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

A L L G L OR Y , H ONOUR A ND W OR S H IP T O TH E F A TH E R , A ND T O T H E S ON , A ND T O T HE H OL Y S P IR IT , NOW A N D FOR E V ER , A ND UNT O T HE A GE S OF A GE S . A ME N . R E ME MB ER ING AL S O OUR M OS T H OL Y , M OS T P U RE , M OST B L E SS E D A ND G L OR IOU S L A D Y , M A R IA , T H E OT OKOS , YE T E V ER V IR GIN , T OGE T H ER WIT H A L L T HE S A INT S . A ND LE T US C OMMIT OU R S EL VE S A ND ONE A N OT HE R A ND OU R WH OL E L IFE T O C H R IST OUR G OD . A ME N .

7th Sunday of Pascha 1 June 2014 Tone (6) Plagal 2

FESTA

L

APOL

YTIKION

–TON

E

(6) PLA

ALSO THE FEAST OF ST JUSTIN THE P HILOSOP HER, ST C HAR ITON , ST CH ARIT O , ST EVE LPISTOS, ST H IE RA X, ST PE ONOS , & ST J USTOS, H OLY MAR TYRS OF RO ME – ST D IONYSI OS, ABB OT OF GLUS HETSK, V OLO GDA – ST AGAPIT OS THE UNMERCENARY PHYS IC IAN OF KIE V NE AR CA VE S MONASTE RY – ST S HI O THE NE W, ST DAV ID, ST G ABRIE L & ST P AUL OF T HE DAV ID-GARE J I WI LDE RNESS, GE ORG IA
GAL

Sunday of the 318 Holy Church Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council

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

–AS

CENSION

THURSDA

Y

Anelifthis en Doxi, Hriste O Theos imon, Haropiisas tous Thou Ascended
Mathitas, ti epangelia tou Agiou Pnevmatos, vaveothenton afton dia tis Evlogias, oti Si i O Iios tou Theou, O Litrotis tou kosmou.
APO
LYTIK ION

in Glory, O Christ our God, after Thou filled the Disciples with Joy, by promising to send them the Holy Spirit, and Thou Blessed them and established their Faith, that Thou art the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.

– HO

LY

C

HURCH

FAT

HERS

- ECUMENICA

L

C

OUNCI LS

TONE (8) PLA

GAL

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!
L

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!

FESTA

KONTAK

ION

–ASC

ENSI ON

-

TON

E

(6) P

LAGA L

2

Tin iper imon plirosas ikonomian, ke ta epi gis enosas tis When Thou had fulfilled the Dispensation for our sake,
KATH IMON.

Ouraniis, anelifthis en doxi, Hriste O Theos imon, oudamothen horizomenos, alla menon adiastatos, ke voon tis agaposi se. EGO IMI METH IMON, KE OUDIS

and united things on earth with the Things in Heaven, Thou were taken up thither in Glory, O Christ our god, going not away from any place, but continuing inseparable, and to the m who Love Thee, crying out: I AM WITH YOU AND THERE IS, THEREFORE, NONE AGAINST YOU.

Matins Resurrection Gospel
OUR RESURRE
CTED

10 : John 21 : 1 – 14
FAST

LORD J

ESUS

SER

VES

BREAK

TO HIS ELE

VEN

APOS

TLES

Thou For

Prokeimenon
art Bl e s se d, O L ord, Go d of o ur Fo refa the rs. Tho u h as t al w ay s de al t Ri g ht eou sl y wi th u s
ST PAUL’S FA
REWELL

The Acts of the Apostles According to St Luke 20 : 16 – 18
ADDR
ESS

& 28 – 36

Paul had decided to sail past Ephesos, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost. From Miletos he sent to Ephesos and called for the Elders of the Church. And when they had gone to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived amongst you, serving the Lord with all Humility, with many tears and trials... “... Therefore, take heed to yourselves and to all the Flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you Overseers, to shepherd the Church of God, which He purchases with His own Blood. “For I know this: that after my departure savage Wolves will come in you, not sparing the Flock. Also from among yourselves, men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the Disciples after themselves. “Therefore, watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone – night and day – with tears. So now, Brethren, I commend you to God and to the Word of His Grace, which is able to build you up and give you an Inheritance among all those who are Sanctified. “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold, or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way – by labouring like this – that you must support the weak. “And remember the Words of our Lord Jesus – that He said: ‘It is more Blessed to give than to receive.’” And when Paul had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. Consequently, ALL F AITHFUL C HRISTI ANS – T RU E D ISCIPLES OF St Paul wanted to be together with the other Holy Apostles of Christ in Jerusalem for the Feast of Holy Pentecost, since C HRIST – LIV E AC CO RDI NG TO THE F ES TAL C AL EN DA R OF A L I TURGI CAL C ALENDAR BASED ON S AC RED F EAS T D A YS M AJOR F EASTS , F ASTS AN D C EL EBR ATIO NS . A C T S 1 8 : 2 1 : St Paul told his Holy Flock: “I must by all HAS ALWAYS BEEN OBS ERVED BY THE H OLY C HUR CH OF C HRIST . means keep this coming Feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you – God Willing.”

7TH SU

NDAY

OF

PASC

HA

– THE 318 HO

LY

CH

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FATHERS, 1S

T

ECUME

NICA L

COU

NCI L

– 1 J

UNE

2014

1

T HE SINCERE WO RDS “ G OD W ILLING ,” UN DERSC ORED S T P AUL ’ S CONS TAN T R ELIA NC E ON G OD AN D HIS C ONTI NUAL DEV OUT SUBMISSION OF HIS OW N PLANS AN D FREE WILL T O TH E W ILL OF A LMIGHTY G OD . J A M E S 4 : 1 3 - 1 7 “... you who say: ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say: ‘ If the Lord Wills, we shall live and do this and that...’ But now you boast in your own arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to those who know to do good and who do not do so, to them it is sin!” The budding Christian Liturgical Calendar revealed THE DEEP DESI RE O F THE H OL Y A POSTL ES A ND F AITHFUL D ISCIPLES OF C HRIST TO GATH ER TO GETHER IN R EM EMBRA NC E O F TH E GREAT C HRIS TIA N F EASTS FO R THE P U RPOSE OF W ORSHIPPIN G G O D A ND THE C OMMEM ORA TIO N OF OUR L OR D J ESUS C HRIST I N A COMMUN AL MANNE R . At that time, the Holy Church of Christ was alive and developing in Ephesos and had already established a

permanent pattern of Sacramental Leadership with Elders (Presbyters) and Overseers (Bishops). However, the threat of false teachers and various heresies arose from both within and without the Holy Church. Furthermore, THE F ATAL TH REAT OF SUCH FALSE TEA CHE RS AN D HER ESIES CON TINU ES TO THIS DAY , C AUSING S O MAN Y SOULS TO BECOME PLUN GE D IN DEEP , DA RK S PIRI TUAL D EATH CAUSE D BY A LIENA TION F ROM G OD A ND UNREP EN TE D SINS . ] Therefore, we must LEARN T RUE H UMILITY AN D O BE DIENC E TO THE D I VIN E W ILL OF G O D A ND FOLL OW ONLY WHAT HE HAS T AUGHT US – not the lies, deceptions and heresies that other less intelligent beings try to convince us of, which misguide and condemn us. T HER E IS SO MUCH D IVINE T RUTH A VAILABL E TO US THES E DAYS that we have absolutely no excuse for “doing our own thing.” ] W ITHOUT TH E INS EPARABLE V IR TUES OF H UMILITY AN D O BEDI ENCE , WE CA NNO T MAK E A NY S PIRI TUAL P ROG RESS A ND WILL REM AIN IGNORAN T , SELFISH AN D IN A STAT E OF S PIRI TUAL D EATH DUE TO OUR A LI EN ATIO N FROM A LMIGH TY G OD W H O MAK ES E VERY THING THA T IS T RULY G OO D POSSIBL E FOR US .

The Holy Gospel According to St John 17 : 1 – 13
OUR LORD JESUS C
HRIST’S

PRAYER

FOR

HIMSE

LF

&

FOR

HI

S

HO

LY

APOSTLES

At that time, Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His Eyes to Heaven, and said: “O Father, the Hour has come. Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may Glorify Thee, as Thou hast given Him Authority over all flesh, that He should give Eternal Life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is Eternal Life: that they may know Thee, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent. “I have Glorified Thee on the earth. I have finished the Work, which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, O Father, Glorify Me together with Thyself, with the Glory that I had with Thee before the world was. I have manifested Thy Name to the men whom Thou hast given Me out of the world. They were Thine. Thou gave them to Me, and they have kept Thy Word. Now they have known that all things, which Thou hast given Me, are from Thee. For I have given to them the Words that Thou hast given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from Thee; and they have believed that Thou sent Me. “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine. And all Mine art Thine, and Thine art Mine, and I Am Glorified in them. “Now I Am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. O Holy Father, keep through Thy Name, those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be One as we are One. “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy Name. Those whom Thou gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to Thee, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My Joy fulfilled in themselves...” ä I N H IS D IVINE R EDEMP TION , G OD THE F ATH ER AN D G O D T HE P RAYER OF OUR L O RD A ND S A VIOUR , J ESUS C HRIST , is often referred to as “the High Priestly Prayer” because it THE S O N ARE G LO RIFI ED . ä F OR TH AT R EASO N TH E C ROSS OF C HRIS T - which was a CONTAINS TH E BASI C ELEM ENTS OF A P RAY ER THA T hideous form of execution with its excruciating O RTHODOX C HRIS TIA N P RI ESTS OFF ER TO TH E L O RD OUR suffering and death - IS NOW G LORIFI ED IN H IS H OL Y G OD BEF OR E A ( BLOODL ESS ) S AC RIFIC E OR O FF ER ING IS OFFE RED TO HIM : C HURCH AS “ L IFE - GI VING ” AN D A “ W EAPON OF P EAC E .” ä G LORIFI CATI ON of Almighty God ä R EMEMBRAN CE of God’s Divine Works ä T HE ( EMP TY ) H OLY C ROSS OF C H RIST HAS B EC OME A V ICTO RIOUS E MBLEM OF D IVI NE G OODNE SS : ä I NTE RC ESSION on behalf of others R ESURREC TION AN D E TERNAL L IF E : ä A D ECLA RATI ON of the Holy Offering Itself This particular passage of New Covenant Holy Scripture is ä The Holy Cross of Christ CONQUERS ALL SINFUL ENSLA VEM EN T , A LIEN ATIO N FR OM G O D . read on the Seventh Sunday After Holy Pascha in ä The Holy Cross of Christ is OUR S A NCTIF IED B A DG E O R remembrance of the 318 Holy Church Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, which had been convened in E MBLEM OF H ONOUR whereby we strive to live each moment of the day, for it REMI NDS US OF TH E P ERF EC T Nicaea in 325 in order to condemn and correct the E XAMPLE OF OUR L O RD AN D S A VIOUR IN W HOM WE LIV E heresy of Arianism (WHICH TAUGHT THAT THE SON OF GOD WAS AND IT INFO RMS OTH ERS O F OUR S PIRI TUAL S TRUG GLE . CREATED BY GOD THE FATHER AND THUS THERE WAS A TIME WHEN THE ä The Holy Cross of Christ is THE M OST P OWERFUL F ORM OF SON AND WORD OF GOD DID NOT EXIST!) D IVINE P ROT EC TIO N , which repels and rejects Satan ä O UR L OR D J ESUS C HRIS T ’ S AC TUAL WORDS BEAR WIT NESS T O and his evil schemes. H IS T RUE , A BSOLUTE AND E TERNAL D IVI NIT Y , AS WELL AS ä The Holy Cross of Christ is ALL WE NEED. H IS E TERN AL F ILIAL R ELATI ONSHIP T O G O D THE F ATH ER . This Divine Testimony alone is more than sufficient to dismiss TRUE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST DO NOT WEAR “EVIL EYES” OR ANY OTHER SO-CALLED “GOOD LUCK CHARMS!” any form of heretical Arianism. SUCH PAGAN TALISMANS, AMULETS OR TRINKETS EXPOSE DEEP-SEATED “The Hour has come,” signifies THAT C HRIST IS L OR D OVER SUPERSTITIONS, WHICH REVEAL A LACK OF FAITH IN GOD - THE DENIAL OF TIME : “He voluntarily Willed to ascend the Cross in the GOD’S INFINITE POWER AND LOVE THAT CONQUERS ALL THREATS AND WICKEDNESS AGAINST US. Flesh...” (HYMN OF SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY) TRUE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST WEAR THE (EMPTY) CROSS ONLY AGAINST THEIR HEARTS ä The expression “Glorify” refers to TH E R EDEMPTI ON OF A LL (NOT AS MERE ORNAMENTATION SUCH AS EAR-RINGS, ETC) AND N E V E R C REATIO N THAT WOULD BE A CCOMPLISH ED TH ROUGH TOGETH ER WITH AN Y S UPERSTITIO US “LUCK Y CHAR MS!” BELIEF IN ANYTHING ELSE IS A REVERSION TO PAGANISM – THE REJECTION OF OUR OUR L O RD ’ S C RUCIFIXI ON ( THE F INA L , U LTIMATE AND ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD! M OST P URE B LO OD S ACR IFI CE FOR SINS AND E TE RNAL THE SO-CALL ED “PEAC E S IGN” IS IN F ACT THE CU RSE OF L IFE ) AND G LO RIOUS R ESURREC TION ( THE H AR ROWIN G SATAN: A CLOV EN HOOF AND A BROKEN , UPS ID E DOWN CROSS – DECL AR ING TH E W EAR ER AS A SLAV E OF SATAN OF H A DE S ), which was TH E D IVINE P URPOSE FOR WHICH THAT M UST B E AVOIDED A T ALL COSTS BY TR U E DISC IPL ES THE D I VIN E W O RD AN D S ON OF G OD WAS S EN T BY G O D OF CHRIS T. THE F ATHER INT O TH E SIN ENSLA VED A ND DA RKE NED ä K NOWL EDGE OF THE O NLY T RUE G O D IS FA R MO RE THAN WORLD . INTELL EC TUAL UNDERS TA NDI NG . I T IS PA RTI CIPATION OF

2. 7 T H S U N D A Y

OF

PAS

CHA

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HE

318 H

OLY

C

HURCH

FA

THERS

, 1S

T

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NICA L

COU

NCIL

– 1 J

UNE

2014

C HRIST ’ S D I VIN E L IF E AN D B EING IN C OMMUNI ON WITH H IM . C ONSEQUENTLY , E T ER NAL L IF E IS AN O NGOI NG , L OVI NG K NOWL EDGE OF G OD I N C HRIS T AN D TH E H OLY S PI RIT . Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Divine Work can never be separated from Who He is. ä “I have Glorified Thee on the earth. I have finished the Work, which Thou hast given Me to do...” is a statement that every Faithful Disciple of Christ should be able to make at the end of life – no matter how long or short our Life in Christ has been! ä “...the men whom Thou hast given Me...” are THE H OL Y A POSTLES OF C HRIS T TH ROUGH W HOM THE W OR D OF G OD COM ES DOW N THROUGH TH E A GES – C AR EFULLY PRES ERVE D – T O US , WHICH IS KNOWN AS OUR “ A POSTOLI C T RADI TIO N ” – THE T RUE T EACHIN GS OF TH E S ON OF G OD , OUR L O RD J ESUS C HRIST H IMS ELF . ä St Isaiah prophesied that I N THE DAYS OF TH E M ESSI AH , THE K NOWL EDGE OF THE N AME OF G O D WOULD BE REVEAL ED . (I SAIAH 52:6) According to the Old Covenant, THE EXPRESSIO N “ T HE N AM E ” WAS MOST R EVEREN TLY USED instead of God’s actual Name, “Yahweh,” which was considered as being FA R TOO S ACR ED TO PRONOUN CE . ä T HE FULLER R EVELA TION OF TH E D IVI NE N AM E WAS GRAN TED TO THOS E WHO BELIE VE I N J ESUS C HRIS T OUR L OR D AN D S AVIOUR , FOR H E MA NIF EST ED TH E D IVINE N AM E NO T ONLY BY DE CLARI NG G OD THE F A THER , BUT BY BEIN G THE V ERY P R ESENC E OF G O D O N EARTH A ND B Y SHARIN G THE D I VIN E N AME WITH H IM ! ä O UR L OR D J ESUS FIRS T PRAY ED FOR H IMSELF A ND TH EN FO R H IS H OLY A POS TLES WHO WER E GRA NTED TO H IM B Y G OD TH E F ATHER – AS WELL AS ALL THE SOULS WHO BELIEVE I N H IM THROUGHOU T THE AGE S .

ä The reference to “ the world” means the fallen world consisting of ALL TH OSE WHO LIVE A CCO RDING T O THE DESIRES OF TH EI R BODY – TH E FLESH – which is used against us through the temptation – the wiles and deceptions - of Satan.
THE PHYS ICAL WORLD AND ALL THAT IS IN IT - WH ICH GOD CREA TED - IS A LL GOOD AND BEAU TIF UL - AND W E – AS EAR THLY IN TELLEC TU AL B EINGS - HAV E B EEN ORDA IN ED B Y G O D T O P R E S E R V E A N D N U R T U R E I T , YET THROUGH OUR SINFUL DESIRES OF GREED AND SELFISH INDULGENCE, WE HAVE ALMOST DESTROYED IT BEYOND RECOVERY!

]

]

ä The fallen world consists of ALL WHO AR E IN R EBELLION AGAIN ST THE D IVI NE W ILL OF G OD AND WHO PREF ER S PI RITUAL D ARKN ESS AN D B LIN DN ESS T O H IS D IVINE , L I FE -G IVI NG L I GHT A ND S PIRI TUAL E NLIGH TENMENT . The term “Holy Father” is echoed in THE E UCHA RIST P RA YER OF D IDACH E : “We give Thee Thanks, O Holy Father, for Thy Holy Name, which Thou has made to dwell in our hearts...” (DIDACHE 10:2) The lost “son of Perdition” (Destruction) is Judas Iscariot to whom Old Testament Prophesy alluded. (PSALM 40:10;
PSALM 108:2 – 13; ZECHARIAH 11: 12-13)

ä J UDAS I SCA RIOT , ‘ THE S ON OF P ERDITI ON ’ WHO BET RA YED C HRIST , EPITOMIS ES ALL WHO FALL AWAY , RENOUNCE , REB EL AGAI NST O R BETRA Y GOD - ESP ECI ALLY IN TH E L AST D AYS , WHICH IS NOW ! According to St Paul in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, TH E SON OF P ERDI TIO N IS “ THE A NTI CHRIS T ” who is the manifestation of everything that is ungodly, evil and destructive but WHO WILL BE C OMPLET ELY DEF EA TED AND BA NISHE D TO H ELL – TOGETHE R WITH ALL WHO AR E WILLINGLY ENSL AV ED BY HIM - BY C HRIS T A LMI GHTY AT TH E F INAL J UDG EMENT OF ALL C R EA TION . (2 THESSALONIANS 2:3)

7th Sunday of Holy Pascha – Sunday of the 318 Holy Church Fathers of the 1st Ecumenical Coun cil – Metropolitan Parthenios of Cyprus
Emperor Constantine the Great, the first Christian King, realized that the Church of Christ was plagued with various (incorrect) dogmatic opinions of Arius, the Protopresbyter of Alexandria. Emperor Constantine therefore organized in 325 the first Great Ecumenical Council at Nicea in Asia Minor, which was attended by 318 God-bearing Fathers from throughout the Orthodox Christian world who hastened to meet so as to deliver (protect) the Church from heresy. Emperor Constantine attended throughout the duration of the Council, and many of the Holy Fathers who were present had suffered greatly for their Confession in the Name of Christ, during the reign of the previous Emperor. Some had one eye removed, some had their noses or their ears cut off, while others had their hands cut off or had suffered other hideous injuries from cruel tortures. The first day of this Event was amazing, for at the day’s conclusion after the Prayer, the earth trembled, which bore witness to the Truth that the decisions made at the Holy Gathering, were not of the will of mankind, but by the very Breath, Inspiration and Will of God the Holy Spirit. (i.e. due to the Will of God the
Father, through God the Son, by means of God the Holy Spirit. mp)

The main topic of discussion was the Divinity of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity – our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Holy Fathers declared Christ as the Eternal, Only Begotten Son of God – “...Begotten of the Father before all ages...” while Arius argued that although Christ was “...the Son of God...” He was not Begotten of the Father, but “...was created by the Father at some point in time! ” Thus there was a time that the Son of God did not exist! Arius further blasphemed against Christ, saying that Christ “...received flesh from the Virgin Mary only in appearance and not in actuality.” Because Arius and his supporters used great, eloquent words, and the Holy Fathers were humble and unable express themselves as eloquently as the heretics, the Holy Fathers found themselves at a disadvantage. Then, the Archbishop of Myra in Lycea, St Nicholas, consumed with sadness, slapped Arius across the cheek, which was duly reported to the Emperor,
7TH SU
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whereupon Arius succeeded in having St Nicholas imprisoned. In the middle of the night, St Nicholas of Myra was Visited by Christ our Saviour and the Ever-Virgin Theotokos, from whom he received a golden Gospel Book and a golden woven Omophorion (Palium – a Liturgical Vestment of Bishops). Emperor Constantine, having heard about the Miracle and seeing the Miraculous Gifts for himself, immediately released St Nicholas. Yet another Divine Inspired Holy Hierarch who participated in the Synod was St Spyridon of Trimythous, who used a piece of potshard to illustrate how one single entity (a piece of pottery) was composed by three unique entities (fire, water and clay) - a metaphor for the Orthodox Doctrine of the Holy Trinity. As soon as St Spyridon finished speaking, the shard suddenly burst into flame, water dripped on the ground, and only dust remained in his hand. As Glorious as the Miracle was of the Heavenly Gifts that St Nicholas of Myra received, this unique demonstration that St Spyridon was able to deliver was just as equally amazing and impressive, since both encouraged the pious to prevail over the heretics. Slowly but surely, the Holy Fathers—with the Divine Help and Inspiration of the Holy Spirit—triumphed over the heretics, and although they were full of Divine Love towards everyone including the heretics, our Holy Church Fathers - with mercy and with tears in their eyes -anathematized and removed Arius from the Synod as “... an enemy of the Son of God and an Antichrist.” Later, the Holy Fathers composed the “Symbol of the Faith” and 20 Canons, which promoted the Liturgical Unity of the Church. They also decided that the Orthodox Church would follow the Julian Calendar to the end of the ages, and they wrote a Paschalion , - a record of when Pascha is to be celebrated every year until the end of time. Two of the Holy Fathers Reposed during the Assembly of the First Ecumenical Council, which saddened them all. At the end of the First Assembly, Emperor Constantine placed the decisions of the Synod signed by the remaining 316 Fathers in the coffins of the two Reposed Holy Fathers.
FATHERS, 1S
T

PASC

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– THE 318 HO

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ECUME

NICA L

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UNE

2 0 1 4 3.

On the morning of the second day, to the astonishment of all, upon reopening the caskets, they found the signatures of the two Reposed Holy Fathers on the documents resulting in all 318 signatures! The Ascension of Christ is a Feast that concludes the cycle of the Events of the Incarnate God, for the Deliverance of mankind from Death, while today, the first Sunday after the Ascension, we commemorate our Holy Church Fathers who preached and defended the Divine Truth proclaiming that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten and Eternal Son of God - Begotten of the Father before all ages - and that He descended from Heaven, and was Incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Ever Blessed, All Pure Virgin Mary, that He was “...crucified, suffered, and was buried, and arose on the Third Day and Ascended into Heaven and sits at the right Hand of the Father...” being"...Consubstantial [“Coessential” or “of the same Essence”] with the Father. " For Orthodox Christianity, the First Ecumenical Council is a Lighthouse that bestows (Holy, Sanctified) Light and sustains all Hierarchs, Clergy, Monastics, and the Faithful, or whoever wishes to keep (obey, follow or maintain) the Truth of the Holy Gospel. Today, more than ever before, the True Faith is threatened by ferocious beasts that are more terrifying than then for the Ecumenists, the New Calendarists, and the Papophiles (Pope-lovers) find themselves in a much worse state than the Arians. In our contemporary era is there a St Nicholas or St Spyridon? Is there a Saint who is able to humiliate and correct the arrogant heretics and blasphemers by words alone or with Miracles? We are fooled by the convenient ‘freedom’ that has been bestowed on us by those who tore the seamless tunic of Christ into a thousand pieces. Every one of us has an obligation to always remember the amazing valour and Faith of those who suffered brutal persecutions in order to protect the Holy Church of Christ from the poison of false teachings. Obviously we rejoice today, because we have inherited the True Faith and we have the possibility of Eternal Salvation. However, in these ‘modern times’ and Spiritually Darkened days, who really Struggles towards this ultimate Destination (Eternal Life in God’s Kingdom?) Do we? Definitely not! (Certainly not to the same degree and
with the same intensity!)

The Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils - the Holy Confessors of ages past ceaselessly Struggled for our Eternal Salvation: St Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople; St Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica; St Mark Eugenikos, Bishop of Ephesos; St Cosmas the Aetolian; St Nicodemos the Athonite; and many more, never resting so as to deliver and preserve the True Teachings and Dogmas being bright Lamps from whom we receive the Divine Light of Orthodoxy. Will our descendants still have these Holy Role Models from whom we learn how to keep the Faith? The Saints are our Spiritual Guides and Teachers, yet we cannot direct our own families towards Divine Truth. For our children to be obedient, respectful and selfdisciplined, it is unnecessary to use many words , for what is needed are many good examples that they can imitate or learn from. How many of you have smoked cigarettes before entering Church, how many have left during the Liturgy either for another smoke or to go elsewhere, how many dress or behave inappropriately in Church – drawing attention away from our worship of God to themselves, and how many arrive late to receive Holy Communion or Antidoron, often disrupting or distracting the Congregation? Do you not realise what a bad example you are setting for others? What kind of ‘Orthodox Christianity’ are you teaching your children and others by your disrespectful attitude to God and your fellow sinners who are Struggling? St John Chrysostom, in his Homily "Regarding Herodias and Salome, the Murderers of the Baptist" said: "Woman! You come to Church with bright garments;

you file (sharpen) your nails like a dragon; you hang metal on your hands, ears, and around your throat, like a slave, but you don’t think that your soul is black. Do you forget that you came here to weep, and not to display yourself?" In another Homily concerning the woman who washed the Feet of Christ with Myrrh, he said: "The harlot who washed the Feet of Christ with her hair should have washed His Feet with her head-covering (scarf). But because she did not have one, she washed them with her hair." She did not have a head-covering because that is how harlots roamed the streets! St John Chrysostom also said: "Honourable women, from the moment the Clergyman Blesses their Wedding, should not allow for the sun to ever see their hair." Firm words! But we must say them. If I, who am your Shepherd, do not say them to you, then who will tell you? ... We must pay attention to our Saviour’s Words to our Heavenly Father, on our behalf: “...I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine. And all Mine art Thine, and Thine art Mine, and I Am Glorified in them...” Our Lord Jesus Christ does not defend the (fallen) world but defends those of us who live in the world and want to do His Will and not be enslaved by the will of the (sin darkened) world... A tree cannot bear fruit, if it first doesn’t sprout leaves. All of the trees sprout leaves easily, but few trees bear fruit. Similarly, we must first do the things that are easy (i.e., practice the sprouting of leaves), so that we can later do the more difficult things (i.e., bear Fruit). If we believe that we have “...a clean heart ...” we are fatally deceived by the demons! Although earlier Christians did not think like that, today we all think that we are so much more clever. The earlier Christians were, in fact, much smarter, and more educated than we are today, because our human culture grows in everything except Wisdom and Truth! Brethren, today we Commemorate our Holy Church Fathers, which is why I mentioned the various Teachings of these Saints, even if [these latter Teachings] are not Dogmatic. For, just as individual stitches are used to knit a garment, so also do all our Christian Teachings complete Orthodoxy. If we undo or drop a stitch, slowly but surely, the knitting becomes unravelled and useless, which is the same with us Christians, because if we reject even one small Divine Commandment, we become negligent, and from negligence we decline into apathy (i.e., lack of caring), and then, we lose our Orthodox Christianity, which is a Pearl of great value, that is found with much effort and difficulty but which is easily lost. This Priceless Pearl must be inherited by our descendants (i.e., our children). Now we send our children to remote schools to be educated, where the Name of God is never mentioned, and they are vaccinated with atheist poison. When they return, will they still find that sweet milk of strong Faith, which conquers the poison? And whose fault will this be? Theirs, because they went? Or ours, because we sent them? Is it better to live in the city and eat bread every two days or to live in the forest with beasts and eat meat every day? Obviously living in the city is better, for we are sure to eat a little bread every two days and not die, whereas in the forest, even though we may eat meat every day, every moment we are in danger of being devoured by the beasts. By leaving the path of demons and walking on the Paths of Saints, we will have our Daily Bread, and be protected from the seven-headed beasts of Ecumenism and Papism, by the Mercy and Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the Prayers of our Holy Fathers. Amen.
E DI TE D & A DA PTE D B Y MP : A S E RMON ON THE H OLY F A THE RS OF THE F I RS T E CUME NI CA L C OUNCI L , BY HIS E MI NE NCE , P A RTHE NI OS , M E TR OPOLI TA N OF C I TI UM , N E AP OLI S , L I MA S OL , A MA THOS & C URI UM , THE COMP LE TE V ERS I ON P LEA SE GO ( FOR TOHTTP :// GE NUI NE ORTHODOXCHURCH . COM /H OMI LY _M _P A RTHE NI OS _ H_F A THE RS _1 S T _C OUNCI L . HTM

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A L L G L OR Y , H ONOUR A N D W OR S H IP T O T HE F A T HE R , A ND T O T HE S ON , AND T O TH E H OL Y S P IR IT , NOW A N D FOR E VE R , A ND U NT O T H E A GES OF A GE S . A ME N . R E ME MB ER ING A LS O OU R M OS T H OL Y , M OST P UR E , M OS T B L E SS E D A N D G L OR IOU S L ADY , M A R IA , T H E OT OKOS , YE T E V ER V IR GIN , T OGE T H E R WIT H A L L T H E S A INT S . A ND LE T U S COMMIT OUR S E L VE S A N D ONE A N OT H ER A ND OU R WH OLE L IFE T O C H R IST OUR G OD . A ME N .

7 June 2014

Saturday of the Souls (Forefeast of Pentecost)
ALSO THE FEAST OF ST T HEOD OTOS O F ANCYR A, GALA TIA – ST MAR CE LLI NOS, H IE ROM ARTYR & POPE OF RO ME TO GE THER WITH S T SIS INI OS & ST CYRIA KOS THE DE ACO NS , ST CLAUD IOS , ST CYRI NOS, ST ANTONIN OS, ST SM ARA GDOS, ST APORN IAN OS, ST SATUR NI NOS, ST LARGOS, ST PAP IAS, ST CRE SCE NT IAN OS, ST M AVROS , ST PR ISC ILLA , ST LUCIN A (LUCY) & ST ARTEMIA, THE EMPEROR ’S DAUG HTER , HOLY MARTYRS OF RO ME – ST KY RIA KE, ST K ALERI A ( VALER IA), ST MA RY & S T ZINA IDA ( ZE NAIS) OF C AE SARE A, PALESTI NE
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Vathi Sofias Filanthropos panta Ikonomon, ke to simferon pasin aponemon, mone Dimiourge, anapafson Kyrie, tas psihas ton doulon Sou; en Si gar tin Elpida anethento, to Piiti ke Plasti ke Theo imon.

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Thou Who with profound Wisdom and Love for mankind, order all things, and grant to all what is to their profit, Only Creator: grant rest, O Lord, to the souls of Thy servants; for they set their every hope in Thee, the Maker and Creator and God of us all.
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ton Agion anapafson, Hriste, tas psihas ton doulon Sou, entha ouk esti ponos, ou lipi, ou stenagmos, alla zoi atelevtitos.
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Grant rest, O Christ, among the
Saints to the souls of Thy servants, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no grieving, but Life Everlasting.

The First Epistle of St Paul to the Thessalonians 4 : 13 – 17
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Brethren: I do not want you to be ignorant concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no Hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the Coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the Voice of an Archangel, and with the Trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with our Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 2. “... THE S IGN OF THE T RUMPET ...” T HIS IS CER TAINL Y ON E OF TH E CL EAR EST N EW T ESTAM EN T PASSAG ES ON TH E S ECO ND C OMI NG O R PHYSIC AL 3. “... THE R ESURREC TION OF TH E DEA D ...” T HE R EAPPE ARA NC E O F OUR L OR D J ESUS C HRIS T IS OUR R EAPPEARANC E OF C H RIST OUR L O RD A ND S AVI OUR – OUR F INAL AND O NLY D IVI NE J U DG E ! G REAT EST J O Y A ND D IV IN E C OMFO RT – I . E . TH E J O YOUS H OPE AN D E XP EC TATI ON OF ALL THE R I GHTEOUS AN D T HE D IDACH E – the writings of the Holy Apostles – lists TH REE S IGNS THAT WILL HER ALD THE R ETURN OF OUR L OR D J ESUS F AITHFUL D ISCIPL ES O F C HRIS T – while it is regarded as a C HRIST : dreadful and much feared threat to the ungodly and 1. “...THE S IG N SPREAD OUT IN THE HEAV ENS ...” – Christ unrepentant sinners, including Satan and his demons. and all His Heavenly Hosts
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At that time, it was then the third time our Lord Jesus showed Himself to His Disciples after He was Raised from the dead. And when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter: “Simon, son of Jonah: do you Love Me more than these?” He said to Him: “Yes, Lord; Thou know that I love Thee.” He said to him: “Feed My Lambs.” Jesus said to him again – a second time – “Simon, son of Jonah: do you Love Me?” And he said to Him: “Yes, Lord, Thou know that I love Thee.” He said to him: “Tend My Sheep.” He said to him the third time: “Simon, son of Jonah: do you love Me?” And Peter was grieved because He asked him for the third time: “Do you love Me.” And he said to Him: “Lord, Thou know all things – Thou know that I love Thee. ” And Jesus said to him: “Feed My Sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you: when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” This he spoke, signifying by what death he would Glorify God. And when He had said this, He said to him: “Follow Me.” And, turning around, Peter saw the Disciple whom Jesus Loved following, who also had leant upon His Breast at the Supper, and had asked: “Lord, who is the one who betrays Thee?” And Peter – seeing him – said to Jesus: “And

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Lord, what about that man?” And Jesus said to him: “If I Will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” Then this saying went out among the Brethren that this Disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but: “If I Will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the Disciple who testifies of these Things, and wrote these Things; and we know that his Testimony is True. And there are also many other Things that Jesus did, which – if they were written one by one – I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the Books that would be written. Amen. Repose in Christ at the age of approximately 101 – circa The fact that our Lord Jesus Christ singled out St Peter has a 98 – 108 AD. twofold significance: His longevity was marvelled at by THE EARL Y C HRISTI ANS who 1. S T P ETE R W A S T HE L EA DER O R S POK ESMA N A MO NG T H E D ISCIPLES O F C HRIS T and – being such a passionate THOUGHT H E WOULD LIV E UNT IL TH E S ECO ND C OMIN G – the and impulsive character – HA D TO BE TH E FIRST T O Reappearance of our Lord. CONF ESS HIS L O VE F OR OUR R ESURREC TE D L OR D AN D ] However, S T J OHN THE D IVI NE H IMSELF CO RREC TED THIS S AVIOUR . FALSE ASSUMPTIO N BY CLA RIFYI NG TH E T RUTH THA T OUR L OR D J ESUS “... DI D N OT S AY TO HIM THA T HE W OULD 2. S T P ETE R HAD DENI ED C H RIST THRE E TIM ES after His arrest – despite having been adamant that he would never NOT DIE ...” betray or deny him. K N OWING TH E HEA RTS A ND SOULS T HE USE OF TH E WOR D “ WE ” IN DIC ATED THAT S T J OHN TH E E VA NG ELIST , H AD AN ASSIS TAN T – and according to Holy OF EVERY ON E H E CR EAT ES , C HRIST KNEW WHAT MOTIVA TED S T P ETER . Consequently, DU E TO H IS Tradition, that faithful Scribe was named “Prochoros,” who I NFINIT E D IVI NE L O VE AND G R EA T M ERC Y , OUR L OR D is often depicted in many of the Icons of St John writing REST OR ED H IS D IVI NE G RA CE UPON S T P ETER WI TH HIS down his words and Teachings. THREEFOL D C O NFESSI ON OF L O VE . ] A LTHOUGH ACK NOWLEDGI NG A ND CONF IRMIN G THA T HIS ] It is important to note that the first two times our Lord H OLY G OSPEL CON TAI NS ONL Y A SMALL FRAC TION OF OUR L OR D J ESUS C HRIST ’ S EARTHL Y L IFE , S T J OH N TH E Jesus inquired of St Peter: “Do you Love Me?” H E USED A FO RM OF TH E WO RD “A G APE ,” WHI CH DEN OT ES D IVINE T HE OLOGI AN AN D E V ANG ELIST WRO TE HIS H OL Y G OSPEL TO B RING ALL WHO READ IT CAR EFULLY TO T RUE THE HIGH EST FO RM OF S ACRI FICIAL AND S ELF -E MP TYING L OV E – TH E KIND OF L OV E THA T A LMIGHTY G O D HAS F AITH IN G OD . FOR ALL HUMAN B EINGS – AN D WHICH WE CAN DEV ELOP ] W HILE TH E H OLY G OSP ELS OF S T M A TTH EW , S T M ARK AN D ONLY TH ROUGH MA TURING IN G O D ’ S D IVI NE G RA CE . S T L UK E CO NT AIN MA NY M OR E D IVI NE M IRA CLES AN D P ARABL ES , THOS E , TOO , A RE F AR F ROM EXH AUSTIVE – i.e. However, each TIM E S T P ETE R WAS UNABLE TO CLAIM SUCH A they are only a few of the rich Spiritual and Divine L OFT Y L O VE and when he answered: “Lord, Thou know Treasure that Christ bestowed upon all His Faithful that I love Thee,” he used the term “P HILO ,” which IS A LESSER FO RM OF L O VE – M ERELY A KIN TO B ROTH ERL Y Disciples throughout all ages. A FFECTION . Therefore, T O R EST RIC T O NES ELF MER ELY T O TH E WRI TT EN W OR DS Then, WHEN OUR L OR D ASKED S T P ETE R FOR THE THI RD TIM E AND T EACHI NGS OF C H RIST , RES TRI CTS ON ESELF T O A VER Y WHETHER HE LOV ED H IM , HE US ED THE T ERM “ PHIL O ” – SMALL PORTI ON OF TH E WHOLE D I VIN E T RUTH OF A LMIGHT Y THER EBY CON DESCENDING TO S T P ETE R ’ S HUMAN WEAKN ESS G OD , which consists of so much more: the V ERB AL AND A CCEPTI NG WHAT EV ER L OV E S T P ETE R WAS ABLE T O T EACHI NGS OF C HR IST OUR G O D – H OL Y T RA DITI ON - THAT OFFE R H IM AT TH AT STAGE OF HIS LIFE . WAS GRA NTED BY G OD T O C HRIST ’ S A P OSTL ES AN D Nevertheless, OUR L O RD J ESUS C H RIST CE RTAINLY KN EW TH AT S T D ISCIPLES and which have been CAR EFULLY P RES ERVE D AND PASS ED ON TO US TH ROUGH THE G O D -I NSPI RED P ETER AN D ALL TH E O THER H OLY A POSTL ES AN D D ISCIPL ES WOULD DE VEL OP A D IVINELY G RA CIOUS A GAP E FOR H IM – W RITI NGS , H YMN S A ND T EACHIN GS OF ALL OUR H OL Y INDEED FOR G OD – B ECAUS E S T P ETE R AND MOST OF TH EM C HURCH F ATH ERS A ND M OTH ERS throughout the ages. ACCEPT ED H OLY M ART YR DOM F OR H IS S AKE – for the sake ] Consequently, by reminding us “...there are also many other Things that Jesus did...” S T J OHN NOT ONL Y of their absolute Faith and Trust in God’s Divine Truth and EMPHASISES TH E D IVI NE H OLIN ESS OF WHAT WAS Eternal Life. Of course S T P ETE R – in his lack of profound Understanding at WRITT EN , BUT ALSO POIN TS TO THE ON GOI NG G OD that time – WAS “ G RIEVE D ” – both by the fact that our Lord I NSPIRE D H OLY T RA DITI ON WITHI N CHRIS T ’ S VE RY MUCH ALIVE – NURTURING A ND G ROWING - B ODY – H IS H OL Y Jesus had to condescend to his basic level of love and that this was a clear – although gentle – reference to his C HURCH . previous three denials of Christ. THAT IS THE GREAT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOD’S ABSOLUTE, PERF ECT AND DIVIN E TRUTH TH AT UNIT ES US WIT H When our Lord said: “... when you are old, you will stretch GOD AND ON E ANOTH ER IN TRU E AGAP E, WHIC H out your hands and another will gird you and carry you RESULTS IN JOYOUS ETERNAL LIF E - AND THE WEAK, where you do not wish to go,” He prophesied for the FLAWED AND MISGUIDED IDEAS OR INTERPRETATIONS OF second time St Peter’s eventual martyrdom under HUMAN EGO AND ARROGANCE THAT CAUSE SO MUCH Emperor Nero, circa 67, in Rome – when St Peter would CONFUSION, CONFLICT, DISUNITY AND ALIENATION FROM be crucified upside down. GOD AND ONE ANOTHER – SPIRITUAL DEATH! The “...Disciple whom Jesus Loved...” is AN OBLI QUE REF ER ENCE T O S T J OHN – THE D I VIN E T HE OLOGI AN , E VANG ELIST A ND A POS TLE OF C H RIST WHO R ECO RDE D THIS PARTI CULAR E VENT and who was the only Holy Apostle to survive the cruel persecutions against all Christians until his St Augusti ne - On the Fi nal Judgement and behold, someone greater than Solomon is Our Saviour Himself, while reproving the cities in which here.” (MATTHEW 12:41–42) He had done Great Works, but which had not believed, and while setting them in unfavourable We learn two facts from this passage: comparison with foreign cities, said: “...It shall be 1. a Judgement is to take place, and more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the Day of 2. that Judgement is to take place at the Resurrection Judgement than for you...” (MATTHEW. 11:22). of the dead. He continued: “... Truly, I say to you: it shall be more For when Christ spoke of the Ninevites and the Queen tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of of the South, He certainly spoke of dead people, and yet He said that they “... shall rise up in the Day of Judgement than for you...” (MATTHEW 11:24). judgement.” Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ most plainly predicts He did not say they shall “...condemn ...” as if they that a Day of Judgement is to come. Furthermore, He said: “... The men of Nineveh shall themselves were to be the Judges, but - in rise in Judgement with this generation, and shall comparison to them - the others shall be justly condemn it: because they Repented at the Condemned. preaching of Jonas; and, behold: someone greater Our Lord Jesus Christ also mentioned the present than Jonas is here. The Queen of the South shall intermingling and future separation of the good and rise up in the Judgement with this generation, and bad —the separation that shall be made in the Day shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost of Judgement. parts of the earth to hear the words of Solomon; 6
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He adduced (offered as evidence, reason or proof) a comparison drawn from the Parable of the sown Wheat and the Tares (a problematic, choking weed) explaining to His Disciples: “... He who sows the Good Seed is the Son of Man...” (MATTHEW 13:37–34 – READ
THE ENTIRE PASSAGE)

Although He did not name the Judgement nor the Day of Judgement, our Lord indicated it much more clearly by describing the circumstances, and revealing that it shall take place at the end of the world. In like manner, Christ told His Disciples: “...Truly, I say unto you: that you who have followed Me, in the Regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the Throne of His Glory, you also shall sit upon Twelve Thrones, judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel.” (MATTHEW 19:28). Here we learn that our Lord Jesus shall Judge with His Apostles. Consequently, He said to the Hebrews: “... if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your Sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your Judges ...” (MATTHEW 12:17). Neither ought we to suppose that only twelve men shall judge along with Him, although He said that they shall “...sit upon Twelve Thrones...” for the number twelve signifies the completeness of the multitude of those who shall Judge. For the two parts of the number seven (which commonly symbolizes Totality), i.e. four and three, multiplied into one another, give twelve. For four times three, or three times four, are twelve. There are other meanings, too, in this number twelve. Were not this the right interpretation of the Twelve Thrones, then since St Matthias was Ordained an Apostle of Christ to replace Judas Iscariot the Traitor and Betrayer of Christ, St Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles - although he laboured more than them all - should have no Throne of Judgement, yet he unmistakeably considers himself to be included in the number of the Judges. “... Do you not know that we shall Judge Angels?” (CF. 1 CORINTHIANS 15:10 & 1
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The same Rule is to be observed in applying the number twelve to those who are to be judged. For although it was said: “...judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel...” the Tribe of Levi, which is the Thirteenth Tribe, shall not on this account be exempt from Judgement, neither shall Judgement be passed only on Israel and not on the other Nations. And by the words “...in the Regeneration...” our Lord Jesus Christ certainly meant the Resurrection of the dead to be understood - because our flesh shall be Regenerated by Incorruption, as our soul is Regenerated by Faith. I omit many other passages, because, although they seem to refer to the Last Judgment, yet on closer examination they are found to be ambiguous, or to allude rather to some other Event—whether to that Second Coming of our Saviour, which continually occurs in His Holy Church, i.e. in His Members, in which comes little by little, and piece by piece, since There Are No There is a word for the Orthodox Way of Life – Hesychia – which means “Silence” or “Quiet .” Far more than simply refraining from speech, it is the quietness of the heart, the stillness of the mind that is at rest in God – dwelling in Peace. It is in this place that we primarily encounter God, for He certainly makes Himself known, even in stormy circumstances. But when the soul is in a storm, it does not see what is being made known. All it sees is the disturbing storm. The Orthodox Way directs us and gives us the means of still the storm. The mind is a noisy place – for some the noise is an artefact of brain dysfunction, but for everyone, the noise seems to increase with our involvement in the modern lifestyle. As consumers we are constantly prodded one way or another, towards one desire or another (or towards one temptation or another.)
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the whole Church is His Body - or to the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem (IN THE YEAR 70.) For when Christ spoke even of this, He often used language that is applicable to the end of the world and that Last and Great Day of Judgement. Consequently, these two Events cannot be distinguished unless all the corresponding passages concerning the subject by the three Evangelists - St Matthew, St Mark, and St Luke - are compared with one another, because some things are put more obscurely by one Evangelist and more plainly by another – and thus it becomes apparent what things are meant to be referred to one Event. The Gospel according to St Matthew refers to the separation of the good from the wicked by the most efficacious and Final Judgement of Christ: “... When the Son of Man shall come in His Glory... then shall He say also unto them at His left Hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into Everlasting Fire that is prepared for the devil and his angels...” (Matthew 25:34–41) Then our Lord Jesus, in like manner, recounts to the wicked all those things that they had failed to do but which those at His right Hand had faithfully fulfilled. And when they questioned Him regarding Him being in need of these things, He replied that, inasmuch as they had not done it to the least of His Brethren, they had not done it unto Him. Our Lord then concluded His severe Admonishment (to all of us!) by revealing His Final Judgement: “...and these shall go away into Everlasting Punishment, but the Righteous into Life Eternal.” Moreover, St John the Divine Evangelist and Theologian most distinctly stated that Our Lord Jesus Christ had explained that the Final Judgement shall be at the General Resurrection of the dead. “... (God) the Father judges no man, but has committed all Judgement unto the Son: that all mankind should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, for those who do not honour the Son, do not honour the Father Who has sent Him...” In addition, our Saviour cautions us: “Truly, truly, I say unto you: those who hear My Word and believe in Him Who sent Me, has Everlasting Life, and shall not come into Judgement; but passed from Death to Life.” (John 5:22–24). These words reveal to us that Believers shall not be judged yet, how then, shall they be separated from the wicked by Judgement, and be set at His right Hand, unless Judgement is used for Condemnation? For those who hear and obey His Word, and believe in Him Who sent Him. shall not come into Judgement, in this sense. FROM THE NICENE AND POST NICENE FATHERS, BY PHILLIP SCHAFF. FOR THE COMPLETE TEXT, SEE CHRISTIAN CLASSICS ETHEREAL LIBRARY. ST. AUGUSTINE 09 / 03 / 2013 HTTP://WWW.PRAVOSLAVIE.RU/ENGLISH/44972.HTM

Opinions... And the consuming model extends into almost every area of our life. Christians consume their religion – “... how do you like your Church/Priest/Congregation...” etc? We also consume one another and the ideas that float through our world. The 24 hours/ 7 days a week news cycle shuttles hours of “talking heads ” and arguing panels on any subjected imaginable in the effort of holding our attention – even for a brief moment. And as soon as one topic fades, another is found to replace it. “How do you feel about...” has become the popular catch phrase, and the message, which is not so subtle, is that we should feel something or have an opinion about everything. An informed person and thus an “intelligent, discerning person” will definitely have an informed opinion or emotion about any topic. We are being trained “to feel” or to voice our opinions.
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However, what the popular media call “feelings ” or “opinions ” our Orthodox Faith identifies as “passions .” The passions are not matters of sexual desire per se (i.e. someone is “ filled with passion ...” but rather are the energies of our body and soul that are wrongly directed and in an unruly, undisciplined state. Both body and soul are created with desires, some of which are necessary to our welfare. However, the desire to eat in no way tells us what to eat, when to eat or how much to eat. When “what ,” “when ,” and “how much” tell us what we are doing, the desire has been high-jacked and becomes an infectious passion. We become enslaved by these uncontrolled, undisciplined passions. A primary Goal of Spiritual Struggle (Ascesis) is freedom from such enslaving passions – it is a yearning to return to sanity and a properly ordered existence. Father Dimitru Staniloae wrote: “... The Passions represent the lowest level to which human nature can fall... In fact, they overcome the will, so that the person of the passions is no longer a person of (free) will; we say that he is a person who is ruled, enslaved, carried along by the passions.”
(ORTHODOX SPIRITUALITY, PAGE 77)

If you want Holy Peace, Hesychia, the decision will be obvious. A wise Hermit advised: “If someone speaks to you about a controversy, do not argue with him. If what he says makes sense, say, ‘Yes,’ If his comments are misguided, say, ‘I don’t know anything about that.’ If you refuse to dispute with his ideas, your mind will be at Peace.” “GLO RY TO GOD F OR ALL T H INGS” BY FAT HER STE PHE N FRE E MAN - HTTP://G LORY2 GODF ORA LLTH IN GS.C OM / O UR LIGHTED CANDLES ARE A SIGN OF THE D IVINE SPLENDOUR OF THE O NE W HO COMES TO EXPEL THE DARK SHADOWS OF EVIL AND TO MAKE THE WHOLE U NIVERSE RADIANT WITH THE B RILLIANCE OF H IS E TERNAL L IGHT . O UR CANDLES ALSO SHOW HOW BRIGHT OUR SOULS SHOULD BE WHEN WE GO TO MEET C HRIST . G OD IS G LORIFIED NOT BY MERE WORDS , BUT BY W ORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS , WHICH PROCLAIM THE M AJESTY OF G OD FAR MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN WORDS .

St

Sophronios of Jerusalem

St Maximos the Confessor

Elder Justin Parvu
LOVE THE POOR AND CO -SUFFER WITH THEM , SO THAT G OD MAY ALSO HAVE M ERCY ON YOU. D O NOT REBUKE THOSE SORROWFUL AT HEART , SO THAT YOU MIGHT NOT BE PAID BACK WITH THE SAME ROD , FOR WHEN YOU SEEK SOMEONE ’S MERCY ON YOU , YOU MIGHT NOT RE CEIVE IT EITHER ! R EMEMBER THAT WE BEAR A MORTAL BODY , AND WE MUST DO GOOD TO ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION . D ISCERNMENT IS GREATER THAN ALL OTHER V IRTUES. D O NOT REPROACH ANYONE FOR THEIR SINS , BUT CONSIDER YOURSELF RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING - EVEN FOR YOUR NEIGHBOUR’ S SINS . . D O NOT LIVE WITH ARROGANCE /PRIDE , WHICH CAUSES YOUR SOUL TO LOSE THE D IVINE G RACE OF THE H OLY SPIRIT AND THUS BECOME THE HABITATION OF EVIL PASSIONS . T HOSE WHO FLEE THE VAIN GLORY OF THIS WORLD , FEEL THE G LORY OF THE F UTURE L IFE IN THEIR SOUL . D ESPISE REPOSE AND A COMFORTABLE EXISTENCE , SO THAT YOU MIGHT PRESERVE YOUR THOUGHTS IN T RANQUILLITY . A VOID MEETING EXCESSIVELY WITH OTHERS AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN SOUL , SO THAT YOU MIGHT PRESERVE HER IN (H OLY ) P EACE. A VOID SMALL SINS , SO THAT YOU MIGHT NOT FALL INTO GREATER ONES . I T IS MORE PROFITABLE TO RESURRECT YOUR SOUL FROM THE PASSIONS , CONTEMPLATING THE D IVINE , THAN IT IS TO RAISE THE DEAD . MANY HAVE DONE WONDROUS DEEDS , RAISED THE DEAD , AND LABOURED IN A SCETICISM ; THEY WORKED G REAT M IRACLES IN ORDER TO BRING THE L OST TO THE P ATH OF SALVATION . M ANY HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO G OD THROUGH THEIR EFFORTS . HOWEVER , MANY WHO RAISED THE DE AD HAVE FALLEN INTO
SHAMEFUL PASSIONS AND BY THEIR SINFUL DEEDS THAT BECAME KNOWN , HAVE LED MANY INTO TEMPTATION . I N REALITY THEY THEMSELVES WERE SICK , BUT INSTEAD OF CARING FOR THEIR OWN SOUL , THEY THREW THE MSELVES INTO THE OPEN SEA OF THIS WORLD IN ORDER TO HEAL AND SAVE THE SOULS OF OTHERS , THEREBY RUINING BOTH THEIR HOPE AND THE IR SOULS . W HOEVE R DESPISES THE SEDUCTIONS AND DISTRACTIONS OF THE MIND THAT COME FROM WORLDLY AFFAIRS WILL MEET HIS M ASTER AND L ORD IN HIS HEART . SO THAT OUR L ORD MIGHT PAY ATTENTION TO OUR V IRTUES, THEY MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY PHYSICAL TEMPERANCE AND A PURE CONSCIENCE. I T IS BETTER TO LIVE WITH EAGLES THAN WITH THE GREEDY AND INSATIABLE .. I T IS BETTER TO LIVE WITH A CRIPPLED AND OUTCAST PERSON THAN WITH A PROUD MAN . I T IS BETTER TO BE PERSECUTED THAN TO PERSECUTE . I T IS BETTER TO BE CRUCIFIED THAN TO CRUCIFY . I T IS BETTER TO BE INSULTED THAN TO INSULT . I T IS BETTER TO BE SLANDERED THAN TO SLANDER OTHERS . I T IS BETTER TO BE DESPISED THAN TO DESPISE . I T IS BETTER TO BE INSULTED THAN TO INSULT ANOTHER S ELF -JUSTIFICATION HAS NO PLACE IN THE LIFE OF A C HRISTIAN , FOR IT ’S NOT FOUND IN ANY OF C HRIST ’S T EACHINGS . LOVE M EEKNESS AND YOU WILL FIND P EACE IN YOUR SOUL . A ND IF YOU BECOME WORTHY TO ACQUIRE P EACE , YOU WILL REJOICE IN ANY TRIAL .

Most people readily understand the nature of the passions when we speak of gluttony or sexual promiscuity. However, the passion of opinions is unknown. How can opinions be passions? Are they not merely what we happen to think about various situations or circumstances? The fact that we can use the word “feeling” for an opinion, does much to explain its passionate character. Thoughts that are Saving Thoughts – thoughts that are of benefit to the soul and our Salvation – generally need no level of feeling or opinion in order to bolster their value. But our culture, driven by consumerism, majors in the means of motivation. Advertisers and politicians, the shapers of public opinion, learned long ago that reasoning based on the facts is the least reliable motivator. Getting people to feel that they are reasoning based on the facts is much better – but getting them to “feel” is the key! These feelings/thoughts, regardless of now noble or innocuous, are simply noise in the soul. In their presence there can be no Hesychia. Prayer is overwhelmed, and True Prayer rarely reaches the surface – it is drowned in the sea of passions. Passions are also described as habits for they are addictions of the soul and body. In service to its own economic interests, our modern day culture has found it useful for people to be addicted to feelings. They are easily the most malleable aspect of the soul, particularly vulnerable to manipulation. The addiction to feelings is a hallmark of the modern soul. We think that we are our feelings, or that they somehow express something important. In truth, our feelings are so distorted through addiction and manipulation that they are generally only barometers of the cultural pressures that surround us and which corrupt us. Ascesis (such as Fasting and Prayer) in the modern world necessarily includes Fasting from such “feelings/opinions.” We not only do not need opinions, they are a cancer on the soul. We do not have opinions – opinions have us. Conduct an experiment: Watch the news or spend an hour on Facebook, and try not to react. Watch the news on a network that you do not like and try not to react. Such news programs affect our feelings/thoughts/opinions as much as pornography affects sexual behaviour. When the experiment is complete, consider the nature of the Fast. 8
HOLY TRI
NITY

.

SA

TURDA Y

– SA

TURDA Y

OF THE

SO

ULS

(BEF

ORE

PENTECOST)-

7 J

UNE

2014

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
ALL GLO RY, H ONO UR AND W ORSH IP TO THE FAT HER, A ND TO THE SON , AND TO THE HOLY SPIR IT, N OW AND F ORE VE R, AN D UNTO T HE AGES OF AGES. AME N REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLOR IO US LADY, M ARY, T HE OT OKOS YE T EVE R VIRG IN , TOGETHE R WITH A LL THE SA INTS . AND LE T US CO MM IT OU RSE LVES AND ONE ANOT HE R AND OUR WH OLE LIFE TO CHR IST OUR G OD . AME N.

Tone (7) Varys/Grave - 8 June 2014 8 Sunday of Pascha – Last & Greatest of Pascha
th

Holy Pentecost Sunday of the Holy Trinity
THE DE SCENT OF THE LIFE -G IV ING HOLY SPIR IT & THE BE G ININ G OF THE HO LY CHUR CH OF CH RIST – OUR LI FE IN C HRIST OF DIV INE GRA CE, KN OWLEDGE , HOL INESS & DIVI NE ADOPTIO N ALSO THE FEAST OF ST T HEOD ORE STRATEL ATES THE GREAT HOLY MARTYR , TRANSLAT ION OF HO LY RE L ICS – ST CAL LI OPE - ST THE ODRE , BIS HOP OF ROSTOV & SU ZDAL – ST BAS IL & ST CONSTANT INE VSE VOL ODO VI CH O F YA ROSLAVL – ST EPHRAI M, PAT RIA RC H OF ANT IO CH –ST ZOSI MOS OF P HOENI C IA, SYRI A – ST JO HN OF KRONSTADT – ST T HEOD ORE OF KVELTA 2ND ANTIPHON OF PENTECOST – PSALM 19 TONE 2

Ekouse Sou

>Soson imas, Paraklite Agathe, psalontas Si: Allilouia! Exapostile Si voithian ex Agiou, ke ek Sion antilavito Sou. >Soson imas, Paraklite Agathe, psalontas Si: Allilouia! Mnisthii pasis thisias Sou, ke to olokavtoma Sou pianato >Soson imas, Paraklite Agathe, psalontas Si: Allilouia! ISODIKON OF PENTECOST >Ipsothiti,

Kyrios en imera thlipseos, iperaspise Sou to Onoma tou Theou Iakov.

The

>Good Paraclete, Save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia! May He send you Help from the Sanctuary: and support
you out of Zion.

Lord hear you in the day of trouble: the Name of the God of Jacob shield you.

>Good Paraclete, Save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia! May He remember your every sacrifice: and accept your >Good Paraclete, Save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia! >Be
exalted, O Lord, in Thy Power: we shall sing and chant Thy Mighty Deeds. Good Paraclete, Save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia! art Thou, Christ our God, Who has filled the Fishermen with Wisdom by sending down the Holy Spirit upon them, and Who, through them, has united the world: Glory to Thee, O Lover of Mankind!
THE APODOSIS BEFOR
E

Burnt Offering.

Kyrie, en ti Dinami Sou. Asomen ke psaloumen tas Dinastias Sou. Soson imas, Paraklite Agathe, psallontas Si Allilouia!
OF

APOLYTIKION

PENTECOST

>Evlogitos i Hriste O Theos imon, O Pansofous tous aliis >Blessed
anadixas, katapempsas aftis to Pnevma to Agion, ke di Afton tin ikoumenin saginefsas, Filanthrope: Doxa Si!
KO
NTAKION

– TO

NE

(8) P

LAGAL

4- FR

OM

PE

NTECOST

U

NTIL

AL

L

SAINTS SU

NDAY

Ote

katavas tas glossas sinehee, diemerizen ethni O Ipsisto. Ote tou Piros tas Glossas dienimen is enotita panta ekalese. Ke simfonos Doxazomen to Panagion Pnevma! Evaptisthite, Hriston enedisasthe.

When

the Most High came down and confused the tongues, He parted the Nations; when He divided out the Tongues of Fire, He Called all to Unity. And with one voice we Glorify the All-Holy Spirit! many of you as were Baptised into Christ, have put on Christ: Alleluia!
AND

BAPTISM HYMN – INSTEAD OF THE

“AGIOS O THEOS...”

>Osi

is Hriston Allelouia!
JESUS C HRIST,

>As

Matins Gospel
O UR

According to St John 20: 19 – 23
TO

RI SEN LORD, APPEARS

T EN

OF

HIS DISCIPL ES

BESTOWS HIS DIVIN E AUTH ORITY

ON

TH EM

At that time, the same day, at e v e ni n g , being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the Disciples were assembled, for fear of the Hebrews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them: “Peace be with you!” When He had said this, He showed them His Hands and His Side. Then the Disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again: “Peace to you! As the Father has Sent Me, I also Send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed upon them, and said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Prokeimenon: Their sound has gone out into all the earth: and their words to the ends of the world. The Heavens declare the Glory of God! The Acts of the Apostles According to St Luke 2 : 1 - 11
THE DISCIPLES RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM THE RISEN CHRIST When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place . And suddenly there came a Sound from Heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and It filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared before them divided Tongues, as of Fire, and one sat upon each of them . And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

8TH SUNDAY

OF

HOLY P ASCH A – HOLY PEN TECO ST – DES CE NT

OF TH E

L I F E - G I V I N G H O L Y S P I R I T - 8 J U N E 2 0 1 4 9.

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Hebrews, devout men, from every nation under Heaven. And when this Sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying to one another: "Look! Are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Hebrews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs – we hear them speaking in our own tongues the Wonderful Works of God!"
OUR LORD J

The Holy Gospel According to St John 7: 37 – 52; 8:12
ESUS

CHRIST PRO

MISES

THE HO

LY

SPIRIT TO HIS DISCIP

LES

On the last day, that Great Day of the Feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying: "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me - as the Scripture has said - out of his heart will flow rivers of Living Water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, Whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet Glorified. Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said: “Truly this is the Prophet." Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?" Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands upon Him . Then the officers came to the Chief Priests and Pharisees, who said to them: "Why have you not brought Him?" The officers answered: "No man ever spoke like this Man!" Then the Pharisees answered them: "Are you also deceived? Have any of the Rulers of the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the Law is accursed." Nikodemos (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them), said to them: "Does our Law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?" They answered and said to him: "Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no Prophet has arisen out of Galilee ." Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I Am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in Darkness, but have the Light of Life."

St Seraphim of Sarov - The Presence of the Holy Spirit in History
AT PRESENT, OWING TO OUR ALMOST UNIVERSAL COLDNESS TO AND OF OUR H OLY FAITH IN OUR LORD J ESUS CHRIST, AND TO OUR INATTENTION TO THE WORKING OF HIS DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN US, AND OUR COMMUNION WITH G OD, WE
HAVE GONE SO FAR ADRIFT THAT WE HAVE ALMOST ABANDONED THE TRUE CHRISTIAN LIFE.

The Testimonies of Holy Scripture may now seem strange to us when, for example, by the lips of St Moses the Holy Spirit says: “... and Adam saw the Lord walking in Paradise...” ( GENESIS 3:10) Or St Paul who wrote: “... We went to Achaia, and the (Holy) Spirit of God went with us...” St Luke wrote in his Book of the Acts of the Apostles: “... when they had gone throughout Phrygia, and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word in Asia . After they had gone to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them...” (ACTS 16: 6-7) Again and again THROUGHOUT THE H OLY SCRIPTURES THE PRESENCE OF THE G OD THE HOLY SPIRIT IS MENTIONED, but some doubters find these passages incomprehensible and unacceptable to them, for they doubt the possibility of human beings seeing God. (Either because He is invisible or they just don’t believe He exists.) However, THIS IS DIVINE TRUTH THAT IS NOT INCOMPREHENSIBLE TO THE FAITHFUL, for SUCH A FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND OR TO ACCEPT THE REALITY OF ALMIGHTY G OD’S CONSTANT PRESENCE IS BECAUSE WE HAVE DEPARTED FROM THE SIMPLICITY OF THE ORIGINAL CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. Under the pretext of “education” WE HAVE REACHED SUCH A STATE OF SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE THAT WHAT THE ANCIENTS
UNDERSTOOD SO INCONCEIVABLE. CLEARLY SEEMS TO US ALMOST

Even in ordinary conversations, THE IDEA OF GOD’S APPEARANCE AMONGST US DID NOT SEEM STRANGE TO THEM . Thus, when his friends rebuked him for blaspheming God, St Job answered: “How can that be when I feel the Spirit of God in my nostrils?” (JOB 27: 3) In other words: HOW COULD HE BLASPHEME G OD WHEN THE H OLY SPIRIT ABIDED IN HIM , for, if HE HAD DONE SO, THE H OLY SPIRIT WOULD HAVE IMMEDIATELY WITHDRAWN from him “... but, lo! I feel His Breath in my nostrils!” In exactly the same way it is said of St Abraham and St Jacob that they saw the Lord and conversed with Him and that St Jacob even wrestled with Him! St Moses and all the people with him saw God when he received the Tablets of Divine Law on Mount Sinai from God. A PILLAR OF CLOUD AND A PILLAR OF FIRE – THE EVIDENT DIVINE G RACE OF THE H OLY SPIRIT – SERVED AS A G UIDE TO THE H EBREW N ATION WHILE THEY WANDERED IN THE WILDERNESS. PEOPLE SAW G OD AND THE G RACE OF H IS H OLY SPIRIT – not in their dreams, nor in the excitement of a disordered imagination, but TRULY AND OPENLY.

We have become so inattentive to the Work of Salvation that we misinterpret many other words of Holy Scripture as well – all because WE DO NOT SEEK THE G RACE OF G OD. And in the pride of our mind, WE DO NOT ALLOW DIVINE G RACE TO DWELL IN OUR SOUL. That is why WE ARE WITHOUT TRUE E NLIGHTENMENT FROM OUR LORD G OD, which He sends into the heart of those who truly, wholeheartedly hunger and thirst for God’s Righteousness. Many people think that when “... God breathed the Breath of Life into the face of Adam the Firstcreated - who was Created by Him from the clay of the earth...” it must mean that until then there was neither human soul nor spirit in Adam, but only the flesh created from the earth. However, this interpretation is wrong, for our Lord created Adam from the earth with the constitution, as mentioned by St Paul: “... May your spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless at the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 THESSALONIANS 5:23) And all these three parts of our human nature were created from the earth – ADAM WAS NOT CREATED DEAD, BUT AN ACTIVE, LIVING BEING like all the other animate creatures of God that live on earth. The point is that IF THE LORD G OD HAD NOT THEN BREATHED THIS BREATH OF LIFE INTO HIS FACE,– i.e. breathed the Grace of our Lord God the Holy Spirit, Who Proceeds from the Father and Who rests in the Son, and Who is sent into our world for the Son’s sake – no matter how perfectly Adam had been Created and was thus superior to all His other creatures, being the Crown of God’s earthly Creation, ADAM – AND THUS MANKIND – WOULD HAVE BEEN WITHOUT THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT– just like the other creatures, even though he possessed flesh, soul and spirit. When God breathed His Breath of Life into Adam’s face, then, according to St Moses, “... Adam became a living soul...” (GENESIS 2 : 7 ) That means that MANKIND IS CREATED COMPLETELY AND IN EVERY WAY LIKE G OD (HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS) – AND IMMORTAL. (HAVING ETERNAL EXISTENCE) ADAM WAS IMMUNE TO THE ACTION OF THE ELEMENTS to such a degree that water could not drown him, fire could not burn him, the earth could not swallow him in its abysses, and the air could not harm him in any way. EVERYTHING WAS SUBJECT TO ADAM AS THE BELOVED OF G OD – as the King and Lord of God’s Creation. Everything looked up to him as THE PERFECT CROWN OF G OD’S CREATURES. ADAM WAS MADE SO WISE BY THAT DIVINE BREATH OF LIFE that had been breathed into his face from the Creative Lips of God the Creator and Ruler of all, THAT THERE NEVER
HAS BEEN ANOTHER PERSON ON EARTH WHO IS MORE WISER OR MORE INTELLIGENT THAN HIM – and it is unlikely that

there ever will be.
O F TH E

10. 8 T H S U N D A Y

OF

HOLY PASC HA – HOLY P ENT ECOST – D ESC ENT

LIFE-G IVING HOLY S PIRIT - 8 JUNE 2014

When our Lord God commanded Adam to name all His creatures, he gave each one a name that completely expressed all the qualities, powers and attributes given it by God at its creation. OWING TO THIS VERY GIFT OF THE SUPERNATURAL G RACE OF G OD THAT WAS INFUSED INTO ADAM BY THE BREATH OF LIFE, HE COULD SEE AND UNDERSTAND OUR LORD WHO WALKED AND CONVERSED WITH HIM IN PARADISE. Adam was also able to fully communicate with the Holy Angels of God and all the other earthly creatures of our Lord. H E WAS ABLE TO UNDERSTAND AND TO COMMUNICATE WITH EVERYTHING, which is now impossible for us fallen and sinful creatures, but which was so clear to him before his Fall from Divine Grace. OUR LORD G OD ALSO BESTOWED THE SAME WISDOM, STRENGTH AND UNLIMITED POWERS – especially all the Good and Holy Qualities - UPON EVE, WHOM H E HAD CREATED FROM THE SIDE OF ADAM – not from the earth – in the Eden of Delight – the Paradise that He had planted in the midst of the Earth. In order that they might always easily maintain within themselves the Immortal, Divine and Perfect Properties of that Divine Breath of Life, GOD PLANTED IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN THE TREE OF LIFE AND ENDOWED ITS FRUITS WITH ALL THE ESSENCE AND FULLNESS OF HIS DIVINE BREATH. IF THEY HAD NOT COMMITTED THE SIN OF DISOBEDIENCE, ADAM AND EVE, AND ALL THEIR DESCENDENTS could have always eaten of the Life-giving Fruits of the Tree of Life, and so WOULD HAVE MAINTAINED THE QUICKENING POWER OF DIVINE G RACE. They also could have maintained to all Eternity the full powers of their body, soul and spirit in a state of Immortality and Everlasting Youth, and THEY COULD HAVE CONTINUED IN THIS IMMORTAL, BLESSED STATE FOREVER. Now, in this present age, however, it is extremely difficult to even begin to imagine such Divine Grace! But when, THROUGH THE TASTING OF THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT OF THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF G OOD AND EVIL, WHICH WAS PREMATURE AND CONTRARY TO THE ONE COMMANDMENT OF G OD, ADAM AND EVE LEARNT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL, AND WERE SUBJECTED TO ALL THE AFFLICTIONS that followed their transgression of the Divine Commandment. Consequently, they lost that Priceless Gift of the Grace of the Holy Spirit of God, so that until the actual Coming into the world of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, “...the Spirit of God was not yet in the world because Jesus was not yet Glorified...” (JOHN 7 : 39) However, that does not mean that the Spirit of God was not in the world at all, but H IS DIVINE PRESENCE WAS NOT SO APPARENT AS IN ADAM , or in us Orthodox Christians (STRIVING DISCIPLES OF CHRIST) Although God’s Divine Presence was manifested only externally, THE SIGNS OF HIS PRESENCE WERE KNOWN to mankind. M ANY DIVINE M YSTERIES IN CONNECTION WITH OUR FUTURE SALVATION WERE REVEALED TO ADAM AND EVE AFTER THEIR FALL AND EXPULSION FROM PARADISE. In spite of Cain’s impiety and transgression, it was easy for him to understand the Voice that held Gracious and Divine, although convicting, Conversations with him. St Noah conversed with God, and Christ revealed the fact that St Abraham had seen God and His “...Day and was glad.” (JOHN 8 : 56) THE G RACE OF THE H OLY SPIRIT, ACTING EXTERNALLY, WAS ALSO REFLECTED IN ALL THE OLD COVENANT PROPHETS AND SAINTS OF I SRAEL. The Hebrews afterwards established special Prophetic Schools where THE SONS OF THE PROPHETS WERE TAUGHT TO DISCERN THE SIGNS OF THE MANIFESTATION OF G OD OR ANGELS, AND TO DISTINGUISH THE OPERATIONS OF THE H OLY SPIRIT FROM THE ORDINARY NATURAL PHENOMENA OF OUR GRACELESS EARTHLY LIFE. ST SYMEON WHO HELD G OD IN HIS AGED ARMS, CHRIST’S GRANDPARENTS, ST J OACHIM AND ST ANNA, AND G OD COUNTLESS OTHER FAITHFUL SERVANTS OF CONTINUALLY HAD QUITE OPENLY VARIOUS DIVINE APPARITIONS (Visitations), VOICES AND REVELATIONS, WHICH WERE JUSTIFIED BY EVIDENT M IRACULOUS EVENTS.

Although not with the same Power as in the people of God, nevertheless THE PRESENCE OF THE H OLY SPIRIT ALSO ACTED IN THE PAGANS WHO DID NOT KNOW THE TRUE G OD, BECAUSE EVEN FROM AMONG THEM G OD CHOSE H IS PEOPLE. Such, for example, were the Virgin-Prophetesses called “Sibyls ” (Oracles) who vowed Virginity to ‘an unknown God,’ Who was the Creator of the Universe and the AllPowerful Ruler of the world, as perceived by the pagans. Although the PAGAN PHILOSOPHERS also stumbled about in ignorant darkness concerning God, they SOUGHT DIVINE OR ABSOLUTE TRUTH; AND ON ACCOUNT OF THIS G OD-PLEASING SEARCH, THEY COULD PARTAKE OF THE SPIRIT OF G OD, for it is said that the N ATIONS WHO DO NOT KNOW G OD PRACTISE BY NATURE THE DEMANDS OF THE LAW AND DO WHAT IS PLEASING TO G OD. (cf. ROMANS 2: 14) The Lord so praises Truth that He says of it Himself by the Holy Spirit: “Truth is sprung up out of the earth, and Righteousness has looked down from Heaven.” (PSALM 84:11). Accordingly, Godliness - both in the Holy Hebrews who were the Beloved of God, and in the pagans who did not know God - THERE WAS PRESERVED A (natural ) KNOWLEDGE OF G OD - A CLEAR AND RATIONAL COMPREHENSION OF HOW OUR LORD G OD THE H OLY SPIRIT ACTS IN US , and by means of such inner and outer feelings, WE CAN BE SURE THAT THIS IS REALLY THE ACTION OF OUR LORD G OD THE H OLY SPIRIT and not a delusion of the enemy. That is how it was since Adam’s Fall until the Coming in the Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ into the world. WITHOUT THIS PERCEPTIBLE REALIZATION OF THE ACTIONS OF THE H OLY SPIRIT, MANKIND COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE KNOWN FOR CERTAIN THAT THE FRUIT (Christ our Saviour ) of the Seed of the Woman (Theotokos) Who had been promised to Adam and Eve, HAD COME INTO THE WORLD TO BRUISE THE SERPENT’S HEAD. (Satan) (CF: GENESIS 3:15). THE H OLY SPIRIT HAD FORETOLD TO ST SYMEON, who was then in his 65th year, THE M YSTERY OF THE VIRGINAL CONCEPTION AND BIRTH OF CHRIST FROM THE M OST PURE EVER-VIRGIN M ARY. Afterwards, having lived by the Grace of the All-Holy Spirit for a further three hundred years, in the 365th year of his life, ST SYMEON said openly in the Temple of the Lord that he KNEW FOR CERTAIN THROUGH THE G IFT OF THE H OLY SPIRIT THAT THIS WAS DEFINITELY THAT VERY CHRIST, THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD, WHOSE SUPERNATURAL CONCEPTION AND BIRTH FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT HAD BEEN FORETOLD TO HIM BY AN ANGEL OF G OD THREE HUNDRED YEARS PREVIOUSLY . And there was also St Anna, a Prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, who from her widowhood had served the Lord God in the Temple of God for eighty years and who was known to be a Righteous Widow, a chaste servant of God, from the special Gifts of Grace, which she had received. She, too, announced that the Divine Infant was actually the Messiah Who had been Promised to the world by God - the True Christ, God and Man, the King of Israel - Who had come to Save Adam and all mankind. And when OUR LORD J ESUS CHRIST condescended to accomplish the whole Work of Salvation, AFTER H IS RESURRECTION H E BREATHED ON THE APOSTLES, RESTORED THE BREATH OF LIFE THAT HAD BEEN LOST BY ADAM , AND GAVE THEM THE SAME DIVINE G RACE OF THE ALL-H OLY SPIRIT AS ADAM HAD ORIGINALLY ENJOYED. However, that was not all for H E ALSO EXPLAINED TO THEM : “... It is expedient for you that I depart. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He has come He will convince the world of sin, and of Justice, and of Judgement; of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of Justice, because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no more; and of Judgement because the prince of this world has already been Judged...” THE H OLY SPIRIT OF TRUTH AND OUR DIVINE COMFORTER,
WOULD GUIDE THEM AND ALL WHO FOLLOWED THEIR TEACHING INTO ALL TRUTH AND WOULD REMIND THEM OF ALL THAT CHRIST HAD SAID TO H IS H OLY APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES while He was still in our world.

8TH SUNDAY

OF

HOLY P ASCH A – HOLY PEN TECO ST – DES CE NT

OF TH E

L I F E - G I V I N G H O L Y S P I R I T - 8 J U N E 2 0 1 4 11.

Christ our Saviour Promised us “... Grace upon Grace..”
(JOHN 1: 16)

THEY DESPISE AND REJECT THEIR SINS, AND THEY FORCE
THEMSELVES TO BREAK THEIR SHACKLES THROUGH CONSTANT REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION. THESE REPENTANT SINNERS, HAVING BEEN MADE WHITER THAN SNOW BY H IS DIVINE G RACE, will, at last, actually appear

“Many things yet I have to say to you but you cannot hear them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth has come, He will teach you all the Truth. For He will not speak on His own Authority, but whatever he will hear He will speak, and the things that are to come, He will declare to you. He will Glorify Me, because He will receive of what is Mine and declare it to you...” And, as Divinely Promised, on the Day of Pentecost our Lord Jesus Christ sent down to us the Holy Spirit: “... And suddenly there came a Sound from Heaven, as of a rushing, mighty Wind, and It filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided Tongues, as of Fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance...” THE H OLY SPIRIT IN THE FORM OF FLAMES OF FIRE DESCENDED UPON EACH OF THEM , AND ENTERED THEM , AND FILLED THEM WITH THE FIERY STRENGTH OF DIVINE G RACE, WHICH BREATHES N EW LIFE INTO US AND FILLS THE SOUL WITH OVERWHELMING PEACE, LOVE AND J OY - INDESCRIBABLE G IFTS THAT ENABLE US – (AND COMPEL US) - TO PARTAKE OF HIS POWER AND OPERATIONS, (CF. ACTS 2: 1-4). And THIS SAME FIRE-I NFUSING G RACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, which is granted to all the Faithful Disciples of Christ in the Holy Mystery of Baptism, IS SEALED BY THE H OLY M YSTERY OF CHRISMATION on the chief parts of our body as appointed by the Holy Church of Christ - the Eternal Keeper of this Divine Grace - with the declaration: “The Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” On what do WE PUT OUR SEAL, OUR G ODLINESS, if not ON VESSELS CONTAINING SOME VERY PRECIOUS TREASURE? But what on earth can be higher and WHAT CAN BE MORE PRECIOUS THAN THE G IFTS OF THE H OLY SPIRIT, which are sent down to us from Above in the Holy Mystery of Baptism? This Baptismal Grace is so great and so indispensable so vital for all mankind - that even a heretic is not deprived of it until his very death - that is: until the end of the period appointed by the Providence of God as a lifelong test of humanity on earth, in order to see what we will be able to achieve (during this period granted to us by God) by means of the Power of Divine Grace that we receive from Him. And IF WE WERE NEVER TO SIN AFTER OUR H OLY BAPTISM , WE SHOULD REMAIN FOREVER SAINTS OF G OD - H OLY, BLAMELESS, AND FREE FROM ALL IMPURITY OF BODY AND SOUL. But the trouble is that AS WE INCREASE IN STATURE, WE DO NOT INCREASE IN G RACE AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF G OD, AS OUR LORD J ESUS CHRIST INCREASED. On the contrary, WE GRADUALLY BECOME MORE AND MORE DEPRAVED, AND WE LOSE THE G RACE OF THE ALL-HOLY SPIRIT AND BECOME - TO GREATER OR LESSER DEGREES SINFUL AND MOST WICKED. However, IF WE ARE MOTIVATED AND G UIDED BY THE WISDOM OF G OD, WHICH SEEKS OUR SALVATION AND EMBRACES EVERYTHING, WE EAGERLY DEVOTE OURSELVES TO G OD BY CONSTANTLY BEING SPIRITUALLY WATCHFUL AND ALERT, IN ORDER TO OBTAIN H IS ETERNAL SALVATION. Furthermore, WHEN WE ARE OBEDIENT TO G OD, WE WILLINGLY AND READILY REPENT OUR SINS – constantly seeking True Repentance for all our sins and STRIVING TO PRACTISE THE VIRTUES THAT ARE OPPOSITE TO THE SINS COMMITTED. Then through the Virtues practised for Christ’s sake, WE WILL ACQUIRE THE H OLY SPIRIT, WHO ACTS WITHIN US AND ESTABLISHES IN US THE KINGDOM OF GOD. The Word of God does not say in vain: “...The Kingdom of God is within you...” and “...it suffers violence, and the violent take it by force ...” (LUKE 17:21 & MATTHEW 11:
12).

before the Sight of God: “... ’ Come,’ says the Lord: ‘... although your sins be as scarlet, I will make them whiter than snow...” (ISAIAH 1: 18) Such people were once seen by the Holy Seer of Mysteries – St John the Theologian – “... clothed in white robes...” (that is, in Robes of Justification) and with “... palms in their hands...” (signifying Victory), and they were “...singing to God a wonderful song: ‘Alleluia!’” And no one could imitate the beauty of their song. An Angel of God commented: “...These are they who have come out of Great Tribulation and have washed their Robes, and have made them white in the Blood of the Lamb...” (REVELATION 7:9-14). THEY WERE WASHED WITH THEIR SUFFERINGS AND WERE SPOTLESSLY CLEANSED BY THE COMMUNION OF THE IMMACULATE AND LIFE-G IVING MYSTERIES OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE M OST PURE SPOTLESS LAMB – our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ - Who was slain before all ages by His own Will for the Salvation of the world and WHO IS CONTINUALLY BEING SLAIN AND DIVIDED BUT NEVER EXHAUSTED. THROUGH THE H OLY MYSTERIES WE ARE GRANTED OUR ETERNAL AND UNFAILING SALVATION as a Viaticum to Eternal Life (H OLY C O MMUN ION GIVEN TO THOSE WHO ARE DYING OR IN DANGER O F DYING ) , AS AN ACCEPTABLE ANSWER AT H IS DREAD J UDGEMENT AND A PRECIOUS SUBSTITUTE BEYOND OUR COMPREHENSION FOR THAT FRUIT OF THE TREE OF LIFE, of which the enemy of mankind, Lucifer, (who fell from Heaven when cast out and banished forever) would have liked to deprive us – the beloved creatures of God. Although our Enemy - the Evil One - seduced Eve, which then caused Adam to fall from Grace with her, OUR LORD NOT ONLY GRANTED US A REDEEMER - “...the Seed of a Woman...” - WHO TRAMPLED DOWN DEATH BY DEATH BUT ALSO GRANTED US THE EVER BLESSED, ALL PURE VIRGIN M ARY – the Mother of God WHO CRUSHES THE HEAD OF THE EVIL SERPENT IN H ERSELF AND IN ALL THE HUMAN RACE for SHE IS OUR CONSTANT M EDIATRESS WITH H ER SON AND OUR G OD, BEING A BLAMELESS, INVINCIBLE INTERCESSOR
EVEN FOR THE MOST DESPERATE SINNERS,

why OUR LADY THEOTOKOS IS Scourge of Demons...” for IT IS – HER INTERCESSORY PRAYERS GUIDANCE.

INDEED

which is “...the

IMPOSSIBLE FOR

ANY DEMON TO DESTROY ANY HUMAN BEING AS LONG AS WE OURSELVES DO NOT REFRAIN FROM SEEKING HELP AND

HER SPIRITUAL

H T T P :// OR TH OD OX WOR D . WOR DP R ES S . C OM /2010/05/23/ P E NT EC OS T - A ND - T HE P R ES E NCE - OF - T H E - H OL Y - S P IR IT - IN - H IST OR Y /

St Athanasios
Orthodoxy is the True Knowledge of God and Reverence of God. Orthodoxy is the Worship of God in Spirit and in Truth. Orthodoxy is the Glorification of the True God, the Knowledge of Him and Worship of Him. Orthodoxy is the Glorification of God by mankind, the true servant of God, given to us through the Grace of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Glory of the Christian. (CF. JOHN 7:39) Where there is no Holy Spirit, there is no Orthodoxy. There is no Orthodoxy in human teachings and philosophies; false reason reigns in them—the fruit of the Fall. Orthodoxy is the Teaching of the Holy Spirit given by God to mankind for our Salvation. Where there is no Orthodoxy, there is no Salvation. "Whosoever will be Saved, before all things it is necessary that we hold the Catholic [Universal] Faith, which everyone must keep whole and undefiled; otherwise, without doubt, we shall perish everlastingly..." (from the Creed of St. Athanasius).

This means that those who, in spite of the bonds of sin, which fetter and hinder us (by constraint and by inciting us to even more and often worse sins) COME TO OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR WITH PERFECT REPENTANCE.

12. 8 T H S U N D A Y

OF

HOLY PASC HA – HOLY P ENT ECOST – D ESC ENT

O F TH E

LIFE-G IVING HOLY S PIRIT - 8 JUNE 2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
ALL G LORY , H ONO UR AND W ORSH IP TO THE FAT HER, AND T O T HE SO N, AND T O T HE H OLY SPIR IT , N OW AN D F ORE VE R, AND UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN REMEMBERING ALSO OUR M OST HOLY , MOST PURE , MOST BLES SED AND GLOR IO US L ADY, MARY , T HE OTO KOS YE T E VE R VIRG IN, TOGE THER W ITH A LL THE SA INTS . AND LE T US CO MM IT O URSE L VE S AND ONE ANOT HE R AND O UR WHOLE LIFE TO C HR IST OUR G OD. AMEN.

9 June 2014 Holy Trinity Week: Monday of the Holy Spirit
A LSO THE F EAST OF S T C YRIL , A RCHBISHOP (P ATRIARC H ) OF A LEXANDR IA – S YNAX IS OF T HEOTO KOS “ F ANEROMENIS ” OF L EFKAT HA - S T C YRIL , A BBOT OF W HITE L A KE M O NASTERY – S T A LE XANDER , A BBOT OF K USHTA , V OLO GD A – S T T HEKL A , S T M ARTHA (E NMAT HA ) & S T M ARY (M ARIAMNE ), H OLY V IR GIN M ARTYRS OF P ERSIA – S T C OLU MBA OF I ONA , E NLI GHTENER OF S COTLAN D – S T J OHN OF G AVTEL -G AENAT I , H YMN OGRAP HER , P HILOSOPHE R & O RA TOR OF G EORGIA – S T D AVID G AREJI OF S YRIA & G EORGIA – S T L UCIAN , D ISCIPLE & S PIR ITUAL S ON OF S T D A VID G AREJ I OF G EORG IA

APOLYTIKION

OF

PENTECOST
art Thou, Christ our God, Who has filled the Fishermen with Wisdom by sending down the Holy Spirit upon them, and Who, through them, has united the world: Glory to Thee, O Lover of Mankind! many of you as were Baptised into Christ, have put on Christ: Alleluia!

>Evlogitos i Hriste O Theos imon, O Pansofous tous aliis >Blessed
anadixas, katapempsas aftis to Pnevma to Agion, ke di Afton tin ikoumenin saginefsas, Filanthrope: Doxa Si!

BAPTISM HYMN – INSTEAD OF THE

“AGIOS O THEOS...”
enedisasthe.

>Osi

is Hriston Allelouia!

Evaptisthite,

Hriston

>As

Prokeimenon -

Psalm 103 - (TONE 4)

Who makes His A ngels spirits; His Ministers a Flaming Fire Bless the Lord , O my soul! O Lord my God , Thou a re Magni ficent!

St Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians 5 : 8 – 19
WE
MUST WALK IN

C

HRIST

THE

DIV

INE

L

IGHT

& TR

UTH

Brethren: ... you were once in Darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord. Walk as Children of Light for the Fruit of the Spirit is in all Goodness, Righteousness and Truth, finding out what is acceptable to our Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of Darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things that are done by them in secret. And all things that are exposed are made manifest by the Light, for whatever makes manifest is Light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep! Arise from the Dead and Christ Will give you Light!” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the Will of our Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs, sing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving Thanks always for all things to God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ... AS FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS AND DISCIPLES OF CHRIST WE RENOUNCE THE We must carefully JU DGE what the fallen world tells us is WICKEDNESS AND FALLENNESS OF THE WORLD BUT NOT THE BEAUTIFUL ‘reasonable’ STRICTL Y ACC ORDING T O WHA T OUR L O RD G OD HAS TAUGHT US – AC CO RDI NG T O H IS D IVINE , CREATION OF GOD. When we sincerely Repent, a surge of Life and Joy wells forth. P ERF EC T T RUTH . B ESIDES SEPA RATING OURS ELVES FROM S PIRI TUAL D ARKNESS – A distinctive spirit, a kind of elation energizes both darkness SIN AND IGN OR ANC E – AS F AITHFUL C H RISTIA NS WHO A RE and light. F AITHFUL D ISCIPLES OF C HRIST , WE MUST EXPOSE For those in (Spiritual) Darkness, this spirit is like drunkenness, EVERYTHIN G TO TH E D IVI NE L IGH T OF T RUTH . artificial and temporary, while for Christians it is the However, WE MUST FIRS T COM E OUT OF HI DIN G FROM THE Presence of the Holy Spirit (that profoundly affects and D IVINE T RUTH OUR SELV ES and thus expose our own errors, changes us) and the indescribable Joy is the New ignorance and sins accordingly, IN O RDER T O SINC ER ELY Covenant worship of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Eucharist AND H ON ESTLY R EPENT OUR SI NS . (Thanksgiving) to God the Father, through God the Son The Hymn “Awake, you who sleep!” is an early Baptismal Incarnate, in God the Holy Spirit. Hymn – Holy Baptism is our Spiritual Illumination, so WH EN Those who are inebriated through alcohol totter and sway WE WALK IN TH E L I GHT , WE WALK IN OUR H OL Y B AP TISM – IE . and even fall down, but THOSE WHO ARE INEBRIATED WITH THE W E LIVE EVER Y DA Y OF OUR LIF E ACC OR DIN G TO HOLY SPIRIT ARE FIRMLY ROOTED IN OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, J ESUS EVERYTHIN G THA T OUR H OLY B APTISM SIGNIFI ES . CHRIST, AND GLORIOUSLY SOBER!! In other words, WE MUST LI VE EVERY M OMENT OF OU R LIFE IN WE CANNOT FULFIL OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE by reading or quoting Holy CHRIST BY MEA NS OF OUR C EAS ELE SS S PIRI TUAL W ARFA RE Scripture or singing Hymns and Psalms IF WE DO NOT HAVE AND S TRUG GLE A GAI NST TH E T EMPT ATIONS , PASSIO NS A ND SINCERE, REAL OR TRUE HUMILITY, OBEDIENCE AND F EAR OF G OD SINS BY IMMEDI AT ELY ACK NOWL EDGI NG PERSO NAL SIN A ND (i.e. deepest Respect for God and the fear of R EPENTING TH EM . disappointing our Most Beloved Heavenly Father through OUR GOAL IS not to abandon the world, but TO KEEP OURSELVES IN our personal failures.) CHRIST AND TO SALVAGE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE FROM THE EVIL, FALLEN WORLD.

HOLY TRINITY WEEK – MONDAY

OF THE

HOLY SPIRIT

9 JUNE 2014

13

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 18 : 10 – 20 FINDING THE LOST SHEEP
At that time, our Lord Jesus Christ said: “... Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in Heaven their Angels always see the Face of My Father Who is in Heaven. For the Son of Man has come to Save Those who were lost. “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to see the one that had strayed? And if he should find it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. “Even so, it is not the Will of your Father Who is in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish. “Furthermore, if your Brother sins against him, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you will have gained your Brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that “... by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” “And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the Church. And if he refuses even to hear the Church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. “Truly, I say to you: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loosen on Earth will be loosened in Heaven. “Again, I say to you: if two of you agree on Earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in Heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I Am there in the midst of them.” A LL CO RR ECTI ON MUST BE DONE WITH GREA T CAR E AND H UMILITY , Our Lord’s use of the term “little ones” includes all those who WITH THE HI GHEST CO NC ER N BEI NG TH E S AL VAT ION OF TH E have a childlike Humility and simplicity – all those who are OFFEN DER . “... poor in spirit.” 1 CORINTHIANS 5 : 5 “... deliver such a one to Satan for the With regard to the “Angels,” St John Chrysostom taught us that not only the Holy Saints but EACH OF US HAS OUR OWN , destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be Saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus.” PERSO NAL G UARDI AN A N GELS , WHO WATCH OV ER US , GUIDE US AND PR OT ECT US FR OM HARM . I N THE C HURCH THERE IS P ROT EC TIO N F ROM THE DESTRUCTIV E POWER OF S ATA N . (MATTHEW 16:18) (However, it all depends on whether we are Obedient and T HIS P ROT EC TION IS - I N SUCH SER IOUS CAS ES – R EMO VED willing to listen to those “little voices” that always tell us the THROUGH E XCOMMUNI CATI ON I N TH E HOPE THA T , HAVIN G correct way to behave and who warn us when we are in EXPERI ENCED TH E DIFF ER EN CE BETWEEN G O D ’ S L OVI NG R ULE imminent danger.) AND S A TAN ’ S DEST RUCTI VE ENSLA VEM ENT , THIS OFF ENDER MAY T HE G UAR DIA N A N GELS OF HUMBLE PE OPLE H AV E G REA TER R EPENT A ND I N THE END BE S AVED . BOLDN ESS AN D G REAT NESS “... in the Face of God...” (in the “The flesh” ( sarx) is not synonymous with “body” ( soma). Sight of God) because of the Humility of those whom they St Paul’s instructions called for the destruction – not of the body guard, guide and protect. – but rather of the lusts of the flesh. It is not the Divine Nature of God but rather THE WE AKN ESS OF GALATIANS 6 : 1 “... if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you MANKIND THA T REQUIR ES A N GELI C A SSIST ANC E . who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of Unlike human, earthly shepherds and their flocks of sheep, Gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be C HRIST OUR G O OD S HEPH ER D , HIGHLY VALUES EVEN ONE OF tempted.” H IS H OLY F LOCK - to such a degree that H E WILL LEAV E H IS To be able to administer correction with “G ENTLE NESS ” IS A OTHER S HE EP IN O RDER TO S AVE TH OSE TH AT G O ASTRAY AN D S PIRITUAL G IF T GR ANT E D TO US BY G O D TH E H OLY S PI RIT . WHO ARE L OST . Nevertheless, CO RR EC TION A ND R EP EN TA NC E MUST TAKE PLAC E T HE “N IN ET Y - NI N E ” S H EEP SIGNIFY THE R IGH TEOUS WHO R EMAI N SO THAT THE SI N DO ES N OT SPR EA D T O OTH ERS AS W ELL . F AITHFUL AN D O BE DI ENT TO A LMIGH TY G O D . (LUKE 15:7) The Church consists of everyone – Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Some of our Holy Church Fathers also regard this as a Choir, Teachers, Readers and laity – the people. reference to Christ’s Incarnation whereby THE N IN ET Y - N IN E T HE C HURCH OF C HRIS T IS TH E B ODY OF C H RIST A ND WE AR E ALL SIGNIFYI NG THE H EAV ENLY H OSTS OF A NG ELS - WE RE L EFT I N M EMBE RS – SI GNIFI CA NT PA RTS – OF C H RIST ’ S B ODY , HAVIN G H EAV EN WH EN H E CAM E TO E ARTH IN OR DER T O FI ND H IS L OS T TO FUNC TION I N HA RMON Y , P EA CE A ND UN ITY . S HEEP O N E ARTH – MANKI ND – WHO HAD F ALLEN INT O T HE A UTHO RIT Y T O BI ND OR LOO SE N SI NS IS GIVEN T O TH E CORRUPTION AN D SIN . A POSTLES AN D TR ANSMIT TED T O THE B ISH OPS AN D P R ESBYTERS Mankind had gone astray and thus became severely alienated (PRIESTS) TH EY O RDAIN ED . from God. T HIS A UTHORIT Y IS GIV EN FO R TH E SAK E OF TH E S ALVATIO N OF TH E C HURCH D ISCIPLIN E IS BAS E D ON MUTUAL CO RR ECTI ON I N TH REE SINN ER . EXPAN DIN G STA GES . The sinner, “... seeing that he is not cast out of the Church, S IN AN D CO RR ECT ION A R E TO R EMAI N PRIVAT E UNLESS TH E but that the bond of his sin will remain in Heaven, he OFFEN DER R EFUSED TO R EP ENT . may turn and become gentle.” (ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM)

Monday of the Holy Spirit
On the day after every Great Feast, the Orthodox Church honours the one through whom the Feast is made possible. Today we honour the All-Holy, Good, and Life-giving Spirit, Who descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost in the form of Fiery Tongues in fulfilment of the Lord's Promise to send the Comforter to His Disciples. (JOHN 14:16). That same Holy Spirit remains within the Church throughout the ages, guiding Her "...into all Truth." (JOHN 16:13) One of the Hymns of Vespers on Saturday evening speaks of the Holy Spirit Who "...provides all things. He gushes forth Prophecy, He Perfects the Priesthood, ... He holds together the whole institution of the Church." At Vespers on the Day of Pentecost, we hear that the Holy Spirit is "...the Fountain of Goodness, through Whom the Father is known, and the Son is Glorified." He is "...the Living Fountain of Spiritual Gifts.." Who "... Purifies us from our sins." It is by the Holy Spirit that "...the Prophets, Divine Apostles, and Martyrs are Crowned." The Holy Spirit is the Source of Life and of Sanctification. In the Holy Services of this day, we sing the same Hymns as those that are sung on Pentecost Sunday, except for the Canon of the Holy Spirit, which is sung at Compline. The Vigil is not prescribed for the Eve of today's Feast. We sing the Great Doxology at Matins, but not the Polyeleos . The Irmos of the Ninth Ode ("Hail, O Queen, Glory of Mothers and Virgins…") is sung in place of the Song of the Theotokos ("My soul magnifies the Lord..."). At the Liturgy, the Priest or Deacon chants the Entrance Verse ("Be Exalted in Thy Strength, O Lord. We will sing and praise Thy Power...") as on the Day of Pentecost. The Trisagion Hymn (“Holy God, Holy Mighty ...”) replaces "As many as have been Baptized…." The Dismissal of Pentecost is also used today. This whole week is Fast-free, and the Apodosis – the Leave-taking - of Pentecost occurs on Saturday. http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/05/monday-of-holyspirit.html
OF THE

14.

HOLY TRINITY WEEK – MONDAY

HOLY SPIRIT

9 JUNE 2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
AL L G LORY, HONO UR AN D WORSHIP T O THE FA THE R, AN D TO THE SO N, AN D TO THE HO LY SPIRIT, NOW AND FOREVER, AN D UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY , MOST PURE, MOS T B LESS ED AND G LORIOUS LADY , MARY , THE OTOKOS YET E VE R VIRGIN, T OGE THE R WI TH AL L THE SAINTS. A ND LET U S COMMIT OURSE LVE S AND O NE ANO THE R AN D OUR WHOLE LIFE T O CHRIS T OUR GOD. AME N .

1st Sunday After Pentecost Tone (8) Plagal 4 1
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15 June 2014

Sunday of St Matthew: All Saints

A LSO THE F EAST OF S T A MOS THE H OLY P ROPHET O F G OD – S T J ON AH , M ETROPOL ITAN O F M OSCOW & W ONDE RWOR KER OF A LL R USSIA – S T G REGORY & S T C ASSIAN OF A VNEZH , V OLO GDA – S T M ODE STOS , S T C RESCE NTIA & S T V ITOS OF L U CAN IA – S T D OUL AS OF C IL ICIA – S T D OU LAS THE P ASSION -B EARER OF E GYPT – S T H IERONY MOS (J EROME ) OF S TRID ONI UM – S T T HEODORE THE S Y KEOTE , T RANSLAT ION OF H OLY R EL ICS – S T L AZAR OS , R I GHT -B ELIE VING P R INCE & G REAT M ARTYR OF S ERBIA – S T E PHRAIM THE B ULGAR IAN , P ATRIARC H OF S ERBIA , A SCETIC & I GUMEN OF THE S ERBIAN I VERON M ON ASTERY , M OUNT A T HOS – S T A UGUSTINE , B ISHOP O F H IPPO – S T M IC HAE L I, M ETROPOL ITAN OF K IEV

APOSTLES’ FAST BEGINS TOMORROW UNTL 29 JUNE, FEAST OF THE HOLY APOSTLES, ST PETER & ST PAUL
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ipsous katilthes O Efsplaghnos, tafin katedexo triimeron, ina imas elevtherosis ton Pathon. I Zoi ke i Anastasis imon, Kyrie, Doxa Si!
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descended from on High, O Tender-hearted One; Thou endured the three-days’ burial, so that Thou might free us from our passions, O our Life and Resurrection: Glory to Thee! Holy Apostles, intercede with our Merciful God to grant our souls forgiveness of sins! Twelve-string Lyre of the Spirit, the Apostles and Initiates of the Saviour, let us the Faithful dutifully praise. For they preached to everyone the Word of the Truth, and they returned the Nations to the one and only Shepherd, the Leader of our Faith Who is Christ, Whom they beseech that all of us be saved.

Apostoli

Tin Dodekahordon tou Pnevmatos Liran, tous tou Sotiros The
Apostolous ke Mistas, hreostikos imnisomen Pisti. Pasi gar evingelisanto tis Alithias ton Logon, ethni depanigagon pros ton monon Pimena, ton arhigon tis Pisteos Hriston, on disopousi Sothine pantas imas.
APOL
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Agii, presvefsate to eleimoni Theo, ptesmaton afesin, paraskhi tes psihes imon.

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Ton en olon to kosmo Martiron Sou, os porfiran ke visson Thy
ta emata, i Ekklisia Sou stolisameni, di afton voa Si, Hriste O Theos: To lao Sou tous iktirmous katapempson, irinin ti politia Sou Dorise, ke tes psihes imon to Mega Eleos.
KO
NTAKION OF

Church having bedecked herself with the blood of all Thy Martyrs in the world, as with the finest linen and purple robe, through them cries out to Thee, O Christ our God: Send down Thy Compassion upon Thy people, grant peace to Thy Commonwealth, and to our souls Thy Great Mercy. the First Fruits of Nature, to the Author of all Creation, the earth’s people offer Thee, O Lord, the God-bearing Martyrs. Through their Intercessions, maintain Thy Church in True and Perfect Peace, and through the Theotokos, preserve Her, O Most Merciful!
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aparhas tis fiseos, to fitourgo tis ktiseos, i ikoumeni proferi Si Kyrie, tous Theoforou Martiras. Tes afton ikesies, en Irini vathia tin Ekklisian Sou, dia tis Theotokou, Sintirison Polielee!

Like

Resurrection Gospel 1 - Matthew 28 : 16 – 20
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Prokeimenon – All Saints Sunday God is Marvellous in His Saints! Bless the Lord in the Congregation! The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 11 : 33 – 12 : 2 THE FAITH OF CERTAIN ISRAELITES & THE PERFECTION OF FAITH
Brethren: time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the Prophets, who - through Faith - subdued Kingdoms, worked Righteousness, obtained Promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword; out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured - not accepting deliverance, so that they might obtain a better Resurrection. Still others had trials of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, tempted, slain with the world. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountain, in dens and caves of the earth.
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And all of these – having obtained a Good Testimony through Faith – did not receive the Promise - God having provided something better for us so that they should not be made Perfect apart from us. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a Cloud of Witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with Endurance the Race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, Who - for the Joy that was set before Him - endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right Hand of the Throne of God. W E EXP ERI ENC E THIS H EA VENLY D IMENSIO N FUNDAMENTALLY IN TH E B Y LIVI NG WI TH A LMIGHT Y G OD , OB EYI NG ALL H IS C OMMAN DMENTS A ND L OVI NG H IM WITH ALL ON E ’ S BEI NG , D IVINE L ITU RGY . ANYTHING AND EVERYTHI NG IS P OSSIBLE in this world because We ascend to that Heavenly Place where W E ARE SURROUN DED H E GRAN TS US THE S TR ENGTH TO EN DURE ALL LIF E ’ S BY A “G R EA T C LOUD OF W IT NESS ES .” [ TH E H EA VENLY H OS TS DIFFICULTI ES , even the inhumane torture inflicted by others AND THE S AI NTS ] as experienced by the Martyrdom of so many of the Saints It is not a physical place but A S PIRITUAL C O NDI TIO N THAT IS INHABIT ED B Y A LMIGHT Y G O D , THE A NG ELS AND “ TH E SPIRI TS throughout the ages. T HE UNSURPASSE D S PIRITUAL S T RENGTH A ND DEPTH OF THE F A ITH OF J UST MEN M ADE P ERFECT .” [ TH E S AI NTS ] I T IS IN THIS S PIRITUAL M YST ERY TH AT TH E C OMMUNION OF TH E OF THE S AINTS IS TO B E MAR VELL ED A T A ND IMI TAT ED B Y US . S AINTS IS EST ABLISHED I N THE N EW C OV ENA NT [N EW N OTHI NG COULD SHAK E THEM L OOSE F ROM TH EIR UTTER F AI TH IN A GREEM ENT /P R OMISE O F AN D WITH G O D ] AND L OV E OF A LMIGH TY G OD ; not even promises of leniency in the midst of horrific tortures could make them The “Cloud of Witnesses” includes not only the Old Covenant denounce their Faith. Saints mentioned previously, but also the Saints and Martyrs of the Lord throughout all the ages. S TRENG TH T O EN DURE TH E CRUEL TIES OF MAN KIN D A ND TH E A LL THE H OL Y S AI NTS AN D M ARTYRS SUCC EE DED – REACHED CONS EQUE NCES OF THIS FALLE N – SPIRITUALL Y DA RKENED S PIRITUAL P ERF ECTI ON O R T HE OSIS - A ND S O CA N WE ! WORLD , IS DU E T O G OD ’ S G R AC E O NLY - B ASE D UPO N W E PERSEVERE BY : COMPLE TE TRUST IN H IM , Who provides us with all necessary abilities to achieve whatever is required. G ETTING RID OF SIN – the “weight” of which keeps us from heeding the Truth That is why G OD IS G LO RIFI ED THROUGH THE SUFFERI NGS OF H IS B ELOVE D F AITHFUL who depend entirely upon Him to deliver S ETTI NG TH E H EA VENLY C IT Y AS OUR D ES TIN ATIO N – running the them from all evil. “Race” of Faith K EEPING OUR AT TENTIO N FOCUS ED UPON J ESUS C HRIST OUR L OR D O NLY THR OUGH THE P OWER AND G RA CE OF A LMIGHT Y G OD IS AND K IN G . ANYTHING AND EV ER YTHI NG POSSIBL E ! This Race is not a sprint but A M ARA THON O F E N DURANCE C HRIST ’ S I NCARN ATIO N AN D ALL THA T H E A CCOMPLISH ED FO R US IN THE F L ESH R EDE EMED [S AVED ] THE O L D C OV EN AN T S AIN TS WHICH DOES NO T EN D UNTIL WE FULLY ENT ER E TERNIT Y – “the Age to come .” [1 C ORINTHIA NS 9:24 – 27] WHO , BY F AITH , PARTIC IPAT E IN H IS R ESURRE CTIO N AND H IS E T ER NAL K I NG DOM . O UR LORD J ESUS C HRIS T IS BOTH THE A UTHO R – THE I NITIATO R AND F I NISHE R – P ERFECTER – OF F AI TH . This entire passage [BEGI NNI NG WITH 10:9 ] is a progressive discourse imploring us to SEEK G O D ’ S K ING DOM FI RST – H IS J OY WAS TO DO G OD TH E F A THER ’ S W ILL . BEFORE ANYTHI NG ELSE ! He “endured the Cross” meaning that H E VOLUN TARILY ACC EPT ED H UMILIATI ON AN D D EA TH and THEREF ORE WE ARE Under the New Covenant, WE C AN A SCEND TO THIS H EA VENLY TO FOLLOW H IS D ETE RMINA TION AN D P ERS EV ERA NC E . P LACE I N W O RSHIP AN D P R AY ER .

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 10: 32-33; 37-38; 19: 27-30
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At that time, our Lord Jesus said: “... whoever confesses Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father Who is in Heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father Who is in Heaven...” “...He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his Cross and follow after Me, is not worthy of Me...” Then Peter said to Him: “See, we have left all and followed Thee. Therefore what shall we have?” So Jesus said to them: “Truly, I say to you, that in the Regeneration - when the Son of Man sits on the Throne of His Glory - you who have followed Me will also sit on Twelve Thrones, judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for My Name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit Eternal Life. “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” We must not worry about what our fellow sinners may think or The reference to taking up our Crosses in order to follow Christ do. And, in fact, we will SHOW TH EM TH E W AY B Y OUR OW N our Lord and Saviour, means that NO THIN G MUST PREV ENT US FROM BEI NG ABS OLUTELY F AITHFUL T O OUR L OR D G O D . HEALTHY , HAPP Y AND P EAC EFUL L IF E IN C H RIST . A T RUE AND F AITHFUL D ISC IPLE O F C HRIS T MUST ALWA YS BE R EADY T HE DULL AND STUBBOR NLY IG NOR ANT WILL REMAIN IN S PIRITUAL TO OBEY G O D AN D EVE N , IF NE CESS AR Y , TO SAC RIFI CE FAMIL Y D ARKNESS BY TH EIR OWN CHOIC E , but there are SOME WHO WILL FOLLOW US INTO TH E D IVINE L IGHT AND L IF E IN C H RIST . OR FRI EN DLY R ELA TIO NSHIPS THAT AR E S PIRITUALL Y D ESTRUCTIVE . S PIRITUALLY S TUBBORN A ND D EA D SI NN ERS WILL ALWAYS FIND EXCUSES A ND TR Y TO P REVENT O THERS FROM OBEYIN G G O D ’ S H OLY M ART YRDOM F OR THE SAK E OF OUR F AITH I N J ESUS C HRIS T D IVINE W ILL EI THER BY THEI R WO RDS , THEI R DEEDS OR THEI R AND A LMI GHTY G OD , IS A FULFILMENT O F THE P ROPH ECY of M I C H A H 7 : 5 - 7 : “’...do not trust in friends, nor put your ATTI TUDES . These are the people whom our Lord tells us to ignore although hope in those who govern . Beware of your wife and do not tell her anything. For a son dishonours his father, a WE C ONTI NUE TO PRA Y F OR THEI R S PI RITUAL E NLIGHT ENM EN T daughter will rise up against her mother, a daughter-in-lay AND D ELIVER ANC E , FO R , IF WE L O VE G OD AN D H IS CRE ATUR ES , WE DO NOT WISH A NY ON E TO B E LEF T OUT OF H IS against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are all the people of his own house’ but I will L O O K T O T H E L O R D ...” D IVINE AN D E VERLASTI NG K IN GDOM . “C HRIST J UDG ES B Y DISC ER NING OUR HEARTS A ND SOULS and not O UR L OR D J ESUS – AS TH E A LL D IVI NE AN D A LL K NOWIN G S ON OF by examining our deeds. So also TH E A POSTL ES WER E G OD – KNEW E VERY THING THA T H IS F AITHFUL D ISC IPLES AN D SHAPED TO EXE RCIS E S PIRITUAL J U DG EMEN T C ONC ER NIN G A POSTLES WOULD H AV E T O EN DURE IN TH E TIME TO COM E AN D F AITH , AN D IN REBUKING ERRO R WITH V IR TUE .” THROUGHOUT ALL THE A GES . In other words, G O OD D EE DS ALON E , CA NNOT GAI N D IVINE O UR L OR D ENCOURAG ES US THR OUGH ALL OUR DIFFICULTI ES I N LIFE B LESSIN GS FOR US UNLESS OUR HEAR TS AND SOULS AR E AS PURE , AS GOOD A ND AS F AITHFUL AS OUR DE EDS - AND VICE even if we are not confronted by terrible Martyrdom W E ARE VERS A . CONS TAN TLY THREAT EN ED BY DES TRUC TIVE , FATAL T HE A POSTL ES WILL N OT JUDGE WI TH E ARTHL Y JUDGEM ENT BUT BY UNGODLI NESS AN D S PIRITUAL A DV ERSI TY . THE WIT NESS O F THEI R OWN LI VES . WE MUST DO EVERYTHI NG A CCO RDI NG T O OUR L OV E OF G O D AN D S INCE G O D ’ S D VIN E A ND H OLY K ING DOM B EGI NS WITH TH E H IS E TERN AL K I NG DOM . R ESURREC TION OF C HR IST , TH E A UTHO RITY OF J UDGEM EN T We must not follow the destructive norms of social life but HAS ALREADY BEE N GIV EN T O THE H OLY A P OSTLES AN D THEI R instead TAKE UP OU R C R OSSES AND FOLLOW F AITHFULLY I N TH E SUCCESSO RS I N TH E J OURN EY OF THE C HURCH ON EARTH . F OOTS TEPS OF C H RIST W HO IS OUR O NLY J U DGE AN D (MATTHEW 16:19 JOHN 20:23) M AST ER . This brings us back to THE H OLY M YST ERY OR S AC RAM ENT OF C ONFESSION W HERE BY R EPEN TA NT SI NN ERS , HA VING R EP EN TED 16 1 S T S U N D A Y A F T E R P E N T E C O S T – 1 S T O F S T M A T T H E W – A L L S A I N T S S U N D A Y
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AND C ONF ESSE D TH EIR S INS B EFORE G O D A ND H IS H OL Y P RIES TS ( OUR S P IRITU AL F ATHERS ) AR E FO RGI VEN THEI R SINS B Y MEANS OF D IVINE A UTHO RIT Y BEST OWED UPON TH EM BY G O D . T HROUGH TH E H OLY M YS TERY OF C O NFESSION ALL OU R R EP EN TED AND C O NF ESSED SINS AR E COMPL ETELY R EMOV ED from the

EXTR EME AN D PE RMAN EN T – E TERNAL E XILE FROM G OD AN D EVERY THIN G THA T IS G OO D , P EACE FUL AND L O VIN G ! W HATEVE R G OO D WE DO IN THIS LIFE FOR THE S AKE O F OUR LOVE OF GO D AN D HIS CREA TURES , B RING S US ABUN DA NT BL ESSIN GS AND H ELPS US TO PR OGR ESS T OWAR DS E TERN AL LIFE .

pages of our “Books of Life” wherein every word, thought and deed is recorded by our Holy Guardian Angels who defend us after death and who help us TO ENTER E T ERN AL L IFE WI TH G O D . On the contrary: ALL OUR UNREPE NTED SINS AR E ALS O R EC ORDE D
BY THE DEMO NS WHO WILL LOUDLY AC CUSE US OF TH EM AN D TRY T O CLAIM OUR SOULS FOR E T ERNAL C O NDEMN ATIO N AN D E V ER L ASTI NG S PI RITUAL D EA TH I N O UT ER D A RKN ESS –

God, being not only Just but also Merciful and Loving, grants to even the very last repentant sinner His Great Blessings – TH E VERY LAS T R EP EN TA NT SI NN ER RE CEI VES AS MA NY B L ESSINGS AND L O VE A S THE FI RST TO ENTER E T ER NAL L IFE WI TH G O D . W E A RE ALL E QUAL B EFO RE TH E L OR D OUR G OD BUT IT IS ENTI REL Y UP TO OU R OW N EFFO RTS AND DECISIO NS – OU R OW N F REE WILL - WHETH ER W E WISH T O LIV E E T ER NALLY I N TH E S IGH T AND L OV E OF G O D O R WHETHER WE R EJ ECT H IM A ND ALL H IS A BUNDAN T , I NFINI TE L O VE A ND B L ESSI NGS . The Pleasers of God who laboured in the world, Confessed our Lord by their disdain and complete disregard for worldly principles, and to these Holy Disciples of Christ the Gospel words could be justly applied: “...These are in the world, yet they are not of the world...” (John 17:11, 16) Confession of the Lord joined with resolute and total denial of the world and of themselves was the Sign of all the Saints. Whoever Confesses our Lord during our earthly sojourn as He taught us, whoever proves through his own life that he precisely Confesses the Lord as his Lord and God— him will the Lord confess as His Disciple. Furthermore, Christ will Confess His True Disciples - not only before the whole Universe, but before God the Father. God the Son’s Confession of anyone before God the Father leads that person into a most intimate Unity with God. (cf. John 14:20). When we Confesses God in a way that is pleasing to Him and as prescribed by Him, it is a Sign that God has chosen or Called us. The Fruit of a good human will is inclusion amongst the Ranks of the Chosen. Weak, ambiguous Confession is not accepted. It is refused as something unnecessary as something unworthy of God. It is not enough to Confess secretly within the soul; it is necessary to Confess with our lips and by our words. Confession with words is not enough. It is necessary to Confess with our deeds and by our lifestyle. Our Lord Jesus Christ said: “...whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He comes in the Glory of His Father with the Holy Angels.” (Mark 8:38). We must not only Confess our Lord, not only acknowledge His Divinity and Sovereignty, we must confess His Teaching and His Commandments, which are Confessed by fulfilling them - contrary to the generally accepted customs of human society. Human society is “...adulterous and sinful...” because it is mostly inclined towards sinful lifestyles that have betrayed and traded Love of God for love of sin – (wilful enslavement to wickedness and evil .) The customs that reign in our fallen world, having the weight of law higher than all laws, is contrary to -and at enmity with - a Life that is pleasing to God, which is hated and mocked by arrogant, proud and selfindulgent, unrepentant sinners. In order to escape the (fallen) world’s hatred, persecution, and toxic darts, those who are weak and unconfirmed in Faith are tempted into ‘man-pleasing’ ways that betray, reject or deny our Lord’s Teachings, and they thus exclude themselves from the Ranks of God’s Chosen. Our Lord Confirms His Disciples in their faithfulness to Him and His Teachings. He Confirms them with His cautionary words that were timely pronounced: “...whosoever therefore shall Confess Me before men, him will I Confess also before My Father Who is in Heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father Who is in Heaven.” (Matthew
10:32-33).

First Sunday After Pentecost – First Sunday of St Matthew - All Saints Sunday
Today’s Sacred Gospel Lesson teaches us about the Eternal Consequences of Faith in God, as our Lord Jesus Christ said: “Whosoever, therefore, shall Confess Me before men, him will I Confess also before My Father Who is in Heaven. But, whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before my Father Who is in Heaven...” He said this to His Faithful Disciples who stood before Him at the time, while our All Seeing Lord, Who sees the distant future as though it is the present, said it to all of His Faithful Disciples throughout the ages until Eternity – without exception. Our Lord Jesus Christ said it to each of us who stand here now, in His Holy Temple, who have numbered ourselves amongst His Faithful Disciples through our Holy Baptism. As lightning that flashes from one edge of the sky to the other without losing any of its blinding brilliance, so have our Lord’s cautionary words of Divine Revelation and Truth reached us through all these centuries, which are proclaimed in the Holy Gospels of His Faithful Apostles and Evangelists in all their power and clarity. Our Lord’s Disciples are not only those who call themselves ‘Christian’ in His Name, not only those who took Sacred Vows of Service to Him—His Disciples are those who truly Confess Him as our Lord, Confess Him as our fully Empowered Master and Eternal King, who follow His Teachings as the Divine and True Teachings of the Lord our God and who fulfil His Commandments as the Commandments of God. Their Confession must be made with mind, heart, word, deed, and their entire lives. Shame, timidity, and wavering are not tolerated in this Confession. (There can be no compromise in our Confession of Faith.) Confession requires decisive self-denial. It must be triumphant. It must be made as if in the open arena, before all mankind, before Angels, Saints, and even the fallen angels (Satan and his demons ). Our Confession is before the gaze of Earth and Heaven, “... for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to Angels, and to men...”, as the Apostle, St Paul, said of himself and the rest of the Holy Apostles. (1 Corinthians 4:9) The Holy Apostles and Faithful Disciples of Christ were not ashamed or afraid to confess the God-Man Who was punished with a shameful execution, sentenced by Ecclesiastical and civil judges. They were neither ashamed nor afraid to Confess their Faith in Christ before any Ecclesiastical or civil judges, before the powerful and wise of the earth, before tyrants and torturers, despite being threatened with brutal torments and execution - with violent, excruciating death. The Holy Martyrs bravely declared their Confession of our Lord Jesus Christ. They courageously offered the enemies of God their lives and their blood while steadfastly proclaiming to the all the earth their Holy Testimony of the Truth of the Knowledge and Worship of God. Monastic Saints Confessed our Lord with an unseen Martyrdom and constant self-denial throughout the course of their lives: they served as a point of Union between Earth and Heaven, between Angels and mankind. They belonged to Heaven during their time on Earth, entering into Communion with the Heavenly Hosts of Angels while yet in their earthly habitations.
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Dependency upon society is not as strong as dependency upon family, so it is easier to refuse to submit to the demands of society than to refuse the demands of family, which are aided by the laws of nature. And when

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these demands are in agreement with Divine Law, then that very Law aids them. The servant of Christ often finds himself perplexed by conflicting demands, not knowing which of them should be met as pleasing to God. Our Lord in His Wisdom resolves this perplexity to complete satisfaction: “... whosoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:37). “He who prefers the will of his parents or any other relatives according to the flesh over My Will, he who prefers their way of thinking and philosophy over My Teaching, he who prefers to please them rather than please Me, is not worthy of Me.” Difficulties and hindrances to Confession of Christ that work against us from outside influences are insignificant when compared with the difficulties and hindrances that are within us. Sin that abides in our mind, heart, and body directly and stubbornly opposes Confession of Christ - Confession by our fulfilment of His Commandments. The most natural Goodness, when damaged by sin, makes Confession difficult by endeavouring to introduce and mix the confession of fallen nature into it... In order to be freed from slavery to fallen nature, our Lord Commands us to crucify our nature - to deny its reason and will, to nail the mind’s activity and the heart’s attractions to the Commandments of the Holy Gospels. Those who are Christ’s Disciples have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts - they have crucified their carnal mind and corrupt will, upon which sinful temptations and lifestyles are founded. (Galatians 5:24): Thus was the world crucified to St Paul and St Paul to the world (cf. Galatians 6:14). The Holy Prophet, St David, prayed to God to be granted the strength and ability to so crucify himself: “...Nail down my flesh with the fear of Thee.” (Psalm 118:12) Our Lord, with regard to those who mortify their fallen nature with the Sword of Christ’s Teaching, said: “... whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the Gospel’s... the same shall Save it.” (Mark. 8:35; Matthew 10:39). On the contrary, whoever acts according to the reasoning and attractions of our fallen nature, mistakenly accepting them as good: “...he who finds his life shall lose it. And he who does not take up his Cross, who does not take the Yoke of My Commandments upon himself, and does not follow after Me, in self-denial, but follows his own self, is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew
10:38–39 ).

thirst for our destruction, work against us with frenzied hatred and incredible craftiness. Working against us also are the majority of people, who have willingly enslaved themselves to the demons and who serve them as blind, unhappy instruments. Furthermore, our own passions and weaknesses are used against us by the evil one. We receive - even in this temporary exile - a hundred fold more than what we have forsaken for the sake of Christ and His Commandments. We tangibly receive the Grace of the All-Holy Spirit, and before It brings us Divine Consolation, all the fleshly delights and temptations of the fallen world are renounced, rejected and destroyed by the Saints and the Repentant Disciples of Christ. As soon as we cast off our body, like chains, at our Repose, the Divine Grace that was hitherto bound by flesh extends itself broadly and magnificently, serving as a Pledge and Testimony for God’s Chosen...
ST. IGNATIUS (BRIANCHANINOV) TRANSLATED BY NUN CORNELIA (REES) 18 / 06 / 2011HTTP://WWW.PRAVOSLAVIE.RU/ENGLISH/35501.HTM

St Justin Popovich
By piously venerating the Holy Relics of the Saints, the Church reveres them as Temples of the Holy Spirit, Temples of the Living God, in which God Dwells by Grace even after the earthly death of the Saints. And by His Most Wise and Good Will, God creates Miracles in and through these Relics. Moreover, the Miracles, which derive from the Holy Relics, witness also to the fact that their pious veneration by the people is pleasing to God.

Hieroschemamonk Ambrose (Young)

The great challenge for Orthodoxy in the near future is not to find new and better ways of adapting to the dominant culture by assimilation and thus becoming “relevant”; the challenge is to establish and maintain genuine continuity with the Saints and Fathers of the past. This means more education, for ignorance of the Faith among many Orthodox today is appalling and is the single greatest factor in the crisis we are now facing.

St John of Kronstadt

When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with Eyes brighter than the sun; also all the Angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the Saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all One in God, and where God is, there are they also.

St Nektary of Optina

In order to explain the fate of God’s Chosen in both time and Eternity, after hearing the terrible, impartial, and resolute Sentence from the Mouth of God Himself, we also hear our Lord’s reply to St Peter’s question: “... Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee. What shall we have therefore? ” (Matthew 19:27) Our Lord Promised Great Honour to His Twelve Apostles. As the God-Man is the only Eternal King of the Spiritual, Eternal Israel - of all Christians, which consists of all Nations who will ultimately inhabit the Promised Land, Heaven—it is natural that His Apostles, through whom all Nations submit to God, should become the Leaders and Judges of this New Israel - the Eternal, Heavenly Nation. Having informed His Apostles of their significance, our Lord said: “... And every one who has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the Gospel’s … shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come Eternal Life.” (cf. Matthew 19 : 28, Matthew 19 : 29, Mark. 10:29–30 &
Matthew 19:29)

When we say: "All Saints, pray to God for me!" then all the Saints in Heaven will cry out:"Lord have mercy!" and we will have what we desire.

St Elizabeth the New Martyr

It is easier for feeble straw to resist a mighty fire than for the nature of sin to resist the Power of Love. We must cultivate this Love in our souls, that we may take our place with all the Saints. For through their Love for their neighbour, they were all pleasing to God. The Holy Mystery of the Day of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost, is to be understood in the following manner: the spirit of mankind must be Completed and Perfected by the Holy Spirit, that is, it must be Sanctified, Illuminated, and Divinized by the Holy Spirit. This Holy Mystery is realized continually in the Church of Christ and because of this the Church is really a continuous Pentecost.... From Holy Pentecost, the Day of the Holy Spirit, every God-like soul in the Church of Christ is an Incombustible Bush which continuously Burns and is Inflamed with God and has a Fiery Tongue within it.

St. Justin Popovich

“Persecution ” refers to our temporary earthly life because humanity was subjected to a sojourn of suffering for transgressing God’s Commandments. It is a place and time of persecution for the Disciples of Christ, because the evil prince of this world – the enemy of all Christians - reigns here, where sin and death is most widespread, because he ceaselessly persecutes and oppresses us. We are all subjected to the many different torments of sin both within and outside of us. The fallen spirits who 18 1 S T S U N D A Y A F T E R P E N T E C O S T – 1 S T O F S T M A T T H E W – A L L S A I N T S S U N D A Y
15 JU
NE

2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
ALL G LORY, HONO UR AGES. AMEN
AND

WORSHIP

TO THE

FA THER,

AN D TO THE

SO N,

AN D TO THE

HO LY SPIRIT,

NOW A ND

FOREVER,

AND U NTO THE

AGES

OF

RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY , MOST PURE, MOS T B LESS ED AND G LORIOUS LADY, MARY, THEOTOKOS YET EVER VIRGIN , TOGETHER WITH ALL THE SAIN T S. AN D LET US COMMIT OURS ELVES AND O NE ANO THE R AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIS T OUR GOD. AMEN.

22 June 2014 2nd Sunday After Pentecost Tone 1 2nd Sunday of St Matthew: The Calling of the Holy Apostles
A LSO THE F EAST OF S T E USEBIOS , B ISHOP & H IERO MARTYR OF S A MOSATA – S T Z EN O & Z ENAS OF P HIL ADE LPHIA – S YNA XIS O F THE S A INTS OF N ORTH A M ERICA – S T G ALAKTE ON , S T J UL IANA AND S T S ATURN INOS OF C ONSTANT INOPLE – S T A LBANOS , P ROTOMARTYR OF B R ITAIN – S T N I CETAS OF R EMESIANA – S T N ICE TAS TH E D ACIAN – S T G REGORY OF W ALL ACHIA – S T A NASTASIA OF S ERBIA

RESU

RRECT ION

APOL

YTIKION

– T

ONE

1

Tou

lithou sfragisthentos ipo ton Ioudeon ke stratioton filassonton to ahranton Sou Soma, Anestis trimeros, Sotir, Doroumenos to kosmo tin Zoin. Dia touto e Dinamis ton Ouranon evoon si Zoodota. Doxa ti Anastasi Sou, Hriste! Doxa ti Vasilia Sou! Doxa ti Ikonomia Sou, mone Filanthrope!

While the stone was sealed by the Judeans, and soldiers
stood on guard over Thine Undefiled Body, Thou rose on the Third Day, O Saviour Who gives Life to the world. For which cause the Heavenly Powers cried aloud to Thee: O Giver of Life: Glory to Thy Resurrection, O Christ! Glory to Thy Kingdom! Glory to Thy Providence, O Thou Who alone Loves mankind!

KONTAKION O

F

T

HE

EVER BL

ESSED

THEOT

OKOS

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 Help of all of us, who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine Intercession, and press on Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who always protects all those who honour Thee!
O
F

Resurrection Gospel 2: Mark 16:1 - 8
THE HO
LY

MYRR

HBEARERS

WI

TNESS

THE E

MPTY

TO

MB

O

UR

RISEN LOR

D

JESUS CHRIS

T

Prokeimenon – (Psalm 32) – Tone 1
Let Thy Mercy, O Lord, be upon us. Rejoice in the Lord, O you Righteous

St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans 2 : 10 – 16
JUDGEME
NT OF EACH CONS CIENCE

Brethren: ...Glory, honour and Peace to everyone who works what is Good – to the Hebrew first and also to the Greek, for there is not partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without Law will also perish without Law, and as many as have sinned in the Law will be Judged by the Law, (for not the hearers of the Law are just in the Sight of God, but the doers of the Law will be Justified, for when the Gentiles who do not have the Law, by nature do the things in the Law, these, although not having the Law, are a law unto themselves, who show the work of the Law written in their heart, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the Day when God will Judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel. Gentiles are counted as Hebrews – as God’s Chosen – when THOROUGHL Y AN D MORE PRECISEL Y ABOUT TH E L O RD OU R THEIR CONS CIENC E LEA DS THEM TO R IGHT EOUSN ESS IN TH E G OD . However, EVE N THIS ADVA NTA GE DI D N OT MAK E THE H EBR EWS SAME MANN ER AS WH EN THE L AW LEADS AN D GUIDES TH E V IRTUOUS H EBR EWS . ANY M OR E R IGH TEOUS THA N TH E G ENTILES /P AG AN /H EA THE NS FOR ALL HUMANI TY IS UN DE R TH E ENSL AVEM EN T AN D “The Law is written in their heart...”refers to OUR CONS CIE NC E , which IS G O D - GI VEN A ND HAS THE SAM E NATURAL H OL Y OPPRESSI ON OF SI N . M ANY – IF NO T MOST – H EBR EWS relied on ’ knowing the Law’ P OWER . According to St John Chrysostom, THOS E WHO AR E ABLE T O for their Righteousness, when in fact, they DI D N OT OB EY it. FOLLOW THEI R C ONSC IENC E TO G OD AR E MOR E V I RTUOUS K NOWI NG THE L AWS AND C OMMAN DMENTS OF G O D DO ES NOT MAKE A NYO NE A R IGHT EOUS T EACH ER AN D G UIDE FO R THAN TH OSE WHO F OLLOW TH E L AW , FOR TH EY do not have the advantage of concrete instructions yet still HAVE A OTHERS , UNLESS THEY THEMS ELVES FAITHFULLY OBEY ALL G OD ’ S T EACHI NGS A ND C OMMAN DMENTS . NATURAL , COMPELLI NG DESI RE TO PLEASE G OD . O NLY B Y K EEPI NG / OBE YING TH E S PI RIT AN D H EAR T O F D IVI N E While G ENTIL ES /P AGA NS could find God through their T RUTH – L AW , T EACHI NGS AN D C OMMAN DMENT , CA N conscience, they WERE N OT B ETT ER OFF THA N THE H EBR EWS WE GUIDE OTH ERS . WHO HAD TH E ADVAN TAG E OF “ THE O RACL ES OF G OD ” – THE M OSAI C L AW OF G OD AND H IS H OLY P ROPH ETS – T O LEAD , T EA CH AN D GUIDE TH EM TOW ARDS G O D . T HE ADV ANTAG E O F TH E H EBR EW N AT ION WAS P EDAGO GIC AL (educational/instructive) FOR TH EY W ER E T AUGHT M OR E

2ND SUNDAY AFTER P ENTECOST – 2ND

OF

ST MATTHE W – T HE CAL LING

OF

HIS APOSTL ES

22 JUNE 2014

19

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 4 : 18 – 23
OUR LO
RD

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ESUS

C

HRIST

CALL

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HI

S

FI

RST

APOST

LES

At that time, our Lord Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon, called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casing a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them: “Follow Me, and I will make you Fishers of Men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called to them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their Synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. T HESE FI RST D ISCIPLES OR A POS TLES OF C HRIS T OU R THE T RUE N A TURE OF H IS D IVINE , E T ER NAL K IN GDO M S AVIOUR had already heard the preaching of St OF H EAV EN . John the Baptist and W ER E PR EPAR ED TO A CC EPT OU R THE ARROGANCE AND SELFISHNESS THAT MOTIVATES MOST PEOPLE L OR D “ IMM EDI ATELY .” IS CLEARLY EVIDENT: ONCE THEY REALISED THAT THEY COULD BENEFIT FROM CHRIST – A LTHOUGH THEY W ER E ILLITERAT E AND UNEDUCA TED , THES E “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” – THEIR IMMEDIATE DESIRE FOR HUMBLE F ISHERM EN WHOM OU R L OR D J ESUS C ALLED T O INSTANT BUT TEMPORARY GRATIFICATION – ONLY THEN DID FOLLOW H IM WOULD SOO N BE REV EALED AS THE WIS ES T THEY BEGAN TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT HE TRIED TO TEACH OF ALL , THROUGH TH E D ES CE NT AN D R EC EPTI ON O F THEM AND BESTOW UPON THEM – HIS PRICELESS, EVERLASTING THE H OLY S PI RIT O N THA T G LO RIOUS D AY O F SPIRITUAL TREASURES OF ETERNAL LIFE! P ENTECOST . I T ALSO CLEARLY DEMONSTRATE D OUR L OR D ’ S C O NC ESSIO N T HE PEOPL E DID NO T SWARM TO OU R L OR D J ESUS WH EN H E TO G RANT C RE DIBILIT Y T O WHAT H E T AUGHT A N D INITIALL Y , LIKE S T J OHN THE B APTIS T , COMMA NDED REVEAL ED TO T HE FICKLE MULTIT UDES OF THAT TIME . R EPENTA NCE . T HEY O NLY BEG AN TO R EALLY P AY AT TENTIO N WHEN H E BEGAN TO HEAL THE P EOPL E A ND P ERF ORM H IS D IVI N E M IRACL ES , which shows that THEY MISUNDERST OO D

First Sunday of St Matthew – The Calling of the Apostles
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. It is essential for us to understand the link between our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Apostles, for they were all born and lived in the same area. Our Lord Jesus and His Family, having returned from exile in Egypt, had lived in Nazareth since His early childhood. Although we know nothing about the early, formative years of all these men, we do know that Cana of Galilee was less than four miles away from Nazareth, and all the cities, towns or villages in which St Peter and St Andrew, St John and St James, and others lived, were in the same region, so they may have met and/or known our Lord while they grew up. We know nothing about the impact of Christ’s Personality, growing harmoniously into the Fullness of His human Stature, but links of personal knowledge and familiarity certainly existed. The Disciples of St John the Baptist, St Andrew (the First Called Apostle of Christ) and St John (his brother and the Beloved Apostle of Christ) were, in fact, His cousins. And although, until the Day of Theophany, St John the Baptist and Christ had never met, they, too, were related through their respective mothers – St Elizabeth and our Lady Theotokos. Furthermore, St Peter and St Andrew were brothers who sought out their friends, St Philip and St Nathanael, whose comment, “... Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” were not strange for what would anyone remark if told that the Messiah – God Himself – had come from a village that was only four miles away from his own town? And then there was a whole process during which, the Disciples gradually discovered the True Identity and Reality of our Lord Jesus Christ. And eventually their intimate, profound Relationship Him was such that they did not want leave Him even when most of Christ’s Disciples had abandoned Him. When our Lord asked His Twelve Apostles: “Are you also going to go?” St Peter answered: “Where should we go? Thou hast the Word of Eternal Life.” This Relationship between His Disciples and Christ that began perhaps in friendship, then, in admiration, grew to the Relationship of Disciples and Master, which was eventually proclaimed truthfully by one of them: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” It is a Relationship that is so deep, so Perfect and complete that they could not leave Him even when they were terrified. When Christ told His Disciples that He was going to Bethany because St Lazaros had died, His Disciples said: “Art Thou going back into Judaea? Were not the Jews about to kill Thee?” And one of them – St Thomas - said: “Let us go with Him and die with Him.” St Thomas is the one Apostle who so often is regarded as a “doubter.” However, St Thomas was not doubtful at all. He was ready to live and to die with his Beloved Lord and Master, but he was not credulously (unquestioningly) prepared to receive the joyous announcement of Christ’s Resurrection with all its Resurrecting impact and Life-giving Power without being sure. When Christ died on the Cross, His Disciples had scattered, being afraid and having gone into hiding, and yet, they were attached to Him with all the fibres of their heart and mind and soul and they had felt that Life had gone out of the world - Life had gone out of their lives. That happens to us when someone who is infinitely dear to us dies. Suddenly - due to our intense bereavement everything that is shallow, trivial, or insignificant becomes irrelevant compared to Life and Death. We may reject insignificant aspects and change our casual lifestyle due to our realisation of the value and shortness of our lifespan, being confronted by the inevitability of death. That is what happened to the Disciples of Christ, but then there was no Life - there was only crushing, destructive Death. They could no longer function as usual, because Life had gone out of their lives, yet they continued to exist. And all of a sudden they discovered that Christ is truly alive and that they could Live – they could function once again - and, even better than before, since in a mysterious manner they had died so completely through their Love and

20. 2 N D S U N D A Y A F T E R P E N T E C O S T – 2 N D

OF

ST MATTHEW – THE CALLING

OF THE

HOLY APOSTLES

22 JUNE 2014

Oneness with Him, they were fully alive - but alive with an unshakable certainty that Death cannot deprive us of Life any more – no matter what type of death we are confronted by, for Death itself was defeated by Christ and His Resurrection. This is what we sing throughout Holy Pascha and this is what we proclaim as the Holy Gospel of Christ. Life has triumphed – and Death no longer has any power over us. Our body has no power to kill us when it dies. (Our body may die or repose, but our immortal soul lives eternally.) This is one of the essential Truths of the Holy Apostles - not simply that they were so faithful [T HE A POSTLES ’ F AST IS FRO M M ONDAY AFTE R A LL S A INTS S UND AY C HRIST , S T P ETER AND S T P AUL . mp ] The Fast of the Holy Apostles is very ancient, dating back to the first centuries of Christianity. St Athanasios the Great, St Ambrose of Milan, St Leo the Great and Theodoret of Cyrrhus testified to it. The oldest testimony is given to us by St Athanasios the Great (†373) who wrote, in his letter to Emperor Constance concerning the persecution by the Arians, he wrote: "During the week following Pentecost, the people who observed the Fast went out to the cemetery to pray." St Ambrose (†397), stated in his Sermon 61: "The Lord so ordained it that as we have participated in His Sufferings during the Forty Days, so we should also rejoice in His Resurrection during the season of Pentecost. We do not Fast during the season of Pentecost, since our Lord Himself was present amongst us during those days … Christ’s Presence was like Nourishing Food for the Christians. So too, during Pentecost, we feed on the Lord Who is present among us. On the days following His Ascension into Heaven, however, we again Fast" St Ambrose based this practice on the words of our Lord Jesus concerning His Disciples in the Gospel of St Matthew 9:14 - 15: "...Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the Bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the Bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will Fast.” St Leo the Great (†461) taught us: "After the long Feast of Pentecost, Fasting is especially necessary to Purify our thoughts and render us worthy to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit ... “Therefore, the salutary custom was established of Fasting after the Joyful Days during which we celebrated the Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord, and the Coming of the Holy Spirit.'' The Pilgrim, Egeria, in her Diary (fourth century) records that on the day following the Feast of Pentecost, a period of Fasting began. The Apostolic Constitutions, a work no later than the fourth century, prescribes: "After the Feast of Pentecost, celebrate one week, then observe a Fast, for Justice demands rejoicing after the Reception of the Gifts of God and lasting after the body has been refreshed." From the testimonies of the fourth century we ascertain that in Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch the Fast of the Holy Apostles was connected with Pentecost and not with the Feast of the Apostles, St Peter and St Paul, on 29 June. In the first centuries, after Pentecost there was one week of rejoicing, that is Privileged Days, followed by about one week of Fasting. The Canons of Nicephoros, Patriarch of Constantinople (806-816), mention the Apostle's Fast. The Typicon of St Theodore the Studite for the Monastery of Studios in Constantinople spoke of “...the Forty Days Fast of the Holy Apostles.”

in their Love for Christ that they were prepared to die, but that they were so certain from their inner certainty - from the welling up of Eternity within them and from the Victory within them of the Life of Christ - that Death is no longer a threat to us. We can peacefully “...let go of temporariness...” as St Paul said, because for him Death does not mean divesting himself of this temporary life. Life in Christ means being clad with Eternity Eternity Fulfilled - which was incipiently (beginning to appear or develop) in what St Paul referred to as “... his body of corruption .”
THE CALLING OF THE APOSTLES BY METROPOLITAN ANTHONY OF SOROZH FROM A PARISH TALK GIVEN ON DECEMBER 5, 1972. SOURCE: HTTP://WWW.PRAVMIR.COM/THE-CALLING-OF-THE-APOSTLES/

The Apostles’ Fast
UNT IL

29 J UNE , WH IC H IS T HE F EAST OF T HE H OLY A POSTLES OF

St Symeon of Thessalonica (†1429) explained the Purpose of this Fast: "The Fast of the Apostles is justly established in their honour, for through them we have received numerous Benefits and for us they are Exemplars and Teachers of the Fast ... “For one week after the Descent of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution composed by Clement, we celebrate, and then during the following week, we Fast in honour of the Apostles." The Fast of the Apostles came into practice in the Church through custom rather than Law. For this reason there was no uniformity for a long time, either in its observance or its duration. Some Fasted for twelve days, others six, still others four, and others only one day. Theodore Balsamon, Patriarch of Antioch (†1204), said: "All the Faithful - that is the laity and the Monks - are obliged to Fast for seven days and more, and whoever refuses to do so, let him be excommunicated from the Christian Community." From the work “On Three Forty Days Fasts,” which is credited to a Monk of the Monastic Community of St Anastasios the Sinaite (6th or 7th century), we learn that the Fast of the Holy Apostles lasted from the first Sunday after Pentecost – All Saints’ Sunday - to the Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God on 15 August. Later, however, the Fast of the Dormition was separated from it and the month of July was excluded from the Fast of the Apostles. St Symeon of Thessalonica spoke of the Apostle's Fast as being of one week's duration. In the Orthodox Church the Fast of the Holy Apostles lasts from the day after the Sunday of All Saints to 29 June, the Feast of the Apostles, St Peter and St Paul. This Fast may be of longer or shorter duration depending upon which day Pascha is celebrated. According to the Old Calendar it could last from as little as 8 days to as many as 42 days depending on the date of Pascha, but this is shortened by the New Calendar, which sometimes obliterates the Fast altogether. If the Feast of Pascha occurs sooner, then the Apostle's Fast is longer; if Pascha comes later, then the Apostle's Fast is shorter. The Fast of the Apostles is somewhat more lenient than the Great Fast before Holy Week and Pascha. The Kievan Metropolitan, George (1069-1072), approved the Rule for the Kiev Caves Monastery, which does not allow meat or dairy products to be eaten during the Apostle's Fast. On Wednesday and Friday, they prescribed dry food that is, bread and water or dry fruits. On Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday they permitted fish, wine and oil. In addition to this, they directed that one hundred prostrations (deep bows to the ground) be made daily, excepting Saturdays, Sundays and Holy Days

2ND SUNDAY AFTER P ENTECOST – 2ND

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21

(the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist falls on 23 June whereupon fish, oil and wine is permitted, no matter what day of the week it is.) This Rule was transferred to Russia via the Kiev Caves Monastery who based their Rule on that of the Monastery of Studios in Constantinople. Why is it, you ask, that one can pray for so many years with a Prayer Book, and still not have Prayer in his heart? I think the reason is that people only spend a little time lifting themselves up to God when they complete their Prayer Rule, and in other times, they do not remember God. For example, they finish their Morning Prayers, and think that their Relation to God is fulfilled by them; then the whole day passes in work, and such a person does not attend to God. Then in the evening, the thought returns to him that he must quickly stand at Prayer and complete his Evening Rule. In this case, it happens that even if the Lord grants a person spiritual feelings at the time of the Morning Prayer, the bustle and business of the day drowns them out. As a result, it happens that one does not often feel like praying, and cannot get control of oneself even to soften his heart a little bit. In such an atmosphere, Prayer develops and ripens poorly. This problem (is it not ubiquitous [ever present[?) needs to be corrected - that is, one must ensure that the soul does not only make Petition to God when standing in Prayer, but during the whole day, as much as possible, one must unceasingly Ascend to Him and remain with Him. In order to begin this Task, one must first, during the course of the day, cry out to God more often, even if only with a few words, according to need and the work of the day.

We can thus assume this was the Rule for the Fast practiced by both the Roman Empire and the Russian Empire. This is the Rule still practiced today with possible minor variations among jurisdictions.
HTTP :// W W W . P RA VOSLA VIE . RU / E NGLI S H /62494. HTM

St Theophan the Recluse – On Prayer E Beginning anything, for example, say ‘Bless, O
Lord!’

E When you finish something, say, ‘Glory to

Thee, O Lord’, and not only with your lips, but with feeling in your heart. E If passions arise, say, ‘Save me, O Lord, I am perishing.’ E If the darkness of disturbing thoughts comes up, cry out: ‘Lead my soul out of prison.’ E If dishonest deeds present themselves and sin leads you to them, pray, ‘ Set me, O Lord, in the Way’, or ‘Do not give up my feet to stumbling.’ E If sin takes hold of you and leads you to despair, cry out with the voice of the Publican: ‘O God, be Merciful to me, a sinner.’ E Do this in every circumstance, or simply say often, ‘Lord, have Mercy...’ ‘Most Holy Theotokos Save us...” ‘Holy Angel, my Guardian, Protect me...’ or other such words. Say such Prayers as often as possible, always making the effort for them come from your heart, as if squeezed out of it. When we do this, we will frequently Ascend to God in our hearts, making frequent Petitions and Prayers. Such increased frequency will bring about the habit of mental Conversation with God.
S T T HE OP HAN THE R E CLUSE : H OMI LY - D E LI VE RE D 22 N OVE MB E R , 1864 http://preachersinstitute.com/2014/03/27/homily-on-prayer/

Eternal, Inspired Wisdom of our Holy Church Fathers St Ambrose of Optina
It is useless to accuse those around us and those who live All of this tires and burdens us, and brings us to a sorry with us of somehow interfering with or being an state. impediment to our Salvation and Spiritual We would do well to comprehend the Holy Fathers’ Perfection… Spiritual or emotional dissatisfaction simple advice: If we will humble ourselves, we will find comes from within ourselves, from inexperience and tranquillity anywhere, without having to mentally from poorly conceived opinions we do not want to wander about many other places, where we might abandon, but which bring on doubt, embarrassment, have the same, or even worse, experiences. and misunderstanding. Protopresbyter Sergei Chetverikov If you are vigilant and honest with yourself, you would see that your life is a web, a huge network of such small but significant wicked moments, which comprise a significant part of your existence. If we ignore this, thinking that this is all normal, this means that you have not yet begun to live the Christian Life. St Gregory of Sinai Thus the enemy tries to produce an illusion of some The true beginning of Prayer is warmth of the heart, which Spiritual Experience within us, offering us a mirage scorches the passions and fills the soul with Joy and instead of the real thing - unruly burning instead of True Gladness, Strengthening the heart with an unshakable Spiritual Warmth, and instead of Joy, irrational Love and a firm assurance that leaves no room for excitement and physical pleasure, which in turn gives doubt. rise to pride and conceit. The Fathers say that whatever enters the soul, whether And he even succeeds in concealing himself from the visible or invisible, is not from God so long as the heart is in doubt about it and so does not accept it - in such inexperienced behind such seductions so they think cases, it is something that comes from the enemy. his diabolic illusion is really the working of Grace. In the same way if you see your mind attracted by some Yet time, experience, and feeling will reveal him to invisible force to wander outside or soar high, do not those who are not altogether ignorant of his evil trust it and do not allow the mind to be enticed by it; wiles. but immediately force you mind to continue with its ‘ The palate discriminates between different foods,’ proper work. says the Scriptures. Whatever is of God comes by itself, says St. Isaac, whilst In the same way Spiritual Taste shows all things as you are ignorant even of the time of its coming.

they are, without any illusion.

22. 2 N D S U N D A Y A F T E R P E N T E C O S T – 2 N D

OF

ST MATTHEW – THE CALLING

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HOLY APOSTLES

22 JUNE 2014

Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
AL L G LORY, HONO UR AN D WORSHIP T O THE FA THE R, AN D TO THE SO N, AN D TO THE HO LY SPIRIT, NOW AN D FOREVER, AND UN TO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY , MOST PURE, MOS T B LESS ED AND G LORIOUS LADY , MARY, THEOTO KOS YET EVER VIRGIN, T OGETHER WITH ALL THE SAINTS. A N D LET US COMMI T OURSELVES AND O NE ANO THE R AN D OUR WHOLE LIFE T O CHRIS T OUR GOD . AME N .

24 June 2014 Nativity of St John the Baptist Glorious Holy Prophet of God & Forerunner to Christ our Lord & Saviour
A LSO THE F EAST OF S T P A NAYOTIS , N EW M ARTYR OF C EASAREA – S T A NTHONY O F D YMS K , N OVGOR OD – S T J A ME S & S T J OHN , R IG HTEOUS Y OUTHS OF M ENI U GI , N OVGOR OD – S T O RENTIOS , S T P HARN AKIOS , S T E ROS , S T F IRM OS , S T F IR MINOS , S T K YR IA KOS & S T L ONG INOS , R OM AN S OL DIERS OF G EORG IA – S T A THANASI OS P AROS , G REAT T EAC HER & T HEOLOGIAN – S T B ARLAAM O F K HUTIN

FESTAL APOLYTIKION OF THE NATIVITY OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST – TONE 4

Profita ke Prodrome tis parousias Hristou, axios effimise
se ouk efporoument imis, i potho timontes se; stirosis gar tekousis, ke patros afonia, lelinte ti endoxo ke septi sou gennisi, ke sarkosis Iou tou Theou, Kosmo kirittete.

O

Prophet & Forerunner of the coming of Christ, to praise Thee worthily we find no proper means, we who cherish Thy Memory. For the barrenness of the Bearer, and lack of speech of the Father, both were loosened, in Thy Birth the Sacred and Glorified; and the Incarnation of the Son of God was proclaimed to the world. 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!
OHN

KONTAKION OF THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS

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

Matins Gospel : Luke 1: 24 – 25; 57 – 68; 76, 80
THE MIRA
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& BIRTH OF ST J

THE BAPTIST

At that time, after those days, Zachariah’s wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying: “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people .” Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbours and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great Mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. So it was, on the eighth day, that they went to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias but his mother said: “No! He shall be called John.” So they said to her: “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” Then they made signs to his father – what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote: “His name is John.” So they all marvelled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosened, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying: “What kind of child will this be?” And the Hand of the Lord was with him. Now his father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has Visited and Redeemed His People... And you, child, will be called ‘The Prophet of the Highest;’ for you will go before the Face of the Lord to prepare His Ways...” ...So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel. Only then S T J OHN THE B APTIST W AS R EVEALED TH ROUGH HIS “Elizabeth Conceived:” TH E M I RA CULOUS C ON CEPT ION OF FIRST P ROPH ETI C A C T OF LEAPING WITH J OY I NSIDE S T S T J OHN THE B APTIST A ND F OR ERUN NER TO C HRIS T OUR E LIZABETH ’ S WOMB . S AVIOUR is Liturgically celebrated on 24 September, When S T Z ACHA RIAS WAS STRUCK DUMB DUE TO HIS LACK OF and CONFI RMS TH E S A NCTI TY OF M A RIT AL R ELA TIO NS F AITH , IT ALSO SE RVED AS P ROOF THAT S T G AB RIEL TH E FOR THOS E PAS T THE IR CHIL DBEARI NG Y EA RS . A RCHA NG EL ’ S A NN OUNC EMENT WAS T RUE . “Hid herself:” SIN CE TH E TIME OF M ALA CHI , G O D H AD N OT c T HE SILENCI NG OF THE H I GH P RI EST ALSO R EV EAL ED A SENT A G R EA T P ROPH ET TO I SRA EL . DEEPER M Y STERY : TH E M ESSIAH WAS EXPEC TE D T O FULFIL 1 M A C C A B E E S 9 : 2 7 : “There was great perplexity in THREE CRUCI AL R OL ES H ELD BY VA RIOUS P EOPL E OF TH E Israel, such as had not been seen since the days O LD C OV ENA NT : TH E H OL Y O FFIC ES OF P ROPHET , P RIES T when the Prophets ceased to be seen in their midst.” AND K IN G T HIS SILENCI NG OF THE H OLY P ROPHETS OF G OD S ERV ED TO c O NLY OUR L O RD J ESUS CHRIS T FULFILLED ALL TH RE E H OL Y HEIGHT EN TH E ANTICIP ATIO N OF THE M ESSIAH A ND T O O FFICES P ERF EC TLY . MAKE IT ALL THE MO R E EVI DENT WH EN H E CAM E . C IRCUMCISIO N WAS A S IG N OF I S RAEL ’ S (B LOO D ) C O VENA NT c A S S T J OH N TH E B AP TIST WAS TH E L AST AN D G R EA TES T WITH G OD and the means whereby a male became H OLY P R OPHET OF G O D W HO PR EPAR ED TH E WA Y FO R a member of God’s Community. C HRIST OUR S AVI OUR , HE WAS KEPT HIDDEN UNTIL C HRIS T G E N E S I S 1 7 : 1 0 - 1 4 ( & L E V I T I C U S 1 2 : 3 ) : “T HIS IS TH E – TH E I NCARN ATE S ON O F G O D – WAS C ONC EIV ED . C OVENA NT YOU SHALL KE EP ; between Me and you and
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your seed after you throughout their generations: every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin. It shall be A S IGN OF THE C OV ENA NT B ETW EEN M E AND YOU . A CHILD O F EIGH T DA YS OLD SH ALL BE CIRCUMCIS ED BY YOU – every male child throughout your genealogy; he who is born in your house, and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised; and M Y C OV EN ANT SH ALL BE I N YOU R FLESH FO R A N E V ERLAS TING C OV EN AN T . And the uncircumcised male child(‘s) ...soul shall be cut off from his people for he has broken My Covenant.” c T HE N EW C OV EN AN T WITH G OD IS A B LOODL ESS C OVENANT AN D H OLY B APT ISM OF B OTH M ALE AN D FEMALE IS OUR “N EW C IR CUMCISION .” T HE NAM E “ J OHN ” M EANS “ G RA CE OF G OD ,” and by INSISTI NG O N TH E N AME G OD HA D CHOSE N FOR HER SON , S T E LIZAB ETH AF FIRM ED THE T RUTH OF S T J OH N ’ S D IVINE C ALLIN G AN D M ISSI ON . (REFER GENESIS 17:5; 15; 32:28) W HEN S T Z ACH ARI AS ASS EN TE D T O G O D ’ S W ILL , HIS SP EECH WAS REST OR ED and just as the prophecy was restored at the Incarnation of Christ, so St Zacharias, as High
BE SPIRITUA
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Priest, could speak again now that our Saviour Jesus Christ and His Forerunner, St John the Baptist, had come into the world. c It is of particular significance that S T Z A CHARI AS IMMEDIA TEL Y DECLAR ED C HRIS T – “ THE L OR D G O D OF I SRAEL ” – A ND TH EN R EV EALE D THE E SSENTI AL R OLE OF HIS OWN SON AS “P R OPHET OF TH E H IGHES T .” S INCE THE AG E OF APP ROXIMA TELY TWO Y EA RS , as a consequence of the terrible “Slaughter of the Innocents,” S T J OHN THE B AP TIST LIV ED IN TH E DES ER T ON HIS OWN . H IS MOTHER HA D DI E D SOO N AF TER TH EIR ESC APE AN D HIS FATHER HA D B EEN MURDERED IN THE T EMPLE OF J ERUSAL EM BY TH E SOLDI ER S OF K I NG H ERO D . D UE TO THE W ILL OF G OD AN D BY H IS D IVINE P ROVI DE NCE AND G RA CE , S T J OH N R EACH ED ADULTHOOD S AFEL Y AN D
WITHOUT THE I NFLUEN CE O R CO NTAMI NA TION OF HUMAN WICKEDN ESS , WHICH MADE HIM S PIRITUALL Y P URE – ABL E TO R ESIST T EMPTA TION BY HA VING GR OWN SO “ STRONG IN SPIRIT .”

The Epistle of St Paul to Romans 13 : 11 – 14 : 4
AWA
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Brethren, ... do this knowing the time: that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our Salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the Armour of Light. Let us walk properly , as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ , and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts. Receive those who are weak in the Faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him . Who are you to judge Another’s servant? To his own Master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. c E XPECTATION OF FUTURE “ S ALVA TION ” THR OUGH THE c We must NEVE R J UDGE OTH ERS BECAUSE WE HAV E NO G LORIOUS C OMIN G OF C HRIS T MO TIVAT ES US T O AUTHORI TY or right to do so, being wretched sinners V IGILAN CE A ND P ROP ER C O NDUC T . ourselves. “The night ” is this life under the influence of evil powers – ä W E A RE ALL G O D ’ S S ER VAN TS WHOM O NLY G OD CAN while “the day” is the Glorious Coming or rather, the J UDGE . Reappearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. ä W E WILL BE J UDGED AND HEL D ACC OUNT ABLE like those we dare to criticise, so therefore T AKE GR EAT c I N O RTH ODOX C H RISTI ANI TY , TH ERE A RE CE RTAI N THI NGS THAT CANNOT B E C OMPROMIS ED BUT THERE ARE ALS O CAR E NOT TO JUDG E OTH ERS . ä Instead LOOK CLOS ELY A T Y OURSELF AN D C ORRECT GREY AREAS . G OD IS G R ACI OUS AND ALL OWS DIV ERSI TY IN “ DOUBTFUL YOUR OWN FL AWS . THINGS ” [personal opinions - not God’s Truth] – BUT NO T ä T HROUGH C ONST ANT W A TCHFULNESS O F OURS ELVES MATT ERS I NVOL VING C H RISTI AN D O GMA . AND C ORRE CTIO N OF OUR OWN ERR ORS , WE WILL GROW S PIRITUALLY S TRO NG ER A ND L ESS C RITI CAL OF O THERS . W E MUST CON DUCT OR B EHA VE OURSEL VES AC CO RDI NG TO C HRISTIAN T EA CHIN G , HAVIN G “ P UT ON C HR IST ” A T OUR ä O NLY G O D KNOWS TH E HEA RTS A ND SOULS OF H IS CRE ATUR ES AN D H E WILL DECI DE WHO HAS E TERN AL L IF E H OLY B APTISM . c T HE C R OSSES W E WEAR ARE A REMI NDER TO US , A ND OR E TERN AL D EA TH . OTHERS , OF THE R IS EN C HRIS T W HOM W E A RE STR IVIN G The two examples of flexible areas in this reference concern food restrictions and the observance of TO IMIT ATE EV ER Y DAY OF OUR LIV ES . We must S TRUGGL E Liturgical Calendars, thing that the Spiritually Weak TO LIV E UP TO THE C HRI STIA N I DEALS H E PR ESENTED TO might try to use to judge others or to divide the US . T HOSE “ W EAK IN TH E F AITH ” AR E C H RISTI ANS OF IMMATUR E Church. C ONSCI EN CE AN D W IS DOM who may attach primary In both cases, we are commanded to BE FLEXIBL E WITH importance to secondary matters, such as foods and OTHERS JUST AS G OD H IMS ELF IS WITH US ! religious festivals. [MANY PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THE ] D URING A NY P ERI OD OF F AS TING THR OUGHOUT TH E Y EA R RITUALS RATHER THAN THE COMPLETE, WHOLE FAITH, WE SHOULD N OT O NLY FO CUS ON THE DE TAILS OF OUR MAKING THEIR EFFORTS EMPTY GESTURES INSTEAD OF PHYSICAL S ELF - DENIAL BUT PA RTICULA RLY O N TH E MEANINGFUL WORSHIP OF GOD.] S PIRITUAL F AST CON CERNI NG OUR IMMO RT AL SOUL –
RES IST ING ALL T EMPTATIONS OF S IN . ST JO
HN THE

The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 1 : 1 – 25; 57 – 68; 76; 80
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Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who, from the beginning, were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilos, so that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. There was in the days of Herod, the King of Judea, a certain Priest named Zacharias, of the Division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both Righteous before God, walking in all the Commandments and Ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as Priest before God in the Order of his Division, according to the custom of the Priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the Temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the Hour of Incense.

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Then an Angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the Altar of Incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the Angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your Prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have Joy an Gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the Sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘...to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children...’ and the disobedient to the Wisdom of the Just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” And Zacharias said to the Angel: “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” And the Angel answered and said to him: “I am Gabriel who stands in the Presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these Glad Tidings. But, behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words that will be fulfilled in their own time.” And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he lingered so long in the Temple. But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a Vision in the Temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless. So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Now, after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying: “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” ...Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbours and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. So it was, on the eighth day, that they went to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. His mother answered: “No! He shall be called John .” But they said to her: “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name .” So they made signs to his father – what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying: “His name is John .” So they all marvelled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosened, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying: “What kind of child will this be?” And the Hand of the Lord was with him. Now his father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has Visited and Redeemed His People... ...And you, child, will be called the Prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the Face of the Lord to prepare His ways ...” So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel. S T Z ACHARI AS AND S T E LIZAB ETH HAD C ON TINUOUSLY PRA YED A S EYEWITNESS ES AN D I NTIM ATE C ONT EMPO RA RIES OF OUR FOR A S ON and at last their Prayers were answered L OR D J ESUS C HRIST , H IS D ISCIPLES LISTEN ED TO H IS when St Gabriel, the Archangel of God, was sent to H OLY G OSPEL ( G OO D N E WS ) AND SAW H IS D IVINE M IRACL ES FI RSTHA ND . Announce the coming of their son who would always be remembered as St John the Baptist & Forerunner to As St Luke himself was not one of the original Disciples of Christ our Lord. (The name “John” means “the Grace our Lord Jesus, HIS H OLY G OSP EL IS ANCH OR ED ON TH E T RUE T ES TIMON Y OF TH ESE ORI GINAL W I TN ESSES . of God.”) S T L UKE ADDR ESSE D HIMSELF T O T HEOPHIL OS , A PROMIN ENT ] T HE A R CHAN GEL G AB RIEL ’ S DESC RIPTIO N O F TH E G ENTILE , WHO HAD RECEI VE D C HRIS TIAN I NS TRUC TION . CHARA CT ER A ND ROL E O F S T J OH N THE B AP TIST IS AS AN A SCETIC P ROPHET OF G O D who was to prepare the However, nothing else is known of him. Hebrew Nation for the long-awaited Coming of the St Luke’s Holy Gospel is written as A N OR DERLY AC COUN T so Messiah. as to provide greater certainty C ON CERNI NG TH E The Hebrews expected St Elijah, one of the greatest DETAILS OF OU R L O RD ’ S H OLY M I NISTR Y . Prophets of Israel, to reappear from Heaven in order to S T L UK E WAS O N TH E ONLY E V AN GELIS T WHO PR OVI DED INFORM ATIO N AB OUT TH E BIR TH A ND INFA NC Y OF S T Anoint the Messiah. S T Z ACHARI A ’ S QUES TION : “How shall I know this?” IN DICA TED J OHN TH E B APTIS T . ] S T Z ACH ARIAS AN D S T E LIZABETH W ER E A CKNOWL EDGED A SLIGHT LACK OF F AITH IN G OD ’ S P R OMISE A ND HIS AS BEI NG A R I GHTEOUS C OUPLE OF P RI ESTL Y L IN EAG E , SUBSEQUEN T MUT EN ESS S ERV ED BO TH AS A DISC IPLIN E FO R WHO LIVE D TH EIR EN TIR E LIVES IN THE F ULFILMENT OF HIS UNBELIEF AN D AS A S IGN OF TH E D IVINE T RUTH OF S T G OD ’ S W ILL . G ABRI EL ’ S A NN OUNC EMENT . Nevertheless, S T E LIZAB ETH WAS BA RR EN , like so many other C IRCUMCISIO N WAS A MOS T IMPOR TAN T R ITUAL whereby a significant women mentioned in holy scripture. (Such As male child was initiated into the Covenant Nation of Sarah - Genesis 16:1; Rebecca – Genesis 25:21; Hannah 1 God. Samuel 1:2). A FTER C HRIS T - AC CORDING T O TH E NEW B LO ODL ESS I NFER TILITY WAS REG ARDE D AS A “ PUBLIC REPRO ACH ” and it C OVENA NT - C IRCUMCI SION WAS R EPLAC ED BY TH E was viewed very negatively because a woman’s most T ONSURIN G IN TH E H OLY M YST ERY OF B AP TISM . important role in family life was to produce as many According to our New, Bloodless Covenant with God, living children as possible to continue the family name Tonsuring is the Bloodless “New Circumcision ” and to contribute to the welfare of the family. whereby we offer a tiny portion of ourselves – hair – to B ARREN WOM EN WE RE USUALLY DENIG RAT ED A ND INSULT ED , God as our Affirmation of Absolute Faith in our Triune, being regarded as parasites rather than valuable Almighty God. contributors to society. ] T HE S O NG OF S T Z ACHA RIAS (“ TH E B ENEDI CTOS ”,) WAS A E ACH P RI EST WHO SERV ED G O D A T TH E T EMPLE OF P ROPHETIC H YM N OF P RAIS E TO G O D W HO IS B L ESSE D J ERUSAL EM WAS ASSIG NED TO A D IVISI ON . [1 Chronicles FOR H IS G RACI OUS AND R EDEEMI NG A CTS AM ONG H IS 23:3-6; 28:13] P EOPL E IN F ULFILMENT OF THE M ESSIA NIC P ROMIS ES . There were 24 divisions in all, each serving a week at a time by rotation. The responsibilities of the priests in each division were decided by drawing lots.

The Nativity of St John the Baptist – Last Great Holy Prophet of God & Forerunner to Christ
St John the Baptist who never married, who remained strictly chaste (Virgin), leading an Angelic Life and who prophesied, taught us that THE DIVINE PURPOSE OF THIS TEMPORARY, EARTHLY LIFE IS FOR US TO BE SPIRITUALLY FRUITFUL. That was his Prophetic Revelation to us – to all mankind throughout the ages. Whether we are Called to Holy Matrimony and the procreation of
NATIVITY
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children or not, WE ARE ALL CALLED TO BRING FORTH SPIRITUAL FRUIT, TO IMPROVE THE WORLD and not to make it worse, TO BE SPIRITUALLY FRUITFUL ACCORDING TO THE DIVINE WILL OF G OD AND TO AVOID BEING SPIRITUALLY BARREN OR FRUITLESS. Throughout the ages at various times in their life people of every generation have pondered the

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question: “What is the Purpose of life?” or “What is the point of life?” Ancient, primitive people, obeying their animal-like instincts, decided that the purpose of this short lifespan was only to multiply – to reproduce and to have as many offspring (children) as possible – simply in order to ensure the survival of their tribes, their lineage or the human race. This is evident at the beginning of the Old Testament when St Abraham was told to “... go forth and multiply.” Gradually, however, as Divine Revelation came upon Revelation to the Chosen People of God, this Divine Commandment was more refined. And it was revealed that the Hebrew Nation was to multiply for a reason other than mere survival of the human race. Consequently barrenness (infertility) was a nasty stigma – not only because due to infertility the people failed to ensure the survival of the Hebrew Nation, but also because it had been prophesied that one of their Women was to give Birth to the Great Messiah – the Great Saviour. Thus children were born to various devout and often aged, barren couples such as to Adam and Eve; to Abraham and Sarah, to Jacob and Rachel... and so it was that their sons such as Abel and Joseph, or Joshua the son of Nun and Samuel, and so many others - all in some sense, prefigured the Great Messiah – our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Of course, the intuition that the Saviour Who was to be born of a Virgin was usually distorted, for the Hebrews thought that Christ would be some sort of political, nationalistic Hero – a type of ‘freedom fighter’ Who would victoriously lead the Israelites into battle against the invading, Roman oppressors. Nonetheless, there were those in the Old Testament whose vision and understanding were so pure that they knew that the Mother of the Messiah would certainly be no ordinary Woman and as a high point of this process of Divine Revelation St Isaiah the Holy Prophet of God wrote in his Book “... a Virgin would give birth ...” to the Messiah. At the very end of the Old Testament there appeared a particularly devout but childless couple, St Zacharias and St Elizabeth. It is their story that we hear in today’s Sacred Gospel Lesson. St Elizabeth was approximately 80 years old and had been barren throughout her long Marriage to St Zacharias, which in turn, stigmatised her husband, who, as a devout Priest was expected to set an example of fruitful childbearing. The Miracle occurred according to the Will of God when St Elizabeth and St Zacharias conceived their son despite their advanced age and infertility. He would be remembered and honoured by all ensuing generations as the Baptist and Forerunner of Christ our Lord and Saviour. Although St John was a Star compared to Christ Who is the Sun of Righteousness - our Lord revealed to His Disciples the fact that the Holy Baptist was the greatest of all the Holy Prophets who had been born of women. Accordingly, having lived such an Angelic Life while surviving alone since early childhood in the Wilderness until his public Ministry, St John the Baptist is the Patron Saint and glowing model for all Holy Monks and Nuns – for all those who choose to renounce the world and live a Monastic Life in Christ. St John is also known as “...an earthly Angel... ” and “... a Heavenly Man ...” which is why he is often depicted with Angelic Wings on his Holy Icons. These wings are, of course, not physical features but rather signify Spiritual Wings of One who prays unceasingly, which is a Sacred Task of all Faithful

Disciples of Christ and especially those who live a Monastic Life. The Holy Baptist stands at the very end of the Old Testament/Covenant – and also at the very beginning of the New Testament/Covenant. That is why St John the Baptist is mentioned at the beginning of the Holy Gospels of the Apostles and Evangelists, for he opened up a New Way and answered in a New Way the ancient question that people have posed throughout the ages: “What is the Purpose of Life?” St John the Baptist specifically taught us that THE TRUE P URPOSE OF THIS TEMPORARY LIFESPAN IS TO BECOME SPIRITUALLY FRUITFUL, WHICH BEGINS WITH REPENTANCE – WHICH BEGINS BY CORRECTING OUR OWN, PERSONAL SINS AND RESOLVING TO AVOID COMMITTING FURTHER SINS IN FUTURE. The devout spirit of St John was utterly opposed to the contemporary, fallen world that persuades us that it does not matter whether we are married or not, whether we produce healthy children or not and which thereby reduces the Sanctity of Holy Matrimony into a sort of legalised fornication. Even worse than that, is when we are convinced that it does not matter if we murder any children that are “inconvenient” for us! So we continue to fornicate as much as we please and to abort/murder any offspring that is so wonderfully conceived by such immoral, uncaring and casual relationships. Modern, depraved society puts careers, indulgent lifestyles, amassing possessions and wealth before the Sanctity of Holy Matrimony and the nurturing of children. Modern science allows us to have children when it suits us, and we are able to choose the gender of the child, the colour of hair and eyes and complexion, the occupation and lifestyle of the donor father, and even rent another woman’s womb to gestate the infant. These so-called “designer babies” have become merely another status symbol - and are of as much importance as an expensive toy or an exotic pet. And when these self-indulgent people no longer find it expedient to have these growing, active children around them, they send them away to holiday camps, boarding schools or willing relatives. The children who are unfortunately born into destitute, drug-addicted circumstances are subjected to the most hideous behaviour and abuse, often being sold for a much needed “fix.” And when the state welfare steps in, so many of these lovely little souls are lost in the unending circulation of foster homes, where all too often, they are only a means of income and suffer many cruelties. However, St John the Baptist taught us to be Spiritually Fruitful and HE IS THE MODEL OF ALL
CHILDREN WHOM WE SHOULD ONLY HAVE BECAUSE WE TRULY DESIRE THEM AND WILL LOVE AND NURTURE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY.

We should pray that our children will call us and others to True Repentance. And if our Lord does grant us the great Blessings of children or not, we are to ceaselessly strive for all Virtues, becoming good examples of Christ’s Love – Agape – and all His Good Attributes. WE ARE ALL CALLED TO CULTIVATE AND NURTURE OUR SPIRITUAL STRUGGLES, WHICH WILL LEAD US TO VIRTUE, TAKING AS MUCH CARE WITH LOVE AND COMMITMENT AS THOUGH THEY ARE OUR MOST BELOVED CHILDREN WHO WILL THEN CALL US TO REPENTANCE SO THAT WE ARE READY TO WELCOME THE LORD OUR G OD INTO OUR HEART AND SOUL – H IS H OLY TEMPLE.
HTTP://WWW.PRAVMIR.COM/NATIVITY-OF-JOHN-THE-BAPTIST/

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Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
AL L G LORY, HONO UR AN D WORSHIP T O THE FA THE R, AN D TO THE SO N, AN D TO THE HO LY SPIRIT – NOW AND FOREVER, AN D UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY , MOST PURE, MOS T B LESS ED AND G LORIOUS LADY , MARY , THEOTOKOS, YET EVER VIRGIN , TOGETHER WITH A LL THE SAIN TS. AND LE T US COMMI T OURSE LVE S AN D O NE ANO THER AN D O UR WHO LE LIFE TO CHRIS T OUR GOD. AMEN

3rd Sunday After Pentecost 29 June 2014 Tone 2 3rd Sunday of St Matthew: Christ, the Son of God The Feast of St Peter & St Paul, the Holy, Glorious & All Praised Leaders of the Holy Apostles of Christ our Saviour
RESU
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Ote katilthes pros ton Thanaton, i Zoi i When Thou condescended to Death, O
Athanatos, tote ton Adin enekrosas ti astrapi tis Theotitos. Ote de ke tous tethneotas ek ton katahthonion anestisas, pase e Dinamis ton Epouranion ekravgazon. Zoodota Hriste, O Theos imon, Doxa Si! Life Immortal, Thou slayed Hades with the lightning flash of Thy Divinity. When also Thou raised up the dead from the subterranean abodes, all the Powers of Heaven cried aloud: O Life-giver, Christ our God, Glory to Thee!

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I ton Apostolon Protothroni, ke tis Ikoumenis Didaskali, to Among
Despoti ton olon Presvefsate, Irinin ti ikoumeni dorisasthe, ke tes psihes imon to Mega Eleos. .
KONTAKION
OF THE

the Apostles the loftiest, and Teachers of the Universe, intercede, O Peter and Paul, with the Master of us all, peace to all the world to grant, and to our souls, the Great Mercy

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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!

Eothinon/Resurrection Gospel 3:
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Mark 16:9 - 20
CIPLES

LOR

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APPEARS TO HIS APOS

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BEFORE HIS AS

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T heir Proclamation went forth into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world! T he Heavens d eclare the Glory of God; the firmament shows the Creation of His Ha nds!
St Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians 11 : 21 – 12 : 9
ST PAU
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Prokeimenon

DEFENDS HIS APOS

TLESHIP

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HIS SU

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, VISIONS AND WEAKNESSES

Brethren, to our shame I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold – I speak foolishly – I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the Seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they Ministers of Christ? - I speak as a fool – I am more: in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Hebrews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day have I been in the deep; in Journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils of the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and in toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and in thirst, in Fastings often, in cold and in nakedness – besides the other things that come upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak – and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things that concern my infirmity. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus, the Governor – under Aretas the King – was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands. It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to Visions and Revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago – whether in the body, I do not know, or whether out of the body, I do not know – God knows – such a one was caught up to the Third Heaven. And I know such a man – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows – how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which are not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one will I boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For although I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool, for I speak the Truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me. And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the Revelations, a Thorn in the flesh was given to me – a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure, concerning which I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me: “My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Strength is made Perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly, I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the Power of Christ may rest upon me.
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St Paul listed his Hebrew and Christian credentials according to his opponents’ level of argument. Genealogy was important to the Hebrews and S T P AUL HA D HIS C H RISTIA N OWN IMPRESSIVE GE NEALOG Y A ND HIS E XPERIENCE WAS INC OMPAR ABLE WITH A NY ON E ELS E – his suffering, his compassionate, involved concern for others and even his rather extraordinary Missionary Journeys throughout the known world of the time and everything he endured since his Miraculous Conversion. St Paul’s opponents had probably boasted of their Visions and Revelations so S T P AUL MEN TION E D ON E OF HIS OWN S PIRITUAL E XPERIENC ES , FOURT EEN YEA RS PROFOUN D PREVI OUSLY , WHICH DAT ED TH E E V EN T BEFO RE HE BEGAN HIS M ISSION ARY J OUR NEYS – I . E . HIS D IVI NE C ALLI NG B Y C HRI ST ALONG THE R O AD TO D AMAS CUS . St Paul used two Hebrew terms to describe the Heavenly Realms: “the Third Heaven,” which is the highest Heaven
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and “Paradise,” which is where God is surrounded by the Assembly of the Just in the City of God. Unlike his opponents who publicly boasted of their own greatness in their Mystical Experiences, S T P AUL REG AR DE D HIS OWN “ THORN IN THE FL ESH ” AS HA VING B EEN BES TOWED UPON HIM IN OR DER T O KE EP HIM HUMBLE . His “thorn” was a chronic physical problem (some have suggested stomach or gastric ulcers or even cancer, which caused intense discomfort and constant pain) as well as the deluded Christians or stubborn Israelites with whom he had to daily contend. Nevertheless, F OR S T P AUL , HIS HUMBLING PH YSICAL WEAK NESS ES - NOT HIS M YSTI CAL E XP ERI EN CES - WER E TH E MEA NS WHEREB Y THE P OWER OF C HR IST R EMAI NED WITH HIM . D IVINE G RA CE AC COMPA NIES T RUE V I RTUE – ESPECIALLY THAT OF O BEDI ENCE AN D H UMILITY .

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 16 : 13 – 19
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When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His Disciples: “Who do men say who I, the Son of Man, Am?” And they said: “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the Prophets.” He said to them: “And Who do you say that I Am?” Simon Peter answered and said: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” And Jesus answered and said to him: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed This to you, but My Father Who is in Heaven. And I also say to thee that thou art Peter; and on this Rock I will build My Church, and the Gates of Hades shall not prevail against It. And I will give thee the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loosen on earth will be loosened in Heaven.” The Spiritual Drink is the Holy Eucharist, which grants us Forgiveness Our Lord Jesus Christ voices the greatest of all questions: “Who of sins and thus, Eternal Life in Christ. do you say Who I Am?” “Gates of Hades” refers to the destructive, alienating powers of It is the greatest question ever put to us because IT DEFIN ES OUR C HRISTIAN F AITH – OUR T RUE F AI TH in Christ our Lord and Death. In the Old Testament, “ Gates” suggested a fortified city. Saviour through Whom the Divine Will of God the Father is G E N E S I S 2 2 : 1 7 “... I will certainly Bless you, and fulfilled by the Divine Power and Energy of God the Holy Spirit. assuredly multiply your seed ... and your seed shall inherit St Peter’s correct answer to this most significant question prevents the cities of their enemies...” the Christian Faith from being regarded as merely another G E N E S I S 2 4 : 6 0 “... They Blessed their sister, Rebekah, man-made philosophical system or path of Spirituality, for I T and said to her: ‘Our Sister: may you become the mother NAMES – CL EARLY I DE NTIF IES – OUR L OR D J ESUS C HRIS T A S TH E of thousands of myriads, and may your seed possess the E T ER NAL , O NL Y B EGOT TEN S O N AN D W O RD OF TH E L IVI NG gates of their enemies...” G OD . I S A I A H 1 4 : 3 1 “... Wail, O Gates of the cities, cry out, This position and declaration excludes all compromise with other troubled cities, even all the foreigners, for smoke is coming man-made religious systems. from the North and you will be no more!” Furthermore, as Christ pointed out, St Peter’s Understanding and B Y SHA TT ERIN G TH E G AT ES OF H A DES , C HRIST OUR S AVIOUR OPENE D Confession cannot be achieved by mere human reasoning THE ST RON GHOLD – the terrible prison – OF D EA TH AN D SET F REE but only by means of Divine Revelation of Christ and the Holy THE SOULS OF TH E R I GHTEOUS WHO WE NT TO RE ST / REPO SE I N Spirit, through True Faith. P EAC E IN TH E RE - OP EN ED P ARADIS E UNTIL TH E F INAL D AY – TH E 1 C O R I N T H I A N S 1 2 : 3 “... no one speaking by the Spirit of G ENER AL R ESURRE CTIO N OF ALL MA NKI ND . God calls Jesus ‘accursed’ and no one can say that Jesus So also, TH E H OLY C HURCH OF C HRIS T – THE H OLY B ODY OF C H RIST is Lord except by the Holy Spirit...” – SHALL NO T BE S TOPP ED I N H ER P RO CLAMAT ION OF S ALVATIO N The Sign of the Holy Spirit speaking through us is when we Confess AND D I VIN E T RUTH . from the depth of our heart and soul “Jesus Christ is Lord!” The term “Church” is mentioned only twice in the Holy Gospels. W HEN WE R ECI TE TH E N I CENE C REED O F F AITH WE A RE G IF TED BY T HIS H OLY C HURCH IS TH E O N E T RUE I SRA EL – TH E N EW I SRAEL – THE H OLY S PI RIT T O DO SO WITH L OV E A ND SI NC ERI TY OF SOUL . AND TH E A LL H OLY B ODY OF C HRIS T – AN D H ER C ITIZ ENSHIP IS “Christ” means “the Anointed One” and is equivalent to the H EAV ENLY AN D E TERN AL . Hebrew “Messiah.” “Keys of the Kingdom” refers to THE SP ECI AL A UTHO RIT Y THAT WAS It is remarkable how our Lord Jesus Christ first draws out all BESTOW ED UPO N S T P ETER , S T P AUL A ND ALL TH E OTH ER H OLY erroneous opinions about Himself, which He does in order to A POSTLES OF C HRIS T after our Lord’s Glorious Resurrection. identify such incorrect ideas or perceptions, because WE AR E S T P ETER WAS not the leader over the others, but he was among THEN BETT ER PREPA RED TO AV OID FALS E , HERETI CAL TEACHI NGS them – AN EQUAL AM ONGS T E QUALS . AND I DEAS WHEN TH EY A RE CLEARLY IDEN TIFIED A ND ROO TE D This Truth was confirmed at the Council of Jerusalem where the OUT . Holy Apostles of Christ and the Presbyters (Priests) met as “Petros,” meaning “Rock,” was a nickname that Christ bestowed equals, and where St Peter advised, but St James presided. on St Simon Peter, which a play on words in both Aramaic Papal claims in later centuries must not be confused with the and Greek (Petra/Petros = Rock). New Covenant/Testament witness regarding St Peter, nor The term “Rock” did not refer to St Peter per se, but rather THE should the role of St Peter be diminished in opposition to ROCK SOLI D “... F AI TH OF HIS C ONF ESSION .” (ST JOHN these claims. CHRYSOSTOM) B INDI NG A ND LOOS EN ING IS A REFE RENC E PRIMA RILY TO THE O UR T RUE , L IF E - GIVI NG R OC K IS OUR L OR D AN D S A VIOUR , J ESUS A UTHORIT Y OF C HRIST , WHICH WAS BESTOW ED UPON H IS H OLY C HRIST H IMSELF AN D H IS C HURCH , WHICH IS BUILT UPON TH E A POSTLES , AN D LAT ER , H IS O RDAIN ED B ISH OPS , TO ABSOLV E F AITHFUL C ONF ESSION OF C HR IST OUR G OD . SINS . (ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM) 1 C O R I N T H I A N S 1 0 : 4 “... and all drank the same Spiritual However, it also I NCLUDES ALL THE T EACHI NGS OF C HRIS T , THE Drink. For they drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed S ACR AMENTAL AND TH E ADMI NIST RATI VE A UTHOR ITY OF THE H OLY them, and that Rock was Christ...” A POSTLES . Israel’s Liberation from Egypt by Moses prefigures our own Spiritual T HIS SAME A UTHORI TY H AS C ON TINUED TO B E BESTOW ED UPO N THE Liberation from sin by Christ: The Cloud symbolises the Holy O RDAIN ED B ISHOPS , AN D WILL CO NTINU E UN TIL TH E EN D OF Spirit Who guides us as we wander through the Wilderness of TIME . life. The Sea symbolises our Holy Baptism as we enter our Life in Christ, and the Rock symbolises Christ and His Holy Church, Who nurtures us with His Life-giving Holy Mysteries.

28.

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St P e t e r & St P a ul t he Ho l y, G l o r i o us & A l l P r a i s ed L e a d e r s o f t h e Ho l y A p os t l e s o f C hr is t o ur Sa vi o ur
With what Crowns of Praise shall we crown St Peter and St Paul -the former as the spokesman of the Twelve Apostles the latter as the Holy Apostle of Christ who toiled more than the others? The month of June is always marked by the Festive Commemoration of the Holy Apostles, St Peter and St Paul, which is observed by our Church on the 29th day, and indeed, after Fasting in honour of the chief Apostles. 29 June certainly is not the day on which they suffered Holy Martyrdom. Rather, it is the day that in 258, Sixtus II, Archbishop of Rome, transferred their very Holy Relics to the Catacomb of St Sebastian in Rome. Since then, this day, as a day of common honour for both Apostles, overshadowed the day of their individual Martyrdom - and so, since ancient times, the Holy Church honours St Peter and St Paul together - not only with a common Feast Day but also with a common Fasting Period. Indeed the Fasting Period (during which eating fish is also permitted on Saturday and Sunday - according to a stricter Tradition - or on all the days of the week except Wednesday and Friday - according to a more lenient Tradition ) starts on Monday after Sunday of All Saints and ends on 28 June. However, if Holy Pascha falls on 3 May, or later, then there is no Apostles’ Fast. Our Church also honours them with Holy Icons that depict the two together, either embracing each other with Brotherly Love in Christ or holding in their hands the Holy Church - depicted as a small Byzantine Church - so as to emphasise the Unity of the Faith and the Unity of the Church, mainly consisting of two different elements: the Old Israel (the Hebrew Nation) to whom the Missionary Work of St Peter was mainly directed, and the Gentiles (the Pagans) who correspondingly were the main focus of St Paul’s Missionary Work. The two Apostles of Christ are also honoured with common churches named in honour of both of them, and with common Hymns, such as those chanted during the Vespers Service of their Feast. With what Crowns of Praise shall we crown St Peter and St Paul? What worthy words can we laud the chiefs of the Holy Apostles of Christ? What forms and ornaments of speech can we employ? What kind of poetic blossoms would we gather to dedicate to them? What can be worthy for St Peter, who, when he declared that our Lord is indeed ‘Christ the Son of the Living God!” he revealed the Unshakeable Rock upon which is founded and based the True Faith of those who are Saved – and being Saved - and thus, he himself, at the same time, became the first Rock of the Spiritual Edifice (Structure) of the Holy Church of Christ? (MATTHEW L6:16) What can stand worthy to praise “...the imprisonment in various cities and the afflictions...” of St Paul - all “...the hard work and toil, the sleeplessness, the sufferings of hunger and thirst, the cold and nakedness, the basket, the beatings with a rod, the stoning, the journeying, the death of the sea, the shipwreck...” that he endured “...so that he would win people for Christ Jesus, his Lord...” as the musings of St Andrew, Archbishop of Crete wondered? How can we praise the “Mouth of the Apostles ” who “...lifted up his voice...” in front of the gathered crowd on the Day of Pentecost – when, as many as those who heard St Peter’s First Holy Divine-Voiced Sermon “...were pricked in their hearts...” and were subsequently Baptised, for on that “... same Day these were added - three thousand souls...” to the Church of Christ? (ACTS 2:14; ACTS 2:41) How can we praise the God-Called “...Teacher of the churches...” who ...made all things to all mankind so that (he) might by all means Save them”? (1 CORINTHIANS 9:22). What can we first remember about St Peter with which to laud him? His enthusiasm? His Humility? His Saving and Redeeming Tears of Repentance after that third denial: “I do not know this Man! ”? (MATTHEW 26:75) Or, after that heartbreaking denial, his complete dedication to the God-Man, and his triple Confession of Love to
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Him, for which he heard from His Mouth the Divine Commandment: “Feed My Lambs ” and “Feed My Sheep ”? (JOHN 21:15-17). Or, his God-Wise Teaching, which is contained in his two General Epistles, or his All Holy Martyrdom for the Love of Christ in the “Eternal City,” where he irrigated with his martyred blood the newly planted Church of Rome? What can we first call to mind about St Paul with which to praise him? His Godly Zeal with which he constantly journeyed throughout the Mediterranean region, being threatened by infinite dangers, hardships and problems in order to evangelise to all its people the Salvation in Christ? Or his enduring Patience with the “...Thorn in the flesh... ” which God granted to him in order to buffet him for life? (2 CORINTHIANS 12: 7-10). Or his unwavering Courage in the presence of the Rulers of this world? Or his politeness, which made him respected even by the High Priest of the Judeans who transgressed the Law? (ACTS 23:5 - 10). Or the bottomless depth of his Humility for when he remembered the time when he had been an enemy of the Church, he referred to himself “...as one born out of due time...” (1 CORINTHIANS 15:8) St Paul also believed: “... I am the least of the Apostles, who am not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God... “ (1 CORINTHIANS 15:9). St Paul’s profound care and unquenchable interest and fatherly anxiety for the Spiritual Development of the Faithful and the support of the churches that were located at different places is so characteristically evident: “...by the space of these years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears...” (ACTS 20:31 ) As Spiritual Father to so many, St Paul was most affectionate: “...my little Children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ is formed in you...” (GALATIANS 4:19) He always felt responsible for the Spiritual and physical Welfare of his entire Holy Flock: constantly worried about everything – about “...that which comes upon me daily, the care of all churches...” (2 CORINTHIANS 21:28). His Perfect Love compelled him to ceaselessly encourage others: “...who is weak and I am not weak? Who is offended and I burn not?” (2 CORINTHIANS 21:29). His ceaseless Labours – both Spiritual and physical – kept him constantly occupied as Spiritual Father to his Holy Flock and as a humble tent maker in order to earn his living and to ensure that he could continue his Missionary Journeys without being a burden to anyone else. His financial independence was merely to serve God’s Holy Mission and not to be dependent on anyone else for his daily necessities, but he was certainly not entrapped by a love for money and possessions – and he encouraged all Disciples of Christ to follow his example: “...I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold or apparel.” (ACTS 20:33 ). Which of St Paul’s many Virtues and which of his Graces would we first remember? We usually stop at his last Sacrifice – his Holy Martyrdom the culmination of all his unceasing sacrifices for Christ throughout his life – his blood sacrifice under the sword of Nero. We go no further - respecting the greatness of such a Holy Apostle of Christ. With such facts on one hand and the writer of this Sermon not having the necessary prerequisites to express worthily the great attributes of such “Holy Luminaries of the world ” on the other - we thus turn to the Holy Hymnographers of our Church, who are able to appropriately articulate the conscience of Her Holy Body - to conclude these poor and unworthy lines, with the Idiomelon of Psalm 50 of the Orthros of the Feast of the Apostles: “Peter, the Leader of the Glorious Apostles the Rock of the Faith, and Paul Divine of the Holy Church the Orator and Luminary who stand beside the Divine Throne: Intercede for us. ”
“ST PETER & ST PAUL – WITH WHAT CROWNS OF PRAIS E?” A SERM ON BY HIS GRACE, BIS HOP JOS EPH OF A RIANZOS FROM THE ORTH ODOX MESSENGER, V. 8(7-8) HTTP://ORTHODOX WORD. WORDPR ESS. COM /2009/06/28/ STS-PETERAND-PAUL-JUNE-29/
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P RAYER IS UNDO UB TEDLY A W ORK OF G OD THAT RET URNS TO G OD . T HE S PI RIT OF P RAYER I S A G IFT THAT THE H OLY S PI RIT PLACES IN EACH OF US ,

Father George Calciu – On Prayer

Without the Will of God, we wouldn’t be able to pray even the “Our Father...” because WHEN WE START PRAY ING , THOUSANDS OF DEM ONS ASSAIL US . There were eleven children in our family, and my mother would take us to Church, but we would complain that our feet hurt from standing and we wanted to go outside. And my mom would say: “Because you are still children, you do not understand - but know that the pain of your feet is your Prayer before God.” She would also tell us this story: “In a village there was a bar where men would go to drink (at that time women would not go to bars or drink, but now they do…). “They would get drunk, swear and fight, but in the entire place there was only one demon - perhaps the weakest, for he slept on the countertop because he had no work to do. “In that same village, there was also the house of a faithful widow who had seven children, and they all prayed at night. And her house was always surrounded by a legion of demons… labouring hard...” My Brethren, you must realise that O UR CH URCHES AR E SURRO UNDED BY LEGI ONS OF DEM ONS , STRI VI NG HARD TO DEFEAT US . For where else would the demons try to accomplish their evil work? At the discos and bars, or at the casino, or other places of entertainment where they have no work to do? Of course, the evil spirits are also present in those places, but they do not have many fresh souls to conquer, while in Church, where the True Faith is preached and we all strive for True Prayer, so, too the demons surround us on all sides, striking us down where we are the most vulnerable. They temp us with doubts that our Prayer is in vain, that we have something better to do, or perhaps with thoughts that God will not hear our Prayers. However, IF WE PERSIST , THIS STATE OF DO UB TF ULN ESS WILL VANISH . When they first arrested me and I entered the Gulag, my Faith was weak... I shared the prison cell with various Politicians, Bishops, Priests and Monks – and only then I did I begin to understand that Prayer is a battle and needs great effort. From the moment we sit or kneel down to pray, many demons attack us - even at our first words of Prayer. The evil one fills our mind with many worldly thoughts -all sorts of unimportant things: a need to know the time or the weather, or any other distractions will invade our mind. All these thoughts may seem innocent, but they drown out the voice of Prayer from our heart. E LDER P ORPHYRI OS said that these thoughts that assault our mind while we’re praying are like aeroplanes that we hear from afar - like a soft noise without much disturbance - until they fly above our head and deafen us with their noise, but then they will pass on and their noise will fade away. B UT IF WE GET I NTO CONVERSATI ON WI TH S UCH THOUG HTS , THEY WILL M AKE OUR HEART AN AIRPORT – A LANDING STRIP ! I have been asked by many Faithful Disciples how to fight the thoughts that come to mind while praying. First, DON ’ T PAY ATTEN TION TO THEM . Let them pass by. Second, CALL FOR THE H ELP OF O UR L ORD AND OUR G UA RDI AN A NGEL . Thirdly, DO NOT OPEN
YOUR HEAR T TO THE CON VER SATI ON WITH EVIL THOUG HTS - because the demon is stronger than us. Then we ought to – we must - PRAY WITH PIETY AND HUM ILITY .

ACCORDING TO OUR M ORE OR LESS INT ENS E LABOUR , WHI LE ELIMINATI NG THE BARRIER RAISED BETWEEN G OD AND US . In our attempt to pray, THERE IS ALWAYS A C OMM UNION OF D IVINE W ILL WITH OUR H UM AN WILL . And WITHOUT PERSEVERAN CE AND PI ETY , THERE IS NO P RAYER .

confess the temptations that themselves had encountered, the evil thoughts, the malice… explanations given to help us with our Prayer. S T . S YM EON M ETAPHRASTES said: “What evil have I not committed? What sinful things have I not done? What form of wickedness have I not imagined in my soul? Thou know that I have gone beyond the bounds of depravity in my deeds. I have been proud, arrogant, contemptuous, blasphemous, gossiped, laughed uncontrollably. I have been drunk, gluttonous, malicious, envious, and greedy, judged others, conceded, sought praise, and been unjust, covetous, and consumed with shameful thoughts”… This is how Saint Metaphrastes was praying! W HEN I READ THESE P RAYERS BEFOR E C O NFESSI ON AND H OLY C OMM UNION , I REFLECT ON HOW M UCH I HAVE SI NNED I N M Y WHOLE LI FE : if these Saints were tempted, then how much more am I being tempted? If these Saints were speaking of committing vain talk, drunkenness, gluttony, envy and love of wealth, then how much darker are my own thoughts? S T S YM EON THE N EW T HEOLOGIAN prayed: “Lord, Thou know my many errors, Thou know my sores and Thou behold my wounds; but Thou also know my Faith, Thou behold my will and Thou hear my sighs. Nothing is hidden from Thee, O Lord, my God, my Creator and Deliverer, not a teardrop nor even part of a drop ...” And this is a great Consolation for us, because G OD DOES NOT TAKE I N TO ACCO UNT O NLY O UR P RAYER , B UT ALSO O UR L ABO URS . S ATAN IS OUTRAGED WHENEVER WE PRAY , which explains why we are so maliciously attacked when we pray. T HERE IS AN ARM Y OF DEM ONS THAT TRY TO I NFLICT US WITH M ANY DESPI CABLE THO UGHTS that may not seem of a great harm, but are ENO UGH TO INTERF ERE AND SEPARATE US F ROM G OD : worldly thoughts, memories that alter our Peace, all sorts of unimportant things that imprison our mind. When we have prepared our heart and have emptied our mind of all daily cares – which, however, we cannot vanquish completely – WE M US T BE WAT CHF UL to see how the demons will strike. A T THAT M OM ENT , THE A NGEL OF P RAYER WHO WATCHES OVE R US WILL HELP US “...from the right ..” while the demons will strike “...from the left ...” by trying to distract us from Prayer so we may lose our connection with God. However, THE A NGEL OF P RAYER WI LL PLACE IN OUR influences and make a pure Prayer. F ATHER R OM AN B RAGA taught us: “...when you sit down to pray, you ought to empty your mind of all images, and during Prayer not to reflect ( on them) so that God may place in your emptied mind His Holy Spirit, filling you with His Presence.” I had tried to follow this Instruction – to empty my mind of all images, of anything that connects me to this material world, but I did not always succeed. There are moments when I can raise myself above these images, but THESE M OM ENTS DO NOT LAST VERY LO NG BECA USE OF M Y WEAKNESS . So I believe that BEI NG M ADE OF FLESH AND SPI RIT HAVI NG A M ATERIAL BODY AND AN EARTHY M I ND WE NEED PRACTICE . W E NEED TO CONN ECT THE Icon, which is the first step to helping us to elevate our spirit, for IT IS GOOD I F WE HAVE AN I CON IN FRONT OF US ON WHICH TO FOC US O UR AT TENTI ON – to make Christ – or a Saint - our link with Almighty God. We can then reflect on the Great Wonders they have done, the help and guidance they have offered us in various circumstances, and WE CAN THEN FEEL THEI R PR ESEN CE IN O UR SO UL – A ND I N THIS WAY WE ACHIEVE THE SE COND S TAGE OF P RAYER . T HE THI RD STAG E OF P RAYER IS WHEN THESE
WORLDLY IM AGES NO LONGER WORK IN OUR M IND AND EVERYTHING COM ES FROM G OD , W HO FILLS THE EM PTY SPACE I N OUR SO UL WITH H IS D IVINE P RESEN CE . RATI ONAL OR THE IM AGI NATIVE PART OF BEI NG WITH WHAT WE CAN S EE - such as an OUR HEART UNDIST URBED THO UGHTS AND WILL AI D OUR MIND – its rational part - so we may oppose all evil

While reading the Prayers of Confession and Holy Communion written by St John Chrysostom, St. Symeon the New Theologian and other great Saints of our Church whom we seek as models for our Life in Christ, we see how these Holy Church Fathers

http://orthodoxword.wordpress.com/category/orthodoxsaints-and-church-fathers/father-george-calciu/

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Greek Or th od ox Patriar chate of A le xandria & All Afr ica
AL L G LORY, HONO UR AN D WORSHIP T O THE FA THE R, AN D TO THE SO N, AN D TO THE HO LY SPIRIT, NOW A ND FOREVE R, AND U NTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN RE MEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY , MOST PURE, MOS T B LESS ED AND G LORIOUS LADY , MARY , THE OTO KOS YE T E VE R VIRGIN , TOGETHER WITH AL L THE SAINTS. A ND LET US COMMIT OURSE LVE S AND O N E ANOTHER AN D OUR WHO LE LIFE TO CHRIS T OUR GOD . AME N.

30 June 2014 Synaxis of the Holy Apostles of Christ: St Simon, who is called St Peter, and St Andrew his brother; St James the son of Zebedee, and St John his brother; St Philip and St Bartholomew; St Thomas and St Matthew the Tax Collector; St James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was St Thaddaeus; St Simon the Canaanite, and St Matthias
ALSO THE FEAST OF ST PETER, PRINCE OF O RDINSK, ROS TOV – ST SOPH RON IOS OF IR KUTSK – ST GE LAS IOS, IG UME N OF RI ME T M ONASTE RY, TRANSYLVA NIA – ST DIN AR, HOLY Q UE E N OF GE ORG IA

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ton Apostolon Protothroni, ke tis Ikoumenis Didaskali, to Despoti ton olon Presvefsate, Irinin ti ikoumeni dorisasthe, ke tes psihes imon to Mega Eleos. .
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Among

the Apostles the loftiest, and Teachers of the Universe, intercede, O Peter and Paul, with the Master of us all, peace to all the world to grant, and to our souls, the Great Mercy

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Agii, presvefsate to eleimoni Theo, ptesmaton afesin, paraskhi tes psihes imon
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Holy Apostles, intercede with our Merciful God to grant our souls forgiveness of sins! 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.

The First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthian 4 : 9 – 16
THE POWER
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Prokeimenon

voice is gone out into all the Earth. Heavens declare the Glory of God.
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Brethren: I think that God has displayed us, the Apostles, last – as men condemned to death – for we have been made a spectacle to the world – both to Angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonoured! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labour, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we Bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the off-scouring of all things until now. I do not write these things to shame you, but as my Beloved Children I warn you. For although you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many Fathers – for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. Therefore, I urge you: imitate me.
OUR LO

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 9 : 36 – 10 : 8
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At that time when our Lord Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved to compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. And when He had called His Twelve Disciples to Him, He gave them Power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the Twelve Apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the Tax Collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. These Twelve Jesus sent out and Commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter the city of the Samaritans. But go rather 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…” In his human Nature C HRIST UNDERSTANDS WH AT IT MEANS ] O UR L ORD J ESUS C HRIST DOES NOT S EE P EOPLE AS
SINNERS TO BE CONDEMN ED , BUT RATHER AS L OST S HEEP TO BE FOUND AND B ROUGHT SAF ELY HOME . His Compassion means that HE SUFFERS WITH AND FO R ALL THOSE WHO ARE S P IRITU ALLY L OST . FOR US HUMAN BEINGS TO BE L OST AND E XIL ED FRO M THE D IVIN E P RES ENCE AND G RAC E OF H IS H EAVENLY F ATHER . H E ALWAYS SHARES OUR S P IRITUAL AND PHYSIC AL SUFFERING BECAUS E OF H IS I NF INIT E L OVE FOR US .

SYNAXIS OF THE TWELVE HOLY APOSTLES OF CHRIST

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] T HE IMAG ERY OF BEING “... LIKE S HEEP HAVING NO S HEPHERD ...” is drawn from the Old Testament and is an

accusation against Jewish Leaders who - although charged by God with the Sacred Duty of being Spiritual Shepherds of His Holy Flock – His Chosen People - acted like ravenous wolves instead: N U M B E R S : 2 7 : 1 6 - 1 7 : “Let the Lord - the God of the spirits of all flesh - appoint someone over the Congregation, who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, so that the Congregation of the Lord may not be like Sheep without a Shepherd.” 1 K I N G S 2 2 : 1 7 : “... Micah said: ‘I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep that have no shepherd; and the Lord said, ‘These have no Master; let each one go home in Peace.’” E Z E K I E L 3 4 : 5 : “So they were scattered, because there was no Shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the Wild Animals.”

] T HE D ISCIPL ES ’ M ISSION - LIKE TH AT OF OUR L ORD J ESUS C HRIST - W AS TO P REAC H AND TO H EAL . O UR L ORD SENT THEM ONLY TO THE H EB REWS - who were the initial focus of His earthly Ministry - and SO THAT , AFT ER THE R ESURREC TION , THEY COULD NOT BLAME TH E D ISCIPLES for “...going to uncircumcised men” – ] O UR L ORD J ESUS C HRIS T CAREFULLY PREPARED H IS D ISCIPLES by instructing them: To BE SINGL E - MINDED AND FOCUSSED UPON TH E S ACRED M ISSION G OD ’ S P OWER IS FREELY B ESTOWED UPON H IS F AITHFUL D ISCIPLES – WHATEVER WE ACCOMPL ISH IS A D IVIN E G IFT FROM A LMIGHT Y G OD – AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH OU R O WN PO WERLESS HU MAN AB ILITIES .
THEIR NEEDS - TO D EPEND ON D IVINE P ROVIDENC E AND TO P REVENT ANY ACCUSATIONS OF GREED O R SELFISHN ESS . G OD FREES US FRO M WO RRY ING ABOUT WO RLDLY MAT TERS SO THAT WE CAN CONCENT RATE ON P REAC HING H IS D IVIN E W ORD AND / OR FULFILLING OUR O WN P ERSON AL S ACRED M ISSION .

The names of the Twelve Apostles - not exactly the same in all the New Testament lists - are arranged in pairs, which gives an interesting impression of who may have travelled with whom on this - the Apostles’ First - Missionary Journey, since St Mark wrote that they were sent out two by two.

meaning the Gentiles. [ACTS 11:3]

] T HE

The Greek word for “Disciple” means “learner” or “student ” and “Apostle” means “one officially sent on a Mission.” ] JESUS C HRIS T P ERFO RMED M IRACLES BY H IS O WN

TERMS “ A POSTLES ” AND “ D ISCIPLES ” ARE INTERCHANGEABLE WO RDS FOR TH E T WEL VE CLOSES T AND MOST F AITHFUL F OLLOWERS OF OUR L ORD J ESUS C HRIST .

He instructed them not to carry any money or provisions so that they would LEARN TO DEP END ON G OD FOR ALL

St Matthew and St Luke added to the Gospel of St Mark concerning the Power to heal all types of ailments and diseases. Often we hear people say: “I’m spiritual but not religious...” which most people have a general understanding of. I usually assume that they hold to a number of ideas that are considered “spiritual” in our culture, but that they are not particularly interested in “organized religion.” I understand this, because organized religion can often be the bane of Spiritual Existence. I am an Orthodox Christian – which is not the same as having an interest in “organized religion,” much about which I dislike in the extreme, and its shadow I occasionally see seeping into my experience within Orthodoxy. But I repeat unashamedly that I am an Orthodox Christian and admit that one clear reason is that I am not very “spiritual.” Without the Life of the Church and its Tradition, I could easily drift into a shapeless secularism – living a mediocre existence, marking time until my time is done. The shapeless contours of spirituality often reflect nothing more than the ego within. How can I escape the confines of my own imagination? It is, of course, possible to ignore the question of the ego’s input and be satisfied with whatever we find comfortable as our “spirituality.” But, as noted above, I do not think I am an inherently “spiritual” man. The Church is Spiritual – indeed it is far more Spiritual than “organized.” It is standing in the midst of the Holy (whether I am aware of it or not) and yielding myself to that Reality that largely constitute my daily “Spirituality.” I pray and when something catches my heart, I stop and stay there for a while. In earlier years of my life, as an Anglican, I learnt about a Liturgical phenomenon known as the “guilty secret,” which referred to the extreme familiarity that grows up between Priest and “Holy Things” that easily become commonplace and their treatment dangerously flippant. More dangerous still, is the growing sense of absence in the heart of a Priest as “the Holy” becomes commonplace and even just “common.” Of course the things that God has marked as “Holy” are just “common.” A Chalice is Holy although it is only silver or gold (“common” material). God uses such common things in the giving of Grace. The “guilty secret” can afflict anyone. It’s the old phrase, “Familiarity breeds contempt .” It is particularly dangerous on account of our secular culture, which holds most things in equal contempt. Things are only things within our culture, and any value they may have is imputed and not inherent. This same problem holds true with “spirituality” itself. Words easily revert to mere words; actions to mere actions; ideas to wispy drifts of nothing.

D IVIN E P O WER WHEREAS THE A POSTL ES WERE G IVEN P OWER TO DO W ONDERFUL D EEDS THROUGH C HRIST B Y THE H OLY S PIRIT W HO MAK ES ALL THINGS POSSIBLE FO R US .

Spiritual But Not Religious

Secularism breeds atheism. The guilty secret that stalks us all is nothing more than the suspicious voice of secularism whispering, “There’s nothing and nobody there.” The Life we are called to live as Christians is not one long argument with the voice of secularism. The voice of secularism is not the sound of our own doubt, but the voice of the evil one who has always been a liar. The essential question for us is clearly stated by St. John: “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who Confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the Flesh is of God, and every spirit who does not Confess that Jesus Christ has come in the Flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (1JOHN 4:23) It is the question of Christ’s Incarnation – but, in turn, it is also the question: “Is the flesh capable of bearing the Spirit?” Do we live in a world that is capable of God? There are many, who have partaken of a semi-gnostic spirit within modern secularism, who are not comfortable with Spirit-bearing material. Christ is Someone Whom we have fenced off, demarcated as a Unique Event such that He alone bears Spirit. He is the God Who became Incarnate in a world that was, by nature, secular. His Incarnation would thus be a Sign that does not confirm the world in any way, but by its very coming condemns all flesh. This, according to St. John, is the spirit of the Antichrist. It is as though the evil one had said, “Fine. Take the flesh of this child born of Mary, but everything else is mine, and tends towards nothing.” The Incarnate Christ is not only God with us, but reveals the True Reason for all Creation. “Heaven and earth are full of Thy Glory.” Nothing is merely anything. Everything bears the Glory of God. Thus my “Spirituality” is to learn how to live in a material world that is everywhere more than I can see or know. For such a Life I need a Guide. Without a Guide I am left to the devices of my own imagination. My parents were not raised in such a situation. They were not Teachers in this matter. It is the Life of the Church, the Way of Knowledge that is the Lives of the Saints that teaches me how to Live. They help me eat (or not eat) in a manner that reveals God. They teach me to read, to honour Icons, to forgive enemies, to hold Creation in its proper, God-given place. I am an Orthodox Christian. Who else remembers how to Live in the world, holding that Christ is come in the Flesh?
HTTP://GLORY2GODFORALLTHINGS.COM/PAGE/10/

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