Aug
18
7:45 AM07:45

9th Sunday of Matthew. Matins and Divine Liturgy.

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Floros & Lauros the Monk-martyrs of Illyria, Hermos the Martyr, Leontus the martyr, John & George, Patriarchs of Constantinople, Relics of Arsenios the Righteous of Paros, Afterfeast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary, Constantine the New Martyr of Capua, Matthew the New Martyr of Gerakari

Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ninth Orthros Gospel

Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 3:9-17

Brethren, we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:22-34

At that time, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they entered the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.

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Aug
15
7:45 AM07:45

Dormition of the Theotokos. Orthros and Divine Liturgy.

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The Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary

Fast Day (Fish Allowed)

Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians 2:5-11

Brethren, have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42, 11:27-28

At that time, Jesus entered a village; and a woman called Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve you alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

n giving birth, you preserved your virginity. In falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos. You were translated to life, O Mother of Life, and by your prayers, you deliver our souls from death (Troparion).

Neither the tomb, nor death, could hold the Theotokos, who is constant in prayer and our firm hope in her intercessions. For being the Mother of Life, she was translated to life, by the One who dwelt in her virginal womb (Kontakion).

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Aug
11
7:30 AM07:30

8th Sunday of Matthew. Matins and Divine Liturgy. The Service will be conducted by his Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.

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Saints and Feasts: Euplus the Holy Martyr & Archdeacon of Cantania, Our Holy Father Niphonus, Patriarch of Constantinople, Commemoration of St. Spyridon’s Miracle in Corfu against the Turkish invasion of 1716, Afterfeast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Blane, Bishop of Bute

Fast Day (Wine and Oil Allowed)
Grave Tone
Eighth Orthros Gospel

Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 1:10-17

Brethren, I appeal to you by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispos and Gaius; lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:14-22

At that time, Jesus saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.

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Aug
6
7:45 AM07:45

Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ. Orthros and Holy Liturgy.

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Saints and Feasts: Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Fast Day (Fish Allowed)

Epistle Reading: St. Peter’s Second Universal Letter 1:10-19

BRETHREN, be more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these things, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to arouse you by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. And I will see to it that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 17:1-9

At that time, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead.”

Apolytikion of Holy Transfiguration

Grave Tone

You were transfigured on the Mount, Christ God revealing Your glory to Your disciples, insofar as they could comprehend. Illuminate us sinners also with Your everlasting light, through the intercessions of the Theotokos. Giver of light, glory to You.

Kontakion of Holy Transfiguration

Grave Tone

You were transfigured upon the mount, O Christ our God, and Your disciples, in so far as they could bear, beheld Your glory. Thus, when they see You crucified, they may understand Your voluntary passion, and proclaim to the world that You are truly the effulgence of the Father.

On this Feast of the Transfiguration, I offer a quote from St. John Chrysostom, including some commentary by me. Take it for what it is, a small man peering out from the shadows of a greater theologian, though both, we pray, illuminated by the light of Christ.

St. John Chrysostom invites his reader, in his "Exhortation to Theodore After his Fall," to imagine the great glory of the Lord during the transfiguration. The glory is certainly great, but even there on that mountain, the glory of Christ is not revealed in its fullness:

"even then He did not display to us all the splendour of the world to come. For that the vision was accommodated to human eyes, and not an exact manifestation of the reality is plain from the very words of the Evangelist. For what did he say? "He did shine as the Sun." But the glory of incorruptible bodies does not emit the same kind of light as this body which is corruptible, nor is it of a kind to be tolerable to mortal eyes, but needs incorruptible and immortal eyes to contemplate it. But at that time on the mountain He disclosed to them as much as it was possible for them to see without injuring the sight of the beholders; and even so they could not endure it but fell upon their faces."

Our human and failing eyes were accommodated in this act of revelation, and Christ was revealed in a mode suited to the world we know, His glory revealed as the glory of the sun. We are given as much of this glory as we can possibly take, and it is overwhelming; we fall on our faces in awe of the greatness and in worship of Jesus.

But this glory is not just the glory of Christ. The transfiguration of Christ approximates for us, not only the glory of Jesus on the last day, but "all the splendour of the world to come." Why is the world also transfigured? Because more than just the body is implicated in the subjection of death. St. John writes that

"the whole creation partakes of corruption, it is subject to many things such as bodies of this kind naturally experience." Jesus' transfiguration does not show only the glory of Christ on the last day, but also the glory of the whole creation, "having divested itself of all [corruption], we shall see it display its beauty in an incorruptible form: for inasmuch as it is to receive incorruptible bodies, it will in future be itself also transfigured into the nobler condition." 

All of this world has been caught up in corruption. But now, after the advent of Christ, even the creation is caught up in the glory of Christ shown in the transfiguration. The promise of the transfiguration is that creation too will shed its enslavement to corruption and death, as it will be receiveing glorious bodies. The transfiguration is not just an event in human history, but in the history of the whole cosmos.

Yet it reaches even farther than this world we know. In the time to come "all things relating to decay are utterly removed, and incorruptible glory reigns in every part," and when Chrysostom says "every part," he means even the heavenly places. The transfiguration points to a time of

"perpetual enjoyment of intercourse with Christ in the company of angels, and archangels, and the higher powers. Behold now the sky, and pass through it in thought to the region beyond the sky, and consider the transfiguration to take place in the whole creation; for it will not continue to be such as it is now, but will be far more brilliant and beautiful."

The transfiguration is an event that shows us not just the transformation of one body into glory, but the transformation of the whole world from death into life. The beauty of this transfigured man will creep through the world, even into the regions beyond the sky. Because of this the beauty of heaven will be completed, but only after all of what God has made, the human person and the world we live in, comes into friendship with Christ and the angels. (Source: http://lifeofababypriest.blogspot.com)

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Aug
4
7:45 AM07:45

7th Sunday of Matthew. Μatins and Divine Liturgy.

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Saints and Feasts: Seven Holy Youths of Ephesus

Fast Day (Wine and Oil Allowed)
Plagal of the Second Tone
Seventh Orthros Gospel

Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 15:1-7

Brethren, we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:27-35

At that time, as Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly charged them, “See that no one knows it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.


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Aug
2
7:45 AM07:45

Translation of the relics of St. Stephen. Matins and Divine Liturgy.

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Saints and Feasts: Translation of the Relics of Stephen the Protomartyr, Holy Glorious New Martyr Theodore of Dardanelles, Phocas the Martyr, Plegmund, Archbishop of Canterbury

Strict Fast

Epistle Reading: Acts of the Apostles 6:8-15; 7:1-5, 47-60

In those days, Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, arose and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. Then they secretly instigated men, who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

And the high priest said, “Is this so?” And Stephen said: “Brethren and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Depart from your land and from your kindred and go into the land which I will show you.’ Then he departed from the land of the Chaldeans, and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living; yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him in possession and to his posterity after him, though he had no child.

“But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands; as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and earth my footstool. What house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?’

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together upon him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Gospel Reading: Mark 12:1-12

The Lord said this parable, “A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him, and sent him away empty handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with many others, some they beat and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” And they tried to arrest him, but feared the multitude, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them; so they left him and went away.

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Aug
1
7:45 AM07:45

St. Nona (mother of St. Gregory). Matins and Divine Liturgy.

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Saints and Feasts: Forefeast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Eusignius the Martyr of Antioch, Our Righteous Father Eugene of Aitola, Euthymios, Patriarch of Constantinople, Christos the New Martyr of Prevezis, Oswald the Martyr, King of Northumbria

Strict Fast

Epistle Reading: St. Peter’s First Universal Letter 1:1-25; 2:1-10

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontos, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having known him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.

The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation; they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things which have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Therefore gird up your minds, be sober, set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord abides for ever.” That word is the good news which was preached to you.

So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander. Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.” To you therefore who believe, he is precious, but for those who do not believe, “The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner,” and “A stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall”; for they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:1-6

At that time, the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather; for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”


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Jul
28
7:45 AM07:45

6th Sunday of Matthew. Matins and Divine Liturgy.

Saints and Feasts: Prochoros, Nicanor, Timon, & Parmenas the Apostles of the 70, Irene the Righteous of Chrysovalantou, Our Righteous Father Paul of Xeropotamou

Plagal of the First Tone
Sixth Orthros Gospel

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Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 12:6-14

Brethren, having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:1-8

At that time, getting into a boat Jesus crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say ‘Rise and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, take up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

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Jul
27
7:45 AM07:45

Saint Great Martyr Panteleimon (the Healer). Orthros and Divine Liturgy.

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Saint Panteleimon was born about 284 AD in the city of Nicodemia. His father, Evstorgios, was an idolater while his mother, Evoulis, was a devout Christian. She raised her son, whose real name was Pantoleonta, in the Christian way of life. She passed away while her son was still young.

Initially Pantoleonta was educated in his native tongue and then in Greek. His father sent him to study under the famous physician, Evfrosinos. Quickly he surpassed the other students. He was handsome, soft spoken, humble and all who spoke with him felt true happiness and peace. Because of these virtues, he became well known in Nicodemia. One day he went with Eufrosinos to the palace and it was here that the ruler, Maximian, first saw him. He instructed Evfrosinos to educate Pantoleonta to the utmost so that he could be appointed royal physician.

At that time, St Ermolaos, the head of the Church in Nicodemia, lived in a house with other Christians. He watched Pantoleonta every day as he went to his studies and finally asked him about his religion. Pantoleonta told him that while his mother was alive he had been a Christian, but now his father had made him follow the pagans. Ermolaos told him that if he believed with all his heart in the true God he would be able to cure anyone with His help. Pantoleonta acknowledged everything he was told and from that time on, he went to Ermolaos for counsel and began to accept Christ with all his heart.

Time passed, and one day, with the grace of God, Pantoleonta saved a child from certain death after being bitten by a viper. He needed no further proof that Christ was the true God. Ermolaos baptised Pantoleonta, gave him Holy Communion, and instructed him in the Sacraments of the Holy Church. He remained for seven days with this holy man, and during this time he became completely acquainted with the teachings and practices of the Church.

Soon, Pantoleonta was working towards his father’s conversion to Christianity. This was finally achieved when he saw his son cure a man of his blindness. By the grace of God, the man regained his sight, not only physically, but also spiritually, for before this time he was an idolater. Pantoleonta took the man and his father to St Ermolaos who baptised them.

Pantoleonta distributed his wealth among the poor and then proceeded to cure all who came to him. The only payment the St would ask was that the healed person believe that Jesus Christ was their true healer. The other physicians became very envious and wanting to betray the Saint to the Emperor, a group of them went to Maximian and told him that the doctor that he himself had educated was healing Christians and that the idolaters were converting to Christianity. As proof, the blind man who was cured was brought before the Emperor, who tried to convince him that the gods had cured him and not Christ. But it was futile. Maximian realised that everything the doctors had told him was true. He ordered that the man be beheaded. The Saint secretly took the man’s body and buried it in a Christian place.

Pantoleonta was ordered to appear before the Emperor, who described the charges that were brought before him and ordered Pantoleonta to sacrifice to the gods. The Saint refused. The false-priests and doctors begged the Emperor to execute him so that Christianity would not gain in popularity among the people. Unable to change his beliefs, Maximian ordered that the Saint be tortured. First they tied him to a board and tore his skin with iron claws. Then, the soldiers burned him with their torches. The Saint prayed to God to give him strength to withstand the torture. Next the Saint was taken and placed in a kettle but the tar remained cool around him. The Emperor considered the miracles to be magic tricks performed by Pantoleonta. Continuing with his efforts he had a boulder tied to the Saint and thrown into the sea. The boulder became light and the Saint floated on the water. Maximian still refused to recognise the power of the true God. Next the Saint was placed in the stadium but the wild beasts peacefully walked towards him and licked his feet. The crowd cheered and together praised God and Pantoleonta. Maximian was enraged and had all the animals butchered. The miracle served to honour the Saint and to show others the way of righteousness.

The Saint was submitted to even more tortures. He was tied to a wheel and then rolled down a hill. The purpose was to tear the Saint’s Body to pieces. Instead, it rolled over several idolaters and killed them. The Saint again suffered no harm.

Pantoleonta decided to bring St Ermolaos to the people, since his words could convert even more pagans to Christianity. Ermolaos and two other men, Ermocratis and Ermippon, were brought before the Emperor who tried to convince them that they believed in a false God. Unable to make them renounce their faith they were tortured and finally beheaded. The bodies were secretly taken by some Christians and buried with honour.

The defeated Emperor passed final sentence on the Saint. He was to he beheaded and his body was to he cremated. The Saint was taken and tied to an olive tree. As the soldier raised his sword to behead the Saint, the sword melted as if it were made of wax. The soldiers fell to their knees and admitted their beliefs in Christ. The Saint prayed for them and forgave them for their sins. A voice came from heaven, saying to Pantoleonta that all he had asked for had been granted and that from this time on he would he known not as Pantoleonta, but as Panteleimon (All-merciful). He forced the soldiers to behead him so that he could receive the crown of martyrdom. After kissing the Saint, the soldiers beheaded him. St Panteleimon gave his life for Christ on 27 July 304 AD. It is said that the olive tree to which he was tied, immediately bloomed and brought forth fruit. Hearing of this, the Emperor ordered that the tree be cut down and that the body be burned. The soldiers, however, did not return to the palace. They and other Christians, took the holy body and buried it. The body was anointed with myrrh and buried outside of the city in the Place of the Scholar Adamantinos.

St John of Damascus informs us that the remains were transported to Constantinople, however, in the 12th century they were removed by the Crusaders. St Panteleimon is often asked by faithful Christians to aid them in times of sickness. He is believed to take special interest in those who are crippled. He is considered equal to the Benevolent Saints Cosmas and Damianos. (source: www.greekorthodox.org.au)

Dismissal Hymn (Third Tone)

Holy Passion-bearer and healer Panteleimon, entreat the merciful God, to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Kontakion (Plagal of Third Tone)

You emulated the Merciful One, and received from Him the grace of healing, Passion-bearer and healer Panteleimon; by your prayers, heal our spiritual diseases and continually drive away the temptations of the enemy from those who cry out in faith “Save us, O Lord”.

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Jul
26
7:45 AM07:45

Saint Martyr Paraskevi. Orthros and Divine Liturgy.

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Paraskeve the Righteous Martyr of Rome

St Paraskevi was born in Rome about 140 AD of Greek Christian parents. Her father, Agathon was rich and her mother, Politia, had many attributes, the greatest of which was her charitability. Agathon and Politia had been married for many years but they were childless. They prayed to God to bless them with a child which they would raise in a true Christian atmosphere. Their prayers were answered with the birth of a girl and because she was born on the sixth day of the week, they named her Paraskevi, the Greek word for Friday.

What impressed Paraskevi the most was not her parents’ guidance, but the Christian life which they led. Thus, she knew from a young age, the way of life she would one day lead. She obtained her education from secular books and from the Scriptures. She was also very knowledgeable in the field of philosophy. Bolstered by her Christian upbringing and philosophy, she often conversed with other women about Christianity, trying to strengthen their faith in this new religion.

Many noblemen wanted to marry this beautiful, educated and rich woman. Her understanding and kindness made her even more desirable, but having a higher goal in life, Paraskevi rejected any marriage proposals.

When she was 20 years old, both her parents died. Filled with the spirit of Christ and Christian ideals, she sold all her worldly goods and dispersed most of her money among the poor. The remainder was contributed to a community treasury which supported a home for young virgins and widows who had dedicated their lives to the teachings of Christianity. These women had, however, strayed far from the word of the Gospel and, therefore, Paraskevi remained in this home for many years and taught them the true meaning of Christianity.

This was not enough for her, however, and unprotected she went out to teach the way of Christ, knowing that death was waiting for her at the end of her journey. It was during this period that the Jews and Romans persecuted the new religion with the greatest intensity.

She left Rome at the age of 30 and began her holy mission, passing through many cities and villages. She was not caught immediately and put to death because Antonius Pius ruled Rome at this time, and he did not execute Christians without a trial. Instead, he protected them against the blind mania of the Jewish and Roman inhabitants. A Christian could only be brought to trial if a formal complaint were lodged against him by another citizen. However, at one time Antonius had to repeal this law because of the many disasters which had befallen Rome, and which were blamed on the Christians.

Eventually, Antonius heard of St Paraskevi’s holy mission. Upon her return to Rome, several Jews filed complaints about her and Antonius summoned her to his palace to question her. Attracted by her beauty and humility he tried with kind words to make her denounce her faith, even promising to marry her and make her an empress. Angered by her refusal he had a steel helmet, which fitted tightly around her head, lined with nails and placed on her head. It had no effect on the Saint and many who witnessed this miracle converted to Christianity. Hearing of this, Antonius had them put to death.

Thrown into prison, Paraskevi asked God to give her the strength to face the terror which awaited her. Antonius again continued the torture by having her hung by her hair and her hands and arms burned with torches. The Saint suffered greatly, but had the will not to submit to the pain. Antonius then prepared a large kettle of oil and tar, boiled the mixture and then had Paraskevi immersed in it. Miraculously she stood as if she were being cooled rather than burned. Angered, Antonius thought that she was using magic to keep the contents cool, but the Saint told him that he could test it. She took some of the boiling liquid and threw it in the Emperor’s face. It burned his eyes and blinded him. She stepped out of the kettle and went to Antonius, telling him that only the Christian God could cure him. Immediately, he regained his sight and humbled by the miracle he freed the Saint and ended all prosecution against the Christians throughout the Roman Empire.

Free now, Paraskevi went forth with greater zeal to accomplish her apostolic mission. As long as Antonius was alive she taught without fear, however the Emperor died at which time Marcus Aurelius came to power. During his reign a pestilence befell Rome and many people died. Once again the Christians were blamed. The Emperor was forced to change the laws dealing with “non-believers”.

Paraskevi was captured in a city which was ruled by a man called Asclipius. Refusing to sacrifice to the pagan gods, she was thrown into a pit with a large snake. The Saint made the sign of the cross and the snake did not harm her. Asclipius, realising that a great and mighty power guarded Paraskevi, she was again set free to teach others about Christianity.

She soon arrived at the city in which she would meet her death. Taracius was the ruler here, and he summoned her to the palace for trial. As Antonius, he also ordered his soldiers to prepare a kettle filled with boiling oil and melted tar and the Saint was placed in it. Once again, nothing happened, and many of the onlookers converted to Christianity. Paraskevi was then tied and beaten and afterwards imprisoned and a huge rock placed on her chest. She prayed to Christ to help her be strong.

The next morning Paraskevi was taken willingly to the Temple of Apollo. Everyone praised Taracius, thinking that he had succeeded in breaking Paraskevi’s faith. However, upon entering the temple, the Saint raised her hand and made the sign of the cross. Suddenly, a loud noise was heard and all the idols in the temple were destroyed. The priests and idolaters dragged her from the altar, beat her, and pushed her out of the temple. The priests demanded that Taracius kill Paraskevi. She was convicted and condemned to death.

When the Saint was taken out of the city to be beheaded, she asked to be left alone for a few moments so that she might pray for the last time. Afterwards, the soldiers returned and executed the Saint. St Paraskevi is considered to be a healer of the blind, because of the miracle she performed in restoring the sight of Antonius Pius.

Dismissal Hymn (First Tone)

Appropriate to your calling, O Champion Paraskevi, you worshipped with the readiness your name bears. For an abode you obtained faith, which is your namesake. Wherefore, you pour forth healing and intercede for our souls.

Kontakion (Plagal of Fourth Tone)

O most majestic One, we have discovered your temple to be a spiritual clinic wherein all the faithful resoundingly honour you, O famed and venerable Martyr Paraskevi.

 

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Jul
25
7:45 AM07:45

Dormition of St. Anna, mother of the Theotokos. Matins and Divine Liturgy.

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Saints and Feasts: Dormition of St. Anna, mother of the Theotokos, Olympias the Deaconess, Eupraxia & Julia the Righteous of Tabenna, Gregory Kallidis, Metropolitan of Heraclea, Memory of the Fifth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople (553)

Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 4:22-27

Brethren, Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married.”

Gospel Reading: Luke 8:16-21

The Lord said, “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him for the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

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Jul
21
7:45 AM07:45

5th Sunday of Matthew. Orthros and Divine Liturgy.

Saints and Feasts: John and Symeon the Fool for Christ, Parthenios, Bishop of Arta

Tone Four
Fifth Orthros Gospel

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Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 10:1-10

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified. Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law shall live by it. But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 8:28-34; 9:1

At that time, when Jesus came to the country of the Gergesenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one would pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.

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Jul
20
7:45 AM07:45

Glorious Prophet Elias the Thisbe and his ascent to heaven. Orthros and Divine Liturgy.

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The Glorious Prophet Elias (Elijah)

 

Prophet Elias (Elijah) is venerated as a Saint in the Orthodox Church, because he did not die the death of a mortal but was elevated to Heaven by the hand of God. He is a prefiguration either of Jesus Christ or of St John the Baptist, a point which can be debated but leaves no doubt that Elijah was a man of God much as the mighty Moses. Known as Elias in the Greek and King James versions of the New Testament, Elijah was a major prophet of God who lived in the eighth century B.C. and hailed from Tishbe of Gilead during the reigns of Ahaziah and Ahab, the latter an idolater whom he vehemently denounced.

The worship of one God had weakened considerably among the tribes of Israel and was further debilitated when the worship of the god Baal was introduced by Jezebel, the wife of Ahab. Jezebel brought forth a procession of idolatrous priests and erected temples to Baal, a god of nature supposedly with greater power than even the omnipotent (All-Powerful) God of Moses. Elijah stormed against the evils of the priests of Baal, who were contaminating the pure worship of God and demoralising the land with their illusions and deceptions and whose princess, Jezebel, was a malefactor of monstrous proportions. He fought the Canaanite god Baal at every turn and strove to revitalise the belief in the one God of the universe, preaching with, an eloquence and passion to those whose faith had waned and bringing many strays back into the fold. He discredited the false prophets of Baal, who turned to the crafty Jezebel for reinforcements and the influence of the throne to turn the tables on this man of God.

Jezebel intensified her efforts to disprove Elijah, who had correctly predicted a three-year drought which ravaged the land, ruining the crops and decimating the herds. He greeted this renewed assembly of priests of Baal with a derisive challenge to test the powers of God and those of Baal, a challenge which the haughty queen accepted, much to her later regret. The test to decide which was the greater comprised a placing of sacrifices at two altars, one to Baal and the other to God. When all was in readiness each side would call for fire to be ignited, the winner being the one whose fire lit first.

Queen Jezebel herself appeared at the altar of Baal, and her priests were given the first opportunity to call forth the power to light the fire. They appealed to Baal, first in a reverent tone and then with increasing irritation until at last they gave up in disgust. Then the patient Elijah stepped forward and at his first prayer the fire burst forth, following which the onlookers, realising the truth at last, swooped down on the false priests and killed them all. A further demonstration of the power of the Lord came when Elijah called for an end to the drought and a heavenly rain descended, ending a three-year dry spell that had parched the land.

Thereafter Elijah went to Mt. Sinai, where God had spoken to Moses, and on that holy spot he heard the words of God just as Moses had. He descended with instructions from God himself, among which was the instruction to appoint as his successor a man named Elisha, who later became a prophet of God in his own right. Elijah discovered that God was not necessarily a clap of thunder, a bolt of lightning, or a rumble in the hills, but he could be “a still, small voice.”

Elijah stood up to King Ahab and Queen Jezebel on many questions other than the worship of false gods, on one occasion daring to challenge the right of kings to do anything they chose without being guilty. This immunity from God’s law was used to seize the vineyards of Naboth, killing the owner in the process. Elijah dared to tell him that he was not above God’s law and would, therefore, be punished by the Lord.

Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

The incarnate Angel, the Cornerstone of the Prophets, the second Forerunner of the Coming of Christ, the glorious Elias (Elijah), who from above, sent down to Elisha the grace to dispel sickness and cleanse lepers, abounds therefore in healing for those who honour him.

Kontakion (Second Tone)

O Prophet and foreseer of the great works of God, O greatly renowned Elias (Elijah), who by your word held back the clouds of rain, intercede for us to the only Loving One.

 

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Jul
14
7:45 AM07:45

4th Sunday of Matthew, of the Holy Fathers of the 4th Ecumenical Council. Matins and Divine Liturgy.

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Saints and Feasts: Aquila the Apostle among the 70, Our Holy Father Joseph the Confessor, Archbishop of Thessalonica, Nicodemus the Righteous of Mount Athos, Justus the Martyr, Peter the New Hieromartyr and the four New Martyrs of Melissourgeio Kissamos

Tone Three
Fourth Orthros Gospel

Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s Letter to Titus 3:8-15

Titus, my son, the saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men. But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.

When I send Artemas or Tychicos to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful.

All who are with me send greeting to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:14-19

The Lord said to his disciples, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

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Jul
7
7:45 AM07:45

3rd Sunday of Matthew. Matins and Divine Liturgy.

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Saints and Feasts: Thomas the Righteous of Malea, Kyriake the Great Martyr, Akakios of Sinai, Willibald, Bishop of Eichstatt

Tone Two
Third Orthros Gospel

Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 3:23-29; 4:1-5

Brethren, before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate; but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 6:22-33

The Lord said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

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Jul
1
7:45 AM07:45

Synaxis of the Twelve Holy Apostles. Matins and Divine Liturgy.

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Synaxis of the Twelve Holy Apostles, Michael the New Martyr of Athens

Tone One
Second Orthros Gospel

Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 4:9-16

Brethren, God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things. I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:36, 10:1-8

At that time, when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaios, and Thaddaios; Simon the Cananaean. and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.”

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Jun
30
7:45 AM07:45

Synaxis of the 12 Apostles. Orthros and Divine Liturgy.

Saints and Feasts: Synaxis of the Twelve Holy Apostles: Peter, Andrew, James & John the sons of Zebedee, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Jude the brother of James, Simon & Matthias, Michael the New Martyr of Athens

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Synaxis of the Twelve Holy Apostles, Michael the New Martyr of Athens

Tone One
Second Orthros Gospel

Epistle Reading: St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 4:9-16

Brethren, God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things. I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:36, 10:1-8

At that time, when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaios, and Thaddaios; Simon the Cananaean. and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.”

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