WELCOME TO ST. PHILIP THE APOSTLE ORTHODOX CHURCH
WHO WE ARE.
Located in Tampa, Florida we are a parish of the Orthodox Church in America founded by our present pastor, Fr. Joseph and five others. Our first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on November 6, 2005 and since that time we have increased in membership eightfold and have been blessed with eight converts. Our parish is a mix of both cradle Orthodox and converts. We are young and old, families and single members. We come from all parts of the country as well as Russia, Moldova, Romania, Greece, Lebanon and the West Indies. The parish is a warm and loving community. We welcome all visitors, be they traveling Orthodox, inquirers, or those who are curious to experience the joy of the Divine Liturgy in English. Fr. Joseph welcomes your calls at (813) 933-9807.
Our website contains much information about our parish and about Orthodoxy in general. Our menu at left will take you to our services schedule, driving directions and contact information. “About Orthodoxy” will take you to pages of information about the faith in easy to read and understand “Q & A” format. Fr. Joseph’s sermons are available in streaming audio or may be down loaded to an mp3 player.
God bless you and please return to our website often.
Prenatal Building Construction
CONSTRUCTION OF MATERNITY WARD BEGINS.
A little over two years ago we opened our medical clinic in Northern Uganda with a staff of one nurse and one lab technician. We immediately found a need to expand the staff by the addition of a clinician (the Ugandan solution to not having physicians), a nurses aid, an administration specialist and a night watchman/ handyman. Recognizing the extreme need for prenatal, birthing and postnatal services, on Monday May 9th Fr. George blessed the site for our maternity and natal services facility. The next day construction of the 550 square foot, free standing, building began. As soon as construction is completed we will add a midwife to our staff for a total of seven.
His Grace Alexander, Bishop of Dallas and the South
HIS GRACE ALEXANDER, BISHOP OF DALLAS AND THE SOUTH
Bishop Alexander [Golitzin] was born in Burbank, CA in 1948 and was raised at Saint Innocent Church, Tarzana, CA. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary. He spent seven years pursuing doctoral studies at Oxford University in England under His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware]. During this time, he also spent two years in Greece, including one year at Simonos Petras Monastery on Mount Athos.
Holy Synod elects Bishop Alexander of Toledo to vacant Dallas See
SYOSSET, NY [OCA]
Metropolitan Tikhon with Bishop Alexander and the Holy Synod in St. Sergius Chapel.
The members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America elected His Grace, Bishop Alexander of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese to fill the vacant See of Dallas and the South during their Spring Session here on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Bishop Alexander succeeds His Eminence, the late Archbishop Dmitri, who in retirement fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 87 on August 28, 2011. A letter addressed to the clergy of the Diocese of the South, signed by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, reads as follows. “Dearly Beloved in the Lord: I am pleased to inform you that the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, at its session held in Oyster Bay Cove, New York, on the Twenty-Ninth day of March in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen, elected the His Grace, the Right Reverend Alexander, Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese, as Bishop of Dallas and the Diocese of the South. “You are to immediately begin to commemorate Bishop Alexander by elevating his name at all Divine Services after that of the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America Metropolitan Tikhon, as is the approved practice of our Church. “Bishop Alexander’s new title, as blessed by the Holy Synod, is “His Grace Alexander, Bishop of Dallas and the South” when serving in the Diocese of the South. The date and place of his installation to the See will be determined in due time. “Assuring you of my prayers for Bishop Alexander, and for all the clergy and faithful who have been entrusted to his archpastoral care,
A FRIEND OF GOD
THE ARCHBISHOP COMES HOME
ARCHBISHOP DMITRI REINTERRED AT THE DALLAS CATHEDRAL
On Friday, March 4th His Eminence Archbishop Dmitri's coffin was exhumed from the grave where it had been buried four and one half years ago. To the surprise of only those who had not known him the body was found to be intact and incorrupt. It was then revested, placed in a new wooden coffin and brought to the St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas. That evening vespers and a Panikhida (prayer service for the departed) were prayed with Metropolitan Tikhon as main celebrant. The next morning a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated and a second Panikhida prayed. Fr. Joseph was blessed to be one of the concelebrating priests. The coffin was then carried by six priests in solemn procession around the cathedral, into the chapel that had been built to accommodate the Archbishop's remains. It was then lowered into the crypt beneath the floor. The relics of him who many believe to be and venerate as a saint were now in their proper place.
A SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF A SAINT
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF THE HOLY ARCHBISHOP DMITRI
His Eminence was born Robert R. Royster on November 2, 1923, into a Baptist family in the town of Teague, Texas. He often credited his mother for providing him and his sister with a strong, initial faith in Christ. After discovering Orthodoxy as teens they asked their mother for a blessing to convert, whereupon she asked one question: "Does the Orthodox Church believe in Christ as Lord and Savior?" As it turned out, a specific emphasis on the person and work of Jesus Christ became the hallmark of the future hierarch's ministry profoundly influencing his preaching and writing.
Having received their desired blessing, and after a period of inquiry and study, brother and sister were received together as Orthodox Christians at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas, Texas in 1941. It was at that point that the two received the names of Dmitri and Dimitra.
Dmitri was drafted into the US Army in 1943, after intensive training in Japanese and linguistics he served as a Japanese interpreter at the rank of Second Lieutenant on the staff of General Douglas MacArthur. After his military service Dmitri completed his education, receiving a Bachelor's Degree from the (now) University of North Texas in Denton and a Master's Degree in Spanish in 1949 from Southern Methodist University. He completed two years of post graduate studies at Tulane University in New Orleans whereupon he returned to his home in Dallas.
In April of 1954 (At this time a Subdeacon), Dmitri, his sister Dimitra and their priest, Fr. Rangel sought permission of the local hierarch, Bishop Bogdan, to establish an English language Orthodox mission in Dallas, the future St. Seraphim Cathedral. Dmitri was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood that same year and assigned as rector of St. Seraphim's. In 1958 permission was sought and given to bring both Fr. Dmitri and the parish into the Russian Metropolia, predecessor to the Orthodox Church in America. During his pastorate Fr. Dmitri served as an instructor of Spanish at Southern Methodist University.
From 1966 to 1967 Fr. Dmitri attended St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary in New York while concurrently teaching Spanish at Fordham University. In 1969 Fr. Dmitri was elected to the episcopate. On June 22 of that year he was consecrated Bishop of Berkeley, California as an auxiliary to Archbishop John (Shahovskoy) of San Francisco. In 1970 Bishop Dmitri was given the title, Bishop of Washington, auxiliary to Metropolitan Ireney.
On October 19, 1971, Bishop Dmitri was elected Bishop of Hartford and New England. In 1972 the Holy Synod of Bishops brought Mexico under the auspices of the Orthodox Church in America, which had received its autocephaly (the right to govern itself) in 1970 from the Moscow Patriarchate. Given his knowledge of and fondness for Mexican culture and the Spanish language, Bishop Dmitri took on additional responsibilities from the Holy Synod as Exarch of Mexico. He was as much beloved by the Mexican people as by those in his own Diocese.
In 1977 at the 5th All American Council convened in Montreal, Bishop Dmitri received a majority of popular votes in an election for a new Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America. For the sake of continuity -- a cradle Orthodox occupying the Primatial See was felt to be more in keeping with the contemporary challenges of a young territorial Church -- the Holy Synod chose instead The Right Reverend Theodosius (Lazor), Bishop of Alaska.
In 1978 the Synod of Bishops created the Diocese of Dallas and the South. His Eminence became its first ruling hierarch, taking St. Seraphim Church as his Episcopal See. Christ the Saviour Church in Miami, Florida, a prominent Orthodox community in the South, became the second Cathedral of the newly formed Diocese. Bishop Dmitri assisted by Archpriest George Gladky, a veteran missionary established Churches and taught Orthodoxy in a region of America where Orthodox Christianity was relatively unknown. The first Diocesan Assembly of the South was convened in Miami, August 25-26, 1978.
In 1993 the Holy Synod elevated Bishop Dmitri to the rank of Archbishop. On September 4, 2008, following the retirement of Metropolitan Herman, the Holy Synod named Archbishop Dmitri as the locum tenens of the Orthodox Church in America. Archbishop Seraphim (Storheim) assisted him as administrator. In November of 2008, Archbishop Dmitri's role as OCA locum tenens ended with the election of Bishop Jonah (Paffhausen) of Fort Worth as Metropolitan. On March 22, 2009, the Archbishop requested retirement from active duty as a Diocesan Bishop effective March 31, 2009. In retirement he remained active especially continuing his acclaimed scriptural commentaries. (His commentary on the Gospel of St. John was published posthumously in the summer of 2015.)
On August 28, 2011, the beloved Archbishop Dmitri peacefully fell asleep in the Lord, attended by priests and laity.
Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory was much loved by his flock and the priests that served under him. Always referred to by his priests as Vladyka, a Russian term of endearment for one’s bishop, he led in fatherly love and by humble example. As one priest summed it up at his reinterment, “We obeyed not so much because he commanded us but because he loved us.
For his former Diocese and the Orthodox Church in America, His Eminence leaves behind a progressive vision of evangelism and ecclesial life, a solid foundation upon which to develop future communities and schools. He leaves the faithful the experience of having had a compassionate father whose enthusiasm was contagious, inspiring many to look profoundly at their own vocations in the Church.
Archbishop Dmitri's episcopacy was strongly characterized by a single-minded devotion to the person and work of Jesus Christ. His publications are testimony to this dedication. They include commentaries on: The Sermon on the Mount, The Parables of Christ, The Miracles of Christ, St. Paul's Epistles to the Romans and to the Hebrews, The Epistle of St. James, and the Gospel of St. John. His works also include the aforementioned Introduction to Orthodox Christian Teaching, as well as A Layman's Handbook on The Doctrine of Christ. Some of these have been translated into other languages.
The dignity that he brought to his episcopacy was well known. People commented on his bearing, the way he carried himself as a bishop of the Orthodox Church. Some found it surprising that such an august figure possessed great love and respect for others, that he presented himself as one of the people.
Without exaggeration it can be said that His Eminence was a rarity, a unique combination of faith, talent, intelligence and charisma. For the Diocese of the South, indeed for the Orthodox Church in America, he was the right person at the right time.
Forty- two years a bishop, each day offered in service to Christ with Whom he now enjoys the blessedness of the Kingdom. We pray for his continued prayers and we thank the Lord for having given His flock the gift of Archbishop Dmitri. May his Memory Be Eternal.
"Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the Word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct" (Hebrews 13:7).
"For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel..." (I Corinthians 4: 15)
RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY
SUNDAY, JANUARY 17TH IS RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY
Sunday, January 17th, is Respect Life Sunday. It is in anticipation of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion which was handed down on January 22, 1973. Special prayers will be offered in all OCA parishes. On January 22 our hierarchs, seminarians and thousands of Orthodox Christians will take part in the March For Life in Washington D.C. As it falls on a Friday we ask all of our parishioners to observe a strict fast on that day and to offer as many prayers as possible for our country, for the women who have undergone an abortion and for those who have chosen not to and thus have chosen to give life to their baby. We are reminded that throughout the year we collect newborn and infant needs and provide them for distribution to mothers who have chosen life. Now is an appropriate time to purchase these types of items and to bring them to the parish.
REPOSE OF ABBOT MARTIN (HOHLFELD)
ABBOT MARTIN GOES HOME TO THE LORD
On January 14th, the Mitered Archimandrite, Abbot Martin (Hohlfeld) reposed in the Lord. A longtime friend of the parish, Abbot Martin often filled in for Fr. Joseph in his absence. He was last at St. Philip parish to help celebrate our anniversary in November. A member of ROCOR, he was attached to Protection of the Mother of God, Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Dover, Florida. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced. May his memory be eternal.
CHRIST IS BAPTIZED! IN TTHE 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.
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.
THREE EMBRACE ORTHODOXY
TWO BAPTISIMS, THREE CHRISMATION AND A WEDDING
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.
FR. JOSEPH'S SERMON ON SUPREME COURT DECISION REDEFINING MARRIAGE.
Below is a control for listening to 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.
Orthodox Morality-No Shades of Gray
|ORTHODOX MORALITY-NO SHADES OF GRAY. An important new sermon from Fr. Joseph on moral decision making for Orthodox Christians in our neo-pagan society.|
MORE ABOUT US.
WE ARE MORE THAN A LOCAL PARISH. WE ARE ALSO A MISSIONARY PARISH.
At St. Philip we try our best to love God and to love our neighbor. Our full schedule of services helps us with loving God and our outreach activities provide opportunities to love our neighbor. We have a year round food collection for the poor. Our entire Christmas collection is used for other charitable works throughout the year. Each year we send at least one short term missionary throughout the world. We have sent three parishioners to Africa, one to Guatemala, two to Alaska and this year we have sent a parishioner to work building housing for the poor in Mexico.
TIMELY SERMON ON MARRIAGE
Wonder Working Icon Visits
HOLY WONDER-WORKING ICON OF ST. ANNA VISITS PARISH
On November 19, 2012 the wonder-working icon of St. Anna visited the parish. At 7pm an Akathist to the Holy Ancestor of Jesus, St. Anna was held and six priests and well over one hundred people were in attendance. The Myrrh-Streaming Icon of St. Anna began to spontaneously “weep” myrrh on May 9, 2004 – Mother’s Day – in the Russian Orthodox Church of Our Lady of Joy of All Who Sorrow in Philadelphia. Parishioners noticed that the icon appeared to be perspiring, and upon closer inspection, Fr. Athanasy, who was the rector there at the time, realized that the icon was producing an oily liquid that looked like tear drops, as if the Saint were crying.
Online Audio of Sermons
NEW HOME PAGE FEATURE.
As a new feature for our home page a link on the home page will take you to the audio of the sermons from the three preceding Sundays. You can still access all past sermons by clicking on "Audio Sermons" at the left.
Technical Problem Solved-Five New Sermons Posted
Almost forty years ago, and when he was the Bishop of Berkley, on Archbishop Dmitri, founder and first bishop if the Diocese of the South, gave the keynote reflection at the canonization of St. Herman of Alaska. On this Sunday of the Saints of North America, Fr. Joseph read this still informative and spiritual address by His Eminence. (Click Here)
On the Sunday of All Saints, Fr. Joseph explores who saints are and our relationship with them. (Click Here)
On this Sunday of the Fathers of the 1st Ecumenical Council, Fr. Joseph explores what a heresy is and how our pride can lead us to our "personal heresies. (Click Here)
On the second coming of Christ and how we are to be prepared for it. (Click Here)
Sermon on parish ministry to all mankind. We explore our upcoming Africa mission trips and hear from two of the missionaries. (Click Here)
SUNDAY OF THE MYRRH BEARING WOMEN.
In the parish the saints are equipped for the doing of all good works in the service of Christ. (Click Here)
Parish life is the foundation of our following of Christ. Here we are fed by His word in the Scriptures and by His body and blood in the Eucharist. Here we unconditionally love and are loved by each other. (Click Here)
From "Hosanna" to "Crucify Him" in 5 days. What happened? (Click Here)
HERE ARE SOME SERMON SERIES AND SOME SINGLE SERMONS THAT MAY BE HELPFUL.
SERMON SERIES ON DOUBT
On May 3rd, Fr. Joseph began a two part sermon series on doubt. This first part dealt with doubt caused by trying to assimilate worldly values into are lives. By trying to be "of the world" when we are not. Part I may be heard by clicking here.
SERMON ON PRESENT ECONOMIC SITUATION
On October 12th, Fr. Joseph preached a sermon applying Orthodox beliefs to the present economic times. True believers must show the world that they have faith in our provident Father. While America has put its trust in money, we, Orthodox, must help it to instead put its trust in God. To listen to the sermon click here.
SERMON SERIES ON THE HOLY MYSTERIES (SACRAMENTS)
A sermon series on the Holy Mysteries of the Orthodox Church by Fr. Joseph is available here on our website. This series, consisting of twelve parts, explores the seven sacraments as well as grace itself. Since we are a sacramental Church, Fr. Joseph thought it appropriate that we should explore these great gifts from God. Whether we are senior citizen cradle Orthodox or recent converts, these sermons shed light on the history, ritual and grace giving aspect of each of the Holy Mysteries. They may be played either as streaming audio or down loaded to an iPod or an mp3 player. To see the varying topics dealing with the sacraments as well as other past sermons click here.
Our dream of a Christian bereavement ministry for all of Tampa has begun. In July our Sue Finzer, herself a widow, attended a week long bereavement ministry facilitator course in Massachusetts. If you or someone you know has lost a loved one and could use some help dealing with the loss please call Sue at (727) 692-9227.
Please click on our "Prayer Ministry" at left and if possible print the list of intentions and pray for them daily. This is a wonderful way to serve Jesus by serving the needs of those listed through prayer. We have recently received a number of urgent requests dealing with the health and welfare of children as well as several of our parishioners. Please pray daily for all of these intentions.
SEE WHAT ORTHODOXY IS DOING FOR THE SANCTITY OF LIFE
Click on "Orthodox Pro Life" at left. It also contains a link to the Zoe website which is the Orthodox pro life ministry.