My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior Jesus Christ,
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 SEPTEMBER 26th--Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates the Translation (Metastasis) of the Holy, Glorious, All-Laudable Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian.
John was 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 Peter and 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, 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 (Koimisis) St. John went off with his disciple Prochoros to preach the Gospel in Asia Minor, and mainly lived and worked in Ephesus. They boarded a ship which floundered during a terrible storm. All the travelers were cast up upon dry ground, and only the Apostle John remained in the depths of the sea. Prochoros wept bitterly, bereft of his spiritual father and guide, and he went on towards Ephesus alone.
On the fourteenth day of his journey he stood at the shore of the sea and saw that the waves had cast a man ashore. Going up to him, he recognized the holy Apostle John, whom the Lord had preserved alive for fourteen days in the sea. Teacher and disciple went to Ephesus. He continued to instruct Christians to guard against false teachers and their erroneous teachings.
By his inspired preaching and miracles, he brought many to Christianity and undermined the foundations of paganism. The angry 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, Saint John returned to Ephesus, where he lived for some time, confirming the work that he had earlier begun. He called for all Christians to love the Lord and one another, and by this to fulfill the commands of Christ. The Church calls Saint John the "Apostle of Love", since he constantly taught that without love man cannot come near to God.
When it was time for the departure of the Holy Apostle John, he went out beyond the city limits of Ephesus with the families of his disciples. He bade them prepare for him a cross-shaped grave, in which he lay, telling his disciples that they should cover him over with the soil. The disciples tearfully kissed their beloved teacher, but not wanting to be disobedient, they fulfilled his bidding. They covered the face of the Saint with a cloth and filled in the grave. He was over 100 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 Lord bestowed on His beloved disciple John and St. John's brother James the name "Sons of Thunder" as an awesome messenger in its cleansing power of the heavenly fire. And precisely by this the Savior pointed out the flaming, fiery, sacrificial character of Christian love, the preacher of which was the Apostle John the Theologian. This eagle, symbol of the lofty heights of his theological thought, is the iconographic symbol of the Evangelist John the Theologian. The appellation "theologian" is bestowed by the Holy Church only to Saint John among the immediate disciples and Apostles of Christ, as being the seer of the mysterious Judgments of God.
Kontakion hymn of the holy Feast.
Chosen from fisher nets for the preaching of the Gospel, and from catching fish to catching men into the light of the True knowledge of God, O Great Apostle, Disciple, Friend, and devoted companion of Christ, implore the one true Lover of mankind Whom thou didst love with seraphic love to have mercy on us who seek thine intercession with Him and cry to thee: Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!
On Tuesday, September 26th - The divine Services:
Orthros (Matins) at 9:00 a.m.
Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.
Location: Chapel of Saint Nektarios
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God