The Home Church according to Our Holy Orthodox Church

St. Tabitha

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,


Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord endures forever.

Praise the Lord!


On October 25th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics and Teachers of Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Tabitha (Dorcas) of Joppa; Saint George of Amastrida; Saints Marcianos and Martyrios the Notaries; Saint Maacarius, bishop of Cyprus; Two holy Martyrs in Thrace; Saint Martyrius the Recluse; Holy Martyrs Wallerios and Chrysaphios; Holy Martyr Savinos; Saints Philadelphos and Polycarp; Holy Martyrs Nikephoros and Stephen; Holy Martyrs Faustus, Basil, and Lucian; Holy Martyrs Pappias, Diodoros, and Claudianos; Holy Martyr Waros; Holy Martyr Wallerinos.

THE LIVES OF THE HOLY MARTYRS MARCIANOS AND MARTYRIUS. These Saints were clergy with Patriarch Paul of Constantinople in the time of the Emperor Constantius. After the death of the great Emperor Constantine, the Arian heresy, which had till then been kept under, sprang up again and began to spread, and the Emperor Constantius himself inclined towards it. There were two influential nobles at the imperial court, Eusebius and Philip, both ardent Arians. Through their influence, Patriarch Paul was dethroned and driven out to Armenia, where the Arians strangled him, and the Patriarchal throne was seized by the dishonorable Macedonios. At that time, when Orthodoxy had two fierce struggles on hand, against both the pagans and the heretics, Saints Marcianos and Martyrius ranged themselves decisively and with all their strength on the side of Orthodoxy. Saint Marcianos was a Reader (Anagnostis) and Saint Martyrius a Sub-Deacon at the Cathedral, and had been secretaries to Patriarch Paul. The Arians first tried to bribe them, when the two holy men refused this with scorn, the heretics condemned them to death. When they were led to the scaffold, they raised their hands and prayed to God, thanking Him that they were finishing their lives as martyrs: Lord, we rejoice that we are leaving this world by such a death. Make us worthy to be partakers of eternal life, O Thou our life!" They then laid their heads under the sword and were beheaded, in 335 AD. A church was later built to them over their holy relics by Saint John Chrysostomos.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Martyrs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.


HOLY EPISTLE LESSON: Colossians 1:24-29. "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His Body, which is the Church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His Saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily."

HOLY GOSPEL LESSON: Saint Luke 11:14-23. "And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. But some of them said, 'He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.' Others, testing Him, sought from His a sign from heaven. But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: 'Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."


"We ought to be on guard, in case our conscience has stopped troubling us, not so much because of its being clear but because of its being immersed in sin". [Saint John Climacus]


"Likewise greet the church that is in their house." [Romans 16:5]

"Marriage is more than human. It is a 'microvasileia,' a miniature kingdom which is the little house of the Lord." - Saint Clement of Alexandria

"With us everything should be secondary compared to our concern with children, and their upbringing in the instruction and teaching of the Lord". Saint John Chrysostom

E kat' oikon Ecclesia or home church is a sacred place and one of prayer. Within our Holy Orthodox Christian faith, each Christian family is considered a Home Church or "little church", the smallest unit of Christian community, faith, and practice. It is in this Orthodox Christian home that one lives out his/her Orthodox Christian faith. The Evaggelion of Saint Matthew records Jesus as saying: "For where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them." [18:20]. What is the Orthodox home if not two or more gathered together in the Name of Christ? The lives of the members that comprise this "little church" revolve around our Savior. It is a Christ center home. Each family, being part of the Ecclesia [Church], is responsible with much the same diakonia [ministry] as the local parish church; namely worship, Christian brotherhood, philanthropy, instruction in the faith, growth in virtue, evangelism, philoxenia and acts of compassion and love.

In the Home Church, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ reigns and His love is felt by all. It is there that both the Christian parents and their children practice their faith daily through fasting, repentance, confession, obedience, love, righteousness, word of God and Christian virtues. The parents teach their children by example otherwise they will not be successful in their effort to build the necessary Christian foundation upon which their children will built upon. The holy Apostle says, "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:1-2).

The Orthodox Christian family must always practice true asceticism. As Orthodox Christians we have received Christ's exalted resurrection life in Holy Baptism, and we need to keep on seeking the ultimate and spiritual glories of the age to come. We must always remember our baptism and live according to His Resurrection! We must continue to seek our true life in our Lord Jesus Christ, awaiting the heavenly and glorious apocalypse!

Today the "little church" is under fire and evil forces are attempting not only to undermine it but to destroy it completely. We, however, must remain steadfast in our faith and maintain the Christian character, ethos and integrity of the kat' oikon ecclesia according to the teachings of our Savior Christ and His Saints. Standing up to the affliction and challenges of the world produces great virtue. Saint John Chrysostom writes: "For such is the nature of affliction--when it lays hold of a brave and noble soul, this is what it is wont to effect. And as the fire makes the pieces of gold, when it is applied to it, of better proof: so also affliction when it visits golden characters renders them purer and more proven. And Saint Paul the holy Apostle adds: "affliction worketh patience, and patience probation...More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…" (Romans 5:3-4).

A blessing that is offered for the Christian couple during the marriage ceremony affirms the inherent significance and dignity of Christian parenting. "unite them in one mind and one flesh, and grant unto them fair children for education in faith and fear…" The blessing or prayer reveals that the vocation of marriage and parenthood must be Christ-centered and thus marriage and parenting is according to the will of God.

Orthodox Christian parents must make every effort possible to learn and practice their faith. Only then will they be able to teach their children and to raise godly, moral, caring, truthful, virtuous people. There are many distractions today but we must stay focused and keep our Lord in our sights. Remember Martha the sister of Lazarus and what Jesus said to her: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part which will not be taken away from her." {St. Luke 10:41-42). The "one thing" needed was for her to listen to Christ, to hear His Divine words. This is also what we must always do and make Christ and His Divine words our greatest priority.

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George