Dear Syndiakonoi (Co-servants) in Christ,
There are two major holy days that will be celebrated this coming week at our church: The Synaxis of the Holy Archangels on Tuesday, November 8th, and that of the feast of Saint Nektarios of Aegina on November 9th.
SYNAXIS OF THE HOLY ARCHANGELS
Troparion Hymn. Tone Four
Supreme Leaders of the Heavenly Hosts, we implore you that by your prayers you will encircle us, unworthy as we are, with the protection of the wings of your immaterial glory and guard us who fall down before you and fervently cry: deliver us from dangers, for you are the Commanders of the powers above.
Exaposteilarion of the Feast. Tone Two
O Archangel Michael show countenance is like lightning, gleaming in an ineffable manner with the illumination of the Trinity, of exceeding divine brilliancy, thou dost traverse the whole creation like lightening, fulfilling the divine command, watching over, preserving, and sheltering those who joyfully laud thee.
On November 8th our Holy Orthodox Christian Church we celebrate the Synaxis of the Supreme Commanders Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, and of the other bodiless and heavenly orders, the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Authorities, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.
Saint Dionysius the Areopagite, a disciple of the Holy Apostle Paul who was taken up into the third heaven (II Corinthians 12:2), described the nine orders of Angels in his book, On the Celestial Hierarchies. The Leader of all the Angelic Hosts is the Archangel Michael. When Satan fell away from God and drew a part of the Angels with him to destruction, then Michael stood up and cried out before the faithful Angels: "Let us stand aright! Let us stand with fear! Let us attend!" and all of the faithful Angelic hosts cried out: "Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God of Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory!" The Archangel Gabriel proclaimed the news of the conceptions of Saint John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ to their mothers, Elizabeth and the Ever-Virgin Mary (St. Luke 1). The Archangel Raphael healed Tobit of his blindness (Tobit 11) and freed his daughter-in-law, Sarah, from a demon (Tobit 6). Every nation has its Guardian Angel, as does every Christian. We must always remember that whatever we do, in open or in secret, we do in the presence of our Guardian Angel.
By their holy intercessions, O God, have mercy upon us. Amen (Synaxarion of the Feast)
THE LIFE OF SAINT NEKTARIOS OF AEGINA
Holy Hierarch Nektarios of Aegina (+ 1846-1920) is one of the most widely known and most beloved Saints in the Holy Orthodox Church. He was officially canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1961, and is considered the Patron Saint of those who suffer from cancer, heart trouble, arthritis, epilepsy and other illnesses.
A prolific writer, theologian, philosopher, moralist, educator, poet, ascetic, and mystic. Saint Nektarios was born in Selyvria, province of Thrace, Northern Greece (now Turkey). Towards the end of his life, he became the Metropolitan of the island of Aegina. There in addition to several churches and chapels, the Venerable Hierarch also founded the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Women's Monastery. Orthodox Christians flocked to the island of Aegina to pray and to be confessed by the holy Bishop, to listen to his sermons, and to be healed by him from different illnesses. A great theologian and thinker, yet Saint Nektarios remained a humble man. Although he was a Metropolitan he tended the gardens, carried stones, and helped with the construction of the Monastery buildings that were built with his own hands, laboring side by side with other workers, just as everyone else around him. But above all, Saint Nektarios was a man of love and deep prayer. All around him was permeated with his spirit of love for God and people. Even on his deathbed, he cried aloud in prayer: "I love Thee, my Lord and my God, I love Thee."
Saint Nektarios is well known as a great wonderworker (miracle-worker). Just minutes after his repose in the Lord, on November 8th, 1920, a miracle took place in his hospital room. While the body of Saint Nektarios was being prepared for burial, someone accidently placed on the nearby bed the holy man's sweater which touched the paralytic lying in that bed. Although his body was completely inert, he suddenly regained his strength and began to walk within that same hour, being able to leave the hospital on his own the very same day.
Since then, miracles continue to happen not only at the Women's Monastery of Holy Trinity in Aegina, where St. Nektarios was buried, but also at the shrines where his holy relics are preserved and venerated, including the Radu-Voda Monastery in Bucharest, Romania. Many faithful suffering from the grievous illness of cancer have turned to him, and many have been cured through his prayers. He has proved to be not only a healer of every sort of disease, but a great helper for those seeking work, as well. It has been attested also that within local parishes, the oil from the lamps burning in front of his holy icon is also bestow healing.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of Saint Nektarios. Plagal Fourth Mode
O faithful, let us honor Nektarios, divine servant of Christ, offspring of Silivria and guardian of Aegina, who in these latter years was manifested as the true friend of virtue. All manner of healing wells forth for those who in piety cry out, "Glory to Christ Who glorified you; glory to Him Who, through you, wrought wonders; glory to Him Who, through you, works healing for all."
Kontakion Hymn. Plagal Fourth Mode
In joy, let our hearts praise the latest shining star of the Orthodox, the newly erected rampart of the Church. For, glorified by the work of the Spirit, he abundantly pours forth the grace of healing to those who cry out, "Hail, Father Nektarios."
(Please note: The above account on the life of Saint Nektarios is very brief. As we come closer to his feast-day, I will be bringing you much more.)
PROGRAM OF DIVINE SERVICES:
Monday, November 7th:
Great Vespers for the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels at 4:30 p.m
Tuesday, November 8th:
Feast of the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels: Orthros (Matins) at 9:00 a.m.; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.
Location: Saint Andrew
Tuesday Evening: Great Vespers for the feast-day of Saint Nektarios at 7:00 p.m. Followed by the holy service of Artoklasia (Blessing of the Five Loaves) and the holy anointing of the faithful present.
Wednesday, November 9th:
Saint Nektarios: Orthros (Matins) at 9:00 a.m.; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.
Location: Saint Nektarios Chapel
We, the parish of Saint Andrew, are truly blessed to have such a sweet Chapel dedicated to a very sweet and loving Saint of the Church.
With love in Christ,