WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN
SUNDAY, AUGUST 23, 2015
Dormition Fast; Afterfeast of Transfiguration
12th Sunday after Pentecost:
The Holy Martyr Archdeacon Lawrence, Pope Sixtus and Companions
RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE THREE:
Let the heavens rejoice and 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 firstborn of the dead! He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted to the world great mercy!
THE TRANSFIGURATION TROPARION - TONE SEVEN:
Thou wast transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, revealing Your glory to Your disciples as far as they could bear it. Let Your everlasting light shine upon us sinners, through the prayers of the Theotokos. O Giver of Light, glory to Thee!
TROPARION TO THE HOLY MARTYR LAWRENCE – TONE FOUR: Victorious martyr of Christ our God, by the sign of the Cross you gave sight to the blind; you distributed the riches of the Church to the poor; you were tried by fire and no evil was found in you. As you endured the burning, may your prayers extinguish the flames of our many sins, blessed Archdeacon Lawrence!
RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE THREE:
On this day You arose from the tomb, O Merciful One, leading us from the gates of death. On this day Adam exults as Eve rejoices; with the prophets and the patriarchs they unceasingly praise the divine majesty of Your power!
KONTAKION TO THE HOLY MARTYR LAWRENCE – TONE TWO: Your heart burned with divine fire as the flames of the passions died within you. God-bearing martyr Lawrence, the pillar of those who struggle, you cried out in the midst of your contest: ‘Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ.’
THE TRANSFIGURATION KONTAKION - TONE SEVEN:
On the mountain You were transfigured, O Christ God, and Your disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could see it; so that when they would behold You crucified, they would understand that Your suffering was voluntary, and would proclaim to the world that You are truly the Radiance of the Father!
INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET…”:
Magnify, O my soul, the Lord who was transfigured on Mount Tabor! Your birthgiving was incorruptible! God came from your body and appeared on earth in flesh, dwelling among men. Therefore, we magnify you, O Theotokos!
The Prokimenon in the 3rd Tone: Sing praises to our God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
12th after Pentecost: 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11
Brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you - unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
The Alleluia Verses:
In You, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be put to shame! Be a God of protection for me, a house of refuge, in order to save me!
12th after Pentecost: Matthew 19: 16-26
At that time, a young man came to Jesus and said, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
From The Prologue for August 10/23 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:
The Holy Martyrs Archdeacon Lawrence; Sixtus, Pope of Rome; and others with them: When Pope Stephen was slain (August 2), Sixtus, who was an Athenian by birth, was appointed in his place. Sixtus was at one time a philosopher and then became a Christian. This was a time in which the bishops of Rome were slain one after the other: to become Bishop of Rome meant to be consigned to martyrdom. Emperor Decius was determined to destroy Christianity. Pope Sixtus was quickly brought to trial, with two of his deacons—Felicissimus and Agapitus. As the three were led to prison, Archdeacon Lawrence said to the pope: “Where are you going, Father, without your son? Where, O bishop, without your archdeacon?” The pope consoled him, prophesying to Lawrence that he would undergo even greater tortures for Christ, and that he would shortly take this path. And indeed, as soon as they had beheaded Sixtus and his two deacons, Lawrence was apprehended. Lawrence had presciently placed all of his affairs, and the affairs of the Church, in order. As treasurer and steward of the Church, he removed all of the Church’s valuables to the home of the widower Cyriacus. (On that same occasion, he healed Cyriacus of a terrible head pain by the touch of his hand and restored the sight of a blind man, Crescention.) After being thrown into prison, Lawrence healed Lucillus, a prisoner of many years, of blindness; and then he baptized him. Witnessing this, Hippolytus, their jailer, was also baptized. He later suffered for Christ (August 13). Since Lawrence did not want to deny Christ—but on the contrary, advised Emperor Decius to reject his false gods—his face was beaten with stones, and his body was beaten with a scorpion (a chain with sharp teeth, and a curved handle like a scorpion’s tail). Romanus, a soldier present at the torture, converted to the Christian Faith, and was immediately beheaded. In the end, they placed Lawrence on a gridiron, naked, and lit a fire under him. Roasting in the fire, St. Lawrence thanked God and mocked the emperor for his paganism. After Lawrence gave his pure and heroic soul to God, Hippolytus removed his body under cover of night to the home of Cyriacus, and then to a cave, where Hippolytus honorably buried him. St. Lawrence, with the others, suffered in the year 258.
Hiron was a Christian philosopher. He is mentioned by St. Gregory the Theologian in his books. He died peacefully and took up his eternal habitation with the Lord.
HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Martyr, Saint Lawrence
The impious emperor asked Lawrence:
“Where are you from? What is your rank?”
To which Lawrence replied:
“From Spain, educated in Rome,
And I am a servant of the One God.”
“Are you the guardian of the treasury of the Church?”
“Of that good treasure, I am, O Emperor.”
“Give us the treasure, and save your life!”
“The treasure of the Church is in heaven—
If you too believe in the Lord Christ,
You will also inherit that treasure!”
“Lawrence, renounce Christ!”
“O Emperor, renounce the idols!”
The emperor, enraged, summoned his servants,
Who beat Lawrence and crushed him,
And laid him on a burning grid.
“To me, this fire is cool,
But the fire in hades is ready for you!”
“Lawrence, renounce Christ!
Do you not regret dying young?”
“Christ suffered for me on the Cross:
He died for me, and I will die for Him.”
With one side of his body consumed by the flames,
Lawrence said to his torturers:
“My body is just half cooked,
Turn me over—here is your food!
Turn me over, and cook the other side!”
He spoke and his soul departed
To the sweet heavenly mansions.
How can we overcome the antagonism of our enemies? By renunciation, meekness and prayer—renunciation in everything, except in faith and purity of life; meekness always; and prayer always. St. Ambrose writes: “This is the weapon of the righteous ones: that in retreating they conquer, just as the skillful archers are able to shoot those stronger than themselves, even as they themselves retreat.” A brother was offended by his friend, but, nevertheless, desiring peace with him, went to him to be reconciled. His friend did not even want to open the door for him and, scolding him from within, chased him away from his dwelling. The brother then complained to a spiritual elder, who said to him: “You were going to your friend to be reconciled; yet, all along the way there, you condemned him in your thoughts and justified yourself. Even though your friend sinned against you, I counsel you to establish the thought in yourself that you have sinned against him. Justify him and condemn yourself. In this manner, go to him again.” Thus, the brother proceeded. And what happened? Just as the brother approached his friend’s abode, his friend opened the door wide, ran up to him, embraced him, and made peace with him.
Contemplate the plagues that befell the Philistines because of the captured Ark of the Covenant (I Samuel 5:6):
1. How the people were afflicted with tumors, and mice devoured the crops, wherever the Philistines set down the Ark of the Covenant;
2. How the Philistines, terrified, returned the Ark of the Covenant to the land of Israel;
3. How the holy things of God punish those who keep them in an unclean land of idols, or in a heart defiled by passions.
HOMILY on the weakness of sinful ones
As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them (Isaiah 3:12).
All that is of God is most beautiful and most wise. Everything created by God travels obediently along the path for which God has ordained it. The stars move, animals live, and the atmospheric currents flow—all according to the order established by God. Only man, the most intelligent creature, frequently leaves the path of God, falling into ignorance and inventing strange paths according to his thinking. Because of this, it can be that children lead instead of the elders, and instead of men, women rule. When children rule, oppression reigns. When women rule, disorder usually reigns. When this is permitted by God—as this does not occur unless the people sin, or by the permission of God—the people find themselves under punishment for their sins, in the same way that an enemy subdues the land in war; for all oppression is war, and every disorder is a punishment for sin. Just as oppression and disorder are able to reign in a nation, they are able to reign in the soul of man. Immature and impious thoughts are contributed by children; and physical, sensual theorizing is the contribution of women. When immature and impious thoughts prevail, they oppress man and drag him from evil to evil—like a vindictive child. When physical theorizing prevails over spiritual, masculine wisdom—which is from God—it rules over man like an evil woman. Under the spiritual concept of “women,” the prophet understands not only females, but also men with women’s weaknesses. So that children’s petulance and women’s whims do not overtake a man (or a nation), it is necessary to adhere closely to the law prescribed by God for men—as all created things adhere to the law prescribed by God for them. O Lord, our Creator and our Lawgiver, illumine us and strengthen us. Illumine us with the grace of the Spirit, that we may always know Thy law. Strengthen us with the power of the Spirit, that we may always adhere to Thy law. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Please join us in prayerful support of our Sisters of St. Xenia Skete during the raging fires in the Wildwood area! The fire is 3-1/2 miles away from them! As of today, the town of Wildwood is on mandatory evacuation on the other side of Highway 36 from the Skete. Please keep them in your daily prayers, as they are, together with our Brethren at St. Herman's Monastery, so closely affected by fire and smoke danger!
We jointly pray to the Most Holy Mother of God at the beginning of the Dormition lent, to shelter them and protect them all from adversaries and immediate danger, and to give courage to fire fighters to extinguish the wildfires. Please keep a prayerful stronghold throughout these trying times.
With fraternal love
In Christ, Bishop Maxim
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