St. Philip the Apostle Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church in America
9100 El Portal Dr. Tampa, Florida 33604
Reader Ordination

NICHOLAS FINZER ORDAINED READER

On Sunday, January 3rd, Nicholas FInzer was ordained a reader for the parish by His Eminence Mark, Bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania. Acting with the blessing of our locum tenons, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop Mark also tonsured Nicholas to God's service. Reader Nicholas has been reading at the parish and serving as choir director. God grant to him many years.

Nicholas is tonsured
Nicholas is tonsured
Nicholas is tonsured
Vested with the small phelon
Vested with the small phelon
Vested with the small phelon
Vesting in the stikharion
Vesting in the stikharion
Vesting in the stikharion
With proud wife, Nichole
With proud wife, Nichole
With proud wife, Nichole

THREE EMBRACE ORTHODOXY

 

Exorcisms
Exorcisms
Exorcisms
Anointing with the oil of gladness
Anointing with the oil of gladness
Anointing with the oil of gladness
Baptism by immersion
Baptism by immersion
Baptism by immersion

TWO BAPTISIMS, THREE CHRISMATION AND A WEDDING
BRINGS THREE TO ORYHODOXY AND PARISH MEMBERSHIP

 

The parish received three wonderful Nativity presents by having the joy and honor of welcoming a new family into Holy Orthodoxy and the parish through baptisims, chrismations and a wedding. Anna, Anthony and Sophia are a great addition to our parish family.

Anthony receives absolution
Anthony receives absolution
Anthony receives absolution
Sophia is chrismated
Sophia is chrismated
Sophia is chrismated
Anthony is tonsured
Anthony is tonsured
Anthony is tonsured
Communion for the first time
Communion for the first time
Communion for the first time
Betrothal
Betrothal
Betrothal
Praying for Anthony and Anna
Praying for Anthony and Anna
Praying for Anthony and Anna
Crowning
Crowning
Crowning
Mr. & Mrs. Breland take their first walk together
Mr. & Mrs. Breland take their first walk together
Mr. & Mrs. Breland take their first walk together
THEOPHANY. 2016

CHRIST IS BAPTIZED!   IN THE JORDAN!

On January 5th, at the end of Great Vespers, water was blessed for use in the church and in our homes. The next day, after Divine Liturgy, We blessed the Hillsborough river.

Censing the water
Censing the water
Censing the water
Breathing on the water
Breathing on the water
Breathing on the water
About to submerse the cross
About to submerse the cross
About to submerse the cross
Water for home
Water for home
Water for home
BLESSING HILLSBOROUGH RIVER
Blessing with salt
Blessing with salt
Blessing with salt
Blessing with hand cross
Blessing with hand cross
Blessing with hand cross
Blessing with Holy Water
Blessing with Holy Water
Blessing with Holy Water
 
Beautified Clinic
Beautified Clinic
Beautified Clinic
Fr. George, Fr. Joseph & Nurse Sue with staff
Fr. George, Fr. Joseph & Nurse Sue with staff
Fr. George, Fr. Joseph & Nurse Sue with staff

FR. JOSEPH & NURSE SUE VISIT NORTHERN UGANDA CLINIC
SOLAR POWER AND WELL INTALLATION CONTRACTS MADE

   Fr. Joseph and Nurse Sue Nelson traveled over 8,500 miles to our medical center in northern Uganda, flying from their respective homes to Detroit then to Amsterdam and onto Entebbe, Uganda. The pair first stopped in the Ugandan capital of Kampala to visit with Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop of all Uganda. While at the cathedral, Fr. Joseph baptized and chrismated Seraphim, the two month old son of their driver, Procopius and his wife Maria. The next day they traveled by dirt road 190 miles north to the clinic at Akonyibedo village. 
   Nurse Sue, the clinic's medical advisor, spent time inspecting the clinic and its records, conducting an inventory and meeting individually with each staff member. She also treated some of the patients. Nurse Sue chaired a lunch staff meeting which also included Fr. George, the clinic director and Fr. Joseph.
   Fr. Joseph, accompanied by Fr. George, met several times with the well drillers and with the representative of the solar power equipment supplier. After several days of discussions and meetings, the well was contracted for with a guarantee that the drillers will continue drilling until they find water. This well will be very deep and will supply good clean water for the clinic and for the local villagers who will be allowed to draw from the well.
   Contracts were made for the installation of solar panels sufficient for the electrical needs of the clinic including a special refrigerator for the storage of vaccines. This refrigerator, as well as a sterilizer, was purchased during Fr. Joseph's visit. It is anticipated that all work will be completed within four weeks.
   The value of the clinic was demonstrated this year as it treated scores of patients during a devastating malaria outbreak.
   On Saturday, August 1st, Fr. Joseph and Nurse Sue enjoyed the opportunity to be present at the celebration of a Baptism and Chrismation of approximately fifteen children and adults at St. Mary parish in Lira. On Sunday, Fr. Joseph celebrated Divine Liturgy with Fr. George and with Fr. John, the Lira pastor at St. Nektarios parish in Akonyibedo village. Fr. Joseph was given the honor of preaching the sermon with Fr. George acting as translator. 
   This trip was the ninth for Nurse Sue and the fifth for Fr. Joseph. Both of them have a great love for the people of northern Uganda and as arduous as it is, each trip, as was this last, is a source of great joy and spiritual refreshment.
   Donations to continue the work of the clinic may be made by visiting the clinic website at www.ugandaclinic.org
  


 
 

Holy Matrimony

 

NICHOLAS and NICHOLE JOINED IN HOLY MATRIMONY

On Sunday, June 7th, the parish choir director Nicholas Finzer was wedded to Nichole Osborne. Concelebrating priests were Fr. Joseph, pastor of St. Philip and Fr. Justin Matthews, Nichole's former pastor, who together with his wife Jodi, traveled from Kansas City to participate in this wonderful day. Since Nicholas was unable to lead the choir, Fr. Peter Tutko led the singing. Eleven years earlier, Fr. Peter had Chrismated Nicholas into Holy Orthodoxy. The Temple was filled with parishioners, family and friends of the bride and groom. From the start to the finish, the joyful couple radiated their love for each other and for God as He poured out his graces upon them.
God grant them many blessed years!

 

 
Betrothal w/ receipt of rings
Betrothal w/ receipt of rings
Betrothal w/ receipt of rings
Praying for the couple
Praying for the couple
Praying for the couple
Preserve Them, O Lord
Preserve Them, O Lord
Preserve Them, O Lord
The Dance of Isaiah
The Dance of Isaiah
The Dance of Isaiah
 

IN HONOR OF ST. ELIJAH, VEHICLES ARE BLESSED.

   On the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Elijah, Fr. Joseph blesses the parishioners' vehicles. Since Father had to leave after Liturgy on the 19th to attend the All American Council, the blessing was moved back to the 26th. It was a beautiful Florida day and everyone had his or her vehicle blessed for safe travel for the year.

 

 

DANIEL OWENS IS RECEIVED INTO HOLY ORTHODOXY.

   On Sunday, July 12th, Daniel Owens, son of Rodica and Zack Owens received the Holy Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation and Eucharist. Rodica, a long time parish member, who has moved to Florida's east coast, returned to the parish for the sacraments for her son. The parish was in attendance and rejoiced with mother and father on this wonderful occasion. A festive luncheon prepared by Daniel's grandmother and aunt followed.

 
Chrismation
Chrismation
Chrismation
First Eucharist
First Eucharist
First Eucharist
Churching of Daniel
Churching of Daniel
Churching of Daniel
Tonsure
Tonsure
Tonsure
 

 


CHRISMATION
CHRISMATION

JOHN RODRIGUEZ RECEIVED INTO HOLY ORTHODOXY

   On May 31st, the Feast of Pentecost, John Rodriguez received the Holy Mystery (Sacrament) of Chrismation. Having attended the parish for over one year and having studied with Fr. Joseph since November, John was well prepared for the reception of this great gift of the true faith. Being sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit on the feast of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles was most appropriate. It served as a reminder to all of us of the great gift of the Holy Spirit that we each received at our own Chrismation. As a sign of his new life in the true faith John chose and was given the name Panteleimon in honor of the great martyr. May God grant to his newest servant Panteleimon, peace, health and happiness for many blessed years.

 
Receiving Absolution
Receiving Absolution
Receiving Absolution
Praying for John
Praying for John
Praying for John
"For the newly enlightened"
"For the newly enlightened"
Communion for the 1st time
Communion for the 1st time
Communion for the 1st time

ALL AMERICAN COUNCIL
 

ALL AMERICAN COUNCIL ADOPTS NEW STATUE
FOR CHURCH GOVERNANCE

   Meeting in Atlanta for its 18th triennial council, the Orthodox Church in America by a vote of 473 to 15 ratified a revised Statute for the Church. In essence, bylaws for the OCA, the new Statute address many aspects of the day to day administration and structure. Among other things, it sets out the duties and areas of responsibility of diocesan councils and the Metropolitan council. Likewise, for the first time the duties and responsibilities of the OCA officers such as the chancellor and secretary are addressed. This document will allow the Church to better serve the needs of the parishes and of the members in areas of administrative support and governance.

   Fr. Joseph served as a delegate to the Council and was able to discuss with the Metropolitan a proposed course of legal action for the Church in light of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding marriage. For all of the delegates and observers the highlight of the Council was the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in which all of the bishops of the OCA, as well as several visiting hierarchs, joined with main celebrant, Metropolitan Tikhon.

   During the Council each diocese presented a video regarding its efforts at outreach. Our Uganda clinic was included. Click for here for the video.

 

 

 
Met. Tikhon
Met. Tikhon
Met. Tikhon
Liturgy begins
Liturgy begins
Liturgy begins
Youth Choir
Youth Choir
Youth Choir
At the Holy Table
At the Holy Table
At the Holy Table

 


JULY 4th PICNIC

The cooks light the fire.

PARISH CLEBRATED THE 4TH ON THE 5TH.

On Sunday, July 5th the parish celebrated the Independence of our Nation with a picnic at nearby Lowery Park. The day was a typical beautiful summer day with temperatures in the mid-nineties. Many of the parishioners gathered for an afternoon of fun, socializing and good picnic food. George Chakkar and his wife/helper repeated his grand performance as our chief for outdoor grilling of hamburgers and hot dogs. Socializing, games and the singing of patriotic songs preceded the meal.

 

 

 

The cooks light the fire.

The cooks light the fire.
The cooks light the fire.
Some prepicnic socializing.
Some prepicnic socializing.
Some prepicnic socializing.
Bug umprellas, a FLorida must.
Bug umprellas, a FLorida must.
Bug umprellas, a FLorida must.
The cooks entertain also.
The cooks entertain also.
The cooks entertain also.
Theophany 2013
Fr. Joseph breaths upon the water.
Fr. Joseph breaths upon the water.
Fr. Joseph breaths upon the water.
The cross is immercersed.
The cross is immercersed.
The cross is immercersed.
Coming forward to be blessed.
Coming forward to be blessed.
Coming forward to be blessed.
Preparing to bless the river.
Preparing to bless the river.
Preparing to bless the river.
Blessing the river.
Blessing the river.
Blessing the river.
Getting ready for the picnic.
Getting ready for the picnic.
Getting ready for the picnic.
George cooks for us.
George cooks for us.
George cooks for us.

JANUARY 6TH - A FULL DAY OF THEOPHANY CELEBRATION

The Feast of Theophany fell on a Sunday this year and the parish took the resulting opportunity to spend the day in celebrating this glorious feast. We began with Divine Liturgy as usual and followed it with the Great Blessing of Water. We then traveled to Lowery Park, which is only one and a quarter miles from the church, and blessed the Hillsborough River which flows through the city of Tampa. Following the blessing, we had a picnic in the park. The weather had been forecast as "a high of 60 with a 60% chance of rain. However, God blessed us with a high of 80 and blue skies. Perfect Florida weather.


2010 State Fair

 

PARISH TO RETURNS TO FLORIDA STATE FAIR IN 2011

For the third straight year, St. Philip parish displayed icons and other sacred objects at the Florida State Fair in Tampa. We man our both in the main exposition hall 13 hours per day for the 12 days of the fair. We continue to use this opportunity to bring knowledge of Orthodoxy to the over 450,000 fair goers. The fair ran from February 10 to 21. Photos of our booth from previous years may be seen by clicking on "Photo Album" at the left.

New Dome Added

PARISH INSTALLS NEW DOME

On December 11th we installed a dome on the roof of our temple. The dome was a gift from Fr. John Chutek, and his parishioners from our sister parish, St. Mark in Bradenton, Florida. The dome graced their temple for many years and when they moved into their new temple they sought a good home for it. Wishing to help their newest sister parish to the north, they generously gifted it to us. Our parish vice-president, Tandova Xenia Ecenia, owner of Tandova, Inc. along with her husband, Seraphim Oberst refurbished the dome and cross with a beautiful coat of new gold paint. They also built a base for it. With the aid of some of their friends and employees, the dome was installed on our roof giving our building a true Orthodox presence. God continues to shower us with blessings as we seek to do his will in Tampa. We are grateful to Fr. John, his parishioners, Tandova, Seraphim and all of their helpers. God grant to all of them many years.

Award Given

From left, Fr. Seraphim Hipsh, Dallas area dean, Metropolitan Jonah, Fr. Joseph<br>and Fr. Jason Foster who was ordained priest at the Divine Liturgy.
From left, Fr. Seraphim Hipsh, Dallas area dean, Metropolitan Jonah, Fr. Joseph
and Fr. Jason Foster who was ordained priest at the Divine Liturgy.
From left, Fr. Seraphim Hipsh, Dallas area dean, Metropolitan Jonah, Fr. Joseph
and Fr. Jason Foster who was ordained priest at the Divine Liturgy.

FR. JOSEPH GIVEN AWARD.

On July 21, during the Divine Liturgy at the Diocesan Assembly in Atlanta, Metropolitan Jonah, on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, presented Fr. Joseph with the gold pectoral cross. Fr. Joseph said that he was humbled by the Holy Synod's actions in making the award and that any accomplishments he has had in his ministry were "the result of the grace of God and the help and cooperation of the wonderful parishioners at St. Philip."


METROPOLITAN JONAH VISITS THE PARISH

On Sunday, April 25th, Metropolitan Jonah paid a short visit to St. Philip parish. His Beatitude was in Bradenton for the weekend attending the dedication of St. Mark parish's new temple. During the festivities he told Fr. Joseph that he would like to pay a brief visit to St. Philip parish on his way to the airport. A number of our parishioners gathered to greet him with the traditional offering of salt, bread, the hand cross and the keys to the church building. Met. Jonah individually blessed each of the parishioners present and exchanged a few joyful remarks with them. He indicated to Fr. Joseph his desire to return for an hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Then it was off to the airport and a return to his busy schedule. God grant him many years.


Florida State Fair 2010

The booth being erected<br>in the main Exhibition Hall
The booth being erected
in the main Exhibition Hall
The booth being erected
in the main Exhibition Hall
Our 2nd year at the State Fair
Our 2nd year at the State Fair
Our 2nd year at the State Fair
Meeting and greeting.
Meeting and greeting.
Meeting and greeting.

PARISH COMPLETES 2ND YEAR AT THE FLORIDA STATE FAIR.

From February 4th through the 15th, the parish once again staffed its exhibit booth at the Florida State Fair in Tampa. Presenting an exhibit of icons and liturgical items such as a chalice, Gospel book and a bishop's miter, Fr. Joseph and parish volunteers witnessed to Christ and to Holy Orthodoxy 13 hours a day for all 12 days of the fair. Contact was made with scores of non-practicing Orthodox and many were directed to Orthodox parishes near them regardless of jurisdiction. Hundreds stopped to find out about Orthodoxy, iconography and many of the traditions of the Church. Several people sought spiritual guidance from Fr. Joseph. Although the weather was the worst in forty years, cutting attendance by 25%, considering our contact with an inquiring public the parish endeavor was a success nonetheless.

Chrismation of William Lawrence.

Table with Gospel Book,<br> Hand Cross and Chrism.
Table with Gospel Book,
Hand Cross and Chrism.
Table with Gospel Book,
Hand Cross and Chrism.
The Catechumen is met<br> at the Temple entrance.
The Catechumen is met
at the Temple entrance.
The Catechumen is met
at the Temple entrance.
Bowing in reverence<br>to the Holy Temple.
Bowing in reverence
to the Holy Temple.
Bowing in reverence
to the Holy Temple.
Reciting the Creed,<br>as Symbol of the Faith.
Reciting the Creed,
as Symbol of the Faith.
Reciting the Creed,
as Symbol of the Faith.

Fr. Joseph prays over<br> William Lawrence.
Fr. Joseph prays over
William Lawrence.
Fr. Joseph prays over
William Lawrence.
The priest's stole is placed on<br> the head to receive absolution.
The priest's stole is placed on
the head to receive absolution.
The priest's stole is placed on
the head to receive absolution.
Receiving absolution<br> is part of the service.
Receiving absolution
is part of the service.
Receiving absolution
is part of the service.
Anointing of the senses<br>with Holy Chrism begins.
Anointing of the senses
with Holy Chrism begins.
Anointing of the senses
with Holy Chrism begins.

The Holy Chrism<br>is now washed off.
The Holy Chrism
is now washed off.
The Holy Chrism
is now washed off.
The new Orthodox Christian<br>is handed a lighted candle.
The new Orthodox Christian
is handed a lighted candle.
The new Orthodox Christian
is handed a lighted candle.
Fr. Joseph prays for the <br> newly enlightened Seraphim.
Fr. Joseph prays for the
newly enlightened Seraphim.
Fr. Joseph prays for the
newly enlightened Seraphim.
A joyful new member<br> of our parish.
A joyful new member
of our parish.
A joyful new member
of our parish.

As many as have been<br>baptized into Christ.
As many as have been
baptized into Christ.
As many as have been
baptized into Christ.
Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.
Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.
Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.
Liturgy is over and now<br>the kissing of the cross.
Liturgy is over and now
the kissing of the cross.
Liturgy is over and now
the kissing of the cross.

PENTECOST BRINGS A NEW CONVERT
SERAPHIM OBERST ENTERS THE CHURCH

On Pentecost Sunday we were blessed to welcome our fourth convert into Holy Orthodoxy and the parish of St. Philip. William Lawrence Oberst, husband of our parish council vice-president, Tandova Xenia Ecenia, completed his studies with Fr. Joseph and was fittingly Chrismated on the feast commemorating the decent of the Holy Spirit. Seraphim has been a faithful church attendee for several years and is known for giving generously of his time and talents for the benefit of the parish. His sponsor was Sue Finzer, treasurer and a founder of the parish. A fitting luncheon was enjoyed and then it was back to the Temple for Vespers with kneeling prayers. God grant Seraphim many years.
To listen to the audio of the actual Chrismation with explanatory commentary by Fr. Joseph click here.

A Party and then more prayers.

A PARTY FOLLOWED THE CHRISMATION
THEN IT WAS VESPERS WITH KNEELING PRAYERS

Following Liturgy and the Chrismation a luncheon was served and the highlight was a cake that proclaimed: "Welcome Seraphim." Following lunch we all returned to the Temple for Pentecost Vespers which features the three kneeling prayers.

A cake says it all<br>Welcome Seraphim
A cake says it all
Welcome Seraphim
A cake says it all
Welcome Seraphim
Cutting the cake.
Cutting the cake.
Cutting the cake.
Seraphim with wife Tandova (l)<br>and sponsor Sue (r)
Seraphim with wife Tandova (l)
and sponsor Sue (r)
Seraphim with wife Tandova (l)
and sponsor Sue (r)
Fr. Joseph reads the kneeling prayers.
Fr. Joseph reads the kneeling prayers.
Fr. Joseph reads the kneeling prayers.
Kneeling for the three prayers.
Kneeling for the three prayers.
Kneeling for the three prayers.
Christ is risen!

CHRIST IS RISEN!           INDEED HE IS RISEN!

The Feast of Feasts - Holy Pascha

The tomb is empty.
The tomb is empty.
The tomb is empty.
Processing at midnight.
Processing at midnight.
Processing at midnight.
Everyone is here.
Everyone is here.
Everyone is here.
At the closed church doors.
At the closed church doors.
At the closed church doors.

Gospel Book is brought forward.
Gospel Book is brought forward.
Gospel Book is brought forward.
Chanting the first Paschal Gospel.
Chanting the first Paschal Gospel.
Chanting the first Paschal Gospel.
All listen attentively.
All listen attentively.
All listen attentively.
"Let God arise."
"Let God arise."

"Christ is risen from the dead."
"Christ is risen from the dead."
The doors are opened wide.
The doors are opened wide.
The doors are opened wide.
Gospel in Latin, French & English.
Gospel in Latin, French & English.
Gospel in Latin, French & English.
Eating the Bread of Angels.
Eating the Bread of Angels.
Eating the Bread of Angels.

Blessing the Artos.
Blessing the Artos.
Blessing the Artos.
Blessing the meats.
Blessing the meats.
Blessing the meats.
Blessing the cheese and eggs.
Blessing the cheese and eggs.
Blessing the cheese and eggs.

PASCHA 2010

At 11:30pm we began our celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! At the end of a 1/2 hour prayer service the Holy Shroud icon was taken from the grave and placed on the Holy Table. There it will remain for the next forty days. During that time the chalice and discos are placed on it during the Divine Liturgy.

We then began our procession from the dimly lit church symbolizing the myrrh bearing women going to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body. At the front of the church the Gospel passage that tells of this was read. Then Fr. Joseph using the censer, knocked on the closed front doors. Then the verses, "Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered", etc., were sung. At the conclusion with the people singing "Christ is risen", etc we entered the now brightly lit church and the celebration of Matins and the Divine Liturgy continued. At the conclusion we blessed a special paschal bread called an Artos and then we went into the social hall where baskets of food brought by the parishioners were blessed. Finally we all enjoyed the foods that we had been fasting from for the last forty seven days.


Holy Saturday Morning

The service begins with<br> Fr. Joseph in dark vestments.
The service begins with
Fr. Joseph in dark vestments.
The service begins with
Fr. Joseph in dark vestments.
All of the children helped  to read <br>the 15 Old Testament selections.
All of the children helped to read
the 15 Old Testament selections.
All of the children helped to read
the 15 Old Testament selections.
Another of the children<br> reads from the Old Testament.
Another of the children
reads from the Old Testament.
Another of the children
reads from the Old Testament.
Vestments are changed to white<br>as a foretaste of Pascha.
Vestments are changed to white
as a foretaste of Pascha.
Vestments are changed to white
as a foretaste of Pascha.

HOLY SATURDAY MORNING OFFERS OLD TESTAMENT READINGS
AND A FORETASTE OF THE FEAST OF FEASTS.

On Saturday morning we celebrated a Vesperal Liturgy which was highlighted by the reading of 15 selections from the Old Testament. 15 parishioners, including many of the children, served as readers. During the service the priestly vestments were changed from black to white and a ressurrection gospel passage was read as a foretaste of the coming celebration of Holy Pascha.


Holy Friday Evening

Incensing the Holy Shroud.<br>at the beginning of the service.
Incensing the Holy Shroud.
at the beginning of the service.
Incensing the Holy Shroud.
at the beginning of the service.
The procession begins<br>with the carrying of the shroud.
The procession begins
with the carrying of the shroud.
The procession begins
with the carrying of the shroud.
Immitating the Noble Joseph<br> of Arimathea.
Immitating the Noble Joseph
of Arimathea.
Immitating the Noble Joseph
of Arimathea.
Fr. Joseph carries the Gospels<br>while walking under the shroud.
Fr. Joseph carries the Gospels
while walking under the shroud.
Fr. Joseph carries the Gospels
while walking under the shroud.

The singers enter under the shroud.
The singers enter under the shroud.
The singers enter under the shroud.
The shroud is back on the tomb stand.
The shroud is back on the tomb stand.
The shroud is back on the tomb stand.
Wisdom! Let us be attentive.
Wisdom! Let us be attentive.
Wisdom! Let us be attentive.

HOLY FRIDAY EVENING WE IMMITATED THE NOBLE JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA.

On Holy Friday evening all returned for a service that included a procession with the Holy Shroud Icon. The weather was a beautiful Florida spring evening and the singing during the outside procession added to the joy of the service.


Holy Friday Vespers

HOLY FRIDAY VESPERS

At 3 pm the faithful gathered for the Vespers service of Good and Holy Friday. The highlight was the placing of the winding sheet in the tomb. This icon of Christ laid in the tomb is placed on a stand adorned with flowers and meant to portray the original tomb of Jesus. All present reverenced the icon with prostrations and kisses.

The winding sheet is brought out <br>from the Holy Place.
The winding sheet is brought out
from the Holy Place.
The winding sheet is brought out
from the Holy Place.
Reverencing the Holy Shroud<br>in the replica of the tomb.
Reverencing the Holy Shroud
in the replica of the tomb.
Reverencing the Holy Shroud
in the replica of the tomb.
The representation of Jesus' tomb.
The representation of Jesus' tomb.
The representation of Jesus' tomb.

Holy Wednesday and Holy Thursday Evenings

Adding wine to the oil.
Adding wine to the oil.
Adding wine to the oil.
Even the youth are anointed.
Even the youth are anointed.
Even the youth are anointed.
Anointing
Anointing "those in service to our country."
Anointing "those in service to our country."

HOLY WEEK CONTINUES WITH HOLY ANOINTING ON WEDNESDAY EVENING
AND WITH READING OF THE TWELVE PASSION GOSPELS ON THURSDAY EVENING.

On Wednesday evening of Holy Week we celebrated the service of Holy Anointing. With the reading of seven gospels and with the recitation of seven prayers the oil was prepared. At the end of the service all came forward. Passing under the open Gospel book each was anointed with the blessed oil.

On Thursday evening we celebrated, in anticipation, the matins service for Good and Holy Friday. In a service lasting well over 2 1/2 hours the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ was proclaimed. The highlight of the service was the selected Gospel readings from the four evangelists. Before an icon of Christ the Bridegroom were twelve lit burgundy candles. After the reading of each Gospel a candle was extinguished by different parishioners.

Reading of the 12 Passion Gospels.
Reading of the 12 Passion Gospels.
Reading of the 12 Passion Gospels.
A candle for each Gospel
A candle for each Gospel
A candle for each Gospel
A candle is extinguished<br> after each reading.
A candle is extinguished
after each reading.
A candle is extinguished
after each reading.

Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday

Cleaning the church chandeliers.
Cleaning the church chandeliers.
Cleaning the church chandeliers.
The social hall is cleaned.
The social hall is cleaned.
The social hall is cleaned.
Making palm crosses.
Making palm crosses.
Making palm crosses.
Blessing of palms and pussy willows.
Blessing of palms and pussy willows.
Blessing of palms and pussy willows.
Parishioners receive the blessed branches.
Parishioners receive the blessed branches.
Parishioners receive the blessed branches.
Holding our palms and willows<br>during Divine Liturgy
Holding our palms and willows
during Divine Liturgy
Holding our palms and willows
during Divine Liturgy

A BUSY BEGINNING TO HOLY WEEK

Holy Week began with Liturgy on Lazarus Saturday morning, followed by a Lenten lunch. Then cleaning of the church building began. Since we have no custodial staff we maintain the building ourselves. With joy and comradery we set to work cleaning chandeliers, oiling the wood on the iconostasis, cleaning all of the votive glasses and doing the many tasks necessary to keeping the house of the Lord fit and clean. In the social hall deep cleaning of the kitchen and bathrooms as well as the hall itself was done by the many parishioners who came for this necessary but fun undertaking. Meanwhile in one of the classrooms two of our youth fashioned palm crosses to be added to the palms and pussy willows that would be blessed and distributed the next day. At the end of the cleaning we all gathered for Vespers and then returned home joyful that we had spent a good day in service to the Lord.

The following day being Flowery Sunday, we blessed the palms and pussy willows and distributed them to the parishioners who, in imitation of the crowd that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem, held them throughout the Divine Liturgy.



Spring Planting

The planters gather for the blessing<br> of the work of their hands.
The planters gather for the blessing
of the work of their hands.
The planters gather for the blessing
of the work of their hands.
Fr. Joseph blesses the new plantings.
Fr. Joseph blesses the new plantings.
Fr. Joseph blesses the new plantings.
Blessed are those<br> who love the beauty of Thy House.
Blessed are those
who love the beauty of Thy House.
Blessed are those
who love the beauty of Thy House.

SPRING PLANTING AT THE PARISH.

After record cold destroyed most of the plantings at the church, spring has finally arrived. On Saturday, March 13th, several parishioners joined to replant and mulch the beds across the side and front of the church. It was a chance not only to beautify God's house but to also enjoy the spring weather and each other's company.


Lenten Vespers

Some of the attending<br>Orthodox Christians
Some of the attending
Orthodox Christians
Some of the attending
Orthodox Christians
The Prayer of St. Ephrem<br>led by the clergy
The Prayer of St. Ephrem
led by the clergy
The Prayer of St. Ephrem
led by the clergy
Fr. Jovan Todorovich<br>delivers the sermon.
Fr. Jovan Todorovich
delivers the sermon.
Fr. Jovan Todorovich
delivers the sermon.
Members of the Brotherhood<br>of Orthodox Clergy
Members of the Brotherhood
of Orthodox Clergy
Members of the Brotherhood
of Orthodox Clergy

A lenten meal was served.
A lenten meal was served.
A lenten meal was served.
Some of our parishioners<br>who showed hospitality
Some of our parishioners
who showed hospitality
Some of our parishioners
who showed hospitality
We gather for fellowship
We gather for fellowship
We gather for fellowship

PARISH HOSTS SUNDAY LENTEN VESPERS.

On the second Sunday of the Great Fast St. Philip parish hosted the 2nd of 5 Sunday night lenten vespers sponsered by the Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood of Greater Tampa Bay. Orthodox Christians from all over the Tampa Bay area were in attendance. Following vespers, a light lenten dinner was served. We were honored to show hospitality to our fellow Orthodox.


Holy Icons and a New Catechumen

William is received as a catechumen.
William is received as a catechumen.
William is received as a catechumen.
Parishioners hold high their icons.
Parishioners hold high their icons.
Parishioners hold high their icons.

SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY IS A DOUBLE BLESSING.

On Sunday the 21st of February, the parish celebrated not only the triumph of icons over the movement to banish them from our churches, which is commemorated each year on the first Sunday of the Great Fast, but also we rejoiced at the entrance into the catechumenate of our long time attendee William Lawrence Oberst. The husband of our parish council vice-president Tandova Ecenia, William has been a great joy to know and to be friends with. Likewise, he has given freely of his time and talents to the parish. We all look forward to that time when he is received fully into Holy Orthodoxy.


Clergy group photo.
Clergy group photo.
Clergy group photo.

CLERGY HOLD MEETING IN FORT WORTH.

During the second week of January clergy from throughout the Diocese of the South gathered for their annual mid-winter meeting. This year St. Barbara parish in Fort Worth, Texas hosted the priests and deacons. A combination retreat and workshops, the meeting also allows time for the clergy to fellowship and to exchange experiences and ideas regarding parish life and the needs of the Orthodox Christians entrusted to them. This year Metropolitan Jonah presided as locum tenens of the diocese. While the search for a new diocesan bishop continues there are no concrete developments. We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit that a worthy successor to our beloved Archbishop Dmitri be found.


CHRIST IS BAPTIZED!         IN THE JORDAN!

Record cold temperatures forced the Great Blessing of Waters inside. Anticipating temperatures in the 30s the Great Vespers and the Blessing of Water was moved inside rather than at Lowry Park in Tampa. The next morning after Divine Liturgy, the parishioners traveled 1-1/4 miles to Lowry Park in Tampa. At the boat ramp the Hillsborough River was blessed. Hopefully next year we will have more seasonable weather. But we are thankful for clear skies and for the joy of celebrating the manifestation of our Triune God. For a slide show of both blessings click here.

Blessing Water
Blessing Water
Blessing Water
Blessing Parishioners
Blessing Parishioners
Blessing Parishioners
Blessing the River
Blessing the River
Blessing the River

CHRIST IS BORN!    GLORIFY HIM!

Proclaiming the Gospel<br> of God's Love for Man.
Proclaiming the Gospel
of God's Love for Man.
Proclaiming the Gospel
of God's Love for Man.
Christ is Born!
Christ is Born!
Christ is Born!
Annointing after Grand Compline
Annointing after Grand Compline
Annointing after Grand Compline

PARISHIONERS VISIT ORTHODOX MONASTERIES

   On Saturday the 12th of December, ten parishioners joined Fr. Joseph in a visit to the two Orthodox monasteries located near Ocala, Florida. After less than a two hour drive, the group first visited the women's monastery, Annunciation of the Holy Theotokos. Some quiet time was had in the church followed by group prayer. Then a trip to the icon store was a great delight. Part of the support of the monastery comes from the sale of icon prints prepared and mounted by the nuns. Then it was time for a delicious Lenten lunch prepared for us by the sisters. Our visit was concluded with a talk by the Abbess who described a typical day in the life of the monastery.
   Then it was off to Panagia Valhernon Greek Orthodox Monastery. We were graciously met by one of the monks and took part in a previously scheduled Panakhida. We wrote out the names of our departed for commemoration and enjoyed the chanting of the monks. A tour of the grounds and a visit to the bookstore followed. Then it was back to Tampa in time for vespers. All agreed that this short pilgrimage to these wonderful monastic communities added to the spiritual joy and benefit of the Nativity fast.


Everyone happily listens.
Everyone happily listens.
Everyone happily listens.
Panagia entertains.
Panagia entertains.
Panagia entertains.
The crowd reacts in appreciation.
The crowd reacts in appreciation.
The crowd reacts in appreciation.

PARISH CELEBRATES 4TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS FOUNDING,
FOUNDERS DAY AND THE FEAST OF ITS PATRON SAINT.

On Sunday, November 8th, a triple commemoration was celebrated. Four years ago, on November 6, 2005, St. Philip parish celebrated its first Divine Liturgy. Also commemorated on the 8th were the founders of the parish and also its patron St. Philip. A wonderful luncheon was had and then Panagia, one of our parishioners, entertained with her accordion. We thank God for the many blessings that he has showered upon the parish.


Alex Goodwin from OCMC address the parish.
Alex Goodwin from OCMC address the parish.
Alex Goodwin from OCMC address the parish.

OCMC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR VISITS PARISH

On Sunday, October 4th, at Fr. Joseph's invitation, OCMC Communications Director Alex Goodwin addressed the parish regarding mission activity of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center. A veteran of several mission trips to Africa, Alex encouraged the parishioners to seek to determine if God was calling them to participate in mission activity. Enlivening his talk with anecdotes of his missionary travels Alex gave an interesting and well received presentation at the end of Liturgy. Several parishioners have expressed an interest in participating in a mission trip and will make further inquiry regarding this. We pray that Jesus will use our parish for the continued spread of His Gospel.


Milos Konjevich address<br> a number of parishioners.
Milos Konjevich address
a number of parishioners.
Milos Konjevich address
a number of parishioners.
Diocesan Treasurer Milos Konjevich<br>makes a point to Parish Treasurer Sue Finzer.
Diocesan Treasurer Milos Konjevich
makes a point to Parish Treasurer Sue Finzer.
Diocesan Treasurer Milos Konjevich
makes a point to Parish Treasurer Sue Finzer.

DIOCESAN TREASURER VISITS PARISH

On Saturday, October 3rd, Diocesan Treasurer Milos Konjevich visited St. Philip parish. Milos spend a half hour discussing financial matters with a number of parishioners. He observed that St. Philip parish has done well in its handling of its finances and that it is continuing on a path of financial stability.  He then attended parish great vespers. We are all greatful to the Diocese of the South for its continued support, its interest in the parish and for sending Treasurer Milos to visit and to encourage us.




St. Philip the Apostle Orthodox Church, of the OCA Diocese of the South, is centrally located in Tampa, FL serving the entire Tampa Bay area.
Our phone number is (813) 933-9807.
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Schedule
Wednesday, September 27th
7:00 Vespers
Saturday, September 30th
6:00 Vespers followed by confessions
Sunday, October 1st
Protection of the Theotokos
9:30 Divine Liturgy
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SERMONS BY FR. JOSEPH

FR. JOSEPH'S SERMON ON SUPREME COURT DECISION REDEFINING MARRIAGE.
A sermon by Fr. Joseph regarding the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex "marriage" and what should be the reaction of the Orthodox Church and of individual Orthodox Christians. Click here.

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Location
St. Philip the Apostle Orthodox Church
9100 El Portal Dr.; Tampa, FL 33604
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The Mission of The Orthodox Church in America, the local autocephalous Orthodox Christian Church, is to be faithful in fulfilling the commandment of Christ to “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

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St. Philip the Apostle Orthodox Church is part of the Diocese of the South, which is presided over by His Grace Alexander, Bishop of Dallas and the South. Our mission is bringing the joy of Christ's resurrection to those who have never heard the Good News, and to strengthen and encourage the faithful who reside within Old Forge and the local area. 

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