WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN
SUNDAY, MARCH 8, 2015
Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
Second Sunday of Great Lent:
Saint Gregory Palamas;
Holy Hieromartyr Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna
RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SIX:
Let us, the faithful, praise and worship the Word, coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, born for our salvation from the Virgin; for He willed to be lifted upon the Cross in the flesh, to endure death, and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.
TROPARION TO SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS - TONE EIGHT:
O light of Orthodoxy, teacher of the Church, its confirmation, O ideal of monks and invincible champion of theologians, O wonder-working Gregory, glory of Thessalonica and preacher of grace, always intercede before the Lord that our souls may be saved!
Troparion to hieromartyr polycarp - Tone four:
By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, you became a successor to their throne. Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God; by teaching the word of truth without error, you defended the Faith, even to the shedding of your blood. Hieromartyr Polycarp, entreat Christ God to save our souls.
RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE SIX:
When Christ God, the Giver of Life, raised all of the dead from the valleys of misery with His mighty hand, He bestowed resurrection on the human race. He is the Savior of all, the Resurrection, the Life, and God of all.
KONTAKION TO SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS - TONE EIGHT:
Holy and divine instrument of wisdom, joyful trumpet of theology, together we sing your praises, O God-inspired Gregory. Since you now stand before the Original Mind, guide our minds to Him, O father, so that we may sing to you: ‘Rejoice, O preacher of grace.’
Kontakion to hieromartyr polycarp - Tone one:
Through virtues, you offered spiritual fruit to the Lord, therefore, you were glorified as a worthy hierarch, wise Polycarp. Today, we who have been enlightened by your words extol in song your praise-worthy memory, thereby giving glory to the Lord.
KONTAKION FROM THE LENTEN TRIODION - TONE FOUR:
Now is the time for action! Judgment is at the doors! So let us rise and fast, offering alms with tears of compunction and crying: ‘Our sins are more in number than the sands of the sea; but forgive us, O Master of all, so that we may receive the incorruptible crowns.’
KONTAKION OF THE FIVE SUNDAYS OF GREAT LENT
To thee, the Champion Leader, do I offer thanks of victory, O Theotokos, thou who hast delivered me from terror; but as thou that hast that power invincible, O Theotokos, thou alone can set me free: from all forms of danger free me and deliver me, that I may cry unto thee: ‘Rejoice, O Bride without Bridegroom!’
HYMN TO THE THEOTOKOS (INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET”):
All of creation rejoices in you, O full of grace; the assembly of angels and the race of men. O sanctified temple and spiritual paradise, the glory of virgins, from whom God was incarnate and became a Child, our God before the ages. He made your body into a throne, and your womb He made more spacious than the heavens. All of creation rejoices in you, O full of grace. Glory to you!
The Prokimenon in the 5th Tone:
You, O Lord, shall protect us and preserve us from this generation forever.
Second Sunday of Lent: Hebrews 1: 10 – 2: 3
Brethren: “You, Lord in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.” But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him?
Saint Gregory Palamas: Hebrews 7: 26 - 8: 2
Brethren, such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: we have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.
The Alleluia Verses:
The Lord answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you! Save the king, O Lord, and hear us on the day we call!
Second Sunday of Lent: Mark 2: 1-12
At that time, Jesus entered Capernaum and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” - He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Saint Gregory Palamas: John 10: 9-16
Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
From The Prologue for February 23/March 8
by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:
The Holy Hieromartyr Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna
Polycarp, this great apostolic man, was born a pagan. St. John the Theologian converted him to the Christian Faith and baptized him. In his childhood Polycarp was orphaned. Callista, a noble widow, after a vision in a dream, adopted, raised and educated him. From his childhood Polycarp was devout and compassionate. He strove to emulate the life of St. Bucolus, then the Bishop of Smyrna, as well as of the Holy Apostles John and Paul, whom he knew and had heard. St. Bucolus ordained him a presbyter and before his death designated him as his successor in Smyrna. The apostolic bishops, who gathered at the funeral of Bucolus, consecrated Polycarp as bishop. From the very beginning Polycarp was endowed with the power of working miracles. He expelled an evil spirit from the servant of a prince and through prayer stopped a terrible fire in Smyrna. Upon seeing this, many pagans regarded Polycarp as one of the gods. He brought down rain in times of drought, healed illnesses, had the gifts of discernment and prophecy, and so forth. He suffered during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Three days before his death, St. Polycarp prophesied: “In three days I will be burnt in the flames for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ!” And on the third day, when the soldiers arrested him and brought him to trial, he cried out: “Let this be the will of the Lord my God.” When the judge counseled him to deny Christ and to acknowledge the Roman gods, Polycarp said: “I cannot exchange the better for the worse!” The Jews especially hated Polycarp and endeavored to have him burned alive. When they bound him at the stake, he prayed to God for a long time. He was very old and gray, and radiant like an angel of God. The people witnessed how the flame encircled him but did not touch him. Frightened by such a phenomenon, the pagan judges ordered the executioner to pierce him with a lance through the fire. When he was pierced, so much blood flowed from him that the fire was completely extinguished, and his body remained whole and unburnt. At the persuasion of the Jews, the judge ordered that Polycarp’s lifeless body be incinerated according to the custom of the Hellenes. So the evil ones burned the dead body of the one whom they could not burn while alive. St. Polycarp suffered on Great and Holy Saturday in the year 167.
The Venerable Damian
Damian, a monk of the Monastery of Esphigmenou on Mount Athos, was a contemporary and companion of the great Cosmas of Zographou. He lived a life of asceticism on Mount Samareia between Esphigmenou and Hilandar. He died peacefully in the year 1280. When he reposed, a pleasant and sweet-smelling aroma was emitted from his grave for forty days.
HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Polycarp
God preserves His holy ones
So that they do not perish until their appointed time,
Until they complete their task.
The elder and saint of God Polycarp
Journeyed with his deacon.
At an inn by the road he spent the night.
The elder prayed while the deacon slept,
Until an angel of God appeared to the elder
And commanded that they immediately arise,
And depart from the inn,
For the inn was soon to be destroyed.
The elder roused the young deacon,
But the deacon, fatigued, slept on.
Thus, the angel appeared again,
And again gave the same warning.
Again, the elder woke his deacon,
But a heavy sleep overpowered the deacon.
One moment he would awake,
The next moment he would be drowned in sleep.
A third time the angel appeared,
And issued a warning for the third time.
The elder perceived that this was not a deceit,
But verily a warning from God.
The saint leaped up and lifted the deacon,
And out of the inn they walked.
As soon as they walked out of the inn,
The entire house was destroyed down to its very foundation.
All who were in it perished
Because of their secret transgressions.
The young deacon was filled with fright,
But the saint was silent in prayer.
To the Most-high God they offered thanks,
And continued on their way under the stars.
St. Polycarp writes the following to the Philippians about a priest Valentine who fell into the sin of avarice and secretly hid money belonging to the Church: “I am deeply saddened because of Valentine, who at one time was a presbyter among us, because he has forgotten the rank bestowed upon him. That is why I beg you, beware of greed and remain pure and just. Restrain yourself from every vice. He who cannot restrain himself, how will he be able to teach others restraint? He who submits to avarice pollutes himself with idolatry and numbers himself among the ranks of pagans. Who is not aware of God’s judgment? As Paul teaches: Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? (I Corinthians 6:2). I have not noticed anything similar among you, neither have I heard anything among you, with whom the blessed Paul lived a life of asceticism and whom he praises at the beginning of his Epistle to the Philippians. He boasts of you throughout the churches, which knew God when we did not yet know him (i.e., Polycarp and the inhabitants of Smyrna). Brethren, that is why I am very saddened because of Valentine and his wife. May God grant them true repentance. And you, be prudent in this and count not him as an enemy (II Thessalonians 3:15), but endeavor to correct them as suffering and prodigal members, that your entire body may be sound. Acting thus, you build yourselves up.” Thus the saints dealt with sinners: cautiously and compassionately—cautiously to prevent others from a similar sin, and compassionately in order to correct and save sinners.
Contemplate the Lord Jesus in conversation with the woman of Samaria (John, Chapter 4):
1. How the woman’s mind was at first smothered completely by carnal sophistry;
2. How the meek Lord gradually led her mind toward a loftier and more spiritual reasoning;
3. How this encounter culminated in the conversion of many to Christ;
4. How the seeds scattered by the Lord at first seem to decay in the physical mind, and how later they resurrect, grow, ripen and bring forth much spiritual fruit.
HOMILY on the works of Christ
For the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me (John 5:36).
Brethren, what are these works of Christ? These are the works of the Householder Who returned from a journey and found the home robbed and desolate. These are the works of the Physician Who entered into the most contaminated hospital, brought medicines and began to heal. Furthermore, these are the works of the King Who returned to His country and found it divided and ruined, and His subjects as slaves in a strange land. These are the works of the Elder Brother Who journeyed to a distant land to seek His younger brother who, wandering and prodigal, had become impoverished and wild. These are also the works of the Healer, Shepherd, Hero and Provider. Truly, these are not minor works! An ordinary man with the greatest worldly knowledge, skill and courage would not be able to accomplish even in three thousand years those works which Christ accomplished in three years. Not only one man, but all men of all times together, would not be able to accomplish the works of Christ in all eternity.
How did the Lord accomplish so many works? He accomplished them with the aid of five main wonders: His humility, His words, His deeds, His blood, and His Resurrection.
What do the works of Christ witness? The works witness first of all that the earth did not send Him, but heaven; second, that an angel did not send Him, but the Heavenly Father Himself; third, that for such works no one is sufficient except Him Who is as great as God, as wise as God, as almighty as God, as merciful as God—yes, Who is Himself equal to God.
Oh, how insignificant are all of our works compared to the works of Christ! With only one grain of Christ’s goodness and zeal, diligence and truthfulness, we can complete our work perfectly. Grant us that grain, O Lord Jesus, for we on earth can neither find this grain nor merit it.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Annual Lenten Women's Retreat
“Contemporary Women in an Uncontemporary Church: A Mother, a Life,
and a Mission”
Very Reverend Professor
Archimandrite of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. BA, M.St.,D.Phil
Friday, March 27th -
Saturday, March 28th, 2015
St. John the Baptist Cathedral
San Francisco, CA
Call 626-289-9061 to Register or Print and Mail Registration portion of the Flyer!
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