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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pentecost Sunday:
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
 


FIRST ANTIPHON: 

VERSE: The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.

REFRAIN: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, Savior, save us.

VERSE: Their proclamation has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the universe.

REFRAIN: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, Savior, save us.

VERSE: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen.

REFRAIN: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, Savior, save us.

SECOND ANTIPHON:

VERSE: The Lord answer you in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

REFRAIN: Gracious Comforter, save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia! 

VERSE: May He send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion! 

REFRAIN: Gracious Comforter, save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia!

VERSE: May He remember all your offerings, and fulfill all your plans.

REFRAIN: Gracious Comforter, save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia!

VERSE: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen.  Only-begotten Son and Immortal Word of God...


THIRD ANTIPHON:

VERSE: In Your strength the King rejoices, O Lord, and exults greatly in Your salvation.

PENTECOST TROPARION - TONE EIGHT: Blessed are You, O Christ our God; You have revealed the fishermen as most wise, by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit; through them You drew the world into Your net.  O Lover of Mankind, Glory to You!

Introit of the Little Entrance:
Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength!  We will sing and praise Your power!  

PENTECOST KONTAKION - TONE EIGHT:
When the Most High came down and confused the tongues, He divided the nations; but when He   distributed the tongues of fire, He called all to unity.  Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the   All-holy Spirit!

INSTEAD OF “HOLY GOD…”:
As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.  Alleluia!

INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET...”:
Rejoice, O Queen! Glory of mothers and virgins! No mouth, however sweet or fluent, is eloquent enough to praise you worthily! Every mind is overawed by your childbearing. Therefore with one voice we glorify you!


EPISTLE READING


The Prokimenon in the 8th Tone: Their proclamation has gone out into all the earth; and their words to the ends of the universe.

Pentecost Sunday: Acts 2: 1-11
In those days, when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.  And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.  Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs -- we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

The Alleluia Verses: By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made; and all their host by the Spirit of His mouth.  The Lord looked down from heaven, and saw all the sons of men.

GOSPEL READING

Pentecost Sunday: John 7: 37-52; 8: 12
At that time, on the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.  Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.”  Others said, “This is the Christ.”  But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee?  Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”  So there was a division among the people because of Him.  Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.  Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?”  The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”  Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived?  Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?  But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”  Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”  They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee?  Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Spiritual Articles
From The Prologue for May 18/31 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:
The Holy Martyr Theodotus and the Seven Maiden Martyrs: Thecusa, Alexandra, Claudia, Falina, Euphrasia, Matrona and Julia

Theodotus was an innkeeper in Ancyra during the reign of Diocletian. Although married, he lived according to the word of the Apostle: They that have wives be as though they had none (I Corinthians 7:29). He maintained the inn in order to help Christians without attracting suspicion. His inn was a shelter for the persecuted faithful. Theodotus secretly sent help to those Christians who fled to the mountains and he secretly gathered the bodies of those who died, and buried them. At that time, seven maidens were brought to trial, tortured for Christ, ridiculed and finally drowned in a lake. One of them, St. Thecusa, appeared in a dream to Theodotus and told him to remove their bodies from the lake and bury them. In the dark of night Theodotus went out with a companion to fulfill the wish of the martyr. Led by an angel of God, he succeeded in locating all seven bodies and burying them. But this companion betrayed Theodotus to the judge, and the judge subjected him to cruel tortures. Theodotus endured all the sufferings as though he were in someone else’s body, keeping his whole mind immersed in the Lord. After the torturer had transformed Theodotus’s body into wounds and knocked out his teeth with a stone, he ordered that the martyr be beheaded. When he was led to the scaffold, many Christians wept for him, but St. Theodotus said to them: “Brethren, do not weep for me, but glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, Who helped me to finish my course and overcome my enemy.” Having said this, he placed his head on the block under the sword and was beheaded in the year 303. A priest honorably buried this martyr’s body on a hill outside the town. Later a church dedicated to St. Theodotus was built on this spot.

The Holy Martyrs Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul and Christina: Peter, a handsome young man; Dionysius, a distinguished man; Andrew and Paul, soldiers; and Christina, a sixteen-year-old virgin: they all courageously confessed Christ the Lord and endured sufferings and death for His name. Nicomachus, who was tortured with them, denied Christ in the midst of his tortures and instantly lost his mind. As a madman, he bit his body and vomited foam from his mouth until he died. This occurred in the year 250.

The Holy Martyrs Heraclius, Paulinus and Benedimus
All three were Athenians. They suffered for the Faith during the reign of Decius. They were burned in a fiery furnace for the name of Christ.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Theodotus
Near Ancyra, on a green hill,
A group of persecuted Christians
With a blessing ate their meal.

What the sun is among the shining stars,
So was Theodotus among this group;
And next to him sat the presbyter Fronto.

To Fronto Theodotus said:
“This spot is suitable for a church,
Over the relics of honorable martyrs!”

Fronto replied to Theodotus
“Endeavor, most wonderful man,
To obtain relics of the martyrs for us,
And we will easily build a church
With which to adorn this place.”

Theodotus the all-wonderful smiled.

From his right hand he removed a ring,
Gave it to the honorable Fronto,
And spoke to him these words:
“I give you my word of honor and the ring as a pledge:
I will soon procure relics
And place them on this spot!”

Theodotus said this as a prophecy:
He was prophesying his own suffering
And his martyrdom for Christ.

As he said, so it happened.

His relics were placed on that spot,
And over them a church was built,
As a wonderful memorial of an immortal victory,
Near Ancyra, on a green hill.

REFLECTION
To conceal one’s virtues and ascetic labors has been the custom of ascetics, both female and male, not only in the earliest times of Christianity but throughout all ages to the present time. Eudocia, wife of the glorious Prince Dimitri Donskoy, the liberator of Russia from the Tartars, was left a widow in 1389, while still fairly young. Imbued with devotion, this princess built many churches, distributed alms, and secretly weakened her body by fasting and long vigils. She wore an iron chain around her body. Meanwhile, she always appeared happy before the public, clothed in opulence and adorned with pearls. The public said many things about her, and they began to spread rumors that she was leading an immoral life. Her sons also heard about this and, insulted and embittered, openly informed their mother of what was being said about her. Their mother opened her luxurious robe and her sons, with great horror, saw her body, completely withered, dried up and bound with iron chains.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the action of God the Holy Spirit upon the martyrs:
1. How the Holy Spirit provided them with comfort in their sufferings;
2. How occasionally, according to His will, He made their bodies immune to the effects of fire.

HOMILY on the testimony of the Spirit of God

The Spirit of Truth, Who proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me (John 15:26).

God the Son sent God the Holy Spirit into the world to testify of Him until the end of time. He shall testify of Me. How will God the Spirit testify of God the Son? God the Spirit will testify in many ways:

By attracting men’s souls to Christ’s Church;

By revealing to them the meaning of the Holy Scriptures;

By leading their minds to the commandments of Christ;

By giving warmth, freshness, power and gentleness to the words of Christ;

By converting repentant sinners to righteousness;

By fulfilling all the promises and prophecies of Christ to men, to nations, and to God’s Church;

By strengthening the Church of Christ and holding it firm against all the tempests of time and all the evils of hades and men throughout the ages.

The Spirit Who works in these and many other similar ways is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth, gracious, life-creating and all-powerful.

Not one of Christ’s words goes against the Spirit of God, nor does the Spirit of God go against a single word of Christ. That is why, when the Spirit of God is pleased to enter into the heart of man, such a man is enlivened and becomes a true witness to all that Christ said and did. Then, that man believes joyfully and unwaveringly. For how could he not believe the greatest and the most enduring Eyewitness of and Participator in all the words, miracles and works of Christ?

Thus, brethren, let us pray before all and above all, that this Eyewitness and Participator, the Holy and All-powerful Spirit, will settle in our hearts, so that our faith may become alive, unwavering and joyous. O God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, come and abide in us.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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