The Mission of the Holy Spirit

St. Eramus

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


Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, present in all places and filling all things, the treasury of blessings and Giver of life: come and abide in us, Cleanse us from all impurity and save our souls, gracious Lord. Amen.


On June 2nd [Saturday before the Feast of Holy Pentecost] 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 Nikephoros the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople; St. Photinos, Bishop of Lyons.

HIEROMARTYR ERASMUS OF OCHRID AND 20,000 HOLY MARTYRS. Saint Erasmus was a miracle-working bishop during the persecutions of the pagan Roman Emperor Diocletian and Maximian, when idol worship flourished. He was a strict ascetic who would travel and teach the Word of God and baptize many pagans. He raised a man name Anastasius from the dead and then baptized him. Hearing of this, Maximian summoned St. Erasmus and demanded that he worship the copper statue of Zeus. Saint Erasmus prayed, and a hideous dragon manifested itself from out of the statue. Saint Erasmus then prayed again, and the dragon died. Because of this and the teaching of Erasmus, twenty thousand people were converted and baptized. Maximian had all twenty thousand beheaded. Saint Erasmus was tortured and imprisoned, but as with the Holy Apostle Peter, an Angel of God led him out of prison. He continued to teach, until finally he went to live in solitude and asceticism in a cave in Hermelia. Just before he died, he made three prostrations towards the east and asked that God grant eternal life to all who asked for his intercessory prayers. Saint Erasmus heard a voice from heaven accepting this prayer and saw his heavenly crown descending upon him, as well as Angels, Apostles, Prophets, and Martyrs coming to receive his soul. Saint Erasmus's cave and a chapel still exist today near Ochrid.

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


Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 28:1-31
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 21:14-25


"Honor your father and your mother." This is the first step in love, God in fact willed that you should be born of them. Avoid hurting them. Love for your parents should be such as to spare them pain, or even the appearance of it. But to spare them pain is not enough. You must honor them, as the Son of God honored His parents" (Saint Ambrose of Milan).

by Father Anthony Alevizopoulos PhD. of Theology

The Holy Spirit was not revealed in the same manner in which the Son was revealed; He remains unapproachable to man. He is however recognized in His divine energies, through the gifts which He bestows upon the faithful. He is "the treasury of good things and the bestower of life", according to the prayer of the Church.

Many texts in our liturgical books ascribe the work of our salvation to the Holy Spirit:

"The Holy Spirit hath ever been and is, and shall be, neither beginning nor ending; but He is ever ranked and numbered together with the Father and the Son. He is Life, and Life-creating; Light and Light-bestowing; by nature Good, and the source of goodness; through Him the Father is known, and the Son is glorified; and thereby all men acknowledge a single Sovereignty, single covenant, one adoration of the Holy Trinity."

The Orthodox Church rejects the false doctrine of heretics who maintain that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal power or 'state' within us. The Holy Spirit has self-awareness (Acts 10:19-20. 13:2), will (Jn 16:8; Acts 2:4; I Cor. 12:11) and acts as a person; He is the third person of the Holy Trinity (St. Matthew 28:19; St. John 15:26; II Cor. 13:13) and is distinguished from the power of God (II Cor. 6:6-7; Romans 15:13; I Cor. 1:5).

The Holy Spirit participated in the creation of the world (Genesis 1:2) which was accomplished from the Father, through the Son and "in the Holy Spirit". Then, when man was created the "first putting-on of the Spirit" (πνευματοφορία) took place (Gen. 1:26-27; 7:7). During the new creation, the Holy Spirit was restored to man. A beautiful hymn of the church states:

"In the Holy Spirit is all creation renewed, and doth return to its pristine state, for He is of equal power with the Father and the Logos (Word) ".

In the restoration and recreation of man, the Holy Spirit is "the active principle": from the Holy Spirit, through the Son to the Father is the road to salvation. There is no other; "no one can say Lord Jesus except in the Holy Spirit " (I Cor. 12:3), no one can recognize Christ as Lord, i.e., to enroll in the Church under one head, Christ, save "in the Holy Spirit" alone, and "no one cometh unto the Father, save through me" (St. John 14:6). No one comes unto the Father save through Jesus Christ!

In order to reach the Father through the Son, we must be "in the Holy Spirit". The Holy Spirit reveals Christ to each and every believer personally and individually (St. John 15:25-26; 16:13-14).He "plants" him through the Holy Spirit into Christ's body, and man regains that from which he fell, a unity in the one human nature, i.e., to be "one in Christ" this is man's rebirth (St. John 3:5; St. Titus 3:5; Gal. 3:26-28). Through baptism and Holy Communion the believer becomes "one in body" {σύσσωμος} and "one in blood" {σύναιμος} with Christ and the relationship which exists between Jesus Christ and God the Father is conveyed and given to Him through the grace of the Holy Spirit. This is why the Holy Spirit is also called "the Spirit of Christ" and "the Spirit of Adoption" (Romans 8:10, 15-16).

Christ kept His promise: during Pentecost He "sent" the Holy Spirit to the disciples in a personal manner:

The Spirit "rested upon each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them ability" (Acts 2:3-4).

Language is a means of communication. At the Tower of Babel, as the result of man's apostasy from God and his autonomy, languages became a means of non-communion and non-communication. And now during Pentecost, the restoration of unity, the gathering of the scattered children of God "into one" (St. John 11:52) was declared to those outside the circle of the disciples through a sermon preached in the tongue of the Holy Spirit which was comprehensible to all and is an instrument of man's unity (Acts 2:4).

This unity and return of man to the "one nature", the "one man", i.e., to "one in Christ" does not do away with the special personality of each believer. The Holy Spirit offers His Charismata (gifts) to every believer.

"The Holy Spirit provideth all things; He gushed forth prophecy; He perfecteth the priesthood; He hath taught wisdom to the illiterate. He hath shown forth the fishermen as theologians. He holdeth together the whole institution of the Church. Wherefore, O Comforter, One in Essence and Throne with the Father and the Son, Glory to Thee."

With the unity of the One Body, each believer continues to be the concrete person that he is; he is not absorbed by the whole. This is why both in divine worship and in the sacramental life each individual is commemorated by name. He received from the Holy Spirit his own gift, and he is called to use it not egotistically, but for the edification of the other members and for the growth of the overall body, together with his own growth "in Christ." The Apostle St. Paul states: "To each is given the manifestation of the Holy Spirit for the common good. To me is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are advocated by one and same Spirit, who allows to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members are the body, through many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…You are the body of Christ and individually members of it" (I Cor. 12:7-27).

"Are all Apostles?" Are all Prophets?" Are all Teachers?" Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongue? Do all interpret?, Saint Paul asks with emphasis (I Cor. 12:29-30) and shows that the mystery of the human personality is not abrogated through the presence of the Holy Spirit, but that it is broadened, for as a member of the overall body he becomes a partaker of the great mystery of the unity "in Christ."

The Holy Spirit does not act independently of the personality and body of Christ, which is the Church. Concerning the Holy Spirit, Christ assured us that "He [the Paraclete-Comforter] will glorify Me because He will take what is Mine and declare it to you. All that Father has is mine, for this reason I said that He will take what is min and declare it to you " (St. John 16:14-15). No one can possess the Charismata of the Holy Spirit apart from the unity with Jesus Christ, i.e., outside the Church.

Furthermore, the gifts of the Holy Spirit do not constrain; they are offered on the basis of the divine will (St. John 3:8; I Cor. 12:12; Heb.2:4) and not by human methods. If these gifts were the result of human efforts, they would belong to the "created order: and would not constitute true communion with God. This helps us to understand why the Orthodox Church gives special significance to the teaching concerning "uncreated grace" while at the same time discerning divine grace from the divine essence.

If grace were created, then it could not lead us to salvation since communion with something which is created cannot lead man to overcome his created reality and to union with the uncreated God. If again, there is no difference between the essence and the grace of God, then communion with the Divine essence would do away with man's personality. There is then a distinction between God's essence and His grace which is uncreated. It (grace) does not have its source outside of the Divine essence, for this reason in the Orthodox Church both are preserved: both the true communion with God and the human person.

Divine grace however is not offered without man's active participation. The Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Church are not magical acts; they presuppose the participation of each individual believer. The Angel of the Lord announced to the Virgin Mary: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most high will overshadow you." But she, however, had to say, "Let it be!" (St. Luke 1:35-38).

The believer receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, "the panoply of God" and he is strengthened to begin his spiritual struggle and to victoriously resist "the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 16:10-20). Man must, however, want to carry on this struggle. The believer has the feeling that he is not struggling alone, but that he is being 'strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of His power!"

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

+Father George