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.
O God, be attentive to help me, Lord, make haste to help me. Let them be ashamed and confounded who seek my life. Let them be turned back and be ashamed who desire evil against me. Let them be turned back because of their shame, who say to me, Well done! Well done! Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, Let God be magnified! But as for me, I am poor and needy; O God, help me! You are my help and my Deliverer; Lord, do not delay.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On January 22nd 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 Orthodox Christian soul made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Timothy the Holy Apostle of the 70; The Righteous Holy Martyr Anastasius of Persia; Saint Joseph the Sanctified.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Holy Martyrs, Holy Apostles, Holy Mothers, Holy Confessors, Holy Ascetics, Holy Fathers, Holy Righteous, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
THE APOSTLE TIMOTHY. The Holy Apostle was born at Lystra of Lycaonia, was born of a Greek (that is, pagan) father and a Jewish mother. His mother's name was Eunice, and his grandmother's name was Lois (II Timothy 1:5). He became the disciple of the Holy Apostle Paul when the latter first preached there, and he followed Saint Paul during the whole period of the Apostle's preaching. Afterwards, Saint Timothy was consecrated by him as first Bishop of the church in Ephesus. Under the supervision of Saint John the Evangelist, who governed all the Churches in Asia, he completed his life as a martyr in the year 97 AD. He was stoned to death by the heathens, because, as some surmise, he opposed the festival held in honor of Artemis (Diana). The Holy Apostle Paul's First and Second Epistles (Letters) to Saint Timothy were written to him.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Fourth Mode
Since thou hadst been instructed in uprightness thoroughly and was vigilant in all things, thou wast clothed with a good conscience as befitteth one holy. Thou didst draw from the Chosen Vessel ineffable mysteries; and having kept the Faith, thou didst finish a like course, O Hieromartyr and Apostle Timothy. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
THE RIGHTEOUS MARTYR ANASTASIUS OF PERSIA. Saint Anastasius was a Persian by race, the son of a Magus, and a soldier in the Persian army in the days of Chosroes II, king of Persia, and Heraclius, Emperor of New Rome. The Saint's Persian name was Magundat. When Chosroes captured Jerusalem in the year 614 AD and took the Precious and Holy Cross away captive, Magundat heard the report of the miracles that came to pass through the Cross of Christ and of our salvation. Being of a prudent mind, perplexed that an instrument of torture should be so highly honored by the Christians, yet seized with longing to learn their Faith, he diligently sought out instruction in the whole divine dispensation of Christ: His Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection. When he learned what he sought to know, his soul was filled with wonder and joy. Withdrawing to the Holy City, he was baptized by Saint Modestos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and became a monk, receiving the new name of Anastasios.
As he read the lives of the Saints and the accounts of the holy Martyrs, his heart was kindled with love for them to such a degree that he prayed to be counted worthy of a martyr's end like unto theirs. Finally, unable to contain his longing, he left his monastery. Encountering certain Persian Magi at Caesarea, he rebuked them for their delusion. Since Palestine was still held in the captivity of the Persians, he was taken before the Persian ruler, questioned, beaten, and imprisoned. He was then taken with other captives to Persia, where, after many tortures, refusing to espouse again the error of his fathers, he was hanged up by one hand, strangled with a noose, and beheaded. The translation (anakomedi) of his holy relics is celebrated on the 24th of January.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Fourth Mode
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, Our Immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption, O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art Merciful.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE:
Holy Epistle Lesson: II Timothy 1:3-8
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 10:32-33; 37-38, 19:2
ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY CONCERNING THE BODY
by His Eminence Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos
Christian teaching on the body and on man in general differs from all metaphysical theories. The creation of man is discussed in the first books of the Holy Bible. We read: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26-28).
Some basic truths are manifested in this passage. First, it can be seen that God Who created man is a Person (three persons), not an ideal nor impersonal. He is not an assemblage of impersonal ideas.
Then it declares that man is created according to the image and likeness of God. If this passage is linked with another passage (which mentions that God formed the body from the dust of the ground and then breathed into him and thus the soul was created) it is clear that man was directly created by God in a positive way. This means that the soul did not previously live in an eternal and unborn world of ideas, but was created by God at that moment. It also means that the body is not the prison of the soul, but was formed by God at that moment, and man was formed in this way a unity of soul and body. That is to say, the body did not exist before the soul, and the soul did not exist before the body. Man is not simply a soul or simply a body. The soul is the soul of a human person and the body is the body of a human person, i.e., man is always bother, because he consists of both soul and body.
Furthermore, this passage shows the Truth that man created by God to be king, the ruler of all creation.
Therefore, the body is not the prison of the soul, but was created together with the soul in a positive way by God. Both soul and body must have a common course towards God.
However, in studying the human body from a Christian point of view we can look at five phases.
The first phase refers to how the body functioned before man's fall. Right after man's creation, the body had the grace and energy of God. That is, the soul was in communion with God and this brightened, gave glory, to the body as well, and through the body this brilliance was extended to the whole of nature.
The second phase is what took place after man's Fall. As soon as man lost his communion with God, the mirror was shattered, and as a result great darkness fell upon all creation. Then Adam and Eve saw that they were naked and felt ashamed, so they tried to cover their nakedness. The body became untamed, because of sin, and all bodily passions appeared, and this means that death entered into man. The body suffered a great catastrophe, diseases appeared, and it became weak and needed more food and clothing to be protected from changes in the weather. The body that we know today is not the body received at creation. It is not the same body as that which was created by God; rather it sis the body that accepted the consequences and the results of sin, that is, death.
The third phase of the body starts with Christ's Incarnation. The Logos/Word of God assumed the human body, indeed, a mortal body, in order to bring it back to its former glory and raise it beyond where is was in the person of Adam. The Transfiguration of Christ, when His face shone like the sun and his tunic turned as white as light, shows the glorification of the human body. So, our God is not simply an idea, He is not just a Person, but the Theanthropos, both God and man. The human body acquired great glory in the Person of the Logos/Word. We also have the opportunity to live within the Body of Christ. We are reborn through the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Church, the Holy Baptism, the Holy Chrismation, and we give glory to the Body through Holy Communion.
The fourth phase of the body begins with the soul's exit from it. Despite the separation of the soul, man's unity remains intact, the person, the hypostasis, remains. If someone manages with God's Grace to balance the relationship between soul and body, then his/her body becomes a holy relic. In the Orthodox Church we have several holy relics, namely bodies, which remain incorruptible, give off fragrance, and make miracles. This means that these bodies, without undergoing any chemical process, without being in certain, suitable, climate conditions, are maintained incorruptible, an indication that God's Grace is within them.
The fifth phase of the body will start with the Second Coming of Christ, when the bodies of all human beings will be resurrected. Ancient Greek philosophy did not believe in the resurrection of the body because it taught the distinction between a naturally immortal soul and a naturally mortal body. Therefore, according to this philosophy, man's salvation is the exodus of the immortal soul from the moral body, which will disappear afterwards.
Christianity, however, does not accept this. Christianity's basic teaching is that bodies will be resurrected through the energy of God, the souls will enter their bodies and will live eternally having body and soul in a single unity. Of course, the bodies will be different from our present ones, i.e., they will not have corruption, mortality, or diseases; they will have a better from than the body that they had in paradise after the creation. Saint Paul writes in his First Epistle to the Corinthians:
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." (I Corinthians 6:19)
Therefore, in the Orthodox Christian Tradition, the body becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit, as Saint Paul teaches: "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (I Corinthians 6:19). (Source: Orthodox Heritage, p. 25-26)
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.
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!
With since agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God