Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, September 28, 2014

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Sunday after the Exaltation of the Life-giving Cross; The Holy Great-martyr Nicetas the Goth; St. Joseph the New, Metropolitan of Temisoara

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SEVEN:

By Your Cross, You did destroy death! To the thief, You did open Paradise! For the myrrh bearers, You did change weeping into joy! And You did command Your disciples, O Christ God, to proclaim that You are risen, granting the world great mercy!

THE LIFE-GIVING CROSS TROPARION - TONE ONE:

O Lord, save Your people, and bless Your inheritance. Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries; and by virtue of Your Cross, preserve Your habitation.

TROPARION TO GREAT-MARTYR NICETAS - TONE THREE:

You vanquished error and triumphed in martyrdom, O honorable Nicetas, namesake of victory; for you conquered the ranks of the enemy and ended your contest by fire.  Pray to Christ our God that He grant us great mercy.

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE SEVEN:

The dominion of death can no longer hold man captive, for Christ descended, shattering and destroying its powers!  Hell is bound, while the prophets rejoice and cry:  The Savior has come to those in faith!  Enter you faithful into the Resurrection.

KONTAKION TO GREAT-MARTYR NICETAS - TONE TWO:

With firm resolve you prevailed against the might of delusion and received a martyr’s crown; you rejoice with the angels, O Nicetas, namesake of victory, and together with them, pray unceasingly to Christ God for us all.  

THE LIFE-GIVING CROSS KONTAKION - TONE FOUR:

As You were voluntarily crucified for our sake, grant mercy to those who are called by Your name, O Christ God.  Gladden all Orthodox Christians by Your power, granting them victory over their adversaries; and may they have as Your help the weapon of peace, the invincible trophy.

HYMN TO THE THEOTOKOS (REPLACES "IT IS TRULY MEET"):

Magnify, O my soul, the most precious Cross of the Lord.  You are the mystical Paradise, O Theotokos, in which Christ blossomed; through Him the life-bearing wood of the Cross was   planted on earth. Now at its Elevation, as we bow in worship before it, we magnify you.

EPISTLE READING

The Prokimenon in the 7th Tone:       

The Lord shall give strength to His people!  The Lord shall bless His people with peace!

Sunday after the Cross: 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.

16th Sunday after Pentecost: 2 Corinthians 6: 1-10   

Brethren, we then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.  For He says, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.”  Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.  But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

The Alleluia Verses:

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High!  To declare Your mercy in the morning, and Your truth by night.

GOSPEL READING

Sunday after the Cross: Mark 8: 34 – 9: 1 

At that time, when Jesus had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power."

16th Sunday after Pentecost: Matthew 25: 14-30     

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.  And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.  Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.  And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.  But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.  After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord.’  He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord.’  Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.  Look, there you have what is yours.’  But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.  So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.  For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.  And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for September 15/28 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Martyr Nicetas

Nicetas was a Goth by birth. He was a disciple of Theophilus, Bishop of the Goths, who participated in the First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea 325]. When the Gothic prince Athenarik began to torture Christians, St. Nicetas stood before the prince and denounced him for his paganism and inhumanity. Subsequently harshly tortured, Nicetas confessed his faith in Christ even more strongly, and prayed to God with thanksgiving. His mind was unceasingly raised up to God, and on his breast under his robe he bore an icon of the Most-holy Theotokos with the Pre-eternal Christ Child standing and holding the Cross in His hands. St. Nicetas carried this icon because the Holy Theotokos had appeared to him and comforted him. Finally, the torturer threw the soldier of Christ into the fire, where the holy martyr breathed his last, but his body remained untouched by the fire. His companion Marianus took his body from the land of the Goths (Wallachia and Bessarabia) to the town of Mopsuestia, in Cilicia. There, he built a church dedicated to St. Nicetas, and placed the miracle-working relics of the martyr in it. Nicetas suffered and was glorified in the year 372.

The Venerable Philotheus

Philotheus was from the village of Myrmix or Mravin in Asia Minor. His mother had the same name, but reversed—Theophila. Philotheus was a presbyter and a great miracle-worker during his lifetime. On one occasion, he changed water into wine and, on another occasion, he miraculously increased a quantity of bread. He reposed in the Lord in the tenth century, and his relics gushed myrrh.

The Holy Martyr Porphyrius

Porphyrius was born in Mimosa. At first, he made jests about Christians for the Emperor Julian the Apostate. Thus, on one occasion, while parodying the Christian Mystery of Baptism, he immersed himself in water, pronouncing the words: “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!” When he emerged from the water he cried out: “Now I am a Christian!” Everyone thought that this was just another jest, but he remained steadfast, ceased to mock Christianity, and finally suffered for Christ. Porphyrius was beheaded in the year 361, and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of Christ.

The Holy Martyrs Theodotus, Asclepidote and Maximus

They were all noblemen by birth, from Trachis. They suffered for Christ in the village of Saltis near Philipopolis, between the year 305 and 311, and entered into the Heavenly Kingdom.

Saint Bessarion the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Larissa

Bessarion founded the Monastery of the Savior, in the Diocese of Larissa. He was glorified by his miracles, both during his life and after his death.

The Holy New Martyr John of Crete

John suffered for the Christian Faith at the hands of the Turks in Ephesus, in the year 1811.

Saint Joseph, Bishop of Alaverdi

Joseph was one of the Thirteen Syrian Fathers (May 7) who were sent to the Caucasus to preach the Gospel. St. Joseph peacefully reposed in the Lord in the year 570. His miracle-working relics repose in the cathedral church in Alaverdi.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Martyr Nicetas

He is a true patriot who, among his own people,
Erects a true altar to the Living Lord.

Athenarik the Goth ruled by force,
And offered sacrifices to lifeless idols.

But holy Nicetas, the soldier of Christ God,
Was a preacher of eternal salvation.

He cast rays of the Eternal Light throughout the night,
Dispersing the idolatrous darkness that shrouded souls.

Holy Nicetas opposed the prince,
And his brave endurance amazed his people.

By the power of the Honorable Cross, he confounded the darkness
And filled all the people with the fear of God.

His blood was the rosy hue of the new dawn,
And his spirit was raised up to the heavenly courts.

In the terrible fire, Nicetas burned,
But, not even today, has he been consumed.

With the truth of Christ the Goths were baptized,
And they glorified Nicetas, their wonderful one.

O Saint Nicetas, voice of God’s trumpet,
Courageous martyr, true patriot;

From the tents of the earth you have departed,
And you stand in the royal courts with the angels.

Pray for us, for the King listens to you,
That He grant our souls mercy.

REFLECTION

God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7). God either punishes the mockers in order to correct them or He converts them into that which they had mocked. Initially, St. Porphyrius was famous among the pagans as a mocker of Christianity. On one occasion, he was mocking the Christian Mystery of Baptism before Emperor Julian the Apostate and his retinue. But something totally unexpected happened. When Porphyrius immersed himself in the water and pronounced the words of baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity, his spirit was suddenly changed, and he became a true Christian. Instead of mocking the Christian Faith, he began to denounce the emperor for his impure idolatry, for which he was tortured and beheaded. A similar thing happened to the comedian Gennesus, probably in Diocletian’s time. This Gennesus parodied the Christian Divine Liturgy before a crowd of pagans, amusing them with his mockeries and witticisms. Suddenly, he changed, and cried out before the people: “I believe, and I desire to be baptized.” At first, the spectators thought his words were a part of his farce, but he repeated his statement of faith in Christ. When Gennesus remained steadfast in his new faith, even when interrogated by the court and the emperor himself, he was tortured and slain. Thus, the mocker of Christ became a martyr for Christ.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate God’s punishment on a disobedient prophet
(I Kings 13):


1. How this prophet was commanded by God to abstain from eating or drinking anything in idolatrous Bethel;

2. How the prophet disobeyed God, and ate and drank;

3. How, upon returning, he was torn apart by a lion.

HOMILY
on the twofold witness of the Son of God

I am one that bear witness of Myself, and the Father that sent Me beareth witness of Me (John 8:18).

It is written in the Law that two witnesses are needed in order to prove something. First of all, the Lord provided the unbelieving Jews with three great witnesses about Himself: the Father, His own works and Holy Scripture (John 5:36–39). Yet, even after His many miracles, and after His teachings were widely expounded, He told them that His own witness of Himself was true and sufficient (John 8:14). Finally, He again emphasized two witnesses to them—His and His Father’s—in accordance with the letter of the Law, which required two witnesses. Thus the Lord seals the lips of the unbelievers in every way, and leaves them no outlet but the crime of murder, which is the last resort of those who refuse to be convinced of the truth, with no regard for reason or proof. In this last case especially, with the Lord’s presentation of His and His Father’s witness, He also wanted to show that He was a separate Person [hypostasis], and yet of one Essence with the Father. Therefore, He presents two witnesses: His own separate witness and the witness of God the Father. The following words confirm this: If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also (John 8:19). Expressed here is the complete essential unity of the Father and the Son, and there remains not even the slightest doubt that the Lord was thinking of His essential equality with His Father. The words here are about the Divine Nature, and not the human nature. Whoever conceives of the Holy Trinity as three bodily beings deceives himself. Only the Son of God appeared in the flesh, for the sake of the salvation of the world. The Father and the Holy Spirit did not take on flesh. According to His Divine Nature, the Son, although in the flesh, remained equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit. He clothed Himself in human nature, and added His Divine Nature, out of love for mankind, so as to reveal Himself to men and save them. O Holy Trinity, one in Essence and undivided, Who illumined and enlightened us through the Incarnate Word of God, sustain us to the end by Thy sanctity, Thy strength and Thine immortality, and save us. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, September 21, 2014

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN


September 21, 2014

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Sunday before the Exaltation of the Life-giving Cross; The Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos


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!

THE NATIVITY OF THE THEOTOKOS TROPARION - TONE FOUR:

Your nativity, O Virgin, has proclaimed joy to the whole universe! The Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, has shone from you, O Mother of God! By annulling the curse He has bestowed a blessing; by destroying death He has granted us eternal life.

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.

THE NATIVITY OF THE THEOTOKOS KONTAKION - TONE FOUR:

By your nativity, O Most-pure Virgin, Joachim and Anna are freed from barrenness, and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death. And we, your people, freed from the guilt of sin, celebrate and sing to you: The barren woman gives birth to the Theotokos, the Nourisher of our life!

HYMN TO THE THEOTOKOS  (REPLACES “IT IS TRULY MEET”):

Magnify, O my soul, the Virgin Mary, born of a barren womb.  Virginity is foreign to mothers; childbearing is strange for virgins. But in you, O Theotokos, both were accomplished! For this, all the earthly nations unceasingly magnify you!


EPISTLE READING

The Prokimenon in the 6th Tone:       

O Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance.

Sunday before the Cross: Galatians 6: 11-18 

Brethren, see with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh. But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

15th Sunday after Pentecost: 2 Corinthians 4: 6-15  

Brethren, for it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed - always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So then death is working in us, but life in you.  And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.  For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

The Nativity of the Theotokos: Philippians 2: 5-11

Brethren, let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Alleluia Verses: 

I have raised up one chosen out of My people; with My holy oil have I anointed him.  For My hand shall be unto him an ally, and Mine arm shall strengthen him.


GOSPEL READING

Sunday before the Cross: John 3: 13-17  

Jesus said, "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." 

15th Sunday after Pentecost: Matthew 22: 35-46     

At that time, a certain lawyer asked Jesus a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”  Jesus said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ?  Whose Son is He?”  They said to Him, “The Son of David.”  He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’  If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”  And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on, did anyone dare question Him anymore. 

The Nativity of the Theotokos:
Luke 10: 38-42; 11: 27-28


At that time, it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Therefore tell her to help me.”  And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”   And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”  But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for September 8/21 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Nativity of the Most-holy Theotokos

 The Holy Virgin Mary was born of aged parents, Joachim and Anna. Her father was of the lineage of David, and her mother of the lineage of Aaron. Thus, she was of royal birth by her father, and of priestly birth by her mother. In this, she foreshadowed Him Who would be born of her as King and High Priest. Her parents were quite old and had no children. Because of this they were ashamed before men and humble before God. In their humility they prayed to God with tears, to bring them joy in their old age by giving them a child, as He had once given joy to the aged Abraham and his wife Sarah by giving them Isaac. The Almighty and All-seeing God rewarded them with a joy that surpassed all their expectations and all their most beautiful dreams. For He gave them not just a daughter, but the Mother of God. He illumined them not only with temporal joy, but with eternal joy as well. God gave them just one daughter, and she would later give them just one grandson—but what a daughter and what a Grandson! Mary, Full of grace, Blessed among women, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Altar of the Living God, the Table of the Heavenly Bread, the Ark of God’s Holiness, the Tree of the Sweetest Fruit, the Glory of the race of man, the Praise of womanhood, the Fount of virginity and purity—this was the daughter given by God to Joachim and Anna. She was born in Nazareth, and at the age of three, was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem. In her young womanhood she returned again to Nazareth, and shortly thereafter heard the Annunciation of the Holy Archangel Gabriel concerning the birth of the Son of God, the Savior of the world, from her most-pure virgin body.

The Feast of the Holy Theotokos of Kališto

 In the Monastery of the Holy Theotokos near the village of Kališto, west of Struga in Macedonia, the Holy Mother of God manifested her power and mercy through numerous miracles. Many of the sick were miraculously healed, and thieves who thought to plunder or desecrate the monastery were severely punished by an invisible power. There is a miracle-working icon of the Holy Theotokos in the church there; nearby, there are two springs of healing water: that of St. Peter and that of St. Ananias. The Chapel of St. Athanasius is located in a cave not far from the main church.

The Feast of the Icon of the Holy Theotokos of Pochaev

In the province of Volhynia there is a famous Monastery of the Holy Theotokos, in Pochaev. The Holy Mother of God first appeared in about 1340 to one of two monks who were laboring in asceticism in a cave there. From that time on, the place has been an inexhaustible font of numerous miracles.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Nativity of the Most-holy Mother of God

O greatly desired and long awaited one,
O Virgin, thou hast been obtained from the Lord with tears!

A bodily temple of the Most-holy Spirit shalt thou become,
And shalt be called Mother of the Eternal Word.

The Burning Bush they called thee,
For thou wilt receive within thyself the divine fire:

Ablaze with fire but not consumed,
Thou shalt bear the Golden Fruit and offer it to the world.

Thou shalt be the Bearer of Him Who bears the heavens,
To Whom all of heaven offers up praise!

The Miracle of miracles shall come to pass within thee,
For thou shalt bear heaven, thou who art “more spacious than the heavens!”

Thou art more precious to us, O Virgin, than precious stones,
For thou art the source of salvation for mankind.

For this, may the entire universe glorify thee,
O Most-holy Virgin, O white Turtledove!

The King of Heaven shall desire to enter the world,
And shall pass through thee, O Beautiful Gate!

O Virgin, when thou dost become woman thou shalt bear Christ for us;
From thy body, the Sun shall blaze forth.

REFLECTION

 St. Dionysius the Areopagite writes of the immeasurable joy, the outer and inner radiance, and the indescribable fragrance that he sensed in the presence of the Holy Theotokos when he visited her in Jerusalem. In his zeal, he says that if he had not known the One True God, he would have recognized her, the Holy Virgin Mary, as God. The Holy Virgin made such a powerful and unique impression on men during her earthly life—and she received an incomparably greater power and glory after her physical death when, by the will of God, she was exalted above the heavenly hosts. Her power comes from her ceaseless prayer for the faithful, for all those who turn to her for help. When St. John of Novgorod and his people prayed to her for help against a hostile army, he understood that she was simultaneously praying to the Lord with tears in their behalf, and Novgorod was miraculously saved. As she was compassionate toward her crucified Son, so the Holy Most-pure One is also compassionate toward all those in need, and who turn to her for help. It could be said that the entire earth is covered by the miracles of her mercy. Even today, there lives in Belgrade a café owner (C. J.), who was born in the village of Labunište (Macedonia) outside Struga. His mother brought him blind to the Monastery of Kališto, where, after the priest prayed over him before the icon of the Holy Theotokos, he received his sight. The first monk at Pochaev saw a fiery pillar extending from earth to heaven, and in that flaming pillar he saw the Holy Theotokos. She was standing on a rock. On the spot where she stood, a spring of healing water sprang forth: even today, it heals many of the sick.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate God’s wonderful gift to Solomon (I Kings 3):

1. How the Lord appeared to Solomon in Gibeon, and asked him his desire;

2. How Solomon asked for an understanding heart, in order to judge the people and recognize good and evil;

3. How God gave him that which he sought, as well as that which he did not seek.

HOMILY
on the equality of the Son and the Father

The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do (John 5:19).

 Brethren, how are we to understand these words? In the same way as some heretics understood them—that is, that the Son is lesser and weaker than the Father? In no way. The mouths that interpreted these words of the Lord this way spoke blasphemy. We must understand these words as our Holy Fathers understood them—that the Son is equal to the Father in all things; and that, because of their equality of will, love, and wisdom, the Son can do nothing contrary to the Father’s will, or contrary to the love of the Father, or contrary to the wisdom of the Father. Thus, the Father cannot do anything contrary to the Son, and the Holy Spirit cannot do anything contrary to the Father or the Son. Everything that the Father wills and loves and thinks, is also willed, loved and thought by the Son and the Holy Spirit. Harmony unequaled; unity undivided; being inexpressible! Therefore, it is obvious that the Son can and will do nothing of Himself—nothing of His own accord, nothing without harmony and unity with the power of the Father and the will of the Father. The Lord Himself further witnesses that this interpretation is true by His words: For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will (John 5:21). Do you see the equality of will and power? That which the Father wills, the Son wills also; that which the Father can do, the Son can also do. Therefore, let no one separate Their Divinity, and thus bring down a curse upon himself. God cannot be divided, and one who tries to divide Divinity—and to lessen one Person and to exalt the other Person—cannot be saved. O Most-holy Trinity our God, Three in Persons, and One in Essence— Life, Light and Love—look down upon us, and have mercy on us. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


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