Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012 - 7th Thursday After Pentecost


FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:



Macrina the Righteous, sister of St. Basil

Saint Dius

Translation of the Holy Relics of Righteous Seraphim of Sarov

Saint Theodore, Bishop of Edessa



Τῆς Ὁσίας Μητρός ἡμῶν Μακρίνης, ἀδελφῆς τοῦ Μ. Βασιλείου, καί τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Δίου.



READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:




The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 7:24-35

BRETHREN, in whatever state each was called, there let him remain with God. Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the present distress it is well for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away. I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.


Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 7:24-35

Ἀδελφοί, ἕκαστος ἐν ᾧ ἐκλήθη, ἀδελφοί, ἐν τούτῳ μενέτω παρὰ θεῷ. Περὶ δὲ τῶν παρθένων ἐπιταγὴν κυρίου οὐκ ἔχω· γνώμην δὲ δίδωμι ὡς ἠλεημένος ὑπὸ κυρίου πιστὸς εἶναι. Νομίζω οὖν τοῦτο καλὸν ὑπάρχειν διὰ τὴν ἐνεστῶσαν ἀνάγκην, ὅτι καλὸν ἀνθρώπῳ τὸ οὕτως εἶναι. Δέδεσαι γυναικί; Μὴ ζήτει λύσιν. Λέλυσαι ἀπὸ γυναικός; Μὴ ζήτει γυναῖκα. Ἐὰν δὲ καὶ γήμῃς, οὐχ ἥμαρτες· καὶ ἐὰν γήμῃ ἡ παρθένος, οὐχ ἥμαρτεν. Θλῖψιν δὲ τῇ σαρκὶ ἕξουσιν οἱ τοιοῦτοι· ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμῶν φείδομαι. Τοῦτο δέ φημι, ἀδελφοί, ὁ καιρὸς συνεσταλμένος· τὸ λοιπόν ἐστιν ἵνα καὶ οἱ ἔχοντες γυναῖκας ὡς μὴ ἔχοντες ὦσιν· καὶ οἱ κλαίοντες, ὡς μὴ κλαίοντες· καὶ οἱ χαίροντες, ὡς μὴ χαίροντες· καὶ οἱ ἀγοράζοντες, ὡς μὴ κατέχοντες· καὶ οἱ χρώμενοι τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ, ὡς μὴ καταχρώμενοι· παράγει γὰρ τὸ σχῆμα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. Θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀμερίμνους εἶναι. Ὁ ἄγαμος μεριμνᾷ τὰ τοῦ κυρίου, πῶς ἀρέσει τῷ κυρίῳ· ὁ δὲ γαμήσας μεριμνᾷ τὰ τοῦ κόσμου, πῶς ἀρέσει τῇ γυναικί. Μεμέρισται καὶ ἡ γυνὴ καὶ ἡ παρθένος. Ἡ ἄγαμος μεριμνᾷ τὰ τοῦ κυρίου, ἵνα ᾖ ἁγία καὶ σώματι καὶ πνεύματι· ἡ δὲ γαμήσασα μεριμνᾷ τὰ τοῦ κόσμου, πῶς ἀρέσει τῷ ἀνδρί. Τοῦτο δὲ πρὸς τὸ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν συμφέρον λέγω· οὐχ ἵνα βρόχον ὑμῖν ἐπιβάλω, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὸ εὔσχημον καὶ εὐπρόσεδρον τῷ κυρίῳ ἀπερισπάστως.



The Reading is from Matthew 15:12-21

At that time, the disciples came and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" He answered, "Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit." But Peter said to him, "Explain the parable to us." And he said, "Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and so passes on? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man." And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.



Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 15.12-21

Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ εἶπον αὐτῷ· οἶδας ὅτι οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἐσκανδαλίσθησαν ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον;ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπε· πᾶσα φυτεία ἣν οὐκ ἐφύτευσεν ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ἐκριζωθήσεται.ἄφετε αὐτούς· ὁδηγοί εἰσι τυφλοὶ τυφλῶν· τυφλὸς δὲ τυφλὸν ἐὰν ὁδηγῇ, ἀμφότεροι εἰς βόθυνον πεσοῦνται.ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν αὐτῷ· φράσον ἡμῖν τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην.ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν· ἀκμὴν καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀσύνετοί ἐστε;οὔπω νοεῖτε ὅτι πᾶν τὸ εἰσπορευόμενον εἰς τὸ στόμα εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν χωρεῖ καὶ εἰς ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκβάλλεται;τὰ δὲ ἐκπορευόμενα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ἐκ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχεται, κἀκεῖνα κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.ἐκ γὰρ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχονται διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί, φόνοι, μοιχεῖαι, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, ψευδομαρτυρίαι, βλασφημίαι.ταῦτά ἐστι τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον· τὸ δὲ ἀνίπτοις χερσὶ φαγεῖν οὐ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον. Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος.



READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:




Τῇ ΙΘ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς ὁσίας Μακρίνης, ἀδελφῆς τοῦ Μεγάλου Βασιλείου.

Φρονοῦσ' ἀδελφὰ τοῖς ἀδελφοὶς Μακρῖνα,

Τούτοις ἀδελφὰ συγκατοικεῖς καὶ πόλον.

Τῇ δ' ἐνάτῃ δεκάτῃ Μακρῖναν νόες ἔνθεν ἄειραν.

Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Δίου τοῦ θαυματουργοῦ.

Γεύῃ τελευτῆς καὶ σύ, παμμάκαρ Δίε,

Ἔνδοξε κλῆσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ πρᾶξιν πλέον.

Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, οἱ ἅγιοι τέσσαρες συνασκηταὶ ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦνται.

Μνήμη τοῦ ἐν ἁγίοις πατρὸς ἡμῶν Θεοδώρου, τοῦ κατὰ τὴν Λαύραν τοῦ ἁγίου Σάββα ἀσκήσαντος, καὶ ἔπειτα ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἐδέσσης γεγονότος.

Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.




Saint Macrina, the elder sister of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, was sought after by many as a bride because of her beauty, wisdom, and illustrious birth, and in tender youth was espoused by her parents to a bridegroom of fitting nobility. When her betrothed died, Macrina refused any other suitors, and devoted herself to a life of virginity, asceticism, and prayer. When her brother Basil returned from a brilliant career in the best schools of Constantinople and Athens, puffed up with not a little youthful pride-for knowledge puffeth up-it was the ardent admonitions and holy example of his blessed sister that persuaded him to turn from seeking worldly glory to the service of God. Saint Macrina founded a convent, where she ended her earthly life in the year 379, and was buried by her brother Gregory, who wrote a moving account of her last days and his grief at seeing such a light pass out of the world.



Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Εν σοί Μήτερ ακριβώς διεσώθη τό κατ' εικόνα, λαβών γάρ τόν σταυρόν, ηκολούθησας τώ Χριστώ, καί πράττων εδίδασκες, υπεροράν μέν σαρκός, παρέρχεται γάρ επιμελείσθαι δέ ψυχής, πράγματος αθανάτου, διό καί μετά Αγγέλων συναγάλλεται, οσία Μακρίνα τό πνεύμά σου.

The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Mother. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy Macrina, your soul rejoices with the angels.



Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

Ως φωτός ανάπλεως δικαιοσύνης, τύπος θείων πράξεων, καί αρετών μυσταγωγός, ώφθης τοίς πίστει βοώσί σοι, χαίροις Μακρίνα, παρθένων αγλάϊσμα.

Since the light of righteousness shone brightly in thee, thou wast an example of the life of piety for all, teaching the virtues to them that cry: Rejoice, Macrina, thou boast of virginity.



Saint Dius, who was from Antioch in Syria, later came to Constantinople and established a monastery there, and wrought many wonders. He flourished in the time of Saint Theodosius the Great (379-395).



Apolytikion in the First Tone

Ο βίον εφάμιλλον, τή κλήσει πολιτευθείς, τής δόξης τού Πνεύματος, πυξίον ώφθης σεπτόν, Πατήρ ημών Όσιε, σύ γάρ θαυματουργίαις, ιεραίς διαπρέπων, ένδοξος εν Οσίοις, φερωνήμως εδείχθης. Διό σε ανευφημούμεν, Δίε μακάριε.

Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Dius, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.



Kontakion in the Second Tone

Αγνεία ψυχής, ενθέως οπλισάμενος, καί άπαυστον ευχήν, ως λόγχην χειρισάμενος, κραταιώς διέκοψας, τών δαιμόνων Δίε τάς φάλαγγας, θαυματουργέ Πατήρ ημών, πρεσβεύων απαύστως υπέρ πάντων ημών.

In God, thou wast armed with purity of heart and soul; and taking in hand unceasing prayer as though a spear, Father Dius, thou didst mightily cut down all the demonic hordes, thou who workest wonders and signs and prayest unceasingly for all of us.



Our Father among the Saints Theodore was born in Edessa of Mesopotamia. At the age of about nineteen, he became a monk at the Monastery of Mar Sabbas in Palestine. After he had spent some twenty-four years there, he was chosen to become Bishop of Edessa, about the year 836. The city of Edessa at that time was beleaguered with many heresies, among them the Arian, Nestorian, Eutychian, and Manichean. Wishing to free the Orthodox of Edessa from the injustices of the many heretics, he undertook a journey to Babylon in Persia - that is, Baghdad - to ask the Persian King, who then ruled over all Syria, to use his power to protect the Orthodox of Edessa. When he arrived he learned that the King was gravely sick; but gaining admission to him, the holy Bishop Theodore restored him to health through prayer, and, after speaking to him many days in secret about the dispensation of God, converted him to Christ, baptizing him with the name of John. Returning to Edessa having accomplished his purpose, Theodore later learned by revelation that King John, with his three Arab body-guards who had been baptized with him, had professed their faith openly and received martyrs' crowns at the hands of the Persian Moslems. This was in the days when the blessed Theodora and her son Michael reigned in Constantinople. Not long thereafter, Theodore retired to the Monastery of Mar Sabbas, and ended his days.



Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Ορθοδοξίας Οδηγέ, ευσεβίας διδάσκαλε καί σεμνότητος, τής οικουμένης ο φωστήρ, αρχιερέων θεόπνευστον εγκαλλώπισμα, Θεόδωρε σοφέ, ταίς διδαχαίς σου πάντας εφώτισας, λύρα τού Πνεύματος, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.

You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Theodore, you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.



Kontakion in the Third Tone

Ορθοδοξίας Οδηγέ, ευσεβίας διδάσκαλε καί σεμνότητος, τής οικουμένης ο φωστήρ, αρχιερέων θεόπνευστον εγκαλλώπισμα, Θεόδωρε σοφέ, ταίς διδαχαίς σου πάντας εφώτισας, λύρα τού Πνεύματος, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.

From the blessed Edessa, thou wentest forth to the desert, but thou wast called back again to tend Christ's sheep as their shepherd; driving off the wolves of error with thy true doctrines, thou didst make a heathen king a Martyr of Jesus. Hence, O Theodore, we honour thy blest remembrance, O holy Hierarch of Christ.




Ένα από τα ωραιότερα παραδείγματα γυναικείας ασκητικής ζωής, οικογενειακής αφοσιώσεως και χριστιανικής αγαθοεργού δράσεως είναι η οσία Μακρίνα, αδελφή του Μεγάλου Βασιλείου, της οποίας η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη. Μεγαλύτερη δέκα αδελφών και χήρα από νεαρωτάτη ηλικία, αφωσιώθηκε στην ανατροφή των αδελφών της, τρεις από τους οποίους έγιναν Επίσκοποι. Ο Μέγας Βασίλειος, ένας από τους μεγαλύτερους Πατέρας της Εκκλησίας, πολλά οφείλει στην αδελφή του Μακρίνα και προ πάντων ότι τον τράβηξε από το δικηγορικό έργο, που είχε στην αρχή, και του έδειξε τον δρόμο της θεολογικής και εκκλησιαστικής δράσεως, στην οποία ο άγιος Βασίλειος τόσο διέπρεψε. Τι μεγάλος αλήθεια θησαυρός είναι μια καλή μητέρα και μια αφωσιωμένη αδελφή!... Πίσω απ' όλους τους μεγάλους άνδρας της Ιστορίας θα πρέπη πάντα να αναζητήσουμε ένα αφανή ήρωα· μια μητέρα, μια σύζυγο, μια αδελφή.




Ὁ Ὅσιος Δίος

Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀντιόχεια τῆς Συρίας, καὶ ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ Μεγάλου Θεοδοσίου. Ἦταν διακεκριμένος γιὰ τὴν θεολογική του πολυμάθεια καὶ γιὰ τὴν ἀνυπόκριτη εὐσέβεια καὶ ἐγκράτεια. Σὲ ἡλικία μάλιστα 35 ἐτῶν, τόσο πολὺ εἶχε ἐξαπλωθεῖ ἡ φήμη τῆς ἀρετῆς του, ποὺ ἀπὸ παντοῦ ἐρχόταν ν᾿ ἀκούσουν τὶς πολύτιμες συμβουλές του. Μετὰ ἀπὸ χρόνια, τὸν προσκάλεσε ὁ Πατριάρχης Ἀττικὸς (406-425) στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη καὶ τὸν χειροτόνησε ἱερέα. Τὰ ἱερατικά του καθήκοντα, ἐπετέλεσέ με πολὺ ζῆλο καὶ ἀκρίβεια. Ἦταν στοὺς ἐνορῖτες του, πρότυπο ἱεροῦ καὶ φιλόστοργου πνευματικοῦ πατέρα καὶ οἰκογενειακοῦ συμβούλου. Στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη ἵδρυσε καὶ μοναστήρι. Κάποτε ἀῤῥώστησε βαριά, ποὺ ἔφτασε μέχρι τὰ πρόθυρα τοῦ θανάτου. Σώθηκε ὅμως ἀπὸ θαῦμα. Τελικὰ πέθανε εἰρηνικά, ἀφοῦ διατήρησε μέχρι τὴν τελευταία του πνοὴ τὸ πῦρ τῆς εὐσέβειας καὶ τῆς στοργῆς γιὰ τὶς ψυχὲς τοῦ ποιμνίου του.



Ἡ Ὁσία Μακρίνα, ἀδελφή του Μ. Βασιλείου

Στὴν Ἱστορία τοῦ χριστιανισμοῦ λίγες ὑπῆρξαν οἱ γυναικεῖες μορφὲς σὰν τὴν ὑπέρλαμπρη μορφὴ τῆς Ἁγίας Μακρίνας, ποὺ ὁ Θεὸς τὴν εἶχε προικίσει μὲ τὰ μεγαλύτερα πνευματικὰ καὶ σωματικὰ χαρίσματα. Ἦταν ἡ μεγαλύτερη ἀδελφὴ τοῦ Μεγάλου Βασιλείου καὶ τοῦ Γρηγορίου Νύσσης. Ἀνατράφηκε σύμφωνα μὲ τὶς ἐπιταγὲς τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου, ἀπὸ τὴν εὐσεβέστατη μητέρα της Ἐμμέλεια. Ὅταν μεγάλωσε, ἀφοσιώθηκε στὴν ἀγαθοεργία καὶ στὴν ἀνατροφὴ τῶν ἀδελφῶν της, ποὺ ἔπαιξε καθοριστικὸ ρόλο στὴ μετέπειτα πνευματική τους πορεία. Ἡ Μακρίνα ἦταν μνηστευμένη, ἀλλὰ ὁ μνηστῆρας της πέθανε. Τότε, μαζὶ μὲ τὴν μητέρα της, ἀποσύρθηκε σὲ γυναικεία μονὴ στὸν Πόντο, κοντὰ στὸν ποταμὸ Ἴρη. Ἐκεῖ κοντὰ μόναζε καὶ ὁ ἀδελφός της Μέγας Βασίλειος. Στὴ μονὴ πέρασε τὴν ζωή της μὲ τὴν μελέτη τῶν Γραφῶν, τὴν προσευχή, καὶ προπάντων μὲ ἀγαθοεργίες. Διότι πάντα εἶχε στὸ μυαλό της τὸ λόγο τοῦ Θεοῦ, ποὺ προτρέπει στοὺς ἀνθρώπους, «ἀγαθοεργεῖν, πλουτεῖν ἐν ἔργοις καλοῖς, εὐμετάδοτους εἶναι, κοινωνικούς, ἀποθησαυρίζοντας ἑαυτοῖς θεμέλιον καλὸν εἰς τὸ μέλλον, ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς». Δηλαδή, νὰ ἀγαθοεργοῦν, νὰ γίνονται πλούσιοι σὲ καλὰ ἔργα, νὰ δίνουν πρόθυμα καὶ σὲ ἄλλους τὰ ἀγαθά τους, νὰ εἶναι ἁπλοὶ καὶ καταδεκτικοί, καὶ ἔτσι νὰ ἀποταμιεύουν γιὰ τὸν ἑαυτό τους στέρεο θεμέλιο στὸ μέλλον, γιὰ νὰ ἀποκτήσουν τὴν αἰώνια ζωή. μ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν τρόπο καὶ ἡ Ἁγία Μακρίνα ἔζησε καὶ τελείωσε τὴν ζωή της.



Οἱ Ὅσιοι τέσσερις (κατ᾿ ἄλλους 40) συνασκητὲς

Ἀπεβίωσαν εἰρηνικά.



Ὁ Ὅσιος Θεόδωρος ὁ Σαββαΐτης, ἐπίσκοπος Ἐδέσσης

Ὁ πατέρας του ὀνομαζόταν Συμεών, ἡ δὲ μητέρα του Μαρία. Φοίτησε σὲ σχολεῖα καὶ διακρίθηκε γιὰ τὴν μάθηση φιλοσοφικῶν γνώσεων, καθὼς καὶ τῆς ρητορικῆς καὶ τῆς φιλοσοφίας. Σὲ ἡλικία 10 χρονῶν ἔμεινε ὀρφανὸς καὶ τὴν μισὴ περιουσία τῶν γονέων του πῆρε ἡ ἀδελφή του γιὰ νὰ ἀποκατασταθεῖ καὶ τὴν ἄλλη μισὴ ὁ ἴδιος, τὴν ὁποία μοίρασε στοὺς φτωχοὺς καὶ ἀναχώρησε γιὰ τὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ. Ἐκεῖ προσκύνησε τοὺς Ἁγίους Τόπους καὶ τελικὰ ἔγινε μοναχὸς στὴ Λαύρα τοῦ ἁγίου Σάββα. Ἐκεῖ ἀσκήθηκε στὴν ἀρετὴ σὲ μεγάλο βαθμὸ καὶ ὑπῆρξε διάσημος ἀσκητής. Λόγῳ τῶν μεγάλων του ἀρετῶν, ὁ Πατριάρχης Ἱεροσολύμων τὸν ἔκανε ἐπίσκοπο Ἐδέσσης (Μέσης Ἀνατολῆς). Σὰν ποιμενάρχης ὑπῆρξε ἄριστος, μὲ τὶς πολλὲς θεολογικές του γνώσεις, τὶς πολλές του ἀρετὲς καὶ πρὸ πάντων με τὴν μεγάλη του ἀγάπη, ποὺ διέθετε ἄφθονη στὸ ποίμνιό του. Ὅταν κάλεσε καὶ εὐλόγησε τὸν κλῆρο καὶ τὸν λαὸ τῆς Ἔδεσσας, παρέδωσε τὴν ἁγία του ψυχὴ στὸν οὐράνιο Πατέρα.



Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀββᾶς Διοκλῆς

Σπούδασε γραμματική, φιλοσοφία καὶ στὰ εἰκοσιοκτώ του χρόνια ἔγινε ἀναχωρητής, μέσα σὲ μία σπηλιά. Τὸν συνάντησε ὁ συγγραφεῦς τοῦ Λαυσαϊκοῦ Ἡρακλείδης καὶ μεταξὺ ἄλλων τὸν ρώτησε: «Πῶς εἶναι δυνατό, πάτερ, ὁ ἀνθρώπινος νοῦς νὰ βρίσκεται πάντοτε στὰ θεῖα νοήματα»; Ὁ Ὅσιος ἀπάντησε: «Καθὼς συνηθίσει ὁ ἄνθρωπος, εἴτε μὲ καλὰ νοήματα εἴτε μὲ κακοὺς συλλογισμούς, ἔτσι καὶ πολιτεύεται».




Uncovering of the relics (1903) of St Seraphim of Sarov

"The uncovering of the holy relics of St Seraphim of Sarov on July 19, 1903 was attended by many thousands, among them the foremost of the clergy and royalty; the holy Tsar Nicholas II (July 4) was one of the bearers of the relics in procession, and the Grand Duchess Elizabeth (July 5) wrote an eyewitness account of the many miracles that took place. Not only had the Saint foretold the coming of the Tsar to his glorification, and that from joy they would chant 'Christ is Risen' in summer, but he also left a letter 'for the fourth sovereign, who will come to Sarov.' This was Nicholas II, who was given the letter when he came in 1903; the contents of the letter are not known, but when he had read it, the Tsar and future Martyr, though not a man to show his emotions, was visibly shaken." (Great Horologion)

  Saint Seraphim is commemorated January 2.



St Macrina, sister of St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nyssa (380)

She was sought as a bride by many because of her exceptional beauty and wisdom as well as her noble birth. She was betrothed at a young age, and when her betrothed died, she refused to consider any more suitors, saying that since her betrothed was alive in Christ, it was not right for her to turn to another. Instead she turned to a life of virginity, ascetic struggle and prayer. She greatly influenced her younger brothers, turning them from worldly things to monastic life. She established a monastery and, with her mother Emilia, became a nun. She reposed in peace in 379.

  Her brother St Gregory of Nyssa held her in special honor. He was present at her death and gave a moving oration at her funeral. He describes how, in her last moments, she prayed thus to God: 'Thou, O Lord, givest rest to our bodies in the sleep of death for a little time, then Thou wilt waken them again with the Last Trumpet. Forgive me, and grant that, when my soul is parted from my body, it may be presented before Thee stainless and without sin, and that it may be as incense before Thee.' Then she made the sign of the Cross on her brow, eyes, face and heart, and died. St Gregory's work on the resurrection of the dead (available in English as On the Soul and Resurrection) is cast in the form of a dialogue between himself and his sister Macrina in which he is the earnest but ignorant student and she the wise and patient teacher. So do the Saints honor the Saints.



Menologion 3.0

The Monastic Macrina, Sister of Sainted-Hierarchs Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, was born in Cappadocia at the beginning of the IV Century. Her mother, Emilia, saw in a dream an Angel, naming her yet unborn one Thekla, in honour of the holy First-Martyress Thekla. Saint Emilia (Emily, Comm. 1 January) fulfilled the will of God and named her daughter Thekla. Another daughter that was born they named Macrina, in honour of a grandmother, who suffered during the time of persecution against Christians under the emperor Maximian Galerius.

Besides Macrina, in her family were nine other children. Saint Emila herself guided the upbringing and education of her elder daughter. She taught her reading and writing in the Scriptural books and Psalms of David, selecting those examples from the Sacred books, which instructed of a pious and God-pleasing life. Saint Emilia trained her daughter to attend church services and make private prayers. Macrina was likewise taught the proper knowledge of domestic governance and various handicrafts. She was never left idle and did not participate in childish games or amusements.

When Macrina grew up, her parents betrothed her to a certain pious youth, but the bridegroom soon died. Many young men sought marriage with her, but Macrina refused them all, having chosen the life of a virgin and not wanting to be unfaithful to the memory of her dead fiancee. The Monastic Macrina lived in the home of her parents, helping them fulfill the household tasks as an overseer together with the servants, and she carefully followed after the upbringing of her younger brothers and sisters. After the death of her father she became the chief support for the family.

When all the children grew up and left the parental home, Saint Macrina convinced her mother, Saint Emilia, to leave the world, to set their slaves free, and to settle in a women's monastery. Several of their servants followed their example. Having taken monastic vows, they lived together as one family, they prayed together, they worked together, they possessed everything in common, and in this manner of life nothing distinguished one from another.

After the death of her mother, Saint Macrina guided the sisters of the monastery. She enjoyed the deep respect of all who knew her. Strictness towards herself and temperance in everything were characteristic of the saint over the course of all her life. She slept on boards and had no possessions. Saint Macrina was granted a gift of wonderworking. There was an instance (told by the sisters of the monastery to Saint Gregory of Nyssa after the death of Saint Macrina), when she healed a girl of an eye-affliction. Through the prayers of the saint, at her monastery in times of famine there was no shortage of wheat, necessary for the use of the sisters.

Saint Macrina died in the year 380, after a final sigh of exalting prayers of thanks to the Lord for having received of Him blessings over all the course of her life. She was buried in the same grave with her parents.



The Monk Dios was born in the city of Syrian Antioch towards the end of the IV Century into a pious Christian family. From the years of his youth he was noted for his temperance, he took food in small quantity and not each day, his flesh was humbled by vigil and incessant prayer. For these deeds the Lord granted Saint Dios dispassion and the gift of wonderworking.

The Lord in a vision ordered Saint Dios to go to Constantinople and there to serve both Him and the people. Saint Dios settled beyond the city in a solitary place, where people feared to live. The Monk Dios bravely contended with the evil spirits which tried to expel him from this place. The Lord heard the prayer of His saint: his staff took root, began to grow and with time was transformed into an immense oak, which stood for a long time even after the death of Saint Dios.

The surrounding inhabitants began to come to the saint for advice and guidance, and they besought healing from ills of body and soul. Saint Dios by prayer doctored the infirm, and whatever was offered him he distributed to the poor, the homeless and the sick.

Accounts about Saint Dios reached even the emperor Theodosius the Younger. He came to Saint Dios for a blessing together with the Constantinople Patriarch Atticus (406-425). The emperor wanted that on the place of Saint Dios' efforts there be built a monastery, and he provided the means for its construction. The patriarch ordained the monk into the priestly dignity and made him the hegumen. Soon numerous monastic brethren gathered to Saint Dios. The monastery was in need of a well. They dug at it for a long time without success. Through the prayer of the monk the Lord brought forth a spring of pure water, which soon filled up the entire well. One time through his prayer the monk raised up a drowned man. And many another miracle the Lord worked through His saint.

In extreme old age the Monk Dios became grievously ill. He took his leave from the brethren, communed the Holy Mysteries and lay upon his cot, like one dead. At the monastery for making the funeral service His Holiness Patriarch Atticus (Comm. on Cheesefare Saturday) and also the Alexandria Patriarch Alexander, who was then at Constantinople. The holy elder unexpectedly rose up from his death bed and said: "The Lord hath given me yet fifteen years of life". Great was the joy of the brethren.

Saint Dios actually did live another 15 years, helping all with guidance and counsel, healing the sick, and being concerned for the poor and homeless. Shortly before death a radiant man in priestly garb appeared to him in the altar of the church and forespoke to him about the impending day of death. Having given thanks to the Lord for this news, Saint Dios quietly died and was buried in his monastery (about the year 430).



Uncovering of the Relics of the Monk Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov: At the beginning of the last century (i.e. the 1800's) a new bright taper blazed upon the candle-tiara of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Lord deigned to send to us on earth a great man of prayer, an ascetic and wonderworker.

In 1903 occurred the glorification of the Monk Seraphim of Sarov, 70 years after his repose (the Vita (Life) of the saint is located under 2 January, the day of his repose). On 19 July, the birthday of the saint, his relics were opened with great solemnity and placed in a prepared reliquary. The long awaited event was accompanied by numerous miraculous healings of the sick, who in large number had gathered at Sarov. Very widely esteemed while yet alive, the Monk Seraphim became one of the most beloved saints of the Russian Orthodox nation, indeed like the Monk Sergei of Radonezh.

The spiritual path of the Monk Seraphim was marked by great modesty, inherent to the Russian saint. From childhood having been chosen by God, the Sarovsk ascetic without hesitation or misgiving ascended from strength to strength in his striving for spiritual perfection. Eight years of novitiate tasks and eight years of temple service in the dignity of deacon and priestmonk, wilderness-dwelling and pillar-dwelling, hermitage and solitude followed upon each other and crown his eldership. His deeds, by far exceeding natural human abilities (for example, the prayer upon the stone for a thousand days and nights), harmoniously and readily enter into the life of the saint.

The mystery of a living and prayerful communality defines the spiritual legacy of the Monk Seraphim, but he left to the Church still another precious thing -- a short but fine directive, written in part by himself, and in parts by those listening to him. Shortly before the glorification of the saint there was found and printed in 1903 his "Conversation of the Monk Seraphim of Sarov, Concerning the Goal of Christian Life", compiled at the end of November 1831, roughly a year before his repose. This conversation was a very precious contribution of the ascetic into the treasury of teachings of Russian holy-fathers. Besides his teaching about the essence of Christian life, in it are contained new explanations of many important places of Holy Scripture.

"Fasting, prayer, vigil and every good deed, -- taught the Monk Seraphim, -- being howso no less fine in themselves, yet however in fact the goal of our Christian life does not consist only but in them, though they serve as means for its attainment. The true goal of our Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God". Once however situated in the Spirit of God, the monk glimpsed all the Russian land, and it was filled and as it were covered over by the incense-cloud of the prayers of the faithful, rising up in supplication to the Lord.

In the recorded life and deeds of Saint Seraphim are quoted many eye-witness accounts of the graced gift of perspicacity (i.e. insight), which he utilised for stimulating within people repentance of sins and moral rectification.

"The Lord hath revealed to me, -- said he, -- that there shalt be a time, when the hierarchs of the Russian land and other spiritual persons will deviate from the preservation of Orthodoxy in all its purity, and for this the wrath of God wilt strike them. For three days I stood, I besought the Lord to have mercy on them and besought it better to deprive me, the wretch Seraphim, of the Kingdom of Heaven, than to punish them. But the Lord inclined not to the plea of the wretch Seraphim and said, that there would be not mercy for them, since they will teach human teachings and commandments, while their hearts stand far from Me".

Manifesting the graced gifts and power of God to people, the Monk Seraphim instructed those coming to him, on how to transverse the narrow path of salvation. He commanded obedience of his spiritual children and to the end of his life he was faithful to it. Having spent all his life in ascetic deeds beyond the power of ordinary people, his advice was to go by "the royal (middle) way" of the holy-fathers and not take upon oneself excessive difficult works: "to take on excessive measure of exploit is not necessary; but strive, so that the other aspect -- our flesh -- be true and capable for the doing of good deeds".

The monk considered prayer to be the prime exploit and means for the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. "Every good deed, done on account of Christ, bestows the grace of the Holy Spirit, but... prayer most of all beareth the Holy Spirit, and it is most convenient of all for each to improve".

The Monk Seraphim advised during the time of Divine-services to stand in temple now with eyes closed, and then to turn one's gaze upon an image or burning candle and ponder this thought, -- that it would suggest the fine comparison of human life with a waxen candle.

If someone complained to the holy elder about the impossibility to fulfill the rule of prayer, he then advised them to pray unceasingly: both during the time of work, and when going wherever, and even in bed. And if anyone can make the time, said the monk, let them take on soul-edifying prayers and readings of prayer-canons, akathists, psalms, the Gospel and Epistles. The saint also advised to study the order of Divine-services and to commit them to memory.

The Monk Seraphim regarded a lengthy rule of prayer as non-obligatory and he gave his Diveevsk community of women monastics a light rule. The Mother of God forbade Father seraphim to obligate novices with the reading of long akathists, so as not to impose an excessive burden on the incapable. But with this the saint strictly mentioned, that prayer ought not to be a formality: "Those monks, who do not unite external prayer with the inner, are not monks, but black torch-heads!" There thus became known the Seraphim Rule for those laypeople, who under the circumstances of life were not able to read the customary morning and evening prayers -- in the morning, before lunch and at evening to read the "Our Father", thrice the "Hail Mary, Virgin Mother of God", the Creed "I Believe" once; attending to necessary tasks, from morning til dinner to do the Jesus Prayer "Lord, Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner" or but simply "Lord, have mercy", and from dinner til evening the prayer "MostHoly Mother of God, save me a sinner" or "Lord, Jesus Christ, through the Mother of God have mercy on me a sinner".

"In prayers be attentive to thyself, -- advised the ascetic, -- that is, prepare the mind and unite it with the soul. On the first day, twice or more make this prayer with the whole mind, attending separately to each particular word. Later on, when the Lord heats thy heart with His warm grace and unites that in thee in one spirit: then flows within thee unceasingly that prayer and always will it be with thee, delighting and nourishing thee..." The monk said that in fulfilling this rule with humility, it is possible to attain Christian perfection even in worldly life.

"One mustneeds provide the soul with the Word of God. Most of all one ought to exercise in the reading of the New Testament and the Psalter. From this occurs enlightenment of the intellect, which is transformed by a Divine transformation", -- advised the holy ascetic of Sarov, himself constantly reading through all the New Testament during the course of the week.

Communing the Holy Mysteries each Sunday and each feastday without fail, -- to the question of how often one should approach for Communion, the Monk Seraphim answered: "the more often, the better". He said to the priest of the Diveevsk community, Vasilii Sadovsky: "The Grace, given us by Communion, is so great, that though a man be unworthy and sinful, if such a man in humility conscious of his all-sinfulness approacheth nigh [for Communion] to the Lord, Who hath redeemed us all, though he be covered head to foot by the bounds of sin, yet shalt he be cleansed by the grace of Christ, for all the more and more it illumineth him, and altogether it doth enlighten and save him".

"I believe, that through the great blessing of God grace doth make its mark also upon those communing..." The saint however did not give everyone the identical advice regarding frequent Communion. For many he advised to make the preparatory fast during all four lenten periods and during all the twelve feastdays. But it is necessary to remember his warning about the possibility of communing unto condemnation: "Sometimes thus it doth happen: here on earth they indeed do commune, but with the Lord they remain non-communicants!"

"There is no worse a sin and nothing is more terrible and harmful of spirit than despondency", -- said Saint Seraphim. He himself shone with a spiritual joy, and with this quiet peaceful joy he in abundance filled the hearts of those about him, greeting them with the words: "My joy! Christ is Risen!" Every burden of life became light while being close to the ascetic, and a multitude of the grieving people and seekers of God crowded about his cell and together with them hermits, wanting to share in the graces radiating from the God-pleasing saint. In the eyes of all was affirmed the truth, expressed by the saint himself in a great angelic calling-out: "Acquire peace, and around thee a thousand wilt be saved". This command about the acquisition of peace leads up to the teaching about the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, but of itself it appears as a most important step on the way of spiritual growth. The Monk Seraphim, in experience having passed through all the ancient Orthodox science of ascetic deed, foresaw how the spiritual activity of coming generations would be, and he taught to seek out peace of soul and to condemn no one: "Whoso goeth about in a worldly manner, that one as though a liar draweth up spiritual gifts". "For preserving peace of soul... everyone ought to flee the judging of others... In order to be delivered from judgement, one ought to attend to oneself, and not from whomever to adopt extraneous ideas and become deadened towards everything".

The Monk Seraphim rightly can be called a disciple of the Mother of God. The MostHoly Mother of God thrice healed him from grievous illness, and repeatedly She appeared to him, guiding and encouraging him. While still at the beginning of his way he heard, how the Mother of God in directing him as he lay upon his sick bed, said to the Apostle John the Theologian: "This one is of our kind".

Upon emerging from seclusion the monk devoted much effort to the building up of the women's monastic community at Diveevo and he himself said, that he gave no particular directives on his own, but rather he gave everything through the will of the Queen of Heaven.

The Monk Seraphim stands at the head of a remarkable upwards-flight of Russian Orthodox spirituality. With great strength resounds his recollection: "The Lord seeketh out the heart, overflowing with love towards God and neighbour; here is the throne, upon which He doth love to preside and appear in the fullness of His supra-heavenly Glory. "Son, give Me thine heart, -- sayeth He, -- and all else I Myself wilt provide thee", -- wherefore it is in the human heart that the Kingdom of Heaven can be realised".



The Holy Nobleborn Prince Roman Olegovich of Ryazan was from a line of princes, who during the time of the Tatar (Mongol) Yoke won glory as defenders of the Christian faith and of their Fatherland. Both his grandfathers perished for the Fatherland in the struggle with Batu. Raised in love for the holy faith (the prince lived in tears and prayers) and for his Native-land (Rodina), the prince with all his strength concerned himself about his devastated and oppressed subjects, and he defended them from the coercion and plundering of the khan's "baskaki" ("tax-collectors"). The "baskaki" hated the saint and they slandered him before the Tatar khan Mengu-Timur. Roman Olegovich was summoned to the Horde, where khan Mengu-Timur declared that he had to choose either of two things: either a martyr's death or the Tatar faith. The noble prince answered, that a Christian cannot change from the true faith to a false one. For his firmness in the confession of faith he was subjected to cruel torments: they cut out his tongue, gouged out his eyes, cut off his ears and lips, chopped off his hands and feet, tore off from his head the skin and, having chopped off his head, they impaled him upon a spear. This occurred in the year 1270.

The veneration of the prince-martyr began immediately with his death. The chronicle says about the saint: "Thou hast gained by thy suffering the Kingdom of Heaven and a crown bestown from the hand of the Lord together with thy kinsman Mikhail Vsevolodovich, co-sufferers with Christ for the Orthodox Christian faith".

From the year 1854 there was made at Ryazan a church procession and molieben on the day of memory of Saint Roman. In 1861 at Ryazan was consecrated a church in honour of holy Prince Roman.



The Monk Paisii of Pechersk was a monk of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. From the general canon to the Kievo-Pechersk monks, venerated in the Farther Caves, it is known, that he was connected by oneness of mind and brotherly love with the Monk Merkurii (the account about him is under 24 November). Both saints were inseparable, they lived in the same cell, and after death were put into the same grave. At the present time their relics rest in separate reliquaries.



Blessed Stefan (Stephen) was the son of prince Saint Lazar of Serbia (Comm. 15 June). In the terrible times of the Turkish Yoke Saint Stefan became the great benefactor of his enslaved countrymen. He built up the city, constructed churches and expended his treasury on the help of the needy. Saint Stefan exceeded many a ruler by his wisdom, his charity and his faith. He died peacefully in the year 1427.



Saint Militsa was the mother of Blessed Stefan. She founded the Liubostin women's monastery, in which she took vows with the name Evgenia. She died at the monastery a schema-monastic on 11 November 1405.



THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:




1. THE VENERABLE FEMALE MACRINA

Macrina was the eldest sister of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nyssa. As a young virgin, Macrina was bethrothed to a nobleman. When her betrothed died, Macrina vowed never to enter into marriage saying: "It is not right for a maiden once betrothed to a young man to seek another: according to the law of nature there must be only one marriage as there is but one birth and one death." She further justified this by her faith in the resurrection considering her bridegroom, not dead but alive in God. "It is a sin and a shame," says Macrina, "for a wife not to safeguard her faithfulness when her husband travels to a distant land." After this, together with her mother, Emilia, she received the monastic tonsure in a convent, where they lived a life of asceticism with other nuns. They lived from the labors of their hands devoting a greater part of their time to godly thoughts, prayer and the constant uplifting of their minds to God. In time her mother died and, afterward her brother Basil. Nine months after the death of St. Basil, Gregory came to visit with his sister and found her on her death bed. Before her death, Macrina lifted up her prayers to God: "You, O Lord, Who gives rest to our bodies in the sleep of death for a time, will again awaken them [the bodies] at the last trump. Forgive me and when my soul divests itself of its bodily attire and presents itself before You, pure and without sin, grant that it may be as incense before You." After that she traced the sign of the cross on the forehead, eyes, face and on her heart and gave up her soul. She found rest in the Lord in the year 379 A.D.



2. THE VENERABLE DIUS

Dius was born of Christian parents in Antioch, Syria. From his youth, he was taught by godly-inspired men in the monastic life and in asceticism. Since he persevered in a lengthy and laborious battle with the devil and passions of the flesh, God endowed Dius with the great gift of working miracles. In his prayers he, most often, turned to the Holy Trinity. He performed great and awesome miracles through the power of his prayers: he caused a withered staff to blossom, a dry well to be replenished with water and an unbelieving man he struck dead and then resurrected him again. After two brief heavenly visions, Dius departed from Antioch and settled in Constantinople where, in the proximity of the city, he continued his life of asceticism. His fame spread rapidly and even Emperor Theodosius the Younger visited him to receive counsel from him and Patriarch Atticus persuaded and ordained him a presbyter. Having lived for many years, Dius began to prepare for death, received Holy Communion, instructed the brethren, lay down on his bed and died before the eyes of all. The news of his death drew many people; even Patriarch Atticus came with Alexander, the Patriarch of Antioch. When they were about to bury him, he suddenly arose as though awakening from sleep and said: "God has given me fifteen more years of this life." St. Dius lived for exactly fifteen years and led many to the path of salvation, healed many, helped many in various misfortunes and needs and finally gave up his soul to the Lord, Whom he faithfully served all his life. He died in the year 430 A.D. in extreme old age.



3. THE COMMEMORATION OF STEPHEN THE TALL

Stephen was the son of the Serbian Prince Lazarus and Princess Militza. He was a protector of Christianity in the Balkans during most difficult times. He was the founder of the beautiful monumental monasteries of Manasija and Kalenich. After many labors and troubles he died on July 19, 1427 A.D.



HYMN OF PRAISE

THE HOLY AND VENERABLE DIUS

From early youth to extreme old age

The miracles of God's mercy, Dius counted,

God's mercy and God's justice.

Night and day, Dius directed his thoughts

In the divine light, in the divine paths,

Repelling passions and demons bitter.

What is a human being? As a murky water

That the image of the heavenly firmament does not accept.

Can the murky water transparent become,

That in it heaven can be mirrored?

It can, Dius claims, with the walk of the saints,

But, with the help of the Cross of Christ the Savior.

The Cross, in the heart place, in the midst of your being,

Affix to it your thought and God you will see

And the water murky cleared up will be,

And until now, miracles unseen you will see.



REFLECTION

One of the most beautiful adornments of a woman is her modesty and immodesty in a woman is the most unnatural and most repulsive spectacle in the world. A wonderful example of feminine modesty was shown by St. Macrina in her life. In her youth, a bitter wound opened up on her breast; even though her mother counseled her to show the wound to a doctor and seek a remedy, Macrina did not agree to it. She had completely dedicated herself to God and would not allow even the thought of exposing her body before men and not even before her own mother. One evening Macrina earnestly prayed to God; from her eyes tears flowed, which fell to the dust before her. With unwavering confidence in her Lord, with her fingers she mixed the dust with her tears and with that anointed her wound. The next day she awakened healthy. When her mother, with great sorrow entered to see her daughter, Macrina did not want to reveal that the Lord healed her (out of humility, concealing the miracle which she herself performed through her prayer) but begged her mother saying: "I will be healed, my mother, if you place your right hand on my bosom and make the sign of the cross over the spot of the wound." The mother reached out her hand and made the sign of the cross over that spot but did not feel the wound anymore but only the scar of the healed wound. Thus did St. Macrina conceal her body out of modesty and her miracle-working out of humility.



CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the miraculous prophesying of Balaam (Numbers 23, 24):

1. How Balaam came to curse the people of Israel at the invitation of Prince Balak;

2. How instead of cursing, Balaam blesses the people, being directed to do so by the Spirit of God;

3. How Balaam prophesied about Christ saying: "A star shall rise out of Jacob and a rod will rise up out of Israel" (Numbers 24:17).



HOMILY

About apostolic love and discernment

"Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance" (2 Peter 1:15).

Brethren, let your hearts be opened, to receive and to understand this great mystery. Primarily, the apostle says that he will not be slothful in reminding the faithful of the salvific truths of the Faith; of the divine power which was given to mankind through Christ the Lord and for the preparing of men to receive this divine power "escaping from the corruption that is in the world through lust" (1 Peter 1:4).

Now he goes even further and promises that he will continue this remembrance even after separation, i.e., after my exodus (the word which is used in the Greek text) from this life, when he will "put off this tabernacle, his body" (1 Peter 1:14). O faith divine, O comfort, O sweetness! Even from the other world, the apostle promises to continue his concern for the Church of God on earth, to continue his work once begun to remind the faithful and to continue his love toward those on earth who believe in Christ. O apostolic love, so near to the love of Christ! O apostolic discernment, whose love the Spirit of God does not diminish as long as man is still wrapped in the dark curtain of the flesh!

The Apostle Peter gave this promise to the faithful nearly two thousand years ago. Did he fulfill it? He fulfilled it to the letter, not only as some would like to interpret it, reminding the faithful, not only through his written epistles and through his successors the bishops, but primarily by his constant action within the Church from the other world. The Apostle Peter appeared many times as did the other apostles whenever, according to the Providence of God, there was a need to appear and he reminded the shepherds and the faithful of the Church how they must adhere firmly to the truth and how they should correct the paths of their lives. Even when Peter did not appear to be seen in a dream or openly, he, in a mysterious manner known only to heaven, acted and still acts always, for our salvation.

Life after death to the Holy Apostles was as apparent as is the sun to those who have eyes. Though their prayers may God also open our spiritual eyes, to know where we are going and what awaits us after death.

O Lord Jesus, All-merciful, deliver us from the darkness into the light according to Your mercy and through the prayers of Your Holy Apostles.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.