Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907
On Parish Stewardship

May 6, 2012
Originally sent to the Parish on April 26, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,

Christ is Risen!

Our Stewardship Committee met back in mid-February and made some decisions about the upcoming year.  However, Great Lent and Pascha “intervened” and we now find ourselves near the end of April.  We regret losing any momentum, because the Annual Parish Meeting unanimously embraced, endorsed and encouraged the Stewardship Committee to continue its work for 2012.  The parish members of our Committee are Frances Fowler-Collins, Steve Joachim, Joe Kormos, Steve Korach and Nolan Leara.  We need to build up the entire parish’s sense of financial commitment for the future stability and well-being of the parish.  Therefore, we begin with re-issuing the stewardship video that was shown at the Annual Meeting to a favorable reaction. There are many solid goals and insights offered in this video. And there are some introductory notes written by one of our Committee members, that should also be read.

Fr. Steven


If you haven’t already viewed it,  I would strongly encourage you to look at our parish stewardship video.  In it we offer some challenging thoughts about the duty of care/responsibility that applies to all of us concerning the long term future of our parish.

Parish Wide Goals

In particular the video proposes two shared, parish wide goals. First is for each person or family to actually fill out a pledge card. The second, more challenging,  is for all of us who are blessed with good jobs  to move, at our own pace,  “toward tithing” as  a personal and communal standard for meaningful, generous financial support of the future of our parish.  This second point, the concept of a community wide move toward tithing, was discussed at our recent parish annual meeting and embraced by the body.

Keeping Tabs on Progress

To keep you apprised of progress our stewardship committee will monitor and occasionally share with you our total pledges as well as our parish wide average and median pledge statistics. We would like to get to a point where at least half the parish families give at least $50/week.  We will keep you posted.

While no one should feel pressured or have a sense of obligation, we believe we can achieve this milestone if all of us give serious consideration to this invitation.

Great Vespers, St Katherine\'s Society, Church School Graduation, more

May 18, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
Christ is Risen!
We Still Serve Great Vespers Here!
As mentioned in today’s “Fragments for Friday,” Great Vespers is always served on Saturday evening’s at 6:00 p.m.  However, ever since Pascha, attendance at Great Vespers can only be described – politely - as very poor.  I am thankful for essentially the same faithful returning on weekly basis, but it is hard to justify such negligence of this essential part of the liturgical cycle on the part of the majority of the parish. (This last Wednesday evening there were three adults and three children present at Vespers).  It is not written in stone(!) that the parish must basically “shut down” outside of the Sunday morning Liturgy following Pascha.  I will assume that everyone has “recovered” from the rigors of Holy Week and Pascha by now.  It would be wonderfully encouraging to see more of the faithful present at Saturday’s Great Vespers.

St. Katherine Society to Meet
A meeting of the parish Sisterhood is scheduled for this coming Saturday from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the church hall.  All parish women are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting – followed by Great Vespers!

Church School Graduation
The Church School graduation “ceremony” will occur following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning.  All of the children will receive a blessed cross after being called up by class.  We wholeheartedly thank our teachers for the year and all of their efforts and preparation – and their love for our parish children.

Ice Cream Social on Sunday
As a fund-raiser for our parish children who will be attended one church camp or another this summer – primarily Antiochian Village and St. John’s – we will have an ice cream social this Sunday.  The cost will be $5.00 per sundae, and $15.00 per family.  Please enjoy a Sundae and support our children!

Upcoming Major Event at the Hogar in Guatemala
I just received information that the new dormitories for the children at the Hogar will be blessed next year on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord – February 2, 2013.  Over the years many of you through the parish have made substantial financial donations for the building of these dormitories.  From what I saw last summer, they are absolutely beautiful new facilities.  And, of course, we continue to support one child for the entire year ($3,650.00).  We have invested a good deal of time, energy and resources in support of these “abandoned, abused and orphaned children” at the Hogar.  I am sharing this information in case there are any of you who may want to travel to Guatemala and participate in what will certainly be a splendid fiesta.  Considering what we have put into these structures, it would be great if someone did represent our parish.  Of course, this would not be an inexpensive and easy trip, but again, perhaps something to think about.
Between Major Feasts, Wedding, Liturgical Reminders, more

Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council
Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council
Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council
May 26, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
Between Major Feasts
This Sunday, the Seventh of Pascha, is situated between Ascension and Pentecost.  The commemoration is of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council held in Nicea in 325 A.D.  In affirming that the Son of God is equal in essence to the Father – homoousios/consubstantial – the Council rejected the Arian heresy and its claim that “there was a then when the Son was not.”  We will honor the Fathers at Great Vespers with the appropriate stichera and aposticha that will elaborate on their witness to the Truth.  And, of course, our Nicene Creed has its liturgical origins in the First Council (completed at the Second in 381 A.D.).  The Creed, more accurately called the Symbol of Faith, has held up for many centuries now as a wonderful summary of the major doctrines of our Orthodox Faith.  As Orthodox, we do not recognize a form of Christianity that does not, in turn, recognize the Truth as expressed in the Nicene Creed.

The Two Become One Flesh
Two of our parishioners – Andrew Hill and Elva Kontos – will be married on Sunday, though at St. Gregory of Nyssa Orthodox Church in Columbus.  God willing, I will one of the con-celebrants in the service.  In anticipation, we extend our congratulations and our hope for Andrew and Elva’s to enjoy “many years”  together as husband and wife.  Andrew and Elva have prepared some beautiful icon prints in remembrance of their wedding day, and these are meant for distribution to the entire parish.  We will do this following the Liturgy.

Liturgical Piety and Decorum
A few reminders:  When you are leaving the church during the Liturgy, please try and wait before leaving if I, as the priest, am outside of the sanctuary area, either censing, blessing, or offering up a prayer on our behalf.  It is distracting.  And probably not only to me.  Ideally, no one would leave the Liturgy from the Peace leading up to the Creed (following the Great Entance), through the Anaphora and Consecration of the Gifts.  However, it doesn’t work that easily with children, as I am fully aware.  Then I would simply say, still try and wait for me to withdraw back into the sanctuary if you are not dealing with a real “emergency.”
If you arrive for the Liturgy following the Gospel, you are not prepared to receive Holy Communion.
And while we are at it, here are the eternal, unchanging and immutable triad of directives from ‘in the beginning':
  • Do not cross your legs while in church;
  • Do not stuff your hands in your pocket while in church;
  • Do not sling your arm across the back of the pew while in church.
It’s Heating Up!
It is really heating up outside, and I understand it will only get hotter as the weekend unfolds.  And it’s only May!  A good opportunity to remind everyone that short pants are not allowed in church – for any service or occasion.   Only small children can be an exception.  Tank tops should also not be worn – male or female.

When You Travel
The upcoming summer months are the time when a good deal of travelling is done.  Please let me know when you are travelling, so that we can pray for your safe trip and return.  I can also help you locate an Orthodox church while you are “on the road,” if necessary.

Anyone Missing A Ring?
I have a newly-discovered ring on my office desk that appears to be a child’s.  Is anyone missing such a ring?

Scriptural Readings for Sunday’s Liturgy:
ACTS 20:16-18,28-36
JOHN 17:1-13

Our Celebration of Pentecost, Summer Bible Study, more

Summer Bible Study begins Wed. June 6!
Summer Bible Study begins Wed. June 6!
June 4, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”  (ROM. 8:26)
We just celebrated the great Feast of Pentecost this past weekend, and continue with the Afterfeast throughout this week.  By the way, because Pentecost is such an important Feast, this week is designated as “fast-free.”  Enjoy!  We had a relatively decent/good level of participation and presence on Saturday evening at the Great Vespers of the Feast.  And yesterday the church was quite filled for the Liturgy and the Vespers of Pentecost to follow.  It was a lively celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church.  We experience the coming of the Spirit in every Liturgy, as we pray that the Spirit will come upon us and upon the gifts that we offer to God, “making” these very gifts the Body and Blood of Christ.  We began what I will definitely continue as a practice in the future, and that is the scattering of leaves throughout the church at the end of Great Vespers while we sing the troparion of the Feast.  As the leaves are tossed up into the air and come back down, this is meant to tangibly represent the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of fiery tongues upon the heads of the disciples of Christ – and that is precisely who we are!  Everyone took some of these blessed leaves home.  We, in turn, can keep these leaves by our icons for a time, but then we need to make sure that we treat these blessed leaves respectfully by putting them into our gardens, bushes, etc. We shared a finely-prepared meal afterwards in honor of the Great Feast of Pentecost.
For special articles on Pentecost, and links to many more, visit our resource page...

See You at the Bible Study on Wednesday Evening
Another reminder of the beginning of our Bible Study on Wednesday, following Vespers at 7:00 p.m. It is going to be exciting, interesting and more than worth the effort to make a point of attending.  It cannot be otherwise because it is, after all, the Gospel According to St. John!

Full info on this year's Bible Study, The Book of Signs - The Gospel of John, Chapters 1-11, with printable flier, available on our Adult Education page.

June 7, 2012
APOSTLES' FAST - June 11 through 29 - This unique fasting season varies in length, beginning with the Monday after All Saints (which, being the Sunday after Pentecost, is determined by the date of Pascha), and continuing through the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29. Learn about this essential fast on our special resource page...

This Week, Sisterhood Meeting, Apostles\' Fast, more

June 11, 2012
What’s Going On This Week
Tuesday, June 12 – St. Katherine Society (Sisterhood) to meet at the “Kostoff residence:”  2419 Jefferson Avenue in Norwood.  The meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, June 13  – Vespers at 7:00 p.m. followed by the Bible Study at 7:45 p.m. (JOHN, Ch. 2 – The Sign at Cana of Galilee)
Thursday, June 14 – Women’s Night out at the movies – Showcase Cinema 18 (275 and Springfield Pike).  The film – The Best Marigold Hotel – begins at 7:10 p.m.
Saturday, June 16 – Parish Council Meeting – 4:15 p.m.
Sts. Peter and Paul Fast Begins Today
We begin the Fast today in preparation of celebrating the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29.  The length of this Fast is ultimately determined by the date of Pascha.  Any fasting season is clearly healthy on both the spiritual and bodily levels of our existence.  We are a society of voracious appetite – and here I am simply referring to food - and we are paying for this dearly as poor health linked to poor eating is becoming painfully obvious in study after study.  I just watched a “health evangelist” on PBS speak very persuasively about the current phenomenon of “Diabesity” plaguing our society and health care system.  

Good healthy eating habits can help us overcome this problem but that takes discipline and vigilance about the quality of the foods we take into our systems.  An Orthodox fast is a very effective response to bad eating habits if approached thoughtfully and carefully. And that is scientifically verifiable. This is an excellent teaching tool for children growing up as you can eliminate a great amount of “junk food” from their diets by following the Fast with some seriousness of intention.  If we eliminate meat, excessive dependence on dairy products, and all the heavily-sugared foods that pass as “desserts,” replacing them with high-protein and high-fiber foods together with fruits and vegetables, our children will be healthier – and so will we!  I am not trying to minimize the “spiritual” dimension of the Fast; but I am making the point that we understand our human nature as a union of “soul and body” and our whole human organism is involved in our lives as Christians.  Before dismissing this Fast as an “unimportant” one that can be neglected, I would suggest thinking this out a bit – and then putting it into practice on some level.

The Divine Liturgy Begins at 9:30 a.m.
There are always many more parishioners in church at the end of the Liturgy than at the beginning.  That seems to be an unchanging and unavoidable truth about parish life.  However, when there are many parishioners who are away during any given Sunday during the summer months, the obviousness of starting with a smaller group of assembled faithful for the beginning of the Liturgy becomes that much more apparent –as was the case yesterday morning when it seemed like a really sparse number of faithful were scattered here and there throughout the church when the Liturgy began.  This is, of course, an old theme; but one that needs to be addressed periodically.  We have been through many discussions about families with small children determining just when they should arrive so as to “maximize” the liturgical experience of each family in an effort to avoid “meltdown mode,” or at least excessive restlessness.  As children grow older, however, parents need to keep expanding the time of their children in the Liturgy instead of falling into a frozen pattern that does not allow for a maturing growth into liturgical participation.
Be that as it may, or to put this all much more simply:  Avoid getting lazy during the summer months when it comes to arriving to church on time for the Liturgy.  By far, most parishioners can be on time with a little bit of effort.  There is nothing “natural” or “inevitable” about a summer characterized by liturgical laziness, lassitude or lethargy.  That is nothing but a temptation to be avoided.  The Lord’s Day is always the same, regardless of the time of year.  Families with small children may still have to make honest assessments about their “staying power” in church for the Liturgy, but everyone else can certainly arrive for the opening doxology of “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit …”
And please keep in mind the following pastoral directive:  To arrive after the reading of the Gospel is to arrive too late for receiving Holy Communion on any given Sunday.  If you are an adult and if you come to church so late as to miss the Gospel, you are expected not approach the chalice for Holy Communion.
An additional comment on Great Vespers during the summer months is appropriate here.  This last Saturday we only had about six worshippers, I believe, present for the service.  Even if half the parish is out-of-town - clearly an exaggeration - that is inexcusable for a parish of our size.  And frankly not the sign of healthy liturgical life in the parish.  I realize that I could quote the Scriptures, the Fathers, any of the saints or contemporary writers, etc. about coming to church with a greater frequency than “Sunday morning only” without any effect whatsoever, but I still (stubbornly)  need to point this out in the hopes that the attraction of worshipping God (for it is the living God that we are talking about here!) will inform some future decisions about our Saturday evening service in preparation for the Lord’s Day.  
Archpastoral Directives
In early May, having returned from our Clergy Convocation in Chicago, I announced that His Grace, Bishop Matthias, had issued some directives that will take place within the year, mainly concerning some liturgical practices.  These directives have now been issued in written form, and are available for study on the Midwest Diocese website.  Some of these directives will affect our parish life, so I would recommend that you take the time to discover the meaning and purpose of the directives as explained by Bishop Matthias in writing.

Emily Farison Missionary Appeal

Yesterday we began a collection in church that will last through Sunday July 1.  The collection is on behalf of our parishioner, Emily Farison, who will be making a Mission Trip to Kenya in July.  I asked Emily to write a short presentation about her trip and her financial obligations for the trip to be read in church on Sunday (Emily was out-of-town yesterday).   She has done so, and I am forwarding her letter to the parish as an attachment that you can open and read.  Please do so.  Hopefully everyone will be willing to respond with a donation that will help her make this worthy mission trip to Kenya.

High School Graduates
Two of our High School seniors – Sophia Myers and Michaelanne Sauer – were acknowledged by the parish yesterday and received a gift from the parish.  Sophia, the valedictorian of her class, will be attending the Louisville School of Ballet.  Michaelanne, who graduated summa cum laude, will be attending Ohio State University in the Fall.  Our congratulations to two obviously very talented young women!
Church School Summer Reading Group
The books have arrived and are available for pick-up on the table in the church hall.
Anointing Service, Bible Study, more

June 19, 2012
* Posted on June 22, this bulletin was sent to the parish on June 19 by Fr Steven. Please forgive the delay in posting! - webservant

Dear Parish Faithful,

An Anointing Service
Next Monday evening, June 25, as we continue with the Apostles’ Fast, we will have a service of anointing in the church beginning at 7:00 p.m.  This is not the Sacrament of Anointing, but nevertheless an anointing with a blessed oil for “the healing of both soul and body.”  Both Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christians may come forward to be anointed at this service.  This will also be a general service of intercession for everyone present, and also a service for anyone in need of prayer whose name you may submit.
Access to the “Extraordinary”
We all know and experience the fact that our lives are basically filled with “ordinary” events.  These are the routines and rhythms of daily life.  As such, the ordinary can become over time tedious, mundane, prosaic, even boring.  Yet, such is life and at our best we try and accomplish the ordinary with a good and cheerful spirit.  Yet, a daily diet of the ordinary has us seeking out anything of an “extraordinary” nature to break through those mundane patterns of existence.  This would include anything novel, exciting, enticing; in short, anything that takes us beyond the ordinary.  I am not sure that what passes for “entertainment” can be described as truly “extraordinary,” but that is part of the lure of entertainment – at least something reaching beyond the mundane events of ordinary daily living.  This came to mind as I am continually campaigning to recruit further members for our parish Summer Bible Study.  (Something is working, because we were “packed in” last Wednesday).  I cannot claim that a parish Bible Study is an “extraordinary” event, for the simple fact that many – if not most – parishes have Bible Studies, thus making them a somewhat “ordinary” part of parish life.  (Perhaps it is the commonplace nature of a parish Bible Study that makes them less than attractive for some parishioners – nothing extraordinary there and thus not that attractive.  Someone just might say:  I can find much more exciting or worthwhile things to do with my [precious] spare time).
I will concede that that is one possible way of looking at it.  But other perspectives are also legitimate.  Take our own Summer Bible Study currently underway for (only) two sessions thus far.  We are reading, studying and discussing the Gospel According to St. John – truly an “extraordinary” book without parallel.  This Gospel is unique, intellectually and spiritually stimulating, challenging, life-transforming and revelatory of God’s design for the world that He created and loves!  It has limitless breadth and unfathomable depth.  It has been written so that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that we may have life in His name.  So, while the Bible Study may be “ordinary” enough as a commonplace event; the content and focus of the Bible Study – The Gospel According to St. John - is one of the most “extraordinary” books ever to have been conceived and written.  There is nothing like it since the “foundation of the world” and there never will be.  More specifically, this coming Wednesday we will read and discuss what has to be one of the most “extraordinary” dialogues/discourses in human history, the one between Jesus and Nicodemus the Pharisee about being “born again/from above.” (A quick question:  Are you able to explain the meaning of this discourse to your next door neighbor if asked to?).  We have unimpeded access to this dialogue and this extraordinary book. Granted, this also means that anyone can read St. John’s Gospel alone, in the comfort of one’s home.  I will assume that that is what some parishioners who cannot make the Bible Study are doing.  But as I have argued many times before, a group/communal settings has its own rewards that make it worthy of our consideration.
No pressure intended – seriously.  But a pastoral reminder that sometimes the most “extraordinary” things are hidden in plain view, right before our eyes, as someone once put it.  And we may look right past it in search for something that is not really there .  My “target audience” are simply those of you who are not  held back by domestic complications – also known as child-rearing – or other legitimate reasons, and who may need some extra stimulation to point you in the direction of the church on Wednesday evenings.  Whether this appeal is effective or not, I am absolutely convinced of one thing – there is nothing more “extraordinary” that you can find to do with your time than study the Gospel According to St. John.
Vespers will first be served at 7:00 p.m.  The Bible Study begins at 7:45 p.m.  We will read and study JN. 3 this week.
A Full Week Ahead

June 25, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
For those who were not there, and with a bit more elaboration for everyone, here is the upcoming schedule for this week as announced in church yesterday.  On the one hand, it will be a pretty full week, which may mean that some of you will have some choices to make.  On the other hand, a full schedule will also hopefully make it possible for everyone to find their way to the church this week and deepen their relationship with God.
This evening at 7:00 p.m. - Service of Prayer and Anointing.  In the past, we have periodically had a Service of Prayer during which we pray for a multitude of persons whose names are submitted by those who are present.  This will include those burdened by some form of sickness, be it physical, emotional/psychological and spiritual.  We pray for anyone in a crisis situation, or whose life has taken a real turn for the worse.  Please bring whatever list of names you may want to for mention during this service.  And, of course, you may submit your family names as we also are praying for our general physical and spiritual well-being; the strengthening of our faith; and our periodic “sickness” caused by sinfulness.  We are going to use the relatively compact Service for Those Who are in Sickness, with its hymns, petitions and Scriptural readings.  For the healing of both “soul and body” everyone present will also be anointed at the end of the service.  Our prayer lists are often a chronicle of human misery, so this has always been a powerful and moving service when offered in the past.  I find it particularly timely during one of the Church’s fasting seasons, as we are in now in preparation for the Feast of the Apostles Peter & Paul on June 29.
Wednesday, June 27, at 7:45 p.m. – Summer Bible Study.  We are continuing our study of the Gospel According to St. John, and we will focus on Ch. 4 this coming Wednesday.  This chapter contains one of the greatest discourses in the Gospel - the dialogue/monologue with the Samaritan Woman by Jacob’s well.  Jesus will speak about “living water” and about worshiping God “in spirit and in truth.”  And the woman of Samaria will slowly come to faith in Jesus as the Messiah.  The chapter will conclude with the next “sign” recorded by St. John – the healing of the royal official’s servant.  This royal official is most likely a Gentile, so we see how the messianic revelation of salvation will extend beyond the borders of Israel to truly universal dimensions.
Thursday, June 28, at 6:00 p.m. – Vesperal Liturgy for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.  To commemorate and celebrate these two greatest of the apostles is seen as so essential, that their feast day is prepared for by a fasting season, the duration of which is ultimately determined by the date of Pascha and Pentecost.  This year it has been about a three-week fast.  This is part of the ascetical effort that was spoken of yesterday in relation to St. John the Baptist.  The purpose of the Vesperal Liturgy is to allow more parishioners to be present for the Feast and in order to receive the Eucharist.
Saturday, June 30, at 10:00 a.m. – Baptism of Alexander Austin. Alexander is the son of our parishioners Kevin and Eugenia.  We always look forward to the Sacrament of Baptism and the initiation of a new human person into the life of the Church.
Again, a full week, but one that offers many wonderful opportunities to make God a real presence in our lives; and which allows us to make the church a more integral part of our lives, extending beyond the “Sunday morning only” pattern.
The Anointing Service, This Week\'s Bible Study

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
June 27, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
Prayer for the Sick and Anointing
On Monday evening we had a wonderful Service of Prayer for the Sick followed by an anointing of everyone present.  We had quite a remarkable response with many parish faithful present together with a good number of children and young adults.   It seemed as if everyone present made out a prayer list on behalf of others that they knew needed to be prayed for.  And it is always very moving to read through those long and varied lists of names out loud, offering up their lives and needs to God and seeking His mercy on their behalf.  All were then anointed following the service for the “healing of soul and body.”  We will try and have this service with some regularity,  at least  scheduling it during the four fasting seasons of the liturgical year.  Thus, we will again gather for this service during the Dormition Fast in August.

The “Living Water” that wells up to Eternal Life
Our Bible Study will begin this evening at 7:45 p.m.  There will be no Vespers service this evening preceding the Bible Study.  We will read and discuss Ch. 4 of the Gospel According to St. John, covering the dialogue with the Samaritan Woman and the Sign of the Healing of the Royal Official’s son.  Here are a few questions to “ponder” during the day in preparation for this evening’s session:
+  What is significant about the place at which this dialogue took place?
+  What does Christ mean by the “living water” He is offering to the Samaritan Woman?
+  What is the significance of her five husbands and the fact that her sixth husband is not really a husband?
+  How do we worship God “in Spirit and truth?”
+  What does Christ mean by reaping and harvesting in relationship to the Samaritans?
+  How does the sign of the healing in 4:46-54 compare to similar healings in MATT. 8:5-13 and LK. 7:1-10?
+  How should we understand the role of faith and life in this healing sign?
+  What progression can we detect in the three encounters between Jesus and Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman and the royal official?

Hope to see yet another great turn-out this evening for the Bible Study!
Sts Peter and Paul, Saturday Baptism, a Parish Missionary, more

June 29, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul
Though the heat was a bit forbidding yesterday – and I understand that it’s here to stay for awhile – we still had a good number of parishioners in church for the Vesperal Liturgy last night.  June 29 is the date on which we commemorate, celebrate and honor the two greatest of the apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul.  According to an ancient and reliable source, there is every reason to believe that this was the actual date on which the two apostles were put to death under the reign of the Roman emperor Nero (more than a little deranged as historians both ancient and modern tell us).  St. Peter was crucified – upside down! – and St. Paul was beheaded. Thus, they died as martyrs, making their final “witness” (the meaning of the Gk word martys) to their faith in Christ the Victor over death.  The Apostles Fast is therefore over.
When is the last time you read one of the epistles of either St. Paul or St. Peter?   We have only two epistles from St. Peter, and I Peter is a remarkable letter that is very accessible and filled with wonderful passages about Christ and the Christian life.  If you are turning to St. Paul, I would recommend beginning with I Thessalonians, the first epistle that he wrote in around the year 50 A.D.   In fact, scholars are unanimous in telling us that I Thess. Is the first written document of the New Testament.  Honor the apostles – and be deeply inspired and edified in the process – by laying aside your usual reading material and plunging into the remarkable letters that reveal heavenly realities centered around the crucified and risen Lord.
Saturday Morning Baptism
We will baptize Alexander Austin tomorrow (Saturday, June 30) morning, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Supporting a Parish Missionary
As announced, there will be a fund-raising meal in the church hall this Sunday immediately following the Liturgy.  We are supporting Emily Farison who will be leaving for Kenya in a couple of weeks as a member of an OCMC Mission Team.  Your presence and donation will be greatly appreciated.  The meal will consist of lasagna, salad, bread and a beverage.  The suggested donation is $5.00 per person and $15.00 per family.  You are perfectly free to donate more!   We will combine the funds from the meal together with the basket collection that has been going on for a few weeks now.  We hope to make a significant contribution to Emily Farison who will represent our Cincinnati parish in faraway Kenya!
A Different Celebrant Next Sunday
Our family will be traveling to Detroit next weekend, July 7-8, for the one-year memorial service for Presvytera’s brother Chris Thomas.   As of now, Fr. Zechariah Trent will be here to serve the Liturgy on Sunday morning.  There will be no Great Vespers next Saturday, July 7.
Scriptural Readings for Sunday
Epistle – ROM. 6:18-23
Gospel – MATT. 8:5-13
The homily will concentrate on the Feast of the Apostles Peter & Paul
Church School and Youth News ~ Spring/Summer 2012

May 18, 2012
Church School Graduation is Sunday, May 20, during the Post-Liturgy Talk. Congratulations to all our graduates!

Campers' Ice-Cream Social Fundraiser is also Sunday, May 20, during Coffee Hour. $5 per person, $15 per family — Slurp it up and support our kids!

Summer Book Club Signup begins Sunday, May 20 also!  — Outstanding book titles for every age group, with direct links for easy ordering here.

Full info on all these events can be found here.