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Χριστός Aνέστη!!! Christ is Risen!!!

SS. kosmas & damianos Orthodox Church (goa)

703 W. Center Street, Rochester, MN

(507) 282-1529

Rev. Fr. Mark Muñoz, Proistamenos


Χριστός A νέστη !!! Christ is Risen!!! SS. kosmas & damianos Orthodox Church (goa) 703 W.

Τόν συνάναρχον Λόγον Πατρί καί Πνεύματι, τόν εκ Παρθένου τεχθέντα εις σωτηρίαν ημών, ανυμνήσωμεν πιστοί καί προσκυνήσωμεν, ότι ηυδόκησε σαρκί, ανελθείν εν τώ σταυρώ, καί θάνατον υπομείναι, καί εγείραι τούς τεθνεώτας, εν τή ενδόξω Αναστάσει αυτού.

Let us worship the Word, O you faithful, praising Him that with the Father and the Spirit is co-beginningless God, Who was born of a pure Virgin that we all be saved; for He was pleased to ascend the cross in the flesh that He assumed, accepting thus to endure death. And by His glorious rising, He also willed to resurrect the dead.

You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Cyril, you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.


Ει καί εν τάφω κατήλθες αθάνατε, αλλά τού Άδου καθείλες τήν δύναμιν, καί ανέστης ως νικητής, Χριστέ ο Θεός, γυναιξί Μυροφόροις φθεγξάμενος, Χαίρετε, καί τοίς σοίς Αποστόλοις ειρήνην δωρούμενος ο τοίς πεσούσι παρέχων ανάστασιν.

Though You went down into the tomb, You destroyed Hades' power, and You rose the victor, Christ God, saying to the myrrh-bearing women, "Rejoice!" and granting peace to Your disciples, You who raise up the fallen.

Sunday of the blind man

St. Cyril Patriarch of Alexandria, 3 Virgin Martyrs of Chios, St. Columba of Iona

June 9 th , 2013

Today’s scripture readings

Epistle reading

Acts of the Apostles 16:16-34

IN THOSE DAYS, as we apostles were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying. She followed Paul and us, crying, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." And this she did for many days. But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the rulers; and when they had brought them to the magistrates they said, "These men are Jews and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs which it is not lawful for us Romans to accept or practice." The crowd joined in attacking them; and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and every one's fetters were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said, "Men, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family. Then he brought them up into his house, and set food before them; and he rejoiced with all his household that he had believed in God

Gospel pericope

John 9:1-38

At that time, as Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came

back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, "Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?" Some said, "It is he"; others said, "No, but he is like him." He said, "I am the man." They said to him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" He answered, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash'; so I went and washed and received my sight." They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. The Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, "He put clay on my eyes and I washed, and I see." Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" There was a division among them. So they again said to the blind man, "What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight, and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" His parents answered, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself." His parents said this because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess him to be Christ he was to be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, "He is of age, ask him." So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, "Give God the praise; we know that this man is a sinner." He answered, "Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see." They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered them, "I have told you already and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you too want to become his disciples?" And they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from." The man answered, "Why, this is a marvel! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." They answered him, "You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?" And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of man?" He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you." He said, "Lord, I believe": and he worshiped him.


I believe and confess, Lord, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. I also believe that this is truly Your pure Body and that this is truly Your precious Blood. Therefore, I pray to You. Have mercy upon me, and forgive my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, known and unknown. And make me worthy without condemnation to partake of Your pure Mysteries for the forgiveness of sins and life eternal. Amen.

Behold, my Maker, I approach Holy Communion. Burn me not as I partake, for You are fire which burns the unworthy, but cleanse me from every stain.

Receive me today, Son of God, as a partaker of Your mystical Supper. I will not reveal Your mystery to Your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess to You: Lord, remember me in Your kingdom.

Seeing the Divine Blood, have fear, O man, for it is coal that burns the unworthy. It is God’s

Body that deifies and nourishes me; it deifies the spirit and nourishes the mind mystically.

You have smitten me with yearning, O Christ, and with Your divine love You have changed me. Burn away my sins with spiritual fire and make me worthy to be filled with Your joy, that rejoicing in Your goodness, I may magnify Your two Comings.

How shall I, who am unworthy, enter into the splendor of Your saints? If I dare to enter the bridal chamber, my clothing will accuse me, since it is not a wedding garment; and being bound up, I shall be cast out by the angels. In Your love, Lord, cleanse the vileness of my soul and save me.

Loving Master, Lord Jesus Christ, my God, let not these holy Gifts be to my condemnation because of my unworthiness, but for the cleansing and sanctification of soul and body and the pledge of the future life and kingdom. It is good for me to cling to God and to place in Him the hope of my salvation.

Receive me today, Son of God, as a partaker of Your mystical Supper. I will not reveal Your mystery to Your enemies. Nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess to You: Lord remember me in Your kingdom.


Liturgical/Program Schedule:

TODAY: Affirmation of Philoptochos Mon. June 10 th : AC/DC Religious Ed, 6pm Thurs. June 13 th : Feast of the Ascension, Orthros/Divine Liturgy 8:30am

“Sanctify those who love the beauty of Your house”: Due to necessary budgetary cuts we no longer have the luxury of paid janitorial services, which means we as a parish are responsible for maintaining the good order of our facilities. Erline Holman has graciously volunteered to coordinate cleaning crews to keep our Church in proper order. We’re asking for volunteers to assist in this important effort, if you’d like to help out please call Erline at (507) 259-5443 for more info. Thank you!!!

Saturday, June 22 nd : is the Saturday before Pentecost which is always celebrated as a “Psychosabbaton” or Saturday of Souls. Please prepare your individual kollyva trays accompanied with the names of those Orthodox Christians who have fallen asleep for commemoration. Orthros/Divine Liturgy will begin at


HOW TO RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNIONOnly Orthodox Christians (i.e. the Orthodox Church does not observe ‘open communion’) in good standing are encouraged to receive Holy Communion frequently, provided they have prepared themselves spiritually, mentally and physically. They must be on time for the Divine Liturgy, and be in a Christ-like, humble state of mind. They should be in a confession relationship with their priest or spiritual father, have observed the fasts of the Church, and they should have self-examined their conscience. On the day of receiving Holy Communion, it is not proper to eat or drink anything before coming to church. When you approach to receive Holy Communion, state your Christian (baptismal) name clearly, and hold the red communion cloth to your chin. After receiving, wipe your lips on the cloth, step back carefully, hand the cloth to the next person and make the sign of the Cross as you step away. Please do not be in a rush while communing! Please take special care not to bump the Holy Chalice.


“For this holy house and for those who enter it with faith, reverence, and the fear of God, let us pray to the Lord.”

The summer months will soon be upon us and that means enjoying warm weather and “fun in the sun”. While

shorts (for males & females), capris, flip-flops, tank tops, ‘spaghetti’ straps, etc. are practical and may be acceptable at the pool or the lake front they are not appropriate attire at church, and must not be worn during the Divine Services of the Church. At every Eucharistic celebration we are spiritually and physically brought in the awesome presence of Jesus Christ Himself, and when we commune He comes to dwell within us in a miraculous way. Therefore the sanctity, solemnity, and dignity of the Divine Liturgy must be preserved for the wellbeing of all.

******Parents, your assistance and guidance are most especially helpful and appreciated.******

Today’s liturgical commemorations


Today’s liturgical commemorations 1. SAINT CYRIL, ARCHBISHOP OF ALEXANDRIA Cyril was of noble birth and a

Cyril was of noble birth and a close relative of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, after whose death he was consecrated as patriarch. During his lifetime, he led three bitter struggles: with the Novatian heretics, with the heretic Nestor and with the Jews in Alexandria. The Novatianists had their origin in Rome and were named after Novatian the presbyter and leader of the heresy. They took pride in their virtues, walked about dressed in white garments, forbade a second marriage, held that prayers should not be said for those who committed a mortal sin, nor to receive back into the Church those who, at one time, had fallen away from the Church even though they bitterly repented. Cyril defeated them and drove them out of Alexandria together with their bishop. However, his struggle against Nestor, the Patriarch of Constantinople, was resolved at the Third Ecumenical Council [Ephesus 431 A.D]. Cyril himself presided at this Council and, at the same time, represented Celestine the Pope of Rome at his request who was unable to attend the Council because of old age. Nestorius was condemned, anathematized and was banished by the emperor to the eastern boundary of the empire where he died a horrible death (for worms consumed his tongue by which he had blasphemed the Birth-giver of God calling her the Birth-giver of Christ). After the completion of this struggle, Cyril lived in peace and zealously tended Christ's flock. He presented himself to the Lord in the year 444 A.D. It is said that he composed the prayer: "Rejoice, O Virgin Birth-giver of God, Mary full of grace!" [The Hail Mary].


Cyril was born and educated in Moscow of an aristocratic family. He was tonsured a monk in Simonov Monastery where he lived a life of asceticism to the amazement of the other monks. In order to conceal his virtues, he pretended insanity. He personally spoke to St. Sergius of Radonezh and received many beneficial instructions from him. Against his wishes he was elected abbot of Simonov monastery. He prayed constantly to the All-Holy Birth-giver of God to show him the way whereby he could, in silence, live a life of asceticism. One night he saw a great light and heard a voice: "Cyril, depart from here and go to the White Lake!" And indeed, he departed from the Simonov Monastery with one companion and went to the vicinity of the White Lake and there, in the dense pine forest, began to live a life of asceticism. In time, this wilderness was transformed into a large monastery. The Venerable Cyril received the great gift of miracle-working from God and cured the sick and worked many other miracles. He died in the year 1429 A.D. in his ninetieth year and took up habitation with the Lord Whom he ardently loved his entire life.

Gems From the Desert…

If you guard your tongue, my brother, God will give you the gift of compunction of heart so that you may see your soul, and thereby you will enter into spiritual joy. But if your tongue defeats you - believe me in what I say to you - you will never be able of escape from darkness. If you do not have a pure heart, at least have a pure mouth. -St. Isaac the Syrian


Gems From the Desert… If you guard your tongue, my brother, God will give you the

Save the Date:

Vacation Church School

Monday-Friday Aug. 5 th -9 th



As of the 4 th century A.D., the desert lands of Egypt saw the beginning of the longest-living anarchic society of all time: that of the Christian anachorites. These were people who had chosen to live there, in order to find the tranquility that was necessary for their praying. Comparatively speaking: when we want to listen very attentively to some very subtle music, we usually shut doors and windows and isolate ourselves in our quietest corner (according to

Gems From the Desert… If you guard your tongue, my brother, God will give you the

fr. Sophrony of Essex). The same applies when you want to hear the voice of God you isolate yourself in the quietest place you can find. You don’t do it out of spite or aversion to the world, or to your

body or to the joys of life etc

This has been made clear innumerable times in the history of Christianity; quite

.. simply, the quietest place on earth that enables one to hear is the desert. This amazing ultra-desertsociety -as it was called- albeit host to several monasteries (which were organized societies complete with a hierarchy), was basically an “anarchic” society overall, because it did not possess any authoritative structure whatsoever, except for the informal (but most essential) relationship between teacher and pupil, i.e. that of a “Geron” (Elder) and a “subject” (pupil). Every new addition to the denizens of the desert would be initiated through this form of relationship to the spiritual sciences, for example to humility and discernment (the ability to evaluate spiritual experiences). This form of relationship was liberal: you had to be absolutely obedient to your Elder (to trust him with your very life, in order to release yourself from your dependence on your personal desires), but you could also leave him to go to another Elder, or even to live without an Elder. No-one would force you to do anything. In this society -which was replete with more love than our secular, conventional societies- many lost the path; however, thousands did attain sainthood. The “Gerontikon” (a collection of narrations about the desert Elders) mentions how saint Jacob of Panepho, when asked by a certain wavering monk to what spiritual heights a denizen of the ultra- desert can reach, the saint lifted up his arms in prayer and flames sprang from his fingertips. “If you want to, make your whole become a fire” he replied. Naturally the ultra-desert society was not cut off from the worldwide Church, nor was it hostile towards the other expressions of Christian living. Even more so, it did not deny priesthood and the holy sacraments, which were given to us by God to help us in our union with Him as well as

between us. This is why monasteries and anachorites coexisted harmoniously, while some anachorites even ended up

between us. This is why monasteries and anachorites coexisted harmoniously, while some anachorites even ended up as Bishops and Fathers of the Church, without regarding that this conflicted

with “their special way” of approaching God. Anachorites would

visit (or have among them) priests canonically ordained by a

Bishop; they would officiate and they would partake of the Body and the Precious Blood of Christ. But in the ancient and the

Orthodox Church, priesthood was not an “institution of power”; it

was seen as a gift of the Holy Spirit, and the priest was not some kind of “representative of God”, but was the bearer of that gift (and of the responsibility) of performing the Divine Liturgy, of confessional and the other fundamental ecclesiastic practices and of bringing the immaculate sacraments to other Christians. As a person, that same priest could well be subject (as a pupil) to a holy teacher, who could quite easily not be a priest.

Modern-day, rebel thinkers who have removed God from their hearts without ever having discovered Him have instead discovered anarchism; and yet, they never learnt of the existence of this anarchic society, despite the fact that during the time they were struggling or writing about it in their own various ways, at least the Russian and the Athonite ultra-deserts were already flourishing. The latter (the Holy Mountain Athos) continues to prosper to this day, albeit confronting the various difficulties and adventures of human history.

Saints have been produced and continue to be produced, even in bustling cities, unobtrusively and humbly, in the way that befits our humble God (which is nothing like the bogey-man that others acknowledge, known as ‘morality’). Most certainly, every saint man or woman regardless whether they live in a condominium or a wooden shack, possibly even raising ten children, also has a piece of desert in his/her heart. They need it, in order to withdraw there and to hearken to the subtlest music in the world: prayer.

By focusing our gaze on the saint-producing ultra-deserts, either by actually visiting them or by perusing

books like the “Gerontikon” (Elder Fathers), the “Miterikon” (Elder Mothers), the “Leimonarion” (the Prairie narratives), the “Thebes of the North”, the “Hagiorite Fathers” and the “Hagiorite Narrations” by the Elder Paisios and many other such books, I am convinced that it is the best way, for one who desires to truly become acquainted with Christianity, to begin their journey. It is possible that the experience they will encounter may become scandalous, and it may be that they will even unwittinglystray onto a wrong path. Whatever the case, may the blessing of all the saints of the deserts - the sandy desert of Egypt and Palestine, the wooded desert of Athos, the wooded, boggy or frozen desert of Russia, the woods of Rumania or Serbia, even the frozen desert of Alaska where saint Herman of Alaska, saint Innocent Beniaminov, saint Jacob Netchetov and others attained sainthood, but also the cement desert of Omonoia Square in the heart of Athens where the Elder Porphyry attained sainthood be their valuable companions and their polar star that will guide them along the way. We wish them a good journey…