My beloved spiritual children 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.
PRAYER OF THE THIRD HOUR
+In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O Eternal God, the Uncreated Light, Infinite and without beginning, the Creator of all creation, the inexhaustible source of mercy, the deep ocean of goodness, and the unsearchable abyss of loving-kindness for mankind, let the Light of Your countenance, O Lord, shine upon us. Illuminate our hearts, O Spiritual Sun of Righteousness, and fill our souls with Your gladness. Teach us always to meditate and to speak of Your judgments, and constantly confess to You, our Master and Benefactor. Direct the work of our hands to conform with Your will, and support us in doing what You love and what pleases You. Thus, even though our unworthiness, Your All-Holy Name will be glorified, the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, of the One Godhead and Kingdom, to Whom befits all glory, honor and worship, unto the ages of ages. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On October 11th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers of every righteous soul made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy Apostle Philip the Deacon, of the Seven Deacons; St. Nectarius, and St. Sisinius, Patriarch of Constantinople; Saint Theophanes the Confessor and Hymnographer; St. Zenais and St. Philomilla of Tarsus; St. Leonid of Optina; St. Kenneth, Egoumenos (Abbot) of Aghaboe (Ireland); St. Theophanes of the Kiev Caves; St. Ethelburga, Eboumenissa (Abbess) of the Monastery of Barking (England); St. Cainnech (Kenneth), Egoumenos (Abbot) of Aghaboe (Ireland); Commemoration of the miracle from the Holy Icon of our Lord Jesus Christ in Beirut of Phoenicia.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Deacons, Holy Patriarchs, Holy Egoumenoi and Egoumenisses, Saint Ascetics, Holy Hymnographers, Holy Confessors, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, O Christ Our God have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
HOLY APOSTLE PHILIP OF THE SEVENTY. Holy Apostle Philip of the Seventy, one of the 7 Deacons is not to be confused with Saint Philip one of the Twelve Apostles ( commemorated on November 14th). This Philip was born in Palestine, was married and had children.
After the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Twelve Holy Apostles made Philip a deacon in the Church of Jerusalem. Along with the other six deacons, they appointed him to deal with the offerings of the faithful and attend to the concerns of the widowed, the orphaned and the needy. The eldest among the seven deacons was the holy Archdeacon Stefanos (Stephen). When the persecution of Christians began, the Jews stoned the Protomartyr Stefanos. The Holy Apostle Philip left Jerusalem and settled in Samaria. There he successfully preached Christianity. Among the disciple's converts was the noted magician Simon, who "after being baptized, continued with St. Philip (Acts 8:9-13)."
At the command of an Angel of the Lord, Saint Philip set out upon the road connecting Jerusalem with Gaza. There he met an official of the Empress of Ethiopia, whom also he converted to Christianity (Acts 8:26-39). The holy disciple Philip tirelessly preached the Word of God in many of the lands of the Near East adjoining Palestine. At Jerusalem the Apostles made him a bishop and sent him to Tralles in Asia Minor, where he also baptized many. Saint Philip died in old age."
Saint Philip, as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, had four daughters who had the gift of prophecy (Acts 21:8). Saint Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, in the Great Synaxaristes, names two, St. Ermione (who is commemorated September 4th), and Eftychis (who we have been unable to confirm if she is actively honored as a Saint).
Saint Ermione (Hermione) was a great physician, ascetic, and martyr of the early Church
Also note, the holy relic (the skull )of St. Philip the Deacon is treasured in the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on the island of Patmos, where his feast is honored.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of St. Philip the Deacon. Tone Three
Filled with divine grace, you served God the Word as a deacon of the Church, O Apostle Philip. By the working of miracles and by signs from God you enlightened the multitude of Samaria, O blessed one, entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.
Kontakion Hymn. Tone Four
Inspired by the All-Holy Spirit, you enlightened the entire world by teachings and resplendent miracles, Apostle Philip, contemplator of Divine Truths.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 8:26-39
Holy Gospel Lesson: 5:27-32
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"If you would be simple-hearted the Apostles, would not conceal your human shortcomings, would not pretend to be especially pious, if you would walk free from hypocrisy, then that is the path. While it is easy, not everyone can find it or understand it. This path is the shortest way to salvation and attracts the grace of God. Unpretentiousness, guilelessness, frankness of soul - this is what is pleasing to the Lord. Who is lowly of heart. Except ye become like children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of God (St. Matt. 18:13)." (Saint Leonid of Optina)
An Homily on Prayer
by Saint John Chrysostom
As Christians we are obligated to honor and appreciate the Saints of God for two reasons. The first reason is because all the Saints had placed the hope of their spiritual salvation upon the sacred prayers. The second reason is because the prayers which they offered to God with joy and fear have been preserved in their writings. Thus their spiritual treasures, having been transmitted to us, may draw all subsequent believers toward the zeal of these Saints. The way of life of the teachers must be transmitted to their pupils. Thus the pupils of the Saints, that is, us Christians, must prove ourselves to be imitators of their righteousness. This we may do by always being preoccupied with prayers and the worship of God, considering thus as life and health and wealth and the end of all good things our prayer toward God with a pure heart and an incorruptible soul. If then the blind person is deprived because he cannot see the sun, how much more is the Christian diminished and harmed who does not pray constantly, and who, consequently, does not gather into his or her soul, through prayer, the Light of Christ.
Who is there that is not surprised and does not marvel at the love of God, which He demonstrates by rendering such a great honor to human beings in making them worthy to pray and to converse with God Himself! When we converse with God at the time of prayer we become similar to the Angels and dissimilar to the irrational beings. For the work par excellence of the Angels is prayer and worship. By praying with much awe and presenting themselves to us as an example, the Angels teach us to learn and to know that we must pray to God with joy and with fear. We must pray both with fear of being found unworthy of the prayer which connects us with God, but also with fullness of joy for the magnitude of honor which is bestowed upon the human race through the very possibility of prayer. Divine Providence has made us capable of enjoying constant communion with God, through which we appear not to be mortal and transient. Even though by nature we are mortal, it is through our conversation with God that we are transferred into immortal life. For the one who holds conversation with God must be by necessity above death and every moral and spiritual corruption. And by the same token, as it is most essential for one who enjoys the rays of the sun to be free of darkness, so also the one who enjoys conversation with God must no longer be mortal, precisely because the magnitude of this honor transfers us into the realm of spiritual immortality. It is impossible for those who pray and speak to God to have mortal souls. The death of the soul is precisely impiety and a sinful life, while the life of the soul is the worship of God and a way of life in the believer that is becoming to such worship.
It is prayer itself that produces a marvelously sacred way of life that is altogether appropriate to the worship of God. For, without regard to whether or not one loves the chastity of a monastic life or honors the prudence of married life, or whether one has mastered anger and lives meekly, or is free of envy and practices any of the appropriate virtues guided by prayer, prayer will always make smooth the way of virtuous living and the believer will readily be able to rise to the higher levels of the spiritual life. It is altogether impossible for those who seek from God prudence and meekness and goodness not to receive what they seek through prayer. For Christ says: "Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (St. Matthew 7:7). To convince us of this truth, Christ also says the following: "What man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (St. Matthew 7:9-11). With such words and such hopes has the Lord of All motivated us toward prayer. We are then obligated, in obedience to the Will of God, to live a virtuous and a faithful way of life, and with hymns and prayers to be more attentive to the worship of God than to our earthly life. In this way we will be able to live the life that is becoming to Christians.
(To be continued)
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God