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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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