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Saint Joseph Melkite Greek Catholic Church

130 North Saint Francis Cabrini Avenue Scranton, PA 18504


Rev. Protodeacon Michael Jolly
Administrator pro tempore
570-213-9344

Reader Michael Simon Parish Office 570-343-6092

E-Mail: Web: Webmaster:

scrantonmelkite@yahoo.com http://melkitescranton.org Sal Zaydon

January 1, 2012 Tone 4 and Orthros Gospel Liturgy Schedule: Saturday Vespers 4pm Compline Weds 8:30PM

Circumcision of the Lord St. Basil the Great Sunday Orthros 8:55 am Sunday Divine Liturgy 10:00 am

Liturgy Intentions:
January 1, 2012 The parishioners of Saint Joseph Parish The Deceased members of the Shehedi and Barron Families

Parish Notes:

TodaySaint Joseph Day Potluck after Divine LiturgyAll are Welcome! Thanks to the Bolus family for their generous donation of $2000 to our parish Thanks to Betsy Zaydon and the folks who decorated our sanctuary for the feast. Nice Job! 2012 Calendars and envelops are available in the narthex of the church. Parish Council meets after Divine Liturgy Next Sunday Qurban today was baked by Dn Michael

Todays Icon: Saint Basil the Great

Feast of the Theophany Vespers Thursday Evening 7PM Divine Liturgy Friday Evening 7PM

The Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great


Antiphons:
First Antiphon Through the prayers of the Mother of God Tone 2 O God, Father above time, Who in Your wisdom have created all things and in Your Almighty Word keep them into being, bless in Your goodness the crown of the year. Safeguard Your Church in peace. Unify all the Christians in faith and love. Grant the world Your great mercy through the intercession of our all-holy Lady the Theotokos and all Your Saints. For You are All-good and the Lover of mankind and we render glory to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Second Antiphon 1- Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad. O Son of God, Who were circumcised in the flesh, save us who sing to You: Alleluia! 2- Sing to God, chant praises to His name, extol Him Who rides upon the clouds. 3- From Sion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth. Glory be to the Father now and always Only-begotten Son and word of God Hymn of incarnation Tone 4 Third Antiphon Tone 4 Entrance O Son of God, Who were circumcised in the flesh, save us who sing to You: Alleluia!

Hymns:
Resurrectional Troparion Troparion of the Circumcision Tone 4 Tone 1

O Merciful Lord who, being God assumed our human nature without undergoing change, You fulfilled the Law by accepting to be circumcised in the flesh, so as to put an end to prefigurations and remove the veil of our passions, Glory to Your goodness, O Word! Glory to Your compassion! Glory to Your ineffable condescension! Troparion of Saint Basil the Great Tone 1 Your voice has sounded over all the earth, that accepted your preaching. You gave a divine explanation of doctrine, and made clear the nature of creatures, and set a rule of life for men. Holy father, kingly priest, intercede with Christ God to grant us His great mercy. Troparion of Saint Joseph Kontakion for the Circumcision of Our Lord Tone 1 Tone 3

Today the Lord of all endures circumcision, circumcising the sins of men, for He is good and merciful. And He grants salvation to the whole world while Basil, the high priest of the Creator, Christs mystic and shining star, rejoices now in heaven.

Prokiemenon

(Tone 1) Ps. 48:4,2 My mouth shall speak wisdom, prudence shall be the utterance of my heart. Stichon: Hear this, all you peoples; hearken, all who dwell in the world. 2:8-12

Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians

BRETHREN, see to it that no one deceives you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to human traditions, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and in Him Who is the head of every Principality and Power you have received of that fullness. In Him, too, you have been circumcised with a circumcision not wrought by hand, but through putting off the body of the flesh, a circumcision which is of Christ. For you were buried with Him in baptism, and in Him also rose again through faith in the working of God Who raised Him from the dead.

Alleluia (Tone 8) Ps. 79:2; 36:30


Listen, O Shepherd of Israel, O Guide of Josephs flock! Stichon: The mouth of the just tells of wisdom, and his tongue says what is right.

The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

2:20-21 & 40-52

At that time the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, even as it was spoken to them. And when eight days were fulfilled for the circumcision of the child, He was called Jesus, the name given Him by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. And the child grew and became strong in spirit. He was full of wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him. And His parents were accustomed to go every year to Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. And after they had fulfilled the days, when they were returning, the boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and Joseph and His mother did not know it. But thinking He was in the caravan, they had come a days journey before it occurred to them to look for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. And not finding Him, they returned to Jerusalem in search of Him. And it came to pass after three days, that they found Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who were listening to Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. And when they saw Him, they were astonished. And His mother said to Him, Son, why have You done so to us? Behold, Your father and I have been seeking You sorrowing. And He said to them, How is it that you sought me? Did you not know I must be about My Fathers business? And they did not understand the word He spoke to them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them; and His mother kept all these things carefully in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men.

Hirmos:
In you O full of grace, all creation rejoices, the orders of angels and the human race as well. O sanctified temple, spiritual paradise and glory of virgins fro whom Our God, Who exists before all eternity, took flesh and became a little child. He has taken your womb as His throne., making it more spacious than the heavens. Wherefore O full of Grace, all creation rejoices, glory to you.

Post-Communion Hymn Troparion of the Circumcision

Theophany
(from Greek theophania, meaning "appearance of God") is one of the Great Feasts of the Melkite Church, celebrated on January 6. It is the feast which reveals the Most Holy Trinity to the world through the Baptism of the Lord (Mt.3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22).

Celebration of the feast


The services of Theophany are set up exactly as those of the Nativity. Historically the Christmas services were established later. The Royal Hours are read and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is served with Vespers on the eve of the feast. The Vigil is made up of Great Compline and Matins The Liturgy of the feast begins with psalms of glorification and praise instead of the three normal Antiphons. And the baptismal line from Galatians 3:27 once again replaces the Thrice-Holy. All of you who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ Alleluia

Baptism of Christ
This observance commemorates Christ's baptism by John the Forerunner in the River Jordan, and the beginning of Christ's earthly ministry. The Feast of Theophany is the culmination of the Christmas Season, which starts on December 25 and ends on January 6. In mystic commemoration of this event, the Great Blessing of Water is performed on this day, and the holy water so blessed is used by the local priest to bless the homes of the faithful.

The gospel readings of all the services tell of the Lord's baptism by John in the Jordan River. The epistle reading of the Divine Liturgy tells of the The feast is called Theophany because at the consequences of the Lord's appearing which is the baptism of Christ the Holy Trinity appeared clearly divine epiphany. to mankind for the first time -- the Father's voice is heard from Heaven, the Son of God is incarnate and Since the main feature of the feast is the blessing of standing physically in the Jordan, and the Holy water. It is prescribed to follow both the Divine Liturgy of the eve of the feast and the Divine Spirit descends on Him in the form of a dove. Liturgy of the day itself. But most local parishes do Epiphany it only once when most of the parishioners can be present. The blessing verifies that mankind, and all This feast is also sometimes referred to as Epiphany of creation, were created to be filled with the by English-speaking Orthodox Christians, but that sanctifying presence of God. name more properly refers to the Western Christian feast falling on that same day and commemorating the visit of the Magi to the child Jesus. The term "Epiphany" does appear in the services for this feast, however. Originally, there was just one Christian feast of the shining forth of God to the world in the human form of Jesus of Nazareth. It included the celebration of Christ's birth, the adoration of the Wisemen, and all of the childhood events of Christ such as his circumcision and presentation to the temple as well as his baptism by John in the Jordan. There seems to be little doubt that this feast, like Easter and Pentecost, was understood as the fulfillment of a previous Jewish festival, in this case the Feast of Lights.

OUR CELEBRATION OF CHRISTS NATIVITY


draws to a close today with the Feast of His Circumcision. Many primitive cultures have traditions of marking the body in some way to distinguish the recipient as a member of the tribe, a warrior, or a member of the ruling class. In the Middle East circumcision has been practiced as a sign of belonging at least since the time of Abraham. To this day it is a defining rite among both Jews and Muslims. In the book of Genesis we read Gods requirement: This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you that you must keep: every male among you shall be circumcised. Circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and that shall be the mark of the covenant between you and me. Throughout the ages, every male among you, when he is eight days old, shall be circumcised, including houseborn slaves and those acquired with money from any foreigner who is not of your blood. Yes, both the houseborn slaves and those acquired with money must be circumcised. Thus my covenant shall be in your flesh as an everlasting pact. If a male is uncircumcised, that is, if the flesh of his foreskin has not been cut away, such a one shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant (Gen 17:10-14) In accordance with this law the Lord Jesus was circumcised eight days after His birth. It was also the time that He was formally given the name Jesus. At first glance we see that in this Jesus family was simply doing what was customary among Jews. They were making the infant a part of Gods People, the people of the Covenant. By His incarnation the Word of God became a human being, one of us by nature. By His circumcision He became a member of a specific people, a Jew. He would observe the Sabbath, study Torah and observe the festival pilgrimages to Jerusalem (see Lk 2:41-52). He would observe the traditions of Israel because it was through Israel that the world would be saved. As we sing at vespers on this feast: The most merciful God did not disdain circumcision in the flesh. He offered Himself instead as a symbol and example of salvation to all. He made the Law, and yet submitted Himself to its commands and to what the prophets had foretold of Him. O our God, who hold all things in Your hands, and yet were wrapped in swaddling clothes: O Lord, glory to You! The Church, reflecting on His circumcision, looked at it from other vantages as well. St. Cyril of Alexandria, for example, in his third homily on the Gospel of St. Luke, noted: It seems to me that circumcision achieved three distinct ends. In the first place, it separated the

descendants of Abraham by a sort of sign and seal and distinguished them from all other nations. Second, it prefigured in itself the grace and efficacy of divine baptism. Formerly a male who was circumcised was included among the people of God by virtue of that seal; nowadays a person who is baptized and has formed in himself Christ the seal becomes a member of Gods adopted family. Third, circumcision is the symbol of the faithful when they are established in grace, as they cut away and mortify the tumultuous rising of carnal pleasures and passions by the sharp surgery of faith and by ascetic labors. They do this, not by cutting the body but by purifying the heart. They do this by being circumcised in the spirit and not in the letter. Our Spiritual Circumcision A circumcision is a cutting of the flesh; circumcision according to the letter, as St Cyril describes it, is also a cutting, but of the heart. It is the removal of something, often painful, so that we can be fitting members of Christ by the sharp surgery of faith and by ascetic labors. The sharp knife of faith removes from our hearts its reliance on whatever we trust for our security other than the true God. In the Roman Empire Jews trusted in the Law of Moses and pagans trusted in the gods and goddesses of the state. In our day it may be our family, our job, our culture or our political and economic systems that we feel will take care of us. People continually find that any of these can fail them drastically if they put the confidence in them that is due to God alone. The surgery of ascetic labors is the way we deal with our pride, our greed, our lust and the like: often particularly painful as it is a surgery we face daily. St. Paul described this dynamic as the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh (Col 2:11). Elsewhere he catalogued these sins as your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Col 3:5). Lest we feel too confident in our sinlessness, he continues the list with anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language and lying (Col 3:89). Of these we continually need to be circumcised. What Is The Flesh? When speaking of the sins of the flesh St Paul uses a Greek word, sarx. This is not the Greek word for body

soma which shows that the Apostle is not equating the body with sin. As the fourth-century Egyptian ascetic Poemen said, We were taught, not to kill the body, but to kill the passions. Sarx has been described as the complex of sin, death and futility into which humanity has imprisoned itself (John S. Custer, The Apostolic Writings, p. 78). The term flesh, then, includes anything including mental attitudes and even religious practices which are opposed to the kingdom of God. Circumcising the flesh, in fact, involves dealing more with our motivations, our imaginations and the whole range of our conscious and subconscious thoughts. It is a refocusing of all our attitudes as well as our actions on God and the godly way of life. Asceticism, then, is the means by which we restore the natural hierarchy of body and spirit. The body is meant to serve the spirit; not the other way around, as is the case in the fallen world. Human nature in its fallen, sinful condition finds the spirit enslaved to the flesh, and to the need to gratify the appetites of the flesh. Insofar as the spirit remains in this state of bondage, it is rendered incapable of communing with God. Spiritual circumcision, then, is an indispensable part of our progress toward union with God. It is an aspect of what we are urged to do continually in our liturgical services: Let us commend ourselves, one another and our whole life to Christ God.

Hymns of the Feast The most merciful God did not disdain circumcision in the flesh. He offered Himself instead as a symbol and example of salvation to all. He made the Law, and yet submitted Himself to its commands and to what the prophets had foretold of Him. O our God who hold all things in Your hands, and yet were wrapped in swaddling clothes: O Lord, glory to You! (Vespers sticheron) O Merciful Lord who, being God, assumed our human nature without undergoing change, You fulfilled the Law by accepting to be circumcised in the flesh, so as to put an end to prefigurations and remove the veil of our passions. Glory to Your goodness, O Word! Glory to Your compassion! Glory to Your ineffable condescension! (Troparion)

Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord

Circumcising the Sins of Men

The Epistle reading from Titus on the Feast of the Theophany says: ...not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saves us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). So we are saved by baptism; but yet salvation is broader than a one-time event.

sins; it secures us against them in the future; for this is also of Grace. And this is of Grace, to deliver us from worldly things, and to lead us to heaven. He (Paul) speaks here of two appearings (i.e. Epiphanies); the first of grace, the second of retribution and justice (Homily V on Titus 2). The second aspect of Grace, Paul says, teaches us: to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (2:12) to live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age (2:12) to look for the blessed hope and glorious Epiphany of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ (2:13) that the Lord is purifying for Himself, a people of His own possession, zealous for good works (2:14) to be subject to rulers and authorities (3:1) to obey and to be ready for every good work (3:1) to speak evil of no one (3:2)

Scripture References to Salvation:


There are three aspects to salvation referred to as follows: We have been saved: Besides the reference in Titus above, many other places refer to salvation as having occurred at the time of our belief and baptism. For example, Ephesians 2:4-9 speaks how we have been saved by Grace through faith and made to sit in the heavenly places with Christ in the Church. 2 Timothy 1:9 refers to how we are saved and called with a holy calling according to His purpose and Grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. We will be saved: The Lord spoke on several occasions about: He who endures to the end will be saved. He said this to the Twelve as He sent them out two by two (Matthew 10:22) and again as He spoke of the times leading up to His coming in Glory (Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13). Paul even took measures concerning a reprobate believer in an effort to secure his salvation on Judgment Day in spite of his current immoral behavior (1 Corinthians 5:5). We are being saved: Paul spoke concerning the Word of the Cross (compare Mark 8:34-38) and how it is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the Power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). This is the action of the Cross in our lives. (For more on this, see The Word of the Cross Parts I and II). Hebrews also refers to our High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek (that is, the Lord Jesus) who makes intercession for us and who is able to save to the complete end those who come to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25).

to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men (3:2) The first aspect of Grace had already taught us: that the Holy Spirit has been poured out abundantly on us (3:6) that we are justified by His Grace (3:7) 17. that we have become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (3:7) The first aspect of Grace came with baptism when we were saved. The second aspect of Grace

comes (1) as we take up our crosses in being saved in this age and (2) as we approach the Judgment Seat where we will be saved in the age to come. Burial in Baptism is Part of Salvation: (6th Hour, Romans 6:1-11) Romans 6:1-21 is another of the Epiphany readings (at the 6th Hour) and gives additional details on the saving effects of baptism. As many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death (v.3). This The Grace of God that Brings Salvation: The Epistle reading begins with For the Grace of God that brings means that: salvation has appeared (literally made His Epiphany) to we were buried with Him through baptism into death (v.4) all men (Titus 2:11, 3:4). John Chrysostom points out: Do not think that Grace stops at the pardon of former

we are united together in the likeness of His death (v.5) our old man was crucified with Him (v.6, Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:9, Galatians 2:20,5:24, 6:14) he who has died has been freed from sin (v.7) the body of sin has been done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin (v.6, 2 Peter 2:19, John 8:34) we are also united together in the likeness of His resurrection (v.5, Philippians 3:10) if we have been united to His death having been raised from the dead, Christ dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him (v.9) or us

as Christ was raised, so we should walk in newness of life (v.4). John Chrysostom comments on this as follows: Baptism is the Cross. What the Cross and Burial is to Christ, baptism has been to us, even if not in the same respects. For He died Himself and was buried in the flesh, but we have done both to sin... For if you have shared in death and burial, much more will you share in the resurrection and life. After the resurrection to come had been set before us, He demands of us something additional, which is brought about in the present life by a change in habits (Homily X on Romans 5).

The Tonsuring of Gabriel Joseph Fitzpatrick

Devotions and Readings for this week


Mon 1/2 Tues 1/3 Weds 1/4 Thurs 1/5 Fri 1/6 Sat 1/7 Sylvester Pope of Rome Holy Prophet Malachy and the Holy Martyr Gordios Synaxis of the 70 Apostles Holy Father Theoctistos The Holy Martrys Theopemptos and Theonas Venerable Mother Syncletica Theophany of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ Synaxis of John the Baptist Heb 8:7-13 Heb 9:8-23 Heb 10:1-18 1 Cor 9:19-27 Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7 Acts 19:1-8 Jn 3:1-15 Jn 5:24-30 Jn 1:18-28 Lk 3:1-18 Mt 3:13-17 Jn 1:29-34

Among Todays Saints


One of the four greatest Eastern Doctors of the Church, Saint Basil was a man of learning, talent, and holiness-all to an incredibly advanced degree. He came from the same brilliant family that produced Saint Gregory of Nyssa and Saint Peter of Sebaste (his brothers), and was born at Caesarea in Cappadocia in 329. His education began in Caesarea and continued at Constantinople and Athens. His classmates in the latter city included his friend Saint Gregory Nazianzen (another Cappadocian) and Julian the Apostate, the future Roman emperor. School days were anything but frivolous in Athens; according to Gregory, he and Basil knew only two streets in the city: those leading to the church and to the school. Faithful as Basil may have been to those streets, when he returned to Caesarea about 356, both his brother Gregory and his sister Macrina (who is also honored as a saint) noticed pronounced tendencies to worldliness in him. Easily the most learned person in Caesarea by this time, Basil had established himself as a teacher of rhetoric and seemed to be enjoying, very complacently, the prestige the position was bringing him. He was shaken out of this self-satisfied attitude by Macrina, who, through her appeals to Basil's good sense and spiritual awareness, made him see the cramping limitations of a life taken up entirely by worldly activity. Mainly through her influence, Basil left on a tour, in 357, to the monastic centers in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia. When he returned to Caesarea the next year, he knew what he had to do; breaking all his former ties, he traveled northward to Pontus, near the Black Sea, and there, on the banks of the river Iris, established his own monastery. Basil was to be involved in other kinds of activity later in life, but this monastic foundation was probably his most important work and the one he loved the most. With a profound understanding of the role played by monasticism in Christianity and of how that way of life should be carried out, Basil wrote a set of rules-later called the Basilian Code -that became the inspiration of all later Eastern monasticism. Even today Orthodox monks and most Eastern Catholic monks follow the Basilian Code; first of all, and in particular, the Basilian Monks of the Grottaferrata Abbey. The pressure of the times, however, soon interrupted Basil's life in Pontus. With the support of the emperor Valens, Arianism was threatening the Church in Cappadocia, and strong leadership was needed to meet the attack. Basil was persuaded to come to Caesarea first to assist its bishop, and then, succeeding the bishop after his death in 370. One of his first acts in his new position was to show open defiance to Valens, who was trying to secure a profession of Arian faith from all the Cappadocian clergy; Basil refused and, by the

weight of his influence and personality, made the emperor cease his demands. Active as he was in the fight against heresy, Basil was closely attentive to the other needs of his diocese. Just outside Caesarea, he built a travelers hospice (the first of its kind) with a hospital attached for the poor. Other projects included a revision of the liturgy for his diocese (this is the older of the two liturgies of the Byzantine Rite) and a careful weeding out of heretical priests from his clergy. A brilliant orator and writer, Basil also poured out a steady stream of sermons and theological works, most of them aimed at strengthening his people against Arianism. Heresy was the ever-present danger and was accompanied by such minor misfortunes as a quarrel with his old friend Gregory of Nazianzen and misrepresentations of his orthodoxy to the pope by his enemies. Basil surmounted all the difficulties, however, and during his short tenure as bishop (less than nine years) he became the leading force in Caesarea. When he died on January 1, 379, the Jews and pagans there, as well as the Catholics, were willing to admit that the city had lost its best friend. Years after his death, Basil was described by a Church council as the Great Basil, the minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole world: a just verdict, and one that has stood the test of time.

You Shall Call His Name Jesus


Long before the Christ Child was born in the flesh in a humble cave outside Bethlehem, His Father had named him for us through His angels and prophets: For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, RSV other translations of the Bible are not as lyrical) Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus [that is, God saves]. He will be great, and will be called Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. (Luke 1:30-32) behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet [Isaiah], saying, Behold, the virgin shall be with Child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which is translated God with us. (Matthew 1:2123, citing Isaiah 7:14)

in the Eastern Church right up through the fourth century. The Canon of the Feast was written by St Stephen of the St Sava Monastery (October 28 and July 13). In addition to circumcision, which the Lord accepted as a sign of God's Covenant with mankind, He also received the Name Jesus (Savior) on the eighth day after His Nativity as an indication of His service, the work of the salvation of the world (Mt.1:21; Mark 9:38-39, 16:17; Luke 10:17; Acts 3:6, 16; Phil 2:9-10). These two events, the Lord's Circumcision and Naming, remind Christians that they have entered into a New Covenant with God and "are circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Col. 2:11). The very name "Christian" is a sign of mankind's entrance into a New Covenant with God. The Gospel tells us about the circumcision of Jesus Christ: And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21)

Some Things to Do

Listen to a CD or tape of Handels Messiah as a family during dinner one evening before the Nativity, and pay special attention to the names given to the coming Messiah. Discuss why the names are proclaimed so joyfully, and what they mean. Hold a family scavenger hunt to see who can find and list the most names revealed for God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Use your Bible and the troparia and kontakia for the eight tones (from the appendix of your Divine Liturgy book) as the hunting ground. As a family, discuss how you and your spouse chose names for your children, and how you all decided on names for your pets. Research the meaning of your own name(s), both in a baby name book (from the library or the grocery checkout line) and a compilation of the lives of the saints, Do you fit your name? Attend the Divine Liturgy served for the Feast of the Circumcision, if your parish offers it. Its a wonderful way to start out the secular New Year partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, and praising His name!

The Circumcision
On the eighth day after His Nativity, our Lord Jesus Christ was circumcised in accordance with the Old Testament Law. All male infants underwent circumcision as a sign of God's Covenant with the holy Forefather Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 17:1014, Lev. 12:3). After this ritual the Divine Infant was given the name Jesus, as the Archangel Gabriel declared on the day of the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos (Luke 1:31-33, 2:21). The Fathers of the Church explain that the Lord, the Creator of the Law, underwent circumcision in order to give people an example of how faithfully the divine ordinances ought to be fulfilled. The Lord was circumcised so that later no one would doubt that He had truly assumed human flesh, and that His Incarnation was not merely an illusion, as certain heretics (Docetists) taught. In the New Testament, the ritual of circumcision gave way to the Mystery of Baptism, which it prefigured (Col. 2:11-12). Accounts of the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord continue

Prayer Requests

Rev. Father Philip Azoon Rev. Deacon John Karam Rev. Seraphim Michalenko Rev. Basil Samra Rev. Peter Boutros Rev. Deacon Bryan McNiel Rev. Deacon Irenaeus Dionne Rev. Father David White

Parish Calendar
January 1 5 6 8 Byzantine Celebration of Saint JosephPotluck after Divine Liturgy Vespers for the Feast of the Theophany 7PM Divine Liturgy for the Feast of Theophany 7PM Parish Council Meeting After Divine Liturgy
Sacrificial Giving 12/25/2011 Candles Weekly Holyday Monthly Flowers $ 4.00 $ 455.00 $ 2975.00 $ 80.00 $ 30.00

Marie Abda Marie Abda Marie Barron Joseph Barron Mary Sue Betress Chris Carey Nikki Boudreaux Dr. Frances Colie John Colie Ann Coury

Margaret Dillenburg Mark Dillman Karen Haddad Karen Kane Niko Mayashairo Mary McNeilly Marie Patchoski Joanna Simon William Simon Dr. Thomas Zaydon

All those Serving in our Armed Forces The Christian Community in the Middle East

The Weekly Quiz


Who asked God to bless him and enlarge his territory? Job Jabez Jeremiah Isaiah
Last Weeks Answer Q. How did the shepherds who visited Baby Jesus know where to find Him? A. An angel of the Lord told them.