Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, March 1, 2015

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 2015

Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great

First Sunday of Great Lent:
The Triumph of Orthodoxy; The Holy Martyrs Pamphilius, Porphirius, and companions
   


RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE FIVE:
Let us, the faithful, praise and worship the Word, coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, born for our salvation from the Virgin; for He willed to be lifted upon the Cross in the flesh, to endure death, and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.

THE TRIUMPH OF ORTHODOXY TROPARION - TONE TWO:
We venerate Your most pure image, O Good One, and ask forgiveness of our transgressions, O Christ God.  Of Your own will, You were pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh to deliver Your creatures from bondage to the enemy.  Therefore with thanksgiving we cry aloud to You: ‘You have filled all things with joy, O our Savior, by coming to save the world.’

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE FIVE:
You descended into hell, O my Savior, shattering its gates as Almighty; resurrecting the dead as Creator, and destroying the sting of death.  You have delivered Adam from the curse, O Lover of Man, and we all cry to You: O Lord, save us!

KONTAKION OF THE FIVE SUNDAYS OF GREAT LENT:
To thee, the Champion Leader, do I offer thanks of victory, O Theotokos, thou who hast delivered me from terror; but as thou that hast that power invincible, O Theotokos, thou alone can set me free: from all forms of danger free me and deliver me, that I may cry unto thee: ‘Rejoice, O Bride without Bridegroom!’

THE TRIUMPH OF ORTHODOXY KONTAKION - TONE EIGHT:
The indescribable Word of the Father accepted to be described when He took flesh from you, O Theotokos, restoring the fallen image to its former state and filling it with divine beauty; and confessing this our salvation, we depict it in word and deed.

HYMN TO THE THEOTOKOS (INSTEAD OF  “IT IS TRULY MEET”):
All of creation rejoices in you, O full of grace; the assembly of angels and the race of men.  O sanctified temple and spiritual paradise, the glory of virgins, from whom God was incarnate and became a Child, our God before the ages.  He made your body into a throne, and your womb He made more spacious than the heavens.  All of creation rejoices in you, O full of grace.  Glory to you!

EPISTLE READING

The Prokimenon in the 4th Tone:
Blessed are You, O Lord God of our fathers, and praised and glorified is Your name forever!

First Sunday of Lent: Hebrews 11: 24-26, 32—12: 2
Brethren, by faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of  Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.  And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  Women received their dead raised to life again.  Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.  Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and   imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword.  They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented - of whom the world was not worthy.  They wandered in deserts and        mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.  And all these, having obtained a good          testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.  Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  

The Alleluia Verses:
Moses and Aaron were among His priests; Samuel also was among those who called on His Name. They called upon the Lord, and He answered them.

GOSPEL READING

First Sunday of Lent: John 1: 43-51
At that time, Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.”  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Philip said to him, “Come and see.”  Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit.” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”  Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”     Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel.”  Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree’ do you believe?  You will see greater things than these.”  And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God        ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Spiritual Articles
From The Prologue for February 16/March 1 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Twelve Holy Martyrs who suffered during the reign of Emperor Diocletian
Pamphilus, the first of these martyrs, was a presbyter of the church at Caesarea in Palestine. He was a learned and devout man, who corrected the text of the New Testament from the errors of the various copiers. He himself recopied this salvific book and gave it to those who desired it. The second was the deacon Valentine—old in years and gray in wisdom. He was an outstanding authority on the Holy Scriptures and knew them completely by heart. The third was Paul, an honorable and distinguished man, who during a previous persecution had been cast into the fire for Christ. Besides these, there were five brothers, according to the flesh and spirit, who had been born in Egypt and were returning to their homeland after being forced to work in the mines of Cilicia. At the gates of Caesarea they declared that they were Christians, for which they were brought to court. When asked what their names were, they responded: “The pagan names which our mother gave to us we discarded, and we call ourselves Elias, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Samuel and Daniel.” When asked where they were from, they responded: “From the Jerusalem on high.” All of them were beheaded. There also suffered a young man, Porphyrius, who sought the bodies of the martyrs in order to bury them. They burned him in the fire, as well as Seleucus, formerly an officer who had approached and kissed the martyrs before the sword fell on their heads. Also put to death was the aged Theodulus, a servant of a Roman judge, who had embraced one of the martyrs as they were being escorted. Finally Julian, who had kissed and honored the lifeless bodies of the martyrs, was himself martyred. And so they gave little for much, the paltry for the precious, and mortality for immortality. They took up their habitation with the Lord in the year 308.

Saint Maruthas
Maruthas was Bishop of Tagrith in Mesopotamia and was known for his faith and goodness. Maruthas mitigated the anger of the Persian King Yezdegeherd toward the Christians, and begged from him the relics of the four hundred martyrs in Persia. He also founded a town called Martyropolis, where he laid these holy relics. He ended his earthly course and took up his habitation with the Lord in the year 422.

The Holy Venerable Martyr Roman
Roman was a simple and illiterate peasant from Carpenesion. Learning of the heroism and glory of the martyrs of Christ, the young Roman desired martyrdom for himself. He went to Thessalonica, where he began to praise the Faith of Christ on the streets and to call Mohammed a teller of fables. The Turks tortured him horribly and then sold him to a galley captain. Christians ransomed him from the captain and sent him to the Holy Mountain, where he was tonsured a monk by the illustrious Elder Acacius. But Roman still desired martyrdom for Christ. With the blessing of Elder Acacius, Roman traveled to Constantinople pretending insanity and began to lead a dog along the Turkish streets. When asked what he was doing, Roman responded that he was feeding the dog as Christians feed the Turks. The Turks threw him into a dry well, where he remained without bread for forty days. They then removed him from the well and beheaded him. A light emanated from his body for three days. An Englishman removed his body and took it to England. A certain monk dipped a towel in the blood of the martyr. This towel is preserved, even today, in the Monastery of Dochiariou. This glorious soldier of Christ suffered in the year 1694.


HYMN OF PRAISE: to the Holy Martyrs
Martyrs of Christ, flowers bountiful,
Which will never fade away.

Martyrs of Christ, evergreens living in the winter,
Stained with blood, you stretched toward heaven.

Martyrs of Christ, aromas of incense,
And votive lamps illumined by God.

You ran the race for the beauty of Christ,
And are forever with Christ in Paradise.

The world will last for a time, then cease to be,
But you will always be with the Lord in Paradise, rejoicing eternally.

REFLECTION
The most important thing in a meadow is grass. In a field, it is wheat. In a garden, it is vegetables. No one boasts about the enclosure of the meadow more than they do about the hay in the meadow. Nor does anyone boast more about the shed in the field than they do about the wheat in the field. Nor does anyone boast of the ditches more than they do of the vegetables in the garden. Why do people boast about their countries—the roads, the demarcations and boundaries, and the cities throughout the country? These and everything else have no greater value than the enclosure of the meadow, the shed in the field, or the ditches in the garden, when they are compared to the main crop, that is, to man. Men do not exist for the sake of the country, but the country exists for the sake of men. Christ came to save not countries but men. A country receives its value from good citizens. And of what use is a great country to evil people? They are brambles in a spacious field!

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the Lord Jesus, praying on dark nights, alone in the mountains, for my salvation, for your salvation, and for the salvation of all men:

1. How He lifted His hands toward heaven; how He bent to the ground; how He knelt in prayer many nights, in prayer for my salvation, for your salvation, and for the salvation of all men;

2. How He sweated at prayer and wept for my salvation, for your salvation, and for the salvation of all men;

3. How He kept vigil in prayer, tormenting His body without sleep and rest, for my salvation, for your salvation, and for the salvation of all men.

HOMILY
on the terrible stone

Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder (Luke 20:18).

The Lord Christ is the cornerstone. Judas fell on that stone and was smashed. Herod fell on that stone, and he was smashed. Julian the Apostate fell on that stone, and he was smashed. Arius fell on that stone, and he was smashed. Those who deny Christ and those who mock him fall on that stone and are smashed like the clay pots of a potter.

This stone fell on Sodom and Gomorrah, and Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. This stone fell on Egypt, and Egypt was destroyed. This stone fell on Jerusalem, and Jerusalem was destroyed. This stone fell on the Jewish people, and the Jewish people were scattered in pieces. This stone fell on many sinful generations and empires, and those sinful generations and empires dissolved into dust and ashes.

The Lord has forgiven sinners seventy times seven and more, but beyond that, if sinners remain sinners, will the Lord save them against their will? He will not, for that is not the principle of the salvation of men. The principle of salvation is that men voluntarily consent to being saved by God. If men, seventy times seven and more, do not desire to be saved by God, then God will not save them. Then men will be smashed against that stone around which they cannot pass, and they will be destroyed by that stone which they have raised to cast far away from themselves. Can it be said that God, Who saved the penitent thief on the cross, is unmerciful? Can it be said that He is unjust, when He gave over to destruction the thief who mocked Him even in the hour of death?

O Lord Almighty, save us!

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, February 22, 2015

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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2015

Sunday of Forgiveness (Cheesefare);
The Holy Martyr Nicephorus of Antioch


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 MARTYR NICEPHORUS - TONE FOUR:
Your holy martyr Nicephorus, 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 MARTYR NICEPHORUS - TONE ONE: 
Bound with chains of love, O Nicephorus, you demolished the malice of hatred.  And when beheaded, you became a holy martyr for the Incarnate Savior.  Pray to Him for us who praise your glorious memory in song.

THE SUNDAY OF FORGIVENESS KONTAKION - TONE SIX: 
Teacher of wisdom, Bestower of reason, Instructor of the foolish and Protector of the poor; strengthen and enlighten my heart, O Master.  You have given me words, O Word of the Father, and behold, I will not restrain my lips from crying to You: ‘O Merciful One, have mercy on me who am fallen.’

EPISTLE READING

The Prokimenon in the 8th Tone:       

Pray and make your vows before the Lord our God.

Sunday of Forgiveness: Romans 13: 11 – 14: 4
Brethren, do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand.  Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.  Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.  For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.  Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.  Who are you to judge another’s servant?  To his own master he stands or falls.  Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

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 faithfulness by night.

GOSPEL READING

Sunday of Forgiveness: Matthew 6: 14-21
Jesus said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance.  For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for February 9/22 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Martyr Nicephorus

The biography of this martyr clearly demonstrates how God rejects pride and crowns humility and love with glory. There lived in Antioch two close friends, the learned priest Sapricius and the simple layman Nicephorus. Somehow their friendship turned into a terrible hatred for each other. The God-fearing Nicephorus attempted on many occasions to make peace with the priest. However, at no time did Sapricius desire to be reconciled. When the persecution of Christians began, the presbyter Sapricius was condemned to death and brought to the place of execution. The sorrowful Nicephorus followed after Sapricius, beseeching him along the way to forgive him before his death, that they might depart in peace.

“I beseech you, O martyr of Christ,” said Nicephorus, “forgive me if I have sinned against you!” Sapricius did not even want to look at his opponent, but quietly and arrogantly walked toward his death. Upon seeing the hardness of the priest’s heart, God did not want to accept the sacrifice of his martyrdom and crown him with a wreath, and instead He mysteriously withheld His grace. At the last moment, Sapricius denied Christ and declared before the executioners that he would bow down before the idols. So it is with blind hatred! Nicephorus implored Sapricius not to deny Christ, saying: “O my beloved brother, do not do that; do not deny our Lord Jesus Christ; do not forfeit the heavenly wreath!” But all was in vain. Sapricius remained adamant. Then Nicephorus cried out to the executioners: “I too am a Christian; behead me in place of Sapricius!” The executioners informed the judge of this, and the judge ordered the release of Sapricius and beheaded Nicephorus in his place. Nicephorus joyfully lowered his head on the block and was beheaded. Thus, he was made worthy of the Kingdom and was crowned with the immortal wreath of glory. This occurred in the year 260, during the reign of Gallienus.

The Hieromartyr Peter Damascene
Some think that Peter Damascene lived in the eighth century and others think he lived in the twelfth century. This difference of thought comes from the fact that there were two Peter Damascenes. The one about whom we are now speaking was a great ascetic. He was unselfish beyond measure. Peter Damascene did not even possess a single book, but rather borrowed books and read them. He read assiduously, gathering wisdom as a bee gathers honey. For a while he was a bishop in Damascus, but when he spoke out against Islam and the Manichean heresy, the Arabs severed his tongue and banished him into exile deep in Arabia. However, God granted him the power of speech, so that, even in exile, he preached the Gospel and converted many to the Christian Faith. He compiled and bequeathed to posterity a precious book about the spiritual life. He died as a confessor and martyr and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of Christ.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Peter Damascene

Damascene numbers eight types of knowledge
For spiritual and godly men.

First: the knowledge of sorrow and all temptations.

Second: the knowledge of the sum of one’s transgressions,
One’s transgressions and God’s forgiveness.

Third: the knowledge of horror, pain and fear,
Before death, in death and after separation from the body,
When before the righteous judgment the soul stands alone.

Fourth: the knowledge of Christ the Savior,
His life and that of all the saints,
Of the saints—their deeds, patience and words,
Which, like a silver bell, resound throughout the ages.

Fifth: the knowledge of natural attributes,
Of physical phenomena, variation and change.

Sixth: the knowledge of forms and things,
All sensory beings and natural phantoms.

Seventh: the knowledge of the world, rational and spiritual,
The angelic world and the world of hades—of both good and evil.

Eighth: the knowledge of God,
The One, Holy, Mighty and Immortal.

This knowledge is called Theology:
To it, few are elevated.

A theologian needs the greatest purity,

For the impure heart does not reach heaven.

Damascene appropriated the seven elementary types of knowledge,
And to the eighth, the knowledge of God, he was raised.

The eighth is given and bestowed by God:
It is neither learned nor earned.

REFLECTION
St. Peter Damascene writes thus about the general and particular gifts of God: “The general gifts consist of the four elements and all that results from them, all the wonderful and awesome works of God outlined in Holy Scripture. The particular gifts are those gifts which God bestows upon every man individually, whether it be riches for the sake of charity, or poverty for the sake of patience with humility; whether it be authority for the sake of justice and the strengthening of virtues, or subjugation and slavery for the sake of the expeditious salvation of the soul; be it health for the sake of helping the infirm, or illness for the sake of the wreath of patience; be it understanding and skill in gaining wealth for the sake of virtue, or weakness and lack of skill for the sake of submissive humility. Even though they appear contrary to one another, all these are very good according to their purpose.” In conclusion, St. Peter Damascene says that we are obligated to give thanks to God for all gifts, and that with patience and hope we are to endure all tribulations and evil circumstances. For all that God gives us, or permits to befall us, benefits our salvation.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the Lord Jesus as the Source of joy:

1. In the tribulations of life, which only He is able to replace with joy;

2. In the bondage of passions, which only He can replace with the joy of freedom;

3. In death, from which He alone can resurrect us.

HOMILY
on the word of God, which is mightier than death

If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death (John 8:52).

As long as a candle burns in a room there will not be darkness, for the candle emits light. If food is seasoned with salt, it will be preserved from spoiling. If someone keeps the word of Christ in his soul, that one keeps salt and light in his soul, and life will abide in him. Such a soul will not become dark in this life, neither will it taste the decay of death.

Whoever keeps the word of Christ in himself, the word of Christ sustains him from within and feeds, enlightens and enlivens him. Whether he is in the body or outside the body, he feels equally alive by means of the word of Christ. Death can separate his soul from his body, but not from Christ, i.e., from immortal and eternal life. The death of his body will only give his life-bearing soul a freer flight in embracing the beloved Christ the Life-giver.

But what does it mean, brethren, to keep the word of Christ within ourselves? It means, first, to keep the word of Christ in our minds, thinking about it; second, to keep the word of Christ in our hearts, loving it; third, to keep the word of Christ in our wills, fulfilling it in deeds; and fourth, to keep the word of Christ on our tongues, openly confessing it when necessary. Thus, to keep the word of Christ means to fill ourselves with it and to fulfill it. Whoever keeps the word of Christ in this manner, truly, will never taste of death.

O our Lord, Mighty Lord, mightier than death, give us strength and understanding to keep Thy holy word to the end—that we not taste of death and that death not taste of us, and that decay not touch our souls. O All-merciful Lord, be merciful to us.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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SUNDAY OF FORGIVENESS
FEBRUARY 22, 2015
A SPECIAL BOOK
PRESENTATION IN 
LOS ANGELES BY HIS GRACE, 
BISHOP ATANASIJE

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 THE CHRISTIAN
HERITAGE 
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The Spiritual, Historical, and Aesthetic Heart of the
Serbian People

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First Introductory pages 
of this monumental collection

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ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

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NEWEST PUBLICATIONS

ArtofSeeing

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ЖИТИЈА ЕПИСКОПА МАРДАРИЈА ЛИБЕРТИВИЛСКОГ И АРХИМАНДРИТА СЕВАСТИЈАНА ЏЕКСОНСКОГ
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OF ETERNITY

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Also on Kindle 
at Amazon:
 

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by Maximos Constas


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of Ever-Living Fire


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The Meaning of Reality

The One and the Many

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


http://holyicon.org/shop

VIEW CATALOGUE

 
SAVE THE DATE!!!!

S.K.S.S.
Annual Lenten Women's Retreat

"OPENING THE DOOR OF OUR HEART TO THE THEOTOKOS: MEETING HER AND LETTING HER INTO OUR HEARTS"
Guest Speaker 
Protinica Victoria
Trbuhovich

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Friday, March 27th - 
Saturday, March 28th, 2015
St. John the Baptist Cathedral
San Francisco, CA

VIEW FLYER

Call 626-289-9061 to Register or Print and Mail Registration portion of the Flyer! 


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