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 SAVIOR CHRIST
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. Encompass us by Your holy Angels, so that guarded and guided by them we may attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of Your inapproachable glory, for You are Blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On September 20th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Teachers and of every righteous soul made perfect in our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Efstathius Placidas, his wife Theopiste, and their children Agapius and Theophistos, of Rome; Saint Martin of Rome; Saint Maximus the Confessor; Saint Hilarion of Crete; Saint Michael of Chernigov, and St. Theodore, Boyar of Chernigov; Saints Theodore, Efprepius, Anastasius, and Anastasius, disciples of Saint Maximos the Confessor; Saint John of Crete; Holy Martyrs Aremidorus and Thalus; Saint Oleg, Prince of Briansk; Saint John the Confessor of Egypt, and 40 Holy Martyrs with him; Saints Hypatius and Andrew, Confessors.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Children, Holy Disciples, Holy Confessors, Holy Princes, O Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
VENERABLE THEODORE AND EFPREPIUS AND TWO NAMED ANASTASIUS, CONFESSORS AND DISCIPLES OF SAINT MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR. This group suffered for their condemnation of the Monothelite heretical doctrine, which stated that Christ has two natures but only one will. This is contrary to the Orthodox Christian Christological Dogma of the Church, which states that Jesus has two natures, Divine and human, and two natural wills. Monotheletism had considerable support in the 7th century, but was ruled heretical at the Sixth Ecumenical council in 681 AD. Emperor Constans II promoted this heresy. Anastasius the Elder, a Papal representative, and Anastasius the Younger were present at the Lateran Council called by Saint Martin, Pope of Rome, which denounced the Monothelites. For this the emperor seized the Pope and the two named Anastasius. Along with Saint Maximus, the two endured many tortures. Saint Maximus and the Elder Anastasius had their right hand and tongues cut off. They and their fellow disciples, Efprepius and Theodore, were sent into exile, where they all died at various times. However, they all remained steadfast to the end, and all are proclaimed confessors of the faith.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Ephesians 6:10-17
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 21:12-19
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE WORKS OF THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHER AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). Why did he say "strive?" Because it is not possible for us to become holy and to be saints in an hour! We must therefore progress from modest beginnings toward holiness and purity. Even were we to spend a thousand years in this life we should never perfectly attain it. Rather we must always struggle for it every day, as if mere beginners." (Saint Symeon the New Theologian)
ON SPIRITUAL LIFE IN THE CHURCH
By The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America [O.C.A]
Our Task as Orthodox Christians Today
As we review the essential elements of the spiritual life in the Orthodox Church and consider the particular temptation which confront us today, let us realize the responsibility that is ours as members of the Church. It is our task to demonstrate in life what we confess with our lips. The burden of proof is upon us, as Orthodox Christians, to show forth in deeds what we proclaim in our words.
The living of the spiritual life in the Orthodox Church must begin with its leaders, its bishops and priests, its pastors and teachers. Those of us in positions of leadership must be constantly careful that we do not fall under the condemnation of God for failing to practice what we ourselves preach. We must look to ourselves, as did the Holy Apostle Paul, that we who preach to others will not ourselves be unworthy.
Beginning with the clergy of the Church, every member of the body must be in the continual struggle for growth in the Spirit of Christ. Every man, woman and child who lives in the Church must be making the constant effort to overcome that which is evil and to do that which is good according to the Commandments of God. Every member of the Church must be perpetually striving to cooperate with God's grace that the works of God's righteousness might be present and powerful among us.
The Lord Jesus Christ will come at the end of the ages to render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the Truth, but obey wickedness, there will be fury and wrath (Romans 2:8).
Our task today in America as Orthodox Christians is the only task which is given to all human beings by God: the task to become by God's grace all that God Himself is by nature, following Christ, the Perfect Man, in the accomplishment of goodness and truth, in self-emptying love for the sake of all people.
May Christ be with us always, giving us the power by the Spirit of God to be the servants of His Heavenly Father forever. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit abide with us always. Amen.
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