Saint John's Eastern Orthodox Church
1101 Bell Street, Amarillo, Texas, 79106 (806) 355-0683
Schedule for November:
Saturday, November 1st – (Vespers 5:00 p.m.)
Sunday, November 2nd – (Orthros 9:00 a.m.
and Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.)*
Saturday, November 15th – (Vespers 5:00 p.m.)
Sunday, November 16th – (Orthros 9:00 a.m.
and Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.)
Saturday, November 29th – (Vespers 5:00 p.m.)
Sunday, November 30th – (Orthros 9:00 a.m.
and Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.)
On the weekends when Fr. David is not here,
Bible Study is held on Sunday mornings at 11:00 am.
Eritrean/Ethiopian Bible Study is at 4:00 pm every Saturday.
General Assembly will be held on Sunday,
November 2nd There will be many things discussed,
including the correspondence between His Eminence Isaiah and the
Parish Faithful concerning a resident priest, attendance,
stewardship and other items associated with the operation of St.
John Prodromos throughout the year. In order to be eligible to be a
voting parish member you must fill out a new Stewardship Commitment
Card. See Carl or Rex for your card. (With your commitment card
you will also receive a subscription to the “Orthodox Observer”
newspaper, published by the Archdiocese in New York.)
Parish Council elections will be held on November 16th
Members up for re-election are Bryan, Billy, Rezene and Mike. If you would like to serve on the Parish Council we welcome your nomination. See Fay, Rezene or Bryan to make a nomination to the Parish Council. All nominees and candidates will be required to attend a seminar prior to the election date.
On any particular day a few minutes in the nave of the main sanctuary of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedrd al is an awe-inspiring experience. From the marble solea to the marble iconostas the beauty of the building reminds a person of how the ancient Hebrews adorned the Holy of Holies in Moses’ day. It is truly an experience each of us should have. However, in October, 38 Orthodox bishops and Metropolitans from all jurisdictions met in this one room to discuss many things we are facing as Orthodox faithful. The Monday evening Doxology service was a sight to behold. As intimidating as it might sound, 38 bishops, along with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrius, celebrated a thanksgiving with the laity who could attend. The feeling of anticipation of royalty entering the room was quelled quite quickly, however, when the bishops entered, took their places, and finally simply attended the service in a manner that should serve as an example to all faithful on how to worship in Christ. The feeling of intimidation soon wore off, defeated by the humility of these 39 Orthodox leaders. Through the pageantry of the entry procession and the blessing of the congregants, the smell of the incense, the awe-inspiring parade of the entering bishops, and finally, His Eminence Demetrius came the warmth of the light we call love. These wonderful men, leaders of the different jurisdictions of Orthodoxy in America, never let their positions in the Church get in the way of the simplicity of their humility. They all were simply equals to all in the room who happen to be tasked with the obedience of responsibility for the administration and continuity of the Orthodox Liturgical Celebration, the maintenance and growth of the faith, and most importantly, the spiritual well-being of all the faithful who look to them for guidance in our daily lives. The evening was one of fellowship and devotion, as well as education and enjoyment for all who attended.
There are some priests and faithful who came from places where this sort of gathering would have never happened in years past. 94 years ago the Bolsheviks banned all clergy and churches in the Soviet Union. Simply participating in the Eucharist meant imprisonment or even death. In either case, participation brought martyrdom for many. We see members of our parish who came to America to escape these persecutions. It is not difficult at all to ask what is was like for these wonderful friends to describe what it means to openly worship without fear of reprisal from government or other forces.
However, in recent weeks, in Houston, Texas, the very persecution that many of our parishioners once escaped has taken root in the form of a city ordinance that requires ALL pastors and priests to submit their sermons to the city for review before they are allowed to present them to the congregations. The “official” reasoning behind this is to curb the “homophobic hate speech” that is prevalent in the Christian churches, both Orthodox and Heterodox. In reality, this ordinance serves to validate the very fears of the many immigrants who have fled to America just for the right to worship and live in freedom from oppression. This martyrdom of the Faithful is nothing new. It has been going on ever since the Resurrection of Our Dear Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews sealed the tomb to keep Christ’s body from being stolen. They believed that someone would steal Christ’s body to perpetrate a false tale of Christ’s resurrection. However, in spite of their sealing the tomb, their fears were realized, but not in the way they foretold. The first day of the week, three days afterward, the Angel on the stone in the tomb told the myrrh-bearing women how God’s might overcomes the desire of some to hide the truth from mankind. We must, as faithful Orthodox Christians, fight this persecution that still persists to this very day through prayer and fasting.
As we enter the month of November we face the Fast of the Nativity. This gives us a great opportunity to cleanse ourselves of all things that come from death, and to ready ourselves to partake of the feast that celebrates the beginning of the New Covenant of Faith through the birth of our Lord and Savior. It is at the time of the Nativity that the Magi arrive with gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold. It is also at the Nativity that these three wise men recognize that God has become man. Shortly thereafter, at the churching of Jesus, Symeon greets the Theotokos with the infant Jesus, and utters the dismissal prayer we say during Vespers, the Divine Liturgy and whenever we depart from the Church, found in Luke 2:25-32, and says:
“Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation, a Light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of Your people Israel.”
It is this prayer that we say that links us all the way back to the Nativity of Our Dear Lord Jesus Christ, the three Magi and St. Symeon, who immediately recognize that God has come into the world to fulfill the prophets’ words.
Let us take this time to fast, and to pray for our fellow Christians from all sects and faiths, and for the enlightenment of those who are unwittingly persecuting the Church to justify their own lifestyles. Let us follow the leadership of our Bishops and Metropolitans as they instruct us in the faith. Let us celebrate and be thankful that we are, indeed, free to worship, to fast and to commune with the Holy Spirit through the Mysteries of the Church. Let us do this with the same humility as these same 38 Bishops and our Archbishop Demetrius. Let us always be thankful for all we have, those things we did not receive, as they could have led to our demise, and for the enlightenment through prayer and fellowship with all our Orthodox Fathers. And let us all pray for one another as we enter this holiday season.
In order to participate as a parish member you must fill out a stewardship registration card.
Also, on the Sundays when Fr. David is not present we have Bible Study at 11:00 am, with the church opening earlier so that we may all enter and prepare ourselves through prayer and meditations.