Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, November 23, 2014

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost; Holy Apostles of the Seventy: Erastus, Olympus, Herodion, Sosipater, Quartus, and Tertius

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!

TROPARION TO THE APOSTLES OF THE SEVENTY - TONE THREE:
O holy apostles, intercede with the merciful God to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

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 APOSTLES OF THE SEVENTY - TONE TWO:
Illumined by divine light, O holy apostles, you wisely destroyed the works of idolatry.  When you preached to all the pagans, you brought them to the Master and taught them to glorify the Trinity. 

HYMN TO THE MOTHER OF GOD - TONE SIX:
Steadfast Protectress of Christians and constant advocate before the Creator, do not despise the cry of us sinners; but in your goodness come speedily to help us who call on you in faith.  Hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for you always protect those who honor you!

EPISTLE READING

The Prokimenon in the 7th Tone:
The Lord shall give strength to His people; the Lord shall bless His people with peace!

24th Sunday after Pentecost: Ephesians 2: 14-22   
Brethren, Christ Himself is our peace, who has made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.  And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. 

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

GOSPEL READING

24th Sunday after Pentecost: Luke 8: 41-56
At that time, a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying.  But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him.  Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment.  And immediately her flow of blood stopped.  And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?”  When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”  But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.”  Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.  And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”  While He was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to Him, “Your daughter is dead.  Do not trouble the Teacher.”  But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”  When He came into the house, He permitted no one to go in except Peter, James and John and the father and mother of the girl.  Now all wept and mourned for her, but He said, “Do not weep, she is not dead, but sleeping.”  And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead.  But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.”  Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately.  And He commanded that she be given something to eat.  And her parents were astonished, but He charged them to tell no one what had happened. 

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for November 10/23 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Apostles Olympas, Erastus, Quartus, Herodion, Sosipater and Tertius
They were all among the Seventy. The latter three are also commemorated elsewhere: Herodion on April 8, Sosipater on April 28, and Tertius on October 30. Saints Olympas and Herodion were followers of the Apostle Peter and when Peter suffered, they also suffered. By the command of Nero, they were beheaded. Erastus had been the steward of the church in Jerusalem, and later became Bishop of Paneas in Palestine. Quartus was Bishop of Beirut. He suffered greatly, but converted many to the Christian Faith. Sosipater was a bishop in Iconium and Tertius was the second bishop in that city. They waged spiritual warfare and, as victors, received heavenly wreaths of glory.

The Holy Martyr Orestes
Orestes was from the town of Tyana in Cappadocia. He was a Christian from birth and a physician by profession. He was harshly tortured by a certain wicked eparch Maximus during the reign of Diocletian. When the eparch at first advised him to deny Christ and worship idols, Orestes replied: “If you knew the power of the Crucified One, you would reject idolatrous falsehoods and worship the true God.” For this, he was savagely beaten, scraped, pulled apart on the rack, burned with a red-hot iron, and cast into prison to die of starvation. The young Orestes spent seven days without bread or water. On the eighth day, he was again brought before the eparch who threatened him with frightening tortures. Orestes answered: “I am prepared to endure every pain, having the sign of my Lord Jesus Christ inscribed on my heart.” The governor condemned him, and the torturers hammered twenty iron nails into his feet and tied him to a horse, dragging him over thorns and rocks until the martyr of God breathed his last. On the place where they discarded Orestes’s body, a man bright as the sun appeared, gathered Orestes’s relics, and carried them to a hill near the town of Tyana, honorably burying them there. This wonderful saint appeared to St. Dimitri of Rostov after his repose, and showed him all the wounds on his body.

Saint Nonnus, Bishop of Heliopolis
Nonnus was renowned as a great ascetic in the Tabennisiot monastery in Egypt. Because of this, he was chosen Bishop of the diocese of Edessa in 448. Later, he was translated to the diocese of Heliopolis, and there converted 30,000 Arabs to the Christian Faith. After the death of Bishop Ibo, St. Nonnus returned to Edessa, where he remained until his repose in 471. Through his prayers, the infamous sinner Pelagia (who was later glorified for her holiness of life), was converted to the Christian Faith (see October 8).

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Martyr Orestes
The young Orestes did not spare his youth,
But boasted of Christ before the judge,
The Living God, One and Holy,
Crucified on the Cross for mankind.

They flogged St. Orestes’s back,
As he mocked the lifeless idols;
And they burned wondrous Orestes in the fire,
Which was cooled by the dew of God’s Spirit.

They drove nails into his feet,
And covered his whole body with wounds.

Strengthened by the Spirit, Orestes prayed,
And gave thanks to God
That he was made worthy of such sufferings,
That God had adopted him as a son.

O Orestes, the God-pleaser,
Courageous martyr for Christ,
Help us unto the last day—
By your prayers, come to our aid—
That we may honorably end our lives,
And be made worthy of Paradise with you.

REFLECTION
The all-wondrous ways of God’s providence were shown in an exceptional and wondrous event in the Monastery of Dochiariou, in the time of the Blessed Neophytus, nephew of St. Euthymius. When, after Euthymius’s repose, Neophytus began to build a new, larger church to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, his resources ran out and he prayed to God for help, and God helped him in a miraculous manner. A peninsula called Longos or Sika lay near the Monastery of Dochiariou. On this peninsula, Neophytus had a small metochion, close to which was a stone statue of a man, bearing the following inscription: “He who strikes me on the head will find much gold.” Many had struck the statue on the head, but had found nothing. It happened that Neophytus sent Basil, a novice of the monastery, on an errand. One day this Basil stood by the statue and wondered at the mysterious inscription. Just then the sun came out and cast the statue’s shadow toward the west. Basil struck the head of the shadow with a stone, dug there, and found a kettle full of gold coins. He immediately ran to tell Abbot Neophytus. The abbot ordered three honorable monks to go with Basil in the monastery’s boat and bring back the gold. These monks set off, loaded the gold into the boat and began the return trip. While they were on the sea, the devil tempted them to take the gold for themselves. Then those three honorable monks, deluded by the devil, bound Basil with a rope, tied a rock around his neck and threw him into the sea. As Basil fell to the bottom of the sea, the Archangels Michael and Gabriel suddenly appeared to him as two resplendent youths, took him and brought him to the church at Dochiariou, placing him before the Royal Doors in the locked church. The next day, when the monks entered the church, they found Basil lying bound before the sanctuary. The abbot questioned him and was told of the miraculous event. Then the three other monks arrived and, seeing Basil alive, were thunderstruck. The abbot punished them severely, took the gold and completed the church. However, he dedicated it to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, and not to St. Nicholas, as he had earlier planned. That is why Euthymius’s old church at Dochiariou is called the Church of St. Nicholas, and the new one is called the Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel.

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate Paul’s wondrous salvation from the snake (Acts 28):
1. How Paul gathered sticks and put them on the fire;
2. How a venomous viper leaped from the fire and fastened on his hand;
3. How he shook the viper off, and no harm came to him.

HOMILY on the only Peace and the Peacemaker

For He is our peace, Who hath made both one (Ephesians 2:14).
Between the Israelites and the pagans there lay a wide abyss that no mortal could bridge, or fill in and level off. The Lord Jesus Christ alone was the one who could do that, and He did it. That which had been estranged, He brought closer and joined. By what? By His Blood. By His sacrifice, He replaced all other sacrifices. By this, He redeemed all of nature and by Himself replaced that which men brought and offered to God (or, to the gods) as sacrifice. One sacrifice is sufficient both for the Israelites and for the pagans: the sacrifice of Christ. Furthermore, the blood of animals separated the Israelites and the pagans—by the places where they were offered, by the divinity to whom they were offered, by the kind of animal that was offered and the manner in which it was offered. Now, Christ’s Most-pure Blood has come in place of all that blood, and His Blood unites and makes brothers of the Israelites and the pagans. They became blood brothers, even as all of us faithful are blood-brothers—because of the Blood of Christ, by which we are redeemed from the curse, and by which we are now fed. He destroyed the middle wall of partition (Ephesians 2:14) that divided and separated, and He joined the hands and the hearts of the Israelites and the pagans. By what? By His Body. That is, by the living truth, by the truth incarnate in Himself. The shadow of the Law had replaced truth for the Israelites, and fables had replaced truth for the pagans. He removed both of them and revealed the living truth in His Body, and the world saw and rejoiced. O Lord Jesus Christ, our most blessed Redeemer, unite the hearts of us, Thy faithful. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

 A small monastic holding, belonging to a particular monastery but located elsewhere.—Trans.

THE CHRISTIAN HERITAGE OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, November 16, 2014

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost;
Dedication of the Church of the Great-martyr George in Lydia


RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SIX:
The angelic powers were at Your tomb; and the guards became as dead men; and Mary stood by Your grave, seeking Your most pure Body. You did capture hell, not being tempted by it. You did come to the Virgin, granting life. O Lord who did rise from the dead: Glory to You!

TROPARION TO ST. GEORGE – TONE FOUR:
O liberator of captives, defender of the poor, physician of the sick, and champion of kings, trophy-bearer, great-martyr George, intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved.

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 ST. GEORGE – TONE EIGHT:
As we the faithful flee to you for refuge and seek your protection and speedy help, we entreat you, O champion of Christ, that we who sing your praises may be delivered from the snares of the enemy and from every peril and adversary, that we may cry: ‘Rejoice, O martyr George!’

HYMN TO THE MOTHER OF GOD - TONE SIX:
Steadfast Protectress of Christians and constant advocate before the Creator, do not despise the cry of us sinners; but in your goodness come speedily to help us who call on you in faith.  Hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for you always protect those who honor you!

EPISTLE READING

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


23rd Sunday after Pentecost: Ephesians 2: 4-10 
Brethren, God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 

The Alleluia Verses:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the heavenly God.  He will say to the Lord: My Protector and my Refuge; my God, in whom I trust.

GOSPEL READING

23rd Sunday after Pentecost: Luke 8: 26-39
At that time, Jesus and His disciples sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee.  And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time.  And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.  When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I beg You, do not torment me!”  For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.  For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.  Jesus asked him saying, “What is your name?”  And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him.  And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.  Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain.  So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them.  And He permitted them.  Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned.  When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country.  Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind.  And they were afraid.  They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear.  And He got into the boat and returned.  Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him.  But Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.”  And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him. 

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for November 3/16 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:


The Hieromartyr Acepsimas, Bishop of Naeson, and others with him
The eighty-year-old Acepsimas, filled with every Christian virtue, was sitting one day in his home with guests. Just then a child, filled with the Spirit of God, ran up to the aged bishop, kissed him on the head and said: “Blessed is this head, for it will receive suffering for Christ.” This prophecy was soon fulfilled. King Sapor raised a bitter persecution of Christians throughout Persia, and St. Acepsimas was apprehended. He was brought before a prince who was also a pagan priest. As the bishop was arrested and bound, a member of his household asked him what should be done with his home if he were martyred. The saint replied: “It is no longer my home. I am going to a home on high and will not return.” After prolonged interrogation he was thrown into prison. The following day Joseph, a seventy-year-old presbyter, and Aithalas, a deacon, were also imprisoned. After three years of imprisonment and many tortures, Acepsimas was beheaded. Joseph and Aithalas were buried up to their waists in the ground, and the soulless pagans forced Christians to stone them. That night, by God’s providence, Joseph’s body disappeared, and a myrtle tree grew over Aithalas’s body that healed every kind of disease and pain of men. This tree stood for five years before the wicked and envious pagans cut it down. These soldiers of Christ suffered in Persia in the fourth century, during the time of the pagan King Sapor.

The Holy Great-martyr George
On this day we commemorate the translation of the relics of St. George, from Nicomedia, where he suffered at the time of Emperor Diocletian, to the city of Lydda in Palestine. The suffering of this wonderful saint is described on April 23. Anticipating his martyrdom, St. George begged his servant to take his relics to Palestine, where his mother had been born, and where he had distributed his large estate to the poor. The servant did so. During the reign of Emperor Constantine, pious Christians built a beautiful church to St. George in Lydda and, upon the consecration of that church, the relics of the saint were interred there. Innumerable miracles have occurred from these miracle-working relics of St. George, the great-martyr of Christ.

The Venerable Elias the Egyptian

Elias labored in asceticism near Antinoe, the principle city of the Thebaid. For seventy years, he lived among the arid and inaccessible rocks of the desert. He ate only bread and dates and, in his youth, fasted for weeks at a time. He healed all manner of pains and ailments of the people. He eventually became very shaky in his old age, and entered into the joy of his Lord at the age of 110. Elias said: “Guard your mind from evil thoughts concerning your neighbors, knowing that the demons put them there, aiming to blind you to your own sins and prevent you from directing yourself toward God.”

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Great-martyr George
O George the martyr,
O George the victor:
Through suffering, you conquered,
And through death you have been glorified.

You held all things to be of less value
Than truth, O George.

You gave up earthly power and honor,
And stood beside the Living Christ.

O George the martyr,
O George the victor:
Pierced and broken with horrible tortures,
You were sustained by God’s hand.

All your pains were as nothing—
By the power of God’s mighty hand.

We all bow down before you
And glorify your name.

O Martyr George,
O Victor George:
Have mercy on us now,
By your prayers, protect us
Before the throne of Christ God,
Our Almighty Savior;
And pray that we not fear torture,
And that, by patience, we conquer!

REFLECTION

Among the countless miracles of St. George, this one is recorded: On the island of Mytilene there was a church dedicated to St. George the Great-martyr and Trophy-bearer. All the inhabitants of the island would come to this church on the annual feast of their patron saint. Knowing of this, the Saracens of Crete once attacked this island on its feast day, pillaged the island, and enslaved its inhabitants, taking many of them back to Crete. Among the enslaved was a handsome young man, whom the pirates gave to their prince. The prince made him his servant. The young man’s parents were overwhelmed with great sorrow for their son. After a year had passed and St. George’s day came again, the grieving parents, following the ancient custom, prepared a table and entertained many guests. Remembering her son, the poor mother went to the icon of the saint, fell to the ground and began to pray that he somehow deliver her son from slavery. The mother then returned to her guests at the table. The host raised a glass and drank a toast to the honor of St. George. Just then their son appeared among them, holding a decanter of wine in his hand. In amazement and fear, they asked him how he had managed to come to them. He replied that as he was about to serve his master wine in Crete, a knight on horseback appeared before him, pulled him up onto the horse and carried him instantly to his parents’ home. All were amazed, and glorified God and His wonderful saint, George the Commander and Victory-bearer.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the wondrous deliverance of Paul and Silas from prison (Acts 16):

1. How these holy apostles were cast into the inner prison and their feet were placed in stocks;

2. How they were at prayer, praising God at midnight;

3. How the earth quaked, the chains fell off those who were bound, and the doors of the prison were opened.

HOMILY on Christ as the Head of all the saints

That … He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth (Ephesians 1:10).

Sin causes panic and confusion. A man drowning in sin and vice is like a chicken with its head cut off which, dying, thrashes about convulsively and rushes to and fro. Before Christ’s Incarnation, the whole pagan world was a confused, headless body, dying in convulsions. Christ joined the severed head with the benighted trunk and brought the body of the human race back to life. He is the Head of the heavenly host, and He has always been. And, as the Creating Word of God, He was from the beginning the Head of everything created in the visible world, especially the human race. But sin, like a sword, separated the sinful trunk of Adam from his Head. However, the Lord reconciled heaven and earth in His Incarnation, bringing heaven to earth, and raising earth to heaven, and establishing all of it under His mind, under His headship. Through Christ we are reconciled with the Holy Trinity and the angels of God, with one another, and with the created nature around us. The lost Head has been found and all has been harmoniously arranged beneath it. The Apostle says: We have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16). As the head is to the physical man, so the mind is to the spiritual inner man. Therefore, if we are Christ’s, we must think and judge in all things according to our Head, Jesus Christ, and Him alone. Thinking and judging by Him, we will perceive ourselves as organs of one body that includes other men and the angels: one body, whose Head is Christ. Hence, our love for God is enkindled, and our faith strengthened, and our hope enlightened. Only a sleeping body feels no link with its head. Let us awaken, my brethren, let us awaken while we have time. O Lord Jesus Christ, our All-wise Head, unite us with Thyself. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

THE CHRISTIAN HERITAGE OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
The Spiritual, Historical, and Aesthetic Heart of the
Serbian People

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


View Introductory Video 

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