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.

10th Sunday After Pentecost - Tone 1 - 1 August 2010 The Beginning of the Dormition Fast

10th Sunday of St Matthew The Epileptic Son
Feast of the Procession of the Life-giving Cross; the 7 Holy Maccabees – St Abim, St Antonios, St Gurias, St Eleazar, St Eusebonos, St Alimos & St Marcellos, St Solomonia (their mother) & St Eleazar (their teacher); St Attios, St Leontios, St Alexander, St Cindeos, St Mnesithios, St Kyriakos, St Mineon, St Catanos & St Eucleos – Holy Martyrs of Perge, Pamphylia
RE SURRE CTION A POL YTIK ION – T ONE 1

Tou

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

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

APOLYTIKION OF THE HOLY CROSS

Soson

Kyrie ton laon Sou, ke evlogison tin klironomian Sou, nikas tis evsevesi kata varvaron doroumenos, ke to son filatton, dia tou Stavrou Sou politefma. [3]
O F TR AN SFIGUR AT ION -

O

Lord, Save Thy People, and Bless Thine Inheritance, granting Victory over enemies to our Rulers and through Thy Cross preserving Thine Estate [3] the Mount Thou were Transfigured, and Thy Disciples beheld Thy Glory, as far as they were able to do, O Christ our God; so that when they would see Thee Crucified, they would know that Thou Suffered willingly; and thus proclaim to all the world: Thou art truly the One Who is the Father’s Radiance!

KO NT AKION

27 JULY UNTIL 13 AUGUST

Epi tou orous metemorfothis, ke os ehoroun i Mathite Sou, Upon
tin doxan Sou Hriste O Theos etheasanto. Ina otan se idosi stavoumenon, to me pathos noisosin ekousion to de kosmo kirixosin oti si iparhis alithos, tou Patros to Apavgasma!

Resurrection Gospel 10 - John 21: 1 – 14 - OU R R ISEN LOR D JESUS SER VES BREAKFAST TO HIS ELEVEN APOSTLES
PROKEIMENON

Let thy Mercy be upon us, O Lord, as we have set our Hope on Thee. Rejoice in the Lord, O All Righteous
The First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 4: 9 - 16
CONCERNING SPIRITUAL FATHERHOOD

men!

Brethren: I think that God has displayed us, the Apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to Angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonoured! Until the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labour, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we Bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been regarded as filth of the world – the offscourings of all things until now. I do not write these things to shame you, but as my Beloved Children, I warn you: For although you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many Fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. Therefore, I urge you: imitate me. MARK 6:4 Jesus taught us: ‘A prophet is not without St Paul directed a series of sharp rhetorical questions and statements to the Corinthians in order to deflate their honour, except in his own country, among his own arrogance and dangerous pride, because NOTHING relatives, and in his own house.’ JUSTIFIES OUR FALSE BELIEF OR THINKING that we are This meant that EVEN OUR LORD JESUS COULD NOT PERFORM better than or above anyone else! HIS DIVINE WORKS AMONGST HIS OWN PEOPLE – not Since irony and sarcasm had proved to be bitter medicine, St because He lacked the Power to do so, but BECAUSE OF Paul used them with full force, such as in this instance. THE UNBELIEF OF ALL EXCEPT A FEW people of Nazareth. His three parallel statements: “... we are fools... we are weak... > WHILE DIVINE GRACE IS ALWAYS OFFERED TO ALL we are dishonoured...” are delivered in a sharp and PEOPLE, ONLY THOSE WHO RECEIVED IT IN FAITH AND HUMILITY OBTAIN ITS BENEFITS. stinging series. MARK 9:35 Christ taught us: “If anyone desires to be St Paul wanted to emphasise and contrast in no uncertain first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” manner THE RELATIVE COMFORT OF THE CORINTHIAN CHRISTIANS WITH THOSE WHO CONSTANTLY STRUGGLED, MARK 10:31 “... many who are first will be last, and the WERE PERSECUTED AND WHO WERE DESTITUTE, LIVING last first.” DAILY LIVES IN A STATE OF INSECURITY AND This was A WARNING AGAINST OUR SELFISH INTEREST AND
UNCERTAINTY – SUCH AS THE HOLY APOSTLES OF CHRIST. DESIRE FOR WORLDLY POWER.

By using a small child as a model of True Discipleship, our Lord Jesus underscored THE ESSENTIAL VIRTUES 1

Dormition Fast Begins Today

10TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – 10TH OF ST MATTHEW – THE EPILEPTIC SON - 1 AUGUST 2010

REQUIRED FOR OUR ETERNAL CITIZENSHIP IN HIS KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: HUMILITY, DEPENDENCE ON GOD, LOWLINESS (MEEKNESS AND SUBMISSIVENESS TO GOD), SIMPLICITY, OBEDIENCE AND A WILLINGNESS TO LOVE AND TO BE LOVED.

OUR LORD’S WARNING AGAINST CALLING HYPOCRITES “FATHER” OR “TEACHER,” is not an absolute prohibition

against using such terms or expressions as some people try to teach us.

>

In Orthodox Iconography, St Ignatios of Antioch is depicted as the child Whom Christ held up as our perfect example to imitate.
ST IGNATIOS WAS ALSO THE YOUNG CHILD WHOSE SMALL PACKED LUNCH CONSISTING OF FIVE LITTLE BREAD ROLLS AND TWO SARDINES WAS BLESSED AND MULTIPLIED BY CHRIST IN ORDER TO FEED THE GREAT MULTITUDE OF 5000 FAMILIES – AN ESTIMATE OF OVER 20,000 MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN!

THESE SPECIFIC TERMS ARE APPLIED TO PEOPLE MANY TIMES IN THE NEW COVENANT SCRIPTURES, ALL OF WHICH USAGES ARE DIVINELY INSPIRED BY GOD – BY THE WILL OF THE FATHER, THROUGH THE TEACHINGS AND GUIDANCE OF THE SON AND BY THE ACTIVATION AND ENABLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. The term “Teacher” is used in: JOHN 3:10; ACTS 13:1; 1 CORINTHINAS 12:28; EPHESIANS 4:11 & 2 TIMOTHY 1:11 The term “Father” is used in: LUKE 16:24; 1 CORINTHIANS 4:15 & COLOSSIANS 3 :21

The Holy Apostles had endured all kinds of humiliation, being treated like “filth” and instead of fighting back, they responded with Love towards their persecutors – all for the Joy of serving Christ our Saviour and to reconcile the fallen world to God. St Paul then soothed the hurt of his severe rebuke by reminding the Corinthians of his Spiritual Fatherhood. MATTHEW 23:9-10: Christ warned His Apostles: “Do not call anyone on earth your “father,” for One is your Father – He Who is in Heaven. And do not be called “teachers;” for One is your Teacher – Christ.”

Since the very early days of Christ’s Holy Church, Bishops and Presbyters (Priests) have been addressed as “Father” – not because they assume an elevated Rank but because due to their fatherly care for their Spiritual Flocks, they lead us to God and they exercise a fatherly authority within our Christian Community. The Holy Church of Christ is a Spiritual Family whose maturing Children need parental guidance. St Paul – the Apostle to the Gentiles (the non-Hebrews) – and thus to most Christians – exhorted us to “imitate me” since he himself CONSTANTLY STRIVED TO IMITATE OUR
SAVIOUR.

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 17 : 14 - 23
THE EPILEPTIC SON & HIS FATHER - CONCERNING THE LACK OF FAITH

At that time, when they had gone to the multitude, a man knelt before Jesus and said: “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Thy Disciples but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said: “O faithless and perverse generation! How long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it went out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the Disciples went to Jesus privately and asked: “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them: “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you: if you have faith (as small) as a mustard seed, you will say to that mountain: ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind (of demon) does not go out except by Prayer and Fasting.” Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them: “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful. Sickness was often connected to demonic activity in ancient The banishment or exorcism of demons requires utter Faith, times, as recorded in Holy Scripture. Prayer and Fasting for there is no healing and no Victory in By kneeling before Christ, the father of the epileptic son Spiritual Warfare without all three conditions. expressed his humility and desperation due to his own Beginning with the Didache (THE WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS OF THE HOLY lack of Faith. APOSTLES OF CHRIST) our Holy Fathers have taught us that both Although His Disciples also lacked Faith, CHRIST REBUKED the person in need of healing and the person who THE FATHER FOR BLAMING OTHERS WHEN IT WAS HIS performs the healing (BOTH SPIRITUAL HEALING AND PHYSICAL HEALING OWN MUCH GREATER LACK OF FAITH THAT HAD BY DIVINE GRACE) must believe, pray and Fast in order to be in PREVENTED HIS SON’S HEALING. the required and essential state.

> >

WE ARE ALWAYS QUICK TO BLAME OTHERS FOR OUR MISFORTUNES, WHICH IN TRUTH ARE THE CONSEQUENCE OF OUR LACK OF FAITH OR OUR OWN DELIBERATE ACTIONS. BEFORE POINTING ACCUSING FINGERS AT OTHERS, WE MUST FIRST CLOSELY SCRUTINISE OUR OWN ACTIONS THAT MAY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE CAUSE OF WHATEVER TROUBLES US.

Our Lord defended His Disciples in front of the gathered crowd and only LATER REBUKED THEM PRIVATELY for their lack of Faith, which had prevented them from curing the boy’s epilepsy. > By dealing with His Disciples strictly but privately, Christ teaches us HOW TO CORRECT OTHERS WITHOUT
HUMILIATING OR SHAMING THEM IN FRONT OF WITNESSES WHO WOULD NOT UNDERSTAND THE FULL SIGNIFICANCE OF EVENTS.

IN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY, THREE EXORCISMS ARE PART OF “THE MAKING OF A CATECHUMEN” – THE FIRST PART OF THE HOLY MYSTERY OF BAPTISM AND CHRISMATION. EVERY YEAR DURING HOLY WEEK, WE MAY RECEIVE HOLY UNCTION FOR OUR SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL HEALING, AFTER HAVING PREPARED OURSELVES WITH REPENTANCECONFESSION, PRAYERS AND FASTING – ALL OF WHICH CANNOT BE FULLY ACHIEVED WITHOUT FAITH IN GOD. PERSONAL EXORCISMS ARE NEVER UNDERTAKEN BY LAY PEOPLE. ONLY THE DIVINE AUTHORITY OF THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR A BISHOP OR A PRIEST TO PERFORM – IN VERY RARE CASES – EXORCISMS FOR DEMON POSSESSION. THE HOLY FATHER NEVER PERSONALLY CHALLENGES THE FORCES OF EVIL BUT INVOKES GOD’S DIVINE POWER AND MAJESTY – IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – TO DO SO.

It is indeed our Christian Duty to correct our stumbling Brethren, but we must take care to do so without ever embarrassing or insulting them.

> >

WE MUST ALWAYS GENTLY ENCOURAGE, GUIDE AND TEACH OTHERS GOD’S TRUTH WITH LOVE – WITH AGAPE!

In the same manner, WHEN WE ARE CORRECTED OR
TAUGHT, WE MUST ACCEPT THE ENCOURAGEMENT AND GUIDANCE OF OTHERS WITH AGAPE, IMMEDIATELY APPLYING THE NEWLY GAINED KNOWLEDGE AND ADVICE TO OUR WORDS, THOUGHTS AND DEEDS – WITH HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE.

St John Chrysostom believed that Christ’s rebuke was directed at His nine Disciples who could not cast out the demon that caused the epilepsy in the young boy, whereas His “Pillars of Faith” – St Peter, St James and St John – were not included in the rebuke as they had been on Mount Tabor with Christ at His Transfiguration at the time of the incident. While it is not recorded that any Apostle of Christ literally moved a “mountain,” our Holy Church Fathers are clear that they certainly had the Divine Authority to do so if the necessity arose and in some rare cases, Saints did cause crevices to appear in mountains for specific reasons or purposes. (SUCH AS THE ESCAPE OF ST ELIZABETH AND THE VERY YOUNG ST
JOHN THE BAPTIST & FORERUNNER TO CHRIST.)

“This kind” of demonic possession referred to all powers of Spiritual Darkness and not simply to those that cause a particular type of illness.

Furthermore, not everything the Apostles of Christ accomplished was recorded or even witnessed by others. Beyond the literal meaning, the Divine Promise of moving “mountains” is also an illustration of the immense Power of True Faith and fervent Prayer in all areas and experiences of life. “Whatever we ask, without hesitation and believing in God’s Power, we shall receive...” WHEN WE REQUEST
SPIRITUALLY PROFITABLE THINGS.
(ST THEOPHAN THE RECLUSE)

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Dormition Fast Begins Today

10TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – 10TH OF ST MATTHEW – THE EPILEPTIC SON - 1 AUGUST 2010

Our Lord Jesus Christ predicted and informed His Disciples of His approaching Passion and Resurrection for a second time in order to emphasise the Truth that HE APPROACHED
HIS SUFFERING, DEATH AND RESURRECTION FREELY – ACCORDING TO HIS OWN WILL AND ACCORDING TO HIS OWN TIME – that it would not be fulfilled against His Will

but according to the Divine Plan FOR THE SALVATION OF ALL MANKIND since before Creation – from Eternity.

O Faithless & Perverse Generation!
Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, was approached by a man whose son was demon possessed.
ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE NO REAL POWER OVER US, DEMONS ALWAYS TRY TO DESTROY OR HURT US, and, as usual THEY TRIED IN VAIN TO CAUSE THE DEATH OF THE YOUNG BOY BY MAKING HIM FALL into either water or fire while being convulsed by epileptic fits. His distraught father watched over him as much as possible but he lived with the constant fear that his son would eventually suffer terrible wounds or even death. He had presented his boy to the Disciples of Christ, yet they had not been able to cast out the demon that took cruel advantage of the poor child’s illness. When the father saw Christ (WHO HAD RETURNED WITH THREE OF HIS
APOSTLES FROM MOUNT TABOR WHERE THEY HAD WITNESSED HIS

Faith that is committed and unshakable pleases our Lord God together with all His Heavenly Hosts to the greatest degree and they all marvel and rejoice with us. Christ expressed His amazement when confronted by unexpected, deep Faith such as that of the Roman Centurion and St Veronica (WHO HAD RISKED DIRE SOCIAL SCANDAL
AND PUNISHMENT BY TOUCHING CHRIST’S GARMENTS SO AS TO RECEIVE A CURE AFTER SUFFERING TWELVE LONG YEARS OF HAEMORRHAGING.)

The unbelief of that “faithless generation” was also described by our Saviour as being “perverted!” Such a description in a case of immorality or the like would be expected but WHAT DOES UNBELIEF HAVE TO
DO WITH BEING PERVERTED?

he fell upon his knees before our Lord, beseeching His Great Mercy and bitterly complaining against the inability of His Disciples to cure his son. The poor father had watched the suffering of his beloved son for so many years that his Faith had obviously worn rather thin by then – especially when the Disciples seemed to have failed and ALTHOUGH HE
TRANSFIGURATION,)

If we were privy to a similar encounter, would we refer to someone as being “perverted?” Would we not rather consider such people as being either faithless, stupid or ignorant? > Our Saviour regards our lack of Faith as being perverted because FAITH IN GOD IS NATURAL TO
OUR HUMAN NATURE! IT IS OUR ONLY TRULY NATURAL STATE.

>

DID BELIEVE THAT CHRIST COULD HELP THEM, HE NEEDED CHRIST’S REASSURANCE – HE NEEDED GOD TO STRENGTHEN HIS FAITH.

What a tragedy is unbelief! What worse Spiritual Shackle can the devil fasten around a Christian’s neck than unbelief?
THERE IS NO GREATER SLAVERY THAN THE SLAVERY AND IMPRISONMENT OF FAITHLESSNESS!

St. Symeon the New Theologian taught us that “...Faith is a pre-eminent characteristic of our nature, even though it is also subject to our individual power of free will” (PHILOKALIA, VOL. 4, P. 16) FAITH IS NATURAL! Therefore unbelief is indeed a perverted state since it simply is against our human nature!
UNBELIEF – THE REJECTION OF FAITH IN GOD – IS AN INVENTION OF THE EVIL ONE who seeks our

To have no Faith is to have no True Hope! No True Life!
TO LIVE WITHOUT FAITH IN GOD IS THE VERY CONTRADICTION OF CHRISTIANITY!

destruction through our alienation from God and all His Goodness!
THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST WERE UNABLE TO CAST OUT THE DEMON EVEN THOUGH OUR LORD HAD GRANTED THEM HIS POWER TO EXORCISE EVIL, DUE TO A NUMBER OF FACTORS: THE FATHER’S UNBELIEF – Spiritual Doubt

After all, we are defined by the title “Believers” or “the Faithful!”

FAITHLESSNESS IS SPIRITUAL DEATH, SPIRITUAL DARKNESS AND SPIRITUAL EXILE FROM GOD – the saddest state of

hopelessness and despair! This was the increasing Spiritual Condition of the father of the epileptic boy – HE FELT HELPLESS AND READY
TO SURRENDER TO THE TRICKS OF THE DEMONS. OUR LORD’S RESPONSE TO THE FATHER’S WANING FAITH IS REMARKABLE FOR IT WAS A REFLECTION OF SO MANY SOULS WHO HAD WITNESSED HIS DIVINE MIRACLES AND HEARD HIS DIVINE TEACHINGS, YET THEY STILL DOUBTED AND REJECTED HIM AS OUR TRUE MESSIAH –

had become deeply rooted through the years of anxiety and suffering, which WORKED AGAINST –
REJECTED - THE HEALING POWERS OF GOD.

GOD CAN DO ANYTHING BUT HE NEVER EVER FORCES HIMSELF OR HIS BLESSINGS ON THOSE WHO DOUBT OR REJECT THEM.

our True Lord and Saviour Who came to serve us in our hour of need – to teach us His Divine Truth directly and without any errors or false interpretations, and Who would all too soon willingly shed His Most Immaculate, Sinless and All Pure Blood as the ultimate Ransom for our Eternal Salvation! No wonder OUR LORD CRIED OUT IN FRUSTRATION TO ALL
WHO GATHERED ABOUT HIM – NOT JUST THE ANGUISHED FATHER: “...O faithless and perverse generation! How long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?” The continuous frustration of doubters, scoffers, mockers and unbelievers must have made our Beloved Saviour yearn to return from Whence He had come – the loving Presence of His Father in His Eternal Kingdom of Peace and Love! WHAT AN ABOMINATION IS UNBELIEF OR LACK OF FAITH IN GOD FOR IT MAKES US RESEMBLE THE DEMONS THEMSELVES, who may have a little more knowledge

Our Lord Jesus had bestowed very few of His Divine Miracles upon the people of Nazareth due to their unbelief. NOT ALL DEMONS ARE EQUAL in Strength And Persistence.
THE BOY HAD SUFFERED EPILEPSY AND BEEN POSSESSED SINCE HIS EARLY CHILDHOOD so THE DEMONS WERE FIRMLY ENTRENCHED, AND TIGHTENED THEIR GRIP ON THE BOY AND HIS FATHER AS THEIR FAITH GREW LESS AND LESS, AND AS THEIR DOUBTS AND FEARS ENSLAVED AND WEAKENED THEM.
SATAN AND HIS DEMONS HAVE NO SPECIAL POWERS OR MAGIC TRICKS TO USE AGAINST US. INSTEAD THEY CLOSELY AND INTENSELY WATCH US AND THEN USE OUR OWN WEAKNESSES AND ERRORS AGAINST US.

LONG ESTABLISHED DEMONS CAN ONLY BE ERADICATED THROUGH INTENSE, POWERFUL AND FERVENT PRAYERS AND FASTING.
FERVENT PRAYERS - AND ESPECIALLY THE DIVINE NAMES OF CHRIST AND THE HOLY TRINITY - BURN AND REPEL THE EVIL ONES WHILE SELF-DENIAL AND DISCIPLINE MAKES US SPIRITUALLY STRONGER AND MORE RESISTENT TO THEIR TEMPTATIONS AND DECEPTIONS.

THE DISCIPLES’ LACK OF SUFFICIENT AND COMMITTED FAITH also became an obstacle that prevented the exorcism of the arrogant and stubborn demon. When His Disciples sought an explanation of their failure to heal the epileptic boy, our Lord Jesus immediately answered: “Because of your unbelief!”

than we do at present, but without any Faith in God and all the goodness, the Joy and the Blessings that come with such Faith!

>

DESPITE HAVING SPENT SO MUCH TIME IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH CHRIST, HIS DISCIPLES STILL NEEDED TO FULLY COMMIT THEMSELVES TO HIM AS MESSIAH, GOD INCARNATE AND SAVIOUR – NOT AS

Dormition Fast Begins Today

10TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – 10TH OF ST MATTHEW – THE EPILEPTIC SON - 1 AUGUST 2010

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SOMEONE WHOM THEY REGARDED AS AN OBVIOUSLY HOLY AND MOST WISE PROPHET OR TEACHER.

FAITH EVERY DAY OF OUR LIFE IN ORDER TO OVERCOME OUR OWN AFFLICTIONS AND TEMPTATIONS OF EVIL.

Our Lord Who sees into the darkest corners of our soul could see the lurking doubts within them SINCE THEY
WERE NOT YET UTTERLY DEDICATED TO AND CONVINCED OF HIS DIVINE TRUTH AND HIS DIVINE IDENTITY.

They – like so many of us – were merely “going through the motions” without a thorough acceptance of, dependence on and commitment to Christ.

> TO INCREASE OUR FAITH: 1. WE MUST UNDERSTAND that THE EXERCISE OF FAITH IS SOMETHING DYNAMIC NOT STATIC. EXERCISING FAITH IS EXERCISING LOVE. Faith and Love is EXPRESSED THROUGH OUR GOOD WORDS, GOOD THOUGHTS AND GOOD DEEDS. Faith and Love must be perpetually worked on, and thoroughly embraced! THE MORE WE USE
OUR FAITH AND LOVE, THE STRONGER THESE VIRTUES GROW WITHIN US – LEADING TO ALL THE OTHER VIRTUES.

>

OUR LORD TRIED TO MAKE US UNDERSTAND THE AMAZING POWER OF FAITH THAT MAKES EVEN THE MOST IMPOSSIBLE THINGS HAPPEN:

> > > > > >

FAITH CHANGES LIVES COMPLETELY. FAITH CONQUERS AND CRUSHES EVIL. FAITH LEADS TO ANSWERED PRAYERS. FAITH IS THE CATALYST OF DIVINE MIRACLES. FAITH UNLEASES GOD’S MIGHTY POWER IN OUR LIVES BECAUSE IT OPENS US UP TO AND UNITES US WITH GOD HIMSELF! AND ETERNAL RESOURCES OF OUR LORD, while,

Faith is a Work itself. And just as you cannot live on old Love, you cannot live on old Faith!
ONLY PRESENT LOVE AND PRESENT FAITH WILL HELP US NOW!

Belief builds on itself. TRUE FAITH AND ABSOLUTE
BELIEF IN GOD NEVER FAILS OR DISAPPOINTS!

2. WE MUST UNDERSTAND that LIVING IN THE CHURCH
DOES NOT GUARANTEE THAT WE BELIEVE.

THE FAITHFUL BELIEVERS ARE GRANTED THE INFINITE

sadly, those without Faith – the unbelievers have only their own meagre, temporary and unsatisfactory resources. Father Raphael is an Elder of the Valaam Monastery in Northern Russia who had been severely persecuted by the Communists in the USSR. He, and a number of other Hermit Monks, who had been driven from the Monastery into the forests, were being chased and shot at by soldiers in helicopters. They were pursued right up to the very edge of a high, dangerous cliff that overlooked an extremely deep gorge. The Communists thought that they had finally trapped the Monks, but as they approached them, ALL THE
FAITHFUL MONKS SLOWLY MADE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS OVER THE GORGE BEFORE WALKING STRAIGHT ACROSS TO THE OTHER SIDE - ON NOTHING BUT THIN AIR! DUE TO THEIR ABSOLUTE FAITH IN GOD, THEY IMITATED ST PETER who had walked on water towards Christ, but THEY NEVER DOUBTED AT ALL, NOR DID THEY SINK – OR RATHER, DROP DOWN!!

We must LIVE UP TO OUR TITLE “Believer,” or “Faithful,” or “Christian.” We must ALWAYS REMEMBER THE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES suffered by this faithless father and the faithless Hebrews and learn from their poor example. We must ALWAYS REMEMBER OUR SAVIOUR’S WORDS to the Faithful Roman Centurion: “... many shall come from East and West, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven; but the sons of the Kingdom shall be cast out into Outer Darkness...” (MATTHEW 8:11-12) 3. WE MUST INCREASE OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD OUR GOD. St. Mark the Ascetic wrote: “He who does not know the Truth cannot truly have Faith; for by nature Knowledge proceeds Faith” (PHILOKALIA, VOL. 1, P. 118).
IF WE WANT TO BELIEVE IN GOD AND DEVELOP FAITH, WE MUST DEVELOP A CLOSE, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THROUGH THE CORRECT WORSHIP AND TRUE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST AND HIS HOLY CHURCH. WHEN WE KNOW GOD WE WILL TRUST HIM COMPLETELY AND WITHOUT FAIL.
ONLY BY DEVELOPING A VERY CLOSE, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, WILL OUR KNOWLEDGE OF HIM BE INCREASED BY HIM – AND THE CLOSER WE BECOME TO GOD THE MORE OUR DEVOTION AND WILLINGNESS TO SERVE HIM INCREASES, UNTIL WE CONSTANTLY YEARN ONLY FOR HIS LOVING PRESENCE!

When the Communists arrived at the cliff edge and did not see their hunted prey, they naturally assumed that the Monks had fallen to death at the bottom of the deep gorge.

>

BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND WITH MORE THAN A LITTLE FAITH, THE HOLY MONKS HAD INDEED “MOVED MOUNTAINS” THROUGH THE ENORMOUS POWER OF TRUE FAITH!

May God grant us all True Faith with which it is possible to serve and to please Him! Amen.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: FATHER JOSIAH TRENHAM – ST ANDREW ORTHODOX CHURCH, RIVERSIDE, USA

Fortunately, most of us will never face such a life threatening situation yet WE ALL NEED THE POWER OF One afternoon I went to visit Elder Paisios (of Mount Athos). At the fence of his cell stood a man who was approximately thirty years of age, waiting for him to open the gate. When I arrived, Father Paisios opened his window and asked who it was and when I identified myself and told him that the young man also wished to see him, he told me to tell him to leave. The man begged Elder Paisios to let him in but the Holy Father replied: “Go, because you upset me as you only trust your own way of thinking and do not listen to what I tell you! Why do you waste your time by coming here?” He refused to open the gate until the young man had departed and then he explained to me: “He is a real burden! He does not listen to my words. He comes, asks questions and leaves; after a short while, he

http://www.saintandrew.net/works.html

The Wisdom of our Holy Church Fathers
returns and asks me the same things over and over again! This happens because he always listens to his own thoughts; therefore, he forgets what I tell him, or he does not understand a word!” Another young man who relied completely on his own thoughts and who was led astray was told by Father Paisios: “Do not listen to your thoughts, because you will end up losing your mind. “Be careful; you have a good machine, but its wheel faces the wrong direction. You have to turn it to the right direction, to where the good thoughts are. “Only you, yourself can do this – along with the Help of God. No one else can do it for you, as you are free and self-dependent. “You turn the wheel, and your Spiritual Father will show you the direction.”
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “ELDER PAISIOS OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN” BY HIEROMONK CHRISTODOULOS – A HOLY MOUNTAIN MONK

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Dormition Fast Begins Today

10TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – 10TH OF ST MATTHEW – THE EPILEPTIC SON - 1 AUGUST 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.

6 August 2010

The Transfiguration of Christ our Lord & Saviour
I SODI KON O F THE T R A N S F I G U R A T I O N ISODIKON :

Oti

para Si Pigi Zoix, Kyrie, en to Foti Sou opsometha Fos. Soson imas, Ie Theou, O en to Orei to Thavor Metamorfothis, psalontas Si: Allilouia!

For

with Thee is the Fountain of Life; in Thy Light we shall see Light! Save us, O Son of God Who was Transfigured on Mount Tabor, as we sing to Thee: Alleluia!

APOLYTIKION OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST OUR GOD – TONE (7) VARYS/GRAVE

Metemorfothis en to Ori, Hriste O Theos, dixas tis Mathites Thou were Transfigured upon the Mountain, O Christ our
Sou, tin Doxan Sou kathos idinanto; lampson ke imin tis amartolis, to Fos Sou to Aidion, Presvies tis Theotokou, Fotodota doxa Si!
KONTAKION OF THE TRANSFIGURATION –( 27 JULY UNTIL 13 AUGUST

God, showing to Thy Disciples Thy Glory as far as they could understand; shine upon us sinners as well, Thine Everlasting Light, by the Intercessions of the Theotokos, O Giver of Light, Glory to Thee!

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

Upon

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

The Matins Gospel – Luke 9 : 28 – 36
THE TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST

At that time, it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that Jesus took Peter, John and James and went up on the Mountain to pray. As He prayed, the appearance of His Face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. And behold! Two men talked with Him. They were Moses and Elijah who appeared in Glory and spoke of His Decease, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His Glory and the two men who stood with Him. Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus: “Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three Tabernacles: one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elijah,” not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a Cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the Cloud. And a Voice came out of the cloud, saying: “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” When the Voice ceased, Jesus was found alone, but they kept quiet, and they told no one in those days any of the Things they had witnessed.

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THE TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST WAS A THEOPHANY – A MANIFESTATION OF GOD – i.e. God makes it possible

3.

for human beings to witness His Divine Presence. The Transfiguration of Christ was especially A
MANIFESTATION OF THE DIVINITY OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST, THROUGH THE DISPLAY OF HIS UNCREATED, DIVINE ENERGY,

THE TRANSFIGURATION NOT ONLY PROCLAIMS CHRIST’S DIVINE SONSHIP, BUT FORESHADOWS HIS FUTURE GLORY WHEN HE, AS THE TRUE MESSIAH, WILL USHER IN THE LONG-AWAITED ETERNAL KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

which made His Face change and even His robes to shine so brightly. This Magnificent Event was THE FIRST TIME EVER THAT GOD WAS REVEALED TO HUMAN BEINGS IN HIS GLORY and the Orthodox Church celebrates it as A MAJOR FEAST DAY of the Liturgical Year.
SEVERAL ELEMENTS OF THE TRANSFIGURATION REVEAL OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AS TRULY MESSIAH AND GOD INCARNATE. 1. BECAUSE GOD IS LIGHT – UNCREATED LIGHT – THE BRIGHT CLOUD, THE SHINING OF OUR LORD’S FACE AS BLINDINGLY BRIGHT AS THE SUN, AND EVEN THE GLISTENING WHITENESS OF HIS ROBE ALL EXPRESS AND EXHIBIT HIS DIVINITY.

The bright Cloud recalls Temple Worship and the shining Cloud that went before the Israelites during their 40 year long trek through the wilderness before settling down in the earthly Promised Land.
4. THE BRIGHT CLOUD IS A VISIBLE SIGN OF GOD’S EXTRAORDINARY PRESENCE AT THAT TIME. ST MOSES REPRESENTS THE DIVINE LAW OF GOD – THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD – AND ALL THOSE WHO HAD ALREADY DIED, WHILE ST ELIJAH REPRESENTS THE HOLY PROPHETS OF GOD AND – since he did not personally experience mortal death himself – ALL THOSE WHO ARE TRULY ALIVE IN CHRIST.

Their presence at the Transfiguration of Christ shows us that THE LAW AND THE HOLY PROPHETS – THE
LIVING AND THE DEAD – ALL BEAR WITNESS TO JESUS CHRIST AS THE TRUE MESSIAH – the True

In some Holy Icons this Divine Light is shown to be beyond white – a bluish white, an ineffable colour, indicating its Spiritual Qualities and Origin.
2. THE FATHER BEARS WITNESS FROM HEAVEN CONCERNING HIS DIVINE SON.

Saviour – Who fulfilled the entire Old Covenant. The presence of St Moses and St Elijah also manifests
THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS. BOTH HOLY MEN WERE RECOGNISABLE and spoke

with our Lord Jesus and
HIS DISCIPLES WERE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND Christ’s

He did not say: “This has become My Beloved Son...” but states emphatically: “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON...” indicating that HIS DIVINE GLORY IS
CHRIST’S BY HIS OWN DIVINE NATURE. FROM ETERNITY – infinitely before our Lord Jesus’ Baptism and Transfiguration - HE IS THE WORD AND SON OF GOD THE FATHER, FULLY SHARING IN THE DIVINE ESSENCE AND ALL THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD THE FATHER FOR OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS GOD OF GOD.

words “...Elijah has come already...” which referred to St John the Baptist and Forerunner to Christ our Saviour.
THE SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING OR SIGHT OF THE HOLY APOSTLES who accompanied our Lord

Jesus to Mount Tabor and witnessed His Transfiguration WAS OPENED to the fact that St Malachi’s Prophecy referred to someone special – St John the Baptist – having come “...in the spirit

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TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST ON MOUNT TABOR

6 AUGUST 2010

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and power of Elijah...” rather than referring to St Elijah himself. (MALACHI 4:5-6; LUKE 1:17) 5. Finally, THE HOLY TRINITY WAS MANIFESTED (revealed) on Mount Tabor when CHRIST WAS TRANSFIGURED, GOD THE FATHER SPOKE to the Apostles from Heaven,

testifying to Christ’s Divine Sonship, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS PRESENT IN THE FORM OF THE DAZZLING, that BLINDINGLY BRIGHT UNCREATED LIGHT surrounded our Lord Jesus and overshadowed the whole Mountain.

The Second Epistle of St Peter 1 : 10 – 19
PAR TAK E R S O F TH E DI VI NE NATUR E & THE TR UTH O F TH E APO STO L I C TE STIMO NIE S & TE ACH I NG S

Brethren: be even more diligent to make your Call and Election sure, for is you do these things you will never stumble; for so an Entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the Everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. For this reason, I will not be negligent in reminding you always of these Things, although you know and are established in the present Truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this “tent,” to stir you up by reminding you – knowing that shortly I must put off my “tent,” just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Furthermore, I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my repose. For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made know to you the Power and the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His Majesty. For He received from God the Father Honour and Glory when such a Voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I Am well pleased!” And we heard this Voice, which came from Heaven when we were with Him on the Holy Mountain. And so we have the Prophetic Word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a Light that shines in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts. PERMITTED INTO THE VERY PRESENCE OF OUR TRIUNE The primary Truth with which St Peter dealt (which he only GOD – AND WHO LIVED TO TELL OTHERS LATER! indirectly touched upon to this particular point in time) was What St Peter informed us of with regard to THE SECOND THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND HIS EVERLASTING COMING OF CHRIST IS THE COMMON APOSTOLIC KINGDOM – an Eternal Kingdom of Love, ruled by God our TRADITION, WHICH IS REINFORCED BY THE EYEWITNESS Most Merciful and Divine Benefactor. TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY APOSTLES OF CHRIST. During a long journey or war, people were sheltered in tents – > THE TRUTH OF CHRIST IS NOT AN ELABORATE SCHEME OF temporary structures . FABLES – fabricated lies or mere imaginings such as Therefore, AS LONG AS OUR SOULS ARE HOUSED IN OUR the Gnostics propounded. PHYSICAL BODIES, WE ALSO LIVE IN “TENTS,” TEMPORARY
SHELTERS.

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IN

This expression bears witness to THE LONG, ARDUOUS
JOURNEY OF LIFE AND TO THE ONGOING BATTLE – SPIRITUAL WARFARE – AGAINST OUR ENEMY FORCES WHO TRY BY ALL DEVIOUS MEANS TO PREVENT OUR SPIRITUAL PROGRESS DURING THIS PREPARATORY PERIOD BEFORE ETERNITY. ST PETER HAD BEEN AN EYE-WITNESS TO THE MAJESTY OF CHRIST IN MANY WAYS AND ON MANY OCCASIONS AND EVENTUALLY, ON MOUNT TABOR, HE WAS ONE OF THE THREE ESPECIALLY CHOSEN APOSTLES WHO WERE

ALL THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCOUNTS, THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS GENUINE PROOF AND THE FORETASTE OF THE SECOND COMING – THE GLORIOUS REAPPEARANCE IN HIS PHYSICAL FORM – OF CHRIST IN ALL HIS DIVINE GLORY.

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THE TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY APOSTLES BOTH CONFIRMS ALL PROPHECIES – THE “PROPHETIC WORD” – CONCERNING THE SECOND GLORIOUS COMING OF CHRIST AND SHOWS US HOW TO CORRECTLY INTERPRET THE DIVINELY INSPIRED PROPHECIES OF THE HOLY PROPHETS OF GOD.

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 17 : 1 – 9
THE TR ANS FI G UR ATI O N O F O UR L O RD & SAVI O UR , JE SUS CH R I ST ON MO UNT TABO R

At that time, after six days, Jesus led Peter, James and his brother, John, up a high mountain by themselves; and He was Transfigured before them. His Face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the Light. And behold! Moses and Elijah appeared to them, speaking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus: “Lord, it is good for us to be here! If Thou so wish, let us make three tabernacles (shelters): one for Thee, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” And while he was still speaking, behold! A bright Cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a Voice came out of the Cloud, saying: “This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I Am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the Disciples heard It, they fell upon their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus went and touched them, saying: “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. Then, as they went down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them: “Tell no one the Vision until the Son of Man is Risen from the dead!” A HIGH MOUNTAIN IS OFTEN THE PLACE OF DIVINE REVELATION – > IN THE LITURGICAL CYCLE, THE FEAST OF THE especially in Holy Scripture: TRANSFIGURATION IS CELEBRATED FORTY DAYS BEFORE THE FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS, GENESIS 22:2 - God tested the Faith of Abraham when He thereby showing THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CHRIST’S commanded him: “Take now your beloved son, Isaac, GLORY AND HIS HOLY CROSS. whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a Whole Burnt Offering on one of the > CHRIST’S TERRIBLE PASSION IS A FULFILMENT OF THE OLD Mountains I tell you.” COVENANT PASSOVER AND IS THE TRUE EXODUS – i.e. EXODUS 19:3 – “... Moses went up to the Mountain of God, and departure – from Spiritual Enslavement into the True God Called to him from the Mountain...” Freedom of God’s wonderful Eternal Salvation. EXODUS 19: 23 – “... Moses said to God: ‘The people cannot come > THE REVELATION OF DIVINE POWER AT THE up to Mount Sinai; for Thou solemnly charged us, saying: “Set TRANSFIGURATION CONFIRMED THE TRUTH THAT OUR bounds around the Mountain and Sanctify It!”’” LORD’S APPROACHING DEATH BY CRUCIFIXION WAS NOT IMPOSED ON HIM BY ANY HUMAN FORCES, BUT WAS A ISAIAH 2:3 – “Many Gentiles shall travel and say: ‘Come, let us go VOLUNTARY OFFERING OF GOD’S DIVINE LOVE for all up to the Mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Creation, especially His favourite human beings, since no Jacob. He will proclaim His Way to us, and we shall walk in arresting soldier would have withstood such Divine Power It.’ For the Law of the Lord shall go forth from Zion, and the and Glory if it had been attempted against the Will of God! Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” In the Kontakion Hymn of the Transfiguration we sing: “Thy 2 PETER 1:18 – “... we heard this Voice, which came from Heaven, Disciples beheld Thy Glory as far as they could bear it, so when we were with Him on the Holy Mountain.” that when they saw Thee Crucified, they would Christ’s Death is intimately connected to the Glory of the understand that Thy Suffering was voluntary.” Transfiguration, for Christ is Glorified through His (physical) Death.

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TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST ON MOUNT TABOR

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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.

11th Sunday After Pentecost – Tone 2

8 August 2010 11th Sunday of St Matthew - The Unmerciful Servant
Feast of St Emilianos of Cyzikos; St Myronos the Wonderworker of Crete; St Triandaphyllos of Stara, Zagora, Magnesia (Thessaly); St Anastasios New Martyr of Thessalonika; St Gregory, Iconographer of the Caves; St Zosimas and Sabbatios of Solovki (first & second translation of Relics); St Eleutherios, StLeonides and the Martyred Infants of Constantinople; St Gregory of Sinai & Mount Athos; St Euthymios Abbot of St John the Baptist Monastery, Davit-Gareji; St Zosimas of Tuman; Ten Egyptian Ascetics; Two Martyrs of Tyre; and The Miracleworking Holy Icon of the Ever Blessed Theotokos of Tolga
RE SURRE CTION A POL YTIK ION – T ONE 2

Ote katilthes pros ton thanaton, i Zoi i Athanatos, tote ton
adin enekrosas ti astrapi tis Theotitos. Ote de ke tous tethneotas ek ton katahthonion anestisas, pase e Dinamis ton Epouranion ekravgazon. Zoodota Hriste, O Theos imon, Doxa Si!

When

Thou condescended to Death, O Life Immortal, Thou slayed Hades with the lightning flash of Thy Divinity. When also Thou raised up the dead from the subterranean abodes, all the Powers of Heaven cried aloud: O Life-giver, Christ our God, Glory to Thee!

APOLYTIKION OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST OUR GOD – TONE (7) VARYS/GRAVE

Metemorfothis en to Ori, Hriste O Theos, dixas tis Mathites Thou were Transfigured upon the Mountain, O Christ our
Sou, tin Doxan Sou kathos idinanto; lampson ke imin tis amartolis, to Fos Sou to Aidion, Presvies tis Theotokou, Fotodota doxa Si!
KONTAKION OF THE TRANSFIGURATION –( 27 JULY UNTIL 13 AUGUST

God, showing to Thy Disciples Thy Glory as far as they could understand; shine upon us sinners as well, Thine Everlasting Light, by the Intercessions of the Theotokos, O Giver of Light, Glory to Thee!

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

Upon

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

Resurrection Gospel 11 – John 21 : 14 – 25
PROKEIMENON

Our Lord Jesus Restores And Commissions St Peter

The Lord is my Strength and my Glory! The Lord has punished me severely, but he has not delivered me to death!
The First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 9: 2 - 12
THE GOOD EXAMPLE OF ST PAUL’S RIGHTS

Brethren, you are the Seal of my Apostleship in the Lord and my defence to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other Apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the Law say the same also? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen that God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, so that he who ploughs shall plough in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown Spiritual Things for you, is it a great matter if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless: we have not used this right, but we endure all things lest we hinder the Gospel of Christ. The authenticity of St Paul’s Holy Apostleship was under The Provision for the physical, earthly welfare of the Holy attack by various people causing him to defend himself. Priesthood was made by God according to His Old Covenant with the Hebrews and St Paul reminded the > THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CLERGY IS USUALLY Corinthians that CHRISTIAN PRIESTS MUST BE SIMILARLY CERTIFIED BY THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF THE HOLY
FLOCK – THE FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS. SUPPORTED AND PROVIDED FOR.

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THE CLERGY OF CHRIST’S CHURCH NEEDS THE MATERIAL SUPPORT OF THE LAITY in order for our Spiritual

Fathers to be free from earthly, mundane concerns in order to sow Spiritual Seeds in the Holy Vineyard of God.

All too often the people ignore the necessities of the Holy Priesthood in the mistaken and erroneous belief that “the Church” will take care of the Clergy! > However: WE ARE THE CHURCH AND IT IS OUR SACRED
DUTY TO PROVIDE FOR ALL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD AT ALL TIMES.

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 18 : 23 – 35
FORGIVENESS & MERCY

At that time, our Lord Jesus said: “... the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain King who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousands Talents, but as he was unable to pay, his Master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.

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11TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – 11TH OF ST MATTHEW – THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT – 8 AUGUST 2010

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“The servant, therefore, fell down before him, saying: ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ So the Master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying: ‘Pay me what you owe me!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying: ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ But he refused and had him thrown into prison until he should pay the debt. “So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and went to tell their Master all that had occurred. “Then his Master, after he had called him, said to him: ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me! Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ “And his Master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My Heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” The children represent our deeds. This Parable illustrates THE NEED FOR UNLIMITED,
UNCONDITIONAL FORGIVENESS.

“Ten thousand Talents” is an impossible sum, more than any labourer could have earned in several lifetimes! “A hundred Denarii” is a significant amount from an earthly perspective at that time – ABOUT THREE MONTHS’ WAGES
– YET IT WAS A PITTANCE COMPARED TO THE DEBT THE WICKED SERVANT OWED HIS MASTER.

CONSEQUENTLY, OUR BODY AND OUR DEEDS ARE GIVEN OVER TO SPIRITUAL SLAVERY – TO SATAN – SO THAT OUR SOUL MIGHT POSSIBLY BE SAVED. This refers to THE DESTRUCTION not of the body but OF THE DEVASTATING LUSTS OF THE FLESH. 1 CORINTHIANS 5:5 : “... deliver such a one to Satan for the

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GOD IN HIS GREAT MERCY NOT ONLY WITHHOLDS THE PUNISHMENT THAT WE TRULY DESERVE, BUT HE ALSO FORGIVES US OUR ENTIRE DEBT, WHICH WE COULD NEVER HAVE REPAID, AS WELL.

destruction of the flesh so that his spirit may be Saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus.”

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Therefore, because our Most Loving and Benevolent God is so infinitely Merciful and Forgiving, WE IN TURN ARE
REQUIRED TO GRANT THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS TO THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US.

IN THE HOLY CHURCH OF CHRIST WE ARE BLESSED WITH GOD’S DIVINE PROTECTION FROM THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF SATAN. However, IN SERIOUS CASES OF SPIRITUAL REBELLION, THIS DIVINE PROTECTION IS REMOVED THROUGH EXCOMMUNICATION IN THE HOPE THAT,

Certain Holy Fathers have a Spiritual Interpretation of the punishment described by our Lord Jesus: The man represents the soul The wife represents the body

having experienced the difference between God’s Divine, Nurturing and Loving Rule and Satan’s evil and destructive rule, THE OFFENDER MAY REPENT
HIS SINS AND SUBSEQUENTLY BE SAVED.

The Power of Forgiveness
The world around us is full of hatred and turmoil, and however close we may feel to one another, however much we perceive a momentary peace in our hearts, – how near we are always to a moment when peace breaks down, when tensions become stronger than our sense of oneness and when strife sets in. And at those moments we must learn something which is AT THE VERY CORE OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MEN AND OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: > WE MUST LEARN TO FORGIVE . And we do not achieve it because we expect forgiveness to be at first what it can only be at last :
THE JOY OF RECONCILIATION, THE JOY THAT IS BORN FROM THE DISCOVERY THAT DARKNESS IS CONQUERED BY LIGHT, THAT JOY HAS SET IN WHERE BITTERNESS AND SADNESS WERE. But this is not where forgiveness begins and it is not our victory.

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THIS IS A GIFT OF MERCY BOTH DIVINE AND HUMAN FORGIVENESS, which begins at the moment WHEN OFFENDED, HUMILIATED, BETRAYED, WE CAN SAY IN OUR HEARTS OR ALOUD TO THE PERSON WHO HAS

Creation that MY LOVE DOES NOT FALTER, that MY LOVE REMAINS WHOLE, that IT BELONGS TO YOU UNRESERVEDLY; IT WAS MY JOY, it has become crucifixion. “It was OUR COMMON LIFE, It has now become the moment WHEN I AM ON THE CROSS and you have brought me to it. “You have been shouting "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" “You have been walking around this Cross saying ‘If Thou art the Son of God, come down from the Cross!’ “You are responsible for it and yet My Last Word is: "Forgive, Father, he does not know what he is doing. Forgive Father, she does not know what she is doing." And God takes upon Himself, by forgiving us by witnessing that His Love remains unshaken HE TAKES UPON HIMSELF FINAL SOLIDARITY WITH US. He says to us: I CALLED YOU INTO BEING, TO SHARE ALL MY LIFE. You have renounced it and rejected it. Then I SHALL SHARE ALL YOUR LIFE. I CALLED YOU INTO ETERNITY AND BLISS; you have opened up a depth of Hell, I WILL WALK INTO THIS HELL. I WILL BECOME MAN
AND SHARE ALL THE LIMITATIONS, ALL THE FINITUDES, ALL THE CRUELTY OF THE HUMAN CONDITION WHICH YOU HAVE CREATED. I WILL SHARE IT TO THE LAST, TO THE VERY POINT WHERE YOUR BETRAYAL MEANS THE LOSS OF GOD, AND THE LOSS OF LIFE.

DONE THIS: “Whatever you have done, I Love you enough to take on all the consequences of your frailty, all the consequences of the evil which is stronger than your good will, and I will bear these consequences because my Love does hot falter!” THIS IS WHAT GOD DOES TO US. THIS IS WHAT ABSOLUTION IS WHEN WE RECEIVE IT IN THE HOLY MYSTERY OR PENANCE, AFTER OUR CONFESSION.

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FORGIVENESS IS NOT GIVEN TO US BY GOD BECAUSE WE HAVE ALREADY CHANGED, NEITHER DOES HE FORGIVE US BECAUSE WE SHALL CHANGE. UNDERSTAND WHAT IT ALL MEANS, but GOD DOES NOT WAIT UNTIL WE HAVE CHANGED TO FORGIVE, otherwise

WE MAY CHANGE as a result of forgiveness IF WE ONLY

no one would be forgiven. When we receive Absolution, when we are granted Forgiveness from God, it always means that God says: I KNOW all the depth of YOUR FAULTS, I know all YOUR BETRAYALS, I know HOW FAR FROM ME YOU ARE, I know that YOUR HEART HAS GROWN COLD AND YOUR MIND DARKENED, I know that YOUR WILL IS NOT STRONG and yet, I witness before the whole of 8
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“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!" is the cry of Him Who has Willed to share with us everything, even our loss of God, because He wants to share all that is our life, because of Love, and because of Faith; because not only does He Love us, but He has Faith in us, that all that will not be in vain. That is TRUE FORGIVENESS. That is the kind of Forgiveness to which we are Called, each of us with regard to one another indeed not to this extent, not to this depth and magnitude; but we are Called to say: “However cold your heart has become to me, mine is warm enough for both. We cannot share Blessedness, I will share hell with you, and not only the hell which others have created for you, no, the very hell which is in your heart for me to live in.”
UNLESS WE CAN SAY THIS, WE CANNOT SAY THAT WE BEGIN OUR WAY TO FORGIVENESS.

1 1 T H SU N DA Y AFT E R P E N TE CO ST – 1 1 T H O F ST M AT T HE W – T H E U NM E R CI FU L SER VAN T – 8 AU G UST 2 0 1 0

Oh, how much we wish to be able to say: “The wounds which you have dealt on me are healed; the distress is over! Peace, Peace Divine has come! However, that comes after the Agony of the Garden of Gethsemane! It comes after the Betrayal or the Crucifixion! It comes after the death on the Cross, after the dereliction that kills, after three days when we lie numb and dead in the tomb! It comes when Resurrection comes!

And what if we have no Love, how can we afford to be in such a place? If we have no Love that says: "I will share with you dereliction, the Fall, Hades or even godlessness," then we must be prepared to admit: “I am just like you, so how can I judge you?" and humbly stay together where we are helpless, broken, fearful, defeated together, until, through Repentance Confession we return to God by beseeching Him: "HELP US BECAUSE
WE HAVE LOST LOVE AND WE HAVE LOST LIFE!"

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THEN WE WHO HAVE FORGIVEN, ARE RISEN IN SUCH A MANNER THAT WE CAN COMMUNICATE LIFE, LIFE WITH ABUNDANCE, LIFE ETERNAL - NOT BEFORE!

And so, here we are, in a Life where nothing is unspoiled by tension, by strife, by coldness, by darkening, by hatred, by dividedness. Here we are, given an Example by God Himself and indeed also a great Spiritual Challenge and opportunity. > Live in “hell” walk into it. IF YOU WALK INTO IT WITH
A LOVE THAT DOES NOT HESITATE TO DIE THEN HELL WILL CEASE TO BE HELL.

How wonderful it is to be able at any moment to turn to our Almighty, All Merciful God Who can Absolve and Forgive because He has chosen to be with us, even though we wilfully refused or proved unable to be with Him. What joy it is to know with absolute certainty that we can even after stumbling even in our personal weaknesses do the same with each other.

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WE

When Christ descended into Hades into the place where God is completely absent when He descended into it as a Man Who had accepted losing God in order to remain with mankind, He brought into it the Fullness of His Godhead and Hades became no longer the terrible place where God is not present!
HADES IS WHERE WE BEWAIL OUR TREASON, OUR LOVELESSNESS – it is not somewhere from which God

CAN ANNIHILATE OUR PERSONAL “HELL” BY CHANGING IT THROUGH LOVE TO A PLACE OF REDEMPTION AND RECONCILIATION, A PLACE OF LIFE IN CHRIST INSTEAD OF A PLACE OF DEATH WITHOUT GOD!

Glory be to God for revealing His Truth to us and for granting us His Power and Strength to recreate a Heaven where formerly we had caused a “hell!” Amen!
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “ON FORGIVENESS” METROPOLITAN ANTHONY OF SOUROZH

http://www.metropolit-nthony.orc.ru/eng/eng_130.htm

has turned away.

The Wisdom of Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

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WHILE VISITING A CITY, Father Paisios was approached

by a woman holding a baby in her arms who claimed to be ill and in need of financial assistance. He immediately sympathised with her problem but as he had very little money on him, he gave her 500 drachmas and begged her forgiveness, explaining that he had nothing else with him. However, he offered to give her his address so that she could write to him and let him have her own address in return. He told her that once he returned to Mount Athos he would try to collect some money to send to her. She accepted the little scrap of paper with Father Paisios’ postal address carefully written upon it and he felt that she had been touched by his kind offer. Sometime later, he received a letter from the woman but she had not supplied her own address. Instead she had enclosed the 500 drachma note Father Paisios has given her and she begged him to forgive her for putting him in such a difficult situation, thanking him profusely for his kindness. Father Paisios believed that if we develop positive thoughts – even in the case of conniving beggars or “con artists” who are professional liars and thieves we will never be losers because GOD WHO KNOWS OUR DEEPEST INTENTIONS, WILL CERTAINLY DO US JUSTICE.

why I am not going out into the world, yet if I did go to live in the world, you would then say that it is unsuitable for a Monk and you would suggest that I should return to the quietude of my cell. For this reason, I will only tell you one thing: REPAIR YOUR BROKEN MIND-MACHINE and bear in mind the old saying: ‘Traffic lights are made for noisy streets, whereas LIGHTHOUSES ARE MADE FOR DESERTED ROCKY MOUNTAINS!”

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ONE OF THE MONKS WHO RESIDED ON MOUNT ATHOS

D

A

JOURNALIST

WHO

HAD

A

NEGATIVE

ATTITUDE

towards most aspects of life visited Father Paisios. When he began questioning the Holy Elder concerning various matters, Father Paisios became distressed by his way of thinking.. The reporter asked him why he stayed in the peace and quiet of Mount Athos “being carefree” instead of going out into the world to help those who have so many serious problems. Elder Paisios tried to explain to the cynical man: “Your mind ‘machine’ is a broken one and produces only negative thoughts. You misunderstand everything you see or hear. You see me living here and ask me
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considered himself to be a living Saint and deluded himself that there was nobody else in the world like him. Some Monks who knew him well, asked Father Paisios if they should take him to see a Psychiatrist. The wise Holy Father replied: “These kind of people cannot be benefitted by Doctors; the Monk will only make a fool of himself in front of laymen. The Doctor will prescribe some pills, which might be of some help in case of a serious condition, but just for a short period of time. Someone else should put the medicine in his food and show him Spiritual Love and try to collect his thoughts. His problem is a Spiritual Problem. It is rooted in his ego and his excessive love and trust in his own way of thinking. There is nothing worse than to listen to and to trust one’s own thoughts!” At that point, Father Paisios stopped speaking and took aside one of the Monks. He then related stories of three people who nearly destroyed their lives by trusting their own way of thinking: A young man who was obsessed with the belief that he had the smallest head in the world had visited Father Paisios. He actually believed his head was the size of an orange so Father Paisios tried to assure him that his head had a normal size and, as a matter of fact, he even told him, it was a little bigger than that of the Elder. Yet the young man was still not convinced, so he asked him: “Would you like me to bring a string to measure 9

11TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – 11TH OF ST MATTHEW – THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT – 8 AUGUST 2010

our heads. Then you will see for yourself that what I tell you is true and not what your thoughts tell you?” He accepted Father Paisios’ suggestions and the Elder found a piece of string with which to measure both their heads. “I found out that his head was bigger than mine by one inch. But still he was unconvinced, so I gave the string to him to measure for himself and although he also found his head to be a little bigger than mine, he insisted that it was not true! “His mind was stuck in his thought, which told him that his head was very small! The frustrated Elder scolded the young man for his unbelief and lack of trust in others and then asked him to leave. Another man claimed to hear a bird constantly singing in one of his ears. He told everyone about it and he complained that he could not find peace of mind due to the loud chirping of the bird. His relatives did not believe him, since they could not see any bird in his ear although he repeatedly tried to convince them. His family decided to consult a Doctor who was a friend of theirs. He suggested that first they buy a bird in a cage and then call him to visit them. After they had bought the bird, they invited the Doctor for a visit and when he arrived, they gave it to him. The relatives then told the man that the Doctor had come to examine the cause of the singing in his ear and while tactfully holding the bird in his hand, the Doctor questioned the patient concerning his perceived malady. The Doctor pretended to examine the man’s ear and then he exclaimed: “Well, of course, there it is! A very small bird stuck inside your ear, making you suffer! Hold on for a moment while I remove it!” And the Doctor pretended to extricate the little bird from the man’s ear and when the man was asked if he heard anything further, he happily exclaimed: “No! The singing has stopped! Thank you for coming Doctor, for this little bird was driving me crazy and everyone made such fun of me because they did not believe a word I said!” Sixty years previously on Mount Athos, a certain Monk developed the delusion that he had become a Saint and he would say: “I do not need to receive Holy Communion as Christ Himself is in me!” He wanted to become a Holy Martyr so he tried to kill himself until his brother Monks locked him up in a room with someone to care for him.

His concerned Brothers were always very careful not to give him any spoon or knife with which he could try to “become a Martyr,” according to his own perceptions, out of his Love of Christ, and they always ensured that his food was ready to be eaten without having to use any sharp item. One day there was a celebration at the Monastery and all the Monks were offered sardines for their lunch. They also gave the deluded Monk a closed tin of sardines which he somehow managed to open up and with the sharp edge of the tin he tried to cut his throat. He began to scream from the unbearable pain he had caused himself and the Monk who was entrusted with his welfare immediately ran into his room and found him bleeding! When asked what he had done, the Monk replied: “I want to become a Martyr so that I will be Crowned with the Laurel of Martyrdom!” The caretaker gently removed the tin from his hands and tried to explain to him: “You cannot become a Martyr because you cannot stand the pain. You thought you would die instantly by using the sharp tin to cut your throat. “According to God’s Will, your Martyrdom is what I am about to do to you right now!” After bandaging his neck to stop the bleeding, the caring Monk took his leather belt and began to beat the deluded Monk very hard, causing him to yell out from the pain inflicted upon him, saying: “You wish to become a Martyr! Then I shall beat you to death!” Very quickly the delusional Monk cried out: “No! I do not wish to become a Martyr anymore! Stop! I am hurting!” Thus HE GRADUALLY BECAME AWARE OF HIS OWN
SPIRITUAL WRETCHEDNESS AND, BEING HUMILIATED, HE WAS CURED.

Elder Paisios had narrated these three incidents to the Monk who had brought along his fellow Monk, who thought he was a Saint, in order to indicate how destructive it is to trust our own thoughts. “When laymen listen and believe in their own thoughts, they lose their minds, whereas Monks [OR DEVOUT CHIRIANTS] are filled with illusions. “A Monk should not take tranquillizers; his Medication is Humility and Repentance. “This Monk lacks both these Virtues but when these fill his soul again, all his problems will be solved.”
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “ELDER PAISIOS OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN” BY PRIESTMONK CHRISTODOULOS, A HOLY MOUNTAIN MONK

On being Concerned about Inward Things & Not Surrendering to Excessive Cares

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ALWAYS BE HEEDFUL to the cunning tricks of the evil

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ones and BE SOBER OF MIND! When the evil ones see us in a good Spiritual State, WITH
TEARS PERFORMING OUR PRAYERS, AND FULFILLING ACTS OF VIRTUE, they try to distract us with thoughts

As a Fountain cannot in one current gush forth sweet and bitter water, so IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO
SERVE BOTH GOD AND OUR FELLOW MANKIND, AND TO BE DISTRACTED BY OUR PHYSICAL DEMANDS OR DESIRES.

of certain things we “have to do right now” – in the attempt to disrupt our Spiritual Progress and Welfare by making us believe that such matters are indispensable and more urgent than our Sacred Duties! They try to divert us with all kinds of “urgent actions”
COMPELLING US TO STORE UP EXCESS MATERIAL POSSESSIONS OR INDULGING OURSELVES, OFFERING EVERY PRETEXT TO DISTURB US AND TO CAUSE US INTENSE ANXIETY.

It is impossible to serve both mammon and to please God at one and the same time. It is impossible because we will hate or reject the one and love the other like a slave serving two masters who cannot really love both of them simultaneously!
(EVEN THOUGH WE ARE DELUDED INTO BELIEVING THAT WE CAN!!)

In this way we should REMAIN FOCUSSED UPON NOTHING
ELSE EXCEPT OUR IMMORTAL CREATOR – TO SERVE HIM ALONE, TO USE THIS LITTLE TIME WE HAVE FOR HIM ALONE AND TO HAVE HOPE IN ETERNAL LIFE IN HIS DIVINE KINGDOM OF LOVE.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “LITTLE RUSSIAN PHILOKALIA” VOL 4: ST PAISIOS VELICHKOVSKY

The evil ones do this so that WE LOSE OUR SPIRITUAL
FREEDOM WITH GOD BY NEGLECTING OUR TEARFUL CONTRITION OF WEEPING FOR OUR SINS. We must RECOGNISE THEIR DECEPTIONS AND ALWAYS BE SPIRITUALLY WATCHFUL in case they manage to

St Hesychios the Priest
While we are being strengthened in Christ Jesus and beginning to move forward in Steadfast Watchfulness, He at first appears in our intellect like a Torch which, carried in the hand of the intellect, guides us along the tracks of the mind; then He appears like a full moon, circling the heart's firmament; then He appears to us like the sun, radiating Justice, clearly revealing Himself in the full Light of Spiritual Vision. "ON
WATCHFULNESS AND HOLINESS" PHILOKALIA (VOL. 1)

deceive us in some way, for it is impossible to look at the sky with one eye and with the other eye to look at the earth! In other words: WE CANNOT SIMULTANEOUSLY BE
CONCERNED ABOUT THE SOUL AND THE BODY.

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1 1 T H SU N DA Y AFT E R P E N TE CO ST – 1 1 T H O F ST M AT T HE W – T H E U NM E R CI FU L SER VAN T – 8 AU G UST 2 0 1 0

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.

12th Sunday After Pentecost

Tone 3

15 August 2010

The Dormition of the Ever Blessed Theotokos
RE SURRE CTION A POL YTIK ION – TO NE 3

Evfrenestho

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

Let the Heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, for the
Lord has shown Strength with His Arm; He has trampled down Death by Death; He has become the First-born of the dead; from the womb of Hades He has delivered us, and to the world He has granted Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS & EVER VIRGIN MARY

En

ti Gennisi tin Parthenian efilaxas. En ti Kimisi ton kosmon ou katelipes Theotoke. Metestis pros tin Zoin, Mirtir iparhousa tis Zois. Ke tes Presvies tes ses litromeni, ek Thanatou tas psihas imon.

In

giving Birth, O Theotokos, Thou has retained Thy Virginity, and in Falling Asleep, Thou has not forsaken the world. Thou who art the Mother of Life has passed over into Life, and by Thy Prayers Thou delivers our souls from Death. Wherefore, by Thine Intercessions, deliver our souls from Death Theotokos who is incessant in Her Intercessions, and immovable Hope in her Protection, tomb and the state of death could not hold; for being the Mother of Life, to the Life He carried, He Who dwelt in a Womb Ever Virgin.

KONTAKION OF THE DORMITIION OF THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS

Tin

en presvies akimiton Theotokon, ke prostasies ametatheton elpida, tafos ke nekrosis ouk ekratisen; os gar zois Mitera, pros tin Zoin metestisen, O Mitran ikisas Aiparthenon.

The

Resurrection Gospel 1 PROKEIMENON

Matthew 28 : 16 – 20 - T H E

GREAT COMMISSION

Sing Praises to our God, sing praises to our King! Clap your hands, all you Nations!
The First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 15 : 1 - 11
WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION

Brethren: I declare to you the Gospel that I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are Saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that He arose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred Brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the Apostles. Then, last of all, He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the Apostles, who am not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the Grace of God I am what I am, and His Grace towards me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the Grace of God, which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. St Paul reassured the Corinthians – and us – that THE HOLY Christ our Lord delivers us from this present evil age, to enter GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS GENUINE, ABSOLUTE, PERFECT & the Age to come. And this Divine Deliverance is DIVINE TRUTH GRANTED TO US BY GOD HIMSELF - AND accomplished according to the Will of God the Father, NOT MERELY AN INVENTION OF HUMAN IMAGINATION! through His Incarnate Son, with the Help and Activation of In verses 3 & 4: “... Christ died for us....” was part of an early the Holy Spirit. Creed of Faith or Catechism. The Son of God, our Lord Jesus, in His incarnate or human PSALM 15/16:9-12 – “...My Heart was glad, and My Tongue Nature, co-operates with the Divine Will. rejoiced exceedingly; My Flesh also shall dwell in The Divine Will of God the Father is first fulfilled by our Lord Hope. For Thou will not abandon My Soul to Hades Jesus Who shows us by His Perfect Example so that we, nor allow Thy Holy One to see corruption. Thou made too, might with all Humility and Obedience, fulfil It – “... on known to Me the Ways of Life; Thou will fill Me with earth, as it is in Heaven...” Gladness in Thy Presence; at Thy right Hand are 1 JOHN 2:2 – “... the Word of Life ... was manifested, and we pleasures forevermore.” have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you, that This Psalm was prayed by our Lord Jesus to His Father in you also may have Fellowship with us; and truly your Heaven, in order to teach His Holy Church – i.e. us – how Fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus to PRAY RIGHTEOUSLY AND NOT WITH DECEITFUL LIPS – Christ.” INSINCERITY OR THOUGHTLESSLY – FOR THE LORD OUR Contrary to heretics, who claim Communion directly with God GOD HEARS THOSE WHO PRAY IN TRUTH AND WITH through “spiritual” (non-material) means, St John the SINCERITY and HE ENABLES US TO SEE ALL THINGS in the Theologian taught us about Communion with God through same manner whereby our Lord sees them. the Incarnate Son for the Holy Eucharist is the physicality We are able to pass the test in the Furnace of OBEDIENCE TO of Christ, which is repulsive to heretics! OUR LORD’S WORDS. We are able to HOPE IN THE LORD The Divinity of our Lord Jesus was revealed in His earthly Life, IN THE FACE OF ANY ADVERSITY and WE WILL especially His Teaching and His Divine Miracles. EXPERIENCE HIS DIVINE PROTECTION from all our 1 JOHN 4:10 – “In this is Love – not that we Loved God, but enemies, such as Satan and his demons. that He Loved us and sent His son to be the And, finally, we will be satisfied and overjoyed to behold our Propitiation for our sins...” Lord’s Face – to PERSONALLY WITNESS OUR BELOVED The expression: “God is Love” describes His Relationship to LORD’S GLORY! us as our Heavenly Father. It is not a description of Who GALATIANS 1:4 – “... our Lord Jesus Christ ... gave Himself for God is, at all! our sins so that He might deliver us from this present evil Because His Only Begotten Son willingly offered Himself as age, according to the Will of our God and Father...” the Ultimate Sacrificial Offering of all time so that we
(SPONSORED BY DIMITRI PAIZIS) THE DORMITION OF THE EVER BLESSED, ALL PURE THEOTOKOS & VIRGIN MARY – 15 AUGUST 2010

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sinful, fallen human beings might Live through and in Him, we must also give ourselves entirely to God and to the service of one another – assisting, encouraging and advising each other as we journey through this short preparatory period of earthly life towards Eternity. The enormity and indescribably significance of God’s Love for us is evident from everything He does for us – and even to allow His Beloved Son to suffer the humiliation and degradation of earthly life and everything we did to Him – and still do! Yet, instead of unceasing gratitude for all our Divine Blessings, we continue in Spiritual Rebellion and Disobedience, selfindulgence and arrogant pride! St Paul delivered an Apostolic Tradition of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection, which is unchanging and sufficient for Salvation.

St Paul had received his Gospel directly from our Risen Lord Jesus, which is confirmed by his interactions with the other Holy Apostles of Christ as well as the Spiritual Fruits of his labours – spreading the Holy Gospel through teaching and living as an example of Life in Christ. It is impossible to decipher what he learnt and where he learnt God’s Truth since his True Gospel forms a seamless whole. “To receive” designates the passing on of Holy Tradition. (1
CORINTHIANS 11:2, 23; GALATIANS 1:9; PHILIPPIANS 4:9; 1 THESSALONIANS 2 : 13; 4:1)

St Paul listed those who would testify to the Truth of the Resurrection, from the first witnesses to St Paul himself.

The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 10:38-42 & 12:27
ST MARY & ST MARTHA OF BETHANY (SISTERS OF ST LAZAROS) & THE BLESSEDNESS OF HUMBLE OBEDIENCE

At that time, Jesus entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ Feet and heard His Word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said: “Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her: “Martha, Martha! Thou art worried and troubled about many things, but one this is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her!” ... And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him: “Blessed is the womb that Bore Thee, and the breasts that nursed Thee!” But He said: “More than that: Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!” St Mary and St Martha were the sisters of St Lazaros whom our others, WE MUST OFFER OUR PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING TO GOD WHO HAS DEEMED US WORTHY TO DO SUCH THINGS. Lord Jesus had raised from the dead, having been entombed St Mary had quickly weighed up her priorities, which was to for four days. carefully listen to the wonderful Words of Christ so that SHE CHRIST DID NOT REBUKE ST MARTHA FOR SERVING, BUT RATHER
FOR COMPLAINING AND FOR BEING DISTRACTED, WORRIED AND TROUBLED BY SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS. ALL TOO OFTEN WE ALLOW THE MUNDANE THINGS OF LIFE TO DISTRACT US FROM OUR TRUE PATH AND SACRED DUTIES – WOULD BE FULLY EQUIPPED TO CARRY OUT ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS WHENEVER REQUIRED.

and more often than not these are only our excuses to avoid fulfilling our Christian Duty to the worship and service of God and the Love and care of others.
IF WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO SOMETHING, WE MUST COMPLETE OUR TASKS WITHOUT GRUMBLING OR COMPLAINT. Otherwise

She was one of those Faithful Disciples of Christ who lived in Humility and Obedience to God. Distractions that take us away from God are evil deceptions of the wicked ones who use our personal weakness against us. We must always PAY FULL ATTENTION TO THE WORD OF GOD SO
AS TO BE PREPARED WITH ALL HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE TO FULFIL WHATEVER IS REQUIRED OF US.

we defeat the entire purpose of our actions – especially if they are supposed to be our good deeds of the day! Whatever we undertake to do – be it for God and His Holy Church or for the welfare of others – we must never dare to complain.
WE MUST THANK GOD AT ALL TIMES – NO MATTER HOW DIFFICULT OUR TASK MAY PROVE TO BE.

One of the most important Sacred Lessons of Christ our Saviour concerns His reply to the woman in the crowd who tried to compliment His Mother for having such a wonderful Son:

>

Anything worthwhile doing usually takes a lot more effort so instead of complaining and looking for useless sympathy from In Orthodoxy, as in the language of Holy Scripture, death is often referred to as "sleeping" or "falling asleep" (κοίµησις – KIMISIS AND THEREFORE κοιµητήριον –KIMITIRION – IE. CEMETERY - A PLACE OF SLEEP). A prominent example of this is the name of this Feast – the DORMITION of the Ever Blessed Theotokos (and also that of St Anna, her Righteous Mother.) The All Pure Virgin Mary, having spent her life after the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Disciples of Christ on the glorious day of Pentecost following the Ascension of Christ, supporting and serving the nascent Church. Ever since the Crucifixion of Christ our Blessed Lady had resided with the family of St John the Divine Apostles and Theologian in Jerusalem. When the Archangel Gabriel revealed to her that her repose would occur three days later, she summoned the Holy Apostles of Christ who were scattered throughout the world and miraculously, with the exception of St Thomas, who was in India, they were all transported to Jerusalem immediately, being with her during the time before and at her repose in Christ. St Thomas arrived three days after her Dormition, and being distraught at having missed his last farewell to her, asked to see her entombed body so that he could pay his last respects to her.

THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS WAS EVEN MORE BLESSED DUE TO HER PERPETUAL, UNCEASING HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE TO GOD – EVER SINCE HER VERY EARLY CHILDHOOD – RATHER THAN THE FACT THAT SHE HAD BORNE OUR GOD INCARNATE AND SAVIOUR.

The Feast of the Dormition of the Ever Blessed Theotokos
The Ever Blessed Virgin Mary had been buried in Little Gethsemane, according to her request to be laid to rest with her Righteous parents, St Joachim and St Anna. After having kept careful vigil with hymns and Prayers for three days so that no one could desecrate the tomb, the Apostles unsealed the tomb and were confronted by a most sweet fragrance of Sanctity. However, after descending the steps down into the tomb, they saw that her mortal body was no longer there! It had completely disappeared! At her repose the Apostles saw Christ, accompanied by a host of Heavenly Angels receive her soul and although there were no witnesses inside the tomb, they knew that He had also taken her body to Paradise, reuniting them, as a foretaste of the General Resurrection to come. The Dormition of the Ever Blessed Theotokos is sometimes referred to as the "Summer Pascha," or the "Pascha of the Theotokos," since her peaceful Dormition is linked to her Passage to Heaven in anticipation of the General Resurrection, and follows the Path created by Christ in His Resurrection. Furthermore, the Dormition Fast preceding the Feast is similar to that of Great Lent. The Dormition of the Ever Blessed Theotokos is celebrated on 15 August.

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THE DORMITION OF THE EVER BLESSED, ALL PURE THEOTOKOS & VIRGIN MARY – 15 AUGUST 2010

“Dormition” and “Assumption” are different terms for our All Pure Lady’s departure from this temporary world, although beliefs differ slightly. The Orthodox Church teaches that the Ever Blessed Theotokos died a natural death, like any other human being; that her soul was received by Christ upon her death; and that her body was resurrected on the third day after her repose, at which time she was taken up, soul and body reunited, into Heaven in anticipation of the General Resurrection. Her tomb was found to be empty on the third day. Bishop Kallistos (Ware) teaches us that “...Orthodox Tradition is clear and unwavering in regard to the central point [OF THE DORMITION]: the Holy Virgin underwent, as did her Son, a physical death, but her body — like His — was afterwards raised from the dead and she was taken up into Heaven, in her body as well as in her soul. “She has passed beyond death and Judgement, and lives wholly in the Age to Come. The Resurrection of the Body ... has in her case been anticipated and is already an accomplished fact. “That does not mean, however, that she is dissociated from the rest of humanity and placed in a wholly different category: for we all hope to share one day in that same glory of the Resurrection of the Body which she enjoys even now.”[2] Our Orthodox belief regarding the Dormition is expressed in the Liturgical texts of 15 August, which is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, and is maintained by all pious Orthodox Christians. However, this belief has never been formally defined as Dogma by the Orthodox Church nor made a precondition of Holy Baptism. In some places, the Rite of the "Burial of the Theotokos" is celebrated at the Dormition, during the All Night Vigil. The Order of the Service is based on the Service of the Burial of Christ on Great and Holy Saturday. An Epitaphios of the Theotokos, a richly embroidered cloth Icon portraying her lying in state is used, together with specially composed Hymns of Lamentation, which are sung in conjunction with Psalm 118. The Epitaphios is placed on a bier, and carried in procession in the same way as the Epitaphios of Christ is during Holy Week. This practice began in Jerusalem, and from there it was carried to Russia, where it was followed in various Dormition Cathedrals, in particular that of Moscow. The practice slowly spread among the Russian Orthodox, although it is not by any means a standard Service in all Parishes, or even most Cathedrals or Monasteries. In Jerusalem, the Service is chanted during the Vigil of the Dormition. Panagia Ierosolymitissa (Ιεροσολυµίτισσα Most Holy Lady of Jerusalem) is a very popular Icon of the Ever Blessed Theotokos because it overlooks her empty tomb at the Sepulchre of the Mother of God in Gethsemane, Blessing the numerous Pilgrims visiting Jerusalem. According to Holy Tradition this Miraculous Icon was written by the
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In some Russian churches and Monasteries, it is served on the third day after the Dormition. The Feast of the Dormition has a one day Forefeast and 8 days of Afterfeast. The feast is framed and accentuated by three Feasts in honour of Jesus Christ, known as the "Three Feasts of the Saviour in August." These are: the Procession of the Cross (1 August), the Transfiguration (6 August), and the Icon of Christ "Not Made by Hand" – the Mandylion, the Holy Cloth or Napkin of Christ (the first Holy Icon of Christ from His Tomb) (16 August). The Holy Icon of the Dormition depicts the Ever Blessed Theotokos lying on her funeral bier, surrounded by the Twelve Apostles. In the centre of the Icon, our Lord Jesus Christ is depicted in a mandorla, swaddling the pure soul of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary and a red Seraph is depicted above His Head. On either side of Christ are depicted the Hieromartyrs St Dionysius the Areopagite and St Ignatius the God Bearer who, according to Sacred Tradition, are responsible for transmitting the account of the Dormition. The Dormition tradition is associated with various places, most notably with Jerusalem, where the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Tomb and the Basilica of the Dormition is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives, and Ephesos, where the House of the Blessed Virgin Mary is located, and also with Constantinople[.. The first four Christian centuries are silent regarding the end of the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary's life, although it is asserted, without surviving documentation, that the Feast of the Dormition was observed in Jerusalem shortly after the Council of Ephesos.[3] At the point in the later fifth century when the earliest Dormition traditions surfaced in manuscripts, Stephen Shoemaker has found three distinct narrative traditions describing the end of the Blessed Panagia’s life and he has characterised them as the "Palm of the Tree of Life" narratives, the "Bethlehem" narratives, and the "Coptic" narratives — aside from a handful of atypical narratives. ® DURING THE DORMITION FAST, THE SMALL AND GREAT SUPPLICATORY CANONS –
PARAKLESIS - ARE CHANTED ON ALTERNATE EVENINGS

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IF 1AUGUST FALLS BETWEEN MONDAY AND FRIDAY, THE CYCLE BEGINS WITH THE SMALL SUPPLICATORY CANON. IF 1AUGUST FALLS ON A SATURDAY OR SUNDAY, THE CYCLE BEGINS WITH THE GREAT SUPPLICATORY CANON. BISHOP KALLISTOS (WARE) OF DIOKLEIA, IN: FESTAL MENAION (LONDON: FABER AND FABER, 1969), P. 64. A FAIRLY REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE OF MAINSTREAM ORTHODOX TEACHING IS OFFERED BY SOPHIA FOTOPOULOU: "THE DORMITION OF THE THEOTOKOS" "WE

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HAVE NO HISTORICAL DATA TO INDICATE HOW LONG THE MOTHER OF GOD REMAINED ON EARTH AFTER THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST INTO HEAVEN, NOR WHEN, WHERE, OR HOW SHE DIED, FOR THE GOSPELS SAY NOTHING OF THIS. THE FOUNDATION FOR THE FEAST OF THE DORMITION IS TO BE FOUND IN A SACRED TRADITION OF THE CHURCH DATING FROM APOSTOLIC TIMES, APOCRYPHAL WRITINGS, THE CONSTANT FAITH OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD, AND THE UNANIMOUS OPINION OF THE HOLY FATHERS AND DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH OF THE FIRST THOUSAND YEARS OF CHRISTIANITY.". STEPHEN J. SHOEMAKER, 2003. ANCIENT TRADITIONS OF THE VIRGIN MARY'S DORMITION AND ASSUMPTION (OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS).

The Holy Icon of the Panagia Ierosolymitissa
The underground tomb of the Most Holy Virgin Mary is situated in the Kidron Valley, in the foothills of the Mount of Olives, where our Saviour often prayed with His Disciples. It is attributed to the Blessed Theotokos since the Holy Apostles buried the Most Pure body of the Mother of God at this location. Her Holy Icon remains there as an endless Spring of Blessings for all faithful Christians, venerated as the Panagia Ieroslimiti (The All Holy One of Jerusalem).

Revelation of the Holy Theotokos to a Nun named Tatiana from the Holy Monastery of St Mary Magdalene, circa 1870. 13

THE DORMITION OF THE EVER BLESSED, ALL PURE THEOTOKOS & VIRGIN MARY – 15 AUGUST 2010

In 1870, there lived a Monastic Iconographer called Tatiana. One night, a Lady appeared to her in a Vision saying: "Sister Tatiana, I have come so that you can paint me." Tatiana replied: "Let it be, Blessed Sister; however, I am an Iconographer and not a painter." The lady responded: "... well then, you should paint me using your iconographic style." Sister Tatiana was upset by the boldness of this Lady's response and when she said: "I do not have any wood to use," the Lady presented her with the necessary piece of material. In Obedience to her special Guest, the Holy Sister began her work and as she glanced at her Visitor, Sister Tatiana noticed her appearance transfigured right before her eyes – the Lady’s mantle turned golden and her face glowed brightly! As the transfiguration disturbed Sister Tatiana, the Blessed Lady softly spoke to her: "O Blessed Tatiana, you are the only person, after the Apostles and the Evangelist Luke, to have this opportunity to write an Icon of me again." Sister Tatiana then realised that she was in the presence of our Holy Mother the Ever Blessed Theotokos. In shock she awoke from her Vision and immediately went to inform her Mother Superior. The Abbess did not believe her story so she told her to go back to sleep and the following day she could write an Icon of the Panagia with her Blessing. Sister Tatiana returned to her cell but before entering, she saw a bright Light shining through the doorway, so once again she hastened to the Abbess in order to take her to her cell to witness this strange Light and to understand that Sister Tatiana had not lied about her Vision. Together they returned to Sister Tatiana's cell from which issued forth a most Heavenly Fragrance and a Light so bright that at first they did not realise that both came from an Icon of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary that hung upon the wall of the cell! The Mysterious and Miraculous Appearance of the Holy Icon shocked both the Abbess and Sister Tatiana but our Holy Mother, the Ever Blessed Theotokos appeared once again to instruct them: "Now take me from here to my home in Gethsemane of Jerusalem." And this is exactly what the Abbess and Sister Tatiana did immediately. In Iconography, this is termed "Acheiropoieto" meaning “an Image not painted by (human) hands” and the Holy Icon of the All Holy One of Jerusalem is currently located exactly where our Ever Blessed Lady Theotokos wanted it to be in her "home" her final resting place at her Holy Tomb in Gethsemane. The name "Ierosolymitissa" has since been adopted and is extremely Miraculous.

In January 2000, the Holy Icon was flown from Gethsemane to the Metropolitan area of Kitiou to celebrate 2000 years since the Birth of Christ and a formal procession was held in the afternoon at the Metropolitan Church of the Sotiros.

The Apodosis of the Dormition of the Most-Holy Mother of God in Jerusalem
The Dormition of the Mother of God is called the Pascha of the Theotokos and is especially celebrated in the Holy Land. During the three days preceding the Dormition, a Procession of the Cross is performed from Little Gethsemane throughout the Old City of Jerusalem to the Sepulchre of the Most Holy Mother of God. This tradition came down through Tradition, according to which three days before Her Blessed Repose, the Most Holy Virgin was informed of this Event by Archangel Gabriel. The Heavenly Messenger gave Her a palm frond from Eden, which Holy Apostle St John the Theologian carried before her funerary bier in the procession. All the Apostles were miraculously gathered by Divine Intervention at the deathbed of the Most Holy Virgin. Receiving a final earthly Blessing and bidding farewell to Her, they fulfilled Her will to bury Her in Gethsemane near the tomb of Her Holy Parents, St Joachim and St Anna. In honour of these events, an ancient Tradition has taken hold in Jerusalem of repeating this Procession of the Cross with the Shroud of the Theotokos, which bears a two sided Icon with a silver oklad [covering frame]. This Shroud is kept throughout the year in Gethsemane directly across from the Church of the Resurrection of Christ. And only during the Dormition period does this Miracle working Shroud pass into a special canopy at the Sepulchre of the Mother of God. Believers venerate it as they pass through the canopy on their knees. From 25 August until 5 September, the 48 steps of the Church of the Dormition, are lit by candles, which is a remarkable scene. The Apodosis of the Dormition is also the time when worshippers bid farewell to the Shroud. Once again a multitude of Nuns gather from all over Jerusalem to lead the Procession. There are representatives of all the Orthodox Monasteries of the Holy Land: Greek, Romanian and Russian Nuns who are all united in their Love for the Most Holy Theotokos. The Procession of the Cross continues for over an hour, while His Holiness Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem and All Palestine and his Clergymen Bless Faithful Christians as they pass through the street. The Procession ends in the courtyard of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ under the Paschal peal of bells from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. .

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THE DORMITION OF THE EVER BLESSED, ALL PURE THEOTOKOS & VIRGIN MARY – 15 AUGUST 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.

13th Sunday After Pentecost

Tone 4

22 August 2010

13th Sunday of St Matthew – The Wicked Vinedressers
Feast of St Agathonikos, Zotikos, Theoprepios, Acindynos, Severian, Zeno & other Holy Martyrs of Nicomedia; St Athanasios, St Anthusa of Seleucia, Syria and her faithful servants, St Charisimos and St Neophytos; St Evlalia & St Felix of Barcelona; St Gorazd of Prague, Bohemia and Moravo-Cilezsk; St Bogolep, Disciple of St Paisios of Uglich; St Isaac 1 of Optina and the Holy Icon of the Mother of God of Georgia
RE SURRE CTION A POL YTIK ION IHO S ∆ TON E 4

To

fedron tis Anastaseos Kirigma ek tou Angelou Mathouse e tou Kyriou Mathitrie ke tin Progonikin apofasin aporipsase, tis Apostolis kafhomene elegon: Eskilefte O Thanatos, igerthi Hristos O Theos, doroumenos to kosmo to Mega Eleos!

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

APOLYTIKION OF THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS & EVER VIRGIN MARY

En

ti Gennisi tin Parthenian efilaxas. En ti Kimisi ton kosmon ou katelipes Theotoke. Metestis pros tin Zoin, Mirtir iparhousa tis Zois. Ke tes Presvies tes ses litromeni, ek Thanatou tas psihas imon.

In

giving Birth, O Theotokos, Thou has retained Thy Virginity, and in Falling Asleep, Thou has not forsaken the world. Thou who art the Mother of Life has passed over into Life, and by Thy Prayers Thou delivers our souls from Death. Wherefore, by Thine Intercessions, deliver our souls from Death Theotokos who is incessant in Her Intercessions, and immovable Hope in her Protection, tomb and the state of death could not hold; for being the Mother of Life, to the Life He carried, He Who dwelt in a Womb Ever Virgin.
THE EMPTY TOMB

KONTAKION OF THE DORMITIION OF THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS

Tin

en presvies akimiton Theotokon, ke prostasies ametatheton elpida, tafos ke nekrosis ouk ekratisen; os gar zois Mitera, pros tin Zoin metestisen, O Mitran ikisas Aiparthenon.

The

Resurrection Gospel 2: Mark 16:1 – 8
PROKEIMENON

How manifold art Thy works, O Lord!

Thou hast created them all in Wisdom!

Bless

the Lord, O my soul!

The First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 16 : 13 - 24
ST PAUL’S FINAL EXHORTATIONS

Brethren: Watch, stand fast in the Faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with Love. I urge you, Brethren – you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the First fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the Ministry of the Saints – that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labours with us. I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatos, and Achaikos, for what was lacking on your part, they supplied. For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men. The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. All the Brethren greet you. Greet one another with a Holy Kiss. The salutations with my own hand – Paul. If anyone does not Love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema! O Lord, come! The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My Love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. We are cheered on and encouraged by the entire Church Having endured many problems with certain members of the Corinthian Christian Community, St Paul still loved his Triumphant – by all those who have gone before us – not the least of whom is St Paul Himself. Disciples and tried to encourage them to continue their We must never cease being Spiritually Watchful and alert so Spiritual Journeys in Christ. that we may remain on the Path of Righteousness laid St Aquila and St Priscilla were Hebrews who had been among before us by our Lord Jesus Christ – by God Incarnate those expelled from Rome by Emperor Claudios in 49-50. Himself! They had settled in Corinth for a while before moving to Ephesos. Whatever we think, whatever we say and whatever we do St Paul usually dictated his letters to a personal Scribe and in must always be done with Agape – Pure Love. this case the proof that he had indeed composed this The people whom St Paul mentioned conveyed St Paul’s Epistles to the various churches. Epistle is in his closing salutations.
THE WICKED VINEDRESSERS – THE REJECTION & PERSECUTION OF GOD’S MESSENGERS

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 21 : 33 - 42

At that time, our Lord Jesus said: “Hear another Parable: There was a certain Landowner Who planted a Vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And He leased it to Vinedressers and went into a Far Country. “Now when Vintage-time drew near, He sent His Servants to the Vinedressers, so that they might receive its Fruit. But the Vinedressers took His Servants, beat one, killed one and stone another. “Again He sent other Servants – more than the first – and they did likewise to them. “Then, last of all, He sent His Son to them, saying: ‘They will respect My Son.’ But when the Vinedressers saw the Son, they said amongst themselves: ‘This is the Heir. Come, let us kill Him and seize His Inheritance.’ “So they took Him and cast Him out of the Vineyard and killed Him. “Therefore, when the Owner of the Vineyard returns, what will He do to those Vinedressers?’

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They said to Jesus: “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease His Vineyard to other Vinedressers who will render to Him the Fruits in their seasons.” And Jesus said to them: “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The Stone that the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone. This was our Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes!’” SOLIDLY ESTABLISHED AND WILL REMAIN SO FOR ALL The “certain Landowner” represents GOD THE FATHER ETERNITY! “the Vineyard” refers to GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE This is exactly BY THE WILL OF GOD THE FATHER, THROUGH “the Vinedressers” were THE LEADERS OF THE HEBREWS HIS BELOVED SON’S TEACHINGS AND SACRIFICE AND BY NATION who were entrusted to care for God’s Chosen. THE ACTIVATION AND WISDOM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – Each “Servant” sent by the Landowner represents THE which is indeed, MOST MARVELLOUS OF ALL! OLD COVENANT PROPHETS OF GOD who were sent to According to St John Chrysostom, the quotation: “The Stone bring the Hebrew Nation back to God. that Builders rejected...” illustrates the two ways of “The Son,” of course, means OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, the destruction: Those falling on (stumbling over) the Stone Most Beloved Only-begotten Son of God. are people who suffer the consequences of their sins while When the Son is cast out of the Vineyard and killed for His yet in this life, whereas those on whom the Stone falls are Inheritance by the wicked Vinedressers, it may be the unrepentant sinners who will suffer utter destruction at understood on two levels: the Final Judgement. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED OUTSIDE THE CITY WHILE WE ARE STILL ALIVE IN THIS WORLD, GOD, IN HIS GREAT GATES OF JERUSALEM – just as the sacrificial animals MERCY, OFFERS US EVERY OPPORTUNITY AND THE were slaughtered outside the city walls, away from the MEANS WITH WHICH TO RECTIFY OUR SPIRITUAL Holy Temple. DARKNESS THROUGH OUR PERSONAL REPENTANCEOUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED BY ROMAN (FOREIGN) EXECUTIONERS and not by His own Hebrew CONFESSION AND HIS FORGIVENESS OF SINS.

countrymen. According to the Gospel account of this Parable by St Luke, our Lord completed it by saying: “(The Landowner) will come and destroy those Vinedressers and give the Vineyard to others...” meaning that GOD WILL GRANT HIS
SACRED VINEYARD – HIS HOLY CHURCH – TO GENTILES – TO CHRISTIANS OF HIS NEW ETERNAL COVENANT! “The Stone” is a reference to CHRIST Who was rejected by “the Builders,” meaning THE HEBREW NATION – His own people. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS MOST CERTAINLY THE ETERNAL CHIEF CORNERSTONE IN WHOM WE TRULY LIVE AND UPON WHOM THE TRUE FAITH AND TEACHINGS OF GOD IS

Therefore, in this present human condition, CHRIST IS OUR
STUMBLING BLOCK – BRINGING US TO OUR KNEES SO THAT WE MAY REALISE THE ERRORS OF OUR WAYS AND by SEEKING DIVINE QUICKLY CORRECT THEM FORGIVENESS AND STRIVING ALL THE HARDER TO FOLLOW HIS GUIDING FOOTSTEPS TOWARDS ETERNAL LIFE.

However, if we stubbornly and arrogantly refuse to acknowledge our sins, and reject God’s offer of Remission of Sins through Repentance-Confession, WE WILL MOST CERTAINLY REAP OUR OWN BITTER HARVEST – Eternal Death in Outer Darkness – Eternal Exile or Banishment from the Divine Light and Love of God!!

The Parable of the Vineyard & the Wicked Vinedressers
Today's Gospel, interrupting, so to speak, a series of joyful Readings, is a very terrifying one: the story of the Vinedressers in the Vineyard who turned out to be MERCILESS TRAITORS. And indeed THIS PARABLE REFLECTS THE WHOLE HISTORY OF THE HUMAN RACE, but in the context of all the Readings that have gone before, IT ALSO EXPOSES THE
TERRIBLE - IN THE FULL SENSE OF THAT WORD INGRATITUDE OF MANKIND TO GOD - INCLUDING EACH AND EVERYONE OF US!

Triumph of LOVE, BROTHERHOOD, HARMONY,
FAITH AND JOY, but we do not do so, because we

think only of ourselves.
IN RESPONSE TO EVERYTHING THAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US - created for us, revealing Himself to us, pouring out

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Despite all God’s Love, all His Miracles despite everything that He has granted us WE REMAIN

all His Love on us and finally giving us the Life and WE RARELY EXPRESS ANY Death of His Son GRATITUDE OR APPRECIATION by producing anything good or worthwhile except, occasionally a brief, insincere and casual ‘thanks’ before INSTANTLY

UNMOVED AND SELF-CENTRED; WE THINK ONLY OF OURSELVES AND WE SELDOM CONSIDER OUR NEIGHBOURS. STILL LESS DO WE THINK OF GOD!

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FORGETTING HIS DIVINE GRACE AND CONTINUING OUR SELF-INDULGENT LITTLE LIVES. REMEMBER EVERYTHING we heard during Lent, what

Our personal ingratitude, self love, self indulgence and self centredness whatever we desire, whatever appeals to us, whatever seems necessary to us is our first concern and interest. > Today's Sacred Lesson reminds us that GOD CREATED
A WHOLE BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL WORLD, fenced it SECURED IT - WITH HIS MIGHT AND HIS PROVIDENCE, prepared everything in it so that it could be THE PLACE OF GOD'S KINGDOM ON EARTH that is THE KINGDOM OF MUTUAL LOVE, THE KINGDOM OF TRUE JOY.

we witnessed on the night of Christ's Resurrection, what we heard throughout all the subsequent weeks from all the Saints and WHAT
WE HAVE LEARNT FROM THE TRUE TEACHING OF CHRIST’S HOLY GOSPEL OF LOVE FOR ALL HUMANITY.

We must consider all this and then ask ourselves: ‘Am I not a wicked Vinedresser in the Vineyard of God? Am I not one of those who rejects Christ every time He enters my life? Do I not say: Get off my path! Get out of my life! I want to be the god - the master of my life! I want to manage everything!’ Thus speaks each of us! Perhaps not so rudely, not so blasphemously, but IN OUR ACTIONS and WITH OUR
ROTTEN, THOUGHTLESS WORDS.

But we know what we human beings have done to this wonderful created world of God.
IT HAS BECOME A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO LIVE, where there is bloodshed, where inhuman, cruel

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WE MUST COME TO OUR SENSES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! We must realise that WE ARE SAVED BECAUSE GOD

acts are committed every moment of the day and night, and not only on a world wide scale, but within the intimacy of family life, Parish Life and among the closest of friends!
FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION OUR LORD GOD HAS SENT HIS MESSENGERS: PATRIARCHS, PROPHETS, ANGELS, PREACHERS, AND THE FORERUNNER (AND GREATEST PROPHET OF THEM ALL!) UNTIL, FINALLY HE CAME HIMSELF TO REMIND US THAT THE WORLD WAS CREATED FOR LOVE.

LOVES US; yet not by the Love of God only, but BY OUR RESPONSE TO THIS LOVE. If our desire is MERELY TO REAP THE FRUITS OF THE CROSS, of the Crucifixion, of the days of the Passion, AND RETURN NOTHING TO GOD, AND GIVE NOTHING TO OUR NEIGHBOUR FOR WHOM GOD DIED, except a

momentary thought, WE ARE ALIENATED EVERYTHING THAT GOD ACCOMPLISHED FOR US.

FROM

And, just like the Vinedressers had led the Son out of the Vineyard and killed Him, so, too, mankind tried to kill the Incarnate Son of God (OUTSIDE JERUSALEM – THE HOLY
PLACE OF WORSHIP)

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Let us therefore stand before the warning, the reminder in today's Gospel and face the question: ‘WHERE IS MY GRATITUDE? Do I embody it not only in words, which are rare enough, but in deeds?’ > Let us PASS JUDGEMENT ON OURSELVES (I.E. EXAMINE OUR OWN
PERSONAL SPIRITUAL CONDITION – OUR PERSONAL INGRATITUDE AND SELFISHNESS)

The term ‘mankind’ refers to us PERSONALLY, because LIFE IS ENTRUSTED TO US - to make life a
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and START A NEW LIFE.

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GRATITUDE TO GOD CONSISTS OF BEING A JOY TO HIM, and TO OUR NEIGHBOUR A SUPPORT, A SERVANT AND A DELIGHT.

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Let us BEGIN TODAY TO BEAR THE FRUITS OF WHAT WE
HAVE LEARNT FROM GOD THROUGH CHRIST.

Amen.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYEARD” BY METROPOLITAN ANTHONY OF SOUROZH - http://www.metropolit-anthony.orc.ru/eng

WE MUST LIVE EVERY MOMENT OF LIFE IN HUMBLE, EAGER AND WILLING OBEDIENCE TO GOD – SEEKING ONLY TO PLEASE HIM BY HUMBLY AND CHEERFULLY - WITHOUT COMPLAINT OR EXCUSE - FULFILLING OUR SACRED DUTIES OF LOVE TO OUR FELLOW TRAVELLERS.

The Wisdom of Elder Paisios of Holy Mountain
Father Paisios believed that sometimes when children behave badly towards their parents or insult them, they immediately start to be receptive to Satan’s energies and they become confused. By cursing or slandering their parents, they give the evil ones the right to interfere in their life and to control their actions. The same thing happens when we accept negative thoughts about our Elder, Spiritual Father, or our Brethren. In such a manner we allow evil to fight against us! When we trust our negative thoughts, we tend to disregard the advice of others and we only listen to those whom we absolutely trust. In other words we only trust those whose ideas are similar to ours. Therefore, when we really need help, we only accept it from those whom we trust the most. Medication such as tranquilizers may be of some assistance to those who have serious conditions – those who are filled with illusions or who are on the verge of losing their minds. If, for example, our mental condition is seriously deteriorating, we need a certain dose of medication to stabilize us. At the same time, we must show such sufferers our Love for them and try to correct their negative thoughts and persuade them not to pay attention to their own destructive, negative ideas. As our condition improves, the dose of medication should also be reduced and this should last for a while. When our mind moves away from Humility and Obedience, it escapes into a dangerous fantasy world and when we take our medication, we stop imagining things and our fantasies are replaced by reality. Then we start to feel sleepy, tired, and hungry and generally speaking, we are physically humbled. Before we may have imagined that we were incorporeal Angels, but we are now totally conscious of our human nature of flesh and bone!

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Christ our Lord and Saviour will indeed help us and His Divine Grace will return to us. We can only be cured and Saved through sincere humbleness, which is the only Miraculous Therapy known to Father Paisios because “... only Humility can Save us!” We are changeable because, although we may try to cling to our good thoughts, we accept our negative and devious ideas. We do whatever and whenever we like for we have free and independent will. The same applies to Divine Grace and Spiritual Illusion. Since we are constantly changing, Divine Grace and personal Illusion come and go respectively. If we live in the world of our pride – the world of our own imagination – we are filled with delusions that put us in terrible Spiritual Danger. We must not obey our own inexperienced ideas, which may try to push us left or right in order to destroy us, because they often deceive us with false perceptions that we are virtuous, pleasant, true Spiritual Strugglers who are talented or even almost saintly! However, erroneous ideas can also shatter us with the conviction of failure and hopelessness, leading to the worst state of despair! So it is that our defective thoughts will either create within us the false belief that we are perfect, which makes us arrogant and filled with smug self satisfaction and pride, or that we are hopeless losers, filled with deadly despondency! We must ignore such positive or negative thoughts, and always confess them to our Spiritual Father whose experienced advice we must obey. We must learn to trust our Spiritual Father and those who guide and teach us Orthodoxy by the Grace of God for they are, through their Humility and Obedience to God, are more Spiritually Experienced than ourselves. Furthermore we must utterly believe that we are nothing but a striving soul, constantly beseeching God’s Great Mercy in our Prayers so that our mind is cleansed and healed of all sin. As long as we regard ourselves most humbly and be ceaselessly Watchful over our own Spiritual Condition, the Blessings and Divine Grace of God remains within us and protects us from harm. However, when we become preoccupied with whatever others say or do, then immediately Divine Grace departs from us and leaves us in Spiritual Darkness and Death (the absence of God!) Therefore, the most important commitment for us to fulfil is to preserve a sincere sense of Humility and thereby invite Divine Grace to permanently remain within us.

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There is no magical therapy that will automatically cure someone, whose mind has gone astray to do a constant preoccupation with false thinking. There are, however, certain steps to follow in order to recover: First, and most important, is to realise the state of our own wretchedness. After we realise it, the second step is to repent our sins. We need the Holy Mystery of Confession and we must never again depend on our own misguided ideas. Instead we must faithfully follow the instructions of our Spiritual Father. Thirdly, after we become aware of our miserable state of being, we must ceaselessly beseech God for His Great ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “ELDER PAISIOS OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN” BY PRIESTMONK Mercy through the constantly repeated Prayer of the CHRISTODOULOS – HOLY MOUNTAIN’S MONK heart – the Jesus Prayer: “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God: have Mercy on me, a sinner!” On Meekness, Simplicity and Guilelessness - The Ladder of Divine Ascent – St John Klimakos The morning light precedes the sun, and the precursor Therefore, let us hear in what order the Divine Light of all Humility is Meekness. arranges these Virtues, for He says: “Learn of Me, for I Am meek and humble in heart.” (MATTHEW 11:29)

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So then, before looking at the Sun, we must be Illumined by the Light, and then we can look with a clear gaze at the Sun, for it is impossible, absolutely impossible, to gaze upon the Sun before we have experienced that Light, as the True Order of the Virtues teaches us.
IN ORDER TO FOLLOW OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST CORRECTLY, WE NEED THE ILLUMINATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO ENABLES US TO UNDERSTAND GOD’S TRUTH AND CHRIST’S TEACHINGS, THIS BEGINS WITH OUR BAPTISM & CHRISMATION IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH, AND CONTINUES AS WE REGULARLY PARTAKE OF ALL THE HOLY MYSTERIES. ONLY WITH THE VIRTUES OF HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE ARE WE ABLE TO FULFIL GOD’S TEACHINGS AND COMMANDMENTS WITH EAGER, WILLING JOYFULNESS AND ONLY BY DOING SO CAN WE BEGIN TO GAIN ANY OF THE PRICELESS AND ESSENTIAL VIRTUES GRANTED BY GOD. 

Meekness is an unchangeable state of mind, which remains the same in honour and dishonour.  Meekness consists of praying calmly and sincerely for others even when they cause much turmoil.  Meekness is a Rock overlooking the sea of anger, which breaks all the waves that dash against it, yet remains completely unmoved.  Meekness is the Buttress of Patience, the Door, or rather, the Mother of Love, and the Foundation of Discernment, for it is said: “The Lord will teach the meek His Ways.” (PSALM 24:9)  Meekness prepares us for the Forgiveness of sins.  Meekness is boldness in Prayer.  Meekness is an Abode of the Holy Spirit: “But to Whom shall I look? Even to Him Who is Meek and Quiet.” (ISAIAH 66:2)  Meekness is the Fellow worker of Obedience, the Guide of Brotherhood, a Bridle for the enraged, a Check to irritation, a Minister of Joy, the Imitation of Christ, something Proper to Angels, Shackles for demons and a Shield against bitterness.  In the heart of the meek the Lord finds rest, but a turbulent soul is a seat of the devil. If we refuse to satisfy even the basic needs of the body, but reject them in order to travel along the Strait and Narrow Path, how can we ever fall victim to the love of possessions?
LOVE OF POSSESSIONS CONSISTS NOT MERELY OF OWNING MANY THINGS, BUT ALSO OUR ATTACHMENT TO THEM, OR OUR MISUSE OR EXCESSIVE USE OF POSSESSIONS. 

The meek shall inherit the earth, or rather, shall exercise dominion over it; but bad tempered people will be harried out of their land. (MATTHEW 5:5)  A meek soul is a Throne of Simplicity, but an angry mind is a creator of evil.  A gentle soul retains Words of Wisdom, for the Lord will Guide the meek in Judgement, or rather, in Discretion. (PSALM 24:9)  An upright soul is a Fellow lodger with Humility, but an evil soul is a daughter of pride.  The soul of the meek is filled with Knowledge, but an angry mind is a denizen of darkness and ignorance.  It is impossible to find a true word in the conversation between those who are angry and those who are sarcastic because, by unveiling the heart of the angry, frenzy is exposed and looking into the soul of the sarcastic, we see dishonesty!  Simplicity is a constant habit of a soul that has become immune to crafty thinking.  Guile (CRAFTINESS OR SLYNESS) is a science, or rather, a diabolical deformity, bereft of Truth, and thinks it can escape the notice of many.  Hypocrisy (DUPLICITY OR INSINCERITY) is a contrary state of body and soul, interwoven with every kind of subterfuge (DECEPTION).  Guilelessness is a joyous state of soul, far removed from all ulterior (HIDDEN) motive.  Honesty is unmeddling thought, sincere character, frank and unpremeditated speech.  Innocent are those whose soul is in its natural Purity as it was created, and who make Intercession for all.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “THE LADDER OF DIVINE ASCENT” BY ST JOHN KIMAKOS – (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO ALL SERIOUS DISCIPLES OF CHRIST!)

The Wisdom of St Peter of Damaskos
Brethren, and THEY CARRIED OUT THEIR TASK AS IF THEY WERE THEMSELVES STILL UNDER OBEDIENCE, keeping the traditions of their own Spiritual Fathers. Thus ALL THEIR EFFORTS WERE BLESSED BY GOD. Nowadays, however, whether we are under Obedience or in authority, WE ARE NOT WILLING TO ABANDON OUR
OWN WILL, AND SO NONE OF US MAKE ANY SPIRITUAL PROGRESS.

For many of the Saints of old, such as St Abraham, St Job, St David and many others, had extensive possessions, but they were not attached to them:
THEY REGARDED THEM AS GIFTS FROM GOD AND SOUGHT TO PLEASE HIM ALL THE MORE THROUGH THEIR USE OF THEM.

Nevertheless, IT IS STILL POSSIBLE TO ESCAPE FROM HUMAN SOCIETY AND FROM WORLDLY AFFAIRS, and to take the “Royal Way,” through LIVING THE LIFE OF STILLNESS with one or two others (WHO OBVIOUSLY MUST BE LIKE-MINDED!),
STUDYING THE COMMANDMENTS OF CHRIST AND ALL THE HOLY SCRIPTURES DAY AND NIGHT.

Nevertheless, the Lord, being beyond Perfection and being Wisdom itself, strikes at the root: for HE URGES
THOSE WHO WOULD FOLLOW HIM THROUGH IMITATION OF SUPREME VIRTUE TO RENOUNCE ONLY MATERIAL GOODS OR POSSESSIONS, BUT THEIR OWN SOUL – THAT IS TO SAY: THEIR PERSONAL THOUGHTS AND WILL. (LUKE 14:26) THE NOT EVEN OWN

By this means, through BEING TESTED IN ALL THINGS BY
OUR CONSCIENCE AND APPLICATION, BY READING AND BY PRAYER, WE MAY PERHAPS ATTAIN THE FIRST COMMANDMENT – THE FEAR OF GOD – WHICH COMES THROUGH FAITH AND THE STUDY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES; and through this WE MAY ACHIEVE INWARD GRIEF, AND SO ARRIVE AT THE COMMANDMENT OF WHICH ST PAUL SPOKE: FAITH. HOPE AND LOVE. (1 CORINTHIANS 13:13)

Because they knew this, THE HOLY FATHERS FLED FROM
THE WORLD, WHICH THEY REGARDED AS A HINDRANCE TO SPIRITUAL PERFECTION; and NOT ONLY DID THEY RENOUNCE THE WORLD, BUT ALSO THEIR OWN WILL FOR THE SAME REASON. NONE OF THEM EVER DID WHAT HE HIMSELF DESIRED TO DO. SOME LIVED IN BODILY OBEDIENCE, SO THAT – IN PLACE OF CHRIST – THEY WOULD HAVE A SPIRITUAL FATHER GUIDING THEIR EVERY THOUGHT. OTHERS, fleeing totally from human society, lived in the

For THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH IN GOD FEAR (DIVINE) CHASTISMENT; and THAT FEAR PROMPTS THEM TO KEEP THE HOLY COMMANDMENTS, which, in turn, lead us to ENDURE AFFLICTION; and the endurance of affliction produces HOPE IN GOD.
SUCH HOPE SEPARATES OUR INTELLECT FROM ALL MATERIAL ATTACHMENT; AND BEING FREE FROM SUCH ATTACHMENT, WE WILL POSSESS TRUE LOVE FOR GOD AND WILL BE SAVED!
THE “FEAR OF GOD” MEANS THAT BECAUSE WE LOVE GOD WITH ALL OUR BEING, WE DREAD DISAPPOINTING HIM THROUGH OUR CARELESS SINS OR DISOBEDIENCE. IT DOES NOT MEAN A TERRIFIED FEAR OF SOMETHING DANGEROUS OR EVIL!! THAT IS THE INVENTION OF THE EVIL ONE WHO WANTS US TO SERVE HIM THROUGH FEAR! GOD IS ABSOLUTE LOVE AND OUR JOY OF BEING IN HIS PRESENCE MOTIVATES US TO STRIVE ALL THE MORE SO AS NOT TO FAIL IN OUR SACRED DUTIES TO OUR MOST BELOVED AND INFINITEDLY MERCIFUL GOD – WHICH INCLUDES OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER – UPON WHICH WE WILL BE SEVERELY JUDGED. ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “THE PHILOKALIA” - VOL 3 – “ST PETER OF DAMASCUS”

desert and HAD GOD HIMSELF AS THEIR TEACHER, FOR
WHOSE SAKE THEY CHOSE TO UNDERGO A “VOLUNTARY DEATH.” OTHERS PURSUED THE “ROYAL WAY” BY LEADING A LIFE OF SILENCE WITH ONE OR TWO COMPANIONS: these had one another as Spiritual Counsellors in DOING GOD’S DIVINE WILL.
KLIMAKOS) (“THE LADDER OF DIVINE ASCENT – STEP 1” BY ST JOHN

And those who, after being subject to a Spiritual Father, were then appointed by him to take charge of other 18
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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.

14th Sunday After Pentecost

Tone 5

29 August 2010

14th Sunday of St Matthew The Beheading of St John the Baptist & Forerunner
Feast of St Theopistis of Aegina; St Theodora of Thessaloniki; St Anastasios the New Martyr of Bulgaria
RE SURRE CTION A POL YTIK ION IHO S PL . A TONE ( 5) PL AGA L 1

Ton

sinanarhon Logon Patri ke Pnevmati, ton ek Parthenou tehthenta is Sotirian imon, animnisomen, Pisti, ke proskinisomen. Oti ivdokise Sarki anelthin en to Stavro ke Thanaton ipomine ke egire tous tethneotas en ti Evdoxo Anastasi Aftou.
O F ST J OHN THE BA PTI ST & FORE RUN NER –

The

Word, Who with the Father and the Spirit has no beginning, and Who, for our Salvation, was born of a Virgin, let us Faithful believers hymn and adore. For it was His Good Pleasure to ascend the Cross in the Flesh, and to Suffer Death, and through His own Glorious Resurrection to raise the dead.
2

A POL YT IKION

TO NE

Mnimi Dikeou met engomion;

si de arkesi i martiria tou Kyriou Prodrome; anedihthis gar ontos ke Profiton sevamioteros, oti ke en rithris Vaptise katihiothis ton kiritomenon. Othen tis Alithias iperathlisas, heron evingeliso ke tis en Adi: Theo fanerothenta en Sarki, ton eronta tin amartian tou kosmou, ke parehonta imin to Mega Eleos.

The

memory of the Just is praised; but for Thee shall suffice, the Witness of the Lord, O Forerunner; for Thou hast truly come forth as more honoured than the Prophets, since Thou proved worthy to Baptise, in the streams, the one they preached of. Thus, having contended for the Truth supremely, with Joy Thou brought the Good News, even to those in Hades: O God Who did appear in the flesh, and took away the sin of the world, and grants to all His Great Mercy.

KONTAKION OF THE NATIVITY OF THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS

Ioakim ke Anna onidismou ateknias, ke Adam ke Eva ek tis
fthoras tou thanatou ileftherothisan Ahrante, en ti Agia gennisi Sou. Aftin eortazi ke o laos sou, enohis ton ptesmaton, litrothis en to krazin si: i stira tikti tin Theotokon, ke trofon tis zois imon.

By

thy Holy Nativity, O Most Undefiled One, Joachim and Anna were freed from the scorn of childlessness, and Adam and Eve from death’s corruption. This is the Feast now observed by thy people, who from the guilt of their errors, were delivered as they cry out to thee: the barren one bear the Theotokos, and our life’s Sustainer!

Resurrection Gospel 3 PROKEIMENON

Mark 16:9 – 20 O U R

RISEN CHRIST APPEARS TO HIS APOSTLES & DISCIPLES BEFORE HIS ASCENSION

O Lord, protect us and preserve us both now and forever. Save us, O Lord, for there is not one godly man left!
Th e Ac ts o f th e A p os t l es A cc o r din g to S t L uk e 1 3 : 2 5 - 3 2
ST PAUL’S TESTIMONY CONCERNING ST JOHN THE BAPTIST & CHRIST OUR LORD & SAVIOUR

Brethren: ... as John was finishing his course, he said: ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loosen.’ Men and Brethren, sons of the Family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God: to you the Word of this Salvation has been sent. For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets, which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. And although they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now, when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the Tree and laid Him in a tomb, but God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His Witnesses to the people. And we declare to you Glad Tidings – that Promise, which was made to the Fathers... St Paul and his companions were in Antioch, Pisidia on the PSALM 118 : 22-23 “Take away reproach and contempt from Sabbath Day so they attended the gathering at the Me, for I searched Thy Testimonies. For Rulers sat Synagogue and after the Readings concerning the Law of and spoke against Me, but Thy Servant meditated on God and His Holy Prophets, the leaders of the Synagogue Thine Ordinances.” invited St Paul to address them. With God’s Help and by continual Repentance a blameless This passage is part of his Homily to them concerning St John Journey with God is possible and this is the way we must the Baptist and our Resurrected, Ascended Lord and prepare ourselves for our approaching death. Saviour, Jesus Christ. Christ Himself lived and died in this manner, and through Him The “family of Abraham” is a reference to the Hebrews, while we who believe are to live and die in this same way too. “those who fear God,” was a reference to the Gentile ISAIAH 53: 1 – 9 “O Lord, who has believed our report, and converts – thereby meaning that the Salvation of Christ is to whom was the Arm of the Lord revealed? We proclaimed for all humanity – throughout all ages. proclaimed His Presence as a Child, as a Root in a St Paul consistently emphasised the fact that if the Old thirsty land. Testament Scriptures are properly understood, it becomes “He had no form or Glory, and we saw Him; and He had no quite clear that our Lord Jesus Christ is truly the longform or beauty. awaited Messiah. “But in comparison to all men, His Form was lacking in Even the rejection and persecution of Christ fulfilled all the honour. ancient prophecies concerning the Messiah. “He was a Man in suffering and knew how to bear PSALM 2: 1-2: “Why do the nations rage, and the people sickness. meditate on vain things? The Kings of the earth set “His Face was turned away, and He was dishonoured and themselves, and the rulers gather together against the not esteemed. Lord and against His Anointed ...” “He bears our sins and suffers for us, yet we considered “The Lord” is God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ is Him to be in pain, suffering, and ill-treated. “His Anointed,” which is another term for “His Christ.” “But He was wounded because of our lawlessness, and became sick because of our sins.
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“The chastisement of our Peace was upon Him, and by His Bruises we are healed. “All we, like sheep, have gone astray. Man has gone astray in his way, and the Lord delivered Him over for our sins. “Although He was ill-treated, He opened not His Mouth. He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb is silent before his shearers, so He opened not His Mouth. “In His humiliation, His Judgement was taken away, and who will declare His Generation? For His Life is taken from the earth, and because of the lawlessness of My People He was led to death. “I will appoint evil men for His Burial and rich men for His Death, because He committed no lawlessness, nor was deceit found in His Mouth.” “He had no form nor beauty” is a reference to Christ’s Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: “He sat upon the foal of an ass; He was despised among the people and humbled Himself even unto death.” (ST IRENEAUS) God became dishonoured when our Lord Jesus Christ – the Son of God the Father – emptied Himself of all His Divine

Majesty and Power to assume – to take on our human nature and form: “O marvel at the Loving Kindness of the Word, that for our sakes He is dishonoured, so that we may be brought to honour!” (ST ATHANASIOS THE GREAT) Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who was free from sin, took our chastisement and granted us His Divine Peace . “By His Bruises” we are Saved from an Eternity of suffering and alienation from God. The Lord – God the Father – delivered Christ – His Beloved Son – to die for our sins and this is the intense and essential Message of Hope that St Paul proclaimed in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians. (2 CORINTHIANS 5:21) “The Shepherd of Israel, and now of the whole world also..” became “... the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.” (St Gregory of Nazianzos; John 1 : 29) Our Lord Jesus Christ was led to His Death, yet Death could not hold His Perfect, Sinless Body. Christ our Lord is the only “human Being” Who is Perfectly Sinless – “He committed no lawlessness,” and no one ever accused him as such.

Th e H ol y G os p e l A c c o rd ing t o S t Ma rk 6 : 14 - 3 0
THE BEHEADING OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST & FOREFUNNER TO CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR

At that time, King Herod heard of Jesus, for His Name had become well known. And he said: “”John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these Powers are at work in him!” Others said: “It is Elijah!” And others said: “It is the Prophet, or like one of the Prophets.” But when Herod heard, he said: “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!” For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother, Philip’s wife; for having married her John had said to Herod: “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Therefore Herodias held it against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not for Herod feared John, knowing that he as a Just and Holy man, so he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday held a banquet for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the King said to the girl: “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” He also swore to her: “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom!” So she went out and asked her mother: “What shall I ask?” And Herodias said: “The head of John the Baptist!” At once she hastened to the King and said: “I want you to give me at once, the head of John the Baptist – on a platter!”And the King was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the King sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s Disciples heard of it, they went and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb. Then the Apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. During the Matins Service we sing: “Thy tongue, which This King Herod was the son of King Herod who had constantly speaks of God, has preceded Christ into Death slaughtered the Innocents – all the infants of Bethlehem and is sent to preach Him to those in Hades.” and the surrounding area who were two years old and King Herod, with all his wealth and power of authority to younger after Christ had been born – in the expectation of killing the Great King Whom the Magi had travelled so far command soldiers – or anyone – to do his bidding, feared to worship and honour. St John the Baptist who, as the greatest Ascetic and Holy Although King Herod was technically a Governor, he was Prophet of God, lived in total poverty – with no home and popularly called “King.” no possessions except the few skins or camel hair that Knowing that St John the Baptist had worked no Miracles covered his nakedness. while living, King Herod believed that St John had been This is a strong testament to the amazing Power of St John’s raised from the dead. personal Holiness and integrity (truthfulness and honour) The Beheading of St John the Baptist is commemorated by as well as the people’s perception of St John the Baptist, the Orthodox Church on 29 August with a day of very strict for they held him in the highest esteem. Fasting. With the words: “Then the Apostles gathered to Jesus...” St As part of God’s Divine Plan of Salvation, St John’s Holy Mark picked up where he had left off in verse 13, after Martyrdom allowed the Coming of the Messiah to be narrating the account of the Beheading of St John the announced to the souls in Hades, for St John was the Baptist parenthetically. Forerunner of Christ in Hades as well as on earth.

Th e Be he a din g of S t J oh n th e B ap tis t
St John was very outspoken. To call the religious leaders of his day a bunch of snakes and tell them they were going to Hell took courage. (MATTHEW 3:7-12, LUKE 3:7-9) St John did not confine his outspokenness to religious leaders either. He also publicly criticized Herod the Tetrarch (the son of the murderer of his Righteous father St Zachariah) for the incest of marrying his brother Philip’s wife Herodias. (MATTHEW 14:3-4) This motivated Herod to imprison St John from whence he continued to Preach and Teach Divine Truth, and his Disciples visited him continuously until Herodias siezed the opportunity to have his head presented on a platter at Herod’s celebratory banquet. (MATTHEW 14:6-11). 20
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St John the Baptist continued his Annunciation of the Messiah to all the souls who were imprisoned in Hades, making St John the Forerunner to Christ, not only in earthly life, but also in death, before the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. St John was imprisoned for about a year before his death and his disciples continued to report some of the Miracles that our Lord Jesus performed. (MATTHEW 11:2,
LUKE 7:18)

St John’s disciples were especially perplexed as to the reason for our Lord Jesus performing these Divine Works and they wondered how it all complied with the Holy Scriptures. St John knew his place – his role in the Salvation of mankind and he expected that the One Whom he

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had announced would be like “a refiner’s fire.”
3:1-2, MATTHEW 3:10-12)

(MALACHI

Our Lord Jesus was obviously not doing so which caused the concern of St John’s disciples. What about the One Who would go forth from Bethlehem as a Ruler in Israel? (Micah 5:2) What about the King coming to Jerusalem riding on a donkey’s colt? (ZECHARIAH 9:9) To satisfy St John’s disciples, our Lord Jesus sent an encoded message to St John that he unstood, but which his disciples may not have understood. He said to them, “Go and tell John the things that you have seen and heard: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them, and Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (LUKE 7:22-23) St John knew what this meant. Connected to the Day of God’s Vengeance at the Coming of Messiah, all these things were supposed to happen. (ISAIAH 35:4-6, 61:1-3) St John’s disciples had been witnessing Jesus do all these things, but they may not have made the connection to what the Holy Prophets had said. The coded message for St John was simply to inform him that all things were indeed proceeding as prophesied and that his disciples should not to be concerned about the sequence of events. King Herod Antipas had a lot of respect for St John as a Holy Prophet of God, and actually paid attention to much of what he heard him say, but when St John denounced the unlawful incest of Herod’s marrying his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias, St John incurred the obsessive wrath of Herodias. Since Herodias was a granddaughter of Simeon, the High Priest, her incestuous relationship with Herod Antipas created a national scandal. St John’s criticism painted Herodias as a 1st Century “Jezebel”, which Herodias deeply resented and hated him for, waiting for an opportunity to kill him, despite Herod’s fear of Divine Wrath and the reaction of the devout Hebrews. Herod acknowledge St John as being not only a Holy Prophet of God, but also Just and Holy, so being well aware of her intense hatred, he tried to protect the Holy Prophet from the wicked intentions of Herodias.
(MARK 6:17-20)

Before the army commanded by Vitellius reached Nabatea, Tiberius died and Caius Caligula became Emperor. Vitellius, being uncertain of Caligula’s feelings on this issue, called off the campaign, and because Caligula did not send him back, Aretas was never “punished.” According to the ancient historian, Josephus, many Hebrews felt that Aretas’ destruction of Herod’s army was the Hand of God as Just Punishment for Herod’s murder of St John the Baptist. (ANTIQUITIES, XVIII, V,
2).

The banquet had been held at the castle of Machaerus, which was located Northeast of the Dead Sea, and the dungeon where St John was imprisoned was a rock hewn cave in the cliffs below the banquet hall (Ibid). After St John was beheaded, his disciples buried his body while Herodias had his head thrown in the cesspool of the local garbage dump outside the city.
(MATTHEW 14:12)

St Joanna (the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward) who was later one of the Myrrh Bearing Women and who contributed to the support of our Lord Jesus’ Ministry, retrieved St John’s head during the night and secretly buried it in the Garden of Gethsemane.
(VELIMIROVIC, PROLOGUE, JUNE 27).

After St John the Baptist’s death, Herod heard of all the Miracles that our Lord Jesus and His Disciples were performing and since Christ’s Disciples were formerly disciples of St John the Baptist, Herod presumed that St John had risen from the dead and that was the Source of such unusual Power. (MARK 6:1416)

The background to Herod’s illegal, incestuous marriage to Herodias goes back a generation. The mother of Herod the Great (Herod Antipas’ father) came from an eminent Nabatean family, but he later fought the Nabateans in a war that he won only after suffering heavy losses. The Nabateans, in return, enthusiastically provided auxiliary troops to aid the Roman Governor of Syria in brutally suppressing the Jewish revolt that followed Herod the Great’s death. (ABOUT 4 BC). In order to calm the tensions between the two nations, Herod Antipas married the daughter of the Nabatean king (Aretas IV). However, circa 23, he divorced her in order to marry Herodias, the wife of his half brother Philip. St John the Baptist criticized this marriage as being incestuous, as reported both by Josephus and the Holy Gospels, resulting in his imprisonment and consequent beheading. (MATTHEW 14:3-12; MARK 6:17-29; LUKE 4:1920)

Using a disputed border as an excuse, the Nabatean king attacked Galilee to avenge the insult to his daughter.
(ANTIQUITIES XVIII, V, 1-4).

Emperor Tiberius did not tolerate war between his vassal states and later sent an army to punish Aretas.

The Power of these Miracles seemed all the more striking because of their contrast with St John who had not performed any Miracles that we know of. (JOHN 10:41) So Herod sought to see our Lord Jesus Christ, but only did so just before His Crucifixion, when he treated Christ with utter contempt! ( LUKE 9:9; 23:5-12) The Epistle Lesson for the Feast of the Beheading of St John has more to say about this: “Those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their Rulers, because they did not know Him (nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath) have fulfilled them in condemning Him.” (ACTS 13:27) Herod Antipas was one of the “Rulers” at Christ’s unjust Trial. Herod Antipas neither knew with Whom he was dealing when he sent Christ back to Pontius Pilate, nor did he know who St John the Baptist was when he had him beheaded.(LUKE 23:11) On the other hand, St John the Baptist knew without a doubt exactly who Herod Antipas was, yet he maintained a most humble attitude toward his Ruler. Even as people were clamouring to exalt him, St John the Baptist continued to make it very clear to everyone that he was not worthy even to loosen the sandals of our True Master – our Lord Jesus Christ. (ACTS 13:25) Herod Antipas was eventually exiled due to the insatiable greed of Herodias. Over the years, she had become increasingly jealous of the honours bestowed on her brother, Herod Agrippa and in 39 AD, she finally persuaded Herod Antipas to go to Rome in order to persuade Emperor Caius Caligula to bestow similar honours on him. However, being informed of their intentions, Herod Agrippa himself went to Rome with evidence that showed, among other things, Herod Antipas’ stockpile of weapons, which suggested a plot to revolt against the authority of Rome. The wicked couple, Herod Antipas and Herodias could not defend themselves, and were consequently banished to Gaul for the rest of their lives.

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All their wealth and property was given to Herod Agrippa. (JOSEPHUS, ANTIQUITIES, XVIII, VII, 1-2) Thus Herod Antipas, who Christ had referred to as a “fox,” being infamous for his evil cunning, manipulation and complete lack of morals, was outfoxed by his brother in law. (LUKE 13:32) Our Festal Hymns describe many aspects of the Beheading of St John the Baptist. On the one hand, Christ had some harsh things to say to the religious leaders of His day, accusing them of

being murderers of the Holy Prophets of God, one of whom was His own aged uncle, St Zechariah, the Righteous father of St John the Baptist. (MATTHEW 23:35) On the other hand, Herod Antipas’ murder of St John the Baptist had dire significance, for he was the last of the Holy Prophets of God and he received the highest praise of all – the respect of our Lord Jesus Christ Who pointed out that he was truly the greatest of all the Holy Prophets. (MATTHEW 11:11, LUKE 7:28)

W is d o m of o ur Ho l y F a t he rs S t M ak ar i os of Eg yp t – O n S p ir it u al P e rf ec t io n
The Holy Spirit, knowing that the unseen and secret passions are difficult to get rid of – for they are, as it were, rooted in our soul – shows us through the words of St David the Psalmist how to purify ourselves from them: “Cleanse me from my secret faults...” (PSALM 19:12) Through many Prayers and much Faith, and by turning completely to God, we are able – with the Help of the Holy Spirit – to conquer our passions. We must strive ceaselessly against our passions and keep a very strict watch over ourselves. ( PROVERBS 4:23) The soul should not be divided in will between good and evil, but should pursue the good alone; and it must not try to cultivate dual Fruits of Virtue and Vice, but those of Virtue alone. “Do not yoke together on your threshing floor animals of a different species ...” (DEUTERONOMY 22:10 In other words: do not let Virtue and Vice work together on the threshing floor of your heart, but let Virtue alone work there. Besides avoiding the combination of Virtue and Vice within ourselves, we must devote ourselves single mindedly to producing the Fruits of Virtue. Furthermore, we must also not share our soul between two spirits – the Spirit of God and the spirit of the world. We must rather commit our soul exclusively to the Spirit of God and reap only the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “THE PHILOKALIA” VOLUME 3 – ST MAKARIOS OF EGYPT – ON SPIRITUAL PERFECTION.

St Paisios the Elder of Holy Mountain

D

Father Paisios warned us that when our soul lives carelessly without watching over her thoughts, she will consequently fill up with dirty and sly thoughts. As a result, we will begin to develop psychological problems that gradually increase. Some people, while they are found in such a situation and come face to face with the problem itself, do not realise it and thus are unable to humbly confess their fall to their Spiritual Father. Instead they seek a “secular” solution and consult a psychiatrist, who will inevitably prescribe medication. Pills will not solve the problem, but will temporarily cover it. This is not an effective solution, as once they stop taking their medication, the problem will surface again, and the person will suffer the same miserable condition. The only solution is to become aware of the problem and to confess it to a Spiritual Father, and then humbly follow his advice. In these sad days, people have lost control over their lives, and they do not know what they are doing because they do not wish to be guided; they want to live undisturbed, to continue following their own will, which will eventually bring about their total destruction. God granted us our freedom and independence to do whatever we like, but God also gave us the Knowledge – the ability to realise that we are unable to achieve anything good by solely relying on ourselves, for, as our Saviour said: “...apart from Me you can do nothing,” and “ If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” (JOHN 15:5; LUKE 12:26) Therefore, when we use our freedom and independence without taking into consideration our human weakness, we become deceived; we experience and interpret everything by using our own flawed logic.

Instead of God’s Divine Grace, human logic rules our life, and our mind is in confusion, which is terrible, as far as Father Paisios was concerned. D The wise Holy Elder always offered the following advice to everyone and he insisted that they follow it: 1. We must become aware of our problem – in other words, we must be aware of our alienation from God – and the causes for it! 2. We must repent everything that causes this terrible sin 3. And we must go with all Humility and sincerity to Holy Confession. Father Paisios was painfully aware of the fact that more than ever people have become complacent recipients of the devil’s influence and intrusion in their lives but he assured us that if we strictly and obediently follow his aforementioned advice we will be safe and return to Spiritual Life in Christ. D Father Paisios encouraged everyone he met to maintain good thoughts. One day, as an example of good thoughts, Father Paisios read a section of the Old Testament that referred to the account of King Darios having thrown Daniel into the den of lions and the next day having gone himself to see if he was still alive: “’... O, Daniel, servant of the Living God: has your God Whom you serve continually been able to deliver you from the lions?’ Then Daniel answered: ‘O King, live forever!” ... and the King was exceedingly glad...” (DANIEL 6:14-18) Father Paisios commented: “If Daniel had thought negatively, he would have said to Dairos: ‘Shame on you! Not only did you throw me into the den of lions, but you have the nerve to ask me how I am!’ “However, Daniel always had positive thoughts, and for that reason God prevented the lions from devouring him.” The same principle applied to the Three Holy Youths who blamed themselves and glorified God. “Their positive thoughts were connected to their Humility! Good and humble thoughts can tame lions and cool a burning furnace...!”
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: “ELDER PAISIOS OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN” BY PRIEST MONK CHRISTODOULOS – HOLY MOUNTAIN’S MONK

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