The Incarnation of the Logos (Word)

Monkmartyr and Confessor Stephen the New of Mt St Auxentius

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

(Saint Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain)

Jesus, Son of the Father without a mother in Your Divinity, I glorify You, ever existing beyond cause and reason in the beginning.

Jesus, Son of the Mother without a father in Your humanity, I glorify You, Who became in time a human person for us.

Jesus, Immanuel unchangeable, Angel of the Great Will of God, I thank You for Your boundless love for us.

Jesus, innocent Lamb of God, I confess to You For I have sinned against You far more than all other men.

Jesus, my Good Shepherd, I always confess to You, And admit that I am the lost sheep.

Jesus, most compassionate Paraclete, Make the grace of Your Spirit active in me.

Jesus, the New Adam, remove from me the old man And put on me the new one, that is, You.

Jesus, You condescended and came to earth, Make me worthy to live not as if on earth but as if in heaven.

Jesus, by nature You became a human person, Make me by grace to be a participant of Your Divinity.

O Jesus, my life and my breath, come to visit me And remain with me. Amen.


On November 28th 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, Teachers, and every righteous spirit made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Stefanos the New, Righteous Martyr for the Holy Icons; Holy bishops Timothy and Theodore, and holy Martyrs Peter, John, Sergios, Theodore, Nikephoros, Basil, Thomas, Hierotheos, Daniel, Chariton, Socrates, Komasios, Evsevios, and Etimasios at Tiberiopolis; Saint Anna, holy Martyr for the Holy Icons; Saint Irenarchos and 7 women holy Martyrs at Sevaste; Saint Oda of Brabant; Holy Martyrs Basil, Stephen, Gregory, Gregory, John, Andrew, Peter, and many others.

SAINT STEFANOS THE NEW, RIGHTEOUS MARTYR FOR THE HOLY ICONS. Saint Stefanos was born in 8th-century Constantinople to a woman who had been barren. Patriarch Germanos of Constantinople baptized and named Stafanos. About this time, Leo the Isaurian renewed the assault on the icons. At the age of 16, St. Stefanos became a monk and lived near Constantinople on Mt. Saint Auxentius. When his elder died, he continued to live strictly, and this drew many disciples to him over a thirty-year period. When Leo died, his son Constantine V extended the persecutions to encompass attacks on the monasteries. A sick soldier once came to Saint Stefanos for his prayers. Saint Stefanos told him to pray before the holy icons of Jesus and the Theotokos, and he was immediately healed. When the emperor learned of this, he berated and intimidated the soldier until he despised the icons. Mounting his horse, the soldier was thrown and killed. When the soldiers arrested Saint Stefanos, they implored him to reject the icons. Saint Stefanos said that if he had only a handful of blood, he would give it for the icons of Jesus Christ. Saint Stefanos was sent into exile to the island of Proikonesos for several years and then imprisoned in Constantinople with many other monks who defended the icons (iconophiles). He was beaten and then stoned to death like Holy First Martyr Stefanos. For this reason, he is knows as Saint Stefanos the Younger.

+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: 1 Timothy 1:18-20, 2:8-15
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 20:1-8


"Remember death often, and the judgment of Christ, eternal torment, and eternal life, and inevitably the world with all its lusts and enticements will become abhorrent to you." (Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk)

by His Eminence, Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos [source: Entering the Orthodox Church]

"Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man." (Creed of faith)

Man is God's most perfect creation. However, through his Fall he was enslaved to the devil, sin and death. God could not bear to see His creation suffering and tormented. Therefore, out of love, He sent His Son, to become a man and to save man. This work is called the work of Divine Economy, because it shows how God accommodated things in order to save man.

"Who for us men". The Logos (Word) of God did not need to become man for His own sake; He became man solely for man alone. This shows God's great love, in taking on human nature and uniting it with divine nature.

"And for our salvation". The salvation spoken of here is not the deliverance of the soul from the body, which the ancient philosophers taught, and which many oriental religions also teach today. Rather, it is man's deliverance from sin, death and the devil, and his union with God.

"Came down from Heaven". This phrase does not mean that the Logos {Word} stopped being God, when He became man. Nor does it mean that He abandoned the Heavens and the Throne of God. In the Akathist Hymn we say, "This was a divine condescension, not a change of place." By the expression "came down" we meant that the Son and Logos [Word] of God took on human nature in order to save man.

"And was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary". Christ's Incarnation is a great mystery. Christ was not conceived in the way that men are conceived. The conception took place from the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Consequently, a man did not participate. We can see this if we study the event of the Annunciation of the All-Holy Theotokos (see Luke 1:26-38). The Virgin Mary is called the Theotokos, which is a Greek word, used by the Fathers. It means Birthgiver of God. This is because she gave birth (tokos) to God (Theos) and not a mere man. This Third Ecumenical Council concerned itself especially with this point. The Panagia was a virgin before the Conception, virgin after the conception and virgin after the birth. We see this in every icon that represents the Panagia; she is depicted with three stars on her, one on her head and the other two on each shoulder. The Panagia was completely pure. In the Holy of Holies she had achieved theosis. The purity of Panagia was due to the grace of God, her own personal ascetic effort, and the successive purification of her ancestors. All the purifications in the Old Testament had the Panagia in view. Indeed, the Panagia's parents conceived her with prayer, fasting and obedience to God; this is why the seed of Joachim (the father of the Panagia) is called "Immaculate seed".

"And became man". The term "became man" is highly significant and shows that Christ is perfect God and perfect man. That is to say, the true God took on real and true human nature. We must underline a few truths about this fact.

First of all, the second person of the Holy Trinity became man, since man in the image of the Logos (Word) and His Creation occurred through Him. Moreover, this is because the Son proclaims the Father's will as the Logos [Word], and furthermore, because the Son of God had to become the son of man, so that the peculiarity of the son would be fixed.

When we talk about Christ becoming man we mean that He took on the whole of human nature and not only the body. That is to say, He took on body, soul, nous and all the characteristics of human nature. He took them on and deified them.

Since Christ is perfect God and perfect man, he has two natures, two energies, two wills, that are united between themselves, without confusion, without division, without change and without separation. This means that there is no confusion between the natures, nor is there any change in them. The divine nature keeps its own peculiarities, and the human nature keeps its own peculiarities. In the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus, His human nature cried, not, however, His divine nature, whereas, His divine nature resurrected Lazarus and not His human nature. In any case, both natures work in communion with each other. This means that the two natures are inseparable and indivisible. They have never been separated or divided. This a great mystery. One example we can use is that of burning iron. If we put the iron in the fire, both natures, that of the iron and that of the fire, are united. However, each nature keeps its own peculiarities, because if the burning iron cools, the iron remains and is not destroyed. Of course, this example is used in condescension, because there is no analogy, since Christ has both an uncreated nature, and a created one, whereas in a burning iron both natures are created.

The human nature, which Christ received from the Virgin Mary, was pure and without sin. Christ never committed a sin in his whole life. Although his human nature was pure and holy, nevertheless Christ freely took on what are known as the "blameless passions"; that is to say, passions that do not constitute sin, such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, and even mortality. The blameless passions did not work forcibly, but the divinity mastered them. We know, from Moses on Mt. Sinai and others, that the bodily functions of Saints who attained Theosis were postponed during the experience of theosis. Moses stayed on Sinai for forty days and nights without food or material goods. With this in mind, we can say the same thing and more about Christ. He had a real human body, but He Himself mastered the blameless passions.

Ultimately, the mystery of Christ becoming man becomes somewhat comprehensible from the Saints who attain theosis and come to know the Transfiguration of their nature from the uncreated energy of God. Reasonably, nobody can grasp it is its fullness. We accept it and proceed to sanctification.

Saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite, speaking of the Annunciation, also goes on to a personal and existential approach to this event. For it is not enough just to celebrate the events of the divine incarnation outwardly, but we need to approach them existentially and spiritually. For this reason he collected many passages from Saints which speak of this existential approach.

The saying of the Prophet Isaiah is characteristic: "In fear of thee, Lord, we were with child, we suffered pain, we have given birth. We have brought forth a spirit of salvation upon the earth" (Is. 26:17-18). According to the interpretation of the holy Fathers, the word of God is a seed, the nous and the heart of man is a womb. Through faith the word of God is sown in the heart of man and impregnates it with the fear of God, the fear lest man remain far from God. With this fear the struggle to purify the heart and acquire virtues begins, which is like the labour and pains of childbirth. In this way the spirit of salvation is born, which is deification (theosis) and sanctification.

The forming of Christ in us happens through spiritual labors. The Apostle Paul says: "My little children, for whom I labour in birth again until Christ is formed in you" (Galatians 4:19). The labors are the ascetic struggles, and the forming is the deification (Theosis) and the sanctification.

According to the holy Fathers what happened physically in the Panagia happens spiritually in everyone whose soul is living in virginity, that is to say, is purified of passions. Christ, Who was once born in the flesh, always wants to be born in the spirit in those who wish it, and so He becomes an infant, forming Himself in them through the virtues.

Spiritual conception and birth become perceptible by the fact that the rush of blood stops, that is to say there cease to be desires to commit sin, passions are inactive in the person, he despises sin and constantly wishes to do the will of God. This conception and birth is acquired through following God's Commandments, mainly through the return of the nous to the heart and the unceasing prayer of a single word. Then the person becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit.

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

+Father George