Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS AND IS AND EVER SHOULD BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ. ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
A MORNING PRAYER
O Lord Jesus, My God, You Who oversee Your creation and to Whom my passions, the weakness of our nature and the power of our adversary are known, shelter me from his wickedness; for his power is mighty, our nature is wretched and our strength is weak. Wherefore, You, O Good One Who knows our weakness and carries the difficulty of our feebleness, keep me from the turbulence of thoughts and the flood of passions, and make me worthy of this holy liturgy, lest I destroy its sweetness with my passions and find myself to be before You impudent and bold. Amen. [by Saint Isaac the Syrian]
On September 24th 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 Thekla the Protomartyr and Equal-to-the Apostles, Saint Coprios the Righteous; Sts. Juvenaly and Peter the Aleut, New holy Martyrs of Alaska.
THE HOLY PROTOMARTYR THECLA, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES. Saint Thecla was born in Iconium of eminent pagan parents. She was betrothed at the age of eighteen to a young man, at the time that the Apostle Paul came to Iconium with Barnabas to preach the Gospel. Listening to Saint Paul for three days and nights, St. Thecla turned utterly to the Christian faith and vowed to live in virginity. Her mother, seeing that she shunned her betrothed and thought no more of marriage, first talked to her and then beat her and starved her. Finally, she gave her over to the judges and demanded, wicked mother that she was, that St. Thecla be burned. The judge threw her into the flames, but God preserved her unharmed. Saint Thecla then became a follower of the holy Apostle Paul, and went with him to Antioch. Attracted by St. Thecla's beauty, an elder of the city attempted to take her by force, but St. Thecla tore herself out of his grasp. The elder denounced her to the governor as a Christian who was averse to marriage. The governor condemned her to death and threw her to the wild beasts, but the animals would not touch the body of this holy virgin. Amazed at this, the governor asked: 'Who are you, and what is the power that you have in you, that nothing can do you harm? St. Thecla replied: 'I am a servant of the Living God.' Then the governor let her go free, and she began to preach the Gospel and succeeded in bringing many to the True Faith, among whom was an eminent and honored widow, Tryphena. After this, Saint Thecla, with the blessing of the holy Apostle Paul, withdrew to a solitary place near Seleucia. She lived a long time there in asceticism, healing the sick with miraculous power and in this way bringing many to Christianity. The doctors in Seleucian were jealous of her and sent some young men to assault her, hoping that, in losing her virginity, she would love also her miraculous power. St. Thecla fled from these insolent young men and, when she saw that they would catch her, prayed to God for help in front of a rock, and the rock opened and hid the holy maiden and bride of Christ. This rock was her hiding place and her tomb. Saint John Chrysostom says of this wonderful Christian heroine and Saint: "I seem to see this blessed virgin going to Christ with virginity in one hand and martyrdom in the other."
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Martyrs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: II Timothy 3:19-15
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love that Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind... You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.'" [St. Matthew 22:37-40]
THAT WE SHOULD BE UNITED WHEN IN CHURCH
by Saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite [source: Christian Morality]
I will bring the second part of my Discourse to a close and tell you two more things, brothers and sisters. Firstly, be very much on your guard, all of you Christians who gather in the Church of Christ, lest you be divided and separated among yourselves, having enmities, hatreds and dissentions. Rather, have love, concord, and unity, being all of the same mind, all breathing one purpose, being all one body and one spirit, "in one hope of your calling," as the Apostle says. Let the very appellation of the Church, in which you are assembled, urge you to this Spiritual love and union. For 'Church' means union and concourse; and, just as the Church unites all of you Christians bodily in one place and gives you a common word of teaching, one holy bread, the Body of the Lord, and one common cup of the Blood of Christ, so likewise it demands of you that you be united, in mind and in will. For this reason and wishing to urge the Christians of that time to love and union, the blessed Paul was in the habit of frequently mentioning the name "church". Hence, in one place he wrote, "Unto the churches of Galatia." About the second he says: "Wherefore, he applied the name 'church', shaming them and gathering them into one; for those divided into many parts could not be called by this appellation. For the name 'Church' is one of concord and unanimity. Out of the Church of Christ, then, with dissensions, out with enmities, out with hatreds and remembrance of wrongs; into the Church of God let unanimity, love and concord come. Hence, of necessity you have to do one of two things, O Christians: either forsake enmity and hatred towards your brethren, and then enter into the Church of God, or retain hatred and dissension, in which case you are not worthy to enter the Holy Church. For the Church and enmity, and the Church and hatred, the Church and discord, are two opposite extremes which can never be combined.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God