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.
FROM THE DIVINE LITURGY OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
THE HOLY ANAPHORA
It is fitting and right to sing of You, to bless You, to praise You, to give thanks to You and to worship You in all places under Your Dominion: for You are God, beyond describing, beyond comprehending, neither to be seen nor conceived, forever existing, forever the same; You and Your Only-Begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You brought us into being out of nothingness, and when we had fallen, raised us up again, leaving nothing undone until You could lead us to heaven and grant us Your future Kingdom. For all these things we thank You and Your Only-Begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit: for all these blessings, both known and unknown, manifest or hidden, that have bestowed on us.
We thank You also for this Liturgy which You have deemed worthy to accept from our hands, even though You are surrounded by thousands of Archangels and tens of thousands of Angels, by the Cherubim and the Seraphim, six-winged, many eyed, soaring on their wings.
On August 28th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honor 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: Holy Hezekiah, king of Judah; St. Ann the Prophetess and daughter of Phanuel; St. Moses the Black of Scete; Saint and Queen Shushaniki (Susanna) of Georgia; Holy Martyrs: Diomedes and Laurence; Saint Amphilochios, Bishop of Vladimir; 33 Holy Martyrs of Nicomedia; St. Theodore, Prince of Ostrog; St. Sergius and monks of Zilantov Monastery of Kazan; St. Job of Pochaev; Synaxis (Assembly) of the Saints of the Kiev Caves whose holy relics repose in the Far Caves: Achillas, Acindynos, and Agathos; St. Acacius of Miletos; Saint Savvas, Abbot (Egoumenos) of Krypetsk.
OUR HOLY FATHER MOSES THE BLACK. An Ethiopian, he was at first a robber and the leader of a robber band, but he then became a penitent and a great ascetic. As a slave, St. Moses escaped from his owner and became a robber. Because of his great physical strength and recklessness, the robbers chose him as their leader. Suddenly his conscience was filled with remorse and repentance for the crimes he had committed. He left the band, went to a monastery and gave himself entirely to obedience to his spiritual father and to the rule of the monastery. He made great use of the teaching of Saints Macarius, Arsenius and Isidore. Later, he withdrew to solitude in a cell, where he gave himself utterly to physical labor, prayer, vigils and pondering on God. Tormented by the demons of lust, he confessed to his spiritual father, Isidore, and received from him the advice to fast much as possible, and never to eat his fill. When this proved to be of no help, he, at the elder's advice, began to keep night-vigils and to pray standing; he then got into the way of carrying water from a distant well for the older monks. After six years of terrible striving, Saint Isidore finally healed him miraculously of the lustful thoughts, imaginings and dreams visited on him by the demon. He was ordained priest in old age. He founded a monastery of his own, and had seventy-five disciples, himself living to the age of seventy-five. He foresaw his own death, and one day told his disciples to flee, as barbarians were coming to attack the monastery. When his disciples urged him to flee as well, he told them that he must perish in the attack, for he had himself at one time done violence, according to the words: "all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (St. Matthew 26:52). So he stayed, with six of his brethren. The barbarians came and ran them through. One of the brethren, hiding, saw seven shining wreaths descend upon the seven holy Martyrs.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Martyrs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: I Corinthians 16:4-12
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 21:28-32
FROM THE HOLY VOICE OF THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"We must show faithfulness to the Lord during times of callousness, faintheartedness, doubts, coldness, times of sorrow, illness and various misfortunes. We must exert our willpower to strengthen faith in ourselves when, by God's allowance, it seems to be all but extinguished. He permits this in order that we may show again and again what it is we are striving for, where our choice lies". (Egoumenos (Abbot) Nikon of Russia).
by Father Anthony Alevizopoulos, PhD. of Theology, PhD. of Philosophy
Man is inaugurated into the Kingdom of God (into the Body of Christ) through Holy Baptism, and he is called to live the life of the Body, i.e., to become a partaker of salvation in Christ, of the life in Christ. In this sense, he can now say along with Saint Paul, "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). For this reason, Saint Paul's task aimed at "...such time as Christ shall be formed within you" (Gal. 4:19). The Lord Himself assures everyone who shall love Him in truth, that he shall be loved by God the Father "and we will come to Him and make our home with Him"; we will dwell with Him! (St. John 14:23).
It is important to underline that the body which Christ assumed was no different that our body. It was a created body and thus susceptible to corruption and death. And indeed, Christ subjected Himself to these in order to meet death and destroy it through His death in the flesh on the Cross, and to liberate us from its bonds, thus becoming the first born from the dead (I Cor. 15:55-58). In this way the believer, incorporated into the human flesh which Christ assumed, in the body of Christ, makes his own that communion which was brought about in the Person of Christ and is led to theosis; in Christ the uncontained God becomes contained and in Christ man becomes a "partaker of the Divine Nature" (II Peter 1:4).
The path which God chose in order to save man is the path of love and honor towards His creature. God Himself undertook the task of man's salvation. In God's eyes apostate man did not cease to be something precious. For this reason He did not search him out and summon him back through "a representative or a messenger"; He Himself set out in search of him and "emptied Himself out, taking the form of a servant." He humbled Himself (Philip. 2:7-8). In order to raise man up from the state of dishonor to the heights of honor, He offered him the communion of His love without crushing him, without violating man's personality.
That which now remains for man is his disposition. He is still free and can still make his own choice; the believer knows that there is but one road to salvation: Christ, Who said, "I am the way…no one cometh unto the Father except through Me" (St. John 14:6). There is no other way to salvation outside the God-man Jesus Christ; neither can our brother save us. How then can someone else save us? No one can offer anything to God to atone for him. He does not have the price to pay for his soul, even if he were to labor all his life.
This is underlined by Holy Scripture: "No one can ransom a brother, there is no price one can give to God for it. For the ransom of life is costly and can never suffice" (Psalm 48:8-9). In harmony with the Holy Scripture one of the hymns of the Church emphasizes:
"Being crucified, O Christ, tyranny has been done away with; the power of the enemy has been trampled upon; for neither Angel nor man, but the Lord Himself has saved us. Glory to Thee."
Here then every idea of self-development, self-realization, self-discovery and self-salvation is overthrown and shown to be incompatible with the Christian faith. Man's participation is found in his free and total consent to the saving work of God in Jesus Christ.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God