Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, December 21, 2014

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WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Twenty-Eighth Sunday after Pentecost; The Venerable Patapius; Holy Sosthenes, Apollos, and others; 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 THE VENERABLE PATAPIUS -
TONE EIGHT:

The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Father, for you took up the cross and followed Christ. By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh, for it passes away, but to care instead for the soul since it is immortal. Therefore your spirit, Venerable Patapius, rejoices with the angels.

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE THREE:
On this day You did 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 Your power!

KONTAKION TO THE VENERABLE PATAPIUS - TONE THREE:
Your temple is found to be a source of healing, and the people flock to it eagerly, O saint.  They seek the healing of their diseases and the forgiveness of their sins, for you are a protector for all those in need, O Venerable Patapius.

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 3rd Tone:

Sing praises to our God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises!

28th 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

28th 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.”  

Spiritual Articles
From The Prologue for December 8/21 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Venerable Patapius
Patapius was born and brought up in the Faith and in the fear of God by pious parents in the Egyptian city of Thebes. At an early age he perceived and abhorred the vanity of this world and withdrew into the wilderness of Egypt. There he devoted himself to a life of asceticism, cleansing his heart of all earthly desires and thoughts, for the sake of God’s love. However, when his virtues became known among the people, they began to come to him and to seek solace from him in their sufferings. Fearing the praise of men, which darkens the minds of men and separates them from God, Patapius fled this wilderness to Constantinople, for this wonderful saint thought that he could hide himself more easily from people in the city than in the wilderness. Patapius built a hut for himself in the proximity of the Church of Blachernae in Constantinople. There, immured and unknown, he continued his interrupted life of eremetic asceticism. However, a light cannot be hidden. A child, blind from birth, was led by God’s providence to St. Patapius. He besought the saint to pray to God that he be given his sight and be able to look upon God’s creation—thus allowing him to praise God all the more. Patapius having compassion on the suffering child, prayed to God, and the child’s sight was restored. This miracle revealed God’s chosen one throughout the entire city, and people rushed to him for healing, comfort and instruction. Patapius healed an eminent man of dropsy by tracing the sign of the Cross over him and anointing him with oil. By making the sign of the Cross in the air with his hand, he freed a youth from an unclean spirit that had cruelly tormented him. The evil spirit, with a loud shriek, came out from God’s creature like smoke. He made the sign of the Cross over a woman who had a sore on her breast all filled with worms, and made her healthy. Many other miracles did St. Patapius perform, all through prayer in the name of Christ and by the sign of the Cross. He entered into rest peacefully in great old age and took up his habitation in the Heavenly Kingdom in the seventh century.

The Holy Apostles Sosthenes, Apollos, Tychicus, Epaphroditus, Onesiphorus, Cephas and Caesar
All of them are commemorated on January 4 with the other lesser apostles. St. Apollos is also commemorated separately on September 10; St. Onesiphorus, September 7; Saints Cephas and Caesar, March 30. St. Sosthenes was bishop in Caesarea, and St. Tychicus was his successor in the same city. Epaphroditus was bishop in Andriopolis in Pamphylia; Cephas, in Iconium; and Caesar, in the Colophon Peloponnese. They all preached the Gospel of Christ with burning love, endured suffering for His holy name and entered into the Kingdom of Eternal Joy.

The Holy Martyrs in Africa
They suffered for the truth of the Orthodox Faith at the hands of the Arian heretics during the reign of the Vandal King Gunerik or Genzerik (477–484). Two priests were burned and sixty more had their tongues cut out. In addition, three hundred laymen were beheaded. All of them suffered, but they defeated falsehood and confirmed Orthodoxy through their deaths, handing the Faith down to us pure and untarnished. The Lord crowned them with wreaths of glory in His Immortal Kingdom.

HYMN OF PRAISE: The Venerable Patapius
Patapius, like a mariner,
Fixes his gaze into the tempest,
Where he will see the light of the harbor
Beyond this vain and glorious world,
Agitated by the winds of passions,
Darkened by the gloom of vanity.

He casts a glance to the heavens—
Patapius, like a mariner.

The spirit is the eye for seeing heaven
And the wondrous heavenly world—
A true spirit in a pure heart.

Patapius, his soul directed to God,
Bathed his heart in tender tears.

Concentrated, he awaits the light,
The light of heaven, the calm harbor—
Patapius, like a mariner.

Whosoever seeks shall find;
Whosoever knocks, to him it shall be opened.

The Merciful God loves the saints,
The thirsty seekers of the Kingdom of God.

He captured Patapius’s glance,
And revealed the heavenly light to him.
Patapius saw and he wept—
God’s light inflamed by tears—
Until he sailed to the calm harbor.

His life has remained a wondrous sign
To voyagers on the open seas of the world.

REFLECTION
He who surrenders himself completely to God is guided by God to salvation, and is used by Him for the benefit of many others. St. Nicholas, devoted to the will of God, fled from the glory of men, from his city of Patara, and came to the city of Myra in Lycia, where he knew no one and was known by no one. Without any means—for, although he had been wealthy by virtue of his family, he had abandoned everything—without acquaintances and without plans, he walked as an unknown one throughout the city, waiting for God to direct his steps. At that time John the Archbishop of Myra died, and the Synod gathered for the election of a new archbishop, but could not agree on any person who had been nominated. Finally, the members of the Synod decided to fast and pray to God that He would designate the one who was most worthy of this calling. God heeded the prayers of His servants and revealed to them the one most worthy. When the presiding bishop stood for prayer, a man appeared to him in light and told him to go out early, stand in front of the church, and await the first one who would enter for morning prayer. “Appoint him as archbishop; his name is Nicholas,” he said. Seeing and hearing this, the bishop informed all of his companions. Early the next day, he went in front of the church and waited. At that moment St. Nicholas, who had the habit of rising early for prayer, appeared. Seeing him, the bishop asked him: “What is your name, son?” Nicholas remained silent. The bishop again asked him, and he replied: “I am called Nicholas, O Bishop, the servant of your holiness.” Then the bishop took him by the hand, brought him before the Synod, and said: “Receive, brethren, your shepherd, who was anointed by the Holy Spirit and was elected not by the Synod of men but rather by the providence of God.”

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the first brotherhood of men upon earth (Genesis 4):

1. How Cain and Abel were the first brothers on earth;
2. How Abel was virtuous and God-fearing, and Cain was envious and self-willed;
3. How the envious Cain slew the virtuous Abel.

HOMILY
on the curse of sinful works

Cursed is the ground in thy works (Genesis 3:17).
After Adam and Eve’s sin, God pronounced a punishment. He did not pronounce the punishment immediately but after waiting a period of time for their repentance. This is shown in the conversation into which God entered with Adam after his sin. Where art thou? (Genesis 3:9), God asked Adam. And when Adam said that he hid because of his nakedness, God asked him again: Who told thee that thou wast naked? (Genesis 3:11). Instead of repenting, Adam then began to accuse his wife. After that, God pronounced the punishment. Upon the serpent, which served as the weapon of the devil, fell the infinite curse. The woman was condemned to bear children in pain and to have her will subject to the authority of her husband. This is not a curse but rather a punishment with hope. Man was condemned to work the land. But what do the words, Cursed is the ground in thy works, mean? Did God curse the ground as He cursed the serpent with an infinite curse? By no means! The ground is cursed only in the sinful works of man. Because of man’s sin, the earth produces thorns; because of sin, there is infertility; because of sin, there are droughts, floods, earthquakes, plagues, and destructive insects such as grasshoppers and caterpillars. That the ground is not cursed in its entirety is clear from this: that the earth also produces good fruits. God, through the prayers of the righteous, has always blessed the fruits of the earth necessary for human life, and even the angels of God, as the guests of Abraham, tasted the earth’s harvest (Genesis 18:1–8). For in what way is the earth and all the rest of God’s creation (except the serpent) culpable for Adam’s sin? Nevertheless, the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (Romans 8:22). All creation does not groan or travail because of a curse upon itself but rather because of man’s sinful works, which are cursed. O my brethren, let us be ashamed of our sin, for which even God’s innocent creation suffers.

O Gracious God, forgive us our past sins and protect us from future sins. O Merciful God, have mercy on all Thine innocent creatures, who suffer because of us, and ease their suffering.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


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Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, December 14, 2014

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                                               eserbia  holyicon.org   

 

WEEKLY DIOCESAN BULLETIN

Sunday December 14, 2014

Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost; 
The Holy Prophet Nahum; 
Saint Philaret the Merciful
  


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 Thee!

TROPARION TO THE HOLY PROPHET NAHUM - TONE TWO:
We celebrate the memory of Your prophet Nahum, O Lord.  Through him we beseech You: save our souls. 

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 HOLY PROPHET NAHUM - TONE FOUR:
Illumined by the Spirit, your heart was a vessel of illustrious prophecy, seeing far off things as though they were present.  Therefore, we venerate you, O glorious prophet Nahum.

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.

27th 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

27th 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.

SPIRITUAL ARTICLES

From The Prologue for December 1/14 by
St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Holy Prophet Nahum

Nahum was born of the tribe of Simeon in a place called Elkosh on the far side of the Jordan. He lived about seven hundred years before Christ and prophesied the destruction of Nineveh about two hundred years after the Prophet Jonah. Because of Jonah’s preaching, the Ninevites had repented, and God had spared them and not destroyed them. In time, however, they forgot God’s mercy and again became corrupt. The Prophet Nahum prophesied their destruction, and since there was no repentance, God did not spare them. The entire city was destroyed by earthquake, flood and fire, so that its location is no longer known. St. Nahum lived for forty-five years and entered into rest in the Lord, leaving us a small book of his true prophecies.

Saint Philaret the Almsgiver
Philaret was from the village of Amnia in Paphlagonia. Early in life, Philaret was a very wealthy man, but by distributing abundant alms to the poor he himself became extremely poor. However, he was not afraid of poverty, and, not heeding the complaints of his wife and children, he continued his charitable works with hope in God, Who said: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7). Once, while he was plowing in the field, a man came to him and complained that one of his oxen had died in the harness and that he was unable to plow with only one ox. Philaret then unharnessed one of his oxen and gave it to him. He even gave his remaining horse to a man who was summoned to go to war. He gave away the calf of his last cow, and when he saw how the cow pined for her missing calf, and the calf for the cow, he called the man and gave him the cow too. And thus the aged Philaret was left without food in an empty house. But he prayed to God and placed his hope in Him. And God did not abandon the righteous one to be put to shame in his hope. At that time the Empress Irene reigned with her young son, Constantine. According to the custom of that time, the empress sent men throughout the whole empire to seek the best and most distinguished maiden to whom she could wed her son, the emperor. By God’s providence, these men happened to stay overnight in Philaret’s house, and they saw his most beautiful and modest granddaughter Maria, the daughter of his daughter Hypatia, and took her to Constantinople. The emperor was well pleased with her, married her, and moved Philaret and all his family to the capital, giving him great honors and riches. Philaret did not become proud as a result of this unexpected good fortune, but, thankful to God, he continued to perform good works even more than he had before, and thus he continued until his death. At the age of ninety he summoned his children, blessed them, and instructed them to cleave to God and to God’s law, and with his clairvoyant spirit he prophesied to all of them how they would live out this life, as once had Jacob. After that he went to the Rodolfia Monastery and gave up his soul to God. At his death his face shone like the sun, and after his death an unusual, sweet fragrance came forth from his body and miracles took place at his relics. This righteous man entered into rest in the year 797. His wife, Theosevia, and all his children and grandchildren lived a God-pleasing life and reposed in the Lord.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Philaret the Almsgiver
To the merciful one, God shows mercy;

He never ceases to show mercy.
He hears the prayers of the merciful;
He gives gifts a hundredfold.
Philaret the Merciful
Placed himself wholly in God’s hands.
By his compassion, he amazed the world;
He was faithful to God, even in suffering.
Philaret did not compete
For honor or precedence.
We use this age to purchase
The Eternal Kingdom and blessedness.
The Lord spoke a wondrous word:
“Trade until I return!
When the time is right,
I will repay you with great riches.”
When Philaret became impoverished
Because of almsgiving beyond measure,
Because of truth and goodness—
God visited him from on high:
Visited him and bestowed mercy,
Bestowed mercy and rewarded him,
Just as once upon the faithful Job,
He bestowed mercy and a reward.

REFLECTION
Virtue is like a thirst. When a man begins to drink of it, he becomes more thirsty and seeks to drink of it all the more. He who begins to exercise the virtue of compassion knows no measure and acknowledges no limit. St. Philaret was no less generous when he was impoverished than when he was wealthy. When his granddaughter became empress, he became a rich man once again, but no less generous. One day, he told his wife and children to prepare the best feast that they could and said: “Let us invite our King and Lord, with all His noblemen, to come to the feast.” Everyone thought that the old man was thinking of inviting to dinner his son-in-law, the emperor, and they all worked as hard as they could and prepared the feast. Meanwhile, Philaret went around the streets and gathered all the needy, the beggars, the blind, the outcasts, the lame and the infirm, and brought them to the feast. Placing them at the table, he ordered his wife and sons to serve at the table. After the feast was completed, he put a gold coin in the hand of each guest and dismissed them. Then everyone understood that by “the King” he meant the Lord Christ Himself, and by “the noblemen” he meant beggars and those in need. He also said that one need not look at the money that one gives to beggars, but rather one should mix up the money in one’s pocket and give only what the hand removes from the pocket. The hand will draw out whatever God’s providence ordains.

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the sinful fall of Adam and Eve 
(Genesis 3):


1. How Eve, when she sinned, did not repent but hurried to make her husband a participant in her sin;

2. How Adam, when he sinned, did not repent but justified himself, blaming his wife before God;

3. How, even today, many sinners seek fellow participants in their sin and justify themselves by blaming others.

HOMILY on the creation of the world
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
Brethren, this is God’s answer through the mouth of the prophet, the answer to the question that we all thirst to know: “Whence comes this world?” God hears our question, spoken or unspoken; He hears and gives an answer. Just as He gives rain to the dry earth, just as He gives health to a sick person, just as He gives bread and clothing to the body, so also does He give an answer to our spirit. He gives an answer to the question that has caused it hunger and thirst, pain and nakedness, until it (the spirit) is nourished and quenched, restored to health, and is clothed with the true answer. This is the question: “Whence, therefore, comes this world?” This is the answer: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. This world is not of itself, just as nothing in this world is of itself, neither is this world of an evil power, neither is this world of many creators, good and evil, but rather it is of the one gracious God. This answer evokes joy in the heart of every man and incites him to good works. And by this we know, among other things, that this is the only correct and true answer. Every other answer, in contradiction to this, evokes sorrow and fear in us and incites us to evil works, and therefore we know, among other things, that such answers are false. Brethren, the world is from God—let us rejoice and be glad! The world is of divine origin, and consequently its end will also be in God. The world is of a good root, and consequently it will bring forth good fruit. It proceeded from the chamber of light, and it will end in light. When we know that the beginning is good, then we know that it tends toward good and that the end will be good. Behold, in these words about the beginning, the prophecy about the end is already hidden. As was the beginning, so also will be the end. He from Whom the beginning came, in Him also is the end. Therefore, let us hold fast to this saving truth, that we may have shining hope and be strengthened in love toward the One Who, out of love, created us. O Lord God, our Almighty Creator, One God, One Creator, the good Source of goodness, Thee do we worship, to Thee do we pray; direct us to the good end by Thy Holy Spirit, through the Lord Jesus Christ. 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 


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