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. O ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE FALLING ASLEEP OF SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST AND THEOLOGIAN--September 26th
Apolytikion in Second Mode
Beloved Apostle of Christ Our God, hasten to deliver a people without defense. He who permitted you to recline upon His bosom, accepts you on bended knee before Him. Beseech Him, O Theologian, to dispel the persistent cloud of nations, asking for us peace and great mercy.
Kontakion Hymn in Second Mode
Who can tell thy mighty works, O virgin Saint? For thou pourest forth miracles, and art a source of healings, and thou dost intercede for our souls, as the Theologian and the friend of Christ.
Saint John is the son of Zebedee the fisherman and Salome, the daughter of Joseph, the betrothed of the Holy Mother of God. Called by the Lord Jesus, John immediately left his father and the fishing nets and followed Christ with his brother James. From that time, he was not parted from his Lord until the end. With St. Peter and St. James, he was present at the raising of Jairus's daughter and at the Lord's Transfiguration, and laid his head on Jesus' breast at the Mystical (Last) Supper. When all the others had forsaken the crucified Lord, St. John stayed beneath the Cross with the Holy Mother of God. In obedience to the Lord's wish, he was as a son to the Holy Virgin Mary, caring for her and serving her, looking after her right up to her falling-asleep. After her Dormition, St. John went off with his disciple Prochorus to preach the Gospel in Asia Minor, and mainly lived and worked in Ephesus. By his inspired preaching and miracles, he brought many to Christianity and undermined the foundations of paganism. The vexed pagans bound him and sent him to Rome to the pagan Emperor Domitian. He was tortured and flogged before the emperor, but, when he was unharmed either by the strong poison that he was given to drink or the boiling oil into which he was put, the emperor was afraid and, thinking he was immortal, sent him into exile on the Greek island of Patmos. On this island, Saint John brought many to Christianity by his words and miracles, and strengthened the Church of God. He wrote his Gospel and the Apocalypse (Revelation) there. In the time of the pagan emperor Nerva, who gave liberty to all the captives, St. John returned to Ephesus, where he lived for some time, confirming the work that he had earlier begun. He was over a hundred years old when he went to the Lord. When his disciples later opened his grave, they found that his body was not there. Every year, on May 8th, a fine, fragrant dust endowed with healing power rose from his grave. After a long and fruitful life of labor upon earth, this beloved disciple of Christ and pillar of the Church entered into the joy of his Lord, to peace and eternal rejoicing. (The Prologue from Ochrid)
ABOUT THE BOOK OF APOCALYPSE (REVELATION)
The book of Revelation is primarily a prophetic book. However, prophecy does not only reveal future events, it also reveals the present! Thus, we have here prophecy in its broad sense. Our Lord Himself instructs St. John, "Now write what you see, what is and what is to take place hereafter" (1:19). According to our Orthodox Christian Tradition, Saint John was exiled to the island of Patmos, where the cave of the Revelation is located. The cave is still there today. Saint John used to pray there incessantly. According to Holy Tradition, on a certain Sunday (as he will tell us in the beginning of the book) "he was in the spirit" (1:10) and he saw these revelations and visions which he recorded following the command of Christ. "Now write what you see, what is and what is to take place hereafter" (1:19). From this we see that the book of the Revelation is prophetic.
Saint John is the first of only three Saints in history to be named by the Orthodox Christian Church "the Theologian," because of the of the profundity of his Gospel, which has been called "the spiritual Gospel." The New Testament contains four other books attributed to Saint John: three epistles (letters) (1, 2, and 3 John), written about 90 A.D., and the book of Apocalypse (Revelation), written about 95 A.D.
The Gospel according to Saint John, written about 96 A.D., is usually considered the last of the Four Gospels to be written, supplementing the other three.
Major Theme: The Eternal Son of God has come in the flesh. The Gospel was written "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name" (20:31).
The Gospel of Saint John has many theological themes. They include the following:
(1) The Holy Trinity. In his Gospel, Saint John is quite explicit about the Persons of the Holy Trinity and their relationships. The Son has one and the same nature as the Father (1:1; 10:30). When Jesus declares, "I am" (Greek EGO EIMI, 8:58; see 4:26; 6:20; 8:24, 28; 13:19; 18:6), He is calling Himself by the name of the Lord of the Old Testament and therefore declaring Himself to be God. The difference between the Father and the Son is that of person: the Son is the Only Begotten (1:18; 3:16, 18); by implication, the Father is the Unbegotten. While He is the source of the Son, the Father has given all things to the Son (3:35; 13:3; 17:2), and their relationship is reciprocal (10:15; 14:10, 11, 20; 17:21-23). This relationship is the model for life in the Church (10:14; 14:20; 17:23). Similarly, the Holy Spirit is distinguished from the Father in person, proceeding from Him (15:26). By nature, the Holy Spirit has everything the Son has (16:13-15) and everything the Father has. In their activity in the word, neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit acts on His own, but both are "sent" (3:17, 34; 14-26; 15:26; 17:3, 18, 21, 25).
DIVINE SERVICES ON MONDAY - SEPTEMBER 26th
Place: Saint Nektarios Chapel
Time: Orthros (Matins) at 9:00 a.m.
Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.
ALL OF YOU ARE INVITED TO WORSHIP WITH US
With sincere agape,