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Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa

Archdiocese of Good Hope


ALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE
AGES OF AGES. AMEN.
REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARIA, BIRTH GIVER OF GOD, YET EVER
VIRGIN, TOGETHER WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST
OUR GOD. AMEN.

2 February 2010

The Presentation/Meeting of our Lord & Saviour, Jesus Christ


APOLYTIKION OF THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST: TONE 1:
1

Here Keharitomeni Theotoke Parthene; ek sou gar anetilen O Rejoice, O Full of Grace, Virgin Theotokos, because from
Illios tis dikeosinis, Hristo O Theos imon, fotizon tous en Thee has risen the Only Sun of Justice: Christ our
skoti. Efrenou ke si Presvita dikee, dexamenos en Angales God, Lighting those in darkness. Rejoice as well, O
ton eleftherotin ton psihon imon, harisomenon imin ke tin Elder Righteous, having held in thine arms the
Anastasin. Liberator of our souls, Who grants also Resurrection
to us.
KONTAKION OF THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST - - TONE 1

O Mitran Parthenikin Agiasas to toko Sou, ke hiras tou Thy Birth Sanctified a Virgin’s Womb and properly
Symeon evlogisas os eprepe, profthasas ke nin esosas Blessed the hands of Symeon. Having now come and
imas Hriste O Theos. All’ irinefson en polemis to Saved us O Christ, our God, give Peace to Thy
politevma, ke krateoson Vasilis ous igapisas, O monos Commonwealth in troubled times and strengthen
filanthropos those in authority, whom Thou Love, as the Only
Lover of mankind.
Matins Gospel According to St Luke 2 : 22 – 40
THE SONG OF ST SYMEON THE RIGHTEOUS ELDER

Behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Symeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the
Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he
would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
So he came by the Holy Spirit into the Temple, and when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to
the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and Blessed God and said: “O Lord, now Thou art letting Thy
servant depart in Peace according to Thy Word; for my eyes have seen Thy Salvation, which Thou hast prepared
before the face of all peoples: a Light to bring Revelation to the Gentiles, and the Glory of Thy People, Israel.”
St Symeon was one of the Seventy learned scholars who were However, the Holy Spirit informed him that it was truly to be a
especially chosen to translate all the Sacred Scriptures Virgin who would give Birth to our Saviour – the Messiah –
from Hebrew into Hellenistic Greek, which was the the Consolation of Israel.
language of the known world at the time, because the To prove the Truth of His Words, God kept St Symeon alive
Hebrew nation had almost lost the ability to read or speak until the day he personally witnessed the Presentation of
Hebrew. Lord Jesus Christ as a 40 day old Infant.
This precise translation of the ancient Hebrew Scripture is His words of intense gratitude and relief are repeated at every
known as the “Septuagint” – LXX - and was begun in the Vespers Service.
third century before Christ and was completed circa 132 After having Presented the Infant Christ to God at the Temple
BC. according to the Mosaic Law, St Symeon reposed in the
This is Old Covenant Holy Scripture that Christ and His Lord at the very advanced age of approximately 325
Apostles knew, used and quoted – and it is still the Holy years!!
Scripture of the Eastern Orthodox Church – according the St Symeon knew all about the Ever Blessed Theotokos,
Greek Rite – i.e. the Greek Orthodox Church, which was having watched her grow up in the Holy Temple and
the original Christian Church that began on the Day of knowing the special circumstances of her situation and
Pentecost, at the Descent of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, commitment to the Glory, Honour and Worship of God
when the many great Divine Gifts were bestowed upon through her absolute Humility and Obedience.
Christ’s Faithful Apostles and Disciples. To those who might scoff at these facts of Divine Truth, let us
St Symeon has been given the task of translating the Book of remind them:
Isaiah and when he came across the word “Virgin,” he ❃ WITH GOD ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE AND EVERYTHING IS
presumed it to be an error and was about to change it to ACCORDING TO HIS DIVINE WILL AND PURPOSE!
“young woman.”
The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 7 : 7 – 17
THE RULES OF THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD

Brethren: here mortal men receive Tithes, but There He receives them, of Whom it is witnessed that He lives. Even Levi,
who receives Tithes, paid Tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when
Melchizedek met him.
Therefore, if Perfection were through the Levitical Priesthood (for under it the people received the Law,) what further need
was there that another Priest should rise according to the Order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the
Order of Aaron?
For the Priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the Law. For He of Whom these Things are spoken
belongs to another Tribe, from which no man has officiated at the Altar.
For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which Tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning Prieshood. And it is yet
far more evident, if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another Priest Who has come, not according to the law
of a fleshly commandment, but according to the Power of an endless Life.
For He testifies: “Thou art a Priest forever according to the Order of Melchizedek.”
Persecuted Christians were encouraged NOT TO APOSTASISE BY RENOUNCING ANY ASPECT OF THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN
TO JUDAISM because the founding Father of CHRIST’S FAITH – I.E. BY COMMITTING APOSTASY – WE RENOUNCE
HOLY PRIESTHOOD, Melchizedek, IS SUPERIOR TO THE CHRIST HIMSELF!
HAVING VOWED SACRED ALLEGIANCE TO CHRIST – THE NEW
OLD COVENANT PRIESTHOOD OF LEVI.
COVENANT WITH GOD – WE CANNOT RETURN TO OUR OLD
WAYS –WE CANNOT RETURN TO THE OLD COVENANT
EITHER!

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THAT WOULD BE A DENIAL OF OUR CHRISTIANITY! In addition to financial and material support of the Holy Church
The importance of the Tithe was due to the desire to enter into of Christ, WE MUST ENSURE THAT WE GIVE AS MUCH OF
the ministrations of a Priesthood being fulfilled when such OUR PRECIOUS PERSONAL TIME AS POSSIBLE TO SERVE
Liturgical Offerings were made. GOD IN OUR DAILY LIVES AND IN CORPORATE –
Throughout the Old Covenant, Hebrews showed their COMMUNAL – WORSHIP AS WELL.
continuing desire for God’s Divine Priesthood by The tithing standpoint in the Orthodox Church is further
continuing to give a tenth of all they received. covered by the Forty- day Fast during Great Lent during
ACCORDING TO THE NEW COVENANT, MONETARY TITHING IS which the money saved by eating much less is granted to
UNNECESSARY because FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST the poor.
FREELY SHARE ALL THEIR BLESSINGS with others who are THESE ASPECTS ARE ALL ESSENTIAL TO BEING FAITHFUL
less fortunate than themselves and THEY SUPPORT THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST – to do otherwise means that we are
HOLY PRIESTHOOD IN THEIR ENDEAVOURS AND neither committed to God nor do we care for the Spiritual
ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS WITHOUT HESITATION. Welfare of others or ourselves.
This is according to the Teaching and Commandments of our The Sacred Rules of Christ’s Holy Priesthood are also
Lord Jesus Christ Who told us to GIVE TO OTHERS AS superior to the Old Covenant Priesthood and Eternally
FREELY AS WE OURSELVES FREELY AND ABUNDANTLY effective.
RECEIVE FROM GOD. Priesthood is so intertwined with a Covenant that is the
Furthermore, A CHRISTIAN’S GENEROSITY IS A REFLECTION Priesthood is changed in any manner at all, so is the
AND EXPRESSION OF LOVE FOR GOD AND FELLOW Covenant – and THE NEW COVENANT IS ETERNAL AND
MANKIND. UNCHANGING – JUST LIKE THE HOLY TRINITY!

The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 2 : 22 – 40


OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS PRESENTED TO GOD – ACCORDING TO THE LAW - AT HIS HOLY TEMPLE
TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM

At that time, when the days of Mary’s purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, they brought the Child
to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord: “Every male who opens the womb shall
be called Holy to the Lord...”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord: “... a pair of
turtledoves or two young pigeons...”
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Symeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the
Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he
would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
So he came by the Holy Spirit into the Temple, and when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to
the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and Blessed God and said: “O Lord, now Thou art letting Thy
servant depart in Peace according to Thy Word; for my eyes have seen Thy Salvation, which Thou hast prepared
before the face of all peoples: a Light to bring Revelation to the Gentiles, and the Glory of Thy People, Israel.”
And Joseph and His Mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him.
Then Simon blessed them, and said to Mary, His Mother: “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in
Israel, and for a Sign that will be spoken against, (yes, a sword will pierce through thine own soul also), so that the
thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Now there was one, Hannah, a Prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the Tribe of Asher. She was of great age, and had
lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty6four years, who did
not depart from the Temple, but served God with Fastings and Prayers night and day. And coming in that instant, she
gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for Redemption in Jerusalem.
So when they had performed all things according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city,
Nazareth.
And the Child grew and became strong in Spirit, filled with Wisdom; and the Grace of God was upon Him.
The Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, being absolutely Obedient to 90:16, in which GOD MAKES A PROMISE TO THE ONE WHO
God in all things, had completed everything that was LOVES HIM: “With length of days I will satisfy him, and
required of her according to the Purification Rites of the show him My Salvation.” (PSALM 90:16)
Old Covenant Law, after which both she and her Our Hymns of the Feast of the Presentation of Christ
Righteous Guardian, St Joseph the Betrothed, took the COMPARE ST SYMEON’S RECEPTION OF CHRIST TO ST
Infant 40 day old Christ to the Holy Temple to be ISAIAH’S RECEPTION OF THE BURNING COAL FROM THE
Presented to God. ANGEL:
ISAIAH 6: 6 – 7: “... one of the Seraphim was sent to me. He had
There were specific requirements for sacrificial offerings for
every different occasion and circumstance, and being less a live coal in his hand, which he took with tongs from the
wealthy than others, St Joseph and the All Holy Theotokos Altar. He touched my mouth, and said: ‘Behold, this has
offered either “a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons.” touched your lips. Your lawlessness is taken away, and
LEVITICUS 12 2 – 8: “...If a woman conceived and bore a male child,
your sin in cleansed.’”
IN BOTH CASES, A PROPHET RECEIVES THE LIFE-GIVING FIRE
she shall be unclean seven days; she shall be unclean as OF THE OFFERING – ST ISAIAH RECEIVED THE TYPE, WHILE
in the days of her menstrual isolation. Then on the eight ST SYMEON RECEIVED THE FULFILMENT.
day, the flesh of (a son’s) foreskin shall be circumcised. The Canticle of St Symeon is chanted daily at Vespers.
She will continue in the blood of her uncleanness thirty- Since Salvation has been born into the world, all peoples – all
three days. She is not to touch any Hallowed Thing, nor humanity – can embrace death (without fear), for
come into the Sanctuary, until the days of her Purification CHRISTIAN DEATH OR REPOSE IN CHRIST IS NO LONGER
are fulfilled... When the days of her Purification are FRIGHTFUL BUT IS INSTEAD A GATEWAY TO ETERNAL
fulfilled, whether for a son or daughter, she is to bring to PEACE. (PHILIPPIANS 1:23)
the Priest a lamb of the first year as a whole burnt offering, St Hannah the Prophetess had been widowed very early in
and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the life and had dedicated herself to the Lord by serving Him
door of the Tabernacle of Testimony. Then (the Priest) faithfully in His Holy Temple.
shall bring it before the Lord and make Atonement for her, She, too, would have been well acquainted with the Ever
and it will cleanse her from her flow of blood. This is the Blessed Virgin Mary, no doubt having guided and nurtured
Law for her who bore a male or female. But if she is the young virgins who had been dedicated to God and
unable to afford a lamb, she may bring two who lived at the Temple until puberty.
turtledoves or two young pigeons – one as a whole Being so devout and pious, she was granted the Divine Gift of
burnt offering and the other as a sin offering. So the Prophesy and she immediately recognised the Infant as
Priest shall make Atonement for her and she will be being the long-awaited Messiah.
clean.” St Hannah proclaimed the Good Tidings of the Coming of the
ST SYMEON REPRESENTED ALL HUMANITY WHO AWAITED Messiah to all who had ears to hear.
“THE CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL” and he fulfilled Psalm

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The Presentation of our Lord & Saviour at the Temple
Today we celebrate the Great Feast of the Presentation Only then is he prepared to make the effort to return to
(or Meeting) of our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus his loving father’s care and protection.
Christ, in the Temple, as we prepare for the Great In his newfound Humility, he was willing to return under
and Holy Lenten Fast, keeping in mind this week, any circumstances to that loving care of his father 6
Sunday’s Parable of the Prodigal Son. even if it meant giving up his relationship to his
During the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord, our father and being treated like an employee instead of
Holy Church blesses candles and votive lamps in a beloved son.
honour of our Lord being revealed to us as the True Nevertheless, his overjoyed father, in his abundant love
Light of the world through the fulfilment of the for his son, ordered a feast to be held in his honour
requirements of Mosaic Law of the Old Covenant since he had been saved from his recent debauched,
with God. and decadent life that had caused him Spiritual
That Sacred Law required the firstborn male infant of a Death and alienation from all that was good.
family to be presented at the Temple in Jerusalem as It is an example of the amazing parental patience and
well as either a young lamb and pigeon or turtledove, love for a wilful child who fails to do what is right
or two turtledoves or two young pigeons to be and it is also an example of God’s infinite Patience
offered to God for the forgiveness of sins. and unceasing, unconditional Love for us even when
When our Lord Jesus was presented at the Temple, the we have sinned.
very old St Symeon the God6bearer took the 40 day God is always there for us, ready to embrace us when we
old Infant in his arms and thus fulfilled a Divine return to Him in Repentance.
Prophecy that was made to him by an Angel of God “He who has no patience with us when we sin does not
who told him so many years previously that he would Love us... Patience, forgiveness and joy are the
live to see the Christ of God – the Messiah 6 before three greatest characteristics of Divine Love…
Without these three characteristics Love is not Love.
his death. This Prophecy was made to him as one of
If you refer to anything else as ‘love’ it will be like
the faithful, trusted and erudite translators of the calling a goat or a pig a ‘sheep.’” ST NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC
Septuagint, which is the translation of Hebrew The father of the Parable had two sons: one who asked
Scripture into Hellenistic Greek for the Hellenized for his inheritance and the other who stayed with
Hebrews who lived in Alexandria more than 200 him.
years before Christ. These two sons are examples of the Spiritual Man and
St Symeon had been assigned the translation of a portion the Fleshly Man. This is the same dual nature that
of the Prophecy of Isaiah and when he came to the exists in every human being!
words of the Prophecy: “Behold a VIRGIN shall be Our Spiritual Nature urges us to live according to God’s
with child and bear a Son, and shall call His Name
Commandments 6 by the “law of the mind” 6 while
Emmanuel,” he debated with himself that it was
the Fleshly Nature demands to live according to the
impossible for a virgin to conceive a child so it must
law of the flesh – our physical demands. (ROMANS 7:22- 7:22-23)
have been an error in the original text 6 not fully
Our Spiritual Nature cannot live apart from God while
appreciating the Divine Truth that ALL THINGS ARE
our Fleshly Nature – by its selfish demands 6
POSSIBLE WITH GOD.
alienates us from God.
So he decided to change the word “virgin” to “young
The elder son remained with his father, which shows us
woman” in his translation to make it more believable
that our Spiritual Nature is older and more mature
and acceptable in his own mind.
than our immature, self6centred fleshly nature.
However, an Angel of God appeared before him and
In the Book of Genesis, we learn that God first said: “Let
spoke to his heart, compelling him to change the
Us make man in Our Image.” (GENESIS 1:26).
term “young woman” back to the original “Virgin.”
(ISAIAH 7:14) This Image of God is Spiritual.
As a result of St Symeon’s sceptism regarding a Virgin After saying this, God created man’s fleshly body from
Birth, God promised him that he would not die until clay or earth. (GENESIS 2:7)
he saw the Christ 6 the One promised by this Divine The body created from earth is not sinful in nature.
Prophecy – for himself. However, it is through the flesh created from earth
That is the reason for his joyful and thankful that man is led into sin.
exclamation when our Lord Jesus was presented at The youngest son asked for his portion of the
the Temple – the Joyous Proclamation that is inheritance and therefore raises an important
repeated at every Vespers Service : “O Lord, now let question for us: “What is ours?”
Thy servant depart in Peace, according to Thy God created all of Creation and it is entirely His.
Word; for my eyes have seen Thy Salvation, which When we live in God’s Presence according to His Laws, all
Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: that is His is ours as well.
a Light to Enlighten the Gentiles and the Glory of
Our Lord illustrated this when He said: “All things that
Thy People, Israel!” (LUKE 2:29-32)
the Father has are mine.” (JOHN 16:15)
Through this Holy Feast, we see how God unfailingly
This young man separated or alienated himself from his
fulfils His Promises to mankind for their Salvation.
father or sinned against his father when he asked for
We see this same fulfilment of our Salvation in the
his portion of the Inheritance because he wanted that
Lenten Preparatory Parable of the Prodigal Son.
which was not his at the time.
The Sacred Lesson of the Prodigal Son is one with which
The best we can ever hope for – or deserve to have 6 in
we are all familiar: a younger, inexperienced son
our lives is the same as that with which we came into
wants his inheritance even before his father’s death.
the world.
As soon as he is granted it, he immediately sets off for a
As it says in our Funeral Service: “Earth you are, and
distant, foreign land where he soon squanders his
unto earth shall you return.”
entire inheritance.
However, God does not leave us naked when we sin or
When he is completely destitute and desperate, he
separate ourselves from Him.
becomes humble and appreciative of all his former
God’s Love and Compassion for us was clearly evident
Blessings.
when Adam was expelled from Paradise. God did not

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send Adam and Eve away naked but clothed them in rejoiced and celebrated his beloved son’s
the skins of animals. (GENESIS
(GENESIS 3:21) homecoming with a great feast.
The young man wasted his days with riotous living in a The happy father ordered his servants to dress his son
“far country.” in the best robe and to place a ring upon his finger,
All those of us who alienate ourselves from God through denoting his reinstatement as his son and heir.
our wilful, unrepented sins, waste our days in a “far The best robe is symbolic of our Holy Baptism when we
country” – far away from the Goodness of God 6 as “... put on Christ.”
King David the Psalmist wrote: “Therefore their days Furthermore, our Repentance6Confession is a renewal of
did he consume in vanity...” (PSALM 77/78:33) our Holy Baptism – a renewal of our putting on
During his dissipation, the young man became like a Christ because it is our Spiritual Restoration each
plant that had been severed from its roots: without time we do so – returning from Spiritual Death
roots a plant quickly uses up its resources and through our sins to Spiritual Life through our
withers and dies. Repentance6Confession.
In a very short time he was left without any resources at “As many as have been Baptised into Christ, have put
all, and suffered the pangs of Spiritual Death. on Christ.” (GALATIANS
(GALATIANS 3:27)

The same happens to us when we turn away from God. During the festivities of the homecoming celebration, the
Unless we are as fortunate as the Prodigal Son and come elder, mature brother returns from working in his
to our senses before it is too late, we will realise that father’s fields.
we are Spiritually Bankrupt and suffering a Spiritual He was understandably upset and offended that his
Death! wayward brother’s return deserved such a great
At first the destitute young man, not wanting to celebration since he was the one who remained with
surrender his so6called “freedom,” tried to remedy his father and continued working for him. He even
his circumstances by going to work for another man mentioned the fact that his father had never
– feeding his herds of pigs. celebrated or feasted with him and his friends.
But as he worked in the fetid conditions, his hunger6 Nevertheless, his devoted father tried to console him by
pangs overwhelmed him. Envying the herds for their explaining the enormity of the occasion: “My son,
meagre rations, he suddenly grasped the reality of your brother, was dead and is alive again! He was lost
his life. but now is found!”
This further illustrates the degree of corruption he had When the elder son stubbornly refused to participate in
sustained for he would even have partaken of that the celebrations, the father tried to persuade him to
which is devoid of any nourishment or benefit, join them by reminding him: “You are always with
rather than end his miserable enslavement. me, and all that I have is yours.”
Only through living with God and following His These are words of comfort and instruction to the
Directions and Communing with Him are we Righteous, assuring them that everything comes
Spiritually Nourished and benefitted. from the Father.
King David described the wretched circumstances of the We are reminded of what our Lord told us when He said:
Prodigal Son: “The enemy has persecuted my soul; “All things that the Father has are Mine.. ” and
he has smitten my life down to the pit; he has laid because we are co6Heirs with Christ to God’s
me in the darkness, like men who have been long Kingdom by adoption through our Holy Baptism, we
dead.” (PSALM 142/143:3)
too will Inherit Everlasting Life. (JOHN 16:15)
At last his desperation brought the young man to
So, my dear Brethren in Christ, we see how God keeps
Repentance and “...he came to himself” as our
His Promises of our Salvation just as He did for the
Blessed Father Theophylact described the transition
Righteous St Symeon the God6bearer and through
that occurred in him.
the Repentance of the Prodigal Son.
The young man changed his mind 6 he completely
My Prayer for each of you is that you may see your own
changed the way he thought and his whole attitude!
Salvation through the realisation and
He finally acknowledged his dependence upon his loving
acknowledgement of your separation from God
father and made the decision to return to him.
through sin, and by completely changing your mind,
He recognised and humbly admitted the error of his
your attitude and by repenting your sins, that all that
ways that caused such a terrible separation from all
is God’s might be yours just as our Lord Jesus Christ
that was truly good in his life.
promised us. Amen.
He was more than willing to accept the consequences of EDITED & ADAPTED BY MP: “THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD & SAVIOUR AT THE TEMPLE”
his actions and made his heartfelt confession: “I - BY FATHER MILAN MEDAKOVIC - THE SAINT
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN RESOURCES
SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS OUTREACH-
FOR MENTAL
OUTREACH-
HEALTH –
have sinned against Heaven and before you and www.saintgregoryoutreach.org

am no longer worthy to be called your son!”


This is how we, too, should approach our own personal
Repentance when we go for Confession. FAITH is the Foundation of the Holy Church.
For it was not of the person, but of THE FAITH of St
His father was loving and compassionate father. He was
Peter of which it was said: ‘... the gates of Hell shall
very patient with his impulsive young son.
not prevail:’ certainly, it is THE CONFESSION OF
The image of the Prodigal’s father is the same as that of FAITH that has vanquished the powers of Hell.
our True Father Who is in Heaven – our Lord God JESUS CHRIST IS THE ROCK.
Himself. He did not deny THE GRACE OF HIS NAME to St Peter
When we repent like this young man repented, our Lord because he borrowed the constancy and solidity of
Jesus Christ told us: “There is Joy in the presence his Faith from the Rock – ‘... thy Rock is thy Faith,
of the Angels of God over every sinner who and Faith is the Foundation of the Church. If thou
repents.” (LUKE 15:7-
15:7-10) art a Rock, thou shalt be in the Church, for the
St James the Holy Apostle of Christ described the results Church is built upon the Rock ... THE PROFESSION
of Repentance: “Draw near to God, and He will OF FAITH IS CHRIST JESUS.’
ST AMBROSE
draw near to you.” (JAMES 4:8)
When the Prodigal Son returned to his patiently waiting
father in Repentance and Humility, his father

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Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
ALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN.
REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARIA, BIRTH GIVER OF GOD, YET EVER VIRGIN, TOGETHER
WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST OUR GOD. AMEN.

6 February 2010
Saturday of the Souls

Feast of St Photios the Great of Constantinople – Equal to the Apostles; St Bukolos


of Smyrna; St Barsonuphios & St John of Egypt; St Theodosios of Chernigov;
St Vedast of Arras

APOLYTIKION OF THE SOULS

O vathi sofias filanthropos panta ikonomon, ke to O Thou Who with profound Wisdom and Love for mankind,
simferon pasin aponemon, mone Dimiourge, order all things, and grant to all what is to their profit,
anapafson Kyrie, tas psihas ton doulon Sou; en si gar Only Creator: grant rest, O Lord, to the souls of Thy
tin elpida anethento, to Piiti ke Plasti ke Theo imon. servants; for they set their every hope in Thee, the Maker
and Creator and God of us all.
KONTAKION OF SATURDAY OF THE SOULS – TONE (8) PLAGAL 4

Meta ton Agion anapafson, Hriste, tas psihas ton doulon Give rest, O Christ, among the Saints to the souls of Your
Sou, entha ouk esti ponos, ou lipi, ou stenagmos, alla servants, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no grieving,
zoi atelevtitos. but life everlasting.
The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 7 : 26 – 8 : 2
CHRIST OUR ONLY HIGH PRIEST & THE ETERNAL PRIESTHOOD OF THE NEW COVENANT

Brethren: such a High Priest was fitting for us, Who is Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and Who has
become higher than the heavens; Who does not need daily – as those High Priests – to offer up sacrifices, first for His
own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
For the Law appoints as High Priests men who have weaknesses, but the Word of the Oath, which came after the Law,
appoints the Son Who has been Perfected forever.
Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: we have such a High Priest, Who is seated at the right hand of the
Throne of the Majesty in Heaven, a Minister of the Sanctuary and of the True Tabernacle which the Lord erected, and
not man.
“Majesty” is a Biblical Name for God the Father and a High Consequently, our High Priest never needs to make any
Priest Who sat at the right hand of God the Father would sacrificial offerings for the forgiveness of sin – certainly not
have to be both Divine and human: Jesus Christ. His own and neither for mankind because His personal,
The New Covenant solves all the problems and overcomes all willing Offering of His own Body and Blood on the Cross,
the obstacles that the Hebrew Mosaic Law could not. was the final and ultimate Sacrifice of all times.
Both the Old and the New Covenants come from God but Such a Perfect and fulfilling Blood Sacrifice paid the ransom
require our willing co-operating and commitment. for all mankind for all ages – for all time.
The Old Covenant was external to mankind and could not Thus, there is no need to ever repeat another blood sacrifice
solve the root of our problem: sin and death. for the forgiveness of sins.
It could not reunite and reintegrate our souls and it had to be Instead, at every Divine Liturgy, as our Lord and Saviour
learnt through the teaching of other human beings with taught us to do, we offer to God gifts of bread and wine,
equally limited human understanding and knowledge. which He has granted us, as a bloodless offering for the
The Old Covenant was heeded or obeyed through fearful forgiveness of our sins and for our Eternal Life.
compliance and gave us imperfect forgiveness. We were By the descent of the Holy Spirit these bloodless offerings
taught that God was a vengeful God Who cruelly punished become Divine – Mysteriously they become the Body and
all wrong-doers so He had to be obeyed! Blood of Christ, which is partaken of by all faithful
Christ taught us everything we know about the New Covenant, Disciples of Christ in the Holy Mystery of Eucharist –
but most important of all, He revealed the infinite Love and Thanksgiving.
Compassion of God and His desire for us to willingly and In this manner, our bodies, which become Holy Temples for
through our devotion and Love for Him, to obey and to the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity, and our immortal, Eternal
fulfil His Divine Will and Purpose for all mankind. souls, are repeatedly and continuously being Sanctified
God never forces His Will on us but patiently waits for us to and prepared for God’s Eternal Kingdom and our Eternal
realise His Providence and the Eternal Benefits He offers Life.
us. It is up to us to accept or reject them. The Old Covenant appointed human beings who had the
The New Covenant is internal and heals our fallen human same ability to commit sin as everyone else so they had to
nature. It unifies our inner man – and our heart and mind constantly offer sin sacrifices for themselves as well as the
are united with our Creator. people.
Divine Knowledge is grasped by us through the Action of the However, the New Covenant with God, which we received
Holy Spirit Who enables us to do all things that are after the Incarnation of the Son of God and which came
impossible without God. into practise on the Day of Pentecost at the descent of the
The New Covenant is heeded and obeyed through our willing Holy Spirit, has the most Pure and Perfect High Priest –
co-operation or synergy with God and grants us our Lord Jesus Christ – Who is completely sinless and
forgiveness of all sins and consequently Spiritual and Who makes it possible for us to enter God’s Everlasting
Eternal Life. Kingdom as worthy and Holy citizens.
Our New Covenant with Almighty God requires an Eternal, The New Covenant with God has been revealed and
Perfect High Priest Whose personal attributes are Divine explained to us by God Himself so that there is no doubt,
and Everlasting. nor human error when it comes to understanding or
Our one and Only High Priest – the True and Only Head of explaining God’s Divine Will and His Purpose for all
our Holy Church - our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ – mankind: Christ our Saviour has shown us by His
the Only Begotten Son of God the Father. Example how to live on earth and to Love God and our
The Divine Nature of Christ has elevated and purified and fellow man, and He has taught us correctly how to prepare
restored our fallen human nature and in God Incarnate, for Eternal Life and He has revealed God’s Divine Truth to
that human nature became sinless. us.

[PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) SATURDAY OF THE SOULS 6 FEBRUARY 2010 5.


We have no more valid excuses for rebelling against, ignoring horrors of being exiled and alienated from everything that
or disobeying God’s Divine Will and Purpose! is Good – Eternal Condemnation and Eternal Death!
It is now entirely up to us whether we enjoy Eternal Life in
God’s Heavenly Kingdom or suffer the indescribable
The Holy Gospel According to St John 10 : 9 – 16
THE HOLY HIERARCHS OF OUR CHURCH WERE GOOD SHEPHERDS TO OUR LORD’S FLOCK
At that time, our Lord Jesus Christ said: “I Am the Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be Saved, and will go in and
out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come so that they
may have Life, and so that they may have it more abundantly.
“I Am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His Life for the Sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the Shepherd,
one who does not own the Sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the Sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the
Sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the Sheep.
“I Am the Good Shepherd; and I know My Sheep, and Am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know
the Father; and I lay down My Life for the Sheep. And other Sheep I have, which are not of this Fold, them also I
must bring, and they will hear My Voice; and there will be one Flock and one Shepherd.
THE ONLY WAY ANYONE CAN ENTER THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM Now, with our New Covenant, WE, TOO MUST FAITHFULLY
OF GOD IS THROUGH HIS DIVINE GRACE –THE GREAT OBEY GOD’S COMMANDMENTS WITH JOYFUL AND LOVING
MERCY OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. HEARTS - EAGERLY FOLLOWING AND IMITATING CHRIST.
Our correct Spiritual Preparation for Eternity – which takes our Then, just as He has a close affiliation with God the Father,
entire lifetime to achieve - requires an intimate, loving and WE, TOO, AS GOD’S ADOPTED HEIRS, WILL ENJOY A
faithful relationship with God. UNIQUE BOND WITH THE HOLY TRINITY AND, KNOWING
THE ENTIRE PURPOSE OF THIS LIFE ON EARTH IS OUR GOD SO INTIMATELY, WE WILL NOT BE DECEIVED OR LED
SPIRITUAL PREPARATION FOR ETERNITY!! ASTRAY BY THE UNGODLY.
Christ is not only the means of entering His Divine Kingdom, Christ cautions us about THOSE WHO GO THROUGH THE
which begins at our Holy Baptism and Chrismation, but He MOTIONS WITHOUT COMMITTING THEMSELVES
is also OUR “GOOD SHEPHERD” WHO CAREFULLY COMPLETELY AND CONSCIOUSLY TO THEIR SACRED
WATCHES OVER US AND PROTECTS US FROM THE DUTIES. They are like MERCENARIES WHOSE ONLY
DEVASTATING TEMPTATION of the evil one whose only CONCERN IS SELFISH AND INCONSIDERATE, DESERTING
THEIR DUTIES AT THE FIRST SIGN OF TROUBLE OR EFFORT
obsessive craving is our destruction. – ALWAYS READY WITH EXCUSES!
Satan is the most terrible liar, thief, heretic, warmonger, and OUR SAVIOUR KNOWS EACH SOUL BETTER THAN WE KNOW
destroyer, ceaselessly waiting for opportunities to pounce OURSELVES AND NOTHING IS HIDDEN FROM HIS DIVINE
upon unwary sinners, striving to lure and entrap the weak SIGHT.
with his toxic hooks that are often baited with a tiny drop of HIS LOVE IS SO INTENSE AND INFINITE that He offered Himself
truth. for the sake of the Salvation of all mankind, and THERE
CHRIST CAME ESPECIALLY TO TEACH US HOW TO FULFIL OUR ARE MANY OTHERS WHO LOVE AND OBEY GOD AND WHO
SHORT STAY ON EARTH AS HE INTENDED US TO DO WHEN WILL ALSO BE SAFELY GATHERED INTO HIS ETERNAL
HE CREATED US, which prepares us for Eternity that KINGDOM OF LOVE AND PEACE.
follows.
THE INCARNATE SON OF GOD OBEDIENTLY FULFILLED EVERY
LAW OF THE OLD COVENANT AS AN EXAMPLE TO US!

Saturday, the Day of Souls


SINCE THE EARLY YEARS OF OUR HOLY CHURCH, SATURDAYS and to experience it and while we are limited by
HAVE BEEN DEDICATED TO THE REPOSED SOULS OF THE
FAITHFUL. our physical bodies, we are not able to fully grasp
Christians have always taken care to remain close to the significance of it. Once our temporary bodies
their loved ones who have fallen asleep in Christ, and immortal souls have parted, we will be
with Memorial Services and charitable deeds for the completely enlightened and able to understand
sake of their Salvation. all things that presently seem only like vague
Usually on Saturdays, the loving relatives visit their images in a steamed up mirror or window. Our
resting places in the cemetery – which means the souls are conscious and aware of everything and
place of rest or sleep – certainly not the place of the our individual personalities and characters stay
dead! the same as before our repose.
AFTER DEATH, OUR IMMORTAL SOULS REPOSE PEACEFULLY ❃ OUR HOLY CHURCH MAINTAINS A CONTINUOUS
WHILE OUR BODIES RETURN TO THE EARTH FROM COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE CHURCH MILITANT –
WHENCE THEY CAME, UNTIL THE EIGHTH DAY – THE THOSE STILL STRUGGLING TO PREPARE THEMSELVES
GREAT DAY OF THE LAST JUDGEMENT – WHEN EVERY FOR ETERNITY – AND THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT –
HUMAN BEING WHO EVER EXISTED WILL BE THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP IN THE LORD AND
RESURRECTED TO STAND BEFORE THE DREAD WHO PEACEFULLY AWAIT THE FINAL JUDGEMENT.
JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST OUR LORD, TO FACE THE The Saints and the Righteous Ones continue their
ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES OF OUR WORDS, THOUGHTS
Intercessory Prayers for those of us who strive daily
AND DEEDS.
There are several reasons for Saturday being the specific to be good and faithful Disciples of Christ.
WHATEVER CHARACTERISTICS WE HAVE ON EARTH ARE
day of souls and the most likely explanation is that CONTINUED IN THE AFTERLIFE SO THOSE WHO ARE
Saturday was the Sabbath – the day that God set CLOSE TO GOD WILL REMAIN CLOSE TO HIM, CONTINUING
THEIR SPIRITUAL LABOURS IN HIS HEAVENLY VINEYARD.
aside for mankind to rest from his labours and give
❃ In the midst of the hustle and bustle of our busy
thanks, glory and worship to God Who Blesses us
lives, WE MUST NEVER FORGET OUR FORTHCOMING
with all the necessities of life. DEATH AND WE MUST ENSURE THAT WE LIVE EVERY
There are two “Saturday of the Souls” – one before DAY AS THOUGH IT WAS THE LAST FOR US. We must
Meatfare or Judgement Sunday of the Triodion Period do whatever we can to prepare ourselves for
– the week before the beginning of Great Lent 6 and Eternal Life in God’s Heavenly Kingdom. We
the other before Pentecost Sunday. cannot wait “until we grow old” before attending
In fact, every Saturday we should reflect on the following to our Sacred Relationship with God, for life is
Truths: but a blink and no one knows when our time will
❃ OUR WORLD IS BOTH VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE. We are be up!!
able to experience the visible world of physical NEVER WASTE ANY TIME ON TRIVIALITIES OR PETTINESS FOR
matter through our senses of touch, sight, smell, WE HAVE ONLY THIS SHORT TIME IN WHICH TO IDENTIFY
OUR ERRORS, CONFESS AND REPENT OUR SINS, AND GIVE
hearing and taste. The invisible world is not AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE TO NURTURING, DEVELOPING
always evident to us because we need our AND IMPROVING OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION.
MP
Spiritual Abilities to perceive it, to understand it

6 [PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) SATURDAY OF THE SOULS 6 FEBRUARY 2010


Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
ALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE
AGES OF AGES. AMEN.
REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARIA, BIRTH GIVER OF GOD, YET EVER
VIRGIN, TOGETHER WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST
OUR GOD. AMEN.

3rd Sunday of Triodion Tone 2 7 February 2010

Meatfare/Judgement Sunday

Feast of St Parthenios of Lampsakos; St Luke the Righteous of Greece;


St Savvas of Kalymnos; St Theopemptos & his fellow Martyrs; St
George of Crete; St Richard the West Saxon of Lucca
RESURRECTION APOLYTIKION – TONE 2

Ote katilthes pros ton thanaton, i zoi i athanatos, tote ton When Thou condescended to death, O Life Immortal, Thou
adin enekrosas ti astrapi tis theotitos. Ote de ke tous slayed Hades with the lightning flash of Thy Divinity.
tethneotas ek ton katahthonion anestisas, pase e When also Thou raised up the dead from the
dinamis ton epouranion ekravgazon. Zoodota Hriste, O subterranean abodes, all the Powers of Heaven cried
Theos imon, Doxa Si! aloud: O Life-giver, Christ our God, Glory to Thee!
KONTAKION OF MEATFARE SUNDAY – TONE 1

Otan elthis O Theos, epi gis meta doxis, ke tremosi ta O God, when Thou come upon the earth in Glory, the whole
simpanta, potamos de tou piros, ipo tou vimatos elki, ke world will tremble. A River of Fire will bring all before
vivli anigonte, ke ta kripta dimosievonte, tote rise me, Thy Judgement Seat and the Books will be opened, and
ek tou piros tou asovestou, ke axioson, ek dexion sou me everything in secret will become public. At that time,
stine, Krita dikeotate. deliver me from the Fire that never dies, and enable me
to stand by Your right Hand, O Judge Most Just.
Resurrection Gospel 2 : Mark 16 : 1 – 8 – THE EMPTY TOMB
The Lord is my Strength and my Praise.
The Lord chastising has chastised me; but He has not delivered me over to Death.
The First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 8 : 8 – 9 : 2
ST PAUL EXHORTS US TO REMAIN STEADFAST AND DETERMINED IN OUR FAITH AND OUR SPIRITUAL PROGRESS

Brethren: I speak not by commandment, but to test the sincerity of your Love by the diligence of others. For you know the
Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that through His poverty you
might become rich.
And in this I advise you: it is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but
now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also might be a completion
out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to
what one does not have.
For I do not mean that others should be eased and you be burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance
might supply their lack, that their abundance also might supply your lack – that there might be equality. As it is written:
“He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
Both thanks be to God Who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. For he not only accepted the
exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. And we have sent with him the Brother whose
praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches, and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel
with us with this Gift, which is administered by us to the Glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, avoiding
this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish Gift which is administered by us – providing honourable things, not only in
the Sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
And we have sent with them our Brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent,
because of the great confidence that we have in you.
If anyone enquires about Titus: he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Of if our Brethren are enquired about,
they are messengers of the churches, the Glory of Christ. Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of
your Love and of our boasting on your behalf.
Now, concerning the ministering to the Saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; for I know your willingness, about
which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority.
St Paul wrote to all the churches in Asia Minor with sincere and had not been affected by famine and who were able to donate
heartfelt encouragement to continue their Christian much needed food and funding.
endeavours and not to be discouraged by anything. St Paul and his co-workers had taken on the responsibility of
This applied to their Spiritual Commitments as well as their ensuring that all the relief funds and food were received and
physical duties to one another. properly and honestly distributed amongst the starving
His exhortation was not only to motivate our Christian Brethren – masses.
and ourselves today – not to weaken or neglect our Spiritual St Paul used every opportunity to remind all Christians – including
Development and progress, but also to continue our works of us – of our Sacred Commitments to God and our sincerity of
charity for those who suffer destitution, hunger and neglect. Faith.
At the time, there was a terrible drought and famine throughout He reminds us of the significance and magnitude of Christian
Judea and the surrounding regions. Unity, the Messianic Age that is in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus
The Christian Community of Jerusalem had appealed for help to Christ, and the undeniable effects of Pentecost – the Descent
all the other Christian Communities throughout Asia Minor who and Action of the Holy Spirit upon the Disciples of Christ – that
continue and mature in His Holy Church.
[PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 3RD SUNDAY OF THE TRIODION: MEATFARE/JUDGEMENT SUNDAY 7 FEBRARY 2010 7.
St Paul had instructed the Christian Communities of Corinth and Final Blood Sacrifice for the Salvation and Redemption of all
Galatia to contribute systematically to the relief fund and St humanity forever.
Titus ensured that they had done so. In addition, as Man, Christ was able to enter Hades where all souls
Although St Paul had told the Macedonian Christians how were imprisoned – the good and the bad. Then, in His
exemplary the Corinthians had been, he had his doubts. Resurrected State and as the Son of God, our Lord smashed
Certain Corinthians who were not fully committed to the Christian open the gates of Hades and set the Repentant and the
Faith felt pressured by St Paul’s urging and accused him of Righteous souls free so that they could rest in Paradise until
being “crafty” or getting his way “by cunning” tactics, when, in His Second Coming on Judgement Day.
order to appeal to their sense of charity – of their Love of This was the most excellent proof of God’s Love for us so in return
others - St Paul had mentioned the relief fund contribution of for the insurmountable Debt that we can never fully repay, and
the much poorer Christian Communities of Macedonia to the as proof of our devotion to and Love of God, we offer
proud, wealthy Corinthians who then delighted St Paul with everything we have – everything He has abundantly granted
their liberality – i.e. their generous donations. us – to Him and to His Holy Church – i.e. to His Faithful people
The “poverty” of Christ was a reference to the fact that as Almighty – to those who serve God and to those who suffer any
God, He had emptied Himself of His Majesty – His Eternal, deprivation or affliction.
Heavenly Glory - in order to become Incarnate – i.e. He The quotation “He who gathered much...“ is from the Book of
willingly took on our human form with its limitations and Exodus, describing Divine Providence. (EXODUS 16:18)
weaknesses so as to live amongst His creatures on earth and While travelling through the wilderness the Hebrews received
to teach and guide us directly and personally. Manna from God – i.e. Heavenly Bread – because they were
Thus Christ took on “poverty” so that we would be Spiritually hungry and did not have enough food to nourish everyone.
Enriched through His Divine Wisdom and Teachings, and even However, God ensured that no one received more than others and
become co-heirs of the Infinite Wealth of God’s Heavenly there was always enough Manna each day.
Kingdom through our adoption by Holy Baptism and The Manna (meaning: “What is it?”) could not be kept for the
Chrismation. following day and had to be eaten immediately, developing
Furthermore, our fallen human nature was restored to Divine their trust and confidence in God’s Benevolence and
Grace by the Son of God’s Incarnation and physical Ascension Providence.
into Heaven, being seated in the position of greatest honour – After the Hebrews had settled in the Promised Land and harvested
at the right hand side of God the Father. their first crops, the Manna disappeared, never to be seen
GOD DID NOT HAVE TO BE INCARNATED, TO SUFFER AND TO DIE again.
ON OUR BEHALF BECAUSE HE DID NOT OWE US HIS DIVINE IT IS OUR CHRISTIAN DUTY TO COMPLETE TO THE BEST OF OUR
SALVATION AND SPIRITUAL REDEMPTION AT ALL! ABILITY ALL COMMITMENTS WE UNDERTAKE - IN PARTICULAR,
God is absolute, 100% LOVE, so due to His infinite Love of FOR GOD AND MANKIND.
mankind – homo sapiens - whom He had created in His own AS FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS WE MUST LIVE UP TO THE TRUTH OF
Image and Likeness and whom He wanted to be restored to CHRIST: WITHOUT EXCEPTION, WE MUST BE COMPLETELY
the state in which He had made us, He became Man so that RELIABLE, HONEST AND DEDICATED, CAREFUL NEVER TO
DISAPPOINT, FAIL OR BETRAY THE TRUST OF OTHERS.
He could teach us directly and by His own Perfect Example, SINCERE LOVE OF GOD AND HUMANITY COMPELS US TO JOYFULLY
and so that He could offer Himself as the Ultimate, Pure and AND WILLINGLY ACCOMPLISH WHATEVER IS NECESSARY.

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 25: 31 – 46


THE FINAL JUDGEMENT OF OUR DEEDS

At that time, our Lord Jesus Christ said: “When the Son of Man comes in His Glory, and all the Holy Angels with Him, the
He will sit on the Throne of His Glory. All the Nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one
from another, as a Shepherd divides His Sheep from the goats.
“And He will set the Sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand:
‘Come, you Blessed of My Father: inherit the Kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world: for I was
hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked
and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the Righteous will answer Him: ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and fed Thee? or thirsty and gave Thee drink?
When did we see Thee a Stranger and took Thee in, or naked and clothed Thee? Or when did we see Thee sick, or in
prison, and went to Thee?’
“And the King will answer and say to them: ‘Assuredly, I say to you: inasmuch as you did so for one of the least of these
My Brethren, you did so for Me!’
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand: ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the Everlasting Fire prepared for the
devil and his angels, for I was hungry and you gave Me no food! I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink! I was a
stranger and you did not take Me in; naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me!’
“Then they also will answer Him: ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in
prison, and did not minister to Thee?’
“And He will answer them: ‘Assuredly, I say to you: inasmuch as you did not do so to one of the lease of these, you did not
do so for Me!’
“And these will go away into Everlasting Punishment, but the Righteous into Eternal Life.”
This is THE MAJESTIC CLIMAX OF CHRIST’S DIVINE REVELATION TO CALL AND HIS COMMANDMENTS AND ARE AS GENTLE,
HIS DISCIPLES AND APOSTLES REGARDING HUMANITY’S FINAL COMPASSIONATE AND AS PRODUCTIVE AS HE IS.
DAYS on earth before His Reappearance in all His Glory when “The goats” indicate the STUBBORN, OBSTINATE, UNRIGHTEOUS
He will Judge all Creation, separating the good from the PEOPLE WHO DISOBEY AND REBEL AGAINST GOD, LIVING
wicked. PRECARIOUSLY ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN IDEAS AND
This is not simply a Parable but A DIVINE TRUTH OF THE AWESOME DESIRES, ENDANGERING THEMSELVES AND OTHERS.
UNIVERSAL JUDGEMENT THAT WE ALL HAVE TO FACE. The term “inherit” is used with regard to close family members,
Since His Crucifixion was fast approaching, CHRIST PERMITTED especially SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHO HAVE THE RIGHT OF
HIS APOSTLES AND CLOSEST DISCIPLES AN INSIGHT OF HIS INHERITANCE. AS THE ADOPTED CHILDREN OF GOD THROUGH
DIVINE GLORY UPON THE JUDGEMENT SEAT WITH THE ENTIRE HOLY BAPTISM, CHRISTIANS ARE THE RIGHTFUL HEIRS TO
WORLD BEFORE HIM. GOD’S KINGDOM.
The standard of JUDGEMENT IS UNCALCULATED MERCY TOWARDS Christ commanded us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS MUCH AS WE
OTHERS AND THE WORKS PRODUCED BY FAITH were LOVE OURSELVES and this means to SEE OUR BELOVED LORD
emphasised because SAVING FAITH ALWAYS PRODUCES JESUS IN EVERYONE FOR WE ARE ALL MADE IN HIS PERFECT
RIGHTEOUS DEEDS. IMAGE AND LIKENESS.
THE ETERNAL FIRE OF HELL WAS PREPARED FOR SATAN AND HIS
❃ OUR ACTIONS REFLECT OUR TRUE INNER STATE.
FALLEN ANGELS, THE DEMONS, RATHER THAN FOR MANKIND.
“The least” is a reference to all those who are POOR, DESTITUTE,
However, THROUGH OUR OWN WICKED CHOICES AND
NEEDY AND AFFLICTED and their needs that our Saviour
UNREPENTED ACTIONS DURING THIS PREPARATORY TIME ON
described includes both PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL EARTH, WE WILL SUFFER THE SAME ETERNAL CONDEMNATION
NECESSITIES OF LIFE. AND PUNISHMENT!
Consequently, THE HUNGRY OR THE THIRSTY ARE NOT ONLY ❃ THIS DIVINE TRUTH IS CLEARLY GIVEN TO US BY GOD HIMSELF
THOSE WHO NEED FOOD AND DRINK BUT ALSO THOSE WHO AND IT IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT MERE SCARE TACTICS TO
NEED SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT – THOSE WHO YEARN FOR THE FORCE US TO OBEY GOD, FOR HE WANTS US TO COME TO
HOPE OF CHRIST’S HOLY GOSPEL. HIM BECAUSE WE TRULY LOVE HIM AND REALLY DESIRE A
Our Saviour used the term “Sheep” to illustrate THE RIGHTEOUS CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.
people for they ARE OBEDIENT TO GOD – THEY FOLLOW HIS
8 [PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 3RD SUNDAY OF THE TRIODION: MEATFARE/JUDGEMENT SUNDAY 7 FEBRARY 2010
❃ THE THOUGHT OF BEING PERMANENTLY ALIENATED FROM On the contrary, TO REJECT GOD IS TO REJECT EVERYTHING THAT
GOD’S DIVINE LOVE IS SO EMOTIONALLY DEVASTATING IS GOOD AND ALTHOUGH IT IS OUR OWN DECISION TO MAKE,
AND FRIGHTENING, WE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY REPENT WE SHOULD DO SO WISELY AND WITH ALL DUE
OUR SINS AND RETURN TO THE JOY AND PEACE OF GOD’S CONSIDERATION FOR THE CONSEQUENCES!
HEAVENLY FOLD.

Sunday of the Last Judgement: Reflections on Christian Fear of God


“When Thou shalt come, O Righteous Judge, to execute Just FOR OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD TO BE PURE AND TO LEAD
Judgement, seated on Thy Throne of Glory, a River of US TO TRUE THEOSIS (PERFECTION OR DEIFICATION), WE MUST BE
Fire will draw all men amazed before Thy Judgement HUMBLE BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE!
Seat; the Powers of Heaven will stand beside Thee, and WE MUST ALSO ASCERTAIN THE SINFUL STATE THAT ALIENATES
in fear mankind will be Judged according to the deeds US FROM GOD AND YEARN FOR RECONCILIATION WITH HIM
THROUGH SINCERE REPENTANCE.
that each has done. Then spare us, O Christ, in Thy
Compassion, with Faith we entreat Thee, and count us The Sacred Lesson of the foolish, immature Prodigal Son
worthy of Thy Blessings with those who are Saved.” and the patient, ever longing Father is set before us as
(VESPERAL STICHERON FROM THE TRIODION)
an example of ALL HUMANITY (THE SON) AND A DIVINE TYPE
O HOW DREADFUL IS THAT TERRIBLE DAY ON WHICH THE JUST (THE FATHER). (LUKE 15:11 – 32)
JUDGEMENT OF OUR LORD SHALL COME! IT SHALL COME ONLY WHEN WE, THE PRODIGALS, RECOGNISE TO WHAT DEGREE
SUDDENLY AT A TIME UNKNOWN BY ANYONE EXCEPT GOD WE, TOO, HAVE SQUANDERED ALL OUR DIVINE GIFTS AND
THE FATHER AND ITS FORCE SHALL BE INSTANTANEOUS. WALLOW IN THE FILTHY MIRE OF OUR SINFUL PASSIONS AND
No ear shall be spared the Trumpet’s resounding call to the IMPULSIVE, SELFISH AND DESTRUCTIVE INDULGENCES, CAN
A DEEP SENSE OF OUR SPIRITUAL EXILE FROM GOD ARISE IN
Divine Tribunal, NOR SHALL ANY EARTHLY STRENGTH BE OUR HEARTS – AN AWARENESS AND AN
FIT ENOUGH OR ABLE TO WITHSTAND IT. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT COMBINED WITH HUMILITY AND
“Behold, there comes a Day of the Lord Almighty, and who LONGING, IS NECESSARY FOR OUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH
shall endure the Fear of His Presence? For it is a Day of CLOSER TO CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR.
Wrath; the Furnace shall burn, and THE JUDGE SHALL SIT Sunday of the Prodigal Son is referred to by a certain Church
AND GIVE TO EACH THE DUE RETURN FOR HIS WORKS.”
(EXAPOSTEILARION OF MATINS) Father as “the return from exile,” which is THE STATE OF
FALLEN HUMAN LIFE RETURNING TO TRUE LIFE IN CHRIST
Fear is an emotion often mentioned in the Holy Services of
AFTER REPENTANCE-CONFESSION.
this preparatory Sunday before the beginning of the WE DO NOT EXIST IN PERFECTION, BUT IN EXILE OF BODY AND
Great Lenten Fast: FEAR OF THE LAST JUDGEMENT; FEAR SOUL, just like the Israelites in Babylon. And, like them,
OF THE DIVINE JUSTICE OF GOD; FEAR OF THE JUST
we eventually arrive at that state of being in which OUR
PUNISHMENT AWAITING SINFUL, UNREPENTANT PEOPLE.
INNERMOST BEING CRIES OUT: “By the waters of Babylon
We encounter an intense emotion that MANY IN THIS
MODERN WORLD ARE LOATHE TO ADDRESS OR EVEN TO we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion... how
DISCUSS, MUCH LESS PONDER AND STILL LESS, CHERISH. shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (PSALM
136 LXX)
Yet it is this very emotion of fear that pours forth in
And so THE PREPARATORY SUNDAYS OF THE TRIODION TEACH
abundance from the Hymns and Prayers of the Divine US THE NECESSARY ATTITUDES FOR OUR LIFE IN CHRIST
Services celebrated today – Meatfare or Judgement OUR GOD: YEARNING FOR GOD, HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE,
Sunday 6 which deserves our fair and full attention. AN AWARENESS OF OUR SPIRITUAL EXILE AND PERPETUAL
HOPE IN OUR SAVIOUR.
“The Lord comes to Judge: who can endure the Sight of Him?
Tremble, my wretched soul, tremble and prepare for Today, being Sunday of the Last Judgement (MEATFARE SUNDAY),
your departure.” (MATINS CANON –CANTICLE 7) the essential attitude is FEAR OF OUR UNPREPARED,
Last night during Vespers we would have heard: UNREPENTANT SPIRITUAL CONDITION AS WE STAND BEFORE
THE AWESOME JUDGEMENT SEAT: “Fear and trembling
“When the Thrones are set up and the books are opened, and
beyond all description are there; for the Lord will come
God sits in Judgement, Oh what fear there will be! When
and try the works of every man. And who will not
the Angels stand trembling in Thy Presence and the River
mourn for himself?“ (MATINS CANON – FIFTH CANTICLE)
of Fire flows before Thee, what shall we do then, who
are guilty of many sins? When we hear Him call the Time and again in the Hymnography of today we are called
Blessed of His Father into the Kingdom, but send the to BE FEARFUL BEFORE THE LORD OUR GOD; to REMEMBER
sinners to their Eternal Punishment, who shall endure WITH FEAR OUR APPOINTED JUDGEMENT; to
His fearful Condemnation?” (VERSPERS TROPARION) ACKNOWLEDGE IN FEAR THE SINFUL STATE OF OUR SOULS.
Why this dwelling in – even exalting of 6 AN EMOTION THAT Words and terminology that cause our discomfort and
SEEMS SO FOREIGN, SO STRANGE AND BITTER TO THE trepidation abound in the texts: TERROR, JUDGEMENT,
CONTEMPORARY RELIGIOUS MIND? ETERNAL FIRE, TORMENT, PAIN, SUFFERING AND HELL –
In a world where the Love and Mercy of God are Righteously ETERNAL DEATH AND OUTER DARKNESS...
and properly emphasised, but in which fear and dread “I lament and weep when I think of the Eternal Fire, the
Outer Darkness and the nether world, the dread Worm
are seen as negative psychological or social motivators,
and the gnashing of teeth, and the unceasing anguish
their emphasis in the Holy Rites of the Church can strike that shall befall those who have sinned without
the contemporary audience as strange, out of place and measure, by their wickedness arousing Thee to anger,
dated. O Supreme in Love. And among them in misery am I
Yet it is perhaps THIS VERY DISTANCING OF THE MODERN first....!” (VESPERS – STICHERA)
MIND FROM A TRUE AND SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY Why this seemingly morbid accent on fear, with its
UNDERSTANDING OF FEAR THAT MAKES ITS EMPHASIS IN
connected imagery of death and suffering?
THE HOLY CHURCH OF SUCH IMPORTANCE.
Perhaps the answer is best intimated as follows: “Terror
In the Sundays preceding Sunday of Forgiveness
seizes me when I think of the Unquenchable Fire, of
(Cheesefare), we are gradually, yet firmly, reminded of the bitter Worm, the gnashing of teeth, and soul-
OUR HUMAN ATTRIBUTES THAT ARE NECESSARY FOR A
destroying Hell; yet I do not turn in True Compunction,
PROPER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IN TRINITY.
O Lord, Lord, before the end, strengthen Thy Fear
In the account of Zacchaeus on the last Sunday before the within me.”
Triodion, WE WERE EXHORTED TO THAT SAME SENSE OF So we begin to see a framework within which THESE
LONGING AND DESIRE FOR UNION WITH CHRIST that drove EXHORTATIONS TO FEAR TAKE THEIR APPROPRIATE
the short Zacchaeus to his tree6top. APPEARANCE AND PLACE.
We are reminded that UNLESS A SOUL ACTIVELY SEARCHES Through the Wisdom of the Church in Her Texts and
FOR GOD, IT WILL DEVISE WAYS TO GROW EVER FURTHER Hymns, we are called to EMBRACE FEAR AS A HEALTHY
FROM HIM (IE A SOUL CONTROLLED & DOMINATED BY THE FLESH!) AND LIFE-GIVING SOURCE OF COMPUNCTION AND SPUR TO
On the first Sunday of the Triodion 6 of the Publican and the TRUE REPENTANCE.
Pharisee 6 we are exhorted to HUMILITY: BOTH TOWARDS With our fallen and sin6stained perceptions, WE OFTEN FALL
INTO THE DEADLY TRAP OF FOCUSING UPON GOD’S LOVE
GOD AND OUR FELLOW MAN, for AS WE BEHAVE TOWARDS AND COMPASSION TO THE EXCLUSION OF HIS JUSTICE.
THE LEAST OF THESE, SO WE DO TO CHRIST OUR LORD.
(MATTHEW 25:3-
25:3-46)
Seeing first6hand the outstretched Arms and inviting
Embrace of the Father, WE BLINDLY FORGET TO WORK
[PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 3RD SUNDAY OF THE TRIODION: MEATFARE/JUDGEMENT SUNDAY 7 FEBRARY 2010 9.
TOWARDS THE AMENDMENT OF OUR SINFUL WAYS, TO And standing before these realities, let us WITH FEAR AND
PASSIONATELY BEG FOR FORGIVENESS AND MERCY – TO TREMBLING TURN TO GOD WITH REPENTANT HEARTS,
TRULY HEED ST PAUL’S CAUTIONARY ADVICE TO WORK OUT FILLED WITH HIS LOVE, AND ACTIVELY ENGAGE IN THE
OUR SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING. (PHILIPPIANS 2: 12) BATTLE FOR OUR SALVATION.
Even the Prodigal Son feared his Father, and the Father “How shall it be in that hour and fearful Day, when the
granted him Life. Judge shall sit on His Dread Throne! The books shall be
Thus THE FEAR TO WHICH WE ARE SO POIGNANTLY CALLED ON opened and men’s actions shall be examined, and the
THIS HOLY DAY IS A FEAR THAT LEADS US TO secrets of darkness shall be made public. Angels shall
COMPUNCTION (REMORSE OR REGRET), AND COMPUNCTION TO hasten to and fro, gathering all Nations. Come ye and
HUMILITY, AND HUMILITY TO REPENTANCE, AND hearken: Kings and Princes, slaves and free, sinners and
REPENTANCE TO ETERNAL LIFE.
Righteous, rich and poor; for the Judge comes to pass
We are not called to fear simply to be scared, but TO BE sentence on the whole inhabited earth. And who shall
PROMPTED INTO LIFE-SAVING ACTION: “When we hear bear to stand before His Face in the presence of Angels as
Him called the Blessed of His Father into the Kingdom, they call us to account for our actions and our
but send the sinners to their punishment, who shall thoughts, whether by night or by day? How shall it be
endure His fearful Condemnation? But O Saviour Who then in that hour!”
alone Loves mankind, before the end comes, turn me “But before the end is here, make haste, make haste, O my
back through Repentance and have Mercy on me!” soul and cry: ‘O God Who only art Compassionate, turn
Let us BE TURNED TO TRUE REPENTANCE. Let us CALL UPON me back and Save me!”
THE GREAT WISDOM OF GOD’S HOLY CHURCH, WHO
THROUGH HER HYMNS AND PRAYERS REMINDS US OF THE ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “SUNDAY OF THE LAST JUDGEMENT: REFLECTIONS ON THE CHRISTIAN
COSMIC AND ULTIMATE REALITIES ASSOCIATED WITH OUR FEAR OF GOD” BY MC STEENBURG – MONACHOS.NET
SPIRITUAL STATE.

The Law of God – Book 3 - Christian Life


GENUINE GOOD CHRISTIAN LIFE MAY BE LED ONLY BY THOSE OUR MIND, HEART, AND FREE WILL HAVE BECOME
WHO HAVE FAITH IN CHRIST AND WHO STRIVE TO LIVE DARKENED THROUGH SIN EVER SINCE THE FALL OF
BY THIS FAITH; THAT IS, THOSE WHO BY THEIR GOOD ADAM AND EVE.
WORKS FULFIL THE WILL OF GOD. SINCE THEN THE DIVINE VOICE WITHIN OUR CONSCIENCE
Good Works are expressions of our Love, and Love – HAS BEEN WEAKENED AS WE HAVE BECOME SPIRITUALLY
DEAFENED, AND HAS PROVED INSUFFICIENT AS THE
AGAPE 6 is the foundation of all Christian Life. MANIFESTATION (OR EXPRESSION) OF OUR SPIRITUAL
God is Love; and he who dwells in Love dwells in God,
STRENGTH.
and God in him. For God so Loved the world, that IF WE DO NOT DEVELOP OUR SPIRITUAL STRENGTH, THEN
He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever THE INTERNAL VOICE OF OUR CONSCIENCE FALLS
believes in Him should not perish, but have ASLEEP BY DEGREES AND EVENTUALLY EXPIRES,
Everlasting Life (John 4:16; 3:16) LEAVING US WITHOUT ANY CONSCIENCE AT ALL –
Thus GOD BY THIS ACT REVEALED HIS LOVE TO MANKIND. TOTALLY ALIENATED FROM GOD AND EVERYTHING
GOOD – A SOCIOPATH!
Love that is unaccompanied by Good Works is not True
Therefore it is clearly evident that THE INTERNAL LAW OF
Love, but is merely lip service. That is why the Word
CONSCIENCE ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH FOR US, for even in
of God says, Faith without works is dead! (JAMES 2:20).
Paradise God revealed His Will to the first people.
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said: “Not everyone who TO EXIST IN AN INNOCENT, RIGHTEOUS STATE, IT IS
says to Me: ‘ Lord, Lord!’ shall enter into the NECESSARY FOR US TO ALSO HAVE THE EXTERNAL LAW
Kingdom of Heaven...” for we are His Workmanship, OF GOD - HIS DIVINE COMMANDMENTS - AND IT IS EVEN
created in Christ Jesus for Good Works, which God MORE CRUCIAL SINCE OUR FALL FROM DIVINE GRACE.
TO MAINTAIN OUR SOULS IN "FEAR OF (OUR)
ordained (INTENDED) that we should fulfil. (MATTHEW 7:21;
7:21; CONSCIENCE," BY OBEYING OR FOLLOWING THE DIVINE
EPHESIANS 2: 10)
GUIDELINES FOR A GOOD LIFE.
Furthermore WE HAVE RECEIVED SPECIAL GIFTS FROM GOD
This Divine Law was given in its simplest form in Old
FOR THE DISCERNMENT OF GOOD DEEDS, WHICH ARE
THE INTERNAL LAW OF GOD OR CONSCIENCE, AND THE Testament times, when Moses received the Law on
EXTERNAL LAW OF GOD, OR HIS COMMANDMENTS. Mount Sinai, when the most important Ten
The term “conscience” denotes OUR INTERNAL, SPIRITUAL Commandments were written on two stone tablets.
STRENGTH, OR THE MANIFESTATION OF OUR SOUL. The However, these Commandments were made more
conscience, as the Internal Law of God 6"Voice of profound and exalted in our Saviour’s Sermon on the
God" 6 is present in every person. Mount, in His nine points known as the Beatitudes.
OUR CONSCIENCE IS THE INTERNAL VOICE OF GOD WHO
Our Lord Jesus also emphatically confirmed the
TELLS US WHAT IS GOOD AND WHAT IS EVIL, WHAT IS
PROPER AND WHAT IS IMPROPER, WHAT IS RIGHTEOUS continuous teaching, fulfilment and observance of
AND WHAT IS NOT. the Old Testament Ten Commandments: “Do not
IT COMPELS US TO DO GOOD AND TO SHUN EVIL. think that I have come to destroy the Law, or the
FOR EVERY GOOD THOUGHT, WORD OR DEED WE ARE
Prophets: l have not come to destroy but to fulfil!”
REWARDED WITH INTERNAL PEACE AND CALM – (MATTHEW 5:17)
SPIRITUAL LIFE. WHEN ASKED WHAT WE HAVE TO DO TO GAIN ETERNAL LIFE
HOWEVER, FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG, INCORRECT, OUR LORD CLEARLY COMMANDED US TO “... KEEP THE
IMPROPER, OR EVIL, OUR CONSCIENCE JUDGES AND COMMANDMENTS!” (MATTHEW 19:16-
19:16-17)
PUNISHES US UNTIL WE REPENT AND RETURN TO
SPIRITUAL LIFE.
The Incarnated Son of God taught us that THESE DIVINE
BY ACTING AGAINST OUR NATURAL GOODNESS WITH COMMANDMENTS, WHICH HE HAS EXPLAINED AND
WHICH WE ARE CREATED, WE EXPERIENCE AND SUFFER CLARIFIED FOR US, MUST BE KEPT TO A HIGH DEGREE OF
PAINFUL SPIRITUAL CONFLICT, BEING TORMENTED BY PERFECTION AND HE SEVERELY WARNED US AGAINST
UNREPENTED SINS THAT CAUSE A SPIRITUAL DEATH, ANY TRANSGRESSION OF GOD’S LAW – WHETHER BY
WHICH, MIGHT BE QUICKLY REMEDIED THROUGH WORD, THOUGHT OR DEED!
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE. IN ORDER TO RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE WE MUST STRIVE
BEING OUR SPIRITUAL STRENGTH, OUR CONSCIENCE CONSTANTLY FOR SPIRITUAL PERFECTION – LONGING
REQUIRES A CONSTANT DEVELOPMENT AND AND CEASELESSLY COMPELLED BY OUR DEEPEST LOVE
IMPROVEMENT ALONG WITH OUR OTHER SPIRITUAL TO PLEASE AND OBEY GOD IN ALL ASPECTS !
FACULTIES SUCH AS OUR MIND, OUR HEART AND OUR
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: THE LAW OF GOD – BOOK 2 – CHRISTIAN LIFE – BY BISHOP
FREE WILL. ALEXANDER MILEANT – HOLY TRINITY MONASTERY – 1993/2003

THOSE WHO WISH TO BE REMINDED CONSTANTLY OF DEATH AND GOD’S JUDGEMENT, BUT WHO ALSO SURRENDER TO MATERIAL
CARES AND DISTRACTIONS, ARE LIKE SOMEONE WHO IS TRYING TO SWIM AND AT THE SAME TIME CLAP HIS HANDS! (ST JOHN KLIMAKOS)

10 [PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 3RD SUNDAY OF THE TRIODION: MEATFARE/JUDGEMENT SUNDAY 7 FEBRARY 2010
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
ALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER,
AND UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN.
REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARIA, BIRTH GIVER OF
GOD, YET EVER VIRGIN, TOGETHER WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER
AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST OUR GOD. AMEN.

4th Sunday of Triodion Tone 3 14 February 2010


GREAT LENT BEGINS FROM TOMORROW – CLEAN MONDAY

Sunday of Foregiveness (Cheesefare)


The Feast of St Auxentios of the Mountain; St Abraam and St Marinos; St Cyril Equal to the Apostles &
Teacher of the Slavs; St Nicholas the New Martyr of Corinth
RESURRECTION APOLYTIKION – TONE 3

Evfrenestho ta Ourania, agaliastho ta epigia, oti epiise Kratos Let the Heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, for the
en Vrahioni Aftou O Kyrios. Epatise to Thanto ton Lord has shown Strength with His Arm; He has
thanaton. Prototokos ton nekron egeneto. Ek kilias Adou trampled down Death by Death; He has become the
errisato imas ke pareshe to kosmo to Mega Eleos. First-born of the dead; from the womb of Hades He
has delivered us, and to the world He has vouchsafed
Great Mercy.
KONTAKION – TONE PLAGAL 2

Tis Sofias odige, froniseos horige, ton afronon pedefta, ke O Wisdom’s Guiding Star, of prudence Provider,
ton ptohon iperaspista, stirixon sinetison tin kardian Instructor of the foolish ones, and the Defender of the
mou Despota. Si didou mi logon, O tou Patros Logos. poor: Support and grant understanding, O Master, to
Idou gar ta hili mou, ou mi koliso en to krazin Si. my heart. Grant me words, O Thou Who are the
Eleimon, eleison me ton parapesonta. Father’s Word; for behold I shall not hold back from
crying out to Thee: O Compassionate One, have
mercy on me having gone astray!
KONTAKION OF ST AUXENTIOS OF THE MOUNTAIN–
MOUNTAIN– TONE 2

Katarrifisas Theofron tis egkratias, ke tas orexis tis sarkos Since thou took great delight in Abstinence, O Godly-
halinosas, ofthis ti pisti sou avxanomenos, ke os fiton en minded One, and since thou bridled the desires of the
meo tou Paradisou exinthissas, Auxentie Pater Ierotate. flesh, thou ever increased in Faith; and thou
blossomed forth like the Tree in the midst of Paradise,
O Most Sacred Father Auxentios.
Resurrection Gospel 3 : Mark 16 : 9 – 20 : THE RISEN CHRIST APPEARS TO HIS APOSTLES & DISCIPLES BEFORE HIS ASCENSION
PROKEIMENON: Sing Praises to our God, sing praises to our King! Clap your hands all you Nations!
St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans 13 : 11 – 14 : 4
THE DAY OF OUR SALVATION IS AT HAND - ST PAUL EXHORTS US TO AWAKEN AND PUT ON THE ARMOUR OF LIGHT

Brethren: you know that it is now 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. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh
to fulfil its lusts.
Receive one who is 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. Do not allow him who eats to 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.
EXPECTATION OF OUR FUTURE SALVATION THROUGH THE them to receive His Divine Wisdom, they could then
GLORIOUS COMING OR REAPPEARANCE OF OUR LORD teach others God’s Truth – even concerning the True
JESUS CHRIST MOTIVATES US TO GREATER VIGILANCE Person of the Son of God Who is our Lord Jesus.
AND PROPER CONDUCT. ❃ DIVINE GRACE AND THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
St Paul warned us to IMMEDIATELY BEGIN OUR SPIRITUAL ENABLE OUR SOULS TO FUNCTION METICULOUSLY
STRUGGLE TO PREPARE FOR ETERNAL LIFE BECAUSE – AS GOD INTENDED.
THERE IS NOT A MOMENT TO BE WASTED! ❃ THE MORE OUR SOULS OPERATE IN HUMBLE
The “night” is a reference to A SPIRITUALLY DARKENED, OBEDIENCE TO GOD, THE MORE THE HINDRANCES
CORRUPT AND DECEPTIVE EXISTENCE WITHOUT THE OR IMPEDIMENT OF OUR FLESH – OUR PHYSICAL
DIVINE LIGHT OF ALMIGHTY GOD - UNDER THE DESIRES – ARE DISCIPLINED AND GUIDED
INFLUENCE AND SLAVERY OF EVIL POWERS. TOWARDS GOODNESS – TOWARDS GOD AND
The “day” is THE GLORIOUS COMING OR REAPPEARANCE ETERNAL LIFE.
OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, WHO HAS NEVER LEFT In Orthodox Christianity THERE ARE CERTAIN THINGS THAT
US. Due to our physical and sinful state we are unable CANNOT BE COMPROMISED AT ALL. However, there
to see Christ our Lord at present but WE ARE ABLE TO are also “grey areas.”
EXPERIENCE A SPIRITUAL CLOSENESS AND INTIMACY God is Gracious and allows diversity in doubtful things –
WITH HIM THROUGH THE HOLY MYSTERIES AND those MATTERS THAT DO NOT INVOLVE OR CONCERN
DURING PRAYER. CHRISTIAN DOGMA.
OUR SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST, WILL REAPPEAR IN ALL HIS
GLORY – AS THE TRUE AND ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF
Those people who are weak in Faith are Christians of
OUR HEAVENLY FATHER - so that even the ungodly
immature Conscience and Wisdom who may attach
shall see Him! Indeed, ALL CREATION WILL SEE HIM primary importance to secondary matters, such as
AND KNOW EXACTLY WHO HE IS! foods and religious festivals. They have not yet
AT HIS TRANSFIGURATION, CHRIST REVEALED HIMSELF IN grasped THE FULL EXTENT OF TRUE ORTHODOX
ALL HIS DIVINE GLORY TO THREE OF HIS CHOSEN CHRISTIANITY which IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THE
APOSTLES SO THAT THEY WOULD RECOGNISE HIS SIMPLE, OBVIOUS PRACTICES.
DIVINE TRUTH AND REALITY. ❃ BEWARE OF CONFUSING HUMAN CUSTOMS AND
Although at the time, they were stunned by the Wondrous SUPERSTITIONS WITH TRUE, CHRISTIAN FAITH
Event and neither grasped nor understood the THAT CHRIST TAUGHT US.
tremendous significance of what they had seen, after ❃ WILLINGLY AND GRATEFULLY ACCEPT THE GUIDANCE
the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit enabled AND TEACHINGS OF THOSE WHO ARE MORE

(PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 4TH SUNDAY OF TRIODION – SUNDAY OF FORGIVENESS – CHEESEFARE 14 FEBRUARY 2010 11
KNOWLEDGEABLE AND MORE EXPERIENCED IN RESISTING GRIEVOUS SINS such as PRIDE, GREED,
TRUE FAITH – OUR ORDAINED PRIESTS & BISHOPS LUST, ANGER, GLUTTONY, ENVY AND SLOTH – i.e.
OF THE APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION - AND THOSE laziness that keeps us from doing our Sacred
WHO TEACH BY THE GRACE OF GOD (like St Paul).
Duties to God, humanity and all Creation.
❃ ONLY THROUGH HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE WILL WE
❃ NEVER CRITICISE OR JUDGE ANYONE who might not be
MAKE ANY SPIRITUAL PROGRESS AT ALL.
❃ DURING ANY FAST, THE SPIRITUAL FAST IS MOST well-informed or Spiritually Experienced enough to
IMPORTANT – RESISTING ALL SPIRITUAL VICES - fulfil certain practises or requirements of
while SIMULTANEOUSLY DENYING THE PLEASURES Orthodoxy.
AND DEMANDS OF THE FLESH. THUS WE GAIN ❃ ALWAYS DIRECT ANY DISPARAGEMENT INWARDS AND
CONTROL OVER OUR BODIES AND SOULS. FASTIDIOUSLY SCRUTINIZE YOUR OWN HEART AND
SOUL FOR THE FLAWS YOU SO EASILY DETECT IN
This is essential SELF-DISCIPLINE or SELF-DENIAL. OTHERS – AND IMMEDIATELY ERADICATE THEM
❃ FASTING AND PRAYER TRAIN AND DISCIPLINE OUR WITH PRAYER AND REPENTANCE.
SOULS, WHICH IN TURN, CONTROL THE DEMANDS
AND DESIRES OF THE FLESH – AND NOT THE
St John of Kronstadt constantly wept at the sight of fallen
OTHER WAY AROUND! human behaviour because he sincerely believed:
AS WE GROW SPIRITUALLY WE BECOME CLOSER TO GOD – “TODAY, MY BRETHREN; TOMORROW ME!” And HE
SLOWLY REGAINING OUR DIVINE LIKENESS, WHICH IS WOULD BESEECH DIVINE FORGIVENESS FOR ALL HIS
LOST DUE TO SIN. OWN SINS THAT WERE REFLECTED OR MIRRORED BY
CHRISTIANS MUST FAST ACCORDING TO THEIR PERSONAL OTHERS.
STRENGTH OR WEAKNESS AND HEALTH/MEDICAL ❃ IF WE CONCENTRATE ON OUR OWN SPIRITUAL
REQUIREMENTS. CONDITION AND PROGRESS, WE WILL NEITHER
Not everyone can nor should they try to undertake an HAVE THE TIME NOR THE INCLINATION TO DARE TO
JUDGE OTHERS.
Ascetic Fast – a strict Fast – especially without the ❃ GOD ALONE JUDGES AND ENABLES EACH OF US TO
advice or guidance of a Spiritual Father. To do so FULFIL OUR PERSONAL SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS
often leads to dangerous Spiritual Pride! ACCORDING TO OUR OWN CHOICES!
❃ However, EACH OF US IS CAPABLE OF OBSERVING
THE SPIRITUAL FAST – BEING AWARE OF AND

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 6 : 14 – 21


OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST COMMANDS US TO FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER AND TO FAST IN TRUTH

At that time, our Lord Jesus said: “... if you forgive (others) their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also
forgive you. But if you do not forgive (others) their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses.
“Furthermore, when you Fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their
faces so that they may appear to others to be Fasting. Assuredly, I say to you: they have their reward! But
you - when you Fast - anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to others to be
Fasting, except to your Father Who is in the Secret Place; and your Father Who sees in secret, will reward you
openly.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and
steal, but lay up for yourselves Treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where
thieves do not break in and steal. For where your Treasure is, there your heart will be also!”
❃ OUR LORD INSISTS ON MUTUAL FORGIVENESS SPIRITUAL JOY OVERSHADOWS ANY SENSE OF
BETWEEN ALL PEOPLE AS A PRECONDITION OF GOD’S DISTRESS OR DEPRIVATION.
FORGIVENESS: THOSE WHO DO NOT FORGIVE ARE NOT During Fasts, the Hymns of Orthodoxy call the Faithful to
FORGIVEN! “wash and anoint” themselves, for WE MUST ALWAYS
This Divine Teaching is repeated again and again, and our LOOK OUR BEST – ESPECIALLY IN THE PRESENCE OF
Lord ended the Parable of the Unforgiving Servants GOD!
with almost the same warning. Fasting is not the mere abstinence from certain foods.
THE ERRONEOUS, DEADLY BELIEF OR OPINION THAT EVEN ❃ PHYSICAL FASTING WORKS TOGETHER WITH
UNFORGIVING CHRISTIANS ARE FORGIVEN BY OUR SPIRITUAL FASTING OR SELF-DENIAL: IT IS A
MERCIFUL AND LOVING GOD IS CONTRADICTED BY LIBERATION FROM OUR VOLUNTARY
CHRIST OUR GOD HIMSELF! ENSLAVEMENT TO SINFUL PASSIONS.
❃ THE MORAL ACTIONS OF FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS – ❃ FASTING IS ALWAYS FOR THE GLORY OF GOD AND
PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY FORGIVE OTHERS - IS CERTAINLY NOT TO IMPRESS ANYONE ELSE! (NOR
BOUND OR COMBINED WITH THE INFINITE AND IS IT A FORM OF PENANCE OR PUNISHMENT!!)
DIVINE LOVE OF GOD. By attaching ourselves to our worldly possessions – our
STUBBORN, WILFUL UNFORGIVENESS OF OTHERS IS treasures on earth – WE CUT OURSELVES OFF FROM
OUTRIGHT DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD WHEREBY WE THE HEAVENLY TREASURES. We become slaves to
PURPOSELY ALIENATE OURSELVES FROM GOD AND materialism and NOT FREE IN CHRIST!
REJECT HIS DIVINE MERCY AND FORGIVENESS FOR
OURSELVES!
The heart of TRUE DISCIPLESHIP lies in disentangling
PUTTING ON A “SAD COUNTENANCE” (face/appearance) ourselves from the chains of earthly things and
ATTACHING OURSELVES TO ALMIGHTY GOD – OUR
while Fasting SO THAT OTHERS MIGHT SEE how we are TRUE AND ONLY TREASURE!
“suffering!” due to our “Self-denial and Discipline,” is Although we may have need of certain material things we
AN ARROGANT EXTERNAL DISPLAY AND A MOCKERY
must only USE THEM ACCORDING TO GOD’S DIVINE
OF A SACRED COMMITMENT! And we should never
WILL AND PURPOSE.
forget HOW MUCH OUR LORD JESUS DEEPLY DESPISED ❃ GOD ALWAYS GRANTS US MORE THAN WE NEED SO
ANY FORM OF HYPOCRISY!
THAT WE CAN AND MUST SHARE OUR ABUNDANCE
❃ WHEN WE WILLINGLY AND CONSCIENTIOUSLY FAST, WITH OTHERS LESS BLESSED OR MORE NEEDY.
THE COMPASSION OF GOD VANQUISHES ANY
PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT WE MAY EXPERIENCE AND

Sunday of Forgiveness & Cheesefare Week


Today is known as “Sunday of Forgiveness” due to This is a truly beautiful Christian custom, for WHO
the prescribed Sacred Lesson of OUR LORD AND DOES NOT SIN AGAINST NEIGHBOUR IN WORD, DEED
SAVIOUR, WHO TAUGHT US TO FORGIVE THE OR THOUGHT?
TRESPASSES OF THOSE WHO HAVE TRESPASSED ❃ SEEKING FORGIVENESS FROM THOSE BEFORE WHOM
AGAINST US SO THAT OUR HEAVENLY FATHER WE ARE REALLY GUILTY, EXPOSES OTHERS WHO
MIGHT ALSO FORGIVE US OUR OWN INNUMERABLE STUBBORNLY REFUSE TO MAKE PEACE.
TRANSGRESSIONS, WHICH WE HAVE NOT ONLY ❃ A REFUSAL TO RECONCILE AND/OR TO FORGIVE
COMMITTED AGAINST OTHERS AND OURSELVES, BUT REVEALS A TRAGIC LACK OF FAITH, SPIRITUAL
ESPECIALLY AGAINST GOD. OBSTINACY, PRIDE, CONCEIT, A REMEMBRANCE
OF EVIL, DISOBEDIENCE TO THE HOLY GOSPEL OF
Since ancient times, PIOUS CHRISTIANS ASKED FOR CHRIST, AN UNYIELDING RESISTANCE TO GOD
AND GRANTED EACH OTHER FORGIVENESS ON THIS AND AN IMPLIED PACT WITH THE EVIL ONE!
SPECIAL SUNDAY – the last Sunday before Great We are all Children of our Heavenly Father by His
Lent, which begins tomorrow – AND THROUGHOUT Divine Grace, members of Christ our God,
THE ENSUING WEEK – the first week of the Great member of One Holy Body of His Church – of His
Lenten Fast.

12 (PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 4TH SUNDAY OF TRIODION – SUNDAY OF FORGIVENESS – CHEESEFARE 14 FEBRUARY 2010
Precious and Sacred Body – and members of one Eventually the Hieromonk, Titos, became gravely ill
another. and, having lost all hope in life he wept bitterly
GOD IS ABSOLUTE LOVE and 6 more than any whole over his sin of unforgiveness.
burnt offerings or sacrifices 6 HE REQUIRES So he sent a message to his Brother Monk, Evagrios,
MUTUAL LOVE – AGAPE – FROM US 6 Love that is beseeching his forgiveness, but Evagrios
Long6suffering and Kind, that does not envy, that emphatically refused to comply and cursed him
does not make a vain display of itself, that does harshly!
not boast, that does not behave unseemly, that The Brethren, regretting such great conflict and
does not seek its own and that is not easily anger, forcibly took him to the dying Hieromonk.
provoked; that does not think anything evil nor As soon as Titos saw his former friend, he asked the
rejoices over iniquity, but which rejoices in the other Monks to help him from his bed.
Truth. Then in sincere Humility, he fell down before
TRUE LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS; BELIEVES ALL THINGS; Evagrios and tearfully begged his forgiveness.
HOPES ALL THINGS; ENDURES ALL THINGS AND
NEVER FAILS. (JOHN 4: 8-
8-22; 1 CORINTHIANS 13: 4-
4-8)
By this stage Evagrios had become so cynical and
The entire Law of God consists of two vital embittered by the poisonous sin of unforgiveness
Commandments: LOVE GOD AND LOVE YOUR that he turned his back on Titos and shouted
NEIGHBOUR! aloud: “Neither in this life, nor in the future one
EVEN WITH ALL THAT, THE HUMAN HEART IS do I wish to be reconciled with him!”
EXTREMELY SELFISH, IMPATIENT, SELF-WILLED,
Suddenly, Evagrios, who was being restrained by the
MALICIOUS AND NEVER FORGETS EVIL.
We are quickly angered or offended, whether due to other Monks in case he attacked the dying
real or imaginary transgressions given or taken: Hieromonk, was torn from their hands and fell
by offensive, unpleasant or harsh words, bad, to the ground but when the Monks went to assist
ambiguous, malicious, prideful glances or even him, they were shocked to find him not only dead
presumed thoughts and attitudes, which more but as cold as though he had been dead for a
often than not are completely wrong or long time!
misinterpreted through our own miserable Their astonishment increased when the Hieromonk
circumstances. Titos suddenly stood up and appeared in
Our Lord Who sees every hidden corner of our hearts excellent health as though he had never been so
and souls, commented: “... from within, out of deadly ill before!
the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts, In fear of such strange occurrences, the Monks
adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, surrounded Hieromonk Titos, asking him to
covetousness, wickedness, deceit, wantonness, explain everything they had all just witnessed.
an evil eye (I.E. SEEING THINGS WITH THE DISTORTED, CORRUPT AND So he told them: “Being in a state of grave illness,
EVIL VIEW OF ONE’S OWN WICKED, DEBAUCHED STATE); blasphemy, while I, the sinner, was angry at my Brother, I saw
pride, foolishness...” (MARK 7 : 21 – 22) the Angels step away from me, weeping for the
However, God has provided us with strong remedies perdition of my soul while the unclean spirits
against such destructive, noxious maladies: rejoiced gleefully.
➤ DIVINE BENEVOLENCE AND THE ALL POWERFUL “Therefore, more than anything else I sincerely
GRACE OF GOD; desired to be reconciled with him but as soon as
he arrived here and I bowed down before him,
➤ and to defeat every evil invented by our
when he began to curse me, I saw a certain
terrible adversary: THE GREAT, HEALING terrible Angel smite him with his spear, and the
VIRTUES such as MEEKNESS, ABSENCE OF hapless one tumbled to ground dead; then the
MALICE, ACTS OF CONCESSION, PATIENCE same Angel stretched out his hand to me and
AND LONGSUFFERING. raised me up from my deathbed!”
OUR LORD JESUS PROMISED US THAT IF WE FORGAVE
The Monks wept mournfully over the dreadful death
THE TRANSGRESSION OF OUR FELLOW SINNERS, WE
WOULD RECEIVE IN TURN, THE DIVINE FORGIVENESS of Evagrios and, FROM THAT TIME FORTH, THEY
OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND HIS GREAT MERCY WATCHED MOST CAREFULLY AND DILIGENTLY OVER
ON THE DAY OF THE GREAT JUDGEMENT, WHICH THEMSELVES, ENSURING THAT THE SUN NEVER SET
ALSO INCLUDED ETERNAL BLESSEDNESS IN GOD’S UPON ANY ANGER!
ETERNAL KINGDOM, for “...the meek shall inherit Brethren! THE REMEMBRANCE OF EVIL (UNFORGIVENESS,

the earth.” (MATTHEW


MATTHEW 5: 8 – 6) IS A DEADLY VICE TOO
REVENGE, HATRED, BITTERNESS, ETC)

❃ IRRECONCILABLE MALICE WILL BEAR THE FULL HORRIBLE TO FULLY PERCEIVE – TO COMPLETELY
FORCE OF THE JUST AND FEARFUL JUDGEMENT UNDERSTAND - AND, AS MUCH AS IT IS LOATHSOME
OF GOD AND ACCORDINGLY ETERNAL TORMENT! FOR GOD, IT IS ALSO PERNICIOUS (DESTRUCTIVE) TO
SOCIETY.
Evidence of Divine Punishment – even here – of those WE HAVE BEEN CREATED IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS
who are spiteful and incompatible is shown in OF GOD SO MEEKNESS AND BENEVOLENCE SHOULD
the following account: BE OUR UNCHANGING ATTRIBUTES.
❃ GOD MOST JOYFULLY GRANTS ALL REPENTANT
In the Lavra Monastery of Kiev Caves, many centuries SINNERS HIS GREAT MERCY, FOR HE IS
ago, there were two Monks: a Hieromonk, Titos INFINITELY AND FOREVER TOLERANT,
and a Deacon, Evagrios FORGIVING AND PATIENT REGARDLESS OF HOW
SINFUL WE HAVE BEEN – AS LONG AS WE, IN
Having lived for years in peace and friendship, TURN, HAVE FORGIVEN OTHERS JUST AS
something caused bitter enmity and hatred LOVINGLY AND WILLINGLY.
between them, which continued for a long time Nevertheless, THOSE WHO OBSTINATELY CONTINUE TO
afterwards, and, without reconciling, they had REMEMBER EVIL AND WHO REFUSE TO FORGIVE,
FORSAKE OR ABANDON THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS
dared to offer the Bloodless Sacrifice before God. OF GOD WITHIN THEM.
(I.E. THE HOLY EUCHARIST)
IN THEIR SPIRITUAL DARKNESS AND DEATH, THEY
No matter how much their Brethren advised them to BECOME GROTESQUE FIENDS RATHER THAN DIVINE
forgive one another and reunite in peace and IMAGES!
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “SUNDAY OF FORGIVENESS & CHEESEFARE WEEK” BY ST
harmony, they remained incompatible. JOHN OF KRONSTADT
KRONSTADT – www.roca-
www.roca-sobor.org/library

(PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 4TH SUNDAY OF TRIODION – SUNDAY OF FORGIVENESS – CHEESEFARE 14 FEBRUARY 2010 13
Sunday of Forgiveness/Cheesefare
Today’s theme refers to the expulsion of Adam from God that are to be done secretly so that only God
Paradise due to the misuse of his freedom by knows.
being persuaded by the evil one to disobey the The Infinite Condescension of God towards our
only Commandment – not to eat the Fruit of the human weakness is constantly emphasised by
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil – and Christ 6 in our Lord’s Prayer and throughout this
thinking that he would know more that God! last week, leading up to Forgiveness or
Our Hymnology refers to the tragic condition of the Cheesefare Sunday, which implies the gradual
exiled Adam 6 weeping sorrowfully and working transition from eating meat to the strict Fast of
hard to survive. Great Lent, which begins tomorrow – Clean
The Sacred Lesson refers to Prayer, Fasting, Monday.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: WWW.GOARCH.ORG
Almsgiving and all Good Works for the Glory of
The Covering of the Soul
OUR SOUL REFLECTS ITS INNERMOST CONDITION AND, Nevertheless, THE MOMENT SOULS BEGIN TO DIM DUE
ALTHOUGH WE CANNOT SEE IT OURSELVES, THERE TO THE ONSET OF SPIRITUAL DEATH CAUSED BY SIN,
ARE CERTAIN HOLY ONES WHO, IN THEIR PURITY OF THEY WATCH FEVERISHLY AND AS SOON AS THE
SOUL, HAVE BEEN GRANTED THE GIFT OF SPIRITUAL SLIGHTEST OPPORTUNITY ARISES, THEY VICIOUSLY
SIGHT. ATTACK WITH THEIR DEADLY WEAPONS SUCH AS
There was a Hieromonk who was greatly respected DEROGATORY THOUGHTS, PASSIONATE DESIRES
for being a Faster, a Solitary and a man of Prayer. AND DISCONCERTING, DISRUPTIVE EMOTIONS.
When St Andrew the Fool6for6Christ met him, he saw These hideous demons hunt in packs and exist in a
that he was arrayed in some sort of dark fog, and turbulent realm that is neither of Heaven nor
that a snake with an inscription: “snake of earth.
THEY PERSISTENTLY WAIT AND WATCH FOR ANY
avarice,” was curled around his neck. Such was CHANCE TO HARM OUR BODIES AND SOULS,
the Spiritual Condition of the Hieromonk’s soul! RALLYING ALL THEIR DESTRUCTIVE WILES –
Yet no one else could see it. RELENTLESSLY TRYING TO BRING US TO UTTER
DESPAIR SO THAT WE MIGHT SELF-DESTRUCT AND
(St Andrew spoke to the Hieromonk in private and ABANDON GOD.
he humbly repented and confessed.) THEY ARE UTTERLY OBSESSED WITH SOULS THAT ARE
THE HEAVENLY INHABITANTS ARE EVEN MORE CONSISTENTLY FILLED WITH DIVINE LIGHT,
ENLIGHTENED THAN ANY HUMAN BEING AND THEY sometimes boldly creeping close enough to
CLEARLY SEE OUR SOULS. SO, ALTHOUGH WE MIGHT
THINK THAT NO ONE ELSE KNOWS OUR REAL
disturb or disrupt our focus.
SPIRITUAL CONDITION, WE ARE IN FACT OBSERVED A young man asked a certain magician, Cyprianos,
BY COUNTLESS SPIRITUAL BEINGS! for a “magic potion” to captivate the favour of a
We, too, are able to determine our Spiritual State – to lovely young Christian, Justina, whom he desired,
a certain degree 6 due to our incorruptible judge: although she never noticed him at all.
the Voice of God within us, which is our Several times Cyprianos sent demons to her in an
conscience. effort to kindle a reciprocal passion in her for the
ALTHOUGH OUR CONSCIENCE MIGHT BECOME
SUPPRESSED AND MUFFLED BY OUR SINS, IT IS ABLE youth but whenever they approached her home,
TO FREE ITSELF FROM THOSE SHACKLES AND TO they were forced away and scorched by a bright
RAISE ITS VOICE OF PROTEST AGAINST OUR Light from within the house: St Justina was
SHAMELESSNESS, UNTIL WE HEED IT AND CORRECT
OUR SPIRITUAL DARKNESS BY REPENTING AND enveloped with pure Light like a protective Cloud
CONFESSING OUR WICKEDNESS. that hid her from their wicked gaze.
In those who are innocent, the Voice of their There is no better example of a brightly shining soul
conscience is always clearly heard. than that of A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN WHO IS PURE
OUR CONSCIENCE BRINGS OUR ATTENTION TO THE IN CONSCIENCE AND DEVOTED TO THE LORD GOD!
OPINIONS OR VIEWPOINTS OF THE HEAVENLY WHEN THE CONSCIENCE IS PURE, THE FEAR OF GOD FILLS
INHABITANTS WHO ADVISE US, PROTECT US AND THE SOUL AND KEEPS IT INVIOLABLE. THEN GOD
GUIDE US SAFELY THROUGH LIFE.
Who is everywhere present and Who fills all
If we are pure in everything before God and
things, VISITS AND DWELLS WITHIN THAT LOVELY
mankind, the testimony of our conscience shines SOUL, CAUSING HIS DIVINE LIGHT TO BRIGHTLY
the Divine Light of God on our soul and we are SHINE FORTH LIKE A SMALL STAR!
seen by our Heavenly Witnesses as brightly IF IT HAS MAINTAINED THE PURITY AND BRIGHTNESS OF
SPIRITUAL LIFE THEN UPON ITS DEPARTURE FROM
shining Lights. THE BODY, THE SOUL CROSSES OVER AND UNITES
WHENEVER OUR CONSCIENCE REPROACHES US AND WITH THE UNCREATD DIVINE LIGHT OF GOD BY
WARNS US OF OUR IMPURITIES AND ERRORS, OUR MEANS OF THAT VERY SAME BRIGHTNESS.
SOULS APPEAR DARKENED like a light6bulb While St Anthony was conversing with his disciples,
covered with thick dust – THE LIGHT STILL SHINES he saw a band of Light that rose up to Heaven,
DEEP WITHIN BUT IS BLURRED BY THE GRIME OF SIN
COVERING IT. and discerning what it was, he told them: “It is St
GUARDIAN ANGELS ARE CLOSER TO US THAN ANYONE Ammon ascending into Heaven with the Holy
ELSE AND THEY KNOW IMMEDIATELY WHO IS Angels escorting him.”
SPIRITUALLY BRIGHT OR DIM. THEY CONSTANTLY BE ZEALOUS ABOUT THIS: DO NOT GO BY OUTER
MONITOR OUR INNERMOST ATTITUDE TO DISCERN APPEARANCES FOR IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THERE IS
IF IT IS A PERMANENT OR TEMPORARY CONDITION. SOMETHING ELSE WITHIN, AND THAT IS WHAT WE
Besides all the Heavenly Hosts, the Righteous and the ARE IN REALITY! Of course, WE MIGHT BE BETTER
Saints, there are dark powers who are invisible to THAN WE APPEAR TO BE.
us yet they also watch the state of our souls very St Basil the Great said: “The body is ours and
besides this body, what we have, beginning with
intently.
WHILE WE ARE IN A BLESSED STATE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE,
our clothing, is that which surrounds us. But,
BEING CLOSE TO GOD THROUGH REPENTANCE AND what are we? We are soul with a spirit.”
WATCHFULNESS, BY STRIVING FAITHFULLY TO OBEY So, after disengaging from all that is outside us and
HIM IN ALL THINGS, AND ESPECIALLY WHILE from our body, we must ENTER WITHIN, AND
PRAYING, THE EVIL POWERS – THE DEMONS OR EXAMINE EVERYTHING BEFORE DECIDING IN WHAT
FALLEN ANGELS – ARE UNABLE TO APPROACH US, SPIRITUAL CONDITION WE TRULY ARE.
NOR CAN THEY WATCH US BECAUSE THE DIVINE
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: THE SPIRITUAL LIFE - THE COVERING OF THE SOUL – BY
LIGHT WITHIN US BURNS THEM, BLINDS THEM AND ST THEOPHAN THE RECLUSE
REPELS THEM.

14 (PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 4TH SUNDAY OF TRIODION – SUNDAY OF FORGIVENESS – CHEESEFARE 14 FEBRUARY 2010
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
ALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE AGES OF
AGES. AMEN.
REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARIA, BIRTH GIVER OF GOD, YET EVER VIRGIN,
TOGETHER WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST OUR GOD.
AMEN.

1st Sunday of Great Lent Tone 4 21 February 2010

Sunday of Orthodoxy – The Triumph of Orthodoxy

Feast of St Timothy the Righteous; St Eustathios of Antioch; St Zacharias of


Jerusalem; St John III of Constantinople
APOLYTIKION OF THE RESURRECTION – TONE 4

To fedron tis Anastaseos Kirigma ek tou Angelou Mathouse e When the Women Disciples of the Lord had learnt from
tou Kyriou mathitrie ke tin Progonikin apofasin the Angels the Glad Tidings of the Resurrection, and
aporipsase, tis Apostolis kafhomene elegon: Eskilefte O had cast away the Condemnation of their Forefather,
thanatos, igerthi Hristos O Theos, doroumenos to kosmo they spoke exultingly to the Apostles: Death is no
to Mega Eleos! more: Christ-God is Risen, granting to the world
Great Mercy!

APOLYTIKION OF THE FEAST OF THE TRANSLATION OF THE HOLY MANDYLION – NOT MADE BY HANDS - TONE 2

Tin ahranton Ikona Sou proskinoumen agathe, etoumeni We venerate Thy Most Pure Image, O Good One, and ask
sighorisin ton ptesmaton imon, Hriste O Theos. Voulisi forgiveness of our transgression, O Christ God. Of Thy
gar iidokisas sarki, anelthin en to Styavro, ina risi ous own Will Thou were pleased to ascend the Cross in the
eplasas ek tis doulias tou ehthrou. Othen evharistos Flesh to deliver Thy creatures from bondage to the
voomen Si. Haras eplirosas ta panta O Sotir imon, enemy. Therefore, with thanksgiving, we cry aloud to
paragenomenos is to sose ton kosmon. Thee: Thou has filled all with Joy, O our Saviour, by
coming to Save the world!
KONTAKION TO THE EVER BLESSED
BLESSED THEOTOKOS

Ti Ipermaho Stratigo ta nikitiria Os litrothisa ton dinon Unto Thee, O Theotokos Invincible Champion, Thy City
evharistiria Anagrafo Si i Polis Sou Theotoke All’ os in thanksgiving Ascribes the Victory for the
ehousa to kratos aprosmahiton Ek pantion me deliverance from sufferings. But having Thy Might
kindinon eleftheroson Ina krazo Si, Here Nimfi
unassailable, Free me from all dangers So that I may
Animfevte!
cry out to Thee: “Hail! O Bride Ever Virgin!”
Resurrection Gospel 4 : Luke 24 : 1 – 12 THE HOLY MYRRH-
MYRRH-BEARERS FIND OUR LORD HAS RISEN & HIS TOMB IS EMPTY

Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the God of our Fathers. For Thou hast always dealt Righteously with us.
The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 11:24 – 26; 32 – 40
THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH
CHURCH IS THE SUFFERINGS OF HER SAINTS

Brethren, by Faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to
suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin, esteeming the Reproach of Christ
greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the Reward.
And what more shall I say? For the 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, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being
destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens
and caves of the earth.
And all these, having obtained a good Testimony through Faith, did not receive the Promise, God having provided
something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
The Saints and the faithful people of God who lived in old The temptations of Satan and the world today try to confuse us
Covenant times, before the Coming [Incarnation] of the and make us doubt and question, but when we recognise the
Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, accepted God’s Divine and deceptions for what they are, they can no longer bewilder us.
Perfect Truth simply through the Faith [trust] of their immortal We must simply trust in God because everything and anything is
souls. always possible with Him and we can rest assured that He
They did not have the enormous amount of factual proof that always takes the very best care of us because He is All
Christians enjoy today. Wise, Gracious and Merciful.
They simply accepted God and His Commandments and Only God knows what is best for us and we must always
instructions that were given to them through the Holy depend on Him to Guide and Protect us, no matter what
Prophets, who received them from the Holy Spirit. happens to us.
They knew God instinctively and their Faith was greater than Only by the Power of Almighty God is it possible to do the
those who rely on facts to convince them of God’s Truth. impossible and throughout the ages God has given His
This is why Christ said that those who do not have proof yet Faithful People the incredible abilities to achieve whatever
believe are even more Blessed. was necessary.
St Paul stressed this aspect of Faith because he wanted us to God works through our deep Faith in Him and this is evident with
realise that not only do we have Inspired Faith in our souls, all who rely upon His Grace and Mercy.
but we also have so much concrete proof of God’s Truth and We are astounded by His Miracles when we become aware of
Reality! them.

(PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 1ST SUNDAY OF GREAT LENT – ORTHODOX SUNDAY - THE TRIUMPH OF ORTHODOXY 21 FEBRUARY 2010
15
God performs His Wonders all the time, ever moment of the day Throughout life – the problems, the pain, the suffering and the
but we do not recognise or acknowledge them. heartbreak - God carries us, protects us and makes it all
All too often we accept them as our own achievements – as tolerable and viable.
though we could do wonderful things all on our own! The Promises or Covenants of God are for all mankind,
The faithful servants of God do not accept the tempting offers of throughout the ages.
the world. Instead they look to the future – to Eternity – for Until Christ descended into Hades and broke open the Gates of
which this present existence prepares us. Hades, it was not possible for the Righteous to rest in peace.
Worldly comforts and possessions are temporary whereas Life in Now, with the Hope and Promise of His Resurrection, we are
Christ is Eternal and the greatest objective to aim for. comforted and confident that we are able to continue our
Throughout time God’s faithful people knew they had to endure Journey to Eternal Life.
whatever life dealt them so that they would be Spiritually Christ revealed so much to us regarding the Mystery of Life After
Prepared for Eternal Life. Death.
The prospect of Eternal Life encourages us to face anything, and Our personal relationship with God and our Spiritual Health will
absolute Faith in God makes it possible. decide whether we will have Eternal Life or Eternal Death.
No matter what terrible tortures the Holy Martyrs had to endure, As long as we draw breath in this world, we have the opportunity
God made it mysteriously possible and bearable for them – to develop our Spiritual Well-Being and deepen our Love and
their bodies may have suffered unspeakable horrors, but Devotion to Almighty God.
their souls remained inviolate and comforted by God. It might take a great deal of daily effort but the final results of our
Spiritual Striving are worth every second indeed!
The Holy Gospel According to St John 1 : 43 – 51
CHRIST OUR LORD REVEALS THAT HIS FAITHFUL DISCIPLES SHALL SEE HEAVENLY EVENTS

At that time, the following day, Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him: “Follow Me.”
Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him: “We have found Him
of Whom Moses in the Law, and also the Prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to
him: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him: “Come and see.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards Him, and said of him: “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael
said to Him: “How dost Thou know me?” Jesus answered and said to him: “Before Philip called you, when you were
under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him: “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God! Thou art the
King of Israel!”
Jesus answered and said to him: “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see
greater things than these.” And He said to him: “Most assuredly, I say to you: hereafter you shall see Heaven open,
and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
When our Lord Jesus Christ says “Follow Me” WE ARE NATHANAEL WAS OVERJOYED TO ACKNOWLEDGE OUR LORD
WILLINGLY AND JOYFULLY COMPELLED TO OBEY JESUS AS THE TRUE MESSIAH for Whom they had waited
THROUGH OUR LOVE OF GOD. so long.
WHEN CHRIST CALLS US TO FOLLOW HIM, OUR LIVES ARE In ancient Jewish thought THE SON OF MAN IS A MYSTERIOUS
INSTANTLY CHANGED AND WE ARE NEVER THE SAME BEING OF HEAVENLY ORIGIN, WHO IS TO USHER IN THE
AGAIN! KINGDOM OF GOD. OUR LORD JESUS IS INDEED THIS ONE.
Our Struggles are greater and the Spiritual Warfare more In Old Testament Prophecy, ST JACOB DREAMT OF A LADDER
evident, but the results are astonishing, exciting and truly CONNECTING EARTH AND HEAVEN, upon which the Angels
worthwhile! of God were ascending and descending.
St Philip immediately obeyed because he recognised our Lord ✽ OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF MAN, IS “JACOB’S
Jesus as the long awaited Messiah or Christ. He LADDER.”
acknowledged the Divine Presence of Christ and his Love ✽ CHRIST IS THE MEANS OF MANKIND’S ACCESS TO GOD.
for God compelled him, not only to obey but also to share ✽ HE IS THE FINAL AND FULLEST REVELATION OF GOD.
his Joy in His Calling with Nathanael (who later became ✽ IN HIS INCARNATION, GOD AND MANKIND ARE UNITED.
known as “St Bartholomew.”) ✽ IN THE TEACHINGS AND MIRACLES OF CHRIST’S PUBLIC
Nathanael’s first reaction was to doubt that the Messiah could MINISTRY, THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH IS
INAUGURATED.
come from Nazareth because Holy Scripture prophesied
that He was to come from the Royal Line of David, from
✽ HIS HOLY CROSS, SET UP ON EARTH LIKE JACOB’S
LADDER, REACHES INTO HEAVEN.
Bethlehem – which indeed He was, although that fact was ✽ THROUGH HIS RESURRECTION, ASCENSION AND
unknown to most people at the time. EXALTATION AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE
CHRIST OUR LORD AND CREATOR SEES INTO THE INNERMOST FATHER, HUMAN NATURE IS RAISED INTO HEAVEN.
CORNERS OF OUR SOULS. NOTHING IS HIDDEN FROM HIM ✽ AND THROUGH HIS SECOND COMING, [HIS VISIBLE RETURN
and as Nathanael approached Him, CHRIST REVEALED SO ALL HUMANITY CAN SEE HIM] ALL THINGS WILL BE
HIS PURITY OF HEART by saying: “…in whom is no deceit!” RECONCILED TO GOD.
This statement took Nathanael by surprise, which ✽ IN CHRIST, HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE JOINED.
instigated his question, “How dost Thou know me?” Despite all the Miraculous Wonders human beings have
The reply of Christ revealed His Divinity because ONLY GOD witnessed and experienced in this life, Christ has told us
KNEW his whereabouts just before St Philip went to fetch on more than one occasion, that there are even greater
him. and more wonderful Things to behold in Eternal Life – in
the Life to come.
Sunday of Orthodoxy – the First Sunday of Great Lent
TODAY IS SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY OR THE TRIUMPH OF US AND BLESSES US IN ALL OUR CIRCUMSTANCES AND
ORTHODOXY because our Holy Orthodox Church ENDEAVOURS, no matter how unimportant they may
solemnly recalls its VICTORY OVER THE ICONOCLAST see to others.
HERESY AND OTHER HERESIES, and we gratefully OUR FAITH GRANTS US STRENGTH, GOOD CHEER AND
COMMEMORATE ALL WHO FOUGHT TO PRESERVE THE CONSOLATION. IT HEALS, PURIFIES AND SAVES US.
DIVINE TRUTH OF THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN FAITH IN Our Orthodox Faith is also dear to us because IT IS THE
WORD, WRITING, TEACHING, SUFFERING AND GODLY TRUE FAITH OF OUR HOLY CHURCH FATHERS and for
LIVING.
its sake the Holy Apostles of Christ laboured
This Feast is a significant reminder to each of us that IT
IS OUR SACRED DUTY TO STAND FIRM IN OUR constantly and endured all manner of suffering.
ORTHODOX FAITH AND TO MOST CAREFULLY PRESERVE The faithful Holy Martyrs and Priesthood struggled and
IT PURE AND TRUTHFUL FOREVER - ACCORDING TO suffered persecution; Spiritual Champions shed their
GOD’S DIVINE AND ABSOLUTE TRUTH EXCLUSIVELY!
tears and their blood for our Faith.
For us ORTHODOXY IS OUR MOST PRECIOUS TREASURE: IT IS ALL THIS WONDERFUL CLOUD OF WITNESSES TO GOD’S
many of us were born and raised Orthodox. Many of DIVINE TRUTH WHOSE LEGACY WE HAVE INHERITED,
us converted to Orthodoxy due to its purity and AND WHICH WE MUST CONTINUE TO PRESERVE IN
TRUTH, ENSURING IT IS PASSED ON TO THE FOLLOWING
Divine Truth. THE MOST RELEVANT AND IMPORTANT GENERATIONS IN THAT SAME PURE STATE AS THE HOLY
EVENTS OF OUR LIFE ARE CONNECTED TO ORTHODOXY APOSTLES RECEIVED IT FROM CHRIST OUR LORD AND
AND OUR HOLY FAITH CONSTANTLY HELPS US, GUIDES

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16
SAVIOUR – WITHOUT ERROR OR CHANGE,, IN HUMBLE have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger!”
(ISAIAH 1:4)
OBEDIENCE TO GOD - instead of pleasing ourselves
As the descendants of Christ’s faithful Apostles and If you do not preserve the Orthodox Faith and the
Disciples, DO WE STRIVE TO PRESERVE THE ORTHODOX Commandments of God, DO NOT INSULT GOD OR
HUMILIATE YOURSELVES BY INVENTING FALSE EXCUSES
FAITH AND KEEP TO ITS HOLY GOSPELS?
FOR YOUR SINS!
St Elijah the Holy Prophet of God and great Worker for
If you do not honour Holy Tradition, DO NOT MOCK THE
the Glory of God complained that the sons of Israel THINGS YOU NEITHER KNOW NOR UNDERSTAND!
had abandoned the Holy Covenant of God, drifting If you have rejected the Motherly Care of our Holy
away from It towards the heathen idols. Church, ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU ACT SINFULLY
Yet our Lord revealed to His Holy Prophet that amongst AGAINST GOD AND HIS HOLY CHURCH – HIS HOLY
COVENANT - BY BEHAVING LIKE AN INDULGED, RUDE,
the Israelites there still were, at that time, 7000
ILL-DISCIPLINED, IMMATURE AND REBELLIOUS CHILD!
people who had not knelt before Baal. (3 KINGS: 19) IF YOU ACKNOWLEDGE, CONFESS AND REPENT ALL THESE
Likewise, no doubt, in our days also there are still some TERRIBLE SINS AGAINST GOD AND YOURSELF (i.e. your
True Disciples of Christ: “The Lord knows those immortal soul), you will be forgiven and joyfully
who are His.” (2 TIMOTHY 2:19) embraced by Divine Love – and YOUR ENTIRE LIFE WILL
We occasionally do meet TRUE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF CERTAINLY IMPROVE!
THE HOLY CHURCH who ARE OBEDIENT TO HER Holding onto the Holy Orthodox Faith with Love and the
DECREES, who HONOUR THEIR SPIRITUAL FATHERS, who deepest respect, we ought to SHARE ITS JOY AND
LOVE THE HOLY CHURCH OF CHRIST OUR GOD AND ALL SPIRITUAL BENEFITS WITH OTHERS, ESPECIALLY THOSE
ITS BEAUTY, who are EAGER TO ATTEND HER DIVINE WHO STUMBLE ABOUT IN SPIRITUAL DARKNESS.
SERVICES and who lead A GOOD SPIRITUAL LIFE IN ✞ THE LIGHT OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY is not only for
CHRIST. a small, elite group. IT IS UNIVERSAL AND IT OBEYS
THEY RECOGNISE THEIR OWN FAILINGS AND SINCERELY AND THE GREAT COMMISSION OF OUR DIVINE FOUNDER,
PROMPTLY REPENT THEIR SINS. JESUS CHRIST, Who instructed all His faithful
But how many such faithful Disciples are there amongst Disciples to “...make Disciples of all the Nations,
us? Baptising them in the Name of the Father, and
There appear to be more people “... in whom the weeds of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them
of vanity and passion allow little Fruit to the to observe all things that I have Commanded
influence of the Gospel, or even in whom it is you...” (MATTHEW 16:15)
altogether fruitless, who resist the Truth of God We ought to share our Spiritual Wealth with those who
and His Holy Gospel because of their ever are deprived of these Divine Blessings, who seek and
increasing sins, who renounce the Gifts of God and thirst for them.
repudiate the Grace of God!” (THE SERVICE OF ORTHODOXY) Surrounded by a sea of other religions, our Holy Church
“I have given birth to sons and have glorified them, yet
is a small island of Salvation.
they deny Me!” said the Lord our God in ancient
Some who cannot find comfort and shelter anywhere
days concerning Israel.
else and who have been plunged into the turbulent
And today, THERE ARE MANY WHO WERE BORN, RAISED
AND GLORIFIED BY OUR LORD IN THE ORTHODOX FAITH waters of life, try to reach the safety and comfort of
– THE NEW ISRAEL – YET WHO DENY THEIR FAITH, PAY our Saviour’s protective, nurturing Harbour.
NO ATTENTION TO THE DIVINE TEACHINGS OF THE Are we to remain deaf and blind and insensitive to their
HOLY CHURCH, DO NOT KEEP ITS INJUNCTIONS, DO NOT
LISTEN TO THEIR SPIRITUAL FATHERS AND PRIESTS, AND pleas of help and guidance?
WHO REMAIN INDIFFERENT TO THE DIVINE SERVICES May God save us from such a lack of Love! Otherwise,
AND THE HOLY CHURCH OF GOD. woe to us “... for we have taken away the Key of
How MANY ABANDON THEIR ORTHODOX FAITH in this Knowledge; we entered not in ourselves, and those
world of innumerable creeds and tribes! who were entering in, we hindered.” (Luke 11:52)
THEY BEGIN THEIR APOSTASY WITH THINGS THAT IN THEIR
St Paul wisely compared our Holy Church to a body, the
OPINION HAVE NO IMPORTANCE, judging them to be
life of which is shared by all the members: “... the
“old fashioned,” or “unacceptable to ‘educated’
people.” whole body, joined and knitted together by what
They reject praying before and after meals and in the every joint supplies, according to the effective
morning and at night; they refuse to wear a Cross, to working by which every part does its share, causes
have Holy Icons in their homes or to commemorate growth of the body for be edifying of itself in Love.”
Feast Days. (Ephesians 4:16)
They refuse to Fast or to partake of Holy Communion. All faithful Christians suffer for the Holy Church of
They seldom attend Church, preferring other self6 Christ. We all fight against heresies and we all have
indulgent and Spiritually Destructive activities. accepted the Divine Commission of spreading the
They do not Repent, Confess or participate in any of the Holy Gospel of Christ.
Holy Mysteries such as Marriage or Holy Baptism. Although not everyone has the opportunity or the
Their Sacred Orthodox Faith is renounced and faculty to preach the Holy gospel, but everyone can
abandoned, yet in times of anguish, pain and pray for God’s Protection, Guidance and Strength to
suffering or upon their death bed they might conquer all difficulties and threats, and to open the
remember God’s Great Mercy and His Holy Mysteries, hearts of the ungodly so that “... He should impart to
them the Word of Truth... unite them to the Holy
yet even then, MOST REMAIN STUBBORN AND IN A
Catholic (UNIVERSAL) and Apostolic Church... confirm,
STATE OF SPIRITUAL DEATH!
THEY HAVE READY EXCUSES FOR THEIR LIFE-THREATENING increase and pacify His Church, keeping it forever
APOSTASY AND WHEN THEY SUFFER THE invincible.”
CONSEQUENCES OF SIN, THEY ARE QUICK TO BLAME Beloved Brethren in Christ: let us devote ourselves to
GOD.
the Orthodox Faith – not only in word alone, but in
✞ CHRIST CAME TO SAVE ALL CREATION AND THE
deed and in Truth!
ORTHODOX FAITH IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “ORTHODOXY SUNDAY” BY THE MOST REVEREND TIKHON,
WORLD: “Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with BISHOPF OF THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS & OF NORTH AMERICA; SAN FRANCISCO 1903

iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children who are


corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord; they

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The Triumph of Orthodoxy
It was decreed at the end of the Seventh Ecumenical Son of Man 6 indentifying HIS HUMANITY
Council that on this specific First Sunday of Great In the Calling of the Apostles we hear two phases that
Lent, the Restoration of the Holy Icons would be show belief, Faith and action: “FOLLOW ME” and
commemorated. "COME AND SEE.”
In 717, Leo the Isaurian seized control of the Roman St Philip and St Nathaniel came to believe in Christ. They
Empire in Constantinople and one of his first acts as had been searching for the Christ and when they
Emperor was to have the Holy Icons removed from came into His Presence they believed.
churches due to his erroneous belief that Icons were BELIEF IS A THOUGHT PROCESS; IT IS A CONFIRMATION OF
idols worshipped by the people. SOMETHING and St Philip and St Nathaniel were

This belief arose from his misunderstanding and convinced that our Lord Jesus is truly the Christ.
misinterpretation of the Ten Commandments and In the case of St Philip, it was an instantaneous
Holy Scripture. conversion because his heart was prepared and ready
✞ The Ten Commandments states: “...You shall not to receive the Christ through his continuous study of
make for yourself an idol or a likeness of Holy Scripture, so that when he saw our Lord Jesus,
anything in Heaven above, or in the earth he immediately responded to his own Calling by
beneath, or in the waters under the earth..”. Christ to “Follow Me!”
(EXODUS 20:4)
St Nathaniel, on the other hand, experienced a different
✞ The Book of Leviticus instructs: “... you shall not
type of conversion. He had to be convinced by St
make hand-crafted objects for yourselves;
neither a carved image nor a pillar shall you Philip: “Come and see!”
rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up a When he met Christ Who knew everything about him, he
distinctive stone in your land, to worship it; for I utterly certain that our Lord Jesus is truly the Christ
Am the Lord your God!” (LEVITICUS 26:1) – the Anointed One of God, the Messiah and our
✞ The Book of the Acts of the Apostles points out: “... Saviour.
since we are the Offspring of God, we ought not Through these different conversions, we see how we all
to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or come to Christ. A few of us "just know" when it is
silver or stone, something shaped in art and
man’s devising.” (ACTS 17:29) time to surrender our lives to God through a sudden,
unique Spiritual Experience and St Philip had such a
While these verses of Scripture give the impression that
Spiritual Experience.
there should be no images, God seems to give
contradictory instructions for the building of the Most of us, however, need to be persuaded and
convinced to turn to God, just like St Nathaniel.
Tabernacle and the Temple.
This gradual process of being convinced of Divine Truth
The Book of Exodus records: “... you shall make two
Cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall is often referred to as a “Spiritual Awakening.”
make them at the two ends of the Mercy Seat.” THE POINT OF THIS IS NOT HOW WE GET TO GOD, BUT THAT
(EXODUS 25:18) WE GET TO HIM. It does not matter if it is a sudden
The Fist Book of Kings noted: “... for the door of the Spiritual Experience or the gradual process of a
Sanctuary... he carved Cherubim, palm trees and Spiritual Awakening that brings us to God.
open flowers on them, and overlaid the figures in
What does matter is WHAT WE DO ONCE WE REALIZE THAT
relief with gold...” (1 KINGS 6:32/3 KINGDOMS 6:33-
6:33-34 LXX )
WE NEED GOD TO BE IN CONTROL OF OUR LIVES; WHAT
The Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787 sorted out this ACTIONS DO WE TAKE?
apparent contradiction in Holy Scriptures by WE SHOULD REPENT OUR SINS AND SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGE
determining that THE USE OF IMAGES WAS SCRIPTURAL OUR WAY OF THINKING, OUR ATTITUDE AND OUR
ENTIRE OUTLOOK ON LIFE.
AND DID NOT CONTRADICT THE LAW OF GOD.
WE WILL ACT COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY BEING IN
The Holy Fathers further determined that, BECAUSE GOD HARMONY WITH GOD AND HIS CREATION.
HAD TAKEN HUMAN FORM IN THE PERSON OF JESUS
CHRIST, IMAGES OF CHRIST AND THE SAINTS WERE
We will become serene and have faith knowing that it is
POSSIBLE.
real. And as we experience and witness the Grace of
Lastly, they defined THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORSHIP God in our lives, we will respond accordingly.
AND VENERATION OF AN IMAGE OR ICON. Our only True Goal in life should be to have this type of
WORSHIP WAS DEFINED AS THAT WHICH IS ONLY GIVEN TO Faith, which “... comes by hearing, and hearing by
GOD.
the Word of God." (ROMANS 10:17)
VENERATION, on the other hand, IS A SIGN OF RESPECT OR
The “hearing” to which St Paul referred is THE SPIRITUAL
LOVE THAT IS GIVEN TO A PERSON.
EXPERIENCE OR AWAKENING THAT BRINGS US CLOSE TO
Thus, WHEN WE VENERATE AN ICON OR KISS IT, WE ARE GOD.
SHOWING OUR RESPECT OR LOVE FOR CHRIST OR THE
SAINT DEPICTED ON IT. Furthermore, being brought to God by Faith is a Divine
One way to think of veneration is if you ever kissed a Gift from God, “ ... for by Grace are you Saved
photo of a relative or friend due to your love and through Faith, and not by yourselves (because) it is
the Gift of God." (EPHESIANS 2:8)
respect for that person. That is what is meant by
St Paul also cautioned us that THIS GIFT FROM GOD IS NOT
veneration. PERMANENT. IT IS SOMETHING THAT MUST BE
All the Ecumenical Councils defined and confirmed the CONTINUALLY WORKED FOR,
as he wrote to St
Sacred Teaching of the Church due to certain Timothy: “Fight the Good Fight of Faith, lay hold
controversies that arose amongst people. on Eternal Life, to which you are also Called, and
The first two Councils, in a sense, defined the Teaching have professed a good profession before many
of God in three Persons, while the remaining five witnesses." (1 TIMOTHY 6:12)
6:12)

Councils defined the Person of Christ as God and St Paul himself declared at the end of his life: “I have
Man. fought a Good Fight, I have finished my Course, I
have kept the Faith." (2 TIMOTHY 4:7)
In today’s Gospel, we are given the Iconic Image of Christ MAY GOD GRANT YOU A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE OR
in words: AWAKENING THAT BRINGS YOU TO HIM AS YOUR
➤ Rabbi - indentifying Him as THE TEACHER OF THE TEACHER AND KING, GRANTING YOU THE GIFT OF
LAW FAITH. THROUGH YOUR REPENTANCE.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “THE IRST SUNDAY OF GREAT LENT...” BY REVEREND MILAN
➤ Son of God 6 indentifying HIS DIVINITY MDAKOV: ST GREGORY PALAMAS OUTREACH www.saintgregorypalamas.org
King of Israel - indentifying Him as THE RULER OF ALL
BELIEVERS

18 (PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 1ST SUNDAY OF GREAT LENT – ORTHODOX SUNDAY - THE TRIUMPH OF ORTHODOXY 21 FEBRUARY 2010
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
ALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN.
REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARIA, BIRTH GIVER OF GOD, YET EVER VIRGIN, TOGETHER WITH ALL
THE SAINTS. AND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST OUR GOD. AMEN.

23 February 2010
Feast of St Polycarp the Great Hieromartyr of Smyrna
Also the Feast of St Proterios Hieromartyr of Alexandria; St Gorgonia, Righteous Sister of St
Gregory the Theologian; St Damianos New Martyr of Mount Athos
APOLYTIKION OF THE HEAVENLY HOSTS

Ton Ouranion Stration Arhistratigi, disopoumen imas ai O Foremost of the Heavenly Hosts, we who are unworthy,
imis i anaxii, ina tes imon disesi tihisite imas, skepi ton beseech You that by Your Petitions You encompass us
pterigon tis ailou imon doxis frourountes imas with the shadow of Your Immaterial Glory, preserving
prospiptontas, ektenos ke voontas. Ek ton kindinon us who kneel and cry ceaselessly: deliver us from
litrosasthe imas, os Taxiarhe ton ano Dinameon. oppressions, since You are the Princes of the Ranks of
Dominions on High.
KONTAKION OF THE EVER
EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS

Prostasia ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton O Protection of the Christians Unashamable, Mediation to
Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices
alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the Assistance
pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is presvian, ke of all of us, who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine
spefson is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton Intercession, and press on Thy Supplication, O
timonton se. Theotokos who always protects all those who honour
Thee!
APOLYTIKION OF ST POLYCARP HIEROMARTYR OF SMYRNA – TONE 4

Tin klisin tis ergis sou, episfragisas sofe, elea katakarpos Thou sealed the Call with Thy Works, O Most Wise, as Most
ofthis en iko Theou, Polikarpe endoxe; si gar os Fruitful Olive Tree, Thou were seen in the House of God,
Ierarhis, ke sterros Athloforos trefis tin Ekklisian, logiki O Glorious Polycarp; because as a Hierarch, and a Most
efkarpia, presvevon Ieromartis, iper ton psihon imon. Steadfast Victor, the whole Church Thou nourished with
Spiritual Abundance, as Thou intercedes, O
Hieromartyr, for our souls.
KONTAKION OF ST POLYCARP HIEROMARTYR OF SMYRNA – TONE (8) PLAGAL 4

Karpous tous logikous, to Kyrio prosferon, Polikarpe sofe, Through Godly Virtues, Thou brought forth for the Lord
areton di entheon, edihtis axiotheos, ierarha makarie. God much Spiritual Fruit, O Thou Most Blessed
Othen smeron, i fotisthentes sis logis, animnoumen sou, Hierarch, and so proved worthy of God Thy Lord, O
tin axiepenon mnimin, doxazontes Kyrion. Wise Polycarp. Wherefore, on this day we who have all
been Enlightened through thy Holy Words extol Thy
praiseworthy Memory and Glorify Christ the Lord
Third Epistle of St John 1 - 15
GENUINE CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP VESUS FALSE, EGOCENTRIC AND DESTRUCTIVE LEADERSHIP

To the beloved Gaius whom I Love in Truth: Beloved: I pray that you may prosper in all thins and be in health, just as your
soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when Brethren came and testified of the Truth that is in you, just as you walk in
the Truth.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in Truth.
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the Brethren and for strangers who have borne witness of your Love before
the Church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well., because they went
forth for His Name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.
We, therefore, ought to receive such, so that we may become fellow Workers for the Truth.
I wrote to the Church but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre6eminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I
come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with the,
he himself does not receive the Brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.
Beloved: do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God but he who does evil has not seen God.
Demetrios has a good testimony from all, and from the Truth Itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our
testimony is True.
I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall
speak face to face.
Peace to you. Our Friends greet you. Greet the Friends by name.
One of the churches under St John’s supervision was Gaius who was addressed by St John might not have been the
experiencing a jurisdictional dispute and Evangelists who same Gaius mentioned by St Paul in his Epistles to the
had been sent out by St John (THE DIVINE THEOLOGIAN AND BELOVED Romans and the Corinthians. (3 JOHN 1; ROMANS 16:23; 1
APOSTLE OF CHRIST) had reported back to their home church – CORINTHIANS 1 :14-15)

possibly in Ephesos – testifying that Gaius who was full of Truth for St John was not a Doctrine or thought but a faithful
Love (Agape) and loyalty, had liberally supported their Christian’s manner of life and like all good fathers, St John
Mission, while Diotrephes who was apparently either the found his greatest pleasure in seeing his Spiritual Children
Bishop or aspiring to be so, had vigorously opposed them walking in God’s Divine Truth.
and lorded over the local church instead of leading it. He The “strangers” to whom St John referred were most likely the
was resistant to Apostolic Oversight (SUPERVISION) and Missionaries sent by St John but unknown to the other
forbade the welcoming of Missionaries who had been sent churches.
by St John. The Missionaries were sent forth for the specific purpose of
Demetrios might have been another Missionary whom St John preaching the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
intended to send that way and who would also be in need One way we may all participate in the Holy Ministry of Christ is
of Christian Hospitality. Thus St John wrote to Diotrephes’ to give material help to those with Spiritual Gifts for all
church although he did not trust Diotrephes with his donors or sponsors become co-workers in Spiritual
Epistle. Things. (MATTHEW 10:41)

[PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) THE FEAST OF ST POLYCARP – GREAT HIEROMARTYR OF SMYRNA 23 FEBRUARY 2010 19.
The name “Diotrephes” means “nursed or nourished by Zeus.” representative or messenger of St John and possibly the
Early Christians kept their original names after Baptism. one who carried this particular Epistle to Gaius.
This man, Diotrephes, loved being preeminent (SUPREME, ABOVE ALL The treacherous threats of damage caused by pride is clearly
OTHERS). He did not like being the first among equals but evident from the concern of St John who warns us to
wanted to be peerless (UNEQUALLED AND UNIQUE) and he always walk in the Divine Truth of God with utter Humility
possessed a sinful passion of personal aggrandizement and Obedience to God and His Holy Priesthood.
(enhancement), which resulted in blatant insubordination Any egocentric arrogance or self- magnification must quickly
to St John. He slandered the of the last of the Twelve be ripped out by sincere Repentance and Confession.
Holy Apostles of Christ by refusing to accept him as either Only constant Prayer and humble Obedience to God keeps us
a Holy Apostle or as a Presbyter (PRIEST). on the True Path of Righteousness, slowing making our
Consequently, by rejecting St John’s Missionaries he rejected way towards God’s Heavenly Kingdom, and as faithful
St John himself and he also disdained the Apostolic, Orthodox Christians, we are all struggling along towards
universality of the Holy Church of Christ by setting himself the same Divine Destination.
up as a petty tyrant. Our intense Love of God, our Beloved Brethren in Christ and
Demetrios was either a member of Diotrephes’ church, one of all Creation compels us to help and encourage each other
emissaries already sent by St John or yet another with Love, kindness, generosity and everything that will
help us all to arrive safely.
The Holy Gospel According to St John 12: 24-26; 35 – 36
DYING TO THIS WORLD & BECOMING SONS OF LIGHT

At that time, our Lord Jesus Christ said: “Most assuredly, I say to you: unless a grain of wheat falls into the
ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose
it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for Eternal Life. If anyone serves Me, let him
follow Me; and where I Am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will
honour.”
Then Jesus said to them: “A little while longer the Light is with you. Walk while you have the Light, lest
darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have
the Light, believe in the Light so that you may become sons of Light.”
These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.
The image of the grain of wheat dying in order to bear fruit in His Kingdom through our immediate Repentance-
signifies that Christ died in order to give us Eternal Life in Confession, each time we fall from His Grace.
His Heavenly Kingdom God is 100% Pure Love so He most certainly does not want
This is a Principle of Self Sacrifice that applies to all those sinners to suffer physical harm or permanent Spiritual
who faithfully and devoutly follow the Way of Christ. Death resulting in Eternal Condemnation and Punishment.
The Theme of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Divine Light Instead God allows us to suffer the consequences of our errors
receives renewed emphasis. now, on earth, so that we have the opportunity to realise
The gathered crowd wanted to know the Identity of the Son of how worthless our existence is without God and then, of
Man but our Lord Jesus challenged them to come to the our own free will, we can choose whether we wish to return
(Divine) Light (OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST) while there is still time and to His Loving Embrace or continue to reject Him.
in that manner to become Children of Light. Everyone has until their last heartbeat and physical death to
We must faithfully follow Christ our Saviour’s Perfect Example return to God – to enter His Heavenly, Eternal Kingdom of
so that we may improve our Spiritual Condition while we Peace, Love and inexpressible Joy.
still live because this is the one and only opportunity we Christ continually warns us not to walk in the darkness of sin
will ever have to become the adopted Children of Almighty and ignorance where we shall certainly be lost and in
God Who is Uncreated Light - as Christ Himself is Divine mortal and Spiritual Danger.
“Light of Light.” Spiritual Darkness and Death are due to being exiled very,
Being united with Christ through Holy Baptism, Holy very far from the Divine Light and Love of God.
Chrismation and regular Holy Communion, we become The further we drift away from Him, the darker and more dead
Children of that Divine Light of Almighty God. our souls become – causing a subtle but deadly
However, it is an ongoing process and we must work diligently deterioration of our circumstances.
and faithfully to maintain our Spiritual Well Being and However, while we are still in this earthly existence, we can
Spiritual Life in His Kingdom. certainly return to His Divine Light and all the Goodness
As soon as we commit wilful sins, we alienate or and Blessings He bestows upon us.
excommunicate ourselves from God’s Heavenly Kingdom Christ is our Shining, Guiding Divine Light - our Divine Beacon
that begins here on earth in this life. Who keeps us on the right Path and helps us to see the
Nevertheless, our Benevolent, All Merciful, and All Knowing many traps and pitfalls the evil one sets for us.
God has made provision for our continuous errors by Keep your eyes constantly focused on God’s Divine Light and
granting us the means to re-establish our favoured status you will have nothing to fear, for He always steers us on
the right course.
St Polycarp – Great Hieromartyr of Smyrna
This Apostolic and Prophetic Saint, was a model of Faith Although the Proconsul referred to the Christians, St
and Truth. Polycarp, looking towards the screaming the heathen
He had been a Disciple of St John the Evangelist and was masses, waved his hand towards them and declared:
the successor to St Bucolos and Teacher of St "Away with the atheists!"
Irenaeos. The Proconsul then ordered him to blaspheme against
He was very old when the fifth persecution was Christ but he responded: "I have served Christ for
conducted against the Christians under Marcus eighty-six years, and He has wronged me in
nothing; how can I blaspheme my King Who has
Aurelius.
Saved me?"
The soldiers who had been sent to seek and arrest St
Enraged by his words the Proconsul commanded him to
Polycarp were astonished when he offered them food
be cast into the fire, and thus he was Martyred, circa
and drink after their long journey. He then asked
163.
them to grant him an hour for Prayer.
As he stood and prayed in a state of Divine Grace for two ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: SAINTS, FEASTS & READING - BY GREEK ORTHODOX
hours, his captors realised that they had arrested a ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA: www.goarch.org

most venerable man.


However, at his own insistence, they presented him
before the Proconsul of Smyrna at the stadium who
loudly commanded him to “...swear by the fortune of
Caesar; repent, and say, 'Away with the atheists!'"
20 [PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) THE FEAST OF ST POLYCARP – GREAT HIEROMARTYR OF SMYRNA 23 FEBRUARY 2010
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
ALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE
AGES OF AGES. AMEN.
REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARIA, BIRTH GIVER OF GOD, YET EVER
VIRGIN, TOGETHER WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST
OUR GOD. AMEN.

24 February 2010

The First & Second Finding of St John the Baptist’s Head


A VERY STRICT FAST TODAY

APOLYTIKION OF THE FINDING OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST’S HEAD – TONE 4:

Ek gis anatilasa, i tou Prodromou Kefali, aktinas aflisi, tis The Head of the Forerunner, having risen from the earth,
aftharsias pistis ton laseon; anothen sinathriszi, tin sends out rays of Incorruption, for the healing of the
plithin ton Angelon, katothen singalite, ton anthropon Faithful; in the Heavens it gathers the Choir of Angels,
ta geni, omofonon anapempse, doxan Hristo to Theo. below are called together all people of all races, to send
in a single voice: Glory to Christ our God!
KONTAKION OF THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS

Prostasia ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton O Protection of the Christians unashamable, Mediation to
Piitin ametathete, mi Paridis, amartolon deiseon fonas, the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices
alla profthason os agathi, is tin voithian imon, ton of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the Help
pistos kravgazonton Si: Tahinon is presvian, ke spefson of all of us, who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine
is ikesian, i prostatevousa ai, Theotoke, ton timonton se. Intercession, and press on Thy Supplication, O
Theotokos who always protects all those who honour
Thee!
The Second Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 4 : 6 - 15
LIKE ST PAUL, ST JOHN THE BAPTIST FACED DEATH SO THAT HE MIGHT SHOW FORTH THE LIGHT OF CHRIST

Brethren, it is the God Who commanded light to shine out of darkness, Who has shone in our hearts to give the
Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ. But we have this Treasure in earthen
vessels, so that the excellence of the Power may be of God and not of us.
We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not
forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, so
that the Life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
For we who live are already delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the Life of Jesus also may be manifested in our
mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but Life in you. And since we have the same spirit of Faith,
according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing
that He Who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.
For all things are for your sakes, that Grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to
the Glory of God.
The “Treasure” is the Light of God’s Glory in Christ and This is Victorious, but not trouble-free Christianity.
“earthen vessels” refers to our humanity – our mortal, These Trials of Life “show both the Power of God and,
physical bodies that God first created from the soil of more, disclose His Grace” [ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM]
the earth and which, therefore, must be returned to the St John the Baptist was the most perfect living example of
earth before our Resurrection into Eternity. Divine Grace because since very early childhood –
As this Divine Light shines in and through us, people will since the age of two or three years - he had lived in
see that “the Power” is “of God" and not of mankind. the Wilderness, all alone but protected and nurtured by
Like the Ever Blessed Theotokos, St John was utterly Divine Providence and the Grace of God.
Obedient to God and was a most suitable living All his Knowledge was bestowed upon him by God Who
Temple for the Holy Trinity. Thus the Divine Light not only protected him from any harm, but also
shone forth from him upon the Hebrew people, equipped him with all the essential requirements as
encouraging them to heed his Divinely Inspired words the Holy Forerunner to Christ and the last but greatest
and to seek Repentance in preparation for the Coming Holy Prophet of God.
of the long-awaited Messiah – our Saviour.
The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 11: 2 – 15
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST EXPLAINS ST JOHN THE BAPTIST’S MISSION TO US

At that time, when John had heard in prison about the Works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples who asked Him:
“Art Thou the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
Jesus answered them: “Go and tell John the things that you hear and see: the blind see and the lame walk; the
lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the Gospel preached to
them. And Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness
to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments?
Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A Prophet? Yes, I
say to you: and more than a Prophet! For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My Messenger
before Thy Face, who will prepare Thy Way before Thee.’
“Assuredly, I say to you: among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but
he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until
now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all Prophets and the Law
prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

(PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 1ST & 2ND FINDING OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST’S HEAD 24 FEBRUARY 2010
21
According to the Church Fathers, St John the Baptist our Lord Jesus Christ, or other violent men –
asked this most important question in order to guide messianic pretenders trying to bring in the Kingdom by
his own disciples to our Lord Jesus Christ. using military force against the Romans.
It is also possible, according to modern interpretations, An ancient Patristic interpretation is that the Kingdom Itself
that St John thought of the Messiah as Divine Judge breaks into this world “violently.” For instance, through
only and was perplexed by His Infinite Mercy. powerful Miracles, alert and daring people take hold of
St Isaiah predicted that at the Coming of the Messiah the it aggressively.
blind would see, the lame would walk, lepers would be Whoever is a hearer and lover of the Word of God takes
cleansed and the deaf would hear. the Kingdom “by force,” exerting all earnestness and
Our Lord Jesus fulfilled the Prophecies of St Isaiah, desire to enter the Reality of the Kingdom. For this
bearing the Fruit that only the Messiah can produce! Holy Martyrs shed their blood, making their Confession
In terms of the Old Testament Law, St John the Baptist is of Faith, being “made a spectacle to the world, both to
the greatest Prophet, but the New Covenant Angels and to men.” [1 CORINTHIANS4:9]
inaugurated by Christ is of such incomparable value The Kingdom of Heaven belongs not to the sleeping or the
that everyone who shares in it is, as it were, greater lazy. Rather, “the violent take it by force.”
than St John, because by Grace through Faith under The identification between St John the Baptist and St
the New Covenant we become Children of God and Elijah is quite explicit.
Partakers of the Holy Spirit. It is not St John who ascribes to himself the role of St
St John is honoured because Elijah the Prophet, but our Lord Jesus Christ Who
✽ He is Righteous assigns him this place in the History of Salvation.
✽ He prepared the Way of the first Coming of our Lord St John the Baptist fulfilled the Mission of St Elijah the
and Saviour Prophet and his destiny was similar to St Elijah’s.
✽ He Baptised Christ. Yet St John is honoured over St Elijah, because our Lord
“Suffers violence” may mean that the Heavenly Kingdom is Jesus in comparing the Prophets said, “there has not
under attack by opponents of St John the Baptist and risen one greater than John.”
The Mystery of Repentance & Holy Communion
WHAT USE CAN YOU MAKE OF THE KNOWLEDGE YOU you will see what control you acquire over
HAVE GAINED?
yourself, how powerfully you begin to restrain
✞ FIRST OF ALL, YOU SHOULD JUDGE YOURSELF IN ALL
yourselves with the awareness that this way of
YOUR SHORTCOMINGS, WITHOUT MAKING ANY
EXCUSES OR JUSTIFICATIONS. Repentance6Confession is the right and only way
At the Presanctified Liturgy, after the hymn “O Lord, to eradicate personal sin.
I have cried to Thee!” the Reader recites: “O let Together with mourning for our sins and resolving
not my heart be inclined to any evil thing; let not to commit them again, it is vital to add
me not be involved in ungodly works!” diligent Prayers to our Lord so that He will grant
This suggests WE MUST CONSTANTLY BESEECH GOD’S us His Help and Strength to oppose them, for
DIVINE ASSISTANCE TO PREVENT US FROM SINFUL
CRAFTINESS THAT EXCUSES OR IGNORES OUR without constant Prayers, we can achieve almost
ERRORS, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE DO NOT REPENT nothing!
CANNOT BEGIN SELF-CORRECTION.
Once we have done all this, it is time for the Holy
WE MUST ALWAYS JUDGE OURSELVES WITHOUT PITY so
Mystery of Confession and after receiving
that we get to a point where we sincerely confess: Absolution for our sins at Confession, we will be
I am guilty! ready to receive Holy Communion with cleansed
✞ ONLY BY OUR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF PERSONAL
hearts and souls, thereby receiving the complete
GUILT CAN WE THEN EXPERIENCE THE FEAR OF
DIVINE JUDGEMENT. and full Spiritual Benefits of Holy Eucharist.
If our conscience accuses us then God Himself will When we are sincerely repentant and are firmly
not excuse us! And God knows everything about resolved to make amends, our Lord comes to us
us! in His Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) and enters
✞ IF WE ARE GUILTY OF SIN, WE ARE CONDEMNED. into us and He will be with us and we will be with
AND IF CONDEMNED THEN WE ARE SENTENCED Him: O how great and unutterable is the Grace of
TO A FITTING RETRIBUTION WHICH WILL BEFALL
God the All Beneficent !
US SOONER OR LATER, AND WHICH ALREADY
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “THE SPIRITUAL LIFE – REPENTANCE & COMMUNION”
COMMUNION” BY
HANGS OVER US IN THE SIGHT OF GOD! ST THEOPHAN THE RECLUSE
Our Most Gracious God grants us THE HOPE OF
FORGIVENESS OF SINS WHEN WE REPENT WITH
CONTRITION AND CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE to avoid Self-examination at the end of every day – a Spiritual
committing the same past sins and not bring Accounting – is essential to good Spiritual Health
because we learn day by day to expose more and
Eternal Condemnation upon ourselves. more of our hidden, denied sins to the Divine Light of
We must not be passionless – indifferent or Truth.
unconcerned 6 seekers of our flaws; WE MUST Not only do we learn how to confess truthfully and more
MOURN THEM AND EARNESTLY REGRET THAT WE sincerely each time, and thereby become honest and
COMMITTED SUCH TRANSGRESSIONS, WHETHER sincere human beings and faithful Christians but we
AGAINST GOD, OUR NEIGHBOURS OR OURSELVES. also prepare ourselves for the Aerial Toll-houses that
✞ SPIRITUAL MOURNING BEGETS THE HUMBLE we will all experience immediately after death.
RESOLUTION TO FLEE SUCH OFFENCES, WHILE There are twenty Aerial Toll-houses which we have to
KNOWLEDGE ALONE, ALTHOUGH IT IS endure – a frightening experience for the unprepared
ACCOMPANIED BY THE INTENTION OF BEING
and ignorant souls!
CAUTIOUS, LEADS US TO PRIDE!
At each Spiritual Toll-house the demons try to convict our
Begin your Spiritual Healing from this moment on. souls to Eternal Condemnation and Death by
If something angers you, DECIDE THE BEST WAY TO screaming terrifying accusations of all our unrepented
CORRECT YOURSELF AND TO PREVENT SUCH A and unconfessed sins, while our Guardian Angels -
GRIEVOUS VICE RE-OCCURRING. Holy Advocates and Guides whom God sends to
And, WITH EACH SINFUL HABIT, DO LIKEWISE. protect and guide His faithful servants - try to defend
By noting down your habitual shortcomings, you can us by rebuffing the allegations with our good deeds
PLAN THE DEFEAT OF EACH TEMPTATION EVEN and repented, confessed sins.
BEFORE IT OCCURS SO THAT YOU CAN QUICKLY In certain cases of sudden death, our Guardian Angels
ANNIHILATE IT BEFORE IT TAKES HOLD. might even return us to life – ONLY IF IT IS THE WILL OF
GOD!
This will be your first general and completely BY THE GRACE OF GOD: MARGUERITE PAIZIS, UNWORTHY ARCHONDISSA &
ORTHODOX TEACHER BY DIVINE GRACE
corrective Confession. Put a lot of effort into
exposing all your flaws by the Love of God and

(PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 1ST & 2ND FINDING OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST’S HEAD 24 FEBRUARY 2010
22
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
ALL GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOW AND EVER, AND UNTO THE AGES OF AGES.
AMEN.
REMEMBERING ALSO OUR MOST HOLY, MOST PURE, MOST BLESSED AND GLORIOUS LADY, MARIA, BIRTH GIVER OF GOD, YET EVER VIRGIN, TOGETHER
WITH ALL THE SAINTS. AND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE LIFE TO CHRIST OUR GOD. AMEN.

2nd Sunday of Great Lent Tone (5) Plagal 1 28 February 2010

Sunday of St Gregory Palamas – Sunday of the Paralytic (& his four friends)
Feast of St Basil the Confessor; St John Cassian the Confessor; St Kyranna the New
Martyr of Thessalonika

RESURRECTION APOLYTIKION – TONE (5) PLAGAL 1

Ton sinanarhon Logon Patri ke Pnevmati, ton ek The Word, Who with the Father and the Spirit has no
Parthenou tehthenta is sotirian imon, animnisomen, beginning, and Who, for our Salvation, was born of a
pisti, ke proskinisomen. Oti ivdokise sarki anelthin en Virgin, let us Faithful Believers hymn and adore. For it
to Stavro ke thanaton ipomine ke egire tous tethneotas was His Good Pleasure to ascend the Cross in the Flesh,
en ti evdoxo Anastasi Aftou. and to Suffer Death, and through His own Glorious
Resurrection to raise the dead.
APOLYTIKION OF ST GREGORY PALAMAS

Othodoxias O Fostir, Ekklisias to stirigma ke didaskale, Orthodoxy’s Great Star, Support and Teacher of the
ton Monaston i Kalloni, ton Theologon ipermahos Church, the beauty of the Monks, and invincible Protector
aprosmahitos, Grigorie Thavmatourge, Thessalonikis of the Theologians, O Gregory, Worker of Miracles, the
to kafhima, krix tis haritos, iketeve dia pantos, sothine Pride of Thessaloniki, Preacher of Grace, forever thou
tas psihas imon. intercedes so that our souls may be Saved.

KONTAKION OF THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS

Ti Ipermaho Stratigo ta nikitiria, Os litrothisa ton dinon Unto Thee, O Theotokos Invincible Champion, Thy City in
evharistiria, Anagrafo Si i Polis Sou Theotoke, All’ os thanksgiving Ascribes the Victory for the deliverance
ehousa to kratos aprosmahiton, Ek pantion me from sufferings. But having Thy Might unassailable,
kindinon eleftheroson Ina krazo Si, Here Nimfi Free me from all dangers So that I may cry out to Thee:
Animfevte! “Hail! O Bride Ever Virgin!”
Matins Gospel 5 : Luke 24 : 12 – 35 - OUR RISEN LORD JESUS APPEARS ALONG THE ROAD TO EMMAUS
The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 1 : 10 – 2: 3
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST – THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD – IS WITHOUT BEGINNING AND THE CREATOR OF EVERYTHING

Brethren: to the Son God says: “Thou, O Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the Heavens are
the Work of Thy Hands. They will perish but Thou remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak
Thou will fold them up, and they will be changed but Thou art the same and Thy years will not fail.”
But to which of the Angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy Footstool.”? Are they
not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who will inherit Salvation?
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away, for if the word spoken
through Angels proved reliable and every transgression and disobedience received a Just Reward, how shall we escape
if we neglect so great a Salvation, which at the first began to be spoken of by our Lord, and was confirmed to us by
those who heard Him.
St Paul used a quotation from Psalm 101:26 – 28 in which God Like us they, too, are intellectual beings who have been
the Father addressed Another Person as “Lord,” which created with free will and they most joyfully and faithfully
meant He, too, is God – i.e. God the Father spoke to God serve God in absolute Obedience.
the Son Who is Co-equal in all Divine Attributes. St Paul admonished (cautioned) against wilful negligence and
The role of certain of God’s Heavenly Hosts – the Angels or carelessness through a gradual drifting away from God’s
Messengers of God – minister – take care of, guide, True Path.
protect and communicate God’s Will – to “those who will He emphasised the fact that if the Hebrews were expected to
inherit Salvation” – i.e. those who are faithful servants and obey the words of created beings like the Heavenly Angels
adopted heirs of God. of God or suffer the consequences, how much more must
In the early years of Christ’s Holy Church, many Hebrews we heed what God Incarnate has taught us through His
believed that the Angels of God mediated the Old Holy Apostles – especially when His Divine Truth has been
Covenant and although they certain served “The Angel of confirmed by many Divine Miracles of the Holy Spirit –
God” – i.e. the Son of God - in His New Covenant with us, factual proof that the Kingdom of God has come!
God’s Holy Angels served our Lord and Saviour in His During the Divine Liturgy, we beseech God for the “... pardon
Humanity. and remission of our sins and transgressions...” and
Furthermore, instead of ruling over mankind, the Heavenly “... a good defence before the dread Judgement Seat of
Angels are partners in Divine Service with us. Christ...” whereby we affirm the Truth of a Just Reward or
They are our Guardian Angels who ensure that the Will of God Divine Retribution – a very real Divine Judgement!
is fulfilled at all times.
The Holy Gospel According to St Mark 2 : 1 – 12
CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR HEALS A PARALYTIC (PRESENTED BEFORE HIM BY FOUR FRIENDS ) BY THE FORGIVENESS OF HIS SINS

At that time, our Lord Jesus entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house and
immediately many gathered together so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door.
And while He preached the Word to them, they came to Him, bringing a Paralytic who was carried by four men. But when
they could not come close to Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof above where He was so that, when
they had broken through, they could let down the bed upon which the paralysed man lay.
When Jesus saw their Faith, He said to the Paralytic: “Son, your sins are forgiven you!” But some of the Scribes were
sitting there and reasoning in their hearts: “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but
God alone?”
[PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 2ND SUNDAY OF GREAT LENT – SUNDAY OF ST GREGORY PALAMAS & OF THE PARALYTIC (& FRIENDS) 28 FEBRUARY 2010 23.
Immediately, as Jesus perceived in His Spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them: “Why do you
reason about these things in your heart? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic: ‘Your sins are forgiven you...’ or
‘Arise, take up your bed and walk!’? So that you may know that the Son of Man has the Power to forgive sins...” and
turning to the Paralytic He said: “I say to you: Arise! Take up your bed and go to your house.”
Straight away he arose, took up his bed, and went out in the presence of them all so that all were amazed and glorified
God, saying: “We never saw anything like this!”
FAITH IS AN INDISPENSABLE CONDITION FOR SALVATION. The significance of the four friends of the Paralytic is
FAITH IS ALSO COLLECTIVE AS WELL AS PERSONAL because, noteworthy for THEY NOT ONLY TOOK THE TROUBLE TO
as in this particular case, the friends of the paralysed man CARRY HIM TO WHERE OUR LORD WAS BUT THEY DID NOT
helped in his healing. ALLOW ANYTHING TO PREVENT THEM FROM PRESENTING
Three signs of our Lord Jesus’ Divinity are evident: THEIR FRIEND TO CHRIST FOR HEALING – FULLY
CONFIDENT THAT IT WOULD OCCUR.
✥ HE KNOWS THE SECRETS OF ALL SOULS The determination of the Paralytic and his friends was so
✥ HE FORGIVES SINS – A DIVINE POWER THAT BELONGS impressive that they have been commemorated ever since
TO GOD ALONE that day as A GOOD EXAMPLE OF CONFIDENCE AND FAITH

HE HEALS BY THE POWER OF HIS WORD IN GOD.
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PURPOSES OF THE IT IS ALSO A GOOD EXAMPLE OF TRUE LOVE (AGAPE) FOR ONE
INCARNATION OF THE SON OF GOD IS TO FORGIVE SINS ANOTHER: DOING EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO ASSIST
AND THUS SET US FREE FROM ITS DEADLY ENSLAVEMENT. AND TO ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER AS WE JOURNEY
THE FORGIVING OF SINS IS A GREATER DIVINE POWER THAN TOWARDS GOD’S HEAVENLY KINGDOM.
PHYSICAL HEALING for as the Scribes so correctly The conniving Scribes and Pharisees was thwarted once again
understood, GOD ALONE CAN FORGIVE SINS. by our Lord Who is All knowing, when He used an
Therefore, the “easier task” was for Christ to grant the alternative method of healing and forgiving the Paralytic.
paralysed man physical healing and although Christ is fully This passage is read on the Second Sunday of Great Lent,
Divine and has the Authority by His own right to forgive called “Sunday of the Paralytic” and the Commemoration
sins, He condescended to those who were gathered there of St Gregory Palamas.
at the time by healing the Paralytic.
Having done so before a multitude of witnesses, HE DREW
THEM TO GOD WHOM THEY GLORIFIED FOR HIS GREAT
MERCY.

Sunday of the Paralytic (and his friends)


In one of the Psalms we read: “Those who have sown so that, through Him, we may become of the Children
with tears will reap with Joy...” of God.
During our preparation for Great Lent in the last few He became Man so that we may become gods, as Holy
weeks, we have observed all that is ugly and Scripture states.
unworthy in us, which is mirrored in the Parables we And so we have begun to rejoice by preparing for this
have heard. wonderful Miracle, this great Wonder of the
If we have humbly stood before the Judgement of God Incarnation 6 softly, in an almost inaudible way, as
and of our conscience, then we have truly “sown with the Church chanted the Canon of the Resurrection:
tears” our own Salvation. Christ is risen from the dead! 6— because it is not a
And yet, there is still time, because even when we enter promise for the future!
into the Spiritual Harvest, God grants us a respite. It is a certainty of the present 6 opened like a door for us
As we progress towards the Kingdom of God, towards to enter through Christ the Door, as He called
the Day of the Resurrection, we still can 6 at every Himself, into Eternity.
moment, against the background of Salvation, in the And today we commemorate St Gregory Palamas, one of
face His Divine Victory 6 turn to God with gratitude the great Saints of Orthodoxy.
and yet, broken6heartedness, and say: “O Lord! I am Against heresy and doubt, with the experience of the
perhaps the worker of the Eleventh Hour, but receive Ascetics and of all believers, he proclaimed that the
me as Thou promised to do!”
Grace of God is not a created Gift.
Last week we commemorated the Triumph of Orthodoxy,
The Grace of God is God Himself, communicating
the day when the Holy Church of Christ proclaimed
directly with us so that we are imbued with His
the legitimacy and justification of writing1 Holy Icons
Divine Presence when we willingly receive Him and
of Christ – the Incarnate Son of God.
open our hearts and souls to Him.
It was not a declaration about art; it was a deeply
Consequently we become transparent or at least
Theological Proclamation of the Incarnation.
translucent with His Divine Light so that we become
The Old Covenant forbade any Icons of God because,
embryonic but ever6increasingly partakers of His
being an infinite, unfathomable Mystery, we could
Divine Nature.
not depict Him in any shape or form.
This is not simply a Promise; this is a certainty that has
He was not mentioned by Name except the Mysterious
transpired with thousands and thousands of Saints
Name that only the High Priest knew or could utter
who have become partakers of the Divine Nature –a
with much fear and reverence.
clear revelation and certainty of what we are called to
However, according to the New Covenant, and having
be and to become.
experienced physical contact with our Incarnate God
And today is one more step that brings us into the Joy,
– Jesus Christ – Who has dwelt amongst us and Who
the Glory of Easter.
continues to dwell amongst us, although invisible at
In a week’s time we venerate the Holy Cross of Christ.
present, His human Face can be represented in Holy
The Cross, which was a terrifying instrument of
Icons.
excruciating punishment for criminals and dissidents
In the New Covenant, God has a human Name: Jesus
of the Roman Empire, has now become a Sign of
Christ, and He has a human Face that can be depicted
Victory and Salvation, because it signifies God’s
on Holy Icons, which are thus proclamations of our
Infinite, all6embracing Love.
certainty that God became Man to achieve ultimate,
The Holy Cross is as tragically Victorious as God is.
tragic and glorious Solidarity with us, to be one of us
The Holy Cross of Christ is awe6inspiring 6 the quiet,
Joyful Light of which we sing in Vespers.
Let us prepare ourselves for the Vision of the Holy Cross
1
I.E. PAINTING HOLY ICONS
so that we might look at it and see it asthe Sign of

24 [PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 2ND SUNDAY OF GREAT LENT – SUNDAY OF ST GREGORY PALAMAS & OF THE PARALYTIC (& FRIENDS) 28 FEBRUARY 2010
Divine Love with the renewed certainty of our Nevertheless, we must remember that we are now in the
possible Salvation. time of Newness 6 a time when God's Victory is being
As the Choir chants the Canon of the Resurrection more revealed to us.
loudly, let us contemplate how step by step God We are being Called to be enfolded by Divine Victory 6
leads us towards the Victory He has won, and which to respond to it with earnest gratitude that will make
He wants to share with us. Renew our humanity, filled with Joy and responding
Let us pay close attention to the teachings of St Gregory to the Love of God with joyful tears and a
Palamas who revealed how to receive the Divine conscientious commitment to God.
Grace that God offers us and how to become worthy ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “SUNDAY OF THE PARALYTIC” BY METROPOLITAN ANTHONY OF
SOUROZH www.metropolit-anthony.orc
of Him.
Afterwards we will behold the Divine Victory in St Mary
of Egypt as we approach the threshold of Holy Week.
St Gregory Palamas – On Created Grace and Uncreated Grace
St Gregory Palamas wrote: “There is nothing strange in “However, all is not alike in what God grants us...
using the word ‘Grace,’ both for the created and the God has said by the mouth of Ezekiel: ‘A new heart will I
Uncreated, and in speaking of a created Grace give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and
distinct from the created.” (HOMILY 45) I will take away your heart of stone, and give you a
In what sense can we use the same word “Grace” about heart of flesh... I will put My Spirit into you.’
(EZEKIEL 36:26; 37:5)
fundamentally different realities? “Do you see the difference between the Gifts?
St Gregory Palamas was aware of the many meanings of “The new spirit and the new heart are created things –
the word and he defined the matter thus: that is what St Paul referred to as ‘... a new
“All that flows from the Holy Spirit towards those who creature...’ because it is Recreated and Renewed by
have been Baptised in the Holy Spirit according to the Coming in Flesh (THE INCARNATION) of Him Who first
the Gospel of Grace, and who have been rendered created it - (OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST) – whereas the Spirit of
completely Spiritual, comes from the Source. God given to the new heart is the Holy Spirit.” (LETTER
TO ST ATHANASIOS)
“It all comes from It, and also remains in It.” (Ex aftis te
“There is a created Grace and another Grace
est ke en afti.)
Uncreated... but since the Gift that the Saints receive
So the word is the same because the Origin is the same. and by which they are Deified, is none other than
People “... received by the Grace of God, and not God Himself, how can you say that that too is a
through themselves, what they have received, for created Grace?” (AGAINST AKINDYNOS)
God alone does not possess their realities through
Likewise, THE RISEN/RESURRECTED BODY OF CHRIST WAS
Grace.
CREATED, but it is plain that THE DIVINITY, WHICH
“In this context the word ‘Grace’ indicates that it was
granted to them (BY GOD.) GAVE HIM IMMORTALITY, WAS UNCREATED.

On the Diversity of Divine Charisma/Gifts


Among Western Theologians, all more or less depended “Those who prophesy, those who heal, those who see,
on Augustinian writings against Pelagios concerning and all those in general who have simply received
infant Baptism, the Doctrine of Grace generally has a the Grace of the Divine Spirit, all have Charisms
(DIVINE GIFTS), greater or less great, in their own field.
Soteriological and Juridical character. (SALVATION &
JUDGEMENT) “Thus St Paul thanks God because he (ST PAUL) speaks
WE HAVE NEED OF DIVINE GRACE FOR WE CANNOT SAVE languages better than others, but he who has less,
OURSELVES... also has a Gift of God: ‘Seek for the greatest
The Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Holy Fathers, with Charisms...’ wrote St Paul, therefore there must be
its insistence on THE ULTIMATE GOAL SET BEFORE lesser Charisms. (1 CORINTHIANS 12:31)
FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS – DEIFICATION OR THEOSIS –
“And indeed, one star differs in glory from another... yet
no star is totally devoid of light.” (1 CORINTHIANS 15:41)
could not avoid going deeply into the meaning of the
Does that diversity of the Gifts of Grace break the Unity
passages of St Paul’s Epistles concerning the
of Salvation, to that extent?
diversity of the Charisma (DIVINE GIFTS), while plainly
By no means, for SALVATION ESSENTIALLY CONSISTS OF
maintaining their Soteriological Unity. CONTACT RE-ESTABLISHED WITH THE LIVING GOD
St Gregory Palamas too, in dealing with DIVINE GRACE IN PRESENT IN COMPLETENESS IN EACH DIVINE GIFT.
RELATION TO OUR FREE EFFORT TOWARDS GOD, REDEEMING GRACE IS not a divisible object, but CHRIST
recognised that this effort NEVER CAN BE ENOUGH, HIMSELF WHO GIVES HIMSELF COMPLETELY TO US.
FOR THE WHOLE AMOUNT OF THE GIFTS REQUIRED FOR Here is a characteristic passage dealing with St Gregory
DIVINE LIFE BECOME ACCESSIBLE IN CHRIST. Palamas’ teaching concerning the Divine Energies:
“What we receive is never more and a part of what is “Everyone worthy of it participates differently in the
given; he who receives the Divine Energy cannot Great Gift of the Holy Spirit.
contain the whole of it.” (HOMILIES) “This corresponds to the degree of personal purity,
THE DIVINE EPHIPHANY/THEOPHANY IN JESUS CHRIST IS
mingling with the harmony of that Beauty.
THEREFORE LIMITED BY HUMAN CAPACITY TO RECEIVE
IT, AND ALSO BY THE INFINITE VARIETY OF OUR “But even he who has but little and that little obscure
PERSONAL PATHS TO GOD. compared to the endowments of others... also unites
Its personalist quality is one of the essential himself to the whole of the very Divine Light, for it
divides without dividing Itself after the manner of
characteristics of St Gregory Palamas’ thought:
bodies...
“The Lord dwells in mankind in many and various
“That unique Light belongs indeed to the unique
ways according to the worth and conduct of those
Christ.” (AGAINST AKINDYNOS)
who seek Him. IT EQUALLY BELONGS TO THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO ALSO
“He appears in a certain way to the practical person, in APPEARS IN COMPLETENESS IN ITS MANIFESTATIONS.
another to the contemplative, and in yet another to (HOMILY 24)
the one who is endowed with Vision; the zealous THE UNITY OF SALVATION AND THE DIVERSITY OF
receive it in one way, and those who have already CHARISMS ARE THUS PRESERVED IN A PERSONALIST
become God’s, in another.” CONCEPTION OF REDEMPTION.

Commenting on the passages concerning the Holy Spirit


ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “A STUDY OF GREGORY PALAMAS – CHRIST &
in the First
DEIFIED Epistle
HUMANITY” toMEYENDORFF
BY JOHN the Corinthians, St Gregory
– ST VALDIMIR’S SEMINARY
PRESS
Palamas wrote:

[PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 2ND SUNDAY OF GREAT LENT – SUNDAY OF ST GREGORY PALAMAS & OF THE PARALYTIC (& FRIENDS) 28 FEBRUARY 2010 25.
Wisdom from Mount Athos: The Soul’s Yearning for God
MY SOUL YEARNS FOR THE LORD. BAPTISM, ENTER THEREIN WITHOUT AFFLICTION, and
How could I not seek Thee? For Thou first sought me; there IN THE HOLY SPIRIT THEY KNOW OUR LORD.
Thou granted me delight in Thy Holy Spirit, and my My soul yearns for God and prays day and night, for THE
soul rejoices for Thou art my God and my Lord. NAME OF OUR LORD IS SWEET AND DEAR TO THE
In the first year of my life in the Monastery MY SOUL PRAYERFUL SOUL, AND WARMS THE SOUL TO LOVE GOD.
BEHELD GOD IN THE HOLY SPIRIT. We live a long time on this earth, and we love the Beauty
THE LORD LOVES US GREATLY: THIS I KNOW BY THE HOLY of Creation: the sky and the sun, gardens, sea and
SPIRIT Whom the Lord granted me in His singular river, forest and meadow, music too, and all the
Mercy. beauty of this world.
I am an old man, preparing for death, and I WRITE OF But WHEN THE SOUL COMES TO KNOW OUR LORD JESUS
TRUTH FOR THE SAKE OF THE PEOPLE. CHRIST SHE HAS NO FURTHER DESIRE FOR THE THINGS
The Spirit of Christ Whom I have from the Lord desires OF THE EARTH.
the Salvation of all, that ALL SHOULD KNOW GOD. Wondrous are the Works of our Lord: out of the earth
The Lord granted the (REPENTANT) Thief Paradise; THUS WILL He created mankind, and granted this creature of the
HE GRANT PARADISE TO EVERY (REPENTANT) SINNER. earth to know Him in the Holy Spirit so that mankind
With my sins I am odious and unclean, but I TURNED TO exclaims: “My Lord and my God!” And these words
GOD FOR FORGIVENESS, AND HE GRANTED ME NOT
FORGIVENESS ALONE BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND IN THE he utters from the fullness of Faith and Love.
HOLY SPIRIT I KNEW GOD. What more could the soul seek on earth?
Do you see God’s Love for us? And who shall describe Here is a Great Miracle: THE SOUL SUDDENLY KNOWS HER
His Mercy? CREATOR AND HIS LOVE!
O my Brethren! On my knees I beg you to BELIEVE IN GOD ✥ WHEN THE SOUL SEES HOW MEEK AND HUMBLE OUR
– BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A HOLY SPIRIT WHO BEARS LORD IS, SHE HERSELF IS THOROUGHLY HUMBLED,
WITNESS TO HIM IN EVERY CHURCH AND IN MY SOUL! AND DESIRES NOTHING SO MUCH AS THE HUMILITY
OF CHRIST.
✥ THE HOLY SPIRIT IS LOVE; AND THE SOULS OF ALL THE
And however long the soul might live on earth, she will
HOLY WHO DWELL IN HEAVEN OVERFLOW WITH THIS
LOVE. ALWAYS DESIRE AND SEEK THIS HUMILITY which passes
✥ AND ON EARTH THIS SAME HOLY SPIRIT IS IN THE SOULS all comprehension, which she cannot forget.
OF THOSE WHO LOVE GOD! IF THE LORD HAS LEFT US IGNORANT OF THE ORDERING OF
ALL HEAVEN BEHOLDS THE EARTH IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND MANY THINGS IN THIS WORLD, THEN IT MEANS IT IS NOT
HEARS OUR PRAYERS AND CARRIES THEM TO GOD. NECESSARY FOR US TO KNOW: we cannot encompass
My soul knows that the Lord is Merciful, but His Mercy all Creation without our minds.
surpasses portrayal. However, THE CREATOR HIMSELF OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
OUR LORD IS EXCEEDINGLY MEEK AND LOWLY, AND WHEN AND EVERY CREATED THING GRANTS US KNOWLEDGE
THE SOUL PERCEIVES HIM SHE2 IS ALL TRANSFORMED OF HIM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.
INTO LOVE TOWARDS GOD AND HER NEIGHBOUR, AND IN THIS SAME HOLY SPIRIT WE KNOW THE EVER BLESSED
BECOMES MEEK AND LOWLY HERSELF. THEOTOKOS, THE HOLY ANGELS AND THE SAINTS, AND
✥ But IF WE LOSE DIVINE GRACE WE WILL WEEP LIKE ADAM OUR SPIRIT BURNS WITH LOVE FOR THEM.
DRIVEN FROM PARADISE! Quite the opposite are THOSE WHO WILL NOT LOVE THEIR
Adam wept and the whole desert heard his sobbing; his ENEMIES and consequently they CANNOT COME TO
tears were bitter with affliction and he wept (bitter KNOW OUR LORD AND THE SWEETNESS OF THE HOLY
tears) for many years. SPIRIT.
In similar manner THE SOUL WHO HAS KNOWN AND LOST ✥ THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACHES US TO LOVE OUR ENEMIES, SO
THAT THE SOUL PITIES THEM AS IF THEY WERE HER
THE GRACE OF GOD YEARNS FOR GOD and cries: “O OWN CHILDREN.
how my soul yearns after God, and I seek Him in PEOPLE WHO DESIRE THE DESTRUCTION, THE TORMENT IN
tears!” HELL-FIRE, OF THEIR ENEMIES, OR OF THE ENEMIES OF
THE GRACE OF GOD GIVES US STRENGTH TO LOVE THE THE HOLY CHURCH HAVE NOT LEARNT FROM THE HOLY
BELOVED; AND THE SOUL IS DRAWN TO PRAY SPIRIT THE LOVE OF GOD, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE
UNCEASINGLY AND CANNOT EVEN, FOR A MOMENT, LEARNT THE LOVE OF GOD WILL SHED TEARS FOR THE
FORGET THE LORD. WHOLE WORLD.
My soul languishes on earth and longs for the things of You say that so6and6so is an evil6doer and you hope he
Heaven. burns in Hell6Fire.
✥ THE LORD CAME DOWN TO EARTH TO RAISE US TO But I ask you: SUPPOSING THAT GOD WERE TO GIVE YOU A
WHERE HE HIMSELF DWELLS WITH HIS MOST HOLY FAIR PLACE IN PARADISE AND YOU SAW SUCH PEOPLE
MOTHER, WHO SERVED HIM ON EARTH FOR THE SUFFERING THE TORTURES OF HELL, WOULD YOU
SAKE OF OUR SALVATION, AND WITH ALL THE REALLY EVEN THEN NOT FEEL PITY FOR THEM, WHOEVER
DISCIPLES AND THE FOLLOWERS OF OUR LORD. THEY MIGHT BE, EVEN ENEMIES OF THE CHURCH?
THE LORD CALLS US THITHER, IN SPITE OF OUR SINS! ✥ THERE IS NO PLACE FOR HEARTS OF STONE IN PARADISE
There shall we behold the Holy Apostles in Glory for WHICH REQUIRES HUMILITY AND LOVE OF GOD
their preaching of the Holy Gospel; there shall we see THAT PITIES ALL HUMAN BEINGS, FOR THE GRACE
OF GOD IS NOT IN THOSE WHO DO NOT LOVE THEIR
Saintly Monks who wrestled in Fasting to humble ENEMIES!
their souls; there shall we see those who assumed ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “WISDOM FROM MOUNT ATHOS” – STARETZ SILOUAN (1866 –
1938) – COMPILED BY ARCHIMANDRITE SOPHRONY; TRANSLATED BY ROSEMARY
folly for Christ’s sake are GLORIFIED BECAUSE THEY EDMONDS; PUBLISHED BY ST VLADIMIR’S SEMINARY PRESS
OVERCAME THE WORLD.
There ALL THOSE WHO HAVE CONQUERED THEMSELVES ❃ During their earthly life, the Saints are filled with the Grace
WILL BE GLORIFIED, AND ALL THOSE WHO PRAYED FOR of the Holy Spirit. After their departure Divine Grace
THE WORLD AND BORE THE BURDEN OF THE WHOLE remains in their immortal souls and in their Sanctified
WORLD’S SORROWS BECAUSE THEIRS WAS THE LOVE OF bodies. Consequently, that very same Divine Grace is
CHRIST, AND LOVE CANNOT SUFFER A SINGLE SOUL TO present and active in their Sacred Images and Icons!
PERISH.
It is there that the soul would take up her abode; but ❃ The Holy Icon is a Song of Triumph and a Revelation for it
NOTHING UNCLEAN SHALL ENTER where those who is an enduring monument to the Victory of the Saints.
come in, arrive by way of great tribulations and
❃ I boldly draw an Image of the Invisible God, not as invisible
chastening of spirit and many tears; and ONLY but as having become visible for our sakes by
CHILDREN WHO HAVE NOT LOST THE GRACE OF HOLY
partaking of flesh and blood. I do not draw an image
of the Immortal Godhead but I paint the Image of God
Who became visible in the flesh.
ST JOHN OF DAMASCUS
2
THE SOUL IS REFERRED TO AS BEING FEMININE – LIKE THE HOLY CHURCH OF CHRIST –
THE BRIDE OF CHRIST.

26 [PARTLY SPONSORED BY DONATIONS) 2ND SUNDAY OF GREAT LENT – SUNDAY OF ST GREGORY PALAMAS & OF THE PARALYTIC (& FRIENDS) 28 FEBRUARY 2010