ST. john the baptist greek orthodox church the messenger



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ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH

THE MESSENGER

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.” Mark 1:2-3



March 2012





SUNDAY OF THE HOLY CROSS, MARCH 18

Rev. Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, Protopresbyter

2418 W. Swann Avenue, Tampa, FL 33609-4712

Office Phone: (813)876-8830 Fax (813) 873-1107

E-mail stjohntampa@stjohntampa.com

Website: http://www.stjohngreekorthodoxtampa.com
St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church

Timetable of Services

Sundays: Orthros 8:45 a.m. Divine Liturgy: 10:00 a.m.

Weekdays: Orthros 9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy: 10:00 a.m.



Parish Priest: Rev. Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis

813-876-8830 (office) 394-1038 (cell)



frstav@gmail.com

Parish Council:

Katherine Sakkis, President 813-309-1073

Bill Manikas V. President 813-716-8185

Diane Trimis, Secretary 813-968-9038

Skip Higdon, Treasurer 813-831-9021 Diane Norcross, Stewardship 813-846-3780

Alexandra De Maio 813-340-9668

John Kokkas 1-727-992-4165

Byron Nenos 813-789-0729

Despina Sibley 813-251-5384

David Voykin 727-415-5603

Maria Zabetakis 813-831-9303
St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church is a parish under the spiritual and ecclesiastical oversight of His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of the Metropolis of Atlanta, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.



The Messenger of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church is published on a monthly basis. Publication is the first of each month. Deadline for notices and announcements for the Messenger is the 10th of each month. You may send announcements to the church office or through email to:

stjohntampa@stjohntampa.com

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father and the Communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” --From the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom






Office Staff:

Nick Andreadakis, Office Admin. 813-876-8830

Demi Elliott, Bookkeeper 813-258-5646

~Choir: Artie Palios, Director 813-831-1294

Jim Leone, Organist 813-254-7844

~Chanter: Nick Andreadakis 813-876-8830

~Sunday Sch.: Jenny Paloumpis 813-265-2702

Victoria Peckham 813-406-5626

~Finance Committee: Mike Xenick 813-340-8737

~Adult Greek School: Magda Myer 813-909-2327

~AGAPE Group: Chairperson

Michael Palios, Chair 813-232-7862

~AHEPA: Gus Paras, President 813-254-6980

~Community Outreach: Chairperson

Betty Katherine Palios 813-215-9862

~Daughters: Ourania Stephanides, Pres. 813-961-0309

~Food Pantry, Anetta Alexander 863-224-3001

~GOYA Adv. Elaine Halkias 813-968-9129

Byron Nenos 813-789-0729

~JOY/HOPE: Maria Xenick 813- 839-9897

~Philoptochos: JoAnn Hartung, Pres. 727-432-0228

~Oratorical Festival Chairperson

Peggy Bradshaw: 727-244-1374

~Young at Heart: Ron Myer 813-909-2327

~Jr Olympics: Byron Nenos 813-789-0729

~Ushers: Tom Georgas 813-985-0236

~Stewardship Chairperson:

Diane Norcross 813-846-3780

~Altar Angels:

Engie Halkias & Viorica Kirby 813-932-5859 ~Bookstore: Jon & Pamela Irwin 813-237-5537

~ Dance Group:

Alex De Maio 813-340-9668

~Glendi Dancers:Jenna Mingledorff 813-610-7365

~Panigyri Dancers: Kristina Galouzis 813-751-9336
~Website: www.stjohngreekorthodoxtampa.com

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~Head of School: Cindy Strickland 813-258-5646

~School Provost: Demi Elliott 813-258- 5646

~School Office: Sue Terebecki 813-258-5646

~School Website: www.stjohngreekorthodox.com


ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH

Mission Statement:

St. John Greek Orthodox Church is dedicated to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.



Vision:

The church shall seek to fulfill its mission by:



  1. Embracing the Spiritual Life of the Orthodox Church through regular prayer, worship, and frequent participation in the sacraments.

  2. Supporting the Church through stewardship of time and talent and sacrificial giving.

  3. Providing a welcoming, caring, loving environment.

  4. Having its members exemplify Orthodox Christian character and morals.

  5. Supporting ministries that facilitate the overall mission of the Church

  6. Exemplifying commitment to community service and charitable outreach.

  7. Creating an environment which encourages members to grow in their faith.


Daylight Savings Time begins March 11-Don’t forget to set your clocks one hour forward on Sunday, March 11.
Father Stavros’ Message

One night after my “Orthodoxy 101” class, I was pleased to find the following post on the Facebook page of one of the 26 people who attended:


really enjoyed the first night of Orthodoxy 101 at St. John’s with Fr. Stavros. . .I absolutely love peeling back the layers of my Orthodox faith and discovering the beauty that is revealed. . .there is always something new and breathtaking to learn.”
That is so true! There is always something new and breathtaking to learn. And even though I have taught virtually the same Orthodoxy 101 class multiple times over the past few years, each time I prepare to teach the class, it seems like even I am learning something new to share with the participants. Each time I teach the class, it is also in front of a different group of participants, who bring unique insight and questions into the class as well. So, even though the class material is the same, there are some differences that keep the experience continually new and interesting for me. And even though some of the participants have participated in retreats and Bible Study, have heard sermons and read Messenger articles, there are still new layers of the church to peel away.(And I am so thrilled that so many took time to learn about their faith!)
On February 27, we will again enter into the season of the Great and Holy Lent. This will be the 8th Lenten journey in my ministry at St. John. (As I think about it, in my previous parish, I did four Lenten/Holy Week journeys, so this year, I will double up on that.) And someone asked me recently, does it ever get old for you, the same journey through the same services each year?
The simple answer to this question is, no, it doesn’t get old. I enjoy the Liturgical life of the Orthodox Church, and the services of the Lenten period are unique to that period. While I may celebrate the Liturgy upwards of 100 times in a calendar year, I’ll only celebrate Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 9 times this year, the Great Compline, 6 times, the Salutations to the Virgin Mary 5 times, and each night of Holy Week only one time. So, the services over the next six weeks are unique—they are only done during this time of the year, some of them only once.
During Great Lent, I spend a lot more time in the church building, which is a good thing. I spend more hours worshipping than at any other time of the year. I hear more confessions during this period of the year than in the rest of the year combined most years. The greater emphasis on time in worship is also something that is very good for me spiritually. The opportunity to minister to parishioners in the sacrament of confession is something that is very good for me personally, as I get to know members of our community and they get to know me in a way that not only makes us both vulnerable but ultimately makes us closer.
One of my goals in life is to try to constantly learn and improve. I have been ordained for nearly 15 years now, and I hope to be a priest for many, many more. I am certainly a much better priest than I used to be. Why? Time, experience and interest in getting better. Now, ten years from today, I hope to look back at the priest I am today and to see improvement. I hope that ten years from now, I am an even better priest, a better father, a better husband, a better Christian, a better friend. And how will I get better? Time and experience will help. But the most important factor in getting better at something is the DESIRE to get better at “it”, whatever “it” may be. I want to peel back more and more layers of the beauty of Orthodoxy, Christianity, charity, marriage, parenthood, and all the other identities I have.
Think about how a child learns to read—first he learns the alphabet, what each letter looks like. Then he learns the sounds the letters make by learning words that start with those sounds. He looks at pictures, plays games and talks. And eventually, he see letters come together in certain combinations to form words, sentences, paragraphs and stories. It is the same with writing. First a child struggles to write a letter, then a name, then a word, a sentence, a paragraph, and in time writes research papers, maybe even a book. Everyone who has ever written a book or a major paper had a time in their life when they could not even write a letter. Everyone who have ever read a book had a time they couldn’t read.
And everyone who is a dedicated Christian, a devoted worshipper, a reader of the Bible, a worker of charitable deeds, had a time when their knowledge of Orthodox Christianity was limited and basic. And how did their knowledge go from elementary to committed? Again, time, experience and INTEREST most of all.
As we begin another Lenten season, it is a time for each of us to reflect on our Spiritual Lives. How many layers of the “onion” of Orthodoxy have we peeled back? Do we see the deep beauty of what it means to be a Christian? Is bowing our heads in prayer a joy, or an afterthought? Does charity come easily or only with prompting? Wherever you are in your life, Lent again affords us an opportunity to take our faith to a deeper level.
As we enter the season of Great Lent, there will be a greater number of services, a greater number of opportunities to worship, and a greater variety of worship experiences. The anthology of Orthodox worship is not limited to Sunday Divine Liturgy only. There are three opportunities for education this Lent—our continuing Bible Study series, the Orthodoxy 101 class (which will be offered in the mornings) and an adult retreat to be held on March 24. There will be 10 opportunities to receive Holy Communion in the month of March—how many will you prepare for? And there will be the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Confession. This opportunity is not just afforded to us during Lent but throughout the year. However, in a season of spiritual vigilance and spiritual growth, this is something good to engage in, a deep conversation about the state of your faith and your relationship with Christ.
This issue of the Messenger will contain details about the Lenten Services, retreats, confession, and making a covenant with Christ this Lent. A look at the calendar will show an ambitious schedule of services and Lenten activities. As you reflect on your spiritual life, ask yourself, “how many layers of the beauty of our church have I peeled back?” “Do I want to be a better Christian in the next year?” “Will I make the time to grow in my faith this Lent?” “And when Easter comes on April 15, will I have spent a meaningful Lent in preparation for this feast?”
The good news is that ANYONE can grow in their faith—all it takes is time, experience and desire. If you make the time, seek the experience and express the desire to grow in your faith, this Lenten period can and will be a most meaningful time in your life. This is my prayer for our church this Lent—that everyone will make the choice to grow, so that everyone can experience the true joy of the Resurrection, because they will have approached it with preparation and purpose. I wish each of you a meaningful Lenten journey. Kali Sarakosti!
With love in Christ, +Fr. Stavros
A Practical Guide to Your Lenten Journey

Saturday of the Souls- It is a Tradition in the Orthodox Church to offer prayers for the souls of all of our loved ones who have departed this life, in the hope of the Resurrection to Eternal Life. There are four Saturdays of the year that are dedicated specifically to this purpose. They are three Saturdays before and at the beginning of Lent and the Saturday before Pentecost. Everyone is encouraged to submit the names of their loves ones to be commemorated at the services. And you are all encouraged to attend one of these services (and bring Kolyva-boiled wheat) if you are able, as a way of honoring the people in your family who have passed away in church once a year. This year, the Saturdays of the Souls fall on February 18, February 25 and March 3.
What we celebrate on Sunday of Cheese-fare Sunday? (March 6)

Cheese-Fare Sunday is the last day in which dairy products are allowed. The Monday after Cheese-Fare Sunday is the official beginning of the Great Lent; this Monday is also called Clean Monday (Kathara Deftera). On Cheese-Fare Sunday the Church commemorates the sending away of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Paradise. Adam and Eve were in complete harmony with God, nature and themselves. They were tempted by the devil and they agreed to eat from the tree of knowledge, in order that they themselves might become gods. The result was fatal; they were cast out of Paradise and sin came into the world. The Holy Fathers selected this event to remind us of our obligations to God and about the laws of fasting and Christian behavior (Matthew 6:14-21).


Forgiveness Vespers-The Period of Great and Holy Lent begins on Monday, February 27, a day called Clean Monday, or “Kathara Deftera” in Greek. Vespers is the service that ends one day and begins another, so Lent actually begins with a Vespers service on Sunday evening, February 26. We will celebrate the Vespers of Forgiveness and beginning of the Great Lent on Sunday evening, February 26, at 6:00 p.m. This service lasts about an hour and marks the beginning of Great Lent, which is announced during one of the hymns mid-way through the service. During this hymn, the priest changes vestments from white to purple, the lights in the church are dimmed and the mood of the service becomes somber. In fact, it is the opposite of the Resurrection Service on Easter, where everything begins dark and goes to light. The service concludes with a prayer of forgiveness being read over the congregation and the exchange of mutual forgiveness among the members of the congregation. This service is an especially appropriate way to begin the Lenten season, and for those who attended last season, is one of the most moving services of the church year.
Canon of St. Andrew—The Penitential Canon of St. Andrew will be read from 10:00-11:00 a.m. on Monday, February 27 as we begin Great Lent. The Canon, in its entirety, takes hours to read. We will read and chant an abridged version of this Canon on Clean Monday. Service Books for this service will be available in the Narthex.
The service of the Great Compline will be read each Monday at 6:00 p.m. This service lasts about an hour and consists of Psalms and hymns of repentance. Service Books for this service will be available in the Narthex.
The Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts (also called Pre-Sanctified Liturgy) will be held on the Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. This service consists of Vespers with Holy Communion added at the end from Communion that was “Pre-Sanctified” the previous Sunday. It is an opportunity to receive Communion frequently during the season of fasting. The Pre-Sanctified Liturgy is preceded by the reading of the 9th Hour (each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.), a short service with penitential prayers as well as the recitation of the Creed, a pre-requisite for the reception of Holy Communion. Service Books for this service will be available in the Narthex.
The Salutations to the Virgin Mary (Heretismoi) will be held on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. This service also lasts about an hour and is a series of prayers and devotions that invoke the intercessions of the Virgin Mary for our salvation. Service Books for this service will be available in the Narthex.
Why does Liturgy seem longer on Sundays during Lent? Because it is. It is the Tradition of the Church to celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great on the 5 Sundays of Great Lent, Holy Thursday morning, Holy Saturday morning, in addition to Christmas Eve, the Eve of Epiphany (January 5) and the Feast of St. Basil (January 1). St. Basil wrote his liturgy in the middle part of the 4th century. St. John Chrysostom would later edit some of the priestly prayers of Basil’s liturgy, significantly shortening them. The Anaphora of St. Basil (from the Creed until right before the Lord’s Prayer) has the priestly prayers significantly longer. They contain all the theology of the Orthodox Church. A copy of the “Anaphora” of St. Basil’s Liturgy has been placed in the pews for you to use on Sundays.
What we celebrate on Sunday of Orthodoxy? (March 4)

The first Sunday of Lent is also known as the Sunday of Orthodoxy. On this day we celebrate the triumph of the faith over the deniers of icons. Icons have always graced our churches from the Apostolic age. During the 7th century, a Byzantine Emperor with an army at his back, attempted to remove all icons from the churches, believing that icons should not be worshipped but only God. The population split into two parties, the party of Iconoclasts, who condemned the veneration of icons, and the party of Iconoduls, who supported it. Emperors like Leo the Isaurian, Constantine Copronimus and Leo the IV backed the Iconoclasts. The wife of Leo the IV, Irene, on the other hand, was devoutly attached to icons. At the death of her husband, as their son Constantine was a minor, she handled the affairs of the empire and convened a council in 787 in Nicea, known as the Seventh Ecumenical Council. The council restored icons in the church, but eventually other Iconoclastic emperors banished them, Leo the Armenian (813-820) and Theophilus (829-842). Theophilus’ widow, empress Theodora, who was as much attached to icons as her husband had been opposed to them, reinstated the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Council.


A grand procession with icons took place on March 11, 843 AD, marking the permanent triumph

of icons. From this time, icons were defined as objects to be venerated and not worshipped; only God is worshipped. They are spiritual mirrors through which we see the heavenly saints. Their restoration in our churches is a true victory for Orthodoxy.


Thus, on the first Sunday of Lent each year, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Triumph of Orthodoxy with a procession of icons, together with the reading of a Synodal Statement, authored in 843, marking their return to the church.
Sunday of Orthodoxy Icon Procession—If anyone has new icons that have not been blessed, please bring them to church on Sunday, March 4, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and place them in the windows of the church. They will be blessed with Holy Water during the service.
What we celebrate on Sunday of Gregory Palamas? (March 11)

On the second Sunday of Great Lent, which is called the “Sunday of Gregory Palamas”, we commemorate the memory of St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Salonica. He dedicated his life to Christ, even though he was raised in the royal palace of Constantinople. He withdrew to Mount Athos, where he lived an exemplary life of asceticism and scholarship. He defended the Faith against Barlaam the Calabrian (who was against monasticism). He taught that diving grace is not created, but the uncreated energies of God are poured out through creation; otherwise, humanity could never have authentic communication with God. He was appointed Archbishop of Salonica in 1349 and served with distinction; he died at the age of 63 and his relics rest in Salonica.



What we celebrate on the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross? (March 18)

On this third Sunday of the Great Lent we are celebrating the Veneration of the Cross; the Cross helps us to prepare for the Crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are not just witnessing from afar the passions of our Lord, but we participate in them. In the Synaxarion we read, “Through the forty-day fast, we too are in a way crucified, dying to the passions”. Our efforts to keep up with the Fast, through prayer, fasting and alms giving, might take a toll over our bodies; we need help and encouragement, and the help and encouragement comes from the power of the Cross.


In the middle of Great Lent, the Church gives its faithful a sign of victory, one that can bring strength to them in this time of fasting. The Sunday of the Holy Cross is one that brings everything into perspective, especially with the Gospel reading, the Lord saying to all His disciples: "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"
What we celebrate on the Day of Annunciation? (March 25)

The Annunciation (Ευαγγλισμος), took place on March 25, 2011 years ago. The Angel came directly to the Virgin Mary and told her that she was going to have a child. Naturally, she was alarmed at first and asked many questions. “Do not be afraid,” said the Archangel Gabriel, “the Lord is with you because God has chosen you among all the women in the world and in history.” The word “Evangelismos” means not only “Annunciation” but “Good news.” The Gospel is called in Greek, the “Evangelion,” and the authors of the Gospels are called “Evangelists,” meaning those who proclaim the Good News of Christ. On March 25, placed 9 months before the Nativity, the Archangel Gabriel announces the good news of Christ to the Virgin Mary. We, in turn are told to spread the Good News of Christ as well, imitating the faithful example of the Virgin Mary.


Greek Orthodox Christians celebrate March 25 not only because it is the Feast of Annunciation,

but also because of its political significance. On this day, March 25, 1821, Bishop Germanos of Patras, Greece, raised the cross of Jesus Christ and proclaimed the freedom of Greeks from the Turkish yoke. March 25, 1821 was declared the beginning of the Greek Revolution against the Turks.


4TH SUNDAY OF LENT—ST. JOHN OF THE LADDER (also March 25 this year)—St. John of the Ladder was only 16 years old when he left Palestine and went to St. Catherine’s monastery (at Mt. Sinai, Egypt). He lived there for 50 years, where he wrote his famous book, ―The Ladder of Divine Ascent. This is a spiritual ladder; Christians follow certain rules so that they can get closer to God, and symbolically climb to heaven. He had struggles, like any person does, but he won over those struggles that the Devil put for him. That’s why we celebrate his memory on this Sunday of Lent: St. John is a perfect example of how a person could be faithful all of their life, and be together with God in the Kingdom of Heaven.

5TH SUNDAY OF LENT—ST. MARY OF EGYPT (April 1)—St. Mary of Egypt was anything but a Saint throughout the first part of her life. From a very young age, she was a prostitute. Being from Egypt, she decided that she wanted to see the Holy Land and the Tomb of Christ (also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre). As she went to enter the Church, a force kept her from entering. She was unable to enter, while so many others did. She realized that God had done this to have her stop her sinning. She promised to God that day she would stop. She repented with a pure heart, and she was allowed to enter. She went for Confession, received Holy Communion, and then went to the desert to live for years in repentance. Years later, she was visited by a Priest-monk, Zosimas (later a Saint in our Church). He gave her Holy Communion, and they discussed her trials and tribulations. Although she suffered much, she was so happy to be with Christ. Later that same day, she fell asleep in the Lord. Her example of repentance is SO great, we commemorate her life many centuries later.
Vigil of the Akathist-It is the tradition of the Orthodox Church (practiced in monasteries and in a few parishes) that the Akathist Hymn is celebrated as part of an all-night vigil, culminating in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. A Vigil is when more than one service is held in sequence. I have always made it a practice in my ministry to celebrate the Akathist Hymn (the fifth Friday of Lent) and to immediately follow it with a celebration of the Divine Liturgy. So, as we do each year, we will begin the Akathist Hymn at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 30, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 8:15 p.m., with both services concluding by 9:15 p.m. This will afford us the opportunity to pray the Divine Liturgy together in a more subdued atmosphere (and how often do we get to celebrate Liturgy at night in our church?) and to receive Holy Communion on this very special feast day. For those who wish to receive Holy Communion, please abstain from food after 2:00 p.m. on that Friday.
Sacrament of Confession-Many people have already made appointments for their confessions to be heard, many for the first time in their lives. It is confidential. It helps you re-connect with God and unburden yourself of guilt. It helps you to make a new start in your spiritual journey and is an integral part of any successful Lenten journey. If you have questions about confession, please ask. There is no better way to prepare for Pascha than to receive this sacrament. Confessions will be heard up to April 7, and then again after Pascha. I ask that you make your appointment as soon as possible, because I like to give people whatever time they need. As it gets closer to Holy Week and more and more people are coming, I’m forced to go quicker, and it is very important not to be rushed in this Sacrament.
Interested in Reading during Lenten Services—In years past, we’ve offered the opportunity to parishioners to read during the Lenten services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. If you are interested, you can sign up by calling Nick at the office and he’ll tell you the times and dates that are available.
Prayer of Manasseh, King of Judah (from the Great Compline Service)

0 Lord, Almighty, the God of our Fathers, of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and of their righteous seed; who created the heaven and the earth with all their adornment; who bound the sea by the word of your command; who shut up the abyss and sealed it with your awesome and glorious name; whom all things dread and before whose power they tremble, because the majesty of your glory is unbearable and the threat of your anger against the sinners unendurable; yet the mercy of your promise is both, immeasurable and unfathomable, for you are the Lord most high, compassionate, long-suffering and all merciful, and relent on the wickedness of man.


You, Lord, in the multitude of your goodness promised repentance and forgiveness to those who have sinned against you, and in your infinite compassion appointed repentance for sinners that they may be saved. Therefore, Lord, the God of the powers, you have not appointed repentance for the righteous, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who have not sinned against you, but you appointed repentance for me the sinner, for I have committed more sins than the grains of the sand of the sea. My transgressions have multiplied, Lord; my transgressions have multiplied, and I am not worthy to look up and see the height of the sky from the multitude of my iniquities, being weighted down by many iron chains, so that I cannot raise my head; there is no respite left for me because I provoked your anger and committed evil before you not having done your will and not having kept your commandments. And now I bend the knee of my heart, beseeching your goodness. I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned and I acknowledge my transgressions; but I beg and ask of you: Forgive me, Lord, forgive me and do not destroy me with my transgressions; do not be angry with me forever and keep my evils in me, and do not condemn me to the depths of the earth; for you are God, the God of those who repent, and in me you shall show all your goodness; for even though I am unworthy, you shall save me according to the multitude of your mercy, and I shall praise you without ceasing all the days of my life. For every heavenly power sings your praises, and yours is the glory unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Donations Needed for Lent/Holy Week
Great Lent begins February 27. We have many special celebrations during these weeks. We know that many of you would like to contribute to the decorating of our church and icons during this period. For your convenience, below is a list of items needed for the celebration of the Sacred Services of Lent and holy Week. Please contact the church office to reserve your desired offering for the health of your loved ones or in memory of a deceased loved one. Payment may be sent to the church office. Checks should be made payable to “St. John Greek Orthodox Church” with “Lenten Flower Donation” on the memo line.

March 2 Salutations to the Virgin Mary—1st Stanza Flowers for Icon of Panagia $75

(flowers will be displayed on the first Sunday of Lent)
March 9 Salutations to the Virgin Mary—2nd Stanza Flowers for Icon of Panagia $75

(flowers will be displayed on the second Sunday of Lent)


March 16 Salutations to the Virgin Mary—3rd Stanza Flowers for Icon of Panagia $75

(flowers will be displayed on the third Sunday of Lent)


March 18 Veneration of Holy Cross—Flowers for Tray for Procession $250
March 23 Salutations to the Virgin Mary—4th Stanza Flowers for Icon of Panagia $75

(flowers will be displayed on the fourth Sunday of Lent)


March 30 Akathist Hymn Flowers for Icon of Panagia $75

(Flowers will be displayed on the fifth Sunday of Lent)


April 7-8 Saturday of Lazarus-Palm Sunday Flowers for Icon of Palm Sunday $75

April 8 Palm Sunday Palm strips/branches several donors needed ($250 total)


All of Holy Week Pillar Candles for windows (20) $15 each

April 8 Bridegroom Service Flowers for Icon of Bridegroom in Narthex $75

Bridegroom Service Flowers for Icon of Bridegroom— $75 for each of 2 arrangements
April 11 Holy Unction Q-tips, Olive Oil, Flour-2 volunteers to make Prosphora see Fr. Stavros

Holy Unction Flowers for Icon of Last Supper $75

April 12 Holy Thursday Flowers for Icon of Crucifixion $75

Holy Thursday Wreath for Top of Cross $250

Holy Thursday Wreaths for bottom of Cross (2) $150 each

Holy Thursday Scattered flowers at base of cross $50

Holy Thursday Candles for Top of Cross (3) $15 each
April 13 Good Friday 8 Bags Rose Petals for Myrrh-bearers $50

Good Friday Flowers for Epitaphios several donors needed

Good Friday Candles for Top of Cross (3)-Apokathelosis $15 each

Good Friday Candles for Top of Cross (3)-Lamentations $15 each

Good Friday Icon of Extreme Humility $75
April 15 PASCHA Flowers for Icon of Resurrection $75

Flowers for Icon of Empty Tomb $75

Silk Flowers for Royal Doors $100

Easter Lillies $25 per plant



Liturgical Schedule for March

Sunday, February 26 4thSunday/Triodion—Forgiveness Sunday/Cheesefare Sunday

Orthros 8:45 a.m. Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.

Altar Boys: Captains and St. Matthew (Nicholas Kavouklis, Gregory Koutroumanis, Harry Koutroumanis, Karter Lenardos, George Hambos, Joseph Hambos)

Ushers: Peter Theophanous, James Apockotos, John Alexander

Coffee Hour: Choir Breakfast
Forgiveness Vespers 6:00 p.m.
Monday, February 27 Clean Monday—Kathara Deftera—Beginning of the Great Lent

Canon of St. Andrew 10:00-11:00 a.m.


Great Compline 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 29 Reading of the 9th Hour 5:30 p.m.

Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 6:00 p.m.


Friday, March 2 Salutations to the Virgin Mary—1st Stanza 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 3 Third Saturday of the Souls

Orthros 9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.


Sunday, March 4 First Sunday of Lent—Sunday of Orthodoxy

Orthros 8:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy 9:45 a.m.



Procession of Icons at the Conclusion of the Divine Liturgy

Altar Boys: Captains and St. Mark (John Karamitsanis, George Karamitsanis, Matthew Tsokos, Jonathan Tsokos, Nicholas Katzaras, George Tsillas)

Ushers: Chris Kavouklis, George Fellios, Florin Patrasciou

Coffee Hour: GOYA
Monday, March 5 Great Compline 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 7 Reading of the 9th Hour 5:30 p.m.

Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 6:00 p.m.


Friday, March 9 Salutations to the Virgin Mary --2nd Stanza 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 11 Second Sunday of Lent—St. Gregory Palamas

Orthros 8:45 a.m. Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.

Altar Boys: Captains and St. Luke (Christopher Scarfogliero, Christos Nenos, Peter Makrides, Yonathan Alem, Andrew Mellon-Lynn, Nicholas Alsina

Ushers: Brett Mourer, Kevin Fentress, Pete Trakas

Coffee Hour:Young At Heart
Monday, March 12 Great Compline 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 14 Reading of the 9th Hour 5:30 p.m.

Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 6:00 p.m.


Friday, March 16 Salutations to the Virgin Mary --3rd Stanza 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 18 Third Sunday of Lent—Veneration of the Holy Cross

Orthros 8:45 a.m. Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.

Procession of the Holy Cross at the conclusion of Liturgy

Altar Boys: Captains and St. John (Mihael Kaburis, Savvas Ferekides, Michael James, Alexios Diniaco, Dominic Garcia and Dean Mitseas)

Ushers: John Tsiris, Gregory Tisdale, David Voykin

Coffee Hour: Parish Council-Greek Independence Day
Monday, March 19 Great Compline 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 21 Reading of the 9th Hour 5:30 p.m.

Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 6:00 p.m.


Friday, March 23 Salutations to the Virgin Mary --4th Stanza 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 25 Feast of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary

Orthros 8:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.



Altar Boys: Captains and St. Matthew (Nicholas Kavouklis, Gregory Koutroumanis, Harry Koutroumanis, Karter Lenardos, George Hambos, Joseph Hambos)

Ushers:Ron Myer, Jason Pill, Peter Theophanous

Coffee Hour: AHEPA
Monday, March 26 Great Compline 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 28 Reading of the 9th Hour 5:30 p.m.

Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 6:00 p.m.


Friday, March 30 Vigil of the Akathist

Akathist Hymn 6:30 p.m.

Divine Liturgy 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, April 1 5th Sunday of Lent—St. Mary of Egypt

Orthros 8:45 a.m. Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.



Altar Boys: Captains and St. Mark (John Karamitsanis, George Karamitsanis, Matthew Tsokos, Jonathan Tsokos, Nicholas Katzaras, George Tsillas)

Ushers: Ippokratis Kantzios, Ed Gerecke, Demetrios Halkias

Coffee Hour:Philoptochos

Monday, April 2 Great Compline 6:00 p.m.


Wednesday, April 4 Reading of the 9th Hour 5:30 p.m.

Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 6:00 p.m.


Saturday, April 7 Saturday of Lazarus

Orthros 8:30 a.m.

Service of the Proskomide 9:30 a.m.

Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.


Lenten Sunday Evening Vespers Schedule

During Lent each year, the Pan Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood of the Tampa Bay area hosts Vespers each Sunday evening. The schedule for 2012 is as follows:



Sunday, March 4 Sunday of Orthodoxy 5:00 p.m.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church—409 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater



Sunday, March 11 St. Gregory Palamas Sunday 5:00 p.m.

St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church-6447 76th Avenue North, Pinellas Park



Sunday, March 18 Sunday of the Holy Cross 5:00 p.m.

Holy Protection Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 3820 Moores Lake Road, Dover



Sunday, March 25 St. John Climacus Sunday

St. Philip Orthodox Church (OCA), 9100 El Portal Drive, Tampa



Sunday, April 1 St. Mary of Egypt

St. Savas Serbian Orthodoxy Church, 530 77th Avenue North, St. Petersburg



A Lenten Meal will follow each service.

For those who don’t come to church often

As there are in all churches, whether they are Orthodox or not, there is a segment of the congregation that doesn’t come often.

Some people come sporadically.

Some come for the occasional wedding, baptism, funeral or memorial service.

Some come in time of crisis.

Some come for Christmas and Easter (in Tampa, we call them “Chreasters”.


There are different reasons why people don’t come to church.

Some are angry at other parishioners.

Some are angry at something that happened in the community in the past.

Some are angry at God because their lives haven’t gone well and they blame Him.

Some work on Sundays.

Some don’t understand why it is important.

Some have fallen out of the habit.

Some choose to do other things.

And some are just lazy.
Church is important. Why?

It’s not because God needs our praise—He is God, He doesn’t need anything.

It’s not so we can brag about how many people come to church—church is about faith,

Not about counting bodies in the pews.

It’s not a matter of giving God His due, once in a while, or especially at Easter.

It’s not a matter of tradition or pride or culture.


Church is important because

It helps us slow down the hectic pace of our life so we can reflect on what is really

Important—our salvation.

It gives us the opportunity to pray for ourselves and our loved ones

It gives us the opportunity to receive the prayers of others

It gives us the opportunity to enjoy fellowship with people like us

It gives us the opportunity to pray in a way that is structured so well, that the Divine

Liturgy is a complete prayer that touches on every aspect of our life and our

World.

It gives us an opportunity to touch God and for God to touch us, in the sacrament of



Holy Communion.

It unites us with the saints, the holy ones of God; and also with those in our family who

Have passed away, since we pray for the departed in our services.

It gives us a foretaste of the kingdom of heaven. Why?

Because heaven won’t be anything like life on earth.

Heaven will not be a secular experience but a holy, awesome and moving one

The central activity in heaven is Communion with God and fellowship with

Those in God’s kingdom.

If we don’t learn how to worship, we won’t be ready to enter God’s Kingdom, just like

Those who do not practice their sport don’t play well on the field, just like those

Who don’t do well in school do not graduate.
How can you get back in the habit of coming to church? JUST START COMING!!!

When is a good time to come back? ANY TIME, BUT ESPECIALLY DURING LENT

But what if I’m mad at someone? It’s a great time to forgive them. After all, if we want God

To forgive us, we must forgive one another.

What if I’m totally lost in my faith and don’t know how to start over again? Make an



Appointment to meet with Fr. Stavros

SEE YOU IN CHURCH!!! PLEASE COME BACK!

Why is it Necessary to Worship?

The simple answer is: ONE CHRISTIAN IS NO CHRISTIAN. We are Christian because we exist in community, in communion with one another. The Holy Trinity is the par excellence example of this. The Holy Trinity is one God, in three persons. The Son does nothing without the Father and the Spirit, and so with the Father and the Spirit. One Godhead, in three persons, working and acting in complete oneness.


This “communion” is extended to the human race. We are created in God’s image and likeness, created to live in union and oneness with God and with each other. With the fall of mankind, this perfect communion with God has been severed. This is why we sin against both God and each other. This is why God says that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor. For in loving God and loving our neighbor, we again unite with God and with one another, restoring in some sense the “communion” that we squandered.
Worship is when individual members of the community come together as one body and praise God together. This is the greatest demonstration of love for our neighbor, because we are praying for our neighbor when we gather to worship. Worship is the greatest way to unite us to God and to our neighbor at the same time.
The church is not merely a building, but a BODY, an organism, a group of people who are extensions of Christ Himself, hence we call the church the “body of Christ.” Each member of that body has an important function. Just like each part of our body has an important function. How well does the body work when your foot falls asleep? Or when you have a headache, or a sore throat or a runny nose. We need all the parts of the body to work in unison so that the body can be successful in what it wants to do.
So, back to the analogy of the church as a body, each of us plays an important role in the functioning of that body. Some offer talents, some offer large amounts of their treasure, but everyone is called upon to offer their time. And the greatest need for that time is in prayer for one another, and WITH one another, which is done each time we worship. We should pray privately for our parishioners and friends every day. But we should also worship with them in a corporate context every week.
With more services during Lent, there is greater opportunity to worship, to support the body of the church with prayer. The more you come, not only the stronger will your individual part of the body become, but the stronger the whole of the body will become. St. Athanasios wrote on the feast of the Incarnation that “God became a man so man could become like God.” The immediate meaning of this is that God came to live with us and die for us, so that the gates of heaven can one day be opened to us. But God also became a man to teach us how to be with one another, what it means to love and to sacrifice. And we become like God not only when we love God, but when we love our neighbor. And we experience God in worship, by expressing both as individuals and as a community, our hopes and our needs before Him.
Worship is the way we prepare to meet God—because in worship we express our love for God and our hope in Him. In worship, scripture and sermon, we learn the way to God. And in worship, we learn to acknowledge those who are worshipping with us—to pray with them, to meet them, and eventually, to help and minister to them, in other words, in worship is where we learn to not only love God but to love our neighbor as well.
Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim

0 Lord and Master of my life, do not permit the spirit of laziness and meddling, the lust for power and idle talk to come into me.

Instead, grant me, your servant, the spirit of prudence, humility, patience and love.

Yes, Lord and King, give me the power to see my own faults and not to judge my brother.

For you are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Return to the Father-by Fr. Thomas Hopko

From beginning to end the Lenten services of the Church call us to return to God our Father The theme of the parable of the prodigal son runs through the entire season. (Luke 15:11-32) We have wasted what our good God has given us. We have ruined our lives and our world. We have polluted the air, the water and the earth. The birds and the fish, the plants and the animals, grieve because of our wickedness. We have corrupted our bodies and minds. We have abandoned communion with God and the joy of His swelling. We have gone off on our own, following our own ideas, enacting our own plans. And the result is that we are away from our true home, lost in a far country, living among swine. Through our reckless wasting of the gifts given by God, we have stripped ourselves of our original glory, wisdom, beauty and strength. We have lost our divine legacy as children of God. And the whole cosmos suffers with us in our affliction.


What great blessings have I forsaken, wretch that I am?

From what kingdom have I miserably fallen?

I have squandered the riches which were given to me.

I have transgressed the commandments.

Woe to me when I shall be condemned to eternal fire!

Cry out to Christ, O my soul, before the ends draws near:

“Receive me as a prodigal, O God, and have mercy on me.”
I hid my face in shame, a wretched man.

I have squandered the riches my Father gave to me.

I went to live with senseless beasts.

I sought their food and hungered, for I had not enough to eat.

I will arise, I will return to my compassionate Father.

He will accept my tears as I fall before Him crying:

“In your tender love for all people receive me as one of Your servants and save me.”
~From the Sunday of the Prodigal Son Vespers
People feel unhappy and they don’t know why. They feel that something is wrong, but they can’t put their finger on what. They feel uneasy in the world, confused and frustrated, alienated and estranged, and they can’t explain it. They have everything and yet they want more. And when they get it, they are still left empty and dissatisfied. They want happiness and peace, and nothing seems to bring it. They want fulfillment, and it never seems to come. Everything is fine, and yet everything is wrong. In America this is almost a national disease. It is covered over by frantic activity and endless running around. It is buried in activities and events. It is drowned out by television programs and games. But when the movement stops and dial is turned off and everything is quiet. . .then the dread sets in, and the meaninglessness of it all, and the boredom, and the fear. Why is this so? Because the Church tells us, we are really not at home. We are in exile. We are alienated and estranged from our true country. We are not with God our Father in the land of the living. We are spiritually sick. And some of us are already dead.
Our hearts were made for God, St. Augustine has said, and we will forever be restless until we rest in Him. Our lives are made for God, and we will be unfilled and dissatisfied and frustrated until we go to Him. All of God’s creatures, as Francis Thompson said in his poem “The Hound of Heaven,” are His “loyal betrayers.” They do not satisfy His children and cannot bring them peace. He alone can do that, because HE alone is our home. And we are His.
The Lenten season is a time for our conscious return to our true home. It is the time set aisde for us to come to ourselves and to get up and go to the divine reality to which we truly belong.
I have wasted in evil living the wealth which the Father gave me,

and I am now brought to emptiness,

Filled with shame and enslaved to fruitless thoughts.

Therefore I cry to You, o Lover of mankind,

“Take pity on me and save me!”
I am wasted with hunger, deprived of every blessing, an exile from Your presence.

O Christ, supreme in loving kindness,

Take pity on me now as I return, and save me

As I sing Your praises, o Lover of mankind.


Our purpose, o people, is to know the power of God’s goodness,

For when the prodigal abandoned his sin,

He hastened to the refuge of his Father.

That Good One embraced him and welcomed him.

He killed the fatted calf and celebrated with heavenly joy.

Let us learn from this example to offer thanks to the Father who loves all people,

And to the Victim, the Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Savior of our souls.
~From the Sunday of the Prodigal Son Vespers

The above is taken from Chapter Four of “The Lenten Spring” by Fr. Thomas Hopko.

Orthodoxy 101 Class to Offered IN THE MORNING-Fr. Stavros offers this class a few times per year, in spring and in fall. This will be the SAME CLASS so no need to take it again if you already have. This class is being offered for those who have been unable to attend the class at night—i.e. stay at home moms, people who don’t go out at night, etc.

This will be a three-week course of study on Tuesday Mornings to make people aware of the basics of being an Orthodox Christian. Who should attend the Orthodoxy 101 class?

~Interfaith couples—this will help the non-Orthodox person understand more what is going on in our church when they attend.

~Anyone who is considering joining our church. Going forward, this class will be a requirement for those who wish to join our Orthodox faith.

~New converts to Orthodoxy—For those who recently joined our church and who want to know a little bit more about it.

~Anyone who wants to know more about the basics of our faith, or who wants a refresher course in the basics of Orthodoxy is encouraged to attend.


The classes will be part lecture, part discussion, with lots of time for questions and answers. The three sessions will be done as follows:

Tuesday, March 6 A Tour of the Orthodox Church: What we see in the

Church and what it means

Tuesday, March 20 Orthodox Spirituality—The Seven Sacraments and the

Divine Liturgy

Tuesday, March 27 Orthodox Traditions—fasting, icons, prayer and separating

Theology from “yiayialogy” (what our grandparents taught

Us wasn’t always right)

Classes will be held on these three Tuesdays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and will be held in the CHURCH Sanctuary.
STEWARDSHIP (as of February 15)

2012 2011

Stewardship Goal $300,00 $300,00

Total Pledged $218,136 $194,853

Number of Pledged Families 218 191



If you have pledged for 2012, we sincerely thank you for your support of our church. If you have not pledged for 2012, we ask that you please do so today. If you need a pledge form, please contact the church office and we’ll be happy to send you one today.
Community News.

Gasparilla Parking Fundraiser-On January 21 and 28, John Kokkas again chaired the Gasparilla Parking Fundraiser. Between the two Saturdays, $5,460 was raised for our church. Thank you John, as well as all of our volunteers—Mary Maas, Brett Mourer, Peter Theophanous, George Trimikliniotis, Lisa Alsina, Byron Nenos, Deana Koopman, Kevin Fentress and Alexandra DeMaio—for a job well done!
Lenten Reading-This year, as we always do, we have a book for reading for Lent. The name of the book is “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Henri Nouwen. It is available in the bookstore for $20. We will have a “book review” night to go over this book towards the end of Lent. There are only 20 copies of this book, so stop by and get yours today. It is an excellent read and a great book of reflection to read during Lent. We will be having our Lenten Book Review/Dinner on Monday, March 26, following the Great Compline Service, from 7:00-8:30 p.m.
St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival-Several of our GOYAns will be participating in the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival during March. There will be a parish-wide competition for this public speaking contest after church on Sunday, March 4. Winners will advance to the District-wide competition to be held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Clearwater on Saturday, April 17.
Altar Needs-Periodically, certain things in the altar need updating/replacing. There are at present, several small items (we are updating our altar cloths and chalice covers) that are needed that range between $200 and $800. If interested in discussing or donating any of these, please see Fr. Stavros.
Batteries Needed for Lent/Holy Week-‘Tis the Season of the many services in our church and consequently the greatest need for batteries for the wireless microphones in church. If you wish to donate new AA batteries (preferably Duracell or Energizer), please bring them in any quantity to the church office. Thank you.
Get Acquainted Sunday-March 4—In an effort to get to know one another better, we are going to continue our “get acquainted Sundays” the first Sunday of each month. We will have nametags and markers in the entry way of the Kourmolis Center and will ask that each person put one on during coffee hour and introduce yourself to at least one person that you do not know. This will serve to help us increase our fellowship and sense of community. Our “Get Acquainted Sunday” for March will be Sunday, March 4.
Adult Lenten Retreat—For the past six years, we have held a Lenten Retreat for Adults during Lent. Our seventh annual adult Lenten Retreat will be held on Saturday, March 24, from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (Please see attached flyer). Last December, at our Advent Retreat, the theme was “Where do we Come From and How are We Different? A Concise History of the Orthodox Church and What is the Difference Between Orthodoxy and other Christian Denominations.” There were so many questions that much of the material was not covered. The participants asked if the theme of the Lenten Retreat could be the same, to finish the material, and continue the discussion of the many questions that were raised in December. So, for our Lenten Retreat, we are having Part II of the Advent Retreat—“Where do we Come From and How are we Different?—Part II”. In addition to the subject material related to the theme, there will be ample opportunity for general questions about our faith. Please sign up by sending the attachment from the flyer to the church office by March 18 or emailing Fr. Stavros at frstav@gmail.com. This event is open to all adults in our parish, as well as surrounding Orthodox parishes of the area. Non-Orthodox friends and friends from other churches are certainly welcome.

St. John’s on the Internet—We now have a FACEBOOK page, “St. John Greek Orthodox Church.” Please find and “like” the church and you will be able to see events and photos and other features on our FACEBOOK page. Also, our website is www.stjohngreekorthodoxtampa.com. Go on our website to find announcements, the Messenger, church calendar, updated news, photos and other features. Fr. Stavros’ weekly sermons are also on the website if you miss church or want to hear them again.
Please send us your email—Announcements on short notice are communicated to all members whose email address we have. Also, flyers and other notices that are too bulky to mail or won’t fit in the Messenger, including news from other churches, are also mass emailed to our parishioners. We have sent several of these in the past month, so if you haven’t received on, call the church office and give Nick your email address so we can add you to our list.
Greek Independence Day Luncheon—We will be hosting our annual Greek Independence Day Luncheon and program on Sunday, March 18, following the Divine Liturgy, in the Kourmolis Center. There will be a performance by our dance groups, singing of some folk songs and a tasty lunch. ALL proceeds will go to our stained-glass repair fund. This will be a great way to celebrate an ethnic holiday as well as to raise easy and needed funds for our stained-glass repair. Cost is $10 for adults, Children ages 5-12 are $5 and under age 5 is free.
Parish Registry

Baptism-Evangelina Chandler, daughter of Robert and Viviana Chandler, was baptized on Sunday, February 5. Godparent was Despina Sibley. Na Sas Zisi!

Baptism-Elisabeth Lace (Despina), daughter of Jeffrey and Melinda (Fallieras) Mueller, was baptized on Sunday, February 12. Godparents were Lauren Fallieras and George Fallieras. Na Sas Zisi!

Baptism-Konstantinos John Casey, son of Timothy and Christine Casey, was baptized on Sunday, February 12. Godparents were Miller and Paula Brown. Na Sas Zisi!

Condolences to the Kavouklis, Larkin and Katsekis families on the passing away of Helen Katsekis, who passed away on February 2. May her memory be eternal!

Condolences to the family and friends of Ed Vaia, who passed away on February 12. May his memory be eternal!
Church Etiquette

From time to time, it is necessary to update our procedures as far as church etiquette, to insure an orderly celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Going forward, here are a few new policies:



  1. Strollers are not to be brought into the church—The “problem” is that there are too many people in the church. This is a good problem, but a problem nonetheless. And with limited space and lots of people, having strollers in the church is posing a problem. So, please refrain from bringing strollers in the church going forward.

  2. Entrance into the church during services—This would not be such a problem if we all came on time. Once the Divine Liturgy has started, it is NOT appropriate to be entering the church during any of the times when we are standing, pretty much. Because we stand for all the important moments of the service. Please make every effort to get here on time, and follow the directions of the ushers, who will seat you at an appropriate time if you are late.

  3. Reserved pews for memorial services—If you see that pews have been reserved for a memorial service, please do not sit in them. For those who are here for a memorial service, the front row is the row of chairs, and it will be one of the rows reserved for you. If your family does not sit on the chairs, others who are not in your family are going to sit on them. Again, the reason for the chairs in the first place is that there are not enough seats in the church.

Of course, points one and three of this etiquette post would not be needed if the church building itself was larger. With God’s help, with the school debt now on track to be paid off, and with a growing congregation, perhaps a larger church will one day become a reality!!!




Please join us for the Seventh Annual Lenten Retreat

At St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa

Where did we Come From and How are We Different?—PART II

A Concise History of the Orthodox Church

And What is the Difference Between Orthodoxy and other Christian Denominations

This will be a continuation of our Advent Retreat where we first started our discussion on this subject

For those who attended the retreat last December, we didn’t even come close to exhausting this subject. And for those who didn’t we will go over in brief what was covered to catch you up.

There will be plenty of time for questions and answers as well.

Saturday, March 24th 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.



St. John Greek Orthodox Church

2418 Swann Avenue~Tampa, FL~33609

813-876-8830

Retreat Leader: Father Stavros Akrotirianakis

Cost is $15 per person. Lunch will be provided.

Adults only please

****************************************************************************************************

Please return this registration form by mail or take it to the Church Office or email this information to Fr. Stavros at frstav@gmail.com by March 19th .

We look forward to seeing you there!

Name: __________________________________Name of Spouse:_____________________________


Home Phone: _________________________ Cell Phone: _______________________
Email: _____­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________________________________________________________________
Address: _____________________________________________________________________


ST JOHN PHILOPTOCHOS* BAKE SALE SUNDAY, APRIL 8 (with pick up available Friday, April 6th.)




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