All posts by Fr. Michael Laffoon





Troparion for the Resurrection in the Eight Tone:  From the heights Thou didst descend, O compassionate one, and Thou didst submit to the three-day burial, that Thou might deliver us from passion. Thou art our life and our resurrection.  O Lord, glory to Thee.

Troparion of St. Andrew in the Fourth Tone: Since thou wast first called among the Apostles, and a brother of the head, implore, O Andrew, the Master of all to grant the inhabited world safety and our souls the Great Mercy.

Troparion to St. Mark in the Fourth Tone: From thy childhood the light of truth enlightened thee, O Mark, and thou didst love the labor of Christ the Savior. Wherefore thou didst follow Peter with zeal and didst serve Paul as a fellow laborer and didst enlighten the world with thy holy Gospel.

Kontakion of Preparation for the Nativity of Christ in the Third Tone: Today the Virgin cometh to the cave to give birth in an ineffable manner to the pre-eternal Word. Rejoice, therefore, O universe, when thou hearest, and glorify with the angels and shepherds him who shall appear by his own will as a new Child, the pre-eternal God.

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Prokeimenon (Psalm 18:4, 1) Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaimeth the work of His hands.

Reading from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. (Chapter 4:9-16)

Brethren, I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the off scouring of all things.

I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.

Alleluia Verses (Psalm 88:5,7) The heavens shall confess Thy wonders, O Lord, and Thy truth in the congregation of saints.  God is glorified in the council of the saints.

The Reading from the Gospel according to Saint John (1:35-51)

At that time, John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Beth-sa’ida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

Philip found Nathan’a-el, and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathan’a-el said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathan’a-el coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathan’a-el said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathan’a-el answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

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Holy Oblations are offered today by the Ellis family for the soul of mother and grandmother, Virginia, departed this life one year and for her father John David, departed 35 years, and by the Bahbah families to all Andrews in their family and for the soul of their father Andrew Bahbah.

Today’s Coffee Hour is sponsored by the Coffee Hour Committee.

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Please remember in your prayers: Odette Chade, Maha Kureh, Darlyne Dibs, Eleanor Wackeen, Sleiman Aldada, Vanda Billeh and the suffering people of West Africa, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and everywhere afflicted with disease and violence.

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Ushers serving this week: Imad Alchammas & Roger Tierney

Ushers serving next week: Phillip Bahbah & Elias Nasrawi.

Altar boys serving Today: Noah Fortuna, Daniel Attallah, Connor Wilde, George Aldada.

Altar boys serving Next Week: Samir Khamis, Joseph Attalah, Andrew Bahbah.

Church Etiquette

  • Please be on time for services; those arriving late should not approach the Chalice for Communion.
  • To receive Communion, one must be a baptized/chrismated Orthodox Christian who has prepared by prayer, fasting, alms giving, and regular confession.
  • Confessions are heard on Sunday mornings and during the week by appointment.
  • Men, women, and children: please dress modestly for services.
  • Please remove lip balm or lipstick before receiving Communion or kissing the holy icons, Chalice, or Gospel.
  • If you wish to stand for the entire service, please do so in the back or the aisle so as not to block the view of others who may need to sit. When seated, we should refrain from a posture of relaxation (e.g., crossing legs or arms).
  • Pledges, Tithes, Donations: Giving 10% of one’s income is God-pleasing, as are all gifts offered by a pious and cheerful giver with a humble heart. Membership forms, renewed annually, are located in the Hall.
  • Children are welcome! Yet, if they interfere with the prayers of the faithful, we all may need a break.

Quote from the Saints

“God’s holy church in itself is a symbol of the sensible world, since it possesses the divine sanctuary as heaven and the beauty of the nave as earth. Likewise the world is a church, since it possesses heaven, corresponding to a sanctuary; and for a nave is has the adornment of the earth.” — St. Maximos the Confessor

Canned Food Drive

The economic recovery since the Great Recession has been sluggish. All relief agencies are seeing more needs and at the same time donations are down. In light of this, the ongoing canned food collection of our parish is a small but important way to help. Please try to bring something to go in the collection barrel every week.

Good Samaritan Fund

Several years ago, St. Mark Church established a fund for assisting those in need, both within our parish and in the general community. From time to time we ask for contributions to the Good Samaritan Fund, and this is one of those times. If you are in need of assistance or you are aware of someone in our parish that needs financial assistance, please speak with Fr. Michael.


Today we begin our 2015 Pledge Drive. In your bulletin you should find a Pledge Card for the New Year. Please fill in and place these cards in the White Box on the table by the bulletin board, so that we can fulfill the 2015 Budget as passed by the parish at our annual meeting last month.

Community Christmas Card Organized by our Teen SOYO. Please see Christmas Card form included in the bulletin. Deadline for collecting the forms is December 14th. Donation $15 per Sponsor/family.

Advent (the Christmas Fast) has begun. This fast, which lasts exactly 40 days, prepares us to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity (Birth) of Jesus Christ, commonly known as Christmas.  This Fast is divided into two periods: The first is November 15th through December 19th when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, poultry, dairy, fish, wine, and olive oil) is observed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with katalysis for wine and olive oil (some also permit fish) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and for fish, wine, and olive oil on Saturdays and Sundays. The second is the period of the Forefeast, December 20th through 24th, when the traditional fasting discipline is observed Monday through Friday, with katalysis for wine and olive oil on Saturday and Sunday. As part of our Advent effort Orthodox Christians should also participate in the Sacrament of Confession. The only way to combat the commercialization and vaguely sentimental observance of the Birth of the Savior is to prepare for a Holy Feast Day by participating in the Fast!

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Official West Coast Celebration of the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph will take place on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Los Angeles. All proceeds will benefit Camp St. Nicholas and Youth Education Programs. Do not miss this historic celebration in the life of our Diocese – this is the only celebration taking place on the West Coast. We are praying for enthusiastic participation by all churches in the Diocese to honor our beloved Metropolitan Joseph. The day will start with a youth brunch, followed by a reception for clergy and wives, then vespers, and the Gala Reception and Banquet featuring special musical offerings. A Hierarchal Divine Liturgy will be held the next day at St. Nicholas Cathedral. There will be a very special Commemorative Program Book that will include memorable images from the actual enthronement. For tickets, program book and hotel info, please visit:

This Week

Wednesday December 3rd, 6:30 p.m. Advent Paraklesis

Thursday December 4th, St. Barbara Feast.

Friday December 5th, 7:00 p.m. St. Nicholas Vespers.

Saturday December 6th, 10:00 a.m. St. Nicholas Liturgy. Orthros 9:00 a.m.

Next week

Sunday December 7th, FOCUS OC Valencia Inn St. Nicholas Day, hosted by Church School

Monday December 8th, 6:30 p.m. Parish Council.

Wednesday December 10th6:30 p.m. Advent Paraklesis

Thursday December 11th, 6:30 p.m. Ladies Guild meeting at the Church Hall.

Saturday December 13th, 7:00 P.M. St. Mark Men’s Club Annual Christmas Dinner at the home of Jacob and Vera Bahbah. Please check the flyer included for details.

Upcoming Services & Events

Sunday December 14th, Children singing after Liturgy at Anita Senior Home, 1 Witherspoon, Irvine

Wednesday December 17th, 6:30 p.m. Advent Paraklesis

Friday December 19th, 10:00 a.m. Ladies Guild Baking day at the Church kitchen for Spinach pies

Sunday December 21st, St Mark Ladies Guild Annual Christmas Bake Sale and Boutique after Church

Christmas week Services

Sunday December 21st, 7:00 p.m. Pre- Feast Vespers

Monday December 22nd, 7:00 p.m. Pre- Feast Vespers

Tuesday December 23rd, 7:00 p.m. Pre- Feast Vespers

Wednesday December 24th. 9:30 a.m. Royal Hours; 6:30 p.m. Vesperal Divine Liturgy and Church School Musical Program!

Thursday December 25th, Nativity of Christ Orthros 9:00 p.m. and Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.

Mark your Calendar for Men’s Club New Years Eve Party on Wednesday December 31st. please see flyers included in this bulletin for more information.

Mark your Calendar for Valentine party on Saturday February 14th at 7:00 p.m.

Upcoming Humanitarian Events ‏

Jan 4th Red Cross Blood Drive

Saint of the Day

Holy Apostle Andrew the First-called (November 30)

This Saint was from Bethsaida of Galilee; he was the son of Jonas and the brother of Peter, the chief of the Apostles. He had first been a disciple of John the Baptist; afterwards, on hearing the Baptist’s witness concerning Jesus, when he pointed Him out with his finger and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29,36) he straightway followed Christ, and became His first disciple; wherefore he is called the First-called of the Apostles. After the Ascension of the Saviour, he preached in various lands; and having suffered many things for His Name’s sake, he died in Patras of Achaia, where he was crucified on a cross in the shape of an “X,” the first letter of “Christ” in Greek; this cross is also the symbol of Saint Andrew.

Many Years to all of our Andrews and our sister parish of St. Andrew in Riverside.


Our Ladies Guild buys scrip from many and various stores and Restaurants (see list included in this Bulletin) at a 3 to 10% discount. When you buy the scrip, which is accepted just like cash at the issuing store, the Parish benefits. You pay no more for these goods and services and are making a donation to our parish.  You can purchase this scrip from Saeda Turk at the coffee hour.