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February 2011

February 2011

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Published by Marguerite Paizis
Orthodox Christian Sacred Lessons for February 2011 including the writings of both ancient and modern Holy Church Fathers
Orthodox Christian Sacred Lessons for February 2011 including the writings of both ancient and modern Holy Church Fathers

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Published by: Marguerite Paizis on Feb 06, 2011
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(DONATIONS ARE GRATEFULLY RECEIVED
)
 The Presentation/Meeting Of Christ At The Temple 2 February 2011
 
1.
 
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa 
 
 Archdiocese of Good Hope  Archdiocese of Good Hope  Archdiocese of Good Hope  Archdiocese of Good Hope 
 
AllGlory,HonourandWorshiptotheFather,andtotheSon,andtotheHolySpirit,nowandforever,anduntotheAgesofages.Amen. RememberingalsoourMostHoly,MostPure,MostBlessedandGloriousLady,Maria, Theotokos,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.
2 February 20112 February 20112 February 20112 February 2011
 The Presentation/Meeting of our Lord Jesus Ch The Presentation/Meeting of our Lord Jesus Ch The Presentation/Meeting of our Lord Jesus Ch The Presentation/Meeting of our Lord Jesus Christ rist rist rist  Also the Feast of St Gabriel the New Martyr of Constantinople – St Jordan the New Martyr – St Agathadoros of Cappadoccia 
 
Apolytikion Of The Meeting/Presentation
 H 
ere Keharitomeni Theotoke Parthene. Ek Sou gar anetilen o Ilios tis dikeosinis, Hristos O Theos imon, fotizon tous en skoti.
 E
vfrenou ke si Presvita dikee, dexamenos en agkaleston elevtherotin ton psihon imon, harizomenon iminke tin Anastasin.
ejoice, O Full of Grace, Virgin Theotokos,because from Thee has risen the Only Sun of  Justice, Christ our God, Lighting those indarkness.
ejoice as well, O Elder Righteous, having held in thy arms the liberator of our souls, Who grants alsoResurrection to us.
 Kontakion Of The Kontakion Of The Presentation Of Christ - - Tone 1
O
Mitran Parthenikin Agiasas to toko Sou, ke hiras touSymeon Evlogisas os eprepe, profthasas ke nin esosasimas Hriste O Theos. All’ irinefson en polemis to politevma, ke krateoson Vasilis ous igapisas, O Monos Filanthropos
hy Birth Sanctified a Virgin’s Womb and properly Blessed the hands of Symeon. Having now come and Saved us O Christ, our God, grant Peace toThy Commonwealth in troubled times and  strengthen those in authority, whom Thou Love, as the Only Lover of mankind.
Matins Gospel According to St Luke 2 : Matins Gospel According to St Luke 2 : Matins Gospel According to St Luke 2 : Matins Gospel According to St Luke 2 : 25 2225 – – 3333
St Symeon’s Meeting Of Christ & His Hymn Of Deep Gratitude
Behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Symeon, who was Just and Devout, and who was awaiting theConsolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon Him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see Death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.So he went, by the Spirit, into the Temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according tothe custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and Blessed God and said:
“O Lord, now Thou art letting Thy servant depart in Peace according to Thy Word! For my eyes have seen Thy Salvation, which Thou hast prepared  before the face of all peoples – a Light to bring Revelation to the Gentiles, and the Glory of Thy People, Israel!” 
ST SYMEON WAS ONE OF THE 70 MOST ERUDITE HEBREW SCHOLARS WHO WERE CHOSEN FROM ALL TWELVE TRIBES TO MAKE A TRUE AND PROPER TRANSLATIONFROM THE ANCIENT HEBREW HOLY SCRIPTURE INTOHELLENISTIC GREEK 
, which was the written andspoken language of the known world at the time -three centuries before the Birth of Christ. This translation into Hellenistic Greek became knownas
 THE SEPTUAGINT 
” and has been used by everyone, including our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles – throughout the ages to this very day.It is
 THE COMPLETE, UNABRIDGED HOLY SCRIPTURE OF THE OLDCOVENANT.
St Symeon had been allocated the task of translating asection that mentioned the Virgin Birth of theMessiah and just as he was about to translate the word “
Virgin
” as “
 young woman,” 
 
 ARCHANGELGABRIEL APPEARED BEFORE HIM AND EXPLAINED THAT CHRIST WOULD TRULY BE BORN FROM AN ALLPURE AND MOST HOLY VIRGIN
, but 
SINCE ST SYMEONSTILL REMAINED SCEPTICAL, GOD KEPT HIM ALIVE ALL THOSE YEARS UNTIL HIS MEETING WITH OUR SAVIOUR AT THE HOLY TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM.
St Symeon – like all those who lived at the Temple –knew our Most Blessed Lady Theotokos very well,having watched over her as she grew up and being well aware of her Sacred Vow of Chastity and thepeculiar circumstances of her Betrothal to herelderly uncle and legal guardian, St Joseph theBetrothed.
HIS GREAT JOY IS EXPRESSED IN THIS HYMN OF DISMISSAL, WHICH WE CHANT AT EVERY VESPERSSERVICE SINCE THAT TIME.
St Symeon represented all humanity who waited for
“the Consolation of Israel” 
– the long awaitedMessiah – the Divine Saviour sent to Redeem us by God the Father.
HAVING BEEN KEPT ALIVE UNTIL THE AGE OF 325, ST SYMEON FULFILLED THE DIVINE PROMISE TO ALL WHOLOVE GOD
, as recorded in Psalm 90:16: “
Withlength of days I will satisfy him, and showhim My Salvation.” 
 The Hymns of our Holy Church compare St Symeon’sReception of Christ to that of St Isaiah’s reception of the Burning Coal from the Angel.
 Isaiah 6: 6-7:
 
“...Then one of the Seraphim was sent to me. He had a live Coal in his hand,which he took with tongs from the Altar. Hetouched my mouth, and said: ‘Behold! Thishas touched your lips. Your lawlessness istaken away and your sin is cleansed.’” 
In both cases, a Holy Prophet of God received the Life-giving Fire of the Divine Offering – St Isaiahreceived the type while St Symeon received theFulfilment – Christ Himself. The Canticle of St Symeon is chanted daily during Vespers.Since Salvation has been Born into the world, “allpeoples” can embrace death.
Philippians 1 : 23
 
“... I am hard-pressed betweenthe two, having a desire to depart and be withChrist, which is far better.” 
For the Faithful Christian, death is no longer frightfulbut a necessary gateway to Everlasting Peace.
Proke Proke Proke Prokeimenon of the Presentation imenon of the Presentation imenon of the Presentation imenon of the Presentation 
 I 
will remember Thy Name from generation to generation.
 M 
 y heart overflowed with a good word; I tell my works to the King; my tongue is the pen of a swift-writing Scribe
.
 
 
2.
(DONATIONS ARE GRATEFULLY RECEIVED
)
 The Presentation/Meeting Of Christ At The Temple 2 February 2011
 
The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 7 : 7 The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 7 : 7 The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 7 : 7 The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 7 : 7 – – 1111
 The Rules of the Priestly Orders
Brethren: beyond all contradiction the lesser is Blessed by the Better. Here mortal men receive Tithes, but there Hereceives them, of Whom it is witnessed that He Lives.Even Levi, who received Tithes, paid Tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father whenMelchizedek met him. Therefore, if Perfection were through the Levitical Priesthood (for under it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another Priest to arise according to the Order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the Orderof Aaron? Or the Priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the Law.For He of Whom these Things are spoken, belongs to another Tribe, from which no man has officiated at the Altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which Tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning Priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchezedek, there arises another Priest Who has come – not according to theLaw of a fleshly Commandment, but according to the Power of an Endless Life. For He testifies:
“Thou art a Priest forever, according to the Order of Melchezedek.” 
Persecuted Christians were encouraged not toapostasies to Judaism because
 THE FOUNDING FATHER OF CHRIST’S HOLY PRIESTHOOD, MELCHIZEDEK ( A PRIEST  AND A KING OF SALEM WHO BLESSED ABRAHAM) WASSUPERIOR TO THE OLD COVENANT PRIESTHOOD OF LEVI.
 The payment of tithes expressed the desire to enter intothe ministrations of a religious priesthood, which was only fulfilled once such an offering was made. This applied to all religions, both pagan – Gentile – andHebrew – Jewish. Throughout the Old Testament, we read how theIsraelites showed their continuing desire for God’sPriesthood by continuing to give a tenth of all they received.
V
 
However, because
CHRIST HAS PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICEFOR OUR REDEMPTION, OUR MOST LOVING GOD OFFERSUS HIS INFINITE DIVINE BLESSINGS FREELY.
V
 
OUR UNRESTRICTED, WILLING AND VOLUNTARY OFFERINGS TOGOD ARE CONSTANT TIME SPENT IN THANKSGIVING,PRAISING, HONOURING AND WORSHIPPING - AS WELL ASOUR SPIRITUAL STRUGGLES IN REPENTANCE, FASTING AND PRAYER.
V
 
 AS FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST WE SHOULD GENEROUSLY OFFER OUR CONTINUOUS SUPPORT TO THE HOLY CHURCH– ESPECIALLY TO THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD
- so that 
 AS“THE CHURCH OF CHRIST” WE MAY ALL FULFIL OUR SACRED DUTIES TO GOD
during this preparatory period before Eternity.Our voluntary offerings and fundraising are vital for thegrowth, nurturing and maintenance of our Parishchurches and Archdiocese.
V
 
NOT ONLY IS THE FOUNDER OF OUR NEW COVENANT WITHGOD – OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST – SUPERIOR TO THAT OF  THE OLD COVENANT, THE RULES OF THE NEW COVENANT’S PRIESTLY ORDER ARE ALSO SUPERIOR.
 Any priesthood is so intertwined with a covenant that if the priesthood is changed, so is the covenant. Thus our Holy and Eternal Priesthood is intertwined with our New Perfect and Eternal Covenant withGod.
V
 
BEING ETERNAL AND ABSOLUTELY PERFECT, LIKE GOD, THENEW COVENANT IS UNCHANGEABLE – FOR EVEN THESLIGHTEST CHANGE WOULD DISTORT IT AND MAKE IT IMPERFECT AND NO LONGER ACCORDING TO HIS DIVINE TRUTH!
 Thus by “modernising” or changing anything of the New Covenant to suit ourselves is Apostasy!Such a religion – even if we pick and choose from Holy Scripture to suit our flawed concepts - becomes anungodly, man-made concept that misguides andmisdirects us away from Eternal Life in Christ 
V
 
LIFE IN CHRIST IS A TOTAL ACCEPTANCE OF ALL HOLY THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN TAUGHT AND INSTITUTED BY OUR ONE AND ONLY ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST – OUR LORD JESUSCHRIST 
– Who verbally instructed His Holy  Apostles.
 
V
 
BY THE DIVINE GUIDANCE AND INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - GOD’S TRUTH IS PRESERVED AND PASSED DOWN TO US UNALTERED AND CORRECT - ACCORDING TO THEWORD AND WILL OF ALMIGHTY GOD – BY THE AUTHORITY  AND MEANS OF THE APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION.
 This means that 
WE CAN TRACE OUR ORTHODOXY OR TRUE TEACHINGS ALL THE WAY BACK TO CHRIST THROUGH THE APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION
– an unbroken lineagethrough our Holy Church Fathers to the Holy  Apostles of Christ and to Christ our Lord Himself!
The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 2 : 22 The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 2 : 22 The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 2 : 22 The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 2 : 22 – – 4444
Our Lord Jesus Christ was Presented at the Holy Temple for His Dedication to God
 At that time, when the days of her Purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, they took Jesus to Jerusalem to Present Him to the Lord, (as it is written in the Law of the Lord; ‘
 Every male who opens the womb shall be called Holy to the Lord’ 
), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is written in the Law of the Lord: ‘
 A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.’ 
 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Symeon, and this man was Just and Devout, waiting for theConsolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon Him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he went, by the Spirit, into the Temple. And when theparents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the Custom of the Law, he took Him up in his armsand Blessed God and said:
“O Lord, now Thou art letting Thy servant depart in Peace, according to ThyWord; for my eyes have seen Thy Salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a Light to bring Revelation to the Gentiles, and the Glory of Thy People, Israel.” 
  And Joseph and the Mother of Jesus marvelled at those thing that were spoken of Him. Then Symeon Blessed them, and said to Mary, His Mother:
“Behold! This Child is destined for the fall and rising of manyin Israel, and for a Sign, which will be spoken against, (yes, a sword will pierce through Thine own soul also!), sothat the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” 
Now there was one, Anna, a Prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the Tribe of Asher, who was of a great age, and whohad lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, whodid not depart from the Temple, but served God with Fastings and Prayers night and day. And entering in that instant, she gave Thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for Redemption in Jerusalem.So when they had performed all things according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city,Nazareth. And the Child grew and became Strong in Spirit, filled with Wisdom; and the Grace of God was upon Him.On 2 February the Orthodox Church celebrates thePresentation of Christ - also known as
The Meeting of the Lord 
”- when - according to ancient Holy Tradition that is practised to this very day –
“The Blessing of a Child on the Fortieth Day After Birth “ 
is done at the Holy Temple of God.Our Most Pure and Holy Lady Theotokos faithfully andcorrectly fulfilled all requirements of the OldCovenant Law by taking the forty day old Christ Child to the Temple in Jerusalem to Present Himand to Dedicate Him to the Holy Service of the Lordour God.In the Orthodox Christian Church this is known as “The40
th
Day Church of the Mother and Child.” The Old Covenant Law required a sacrificial bloodoffering of an unblemished lamb – or if the mother
 
(DONATIONS ARE GRATEFULLY RECEIVED
)
 The Presentation/Meeting Of Christ At The Temple 2 February 2011
 
3.
of the newborn infant was unable to afford such anoffering, “a pair of turtledoves or two youngpigeons” was accepted.
V
 
NOT ONLY DID THE EVER BLESSED VIRGIN MARY OFFER GOD A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES, BUT ALSO CHRIST WHO IS THEMOST PERFECT AND UNBLEMISHED LAMB OF GOD – THEREBY FULFILLING COMPLETELY THE PRECEPTS OF  THE LAW.
 This also fulfilled the Prophecy at the time the ancient Patriarch, St Abraham, was ready to offer hisbeloved son, Isaac, as an ultimate sacrifice to Almighty God:
Genesis 22:8:
(Abraham told Isaac)
“My son, God will provide for Himself the Lamb for a Whole Burnt Offering.” 
 The very old St Symeon symbolises humanity who waited for so long for the coming of “TheConsolation of Israel.”
KINDLY REFER TO THE AFOREMENTIONED EXPLANATORY NOTES
CONCERNING ST SYMEON AND HIS SIGNIFICANCE IN THEHISTORY AND PRACTISE OF OUR FAITH.
St Sophronios of Jerusalem St Sophronios of Jerusalem St Sophronios of Jerusalem St Sophronios of Jerusalem – – – On On On On the the the the Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ 
Our lighted candles are a Sign of the Divine Splendourof the One Who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole Universe radiant withthe Brilliance of His Eternal Light.Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to Meet Christ. The Mother of God, the Most Pure Virgin, carried the True Light in her arms and brought Him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a Light for all to see and reflect theRadiance of the True Light as we hasten to meet Him. The Light has come and has shone upon a worldenveloped in shadows - the Dayspring from on Highhas visited us and given Light to those who lived indarkness. This, then, is our Feast, and we join in procession withlighted candles to reveal the Light that has shoneupon us and the Glory that is yet to come to usthrough Him.So let us hasten all together to meet our God. The True Light has come, the Light that Enlightensevery man who is born into this world.Let all of us, my Brethren, be Enlightened and becomeRadiant by this Light.Let all of us share in its Splendour, and be so filled withIt that no one remains in the darkness.Let us ourselves be Shining as we go together to meet and to receive - together with the aged St Symeon -the Light whose Brilliance is Eternal.Rejoicing with St Symeon, let us sing a Hymn of  Thanksgiving to God, the Father of the Light, Whosent the True Light to dispel the darkness and togive us all a share in His Splendour. Through St Symeon’s eyes we too have
“...seen theSalvation of God,” 
which He prepared for all theNations and revealed as the Glory of the New Israel,i.e. ourselves [who are the Christian Church.] As St Symeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at oncefreed from our old state of sinfulness.By Faith we, too embraced, Christ, the Salvation of Godthe Father, as He came to us from Bethlehem.Gentiles before, we have now become the People of God.Our eyes have seen God Incarnate, and because wehave seen Him present among us and havementally received Him into our arms, we are calledthe New Israel.Never shall we forget this Presence; every year we keepa Feast in His Honour.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: SERMON ON THE PRESENTATION BY ST SOPHRONIOS OFJERUSALEM – PREACHERS’ INSTITUTE -
http://preachersinstitute.com/2010/01/28/sermon-on-the-presentation-y-st-sophronius-of-jerusalem/
The Eternal Wisdom of our God The Eternal Wisdom of our God The Eternal Wisdom of our God The Eternal Wisdom of our God- --Inspired Holy Church Fathers Inspired Holy Church Fathers Inspired Holy Church Fathers Inspired Holy Church Fathers Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Elder Paisios of Mount Athos 
 
Indifference toward God leads to indifference towardeverything else; it leads to disintegration.Faith in God is so very important. When we worship God then we love our parents too,and our home, our relatives, our work, our village,our whole region, our State, our fatherland. Those who do not Love God or family are incapable of loving anything; and, of course, they do not lovetheir country either, which after all is but one bigfamily. What I’m trying to say is that 
EVERYTHING STEMS FROMFAITH IN GOD
.
St Nicholai of Zica St Nicholai of Zica St Nicholai of Zica St Nicholai of Zica - -- Prayers by the Lake Prayers by the Lake Prayers by the Lake Prayers by the Lake - -- Prayer 10 Prayer 10 Prayer 10 Prayer 10 
 To a silent tongue and a contemplative mind Thou draw near, O All-Holy Spirit, Bridegroom of my soul. Thou avoid a talkative tongue as a swan avoids astormy lake. Like a swan Thou swim across thequiet of my heart and make it Fruitful.Desist from your worldly wisdom, my Neighbours. Wisdom is Begotten, not made. As Wisdom is Begotten in God, so is it Begotten onearth.Begotten Wisdom creates, but is not created.So, you braggarts brag about your intellect! What is your intellect except remembering many facts? And if you remember so much, how could you haveforgotten the moments of the Wondrous Begettingof Wisdom within you?Sometimes I hear you talking about great thoughts that  were born to you unexpectedly without any effort. Who bore these thoughts to you, intellectuals?How were they Begotten without a father, if you admit that you did not father them? Truly, I say to you: the Father of these Thoughts is the All-Holy Spirit, and their Mother survives as the Virgin corner of your soul, where the All-Holy Spirit still dares to enter. Thus every Wisdom in Heaven and on earth is Begottenof the Virgin and the All-Holy Spirit. The All-Holy Spirit hovered over the Chastity of the first Hypostasis, and the Ultimate Man, the Wisdom of God, was Begotten. What the Chastity of the Father is in Heaven, the Virginity of the Mother is on earth. What the Action of the Holy Spirit is in Heaven, His Action is on earth. What the Begetting of Wisdom is in Heaven, theBegetting of Wisdom is on earth.O my soul, my Eternal Surprise! What happened once in Heaven and once on earthmust happen to you. You must become a Virgin, so that you can Conceivethe Wisdom of God. You must be a Virgin, so that the Spirit of God may fallin Love with you. All the Miracles in Heaven and on earth originate fromthe Virgin and the Spirit. A Virgin gives Birth to Creative Wisdom. A wanton woman creates barren knowledge.Only a Virgin can see Truth, while a wanton woman canonly recognize things.O Triune Lord, cleanse the Vision of my soul, and bow down Thy Sight over her, so that my soul may glisten with the Glory of her Lord, so that the wondrous History of Heaven and earth may beunsealed in her, so that she may be filled withGlittering like my lake, when the sun hovers aboveit at noon.

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