1 THE SHEPHERD • FEBRUARY 2023 • SAINT SPYRIDON GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF SAN DIEGO FROM THE DESK OF FATHER ANDREW www.theshepherdnews.com The Shepherd Newsletter My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, It has been very nice to see so many new faces and really nice to see so many familiar faces on Sunday mornings and at the many events and activities of our parish. As we move into the new year with the uncertainty and unknown threat of covid having waned, it is now time for the faithful of the parish to recommit and reconnect to the Church: the body of Christ on earth (Eph. 1:22;23 Rom.12:4;5 Col.1:24) here on Park Blvd. Thus, as the body of Christ and as a Eucha- ristic worshipping community it is time to make every effort to be present as the Ekkle- sia (the gathering of like believers for wor- ship). Encouraging the faithful to always be active and participating members of the Ek- klesia/Assembly comes to us from the earliest days of the Ancient and Historical Church. There are so many references from the early Church writers I could reference. The follow- ing is just one from the first century writer Saint Ignatius: Bishop of Antioch – Let no be misled: if anyone is not within the temple, he lacks the bread of God. For if the prayer of one or two has such power, how much more together with the whole Church/Ekklesia! Do not attempt to convenience yourselves that anything done apart from the others is right, but, gathering together (assembling), let there be one prayer, one petition, one mind, one hope, with love and blameless joy, which is Jesus Christ… (The Apostolic Fathers: pages 88 & 95). This prescription and direction has been echoed throughout every generation by both Clergy and Laity alike. Why is this instruction so important even today? As Orthodox Christians we may go through our day not encountering another Orthodox Christian. Thus, it can get a little lonely and at times a little deflating when we are not encouraged and supported by our faith in our daily walk. There are so many distractions, philosophies and opinions that bombard and bother us in many and differ- ent ways; let alone, persuade us to see differ- ently than our Orthodox Faith teaches and instructs us. Thus, the Biblically founded and Scripturally sound words of the Divine Liturgy (and of all the divine services) are so profound and powerful if we have the ears to hear (Matt. 11:15). Saint Paul reminds and encourages us from his transformative message that faith comes from hearing (Rom. 10:17). However, how can we know of and grow in our Ortho- dox Christian faith if we are not present/gath- ering and hearing the word of God the Logos from the divine services, i.e., the Divine Lit- urgy of the Ancient Church? Personal prayer and study are important and have their place, but they cannot and are not a substitute for experiencing the profound words of the Di- vine Liturgy gathered all together as the body of Christ , the Ekklesia . When we look back at our very long histo- ry, we see that there were times when the faithful, through no fault of their own, were “forced” from the temple by persecution(s), famine(s), war(s), plague(s), destruction, etc. However, after the concern, fear and uncer- tainty had passed the faithful were always encouraged and instructed to return; and they did. Today is no different – we too were “forced” away by fear and uncertainty and most importantly: the legitimate concern for the health and well-being of the “other” which is a principal virtue at the center of our Greek Orthodox Christian Faith. And, now it is time for us All to return to the tem- ple as the “body of Christ” on Park Blvd. in our continued communal effort to praise, worship and thank our Great God, Amen. IN THIS ISSUE FR. ANDREW ............................................. p. 1 PRESIDENT OF THE PARISH COUNCIL, WOMEN OF THE WORD, GREEK FEST.. p. 2 NEWS FROM THE LOFT, DIVINE SERVICES, HOLY SACRAMENTS, DEATHS, MEMORIALS, BOOKSTORE.....................p. 3 YOUTH MINISTRIES ................................. p. 4 GREEK SCHOOL, SENIORS ..................... p. 5 PARISH CALENDAR.................................. p. 6 PHILOPTOCHOS, EPIPHANY 2023 ..... p. 7 CONTACT INFORMATION....................... p. 8 The Shepherd The official newsletter publication for the parish of Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church of San Diego I S S U E 3 2 1 • F E B R UA R Y 2 0 2 3 Congratulations To our 2023 Leon Balaban Award recipients Jim & Stella Pappas!