Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, May 3, 2015

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, MAY 3, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Pascha:
The Healing of the Paralytic; Venerable Theodore Trichinas; Venerable Joasaph of Serbia;
Transfer of the Relics of Saint Nikolai of Zhicha

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE THREELet the heavens rejoice!  Let the earth be glad!  For the Lord has shown strength with His arm! He has trampled down death by death!  He has become the first-born of the dead!  He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted the world great mercy!

KONTAKION TO THE PARALYTIC - TONE THREE: By Your divine intercession, O Lord, as You raised up the paralytic of old so raise up my soul, paralyzed by sins and thoughtless acts; so that being saved I may sing to You: ‘Glory to Your power, O compassionate Christ!

PASCHAL KONTAKION - TONE EIGHT: You descended into the tomb, O Immortal; You destroyed the power of death. In victory You arose, O Christ God, proclaiming “Rejoice” to the myrrh-bearing women, granting peace to Your disciples, and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.

INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET…”: The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin!  Again I say: Rejoice!  Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb!  With Himself He has raised all the dead!  Rejoice, all ye people!  Shine!  Shine!  O New Jerusalem!  The glory of the Lord has shone on you!  Exult now and be glad, O Zion!  Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!

INSTEAD OF “WE HAVE SEEN THE TRUE LIGHT…”: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (once)

EPISTLE READING

The Prokimenon in the 1st Tone: Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us as we have set our hope on You.

Fourth Sunday of Pascha: Acts 9: 32-42
In those days, it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda.  There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bed-ridden eight years and was paralyzed.  And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you.  Arise and make your bed.”  Then he arose immediately.  So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.  At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas.  This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.  But it happened in those days that she became sick and died.  When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.  And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.  Then Peter arose and went with them.  When he had come, they brought him to the upper room.  And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.  But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed.  And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.”  And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.  Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.  And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.

The Alleluia Verses:
I will sing of Your mercies, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim Your truth from generation to generation.  You has said: Mercy will be established forever, and My truth will be prepared in the heavens.

GOSPEL READING

Fourth Sunday of Pascha: John 5: 1-15
At that time there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.  For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.  Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”  The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”  And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.  And that day was the Sabbath.  The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”  He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’”  Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”  But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.  Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well.  Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”  The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Spiritual Articles
From The Prologue for April 20/May 3
by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Venerable Theodore Trichinas
Theodore was a citizen of Constantinople and the son of wealthy parents. As a young man he left his parents’ home and riches and entered an eremitic monastery in Thrace. Here he imposed upon himself a most rigorous life of asceticism. He slept on stones in order to sleep less. He traveled everywhere bareheaded and clothed himself in one garment made of goat’s hair, for which he was called “Trichinas” or “hairy.” Because of his great ascetic labors for the sake of the salvation of his soul, God bestowed upon him the great gift of miracle-working, both during his lifetime and after death. He died peacefully in about the year 400. His body was seen to be flowing with myrrh.

The Venerable Anastasius of Mount Sinai
Anastasius was the abbot of Mount Sinai. In the beginning he was a monk for an extended period of time under the glorious Abbot John Climacus. After John’s death, he then became the abbot. Besides being a great ascetic, Anastasius was an eloquent author of the lives of the saints as well as instructional writings. He led a bitter struggle against the heretics, the so-called acephalites (headless ones), who denied the decisions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council [Chalcedon, 451]. He reposed in old age in the year 685 and took up his habitation with the Lord, Whom he had faithfully served.

Blessed Anastasius of Sinai, Patriarch of Antioch
While a monk on Mount Sinai, Anastasius was elected Patriarch of Antioch, during the reign of Emperor Justinian. He was elevated to this rank by virtue of his charity, chaste life, great spiritual learning and staunch faith. Then, Emperor Justinian fell into the heresy of Docetism. Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople, and Blessed Anastasius sharply protested against this. The emperor banished Eutychius and also wanted to banish Anastasius, but he was unable to find anything to reproach in his life. However, when Justinian died, having repented beforehand and having reinstated Eutychius to the throne, his successor, Justin, succeeded in banishing Anastasius on the basis of some spurious calumnies. Anastasius remained in exile for twenty-three years but was reinstated to the throne of Antioch during the reign of the Emperor Maurice. He governed the Church of God for six more years and ended his earthly sojourn in the year 599.

Blessed Gregory, Patriarch of Antioch
Gregory was an Armenian by birth. He was Abbot of the Pharanite Monastery, below Mount Sinai. When Blessed Anastasius was banished from his throne, Gregory, against his will, was installed as Patriarch of Antioch. Blessed Patriarch Sophronius [and St. John Moschus] also write very favorably about him in the Spiritual Meadow. Gregory was distinguished by his great compassion, especially toward sinners. He reposed in the Lord in the year 593.

The Holy Apostle Zacchaeus
At first, Zacchaeus was a tax collector and a sinner. When our Lord saw him in a tree in Jericho and entered his home, Zacchaeus was brought to repentance (Luke 19:1–10). Later on, Zacchaeus followed the Apostle Peter, who appointed him Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, where he faithfully served the Gospel and reposed peacefully.

The Venerable Athanasius of Meteora
Athanasius was born in 1310. He lived the ascetic life on the Holy Mountain. He founded the famous Meteora Monastery in Thessaly. He possessed the great gift of clairvoyance and miracle-working.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Anastasius
Anastasius, God-bearing father,
Took upon himself the labor of fasting and prayer.

Asceticism he maintained, long and persistent,
Until with the spirit he learned the mysteries.

Then he opened his honeyed mouth:
“Christ,” said he, “is the rock of salvation.

Do not insanely say: ‘He lived a long time ago.

Where is He now that He might speak unto me?’

The Gospel, His Holy Covenant—
Who is able to resist it?

It speaks to you in place of Christ Himself;
It is His all-pure mouth!

Again you say: ‘I desire to see Him!’

Look with your whole mind and heart
At Holy Communion. From wine and bread,
There He is in the flesh—what else do you need?

Repent, O brother, repent of your sins.

A thousand deaths surround you!

Confess your sins to your spiritual father,
Then drink His Blood and eat His Body.

Only repent. If you begin with repentance,
You will live with justice and with shining hope.

Repent, O brother, repent of your sins.

Around you stand a thousand deaths!”

REFLECTION
St. Anastasius of Sinai teaches: “Every Christian is given an angel from God to guard him all his life (unless, through evil deeds, he drives him away). But as smoke drives away bees and an evil smell drives away doves, so is the guardian angel of our life driven away by our sins: drunkenness, adultery, anger and so forth. The angel of every faithful man leads him to every good deed, while the demons labor to scandalize the faithful ones and deprive them of the Kingdom of Heaven.” That the angels are close to men and that they take care of men is attested to by the whole of Holy Scripture, but especially by the New Testament. Besides this, there exist in the Orthodox Church numerous testimonies of saintly men and women who witness to that which St. Anastasius asserts, that is, that each one of us is accompanied in this world by a gentle and mighty messenger of God, a soldier of the King of Heaven, an angel of light. Who, except an insane person, drives a good friend away from himself? In truth, only the insane and the extremely ignorant drive away their best friends, their guardian angels, by their sins.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. How He, as the Almighty Victor over death, does not seek revenge on His enemies who tortured and crucified Him, but, leaving them to themselves, He sustains His frightened friends;
2. How even today, as in all times, in His innocence and meekness He does not hurry to seek revenge on the unfaithful, but hurries to the aid of the faithful.

HOMILY
on the one and only foundation of salvation

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 3:11).

The Jews say: “The foundation is Moses.” The Moslems say: “The foundation is Mohammed.” The shortsighted naturalists say: “The foundation is nature.” We ask: Did Moses resurrect from the dead? Did Mohammed ascend into heaven? Does nature bestow the Holy Spirit, the Comforter? Moses did not resurrect. Mohammed did not ascend into heaven. Nature not only does not bestow the Holy Spirit the Comforter upon men, but breathes hatred against man and growls at him and shows its claws.

The foundation of the world cannot be one who was conceived in sin; who himself sinned; who wandered and sought counsel in women; who, by someone else’s power, performed certain works; who crumbled in the grave; and whose name leads to confusion as to the way, the truth and the life. Mohammed and Moses were conceived in sin and they committed sins; they sought counsel from women; with the power of others they performed deeds; in the grave they lay decomposed; their names lead men to confusion about the way, the truth and the life.

That is why, brethren, we have nowhere to turn in history to seek another such foundation except the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was conceived without sin; Who did not commit any sin; Who did not wander and Who did not seek counsel from anyone; Who by His own power performed mighty deeds; Who did not decay in the grave; and Whose name does not lead men into confusion regarding the way, the truth and the life.

The Apostle does not say that Christ laid down some foundation but that He Himself is that established foundation. He is all justice; that is why He is the foundation of every justice. He is all truth; that is why He is the foundation of every truth. He is all wisdom; that is why He is the foundation of every wisdom. He is all power; that is why He is the foundation of every power. He is all good; that is why He is the foundation of every good. He is all life; that is why He is the foundation of life in both worlds, in this and in the next.

O resurrected Lord, Thou art the foundation of our salvation and eternal life.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


This heresy taught that Christ’s sufferings were only apparent and not physically real.—Trans.

Archbishop Philaret of Chernigov mentions in his Lives of the Saints Gabriel the Child, whom a certain Jew, Schutko, lured to an isolated place and crucified. Gabriel was born in the village of Zverka near the town of Zabludovo [in eastern Poland]. He was only six years old. His parents, Peter and Anastasia Gavdjel, were absent from home that day. After thirty years, Gabriel’s body was discovered incorrupt. He suffered in the year 1684.

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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, April 26, 2015

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2015


Third Sunday of Pascha: The Myrrh-bearing Women and Righteous Joseph of Arimathea; The Holy Hieromartyr Artemon of Laodicea


RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE TWO: When You descended to death, O Life Immortal, You slayed hell with the splendor of Your Godhead! And when from the depths You raised the dead, all the powers of heaven cried out: O Giver of Life! Christ our God! Glory to You!

TROPARION TO JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA - TONE TWO: The noble Joseph, when he had taken down Your most pure Body from the tree, wrapped it in fine linen and anointed it with spices, and placed it in a new tomb.  But You rose on the third day, O Lord, granting the world great mercy.

Troparion TO THE MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN - TONE TWO: The Angel came to the Myrrh-bearing Women at the tomb and said: ‘Myrrh is fitting for the dead; but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption!  So proclaim: ‘The Lord is risen, granting the world great mercy.’’

KONTAKION TO THE MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN - TONE TWO: 
You commanded the myrrh-bearers to rejoice, and stopped the lamentation of Eve, the first mother, by Your resurrection O Christ God, instructing them to preach to Your Apostles: ‘The Savior is risen from the tomb!’

PASCHAL KONTAKION - TONE EIGHT: You descended into the tomb, O Immortal; You destroyed the power of death. In victory You arose, O Christ God, proclaiming “Rejoice” to the myrrh-bearing women, granting peace to Your disciples, and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.

INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET…”: The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin!  Again I say: Rejoice!  Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb!  With Himself He has raised all the dead!  Rejoice, all ye people!  Shine!  Shine!  O New Jerusalem!  The glory of the Lord has shone on you!  Exult now and be glad, O Zion!  Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!

INSTEAD OF “WE HAVE SEEN THE TRUE LIGHT…”: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (once)


EPISTLE READING

The Prokimenon in the 6th Tone:
O Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance.

Third Sunday of Pascha: Acts 6: 1-7
In those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.  Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.  Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”  And the saying pleased the whole multitude.  And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.  Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

The Alleluia Verses:
Lord, You were favorable to Your land; You did restore the fortune of Jacob.  Mercy and truth have met; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

GOSPEL READING

Third Sunday of Pascha: Mark 15: 43 – 16: 8  
At that time, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.  Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time.  So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.  Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen.  And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.  And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid. Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.  Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.  And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?”  But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away - for it was very large.  And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.  But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed.  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He is risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid Him.  But go, tell His disciples - and Peter - that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”  So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed.  And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Spiritual Articles
From The Prologue for April 13/26 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic

The Hieromartyr Artemon
Artemon was a priest in Laodicea during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. Before the tormentor-judge, he spoke of himself: “I am called Artemon, a slave of Christ, my God. For sixteen years I was a reader and read books in the church of my God. For twenty-eight years I was a deacon and read the Holy Gospel. With the help of Christ, I have fulfilled thirty-three years as a presbyter, teaching men and setting them on the path of salvation.” The judge brought him to the temple of Aesculapius, where the soothsayers kept large serpents dedicated to this “god.” They all assumed that the snakes would bite Artemon. Artemon crossed himself and, by the power of the Cross, fixed all the snakes to the ground, rendering them immovable. Then he brought them all out into the courtyard and breathed upon them, and all of them died instantly. All the soothsayers were in great fear. Upon seeing this miracle, Vitalis, the chief soothsayer of this temple, fell to his knees before Artemon and cried out: “Great is the Christian God!” The martyr then baptized him, along with several of his friends. The malicious judge remained persistent in his malice and tortured the aged Artemon in various ways. At one point, he was ready to throw him into a vat of boiling pitch, but the judge himself was thrown off his horse into the pitch, and was killed. Two eagles were seen to swoop down upon the judge, lift him from his horse and drop him into the pitch. St. Artemon remained free for a period of time. He traveled about, always accompanied by his two beloved deer, and instructed the people. He was captured again and beheaded in the year 303; his soul took up habitation in the Kingdom of Christ our God, Whom he had faithfully served.

The Holy Martyr Crescens
Crescens was from the city of Myra in Lycia. He was an honored and well-known citizen. He openly confessed his faith in Christ and mocked the dead idols. For this, he was burned to death by the pagans.

The Holy Martyr Thomais
Thomais was born in Alexandria of honorable parents. She was taught piety from her youth. At the age of fifteen, she was married to an honorable man. Her father-in-law was a vile old man and, in the absence of his son, he attacked his daughter-in-law, desiring to seduce her. Becoming terrified, Thomais reminded her father-in-law of the Law of God and slipped out of his hands. After a prolonged struggle, the father-in-law drew a knife and murdered his daughter-in-law, then cut her in half. At that moment the punishment of God fell upon him. He was instantly blinded and was unable to find the door from which to leave. In that very room he was apprehended in the act and turned over to the court, which sentenced him to death. Thus Thomais suffered for the sake of God’s commandment regarding marital fidelity and chastity. After that, many who were tempted by adulterous passions directed their prayers to St. Thomais and received strong assistance from her. The great ascetic Daniel translated her relics to Scetis and buried them in the cemetery of the hieromonks. St. Thomais suffered in the year 476.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Thomais

Whoever suffers because of his evil deeds,
Does not have a share with the angels.

Whoever suffers for the will of God,
And endures misfortunes for the sake of Christ,
Either from the faithful or from the unfaithful,
Such a one will gaze upon the face of God.

Thomais, handmaiden of God,
Was in her heart truly devout.

But, for the sake of God’s law, she suffered
From her arrogant father-in-law.

“Leave, O Father-in-law, my poor body alone!

Are you not afraid of the Most-high God?

The human body—even though it is plain mud—
Is given to us by God for the sake of the soul.

If we defile the body with sin,
We are breaking the wings of our soul;

We are separating it from the Living God,
And giving it as booty to the unclean one.”

Blinded by passion, the father-in-law cut her to pieces;
“May God forgive!” the righteous one said.

But blindness befell the murderer—
And the doubly blind man crawls through hell.

REFLECTION
When they brought the martyr Crescens (a nobleman of Myra in Lycia) to court, the judge counseled him for a long time, trying to persuade him to worship idols. When he did not succeed, he finally said to Crescens: “Bow down only in body, but in spirit bow down before your God!” To this the honorable Crescens replied: “The body cannot do anything independently of the soul, which is its driving force and leader.” For that Crescens was killed—an obvious lesson that a Christian cannot be duplicitous. Still another lesson: A Christian has an obligation to serve his Creator not only with the soul but also with the body. This refutes the false position of certain Christians, who live physically as pagans, while praising themselves that they believe in God and love God with their souls. They divide themselves in two, placing themselves in the service of two masters, even though the holiest lips proclaimed that to be an impossibility.

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. How, because of Thomas, who was momentarily the only unbelieving one among the disciples, He appeared again in His glorified body;
2. How Thomas placed his finger into the wounds of the all-pure body of the Lord and believed.

HOMILY on Thomas’s test

My Lord and my God (John 20:28).
When the Apostle Thomas felt the wounds of the Lord Jesus, he cried out: My Lord and my God!
When Mary Magdalene heard the voice of the Resurrected One in her soul, she cried out: My Lord and my God!
When Saul saw the light and heard the words of the Resurrected One, he acknowledged: My Lord and my God!
When the pagans, in amazement, observed how countless numbers of martyrs joyfully underwent pains and asked them Who this Christ was, all of them replied: My Lord and my God!
When the scoffers ridiculed the army of ascetics and asked them Who He was for Whom they took upon themselves the awesome burden of asceticism, they all had one answer: My Lord and my God!
When the scorners derided the virgins who had vowed their virginity and asked them Who He was for Whom they had renounced marriage, they all had one answer: My Lord and my God!
When the avaricious, in astonishment, asked the wealthy for Whose sake they had distributed their wealth and become beggars, all of them had the same reply: My Lord and my God!
Some have seen Him and have said: My Lord and my God! Some have only heard Him and said: My Lord and my God! Some have only felt Him and said: My Lord and my God! Some have only observed Him in the fabric of events and in the destinies of peoples and said: My Lord and my God! Some have felt His presence in their lives and cried out: My Lord and my God! Some have recognized Him by some sign, to themselves or to others, and cried out: My Lord and my God! Still some have only heard about Him from others and believed and cried out: My Lord and my God! Truly, these last ones are the most blessed!
Let us also exclaim, with all our hearts, regardless of how we have come to recognize Him or learn about Him: My Lord and my God!
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

 THE CHRISTIAN
HERITAGE OF KOSOVO
AND METOHIJA

The Historical and Spiritual Heartland of the Serbian People

the chrisitan heritage of kosovo and metohija 250

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The Prologue of Ohrid

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