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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2017

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: AFTER-FEAST OF THE DORMITION OF THE MOST-HOLY THEOTOKOS; THE HOLY APOSTLE THADDEUS; THE HOLY MARTYR BASSA; THE HOLY HIEROMARTYR RAPHAEL OF SISATOVAC

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

THE DORMITION TROPARION – TONE ONE: In giving birth you preserved your virginity; in falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos.  You were translated to life, O Mother of Life, and by your prayers you deliver our souls from death.

TROPARION TO THE HOLY APOSTLE THADDEUS – TONE FOUR:  O holy Apostle Thaddeus, witness of God, who appeared in the flesh for our sake, you brought the light of saving grace to those in darkness; and were revealed as an excellent physician to those in Edessa.  Wherefore, shelter those who fervently seek you.

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

KONTAKION TO THE HOLY APOSTLE THADDEUS – TONE FOUR: The Church has acquired you as a brilliant star, and is ever enlightened by your miracles, O Apostle Thaddeus.  Save those who in faith honor your memory. 

THE DORMITION KONTAKION – TONE TWO: Neither the tomb nor death could hold the Theotokos, who is constant in prayer and our firm hope in her intercessions.  For being the Mother of Life, she was translated to life by the One who dwelt in her virginal womb.

HYMN TO THE MOTHER OF GOD (INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET…”): The angels, as they looked upon the Dormition of the Virgin, were struck with wonder seeing how the Virgin went up from earth to heaven.  The limits of nature are overcome in you, O pure Virgin; for birth-giving remains virginal and death is united to life; a virgin after childbearing and alive after death, you ever save your inheritance, O Theotokos.

EPISTLE READING

THE PROKEIMENON IN TONE FOUR: O Lord, how manifold are Your works!  In wisdom You have made them all.

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: 1 CORINTHIANS 16: 13-24  Brethren, watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  Let all that you do be done with love.  I urge you, brethren - you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints - that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.  I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied.  For they refreshed my spirit and yours.  Therefore acknowledge such men.  The churches of Asia greet you.  Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.  All the brethren greet you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss.  The salutation with my own hand – Paul’s.  If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed.  O Lord, come!  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

THE ALLELUIA VERSES: 
Go forth and prosper and reign, because of truth and meekness and righteousness.  You love righteousness and hate iniquity.

GOSPEL READING

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: MATTHEW 21: 33-42   At that time, Jesus said this parable: “There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower.  And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.  Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit.  And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another.  Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.  Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’  But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir.  Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’  So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.  Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?”  The chief priests and the elders said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”  Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

FROM THE PROLOGUE:

AUGUST 21/SEPTEMBER 3, BY SAINT NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

The Holy Apostle Thaddaeus
This Thaddaeus was one of the Seventy, but was not the Thaddaeus who was one of the Twelve Apostles. St. Thaddaeus first encountered John the Baptist and received baptism from him; then he found the Lord Jesus and followed Him. The Lord numbered him among the Seventy Lesser Apostles, whom He sent out two by two before His face (Luke 10:1). After His glorious Resurrection and His Ascension, the Lord sent Thaddaeus to Edessa, Thaddaeus’s birthplace, according to the promise He gave to Prince Abgar when He returned Abgar’s towel with the image of His face on it (the Icon of the Lord “Not Made With Hands,” August 16). By kissing the towel, Abgar was healed of leprosy, but not completely. When St. Thaddaeus appeared to Abgar, he received him with great joy. The apostle of Christ instructed him in the true Faith, and after that baptized him. When Abgar arose out of the baptismal water, he was completely healed. Glorifying God, Prince Abgar also determined that his people should know the true God and glorify Him. The prince assembled all the citizens of Edessa before the Holy Apostle Thaddaeus to hear his teaching about Christ. Hearing the words of the apostle and seeing their prince miraculously healed, the people rejected their former idolatry and unclean living, embraced the Christian Faith, and were baptized. Thus the city of Edessa was illumined by the Christian Faith. Prince Abgar brought much gold and offered it to the apostle, but Thaddaeus said to him: “Since we left our own gold, how can we receive the gold of others?” St. Thaddaeus preached the Gospel throughout Syria and Phoenicia. He reposed in the Lord in the Phoenician city of Beirut.

The Holy Martyr Bassa and her children: Theognius, Agapius and Pistus
Bassa was the wife of an idolatrous pagan priest, but was secretly a Christian. She educated her sons in Christianity. Her husband hated her because of her faith, and gave her and her sons over to the judge for torture. After harsh tortures, her sons were beheaded (it is believed that this occurred at Edessa, in Macedonia). Bassa was joyful when she saw her sons honorably completing their heroic martyrdoms for Christ; and she, with even greater eagerness, went from torture to torture. When they threw Bassa into the sea, angels appeared to her and brought her to an island in the Sea of Marmara, where she was later beheaded during the rule of Maximian. Thus St. Bassa was made worthy of the Kingdom of Christ in a twofold manner—as a martyr, and as a mother of martyrs.

The Venerable Abraham of Smolensk
Abraham was born in the Russian town of Smolensk, in answer to his parent’s prayers. He entered the monastic life at an early age and gave himself over to austere asceticism, emulating the ancient fathers of the desert. Later he established the Monastery of the Holy Cross near Smolensk. He endured many temptations from demons and men with great patience and thanksgiving to God. During a great drought, Abraham brought forth rain by his prayers. Living fifty years as a monk, Abraham peacefully reposed in the Lord, in about 1220.

The Holy Forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are also commemorated on the Sunday of the Forefathers before Nativity, as righteous ones and God-pleasers.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Venerable Abraham of Smolensk

A candle burns and clouds of incense rise:
Day and night, Abraham prays.

He loves his neighbors as himself.

St. Abraham’s body is withered
From fasting and prostrations;
His heart trembles from the name of God—
Eternity writes on the pages of time.

Sinners do not fear a sinner,
But they bitterly fear a righteous one.

Sinful men mock Abraham;
The envious censure him.

Mocked and censured, Abraham endures,
And implores God’s mercy for his foes.

Abraham guards his heart—
Kneeling in secret, shedding secret tears.

God does not judge as men judge;
The judgment of man desires to cause harm;
But God desires salvation for all—
The aristocrat and the helpless slave.

St. Abraham sets all his hope on God,
And God glorifies him eternally. 

REFLECTION
Magnanimous forgiveness of slanderers, and prayer for them, are characteristics of Christian saints. These do not ascribe the slanders against themselves to men, but rather to demons, the main instigators of every slander, as well as every sin in general. St. Abraham of Smolensk was slandered by the envious to the prince and the bishop, as a deceiver, magician and hypocrite. The slanderers sought nothing less than to have him burned. The prince and the bishop believed the slanderers, and Abraham was banished from Smolensk and forbidden to exercise his priestly functions. During the entire time of his investigation and trial, Abraham repeated the prayer of St. Stephen the first martyr: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge (Acts 7:60). Later it was proven that all of the accusers against Abraham had lied. The infuriated prince wanted to severely punish the slanderers, and the bishop wanted to excommunicate them from the Church, but the holy Abraham fell on his knees before the bishop and tearfully begged him to forgive them. Abraham did not want to return to his monastery, or to exercise his newly restored priestly functions, until his slanderers were shown mercy and released.

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate David and Saul—one who had the Spirit of God, and one who had lost the Spirit of God (I Samuel 18):
1. How Saul feared David because of his virtues, yet how David was obedient to Saul in everything;
2. How Saul hypocritically rewarded David, but sent him among the Philistines so that he would be killed;
3. How an apostate from God always fears a godly man. 

HOMILY
on the wondrous stone in Zion

Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation: he that believes in it shall not be ashamed (Isaiah 28:16).

Brethren, this wondrous Stone is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. For if the prophet thought of it as an ordinary stone, he would not have exhorted faith in it, for thus he would have prophesied idolatry. The Prophet Daniel also speaks of a stone that was cut from a mountain, and smashed the great idol, and grew into a great mountain that filled the whole earth (Daniel 2:34–35). The prophecy about the stone in Daniel is for pagans, and the prophecy about the stone in Isaiah is for Jews. The Lord Jesus Christ is that Stone which is laid: first, as the foundation of God’s entire creation—for He is the Word of God and the Wisdom of God; second, as the foundation of the preparation—the Old Testament; and third, as the foundation of the fulfillment—the New Testament. The cornerstone is the firmest and strongest stone in the building: it connects and joins the other building-stones, and binds the walls in their various directions, in oneness and in wholeness. If we observe the Lord Christ within us, He is the Cornerstone that binds and ties our various spiritual capabilities in unity and wholeness, so that all work toward one goal, toward God and the Kingdom of God. If we observe Christ the Lord throughout the history of mankind, He is the Cornerstone that ties and binds Judaism and paganism into one House of God—the Church of God. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus (I Corinthians 3:11), says the Apostle of the New Testament, in agreement with the prophet of the Old Testament. Whoever has believed in that Stone of Salvation has not been ashamed. Neither will anyone ever be ashamed who will believe in it. For this Stone is a sure foundation and truly a chosen stone, a precious and honorable stone.

O Lord Jesus, our Stone of Salvation, strengthen in us that holy and salvific faith in Thee, our only Savior.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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DIOCESAN DAYS 2017


21st Annual Diocesan 
Days Gathering

Sept. 1st – Sept. 3rd 

Saint Steven’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral Alhambra, California


THE CHURCH AS FAMILY & 
THE FAMILY AS CHURCH


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“You are no longer strangers and aliens, but the members of the household of God”
(Eph. 2:19)

With
Fr. Timothy Pavlatos

SCHEDULE


+++ DIOCESAN NEWS +++
Slava of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2017
27 Aug 2017
Holy Dormition - Slava of the First Serbian benevolent society in San Francisco
26 Aug 2017

Bishop Maxim visits St. Herman Monastery & St. Xenia Skete for Feast of Transfiguration
19 Aug 2017

Bishop Maxim visits his flock in Portland, OR
12 Aug 2017
Bishop Maxim Ordains Reader Nektari Rodrequez to the Deaconate
30 July 2017
Camp Saint Sava 2017 in Jackson
21 July 2017
Our Holy Hierarch, Father Mardarije, pray unto God for us!
16 July 2017


UPCOMING EVENTS

Fr. Bratso Krsic   Orthodox Russia  2017 update Page 1 

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