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.
The Lord the Shepherd of His People
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
On September 10th 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: Synaxis (Assembly) of the Holy Apostles, Lucius, and Clement of the Seventy; Saints Menodora, Metrodora, and Nimphodora at Nicomedia; St. Pulcheria, empress of Greece; St. Barypsabas in Dalmatia; St. Salvius, bishop of Albi; Ioasaph of Kubensk; Three Holy Women of Constantinople; Saints Peter and Paul, bishops of Nicaea; Saint Paul the Obedient of the Kiev Caves; Saint Cassian of Spaso-Kamenny, and Saint Cyril of White Lake Monasteries.
BLESSED PULCHERIA, THE EMPRESS OF GREECE. At the age of sixteen, St. Pulcheria was made co-ruler of the Greek empire with her younger brother Theodosios. Because of her purity, she ruled with wisdom and defended Orthodoxy from the heretics. She built churches and monasteries. Through her efforts, the Third Ecumenical Council was convened. Theodosios, however, strayed into heresy and deviously sought to remove his sister as co-ruler. Realizing her brother's intention, she renounced her authority and left to serve God in solitude. Later, Theodosios realized his mistake and brought her back. When she was about to die, she distributed all that she owned to monasteries, churches, and the poor.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and holy Rulers, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 5:15-21
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 3:16-21
FROM THE HOLY VOICE OF THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"Boldness of speech is success; anger is failure. Therefore, if we should aspire to boldness, we must be free from anger, in case anyone should attribute our words to the latter. For no matter how just your words may be, when you speak with anger, you ruin everything. This is true no matter how boldly you speak or how fairly you admonish--in short, no matter what you do". (Saint John Chrysostom).
HOLY UNCTION (Ευχέλεο=Efheleo=Blessed Oil)
by Father Anthony Alevizopoulos
Christ gave His disciples the authority "to heal every disease and every infirmity" (St. Matthew 10:1). They would anoint the sick with oil and heal them (St. Mark 6:13).
This healing power remained, according to the will of the Lord, as a faculty of the Church: "Is any among you sick? Let him invite the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray for him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the blessing by faith will save the sufferer and the Lord will raise him and if he had sinned, his sins will be forgiven" (Saint James 5:14-15).
The Mysterion or Mystery (sacrament) is performed by the "presbyters of the Church." In other words, it is not something magic; it requires participation. Salvation will be provided by the Lord with His propitiating Blood. It will not only be for physical healing, but spiritual.
Here, forgiveness of sins does not mean the replacement of the Mysterion of Holy Confession, since Holy Unction goes together with Confession. Nor does it mean forcing God to grant bodily health. It is more the Mysterion of the Church's love for the one suffering. By this Mysterion we henceforth entrust our fellow-Christian completely to the Providence and the love of God.
The First Church Performed this Mysterion
In the "Egyptian Decree" of Hippolytus (+236) there exists a concise prayer for the sanctification of the holy oil: "so that sanctifying this oil, grant health, oh God, to those who are needful and receiving this; as You anointed kings, priests, prophets, likewise grant health to those tasting this having need of it" (by Fr. Trembelas, Dogm. vol. 3, pg 351).
In the prayer preserved in the "Order of the Apostles" (380 A.D.), the celebrant concludes: "grant power that provides health, that distances diseases, that set the demons to flight, that expels every evil activity with the help of Christ..." (Order Apost. 6, 29:2-3).
Saint John Chrysostomos commemorates those who "healed their afflictions, having approached with faith and at the proper time were anointed with oil" (St. J. Chrysostom Accord. Matt., homily 22). At another point he adds that priests have authority to forgive sins, not only when they regenerate us but also later. This Holy Father of the Church supports this authority with James 5:14.
[source: Manual on Heresies and para-Christian Groups by: Fr. Anthony Alevizopoulos, PhD. of Theology, PhD. of Philosophy]
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God