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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, September 28, 2014

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Sunday after the Exaltation of the Life-giving Cross; The Holy Great-martyr Nicetas the Goth; St. Joseph the New, Metropolitan of Temisoara


By Your Cross, You did destroy death! To the thief, You did open Paradise! For the myrrh bearers, You did change weeping into joy! And You did command Your disciples, O Christ God, to proclaim that You are risen, granting the world great mercy!


O Lord, save Your people, and bless Your inheritance. Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries; and by virtue of Your Cross, preserve Your habitation.


You vanquished error and triumphed in martyrdom, O honorable Nicetas, namesake of victory; for you conquered the ranks of the enemy and ended your contest by fire.  Pray to Christ our God that He grant us great mercy.


The dominion of death can no longer hold man captive, for Christ descended, shattering and destroying its powers!  Hell is bound, while the prophets rejoice and cry:  The Savior has come to those in faith!  Enter you faithful into the Resurrection.


With firm resolve you prevailed against the might of delusion and received a martyr’s crown; you rejoice with the angels, O Nicetas, namesake of victory, and together with them, pray unceasingly to Christ God for us all.  


As You were voluntarily crucified for our sake, grant mercy to those who are called by Your name, O Christ God.  Gladden all Orthodox Christians by Your power, granting them victory over their adversaries; and may they have as Your help the weapon of peace, the invincible trophy.


Magnify, O my soul, the most precious Cross of the Lord.  You are the mystical Paradise, O Theotokos, in which Christ blossomed; through Him the life-bearing wood of the Cross was   planted on earth. Now at its Elevation, as we bow in worship before it, we magnify you.


The Prokimenon in the 7th Tone:       

The Lord shall give strength to His people!  The Lord shall bless His people with peace!

Sunday after the Cross: Galatians 2: 16-20

Brethren, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

16th Sunday after Pentecost: 2 Corinthians 6: 1-10   

Brethren, we then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.  For He says, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.”  Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.  But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

The Alleluia Verses:

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High!  To declare Your mercy in the morning, and Your truth by night.


Sunday after the Cross: Mark 8: 34 – 9: 1 

At that time, when Jesus had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power."

16th Sunday after Pentecost: Matthew 25: 14-30     

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.  And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.  Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.  And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.  But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.  After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord.’  He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord.’  Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.  Look, there you have what is yours.’  But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.  So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.  For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.  And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for September 15/28 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Martyr Nicetas

Nicetas was a Goth by birth. He was a disciple of Theophilus, Bishop of the Goths, who participated in the First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea 325]. When the Gothic prince Athenarik began to torture Christians, St. Nicetas stood before the prince and denounced him for his paganism and inhumanity. Subsequently harshly tortured, Nicetas confessed his faith in Christ even more strongly, and prayed to God with thanksgiving. His mind was unceasingly raised up to God, and on his breast under his robe he bore an icon of the Most-holy Theotokos with the Pre-eternal Christ Child standing and holding the Cross in His hands. St. Nicetas carried this icon because the Holy Theotokos had appeared to him and comforted him. Finally, the torturer threw the soldier of Christ into the fire, where the holy martyr breathed his last, but his body remained untouched by the fire. His companion Marianus took his body from the land of the Goths (Wallachia and Bessarabia) to the town of Mopsuestia, in Cilicia. There, he built a church dedicated to St. Nicetas, and placed the miracle-working relics of the martyr in it. Nicetas suffered and was glorified in the year 372.

The Venerable Philotheus

Philotheus was from the village of Myrmix or Mravin in Asia Minor. His mother had the same name, but reversed—Theophila. Philotheus was a presbyter and a great miracle-worker during his lifetime. On one occasion, he changed water into wine and, on another occasion, he miraculously increased a quantity of bread. He reposed in the Lord in the tenth century, and his relics gushed myrrh.

The Holy Martyr Porphyrius

Porphyrius was born in Mimosa. At first, he made jests about Christians for the Emperor Julian the Apostate. Thus, on one occasion, while parodying the Christian Mystery of Baptism, he immersed himself in water, pronouncing the words: “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!” When he emerged from the water he cried out: “Now I am a Christian!” Everyone thought that this was just another jest, but he remained steadfast, ceased to mock Christianity, and finally suffered for Christ. Porphyrius was beheaded in the year 361, and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of Christ.

The Holy Martyrs Theodotus, Asclepidote and Maximus

They were all noblemen by birth, from Trachis. They suffered for Christ in the village of Saltis near Philipopolis, between the year 305 and 311, and entered into the Heavenly Kingdom.

Saint Bessarion the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Larissa

Bessarion founded the Monastery of the Savior, in the Diocese of Larissa. He was glorified by his miracles, both during his life and after his death.

The Holy New Martyr John of Crete

John suffered for the Christian Faith at the hands of the Turks in Ephesus, in the year 1811.

Saint Joseph, Bishop of Alaverdi

Joseph was one of the Thirteen Syrian Fathers (May 7) who were sent to the Caucasus to preach the Gospel. St. Joseph peacefully reposed in the Lord in the year 570. His miracle-working relics repose in the cathedral church in Alaverdi.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Martyr Nicetas

He is a true patriot who, among his own people,
Erects a true altar to the Living Lord.

Athenarik the Goth ruled by force,
And offered sacrifices to lifeless idols.

But holy Nicetas, the soldier of Christ God,
Was a preacher of eternal salvation.

He cast rays of the Eternal Light throughout the night,
Dispersing the idolatrous darkness that shrouded souls.

Holy Nicetas opposed the prince,
And his brave endurance amazed his people.

By the power of the Honorable Cross, he confounded the darkness
And filled all the people with the fear of God.

His blood was the rosy hue of the new dawn,
And his spirit was raised up to the heavenly courts.

In the terrible fire, Nicetas burned,
But, not even today, has he been consumed.

With the truth of Christ the Goths were baptized,
And they glorified Nicetas, their wonderful one.

O Saint Nicetas, voice of God’s trumpet,
Courageous martyr, true patriot;

From the tents of the earth you have departed,
And you stand in the royal courts with the angels.

Pray for us, for the King listens to you,
That He grant our souls mercy.


God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7). God either punishes the mockers in order to correct them or He converts them into that which they had mocked. Initially, St. Porphyrius was famous among the pagans as a mocker of Christianity. On one occasion, he was mocking the Christian Mystery of Baptism before Emperor Julian the Apostate and his retinue. But something totally unexpected happened. When Porphyrius immersed himself in the water and pronounced the words of baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity, his spirit was suddenly changed, and he became a true Christian. Instead of mocking the Christian Faith, he began to denounce the emperor for his impure idolatry, for which he was tortured and beheaded. A similar thing happened to the comedian Gennesus, probably in Diocletian’s time. This Gennesus parodied the Christian Divine Liturgy before a crowd of pagans, amusing them with his mockeries and witticisms. Suddenly, he changed, and cried out before the people: “I believe, and I desire to be baptized.” At first, the spectators thought his words were a part of his farce, but he repeated his statement of faith in Christ. When Gennesus remained steadfast in his new faith, even when interrogated by the court and the emperor himself, he was tortured and slain. Thus, the mocker of Christ became a martyr for Christ.


Contemplate God’s punishment on a disobedient prophet
(I Kings 13):

1. How this prophet was commanded by God to abstain from eating or drinking anything in idolatrous Bethel;

2. How the prophet disobeyed God, and ate and drank;

3. How, upon returning, he was torn apart by a lion.

on the twofold witness of the Son of God

I am one that bear witness of Myself, and the Father that sent Me beareth witness of Me (John 8:18).

It is written in the Law that two witnesses are needed in order to prove something. First of all, the Lord provided the unbelieving Jews with three great witnesses about Himself: the Father, His own works and Holy Scripture (John 5:36–39). Yet, even after His many miracles, and after His teachings were widely expounded, He told them that His own witness of Himself was true and sufficient (John 8:14). Finally, He again emphasized two witnesses to them—His and His Father’s—in accordance with the letter of the Law, which required two witnesses. Thus the Lord seals the lips of the unbelievers in every way, and leaves them no outlet but the crime of murder, which is the last resort of those who refuse to be convinced of the truth, with no regard for reason or proof. In this last case especially, with the Lord’s presentation of His and His Father’s witness, He also wanted to show that He was a separate Person [hypostasis], and yet of one Essence with the Father. Therefore, He presents two witnesses: His own separate witness and the witness of God the Father. The following words confirm this: If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also (John 8:19). Expressed here is the complete essential unity of the Father and the Son, and there remains not even the slightest doubt that the Lord was thinking of His essential equality with His Father. The words here are about the Divine Nature, and not the human nature. Whoever conceives of the Holy Trinity as three bodily beings deceives himself. Only the Son of God appeared in the flesh, for the sake of the salvation of the world. The Father and the Holy Spirit did not take on flesh. According to His Divine Nature, the Son, although in the flesh, remained equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit. He clothed Himself in human nature, and added His Divine Nature, out of love for mankind, so as to reveal Himself to men and save them. O Holy Trinity, one in Essence and undivided, Who illumined and enlightened us through the Incarnate Word of God, sustain us to the end by Thy sanctity, Thy strength and Thine immortality, and save us. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


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