WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN
Sunday, October 20, 2013
HOLY APOSTLE THOMAS
17thSunday after Pentecost: The Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus in Syria
RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE EIGHT:
You descended from on high, O Merciful One! Youaccepted the three day burial to free us from our sufferings! O Lord, our Lifeand Resurrection: Glory to You!
TROPARION TO MARTYRS SERGIUS & BACCHUS - TONEFOUR:
Your holy martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, O Lord, throughtheir suffering have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. Forhaving Your strength, they laid low their adversaries and shattered thepowerless boldness of demons. Through their intercessions save our souls.
RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE EIGHT:
By rising from the tomb You raised the dead andresurrected Adam. Eve exults in YourResurrection, and the world celebrates Your Rising from the dead, O greatlyMerciful One!
KONTAKION TO MARTYRS SERGIUS & BACCHUS - TONE TWO:
Havingcourageously confronted the enemy, you brought an end to his guiles andreceived from on high the crown of victory. O illustrious martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, with one heart you cry aloud:'How good and pleasant it is to dwell with God.'
HYMNTO THE MOTHER OF GOD - TONE SIX:
Steadfast Protectress of Christians andconstant advocate before the Creator, do not despise the cry of us sinners; butin your goodness come speedily to help us who call on you in faith. Hasten to hear our petition and to intercedefor us, O Theotokos, for you always protect those who honor you!
The Prokimenon in the 8th Tone:
Pray and make yourvows before the Lord our God.
17th after Pentecost: SecondCorinthians 6: 16 ? 7: 1
Brethren, what agreement has the temple of God withidols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:?I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and theyshall be My people.? Therefore: ?Come out from among them and beseparate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receiveyou. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,says the Lord Almighty.? Therefore, having these promises, beloved, letus cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfectingholiness in the fear of God.
For Martyrs Sergius &Bacchus: Hebrews 11: 33-40:
Brethren, who through faith subdued kingdoms, workedrighteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched theviolence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were madestrong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of thealiens. Women received their dead raisedto life again. Others were tortured, notaccepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings andscourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, weretempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins andgoatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented?of whom the world was notworthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of theearth. And all these, having obtained agood testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having providedsomething better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
The Alleluia Verses:
Come let us rejoice in the Lord! Let usmake a joyful noise to God our Savior! Let us come before His face withthanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with psalms!
17th after Pentecost: Matthew 15: 21-28
At that time,Jesus departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman ofCanaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, ?Have mercy on me, OLord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.? ButHe answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying,?Send her away, for she cries out after us.? But He answered and said, ?Iwas not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.? Then shecame and worshiped Him, saying, ?Lord help me!? But He answered and said,?It is not good to take the children?s bread and throw it to the littledogs.? And she said, ?Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbswhich fall from their masters? table.? Then Jesus answered and said toher, ?O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as youdesire.? And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
For Martyrs Sergius &Bacchus: Luke 21: 12-19:
Jesus said,?Before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you,delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought beforekings and rulers for My name?s sake. Butit will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not tomeditate beforehand on what you will answer; for Iwill give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able tocontradict or resist. You will bebetrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will putsome of you to death. And you will behated by all for My name?s sake. But not a hair of your head shall belost. By your patience possess yoursouls.?
From The Prologue forOctober 7/20 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:
The Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus
These holy and wonderful martyrs and heroes of theChristian Faith were at first noblemen at the court of Emperor Maximian. Theemperor himself esteemed them greatly because of their courage, wisdom andfidelity. But when the emperor heard that his two noblemen were Christians, hislove for them turned into rage. Once, when there was a great sacrificialoffering to idols, the emperor demanded that Sergius and Bacchus offersacrifices with him, but they openly refused to obey the emperor in this.Beside himself with rage, the emperor commanded that their military garments,rings and emblems be stripped from them and that they be dressed in women?sclothing. He then placed iron hoops around their necks and paraded them throughthe streets of the city of Rome, to be mocked by everyone. Afterward, he sentthem to Antiochus, his deputy in Asia, for torture. Antiochus had risen to hisposition with Sergius and Bacchus?s help, as they had at one time recommendedhim to the emperor. When Antiochus implored them to deny Christ and savethemselves from dishonorable suffering and death, these saints replied: ?Bothhonor and dishonor, both life and death?all are the same to him who seeks theHeavenly Kingdom.? Antiochus cast Sergius into prison and ordered that Bacchusbe tortured first. His minions took turns beating the holy Bacchus until hiswhole body was broken. Bacchus?s holy soul departed his broken and bloodiedbody, and in the hands of angels was borne to the Lord. St. Bacchus suffered inthe town of Barbalissos. Then St. Sergius was led out and shod in iron shoeswith inward-protruding nails. He was driven, on foot, to the town of Rozapha,in Syria, and was beheaded there with the sword. His soul went to Paradisewhere, together with his friend Bacchus, he received a crown of immortal gloryfrom Christ, his King and Lord. These two wondrous knights of the ChristianFaith suffered in about the year 303.
The Holy Martyr Polychronius
Polychronius was born in the district ofGamphanitus, of peasant parents. As a young man, he worked as a day-laborer inthe vineyard of a certain Constantinopolitan. But even as a day-laborerPolychronius devoted himself to the ascetic life of prayer and fasting day andnight. Seeing his life, angelic in its purity and abstinence, the vintner wasamazed, and gave him much more money than he earned. St. Polychronius took themoney and built a church. At the time of the Nicaean Council (325),Polychronius was a church reader. He showed such zeal in the defense ofOrthodoxy against the Arians that he was ordained a priest. Later, these evilheretics sought revenge, and attacked St. Polychronius inside the churchitself, and chopped him into pieces. Thus, this great defender of the truth andpurity of Orthodoxy suffered and received a wreath of glory from hisMost-glorious Lord.
HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus
The royal men, Sergius and Bacchus
Served the King, but not the earthly one?
Rather, Jesus, the Immortal King.
The earthly king mocked the saints
And removed the belts from their waists,
But the Lord girded them with strength.
The emperor removed their noblemen?s togas,
But the Savior clothed them more beautifully
In an incorrupt garment of immortality;
The emperor removed their rings from their righthands,
But the Lord gave them far more glorious ones,
In betrothing their souls to Himself.
The emperor banished them from his court,
But God welcomed them into the heavenly courts.
The earth tortured these knights of Christ,
The earth tortured them, but heaven gave themrepose.
Decay rejects purity,
Evil rejects goodness,
But Saints Bacchus and Sergius
Returned all earthliness to the earth,
And gave their holy souls over to God!
Though exiled from the earthly kingdom,
They illumine the earth even now;
By their suffering, they conquered malice;
By their death for the Cross, they are glorified.
As victors over the powers of darkness,
They show us the path to victory.
A vision of St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ: Once,St. Andrew was sitting with his disciple Epiphanius, talking about thesalvation of the soul. Just then, a demon approached Epiphanius and begansetting traps to distract his thoughts, but did not dare to approach Andrew.Andrew cried out: ?Depart from here, impure adversary!? The devil drew back andreplied maliciously: ?You are my adversary, such as no other in all ofConstantinople!? Andrew did not drive him away immediately, but permitted himto speak. And the devil began: ?I feel that the time is coming when my workwill be finished. At that time, men will be worse than I, as children will beeven more wicked than adults. Then I will rest and will not teach men anythinganymore, since they themselves will carry out my will in everything.? Andrewasked him: ?In what sins do your kind rejoice the most?? The devil replied:?The service of idols, slander, malice against one?s neighbor, the sodomitesin, drunkenness and avarice?in this we rejoice the most.? Andrew further askedhim: ?And how do you tolerate it when someone who first served you rejects youand your works?? The devil replied: ?You know that better than I do; we find itdifficult to tolerate, but we are comforted by this: we will probably bringthem back to us?for many who have rejected us and turned to God have come backto us again.? After the evil spirit had said this and much more, St. Andrewbreathed on him and he disappeared.
Contemplate the righteousness of King Josiah, andGod?s reward to him (II Chronicles 34):
1. How King Josiah rooted out the idols, and did allthat which is good in the sight of the Lord;
2. HowGod?s blessing was poured out upon him and his people during his long reign.
on children and their praise of the Lord
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hastordained strength, because of Thine enemies (Psalm 8:2).
At the glorious Entry of the Lord Jesus intoJerusalem, and even in the Temple itself, the children cried out: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is Hethat cometh in the name of the Lord! (Matthew 21:9). It seems that nothingirritated the Jewish elders so much as this praising of Jesus by youngchildren. Hearest thou what these say?(Matthew 21:16), they asked Him maliciously. And Jesus answered them meekly: Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth ofbabes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? (Matthew 21:16). Thus, itis as clear as day that these prophetic words of David pertain to the wonderthat occurred at the Entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem: thiswondrous praising of the Lord by little children. It is obvious that, as thisevent was prophesied, so it was literally fulfilled. It is also obvious from thisthat the Lord Himself was then referring to that prophecy of King David:Out of the mouths of babes and sucklingsThou hast perfected praise. There can be no doubt that it was a greatwonder, inspired by the Spirit of God and carried out by the power and will ofGod. While the princes, scribes, elders and priests were not able to recognizeChrist the Lord, the little children both recognized and proclaimed Him! Intruth, this is a miracle, unique throughout the Old and New Testaments; and noless of a miracle than the resurrection of the dead. In fact, during the firstmiracle [Christ?s Entry into Jerusalem] and during the second [Christ?sResurrection], the same power of God was acting?the same Spirit and the sameprovidence of God. And the prophet wanted especially to emphasize this powerand majestic glory of God by the event with the little children, which event heplaces parallel with the wonders of the starry universe, created by the samepower of God. When I consider Thyheavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hastordained (Psalm 8:3). Besides this,among those little children should be numbered the apostles themselves?and manysaints, ascetics, martyrs for Christ, and virgins?thousands, thousands andthousands of those who, with innocence and open hearts, recognized Christ asthe Son of God and their Savior, who embraced Him with wholehearted love andendured difficult suffering for Him. Why, exactly, did the Lord ordain praisefor Himself from their mouths, and not from the mouths of nobles, philosophersand rhetoricians? He accepted their praise because of their meekness, andrejected the others because of their pride; for the proud are the greatestenemies of God. That is why Christ miraculously loosed the tongues of children,simple fisherman and peasants?to proclaim the truth contrary to their enemies,that is, the proud and empty princes and scribes of the Jews. O Lord Most-powerful, Almighty God; loose ourtongues also, that with strong faith and childlike joy we too may proclaimThine endless glory. To Thee be gloryand praise forever. Amen.