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Sacred Lessons - December 2010

Sacred Lessons - December 2010

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Published by Marguerite Paizis
Orthodox Christian Sacred Lessons and Teachings of Christ, His Holy Apostles and our Holy Church Fathers - ancient and modern - designated for December 2010.
Orthodox Christian Sacred Lessons and Teachings of Christ, His Holy Apostles and our Holy Church Fathers - ancient and modern - designated for December 2010.

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Published by: Marguerite Paizis on Dec 03, 2010
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1111
 Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Afric Archdiocese of Good Hope 
ALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE AGES OFAGES. AMEN.REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARIA, BIRTH GIVER OF GOD, YET EVER VIRGIN,TOGETHER WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST OUR GOD. AMEN.
4 December 2010 St Barbara, Great Martyr of Heliopolis, Syria Feast of St Alexander Hotovitzky, New Martyr of Russia – St John of Damascus – St John of Polybotum, Phrygia – St Juliana of Heliopolis, Syria –St Gennadios of Novgorod – St Seraphim, Hieromonk of Phanar – The Holy Icon of the Ever Blessed Theotokos of St John the Damascene 
 Apolytikion Of St Barbara – Tone 4
arvaran tin Agian timisomen; ehthrou gar tas pagidas sinetripse ke os strouthion erristhi ex afton, voithia keopio tou Stavrou i pansemnos.
arbara the Saintly: let us honour now; for sheshattered the snares of the enemy, and like asparrow she freed herself from them, with theHelp and Weapon of the Cross all stately.
 
 Kontakion Of The Nativity Of Christ 
 
Parthenos simeron, ton Iperousion tikti, ke i gi to spyleon to aprito prosagi. Angeli meta Pimenondoxologousi, Magi de meta asteros odiporousi, di’ imas gar egenniti, Pedion neon, O Pro Aionon Theos.
 
oday the Virgin gives Birth to Him Who is above all being, and the earth offers a cave to Him Whom no man can approach. Angels with Shepherds giveglory, and Magi journey with a Star. For unto us is Born a young Child: the Pre-Eternal God.
 
Matins Gospel According to St Matthew 25 : 1 - 13
Be Prepared And Ready At All Times For Only God Knows When Christ Will Return For Our Final Judgement & Eternity 
At that time, our Lord Jesus said:
“... the Kingdom of Heaven shall be likened to Ten Virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the Bridegroom. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. And Those who were foolish took their lamps but took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. And while the Bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold! The Bridegroom is coming! Go out to meet Him!’ And all those Virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish Virgins said to the wise: ‘Give us some of your oil,for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise Virgins answered and said: ‘No, lest there should not be enoughfor us and you; but go rather to those who sell and buy oil for yourselves.’ “And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came, and those who were ready, went in with Him to the Wedding; and the Door was shut.“Afterwards the other Virgins came also, saying: ‘Lord! Lord! Open to us!’ But He answered and said: ‘Truly, I say to you: I do not know you!’ “Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” 
 This Parable of our Lord Jesus Christ illustrates the vitalnecessity of being Spiritually Prepared until theSecond Coming of Christ - the Divine Bridegroom. The Eternal Kingdom of God is often portrayed as Holy Matrimony - similar to the Parable of the Great  Wedding Banquet, which also proclaims the transferof God’s Eternal Kingdom from the faithlessHebrews to the Gentiles.
( MATTHEW 22 : 1 – 14)
 The Eternal Kingdom of God is referred to as a joyful Wedding Banquet with Christ as the awaitedBridegroom.St Paul, in his Epistle to the Ephesians also used theanalogy of Holy Matrimony for the Eternal Kingdomof God.
(EPHESIANS 5 : 21 – 33)
 In the Parable of the Great Wedding Feast, the repeatedsending forth of His Servants with invitations to theGreat Wedding Banquet clearly shows our Heavenly Father’s deep desire to have all His people with Himin His Eternal Kingdom. The Divine Marriage – i.e. the Divine Union – will beconsummated at the end of the age when theBridegroom – Christ – returns to escort His Holy Bride – His Holy Church – into the Eternal WeddingBanquet. The reference to Christ’s Holy Church encompasses allfaithful Christians and other faithful people of God. This Parable of the Ten Virgins primarily concerns the Virtue of Charity – the Virtue of UnconditionalLove/Agape – and Almsgiving since the words “
oil
and “
 Mercy
” have the same root in Greek: “
 Eleos
.” The Wise Virgins are those who practise Charity (unconditional Love/Agape) and Mercy in thislifetime – who are thereby preparing themselves forEternal Life, while the Foolish Virgins are those whoselfishly squander (waste) God’s Divine Gifts onthemselves without giving anything to others –thereby condemning themselves to Eternal Death –alienation and exile from God and His infiniteGoodness.Our physical death, which is unavoidable due to ourhuman condition, is experienced by both the virtuous and the sinful people - “...
they all slumbered and slept.” 
“...at midnight a cry was heard...” 
refers to Christ’sSecond Coming – i.e. His physical Reappearance when all Creation – either with great Joy of anticipation or trembling in fear - will see Him in allHis Divine Glory. The living and the dead virtuous and wicked people willstand before His Judgement Seat - being separatedaccording to their own personal choices throughout their lifetimes. The inability of the Wise Virgins – the Righteous Ones –to share their oil is an illustration of theimpossibility of entering Eternal Life without one’sown Faith and Virtue and the impossibility of changing one’s Spiritual State – whether virtuous or wicked – after death.
 
Luke 16:26
 
 
In the account of the Rich Man andPoor Lazaros, St Abraham told the condemnedRich Man :
“... between us and you there isa great gulf fixed, so that those who wantto pass from here to you cannot, nor canthose from there pass to us.” 
 The great gulf that separates the virtuous from the wicked is not a geographical divide but the
 
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 complete separation between virtue and wickedness – a separation that cannot be overcomeafter death but which – due to the Great Mercy of God – can be rectified through sincere and humbleRepentance-Confession, which leads us toReconciliation with God and mankind.Since we constantly fall from Divine Grace through ourconscious or unconscious sins, we must ceaselessly rectify all our errors with Divine Assistance throughPrayers, Fasting and correct Worship. The themes of the Parables of the Great WeddingBanquet (Holy Communion) and the Ten Virgins(Repentance-Confession and Life in Christ –preparing ourselves for Eternal Life) are woventogether in the Liturgical Hymns of Holy Week,particularly in the
Troparion
of Holy Monday, Holy  Tuesday and Holy Wednesday:
“Behold! The Bridegroom comes at midnight, and Blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching!” 
The Epistle of St Paul to the Galatians 3 : 23- 4 : 5 
 Sonship (Our Divine Adoption) Through Faith And Holy Baptism
Brethren: Before Faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law, kept for the Faith that would afterwards be
revealed. Therefore the Law was our tutor to
 
 bring us to Christ, that we might be Justified by Faith. But after
Faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through Faith in Christ Jesus. For as
many of you as were Baptised into Christ have put on Christ.
There is
neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is neither male nor female; for you are all One
in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and Heirs according to the Promise.
 
The Holy Gospel According to St Mark 5 : 24 – 34 
The Faith Of The Woman Whom No One Could Heal
At that time our Lord Jesus went with (Jairus, one of the rulers of the Synagogue,) and a great multitude followed
Him and thronged Him.
 
Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and
 
had suffered many things from many physicians.
She had spent all that she had and was not better, but rather grew worse. And when she heard about Jesus, she
went behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment, for she thought:
“If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 
Immediately the fountain of her blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of 
the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that Power had gone out of Him, turned around in
the crowd and asked
:
“Who touched My clothes?” 
And His Disciples said to Him:
“Thou see the multitudethronging Thee, yet Thou ask: “Who touched Me?’” 
And He looked around to see her who had done so, but the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had
happened to her, wen
t and fell down before Him and told Him the whole Truth. And He said to her
: “Daughter, your Faith has made you well. Go in Peace, and be healed of your affliction.” 
The Life & Martyrdom of St Barbara of Heliopolis, Syria 
St Barbara’s father, Dioscoros, was a rich and illustriouspagan who lived in Heliopolis and devoted himself to his only child after the death of his wife.Due to St Barbara's extraordinary attractiveness,Dioscoros hid her from the sight of strangers in atower, where only her pagan teachers were allowedto visit but from which she was able to observe thesplendour of wooded hills, the swiftly flowing rivers,the meadows covered with flowers and thespectacular night skies.She began to contemplate the First Cause and Creatorof such a harmonious and splendid world – andrejected the soulless idols made by human hands, which could never have created the surroundingnatural beauty.St Barbara vowed to devote herself to the True God anda life of virtuous chastity. Although many suitors wanted to marry her and despitethe entreaties of her father, she refused them alland she warned him that his persistence might endtragically and separate them forever.Dioscoros decided to permit her the freedom to chooseher friends and consequently St Barbara met youngChristian maidens who taught her about the Creatorof the world, the Holy Trinity, and the Divine Logosand Son of God.By Divine Providence, a Priest, disguised as a merchant,arrived from Alexandria and after instructing her inthe Mysteries of the Christian Faith, before returningto Egypt, he Baptized St Barbara. A luxurious bathhouse was being built at her home withtwo windows installed on the south side. Taking advantage of Dioscoros’ absence, St Barbararequested a third window, thereby forming a trinity of light and on one of the walls she traced a cross with her finger. (It became deeply etched into themarble, as if carved by an iron instrument andeventually her footprints too were imprinted on thestone steps of the bathhouse and the water hadgreat Healing Powers.) When Dioscoros returned and queried the change to hisbuilding plans, St Barbara explained that she hadcome to know the Triune God, the Saving Power of the Son of God, and the futility of paganism.Infuriated, Dioscoros nearly struck her with a sword but she fled from him, and as he pursued her, a hillsuddenly opened up and concealed her in a crevice,the other side of which had an entrance leadingupwards to a cave where St Barbara managed tohide herself. After some time, a shepherd revealed her hiding placeand Dioscoros beat his daughter terribly, placedher under guard and tried to wear her down withstarvation. Then he handed her over to the Prefect,Martianos for being a confessed Christian.St Barbara was most cruelly tortured but at night havingprayed fervently to her Heavenly Bridegroom, ourSaviour Himself appeared and healed her wounds. The executioners subjected the Virgin Martyr to even worse torments and public humiliation.In the crowd of witnesses a virtuous Christian, Juliana, was filled with sympathy and willing to suffer Holy Martyrdom for Christ, she loudly denounced thetorturers until they seized her.Both Holy Martyrs were tortured for a very long time but the Prayers of St Barbara brought an Angel of God who covered their nakedness with a splendid robe. The steadfast Confessors of Christ, St Barbara and St  Juliana, were beheaded. Dioscoros executed hisown daughter but the Wrath of God soon punishedboth torturers, Martianos and Dioscoros who wereall killed after being struck by lightning.Many pious Orthodox Christians chant the Troparion of St Barbara each day, in remembrance of the DivinePromise of our Holy Saviour to St Barbara that those who remembered her and her sufferings would be preserved from sudden, unexpecteddeath, and would not depart this life without benefit of the Holy Mysteries of Christ.May her memory and that of St Juliana be Eternal!
 
(ALL DONATIONS GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED) 22228888
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3
 
 Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope 
ALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THEALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THEALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THEALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THEHOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN.HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN.HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN.HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN.REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARIA, BIRTH GIVER OF GOD, YET EVER VIRGIN, TOGETHER WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFETO CHRIST OUR GOD. AMEN.
28 
th 
Sunday After Pentecost - Tone 3
5 December 2010 
10 
th 
Sunday of St Luke – The Bowed Woman Feast of St Savva the SanctifieSt Savva the Sanctified St Savva the Sanctified St Savva the Sanctified – St Diogenes – St Philotheos oKaryes, Mount Athos – S Nektarios of Bitolya & Mount Athos –Monastic Martyrs of Karyes, Mount Athos - St Gurias of Kazan – St Anastasios the Fuller of Salona,Dalmatia – St Cyrion & St Zachariah (his son) of Egypt – St Crispina of Thacora or Tagora, North Africa.
Resurrection Apolytikion - Tone 3
vfrenestho ta Ourania, agaliastho ta epigia, oti epiiseKratos en Vrahioni Aftou O Kyrios. Epatise to Thanato ton Thanaton. Prototokos ton nekronegeneto. Ek kilias Adou errisato imas ke pareshe to kosmo to Mega Eleos.
et the Heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, for the Lord has shown Strength with His Arm; He has trampled down Death by Death; He has become theFirst-born of the dead; from the womb of Hades Hehas delivered us, and to the world He has granted Great Mercy.
 Apolytikia Of St Savva The Sanctified
es ton Dakrion Sou roes, tis erimou to agononegeorgisas, ke tis ek vathou stenagmis, is ekatontous ponous ekarpoforisas. Ke gegonas fostir, ti ikoumeni lampon tis thavmasin, Ioanni patir imonOsie. Presveve Hristo to Theo, sothine tas psihas imon.
 
hy Martyr, O Lord, was worthily awarded by Thee theCrown of Incorruption, in that he contested fro Thee, our Immortal God. Since he possessed Thy Power, he defeated the tyrants, dashing thedemons’ powerless displays of defiance. O Christ God, at his fervent entreaties, save our souls.
 
 Kontakion Of The Nativity Of Christ 
 
Parthenos simeron, ton Iperousion tikti, ke i gi to spyleon to aprito prosagi. Angeli meta Pimenondoxologousi, Magi de meta asteros odiporousi, di’ imas gar egenniti, Pedion neon, O Pro Aionon Theos.
 
oday the Virgin gives Birth to Him Who is above all being, and the earth offers a cave to Him Whom no man can approach. Angels with Shepherds giveglory, and Magi journey with a Star. For unto us is Born a young Child: the Pre-Eternal God.
 
Resurrection Gospel 6 : Luke 24 : 35 - 53Prokeimenon : 
ing praises to our God! Sing praises to our King! 
 
lap your hands, all you nations! 
 
The Epistle of St Paul to the Galatians 5 : 22 – 6 : 2 
War Against The Flesh & Do Good To Everyone 
Brethren: the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peac
e, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness,
Self 
control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions
and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Le
t us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying
one another.
 
Brethren: if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are Spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of Gentleness,
considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Bear one another’s
 
 burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ.
 
 This Sacred Lesson commemorates all Holy Monks andit reminds us,
 AS STRUGGLING DISCIPLES OF CHRIST,WHOM WE STRIVE TO IMITATE AND FAITHFULLY FOLLOW – OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST WHO IS THE SON OF GOD – BEING GUIDED ANDENABLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT – OUR DIVINECOMFORTER, ADVOCATE AND HELPER WHO GRANTSUS HIS DIVINE GIFTS OF VIRTUE
– such as Love, Joy,Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness,Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control. As developing, maturing and faithful Christians we arereminded that 
 THROUGH OUR HOLY BAPTISM WEHAVE ABANDONED OUR FORMER SELVES –
“THE OLD MAN” 
– who were ruled and dominated by ourpassions or vices and selfish desires but now,
HAVING BEEN REGENERATED IN CHRIST, OUR ONLY DESIRE TO BECOME LIKE HIM THROUGH HUMILITY  AND WILLING OBEDIENCE TO GOD IN ALL ASPECTSOF LIFE. TO WALK IN THE (HOLY) SPIRIT IS TO LIVE EVERY MOMENT “IN THE (HOLY) SPIRIT,” BEING CONSTANTLY  AWARE OF OUR HOLY MISSION DURING THISPREPARATORY PERIOD OF LIFE ON EARTH ANDMAKING EVERY EFFORT TO FULFIL GOD’S DIVINE WILL
 instead of indulging our own flawed and destructivedesires and whims that do not benefit anyone at all.
WITHOUT HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE – TWO INSEPARABLE VIRTUES – WE CANNOT EXPECT TO MAKE EVEN THESLIGHTEST PROGRESS FOR ONLY BY WORKING INHARMONY AND UNITY WITH GOD AND WITH ONE ANOTHER, CAN WE ACHIEVE THEOSIS – SPIRITUALPERFECTION AND ETERNAL LIFE.BEING ENLIGHTENED BY CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST ONE ANOTHER 
,especially when anyone of us stumbles or falls alongthe way.However,
WHEN CORRECTING OUR FALLEN OR STUMBLING BRETHREN, WE MUST ALWAYS DO SOWITH HUMBLE AGAPE OR LOVE
– “...
a spirit of Gentleness
...” and never with a sense of criticism orcondemnation because the next time we ourselvesmay fall even harder than any of our fellow sinners:
Today my brother, tomorrow me!” 
 
(ST JOHN OFKRONSTADT)
 
 TO BE ABLE TO ADMINISTER CORRECTION WITH“GENTLENESS” IS A SPIRITUAL GIFT OF GOD.
St Paul admonishes us to
BEAR ONE ANOTHER’SBURDENS AND TO BEAR OUR OWN BURDENS AS WELL
 

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