Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, May 14, 2017

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Христос Васкрсе! Christ Is Risen!


SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2017


When the women disciples of the Lord learned from the angel the joyous message of Your Resurrection, they cast away the ancestral curse and elatedly told the apostles:  Death is overthrown!  Christ God is risen, granting the world great mercy!

In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, fill my thirsting soul with the waters of piety, as You cried to all: ‘If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink!’  O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You!

Celebrating the memory of Your Prophet Jeremiah, O Lord, for his sake, we entreat You to save our souls. 

The Samaritan woman came to the well in faith; she saw You, the Water of Wisdom, and drank abundantly!  She inherited the Kingdom on high, and is ever glorified.

Christ God, the Creator and Master of all, cried to all in the midst of the feast of the law: ‘Come and draw the water of immortality!’  We fall before You and faithfully cry: ‘Grant us Your mercies, for You are the Fountain of our life!’

The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin!  Again I say: Rejoice!  Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb!  With Himself He has raised all the dead!  Rejoice, all ye people!  Shine!  Shine!  O New Jerusalem!  The glory of the Lord has shone on you!  Exult now and be glad, O Zion!  Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (once)


Sing praises to our God, sing praises!  Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 

In those days, those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.  But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.  And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.  When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  And a great many people were added to the Lord.  Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.  And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.  So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people.  And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.  Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.  This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. 

Go forth and prosper and reign, because of truth and meekness and righteousness.  You love righteousness and hate iniquity.


At that time, Jesus came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well.  It was about the sixth hour.  A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”  For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink’, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where then do You get that living water?  Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself as well as his sons and his livestock?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”  Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”  The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”  Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband’, for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  The woman said to Him, “I know the Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ).  “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”  Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”  And at this point His disciples came and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”  The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?”  Then they went out of the city and came to Him.  In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”  But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”  Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”  Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.  Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’  Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!  And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all what I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans had come to Him they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of His own word.  Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”



The Holy Prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah was born about 650 years before Christ in the village of Anathoth near Jerusalem. He began to prophesy at the age of fifteen, during the reign of King Josiah. He preached repentance to the king and noblemen, false prophets and priests. During the reign of King Josiah, Jeremiah barely escaped death at the murderous hands of the enraged nobles. Concerning King Jehoiakim, he prophesied that the king’s burial would be like the burial of an ass, that is, his dead body would be cast outside Jerusalem and dragged along the ground and without benefit of burial. Because of this, Jeremiah was cast into prison. Not being able to write in prison, he sent for Baruch, who stood near a small window of the prison while Jeremiah dictated to him. When this prophecy was read to King Jehoiakim, the enraged king seized the paper and threw it into the fire. Divine providence saved Jeremiah from prison, and the words of the prophet concerning Jehoiakim were fulfilled. Concerning King Jeconiah [son of Jehoiakim], Jeremiah prophesied that he and his entire family would be carried off to Babylon and that he would die there. All of this came about shortly. Under King Zedekiah, Jeremiah placed a yoke around his own neck and walked through Jerusalem, prophesying the fall of Jerusalem and bondage under the yoke of the Babylonians. Jeremiah wrote to the Hebrew captives in Babylon, telling them not to hope for a speedy return to Jerusalem, for they would remain in Babylon for seventy years, which came to pass. Near Jerusalem in the Valley of Tophet, where the Jews sacrificed children to the idols, Jeremiah took a potter’s clay vessel in his hands and shattered it before the people, prophesying the imminent routing of the Jewish Kingdom. The Babylonians shortly captured Jerusalem, slew King Zedekiah, plundered and destroyed the city, and beheaded a great number of Jews in the Valley of Tophet on the same spot where children had been sacrificed to idols and where the Prophet Jeremiah had smashed the potter’s vessel. Jeremiah, with the Levites, removed the Ark of the Covenant from the Temple to Mount Nebo, where Moses had died. There he hid the Ark in a cave. However, he hid the fire from the Temple in a deep well. Jeremiah was forced by some Jews to accompany them to Egypt, where he lived for four years and was then stoned to death by his countrymen. To the Egyptians, Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of their idols and the arrival of the Virgin and Christ-child in Egypt. There is a tradition that states that Alexander the Great visited the tomb of the Prophet Jeremiah. By Alexander’s order, the body of Jeremiah was translated and buried in Alexandria.

The Venerable Martyr Acacius, the Slipper-maker
Acacius was from the village of Neochorion near Thessalonica. Greatly maltreated by his master in Serres, Acacius converted to Islam. Later, as a penitent and monk, he lived in the Monastery of Hilandar [Mount Athos]. His poor and Christ-loving mother counseled him: “As you willingly denied the Lord, so now you must willingly and bravely accept martyrdom for Sweet Jesus.” The son followed the advice of his mother. With the blessing of the fathers of the Holy Mountain, Acacius traveled to Constantinople, where the Turks beheaded him on May 1, 1816. His head is preserved in a reliquary in the Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos.

The Venerable Paphnutius of Borovsk
Paphnutius was born the son of a Tartar nobleman who later embraced the Christian Faith. At age twenty, he was tonsured a monk and continued to live in a monastery until his ninety-fourth year, when he reposed in the Lord. Paphnutius was a virgin and an ascetic, because of which he became a great miracle-worker and clairvoyant. He died in the year 1478.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Prophet Jeremiah

Jeremiah, chaste one and prophet,
Reveals the will of God to men.

When in sin, men decay
And trample upon the Law of God.

The prophet cries out, weeps and threatens,
His words are like a living flame,
Burning sinners, illumining the righteous;
His tears are as the tears of a mother
Over her dying offspring.

The prophet foresees it: punishment is coming,
A punishment deserved a hundredfold.

The mercy of God turns to justice.

The prophet cries out, weeps and threatens,
Calling the sinful people to repentance.

The people heed what their leaders say,
And the leaders laugh at the prophet
And proclaim his words a lie!

But the prophet does not let himself be wearied;
With sufferings he seals his words.

Wicked men slew the prophet
And made him forever renowned.

All the words of the prophet were fulfilled—
The kingdom fell, the prophet was glorified.

The Venerable Paphnutius of Borovsk said to his disciples that a man’s soul and his hidden works can be known by the look in his eyes. This seemed unbelievable to his disciples until this man of God actually confirmed it on more than one occasion. Foreseeing the fate of others, Paphnutius also foresaw his own fate. A week before, while still in good health, he prophesied that he would depart this world on the following Thursday. When Thursday dawned, he joyfully cried out: “Behold, the day of the Lord, rejoice O ye people; behold, the awaited day has come!” Behold, this is how a man meets death; a man who, during his whole life, pondered on separation from this world and the encounter with God.


Contemplate the Ascension of the Lord Jesus:

1. How two angels appeared to the disciples while they were still gazing after the ascended Lord;

2. How the angels proclaimed that the Lord would come again in the same manner as the disciples saw Him ascending into heaven.

on the power of the Lord’s word

Is not My word like the fire, says the Lord, like a hammer shattering rocks? (Jeremiah 23:29).

Yes, O Lord, Thy word is indeed like fire; like fire that warms the righteous and burns the unrighteous. And, indeed, Thy word is like a hammer; a hammer that softens the stony hardness of the heart of a penitent and pulverizes the heart of an unrepentant sinner into dust.

Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us? (Luke 24:32), the apostles asked after speaking with the resurrected Lord. When the heart of a man is set aright, it burns from the word of the Lord; it is melted by kindness and expands with love. However, when the heart in man is not set right, but hardened by sin, then the heart bakes from the word of the Lord and becomes even harder. And pharaoh’s heart was hardened (Exodus 8:19).

In vain do sinners fortify themselves in their fortresses of stone, in their fortresses of iron, in their fortresses of silver and gold, and reject the armor of God’s justice. The word of the Lord is as a powerful and irresistible hammer, when He pronounces judgment upon these fortresses of stone in which sinners fortify themselves.

In vain does the unbeliever fortify his house with impregnable stones and in vain does the statesman fortify the state, hardened with the wisdom of the world and not hoping in the Living God. The word of the Lord comes down like a hammer upon all that has been built apart from God or against God—like a powerful and irresistible hammer.

O brethren, let us not trust in our creations of stone, of marble, of gold, of silver, or of the godless stones of our individual thoughts. All of these are weaker before the power of God than dust before the power of the wind.

O Lord Almighty, help us to receive Thy word, that on Thy word we may build our lives both in this world and in the next.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

The Egyptians virtually deified St. Jeremiah. That is why they buried him as a king. Even after his death, they considered him a miracle-worker. They removed dust from his tomb as a cure against snake bites. Even today, many Christians invoke Jeremiah against serpents.

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