My beloved spiritual children in Our Risen Lord, Redeemer, God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
We praise, we bless, and we worship the Lord This is the Holy and chosen Day, the first, of Sabbaths, the Mistress and Queen, the Feast of feasts and the Festival of festivals, and on it Christ is glorified unto all Ages.
9th Ode. 1st Tone
Magnify, O my soul, Him Who willingly suffered and was buried, and arose from the grave on the third day. Shine, shine O New Jerusalem! For the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee. Rejoice and be glad, O Zion; and thou, O Pure Theotokos, exalt in the Resurrection of Him, Whom thou didst bear.
Magnify, O my soul, the Life-Giver, Who arose from the grave on the third day. O Divine and beloved and most sweet voice! Thou, O Christ, hast truly promised that Thou wouldest be with us unto the end of all Ages. Wherefore, we, the faithful rejoice, holding these Thy words as an anchor of hope.
Christ is the New Pascha, a Living Sacrifice, the Lamb of God Who beareth the sin of the world. O Great and Holiest Pascha, Christ! O Wisdom, Word, and Power of God! Grant to us a most clear sign that we shall share with Thee in the unwaning Day of Thy Kingdom.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On May 12th 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 Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia in Cyprus; our Father among the Saints Germanus, Archbishop of Constantinople; our Righteous Father Theodore of Cythera; Holy New Martyr John of Wallachia was perfected in martyrdom by hanging in Constantinople in the year of our Lord 1662; Holy Martyrs Nereus and Achilleus of Rome; our Righteous Father Polybius, Bishop of Cyprus; our Righteous Mother Rictrude, Foundress of the Women's Monastery of Marchiennes in Flanders; Holy Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia; our Righteous Father Dionysius, Archmandrite of the Holy Trinity--Saint Sergius Lavra.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Bishops, Holy Archbishops, Holy Reighteous, Holy Mothers, Holy Nuns; Holy Monks, Holy Women, Holy Patriarchs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
OUR FATHER AMONG THE SAINTS EPIPHANIUS, BISHOP OF CYPRUS, AND GERMANUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
Saint Epiphanius was born about 310 AD in Besanduc, a village of Palestine, of Jewish parents who were poor and tillers of the soul. In his youth he came to faith in Christ and was baptized with his sister, after which he distributed all he had to the poor and became a monk, being a younger contemporary of Saint Hilarion the Great (see Oct. 21st), whom he knew. He also visited the renowned monks of Egypt to learn their ways. Because the fame of his virtue had spread, many in Egypt desired to make him a bishop; when he learned of this, he fled, returning to a widowed bishopric, and he fled to Cyprus. In Paphos he met Saint Hilarion, who told him to go to Constantia, a city of Cyprus also called Salamis. St. Epiphanius answered that he preferred to take ship for Gaza, which, despite Saint Hilarion's admonitions, he did. But a contrary wind brought the ship to Constantia where, by the Providence of God, St. Epiphanius fell into the hands of bishops who had come together to elect a successor to the newly-departed Bishop of Constantia, and the venerable Epiphanius was at last constrained to be consecrated, about the year 367 AD. He was fluent in Hebrew, Egyptian, Syriac, Greek, and Latin, and because of this he was called "Five-tongued." He had the gift of working miracles, and was held in such reverence by all, that although he was a known enemy of heresy, he was well nigh the only eminent bishop that the Arians (heretics) did not dare to drive into exile when the Emperor Valens persecuted the Orthodox Christians about the year 371 AD. Having tended his flock in a manner pleasing to God, and guarded it undefiled from every heresy, he reposed about the year 403 AD, having lived for ninety-three years. Among his sacred writings, the one that is held in special esteem is the PANARION (from the Latin Panarium, that is, "Bread-box,") containing the proofs of the truth of the Faith, and an examination of eighty (80) heresies.
SAINT GERMANOS, who was from Constantinople, was born to an illustrious family, the son of Justinian the Patrician. First he became Metropolitan of Cyzcus; in 715 AD he was elevated to the throne of Constantinople; but because of his courageous resistance to Leo the Isaurian's impious decree which inaugurated the war upon the holy icons, he was exiled from his throne in 730 AD. He lived the rest of his life in privacy, and reposed about 740 AD, full of days. The foremost of his writings is that which deals with the Six Ecumenical Councils. He wrote many hymns also, as is apparent form the titles of many STICHERA AND IDIOMELA, among which are those for the Feast of the Meeting in the Temple.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Fourth Tone
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.
Kontakion Hymn. Fourth Tone
Let us the faithful duly praise the most wondrous and sacred pair of hierarchs, even Germanus together with the godly Epiphanius; for these righteous Saints of God burned the tongues of the godless with sacred teachings which they most wisely expounded to all those who in Orthodox belief do ever hymn the great mystery of piety.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 12:25; 13:1-12
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 8:51-59
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY FATHERS AND HOLY MOTHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"The desire to glorify God is naturally planted in all rational beings." (Saint Basil the Great)
THE CONFESSION OF FAITH
By Father John Breck (Source: The Power of the Word in the Worshiping Church)
The very act of confessing personal and corporate belief effects the transformation of faith from an incipient or inchoate stage to one that is fuller, deeper, and more mature. A child raised in a Christian context will grow in his faith progressively by continually hearing the Word of God and by regularly participating in the Church's liturgical worship. The incipient faith of a former agnostic or atheist, however, normally rests upon a temporary suspension of the cognitive faculty because the content of the Church's proclamation cannot be directly verified by empirical evidence. His commitment is based upon a conviction of the heart rather than of the mind. "Blind faith", though cannot endure. The object of faith must become the object of knowledge, a personal spiritual knowledge that includes yet goes beyond rational apprehension. Acquisition of such knowledge requires direct, personal, and intimate experience of the One in Whom faith is invested. A major function of the Church's liturgical practice is to offer such experience to the worshiping community: through Eucharistic participation, through adoration and intercession, but also through the act of Confession.
"The Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the Word of faith which we preach); because if you confess [homologeseis] with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe [pisteuseis] in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:8-9). The earliest Christian kerygma affirmed the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and His exaltation as Lord of the created universe (cf. Philippians 2:9-1`1). From the very beginning, proclamation of the kerygma presupposed a fundamental commitment to its content: not merely an intellectual acceptance of its claims, but a response of personal devotion, an act of love. The risen Lord asks St. Peter not if he believes in Him, but rather if he loves Him (Saint John 21:15-17). This is not because love is prior to faith, but because in the final analysis faith and love are indistinguishable. The Word of faith must be expressed "in the heart" as well as "on the lips." Otherwise it has no meaning. It is the very opposite of "faith," which, like the opposite of love, is hypocrisy, a sheer lie.
Confession of faith forms an integral and indispensable part of the Church's worship. It shares with hymns of praise and litanies of supplication an essential pedagogical character...From a Christian point of view, this principle finds its most positive expression in the repetition of doctrinal hymns and universal petitions: addressed to God, they simultaneously instruct and inspire the believer, leading him toward a deeper, more knowledgeable faith, while increasing his sensitivity to the needs of the fallen world in which he lives.
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!
With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God