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 GOD THE HOLY TRINITY
All-Holy Trinity, powerful in essence, Kingdom undivided, source of all good, be gracious to me, even though I am a sinner. Make my heart firm and wise, and cleanse me of all impurities. Enlighten my mind that I may forever hymn, glorify, and worship You saying: One is Holy, One is the Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, may the Lord have mercy on us. Amen.
On February 7th 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 Parthenius, Bishop of Lampsakos; Saint Aprionos, Bishop of Cyprus; Saint Avgul, Bishop of Brittany; 1,003 holy Martyrs of Nicomedia; Six holy Martyrs of Phrygia; Saint Mastridia of Jerusalem; Saint Luke of Mt. Steirion; Saint Theopemptos and his brotherhood; Saint Peter of Monovatia; New holy Martyr George of Crete; Saint Richard, king of Wessex.
OUR HOLY FATHER PARTENIUS, BISHOP OF LAMPSACUS. Saint Parthenios was the son of the deacon Christodoulos from Melitopolis on the Hellespont. Although illiterate, he listened attentively to the reading of Holy Scripture in church, and he did his best to put what he heard into practice. Working as a fisherman, he would give whatever he earned from the sale of his catch to the poor, keeping nothing for himself. His charity became well-known in the area, and Philetos, the Bishop of Melitopolis, obliged him to accept ordination to the priesthood, with a commission to traverse the diocese visiting the Christians in their homes. The Grace of God brought forth abundant fruit in him through many miracles and healings. One day, he met a man on the road whose eye had been dislodged by the horn of a bull. He restored the eye to its socket and healed the wound. On another occasion, he cured a woman of a fatal cancer solely by the sign of the Cross.
Confronted by so many indications of divine favor, Ascalos, the Metropolitan of Cyzicus, consecrated him Bishop of the city of Lampsacus, which was still in the depths of idolatry. By fasting, prayers and inspired words, and through the example of his evangelic way of life, the Saint succeeded in converting the city. When he visited the court of Saint Constantine the Great he was authorized to destroy the pagan temples of Lampsacus and given funds for constructing a church. On the completion of the building, a large stone was being brought to cover the altar when the envious Devil caused the oxen to career out of control, resulting in the death of the driver who was crushed beneath the wheels of the cart. The Saint immediately addressed a fervent prayer to the Lord, and the dead man was restored to life.
Saint Parthenios was the loving father and the very providence of his city. He unfailingly healed every illness, making the doctors superfluous, to their great vexation. As light scatters darkness, at his coming the demons took flight. One day he commanded a devil to depart from a poor man, but the evil spirit entreated him, 'Give me a place where I can live until the time of the dread Judgment or, at least, let me inhabit swine (cf. St. Matthew 8:32)'--'By no means,' the Saint replied, 'but when you come out of this unfortunate there is someone else waiting for you.'--'Who is that?'--'It is I! Come and dwell in me!' The evil spirit fled at these words, crying out as though scorched, 'How could I enter God's house? Great is the power of Christians!'
One day Saint Parthenios went to Heraclea, the chief city of Thrace, whose bishop Hypatian was very ill. God revealed to the Saint that avarice was the true cause of his disease. 'Get up,' he told the prelate. 'You're not suffering from a bodily illness but from a spiritual one. Let the poor have the goods, that you're withholding from them and you'll get better'. Conscious of his sin, Hypatian offered all his goods for Saint Parthenios to distribute to the needy. 'But no,' said the man of God,' since God grants you strength, it is up to you to give the poor what they have a right to.' The Metropolitan then had himself carried to the church of Saint Glykeria, the Patrones of the city, and he distributed all his possessions to the needy assembled there. Three days later he was restored to health.
While staying at Heraclea, Saint Parthenios healed other sick people, and blessed fields and crops, predicting exactly what their yield would be. On taking leave of the Metropolitan, the Saint indicated that his own death was near at hand and he named his successor. Soon after returning to Lampsacus, he gave back his soul to God, bequeathing to his flock the sweet savor of his miracles and the example of his holy life. As soon as they heard the news, all the bishops of the region hastened to pay their respects at his funeral and to send up to God fervent prayers of thanksgiving.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Fathers, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: St. James 1:19-27
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Mark 6:30-45
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"The evil one will never cease shooting at us with his flaming arrows and trying to overcome and dominate us. But we also have many deadly weapons. In particular the prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me," literally burns him. This is why he tries to fight us in an indirect manner. But our Christ enlightens us with His Holy Commandments to fight him." [Geronda [Elder] Ephraim of the Holy Mountain]
A LIFE BASED ON LOVE (AGAPE)
by Archimandrite George Capsanis, Egoumenos (Abbot) of the Monastery of Osiou Gregoriou, Mt. Athos [source: The Eros of Repentance]
The love of God has--as a direct fruit--the love of God's image, of man--and of all God's creatures. After many years of asceticism, the monk acquires the 'merciful heart' which God loves. According to Abba (Father) Isaac the Syrian, a merciful heart is: '...A burning of the heart for all creation, whether for men, for the birds of the air, for animals, for the demons, for every creature. From the memory and contemplation of creatures the eyes stream with tears, and from compassion and pity the heart of the merciful man is moved to grief, and is unable to bear, to see, or to hear of any injury, or of anything grievous occurring in creation.
It is for this reason that at all times such a man prays with tears for the dumb beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who do him injury. He prays that God may protect them and show them mercy.
He prays even for the creeping things, out of his great pity, which moves his heart abundantly.' (Saint Isaac the Syrian--Discourse 81).
In the Gerontikon, (a collection of sayings and works of the desert Fathers or 'elders'), we encounter forms of sacrifice and love of Christ. It is mentioned that Abba (Father) Agathon said: "I wish to meet a leper and embrace his body." "You know perfect love", commented Saint Isaac the Syrian.
The organization of the common life (coenobitic) Monastery is based on love, according to the model of the first Christian communities of Jerusalem. As the Lord with the Twelve, and as the first Christians, so monks, too, have all things in common in Christ. The Abbot (Egoumenos) possesses nothing more than the newest novice. No one has money that he may spend as he wishes; only those funds which he takes as a blessing from the Abbot for a particular need.
The possession of all things in common, equally, justice, reciprocal reverence, and the sacrifice of one for all, and of all for each, raises the common life to the level of real love and liberty. As many as have lived, be it only for a few days, in true common-life monasteries, know what a joy is the reciprocal love of the brethren, and how much it refreshes the soul. One has the impression that he is living with the Angels.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God