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 DECEMBER 12TH OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE FEAST OF SAINT SPYRIDON THE WONDERWORKER, BISHOP OF TREMITHUS.
The island of Cyprus was both the birthplace of this famous Saint and the place in which he spent his life in the service of the Church to the end of his days. He married young and had children, but when his wife died, he devoted himself entirely to the service of God. He was chosen for his devotion as Bishop of Tremithus, and even as a bishop did not change his simple lifestyle of life, taking charge of his cattle himself and tilling his own land. He consumed very little of his own produce, giving the greater part to the poor. He performed great wonders (miracles) by God's power, making rain fall in a drought, stopping the course of a river, raising several of the dead, healing the Emperor Constans of a grave sickness, seeing and hearing Angels, foreseeing future events and penetrating the secrets of the human heart. He turned many to the True Faith and did much else. He was present at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 325 A.D., and by his simple and clear exposition of the Faith, as well as by convincing miracles, brought back many heretics to Orthodox Christianity. He dressed so simply that once when he was invited by the Emperor to the imperial court, a soldier took him for a beggar and struck him a blow. The meek and guileless Spyridon turned him the other cheek. He glorified God with many miracles and was of great aid both to individuals and to the whole Church of God. He entered into rest in the Lord in 348 A.D., and his miracle-working holy relics now lie on the Greek island of Kerkyra (Corfu) and continue to glorify God with many miracles ('wonders'. In Greek 'Thavmata').
Nothing will help us if we are not generous and forgiving towards human weakness in others. If we do not forgive others, how can we hope that God will forgive us? Saint Spyridon once sold a merchant a hundred goats at a given price and told the buyer to produce the money. Knowing that Spyridon himself would never count it, he put down enough for ninety-nine goats and secreted the money for the hundredth. Spyridon then counted out a hundred goats for him, but, when the merchant and his servant started driving them away, one of them returned bleating. It was driven off again and again returned. It kept returning to the flock, and would not go with the other goats. The Saint then whispered into the merchant's ear: 'You know, my son, that animal is not acting like this without a reason. Have you, perhaps, withheld the price?' The merchant was ashamed and acknowledged his sin, and, as soon as he had paid the full amount, the goat immediately went off and joined the rest of the flock.
On another occasion, some thieves went into Saint Spyridon's pasture. When they had seized as many rams as they wanted, they tried to leave the field, but an invisible force riveted them to the earth and they could not move from the spot. At dawn, the bishop came to the pasture, and, seeing the thieves, reproached them mildly and told them to try, in future, to live by their own labor and not by thieving. He then caught a ram and gave it to them, saying: "Take this, so that your trouble and night vigil should not have been in vain', and he sent them away in peace. (The Prologue from Ochrid)
SCRIPTURAL READINGS FOR THE FEAST OF SAINT SPYRIDON
Epistle Lesson: (Ephesians 5:8-19)
"For you were once darkness, but now your are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.' See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit."
Gospel Lesson: (Saint John 10:9-16)
"I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd."
Apolytikion Hymn in the First Tone
O Father, God-bearer, Spyridon, you were proven a champion and Wonder-Worker of the First Ecumenical Council. You spoke to the girl in the grave and turned the serpent to gold. And, when chanting your prayers, most sacred One, Angels ministered with you. Glory to Him who glorified you; glory to Him who crowned you; glory to Him who, through you, works healing for all.
Kontakion Hymn in the Second Tone
Wounded by your love for Christ, O holy One, your mind given wings by the radiance of the Spirit, you put the practice of theory into deeds, becoming a sacred altar, O Chosen by God, and praying for the Divine illumination of all.
DIVINE SERVICES FOR DECEMBER 12TH
Orthros at 9:00 a.m.
Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.
Place of worship: Chapel of Saint Nektarios
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!' - Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God