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 PRAYERS BEFORE HOLY COMMUNION
I believe, Lord, and confess that You are truly the Christ, Son of the Living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the greatest. I also believe that this is truly Your spotless Body, and that this is truly Your precious Blood. Wherefore I pray to You: have mercy on me and forgive my offenses, whether intended or not, whether committed in word or deed, knowingly or unknowingly; and count me worthy to share without judgment in Your pure Mysteries, for remission of sins and for everlasting life. Amen.
You have beguiled me with yearning, O Christ, and by love Divine transformed me. Consume my sins in ethereal flame, and let me be filled with the sheer delight of You, O Gracious Lord, that leaping for joy, I may magnify both Your Advents.
How shall I, so unworthy, come into the splendor of Your Saints? If I make bold to enter the bridal feast, my clothing will reproach me since it is not a wedding garment. Then I shall be bound and cast out by the Angels. In Your love, Lord, purge my soul and save me.
Loving Master, Lord Jesus Christ my God, let not these Holy Gifts become a judgment against me because of my unworthiness, but for the cleansing and sanctification of both soul and body, and as a pledge of the future life and the Kingdom. It is good for me to cling to God, to place in Him my hope for salvation.
Receive me today, Son of God, as a partaker of Your Mystical Supper; for I will not reveal the Mystery to Your enemies, nor give You a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess You: Lord, remember me in Your Kingdom.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATIONS OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On March 31st Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors, and entreats the holy intercessions (prayers) 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: Saint Vlasios (Blaise) of Amorion; Saint Akakios the Confessor, Bishop of Melitene; Saint Hypatius, Bishop of Gangra; Saint Innocent of Moscow and Enlightener of Alaska and Siberia; Saint Jonah, Metropolitan of Kiev; Saint Joseph the Fair, son of Jacob; Saint Abdas, Bishop, and Benjamin the Deacon of Persia, and Saint Ormisdes the Confessor; Holy Martyr Menander; Saint Stefanos the Wonderworker; Saint Hypatius, Egoumenos (Abbot) of Rufinus; Saint Hypatius the Healer of the Kiev Caves; Saint Apollonius, ascetic of the Thebaid; Appearance of the Portaitissa (Iveron Monastery) Holy Icon of the Theotokos (Mother of God).
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Bishops, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Metropolitans, Holy Deacons, Holy Ascetics, Holy Confessors, Holy Egoumenoi, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT:
Isaiah 37:3-38:6; Genesis 13:12-18
SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHER AND FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"Christians should judge no one, neither an open harlot, nor sinners, nor dissolute people, but should look upon all with simplicity of soul and a pure eye. Purity of heart, indeed, consists in seeing sinful and weak men and having compassion for them and being merciful" (Saint Macarius the Great).
INSPIRED ORTHODOX POSITIONS
by Saint Nicolas of Ochrid
The Lord said: Repent and believe in the Gospel. True repentance is not only to grieve over the sins one has committed but a complete return of the soul from darkness to light, from the worldly to the heavenly, from me to God.
What does faith in the Gospel mean? It means to believe the Good News that the Heavenly Messenger (Angel), the Son of God and God brought to the human race. In other words, it is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Revelation. The Revelation of Christ is the greatest Revelation since the creation of the world. It is the Only Revelation that can change the man-worm into man-god and a son of God.
Only "the One Who descends from Heaven, the Son of Man Who is in Heaven (St. John 3:13)" could bear witness to the world what exists in Heaven, Who God is, what the spiritual reality is in the other world, how the spiritual world is that encompasses God, and what happens to human souls after the bodily death. "What we saw we preach and what we heard we confess (St. John 3:11).
We could say His witness is on a spiritual level, completely empirical. He does not bear witness according to worldly logic, or according to the conclusions of human understanding, or according to the wisdom or philosophies of the earthly man but according to Him who has seen and heard. He is the Heavenly Messenger of the Heavenly reality. "And to this end am I come to this world, that I should bear witness to the Truth (St. John 18:37), "which no one of those born on earth could bear witness to accurately. He Himself calls this witness Good News.
The Heavenly Messenger of the Good News bears witness that: God is one, in the Triune harmony of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; that God is not only the Creator but also Father, namely the Most Beloved and closest relative of all who wish to become His children; that God as Father is True Love, and out of love for the human race He sent His only-begotten Son to save the world. He bears witness: that the soul of man has greater value than the whole material world and that there are legions of innumerable angels in that world who-sometimes invisibly and at other times visibly, ceaselessly nonetheless-work for people in the events of this world; and that the Son of God came down to make them gods, according to the will and mercy of the Father. He bears witness to the just judgment of God, the resurrection of the dead and eternal life, and to many more things-one more joyous than the other.
Christ called men to believe this Good News: repent and believe in the Gospel. This means that He called us to believe Him and in Him, in His every word. Since for humans there is no other way to come to the knowledge of the Truth about the most important questions of life and existence, other than accepting to believe His words, seeing as He is an eyewitness to the heavenly and spiritual truths. Either they will believe in Christ or they will continue to walk in the dark and stormy seas of life, guessing and hypothesizing about the earth and the edge of the ocean. A third solution does not exist in the history of the human anthill to this day.
From this it becomes obvious that the Christian faith does not in the least resemble the other faiths and theories of the world, since the other faiths are man made, from the earth and of the earth, by people who spoke about the spiritual world, either according to their natural reasoning or through the deceit of evil spirits. None of the founders of other religions said about himself that he had descended from heaven, or that he had been sent by the Father, or that he bears witness to that concerning heaven which he saw and heard and that he will return to heaven. For this reason, there can be no talk about the equality of or similarly between the witness of Christ and that of the other religions and confessions of the rest o the world.
Do not ask a Christian if he believes in God but ask if he believes in the Gospel, in the good news of Christ. For if he says he believes in God according to his own logic but not in the Gospel, then he is regressing and is a pagan, since he arrived at faith just as people who lived some two thousand years ago (i.e., some of the philosophers of the Greece and Asia). Then for what reason did Christ descend from Heaven? For what reason did He seal with His Blood His Revelation to the world, the Good News? Such a Christian has in truth the All-Holy Blood of the Son of God on his head like those who cried, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!"
The Orthodox Church-the only Church of Christ in the world-has kept the faith in the Gospel, without looking right or left, without being supported by other faiths, or by pagan philosophies or by the natural sciences. For if one follows a farsighted and keen eyed leader, it is useless and laughable to ask the crooked and blind for directions.
While Christ says: "Without Me you can do nothing" (St. John 15:5), the heretic world in thousands of ways expresses the following saying: "Without Christ we can do everything". The entire contemporary culture is turned against Christ. All the modern sciences compete in seeing who will succeed in serving the hardest blow to Christ's teaching. It is a revolution of worldly science against the heavenly science of Christ. However, this whole revolution in our days boils down to what has been written with such clarity: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:22)."
Truthfully, no one knows where the greatest insanity of the modern world that has fallen away from Christ lies: in the each person's private life or in ;marriage? In school or in politics? In the economic structure or legislation? In war or in peace? Everywhere one sees what we call vulgar and barbaric. Falsehood and violence triumph...
The Orthodox Christian believes and confesses that Jesus Christ is the one and only Messiah, Savior of the world, the one who has redeemed the human race from sin and restored it, the Son of God who was Incarnate of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit, God of God, the fulfillment of truth, the source of life, the victor over death, the cause of resurrection, the only truth path toward the proper goal, the judge of the living and of the dead.
(Source: From the book "Inspired Articles of Orthodox Spirituality" Published by "Orthodox Kypseli")
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God