Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, August 24, 2014

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost; Dormition Fast; Afterfeast of the Transfiguration; Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Euplus


When You descended to death, O Life Immortal, You slayed hell with the splendor of Your Godhead! And when from the depths You raised the dead, all the powers of heaven cried out: O Giver of Life! Christ our God! Glory to You!


You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, revealing Your glory to Your disciples as far as they could bear it. Let Your everlasting light also shine upon us sinners, through the prayers of the Theotokos.  O Giver of Light, glory to You!


Your holy martyr Euplus, O Lord, through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God.  For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.  Through his intercessions save our souls.


Hell became afraid, O Almighty Savior, seeing the miracle of Your Resurrection from the tomb!  The dead arose! Creation, with Adam, beheld this and rejoiced with You! And the world, O my Savior, praises You forever.


With the love of Christ as your only defense, you stood in the midst of your fight and said: ‘I endure this struggle willingly and with confidence.’  You rejoiced, O Euplus, to offer your head to the sword and so you completed your course.   


On the mountain You were transfigured, O Christ God, and Your disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could see it; so that when they would behold You crucified, they would understand that Your suffering was voluntary, and would proclaim to the world that You are truly the Radiance of the  Father!


Magnify, O my soul, the Lord who was transfigured on Mount Tabor! Your birthgiving was incorruptible! God came from your body and appeared on earth in flesh, dwelling among men. Therefore, we magnify you, O Theotokos!


The Prokimenon in the 2nd Tone:       

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.

11th after Pentecost: 1 Corinthians 9: 2-12  

Brethren, if I am not an apostle to others yet doubtless I am to you.  For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.  My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink?  Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?  Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working?  Who ever goes to war at his own expense?  Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit?  Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?  Do I say these things as a mere man?  Or does not the law say the same also?  For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”  Is it oxen God is concerned about?  Or does He say it altogether for our sakes?  For our sakes, no doubt, this is written that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.  If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?  If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?  Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.

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!


11th after Pentecost: Matthew 18: 23-35     

At that time Jesus said, “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.  But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.  The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’  Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.  But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’  So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’  And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.  So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.  Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant!  I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.  Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’  And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.  So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for August 11/24 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Martyr Euplus

Euplus was a deacon in Catania, Sicily. Emperor Diocletian dispatched the Roman commander, Pentagurus, to Sicily to exterminate any Christians he found there. Pentagurus did not find a single Christian, for the few that were there hid from the persecutor and did not reveal themselves. Even so, someone accused Euplus of taking a book to secret Christians and reading to them. This book was the Holy Gospel. They soon brought him to court, hung that book around his neck, and led him to prison. After seven days of imprisonment and hunger, Euplus was given over to torture. While they were beating him with iron rods, Euplus mockingly said to the torturing judge: “O ignorant one, do you not see that, by God’s grace, these tortures are like a cobweb to me? If you can, find other, harsher tortures, for all of these are as toys.” After more of the same, they led the martyr of Christ to the scaffold. There St. Euplus opened the Holy Gospel and read from it to the people for a long time. Many converted to the Christian Faith. St. Euplus was beheaded in the year 304, and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of Heaven. His miracle-working relics repose in a village near Naples, called Vico della Batonia.

The Holy Martyr Susanna the Virgin, and others with her

Susanna was the daughter of the Roman presbyter Gabinus, and the niece of Pope Gaius. Gaius and Gabinus were of royal lineage, and kinsmen to the then-ruling Emperor Diocletian. Emperor Diocletian had an adopted son, Maximian Galerius, whom he wanted to marry Susanna. Susanna, completely dedicated to Christ the Lord, did not even want to consider marriage, and particularly not marriage with an unbaptized man. The aristocrats Claudius and Maximus had been pressuring her to marry the emperor’s son, but Susanna converted them and their entire household to the Christian Faith. Enraged by this, the emperor ordered that the executioners take Claudius, Maximus and their household to Ostia—where they burned them alive and threw their ashes into the sea. Susanna was beheaded in the home of her father Gabinus. The emperor’s wife, Serena, secretly a Christian, removed Susanna’s martyred body under cover of night, and honorably buried it. Pope Gaius converted Gabinus’s house into a church and celebrated services there, since this was the place where the young martyr Susanna was slain. Shortly following the suffering of this bride of Christ, her father Presbyter Gabinus and her uncle Pope Gaius also suffered. Susanna, her father and her uncle suffered honorably for the Lord and received their wreaths of glory, in the years 295 and 296.

Saint Niphon, Patriarch of Constantinople

Niphon was born in Greece. He was tonsured a monk in his youth and lived a life of asceticism, eventually making his way to Mount Athos. He practiced asceticism in various monasteries, remaining the longest in Vatopedi and Dionysiou. He was loved by all the holy Athonite fathers, as much for his rare wisdom as for his unusual meekness. He was consecrated Bishop of Thessalonica against his will, and then, two years later, he journeyed to Constantinople on business, where he was elected to the vacant patriarchal throne. Eventually the Sultan banished him to Jedrene, where he lived in exile. The Wallachian Prince Radul besought him from the Sultan, and made Niphon the archbishop of the Wallachian people. Then, because of Radul’s transgressions, Niphon departed Wallachia and returned to Mount Athos, to the Monastery of Dionysiou. There he lived a life of asceticism until his ninetieth year, when he took up his habitation in the Kingdom of God. He reposed in the year 1460. He composed the “Prayer of Absolution” read at the Burial Service.

The Venerable Basil and Theodore of the Monastery of the Kiev Caves

Both Basil and Theodore died by violence at the hands of the avaricious Prince Istislav, in the year 1098. The hagiography of St. Theodore is especially instructive for the avaricious. Theodore was very wealthy, but distributed all of his wealth to the poor and was tonsured a monk. After that, he repented of his charity and grieved for his wealth, being greatly tempted by the evil spirit of avarice—from which St. Basil freed him.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Susanna the Virgin

A paradisal branch was planted,
And raised on earth.
The branch grew and matured;
Her heart was infused with heaven.
The black earth did not darken her;
The evil of the world did not bend her.
Susanna, who was this paradisal branch,
Was illumined by God’s Spirit.
A bride of Christ God,
She disdained the son of the emperor.
The emperor was angered, and made threats
That he would soon take bitter revenge.
Susanna did not even listen,
Contemplating instead the mind of God.
Her heart was illumined,
And betrothed to Christ.
Her kinsmen were amazed,
And were all baptized in Christ,
And became martyrs.
The emperor raised his bloody hand,
And inflicted suffering on Susanna.
But all suffering is as nothing,
When the soul is strong in faith.
Susanna’s head fell from her,
And her soul arose in Paradise.
In Paradise, Susanna’s pure soul stood before her Christ.


If a man sets off on the path of righteousness, he should walk only on the path of righteousness, keeping both feet on the path: he should not set one foot on the righteous path and the other on the unrighteous path. For, through the prophet, God spoke thus about the righteous who commit unrighteousness: All his righteousness that he has done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he has trespassed and in his sins that he has sinned, in them shall he die (Ezekiel 18:24). The Wallachian Prince Radul was a just man, and performed many good deeds. He brought St. Niphon out of his bondage in Jedrene, and made him the Archbishop of Bucharest. Unexpectedly, Radul committed a dreadful transgression: he gave his sister to be the wife of the corrupt Prince Bogdan of Moldavia—while Bogdan’s wife was still living. Radul did not heed the protests of Niphon. Niphon prophesied an evil end for Radul and publicly excommunicated him from the Church; then he departed from Wallachia. Shortly thereafter, there was a drought and a great famine in Wallachia, and Radul fell into an incurable illness, whereby his entire body was covered with sores; and because of his putrefying stench, no one could bear to approach him. When Radul was buried, his grave shook for three days, as once did the grave of Empress Eudoxia, the persecutor of St. John Chrysostom.


Contemplate the self-will of the Jewish people (I Samuel 8):

1. How the Jews besought Samuel to appoint a king for them;

2. How Samuel protested this in the name of the Lord, Who proclaimed that He is the only King;

3. How the people remained stubborn, rejecting the will of God and the counsel of Samuel.

HOMILY on how ugliness comes with sin

Instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a cincture a rent; and instead of well-set hair baldness … and burning instead of beauty (Isaiah 3:24).

These are words about extravagant and wayward women, about the daughters of Zion who have become haughty and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go and making a tinkling with their feet (Isaiah 3:16). What was it that made the Hebrew women proud? Was it virtue? Virtue never made anyone proud, for virtue is in fact a cure against pride. Was it the strength of a people and the stability of the state? No—on the contrary, the prophet precisely foretells the imminent bondage of the people, and the destruction of the state. And the prophet cites vain extravagance, spiritual vanity, and wayward women as the main causes of slavery and destruction. What, therefore, made them so proud and haughty? Ornaments and embroideries; strung beads and necklaces; trinkets and hairpins; garters and cinctures; perfumes and rings; seductive flutterings and mirrors. Behold, this is what made them proud and haughty! It is all an expression of their ignorant pride, but the true cause of their pride is spiritual perversity. From spiritual vanity comes pride—and that external melange of colors that women drape over their bodies is only an obvious manifestation of their ignorant pride. What will become of all this in the end? Stench, disintegration, baldness and burning. This will occur when the people fall into bondage. As it usually happens, the spirit is enslaved by the body, then the body is enslaved by an external enemy. Thus will be the case when the inescapable conqueror of our bodies, death, comes to us. Sweet smells will not help in the grave—the kingdom of stench. Neither will the naked spine of a skeleton have need of a girdle; nor will braided hair save the skull from baldness; nor will beauty save the black remains from burning. This is the inescapable fate of even the most beautiful, the most healthy, the most wealthy, and the most extravagant women. But this is not the greatest misfortune. The greatest misfortune is that the souls of these women—with their stench, disheveledness, baldness and burning—will come before God and the heavenly hosts of the most beautiful of God’s angels and righteous ones. Here, the stench of the body denotes the stench that depravity and vice leaves in the soul; a disheveled body denotes the insatiability of the soul for bodily pleasures; physical baldness denotes the nakedness of a soul devoid of good works and pure thoughts; and the burning of the body denotes the burning of a tortured conscience and an inflamed mind. Oh, how dreadful is the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz. It was dreadful then, and it is dreadful even today—dreadful, because it is true. O Holy and Most-pure Lord, help the women who make the sign of Thy Cross, that they may remember their souls, and cleanse their souls before Thy Righteous Judgment; so that their souls, together with their bodies, do not become eternal stench. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.



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Man and the God-Man

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Treasures New and Old

History, Truth, Holiness

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Jackson, California
August 29-31, 2014



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