Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, December 17, 2017

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 WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2017

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: HOLY GREAT-MARTYR BARBARA; VENERABLE JOHN OF DAMASCUS; SERBIAN CHILDREN’S DAY   

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE THREE:  Let the heavens rejoice and 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 firstborn of the dead! He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted to the world great mercy!

TROPARION TO SAINT BARBARA – TONE EIGHT: Let us honor the holy martyr Barbara, for as a bird she escaped the snares of the enemy, and destroyed them through the help and defense of the Cross.

TROPARION TO SAINT JOHN – TONE EIGHT:  Champion of Orthodoxy, teacher of purity and of true worship, the enlightener of the universe and the adornment of hierarchs: all-wise father John, your teachings have gleamed with light upon all things.  Intercede before Christ God to save our souls.

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE THREE:  On this day Thou didst rise from the tomb, O Merciful One, leading us from the  gates of death. On this day Adam exults as Eve rejoices; with the prophets and the patriarchs they unceasingly praise the divine majesty of Thy power!

KONTAKION TO SAINT BARBARA – TONE FOUR:  Singing the praises of the Trinity, you followed God by enduring suffering; you renounced the multitude of idols, O holy martyr Barbara.  In your struggles, you were not frightened by the threats of your torturers, but cried out in a loud voice: ‘I worship the Trinity in one God-head.’

KONTAKION TO SAINT JOHN – TONE FOUR:  Let us sing praises to John, worthy of great honor, the composer of hymns, the star and teacher of the Church, the defender of her doctrines: through the might of the Lord’s Cross he overcame heretical error and as a fervent intercessor before God he entreats that forgiveness of sins may be granted to 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 PROKEIMENON IN TONE THREE:
Sing praises to our God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises!

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: COLOSSIANS 1: 12-18 - Brethren, give thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance in the saints of the light.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.  And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

THE ALLELUIA VERSES:
In You O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be put to shame!  Be a God of protection for me, a house of refuge, in order to save me!

GOSPEL READING

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: LUKE 17: 12-19  - At that time as Jesus entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.  And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”  So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”  And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.  And he was a Samaritan.  So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed?  But where are the nine?  Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”  And He said to him, “Arise, go your way.  Your faith has made you well.”

FROM THE PROLOGUE:
DECEMBER 4/17, BY SAINT NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

The Holy Great-martyr Barbara
This glorious follower of Christ was betrothed to Christ from early childhood. Her father Dioscorus was a pagan and was renowned for his position and wealth in the city of Heliopolis in Egypt. Dioscorus locked up his only daughter Barbara, brilliant in mind and of beautiful countenance, in a high tower. He surrounded her with every comfort, gave her female servants, erected idols for worship, and built her a bathing room with two windows. Looking through the window at the earth below and the starry heavens above, Barbara’s mind was opened by the grace of God. She recognized the One True God, the Creator, despite the fact that she did not have a human teacher to bring her to this knowledge. Once, while her father was away from the city, she came down from the tower and, according to God’s providence, met some Christian women who revealed the true Faith of Christ to her. Barbara’s heart became inflamed with love for Christ the Lord. She ordered that a third window be cut open in the bath so that the three windows would represent the Holy Trinity. On one wall she traced a Cross with her finger, and the Cross etched itself deep in the stone as if cut by a chisel. A pool of water sprang forth from her footprints on the floor of the bath, which later gave healing of diseases to many. Learning of his daughter’s faith, Dioscorus beat her severely and drove her from the tower. He pursued her in order to kill her, but a cliff opened up and hid Barbara from her brutal father. When she appeared again, her father brought her to Martianus, the magistrate, who handed her over for torture. They stripped the innocent Barbara and flogged her until her entire body was covered with blood and wounds, but the Lord Himself appeared to her in prison with His angels and healed her. A certain woman, Juliana, upon seeing this, desired martyrdom for herself. Both women were severely tortured and with mockery were led through the city. Their breasts were cut off and much blood flowed from them. They were finally led to the place of execution, where Dioscorus himself slaughtered his daughter, and Juliana was slain by the soldiers. That same day, lightning struck the house of Dioscorus, killing him and Martianus. St. Barbara suffered in the year 306. Her miracle-working relics rest in Kiev. Glorified in the Kingdom of Christ, she has appeared many times even in our own day, sometimes alone and sometimes in the company of the Most-holy Theotokos.

Saint John Damascene
John was first the chief minister to Caliph Abdul-Malik and later a monk in the Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. Because of his ardent defense of the veneration of icons during the reign of the iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Isaurian, John was maligned by the emperor to the Caliph, who cut off his right hand. John fell down in prayer before the icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, and his hand was rejoined and miraculously healed. Seeing this miracle the Caliph repented, but John no longer desired to remain with him as a nobleman. Instead, he withdrew to a monastery, where, from the beginning, he was a model to the monks in humility, obedience and all the prescribed rules of monastic asceticism. John composed the Funeral Hymns and compiled the Octoechos (The Book of Eight Tones), the Irmologion, the Menologion and the Paschal Canon, and he wrote many theological works of inspiration and profundity. A great monk, hymnographer, theologian and soldier for the truth of Christ, Damascene is numbered among the great Fathers of the Church. He entered peacefully into rest in about the year 776 at the age of 104.

Saint Gennadius, Archbishop of Novgorod
Gennadius was a distinguished writer, a champion of truth, and one who suffered for the truth of Christ. He gathered the various books of Sacred Scripture into one book and compiled the key for determining the date of Pascha (the Paschalion) for the next 532 years. He entered into rest in the Lord in the year 1505. His miracle-working relics rest in the Chudov Monastery in Moscow.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint John Damascene
O wondrous trumpet of the Orthodox Faith,
O glorious monk of a glorious cenobium,
John the poet, champion of the Faith,
Holy sufferer for the holy icons,
Having glorified God you are now glorified;
Immortal trumpeter of eternal life,
You left the world for the sake of the Living Christ.
Having humbled yourself, you are glorified the more.
You took upon yourself the path of asceticism;
Through tears you beheld the heavenly mysteries;
By prayer and faith you performed miracles;
You conversed with the Mother of God.
The Faith—who could better expound it?
Who could glorify God with a sweeter hymn?
O harp of eternal truth, there is none like you,
No one like you, glorious Father Damascene.
Oh, raise even now your pure mouth,
And implore the Life-giving Christ for us,
That His mercy accompany us until death,
That we with you may glorify Him.

REFLECTION
Obedience, coupled with humility, is the foundation of the spiritual life, the foundation of salvation and the foundation of the overall structure of the Church of God. The great John Damascene—great in every good thing—as a monk left a deep impression on the history of the Church by his exceptional example of obedience and humility. Testing him one day, his elder and spiritual father handed him woven baskets and ordered him to take them to Damascus and sell them there. The elder established a very high price for the baskets, thinking that John would not be able to sell them at that price but would have to return with them. John, therefore, firstly had to go on a long journey; secondly, he had to go as a poor monk to the city where he, at one time, had been the most powerful man after the Caliph; thirdly, he had to seek a ridiculously high price for the baskets; and fourthly, should he not sell the baskets, he would have made this enormous journey, there and back, for nothing. In this way, the elder wished to test the obedience, humility and patience of his famous disciple. John silently prostrated before the elder and, without a word, took the baskets and started on his journey. Arriving in Damascus, he stood in the market place and awaited a buyer. When he told the interested passers-by the price of his goods, they laughed at and mocked him as a lunatic. He stood there the whole day, and the whole day he was exposed to derision and ridicule. But God, Who sees all things, did not abandon His patient servant. A certain citizen passed by and looked at John. Even though John was clad in a poor monk’s habit and his face was withered and pale from fasting, this citizen recognized in him the one-time lord and first minister of the Caliph, in whose service he had also been. John also recognized him, but they both began to deal as strangers. Even though John named the all-too-high price of the baskets, the citizen purchased and paid for them without a word, recalling the good that John Damascene had once done for him. As a victor, holy John returned to the monastery rejoicing, and brought joy to his elder.

HOMILY
on how everything is good that is of God

And God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).

Brethren, only good works proceed from the good Creator. Therefore, let all those who say that both good and evil proceed from God be silent. After His every act, God Himself affirms that it is good. Six times He repeated that what He created was good, and finally, the seventh time, when He saw all in its entirety, He pronounced His judgment that all He had created was very good (Genesis 1:31). Therefore, in total He repeated seven times that everything was good that came into existence by His holy will. Is it not a great wonder that some people come up with the godless assertion that both good and evil equally proceed from God? God, as if He knew that such slanders would be cast against Him—or, better to say, that such slanders would be cast throughout the centuries—gave His defense in advance and repeated it seven times, for all times and for all generations. Evil comes from sin, and there is no sin in God. Therefore, God can do no evil. He is called the Almighty because He is powerful to do every good. Wicked and twisted are the commentators on God who claim that God is “Almighty” because He can do both good and evil. God is the source of good and is darkened by nothing, and nothing can proceed from Him that is contrary to good. It is obvious to every normal man that evil is contrary to good. Know, brethren, that those who speak of duality in God, in the eternal Source of good, are those in whom is found the duality of good and evil. However, all those who love good, follow the path of goodness, and yearn for good have a clear revelation within themselves that God is good, and only good.

O our God, our Creator, Thou art the Creator of all good, and all Thy works are good.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen. 

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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, December 10, 2017

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 WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2017

TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: THE HOLY GREAT-MARTYR JAMES THE PERSIAN; SAINT JAMES, BISHOP OF ROSTOV 

RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE TWO: When Thou didst descend to death, O Life Immortal, Thou didst slay hell with the splendor of Thy Godhead!  And when from the depths Thou didst raise the dead, all the powers of heaven cried out: O Giver of Life! Christ our God! Glory to Thee!

TROPARION TO SAINT JAMES THE PERSIAN – TONE FOUR: You astounded all, long-suffering James, by enduring horrible tortures with great patience.  As the evil assembly performed the slaughter, you uttered prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord.  Through your sufferings you received your crown, and came to the throne of the heavenly King, Christ God.  Entreat Him to save our souls!

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

KONTAKION TO SAINT JAMES THE PERSIAN – TONE TWO: You listened to your faithful wife and contemplated the judgment of God, holy James; you despised the threats and commands of the Persians, accepting the cutting of your body as though you were a vine.  Therefore you were revealed as a martyr worthy of honor.

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 PROKEIMENON IN TONE TWO:
The Lord is my strength and my song.  He has become my salvation.

TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: EPHESIANS 6: 10-17 - Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

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

TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: LUKE 13: 10-17 - At that time Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.  And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.  But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her: “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”  And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.  But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd: “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”  The Lord then answered him and said: “Hypocrite!  Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it?  So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound - think of it - for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”  And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

FROM THE PROLOGUE:
NOVEMBER 27/DECEMBER 10, BY SAINT NIKOLAI VELIMIROVIC:

The Holy Martyr James the Persian
James was born of Christian parents in the Persian city of Elapa (or Vilat), brought up in the Christian Faith and married to a Christian woman. The Persian King Yezdegeherd took a liking to James for his talents and skillfulness, and made him a noble at his court. Flattered by the king, James was deluded and began offering sacrifices to the idols that the king worshiped. His mother and wife learned of this, and wrote him a letter of reproach in which they grieved over him as an apostate and one who was spiritually dead. Yet, at the end of the letter, they begged him to repent and return to Christ. Moved by this letter, James repented bitterly, and courageously confessed his faith in Christ the Lord to the king. Angered, the king condemned him to death by a special torture: his entire body was to be cut up, piece by piece, until he breathed his last. The executioners fulfilled this command of the wicked king to the letter, and cut off James’s fingers, then his toes, his legs and arms, his shoulders, and finally his head. During every cutting, the repentant martyr gave thanks to God. A sweet-smelling fragrance, as of a cypress, emanated from the wounds. Thus, this wonderful man repented of his sin and presented his soul to Christ his God in the Kingdom of Heaven. James suffered in about the year 400. His head is to be found in Rome and a part of his relics in Portugal, where he is commemorated on May 22.

The Seventeen Venerable Martyrs of India
They were Christian monks who suffered at the hands of the Indian King Abenner. Enraged at Elder Barlaam because he baptized his son, Ioasaph, King Abenner sent men in pursuit of him. The pursuers did not capture Barlaam, but captured seventeen other monks and brought them to the king. The king condemned them to death and his men plucked out their eyes, severed their tongues, broke their arms and legs, and then beheaded them. Even so, the Christian Faith in the Kingdom of India was strengthened all the more by the blood of these knights of Christ.

The Venerable Romanus the Wonderworker
Romanus lived a life of asceticism in the vicinity of Antioch. He never kindled a fire or lit a candle in his cell. He reposed peacefully, and was a miracle-worker both during his life and after his death. He intercedes for barren women when they offer prayer to him.

The Venerable Pinuphrius
Pinuphrius was a contemporary of St. John Cassian (February 29) and a great Egyptian ascetic. He lived in the fourth century and carried out his life of asceticism in various places, always fleeing the praise of men. He had many disciples, who strove to imitate the lofty example of their teacher.

The Venerable Nathaniel
Nathaniel was a Nitrian monk. He prayed to God both day and night, and was enlightened by the contemplation of divine matters. He neither left his cell nor even crossed the threshold for a full thirty-eight years. He entered into rest in the Lord in the second half of the sixth century.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Martyr James the Persian
The Creator does not lose repentant souls:
He loves a true penitent the most.
James denied Christ the Living God
For the sake of the godless emperor, his flatterer.
His mother reproached him as did his wife:
“All the riches of the earth are as transient as foam.”
James repented, and bitterly repented,
Then openly spoke about what he had kept secret:
“A Christian I was, and again I am a Christian:
Foolish and weak are your idols!”
This James said, as he stood before the emperor;
This he said openly and remained true to it.
The emperor took all his imperial gifts from him,
And clothed the wondrous James with torture.
James was reddened with wounds and blood,
And like eagles on a carcass, men attacked him!
They dismembered the body of Christ’s hero,
And cut St. James into bits.
Now James prays before God in Paradise
That all Christians overcome all attacks.

REFLECTION
When the executioners severed the thumb of St. James’s right hand, he said: “Even a vine is pruned in this manner, so that in time a young branch may grow.” At the severing of his second finger, he said: “Receive also, O Lord, the second branch of Thy sowing.” At the severing of his third finger, he said: “I bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” At the severing of his fourth finger, he said: “O Thou who acceptest the praise of the four beasts [symbols of the four evangelists], accept the suffering of the fourth finger.” At the severing of the fifth finger, he said: “May my rejoicing be fulfilled as that of the five wise virgins at the wedding feast.” During the severing of the sixth finger, he said: “Thanks be to Thee, O Lord, Who at the sixth hour stretched out Thy most pure arms on the Cross, that Thou hast made me worthy to offer Thee my sixth finger.” At the severing of the seventh finger, he said: “Like David who praised Thee seven times daily, I praise Thee through the seventh finger severed for Thy sake.” At the severing of the eighth finger, he said: “On the eighth day Thou Thyself, O Lord, wast circumcised.” At the severing of the ninth finger, he said: “At the ninth hour, Thou didst commend Thy spirit into the hands of Thy Father, O my Christ, and I offer Thee thanks during the suffering of my ninth finger.” At the severing of the tenth finger, he said: “On a ten-stringed harp I sing to Thee, O God, and thank Thee that Thou hast made me worthy to endure the severing of the ten fingers of my two hands, for the Ten Commandments written on two tablets.” Oh, what wonderful faith and love! Oh, the noble soul of this knight of Christ!

HOMILY on the perfect man

… Till we all come in the unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

The unity of the Faith, brethren, and the knowledge of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ the Savior, unites two men into one man, a thousand people into one man, and many millions of people into one man. The unity of Faith in Christ the Lord, and the true Orthodox knowledge of Christ the Lord, unites men more strongly than blood, more strongly than language, more strongly than all external circumstances and material bonds. When many souls think as one and the same, will as one and the same, and desire as one and the same, then these many souls are as one soul, one great and mighty soul. Physical differences in this case mean little, and are hardly to be taken into consideration. Thus, the same souls are built up into a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. The parts of the perfect whole are themselves perfect. Every Christian soul is a part of the perfect man. Christ is the Perfect Man of Whom the Church is the Mystical Body. He fills everyone who believes in Him with Himself, according to the measure of the stature of each. He is the fullness beyond all fullness, the living fount that flows and fills every worthy space. Inasmuch as a man empties himself of everything that is not of Christ, Christ will enter into him and fill him accordingly.

O my brethren, deep humility is needed in addition to strong faith, so that the Living Water may be poured into us. Even in nature, we see that water easily irrigates the lowlands. So, the more lowly our humiliation is before the Lord Jesus, the more willingly He pours Himself into us, irrigates us with His life-giving Self, and fills us as His vessel with the fullness of His immortality.

O Lord Jesus, Thou fullness of life, wisdom, beauty and sweetness, help us to humble ourselves before Thy Divine Majesty, that we may be made worthy of Thy visitation.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

DIOCESAN NEWS
St. Sava Parish in Phoenix Hosts Diocesan SKSS Slava
03 Dec 2017

St. Sebastian Day 2017 Festivities, Jackson
30 Nov 2017

Fundraising Banquet in Las Vegas
26 Nov 2017

  Slava Celebration in Saratoga, California
19 Nov 2017

St. Sebastian Orthodox Press Slava
12 Nov 2017

2017 Pan-Orthodox Clergy Retreat
10 Nov 2017


“Serbian Americans: History, Culture & Press” Chicago
09 Nov 2017

UPCOMING EVENTS 

orthinst2018 wide banner

2018 wad iconography course wide

NEWEST PUBLICATIONS

splogo
DEAL OF THE DAY

kalendar 2018 copy

Order our New 2018 Wall Calendar
Email: rbojovic@sebastianpress.org


 prologue new edition

The Prologue of Ohrid
NEW EDITION 
NOW AVAILABLE
ORDER NOW

SP BK SM 2017 001 1

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to the Gospel
Read More

welcoming the christ child

Welcoming the Christ Child: Family Readings for the Nativity Lent by Elissa Bjeletich. Journey through the Old Testament with 40 wonderfully illustrated Bible readings, one for each day of the Nativity lent.
Read More

SP BK EH 2017 001 1

Synodality - A Forgotten and Misapprehended Vision
Reflections from the
Holy and Great Council of 2016
ORDER TODAY!  

synaxarion flyer
Read More



Also on KINDLE
at AMAZON

NEW on KINDLE... 

Welcoming the Christ Child

Alyina Vrobeyeva’s Confession

The Hagia Sophia

In the Mirror

Psychology in the service of the Church

No Faith is More Beautiful than the Christian Faith

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

and SO MANY MORE TITLES, with more on the way...

The Art of Seeing

The Thunderbolt of Ever-Living Fire

The Presence of Transcendence: Essays on Facing the Other through Holiness, History, and Text

Man and the God-Man

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
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