THE CANON PRAYER ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE YEAR. St. Nicholas greek orthodox church January 2018

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1 St. Nicholas greek orthodox church January 2018 Volume 46 Issue 1 THE CANON PRAYER ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE YEAR O Lord our God, who have placed times and seasons under Your own authority; who, in Your infinite compassion and goodness, have counted us worthy to enter a New Year of Your loving kindness, bless it and keep us in peace. Loose, remit and forgive any sins that we have committed during the year that is past, and keep us free from sin in the New Year. Enlighten us with the light of your truth and your divine commandments. Establish in our souls Your holy will, and guide us to every work that is good and pleasing to you. Guard well our Holy Church with Your divine grace. Remember, Lord, our nation; train up the youth; protect the elderly; encourage the faint-hearted; gather the scattered; bring back those who have gone astray, and reunite them to Your Holy Church. Overshadow our Land with Your might, and grant it gentle rain and abundance of the fruits of the earth. Speak of goodness in the hearts of our rulers; support and strengthen them, together with our armed forces by land, sea and air so that in their tranquility we may lead our life in every piety and dignity. Let Your Kingdom come upon us, O Lord; the Kingdom of love, goodness, peace and justice; and make us worthy to praise and glorify, with one mouth and one heart, Your most honorable and majestic Name, of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

2 11 JANUARY 2018 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Philoptochos Annual Vasilopita Dinner 7 St. John the Baptist 14 Vasilopita Dinner 1 St. Basil the Great New Year s Day Martin Luther King AHEPA 6:30 PM Philoptochos 7:00 pm 16 AHEPA 6:30 PM Mikros Ayiasmos Vesperal Liturgy 9:30 am NIGHT WITH FATHER 7:00 PM Parish Council 7:00 pm Epiphany Orthros 9:30 10:15 am Sunday, January 14, 2018 Following the Featuring a delicious Roast Beef Dinner With all the Trimmings $15 Kids Meal $ We will Celebrate the Cutting of the Vasilopita. All proceeds will go to St. Basil s Academy Don t forget to make your reservations TODAY!!!! Please make your reservations by calling church office

3 3 St. Basil the Great January 1 Born to a wealthy and distinguished family in Caesarea, Asia Minor, in 330 A.D., Saint Basil was educated in Constantinople and Athens, the cultural centers of the world. Although he received a secular education and became an outstanding scholar, he abandoned school for the contemplation of the ascetic life. Consequently, he returned to Caesarea in 356 and distributed his fortune to the poor. He was joined by his friend Gregory (Nazianos) the Theologian in 358 and, together, the two founded several monasteries. In 364, Saint Basil consented to be ordained to the priesthood and then, in 370, he was elected Bishop of Caesarea. Saint Basil continued to offer his talents to the church by arranging the Liturgy that bears his name which is celebrated ten times a year (Christmas Eve, January 1 st, January 5 th, the five Sundays of Great Lent, Holy Thursday, and Holy Saturday). Saint Basil also wrote several exegetical and doctrinal treaties which paved the way for the triumph of Orthodoxy at the Second Ecumenical Council in 381. Always compassionate to those who needed assistance, he was the first to establish orphanages, hospitals, and homes for the aged. Together, these institutions became known as Basiliada, philanthropic societies serving those in need. Even though he died at only forty-nine years old on January 1 st, he is revered as one of the greatest Fathers of the Church. As the Lord said: As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples. Together with Saint Gregory the Theologian and Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil the Great is recognized as one of the three great hierarchs. The church celebrates the feast of these venerable Three Hierarchs on January 30 th. Wherever thou turnest thine eyes, O rich man: thou wilt see evils: here an orphan is crying because of thee, there the poor man whom you wronged by not showing mercy to them are proclaiming to God against thee. Here slaves are walking naked and beaten, somewhere else I see other people tormented by thy usury; they throw themselves in the water and will rise against thee in the day of the departure of the soul. St. Basil the Great.

4 Epiphany means shining forth or manifestation. The feast is often called, as it is in the Orthodox service books, Theophany, which means the shinning forth and manifestation of God. The emphasis in the present day celebration is on the appearance of Jesus as the human Messiah of Israel and the divine Son of God, One of the Holy Trinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Theophany Thus, in the baptism by John in the Jordan, Jesus identifies Himself with sinners as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29), the Beloved of the Father whose messianic task it is to redeem men from their sins (Luke 3:21, Mark 1:35). And he is revealed as well as One of the Divine Trinity, testified to by the voice of the Father, and by the Spirit in the form of a dove. This is the central epiphany glorified in the main hymns of the feasts. When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, calling Thee His Beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His Word. O Christ our God, who has revealed Thyself and hast enlightened the world, glory to Thee. (Troparion) Today Thou hast appeared to the universe, and Thy Light, O Lord, has shone on us, who with understanding praise Thee: Thou Epiphany January 6 hast cme and revealed Thyself, O Light Unapproachable! (Kontakion) The prophecies of Epiphany repeat the God is with us from Isaiah and stress the foretelling of the Messiah as well as the coming of His forerunner, John the Baptist.: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His path straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Isaiah 40: 3-5; Luke 3: 4-6). As St. Paul said, For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14) The main feature of the feast of the Epiphany is the Great Blessing of Water. It begins with the singing of special hymns and the censing of the water which has been placed in the cent of the church building. This water stands for the beautiful world of God s original creation and ultimate glorification by (Continued on page 5) there be no doubt that they will be returned. We must also understand how the process surrounding change orders was conducted, for this has evidently increased the price of the building. As leadership evolves around the project, we will overcome any financial challenges and your commitments to the National Shrine will be honored. In the meantime, you will hear many rumors and even some disinformation. I want you all to know that my phone line is always open to you ( ), to answer any question to the best of my ability. As most of you know, my specialty has always been on the income side of the equation, not the expense side. I have dedicated myself wholly to the raising of 9 Tίς γὰρ ἐξ ὑμῶν, θέλων πύργον οἰκοδομῆσαι, οὐχὶ πρῶτον καθίσας ψηφίζει τὴν δαπάνην, εἰ ἔχει τὰ πρὸς ἀπαρτισμόν; ἵνα μήποτε, θέντος αὐτοῦ θεμέλιον καὶ μὴ ἰσχύσαντος ἐκτελέσαι, πάντες οἱ θεωροῦντες ἄρξωνται αὐτῷ ἐμπαίζειν, λέγοντες ὅτι οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἤρξατο οἰκοδομεῖν καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν ἐκτελέσαι; For who among you, wanting to construct a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, to see if you have enough to finish? For if you do not, and you go ahead and lay the foundation and cannot fully complete it, everyone who sees it will take to ridiculing you and saying, That fellow made a start of building it, but he could not finish it. Luke 14:28-30 the funds to complete Saint Nicholas, and I have trusted that the institutional structure would monitor the actual construction. Although we have raised enough money to complete the church as originally envisioned, change orders and other modifications have complicated the situation, but the repair work is already underway. As an Archdiocese, we have much to do to rebuild trust and confidence in leadership, lest we fulfill a solemn warning of our Lord

5 5 (Continued from page 4) Christ in the Kingdom of God. Sometimes this service of blessing is done out of doors at a place where the water is flowing naturally. Hymn of the Blessing of the Great Water: Today the nature of water is sanctified. Jordan is divided in two, and turns back the stream of its waters, beholding the Master being baptized. As a man Thou didst come to that river, O Christ our King, and dost hasten O Good One, to receive the baptism of a servant at the hands of the Forerunner (John), because of our sins, O Lover of man. After the Epistle (1Cor. 1;10-14) and the Gospel readings (Mark 1:9-11) the special great litany (petitions) is chanted invoking the grace of the Holy Spirit upon the water and upon those who will partake of it. It ends with the Great Prayer of the cosmic glorification of God in which Christ is called upon to sanctify the water, and all men and all creation, by the manifestation of His saving and sanctifying divine presence by the indwelling of the Holy and God and Life-creating Spirit. As the troparion of the feast is sung, the celebrant immerses the Cross into the water three times and then proceeds to sprinkle the water in the four directions of the world. He then blesses the people and their homes and the sanctified water which stands for the salvation of all men an all creation which Christ has effected by his epiphany in the flesh for the life of the world. It is the faith of Christians that since the Son of God has taken human flesh and has been immersed in the streams of the Jordan, all matter is sanctified and made pure in Him, purged of its death-dealing qualities inherited from the devil and the wickedness of men. In the Lord s epiphany all creation becomes good again, - the way that God Himself made it and proclaimed it to be in the beginning when the Spirit of god was moving over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2) and when the Breath of Life was breathing in man and in everything that God made.(genesis 1:30; 2:7) Thus, the sanctification and sprinkling of the Epiphany water is a ritual found since the days of the Old Testament and in the life of the Church in the New Testament. It is the expression of the most central fact of the Christian vision of man, his life and his world. It is the liturgical testimony that the vocation and destiny of creation is to be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

6 7 THE TRADITION OF THE VASILOPITA The tradition of baking and cutting of the special pita (which can mean a loaf of bread, or cake) each year on January 1 st is observed in honor of our Holy Father Basil the Great Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia hence its name Vasilopita. This tradition is observed in both parish churches and in homes of the faithful. What is the meaning of this tradition and how did it begin? For centuries upon centuries parents, grandparents and God parents have related the following story to Orthodox children about St. Basil and the Vasilopita. One year, during a time of terrible famine, the emperor levied a sinfully excessive tax upon the people of Caesarea. The tax was such a heavy burden upon the already impoverished people that to avoid debtor s prison each family had to relinquish its few remaining coins as well as pieces of Jewelry, including precious family heirlooms. Learning of this injustice against his flock, St. Basil the Great, the archbishop of Caesarea, took up his bishop s staff and the book of the Holy Gospel and came to his people s defense by fearlessly calling the emperor to repentance. By God grace, the emperor did repent! He cancelled the tax and instructed his tax collectors to turn over to St. Basil all of the chests containing the coins and jewelry which had been paid as taxes by the people of Caesarea. But now St. Basil was faced with the daunting and impossible task of returning these coins and pieces of jewelry to their rightful owners. After praying for a long time before the icons of our Master Christ and His All-holy Mother, St. Basil had all the treasures baked into one huge pita. He then called all the townspeople to pray at the cathedral and, after the, he blessed and cut the pita, giving a piece to each person. Wondrously each owner received in his piece of Vasilopita his own valuables. They all joyfully returned home, giving thanks to God who had delivered them from abject poverty and to their good and holy bishop, St. Basil the Great. In remembrance of that miracle wrought by God as a result of St. Basil s love and defense of his people, Orthodox Christians have observed the tradition of the Vasilopita each year on January st the date on which St. Basil reposed in the Lord in the year 379. In some places the Vasilopita is prepared as a loaf of rich brad (like that used for, Artoklasia), while in other places it taies the form of a spicy sheet cake. (without frosting). But no matter what form a Vasilopita may take, they all have one thing in common- each contains a single coin. After placing bread dough or batter in the proper baking pan, the baker makes with the foil wrapped coin the sign of the Cross over it, closes his/her eyes, and then secretly places it into the unbaked Vasilopita. After the Vasiloplita is baked and cooled, it is blessed and cut following for the feast of St. Basil on January 1. At churches it is blessed and cut in he parish fellowship hall by the bishop or priest, and in homes it is blessed and cut by the head of the household. The blessing of the Vasilopita usually begins with the Apolytikion of St. Basil the Great, chanted in the 1 st tone. Thy sound hath gone forth into all the earth that received thy word. Thereby thou hast divinely taught the Faith; thou hast made manifest the nature of things that be; thou has adorned the ways of man. O namesake of the royal priesthood (Basilios- royal) our righteous Father Basil, Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved. Then the pieces are given to all present, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. He or she who receives the piece containing the coin is traditionally considered to be especially blessed for the New Year. Night with Father January 17th at 7:00 pm

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