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 Sai nts. And let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life to Christ our God. Amen.

2 May 2 0 1 2

H r iis tto s A n e s ttii!! A lliitth o s A n e s ttii!! A hos Anes Hr s os Anes
St Athanasios the Great Ascetic of Alexandria Also the Feast of St Boris & St Gleb, Passion Bearers, Translation of Holy Relics – St Athanasios of Constantinople – St Hesperos, St Zoe (his wife) and St Kyriakos & St Theodoulos (their children), Holy Martyrs of Attalia – St Boris Michael, Equal to the Apostles, Prince & Baptiser of Bulgaria
Paschal Apolytikion

§Hristos
O

Anesti ek nekron, Thanato Thanaton patistas, ke tis en tis mnimasi, Zoin harisamenos!

§

Christ has Risen from the dead, by Death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed Life to those in the tombs! The
noble Joseph taking down Thy spotless Body from the Tree, wrapped it in a clean shroud with sweet spices and laid it for burial in a new grave; but on the third day Thou arose, O Lord, granting the world Thy Great Mercy!

A p o l y t i k i o n o f H o l y M y r r h b e a r e r s S u n d a y - TONE (7) VARYS/GRAVE

efshimon Iosif, apo tou xilou kathelon, to ahranton Sou Soma, sindoni kathara, ilisas ke aromasin, en mnimati keno, kidefsas apetheto; alla trimeros anestis Kyrie, parehon to kosmo to Mega Eleos!

R e s u r r e c t i o n A p o l y t i k i o n – TONE 2

Ote katilthes pros ton Thanaton, i Zoi i Athanatos, tote
ton adin enekrosas ti astrapi tis Theotitos. Ote de ke tous tethneotas ek ton katahthonion anestisas, pase e Dinamis ton Epouranion ekravgazon. Zoodota Hriste, O Theos imon, Doxa Si!
Apolytikion Of St Athanasios - TONE 3

When Thou condescended to Death,

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

Stylos

gegonas Orthodoxias, thiis dogmasin ipostirizon, tin ekklisian Ierarha Athanasie: to gar Patri ton Ion Omoousion, anakirixas katishinas Arion. Pater Osie, Hriston ton Theon iketeve, dorisasthe imin to Mega Eleos.

Thou

became a Pillar of Orthodoxy, strengthening the Church with Divine Dogmas, O Hierarch Athanasios. For by preaching that the Son is One in Essence with the Father Thou put Arius to shame. O Venerable Father, to Christ our God pray earnestly, entreating that Great Mercy be bestowed on us. Angel standing by the Tomb cried to the Myrrhbearing Women: Myrrh is fitting for the dead, but Christ has been shown to be a stranger to corruption. But cry aloud: The Lord has Risen, granting the world His Great Mercy!

Kontakion – St Thomas Sunday – TONE (8) PLAGAL 4

Tes Myroforis Ginexi, para to Mnima epistas, O Angelos The
evoa: To Myra tis thanitis iparhi armodia, Hristos de diafthoras edihthi allotrios; alla kravgasate: Anesti O Kyrios, parehon to kosmo to Mega Eleos!

The Epistle of St Paul to the Hebrews 13 :
Loyalty to Orthodox Doctrine & Worship

7 – 16

Brethren: Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the Word of God to you, whose Faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Do not be carried away with various and strange doctrines, for it is good that the heart be established by Grace – not with foods that have not profited those who have been occupied with them. We have an Altar from which those who serve the Tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is taken into the Sanctuary by the High Priest for sin, are burnt outside the camp. Therefore, Jesus also – so that He might Sanctify the people with His own Blood – suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His Reproach, for here we have no continuing city, but we seek the One to come. Therefore, by Him, let us continually offer the Sacrifice of Praise to God – that is: the Fruit of our lips – giving thanks to His Name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 5 : 14 – 19
Faithful Disciples of Christ are Light in the Spiritual Darkness

At that time, our Lord Jesus said: “...You are the Light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Not do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your Light so shine before others so that they may see your Good Works and Glorify your Father in Heaven.

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St Athanasios the Great Ascetic of Alexandria

2 May 2012

1.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. For assuredly, I say to you: until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle will by any means pass from the Law until all is fulfilled. “Whoever, therefore, breaks one of the least of these Commandments, and teaches others so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. “For I say to you, that unless your Righteousness exceeds the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” St Athanasios the Great Ascetic of Alexandria
St Athanasios, Archbishop of Alexandria, was a great Holy Church Father and a Pillar of Orthodoxy. He had been born around the year 297 in the city of Alexandria into a family of pious Christians. He received a fine secular education, but he acquired further knowledge by diligent study of Holy Scripture. In his childhood, the future Hierarch became known to St Alexander, Patriarch of Alexandria when a group of children, which included the young St Athanasios, was playing on the seashore. The Christian children decided to Baptize their pagan playmates so having been designated the role of “Bishop” by the other children, St Athanasios performed the Baptism, repeating precisely the words of the Holy Mystery as he had heard them so many times in Church. Having observed the entire scene from a window, the Patriarch requested the children and their parents to be brought to him and after conversing with the children for a while, he determined that the Baptism performed by them had actually been perfectly done exactly according to the Church Order. Consequently, he acknowledged that the Holy Mystery of Baptism was valid and He then Sealed it with the Holy Mystery of Chrismation. From that moment, the Patriarch supervised the Spiritual Education of St Athanasios and in due time accepted him into the Clergy - at first as a Reader, and then ordained as a Deacon. As Deacon St Athanasios accompanied Patriarch Alexander to the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea in the year 325. At the Council, St Athanasios refuted of the heresy of Arius. His speech met with the approval of the Orthodox Fathers of the Council, but the Arians and their secret supporters began to hate St Athanasios and would continue to persecute him for the rest of his life. After the Repose of St Alexander, St Athanasios was unanimously elected as his successor to the See of Alexandria. However, in all Humility St Athanasios initially refused the great responsibility and honour, regarding himself as most unworthy, but at the insistence of all the Orthodox populace he finally agreed and was consecrated Bishop at the very young age of twentyeight, and Enthroned as the Patriarch of the Alexandrian Church. St Athanasios faithfully guided the Holy Church for fortyseven years, during which time he endured continuous persecution and grief from his heretical antagonists. ...I have heard about the decease of the Blessed Theodoros... NOW IF IT HAD NOT BEEN HIM, I SHOULD HAVE USED MANY WORDS, WITH TEARS, CONSIDERING WHAT FOLLOWS AFTER DEATH. But since it is Theodoros whom you and I have known, what need I say except: "BLESSED IS THEODOROS,
WHO HAS NOT WALKED IN THE COUNCIL OF THE UNGODLY.” [CF. PSALM 10:1] But IF "...HE IS BLESSED WHO FEARS THE LORD...” WE MAY NOW CONFIDENTLY CALL HIM BLESSED, HAVING THE FIRM ASSURANCE THAT HE HAS REACHED - AS IT WERE - A HAVEN, AND HAS A LIFE WITHOUT CARE.

Several times they managed to expel him from Alexandria and he would be forced to hide from them in desolate places, since they repeatedly tried to kill him. St Athanasios spent more than twenty years in exile, returning to his beloved Flock, only to be banished or forced to flee again and again. There was a time when he was the only truly Orthodox Bishop in the area, since all the other Bishops had fallen into heresy. At the false councils of Arian Bishops he was deposed as Bishop. Despite being persecuted for so many years, St Athanasios continued to defend and protect the Purity of the Orthodox Faith by writing countless letters and tracts against the misguided Arian heresy. When Julian the Apostate (361-363) began a persecution against Christians, his wrath first fell upon St Athanasios, whom he considered a great, unshakable Pillar of Orthodoxy. Emperor Julian intended to murder the faithful Saint in order to strike a grievous blow against Christianity, but he himself soon perished after being mortally wounded by an arrow during a battle. Finally, just before he died the Apostate Emperor cried out in despair: "Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!" After Emperor Julian's death, St Athanasios guided the Alexandrian Church for seven years until he reposed in our Lord in 373, at the age of seventy-six. Numerous works of St Athanasios have been preserved: four Orations against the Arian heresy - an Epistle to Epictetos, Bishop of the Church of Corinth, on the Divine and human Natures of Jesus Christ and four Epistles to Serapion, Bishop of Thmuis, about the Holy Spirit and His Equality to the Father and the Son, directed against the heresy of Macedonios. Other apologetic works in defence of Orthodoxy have been preserved, among which is the Letter to Emperor Constantios. St Athanasios wrote commentaries on Holy Scripture, and books of a moral and didactic character, as well as the Life of St Anthony the Great with whom St Athanasios had had a close relationship. St John Chrysostom advised every faithful Orthodox Christian to read St Athanasios’ Life of St Anthony the Great. St Athanasios is also commemorated on 18 January together with St Cyril of Alexandria. May his memory be Eternal!
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP : “ST ATHANASIOS THE GREAT OF ALEXANDRIA” http://ocafs.oca.org

St Athanasios’ Second Letter to Abbot Orsisius.
HAVEN, SO THAT, AT REST WITH THE FATHERS, WE MIGHT SAY, "..HERE WILL I DWELL, FOR I HAVE DELIGHT THEREIN.” [PSALM 132: 14.] Wherefore, Brethren Beloved and Most Longed-For, WEEP NOT FOR THEODOROS, FOR HE "...IS NOT DEAD, BUT SLEEPS.” [MATTHEW 9:24] ." LET NONE WEEP when he remembers him, but IMITATE HIS LIFE. FOR ONE MUST NOT GRIEVE OVER ONE WHO HAS GONE TO THE PLACE WHERE GRIEF IS NOT. ... now that HE HAS FALLEN ASLEEP, you may ... take his place among the Brethren. For while he survived, you two were as one, and when one was away, the Work of both was carried on: and when both were there you were as one, discoursing to the Beloved Ones what made for their good...
http://www.voskrese.info/spl/athan-ep5758.html

Would that the same had also befallen each of us; would that each of us in our endeavours might thus arrive; WOULD THAT EACH OF US, ON OUR VOYAGE, MIGHT MOOR OUR OWN BOAT IN THE STORMLESS

2.

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St Athanasios the Great Ascetic of Alexandria

2 May 2012

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.

Ap o d o s i s ( L e a v e - t a k i n g ) o f t h e H o l y M y r r h - B e a r e r s 5 May 2 0 1 2

H r iis tto s A n e s ttii!! A lliitth o s A n e s ttii!! A hos Anes Hr s os Anes
St Irene the Great Holy Martyr of Thessalonika
Also the Feast of St Euthymios the Wonder Worker of Maditos - St James the Wonder Working Abbot of Zhelezny Bor Monastery, Uncovering of Holy Relics - St Ephraim, New Martyr & Wonder Worker of Greece Paschal Apolytikion

§Hristos
Irinis

Anesti ek nekron, Thanato Thanaton patistas, ke tis en tis mnimasi, Zoin harisamenos!

§

Christ has Risen from the dead, by Death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed Life to those in the tombs! The
steps of the Prince of Peace, following O Noble One, the namesake of Peace, by the prompting of God, thou became O Most Blessed One; for having escaped the snares of the devil, supremely thou contended, as a most prudent virgin; wherefore, O Great Martyr Irene, ask for Peace for all of us!

Apolytikion Of St Irene The Great Martyr - TONE 4:

ton arhonta, ihnilatousa semni, Irinis Eponimos, di epipnias Theou, edihthis paneffime; si gar tou polemiou, tas enedras figousa, ithlisas iper fisin, os parthenos fronimi; dio Megalomartis Irini, irinin imin etise.

Paschal Apolytikion – Holy Myrrh-bearers

O

evshimon Iosif, apo tou xilou kathelon, to ahranton Sou Soma, sindoni kathara, ilisas ke aromasin, en Mnimati keno, kidevsas apetheto; alla trimeros Anestis Kyrie, parehon to kosmo to Mega Eleos!

The noble Joseph taking down Thy spotless Body from
the Tree, wrapped it in a clean shroud with sweet spices and laid it for burial in a new tomb; but on the third day Thou arose, O Lord, granting the world Thy Great Mercy!

Apolytikion of a Female Holy Martyr

I Amnas Sou Iisou, krazi megali ti foni.

Se Nimfie mou potho, ke Se zitousa athlo, ke sistavroume, ke sinthaptome to Vaptismo Sou. Ke Pasho dia Se, os Vasilefso Sin Si, ke thnisko iper Sou, ina ke ziso en Si. All’ os thisian amomon, prosdehou tin meta pothou tithisan Si. Aftis presvies, os eleimon, Soson tas psihas imon.

Thy Lamb, O Jesus, cries to Thee with a loud voice:

O my Bridegroom, Thee I Love; and seeking Thee I now suffer everything in search of Thee, and am crucified and buried with Thee in Baptism; and suffer for Thy sake, so that I may reign with Thee, and give my life for Thee, that I may Live with Thee; but accept as Pure Sacrifiece, the one who desired to give her life for you. Through her Intercessions, O Most Compassionate, Save our souls.

Paschal Exapostilarion of the Holy Myrrh-bearers – TONE 2

Ginekes akoutisthite, Fonin agalliaseos.

Tirannon Adin patisas, fthoras exigira pantas. Dramete Filis ipate, tis emis Evangelia. Voulome gar to plasma Mou, haran ekithen avgase, ex is exilthen i lipi.

O

Women: hearken to the Voice that echoes with Joy. Trampling on Hades, that tyrant, I raised up all from corruption. Run now with hast and tell My Friends Good Tidings as Evangelists. For I Will that My Creatures see Joy distinctly arising from Women, from whom came sorrow!

K o n t a k i o n O f S t I r e n e T h e G r e a t M a r t y r – TONE 3

Parthenias

kallesi, pepikilmeni Parthene, ke Martion stemmasi, Stefanothisa Irini, emati tou martiriou errantismeni, thavmasi katastrafthisa ton iamaton, evsevos Martis edexo, vraveion Nikis tis sis athliseos.

Being fair adorned before with pure and virginal beauty,
Thou became fairer still in Thy brave Contest, O Virgin; for when Thou, in Thine own spilt blood, was stained and reddened, O Irene, Thou overthrew ungodly error. Hence, Thou hast received the Prizes of Thy Good Vict'ry from Thy Creator's right Hand.

The Acts of the Holy Apostles According to St Luke 9:19-31
The Beginning of St Paul’s Holy Mission After Saul (St Paul) had received food, he was strengthened. Then he spent some days with the Disciple in Damascus. Immediately HE PREACHED THE CHRIST in the Synagogues – that HE IS THE SON OF GOD. And all who heard, were amazed, and said: “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on that Name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the Chief Priests?” But Saul increased all the more in Strength, and confounded the Hebrews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ. Now, after many days, were past, the Hebrews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night – to kill him. Then the Disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket. And when Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the Disciples, but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a Disciple. But Barnabas took him to the Apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly in Damascus in the Name of Jesus. So he was with them in Jerusalem, going in and out. And he spoke boldly in the Name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. When the Brethren found out, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.

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St Irene the Great Martyr of Thessalonika

5 May 2012

3.

Then THE CHURCHES THROUGHOUT ALL JUDEA, GALILEE AND SAMARIA HAD PEACE AND WERE EDIFIED. AND WALKING IN THE FEAR OF THE LORD AND IN THE COMFORT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, THEY WERE MULTIPLIED.

The Holy Gospel According to St John 15 : 17 – 16: 2
Our Lord Jesus Christ Warns Us About the Hatred of the Fallen World At that time our Lord Jesus Christ said: “... These things I command you, that you LOVE ONE ANOTHER. If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because YOU ARE NOT OF THE WORLD, BUT I CHOSE YOU out of the world, THEREFORE THE WORLD HATES YOU. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A SERVANT IS NOT GREATER THAN HIS MASTER.’ IF THEY PERSECUTED ME, THEY WILL ALSO PERSECUTE YOU. IF THEY KEPT MY WORD, THEY WILL KEEP YOURS ALSO. But all these things they will do to you for My Name’s sake, because THEY DO NOT KNOW HIM WHO SENT ME. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but NOW THEY HAVE NO EXCUSE FOR THEIR SIN. HE WHO HATES ME, HATES MY FATHER ALSO. If I had not done among them the Works that no one else did, they would have no sin; but NOW THEY HAVE SEEN AND ALSO HATED BOTH ME AND MY FATHER. Yet this happened so that the Word might be fulfilled, which was written in their Law: ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’ And when THE HELPER COMES – WHOM I SHALL SEND TO YOU FROM THE FATHER – THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH WHO PROCEEDS FROM THE FATHER – HE WILL TESTIFY OF ME. And YOU, ALSO, WILL BEAR WITNESS, because you have been with Me from the beginning. THESE THINGS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU, SO THAT YOU SHOULD NOT BE MADE TO STUMBLE. They will put you out of the Synagogues: yes, the time is coming that WHOEVER KILLS YOU WILL THINK THAT HE OFFERS SERVICE TO GOD...”

St Irene the Great & Holy Martyr of Thessalonika
St Irene was born in the city of Magedon in Persia during the fourth century. She was the beautiful daughter of the pagan King, Licinius, who was named Penelope. Her father kept her isolated in a high tower from the age of six so that she would not be exposed to Christianity. He also placed thirteen young maidens in the tower with her under the guidance and supervision of an aged tutor, Apellianos, who was responsible for Penelope’s best possible education. However, Apellianos was a Christian, and he secretly taught the young girl about our Saviour and His Divine Teachings, as well as the Acquisition of the Virtues that lead to our Salvation and Eternal Life. When Penelope reached adolescence, her parents began to consider a suitable bridegroom for her. One day, a dove flew through the window carrying an olive branch in its beak, which it set down upon a table. Then an eagle swooped in with a wreath of flowers in its beak, which was also placed upon the table. Finally, a raven flew in carrying a snake, which it dropped on the table. Naturally, Penelope was puzzled by these strange events so Apellianos explained that the dove signified her education, and the olive branch symbolised the Grace of God, which is received in Holy Baptism. The eagle with the wreath of flowers represented the success of her future life, while the raven and the snake foretold her impending suffering and sorrow. Then Apellianos explained that the Lord wished to Betroth her to Himself although Penelope would endure much suffering for her Heavenly Bridegroom. Consequently, Penelope was secretly Baptized by a Priest, Timothy, taking the name of Irene (Peace). She even dared to destroy all her father's household idols, and, having dedicated herself entirely to Christ, she adamantly refused all the suitors whom her parents chose for her. When Licinios was informed that his daughter not only refused to worship the pagan gods, but had also destroyed them all, he was infuriated to such a degree that he ordered the executioners to torture her in order to force her to renounce Christ. St Irene was tied up and thrown beneath the hooves of wild horses so that they might panic and trample her to death, but the horses stood still and instead of harming the young Martyr, one of the horses suddenly charged at Licinios, seized his right hand and tore it from his arm. Then it knocked Licinios down and began to trample him. The executioners quickly untied St Irene, and through her Fervent Prayers to Christ, her father was able to stand up unharmed and with his severed hand once again intact. Having witnessed such an amazing Miracle, Licinios and his wife, and many of the gathered multitude, (about 3000 men) believed in Christ and turned from the pagan gods. Licinios resigned from his administrative duties and devoted the rest of his life to the Holy Service of our Lord Jesus Christ, while St Irene resided in the home of her beloved, aged Teacher, Apellianos, from whence she preached Christ among the pagans, thereby converting them to the Eternal Life of Salvation. When Sedecius, the new Governor of Thessalonika, heard of this Great Miracle he summoned Apellianos and questioned him about St Irene's manner of life. Apellianos explained that St Irene, like other Christians, lived in strict temperance, devoting herself to constant Prayer and reading Holy Books. Sedecius summoned St Irene to him and urged her to stop preaching about Christ. He also attempted to force her to sacrifice to the idols. However, St. Irene resolutely and boldly confessed her Faith before the Governor, prepared to undergo Martyrdom for Christ – and, as expected on the order of Sedecius she was thrown into a pit filled with poisonous serpents for ten days yet remained unharmed, for an Angel of the Lord protected her and fed her. Ascribing her wondrous survival to ‘sorcery,’ Sedececius had St Irene put through many other unspeakable tortures, yet, by the Grace of God, she remained unharmed. When the torturers tried to saw her in half, the blades rebounded from her flesh as though from granite, so they tied her to a mill wheel and tried to drown her but the water flow stopped and the wheel could not be turned so as to submerge her. Then having been sent to King Sapor, the son of King Sedechias, for further punishment, St Irene’s feet were shod with nails, a heavy sack of sand was placed upon her back, a bridle was shoved between her jaws and she was harnessed and led like a beast through the city and into the countryside. "Truly, I am a beast before Thee, O Lord!" said the Holy Martyr, as she tried to run behind her torturers, until suddenly an Angel of God violently shook the earth, which opened up and swallowed the merciless persecutors. Through St Irene’s Preaching and Miracles many more people were converted to Christ – the True, Living and Almighty God - rejecting the ridiculous worship of inanimate man-made idols. Sedecius was deposed by his son Savorus, who persecuted Christians with an even greater zeal than his father and when St Irene returned to Magedon, she went to him to beseech him to end the persecution. When he refused, his entire army was suddenly blinded but when St Irene offered intercessory Prayers for them, they gladly recovered their sight. In spite of this, Savorus stubbornly refused to acknowledge the Divine Power of God and due to such insolence, he was instantly struck dead by a bolt of lightning. St Irene continued her preaching and performed many Miracles, thereby converting over five thousand people to Christ. In Callinicum she was arrested and tortured by being thrown into three bronze oxen, which were heated to capacity by fire, yet as she was transferred from one to another, miraculously she remained uninjured and thousands of witnesses embraced Christianity upon beholding such a wondrous Event. Sensing the approach of death, Numerian instructed his Eparch Babdonus to continue torturing the Saint in order to force her to sacrifice to idols and again, by Divine Grace, the cruel tortures were ineffective, and consequently many more people turned to the reality and Power of our Lord Jesus Christ. St Irene travelled to Constantina, forty miles northeast of Edessa. By 330, the Persian King Sapor II (309-379) had heard of St Irene's Great Miracles. To prevent her from gaining more people for Christ, she was immediately arrested, beheaded, and buried. However, God sent His Angel to raise her up again, and she went to Mesembria where, seeing her alive and hearing her preach, the local King joyfully accepted Holy Baptism together with many of his subjects. St Irene went to Ephesus to continue her Good Work until the Lord revealed to her that the end of her life was approaching. Accompanied by six people including her former teacher Apellianos St Irene left the city precincts and found a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. After making the Sign of the Cross, she entered, directing her companions to close the entrance to the cave with a large stone, which they did. Apellianos returned after only two days, and found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Thus God glorified St Irene, who Loved Him and devoted her entire life to serving Him.

4.

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St Irene the Great Martyr of Thessalonika

5 May 2012

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.

6 M ay 2 0 1 2
4th Paschal Sunday Tone 3

H r iis tto s A n e s ttii!! A lliitth o s A hos Hr s os Anes A n e s ttii!! Anes
Sunday of The Paralytic
Also the Feast of St Job the Much Afflicted – St Barbaros the Soldier, St Bacchos, St Callimachos & St Dionysios of Morea – St Micah the Disciple of St Sergios of Radonezh – St Savva the First Archbishop of Serbia – St Seraphim the Holy Ascetic of Lebadeia Paschal Apolytikion

§Hristos

Anesti ek nekron, Thanato Thanaton patistas, ke tis en tis mnimasi, Zoin harisamenos!

§

Christ has Risen from the dead, by Death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed Life to those in the tombs!
Lord has shown Strength with His Arm; He has trampled down Death by Death; He has become the First-born of the dead; from the womb of Hades He has delivered us, and to the world He has granted Great Mercy.

Reurrection Apolytikion – TONE 3

Evfrenestho ta Ourania, agaliastho ta epigia, oti epiise Let the Heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, for the
Kratos en Vrahioni Aftou O Kyrios. Epatise to Thanato ton Thanaton.Prototokos ton nekron egeneto. Ek kilias Adou errisato imas ke pareshe to kosmo to Mega Eleos.
Paschal Kontakion

I

ke en tafo katilthes athanate, alla tou Adou kathiles tin dinamin; ke Anestis os Nikitis, Hriste O Theos, Ginexi Miroforis fthengxamenos: Herete! Ke tis sis Apostolis Irinin doroumenos, O tis pesousi parehon Anastasin.

Although

Thou descended in the grave, O Immortal One, yet Thou destroyed the power of Hades; and Thou arose as Victor, O Christ our God! To the Myrrhbearing Women Thou said: Rejoice! And to Thine Apostles Thou granted Thy Peace: the One Who grants Resurrection to the fallen ones.

Resurrection Gospel 5 : Luke 24:12 – 35
Our Risen Lord Jesus Appears Along The Road To Emmaus

Sing

Prokeimenon
Praises to our God! Sing Praises to our King! Clap your hands, all your Nations!

T h e A c t s o f t h e Ap o s t l e s Ac c o r d i n g t o S t L u k e 9 : 3 2 – 4 2
St Peter in Gentile Judea Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also went down to the Saints who dwelt in Lydda. There he found a certain man names Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralysed. And Peter said to him: “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ Heals you. Arise, and make you bed.” And he arose immediately. And all who dwelt in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. At Joppa there was a certain Disciple, named Tabitha, which is translated “Dorcas.” This woman was full of Good Works and Charitable Deeds, which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the Disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they took him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him, weeping, showing the tunics and garments that Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down, and prayed. And turning to the body, he said: “Tabitha, arise!” and she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the Saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Lydda is approximately 25 miles northwest of Jerusalem St Peter was able to completely heal the paralysed Aeneas and Sharon was a region north of Lydda along the BY INVOKING THE AMAZING DIVINE HEALING POWER OF Mediterranean coastline. OUR LORD THROUGH HIS HOLY NAME, WHICH CONTINUES THE TERM “SAINTS” REFERRED TO ALL CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS, IN CHRIST’S HOLY CHURCH TO THIS VERY DAY. for all who believe in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus The Divine Signs or Miracles of the Holy Apostles of Christ Christ with their whole heart AND WHO ARE SANCTIFIED convinced many witnesses and others who then turned BY THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE BY DEFINITION “SAINTS.” to the Lord. The later use of the term, referring to Holy People who THESE DIVINE SIGNS OR MIRACLES PROVE THE GREAT MERCY lived particularly exemplary lives and who have been AND POWER OF ALMIGHTY GOD – THUS CONFIRMING Canonised (Glorified) by the Holy Church of Christ CHRIST’S HOLY GOSPEL AND LEADING MANY SOULS TO does not negate this primary meaning. SINCERE REPENTANCE AND ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST.

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4th Sunday of Holy Pascha – Sunday of the Paralytic – 6 May 2012

5.

St Peter’s raising St Tabitha from the dead parallels Christ’s raising the daughter of the Synagogue Ruler,

Jairus, from death.

The Holy Gospel According to St John 5 : 1 – 15
Christ our Lord & Saviour Heals the Paralysed Man at Bethesda

At that time there was a Feast of the Hebrews, and our Lord Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem, by the Sheep Gate, a pool, which is called in Hebrew: ‘Bethesda,’ having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people: blind, lame and paralysed – waiting for the moving of the water. For an Angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then, whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now A CERTAIN MAN WAS THERE WHO HAD AN INFIRMITY FOR THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS. When JESUS SAW HIM LYING THERE, AND KNEW THAT HE ALREADY HAD BEEN IN THAT CONDITION FOR A LONG TIME, He said to him: “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him: “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am going, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him: “Rise. Take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Hebrews, therefore, said to him who was cured: “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” He answered them: “He Who made me well said to me: ‘Take up your bed and walk.’” Then they asked him: “Who is the Man Who said to you: ‘Take up your bed and walk?’” But the one who was healed did not know Who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn – a multitude being in that place. Afterwards JESUS FOUND HIM in the Temple and said to him: “Behold: you have been made well. SIN NO MORE, LEST A WORSE THING COME UPON YOU.” The man departed and told the Hebrews that it was Jesus Who had made him well. V GOD DOES EVERYTHING IN HIS OWN TIME AND This Divine Healing was the third Sign or Miracle that St ACCORDING TO HIS OWN DIVINE WILL BECAUSE ONLY John the Divine Apostle recorded in his Holy Gospel.

V

IT EXEMPLIFIES THE DIVINE POWER OF CHRIST OUR LORD TO RESTORE A PERSON TO WHOLENESS – TO FULL HEALTH, DESPITE THE DEGREE OF AFFLICTION.

HE KNOWS WHAT IS BEST FOR US AND HOW TO HELP US.

The Feast, which is referred to, was the Old Covenant Pentecost – also known as “the Feast of Weeks,” which celebrates the granting of the Divine Law – the Ten Commandments of God – to St Moses on Mount Sinai. (THE REFERENCES TO THE LAW OF MOSES LATER IN THIS CHAPTER
CONFIRM THIS INTERPRETATION OF OUR HOLY CHURCH FATHERS..)

WE USUALLY HAVE TO CORRECT SOMETHING TO DO WITH OUR OWN PERSONAL SPIRITUAL CONDITION BEFORE WE ARE ABLE TO RECEIVE OR EXPERIENCE GOD’S DIVINE GRACE AND MERCY: WE NEED TO REPENT OUR SINS, TO HUMBLE OURSELVES, TO LEARN OBEDIENCE TO GOD, TO FORGIVE OTHERS, TO DO UNSELFISH AND LOVING (CHARITABLE) ACTS OF MERCY WITHOUT EXCEPTION, LEARN TO BE PATIENT, KIND, GENTLE, GENEROUS, DEVELOP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE AND TO FULFIL ALL OUR SACRED DUTIES AND COMMITMENTS WITH WILLING AND EAGER HEARTS.

V

The double-basin Pool of Bethesda, which was believed to have had miraculous curative powers, has been re-discovered about 100 yards North of the Temple area, near to the Sheep Gate. The water for this high-ground pool came from underground springs and was used to wash the SACRIFICIAL LAMBS before they WERE SLAUGHTERED AS BLOOD OFFERINGS FOR THE ATONEMENT AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS ACCORDING TO THE OLD COVENANT LAW. V THE POOL OF BETHESDA FUNCTIONED AS A TYPE OF HOLY BAPTISM: ® UNDER THE OLD COVENANT, ALTHOUGH A GREAT MULTITUDE WAITED to enter the water for physical healing after an Angel of God had touched it and stirred it up, ONLY ONE PERSON WAS HEALED AT A TIME. The water was special because IN AN INDIRECT MANNER IT WAS PART OF THE BLOOD SACRIFICES of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, since the sacrificial animals were cleansed in the water. ® However, DIVINE GRACE WAS LIMITED TO THE FIRST PERSON WHO ENTERED THE WATER – BUT NOT TO THE REST. V GOD’S NEW COVENANT BAPTISM IS GRANTED TO ALL NATIONS AS A DIRECT PARTICIPATION IN CHRIST’S OWN SACRIFICIAL DEATH – WITHOUT THE MEDIATION OF HIS ANGELS. ® Holy Baptism of the New (Bloodless) Covenant
GRANTS US ALL HEALING OF THE BODY AND OF THE IMMORTAL SOUL, ® AS WELL AS THE DIVINE PROMISE OF ETERNAL RESURRECTION OF THE BODY. Furthermore, DIVINE GRACE OF THE NEW COVENANT IS INEXHAUSTIBLE AND IS OFFERED TO ALL WHO SEEK IT. V According to St John Chrysostom, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST SINGLED OUT THE MAN WHO HAD SUFFERED FOR THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS – PATIENTLY WAITING TO BE HEALED – IN ORDER TO TEACH US TO PERSEVERE AND TO HAVE PATIENCE, WHILE BEING A JUDGEMENT OR CONDEMNATION AGAINST THOSE WHO LOSE HOPE OR PATIENCE ALTOGETHER – THOSE WHO DESPAIR – WHO LOSE ALL HOPE AND FAITH IN GOD’S DIVINE PROVIDENCE because their circumstances are not

ALTHOUGH IT MAY SEEM STRANGE THAT OUR LORD ASKED THE PARALYSED MAN IF HE WANTED TO BE HEALED, IT WAS A MOST RELEVANT QUESTION FOR SEVERAL REASONS: ® It made public the fact that THE SICK MAN KEPT HIS FAITH EVEN IN A SITUATION THAT WAS SEEMINGLY HOPELESS, for how could a

paralytic ever be the first into the water? ® Our Lord drew attention away from the water and towards THE NEED WE ALL HAVE FOR THE HELP
AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF OTHERS, WHICH IS FULFILLED IN CHRIST HIMSELF, Who became

Man in order to heal all ailing and fallen mankind. ® NOT EVERYONE WHO IS ILL ACTUALLY DESIRES HEALING, for sadly, some prefer to remain infirm in order to have an excuse or licence to complain, to avoid any responsibility for their lives, or to continue drawing the pity of others! Although Mosaic Law did not specifically forbid the carrying of burdens on the Sabbath, it was prohibited and explicitly forbidden in Rabbinical Teachings. J e r e m i a h 1 7 : 2 3 The Lord said: “... if you will not hear Me so as to Sanctify the Sabbath Days, and bear no burdens, nor enter the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath Days, then I will kindle a fire in her gates. It will consume the streets of Jerusalem and will not be quenched.” St Jeremiah the Holy Prophet of God delivered the Word of the Lord which commanded that Israel stop violating the Sabbath Day. The Reward for Obedience to God is a gathering of the nations into Jerusalem to offer sacrifice and although this was done after the Exile, it was not completely fulfilled until the Gentiles joined the procession on the Day of Pentecost. The Truth that Christ is Lord over the Sabbath is made clear by His Command to the Paralytic and by the man’s unhesitating Obedience to Him. As is often the case in the Holy Gospel according to St John, “HEBREWS” REFERS TO THE LEADERS - and not to the people in general – WHOSE MALICE IS QUITE
EVIDENT BECAUSE THEY FOCUSED SOLELY ON THE “VIOLATION” OF THE SABBATH RATHER THAN ON THE GREAT MIRACLE OF THE LONG-SUFFERING PARALYTIC. THE GENUINE AND PROFOUND FAITH OF THE MAN IS DEMONSTRATED BY HIS IMMEDIATELY GOING TO THE

according to their own will and desires – and especially when we have only minor problems that can be easily resolved if we make an effort to do so.

V

6.

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4th Sunday of Holy Pascha – Sunday of the Paralytic – 6 May 2012

TEMPLE TO OFFER HIS HEARTFELT THANKSGIVING AND WORSHIP, instead of going home, or

V

anywhere else to show off his healed body. Furthermore, ALL MIRACULOUS HEALINGS HAD TO BE
CONFIRMED BY THE TEMPLE PRIESTS, FOLLOWED BY VARIOUS CLEANSING AND SACRIFICIAL RITES ACCORDING TO MOSAIC LAW.

SIN CAUSES SPIRITUAL DEATH, WHICH ONLY REPENTANCE CAN RESOLVE BY RETURNING US TO SPIRITUAL LIFE IN CHRIST. ® However, IF WE STUBBORNLY REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE, CONFESS AND REPENT OUR SINS THEY WILL DESTROY OUR SOUL – leading to a far

While there is a general connection between sin and suffering, this connection is not always one to one, for the innocent often suffer while the guilty seem to be spared earthly consequences. Nevertheless, OUR SINS USUALLY LEAD DIRECTLY TO MOST
OF THE SUFFERING OF THIS WORLD – OUR OWN SUFFERING AND – EVEN WORSE - THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS DUE TO OUR SELFISH OR THOUGHTLESS ACTIONS. Christ’s dire warning: “Sin no more...” was NOT ONLY ADDRESSED TO THE HEAL MAN, BUT TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US!

worse consequence than any terrible, painful or disabling affliction of the body! Our only hope is to RESIST ALL TEMPTATION AND SIN BY
BESEECHING THE LORD OUR GOD FOR HIS DIVINE STRENGTH AND ASSISTANCE. THE HEALED PARALYTIC DID NOT REPORT OUR LORD JESUS TO THE HEBREW LEADERS IN A MALICIOUS MANNER BUT AS A WITNESS OF CHRIST’S ABSOLUTE GOODNESS, for

even though those misguided leaders were only interested in the violation of the Sabbath, the restored man emphasised that it was our Lord Jesus Who had healed him, without saying anything about carrying his bed – i.e. WITHOUT BLAMING CHRIST FOR
CAUSING HIM TO BREAK THE SABBATH.

Fourth Paschal Sunday – of the Paralytic at Bethesda Pool
"HE HAS SHOWN YOU, O MAN, WHAT IS GOOD; and what does the Lord require of you but to DO JUSTLY, to LOVE MERCY, and to WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD." (MICAH 6:8) Just as when a child is born and must develop properly, Similarly, CHRIST PUTS THE EXACT SAME QUESTION TO US: and eventually learn to walk, THE CHRISTIAN MUST ALSO “Do you want to be made well?” LEARN TO “ ...WALK HUMBLY WITH GOD...” – an Quite often people do not want to make the choices required in order to improve their physical and expression that emphasises how FAITH MEANS HAVING A spiritual circumstances and consequences. CLOSE, PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH ALMIGHTY GOD. WE ALL TOO OFTEN CHOOSE NOT TO REPENT OUR SINS – OR ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY IS not about a list of “do’s and EVEN TO RECOGNISE AND ACKNOWLEDGE THEM – because don’ts,” but rather about GROWING IN A LOVING we enjoy the instant self-gratification that has no longRELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OUR CREATOR AND HIS term benefit, in THE MISGUIDED BELIEF THAT WE CAN CREATION – AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OUR REPENT “LATER!” DIVINE FATHER AND HIS CHILD. WE PREFER TO HOLD GRUDGES AGAINST OTHERS EVEN THOUGH Furthermore walking humbly also implies that this is to be WE ARE AWARE HOW MUST PAIN WE CAUSE – to others as A RELATIONSHIP THAT IS CONSTANTLY MOVING FORWARD well as to ourselves. and as we continue our Journey, BECOMING CLOSER WE ALL WANT TO BE MADE WELL, YET WE ARE NOT PREPARED AND CLOSER TO GOD THROUGH OUR SPIRITUAL MATURITY TO UNDERTAKE WHATEVER IS REQUIRE OF US in order to AND EXPERIENCE. be restored to full physical and spiritual health. We do not regard a two year old child as being “immature” Spiritually aching and alienated from God due to our own when he plays because that is what toddlers do. Yet unrepented sins, WE FEEL UTTERLY ‘EMPTY’ AND HAVE NO by the time that youngster reaches adulthood, his WISH TO TURN TO GOD IN PRAYER. behaviour should have changed as dramatically as his We say we want to be closer to God and that we have a continually maturing body. desire to develop our Unity with Him, yet WE REFUSE And GOD WANTS TO TRANSFORM OUR LIFE so the more we TO WALK HUMBLY WITH HIM. walk with God, the more OUR HEARTS CHANGE and our WE ARE ENSNARED BY OUR STUBBORN WILFULNESS AND portraits of hurt are eventually replaced by landscapes of Mercy; walls of anger are demolished and shaky RIDICULOUS EXCUSES, ALWAYS READY TO BLAME OTHERS foundations become stable and firmly grounded. OR VARIOUS UNRELATED SITUATIONS FOR OUR DEEP IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO REALLY WALK WITH GOD YET UNHAPPINESS AND HURT. REMAIN UNCHANGED. HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE MAKES OUR REPENTANCEToday we hear about someone who could not walk at all CONFESSION POSSIBLE, which subsequently restores until he was confronted by our Lord Jesus Christ. our souls to a good state, and enables us to truly walk For 38 long and painful years the Paralytic had been humbly with Christ. unable to do anything freely and independently of However, WE NEED TO CHANGE – WE NEED TO BE others – and even those who had helped him before TRANSFORMED BY AGAPE – DIVINE, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE seem to have abandoned him where he lay. - SO THAT WE CAN REJECT EVERY OBSTACLE THAT MIGHT Although the question that our Lord put to him seems HINDER OUR LIFE IN CHRIST. utterly inappropriate and most peculiar: “Do you SINCERE SELF-EXAMINATION – A DEEP SEARCH OF OUR INNER want to be made well?” and the answer seems BEING – WILL REVEAL WHATEVER BLOCKS OR REPELS OUR obvious, in reality, IT IS A VERY SIGNIFICANT QUESTION CLOSE INTIMATE UNION WITH GOD: an obsession with BECAUSE IF WE SINCERELY WISH TO WALK WITH GOD, IT wealth, and/or possessions, a time-consuming REQUIRES OUR OWN PERSONAL CHOICE – OUR FREE WILL – occupation that keeps us from our duties to God and and this Paralytic had to make his own decision our fellow man, a destructive personal habit or the because GOD NEVER FORCES HIS DIVINE WILL ON association with ungodly or wicked people who ANYONE. influence us detrimentally... the list is endless. For 38 years the Paralytic had relied on the compassion, Nevertheless, we have to make a conscious effort to kindness and assistance of others for his daily survival choose to walk humbly with God instead of “doing our but if he were made well HE WOULD HAVE TO EARN HIS own thing.” LIVING FOR THE FIRST TIME – HE WOULD HAVE TO ACCEPT Although we do not like others to have authority or power HIS PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES. over us, OUR BLESSED LIFE IN CHRIST IS ONLY POSSIBLE There are certain people who would rather suffer a painful THROUGH OUR COMPLETE SUBMISSION TO THE DIVINE affliction and be dependent on others – and, no doubt WILL AND LORDSHIP OF OUR SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. accept financial and material assistance - rather than And only when we can say with every fibre of our being: “O being healthy enough to do an honest day’s work and Lord, let it be according to Thy Will and not fulfil their personal responsibilities. mine!” that we find True Peace and Joy. Now this particular Paralytic who had waited for a Divine SPIRITUAL FREEDOM MEANS THAT WE NO LONGER MAKE EVEN Miracle for so long at the Pool of Bethesda no longer THE SLIGHTEST EXCUSE. WE STRIVE TO ALWAYS BE had any excuse to avoid taking on his commitments COMPLETELY HONEST AND ACCEPT OUR RESPONSIBILTIES due to his incapacity. WITHOUT HESITATION OR FAILURE.

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Satan always has an endless supply of worthless excuses for us to use but the big question is simple and straightforward: “Do you really want to be made well?” WALKING WITH GOD AND LIVING IN CHRIST REQUIRES THE COMBINED, INSEPARABLE VIRTUES OF HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE, WHICH MAKES OTHER VIRTUES POSSIBLE. Without these Virtues, we are unable to make any Spiritual Progress whatsoever because we must be eager and willing to Obey the Lord our God, which requires utter Humility to achieve and because OUR PRIDEFUL EGOS ARE THE ROOT CAUSE OF ALL SPIRITUAL DOWNFALL AND DEATH! EVERY DIVINE MIRACLE IS LINKED TO OBEDIENCE: the man with the withered hand stretched out his hand and was healed; the man born without eyes struggled all the way to the Pool of Siloam to wash, and he received sight; the 5000 families were fed with a child’s little lunch of 5 small rolls and two sardines; the ten lepers went off to show themselves to the Priests and were healed... the Miraculous Accounts are innumerable and continuous. Whenever anyone is Healed, THE PERSON CONCERNED HAS OBEYED THE COMMANDMENTS OF CHRIST, AND TRUSTED HIM IMPLICITLY – WITHOUT HESITATION OR ARGUMENT – AND CONSEQUENTLY RECEIVED GOD’S WONDERFUL BLESSINGS. We all want God to work in our lives but HE IS WAITING FOR US TO ACT IN ALL HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE TO THE INSTRUCTIONS HE HAS ALREADY GIVEN TO US – i.e. we already know what is required of us, but WE HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO OBEY HIM DUE TO OUR PRIDE AND SPIRITUAL STUBBORNNESS. CHRIST HAS TAUGHT US TO FORGIVE those who hurt us and hate us, but we remain unforgiving. CHRIST HAS TAUGHT US TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER – INCLUDING OUR ENEMIES – but we remain resentful, angry and even filled with hatred- always ready with any excuse to avoid our Sacred Duties to God and our neighbours. WE CANNOT EXPERIENCE HIS LOVING PRESENCE AND INDWELLING WHEN WE ARE IN SUCH A STATE OF SPIRITUAL DEATH! CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR HAS TAUGHT US TO TRUST HIM AND TO OBEY HIM AND TO PURSUE EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY – and to avoid or reject everything that is wicked, harmful and hateful. GOD’S COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT BURDENSOME. He does not give us a long list of restrictions that make our life difficult, but rather He teaches us everything that enables us to grow close to Him – TO REGAIN OUR LOST DIVINE LIKENESS as He has created us to be.

Our Lord God wants only the best for us and He wants to walk with us through this preparatory period, but He does ask us to walk obediently with Him. As we Journey towards Eternity, we will often be confronted by those who oppose us, and those who will tempt us into wandering off God’s Path of Righteousness. WITH EVERY TEMPTATION, WE HAVE THE CHOICE OF SURRENDERING TO IT OR RESISTING IT. “... to HIM WHO IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM STUMBLING AND TO PRESENT YOU FAULTLESS before the Presence of His Glory with exceeding Joy...” (JUDE 24) GOD NOT ONLY FORGIVES US OUR PAST ERRORS BUT THROUGH THE WONDERFUL POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITHIN US, HE KEEPS US FROM STUMBLING AND FALLING INTO A STATE OF PERMANENT SPIRITUAL DEATH! Some time after having healed the Paralytic, our Lord Jesus sought him out at the Temple and cautioned him: “... Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you!” (JOHN 5 : 14) This does not imply that the man had been paralysed due to some past personal sin, but instead, OUR COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING LORD JESUS CHRIST
WARNED HIM AGAINST COMMITTING FURTHER SINS THAT WOULD CAUSE HIS ETERNAL CONDEMNATION AND

ALIENATION FROM GOD AND ALL GOOD THINGS. So the more we STRIVE FOR HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE, the more we are able to truly walk humbly with God through the days of our lifespan, until we reach our ultimate destination – Eternity – and, hopefully, Eternal Life in His Heavenly Kingdom. And THE MORE WE STRUGGLE TO REMAIN CLOSE TO THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LESS WE WILL STUMBLE AND FALL. As Orthodox Christians – as faithful Disciples of Christ our Beloved Lord and Master – WE HAVE WITHIN US THE HEART OF CHRIST GOD, so we need to ask ourselves constantly: is that Divine, Pure Heart showing? As we try to walk humbly with God, can others see us and join us? How is your walk with Christ this morning? ARE YOU READY, WILLING AND ABLE TO ANSWER WHEN CHRIST CONFRONTS YOU and asks you directly: “Do you want to be made well?” All Glory, Honour and Worship, to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the Ages of Ages. Amen
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: SERMON BY FR. DANIEL SWIRES HTTP://WWW.HOLYCROSSOHIO.ORG HTTP://GROUPS.YAHOO.COM/GROUP/ORTHODOX-SERMONS/MESSAGE/193 -

The Infinite and Inspired Wisdom of our Holy Church Fathers St. Hesychios the Priest
WE SHOULD OF OUR OWN FREE CHOICE GLADLY CUT OFF OUR WHOLE WILL THROUGH OBEDIENCE. In this way, WITH GOD'S HELP, WE SHALL BECOME TO SOME DEGREE TRACTABLE AND FREE FROM SELF-WILL. It is good to acquire this art, for then our bile will not be aroused and WE SHALL NOT EXCITE OUR INCENSIVE POWER UNNATURALLY AND UNCONTROLLABLY, AND SO BE DEPRIVED OF COMMUNION WITH GOD IN OUR UNSEEN WARFARE. IF WE DO NOT VOLUNTARILY CUT OFF OUR SELF-WILL, IT WILL
BECOME ENRAGED WITH THOSE WHO TRY TO COMPEL US TO CUT IT OFF; and then our incensive power will become

abusively aggressive and so destroy that Knowledge of the Warfare which we have gained only after great effort. THE INCENSIVE POWER BY NATURE IS PRONE TO BE DESTRUCTIVE. If it is turned against demonic thoughts it destroys them; but IF IT IS ROUSED AGAINST PEOPLE IT THEN DESTROYS THE GOOD THOUGHTS THAT ARE IN US. In other words, THE INCENSIVE POWER, ALTHOUGH GODGIVEN AS A WEAPON OR A BOW AGAINST EVIL, CAN BE
TURNED THE OTHER WAY AND USED TO DESTROY GOOD THOUGHTS AS WELL, for it destroys whatever it is

directed against." (THE PHILOKALIA VOL. 1; FABER AND FABER PG. 167):

St

Dorotheos of Gaza
Self-elevation begets contempt and disobedience begets perdition whereas HUMILITY BEGETS OBEDIENCE AND THE SAVING OF SOULS. And I call that real Humility which is
NOT HUMBLE IN WORD AND OUTWARD APPEARANCE BUT IS DEEPLY PLANTED IN THE HEART; for this is what He

"Listen to what the Lord Himself tells us: 'LEARN OF ME, for I Am Meek and Humble of heart AND YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.' (MATTHEW 11:29). There you have it in a nutshell: HE HAS TAUGHT US THE
ROOT AND CAUSE OF ALL EVILS AND ALSO THE REMEDY FOR IT, leading to all good. He shows us that PRETENSIONS TO SUPERIORITY CAST US DOWN and that IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN MERCY EXCEPT by the contrary, that is to say, BY HUMILITY.

meant when He said that 'I Am Meek and Humble of heart.'"(DISCOURSES AND SAYINGS; CISTERCIAN PUBLICATIONS PG. 81):

8.

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4th Sunday of Holy Pascha – Sunday of the Paralytic – 6 May 2012

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St John the Divine Theologian, Evangelist & Beloved Apostle of Christ

8 May 2012

9.

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glo ry, Honour and Wo rship to th e Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and foreve r, 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.

Ap o d o s i s o f t h e P a r a l y t i c

8 May 2012

H r iis tto s A n e s ttii!! A lliitth o s A n e s ttii!! Hr s os Anes A hos Anes
St John the Divine Theologian & Beloved Apostle of Christ Also the Feast of St Tamara the Queen – St Arsenios the Great – St Pimen the Faster of Kiev Far Caves – St Arsenios the Lover of Labor of Kiev Far Caves Monastery
Paschal Apolytikion

§Hristos

Anesti ek nekron, Thanato Thanaton patistas, ke tis en tis mnimasi, Zoin harisamenos!

§

Christ has Risen from the dead, by Death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed Life to those in the tombs!
Lord has shown Strength with His Arm; He has trampled down Death by Death; He has become the First-born of the dead; from the womb of Hades He has delivered us, and to the world He has granted Great Mercy. Apostle, Speaker of Divinity, the Beloved of Christ God, hasten and deliver Thy people powerless in argument; for He on Whose Bosom Thou leant accepts Thee as an Intercessor. Beseech Him, on our behalf for Peace and His Great Mercy.

R e s u r r e c t i o n A p o l y t i k i o n – TONE 3

Evfrenestho ta Ourania, agaliastho ta epigia, oti epiise Let the Heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, for the
Kratos en Vrahioni Aftou O Kyrios. Epatise to Thanato ton Thanaton.Prototokos ton nekron egeneto. Ek kilias Adou errisato imas ke pareshe to kosmo to Mega Eleos.

Apolytikion Of St John The Divine Theologiian & Apostle Of Christ

Apostole Hristo to Theo igapimene, epitahinon, rise laon O
anapologiton. Dehete se prospiptonta, O epipesonta to stithi katadexamenos. On iketeve, Theologe, ke epimonon nefos ethnon diaskedase, etoumenos imin irinin, ke to Mega Eleos.

Kontakion of St John the Divine Theologian & Apostle

Ta

Megalia Sou Parthene, is diigisete? Briis gar Thavmata, ke pigazis iamata, ke presvis iper ton psihon imon, OS THEOLOGOS KE FILOS HRISTOU.

Who

can describe Thy Magnificence, O Virgin? Thou pour out Miracles and Thou overflow with cures, and Thou Intercede on behalf of our souls, AS A
THEOLOGIAN AND FRIEND OF CHRIST.

The First Universal Epistle of St John the Divine 1:1 – 7
The Incarnation of the Word & Son of God

Brethren, THAT WHICH WAS FROM THE BEGINNING, WHICH WE HAVE HEARD, WHICH WE HAVE SEEN WITH OUR OWN EYES, WHICH WE HAVE LOOKED UPON, AND WITH OUR HANDS HAVE TOUCHED, CONCERNING THE WORD OF LIFE – the Life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you THAT ETERNAL LIFE THAT WAS WITH THE FATHER AND WHICH WAS MANIFESTED TO US – that which we have seen and heard, we declare to you, so that you also may have Fellowship with us; and truly, our Fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you so that your Joy may be full. This is the MESSAGE THAT WE HAVE HEARD FROM HIM AND DECLARE TO YOU, THAT GOD IS LIGHT AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL. If we say that we have Fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practise the Truth. But IF WE WALK IN THE LIGHT AS HE IS IN THE LIGHT, WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER, AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS SON CLEANSES US FROM ALL SIN. Contrary to heretics who claim communion directly with SON OF GOD, BEING ONE WITH GOD THE FATHER IN God through “spiritual” (non-material) means, ST REGARD TO EQUALITY OF SUBSTANCE, IS ETERNAL AND JOHN THE DIVINE THEOLOGIAN AND BELOVED UNCREATED. APOSTLE OF CHRIST TAUGHT US COMMUNION WITH That THE WORD AND SON OF GOD ALWAYS EXISTED is GOD THROUGH HIS INCARNATE SON – ESPECIALLY WITH signified by the words: “In the beginning was the Word...” REGARD TO THE HOLY EUCHARIST – the Body and b THE DIVINITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS Blood of Christ – where the physicality of Christ is repulsive to the heretics. REVEALED IN HIS LIFE ON EARTH – ESPECIALLY The term “we” is a reference to THE HOLY APOSTLES OF THROUGH HIS DIVINE TEACHING AND MIRACLES. CHRIST WHOSE TESTIMONY IS TRUE – unlike that of “Koinonia” is FAR MORE THAT SIMPLY FELLOWSHIP. IT IS the false apostles. OUR PERSONAL PARTICIPATION WITH OTHER BELIEVERS WHILE ST JOHN THE DIVINE THEOLOGIAN MADE A IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST. (WE LIVE IN CHRIST.) DISTINCTION BETWEEN DIVINE REVELATION (“...which “Fellowship with us,” refers to COMMUNION – ESPECIALLY was from the beginning... the Word of Life...” AND EUCHARISTIC COMMUNION – WITHIN THE HOLY, HUMAN SENSORY PERCEPTION (“... heard... seen... APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF CHRIST. looked upon... touched...”), HE HAD NO PROBLEM IT WAS INCONCEIVABLE TO ST JOHN THE DIVINE THAT THE CONNECTING THEM. HOLY CHURCH OF CHRIST COULD NOT BE ONE AND NOTE ST JOHN’S CLARITY OF TEACHING WITH REGARD TO UNITED OR THAT FELLOWSHIP COULD NOT BE FOUNDED CHRIST’S TWO NATURES: DIVINE “... from the UPON HOLY DOCTRINE – THE THEOLOGICAL beginning... the Word of Life...” AND HUMAN: “... IMPLICATION OF “... WITH THE FATHER AND WITH HIS heard... seen... touched.” SON, JESUS CHRIST...” AND ON THE HOLY When St John mentioned “... which was from the MYSTERIES/SACRAMENTS – THE LITURGICAL beginning...” he touched upon THE GENERATION IMPLICATION OF KOINONIA. WITHOUT BEGINNING OF GOD THE SON WHO IS COFor St John the Divine Theologian, LIGHT IS DIVINE EXISTENT WITH GOD THE FATHER. ENERGY MANIFESTED OR REVEALED AS TRUTH – GOD’S “Was” therefore, indicates ETERNITY WITHOUT TRUTH – TRUE DOCTRINE/TEACHING, VIRTUE AND BEGINNING, JUST AS GOD THE WORD HIMSELF, THE 10.
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St John the Divine Theologian, Evangelist & Beloved Apostle of Christ – 8 May 2012

HOLINESS – TRUE BEHAVIOUR – AND COMMUNION WITH GOD IN HIS HOLY CHURCH – TRUE SPIRITUALITY. b THE STRONGEST OF ALL WEAPONS AGAINST SPIRITUAL DARKNESS IS OUR LOVE FOR GOD – A STRONG, VIBRANT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. St John addressed three false gnostic teachings on Light. Their intertwined errors are that : 1. Union with God is indifferent to sin! THE TRUTH IS THAT FAITH MUST BE EVIDENCED BY GOOD WORKS – FAITH MUST PRODUCE PURITY - “PRACTISE THE TRUTH” – WHERE TRUTH IS A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD MANIFESTED IN A HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS LIFE IN CHRIST. AND FAITH MUST SEEK FORGIVENESS AND CLEANSING OF SIN – “... the Blood of Jesus Christ... Cleanses us from all sin.” 2. Sin does not exist!

THE TRUTH IS THAT SIN DOES MOST CERTAINLY EXIST, AND THE PRACTISE OF REPENTANCE-CONFESSION IS THE ESTABLISHED BASIS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH TOWARDS RIGHTEOUSNESS 3. One in union with God cannot sin! The Truth is THAT ALTHOUGH WE CONTINUALLY SIN TO A GREATER OR LESSER DEGREE, WE SHOULD MAKE EVERY
EFFORT TO RESIST TEMPTATION AND STRIVE CONSTANTLY TO REPENT THE SINS WE COMMIT. SALVATION IN CHRIST IS A CONTINUOUS PROCESS, in part towards Theosis – i.e REGAINING OUR LIKENESS TO GOD IN WHOSE IMAGE AND LIKENESS WE WERE CREATED – meaning that we DEVELOP SPIRITUAL STRENGTH THAT RESISTS TEMPTATIONS.
THE ENTIRE PURPOSE OF THIS LIFE IS TO REGAIN - TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY OUR LIKENESS TO GOD SO THAT WE ARE FITTING CITIZENS FOR HIS ETERNAL KINGDOM OF LOVE.

The Holy Gospel of St John 19: 25-28;

21: 24-25

The Care Of The Ever Blessed Theotokos & Confirmation Of The Truth Of St John’s Holy Gospel

At that time there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His Mother, and the Disciple whom He Loved standing by, He said to His Mother: “Woman: behold thy son!” Then He said to the Disciple: “Behold, thy Mother!” And from that hour that Disciple took her to his own home... This is the Disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is True. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. In this passage, which is read on the Feast of St John to protect her and take care of her since her own the Divine Theologian and Apostle of Christ, family had long since passed away. SEVERAL IMPORTANT TRUTHS CONCERNING THE EVER SHE IS OBLIQUELY REFERRED TO IN THE HOLY GOSPELS AS BLESSED THEOTOKOS – THE EVER VIRGIN MOTHER OF BEING “THE MOTHER OF JOSES” OR JAMES, OR JUDE, etc. GOD, MARY – ARE EVIDENT: The children of St Joseph the Betrothed and his late b By calling the Ever Blessed Theotokos “Woman,” wife, Salome, were St James the Just OUR LORD USED A TERM OF DIGNITY AND (Adelphotheos), Jude, Joses, St Salome, (mother of AFFECTION. Contrary to certain modern usages, St John the Divine Theologian and Apostle and St this is a Sacred Title in Holy Scripture. It is an James (the Lesser) and Holy Myrrh-bearer) and address conveying deep respect and distinction. another daughter whose name is uncertified. b By saying to St John, His Beloved Apostle: “Behold So, until her repose in Peace, several years later, the thy Mother!” OUR LORD SYMBOLICALLY Ever Blessed Theotokos lived with her cousin, ESTABLISHED THE ALL PURE VIRGIN MARY’S ROLE Salome, and her family. AS MOTHER OF ALL FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF THE APOSTOLIC TEACHING THAT THE EVER BLESSED CHRIST IN EVERY GENERATION. VIRGIN THEOTOKOS MAINTAINED HER VOW OF b IF OUR EVER BLESSED LADY HAD HAD OTHER NATURAL CELIBACY THROUGHOUT HER LIFE IS CONFIRMED BY CHILDREN, CHRIST WOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO PLACE CHRIST’S ACTION. HER IN THE CARE OF ST JOHN AND HIS FAMILY – b CHRIST DEMONSTRATED BY HIS OWN EXAMPLE THAT their close and most trusted relatives. WE MUST “...EVEN TO OUR LAST BREATHE...” SHOW He would not have insulted other siblings. EVERY CARE FOR OUR PARENTS. However, the “sons” and “daughters” who are In those days, and even in certain cultures to this day, mentioned in conjunction with the Blessed Virgin when a woman was no longer protected by a male are in fact her cousins – the children of her late relative, all her possessions were taken from her aunt Salome (sister of St Anna) and her legal and she would be cast out, homeless, destitute and guardian, St Joseph the Betrothed. at the mercy of everyone else. WHEN THE TEMPLE PRIESTS PLACED THE YOUNG, Christ’s Compassion for these women was clearly PUBESCENT MARY INTO THE PROTECTIVE GUARDIANSHIP evident when He resurrected the Widow of Nain’s OF ST JOSEPH THE BETROTHED, HE WAS IN HIS LATE son. EIGHTIES AND WAS A MOST RIGHTEOUS MAN WHOM THE ST JOHN THE DIVINE THEOLOGIAN AND APOSTLE OF PRIESTS KNEW COULD BE TRUSTED TO PROTECT THE CHRIST HAD ALSO TAKEN A VOW OF CELIBACY AND CHASTITY OF THE YOUNG MAIDEN AND HER FELLOW REMAINED CELIBATE HIS ENTIRE LIFE, HAVING DEVOTED VIRGIN COMPANIONS. HIMSELF ENTIRELY TO THE HOLY SERVICE OF GOD. SHE HAD TAKEN A VOW OF CHASTITY FROM EARLY He was the only Holy Apostle of Christ to eventually CHILDHOOD and because VOWS WERE SO SACRED AND repose peacefully – over 100 years of age, while the COULD NOT BE BROKEN, God chose her elderly uncle others had all suffered Holy Martyrdom.

The Inspired, Eternal Wisdom of our Holy Church Fathers
St Leo the Great "It is not enough to know the Son of God in the Father's Nature only, unless WE ACKNOWLEDGE HIM IN WHAT IS OURS - WITHOUT WITHDRAWAL OF WHAT IS HIS OWN. FOR THAT SELF-EMPTYING, WHICH HE UNDERWENT FOR MAN'S RESTORATION, WAS THE DISPENSATION OF COMPASSION, NOT THE LOSS OF POWER. For, although BY THE ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD THERE WAS '...NO OTHER N AME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN TO MEN WHEREBY THEY MUST BE SAVED', THE INVISIBLE MADE HIS SUBSTANCE VISIBLE, THE INTEMPORAL TEMPORAL, THE IMPASSABLE PASSABLE: NOT THAT POWER MIGHT SINK INTO WEAKNESS, but THAT WEAKNESS MIGHT PASS INTO INDESTRUCTIBLE POWER." (ACTS 4:12) (THE NICENE AND POST-NICENE FATHERS: SECOND
SERIES VOL. XII; EERDMANS PGS. 185-186):

St Mark the Ascetic "OUR FUTURE REWARD IS MADE MANIFEST THROUGH THE IMPULSES OF THE HEART. A MERCIFUL HEART WILL RECEIVE MERCY, while a merciless heart will receive the opposite." (THE PHILOKALIA VOL. 1; FABER AND FABER
PG. 112):

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St John the Divine Theologian, Evangelist & Beloved Apostle of Christ

8 May 2012

11.

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glo ry, Honou r 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.

9 May 2 0 1 2

H r iis tto s A n e s ttii!! A lliitth o s A n e s ttii!! Hr s os Anes A hos Anes
Mid Pentecost Wednesday Also the Feast of St Isaiah, Holy Prophet of God – St Shio the Anchorite of Georgia – St Christopher, St Callinike & St Aquilina of Lycia – St Nicholas of Myra, Translation of Holy Relics – St Joseph of Optina
Paschal Apolytikion

§Hristos

Anesti ek nekron, Thanato Thanaton patistas, ke tis en tis mnimasi, Zoin harisamenos!

§

Christ has Risen from the dead, by Death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed Life to those in the tombs!
Halfway to the Feast, refresh my thirsty soul with flowing
Streams of Piety; for Thou, O Saviour, cried to all: Those who thirst, come to Me and drink! O Fountain of Life, Christ our God, Glory to Thee!

Apolytikion

O f M i d – P e n t e c o s t – TONE (8) PLAGAL 4:

Mesousis

tis Eortis, disosan mou tin psihin, efsevias potison namata; oti pasi Sotir evoisas: O dispason erhestho pros me ke pineto. I Pigi tis Zois, Hriste O Theos imon Doxa Si.

Kontakion Of Mid-Pentecost

Tis

Eortis tis nomikis mesazousis, O Ton apanton Piitis ke Despotis, pros tous parontas eleges Hriste O Theos. Defte ke arisasthe, idor athanasias. Othen Si prospiptomen, ke Pistos ekvoomen. Tous iktirmous Sou dorise imin. Si gar iparhis Pigi tis zois imon.

When

the Paschal Feast was half-completed, O the Creator of all and their Master, Thou said to those present, O Christ our God: Come to Me and draw now, the Water that is Immortal. Wherefore, we fall down before Thee and cry out in Faith: Thy Great Mercies grant to us; for Thou art indeed, the Fount of our lives.

The Acts of the Apostles According to St Luke 14 : 6 – 18
The Church of Christ in Iconium, Galatia

Brethren: When a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Hebrews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone the Apostles, they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. And they preached the Gospel there. And in Lystra a certain man was sitting, who had no strength in his feet– a cripple from his mother’s womb – who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently, and seeing that he had Faith to be Healed, said with a loud voice: “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leapt and walked. Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language: “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” And Barnabas they called ‘Zeus,’ and Paul, ‘Hermes,’ since he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, took oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the Apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard this, they tore their clothing and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying: “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you so that you should turn from these useless things to the Living God, Who made the Heavens, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them; Who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. “Nevertheless, He did not leave Himself without Witness, in that He did Good: He gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” And with these sayings, they could scarcely retain the multitudes from sacrificing to them. According to St John Chrysostom, THE UNFITTING PRAISE FICKLE, WEAK AND UNSTABLE BECAUSE IT IS SO EASILY OF THE LYCAONIANS WAS “... A CONTRIVANCE OF THE SHATTERED AND LOST. DEVIL...” WHO TRIED TO LEAD THE PEOPLE TO A NEW We must have FAITH IN GOD DUE TO A DEEP, PERSONAL FORM OF IDOLATRY AS WELL AS TRYING TO TEMPT ST CONVICTION AND LOVE OF GOD – SOMETHING THAT PAUL AND ST BARNABAS INTO THE FATAL SIN OF PRIDE COMES NATURALLY ONLY FROM WITHIN OUR HEARTS AND AND ARROGANCE. SOULS BUT WHICH CANNOT BE FORCED NOR TAUGHT. While St Paul preached Christ to the Hebrews by using It is A NATURAL RESPONSE OF OUR SOUL, WHICH HAS COME the Old Testament, in Lycaonia he used a starting FROM GOD AND WHICH NEEDS TO RETURN TO HIM. point that was most accessible and understandable TRUE FAITH IN GOD IS A DEEP-SEATED ACKNOWLEDGEMENT to his audience. AND RECOGNITION OF HIS DIVINE TRUTH AND A THE PEOPLE’S IMMEDIATE CHANGE FROM WORSHIPPING THE PERSONAL COMPULSION OR YEARNING TO LIVE EVERY HOLY APOSTLES OF CHRIST TO PERSECUTING THEM MOMENT IN CHRIST. SHOWS THEIR MOB MENTALITY, AND TEACHES US THAT A FAITH THAT IS BASED SOLELY ON OBVIOUS MIRACLES IS

The Holy Gospel According to St

John 7 : 14 – 30

Our Lord Jesus Christ Teaches in the Temple at Mid-Pentecost

At that time, about the middle of the Feast Jesus went up into the Temple and taught. And the Hebrews marvelled, saying: “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” And Jesus answered them and said: “MY DOCTRINE IS NOT MINE, BUT HIS WHO SENT ME. IF ANYONE WILLS TO DO HIS WILL, HE SHALL KNOW CONCERNING THE DOCTRINE, WHETHER IT IS FROM GOD or whether I speak on My own Authority. He who speaks from himself, seeks his own glory; but HE WHO SEEKS THE GLORY OF THE ONE WHO SENT HIM, IS TRUE, and no unrighteousness is in Him. Did not Moses give you the Law? Yet none of you keeps the Law. Why do you seek to kill Me?” 12.
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Mid Pentecost Wednesday

9

May 2012

The people answered and said: “Thou hast a demon! Who is seeking to kill Thee?” Jesus answered and said: “I did one Work, and you all marvel. Moses, therefore, gave you Circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the Fathers), and you Circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives Circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the Law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? DO NOT JUDGE ACCORDING TO APPEARANCE, BUT JUDGE WITH RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT!” Now some of them from Jerusalem said: “Is this not He Whom they seek to kill? But behold! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the Rulers know indeed that this is Truly the Christ? However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one will know where He is from.” Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the Temple, saying: “You both know Me, and you know where I Am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He Who sent Me is True, Whom you do not know. But I KNOW HIM, FOR I AM FROM HIM, AND HE SENT ME.” Therefore, they sought to take Him; but NO ONE LAID A HAND ON HIM, BECAUSE HIS HOUR HAD NOT YET COME. Humanly speaking, they thought of our Lord as being THE SIMPLE DESIRE TO KNOW AND TO FOLLOW GOD’S WILL from Nazareth, Galilee for they were unaware that HE IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING IT. WAS ACTUALLY BORN AND SPENT HIS VERY EARLY YEARS SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS COMES FROM UNWILLINGNESS TO IN BETHLEHEM, BEFORE THE HOLY FAMILY’S FLIGHT TO KNOW GOD OR TO RECOGNISE HIS DIVINE AUTHORITY. EGYPT. St John Chrysostom paraphrases Christ our Saviour’s Words as follows: Beyond that, they could not comprehend that CHRIST “RID YOURSELF OF WICKEDNESS: the anger, the envy, and HAS TRULY COME FROM OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, that He the hatred that have arisen in your hearts, without is ETERNALLY BEGOTTEN OF GOD THE FATHER, BEFORE provocation, against Me. THEN YOU WILL HAVE NO ALL AGES, and thus His Divine Origin remained DIFFICULTY IN REALISING THAT MY WORDS ARE unknown to them as well. ACTUALLY THOSE OF GOD. As it is, these passions CHRIST’S “HOUR” IS A REFERENCE TO THE EXACT MOMENT darken your understanding and distort sound OF HIS SUFFERING AND DEATH, FOR HE IS LORD OVER judgement. IF YOU REMOVE THESE PASSIONS, YOU ALL TIME, WHICH IS A DIVINE AUTHORITY POSSESSED BY WILL NO LONGER BE AFFLICTED in this manner.” ALMIGHTY GOD ALONE. By providing Old Testament examples of blameless OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR VOLUNTARILY – ACCORDING TO HIS violation of the Sabbath, our Lord Jesus Christ DIVINE WILL – WENT TO HIS PASSION AND DEATH – and demonstrated to the Hebrews that THE LAW IS NOT exclusively according to His own timing – certainly ABSOLUTE OVER OUR HUMAN NEED OR SERVICE TO GOD. not according to the plots and schemes of wicked When the Hebrews professed to know where Christ was men. from, they were mistaken, both in the earthly sense and in a Divine sense.

Mid Pentecost
Today the Holy Church of Christ begins to sing the meaningful and touching Troparion of the Feast of Mid-Pentecost: “At Mid-feast grant Thou my thirsty soul to drink of the Waters of Piety.” This appeal to the Christian soul is understandable to everyone, especially, of course, in our terrible time, when we hear not about the “Waters of Piety,” but rather about the waves of impiety pouring more and more over the entire world and over the entire human race. THE CHRISTIAN SOUL, UNDER THE PRESSURE OF THIS IMPIETY, PRAYS THAT THE LORD WOULD WATER IT – BEING THIRSTY WITH THE WATERS OF PIETY. The answer to this appeal is in the Gospel Lesson in which St Matthew had recorded the words of our Lord, Who said - as if going to meet the soul who called out to Him in the Troparion: “ Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavily laden, and I will grant you rest.” [MATTHEW 11:28]. Our Lord also told us: “ Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I Am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls. For MY YOKE IS EASY, AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT.” [MATTHEW 11:29] An Apostle said once that THE LORD’S COMMANDMENTS “...ARE NOT GRIEVOUS.” [1 JOHN 5:3] Our Lord Calls us to learn from Him, for He is Meek and Lowly of heart. IF WE LEARN THIS MEEKNESS AND HUMILITY FROM HIM, WE WOULD IMMEDIATELY FIND REST FOR OUR SOULS. Here is our present life, with its vanity and defilement, with all its hardships and difficulties – is it some evil trick lying upon mankind, under which he suffocates and loses strength? The Lord says, in contradiction to this: “My Yoke is easy, and My Burden is light, and not at all that terrible burden that the world, gone out of its mind, lays on its children.” If only the children of this age would understand the Lord’s appeal - that ONLY THE LORD CAN GIVE REST TO THE SOUL AND REMOVE THAT BURDEN that lies on it, then all of life would change quite wonderfully. But alas! We know both from the Gospel and from the works of the Holy Fathers that THE DARKNESS
RESTING OVER MANKIND WILL CONTINUE TO THICKEN AND CONDENSE, AND WILL GROW DARKER YET. only need to remember that BOTH THE GOSPEL AND OUR HOLY FATHERS HAVE WARNED US THAT LIFE
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WILL BECOME WORSE AND MORE DIFFICULT. Certain of them speak of some sort of subsequent improvement. But the great Elder Ambrose of Optina warned us that this darkness will thicken and thicken, and that things will become more and more difficult for people. Finally the era of the Antichrist will arrive, in which THOSE WHO ARE TRULY FAITHFUL TO GOD AND THE CHURCH WILL ENDURE SUCH TRIBULATIONS AS NO ONE HAS EVER BEFORE KNOWN. AT THE SAME TIME, THOSE WHO ARE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD WILL KNOW THAT THE LORD’S YOKE IS EASY, AND HIS BURDEN LIGHT and those who bow their head under

this Good Yoke and this light Burden of Christ WILL IMMEDIATELY FEEL FREE - THE YOKE OF CHRIST will not choke them and will not make their life more difficult but, to the contrary, WILL EASE IT. IF ONLY MANKIND, gone out of its mind, WOULD AT LAST UNDERSTAND THIS EVANGELIC APPEAL AND TURN TO OUR SAVIOUR, Who Calls them to Himself, and learn from Him – THEN EVERYONE WOULD UNDERSTAND WHERE IN FACT TRUTH AND LIGHT ARE, and where lies and falsehood are. However, there is no hope that mankind will understand, because the predictions of Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers do not speak of this at all. Nevertheless, CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT GROW DOWNCAST IN SPIRIT BECAUSE OUR LORD KNOWS HIS FAITHFUL FLOCK, AND HE PROTECTS US AS HIS BELOVED CHILDREN. He said: “Because you kept the word of My Patience (His Divine Word), I also will keep you from the Hour of Temptation, which shall come upon all the world..” [REVELATION 3:10]. Therefore, OUR SACRED TASK IS TO REMAIN FAITHFUL TO GOD for we will keep His Divine Word Holy, and fulfil it, then HE WILL FULFIL HIS DIVINE WORD, AND SAVE US FROM THOSE AFFLICTIONS - from those years of temptations that have already begun and which will certainly continue. Amen.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP - METROPOLITAN PHILARET OF EASTERN AMERICA & NEW YORK - HTTP://ISHMAELITE.BLOGSPOT.COM/2009/05/METROPOLITANPHILARET-ON-MID-PENTECOST.HTML

We

Mid Pentecost Wednesday

9

May 2012

13.

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Wo rship to t he 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 Paschal Sunday

Tone 4

13 M a y 2 0 1 2

H r iis tto s A n e s ttii!! A lliitth o s A n e s ttii!! Hr s os Anes A hos Anes
Sunday of the Samaritan Woman (St Photini/Svetlana) Also the Feast of St Glykeria, Virgin Martyr & St Laodikios the Prison Keeper of Heraclea – St Glykeria, Virgin Martyr of Novgorod – St Makarios of Obruch (Kanev), translation of Holy Relics – St Alexander of Rome – St Pausikakos of Synnada – St George the Confessor, St Irene, his wife, & their Martyred Children of Constantinople – St Euthymios the New, Founder of the Iveron Monastery & his fellow Georgian Monk Martyrs such as St John, St George & St Gabriel
Paschal Apolytikion

§Hristos
To

Anesti ek nekron, Thanato Thanaton patistas, ke tis en tis mnimasi, Zoin harisamenos!

§

Christ has Risen from the dead, by Death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed Life to those in the tombs! When the Women Disciples of the Lord had learnt from
the Angels the Glad Tidings of the Resurrection, and had cast away the Condemnation of their Forefather, they spoke exultingly to the Apostles: Death is no more: Christ-God is Risen, granting to the world Great Mercy!

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

fedron tis Anastaseos Kirigma ek tou Angelou Mathouse e tou Kyriou Mathitrie ke tin Progonikin apofasin aporipsase, tis Apostolis kafhomene elegon: Eskilefte O Thanatos, igerthi Hristos O Theos, doroumenos to kosmo to Mega Eleos!
O f M i d – P e n t e c o s t – TONE PLAGAL 4:

Apolytikion

Mesousis

tis Eortis, disosan mou tin psihin, efsevias potison namata; oti pasi Sotir evoisas: O dispason erhestho pros me ke pineto. I Pigi tis Zois, Hriste O Theos imon Doxa Si.
Ascension Day

Halfway to the Feast, refresh my thirsty soul with flowing
Streams of Piety; for Thou, O Saviour, cried to all: Those who thirst, come to Me and drink! O Fountain of Life, Christ our God, Glory to Thee!

Paschal Kontakion – Until

I

ke en tafo katilthes athanate, alla tou Adou kathiles tin dinamin; ke Anestis os Nikitis, Hriste O Theos, Ginexi Miroforis fthengxamenos: Herete! Ke tis sis Apostolis irinin doroumenos, O tis pesousi parehon Anastasin.

Although Thou descended in the grave, O Immortal One,
yet Thou destroyed the power of Hades; and Thou arose as Victor, O Christ our God! To the Myrrhbearing Women Thou said: Rejoice! And to Thine Apostles Thou granted Thy Peace: the One Who grants Resurrection to the fallen ones.

Gospel 6: Luke 24:35 - 53
Our Lord Jesus Appears To The Apostles & Ascends To Heaven

O

Prokeimenon
Lord, how manifold art Thy Works. Thou hast created them all in Wisdom! Bless the Lord, O my soul!
The Gentile Church of Antioch

The Acts of the Apostles According to St Luke 11 : 19 – 30
Those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen, travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the Word to no one but the Hebrews only. But some of them were from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, then they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the Hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of these things was heard by the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. And when he went and saw the Grace of God, he was glad, and he encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy spirit and of Faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Then Barnabas departed for Tarsos to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he took him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the Church and taught a great many people and the Disciples were first called ‘Christians’ in Antioch. And in those days Prophets went from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabos, stood up and showed by the Spirit, that there was going to be a great famine throughout the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the Disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the Brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the Elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
THE EVANGELISATION OF THE GENTILES CAUSED A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF CONFLICT TO THE EARLY CHURCH.

Even though Christ had commanded His Holy Apostles to preach His Holy Gospel universally – to all Nations – it took a while for this to be put properly into practice. Much debate arose over what requirements from the Old Covenant Law – if any – the Gentile Christians would have to follow. The “Hellenists” referred to actual Greeks, not to Hellenistic Hebrews.

THE HOLY CHURCH OF CHRIST IN ANTIOCH WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN BRINGING UNTOLD NUMBERS OF GENTILES TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Two key Truths are revealed in the fact that St Barnabas was “sent out to Antioch”:
1. HOLY APOSTLES OF CHRIST WERE SENT FORTH TO PREACH THE HOLY GOSPEL OF CHRIST BUT THEY NEVER WORKED IN ISOLATION FROM OR INDEPENDENT TO THE REST OF THE BODY OF THE HOLY CHURCH.

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THE HOLY CHURCH OF ANTIOCH NEEDED THE SEAL OF HOLY APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY IN ORDER TO BECOME INTEGRATED INTO THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF CHRIST. ST BARNABAS REVEALED HIS GENUINE HUMILITY BY SEEKING THE HELP OF ST PAUL (SAUL) – A HUMBLE RECOGNITION OF HIS OWN PERSONAL LIMITATIONS, AND HIS TRUE COMMUNION WITH AND DEPENDENCE ON THE OTHER HOLY APOSTLES OF CHRIST. V TWO KEY ELEMENTS OF LITURGICAL WORSHIP INCLUDED THE EUCHARISTIC (THANKSGIVING) ASSEMBLY – COMMUNAL WORSHIP – AND THE CORRECT TEACHING OF THE HOLY GOSPEL OF CHRIST.

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1 C o r i n t h i a n s 1 4 : 2 9 “Let two or three Prophets speak, and let the others judge.” GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION and the Truly Spiritual can control themselves, since GENUINE
SPIRITUALITY IS MANIFESTED IN PREPAREDNESS, PROPRIETY AND ORDER, COURTESY AND SELFCONTROL/DISCIPLINE. IF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TRULY PRESENT, THERE IS DIVINE PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING.

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The fact that the Disciples of Christ were first called ‘Christians’ in Antioch is more than just historical Truth. It demonstrates that CHRIST’S COMMANDMENT TO
PREACH HIS HOLY GOSPEL AMONG THE GENTILES AS WELL, WAS FIRST FULLY REALISED IN ANTIOCH.

E p h e s i a n s 4 : 1 1 “(Christ) Himself gave some to be Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers, for the equipping of the Saints for the Work of Ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ until we all come to the Unity of the Faith and of the Knowledge of Christ...”

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St John Chrysostom commented: “It was (in Antioch) for the first time that people were accounted worthy of that Name.” The “Prophets” were Christian Believers within the Holy Church who had the Divine Gift of Prophecy. 1 C o r i n t h i a n s 1 2 : 2 9 “Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets? Are all Teachers? Are all Workers of Miracles?”
THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A WONDERFUL HIERARCHY OF HONOUR IN THE HOLY CHURCH OF THE NEW COVENANT WHICH CONTINUES TO THIS VERY DAY – AND WILL CONTINUE UNABATED, UNTIL ETERNITY. THE APOSTOLIC WORK OF THE BISHOPS SETS THE PACE FOR ALL THE REST OF CHRIST’S HOLY FLOCK and when the oversight is in correct working order, THE REST OF CHURCH IS FREE TO FUNCTION AT OPTIMAL LEVEL FOR THE GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP OF GOD.

THE HOLY SPIRIT BESTOWS HIS DIVINE GIFTS IN ORDER TO FORM ONE COHESIVE, HARMONIOUS GROUP who are responsible for equipping – TEACHING, GUIDING AND PREPARING OTHERS - FOR THE SACRED TASK OF CHRIST’S HOLY MINISTRY.

Every Faithful Christian has the Sacred Task of guiding, helping and encouraging one another as we all journey through this preparatory period of earthly life towards Eternity – whether we are Believers or not – all humanity will enter Eternity. The great famine that was predicted, did indeed happen throughout the known world in 44 – 51 – having begun in Judea and spreading as far as Greece and Italy.

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THE PRINCIPLE OF GIVING “EACH ACCORDING TO HIS ABILITY” IS ONE THAT CONTINUES TO THIS DAY IN OUR HOLY CHURCH.

V Yet, even with all the Divine Gifts in place and
operative, THERE IS SOMETHING FAR MORE EXCELLENT – THE LOVE OF GOD, WHICH IS THE TRUE SIGN OF THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. 1 C o r i n t h i a n s 1 4 : 3 “He who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to mankind.”

The Elders (“the bearded ones”) were the Presbyters (Priests) who were Ordained by the Holy Apostles and put in charge of the local Parish churches, which had initially been founded by the Holy Apostles. Since those days, the Orders of the Holy Ministry or Holy Priesthood of Christ consist of the Bishops (the Apostles and their direct successors), the Presbyters or Priests, and the Deacons.

The Holy Gospel According to St John 4 : 5 – 42
The Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s Well

At that time Jesus arrived at a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. And Jacob’s Well was there. And being wearied from His journey, Jesus sat at the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria went to draw water. Jesus said to her: “Give Me a drink,” for His Disciples had gone into the city to buy food. And the woman of Samaria said to Him: “How is it that Thou, being a Hebrew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Hebrews had no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her: “If you knew the Gift of God, and Who it is Who says to you: ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you Living Water.” The woman said to Him: “Sir, Thou hast nothing with which to draw, and the well is deep. Where then dost Thou get that Living Water? Art Thou greater than our Father, Jacob, who gave us this well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the Water that I shall give, will never thirst. And the Water that I shall give will become in him a Fountain of Water springing up into Everlasting Life.” The woman said to Him: “Sir, give me this Water that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” Jesus said to her: “Go. Call your husband, and come back here.” The woman answered and said: “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her: “You have well said: ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” The woman said to Him: “Sir, I perceive that Thou art a Prophet. Our Fathers worshipped on this mountain, and you Hebrews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her: “Woman, believe Me: the Hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for Salvation is of the Hebrews. But the Hour is coming, and now is, when the True Worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and Truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and Truth.” The woman said to Him: “I know that Messiah is coming.” (Who is called ‘Christ’). “When He comes, He will tell us all Things.” Jesus said to her: “I, Who speak to you, Am He.” And at this point, His Disciples returned and they marvelled that Jesus talked with a woman; yet no one asked: “What dost Thou seek?” nor “Why art Thou talking to her?” The woman left her water pot, went into the city and said to the men: “Come. Behold a Man Who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” And they went out of the city to Him. Meanwhile, His Disciples urged Him, saying: “Rabbi, eat.” And He said to them: “I have Food to eat of which you do not know.” And the Disciples asked one another: “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” And Jesus said to them: “My Food is to do the Will of Him Who sent Me, and to finish His Work. Do you not say: ‘There are still four months before the harvest?’ Behold: I say to you: Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvesting! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers Fruit for Eternal Life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is True: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not Laboured; others have Laboured, and you have entered into their Labours.” And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the Woman who testified: “He told me all that I ever did!” And when the Samaritans had gone to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own Word.

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Then they said to the Woman: “Now we believe – not because of what you said – for we, ourselves, have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ – the Saviour of the world!” The Old Testament does not mention “Jacob’s Well” St Athanasios the Great taught us: “The commonwealth although St Jacob did dwell in the area. (GENESIS 33:19) of Israel was the School of the Knowledge of Wells had great significance because of their rarity ad their God for all nations.” value in desert life. Therefore, wells came to More importantly, our Lord Jesus Christ testified that THE MESSIAH WHO WAS PROPHESIED AMONG THE HEBREWS, symbolise life itself. (PSALM 35:9–10; PSALM 45:4; ISAIAH 55:1) HAS RISEN FROM THE HEBREWS. Jacob’s Well has been maintained as a Holy Shrine by the WHILE THE GIFT OF THE SALVATION IN CHRIST IS TO ALL Greek Orthodox Christian Church to this very day and NATIONS, IT HAS COME FROM WITHIN JUDAISM. pilgrims still drink from it. (ST PHILOMENOS THE NEW MARTYR GAVE “The Hour” refers to THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF HIS LIFE FOR ITS PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION IN 1979.) CHRIST AND TO THE OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AT Our Lord Jesus was “wearied from His journey” - meaning HOLY PENTECOST, which inaugurated the Worship of our that IN HIS HUMAN NATURE, HE, TOO, SUFFERED HUNGER, New Covenant with Almighty God. THIRST, TIREDNESS - the same weaknesses of our own “I, Who speak to you, Am He,” is literally translated: “I human condition. AM (EGO EIMI) Who speaks to you.” “I Am” is the The “Sixth Hour” is midday – 12:00 – the hottest part of Divine Name of God and its use indicates A THEOPHANY the day, when most inhabitants of hot areas rest from OR DIVINE REVELATION OF GOD HIMSELF. the heat. The use of this Most Holy Name by a mere man would
THE SAMARITAN WOMAN WAS THE EARLIEST EVANGELIST (BESIDES THE APOSTLES) WHO TESTIFIED TO THE ADVENT OF CHRIST.

TOGETHER WITH HER TWO SONS AND FIVE DAUGHTERS (SOME SAY ‘SISTERS,’) SHE BROUGHT THOUSANDS OF SOULS TO CHRIST. AFTER THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST SHE WAS BAPTISED WITH THE NAME OF “PHOTINI” (“THE ENLIGHTENED ONE,”) AND WENT TO CARTHAGE TO SPREAD THE HOLY GOSPEL. SHE WAS EVENTUALLY MARTYRED WITH HER ENTIRE FAMILY BY ORDER OF EMPEROR NERO BY BEING THROWN INTO A VERY DEEP WELL. WE COMMEMORATE HER MEMORY ON 20 MARCH AND ON THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA.

have been considered as the worst blasphemy ever – punishable by stoning to death! (JOHN 8:58; MARK 14:62) However, as our Lord Jesus Christ is Truly Divine – the Son of God and thus one of the three Persons of the Almighty Godhead – the Holy Trinity – HIS OWN USE OF He His Apostles “marvelled” not only because our Lord Jesus spoke with a Samaritan, but that HE SPOKE WITH AN
THIS DIVINE NAME REVEALS HIS TRUE UNITY WITH GOD THE FATHER AND GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT. most certainly reveals that HE IS INDEED GOD INCARNATE!

The Samaritans were a mixed breed and traditional enemies of the Hebrews. Although they worshipped the God of Israel and also awaited the Advent or Coming of the Messiah – the Christ – they accepted only the first five Books of the Old Testament Scriptures – the Pentateuch. They had built their own temple on Mount Gerizim, which the Israelites had destroyed in 128 BC. In the ordinary sense, living water means, fresh, flowing water from a stream or spring, rather than from a stagnant pond or cistern.

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UNACCOMPANIED WOMAN, WHICH WAS POTENTIALLY SCANDALOUS FOR THEM BOTH! CHRIST IS ABOVE ALL SOCIAL NORMS AND CUSTOMS, SO HE TREATED ALL WOMEN WITH THE HIGHEST OF RESPECT, THEREBY SHOWING THEIR VALUE AND IMPORTANCE IN EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY LIFE. (JOHN &;53-8:11; LL:20-30; 20:
11-18 & LUKE 8:1 – 3)

On many occasions CHRIST IS MISUNDERSTOOD BY PEOPLE
DUE TO OUR KNOWLEDGE. LIMITED HUMAN EXPERIENCE AND

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CHRIST’S USE OF THE TERM “LIVING WATER” MEANT THE DIVINE GRACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT LEADS US TO ETERNAL LIFE, WHICH NOT ONLY REMAINS IN A FAITHFUL PERSON BUT IS SO ABUNDANT THAT IT OVERFLOWS AND AFFECTS OTHERS IN THE BEST POSSIBLE MANNER.

Nevertheless, THROUGH THESE MISUNDERSTANDINGS, OUR
LORD FULFILS HIS DIVINE ROLE AS MESSIAH BY DOING THE WILL OF HIS HEAVENLY FATHER – AND THIS IS HIS SPIRITUAL FOOD.

However, St Photini misunderstood our Lord Jesus and thus enquired whether He was greater that St Jacob, the ancient Patriarch who was a type of Christ because he had received the Vision of the Divine Ladder, which our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled. (GENESIS 28:12) Furthermore, just as St Jacob gave this Well for earthly life,
CHRIST GRANTS US THE WELL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR ETERNAL LIFE.

Our Lord Jesus, by His own Perfect Example, has taught us to PERFORM THE DIVINE WILL OF GOD THROUGHOUT OUR LIFE WITHOUT BEING DISTRACTED BY EARTHLY CARES such as hunger, shelter and comfort. (JOHN 6:27; MATTHEW 4:4; 6:2533)

Since our Lord Jesus knew that St Photini was living in sin, and as He was aware of her five previous husbands, she assumed Him to be a Holy Prophet but since the Samaritans did not accept or recognise any Prophets after St Moses, THE ONLY PROPHET THEY EXPECTED WAS THE MESSIAH Whom St Moses had foretold. (DEUTERONOMY
18: 15-18)

According to St John Chrysostom, when Christ commanded His Apostles to “Behold” He wanted them to witness the approaching multitude of white clad Samaritans who were ready and eager to believe in Christ Jesus. Our Lord compared these Samaritans (RELATIVE TO THE HEBREWS) to fields of crops that were ready to harvest. In addition, our Lord’s command to “Behold!” is also addressed to all Faithful Christians – to all Faithful Disciples of Christ – to LOOK AT THOSE AROUND US AND
TO SHARE HIS HOLY GOSPEL WITH ANYONE WANTING TO RECEIVE IT – REGARDLESS OF ETHNICITY OR SOCIAL STATUS. John Chrysostom believed that THOSE WHO SOWED AND THOSE WHO REAPED WERE THE HOLY PROPHETS OF THE OLD COVENANT AND THE HOLY APOSTLES OF THE NEW COVENANT RESPECTIVELY.

CHRIST’S INSIGHT INTO ALL OUR HEARTS, HIS DIVINE NATURE.

which is repeatedly mentioned throughout the Holy Gospels, EMPHASISES

St

Our Lord Jesus was indeed the expected ‘Holy Prophet,’ so He could settle the historical argument about where True Worship was to be offered. However, OUR LORD
JESUS REFUSED TO ANSWER SUCH AN EARTHLY QUESTION AND ELEVATED THE DISCUSSION TO THE ONE WHOM WE WORSHIP: ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF. According to Christ Himself, GOD IS SPIRIT AND CANNOT BE CONFINED TO ANY PARTICULAR LOCATION: GOD IS OMNIPRESENT – HE IS EVERYWHERE! V THOSE WHO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT AND BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST – THE SON AND WORD OF GOD THE FATHER – CAN WORSHIP GOD WITH PURITY OF HEART. Our Lord Jesus Christ affirmed that TRUE REVELATION COMES FROM JUDAISM: “Salvation is of the

Hebrews.”

The Holy Prophets sowed the Seeds of Faith in preparation for the Advent of the Messiah, yet they did neither witnessed it nor reap the Spiritual Fruit of their Holy Labours. The Apostles who did witness and experience the Presence of God Incarnate, did not prepare either the Hebrews nor the Gentiles yet, after the Resurrection and especially after Pentecost, they drew millions of souls to Faith in Christ our Lord and Saviour, in their own lifetime. The fact that these Samaritans were amongst the first to recognise and to acknowledge our Lord Jesus as the Saviour of the world, shows us exactly how HIS HOLY
GOSPEL IS FOR ALL PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE WORLD. OF EVERY NATION

5th Paschal Sunday – The Samaritan Woman
Not only did our Lord Jesus Christ teach large crowds of people, but He also spent time with individuals – Face to face – and AT JACOB’S WELL HIS MEETING WITH THE SAMARITAN WOMAN WAS ONE EXAMPLE OF THE MOST DETAILED, REVEALING AND FAR REACHING – consequently Saving thousands of lives forever! Having arrived near the city of Sychar, Samaria, our Lord had stopped to rest at Jacob’s Well, while His Disciples has gone into the city to purchase some food. A woman (later known as St Photini) arrived to draw water from the well and, being hot, tired and thirsty, our Lord asked her for a drink. Two facts made this encounter significant: THE WOMAN WAS A SAMARITAN and all Samaritans were USUALLY AVOIDED OR REJECTED FOR BEING HEBREW HERETICS – and A HEBREW MAN WOULD NEVER CONVERSE DIRECTLY WITH A WOMAN, especially if she was unaccompanied by a male relative. YET ON THIS DAY, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST – THE MESSIAH AND SON OF GOD – SEEMED TO BREAK TWO IMPERATIVE HEBREW LAWS! Even the Samaritan Woman was astounded that this Stranger would dare to speak directly to her, and

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5th Sunday of Pascha – The Samaritan Woman

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being a straight forward, honest character, she voiced her amazement. And so began a conversation that would lead – not only to her own Eternal Salvation and devotion to Almighty God – but also to that of her entire family and all the citizens of that city, who would become the first true converts to Christianity, which would affect the entire known world! Our Lord told St Photini: “IF YOU KNEW THE GIFT OF GOD, AND WHO IT IS WHO SAYS to you: ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and HE WOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU LIVING WATER.” Now, when our Saviour said “Living Water” He meant SANCTIFIED WATER THAT GRANTS US ETERNAL LIFE. First, our Lord spoke of A DIVINE “GIFT,” WHICH IS SOMETHING WE CANNOT PURCHASE NOR EARN – IT IS FREELY GRANTED TO US BY GOD. Then, He made it clear that HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN GRANT THIS MOST WONDERFUL DIVINE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE AND UNION WITH GOD TO THOSE WHO ARE OTHERWISE DEAD IN SIN – SPIRITUALLY DEAD - as she was. His Words of absolute Truth had an immediate effect on her and realising that He was definitely Someone extraordinary, she initiated a Theological discussion with Him, asking Him whether - since He was able to grant her “Living Water” - He was greater than the ancient Patriarch St Jacob, at whose well they were conversing. Our All-Knowing Lord saw that she had not yet understood and said more clearly: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but WHOEVER DRINKS OF THE WATER THAT I SHALL GIVE, WILL NEVER THIRST. And THE WATER THAT I SHALL GIVE WILL BECOME ... A FOUNTAIN OF WATER SPRINGING UP INTO EVERLASTING LIFE.”
OUR IMMORTAL SOUL HUNGERS AND THIRSTS FOR GOD AND HIS DIVINE TRUTH, LOVE AND LIFE, WHICH ALONE TRULY FULFILS AND GRATIFIES OUR NEED – EVEN IF WE ARE NOT CONSCIOUS OF IT - FOR IT IS NATURAL TO SEEK GOD AND ALL HIS GOODNESS. THE LIVING WATER OF CHRIST BEGINS WITH OUR HOLY BAPTISM AND CHRISMATION, AND CONTINUES AS LIFE IN CHRIST THROUGHOUT OUR LIFESPAN INTO ETERNITY.

WHEN THE SPIRIT IS DESCRIBED AS “FIRE,” IT BURNS AWAY SIN AND ALSO WARMS US – KEEPING OUR FAITH AGLOW. In their discussion AT JACOB’S WELL, OUR LORD CHOSE TO USE THE IMAGE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AS LIVING WATER. Jesus Christ put Himself at Jacob’s Well at just the right time when that particular woman went to draw water from the Well.
IN SIMILAR MANNER HE OFTEN COMES FACE TO FACE WITH US IN ORDER FOR US TO CONFRONT OUR SINS AND TO REPENT SO THAT WE MAY JOYFULLY RECEIVE HIS LIVING WATER – SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE – BY THE DIVINE WILL OF GOD THE FATHER, THROUGH GOD THE SON AND BY THE ENABLING OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Immediately recognising her Spiritual Yearning, St Photini asked our Lord to grant her His Living Water. Our Lord told her: “Go. Call your husband, and come back here.” And in this way CHRIST GENTLY BEGAN TO EXPOSE HER SINS TO HER, WHICH WERE MANY AND SERIOUS, AND WHICH SHE NEEDED TO REPENT BEFORE BEGINNING HER MOST WONDROUS SPIRITUAL JOURNEY that would lead her and untold numbers of other souls to Salvation and Eternal Life. St Photini was well aware of the fact that THE MESSIAH but not as a military conqueror who would defeat the Romans and set the Nation free – like many Hebrews erroneously believed. Indeed she seemed to have a clearer understanding of Christ than even some of His Apostles and Disciples! And then OUR LORD SAID: “I, WHO SPEAK TO YOU, AM HE.” Several times in the Holy Gospels our Lord Jesus Christ clearly declares His Divine Identity by speaking very clearly and precisely, which was recognizable to those Hebrews who knew their Holy Scripture. WHEN OUR LORD SAID TO ST PHOTINI: “I ... AM HE”, HE USED THE GREEK WORDS FROM THE BOOK OF EXODUS where THE LORD GOD REVEALS HIS PERSONAL NAME: “I AM.” (EXODUS 3:14 LXX) Our Lord Jesus Christ used these exact words in order to show that HE AND THE FATHER ARE ONE; HE AND THE FATHER ARE GOD. This particular Holy Gospel Lesson consists of such an abundance of Spiritual Treasure and Divine Truth that it cannot be fully and exhaustively explored in just one Sermon. As an Orthodox Priest commented: “We could speak for days and not exhaust the account of the Conversion of Saint Photini, Equal to the Apostles, the Samaritan Woman.” Our Holy Church Fathers tell us that, safely tucked away in this remarkable Encounter, like a priceless Spiritual Nugget, is A SACRED LESSON CONCERNING HOW WE MAY OBTAIN THE HOLY SPIRIT—for St Photini – the Samaritan Woman - did indeed receive the Holy Spirit! IN BOTH HOLY SCRIPTURE AND THE WRITINGS OF OUR HOLY CHURCH FATHERS, GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT IS REFERRED TO AS BOTH “WATER” AND, SOMETIMES, “FIRE.” AS WATER—FOR EXAMPLE, IN HOLY BAPTISM—THE HOLY SPIRIT WASHES THE SINNER CLEAN.
WOULD SOON COME TO THEM AND EVERYTHING THEY NEEDED TO KNOW TEACH THEM

He did this for St Photini because HE WANTED TO FORGIVE HER SINS AND ALSO BECAUSE HE WANTED TO GIVE HER HIS LIVING WATER, WHICH IS THE SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE BY MEANS OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT. In order for us TO HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT FULLY AND COMPLETELY LIVING IN US, IN OUR HEARTS AND SOULS, WE MUST CHANGE THROUGH TRUE REPENTANCE. We must not shrink away or hide when Christ confronts us, which happens more often than we think or will admit. Instead, we must be like the Samaritan Woman, and EAGERLY ASK FOR AND RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT - THIS LIVING WATER. To “change” means to BECOME SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHAT WE ARE RIGHT NOW. REPENTANCE MEANS ADMITTING – CONFESSING - THAT WE CANNOT CONTINUE IN OUR USUAL, WICKED WAYS and MAKING A CONCERTED, DETERMINED EFFORT TO CORRECT OUR FLAWED HABITS. But THIS CAN ONLY HAPPEN IF WE CHOOSE TO COOPERATE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THIS SAVING WORK, for, as we are now, we have changed very little or not at all from what we were a year ago, and THIS LACK OF ONGOING CHANGE COULD WELL KEEP US OUT OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN UNLESS WE WAKE UP, TRULY REPENT AND LIVE EACH DAY IN CHRIST. CHRIST WILL NOT CONTINUE TO CONFRONT US, AND A TIME WILL COME WHEN - IF WE CONTINUE TO DISDAIN AND REJECT HIM - HE WILL STOP CALLING US TO REPENTANCE AND SALVATION. Consequently WE WILL NOT MAKE ANY EFFORT TO CHANGE OURSELVES, and the Living Water of the Holy Spirit will no longer fulfil us, AND WE WILL BECOME LOST, DELUDED SOULS WHO ARE SPIRITUALLY DEAD! Orthodox Christianity is the continuous Spiritual Struggle for the Holy Acquisition of the Holy Spirit.
(Read St Seraphim of Sarov’s famous conversation with Motovilov about the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit – especially in preparation for the coming Feast of Pentecost and the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Holy Church of Christ.)

For faithful Orthodox Christians, this is our Way of Life – this is Life in Christ. Yet we persist in doing, saying and thinking so many unworthy things that are clearly NOT part of Life in Christ!! HAVING RECEIVED THE HOLY MYSTERIES OF BAPTISM AND CHRISMATION, WE WERE GRANTED THE POTENTIAL FOR ALL THE DIVINE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE WASHING AWAY OF OUR SINS. Whether we were babies, little children, teenagers or adults, WE ALL RECEIVED THE SAME HOLY POTENTIAL AND ABILITIES. Whether we are Orthodox from birth or by Conversion, AT SOME POINT IN OUR LIVES WE HAVE HAD THE SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE OF MEETING CHRIST FACE TO FACE! Perhaps it was very subtle and fleeting - perhaps it was much more than that. But IT HAPPENED, AND IT WAS REAL! However, WHEN WE ENCOUNTERED OUR LORD, DID WE CHANGE? This is the question which I want us all to DEEPLY CONTEMPLATE AND REMEMBER. FATHER SERAPHIM OF PLATINA constantly reminded his Spiritual Children: “It is later than you think!” And he was right. We are running out of time! Nevertheless I prefer to remind everyone: “It is still NOT TOO LATE for us!” But ONLY IF WE BEGIN NOW, TODAY, AND DO NOT POSTPONE IT ONE SINGLE DAY LONGER. The Lord God is here - in the Mystery of the Eucharist, through the Power and Authority of the Holy Priesthood, He will descend and enter into the Holy Gifts, the Bread and the Wine, when the Priest calls upon the Holy Spirit to complete this Mystical Consecration. Our Lord is right here before each of us, through the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Brethren: Let us eagerly listen to His Divine Teachings and Revelations just as St Photini did and let us beseech God the Holy Spirit for the Strength to truly Repent!
FR. AMBROSE YOUNG - HTTP://WWW.PRAVMIR.COM/SUNDAY-OF-THE-SAMARITAN-WOMAN/

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.....TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

...TH OF ST MATTHEW/LUKE

-

2011

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Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Wo rship 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 Paschal Sunday

T o n e (5 ) P l a g a l 1

20 M a y 2 0 1 2

H r iis tto s A n e s ttii!! A lliitth o s A n e s ttii!! Hr s os Anes A hos Anes
Sunday of the Blind Man (Born without Eyes!) Also the Feast of St Thallelaeus, St Alexander & St Asterios of Aegae, Cilicia – St Alexis the Wonderworker of Moscow & All Russia – St Dovmont, Prince of Pskov – St Asclas of Egypt – St Zebulon & St Susanna, Venerable parents of St Nino the Enlightener of Georgia – St Stephen of Piperi, Serbia - St Lydia of Philippisia
Paschal Apolytikion

§Hristos
Ton

Anesti ek nekron, Thanato Thanaton patistas, ke tis en tis mnimasi, Zoin harisamenos!

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Christ has Risen from the dead, by Death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed Life to those in the tombs! 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.

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

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.

Paschal Kontakion

I ke en tafo katilthes athanate, alla tou Adou kathiles tin Although Thou descended in the grave, O Immortal One,
dinamin; ke Anestis os nikitis, Hriste O Theos, Ginexi Miroforis fthengxamenos: Herete! Ke tis sis Apostolis irinin doroumenos, o tis pesousi parehon Anastasin. yet Thou destroyed the power of Hades; and Thou arose as Victor, O Christ our God! To the Myrrhbearing Women Thou said: Rejoice! And to Thine Apostles Thou granted Thy Peace: the One Who grants Resurrection to the fallen ones.

Gospel 8 : John 20 : 11 - 18
Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ Speaks to St Mary Magdalene

O Lord, Protect us and Preserve us both now and forever. Save us, O Lord, for there is not one godly man left!
The Acts of the Apostles According to St Luke
St Paul & St Silas’ Imprisonment

Prokeimenon

16 : 16 – 34

Now it happened, as we went to Prayer, that a certain slave girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who profited her masters much by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying: “These men are the Servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the Way of Salvation!” and this she did for many days. So Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit: “I command you in the Name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out of her that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hopes of profit were gone, they seized Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. And they brought them to the magistrates, and said: “These men – being Hebrews – exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs that are unlawful for us – being Romans – to receive or observe.” And the multitude rose up together against them; and the Magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the Jailer to keep them securely. And having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing Hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, and the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosened. And the Keeper of the prison, having awoken from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, and supposing that the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. So Paul called with a loud voice, saying: “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then the Jailer called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he took them out, saying: “Sirs: what must I do to be Saved?” And they said: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be Saved – you and your household.” Then they spoke the Word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them that same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were Baptised. And when he had taken them into his house, he had set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God, together with all his household.
FAITH IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST LED IMMEDIATELY TO HOLY BAPTISM – NOT ONLY OF THE JAILER AND THE ADULT MEMBERS OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, BUT TO HIS ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD – men, women and children – the

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free and the enslaved.

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RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW HOLY COVENANT WITH ALMIGHTY GOD, HOLY BAPTISM (I.E. THREE FULL IMMERSIONS) IN WATER AND WITH FAITH IN CHRIST ARE BOTH ESSENTIAL FOR ENTRANCE INTO HIS HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCH (THE HOLY CHURCH OF JESUS
CHRIST, OUR LORD GOD AND SAVIOUR – WITH ITS BLOODLESS SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS.)

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THE APOSTOLIC PATTERN OF CONVERSION IS HEARING BELIEVING AND HOLY BAPTISM- (i.e. LEARNING CORRECTLY AND THEN APPLYING EVERYTHING TO DAILY LIFE – LIVING IN CHRIST FAITHFULLY AND CONSTANTLY – NOT ONLY WHEN WE FEEL LIKE IT OR HAVE A NEED FOR IT!) BEING CHRISTIAN – A FAITHFUL DISCIPLE OF CHRIST – IS A CONTINUOUS LIFE-LONG PROCESS and that is one of the reasons why GOD GRANTS EACH SOUL ITS OWN UNIQUE NUMBER OF DAYS in this material

world.
20 May 2012

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Sunday of Holy Pascha – The Blind Man

It is LIFE IN CHRIST – meaning that EVERY MOMENT OF THE
DAY WE STRIVE TO IMITATE HIM WITH OUR WORDS, THOUGHTS AND DEEDS – always remembering our

Holy Baptism and our inevitable, unavoidable, death, when we will face our First Judgement, which is the Spiritual Foretaste of the Final Judgement of Christ on the Eighth Day – the beginning of Eternity for us. LIFE IN CHRIST means a DEDICATION TO EVERY ASPECT OF FAITHFUL WORSHIP, PRAYER AND DAILY LIVING – not merely being a token “member” of the Orthodox Christian Church – as though it was a mere “hobby” that we can pick and choose to do, whenever or however we feel like it. Sadly far too many “converts” apostatize almost as soon as they have made their Sacred Vows before Holy Baptism! This is usually due to the fact that either they have not been taught correctly and thoroughly or they had no real intention of living in Christ Jesus at all! They have betrayed God! Many unenlightened, misguided “converts” revert to their former lives either as non-believers altogether or by living as before. Once we have converted and COMMITTED OURSELVES to Orthodox Christianity – HAVING SWORN OUR ALLEGIANCE TO OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST we cannot continue to “shop around” for a type of religion or sect that “suits us!”

Although the demon-possessed slave girl declared the Truth concerning the two Holy Apostles of Christ, she herself needed to be set free in order to accept Christ by means of her own free will. Furthermore, St Paul could not endure seeing her being tormented and possessed by the evil spirit, which misguides and deceives people into believing Satanic inventions rather than Divine Truth, for the devil and his servants always bait their deadly hooks with a tiny, tempting morsel of truth, which as soon as accepted by their prey, proves to be fatal.

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THE IMPURE PRAISE OF HYPOCRITES AND ENEMIES OF GOD IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE AND SHOULD BE INSTANTLY REJECTED.

W i s d o m O f S i r a c h 1 5 : 9 – “Praise is not proper in the

mouth of a sinner, because it is not sent from the Lord.” L u k e 4 : 4 1 ”...And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of God!’” THE ACCUSERS OF ST PAUL AND ST SILAS – the owners of the slave girl - CARED LITTLE FOR RELIGION YET THEY
USED RELIGIOUS PREJUDICE AGAINST THE HEBREWS TO RETALIATE FOR THEIR FINANCIAL LOSS when she could

no longer make money for them through her “fortune telling” - by cheating the superstitious people out of their hard-earned wages.
NEVERTHELESS, BEING UNJUSTLY PERSECUTED FOR CHRIST LED ST PAUL AND ST SILAS TO GREAT SPIRITUAL JOY RATHER THAN SORROW.
WE SHOULD THANK GOD FOR ALL ADVERSITY, WHICH BRINGS US CLOSER TO HIM AND STRENGTHENS OUR FAITH AS WE DEPEND ON AND APPRECIATE MORE AND MORE THE GREAT MERCY OF ALMIGHTY GOD WHO PROTECTS US AND PROVIDES EVERYTHING WE COULD POSSIBLE NEED FOR THIS EARTHLY AS WELL AS ETERNAL LIFE.

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AS ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS WE HAVE A FAR GREATER RESPONSIBILITY AND COMMITMENT TO LIFE IN CHRIST THAN OTHERS – AND ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HAVE FREELY CHOSEN TO BECOME ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS, for IF WE CHOOSE TO APOSTATIZE BY REJECTING ANY ASPECT OF THE ORTHODOX FAITH – as taught by Christ and His Holy Apostles - WE WILL BE SEVERELY JUDGED BY GOD, unless we

Luke 6: 22-23 Christ warned us: “... Rejoice in that day

® THE CHOICE IS OURS AND WE MUST ACCEPT THE

contritely Repent our rebellion against God and return to His Sacred Fold.

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CONSEQUENCES UPON OURSELVES – WE CANNOT AND MUST NOT BLAME ANYONE ELSE AT ALL – AND NEITHER SHOULD WE SHRUG IT OFF AS BEING A “MAN-MADE” IDEA! OUR LORD HIMSELF CAUTIONED US AGAINST BEING PHARISAIC “HYPOCRITES,” “WOLVES,” “HIRELINGS,” “GOATS,” “THIEVES AND ROBBERS,” ETC. – meaning all those who are not of the Sacred Fold of our Good Shepherd, Christ our Lord – or WHO PRETEND TO BE COMMITTED TO GOD YET DESERT HIM AND/OR DESTROY OTHERS THROUGH THEIR OWN MEAN, SELFISH ACTIONS! WE MUST EXAMINE OUR HEART AND SOUL REGULARLY AND METICULOUSLY - PLUCKING OUT AND ERADICATING ANY SIGN OF SPIRITUAL REBELLION AGAINST THE LORD OUR GOD – THROUGH REPENTANCE-CONFESSION.

and leap for Joy! For indeed your Reward is great in Heaven. For in like manner their fathers did to the Prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation!”
THE “PRAYING AND SINGING HYMNS” BY ST PAUL AND ST SILAS PREPARED THE OTHER PRISONERS FOR CONVERSION LATER THAT NIGHT.

Only through such regular “housekeeping” can we begin to prepare ourselves for our Final Judgement and Eternity.
EXORCISMS IN THE NAME OF CHRIST ARE PART OF APOSTOLIC MINISTRY.

Any Roman Jailer whose prisoners managed to escape faced extremely cruel torture and even possibly execution, for the Roman oppressors ruled and dominated the people through fear and merciless brutality. So the Jailer thought it would be better and quicker to commit suicide rather than endure the vicious suffering inflicted by the Executioners. After St Paul had reassured him that he and St Silas were still there, the Jailer asked a double-sided question: “What must I do to be Saved?” This might have referred to his impending problem of the Roman authorities’ punishment for escapees, but
IT ALSO REFERRED TO ETERNAL SALVATION, WHICH ST PAUL IMMEDIATELY GRANTED THE JAILER AND HIS ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD THROUGH HOLY BAPTISM. THE UNNAMED ROMAN JAILER HAD LISTENED CAREFULLY TO ST PAUL AND ST SILAS PROCLAIMING THE WAY OF SALVATION, AS WELL AS THEIR DEVOUT, HEARTFELT PRAYERS AND HYMNS.

The Holy Baptism Service begins with three Exorcisms in “The Making of a Catechumen,” which EXPELS SATAN
AND HIS DEMONS FROM HAVING ANY FURTHER INFLUENCE OVER THE NEW BELIEVER – THE NEW DISCIPLE OF CHRIST - who must from that moment onwards LIVE DAILY BY THE PERFECT EXAMPLE AND TEACHINGS OF CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR.

The miraculous earthquake and St Paul’s concern for the Jailer’s life – earthly and Eternal – strengthened the man’s Faith and led to his and his entire household’s Conversion to Christ Jesus.

The Holy Gospel According to St John 9 : 1 – 38
A Man Born Without Eyes is Healed by Christ our Lord & Saviour

At that time, as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His Disciples asked Him: “Rabbi: who sinned – this man or his parents – that he was born blind?” Jesus answered: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the Works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the Works of Him Who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can Work. As long as I Am in the world, I Am the Light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the Blind Man with the clay. And He said to him: “Go. Wash in the Pool of Siloam,” which translated means ‘Sent.’) And he went and washed, and returned, seeing. Therefore the neighbours and those who previously had seen that he was blind said: “Is this not he who sat and begged?” Some said: “It is he.” Others said: “He is like him.” He said: “I am he.” And they said to him: “How were your eyes opened?” He answered: “A Man called ‘Jesus’ made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me: “Go to the Pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed. And I received sight.” And they asked him: “Where is He?” He replied: “I do not know.” They took him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. And it was a Sabbath when Jesus had made the clay and opened his eyes. And the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them: “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Therefore, some of the Pharisees said: “This Man is not from God because He does not keep the Sabbath!” Others said: “How can anyone who is a sinner do such Signs?” And there was a division among them. They said to the Blind Man again: “What do you say about Him because He opened you eyes?” He said: “He is a Prophet.” But the Hebrews did not believe concerning the Blind Man – that he had been blind and had received his sight – until they called his parents. And they asked them: “Is this your son who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered them, and said: “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what Means he now sees, we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.”
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Sunday of Holy Pascha – The Blind Man

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His parents said these things because they feared the Hebrews, for the Hebrews had agreed already that anyone who confessed that He was the Christ, would be put out of the Synagogue. Therefore, his parents said: “He is of age; ask him.” So they again called the man who was formerly blind, and said to him: “Give God the Glory! We know that this Man is a sinner!” He replied: “Whether He is a sinner or not, I do not know. One thing I do know is that although I was blind, now I see!” And they questioned him again: “”What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He replied: “I have told you already, yet you do not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become His Disciples?” And they reviled him, and said: “You are His Disciple, but we are Moses’ Disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this Fellow – we do not know where He is from.” The man answered them: “Why, this is a marvellous thing – that you do not know where He is from - yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a Worshipper of God and does His Will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing!” They answered and said to him: “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?!” And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him: “Do you believe in the Son of God?” And he answered and said: “Who is He, O Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him: “You have both seen Him and it is He Who is speaking to you.” And he said: “O Lord: I believe!” And He worshipped Him. And Jesus said: “For Judgement I have come into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and those who see may be made blind.” This Divine Healing is the sixth Sign in St John’s Holy Just as the hypocritical Pharisees had ignored the Healing Gospel. of the Paralytic and focused only on the perceived V OF ALL THE MIRACLE ACCOUNTS THROUGHOUT HOLY violation of the Sabbath, so too on this occasion MANY
SCRIPTURE, THIS IS THE ONLY ONE WHEREBY A PERSON WAS “BLIND FROM BIRTH” – I.E. BORN WITHOUT EYES AT ALL! V THE BLIND MAN SYMBOLISES ALL SPIRITUALLY BLIND HUMANITY FOR WE ALL NEED SPIRITUAL ILLUMINATION BY CHRIST OUR LORD WHO IS THE LIGHT OF THE FALLEN, SPIRITUALLY DARKENED WORLD. This Divine Miracle is AN ILLUSTRATION OF HOLY BAPTISM, OF THEM COULD NOT BEHOLD THE GLORY OF GOD DUE TO THEIR PERSONAL WICKED PREJUDICE.

When Christ was not present, the Pharisees dared to pronounce Him as a “sinner,” yet earlier, WHEN HE HAD
ASKED THEM FACE TO FACE: “WHICH OF YOU CONVICTS ME OF SIN?” THEY HAD ALL EVADED THE VITAL QUESTION.

which is also referred to as “Holy Illumination.” As Pascha (Easter) was the traditional day on which Catechumens were received into the Holy Church of Christ, the Sacred Lessons of the Holy Pascha period – from the Glorious Resurrection of Christ until Pentecost – all reflect a Baptismal Theology. Thus, this Sacred Lesson is read on the Sixth Sunday of Holy Pascha. OUR SAVIOUR REJECTED THE ASSUMPTION - which was common in the ancient world - THAT ALL TROUBLES
AND MALADIES WERE NECESSARILY THE CONSEQUENCE OF PERSONAL SIN OR EVEN THE SINS OF PARENTS. (REFER EXODUS
20:5; DEUTERONOMY 5:9 AND EZEKIEL 18:19-21)

“Give God the Glory” was an Oath Formula, which was always used before giving testimony.

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ALTHOUGH SUFFERING CAN BE THE DIRECT RESULT OF PERSONAL SIN, THIS IS CERTAINLY NOT ALWAYS THE CASE. THE MAN WAS BORN WITHOUT EYES, WHICH PROVIDED THE MOST AMAZING OPPORTUNITY FOR THE DIVINE WORKS OF ALMIGHTY GOD TO BE REVEALED TO EVERYONE CONCERNED

– so the man was not blind due to anyone’s personal sin at all. The “Work” – i.e. the Spiritual Labour - that we are able to fulfil consists of FAITH, GOOD DEEDS AND REPENTANCE. The “night” to which our Lord referred meant THE TIME
AFTER OUR DEATH AND THE AGE TO COME – ETERNITY – WHEN THERE IS NO LONGER ANY OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS OUR FAITH because at our departure from this

THE FORMERLY BLIND MAN MOST CERTAINLY GAVE GOD THE GLORY FOR THE MORE HE WAS QUESTIONED BY THE HYPOCRITES AND DOUBTERS, THE MORE FERVENT HIS FAITH BECAME, WHILE THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS PHARISEES LAPSED DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO SPIRITUAL DARKNESS AND DEATH. THE HEALED BLIND MAN IS A MODEL OF CHRISTIAN WITNESS. ® MOST PEOPLE DO NOT BEAR WITNESS TO CHRIST SINCE THEY FEAR THEY WILL BE ASKED QUESTIONS THAT THEY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ANSWER OR EXPLAIN. ® THIS MAN’S HONEST AND SIMPLE ANSWER TO EVERYONE – EVEN THOSE WHO WERE FAR BETTER EDUCATED THAN HIM – PROVIDES THE TRUTH ® HE ADMITS SOMETHING THAT HE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT YET FOLLOWS UP WITH WHAT HE MOST CERTAINLY DOES KNOW AND WHICH HE CAN POSITIVELY CONFIRM: “... One thing I do know

is that although I was blind, now I see!”
BY CONFIRMING WHAT WE DO MOST DEFINITELY KNOW – IN UTTER TRUTH AND WITHOUT ANY DOUBT – IS FOUNDATIONAL TO WITNESSING OUR TRUE FAITH TO OTHERS.

Have created perfectly healthy eyes for the formerly Blind Man – OUR LOVING LORD JESUS OPENED UP BOTH HIS
PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL SIGHT – FOR GOD ALONE CAN OPEN OUR HEART AND SOUL BY HIS DIVINE ILLUMINATION.

world or earthly life, there is no chance of Repentance or Confession and ALL IMMORTAL,
HUMAN SOULS – WHETHER BELIEVERS OR NOT – WILL HAVE TO SUBMIT TO DEATH – WHETHER WILLINGLY OR UNWILLINGLY. THE UNPRECEDENTED HEALING OF THE MAN BORN WITHOUT EYES CONFIRMS OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S TRUTHFUL PROCLAMATION THAT HE IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. ® St Irenaeus regarded THE MIXTURE OF CLAY FROM THE EARTH AND THE SALIVA OF CHRIST OUR ALMIGHTY LORD AND CREATOR LIKE THE ORIGINAL CREATION OF HUMANITY FROM THE EARTH. (REFER
GENESIS 2:7)

All healings had to be confirmed by the Priests, followed by various ritual cleansings, sacrifices, etc. This is the only full account of a healing being examined and questioned by Hebrew authorities.
THE BLIND MAN PROGRESSES RAPIDLY FROM KNOWING NOTHING ABOUT CHRIST TO HIS REALISATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND CONFESSION THAT THAT OUR LORD JESUS IS INDEED THE TRUE MESSIAH: “... you do

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® CHRIST REVEALS HIS DIVINE NATURE BY RESTORING A
TINY PART OF CREATION BY USING THE SAME MATERIAL WITH WHICH HE HAD CREATED HUMANITY AT THE BEGINNING OF OUR EXISTENCE.

The Pool of Siloam, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, was a considerable distance from the Temple and provided the water for the Holy Rites connected with the Feast of Tabernacles (WHICH TOGETHER WITH PASCHA AND PENTECOST WAS ONE OF
THE MOST IMPORTANT FESTIVALS OF THE ANCIENT HEBREWS, WHICH INCLUDED NUMEROUS SACRIFICES AND CELEBRATIONS. (LEVITICUS 23:33 – 43)

not know where He is from - yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a Worshipper of God and does His Will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing!” The self-righteous, hypocritical Pharisees could not refute his Inspired Logic and Truth so they resorted to personal insult.

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® “Siloam” meaning “Sent” symbolises CHRIST WHO IS SENT BY GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER and just as the Healing of the Blind Man confirms Christ’s claim as the (Divine) Light of the World, so also HIS USE OF THE POOL OF SILOAM
CONFIRMS THAT HE IS THE TRUE AND DIVINE PURIFICATION OF THE HOLY TEMPLE AND ALL WHO WORSHIP IN IT WITH TRUE FAITH IN GOD.

THE DIVINE HEALING OF THE BLIND MAN WAS ONE OF THE GREAT SIGNS OR MIRACLES OF THE MESSIAH AND A PREROGATIVE (RIGHT) UNIQUELY AND EXCLUSIVELY OF ALMIGHTY GOD. (ISAIAH 35:5 & 42:7 –PSALM 145:8)

The coming of God Incarnate into our world brought Divine Judgement to us – not because He came to Judge us but because of OUR ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD.

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ALL THOSE WHO SEE HIM AND WHO HEAR HIM BUT WHO DO NOT BELIEVE OR WHO REJECT HIS DIVINE TRUTH ARE JUDGED BY THEIR OWN FAITHLESSNESS!

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Sunday of Holy Pascha – The Blind Man

20 May 2012

6th Paschal Sunday – The Blind Man (born without eyes)
ALL OF US ARE BORN SPIRITUALLY BLIND - WE ARE BORN, FOR THE MOST PART, OUTSIDE FAITH IN GOD. According to an ancient plan (of the Evil One), our Spiritual Eyes should have remained closed until our death. And ALL HUMANITY WOULD HAVE ENTERED ETERNITY WITHOUT KNOWING GOD, THE IMMORTALITY OF OUR SOULS, OR EVEN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD ITSELF. Everything was done to ensure that we - BORN SPIRITUALLY BLIND FROM PARENTS WHO WERE ALSO SPIRITUALLY BLIND - would remain that way forever – in a state of Spiritual Ignorance and Death. HOWEVER, EVEN BEFORE CREATION, ALMIGHTY GOD HAD PREPARED A GREAT MIRACLE FOR US – ETERNAL SALVATION AND LIFE - and without asking us whether we believe or not, KNOWING THAT THIS FAITH IS EMBEDDED DEEP WITHIN OUR IMMORTAL SOUL, THE LORD
ANOINTS US WITH CLAY AND SORROWS AS THOUGH WITH

HOLY MYRRH, and MANKIND IS HEALED and OUR SPIRITUAL EYES ARE OPENED – OUR SPIRITUAL SIGHT IS RESTORED. THOSE WHO WERE SPIRITUALLY BLIND BUT WHO HAVE BEEN HEALED LIKED THE MAN BORN WITHOUT EYES - ARE OFTEN SUBJECTED TO DIFFICULT TRIALS, INTERROGATIONS, AND MOCKERY BY THE SCEPTIC, SELF-SERVING PHARISEES OF THIS AGE, and many struggling Disciples of Christ are
SHUNNED OR DISPARAGED BY MODERN SOCIETY OF THE SPIRITUALLY BLIND.

But why did our Saviour heal that particular Blind Man? Why was this Divine Healing granted to this specific person, and not to the whole crowd of similar suffering people who surrounded him. Two weeks ago we heard how our Lord Jesus Christ had healed the Paralytic who had yearned and hoped for healing for thirty-eight agonising years, while this Blind Man did not even appear to have Faith, for he did not know Who to believe in—he could not see our Lord Who had anointed his eye-sockets with His Saliva and clay and then instructed him: “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam.” When the healed Blind Man returned to the Temple for the required ratification of the Priests, he could not identify the One Who had performed such an amazing, unique Miracle, despite being severely interrogated by the Pharisees and Scribes, who became so infuriated and frustrated by what they heard they “cast him out” the Temple! Later, OUR LORD SOUGHT THE FORMERLY BLIND MAN AND ONLY THEN REVEALED HIS DIVINE IDENTITY TO HIM, having watched his courageous Confession before THE ENEMIES OF DIVINE TRUTH, WHO GREW MORE SPIRITUALLY BLIND THE MORE THEY REFUSED TO ACCEPT THIS OBVIOUSLY DIVINE WONDER. Even so, why was one man healed, but not another? Why did our Saviour pass by the crowd of wretched souls and heal that particular man? WHY, OUT OF THE INNUMERABLE SPIRITUALLY BLIND DO ONLY A SMALL FLOCK OF FAITHFUL GAIN THEIR SPIRITUAL SIGHT? Why, out of hundreds of different nations, do ONLY A FEW CONFESS THE SALVIFIC ORTHODOX FAITH? What made some people more suitable for Miraculous Healing than others? And what made the other paralytics who lay by the Pool of Siloam any different to that Paralytic who was healed after 38 years of suffering? Why ARE WE ANY DIFFERENT to the millions of our fellow sinners in this world - those who are not Enlightened by the Light of God’s Truth and Faith? During our Lord’s earthly Life, when He walked the earth, He chose (AND CONTINUES TO CALL) only THOSE WHO TRULY SOUGHT HIS DIVINE TRUTH AND LOVE (I.E. THOSE WHO WELCOME HIM AND WHO
EAGERLY AND FAITHFULLY CO-OPERATE WITH

THERE HAVE BEEN WISE PEOPLE WHO RECOGNIZED THE FEEBLENESS OF THEIR MINDS, AND THERE HAVE BEEN PEOPLE WHO ARE ENTIRELY UNEDUCATED AND EVEN HOLY FOOLS, TO WHOM EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS WERE SUDDENLY GRANTED. Perhaps these were people rich in sins, because THE LORD WAS SENT TO SAVE SINNERS – and we know all too well that EVERYONE OF US IS SINFUL IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. Maybe these were people rich in Faith, for THE LORD REQUIRES US TO HAVE FAITH. Yet CHRIST HEALED THE MAN BORN WITHOUT EYES DESPITE HIS LACK OF FAITH AT THE TIME, BUT WHICH INCREASED AS HE LATER DEFENDED OUR LORD’S MERCIFUL MIRACLE. He also healed the paralysed man whose friends had opened a hole in the roof to lower him down before our Lord in Whom they had utter Faith. (MARK 2:4), Furthermore, we know that the DEMONS KNOWING GOD AND BELIEVING IN HIM, TREMBLE IN FEAR OF HIS ALMIGHTY POWER AND EVENTUAL FINAL CONDEMNATION… So who does our Lord Jesus Christ choose for His Divine Inheritance? As St Paul the great Apostle stated in his Epistle to the Galatians: “...I LIVE; YET NOT I, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME...” (Galatians 2:20). THESE ARE THOSE WHOM OUR SAVIOUR CHOOSES: THOSE WHO CAN DENY THEMSELVES AND BECOME GOD’S HOLY DWELLING PLACE. BY GOD’S UNFATHOMABLE LOVE FOR ALL MANKIND, EVERYONE
HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE CHOSEN ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO STRUGGLE TO LIVE IN CHRIST THROUGH CONSTANT SELF-DISCIPLINE - even though as faint-hearted as the

Paralytic, who could say - if only at one time in his life “See — Christ Lives in me!” He could have become God’s Temple forever. Judas Iscariot was also God’s Temple at one time! However, GOD WILL GIVE OVER TO CORRUPTION THOSE WHO CORRUPT GOD’S TEMPLE… “...I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” Anyone who has been chosen by God can say the same. THE “OLD MAN” IS DONE AWAY WITH, AND CHRIST IS ENGENDERED IN US. However, CHRIST LIVES IN US IN A WAY THAT IS NOT AT ALL SPECULATIVE - NOT ONLY IN OUR MINDS. There are many “believing Christians” who may have Christ merely in their minds but who are not firmly rooted in Divine Truth and Life in Christ – especially those who simply proclaim to believe in Christ, but who have not committed themselves to Him through His Holy Church, Commandments and Teachings. There are those who philosophize about Christ, who make dreamy assumptions about Him, and want to hear about Him; but they do not Live in Christ. They exist outside the Holy Body of Christ - outside the Holy Church of Christ. CONSEQUENTLY, MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE HEARD ABOUT CHRIST NEVERTHELESS LIVE OUTSIDE CHRIST, HIS BODY, HIS CHURCH AND HIS DIVINITY. THE CHOSEN FLOCK OF CHRIST IS GOD’S GREAT MERCY TOWARDS SINFUL PEOPLE, but IT IS ALSO A GREAT
RESPONSIBILITY FOR EACH OF US AS FAITHFUL DISCIPLES

HIM, BECAUSE HE NEVER FORCES ANYTHING ON US.)

THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES APPLY NOW AND WILL DO SO FOREVER. Before His Passion, at the Last Supper, He told His Disciples: “I have CHOSEN you out of the world...”
(JOHN 15:19).

because, unfortunately, we can also be like Judas Iscariot; we can become APOSTATES, IN WHOM CHRIST ONCE LIVED, BUT WHO WILLINGLY AND CONSCIOUSLY BETRAY, REJECT AND CRUCIFY OUR SAVIOUR. SPIRITUAL SIGHT ENABLES US TO SEE OURSELVES CLEARLY SINFUL AND CAPABLE OF EVERY EVIL AND BETRAYAL. It enables us TO SEE THE WORLD AS IT REALLY IS WALLOWING IN WICKEDNESS and so WE BEGIN TO REALISE AND APPRECIATE GOD’S GREAT MERCY AND THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS ON EVERYTHING! May our Lord deliver us all from Spiritual Blindness – granting us New Spiritual Eyes to behold His Divine Truth and Light!
OF CHRIST
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: ARCHIMANDRITE TIKHON (SHEVKUNOV), TRANSLATED FROM RUSSIAN BY NUN CORNELIA (REES) HTTP://WWW.PRAVOSLAVIE.RU/ENGLISH/35149.HTM

Later, in his High-Priestly Prayer, He said to His Heavenly Father: “Holy Father, keep through Thine own Name THOSE WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME...” (JOHN 17:11). AMONGST GOD’S CHOSEN ARE PEOPLE OF EVERY ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CLASS.
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6

t h

Sunday of Holy Pascha – The Blind Man

20 May 2012

21.

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 forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glo ri ous 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.

21 M a y 2 0 1 2

H r iis tto s A n e s ttii!! A lliitth o s A n e s ttii!! Hr s os Anes A hos Anes
St Constantine & St Helena Equals to the Apostles Also the Feast of St Constantine & his sons, St Michael & St Theoore, Wonderworkers of Murom – St Cassianos the Greek of Uglich
Paschal Apolytikion

§Hristos
Ton

Anesti ek nekron, Thanato Thanaton patistas, ke tis en tis mnimasi, Zoin harisamenos!

§

Christ

has Risen from the dead, by Death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed Life to those in the tombs!
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.

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

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

Apolytikion Of The Holy Cross

TONE 4

Tou Stavrou Sou ton tipon en Ourano theasamenos, ke The Sign of the Cross in the sky having beheld, and like
os O Pavlos tin klisin ouk ek anthropon dexamenos, O en Vasilefsin Apostolos Sou Kyrie, Vasilevousan polin ti Hiri Sou paretheto; in perisoze dia pantos en Irini, Presvies tis Theotokou, Mone Filanthrope!
Kontakion of the Blind Man – TONE 4

Paul having received the Call that did not come from men, Thine Apostle among all the Kings, O Lord, built his capital city and placed its care in Thy Hands; which, we ask Thee to guard in Peace, forever, by the Intercessions of the Theotokos, O Only Lover of mankind!

Tis

psihis ta ommata pepiromenos, Si Hriste proserhome, os O Tiflos ek genetis, en metania kravgazon Si. Si ton en skoti to Fos to iperlampron.

With the Sight of my soul, completely Blind, O my Christ
to Thee I come, like the man blind from birth, and in Repentance cry out to Thee: for those in Darkness, Thou art the Brightest Light!

Thou art Blessed, O Lord, God of our Forefathers. For Thou has always dealt Righteously with us.
Acts of the Apostles According to St Luke
St Paul Defends Himself

Prokeimenon:

26 : 1 & 12 – 20

Agrippa said to Paul: “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself: “... while thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the Chief Priests, at midday, O King, along the road I saw a Light from Heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a Voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language: ‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting Me? It is difficult for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said: ‘Who art Thou, Lord?’ And He said: ‘I AM JESUS, Whom you are persecuting. Rise and stand on your feet, for I HAVE APPEARED to you for this Purpose – TO MAKE YOU A MINISTER AND A WITNESS BOTH OF THE THINGS THAT YOU HAVE SEEN AN OF THE THINGS THAT I WILL YET REVEAL TO YOU. I WILL DELIVER YOU from the Hebrews and from the Gentiles, to whom I NOW SEND YOU, TO OPEN THEIR EYES, IN ORDER TO TURN THEM FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT, AND FROM THE POWER OF SATAN TO GOD, THAT THEY MAY RECEIVE FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND AN INHERITANCE AMONG THOSE WHO ARE SANCTIFIED BY FAITH IN ME.’ “Therefore, King Agrippa, I WAS NOT DISOBEDIENT TO THE HEAVENLY VISION, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region in Judea, and then to the Gentiles, THAT THEY SHOULD REPENT, TURN TO GOD, AND DO WORK BEFITTING REPENTANCE.” Hebrew’s false charges against him as his point of A REPORT OF THE CHARGES AGAINST A PRISONER WAS reference. REQUIRED BY ROMAN LAW. A new Governor, after all, AS PART OF ST PAUL’S EARLIER PERSECUTION AGAINST would not want to look bad before the Roman HEBREW CHRISTIANS, HE FORCED THEM TO BLASPHEME Emperor. There was a slight twist of absurdity here SINCE THE OR CURSE THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS. [1 CORINTHIANS 12:3] CHARGES AGAINST ST PAUL WERE GROUNDLESS AND HE THIS IS THIRD ACCOUNT OF ST PAUL’S DAMASCUS ROAD WAS ABOUT TO BE TAKEN TO ROME TO BE SENTENCED BY CONVERSION. CAESAR BUT THERE WAS NOTHING WITH WHICH TO ACCUSE ST PAUL DESCRIBED THE UNCREATED LIGHT OF GOD that he HIM! experienced on the road to Damascus as being BEING OF HIGHER RANK THAN ST PAUL, AGRIPPA – King and “brighter than the sun.” Governor of the region – OPENED THE PROCEEDINGS. The context suggests IT WAS THE GLORIFIED CHRIST Agrippa was knowledgeable in Hebrew customs. HIMSELF WHO CONFRONTED ST PAUL [whose Hebrew IT IS BELIEVED THAT HEROD THE GREAT AND HEROD AGRIPPA WERE APOSTASISED name was Saul]. [1 CORINTHIANS 9:1; 15:8] HEBREWS WHO WERE SYCOPHANTS AND LACKEYS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND OUR RESURRECTED LORD JESUS CHRIST COMMISSIONED ST THEREFORE WERE FEARED AND DESPISED BY THE HEBREWS. PAUL AS HIS WITNESS JUST LIKE HE COMMISSIONED HIS ST PAUL STRETCHED OUT HIS HAND IN A COMMON GESTURE HOLY APOSTLES. FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS OF THAT ERA. A DIRECT CALL FROM GOD CONSTITUTES THE HIGHEST NO ACCUSERS WERE PRESENT AND ST PAUL WAS FREE TO AUTHORITY AND ST PAUL OBEYED the Heavenly Vision by PROCEED as he pleased, although he used the declaring to BOTH HEBREWS AND GENTILES that they 22.
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Sunday After Pentecost

SHOULD “REPENT, TURN TO GOD AND DO GOOD WORKS...” THAT PROVE THEIR GENUINE REPENTANCE AND

COMMITMENT TO ALMIGHTY GOD.

The Holy Gospel According to St John 10 : 1 – 9
Jesus Christ Our Lord & Saviour Is Our Good Shepherd

At that time, our Lord Jesus Christ said: “Most assuredly, I say to you: HE WHO DOES NOT ENTER THE SHEEPFOLD BY THE DOOR, BUT CLIMBS UP SOME OTHER WAY, IS A THIEF AND A ROBBER. But HE WHO ENTERS BY THE DOOR IS THE SHEPHERD OF THE SHEEP. TO HIM THE DOORKEEPER OPENS, AND THE SHEEP HEAR HIS VOICE; and HE CALLS HIS OWN SHEEP BY NAME and leads them out. “And when He brings out His own Sheep, HE GOES BEFORE THEM; and THE SHEEP FOLLOW HIM, FOR THEY KNOW HIS VOICE. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things that He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again: “Most assuredly, I say to you: I AM THE DOOR of the Sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the Sheep did not hear them. I Am the Door. IF ANYONE ENTERS BY ME, HE WILL BE SAVED, and will go in and out and find Pasture.” Our Lord’s conversation with THE PHARISEES continued ®HIS TERRIBLE SUFFERING upon the Cross – the ultimate Blood Sacrifice for the sake of all after He told them that they WERE ALIENATED FROM humanity throughout all the ages. GOD, not the Blind Man whom they had so self®HIS ENTRY INTO HADES whereby His Death conquered righteously cast out of the Temple. Death thereby releasing those who had awaited THEY WERE SPIRITUALLY BLIND AND THEY WERE FALSE His Coming in Faith, Hope and Trust. SHEPHERDS OF GOD’S PEOPLE ®HIS DEATH AND THE SUBSEQUENT “HARROWING OF “ ... he who does not enter ... by the door is A THIEF HELL” makes it possible for Repentant sinners to AND A ROBBEr” IS A REFERENCE TO THOSE WHO DO NOT “repose in Christ” – to rest in the comfort of FOLLOW GOD’S LAW ACCORDING TO ITS SPIRIT AND Christ’s Love - while awaiting His Second Glorious MEANING. Coming to Judge the living and the dead. V It is a reference to THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOD’S ®HIS GLORIOUS RESURRECTION showed us what all DIVINE PERFECT TRUTH AND MANKIND’S FLAWED, humanity can expect on the Final Day. OPINIONATED CONCEPTS. ®HIS ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN, witnessed by so many V BY FOLLOWING OUR OWN IDEAS RATHER THAN GOD’S reliable people, is also a Divine Promise of future TRUTH, WE Become “Thieves And Robbers” Who Events. DECEIVE OURSELVES AND OTHERS, thus Stealing All these Wondrous Events were strictly FOR THE SAKE OF Souls From God. OUR IMMORTAL SOULS, GIVING US HOPE, JOY AND PEACE “...he who enters by the Door is the Shepherd...” and showing us that IT IS ALL INDEED TRUE AND means that THOSE WHO FAITHFULLY FOLLOW THE DEFINITELY POSSIBLE FOR ALL REPENTANT SINNERS such EXAMPLE OF CHRIST OUR TRUE SHEPHERD WITH HUMILITY as ourselves. AND OBEDIENCE ARE WORTHY LEADERS AND SPIRITUAL “...I Am the Door...” means THAT OUR LORD JESUS GUIDES – True Shepherds of His Faithful Disciples. CHRIST IS THE ONLY MEANS BY WHICH WE CAN BE They are the RIGHTFUL SHEPHERDS OF GOD’S FLOCKs ASSURED OF ETERNAL LIFE. because they OPERATE LEGALLY ACCORDING TO GOD’S V IT IS HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO GAIN ENTRY DIVINE LAWS AND TEACHINGS. INTO GOD’S HEAVENLY KINGDOM EXCEPT THROUGH “... The Sheep HEAR HIS VOICE...” suggests A CLOSE CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR. RELATIONSHIP between our lord the good shepherd ®WE NEED TO KNOW HIS TEACHINGS so that we are able and us, his loyal sheep. to live in Eternity – to be worthy citizens in His V AS WE GROW SPIRITUALLY STRONGER AND CLOSER TO Eternal Kingdom of Love/Agape. GOD, WE DO INDEED RECOGNISE THE VOICE OF HIS ®EVERYTHING TO DO WITH HIS HOLY CHURCH HAS A TRUTH AND WISDOM. PURPOSE – Prayers, Hymns, Liturgical Practises, “... He Calls His own Sheep by name ...” because GOD etc. Prepare us for that very special existence that KNOWS EACH SOUL better than anyone else. will never end. THE NAMES GIVEN TO US AND MENTIONED DURING THE 8 DAY NAMING AND AT OUR HOLY BAPTISM AND CHRISMATION, ARE THOSE BY WHICH GOD CALLS US. ®WITHOUT ANY DIVINE KNOWLEDGE AT ALL, WE SHALL BE WHENEVER WE RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION OUR PRIESTS ANNOUNCE OUR CHRISTIAN
TH

NAMES ALOUD TO THE HEAVENLY AND EARTHLY WITNESSES SO IF A PRIEST DOES NOT KNOW US, WE MUST ANNOUNCE OUR BAPTISMAL NAME ALOUD BEFORE PARTAKING.

LIKE ALIENS IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY AND UNABLE TO EXIST THERE.

“... He goes before them...” is a reference to THE HUMAN EXPERIENCES THAT CHRIST OUR INCARNATE GOD ENDURED FOR OUR SAKES:

V

“...if anyone enters by Me, he will be Saved...” is A SACRED PROMISE OF GOD. GOD’S SACRED AND DIVINE PROMISES ARE 100% GUARANTEED

St Constantine & St Helena – Equals to the Apostles
St Constantine's parents were Emperor Constantius Chlorus and the Empress Helena. Chlorus had other children by another wife, but from St Helena he had only Constantine. After his coronation Constantine fought three great battles: one, against Maxentius, a Roman tyrant; the second, against the Scythians on the Danube and the third, against the Byzantines. Before the battle with Maxentius, while Constantine was greatly concerned and in doubt about his success, A BRILLIANT CROSS APPEARED TO HIM IN THE SKY DURING THE DAY, ADORNED WITH STARS AND INSCRIBED WITH THE WORDS: "BY THIS SIGN CONQUER." Astonished, the Emperor ordered a large cross to be forged similar to the one that had appeared to him and to be carried before the army. BY THE POWER OF THE CROSS HE
ACHIEVED A GLORIOUS VICTORY OVER THE ENEMY WHO HAD OUTNUMBERED THEM. Maxentius drowned in the Tiber RIVER. ST CONSTANTINE ISSUED THE FAMOUS EDICT OF MILAN IN THE YEAR 313 HALTING THE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS.

he refused to do so and in a Vision St Peter and St Paul told him to locate Bishop Sylvester who would cure him of that dreaded disease. St Sylvester then instructed him in the Christian Faith and Baptized him and consequently, he was healed. When a controversy arose in the Church caused by the heretic Arius, the Emperor convened the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea, 325. whereby the heresy was condemned and Orthodoxy confirmed. St. Helena, the pious mother of the Emperor, went on a Holy Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and various other Holy Sites, uncovered the Holy Cross of our Lord, had the Church of the Resurrection on Golgotha built as well as many other churches throughout the Holy Land. She finally reposed in the Lord in her eightieth year in 327. St Constantine outlived his mother by ten years. He died in Nicomedia in his sixty-fifth year in 337 and his body was interred in the Church of the Twelve Apostles in Constantinople.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: BISHOP NIKOLAI VELIMIROVCH

Defeating the Byzantines, St Constantine built a beautiful capital on the Bosphorus, which was later called ‘Constantinople.’ Before that, however, Constantine succumbed to the dreaded disease of leprosy. As a cure, the pagan priests and physicians advised him to bathe in the blood of slaughtered children. However,
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THE PROLOGUE FROM OHRID
© SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH DIOCESE OF WESTERN AMERICA

http

www westsrbdio org prolog prolog cgi

St Constantine & St Helena – Equals To The Apostles – 21 May 2012

23.

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, 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 Glorio us 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.

24 M a y 2 0 1 2 Ascension of our Lord & Saviour, Jesus Christ
Also the Feast of St Symeon the Stylite of Wonderful Mountain – St Nikitas the Wonderworking Stylite of Pereyaslavl, Zalesski – St Meletios Stratelates the General & 1218 Martyred Soldiers, their wives and children, including : St Stephen, St John, St Serapion the Egyptian, St Callinikos the former Sorcerer, St Theodore, St Faustos, St Festos, St Marcellos, St Meletios, St Sergios, St Marcellinos, together with, St Marciana, St Felix, St Photinos, St Theodoriskos, St Mercurios, St Didymos, St Susanna, St Palladia, St Kyriakos Infant Martyr, St Christine, Child Martyr & other Martyred Innocents of Galatia – St Vincent of Lerins
Second Festal Antiphon:

imas Iie Theou, O EN DOXI ANALIFTHIS AF’ IMON IS TOUS OURANOUS, psallontas Si: Allilouia! Entrance of Ascension & Communion Hymn

Soson

O

Son of God, TAKEN UP FROM US IN GLORY INTO

HEAVEN, Save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia!

Anevi O Theos en alalagmo, Kyrios en foni salpingos.
Apolytikion of the Ascension

God Ascended with a shout; the Lord with the sound of
the Trumpet in Glory, O Christ our God, after Thou filled the Disciples with Joy, by promising to send them the Holy Spirit, and Thou Blessed them and established their Faith, that Thou art the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.
TONE (6) PLAGAL 2

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

Kontakion of the Ascension of Christ our Saviour

Tin iper imon plirosas ikonomian, ke ta epi gis enosas When Thou had fulfilled the Dispensation for our sake,
tis Ouraniis, anelifthis en doxi, Hriste O Theos imon, oudamothen horizomenos, alla menon adiastatos, ke voon tis agaposi se. EGO IMI METH IMON, KE
OUDIS KATH IMON.

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

Prokeimenon of the Ascension–

TONE (7) VARYS/GRAVE

Be exalted, O God, above the Heavens...! My heart is ready, O God...
1 : 1 – 12

The Acts of the Holy Apostles According to St Luke

The former account I made, O Theophilos, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until THE DAY ON WHICH HE WAS TAKEN UP, AFTER HE, THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT, HAD GIVEN COMMANDMENTS TO THE APOSTLES WHOM HE HAD CHOSEN – to whom HE HAD ALSO PRESENTED HIMSELF ALIVE AFTER HIS SUFFERING, BY MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS – being seen by them DURING FORTY DAYS AND SPEAKING OF THE THINGS PERTAINING TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. And, being assembled together with them, He Commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which...” He said: “... you have heard from Me; for John truly Baptised with water, BUT YOU SHALL BE BAPTISED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT NOT MANY DAYS FROM NOW.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him: “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore the Kingdom of Israel?” And He said to them: “IT IS NOT FOR YOU TO KNOW TIMES OR SEASONS, which the Father has put in His own Authority. But YOU SHALL RECEIVE POWER WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS COME UPON YOU; and you SHALL BE WITNESSES TO ME in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Now, WHEN HE HAD SPOKEN THESE THINGS, WHILE THEY WATCHED, HE WAS TAKEN UP, AND A CLOUD RECEIVED HIM out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly towards Heaven as He went up, behold, two Men stood by them in white apparel, who also said: “O Men of Galilee: why do you stand gazing up into Heaven? THIS SAME JESUS, WHO WAS TAKEN UP FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, WILL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER as you saw Him go into Heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called ‘Olivet,’ which is near Jerusalem – a Sabbath Day’s journey.

The Holy Gospel According to St Luke 24 : 36 – 53
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ

At that time the soldiers also mocked our Lord Jesus, offering Him sour wine, and saying: “If Thou art the King of the Jews, save Thyself!” And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin and Hebrew: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS!” And one of the criminals who were hanging beside Him blasphemed Him, saying: “If Thou art the Christ, save Thyself and us!” But the other one rebuked him, saying: “Do you not even fear God, seeing that you are under the same Condemnation? And we indeed Justly, for we receive the due Reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” And he said to Jesus: “LORD, REMEMBER ME WHEN THOU COME INTO THY KINGDOM.” And Jesus said to him: “Truly, I say to you: TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.” Now it was about the Sixth Hour, and THERE WAS DARKNESS OVER ALL THE EARTH UNTIL THE NINTH HOUR. And the sun was darkened, and the Veil of the Temple was ripped in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud Voice, He said: “Father, into Thy Hands I commit My Spirit!” Having said this, HE BREATHED HIS LAST. So when the Centurion saw what had happened, he Glorified God, saying: “CERTAINLY THIS WAS A RIGHTEOUS MAN!” And the whole crowd who had gathered together for that sight – seeing what had been done – beat their breasts and returned. But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

24.

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Ascension of our Lord & Saviour, Jesus Christ

24 May 2012

Now behold: there was a man named JOSEPH – a Council member, a good and just man. He HAD NOT CONSENTED TO THEIR DECISION AND DEED. He was from Arimathea – a city of the Hebrews – WHO HIMSELF WAS ALSO WAITING FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD. This man went to Pilate and asked for the Body of Jesus. Then he took It down, wrapped It in linen, and LAID IT IN A TOMB THAT WAS HEWN OUT OF ROCK, WHERE NO ONE HAD EVER LAIN BEFORE. Living on the Threshold TODAY WE REMEMBER AN ENTIRELY UNIQUE EVENT THAT COMPLETES THE EARTHLY SOJOURN OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, HAVING APPEARED MANY TIMES BEFORE THE HOLY APOSTLES, SHOWING THEM THE WOUNDS OF HIS HANDS, FEET, AND RIBS, EATING FOOD WITH THEM AND TEACHING THEM THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, OUR LORD SUDDENLY DEPARTED FROM HIS DISCIPLES IN AN EXCEPTIONAL MANNER ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES – AN EXTRAORDINARY CLOUD RECEIVED HIM. And the astonished Disciples all understood that their Divine Teacher has been taken up - has Ascended into Heaven (TO CONTINUE HIS RIGHTFUL POSITION – SEATED AS A DIVINE EQUAL
ALONGSIDE GOD THE FATHER)

of the Divine Kingdom Nevertheless, THE GOSPEL WAS COMPLETED WITH ACTUAL, EVERLASTING TRIUMPH AND VICTORY: ALL GOALS WERE FULFILLED AND THE HUMAN RACE WAS REDEEMED, the devil was conquered, and evil and death was trampled upon. GOD IS VICTOR TOGETHER WITH MANKIND IN JESUS CHRIST, and the visible expression of this Glorious Victory of the God-Man is the physical Ascension of our Lord. As the Faithful Apostles and Disciples stood in utter amazement, two Holy Angels of God drew their attention by saying: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into Heaven? THIS SAME JESUS, WHO WAS TAKEN UP FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, WILL COME AGAIN IN SIMILAR MANNER as you saw Him go into Heaven.”
(ACTS 1:10-11).

Why did our Lord need to be taken up? As God is He not beyond time and space? If He had wished to withdraw visibly from the history of mankind as Jesus Christ from Nazareth, He could just have become invisible as He had become invisible many times after the Resurrection, when departing from His Disciples. Of course all of this is possible for God. But THERE IS AN IMMENSE MEANING IN THE VERY ACT OF HIS ASCENSION. Firstly, THIS IS THE END OF OUR LORD’S SOJOURN ON EARTH, and IF HE HAD REMAINED INVISIBLE, THIS MIGHT HAVE
HAD DANGEROUS CONSEQUENCES FOR THE FIRST CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. Even BEFORE HIS DEATH OUR LORD HAD INFORMED US THAT THE TIME WOULD COME WHEN MANY WOULD TRY TO MISLEAD US BY PROCLAIMING: “Behold: here is the

Those words sent the Faithful Disciple rejoicing into Jerusalem in the erroneous belief that within a day, or two, or three, or maybe a week or a month our Saviour would return. In such intense anticipation for the Reappearance of our Lord, the first years of the Christian Community was nurtured, spread and developed… Yet as St Peter reminded us: “... WITH THE LORD ONE DAY IS
LIKE A THOUSAND YEARS AND A THOUSAND YEARS LIKE ONE DAY...” (2 PETER 3:8) [ETERNITY IS FOREVER NOW... THE PRESENT] WE DO NOT KNOW HOW MUCH EARTHLY TIME WILL PASS BEFORE THE LORD WILL REAPPEAR IN ALL HIS GLORY. This is not that important because TIME DOES NOT APPLY TO GOD. Yet it is absolutely important for us to understand that WE LIVE ON THE THRESHOLD OF THE DIVINE KINGDOM AND, therefore, EVERYONE SHOULD PREPARE THEMSELVES FOR THEIR ENCOUNTER WITH OUR SAVIOUR, which NO ONE KNOWS WHEN IT WILL HAPPEN. However, EVERY HUMAN BEING – LIVING AND DEAD - WILL STAND FACE TO FACE BEFORE GOD. So THE JOYFUL HOPE OF THE FAITHFUL OF REUNITING WITH OUR LORD WAS SOON FULFILLED when they gave their lives for the

Christ!’ or “There...!” Therefore He categorically warned us: “DO NOT BELIEVE IT
FOR FALSE CHRISTS AND FALSE PROPHETS WILL RISE AND SHOW GREAT SIGNS AND WONDERS TO DECEIVE, IF POSSIBLE, EVEN THE ELECT!” and “... if they say: ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ DO NOT GO OUT; or: ‘Look, He is in the Inner Rooms!’ DO NOT BELIEVE IT!” (Matthew 24:23-26) SO THAT NO ONE WOULD EVER BE ABLE TO MAKE THESE FALSE CLAIMS, OUR LORD LEFT HIS FAITHFUL DISCIPLE AND THIS VISIBLE WORLD IN A VISIBLE WAY.

sake of Him and His Divine Truth. Thus, AS WE STRUGGLE TO LIVE OUR LIVES IN CHRIST, WE
BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND LOOK FORWARD WITH GREAT PEACE, LOVE AND JOY TO THE LAST DAY WHEN WE WILL ALL STAND BEFORE THE GLORIOUS THRONE OF ALMIGHTY GOD. ALTHOUGH MANY PEOPLE ACKNOWLEDGE GOD’S DIVINE EXISTENCE, THEY DO NOT ATTEND OR PARTICIPATE IN THE ESSENTIAL HOLY SERVICES AND HOLY MYSTERIES, AND THEY IGNORE THEIR NEED FOR REPENTANCE AND RECONCILIATION WITH GOD AND NEIGHBOUR. They use

This wonderful moment of the Ascension is extremely significant because THERE WAS NO HUMAN GLORY IN THE LIFE OF OUR LORD. Only once, as He approached His Passion in Jerusalem, did THE PEOPLE - WHO WERE OBVIOUSLY IMPRESSED BY THE FACT THAT HE HAD RAISED ST LAZAROS FROM THE DEAD - JOYOUSLY WELCOMED HIM AS OUR GLORIOUS VICTOR – loudly exulting: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!” as they spread their garments before Him and waved branches.
(MATTHEW 21:8-9)

However, it was all short-lived vainglorious, human honour, which was unacceptable to our Divine Saviour Who did not participate in such human triumph, knowing how SOON THEIR GENERAL ATTITUDE WOULD CHANGE – AND THAT MANY OF THOSE WHO WERE GLORIFYING HIM AT THAT MOMENT WOULD SOON BE DEMANDING HIS EXECUTION from the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. THE COMPLETION OF THE EVENTS OF THE HOLY GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS A VISIBLE TRIUMPH, A VISIBLE VICTORY OF OUR SAVIOUR. AT THE ACTUAL MOMENT OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION, THERE WERE NO EYE-WITNESSES IN THE TOMB AND HIS FAITHFUL APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES ONLY SAW THE SIGNS OF HIS RESURRECTION – the abandoned Burial Shroud, the neatly folded inner Face Cloth and rock-hard, outer wrappings – AN UNFATHOMABLE DIVINE MYSTERY. Although the Divine Power and Glory of our Resurrected Lord was later revealed to many people, no human being was allowed to witness that Mysterious, Divine Glory when it occurred.

every excuse they can invent and will sometimes even admit: “Of course I need to Repent and to change my life ...but there is still time and I have so many other things to do...!” No one knows when they will die so WE ALL NEED TO LIVE EVERY MOMENT IN SPIRITUAL WATCHFULNESS AND REPENTANCE, so that WE WILL REJOICE AT OUR JUDGEMENT NOT HAVING WASTED THIS PRECIOUS TIME FOR CORRECTING OUR SELVES. WE MUST LIVE EACH DAY SO THAT OUR FINAL ENCOUNTER WITH GOD IS AS INEXPRESSIBLY JOYFUL AS THAT OF THE HOLY APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES WHO REMEMBERED THE ANGELS’ WORDS ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES. THE FEAST OF THE ASCENSION IS AN ESCHATOLOGICAL FEAST, WHICH REFERS OUR THINKING TO THE FUTURE. At the same time, it is a very personal Feast because IT CONCERNS NOT ONLY HUMAN CIVILIZATION, NOT ONLY THE WHOLE WORLD BUT EACH OF US. ON ASCENSION DAY - maybe more than on any other day of the year - WE SHOULD CONTEMPLATE OUR OWN LIFE, OUR OWN DEATH, OUR JUDGEMENT BEFORE GOD, AND ABOUT ETERNITY.
ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP: BY PATRIARCH KIRILL OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA - TRANSLATED BY SVETLANA BROOKS http://www.pravmir.com/we-live-on-the-threshold-of-the-divine-kingdom/

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Ascension of our Lord & Saviour, Jesus Christ

24 May 2012

25.

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 Glorio us 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.

25 M a y 2 0 1 2
Third Finding of St John the Baptist’s Venerable Head
Also the Feast of St Therapon, Hieromartyr of Cyprus – St Urbanos of Rome –

St Olbianos the Confessor – St Celestine – St Aldhelm of Sherborne

Second Festal Antiphon:

imas Iie Theou, O EN DOXI ANALIFTHIS AF’ IMON IS TOUS OURANOUS, psallontas Si: Allilouia! Entrance of Ascension & Communion Hymn

Soson

O

Son of God, TAKEN UP FROM US IN GLORY INTO

HEAVEN, Save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia!

Anevi O Theos en alalagmo, Kyrios en foni salpingos.
Apolytikion of the Ascension

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

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

Apolytkion of the Third Finding of St John The Baptist’s Head – Tone 4

Os

thion thisavrisma, egkekrimmenon ti gi, Hristos apekalipse, tin Kefalin sou imin Profita ke Prdodrome. Pantes oun sinelthontes, en ti taftis evresi, asmasi theigoris, ton Sotira imnoumen, ton sozonta imas ek fthoras, tes ikesies sou.

Christ God has revealed to us Thy Truly Ven'rable Head
as a Divine Treasure that had been concealed in the earth, O Prophet and Forerunner. Wherefore, as we gather on the Feast of its Finding, with our Hymns Inspired of God, we praise Christ the Saviour, Who by Thy Mighty Prayers Saves us from every kind of harm.
TONE (6) PLAGAL 2

Kontakion of the Ascension of Christ our Saviour

Tin iper imon plirosas ikonomian, ke ta epi gis enosas When Thou had fulfilled the Dispensation for our sake,
tis Ouraniis, anelifthis en doxi, Hriste O Theos imon, oudamothen horizomenos, alla menon adiastatos, ke voon tis agaposi se. EGO IMI METH IMON, KE
OUDIS KATH IMON.

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

Prokeimenon

Their sound has gone out into all the earth: and their words to the ends of the world. The Heavens declare the Glory of God!
The Second Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 4: 6 – 15
The Power of the Holy Apostles

Brethren: It is the GOD WHO COMMANDED LIGHT TO SHINE OUT OF DARKNESS, Who HAS SHONE IN OUR HEARTS TO GRANT THE LIGHT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE SIGHT OF JESUS CHRIST. But we have this Treasure in earthen vessels so that THE EXCELLENCE OF THE POWER MAY BE OF GOD and not of us. WE ARE HARD-PRESSED ON EVERY SIDE, YET NOT CRUSHED; we are PERPLEXED, BUT NOT IN DESPAIR; PERSECUTED, BUT NOT FORSAKEN; STRUCK DOWN, BUT NOT DESTROYED – always carrying about in the body the dying of our Lord Jesus so that THE LIFE OF JESUS ALSO MAY BE MANIFESTED IN OUR BODY. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, so that THE LIFE OF JESUS ALSO MAY BE MANIFESTED IN OUR MORTAL FLESH. So then Death is working in us, but Life in you. And since WE HAVE THE SAME SPIRIT OF FAITH, according to what is written: “I believed and therefore I spoke...” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that HE WHO RAISED UP OUR LORD JESUS WILL ALSO RAISE US UP with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that GRACE, HAVING SPREAD THROUGH THE MANY, MAY CAUSE THANKSGIVING TO ABOUND TO THE GLORY OF GOD.

The Holy Gospel According to St Matthew 11 : 2 – 15
St John The Baptist’s Question To Our Lord And Saviour, Jesus Christ

At that time, when John had heard in prison about the Works of Christ, he sent two of his Disciples and said to Him: “Art Thou the Coming One, or do we look for Another?” Jesus answered and said to them: “Go and tell John the Things that you hear and see: THE BLIND SEE AND THE LAME WALK; THE LEPERS ARE CLEANSED AND THE DEAF HEAR; THE DEAD ARE RAISED UP AND THE POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. And Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments?

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3rd Finding Of St John The Baptist’s Venerable Head-

25 May 2012

Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in Kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A Prophet? Yes, I say to you, and MORE THAN A PROPHET, FOR THIS IS HE OF WHOM IT IS WRITTEN: ‘Behold, I send My Messenger before Thy Face, who will prepare Thy Way before Thee.’ “Assuredly, I say to you: among those born of women THERE HAS NOT RISEN ONE GREATER THAN JOHN THE BAPTIST; but he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For ALL THE PROPHETS AND THE LAW PROPHESIED UNTIL JOHN. And if you are willing to receive it, HE IS ELIJAH WHO HAS COME. “HE WHO HAS EARS TO HEAR, LET HIM HEAR!” According to St John Chrysostom, the “violent” who take According to our Holy Church Fathers, ST JOHN THE the Kingdom of Heaven “by force,” are THOSE WHO BAPTIST ASKED THIS QUESTION OF CHRIST IN ORDER TO HAVE SUCH AN EARNEST DESIRE FOR CHRIST THAT GUIDE HIS OWN DISCIPLES TO OUR LORD JESUS.
ST ISAIAH, THE HOLY PROPHET OF GOD, PREDICTED THAT THESE MIRACLES AND SIGNS WOULD ACCOMPANY THE COMING OF THE LONG AWAITED MESSIAH. THEY DO NOT LET ANYTHING STAND BETWEEN THEM AND THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST. OUR LORD JESUS ASCRIBED THE ROLE OF THE HOLY PROPHET, ST ELIJAH, TO ST JOHN THE BAPTIST – not

Our Lord Jesus performed these Divine Miracles in the presence of ST JOHN THE BAPTIST’S DISCIPLES so that they PERSONALLY WITNESSED MIRACLES THAT
ONLY THE MESSIAH COULD PERFORM.

St John himself who was utterly humble and obedient to God.
ST JOHN THE BAPTIST FULFILLED THE SACRED MISSION OF ST ELIJAH AND HIS DESTINY WAS SIMILAR AS WELL. YET ST JOHN THE BAPTIST IS HONOURED ABOVE ST ELIJAH BY OUR LORD SINCE ST JOHN ACTUALLY PREPARED THE WAY – PREPARED THE PEOPLE – FOR THE ADVENT OF CHRIST - the long-awaited Messiah –

In terms of the Old Covenant Laws, ST JOHN THE
BAPTIST WAS INDEED THE GREATEST OF ALL THE HOLY PROPHETS OF GOD. However, THE NEW COVENANT IS OF SUCH INCOMPARABLE VALUE THAT THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE AND SHARE IN THE NEW COVENANT ARE FAR GREATER than St John the Baptist who was of

the Old Covenant. Several interpretations have been offered to explain our Lord’s statement: “... the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence...” Some believe that it refers to
THE HEBREW OPPOSITION TO THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, while others felt that it was a reference to THE ETERNAL HEAVENLY KINGDOM BREAKING INTO THE WORLD “VIOLENTLY” – MEANING WITH GREAT POWER AND FORCE. Still others maintain that THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN REFERS TO CHRIST HIMSELF – the Son of God Who

has been Incarnate since St John the Baptist was six months in his mother’s womb – WHO WOULD SUFFER
THE VIOLENCE OF HIS PASSION AND CRUCIFIXION.

the Saviour of the world – BOTH IN LIFE AND AFTER DEATH IN HADES. HAVING HEARD THE WONDERFUL ANNOUNCEMENT OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST IN HADES, THOSE WHO HAD REPOSED BEFORE, WERE READY FOR CHRIST WHEN HE ENTERED HADES IN HIS HUMAN NATURE AND, IN HIS DIVINE NATURE, SMASHED OPEN THE IMPRISONING GATES TO SET THE RIGHTEOUS FREE TO REPOSE IN PEACE IN THE NEWLY OPENED PARADISE UNTIL THE FINAL DAY. ST JOHN THE BAPTIST IS THE LAST GREAT HOLY PROPHET OF GOD WHO FULFILLED THE DIVINE PURPOSE OF GOD TO A FAR GREATER DEGREE THAN ANY OTHER.

The Third Finding of St John the Baptist’s Venerable Head
In the 8th century, during the bitter violence of Iconoclasm, the Venerable Head of St John the Baptist was taken to Comana, the place of exile of St John Chrysostom, until the end of the conflict in 850 when it was translated to Constantinople and laid to rest in the Imperial Chapel. Part of the Holy Relic was taken to the Podromos Monastery in Petra, and the upper part to the Forerunner Monastery of the Studion until 1204 when the insolent Crusaders took it to Amiens, France. . Three other locations of pieces of the Holy Relic are the Dionysiou Monastery on Mount Athos, the Ugro-Wallachian Monastery of Kalua, and the Church of St Sylvester in Rome, where a piece was taken from the Relic in Amiens. The history of the Baptist’s Head’s in France differs little from the history of many other great Christian Holy Relics. On 15 April 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, an army of uncouth knights from Western Europe looted and decimated Constantinople. In one of the ruined palaces Wallon de Sarton of Picquigny found casket containing a silver platter on which, under a glass covering, were the remains of a human face - missing the lower jaw. Over the left brow was a deep stab wound. An inscription in Greek confirmed it as being the Holy Relic of St John the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ. The stab wound over the brow corresponds with the testimony of Christian witnesses that the wicked Heriodias had stabbed the Saint’s severed head in a fit of rage and terror when she continued to hear his words of condemnation after his unjust execution. On 17 December 1206, on the Third Sunday of the Nativity Fast, the Catholic Bishop of Amiens, solemnly met the procession carrying the Holy Relics of St John the Baptist at the town gates of Picardy – and the Veneration of the Head of St. John the Baptist in Amiens and all of Picardy continued from that time. In 1220, the Bishop of Amiens placed the cornerstone in the foundation of a new Cathedral, (which after many reconstructions would later become the most magnificent Gothic edifice in Europe) and the Holy Relics of St John the Baptist were transferred there, causing the Cathedral of Amiens to become a place of Veneration for all Faithful Christians as well as powerful and influential Royalty and Rulers. The first King to come and venerate the head in 1264 was Louis IX, called “the Holy”. After him came his son, Phillip III the Brave, then Charles VI, and Charles VII, who donated large sums for the relic’s adornment. In 1604, Pope Clement VIII of Rome, wishing to enrich the Church of the Forerunner in Rome (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano), requested a piece of St. John’s Holy Relic from the Canon of Amiens. In 1789, during the French Revolution, an inventory was made of all Church property and most Holy Relics were confiscated – and destroyed! The Reliquary containing the Head remained in the Cathedral until November, 1793, when it was stripped of all valuable adornments before being buried but the Mayor secretly hid it at home until it could be safely returned to the Cathedral of Amiens in 1816 where it remains to this day. At the end of the 19th century, historical science – with the participation of ecclesiastical figures, determined that there had been many false relics during the Middle Ages and due to a general mistrust, Veneration of the Amiens Shrine eventually began to wane.

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3rd Finding Of St John The Baptist’s Venerable Head-

25 May 2012

27

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, 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 Glori ous 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.

7th

Paschal Sunday

27 M a y 2 0 1 2 Tone (6) Plagal 2

Sunday of the 318 Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council
Also the Feast of St Therapon, Hieromartyr of Sardis – St Nilos of Stolobensk, Translation of Relics - St John the Russian & Confessor of Euboia – St Therapon of White Lake – St Cyprianos of Moscow & All Russia, Translation of Relics – St Photios & St Jonah of Moscow & All Russia, Translation of Holy Relics – St Therapon of Monza – St Theodora, Virgin Martyr & St Didymos the Soldier of Alexandria – St Bede the Church Historian – St Basil of Georgia of Khakhuli Monastery – St Michael of Parekhi
Resurrection Apolytikion 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!

Festal Apolytikion – Holy Church Fathers

Iperdedoxasmenos

i Hriste O Theos imon, O Fostiras epi gis, tous Pateras imon themeliosas, ke di afton, pros tin Alithinin Pistin pantas imas odigisas, Poliefsplahne § Doxa Si!

Supremely

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

Festal Kontakion - Ascension of Christ Our God

TONE(6) PLAGAL 2:

Tin iper imon plirosas Ikonomian, ke ta epi gis enosas Having
tis Ouraniis, Anelifthis en Doxi, Hriste O Theos imon; oudamothen horizomenos alla menon adiastatos, ke voon tis agaposi se: Ego Imi meth imon, ke oudis kath imon.

fulfilled the Dispensation for us, and uniting the earthly with the Heavenly, Thou Ascended in Glory, O Christ our God; being in no way separated, but remaining inseparable, and calling out to those who Love Thee: I Am with you and no one can be against you!

Matins Resurrection Gospel

10 : John 21 : 1 – 14

Our Resurrected Lord Jesus Serves Breakfast To His Eleven Apostles

Prokeimenon

Thou art Blessed, O Lord, God of our Forefathers. For Thou hast always dealt Righteously with us
The Acts of the Apostles According to St Luke 20 : 16 – 18
St Paul’s Farewell Address

& 28 – 36

Paul had decided to sail past Ephesos, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost. From Miletos he sent to Ephesos and called for the Elders of the Church. And when they had gone to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived amongst you, serving the Lord with all Humility, with many tears and trials... “... Therefore, take heed to yourselves and to all the Flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you Overseers, to shepherd the Church of God, which He purchases with His own Blood. “For I know this: that after my departure savage Wolves will come in you, not sparing the Flock. Also from among yourselves, men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the Disciples after themselves. “Therefore, watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone – night and day – with tears. So now, Brethren, I commend you to God and to the Word of His Grace, which is able to build you up and give you an Inheritance among all those who are Sanctified. “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold, or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way – by labouring like this – that you must support the weak. “And remember the Words of our Lord Jesus – that He said: ‘It is more Blessed to give than to receive.’” And when Paul had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. St Paul wanted to be together with the other Holy Apostles Consequently, ALL FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS – TRUE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST – LIVE ACCORDING TO THE FESTAL CALENDAR OF of Christ in Jerusalem for the Feast of Holy Pentecost, MAJOR FEASTS, FASTS AND CELEBRATIONS. since A LITURGICAL CALENDAR BASED ON SACRED FEAST
DAYS HAS ALWAYS BEEN OBSERVED BY THE HOLY CHURCH OF CHRIST.

28.

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7 t h P a s c h a l S u n d a y - 3 1 8 H o l y F a t h e r s o f t h e 1st Ecumenical Council – 2 7 M a y 2 0 1 2

A c t s 1 8 : 2 1 : St Paul told his Holy Flock: “I must by all means keep this coming Feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you – God Willing.”
THE SINCERE WORDS “GOD WILLING,” UNDERSCORED ST PAUL’S CONSTANT RELIANCE ON GOD AND HIS CONTINUAL DEVOUT SUBMISSION OF HIS OWN PLANS AND FREE WILL TO THE WILL OF ALMIGHTY GOD.

permanent pattern of Sacramental Leadership with Elders (Presbyters) and Overseers (Bishops). However, the threat of false teachers and various heresies arose from both within and without the Holy Church. Furthermore, THE FATAL THREAT OF SUCH FALSE TEACHERS
AND HERESIES CONTINUES TO THIS DAY, CAUSING SO MANY SOULS TO BECOME PLUNGED IN DEEP, DARK SPIRITUAL DEATH CAUSED BY ALIENATION FROM GOD AND UNREPENTED SINS. Therefore, we must LEARN TRUE HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE TO THE DIVINE WILL OF GOD AND FOLLOW ONLY WHAT HE HAS TAUGHT US – not the lies,

J a m e s 4 : 1 3 - 1 7 “... you who say: ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say: ‘ If the Lord Wills, we shall live and do this and that...’ But now you boast in your own arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to those who know to do good and who do not do so, to them it is sin!” The budding Christian Liturgical Calendar revealed THE
DEEP DESIRE OF THE HOLY APOSTLES AND FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST TO GATHER TOGETHER IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE GREAT CHRISTIAN FEASTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF WORSHIPPING GOD AND THE COMMEMORATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN A COMMUNAL MANNER.

V

deceptions and heresies that other less intelligent beings try to convince us of, which misguide and condemn us. There is so much Divine Truth available to us these days that we have absolutely no excuse for “doing our own thing.”

V

WITHOUT THE INSEPARABLE VIRTUES OF HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE, WE CANNOT MAKE ANY SPIRITUAL PROGRESS AND WILL REMAIN IGNORANT, SELFISH AND IN A STATE OF SPIRITUAL DEATH DUE TO OUR ALIENATION FROM ALMIGHTY GOD WHO MAKES EVERYTHING THAT IS TRULY GOOD POSSIBLE FOR US.

At that time, the Holy Church of Christ was alive and developing in Ephesos and had already established a

The Holy Gospel According to St John 17 : 1 – 13
Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Prayer for Himself & for His Holy Apostles

At that time, Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His Eyes to Heaven, and said: “O Father, the Hour has come. GLORIFY THY SON, THAT THY SON ALSO MAY GLORIFY THEE, as THOU HAST GIVEN HIM AUTHORITY OVER ALL FLESH, THAT HE SHOULD GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO AS MANY AS THOU HAST GIVEN HIM. And this is Eternal Life: that they may know Thee, THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND JESUS CHRIST WHOM THOU HAST SENT. “I have Glorified Thee on the earth. I have finished the Work, which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, O Father, Glorify Me together with Thyself, with the Glory that I had with Thee before the world was. I have manifested Thy Name to the men whom Thou hast given Me out of the world. They were Thine. Thou gave them to Me, and they have kept Thy Word. Now they have known that all things, which Thou hast given Me, are from Thee. For I have given to them the Words that Thou hast given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from Thee; and they have believed that Thou sent Me. “I pray for them. I DO NOT PRAY FOR THE WORLD BUT FOR THOSE WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME, for they are Thine. And all Mine art Thine, and Thine art Mine, AND I AM GLORIFIED IN THEM. “Now I Am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. O Holy Father, keep through Thy Name, those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be One as we are One. “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy Name. Those whom Thou gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to Thee, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My Joy fulfilled in themselves...” THE PRAYER OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST, is ® FOR THAT REASON THE CROSS OF CHRIST - which often referred to as “the High Priestly Prayer” because was a hideous form of execution with its it CONTAINS THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF A PRAYER THAT excruciating suffering and death - IS NOW
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN PRIESTS OFFER TO THE LORD OUR GOD BEFORE A (BLOODLESS) SACRIFICE OR OFFERING IS OFFERED TO HIM: ® GLORIFICATION of Almighty God ® REMEMBRANCE of God’s Divine Works ® INTERCESSION on behalf of others ® A DECLARATION of the Holy Offering Itself

®

This particular passage of New Covenant Holy Scripture is read on the Seventh Sunday After Holy Pascha in remembrance of the 318 Holy Church Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, which had been convened in Nicaea in 325 in order to condemn and correct the heresy of Arianism (which taught that the Son of God was created
by God the Father and thus there was a time when the Son and Word of God did not exist!)

GLORIFIED IN HIS HOLY CHURCH AS “LIFE-GIVING” AND A “WEAPON OF PEACE.” THE (EMPTY) HOLY CROSS OF CHRIST HAS BECOME A VICTORIOUS EMBLEM OF DIVINE GOODNESS: RESURRECTION AND ETERNAL LIFE: ® The Holy Cross of Christ CONQUERS ALL SINFUL ENSLAVEMENT, ALIENATION FROM GOD. ® The Holy Cross of Christ is OUR SANCTIFIED BADGE OR EMBLEM OF HONOUR whereby we strive to live each moment of the day, for it REMINDS US OF THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR IN WHOM WE LIVE and it INFORMS OTHERS OF OUR SPIRITUAL STRUGGLE. ® The Holy Cross of Christ is THE MOST POWERFUL FORM OF DIVINE PROTECTION, which repels and

® OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S ACTUAL WORDS BEAR WITNESS
TO HIS TRUE, ABSOLUTE AND ETERNAL DIVINITY, AS WELL AS HIS ETERNAL FILIAL RELATIONSHIP TO GOD THE FATHER.

rejects Satan and his evil schemes. ® The Holy Cross of Christ is ALL WE NEED.
TRUE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST DO NOT WEAR “EVIL EYES” OR ANY OTHER SO-CALLED “GOOD LUCK CHARMS!” SUCH PAGAN TALISMANS, AMULETS OR TRINKETS EXPOSE DEEP-SEATED SUPERSTITIONS, WHICH REVEAL A LACK OF FAITH IN GOD - THE DENIAL OF GOD’S INFINITE POWER AND LOVE THAT CONQUERS ALL THREATS AND WICKEDNESS AGAINST US. TRUE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST WEAR THE (EMPTY) CROSS ONLY AGAINST THEIR HEARTS (NOT AS MERE ORNAMENTATION SUCH AS EAR-RINGS, ETC) AND N E V E R T O G E T H E R WITH ANY SUPERSTITIOUS “LUCKY CHARMS!” BELIEF IN ANYTHING ELSE IS A REVERSION TO PAGANISM – THE REJECTION OF OUR ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD! THE SO-CALLED “PEACE SIGN” IS IN FACT THE CURSE OF SATAN: A CLOVEN HOOF AND A BROKEN, UPSIDE DOWN CROSS – DECLARING THE WEARER AS A SLAVE OF SATAN THAT MUST BE AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS BY TRUE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST.

This Divine Testimony alone is more than sufficient to dismiss any form of heretical Arianism. “The Hour has come,” signifies that CHRIST IS LORD OVER TIME: “He voluntarily Willed to ascend the Cross in the Flesh...” (HYMN OF SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY) ® The expression “Glorify” refers to THE REDEMPTION OF
ALL CREATION THAT WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH OUR LORD’S CRUCIFIXION (THE FINAL, ULTIMATE AND MOST PURE BLOOD SACRIFICE FOR SINS AND ETERNAL LIFE) AND GLORIOUS RESURRECTION (THE HARROWING OF HADES), which was THE DIVINE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE DIVINE WORD AND SON OF GOD WAS SENT BY GOD THE FATHER INTO THE SIN ENSLAVED AND DARKENED WORLD. IN HIS DIVINE REDEMPTION, GOD THE FATHER AND GOD THE SON ARE GLORIFIED.

® KNOWLEDGE OF THE ONLY TRUE GOD IS FAR MORE THAN
INTELLECTUAL UNDERSTANDING. IT IS PARTICIPATION OF CHRIST’S DIVINE LIFE AND BEING IN COMMUNION WITH HIM. Consequently, ETERNAL LIFE IS AN ONGOING, LOVING KNOWLEDGE OF GOD IN CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.

®

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7 t h P a s c h a l S u n d a y - 3 1 8 H o l y F a t h e r s o f t h e 1st Ecumenical Council – 2 7 M a y 2 0 1 2 29.

Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Divine Work can never be separated from Who He is. ® “I have Glorified Thee on the earth. I have finished the Work, which Thou hast given Me to do...” is a statement that every Faithful Disciple of Christ should be able to make at the end of life – no matter how long or short our Life in Christ has been! ® “...the men whom Thou hast given Me...” are THE
HOLY APOSTLES OF CHRIST THROUGH WHOM THE WORD OF GOD COMES DOWN THROUGH THE AGES – CAREFULLY PRESERVED – TO US, WHICH IS KNOWN AS OUR “APOSTOLIC TRADITION” – THE TRUE TEACHINGS OF THE SON OF GOD, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. ® St Isaiah prophesied that IN THE DAYS OF THE MESSIAH, THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE NAME OF GOD WOULD BE REVEALED. (ISAIAH 52:6) According to the Old Covenant, THE EXPRESSION “the Name” WAS MOST REVERENTLY USED instead of God’s

ACCORDING TO THE DESIRES OF THEIR BODY – THE FLESH – which is used against us through the

temptation – the wiles and deceptions - of Satan.
THE PHYSICAL WORLD AND ALL THAT IS IN IT CREATED IS ALL GOOD AND BEAUTIFUL WHICH GOD AND WE – AS EARTHLY INTELLECTUAL BEINGS - HAVE BEEN ORDAINED BY G O D T O P R E S E R V E A N D N U R T U R E I T , YET THROUGH OUR SINFUL DESIRES OF GREED AND SELFISH INDULGENCE, WE HAVE ALMOST DESTROYED IT BEYOND RECOVERY!

® The fallen world consists of ALL WHO ARE IN
REBELLION AGAINST THE DIVINE WILL OF GOD AND WHO PREFER SPIRITUAL DARKNESS AND BLINDNESS TO HIS DIVINE, LIFE-GIVING LIGHT AND SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT. The term “Holy Father” is echoed in THE EUCHARIST PRAYER OF DIDACHE: “We give Thee Thanks, O

V

Holy Father, for Thy Holy Name, which Thou has made to dwell in our hearts...” (DIDACHE 10:2) V The lost “son of Perdition” (Destruction) is Judas Iscariot to whom Old Testament Prophesy alluded.
(PSALM 40:10; PSALM 108:2 – 13; ZECHARIAH 11: 12-13)

actual Name, “Yahweh,” which was considered as being FAR TOO SACRED TO PRONOUNCE. ® THE FULLER REVELATION OF THE DIVINE NAME WAS
GRANTED TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, FOR HE MANIFESTED THE DIVINE NAME NOT ONLY BY DECLARING GOD THE FATHER, BUT BY BEING THE VERY PRESENCE OF GOD ON EARTH AND BY SHARING THE DIVINE NAME WITH HIM! OUR LORD JESUS FIRST PRAYED FOR HIMSELF AND THEN FOR HIS HOLY APOSTLES WHO WERE GRANTED TO HIM BY GOD THE FATHER – AS WELL AS ALL THE SOULS WHO BELIEVE IN HIM THROUGHOUT THE AGES.

® JUDAS ISCARIOT, THE SON OF PERDITION WHO
BETRAYED CHRIST, EPITIMISES ALL WHO FALL AWAY, RENOUNCE REBEL AGAINST OR BETRAY GOD - ESPECIALLY IN THE LAST DAYS, WHICH IS NOW!

®

According to St Paul in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, THE SON OF PERDITION IS “THE ANTICHRIST” who is the manifestation of everything that is ungodly, evil and destructive but WHO WILL BE
COMPLETELY DEFEATED AND BANISHED TO HELL – TOGETHER WITH ALL WHO ARE WILLINGLY ENSLAVED BY HIM - BY CHRIST ALMIGHTY AT THE FINAL JUDGEMENT OF ALL CREATION. (2 THESSALONIANS 2:3)

® The reference to “the world” means the fallen world consisting of ALL THOSE WHO LIVE FORTY DAYS AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, CHRIST ASCENDED BODILY INTO HEAVEN WHERE HE SITS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER. Before He left His Disciples He Promised to send them His Holy Spirit, which we celebrate on Sunday of Pentecost. In this way - THROUGH THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT HE PROMISED NOT TO LEAVE US ORPHANED AND BEREFT, and has assured us that HE WOULD ALWAYS BE WITH US, EVEN UNTIL THE END OF TIME. Christ is present with us in a number of ways - one is through HIS REAL PRESENCE IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST, which presently sits on the Holy Altar and of which we shall communicate shortly. CHRIST ALSO ACTS IN OUR LIVES THROUGH HIS CHURCH, having stated: “I will build My Church; and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” THE HOLY SPIRIT DESCENDED ON THE HOLY APOSTLES ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST and they were the first leaders of the Church - GUIDING IT THROUGH THE DIVINE INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. WHENEVER THEY FOUNDED A CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY somewhere and the time came for them to move on to another area, THE HOLY APOSTLES OF CHRIST ORDAINED BISHOPS (OVERSEERS) TO GUIDE THE HOLY FLOCK IN THE SPIRITUAL LIFE – I.E. LIFE IN CHRIST and through the laying on of hands, THESE ORDAINED BISHOPS ALSO RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT and were thus in a proper state to guide and protect the Holy Church of Christ. THEY IN TURN ORDAINED OTHER BISHOPS WHOM THEY HAD TAUGHT AND SPIRITUALLY NURTURED and so on down the line, throughout the ages until today. This is what is called the APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION. The Bishops of the Church are the Successors of the Holy Apostles, because THEY CONTINUE TO UPHOLD THE TRUE FAITH, WHICH WAS HANDED DOWN TO US BY CHRIST HIMSELF, THROUGH HIS APOSTLES, DISCIPLES AND THEIR SUCCESSORS. TODAY IS THE SUNDAY AFTER THE ASCENSION AND BEFORE PENTECOST that has been established by our Holy Church Fathers to Commemorate the 318 God-

Sunday of the 318 Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council
Bearing Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, which was held in the city of Nicea in Asia Minor. AN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL WAS A SPECIAL MEETING OF BISHOPS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD DURING WHICH
THEY PUT TO REST SOME SERIOUS DISPUTES THAT WERE RAGING IN THE CHURCH AT THAT TIME.

The Creed that we recite at every Liturgy is called “THE NICENE CREED” because it was written at the Council at Nicea, which we celebrate today. At that time there several disputes concerning the Dogma or Teaching of the Holy Trinity. THE HOLY FATHERS ARE ENTITLED “GOD-BEARING” BECAUSE THEY BORE GOD WITHIN THEIR HEARTS AND SOULS AND THEY ALL EXPERIENCED THE SAME DIVINE ENLIGHTENMENT WHICH THE HOLY APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES HAD EXPERIENCED ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST. CONSEQUENTLY, THEIR DECISIONS - AND ESPECIALLY THE DECISIONS OF THE SEVEN ECUMENICAL COUNCILS - ARE DIRECTLY INSPIRED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AND CANNOT BE QUESTIONED. If we sometimes refer to the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils it should not be misunderstood that they defined the Dogmas of the Church by majority vote. St Constantine did not ask the Bishops at the Council: “All who think that the Son is Consubstantial with the Father, raise your hands” and the majority won. Certainly not! THE 318 FATHERS OF THE FIRST ECUMENICAL SIMPLY EXPRESSED OR PUT INTO WORDS THE HOLY TRADITION
THAT HAS BEEN HANDED DOWN TO THEM BY THE APOSTLES OF CHRIST IN ORDER TO COMBAT WHATEVER HERESY OR FALSE TEACHING WOULD ARISE THROUGH TIME.

Truly there are few who have the strength of character to follow what is right at all costs but fear not, little Flock; for it is your Father's Good Pleasure to grant you the Kingdom.
EDITED & ADAPTED BY MP: GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE DORMITION – CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, USA http://www.kimisis.net/component/content/article/14information/priest/15-sermon-the-fathers-of-the-1st-ecumenicalcouncil

The First Ecumenical Council

30.

(SPONSORED BY DIMITRI PAIZIS)

7 t h P a s c h a l S u n d a y - 3 1 8 H o l y F a t h e r s o f t h e 1st Ecumenical Council – 2 7 M a y 2 0 1 2

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