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2014-July Sacred Lessons A

2014-July Sacred Lessons A

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Published by Marguerite Paizis
2014 July Eastern Orthodox Sacred Lessons
2014 July Eastern Orthodox Sacred Lessons

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Published by: Marguerite Paizis on Apr 26, 2014
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12/24/2014

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Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica

AL L GLORY, HON OUR AND WORSHIP AGES OF AGES. AMEN
TO THE

FATHER,

AND TO THE

SON,

AND TO THE

HOLY SP IRIT,

NOW AND

FOREVER,

AND UNTO THE

RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESS ED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARY, THE OTOKOS YET E VE R VIRGIN, TOGE THE R WITH ALL THE SAI NTS. AN D LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST OUR GOD. AMEN.

1 July 2014 St Kosmas & St Damianos, Holy Unmercenary Physicians of Rome
ALSO THE FE AST OF ST POT ITOS OF NAPLE S – ST PE TER OF CO NSTANTIN OPLE – ST AN GELIN A OF SE RB IA – ST JO HN OF RI LA (TR ANSLAT ION O F HOLY RELICS) – ST LEONT IOS OF RAD AUT I

FESTA

L

APOL

YTIKION

- S T K O S M A S & S T D A M I A N O S TONE (8) PLAGA L 4

Agii

Anargiri ke Thavmatourgi, episkepsasthe tas asthenias imon. Dorean elavete dorean dote imin

Holy

Unmercenaries and Workers of Miracles, visit upon all our ailments and weaknesses, a Gift have you received, a Gift do give to us.

FESTA

L

KONTAK

ION

– ST K

OSMAS

& ST DA

MIAN OS

I

tin Harin lavontes ton Iamaton, efaploute tin rosin tis en anagkes, Iatri Thavmatorgi Endoxi. Alla ti imin episkepsi, ke ton polemion ta thrasi katavalete, TON KOSMON IOMENI EN TIS THAVMASI.
OF THE

Having obtained the Grace of Healing, grant

Health to those in need! O Cosmas and Damianos, Physicians and Most Glorious Wonderworkers, Visit us, putting down the insolence of our enemies, And by Your Miracles, BRING HEALING TO THE U NIVERSE!

KONTAKION

EV

ER

B

LESSED

T

HEOTOKOS

Prostasia

ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is presvian, ke spefson is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton timonton Se.

O

Protection of the Christians unashamable, Mediation to the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the Aid of all who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine Intercession, and press on Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who forever protects all those who honour Thee!
T

The First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 12 : 27 – 13 : 8
THE DIVI
NE

GIF

T OF

LO

VE IS

THE

MOS

SUPERIOR

OF ALL

GIFTS

Brethren: You are the Body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the Church: first Apostles, second Prophets, third Teachers, after that Miracles, then Gifts of Healings, Helps, Administrations, varieties of Tongues. Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets? Are all Teachers? Are all Workers of Miracles? Do all have Gifts of Healings? Do all speak with Tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best Gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent Way: Although I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, but have not Love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And although I have the Gift of Prophecy, and understand all Mysteries and all Knowledge, and although I have all Faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not Love, I am nothing! And although I bestow all my goods to fee the poor, and although I give my body to be burnt, but have not Love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; Love does not envy; Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the Truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are tongues – they will cease; whether there is Knowledge – it will vanish away... There has always been a Hierarchy of Honour in the Church WISDOM BEGETS “THE FEAR OF GOD” IN “SIMPLE” PEOPLE – i.e. those who are beginners on the Spiritual Path towards Eternal of the New Covenant. Life in the Kingdom of God. THE APOSTOLIC WORK OF THE BISHOP SETS THE PACE FOR ALL THE REST. This HOLY FEAR IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM, GODLINESS TOWARDS When the oversight is in order, the rest of the Holy Church is GOD AND THE BEGINNING OF PERCEPTION. free to function at its optimal level. As SPIRITUAL BEGINNERS practise this Fear of God, they GROW IN But even with all the Divine Gifts in place and operative, there GOOD U NDERSTANDING OF DIVINE WISDOM AND DIVINE VIRTUES. is SOMETHING “MORE EXCELLENT” – THE LOVE OF GOD – AGAPE – THE TRUE SIGN OF THE VERY PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! On the contrary, THE UNGODLY ARE THOSE WHO DESPISE DIVINE WISDOM AND G OD’S INSTRUCTIONS, FOR THEY CLAIM TO BELIEVE IN St Basil the Great taught us THAT THERE ARE THREE REASONS – ALL BIBLICAL AND ALL GOD-GIVEN – FOR FOLLOWING OUR LORD JESUS GOD BUT THEY NEITHER KNOW GOD’S WISDOM NOR DO THEY LIVE A CHRIST. VIRTUOUS LIFE IN CHRIST – A LIFE OF GENUINE HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE. 1. F E A R – P R O V E R B S 1 : 7 : “The Fear of God is the Consequently, THEY DO NOT TRULY BELIEVE IN GOD. beginning of Wisdom. And there is good Understanding 2. O B E D I E N C E – A RECOGNITION THAT BECAUSE HE IS in all who practise it. And Godliness towards God is the OMNIPRESENT AND ALMIGHTY G OD WE MUST FOLLOW HIM. beginning of Perception, but the ungodly despise A C T S 5 : 2 9 : “... Peter and the other Apostles answered Wisdom and Instruction.” and said: ‘We ought to OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN.”

ST KOSM

AS

& ST DAMI

ANOS

,

THE

HO

LY

UNMERC

ENARIES OF

RO

ME

1 JULY 2014

1.

While God commands our Obedience to Governing Authorities, OBEDIENCE TO GOD COMES FIRST – before anything else in this earthly life! WHEN THE TWO ARE IN CONFLICT FAITHFUL AND TRUE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST MUST FOLLOW GOD AND BE WILLING TO ACCEPT THE (TEMPORARY BUT OFTEN DEVASTATING) CONSEQUENCES – such as martyrdom. (REFER ALSO LUKE 20:25 & ROMANS 13 : 1 – 7) 3. L O V E – 1 J O H N 4 : 1 9 ”We Love God for He first Loved us!” GOD HAS ALWAYS LOVED US UNCONDITIONALLY – even though we are habitual sinners! So EVEN BEFORE GOD BEGAN HIS MAGNIFICENT CREATION, WE HUMAN BEINGS – WHO ARE INTELLECTUAL BEINGS TOGETHER WITH HIS HEAVENLY ANGELS – WERE PROVIDED FOR. NOT ONLY WERE WE PUT IN CHARGE OF THIS WORLD AND ALL ITS CREATURES – TO PROTECT AND TO TAKE CARE OF IT - BUT – AFTER OUR EXPULSION FROM PARADISE - GOD ALSO GRANTED US THE UNDERSTANDING, WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE AND MEANS WHEREBY WE ARE ABLE TO REGAIN OUR LOST LIKENESS TO GOD that we lost after having fallen from Divine Grace through Spiritual Rebellion and Disobedience. EVERY IMMORTAL SOUL IS BELOVED BY GOD WHO WANTS ONLY THE BEST OF EVERYTHING FOR US – His Great Mercy and Eternal Life in His Everlasting Kingdom of Love, Joy and Peace. GOD NEVER STOPS LOVING US AND HE NEVER ABANDONS US. Instead, WHENEVER WE WILFULLY SIN, WE DISTANCE OURSELVES FROM GOD AND ALL HIS GOODNESS. ONLY WHEN WE ACKNOWLEDGE AND CORRECT OUR ERRORS DO WE RETURN TO G OD’S PRESENCE – to His Warm and Protective Embrace. GOD HAS GRANTED US FREE WILL TO CHOOSE whether we want to live in His Divine Light and Love - or to surrender to the enslavement and ultimate devastation of the evil one who – due to his obsessive hatred of all mankind relentlessly tempts or lures us away from God and all Good Things.
CHRI
ST OUR

WHILE WE MUST ALWAYS AIM TO DO ALL THINGS OUT OF OUR LOVE OF GOD, WE ALSO MUST NEVER CEASE “F EARING” G OD AND OBEYING HIM – i.e. We must always show our deepest respect and Love of God through an eager and willing Obedience to all His Teachings and Commandments, according to which we will all eventually be judged on the final day. Above everything else – above all the other Divine Gifts – St Paul emphasised THE SUPERIORITY OF DIVINE LOVE - AGAPE THAT HAS THE BEST RESULTS OF ALL OTHER DIVINE GIFTS – outshining even Prophecy and Faith, and which is far greater value than even the Miraculous ability to “remove mountains!” Our Lord Jesus Christ urged us to “give to the poor ” and even to lay down or offer our own lives for the sake of others – yet even such SELFLESS ACTS, IF DONE WITHOUT TRUE LOVE – AGAPE – WOULD BE OF NO BENEFIT WHATSOEVER – ARE EMPTY GESTURES WITH NO SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS AT ALL! St Paul clearly explains the actual meaning of Divine Love – ending with the fact that the ONE THING THAT LOVE CANNOT DO, IS TO FAIL! Otherwise, LOVE MAKES EVERYTHING POSSIBLE – FOR GOD IS INDEED DIVINE LOVE ITSELF!! THE WONDERFUL GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE ONLY TEMPORARY AND FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS PREPARATORY PERIOD – WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AGAPE, WHICH WE CARRY THROUGH TO ETERNITY . Consequently, AGAPE IS THE MOST ESSENTIAL VIRTUE OF ALL to possess for it enables us to obtain Eternal Life in God’s Heavenly Kingdom. Thus: THOSE WHO HAVE NO LOVE, HAVE NOTHING AT ALL for they shall not be Blessed with the Bliss and Peace of Eternal Life but rather be condemned to exile in Outer Darkness – the Deep Abyss – total alienation from God and all His Goodness – according to their very own choices throughout their life!

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 10 : 1, 5 – 8
SAV
IOUR

CHOS

E

& INSTR

UCT ED

HI

S

T

WELVE

APOST

LES

When our Lord Jesus had Called His Twelve Disciples to Him, He gave them Power over unclean spirits – to cast them out – and to heal all kinds of disease. These Twelve Jesus sent out, having commanded them: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But rather go to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. And, as you go, preach, saying: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received – freely give.” not blame any of them for going to “uncircumcised The terms “Disciples ” and “Apostles” are often men.” (ACTS 11:3) interchangeable concerning the Twelve Holy Apostles of Christ: OUR LORD PREPARED THEM TO BE SINGLE-MINDED IN THEIR SACRED MISSION of preaching and healing by reminding them “DISCIPLE” means ONE WHO LEARNS AND IS DISCIPLINED or guided by another more experienced person. that HIS DIVINE POWER WAS FREELY GRANTED TO THEM AS A GIFT “APOSTLE” means ONE WHO IS SENT OUT TO TEACH DIVINE WISDOM OF GOD and furthermore, they were not to carry any AND TRUTH TO OTHERS BY THE GRACE AND INSPIRATION OF GOD money with them so that they could not be accused THE HOLY SPIRIT – thus others have been entitled “Equal of greed – and especially so that they learnt to DEPEND ON THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE OF ALMIGHTY GOD – and THEY to the Apostles.” ] OUR LORD JESUS GRANTS HIS FAITHFUL APOSTLES AND DEVOUT OFTEN DID MANUAL LABOUR FOR OTHERS TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES DISCIPLES SOME OF HIS DIVINE P OWER TO PERFORM SO AS NOT TO BE A BURDEN TO ANYONE ELSE. MIRACLES AND TO FULFIL THEIR HOLY CALLING. ] Christ said: “Freely you have received – freely give!” AS THE ALMIGHTY CREATOR, ALL HIS DIVINE WONDERS ARE BY HIS Which was the Holy Rule whereby all Holy OWN DIVINE POWER, ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF HIS HEAVENLY Unmercenaries have served God. FATHER, AND THROUGH THE LIFE-GIVING ACTIVATION OF GOD We, too, should KEEP THIS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT DIVINE THE HOLY SPIRIT. INSTRUCTION IN MIND AT ALL TIMES so that we may share THE APOSTLES’ HOLY MISSION WAS SIMILAR TO OUR LORD JESUS’ everything we have with others – especially those who DIVINE MISSION: TO PREACH AND TO H EAL THE HEBREW NATION, are far less Blessed than we. so that after Christ’s Resurrection, His enemies could UPON THIS IMPORTANT SACRED LESSON WILL WE ALL BE JUDGED!

Eternal, Inspired Wisdom of our Holy Church Fathers
.S t S y m e o n t h e N e w T h e o l o g i a n Whoever fears the Lord will not fear the sickly attacks of demons or the threats of evil people. Like a flame or a burning fire, he goes about day and night through dark and hidden places, and instead of fleeing from the demons he makes them flee from him, so as not to be scorched by the flaming rays of Divine Fire that pour from him. [One Hundred and Fifty-Three Practical and Theological Texts] Archimandrite Nektarios (Serfes) Love of God and Love for one another helps us to become Children of God. Being Meek is also a Blessing for us as well as being humble before our God and in our dealings with one another. Being rude in actions and in speech towards one another only drives us away from our God. Being filled with Love is always the answer, and being filled with Compassion. Let us strive forward to always Love our God and one another with the Virtues. Peace to your soul! A Pilgrim who prays for you! St Gregory of Nyssa True Perfection is not to avoid a wicked life because we fear punishment, like slaves; not to do good because we expect repayment, as if cashing in on the Virtuous Life by enforcing some business deal. On the contrary, disregarding all those good things that we do hope for and which God has promised us, we regard falling from God’s Friendship as the only dreadful thing, and we consider becoming God’s Friend the only truly worthwhile thing.

2.

ST KOSMAS & ST DAMIA

NOS

,

THE

HO

LY

UNMER

CENARIES OF

ROME

1 JU

LY

2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
AL L GLORY, HON OUR AND WORSHIP AGES OF AGES. AMEN
TO THE

FATHER,

AND TO THE

SON,

AND TO THE

HOLY SP IRIT,

NOW AND

FOREVER,

AND UNTO THE

RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESS ED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARY, THE OTOKOS YET E VE R VIRGIN, TOGE THE R WITH ALL THE SAIN TS. A ND LE T US COMMI T OURSELVES AND O NE ANO THE R AN D OUR WHOLE LIFE T O CHRIS T OUR GOD . AME N .

4th Sunday After Pentecost Tone 3

6 July 2014

4th Sunday of St Matthew – A Centurion’s Faith
ALSO THE FE AST OF ST S ISOE S THE GRE AT – ST S ISOE S, SC HE MAM ONK OF KIE V FAR CA VES – ST JU LIANA OLSHANSKAY A, HOLY PRINCESS – ST MAR INOS, ST MART HA (H IS WIFE) ST A UDI FAX , ST HABBA KU K & ST CYRE N OS (THE IR SONS ), ST VALENT INOS T HE PRESBYTER, ST ASTERIOS & OT HER H OLY MARTY RS OF R OME – ST ISAURIOS T HE DE A CON , ST INNO CE NT, ST FE LI X, ST HE RM IAS, ST BAS IL & S T PE RE GRINOS, TO GTHER W IT H ST R UFUS AND ST RUP HIN OS, C I TY OFF IC IALS OF APOLLON IA , M ACE DO NIA – ST QU INT OS OF PH RYG IA – ST LU C IA, VIR GI N MA RTYR , ST RE X IOS , ST A NTON INOS , ST LU CI ANOS , ST ISID ORE, ST D ION , ST DI ODO ROS , ST CUTON IOS, ST ARNOS OS, ST C API COS & ST SATYR OS OF R OME – SYN AX IS OF THE SA INTS OF R ADONEZ H

RESU

RRECT ION

APOL

YTIKION

– TON

E

3

Evfrenestho

ta Ourania, agaliastho ta epigia, oti epiise Kratos en Vrahioni Aftou O Kyrios. Epatise to Thanato ton Thanaton.Prototokos ton nekron egeneto. Ek kilias Adou errisato imas ke pareshe to kosmo to Mega Eleos.
RRECT ION

Let 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 the First-born of the dead; from the womb of Hades He has delivered us, and to the world He has granted Great Mercy.
OKOS

RESU

KONTAK

ION

OF T HE

EVER BL

ESSED

THEOT

Prostasia

ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is presvian, ke spefson is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton timonton Se.

O

Protection of the Christians unashamable, Mediation to the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the Aid of all who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine Intercession, and press on Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who forever protects all those who honour Thee!
THE

Resurrection Gospel 4 : Luke 24 : 1 – 12
THE HO
LY

MYRR

HBEARERS FI ND

TOMB EMP

TY

Sing praises to our God! Sing praises to our King! Clap your hands, all you Nations!
St Paul’s Epi stle to the Romans
HOLY BAP TISM
IS OUR

Prokeimenon

FREEDOM

FROM

SIN

6 :

U NDER

DIVINE GRACE

18 – 23

Brethren: Having been set free from sin, you became slaves of Righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness and of lawlessness - leading to more lawlessness – so now present your members as slaves of Righteousness for Holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to Righteousness. What Fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, having been set free from sin – and having become slaves of God – you have your Fruit to Holiness, and the end, Everlasting Life. For the wages of sin is death, but the Gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Although we choose our Master freely, WE A RE ALWAYS A S ERVICE – being COMPELL ED BY HIS DEVOT ION TO G O D SLAVE T O SOME ON E OR SOM ETHI NG . (There is always AND HIS EA GE R WILLINGN ESS TO SH AR E TH E D IVI NE T RUTH AND T EA CHINGS WI TH EV ER YO NE ELSE . something or someone that controls or even dominates us – a kind of slavery.) S T P AUL WANTE D – MOR E THA N ANY THING ELSE – TO SHAR E THE H OLY G OSP EL OF C HRIST , WHICH FULFILS O NLY O B EDI EN CE TO G OD L EADS US TO R IGH TEOUS NESS , MAKING US H EIRS OF S AL VATI ON RATH ER THA N SLA VES OF EVERY THIN G G O D HAS P ROMIS E D according to the Old SIN . Covenant and which is realised in the Incarnation of the Word and Son of God – our Lord Jesus Christ. T HE H OLY M YS TERY OF B APTISM F RE ES US from being such entrapped, defenceless and futile slaves of sin if we Furthermore, TH E H OLY G OSPEL – TH E G O OD N EWS OF continue to be obedient to God, by following as best S ALVATI ON FO R ALL MANKIND – ALSO REV EALS TH E H OLY T RINIT Y for it is from God the Father, concerning God as we can in the Divine Footsteps – imitating the Perfect Example – of God Incarnate – our Lord Jesus His Son, and according to the Holy Spirit: O UR L OR D J ESUS C HRIS T IS ONE P ERS ON OF THE H OLY Christ. T RINIT Y , WITH TW O N ATURES – HUMAN AND D IVI NE . His S T P AUL R EG AR DED HIMS ELF AS A “ B ON DSERVA NT ” OR SLAV E Divine Nature is from All Eternity and is revealed in that TO OUR L O RD J ESUS FO R HE LI VED I N COMPL ET E He is both God’s son and the Lord. His human nature O BEDI ENCE T O G OD W HO C ALLE D HIM TO H OLY

4TH SUNDAY AFTER PENT ECOST – 4TH

OF

ST MATT HEW -

FAIT H

OF THE

CENTURION – 6 JULY 2014

3.

is revealed in His being born of the seed of David, according to the flesh, for He was Conceived and Born of the Virgin Mary, while never ceasing to be God. In addition, THE R ESURREC TIO N OF OUR L OR D J ESUS C HRI ST DID N OT MAKE H IM THE S O N OF G OD BUT RA THER DECLAR ED H IM TO B E SO AN D THE ABSOLUTE T RUTH OF H IS E T ER NAL D IVI NIT Y , which had been veiled from the world, WAS R EV EALE D FULLY I N H IS P ASSI ON AN D H IS G LORIOUS R ESURR ECTI ON . Consequently, OUR O B EDIENCE TO TH E F AI TH CA N MEA N EITH ER OUR A CC EPTA NC E OF TH E H OLY G OSP EL OF C HRIST ITS ELF , OR THE V I RTUE OF O BE DIENC E , which is practised by those who truly believe in Him and His Divine Name. N EW B ELIEVERS A RE C ALLE D BY G O D A ND H IS H OL Y C HURCH TO A L IFE OF F AITH – A L IF E IN C HRIS T . It is not up to us to create the Holy Church, for the Church of Christ existed very long before us. Instead, WE AR E C ALLE D TO ENT ER TH E L IVI NG , HISTOR IC H OLY C HURCH OF OUR L OR D J ESUS C HRIST as She exists today. Just as St Paul was never ashamed of the Holy Gospel of Christ -having thereby set a good example for us – neither should we ever be ashamed of it nor deny its Divine Truth and Reality – for the Righteousness of God is to be in a continuous state of Holy Communion with Him. T HIS H OLY S TA TE MEA NS B EING IN A RIGH T A ND GOO D R ELATI ONSHIP WI TH G OD , which originate with God and which is accepted by all True Disciples of Christ in profound Faith. W E FI RST RE CEI VE OUR L O RD J ESUS C HRIST BY F AITH AN D THEN CO NTI NUE TO L I VE IN H IM BY THAT SAM E T RUE F AITH .
THE FAI
TH OF THE

St Paul used “human terms” – i.e. the imagery of slavery – in order to express our fallen human condition, because G O D DOES N OT WA NT US AS P OWERL ESS , FUTILE SLA VES , BUT RA THE R AS H IS B EL OV ED A DOP TE D C HILDREN (through our Holy Baptism) – CO - H EI RS to His Eternal Kingdom together with Christ, His Eternal Son. As St Paul points out: if we served sin so well, certainly now, AS WILLING D IS CIPLES O F C HRIST , WE ARE EMPOWE RE D BY D I VIN E G RAC E TO S ERVE R I GHTEOUSN ESS EVEN MORE EFFE CTI VEL Y . While we are enslaved by sin, we do not know enough to be ashamed of it. However, we have now received Christ’s Holy Gospel and the more we learn, the more we realise how shameful and unproductive – and Eternally devastating – a life of sin is, for we know its consequences – Eternal Death and alienation from God and all His Goodness! Our willing Spiritual Slavery to God, which is initiated by our Holy Baptism, is our True physical and Spiritual Freedom, which bears the sweetest Harvest or Fruit of Holiness and Eternal Life in God’s Heavenly Kingdom. Wages are earned so death is earned by us as a consequence of our unrepented sins. On the contrary: Eternal Life is never earned by us for it is a Free Gift of God. N O HUMAN WOR D , THOUGHT O R DEE D – NO MA TT ER HOW GOO D O R NOBLE TH EY MIGHT BE – C AN EA RN US E T ERN AL L IFE FOR IT IS GRA NT ED TO US EX CLUSIVEL Y TH ROUGH TH E D IVINE G RA CE AN D L O VE OF G O D . All we are expected to do is to humbly hear and obey the Divine Truth of Almighty God as taught and preached to us by God Incarnate – our Lord Jesus Christ – and by His Holy Apostles through the Holy Priesthood, which is correctly Guided and Inspired by God the Holy Spirit.
CENTURIO
N

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 8 : 5 – 13
At that time, when our Lord Jesus had entered Capernaum, a Centurion went to Him, pleading with Him, saying; “Lord, my servant is lying at home, paralysed and dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him: “I will go and heal him.” The Centurion answered: “Lord, I am not worthy that Thou should come under my roof. So only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I, too, am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And when I say to one: ‘Go!’ he goes; and to another: ‘Come!’ he comes; and to my servant: ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard his words, he marvelled, and said to those who followed: “Truly, I say to you: I have not found such great faith – not even in Israel! “And I say to you that many will come from East and West, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, but the sons of the Kingdom will be cast out into Outer Darkness! There will be wailing and gnashing of the teeth!” And Jesus said to the Centurion: “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And the Centurion’s servant was healed that same hour. in this instance, He marvelled at the Centurion’s A Roman Centurion (usually a Gentile or pagan) complete Faith in Him and His Divine Powers. commanded 100 men in a Roman Legion. By saying : “... many will come from East and West...” our Our Lord Jesus is the Divine Saviour of all humanity and Lord Jesus nullified any ideas of ethnic superiority. to Him there are no ethnic distinctions or The rejected “sons of the Kingdom” include the Hebrews boundaries. and others who deny Christ and those who have Our Lord’s response to the concerned Centurion is been raised in His Holy Church but who do not Life regarded by many scholars as having been a in Faith – those who do not Live in Christ. question rather than a statement: “Shall I go?” but Christ reveals the reality and Truth of Eternal Death – the whatever it was, the significant fact is that our Saviour horrific consequences of wilful Spiritual Rebellion is always ready and willing to help everyone, even against the Lord our God – by describing the Eternal this Roman Centurion – a pagan or Gentile – whose State of the Unrighteous Dead in Sheol (Hades) house He was prepared to enter although the according to the Hebrew Tradition – “the Outer Hebrews would never have even considered doing so! Darkness” and “the weeping and gnashing of teeth,” The Centurion expressed his unusual Faith in Christ by which were common expressions used in the Holy addressing Him as “Lord,” and his confession: “I am Gospels of St Matthew and St Luke. not worthy that Thou should come under my roof,” is E n o c h 1 0 3 : 8 “And into Outer Darkness and Chains frequently quoted in our Orthodox Christian Liturgical texts as an ideal expression of Humility. and a burning Flame where there is grievous Twice in all the Holy Gospels is has been noted that our Judgement shall your spirits enter; And the Great Judgement shall be for all the generations of the Lord “marvelled” at something: He had marvelled at world. Woe to you, for you shall have no peace.” the unbelief in His hometown of Nazareth and now,

The Centurion’s Faith & Healing of the Heart
The Christian Faith is not a conditioned, intrigued attitude. The Centurion had submitted his servant’s Relationship to God: “...when I say to one: ‘Go!’ he goes; and to another: ‘Come!’ he comes; and to my servant: ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” So, even more, he was certain that when commended the evil spirit to free the demon would free him, or if Christ said not enter this man again!” the spirit longer enter. our Lord man, the to it: “Do would no

4.

4TH SUNDAY AFTER P ENTEC OST – 4TH

OF

ST MATT HEW -

FAITH

OF THE

CENTURION – 6 JULY 2014

The Roman Centurion had great Faith even before any Miracle had been fulfilled. Quite often we are guided by facts. We hear (for example) that an Image of the Mother of God has appeared somewhere in the sky, so we go there to see it, and perhaps we will believe. And we do not know what our Faith is actually about... I was in Chicago in 1987 with two other Romanian Priests to see a Weeping Icon of our Holy Lady Theotokos and to serve the Divine Liturgy for the Romanian Flock. During the Divine Liturgy, our Holy Mother of God shed tear from her Icon three times and her garment was soaked in tears. I saw those who went there to witness that Miracle and we also beheld it... and then we forgot about it, for F AITH THAT RES TS O NLY ON M IRACLES IS WEAK . If God strikes us now, for certain, we would cry out: “O Lord!” If an earthquake rumbled and shook, or war broke out now, we would cry out: “O God, Save me!” but afterwards, WHEN THE DANGER HAS PASSED , WE FORG ET G OD YET AG AIN , AND CONTI N UE TO LI VE AS WE DID BEFOR E . Apart from this is the Faith that is based on a close, intimate, personal Spiritual Relationship with Christ, when we know that W E ARE NO THING WITHOUT H IM AND THAT EVERYTHING IS I N H IS D IVINE C ONT ROL – we know that He can lay us down or lift us up; He can Heal us or let us perish; He can free us from tragedy or let us be pounded and bruised, or destroyed by it. T ODAY ’ S S ACRED L ESSON TEACHES US NOT TO ESTABLISH OR BASE O UR F AITH ON M IRACLES (i.e. Signs or Wonders). T HE C ENTURION DID NOT NEED OUR L ORD J ESUS C HRIST TO FI RST PERFO RM A M IRACLE I N ORDER FOR HIM TO BELIEVE . Indeed, he only needed our Saviour to confirm that his servant would be Healed. T HE C ENTURION W EN T TO O UR L ORD J ES US AS TO O N E IN W HOM HE HAD FULL CONFIDENCE to Cure his servant. H E WENT TO H IM AS S OM EONE W HOM HE TRULY TRUS TED AND BELI EVED I N – even though he was not Hebrew but a novel Samaritan – a Roman. When some people long for a Miracle, they might say: “Lord, IF Thou exist... perform this Miracle!” And God does not listen to them – or perhaps, if He does, it is only because their soul really needs Him. However, WE M UST BELIE VE I N G OD – HAVE ABSOLUT E CONFIDENCE , TR US T , F AITH I N H IM – BEFORE ANY T RUE M IRACLE CAN OCCUR ! We must NEVER EXPECT D IVINE M IRACLES TO O CCUR BECA USE O UR DEEPES T R ELATI ONSHI P WITH C HRIST OUR G OD IS S PI RIT UAL . We must PRAY TO O UR L ORD AND BE IN H IS D IVINE P RESEN CE – we must have Him abiding in us! And G OD WILL ANSWER US WITH H IS U NSEEN W ONDERS , THRO UG H THE STRENGTH OF O UR SPI RI T , rousing our greater Understanding of His Judgements – not as we tend to understand, historically and rationally, but in a more profound Spiritual Sense – when we behold the Hand of God in everything. In nearly every person’s biography – internal or external – there is something shameful, something terrible and tortuous to remember, but which inevitably returns to our memory and emotions from time to time, poisoning our entire existence. Even those who self-contentedly declare that there has never been anything like that in their life, then most likely the memory of any shameful deeds and desires are simply eclipsed in them by their selfassurance, which cannot endure to admit their Spiritual Bankruptcy. Even worse, it is often the most “correct” people who are the cruellest tyrants - only they stubbornly

There are many great Holy Church Fathers who have lived a highly elevated Spiritual Life, and God rewarded them with His Great Gifts. They were able to perform many Wonders, but when anyone would thank them for the Miracle, they immediately responded: “It is not me, but Christ Who made it happen! Give Thanks to our Lord!” And C HRIST E L EVAT ED THE M IN H IS L IG HT – either by a halo of Light around their head (like Father Benedict Ghius of Cernica had. [He was a great Elder of Cernica Monastery who has Reposed in Christ.]) or they were able to fly or move with great speed from one place to another, being in one place and within minutes many kilometres away. A LL THESE D IVINE M IRACLES THAT C HRIST PERFORM S THRO UGH S UCH H OLY PEOPLE AND FOR THEM , IS BECA USE THEY ARE B LESS ED TO HAVE A M OST DEEP S PI RITUAL R ELATI ONSHI P WI TH G OD . It is that Filial Relationship when we offer our soul to Christ and He sends us the Holy Spirit, Who works within us. This is beyond an earthly reward. What does it mean when our car breaks down and God sends someone to help us? Or when we are confronted by a variety of great difficulties and someone comes our assistance...? There are innumerable small things that happen to us daily by the Grace of God, which we barely notice! I T DEPENDS ON OUR S PI RITUAL R ELATI ONSHI P WITH C HRIST W HO DE EPLY DWELLS I N THE C HRISTIAN SOUL , AND THE P RESE NCE OF THE H OLY S PI RIT IN OUR HEART that makes us gentle, forgiving, able to keep the peace with our neighbours, which dispels anger and the temptations of the passions, and which thereby makes us Beacons of Light for others – no matter how insignificant we may be - for all these are the True Miracles that our Saviour Calls us to fulfil. We must preserve our Relationship with Christ as did the Roman Centurion, and we will, indeed, receive Godly Rewards. We must think Righteously and not allow the evil one to defeat and enslave us. We must never tempt the Lord our God, neither must we ever pray: “O Lord, come and abide in my heart...” while we are conversing with the devil – even if we feel we are fighting against him! [In other words, we cannot be committing evil deeds and call upon God to help us!! Nor can we unnecessarily put ourselves in harm’s way, and call on God to protect us. That is testing the Love and Divine Power of God, which is forbidden!] By following the example of the Roman Centurion, we must pray: “O Lord, speak only a Word... and my heart will be Healed.” Amen
“C EN TU R IO N ’S FA IT H AN D TH E HE AL ING O F THE H EA RT ” – A S E RMON OF F ATH ER GEO RG E C ALCIU , (OF BLESS ED M EMO R Y) RO MAN I AN O RTHO DOX CHURCH , T AK EN F RO M H IS BOO K “TO SER VE CH RIS T MEANS SUFF E RING .. . ” http://orthodoxword .wordpress.com/2010/06/21/ce nt ur io n- f a ith-a nd - the -h ea ling - of -th e- he a r t/

Believing in the Good
refuse to understand this, like a blind man who refuses to believe in the existence of light. But here is the question: Does the presence of dark moments in our life mean that we can evaluate each other through the prism of these facts, that we can view each other as worthless? Perhaps in part. However, we are made with many parts to both our internal and external biography. And the totality of our personal history is comprised of episodes that are shameful, but also radiant and exalted, if we look at the extremes. In between these are a great many events that are relatively good or evil, if we can put it that way, so

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that the absolute majority of them are forgotten outright, because they do not touch the depths of life. However forgotten they may be, these events weave the complex and inimitable individuality of every one of us. But alas! We often lightly pronounce sentence and form our ideas about others, based upon - not even the knowledge of different facts of their biography – but more often on hearsay, conjecture, and our own opinions - supported by nothing, yet influencing us so powerfully that we consider our opinions the soul and precise truth about one another. Yet this is not at all correct – not in 99 cases out of 100 – but in all 100 cases! Therefore, if we speak about a negative, disagreeable and suspicious relationship to others, then we should definitely be speaking about our absence of Love for them. And this absence, and even the very lack of desire to recognise it as a defect, says very much about our own selves. It says that we are far from the True Christian Life! After all, Love for others does not at all mean blindness and thoughtlessness; it does not at all mean some sort of self-deception. Those who Love (i.e. possess Agape – Divine, Unconditional Love) are able to clearly see the inadequacies, vices, and weaknesses of others but above all this observation, stands another, higher Knowledge – i.e. that human beings are immeasurably greater than the sum total of their vices, sins and inadequacies. Every human being is a Child of God, who unconditionally deserves Love. And all the darkness that attacks us and is present in us, and seems to be part of us, is only a part that to a greater or lesser degree influences the whole of us, but which does not have the ability to swallow us up irreversibly, as long as we are still alive on Earth. Furthermore, the very fact that we abide in earthly life says that for us the story of the creation of our “personal Eternity” is not yet finished, and our Lord is giving us all time and the chance to take conscious steps towards a Transformation of Life. And the meaning of these steps is determined – not even by deeds that are obvious to us human beings, but by the Power of Good Will – the conscious Striving for God. Our Lord alone can evaluate the true meaning of our heart’s Striving in the context of all the circumstances – both inward and outward – of our life, in the context of the difficulties we have had to overcome in our Spiritual Striving for God. There are two very widespread temptations with respect to our neighbour. The first could be defined as “I think what I think...” which means that the evil one is whispering bad thoughts in our ears about others, and if we accept those wicked thoughts as our own, then they will begin to grow with destructive force, turning our life into a nightmare from which it will be very difficult to free ourselves. To prevent such a serious Spiritual Illness such as hostility or hatred from developing, we have to be attentive to ourselves, and never trust the bad thoughts that come to us about others. Again, this does not mean others cannot possibly be as they seem to us. Sometimes we do need to be vigilant and careful, even avoiding associating with certain people, but at the same time, we must never suppose that we know everything about people – that we actually know what they truly are – precisely because our lives are far more complex than any aversion we may have for each other. The second temptation is closely connected with the first, and can be defined by the words: “I think that he thinks...” which is just a field that is ready for cultivation.

How many examples are there when it seems to one person that another thinks ill of him? Again, independently of whether our suspicions correspond to reality or not, we must not believe such thoughts, for the enemy of mankind works precisely in this manner, suggesting bad thoughts to one person concerning another, and to the second whispering the thought that the first thinks ill of him or her. Even if only one of us rejects the temptation and rather believes in the good of others, and prays accordingly to God, the devil’s crafty schemes are destroyed. Before hastily forming a hostile opinion based on our perceptions or suspicions, let us immediately stop and remember that each of us - without exception - has something that could cause others to reject, dislike, be repulsed by or suspect us. And if we ourselves do not want the dark truth of our biography to become the basis of other’s relationships or perceptions of us, then let us reject dark rumours and misguided, ill-advised opinions – not only because they are not true, but because they do not define the fullness of our human personality. It would be better for us to be mistaken in thinking well of others than to be mistaken by thinking poorly of them. Belief in the better, in any case, leaves us with the chance of correcting ourselves, even if we acted badly, which means a lot! And we do not sin by believing in what is better in others - even if our hopes are seemingly unjustified. God also believes in those people and works with all His Might to help effect their correction. On the contrary, if we believe in the worst, and our suspicions are unjustified, then we sin greatly by our slander and false judgement of them – even if it is only in our heart! However, if we are proved correct in our suspicions, then we are sinning since we did not resist our suspicions, and thereby, perhaps, we help evil to take root in them, because belief in the evil of others strangely increases the probability of its actually coming to pass. So, too, is belief in the better of others not a distanced contemplation, but a direct participation in their life. It is the participation of Compassion and Love, which inevitably finds expression in Prayer, because Compassion and wishes for the best in the highest sense is what make us God-like , for He desires our Salvation and the Fullness of Love and Joy for every human being. And His Divine Will towards us is that we also would consciously and willingly become participants in Divine Care for each of us. So, belief in this possibility of Sanctity, the Fullness of Life for us, belief in our potential Oneness with God, and, in the everyday sense, belief in the better in others is what all of us who regard ourselves as being “Orthodox Christian” undoubtedly need to strive for. In our association with each other - with everyone without exception, close or distant, accepted by us or not, let us remember that our connection to God is a connection that really does exist, but one that we are unable to understand or evaluate by force of reason alone. Let us remember that only Love truly knows us, because Love (Agape) sees us in its own way – in all our God-created Fullness and Beauty and as we could be and Love – Unconditional, Divine Love – believes in this possibility.
PRESBYTER DIMITRY SHISHKIN HTTP ://WWW .PR A VOSLA VIE .RU/ENGL ISH/6 391 1.HT M

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ALL G LORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FA THER, AN D TO THE SON , AND TO THE HO LY SPIRIT, NOW AND FOREVER, AN D UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY , MOS T PURE, MOST B LESS ED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARY, THE OTOKOS YE T E VE R VIRGIN, TO GETHER WITH AL L THE SAINTS. AN D LE T US COMMIT OURSE LVE S AND O NE ANO THE R AN D OUR WHOLE LIFE T O CHRIS T OUR GOD. AME N .

7 July 2014 St Kyriake the Great Virgin Martyr of Nicomedia
ALSO THE FE AST OF ST T HO MAS OF M OUNT MALEO N – ST A KAK IOS OF S INA I – ST EUDOK IA /E UPHR OSYNE , GRAND D UC HE SS OF MOS COW – ST PE RE GINOS , ST LU CI AN , ST POMPEI OS, ST HE SYC HI OS, ST PAPI OS , ST SATU RNIN OS & ST GE RMAN OS OF DYRRAC H IU M, MACE D ONI A – ST EVANGEL IKOS OF TO M IS, CONST ANTA, RO MAN IA

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ton Kyrion, ke Vasilea Hriston, ex olis igapisas, Kyriaki tis psihis, ke herousa ithlisas. Othen Parthenomartis, par’ aftou doxasthisa, vriis tis se timosin, iamaton tin Harin, tis pasin etoumeni, ptesmaton sighorisin.
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The Lord of all Lords, and Christ the King thou loved, O
Kyriake, with all thy soul, and cheerfully contended for; thus as a Virgin Martyr, by Him thou were glorified and thou flow to all who honour thee, the Grace of Healing, by beseeching for all, the forgiveness of their faults.

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amnas Sou Iisou, krazi megali ti foni. Se Nimfie mou potho, ke Se zitousa athlo, ke sistavroume, ke sinthptome to Vaptismo Sou. Ke pasho dia Se, os Vasilefso sin Si, ke thnisko iper sou, ina ke ziso en Si. All os thisian amomomn, prosdehou tin meta pothou tithisan Si. Aftis presvies, os eleimon, Soson tas psihas imon.

O

my Lord Jesus, Thine Ewe-Lamb, with a loud voice calls out: Thou, my Groom, do I long for, and suffer all in search for Thee, and I am crucified and buried with Thee in Baptism; and I suffer for Thy Sake, inorder to reign with Thee, and give my life to Thee so that I may live with Thee; but accept as pure Sacrifice, the one who desired to give her life for Thee. Through her Intercessions, O Most Compassionate, Save our souls! Protection of the Christians unashamable, Mediation to the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the Aid of all who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine Intercession, and press on Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who forever protects all those who honour Thee!

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ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is presvian, ke spefson is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton timonton Se.

O

St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans 8 : 14 – 21
Brethren: ... as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Adoption by Whom we cry out: “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are Children of God, and if Children, then Heirs – Heirs of God and joint Heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be Glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the Glory that shall be revealed in us. For the earnest Expectation of Creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the Creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him Who subjected it in Hope; because the Creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the Glorious Liberty of the Children of God... Old Covenant Israel feared God just like a slave would fear a AT OUR HOLY BAPTISM, WE BECOME THE ADOPTED CHILDREN OF GOD strict master but UNDER OUR NEW COVENANT WITH GOD WE ARE AND THEREFORE CO-H EIRS WITH OUR LORD J ESUS CHRIST TO THE NO LONGER ‘SLAVES’ BUT A DOPTED CHILDREN OF G OD AND THUS ETERNAL KINGDOM OF ALMIGHTY GOD – the same Kingdom He inherited when He ascended physically into Heaven, MEMBERS OF GOD’S HOLY FAMILY – HIS HOLY CHURCH. which is granted by Divine Grace. The expression “joint Heirs with Christ” reveals that EVERYTHING Whatever our Lord Jesus inherited by His own Divine Nature, OUR SAVIOUR IS BY MEANS OF HIS NATURE, GOD THE FATHER GRANTS we receive as a Divine Gift from God. TO US BY HIS DIVINE GRACE. Although our Adoption occurs at Holy Baptism, IT IS OUR Note the contrast between “sufferings” and “Glory:” AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE G OD’S GLORY WITHIN US, ALTHOUGH HIS RESPONSIBILITY AND SPIRITUAL COMMITMENT TO receive the Love of this Divine Adoption by continuing to LIVE IN FAITH BY GLORY IS NOT FULLY REVEALED YET. (COLOSSIANS 3: 3 -4) In the Orthodox Church, the Holy Icon of the Incarnation, the ALWAYS LOOKING TOWARDS GOD AND THROUGH OUR CONSTANT REPENTANCE AND SPIRITUAL STRUGGLES. Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child, is always The Experience of this Holy Adoption allows us to address situated on the left side of the Royal Gates, while the Holy Icon of Christ Enthroned is always situated to the right of God with the intimate term “Abba” or “Father.” (SEE GALATIANS 4: 5-7) the Royal Gates. THE “SPIRIT OF BONDAGE” REFERS TO A RETURN TO THE OLD COVENANT In this manner we proclaim that CHRIST HAS COME TO US – FIRST MOSAIC LAW. THROUGH HIS INCARNATION – AND WILL COME AGAIN – PHYSICALLY REAPPEAR – IN ALL HIS GLORY AS OUR ETERNAL RULER AND JUDGE.

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We live every moment in a tense Spiritual Battle between our present and future Experience of God’s Heavenly
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Kingdom, which is marked by both sufferings and glory.

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 9 : 9 – 13
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At that time, as our Lord Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him: “Follow Me!” And he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many Tax Collectors and sinners went and sat down with Him and His Disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His Disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with Tax Collectors and sinners?” Jesus hear what they had said and He said to them: “Those who are well have no need of a Physician, but those who are sick do. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire Mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the Righteous but sinners to Repentance.”

St Kyriake the Great Holy Virgin Martyr of Nicomedia
Today we celebrate the memory of St Kyriake, who gave the ultimate witness for Jesus Christ by refusing to worship pagan gods and giving up her life after suffering brutal persecution from the Romans. St Kyriake, who was devoted to Christ, came from a wealthy family, and had dared to refused the offer of marriage to the son of the Magistrate. As a result the Magistrate denounced the family as Christians to Emperor Diocletian, and even when offered great wealth and marriage to one of the Emperor’s relatives, she refused, being ready to endure martyrdom. By Divine Grace, St Kyriake survived horrible tortures from four different Rulers, because our Lord Healed her wounds and gave her strength. Her prayers destroyed a pagan temple and the wild beasts to which she was thrown would not attack her. Immediately after praying before she was to be beheaded, St Kyriake finally gave up her soul. St Kyriake’s story reminds us that the Twelve Apostles were not the only ones to whom our Lord has said: “Follow Me…” They are not the only ones who have left behind a conventional life in order to follow Jesus Christ in the Ministry of the Kingdom. How odd, then, that of all the people who lived in those centuries long ago, we remember St Peter, St Andrew, St James, St John, and St Kyriake who abandoned the things of this world in order to seek first God’s Kingdom, for Christ said: “...whoever desires to save his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will Save it.” (MARK 8:34-35) They were hated and killed by the powerful, but remained steadfast in their commitment to the One Who conquered Death and they now share in His Glory. They were treated as the least by earthly kingdoms, but now are they are among the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. The application to our lives is clear. Although the particular Path of Discipleship to which we are Called is probably very different from that of St Kyriake, we learn from her example that God will not abandon us when we are steadfast in our Commitment to Him, for it is through such unflinching commitment that we will become our true selves in Christ. The Lord sustained her through beatings that exhausted her tormentors, and through being suspended by her hair for several hours while being burnt with torches. The worse the torture, the more courageous she seemed. How amazing for a young virgin girl from a privileged family who had probably experienced no hardship previously. We all know of the kidnapping of the Orthodox Bishops in Syria and of the killing, torture, and persecutions that our Brethren in Christ endure today in so many war torn countries. Of course, people are murdered and abused for all kinds of reasons throughout the world, and no matter who the victims are, these are terrible crimes. Even as we pray for innocent victims and do what we can to help them, we must not allow fear of anything or anyone to keep us from responding faithfully to the Call of “Follow Me” by our Saviour to each of us. Faithfulness is not reserved only for those who are Called to give the ultimate sacrifice of physical Martyrdom. Instead, their example should inspire us to become free of whatever nets have entangled us and held us back from following Jesus Christ as He Calls us to follow Him here and now. In order to do that, of course, we have to take our Faith and our Lord seriously. For example, if we do not attend to Him in Prayer every day, we will not hear His Calling: “Follow Me!” If we do not practice Fasting and self-denial, we will become so addicted to our own desires that we will find it impossible to put Christ before ourselves. If we do not partake of the Holy Mysteries of Confession and Communion on a regular basis with serious preparation, we will lack the Spiritual Strength to persevere in following Him, for we must embrace the basic Spiritual Disciplines of Life in Christ if we want to live faithfully, even in the relative comfort and ease of our society. Otherwise, we will become spiritually lazy and morally weak, and without realizing it we will be enslaved by the dominant trends of the fallen world. Instead of being Good Stewards of our Blessings and fulfilling our Sacred Tasks, we will worship “the Almighty Dollar” and our useless possessions. Instead of pursuing Chastity, Purity, and Fidelity, we will fall prey to hedonism and immorality – and instead of realizing that our enemies and difficulties provide our greatest opportunities to Love Christ, we will turn away from Him by condemning them. In these and many other ways, we will be tempted into believing that we have more important things to do than to take up our crosses and obediently follow our Lord! Consider all the challenges that we face every day. It often doesn’t take much to inflame our passions against each other, even those whom we love. It doesn’t have to be cases of ‘life or death’ in order to be of great Spiritual Significance that shapes us in decisive ways. Every act of selfishness, dishonesty, thoughtlessness, or gossip weakens us in our ability to hear and obey our Lord’s Calling. When we focus on the past or the future in ways that distract us from the present, we overlook the only possibilities for faithfulness that currently exist. Just like daydreaming keeps us from hearing what others are saying, indulging our fantasies of any kind is dangerous because it draws us away from reality. Often young girls like St Kyriake have been regarded as being insignificant – spiritually or otherwise - yet this young lady was able to confront and resist Emperors and endure extreme torture because, as St Paul expressed it, she had “...put on Christ...” in Baptism, in Whom “...there is neither Jew nor Greek…neither slave nor free…neither male nor female, for (we) are all one in Christ Jesus. And if (we) are Christ’s, then (we) are Abraham’s seed, and Heirs according to the Promise.” She had the dignity and power of a True Child of God, as one who inherited by Grace the Great Blessing and Salvation fulfilled in our Saviour. Regardless of our lives, we are all invited to manifest the Holiness of the Kingdom of God by responding to our Lord’s Calling as His Children.

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AL L GLORY, HO NOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND T O THE SO N, AND TO THE HOLY SP IRIT, NOW AND FOREVE R, AND UN TO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESS ED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARY, THE OTOKOS YET E VE R VIRGIN, TOGE THE R WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LE T US C OMMI T O URS ELVES AND O NE ANOT HE R AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST OUR GO D. AMEN.

11 July 2014 St Euphemia the All Praised Great Holy Martyr
Her Miracle at Chalcedon ALSO THE FEAST OF ST O LGA , EQU AL TO T HE APOSTLES & PRINCESS OF RUSSIA – ST CINDE OS, HIE R OMA RTYR OF PA MPHYL IA – ST N IC ODE MOS O F ALB ANIA – ST B ARBARA THE GRE AT HO LY MARTY R, TR ANSLAT ION OF HO LY RE L ICS – ST AR CAD IOS OF NOVOT ORSK – ST NE KTAR IOS, HIE R OMAR TYR OF VRI OUL ON

FESTAL APOLYTKION – ST EUPHE MIA

Lian efranas, tous Orthodoxous, ke
katiskhinas, tous kakodoxous, Effimia Hristou kalliparthene. This gar Tetartis Sinodou ekirosas, I Pateres kalos edogmatisan. Martis Endoxe, Hriston ton Theon iketeve, dorisasthe imin to Mega Eleos.

All

the Orthodox, Thou greatly cheered, and Thou put to shame the false believers, O fair Virgin of Christ, Euphemia. For Thou confirmed what the Fathers well Dogmatise, at the O 4th Ecumenical Council. Martyr Glorious, entreat Christ our God to grant to us His Great Mercy!

Prostasia ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton O
Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is presvian, ke spefson is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton Timonton Se.

FESTAL KONTAKION OF THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS Protector of the Christians Unashamable, Mediator to the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the Aid of all of us, who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine Intercession, and present Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who always protects all those who honour Thee!
MAN WHO B LED FOR

THE HEALI

Matins Gospel According to St Mark 5 : 24 – 34
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At that time, there was a certain woman who had 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. When she heard that about Jesus, she went behind Him in the crowd and touched His garments. For she had thought: “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” And immediately the source of her bleeding dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus instantly 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 multitude thronging Thee, and Thou ask: ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman – fearing and trembling – knowing what had happened to her, went 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 Second Epistle of St Paul the Cori nthians 6 : 1 – 10
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Brethren: we, then, as workers together with Him, also plead with you not to receive the Grace of God in vain. For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the Day of Salvation I have helped you.” Behold! Now is the accepted time! Behold! Now is the Day of Salvation! We give no offence in anything, that our Ministry many not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as Ministers of God: in much Patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in sleeplessness, in Fastings, by Purity, by Knowledge, by Longsuffering, by Kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere Love, by the Word of Truth, by the Power of God, by the Armour of Righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 7 : 36 – 50
THE FO
RGIVEN ESS OF A

S

INFUL

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At that time, one of the Pharisees asked our Lord Jesus to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold! A woman in the city, who was a sinner – when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, took an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His Feet, behind Him, weeping; and she began to wash His Feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His Feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying: “This Man – if He were a Prophet – would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner!” And Jesus answered and said to him: “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he said: “Teacher, say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other, fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” and Simon answered and said: “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And Jesus said to him: “You have rightly judged.” Then Jesus turned to the woman and said to Simon: “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My Feet, but she has washed My Feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My Feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head ST EUPHEMIA THE GREAT MARTYR 11 JULY 2014

9.

with oil, but this woman has anointed My Feet with fragrant oil. Therefore, I say to you: her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

The Miracle of St Euphemia the All Praised
Euphemia suffered Martyrdom in the city of Chalcedon in 304, during the time of the persecution against Christians by Emperor Diocletian (284-305). One and a half centuries later, at a time when the Christian Church had become Victorious within the Roman Empire, God deigned that St Euphemia the All Praise should again be a witness and Confessor of the Purity and Truth of Orthodox Teaching. In 451 in Chalcedon, in the very same church where the Glorified Relics of St Euphemia rested, the Sessions of the 4th Ecumenical Council took place, which was to determine the precise Dogmatic formulae of the Orthodox Church concerning the Nature of the GodMan, Jesus Christ – His Divine and human Natures in one Divine Person. This was necessary because of the widespread heresy of the Monophysites who opposed the Orthodox Teachings of the two Natures in Jesus Christ – His Divine and human Natures in one Divine Person. They falsely affirmed that in Christ was only one Divine Nature (that He is God but not Man by Nature), causing discord and unrest within the Church. 630 representatives attended the Council from all local Christian churches, with many of our Orthodox Holy Fathers such as St Anatolios, Patriarch of Constantinople, St Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, as well as representatives of St Leo, Archbishop/Pope of Rome. The Monophysites were present in large numbers, headed by Discoros, Patriarch of Alexandria, and Eutychios, Archimandrite of Constantinople. After prolonged discussions, the two sides could not come to an agreement, so St Anatolios of Constantinople proposed that they submit the dispute to the Holy Spirit through His undoubted Bearer, St Euphemia, whose wonderworking Relics had been discovered during the Council’s discussions. The Orthodox Hierarchs and their opponents wrote their Confessions of Faith on separate scrolls and sealed What are the demands on a Christian parent? How are we to bring up our children as Christians? The main thing is to act like Christians ourselves. Elder Paisios said: “Parents must live like True Christians and be careful of their behaviour. Children are like computers; since a very early age, they register in their minds everything they see, or hear happening in their homes. If they see their father and mother quarrelling, cursing and using bad language, they record everything in their mind's tape. So, when they grow older, they start cursing and quarrelling using their parents language. They behave this way, without really wanting to, but because they have inherited the pathetic behaviour of their parents. St them before placing them in St Euphemia’s tomb, which was carefully sealed and guarded for three days during which they observed a strict Fast and intense Prayers. The Patriarch and the Emperor, intently watched by the Council, open the tomb whereupon they all witnessed that the Orthodox scroll was held in St Euphemia’s right hand while the Monophysite scroll lay at her feet. Then, as though alive, she raised her hand offered the Orthodox Scroll to the Patriarch. Having witnessed this Miracle, many Monophysites accepted the Orthodox Confession, while those who remained obstinate were consigned to the Council’s Condemnation and Excommunication. After an invasion by the Persians during the 7th Century, the Holy Relics of St Euphemia were transferred to Constantinople to a newly erected church dedicated to her. Many years later, during the period of the Iconoclast heresy, the Reliquary with her Holy Relics were cast into the sea by order of Emperor Leo the Isaurian (716-7410 but was recovered by two brothers, Sergios and Sergonos who took it to the local Bishop. The Bishop preserved the Holy Relics in secret, beneath the crypt, while the Iconoclast heresy continued to rage. A small church was built over the Holy Relics and over the Reliquary a notice board was placed stating whose Holy Relics rested within. When the Iconoclast heresy was finally condemned at the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787, during the time of St Tarasios, Patriarch of Constantinople (784 – 806) and Emperor Constantine VI (780-797), and St Irene, his mother, the Holy Relics of St Euphemia were once again solemnly transferred to Constantinople.
THE MONASTERY OF PANAGIA YIPSENI, RHODES ( 25-07- 201 1) HTTP: //WWW.P RAVOS LAVIE .RU/E NGLI SH/47 74 6.H TM

Raising Christian Children
Later on, when they realize their mistakes, they find it difficult to correct them.” As a parent, every action you take is important when you raise children. It is not necessarily what you say but how you act that teaches them the Orthodox Way of Life. It's essential to show them the Virtues as well as the way to practice their Faith. Parents should pray with their children, attend Church regularly, participate with them in the Holy Mysteries, especially Confession and Holy Communion. A parent's habit becomes the child's habit. This is the way to raise Christian children. HTTP://ORT HODO XWAYO FL IFE .BL OGSPOT. CO M/2010/11/R A ISING- CH RISTI AN-C HI LDRE N. HT ML RE FERENCE: ELDE R PAISIOS O F THE HO LY M OUNTA IN ,

Living As We Were Created
Our nature is complex. There is more than one part to our being. Many of our problems that lead us to anxiety and discomfort are due to the fact that we are paying attention to only one part of our being. St Theophan the Recluse said: “Human life is complex and multifaceted. It has physical, mental and Spiritual Aspects. Each has its own powers, needs and modes, and the exercise and satisfaction of them. Only when all our powers are in motion and all our needs are satisfied does a man live. But when only one small portion of his power is in motion, and only an small number of his needs are satisfied, this life is not life.... It is necessary for us to live as God created us, and when someone does not live this way, I may confidently say he does not live at all... A good life is one where we give the same attention to our Spiritual Needs as we give to our physical and mental needs. When we neglect this one part we do not live as we were created. We are then subject to anxiety and possible suffering.
ST TH E OP HAN TH E RE CLU SE: T H E SP IRIT UAL LIFE , P 3 8 HTTP://ORTHODO XWAYOFLI FE .BLOGSPOT.CO M/2010/ 11 /LI VING- A S- WE - WE RE-C RE ATED.HTML

10.

ST EUPHEMIA THE GREAT MARTYR

11 JULY 2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
AL L GLORY, HON OUR AND WORSHIP AGES OF AGES. AMEN
TO THE

FATHER,

AND TO THE

SON,

AND TO THE

HOLY SP IRIT,

NOW AND

FOREVER,

AND UNTO THE

RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESS ED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARY, THE OTOKOS YET E VE R VIRGIN, TOGE THE R WITH ALL THE SAINTS . AND LET US COMMIT OURS ELVES AND O NE ANO THE R AN D OUR WHOLE LIFE T O CHRIS T OUR GOD. AME N .

5th After Pentecost Tone 4 13 July 2014 5th Sunday of St Matthew – Light of the World
ALSO THE FE AST OF THE H OLY FAT HERS OF T HE 4TH ECUMEN IC AL COUN CIL (451) – SYNA XIS OF T HE HOLY AR C HANGE L G ABRIE L – ST STE PHE N, ST S A VVA’S M ONASTE RY – ST GOL DIN OU H – ST JUL IAN O F CE NOM ANIS , GAU L – ST SE RAP IO N – ST MAR CIA N – ST JUST OF PE NWIT H – ST S ARA H OF S KETE, LIBY A
RESU
RRECT ION

APOL

YTIKION

– TON

E

4:

To

fedron tis Anastaseos Kirigma ek tou Angelou mathouse e tou Kyriou mathitrie ke tin progonikin apofasin aporipsase, tis Apostolis kafhomene elegon. Eskilefte O thanatos, igerthi Hristos O Theos, doroumenos to kosmo to Mega Eleos.

When

the Women Disciples of the Lord had learnt from the Angels the Glad Tidings of the Resurrection that had cast away the condemnation of their Forefather, they spoke exultingly to the Apostles: Death is no more: Christ-God is Risen, granting to the world Great Mercy.

FESTA

L

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- 4

T H

ECUME

NICA L

COU

NCIL

– TO

NE

(8) P

LAGA L

4

Iperdedoxasmenos

i Hriste O Theos imon, O fostiras epi gis, tous Pateras imon themeliosas, ke di afton, pros tin alithinin pistin pantas imas odigisas, Poliefsplahne Doxa Si!
OF THE

Supremely

praised art Thou, O Christ our God, Who established on earth, our Fathers as Luminaries; and through them, to the True Faith all of us Thou has Guided, O Most Compassionate One: Glory to Thee!

KONTAKION

EV

ER

B

LESSED

T

HEOTOKOS

Prostasia

ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is presvian, ke spefson is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton timonton Se.

O

Protection of the Christians unashamable, Mediation to the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the Aid of all who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine Intercession, and press on Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who forever protects all those who honour Thee!
EA RS

Resurrection Gospel 5 Luke 24 : 12 – 35
OUR RESU
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HRIST

APP

ALONG

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O Lord, how manifold art Thy Works! Thou hast created them all in Wisdom! Bless the Lord, O my soul!
St Paul’s Epi stle to St Titos 3 : 8 – 15 To Titos: a True Son in our common Faith: This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God, should be careful to maintain Good Works. These things are good and profitable to men. But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the Law, for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. When I send Artemas to you, or Tychikos, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Send Zenas the Lawyer and Apollos on their Journey with haste, that they may lack nothing. And let our people also learn to maintain Good Works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful. All who are with me greet you. Greet those who Love us in the Faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. St Paul was painfully aware that W E AR E ALL AW AITI NG TH E we all - with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror, the C ONSUMMATI ON O F TH E A G E TO C OME A ND HE KNE W T HAT Glory of our Lord – are being Transformed into the same 1 Image from glory to Glory – just as the Spirit of our Lord.” WE ALREADY PARTI CIPAT E IN TH E E SCH ATOL OGIC AL C OMMUNITY . ] T HE REF EREN CE TO “ TH E L OR D ” IN THE N EW T EST AME NT , ] H OLY B APTISM AN D C HRI SMATI ON A RE THE BEGI NNI NG OF USUALLY REFERS TO OUR L O RD J ESUS C HRIST – the Word OUR T RUE S PI RITUAL J OU RNEY towards Eternal Life in and Son of God the Father, Who is also referred to as God’s Eternal Kingdom of Love, Peace and Joy. “the Lord.” (MATTHEW 11:25; 22:44 – LUKE 1:32; 4:12 &18, 10:21 – ACTS 3:22; 4:26 – REVELATION 11:15; 21:22) T HESE H OL Y M YS TERIES GRA NT US TH E R IT E OF P ASSAG E The Holy Spirit is also referred to as “Lord” both in this instance TOWARDS A P ROG RESSI VE L IF E OF R ENEW AL IN C HRIS T . and in our Creed of Faith – the Nicene Creed: “I believe 2 C O R I N T H I A N S 3 : 1 6 – 1 8 : “... when one turns to the in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life...” Lord, the Veil is taken away . Now the Lord is Spirit; and Since THE T ERM “ L OR D ” APPLIES T O ALL THREE P ERSONS OF TH E where the Spirit of our Lord is, there is True Liberty . But H OLY T RINI TY , there might be a difference of opinion as to which of the three Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity the 1 CONCERNING OUR IMMORTAL SOULS IN THEIR RELATION TO DEATH, JUDGEMENT, word “Lord” refers in this instance. ETERNAL LIFE AND ETERNAL CONDEMNATION AND HELL. .
2 0 1 4 11.

Prokeimenon

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God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are in no way confused here for St Paul had in mind one Person or Another. The Son, for example, cannot be the Holy Spirit. ] T HE “ S PIRI T ” IS SPECIFIC ALLY TH E H OLY S P IRIT – not an impersonal Force – although ELSEWH ERE IN THE N EW T ESTAM EN T THE T ERM “ SPI RIT ” OC CASI ONALL Y REF ERS T O THE SOUL , A REALM O R A MAN NER OF EXIST EN CE . In this instance, St Paul described how A LMIGH TY G O D REIG NS IN OUR WO RLD . It does not describe the Eternal Relationship of the three separate and distinct Persons of the Holy Trinity: the Holy Spirit, for example, Proceeds from God the Father ALONE – and not from God the Son. ] ST P AUL TRA NSFO RME D THE O LD C OV ENAN T UNDERSTA NDI NG OF ON E G OD – THE L OR D G OD – INT O THE N EW C O VENA NT T EA CHIN G OF C HRIS T ’ S D I VIN E R EVELATI ON OF THE H OLY T RINI TY IN ON E D IVINE G ODH EAD – THR EE P ERSO NS – EA CH OF W HOM IS “ L O RD ” – D IVI NE . Consequently, WHEN WE “ TUR N TO THE L OR D ,” WE TU RN TO TH E F ATHER , TH ROUGH THE S ON AN D B Y TH E P OWER OF TH E H OLY S PIRIT – A ND EVE N WHEN WE PRAY – AL THOUGH WE MAY A DDR ESS O NE OF THE T RI NIT Y I N P ERSO N , IT ALWA YS INCLUDES THE O THER TWO P ERSO NS OF TH E H OLY T RI NIT Y BECAUSE EVERY THING IS I N P ERFECT H A RMO NY AN D U NIT Y B Y TH E W ILL OF TH E F ATH ER , OF TH E H OL Y T RINI TY : THROUGH TH E T EACHIN GS AN D R EVEL ATIONS OF THE S O N AND BY TH E L IF E -G I VIN G ENABLI NG P OW ER OF TH E H OLY S PIRIT ! ] T HE W O RK OF TH E H OLY S PIRI T G RA NTS US T RUE L IBERT Y – T RUE S PIRI TUAL F REEDOM – freeing us from the

constraints and shackles of Spiritual Darkness and sin – so that WE AR E ABL E T O BEH OLD G OD , HA VE OPEN ACC ESS TO H IM AT ALL TIMES , A ND G ROW EV ER CL OSER TO H IM , THEREBY SLOWLY REG AINI NG OUR L OS T S PIRITUAL (G O DLY ) L IKE NESS . Having been created in God’s Image (and Likeness) WE AR E ABLE TO SEE H IS U NC REA TE D I MAGE – God Incarnate – our Lord Jesus Christ – in two ways:  THROUGH THE S ON ’ S D EIFI ED H UMANI TY (1  IN THE P OWER OF TH E H OLY S PI RIT . As we grow closer to God and are able to truly behold Him, we become what we were created by God to be – i.e. WE REGAI N OUR LOST H OLY L I KENESS . G OD IS I NFI NIT E – there are no limitations to Almighty God, SO THER E A RE N O LIMITS TO GROWI NG IN H IS I MAG E AN D L IKE NESS and the more we are Transformed into His Likeness, the more clearly we shall see God! A “divisive” person is one who picks and chooses from the whole - complete and Perfect – Truth of God. A sect is a group of people who follow their own ideas and choices rather than being Obedient and Humble before God. They are isolated and independent of God’s Holy Tradition and such I NC OMPLET E OR ERR ON EOUS B ELIEFS RESULT I N IMMORAL BEH AVIOU R AN D A SELF - IMPOS ED S PIRITUAL D EATH AND A LIENATI ON F ROM A LMI GHTY G O D Who never forces Himself on anyone – waiting ever so patiently for their return to His Divine Light through sincere Repentance.
CORINTHIANS 13:12 & JAMES 1:23-35)

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 5: 14 – 19 DISCIPLES OF CHRIST ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD At that time, our Lord Jesus said: “You are the Light of the world. A city that is set upon a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it give light to all who are in the house. “let your Light so shine before mankind, so that they may see your Good Works and Glorify your Father in Heaven. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. For Truly, I say to you: until Heaven and earth pass away, not one jot nor one tittle will pass from the Law until it is fulfilled. Whoever, therefore, breaks one of the least of these Commandments, and teachers other so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  St Moses, our ancient Patriarch, saw the Divine Light in A LMIGHTY G OD IS TH E T RUE A ND UNCR EAT ED LIGHT . THE MYST ERI OUS B URNIN G B USH and the whole In the Old Testament L I GHT WAS SYMBOLIC OF A LMIGHT Y G OD , H IS D IVINE L AW A ND I SRAEL in contrast to all other Nations. Nation of Israel witnessed It at THE P ARTING OF TH E R ED S EA . (EXODUS 3: 2 & 13 :21) I s a i a h 6 0 : 1 – 3 “Shine, shine, O Jerusalem, for  St Isaiah beheld the Divine Light of God IN HIS your Light has come, and the Glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Behold: darkness and gloom shall H EAV ENLY V ISI ON . (ISAIAH 6: 1 – 5)  The three Apostles of Christ witnessed the Divine Light cover the earth upon the Nations, but the Lord will of God at OUR L O RD ’ S T R ANSFI GURAT ION O N shine on you and His Glory shall be seen upon you. Kings shall come to your Light, and the Gentiles to your M OUNT T AB OR . (MATTHEW 17 : 1 – 5) Brightness...” “Darkness” refers to S PIRI TUAL D A RKN ESS O R B LI NDN ESS DUE TO This is the Hymn that we sing during Holy Pascha in the UNREP ENT ED SI N . It is both Spiritual Ignorance and Satanic Liturgical Services – for, as St John of Damascus opposition to the Divine Light and Truth of Almighty God. expressed it: “... the whole Creation rejoices and T HOSE WHO HAT E T RUTH , PREFE R IGNORANC E FO R exults, for Christ is Risen and Hades despoiled.” THEMSEL VES AN D TH EY ST RIV E T O KE EP O THE RS IGN ORA NT AS WELL . P s a l m 1 1 8 : 1 0 5 - “Thy Word is a Lamp to my feet and a Light to my paths.” “Comprehend” means both “understand” and “overcome .” In the New Testament, THE S ON OF G OD IS “ L IGH T ” – H E Thus S PIRI TUAL D ARKN ESS CA N NEVER OV ERPOWER TH E IS U NCREATE D L IGHT OF U NCREA TE D L IGH T – T RUE G O D D IVINE L IGH T AN D T RUTH OF OUR L O RD J ESUS C HRIST , NOR OF T RUE G O D ! CAN I T UNDERS TAN D TH E W AY OF D IVINE L OV E . ( A GAP E ) J o h n 1 : 4 – 9 “... In Him is Life, and the Life is the “John” is a reference to S T J OH N TH E B APTIST A ND F OR ERUN NER Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, TO C H RIST – THE LAS T A ND G REA TES T OF ALL TH E O L D and the darkness did not comprehend It. There was a C OVENA NT H OLY P ROPH ETS OF G O D , who not only man sent from God, whose name was John. This man prepared the Hebrews on earth for the advent of Christ came as a Witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all the True Messiah, but after his Holy Martyrdom, HE ALS O – through him – might believe. He was not that Light, PREPA RE D TH OSE WHO WER E IMP RISON ED IN H A DES . ( AFTER but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the C HRIST ’ S D EATH AND H IS OWN DESCENT INTO H ADES , OUR True Light, which gives Light to everyone coming into L ORD J ESUS SET THE R I GHTEOUS SOULS FREE TO REPOSE IN the world...” P ARADISE UNTIL T HE F INAL J UDGE ME NT . T HIS IS KN OWN AS ] O NLY G O D HAS L IFE IN H IMSELF , THUS OUR L OR D J ESUS “ T HE H ARROW ING OF H ADES .”) C HRIST , BE ING G O D , IS TH E S OU RC E OF L IF E , T OGE THER Although OUR M OST M ERCIFUL G O D HAS OFF ER ED H IS D IVINE WITH THE F A THER AN D TH E H OLY S PI RIT . L IGHT TO EVERY HUMAN BEI NG , the fallen world and even “The Life was the Light of mankind...” St John now introduces many of His chosen people refuse to receive Him. Thus MANKIND AS S ANCTIFI ED R EC EIVERS OF TH E D I VIN E L IGH T they can neither know nor recognise Him. T HOSE WHO OF G OD , WHO , BY LIVI NG I N C HRIST , B ECOM E C HILDRE N ACC EPT C HRIS T OUR S A VIOUR , AR E G RAN TED H IS D IVINE OF THE L I GHT OF G OD . (JOHN 12:36 – EPHESIANS 5:8 – 1 L IGHT . THESSALONIANS 5:5) After having heard the reading of the Holy Gospel and having received the Holy Eucharist in Divine Liturgy, we 12.

5TH SUNDA

Y

AFTER P

ENTECOST

– 5

T H

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13 J

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2014

sing: “We have seen the True Light! We have received the Heavenly Spirit!” John 8: 12 Our Lord Jesus said: “I Am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the Light of Life.” Our Lord used these words in the context of the great lamps that were lit at the conclusion of the Feast of Tabernacles in the Outer Court of the Temple in Jerusalem. Consequently, C HRIS T DECLA RES H IMSELF AS TH E F ULFILMEN T AND THE D IVI NE OBJECT OF ALL C ELEB RATI ONS OF L IGH T . In Holy Scripture, God the Father is Light – a Divine Attribute that He bestows upon His Faithful Flock. (JOHN 1:4-9 & 1 JOHN Furthermore, OUR L O RD J ESUS C HRIST CON FIRMS H IS CL AIM BY PERFO RMIN G THE G R EA T M IRA CLE OF C REATI NG EYES FOR THE MA N WHO WAS B OR N WITHOUT ANY EYES AT ALL . (JOHN 9 :
1-7 – ESPECIALLY 9:5)
H N 1 : 5 “... This is the message that we have heard from Him and declare to you: that God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all.” For St John the Divine and Beloved Theologian and Apostle of Christ “ L I GHT ” IS D IVI NE E NERGY , WHICH MANI FES TED ( REVEAL ED ) D IVINE T RUTH – I . E . T RUE T EACHIN G – V IRTU E AND H OLIN ESS – I . E . T RUE BEHAV IOUR AN D L IF EST YLE – AND H OLY C OMMUNION WITH G O D IN H IS H OLY C HUR CH – I . E . T RUE S PIRI TUALITY . ] T HE STRONG EST OF ALL WEAP ONS A GAI NST S PIRI TUAL D ARKNESS A ND SIN IS OUR L OV E F OR G OD , W HIC H IS A STRO NG , VIBRAN T AND C LOS E R EL ATIO NSHIP WITH H IM . Light is necessary for clear vision and for life itself. ] F AITH R ELIES ON D I VIN E L I GHT and F AITHFUL B ELIEVERS B ECOM E “ S O NS O F L I GHT ,” W HO S HIN E I N A D ARKENED A N D P ERVERS E W O RLD . (JOHN 12:36 - 1

1:5 – MATTHEW 5:14 - PHILIPPIANS 2:15)

1 JO

At Holy Pascha the Divine Liturgy begins with the Priest exiting the Holy Sanctuary and presenting a lit candle into the darkened church - inviting the congregation to “Come and receive the Light that is never overtaken by night!” whereupon, one by one, our candles are lit and the entire church is quickly illuminated by the soft, golden light – a wonderful way of REMI NDI NG US HOW G O D ’ S There are candles and lamps on the Altar and in front of and above the Holy Icons. We switch on all the lights at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, and when the Priest proclaims “Come Receive the Light ,” it is the high point of the Holy Pascha Service as the Light of our Lord’s Resurrection lights up the darkness and spreads from the Priest’s candle to everyone else’s in the church. So we should not be surprised that Christ told His Followers that they were to be “...the Light of the world – a City on a hill that cannot be hidden.” Imagine driving in the countryside at night and we can see the lights of even a small village from quite a distance. When light shines in darkness, it is very difficult to hide it. And we never turn on the light in order to hide something. Instead, we want to illuminate it so that we can clearly see it. The Good News of our Faith is that Christ has brought the Light of Heaven to our sin-darkened world. Indeed, He is the Light – the Eternal Son of God Who becomes fully human while remaining fully Divine. That is how He brings us into His Divine Light – how He makes it possible for us to shine with His Holy Glory, even as we live and breathe upon the earth. He fulfils all the Foreshadowing and Preparation of the Old Covenant Law and the Holy Prophets, for God was never primarily concerned with Old Covenant Rules concerning outward behaviour or the sacrifice of animals. Instead, those Rules pointed the Way to the True Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, to the One Who triumphs over sin and Death themselves. And now He makes it possible for us all to share in His Glorious, brilliant Light – to become Partakers of His Divinity by Grace.

THESSALONIANS 5:5 – PHILIPPIANS 2 : 15)

D IVINE L I GHT OF T RUTH A ND L OV E SP REA D AN D E NLIGH TENED TH E E NTI RE WO RLD F OR EVER ! C HRISTIA N V IR TUES HAV E BO TH A PERSONAL AN D PUBLIC FUNCTIO N , for it can bring others to Glorify God and to live in Christ forever. ] O UR L OR D J ESUS FULFILLED TH E L AW IN H IMSELF - IN H IS W ORDS AN D IN H IS A CTI ONS BY P ERF ORMIN G G O D ’ S W ILL IN ALL ITS F ULLNESS , BY TRA NSG RESSI NG N ON E OF THE PRECEP TS OF THE L AW , BY DECL ARI NG TH E P ERF EC T F ULFILMENT OF TH E L AW , WHICH HE WAS ABOUT TO DELI VER TO TH EM AND BY GR AN TING R IGHT EOUSN ESS – THE U LTIM AT E G OAL OF TH E L AW – T O US . ] H E ALSO FULFILLED TH E P ROPH ECI ES OF ALL THE H OL Y P ROPHETS OF G O D , by being and carrying out everything they had foretold centuries before. Our Lord Jesus often used the term “Truly” or “Assuredly” which means “confirmed ,” or “so be it” – “Amen” – as A SOLEMN AFFIRMA TIO N OR F ORM OF O ATH . His use of this expression at the beginning of certain Divine Proclamations (rather than at the end) is UNIQUE AN D AUTHORI TATI VE : H E DECL ARES H IS W OR DS AFFI RMED BEF ORE THEY AR E EV EN SP OKEN ! “A JOT ” – “ IOT A ” – IS THE SMALLES T LETT ER I N TH E G REEK ALPHABET W HILE A “ TIT TLE ” IS THE SMALL EST S TRO KE I N CER TAI N H EBR EW LETT ERS . ] Thus, WITHOUT EX CEP TION , TH E EN TIR E L AW OF G O D IS AFFIRM ED AS TH E S AC RED F OUNDATI ON OF C HRIS T ’ S N EW C O VENA NT T EACHI NG . “All is fulfilled” is a reference to TH E P ASSIO N AN D R ESURREC TION OF OUR L OR D A ND S A VIOU r. ] R IGHTEOUSNESS ACC OR DIN G TO THE L AW IS A UNI FIED WHOLE .  T HE OBSERVA NC E OF ALL TH E LEA ST C OMMA NDM EN TS OF G O D IS TO OBSERV E OR KE EP OR OBEY TH E WHOLE D IVINE L AW OF G O D ,  WHILE THE VIOLA TION OF TH E LEAS T C OMMA NDM EN T IS CONSI DE RED BY G OD TO BE THE VIOLA TION OF TH E ENTI R E D IVINE L AW OF G O D ! It could not be made more definitive or clear to us than This!!

5th Sunday of St Matthew – Light of the World
Today we also Commemorate the 630 Holy, God-bearing Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon in 451, who clarified and ratified the absolute Truth that our Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human – being One Person with two unconfused Natures, for if He were not, how could He Save us who are fully human? Those Holy Fathers rejected the views of the Monophysites who claimed that our Lord Jesus had only one Divine Nature, but if that were the case, we would not be able to participate in His Divine Life, for we are simply human beings, and it would be impossible for us to see how Christ’s Death and Resurrection had much to do with us. So, today’s Commemoration is not simply a reminder about ancient history. It is a Proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Christ, for our Lord Jesus must be both God and Man in order to be our True Lord and Saviour. The Good News is that we are Called to become Spiritually Radiant, and Illuminated by the Light of Christ so that we, too, become the Light of the world, shining so brightly with Good Works that all will give Glory to God. The point is not to relax the Old Covenant Laws but to bring their Purpose to completion. In other words, it is not enough to refrain from murder; we are to overcome the passion of anger, which is the cause of all hatred and murder. It is not sufficient to avoid the physical act of adultery or fornication – we are instead to be free from bondage to lust in all its forms. Instead of getting back at our enemies in accordance with “... an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth...” we are to turn the other cheek, Blessing them with the same Love that we received from our Lord God.

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The Ultimate Goal of these Divine Commandments is our Spiritual Perfection: “... Be Perfect as your Father in Heaven is Perfect...” If we ourselves lived that way, imagine what a Blessing we would be to the world, for we would be living proof that human beings may become Partakers of the Divine Nature in Christ our Lord. Most of us have not reached that wonderful Holy State yet, but the fundamental Good News of the Holy Gospel remains: the God-Man, Jesus Christ, is our Perfection, our Salvation, and our Theosis. He has already worked the unfathomable Miracle of joining humanity to Divinity, of conquering sin and Death, of making us participants in His Life. Our on-going Sacred Task is to cooperate with Him, to open the dark corners of our life to His Divine Light – to stop corrupting and diminishing ourselves and instead to start living as the Icons of Divine Glory that we were created to be. And in order to make good progress in our Life in Christ, we need our Church, which speaks the Truth concerning how we participate in this Great Salvation – not as an emotional experience – a onetime event, or a reward for good behaviour – but as members of a Living Body in which our passions are Healed, our heart is Purified, and our soul is Illumined as we grow in Union with Christ and with one another. Any relationship is a process, a journey, and a Relationship of Communion with the Holy Trinity is no exception. By God’s Grace, we hope to grow in Holiness throughout Eternity. We may put no limits on what it means for us as creatures, to share in the Life of our Creator. Perhaps for that very reason our Lord sets the standard so high. Those who are great in the Kingdom of Heaven are not those who break God’s Laws and teach others to follow their bad example – their low standard – not those who bring confusion and division into His Church. No, they are those who faithfully keep God’s Commandments and teach others to do so and who shine ever more brightly with the Holy Light of Divine Truth and Grace. Unfortunately, it is always easy to find religious groups or individual who shine no Light at all and who are like those described by St Paul in his Epistle to St Titos. Some prefer to indulge themselves in foolish, unprofitable and useless arguments that lead to nothing except division in the Church. St Paul taught us that it is much better to use such precious time and energy in actually doing Good Works and meeting the urgent needs of others, thereby bearing Good Fruit for the Kingdom of God. In other words: it is better to focus on living the basic Christian Life than to distract ourselves with nonsense. If our Lord Jesus Christ had been just another Rabbi, then it would not have mattered if people argued continuously about His Teachings and lives as they pleased. But that is not our True Faith. Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly God and truly Man. He is our Resurrected Lord in Whom we share in the Eternal Life of Heaven. Do not be despondent and do not fall into despair when you feel within your soul the deadly breath and ferment of malice and evil, impatience and blasphemy, or any weakness from impure thoughts; but fight against them unremittingly and endure valiantly, calling with all your heart upon the Lord Jesus—the Conqueror of Hell. Humble yourself deeply, deeply, acknowledging yourself from the depths of your soul as the first of

He is the True Light Who is “... never overtaken by night...” and Who Calls us to become the Light of the world, to manifest the Glory of His Salvation in even the small details of our daily life. There are no secret mysteries nor hidden teachings that require endless debate, for Christ did not come to Save a few select Philosophers. There is no ‘code’ for figuring out when He will return or for identifying wicked people as the ‘Antichrist’ or other such craziness. And there is no reason for each succeeding generation to attempt to redefine basic Christian Teaching about Theology and morality in light of what is popular or easy in their particular time and place. Christ has bright Light and Life to all, to the entire world, and in His Body, the Church, we all learn how to grow in Relationship with Him. Basically, if we actually do what we know we should be doing, we will grow in Holiness. That means simple steps such as attending Holy Services, regularly partaking of the Holy Mysteries with proper preparation and all due respect, praying, Fasting, Repenting and Confessing as often as possible, giving to the needy and supporting our Parish Church, by forgiving those who have wronged us and asking forgiveness of those we have wronged, by fighting our passion, by being mindful – watching our words, thoughts and deeds – and everything else that we struggle to control. As St Paul said, we should focus our energy on Living the Christian Life, and we will find that we have much less time for pointless disputes and other spiritually unhealthy endeavours. If we say, do and think with sincere Faith, Hope and Love, we will grow in Christ and be a Light and Blessing to the world. However, we must not be surprised if we still do not “glow in the dark,” at least not in our own eyes for truly Holy people do not think that they are Holy at all. In contrast to the brilliant Light of our Lord, they see their own dark spots with greater clarity than the rest of us. The closer we are to our Lord, the more painfully aware we become of how far we have to go to achieve His Spiritual Perfection! So, if you are aware of more darkness than Light in you at present, do not be surprised and do not despair. Do what you can to welcome the Divine Light that is in us, no matter how dim it appears, and focus on it; fuel it, and do everything within your power to help it grow and overtake the night. Our Lord has conquered the Darkness of Death, the Tomb, and Hades; and He wants to do the same in our life – and He will if we continue the process of growing in Union with Him; and as we do our Good Works and our personal transformation, it will bring at least a glimpse of the Glory of Heaven to earth. And that is good because it is our Calling to be the Light of the world so that others will Glorify God and be drawn to the New Life of our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for He is truly the Light Who shines in the Darkness, Illuminating even sinners like you and me.
FATHER PHILIP LEMASTERS HTTP://EASTERNCHRISTIANINSIGHTS.BLOGSPOT.COM/2012/07/YOU-ARELIGHT-OF-WORLD-HOMILY-FOR-HOLY.HTML

St John of Kronstadt
sinners, unworthy of human fellowship, and the Lord, seeing your Humility and your Struggle, will help you. Call also to your help the speedy Mediatrix, the Most Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, saying: " Heal, most Pure Lady, the many painful wounds of my soul, and strike the enemies constantly fighting against me."

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Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
ALL GLORY, HO NOUR AGES. AMEN
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WORSHIP

TO THE

FATHER,

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SO N,

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HOLY SP IRIT,

NOW AND

FOREVER,

AND UNTO THE

AGES

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RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST B LESS ED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARY, THEOTOK OS YET EVER VIRGIN, TOGETHER WITH ALL THE SAINTS. A ND LE T US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIS T OUR GOD . AME N .

17 July 2014 St Marina/Margarita the Great Virgin Martyr of Antioch, Pisidia
ALSO THE FEAST OF ST IRENAR CHOS OF S OLO VKI – ST LA ZAR O S OF M OUNT GALER IOS – ST N IC HO LAS, ST ALE XANDR A, ST ALEX IS , ST OL GA, ST T ATI ANA , ST AN ASTASIA , ST MA RI A, IMPE R IAL HOL Y MARTYRS OF RUSSI A – ST LE ONID O F USTNE DUMSK

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Amnas Sou Iisou, krazi megali ti foni. Se Nimfie mou potho, ke Se zitousa athlo, ke sistavroume, ke sinthptome to Vaptismo Sou. Ke pasho dia Se, os Vasilefso sin Si, ke thnisko iper Sou, ina ke ziso en Si. All os thisian amomomn, prosdehou tin meta pothou tithisan Si. Aftis Presvies, os eleimon, Soson tas psihas imon.
OF ST M /M

O

APOL

my Lord Jesus, Thine Ewe-Lamb, with a loud voice calls out: Thou, my Groom, do I long for, and suffer all in search for Thee, and I am crucified and buried with Thee in Baptism; and I suffer for Thy Sake, in order to reign with Thee, and give my life to Thee so that I may live with Thee; but accept as Pure Sacrifice, the one who desired to give her life for Thee. Through her Intercessions, O Most Compassionate, Save our souls! still an infant Thou rejected Thy father’s idols, and trampled down the pride of the cruel tyrant Olyvrios; thus through thy Prayers Thou put the serpent in bondage, and the dragon’s proud head Thou completely crushed, O Great Martyr Marina; Intercede with Christ our God, that our souls may be Saved.

YTIKION

ARINA

ARGARITA

TONE

1

Tou

Patros Sou ek vrefous apestrafis ta idola, ke tou Olivriou tirannou tin oftin katepatisas, othen efhes sou ton ofin edesmefsas, ke tin kefalin tou drakontos epirmenin katethlasas, Megalomartis Marina; presveve Hristo to Theo Sothine tas psihas imon.
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ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is Presvian, ke spefson is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton Timonton Se.

O Protector of the Christians Unashamable, Mediator to
the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the Aid of all of us, who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine Intercession, and present Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who always protects all those who honour Thee!
GH

OUR ADOPTIO

The Epistle of St Paul to the Galatians 3 : 23 – 4 : 5
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Brethren: before Faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law – kept for the Faith that would afterward be revealed. Therefore, the Law as our Tutor to bring us to Christ so that we might be Justified by Faith. But after Faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor, for you are 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. ä W ITH G O D ’ S N EW C OV EN AN T , C HRIST REV EAL ED THE T RUE ] F AITH IN C HRIS T IS ALSO F AITH OF C HRI ST BECAUSE TWO F A ITHS N ATU RE OF OUR M OS T M ERCIFUL , L O VIN G AN D ARE COOPERA TING T OG ETHER : first and foremost, TH E F AITH B ENEVOL EN T G O D TO US AND TAUGH T US THE W AY T O OF C HRIS T , and secondarily, THE F AITH IN C H RIST OF E T ER NAL L I FE , which the ancient people of God only THOSE WHO B ELIEVE . understood instinctively at first and then through the Although THE PEOPLE OF THE O L D C OV ENA NT WITH G O D HAD teachings of the Holy Prophets of God. COMPLE TE F AI TH IN G O D , TH EY COULD NOT PA RTI CIPAT E IN TH E A T TH E H A RROWI NG OF H A DES AFT ER H IS D EATH O N THE C ROSS IN F AITH OF C HRIS T FO R OUR S AVI OUR HA D NO T YET APPE AR ED TO H IS HUMAN N ATURE , C HRIS T IN H IS D IVINE N A TURE , SMASHED THEM . OPEN THE IMPRISO NIN G D OO RS OF H ADES , and, having ] T HE H OLY T RI NITY IS O M NIPR ESENT - ever-present – TH ERE HAS preached to the dead – both the wicked and the Righteous NEVER BEEN A TIME OR PL AC E WHEN G O D THE F ATH ER , TH E ones – He freed all humanity from the enslaving power of evil S ON AN D TH E H OLY S PI RIT WAS NOT P RES EN T ! – A ND RE - OPE N ED P A RA DISE TO TH E F AI THFUL WHER E THEY T HE ONLY TIME WE COULD ACTUA LLY SEE G OD WAS WHEN C H RIST – COULD R EPOS E IN P EA CE UNT IL THE G ENE RAL R ESURRE CTIO N THE W O R D AN D S ON OF G O D – B ECAM E M AN – B ECAM E AND OUR F IN AL J UDG EMENT . I NCAR NAT E – TO OK ON PH YSICAL M ATT ER – A HUMAN B ODY . WHO STUBBORNLY R EJ ECT ED H IM , REMAIN I N H ADES WHER E ] T HE P URPOS E OF OU R L IF E O N E AR TH HAS ALWA YS BEEN A VI TAL T HOSE THEY SUFFER THE HIDEOUS F O RETAS TE OF TH E VILE NESS AN D P REPARA TOR Y P ERIOD FO R E TERNI TY . TORM EN T OF E TERN AL A LIENATI ON F ROM G O D , Because God’s Love of us is infinite and absolute, he provided ] O UR F AITH IN C H RIST IS one of PE RSON AL C OMMITM EN T AN D mankind with a set of T EN C OMMAN DMENTS O R L AWS THA T A LLEGIA NC E TO H IM and through our Holy Baptism WE GUIDE US TOWA RDS E TERN AL L IFE AND P ROTEC T US F ROM HAVE BE COM E A DOP TE D H EIRS OF G O D – Co-Heirs with FALLING I NTO A STA TE O F PERM AN EN T S PIRITUAL D EATH . Christ to the Eternal Heavenly Kingdom of God. ä T HE T EN C OMMAN DMENTS OR M OS AIC L AW PR EPA RE D TH E ä Not only have we been Baptised into Christianity –into the H EBREW N A TION F OR TH E C OMI NG OF G OD . Christian Faith, but WE HAV E V EST ED OURS ELV ES WITH C HRIST – WE H AVE “ P UT O N C HRIST ” – WE HA VE T AKEN
ST MARI
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S AVIN G F AITH AN D BEIN G B APTIS ED A RE INTERWOVEN – we cannot claim to have one without the other! “F OR AS M ANY OF YOU AS W ERE B AP TISED IN TO C H RIST HA VE PUT ON C HRIST ,” IS OUR AN CIENT B APTISM H YM N that is chanted during the Procession of the Newly Regenerated into the assembly – the Holy Church of Christ.
THE H
EALING

]

ON OUR S ACR ED M ISSIO N T O BEC OME C H RIST - LIKE – T O IMITAT E C HRIS T H IMSELF AN D TH ER EBY R EG AIN OUR LOS T L IKE NESS TO G OD . A CCO RDI NG TO OUR N EW C OV ENA NT WI TH A LMIGH TY G OD , there is no distinction between social status, ethnicity or gender because W E A RE ALL EQUAL I N TH E S IGHT OF G OD !

]

W E SHAR E ONE HUMAN NATU RE I N C HRIST . Therefore, AS SESSI NG P EOPL E according to our own opinion, attitude, value, gender or ethnicity IS FO RBIDDEN I N C HRIS T ’ S H OLY C HURCH , ] I F WE ARE G ENUI NELY TR YING TO IMITA TE C HRIS T WE MUST DO SO WITHOUT FAIL : he never discriminated against anyone so how dare we do so! ] A NY DISC RIMIN ATIO N , BIGO TR Y , IN TOLE RA NC E O R P REJUDICE WILL CAUSE US SERIOUS S PIRI TUAL C O NDEMNA TIO N , WHICH We are all one in nature and equal in dignity.
HE

UNLESS WE QUICKL Y C OR RECT OURSEL VES WITH SI NCER E R EPENTA NC E - WILL AFF ECT OUR E TERNI TY !

The Holy Gospel According To St Mark 5: 24 – 34
OF THE B
LEED ING

At that time our Lord Jesus went with Jairus, a ruler 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 no better but rather grew worse. 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 garment, I shall be made well.” Immediately the source of her bleeding 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 garment?” So His Disciples said to Him: “Thou see the multitude thronging Thee and 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, went and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. So He said to her: “Daughter, your Faith has made you well. Go in Peace, and be healed of your affliction.” IN H IM SO THA T O THERS WOULD LEARN FROM HER AN D ] A UTHORIT Y OVER L IF E A ND D EATH IS B Y TH E W ILL OF G O D G LORIFY G OD . ALON E AND BEI NG OF THE SAM E D IVINE E SSENC E AS G O D T HEREFORE H E LOUDLY E NQUI RE D “W HO TOUCH ED M Y THE F ATHER , OUR L O RD J ESUS C HRIST POSS ESS ES THA T GARM ENT ? ” WHIC H ASTONIS HE D H IS D ISCIPLE S SINCE THE SAME D IVI NE A UTHO RIT Y . LARGE CROWD SH OVED AND PUSHED ONE ANOTHER TO GET T HE H EALI NG OF THAT WOM AN , S T V ERONIC A , DEMONS TRA TED CLOSE R TO C HRIST AND MANY WO ULD HAVE BRUSHED AGAINST OUR L OR D J ESUS ’ P OW ER TO C LEANS E US F ROM OUR SI NS H IM OR CERTA INLY TOU CHED H IS GAR MENTS . AND TO H EAL ALL OUR AFFLI CTIO NS – THE SPIR ITUAL A ND TH E A LTHOU GH ON H IS WAY TO SAVE THE DAU GHTER OF J A IRUS – A PHYSICAL . “ RULER OF THE S Y NAGO GUE ” – OUR L OR D J ESUS TO OK H IS A CCORD ING TO T HE O LD C OVENANT L AWS , A NY TYPE OF TIME TO A CKN OWLEDGE THE H EAL ED W OMA N A ND TO TEACH HAEMORR HAG ING CAUSED CEREMON IAL DEFI LEME NT , WH IC H BOTH H ER AN D ALL TH OSE WHO WIT NESS ED I T HIS D I VIN E IMPOSED RELIG IOUS AND SO CIAL RESTRICTI ONS UPON THE T RUTH : SUFFERERS FOR ANY CO NTA CT WI TH BLOO D WAS ST RIC TLY F IRST H E GRANTED HE R “G OO D CHEER ” BECAUSE OF THE PR OOF PROHIBIT ED AND AV OIDED AT ALL C OSTS . AND CONS EQU ENC ES OF H ER SI NC ERE F AITH . T HIS WRETCHED SUFFE RIN G WO MAN REGARDED HERSE LF AS BEING T HEN H E C ORRE CTED HE R T HIN KIN G FOR SHE COUL D N EITH ER HIDE UNCLEAN AND HAD FOLL OWE D ALL T HE REQUIREMENTS AS A HER AC TIO NS FROM H IM – F ROM G O D – NO R WAS SHE SOCIAL OUT CAST BUT SHE HA D RE ACH ED SUCH A DEG REE OF EXCLUDED F ROM H IM BEC AUSE OF H ER AF FLICTI ON . MISERY AN D DESPERATI ON TH AT SHE RISKED FURTH ER SHAM E A ND FINALLY , H E R EV EALED HER F AI TH PUBLICALLY SO THAT TH E AND HUMILIATIO N IN TH E C ONVI CTI ON THAT ONL Y C HRIS T WITNESS ES MIGH T FOLLOW HER GO OD EXAMPLE . COULD H EAL H ER . O UR H OLY C HURC H F ATHERS BE LIEVED THAT S T V ERONICA I T WAS A RISK THAT SHE WAS WILLING TO TA KE – AFTER ALL W HAT SYMBOLISES HUM AN NAT URE IN GENERAL BECAUSE ALL MORE COULD SHE LOSE ? P EOPLE HAD AL RE ADY TAKEN HUMANITY C ONS TAN TLY SUFFE RS AN D IS SUBJECT T O DE ATH , EVERYTHING SHE HAD , BUT NOW GO D WOULD GRA NT H ER WHA T WHICH WAS SYMBOLISED BY H ER HA EMO RRHA GING . SHE REALLY N EEDED ! T HE P HYSICIANS WHO COULD NOT HEAL HER SYMBOLISE THE ] E V ERYTHIN G THA T IS T OUCHE D BY G OD BEC OMES S ANCTIFI ED VARI OUS RELIGI ONS OF TH E WORL D , AS WELL AS THE O L D – H OLY – A ND WILL PASS THAT S ANC TIFIC ATI ON O NT O TH E C OVENA NT L AW , WHI CH A RE UNABLE TO G RA NT L IF E TO F AITHFUL . HUMANITY – TH EY C ANN OT S A VE US S O TH E INS TANT S T V ERONI CA S OFTLY TOUCH ED THE R OBES OF O NLY GOD CA N S AVE O R R EDEEM US ! ONLY THROUGH OUR L OR D C HRIST SHE W AS H EAL ED AN D G O D KN EW HER SINC ERE F AI TH AND S AVI OUR , J ESUS C HRIS T , AR E W E G ENUIN ELY FR EED IN H IM . FROM SUFFERING AN D BON DA GE TO SIN ! D IVINE E NERGY OR P OW ER W EN T FROM C H RIST TO S T V ERONI CA
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H E WAN TE D HER TO OPENLY A CKNOWL EDGE H ER F AI TH

Saint Marina (Margarita) As A Role Model For Young Women
What a role model for Orthodox Christian young women today! This 15 year old girl was raised a pagan, whose mother had died when she was young, and whose father punished her for accepting Christ and choosing Chastity instead of Marriage. She rejected a life of luxury and privilege associated with Roman nobility offered to her by the Emperor himself, preferring to live for Christ and abide in His Love, despite all threats and persecution, and for her strong resolve in following Christ she was tortured brutally. She courageously endured demonic manifestation and temptation, and was martyred ruthlessly yet maintained a joyful heart – encouraged by and desiring to imitate the Saints who had preceded her. Most teenagers today would regard the tragedies of St Marina's life demoralizing, but her Love for Christ overcame all her insecurities and strengthened her against all temptations every teenager faces. She could have chosen any type of life she wanted, but she chose a Path that brought her supreme Joy that no worldly happiness could ever surpass. Now St Marina lives forever and is one of Orthodoxy's most powerful and beloved Saints who continues to answer Prayers and cure illnesses by the Divine Grace she received by enduring so bravely for Christ, and being a notable Vanquisher of demons. St Marina was no ‘damsel in distress’ but a true heroine. Most heroines are fictitious, but her story is real and her Miraculous Icons and Holy Relics testify to this besides her many Visitations to the Faithful. Her Superpower was her Faith and the Grace of the Holy Spirit. There could be no better teenaged role-model, as she herself imitated our All Holy Lady, Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, who bore Christ at the same age as St Marina when she was martyred. Most teenagers won't have to endure such extreme tortures for their Faith, but to be a Faithful Christian in our society today inevitably invites public ridicule, peer pressure, misunderstanding, unflattering stereotypes, insults and all sorts of temptations. Even in the midst of these types of "persecution" the example of St Marina is a model of how to courageously endure and be strong. Her confident Faith and great Love for God should serve as an Inspiration to look beyond all vanity of this life and focus on that which truly matters.
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) THE GR

EAT

MARTY

R

17 JU

LY

2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
ALL GLORY, HO NOUR
AND

WORSHIP

TO THE

FATHER, AND T O THE SO N, AND TO THE HOLY SP IRIT, NOW AND FOREVE R, AND UN TO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN RE MEMBERING ALS O OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST B LESS ED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARY, THE OTOKOS YE T E VE R VIRGIN, TOGE THE R WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LE T US COMMIT OURSELVES AND O NE ANO THE R AN D OUR WHOLE LIFE T O CHRIS T OUR GOD . AME N .

6th

20 July 2014 6rh Sunday of Pentecost Tone (5) Plagal 2 Sunday of St Matthew – The Paralytic

ALSO THE FE AST OF ST EL IJA H THE T ISHBI TE, HO LY PROPHET OF G OD – ST ABRAM IOS OF GA LI CH , D ISCIPLE O F ST SE R GI OS OF R ADONE ZH – ST ATHAN ASIOS OF BRE ST-L ITOVSK – ST IL IA C HAV CH AVAD ZE OF GE OR GI A – ST M ARIA SKOVTSOV A OF L ATVI A – ST DE ME TRI OS KLEP INI NE , H IE ROM ARTYR – ST ALEXE I ME DVEDKO V, HIE RO MARTYR – ST SAL OME THE GE O RG IAN

RESU

RRECT ION

APOL

YTIKION

– TON

E

(5) PLA

GAL

1:

Ton

sinanarhon Logon Patri ke Pnevmati, ton ek Parthenou Tehthenta is Sotirian imon, animnisomen, Pisti, ke Proskinisomen. Oti ivdokise sarki anelthin en to Stavro ke Thanaton ipomine ke egire tous tethneotas en ti Evdoxo Anastasi Aftou.
APOL
YTIKION

The

FESTA

L

– ST ELIAS/ELI

JAH T HE

TI

Word, Who with the Father and the Spirit has no beginning, and Who, for our Salvation, was born of a Virgin, let us faithful believers hymn and adore. For it was His Good Pleasure to ascend the Cross in the Flesh, and to Suffer Death, and through His own Glorious Resurrection to raise the dead. Angel Incarnate and the Prophet’s Pedestal, the Second Forerunner of the Coming of Christ, Elias the Glorious, sent down to Elisha the Divine Grace from Heaven. He drives away diseases and he Cleanses lepers. Therefore he pours out Healing to those who honour him.
OF G
OD

SHBIT E

O

Ensarkos Angelos, ton Profton i kritis, O Defteros Prodromos tis Parousias Hristou, Ilias O Endoxos, anothen katapempsas Elisseo tin Harin, nosous apodioki, ke leprous katharizi. Dio ke tois timosin afton vrii iamata.
KONTAK
ION

The

FESTA

L

OF ST ELIAS THE TIS

HBIT E

& H

OLY

PR

OPHET

– TON

E

2

Profita

ke Proopta ton Megalourgion tou Theou, Ilia Megalinime, O to fthegmati Sou stisas ta idatorrita nefi, Presveve iper imon, pros ton Monon Filanthropon
OF THE

O

Prophet and Foreseer of the Great Works of God, O Greatly Renowned Elias (Elijah), who by Thy word held back the clouds of rain, Intercede for us to the Only Loving One. Protection of the Christians unashamable, Mediation to the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the Aid of all who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine Intercession, and press on Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who forever protects all those who honour Thee!

KONTAKION

EV

ER

B

LESSED

T

HEOTOKOS

Prostasia

ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is presvian, ke spefson is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton timonton Se.

O

The

art a Pries t for ever aft er t he Ord er of M elc hi zed ek Lor d sai d unto my Lord : Si t T ho u at my Rig ht Ha nd u nti l I make Thine E nemies T hy F ootst ool

Thou

Prokeimenon – Psalm 109 – Tone 1

The Epistle of St James 5 : 10 - 20
ENCOU
RAGEMENT TO THE

OPPRESSED

My Brethren: take, as an example of suffering and patience the Prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord. Indeed, we count them Blessed who endure. You have heard of the Endurance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very Compassionate and Merciful. However, above all, my Brethren, do not swear – either by Heaven or by earth, or with any other oath - and let your “yes ” be “yes ,” and your “no” be “no,” in case you fall into Judgement. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sin Psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with Oil in the Name of our Lord. And the Prayer of Faith will Save the sick, and our Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The effective, Fervent Prayer of a Righteous person avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rail on the land for three years and six month. And he prayed again, and the Heave gave forth rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the Truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will Save a soul from Death and cover a multitude of sins. T HE F AI THFUL H OLY P R OPHETS WHO AR E CE RT AINLY T RU E S AI NTS OF SWEARI NG BY G OD O R SOM ETHIN G THA T SIGNIFIES G OD – AS G OD ARE OUR BEST M O DELS O R E XAMPLES OF S UFFER ING A ND THOUGH SWEA RING P RO VED T RUTHFULN ESS ! P ATI ENCE WHOM WE SHOUL D STRI VE TO IMIT AT E . W E MAY SWE AR AN OATH W HEN ABSOLUTE LY NECESSARY BUT THE C ONSEQUENTLY , ALL F AITHFUL C HRIS TIANS OF THE N EW C OV ENA NT SOLUTION T O TH E LACK OF TRUST IS GENUINE G OO D F AI TH – HONOUR OR VENERAT E THES E H OLY P ROPH ETS AS WELL AS ALL PROOF OF OUR P ERS ONAL I NT EGRIT Y A ND T RUTHFULN ESS THE H OL Y S AINTS A ND M A RTY RS , TH ER EBY ACK NOWLEDGI NG BETWEEN US A ND G OD . THEM AS BEI NG M OST B L ESSE D WITH THE D IVI NE G RAC E OF  M ATTH EW 5: 33 – 37 :”... Y OU HAVE H EAR D TH AT I T WAS SA ID G OD . TO THOS E OF OLD : ‘Y OU SHALL NO T SWEAR FALS ELY , BUT SHALL A POLEMIC ( A STRON G ARGUME NT ) AGA INST A B AD CUSTOM OR HABIT PERFO RM YOU R O ATHS TO TH E L OR D .’
STEMMIN G FROM BA D FAITH IS THE C OM MON PRA CTI CE OF

6TH SU NDAY AFTER PENTECOST-6TH OF ST MATTHEW-THE PARALYTIC

20 JULY 2014

17

“ B UT I SAY T O YOU : D O NOT SWEA R AT ALL : NEITH ER BY H EA VEN , FOR IT IS G OD ’ S T H RON E ; NOR B Y TH E E A RTH , FOR IT IS H IS F OOTS TOOL ; N OR B Y J ERUSAL EM , FOR I T IS TH E C I TY OF THE G REAT K ING . “ N O R SHALL YOU SW EAR BY YOUR HEA D , B ECAUS E Y OU CA NN OT M AKE ONE H AIR WHIT E OR BL ACK . “ B UT LET Y OUR “ YES ” BE YES , A ND Y OUR ‘ NO ’ B E NO , FO R WHAT EV ER IS MORE THAN THES E IS FROM THE EVIL O NE .” W ITH THESE WORDS , C HRIST OUR S AVIOUR TAU GHT US HOW TO HONOUR OUR D IVI NE A DOPTION AS H EIRS T O G OD ’ S E T ER NAL K ING DOM A ND AS H IS F AITHFUL D ISCIPL ES . T RUTH CANNO T BE SECURED BY SWE ARI NG A N O ATH BY THINGS THAT ARE NO T I N OUR POSSESS ION ANYWAY , BUT ONLY BY SI MPLE INTEGRITY ! F URTHERMO RE , IN TH IS S P IRITU ALLY D ARK AND FALLEN W ORLD OF T HE LAST DAYS , PEOPL E SWEAR WITH OUT A NY THOUGHT OR REGA RD FOR TH E T RUTH . A LL TOO OFTEN , TH EY COMMI T TWO SERIOUS SINS BY BLASPHEMI NG THE L OR D OUR G OD ’ S H OL Y N AME A TTA CHED T O A BLAT AN T LIE ! K NOW N HABITUAL LIA RS ’ OATHS ARE USELESS A ND FUTIL E A ND EACH TIME THEY SW EAR A N O ATH , THEY C ON DEMN TH EMSEL VES MOR E AND M OR E . T RUST AN D T RUTH A RE I NSEP AR ABLE V IR TUES . O NLY THROU GH O UR CONSTANT PRESERVATION AND PRACT ICE OF T RUST AND T RUTH WIL L OTHE RS BE ABLE TO TAKE US AT OUR WORD . T HE INSTANT TH AT S AC RED T RUST IS BRO KEN , WE LOOSE OUR INTEGRI TY , OUR AUTH EN TICI TY A ND OUR LEGI TIMA CY . T HOSE WHO HABITUALLY LI E A RE MO RE OF TEN THA N NO T ALSO
HABITUAL THIEVES DUE TO THE FACT THAT TH EY LACK HO NES TY A ND ETHICS , AN D TH EY ALWAYS H AVE A READY EXCUSE TO JUSTIFY THEMSEL VES ! L YI NG AND THIEVING AR E TH E NOXIOUS VIC ES OF S ATA N A ND MUST BE CORRE CT ED IMME DIA TEL Y AN D MOST DET ERMI NEDLY – THROU GH PERSONAL D ISC IPLINE AND T RUE R EPENTANCE AND C ONFESSION . T HER E IS NO EXCUSE FO R LYI NG OR ST EALIN G , WHICH REVEALS A S PIRITUAL D ARKN ESS AN D D EATH FROM WITHIN AN D MAKE US MURDE RERS OF G O D ’ S D IVINE T RUTH AN D SLAV ES OF THE EVIL ONE . T HUS WE MUST BE EV ER W A TCHFUL O VER THE STA TE OF OUR WOR DS , THOUGHTS AND DEEDS , ENSURI NG TH AT WE QUICKLY C OR RECT OUR ER RO RS AN D EM ERGENT HABI TS . S T J AMES INSTRUCTED US TO S EEK THE F ERV EN T P RA YERS OF THE C HURCH E LDERS ( OR P R IES TS ) FOR OUR S PI RITUAL A ND PHYSI CAL H EALING . S ALVATI ON DE ALS WITH BOTH BO DY AN D SOUL – O UR VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE BEING . T HUS H OLY U N CTIO N SERVES A DOUBLE P URPOSE – H EALI NG A ND TH E F O RGI VENESS O F SINS . P RIESTS ARE GRANTED CE RTAIN D IVINE G I FTS FOR THE H OLY M IN ISTRY AT THEIR O RDINAT ION – AT THE LAYING ON O F HANDS .  1 TIMOT HY 4:14 “...D O NOT NEGLEC T THE G IF T THAT IS IN Y OU , WHICH WAS GIVEN T O YOU BY P ROPHECY WITH TH E LAYING ON OF THE HA NDS OF TH E E L DERSHIP .” T HIS REFERRED TO S T T IMOTHY ’ S O RDI NATI ON I NTO TH E H OLY P RIES THOO D OF C HRIS T , WH IC H WAS CONFE RRE D UPON HIM BY THE H OLY A POSTLES OF C HRIST , E XACTLY AS IT IS STILL DONE TODAY BY THE B ISHOPS . P RAYERS AR E COMBI NE D WITH OLIV E OIL , WHICH WAS NO T ONLY THE PRIMAR Y MEDICIN E OF A NCI EN T TIM ES , BUT ALSO SYMBOLIS ED THE P RES EN CE A ND A CTI VIT Y OF TH E H OLY S PI RIT I N TH E C HURCH OF C HRIST . S O IT IS THAT THE SI NGL E H OLY M YS TERY OF U NCTION EFF EC TS A H EALING FO R OUR COMPLETE BEI NG – PHYSI CAL AND S PI RITUAL

W ELFARE A ND H EALING TH ROUGH TH E F OR GIV ENESS OF OUR SINS THA T EN SLAV E AN D SIC KEN US . T HE ESSENTIAL E LEME NTS OF H OLY U NCTIO N IN CLUDE A P RIEST , T HE P RAYERS OF THE F A ITH THAT S AVES US , C ONNE CTED TO THE W O RK OF C HR IST H I MSELF , FO R OUR L ORD WI LL RA ISE US ALL UP , AND THE H OLY S PIR IT MA NIFESTED IN THE B LESSED , S ANCTIF IED O LIVE O IL , AS WELL AS THE R EPENTANCE -C ONFESSION OF PERSONAL SINS PRIOR TO THE A NOINTING WIT H OIL – THE M YSTERY OF H OLY U NCTION – W HI CH EXPLA INS WHY S T J A ME S WROTE : “... I F HE HAS COMMITT E D SINS , HE WILL BE F ORG IVE N .” I N THE O RTHODO X C HURC H H OLY U N CTIO N IS GR ANT ED TO ANYO NE WHO IS SICK , WHETHER IN DA NGE R OF DYI NG O R NO T . A ND EVERY YEAR ON H OLY W EDN ESDAY OF H OLY W EEK ( BEFO RE H OLY P ASCH A ), ALL F AI THFUL C HRIST IANS RECE IVE H OLY U NCTION - H AVI NG P REPA R ED THEMS ELV ES COR RE CTLY WITH P RAY ERS , S PIRI TUAL S ELF -E XAMI NATI ON A ND R EPENTA NCE C ONFESSION AS WELL AS ( OF COU RSE ) H AVI NG K EPT TH E G REAT L ENT EN F AS T . A LTHOU GH SOME PE OPLE ALLEGE THAT C ONFESSING OUR SINS TO G OD BEFORE A P RIEST IS NOT B IBLICAL , TH E ANCIE NT C H RISTI AN CUSTOM WAS T O C O NFESS THEI R SINS – “ T R ESPASSES ” - T O ON E ANO THER . T HE SINS OF THE EARLY C HRIST IANS WERE C ONFESSE D BEFORE THE ENTIRE C ONGRE GATION AS AN A CT OF HUMBLE R EPENTANCE . B UT AS THE H OLY C HURC H G REW , N ON -C HR ISTIAN – I . E . T HE UNINIT IATED OR UNT AUG HT - V ISITORS W HO WERE UN FAM ILIAR W ITH THE S ANCT ITY AND T RUST OF PUBL IC C ONFESSION OFTEN ATTENDED THE H OLY S ERVI CE S . C ONSEQUE NTLY , IT B ECAM E MO RE PRA CTI CAL A ND EFFI CIE NT F OR R EPENTA NT SI NN ERS TO C ON FESS THEI R SI NS IN PRI VAT E B EFOR E A P RI EST - WHO REP RES ENTS OUR F ELLOW HUMANI TY AGAI NST WHOM WE CONS TA NTLY TR ESPASS - AN D G O D . W HAT IS C ER TAINL Y NO T T AUGHT IN H OL Y S C RIPTURE IS A PRIVATE C ONFESSION O NLY TO G OD , WHI CH R EFUSES TO AC KNOWL EDG E SIN TO THE C HRIS TIA N C OMMUNITY – O UR FELLOW SINNERS .  1 JOHN 1: 8 – 10: “ I F WE SA Y WE HAVE N O SIN , W E DE CEIV E OURSELV ES , AN D THE T RUTH IS NOT IN US . I F WE C ONFESS OUR SINS , H E IS F AITHFUL AN D J UST TO F ORGI VE US OUR SINS AN D TO C LEANS E US FROM ALL UNRI GHTEOUSN ESS . I F WE SA Y THA T WE HAVE NO T SIN NED , WE M AKE H IM A LIA R , AN D H IS W O RD IS N OT IN US ! O UR F AITH IS RE VEALE D AN D PRO VE D BY OUR A CTIO NS – OUR WORDS , OUR THO UG HTS AND OUR DEEDS – WHICH MUST PRODUCE P URITY – I . E . W E MUST PRACT ISE AND LIVE T RUT H , W HICH VALIDATES OUR R ELAT IONSHIP WITH G OD – L IVIN G EVERY MOMENT IN H OL INESS AND R IGHTE OUSNE SS . O UR F AI TH C OMPELS US TO S EEK F O RGI VENESS AN D S PI RITUAL C LEANSI NG F OR ALL OUR S INS – GREAT AND SMA LL . S IN IS OUR FALLEN , HUMAN C ONDIT ION BUT G OD HAS PR OVI DE D US WITH A M EA NS T O IMPRO VE A ND CO RRECT OURSEL VES TH ROUGH CONS TAN T W A TCHFULNESS AN D R EPENTA NC E -C O NFESSION , WHICH IS THE EST ABLISHED BASIS F OR S PI RITUAL G ROWTH TOWARDS R IGH TEOUS NESS . S O , THROUGH OUR L IF E IN C HRIS T WE S TRUG GLE DAIL Y TO FOLLOW HIM F AITHFULLY - L EA RNI NG TO RE COG NISE AN D RESIS T THE ONSLAUGHT OF T EMPT ATIO NS - EVE N THOUG H WE WILL C ONTINUE TO SIN IN VARYING DEGRE ES UNTIL WE DRAW OUR LAST BRE ATH . S ALVATI ON IN C HRI ST IS A CON TINUOUS PROCESS AND AS LONG AS WE DO THE BES T WE CAN T O FULFIL THE W ILL OF G OD , WE NEED NOT F EA R OUR F I NAL J UDGEM EN T AS MUC H AS THOSE WHO REBEL AND DISOBEY G OD AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY .

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew
OUR LO
RD

J

ESUS

C

HRIST

REST

ORES

A

PA

9 : 1 – 8

RALYTIC

Our Lord Jesus Christ got into a boat, crossed over, and went to His own city. Then, behold: they brought to Him a Paralytic, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their Faith, He said to the Paralytic: “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are Forgiven.” And immediately some of the Scribes said within themselves: “This Man blasphemes!” And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said: “Why do you think evil in your heart? For which is easier, to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say: ‘Arise, and walk..?’ But so that you may know that the Son of Man has Power on Earth to forgive sins...” then He said to the Paralytic: “Arise, take up your bed, and return to your house.” And the Paralytic arose and departed to his house. And when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled and Glorified God, Who have given such Power to men. 1. H E KN OWS TH E S EC RETS OF OUR HE ART . (S EE 1 K IN GS 16:7 & 2 O UR L ORD J ESUS C HRIST RESIDE D IN C APERNAUM . A S SHOWN BY THE H EALING OF THE P ARA LYTIC , F AI TH IS AN C HRON ICLES 6 : 30) 2. H E F ORGI VES US OUR SINS , W HICH IS A D IVINE P OWER AND INDISP ENSABL E CON DITIO N FO R OUR S AL VATI ON . F AITH IS COLLECTIV E AS W ELL AS PERSONAL , FOR T HE F AIT H OF THE A UTHOR ITY THAT BELONGS TO A LMI GHTY G OD AL ONE . P ARALYTIC ’ S FRIENDS ( WHO HAD PRE SENTED HIM TO C HRIST , 3. H E H EALS BY THE P OW ER OF H IS W OR D ALONE . DESPITE ANY OBSTACLES THAT CONFRONTED THEM ) HA D ALSO PLAYED A SIGNIFIC ANT ROLE IN H IS H EALING . T HRE E S IGNS OF OUR L OR D J ESUS ’ D IVINIT Y ARE REVEALE D :

18

6TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST-6TH OF ST MATTHEW-THE PARALYTIC

20 JULY 2014

6th Sunday After Pentecost – The Healing of the Paralytic
>In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen >Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever! In a short eight verses, we have heard a wonderful distillation of the Gospel! In the Healing of the Paralytic we get a glimpse at the order of our Salvation. ..and it works on many different levels. In the very first line: “(Our Lord Jesus Christ) got into a boat, crossed over, and went to His own city...” St Gregory Palamas saw the Incarnation, the Resurrection and the Ascension. In getting into the boat, St Gregory saw our Lord taking on human nature. He crossed over - He passes through this life, dies and is Resurrected, and then went to His own city - He ascended to Heaven and is seated at the right Hand of the Father. St Gregory even saw meaning in the fact that our Lord is not described as leaving the boat, but simply going to His own city. By this St Gregory Palamas saw an intimation of the bodily Ascension. Our Lord took the clay of humanity and brought it into the very Heavens and in His Incarnate, Resurrected Flesh, He is seated at the right Hand of the Father. The next sentence has men carrying the Paralytic man to Christ. In this image, St Gregory sees the Apostles and Evangelists carrying the Gentiles to Christ who have been paralyzed by their sinful ways. Each one of these former pagans is brought to Christ and the weight of their sins, which paralyzes them and holds them down, is forgiven and taken from them. Even more, we are, as St. Paul put it, made Heirs with Christ, for we have become Children of God: “Son, be of good cheer…” What a glorious way to look at the Gospel. It is a wonderful way to see the image of our own Salvation brought into sharp focus. What is more, when (not if) we fall into sin after our Baptism and Chrismation, we can be carried by the Apostles to Christ again, and when we Repent we can hear again those words: “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you.” The paralysis of our souls can be abolished. The pattern of our Salvation found in this passage of the Gospels can also be uncovered in a slightly different way as well, and this is the order in which our Healing takes place. According to St Symeon the New Theologian, with the Incarnation, with the Son and Word of God taking on flesh, our soul is Healed. If we look at how we fell from Grace in the Garden of Eden, we will note that it was through our soul, through our will, that we first sinned. The consequences of this were a darkening of our Spiritual Sight and followed by the corruption of the body. So the soul, the will, sinned first and the body bore the consequences of that sin. Consequently, in the Incarnation, the soul of mankind is Healed first and then the body is Healed by the Resurrection, while the Fullness of our Salvation - the Deification (Sanctification) of our human nature, is shown by Christ Ascending to Heaven in His Resurrected Body, Resurrected human Nature, and sitting down at the right Hand of the Father (the highest honour, being Co-Equal in His Divine Nature.) In the Healing of the Paralytic, we have this same order of Redemption: the man is Forgiven his sins and then his physical body is Healed. Indeed, this same order is preserved in the manner in which people are brought into the Church. First our sins are Forgiven in the Font of Holy Baptism and then we are made Co-Heirs with Christ and Children of God. Finally we will all be raised in a radiant Resurrected body and we will no longer endure pain or suffering or travail (hard work or labour). This is the pattern of Redemption: our Lord Heals our soul and then our body. Of the two, the Healing of the soul is the most important in this life. We can be free in our Lord and inherit Eternal Life even in a broken body. However, with a broken soul, an unrepentant and unhealed soul, even the body of a supermodel or top athlete will not Save us. The Lord Healed many people and the pattern was to Forgive sins and then to Heal. Sometimes sin and sickness go hand in hand. Disease of the soul can reach out and manifest itself in the body. This is one of the reasons for the words of Forgiveness from our Lord before He healed the Paralytic’s body. Although our maladies are sometimes the result of sin whether of immoderation or in the indulgence of hurtful things - at other times they are not the result of sins, but simply our environment or some unknown reason. None of us will get through life without some suffering. At times, although we suffer, we will not be healed. Sometimes we will not be healed in this life, although we will all ultimately be Healed and raised in the Resurrection. There will be times when some of us ask to be Delivered from an illness or an affliction and the answer will be ‘no.’ This can be a hard Cross to bear, but how we bear it can have Eternal Consequences. If we have had our request for Healing denied, we will find ourselves in good company. There have been scores of Saints who have borne illness or ill fortune with Joy because it is through this they can share in Christ’s Suffering and so Rise with Him as well. St Paul who endured an affliction and was denied Healing for a specific reason regarded his affliction as a “...thorn in the flesh...” and wrote: “...Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.” And the response he received? “My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Strength is made Perfect in weakness.” These are difficult words to hear, but St Paul needed to hear them so that he would not become proud of his Spiritual Experiences. His infirmity was meant to keep him humble: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distress, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” St Paul knew that if he had no infirmity, he would become proud, and in his pride, he would fall and become Spiritually Weak. If, however, he could not rely on his own power, he certainly could depend on our Lord’s Power. By acknowledging his own powerlessness, St Paul knew he had access to the Greatest Power there is. So, when he was weak, he was strong and the same is true for all of us! It is most difficult to accept our own suffering with Joy rather than fear. Harder still is suffering when we don’t understand why God would allow us, or anyone, to suffer. But we must always remember that there are things we can never understand because of our limited abilities and that God’s Wisdom and Love are infinitely different to what we understand. The fact that our pain can be for our Salvation does not always make sense, but our Lord knows why He permits these things to happen. We cannot see ‘the Big Picture,’ but He does. Our Holy Church Fathers teach us that everything that is permitted to happen comes from the Love of God. This is His Providential Care for us – and so they teach us to embrace our suffering. In some cases, as in Fasting and Vigils, and long bouts of Prayer, we afflict ourselves, and although this self affliction is not enough to free us from sin, it does train us to resist sin. However, without involuntary suffering, as in St Paul’s case, these voluntary trials can lead to pride. Our Holy Church Father, Ilias the Presbyter, wrote in the Philokalia that voluntary suffering must be wed to involuntary suffering (which takes the form of sickness, material losses and slander, among others) so that “...the sword of the soul will be tempered by both fire and water….otherwise it will be shattered by the events of life.”

The fire is voluntary suffering and the water is the involuntary suffering. Thus, the soul who is unused to voluntary suffering will fall prey to temptations, whereas the soul who is unused to involuntary sufferings of various kinds, will not know how to rely on God when the really overwhelming troubles come. Finally, it is the same as what St Paul was told by our Lord: “My Strength is made Perfect in weakness .” It is imperative to put suffering into the right perspective, It is nothing compared to the Glory that we shall receive from God. The Paralytic was physically Healed so that those present would know that our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, certainly, had the greater Power, which was the Power to Forgive sins and Heal the soul. One kind of Healing has only temporal significance for us. It can only last for part of our lifetime (because we are all mortal and we will all die of something), while the Healing of the soul will last Eternally. The problem of judging others, even in the slightest way, is that it leads us to forget our own sinfulness and leads us into idle talk about others. This happens all the time in small social gatherings. It does not take long before someone begins to talk about someone who is not part of this social group. In this idle chit chat we forget about our own problems and project all our inner fears on others. We do this with people who we don't even know. This may be a leader of our organization or country, or some public figure. How easy to condemn them rather than ourselves. St Dorotheos said: "Nothing makes man more naked or carries him so effectively to his ruin as slander, condemnation and disregard of his neighbour." He tells us that to slander is to say something against another person like "...that person lied..." or "...she became angry." It is speaking with passion about another's sin. But we often go further than this and condemn the person saying: "...that person is a liar..." or "... an angry person." Now we find we are judging the whole person, condemning them. Saint Dorotheos reminded us: "The judgment of others is a much graver sin that any other as Christ Himself said: ‘Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye!’" (LUKE 6:42) The problem with such judging is that we do not know the whole story about how others are struggling. St Dorotheos said, "Only God, Who knows the situation of each one of us, our strength, our environment, our individual gifts, our temperament and capacities, can justify or condemn. He can judge each of these things, as He only knows." Based on the situation of each of us, the environment we live in, the difficulties we face, the responsibilities we hold, God's Judgment is infinitely different. No matter how badly we think others act, we do not know how much they struggled before they acted. Only God can see our labour and our sorrow, and only He can have mercy on us. God may be merciful to those we choose to judge, yet we choose to become their judge and in the process we lose our own soul. We only know about their sin but we do not know about their Repentance. St Dorotheos said: “Those who desire to be Saved do not pay attention to the faults of their neighbour, but always to their own, and thus (they make) progress. Such was the man who saw his Brother sinning and groaned, saying: ‘Alas, he sinned today - for sure it will be me tomorrow!’" We sin ourselves but do not Repent and then dare to judge others. We are all hypocrites! How serious this must be for our soul! It is important not to lose the focus on our own sinfulness and our own need for Repentance and our need for the Mercy of God. St Dorotheos said: “If we have Love, with sympathy and Compassion, we shall not see our neighbour's faults, as it says: ‘Love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Again it says:

Let us remember that O UR TR UE I NDEPENDENC E FROM SIN AND CORR UPTION LIES WITH O UR DEPENDEN CE ON G OD . Let us, in our weakness, hear our Lord call us His Children and tell us that we are forgiven our sins! As St Paul explained to the Romans: “... for you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Adoption by Whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” “The (Holy) Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are Children of God, and if Children, then Heirs—Heirs of God and joint Heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be Glorified together. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the Glory, which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the Creation eagerly waits for the Revealing of the sons of SE RMO N BY FATHE R PH IL IP KONTOS HTTP://WWW .STPETE RJUPITER. ORG/ ART ICLE.P HP ? ID =2044 ‘Love thinks no evil, bears all things...’ and so on.”
4:8 & 1 CORINTHIANS. 13:5-7). (1 PETER

How Do We Judge Others?
What do the Saints do? They seek to Heal others. St Dorotheos explained: “... They do not judge or dislike him but suffer with him, admonish him, offer him Consolation and Healing like a sick member. They do everything to Save the sinner. Take the example of fishermen; when they put the fish on the hook into the sea and get a very large fish, if they feel the fish is struggling and fighting, they do not pull it straight away by force, since the line would break and the fish would be lost. Rather, they skilfully give it line and allow it to run freely until they know it is slackened and calm from its struggle. Then they gradually draw it in." We must learn to have Love and to suffer with others so we can assist them in the right way and at the right time. If we condemn them then we will not make any effort to help them. We all need the help of others who are stronger than ourselves. "We are individually members one of another" (ROMANS 12:5). "If one member suffers all members suffer with it" (1 CORINTHIANS
12:26)

St Dorotheos advised: “Let each one serve the body according to his ability, and try to help one another whether it is by preaching and putting the Word of God into the heart of a Brother, Consoling him in time of trouble or by giving him a helping hand. The more we Love and help each other the closer we are to God.” Saint Dorotheos offered an image of this reality: “Suppose there is a circle on the earth, as if drawn by a compass. The centre is exactly the middle of the circle. Let us suppose that this circle is the world and God is the centre. The straight lines drawn from the circumference to the centre are our lives. As the Saints, desiring to approach God, move inward, they become nearer to God and nearer to each other and as they approach God, they approach each other. As they approach each other, they approach God. We should understand separation in the same way. When we move away from God and follow external things, it is evident that as we move away and become distant from each other, we distance ourselves from God. This is the very nature of Love. As far as we are outside and do not Love God, each of us is also distanced from our neighbour, but if we Love God, the more we approach Him through Love for Him, the more we are united to our neighbour through Love, and as much as we are united to our neighbour, we are United to God. As we see the difficulties in others’ behaviour, we should be careful not to judge and condemn them. Instead we should examine our own behaviour and seek to make improvements within ourselves. If we can do this then we will have the necessary Love to look at others who are struggling and seek effective ways to help them as they struggle. In this way we can become united as one - one to another and one in God.
REFERENCE: ABBA DOROTHEOS: PRACTICAL TEACHING ON THE CHRISTAIN LIFE, HTTP://ORTHODOXWAYOFLIFE.BLOGSPOT.COM/2014/03/HOW-DO-WE-JUDGEOTHERS.HTML

20

6TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST-6TH OF ST MATTHEW-THE PARALYTIC

20 JULY 2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
ALL GLORY, HO NOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FA THER, AN D TO THE SON , A ND T O THE HO LY SPIRIT, NOW AN D FOREVER, AND UN TO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESS ED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARY, THE OTOKOS YE T E VE R VIRGIN, TOGE THER WITH ALL THE SAINT S. AND LET US COMMIT OURS ELVES AND ONE ANOT HE R AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CH RIST OUR GOD. AMEN.

25 July 2014 Dormition of St Anna The Righteous Mother of our Lady Theotokos
ALSO THE FE AST OF ST O LYMPI A, DE A CONE SS OF CO NSTANTIN OP LE – ST EUPAXI AS, V IR GIN MARTYR OF TAVE NN A – T HE 165 HOLY C HUR C H FAT HERS OF TH THE 5 E CU ME NIC AL CO UNC IL (5 5 3 ) – ST MA KAR IOS O F ZHE LT O VOD & U NZ HA FES
TAL

A

POLYTIKION OF THE

DOR

MITION OF

ST A

NNA THE

Zoin

tin kiisasan, ekioforisas, Aganin theomitora, theofron Anna; dio pros lixin Ouranion, entha efrenomenon, katikia en doxi, herousa nin metestis, tis timosi se patho, ptesmaton etoumeni ilasmon, aimakariste.
NTAKION OF THE

Thou

RIGHTEO

US

– TO

NE

4

KO

Progonon

HO

LY

A

carried the very one who carried Life in Her Womb: the Pure Mother of God, O God-minded Anna; thus to a Heavenly Finish, where those who rejoice have their Dwelling in Glory, with Joy Thou has been Translated, seeking Forgiveness of errors, for those who eagerly honour Thee, O Ever Blessed One.

NCESTORS

-

Hristou, tin mnimin eortasomen, tin touton Pistos, etoumeni voithian, tou risthine apantas, apo psis thlipseos tous krazontas: O Theos genou meth’ imon, O toutous doxasas os indokisas.

The memory of Christ’s Forefathers let us celebrate, by
asking in Faith, for their assistance and their help, to Deliver from every distress, all those who cry out: O God be with us Who Glorified them as it pleased Thee”
S

St Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians 4 : 22 – 27
THE DI
FFERENCE BETWEEN

SLA

VERY AND

ONSHIP

Brethren: It is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman - the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through Promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two Covenants: the one from Mount Sinai, which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar – for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem, which now is, and is in bondage with her children – but the Jerusalem Above is free, which is the Mother of us all. For it is written: “Rejoice, O Barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labour! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.”
WE MUST TAK

The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 8 : 16 - 21
E

CAR

E

OF HO

W

WE HEA

R

GOD’S DI

VINE

& PER

FECT

T

RUT H

At that time, our Lord Jesus Christ said: “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Therefore, take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” Then His Mother and Brothers went to Him, but could not approach Him because of the crowd. And He was told by some who said: “Thy Mother and Thy Brothers are standing outside, wanting to see Thee.” And He answered and said to them: “My Mother and My Brothers are these who hear the Word of God and do it.” This is another Teaching of our Lord and Saviour Who addressed according to the flesh. For He had left them in order to these words to His Faithful Disciples, urging them to FOLLOW A devote Himself to His Spiritual Teaching. STRICT WAY OF LIFE and teaching them to BE SERIOUS Nevertheless, His Family had gone to Him and in this example, S TRUGGL ERS I N V IRTUE B EC AUSE TH EY WOULD BE CLOS ELY we are taught that ANYON E WHO IS ENT RUSTE D WITH SERVI NG OBSERVE D AND IMI TAT ED B Y SO MA NY O THERS . A LMIGHTY G OD MUST ALWA YS PUT G O D ’ S S ERVIC E BEFORE EVERY THIN G ELS E – IN CLUDIN G OUR B ELOV ED FAMILY AN D Our Lord warns us most seriously that ALL THOSE WHO TEACH AND FRIENDS . PREACH H IS D IVINE T RUTH AR E S EEN A ND H EAR D BY EVER YO NE – SO THE Y MUST BE G ENUIN E , SHININ G ROL E MO DELS . When someone told Christ that His Family had arrived - either wanting to listen to His Teaching or to discuss personal Furthermore, when Teachers and devout Disciples are examined matters with Him, OUR L O RD POI NT ED OUT THA T H IS F AMILY WAS by others – some who genuinely seek God’s Truth but some NOT R EST RIC TED TO TH E FEW WHO WER E IN DEED RELA TE D TO H IM who seek a reason for persecution of Christ’s Faithful – ACCO RDING TO TH E F LESH . nothing will be hidden because G O D ’ S T RUTH DO ES NOT N EE D This should under no circumstances be taken as being insulting to TO BE HI DDEN IN DA RKNESS FO R I T SHI NES F OR TH LIKE H IS D I VIN E either His Beloved Mother or to His Relatives. L IGHT . Instead our Lord emphasised that fact that H E HA D C OME TO ] G OD IS T RULY THE L I GHT OF TH E S PI RITUALLY D ARK EN ED WORL D AND H IS T RUTH EXPOSES TH E LIA RS , TH E F RAUDS TERS AN D TH E SERV E ALL MA NKIND AND T O MAK E EV ER YONE M EMBERS OF H IS DECEI VE RS . D IVINE F AMILY . This is accomplished by our personal Adoption as Children of W E HONOUR G O D AN D BRI NG H IM G LOR Y AN D W O RSHIP WHEN H IS T RUTH IS HELD UP FO R ALL TO S EE AN D HEAR . God and Co-heirs with Christ at our Holy Baptism. Another important point that our Lord made was that BY M ERELY Therefore, as Faithful Disciples of Christ, IF WE HA VE DILI GE NC E AN D ZEAL , WE WILL RECEI VE MUCH D IVI NE G RA CE F ROM G OD . LISTEN ING TO THE W OR DS OF G OD WILL NOT S AVE A NYO NE and could actually become a Condemnation of us because But those who have neither diligence nor zeal, by their own only THOSE WHO HEA RD TH E D IVINE W OR DS AN D OBEY ED TH EM negligence, they will extinguish and lose even that Divine Grace that they appeared to have received from God. BY PUTTING TH EM INTO PR ACTIS E IN THEIR DAIL Y LIVES , WOULD ATTA IN H IS D IVI NE S AL VAT ION AN D E TERNAL L IF E . When the Ever Blessed Theotokos and the cousins of Christ – the R EADING ALL TH E H OLY S CRIP TURES – THE T EACHI NGS AN D sons of St Joseph the Betrothed and his wife, Salome (the C OMMAN DMENTS OF G O D – AN D ALL THE D IVI NEL Y -I NSPI RED sister of St Anna) – went to see our Lord, it was apparent from W RITI NGS A ND T EACHI NGS OF OUR H OL Y C HURCH F A THERS Christ’s Words that He was not in the company of His Relatives AND EVE N ENDL ESSLY STUDYING T H EOLOG Y - WILL DO US
DORMI
TION OF

ST ANNA, RIGH

TEOUS

M

OTHER OF OUR

LA

DY

THEO

TOKOS

25 J

ULY

2014

21.

ABSOLUTELY NO GOO D WHATS OE VER UNLES S WE OB EY G OD BY PUTTING IN TO PRA CTIS E ALL H IS T EACHI NGS – WHETHER DIR EC TLY

TAUGHT BY C HRIS T AND M OTH ERS !

H IMSELF OR B Y H IS H OLY C HURCH F ATHERS

The Dormition of St Anna the Righteous Mother of our Lady Theotokos
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit... Let us take a moment to ask ourselves: ‘Where does the future of our Church lie?’ Let us ask ourselves: ‘When we are dead and buried, what will the future of Orthodoxy be?’ and: ‘Who will bury us when we depart this life for the next?’ The simple answer to these questions lies in the children of our Community. They are the future of Orthodoxy. Ultimately, they will be the ones to continue the Work of Christ on this earth - to continue the Work of the Holy Apostles, to uphold the Bright Torch of Orthodoxy in this land - to uphold our Spiritual Heritage. For this to be fulfilled, what then, is required of us, and what role do we play in preserving our Church’s future? Our role is to nurture and provide. God, the Author of Life, compels us to not only nurture and provide our Church’s future with the material necessities of this world, but we are also compelled to provide that which is Eternal. It is our role as responsible Christians to ensure the Spiritual Wellbeing of our youth - to ensure their Spiritual Education. To do otherwise is to bring about the downfall of Orthodoxy, in this Church, in this community, and in the world. One prime example of a person, who accomplished the ultimate Spiritual Nurturing of a child, is St Anna, the Righteous Mother of the Most Holy Theotokos - the Grandmother (according to His Flesh) of the Saviour of the world. Today we Commemorate the Dormition - the Falling Asleep or Repose - of the earthly Grandmother of our Lord Jesus Christ. St Anna was the vessel of the vessel who made possible our Salvation - who made possible our Entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. Today we honour a Righteous Woman who knew her priorities were in raising her daughter to Love God and to keep (obey) all His Divine Commandments. Today we honour a provider who modelled herself on the ultimate Provider of all - our Heavenly Father. The Life of St Anna and her husband, St Joachim, was recorded by St James the Adelphotheos (''Brother of the Lord'' – son of St Joseph the Betrothed and his late wife, Salome, aunt of Theotokos) in a book not included in the Holy Scriptures called the Protoevangelion of St James (Iakovos). According to this account, St Anna and St Joachim lived a Life of constant Prayer, Humility and moderation, but they could not conceive children. For a couple to be childless in those days meant that people thought they were cursed by God, and therefore considered worthless members of society. Greatly troubled by this, and fearing that they would die childless, they still persevered in their constant Prayer and Fasting. Finally God provided them with a Miracle and St Anna gave birth to a healthy daughter at the advanced age of 58. Acknowledging this as an Act of God and the answer to their Prayers, St Anna and St Joachim pledged to dedicate their daughter, Mary, to God. From birth, St Anna had chanted Psalms and instructed the Blessed Virgin Mary in the basic principles of Faith and at the tender age of three, having been weaned, St Anna and St Joachim entrusted her care to St Anna’s brotherin-law, St Zacharias (a High Priest of the Temple, and future father of St John the Baptist). The Panagia flourished as she lived out her childhood within the confines of the Temple in Jerusalem until she was 11 years old when her parents departed this life for the next. St Anna was 69 when she reposed in the Lord – and while it may seem sad that she left her daughter as an orphan, she was, in fact, participating in God’s Great Plan. Having educated the Blessed Mary herself, and having let her grow up in the Temple, St Anna prepared the way for the Coming of the Messiah. Ultimately - without knowing it - she prepared the way for our Eternal Salvation. We must never underestimate the strange and Mysterious Ways that God works; the Ways in which God makes things ‘fall into place’. St Anna, in the Orthodox Church, is known not only as the Patron Saint of infertile women, but she is also the Patron Saint of children’s Spiritual Education. And what better Patron Saint of Spiritual Education than a Righteous Woman who knew her priorities, who knew her duty was to the Spiritual Growth of her beloved child, and who provided Spiritual Nourishment for the daughter who was to be the greatest woman who ever lived and who was to become the Ever Blessed, All Pure and Holy Mother of our God. We are all familiar with the Miracle that Christ performed by the feeding of great multitudes with very little earthly provisions. We are also familiar with the misunderstanding and insensitivity of His Holy Apostles who wished to send the crowds away to buy their own food. However, our Compassionate, Loving Lord always knows His Priorities with regard to mankind, and being God Himself, it is only natural for Him to provide nourishment for the welfare of all His Creation, as well as Spiritual Food so necessary for our Eternal Welfare. We can equate the attitude of the Apostles who wished to send away the crowds to get their own food, to indifferent parents who take no responsibility and who make no effort at all with regard to the Spiritual Well Being of their children - those who leave children’s Spiritual Education solely in the hands of the Church. What an absolute tragedy it is when certain parents discourage their children from showing an interest in Spiritual Life. Some parents even make every effort to discourage their sons when they have an inclination toward the Holy Priesthood, or when their daughters show an interest in Monasticism, or they regard their children who hunger and thirst for Divine Truth as becoming ‘religious fanatics!’ Five hundred years ago, it would have been seen as a great Blessing on any family if their children sought a Spiritual Life either in a Holy Monastery, in the Holy Priesthood or in secular daily living. Unfortunately, this modern secular world has blinded our vision and now our Spiritual Life is assigned to a short while on a Sunday morning only while the Spiritual Education of children is restricted to Sunday School or completely neglected by parents, who themselves, often do not bother to attend Holy Services, thereby setting a bad example for their family. Christ provides material and Spiritual Necessities in this life, but it is up to us to work with Him in Synergy. St Anna is a perfect model of the parent who provided the necessities of life for her child - both material and spiritual - in total cooperation with God, in total Holy Synergy. St Anna is the perfect model of a parent who encouraged her child. Let us use her as a model for those who wish to raise their children as good, perfect Christians. We must never discourage children from their Spiritual Needs. We must constantly encourage, guide and teach children Orthodox Christianity. We must provide whatever means is necessary for their Spiritual Education and Nourishment. We must work with God, not against Him - for the sake of our children, our Church, and its future as well as that or our Children. Amen
[By REV. NICHOLAS BROWN, ASSISTANT PARISH PRIEST OF THE DORMITION OF OUR LADY MT. GRAVATT (Q.L.D)]

22

DORMI

TION OF

ST A

NNA

, RIG

HTEOUS

MO

THER

OF OUR

LA

DY

THEO

TOKOS

25 JU

LY

2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
ALL GLORY, HO NOUR AGES. AMEN
AND

WORSHIP

TO THE

FATHER,

AND TO THE

SO N,

AND TO THE

HOLY SP IRIT,

NOW AND

FOREVER,

AND UNTO THE

AGES

OF

RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST B LESS ED THE OTOKOS YET E VE R VIRGIN, TOGE T HER WITH ALL THE SAIN TS. A ND LE T ANOTHE R AN D OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIS T OUR GOD. AME N .

AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARY, U S COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE

St Paraskeve Great Holy Virgin Martyr of Rome

26 July 2014

ALSO THE FE AST OF ST HE R MOL AUS , ST HE RM IPPOS & ST HE R MO C RATE S, HIE R OMA RTYRS OF NIC OME D IA – ST M OSES THE HUNG ARI AN OF K IE V NE AR CAVE S – ST GE RONT IOS OF ST ANNE SKETE, MOU NT ATH OS – ST SAVA II I OF SE RBIA

FESTA

L

APOL

YTIKION

OF

ST PA

RASKEVE OF

ROME – T

ONE

1

Tin

spoudin Sou ti klisi katallilon, ergasameni feronime, tin omonimon sou pistin, is katikian keklirose, Paraskevi Athlifore; othen proheis iamata, ke Presvevis iper ton psihon imon.
T
HEOTOKOS

Having

worked with readiness befitting the Call, O One Named After Readiness, Thou inherited as Dwelling, the Faith which is Thy namesake, Paraskevi the Great Victor; Wherefore Thou flow forth Healings and Intercede for the souls of all of us.

KONTAKION O

F

T

HE

EVER BL

ESSED

Prostasia ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton O
Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is presvian, ke spefson is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton timonton se.

Protection of the Christians unashamable, Mediation to the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the aid of all of us, who in Faith cry out to Thee: hasten Thine Intercession, and present Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who always Protects all those who honour Thee! The Epistle of St Paul to the Galatians 3: 23 – 4 : 5
SONSHIP
BY

FAITH & HO

LY

B

APTISM

Brethren: Before Faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law – kept for the Faith, which would afterwards be revealed. Therefore the Law was our Tutor, bringing us to Christ, so 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 HA
EMORRHA GING

WO

MAN

At that time, as our Lord Jesus went with Jairus, a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. Now a certain woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered many things from many Physicians, had spent all she possessed yet was no better but rather grew worse. So 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 garment, I will be made well.” And immediately the source of her bleeding dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. And Jesus – immediately knowing in Himself that Power had gone out of Him – turned around in the crowd and asked: “Who touched My garment?” And His Disciples said to Him: “Thou see the multitude that throngs Thee, yet Thou ask ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to seek who had done so, and the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, went 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.”

Nurturing the Spiritual Growth of Children
As parents, one of our greatest responsibilities is the upbringing of our children so that they, like ourselves, will develop a Love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We have hopes that they will grow up to live according to the Commandments, to become good Teachers and maybe even Priests. We hope they, too, will have children and be able to nurture them in our Faith. Any good parent contemplates: "What can I to do to nurture the Spiritual Growth of my child?" Our task of parenting begins while the child is still in the womb. If we live a good Spiritual Life during this time of formation – with daily Prayer, participation in the Holy Mysteries, living a good Orthodox Life - our child will be born Sanctified. This is also important in our task of upbringing after birth as well for we help our children grow based on how we practice our Faith. If we lead a Spiritual Lifestyle, our children will be more disposed to live a similar life and grow to help others by their service in Church and other good works.
ST P
ARASKEVE

If our children do not see us praying daily, or if we do not attend Church and take Communion regularly, they will develop the same bad habits or even worse, because they learn by the example we set. We pass on our values through our actions. No Sunday School is able to overcome the bad habits of parents. Elder Paisios said: “Everyone should help the children each person in their own way, by their good example, so that the children may be Regenerated, live peacefully in the Life and ultimately go to Paradise." When they rebel and disobey, even though we are setting a good example, Elder Paisios believed that "...children are helped chiefly by the example we set and not by force." The Love parents show for each other effects the Love the children have for their parents and others, as Elder Paisios explained: “When children see their parents have Love and respect for one another, behaving with prudence, praying, and so on, then these positive images are imprinted on their soul. This is why I say that the best inheritance the parents can bestow upon their children is their own Spiritual Devotion." Children need lots of Love as well as much guidance.
VIR
GIN

, GRE

AT

H

OLY

MART

YR OF

R

OME

26 J

ULY

2014

23

They need to know that their parents are willing to listen to them and care about their troubles, so they will voluntarily share their problems - knowing they will be Loved and received with affection as well as guidance. It is a significant problem these days that everyone is so busy that we often do not have the time to listen and give this attentive Love that is so vital to our children. The demands of our work schedules often leave our children alone to fend for themselves - leaving them immersed in video games and other unbeneficial and even harmful pastimes. It seems there is too often insufficient time for parents and children to enjoy parental Love and guidance and to share their thoughts and experiences with each other. Far too many families no longer eat their meals together. While older generations were growing up, eating together was always the daily routine – an important time for family bonding and sharing of thoughts and daily experiences. Many of us mistakenly believe that our success at work, in business or with our chosen careers is important for the welfare of the family but in reality this is putting

material ‘success’ ahead of Spiritual Well Being, which affects our Eternal Salvation and Life in Christ. It is most essential to have quality time together as a family each evening and especially when our children come home from school or any other event. We need to have a well paced life so that when we all return home we are not too exhausted and stressed out to communicate with each other. If we do not get our priorities right, we will not have the tenderness and patience needed to nurture, guide and attend to our precious children. Elder Paisios cautioned us: "Children imitate their parents even from the cradle. They pick up everything they see adults doing and record it on the empty ‘cassette tape’ (of their psyche)." “This is why parents should struggle to cut away their passions. It does not matter if some of these passions were inherited by them from their own parents - they will still have to give an accounting to God - not only for not struggling to rid themselves of them, but also for being responsible for transmitting them to their children."
ELDER PAISIOS OF MOUNT ATHOS SPIRITUAL COUNSELS IV, HTTP://ORTHODOX WAYOFLIFE.B LOGSPOT.COM/2013_07 _01 _ARCHIV E.HTML

Nobody’s Perfect
Sin is ugly. Sin is against nature. Sin is vulgar and shameful. Sin is everything that we must not do. Sin is forbidden. But we are lured and tempted, being coaxed into doing whatever the evil one desires us to do and wherever our weakness might lead us. And every one of us – every human being - falls into sin. St Paul said that we have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God as He created us to be. St John, on the other hand, said that if anyone claims to be without sin they deceive themselves and the Truth is not in them. From an Eastern Orthodox Christian perspective sin is not so much something we have done as much as it is a disease we must ceaselessly battle against. In other words, while we can safely say that we are all sinners, there is a difference between those who do battle against their sins or weaknesses and those who accept them as ‘normal.’ Yet, whatever the case, we are all sinners - that is: we can all agree that nobody is perfect! To help us in this realization of our imperfection we seek the help of others - we seek a Community of our Spiritual Brethren – our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Our Church Community - among other things - serves that very purpose. St Paul exhorted us: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ... for the entire Law is fulfilled in keeping this one Commandment: ‘Love your Neighbour as yourself...’” (GALATIANS 6:2 & 5 : 14). These beautiful words are profoundly True but they are not always adhered to. Sadly, the very Community we turn to in order to seek an Inner Healing often tends to cause us even greater grief – because all too often this is where we are overwhelmed by malicious, destructive gossip. It is interesting to note that the word ‘gossip’ is connected with the word ‘sibling.’ In other words, gossip comes about when people are too familiar - too close to each other. Subsequently, gossip tends to flourish in smaller communities as opposed to much larger ones, and has the intention of condemning or criticising others. Gossip is rooted in pride, jealousy, smugness, pretentiousness and self-importance. True Christians test themselves every day. Daily testing to see whether we have become better or worse, is so essential for us that without it we cannot be called Christians. Constantly and persistently we must take ourselves in hand. From the morning we must establish thoughts about our Lord firmly in our mind and then during the whole day resist any deviation from these thoughts. Psychological studies have proven that the true reason that compels us to gossip is a feeling of superiority, which results in a malicious spreading of information that is usually embellished with exaggeration or outright lies. Gossiping is a way of saying: ‘Nobody’s perfect but at least I am more perfect than such and such....!” Without a doubt, we can all benefit from a dose of constructive criticism from time to time. Yet, there isn’t much benefit for anyone concerned when the criticism is spread behind our back – usually because it consists of false accusations or whispered rumours that are far from the Truth. The Holy Gospels often mention that our Lord Jesus “...knew their heart...” which is immediately followed by “...and He said to them ...” Our Saviour never looked into the heart of his opponents and then spread malicious, whispered rumours about them behind their back. Our Lord always confronts his opponents and those who have fallen from His Divine Grace, Face to face with the absolute Truth, so that they are given an opportunity to correct their errors and proceed along the right Path of Life. We all have shortcomings and weaknesses and we all make mistakes. And it is very painful having them exploited in spiteful gossip when we are not there to either justify ourselves, speak the Truth or correct our errors. Moreover, when St Paul in his Epistle to the Romans enumerated the “...things which are not fitting...” he mentioned not only sexual immorality, murder and deceit but also the “...whisperers and backbiters ...” (Greek: katalalous (kata=against, and laleo=I speak) meaning those who speak against others. (ROMANS 1:29-30) Consequently, not only does such behaviour have no benefit for the Community, it has no benefit for our immortal souls either. “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” (PROVERBS 16:28) Perhaps the best and simplest advice is that of St Paul: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give Grace to those who hear.” (EPHESOS 4:29).
HTTP ://FRMI LOVAN.WORDP RE SS.COM/P AGE /3/

St Theophanes the Recluse

Whatever we are doing, with whomever we are speaking, whether we are going somewhere or sitting, we must keep our mind focussed upon our Lord. Inevitably, we will forget ourselves and stray from this Path; but again and again, we must return to our Lord and rebuke ourselves with sorrow. This is the Discipline of Spiritual Attentiveness.

24

ST PARAS

KEVE

, GR

EAT

HOL

Y

VIR

GIN

MART

YR OF

ROM

E

26 J

ULY

2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
ALL GLORY, HO NOUR AGES. AMEN
AND

WORSHIP

TO THE

FATHER,

AND TO THE

SO N,

AND TO THE

HOLY SP IRIT,

NOW AND

FOREVER,

AND UNTO THE

AGES

OF

RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST B LESS ED THE OTOKOS YET E VE R VIRGIN, TOGE T HER WITH ALL THE SAIN TS. A ND LE T ANOTHE R AN D OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIS T OUR GOD. AME N .

AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARY, U S COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE

St Paraskeve Great Holy Virgin Martyr of Rome

26 July 2014

ALSO THE FE AST OF ST HE R MOL AUS , ST HE RM IPPOS & ST HE R MO C RATE S, HIE R OMA RTYRS OF NIC OME D IA – ST M OSES THE HUNG ARI AN OF K IE V NE AR CAVE S – ST GE RONT IOS OF ST ANNE SKETE, MOU NT ATH OS – ST SAVA II I OF SE RBIA

FESTA

L

APOL

YTIKION

OF

ST PA

RASKEVE OF

ROME – T

ONE

1

Tin

spoudin Sou ti klisi katallilon, ergasameni feronime, tin omonimon sou pistin, is katikian keklirose, Paraskevi Athlifore; othen proheis iamata, ke Presvevis iper ton psihon imon.
T
HEOTOKOS

Having

worked with readiness befitting the Call, O One Named After Readiness, Thou inherited as Dwelling, the Faith which is Thy namesake, Paraskevi the Great Victor; Wherefore Thou flow forth Healings and Intercede for the souls of all of us.

KONTAKION O

F

T

HE

EVER BL

ESSED

Prostasia ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton O
Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is presvian, ke spefson is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton timonton se.

Protection of the Christians unashamable, Mediation to the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the aid of all of us, who in Faith cry out to Thee: hasten Thine Intercession, and present Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who always Protects all those who honour Thee! The Epistle of St Paul to the Galatians 3: 23 – 4 : 5
SONSHIP
BY

FAITH & HO

LY

B

APTISM

Brethren: Before Faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law – kept for the Faith, which would afterwards be revealed. Therefore the Law was our Tutor, bringing us to Christ, so 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 HA
EMORRHA GING

WO

MAN

At that time, as our Lord Jesus went with Jairus, a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. Now a certain woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered many things from many Physicians, had spent all she possessed yet was no better but rather grew worse. So 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 garment, I will be made well.” And immediately the source of her bleeding dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. And Jesus – immediately knowing in Himself that Power had gone out of Him – turned around in the crowd and asked: “Who touched My garment?” And His Disciples said to Him: “Thou see the multitude that throngs Thee, yet Thou ask ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to seek who had done so, and the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, went 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.”

Nurturing the Spiritual Growth of Children
As parents, one of our greatest responsibilities is the upbringing of our children so that they, like ourselves, will develop a Love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We have hopes that they will grow up to live according to the Commandments, to become good Teachers and maybe even Priests. We hope they, too, will have children and be able to nurture them in our Faith. Any good parent contemplates: "What can I to do to nurture the Spiritual Growth of my child?" Our task of parenting begins while the child is still in the womb. If we live a good Spiritual Life during this time of formation – with daily Prayer, participation in the Holy Mysteries, living a good Orthodox Life - our child will be born Sanctified. This is also important in our task of upbringing after birth as well for we help our children grow based on how we practice our Faith. If we lead a Spiritual Lifestyle, our children will be more disposed to live a similar life and grow to help others by their service in Church and other good works.
ST P
ARASKEVE

If our children do not see us praying daily, or if we do not attend Church and take Communion regularly, they will develop the same bad habits or even worse, because they learn by the example we set. We pass on our values through our actions. No Sunday School is able to overcome the bad habits of parents. Elder Paisios said: “Everyone should help the children each person in their own way, by their good example, so that the children may be Regenerated, live peacefully in the Life and ultimately go to Paradise." When they rebel and disobey, even though we are setting a good example, Elder Paisios believed that "...children are helped chiefly by the example we set and not by force." The Love parents show for each other effects the Love the children have for their parents and others, as Elder Paisios explained: “When children see their parents have Love and respect for one another, behaving with prudence, praying, and so on, then these positive images are imprinted on their soul. This is why I say that the best inheritance the parents can bestow upon their children is their own Spiritual Devotion." Children need lots of Love as well as much guidance.
VIR
GIN

, GRE

AT

H

OLY

MART

YR OF

R

OME

26 J

ULY

2014

25

They need to know that their parents are willing to listen to them and care about their troubles, so they will voluntarily share their problems - knowing they will be Loved and received with affection as well as guidance. It is a significant problem these days that everyone is so busy that we often do not have the time to listen and give this attentive Love that is so vital to our children. The demands of our work schedules often leave our children alone to fend for themselves - leaving them immersed in video games and other unbeneficial and even harmful pastimes. It seems there is too often insufficient time for parents and children to enjoy parental Love and guidance and to share their thoughts and experiences with each other. Far too many families no longer eat their meals together. While older generations were growing up, eating together was always the daily routine – an important time for family bonding and sharing of thoughts and daily experiences. Many of us mistakenly believe that our success at work, in business or with our chosen careers is important for the welfare of the family but in reality this is putting

material ‘success’ ahead of Spiritual Well Being, which affects our Eternal Salvation and Life in Christ. It is most essential to have quality time together as a family each evening and especially when our children come home from school or any other event. We need to have a well paced life so that when we all return home we are not too exhausted and stressed out to communicate with each other. If we do not get our priorities right, we will not have the tenderness and patience needed to nurture, guide and attend to our precious children. Elder Paisios cautioned us: "Children imitate their parents even from the cradle. They pick up everything they see adults doing and record it on the empty ‘cassette tape’ (of their psyche)." “This is why parents should struggle to cut away their passions. It does not matter if some of these passions were inherited by them from their own parents - they will still have to give an accounting to God - not only for not struggling to rid themselves of them, but also for being responsible for transmitting them to their children."
ELDER PAISIOS OF MOUNT ATHOS SPIRITUAL COUNSELS IV, HTTP://ORTHODOX WAYOFLIFE.B LOGSPOT.COM/2013_07 _01 _ARCHIV E.HTML

Nobody’s Perfect
Sin is ugly. Sin is against nature. Sin is vulgar and shameful. Sin is everything that we must not do. Sin is forbidden. But we are lured and tempted, being coaxed into doing whatever the evil one desires us to do and wherever our weakness might lead us. And every one of us – every human being - falls into sin. St Paul said that we have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God as He created us to be. St John, on the other hand, said that if anyone claims to be without sin they deceive themselves and the Truth is not in them. From an Eastern Orthodox Christian perspective sin is not so much something we have done as much as it is a disease we must ceaselessly battle against. In other words, while we can safely say that we are all sinners, there is a difference between those who do battle against their sins or weaknesses and those who accept them as ‘normal.’ Yet, whatever the case, we are all sinners - that is: we can all agree that nobody is perfect! To help us in this realization of our imperfection we seek the help of others - we seek a Community of our Spiritual Brethren – our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Our Church Community - among other things - serves that very purpose. St Paul exhorted us: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ... for the entire Law is fulfilled in keeping this one Commandment: ‘Love your Neighbour as yourself...’” (GALATIANS 6:2 & 5 : 14). These beautiful words are profoundly True but they are not always adhered to. Sadly, the very Community we turn to in order to seek an Inner Healing often tends to cause us even greater grief – because all too often this is where we are overwhelmed by malicious, destructive gossip. It is interesting to note that the word ‘gossip’ is connected with the word ‘sibling.’ In other words, gossip comes about when people are too familiar - too close to each other. Subsequently, gossip tends to flourish in smaller communities as opposed to much larger ones, and has the intention of condemning or criticising others. Gossip is rooted in pride, jealousy, smugness, pretentiousness and self-importance. True Christians test themselves every day. Daily testing to see whether we have become better or worse, is so essential for us that without it we cannot be called Christians. Constantly and persistently we must take ourselves in hand. From the morning we must establish thoughts about our Lord firmly in our mind and then during the whole day resist any deviation from these thoughts. Psychological studies have proven that the true reason that compels us to gossip is a feeling of superiority, which results in a malicious spreading of information that is usually embellished with exaggeration or outright lies. Gossiping is a way of saying: ‘Nobody’s perfect but at least I am more perfect than such and such....!” Without a doubt, we can all benefit from a dose of constructive criticism from time to time. Yet, there isn’t much benefit for anyone concerned when the criticism is spread behind our back – usually because it consists of false accusations or whispered rumours that are far from the Truth. The Holy Gospels often mention that our Lord Jesus “...knew their heart...” which is immediately followed by “...and He said to them ...” Our Saviour never looked into the heart of his opponents and then spread malicious, whispered rumours about them behind their back. Our Lord always confronts his opponents and those who have fallen from His Divine Grace, Face to face with the absolute Truth, so that they are given an opportunity to correct their errors and proceed along the right Path of Life. We all have shortcomings and weaknesses and we all make mistakes. And it is very painful having them exploited in spiteful gossip when we are not there to either justify ourselves, speak the Truth or correct our errors. Moreover, when St Paul in his Epistle to the Romans enumerated the “...things which are not fitting...” he mentioned not only sexual immorality, murder and deceit but also the “...whisperers and backbiters ...” (Greek: katalalous (kata=against, and laleo=I speak) meaning those who speak against others. (ROMANS 1:29-30) Consequently, not only does such behaviour have no benefit for the Community, it has no benefit for our immortal souls either. “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” (PROVERBS 16:28) Perhaps the best and simplest advice is that of St Paul: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give Grace to those who hear.” (EPHESOS 4:29).
HTTP ://FRMI LOVAN.WORDP RE SS.COM/P AGE /3/

St Theophanes the Recluse

Whatever we are doing, with whomever we are speaking, whether we are going somewhere or sitting, we must keep our mind focussed upon our Lord. Inevitably, we will forget ourselves and stray from this Path; but again and again, we must return to our Lord and rebuke ourselves with sorrow. This is the Discipline of Spiritual Attentiveness.

26

ST PARAS

KEVE

, GR

EAT

HOL

Y

VIR

GIN

MART

YR OF

ROM

E

26 J

ULY

2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
AL L GLORY, HON OUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE S ON, AND TO THE HOLY SP IRIT, NOW AND FOREVE R, AND UNT O THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HO LY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESS ED AND GL ORI OUS LADY, MARY, THE OTO KOS YE T E VE R VIRGIN, TOGETHER WITH A LL THE SAINTS . AN D LE T US COMMIT OURSE LVE S AND O NE ANOTHE R AN D OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIS T OUR GO D. AMEN.

27 July 2014 7th Sunday After Pentecost Tone (6) Plagal 2 7TH Sunday of St Matthew: The Two Blind Men
ALSO THE FEAST OF ST PANELEIMON , UNMERCENARY HEALER & GREAT MARTY R OF NIC OME D IA – ST N IC HOL AS KOC HAN OV , FO OL FOR CHR IST OF NO VGO ROD – ST ANTH USA THE ABBE SS & 90 VE NE RABLE SISTE RS OF MANT INE A, AS IA M IN OR – ST CLEMENT , BISHOP OF O CH RID & EQU AL TO THE APOSTLES, ST N AU M, ST SAVA , ST GORAZD & ST ANGE LAR OF OC HR ID M ONASTE RY

RESU

RRRECTION

APO

LYTIK ION

– TON

E

(6) P

LAGAL

2

Angelike

Dinamis epi to Mnima Sou ke i filassontes apenekrothisan. Ke istato Maria en to tafo, zitousa to ahranton Sou Soma. Eskilevsas ton Adin, mi pirasthis ip aftou. Ipintisas ti Partheno, Doroumenos tin Zoin. O Anastas ek to nekron, Kyrie, Doxa Si.

The

Angelic Powers were in Thy Tomb, and the guards became as dead men, and Mary stood by the Tomb seeking Thy Most Pure Body. Thou led captive Hades, yet were not tempted thereby: Thou Who art the Bestower of Life came to meet the Woman. Glory to Thee, O Lord, Who Rose again from the dead!

FESTA

L

APOL

YTIKION

– ST PANTELEIMON

THE

UNMER

CENA RY

Athlofore
KO

Agie ke iamatike Panteleimon, presveve to eleimoni Theo, ina ptesmaton afesin, paraskhi tes psihes imon.
OF T
HE

O
Y

Holy Champion and Healer, Panteleimon, intercede with our Merciful God, that He may grant to our souls, remission of our faults.
NTIL

NTAKION

TR

ANSFIG URATION

-

27 JUL

U

13 AUG

UST

Epi

tou Orous Metemorfothis, ke os ehoroun i Mathite Sou, tin Doxan Sou Hriste O Theos etheasanto. Ina otan Se idosi Stavoumenon, to me Pathos noisosin ekousion to de kosmo kirixosin oti Si iparhis Alithos, tou Patros to Apavgasma!

Upon

the Mount Thou were Transfigured, and Thy Disciples beheld Thy Glory, as far as they were able to do, O Christ our God; so that when they would see Thee Crucified, they would know that Thou Suffered willingly; and thus proclaim to all the world: Thou art truly the One Who is the Father’s Radiance!
OU
R

ST PET

ER

& ST JO

Resurrection Gospel 7: John 20:1 - 10
HN

WITNESS T

HE

EMPT

Y

TO

MB

O

F

RESU

RRECT ED

LO

RD

J

ESUS

C

HRIST

The Second Epistle of St Paul to St Timothy 2 : 1 – 10
TRANS
MITTING T HE

Prokeimenon The Righteous shall be glad in the Lord. Hear my voice, O God.
FAIT
H

My Child, Timothy: be strong in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to Faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a Good Soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him Who enlisted him as a Soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not Crowned unless he competes according to the Rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the Seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my Gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the Word of God is not chained. Therefore, I endure all things for the sake of the Elect , that they also may obtain the Salvation, which is in Christ Jesus with Eternal Glory. The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 9 : 27 – 35
OUR LO
RD

J

ESUS

H

EA LS

T

WO

B

LIND

MEN

AND

A

DEMONIA

C

At that time, two blind men followed our Lord Jesus, crying out and saying: “Son of David: have Mercy on us!” And when He had gone into the house, the blind men went to Him. And Jesus asked them: “Do you believe that I Am able to do this?” They said to Him: “Yes, Lord!” And He touched their eyes, saying: “According to your Faith, let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying: “See that no one knows it.” But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country. As they went out, behold! They brought Him a man who was mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marvelled, saying: “It was never seen like this in Israel!” And the Pharisees said: “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons!”

7TH S

UNDAY

AFT

ER

PENT

ECOST

- 7

T H

OF

ST MATTHEW – T

HE

H

EALING

OF

C

HRIST

27 J

ULY

2014

27.

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their Synagogues – preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom – and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. According to St Isaiah, THE M ESSI ANI C A G E IS SIG NIFIE D WHEN SPIRITUAL BLI NDNESS AND DEVIOUSN ESS because it is impossible to do so since Satan is obsessed with the “... T HE EYES OF THE BLIND SHALL BE OP EN ED , AD TH E EA RS OF THE DEAF SHALL HEAR .” (ISAIAH 35:5) consolidation of his evil powers rather than the destruction of it. T HESE M IR ACULOUS H EALIN GS ARE E XT RAO RDI NA RY S IGNS THA T OUR L O RD J ESUS C HRI ST IS T RULY THE LON G AWAI TED O UR L OR D J ESUS C HRIS T C L EA NSED L EP ERS , R AIS ED THE DEAD AND R EMITTED SINS BY THE D IV IN E AN D G O OD P OWER OF M ESSIAH . Furthermore, the fact that THE T WO B LIN D M EN ADDRESSED THE H OL Y T RINI TY – B Y TH E W ILL OF THE F A THER , TH ROUGH OUR S AVIOUR AS “ S ON OF D AVI D ” ALSO EXP RESS ED THEI R THE S O N AN D A C TIVA TED BY THE L IFE - GI VING H OL Y S PIRI T ! The evil one and his demons are entirely incapable of doing F AITH IN THIS T RUTH – THEY I NSTI NCTI VEL Y KN EW WITHOUT ANY DOUBT , THA T H E IS T RULY THE M ESSI AH – THE S AVI OUR anything that is so genuinely Good, Merciful, OF OUR FALL EN WO RLD . Compassionate or Kind. T HE R IDI CULOUS AN D F ALSE A CCUSATI ONS OF THE SEL F RIGHT EOUS P HA RISEES that our lord cast out demons “by the ruler of the demons,” EXPOSES TH E DEPTH OF THEI R Seventh Sunday After Pentecost – Regaining Our Sight wi th the Bli nd Men B Y SURRENDERING TO THEM WE CRI PPLE BOTH OUR and of the Son, and of the OWN LIFE AND THOSE OF THE PEOPLE A RO UND US . Holy Spirit... Alas, we give into them too easily, thereby obscuring Today’s Sacred Lesson concerns the Healing of Two the Light of the Image and Likeness of God Blind Men. according to which we were created. Every Gospel narrative - just as every word of the Holy However, THE PASSIONS CAN O NLY OVERSHADOW THE Gospel - conceals immeasurable meaning. I MAGE OF G OD I N US , B UT CANNO T DESTROY I T – This is because THE H OLY G OSPEL OF C HRIST SPEAKS for the Image of God in us is indestructible. OF E TERNAL – TI M ELESS – T RUTHS - THE E TERNAL The passions are not all-powerful – and their dominance T RUTH OF L IFE IN G OD . - even over the very worst sinner - is limited. Today’s Sacred Lesson likewise speaks of E TERNAL The power of the passions over our soul can be T RUTHS THAT ARE OF GREAT IM PORTANCE TO O UR overcome. EVE RY DAY LIVES . W E CAN F REE O URSEL VES FROM THEM BY OUR SIN CE RE , It speaks of the Love of God for all mankind and of the DETERM INED R EPENTAN CE -C O NFESSI ON , THER EBY Love of mankind for God; of the fact that G O D BECOM I NG CHANGED AND S ANCTIFIED . NEVE R L EAVES US W ITHO UT H IS M ERC IFUL Everyone who has come into this world can be A SSISTANC E . Enlightened and Illumined by that same Divine Whatever may befall us, G OD WI LL NEVER LEAVE US I N Power that gave sight to the Two Blind Men because EITHER TRO UBL E OR WOE – as long as we remain that D IVINE P OWER I S D IVINE G RACE , which God with Him through our Faith in Him, our Love for grants to all who seek it – and who strive ceaselessly Him, and our Fidelity to Him in our daily activities. for it. The Two Blind Men cried out to our Saviour: “Son of We only need to SEEK H IS D IVINE G RACE - to DESIRE I T David: have Mercy on us!” WITH F AITH AND L OVE FOR G OD – and, certainly, They were very persistent, for THEY KNEW AND WITH F IDELITY (C OMMITM ENT ) TO H IM IN M IND BELIEVED IN H IS P OWER WITHOUT ANY DOUB T AND I N WI LL - WITH ALL O UR HEART AND SO UL . WHATSOEVE R . Brothers and Sisters in Christ: you have often heard They followed Him into the house where He was staying Sermons concerning the Teachings of our Spiritual and continued to plead to Him. Fathers of Christ’s Holy Orthodox Church Our Lord responded: “Do you believe that I Am able to concerning Divine Grace. do this?” and immediately they replied: “Yes, Lord!” And who among us has not, in fact, experienced the “...He touched their eyes and said: ‘According to your Action of Divine Power to a greater or lesser extent? Faith, let it be to you.’ And their eyes were We all know that IT IS BY THI S D IVINE P OWER - BY THIS opened...” D IVINE E NERGY - THAT WE AR E “... P ARTAKE RS OF We all resemble these Two Blind Men in our Spiritual THE D I VINE ...” in the wondrous, familiar words of Blindness – and not in this alone. St Gregory Palamas, whom we revere above all for We resemble these ailing people, who were tormented his sublime and Inspired Teaching concerning THE by their infirmities, in both our spiritual and bodily D IVINE E N ERG IES , WHI CH DISCLOSE G OD TO THE infirmities, which torment us as did theirs; and in WORLD AND U NI TE US WITH G OD . that - like them - we continue to ask for things from But it is not enough only to know about the Divine the Lord: for the alleviation of suffering, for our Power that abides Eternally in the world. Healing, for the return of our health and the joy of It is not enough to know about this even by experience, life, which we have somehow lost. only in memory and the remembrance of the past. But, Brethren, we do not always resemble them in their Most likely each one of us has felt the Grace of God Faith in the Lord and in His Power. momentarily touch our sinful hearts in a Miraculous We do not resemble them in their Fidelity to God, which manner. is not as strong and undoubting as that of these W E NEED TO WAN T I T UNW EARYI NGLY AND STRIVE TO Two Blind Men. ACQUI RE IT ACTI VELY , THAT WE M IGHT BE WITH Is that not why we remain unhealed? G OD AND IN G OD ; THAT THE L IGHT OF THE I MAGE A LL OUR S UFFERI NG – BOTH INDIVI DUAL AND GENERAL OF G OD MIG HT NEVER BE EX TI NG UISHED I N OUR – AND ALL THE TRI ALS AND TRI B ULATIONS OCC UR HEARTS ; AND THAT T RUE J OY M IG HT NEVER B E BECA USE W E ARE CO NT ROLLED BY O UR PASSIONS , TAKEN AWAY FROM US . WHICH COM PEL US TO SIN - to work for the evil Brethren, let us not despair and lose heart in the one – and it is all these unrepented sins that rob us darkness of sin and evil that envelops our soul. of the True Joy of Life in Christ. Let us not imagine that darkness, sin, and evil – and the S IN EXTINGUISHES THE FLAM E THAT G IVES T RUE L IG HT grief that accompanies them – are our inescapable AND S PIRITUAL W ARM TH TO THE HEAR T . destiny. While initially the passions seem to add excitement to No! “God resists the proud, but grants Grace to the our life, they in fact devastate us. humble.” Disillusionment overwhelms us, and our soul grows Let us ENDEAVO UR TO POSSESS H UM ILITY , and then cold and hard. G OD ’ S P OWER WILL CERTAINLY RAISE US (return us to Surreptitiously, THE PASSIONS TUR N US I NTO COLD , a state of Spiritual Life) from the lowest depressions of EM PTY , LAZY , CALCULATI NG EGOISTS . our sinful state ( Spiritual Death).

>In the Name of the Father,

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Let us try to ACQUI RE AT LEAST THI S ONE C HRISTIAN V IRT UE , and then we are bound to feel the Wondrous Action of His Grace-Filled Energy Illuminating our soul. Our Saviour said: “...To whom will I look, but unto the humble and the meek.” [ISAIAH 66:2] Let us try to become meek. Let us thus rearrange our relations with people, both near and far. Then THE P OWER OF G OD ’ S M ERCY WILL NOT L EAVE US AND THE P OWER OF D IVINE G RACE WILL NOT DEPART FROM US . I T WILL UNFAI LINGLY H EAL OUR INFIRMITIES OF BOTH SO UL AND BODY . Our Lord Jesus Christ walked the Earth very long ago, Healing every infirmity and disease in people, just St Panteleimon was born in the city of Nicomedia into the family of an illustrious pagan, Eustorgios, and named Pantoleon. His mother, St Euboula, was a Christian who had wanted to raise her son in the Christian Faith, but she died while he was still very young. His father sent him to a pagan school, after which he studied medicine at Nicomedia under the renowned Physician, Euphrosynos. St Panteleimon drew the attention of Emperor Maximian (284-305), who wished to appoint him as Royal Physician when he had completed his education. St Hermolaos, St Hermippos and St Hermocrates, Hieromartyrs who survived the massacre of 20,000 Christians in 303 (Commemorated 28 December) were living secretly in Nicomedia at that time. St Hermolaos saw Pantoleon time and again when he went to the house where they were hiding, and eventually he invited the youth to the house and spoke about the Christian Faith. After this Pantoleon visited St Hermolaos every day. One day the Saint found a dead child on the street who had been bitten by a large venomous snake, which lay beside the child's body. St Panteleimon began to pray to our Lord Jesus Christ to revive the dead child and to destroy the venomous reptile. He firmly resolved that if his Prayer was granted, he would become a follower of Christ and receive Holy Baptism. Suddenly, the child returned to life and stood up fully recovered, and the snake immediately died right before their eyes. After this miracle, Pantoleon accepted Holy Baptism from St Hermolaos, receiving the name ‘Panteleimon’ (meaning "All-Merciful"). Afterwards, St Panteleimon taught his pagan father, Eustorgios, about our Faith and prepared him to accept Christ as his Lord and Saviour. On another occasion, when St Panteleimon miraculously restored the sight of a certain blind man by calling on the Divine Name, he also Enlightened the eyes of this man's soul with the Knowledge of the Truth. This caused the eventual Martyrdom of him who had been blind, since when he was asked by Whom and in what manner his sight had been restored, in imitation of the Blind Man of the Gospel (the man born without eyes) he confessed with boldness both who the Physician was and the Manner of his Healing, and for this he was put to death immediately. This blind man, who was Healed by St Panteleimon and who voluntarily Confessed Christ and accepted Martyrdom, is also Commemorated on 27 July together with St Panteleimon. When Eustorgios saw how his son, St Panteleimon, had Healed a blind man by invoking the Divine Name of our Lord and Saviour,Jesus Christ, he believed in Him and joyfully received Holy Baptism from St Hermolaos, together with the man whose physical and Spiritual Sight had been restored. After the death of his father, St Panteleimon dedicated his life to the suffering, the sick, the destitute and the needy, treating everyone who went to him

as He Healed these Two Blind Men of the Gospel who had unwavering faith in Him. Now, too, the Lord Jesus Christ Heals all who have Faith in Him throughout the entire world with that same Divine Power, granting them Peace, True Joy, and Salvation. Let us believe Him, as the Two Blind Men believed Him. Let us, Brethren, be Faithful like them in our Faith and Love for Him. And let us Glorify throughout all the Earth His Most Wondrous and Majestic Divine Name. Amen.
Sermon by Protopresbyter (Archpriest) Vsevolod Shpiller - Delivered on August 12, 1956. http://www.pravmir.com/regaining-our-sight-with-the-blind-men-on-theseventh-sunday-after-pentecost/#ixzz2zhgMZhsV

St Panteleimon the Great Unmercenary Physician & Holy Martyr

without charge, always Healing them in the Name of Jesus Christ. St Panteleimon regularly visited those held captive in prison, whether Christian or pagan, and he Healed them of their wounds and ailments. Soon, reports of the charitable Physician spread throughout the city, and forsaking other Healers, the citizens sought out St Panteleimon. The envious doctors reported to Emperor Maximian that St Panteleimon was healing Christian prisoners, whereupon he then urged the Saint to refute the charges by offering sacrifice to the pagan idols. However, St Panteleimon Confessed his Christian Faith, and suggested that a terminally ill person, for whom the doctors had no hope, should be brought before the court, and then the pagan healers could invoke their lifeless gods, followed by St Panteleimon who would beseech his Living, Compassionate and Almighty God to heal the person. A man who had been paralyzed for many years was brought in, and the pagan priests who knew the art of medicine, invoked their gods without any success. However, before the very eyes of the Emperor and all the gathered witnesses, St Panteleimon prayed and called upon the Divine Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereupon the paralytic was immediately and completely healed. Sadly, the ferocious, God-hating Maximian ordered the immediate execution of the healed paralytic and handed St Panteleimon over to the executioners for their unspeakable tortures. Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to St Panteleimon and strengthened him before his sufferings, which consisted of being suspended from a tree and scraped with iron hooks, being burnt with fire and then being stretched and dislocating his joints on the rack, before being thrown into a cauldron of boiling tar, and then being cast into the sea with a heavy, mill-stone around his neck. By the Grace of God, and despite all these most cruel and hideous tortures, St Panteleimon remained unhurt, and continually denounced the wicked Emperor. During the Martyrdom of St Panteleimon, St Hermolaos, St Hermippos and St Hermocrates were brought before the court of the pagans, whereupon all three brave Hieromartyrs of Nicomedia Confessed their unwavering Faith in our Saviour for which, of course, they were beheaded on 26 July. Emperor Maximian ordered his executioners to take St Panteleimon to the circus and thrown before wild beasts in the expectation of being ripped apart and devoured. However, those ferocious, brutalised beasts became as meek as lambs when they saw St Panteleimon, and, instead of mauling him to death, they went up to him and gently licked his feet. The shocked, blood-thirsty spectators began to shout: "Great is the God of the Christians!" which further enraged Emperor Maximian who instantly commanded the soldiers to stab to death with their swords everyone who dared to Glorify Christ, and to

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immediately behead St Panteleimon, the Great Unmercenary Physician and Holy Martyr. So the executioners once again seized St Panteleimon and tied him to an olive tree and while the Holy Martyr prayed, one of the executioners tried to behead him with a sword, but to their utter shock, it became as soft as wax and inflicted no wound whatsoever. When St Panteleimon has calmly completed his Prayers, a Voice was heard from Heaven, calling the Holy Passion-Bearer by name and summoning him to the Heavenly Kingdom. Other eye-witnesses testified: "As the soldier raised his sword to behead the Saint, the sword melted as if it were made of wax. “The soldiers fell to their knees and Confessed their belief in Christ. “The Saint prayed for them and forgave them for their sins. “A Voice came from Heaven, saying to (St Panteleimon) that all he had asked for had been granted and that from this time on he would he known not as ‘Pantoleonta’, but as ‘Panteleimon.’ (All-Merciful)." Hearing the Voice, the soldiers had indeed fallen to their knees before the Holy Martyr and begged his forgiveness, refusing to continue with the execution, but St Panteleimon told them to fulfil the Emperor's command, because otherwise they would have no share with him in the Future Life. The soldiers tearfully took their leave of the Saint with a kiss. After St Panteleimon had been beheaded, the olive tree to which he had been tied became covered with fruit, and many of the gathered witnesses of the execution believed in Christ Jesus, as our Living, Almighty Lord and Saviour. St Panteleimon’s body was thrown into a fire, but remained unharmed, and was reverently buried by faithful Christians.

St Panteleimon's servants, St Laurence, St Bassos and St Probos also witnessed his execution and heard the Voice from Heaven and they recorded the Life, the Martyrdom and death of the Holy Unmercenary Physician. Portions of his Holy Relics were distributed throughout the Christian world and his venerable head is now located at the Russian Monastery of St Panteleimon on Mount Athos. St Panteleimon is venerated in the Orthodox Church as a mighty Saint, and the Patron Saint or Holy Protector of soldiers, which is derived from his first name Pantoleon, which means "a lion in everything." His Baptismal name, Panteleimon, means "All-Merciful," which is due to his veneration as an Unmercenary Healer. The connection between these two aspects of St Panteleimon is readily apparent in that soldiers, receiving wounds more frequently than others, are more in need of a Physician-Healer. Furthermore, all Christians who are forced to wage unceasing Spiritual Warfare against the evil one and his demons, also have recourse to St Panteleimon, asking him to Heal their Spiritual Wounds and to intercede with the Lord our God for His Great Mercy. St Panteleimon, as the Great Holy Martyr and Unmercenary Healer is invoked during the Holy Mystery of Unction or Anointing of the Sick and Ailing, at the Blessing of the Water, and in the Prayers for the Sick. As the Patronal Feast of the Russian Monastery on Mount Athos, the Forefeast starts eight days before the Feast. Each day after Vespers, Moliebens are sung with Canons in each of the Eight Tones. Thus, each day has its own particular Canon. The second day of the Feast is the Monastery Feastday on which a General Panikhida is served after Vespers in memory of the Founders and Benefactors of the Monastery, and Kollyva (Kutia: wheat or rice boiled with honey) is Blessed and distributed.
HTTP://FULL-OF-GRACE-AND-TRUTH.BLOGSPOT.COM

St Dorotheos On Three Kind of Lies “Therefore never trust your suspicions, for even a According to St Dorotheos, THERE AR E 3 KINDS OF straight rule can be made crooked by a crooked LYING : IN THI NKING , VER BALLY AND WAY OF LI FE . one. Suspicions are not true and harm us... Those who lie in their thinking are those who are always Nothing is graver that suspicions. They are so suspicious of other people’s actions or motives. harmful that if we keep them for a long time, they They think others are always doing things against them begin to convince us that we clearly see things that and they will try to justify their suspicions by do not exist and never happened." saying: “... they are always talking about me!" Verbal lying occurs when we make excuses for our When they are spoken to they imagine it is an attempt failures. If we are too lazy to go to Church or any to bother them or to criticize them. other event and we are asked why we were not They are always suspicious of other people, thinking there, we make up an excuse that is a blatant lie. that they have said or done certain things because Another example is when we want something but we do of them. not ask for it outright and approach it in a roundThe problem is, nothing they think is true – it is all about way. based on their own suspicions and false All these lies arise from a desire for our own pleasure. assumptions. We want to hide our passions, our selfishness, our St Dorotheos warned us that from this comes ambitions or our laziness, so we make up excuses or "...curiosity, slander, eavesdropping, quarrelling lie about our motivations... and condemnation." The final category is the pathological liar: "... those who How often have we caught ourselves eavesdropping or lie their whole life are those who are in reality listening to what others are saying - thinking they dissolute (IMMORAL & SELF-INDULGENT). They feign must be talking about us. temperance, and being greedy, they speak about How often do we take gestures or facial expressions of charity and praise sympathy. They are proud and others to have a negative meaning about us? admire Humility." This is an often forgotten form of lying – because there What we need to develop is True Humility so that we is no way we can know what others are really thinking and their expressions may be due to their are free to confess our own weaknesses, admit our own difficulties, not ours. sins and not hide them like those who say when How about when we make instant judgements on discussing Confession: "I have not sinned; I have not stolen anything; I have not killed anyone; so why do I people merely by their outward appearance or actions? We far too quickly label them as being lazy, need to confess?" They lead a life of lies, not being delinquent, or even immoral. honest about their true condition. This is again a form of lying because we know nothing Humility enables us to willingly accuse ourselves and about them and we make up our own lies with honesty comes sympathy for others... “Let us avoid falsehood so as to be Delivered from the concerning them. evil one and let us Struggle to obtain the Truth so St Dorotheos cautioned us: "It is impossible to learn the that we may be United with Him Who said: ‘I Am state of a person's soul from their appearance.” the Truth.’ Let God make us worthy of His own Truth.” http://orthodoxwayoflife.blogspot.com/

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