April 6 - April 12, 2020 Issue no. 822
Weekday Lent Services will be available only via Facebook. We will notify you prior to the start of the service.
Tuesday, April 7
Annunciation of Theotokos
10:30 am Divine Liturgy
Sunday, April 12
"Please stay home and stream the service from our facebook page"
8:00 am Matins
10:30 am Divine Liturgy
April 6 - Strict fasting
April 7 - Fish is allowed
April 8-10 - Strict fasting
April 11 - Oil is allowed
April 12 - Fish is allowed
Covid-19 Update from St. James
The State of California has announced a legal order directing their respective residents to shelter at home until May 3. The order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs.
We would like to thank everyone for complying with the shelter at home orders. During the next few weeks, our Holy Orthodox Church will be celebrating Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Pascha! It is important to continue observing these orders and watch our services live on Facebook.
For the safety of our Clergy, please respect this request and enjoy our services live by streaming on our facebook page. In addition, law enforcement has the authority to fine and/or close the church if our faithful ignore this request. There are individuals going around to churches and reporting them to law enforcement if there are more than a few attending.
Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady, Theotokos - 4/7
The Feast of the Annunciation of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated tomorrow, April 7th. The Feast commemorates the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would become incarnate and enter into this world through her womb.
A special Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 7th at 10:30am. Service will be live on Facebook.
In order for people to receive Holy Communion and not stay without it for too long, Fr. Jeries is asking anyone who would like to receive Holy Communion to please call him or send him a text message and he will schedule a date/time for you. This is to ensure your safety and the safety of the clergy and to comply with the directions and guidelines by the local authorities.
Coffee hour & lunch will resume once we have the clearance from the County Health Officers and the Greek Archdiocese.
Flowers for the Bier of Christ
If you would like to donate money to purchase the flowers for the Bier of Christ, please make the donation online by visiting our Donation page. Please include the names of your loved ones. fr. Jeries will commemorate their names during the Divine Liturgy on Good Friday.
Most Events have been cancelled due to Covid-19
Annual Food Festival
Donations during Covid-19
Thank you all who have been able to continue donating. We understand that some may be facing financial hardships and our prayers go out to you and your family. If you are able, please continue donating, as we still have roughly $15,000 a month in operating expenses. Through the prayer of our faithful, may Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ keep you and your family safe!
Visit our "Donate" page to make a donation or mail in your check to 195 North Main Street, Milpitas, CA 95035. Thank you and God Bless!
Many companies offer matching gift programs to encourage employees to contribute to charitable organizations. Some provide matching funds to support employee volunteer hours. Please find out if your company will match your donations to St. James Church.
Scrip Gift Card Program
A large variety of scrip (gift) cards are available at the church hall following the liturgy. We have Amazon, Gas, Visa cards, your favorite restaurants and much more! By purchasing scrip cards, our church will receive a percentage or kick-back from the company.
Palm Sunday - 4/12/20
The biblical story of Palm Sunday is recorded in all four of the Gospels (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-38; and John 12:12-18). Five days before the Passover, Jesus came from Bethany to Jerusalem. Having sent two of His disciples to bring Him a colt of a donkey, Jesus sat upon it and entered the city.
People had gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover and were looking for Jesus, both because of His great works and teaching and because they had heard of the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus. When they heard that Christ was entering the city, they went out to meet Him with palm branches, laying their garments on the ground before Him, and shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel!”
At the outset of His public ministry Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God and announced that the powers of the age to come were already active in the present age (Luke 7:18-22). His words and mighty works were performed "to produce repentance as the response to His call, a call to an
inward change of mind and heart which would result in concrete changes in one's life, a call to follow Him and accept His messianic destiny. The triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is a messianic event, through which His divine authority was declared.
Palm Sunday summons us to behold our king: the Word of God made flesh. We are called to behold Him not simply as the One who came to us once riding on a colt, but as the One who is always present in His Church, coming ceaselessly to us in power and glory at every Eucharist, in every prayer and sacrament, and in every act of love, kindness and mercy. He comes to free us from all our fears and insecurities, "to take solemn possession of our soul, and to be enthroned in our heart," as someone has said. He comes not only to deliver us from our deaths by His death and Resurrection, but also to make us capable of attaining the most perfect fellowship or union with Him. He is the King, who liberates us from the darkness of sin and the bondage of death. Palm Sunday summons us to behold our King: the vanquisher of death and the giver of life.
Palm Sunday summons us to accept both the rule and the kingdom of God as the goal and content of our Christian life. We draw our identity from Christ and His kingdom. The kingdom is Christ - His indescribable power, boundless mercy and incomprehensible abundance given freely to man. The kingdom does not lie at some point or place in the distant future. In the words of the Scripture, the kingdom of God is not only at hand (Matthew 3:2; 4:17), it is within us (Luke 17:21). The kingdom is a present reality as well as a future realization (Matthew 6:10). Theophan the Recluse wrote the following words about the inward rule of Christ the King:
“The Kingdom of God is within us when God reigns in us, when the soul in its depths confesses God as its Master, and is obedient to Him in all its powers. Then God acts within it as master ‘both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ (Philippians 2:13). This reign begins as soon as we resolve to serve God in our Lord Jesus Christ, by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Then the Christian hands over to God his consciousness and freedom, which comprises the essential substance of our human life, and God accepts the sacrifice; and in this way the alliance of man with God and God with man is achieved, and the covenant with God, which was severed by the Fall and continues to be severed by our willful sins, is re-established.”
The kingdom of God is the life of the Holy Trinity in the world. It is the kingdom of holiness, goodness, truth, beauty, love, peace and joy. These qualities are not works of the human spirit. They proceed from the life of God and reveal God. Christ Himself is the kingdom. He is the God-Man, Who brought God down to earth (John 1:1,14). “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not. He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not” (John 1:10-11). He was reviled and hated.
Palm Sunday summons us to behold our king - the Suffering Servant. We cannot understand Jesus' kingship apart from the Passion. Filled with infinite love for the Father and the Holy Spirit, and for creation, in His inexpressible humility Jesus accepted the infinite abasement of the Cross. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; He was wounded for our transgressions and made Himself an offering for sin (Isaiah 53). His glorification, which was accomplished by the resurrection and the ascension, was achieved through the Cross.
In the fleeting moments of exuberance that marked Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the world received its King, the king who was on His way to death. His Passion, however, was no morbid desire for martyrdom. Jesus' purpose was to accomplish the mission for which the Father sent Him.
“The Son and Word of the Father, like Him without beginning and eternal, has come today to the city of Jerusalem, seated on a dumb beast, on a foal. From fear the cherubim dare not gaze upon Him; yet the children honor Him with palms and branches, and mystically they sing a hymn of praise: ‘Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna to the Son of David, who has come to save from error all mankind.’” (A hymn of the Light.)
“With our souls cleansed and in spirit carrying branches, with faith let us sing Christ's praises like the children, crying with a loud voice to the Master: Blessed art Thou, O Savior, who hast come into the world to save Adam from the ancient curse; and in Thy love for mankind Thou hast been pleased to become spiritually the new Adam. O Word, who hast ordered all things for our good, glory to Thee.” (A Sessional hymn of the Orthros)
About Orthodox Icons
In the Orthodox Church the icons bear witness to the reality of God’s presence with us in the mystery of faith. The icons are not just human pictures or visual aids to contemplation and prayer. They are the witnesses of the presence of the Kingdom of God to us, and so of our own presence to the Kingdom of God in the Church. It is the Orthodox faith that icons are not only permissible, but are spiritually necessary because “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1.14). Christ is truly man and, as man, truly the “icon of the invisible God” (Col 1.15; 1 Cor 11.7; 2 Cor 4.4).
The iconostasis or icon screen in the Orthodox Church exists to show our unity with Christ, his mother and all the angels and saints. It exists to show our unity with God. The altar table, which stands for the Banquet Table of the Kingdom of God, is placed behind the so-called royal gates, between the icons of the Theotokos and Child and the glorified Christ, showing that everything which happens to us in the Church happens in history between those “two comings” of Christ: between his coming as the Saviour born of Mary and His coming at the end of the age as the King and the Judge.
The icons on the royal gates witness to the presence of Christ’s good news, the gospel of salvation. The four evangelists who recorded the gospels appear, and often also an icon of the Annunciation, the first proclamation of the gospel in the world. In Greek the gospel is the evangelion, the authors of the gospels the evangelistoi, the annunciation the evangelismos.
Over the doors we have the icon of Christ’s Mystical Supper with his disciples, the icon of the central mystery of the Christian faith and the unity of the Church in the world. It is the visual witness that we too are partakers in the “marriage supper of the lamb” (Rev 19.9), that we too are blessed by Christ “to eat and drink at my table in my kingdom” (Lk 22.30), blessed to “eat bread in the Kingdom of God” (Lk 14.15).
Over and around the central gates are icons of the saints. The deacon’s doors in the first row (for the servants of the altar) usually have icons depicting deacons or angels, God’s servants. The first row also has an icon of the person or event in whose honor the given building is dedicated, along with other prominent saints or events. Depending on the size of the iconostasis, there may be rows of icons of the apostles, the major feasts of the Church, the prophets and other holy people blessed by God, all crowned on the top by the cross of Christ.
In recent centuries the iconostasis in most Orthodox churches became very ornate and developed into a virtual wall, dividing the faithful from the holy altar rather than uniting them with it. In recent years this development has happily been altered in many places. The iconostasis in many church buildings now gives first place to the icons themselves and has become once more an icon “stand” or “screen” (stasis) rather than a solid partition.
Besides the iconostasis, Orthodox Church buildings often have icons or frescoes on the walls and ceilings. The “canon” of Church design is to have the icon of Christ the Almighty in the center of the building, and the icon of the Theotokos with Christ appearing within her found over the altar area. This latter icon is called the “image of the Church” since Mary is herself the prototype of the entire assembly of believers in whom Christ must dwell. In the altar area it is also traditional to put icons of the saints who composed Church liturgies and hymns. Directly behind the altar table there is usually an image of Christ in glory—enthroned or transfigured or resurrecting, and sometimes offering the eucharistic gifts.