Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, November 19, 2017

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 WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2017

TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: SAINT PAUL THE CONFESSOR, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; VENERABLE BARLAAM, ABBOT OF KHUTYN

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SEVEN: 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 SAINT PAUL THE CONFESSOR – TONE THREE: For confessing the divine faith among her priests the Church has shown you to be another Paul. Abel cries out to the Lord together with you, as does the righteous blood of Zachariah. Venerable father, entreat Christ God to grant us His great mercy.

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 SAINT PAUL THE CONFESSOR – TONE FOUR: Paul, you shone on the earth like a star of heavenly splendor; now you enlighten the universal Church for which you suffered, for you laid down your life, and your blood cries out to the Lord like that of Zachariah and Abel.

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 SEVEN:
The Lord shall give strength to His people; the Lord shall bless His people with peace!

TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: EPHESIANS 2: 14-22: Brethren, Christ Himself is our peace, who has made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

THE ALLELUIA VERSES: It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High! To declare Your mercy in the morning, and Your truth by night!

GOSPEL READING

TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: LUKE 8: 41-56: At that time, a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him. Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped. And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?” When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately. And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” While He was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to Him, “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.” But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” When He came into the house, He permitted no one to go in except Peter, James and John and the father and mother of the girl. Now all wept and mourned for her, but He said, “Do not weep, she is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead. But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.” Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat. And her parents were astonished, but He charged them to tell no one what had happened.

FROM THE PROLOGUE:
NOVEMBER 6/19, BY SAINT NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

Saint Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople
When Blessed Patriarch Alexander lay on his deathbed, the sorrowing faithful asked him who he would have follow him as the chief shepherd of the spiritual flock of Christ. He said: “If you desire a shepherd who will teach you and who will shine with virtues, choose Paul; but if you only want a suitable man, externally adorned, choose Macedonius.” The people chose Paul. Unfortunately, this was not accepted by the Arian heretics, nor was it accepted by Emperor Constantius, who was then in Antioch. Paul was soon deposed, and fled to Rome with St. Athanasius the Great. In Rome, Pope Julian and Emperor Constans received them warmly and upheld them in their Orthodox Faith. Emperor Constans and Pope Julian saw to it that Paul was returned to his throne, but when Emperor Constans died the Arians raised their heads again, and Patriarch Paul was
banished to Cucusus in Armenia. Once, as Paul was celebrating the Divine Liturgy in exile, he was attacked by the Arians and strangled with his omophorion, in the year 351. In 381, during the reign of Emperor Theodosius, Paul’s relics were transferred to Constantinople, and in the year 1236 they were translated to Venice, where they still repose. His beloved priests and notaries, Marcian and Martyrius (October 25), suffered soon after their patriarch.

The Venerable Barlaam of Khutyn, the Miracle-worker
Barlaam was born and raised as a Christian in Novgorod the Great. After the death of his parents, he was tonsured a monk and devoted himself to a life of strict asceticism. He founded a monastery on the bank of the Volkhov River, at a place where a heavenly light appeared to him. Barlaam was a great miracle-worker both during his life and after his death: he saw into the secrets of men’s hearts, expelled unclean spirits and healed all sicknesses. After his repose, a servant of Prince Vasili Vasilievich became gravely ill and begged to be taken to the saint’s grave. He further instructed them that, if he should die on the way, they should carry his dead body to the saint. And thus it happened—he died on the way and they carried him dead to the monastery, where he returned to life, stood up and prostrated before the grave of the saint. In the year 1471, Tsar Ivan the Terrible ordered that the saint’s grave be dug up. As soon as they began to dig, a flame sprang from the grave and flared up along the walls of the church. The Tsar was so frightened that he ran out of the church and, in his haste, forgot his staff, which is still preserved beside the grave of the saint. The commemoration of this miracle is celebrated on the Friday after the Sunday of All Saints.

Commemoration of the falling of ash from the sky
This took place in Constantinople in the year 472 during the reign of Emperor Leo the Great and Patriarch Gennadius. (See “Reflection” below.)

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Lord’s mercy and goodness
Our Lord is mercy and true goodness,
Yet He allows man to suffer for his sin:
Floods, sickness, earthquakes, droughts,
Horror and pains for body and soul.
He who does not see the Father when He offers gifts
Will see Him at the Judgment as the Righteous Judge.
The awesome Judge has many servants,
And employs them all for man’s salvation—
The earth’s thorns; serpents and beasts;
And floods, lightning, thunder from the sky;
And evil winds of illness; the sun, heat and darkness;
And the field, which gives either wheat or empty straw.
As many gifts await the faithful,
So many scourges are woven for the evil.
Adam’s fields are watered with gentle dew,
But Sodom and Gomorrah are mowed with a flaming sword.
Above other created things, God loves man:
Therefore He forgives much; therefore He waits long.
But, when God’s patience exceeds all bounds,
Then fire, not dew, does the work.

REFLECTION
If God can bring forth water from a rock as a comfort to men, He is also able to send down fire from the heavens as a punishment. The fate of Sodom and Gomorrah is a classic example of God’s punishment upon incorrigible sinners. That God can repeat this punishment was demonstrated over Constantinople in the year 472, during the time of Emperor Leo the Great and Patriarch Gennadius. At noon on November 6 of that year, the sky became overcast with thick, dark clouds, causing darkness on the land. These clouds turned red as fire, then became dark, and alternated their appearance continuously. This phenomenon over Constantinople lasted for a full forty days. The frightened people turned to repentance and prayer. With the emperor and patriarch, they walked in procession through the streets from church to church and prayed to God with tears and lamentation. On the final day hot black ash fell like rain from evening until midnight, then stopped. The following day dawned clear and bright, but the sooty ash lay on the ground to a depth of nine inches. With great effort, the people cleaned their houses and streets of this sooty ash, but the crops in the field were utterly destroyed. All who had understanding, understood that this was God’s punishment, and that it was God’s gentle punishment because the people hastened to repent before Him. Had it not been for this profound repentance for their great and accumulated sins, who knows what would have happened to Constantinople in those days? But the timely repentance of sinners, and the prayers of the Most-holy Theotokos, as well as the prayers of the countless saints and martyrs of Constantinople, greatly lessened the punishment.

HOMILY
on the Head of the Church and the Body of Christ
And gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body (Ephesians 1:22–23).
Headless humanity is given a head in the Lord Jesus, risen from the dead. The body separated from the head is grafted to its head, part by part, member by member. Not all men are the body—only those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. All are called, but only those who respond are received under the Head. The ones who respond comprise the Body that is called the Church, whose Head is the Lord. But, as the risen and glorified man, Jesus is exalted within the Holy Trinity, above all and everything on earth and in heaven, so also will His Church, His Body, be exalted to its Head, above all and everything. The whole Church, together with its Head, will stand at the right hand of the Holy Trinity—for where the head is, there also is the body. The redeemed and repentant sinners, the erstwhile adversaries of God—wandering astray like the Prodigal Son and headless as a dead body, but now adopted through Christ and for Christ, and clothed in the beauty of divine life and splendor—will be exalted to such heights, greatness and glory. For it is a great thing, brethren: the Incarnation of the Son of God on earth, His suffering on the Cross and His death for our sake. His visit to earth brought about a great change in the destiny of men, and in the meaning of all things. He changed all things and made all things new. Therefore, brethren, let us not live and conduct ourselves as the old man, but rather as the new man; let us not live according to sin, but according to righteousness; let us not act according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. May we be made worthy of those heights, of the greatness and glory to which we are called by our Head.
O Lord Jesus, the Holy Head of the Holy Church, make us worthy to be members forever of Thy Most-pure Body.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
According to the Greek Synaxarion, this incident occurred in 475 and not in 472.

 

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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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at AMAZON

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Welcoming the Christ Child

Alyina Vrobeyeva’s Confession

The Hagia Sophia

In the Mirror

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No Faith is More Beautiful than the Christian Faith

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

and SO MANY MORE TITLES, with more on the way...

The Art of Seeing

The Thunderbolt of Ever-Living Fire

The Presence of Transcendence: Essays on Facing the Other through Holiness, History, and Text

Man and the God-Man

The Meaning of Reality

The One and the Many

The Prologue of Ohrid

Treasures New and Old

History, Truth, Holiness


malibu-stamatis

THE DYNAMIC EARTH

Stamatis Skliris’ Vision of the Past, Present, and Future of American Natural Treasures

http://holyicon.org/shop

VIEW CATALOGUE
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