Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ. ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
PRAYER TO CHRIST THE TRUE LIGHT
Christ our God, The True Light Who enlightens and sanctifies every person who comes into the world: Seal us with the Light of Your Countenance that we may perceive Thy Unapproachable Radiance. Direct the footsteps of our life in the way of Your Commandments. Through the prayers of Your All-Holy Mother and of all Your Saints. Amen.
On January 30th 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: Synaxis of The Three Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and Saint John Chrysostom; Saint Hippolytos, Bishop of Rome; Saint Athanasia the holy Martyr and her 3 daughters.
THE THREE GREAT HIERARCHS: SAINT BASIL THE GREAT, SAINT GREGORY THE THEOLOGIAN AND SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM. Each has his personal feast day in the Month of January; Saint Basil on the 1st, Saint Gregory the Theologian on the 25th and Saint John Chrysostom on the 27th. The common feast we celebrate today was instituted in the 11th century, in the time of the Emperor Alexius Comnenus. At one time there was a dispute among the faithful about who was the greatest of the three. Some gave Saint Basil the pre-eminence for his purity and courage; others Saint Gregory for the unfathomable depth and height of his theological mind; others still Saint John Chrysostom for the wonderful beauty of his speech and the clarity of his presentation of the Faith. So the first were called Basilians, the second Gregorians and the third Johannites. But, by the Providence of God, this dispute was resolved to the benefit of the Church and the yet great glory of the Three Saints. The Bishop of Euchaita, St. John (June 14th), had a vision in his sleep, in which each of these Saints appeared to him in great glory and indescribable beauty, and then all three together. They then said to him: 'we are one in God, as you see, and there is no dispute among us...neither is there among us a first or second.' The Saints also advised Bishop John to compile a common feast for them and to set aside for them a day of common commemoration. The dispute was settled as indicated by the wonderful vision; January 30th being set aside for the common commemoration of the Three Hierarchs. The Greek Orthodox Church regards this feast not only as a Church feast but as the greatest national and cultural celebration.
Απολυτίκιον (Dismissal Hymns. First Tone.
The three most great luminaries of the Three-Sun Divinity have illumined all of the world with the rays of doctrines divine and true; they are the sweetly-flowing rivers of wisdom, who with godly knowledge have watered all creation in clear and mighty streams: The great and sacred Basil, and the Theologian, wise Gregory, together with the renowned John, the famed Chrysostom of golden speech. Let us all who love their divinely-wise words come together, honoring them with hymns; for ceaselessly they offer entreaty for us to the Trinity.
Glory. Fourth Tone
Since ye were of like ways with the Apostles, and teachers of the whole world, intercede with the Master of all that peace be granted unto the world and great mercy to our souls.
Both now. Theotokion
The mystery hidden from eternity and unknown to the Angels is made manifest through thee, O Theotokos, to those on earth. God became incarnate in an unmingled union and for our sake hath submitted willingly to the Cross, whereby He hath raised up the first-fashioned man and hath saved our souls from death.
THE HIEROMARTYR HIPPPOLYTOS, BISHOP OF ROME. Saint Hippolytos suffered for the Faith in the time of the pagan Roman Emperor Claudius. When, in Rome, the virgin Chrysa was being martyred for Christ, Saint Hippolytos stood up for her before her torturers and denounced them. Because of this protest, he was brought to trial and condemned to death after prolonged torture. They bound his hands and feet and cast him into the sea. Twenty other holy martyrs suffered with him and Saint Chrysa in the year of our Lord 236.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy and Great Martyrs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 12:7-16
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 5:14-19
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND EDIFICATION
"Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and your will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked." [St. Luke 6:35]
ON TWO KINDS OF FAITH
By Protopresbyter John S. Romanides, pan-Orthodox Dogmatics Professor [source: Patristic Theology]
Human beings can have two kinds of faith. The first kind of faith, which has its seat in the mind, is the reasonable faith of acceptance. In this case, a person rationally accepts something and believes in what he has accepted, but his faith does not justify him. When Holy Scripture says, "man is saved by faith alone", (Ephesians 2:8) it does not mean that he is saved merely by the faith of acceptance. There is, however, another kind of faith, the faith of the heart. It is referred to in this way because this kind of faith is not found in the human reason or intellect, but in the region of the heart. This faith of the heart is a gift of God that you will not receive unless God decides to grant it. It is also called 'inner faith', which is the kind of faith that the Father of the young lunatic in the Gospel asked Christ to give him when he said, "Lord, help my unbelief" (St. Mark 9:24). Naturally, the father already believed with his reason, but he did not have that deep inner faith that is a gift of God.
Inner faith is rooted in an experience of grace. And since it is an experience of grace, what would make this inner faith as far as an Orthodox Christian is concerned? Inner faith is noetic prayer. When someone has noetic prayer in his heart, which means the prayer of the Holy Spirit in his heart, then he has inner faith. Through this kind of faith and by means of prayer, he beholds things that are invisible. When someone has this kind of vision it is called theoria. Theoria, in fact, means vision.
As a rule, there are two ways for vision to take place. When a person has not yet attained to theosis (deification), it is still possible for him to see by means of the prayer that the Holy Spirit is saying within his heart. After attaining to theosis, however, he can see by means of theosis, in which both this inner faith and hope are set aside, and only love for God remains (as a gift of God). This is what Saint Paul means when he says, "but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away" (I Corinthians 13:10 and 13:13). [Since faith and hope have fulfilled their purpose and man has reached the point of seeing God, the source of his faith and hope, he now simply knows and loves the One Who is Love.] When the perfect is come, faith and hope are done away and only love remains. And this love is theosis (deification). In theosis, knowledge comes to an end; prophecy is set aside; tongues, which are noetic prayer, cease, and only love remains. The Church Fathers in turn offer interpretations of these subjects that are indisputably correct.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God