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 SUPPLICATION TO OUR LORD
Lord, forgive those who hate us and are unjust to us; do good to those who are good to us. To our brothers and sisters and members of our family grant their petitions that are unto salvation and life-eternal; Visit those who are sick and grant healing to them; accompany and protect those who travel by land, sea and air; stand by as an ally to our faithful rulers; to those who serve us and are merciful to us grant forgiveness of sins; to those who have asked us to pray for them, unworthy though we be, grant them forgiveness and mercy according to your great mercy. Remember, Lord, all of our predeceased-fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters- and grant them a blessed repose where the Light of Your countenance shines. Remember, Lord, our brothers in captivity and deliver them from every difficult circumstance. Remember, Lord, those who labor and do good works in Your Holy Churches; grant to them their petitions which are unto salvation and eternal life. Remember, Lord, also us, Your humble, sinful and unworthy servants, enlighten our mind with the Light of Your knowledge and guide us on the way of Your Commandments, through the intercessions of Your All-Pure Mother and of all Your Saints; For You are Blessed unto all ages of ages. Amen.
On November 26th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Preachers, Apostles, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers and every righteous spirit made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Nicon Metanoeite of Armenia; Saint Innocent, first Bishop of Irkutsk (Alaska); Saint James the Solitary of Syria; Saint Stylianos of Paphlagonia, monk; Saint Alipius the Stylite of Adrianopolis; Saint Silas, Bishop of Persidos; Saint Acacius of Mt. Latros; New holy Martyr George of the island of Chios (+1807); Dedication of the church of Saint George at Kiev.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Bishops, Holy Ascetics, Holy monks, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
VENERABLE NICON METANOEITE OF ARMENIA, PREACHER OF REPENTANCE. Saint Nicon was the son of a nobleman from Armenia, but he left that life. As he passed through parts of the East, he would cry out to all, "Repent!" Thus, he received his name. In Lacedemon, Peloponnesus, he built a church in honor of Jesus Christ and lived there many years in solitude. He converted many pagan there. He died peacefully at the end of the 9th century.
OUR HOLY FATHER STYLIANOS. From Paphlagonia, he was a fellow-countryman and contemporary of Saint Alypius. He had a great love for the Lord Jesus and, because of this, gave himself to strict asceticism. He rejected all things, only to have an undivided love for his Lord. At the time of his death, an Angel appeared to take his soul, and his face became radiant like the sun. He was a great wonderworker both before and after his death, and was of special help to sick children and childless parents. He is the patron Saint of children.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL LESSONS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 19:45-48
FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS AND HOLY FATHER OF THE CHURCH:
"How will our bodies rise again? Not in the way that St. Lazarus was brought back to life. He was raised up only for a time and had to die again later on. We shall not come back to life in order to go on living the same kind of earthly life and pursuing the same earthly pleasures as we did before. Saint Paul makes that clear. He says our bodies will be sown in the ground as natural bodies, and raised up as spiritual bodies (1 Cor. 15:44). In the risen life our bodies will be fully under the control of our glorified spirits. They will no longer be a burden to us, nor will they have any need for food, since they will never suffer again or wear out. There will be no more death, no more sickness, no more hunger or thirst, no distress or old age or weariness. Our mortal bodies will put on immortality and imperishability." (Saint Augustine of Hippo)
THE MYSTERION (SACRAMENT) OF CHRISM
by Father Alevizopoulos PhD. of Theology, PhD. of Philosophy
The Orthodox Christian Church relates Holy Baptism to the Sacred Mystery of Chrism, with which our induction into the body of the Church is completed, and the faithful, armed with the charismata (gifts) of God can now grow spiritually, and conscientiously live the life in Christ; the life of the entire body.
With Holy Baptism the neophyte is "edified" and "planted" into the Body of Christ, the Church, and becomes "one in Christ". This means a return to the "one man", i.e., man's birth into the one integral human nature form which he was cut off through the fall (St. John 3-6). The faithful, however, after Baptism is on the one hand sanctified and justified in Christ, yet he finds himself in the spiritual condition of a child. He has to be protected from external threats and to grow spiritually "unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the full stature of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).
This does not mean that his personality is confused or done away with through his union "in Christ"; he continues to constitute a separate personality. For this reason the neophyte who enters the spiritual palaestra (wrestling ring) in order to struggle and grow in virtue, needs his personal spiritual armor. This is given him through Holy Chrism, which in the Ancient Church was transmitted through the laying on of hands by the Holy Apostles (Acts 8: 15-17) and constituted the engagement or earnest of our inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14; and also II Cor. 1:22; John 2:20).
Through Holy Chrism the Church receives and accepts the entire man and sustains the human person; it is for this reason that the entire person is anointed, sanctified and armed in order to progress victoriously in his spiritual struggles, in which he participates with all his being. In this way the personal character of the gift of the Holy Spirit shows us that the human personality is not done away with by the induction of each and every believer into the Body of Christ. This union takes place without confusion of the various persons, who remain distinct and different; their unity in the One Body of Christ does not abrogate them, but to the contrary, shows them forth and elevates them.
All the members of the body of the newly-illuminated are anointed and sealed with the "seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit" and with the visible sign of Holy Myrrh, and the entire man becomes God's property "God's dwelling-place" and "temple of the Holy Spirit" (I Cor. 3:16-17; 6, 19). The gifts of the Holy Spirit are transmitted to the newly-illuminated and He becomes in his entirety charismatic, putting on the panoply of God, ready for spiritual battle (Eph. 6:10-18).
This struggle can become very arduous (Ephesians 6:10-13). A Christian must labor in order to acquire the evangelical virtues. God accepts man's efforts and pains, He sanctifies him and offer him His grace and mercy abundantly, showing him forth to be a victor (Rom. 9:16; I Cor. 3:7; Eph. 2:8).
THE SANCTIFICATION OF THE HOLY CHRISM
[Holy Chrism is consecrated on Holy and Great Thursday in the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It is consecrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch for use in holy churches for the celebration of the Mystery of Holy Chrismation. The Mystery (Sacrament) of Holy Chrismation is the visible sign of the transmission of gifts of the Holy Spirit to those who are baptized in the Holy Orthodox Church. The Holy Chrism is thus a bond that unites all true Orthodox Christians throughout the world.]
During the early years of Christianity, the transmission of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the baptized were given by the Holy Apostles through the "laying on of hands". It is stated in the Holy Scripture that, "Now when the Apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:14-17).
When the Church spread throughout the world and the number of the baptized was greatly increased, it was not possible to continue the practice of Samaria. Consequently, the Apostles introduced the use of the sanctified Chrism. The Holy Chrism was sanctified by the Apostles and was continued thereafter by the bishops through the Apostolic Succession. The "laying on of hands" was completely replaced by the Holy Chrism to transmit gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The use of the Holy Chrism was introduced to the Christian Church from the existing Old Testament practice. It is stated that, "The Lord said to Moses, 'Take the finest spices--12 pounds of liquid myrrh, 6 pounds of sweet-smelling cinnamon, 6 pounds of sweet cane, and 12 pounds of cassia (all weighted according to official standard). Add one gallon of olive oil, and make a sacred anointing oil, mixed like perfume" (Exodus 3:22-25).
Over the years of its existence, the Holy Chrism has been known by many names, such as "oil," "oil of Thanksgiving," "oil of anointing," "Chrism." "Chrism of thanksgiving," "myrrh," "divine myrrh," "mystical myrrh," and "holy and great myrrh." Today, the terms generally used are "Holy Myrrh" or "Holy Chrism."
The Holy Chrism is prepared from oil and another fragrant essences, which symbolize the variety of gifts of the Holy Spirit that the chrismated Christian receives.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God