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.
ON JUNE 30TH OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE HOLY FEAST-DAY OF THE HOLY APOSTLES
The names of the Twelve Holy Apostles are these: Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew, the First-called; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, who was also the Evangelist and Theologian; Philip, and Bartholomew (see also June 11th); Thomas, and Matthew the publican, who was also called Levi and was an Evangelist; James the son of Alphaeus, and Jude (also called Labbaeus, and surnamed Thaddaeus), the brother of James, the Brother of God; Simon the Cananite ("the Zealot"), and Matthias, who was elected to fill the place of Judas the traitor (see August 9th).
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Third Mode
O Holy Apostles, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion Hymn of the Feast. Second Mode
O Lord, receive the steadfast and divinely voiced preachers, the pinnacle of Your disciples, unto their rest and the enjoyment of Your blessings. You received, above every offering, their labors and their life. You alone know what the heart holds.
To the Holy Apostles the Lord Jesus Christ gave powers to heal the sick, to cast out unclean spirits, and to resurrect the dead. In addition to these Twelve chief Apostles, Jesus Christ also chose another Seventy Apostles: Mark, Luke, Cleopas and others. He also sent them out to preach. When the Seventy Apostles returned from preaching, they said with joy to Jesus Christ, "Lord, even the devil are subject unto us through Thy name" (St. Luke 10:17).
In St. Luke 10:1ff the Lord appointed seventy men to go out as missionaries-as Apostles. Though not so prominent as the Twelve, the Seventy carried out their missions with fervor and enthusiasm. The Tradition of the Church confirms that the Seventy remained true to the Lord and their calling, fulfilling a vital role in the spread of the gospel. These were not random choices or accidental volunteers but true Disciples, true Apostles, whose labors carried the message of their Lord throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.
Though lists of the Seventy vary somewhat, all are remembered in the calendar of the Orthodox Church. One day, January 4, is set aside to remember them all, and the record of their work is preserved in accounts handed down through the centuries from place to place, especially in those locations where they labored.
To tell the stories passed down in the Church concerning all of the Seventy would fill a book of considerable size, but the compromise of telling the stories of a few, both prominent and relatively obscure members will related the conviction and faith of this illustrious body.
The lives of these few are quite representative of the Seventy who were instrumental in helping to plant the Church throughout the world. Many became bishops, but the names of all the numbered in heaven in the Book of Life, as faithful servants of the Lord, Apostles and foundations of the Church. (Orthodox Study Bible)
He said to them, "Do not rejoice that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven" (St. Luke 10:20). That is, do not rejoice over the miracles which are given to you for your preaching but rejoice over the fact that you will receive blessings and eternal life with God in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Besides the disciples, there constantly accompanied Jesus Christ some women who had been healed by Him, Mary Magdalene (from the city of Magdala), out of whom Jesus cast seven devils; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward; Susanna, and many others.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God