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.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me, and in Your righteousness. Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous. For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has made me dwell in darkness, like those who have long been dead. Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed. I remember the days of old; I muse on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Answer me speedily, O Lord; my spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; in You I take shelter. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Revive me, O Lord, for Your name's sake! For if Your righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. In Your mercy cut off my enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul; for I am Your servant. [This is the last of the six psalms of Orthros [Matins]. It is the song of one afflicted, waiting in the darkness for the Light. It is a prayer which awaits the light of dawn (v.8)-both physical and spiritual. Verse 10b is used at Pentecost with the LXX rendering: "Let your Good Spirit lead me on a level path."]\
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On September 3rd 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 every righteous soul made perfect in our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy Hieromartyr Anthimus, Bishop of Nicomedia; Our Righteous Father Theoctistus, Fellow Ascetic of St. Efthimius the Great; Saint Zeno, cast into a cauldron of molten lead, was perfected in martyrdom; St. Vasilissa of Nicomedia, who fought with wild beasts, suffering no harm there from, reposed in peace; St. Aristion, Bishop of Alexandria, was perfected in martyrdom by fire; St. Chariton, cast into a pit of quicklime, was perfected in martyrdom; St. Archontion was perfected in martyrdom by hunger; St. among kings, Constantine the New; Holy New Martyr Polydorus was perfected in martyrdom by hanging in New Ephesus in the year 1794; St. Phoeve of Cenchreae, the Deaconess; St. Remaclus, bishop of Maestricht; St. Joannicius, First Patriarch of Serbia; Blessed John, Wonderworker of Rostov, the Fool-for-Christ's sake; Holy New Martyr John of Volche-Burlinskoe was slain by the atheists communists in the year 1919; Holy New Hieromartyr Nicodemus, Bishop of Belgorod, was slain by the atheists communists in the year 1921.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Bishops, Holy Deacons, Holy kings, holy Wonderworkers, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Monks, Holy Nuns, Holy Ascetcis, Holy Hieromartyrs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
THE HOLY HIEROMARTYR ANTHIMUS, BISHOP OF NICOMEDIA. After the death of the 20,000 Holy Martyrs of Nicomedia (see Dec. 28), their Bishop Anthimus fled to a certain village to care for his remaining flock. The pagan Roman emperor Maximian sent men in search of him. When they found him, he promised to show Anthimus to them, but first took them in as guests, fed them, and only then made himself known to them. Amazed at his kindness, the soldiers promised him to tell Maximian that they had not found him. But Anthimus went willingly with them, and converting them by his admonitions, baptized them on the way. He boldly confessed his Faith before Maximian, and after frightful tortures was beheaded in the year 303 or 304 AD.
OUR RIGHTEOUS FATHER THEOCTISTUS, a monk a the Palestinian lavra of Pharan, embraced a more severe life in the wilderness with is friend Saint Efthymius the Great (see Jan. 20). They founded a monastery, of which St. Theoctistus was the Egoumenos (Abbot). He reposed in deep old age in 451 AD.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Fourth Tone
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to the divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Anthimus. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion of the Hieromartyr. Fourth Tone
Among God's priests wast thou distinguished for fervour; and in completing well thy course as a Martyr, thou didst quench all the power of idolatry; for thou wast the champion of thy flock; hence, it crieth unto thee mystically, as it showeth thee honor: Deliver us from perils by thy prayers, O godly-minded and glorious Anthimus.
"This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the Truth" (1 John 1:5-6).
THE SAVING NAME AND INVOCATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THE SON OF GOD, WHICH IS A HOLY AND DIVINELY CREATED PRAYER
By Saint Symeon of Thessalonike (Source: Treatise on Prayer)
There are many prayers which we will discuss in their place as far as we can. The most outstanding of all is the one given by God in the Gospels, the "Our Father," since it contains in brief all the evangelical knowledge and power. There is also the saving invocation of our Lord Jesus Christ, over which many others among our holy Fathers labored, and our golden-tongued Father [Saint John Chrysostom] expounded this divine prayer in three discourses, as also the God-bearing [Saint John] of the Ladder (Climacus) and the ascetic Nikephoros, his successor, the illuminating bishop among the Saints, and the venerable Symeon the New Theologian. They and others taught worthily of the Divine Spirit within them, for this prayer is said in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says: No one can say "Jesus Christ is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" [1 Corinthians 12:3]; and all who say this are of God, as he says "...every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God" [1 John 4:2].
Our Blessed Fathers Patriarch Kallistos and Ignatios Who Wrote on This Holy Prayer
In our days in particular, our Father indeed among the Saints, Kallistos, the God-preaching and God-bearing and inspired one, and his co-inspired fellow ascetic, the venerable Ignatius, being themselves of God, wrote about this holy prayer in the Divine Spirit. They wrote a special book in which they philosophize spiritually, godly-minded, and loftily in 100 chapters-the perfect number-teaching their perfect knowledge of this matter...These two holy Fathers, having already suffered in themselves the blessed passion of divine longing and peace and experienced it in practice, clearly revealed to us in wisdom concerning the Divine Light and the natural energy and peace of God, calling the Saints to witness, and also that concerning divine prayer.
What Godly and Outstanding Things This Holy Prayer Contains
This holy prayer, the invocation of our Savior: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me," is prayer and blessing, confession of faith and purveyor of the Holy Spirit, bringer of Divine gifts and purifier of the heart, expeller of demons, indwelling of Jesus Christ, source of spiritual thoughts and godly intentions, ransomer from sin, healer of souls and bodies, conveyor of Divine illumination, spring of God's mercy and crown of revelations, and godly mysteries in humility. In short, it is the only thing saving of itself, since it contains the saving Name of our God, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, which is the only Name we invoke, "there is no salvation for us in any other," as Saint Paul says [Acts 4:12].
For this reason it is also a prayer, since we pray for the Divine mercy through it; a wish, since we entrust ourselves to Christ by invoking Him; a confession, because when St. Peter confessed this Name, he was called blessed; purveyor of the Holy Spirit, since nobody says Jesus [is] Christ except in the Holy Spirit [1 Cor. 12:3]; bringer of Divine gifts, because Christ says of this to St. Peter: "I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven" (St. Matthew 16:19); purifier of hearts, since it beholds and names and purifies the beholder; expeller of demons, because in the Name of Jesus all demons were and are cast out [St. Luke 9:48]; indwelling of Christ, since by remembering Him, Christ is in us and thereby dwells in us, filling us with joy: "I remembered God and rejoiced" (Psalm 76:4). It is a source of spiritual wisdom and knowledge, granting these to those in whom he dwells. It is a ransomer from sin, because it is said regarding this: "...whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (St. Matthew 16:19); a healer of souls and bodies, because it is written: "In the name of Jesus Christ arise and walk" and "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you" (Acts 9:34); conveyer of Divine illumination, because Christ is the True Light and communicates this radiance and grace to those who call upon Him, "Let the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us" (Psalm 89:17), and "He who follows me...will have the Light of life" (St. John 8:12). It is the spring of Divine mercy, since He has pity on all who call upon Him and grants justice speedily for those who cry to Him. It is the crown of revelations and Divine mysteries to the humble, since even to the fisherman Peter this grace was given through the revelation of the Father in heaven, and the Apostle Paul was rapt in Christ and heard revelations. Lastly, it is the only saving thing, because as the Apostle says, in no other way can we be saved [Acts 4:12], and "...this is...the Savior of the World," the Christ [St. John 4:42]. Therefore, at the last day "...every tongue shall confess" and give praise, willingly and unwillingly, "...that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" [Phil 2:11]. This is the sign of our faith, that we are and call ourselves Christians, and witness that we are of God; for "...every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God" and that "...which does not confess Jesus is not of God" [1 John 4:2-3], i.e., it is of the Antichrist, the Devil.
Therefore, every believer should confess this name unceasingly, both by the preaching of the faith and by the love of our Lord Jesus Christ from which nothing at all should separate us [Romans 8:35], and by the grace, forgiveness, redemption, sanctification, and illumination from His Name, and above all by our salvation. In this Divine Name the Apostles taught and worked miracles. The divine Evangelist John, therefore says: "These things are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (-behold the faith-) "and that believing, you might have life in His Name" (behold the salvation and the life) [St. John 20:31].
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