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.
An Extemporaneous Prayer to the Holy Spirit
(Fr. Constantinos Kallinikos)
O Divine and All-Holy Spirit, twenty centuries ago You descended upon Zion, and the upper room where the Disciples had gathered was changed into a church, while the Galileans who were mere fishermen then experienced the great transformation and became Apostles and Evangelists.
Descend also upon us who beseech You in fervent prayer and on bent knees. Come into the midst of our disorderly chaos and transform it into a beautiful order of harmony and beauty. Like a powerful stormy wind, come to uproot our passions and cast them aside. Like a revitalizing river, come to irrigate our moral and spiritual aridity. Like a pleasant dew from heaven, come to renew and refresh our spiritual debility. Like a fire, come to warm and kindle our religious indifference and laxity. Like a fiery tongue, come to speak consolation in us. Like a seal, come to secure and protect the spiritual treasure of our adoption. Like an engagement of commitment, come to bind and betroth our hearts for all time with the Divine Bridegroom. Like a healing oil, come to heal our secret wounds. Like a dove of peace, come to make us into sons and daughters of light and peace. As a Divine Builder, come and transform our souls into dwellings built by God, in which the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, may find a worthy temple to dwell now and always. Amen.
(Saint Neilos the Ascetic)
"During the time of prayer, struggle to make your mind deaf and dumb, and then you will be able to pray...As bread is nourishment for the body and virtue for the soul, so also is spiritual prayer for the mind."
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On June 6th 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 Hilarion the New, Egoumenos (Abbot) of the Monastery of Dalmatus; Saint Attalus the Wonderworker; Holy Five Virgins and Righteous Martyrs of Caesarea in Palestine: Martha, Mary, Cyria, Valeria, and Marcia; Saint Anoub of Egypt, the Worker of Signs; Saint Gelasius was perfected in martyrdom by the sword; Holy Virgin Martyrs Archelais, Thecla, and Sussana, who were beheaded at Salerno in the persecution of the pagan Roman emperor Diocletian; Saint Jonas, Bishop of Perm; our righteous Father Paisius of Uglich; our righteous Jonas of Klimentsy.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy virgins, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Ascetics, Holy Egoumenoi, Holy Bishops, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
OUR RIGHTEOUS FATHER HILARION THE NEW, EGOUMENOS (ABBOT) OF THE MONASTERY OF DALMATUS. Saint Hilarion, the fervent zealot for the veneration of the holy icons, was born in 775 AD and had Cappadocia as his homeland. About 806-811 AD he became the Egoumenos of the Monastery of Dalmatus, but was exiled by the Emperor Leo the Armenian, and later again by Theophilos; he was set free by the pious Empress Theodora, and again became Egoumenos of the Monastery of Dalmatus form 843-845, until the time of his repose.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Plagal of Fourth Tone
In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Father; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Hilarion, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.
Kontakion Hymn. First Tone
Though cast into the fire, thou was not burnt, O righteous Hilarion, wise Father most godly of spirit; for thou hadst the dew of Christ God refreshing thee mightily. Since thou hast accomplished struggles far above nature, thou, O valiant athlete, dost rejoice with the righteous; with them, now remember us.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 27:1-44; 28:1
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 17:18-26
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE WORKS OF THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
Love unity, avoid divisions
"When I was with you, I shouted, I spoke with a loud voice, 'Listen to the bishop, and to the priests and deacons.' Some suspected that I said this because I had inside information beforehand about the division caused by some among you. But he for whose sake I am in captivity is my witness that I had no information from anyone. But the Spirit proclaimed these words: do nothing without the bishop. Keep your bodies as the temples of God. Love unity. Avoid divisions. Be the followers of Jesus Christ, just as He is of His Father.
So I did what I had to do, as a man devoted to unity. And I should add that, where there is division and anger, God does not dwell.
God grants forgiveness to all who repent, if with one consent they return to the unity of Christ and communion with the bishop. I trust in the grace of Jesus Christ to free you from every bond of wickedness. So I urge you not to do anything out of strife, but according to the doctrine of Christ." (Saint Ignatius of Antioch)
THE SATURDAY BEFORE THE FEAST OF PENTECOST
By Sergei V. Bulgakov
On the Saturday before Pentecost we commemorate all departed pious Christians, with the idea that the occasion of the coming of the Holy Spirit not only consists of the economy of the salvation of man, but that the departed also participate in this salvation. Therefore, the Holy Church, sending up prayers on Pentecost for the enlivening of all the living through the Holy Spirit, petitions for grace of the Holy Spirit also for the departed, which they were granted while they were still living, and was the source of eternal blessedness, because 'all souls are enlivened through the Holy Spirit.'
The Holy Church appeals to us, 'Let all of us pray to Christ, today as we remember the dead of all ages': 'Your servants who rest in Your courtyard, and in the bosom of Abraham, from Adam even until today who have chastely served You, fathers, and our brothers, friends, together with relatives', 'forefathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, from the first and even up to the last', every rank and generation', 'kings, priests, bishops, monks and novices', 'husbands together with wives', 'those departed at sea, or on land, or in the rivers, wells, or lakes, or in the trenches', 'in the mountains, on travel', 'in the deserts, or in the cities', and 'any place', 'in vain pursuits, cut in half by lightning, both from deathly abomination, and any wound', 'dying from Divine foreboding, all mortal thunder sent down from Heaven, the cracking of the earth, the rising storms of the sea', 'to be carried away by hailstones, snow and increased clouds, or killed by a brick, or covered over with earth', 'unexpected death of the pious, and from every stream of fallen trees, iron, or rocks', 'was food for an animal, either birds, or reptiles', 'who died from poisonous bites by the enwrapping of snakes, from being trampled by horses, from strangling and hanging by the simple-hearted', 'who You have allowed, O Lord, to die form a sudden unexpected fall', 'all who repose, O Lord, piously repose', 'Our Savior, deliver all the faithful departed from the ever burning fire and the never ending darkness, the gnashing of teeth, and the unending torment of worms, and every torture', 'Arise on the Last Day with glory', 'grant me Your heavenly Kingdom'.
Since it often happens that certain believers suffer death prematurely, in a foreign land, at sea, or trackless mountains, on precipices, in chasms, in famines, wars, at sea, conflagrations, and cold weather, and all manner of other deaths; and perhaps, being poor and without resources, they have not been vouchsafed the customary psalter readings and memorial services, moved by love for mankind, the divine Fathers ordained that the Orthodox Catholic Church make commemoration of all people, a tradition which they inherited from the Holy Apostles, in order that those who, due to some particular circumstance, did not receive the customary obsequies individually, might be included in the present general commemoration, indicating that whatever is done on their behalf confers great benefit on them.
We always commemorate souls on Saturday, because savvation (Sabbath) means "rest" in Hebrew; and since the dead have rested from worldly and all other cares, we offer supplications for them also on the day which means "rest". It has become customary for us to do this every Saturday. The Fathers, knowing well that what is done on behalf of the reposed, that is, memorial services, almsgiving, and Liturgies, affords them great respite and benefit, allow the Church to do so on both an individual and a general basis, a tradition which they received from the Holy Apostles, as Saint Dionysius the Areopagite tells us.
To what the Church does on behalf of souls benefits them, is clear from many sources, but especially from an incident in the life of Saint Makarios, who was in the habit of praying for the departed and had besought God to reveal to him whether any benefit was conferred on them thereby. Finding the desiccated skull of an impious pagan on the road that he was traversing, he asked whether the souls in Hades experienced any consolation. The skull replied: "We receive great respite, Father, when you pray to God for the departed." Saint Gregory the Dialogist even saved the Emperor Trajan through prayer, though he was told by God never again to make entreaty for one who was impious. In addition to this, through the prayers of the Saints and Confessors, the Empress Theodora snatched the God-hating Theophilos from torments and saved him, as we know from ecclesiastical history. Saint Gregory the Theologian, in his funeral oration for his brother Caesarios, states that supplications for the departed are beneficial for them. In one of his homilies on the Epistle to the Philippians, the great Saint John Chrysostom says: "Let us think of some way to benefit the departed; let us given them whatever assistance we can, by which I mean almsgiving and offerings to the Church on their behalf; for this affords them great profit, gain, and benefit. Indeed, not in vain or haphazardly have these practices been prescribed; it has been handed down to the Church of God by His all-wise Disciples, that the Priest should commemorate the faithful departed at the dread Mysteries." Saint Athanasius the Great says: "Even if one who has died in the true Faith has vanished into thin air, call upon Christ God, and do not avoid lighting oil lamps and candles at his grave; for these things are acceptable to God and bring great recompense." Observe these things, therefore, whether the deceased is a sinner, so that you might obtain for him forgiveness of his sins, or a righteous man, so that you might gain additional rewards." (Synaxarion. By Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos).
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God