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.
A PRAYER TO OUR BENEVOLENT GOD THE FATHER
[Saint Basil the Great]
Lord and God of the whole world, Most Benevolent Father of all mankind; You who exist and remain forever, You Who pre-existed without beginning before all ages, and Who always possess the same and immutable existence and life, which never began nor will ever cease; You Who are incomprehensible in essence, unlimited in magnitude and infinite in Your Benevolence; You Who are the most abundant source and the indescribable abyss of power and wisdom; You I humbly thank and glorify for having looked upon my miserable self with mercy and compassion. I thank You for redeeming me from the base and material thoughts and deeds of a sinful world, filled with many and various deceptions of the diabolical Satan, the ruler and authority over the darkest of deception and sin, who rules in this world. I thank You, Lord, and I glorify You for having demonstrated so marvelously Your Merciful nature to me, a sinner, and for revealing to me Your love for mankind in so many circumstances, thus becoming the Master and Guardian, the Protector and Haven, indeed, the Savior of my soul and body. Amen.
On October 15th 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 Savinos, Bishop of Catania; Varses, Bishop of Edessa; Saint Lucian, Presbyter of Greater Antioch; Saint Lucian, Presbyter of the Kiev Caves; Synaxis of 26 New Holy Martyrs of Belorussia; Saint John, Bishop of Suzdal; Saint Dionysios, Archbishop of Suzdal; Saint Efthymius the New of Ancyra; "Multiplier of Wheat" Holy Icon of the Theotokos (Mother of God).
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Bishops, Holy Presbyters, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
SAINT JOHN, BISHOP OF SUZDAL. Saint John became a monk at a young age in a Monastery at Suzdal in Russia and was known for his humility and virtues. He was elevated to become the first bishop of Suzdal in the mid-fourteenth century. From this position, he would go before Princes to lower the taxes on the poor. Saint John had a love for the sick and destitute and would help them. He built houses and hospices for the sick. He taught the pagans of that area Christianity, and God showed his concern for St. John. During a Divine Liturgy, Prince Boris of Suzdal saw an Angel of God attending St. John. When Suzdal was annexed to Moscow, Saint John went to live out the rest of his days at the Bogoliub Monastery, where he died peacefully. Many miracles took place at his grave.
THE HOLY HIEROMARTYR LUCIAN, PRESBYTER OF THE CHURCH OF ANTIOCH. This Saints was from Samosata, the son of pious parents. He established a catechetical school in Antioch, and taught the correct doctrines of the Faith and made clear the parts of the Divine Scriptures that were difficult to understand. He edited the Old Testament translation from the Hebrew tongue, and published it in an excellent edition, free from every heretical corruption and interpolation. He travelled to Nicomedia to strengthen the faithful there in their contest for Christ, and was accused before the pagan Roman emperor Maximinus, with whom he conversed openly. When he had made a defense of the Christian Faith, he was condemned to imprisonment where, in 311 A.D. he died of hunger and thirst.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Fourth Tone
Thy martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion. Second Tone
We all gloriously acclaim thee with hymns, O Lucian, thou most brilliant luminary, who was first illustrious in asceticism and then shonest forth in contest: Intercede unceasingly for us all.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Ephesians 2:19-22, 3:1-7
Holy Gospel Lesson: Saint Luke 9:23-27:
"Then He said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his soul will lose it, but whoever loses his soul for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy Angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Kingdom of God".
FROM THE HOLY VOICE OF THE HOLY ASCETICS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"Today, we have light-minded youths who cease to heed the Commandments and suggestions of the Church. They stop studying the Word of God and the teachings of the Holy Church Fathers, and turn their attention to the 'wisdom' of false teachers; thus ruining the better part of their lives. They go to church less frequently, or attend with attention-distracted. There is no time to be pious and practice virtues, since they are too busy attending movies, going to parties, etc...In short, they give themselves up to the world more and more each day; and, finally, depart 'into a far country'." [Saint John Maximovitch]
THE STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH
THE HOLY CANONS/CANON LAW
"Besides doctrinal definitions, the Ecumenical Councils of the Church drew up Holy Canons, dealing with Church organization and discipline; other Canons were made by local Councils and by individual bishops. Theodore Balsamon, Zonaras, and other Byzantine writers compiled collections of Holy Canons, with explanations and commentaries. The standard modern Greek commentary, the Pedalion ('Rudder'), published in 1800, is the work of that indefatigable Saint, Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain...Canon Law is simply the attempt to apply dogma to practical situations in the daily life of each Orthodox Christian according to Bishop Timothy Ware.
What a Canon is
A Canon, according to Zonaras (in his interpretation of the 39th letter of Athanasius the Great), properly speaking and in the main sense of the word, is a piece of wood, commonly called a rule, which artisans use to get the wood stone they are working on straight. For, when they place this outwards, they make it straight and right. From this, by metaphorical extension, votes and decisions are also called canons, whether they be of the Apostles of the Ecumenical and regional Councils or those of the individual Fathers, which are contained in the present Handbook: for they too, like so many straight and right rules, rid men in holy orders, clergymen and laymen, of every disorder and obliquity of manners, and cause them to have every normality and equality of ecclesiastical and Christian condition and virtue.
"That the divine Canons must be kept rigidly by all. For those who fail to keep them are made liable to horrible penances."
"These instructions regarding Canons have been enjoined upon you by us, O Bishops. If you adhere to them, you shall be saved, and shall have peace; but if you disobey them, you shall be sorely punished, and shall have perpetual war with one another, thus paying the penalty deserved for heedlessness." (The Apostles in their epilogue to the Canons).
"The Holy Orthodox Eastern Church of Christ resembles a large ship. Just as a ship has its captain, crew, and helm by which it is directed and guided safely to its destination, so in like manner the Holy Church of Christ has her captain, crew, and helm by which she is guided to the desired spiritual harbor of Eternal salvation. The Church can no more do without these than a ship at sea. She is likely to meet her eternal destruction without them in the same way that a ship runs the danger of disaster when deprived of them.
Her Captain is Jesus Christ and her crew the clergy and the laity; but what is her helm or rudder? It is this sacred book which embodies the Holy Tradition of the Church, namely the Sacred (Holy) Canons of the Holy Glorious Apostles, of the Seven Holy Ecumenical and Local (Regional) Councils (Synods), and of the God-bearing Fathers, as well as the invaluable interpretation and commentary of the most Holy Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain. "This book," he states, "comes after the Sacred (Holy) Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments. This is a book of inspired sayings second to the first inspired sayings. It is the book of the eternal limits set by our holy Fathers and of the laws existing unto eternity and above all laws."
"This sacred book is truly the "Pedalion" (Rudder) or helm of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ which throughout the ages guides her faithful children to the haven of God's Heavenly Kingdom and to the inheritance and enjoyment of eternal blessings. All members of the Holy Orthodox Church must (in the words of the Seventh Ecumenical Council) "embrace the Divine Canons and adhere to them tenaciously, as expounded by the trumpets of the spirit of the laudable Apostles, of the Holy Ecumenical and Local Councils, which have assembled for the promulgation of such precepts and those of our Holy Fathers. Illumined by the same Spirit, they have all enacted what is profitable to us."
"Since Holy Tradition is equally authoritative in Orthodoxy as Holy Scripture, then truly acquaintance with the "Pedalion" (Rudder) is of utmost importance for the practicing Orthodox Christians. Indeed, want of knowledge of the Church Canons has been a source of not few irregularities in the life the Orthodox Church in the Western world. Orthodox polity and administration in this country have suffered much because of insufficient regard for Canon Law and the lack of determination in enforcing it. Some would have us believe that the Holy Canons are not binding as the dogmas of the Church and are merely or relative authority. But such serious misconceptions have become productive of several evils, such as arbitrariness in administration and departures from traditional practices and usages.
The time has come when the Orthodox Catholic Church, particularly in America where she is exposed to a host of dangers, must re-affirm the authority of Holy Tradition as articulated in the Sacred Canons. She can make good her claims, as the True Church of history and antiquity, only by maintaining her heritage as formulated in the collection of ecclesiastical enactments contained in this volume. We trust that this publication will enable more Orthodox to come to a fuller knowledge of the Sacred Tradition of the Church and, consequently, will help in restricting all tendencies toward deviating from strict conformity among both clergy and laity. Moreover, it is possible that non-Orthodox and heretics will be instructed in the Truth and led to repentance and conversion to the One and Only Infallible Church of Jesus Christ which holds the dogmatic Faith that alone can guide man to the haven of Eternal salvation." (Editor's Foreword: The Rudder).
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God