekday Schedule

Today and each Sunday the Divine Liturgy is at 10:00 AM. It is earlier on Pascha.
Blessing of the Monongahela River today at noon under the bridge near Masontown. Please plan to attend. Father Rumen Stoychev and our neighbors from the Orthodox Church in Masontown plan to come.
Monday, Feast of Theophany - Divine Liturgy at 6:00 AM followed by Blessing of the Water. Monday evening at 7:00 PM.
Mornings - Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 6:30 AM.
Tuesday at 10:00 AM - Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Mission, Fairmont.
Afternoons - Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 4:30 PM. Thursday at 6:30 PM.

Remember Monastery Marcha with Prayers and Contributions

Important Dates

January 19 - Feast of Theophany
January 20 - Synaxis of St.John the Baptist.
January 25 - Annual Parish St. Sava Program, Covered Dish dinner.
January 27 - St. Sava
January 29 - Chains of St. Peter

If you are too busy to are too busy!

Parish Life

Plan to come to the St. Sava Program and Covered Dish Dinner next Sunday.
Seven people came to Adult Class this past Thursday. Class this coming Thursday following the evening service.
Home blessings will begin this week.
Let us remember the men and women serving in the military and their families.
Let us remember the hospitalized, those afflicted with cancer and other serious illnesses.
Let us remember those afflicted with mental illness.
Stewardship is being emphasized in the Serbian Orthodox Church at this time.
Today is a Fast Day in the Church.

A Thought from Very Reverend Stavrofor Dr. Mateja Matejic *

Furthermore, we should realize that Christianity is not only a factor in matters pertaining to life eternal, but also in providing a better life and world here and now. As long as belonging to Christianity is a mere formality, human society will be beset by injustice, cruelty, oppression, crimes and wars.
*(Scriptural Instructions for Christian Life Published by the Protonica Ana Zivadinovich Publishing Fund, 1997 )

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

To Consider

The baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan.
The unique position of John the Baptist in history.
The manifestation of the Holy Trinity at the time of Christ's baptism in the Jordan.
The meaning of the Feast of Theophany for believers today.
The people coming to Church on Theophany.
The people staying at home on Theophany.
The extended period of time devoted to the celebration of Theophany in the Church.

Recent Activities of Parish Priest

January 13 - Visited resident at SCI, Greene.
January 15 - Visited resident at Rolling Meadows.
January 15 - Met with representative of radio station.
January 17 - Attended Diocesan Council Meeting at Diocesan Center, Mars.

From the Desert fathers

An old man said, "The prophets wrote books: then after them came our fathers, and wrought much upon them, and again their successors committed them to memory. But then came the generation that now is, and wrote them on papyrus and parchments, and laid them idle in the windows."

Sunday Before Theophany 2004

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight." John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, 'There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Early in Genesis we read "the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

Today is the Sunday before Theophany, the Eve of Theophany. Centuries upon centuries have passed since the reference in Genesis. Today we are on the threshold of the celebration of Jesus Christ's baptism in the Jordan. Today we are on the threshold of the Feast of Theophany, the celebration of the Holy Trinity made manifest.

Each Theophany, we celebrate the newness of creation. In the stichos for the feast we hear: "Today the Creator of heaven and earth approacheth the Jordan in the flesh; the Sinless One asketh baptism, that He may cleanse the world of the falsehood of the enemy."

Each believer enters the baptismal fount. Each entry in the baptismal fount is with the foreknowledge that Jesus Christ the Savior of the world entered the Jordan centuries before.

Great importance is associated with the baptismal experience of the believer. Greater importance is associated with the baptism of Christ by John in the Jordan. The baptismal experience of the believer is inseparable from the baptism of Christ in the Jordan.

The identity of the baptized believer is inseparable from Christ. We separate ourselves from Christ only when we make decisions that separate us from Christ. Each decision we make either reaffirms our baptismal experience and identity with Christ or distances us from Christ and dishonors the baptismal experience.

Conscious believing in Christ is necessary for those capable of doing so. Each infant with a working mind grows and matures and exercises the faculty of thinking and decision-making.

Each person gifted with a mind from God makes conscious decisions throughout the day. The choice of goals in life, the choice of interests in life, the choice of objectives in life are individual choices.

Each person gifted with a functioning mind determines the amount of time he or she will spend in prayer, in fasting, in reading the Holy Scriptures.

Each person gifted with a functioning mind determines the degree he or she will adhere to the teachings of Christ, will engage in charitable works, and will display love and forgiveness in relationships with others.

Each person gifted with a functioning mind decides when he or she will come to Holy Confession, when he or she will draw near to the Holy Chalice. Each believer with a functioning mind makes life style choices that are either consistent with the practices and standards of the Church or are at variance with the Church.

Each person will stand as an individual at the time of judgment. Some will hear the words, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Mt.25:34). Others will hear, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Mt.25:41).

The Feast of Theophany is a major feast of the Lord. Each Feast of the Lord carries a life-affecting message. Each feast of the Lord is deserving of careful consideration by believers.

The experience of each believer in the baptismal fount is a life-changing experience. We renew our baptismal experience and redirect our lives to Christ each time we partake of His Precious Body and Blood, each time we repent and return to Christ through the Holy Mystery of Confession.

God is good and forgiving. God is gracious and merciful. God is patient and kind. God is generous and loving. God is the continuous giver of good gifts.

We cannot take the immeasurable goodness of God for granted. We have responsibilities as believers. These responsibilities are daily responsibilities. God does not only give life on Sunday mornings for an hour and a half. God gives life each day, all day.

We need to live in honor of God each day, all day, all night. At baptism, we are completely immersed. Our complete body is annointed. We are expected to give our complete lives to God, living in ways consistent with and united with Christ our Saviour and Redeemer.

Jesus' baptism in the Jordan draws our attention to the Holy Trinity. Jesus' baptism in the Jordan focuses our attention on the newness of creation.

In Psalm 50/51, we pray "Create in me a clear heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." (Ps. 50/51-V.10) Newness of heart and spirit comes from Christ. Newness of heart and spirit comes from repentance, from partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ.

Orthodox believers around the world celebrate the Feast of Theophany. Orthodox believers rejoice in the Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ. Orthodox believers rejoice because according to the tropar of the feast, Christ our God has appeared and enlightened the world.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
Sunday before Theophany, Eve of Theophany.
January 5/January 18, 2004

Fr. Rodney Torbic

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