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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
The Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council;
The Holy Martyrs Eulampius and Eulampia

When the stone had been sealed by the Jews; while the soldiers were guarding Thy most pure Body; Thou didst arise on the third day, O Savior, granting life to the world. The powers of heaven therefore cried to Thee, O Giver of Life: Glory to Thy Resurrection, O Christ! Glory to Thy Kingdom! Glory to Thy dispensation, O Thou who loves mankind.

You are most glorious, O Christ our God.  You have established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth.  Through them You have guided us to the true faith.  O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You!

TROPARION TO HOLY MARTYRS EULAMPIUS AND EULAMPIA - TONE FOUR: Your holy martyrs Eulampius and Eulampia, O Lord, through their suffering have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God.  For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.  Through their intercessions save our souls.

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE ONE: As God, Thou didst arise from the tomb in glory, raising the world with Thyself. Human nature praises Thee as God, for death has vanished.  Adam exults, O Master!  Eve rejoices, for she is freed from bondage, and cries to Thee: Thou art the giver of resurrection to all, O Christ!

KONTAKION TO THE FATHERS OF THE SEVENTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL - TONE EIGHT: The apostles’ preaching and the fathers’ doctrines have established one faith for the Church.  Adorned with the robe of truth, woven from heavenly theology, it defines and glorifies the great mystery of piety.

KONTAKION TO HOLY MARTYRS EULAMPIUS AND EULAMPIA - TONE THREE: Let us honor the noble martyrs, brother and sister in the flesh, wise Eulampius and Eulampia; for they put to shame the devices of tyrants through the power of the Crucified One.  Therefore, they have been declared the glory and boast of martyrs.

HYMN TO THE MOTHER OF GOD - TONE SIX: Steadfast Protectress of Christians and constant advocate before the Creator, do not despise the cry of us sinners; but in your goodness come speedily to help us who call on you in faith.  Hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for you always protect those who honor you!


The Prokimenon in the 1st Tone: Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have set our hope on You.

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost: 2 Corinthians 9: 6-11
Brethren, this I say to you: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.  As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad; He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”  Now may he who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council:
Hebrews 13:7-16 
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 about with various and strange doctrines.  For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which 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 brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.  Therefore Jesus also, 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 Alleluia Verses: Come let us rejoice in the Lord!  Let us make a joyful noise to God our Savior!  Let us come before His face with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with psalms!


Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Luke 5: 1-11
At that time, as the multitude pressed about Jesus to hear the word of God, He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets.  Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land.  And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.  When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”  But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”  And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.  So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them.  And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”  For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.  And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid.  From now on you will catch men.”  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council:
John 17: 1-13

At that time, Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come.  Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.  And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  I have glorified You on the earth.  I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had before the world was.  I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world.  They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.  For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.  I pray for them.  I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.  And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are 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 You.  Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name.  Those whom You 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 You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves."   

From The Prologue
October 10/23 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Martyrs Eulampius and Eulampia
They were brother and sister from Nicomedia. During one of the terrible persecutions of Christians by Maximian some of the faithful fled Nicomedia and hid. The young Eulampius was sent into the city to buy bread. There he saw the imperial edict decreeing the persecution of Christians posted on a wall. He laughed at it, removed it, and tore it up. He was arrested and immediately brought before the judge. When the judge advised him to deny Christ, Eulampius counseled the judge to reject the false idols and to acknowledge Christ as the One Living God. The judge ordered that he be flogged for a long time until his blood flowed, and that he be tormented with other cruel tortures. Hearing of her brother’s suffering, the virgin Eulampia came running, and she, together with her brother, suffered for Christ. She was flogged until blood flowed from her nose and mouth. After that, they were thrown into boiling pitch, and then into a red-hot furnace, but by the power of the sign of the Cross and the name of Christ, they rendered the fire harmless. Finally Eulampius was beheaded, but Eulampia died before being beheaded. Two hundred other Christians were also slain, who had come to believe in Christ upon witnessing the power and miracles of St. Eulampius and his sister. All were crowned with martyrs’ wreaths, and passed over into their eternal heavenly homeland.

The Holy Martyrs of Zographou
When Emperor Michael Palaeologus contracted the infamous Union of Lyons with the pope, in order to obtain help from the West against the Bulgarians and Serbs, the monks of the Holy Mountain sent a protest to the emperor against this Union, imploring him to reject it and return to Orthodoxy. The pope dispatched an army to help the emperor. The Latin army entered the Holy Mountain and committed such barbarism as the Turks had never committed in five hundred years. Having hanged the Protaton, and having killed many monks in Vatopedi, Iveron and other monasteries, the Latins attacked Zographou. The blessed Abbot Thomas warned the brethren that whoever wished to be spared from the Latins should flee from the monastery, and that whoever desired a martyr’s death should remain. And so, twenty-six men remained: the abbot, twenty-one monks, and four laymen who served as laborers for the monastery. They all closed themselves in the monastery’s tower. When the Latins arrived, they set fire to the tower and these twenty-six heroes of Christ found a martyr’s death in the fire. While the tower was burning, they chanted the Psalms and the Akathist to the Most-holy Mother of God. They gave their holy souls to God on October 10, 1283. In December of the same year, the dishonorable Emperor Michael died in poverty, when the Serbian King Milutin rose up against him in defense of Orthodoxy.

The Venerable Theophilus the Confessor
Theophilus was a Macedonian Slav from somewhere near Strumica. He was tonsured a monk when still young, and founded his own monastery. He suffered much for the icons during the reign of Leo the Isaurian, and would have been slain on one occasion, had he not succeeded in convincing Governor Hypaticus, his judge, of the principle and need for the veneration of icons. The governor freed him. Theophilus returned to his monastery, where he reposed peacefully in the year 716, and entered into the joy of his Lord.

The Holy Martyr Theotecnus
He was a Roman officer in Antioch during the reign of Emperor Maximian. When the emperor urged him to sacrifice to the idols, he replied: “I believe in Christ God, and to Him will I offer myself as a sacrifice—a living sacrifice.” After cruel tortures, he was drowned by being thrown into the sea with a stone around his neck. He suffered honorably for Christ and was crowned with the wreath of martyrdom.

The Venerable Bassian
During the reign of the right-believing Emperor Marcian, this saint came to Constantinople from Anatolia in the year 450. Great was his asceticism, and great was the wonderworking power that God bestowed upon him. Bassian had about three hundred disciples. Among them was St. Matrona. Emperor Marcian built a church in Bassian’s name, which still exists today.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Martyrs of Zographou

Heroes of Zographou, knights of truth,
Sacrificed themselves for the Orthodox Faith,
And shamed the proud, shameless Latins,
As their souls rose up to the Kingdom of God.

The tower’s flames mounted up to heaven,
As the monks in the fire sent up praise to God!

Heaven with its angels beheld that spectacle,
As the criminals crawled about like worms below the tower.

In the flames, Abbot Thomas, a true parent,
Encouraged his brethren, and began the Psalms:
He who glorifies the Lord does not fear death,
And he who dies for God will not perish.

The sacrifice is offered, and the altar of oblation remains:
The bodies were burned, the souls flew off,
And by that sacrifice, Zographou increased in glory
With magnificence eternal and true.

St. George the knight, cherishes his knights
As the Mother of God cherishes all heavenly citizens.

In these knights of righteousness, the Church rejoices:
They are her children, her fruitful branches.

By God’s providence, the greatest number of miracles and heavenly manifestations occur during the martyrdom of His servants. On the day that the Latins set out for the Monastery of Zographou, an old monk had an obedience in a vineyard half an hour’s distance from the monastery. At the prescribed time, he read the Akathist before the icon of the Mother of God. However, when he began to pronounce the word “Rejoice!” a voice came to him from the icon: “Do thou also rejoice, O elder! Flee from here now, or misfortune will befall thee; go and tell the brethren of the monastery to lock themselves in, for the God-opposing Latins have attacked this, my chosen Mountain, and are already near.” The frightened elder fell to his knees and cried out in fear: “How can I leave thee here, my Queen and Intercessor?” At this he again heard the voice: “Do not worry about me, but go quickly!” The elder went to the monastery immediately. But when he reached the monastery gates he beheld that same icon of the Mother of God. In a miraculous manner, the icon had preceded him to the monastery. The amazed elder related all that had been revealed to him to the abbot and the brethren. At that, all of them glorified God and the Mother of God.

Once, during the celebration of the Feast of the twenty-six martyrs of Zographou, on October 10, 1873, there was a great all-night vigil. It was a moonless night. In the middle of the night, while the monks were chanting and reading the lives of the holy martyrs in the church, a noise was suddenly heard, and over the church a fiery pillar appeared, extending from earth to heaven. It was so bright that things at a distance could be seen as though it were midday. This wondrous manifestation lasted for about a quarter of an hour and then disappeared.


Contemplate God’s miraculous appearance to the Prophet Elias (I Kings 19):
1. How Elias, fatigued by the unrighteousness of the people, prayed to God to grant him death;
2. How God comforted Elias by His appearing on Horeb;
3. How there was a strong wind, then an earthquake, then fire, and finally a still, small voice—the voice of God.

HOMILY on the sufferings of David and the prophecy of the sufferings of Christ

For many dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet (Psalm 22:16).

This is the mystical experience of the penitent David, and, at the same time, a clear prophecy of Christ’s sufferings. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (II Timothy 3:12), says the Apostle Paul. When King David sinned, the devils did not appear to him nor did they disturb him; but when he began to repent and to direct his life on the path of God, then the devils surrounded him and tormented him. The words here are not about men but about demons, who sometimes attack the penitent directly, or torment him through other men. David would not have called God’s people, the crown of God’s creation, “dogs.” Rather, he called the demons “dogs,” who are perceived by righteous men as dogs, snakes, black men, lions, or in some other form. That he here means “dogs” as evil spirits can be proven by the written lives of the great ascetics, to whom the demons appeared in the form of dogs and other animals, to frighten them. We can also be convinced of this from the words of the Lord our Savior, that He spoke from the Cross: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). This means that the Jews were not doing their own will but rather someone else’s: the demons’ will. For many dogs and the congregation of the wicked gathered to destroy Christ the Lord. When the devil—the tempter—could not defeat the Lord on the Mount of Temptation by his false promises, he began with all his might to destroy Him through men by a dishonorable death on the Cross. Brethren, see how clear the prophecy is! They pierced My hands and My feet. These words could not have pertained to anyone else, in the entire history of the world, but the crucified Savior. This prophecy continues in great detail: They divided My garments among them and for My vesture they cast lots (Psalm 22:18). Everything happened as it was prophesied—everything! But the devil was deluded in his reckoning. He thought he could destroy the One mightier than death, by condemning Him to death. He thought to dishonor Him Who alone gives honor to all creation. By his glorious Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ conquered and shamed the devil and his entire pack of dogs, and gave man power and authority over them. The whole pagan world was unable to exorcize even one single demon; but we, by the name of Christ and by the power of His Cross, are able to disperse legions of demons like smoke—for, after Christ’s victory, the demons became like whipped and frightened dogs.

O Lord, Conqueror and Savior, to Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

Protaton: the governing council of Mount Athos.—Trans.

The Monastery of Zographou is dedicated to Great-martyr George.—Ed.

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DIARY OF THE COUNCIL:Reflections from the Holy and Great Council at the Orthodox Academy in Crete,June 17-26, 2016. (In Serbian and English) by Bishop Maxim. 

Bishop Maxim has bequeathed to posterity an eyewitness record of the Great and Holy Council of Crete, 2016, the first synodal gathering of hierarchs from all churches in centuries. Ever mindful of the charismatic event of the Council, appropriately timed to begin with Pentecost, he reflects theologically, philosophically, personally, and even poetically on this historic event. 

128 pages, soft bound, published in 2016 • price $15


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"Participation in God" in the Theological Anthropology of St Gregory Nazianzen and St Maximus the Confessor
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