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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, JULY 23, 2017

SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST:
THE HOLY FORTY-FIVE MARTYRS OF NICOPOLIS, ARMENIA; THE VENERABLE ANTHONY
OF THE KIEV CAVES

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SIX:
The angelic powers were at Thy tomb, the guards became as dead men. Mary stood by Thy grave, seeking Thy most pure Body. Thou didst capture hell, not being tempted by it. Thou didst come to the Virgin, granting life. O Lord, who rose from the dead, Glory to Thee!

TROPARION TO THE FORTY-FIVE MARTYRS OF NICOPOLIS – TONE FOUR:  Your holy martyrs, O Lord, through their suffering have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through their intercessions save our souls.

TROPARION TO THE VENERABLE ANTHONY OF THE KIEV CAVES – TONE FOUR:  Having departed from worldly tumults, in leaving the world you followed Christ according to the Gospel. You reached the quiet refuge of the Holy Mount Athos, living there a life equal to the angels. Therefore, with the blessing of the Fathers, you came to the Kievan hills. There having fulfilled a life loving of labors, you illumined your homeland. And having shown a multitude of monastics the pathway leading to the heavenly kingdom, you led them to Christ. Beseech him, O Venerable Anthony, that he may save our souls.

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE SIX: When Christ God, the Giver of Life, raised all of the dead from the valleys of misery with His mighty hand, He bestowed resurrection on the human race. He is the Savior of all, the Resurrection, the Life and God of all.

KONTAKION TO THE VENERABLE ANTHONY OF THE KIEV CAVES – TONE EIGHT:  From your youth you gave yourself to God whom you loved above all, O Venerable One; and in love you followed after him with your whole soul. Scorning the passing corruption of the world, you made a cave in the earth; and in it you struggled nobly facing the snares of the invisible enemy, while illumining the ends of the earth like a bright, shining sun. Therefore, with rejoicing you entered into the heavenly chambers. Standing now before the throne of the Master together with the angels, remember us who honor your holy memory that we may cry out to you: ‘Rejoice, Anthony our Holy Father.’

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

PROKEIMENON IN TONE SIX:
O Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance!

SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: ROMANS 15: 1-7
Brethren, we then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

THE ALLELUIA VERSES:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the heavenly God. He will say to the Lord: My Protector and my Refuge; my God, in whom I trust.

GOSPEL READING

SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: MATTHEW 9: 27-35  At that time, two blind men followed Jesus, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.” Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

THE PROLOGUE FROM OHRID:
JULY 10/23, BY SAINT NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

The Holy Forty-Five Martyrs: Leontius, Maurice, Alexander, Sisinius, and others
During the reign of the wicked Emperor Licinius, who ruled the eastern half of the Roman Empire, there was a great persecution of Christians. In Armenian Nicopolis, St. Leontius, with several of his friends, appeared before Lysius, the representative of Emperor Licinius, and he declared that they were Christians. “And where is your Christ?” Lysius asked. “Was He not crucified and did He not die?” To this St. Leontius replied: “Since you know that our Christ died, know also that He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.” After a lengthy discussion about the Faith, Lysius scourged them and threw them into prison, where they were given neither food nor drink. A highborn Christian woman, Vlassiana, brought them water, handing it to them through the window of the prison. And an angel of God appeared to them to comfort and encourage them. When the time came for sentencing, two jailers appeared before Lysius as Christian converts, and many others as well, numbering forty-five in all. The judge sentenced all of them to death, ordering that their arms and legs be severed with an axe and their torsos then be thrown into the fire. This horrible punishment was carried out, and the souls of the holy martyrs took flight to their Lord, entering into eternal life. They suffered honorably and inherited the Kingdom in the year 319.

The Venerable Anthony of the Monastery of the Kiev Caves
The founder and father of monasticism in Russia, Anthony was born in the small town of Lyubech near Chernigov. At an early age he left his home and went to the Holy Mountain, where he was tonsured a monk and lived in asceticism in the Monastery of Esphigmenou. In obedience to a heavenly apparition, the abbot sent Anthony to Russia to establish monasticism there. Anthony chose a cave near Kiev. When those who were desirous of a monastic life gathered around him, he appointed Theodosius abbot, and he himself remained in the cave as a hesychast. Through the blessing of God, the monastery grew and became the mother of Russian monasticism. Anthony endured much evil from men and from demons, but he conquered all by his humility. He possessed a great gift of clairvoyance and of healing the sick. He reposed in the Lord in the year 1073, at the age of ninety, leaving his spiritual seedbed to bring forth good fruit throughout the ages for the Orthodox people of Russia.

The Translation of the Honorable Robe of our Lord Jesus Christ
At the time of the suffering of our Lord Jesus for mankind, there was among the ranks of the Roman army in Jerusalem a Georgian named Elioz from the town of Mtskheta. His mother had heard of Christ, and believed in Him in her heart. Seeing her son off to the army in Palestine, she had counseled him not to do anything against Christ. When the Lord was nailed to the Cross, the sound of the hammer on Golgotha reached the ears of Elioz’s mother in the town of Mtskheta. Hearing this sound, she cried out: “Woe is me, that I did not die before this time. Death would have rescued me from this dreadful sound!” And saying this, she fell dead. At that time Elioz was beneath the Cross, and with the other soldiers he was casting lots for the robe of Christ. He won the robe, and brought it to Mtskheta, giving it as a gift to his sister Sidonia. Hearing about the death of the Lord, and that her brother had been a participant in the shedding of innocent blood, she fell dead, holding the tunic of the Lord firmly in her hands, such that no one was able to tear it away and they were compelled to bury the tunic with her. A cedar tree sprouted from her grave and it poured forth a healing myrrh. In time, the cedar tree was cut down and carved into a pillar. At St. Nina’s prayers an angel raised this pillar, which blazed like a column of fire, over the grave, and it came to rest on the pedestal carved from the stump. King Mirian, upon being baptized, erected a church there, dedicating it to the Holy Apostles. In the year 1625, Shah Abbas took the robe and sent it to Moscow as a gift to Prince Michael Fyodorovich and Patriarch Philaret, and it was placed in the Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The mother of Elioz

The mother of Elioz counseled him:
“Elioz, O sight of my eyes,
Behold, you are entering the imperial army
Precisely in the land of my forefathers.

In that land, the King has appeared, 
Christ the Lord, awaited from of old—
The Savior, by the prophets foretold.

Word of His advent comes to Georgia;
He works miracles unseen till now!

And words like none before He speaks
Among men, establishing the Kingdom of God!
Talk of Him is everywhere!

Men and angels rejoice,
But this joy is darkened
By the malice of the Jewish elders,
Who want to kill Him—
And by this new curse, the people are oppressed.

But, my son, the sight of my eyes,
Do not partake of their sin,
Do not wet yourself in the Blood of the Just One.”

Time passed in its course;
At prayer one day, the mother, in spirit
Heard the hammer on the Cross,
And screamed as though in raging fire:
“O death, why did you not come to me sooner,
That I would not hear that awful sound?

It peals forth the death of the sinless Savior,
And a curse on the Jewish nation!

O Son, O Elioz,
Why did you ignore your mother?

Why did you help shed the blood of the Just One?”

Having said this, the lamenting mother
Fell to the ground and gave her soul to God.

REFLECTION
The thought of death is like a downpour of cold rain that extinguishes the fire of the passions. The Psalmist says: For when he dies he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him (Psalm 49:17). Who would not be ashamed when he sometimes sees among the unbelievers a better comprehension of our earthly nothingness than among some Christians? When Caliph Saladin died, in accordance with his last testament, a crier went before his coffin with a spear in his hand and with one of the emperor’s shirts on the spear, and he cried out: “The great Saladin, who conquered all of Asia, causing many nations to tremble before him, and who was victorious over emperors: behold, of all his glory and all his subjects, he takes nothing with him but this miserable shirt.”

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the miraculous appearance of God to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19):
1. How Moses climbed to the top of Mount Sinai and entered the darkness where God was;
2. How the light of God is so great that, before it, all of nature and her light become darkness;
3. How the heart of man is like Mount Sinai: in the darkness of the heart God encounters man.

HOMILY on the duties of spiritual shepherds
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock (I Peter 5: 2-3).

Here are the precepts for shepherds of the flock of Christ. In a few words, the Holy Apostle Peter exposes the three terrible passions that can turn shepherds into wolves: the passion of pride (not by constraint), the passion of greed (not for filthy lucre), and the passion of power (neither as being lords over God’s heritage). In opposition to these pernicious passions, the apostle points out the three virtues which must adorn a shepherd of God’s flock: the virtue of the fear of God (willingly), the virtue of zeal (of a ready mind), and the virtue of service (being examples to the flock). The apostle gave these precepts not only as a teacher but also as a prophet. For the centuries have revealed two main types of shepherds: some, in their high position in the Church, have been guided by their passions: pride, greed, and lust for power; and others have been guided by the fear of God, by zeal, and by the model of service. The Church has suffered from the former, but has not perished, while they themselves have perished. From the latter, the Church has grown and advanced and shone forth in the world. The former are wolves and the latter are shepherds. The former are enemies of man and of God, and the latter are friends both of man and of God. Christ the Chief Shepherd will seek an accounting from the former and the latter concerning every sheep, that is, every human soul, and He will justly recompense each according to his deeds. Pride, greed and lust for power in the so-called shepherds will be rewarded with eternal fire, while the fear of God, mercy and service of the true shepherds will be rewarded with eternal rejoicing.

O Lord Jesus the Chief Shepherd, help the shepherds of Thy rational flock, that they may to the end fulfill the commandment of Thy holy apostle.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

 

+++ DIOCESAN NEWS +++
Camp Saint Sava 2017 in Jackson
21 July 2017
Our Holy Hierarch, Father Mardarije, pray unto God for us!
16 July 2017
PATRIARCH IRINEJ VISITS SAINT SAVA CATHEDRAL SITE IN NEW YORK
15 July 2017
PATRIARCH IRINEJ ARRIVES IN UNITED STATES
13 July 2017
fresno thumb Fresno Parish Celebrates Slava
09 July 2017
eugene thumb The Feast of St. John the Wonderworker in Eugene, OR
02 July 2017
phoca thumb m Bp Maxim Interview with Bishop Maxim
25 June 2017


UPCOMING EVENTS


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


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