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.
A CONTRITE PRAYER TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
+In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen
At all times and at every hour, in heaven and on earth, O Christ our God, You are worshipped and glorified; You are long-suffering, most merciful, most compassionate, You love the righteous and have mercy upon the sinners; You call everyone to salvation through the promise of future blessings; Receive, O Lord, our prayers at this hour and direct our life toward Your Commandments. Sanctify our souls; make our bodies chaste; Correct our thoughts; purify our intentions; and deliver us from every grief and pain that comes from evil. So that guarded and guided by them we may attain to the unity of faith and the knowledge of Your unapproachable glory, for You are Blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On June 18th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Ascetics, Teachers and of every righteous soul made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy Martyrs Leontius of Greece, and Hypatius and Theodulos, who were martyred with him in Phoenicia; Holy Martyr Aetherius; Saint Erasmus; Holy Two Martyrs of Cyprus, having their feet burnt, were perfected in martyrdom; our Righteous Father Leontius the Shepherd; our Righteous Father Leontius; On this day we celebrate the Synaxis of the Chief Commander Michael, which is observed near the church of St. Julian in the Forum; Holy Martyrs Cyriakos and Paula of Malaga; our Father among the Saints Amandus, Bishop of Bordeaux; our Righteous Father Leontius, Canonarch of the Kiev Caves; the Synaxis of the Bogoliubovo Holy Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.
+By the holy intercessions (prayers) of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Bishops, Holy Ascetics, Holy Fathers, Holy Mothers, Holy Archangels, Holy Confessors, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
THE HOLY MARTYR LEONTIUS. This holy Martyr was from Greece. Being of great bodily stature and strength, he was an illustrious soldier in the Roman legions who had won many victories, and was known for his prudence and sobriety of mind. When it was learned that he gave grain to the poor from the imperial stores, and was moreover a Christian, Hadrian the pagan Governor of Phoenicia sent Hypatius, a tribune, and Theodulos, a soldier, to arrest him. Saint Leontius converted them on the way to Tripolis in Phoenicia, where Hypatius and Theodulos were tortured and beheaded by Hadrian for their confession of Christ. Then Hadrian with many flatteries and many tortures strove to turn Leontius from Christ. All his attempts failing, he had St. Leontius put to such tortures that he died in the midst of them, under Vespasian in the year of our Lord 73 AD.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Fourth Tone
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our Immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art Merciful.
Kontakion Hymn. Third Tone
Thou didst wholly put to shame the tyrants' wicked opinions and didst mightily rebuke the Greeks' ungodly religion; with the doctrines of true reverence, thou madest shine forth godly knowledge for all men. O wise Leontius, thou most godly-minded Martyr; wherefore with longing we keep thy memory today.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Romans 4: 13-25
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 7:21-23
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE WORKS OF THE HOLY ASCETICS, MOTHER AND FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
By St. John Chrysostom
Fasting is a medicine. But medicine, as beneficial as it is, becomes useless because of the inexperience of the user. He has to know the appropriate time that the medicine should be taken and the right amount of medicine and the condition of the body which is to take it, the weather conditions and the season of the year and the appropriate diet of the sick and many other things. If any of these things are overlooked, the medicine will do more harm than good. So, if one who is going to heal the body needs so much accuracy, when we care for the soul and are concerned about healing it from bad thoughts, it is necessary to examine and observe everything with every possible detail.
Fasting is the change of every part of our life, because the sacrifice of the fast is not the abstinence but the distancing from sins. Therefore, whoever limits the fast to the deprivation of food, he is the one who, in reality, abhors and ridicules the fast. Are you fasting? Show me your fast with your works. Which works? If you see someone who is poor, show him mercy. If you see an enemy, reconcile with him. If you see a friend who is becoming successful, do not be jealous of him! If you see a beautiful woman on the street pass her by.
In other words, not only should the mouth fast, but the eyes and the legs and the arms and all other parts of the body should fast as well..."
KIND OF TONGUES IN CORINTHIANS AND OTHER PAULINE EPISTLES
By Father Alexis (Trader), Monastery of Karakalou - Mount Athos, Greece (Source: In Peace Let Us Pray to the Lord: An Orthodox Interpretation of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit)
The "Traditional" English Text: Its Translation and Interpretation
"They know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof." (Job 24:13)
Unfortunately, the translators of the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the most influential of the English translations, were unfamiliar with the practice and experience of inner prayer since the West had been cut off from the hesychastic tradition many centuries before. Hence, various crucial expressions in this passage were unwisely translated or mistranslated in this passage into English, thus opening the entire passage up to interpretations not fully based on Saint Paul's actual words. The translators of the King James Bible apparently had already decided that the passage in question referred to speaking in unknown foreign languages, so they translated the text accordingly even if this meant infidelity to the plain sense of the original text...
Thus at every cross-roads, the translators based on their own experience (or, to be more precise, inexperience) selected expressions that would prevent the English-speaking reader from understanding the very nature of the gift of speaking in tongues to which Saint Paul was referring in any way other than the most external and superficial.
Kinds of Tongues in Corinthians and other Pauline Epistles
"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:6)
In Corinth, the gift of kinds of tongues referred to the kinds of prayers and Psalms from the Old Testament offered up silently by the tongue in the heart through the Holy Spirit as Saint Paul clearly describes it in I Corinthians 14:17: "I will pray with the spirit," but I will also pray with the mind. I will "sing psalms with the spirit," but I will also sing psalms with the mind." When the prayers and psalms are transferred by the fear of God (which is the first gift leading to repentance) from the reason to the spirit or inner man or heart, man's personality begins to be healed, he enters the stage of repentance, his heart is gradually emptied of both good thoughts and bad, his blameworthy passions begin to be transformed into blameless ones, and he begins his journey towards illumination. By speaking in tongues, this silent prayer "with the spirit," the Corinthians were simply following the Lord's advice, "when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret" (St. Matthew 6:6). Thus, they would descend deep into the heart "where their treasure is" and pray to the Lord. If there was any question why they would be particularly edified praying in Persian instead of in Greek, there is no question why they would be especially edified praying silently within their hearts in the Holy Spirit following the Lord's command. In this light, it becomes quite understandable why Saint Paul, who encouraged the Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and the Ephesians to speak "to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord," (Eph. 5:19) would likewise thank God that he speaks in tongues, that is, prays silently in his heart through the Holy Spirit, more than all the rest. Quite understandably, he wishes that they all would speak in tongues, for there is no treasure more precious and no joy more sweet than man's intimate converse with Christ deep in the Paradise of the heart.
Father John Romanides (of blessed memory) notes that speaking in tongues is not peculiar to Corinth and that Saint Paul refers to this gift in his other epistles, even if he does not employ the same term (tongues) to denote it. These passages are worth quoting at length. To the Galatians, Saint Paul writes, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (4:6-7). In other words, prayer activated by the Holy Spirit in the heart (not with the mouth) is the indication that the Christian has become a son of God by grace and entered the stage of illumination. Saint Paul reiterates this objective fact in his Epistle to the Romans:
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God...Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what
is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (8:14-16; 26-27).
Please note: According to the holy Father, Saint Paul here clearly speaking about the grace-filled and Spirit-activated prayer of the heart that is received when the believer has purified himself of the passions. (cf. Saint Hesychios the Priest, "On Watchfulness and Holiness," and Saint Diadochos of Photiki, "On Spiritual Knowledge," The Philokalia, v.1, page 164 and page 271 respectively, "A Discourse on Abba Philemon," The Philokalia).
That "the Spirit itself beareth witness to our spirit" indicates that one who has the gift of tongues "hears" or "follows" with his nous the prayer said by the Spirit in his heart. This gift of tongues or the prayer of the heart is "the law of God after the inward man" in which Saint Paul delights and "the reasonable worship" (λογική λατρεία) by which the believer "is transfigured by the renewing of the nous" (Romans 7:22,12:1-2).
(To be continued)
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