Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, June 1, 2014

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014

Seventh Sunday of Pascha:
The Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council;
The Holy Hieromartyr Patricius,Bishop of Prussa


RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SIX:

The angelic powers were at Your tomb; the guards became as dead men.  Mary stood by Your grave, seeking Your most pure Body.  You did capture hell, not being tempted by it.  You did come to the Virgin, granting life.  O Lord who rose from the dead:  Glory to You!

ASCENSION TROPARION - TONE FOUR:

You have ascended in glory, O Christ our God, granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit.  Through the blessing they were assured that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world!

TROPARION TO THE HOLY FATHERS - 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!

KONTAKION TO THE HOLY FATHERS - 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.

ASCENSION KONTAKION - TONE SIX:

When You fulfilled the dispensation for our sake, and unite earth to heaven:  You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, not being parted from those who love You, but remaining with them and crying:  I am with you and no one will be against you!

INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET…”:

Magnify, O my soul, Christ the Giver of Life, who has ascended from earth to heaven!  We magnify you, the Mother of God, who beyond reason and understanding gave birth in time to the Timeless One!

INSTEAD OF “WE HAVE SEEN THE TRUE LIGHT…”

ASCENSION TROPARION - TONE FOUR:

You have ascended in glory, O Christ our God, granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit.  Through the blessing they were assured that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world!

EPISTLE READING

The Prokimenon in the 4th Tone:       

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

Seventh Sunday of Pascha: Acts 20: 16-18; 28-36

In those days, it happened that Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost. From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.  And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you; therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.  For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.  Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.  So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.  I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.  Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me.  I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak.  And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

The Alleluia Verses:

The Lord, the God of gods, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting! Gather to me my venerable ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.

GOSPEL READING

Seventh Sunday of Pascha: 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 with You 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.”

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for May 19/June 1 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Hieromartyr Patrick, Bishop of Prusa, with three presbyters: Acacius, Menander and Polyenus

They suffered for the Christian Faith in Asian Prusa during the reign of Julian the Apostate. Junius the imperial deputy brought these saints to a hot spring and asked Patrick: “Who created these curative waters if not our gods Aesculapius and others whom we worship?” St. Patrick replied: “Your gods are demons and these waters, like everything else, were created by Christ the Lord, our God.” Then the deputy asked: “And will your Christ save you if I throw you into this boiling water?” The saint replied: “If He wills, He is able to preserve me whole and unharmed, even though I desire that in these waters I become separated from this temporary life to live with Christ eternally. But let His holy will be done, without which not even a hair from a man’s head can fall!” Hearing this, the deputy ordered that Patrick be cast into the boiling water. Drops of boiling water splashed on all sides and cruelly scalded many of those present, but the saint, whose lips were continually in prayer, remained unharmed as though he were standing in cold water. Seeing this, the deputy, deeply embarrassed, became enraged and ordered that Patrick and his three presbyters be beheaded with an ax. Then the innocent followers of Christ recited their prayers and placed their heads under the ax of the executioner. When they were beheaded, their joyful souls ascended to Christ’s Kingdom of Light, to reign forever.

Saint John, Bishop of the Goths

John was a bishop in Georgia, but when the Tartar Khan in Georgia began to torture Christians, he left for four years to live among the Goths in Bessarabia. The diocese of the Goths had been established during the reign of Constantine the Great. Learning of the death of the Khan, John returned to his duties in Georgia and guided his flock zealously and devoutly. Before his death, he said: “In about forty days, I go to be judged with the Khan,” that is, through death, John was going to the throne of God. And so it happened: on the fortieth day he died and went to the Lord. He reposed peacefully in the eighth century.

The Holy Prince Ivan (John) of Vologda

Ivan was a miracle-worker, God-fearing and virtuous from his youth. He was cast into prison by his uncle, Prince Ivan Vasilievich, along with his brother Dimitri, where they remained for thirty-two years. Before his death, Ivan was tonsured a monk and received the name Ignatius.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Saintly Princes Ivan and Dimitri of Vologda

In the dark dungeon, Prince Ivan languishes

With his brother Dimitri, and he counsels his brother:

“O brother, sorrow not; do not weary yourself with sorrows.

To the faithful, a dungeon is as a royal court.

Do not speak ill about our uncle,

Who has cast us, who are guiltless, into prison.

Without God’s will, is it possible that this could be—

To enslave two of God’s creatures in the darkness?

If our uncle cares only about himself,

God cares about us, to save our souls.

The irrational one only seeks his own benefit,

But God consoles with gifts those who are despised.

The merciful God is not afraid of the dungeon—

He prefers to be with captives than to stand with the proud.

Do not be angry, my brother, do not reproach our uncle.

Only God knows the truth between us.

Our uncle goes by one path, and we by another path are saved.

Worship God, to God be glory!”

REFLECTION

The great hierarchs, the pillars of the Orthodox Church, knew how to blend meekness and firmness in their character: meekness toward the righteous ones and penitents, and firmness toward unrepentant criminals. One Sunday, following the Divine Liturgy, Tsar Ivan the Terrible approached Metropolitan Philip to receive his blessing. The metropolitan pretended not to see the tsar and gazed at the icon of the Savior. The tsar’s adjutant approached the metropolitan and said to him: “Your Eminence, the Ruler is before you, bless him.” The metropolitan looked at the tsar and said: “O Tsar, fear the judgment of God. Here, we offer up the Bloodless Sacrifice to God, and outside the sanctuary the blood of Christians is being spilled. How many innocent peoplesuffer? You are exalted on the throne, but nevertheless you are a man.” The enraged tsar told the metropolitan to keep silent, but the metropolitan said to him: “Where is my faith, if I remain silent?” When the tsar began to threaten the metropolitan, the latter quietly replied: “I am a visitor and guest on earth and am ready to suffer for the truth!” After some time, the cruel tsar had the metropolitan suffocated, but he could not suffocate the saint.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate God the Holy Spirit as the Inspirer of wisdom and truth:

1. How He inspired with wisdom and truth the prophets, evangelists and apostles who wrote the Holy Scriptures by His inspiration and guidance;

2. How He inspired with wisdom and truth the Holy Fathers, who interpreted the Holy Scriptures by His inspiration and guidance.

HOMILY
on the holy men of God

Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21).

This is witnessed by the Apostle Peter, who was himself a holy man of God, a rock of faith and a knight of the Cross. As a holy man of God he explained, from his own personal experience, how the holy men of God spoke, and how they still speak: They spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. They did not speak according to their own reasoning, nor according to their own memory, nor according to their own speculation, nor according to their own eloquence; rather they spoke from and by the Holy Spirit. The wisdom of God flowed through them, and the truth of God was revealed through them. Holy Scripture was not written with the false pen of the scribes (Jeremiah 8:8), but was written by the servants and the chosen ones of the Holy Spirit of God. Neither was Holy Scripture written by professional writers; rather, it was written by the saints of God, who were directed and compelled by the Spirit of God to write. Although they often did not want to write, at times even protesting, they had to write, as the Holy Prophet Jeremiah testified: I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing and I could not stay (Jeremiah 20:9).

O my brethren, Sacred Scripture is not of men but of God. It is not of the earth but rather from heaven. Nor is it from the body; rather it is from the Spirit. Yes, from the Holy Spirit of God. Inspired by the wisdom and truth of the Holy Spirit, these holy men of God wrote: prophets, evangelists, apostles, fathers, teachers and shepherds. O God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Truth, inspire us by Thy life-creating breath, that we may recognize wisdom and truth and fulfill them with Thy help. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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