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The Messenger Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church


Nativity of Christ December 25

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

December 2017

Rev. Fr. Matthew Carter, Proistamenos Church Website: Office Email: Office Phone: 850-433-2662 Office Fax: 850-549-4943 Fr. Matthew’s Contact Information: Cell phone: 850-889-3919 Email:


Subdeacon Philoptochos Community Outreach Stewardship SS Joachim and Anna Chanter (Protopsaltis) Choir Director Assistant Choir Director Organist Altar Boy Director


James Mohamed


Vice President

Eli Pagonis



Peter Roumbos



Gary Tringas


Assistant Treasurer

Michael Stamitoles


Emmanuel Zangas Vassiliki Montgomery Sissy Watson Gary Tringas Kris Mohammed Stelios Vatsolakis Vangie Anastopolou Eli Pagonis Tina Varvouris Philip Brown

Prosforo Coordinator HOPE/JOY GOYA HARA Dancers Glentzethes Welcome Committee Parishioner Outreach Parishioner In-reach AHEPA Daughters of Penelope

Phyllis Pagonis Liz Gilmore & Presv. Emily Joe & Panayiota Whisler Liz Gilmore Daphne Pagonis Agnes Stergion Kitty Randall Philip Brown & Bill Randall

Dr. Charles Stamitoles Vangie Anastopolou

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

December 2017

From the Desk of Fr. Matthew My brothers and sisters in Christ, The Nativity of Christ marks the point in human history when God condescended to become one of us by choosing to be born in the flesh. Jesus Christ, being part of the Holy Trinity, was both fully God and fully man at the same time. God’s willingness to do this comes directly from His divine love for us, His creation. And it is because Jesus Christ was born in the flesh - and because of His life, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension into heaven - that we as human beings have the opportunity to be reunited with God in paradise for eternity! The account of our Lord’s birth can be found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In the Gospel of Matthew, we learn of the wise men who traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, following the star in the East. These men were scholars of their time and were traveling specifically to greet Christ, to worship Him, and to offer Him gifts - gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts have specific meaning and were selected for the various attributes of Christ. Gold was offered to Christ because He is the King of the Jews, the Messiah. Gold is a valuable metal that was traditionally offered to royalty. Frankincense, or incense, was offered to gods. It is a fragrant offering, and the smoke rising from it represents prayers

rising to heaven. Frankincense was offered to Christ because He is the Son of God, part of the Holy Trinity, and the wise men were worshiping Him as God. Myrrh is an expensive ointment and was applied to the body after death. The myrrh offered by the wise men can be seen as a foreshadowing of Christ’s crucifixion and death (and glorious resurrection). Myrrh was offered to Christ because He is both fully God and fully human. The wise men recognized three attributes of Christ: King, God, and Man. For us as Orthodox Christians, we are called to recognize these as well. Like the wise men, we are called to journey toward Christ, a spiritual journey that strengthens our relationship with Him. Like the wise men, we are called to worship Him and fall down before Him. Like the wise men, we are called to make offerings to God since He is our King and our Savior. Our offerings can be financial and can also be spiritual: Time, Talent, and Treasure. As we prepare to greet the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, may we be reminded that Christ came into the world for our salvation, and may we always have the opportunity to worship Him as King and God.

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

December 2017

From James Mohamed, Parish Council President

The Holiday Season Dear Fellow Parishioners: I hope that you and your families had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you will enjoy a joyous Christmas. During this time of year, we should all take time during our daily routines to give thanks to God for all of our many blessings. Our greatest blessing is the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The senior luncheon last month was enjoyed by all with over 50 seniors in attendance. The lunch was hosted by Heidi Silivos, Bill & Kitty Randall, Krissy Kritselis, and Kris and myself. This past month we held our Fall General Assembly and I would like to thank everyone that attended. The interest, comments, and support that everyone contributed was greatly appreciated by the entire Parish Council. It is heartwarming to know that you are all concerned with the growth and well-being of our church and parish family. This month we will hold elections for five positions on our Parish Council. Elections will be held on December 3rd. Please be sure to attend and vote for the individuals that you want to work for your interests and represent you on church matters. Please vote for all five positions. The following individuals have been nominated and accepted to run on this year’s ballet: Gus Argeris, Phillip Brown, Skip Brown, Kyle Gatzmeyer, Krissy Kritselis, Kitty Randall, Rose Thames, Stella Verzwyvelt, Andy Watson, and Joe Whisler. I know that many of you have been requesting a Greek New Year’s Dinner Dance however, due to scheduling conflicts we will not be having a New Year’s party at the church this year. Instead, we will be having a Greek Night Dinner Dance on January 20, 2018. Tickets will be the same price; $25.00 per person not to exceed $75.00 for an immediate family with children under 12 free. We will have the same DJ lined up for this dance that we had for the New Year’s dance. Hope to see you all there, it promises to be a grand time for all. Again, thank you all for your continued help and support. I thank each and every one of you for allowing me to serve on the Parish Council. Working together we can accomplish all things through God.

James R. Mohamed

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

ALTAR BOYS Co-Captains Zachary Verzwyvelt Zachary Whisler Jayden Arredondo Christopher Astudillo Jackson Barrineau Christos Bithos Alexios Carter Garrett Cole Jonathan Thames Joshua White

All young men, 2nd grade through 12th grade, are encouraged to join our Altar Boy Team. Please call Philip Brown, Altar Boy Director, if you are interested in joining. Altar Boys should arrive to Church no later than 9:50am on Sunday mornings so they have time to receive a blessing from Fr. Matthew before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy.


Peter Kantrales Peter Roumbos Heidi Silivos Michael Stamitoles Doug White

December 2017 Sunday, December 3, 14th Sunday of Luke 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy Monday, December 4, St. Barbara 8:30 am Orthros 9:30 am Divine Liturgy Wednesday, December 6, St. Nicholas 4:30 pm Orthros 5:30 pm Divine Liturgy Sunday, December 10 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy *His Eminence, Metropolitan ALEXIOS, presiding Tuesday, December 12, St. Spyridon 9:00 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy Friday, December 15, St. Eleutherios 8:30 am Orthros 9:30 am Divine Liturgy Sunday, December 17 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy Friday, December 22 9:00 am Royal Hours Sunday, December 24, Eve of the Nativity of Christ 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy 5:30 pm Great Vespers Saturday, December 25, Nativity of Christ (Christmas Day) 9:00 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy Sunday, December 31 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

December 2017


Sunday Church School

Let me start off by thanking all the wonderful ladies and gentlemen who helped during the holiday bake sale prep days. Remember that pick up dates this year are going to be Friday, Dec. 8, 9am-3pm, and Saturday, Dec. 9, from 9am-2pm. Anyone who has a little free time is welcome to give us a hand with order pickups.

Thank you parents and families for bringing your children to the Divine Liturgy and Sunday church school each week!

We will be having a Christmas party this year at the home of Krissy Kritselis. She has graciously offered to host the Philoptochos on Saturday, December 16. Her address is 5760 Grande Lagoon Blvd., and the party will be from 2-4pm. We are planning on having a gift exchange, so everyone is encouraged to bring a wrapped gift no more than $10 in value. The board will be supplying heavy appetizers. This is a great opportunity to invite ladies (or gentlemen) who would like to join our organization. Let me take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a blessed Christmas and wonderful holiday season. Do your Christmas shopping with wonderful items from the Philoptochos Bookstore: Icons, Christmas wreaths, olive wood Christmas ornaments, incense, beautifully crafted stainless-steel crosses, prayer ropes, Christmas cards, and so much more!

HOPE/JOY Please join us on Wednesday, December 6 to celebrate St. Nicholas. There will be an evening Orthros at 4:30 pm and Divine Liturgy at 5:30 pm. Following the Divine Liturgy there will be a potluck dinner (please bring a fasting main or side dish) and a few St. Nicholas themed activities for the children. Please call the office for more information.

TOYS FOR TOTS COLLECTION We will be collecting toys for the Toys For Tots program. Please bring your donation of new, unwrapped toys to the church hall by Thursday, December 14. Thank you for your generosity!

On Sunday, December 10, His Eminence, Metropolitan ALEXIOS, will be visiting our parish and celebrating the Divine Liturgy! Students in 1st grade and up should plan to stay with their families throughout the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy (no Sunday School classes for 1st grade and up). The younger children (toddlers, PreK, and Kindergarten) are welcome to come to the downstairs classroom following Holy Communion if they would like to. We’ll have a simple activity set up that day for the little ones who need a break. The Christmas Pageant will be held on Sunday, December 17, following the Divine Liturgy. All children are welcome to participate. We began practices in November and will continue practices in December. Sunday, December 3 - pageant practice and costume try-ons following Sunday School Sunday, December 10 - no pageant practice (His Eminence will be visiting with us) Saturday, December 16 - since we are missing practice on the 10th, we may need to schedule one last practice on the 16th to run through the pageant and finish trying on costumes. The Sunday School teachers will have more information about this closer to the pageant. Sunday, December 17 - Christmas Pageant. Parent helpers are needed to assist during the practices and pageant. Please help out if you are able! There will be no classes on December 24 and 31 for Christmas break. We will resume on January 7.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

Congratulations We would like to congratulate Rose Thames and Zachary Verzwyvelt for being nominated as our 2017 Archangel Michael recipients! Rose and Zachary received their rewards from His Eminence Metropolitan ALEXIOS at the Archangel Michael Banquet on Saturday, November 11, in Atlanta. The Archangel Michael Award is given to two parishioners each year in recognition of their service to their local community. Bravo!

December 2017

Praying for the Servants of God William Adamopoulos George Alexakos Perry Baniakas Samantha Barrineau Helen Both Probst Jeffery Gallo Gregory Gill George Giouzelis Martha Hicks Zoe Liollio Mandy Miller Tom Miller

Patricia Pappas Dean Peterson Harry Pieratos Ross Pieratos Helen Sakalarios Jermaine Salter Nicole Salter Adam Sanders Sia Stanton Anastasia Ta Rene Thames Sava Varazo

Nativity Schedule of Services There are a number of opportunities to glorify God and worship during the Nativity of Christ. Please make plans to attend these important services! Friday, December 22 9:00 am Royal Hours Sunday, December 24 - The Eve of the Nativity 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy 5:30 pm Great Vespers Monday, December 25 - The Nativity of Christ 9:00 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Celebrate Saint Nicholas Wednesday, December 6 Orthros 4:30 p.m. Divine Liturgy 5:30 p.m.

Following the Divine Liturgy we’ll have a Lenten potluck dinner and a few St. Nicholas themed activities for the children. Please bring a fasting potluck main dish or side dish to share.

Sunday School Christmas Pageant

and Community Potluck Luncheon

Sunday, December 17 Please bring a fasting dish, side dish or dessert to share! Ideas: shrimp, lentil soup, pasta, pasta salad, vegetarian chili, potatoes, spinach &rice, salad, hummus & pita, peanut butter sandwiches, cut-up fruit/veggies, Lenten cakes/cookies Please contact the church office with any questions.

2017 COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS CARD As the Christmas season approaches, our hearts and thoughts renew with the joy of what Christmas means to all of us: a time to express our love and appreciation through the act of giving. One way to reach out to |others is through our Annual Community Christmas Card. This Community Christmas Card is a way to share Christmas greetings with the entire parish. Please complete and mail the form below, together with your check for $10.00 made payable to |Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. The deadline for the Christmas Card is Tuesday, December 13th. Orders will not be accepted unless accompanied by payment. Please clearly print your name or family name exactly the way you would like it to appear on the Christmas card. Thank You and Merry Christmas! Name:___________________________________ Address:_________________________________

2017 CHRISTMAS POINSETTIAS If you wish to purchase a Poinsettia in honor or in memory of a loved one for Christmas you may do so by completing the form below. The cost is $15.00. The deadline for ordering is Tuesday, December 13th. Please include payment with order. Please clearly print the donor name and names of honorees. Donor:___________________________________ Address:__________________________________ City: ________________ State :______ Zip: _______ Phone:___________________ Date:___________ Signature:_________________________________ IN MEMORY OF____________________________ IN MEMORY OF____________________________ N MEMORY OF____________________________

City: _____________ State:____ Zip:__________

IN HONOR OF_____________________________

Phone: ____________________

IN HONOR OF_____________________________


IN HONOR OF_____________________________


Mail to: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church 1720 W. Garden St. Pensacola, FL 32501 Orders must be received by Tuesday, December 6th.

December 2017 SUNDAY





FEED THE HUNGRY Please bring non-perishable items to the food donation basket located in the Narthex. Thank you!

3 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy Stewardship Sunday Parish Council Elections Christmas Pageant Practice

4 St. Barbara

8:30 am Orthros 9:30 am Divine Liturgy

10:30 am Bible Study

10 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy His Eminence, Metropolitan ALEXIOS, presiding Parish Luncheon


12 St. Spyridon

17 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy Choir Appreciation Sunday Christmas Pageant & Community Potluck Lunch


24 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy

25 Nativity of Christ 9:00 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

5:30 pm Great Vespers 31 8:45 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy


6 St. Nicholas

4:30 pm Orthros 5:30 pm Divine Liturgy Potluck Dinner & children’s activities 13

9:00 am Orthros 10:00 am Divine Liturgy










9:00 am - 3:00 pm Philoptochos bake sale pick up

9:00 am - 2:00 pm Philoptochos bake sale pick up

15 St. Eleutherios


Last day for Toys for Tots collection

8:30am Orthros 9:30 am Divine Liturgy



10:30 am Bible Study



10:00 am Parish Council Seminar

2:00 - 4:00 pm Philoptochos Christmas party at home of Krissy Kritselis 23

9:00 am Royal Hours




GOYAns attending Winter Youth Rally, Atlanta


Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church 1720 West Garden Street Pensacola, FL 32502 Address service requested

Apolytikion of the Annunciation Today is the beginning of our salvation. And the revelation of a mystery which was hidden from eternity. The Son of God becomes the Virgin’s Son. And Gabriel announces the grace of this good news. Let us also join with him, calling to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O woman full of grace. The Lord is with you.

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December 2017 newsletter final