THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
December 31, 2017
A Very Happy & Healthy New Year to One and All
Sixth Sunday of Advent
St. Stephen the Protodeacon & First Martyr
St. Stephen is one of the most beloved saints of the Universal Church, the first person martyred for the sake of Christ’s doctrine of love.
According to the hagiographical sources he was from the royal dynasty of Judas and was the son of law-abiding parents. Still a young man he was the servant of the chief priest Kayipaya. According to the same sources when the Lord was taken to home, Stephen took off the cloth from his head and spread it under the Lord’s feet thus expressing his true and sincere love. This naturally annoyed the chief priest and he turned Stephen out. Stephen witnessed the death and burial of the Lord but rejoiced with the apostles for the Glorious Resurrection of Christ. According to St. Gregory of Tatev he went to the apostles Peter and John and was baptized. At the moment of baptism an aureole (crown) appeared on the water. After that miraculous event he was called “Stephen” meaning (crowned). From the Acts of the Apostles it is known that after the Pentecost apostles served the tables and gave subsidies to the poor. From day to day increased the number of those who believed in Christ. As the apostles were unable to meet the needs of everybody, asked their disciples to choose 7 persons of good reputation for serving the tables. According to St. Luke the Evangelist one of them was St. Stephen, “… a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). By the power received from Christ apostles ordained him deacon. Thanks to his God-granted virtues and power Stephen worked wonders. Many people tried to argue with him, but no one was as wise as Stephen. So, some ill-willing persons persuaded some people to say that Stephen scolded God and the Prophet Moses. Inciting the people, the priests and the lawyers they took Stephen to the court. In his speech in his defense Stephen proved that Jesus was the promised Messiah, and reproached the Jews for their cruelty. He was stoned out of the city and his cloths were put before a man whose name was Saul and who later became the Apostle Peter. In the beginning he persecuted Christians but later he knew the true God – Jesus Christ, and became the most zealous preacher of the Gospel. St. Stephen was the first person martyred for the sake of Christ and that’s why he is called Protomartyr.
According to the tradition Gamaliel, the teacher of the Apostle Peter, and Nicodemus, his brother, who were secret disciples of Jesus, buried the saint’s body in their farm. Soon a priest named Lukianus discovered the relics. And Pontiff Hovhan of Jerusalem put them in St. Sion. In the V century Princess Juliane found the saint’s tabernacle in Jerusalem and took it to Constantinople, and later – to Venice and buried it in the Church of St. George (St. Gevorg) island.
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
Hebrews 13: 18-25 (page 205) New Testament
Luke 22: 24-30 (page 79) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 51: 15-52:3 (pages 728-729) Old Testament
REQUIEM SERVICES: Hokehankist today will be for:
CHARLES SISIAN (5th Anniversary of his eternal sleep) requested by Alice and Denise Sisian.
“Pray constantly” wrote St. Paul in 1 Thessalonians. Among us, pray for Pearl Jamgochian, Annabelle Alexanian & Albert Santerian. Pray for the families of the more than two dozen who were killed and many others who were injured during the horrific attack in the holiest of places – a house of worship in a small Texas town. May they feel the strong presence of God at their sides. Please continue your prayers for those affected by nature’s great storms as many remain without homes, comfort or well-being. Pray for leaders all over so that peace in our countries will prevail.
ALTAR FLOWERS are donated today by Alice and Denise Sisian in loving memory of Charles Sisian.
FELLOWSHIP HOUR: is sponsored today by Alice and Denise Sisian in loving memory of CHARLES SISIAN (5th Anniversary of his eternal sleep). All are welcome.
CHURCH POINSETTIAS DONATED BY MERLE SANTERIAN
POMEGRANATE BLESSING SERVICE – In the Armenian tradition, the pomegranate as a national symbol reflects the meaning of life, prosperity and abundance. In the Christian symbolism the pomegranate represents the blood shed by Jesus Christ, symbolizing also the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord and the diversity of God’s grace. In the interpretations of our church fathers, the pomegranate is presented that the church members are as diverse as the granules of the pomegranate but the pomegranate is covered by a solid peel, all being united in one Church. This blessing service was directed by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and should be conducted within 30 minutes of the new year. However, for the sake of convenience, we will be conducting this thanksgiving service following Badarak today.
Christmas Gift for Vanadzor: The Ladies of Holy Trinity are collecting money every Sunday until Armenian Christmas to send a financial gift to Vanadzor, the home for senior Armenians outside of Yerevan. The collection container sits on a table in the Narthex. During this holiday season, please remember these elderly Armenians. Thank you.
REMINDER: According to the Diocesan Bylaws, membership dues are to be paid no later than December 31st each year in order to be a member in “good standing” and to be eligible to vote at the annual assembly. Any monies received after that date will be applied to the new year. For any questions regarding your status, please call the church office.
FAR UPDATE: Fund for Armenian Relief just released the first episode of its video series Go FAR, which represents some of FAR’s most important values: heritage and legacy. Go FAR follows Armene, an Armenian-American from Longmont, Colorado, as she experiences Armenian life firsthand. During her travels, Armene visits the Armenian Genocide Memorial, the Gyumri Technology Center, soup kitchens, monasteries and more. Armene also gets to witness the many philanthropic efforts of FAR, while learning more about the adversities of the Armenian people and how FAR is alleviating these hardships. To watch episode, go to http://farusa.org/2017/12/18/go-far-documentary-series/
CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)
Dec 31 Pomegranate Sunday
Jan 5 Theophany Eve: Divine Liturgy
Jan 6 Feast of Theophany: Divine Liturgy
Jan 7 Blessing of Water Service
Jan 14 Day of Remembrance
Jan 27-28 ACYOA Lock-In
A GENTLE REMINDER – We wish to remind our parishioners that, by order of the Fire Department, no parking is allowed in the Fire Lane, which is the area next to the lawn and the building in the parking lot. In addition, we have noticed cars who have no handicapped placard or identifying license plate parked in the handicapped spaces, especially behind the building, We ask for your courtesy in respecting the rules and leaving the handicapped spaces for those who truly need them.
THE NICENE CREED/ HAVADAMK – This is the Profession of our Faith which is recited every Sunday moments after the Gospel is read from the altar. Sometimes it is sung, but more often it is recited by the Deacons and/or the Choir. We invite you to affirm your own “Profession of Faith” by reciting along with us. God longs for all of us to express our faith and devotion to Him.
THE KISS OF PEACE: After the gifts of the Eucharist are brought to the Altar Table, the deacon proclaims, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” The person giving the greetings says, Kristos ee mech mer Haydnetsav – Christ is revealed amongst us. The recipient would respond, Orhnial eh Haydnootiunun Kristosee – Blessed is the revelation of Christ.
Anyone who wishes to request any Requiem Services MUST inform the office by 1:30pm Wednesday the week before. If you also want to sponsor the Fellowship Hour you MUST call Merle Santerian at 215-947-3777.
Would you like to:
– receive this Bulletin on Friday via email?
– request a Hokehankist, house blessing or hall rental information?
– find in-depth information on our faith, our parish and our activities?
– sign up for an event online?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES, please visit our parish website at www.holytrinity-pa.org
WE ASK THAT EVERYONE KINDLY TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES and all other such electronic devices prior to entering the sanctuary out of respect for the sanctity of our services.