Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, July 30, 2017

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2017

EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST:
THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE FIRST SIX ECUMENICAL COUNCILS; THE HOLY GREAT-MARTYR MARINA


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 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!

EPISTLE READINGS

PROKEIMENON IN TONE FOUR:
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 ALLELUIA VERSES:
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.

GOSPEL READINGS

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."

FROM THE PROLOGUE:
JULY 17/30, BY SAINT NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

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.”

REFLECTION
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.”

CONTEMPLATION
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.

HOMILY
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.


DIOCESAN DAYS 2017


21st Annual Diocesan 
Days Gathering

Sept. 1st – Sept. 3rd 

Saint Steven’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral Alhambra, California


THE CHURCH AS FAMILY & 
THE FAMILY AS CHURCH


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“You are no longer strangers and aliens, but the members of the household of God”
(Eph. 2:19)

With
Fr. Timothy Pavlatos

SCHEDULE


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Camp Saint Sava 2017 in Jackson
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Our Holy Hierarch, Father Mardarije, pray unto God for us!
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PATRIARCH IRINEJ VISITS SAINT SAVA CATHEDRAL SITE IN NEW YORK
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PATRIARCH IRINEJ ARRIVES IN UNITED STATES
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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, July 23, 2017

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, JULY 23, 2017

SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST:
THE HOLY FORTY-FIVE MARTYRS OF NICOPOLIS, ARMENIA; THE VENERABLE ANTHONY
OF THE KIEV CAVES

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SIX:
The angelic powers were at Thy tomb, the guards became as dead men. 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 rose from the dead, Glory to Thee!

TROPARION TO THE FORTY-FIVE MARTYRS OF NICOPOLIS – TONE FOUR:  Your holy martyrs, O Lord, through their suffering have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through their intercessions save our souls.

TROPARION TO THE VENERABLE ANTHONY OF THE KIEV CAVES – TONE FOUR:  Having departed from worldly tumults, in leaving the world you followed Christ according to the Gospel. You reached the quiet refuge of the Holy Mount Athos, living there a life equal to the angels. Therefore, with the blessing of the Fathers, you came to the Kievan hills. There having fulfilled a life loving of labors, you illumined your homeland. And having shown a multitude of monastics the pathway leading to the heavenly kingdom, you led them to Christ. Beseech him, O Venerable Anthony, that he may save our souls.

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 THE VENERABLE ANTHONY OF THE KIEV CAVES – TONE EIGHT:  From your youth you gave yourself to God whom you loved above all, O Venerable One; and in love you followed after him with your whole soul. Scorning the passing corruption of the world, you made a cave in the earth; and in it you struggled nobly facing the snares of the invisible enemy, while illumining the ends of the earth like a bright, shining sun. Therefore, with rejoicing you entered into the heavenly chambers. Standing now before the throne of the Master together with the angels, remember us who honor your holy memory that we may cry out to you: ‘Rejoice, Anthony our Holy Father.’

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

PROKEIMENON IN TONE SIX:
O Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance!

SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: ROMANS 15: 1-7
Brethren, we then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

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

SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: MATTHEW 9: 27-35  At that time, two blind men followed Jesus, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.” Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

THE PROLOGUE FROM OHRID:
JULY 10/23, BY SAINT NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

The Holy Forty-Five Martyrs: Leontius, Maurice, Alexander, Sisinius, and others
During the reign of the wicked Emperor Licinius, who ruled the eastern half of the Roman Empire, there was a great persecution of Christians. In Armenian Nicopolis, St. Leontius, with several of his friends, appeared before Lysius, the representative of Emperor Licinius, and he declared that they were Christians. “And where is your Christ?” Lysius asked. “Was He not crucified and did He not die?” To this St. Leontius replied: “Since you know that our Christ died, know also that He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.” After a lengthy discussion about the Faith, Lysius scourged them and threw them into prison, where they were given neither food nor drink. A highborn Christian woman, Vlassiana, brought them water, handing it to them through the window of the prison. And an angel of God appeared to them to comfort and encourage them. When the time came for sentencing, two jailers appeared before Lysius as Christian converts, and many others as well, numbering forty-five in all. The judge sentenced all of them to death, ordering that their arms and legs be severed with an axe and their torsos then be thrown into the fire. This horrible punishment was carried out, and the souls of the holy martyrs took flight to their Lord, entering into eternal life. They suffered honorably and inherited the Kingdom in the year 319.

The Venerable Anthony of the Monastery of the Kiev Caves
The founder and father of monasticism in Russia, Anthony was born in the small town of Lyubech near Chernigov. At an early age he left his home and went to the Holy Mountain, where he was tonsured a monk and lived in asceticism in the Monastery of Esphigmenou. In obedience to a heavenly apparition, the abbot sent Anthony to Russia to establish monasticism there. Anthony chose a cave near Kiev. When those who were desirous of a monastic life gathered around him, he appointed Theodosius abbot, and he himself remained in the cave as a hesychast. Through the blessing of God, the monastery grew and became the mother of Russian monasticism. Anthony endured much evil from men and from demons, but he conquered all by his humility. He possessed a great gift of clairvoyance and of healing the sick. He reposed in the Lord in the year 1073, at the age of ninety, leaving his spiritual seedbed to bring forth good fruit throughout the ages for the Orthodox people of Russia.

The Translation of the Honorable Robe of our Lord Jesus Christ
At the time of the suffering of our Lord Jesus for mankind, there was among the ranks of the Roman army in Jerusalem a Georgian named Elioz from the town of Mtskheta. His mother had heard of Christ, and believed in Him in her heart. Seeing her son off to the army in Palestine, she had counseled him not to do anything against Christ. When the Lord was nailed to the Cross, the sound of the hammer on Golgotha reached the ears of Elioz’s mother in the town of Mtskheta. Hearing this sound, she cried out: “Woe is me, that I did not die before this time. Death would have rescued me from this dreadful sound!” And saying this, she fell dead. At that time Elioz was beneath the Cross, and with the other soldiers he was casting lots for the robe of Christ. He won the robe, and brought it to Mtskheta, giving it as a gift to his sister Sidonia. Hearing about the death of the Lord, and that her brother had been a participant in the shedding of innocent blood, she fell dead, holding the tunic of the Lord firmly in her hands, such that no one was able to tear it away and they were compelled to bury the tunic with her. A cedar tree sprouted from her grave and it poured forth a healing myrrh. In time, the cedar tree was cut down and carved into a pillar. At St. Nina’s prayers an angel raised this pillar, which blazed like a column of fire, over the grave, and it came to rest on the pedestal carved from the stump. King Mirian, upon being baptized, erected a church there, dedicating it to the Holy Apostles. In the year 1625, Shah Abbas took the robe and sent it to Moscow as a gift to Prince Michael Fyodorovich and Patriarch Philaret, and it was placed in the Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The mother of Elioz

The mother of Elioz counseled him:
“Elioz, O sight of my eyes,
Behold, you are entering the imperial army
Precisely in the land of my forefathers.

In that land, the King has appeared, 
Christ the Lord, awaited from of old—
The Savior, by the prophets foretold.

Word of His advent comes to Georgia;
He works miracles unseen till now!

And words like none before He speaks
Among men, establishing the Kingdom of God!
Talk of Him is everywhere!

Men and angels rejoice,
But this joy is darkened
By the malice of the Jewish elders,
Who want to kill Him—
And by this new curse, the people are oppressed.

But, my son, the sight of my eyes,
Do not partake of their sin,
Do not wet yourself in the Blood of the Just One.”

Time passed in its course;
At prayer one day, the mother, in spirit
Heard the hammer on the Cross,
And screamed as though in raging fire:
“O death, why did you not come to me sooner,
That I would not hear that awful sound?

It peals forth the death of the sinless Savior,
And a curse on the Jewish nation!

O Son, O Elioz,
Why did you ignore your mother?

Why did you help shed the blood of the Just One?”

Having said this, the lamenting mother
Fell to the ground and gave her soul to God.

REFLECTION
The thought of death is like a downpour of cold rain that extinguishes the fire of the passions. The Psalmist says: For when he dies he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him (Psalm 49:17). Who would not be ashamed when he sometimes sees among the unbelievers a better comprehension of our earthly nothingness than among some Christians? When Caliph Saladin died, in accordance with his last testament, a crier went before his coffin with a spear in his hand and with one of the emperor’s shirts on the spear, and he cried out: “The great Saladin, who conquered all of Asia, causing many nations to tremble before him, and who was victorious over emperors: behold, of all his glory and all his subjects, he takes nothing with him but this miserable shirt.”

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the miraculous appearance of God to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19):
1. How Moses climbed to the top of Mount Sinai and entered the darkness where God was;
2. How the light of God is so great that, before it, all of nature and her light become darkness;
3. How the heart of man is like Mount Sinai: in the darkness of the heart God encounters man.

HOMILY on the duties of spiritual shepherds
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock (I Peter 5: 2-3).

Here are the precepts for shepherds of the flock of Christ. In a few words, the Holy Apostle Peter exposes the three terrible passions that can turn shepherds into wolves: the passion of pride (not by constraint), the passion of greed (not for filthy lucre), and the passion of power (neither as being lords over God’s heritage). In opposition to these pernicious passions, the apostle points out the three virtues which must adorn a shepherd of God’s flock: the virtue of the fear of God (willingly), the virtue of zeal (of a ready mind), and the virtue of service (being examples to the flock). The apostle gave these precepts not only as a teacher but also as a prophet. For the centuries have revealed two main types of shepherds: some, in their high position in the Church, have been guided by their passions: pride, greed, and lust for power; and others have been guided by the fear of God, by zeal, and by the model of service. The Church has suffered from the former, but has not perished, while they themselves have perished. From the latter, the Church has grown and advanced and shone forth in the world. The former are wolves and the latter are shepherds. The former are enemies of man and of God, and the latter are friends both of man and of God. Christ the Chief Shepherd will seek an accounting from the former and the latter concerning every sheep, that is, every human soul, and He will justly recompense each according to his deeds. Pride, greed and lust for power in the so-called shepherds will be rewarded with eternal fire, while the fear of God, mercy and service of the true shepherds will be rewarded with eternal rejoicing.

O Lord Jesus the Chief Shepherd, help the shepherds of Thy rational flock, that they may to the end fulfill the commandment of Thy holy apostle.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

 

+++ DIOCESAN NEWS +++
Camp Saint Sava 2017 in Jackson
21 July 2017
Our Holy Hierarch, Father Mardarije, pray unto God for us!
16 July 2017
PATRIARCH IRINEJ VISITS SAINT SAVA CATHEDRAL SITE IN NEW YORK
15 July 2017
PATRIARCH IRINEJ ARRIVES IN UNITED STATES
13 July 2017
fresno thumb Fresno Parish Celebrates Slava
09 July 2017
eugene thumb The Feast of St. John the Wonderworker in Eugene, OR
02 July 2017
phoca thumb m Bp Maxim Interview with Bishop Maxim
25 June 2017


UPCOMING EVENTS


DIOCESAN DAYS 2017

21st Annual Diocesan
Days Gathering

Sept. 1st – Sept. 3rd 

Saint Steven’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral Alhambra, California

THE CHURCH AS FAMILY & 
THE FAMILY AS CHURCH

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“You are no longer strangers and aliens, but the members of the household of God”
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Fr. Timothy Pavlatos

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