Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, November 12, 2017

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 WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2017

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: HOLY HIEROMARTYRS ZENOBIUS AND HIS SISTER ZENOBIA; SAINT MILUTIN, KING OF SERBIA; VENERABLE THEOCTIST AND HELENA; HOLY CONFESSOR VARNAVA OF HVOSNO  

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SIX:  The angelic powers were at Thy tomb; and the guards became as dead men; and Mary stood by Thy grave, seeking Thy most pure Body.  Thou didst capture hell, not being tempted by it.  Thou didst come to the Virgin, granting life. O Lord who didst rise from the dead: Glory to You!

TROPARION TO HIEROMARTYRS ZENOBIUS & ZENOBIA – TONE FOUR:  As brother and sister united in godliness together you struggled in contest, Zenobius and Zenobia.  You received incorruptible crowns and unending glory and shine forth with the grace of healing upon those in the world.

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE SIX:  When Christ God, the Giver of Life, raised all of the dead from the valleys of misery with His mighty hand, He bestowed resurrection on the human race. He is the Savior of all, the Resurrection, the Life, and God of all.

KONTAKION TO HIEROMARTYRS ZENOBIUS & ZENOBIA – TONE EIGHT:  Let us honor with inspired hymns the two martyrs for truth: the preachers of true devotion, Zenobius and Zenobia; as brother and sister they lived and suffered together and through martyrdom received their incorruptible crowns. 

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!

EPISTLE READING

THE PROKEIMENON IN TONE SIX:
O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance.

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: EPHESIANS 2: 4-10: Brethren, God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

THE ALLELUIA VERSES:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the heavenly God.  He will say to the Lord: My Protector and my Refuge; my God, in whom I trust.

GOSPEL READING

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: LUKE 8: 26-39:  At that time, Jesus and His disciples sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee.  And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time.  And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.  When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I beg You, do not torment me!”  For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.  For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.  Jesus asked him saying, “What is your name?”  And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him.  And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.  Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain.  So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them.  And He permitted them.  Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned.  When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country.  Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind.  And they were afraid.  They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear.  And He got into the boat and returned.  Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him.  But Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.”  And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.

FROM THE PROLOGUE - OCTOBER 30/NOVEMBER 12, BY SAINT NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

The Hieromartyr Zenobius and his sister Zenobia
They were from the town of Aegea in Cilicia. They inherited the true Faith and great material wealth from their parents. Working zealously for the Faith and with great love, they distributed all their wealth to the poor. Because their hands were so generous, the hand of God shielded them from every evil intent of men and demons. The generous hands of Zenobius, which gave to the poor, were endowed by God with the gift of miracle-working, and Zenobius healed the sick of every kind of infirmity merely by touching them. Zenobius was appointed Bishop of Aegea. During a persecution, the Prefect Lysias arrested him and said: “I offer you two choices: life or death; life if you worship the gods, or death if you do not.” St. Zenobius replied: “Life without Christ is not life but death, whereas death for the sake of Christ is not death but life.” When Zenobius was subjected to cruel tortures, Zenobia came to the judge and said: “I also want to drink from this cup of suffering, and be crowned with that wreath.” After being tortured in fire and in boiling pitch, both were beheaded with the sword in about the year 285. Thus this brother and sister took up their habitation in the Kingdom of the Immortal Christ the King. 

The Holy Apostles Cleopas, Tertius, Mark, Justus and Artemas 
They were all numbered among the Seventy. The risen Lord appeared to Cleopas on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–33). Tertius wrote down the Epistle to the Romans for Paul (Romans 16:22), and died a martyr as Bishop of Iconium after the Apostle Sosipater (November 10). St. Mark (or John) was the son of the devout Mary (whose home was a refuge for the apostles and the first Christians), and a kinsman of Barnabas (Acts 12:12). He became the bishop of the Samaritan town of Apollonia. Justus was a son of Joseph the Betrothed. Together with Matthias, he was one of those selected as a possible replacement for Judas the traitor, but he was not chosen. He suffered for the Gospel as a bishop in Eleutheropolis. St. Artemas was Bishop of Lystra in Lycaonia, and reposed peacefully. 

The Holy King Milutin
Milutin was the son of Uroš I and Queen Helena and brother of Dragutin. He fought many battles defending his Faith and his people. He fought against Emperor Michael Palaeologus because Palaeologus accepted union with Rome and tried to force the Balkan peoples and the monks of Athos to recognize the pope. He fought against Shishman, King of Bulgaria, and Nogai, King of the Tartars, in order to defend his lands. All his wars were successful, for he constantly prayed to God and hoped in God. He built more than forty churches: beside those that he built in his own land—Treskavac, Graèanica, St. George in Nagoriè, the Church of the Holy Theotokos in Skoplje, Banjska and so forth—he also built churches outside of his land, in Thessalonica, Sofia, Constantinople, Jerusalem and the Holy Mountain. He entered into rest in the Lord on October 29, 1320. His body was soon shown to be incorrupt and miracle-working; and as such, it reposes even today in the Church of the Holy King in Sofia, Bulgaria.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy King Milutin
The saint of God, Milutin the gallant,
Had a great and difficult task:
To defend the Faith against evil schismatics,
And the people against many cruel tyrants.
He was a scourge to Palaeologus, and a scourge to the Latins—
Milutin triumphed over all the unbelievers.
The Orthodox Faith was his great treasure,
As it was Justinian’s crown of pearls!
And, like Justinian, he built many churches,
And raised up glory to the glorious Christ throughout the world.
Royally he attended to matters imperial,
But his mind was not parted from Christ God.
Thus, pure and innocent in heart was he,
A venerable mind in the whirlpool of the world.
God, Who looks at the heart and judges accordingly,
Granted King Milutin immortality—
Immortality of soul, and an incorrupt body.
And lo, our holy king, even now, is intact!
As you fear no man, O wondrous King,
Be our defender before the Living God,
That he forgive our sinful monstrosities,
And vouchsafe us, with you, the Heavenly Kingdom.

REFLECTION
A great son of the Orthodox Church, King Milutin saved the Balkans from Uniatism. At that time in history when the Byzantine emperor’s conscience was weakened, this noble and God-bearing Slavic king rose up decisively and, with God’s help, saved Orthodoxy—not only in his own land, but also in all the lands of the Balkans. He who closely examines the life of the holy King Milutin will understand why God gave him success after success in all his works throughout his life. When Milutin ascended the throne, he immediately vowed to God that he would build a church for each year that he would reign. He reigned forty-two years and built forty-two churches. Next to some of the churches—for example, in Thessalonica and Constantinople—he also built hospitals for the indigent, where the poor would receive everything free of charge. Beyond that, he especially loved to give alms to the needy from his own enormous wealth. Oftentimes, this powerful and wealthy king dressed in the clothes of a poor man and, with two or three of his servants, walked among the people at night and asked about their misfortunes, and gave to them abundantly. He lived a very simple, familial life, even in the midst of his great wealth—though he never seemed that way to foreigners. He had become accustomed to a simple life while still at the home of his father, King Uroš I. It is told how Emperor Michael Palaeologus sent his daughter Anna with a retinue to the court of King Uroš, as an offering to Milutin, in order to lure the Serbian king into union with Rome. But King Uroš, seeing the foolish extravagance of the princess and her retinue, said: “What is this, and what is it for? We are not used to such a life.” And pointing to a Serbian princess with a distaff in her hand, he said: “Behold, this is the kind of clothing we expect our daughter-in-law to wear.”

HOMILY
on the desire for God—the only desire of the righteous

Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee (Psalm 73:25).

In heaven and on earth, there is one supreme good for the soul of an awakened man. That good is God. There is countless good in heaven, but the King of heaven is the greatest good. There is countless good on earth, but the Creator of all of this good is incomparable. That is why the soul of the awakened man asks: “What could I have or what could I desire, either in heaven or on earth, beside Thee?” Is the river necessary to the one who is brought to drink at its source? Does one who sits at the king’s table desire the shepherd’s dinner? God alone is sufficient in Himself to satisfy all of men’s hunger and thirst. The heavens are God’s, the earth is God’s. The Lord of all good is the greatest good; the Creator of all sweetness is the greatest sweetness; the Bearer of all wisdom is the greatest wisdom; the Source of all power and mercy is the greatest power and mercy; the Creator of every kind of beauty in heaven and on earth is the greatest beauty. No kind of good can enter the heart of man—whether openly or in a dream—that is not already in God to the highest degree.

Therefore, my brethren, let us ask God that we may receive all; let us seek God that we may find all; let us become rich in God that we may be rich in all.

O Lord our God, come near us when our souls seek Thee.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


Milutin was married twice and not four times as his detractors wrote. The first time he was married to Elizabeth, a Hungarian princess, and the second time to Simonida, a Byzantine princess.



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