Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, May 21, 2017

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Христос Васкрсе! Christ Is Risen!

Prayer for the Assembly of Bishops 
of the Serbian Orthodox Church

O All Merciful God! Grant our Hierarchs gathered in Assembly to grow in wisdom and strength, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. May their work be guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and may the Spirit of unity and love, of compassion and mutual respect, inspire each to contribute toward the building up of the Church for the glory of Thy name, for You have ordered us to do all things for Your glory, For You are a merciful God, and unto You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever,
and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

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SUNDAY, MAY 21, 2017


Let us the faithful praise and worship the Word, co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit; born for our salvation from the Virgin.  For He willed to be lifted up on the Cross in the flesh, to endure death, and to raise the dead, by His glorious Resurrection.

TROPARION TO SAINT JOHN THE THEOLOGION – TONE TWO: O beloved Apostle of Christ our God, come quickly to deliver your helpless people.  He on whose breast you leaned, will accept you as intercessor.  Entreat Him, O Theologian, to disperse the clouds of darkness, granting us peace and great mercy!

KONTAKION TO THE BLIND MAN – TONE FOUR: Since my spiritual eyes are blind, I come to You, O Christ, like the man blind from birth, and cry to You in repentance: ‘You are the most radiant Light of those in darkness!’

KONTAKION TO SAINT JOHN THE THEOLGION – TONE TWO: Who shall declare your greatness, O Virgin disciple?  For as a fountain of healing you flow with miracles, interceding for our souls as Theologian and friend of Christ!

PASCHAL KONTAKION – TONE EIGHT: Thou didst descend into the tomb, O Immortal; Thou didst destroy the power of death.  In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming ‘Rejoice’ to the myrrh-bearing women, granting peace to Thy apostles, and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.

INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET…”: 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)


Pray and make your vows before the Lord our God.

In those days, it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortunetelling.  This girl followed Paul and us and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”  And this she did for many days.  But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.”  And he came out that very hour.  But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.  And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”  Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.  And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.  Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.  But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.  And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.  But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”  Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.  And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes.  And immediately he and all his family were baptized.  Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

Look upon me and have mercy on me.  Lead my steps according to Thy word.


At that time as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.  I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.  And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent).  So he went and washed, and came back seeing.  Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?”  Some said, “This is he.”  Others said, “He is like him.”  He said, “I am he.”  Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”  He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”  Then they said to him, “Where is He?”  He said, “I do not know.”  They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight.  He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”  Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.”  Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?”  And there was a division among them.  They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”  But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight.  And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind?  How then does he now see?”  His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know.  He is of age; ask him.  He will speak for himself.” His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.  Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”  So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory!  We know that this Man is a sinner.”  He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know.  One thing I know:  that though I was blind, now I see.”  Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you?  How did He open your eyes?”  He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen.  Why do you want to hear it again?  Do you also want to become His disciples?”  Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples.  We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”  The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.  Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind.  If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins and are you teaching us?”  And they cast him out.  Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”  He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”  And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.


The Holy Apostle and Evangelist John

The feast day of this great apostle and evangelist is celebrated on September 26. This day (May 8) commemorates the miracle which occurred at his grave. When John was over one hundred years old, he took seven of his disciples, went outside the town of Ephesus, and ordered them to dig a grave in the form of a cross. Then the elder went down alive into this grave and was buried. Later, when the faithful opened John’s grave, they did not find his body. On May 8 of every year, dust rises up from his grave, by which the sick are healed of various diseases.

The Venerable Arsenius the Great
This glorious saint was born of a patrician family in Rome. He was well educated in the secular sciences and philosophy as well as in spiritual wisdom. Abandoning all the vanity of the world, he dedicated himself to the service of the Church and was a deacon in a large church in Rome. Unmarried, withdrawn, quiet and devout, he thought to live that way his entire life. But the providence of God directed his path in life in another way. Emperor Theodosius took him as a tutor and instructor for his sons Arcadius and Honorius, and installed him as a senator, surrounding him with great wealth, honors and luxury. Rather than pleasing him, all of this burdened Arsenius’s heart. It happened once that Arcadius committed a wrong, and for that Arsenius punished him. The offended Arcadius conceived a terrible plan for revenge against his teacher. When Arsenius found out, he dressed as a beggar and left for the seashore. There he boarded a boat and sailed to Egypt. When he arrived at the renowned Scetis, he became a disciple of the glorious John the Dwarf and dedicated himself to a life of asceticism. He considered himself dead, and when someone informed him that a wealthy relative had died and willed his entire estate to him, Arsenius replied: “But I died before him; how is it then that I could be his heir?” Enclosed in a hermit’s cell as in a tomb, through the entire day he wove baskets of palm leaves, and at night he prayed to God. He avoided men and all conversations with them. Only on feast days did he leave his cell and attend church to receive Holy Communion. In order to avoid laziness, he often asked himself the question: “Arsenius, why did you come to the wilderness?” He remained in the wilderness for fifty-five years as a desert dweller and for the entire time was a model to the monks and a glory to monastics in general. In all, Arsenius lived one hundred years and reposed peacefully in the year 448 after prolonged labor and voluntary hardships. He took up his habitation in the Kingdom of Christ the Lord, Whom he loved with all his heart, mind and soul.

Saint Emilia
Emilia was the mother of St. Basil the Great. In her youth she desired to remain a virgin for life but was forced into marriage. Emilia gave birth to nine children and inspired them with the Spirit of Christ to such an extent that five of them became Christian saints: Basil the Great; Gregory of Nyssa; Peter, Bishop of Sebaste; Macrina and Theosevia. In her old age Emilia established a convent where she lived with her daughter Macrina. There she reposed in the Lord on May 8, 375.

The Venerable Arsenius, the Lover of Labor
Arsenius was a monk in the Monastery of the Kiev Caves. He never afforded himself any rest but continually labored. He ate food only once a day, after the setting of the sun. He lived a life of asceticism and reposed in the fourteenth century.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Arsenius

Glorious Arsenius, whom the world glorified,
Fleeing from glory, said to himself:
“To men and to the world, consider yourself dead.

Speak neither wise nor foolish words.

For a word I have at times repented;
For silence I have never repented.

If I do not bind my heart to God,
I am not able to shake off the passionate life.

If my thoughts only glorify God,
External passions will leave me.

Fill your time with prayer and labor;
Sleep even less and labor all the more.

Sinful Arsenius, why do you stop?

Why did you come to the wilderness, I ask?

Not for the sake of idleness, but for the salvation of the soul;
Not for the sake of sleep, but for the sake of repentance.

Heal yourself quickly, and enliven the soul:
Lord, have mercy! Forgive and have mercy!”

A monk complained to St. Arsenius that while reading Holy Scripture he felt neither the power of the words he read nor gentleness in his heart. The great saint replied to him: “My child, just read! I heard that when snake-charmers cast a spell upon serpents, these sorcerers utter words which they themselves do not understand, but the serpents, hearing the words spoken, sense their power and are tamed. And so it is with us, when the words of Holy Scripture are continually on our lips, although we do not feel the power of the words, evil spirits tremble and flee for they are unable to endure the words of the Holy Spirit.” My child, just read! The Holy Spirit, Who wrote these divine words through inspired men, will hear, understand and hasten to your assistance. Likewise, the demons will hear and understand, and will flee from you. That is: He to Whom you are calling for help will understand, and those whom you wish to drive away from yourself will understand. And both goals will be achieved.

Contemplate the descent of God the Holy Spirit upon the apostles:
1. How there appeared fiery tongues over the apostles, one on each of them;
2. How the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in various tongues, as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance.

on evil as the fruit of the thoughts of men

Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened to My words, nor to My law, but rejected it (Jeremiah 6:19).

Brethren, do you see where evil grows and ripens? Not in the bosom of God, but in the thoughts of men. Evil is sown in the thoughts of men by demonic powers or by the passions of the flesh. Evil grows in the thoughts of men, spreads and multiplies itself, blossoms and bears leaves, and finally shows fruit. God is prompt to warn men to break from their evil thoughts so that evil will not ripen in their souls and bring forth its bitter and deadly fruit. God was prompt to warn Cain, but he did not want to heed the warning and permitted evil thoughts against his brother to bring forth evil fruit: fratricide.

What are evil thoughts? All those thoughts that are contrary to the Law of God and the word of God. Evil thoughts are the self-willed law of man, which man prescribes for himself in spite of and contrary to the Law of God. Therefore, if a man has resolutely decided to adhere to the Law of God, then evil thoughts are as weak as shadows, which quickly appear but quickly disappear in the same way. Then a man is lord over his thoughts, for he feels God as the Lord over himself. Then his law is the Law of God, and the evil thoughts of men are nothing.

Behold, I will bring evil upon this people, said the Lord. What kind of evil? The fruit of their thoughts. That is: I will permit them only to reap that which they sowed and nurtured, for evil is neither My seed nor My harvest. The evil that I will permit upon lawless men is the fruit of their own thoughts. According to their thoughts, they should have estimated what kind of evil would befall them, just as a sower estimates, according to his seeds, what he will harvest.

O Lord, meek and guileless, save us from our own evil, which we alone have nurtured in ourselves. We pray to Thee: remove the evil fruit of evil crops, and help us to pluck out the evil seed from our souls.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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