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 GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
Come, O Life of delight, Eternity and All-Power, the All-Holy, Life-Giving and creative Spirit, Who are of equal honor in Authority with the Father and the Son, Whose convergence and unity into one is through the identity of worth and of will in the Three Persons of the Divinity.
Come, O my Lord, my anguished soul has yearned and still years for You. Come, O yearning that is in me and causes me to desire You Who are altogether inaccessible. Come, O my constant joy and delight and glory. Come, O my breath, my life and the consolation of my soul.
Become one spirit with me, O Most Benevolent Lord, yet without confusion, without change, without alteration, since You are God above all.
Become for me the One Who is everything to all, inexpressible nourishment, totally free, constantly flowing on the lips of my soul and streaming in the fountain of my heart, a shining garment that burns the demons, the catharsis that washes me with incorruptible and holy tears that are granted by Your presence to those You approach.
Become for me, O Lord, the Light without night, the unsetting sun that illumines me in every place, the One Who turns away from no one at all, so that we may not be overcome by the darkness of our sins and be unwilling to come to You. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On September 27th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers and of every righteous soul perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy Apostles Mark, Aristarchus, and Zenas of the Seventy Apostles; Saint Callistratus and 49 Holy Martyrs of Carthage; Saint Sevvastius of Solovki; Holy Martyrs Philemon and Fortunatos; Saint Epicharis of Rome; Holy Martyr Gaiana; Saint Aquilina of Thessaloniki; Saint Rachel, Schema-nun of Borodino Women's Monastery; Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Krutitsa; Saint Ignatius, Egoumenos (Abbot) of the Deep Stream; Saint Anthimos the Georgian of Wallachia; 15 Holy Martyrs drowned at sea; Saint Sigebert, king of the East Angles; Saint Barry, disciple of St. Cadoc.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Apostles, Holy Mothers, Holy Nuns, Holy Egoumenoi, Holy kings, Holy Metropolitans, Holy Disciples, O Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
HOLY APOSTLES MARK, ARISTARCHUS, AND ZENAS OF THE SEVENTY. These three Saints were from the group of Seventy Apostles that were sent by Jesus to various cities to teach the kingdom of God and to heal and cast out demons. After Pentecost, the Apostles were each assigned territories, and many became the first bishops of these areas. Saint Mark taught with Apostles Paul and Barnabas. Saint Mark's mother Mary had a house in Jerusalem, and this became a church for all of the Apostles. Saint Mark became the bishop of Byblos. Saint Aristarchus also traveled and taught with Paul and became the bishop of Syrian Apamea. Saint Zenas, a lawyer, was the bishop in Palestinian Lydda. Saint Paul writes about each of these in the Book of Acts of the Apostles.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 10:23-28
Holy Gospel Lesson: Saint Luke 4:31-36
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS, HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"The unseen patron of evil is full of evil ingenuity. Right at the beginning he can drag away, by means of hopelessness and lack of faith, the foundations of virtue already laid in the soul. Again, by means of indifference and laziness, he can make an attempt on the walls of virtue's house just when they are being built up. Or he can bring down the roof of good works after its construction, by means of pride and madness. But stand firm, do not be alarmed, for a diligent man is even more ingenious in good things, and virtue has superior forces to deploy against evil. It has at its disposal supplies and support in battle from Him Who is All-Powerful. Who in His goodness strengthens all lovers of virtue. So not only can virtue remain unshaken by the various wicked devices prepared by the enemy (Satan), but it can also lift up and restore those fallen into the depths of evil, and easily lead them to God by repentance and humility." (Saint Gregory Palamas)
WHAT IS DIVINE REVELATION?
By Father Anthony Alevizopoulos
According to the Orthodox faith, the Church is not founded on written texts but on the confession that Christ is God-Man (Theanthropos), namely in the person of Christ, God was joined with man, "indivisibly, immovably, unmistakably, inseparably," and man has come into actual communion with God, and in the person of Christ God and man were hypostatically united, in one unique hypostasis.
The Son and Logos (Word) of God continues to be hypostatically united with His body as the Head of the Church, He is always united with us (St. Matthew 18:20; 28:20). The presence of Christ is activated by the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church (1 Corinthians 12:3). This is why the Church is also "...the pillar and round of truth" (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-11).
Our holy faith was delivered to the body of Christ, "to the Saints once and for all" and whoever does not belong to this body, cannot properly interpret Holy Scripture ( 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Peter 3:16; Jude 3-4). In this sense Holy Tradition is the experience of the Church, the holy memory of the Church, which is guarded as a precious treasure (2 Timothy 1:13-14).
Holy Scripture does not contain the fullness of Divine Revelation. Already in the Old Testament the importance of Oral Tradition and care of its passing down from generation to generation is highlighted (Psalm 43:2, 44:1; Joel 1:3). The New Testament mentions that it does not have the completeness of the words and works of Christ (St. John 21:15).
The same Holy Scripture makes use of Tradition (Num. 21:14-15; St. Matthew 2:23; Acts 20:35; 2 Timothy 3:8; Jude 14). Christ did not exhort His Disciples to write books, but to preach, promising that He would always be with them (St. Matthew 28:20) and that He would send them the Holy Spirit to be with them (St. John 14:16), to teach them and to remind them of His teaching (St. John 14:25-26), to guide them "to the whole truth" by revealing to them the deeper meaning of the words of Christ, all those things that they were not able to "bear" by their own power (St. John 16:12-15).
The Holy Apostles were also not limited to written texts--they passed on to the first Christians much more than what was written "with paper and ink" (2 John 12; 3 John 13-14; 1 Cor. 11:34). Some of those things written proved to be relevant to the time, because they were not maintained by the Church, such as the number of deacons (Acts 6:3), the order of widows (1 Timothy 5:9), the washing of feet (St. John 13:14).
At the center of Holy Scripture is the person of Christ (St. John 5:38-39; Gal. 3:24). Without Christ, we cannot understand Holy Scripture (2 Corinthians 3:14). Therefore, union to the body of Christ, namely to the Church, assures the purity of the Gospel (1 Timothy 3:15).
Holy Scripture is not intended for just anyone, but for the faithful, who are gathered in one body. Holy Tradition is the atmosphere in which the body lives and understands the truth properly; it is the constant experience of the Church, her conscience--not personal opinions, teachings and writs of men (Isaiah 29:13; St. Matthew 15:3, 4, 9; St. Mark 7:8; Col. 2:8).
Based on the treasure of the holy memory of the Church, the study of Holy Scripture leads to unity, and not the breakdown of the Church (my input: i.e., 41,000 Protestant denominations throughout the world). This is why the will of Christ for the unity of the faithful is fulfilled (St. John 17:20-21). That is why the Holy Apostles advised Christians to hold onto the Traditions--that is, the treasure with which they entrusted them (1 Cor. 11:2; Phil. 4:9) "Wither by word or by epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15; 2 Timothy 1:13).
The shepherds of the Church were placed in this position to remain alert, namely to be guards (Episcopos [bishop])= overseer) of the purity of the life and the teaching of the Church (Acts 20: 28-31): "stir up the gifts of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands...Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me...that good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us" (2 Timothy 1L6, 13,14), "and the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2).
In other words, Apostolic Succession goes together with apostolic teaching. In this way, we understand the words of Saint Ignatius (110): "Because Jesus Christ, our true life, is the mind of the Father, just like the bishops who have been appointed all over the world are with the mind of Jesus Christ ("mind in Jesus Christ"). Therefore, you too follow the mind of the bishop, something you already do, for the worthiness of your ministry's name which is also worthy of God, and joined together with the bishop, like the strings with the guitar" (Ign., Ephesians 3:2-4, 1).
This teaching is not a recent one--it is a conviction from the beginning of Christianity: "From the dogmas and the truths that the Church guards, some we have received from written teaching while others that have mystically reached us we have received from the tradition of the Apostles. Both elements, written and oral Traditions, have the same importance for the faith. And no one who has even a little knowledge of ecclesiastical practices raises any objections concerning them. For if we set out to abandon whatever customs are unwritten, that somehow they do not have great importance, without realizing it we would harm the essence of the Gospel or rather we would turn the message into a name void of meaning" (Saint Basil the Great, About the Holy Spirit, 27:66).
During the time of Saint Basil the Great, whoever had even "a little knowledge of the ecclesiastical practices" agreed that Divine Revelation was mystically guarded by the Church in its fullness. "As an example, Saint Basil mentions the custom of "those hoping in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" showing their faith "by making the sign of the Cross."
Here, therefore, we have a basic difference with the Protestant world. Their claim "sola scriptura (by Scripture alone)" leaves Scripture itself bare, exposed to the "authentic interpretation" and the "infallibility" of each pastor. [Personal comment: It is because of sola scriptura there is so much distortion and confusion among them as to what the orthodox Gospel truth is. They just cannot agree among themselves. However, through their missionaries they spread their heresy all over the world.)
Holy Scripture cannot be made absolute, because it would replace the Living Christ with the letter of the Bible, becoming divine isolated from the lift of the body of Christ, from the life of the Saints (Jude 3). Holy Scripture is the "word about God which passed through the hearts of the saints, it is the word of God concerning God" (Professor George Metallinos), the truth delivered "once and for all" to the Saints (Jude 3), and in fact not the fullness of truth, but a part of it. It cannot be understood separately from the Church (1 Timothy 3:15).
(Source: Manual on Heresies and para-Christian Groups By: Fr. Anthony Alevizopoulos PhD. of Theology, PhD of Philosophy)
Personal note: The daily emails send out from me to all of you serve to enrich your knowledge of our Holy Orthodox Christian Faith and Tradition. It is a kind of online Catechism. The articles may not be understood by all who receive them but I hope that most of you benefit personally from them. All of the articles reflect the True Tradition and Faith of our Church and not just my opinion or interpretation. There may be some of you that have a better understanding of our Faith then others, but how sure are you that what you know is truly the authentic teachings of our Church? Much of the knowledge that the average Orthodox Christian possesses is what is referred to as "yia yialogy". It is saturated with superstition, opinions, false knowledge, and it is simply wrong.
The spiritual emails sent to you are to educate you according to our Holy Orthodox Church and not simply as an inspirational daily pill. I do believe though that if you have children who are college students that you make sure that they receive them and learn something of their Orthodox Christian faith. It is a fact that practically all of them know nothing about their Church and Faith. It was never taught to them either at home or at their local parish. It is not their fault. It is our responsibility to teach it to them! We were informed by the Metropolis Youth Director, few years ago, that we are losing our young adults from the Church. But what are we doing about it?
There are some of you that over the years have attended Protestant bible study groups and are of the opinion that you know and understand the Holy Scripture and act as though you are theologians. You are not! With this attitude you may be a disciple of Protestantism, but you are not Orthodox! You are putting your soul and salvation at risk.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God