Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, May 14, 2017

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Христос Васкрсе! Christ Is Risen!


WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2017

FIFTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: THE SAMARITAN WOMAN
AT THE WELL; THE HOLY PROPHET JEREMIAH 

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!

MID-PENTECOST TROPARION – TONE EIGHT:
In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, fill my thirsting soul with the waters of piety, as You cried to all: ‘If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink!’  O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You!

TROPARION TO THE PROPHET JEREMIAH – TONE TWO:
Celebrating the memory of Your Prophet Jeremiah, O Lord, for his sake, we entreat You to save our souls. 

KONTAKION TO THE SAMARITAN WOMAN – TONE EIGHT:
The Samaritan woman came to the well in faith; she saw You, the Water of Wisdom, and drank abundantly!  She inherited the Kingdom on high, and is ever glorified.

MID-PENTECOST KONTAKION – TONE FOUR:
Christ God, the Creator and Master of all, cried to all in the midst of the feast of the law: ‘Come and draw the water of immortality!’  We fall before You and faithfully cry: ‘Grant us Your mercies, for You are the Fountain of our life!’

INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET…”:
The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin!  Again I say: Rejoice!  Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb!  With Himself He has raised all the dead!  Rejoice, all ye people!  Shine!  Shine!  O New Jerusalem!  The glory of the Lord has shone on you!  Exult now and be glad, O Zion!  Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!

INSTEAD OF “WE HAVE SEEN THE TRUE LIGHT…”:
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (once)

EPISTLE READING

PROKIMENON IN TONE THREE:
Sing praises to our God, sing praises!  Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 

FIFTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: ACTS 11: 19-26; 29-30
In those days, those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.  But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.  And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.  When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  And a great many people were added to the Lord.  Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.  And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.  So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people.  And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.  Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.  This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. 

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

GOSPEL READING

FIFTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: JOHN 4: 5-42
At that time, Jesus came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well.  It was about the sixth hour.  A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”  For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink’, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where then do You get that living water?  Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself as well as his sons and his livestock?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”  Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”  The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”  Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband’, for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  The woman said to Him, “I know the Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ).  “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”  Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”  And at this point His disciples came and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”  The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?”  Then they went out of the city and came to Him.  In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”  But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”  Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”  Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.  Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’  Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!  And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all what I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans had come to Him they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of His own word.  Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

FROM THE PROLOGUE:

MAY 1/14, BY SAINT NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

The Holy Prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah was born about 650 years before Christ in the village of Anathoth near Jerusalem. He began to prophesy at the age of fifteen, during the reign of King Josiah. He preached repentance to the king and noblemen, false prophets and priests. During the reign of King Josiah, Jeremiah barely escaped death at the murderous hands of the enraged nobles. Concerning King Jehoiakim, he prophesied that the king’s burial would be like the burial of an ass, that is, his dead body would be cast outside Jerusalem and dragged along the ground and without benefit of burial. Because of this, Jeremiah was cast into prison. Not being able to write in prison, he sent for Baruch, who stood near a small window of the prison while Jeremiah dictated to him. When this prophecy was read to King Jehoiakim, the enraged king seized the paper and threw it into the fire. Divine providence saved Jeremiah from prison, and the words of the prophet concerning Jehoiakim were fulfilled. Concerning King Jeconiah [son of Jehoiakim], Jeremiah prophesied that he and his entire family would be carried off to Babylon and that he would die there. All of this came about shortly. Under King Zedekiah, Jeremiah placed a yoke around his own neck and walked through Jerusalem, prophesying the fall of Jerusalem and bondage under the yoke of the Babylonians. Jeremiah wrote to the Hebrew captives in Babylon, telling them not to hope for a speedy return to Jerusalem, for they would remain in Babylon for seventy years, which came to pass. Near Jerusalem in the Valley of Tophet, where the Jews sacrificed children to the idols, Jeremiah took a potter’s clay vessel in his hands and shattered it before the people, prophesying the imminent routing of the Jewish Kingdom. The Babylonians shortly captured Jerusalem, slew King Zedekiah, plundered and destroyed the city, and beheaded a great number of Jews in the Valley of Tophet on the same spot where children had been sacrificed to idols and where the Prophet Jeremiah had smashed the potter’s vessel. Jeremiah, with the Levites, removed the Ark of the Covenant from the Temple to Mount Nebo, where Moses had died. There he hid the Ark in a cave. However, he hid the fire from the Temple in a deep well. Jeremiah was forced by some Jews to accompany them to Egypt, where he lived for four years and was then stoned to death by his countrymen. To the Egyptians, Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of their idols and the arrival of the Virgin and Christ-child in Egypt. There is a tradition that states that Alexander the Great visited the tomb of the Prophet Jeremiah. By Alexander’s order, the body of Jeremiah was translated and buried in Alexandria.

The Venerable Martyr Acacius, the Slipper-maker
Acacius was from the village of Neochorion near Thessalonica. Greatly maltreated by his master in Serres, Acacius converted to Islam. Later, as a penitent and monk, he lived in the Monastery of Hilandar [Mount Athos]. His poor and Christ-loving mother counseled him: “As you willingly denied the Lord, so now you must willingly and bravely accept martyrdom for Sweet Jesus.” The son followed the advice of his mother. With the blessing of the fathers of the Holy Mountain, Acacius traveled to Constantinople, where the Turks beheaded him on May 1, 1816. His head is preserved in a reliquary in the Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos.

The Venerable Paphnutius of Borovsk
Paphnutius was born the son of a Tartar nobleman who later embraced the Christian Faith. At age twenty, he was tonsured a monk and continued to live in a monastery until his ninety-fourth year, when he reposed in the Lord. Paphnutius was a virgin and an ascetic, because of which he became a great miracle-worker and clairvoyant. He died in the year 1478.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Prophet Jeremiah

Jeremiah, chaste one and prophet,
Reveals the will of God to men.

When in sin, men decay
And trample upon the Law of God.

The prophet cries out, weeps and threatens,
His words are like a living flame,
Burning sinners, illumining the righteous;
His tears are as the tears of a mother
Over her dying offspring.

The prophet foresees it: punishment is coming,
A punishment deserved a hundredfold.

The mercy of God turns to justice.

The prophet cries out, weeps and threatens,
Calling the sinful people to repentance.

The people heed what their leaders say,
And the leaders laugh at the prophet
And proclaim his words a lie!

But the prophet does not let himself be wearied;
With sufferings he seals his words.

Wicked men slew the prophet
And made him forever renowned.

All the words of the prophet were fulfilled—
The kingdom fell, the prophet was glorified.

REFLECTION
The Venerable Paphnutius of Borovsk said to his disciples that a man’s soul and his hidden works can be known by the look in his eyes. This seemed unbelievable to his disciples until this man of God actually confirmed it on more than one occasion. Foreseeing the fate of others, Paphnutius also foresaw his own fate. A week before, while still in good health, he prophesied that he would depart this world on the following Thursday. When Thursday dawned, he joyfully cried out: “Behold, the day of the Lord, rejoice O ye people; behold, the awaited day has come!” Behold, this is how a man meets death; a man who, during his whole life, pondered on separation from this world and the encounter with God.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the Ascension of the Lord Jesus:

1. How two angels appeared to the disciples while they were still gazing after the ascended Lord;

2. How the angels proclaimed that the Lord would come again in the same manner as the disciples saw Him ascending into heaven.

HOMILY
on the power of the Lord’s word

Is not My word like the fire, says the Lord, like a hammer shattering rocks? (Jeremiah 23:29).

Yes, O Lord, Thy word is indeed like fire; like fire that warms the righteous and burns the unrighteous. And, indeed, Thy word is like a hammer; a hammer that softens the stony hardness of the heart of a penitent and pulverizes the heart of an unrepentant sinner into dust.

Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us? (Luke 24:32), the apostles asked after speaking with the resurrected Lord. When the heart of a man is set aright, it burns from the word of the Lord; it is melted by kindness and expands with love. However, when the heart in man is not set right, but hardened by sin, then the heart bakes from the word of the Lord and becomes even harder. And pharaoh’s heart was hardened (Exodus 8:19).

In vain do sinners fortify themselves in their fortresses of stone, in their fortresses of iron, in their fortresses of silver and gold, and reject the armor of God’s justice. The word of the Lord is as a powerful and irresistible hammer, when He pronounces judgment upon these fortresses of stone in which sinners fortify themselves.

In vain does the unbeliever fortify his house with impregnable stones and in vain does the statesman fortify the state, hardened with the wisdom of the world and not hoping in the Living God. The word of the Lord comes down like a hammer upon all that has been built apart from God or against God—like a powerful and irresistible hammer.

O brethren, let us not trust in our creations of stone, of marble, of gold, of silver, or of the godless stones of our individual thoughts. All of these are weaker before the power of God than dust before the power of the wind.

O Lord Almighty, help us to receive Thy word, that on Thy word we may build our lives both in this world and in the next.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


The Egyptians virtually deified St. Jeremiah. That is why they buried him as a king. Even after his death, they considered him a miracle-worker. They removed dust from his tomb as a cure against snake bites. Even today, many Christians invoke Jeremiah against serpents.



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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, May 7, 2017

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Христос Васкрсе! Christ Is Risen!


WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, MAY 7, 2017

FOURTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: THE HEALING OF THE PARALYTIC; THE HOLY MARTYR SABBAS STRATELATES; SAINT SAVA OF ERDELJ; THE VENERABLE BRANKO, HIEROMARTYR

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION – TONE THREE:
Let the heavens rejoice!  Let the earth be glad!  For the Lord has shown strength with His arm! He has trampled down death by death!  He has become the first-born of the dead!  He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted the world great mercy!

KONTAKION TO THE PARALYTIC – TONE THREE:
By Your divine intercession, O Lord, as You raised up the paralytic of old so raise up my soul, paralyzed by sins and thoughtless acts; so that being saved I may sing to You: ‘Glory to Your power, O compassionate Christ!

PASCHAL KONTAKION – TONE EIGHT:
Thou didst descend into the tomb, O Immortal; Thou didst destroy the power of death.  In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming ‘Rejoice’ to the myrrh-bearing women, granting peace to Thy apostles, and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.

INSTEAD OF “IT IS TRULY MEET…”:
The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin!  Again I say: Rejoice!  Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb!  With Himself He has raised all the dead!  Rejoice, all ye people!  Shine!  Shine!  O New Jerusalem!  The glory of the Lord has shone on you!  Exult now and be glad, O Zion!  Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!

INSTEAD OF “WE HAVE SEEN THE TRUE LIGHT…”:
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (once)

EPISTLE READING

PROKIMENON IN TONE ONE:
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us as we have set our hope on You.

FOURTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: ACTS 9: 32-42
In those days it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda.  There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bed-ridden eight years and was paralyzed.  And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you.  Arise and make your bed.”  Then he arose immediately.  So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.  At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas.  This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.  But it happened in those days that she became sick and died.  When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.  And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.  Then Peter arose and went with them.  When he had come, they brought him to the upper room.  And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.  But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed.  And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.”  And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.  Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.  And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.

THE ALLELUIA VERSES:
I will sing of Your mercies, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim Your truth from generation to generation.  You have said: Mercy will be established forever, and My truth will be prepared in the heavens.

GOSPEL READING

FOURTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: JOHN 5: 1-15
At that time there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.  For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.  Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”  The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”  And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.  And that day was the Sabbath.  The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”  He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’”  Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”  But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.  Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well.  Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”  The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

FROM THE PROLOGUE:

APRIL 24/MAY 7, BY SAINT NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

The Holy Martyr Sabbas Stratelates [the General]
This glorious Sabbas lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Aurelian and held the rank of general. By ancestry, he was of a Gothic tribe. He often visited Christians in prison and assisted them from his own estate. Because of his great purity and fasting, God gave him authority over unclean spirits. When Sabbas was accused of being a Christian, he courageously stood before the emperor, threw down his military belt, and openly confessed Christ the Lord. Sabbas was tortured in various ways: he was flogged, scraped with iron claws, and burned with candles. He did not succumb to these deadly tortures but appeared alive and healthy. His military companions, seeing that God was obviously helping him, embraced the Christian Faith, and seventy of them were immediately beheaded by order of the emperor. Christ the Lord Himself appeared in a great light to St. Sabbas in prison and encouraged His martyr. After that, Sabbas was condemned to death by drowning. He was thrown into a deep river, where he gave up his soul to God in the year 272. His soul went to the Lord, to Whom he had remained faithful through many tortures.

The Venerable Elizabeth
In her early youth Elizabeth entered the monastic state in the Monastery of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Constantinople, taking upon herself heavy ascetic labors for the sake of Christ God and for the sake of her soul. She considered herself a bride of Christ and viewed this world as though it did not exist. Her great compassion toward people, especially toward the sick and the suffering, emanated from her great love for God. With the gift that God had bestowed upon her, she cured various diseases and afflictions of the people. During her nightly prayers she was seen to be encompassed by a heavenly light. Following her death, her relics possessed the power of healing, and a great number of the sick and suffering have gathered at her grave throughout the ages. She died peacefully and entered into the eternal joy of her Lord in the year 540.

The Holy Martyrs Eusebius, Neon, Leontius and Longinus
These four were military companions of St. George. Witnessing the courageous endurance and miracles of St. George, these wonderful soldiers became Christians, for which they were beheaded.

The Holy Martyrs Pasicrates and Valentine
When the judge urged Pasicrates to offer sacrifice to the idols (as he had likewise urged the martyr’s brother, Papianus, who fell away from Christ because of the fear of torture), Pasicrates placed his hand in the fire and cried out: “The body is mortal and is consumed by fire, but the soul is immortal and does not feel the visible sufferings!” His mother sustained him and encouraged him to endure to the end. He was beheaded with Valentine and both took up habitation in the Kingdom of Christ in about the year 228.

The Venerable Thomas, Fool-for-Christ
Whenever he was in the city of Antioch on business for the monastery, Thomas always feigned insanity for the sake of Christ. A certain Anastasius did not want to give Thomas the alms that he sought for the monastery but struck him with his fist. Thomas then prophesied: “From now on, neither will I receive anything from Anastasius, nor will Anastasius be able to give me anything.” After one day Anastasius died, and Thomas, prior to his return to the monastery, also died. Thus, the prophecy of this holy man was fulfilled. St. Thomas reposed in Daphni, near Antioch, in the time of Patriarch Domnus (546–560).

The Holy New Martyrs Luke and Nicholas
The wonderful young man Luke, a tailor by trade, suffered martyrdom for Christ in 1564. Nicholas suffered martyrdom in the year 1776.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Thomas the Fool-for-Christ
St. Thomas pretends to be deranged
For the sake of Christ his Savior,
But in his heart he glorifies God,
The only One, the Creator of the world.

God’s name is in his heart:
“Have mercy upon me, O good God!”

He nourishes his soul by this:
“Have mercy upon me, O good God!”

Holy Thomas is not concerned
What the world will say about him.

“Let the world rant, let it threaten;
God will pronounce true judgment.

Whosoever pleases the world
Will be found to be false before God.”

And Thomas smiles
At the world which pretends to be important.

“O you shadow above the water,
Why do you pretend to be so important?

All reality is in the Lord.

When you consider yourself as nothing,
Then will you glorify Him.”

REFLECTION
In exhorting Christians to attend church for prayer, St. John Chrysostom says: “If someone delivers to subjugated citizens a royal decree, the citizens do not question the life of the messenger, as to whether he is rich or poor or righteous or sinful, but all listen attentively to that which he is reading. If someone has not heard, he asks one who has heard. When you have such great awe of earthly rulers, how much more should you heed us (priests) here, where the Creator of the heavenly powers speaks through us sinners.” Indeed, what is Holy Scripture but a document of the Heavenly King? Why is it that this unique and saving document does not interest us every day and every hour, when the least authority in the country and his trivial orders do interest us? St. Anthony said: “Let everything you do have its justification in Holy Scripture.” But how can you have justification in Holy Scripture if you are not familiar with Holy Scripture?

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:

1. How His Resurrection drives away from us all confusion, gloom and sadness.
2. How His Resurrection instills serenity, courage and goodwill into the souls of men.

HOMILY on the vanity of everything in comparison with Christ

I … count them but refuse, that I may win Christ (Philippians 3:8).

The Apostle who wrote this had worldly knowledge; he had wealth and friends; he had youth and health; he had all the requisites of worldly success among his people. But he says: “I left all.” For the sake of Christ Jesus the Lord, he left all. Before the sages of this world, he became as a fool; before the rich, he became as a beggar; before his friends, he became as an enemy. He exhausted his youth and health by voluntary sufferings and afflictions. With one stroke he closed for himself all prospects for worldly success. Why did you do this, O Holy Apostle Paul? Because, I … count them but refuse, that I may win Christ.

Brethren, did the Apostle Paul deceive himself, leaving everything as rubbish, and did he gain something greater in gaining Christ? Twenty centuries have testified that the holy Apostle did not deceive himself and that, in gaining Christ, he received something incomparably greater and better than that which he had abandoned and sacrificed. He received wisdom above all worldly knowledge; and riches imperishable and incorruptible; and friends in the form of the true angels of God; and eternal youth without disease and aging; and divine success that lasts without change in eternal life. All of this he gained in gaining Christ. All of this he received in leaving all that the world offers to its favorites.

Indeed, brethren, Christ is better than the world. There are no words that could express His superiority over the world. The world deceives its favorites, but Christ rewards His true favorites. The world gives little and takes all. The world offers decay and takes away life. Christ, however, seeks little and gives all. He seeks that we discard decay, and He gives us eternal life. Brethren, Christ is our one and only true friend.

O resurrected Lord Christ, help us to renounce triviality, to renounce decay, and grant us eternal life.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

+++ DIOCESAN NEWS +++
Ordination of Joseph Wesseler to the Deaconate
April 2017 13
20th Annual Diocesan
KSS Retreat, Alhambra

Apr 2017 01
Living the Faith in Our Daily Lives in Jackson,CA
12 Mar 2017
Sunday of Orthodoxy Pan-Orthodox Vespers in Los Angeles
05 Mar 2017
Sunday of Orthodoxy in Alhambra 2017
05 Mar 2017
Historic Meeting in Jackson at St. Sava Mission


11 March 2017


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