Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, November 2, 2014

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost;
The Holy Great-martyr Artemius


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 HOLY GREAT-MARTYR ARTEMIUS - TONE FOUR:
Your holy martyr Artemius, O Lord, through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God.  For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.  Through his intercessions save our souls.

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 GREAT-MARTYR ARTEMIUS - TONE TWO:
Let us gather to sing worthy hymns in honor of Artemius, the pious and victorious martyrwho defeated his enemies.  He is great among martyrs and generous in performing miracles, and he intercedes with the Lord on behalf of us all.

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.

21st Sunday after Pentecost: Galatians 2: 16-20   
Brethren, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.  But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin?  Certainly not!  For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.  For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.   

The Alleluia Verses:
Go forth and prosper and reign, because of truth and meekness and righteousness.  You love righteousness and hate iniquity.

GOSPEL READING

21st Sunday after Pentecost: Luke 8: 5-15
The Lord told this parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed.  And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it.  Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.  But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.”  When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”  Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”  And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.  Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.  But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.  Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.  But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” 

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for October 20/November 2 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Great-martyr Artemius
This glorious saint was an Egyptian by birth and the chief commander under Emperor Constantine the Great. When the victorious Cross, surrounded by stars, appeared to Emperor Constantine, Artemius also saw that Cross, believed in the Lord Christ and was baptized. Later, during the reign of Emperor Constantius, this emperor sent him to Greece to remove the relics of St. Andrew from Patras and St. Luke from Thebes, and to take them to Constantinople. Commander Artemius carried this out with joy. After that, Artemius was appointed as augustalis and imperial prefect in Egypt. He remained in this position during the reign of Constantius, and for a period of time under Emperor Julian the Apostate. When the apostate emperor went to war against the Persians, he came through Antioch and commanded Artemius to come to Antioch with his army. Artemius came. Then the emperor subjected two Christian priests, Eugenius and Macarius, to torture. Seeing this, Artemius became greatly disturbed and, facing the emperor, said: “Why, O Emperor, why do you inhumanly torture these innocent and dedicated men of God, and why do you force them to renounce the Orthodox Faith?” Artemius continued, prophesying: “Your death is near.” The enraged emperor sent those two honorable priests into exile to Arabia, where they died shortly thereafter. He then stripped Commander Artemius of his military rank and ordered him to be flogged and torn asunder. Thoroughly wounded and bloodied, Artemius was thrown into prison, where the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to him, and healed and comforted him. Then the emperor commanded that he be spread out on a stone, and that another heavy stone be placed upon him, so that his body would be smashed flat as a board. Finally, St. Artemius was beheaded. It was the year 362. Emperor Julian went out against the Persians and perished dishonorably, as St. Artemius had foretold.

The Holy Righteous Artemius
Artemius was born in 1532, the son of Russian peasants Cosmas and Apollinaria, from the village of Verkola in the region of Dvina. Even at the age of five, he differed from other children by his rare piety and meekness. When he was thirteen, the child walked with his father through a great forest in severe weather and reposed there. Unable to dig a grave, his grieving father covered his body with branches and departed. Twenty-eight years later, a man saw an unearthly light in the forest. Upon approaching the light, he found the body of Artemius intact and incorrupt. Many of the sick were healed of illnesses as soon as they touched the body of St. Artemius. His holy relics repose in a monastery near Pinega, in the Province of Archangelsk.

The Venerable Gerasimus the New
Gerasimus was from Trikala in the Peloponnese of the prominent Notaras family. He was born in 1509. He lived a life of asceticism on Mount Athos, and then in Palestine, where he fasted for forty days. After that, he settled on the island of Cephalonia, where he founded a convent. By his prayer he brought down rain, healed the sick, and foretold the future. He rested in the Lord on August 15, 1579. Gerasimus was a miracle-worker both during his life and after his repose.

The Venerable New Martyr Ignatius
Ignatius was from the Bulgarian region of Eski-Zagora. This is that glorious region of Zagora that has given the Church of God many holy ascetics and martyrs. He lived a life of asceticism in the Skete of St. John the Forerunner on Mount Athos. He willingly gave himself to the Turks to be tortured for Christ, and was hanged in Constantinople on October 8, 1814. His relics are miracle-working, and his head is honorably preserved in the Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos.


HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Great-martyr Artemius

St. Artemius the commander
Did not hide his faith before the emperor,
But proclaimed his faith with great courage
And glorified Christ God before the emperor.

This apostate emperor forgot God,
And subjected his commander to torment.

The saint dedicated his mind to God
And little felt the cruel tortures,
Since there is a greater suffering for the sinner who tortures
Than for the righteous one being tortured!

The emperor beheaded this glorious commander
But the Lord glorified His servant
And raised him up to the Heavenly Kingdom.

He gave him power to drive out demons,
Grace to heal every sickness and suffering—
All by the power of God, without labor or word.

Whoever loves and believes in Christ,
Has a champion in St. Artemius.

REFLECTION
The compassionate God wonderfully guides those who give themselves over to His holy will and care. Just as a candle-maker makes whatever kind of candle he wants from soft wax, so the All-wise God makes immortal lights in the Heavenly Kingdom of His devoted servants. St. Ignatius the New Martyr was totally devoted to God, even as a child. He yearned to become a monk and to be a martyr for the Faith. During the Karageorge uprising, the Turkish army was conscripting men throughout Bulgaria to fight against the Serbs, and even came to the house of Ignatius’s father, George, to see if anyone there was fit for military service. Seeing that George was a well-built and strong man, they wanted to take him into the army. But George resolutely said: “I cannot fight against my fellow Christians.” The infuriated Turks killed him on the spot. The young Ignatius hid in a neighboring house, then fled to Romania, but his desire for monasticism took him to the Holy Mountain. Even so, he wanted something more than monasticism—he desired martyrdom. He prayed with tears one night before the icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, imploring her to grant him the path of martyrdom. He heard a sound in front of him, and opened his eyes to see the glowing halo detach itself from the icon and rest upon his head. Shortly after that, he suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Turks, and received the wreath of eternal glory.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the Lord’s wondrous appearance to the Apostle Ananias and to Saul (Acts 9):

1. How the Lord appeared to Ananias and directed him to Saul in the street called Straight;

2. How, at that very moment, in a vision, Saul saw Ananias healing him of his blindness.

HOMILY on old and new tales of God’s wonders

We have heard with our ears, O God; Our fathers have told us, what work Thou didst in their days, in the times of old (Psalm 44:1).

Thus King David speaks in the name of his people, and enumerates several great works that God performed for Israel. We, brethren, have also heard of all these works, from Holy Scripture, and of many more works and kinds of works than those of which David had heard, for they took place after him! Have we not heard of incomparably more miraculous and greater works of God’s providence and God’s love for mankind than all that David heard? The Son of God became incarnate of the Most-pure Virgin and lived as a man among men, poured out wisdom, worked miracles, destroyed death, put the devil to shame, and gave power to His followers. David did not hear of these things, but we have heard, for they have been revealed to us by our spiritual Fathers: the apostles and evangelists, martyrs and righteous ones, and all the ranks of saints from ancient times to the present day. Not only did they reveal it to us, but the Holy Spirit reveals it to us every day through the Holy Church, through the grace-filled Mysteries and through countless miracles. Behold, here is a reason for great joy, but also for great fear, for much is given to us and much will be required of us. We have been given more spiritual riches than all those who lived before Christ—more wisdom and understanding, more of God’s glory and power, and more, many more examples of God’s love for man and man’s love for God. Ask yourselves, you richest of the rich, what have you given and what are you giving to God for all of this? You should strive to not be put to shame at God’s Judgment. As a dream soon slips away, so will all your days on earth soon slip away, and the sound of the angel’s trumpet will soon summon all nations and people to the Dread Judgment of God. Strive that you not then be ashamed, for you will not be able to excuse yourself with “We did not know,” or “We did not have!” You know, and you have had more revealed to you, than even David and Solomon had; and more will be required of you than of them. O Son of God, our great and wonderful Lord, God and Savior, remind us every day and every hour of Thy Precious Blood, shed for us, that we do not forget, O Lord, and that we not be eternally condemned. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


Augustalis was a princely title bestowed on a high government official.—Trans.

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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, October 19, 2014


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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost; The Holy Apostle Thomas; The Glorification of Saint Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, Enlightener of the Aleuts, Apostle to America

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE TWO:
When You descended to death, O Life Immortal, You slayed hell with the splendor of Your Godhead! And when from the depths You raised the dead, all the powers of heaven cried out: O Giver of Life! Christ our God! Glory to You!

TROPARION TO THE APOSTLE THOMAS - TONE TWO:
You were a disciple of Christ, and a member of the divine college of Apostles.  Having been weak in faith you doubted the resurrection of Christ, but by feeling the wounds you believed in His all-pure passion: pray now to Him, O all-praised Thomas, to grant us peace and great mercy.

TROPARION TO ST. INNOCENT - TONE FOUR:
O holy father Innocent, in obedience to the will of God you accepted dangers and tribulations, bringing many peoples to the knowledge of truth; you showed us the way.  And now, by your prayers, help lead us into the kingdom of heaven.

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE TWO:
Hell became afraid, O Almighty Savior, seeing the miracle of Your Resurrection from the tomb!  The dead arose! Creation, with Adam, beheld this and rejoiced with You! And the world, O my Savior, praises You forever.

KONTAKION TO THE APOSTLE THOMAS - TONE FOUR:
Thomas, the faithful servant and disciple of Christ, filled with divine grace, cried out from the depth of his love: ‘You are my Lord and my God!’  

KONTAKION TO ST. INNOCENT - TONE TWO:
Your life, O holy father Innocent, Apostle to our land, proclaims the dispensation and grace of God!  For laboring in dangers and hardships for the Gospel of Christ, you were kept unharmed and exalted in humility.  Pray that He may guide our steps in the way we should go.

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 2nd Tone:    

The Lord is my strength and my song.  He has become my salvation.

19th Sunday after Pentecost: 2 Corinthians
11: 31–12: 9   


Brethren, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.  In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.  It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast.  I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago - whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body, I do not know, God knows - such a one was caught up to the third heaven.  And I know such a man - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows - how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.  Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities.  For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth.  But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.  And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

The Alleluia Verses:
The Lord answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!  Save the king, O Lord, and hear us on the day we call!

GOSPEL READING

19th Sunday after Pentecost: Luke 6: 31-36
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.  But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

Spiritual Articles
From The Prologue for October 6/19 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Apostle Thomas
Thomas was one of the Twelve Apostles. Through his doubt in the Resurrection of Christ the Lord, a new proof was given of that wonderful and saving event. The resurrected Lord appeared to His disciples a second time, in order to convince Thomas. The Lord said to Thomas: Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas replied: My Lord and my God (John 20:27–28). After the descent of the Holy Spirit, when the apostles cast lots to see where they would each go to preach, the lot fell to Thomas to go to India. He was a little saddened that he had to go so far away, but the Lord appeared to him and encouraged him. In India, St. Thomas converted many, both aristocrats and poor, to the Christian Faith, and established the Church there, appointing priests and bishops. Among others, Thomas converted two sisters to the Faith—Tertiana and Migdonia—both wives of Indian princes. Because of their faith, both sisters were ill-treated by their husbands, with whom they no longer wanted to live after their baptism. Eventually, they were allowed to go. Being freed of marriage, they lived God-pleasing lives until their repose. Dionysius and Pelagia were betrothed, but when they heard the apostolic preaching they did not marry, but devoted themselves to the ascetic life. Pelagia ended her life as a martyr for the Faith, and Dionysius was ordained a bishop by the apostle. Prince Mazdai, Tertiana’s husband, whose son, Azan, was also baptized by Thomas, condemned the apostle to death. Mazdai sent five soldiers to kill Thomas. They ran him through with their five spears, and thus the Holy Apostle Thomas rendered his soul into the hands of Christ. Before his death, he and the other apostles were miraculously brought to Jerusalem for the burial of the Most-holy Theotokos. Arriving too late, he wept bitterly, and the tomb of the Holy Most-pure One was opened at his request. The Theotokos’ body was not found in the tomb: the Lord had taken His Mother to His heavenly habitation. Thus, in his tardiness St. Thomas revealed to us the wondrous glorification of the Mother of God, just as he had once confirmed faith in the Resurrection of the Lord by his unbelief.

The Venerable New Martyr Macarius
Macarius was born in the town of Kios, in Bithynia. His parents, Peter and Anthusa, were Christians, and he was baptized with the name of Manuel. In his youth, he was sent to learn tailoring as a trade. In the meantime, his father embraced Islam and moved to Brussa. There came a time when Manuel came to Brussa on business, and his father found him and exerted great pressure on him to become a Moslem. Manuel resisted in vain: the Turks circumcised him by force. Manuel then fled to the Holy Mountain and was tonsured a monk in the Skete of St. Anna. His monastic name was Macarius. For twelve years he was an excellent monk, but he never had peace of soul. Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven (Matthew 10:33)—Christ’s words continually echoed in Macarius’s mind. Finally, with the blessing of his elder, he went to Brussa and openly confessed his Faith in Christ before the Turks, calling Mohammed a false prophet. After being flogged for 130 days and enduring other harsh tortures, he was beheaded there, on October 6, 1590. A part of his miracle-working relics is preserved in the Skete of St. Anna on Mount Athos.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Apostle ThomasThe Apostle Thomas, by his unbelief,
Strengthened his faith: the Lord appeared to him.

Thomas witnessed Him and rejoiced,
And joyfully glorified Christ.

India became Thomas’s vineyard,
And he cultivated that land with the Cross:

Preaching Christ to the mighty and the lowly,
Preaching His wisdom and His works.

O wise sons of India,
Your wisdom is but a snake in the grass.

Lo, true Wisdom has descended from heaven for you—
The Wisdom of God has appeared in the flesh!

Thomas spoke and worked miracles,
And a multitude of people followed him,
In hearing his wisdom, and beholding the wonders
That Thomas worked in the name of the Lord.

Thomas endured great torments,
But shattered the gates of the darkness of idolatry,
And suffered, like Christ, five cruel wounds,
Which he received in his body for the sake of the truth.

Five bitter wounds, for the number of the senses—
Which is a lesson in mystical wisdom:
He who subdues not all his senses
Will taste of no spiritual sweetness.

REFLECTION
We have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (II Corinthians 5:1), says the discerning Apostle Paul. All our efforts for God on earth have this purpose: to merit, according to our power, this eternal house in the heavens not made by hands. The Indian King Gundafor decided to build himself a magnificent palace, unlike any other on earth. When Abban, his envoy, sought a skilled craftsman to build the king’s palace, he met the Apostle Thomas by God’s providence. St. Thomas told him that he was a craftsman, and that no one else could build what the king wanted. Thomas therefore received much gold from the king for the building of this palace. As soon as he departed from the king, he distributed all the gold to the poor. The palace site was some distance from the king’s capital, and after two years the king sent servants to ask Thomas if the palace was completed. Thomas replied: “Everything is ready except the roof,” and he sought more money from the king; and the king gave it to him. Again, Thomas distributed it all to the poor, and went throughout the kingdom doing his work, preaching the Gospel. The king, learning that Thomas had not even begun to build the palace, seized him and threw him into prison. That night, the king’s brother died, and the king fell into great sorrow. An angel took the soul of the deceased and, leading him through Paradise, showed him a magnificent palace, such as the mind of man could not imagine. The soul of the deceased wished to enter that palace, but the angel told him that he could not, for it was his brother’s palace, which the Apostle Thomas had built with his alms. Then the angel returned the brother’s soul to his body. When he came to himself, he said to the king: “Swear to me that you will give me anything I ask.” And the king swore. Then the brother said: “Give me the palace that you have in the heavens.” The king was amazed that he had a palace in the heavens. When the brother described everything in detail, the king believed and immediately released Thomas from prison. Then, when he heard the apostle’s preaching of salvation and eternal life, the king and his brother were baptized. King Gundafor undertook new works of charity, and built an even more magnificent palace in the heavens for himself.

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the injustice of King Amon and God’s punishment of him (II Chronicles 33):

1. How Amon, the son of Manasseh, turned from God and did that which is evil in the sight of the Lord;

2. How he reigned for only two years, and was slain by his servants.

HOMILY
on the king’s repentance
I am weary with my groaning; all night I wash my bed; I water my couch with my tears (Psalms 6:6).

Day replaces night, and night replaces day. Let our daily repentance be succeeded by nightly repentance, and our nightly repentance by daily repentance. Daily repentance is shown primarily in good works; and nightly repentance in prayer, sighing and weeping. Thus, we repay our debt both day and night, by filling them with that which is most worthwhile before the Lord, and that which will go with us to the Judgment of God. Look at King David and behold an example of true repentance. It is not enough to confess one’s sin before a priest and consider it forgiven. Behold, even David acknowledged his sin before the Prophet Nathan, saying: I have sinned against the Lord (II Samuel 12:13). However, the great king did not consider this enough, but continually sighed in prayer before God, and washed away his sin every night with tears of repentance. Even lying in bed did not serve as rest for him, but as exhaustion from tearful repentance and tearful sighing. Do not say: “David committed murder and adultery, and therefore he had much to repent for.” Do you not kill men by your hatred, and commit adultery by your impure thoughts and desires? Brethren, this life is not to justify ourselves but to condemn ourselves. Blessed is he whom God will justify at the Dread Judgment.

Repentance is not a matter for one hour or for one day. Repentance should be our inner occupation to the end of life. All night I water my couch, said King David. That does not mean that there is no need for repentance during the day, but that the outpouring of spiritual repentance is more suited to the night than the day. In the stillness of the night, both our sins and God’s judgment come more clearly into focus. Doesn’t the night remind us more clearly of death than the day? Doesn’t the bed remind us of the nearness of the grave?

O Lord, just and wonderful, truly we cannot repent without Thy help. Help us, O All-good One, that we might see our sinful wounds, and smell the stench from them, and weep over ourselves—before our kinsmen begin to weep over our dead bodies, and before our guardian angels begin to weep over the carrion of our souls, when they are cast into the unquenchable fire. Help us and save us, O our God.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

THE CHRISTIAN HERITAGE OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
The Spiritual, Historical, and Aesthetic Heart of the
Serbian People

View a PDF of the 
First Introductory pages 
of this monumental collection


View Introductory Video 

 

NEWEST PUBLICATIONS


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ЖИТИЈА ЕПИСКОПА МАРДАРИЈА ЛИБЕРТИВИЛСКОГ И АРХИМАНДРИТА СЕВАСТИЈАНА ЏЕКСОНСКОГ

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The Prologue of Ohrid

Treasures New and Old

History, Truth, Holiness

  

malibu-stamatis
 The Dynamic Earth
Stamatis Skliris’ Vision of the Past, Present, and Future
of American Natural Treasures


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