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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.

In giving birth you preserved your virginity; in falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos. You were translated to life, O Mother of Life, and by your prayers you deliver our souls from death.

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!

Neither the tomb nor death could hold the Theotokos, who is constant in prayer and our firm hope in her intercessions. For being the Mother of Life, she was translated to life by the One who dwelt in her virginal womb.

The angels, as they looked upon the Dormition of the Virgin, were struck with wonder seeing how the Virgin went up from earth to heaven. The limits of nature are overcome in you, O pure Virgin; for birth-giving remains virginal and death is united to life; a virgin after childbearing and alive after death, you ever save your inheritance, O Theotokos. 


My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!

Brethren, I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly clothed, beaten, homeless; and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled we bless, when persecuted we endure, when slandered we try to conciliate. We have been made as the filth of the world, the off-scouring of all things until now. I do not write these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.

Brethren, let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place; You and the ark of Your strength. The Lord has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it.


At that time, a man came to Jesus, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful.

FOR THE DORMITION: LUKE 10: 38-42; 11: 27, 28
At that time, it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

The Dormition of the Most-holy Theotokos
The Lord Who, on Mount Sinai, gave the Fifth Commandment, Honor thy father and thy mother, showed by His own example how one should respect one’s parents. Hanging on the Cross in agony, He remembered His Mother, and indicating the Apostle John He said to her: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He said to John: Behold thy mother. And so, providing for His Mother, He breathed His last. John had a home on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, in which the Theotokos then lived. She dwelt there to the end of her days on earth. By her prayers, kind guidance, meekness and patience, she greatly assisted her Son’s apostles. She spent most of her remaining time on earth in Jerusalem, often visiting those places that reminded her of the great events and of the great works of her Son. She especially visited Golgotha, Bethlehem, and the Mount of Olives. Of her few distant journeys, her visit to St. Ignatius the God-bearer in Antioch is recorded; as is her visit to Lazarus (whom our Lord resurrected on the fourth day), the Bishop of Cyprus. She also visited Mount Athos, which she blessed; and she stayed in Ephesus with St. John the Evangelist during the time of the great persecution of Christians in Jerusalem. In her old age, she often prayed to her Lord and God on the Mount of Olives, the site of His Ascension, that He take her from this world as soon as possible. On one of these occasions, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her and revealed to her that she would find repose within three days. The angel gave her a palm-branch, which was to be carried in her funeral procession. She returned home with great joy, hoping in her heart to see her Son’s apostles just once more in this life. The Lord fulfilled her wish, and the apostles, borne by angels in the clouds, gathered together at the house on Mount Zion. With great rejoicing she saw them, encouraged them, counseled them, and comforted them. Then she peacefully gave her soul to God without pain or physical illness. The apostles took up her coffin, from which a heavenly fragrance arose—and, in the company of many Christians, bore it to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the sepulcher of her parents, Saints Joachim and Anna. By God’s providence, the procession was concealed by a cloud from the evil Jews. Even so, Aphthonius, a Jewish priest, grabbed the coffin with the intention of overturning it, but an angel of God severed both his hands. He then cried out to the apostles for help, and was healed upon declaring his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Thomas was absent—again, according to God’s providence—in order that a new and all-glorious mystery of the Holy Theotokos would be revealed. Thomas arrived on the third day and desired to venerate the body of the Holy Most-pure One. But when the apostles opened the sepulcher, they found only the winding sheet: the body was not in the tomb! That evening, the Theotokos, surrounded by a host of angels, appeared to the apostles and said to them: “Rejoice, I will be with you always.” The Theotokos’ age at the time of her Dormition is not known exactly, but the overwhelming opinion is that she was over sixty years of age.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Most-holy Theotokos
Thus spoke the Lord Most-high:
“From thy heart, pure Virgin,
Living water will flow,
That those who thirst will drink Christ.”
Life-bearing source,
We all boast of thee!

Those who thirst will drink Christ.
By Him, the bitter is sweetened;
By Him, the scales are washed from blind eyes;
And by Him, the grief of those in sorrow is healed.
Life-bearing source,
We all boast of thee!

Sweet drink sprung from eternity,
The brook filling our arid age:
Once more raised toward heaven,
Our exhausted world becomes refreshed.
Life-bearing source,
We all boast of thee!

Glory to thee, O Most-pure One!
Glory to thee, O Mother of God!
Thou didst bear for us the Living Christ,
The living water of grace!
Life-bearing source,
We all boast of thee!

Each one of the faithful can learn much—indeed, very much—from the life of the Virgin Theotokos. I would like to mention just two things. First, she frequently went to Golgotha, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, Bethlehem, and other places which were redolent of her Son. She prayed on bended knees at all of these places—especially at Golgotha. Thus she gave the first example and impetus to the faithful of visiting holy places out of love toward Him Who by His presence, His passion and His glory made these places holy and significant. Also, we learn how she prayed for a quick departure from this life, so that, when separated from her body, her soul would not encounter the prince of darkness and his horrors, and hidden from the dark regions would not see the punishment of those darkened by sin. Do you see how terrible it is for the soul to pass through the toll-houses? When she—who gave birth to the Destroyer of hades, and who herself has tremendous power over demons—prayed thus, what then is left for us? Out of extreme humility, she commended herself to God, and did not trust in her own deeds. So much less should we trust in our deeds, and even more we should commend ourselves into the hands of God, crying out for His mercy, especially at the time of the departure of the soul from the body.

Contemplate the wondrous sign by which Samuel confirmed his words before the people (I Samuel 12):
1. How Samuel told the people it was evil in the sight of the Lord that they sought a king for themselves other than the Lord, the true King;
2. How, for the confirmation of his words, he called upon God for thunder and rain;
3. How the thunder and rain descended, and how the people were in fear of God, and of Samuel.

on the Most-glorious Child
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Angel of mighty counsel, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).
In all of human history, to what mortal man could all of these titles, all of this authority, and all of this glory apply? There is no one. That is why St. John Chrysostom says: “It is impossible to understand this in regard to any other man, but only in reference to Christ.” The prophet here clearly expresses two natures in the Savior: the human and the divine. A Child is born—this signifies a human nature. Unto us a Son is given—this unites the two natures in one person, the Son of God and the Son of the Virgin in the person of the Incarnate Lord. The remaining titles signify the Divine Nature of the Lord Jesus. His government is upon His shoulder—the government is His, His own, and is not borrowed. Mighty counsel—is this not the Holy Trinity? The angel—or messenger and herald—of this Triune Counsel is the Son of God, the Pre-eternal Word. Wonderful Counselor—for all that is wonderful, all that is new that has come to mankind is from Him and through Him. The Mighty God—what would Arius and his modern adherents, who deny the divinity of the Lord Jesus, say to this? The Prince of Peace—for from Him is lasting peace; outside Him is war, without and within. The Everlasting Father— as He is the Lord of the past, so also is He the Lord of the future. Furthermore, He is also the Father of the Church, the Creator of the new world, the Founder of the Kingdom of God.
Isaiah himself, the son of Amoz, saw this wonderful and true vision some seven hundred years before it was revealed to the entire universe.
O Lord Jesus, Thou art to the prophets the most glorious prophecy, and to the faithful the most glorious revelation. Unlock our minds, so that the wonderful glory of Thy majesty can enter into our minds; and unlock our hearts, so that they would be filled by Thy life-creating love.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


diary of the council

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

Diary of the Council emerged from the need of its author to appropriate the problematic of the Holy and Great Council which the Orthodox Church held 2016 in the historic land of Crete. The author of these notes, disinterested in the luxury of introspection, wants that the readers understand them as well-intended and sincere, because they were written so to say synchronously with the events. 

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

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Covek zajednice u Hristu

Човек заједнице у Христу
"Participation in God" in the Theological Anthropology of St Gregory Nazianzen and St Maximus the Confessor
by His Grace Bishop Maxim Vasiljevic


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