Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, July 30, 2017

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SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2017


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

TROPARION TO THE FATHERS OF THE ECUMENICAL COUNCILS - TONE EIGHT: You are most glorious, O Christ our God. You have established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth. Through them You have guided us to the true faith. O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You!

TROPARION TO THE HOLY GREAT-MARTYR MARINA – TONE FOUR: Your lamb Marina calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice: “I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering. In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, and I died so that I might live with You. Accept me as a pure sacrifice, for I have offered myself in love.” Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE SEVEN: 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.

KONTAKION TO THE FATHERS OF THE ECUMENICAL COUNCILS - TONE EIGHT: The apostles’ preaching and the fathers’ doctrines have established one faith for the Church. Adorned with the robe of truth, woven from heavenly theology, it defines and glorifies the great mystery of piety.

KONTAKION TO THE HOLY GREAT-MARTYR MARINA – TONE THREE: Adorned with the beauty of virginity, you have been crowned with unfading crowns, O Marina. Having shed your blood in holy martyrdom, and radiant with the miracles of healing, you have received from the hand of your Creator the prize of victory.

HYMN TO THE MOTHER OF GOD - TONE SIX: Steadfast Protectress of Christians and constant advocate before the Creator, do not despise the cry of us sinners; but in your goodness come speedily to help us who call on you in faith. Hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for you always protect those who honor you!


Blessed are You, O Lord God of our Fathers and praised and glorified is Your Name forever.

EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: 1 CORINTHIANS 1: 10-18  Brethren, now I plead with you, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

FOR THE FATHERS OF THE ECUMENICAL COUNCILS: HEBREWS 13:7-16  Brethren, remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

The God of gods, the Lord, has spoken and He has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Gather together unto Him His holy ones who have established His covenant upon sacrifices.


EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: MATTHEW 14: 14-22  At that time, when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Immediately, Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.

FOR THE FATHERS OF THE ECUMENICAL COUNCILS: JOHN 17: 1-13 At that time, Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had before the world was. I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves."


The Holy Martyr Marina
Marina was born in Pisidian Antioch of pagan parents. At the age of twelve, Marina learned about the Lord Jesus Christ: how He became incarnate of the All-pure Virgin and how He worked many miracles, suffered death on the Cross and gloriously resurrected. Her young heart became inflamed with love for the Lord and she vowed that she would never marry, and in her soul she further desired to suffer for Christ and be baptized in the blood of martyrdom. Her father hated her for her faith and did not consider her as his daughter. The imperial deputy, Olymbrius, learning from Marina that she was a Christian, at first desired that she would become his wife. When Marina refused, he ordered her to bow down before the idols. St. Marina replied: “I will neither bow down nor offer sacrifice to the breathless and dead idols, who do not recognize themselves and do not know that we honor or dishonor them. I will not give them the honor that belongs only to my Creator.” Then Olymbrius subjected Marina to harsh torture, and threw her into prison, completely covered with wounds and blood. In the prison Marina prayed to God. After her prayer, the devil appeared to her in the guise of a horrible serpent that entwined itself around her head. When she made the sign of the Cross, the serpent burst apart and vanished. Then she was engulfed with a heavenly light, and it seemed to her that the walls and roof of the prison vanished, and a radiant, towering cross appeared. A white dove perched atop the cross, issuing forth a voice which said: “Rejoice Marina, rational dove of Christ, daughter of Zion in the highest, for your day of rejoicing draws near.” Then, Marina was healed of all her wounds and pains by the power of God. The demented judge tortured her the following day, both in fire and in water, but Marina endured all, as though she were in another body. Finally, he condemned her to be beheaded. Before her death, the Lord Jesus appeared to her, accompanied by angels. She was beheaded during the reign of Diocletian; but in soul and power, she has remained alive in the heavens and on earth. A hand of St. Marina reposes in the Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos. There is also a monastery dedicated to St. Marina with a portion of her miracle-working relics, located atop Mount Langa in Albania, overlooking Lake Ohrid. Countless miracles have occurred and still occur in this monastery, witnessed not only by Christians, but by many Moslems as well. So much respect did the Turks have for this holy place, that they never dared disturb either the monastery or its property. At one time a Turk was the guardian of the monastery. 

The Venerable Leonid of Ustnedumsk
From his youth, this Russian saint lived a spiritual life of asceticism in several monasteries: in Solovki, Mirozh and elsewhere. He then founded his own monastery along the Luza River, in the province of Vologda. He lived a strict life of asceticism, such that his soul was filled with the light of grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. A spiritual beacon, Leonid attracted many to the ascetic life. He is called of “Ustnedumsk,” because once, when a poisonous serpent bit him, he neither thought nor spoke about it, and remained alive. Having pleased God, Leonid died peacefully on July 17, 1653. His relics lie in his monastery.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Martyr Marina

St. Marina prayed to the Lord,
And with warm tears she strengthened her prayers;
“Lord Jesus, my God and Savior,
Thou helpest all who hope in Thee.

Be near me, near to my soul,
When the unbelievers begin to destroy my body.
Be near me, O Strength of martyrs,
That I endure the torment without fear and cries.

I stand like a sheep before the hungry wolves,
As a lonely bird before many hunters,
As a poor fish snared by the net—
But I look to Thee, O Lord of salvation!

Let them tear my body like a cheap sack,
O Christ, I will not deny Thee;
I prefer sufferings with Thee to all corruptible pleasures,
I bow only to Thine authority, O Savior
Conqueror of death, the devil and hades,
Repeat Thy victories through me now!

Praise be to Thee, my Lord and Savior,
That Thou helpest all who hope in Thee.”

Until Christ becomes all for the soul—all that has permanent and unchanging value—man cannot enter into suffering for Christ. How could St. Marina, a fifteen-year-old girl, enter into suffering for Christ? Because Christ was all to her, absolutely all. How could St. Julitta have rejoiced on seeing her three-year-old son Cyricus dead for the Christian Faith? Again Christ was all to her, absolutely all. Behold, how St. Tikhon of Zadonsk speaks exhaustively—in the form of a conversation between Christ and man—about how Christ can be all to man:
“Do you desire good for yourself? Every good is in Me. Do you desire blessedness? Every blessedness is in Me. Do you desire beauty? What is more beautiful than Me? Do you desire nobility? What is more noble than the Son of God and the Holy Virgin? Do you desire height? What is higher than the Kingdom of Heaven? Do you desire riches? In Me are all riches. Do you desire wisdom? I am the Wisdom of God. Do you desire friendship? Who is a more loving Friend than I, Who laid down My life for all? Do you desire help? Who can help except Me? Do you seek joy? Who will rejoice without Me? Do you seek comfort in misfortune? Who will comfort you other than Me? Do you seek peace? I am the Peace of the soul. Do you seek life? In Me is the source of life. Do you seek light? I am the Light of the world.”

Contemplate the miraculous bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21):
1. How all the people would have died from the bite of the serpents, until Moses raised the bronze serpent on a pole;
2. How all who were bitten by a serpent were made whole as soon as they gazed upon the bronze serpent;
3. How the bronze serpent prefigures Christ on the Cross.

on the need to repeat and repeat
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth (II Peter 1:12).
A plower ploughs a field. Does not the plower repeat the same task every moment? How would he plow the field, if not by plowing from morning to dusk, making furrow after furrow?
A traveler walks down a road. Does not the traveler repeat the same task every second with the same effort? How else would he travel the road and reach his destination?
The carpenter prepares the boards in his workshop. Does not the carpenter repeat the same task with every board, with the same labor? How else would he be able to prepare the required number of boards?
Brethren, are not all of our beneficial works comprised of strands and strands of repetition? Therefore, let not the preacher of the truth become slothful, and let him not say: “I’ve told them, and I will not repeat it!” Let not the hearer of the truth become proud, and let him not say: “I have heard it once, and I do not need to hear it again!”
O preacher of the truth, do not be afraid to repeat and repeat; to teach repeatedly, and to remind repeatedly. Without repetition, the field is not plowed, nor the path traveled, nor the framework of the house prepared. And it is your task to plow, to lead and to prepare.
O hearer of the truth, do not become proud and say that you have heard the truth once. Truth is food for the soul. You have eaten bread today, yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and for months before, and years past. And you will eat it again, so that your body will be healthy. Nourish your soul as well. Nourish it with the truth—the same truth, yesterday, today, tomorrow and until death—so that your soul may be healthy, strong and radiant.
O Lord Jesus, nourish us every day and every hour with Thy truth, which is Thyself, O Jesus, sweet nourishment!
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


21st Annual Diocesan 
Days Gathering

Sept. 1st – Sept. 3rd 

Saint Steven’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral Alhambra, California


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