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.
A PRAYER TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
Grant to us, O Master, as we prepare for sleep, rest of body and soul; protect us from the dark sleep of sin and from every sinful and nocturnal pleasure. Calm the impulses of the passions, quench the fiery darts of the evil one hurled treacherously against us. Subdue the rebellion of our flesh and suppress every earthly and material sentiment. Grant to us, O God, a vigilant mind, a sober heart, prudent reasoning and a sleep that is free from every satanic fantasy. And at the time of prayer, raise us up again, strengthened in the observance of Your Commandments and ever mindful of Your judgments. Grant that we may glorify You throughout the night, praising, blessing and glorifying Your Most-Honored and Majestic Name, the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS:
On November 14th 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 soul made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy and All-praised Apostle Philip; Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki; Saint Philip of Irap near Novgorod; New Holy Martyr Panteleimon the Youth of Asia Minor; Saint Alberik, Bishop of Utrecht; New Holy Martyr Constantine of Hydra; Saint Malo of Brittany; Saint Dyfrig, Bishop in Hereford; Saint Gwent, hermit of Bardsey Island.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Fathers, Holy Apostles, Holy Archbishops, Holy Bishops, Holy Mothers, O Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
THE HOLY APOSTLE PHILIP. Saint Philip was born in Bethsaida near the Sea of Galilee, as were Saints Peter and Andrew. Instructed in the Holy Scripture from his youth, St. Philip immediately responded to the call of Christ and followed Him (St. John 1:43). After the descent of the Holy Spirit, Saint Philip preached the Gospel with zeal in many regions of Asia and in Greece, where the Jews sought to kill him but the Lord saved him by the might of His wonders. The Jewish leaders, whose aim it was to kill St. Philip, were suddenly blinded, and found themselves in total darkness. There was a great earthquake, and the earth opened and swallowed up Philip's wicked persecutors. Many other wonders (miracles) were wrought, especially the healing of the sick, by which many of the pagans came to faith in Christ. In the Phrygian town of Hierapolis, Saint Philip worked for the Gospel with Saint John the Theologian, his own sister Mariamna and the Holy Apostle Bartholomew. There was in that place a dangerous snake, which the pagans fed with care and worshipped as a god. The God of the Apostle destroyed the snake with prayer as though with a spear. This called forth the fury of the benighted people, and the wicked pagans seized Saint Philip and crucified him upside-down on a tree, and then crucified Saint Bartholomew also. At this, the earth opened and swallowed up the judge and many others with him. The terrified people ran to take the crucified Apostles down, but they succeeded only in taking Saint Bartholomew down alive; Saint Philip had already breathed his last. Saint Bartholomew made Stachys bishop for those baptized in the city. Stachys had been cured of blindness and baptized by the Holy Apostle Philip, having been blind for forty years. Saint Philip's holy relics were later taken to Rome. This wonderful Apostle suffered in the year 86 AD, in the time of the pagan Roman emperor Domitian.
SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS, ARCHBISHOP OF THESSALONIKI. Saint Gregory's father was an eminent official at the court of the Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus. The gifted St. Gregory, completing his secular studies, did not want to go into imperial service at court, but withdrew to the Holy Mountain and became a monk, living in asceticism at Vatopedi and the Great Lavra. He waged war against the heretic Barlaam, and finally overcame him. He was consecrated Metropolitan of Thessaloniki in 1347, being glorified both as an ascetic and a theologian, both as a hierarch and a wonderworker. The Most Holy Mother of God, Saint John the Theologian, Saint Demetrios, Saint Antony the Great, Saint John Chrysostom and Angels of God all appeared to him at different times. He governed the Church in Thessaloniki for twelve years, of which he spent one year in slavery to the Saracens in Asia. He entered peacefully into rest in 1359, and entered into the Kingdom of Christ. His holy relics are preserved in Thessaloniki, where there is a beautiful church dedicated to him.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 4:9-16
Holy Gospel Lesson: Saint John 1:43-51
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"Having put your hope in Christ who provides for all creation and nurtures it, keep away from all unjust gains, and do not be too attached even to honest income. Put it to good use and let the poor share in it as much as possible." (St. Gregory Palamas)
SELECTED QUOTES OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
"Envy is the mother of murder..."
"Through this Cain slew Abel his brother; through this Esau (would have slain) Jacob, and his brethren Joseph, through this the devil all mankind. Thou indeed now killest not, but thou dost many things worse than murder; desiring that thy brother may act unseemly, laying snares for him on all sides, paralyzing his labors on the side of virtue, grieving that he pleaseth the Master of the world. Ye thou warrest not with thy brother, but with Him Whom he serves, Him thou insultest when thou prefers thy glory to His."
"Wherefore, if you desire to become equal to the Apostles, there is nothing to hinder you..."
"For to have arrived at this virtue only suffices for your not at all falling short of them. Let no one therefore wait for miracles. For though the evil spirit is grieved, when he is driven out of a body, yet much more so, when he sees a soul delivered from sin. For indeed this is his great power. [Acts 8:10]
This power caused Christ to die, that He might put an end of it. Yes, for this brought in death; by reason of this all things have been turned upside down. If then thou remove this, you have cut out the nerves of the devil, you have bruised his head, you have put an end to all his might, you have scattered his host, you have exhibited a sign greater then all signs.
"God loves us more than..."
"God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or anyone else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves."
"When you are about to pass over the threshold of the gateway..."
...[W]hen you are about to pass over the threshold of the gateway, say this word first: I leave your ranks, Satan, and your pomp, and your service, and I join the ranks of Christ. And never go forth without this word. This shall be a staff to you, this your armor, this an impregnable fortress, and accompany this word with the sign of the Cross on your forehead. For thus not only a man who meets you, but even the devil himself, will be unable to hurt you at all, when he sees you everywhere appearing with these weapons; and discipline yourself by these means henceforth, in order that when you receive the seal you may be a well-equipped soldier, and planting your trophy against the devil, may receive the crown of righteousness, which may it be the lot of us all to obtain, through the grace and loving kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom be Glory to the Father and to the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.
"Let us not then make ourselves unworthy of entrance into the bride-chamber..."
"Let us not then make ourselves unworthy of entrance into the bride-chamber: for as long as we are in this world, even if we commit countless sins it is possible to wash them all away by manifesting repentance for our offenses: but when once we have departed to the other world, even if we display the most earnest repentance it will be of no avail, not even if we gnash our teeth, beat our breasts, and utter innumerable calls for succor, no one with the tip of his finger will apply a drop to our burning bodies, but we shall only hear those words which the rich man heard in the parable 'Between us and you a great gulf has been fixed' (St. Luke 14:26).
"For the value of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful practices..."
"For the value of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially disparages it. Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works! Is it said by what kind of works? If you see a poor man, take pity on him! If you see an enemy, be reconciled to him! If you see a friend gaining honor, envy him not! If you see a beautiful woman, pass her by! For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eyes, and the ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies."
"Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue..."
"Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved."
"Happiness can only be achieved by..."
"Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward and learning to enjoy whatever life has and this requires transforming into gratitude."
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