Christian Morality

St Joanna the Myrrhbearer

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,


I confess to Thee, my Lord God and Creator, in One Holy Trinity glorified and worshiped, to the Fathers, Son, and Holy Spirit, all my sins which I have committed in all the days of my life, and at every hour, at the present time and in the past, day and night, by deed, words, thought, gluttony, drunkenness, secret eating, idle talking, despondency, indolence, contradiction, disobedience, slandering, condemning, negligence, self-love, acquisitiveness, extortion, lying, dishonesty, mercenariness, jealousy, envy, anger, remembrance of wrongs, hatred, bribery; and by all my senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch; and by all my senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch; and by the rest of my sins, of the soul together with the bodily, through which I have angered Thee, my God and Creator, and dealt unjustly with my neighbor. Sorrowing for these, I stand guilty before Thee, my God, but I have the will to repent. Only help me, O Lord my God, with tears I humbly entreat Thee. Forgive my past sins through Thy compassion, and absolve from all these which I have said in Thy presence, for Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. Amen.


TODAY'S SYNAXARION: (Please note: There is no fasting this week, the week of the Holy Spirit.)

On June 27th (Thursday of the Holy Spirit) 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 Joanna the Myrrh-bearer; Saint Sampson the Hospitable of Constantinople; Saint Kirion II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia; Saint Anectus of Caesarea; Saint Severus, presbyter of Interocrea in Italy; Saint Martin of Turov; Saint Pierios, presbyter of Antioch; New holy Martyr Priest Gregory Nikolsky of Kuban (1918); Saint Serapion of Kozha Lake; Holy Martyrs Marcia and Mark.

SAINT JOANNA THE MYRRH-BEARER. "So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then the disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus" (St. Matthew 14:10-12). Joanna was the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward. She is one of several women mentioned in Saint Luke 8:3 who cared for Jesus. She was also present at the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. Saint Joanna took the head of Saint John the Baptist and Forerunner, which had been thrown into an unclean place, and buried it with honor on the Mount of Olives. Saint John's head was later found during the time of Saint Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Martyrs, O Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.


Holy Epistle Lesson: Romans 1:28-32, 2:1-9
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 5:27-32


"The Lord never ceases calling us to Himself: "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest." He nourishes us with His Most Precious Body and Blood. In His mercy He schools us by His Word and the Holy Spirit. He has revealed His Mysteries to us. He lives in us and in the Mysteria (Sacraments) of the Church, and leads us to where we shall behold His Glory. But this Glory shall each man behold according to the measure of his love. The more a man loves, ardently does he set his face towards God, yearning to be with the Beloved Lord, and therefore will he approach the nearer to Him; while the man who loves but little will have but little desire for the Lord, and man who does not love at all will neither wish nor aspire to see the Lord, and will spend his life in darkness." (Saint Silouan the Athonite)

by Saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite

Saint John Chrysostom says, "right faith is of no benefit to us if our life is corrupt." What profit is there in boasting that they love Christ and then violating Christ's ordinances? What do they gain by being called Christians only in word and then living an unchristian life by their deeds? "It is of no avail to us to be called by the appellation of Christians when the works do not follow," says Saint Cyril of Jerusalem. Mere names alone are of no help if they are not accompanied by the things to which they refer; when those things exist, they also confirm the names. Holy Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, is wont to derive names from the doing and ways of men. Thus, Abraham was called "Abraham" because he was to become the father of nations. Thus, Isaac was called "laughter" on account of the joy that he caused when he was born to his parents. Thus, Jacob and the sons of Jacob received their names from their doings and ways. Thus, the Lord called Peter "Peter" because of the firmness of his faith. Thus, He called James and John "Boanerges," that is, "sons of thunder," because they thundered the preaching of the Gospel and the sublime theology of the Holy Trinity to the world.

Thus it does not behoove Christians to bear this great and precious name falsely; rather they out to confirm it by Christians deeds and actions. For there is nothing that derives its existence from its name; the nature of a thing, whatever it may be, is that which is disclosed through its name, as the Saint Gregory of Nyssa says:

"Since we have received from the Good Master Communion with the greatest, most Divine, and first of names, so as to have the honor of being called Christians, by the Name of Christ, it is necessary that all of the names that explain such a word be perceived in us, so that the name applied to us might not prove false but be attested by our lives. For it is not from what it is called that something acquires existence; rather, the underlying nature--whatever that may happen to be--is signified by the appropriate meaning of a name."

Hence, if Christians wish to have their name consonant with reality, it behooves them to become imitators and followers of the life and conduct of Jesus Christ, whose name they bear. How are they to become imitators of Christ? By keeping all of Christ's Commandments and, by reason of their observance thereof, being ready, should the occasion call for it, to die, just as Christ, as man, kept unto death, even the death of the Cross, all of the Commandments of his Heavenly Father. For in this way Christ showed that He loved His Father and was His True Son and in this way Christians shown that they are genuine Disciples of Christ and truly love Him. "If you keep My Commandments, you shall abide in My love; even as I have kept my Father's Commandments and abide in His love" (St. John 15:10).

For this reason, I have decided to demonstrate in the present Discourse (1) that all Christians are obligated to keep all of the Commandments of Christ (2) what kinds of good things they receive who keep the Commandments, and (3) the fact that all Christians who transgress the Commandments of Christ incur great losses.

(to be continued)

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George