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.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER TO THE MOTHER OF GOD
Most Holy Mother of God, Who art the Light of my darkened soul; my hope, my refuge and shelter; my comfort and my joy: I give thee thanks for that thou hast suffered me, unworthy as I am to be a partaker of the Pure Body and Precious Blood of Thy Son. Do Thou who didst bring forth the True Light, enlighten the eyes of my understanding. Thou that gavest birth to the Fountain of Immortality, quicken me who am slain by sin. Thou Who art all compassion, O Mother of the Merciful God, have mercy upon me, and bestow on me the spirit of remorse and a contrite heart. Give me lowliness of mind. Loose my captive thoughts. And vouchsafe that even unto my last breath I may without condemnation receive the hallowing of the Most Pure Sacrament unto healing of soul and body. And grant me the grace of repentance and confession that I may praise and glorify Thee all the days of my life. For Blessed art Thou and All-Glorious forever and ever. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On December 5th 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 of every righteous soul made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Savvas the Sanctified; Holy Martyrs Diogenes, having been stoned to death, was perfected in martyrdom; Holy Martyr Avercius was perfected in martyrdom by the sword; Saint Nonnus; Saint Gratus; our Righteous Father Nectarius of Bitol in Bulgaria; our Righteous Father Philotheos of Karyes, Mt. Athos; on this day the Righteous Martyrs dwelling in the cells on Mt. Athos, when they had censured the Latin (Roman Catholic) minded Emperor Michael Paleologus and Patriarch John Beccus, were perfected in martyrdom, the first of them by hanging, the remainder by the sword; Holy Martyr Crispina of Thagura in Numidia, who was beheaded at Theveste in the persecution of pagan Roman emperor Diocletian; Saint Nicetius, Bishop of Treves in Gaul; Saint Guria, Archbishop of Kazan.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Ascetics, Holy Monks, Holy Bishops, Holy Archbishops, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
OUR RIGHTEOUS AND GOD-BEARING FATHER SAVVAS THE SANCTIFIED. Saint Savvas was born in 439 AD in Moutalaska, a small village of Cappadocia. He entered the arena of the monastic life from childhood and was under that master trainer of monastics, Efthymios the Great, the teacher of the desert. He became the spiritual father of many monks and an instructor for the monasteries in Palestine, and was appointed leader (archimandrite) of the desert-dwellers of Palestine by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. In his old age he went to Constantinople, to the Emperors Anastasios and Saint Justinian the Great, in behalf of the Orthodox Faith and the dogmas of the Council of Chalcedon. Having lived ninety-four years, he reposed in 533 AD. The Typikon for the ecclesiastical services had its beginning in the monastery established by this righteous one.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Plagal of Fourth Tone
With the streams of thy tears, thou didst cultivate the barrenness of the desert; and by thy sighings from the depths, thou didst bear fruit a hundredfold in labors; and thou becamest a luminary, shining with miracles upon the world, O Savvas our righteous Father. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion Hymn. Plagal of Fourth Tone
O blessed Savvas, thou wast offered from thine infancy through thy great virtue as a pure and spotless sacrifice unto God, Who ere thy birth, verily foreknew thee; wherefore thou was an adornment of the righteous Saints, an all-praised founder of cities in the wilderness. Hence, I cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father of great renown.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Galatians 5:22-26; 6:1-2
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 11:27-30
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"If the soul is better than the body and God incomparably better than the world which He created, the one who prefers the body to the soul and the world to the God Who created it is no different from idolaters." (Saint Maximus the Confessor)
By Father John Romanides (Source: Empirical Dogmatics of the Orthodox Catholic Church, Volume 2)
It was mentioned in the previous chapter that the revelations of God in the Old Testament are revelations of the Word (Logos) of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity unincarnate. In the New Testament the unincarnate Word takes flesh.
The Logos (Word) does not make His appearance in history at the time of His Incarnation. He existed and appeared to the Prophets in the Old Testament. At the Incarnation the unincarnate Word took flesh.
"For the Fathers of the Church, Christ does not appear for the first time when He is born of the Virgin, when He grows up and begins to teach the Apostles, in other words, Christ from Nazareth. Christ did not begin to exist then. He is in the Old Testament, not as a man, but only as Angel-God, the Lord of Glory."
Yahweh in the Old Testament, the Angel of Great Counsel, becomes Christ in the New Testament. The Word (Logos) of God becomes Christ, after the human nature has been anointed with the divine nature. In the Old Testament the kings were anointed and were called the Lord's anointed by the divine nature. So when the Disciples saw Christ, they saw the Father, but this came about in the Spirit.
"In the Old Testament, Christ did not have a human nature. He is only the Logos (Word). He is the Word and nothing else, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Who is called the Lord of Glory and Yahweh in the Old Testament. He is the Angel of the Lord, the Angel of Glory, the Angel of Great Counsel, Who appears to the Prophets."
When the Prophets see the Angel of the Lord, they see God. That is why Christ says: 'He who has seen Me has seen the Father' (St. John 14:9). Anyone who sees Christ sees the Father; not, of course, the human nature of Christ, because we do not see God when we see a human being. But when we see the uncreated Person of Christ in the Holy Spirit, we see the Father, Elohim."
The name 'Christ' is used after the incarnation.
"The name 'Christ' refers to the human nature and means 'anointed'. Before taking human nature, the Logos (Word) is not anointed. But the Logos (Word) Himself is anointing, the chrism (chrisma in Greek). God is the chrism, because man is anointed with the uncreated glory of God. The one who is anointed is not God; it is man who is anointed.
The Logos (Word) was anointed as man, although He is simultaneously the source of anointing and the anointed one. This is the mystery of the incarnation: that He Who is chrism by nature anoints Himself as man. Christ does not have the chrism according to grace; the chrism is His by nature. Christ is He Who is anointed by nature. This is the most fundamental difference between the Old and New Testaments.
For this reason, when the Old Testament refers to Christ, it does not refer to Christ as Messiah. Everything that has been written about the Messiah, the son of man, has been written from a non-Orthodox perspective. They have sifted through all the passages about Christ-Messiah in the Old Testament. It is obvious that in the Old Testament the messiah is a human being. They cannot understand how this simple man-messiah in the Old Testament appears in the New Testament as pre-existent and as a Person of the Holy Trinity, as expounded in the Christian Tradition.
Of course the anointed one (christos) in the Old Testament is the messiah, the man who is anointed. In the Old Testament the Prophets and the various rulers of Israel are called messiahs, because 'messiah' means someone who has been anointed by God for a particular mission. If we really want to see Christ, as we know Him in the Christian Tradition, in the Old Testament, we should search in the theophanies in the Old Testament, not in passages about the Messiah."
The names ascribed to Christ in the Old Testament are Yahweh, the Angel of Great Counsel, the Angel or the Lord of Glory, and the Wisdom of God, not Messiah, which denotes a human being.
"What the Fathers and the New Testament stress is: 'Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him' (St. Matthew 11:27). This means that no one knows God except those who see the Father in Christ: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (St. John 14:9). When Christ appears to the Prophets and the Prophets see Christ, the Lord of Glory, in the Holy Spirit, they see God. Thus, God is invisible but becomes visible through Christ those who are in the Holy Spirit. This is called 'theosis' in the Fathers of the Church and 'glorification' in the Old Testament. The Prophet is glorified, and once he has been glorified he sees God in the Holy Spirit.
(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