Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, January 25, 2015

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 Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thirty-third Sunday after Pentecost; Sunday after Theophany; Holy Martyr Tatiana of Rome; “Akathistos” Icon of Chilandar


RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE EIGHT:
You descended from on high, O Merciful One! You accepted the three day burial to free us from our sufferings! O Lord, our Life and Resurrection: Glory to You!

THEOPHANY TROPARION - TONE ONE:
When You, O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest!  For the voice of the Father bare witness to You, and called You His beloved Son; and the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His word.  O Christ our God, who has revealed Yourself and has enlightened the world, glory to You!

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE EIGHT:
By rising from the tomb You raised the dead and resurrected Adam.  Eve exults in Your Resurrection, and the world celebrates Your rising from the dead, O greatly Merciful One!

THEOPHANY KONTAKION - TONE FOUR:
Today You have appeared to the universe and Your light, O Lord, has shone on us, who with understanding praise You: You have come and revealed Yourself, O Light Unapproachable!

INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET…”:
Magnify, O my soul, the most pure Virgin Mother of God, more honorable than the heavenly hosts!  No tongue is capable of praising you worthily; the angelic mind is overawed in exalting you, O Mother of God!  But accept our faith, since you are gracious and know our divine love.  You are the protectress of Christians, and we praise you!

EPISTLE READING

The Prokimenon in the 8th Tone:       
Pray and make your vows before the Lord our God.

Sunday after Theophany: Ephesians 4: 7-13
Brethren, to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”  Now this, “He ascended” - what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?  He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

The Alleluia Verses:
Come let us rejoice in the Lord!  Let us make a joyful noise to God our Savior!  Let us come before His face with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with psalms!

GOSPEL READING

Sunday after Theophany: Matthew 4: 12-17
At that time when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee.  And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.”  From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Spiritual Articles
From The Prologue for January 12/25 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Martyr Tatiana
Tatiana was a Roman whose parents were from the nobility. She was a Christian and a deaconess in the church. After the death of Emperor Heliogabalus, there reigned the Emperor Alexander, whose mother, Mammaea, was a Christian. Emperor Alexander himself was wavering and indecisive in his faith, for he kept statues of Christ, Apollo, Abraham and Orpheus in his palace. His chief assistants took it upon themselves to persecute the Christians without awaiting orders from the emperor. When they brought out the virgin Tatiana for torture, she prayed to God for her torturers. And lo, their eyes were opened and they saw four angels around the martyr. Seeing this, eight of them believed in Christ, for which they also were tortured and slain. The tormentors continued to torture St. Tatiana. They whipped her, cut off parts of her body, and scraped her with irons. All disfigured and bloody, Tatiana was thrown into the dungeon that evening, so that the next day they could begin anew with different tortures. But God sent His angels to the dungeon to encourage her and to heal her wounds, so that each morning Tatiana appeared before the torturers completely healed. They threw her before a lion, but the lion fawned about her and did her no harm. They cut off her hair, thinking, according to their pagan reasoning, that some sorcery or magical power was concealed in her hair. Finally, Tatiana and her father were led out together, and both were beheaded. Thus, Tatiana ended her earthly life in about the year 225, and this heroic virgin, who had the fragile body of a woman but a robust and valiant spirit, was crowned with the immortal wreath of glory.

The Holy Martyr Peter Apselamus
Peter was born in Eleutheropolis in Palestine. In his youth, Peter suffered for the Christian Faith in 311, during the reign of Emperor Maximian. After much torture, he was condemned to death. Upon hearing his death sentence, he joyfully cried out: “That is my one wish—to die for my God!” Peter was crucified in the same manner as our Lord Himself, and gave up his spirit on the cross.

The Feast of the Icon of the All-holy Mother of God, “the Milk-giver"

This is the name of the icon of the All-holy Mother of God which St. Sava the Serbian brought from the [Greek] Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified, near Jerusalem. And so, the prophecy spoken by St. Sava the Sanctified, some eight hundred years earlier—that a certain Serbian priest by the name of Sava would come, and that this icon and his staff would be given to the Serbian—was fulfilled. When St. Sava the Serbian visited the Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified, the monks recalled the prophecy of the founder of their monastery and gave to Sava the Serbian this icon and staff. This icon was placed on the right side of the Royal Doors on the iconostasis, in Sava’s hermitage [Isposnica, the House of Silence] in the monastic community at Karyes [on Mount Athos], and the staff was placed in an adjacent cell known as the “Paterica.”

The Venerable Mother Theodora
Theodora was a glorious nun and teacher of nuns from Alexandria. “Just as trees require winter and snow in order to bear fruit, so trials and temptations are needed for our life,” spoke this holy woman. She reposed peacefully at the beginning of the fifth century.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Tatiana
You pity the youth of your body? Oh, be reasonable!
Is it worthwhile to grieve over youth which passes? Judge for yourself!
There is only one youth—youth in eternity.
That is the true youth, youth without old age.
It is worth seeking this, and shedding tears for it,
Even if you must pay for it with the death of the body.
Tatiana purchased the costly with the less costly.
For dust and water she received divine wine;
For the body that ages, eternal youth;
And for a few tears, cherubic joy.
United to Christ, the Immortal King,
She remained faithful to her Betrothed;
By the power of a pure spirit, she crushed temptations,
And bravely endured frightening tortures.
Around her were heard angelic footsteps.
She shed her body like a wrinkled cloth,
And her soul, free of earthly ties,
Was raised up to the wedding feast in the Kingdom without tears.

REFLECTION
There is no greater honor or greater calling on earth than to be a Christian. When the judge-torturer Sevirus asked the young Peter Apselamus: “Of what lineage are you?” Peter replied: “I am a Christian.” The judge further inquired of him: “What rank are you?” To this, Peter responded: “There is no greater or better rank than that of a Christian.” Father John of Kronstadt writes: “The whole world is but a cobweb in comparison to the human soul of a Christian.” The Christian is an earthen vessel into which is poured divine power and light. Whether this vessel is placed on a golden royal throne or whether it is lowered into a dark hut of a beggar, its value will be neither magnified nor diminished. Does not gold have the same value whether it is wrapped in a silk handkerchief or in a cabbage leaf?

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the meekness of the Lord Jesus:
1. His meekness in His hidden life in Nazareth until the age of thirty;
2. His meekness in dealing with the sick and with sinners;
3. His meekness in dealing with Judas the traitor and with the unjust judges.


HOMILY
on how man is most dear to God and God to man

For I seek not yours, but you (II Corinthians 12:14).

These words, which could have only been spoken by fiery apostolic love toward one’s neighbor, express the essence of the relationship of the Christian toward God, and of God toward the Christian. The love of God could very well say: “Thou, O Christian, fastest for My sake; for My sake thou dost distribute alms; for My sake thou dost lift up heartfelt prayers; for My sake thou buildest churches; for My sake thou offerest sacrifices and performest many other good deeds. All of this is good, and all of this is pleasing to Me, but thou art more precious to Me than all of this. In the end, I seek nothing of all of this; rather, I seek thee, only thee.”

The love of a Christian could very well say: “O Lord, Thou gavest me health and that is good. Thou kindlest the light; Thou permittest the rain to fall; Thou dost refresh the air by Thy thunder, and that is good. Thou bestowest wealth, wisdom, many years, offspring and many other good things, which Thou dost bountifully set on the table of this life. All of this is good and most good. I receive all of this with gratitude. But, in the ultimate end, this is only the hem of Thy garment. Ultimately, I do not seek anything of that, but Thee, O Lord—Thee alone do I seek.”

O my brethren, that which is seen with the physical eyes is not God, and that which is seen with the physical eyes is not man. That which is seen in the whole of nature is only something of God; and that which is seen in the physical garment is only something of man. Brethren, God is Love that lowers heaven to earth. Brethren, man is love that raises earth to heaven.

O Lord, Lover of mankind, Creator and Almighty, take up Thine abode more and ever more within us, with Thy Life-giving Spirit, that we may live; that we may be alive in Thy Kingdom without death.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, January 18, 2015

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thirty-second Sunday after Pentecost; Sunday before Theophany; Holy Cross Day; Holy Hieromartyr Theopemptus and Martyr Theonas

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SEVEN:
By Your Cross, You destroyed death!  To the thief, You opened Paradise!  For the myrrh bearers, You changed weeping into joy!  And You commanded Your disciples, O Christ God, to proclaim that You are risen, granting the world great mercy!

THE PRE-FEAST OF THEOPHANY TROPARION - TONE FOUR:
The river Jordan once turned back before the mantle of Elisha, after Elijah had been taken up into heaven, and the waters were divided on this side and on that: the stream became a dry path before him, forming a true figure of the baptism whereby we pass over the changeful course of life. Christ has appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

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.

THE PRE-FEAST OF THEOPHANY KONTAKION - TONE TWO:
O Christ of all, who has tenderheartedly removed a multitude of our transgressions, out of immeasurable compassion, You go to be baptized like man in Jordan’s waters; thus clothing me, terribly naked, with the robe of the original glory.

EPISTLE READING


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

Sunday before Theophany: 2 Timothy 4: 5-8

My son Timothy, you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

The Alleluia Verses:

May God be gracious to us and bless us, and make His face to shine upon us.

EPISTLE READING

Sunday before Theophany: Mark 1: 1-8      

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  As it is written in the Prophets: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.’”  John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.  Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.  Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  And he preached, saying: “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.  I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for January 5/18 by
St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Hieromartyr Theopemptos and the Martyr Theonas
When Diocletian began his persecution of Christians, Theopemptos, Bishop of Nicomedia, was among the first to suffer martyrdom for Christ. Theopemptos was brought before the emperor, who threatened him with the punishment of death if he did not deny Christ. To that threat, the courageous bishop responded to the emperor: “It stands written: Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul (Matthew 10:28). O Emperor, you have authority over my body; do with it as you please.” Theopemptos was severely beaten, starved and tortured in various ways. Finally, the emperor summoned a certain magician, Theonas by name, to outwit this godly man through magic. Theonas dissolved the most potent poison in water and gave it to Theopemptos to drink. Theopemptos traced the sign of the Cross over the glass and drank the poison. On seeing that the poison had no effect on Theopemptos, Theonas turned to the emperor and shouted: “I too am a Christian, and I bow down before the Crucified One.” Both were sentenced to death in the year 298; Theopemptos was beheaded and Theonas was buried alive. They suffered honorably and became citizens of the Kingdom of Christ.

The Holy Prophet Micah the First
Micah was a contemporary of the Prophet Elias. He foretold the death of the pernicious King Ahab in battle against the Assyrians (I Kings 22; II Chronicles 18). Micah prophesied orally and did not put anything into writing. He is to be distinguished from the other Prophet Micah (August 14), who prophesied the birth of the Lord in Bethlehem and authored one of the prophetic books.

The Venerable Mother Syncletica
Syncletica was of Macedonian descent and was educated in Alexandria. As a wealthy and distinguished maiden she had many suitors, but she rejected them all and fled from her parents’ home to a convent. In great self-restraint, vigil and prayer, Syncletica lived to her eightieth year. Her counsels to the nuns have always been considered true spiritual pearls, for this righteous one did not attain the heights of wisdom through books but through sufferings, pains, daily and nightly contemplation, and spiritual communication with the higher world of the Divine. Her soul took up its habitation in that higher world in the year 350. Among other things, St. Syncletica was known to say: “If it is the season for fasting, do not dismiss fasting, claiming illness, for behold, even those who do not fast succumb to the same illness.” She further said: “As a treasure, when uncovered, is quickly seized, so it is with virtue: when it is made public it becomes eclipsed and is lost.”

The Venerable Apollinaria
Apollinaria was the daughter of Anthemius, the regent of the adolescent Emperor Theodosius the Younger. She was her father’s elder daughter. His younger daughter was insane. Apollinaria did not wish to marry because in her heart she was betrothed to Christ, and she withdrew into the Egyptian wilderness. In men’s attire and under the masculine name of Dorotheus, Apollinaria entered a monastery for men, where she lived an ascetic life, lifting up her spirit continuously toward God and burning with love toward her Creator. Someone advised the imperial regent, Anthemius, to send his insane daughter to the ascetics to have prayers said for her. According to the providence of God, it so happened that the elder sister healed her insane sister through the power of prayer. Only when Apollinaria reposed was her secret revealed—that she was not a man but a woman. The bravery of this holy virgin has remained an example and stimulus to many throughout the ages who contemplate their salvation. She reposed in the year 470.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saints Apollinaria and Syncletica

These innocent virgins, for the sake of God and their souls,
Became faithful followers of Christ.

Pleasures, luxuries and laughter they abandoned,
And lifted up their souls to the angelic world.

In their weak bodies were lighted torches;
By the Holy Spirit their souls were wondrously illuminated,
Shining for centuries and showing the way,
Rejoicing in heaven with the holy angels.

O Apollinaria and Syncletica!
In your hearts the Holy Spirit glows.

He strengthens you, leads and teaches you;
He has wedded you and betrothed you to Christ.

Pray for us, O wondrous ascetics,
Heroines brave, immortal virgins.


REFLECTION
Fruit, fruit, and only fruit does the Lord seek from every living tree which is called a man. Good fruit is a God-loving heart, and evil fruit is a self-loving heart. Everything else that a man possesses and enjoys—position, authority, honor, health, money and knowledge—are but the leaves on the tree. Therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire (Matthew 3:10). Even the non-Christian peoples valued good deeds more than fine words. How much more must it be the rule for the followers of Christ. At a council of the Athenians, at which were present representatives of the Spartans, a certain elderly man moved from bench to bench, seeking a place to sit. The Athenians mocked him and did not relinquish a seat to him. When the old man approached the Spartans, everyone rose to their feet and offered him a seat. Upon seeing this, the Athenians praised the Spartans in eloquent terms. To this the Spartans replied: “The Athenians know what is good, but they do not do good.” Whoever performs good deeds resembles a tree that brings forth good fruit for its householder. The source of goodness in man is a good, God-loving heart.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the perfection of Adam, the first man:

1. His closeness to God;

2. His strength, wisdom and beauty, given by God;

3. The voluntary submission of the whole of nature to the authority of the sinless Adam.


HOMILY
on our helplessness without Christ the Lord

For without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).

Our Lord did not have the habit of exaggerating in His speech. No words in this world are weighed more than His words. When He says that we can do nothing without Him, this must be taken and understood literally. Here, He speaks of good and not of evil. We can do no good without Christ, aside from Christ or contrary to Christ. He is the Proprietor, the Giver, and the Inspirer of all good. No type of good stands outside Him; likewise, no type of evil is contained in Him. Our Lord said: I am the Vine, ye are the branches (John 15:5). What can the branches do without the Vine? Can they grow and bring forth fruit? No, they can do nothing but become firewood. Man can think as hard as he wants, but he cannot conceive of one true good that is not in Christ and that does not stem from Christ. If someone were to say that he does good and humane works outside of Christ, know that his works are spoiled to the core and corroded, be it from vanity or from hidden selfishness. Man without Christ is the same as branches without the vine. He Himself told us this. The Vine is hidden and unseen, but the branches are seen. Nevertheless, the grapes on the branch and the branch itself depend on the Vine. The Vine of all-encompassing good grows from the heart of God the Father and is watered by the sweetness of the Holy Spirit. O Triune Lord God, have mercy on us and save us! To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

RETREATS & TRAINING

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CONTACT US

 

 THE CHRISTIAN
HERITAGE 
OF KOSOVO AND
METOHIJA

The Spiritual, Historical, and Aesthetic Heart of the
Serbian People

kovoso knjiga

View a PDF of the 
First Introductory pages 
of this monumental collection

View Introductory Video 

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

Expected to be available in 
Mid-January!


NEWEST PUBLICATIONS

ArtofSeeing

Read More...

synaxarion flyer

Read More...

Mardarije and Sebastian

ЖИТИЈА ЕПИСКОПА МАРДАРИЈА ЛИБЕРТИВИЛСКОГ И АРХИМАНДРИТА СЕВАСТИЈАНА ЏЕКСОНСКОГ
Read More...

Abba Justing

TIME IS A FRAGMENT OF ETERNITY
Read More...

thunderbold-front-sm

THE THUNDERBOLT OF EVER-LIVING FIRE
Read More...  


Also on Kindle 
at Amazon:
 

Our Newest Addition
The Art of Seeing
by Maximos Constas


The Thunderbolt 
of Ever-Living Fire


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

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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