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Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope

All Glo ry, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all the Saints. And let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life to Christ our God. Amen.

1st Saturday of Great Lent

3 March 2012

The Miracle of St Theodore the Recruit (Tyro)


Also the Feast of St Shio Mgvime St Eutropios, St Cleonikos, & St Basiliskos of Amasea St Piama the Virgin Martyr of Alexandria St Zeno St Zoilos St John IV, Catholicos of Georgia

Apolytikion Of St Daniel & The Three Holy Youths

Megala

ta tis Pisteos katorthomata! En ti pigi tis flogos, os epi idatos anapafseos, i Agii Tris, Pedes igallonto, ke O Profitis Daniil, leonton pimin, os Provaton ediknito. Tes afton ikesies Hriste O Theos, Soson tas psihas imon!

Great

indeed are Faiths accomplishments! The Three Holy Youths stood exultingly in the fountain of fire as if beside the still waters of rest. And Daniel the Prophet appeared like a Shepherd in the den of lions. At their Entreaties, O Christ God, Save our souls! Protector of the Christians Unashamable, Mediator to the Creator Immovable, despise not, the pleading voices of those in sin, but hasten O Good One, to the Aid of all of us, who in Faith cry out to Thee: speed up Thine Intercession, and present Thy Supplication, O Theotokos who always protects all those who honour Thee!

Kontakion of the Ever Blessed Theotokos

Prostasia ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton O


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

The Second Epistle of St Paul to St Timothy 1 : 1 10


St Timothys Gift is the Power of God

Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the Will of God, according to the Promise of Life, which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, a Beloved Son: Grace, Mercy, and Peace from God the Father, and Christ Jesus, our Lord. I thank God, Whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my Prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with Joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine Faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your Grandmother, Lois, and your Mother, Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore, I remind you to stir up the Gift of God, which is in you through the Laying On of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of Power and of Love and of a sound mind. Therefore, do not be ashamed of the Testimony of our Lord, nor of me, His Prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the Gospel according to the Power of God, Who has Saved us and Called us with a Holy Calling not according to our works, but according to His own Purpose and Grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, yet has now been revealed by the Appearing of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who has abolished Death and brought Life and Immortality to Light through the Gospel... The Gift of God is the Divine Grace of the Holy Spirit or Heaven, for so they persecuted the Prophets who Charism, which was granted to St Timothy at his Holy were before you. Ordination by St Paul when he bestowed the Holy Those who suffer persecution for Christ walk the same Authority of the Church upon St Timothy by the Laying Path as the Holy Prophets, Saints and Martyrs. On of hands (WHEREBY THE APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION HAS BEEN PASSED ON The Greek translation of be exceedingly glad is leap THROUGHOUT TIME TO ALL ORTHODOX PRIESTS.) exceedingly with Joy. The Divine Grace of God fills up and completes everything Our greatest Hope and our greatest Joy is the prospect of that might be lacking and grants His Divine Authority Eternal Life in Gods Heavenly Kingdom of Love, Joy to the Holy Priesthood, but it is certainly not automatic and Peace. at all it has to be stirred up and rekindled ceaselessly We do not quench the Spirit as St Paul expressed it, but through the Spiritual Struggles and suffering of those rather must always try to act with Power and Courage Called to serve God and His People. with which God will bestow us especially if we Although any Christian may be persecuted for our Faith, beseech Him in our Fervent Prayers. (1 THESSALONIANS 5:19) we reject feelings of fear or timidity being confident in M A T T H E W 1 0 : 3 3 Our Lord Jesus said: ...whoever Divine Providence and Protection. denies Me before men, him will I also deny J O H N 1 5 : 2 0 As our Lord Jesus Christ had said: before My Father Who is in Heaven. Remember the Word that I said to you: A L U K E 9 : 2 6 ... whoever is ashamed of Me and My servant is not greater than his Master. If they Words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If when He comes in His own Glory, and in His they kept My Word, they will keep yours also. Fathers, and of the Holy Angels. The fallen, ungodly world hates our Lord Jesus Christ, so it Each of us must take up our own Cross and Follow Christ will certainly hate those who strive to become our Saviour. Christlike Our personal burden of this world is unique and different M A T T H E W 5 : 1 1 & 1 2 : Blessed are you when they to that of others because each soul has been chosen revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of by God to bear certain, specific Struggles of our own evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and Salvation and Eternal Life, as well as the Salvation of be exceedingly glad, for great is your Reward in those around us.

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1st Saturday Of Great Lent - M i r a c l e o f S t T h e o d o r e t h e T y r o 3 M a r c h 2 0 1 2

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Each day we are committed to taking up our Cross and continuing our Lifes Journey in the Footsteps of Christ because our Sacred Commitment to the Lord our God is not a mere one time event. Rather, it is the continual practice of Faith and Obedience, even to the point of being humiliated and persecuted by the world. Our Eternal Salvation and Calling are based on Divine Grace and Love definitely not on anything that we have done or can do to merit Gods Favour. Our Lord Jesus Christ ... submitted (to suffering) so that He might break the power of Death and reveal His

Resurrection from the dead thus it was necessary for Him to be manifested in the Flesh. Our Lord Jesus was the First-fruit of the Resurrection that we will all experience on the Final Day while we repose in Christ. Furthermore, Christ ... submitted so that He might fulfil the Divine Promise to the Fathers, and, while He was preparing His New People for Himself, and while He was still on earth, to prove that after He has brought about the Resurrection He will Judge.
(EPISTLE OF BARNABAS 5: 6-7)

The Holy Gospel According to St Mark 2 : 23 - 3 : 5


The Dedication in the Temple of our Lord Jesus Christ

At that time, our Lord Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went, His Disciples began to puck the heads of grain. And the Pharisees sad to Him: Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath? And He said to them: Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry he and those with him how he went into the House of God in the days of Abiathar the High Priest, and ate the Showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the Priests, and also gave some to those who were with Him? And He said to them: The Sabbath was made for mankind, and not mankind for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath. And He entered the Synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hard. So they watched Him closely to see whether Jesus would Heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. And He said to the man who had a withered hand: Stand in the middle. And He said to them: Is it Lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil to save life or to kill? But they remained silent. And after He had looked around at them in anger, being aggrieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man: Stretch out your hand. And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. And the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him how they might destroy Him.

The Miracle of St Theodore the Recruit (Tyro)


Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate the Miracle of St Theodore the Recruit (Tyro) on the First Saturday of Great Lent. At the conclusion of the Presanctified Liturgy on Friday evening (SINCE, LITURGICALLY THE DAY BEGINS AT SUNSET 18:00) a special Canon of St Theodore, which was composed by St John of Damascus, is chanted. Afterwards the Priest Blesses dishes of Kolyva (BOILED WHEAT,
HONEY, RAISINS AND SEVERAL OTHER DRY INGREDIENTS SUCH AS NUTS, SESAME

that are offered and shared by the Faithful in gratitude and Thanksgiving to St Theodore the Tyro for his intercessory Prayers and inspiration. Fifty years after the death of St Theodore the Tyro, during the first week of Great Lent, Emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) - according to his general policy of persecution of Christians - ordered the Governor of Constantinople to pollute all food at the marketplace with the blood of pagan sacrifices. He knew very well that the people would be hungry after their strict Fasting of the first week so he thought he
SEEDS, ETC.)

would force Christians to unknowingly eat food that had been sprinkled with the forbidden blood of idolatry thereby making them unwitting participants in pagan worship a mockery of their Spiritual Struggles. However, St Theodore the Tyro appeared in a Vision to St Eudoxios, the Archbishop of Constantinople, to warn him of the sinister plot and advised him to inform all the Faithful not to purchase anything from the marketplace but instead to boil the wheat they still had at home and eat it sweetened with honey and dried fruit. After the Divine Liturgy the Kolyva is distributed amongst those who are present, and after Holy Communion and Antidoron, it is the first food we eat after our strict Fasting of the first week of Great Lent.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_of_Amasea#Saint_Theodore_Saturday

Kolyva Symbolic of the Resurrection of the Dead Blessed art Thou, O Lord teach me Thy Statutes. Grant rest, O God, to Thy departed servants, and place them in Paradise, where the Choirs of Saints and the Just, O Lord, shine like stars. Grant rest to Thy servants who have fallen asleep, overlooking all their transgressions. IT IS IMPORTANT TO ALWAYS REMEMBER AND PRAY FOR THOSE Our Lord Jesus Christ told us: Unless a grain of wheat WHO HAVE DEPARTED THIS LIFE IN ORDER TO KEEP THEIR falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; MEMORY ALIVE AND TO HELP US HEAL AS WELL. but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (JOHN 12:24) Furthermore, as Orthodox Christians, we believe that our Grains of wheat are buried in the rich, fertile soil of the Intercessory Prayers on behalf of the reposed in earth and when the season and conditions are right, Christ are helpful and beneficial for both them new plants begin to grow and flourish abundantly. and us, and also because we are a Holy Church So, too, we believe that as Faithful Christians Faithful, that consists of both the living and the reposed. Struggling Disciples of Christ WE WILL BE RAISED
ANEW AT THE GENERAL RESURRECTION AT THE GLORIOUS RE-APPEARANCE OF OUR LORD AND JUDGE, JESUS CHRIST.

Wheat symbolises the Eternal Cycle of Life, and just like wheat that falls to the earth and becomes a new crop, so must we be returned to the earth from whence our bodies came.
WE NEED TO BE BURIED IN THE EARTH IN ORDER TO BE RESURRECTED AND RENEWED IMMORTAL BEINGS. This is our NEW, ETERNAL LIFE.

MEMORIAL SERVICES ARE USUALLY OBSERVED ON THE SUNDAY BEFORE OR AFTER THE 40TH DAY AFTER THE DEPARTURE OF OUR BELOVED RELATIVES AND FRIENDS.

Memorial Services may also be observed on the third, sixth and ninth month after their departure and especially on the yearly anniversary.
ON SATURDAY OF THE SOULS AT THE BEGINNING OF GREAT LENT AND BEFORE THE DAY OF PENTECOST ALL OUR BELOVED FAMILY AND FRIENDS ARE COMMEMORATED IN CHURCH AND AT THE CEMETERY WHERE THE PRIEST WILL CONDUCT TRISAGION PRAYERS AT EACH GRAVE.

Kolyva is boiled kernels of wheat mixed with various dried fruit, nuts, sugar and spices and covered by a layer of white icing sugar that resembles our burial shroud and tomb. The wheat is prepared the day before the Memorial Service because it needs to be boiled, rinsed off and laid out to dry throughout the night, before the other ingredients can be added, and the Kolyva covered with the layer of icing sugar.

Prayers for our departed relatives and friends can be offered at any time.
LISTS OF NAMES AND KOLYVA MUST BE HANDED TO THE PRIEST BEFORE HE BEGINS THE HOLY MATINS SERVICE ON SUNDAY. TRISAGION PRAYERS (WITHOUT KOLYVA) ARE ALSO CONDUCTED AFTER THE DIVINE LITURGY ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY.

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1st Saturday Of Great Lent - M i r a c l e o f S t T h e o d o r e t h e T y r o 3 M a r c h 2 0 1 2

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 forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, 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.

5th S u n d a y o f T r i o d i o n

4 March 2012 Tone (5) Plagal 1

The Triumph of Orthodoxy


The Reinstatement of Holy Icons into Proper Orthodox Worship Also the Feast of St Gerasimos of the Jordan River St Gerasimos the first Wonderworker of Vologda St Joasaph of Snetogorsk, Pskov St Basil the Righteous Prince of Rostov St Daniel the Right Believing Prince of Moscow St Paul & St Juliana of Ptolemais St James the Faster of Phoenicia, Syria St Leontiev Vyacheslv the Hieromartyr St Gregory of Constantios, Cyprus St Wenceslaus the Right Believing Prince of the Czech Lands, Translation of Holy Relics

R e s u r r e c t i o n A p o l y t i k i o n - TONE (5) PLAGAL 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.

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.

Kontakion of the Ever Blessed Theotokos

Prostasia ton Hristianon akateskhinte, mesitia pros ton O


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

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

Resurrection Gospel 5 Luke 24 : 12 35


Our Risen Lord Jesus Appears Along the Road to Emmaus

Prokeimenon

Blessed art Thou, O Lord, God of our Forefathers! For Thou hast always dealt Righteously with us.
The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 11 : 24 26 & 32 40
Faith from Moses to Joshua the Son of Nun

Brethren: by Faith Moses when he became of age refused to be called the son of Pharaohs daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the People of Gd than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the Reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the Reward... ...And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the Prophets who, through Faith subdued Kingdoms, worked Righteousness, obtained Promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, so that they might obtain a better Resurrection. Still others had trials of mockings and scourgings yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins being destitute, afflicted, tormented of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered about in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these people having obtained a Good Testimony through Faith did not receive the Promise God having provided something better for us, so that they should not be made Perfect apart from us. These verses are self-explanatory. All too often, in the mistaken belief that we are so St Paul reminds us how THE OLD COVENANT SAINTS HAD clever, we need proof before we accept anything THE MOST AMAZING, UNSHAKABLE FAITH IN GOD, NO as being true. MATTER WHAT THEY WERE FORCED TO SUFFER AND However, DIVINE TRUTH THE PERFECT AND ABSOLUTE
ENDURE.

We are so greatly Blessed to live in this day and age when so much human history and Divinely Inspired Writings, personal witnessing, etc is available to those who seek Divine Truth. Yet our Faith is possibly much weaker than all those who went before us because although they only had their deep seated Love of God and steadfast Faith in Him to encourage and to guide them, THEY NEVER
DOUBTED NOR DID THEIR OWN THING LIKE ALL EGOCENTRIC PAGANS OR NON-BELIEVERS DO.

TRUTH OF GOD CANNOT BE PUT IN A TEST TUBE, DISECTED NOR EXAMINED UNDER A MICROSCOPE! TRUE FAITH COMES FROM DEEP WITHIN OUR SOUL FOR IT IS A NATURAL RECOGNITION OF AND RESPONSE TO DIVINE TRUTH AND LOVE

In other words: it is natural for us to yearn for God and His Goodness.
DESPITE OR PERHAPS BECAUSE OF THE TREMENDOUS DEEP SEATED AND SINCERE FAITH OF THE OLD COVENANT SAINTS, THEY DID NOT RECEIVE THE PROMISE OF EITHER RESTING OR REPOSING IN PEACE IN PARADISE UNTIL THE GENERAL RESURRECTION AND OUR FINAL JUDGEMENT until after Christs Death on the Cross

the final and ultimate Great Blood Sacrifice for our

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5th Sunday of Triodion 1st of Great Lent The Triumph of Orthodoxy 4 March 2012

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sins and for our Eternal Salvation His Harrowing of Hades and His Glorious Resurrection. The good and the bad all were imprisoned by Death in Hades until Christ broke open the Gates of Hades and allowed the Justified immortal souls to rest in Peace in His re-opened Paradise, whence He had already sent the soul of the Repentant Thief. After the beheading of St John the Baptist the final and greatest Holy Prophet of God the DEPARTED
SOULS HEARD THE PREACHING OF THE FORERUNNER, WHO ANNOUNCED AND PREPARED THEM FOR THE COMING OF THE ONE TRUE MESSIAH. ONLY ONCE DID THE DEPARTED SOULS HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO REPENT THEIR SINS and follow Christ

Eternal Life or Condemnation and Eternal Death in exile from God and all His Joyful Goodness.
SINCE THE GLORIOUS RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, WE NOW ONLY HAVE THIS LIFETIME IN WHICH TO DEVELOP A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND TO IMPROVE OUR SPIRITUAL STATE.

As soon as we begin the transition from this life through death towards Eternity, we no longer have the opportunity to Repent our sins and to improve ourselves and our Relationship with God and with one another.
WHATEVER SPIRITUAL STATE WE DEPART THIS LIFE WHETHER IN A STATE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE IN CHRIST OR SPIRITUAL DEATH IN SIN AND ALIENATION FROM GOD, SO TOO WILL OUR IMMORTAL SOULS EXIST FOR ALL ETERNITY.

into His Paradise to await the Final Judgement and

The Holy Gospel According to St John 1: 44 52


The Calling of our Lords Holy Apostles

At that time, Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him: We have found Him of Whom Moses in the Law, and also the Prophets, wrote Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said to him: Can anything Good come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him: Come and see! Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said of him: Behold! An Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit! Nathanael said to Him: How dost Thou know me? And Jesus answered: Before Philip called you when you were under the fig tree I saw you. Nathanael said to Him: Rabbi: Thou art the Son of God! Thou art the King of Israel!
Jesus said to him: Because I said to you I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater Things than these! And He said to him: Truly, truly, I say to you: hereafter you shall see Heaven open, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. ST NATHANAEL FOR BEING SO DILIGENT AND CAREFUL Our Lord Jesus Christs first Disciples had been IN THEIR SEARCH FOR THE TRUE MESSIAH. followers of St John the Baptist. Christs Foreknowledge and ability to see into his heart They were St Andrew, Simon - who is known to us as St stirred St Nathanael to this sincere Confession of Peter (or Cephas) - St Philip and St Nathanael or St Faith. Bartholomew and St John (THE DIVINE, THE THEOLOGIAN, THE The title Son of Man, is that of THE LONG AWAITED EVANGELIST AND THE GOD-INSPIRED AUTHOR OF THIS HOLY GOSPEL.) MESSIAH THAT HAD A LEVEL OF MYSTERY IN ITS When Christ referred to St Nathanael/Bartholomew as MEANING, INDICATING SOMEONE OF HEAVENLY ORIGIN having no deceit, it revealed that HE COULD SEE
DEEP WITHIN HIS SOUL TO A PURE HEART I.E. CHRIST KNEW HIM TO BE A PERSON WHO WAS ALWAYS STRAIGHTFORWARD AND HONEST WITH OTHERS. WHO WOULD USHER IN THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF GOD.
(REFER DANIEL 7: 13 14)

Whatever happened under the fig tree, is not stated by St John but St John Chrysostom believed that
THIS WAS THE MEETING PLACE OF ST PHILIP AND ST NATHANAEL AND THAT OUR LORD JESUS WAS PRAISING

In an Old Testament imagery, St Jacob dreamt of a Ladder connecting earth to Heaven, upon which the Angels of God were ascending and descending.
(GENESIS 28: 12 15)

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THIS EXACT DIVINE LADDER WHO UNITES US ON EARTH TO HEAVEN, AND THUS IS REALLY THE SON OF MANKIND.

Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy


Rejoicing in the Triumph of Orthodoxy on this first Sunday of Great Lent, we joyfully commemorate three events: one belonging to the past, one belonging to the present and one that still belongs to the future. Whenever we have any Feast or Joy in our Church, we Orthodox Christians commemorate our history for in our present life we depend on what happened in the past. We depend, initially, of course, on the First and Ultimate Triumph that of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Our Faith is rooted in that strange Defeat, which became the Most Glorious Victory the Defeat of the Most Holy God-Man Who had been nailed to a Cross, Who was Resurrected from the dead and Who is the Eternal Lord and Master of all Creation! That was the First Triumph of Orthodoxy and the very centre of all our Sacred Commemorations and of all our Everlasting Joy. Christ our Saviour selected His Twelve (and Seventy) Apostles, granted them Power to Preach about temporary defeat and Eternal Victory, and then sent them throughout the entire world, having commanded them to Preach and to Baptise in the Name of the Holy Trinity, to build up His Holy Church and to announce the Eternal Kingdom of God. And, dear Brethren, how those First Apostles very simple, uncomplicated people indeed went out and Preached and Baptised and subsequently changed the world forever! The ungodly world hated them, the Roman Empire persecuted them, and they were enshrouded with the blood of Holy Martyrdom, which was another Great Victory. Yet the Holy Church of Christ flourished and Gods Divine Truth rapidly spread throughout the Universe. After 300 years of the most unequal conflict between the powerful Roman Empire and the powerless Christian Church, the Roman Empire finally accepted Christ as Almighty Lord and Master. The Roman Empire acknowledged the One Whom it had crucified and all those whom it had persecuted as being Bearers of Truth, and their Teaching as the True Teaching of Eternal Life. That was the Second Triumph of Orthodoxy. And then during the ensuing centuries the second period of troubles and persecution began, which witnessed many attempts to distort the True Faith - to adjust it to human needs and limitations by twisting and entangling It with arrogant, heretical human concepts and misinterpretations. In each generation there have been those who could not accept that Sacred Message of the Lifegiving Cross of Christ, Resurrection and Eternal Life, so they have tried to change it, and those man-made distortions and errors are heretical and even sometimes blasphemous. On the First Sunday of Lent in 843 in Constantinople, after almost 100 years of bitter controversy and persecution directed against the veneration of Holy Icons, the Church finally proclaimed that the Truth has been defined and is fully possessed by the Holy Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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5th Sunday of Triodion 1st of Great Lent The Triumph of Orthodoxy 4 March 2012

And since then all Orthodox Christians wherever we live have gathered on this Sunday to proclaim before the world our Faith in that Divine Truth our unshakable Belief that our Holy Church is truly Apostolic, truly Orthodox and truly Universal. This is one of those significant, life-changing Events of the past that we commemorate today. However, let us ask ourselves: do all the Triumphs of Orthodoxy all Holy Victories belong to the past? Looking at the tragic state of the present era, we sometimes may feel that our only Consolation is to remember the past - THEN Orthodoxy was Glorious! THEN the Orthodox Church was powerful! THEN the Orthodox Church dominated! But what about this present era? My dear Brethren, if the Triumph of Orthodoxy only belonged to the past, if there is nothing else left for us to do except to Commemorate to merely repeat to ourselves how glorious the past was - then Orthodoxy would be dead. Yet here we are witnesses to the fact that Orthodox Christianity is certainly NOT dead and gone, but very much alive, flourishing and present and will be celebrated forever. Although we no longer have to defend our Holy Church against heretical controversies in our midst, WE DO
HAVE MANY OTHER THINGS THAT CHALLENGE OUR ORTHODOX FAITH. CONTINUOUSLY

We proclaim and pray for the Triumph of Orthodoxy in this country and throughout the world because we believe that it is not by mere accident or chance, but by Divine Providence that our Faith Christs Divine Truth - has reached all countries, all cities, all continents of Earth. After the terrible persecutions by the Roman Empire, by the Turks, by the godless atheists, after all the troubles that our Holy Church had to endure throughout the ages, a New Day has dawned.
MANY NEW CHALLENGES CONFRONT OUR ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY but with our firmly established

Divine Truth, Teachings and Faith we are able to rejoice today. We have a vision of the future due to our strong, vibrant Orthodox Faith that is thriving throughout the entire world, and we can see how our Faith, which for such a long time was regarded as something strange, alien and mysterious amongst the general population, has become truly Universal due to the fact that THESE TRUE DIVINE TEACHINGS OF GOD
HIMSELF CAN ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS OF ALL MANKIND. ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY IS 100% DIVINE TRUTH AND COMPLETE FAITH IN GOD, WHICH HAS BEEN MOST CAREFULLY PRESERVED AND PASSED DOWN TO US EXACTLY AS IT WAS PROCLAIMED BY CHRIST AND HIS HOLY DISCIPLES. And BECAUSE OUR HOLY CHURCH HAS SO CAREFULLY PRESERVED THE TEACHINGS AND ETERNAL WISDOM OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, HIS HOLY APOSTLES, OUR GOD-INSPIRED AND GUIDED CHURCH FATHERS AND MOTHERS, AND THE SAINTS, IN THEIR PUREST FORM, then, my dear Brethren, SHE CERTAINLY DOES HAVE THE ANSWERS TO ALL OUR HUMAN DOUBTS, FEARS, PROBLEMS AND SUFFERINGS.

Today, gathered here together Orthodox Christians of various nationalities we proclaim and glorify first of all our Unity in Orthodoxy our Unity in Divine Truth. This is the Triumph of Orthodox Christianity in the present. This is a most wonderful aspect of our Holy Orthodox Faith - that all of us, with our many differences, with all our limitations, with all our weaknesses, can gather together in Love and Worship - and declare our One, (unified and harmonious) Orthodox Faith that we are all One Holy Family in Christ. Although we may be living very far from those glorious ancient cities that were important centres of our Orthodox Faith for centuries Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Moscow - we are still Eastern Orthodox Christians. No matter how far away those cities may seem to be, a Divine Miracle has occurred throughout the world, for God has spread His True Teachings by many means especially through those who chose to immigrate to other parts of the earth not just to settle there, to increase personal wealth and welfare or to establish communities. God sent forth all those immigrants as His Apostles of Orthodoxy so that our True Faith, which was historically limited to the East, now has become a truly and completely Universal Faith. People crossed the ocean, without thinking so much about their Faith as about themselves, about their lives, about their future. They were usually poor and had a difficult life, so they built little Orthodox churches everywhere - not for others but for themselves - just to remember their homelands and to perpetuate their Holy Tradition and ethnic customs. They did not think of the future - yet the Holy Orthodox Church was spread throughout the world by means of these poor, struggling immigrants. Divine Truth itself - the Fullness of the Apostolic Faith was carried far and wide by ordinary Orthodox Christians - and here we are now, proclaiming this One, True Apostolic Faith the True Faith and Teachings that have strengthened the entire universe - leading us towards the Greatest of all Events, which still belongs to the future.

Our world today is extremely complex. It is changing all the time. And the more it changes, the more people fear, the more they are frightened by the future, the more they are preoccupied by what will happen to them. Consequently, ONLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY CAN
REASSURE US ALL BY CONFRONTING THE CHALLENGES OF MODERN CIVILIZATION AND REVEALING THE DIVINE POWER THAT GOD HAS BESTOWED ON US FOR THE TRANSFORMATION THE DEIFICATION, THE TRANSFIGURATION - OF ALL HUMAN LIFE.

The past, the present, the future: at the beginning, one lonely God-Man on His Cross a depiction of seemingly utter defeat. And if at that time we had been there with our weak human suppositions, we would probably have decided: "Thats the end! Nothing else can happen!" Our Lords Twelve Apostles and most of His Disciples had abandoned Him in fear and with a deep sense of despair hopelessness. The world was in darkness and everything seemed to be useless or even finished forever. Yet three days later, our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ appeared to His shocked Disciples, whose hearts burnt brightly within them when they knew without any doubt that He was definitely our Risen Lord. Ever since then, in every generation, there have been faithful Christians whose hearts burnt with their Love of God who experienced that Glorious Victory and Grace of Christ that compelled them to share their Knowledge of Divine Truth and Love with everyone else a need to proclaim It and teach It to all human souls that in turn would become Transforming Forces of God throughout human history.
THAT SAME SPIRITUAL RESPONSIBILITY IS OUR SACRED LEGACY even though we might feel that we are too

weak, too limited, too divided and separated and have too many obstacles to overcome. Yet today, throughout the entire world, on this Sunday of Orthodoxy, we all rejoice together in Spiritual Harmony and Unity: Priests and laity of various ethnic nationalities and Parish churches throughout the world, praying together - Faithful Christians who are truly united in Prayers of Thanksgiving and

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5th Sunday of Triodion 1st of Great Lent The Triumph of Orthodoxy 4 March 2012

5.

Worship of God for the Glorious Triumph of Orthodoxy. As we celebrate this Sunday of Orthodoxy, may God help us to maintain that Spiritual Triumph in our hearts, so that we never lose Hope in the ultimate Victory that overcomes all obstacles that Great Eternal Victory, which is the Victory of Christ Himself. Furthermore, at the most important moment of the Holy Eucharist, when the Concelebrant Priest proclaims: "Let us Love one another, that with one mind we may Confess...." we must PAY ATTENTION TO HIS WORDS, which are the real Triumph of Orthodoxy.
THE WAY LEADING TO THE REAL, FINAL AND ULTIMATE VICTORY OF OUR TRUE FAITH COMES FROM THE HOLY GOSPEL OF CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR from THE WHOLE HOLY TRADITION OF ORTHODOXY I.E. THE VERBAL AND WRITTEN TEACHINGS TOGETHER!

WE HAVE THE PROMISE OF CHRIST that if we have Faith, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. WE HAVE THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, that He

will fulfil all who are weak, that He will help us whenever we need His Divine Help. In other words, WE HAVE EVERYTHING THAT WE COULD
POSSIBLY NEED, AND THEREFORE ETERNAL VICTORY IS ASSURED - not insipid, temporary victory that can

be defined in terms of wealth, or success, or personal achievements. The Triumph of Orthodoxy that we are preaching, proclaiming and praying for today, is THE VICTORY
OF CHRIST IN EACH OF US AS STRUGGLING ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS which is the Ultimate, Glorious,

THE ONLY WAY IS LOVE Agape. Consequently, we must ...Love one another, that with one mind we may Confess . . . - we must Confess Our Faith, our Orthodoxy. We must feel responsible for each other because, even if we are divided into small Parishes, into small Dioceses, WE BELONG TOGETHER: to Christ, to His Body, to the Church so let us fulfil that responsibility and Love for one another. At the end of the first century when the Holy Church consisted of very small groups of a very small minority, in a society that was definitely antiChristian - at a time when the persecution was beginning St John the Divine, the beloved Apostle of Christ, wrote: "... this is the Victory our Faith - this is the Victory." Although there seemed to be no earthly Victory for the Holy Martyrs of that era, ST JOHN KNEW WITHOUT
DOUBT THAT IN OUR FAITH IN CHRIST WE CERTAINLY POSSESS AN EVERLASTING SPIRITUAL VICTORY THAT WILL ENDURE DESPITE ANY OBSTACLES OR OPPOSITION. WE HAVE THE DIVINE PROMISE OF CHRIST that the

and Eternal Victory of His Triumphant Church. Today is the Triumph of Orthodoxy, and as expressed in one of our Festal Hymns: "This is the Apostolic Faith! This is the Orthodox Faith! This is the Faith of the Fathers! This is the Faith that is the Foundation of the world!" My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: this is our Faith. We are Called by Christ. We are Elected. We are the happy few who can truly claim our Faith as being "Apostolic," "Universal," "the Faith of our Fathers," "Orthodoxy," "the Truth." Having been granted this most wonderful and priceless Treasure, let us PRESERVE IT WITH CARE AND NURTURE IT WITH LOVE (AGAPE) making the best possible use of it and appreciating it as the Triumphant Victory of Christ in us and in His Holy Church. Let us understand that each of us has to BE AN APOSTLE OF ORTHODOXY in a country which is not yet Orthodox, in a society which asks us: "What do you believe?" - "What is your Faith?" And let us, above everything else, PRESERVE AND
NURTURE THE MEMORY, THE EXPERIENCE AND THE TASTE OF THIS HOLY UNITY which we share today.

Amen.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: TO LOVE IS TO REMEMBER BY PROTOPRESBYTER ALEXANDER SCHMEMANN CHAIR OF LITURGICAL THEOLOGY. NY, ST. VLADIMIRS ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, MARCH 1985.

Gates of Hell will NEVER prevail against His Holy Church. When venerating Holy Icons, we make the Sign of the Cross, then kiss the Icon, and once more make the Sign of the Cross with a Metanoia (bow) - thrice for Christ! We kiss the Feet or Hand of Christ or, in the case of the "Not-made-by-hands" Icon (Mandylion), the Hair (never the Face!). Theotokos and Saints are reverenced on their hands. During Lenten seasons, Metanias are replaced by Prostrations. Out of respect for the Commandment against graven images, Orthodox Icons avoid strongly three dimensional effects. The Perspective is flattened or even inversed. Hagiographers who write the Icons do so in a prayerful state. The first Holy "Images" or Icons were painted by St. Luke-and some of these (of Theotokos holding the Christ Child) survive to this day and are greatly venerated. Walls of the Roman catacombs provide dazzling and moving Fresco-Icons depicting Christ and the Truths of our Faith from Verbal and Written Holy Tradition (Teachings) - Theotokos holding the Christ Child, certain early Martyrs, and various Holy Mysteries (such as the Eucharist, Baptism, etc.). Some of these date from the end of the first century, when certain Apostles and Disciples were still living. These early Icons show how the first Christians "...were accustomed to consider themselves not so much as individuals but rather as members of the Church." (THE
ROMAN CATACOMBS AND THEIR MARTYRS)

http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/orthodoxy1985.html

The Veneration of Holy Icons The Windows into Heaven


Holy Icons are venerated and used in Church, because as St Paul explained to the Romans, we understand the invisible through the visible. (ROMANS 1:19-20) Through the Incarnation of Christ the invisible God was made visible. Thus we do not honour Icons as "...living things or gods..." but as ...types and Signs of God and His Beloved Saints." Icons help us to see Christ just as the Cross helps us to remember why He died for us and were first produced by St Luke and others who tried to copy the Mysterious Image Not Made by Hands of the Holy Mandylion or Burial Face Cloth of Christ. Icons remind us to serve, worship and offer thanksgiving to God and also remind us of the good qualities of Christ and His Holy Saints whom we should strive to imitate. Christ created the first image, therefore validating the use of such images in His Holy Church. Those who are illiterate are able to understand the Verbal and Written Teachings by looking at the Holy Icons which also keep us focused on God during Holy Services. Just as we have photographs of our beloved family and friends to remind us of them, so too are Holy Icons a means of remembering our beloved Patron Saints in whose honour we are named, as well as those Holy Saints whose good example we try to emulate, or to whom we turn for Intercessory Prayers to God on our behalf.

The veneration of Icons is not directed at the physical Icon but at the Prototype whom the image depicts. With regards to the representation of Christ, St John of Damascus, the great Defender of Holy Icons, argued that it was right to represent Christ in human form because He became Incarnate - He "...became visible in the Flesh.

6.

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Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glo ry, Honour and Wo rship to t he Father, and to the Son, and to th e Holy Spirit, now and fo rever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glo rious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, 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.

9 M a r ch 2 0 1 2
40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste:
St Acacios, St Aetios, St Aglaios, St Alexander, St Angos, St Athanasios, St Candidos, St Chudion, , , , , , , , , St Claudios, St Cyril, St Cyrion, St Dometian, St Domnos, St Ecdicios, St Elias, St Eunoicos, St Eutyches, , , , , , , , , , St Eutychios, St Flavios, St Gaios, St Gorgonios, St Helianos, St Herachos, St Hesychios, St John, , , , , , , , , St Lysimachos, St Meliton, St Nicholas, St Philoctemon, St Priscos, St Sacerdon, St Severian, St Sisinios, , , , , , , , , St Smaragdos, St Theodulos, St Theophilos, St Valens, St Valerios, St Vivianos, and St Xanthias. , , , , , , . Also the Feast of St Urpasianos of Nicomedia St Caesarios, (brother of St Gregory the Theologian) St Tarasios of Liconium

Apolytikion Of The 40 Holy Martyrs Algidonas ton Agion, as iper Sou epathon, disopithiti Kyrie, ke pasas imon tas odinas, iase Filanthrope, deometha. Theotokion esarkouto O ton olon Despotis, en Si ti Agia Kivoto, os efi O Dikeos David. Edihthis platitera ton Ouranon, Vastasasa ton ktiston Sou. Doxa to enikisanti en Si! Doxa to proelthonti ek Sou! Doxa to elevtherosanti imas dia tou tokou Sou!

Tas

Be

Entreated, O Lord, by the Sufferings endured for Thee by Thy Saints, and we pray Thee: heal all our pain. Hail! With that cry the Lord of all became Incarnate in Thee, the Holy Tabernacle, as prophesied by the Righteous David: Thou hast manifested Thyself more spacious than the heavens, in that Thou hast borne Thy Creator. Glory to Him Who abode in Thee! Glory to Him Who came forth from Thee! Glory to Him Who through Thy Birth-giving hath set us free! Forty Champions of the Lord, you abandoned the armies of the world and attached yourselves to the Master in Heaven. Having gone through fire and water, O Blessed Ones, you worthily won Glory from Heaven and a multitude of Crowns.

Tou Gavriil fthegxamenou Si Parthene to here, Sin ti foni As Gabriel proclaimed to Thee, O Virgin:

Kontakion Of The 40 Holy Martyrs (6) Plagal 2

Pasan Stratian tou kosmou katalipontes, to en Ouranis O


Despoti prosekollithite, Athloforie Kyriou Tessarakonta; dia piros gar ke idatos, dielthontes makarii, epaxios ekomisasthe, Doxan ek ton Ouranon, ke Stefanon plithin.

Matins Gospel Luke 21 : 12 19


Difficulties Confronted by Faithful Disciples of Christ

At that time, our Lord Jesus said; ... before all these things, people will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the Synagogues and prisons. You will be taken before Kings and Rulers for My Names sake, but it will turn out for you as an opportunity for Testimony. Therefore settle it in your heart not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and Wisdom that all you adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My Names sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your Patience possess your souls!

The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 12: 1 10


Pay Careful Attention To Gods Chastening As Well Are His Divine Promises

Brethren: since we are surrounded by so great a Cloud of Witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with Endurance the Race that is set before us, looking to Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, Who for the Joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. For consider Him Who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted against bloodshed - striving against sin. And you have forgotten the Exhortation that speaks to you as to sons: My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord. Do not be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord Loves He Chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure Chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a Father does not chasten? But if you are without Chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we respected them. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and Live? For they indeed - for a few days - chastened us as seemed best to them, but He Chastens us for our Profit so that we may be Partakers of His Holiness.

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 20: 1 16


The First & The Last To Enter The Kingdom Of God

At that time, our Lord Jesus Christ said: ...the Kingdom of Heaven is like a Landowner Who went out early in the morning to hire Labourers for His Vineyard. Now when He had agreed with the Labourers on one denarius a day, He sent them into His Vineyard. And He went out about the Third Hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them: You also go into the Vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you. So they went. Again He went out about the Sixth and the Ninth Hour and did likewise. And about the Eleventh Hour He went out and found others standing idle, and said to them: Why have you been standing here idle all day? They said to Him: Because no one hired us. He said to them: You also go into the Vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.

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5th Sunday of Triodion 1st of Great Lent The Triumph of Orthodoxy 4 March 2012

7.

So when evening had come the Owner of the Vineyard said to His Steward: Call the Labourers and give them their Wages, beginning with the last to the first. And when those who had been hired about the Eleventh Hour came, they each received a denarius. And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; yet they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the Landowner, saying: These last Labourers have worked only one hour, and Thou made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day. And He answered one of them saying: Friend, I Am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with Me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as you. Is it not lawful for Me to do what I wish with My own Things? Or is your eye evil because I Am Good? So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are Called but few chosen.

The Martyrdom of the Holy Forty Martyrs


When Emperor Licinios ruled the eastern half of the Roman Empire (307-323 AD), it was his evil intent to eliminate Christianity from the lands under his control, and especially, for fear of treason, among the troops. One of his supporters was a sadist named Agricola who commanded the forces in the Armenian town of Sebaste, in what is now eastern Turkey. Among his soldiers were forty devout Christians who wielded equally well the sword of battle and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (EPHESIANS 6:17). These men formed an elite bodyguard but when it came to Agricola's attention that they were Christians, he was determined to force them to renounce their' Faith and bow down to the pagan gods so he gave them two alternatives: "Either offer sacrifice to the gods and earn great honours, or, in the event of your disobedience, be stripped of your military rank and fall into disgrace." The soldiers were thrown into prison to think this over but that night they strengthened themselves by singing Psalms and praying. At midnight they were filled with Holy Fear upon hearing the Voice of the Lord saying: "Good is the beginning of your resolve, but he who endures to the end will be Saved." (MATTHEW
10:22)

The next morning Agricola summoned them once again and tried to persuade them with flattery - praising their valour and their physical beauty. However, the soldiers remained unmoved, so they were again imprisoned for a week while awaiting the arrival of Licinios, the Roman Ruler. During this time the forty devout Soldiers prepared themselves for martyrdom and one of them, St Cyrion, exhorted his fellow soldiers: "God so ordained that we made friends with each other in this temporary life; let us try not to separate even in Eternity; just as we have been found pleasing to a mortal king, so let us strive to be worthy of the favour of the Immortal King, Christ our God." He reminded his comrades how God had miraculously helped them in times of battle and re-assured them that He would not forsake them now in their battle against the invisible enemy. When Licinios arrived, the soldiers marched bravely and proudly to their interrogation, singing the Psalm, "O God, in Thy Name Save me", as they always did when approaching the enemy on the battlefield. (PSALM 53) Licinios repeated Agricola's methods of persuasion, alternating between threats and flattery and when he realised it was all to no avail, he ordered the Forty Soldiers to be kept imprisoned until the executioners could think of form of slow torture that would change their attitude. After their Prayers that night, for a second time the devout soldiers heard the Voice of the Lord: "He who believes in Me, although he die, yet shall he live. Be bold and have no fear of short-lived torment, which soon passes; endure... that you may receive Crowns." When Licinios threatened to strip them of their status as Roman Soldiers, St Candidos, responded: "Not only the honour of being a soldier, but take away our bodies as well, for nothing is more dear or honourable, to us than Christ our God!" So the order was given to stone the Holy Martyrs to death but mysteriously not one stone hit a Martyr but spun around and struck the persecutors instead even the Commander's face was struck and his teeth knocked out. The next day the Forty Martyrs were marched to a frozen lake. It was a bitterly cold winter and an icy wind made the conditions worse. The soldiers were stripped naked and forced to stand through the night in the freezing waters. A guard was set to watch over them.

In order to tempt the Holy Warriors of Christ, warm baths were set up on the side of the lake. Anyone who agreed to sacrifice to the idols could flee the bitterly cold waters and warm his frozen bones, which was a great temptation that defeated one of the soldiers but scarcely had he reached the baths, when he dropped to the ground and died. Seeing this, the other Martyrs prayed all the more earnestly to God: "Help us, O God our Saviour, for here we stand in the water and our feet are stained with our blood; ease the burden of our oppression and tame the cruelty of the air. O Lord our God, on Thee do we hope - let us not be ashamed, but let all understand that we who call upon Thee have been Saved." Their Prayer was heard. In the third hour of the night a warm Light bathed the holy Martyrs and melted the ice around them. By this time all but one of the guards had fallen asleep, and he was amazed to witness the death of the soldier who had fled to the baths and to see that the other Martyrs were still alive. The extraordinary Light caused him to glance upward to see where it came from and he saw thirty-nine Radiant Crowns descending onto the heads of the Saints. Immediately, he was filled with Enlightenment and the Knowledge of Divine Truth, so he roused the sleeping guards and, throwing off his clothes, ran into the lake shouting for all to hear: "I, too, am a Christian!" His name was Aglaios, and he returned the number of Holy Martyrs once again to forty. In the morning the evil authorities went to the lake and were enraged to find that not only were the captives still alive, but that one of their own guards had joined them, so they were then taken back to prison where their legs were crushed by sledge-hammers. The mother of one of the youngest Martyrs, St Meliton, stood by and encouraged them to endure this trial and to their last breath the Forty Martyrs continued to chant as loudly as possible: "Our Help is in the Name of the Lord!" and slowly, in excruciating agony, they all gave up their souls to God except St Meliton who remained alive, although barely breathing. Taking her dying son upon her shoulders, the mother followed the cart on which the bodies of the Holy Martyrs were being taken to be burnt and when her son at last gave up his soul, she gently placed him on the cart together with his fellow Athletes of Christ. The funeral-pyre burnt out leaving only the Sanctified Bones of the Holy Martyrs but knowing that the Faithful would collect them for burial they were thrown into the nearby river. However, the Holy Martyrs appeared to the Blessed Bishop, St Peter of Sebaste, and told him where to recover the bones from the river. He and his Clergy went secretly that night to the river where the Relics of the Martyrs shone like stars in the water, enabling them to be collected to the very last fragment. And these Holy Martyrs continue to shine, encouraging and inspiring us to always be Faithful to Christ - even to the end and despite all temporary trials. Thus they finished the Good Course of Holy Martyrdom in 320, and their names are: Acacios, Aetios, Aglaios, Alexander, Angos, Athanasios, Candidos, Chudion, Claudios, Cyril, Cyrion, Dometian, Domnos, Ecdicios, Elias, Eunoicos, Eutyches, Eutychios, Flavios, Gaios, Gorgonios, Helianos, Herachos, Hesychios, John, Lysimachos, Meliton, Nicholas, Philoctemon, Priscos, Sacerdon, Severian, Sisinios, Smaragdos, Theodulos, Theophilos, Valens, Valerios, Vivianos, and Xanthias. May their memories be Eternal.

8.

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40 Holy Martyrs Of Sebaste

9 March 2012

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honou r and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, 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.

6th Sunday of Triodion Tone (6) Plagal 2 11 March 2 0 1 2 2nd Sunday of Great Lent Sunday of St Gregory Palamas
Also the Feast of St Sophronios of Jerusalem St Euthymios of Novgorod St Pionios, St Limnos the Holy Hieromartyrs together with St Sabina, St Macedonia & St Asclepiades of Smyrna St Epimachos of Pelusium, Translation of Holy Relcs St Sophronios of Vratcha, Bulgaria St Sophronios the Hermit of Kiev Caves
R e s u r r e c t i o n A p o l y t i k i o n TONE (6) PLAGAL 2

Angelike

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

The Angelic Powers were in Thy Sepulchre, and the guards


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

Apolytikion Of St Gregory Palamas

Orthodoxias

O Fostir, Ekklisias to stirigma ke Didaskale, ton Monaston i Kalloni, ton Theologon ipermahos aprosmahitos, Grigorie Thavmatourge, Thessalonikis to kafhima, krix tis haritos, iketeve dia pantos, sothine tas psihas imon.

Orthodoxys

Great Star, Support and Teacher of the Church, the beauty of the Monks, and invincible Protector of the Theologians, O Gregory, Worker of Miracles, the Pride of Thessaloniki, Preacher of Grace, forever dost thou intercede, that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion of the Ever Blessed Theotokos

Prostasia

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

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

Resurrection Gospel 6 Luke Prokeimenon

24 : 35 53

Our Lord Jesus Appears To The Apostles & Ascends To Heaven

O Lord, protect us and preserve us, both now and forever. Save us, O Lord, for there is not one Godly man left!
St Pauls Epistle to the Hebrews 1 :10 2 : 3
Our Lord Jesus Christ is without Beginning and the Divine Creator of All Brethren: God the Father said to His Son: Thou, O Lord, in the beginning laid the Foundation of the earth, and the Heavens are the Work of Thy Hands. They will perish, but Thou remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak Thou will fold them up, and they will be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not fail. Yet to which of the Angels has He ever said: Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy Footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits who are sent forth to minister to those who will inherit Salvation? Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.St Paul has used the quotation from Psalm 101:26-28 which concerns GOD THE FATHER ADDRESSING ANOTHER HIS SON AS LORD, AS GOD. US AS WE JOURNEY THROUGH THIS EXISTENCE V The Sacred Role of Angels the Holy Messengers of TOWARDS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST. God is ...to minister to those who will ... we must give the more earnest heed... is St Pauls inherit Salvation. serious admonition against WILFUL NEGLIGENCE AND At the beginning of the New Covenant Era, many Hebrews believed that the Angels still mediated the Old Covenant. THE HOLY ANGELS OF GOD MOST CERTAINLY SERVED
THE DIVINE ANGEL OR MESSENGER OF GOD THE FATHER I.E. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE INCARNATE SON OF GOD WHILE HE LIVED AMONGST US, until His Death on the Cross and CARELESSNESS, WHICH IS A SLOW PROCESS OF SPIRITUAL DRIFTING AWAY FROM GOD AND INTO SPIRITUAL EXILE AND SIN. Therefore, WE MUST REMAIN ALERT AND SPIRITUALLY WATCHFUL AT ALL TIMES for the evil one always

His descent into Hades, where they could not go, having nothing to do with Death and Hades. Rather than ruling over humanity, THE HOLY ANGELS OF GOD
ARE OUR PARTNERS IN OUR HOLY SERVICE TO GOD.

waits for the smallest opportunity to destroy us and our wonderful Relationship with God and our fellow struggling sinners. We must learn to APPLY ALL OUR LORDS TEACHINGS
AND REVELATIONS TO OUR PERSONAL LIFE.

We must also learn to HEAR THE VOICE OF OUR


GUARDIAN ANGELS WHO WORK JUST AS CEASELESSLY TO DRAW US CLOSER TO GOD AND WHO HELP US ENDURE DIFFICULTIES AND TO RESIST TEMPTATION.

THEY ARE OUR GUARDIAN ANGELS WHO GUIDE,


ENLIGHTEN, CAUTION, PROTECT AND WATCH OVER

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t h

Triodion 2

n d

L e n t S t G r e g o r y P a l a m a s - 1 1 M a r c h 2 0 1 2 9.

The Holy Gospel According to St Mark 2 : 1 - 12


The Faith of the Paralytic and His Four Friends

At that time, Jesus entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that he was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the Word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near to Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the rood where He was and when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their Faith, He said to the paralytic: Son, your sins are forgiven you. And some of the Scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts: Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins except God alone? And immediately Jesus perceived in His Spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves so He said to them: Why do you reason about these things in your heart? Which is easier, to say to the Paralytic, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise! Take up your bed and walk!? But that you may know that the Son of Man has Power on earth to forgive sins... He turned to the paralytic, ...I say to you: Arise! Take up your bed, and go to your house. Immediately he arose, took up his bed and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying: We never saw anything like this! OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HEALS COMPLETELY As shown by the healing of this paralysed man, FAITH IS

V V

CERTAINLY AN INDISPENSABLE CONDITION FOR OUR SALVATION. FAITH IS COLLECTIVE AS WELL AS PERSONAL for THE PROFOUND FAITH OF THE PARALYSED MANS FRIENDS CONTRIBUTED TO HIS MIRACULOUS HEALING. This incident revealed THREE CLEAR SIGNS OF OUR LORD JESUS DIVINITY HIS DIVINE NATURE: OUR LORD JESUS KNOWS THE SECRETS OF ALL HEARTS AND SOULS.

1 K I N G D O M S 1 6 : 7 L X X : The Lord said to Samuel:

Have no regard for his outward appearance, nor for the maturity of his stature, because I have refused him, for mankind does not see as God sees, for mankind looks at the outward appearance, while the Lord sees into the heart. St Cyprianos believed that GODS JUDGEMENT WILL NOT BE
MERELY BASED ON OUTWARD APPEARANCES, BUT WILL PENETRATE MUCH DEEPER INTO THE HEART AND SOUL OF EVERYONE FOR GOD CLEARLY SEES THE HEART AND THE MIND OF EVERY HUMAN BEING, AND HE WILL JUDGE EACH SOUL ACCORDING TO OUR DEEDS, OUR WORDS AND OUR THOUGHTS!

PHYSICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY BY THE POWER OF HIS DIVINE WORD ALONE. THE ONE MAIN DIVINE PURPOSE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRISTS COMING INTO OUR WORLD IS FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND GRANTING US ETERNAL LIFE IN HIS DIVINE KINGDOM OF LOVE. OUR WILLING REPENTANCE OF OUR PERSONAL SINS IS AN CEASELESS STRUGGLE WHEREBY WE ARE SET FREE BY THE GRACE OF GOD FROM THE BONDAGE AND ENSLAVEMENT OF THE EVIL ONE WHO ENSNARES AND ENTRAPS US WITH ALL HIS DEVIOUS TEMPTATIONS. THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS IS A FAR GREATER POWER THAN PHYSICAL HEALING, because, as the Scribes correctly

stated, GOD ALONE CAN FORGIVE SINS! Consequently, it is far easier for Christ to grant physical healing to those who seek it, but OUR SPIRITUAL
HEALING REQUIRES US TO HUMBLE OURSELVES, RECOGNISE OR IDENTIFY OUR SINS AND THEN EXPOSE THEM TO THE DIVINE LIGHT OF GOD, SEEKING HIS DIVINE FORGIVENESS. SIMILARLY, THE FORGIVENESS OF ONE ANOTHER ALSO REQUIRES THE EXPOSURE TO THE DIVINE LIGHT OF TRUTH SINCE ALL TOO OFTEN THE SO-CALLED VICTIM IS THE INITIAL OFFENDER AND NEEDS TO RECTIFY DEEP SEATED, HIDDEN SIN, WHICH IS ONLY POSSIBLE WHEN TRUE HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE TO GOD IS SINCERELY SOUGHT. ALTHOUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS FULLY DIVINE (GOD) AND HE POSSESSES COMPLETE DIVINE AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS, IN THIS INCIDENT HE CONDESCENDED TO THOSE WHO HAD GATHERED AROUND HIM, BY HEALING THE PARALYSED MAN IN ORDER TO DRAW THEM ALL CLOSER TO ALMIGHTY GOD WHOM THEY THEN GLORIFIED FOR HIS GREAT MERCY.

2 C H R O N I C L E S 6 : 3 0 L X X : ... hear from Heaven,

Thy Dwelling Place, and forgive them. And grant to everyone according to his ways, for Thou know his heart, since Thou alone know the hearts of the sons of mankind... OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST FORGIVES SINS A DIVINE
POWER THAT BELONGS TO GOD ALONE

Second Sunday of Lent, St. Gregory Palamas.


Brethren, we have lived this week in the Light of last Sunday the Triumph of Orthodoxy. A wonderful feature was pointed out to us in the Gospel which was then read: St Philip found St Nathanael, and said to him: We have found Him, of Whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said to him: Can anything good come out of Nazareth? (JOHN 1:45-46). Both of them, St Philip and St Nathanael, wanted to believe in the Right Way to praise God worthily and correctly - to be Orthodox. But for them it meant first of all to determine Who was the True Messiah. With such an intention they approached Christ and when Christ saw St Nathanael, He remarked: "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
THIS IS THE ULTIMATE AND MOST SUPREME PRAISE FROM GOD HIMSELF! THIS REVEALS HIS RESPECT AND LOVE FOR GENUINE, HEARTFELT HONESTY AS OPPOSED TO THE DESPICABLE HYPOCRASY!

And all because Christ touched his heart - touched something intimate lying deep, deep within St Nathanaels heart. The Triumph of Orthodoxy always starts in a persons heart, and only afterwards is it expressed externally. True, sometimes there are cases when the external attracts the heart, as if waking it up. But for this to happen, there must be something in the heart that makes such an Awakening possible. God and True Love Agape - demands our heart. To serve God without heart - Orthodoxy without heart - is the same as a person without heart i.e. it would be heartless!
WHEN TEACHING US ABOUT FASTING, OUR LORD JESUS CAUTIONED US THAT IT WAS NOT MERELY WHAT WE PUT INTO OUR MOUTHS TO EAT, BUT RATHER WHAT CAME OUT OF OUR MOUTHS WHEN WE SPEAK FOR OUR WORDS AND DEEDS EXPOSE THE REAL CONDITION OF OUR HEART OUR MOST INNER BEING OUR TRUE SPIRITUAL STATE. AS ONE OF OUR GREAT SAINTS PUT IT: ALTHOUGH WE MAY FAST FROM MEAT, WE CONTINUE TO DEVOUR OUR BRETHREN! THUS NOT ONLY MUST WE DENY OURSELVES THE PLEASURES OF THE FLESH SUCH AS EATING, DRINKING AND INDULGING IN PHYSICAL PLEASURES, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE MUST CONSTANTLY DENY OURSELVES THE GRIEVOUS VICES I.E. WE MUST STRIVE TO FULFIL THE SPIRITUAL FAST, WHICH CLEANSES AND CORRECTS OUR HEART AND SOUL!!

And when St Nathanael asked Him how He knew him, He responded by saying: Before Philip called you when you were under the fig tree - I saw you."
(JOHN 1:47-48).

Although we do not know what happened under the fig tree, we do know that Christ got right to the heart of St Nathanael. And St Nathanael immediately responded by honestly and correctly identifying and praising Christ as the True Lord God our long awaited Saviour - and in this way St Nathanael became the first Orthodox Christian.

And todays Gospel Lesson concerning the Paralytic and his four good friends concerns the same aspects. A paralysed man was brought to our Lord - carried by four people who obviously cared deeply for him. Unable to get near to Christ because of the multitude, they carried him to top of the house, removed a section of the sun-baked clay roof and made a hole large enough through which to carefully lower the bed with the Paralytic on it, and positioned him at the Feet of our Lord.

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6 Triodion 2 Lent St Gregory Palamas Paralytic & Friends - 11 March 2012

How difficult it must have been for them to achieve their goal and received Healing for their friend. Yet this is the fulfilment of the Commandment of Love in external Life in Christ. Yes, such is Life in the Triumph of Orthodoxy! And its Holy Source is True Faith in God: "When Jesus saw their Faith, He said to the Paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven..." These four friends had complete Faith in their hearts, and this Faith impelled them to make every effort to help their paralysed friend and seeing such deep, genuine Faith, our Lord Jesus helped them all. The external Miracle happened as a result of the internal condition of their heart and soul. God did not say at once to the Paralytic: "Arise, take up your bed..." but instead He said: Son, your sins are forgiven you. See: not the external (Healing) first, but the internal state of the heart (Faith). After all, sin lurks in the heart. A heart that is paralyzed by sin cannot or refuses to SEE AND KNOW GOD IN CHRIST and cannot rightly praise Him with heart and soul! And in the case of this Paralytic, our Saviour healed his heart by releasing it of all the chains and shackles of sin and made it Orthodox. And then followed the external: ...I say to you: Arise! Take up your bed, and go to your house. But what would have happened if our Lord had started with the external Healing? The Paralytic would have been Healed in the same Miraculous manner. He would have taken his bed and In one of the Psalms are the following words: Those who have sown with tears will reap with joy... If in the course of weeks of preparation we have seen all that is ugly and unworthy in us mirrored in the Parables and, if we have stood before the judgement of our conscience and of our God, then we have truly sown in tears our own Salvation. And yet, there is still time because even at harvest time, God grants us a respite - as we progress towards the Kingdom of God, towards the Day of the Resurrection, we still can, at every moment, in the Hope of Salvation, in sight of the Victory of God, turn to Him with Gratitude and broken, contrite hearts, and say: O Lord! perhaps I am the worker of the Eleventh Hour, yet receive me as Thou has Promised to do! Last week we commemorated the Triumph of Orthodoxy, when our Holy Church proclaimed the legitimacy and right of Holy Icons of Christ ( AS WELL AS THOSE OF THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS AND ALL THE SAINTS) a Proclamation that was not a declaration about art, but which was a deeply Theological Proclamation of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The Old Testament had cautioned us that God cannot be represented by any image because He was an unfathomable Divine Mystery. Furthermore, God could not be named except by means of the Mysterious Name that only the High Priest knew and was permitted to utter. However, according to the New Testament we have learnt and we know from Experience - that God has became Man, that the Fullness of the Divine Godhead has remained and will remain so forever in the Flesh. Consequently, God has a human Name: Jesus - and He has a human Face that can be represented in Holy Icons. Thus Holy Icons are Theological Proclamations of our certainty our Faith - that Eternal, Almighty God has become Man. And the Eternal Son of God became Man in order achieve Ultimate, Tragic and Glorious Solidarity with us - to be one of us so that we may be Children of God and CoHeir with Christ Jesus. Our Lord became Man that we may become gods - as Holy Scripture tells us. And so last week already, we could rejoice - and this is why, a week before, when we were already preparing

departed, but still with a heart and soul that was dead from sin. He would have been a living corpse Spiritually Dead! And that is what the arrogant Pharisees, who constantly watched and criticised, could not and would not understand. So Christ asked them : ...Which is easier, to say to the Paralytic, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise! Take up your bed and walk!? But that you may know that the Son of Man has Power on earth to forgive sins... and He turned to the Paralytic: ...I say to you: Arise! Take up your bed, and go to your house. To this Paralysed Man the Lord granted both the necessary internal and external Blessings: Forgiveness and Healing, which is exactly what we constantly need from God for our habitual, destructive and enslaving sins. Afterwards, the overjoyed, healed Paralytic and his Faithful Friends returned home, taking with them that great Triumph of Orthodoxy True Faith, Enlightenment and Divine Knowledge which, no doubt would have been shared and celebrated by their families. And thus, St. Gregory Palamas, to whom this Sunday of Great Lent is dedicated, clearly shows us by his own good example that Life in Christ our Orthodox Life in Christ, always begins in our heart, and only then expresses itself in Feats of Asceticism.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: ONE THING NEEDFUL BY ARCHBISHOP ANDREI (RYMARENKO, 1893-1978)

http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/sermons_archbishop_andrei.h tm

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh On Sunday of St Gregory Palamas


to meet this Miracle, this Wonder of the Incarnation, softly, in an almost inaudible way, the Church was singing the Canon of Holy Pascha: Hristos Anesti... Christ is Risen ...! It is not a Promise for the future - it is a Certainty of the present that is open to us like a Door for us to enter Eternity and we enter Eternal Life and the Kingdom of God through Christ Who the Door as He told us Himself. Today we commemorate St Gregory Palamas - one of the great Saints of Orthodoxy, who fought against heresy and doubt. From within his own Ascetic Experience and the Spiritual Experience of all Faithful Believers St Gregory Palamas taught us that Divine Grace is not a created gift but God Himself, communicating with us so that we are pervaded by His Presence and gradually become transparent or at least translucent by His Divine, Uncreated Light but this is only possible if we welcome Him, open ourselves to Him, and become incipiently and ever increasingly Partakers of His Divine Nature. It is not simply a vague, possible Divine Promise but definitely a Reality of Life in Christ, because that has happened to thousands of thousands of men, women and children whom we venerate as Holy Saints of God: they became True Partakers of Divine Nature and they are our Perfect Examples of Sacred Revelation and the certainty of what we are all Called by God to be and to become similar to our Lord Jesus Christ in Image and in Likeness, as He created us! And today one step more brings us closer to the Joy and the Glory of Holy Pascha. Next week we will hymn the Holy, Life-giving Cross of Christ - the Holy Cross that was at first a horrific torture of criminals, but which, through the Blood of Christ our Saviour, has become Sign of Eternal Victory and Salvation, because It now signifies to all Faithful Christians that Gods infinite and unconditional Love Agape - has no measure, no limits, is as deep and unfathomable as God Himself, is as all-embracing as He is, and indeed, as tragically Victorious as Christ our Lord was both Tragic and Victorious, Awe-inspiring shining brightly with the quiet, Joyful Light of which we sing in Vespers.

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t h

Triodion 2

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L e n t S t G r e g o r y P a l a m a s - 1 1 M a r c h 2 0 1 2 11.

Let us prepare ourselves for that Glorious Vision of the Holy, Life-giving Cross of Christ. Let us look at the Holy Cross and behold the Sign of Divine Love the New Certainty of our possible Salvation! And as we sing - this time more loudly - the Canon of the Resurrection, let us realise that step by step God leads us into the Most Glorious, Honourable Victory that He Himself has won, and which He wants to share with us. And then we will move onwards - we will listen to St John Klimakos (of the Ladder of Divine Ascent) who teaches us how to receive the Divine Grace that God offers to us - how to become worthy of Him. One more step - and we will witness the Victory of God in St Mary of Egypt and so arrive at the threshold of Holy Week. St Gregory Palamas was born in 1296 in Constantinople, the son of a prominent dignitary at the court of Andronicos II Paleologos (1282-1328). When his father died, Emperor Andronicos took on the responsibility of raising and educating him, and being endowed with fine abilities and great diligence, St Gregory mastered the medieval higher education. The Emperor had hoped that St Gregory would devote himself to government work but in 1316, at barely twenty years old, he went to Vatopedi Monastery, Mount Athos, where he was Tonsured and, under the Spiritual Guidance of the Elder, St Nicodemos, began his Life of Asceticism. A year later, the Holy Evangelist and Beloved Apostle of Christ, St John the Theologian, appeared to him in a Vision and promised him his Spiritual Protection. (St Gregory's mother and sisters also became devout Monastics.) After the repose of St Nicodemos the Elder, St Gregory spent the following eight years in Spiritual Struggle under the guidance of another Wise Elder, St Nicephoros, and when he also fell asleep in the Lord, St Gregory transferred to the Holy Lavra of St Athanasios where he served in the Refectory and chanted in Church. Three years later he resettled in the small Skete of Glossia, where the Abbot began to teach him the method of Unceasing Noetic (inward, mental) Prayer, which had been cultivated by the Monastics, beginning with the great Desert Ascetics of the fourth century, such as Evagrios Pontikos and St Makarios of Egypt. Later, in the Eleventh Century St Simeon the New Theologian provided detailed instructions for inward ceaseless or Noetic Prayer and Contemplation of God, which the Holy Ascetics of Mount Athos perfected. The experienced use of Mental or Noetic Prayer (or Prayer of the heart), requiring complete solitude and quietness, is called "Hesychasm" (from the Greek word "hesychia" - meaning calmness, silence), and those who practised it were called "Hesychasts." During his stay at Glossia the future Hierarch, St Gregory became fully imbued with the spirit of Hesychasm and adopted it as an essential part of his Holy Life. In 1326, due to the threat of Turkish invasions, he and his Holy Brethren retreated to Thessalonica, where he was ordained into the Holy Priesthood. St Gregory combined his Priestly Duties with the Holy Life of a Hermit. Five days of the week he spent in Silence and Prayer, and only on Saturday and Sunday did he join his Flock to celebrate the Divine Services and to preach his Inspired Sermons. For those present in Church, his Teaching often evoked both tenderness and tears. Sometimes he visited Theological gatherings of the city's educated youth, headed by the future Patriarch, St Isidore. Having returned from a visit to Constantinople, St Gregory Palamas found a suitable place for Solitary Life near Thessalonica in the region of Bereia where a small Community of Solitary Monks gathered under St Gregory Palamas Spiritual Guidance for the following five years.

Nevertheless, let us remember that we are now in the time of Newness. We are now in a time when God's Victory is being revealed to us! We have been Called by God to embrace His Eternal, Divine Victory and to respond with ceaseless gratitude and Thanksgiving that makes us His New People His New Israel whose hearts are filled with His Joy, Peace and Love. Our hearts are filled with unique Tearful Joy because we have responded to the Love and Joy of God. Amen
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS SUNDAY BY METROPOLITAN ANTHONY OF SOUROZH - 11 MARCH 1990

http://www.mitras.ru/eng/eng_30.htm

St Gregory Palamas
In the 1330s momentous and controversial Events occurred that affected the Holy Life and Teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which put St Gregory Palamas among the most significant universal Apologists of Orthodoxy, and brought him great renown as a Teacher of Hesychasm. About 1330 the learned Monk, Barlaam, had arrived in Constantinople from Calabria, in Italy. He was the author of Treatises on Logic and Astronomy and was a skilled and sharp-witted orator, who -having received a University Chair in the capital city - began to expound on the works of St Dionysios the Areopagite whose "apophatic" ("negative", in contrast to "kataphatic" or "positive") Theology was acclaimed in equal measure both in the Eastern and the Western Churches. Barlaam went to Mount Athos, where he became acquainted with the Spiritual Life of the Hesychasts. Declaring it impossible to know the Essence of God, he declared Noetic (Mental) Prayer to be heretical error. Then, while travelling from Mount Athos to Thessalonica, and from there to Constantinople, and later again to Thessalonica, Barlaam had bitter disputes with the devout Monks and even dared to try to demonstrate that the Uncreated Light witnessed by the Holy Apostles at Christs Glorious Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, was merely of a created, material nature!! Barlaam ridiculed the Inspired Teachings of the Holy Monks concerning the various methods of Prayer and the Uncreated Light of God that is witnessed by Hesychasts. St Gregory Palamas, at the request of the Athonite Monks, responded with verbal admonitions at first, but realising the futility of these efforts against such stubborn ignorance, he put his Theological Arguments in writing - "Triads in Defence of the Holy Hesychasts" (1338) and the Athonite Ascetics, with the assistance of St Gregory, compiled a general response, the "Hagiorite Tome." At the Constantinople Council of 1341 in the Church of Agia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) St Gregory Palamas debated with Barlaam, focusing upon the Nature of the Light of Mount Tabor. On 27 May, 1341 the Council accepted St Gregorys explanation that God Who is unapproachable in His Divine Essence, does reveal Himself through His Energies, which are able to be perceived by certain human beings - like the Divine Light of Transfiguration on Mount Tabor -but which are neither material nor created. The teachings of Barlaam were condemned as heresy, and he himself was anathemized and fled to Calabria. But the disputes between the devout Palamites and the heretical Barlaamites continued for years, causing untold grief and disruption to the Peace of the Holy Church until it was finally resolved. St Gregory performed many Miracles and on the eve of his repose, St John Chrysostom appeared to him in a Vision, and finally, with his last words: "To the Heights! To the Heights!" St Gregory Palamas fell asleep in the Lord on 14 November, 1359.

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6 Triodion 2 Lent St Gregory Palamas Paralytic & Friends - 11 March 2012

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glo ry, Honour and Worship to t he Father, and to the Son, and to t he Holy Spirit, now and forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all th e Saints. And let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life to Christ our God. Am en.

7th Sunday of Triodion

Tone (7) Varys/Grave

18 March 2012

3rd Sunday of Great Lent Veneration of the Holy Life-giving Cross


Also the Feast of St Nicholas of Zhicha (the Serbian Chrysostom) St Trophimos & St Eucarpion of Nicmedia St Aninas of the Euphrates St Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem St Edward, King of England St Cyril of Astrakham

Resurrection Apolytikion - TONE (7) VARYS/GRAVE

Katelisas

to Stavro Sou ton thanaton. Ineoxas to listi ton Paradison. Ton Myroforon ton thrinon metevales ke tis sis Apostolis kirittin epetaxas, oti Anestis, Hriste O Theos, parehon to kosmo to Mega Eleos.

By

Thy Cross Thou destroyed Death; Thou opened Paradise to the Thief; Thou changed the funeral lament of the Myrrh-Bearers, and Commanded them to announce to Thine Apostles that Thou had Risen from the dead, O Christ our God, Who bestows on the world Great Mercy! O Lord, Thy people and Bless Thine Inheritance, granting Victories to their Rulers over the enemy and guarding Thy Commonwealth by the Might of Thy Cross.

Festal Apolytikion Veneration of the Holy Cross

Soson,

Kyrie, ton laon Sou, ke Evlogison tin Klironomian Sou, Nikas tis Vasilefsi kata varvaron doroumenos, ke to Son Filaton, dia tou Stavrou Sou Politevma.

Save,

Kontakion of the Ever Blessed Theotokos

Ti Ipermaho Stratigo ta Nikitiria Os litrothisa ton dinon Efharistiria Anagrafo Si i Polis Sou Theotoke All os ehousa to Kratos aprosmahiton Ek pantion me kindinon Eleftheroson Ina krazo Si, Here Nimfi Animfevte!
Instead of the Trisagion Hymn:

Unto Thee, O Theotokos Invincible Champion, Thy City in Thanksgiving Ascribes the Victory for the deliverance from sufferings. But having Thy Might unassailable, Free me from all dangers So that I may cry out to Thee: Hail! O Bride Ever Virgin! Thy Cross, O Master, we Reverence, and we Glorify Thy
Holy Resurrection [3] to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Ton Stavron Sou Proskinoumen,


Sou Anastasin Doxazomen [3] ke is tous eonas ton eonon.

Despota, ke tin Agian

Doxa Patri, ke Io, ke Agio Pnevmati ke nin ke Ai Glory Amin Ke tin Agian Sou Anastasin Doxazomen Dynamis! Ton Stavron Sou Proskinoumen, Despota,
Sou Anastasin Doxazomen
Festal Communion Hymn of the Holy Cross

ke tin Agian

Amen And Thy Holy Resurrection we Glorify PRIEST Power/Strength Thy Cross, O Master, we Reverence, and we Glorify Thy
Holy Resurrection

Esimiothi

ef imas to Fos tou Prosopou Sou, Kyrie: Allelouia!

The Light of Thy Countenance has been impressed on


us, O Lord: Alleluia!

Resurrection Gospel 7 John 20 : 1 10


St Peter & St John Witness the Empty Tomb of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ

Prokeimenon

Save

Thy People, O Lord and Bless Thine Inheritance! I will appeal to Thee, O Lord our God.

St Pauls Epistle to the Hebrews 4 : 14 5 : 6


Our Lord Jesus Christ is our Merciful High Priest

Brethren: Seeing that we have a Great High Priest Who has passed through the Heavens Jesus, the Son of God let us hold fast our Confession. For we do not have a High Priest Who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but Who was tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore go boldly to the Throne of Grace, so that we may obtain Mercy and find Grace to help us in times of need. For every High Priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, so that he may offer both Gifts and Sacrifices for sins. He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. And no man takes this honour to himself, but he who is Called by God, just as Aaron was.

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3 r d Sunday of Lent Veneration of the Holy Cross 18 March 2011

13.

... AT THE FIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY ON HIGH. CHRIST HAS ACCOMPLISHED ALL HIS HOLY WORK HIS DIVINE MISSION ON EARTH AND HAS ENTERED INTO HIS SABBATH REST. OUR LORD JESUS CHRISTS EMPATHY WITH SINNERS RESTS ON HIS HAVING BEEN TEMPTED IN EVERY WAY THAT WE ARE tempted by Satan, his demons and other

So also, Christ did not Glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He Who said to Him: Thou art My Son. Today I have Begotten Thee. As He also said to Him: Thou art a Priest forever according to the Order of Melchizedek. The words ... passed through the Heavens... is a In order to qualify as Old Covenant Priests, men were reference to THE ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN OF CHRIST chosen from among the Levite Tribe of the Hebrews OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR. but they were still completely human beings It is regarded in this context of THE SON OF GOD SITTING sinners just like us.
OLD COVENANT PRIESTS WERE APPOINTED FOR THE SAKE OF OTHER HEBREWS - SPECIFICALLY FOR LITURGICAL SERVICE TO GOD AND TO OFFER SACRIFICES ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE AS WELL AS FOR THEMSELVES. THE PRIESTS WERE REQUIRED TO BE COMPASSIONATE TOWARDS OTHERS AND RECEIVED THEIR SACRED CALLING FROM GOD.

human beings who serve his vile purposes.


OUR LORD JESUS IS ENTHRONED AT THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF GOD THE FATHER THE PLACE OF GREAT HONOUR. HE SITS ON A THRONE OF GRACE RATHER THAN A THRONE OF JUDGEMENT granting His Great Mercy and

Divine Grace to us helping and guiding us through the difficulties of our lifes Journey. Priests always stand and never sit while serving Almighty God. Consequently, THERE IS SIGNIFICANT POWER AND
AUTHORITY IN OUR ENTHRONED SEATED HIGH PRIEST, FOR HE HAS ACCOMPLISHED AND FULFILLED HIS SACRED MISSION especially that of His Sacrificial

In the Aaronic Priesthood, the Priest identified himself with humanity and had sympathy for his fellow men because HE SINNED AS MUCH AS THEM. The Blood Sacrifices were vicarious offerings of animals that had no spot or blemish upon them.
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ASSUMED AND FULFILLED THE OLD COVENANT PRIESTHOOD BECAUSE, JUST LIKE MELCHIZEDEK, HE IS BOTH OUR ONE AND ONLY HIGH PRIEST AND KING, WHO IS WITHOUT SIN AND WHO HAS OFFERED AND BEEN OFFERED BY HIMSELF AS THE ULTIMATE BLOOD SACRIFICE PERFECT MAN, WITHOUT SPOT OR BLEMISH THE MOST SINLESS AND PURE OFFERER AND OFFERING. HIS LOVE OF ALL MANKIND IS INFINITE AND INDISCRIMINATE! Furthermore, THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST IS ETERNAL.

Offering.
CHRIST OUR LORD IS THE SACRIFICIAL OFFERER AND THE SACRIFICIAL OFFERING THE FINAL AND ULTIMATE BLOOD OFFERING OF THE OLD COVENANT, AND THE CONTINUOUS BLOODLESS OFFERING OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST OF THE NEW COVENANT.

The Holy Gospel According to St Mark 8 : 34 9 : 1


Our Lord Jesus Christ Explains the True Purpose of our Life

At that time, when our Lord Jesus had called the people to Himself, together with His Disciples, He said to them: Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his Cross and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and that of the Gospel will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He enters the Glory of His Father with the Holy Angels. And He told them: Truly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God present with Power. POSSESSIONS AND TEMPORARY SOCIAL STATUS OR V THE CROSS, which was the most dreaded and POWER FOR NONE OF THESE CAN REDEEM OUR FALLEN, inhumane instrument of Roman torture and UNREPENTANT IMMORTAL SOUL. execution, HAS BECOME FOR ALL STRUGGLING NOTHING OF THIS TEMPORARY, MATERIAL WORLD BENEFITS
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST A HOLY SYMBOL OF OUR SPIRITUAL STRUGGLE AND SUFFERING, IN IMITATION OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. THE HOLY CROSS OF CHRIST IS OUR MOST VENERATED BADGE OF HONOUR WHEREBY WE LIVE AND DIE IN CHRIST. WE PRACTICE SELF-DENIAL FOR THE SAKE OF OUR LOVE OF GOD AND HIS HOLY GOSPEL and our acceptance of this US IN ETERNITY. THEREFORE, WE MUST RESIST THE TEMPTATIONS THAT DISTRACT US AND LEAD US ASTRAY AND CAUSE US TO FALL INTO SPIRITUAL DEATH.

Let us rather take up our heavy Crosses of earthly life and FOLLOW CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR,
WHO LEADS US DESTINATION. SAFELY TO OUR HEAVENLY

part of our Sacred Mission is certainly not a form of punishment, nor is it an end in itself, but rather, IT IS
A MEANS OF OVERCOMING AND DEFEATING THE FALLEN WORLD FOR THE SAKE OF GODS HEAVENLY, ETERNAL KINGDOM OF LOVE, JOY AND PEACE.

Let us use every minute of our lifespan LIVING IN


CHRIST AND SEEKING ONLY THE SPIRITUAL QUALITIES AND NECESSITIES TO ADVANCE US AND TO BENEFIT US ETERNALLY. Let us CONSTANTLY OFFER THANKSGIVING TO OUR LIVING GOD WHO IS INFINITELY MERCIFUL, GRACIOUS AND BENEVOLENT. BE GRATEFUL FOR ALL YOUR BLESSINGS WHICH FAR OUTWEIGH ALL THE THINGS YOU MAY THINK YOU WANT OR NEED! Let us MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO IMITATE CHRIST our

Therefore we take up our personal Crosses and Follow Christ by CRUCIFYING THE DEMANDS AND DESTRUCTIVE
PASSIONS OF OUR WEAK FLESH AND BY SO DOING, WE STRENGTHEN OUR IMMORTAL SOULS AND GRADUALLY BECOME WORTHY, SANCTIFIED CITIZENS OF ETERNAL LIFE.

G a l a t i a n s 5 : 2 4 : ... those who are Christs have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. The central paradox of our Life in Christ is that whenever we try to grasp temporal (earthly) things, we lose the
Eternal, Priceless Treasures of Heaven. However, WHEN WE LEARN SELF-DENIAL AND REPENTANCE, AND WE SACRIFICE OR RESIST THE TEMPTATION OF ALL WORLDLY THINGS, WE GAIN UNTOLD AND UNIMAGINABLE ETERNAL RICHES!

Lord Who clearly and concisely shows us that EVERYTHING GOOD IS INDEED POSSIBLE in this poor, tragic and darkened fallen world. V Finally, those who would ... see the Kingdom of God present with Power... was a reference to
OUR LORD JESUS CHRISTS TRANSFIGURATION ON MOUNT TABOR, which three of His closest

What will a man give in exchange for his soul? is a most profound question because it emphasises the utter foolishness of trying to ACCUMULATE WORLDLY

Apostles witnessed shortly before His Great Passion and Resurrection. It is also a reference to THOSE FAITHFUL DISCIPLES
OF CHRIST IN EVERY GENERATION WHO WILL EXPERIENCE THE TRUE PRESENCE OF GODS KINGDOM.

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7th Sunday of Triodion - 3 r d of Lent Veneration of the Holy Cross 18 March 2012

T h i r d S u n d a y o f G r e a t L e n t S u n d a y o f t h e V e n e r a t i o n o f t h e H o l y , L i f e - g i v i n g Cr o s s o f Ch r i s t
Dear Brethren in Christ: We are told: You bow down to the tool of execution? You revere a God crucified upon the cross? But the Death of God on a shameful piece of wood is a counter-intuitive concept! Yes, indeed, the Cross is indeed "foolishness to the wise and a stumbling-block to the Jews." But my Beloved, seek not Christ through narrow, created, natural logic. In Christ is revealed the higher Logic of Love, the Logic of Truth, and this Divine Love of the Creator is victorious over the limited logic of our minds. The higher Logic of Truth, revealed in Christ, is unattainable to the prideful reason of the created human mind, which has abandoned the Light of Reason. The Cross, as the Symbol of the Eternal Power of God, of His Love for mankind, will always be kept on the highest and most honoured place by us Orthodox Christians, and we will not cease to bow down before it, as it is the Source of our Eternal Joy and Consolation. Yes, my Beloved, the Holy Cross is our Joy and our Strength. "By this Sign, conquer!" spoke Divine Providence to the pious Emperor Constantine. And this Cross became Victory for us from the day the ChristDivine Love Himselfcame down to mankind, and especially from the day of His Crucifixion. The Cross is the genuine Proof of God's Love for mankind. Christianity is under constant persecution! The Holy Symbol of Christianity, the Cross, is now mocked. Dear Brethren: We are quickly approaching the middle of Great and Holy Lent! Our refrigerators and cupboards have been depleted of non-fasting foods and are restocked with simple but satisfying foods. Our palette, having gone a few weeks without rich fats and proteins, is becoming more sensitive and easy to satisfy. Our stomachs, having at first rebelled against the Fast, are now humbled and happy to have just about anything. Raw carrots are surprisingly sweet, and a plain piece of bread has a great variety of flavours! Yet our adversary, the devil - seeing our honourable efforts and the calming of the passions that is blossoming within us - has a new phase of temptations with which to attack us. Our humbled and wearied flesh is not so easily moved by his impulsive and carnal temptations, so he relies on a simple but effective weapon: irritability. The Church teaches us clearly that when we restrain ourselves for the sake of Virtue, which is to deprive ourselves of worldly things in exchange for Heavenly Things, we are tempted almost immediately by irritability. We are not used to being deprived of the things we desire, and the Spiritual Energy that was devoted to that which weve given up backs up within us, causing a state of Spiritual Imbalance. Self-restraint is a good thing! But we must redirect the surplus of Spiritual Energy, or the imbalance will burst out in ways such as irritability, anxiety, frustration, or simply indulging in what weve given up or resisted. Many Christians are embarrassed to Cross themselves: It just isn't done today, they say. We declare at every corner that only the Christianity of the Cross will hold the Ultimate Triumph over the world. We state unequivocally: where attention to Christ's Cross wanes, where its Meaning and Power are diminished, where Faith in Christ as the GodMan, as the Saviour of the world, weakens there Christianity's Power is subverted. It is not through concessions to natural reasoning but through devotion to Christ's Cross and through preaching the Cross that the Path to Victory over evil lies - the evil under which the entire world now groans in agony. Preparing for the Glory of the Eternal Pascha, we bow down before the Cross. Already we praise the Holy Resurrection. Hurry, you who are Faithful to Christ! Venerate the Holy Cross! For only by standing before our Lord's Holy, Life-giving Cross can you begin to understand God, see the Path described by Divine Providence, and truly Love Christ. Holiness and Love intersect on the Cross. The Cross condemns and defeats the sin that separates us from God - Love shines forth from the Cross, which unites us with God. The Cross beckons us - Christ's Golgotha Calls us - and today's Golgotha of Christianity Calls us to Love the Crucified One, and through Him, to Love one another. May the thoughts of those separated from each other meet again at the Cross - spouses, friends, and all who are Brethren in Christ. Amen.
BISHOP MITROFAN OF BOSTON RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH HTTP://WWW.SYNOD.COM/SYNOD/ENGROCOR/ENSER_BPMITROFANCROSS.HTML

So how do we redirect this energy? With Prayer and Contemplation. We are taught that Fasting is always accompanied by Prayer. This includes corporate Worship, personal Prayer, and a general sense of increased Contemplation: that is, awareness of Divine Things, Spiritual Watchfulness, and a yearning for God. When we feel ourselves tempted or pulled towards irritability during a Fast, for no apparent reason or for typical Lenten reasons (car breaks down, irritable neighbour, increased demands, plans interrupted, that sense of when it rains it pours, etc.), we must consciously take hold of that energy going in the wrong direction (towards anger, escape, despair, etc.) and turn it towards Prayer and Contemplation. In the moment of temptation, take a deep breath, acknowledge inwardly that these things are attacks against the Spiritual Focus you have committed yourself to, accept what is as Gods Providence in your life at that moment, and pray inwardly, Lord have mercy . . .O Lord, I trust Thou will Reward me for my feeble perseverance . . . O Lord, my life is so soft and easy most of the time, yet I am so ungrateful! Glory to Thee for all things! In this way our Fasting takes on Spiritual Life transformed from a dead list of rules to which we submit into a Holy Way of Life - a New Existence, a Spiritual Experience, a Spiritual Journey - whereby we by the Grace of God - will increase in Faith, Depth, and Wisdom. Christ endured crucifixion for our sake. May we endure for His sake also.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: VENERATION OF THE CROSS BY FATHER THADDEUS HARDENBROOK - PRAVMIR - THE GRAPEVINE: A NEWSLETTER OF ST. LAWRENCE ORTHODOX CHURCH -

http://www.pravmir.com/veneration-of-the-cross/

Saint Silouan - On Love


The soul cannot know Peace unless she prays for her enemies. The soul that has learnt by God's Grace to pray, feels Love and compassion for every created thing, and in particular for mankind, for whom the Lord suffered on the Cross, and His Soul was heavy for every one of us.

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3 r d Sunday of Lent Veneration of the Holy Cross 18 March 2011

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Glory to God for All Things Before Thy Cross Father Stephen
In a short work, The Beginning of the Day, (I believe it was a special printing and is not generally available), Metropolitan Kallistos Ware notes this about the Cross and its connection with the whole of Creation: [The] created order in its entirety participated in the Saviours Passion: the earth shook, the rocks were split, the whole cosmos shuddered.
(MATTHEW 27:51)

In the words of St. Ephrem the Syrian, ...humans were silent, so the stones cried out. As the old English poem The Dream of the Rood expresses it, All Creation wept. This all embracing participation in the Death of God Incarnate is memorably expressed in the Praises or Engomia sung in the evening of Good Friday or early in the morning on Holy Saturday: Come, and with the whole Creation let us offer a Funeral Hymn to the Creator. The whole earth quaked with fear, O Lord, and the Daystar hid its rays, when Thy Great Light was hidden in the earth. The sun and moon grew dark together, O Saviour, like faithful servants clothed in black robes of mourning. O hills and valleys exclaims the Holy Virgin, the multitude of mankind and all Creation, weep and lament with me, the Mother of God. Most remarkably of all in what is truly an amazing statement, it is affirmed: ...the whole Creation was altered by Thy Passion: for all things suffered with Thee, knowing, O Lord, that Thou holdest all in Unity. Do we reflect sufficiently, I wonder, upon the environmental implications of our Lords Incarnation - upon the way in which our Lord Jesus is ecologically inclusive, embedded in the soil like us, containing within His humanity what has been termed the whole evolving earth story? Do we allow properly for the fact that our Saviour came to Redeem - not only the human race, but the fullness of Creation? Do we keep constantly in mind that we are not Saved from but with the world?

In such a fashion St. Paul could say that the ...world is crucified to me, and I to the world. Frequently our own thoughts about the Things of God are too restricted, too limited. The Cross is diminished to an execution role in a very narrow atonement theory - the Incarnation is reduced to a stage entrance. These Great Mysteries of God, manifested among us, are the Gate and Ladder - the Entrance into the Kingdom of God and the Kingdoms Entrance into our world. This is true not only of the Cross of Golgotha, but ultimately in every Cross that participates in its Reality. By making of the Sign of the Cross with Faith, we participate in this Reality (and so the demons flee). Christ has promised that we will have Life ...more abundant. By this, it is not meant that we will be rich or have even more material possessions (for these are not the True Life). However, the Eternal Kingdom of God is an endless Abundance that enters our heart and our world, shattering the narrowness of opaque minds and opening to us the Fullness of Life in Christ. The Reality presented to us in the Holy Cross (as with all Things of God) is never comprehended in rational theory. It pushes us beyond the limits of our own poorly defined rationality and towards the greater rationality of the Truth of Things. As noted by St. Gregory of Nyssa: ...only Wonder grasps anything. To approach the Cross with Wonder is to begin the Journey that it makes possible. The Life that we refer to as Salvation belongs to this World of Wonder despite the banalities of much Christian conversation on the topic. It is not surprising that Silence is among the most important Tools in our Spiritual Life. O, Sweet Wonder!
http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2011/03/

The Eternal Inspired Wisdom of our Holy Church Fathers


St John of Kronstadt "You, O sinner, who have fallen into the depths of evil, away by His All-Cleansing Blood, shed for us on the when you represent to yourself the multitude of your Cross, your iniquities too. sins and fall into despair and hardness of heart, Turn zealously to Repentance, Confessing your sins before remember that the Heavenly Father sent His OnlyHis Priest as before Himself, that you may be Justified, Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, into the world for after which, if the Minister of the Sacrament of your Salvation from sins and from Eternal Penitence finds you prepared and fit, draw near to the Condemnation for them. Holy Cup and you shall be Cleansed of your sins: Turn then with Faith to this Mediator before God for men, Peace shall flow into your soul like a river and you shall imploring Him from the depths of your soul to wash be the son of the Heavenly Father, '...who was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found' (LUKE.
15:32)." (MY LIFE IN CHRIST; HOLY TRINITY MONASTERY PG. 539):

St Maximos the Confessor "The Logos has made men equal to the Angels. Not only did He '...make Peace through the Blood of His Cross between things on earth and Things in Heaven...' and reduce to impotence the hostile powers that fill the intermediary region between Heaven and earth, thereby making the Festal Assembly of earthly and Heavenly Powers a single Gathering for His Distribution of Divine Gifts, with humankind joining joyfully with the Powers on High in unanimous Praise of God's Glory, but also, after fulfilling the Divine Purpose undertaken on our behalf, when He was taken up with the Body which He had assumed, He United Heaven and earth in Himself." (COLOSSIANS 1:20), (THE PHILOKALIA VOL.
2; FABER AND FABER PG. 287):

St Mark the Ascetic "He who chooses maltreatment and dishonour for the sake But when he tries to concentrate his attention on the heart of Truth is walking on the Apostolic Path. without accepting these two, his intellect wanders from He has taken up the Cross and is bound in chains. the Path and he falls into the temptations and snares of the devil." (CF. MATTHEW 16:24 & ACTS 28:20) (THE PHILOKALIA VOL. 1;
FABER AND FABER PG. 140):

St. Gregory Palamas "... the Lord's Cross discloses the entire dispensation of His Coming in the flesh, and contains within it the whole mystery of this dispensation. Extending in all directions, it embraces everything above, below, around and between? The Lord Himself, when He was going to ascend the Cross, openly referred to it as His lifting up and His Glory. And He announced that when He came again and manifested Himself, this Sign of the Son of man would come with Power and Great Glory." (JOHN. 3:14-15 & MATTHEW 24:30) (THE HOMILIES VOL. 1; ST. TIKHON'S
SEMINARY PRESS PGS. 131-132):

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7th Sunday of Triodion - 3 r d of Lent Veneration of the Holy Cross 18 March 2012

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glo ry, Honour and Worship to th e Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, 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.

8th Sunday of Triodion

Tone (8) Plagal 4

25 March 2012

4th Sunday of Great Lent The Annunciation Sunday of St John Klimakos


R e s u r r e c t i o n A p o l y t i k i o n - TONE (8) PLAGAL 4

Ex ipsous katilthes O Efsplaghnos, Thou


tafin katedexo triimeron, ina imas elevtherosis ton pathon. I Zoi ke i Anastasis imon, Kyrie, Doxa Si!
Festal Apolytikion of the Annunciation TONE 4

descended from on High, O Tenderhearted One; Thou endured the three-days burial, so that Thou might free us from our passions, O our Life and Resurrection: Glory to Thee!

Simeron tis Sotirias imon to Kefaleon, ke tou ap Eonos Today


Mystiriou i fanerosis; O Ios tou Theou, Ios tis Parthenou Ginete, ke Gavriil tin Harin Evangelizete. Dio ke imis sin afto, ti Theotoko voisomen: Here Keharitomeni! O Kyrios meta Sou!
F e s t a l K o n t a k i o n TONE (8) PLAGAL 4

is the Crown of our Salvation, and the Revelation of the Eternal Mystery: the Son of God becomes the Virgins Son, and Gabriel Announces Grace. Wherefore, let us along with him cry out, to the Theotokos: Hail, O Full of Grace! The Lord is with Thee!

Ti Ipermaho Stratigo ta Nikitiria, os litrothisa ton dinon To


Efharistiria, anagrafo Si i Polis Sou Theotoke. All os ehousa to Kratos aprosmahiton, ek pantion me kindinon eleftheroson, ina krazo Si: Here Nimfi Animfevte!

Thee, O Theotokos, Invincible Defender, having been delivered from peril, I, Thy City, dedicate the Victory Festival as a Thanksgiving Offering. In Thine Irresistible Might, keep me Free from all Trials, so that I may call out to Thee: Hail, O Unwedded Bride!

Prokeimenon

My soul magnifies the Lord. For He hasregarded the humility of His handmaiden.
The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 2: 11- 18
Christ Became Human So That He Could Be Our High Priest

Brethren: both He Who Sanctifies, and they who are being Sanctified, are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them Brethren, saying: I will declare Thy Name to My Brethren; in the midst of the Church will I praise Thee. And again: I will put my trust in Him. And again: Behold I and My children, whom God has given Me. Therefore because the children are Partakers of Flesh and Blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, so that through Death, He might destroy him who had the power of death - that is to say, the devil - and release those who, through the fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to the Angels: but H does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His Brethren, so that He might become a Merciful and Faithful High Priest in Things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

CHRIST WAS PERFECT EVEN BEFORE HIS CRUCIFIXION BUT HE VOLUNTARILY TOOK ON HUMAN NATURE THAT COULD BE SAVED AND PERFECTED ONLY BY THE SUFFERING OF DEATH.

ONLY OUR BELOVED LORD JESUS CHRIST IS ABLE TO FREE US FROM THIS BONDAGE OR SLAVERY OF SIN AND DEATH.

Christ is the pioneering Captain of the Narrow path to God in His Suffering for our sins, death, and descent into Hades, His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven where He has regained His rightful Position at the place of Honour next to our Heavenly Father. In Salvation we take on Christs Way of Suffering.

It behoved Him in all things to be made like unto His Brethren means that EVEN CHRIST WAS TEMPTED because for WHATEVER IS NOT ASSUMED [TAKEN ON] IS
NOT HEALED, AND WHAT IS UNITED TO ALMIGHTY GOD IS SAVED.

V The Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is like us in His human


Nature but WE DO NOT BECOME LIKE HIM IN HIS DIVINE NATURE. This is impossible because WE CANNOT BECOME A PART OF THE GODHEAD. However, WE CAN

b b

OUR PERFECTION THEOSIS REQUIRES A SPIRITUAL GROWTH THAT IS MANIFESTED IN SUFFERING. In the Incarnation of Christ, GOD DID NOT COME IN APPEARANCE ONLY. HE TRULY ASSUMED [TOOK ON] HUMAN FLESH AND BLOOD from the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, Theotokos, AND BECAME THE SAME AS WE ARE - EXCEPT FOR THE ABILITY TO SIN SO THAT HE COULD REALLY ENTER THE STATE OF DEATH AND THEREBY BRING US ALL HUMANITY SALVATION. CHRIST DESTROYED THE DEVILS POWER BY USING SATANS STRONGEST WEAPON DEATH AGAINST HIM.

BECOME GOD-LIKE IN OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION OUR PERSONAL GOAL IN LIFE IS TO REACH THEOSIS SPIRITUAL PERFECTION!

St Paul wrote about Christ as Ultimate Sacrifice to Christ as High Priest without transition because HE IS BOTH

THE DIVINE SACRIFICIAL OFFERING AND THE DIVINE OFFERER, the High Priest. CHRIST IS MERCIFUL ON BEHALF OF THOSE WHOM HE SERVES AND FAITHFUL IN HIS SACRED MINISTRY TO ALMIGHTY GOD. TO BE IN CHRIST IS A HEAVENLY CALLING THAT SEPARATES THOSE IN CHRIST FROM THOSE WHO HAVE IGNORED OR REFUSED HIS CALL. As Apostle and High Priest, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS BOTH GODS DIVINE REPRESENTATIVE TO MANKIND AND ALSO MANKINDS MEDIATOR BEFORE ALMIGHTY GOD. In

There is a relationship between sin and death: each one leads to the other.

Christians are Holy Brethren

V V

SIN CAUSES DEATH ESPECIALLY SPIRITUAL DEATH AND THE FEAR OF DEATH LEADS PEOPLE TO SIN and thereby

into bondage or slavery to Satan who certainly does not want any souls returning to our Almighty Creator to Whom they belong.

Him, the Offices of Prophet and Priest are combined.

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8 t h Sunday of Triodion 4 t h of Lent St John Klimakos T h e A n n u n c i a t i o n 2 5 M a r c h 2 0 1 2

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The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 1 : 24 38


The Coming Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is Announced to His Mother, the Ever Virgin Mary

At that time, Zachariahs wife, Elizabeth, conceived, and hid herself five months, saying: Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein He looked upon me - to take away my reproach among men. And in the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth - to a Virgin Espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the House of David; and the Virgins Name was Mary. And the Angel went in to Her, and said, Hail, Thou who art Highly Favoured! The Lord is with Thee! Blessed art Thou among women! And when She saw him, She was troubled at his saying, and cast in Her mind what Manner of Salutation this should be. And the Angel said to Her:, Fear not, Mary, for Thou has found favour with God. And behold, Thou shalt Conceive in Thy Womb, and bring forth a Son, and shall call His Name Jesus. He shall be Great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give to Him the Throne of His Father, David. And He shall Reign over the House of Jacob forever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary to the Angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the Angel answered and said to Her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon Thee, and the Power of the Highest shall Overshadow Thee. Therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of Thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, Thy cousin, Elizabeth, has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the Handmaiden of the Lord! Be it unto me according to Thy Word. And the Angel departed from Her. V EVEN MORE RELEVANT IS HER ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE TO The name Mary, Maria, or Miriam literally means GOD, as pointed out by Christ Himself. the Exalted One. According to St Lukes description of her, she is praised V The Ever Blessed Virgin Mary was Betrothed, by the in the Orthodox Church as being surrounded with Will of God, to St Joseph who was of Royal Lineage. Divine Grace and shining with Holiness. He was of the House or family of David the Verses 31 33 and behold, thou shalt conceive in ancient King who had been Anointed by Almighty thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call God. His Name Jesus is an amazingly accurate He was an elderly relative of the Ever Blessed description of the long-awaited Messiah! Theotokos whom the Priests at the Temple had Holy Spirit and Power of the Highest are chosen by Divine Inspiration and through a synonymous. This is a case of repetition for miraculous Sign - to protect her because she had emphasis. taken a Sacred Vow Of Chastity. V HOLY ONE IS A MESSIANIC TITLE and the fact that V THERE WAS NO INTENTION OF ACTUAL MARRIAGE AND IT WAS NEVER CONSUMMATED. Christ was to be born of the Ever Virgin Mary V ST JOSEPH IS ENTITLED THE BETROTHED BECAUSE IT demonstrates His truly Divine Nature. WAS A WELL KNOWN FACT THAT HE WAS INDEED THE V Note in particular the reference to THE HOLY TRINITY:
EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS GUARDIAN.

Women had to be married as soon as they reached puberty, especially if they had no immediate family to protect and care for them. St Luke twice mentions the fact that the Ever Blessed Theotokos was a Virgin.

SHE WAS PURE AND VIRGINAL BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST. And she maintained her virginity and chastity throughout her life.
[CHARITOU]

Highly favoured Full of Grace.

can also be translated as

THE YOUNG THEOTOKOS WAS GREETED WITH AN EXALTED SALUTATION BECAUSE AS THE MOTHER OF THE INCARNATED CHRIST, SHE IS THE MOST BLESSED WOMAN OF ALL TIME.

GOD THE FATHER (THE HIGHEST), THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. V THE BLESSED THEOTOKOS FAITHFUL RESPONSE MAKES HER THE HIGHEST AND MOST PERFECT MODEL OF HUMAN OBEDIENCE TO ALMIGHTY GOD. V THE INCARNATION OF THE SON OF GOD IS NOT ONLY THE DIVINE WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY, BUT IT IS ALSO THE WORK OF THE WILL AND FAITH OF THE EVER VIRGIN MARY. Therefore SHE IS HONOURED NOT ONLY BECAUSE GOD CHOSE HER, OR BECAUSE SHE BORE THE SON OF GOD IN THE FLESH, BUT ALSO BECAUSE SHE FREELY AND WILLINGLY CHOSE TO BELIEVE AND OBEY GOD WITHOUT QUESTION OR HESITATION!

St Gregory Thavmaturgos of Neocaesarea On The Annunciation


St Gregory the Wonderworker of Neocaesarea was a 3rd Century Bishop to whom our Ever Blessed Lady Theotokos and St John the Divine Apostle and Theologian appeared in a Vision and taught him about the Holy Trinity. He was a zealous Evangelist and when he began his Episcopacy there were only seventeen Christians in his Diocese but at his death there remained only seventeen pagans in all of Caesarea. When the fullness of time came for His Glorious Appearing, our Lord God sent beforehand the Archangel Gabriel to bear the Glad Tidings to the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary. And he came down from the ineffable Powers Above to the Holy Virgin, and addressed her first of all with the Salutation: Hail, Thou who art highly favoured! And then f And at the very moment of Her hearing those words, the Holy Spirit entered into the Undefiled Temple of the Virgin, and Her mind and Her members were Sanctified together. And nature stood opposite, and natural intercourse at a distance - beholding with amazement the Lord of Nature - in a manner contrary to nature, or rather above nature - doing a Miraculous Work in Her Body. And by the very Weapons whereby the devil strove against us, Christ also Saved us, taking to Himself our passible body in order that He might impart the Greater Grace to the being who was deficient in it. And ...where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound. And appropriately was Divine Grace sent to the Holy Virgin, for this Word also is contained in the Oracle of the Evangelic History: And in the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent to a Virgin Espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the House and Lineage of David; and the Virgins name was Mary... and so forth. And this was the first month to the Holy Virgin. Even as Scripture says in the Book of the Law: ... This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month among the months of the year to you. Keep the Feast of the Holy Passover to the Lord in all your generations. It was also the sixth month to Zacharias. And rightly, then, did the Holy Virgin prove to be of the Family of David, and She had Her home in Bethlehem, and was Betrothed rightfully to Joseph, in accordance with the Laws of Relationship. And Her Espoused Husband was Her Guardian, and Possessor also of the Untarnished Incorruption which was Hers. And the Name given to the Holy Virgin was one that became Her exceedingly, for she was called Mary, and that, by interpretation, means Illumination.

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8 t h Sunday of Triodion 4 t h of Lent St John Klimakos T h e A n n u n c i a t i o n 2 5 M a r c h 2 0 1 2

And what shines more brightly that the Light of Virginity? For this reason also the Virtues are called Virgins by those who strive rightly to get at their True Nature. But if it is so great a Blessing to have a Virgin Heart, how great a boon will it be to have the flesh that cherishes Virginity along with the soul! Thus the Holy Virgin, while still in the flesh, maintained the Incorruptible Life, and received in Faith the Things that were Announced by the Archangel. And thereafter She journeyed diligently to Her relation, Elisabeth, in the hill-country. And she entered into the House of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth, in imitation of the Angel. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the Salutation of Mary, the babe leapt with Joy in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus the voice of Mary, wrought with Power, filled Elisabeth with the Holy Spirit. And by Her tongue, as from an Ever-Flowing Fountain, She sent forth a Stream of Gracious Gifts in the way of Prophecy to Her relation; and while the Feet of Her Child were bound in the Womb, She prepared to dance and leap. And that was the Sign of a Marvellous Jubilation. For wherever She was who was Highly Favoured, there She filled all things with Joy. And Elisabeth exclaimed with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art Thou among women, and Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb! And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? Blessed art Thou among women! For Thou hast become to women the Beginning of the New Creation. Thou hast granted us boldness of access into Paradise, and Thou hast put to flight our ancient woe. For after Thee the race of woman shall no more be made the subject of reproach. No more do the successors of Eve fear the Ancient Curse, or the pangs of childbirth. For Christ, the Redeemer of our race, the Saviour of all nature, the Spiritual Adam Who has Healed the hurt of the creatures of earth, comes forth from Thy Holy Womb. Blessed art Thou among women, and Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb. For He Who bears all Blessings for us is manifested as Thy Fruit. This we read in the clear words of her who was barren (St Elisabeth); but yet more clearly the Holy Virgin Herself expressed this again when She presented to God the Hymn replete with Thanksgiving, and Acceptance, and Divine Knowledge - Announcing Ancient Things together with what was New proclaiming along with Things that were of old, things also that belong to the Consummation of the Ages; and summing up in a short Discourse the Mysteries of Christ. And Mary said, My soul doth Magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath Rejoiced in God my Saviour, and so forth. He has helped His servant Israel in remembrance of His Mercy, and of the Covenant, which He established with Abraham and with his seed forever. We behold how the Holy Virgin has surpassed even the Perfection of the Patriarchs, and how She confirms the Covenant, which was made with Abraham by God, when He said: This is the Covenant which I shall establish between Me and Thee. Wherefore He has come and Confirmed the Covenant with Abraham, having received Mystically in Himself the Sign of Circumcision, and having proved Himself the Fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets. This Song of Prophecy, therefore, the Holy Mother of God rendered to God, saying: My soul doth Magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath Rejoiced in God my Saviour: for He Who is Mighty hath

done Great Things to me, and Holy is His Name. For having made Her the Mother of God, He also preserved Her a Virgin; and by Her Womb the Fullness of all generations is headed up together for Sanctification. For He has Blessed every age - both men and women, both young men and youths, and old men. He hath Strengthened with His Arm... on our behalf, against Death and against the devil, having torn up the record of our sins. He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts... - truly, He has scattered the devil himself, and all the demons that serve under him. For he was overwhelmingly haughty in his heart when he dared to say: ...I will set my throne above the clouds, and I will be like the Most High... And now, how God scattered him the Prophet has indicated in what follows, where he says: Yet now you shall be brought down to Hell...! and all his demon hosts with him. For Christ our Lord and Saviour has overthrown everywhere his altars and the worship of vain gods, and He has prepared for Himself a peculiar people out of the heathen nations. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. In these terms is intimated in brief the extrusion of the Jews and the admission of the Gentiles. For the Elders of the Jews and the Scribes in the Law, and those who were richly privileged with other prerogatives -because they used their riches ill and their power lawlessly - were cast down by Him from every seat, whether of Prophecy or of Priesthood, whether of Legislature or of Doctrine, and were stripped of all their ancestral wealth, and of their sacrifices and multitudinous festivals, and of all the honourable privileges of the Kingdom. Spoiled of all these Blessings, as naked fugitives they were cast out into Captivity. And in their stead the humble were exalted, namely, the Gentile peoples who hungered after Righteousness. For, discovering their own lowliness, and the hunger that pressed upon them for the Knowledge of God, they pleaded for the Divine Word, although it were but for crumbs of the same, like the Woman of Canaan - and for this reason they were filled with the Riches of the Divine Mysteries. For the Christ Who was born of the Virgin, and Who is our God, has given over the whole Inheritance of Divine Blessings to the Gentiles. He hath helped His servant Israel. Not any Israel in general, indeed, but His servant, who in very deed maintains the True Nobility of Israel. And on this account also did the Mother of God call Him Servant (Son) and Heir. For when He had found the same labouring painfully in the letter and the Law, He called him by Grace. It is such an Israel, therefore, that He Called and has helped in remembrance of His Mercy. ...As He spoke to our Fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever... In these few words is comprehended the whole Mystery of the Economy (Divine Dispensation). For, with the Purpose of Saving the race of mankind, and fulfilling the Covenant that was made with our Fathers, Christ has once ... bowed the Heavens and come down. And thus God shows Himself to us as we are capable of receiving Him, in order that we might have Power to see Him, and handle Him, and hear Him when He speaks. And on this account God the Word deemed it meet to take to Himself the Flesh and the Perfect Humanity by a Woman - the Holy Virgin; and He was Born a Man, in order that He might discharge our Debt, and fulfil even in Himself the Ordinances of the Covenant made with Abraham, in its Rite of

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8 t h Sunday of Triodion 4 t h of Lent St John Klimakos T h e A n n u n c i a t i o n 2 5 M a r c h 2 0 1 2

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Circumcision, and all the other Legal Appointments connected with it. And after She had spoken these words the Holy Virgin went to Nazareth; and from there a Decree of Caesar led her to go yet again to Bethlehem; and so, as proceeding Herself from the Royal House, She was brought to the Royal House of David along with Joseph Her Espoused Husband. And there ensued there the Mystery that transcends all Wonders - the Virgin brought forth and carried in Her hands Him Who carries the whole Creation by His Word! And there was no room for them at the inn. He found no room - He Who founded the whole earth by His Word! She nourished with Her Milk - Him Who imparts Sustenance and Life to everything that has breath! She wrapped Him in swaddling-clothes He Who binds the whole Creation fast with His Word! I do not like definitions because Prayer is undoubtedly a Work of God that returns to God. The Spirit of Prayer is a Gift that the Holy Spirit places in each of us, according to our more or less intense (Spiritual) Labour, while eliminating the barrier raised between God and us. In our attempt to pray, there is always a Communion of Divine Will with our human will. And so we must know that without perseverance and Piety, there is no Prayer. I am not a pietistic, (EXCESSIVE OR INSINCERE RELIGIOUS DEVOTION) but I would like to say that without the Will of God, we would not be able to pray even the Lords Prayer the Our Father... This is because when we start to pray, thousands of demons assail us. When I was a child, my mother would take me to Church. We were eleven children in our family, and when she took us to Church, we would complain that our feet hurt from standing, and that we wanted to go outside. And my mother would tell us: Because you are children, you do not understand, but know this: the pain of your feet is your Prayer before God! She would also tell us this story: In a village there was a bar where men would go to drink... (In those days women would never go to bars as they do now!) ... They would get drunk, swear and fight, yet in the entire place there was only one demon and perhaps merely the weakest demon of all who slept on the countertop because he had no work to keep him busy. In that same village, there was also the house of a widow who had seven children, and they all prayed at night. Yet her house was surrounded by a legion of demons who never rested and who laboured ceaselessly! Therefore, my Brethren, you must know that our Churches are surrounded by legions of demons, striving perpetually to make us surrender to their temptations. For where do demons accomplish their evil work? Not at the places of tempting and harmful entertainment and distraction such as casinos, bars, club, theatres or even brothels for their evil work is already achieved there and although they may hang about such places, there is no further corruption for them to cause but in our homes and in our Parish Churches, where the True Faith is lived and preached, and where we strive to practice True Prayer and Life in Christ, the demons surround us on all sides, waiting, plotting, scheming and ever ready to strike us when we are most vulnerable. We are afflicted by temptations - of doubt that our Prayers are in vain, that we have something else more satisfying or urgent to do, or thoughts that God will not hear our Petitions and Supplications, yet if we persist and

She laid Him in a manger, Who is seated upon the Cherubim. A Light from Heaven shone round about Him Who Lightens the whole Creation. The Hosts of Heaven attended Him with their Doxologies He Who is Glorified in Heaven from before all ages. A Star with its torch guided them who had come from the distant parts of earth toward Him Who is the True Orient. From the East came those who brought gifts to Him Who for our sakes became poor. And the Holy Mother of God kept these words, and pondered them in her heart, like One who was the Receptacle of all the Mysteries.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: THE ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX WORD:

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Father George Calciu On Pious Prayer


continue our Prayers, that state of doubtfulness quickly vanishes. When I was arrested for the first time and put into the Gulag, my Faith was weak. When I started the School of Medicine, I knew something about Prayer, and when I went to Bucharest, I witnessed the beginning of a movement called the Burning Bush, a group of Faithful Christians dedicated to Prayer that was initiated by Sandu Tudor (the future Hieromonk Daniel from Rarau Monastery who later was martyred in the Communist Gulag of Ayud), and various other Priests and laymen who practised Prayer and Catechesis and discussed the Wisdom of our Great Ascetic Fathers. I was surprised at the profound Spiritual Treasure that Prayer hides within and how much we can possibly grow when our Prayer becomes genuine. All these men were extraordinary figures of our Church who, with time, have reposed in the Lord, but they left behind a Shining Legacy and many of us today follow in the spirit of these Holy Fathers who instructed us and taught us so much. I struggled to deepen my Prayerful Life until 1948 when I was arrested and sent to the Gulag where I really felt the Work and Power of Prayer. I shared a prison cell with various politicians, Bishops, Priests and Monks and soon understood that Prayer is a battle and needs great effort. From the moment you sit or kneel down to pray, many demons attack you - from your very first words of Prayer. The evil one fills your mind with many worldly thoughts, all kinds of unimportant matters and distractions. Even the need to know the time, or the weather conditions outside, etc will distract you and although such thoughts may seem innocent, they vanquish the Voice of Prayer from our heart! Elder Porphyrios said that these thoughts that assault our mind while we pray are like the distant sound of an aeroplane that we can hear from afar without too much disturbance - but then the noise increases as it gets closer, until flying above us it almost deafens us, but as it moves onwards, the cacophony lessens and fades away. However, as Father Porphyrios warns us, if you get into conversation with such deafening thoughts, they will make your heart their landing strip! I have been asked by many Faithful how to fight our thoughts that distract us while we pray. First and foremost: pay not attention to them. Let them pass. Second, call for Divine Help from God and your Guardian Angel. And finally, do not open you heart to discussions with such wicked thoughts because the demons are stronger than us and greatly deceiving. Always pray with heartfelt Sincerity, Piety and Humility.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: FATHER GEORGE CALCIU ON PIOUS PRAYER

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8 t h Sunday of Triodion 4 t h of Lent St John Klimakos T h e A n n u n c i a t i o n 2 5 M a r c h 2 0 1 2