Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, August 23, 2015

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THE CANONIZATION OF STS. SEBASTIAN AND MARDARIJE 

Labor Day Weekend!
19th Annual Diocesan Days Gathering

SEPTEMBER 4th, 5th, 6th, 2015

HIS HOLINESS PATRIARCH IRINEJ
and ARCHBISHOP JOVAN OF OHRID
HAS BEEN INVITED AND WILL ATTEND

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LETTER OF INVITATION FROM HIS GRACE BISHOP MAXIM



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!

EPISTLE READING

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!

GOSPEL READING

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.”

SPIRITUAL ARTICLES
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.

Saint Hiron
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.

REFLECTION
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.

CONTEMPLATION
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.


 
PRAYER REQUEST

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 
and gratitude,
In Christ,  Bishop Maxim


Sts Sebastian and Mardarije 3

Holy Missionaries SEBASTIAN of San Francisco and Jackson, and MARDARIJE of Chicago and Libertyville, Newly Proclaimed Saints of the Orthodox Church 

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 STS. MARARDIJE AND SEBASTIAN
Celebrating Two New American Saints


Dear Reverend Fathers and Council Members,


With this letter I want to share with you the most God-pleasing and most important news of the establishment of new feast days in the Calendar of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The Holy Assembly of Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church during its regular session on May 29, 2015, added the names of Bishop Mardarije (Uskokovic) of Libertyville, and Archimandrite Sebastian (Dabovich) of San Francisco and Jackson, clergymen and preachers of the Gospel, God-pleasing servants of holy life, and inspirers of many missionaries, to the Dyptich of Saints (Calendar of Saints) of the Orthodox Church. Glory to God! Once again, through the lives of these two saints, we see our Orthodox Church as a faith that produces holy persons, “enriches the world with saints” and insists on an ethos of holiness.

This is a wonderful blessing for all of us Orthodox Christians in America, and for the whole Orthodox Church throughout the world. When one thinks of the tremendous sacrifices that these two holy apostles made, and the many sorrows that they endured, one is especially gratified that they are now universally recognized as being among the Church’s luminaries. The feast of Holy Hierarch Mardarije will be celebrated on November 29/December 12, while that of the Venerable Sebastian will be celebrated on November 17/30.

The Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America plans to celebrate their public and liturgical glorification at St Steven’s Cathedral in Alhambra, California, on September 5, 2015.

The Serbian Patriarch, His Holiness Irinej, HAS BEEN INVITED AND WILL ATTEND. His Holiness will lead the liturgical festivities, accompanied by the ruling hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in the USA, along with many civil dignitaries and special invited guests.

The program for the festivities can be found here: http://www.westsrbdio.org/en/canonization

With this official invitation we ask you for your presence at a most unique event celebrating these new Serbian American Saints, commemorating the lives of Holy Enlighteners and Apostles of the Church in America.

Please put this date in your calendar in order to be with us on this solemn and important day.

Please let us know if there is anything you need to announce this joyous news to your Community.

With love and esteem in Christ,

Bishop Maxim of the Serbian Western American Diocese

 

 

Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, July 5, 2015

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THE CANONIZATION OF STS. MARDARIJE AND SEBASTIAN  

Save the Date!  SEPTEMBER 4, 5, 6, 2015!  Labor Day Weekend!
19th Annual Diocesan Days Gathering

DOWNLOAD GREETING/AD FORM | LETTER OF INVITATION FROM HIS GRACE BISHOP MAXIM


WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

Sunday, July 5, 2015
Apostles’ Fast

5th Sunday after Pentecost: The Holy Hieromartyr Eusebius; Venerable Anastasia of Serbia

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE FOUR: When the women disciples of the Lord learned from the angel the joyous message of Your Resurrection, they cast away the ancestral curse and elatedly told the apostles: Death is overthrown!  Christ God is risen, granting the world great mercy!

TROPARION TO THE HIEROMARTYR EUSEBIUS - TONE FOUR:  By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, you became a successor to their throne.  Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God; by teaching the word of truth without error, you defended the Faith, even to the shedding of your blood.  Hieromartyr Eusebius, entreat Christ God to save our souls. 

TROPARION TO VENERABLE ANASTASIA OF SERBIA – TONE FOUR: Rich with virtues, adorned with humility and piety, you shined with the purity of your life.  Therefore, God bestowed upon you a blessing in your giving birth to the Enlightener of your people.  Hence, we proclaim unto you: Rejoice, O Venerable Mother Anastasia.

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE FOUR: My Savior and Redeemer as God rose from the tomb and delivered the earthborn from their chains.  He has shattered the gates of hell, and as Master, He has risen on the third day!

KONTAKION TO THE HIEROMARTYR HIEROMARTYR EUSEBIUS - TONE FOUR: You lived piously as a bishop, and trod the path of martyrdom.  You extinguished idolatrous burnt offerings, Hierarch Eusebius.  Since you have boldness before Christ God, entreat Him that our souls may be saved!

KONTAKION TO VENERABLE ANASTASIA OF SERBIA – TONE FOUR: Having lived in honorable marriage, you have preserved purity, teaching your children with meekness that they should love Christ above all; standing now before Him and praying, remember also us who are calling to you: Rejoice, O Venerable Mother Anastasia.

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 4th Tone: O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all.  

5th after Pentecost: Romans 10: 1-10 
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.  For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.  For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”  But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “’Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  But what does it say?  “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

The Alleluia Verses: 
Go forth and prosper and reign, because of truth and meekness and righteousness.  You love righteousness and hate iniquity.

GOSPEL READING

5th after Pentecost: Matthew 8: 28 – 9: 1
At that time, when Jesus had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.  And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God?  Have You come here to torment us before the time?”  Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding.  So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”  And He said to them, “Go.”  So when they had come out they went into the herd of swine.  And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water. Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.  And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus.  And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.  So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.

SPIRITUAL ARTICLES

From The Prologue for June 22/July 5 by
St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Hieromartyr Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
Eusebius was a great denouncer of Arianism. When the throne of Antioch became vacant, Meletius was elected patriarch at the insistence of Eusebius. Meletius was a great beacon of the Church, who, after his death, was found worthy of great praise by St. John Chrysostom. However, the Arians quickly banished Meletius from Antioch. When Constantine’s pernicious son Constantius died, another much worse than he was crowned—Julian the Apostate. During Julian’s persecution of Christians, St. Eusebius removed his clerical attire, donned a soldier’s uniform and, under the guise of a soldier, visited the persecuted Church throughout Syria, Phoenicia and Palestine, strengthening the Orthodox Faith everywhere and ordaining the necessary priests, deacons and other clergy and, in some places, bishops. Following the turbulent death of Julian, St. Eusebius counseled Meletius to convene a council in Antioch in 361, at which twenty-seven hierarchs were present. The Arian heresy was condemned once more and the Faith of Orthodoxy was proclaimed in the same manner as it had been expressed at the First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 325]. Along with Meletius and Eusebius, St. Pelagius of Laodicea, a well known, chaste and ascetic man, made a great impact at the Council of Antioch. This council was held during the reign of the pious Emperor Jovian. However, Emperor Jovian soon died and the wicked Valens was crowned, and a persecution of Orthodoxy again ensued. St. Meletius was exiled to Armenia, Eusebius to Thrace, and Pelagius to Arabia. After Valens, Gratian was crowned emperor, and he granted freedom to the Church and recalled the exiled hierarchs to their sees. Thus they returned: Meletius to Antioch, Eusebius to Samosata, and Pelagius to Laodicea. At that time many dioceses and parishes were vacant, and Eusebius zealously hastened to find canonical shepherds for the people. When he came to the town of Doliche to enthrone the newly elected bishop, Marinus, and to denounce the Arian heresy (which was strong in that town), a fanatical heretic hurled a ceramic tile at Eusebius’s head and mortally wounded him. Thus this great zealot, saint and martyr of Orthodoxy reposed, to live eternally in the blessedness of Paradise. He suffered in the year 379.

The Holy Martyrs Zeno and Zenas
Zeno was a Roman officer in the Arabian town of Philadelphia, and Zenas was his servant. When the persecution of Christians began during the reign of Emperor Maximian, St. Zeno boldly appeared before the commander Maximus, confessed his faith in the One Living God, and counseled Maximus to renounce lifeless idols and embrace the only true Faith. The commander became enraged and cast Zeno into prison. When the faithful Zenas visited his master in prison, he was also seized and arrested. Both of them were tortured for Christ and finally thrown into a fire into which the pagans had poured oil. Their souls were crowned with wreaths in the Kingdom of Christ, and their bodily remains were interred in the Church of St. George at a place called Cyparisson.

HYMN OF PRAISE:
Saints Eusebius, Meletius and Pelagius

The Church is never without shepherds,
Nor without suffering, nor without heroes.

When the sharp sword flashed in Goliath-like manner,
The shepherd of Samosata offered resistance.

Eusebius and with him Meletius,
Like two stars—and the third, Pelagius—
Zealots of Holy Orthodoxy,
Glorious saints of God’s Church.

At that time there was suffering for Christians, 
Bitter suffering from both sides.

On one side, the wild heretics;
On the other side, the insane emperors.

It was difficult to preserve one’s soul,
And to uphold the truth of God
Against lies and against violence.

Amidst the tares was a little sweet basil,
A little immortelle, a little feather grass.

Three hierarchs—three fragrant flowers:
Enough honey for all the poison of the world.

Eusebius began as a zealot
And ended his life as a martyr.

O Eusebius, thou high priest,
Bless us, O God-pleaser!

REFLECTION
Why does the good Lord permit assaults and trials to fall on the true Faith, while He permits the pleasure of tranquility to heresies and paganism? “Why?” St. John Chrysostom asks and immediately replies: “So that you might recognize their weakness (i.e., of heresies and paganism)—when you see that they disintegrate on their own without any disturbance—and also be convinced of the power of the Faith that endures misfortunes and even multiplies through its adversaries.” … “Therefore, if we quarrel with the pagans or with the slanderous Jews, it is sufficient to emphasize, as evidence of divine power, that the Faith (Christianity), which was subjected to countless struggles, maintained victory,” even when the entire world stood against her. St. Isaac the Syrian says: “The wondrous love of God toward man is recognized when man is in misfortunes that are destroying his hope. Here God manifests His power for man’s salvation. For man never recognizes the power of God in tranquility and freedom.”


CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the miraculous dumbness of Zacharias the High Priest (Luke 1:20):
1. How Zacharias did not believe the angel of God that the aged womb of his wife could conceive and give birth, and how he was struck dumb because of this, in accordance with the words of the angel;
2. How I too am as though struck dumb when I cannot sufficiently speak about God’s miracles because my faith is small.

HOMILY on how the slothful man excuses himself
The slothful man says: A lion is outside (Proverbs 22:13).
In order to justify his slothfulness, the slothful man emphasizes the difficulties and obstacles of a certain task and magnifies them beyond measure. If a man annoys him, he will say that the entire village annoys him; if the leaves rustle, he will claim that he is unable to go to work because of a storm; if a rabbit is in front of his house, he will say it is a lion! He says this in order to avoid leaving his house, and to delay his work.

Slothfulness is completely contrary to the nature of man. The nature of man is activity; the nature of man seeks to be occupied, to work and to build. Slothfulness is a sure sign of the distortion of nature in a man. That slothfulness is a terrible vice is clear in that the active man is never envious of the slothful man, while the slothful man is envious of the active man; in the same manner, the sober man is not envious of the drunkard, while the drunkard is envious of the sober man.

O Lord, ever-active Creator, save us from the dull and sinful slothfulness by which we distance ourselves from our first-created nature, from Thine image and likeness, O Master of all things! Inspire us with Thy Holy Spirit, ever active and joy-creating.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

From the Synaxarion
The daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Romanus IV (1168-91), St. Anna was given in marriage to the Great Zhupan of Serbia St. Stefan Nemanja (commemorated February 13), by whom she had three sons: Vukan, Stefan and Rastko—the future St. Sava (commemorated January 14). When her husband became a monk under the name of Symeon, she took the veil in a monastery that she had founded on the right bank of the river Toplitsa, and received the name: Anastasia. Having lived there in devotion and holiness, she entered into rest in peace on the 21st of June, 1200. Her relics are venerated in the Monastery of Studenica. – Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra.

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Holy Missionaries MARDARIJE of Libertyville and SEBASTIAN of Jackson, Newly Proclaimed Saints of the Orthodox Church 

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 STS. MARARDIJE AND SEBASTIAN
Celebrating Two New American Saints


Dear Reverend Fathers and Council Members,


With this letter I want to share with you the most God-pleasing and most important news of the establishment of new feast days in the Calendar of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The Holy Assembly of Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church during its regular session on May 29, 2015, added the names of Bishop Mardarije (Uskokovic) of Libertyville, and Archimandrite Sebastian (Dabovich) of San Francisco and Jackson, clergymen and preachers of the Gospel, God-pleasing servants of holy life, and inspirers of many missionaries, to the Dyptich of Saints (Calendar of Saints) of the Orthodox Church. Glory to God! Once again, through the lives of these two saints, we see our Orthodox Church as a faith that produces holy persons, “enriches the world with saints” and insists on an ethos of holiness.

This is a wonderful blessing for all of us Orthodox Christians in America, and for the whole Orthodox Church throughout the world. When one thinks of the tremendous sacrifices that these two holy apostles made, and the many sorrows that they endured, one is especially gratified that they are now universally recognized as being among the Church’s luminaries. The feast of Holy Hierarch Mardarije will be celebrated on November 29/December 12, while that of the Venerable Sebastian will be celebrated on November 17/30.

The Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America plans to celebrate their public and liturgical glorification at St Steven’s Cathedral in Alhambra, California, on September 5, 2015.

The Serbian Patriarch, His Holiness Irinej, is invited to lead the liturgical festivities, accompanied by the ruling hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in the USA, along with many civil dignitaries and special invited guests.

The program for the festivities can be found here: http://www.westsrbdio.org/en/canonization

With this official invitation we ask you for your presence at a most unique event celebrating these new Serbian American Saints, commemorating the lives of Holy Enlighteners and Apostles of the Church in America.

Please put this date in your calendar in order to be with us on this solemn and important day.

Please let us know if there is anything you need to announce this joyous news to your Community.

With love and esteem in Christ,

Bishop Maxim of the Serbian Western American Diocese

 

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