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Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa

Archdiocese of Good Hope

All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and
forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most
Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all the Saints. And
let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life to Christ our God. Amen.
TONE 2 3 MAY 2020

Christ is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
3RD SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA
SUNDAY OF THE HOLY MYRRH-BEARERS
The Feast of the Eight Holy Myrrh-bearers: Our Lady, Theotokos, (“Mother of James and
Joses”), St Mary of Magdala, St Mary Cleophas, St Mary of Bethany, St Martha of Bethany, St Susanna, St Joanna Chuza, St
Salome Alphaeus (“Mother of St James and St John), St Joseph of Arimathea and St Nikodemos - St Timothy & St Maura of
Egypt – St Theodosios, Abbot of Kiev Far Caves Monastery & Founder of Coenobitic Monasticism in Russia – St Peter the
Wonderworker, Bishop of Argos, Peloponnesos – The Svenskaya Icon of our Lady, Theotokos – The Dormition Icon of our
Lady, Theotokos, from Constantinople to Kiev Caves Monastery – St Mamai of Georgia – St Michael & St Arsenios of Ulompo,
Georgia – St Ecumenios the Wonderworker of Trikala

R ESUR REC TION G OSPEL 4 : LU KE 24 : 1 - 12

P R OKE IME NON – P SALM 117 – T ONE 2

My Strength and My Hymn is the Lord, and became my Salvation!


The Lord Chastened and Corrected me, but He did not give me up to Death!
T H E B OOK OF THE AP OSTLE S ’ AC TS 6 : 1 – 7
In those days, when the number of Disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the
Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. The Twelve summoned the multitude of
Disciples and said: “It is not desirable that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables. Therefore, Brethren,
seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and Wisdom, whom we may appoint
over this business. We will give ourselves continually to Prayer and the Ministry of the Word.”
And their words pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of Faith and the Holy Spirit, and
Philip Prochoros, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the
Apostles; and when they had prayed they laid hands on them.
And the Word of God spread, and the number of Disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the
Priests were Obedient to the Faith.
✳ "... when the number of Disciples was multiplying…”  “Disciples” generally refers to ALL FAITHFUL BELIEVERS
 The numbers of NEW COVENANT FAITHFUL WERE AND FOLLOWERS OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS
INCREASING EVERY DAY, and THEIR SACRED TASKS CHRIST, and not only to His Twelve Apostles or
INCREASED ACCORDINGLY. those who were close to Him, who accompanied
✳ "... a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists … Him during His Public Ministry.
widows were neglected in the daily distribution…”  AS FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST we are eager to LEARN
 “The Hebrews” referred to THE LOCAL JEWISH CHRISTIANS ALL THE SACRED TEACHINGS AND COMMANDMENTS OF
IN JERUSALEM WHO SPOKE ARAMAIC. CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR so that we can APPLY THEM to
 “...the Hellenists...” were GREEK-SPEAKING JEWISH our every word, thought and deed:
CHRISTIANS from other parts OF THE HELLENISED  THIS IS LIFE IN CHRIST, which requires much effort and
WORLD who had settled IN JERUSALEM. a Faithful willingness to OBEY GOD at all times.
 According to St John Chrysostom, this complaint ✳ “…It is not desirable that we should leave the Word of
showed A LACK OF ORDER AMONG THE QUICKLY GROWING God and serve tables…”
MULTITUDE OF FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS.  THE APOSTLES NEEDED TO
 THE ‘NEGLECT’ of the Hellenistic widows and orphans 1. “…MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS…”
WAS CERTAINLY NOT MALICIOUS NOR INTENTIONAL. 2. “…BAPTISING them in the Name of the Father,
 So it is evident that VARIOUS PROBLEMS that faced the and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…”
early Church AROSE NOT ONLY FROM OUTSIDERS, BUT 3. “…TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS …” that
ALSO DUE TO DISSENSION OR MISUNDERSTANDING FROM our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us to
WITHIN. do.
 However, THESE various initial difficulties WERE QUICKLY  THIS IS OUR ORIGINAL SACRED VERBAL TRADITION – from
RESOLVED DUE TO THE MUTUAL RESPECT AND LOVE OF Christ to His Apostles to ‘all Nations.
ONE ANOTHER within the Holy Church of Christ.  THE HOLY CHURCH OF CHRIST WAS GROWING RAPIDLY and the
 PROBLEMS HAVE ALWAYS ARISEN DUE TO OUR SINFUL, SELFISH persecution against Christians had already
NATURE that controls our words, thoughts and begun.
deeds.  It was only a matter of time before THE APOSTLES WOULD
 All pROBLEMS MUST ALWAYS BE VERY QUICKLY REPENTED, ALL BE MARTYRED AND EXECUTED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF
RESOLVED AND FORGIVEN, so that we may MAKE GOOD ST JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN who lived until
SPIRITUAL PROGRESS BY LIVING IN CHRIST WHILE approximately 103.
CONSTANTLY CORRECTING AND REPENTING OUR OWN  To this day, THE FIRST STEP OF OUR LIFE IN CHRIST REQUIRES
PERSONAL FLAWS, which is the entire Purpose of this THE ACQUISITION OF OUR SACRED VERBAL TRADITION –
earthly life, before Eternity. even before we try to read and understand our
✳ “…The Twelve summoned the multitude of Disciples…” Written Tradition – Holy Scripture.
 “The Twelve” refers to THE TWELVE FAITHFUL APOSTLES OF  WITHOUT THE APOSTOLIC TEACHINGS OF OUR HOLY FATHERS,
CHRIST. St Matthew had replaced Judas Iscariot. WE CANNOT PROPERLY APPRECIATE AND COMPREHEND the
True Teachings and the Life-giving Holy Mysteries

3 R D
S UND AY OF P ASC HA – THE H OLY MY R R H - BE AR ER S – 3 M AY 2020 1
of our Lord Jesus Christ and His New Covenant of Journeys. AFTER THE DORMITION OF OUR LADY,
Love. THEOTOKOS, ST PROCHOROS ACCOMPANIED ST JOHN THE
 As Orthodox Christians, we all ought to ASSIST OUR HOLY BELOVED APOSTLE AND THEOLOGIAN, and was BANISHED
FATHERS WITH THE MUNDANE DUTIES AND NEEDS OF OUR WITH HIM TO THE ISLAND OF PATMOS, where St John’s
HOLY CHURCH “Book of Revelation” was written. After their
 We all ought to FULFIL WHATEVER IS NECESSARY FOR THE release from exile, St Prochoros returned to
MAINTENANCE, CARE AND SUSTENANCE OF OUR PARISH Nicomedia, having been Ordained by St Peter as
CHURCH – i.e. the church and our Brethren. Bishop. After converting many pagans to Christ he
 In this way, our BISHOPS AND PRIESTS CAN FULFIL THEIR was finally MARTYRED IN ANTIOCH.
SACRED DUTIES to God and to His Holy Flock 4. ST NICANOR was one OF THE 70 APOSTLES of Christ and,
UNIMPEDED. ON THE SAME DAY AS ST STEPHEN, HE WAS ALSO STONED TO
✳ “…seek out … seven men of good reputation, full of the DEATH after being falsely accused as a
Holy Spirit and Wisdom…” blasphemer.
 THE FAITHFUL CHOSE SEVEN MEN who had these good 5. ST TIMON was one OF THE 70 APOSTLES of Christ and was
qualities of character to become THE FIRST DEACONS Ordained by the Apostles as BISHOP OF BOSTRA,
OF CHRIST’S CHURCH. Arabia where he was BRUTALLY PERSECUTED BY THE
 THE WOMEN ASSISTED THESE DEACONS to fulfil their duties JUDEANS AND THE PAGANS, AND EVENTUALLY MARTYRED.
AND WERE LATER ORDAINED AS ‘DEACONESSES.’ 6. ST PARMENAS was one OF THE 70 APOSTLES OF CHRIST.
 DEACONS CAN BE ORDAINED INTO THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD, After preaching for many years throughout Asia
while DEACONESSES CONTINUE AS ASSISTANTS TO THE Minor, he remained in Macedonia, having been
PRIESTS AND DEACONS, particularly administering to Ordained as BISHOP OF SOLI. Circa 98, he was
the women and children. MARTYRED IN PHILIPPI, MACEDONIA during the
 Deacons who wish to become Priests, must BE MARRIED persecution of Emperor Trajan.
BEFORE THEIR ORDINATION INTO THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD, in 7. NICHOLAS THE PROSELYTE FROM ANTIOCH HAD CONVERTED
order to prevent any possible scandal. FROM PAGANISM TO JUDAISM. Then he experienced a
 Those who are UNMARRIED MUST LIVE IN HOLY CELIBACY. second conversion - turning from Judaism to
✳ “ … whom we may appoint over this business….” Christianity.
 ONLY THE APOSTLES, AND NOW THE PRIESTS AND BISHOPS  He had deep pagan roots - unlike the other six
MAY ORDAIN DEACONS AS THEIR SANCTIFIED ASSISTANTS. Deacons who had a pure Old Covenant lineage –
✳ “…We will give ourselves continually to Prayer and the and was NEITHER IMPRESSED BY NOR CONCERNED ABOUT
Ministry of the Word…” THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS. He was a ‘free thinker’ who
 THE MINISTRIES of “…Prayer and the Word…” and of embraced new ideas and concepts, so HE TAUGHT A
taking care of the needs of the Holy Flock of Christ ‘DOCTRINE OF COMPROMISE’ - implying that total
ARE VERY SIGNIFICANT HOLY COMMITMENTS that are separation between Christianity and occult
ESSENTIAL TO THE NEW COVENANT OF LOVE AND SERVICE, paganism was not essential at all! HE
but cannot be properly performed by the same INTERMINGLED ALL RELIGIOUS BELIEFS and saw no
people – Christ’s Apostles, Bishops and Priests. reason to avoid fellowship with those still
 That is the reason for our Holy Church having immersed in the paganism of the Roman Empire
DIVERSIFIED HER SACRED MINISTRIES. and its countless cults.
 BISHOPS AND PRIESTS NEED TO FOCUs on “… Prayer and the  OCCULTISM WAS A MAJOR FORCE THAT WARRED AGAINST THE
Ministry of the Word…” EARLY CHURCH, so slipping in and out of paganism
 “PRAYER” CONSISTS OF THE PRIESTLY SUPPLICATIONS ON OUR was easy for young or weak believers to do since
BEHALF while performing THE HOLY MYSTERIES of most of their families and friends were still
Baptism and Chrismation, Unction, Confession, pagans. A converted Gentile often found it very
Eucharist, Holy Betrothal and Marriage, difficult to stay away from all pagan influence.
Ordinations AND ALL THE OTHER ESSENTIAL HOLY  NICHOLAS ENCOURAGED HIS FOLLOWERS TO FOLLOW BOTH
SERVICES of our Life in Christ throughout each year. CHRISTIANITY AND PAGANISM without being so strict
 “MINISTRY OF THE WORD” CONSISTS OF THE TEACHINGS AND about separation from the world in order to be a
COMMANDMENTS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, as well as Faithful Disciple of Christ.
the CONSTANT SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE, CLEANSING AND  THIS, IN FACT, WAS THE “DOCTRINE” OF THE ‘NICOLAITANS’
HEALING of Christ’s Holy Flock. THAT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST UTTERLY ABHORRED AND
 Deacons and laity – male and female – are required REJECTED for it caused A VERY WEAK AND ERRONEOUS
to FULFIL ALL THE OTHER SACRED TASKS THAT ARE VERSION OF OUR TRUE FAITH, which had NEITHER DIVINE
ESSENTIAL TO OUR SPIRITUAL WELFARE AND COMMUNITY. POWER NOR PERSONAL CONVICTION being merely
 All who serve the needs of our Holy Church must not CORRUPTED, DEFEATED, AND WORLDLY SELF-INDULGENCE
only BE SPIRITUALLY COMMITTED, but POSSESS THE SAME AND MISGUIDED DELUSION.
QUALITIES REQUIRED OF THOSE FIRST ELECTED AND ✳ “…whom they set before the Apostles; and when they
ORDAINED DEACONS: had prayed they laid hands on them
1. Good reputation and integrity  THE SYNERGY BETWEEN LAITY AND CLERGY WAS
2. Full of the Holy Spirit (Virtuous and Loving) DEMONSTRATED in the selection of these Church
3. Wise – sensitive and perceptive to the needs of Servants and leaders.
others.  Whether these first chosen Deacons held the
✳ “…they chose Stephen, a man full of Faith and the Holy Liturgical Office of Deacon, or whether their
Spirit, and Philip, Prochoros, Nicanor, Timon, Diaconate was more Service-oriented, THEY
Parmenas and Nicholas, a proselyte from Antioch RECEIVED THEIR SACRED OFFICE BY MEANS OF HOLY
1. ST STEPHEN was one OF THE 70 APOSTLES of Christ and ORDINATION BY THE DIVINELY AUTHORISED APOSTLES OF
REMAINED PROFOUNDLY FAITHFUL to the end of his short CHRIST.
life-span. He was unjustly accused of blasphemy ✳ “…and a great many of the Priests were Obedient to
and stoned to death, yet continued to pray for his the Faith…”
persecutors. He was entitled “ARCH DEACON” and  MANY OLD COVENANT JUDEANS, INCLUDING THEIR PRIESTS,
“PROTOMARTYR” for he was THE FIRST CHOSEN AND THE BELIEVED IN CHRIST, which caused the persecution of
FIRST TO BE MARTYRED. the Christian Communities to intensify.
2. ST PHILIP was one OF THE 70 APOSTLES OF CHRIST. He left  THE INCREASE in numbers of Faithful Disciples of Christ
Jerusalem after the stoning of St Stephen and St ONLY OCCURS WHEN THREE GREAT PILLARS OF CHURCH
Nicanor and went to Samaria, where he converted LIFE ARE FULLY IN PLACE:
many souls to Christ, including the Court Official of 1. WORSHIP
Queen Candace of Ethiopia. He was Ordained as 2. EVANGELISM
BISHOP OF TRALLES IN ASIA MINOR where he Faithfully 3. CHARITY/LOVE
fulfilled his Sacred Mission until HE REPOSED IN PEACE  Furthermore, this wonderful Growth occurs WHEN
AT AN ADVANCED AGE. EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL STRUGGLES OR PROBLEMS HAVE
3. ST PROCHOROS was one OF THE 70 APOSTLES of Christ who BEEN ADDRESSED, RESOLVED AND REPENTED.
ACCOMPANIED ST PETER on many of his Missionary

2 3 R D
S U ND AY OF P ASCH A – THE H OLY MY R R H - BE ARE RS – 3 M AY 2020
 THE FIRST PRESBYTERS (PRIESTS) WERE CHRISTIAN CONVERTS INTO THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD of Christ until they have
WHO HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN HEBREW PRIESTS. AT LEAST A FEW YEARS’ SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE in the Holy
 but THEY HAD NOT NECESSARILY BEEN ORDAINED INTO THE Church.
PRIESTLY MINISTRY WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH This is in order TO PREVENT PREVIOUS OR OTHER BELIEFS AND
AFTER THEIR CONVERSION to the New Covenant of PRACTISES FROM INFILTRATING AND DISTORTING ORTHODOX
God. TEACHINGS AND WORSHIP, which must be carefully and
 ACCORDING TO THE CANONS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH, correctly preserved for all generations.
RECENT CONVERTS TO ORTHODOXY CANNOT BE ORDAINED
THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST MARK 15 : 43 – 16 : 8
At that time, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the Kingdom of
God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the Body of Jesus. Pilate marvelled that He was already dead
– and, summoning the Centurion, he asked him whether He was already dead. And when he learnt from the
Centurion that He was dead, he granted the Body to Joseph.
And he bought a linen shroud, and taking Him down, wrapped Him in the linen shroud, and laid Him in a Tomb that
had been hewn out of rock. And he rolled a stone against the door of the Tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary, the Mother of Joses saw where He was laid. And when the Sabbath had past, Mary
Magdalene and Mary, the Mother of James, and Salome, bought spices so that they might Anoint Him. And very
early on the first day of the week, they went to the Tomb when the sun had risen.
And they were saying one to another: “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the Tomb?” And looking up,
they saw that the stone had rolled back – for it was very large. And entering the Tomb, they saw a young Man
sitting on the right side – dressed in a white robe. And they were amazed.
He said to them: “Do not be amazed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth Who was crucified. He has Risen – He is not here.
Behold the place where they laid Him. So, go – tell His Disciples, and Peter, that He is going before you to Galilee.
There you will see Him, as He told you.”
And they went out and fled from the Tomb, for trembling and astonishment had come upon them. And they said
nothing to anyone - for they were afraid.
✳ If His Faithful Apostles had buried our Lord Jesus Christ, when a spear pierced His Precious Body between
the sceptics and enemies of Divine Truth could the fifth and sixth ribs, from which Water and
claim that His Most Precious Body had simply been Blood had flowed.
hidden away by them and that there was no ✳ “…he bought a linen shroud… taking Him down,
Resurrection. wrapped Him in the linen shroud, and laid Him in
✳ "... Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the a Tomb that had been hewn out of rock...”
Council, who was … looking for the Kingdom of  ALTHOUGH THIS REFERS TO ST JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, ST
God, took courage … went to Pilate, and asked for NIKODEMOS HAD ASSISTED HIM with the Unnailing and
the Body of Jesus…” Taking Down from the Cross of our Lord Jesus
 St Joseph of Arimathea was AN HONOURABLE MEMBER OF Christ.
THE SANHEDRIN COUNCIL.  ST JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA PURCHASED THE FINEST LINEN WITH
 TOGETHER WITH ST NIKODEMOS, St Joseph of Arimathea WHICH TO WRAP OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S PRECIOUS BODY,
WAS ACKNOWLEDGED AS BEING GOOD AND JUST. before carrying It, assisted by St Nikodemos to the
 BOTH MEN HAD GOOD, HONEST REPUTATIONS SO WERE HIGHLY new Tomb.
RESPECTED BY THE JUDEANS, which refuted any  ST JOSEPH’S WEALTH AND INFLUENTIAL SOCIAL STATUS ARE
possibility that our Lord’s Body was merely IMPLIED by
removed and hidden by His Faithful Apostles and 1. GOING DIRECTLY TO THE ROMAN GOVERNOR, Pontius
Disciples. Pilate
 As a wealthy and highly prominent, respected 2. ASKING AND BEING GRANTED PERMISSION to take our
member of Hebrew society, ST JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA Lord’s Body off the Cross
WAS ABLE TO PERSONALLY APPROACH THE ROMAN 3. PURCHASING THE FINEST LINEN – more than 14 feet in
GOVERNOR, PONTIUS PILATE, to request the Body of length, for the shroud and burial wrappings.
Christ. (Soudarion)
 PONTIUS PILATE HAD ACKNOWLEDGED THAT OUR LORD JESUS 4. POSSESSING A NEW ROCK-HEWN TOMB in a garden
BEEN UNJUSTLY ARRESTED, TRIED, PUNISHED AND  ST NIKODEMOS was also wealthy enough to have
CONDEMNED TO DEATH BY CRUCIFIXION. PURCHASED 100 POUNDS OF BITTER ALOES with which to
✳ “…Pilate marvelled that He was already dead …” anoint, preserve and seal the grave wrappings
 Crucifixion was the worst torture, for IT TOOK MANY that entombed our Lord’s Body in a hardened
HOURS OF EXCRUCIATING AGONY BEFORE THE CRUCIFIED ‘shell.’
DIED.  That newly hewn tomb signifies is that CHRIST SUFFERED
 Those who were crucified would not only suffer the A DEATH
indescribable pain of being nailed by the wrists to 1. UNLIKE ANY OTHER human being –
the cross-bar and by the ankles to the post, BUT 2. WITHOUT Spiritual or physical CORRUPTION
THEY WOULD ALSO SLOWLY DROWN FROM THE UNEXHALED 3. leading to ETERNAL VICTORY over the Tomb itself.
LIQUID THAT ACCUMULATED IN THE LUNGS.  The description of THE NEW TOMB according to several
 Our Lord had also suffered THE MOST BRUTAL AND sources, clearly shows that it was a very special
UNLAWFUL SCOURGING BY TWO TORTURERS WHO BEAT HIM Tomb FIT FOR A MOST IMPORTANT PERSON – and Who is
160 TIMES – FAR EXCEEDINGLY ALL LEGAL LIMITS! This more important and influential than our Lord
alone would have caused severe external and Jesus Christ – our One and Only Eternal High Priest
internal injury, extreme suffering and eventual and King – our Only Eternal God Incarnate!
death.  THEY ALSO GATHERED UP EVERYTHING WAS BLOOD-STAINED,
 These facts confirm that OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST CHOSE such as the ground that surrounded the Cross, the
THE EXACT HOUR OF HIS DEATH, having Sacrificed nails, the crown of thorns, as well as the board
Himself freely and willingly for the sake of all that stated His “crime,” etc – all TO BE BURIED WITH
humanity. HIM.
✳ “…when he learnt … that He was dead, he granted the  THE MANDYLION, OR FACE CLOTH WAS GENTLY AND
Body to Joseph…” RESPECTFULLY PLACED OVER HIS FACE as soon as they
 Usually crucifixion victims suffered for a very long took Him down from the Cross, which REMAINED
time, sometimes for days, before dying but WHEN A SEALED INSIDE THE OUTER BURIAL CLOTHS, which were
SABBATH DAY WAS APPROACHING, CRUCIFIED JUDEANS’ soaked with bitter aloes and dried as hard as
LEGS WERE SHATTERED. concrete.
 Their terrible “green-stick fracture” injuries caused  Therefore, when St Peter and St John saw THE FOLDED
them EXTREME ADDITIONAL AGONY, – the shock of MANDYLION LAID FOLDED AND SET ASIDE, they were
which ravaged and killed them. amazed, for it CONFIRMED OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S
 AS PROPHESIED, NOT A BONE OF OUR LORD WAS BROKEN, for GLORIOUS RESURRECTION. (JOHN 20:7)
He had already Departed, which was proved
R D
3 PASCHAL SUNDAY – THE HOLY MYRRH-BEARERS 12 MAY 2020 3
✳ “… And he rolled a stone against the door of the Judgement Day and the beginning of “ the Age of
Tomb...” Ages” – Eternity (forever present.)
 A VERY HEAVY STONE HAD BEEN PREPARED FOR THE SEALING OF  “…MARY, THE MOTHER OF JAMES…” is another oblique
THE ENTRANCE to the tomb, which REQUIRED SEVERAL reference to OUR LADY, THEOTOKOS,
MEN TO ROLL INTO PLACE.  St “…SALOME…”IS ONE OF THE DAUGHTERS OF ST JOSEPH THE
 ST JOSEPH AND ST NIKODEMOS HAS BEEN ACCOMPANIED BY BETROTHED AND HIS LATE WIFE – another MATERNAL
TWO ROMAN SOLDIERS who were ordered to keep COUSIN AND ‘STEP-DAUGHTER’ OF THEOTOKOS.
guard at the Tomb to ensure that THE FAITHFUL  Christ died just before the Sabbath so THE USUAL OLD
COULD NOT REMOVE OUR LORD’S BODY AS THE JUDEAN COVENANT BURIAL CUSTOMS COULD NOT BE COMPLETED
LEADERS ALLEGED. by His Mother and Disciples, so THEY HAD TO RETURN
 However, AFTER THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK – Sunday – to do so.
CHRIST, AN EARTHQUAKE CAUSED THE HUGE STONE TO ROLL  ACCORDING TO OLD COVENANT LAW, THE BODIES OF THE
AWAY from the entrance, TO REVEAL THAT THE TOMB DECEASED WERE NOT WASHED BUT ANOINTED WITH
WAS EMPTY, for Christ had already Risen. AROMATIC OILS.
 THE TWO ROMAN GUARDS WERE TERRIFIED – not only to see  In cases of violent death, all blood and body parts
that THE TOMB WAS EMPTY, but also at the presence of were carefully gathered, wrapped and buried
ARCHANGEL GABRIEL who announced the together with the rest of the body.
Resurrection to the Eight Holy Myrrh-bearing ✳ “…entering the Tomb, they saw a young Man sitting …
Women. dressed in a white robe. And they were
 When they reported to their superiors, THE TWO SOLDIERS amazed….”
WERE BRIBED TO REMAIN SILENT ABOUT WHAT HAD  The EIGHT HOLY MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN, led by our Most
ACTUALLY HAPPENED and to lie about the Faithful Blessed Lady Theotokos, FULFILLED THEIR SACRED
having “stolen and hidden” the Body of our Lord DUTY WITH PROFOUND LOVE AND RESPECT FOR CHRIST.
Jesus Christ.  They were naturally shocked to behold the Archangel
Habitual liars, thieves and deceivers always accuse others of in the Tomb, instead of the Precious Body of Christ.
their own sins because they REJECT Divine Truth – the ✳ “…Do not be amazed… Jesus of Nazareth …was
Absolute Truth – since it is totally alien and repulsive to crucified… has Risen … is not here…tell His
them. Disciples, and Peter, that He is going … to
 OVER THE NEXT 40 DAYS, OUR RESURRECTED LORD JESUS Galilee… you will see Him, as He told you...”
CHRIST APPEARED AND SPOKE TO MANY OF HIS DISCIPLES,  ARCHANGEL GABRIEL - BEARER OF GOOD TIDINGS –
AS WELL AS TO OTHERS, who believed, and accepted COMFORTED AND REASSURED them, ANNOUNCED the
His Divine Truth and New Covenant of Love. Resurrection, He INSTRUCTED them to tell the other
✶ “…Mary Magdalene and Mary, the Mother of Joses saw Disciples and REMINDED them to go to Jerusalem as
where He was laid…” Christ had commanded before His Passion.
 ST MARY OF MAGDALA WAS AN ELDERLY, FAITHFUL DISCIPLE of  ST PETER WAS SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED, revealing our
Christ who had become A CLOSE COMPANION OF OUR Lord’s special Care and Love for one who - having
LADY, THEOTOKOS. denied Him at a crucial time - had REPENTED.
 OUR LADY, THEOTOKOS, ALWAYS KEPT HERSELF IN THE  According to St Theophylact the DEEPLY REPENTANT AND
BACKGROUND so that all attention was focussed on SORROWFUL ST PETER WOULD HAVE BELIEVED THAT HAVING
Her Lord and Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. DENIED OUR LORD HE WAS NO LONGER HIS APOSTLE!’ Yet
 SHE ALWAYS MAINTAINED A NATURALLY, SINCERE, HUMBLE AND the Angel’s words showed that OUR LORD HAD
LOW-KEY ROLE in the background of Her Beloved ALREADY FORGIVEN ST PETER AND STILL LOVED HIM AS
Son and God’s Mission on Earth. BEFORE.
 REFERENCES TO HER IN HOLY SCRIPTURE ARE THUS OBLIQUE  This shows us that WHENEVER AND WHATEVER WE TRULY
such as “… the Mother of Joses…” REPENT WITH CONTRITE SORROW AND HUMILITY, WE ARE
 She never sought any special honours nor attention FORGIVEN BY GOD WHO LOVES US for He neither
for Herself but GUIDED AND ASSISTED HIS OTHER requires nor desires anyone to suffer Eternal
FAITHFUL DISCIPLES, for She is indeed OUR ALL HOLY Condemnation and Perpetual Spiritual Death.
MOTHER WHOSE INTERCESSORY PRAYERS FOR OUR  Thus WE MUST NEVER DARE TO JUDGE ONE ANOTHER AND NOT
SALVATION CONTINUOUSLY PROTECT, GUIDE AND ASSIST EVEN OURSELVES for God’s Divine Love and Grace is
US. far beyond anything we can begin to understand
 ST JOSES WAS ONE OF ST JOSEPH THE BETROTHED’S SONS FROM or appreciate.
HIS LATE WIFE, SALOME, a sister of St Anna. ✶ “...they said nothing to anyone ... “ DOES NOT MEAN THAT
 So ST JOSES WAS ONE OF HER COUSINS, WHO BECAME - due to THEY NEVER TOLD THE OTHERS WHAT THEY HAD
Mosaic Law, according to Her Betrothal to St EXPERIENCED
Joseph Her Venerable Guardian - ONE OF HER  Theotokos “...kept many things to Herself...” only
“STEP-CHILDREN.” speaking of them when necessary TO CONFIRM THE
 OUR LADY, THEOTOKOS, ACCOMPANIED BY ST MARY OF DIVINE TRUTH – and then ONLY TO THOSE WHO WOULD
MAGDALA AND ST JOHN THE BELOVED DISCIPLE (another FULLY APPRECIATE AND UNDERSTAND THEM.
close relative) HAD KEPT FAITHFUL VIGIL AT THE FOOT OF  ONLY AFTER OUR RISEN LORD JESUS CHRIST HAD APPEARED TO
THE CROSS, OTHERS, DID THEY SPEAK OF THEIR ENCOUNTER.
 They also WITNESSED THE UNNAILING AND TAKING DOWN ✶ “...they were afraid...” referred to THE INTENSE SHOCK of
FROM THE CROSS of our Lord Jesus by St Joseph and what they had all witnessed and Experienced, AS
St Nikodemos, FOLLOWED BY HIS BURIAL in the Tomb. WELL AS DUE TO A RELUCTANCE TO TELL THOSE WHO MIGHT
 Having been APPOINTED BY CHRIST AS THE PROTECTOR OF NOT HAVE BELIEVED THEM
OUR LADY, ST JOHN WOULD NOT HAVE LEFT HER there.  The Apostles might have regarded the Myrrh-bearing
✳ “…when the Sabbath had past, Mary Magdalene and Women as being “hysterical” or “delusional” due to
Mary, the Mother of James, and Salome, bought their intense grief.
spices, so that they might go to Anoint Him…”  ALTHOUGH OUR LADY, THEOTOKOS, MIGHT HAVE BEEN
 “…The Sabbath…” referred to SATURDAY AND ALSO ALL INDESCRIBABLY TRAUMATISED BY HAVING WITNESSED
MAJOR FEAST DAYS, such as the Old Covenant CHRIST’S TERRIBLE SUFFERING, SHE WAS PROFOUNDLY
Pascha (Passover). FAITHFUL AND FILLED WITH DIVINE GRACE that enabled
 ACCORDING TO THE NEW COVENANT AND OUR FIRST HOLY Her - more than anyone else - to appreciate and
PASCHA, THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS understand all things pertaining to Almighty God
CELEBRATED ON SUNDAY – the first day of the week, and His Divine Will for all humanity.
which is dedicated to our Lord God and thus “THE  In Her Inspired Wisdom and Love for God and Her
LORD’S DAY.” fellow mankind, SHE KEPT MANY OF THE DIVINELY
 SATURDAY, being the seventh day of the week, IS THE MYSTERIOUS THINGS TO HERSELF, knowing that others
DAY OF REST – THE SABBATH – ON WHICH WE would either not understand or would misinterpret
COMMEMORATE ALL THOSE WHO HAVE REPOSED and or blaspheme them.
resting from their daily labours until our General
Resurrection on “the Eighth Day,” which is

4 3 R D
S U ND AY OF P ASCH A – THE H OLY MY R R H - BE ARE RS – 3 M AY 2020
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and
forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most
Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all the Saints. And
let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life to Christ our God. Amen.
8 MAY 2020

Christ is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
ST JOHN THE DIVINE THEOLOGIAN, EVANGELIST & BELOVED
APOSTLE
Also the Feast of St Arsenios the Great of Rome – St Arsenios the Lover of Labour
& St Pimen the Ascetic of Kiev Far Caves Monastery

P R OKE IME NON P SALM 18/19 - S T J OH N THE D IV INE T HE OL OGIAN

His Proclamation went forth into all the Earth ...


The Heavens declare the Glory of God!
THE FIRST UNIVERSAL EPISTLE OF ST JOHN 1:1 – 7
That which was from the beginning - which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked
upon, and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life - And the Life was made manifest, and we saw It,
and Testify to It, and proclaim to you the Eternal Life, Who was with the Father, and Who was made manifest to us -
that which we have seen and heard - we proclaim also to you, so that you may have Fellowship with us. And our
Fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.
And we are writing this so that our Joy may be complete. And this is the Message that we have heard from Him and
proclaim to you, for God is Light and in Him is no Darkness at all. If we say we have Fellowship with Him and we
walk in Darkness, we lie, and do not Live according to the Truth. If we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we
have Fellowship with one another, and the Blood of Jesus, His Son, Cleanses us from all sin.
✶ “…that which was from the beginning…” ✳ “…the Life was made manifest… we saw … Testify …
 Contrary to heretics who claim Communion directly and proclaim … the Eternal Life, Who was with the
with God through “spiritual” (non-material) means, Father… Who was made manifest to us …”
ST JOHN the Divine Theologian and Beloved  CHRIST OUR LORD IS LIFE ITSELF – ETERNAL LIFE – in Whom
Apostle of Christ TAUGHT US COMMUNION WITH GOD we ought to Live.
THROUGH HIS INCARNATE SON – ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD  HE BECAME MAN IN ORDER TO BE PHYSICALLY WITH US. He
TO THE HOLY EUCHARIST – the Body and Blood of remains with us, but invisibly, until Judgement
Christ – which is the physicality of Christ that is Day.
repulsive and incomprehensible to heretics.  His Apostles and Disciples
 Our Lord Jesus Christ is the INCARNATE ETERNAL SON AND 1. had been our Lord’s CLOSEST COMPANIONS
WORD OF GOD WHO HAS ALWAYS EXISTED, just like God 2. KNEW HIM WELL as Son of Man and Son of God.
our Heavenly Father and God the Holy Spirit. 3. were granted Divine Revelations, Authority and
 According to the Will of our Heavenly Father, HE Empowerment
CREATED EVERYTHING – visible and invisible – FROM 4. WITNESSED AND EXPERIENCED His Divine Truth personally
NOTHINGNESS, together with the Life-giving Holy 5. TESTIFY AND PROCLAIM HIS DIVINE TRUTH honestly and
Spirit. truthfully to all mankind.
 The three Persons of the One Godhead always act  “...with the Father..” indicates ETERNITY WITHOUT
together in Perfect Harmony and Love. BEGINNING, because GOD THE WORD - being the
✳ “…we have heard… seen … looked upon, and touched Only-Begotten Son of God Who is One with God the
… concerning the Word of Life…” Father and thus Consubtantial - IS ETERNAL AND
 The term “we” is a reference to THE HOLY APOSTLES OF UNCREATED.
CHRIST WHOSE FIRST-HAND WITNESSING AND TESTIMONY IS  The Truth that THE WORD AND SON OF GOD ALWAYS EXISTED
TRUE – unlike that of the false apostles. is signified by the Divine Revealed Words: “In the
 “… the Word of Life…” is OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST Who is beginning was the Word...”
OUR DIVINE CREATOR, SAVIOUR AND LORD GOD.  THE DIVINITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS REVEALED in
 St John the Divine Theologian made A DISTINCTION His sinless and Perfect Life on Earth – especially
BETWEEN DIVINE REVELATION -“…from the THROUGH HIS DIVINE REVELATIONS, TEACHINGS AND
beginning…” - AND HUMAN SENSORY PERCEPTION - “... MIRACLES.
heard... seen...” YET HAD NO PROBLEM CONNECTING ✳ “…we proclaim also to you, so that you may have
THEM. Fellowship with us. And … with the Father, and
 NOTE ST JOHN’S CLARITY OF TEACHING WITH REGARD TO with His Son, Jesus Christ…”
CHRIST’S TWO NATURES:  Without THE DIVINE TRUTH OF CHRIST, WHICH IS CAREFULLY
1. HIS DIVINE NATURE AND ATTRIBUTES -“... from the PRESERVED INTACT AND PASSED DOWN to us throughout
beginning... the Word of Life...” – THE ETERNAL SON all ages, we cannot correctly LIVE IN CHRIST AND
OF GOD – the Almighty Divine Creator – WHOSE WORD ENJOY A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR LORD GOD.
GRANTS US TRUTH, SALVATION AND LIFE ETERNAL.  “...Koinonia...” is far more that simply “…Fellowship…”
 This refers to THE GENERATION WITHOUT BEGINNING of God because it is OUR PERSONAL LIFE IN CHRIST TOGETHER
the Son Who is CO-EXISTENT WITH GOD THE FATHER. WITH OTHER FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST.
2. HIS HUMAN NATURE AND ATTRIBUTES: “... heard... seen...  Having “...Fellowship with us...” refers to COMMUNION
touched...” – THE SON OF MAN WHO LIVED WITH US IN WITHIN THE HOLY, APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF CHRIST by
ORDER TO CLEANSE, RESTORE, HEAL, ENLIGHTEN AND Living in Christ and regularly partaking of the
REDEEM US. Holy Mysteries, especially Eucharistic Communion.
 There is One Eucharistic Communion on Earth and in
Heaven.
ST JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN, EVANGELIST & BELOVED APOSTLE 8 MAY 2020 5
 St John the Divine Theologian taught us  That “…Light…” is the UNCREATED DIVINE ENERGY
1. There is ONLY ONE, UNITED , HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCH manifested or revealed as DIVINE TRUTH – God’s
OF CHRIST Truth – True Doctrine/Teaching, Virtue and
2. HOLY FELLOWSHIP IS FOUNDED UPON HOLY DOCTRINE – Holiness – TRUE BEHAVIOUR – and Communion with
THE DIVINE TRUTH – the Theological implication of God in His Holy Church – TRUE SPIRITUALITY.
“... with the Father and with His Son, Jesus  THE STRONGEST OF ALL WEAPONS against Spiritual
Christ...” AND ON THE HOLY MYSTERIES Darkness IS OUR LOVE FOR GOD – A STRONG, VIBRANT
all of which LITURGICALLY EXPLAIN SACRED KOINONIA OR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
SACRED COMMUNAL UNITY, HARMONY AND LOVE.  St John addressed THREE FALSE GNOSTIC TEACHINGS on
✳ “…God is Light and in Him is no Darkness at all….” Light.
 GOD IS UNCREATED, DIVINE LIGHT AND DIVINE ENERGY. 1. Union with God is indifferent to sin!
 On rare occasions, certain of our Holy Church Fathers 2. Sin does not exist!
and Saints have actually acquired HOLY 3. Those in union with God cannot sin!
HESYCHASM - A SUPERIOR SPIRITUAL STATE OF  The Truth is
HUMILITY, OBEDIENCE AND PURITY - that allows them 1. FAITH MUST BE EVIDENCED BY GOOD WORKs
to Encounter THE DIVINE PRESENCE OF OUR LORD – to  BY ACQUIRING the Holy Virtue of PURITY - “...practise
behold HIS UNCREATED, DIVINE LIGHT AND ENERGY. the Truth…”
 GOD IS DIVINE LIGHT, ENERGY AND LOVE – the  by establishing and maintaining a RIGHT
Personification of EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD, RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD manifested in a HOLY AND
NURTURING AND LOVING. RIGHTEOUS LIFE IN CHRIST.
 “DARKNESS” SIGNIFIES EVERYTHING NEGATIVE AND WICKED,  by CONSTANTLY REPENTING our sins - SEEKING
WHICH THE EVIL ONE INVENTED in order to corrupt FORGIVENESS AND SPIRITUAL CLEANSING – “... the
and destroy the Beauty and Goodness of God’s Blood of Jesus Christ... Cleanses us from all sin.”
Creation – especially mankind. 2. SIN MOST CERTAINLY DOES EXIST! Our CONSISTENT
✳ “…If we say we have Fellowship with Him and we walk REPENTANCE-CONFESSION IS THE ESTABLISHED BASIS FOR
in Darkness, we lie, and do not Live according to SPIRITUAL GROWTH TOWARDS RIGHTEOUSNESS
the Truth…” 3. Because WE ALL CONTINUALLY SIN we need to make
 THOSE who claim to have a Relationship with God, yet every effort to RESIST TEMPTATION and strive
WHOSE THOUGHTS, WORDS AND DEEDS ARE CORRUPTED AND constantly to REPENT the sins we commit.
SINFUL – opposed to Divine Truth and Life in Christ -  SALVATION IN CHRIST IS A CONTINUOUS PROCESS towards
ETERNALLY CONDEMN THEMSELVES as liars, hypocrites Theosis – REGAINING OUR SACRED LIKENESS TO GOD in
and sinners, UNLESS THEY REPENT. Whose Image and Likeness we were created.
 This is not according to mankind’s criticism or  ONLY BY OUR REPENTANCE-CONFESSION AND OUR FULL
judgement, but ACCORDING TO GOD’S DIVINE TRUTH – PARTICIPATION IN THE LIFE STYLE OF HIS HOLY CHURCH –
His Commandments and Teachings. i.e. BY LIFE IN CHRIST - can we DEVELOP SPIRITUAL
✳ “…walk in the Light … have Fellowship with one STRENGTH AND LOVE that resists temptations.
another …the Blood of Jesus, His Son, Cleanses us The entire Purpose of this life is to regain - to the best of our ability
from all sin…” - our Likeness to God so that we become worthy Citizens and
Co-Heirs of His Eternal Kingdom of Love.
H OLY G OSPE L A CC ORD ING TO S T J OH N 19:25 – 27 & 21: 24-25
At that time, there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary
Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His Mother, and the Disciple whom He Loved, standing there, He said to His
Mother: “Woman: behold Thy son!” He said to the Disciple: “Behold Thy Mother!” And from that very hour that
Disciple took Her to his own home...
... This is the Disciple who Testifies, and wrote these Things, and we know that his Testimony is True. There were also
many other Things that Jesus did, which – if they were written one by one – I suppose that even the world itself
could not contain the Books that would be written! Amen.
✳ This passage is read on the Feast of St John the Divine  Contrary to certain modern usages, THIS IS A
Theologian and Apostle of Christ. SACRED TITLE IN HOLY SCRIPTURE, FOR IT CONVEYS
✳ “…there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, and His DEEP RESPECT AND DISTINCTION.
Mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and 2. By saying to St John, His Beloved Apostle: “...Behold
Mary Magdalene….and the Disciple whom He thy Mother...” our Lord symbolically established
Loved…” the All Pure Virgin Mary’s Role as MOTHER OF ALL
 ST JOHN the Beloved Disciple was a close relative of FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST IN EVERY GENERATION.
our Lady, Theotokos and our Lord Jesus, so COULD 3. IF OUR EVER BLESSED LADY HAD HAD OTHER BIOLOGICAL
WORTHILY ADDRESS HIM BY HIS NAME “JESUS.” CHILDREN, CHRIST WOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO TRUST HER
 However, as His Faithful Disciples who profoundly CARE AND PROTECTION TO ST JOHN AND HIS FAMILY –
Love, Honour and Worship Christ, WE OUGHT TO their close and most trusted relatives. He would
ALWAYS ADDRESS HIM AS “OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST” OR BY not have insulted other siblings.
ANY OF HIS OTHER DIVINE NAMES.  THE “SONS” AND “DAUGHTERS” OR “BROTHERS” AND “”SISTERS”
 ST MARY CLEOPAS – “…His Mother’s sister…” – is actually who are mentioned in conjunction with the
our Blessed Lady, Theotokos’ MATERNAL COUSIN AND Blessed Virgin and our Lord ARE COUSINS, [as
‘STEP-DAUGHTER’ through Her Betrothal to St Mary’s mentioned before.]
father, St Joseph the Betrothed.  THEY ARE THE CHILDREN OF HER LATE AUNT, SALOME (sister of
 CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS WERE REFERRED TO AS “BROTHERS” OR St Anna) AND HER LEGAL GUARDIAN, ST JOSEPH THE
“SISTERS” rather than as cousins, aunts or uncles. BETROTHED.
 St Mary Magdalene was AN ELDERLY FAITHFUL DISCIPLE  THE TEMPLE PRIESTS HAD ENTRUSTED THE YOUNG, VIRGIN
OF CHRIST AND CLOSE COMPANION OF OUR LADY, MARY TO THE PROTECTIVE , SACRED GUARDIANSHIP OF ST
THEOTOKOS. She was independently wealthy and JOSEPH THE BETROTHED.
influential in Judaic society, and, being  HE WAS IN HIS LATE EIGHTIES AND WAS A MOST RIGHTEOUS
profoundly devout, had dedicated her life to God. MAN WHO COULD BE TRUSTED to protect the chastity of
✳ “…He said to His Mother: “Woman: behold Thy son!” He the young maiden and her fellow virgin
said to the Disciple: “Behold Thy Mother!” And companions.
from that very hour that Disciple took Her to his  SHE HAD TAKEN A VOW OF CHASTITY FROM EARLY CHILDHOOD.
own home...  VOWS were regarded as being so Sacred they COULD
 SEVERAL IMPORTANT TRUTHS CONCERNING THE EVER BLESSED NEVER BE BROKEN,
THEOTOKOS ARE EVIDENT:  GOD CHOSE HER ELDERLY UNCLE TO PROTECT HER and take
1. By addressing His All Holy Mother as “...Woman...” OUR care of her since her own family had long since
LORD USED A TERM OF DIGNITY AND AFFECTION. passed away.

6 ST JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN, EVANGELIST & BELOVED APOSTLE 8 MAY 2020


 OUR LADY, THEOTOKOS, IS OBLIQUELY REFERRED TO IN THE  St John is THE BELOVED DISCIPLE AND APOSTLE OF OUR LORD
HOLY GOSPELS as being “the mother of Joses” or JESUS CHRIST WHO ACCOMPANIED HIM AND WITNESSED
James, or Jude, etc. MOST, IF NOT ALL, HIS DIVINE MIRACLES.
 ACCORDING TO JUDAIC LAW AND HER LEGAL BETROTHAL  OUR LORD REVEALED MANY DIVINE MYSTERIES TO ST JOHN
to their elderly Father who was HER RIGHTEOUS who is worthily entitled “Theologian.”
GUARDIAN, they were addressed as Her “sons  ST JOHN DICTATED his Holy Gospel, Epistles, and the
and daughters.” Revelation of Christ, TO AN HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY
The children of St Joseph the Betrothed and his late SCRIBE who was also a Faithful Disciple of Christ
wife, Salome, (a sister of St Anna), were St James and of St John.
the Just (“Adelphotheos” – “Brother of God”), St  The Scribe confirms that “we” – ALL THE OTHER FAITHFUL
Jude, St Joses, St Salome Alphaeos, (mother of St DISCIPLES WHO WITNESSED THE LIFE OF CHRIST – COULD
John the Divine Theologian and St James whom Christ CORRECTLY AND HONESTLY TESTIFY TO AND CONFIRM
nick-named “… sons of Zebedee/Thunder,”) - one of EVERYTHING ST JOHN HAD RECORDED.
the Holy Myrrh-bearers - and another daughter ✳ “…There were also many other Things … if they were
whose name is uncertified. written one by one … even the world itself could
 AFTER THE CRUCIFIXION of Christ, until Her Dormition, not contain …”
several years later, THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS  These words confirm that OUR WRITTEN HOLY TRADITION
LIVED WITH HER COUSINS, ST SALOME ALPHAEOS AND HER IS ONLY A SMALL PART OF THE WHOLE DIVINE TRUTH.
FAMILY.  WRITTEN HOLY TRADITION IS BASED ON OUR VERBAL HOLY
 The Apostolic Teaching that THE EVER BLESSED VIRGIN TRADITION.
THEOTOKOS MAINTAINED HER VOW OF CELIBACY  WITHOUT THE ACQUISITION OF OUR VERBAL HOLY TRADITION
THROUGHOUT HER LIFE IS CONFIRMED BY CHRIST’S ACTION. THAT TEACHES US FAR MORE DIVINE TRUTH THAN THAT
 Christ demonstrated by His own Example that WE MUST WHICH WAS WRITTEN, WE CANNOT BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND,
“...even to our last breathe...” TAKE VERY SPECIAL CARE APPRECIATE NOR FULFIL OUR LORD’S DIVINE TRUTH – His
OF OUR PARENTS. Divine Teachings, Revelations and
In those days, and even in certain cultures to this day, Commandments.
when females were no longer protected by a male  THE HOLY CHURCH OF CHRIST – the New Covenant Israel –
WAS FIRMLY ESTABLISHED ON THE BASES OF THE VERBAL AND
relative, all their possessions were taken from them
and they would be cast out, homeless, destitute and WRITTEN HOLY TRADITION OF THE OLD COVENANT ISRAEL,
dependent upon the mercy of everyone else. and IS THE FULFILMENT AND PERFECTION THEREOF.
Christ’s Compassion for such unprotected women was  Consequently, FAITH THAT IS BASED SOLELY UPON HOLY
clearly evident when He Resuscitated the Widow of SCRIPTURE, LACKS MUCH OF ITS ESSENTIAL DIVINE TRUTH,
Nain’s son. making it IMPERFECT AND DISTORTED due to its
St John the Divine Theologian and Apostle of Christ had erroneous, heretical human interpretations.
also taken a Sacred Vow of Purity and remained  DIVINE TRUTH IS THE PERFECT, UNCHANGEABLE, ETERNAL
celibate his entire life, having devoted himself TRUTH OF GOD. If altered by one tiny “tittle or iota” it
entirely to the Holy Service of God. is no longer that Divine Perfection.
He was the only Holy Apostle of Christ to eventually ✳ “…Amen…” means “ASSUREDLY,” “TRULY,” “INDEED,”
Repose peacefully – over 100 years of age, while the “CERTAINLY” AND “SO BE IT.”
others had all suffered Martyrdom.  It is the POSITIVE CONFIRMATION of a thought, a
statement, proclamation or action.
✳ “…This is the Disciple who Testifies, and wrote these
Things, and we know that his Testimony is True…”
T H E F E AST OF S T J OH N THE BEL OVED AP OSTLE , T H E OLOGIAN AND EV ANGEL IST
Today’s Feast of St John Commemorates the annual St John courageously kept Vigil at the foot of our Lord’s
Pilgrimage to the Hallowed Site of his burial, from Cross, trying to comfort and support His bereaved,
which a fine red dust arises, which the Faithful collect sorrowful and Ever Faithful Mother.
in order to receive Miraculous Cures of their various When our crucified Saviour said to His Mother: “… behold
afflictions. Thy son.” and to him, “Behold Thy Mother…” St John
St John was the son of St Alphaeos and St Salome and the became Her Faithful and Devoted son, who Loved Her
brother of St James. Our Lord had nicknamed the two and took very good care of Her until Her Dormition.
brothers as “Sons of Zebedee (Thunder).” After the Dormition of the Mother of God, St John went to
Their Mother was the daughter of St Joseph the Betrothed Ephesos and many other cities of Asia Minor to preach
and his late wife, Salome - a sister of St Anna, the the Holy Gospel of Christ, accompanied by his own
Mother of Theotokos Disciple, St Prochoros, who was his ever Faithful
St John and St James were Called by our Lord Jesus Scribe.
Christ to be His Apostles, whereupon they left their While aboard a ship, a tempestuous storm arose, causing
father to continue fishing for a living, while they it to break up and sink. All the other passengers
followed our Divine Saviour, having become “Fishers were washed up along the shoreline, but St John
of mankind.” remained in the depths of the sea.
St John was especially Loved by our Lord due to his St Prochoros wept bitterly for being bereft of his beloved
Sacrificial Love and devoted service to God, as well as Spiritual Father but continued to walk onwards to
his lifelong Chastity and Spiritual Purity. Ephesos.
St John was one of our Lord’s three closest Apostles who On the fourteenth day of his journey he stood on the
accompanied Him everywhere - witnessing and shore, looking at the waves, when suddenly he saw
Experiencing all aspects of His Divine Truth someone lying at the edge of the sea and have
personally. hastened to him, he beheld St John, whom our Lord
During the Last Supper, he reclined next to our Lord had preserved for fourteen days in the water.
Jesus, and even laid his head upon His Breast. Joyfully and most thankfully reunited, the Holy Apostle
St John never left Him and always followed Him - even and his Faithful Disciple went to Ephesos, where St
after His unlawful arrest in the Garden of John preached the Divine Truth of our Lord Jesus
Gethsemane, to the court of the iniquitous High Christ, Healed the ailing and Baptised those who
Priests, Annas and Caiphas. He was present in the believed.
courtyard of the High Priest during the interrogations So many Divine Miracles occurred that the numbers of
of his Divine Teacher and resolutely followed Him believers increased with each day, which incurred
every step of the way to Golgotha - watching with the wrath of the pagan priests who regarded
abject, increasing horror, distress and intense Christianity as a threat to their very lucrative and
grieving all that was wrought upon our Beloved powerful livelihood.
Saviour. This encouraged Emperor Nero, who reigned during 56
until 68, to invoke the persecution of Christians.

ST JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN, EVANGELIST & BELOVED APOSTLE 8 MAY 2020 7


St John was arrested and sent to Rome for trial tragic misguidance and deception, which continues
whereupon he was sentenced to death but our Lord to this day.
Jesus Christ preserved His Beloved Apostle from harm After their prolonged exile, St John and St Prochoros
when he was forced to drink a cup of deadly poison, returned to Ephesos, where the Faithful Apostle of
and, having survived, was then thrown into a Christ continued his Sacred Mission - and instructing
cauldron of boiling oil. the Faithful Disciples of Christ to guard themselves
His shocked and terrified persecutors, fearing even against all false teachers and their heretical beliefs
greater numbers of converts to Christianity, that would lead them away from our Lord God and
immediately exiled St John to the island of Patmos, His Divine Truth.
where he spent many years, accompanied by St In 95, while living in Ephesos, St John wrote his Holy
Prochoros. Gospel, which urges us all to Love our Lord God and
As they travelled to Patmos, St John continued to each other, thereby fulfilling the Divine
Enlighten the pagans with Christ’s Divine Truth, while Commandment of unconditional Love/Agape.
performing innumerable Divine Miracles in His The Holy Church of Christ refers to St John as “The Apostle
Sacred Name. of Love” because of his absolute devotion and Love of
On Patmos, his words and deeds continually drew and God and his fellow mankind.
amazed the inhabitants who became Illumined by That is clearly reflected in his constant exhortations and
Divine Light and Truth of Christ’s Holy Gospel – teachings that only by a Life of Love can we
especially when they beheld the casting out of approach God and enjoy a good and close
demons from those so wretchedly possessed and the Relationship with Him and with each other.
Healing of so many who were hopelessly sickened by Furthermore, his three Universal Epistles emphasise the
every variety of physical and spiritual illnesses. essential significance of Love for God and all our
Sorcerers with their demonic powers were extremely neighbours.
hostile to and frightened by St John’s Inspired Even in his advanced years of age, St John – having
Preaching and Divine Healing. heard of a youth who had strayed from the True Path
A certain sorcerer, known as Kinops, boasted that he to follow the leader of a band of robbers - went into
could destroy the Holy Apostle and even God. the wilderness to seek him.
Instead, however, by the Divine Grace of our Almighty When the young man saw St John approaching, he tried
Lord God, all his demonic artifices proved to be to hide himself, but the Loving Apostle followed him,
powerless and were destroyed, and the haughty calling out to him, beseeching him to stop. He
sorcerer perished in the depths of the sea. promised to take the sins of the youth upon himself, if
St John withdrew with his Faithful Disciple, St Prochoros to only he would Repent and not bring ruin upon his
a desolate height, where he imposed upon himself a soul. Shaken by the intense, sincere Love of St John,
very strict three-day Fast. the young man Repented and turned his life around.
While he was praying, the earth quaked and thunder St John lived for more than a hundred years - having
rumbled. St Prochoros fell to the ground in abject outlived all other Holy Apostles and Faithful eye-
terror until St John reassured him and lifted him up, witnesses of our Lord Jesus Christ.
telling him to write down everything that he was One day St John went out beyond the city limits of
about to say. Ephesos accompanied by his Faithful Disciples and
It begins with the Divine Declaration: “The Revelation of their families.
Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His When they arrived at a particular site, St John asked
servants—things which must shortly take place. And them to prepare a cross-shaped grave, and when it
He sent and signified it by His Angel to His servant had been done, he descended into it and lay down,
John, who bore witness to the Word of God, and to the with his arms spread out. He then instructed his
Testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw…” shocked Disciples to cover him with the soil that had
(REVELATION 1 – 2) been excavated.
And God the Holy Spirit, through His Holy Apostle They tearfully kissed their Beloved Spiritual Father and -
proclaimed “… ‘I Am the Alpha and the Omega - the not wanting to disobey him - they acceded his
Beginning and the End… Who is and Who was and bidding, after covering his face with a cloth.
Who is to come, the Almighty.’…” (REVELATION 1:8) When his other Faithful Disciples, who had not been
The Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ was written by St present, heard of what had occurred, they
John, His Beloved Apostle and worthy Theologian, immediately ran to the burial site and opened the
which is also known as “The Apocalypse.” during the grave, but found it to be completely empty!
fierce persecution of Christians in the latter part of the Ever since that time, on 8 May, a mysterious, fine dust
reign of Emperor Domitian circa 81–96. issues forth from the empty grave, which the Faithful
This Holy Book consists of various predictions of the trials gather up and are Healed by it.
and tribulations of the Holy Church of Christ that Consequently, we commemorate the Beloved Apostle of
occurred and would occur again until of the end of Christ on this day as well as on 26 September. St John
this world and of time - the beginning of Eternity for is also commemorated together with all the other Holy
all Creation. Apostles of Christ on 30 June.
However, because the most dire warning with regard to Our Lord Jesus Christ had entitled St John and his
any erroneous interpretation or misuse, it is never brother, St James, as being “the sons of
read during our Holy Services, for we must take great Zebedee/Thunder” for they became the most
care not to try to decipher anything according to our awesome Messengers of God who were granted the
limited knowledge and perception. Cleansing Power of Heavenly Fire.
“…I testify to everyone … If anyone adds to these things, Our Divine Saviour thereby referred to the flaming, fiery,
God will add to him the plagues that are written in sacrificial character of their Love for God and for all
this Book; and if anyone takes away from the Words mankind.
of the Book of this Prophecy, God shall take away his The iconographic symbol of the eagle signifies the lofty
part from the Book of Life, from the Holy City, and heights of St John’s Theology, upon whom the worthy
from the Things of which are written in this Book…” title “Theologian” was bestowed by the Holy Church of
The Divine Revelation has been distorted and Christ because only St John was the Sanctified Seer of
sensationally misinterpreted by imperfect, the Divinely Mysterious Judgments of God.
uncomprehending and heretical beliefs and
teachings, which have caused much confusion, ADAPTED & EDITED BY MP
HTTPS://WWW.OCA.ORG/SAINTS/LIVES
T H E E TE R NAL , I NSP IR ED W ISD OM OF OU R H OLY FA THE R S
All of those who glorify the world go to Perdition with it,
but those who Glorify Christ are Saved through Christ.
Glory of the world is Death, but Glory of Christ is Life –
Life which is Eternal and Immortal!

8 ST JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN, EVANGELIST & BELOVED APOSTLE 8 MAY 2020


Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now
and forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most
Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all
the Saints. And let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life to Christ our
God. Amen.
TONE 3 10 MAY 2020

Christ is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
4RD SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA
SUNDAY OF THE PARALYTIC OF BETHESDA

The Feast of St Simon the Zealot, Apostle of Christ – St Laurence of Megarea– St


Nicholas of Myra – St Symeon, Bishop of Vladimir & Suzdal – St Philadelphos, St
Cyrianos, St Alphios, St Onesimos, St Erasmos, & 14 other Martyrs of Sicily – St Hesychios of Antioch – St Isidora the
Fool for Christ, Tabenna Monastery, Egypt – St Thais of Egypt – The Kiev-Bratsk Icon of our Lady, Theotokos – St
Comgall of Bangor, Ireland

R ESUR REC TION G OSPEL 5 – LU KE 24 : 12 - 35

RESURRECTION PROKEIMENON – PSALM 46/47 – TONE 3


Sing Praises to our God! Sing Praises! Sing Praises to our King! Sing Praises!
O Clap your hands, all you Nations. Shout to God with the voice of Rejoicing.
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES ACCORDING TO ST LUKE 9 : 32 – 42
In those days, it came to pass, as Peter passed through all parts of the country, he also went down to the Saints who
dwelt at Lydda. There he found a certain man named ‘Aeneas,’ who had been bed-ridden for eight years,
suffering from palsy. And Peter said to him: “Aeneas: Jesus Christ makes Thee whole! Arise, and make Thy bed.”
And he immediately arose. And behold! all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and turned to the Lord.
And at Joppa there was a certain Disciple named ‘Tabitha,’ which is translated as ‘Dorcas.’ She was full of Good Works
and Charitable Deeds, which she had done. And it came to pass in those days that she became ill and died. When
they had washed her, they laid her in an upper chamber. And because Lydda was close to Joppa, and the
Disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, requesting him to hasten to them
Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they took him into the upper chamber. And all the widows stood
around him, weeping, and showing him the cloaks and garments that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
After putting them all outside, Peter knelt down, and prayed. And turning to the body, he said: “Tabitha! Arise!” She
opened her eyes, and when she beheld Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand, and helped her up, and when he
had called the Saints and widows, he presented her to them, alive.
And it became known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in our Lord
✶ “…Peter passed through all parts of the country… to the ✳ “… ‘Aeneas,’ …had been bed-ridden for eight years,
Saints who dwelt at Lydda…” suffering from palsy. And Peter said to him:
 After Pentecost, THE APOSTLES OF CHRIST SET OFF ON “Aeneas: Jesus Christ makes Thee whole! Arise,
VARIOUS MISSIONARY JOURNEYS THROUGHOUT THE KNOWN and make Thy bed.” And he immediately arose…”
WORLD.  The Healing of Aeneas was SIMILAR TO OUR LORD JESUS
 ST PETER TRAVELLED THROUGHOUT JUDEA visiting and CHRIST’S HEALING OF THE PARALYTIC OF BETHESDA.
assuring THE FAITHFUL “SAINTS” – those who were  ST PETER WAS ABLE TO COMPLETELY HEAL the paralysed
established believers and DISCIPLES OF CHRIST. Aeneas BY INVOKING THE DIVINE HEALING POWER OF OUR
 HE ALSO CONVERTED OTHERS to the New Covenant Faith. LORD THROUGH HIS HOLY NAME, which continues in
 THESE MISSIONARY JOURNEYS FULFILLED THE GREAT Christ’s Holy Church to this very day.
COMMISSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST who  THE HOLY MYSTERIES, HOLY SERVICES AND PRAYERS of the
commanded His Faithful Disciples to Holy Church of Christ are ALWAYS FULFILLED IN THE
1. MAKE DISCIPLES of all Nations DIVINE NAME OF OUR TRIUNE LORD GOD – God the
2. BAPTISE THEM in the Name of the Holy Trinity Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
3. TEACH THEM EVERYTHING He had taught – all His  WE CONSTANTLY INVOKE THE NAMES OF THE THREE PERSONS OF
Divine Truth. THE ONE GODHEAD – THE DIVINE TRINITY – whenever
 Lydda is approximately 25 miles northwest of we pray, in the Knowledge that ALL THREE PERSONS
Jerusalem and Sharon was a region north of OF THE ONE GODHEAD ACT TOGETHER IN DIVINE HARMONY
Lydda along the Mediterranean coastline. AND LOVE.
 The term “...Saints...” referred to ALL FAITHFUL DISCIPLES  This is always ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY
OF CHRIST WHO BELIEVED in our Lord and Saviour, FATHER (Who Loves us), THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS
Jesus Christ WITH THEIR WHOLE HEART AND LIVED CHRIST (Who Enlightens us) BY THE POWER AND ENERGY
ACCORDINGLY. OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT (Who Empowers and
 Those who were ABSOLUTELY DEVOTED AND FAITHFUL TO Enables us.)
GOD, LIVED IN CHRIST AND WERE SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE  Thus, whenever the Apostles and Disciples invoked
HOLY SPIRIT ARE BY DEFINITION “SAINTS,” meaning THE PRECIOUS NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, their
those who have acquired SPIRITUAL PERFECTION IN Prayers were ALSO ADDRESSED TO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER
CHRIST. AND THE ALL HOLY, LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT.
 These genuine, pious Faithful Disciples LIVED A ✳ “…all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and
PARTICULARLY EXEMPLARY LIFE IN CHRIST and as such, turned to the Lord…”
have been CANONISED (GLORIFIED) BY THE HOLY  Although eye witnesses and testimonies of those for
CHURCH OF CHRIST, which does not negate this whom Miracles have occurred may bring others to
primary meaning, for they certainly ACQUIRED our Lord Jesus Christ, we must not base our Faith
SPIRITUAL PERFECTION THROUGH MUCH STRUGGLE AND on Divine Miracles alone. OUR FAITH MUST BE ROOTED
STRIVING – and are our best role models. IN OUR HEART AND SOUL – a deep, personal response
T H
4 PASCHAL SUNDAY – THE PARALYTIC OF BETHESDA 10 MAY 2020 9
to the Divine Truth and Love of God and each  She has become THE PATRON SAINT OF TAILORS AND
other. SEAMSTRESSES, due to her industrious works of
✳ “ … at Joppa … a certain Disciple named ‘Tabitha,’ … Charity/Love.
‘Dorcas.’ … full of Good Works and Charitable ✳ “…And it became known throughout all Joppa; and
Deeds, … became ill and died…Peter knelt down, many believed in our Lord…”
and prayed. And … said: “Tabitha! Arise!” She ✶ The raising of St Tabitha from the dead PARALLELED
opened her eyes, … sat up. He … helped her up, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S RAISING OF JAIRUS’ DAUGHTER
and ... presented her to them, alive…” FROM DEATH.
 MANY PEOPLE WERE KNOWN BY TWO NAMES, thus St Tabitha  THE DIVINE MIRACLES OF THE HOLY APOSTLES of Christ
is also known as St Dorcas. CONVERTED MANY WITNESSES AND OTHERS who
 St Tabitha/Dorcas was A WIDOW WHO, BEING A FAITHFUL subsequently became Christian.
DISCIPLE OF CHRIST, LIVED ACCORDING HIS DIVINE  ALL DIVINE MIRACLES PROVE THE GREAT MERCY AND POWER
COMMANDMENT OF LOVE, and was deeply loved by OF ALMIGHTY GOD – thus CONFIRMING CHRIST’S HOLY
those who knew her. GOSPEL and leading many souls to sincere
Repentance and Eternal Life in Christ.
THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST JOHN 5 : 1 – 15
At that time our Lord Jesus went up to Jerusalem. There is in Jerusalem, by the Sheep Gate, a pool, which is called in
Hebrew: ‘Bethesda,’ having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people: blind, lame and paralysed –
waiting for the moving of the water. An Angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water.
Whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.
A certain man was there who had an infirmity for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he
already had been in that condition for a long time, He said to him: “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man
answered Him: “Lord, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am going,
another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him: “Rise. Take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man
was made well, took up his bed and walked.
That day was the Sabbath. The Hebrews, therefore, said to him who was cured: “It is the Sabbath! It is not lawful for
you to carry your bed!” He answered them: “He Who made me well said to me: ‘Take up your bed and walk.’” They
asked him: “Who is the Man Who said to you: ‘Take up your bed and walk?’” But the one who was Healed did not
know Who it was.
Jesus had withdrawn – a multitude being in that place.
Afterwards Jesus found him in the Temple and said to him: “Behold! You have been made well. Sin no more, lest a
worse thing come upon you.” The man departed and told the Judeans that it was Jesus Who had made him well.
✳ THIS DIVINE HEALING WAS THE THIRD SIGN OR MIRACLE that St 1. SUFFERED FOR THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS
John the Divine Apostle recorded in his Holy 2. PATIENTLY WAITED TO BE HEALED.
Gospel, which EXEMPLIFIES THE DIVINE POWER OF  Thereby Christ teaches us to PERSEVERE AND TO HAVE
CHRIST OUR LORD TO RESTORE US TO WHOLENESS – to full PATIENCE.
health, despite the degree of affliction.  This Sacred Lesson is also A JUDGEMENT OR
✳ “…in Jerusalem, by the Sheep Gate, a pool … called in CONDEMNATION AGAINST THOSE WHO DESPAIR.
Hebrew: ‘Bethesda,’ having five porches… lay a  We must NEVER LOSE HOPE, PATIENCE AND FAITH IN GOD’S
great multitude of sick people: blind, lame and DIVINE PROVIDENCE – especially when our
paralysed – waiting for the moving of the water…” circumstances are not according to our own will
 THE DOUBLE-BASIN POOL OF BETHESDA, which was believed and desires,
to have had miraculous curative powers, has  WE CONDEMN OURSELVES WHEN WE HAVE ONLY MINOR
been re-discovered ABOUT 100 YARDS NORTH OF THE PROBLEMS THAT CAN BE EASILY RESOLVED if only we
TEMPLE AREA, NEAR TO THE SHEEP GATE. make every effort to do so, BUT CHOOSE TO DO
 The water for this high-ground pool came from NOTHING EXCEPT TO BLAME GOD AND UNJUSTLY
underground springs. COMPLAIN!!
 It was USED TO WASH THE SACRIFICIAL LAMBS before they ✳ ...’Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man
were slaughtered as Blood Offerings for the answered Him: “Lord, I have no man to put me
Atonement and Forgiveness of sins according to into the pool … while I am going, another steps
the Old Covenant Law. down before me.” Jesus said …: “Rise. Take up
✳ “… An Angel went down … and stirred up the water. your bed and walk.” And immediately the man
Whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the was made well, took up his bed and walked…”
water, was made well of whatever disease he  Although it may seem strange that our Lord asked the
had…” Paralysed Man if he wanted to be Healed, IT WAS A
 THE POOL OF BETHESDA FUNCTIONED AS A TYPE OF HOLY MOST RELEVANT QUESTION FOR SEVERAL REASONS:
BAPTISM: 1. It made public the fact that THE SICK MAN KEPT HIS FAITH
 ACCORDING TO THE OLD COVENANT, although a great EVEN IN A SITUATION THAT WAS SEEMINGLY HOPELESS, for
multitude waited to enter the water for physical how could a quadriplegic person ever be the first
Healing after an Angel of God had touched it and into the water?
stirred it up, ONLY ONE PERSON WAS HEALED AT A TIME. 2. Our Lord drew attention away from the water and
 THE WATER OF BETHESDA WAS SPECIAL because IN AN towards THE NEED WE ALL HAVE FOR THE HELP AND
INDIRECT MANNER IT WAS PART OF THE BLOOD SACRIFICES ENCOURAGEMENT OF EACH OTHER, WHICH IS FULFILLED IN
of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, since the CHRIST HIMSELF, Who became Man in order to Heal
sacrificial animals were cleansed in the water. and Restore all ailing, and fallen mankind.
 However, DIVINE GRACE WAS LIMITED TO THE FIRST PERSON 3. NOT EVERYONE WHO IS ILL ACTUALLY DESIRES HEALING,
WHO ENTERED THE WATER – BUT NOT TO THE REST.  OUR LORD PUTS THAT SAME VITAL QUESTION TO US ALL, for
 GOD’S NEW COVENANT BAPTISM IS GRANTED TO ALL NATIONS some people use their infirmities for their own
as A DIRECT PARTICIPATION IN CHRIST’S OWN SACRIFICIAL selfish motives or advantages - some prefer to
DEATH – without the Mediation of His Angels. have an excuse or licence to complain, to avoid
 HOLY BAPTISM of the New (bloodless) Covenant any responsibility, or to continue drawing the pity
1. GRANTS US HEALING, REGENERATION AND RENEWAL OF BOTH of others!
OUR BODY AND OUR IMMORTAL SOUL,  There was another aspect to that question - was the
2. as well as being THE DIVINE PROMISE OF ETERNAL Paralytic READY AND WILLING TO RESUME daily life with
RESURRECTION of our body. all its RESPONSIBILITIES AND DIFFICULTIES.
 DIVINE GRACE of the New Covenant is  WE ALL NEED TO REPENT our sins, so that we can
1. Inexhaustible, infinite and Eternal CONTINUE OUR STRUGGLES AND STRIVINGS yet so many
2. offered to all who seek it. use weak excuses such as “I am only human” –
✳ “…A certain man … had an infirmity for thirty-eight implying they are beyond Redemption!
years…”  WE ARE HUMAN, INTELLECTUAL BEINGS MADE IN THE IMAGE
 According to St John Chrysostom, OUR LORD JESUS AND LIKENESS OF GOD and need to be CONSTANTLY
CHRIST SINGLED OUT THIS PARTICULAR MAN WHO HAD CLEANSED AND HEALED so that we can CONTINUE OUR
T H
10 4 PASCHAL SUNDAY – THE PARALYTIC OF BETHESDA 10 MAY 2020
JOURNEY TOWARDS SPIRITUAL PERFECTION AND ETERNAL  On the contrary, THE GENUINE, PROFOUND FAITH OF THE
LIFE in the Heavenly Kingdom of Love! PARALYTIC IS DEMONSTRATED BY HIS IMMEDIATELY GOING
 There are NO JUSTIFIABLE EXCUSES, for EVERYTHING IS TO THE TEMPLE TO OFFER HIS HEARTFELT THANKSGIVING
POSSIBLE WITH GOD. AND WORSHIP, instead of going home, or anywhere
✳ “…The Hebrews… said to him …: “It is the Sabbath! It is else to show off his Miraculously Healed body.
not lawful for you to carry your bed!” He answered  ALL MIRACULOUS HEALINGS HAD TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE
them: “He Who made me well said to me: ‘Take up TEMPLE PRIESTS, followed by various Cleansing and
your bed and walk.’” Sacrificial Rites according to Mosaic Law.
 SABBATH DAYS INCLUDED MAJOR FEAST DAYS, which were ✳ “…They asked him: “Who is the Man Who said to you:
dedicated to the Worship, Glorification and ‘Take up your bed and walk?’” But the one who
Thanksgiving of God. was Healed did not know Who it was. Jesus had
 The Sabbath was A DAY OF REST FROM PHYSICAL LABOURS, withdrawn – a multitude being in that place…”
which was thus DEDICATED TO OUR LORD GOD.  ALTHOUGH THE HEBREWS WOULD HAVE SUSPECTED OUR LORD
 THE LEGALISTIC JUDEANS FORBADE ALL PHYSICAL EFFORT and JESUS of Miraculously Healing the Paralytic, THEY
when they could afford it, Gentiles were paid to WANTED CONFIRMATION SO THAT THEY COULD ACCUSE HIM
perform various necessary physical duties for AS WELL.
them.  SOME MIGHT HAVE BEEN AMAZED AND CURIOUS – for purely
 THAT SABBATH WAS THE OLD COVENANT PENTECOST - also personal reasons - to know WHO COULD PERFORM
known as “THE FEAST OF WEEKS,” which CELEBRATED SUCH MIRACLES.
THE GRANTING OF THE DIVINE LAW – the Ten  THE FORMER PARALYTIC DID NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT OUR
Commandments of God – TO ST MOSES ON MOUNT LORD.
SINAI.  He only knew that THEIR ENCOUNTER HAD GRANTED HIM
 DESPITE WITNESSING THE DIVINE MIRACLES OF CHRIST, HIS COMPLETE HEALING – a Restoration to full, good
OPPONENTS WERE EAGER TO ACCUSE HIM - and those health, FOR WHICH HE GLORIFIED AND THANKED GOD.
whom He so Miraculously Healed - of breaking  Our Divine Saviour had immediately departed, for HE
the Mosaic Laws. NEVER SOUGHT ATTENTION FOR HIMSELF.
 They were so Spiritually Blind, uncompassionate and  This Divine Miracle was performed as AN ACT OF DIVINE
unmerciful that – instead of Rejoicing and Praising COMPASSION, not as a public demonstration.
God for His Great Mercy – THEY WERE DETERMINED TO ✳ “…Afterwards Jesus found him in the Temple and said
FIND FAULT IN OTHERS. to him: “Behold! You have been made well. Sin
 The former Paralytic’s intense Joy and Gratitude was no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
robbed by anxiety, guilt and sadness!  OUR LORD APPROACHED THE FORMER PARALYTIC at the
 OUR LORD GOD IS NOT RESTRICTED BY TIME OR PLACE. Temple in order TO ENLIGHTEN AND INSTRUCT HIM
 HIS DIVINE WILL IS FULFILLED WHEN AND IF IT IS MOST QUIETLY AND PRIVATELY.
BENEFICIAL FOR US.  Our Divine Saviour’s dire warning: “Sin no more...”
 We must JOYFULLY AND GRATEFULLY ACCEPT HIS DIVINE APPLIES TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US!
WISDOM AND WILL IN ALL THINGS - without complaint  THERE IS A DEFINITE CONNECTION BETWEEN SIN AND
nor impatience! SUFFERING.
 We need to correct OUR OWN PERSONAL SPIRITUAL 1. THE INNOCENT OFTEN SUFFER the consequences of our
CONDITION before we are able to receive and selfish, careless actions.
Experience God’s Divine Grace and Mercy. 2. Although we who are guilty seem to be spared earthly
 Although MOSAIC LAW DID NOT SPECIFICALLY FORBID THE consequences, WE WILL INEVITABLY SUFFER ETERNAL,
CARRYING OF BURDENS ON THE SABBATH, it was IRREPARABLE CONDEMNATION, unless we Repent now.
prohibited and explicitly forbidden in Rabbinical 3. Most of the WORLD-WIDE SUFFERING AND DEVASTATION IS
Teachings. CAUSED BY SIN.
 JEREMIAH 17 : 23 The Lord said: “... if you will not hear 4. OUR SINFUL THOUGHTS, WORDS AND DEEDS CAUSE OUR OWN
Me so as to Sanctify the Sabbath Days, and bear SUFFERING AND – EVEN WORSE - THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS
no burdens, nor enter the gates of Jerusalem on due to our selfishness, greed, wickedness and
the Sabbath Days, then I will kindle a fire in her careless actions.
gates. It will consume the streets of Jerusalem  Our sins cause us SPIRITUAL DEATH – a horrible
and will not be quenched.” SEPARATION FROM GOD, LOVE AND ALL GOODNESS, JOY
 St Jeremiah the Holy Prophet of God delivered THE AND PEACE.
WORD OF THE LORD, which COMMANDED THAT ISRAEL  Only the Holy Mystery of REPENTANCE--CONFESSION CAN
STOP VIOLATING THE SABBATH DAY. RESTORE US TO SPIRITUAL LIFE IN CHRIST.
 The Reward for Obedience to God is A GATHERING OF  If we stubbornly refuse to acknowledge, Confess and
THE NATIONS INTO JERUSALEM TO OFFER SACRIFICES – Repent OUR SINS, they will AFFLICT, CONTAMINATE AND
which was the greatest desire of the Israelites DESTROY OUR SOUL – leading to Eternal
while in exile. Consequences that are far worse and more
 Although this was accomplished after their Exile and excruciating than any painful or disabling
return to the Holy Land, IT WAS NOT COMPLETELY affliction of the body!
FULFILLED UNTIL THE GENTILES JOINED THE PROCESSION  OUR ONLY HOPE IS TO RESIST ALL TEMPTATION AND SIN BY
ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST. beseeching the Lord our God for His DIVINE
 The Truth that CHRIST IS LORD OVER THE SABBATH is clearly STRENGTH AND ASSISTANCE.
evident ✳ “…The man departed and told the Judeans that it was
1. by HIS COMMAND to the Paralytic Jesus Who had made him well.
2. by the man’s UNHESITATING OBEDIENCE to Him.  THE HEALED PARALYTIC did not report our Lord Jesus to
 St John referred to THE LEGALISTIC LEADERS and NOT TO the Hebrew Leaders in a malicious manner but as
THE PEOPLE IN GENERAL when he used the term , A WITNESS OF CHRIST’S ABSOLUTE GOODNESS.
“...Hebrews...”  Although those misguided Jewish Leaders were only
 THE MISGUIDED MALICIOUSNESS OF THE SPIRITUALLY BLIND, interested in “... the violation of the Sabbath,” THE
HEBREW LEADERS was quite evident because THEY FORMER PARALYTIC EMPHASISED THAT IT WAS OUR LORD
FOCUSED SOLELY ON THE “VIOLATION” OF THE SABBATH JESUS WHO HAD HEALED HIM.
RATHER THAN ON THE GREAT MIRACLE OF THE COMPLETE  He did not blame our Lord Jesus Christ for causing
HEALING of the Long-suffering Paralytic! him to break the Sabbath Law.
4 T H
S U ND AY OF H OLY P ASCH A – S U ND AY OF THE P ARALY TIC OF B ETHE SDA
✞ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the He had seen others being Miraculously Healed in the
Holy Spirit. Christ is Risen! He is Truly Risen! Sacred Pool of Bethesda, but - having no one to carry
Dearly Beloved, on this fourth Sunday of Holy Pascha, we him to the water when the Angel had stirred it up - he
remember our Lord Jesus Christ’s Healing of the remained unable to move and thus unable receive
Paralytic who had unable to walk or move freely for God’s Blessing.
38 years - probably his entire life. This Encounter occurred during the Old Covenant Feast
of Pentecost, which commemorated the receiving of
T H
4 PASCHAL SUNDAY – THE PARALYTIC OF BETHESDA 10 MAY 2020 11
the Divine Law through St Moses, the ancient Similar to the Healed Paralytic who received the Strength
Patriarch. to stand up, walk, and carry his bed as a reminder of
Our Lord Jesus saw this wretched but patient Paralytic his lengthy affliction, we are granted the ability to
lying all alone at the Pool of Bethesda and - after a regain our Divine Likeness by using even our most
very brief conversation - He had Healed him by difficult Struggles as opportunities to take up our
saying: “Rise. Take up your bed and walk.” Cross, be Cleansed of our sins and grievous passions,
Without any further discussion or hesitation, the Paralytic and to shine brightly with the Holy Light of our Love
did so immediately, and then hastened to the Temple and Life in Christ.
to offer his Prayers of Thanksgiving and Glorification Through the Life-giving Cross of our Divine Saviour, Great
to God. Joy has come to our world, so that - through our
This Divine Healing occurred on a Sabbath Day, which patient, faithful endurance of whatever Struggles we
forbade physical labour according to the Old confront and endure, we can Experience that Joy,
Covenant Law, which prompted some of the legalistic Strength and Victory of Christ Who has conquered
Hebrews to accuse the overjoyed former Paralytic of even Death itself.
breaking the Law by carrying the bed on which he We cannot triumph over all our troubles by sheer will
had lain for most of his life. power, but we can reject negative, sinful thoughts,
It was evident from his response to their questions, that remain silent when tempted to criticise or condemn
he did not know Who our Lord Jesus Christ was, so he others and pay attention to Divine Wisdom and Truth,
could not identify the One Who had Miraculously and always respect and Love others as much we
Healed him, until later, after our Lord had sought him would like them to respect and Love us.
out to caution him against committing any more sins We can focus our time and energy on changing
“… lest a worse thing come upon you.” whatever we are able to do while leaving everything
During this Paschal Season, when we remember Christ’s else to the Will of God, for we are neither paralysed
Glorious Victory over Death and sin, we ought to nor completely healthy or good.
become as Patient and Faithful as that former Our Lord constantly invites and grants us great Strength
Paralytic who immediately stood up, took up his bed and Wholeness – Restoration - so that we can proceed
and walked - beginning a New Life made possible by towards the Joy of His Eternal Kingdom of Love.
the Great Mercy and Love of our Lord God, and We are Blessed with Life in Christ as Sanctified Members
Divine Saviour, Jesus Christ. of His Body, His Holy Church. And in the Holy Mystery
We should want to participate in the Blessings that Christ’s of Repentance-Confession, we are assured of God’s
Resurrection has brought to the world - to be Forgiveness while exhorted to “…give no further care
Transformed and Healed by it - for we have become to the sins that [we] have Repented and Confessed…”
paralyzed by the difficult and painful circumstances – for the paralyzing Burden and affliction of our sins is
that make us feel so powerless and afraid. lifted off us.
We cannot change the world nor other people, but we The remission of our sins does not mean that we are
can change ourselves. We cannot raise the dead, never tempted again or that we do not have to live
heal diseases, or make our problems disappear, for with the consequences of our actions, but it does
we have become weakened and handicapped by mean that we are able to hear the Voice and feel the
our habitual sins, grievous passions, and disordered Touch of our Divine Saviour’s Hand as He commands
lifestyle that prevents us from Experiencing the Joy, us to “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
Peace, and Freedom of Life Eternal in Christ. The sins that we have Repented and Confessed are
We have the Divine Law and Divine Truth, which our Lord behind us so we must not return to them, but go
taught us and showed us how to apply to our forward while living for the Glory, Honour and
thoughts, words and deeds. These Empower and Worship of Almighty God by Striving and Struggling to
Enable us, yet we fail to obey or accomplish them. sin no more.
We carry Spiritual Burdens upon our soul for far too many Repentance-Confession is not legalistic, but Spiritual
years and cannot imagine being without anger, Cleansing and Healing. For if we seek Spiritual and
hatred, greed, lust, pride, self-righteousness, criticism physical well-being, we need to avoid Spiritual
and judgment, sloth or the innumerable other sins. Paralysis by Living in Christ Who is our Divine
How often have we decided not to think, speak or act in Physician, while His Holy Church is our Spiritual
ways that have caused harm or unhappiness to Hospital.
others as well as to ourselves! Yet we lack the strength No one forces us to sin, nor to fear difficult challenges, yet
and motivation to Repent because we are paralyzed we are overwhelmed by our wickedness and various
by our sins and weakened by habitually surrendering dilemmas. Although Healed of Spiritual Paralysis
to temptation and grievous passions. We try to justify some of us choose to remain bed-ridden or refuse to
ourselves with the excuse that it is simply who we are. cope with the challenge of our New Life and thus
Our Risen Lord calls us all to receive His Divine Healing, remain afflicted by our habitual sins and
which is not for a select few, but for all mankind - the weaknesses. If, however, we respond with
Spiritually Living and the Spiritually Dead! Truthfulness and Humility, our Lord assures us of His
He Loves us all – even those who do not know Who He is, Forgiveness and Strength, and despite our consistent
and offers us His Divine Healing. Those who accept falls, He always raises us up again so that we can
His Great Mercy, are granted a wonderful New Life. continue our Journey.
We need to be Patient, Humble, Obedient and ready and Let us joyfully proclaim “Christ is Risen!” and Rise with
willing to fulfil the Will of our Heavenly Father, even Him, being Empowered by His Resurrection that
though our inclination to sin, the persistent conquers all sin and Death!
temptations and grievous passions as well as worldly Amen.
wickedness will always surround and threaten us.
We need to reject thoughts, words and deeds that cause F ATHER P HI LIP L E M ASTE RS - S T L UKE O RTHODOX C HU RCH , A BILENE
us to question or doubt our Lord’s Divine Truth, for His A DAPTED & E DITED BY MP
infinite Love and Great Mercy grant us everything HTTPS://BLOGS.ANCIENTFAITH.COM/EASTERNCHRISTIANINSIGHTS/2013/05/25
that is Good, Beneficial, Cleansing and Healing. S T J OH N OF K R ONSTAD T

There is nothing that is impossible for or beyond the Love everyone, indiscriminately. Do not think about
Great Mercy and Love of God. Guilt and fear whether others are weak or sinful, but pity and pray
paralyzes and imprisons us in the past, causing us to for their circumstances, for, like us, they are Images of
doubt or reject the Almighty Power of our Loving and God Himself. Do not be offended by others because of
Compassionate Lord God. their wickedness, rudeness, pride, envy, avarice or
The evil one lures us into becoming obsessed with gluttony, for we, ourselves, are certainly not sinless!
difficult circumstances until we are convinced that And always remember that we are habitual sinners who
they are even more powerful than our Lord Jesus need to ceaselessly examine and judge only ourselves
Christ Who has conquered sin and Death – our Divine so that we can Repent our sins and seek Divine
Creator Who grants us Spiritual Freedom with all His Forgiveness and Mercy!
Divine Blessings of Love.
T H
12 4 PASCHAL SUNDAY – THE PARALYTIC OF BETHESDA 10 MAY 2020
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and
forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most
Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all the Saints. And let
us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life to Christ our God. Amen.
13 MAY 2020

Christ is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
MID-PENTECOST WEDNESDAY
The Feast of St Glykeria, Virgin Martyr of Heraclea, Thrace (Northern Greece) - St Sergios the
Confessor – St Pavsikakos, Bishop of Synnada – St Laodikios, Keeper of the Prison of Heraclea,
Thrace – St Glykeria, Righteous Virgin of Novgorod – St Makarios, Archimandrite & Hieromartyr
of Obruch – St Alexander of Rome – St George the Confessor, St Irene and their children, of
Constantinople – St Euthymios the New, & his fellow Georgian Monks, St John, St George & St
Gabriel of Iveron Monastery, Mount Athos

PENTECOSTARION - PROKEIMENON – PSALM 73 - TONE 1

Remember Thy Congregation Thou acquired from the beginning.


God is our King before all ages – working Salvation in the midst of the Earth.
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES ACCORDING TO ST LUKE 14 : 6 – 18
In those days, when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Judeans, with their Rulers, to abuse and
stone the Apostles, they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding
region, and they preached the Gospel there.
And in Lystra a certain man was sitting, who had no strength in his feet – a cripple from his mother’s womb – who had
never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently, and seeing that he had Faith to be
Healed, said with a loud voice: “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leapt up and walked.
When the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language: “The gods have
come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called ‘Zeus,’ and Paul, ‘Hermes,’ since he was the chief
speaker.
The priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, took oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice
with the multitudes. Hearing this, the Apostles, Barnabas and Paul, tore their clothing and ran in among the
multitude, crying out and saying: “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as
you, and preach to you so that you should turn from these useless things to the Living God, Who made the Heavens,
the Earth, the sea, and all things that are in them; Who in bygone generations allowed all Nations to walk in their
own ways. Nevertheless, He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did Good: He gave us rain from
heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”
And with these sayings, they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.
✳ “…when a violent attempt was made by both the Roman Province of Galatia, and a road was built connecting
Gentiles and Judeans…to abuse and stone the Lystra to Iconium to the north.
Apostles, they … fled to Lystra and Derbe, … St Paul visited this region in 48 and 51 during his First and
Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region, and Second Missionary Journeys, after persecution drove him
…preached the Gospel there…” away from Iconium. (Acts 14:2 – 7)
 After the Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, THE ✳ “…a certain man … who had never walked. … heard
PERSECUTION AGAINST THE FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST Paul speaking. Paul, observing … he had Faith to
INCREASED IMMENSELY. be Healed, said with a loud voice: “Stand up
 HAVING RECEIVED THE LOVE AND EMPOWERMENT OF GOD THE straight on your feet!” And he leapt up and
HOLY SPIRIT, HIS SACRED MISSION WAS FULFILLED by the walked.
Holy Apostles and Faithful Disciples throughout  DISCERNMENT IS A DIVINE GIFT OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT,
the known world. which enables us to see beyond the physical,
 The Gentile (pagan) and the Judean PRIESTS obvious aspects – TO BEHOLD AND COMPREHEND THE
INSTIGATED HATRED AND PERSECUTION AGAINST THE DIVINE TRUTH CONCERNING THOUGHTS, WORDS AND DEEDS.
DISCIPLES IN FEAR OF LOSING THEIR OWN POWER AND  ST PAUL PERCEIVED THAT THE CRIPPLED MAN ACCEPTED THE
POSITION as religious leaders. DIVINE TRUTH, which the Apostles preached, AND WAS
 THE JUDEAN PRIESTS REFUSED TO ACCEPT OUR LORD JESUS THUS ABLE TO RECEIVE HEALING.
CHRIST AS OUR TRUE MESSIAH/SAVIOUR.  WITHOUT FAITH IN GOD, WE CANNOT RECEIVE HIS HEALING of
1. They ENCOURAGED THE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS - to body and soul because OUR LORD NEVER FORCES HIS
“...abuse and stone...” them DIVINE WILL UPON US. We must seek It and welcome
2. They FALSELY ACCUSED THEM of being ‘blasphemers and It with genuine belief.
heretics,’ who were to be avoided at all costs (like  THE MAN’S LIFELONG AFFLICTION WAS HEALED FOR THE GLORY,
the despised Samaritans) and even to be killed. HONOUR AND WORSHIP OF OUR LORD GOD, similar to the
3. They RENOUNCED THEM TO THE ROMAN AUTHORITIES for man who had been born without eyes for whom
being ‘enemies’ and ‘traitors’ of the Roman Empire, Christ created healthy eyes from His Saliva mixed
for which such ‘criminals’ were tortured, scourged, with clay.
beaten and crucified.  THE FORMER CRIPPLED MAN’S IMMEDIATE RESPONSE to his
Lystra is located on an ancient road that linked Ephesos, to Miraculous Healing CLEARLY EXPRRESSED THE JOY AND
Sardis, Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium and Lystra and Derbe, REALITY OF HIS UTTER FAITH IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ,
which continued through the Cilician Gates, to Tarsos, to AND THE AMAZING POWER OF DIVINE TRUTH - of our Lord
Antioch in Syria, and then went East and South. Jesus Christ’s Teachings - of which St Paul and the
The Roman Empire made Lystra a colony in 6 BC known as other Holy Apostles had spoken.
“Colonia Iulia Felix Gemina,” to control the mountain ✳ “…the people saw what Paul had done… raised their
tribes to the west. Later, it was incorporated into the voices, saying …: “The gods have come down to us
in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called

M ID P E NTE COST W ED NE SD AY 13 M AY 2020 13


‘Zeus,’ and Paul, ‘Hermes,’ since he was the chief 2. TO THE PAGANS/GENTILES he presented our Lord as OUR
speaker…” DIVINE CREATOR, using a starting point that was most
 In those days, everyone knew each other very well, accessible and acceptable to his audience.
and THAT PARTICULAR CRIPPLE OF LYSTRA HAD BEEN BORN ✳ “…Who in bygone generations allowed all Nations to
AFFLICTED and never been able to walk, SO HIS walk in their own ways…”
MIRACULOUS HEALING CAUSED A SENSATIONAL REACTION.  St Paul referred to THE FREE WILL OF ALL MANKIND and the
The pagan Gentiles fact that OUR LOVING AND BENEVOLENT LORD GOD
1. understood that SOMETHING FAR BEYOND ANY HUMAN NEVER FORCES HIS DIVINE WILL ON US.
ABILITY HAD OCCURRED.  GOD IS LOVE ITSELF, so He wants us to COME TO HIM
2. had not yet grasped THE REALITY OF A LIVING, BENEVOLENT BECAUSE WE LOVE HIM AND WANT TO BE WITH HIM.
AND ALMIGHTY GOD Who was invisible and for  By comparison, THE PAGAN ‘GODS’ POSSESSED ALL THE
Whom all things are indeed possible. GRIEVOUS PASSIONS OF MANKIND because they were
3. COULD NEITHER GRASP NOR EXPLAIN SUCH AN INCREDIBLE invented by them.
DIVINE MIRACLE – so considered it as being due to  Furthermore, THE PEOPLE ONLY UNDERSTOOD A ‘GOD’ OR ANY
their lifeless, man-made idols – “…the gods…” – POWERFUL RULER AS BEING MEAN SPIRITED, NASTY AND
that they could see and touch. VENGEFUL – who dominated by fear and even utter
4. identified the Apostles as being two of their imaginary terror.
gods - “Zeus” and “Hermes” – to whom various ✳ “…He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He
offerings and blood sacrifices were usually made. did Good: He gave us rain from heaven and
✳ “… The priest …whose temple was in front of their city, fruitful seasons, filling our heart with food and
took oxen and garlands … to sacrifice with the gladness…”
multitudes…”  A LOVING, PROVIDENTIAL, COMPASSIONATE AND BENEFICIAL
 THE PAGAN PRIESTS WERE OPPORTUNISTIC CHARLATANS who ALMIGHTY LORD GOD Who wanted only what was
humoured the people, because their wealth and best for them was A COMPLETELY NEW AND
social status depended on the favour of the EXTRAORDINARY CONCEPT TO THEM.
multitudes.  ST PAUL CONSISTENTLY PREACHED our Lord Jesus Christ
✳ “…the Apostles… tore their clothing and ran in among and His Holy Gospel IN A MANNER THAT WAS FAMILIAR,
the multitude, crying out and saying: “Men, why AND WHICH COULD BE UNDERSTOOD BY EVERYONE.
are you doing these things? We also are men with  HE USED one of the Pagans’ own altars that was
the same nature as you… “ dedicated to “AN UNKNOWN GOD,” TO PROCLAIM
 THE APOSTLES WERE UTTERLY APPALLED, DISTRESSED AND CHRIST’S DIVINE TRUTH AND REALITY.
HORRIFIED by the misplaced honour and worship of  He emphasised that OUR LIVING AND TRUE GOD IS
the Pagans. 1. the ALMIGHTY CREATOR of everything from nothingness.
 GLORY, HONOUR AND WORSHIP ARE ASCRIBED STRICTLY AND 2. the GIVER OF LIFE
EXCLUSIVELY TO OUR ALMIGHTY LORD GOD. 3. Who DESIRES ALL MANKIND TO SEEK AND COME TO HIM.
 The ripping of clothing was A JEWISH EXPRESSION OF THE 4. REPENTANCE of sins is THE ONLY PATH TO GOD,
DEEPEST SORROW AND MISERY. 5. the JUDGE OF ALL MANKIND.
✳ “… turn from these useless things…” 6. RESURRECTED OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST from the dead.
 St Paul and St Barnabas frantically tried to convince ✳ “…And with these sayings, they could scarcely restrain
the elated Pagans that THEY WERE NEITHER ‘GODS’ NOR the multitudes from sacrificing to them.
WAS IT NECESSARY TO MAKE SUCH OFFERINGS AND  THE PAGANS PERSISTENTLY BELIEVED ONLY IN THEIR MAN-MADE
SACRIFICES TO THEM. ‘GODS’ whom they believed had such extraordinary
 WE TOO, ARE REMINDED, URGED AND EXHORTED TO RENOUNCE Wisdom and Power.
OUR SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEFS in amulets, horoscopes,  WHEN THEY HEARD OUR LORD’S DIVINE TRUTH, THEY THOUGHT
fortune tellers, and any other ungodly beliefs that that St Paul and St Barnabas WERE THEIR LIFELESS
have absolutely no Spiritual Benefit to any of us! GODS who HAD SUDDENLY COME TO LIFE AND SPOKEN TO
 As Orthodox Christians, we ought to TRUST AND BELIEVE THEM.
ONLY IN OUR TRUE AND LIVING GOD FOR ONLY HE IS IN  MANY BECAME FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST while others
CONTROL OF ALL CREATION! remained pagan and turned against them.
✳ “… the Living God, Who made the Heavens, the Earth,  THE SPIRITUALLY BLIND, MISGUIDED HEBREWS who rejected
the sea, and all things that are in them…” Christ and His Teachings, AS WELL AS THE PAGAN
 St Paul preached OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND HIS DIVINE PRIESTS who feared loss of social status and power,
TRUTH USED THE MULTITUDES TO TURN AGAINST ST PAUL AND THE
1. TO THE HEBREW NATION by using the Old Testament OTHER APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES, whom they began to
Scriptures to prove CHRIST’S FULFILMENT OF ALL OLD persecute most cruelly and unmercifully.
TESTAMENT EVENTS AND PROPHECIES.
THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST JOHN 7 : 14 – 30
At that time, about the middle of the Feast, Jesus went up into the Temple and taught. And the Judeans marvelled,
saying: “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” Answering them, Jesus said: “The Doctrine is not
Mine, but His Who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His Will, he shall know concerning the Doctrine - whether it is
from God or whether I speak on My own Authority. He who speaks from himself, seeks his own glory; but He Who
seeks the Glory of the One Who sent Him, is True, and no unrighteousness is in Him. Did Moses not give you the
Law? And none of you keeps the Law! Why do you seek to kill Me?”
The people answered and said: “Thou hast a demon! Who is seeking to kill Thee?” Answering, Jesus said to them: “I
did one Work, and you all marvel. Moses gave you Circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the Fathers),
and on the Sabbath you Circumcise a man. If a man receives Circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the Law of
Moses should not be broken, why are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the
Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with Righteous Judgement!”
Some of them who were from Jerusalem said: “Is this not He Whom they seek to kill? And behold! He speaks boldly,
and they say nothing to Him! Do the Rulers know indeed that this is Truly the Christ? Yet we know where this Man is
from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where He is from.”
Jesus cried out, as He taught in the Temple, and said: “You both know Me, and you know where I Am from! And I have
not come of Myself, but He Who sent Me is True, Whom you do not know! I know Him, for I Am from Him, and
He sent Me.” They sought to take Him; and no one laid a hand on Him, for His Hour had not yet come.
✳ “…about the middle of the Feast, Jesus went up into the  It was customary for those who knew Holy Scripture
Temple and taught….” and the Divine Law to teach others and to discuss
 The Feast referred to PENTECOST, which was celebrated the meaning and application of Holy Scripture to
on THE FIFTIETH DAY AFTER THE OLD COVENANT daily life.
PASSOVER/PASCHA.  ✳ “…the Judeans marvelled, saying: “How does this
 The Old Covenant Pentecost was also referred to as Man know letters, having never studied?”…”
“THE FEAST OF WEEKS” or “THE FEAST OF 50 DAYS.”  They recognised our Lord Jesus Christ as being a “son”
of St Joseph (the Betrothed) – the aged Righteous

14 M ID P E NTEC OST W ED NE SD AY 13 M AY 2020


Carpenter of Nazareth, WHOM THEY EXPECTED TO BE  Spiritual Blindness is caused by the UNWILLINGNESS TO
UTTERLY ILLITERATE AND UNENLIGHTENED. KNOW GOD OR TO RECOGNISE HIS DIVINE AUTHORITY.
 They had never heard THE DIVINE TRUTH SPOKEN SO  ONLY GOD KNOWS THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF EVERY PERSON
CLEARLY AND EXPLAINED SO CONCISELY TO THEM. so ONLY HE CAN RIGHTLY JUDGE AND ACCUSE US of our
 IT USUALLY TOOK MANY YEARS OF INTENSE STUDY OF SACRED sins.
SCRIPTURE AND VERBAL TEACHINGS before they could  WE ARE FORBIDDEN TO JUDGE OTHERS because of our own
begin to perceive and comprehend the Will and sinful state.
Truth of our Heavenly Father.  WE MUST EXAMINE OURSELVES CLOSELY, pluck out our sins
 OUR LORD JESUS READ AND TAUGHT HIS DIVINE TRUTH IN A AND REPENT them.
MANNER THAT WAS FAR SUPERIOR TO ANY OF THE OTHER  BY JUDGING OTHERS, WE CONDEMN OURSELVES! Yet we are
RESPECTED TEACHERS (RABBIS) OR PRIESTS, which always very quick to see THE FAULTS OF OUR
shocked them all very deeply. NEIGHBOURS, which, in fact, ARE USUALLY A REFLECTION
 THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS PRIDE OF THE PRIESTS, SCRIBES AND OF OUR OWN SINFUL CONDITION!
RABBIS WAS SHAKEN AND EXPOSED in the Divine Light of ✳ “…The people answered and said: “Thou hast a demon!
God’s Truth, which caused them to resent and Who is seeking to kill Thee?”
even fear our Divine Saviour.  Anyone who perceived the thoughts and schemes of
✳ “…The Doctrine is not Mine, but His Who sent Me...” others was accused of being possessed by
 Our Lord Jesus Christ as THE ETERNAL SON AND WORD OF demons. This revealed their own inner state of
GOD, TEACHES US EVERYTHING THAT OUR HEAVENLY fear and guilt, which compelled them to falsely
FATHER WILLS us to know, for the sake of our accuse our Lord Jesus.
ENLIGHTENMENT AND SALVATION.  Due to His Divine Nature, CHRIST CAN SEE INTO THE VERY
 EVERYTHING IS ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY DEPTHS OF ALL HEARTS AND SOULS.
FATHER. Thus,  ONLY GOD KNOWS the future choices we will make and
1. WITH HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE, what the consequences will be, especially when
2. we FULFIL HIS DIVINE WILL left to selfish demands and desires of our flesh.
3. THROUGH the Teachings and Commandments of OUR ✳ “… ‘I did one Work, and you all marvel.
LORD JESUS CHRIST,  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST PERFORMS INFINITE DIVINE MIRACLES,
4. being Empowered and Enabled BY GOD THE HOLY being THE DIVINE, ALMIGHTY CREATOR of everything
SPIRIT. visible and invisible.
✳ “… If anyone wills to do His Will, he shall know  We ought to CEASELESSLY MARVEL AND BE DEEPLY GRATEFUL
concerning the Doctrine - whether it is from God or TO GOD FOR HIS LOVE AND GREAT MERCY that continues
whether I speak on My own Authority…” to Protect, Provide for and Benefit us throughout
 IF WE CHOOSE TO HUMBLY OBEY HIS DIVINE WILL, WE ARE this short preparatory lifespan as we proceed
GRANTED THE SACRED GIFTS OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT, towards Eternity.
which Enlighten us with His Divine Truth. ✳ “… Moses gave you Circumcision (not that it is from
 Those who RECEIVE DIVINE TRUTH Moses, but from the Father), and on the Sabbath
1. FULLY COMPREHEND THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER in all you Circumcise a man…”
circumstances  THE OLD COVENANT LAW REQUIRED ALL EIGHT DAY OLD MALE
2. ACCEPT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST as our Divine Saviour INFANTS TO BE CIRCUMCISED.
and Eternal Lord God WHO ENLIGHTENS, HEALS AND  THIS IS ONE OF THE “MOSAIC LAWS” which the ancient
SAVES US ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY Patriarch, St Moses commanded the Faithful of
FATHER Israel to obey as he had been instructed by God
3. FULLY UNDERSTAND THE TEACHINGS AND COMMANDMENTS of on Mount Sinai when he received the Divine
our Lord Jesus Christ Commandments.
4. APPLY THEM ALL TO OUR THOUGHTS, WORDS AND DEEDS.  This was ONE OF MANY SACRED OLD COVENANT (HEALTH)
✳ “…he who speaks from himself, seeks his own glory; but LAWS FOR THE PROTECTION AND WELFARE OF GOD’S
He Who seeks the Glory of the One Who sent Him, is CHOSEN PEOPLE, especially while they sojourned in
True, and no unrighteousness is in Him. the wilderness for 40 years before being allowed
 THOSE WHO PREACH THEIR OWN, LIMITED AND FLAWED IDEAS, to settle in “… the Promised Land of milk and
ARE VAINGLORIOUS – they are selfish and self-serving. honey.”
 THEY DO NOT SPEAK DIVINE TRUTH NOR ACT ACCORDING TO  Circumcision signified THEIR SACRED COMMITMENT AND
THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. ALLEGIANCE TO GOD.
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST SEEKS ONLY THE GLORY, HONOUR AND  THE TONSURING OF THE NEWLY BAPTISED during the New
WORSHIP OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, Whose Will He Covenant Holy Mystery of Baptism, SIGNIFIES OUR
always most humbly Obeys and Fulfils in all COMMITMENT AND ALLEGIANCE TO GOD, which is THE
circumstances, NEW CIRCUMCISION, whereby both MALE AND FEMALES
 He IS ABSOLUTELY SINCERE, HONEST, TRUSTWORTHY AND TRULY DISCIPLES OF CHRIST ARE DEDICATED TO THE ETERNAL AND
RIGHTEOUS – He is OUR DIVINE SAVIOUR WHO CLEANSES, FAITHFUL SERVICE OF GOD.
HEALS, RESTORES AND SAVES US by granting us Eternal ✳ “”…If a man receives Circumcision on the Sabbath, so
Life in His Heavenly Kingdom of Love. that the Law of Moses should not be broken,…”
 The genuine desire TO KNOW AND TO HUMBLY AND  By providing Old Covenant examples of blameless
OBEDIENTLY FOLLOW THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER violation of the Sabbath – such as Circumcision -
IS THE VITAL KEY TO UNDERSTAND HIS DIVINE TRUTH. our Lord Jesus Christ proved that THE LAW IS NOT
 SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS IS CAUSED BY THE UNWILLINGNESS TO ABSOLUTE OVER OUR HUMAN NEEDS NOR OUR FAITHFUL
1. KNOW GOD SERVICE TO GOD.
2. DRAW CLOSER TO HIM,  WHEN THE EIGHTH DAY OF A NEW-BORN INFANT’S LIFE FELL ON
3. enjoy A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with Him A SABBATH, HE WOULD STILL BE CIRCUMCISED because it
4. ACKNOWLEDGE AND ACCEPT HIS DIVINE AUTHORITY. was regarded as a necessary Sacred Ritual, which
 “…Did Moses not give you the Law? And none of you did not break the Sabbath Day of rest.
keeps the Law! Why do you seek to kill Me?”  THERE WERE OTHER ESSENTIAL DUTIES THAT HAD TO BE
 St John Chrysostom paraphrased the Words of our FULFILLED ON THE SABBATH, which could not be left
Lord Jesus Christ , which all too clearly apply to us until the following day. When possible, in certain
as well: “Rid yourselves of wickedness – the anger, circumstances, Gentiles would see to these on their
the envy, and the hatred that has arisen in your behalf.
heart, without provocation, against Me. Then you  The term “man” refers to mankind - people or a
will have no difficulty in realising that My Words particular person – man, woman, girl or boy.
are actually those of our Lord God. As it is, these ✳ “… why are you angry with Me because I made a man
(grievous) passions darken your understanding completely well on the Sabbath?
and distort sound judgement. If you remove these  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS SINLESS – TOTALLY INCAPABLE OF
passions, you will no longer be afflicted in this COMMITTING ANY SIN against our Heavenly Father or
way!” mankind.

M ID P E NTE COST W ED NE SD AY 13 M AY 2020 15


 HEALING ON A SABBATH DAY CERTAINLY DID NOT BREAK THE This question revealed THE DOUBT AND REJECTION OF THE
SABBATH DAY LAWS. DIVINE TRUTH by opponents of our Lord.
 SABBATH DAYS WERE MEANT FOR THE REST OF MANKIND FROM ✳ “… we know where this Man is from. When the Christ
THEIR WEEKLY PHYSICAL LABOURS. comes, no one will know where He is from...”
 OUR CREATOR HIMSELF RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY but did  Although the Judeans professed to know Who and
not abandon His Divine Love and Great Mercy. where our Lord Jesus Christ was from, THEY WERE
 THE LEGALISTIC, SELF-RIGHTEOUS PHARISEES and other GRAVELY MISTAKEN, BOTH IN THE EARTHLY AND DIVINE
strictly religious groups INSISTED ON DOING SENSE.
EVERYTHING ACCORDING “… THE LETTERS OF THE LAW…” 1. THEY THOUGHT OUR LORD WAS FROM NAZARETH, GALILEE.
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST TAUGHT US TO FULFIL THE DIVINE 2. They were unaware that HE HAD BEEN BORN AND LIVED
SPIRIT OF GOD’S LAW, which is BASED ON LOVE and all THE FIRST ONE AND A HALF YEARS OF HIS INFANTHOOD IN
the other essential Holy Virtues, such as Mercy, BETHLEHEM, before the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt
Compassion, Kindness and concern for others. as a result of Herod’s horrific slaughter of
 Therefore, we should ESPECIALLY FULFIL WORKS OF thousands of Holy Innocents.
LOVE/CHARITY ESPECIALLY ON THESE SACRED FEAST DAYS. 3. They could not comprehend that CHRIST HAS TRULY
 OUR SAVIOUR DID NOT BREAK THE MOSAIC LAW – His Divine COME FROM GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER -that HE IS
Law because ETERNALLY BEGOTTEN OF GOD THE FATHER, BEFORE ALL
1. HEALING IS AN ACT OF GREAT MERCY by our Loving and AGES.
Compassionate Lord God.  Consequently, HIS DIVINE ORIGIN AND IDENTITY REMAINED
2. Christ our Lord TAUGHT US BY HIS OWN PERFECT LIFESTYLE – UNKNOWN TO THEM.
BY ALL HIS WORDS AND DEEDS.  ALL DIVINELY INSPIRED PROPHECIES REVEALED THE
✳ “… Do not judge according to appearance, but judge CIRCUMSTANCES concerning the Appearance of our
with Righteous Judgement…” Lord Jesus Christ, His Teachings and Revelations
 WE ARE FORBIDDEN FROM JUDGING OTHERS, for the and even the manner of His Salvific Sacrifice.
consequences upon us are Eternally significant.  Being in the very Presence of our Divine Saviour failed
 We need to to affect the hard-hearted doubters who rejected
1. TURN ANY CRITICISM OF OTHERS INWARDS Christ.
2. EXAMINE our own guilt AND REPENT our own sins  ANY ENCOUNTER WITH OUR LORD GOD TRANSFORMS THOSE
 The errors we regard others of committing are usually WHOSE HEART AND SOUL SEEKS HIS SALVIFIC DIVINE TRUTH
A REFLECTION OF OR CAUSED BY OUR OWN FALLEN AND LOVE with Humility and Obedience.
SPIRITUAL CONDITION – OUR OWN LACK OF LOVE, MERCY ✳ “…You both know Me, and you know where I Am from!
AND COMPASSION! …I have not come of Myself, but He Who sent Me is
 ONLY GOD KNOWS the True Spiritual Condition of all True, Whom you do not know! I know Him, for I Am
mankind. from Him, and He sent Me.”
 WE SEE AND REACT only according to the outer  The people knew our Lord Jesus as “THE SON” OF
appearance of others BECAUSE WE LACK LOVE, TRUE JOSEPH THE CARPENTER,” A MOST RIGHTEOUS MAN.
PERCEPTION AND DIVINE TRUTH.  OUR LORD, HAVING GROWN UP IN NAZARETH, ALSO HAD AN
 ONLY GOD KNOWS OUR COMPLETE PERSONAL HISTORY, EXCELLENT REPUTATION amongst the Faithful of that
CIRCUMSTANCES OR SPIRITUAL CONDITION, which region – as “the Son of Man,” – but not as the True,
motivates us. Eternal Son of God.
 We will NEVER JUDGE ANYONE ELSE EXCEPT OURSELVES when  OUR LORD JESUS NEVER SOUGHT ANY SELF-GLORIFICATION.
we learn to  HE IS ABSOLUTELY HUMBLE, OBEDIENT AND FAITHFUL TO OUR
1. LOVE ONE ANOTHER as much as God Loves us, at best, or HEAVENLY FATHER Who sent Him to us to Save us from
as much as we love ourselves, at least, Eternal Condemnation.
2. CONSTANTLY EXAMINE AND JUDGE OURSELVES in order to  He always emphasised that ONLY OUR LORD GOD IS GOOD
Repent our own flaws and sins AND TRUE.
3. STUDY, LEARN AND CONTEMPLATE DIVINE TRUTH – all God’s  NO ONE EXCEPT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY KNOWS
Commandments and Teachings - so that we can OUR HEAVENLY FATHER’S DIVINE NATURE and the extent
properly fulfil them ourselves. of His infinite Love and Great Mercy.
4. FULFIL THE DIVINE SPIRIT OF GOD’S TRUTH, which is ALWAYS  Being the Eternal Son of God the Father, ONLY OUR LORD
MOTIVATED BY UNCONDITIONAL DIVINE LOVE – AGAPE – JESUS, sharing the same Divine Attributes as our
and Mercy. Heavenly Father, FULLY COMPREHENDS ALL ASPECTS OF
✳ “… Is this not He Whom they seek to kill? OUR TRIUNE LORD GOD.
 Those who sought Christ in order to kill Him were THE  THESE WORDS of Divine Truth PROCLAIM THE TRUE IDENTITY
SPIRITUALLY BLIND AND DEAD JUDEAN PRIESTS AND OTHER OF OUR LORD as the Eternal Son of God and our
RELIGIOUS LEADERS of the Old Covenant Faithful who Divine Creator and Saviour.
were ✳ “…They sought to take Him; and no one laid a hand on
1. TOO STUBBORN AND SELF-RIGHTEOUS TO ACCEPT THE TRUTH Him, for His Hour had not yet come…”
that He is indeed the Great, Divine Messiah.  Everything in Heaven and on Earth is EXCLUSIVELY
2. MOTIVATED BY VARIOUS WICKED PASSIONS, that kept them in ACCORDING TO THE DIVINE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY
the Spiritual Darkness of ignorance and sin. FATHER.
3. FOREVER CONDEMNED BECAUSE THEY NOT ONLY REJECTED  The timing and occurrence of our Lord’s betrayal,
CHRIST BUT ALSO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER Who sent Him arrest, unjustified trial, torture and execution was
to Save and Redeem His Chosen People and all thus ACCORDING TO GOD’S OWN TIME AND PURPOSE.
mankind.  He is LORD OVER ALL TIME – He alone has Divine
✳ “…He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him! Do Authority and Power over all Creation.
the Rulers know indeed that this is Truly the  OUR LORD JESUS VOLUNTARILY – ACCORDING TO HIS OWN WILL
Christ?...” – ACCEPTED THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER by
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS EVERY RIGHT TO “SPEAK BOLDLY” undergoing His Passion and Death.
because  NOTHING IS ACCORDING TO THE WICKED PLOTS AND SCHEMES
1. He is OUR DIVINE CREATOR AND LAW-GIVER. of those opposed to God, which persistently test us.
2. He is OUR DIVINE TEACHER Who Enlightens us by  ONLY GOD KNOWS THE RIGHT TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCES THAT
teaching and revealing His Divine Truth WILL SPIRITUALLY BENEFIT MANKIND – benefit our
3. He is THE INCARNATE, ETERNAL ONLY BEGOTTEN SON AND Eternal Salvation.
WORD OF GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.  No matter what sins the evil one persuades mankind
4. His Divine Truth is DIVINE REVELATION ACCORDING TO AND to do, GOD ALWAYS OVERCOMES WITH HIS DIVINE LOVE
OF THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND GREAT MERCY.

SOME Priests and various others certainly realised and


ACCEPTED OUR LORD AS THE LONG-AWAITED DIVINE MESSIAH –
the Divinely Anointed Saviour.

16 M ID P E NTEC OST W ED NE SD AY 13 M AY 2020


Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and
forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most
Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all the Saints. And let
us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life to Christ our God. Amen.
TONE 4 17 MAY 2020

Christ is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
5TH SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA
SUNDAY OF THE SAMARITAN WOMAN (ST PHOTINI/SVETLANA)

The Feast of St Photini (the Samaritan Woman), her children St Victor Photinos , St Joses, St
Anatola, St Phota, St Photis, St Paraskeva, St Kyriake, as well as Emperor Nero’s daughter, St
Domnina, and St Sebastian - St Andronikos of the 70 Apostles of Christ & St Junia – St
Athanasios the New, Wonderworker & Archbishop of Christianopolis – St Nicholas the New
Martyr of Metsovos – St Euphrosyne of Moscow – St Solochon of Egypt, St Pamphamiros & St
Pamphalon of Chalcedon – St Stephen, Archbishop of Constantinople – St Dodo of St David-Gareji Monastery, Georgia – St
Nicholas the Great Martyr of Sofia, Bulgaria

R ESUR REC TION G OSPEL 7 - JOH N 20 ; 1 - 10

PROKEIMENON – PSALM 103/104 – TONE 4


O Lord, Thy Works shall be Magnified greatly! Thou made all things in Wisdom!
Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, Thou art exceedingly Magnified!
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES ACCORDING TO ST LUKE 11 : 19 – 30
In those days, those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen, travelled as far as Phoenicia,
Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the Word to no one but the Judeans. Some of them were from Cyprus and Cyrene,
who, when they went to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the Hand of our Lord was
with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
News of these things was heard by the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When
he went and saw the Grace of God, he was glad. And he encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they
should continue with the Lord, for he was a good man, full of the Holy spirit and Faith. And a great many people
were added to the Lord.
Barnabas departed for Tarsos to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he took him to Antioch. So it was that for a
whole year they assembled with the Church and taught a great many people. The Disciples were first called
‘Christians’ in Antioch.
In those days Prophets went from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabos, stood up and showed by the
Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout the world - which also had happened in the days of
Claudius Caesar. The Disciples - each according to his ability - determined to send relief to the Brethren dwelling in
Judea. This they did, and sent it to the Elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
✳ “…those who were scattered after the persecution that ….continue with the Lord… he was …good … full
arose over Stephen, travelled as far as Phoenicia, of the Holy spirit and Faith. And a great many
Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the Word to …the …were added to the Lord...”
Judeans…”  ONLY BY THE GRACE OF GOD CAN GOODNESS AND TRUTH
 INITIALLY CHRIST AND HIS HOLY GOSPEL WAS PREACHED ONLY FLOURISH AND BE SUSTAINED.
TO THE OLD COVENANT FAITHFUL.  When we are COMMITTED AND SINCERE, we are able to
 THE EVANGELISATION OF THE GENTILES CAUSED significant LIVE IN CHRIST, BY THE GRACE OF GOD.
CONFLICT IN THE EARLY CHURCH.
 HIS APOSTLES ATTRACTED OTHERS DUE TO THEIR GOODNESS
 Even though CHRIST HAD COMMANDED HIS HOLY APOSTLES
and Love, which reflected THE DIVINE PRESENCE AND
TO PREACH HIS HOLY GOSPEL UNIVERSALLY – “...to all
GRACE OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THEIR DEEPLY
Nations...” – IT TOOK A WHILE for this to be put
ROOTED FAITH.
properly into practise.
 MUCH DEBATE AROSE over what requirements from the ✳ “…Barnabas departed for Tarsos to seek Saul. And …
Old Covenant Law – if any – the Gentile Christians took him to Antioch… for a whole year they
would have to follow. assembled with the Church and taught a great
✳ “…Some … from Cyprus and Cyrene … when they went many people...”
to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists… St Barnabas was a devout Levite who had studied under
 “Hellenes” referred to THE GENTILE OR PAGAN GREEK Gamaliel, [a famous Rabbi/Teacher], together with St
PEOPLE – not the Greek speaking Old Covenant Paul [Saul], and was one of our Lord’s 70 Apostles.
Judeans Although named “Joseph” he was nicknamed “Barnabas,” which
✳ “…. the Hand of our Lord was with them, and a great means “Son of Consolation” because of his ability to
number believed and turned to the Lord…” comfort and encourage others.
 THE HOLY CHURCH IN ANTIOCH INCREASED RAPIDLY - vast He introduced St Paul to the other Holy Apostles [after His
numbers of Gentiles came to our Lord Jesus Christ. Conversion.] St Barnabas was the first Apostle to preach
✳ “…heard by the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent in Rome and Milan, and accompanied St Paul on several of
…Barnabas to … Antioch…” his Missionary Journeys.
 This implies THREE SIGNIFICANT TRUTHS He was eventually Martyred on the island of Cyprus and was
1. THE APOSTLES WERE SENT TO ALL NATIONS to preach the buried by St Mark.
Holy Gospel of Christ
2. THEY NEVER WORKED INDEPENDENTLY nor in isolation from  ST BARNABAS POSSESSED MANY HOLY VIRTUES, ESPECIALLY
the Body of the Holy Church of Christ. LOVE, HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE, which drew so many
3. The Holy Church of ANTIOCH NEEDED THE SEAL OF HOLY souls to our Lord Jesus Christ Whom he preached -
APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY so as to become integrated and for which he was Loved and admired as a
into the Universal Church of Christ. worthy Apostle.
✳ “…When he … saw the Grace of God, he was glad. And
… encouraged them … with purpose of heart

5 T H
SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA – THE SAMARITAN WOMAN 17 MAY 2020 17
 HE KNEW HIS OWN PERSONAL LIMITATIONS, and  E P H E S I A N S 4 : 1 1 “(Christ) Himself granted some to be
acknowledged his TRUE COMMUNION WITH AND Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, and
DEPENDENCE ON THE OTHER HOLY APOSTLES of Christ. some Pastors and Teachers, for the equipping of
 From the beginning, OUR LORD HAD SENT FORTH HIS the Saints for the Work of Ministry, for the
APOSTLES IN PAIRS, Edifying of the Body of Christ until we all come to
 THE APOSTLES CONTINUED TO ASSIST AND ACCOMPANY EACH the Unity of the Faith and of the Knowledge of
OTHER as they spread the Holy Gospel of Love Christ...”
throughout the world.  THE HOLY SPIRIT BESTOWS HIS DIVINE GIFTS SO AS TO FORM
 TWO KEY ELEMENTS OF LITURGICAL WORSHIP included ONE COHESIVE, HARMONIOUS GROUP who are
1. EUCHARISTIC (Thanksgiving) ASSEMBLY – COMMUNAL responsible for equipping – teaching, guiding
WORSHIP and preparing others - for the Sacred Task of
2. CORRECT TEACHING of Divine Truth. Christ’s Holy Ministry.
✳ “...The Disciples were first called ‘Christians’ in  IN 44 – 51 “...A GREAT FAMINE...” BEGAN IN JUDEA and
Antioch ...” is more than just historical Truth. spread as far as Greece and Italy.
 Christ’s Commandment to make DISCIPLES OF “...ALL ✳ “…The Disciples - each according to his ability -
NATIONS ...” WAS FIRST ACCOMPLISHED IN ANTIOCH. determined to send relief to the Brethren dwelling
 St John Chrysostom commented: “It was (in Antioch) in Judea…”
for the first time that people were accounted  EVERY FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN HAS THE SACRED TASK OF GUIDING,
worthy of that Name.” HELPING AND ENCOURAGING ONE ANOTHER as we all
 To truly be entitled “Christian” requires a LIFE IN CHRIST, proceed towards Eternity because - whether we
which is A LIFE-LONG SACRED COMMITMENT OF OUR are believers or not – ALL HUMANITY WILL ENTER
THOUGHTS, WORDS AND DEEDS TO DIVINE TRUTH. ETERNITY.
 “Christian” signifies those who are CONSTANTLY  It is AN IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE AND PRACTISE of our Holy
REPENTING THEIR SINS WHILE STRIVING FOR SPIRITUAL Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ TO HELP OTHERS
PERFECTION in imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ – ACCORDING TO OUR ABILITIES AND CIRCUMSTANCES.
the Acquisition of His DIVINE LIKENESS.  As Disciples of Christ, we must always VOLUNTARILY HELP
✳ “…Prophets went from Jerusalem to Antioch … showed OUR HOLY CHURCH AND OUR COMMUNITY IN ANY MANNER
by the Spirit … a great famine throughout the THAT IS POSSIBLE FOR US.
world …  We must not wait to be asked but PROVIDE ANYTHING
 “Prophets” refers to CERTAIN FAITHFUL DISCIPLES within THAT WILL HELP THE CHURCH operate properly.
the Holy Church of Christ WHO HAD RECEIVED THE  Whatever needs of the Clergy or our Brethren arise we
DIVINE GIFT OF PROPHECY – perception, ought to immediately try to RESOLVE ACCORDING TO
foreknowledge or clairvoyance by the Grace of OUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND ABILITIES
God [not occult!]  THESE NECESSITIES MAY NOT ALWAYS REQUIRE OUR MONETARY
 There has always been a wonderful HIERARCHY OF DONATIONS but also by providing paper, printing,
HONOUR in the Holy Church of the New Covenant, and cleaning equipment, or time spent sewing,
which will continue unabated, until Eternity. repairing, maintaining, cooking, feeding and
 1 C O R I N T H I A N S 1 2 : 2 9 “...Are all Apostles? Are all assisting our Parish Priest and in many different
Prophets? Are all Teachers? Are all Workers of ways.
Miracles?”  BY SERVING THE NEEDS OF OUR HOLY CHURCH, WE ARE SERVING
 Besides all these marvellous Divine Gifts THE LOVE OF OUR LORD GOD.
GOD IS FAR MORE SUPERIOR AND EXCELLENT for it reveals “… and sent it to the Elders by … Barnabas and Saul...”
THE VERY PRESENCE OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT. ✶ “...the Elders...” (“the bearded ones”) were THE PRESBYTERS
 GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION - and THE TRULY (PRIESTS) who were ORDAINED BY THE HOLY APOSTLES
SPIRITUAL CONTROL AND DISCIPLINE THEMSELVES. AND PUT IN CHARGE OF THE LOCAL PARISH CHURCHES,
 True Holy Spirituality is manifested in PREPAREDNESS, which were FOUNDED BY THE HOLY APOSTLES.
PROPRIETY AND ORDER, COURTESY AND SELF-
 Since those days, THE ORDERS OF THE HOLY MINISTRY OR
HOLY PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST CONSIST OF THE BISHOPS
CONTROL/DISCIPLINE.
(the Apostles and their direct successors), THE
 When the Holy Spirit is present, there is DIVINE LOVE,
PRESBYTERS/PRIESTS, AND THE DEACONS.
PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING.
THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST JOHN 4 : 5 – 42
At that time, our Lord Jesus went to a city of Samaria, called ‘Sychar,’ near the field that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph.
Jacob’s Well was there. Wearied as He was from His Journey, Jesus sat down beside the well. It was about the Sixth
Hour.
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her: “Give Me a drink.” For His Disciples had gone into
the city to buy food. The Samaritan Woman said to Him: “How is it that Thou – a Judean – ask a drink of me – a
woman of Samaria?” For Judeans had no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her: “If Thou knew the Gift
of God, and Who it is Who is saying to Thee: ‘Give Me a drink,’ Thou would have asked Him and He would have
given Thee Living Water.”
The Woman said to Him: “Lord, Thou hast nothing with which to draw water, and the well is deep. Where dost Thou get
that Living Water? Art Thou greater than our Father, Jacob, who gave us this well, and drank from it himself – and
his sons, and his livestock?” Jesus said to her: “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever
drinks of the Water that I shall give, will become a Spring of Water welling up to Eternal Life.” The Woman said
to Him: “Sir, give me this Water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
Jesus said to her: “Go fetch Thy husband, and come here.” The Woman answered him: “I have no husband.” Jesus
said to her: “Well said: ‘I have no husband.’ Thou hast had five husbands, and now he whom Thou hast is not
Thy husband. This Thou spoke truly.” The Woman said to Him: “Lord, I perceive that Thou art a Prophet. Our
Fathers worshipped on this mountain. And you say that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus
said to her: “Woman, believe Me: for the Hour is coming when neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, wilt
you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know - we worship what we know, for Salvation is from the
Judeans. But the Hour is coming – and now is – when the True Worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and
Truth for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit
and Truth.”
The Woman said to Him: “I know that the Messiah is coming – He Who is called ‘Christ.’ When He comes, He will show us
all things.” Jesus said to her: “I, Who speak to Thee, Am He.”
And when His Disciples returned, they marvelled, for He was speaking to a woman. Yet none said: “What seekest
Thou?” or “Why art Thou talking to her?”The Woman left her water jar, and departed to the city, and said to the
people: “Come see a Man Who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the city, and
went to Him.
Meanwhile, the Disciples besought Him, saying: “Rabbi, eat.” He said to them: “I have Food to eat of which you do not
know.” The Disciples said to one another: “Has anyone brought Him food?” Jesus said to them: “My Food is to do
the Will of Him Who sent Me, and to accomplish His Work. Do you not say: ‘There are yet four months, then
comes the harvest’? Behold, I tell you: lift up your eyes and see how the fields are already white for Harvest! ‘He
Who Reaps receives Wages, and gathers Fruit for Eternal Life, so that the Sower and the Reaper may Rejoice

18 5 T H
SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA – THE SAMARITAN WOMAN 17 MAY 2020
together!’ For here the saying holds True, for One Sows, Another Reaps. I sent you to Reap that for which you did
not Labour – others Laboured – and you have entered into their Labour.”
Many Samaritans from that city believed in Him because of the Woman’s Testimony: “He told me all that I ever did.”
When the Samaritans went to Him, they asked Him to stay with them – and He stayed there two days. And many
more believed because of His Word. They said to the Woman: “It is no longer because of your words that we
believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed Christ, the Saviour of the world!”
✳ "... a city of Samaria, called ‘Sychar… Jacob’s Well …  THERE ARE TWO REASONS for St Photini asking our Lord
Wearied …Jesus sat … beside the well… about the this question.
Sixth Hour…” 1. THE SAMARITANS WERE UTTERLY DESPISED AND AVOIDED, for
 Although “...Jacob’s Well...” is not mentioned in the being heretical apostatisers of the Old Covenant
Old Testament THE ANCIENT PATRIARCH, ST JACOB AND Hebrew Faith.
HIS FAMILY HAD RESIDED IN THAT AREA.
 G E N E S I S 3 3 : 1 9 Jacob had “... bought the parcel of The Samaritans were former Israelites who had intermarried
land... from Hamor, Shechem’s father, for a hundred with Gentile pagans. Their Old Covenant Faith had become
male lambs...” distorted and heretical due to the influence of their pagan
 Having bought a small area, ST JACOB SET UP AN ALTAR relationships, and they had thus become traditional
and called on our Lord God. enemies of Israel.
 Our Holy Church does the same thing whenever Although they also worshipped the God of Israel and awaited
required or possible. the Advent or Coming of the Messiah – the Christ – they
 WELLS AND ALL SOURCES OF WATER HAVE ALWAYS HAD GREAT accepted only the first five Books of the Old Testament
SIGNIFICANCE BECAUSE OF THEIR RARITY AND LIFE-SAVING Scriptures – the Pentateuch.
VALUE - especially in the wilderness and desert They had built their own temple on Mount Gerizim, which the
regions and on islands. Israelites had destroyed in 128 BC.
 Therefore, WELLS AND ALL SOURCES OF WATER SYMBOLISE
LIFE ITSELF. 2. IT WAS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN FOR ANY MAN TO APPROACH OR TO
 P S A L M 3 5 : 9 – 1 0 – “...They shall be intoxicated with the SPEAK TO AN UNACCOMPANIED WOMAN or vice versa.
fatness of Thy House, and Thou wilt give them This ‘crime’ brought severe punishment on both, but especially
drink from the Abundant Water of Thy Delight, for
on the wretched women, who were treated abominably and
with Thee is the Fountain of Life.”
extremely disrespectfully by men in general. They were
 I S A I A H 5 5 : 1 – “... You who are thirsty, go to the water...
most cruelly punished such as being beaten or stoned to
and drink without money and price...”
 CHRIST OUR GOD never asks us for money but He DOES death!
ASK US TO HAVE FAITH, which is far more valuable ✳ “…Jesus answered her: “If Thou knew the Gift of God,
than anything else. and Who it is Who is saying to Thee: ‘Give Me a
Jacob’s Well has been maintained as a Holy Shrine by the drink,’ Thou would have asked Him and He would
Greek Orthodox Christian Church to this very day and have given Thee Living Water…”
pilgrims still drink from it.  These Words apply to ALL OF US who FAIL TO FULLY
St Philoumenos the New Martyr of Jacob’s Well gave his life UNDERSTAND THE MAGNITUDE AND ESSENTIAL
for its protection and preservation in 1979. SIGNIFICANCE OF ALL GOD’S GIFTS, WHICH HE FREELY
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST SUFFERED the effects of hunger,  In the ordinary, mundane sense, “...Living Water...”
thirst, tiredness, heat and cold…DUE TO HIS HUMAN refers to FRESH, FLOWING WATER FROM A STREAM OR
NATURE, He experienced all the same physical SPRING, rather than from a stagnant pond or
conditions of our own human nature. cistern.
 “...the Sixth Hour...” is MIDDAY – 12:00 - THE HOTTEST  The Spiritual Meaning refers to THE DIVINE GRACE OF
PERIOD OF THE DAY, when most inhabitants of very GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT Who leads us to Eternal Life.
warm regions rest from the heat, resuming their 1. Divine Grace not only REMAINS IN THE FAITHFUL DISCIPLES
labours and duties when it is cooler. OF CHRIST BUT - being so abundant - OVERFLOWS AND
✳ “…There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. AFFECTS OTHERS in the best possible manner.
Jesus said to her: “Give Me a drink.” For His 2. Divine Grace PRODUCES AN ABUNDANT AND GOOD HARVEST
Disciples had gone into the city to buy food…” for the Glory of God.
 THAT “WOMAN OF SAMARIA” - ST PHOTINI/SVETLANA - IS 3. Divine Grace is FOR THE SPIRITUAL BENEFIT OF MANY, never
FOREVER COMMEMORATED as one of our great Saints for one individual alone.
and Holy Martyrs ON 20 MARCH AND ON THE FIFTH ✳ “… ‘Lord, Thou hast nothing with which to draw water,
SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA. and the well is deep. Where dost Thou get that
1. SHE IS THE EARLIEST GENTILE EVANGELIST, having testified Living Water? Art Thou greater than our Father,
the First Appearance of the Great Divine Messiah – Jacob, who gave us this well, and drank from it
our Lord Jesus Christ - TO THE INNUMERABLE CITIZENS …?”
OF SYCHAR – most of whom became His Faithful  At that moment ST PHOTINI DID NOT KNOW WHO IT WAS
Disciples. WHO SPOKE TO HER, NOR UNDERSTOOD OF WHAT HE SPOKE
2. SHE BROUGHT THOUSANDS OF SOULS TO CHRIST together with AND HOW MOMENTOUSLY HER LIFE WOULD BE
her two sons and five daughters (some say TRANSFORMED.
‘sisters,’).  She addressed Him as “Lord,” which was how WOMEN
3. SHE WAS BAPTISED WITH THE NAME OF “PHOTINI” (“the RESPECTFULLY ADDRESSED MEN – equivalent to “Sir,” or
Enlightened One.”) “Master,” - DUE TO THE LOWLY SOCIAL STATUS OF FEMALES.
4. SHE WENT TO CARTHAGE WITH HER FAMILY to spread the  WE EXPRESS OUR OWN LOWLY STATUS AND DEPTH OF FAITH
Holy Gospel. WHENEVER ADDRESSING OR SPEAKING OF OUR LORD GOD
5. SHE WAS EVENTUALLY MARTYRED WITH HER ENTIRE FAMILY by by ALWAYS USING OUR DIVINE SAVIOUR’S NAME “JESUS”
order of Emperor Nero by being thrown into a WITH ONE OF HIS DIVINE TITLES, for we are neither His
very deep well while the others suffered various contemporaries nor His equals or Righteous
brutal, terrible forms of Martyrdom. Relatives.
 JACOB’S WELL WAS VERY DEEP AND THERE WAS NO MEANS OF  St Photini REVEALED HER KNOWLEDGE OF HOLY SCRIPTURE
DRAWING WATER, so our Lord asked her for some to and the ancient Holy Prophets of God.
quench His thirst and refresh Himself.  SHE BELIEVED IN OUR LORD GOD and QUICKLY REALISED THAT
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S DISCIPLES HAD GONE TO BUY FOOD OUR LORD IS SOMEONE OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE, thinking
FROM THE SAMARITANS, which implies their Him to be A HOLY PROPHET OF GOD WHO KNOWS DIVINE
obedience to CHRIST Who NEVER DISCRIMINATES TRUTH.
against anyone, whereas the self-righteous  ST JACOB WAS A “TYPE OF CHRIST” because HE HAD RECEIVED
Judeans despised and avoided them at all costs. THE VISION OF THE DIVINE LADDER, WHICH OUR LORD
 CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES PROVIDED THEIR OWN NECESSITIES JESUS CHRIST FULFILLED.
OR BOUGHT THEM rather than being a needless  GENESIS 28:12 – “... he dreamed... a Ladder was set up on
burden on others. the Earth, and ... reached to Heaven... and Angels
✳ …“How is it that … a Judean – ask a drink of me – a of God were ascending and descending ...”
woman of Samaria?” For Judeans had no  THE VISION OF THE LADDER THAT CONNECTS EARTH WITH
dealings with Samaritans…” HEAVEN REFERS TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AS WELL AS
THE EVER BLESSED THEOTOKOS.

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SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA – THE SAMARITAN WOMAN 17 MAY 2020 19
 OUR LADY, THEOTOKOS, IS THE MEANS – “THE LADDER” - VISIBLE GOD Who would live in our midst to teach us
WHEREBY HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE CONNECTED THROUGH His Divine Truth and Love.
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST FOR OUR ETERNAL SALVATION.  I S A I A H 5 4 : 1 3 - God also told St Isaiah: “...I will cause
 Although ST PHOTINI DID NOT KNOW WHO IT WAS WHO SPOKE all your children to be taught by God, and your
TO HER AND HOW MOMENTOUSLY HER LIFE WOULD BE children to be in Great Peace....”
TRANSFORMED, from the moment she understood, ST  ST ISAIAH the Holy Prophet of God ALSO PROPHESIED
PHOTINI COMMITTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO THE SERVICE OF CONCERNING THIS DIVINE PROPHET.
GOD, bringing innumerable souls to His Divine  THE CHOSEN PEOPLE OF GOD WOULD BE TAUGHT DIRECTLY BY
Truth and Life. GOD HIMSELF – by God Incarnate – i.e. our Lord and
This shows how all REPENTANT SINNERS CAN BECOME Saviour, Jesus Christ.
SAINTS – Faithful Disciples of Christ.  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS TAUGHT AND REVEALED TO US
✳ “…Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, EVERYTHING THAT OUR HEAVENLY FATHER HAS WILLED HIM
but whoever drinks of the Water that I shall give, TO DO.
will become a Spring of Water welling up to  OUR LORD GOD HAS THUS PROVIDED US WITH ALL THE
Eternal Life.” The Woman said to Him: “Lord, give NECESSARY KNOWLEDGE AND MEANS FOR OUR ETERNAL
me this Water, that I may not thirst, nor come here SALVATION.
to draw…”  THERE IS STILL MUCH UNKNOWN TO US.
 Although ST JACOB’S WELL SUSTAINS EARTHLY, PHYSICAL LIFE, ✳ “…Our Fathers worshipped on this mountain… you say
CHRIST GRANTS US THE WELL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to
SPIRITUALLY SUSTAIN US AND GRANT US ETERNAL LIFE. worship...”
 She at first reacted in a practical, mundane manner, The Samaritans and Judeans had been separated for years by
but SHE QUICKLY GRASPED OUR LORD’S TEACHINGS, WHICH their different beliefs concerning the Divine Truth and
REVEALED THE DEPTH OF HER INTELLIGENCE AND HER OWN Worship of God despite sharing the exact same Old
SPIRITUAL HUNGER AND THIRST FOR DIVINE TRUTH. Covenant origin.
 OUR SOUL RESPONDS EAGERLY AND JOYFULLY TO DIVINE TRUTH, The opinions of the Samaritan and the Judean Spiritual
for WE WERE CREATED TO PERCEIVE AND COMPREHEND IT. Fathers and religious Leaders differed due their Spiritual
 THE LIVING WATER OF CHRIST’S DIVINE TRUTH indeed Schism that had occurred when the Samaritans
springs and flows from THE INFINITE DIVINE GRACE OF intermarried with pagans and thus distorted the ancient
OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, which we are able to Old Covenant Faith by adopting many worldly, Gentile
COMPREHEND AND FULFIL BY THE POWER AND ENERGY OF beliefs and practises – similar to today’s disunity and
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT, granting us ETERNAL LIFE IN HIS distortions that cause heresy and apostasy. .
HEAVENLY KINGDOM OF LOVE.  ONLY OUR LORD GOD COULD AND DID SETTLE THE HISTORICAL
 We, in turn, will BECOME SPRINGS OF LIFE-GIVING WATER ARGUMENT concerning where True Worship was to
when we ENLIGHTEN, ENCOURAGE AND GUIDE OTHERS to be offered
Life in Christ Jesus.  Although He refused to answer such an earthly
 Those of us who “...hunger and thirst...” for Divine question OUR DIVINE SAVIOUR ELEVATED THE DISCUSSION
Truth and Everlasting Life are SUSTAINED, TO OUR TRIUNE, ALMIGHTY GOD - FATHER, SON AND HOLY
REGENERATED, REFRESHED AND RENEWED BY GOD and SPIRIT.
everything He provides for our physical and  The term “..you…” referred to the Judean Faithful in
spiritual Welfare. general.
✳ “…“Go - fetch Thy husband, and come here.” …“I have ✳ “… neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, wilt you
no husband.” … “Well said: ‘I have no husband.’ worship the Father. You worship what you do not
Thou hast had five husbands, and now he whom know - we worship what we know, for Salvation is
Thou hast is not Thy husband. This Thou spoke from the Judeans…”
truly…”  GOD IS SPIRIT and CANNOT BE CONFINED to any particular
 OUR LORD RESPECTED EVERYONE EQUALLY no matter location – He IS OMNIPRESENT –EVERYWHERE!
whether men, women or children, which was  THOSE WHO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT AND BELIEVE IN JESUS
extraordinary in those days. CHRIST as THE SON AND WORD of God the Father –
 HE DID NOT WISH TO SCANDALISE EITHER THIS WOMAN NOR WORSHIP GOD WITH PURITY OF HEART.
ANYONE ELSE for it was forbidden (and still is in  OUR LORD AFFIRMED THAT TRUE REVELATION COMES FROM
certain cultures) for men and women to converse JUDAISM – the Old Covenant Faith.
except through a close male relative.  St Athanasios the Great explained: “The
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST KNEW THAT ST PHOTINI WAS LIVING IN commonwealth of Israel was the School of the
SIN, and that she had had five previous ‘husbands,’ Knowledge of God for all Nations.”
 When ST PHOTINI CONFESSED HER SINFUL IMMORAL LIFESTYLE  More importantly, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST TESTIFIED THAT
HONESTLY – WITHOUT TRYING TO JUSTIFY OR EXCUSE THE GREAT MESSIAH Who was prophesied among the
HERSELF - our Lord said “...Well said… Thou Israelites, HAS RISEN FROM THE HEBREWS.
spoke truly...”  While THE GIFT OF ETERNAL SALVATION IN CHRIST IS TO ALL
 OUR LORD KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT US, yet we try to NATIONS, it has come FROM JUDAISM.
excuse or justify our sins, which reveals a serious ✳ “…the Hour … now is … True Worshippers will worship
lack of remorse, sincere contrition and the Father in Spirit and Truth for the Father seeks
Repentance! such to worship Him. God is Spirit … those who
 ST PHOTINI’S CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE revealed her worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.”
HONEST AND SINCERE QUALITIES.  This refers to the DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST and
 SHE WAS NEITHER OFFENDED NOR INCENSED BY OUR LORD JESUS to THE OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT at Holy
CHRIST’S INSIGHT INTO EVERY HUMAN BEING’S HEART, Pentecost, which inaugurated THE WORSHIP OF OUR
which is repeatedly noted throughout the Holy NEW COVENANT with Almighty God.
Gospels, emphasising His Divine Nature.  We WORSHIP GOD WITH BODY AND SOUL – with our thoughts,
✳ “…Lord, I perceive that Thou art a Prophet…” words and deeds - according to His Divine Truth.
 ST PHOTINI ACKNOWLEDGED OUR LORD AS A HOLY PROPHET OF ✳ “…’I know that the Messiah is coming … called ‘Christ.’
GOD BECAUSE OF HIS INSIGHT TO HER PERSONAL LIFESTYLE, … He will show us all things.’ Jesus said … “I, Who
although the Samaritans did not accept nor speak to Thee, Am He.”
recognise any Prophets after St Moses.  ST PHOTINI KNEW AND UNDERSTOOD THE PROPHECIES OF HOLY
 THE ONLY HOLY PROPHET THEY EXPECTED WAS THE GREAT SCRIPTURE.
MESSIAH OF WHOM ST MOSES HAD FORETOLD.  “I… Am He,” is literally translated: “I AM (“Ego Imi”)
 D E U T E R O N O M Y 1 8 : 1 5 - 1 8 – “...The Lord your God will which is THE DIVINE NAME OF GOD.
raise up for you a Prophet like me from your  Its use indicates A THEOPHANY OR DIVINE REVELATION OF
Brethren... I will put My Word in His Mouth, and He GOD HIMSELF.
shall speak to them all I command Him...”  THE USE OF THIS MOST HOLY NAME BY A MERE MAN WOULD
 This indicates that HE IS THE WORD MADE FLESH, for NO HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED THE WORST BLASPHEMY EVER –
OTHER HOLY PROPHET OF GOD, including St Moses, punishable by stoning to death! (JOHN 8:58; MARK
WOULD EVER SPEAK IN SUCH A MANNER! 14:62)
 The Holy Prophets of God were mere human beings  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS THE ETERNAL, ONLY BEGOTTEN SON
whereas THE HOLY PROPHET WHO WAS TO COME WOULD OF GOD AND ONE OF THE THREE DIVINE PERSONS OF THE
BE GOD INCARNATE – GOD IN THE FLESH – A PHYSICAL, ALMIGHTY GODHEAD.

20 5 T H
SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA – THE SAMARITAN WOMAN 17 MAY 2020
 HIS USE OF THIS DIVINE NAME REVEALS HIS TRUE UNITY WITH ✳ “… He Who Reaps receives Wages, and gathers Fruit for
GOD THE FATHER AND GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT, FOR HE IS Eternal Life, so that the Sower and the Reaper may
INDEED GOD INCARNATE! Rejoice together!’ For here the saying holds True,
✳ “…His Disciples marvelled, for He was speaking to a for One Sows, Another Reaps.
woman. Yet none said: “What seekest Thou?” or  THOSE WHO LABOUR ARE REWARDED according to their
“Why art Thou talking to her?” efforts.
HIS DISCIPLES WERE NATURALLY ASTONISHED to see our Lord  BY LABOURING FAITHFULLY IN GOD’S SACRED VINEYARD (Life
and the Samaritan Woman speaking to each in Christ) WE ARE REWARDED WITH ETERNAL LIFE in His
other, due to the social norms of those days (as Heavenly Kingdom of Love with all its
previously explained.) indescribable, unimaginable Spiritual Treasures.
 YET THEY DID NOT ADDRESS EITHER OF THEM concerning this ✳ “…I sent you to Reap that for which you did not Labour
unusual behaviour perhaps because THEY WERE – others Laboured – and you have entered into
LEARNING TO TRUST CHRIST IMPLICITLY AND LEARNING their Labour…”
MORE ABOUT HIS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE for all mankind  According to St John Chrysostom the Sowers and the
– and particularly for His Lost Sheep of Israel. Reapers refers to THE HOLY PROPHETS OF THE OLD
 CHRIST IS ABOVE ALL SOCIAL NORMS AND CUSTOMS,
COVENANT AND THE HOLY APOSTLES OF THE NEW
 HE TREATS ALL WOMEN AND CHILDREN WITH THE HIGHEST OF
COVENANT RESPECTIVELY.
RESPECT, thereby SHOWING THEIR VALUE AND  THE HOLY PROPHETS SOWED THE SEEDS OF FAITH IN
IMPORTANCE IN EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY LIFE.
PREPARATION FOR THE ADVENT OF THE MESSIAH, yet they
Read John 7:53 – 8:11; 11:20 – 33; 20: 11 – 18 & Luke 8 : 1 – 3 neither witnessed it nor reaped the Spiritual Fruit
✳ “… The Woman left her water jar… departed to the city, of their Holy Labours.
and said to the people: “Come see a Man … Can  THE APOSTLES WITNESSED AND EXPERIENCED THE PRESENCE OF
this be the Christ?” They went out of the city… to GOD INCARNATE, but had not prepared either the
Him…” Judeans nor the Gentiles.
 WITH RENEWED FAITH AND OVERWHELMING JOY, ST PHOTINI  AFTER THE RESURRECTION AND ESPECIALLY AFTER PENTECOST,
THEY DREW MILLIONS OF SOULS TO FAITH IN CHRIST
RUSHED TO CALL OTHERS TO CHRIST, leaving behind her
precious water jar – a most necessary item for  AFTER THE GENERAL RESURRECTION WE WILL ALL REJOICE
TOGETHER – the Church Triumphant and the Church
physical needs.
 ST PHOTINI’S WONDERFUL ANNOUNCEMENT, BROUGHT A VAST Militant – in God’s Heavenly Kingdom of Love.
MULTITUDE TO MEET OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST – the long The Righteous Faithful as well as the unrepentant sinners had
awaited Great Messiah! all been held captive in Hades.
✳ “...I have Food to eat of which you do not know… to do Since Christ’s Harrowing of Hades and His Glorious
the Will of Him Who sent Me, and to accomplish Resurrection, His Righteous have Rested in Peace in
Paradise until the General Resurrection of all mankind,
His Work…”
past and present – and are already enjoying the Marvellous
 Our Lord had no need for created, material food
Foretaste of Everlasting Life.
when HE HAD UNCREATED SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT,
which was THE FULFILMENT OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER’S ✳ “…Many Samaritans … believed in Him … He stayed for
DIVINE WILL. two days … And many more believed because of
 CHRIST OUR LORD IS OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD due to our His Word. ‘ … we have heard for ourselves, and we
limited human experience, comprehension and know that this is indeed Christ, the Saviour of the
knowledge. world!’”
 THROUGH THESE MISUNDERSTANDINGS, OUR LORD FULFILS HIS  THESE SAMARITANS WERE AMONGST THE FIRST TO RECOGNISE
ROLE AS MESSIAH by fulfilling the Divine Will of His AND TO ACKNOWLEDGE OUR LORD JESUS AS THE DIVINE
Heavenly Father. SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD.
 THIS IS HIS SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT AND SUSTENANCE.  This clearly demonstrates that HIS HOLY GOSPEL IS FOR
 OUR LORD JESUS, BY HIS OWN PERFECT EXAMPLE, HAS TAUGHT ALL PEOPLE OF EVERY NATION THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE
US TO HUMBLY OBEY AND FULFIL THE DIVINE WILL OF GOD WORLD.
throughout our life WITHOUT BEING DISTRACTED BY  MANY BELIEVED IN CHRIST AFTER HEARING THE TESTIMONY OF
EARTHLY CARES such as hunger, shelter and comfort. ST PHOTINI, but EVEN MORE BELIEVED WHEN THEY BEHELD
(JOHN 6:27; MATTHEW 4:4 & 6:25-33) OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND WITNESSED HIS DIVINE TRUTH
✳ “…There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’… FOR THEMSELVES.
Behold! … the fields are already white for  Being in THE VERY PRESENCE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS A
Harvest!...” ‘ LIFE TRANSFORMING EXPERIENCE, which very few can
 According to St John Chrysostom, CHRIST WANTED HIS deny or reject.
APOSTLES TO SEE THE APPROACHING MULTITUDE OF WHITE-  When our heart and soul is open to the Reception of
CLAD SAMARITANS who were ready and eager to Divine Truth we will Experience THE LIFE-CHANGING
believe. IMPACT OF DIVINE GRACE!
 THE GREAT MULTITUDE OF EAGER SAMARITANS WERE HIS RIPE  WHEN WE ENCOUNTER DIVINE TRUTH AND LOVE, OUR HEART
SPIRITUAL CROP – HIS SPIRITUAL HARVEST. AND SOUL ARE OVERWHELMED BY THE MOST EXQUISITE,
 ALL HIS FAITHFUL DISCIPLES ARE COMMANDED TO “BEHOLD!” INEXPRESSIBLE LOVE, JOY AND PEACE, and WE BECOME
for we must PAY ATTENTION TO ALL WHO SURROUND US so UTTERLY TRANSFORMED IN OUR THOUGHTS, OUR WORDS AND
that we may SHARE HIS HOLY GOSPEL WITH THOSE OUR DEEDS!
WANTING TO RECEIVE IT – regardless of ethnicity,
social status or circumstances.
S T P HOTINI /S V ETL ANA – “TH E E NL IGH TE NE D ” - E QU AL TO THE AP OSTLES
At Pentecost St Photini was Baptised together with her five imperial palace where he expected them to be
sisters (or daughters) and two sons, before beginning tempted by a great display of wealth and all kinds of
their Sacred Mission, traveling far and wide, promises if they renounced our Lord.
preaching our Lord’s Holy Gospel. Nero had ordered his daughter, Domnina, and her slave
St Photini and family were in Carthage, North Africa girls to persuade them, but instead St Photini
when Emperor Nero’s persecution of Christians began, Catechized and Baptized them, bestowing the name
but after a Vision of Christ, they sailed to Italy and ‘Anthousa’ upon Nero's daughter, who immediately
went to Rome, accompanied by many other ordered all the displayed wealth to be distributed to
Christians, to preach our Life in Christ. the poor of Rome.
Before they were arrested, they presented themselves to St Photini and all her companions were condemned to
Nero and explained their reason for being there. He death by various means, but they survived for three
asked if they had all agreed to die for “the Nazarene.” years, converting many, until they were beheaded
After they answered: "Yes, for the Love of Christ we Rejoice except St Photini, who prayed for release from this life.
and in His Name we will gladly die," Nero sentenced One night, our Lord Appeared to her, made the Sign of
them to hideous tortures, which they all endured and the Cross over her three times, which filled her with
miraculously survived, unharmed. Perplexed by their intense Joy. While Praising and Blessing our Lord God,
courageous endurance Nero imprisoned the men St Photini surrendered her soul to Him and Reposed in
while St Photini and her five sisters were taken to the Peace at last.

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SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA – THE SAMARITAN WOMAN 17 MAY 2020 21
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and
unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady,
Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all the Saints. And let us commit ourselves and one another
and our whole Life to Christ our God. Amen.
21 MAY 2020

Christ is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
ST CONSTANTINE, BYZANTINE EMPEROR & ST HELENA, HIS RIGHTEOUS MOTHER
EQUALS TO THE APOSTLES
Also the Feast of St Constantine and his sons, St Michael & St Theodore, Righteous Princes, of Murom – St
Cassian the Greek, of Uglich - “the Vladimir” & “the Tenderness” Holy Icons of our Lady, Theotokos

MATINS - HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST JOHN 10: 9 – 16


At that time, our Lord Jesus Christ said: “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 may have it more abundantly.
“I Am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His Life for His Sheep. But a Hireling – he who is not the
Shepherd, one who does not own the Sheep – sees the Wolf approaching, 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 My 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...”
✳"... I Am the Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be 2. He KNOWS AND IS KNOWN BY OUR HEAVENLY FATHER – being
Saved, and will go in and out and find pasture…. I have the Eternal, Only Begotten Son of God.
come that they may have Life, and that they may have it 3. He KNOWS ALL HEARTS AND SOUL – all thoughts, words and
more abundantly….” deeds - being our Divine Creator.
 ONLY THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ARE WE SAVED, 4. He VOLUNTARILY SACRIFICED HIS LIFE FOR OUR SALVATION –
REDEEMED, RESTORED AND REGENERATED AND thereby THE GREATEST ACT OF LOVE AND SELF-SACRIFICE anyone
able to ENTER HIS ETERNAL KINGDOM OF LOVE. can offer for the Salvation of others.
 ONLY WHEN OUR THOUGHTS, WORDS AND DEEDS ARE 5. He was THE OFFERER AND THE OFFERING OF THE ULTIMATE,
ACCORDING TO HIS DIVINE TRUTH WILL WE RECEIVE MOST PERFECT AND FULFILLING BLOOD Sacrifice of all
ETERNAL LIFE. time, which makes it no longer necessary for
 DURING THE HOLY MYSTERY OF BAPTISM, WE “PUT ON CHRIST” blood sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins.
LIKE A RIGHTEOUS, SACRED GARMENT. 6. He fulfilled EVERYTHING NECESSARY FOR OUR REDEMPTION
 WE CONTINUE TO “LIVE IN CHRIST,” when OUR THOUGHTS, AND RECONCILIATION.
WORDS AND DEEDS ARE ALWAYS LOVING, KIND,  However, as His Holy Flock and Faithful Disciples, WE
COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL. NEED TO CONSTANTLY
 Life in Christ means that we 1. STRUGGLE AGAINST TEMPTATION AND GRIEVOUS PASSIONS.
1. FOLLOW AND FULFIL OUR LORD’S OWN PERFECT LIFESTYLE 2. EXAMINE OURSELVES AND REPENT our continuous and
with Humility and Obedience to the Divine Will habitual sins
of our Heavenly Father in all circumstances. 3. STRIVE FOR SPIRITUAL PERFECTION because OUR SALVATION
2. ENJOY AN ACCOMPLISHED AND BLESSED LIFE of Divine IS A CONTINUOUS SPIRITUAL PROCESS until we draw our
Grace and Love. final breath.
✳ “…The Thief does not come, except to steal, and to kill, and 4. DEDICATE OUR LIFE TO GOD AND MANKIND by putting the
to destroy…” Will of our Heavenly Father and the needs of
 SATAN, THE EVIL ONE, HAS INVENTED EVERYTHING EVIL, others before our own.
DESTRUCTIVE AND NEGATIVE – everything opposed to ✳ “…a Hireling … is not the Shepherd… does not own the
the Love, Mercy, Providence, Sustenance and Sheep – sees the Wolf approaching, and leaves the
Beauty of our Lord God. Sheep and flees. The Hireling flees because he …
 HE IS THE WORST THIEF, LIAR AND DECEIVER, who lures does not care about the Sheep … “
mankind to commit sins instigated by grievous  Those who are “Hirelings” are SELFISH, EGOCENTRIC
passions - especially heresies and blasphemies MERCENARIES who care only about money and
that alienate us from God and each other. worldly acquisitions.
 Although Satan and his demons CANNOT ACTUALLY KILL  They have NO CONCERN FOR THE SPIRITUAL WELFARE AND
US, ETERNAL SALVATION OF THE HOLY FLOCK.
1. THEY ROB US OF ANYTHING GOOD AND VIRTUOUS .  They USE THE HOLY CHURCH (THE SACRED SHEEPFOLD) TO
2. THEY DECEIVE US AND LURE US INTO WICKEDNESS. THEIR OWN ADVANTAGE – to enrich and empower
3. THEY USE OUR PASSIONS AND WEAKNESSES AGAINST US themselves.
causing us to commit murder, acts of greedy  They ABANDON THE HOLY FLOCK WHEN CHALLENGED OR
self-indulgence and self-destruction or suicide. THREATENED, which exposes their flaws and
 Much of the DESTRUCTION AND HARM done to our planet wickedness.
and mankind IS DUE TO OUR OWN EVIL THOUGHTS,  They MAKE NO EFFORT TO GUIDE, TO ENLIGHTEN NOR TO
WORDS AND DEEDS! PROTECT THE HOLY FLOCK by Repenting and
✳ “... I Am the Good Shepherd… gives His Life for His correcting their own sins as well as those of the
Sheep....” people.
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WATCHES OVER US – PROTECTING US ✶ “...the Wolf catches the Sheep and scatters them…”
AND GUIDING HIS HOLY FLOCK – His “reason-endowed  HERETICS, SCHISMATICS AND ALL WHO ARE MERCENARY, SELF-
Sheep.” (Intellectual Beings) SERVING, SPIRITUALLY BLIND AND EGOCENTRIC
1. He has FULFILLED EVERYTHING PROPHESIED IN HOLY 1. DESTROY THE PEACE, LOVE AND UNITY of the ONE HOLY
SCRIPTURE – being our Great Divine CATHOLIC (Universal) AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF CHRIST
Messiah/Saviour.

22
2. USE THE HOLY CHURCH FOR THEIR OWN WICKED PURPOSES - CITIZENS AND CO-HEIRS of His Heavenly Kingdom of
usually as a means of personal wealth and Love.
empowerment.  THE INFINITE LOVE OF GOD IS CLEARLY EVIDENT in
3. DO THE DESTRUCTIVE WORK OF THE EVIL ONE. everything He grants us.
4. ENTICE THE IGNORANT AND INNOCENT WITH THEIR DECEPTIONS 1. HE SENT US HIS BELOVED SON to show us and teach us
AND LIES that are contrary to Divine Truth that our how to think, speak and act as Sanctified Children
Divine Saviour has revealed and taught us. of God.
5. THEIR ONLY DESIRE IS TO SATISFY THEIR WICKED APPETITES – 2. He grants us EVERY MEANS POSSIBLE FOR OUR ETERNAL
like ravenous beasts, SALVATION AND for our SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT AND
 When their treachery is exposed, THE FLOCK FEELS WELFARE by Living in Christ Jesus.
BETRAYED AND BECOMES “SCATTERED” by either 3. He grants us EVERYTHING NECESSARY FOR OUR PHYSICAL
rejecting the Holy Church and their Faith SUSTENANCE, MAINTENANCE AND PROTECTION – from
altogether or by seeking something that seems birth to Repose – by His Divine Providence.
“trustworthy and acceptable.” 4. He grants each of us A SPECIFIC LIFESPAN OF
 THE FAITHFUL REMAIN IN THE SANCTITY OF CHRIST’S HOLY CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH TO BECOME SPIRITUALLY
FOLD – His Orthodox Church – and continue to LIVE PERFECTED.
IN CHRIST ✳ “…other sheep I have… not of this Fold… I must bring, …
 THOSE WHO HAVE WEAK, UNSTABLE FAITH APOSTATISE – reject they will hear my Voice … there will be One Flock
and abandon God’s Divine Truth and Life. and One Shepherd...”
✶ “...I know My Sheep and Am known by My Own…”  ALL MANKIND IS LOVED BY GOD Who created us all – Saint
 This refers to our GOOD, CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR and sinner alike.
LORD JESUS CHRIST, Who Loves all His creatures.  His “…other Sheep…” are those who “…hear [His]
 GOD IS LOVE. Voice…” and
1. Being Created in His Divine Image and Likeness IT IS 1. EVENTUALLY ACCEPT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AS THEIR DIVINE
NATURAL TO LOVE. SAVIOUR
2. THE MORE WE GET TO KNOW OUR LORD GOD, THE MORE WE 2. NATURALLY THINK, SPEAK AND ACT ACCORDING TO DIVINE LOVE
LOVE HIM AND EACH OTHER. – the Love of God and of all Creation.
3. OUR ENTIRE EXISTENCE IS DUE TO THE LOVE OF GOD.  Our Lord also meant THE GENTILES (Non-Jews) WHO
 BY LIVING IN CHRIST - when our thoughts, words and WOULD BE BROUGHT INTO THE TRUE FAITH.
deeds are ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY  RECONCILIATION WITH GOD AND EACH OTHER OF ALL MANKIND
FATHER – ENABLES US TO RECOGNISE, UNDERSTAND AND WILL BECOME A REALITY when we are UNITED BY LOVE
KNOW our Triune Lord God and His Divine Truth. FOR GOD AND EACH OTHER, forming “...One Flock and
 WE WILL, THEREFORE, NOT BE DECEIVED by those who seek One Shepherd...” which is OUR CONSTANT HOPE.
our destruction.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is THE ONLY ETERNAL
✳ “…As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father, and 1. GOOD SHEPHERD
I lay down My Life for My Sheep…” 2. HIGH PRIEST
 THE DIVINE RELATIONSHIP between God our Heavenly 3. HEAD OR LEADER
Father and Christ His Only Begotten Son and Word of His One Holy, Universal, Orthodox Church.
IS ETERNAL.  HE HAS AUTHORISED AND ORDAINED BISHOPS AND PRIESTS to
 OUR TRIUNE LORD GOD IS ETERNAL - has existed forever, be Spiritual Shepherds of His Holy Flock.
unrestricted by time or space.  THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD IS DIVINELY AUTHORISED TO PERFORM
 On the contrary, WE WERE CREATED BY GOD FROM THE CLAY THE HOLY MYSTERIES AND SERVICES, which Restore,
OF THIS PLANET, EARTH, WHICH, like everything that is Regenerate, Nourish and Sustain us.
material and immaterial – visible and invisible –  HIS HOLY CHURCH TRANSCENDS ALL ETHNIC AND OTHER
GOD CREATED FROM NOTHINGNESS! HUMAN DISTINCTIONS, as ALL MANKIND IS EQUAL in our
 Our Lord Jesus Christ is CONSUBSTANTIAL WITH OUR Creator’s Sight.
HEAVENLY FATHER because HE IS EQUALLY DIVINE IN ALL  Since the beginning of His Holy Church, ONLY ONE
HIS PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. BISHOP (METROPOLITAN) IS AUTHORISED TO SERVE EACH CITY
 HE BECAME INCARNATE ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF OUR OR DIOCESE. (CANON 8 OF THE FIRST ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF
HEAVENLY FATHER in order to Redeem, Restore and NICEA)
Save all mankind from Eternal Spiritual Death –  AS THE CHURCH HAS GROWN, BISHOPS HAVE HAD TO SERVE
permanent alienation and separation from God LARGER AREAS due to the shortage of Priests and
and all His Loving, Benevolent Goodness. Bishops.
 Everything our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled, revealed  In the Second Century, ST IGNATIOS HAD ADMONISHED
and taught us is according to the Will of OUR CERTAIN CHURCHES FOR CONDUCTING SEPARATE LITURGIES
HEAVENLY FATHER WHOM HE OBEYS WITH ABSOLUTE FOR JEWISH AND GENTILE CHRISTIANS: “... be careful to
HUMILITY AND LOVE. observe A SINGLE EUCHARIST, for there is ONE
 Having been created in His Perfect Likeness and FLESH of our Lord Jesus Christ, and ONE CUP
Image, WE NEED TO BECOME SPIRITUALLY PERFECTED so (Chalice) of His Blood that makes us ONE, and ONE
that we can RETURN TO OUR CREATED STATE as worthy ALTAR, just as there is ONE BISHOP... This is in line
with God’s Will...”
F E STAL P R OKE IM E NON – P SALM 18/19 – T ONE (8) P LAGAL 4
Their Proclamation went forth into all the Earth, and their Words to the ends of the world.
The Heavens declare the Glory of God; the firmament shows the Creation of His Hands.
A C TS OF TH E A P OSTLE S A CC ORD ING TO S T LU KE 26 : 1 & 12 – 20
In those days, Agrippa the King said to Paul: “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand
and answered for himself: “... while thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from
the Chief Priests, at midday along the road, I beheld, O King, a Light from Heaven that was brighter than the sun
shining around me and those who journeyed with me.
“We had all fallen to the ground, when I heard a Voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language: ‘Saul!
Saul! Why are you persecuting Me? It is difficult for you to kick against the goads.’ I said: ‘Who art Thou, Lord?’
He said: ‘”I Am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. But Rise and stand on your feet. I have Appeared to you for this
Purpose – to make you a Minister and a Witness both of the Things that you have seen and of the Things that I
will yet reveal to you.
‘”’I will Deliver you from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you - to open their eyes in order to
turn them from Darkness to Light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive Forgiveness of sins
and an Inheritance among those who are Sanctified by Faith in Me.’
“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the Heavenly Vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in
Jerusalem, and throughout all the region in Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should Repent, and turn to
God, doing Work befitting Repentance.”

S T CO NSTANTINE & S T H E LE NA THE I M PER IAL EQ U AL S TO THE AP OSTLES 21 M AY 23.


✳ "... Agrippa the King said to Paul: “You are permitted to  On the contrary, OUR LORD’S NEW COVENANT CONCERNS
speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand ALL ASPECTS OF DIVINE LOVE THAT IS COMPASSIONATE,
and answered for himself…” MERCIFUL, MEEK AND KIND.
Marcus Julius Agrippa was the second last Judean Tetrarch  OUR LORD ENCOURAGES US to take His Yoke upon us – TO
- his son, Herod Agrippa II, was the last of the Herodian LIVE ACCORDING TO HIS NEW COVENANT - whereby we
dynasty. He was the grandson of Herod “the Great” and LEARN TO LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY, which enables us to
the son of Aristoboulos IV and Berenice, who reigned as become worthy Co-Heirs of our Heavenly Father’s
“King of Judea” from 11 BC – 44 AD (although he was Eternal Kingdom of Love.
merely a Tetrarch Governor.)  Our Saviour teaches us to FOLLOW THE LOVING SPIRIT OF
The territory of Judea included Judea, Galilee, Batanaea and DIVINE LAW, rather than the rigid letter of the Law.
Perea, and extended East to Trachonitis, which were  GOD’S NEW COVENANT OF LOVE SETS US FREE on so many
under the authority of the Roman Empire. levels so that we can MAKE GOOD SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
 St Paul was A ROMAN CITIZEN so WAS ALLOWED TO STATE HIS WITH LOVE, JOY AND PEACE.
OWN CASE TO THE COURT.  THE YOKE OF CHRIST MEANS OUR THOUGHTS, WORDS AND DEEDS
 Standing with an outstretched hand was THE USUAL ARE VOLUNTARILY ACCORDING TO DIVINE WILL - we are
MANNER OF PUBLIC ADDRESS in those times. motivated by our Love of God and for each other.
✳ “…as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and  DISCIPLES OF CHRIST THINK, SPEAK AND ACT ACCORDING TO
THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE OF OUR LORD JESUS.
commission from the Chief Priests, at midday along
the road, I beheld … a Light from Heaven … ✳ "...‘I Am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting… I have
brighter than the sun shining around me and those Appeared … to make you a Minister and a Witness
who journeyed with me…” both of the Things that you have seen and of the
 AS A ZEALOUSLY FAITHFUL JUDEAN, ST PAUL (SAUL) WAS USED Things that I will yet reveal to you…”
BY THE CHIEF PRIESTS TO PERSECUTE THE CHRISTIANS, EVEN  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ALWAYS CLEARLY IDENTIFIES HIMSELF
TO THE POINT OF DEATH, such as in the case of St and those who are so Blessed to Experience His
Stephen the Archdeacon and Protomartyr, who Divine Presence, KNOW WITHOUT ANY DOUBT –WITH ALL
was stoned to death, while ST PAUL HAD WATCHED. OUR BEING - THAT HE IS INDEED OUR LORD AND DIVINE
 Although this Divine Encounter occurred when the sun SAVIOUR.
was at its zenith, THE HEAVENLY, UNCREATED LIGHT  This Divine Encounter occurred AFTER THE RESURRECTION
SHONE EVEN BRIGHTER and was far more blinding. AND ASCENSION of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 THE EXTREMELY BRIGHT, BLINDING LIGHT IS THE DIVINE When St Paul spoke of his first Encounter with our Lord
ENERGY OF OUR LORD GOD, which was also Jesus Christ many years later, he said “… whether it was
experienced by His three Holy Apostles on Mount in the body or … out of the body, I do not know – God
Tabor at the Transfiguration of Christ. knows… heard inexpressible Words that are not lawful…
 This was ST PAUL’S FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH OUR LORD JESUS to utter…”
CHRIST, which TOTALLY TRANSFORMED HIM INTO THE Only those who have personally Experienced such a Blessed
GREATEST HOLY APOSTLE who converted – and and Marvellous Encounter can understand, because there
continues to convert - innumerable multitudes to are no words sufficient to describe something that totally
our True Faith. Transforms us and fills us with incredibly wonderful Truth
 This is THE DIVINE LIGHT THAT DEVOUT HESYCHASTS HAVE and Knowledge.
EXPERIENCED as well.  St Paul certainly became OUR LORD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL
 ST PAUL REMAINED ABSOLUTELY FAITHFUL TO OUR LORD JESUS AND AFFECTIVE APOSTLE – His most Faithful “…Minister
CHRIST AND HIS HOLY CHURCH, for which he was and Witness…” to His Divine Truth.
continuously and severely persecuted until his  ENCOUNTERS WITH CHRIST OUR LORD ALWAYS HAVE A SPECIFIC
beheading in Rome. PURPOSE - FOR THE BENEFIT OF MANY OTHERS, not
 ST PAUL WAS NOT DELUSIONAL for those who merely for our own needs or desires.
accompanied him also witnessed the Uncreated  WE ARE UTTERLY TRANSFORMED AND ENABLED/EMPOWERED TO
Light. FULFIL THE SACRED CALLING OF GOD BY THE POWER AND
✳ “…We had all fallen to the ground, when I heard a Voice ENERGY OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.
speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language:  Consequently, EVERYTHING WE ACHIEVE IN THE HOLY
‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting Me? It is SERVICE OF OUR LORD IS ENTIRELY BY THE GRACE OF GOD –
difficult for you to kick against the goads.’ certainly not by our own weak, flawed and limited
 THE SHOCK OF THAT DIVINE ENCOUNTER CAUSED THEM ALL TO human abilities!
FALL DOWN – similar to the Apostles on Mount Tabor.  OUR COMPLETE DEDICATION TO AND LOVE OF GOD COMPELS US
 ST PAUL HEARD THE WORDS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST BUT to greater efforts for His Glory, Honour and Worship
DID NOT SEE HIM IN HIS GLORIFIED DIVINITY – similar to alone.
so many others who have been Blessed with such ✳ “…’I will Deliver you … send you … open their eyes … turn
a Divine Encounter. them from Darkness to Light… from …Satan to God,
 OUR LORD JESUS ADDRESSES US IN OUR OWN LANGUAGE, for He that they may receive Forgiveness of sins and an
is unrestricted by our human conditions. Inheritance among those who are Sanctified by Faith
 GOD COMMUNICATES HIS DIVINE WILL CLEARLY AND in Me…’
CONCISELY, which is usually for the Spiritual Benefit  GOD PROTECTED ST PAUL FROM THE WRATH OF THOSE who
of everyone – many others - not just one individual. remained Faithful to the legalistic Old Covenant,
 ST PAUL WAS INITIALLY KNOWN AS “SAUL” as well as the pagan Gentiles WHO PERSECUTED HIM
Our Lord addresses us by our Baptismal name, for we have AND ALL OTHER CHRISTIANS.
been Restored and Regenerated by the Holy Mystery of  CHRIST OUR LORD SENT ST PAUL ON HIS MISSIONARY JOURNEYS
Baptism that bestows upon us a New, Sanctified Nature. throughout the known world, thereby making him
Before receiving Holy Communion, our Baptismal name is given ONE OF HIS GREATEST APOSTLES known as “the Apostle
to and proclaimed by the Celebrant Priest. to the Gentiles” because of the vast number of
We ought to identify ourselves with our Baptismal name, converts he has brought to our True Faith.
whereby we are proclaimed and identified as Faithful  THE DIVINE TRUTH OF CHRIST TURNS US from Spiritual
Disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Darkness and Death TO HIS DIVINE LIGHT AND LOVE.
ST PAUL WAS UTTERLY DEVOTED TO GOD and zealously followed  SPIRITUAL DEATH CAUSED BY SIN AND IGNORANCE IS THE
INVENTION OF SATAN who seeks the destruction and
all the Old Covenant Laws.
HE REGARDED THE PERSECUTION OF THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST AS alienation of mankind because God Loves us.
FULFILLING THE WILL OF GOD, because the Judean High
 WHEN WE REPENT, WE ARE RETURNED TO GOD – TO SPIRITUAL
Priests and other religious leaders insisted that our LIFE in Christ Jesus.
Lord Jesus and His Faithful were blasphemers who  THE DIVINE PURPOSE of our short sojourn in this existence
deserved to be severely persecuted even to death. before Eternity IS FOR OUR “… FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND
INHERITANCE...” of our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom of
A yoke is a type of rigid double harness that is used to hold
Love.
and guide two animals together to pull something behind
 CONSTANT REPENTANCE AND LIFE IN CHRIST IS THE ONLY
them.
MEANS OF REGAINING OUR DIVINE LIKENESS so that we
A goad is an instrument used to encourage the animals to move
become worthy Citizens, together with all the
forward – a prodding stick that startles them to react.
Righteous Faithful who were Sanctified in Christ
 THE MOSAIC LAWS WERE BURDENSOME AND OPPRESSIVE – before us.
FORCEFUL AND UNMERCIFUL, due to the interpretation
of the legalistic, Spiritually Blind Judean leaders.
24. S T C ONSTANTINE & S T H ELE NA THE I MP ER IAL EQ U AL S TO THE A P OSTLE S 21 M AY
 WE RENEW AND RESTORE OUR NATURAL LOVE FOR GOD AND  THE DIVINE COMMANDMENTS ALWAYS APPLY, but THE
ALL CREATION when we are “...Sanctified by Faith...” LEGALISTIC MOSAIC LAWS WERE FLAWED because they
and SPIRITUALLY PERFECTED AS HE CREATED US TO BE. were the interpretations of how God’s Laws were to
✳ “…I was not disobedient to the Heavenly Vision, but be applied, but proved to be INEFFECTUAL AND RIGID.
declared first to those in Damascus … in Jerusalem,  The Mosaic Laws dealt with the outer welfare of the
and throughout … Judea, and then to the Gentiles, Faithful whereas THE NEW COVENANT OF LOVE
that they should Repent, and turn to God, doing Work CONCERNS THE MORTAL BODY AND IMMORTAL SOUL OF
befitting Repentance.” MANKIND – BOTH OF WHICH ARE SANCTIFIED AND WILL BE
 ST PAUL DEDICATED HIS ENTIRE LIFE TO THE SERVICE OF GOD, RESURRECTED.
and especially to the Divine Truth of our Lord  ST PAUL’S INITIAL MISSIONARY JOURNEYS INVOLVED THE OLD
Jesus Christ’s New Covenant of Love. COVENANT FAITHFUL – THE LOST SHEEP OF ISRAEL -
 Although the Old Covenant Faithful accused St Paul of before turning to the Gentile Nations, all of whom
apostasy, HE WAS ACTUALLY FULFILLING THE DIVINE WILL are now “THE NEW ISRAEL” – ALL THOSE CALLED TO GOD
OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, which is THE NEW COVENANT THROUGH THE DIVINE TRUTH OF CHRIST OUR LORD AND
OF LOVE. SAVIOUR.
 ST PAUL DID NOT DENIGRATE THE OLD COVENANT, BUT  As Faithful Disciples, we ought to be DEEPLY GRATEFUL
EXPLAINED AND EXPOSED ITS FLAWS, compared to the for the Love and Great Mercy of God, AND THUS
New Covenant, which concerns the Spiritual MOTIVATED to
Perfection of mankind. 1. STRUGGLE CEASELESSLY against all temptations and
 THE NEW COVENANT CONTINUES FROM THE OLD COVENANT, grievous passions
which was fulfilled and Perfected by our Lord 2. STRIVE FOR SPIRITUAL PERFECTION of our thoughts, words
Jesus Christ. and deeds, according to Christ’s Divine Truth.
H OLY G OSPE L A CC ORD ING TO S T J OH N 10: 1 – 9
At that time, our Lord Jesus said: “...Truly, Truly, I say unto you: he who does not enter the Sheepfold by the Door, but
climbs up some other ways, is a Thief and a Robber. He who enters by the Door, is the Shepherd of the Sheep.
To him the Doorkeeper opens, and the Sheep hear His Voice, and He Calls His Sheep by name, and leads them
out. And when He brings out His own Sheep, He goes before them. And the Sheep follow Him, for they know His
voice. A Stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this illustration, they did not understand the things that was spoken to them.
Again, Jesus said to them: “Truly, truly, I say to you: I Am the Door of the Sheep. “All who ever came before Me are
thieves and robbers, but the Sheep did not hear them. I Am the Door: by Me if anyone enters in, he shall be
Saved, and shall go in and out, and find Pasture...”
✳ “…Truly, Truly, I say unto you: he who does not enter the FAITHFUL SHEPHERDS who hear the Voice of our Lord, LEAD
Sheepfold by the Door, but climbs up some other His People ACCORDING TO DIVINE TRUTH IN CHRIST and
ways, is a Thief and a Robber…” RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE together with their Faithful Flock.
 THIS WAS A CONTINUOUS CONVERSATION OF CHRIST WITH THE OUR LORD GOD KNOWS EACH OF US BY OUR BAPTISMAL NAME,
PHARISEES, which occurred at the conclusion of the whereby He addresses us when we are so Blessed
Feast of Tabernacles – a period of eight days. to Encounter Him.
 At this Festival, during the last year of our Lord’s  AS OUR DIVINE CREATOR, HE KNOWS EACH OF US INTIMATELY –
earthly Life, HE TAUGHT IN THE TEMPLE, attracting far better than we know ourselves.
much public attention whereby SOME CONSIDERED  LIKEWISE, OUR SPIRITUAL FATHERS OUGHT TO KNOW US
HIM TO BE ‘INSANE,’ WHILE OTHERS BELIEVED HE IS THE PERSONALLY – our name, our Struggles and Strivings
LONG-AWAITED DIVINE MESSIAH. – so that they properly understand our specific
However, THE SADDUCEES, PHARISEES AND SCRIBES circumstances and needs – from the greatest to
CONSIDERED HIM TO BE A GREAT SCHISMATIC THREAT AND the least.
THUS PLOTTED HIS MURDER.  OUR SPIRITUAL SHEPHERDS OUGHT TO POSSESS CHRIST-LIKE
 OUR LORD JESUS COMPARED THEIR LEADERSHIP WITH HIS OWN COMPASSION AND MERCY for each member of the
DIVINE AUTHORITY. Holy Flock under their care.
 THEY DISTORTED GOD’S HOLY COVENANT and thus “ROBBED”  ACCORDINGLY, THE FLOCK OUGHT TO RESPOND TO OUR
HIS PEOPLE OF THEIR RIGHTFUL SACRED HERITAGE. SPIRITUAL FATHERS WITH TRUST, LOVE AND OBEDIENCE
 CHRIST IS LOVE, TRUTH AND LIFE - “THE DOOR” - the only because they are ORDAINED BY GOD TO LEAD US AND
means of ENTRY INTO ETERNAL, HEAVENLY LIFE. GUIDE US PROPERLY IN CHRIST.
 THE “SHEEPFOLD” IS OUR SACRED RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.  As St Ignatios pointed out: “... where the Bishop is
 Those who lead the Holy Flock in a manner that is present, there the people shall gather...” for indeed,
NEITHER IN CHRIST, NOR ACCORDING TO HIS TEACHINGS THE RESPONSE OF THE FAITHFUL FLOCK CAN BE A GOOD
AND THOSE OF HOLY SCRIPTURE, are indeed “…thieves INDICATOR of who is a True and Beloved Holy
and robbers…” Shepherd who correctly ministers to the needs of
 Rather than using the Most Sacred Door so that God’s Holy Flock.
everyone can see His Divine Works openly, all  The more we ACQUIRE DIVINE TRUTH AND A CLOSE
FALSE SHEPHERDS USE DEVIOUS MEANS TO CONTROL, TO RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND HIS HOLY CHURCH, THE
STEAL AND TO MANIPULATE people, which DECEIVES LESS LIKELY WE WILL BE DECEIVED OR MISGUIDED.
them AND DESTROYS their souls!  We can follow/imitate our Lord’s Perfect Example only
✳ “…He who enters by the Door, is the Shepherd of the when we PROPERLY UNDERSTAND HIS DIVINE TRUTH.
Sheep… the Doorkeeper opens… the Sheep hear His  DUE TO OUR SPIRITUAL INEXPERIENCE AND IMMATURITY, WE ALL
Voice… He Calls His Sheep by name, and leads them NEED HOLY FATHERS AND INSPIRED TEACHERS to Guide us
out… He goes before them… the Sheep follow Him, properly.
for they know His Voice. A Stranger they will not  We, in turn, need to BE HUMBLE AND OBEDIENT TO CHRIST
follow, but will flee … they do not know the voice of AND THOSE WHO LEAD, GUIDE AND ENCOURAGE US in His
strangers...” Righteousness and Divine Truth.
 THE OLD COVENANT PRIESTS HAD FAILED AS “SHEPHERDS” OF “...All who ever came before...” our Lord Jesus Christ
GOD’S HOLY FLOCK because THEY WERE CORRUPTED BY does not refer to St Moses, the ancient Patriarch,
THEIR DECEIT, PRIDE AND LACK OF COMPASSION, whereas nor to the True Holy Prophets of God but to THOSE
OUR LORD JESUS FULFILS ALL THE ESSENTIAL HOLY VIRTUES. WHO CLAIMED TO BE THE GREAT MESSIAH – those who
 Those who enter by “…the Door...” are those who appeared before and after the First Appearance
CORRECTLY FULFIL THE WILL OF GOD WITH LOVE, HUMILITY of our Lord Jesus Christ.
AND OBEDIENCE – WHO ACCEPT AND TEACH DIVINE TRUTH.  THESE WICKED, BLASPHEMOUS IMPOSTERS USE GOD’S HOLY
 According to St John Chrysostom, “...the Door...” refers FLOCKS FOR THEIR OWN FRAUDULENT PURPOSES.
to DIVINE TRUTH – THE WORD OF GOD (CHRIST OUR LORD)  These are the “WOLVES IN SHEEPSKINS” WHO DEVOUR AND
AND THE DIVINELY INSPIRED HOLY SCRIPTURES, because SCATTER GOD’S HOLY FLOCKS – who are enslaved,
HOLY SCRIPTURE REVEALS to us GOD THE WORD – our voluntary servants of the evil one.
Lord Jesus Christ – God Incarnate (God-Man)  They are OUR ENEMIES WHO HUNT NOT ONLY OUTSIDE BUT
WHO MAY ALSO LURK WITHIN OUR HOLY CHURCH.

S T CO NSTANTINE & S T H E LE NA THE I M PER IAL EQ U AL S TO THE AP OSTLES 21 M AY 25.


Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most
Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin,
together with all the Saints. And let us commit ourselves and one another and our
whole Life to Christ our God. Amen.
TONE (5) PLAGAL 1 24 MAY 2020

Christ is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
6TH SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA
SUNDAY OF THE BLIND MAN (BORN WITHOUT EYES)
The Feast of St Symeon Stylites the Younger of Thavmasto (Miracle) Mountain – St Nikita the Stylite, Wonderworker of
Pereyaslavl, Zalesski – St Meletios Stratelates, St Stephen, St John, St Serapion the Egyptian, St Kallinikos, St Theodore, St Faustos,
1,218 Christian Soldiers, women and children of Galatia – St Vincent of Lerins

R ESUR REC TION G OSPEL 8 – J OH N 20 : 11 - 18

P R OKE IME NON – P SALM 11/12 – T ONE (5) P L AGAL 1


Thou shalt Guard us, O Lord; Thou shalt preserve us from this generation forever.
Save me, O Lord, for the Holy Man has ceased; the Truthful are diminished from among the sons of mankind.

T H E A CTS OF THE AP OSTLE S ACC ORD ING TO S T L U KE 16: 16-34


In those days, it happened, as we went to Prayer, that a certain slave girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination
met us, who profited her masters much by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying:
“These men are the Servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the Way of Salvation!” This she did for many
days. And Paul - intensely annoyed - turned and said to the spirit: “I command you in the Name of Jesus Christ to
come out of her!” And it went out of her that very hour.
But when her masters saw that their hopes of profit were gone, they seized Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the
marketplace to the authorities. And they brought them to the Magistrates, and said: “These men – being Judeans –
exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs that are unlawful for us – being Romans – to receive or
observe.” And the multitude rose up together against them; and the Magistrates tore off their clothes and
commanded them to be beaten with rods.
And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the Jailer to keep them
securely. And having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the
stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing Hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to
them.
Suddenly there was a great earthquake, and the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors
were opened and everyone’s chains were loosened. And the Keeper of the prison, having awoken from sleep and
seeing the prison doors open, and supposing that the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill
himself. So Paul called with a loud voice, saying: “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
Then the Jailer called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he took them out, saying:
“Lords: what must I do to be Saved?” And they said: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be Saved – you
and your household.”
And they spoke the Word of the Lord to him and to all who were of his household. And he took them that same hour of
the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were Baptised. And when he had taken
them into his house, he had set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God, together with all his
household.
✳ "... a certain slave girl … possessed with a spirit of  THE SLAVE GIRL’S PERSISTENCE WAS SIMILAR TO THAT OF THE
divination … profited her masters much … MOTHER OF THE DEMON-POSSESSED DAUGHTER who
followed … us, saying…: “These men are the begged our Lord to Heal her, using the analogy of
Servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us “… the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table…”
the Way of Salvation!” … for many days. And Paul TO CONVINCE HIM OF THEIR DESPERATE NEED. (MATTHEW
- intensely annoyed - … said to the spirit: “I 15:27)
command you in the Name of Jesus Christ to come  THE DEMON-POSSESSED SLAVE GIRL NEEDED TO BE SET FREE in
out of her!” And it went out of her that very hour…” order to accept Christ by means of her own free
 THE YOUNG WOMAN WAS POSSESSED BY A DEMONIC SPIRIT WHO will and THE APOSTLES COULD NOT ENDURE SEEING HER
PROVIDED INFORMATION ABOUT PEOPLE, which made a BEING TORMENTED AND POSSESSED by the evil spirit.
lot of money from the superstitious people that  THE HOLY APOSTLES AND THEIR SUBSEQUENT ORDAINED
ENRICHED THOSE WHO ‘OWNED’ HER. SUCCESSORS NEVER CONDUCT ANY HOLY SERVICES IN THEIR
 DEMONIC SPIRITS CAN SEE THE SPIRITUAL STATE OF MANKIND OWN NAMES but always in the Divine Name of our
BUT THEY CANNOT PREDICT THE FUTURE, which only our Lord God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father knows.  THE ALMIGHTY DIVINE POWER OF GOD IS CLEARLY EVIDENT
 THEY RECOGNISED THE APOSTLES AS BEING “… SERVANTS OF EVEN WHEN INVOKED BY HIS MOST HOLY NAME, which
THE MOST HIGH GOD…” WHOM THEY FEARED almost as forces the demons to flee immediately!
much as they had feared the Son of God – our  WHEN WE PRAY, we enter the Presence of our Lord God,
Lord Jesus. so EVIL SPIRITS CANNOT APPROACH US NOR PROVOKE US,
 SHE FOLLOWED St Paul, St Luke and St Silas “… for many BUT THEY ARE ALWAYS READY TO ATTACK at any moment
days…” perhaps MOTIVATED BY HER OWN SPIRITUAL when we let down our guard.
HUNGER AND THIRST FOR DIVINE TRUTH AND ETERNAL ✳ “…her masters … hopes of profit were gone… seized
SALVATION. Paul and Silas… dragged them …to the authorities
 ST PAUL’S PATIENCE WAS EVENTUALLY OVERCOME by intense … and said: “These … Judeans – exceedingly
annoyance because THE DEMON HAD PROVOKED HIM. trouble our city…teach customs that are unlawful
for … Romans – to receive or observe.” And the

26
multitude rose … against them… tore off their  ST PAUL UNDERSTOOD THE DIRE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE
clothes and commanded them to be beaten with PRISON WARDEN AND HIS FAMILY, so he quickly
rods…” reassured him that none of them had escaped.
 THE GREEDY SLAVE MASTERS WERE INCENSED BY THEIR ✳ “…the Jailer … ran in… fell down trembling before Paul
FINANCIAL LOSS OF INCOME from ‘fortune telling’, and Silas… took them out, saying: “Lords: what
which also made their slave girl useless to them. must I do to be Saved?” And they said: “Believe in
 They were CONCERNED ONLY FOR THEIR LUCRATIVE BUSINESS the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be Saved – you
AFFAIRS, but certainly not for the welfare of their and your household…”
wretched slaves.  THE JAILER’S INTENSIVE RELIEF AND GRATITUDE WAS EXPRESSED
 ST PAUL AND ST SILAS WERE ARRESTED AND TRIED FOR THEIR BY HIS ACTIONS.
‘ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES,’ which also caused the loss of  HE HAD HEARD THEIR PRAYERS, PSALMODY AND PREACHING AND
income and power to the pagan temples and NOW UNDERSTOOD AND DESIRED that unconditional
priests, whose deep resentment (and fear) added DIVINE LOVE of our Living and Benevolent Lord God
to the increasing persecution of Christians. – the Way of Salvation.
 THEIR ACCUSERS in this case, did not care about any  The terrifying earthquake and St Paul’s concern to his
religious aspects but USED THE PAGANS’ RELIGIOUS life, TRANSFORMED THE JAILER, AWAKENED HIS FAITH AND
PREJUDICE AGAINST THESE JUDEANS TO RETALIATE FOR LED TO HIS VOLUNTARY CONVERSION.
THEIR PERSONAL FINANCIAL LOSS. ✳ “…they spoke the Word of the Lord to him and to all …
 ST PAUL AND ST SILAS WERE STRIPPED NAKED AND PUBLICALLY his household. And he …washed their stripes… .he
“…BEATEN WITH RODS…” so as TO UTTERLY HUMILIATE and all his family were Baptised… .he had taken
AND SHAME THEM, as well as to physically injure them into his house… set food before them…
them. rejoiced, having believed in God, together with all
✳ “…they had laid many stripes on them… threw them his household…”
into prison, commanding the Jailer to keep them  THE APOSTLES SHARED OUR LORD’S DIVINE TRUTH WITH THE
securely… in the inner prison … their feet in the JAILER AND HIS ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD when they had
stocks…” been taken into his home, where they were fed
 Not only were ST PAUL AND ST SILAS SUBJECTED TO PUBLIC and their wounds cleaned and bandaged.
HUMILIATION AND SEVERE BEATINGS, but they were also  The Apostles taught them how ALL THE OLD COVENANT
SECURELY IMPRISONED. PROPHECIES WERE FULFILLED BY OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
 They were TO BE SENTENCED TO AN EVEN HARSHER AND HIS NEW COVENANT OF LOVE.
PUNISHMENT – usually hideous torture and, finally,  This method of preaching led directly to REPENTANCE,
execution. BAPTISM AND CHRISMATION – the Reception of the
✳ …at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing Divine Gifts of God the Holy Spirit, which Empower
Hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to and Enable us to fulfil the Will of our Heavenly
them….” Father.
 THE APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES USED EVERY OPPORTUNITY to  St John Chrysostom believed that IF WE APPLIED
pray, to chant the Psalms and to preach the Holy OURSELVES TO THE STUDY OF THE OLD COVENANT
Gospel of Christ. PROPHETS, WE “…WOULD NEED NO MIRACLES…” to
 All those who were imprisoned with them WATCHED, Strengthen our Faith.
LISTENED AND HEARD THEM.  THE JAILER AND HIS ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD joyfully accepted
 THE NEW COVENANT OF LOVE with which our Lord Jesus our Lord Jesus Christ and His New Covenant of
Christ presented us WAS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT to the Love, and WERE BAPTISED BY THE APOSTLES.
experience and circumstances of the people of  From the beginning of the New Holy Covenant
that era. 1. FAITH IN CHRIST
 DIVINE TRUTH AND LOVE IS ETERNAL, causing most people 2. HOLY BAPTISM - three full immersions in Sanctified
to respond eagerly and joyfully to It. Water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son,
✳ “…a great earthquake… foundations …were shaken… . and of the Holy Spirit
all the doors … opened … chains were loosened… the are essential for our Entrance into His Holy Orthodox
Keeper … supposing that the prisoners had fled, drew Church.
his sword and was about to kill himself… Paul called  The Apostolic Pattern of Conversion is
1. HEARING,
… “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here…”
2. BELIEVING
 Earthquakes were terrifying and destructive. THE
3. HOLY BAPTISM
PRISON WARDEN WAS NATURALLY AFRAID BUT EVEN MORE
 This means that WE NEED TO HEAR, BELIEVE AND APPLY OUR
TERRIFIED OF THE CONSEQUENCES HE WOULD SUFFER IF HIS
LORD’S DIVINE TRUTH CORRECTLY TO OUR THOUGHTS,
PRISONERS ESCAPED. WORDS AND DEEDS – to commit ourselves to LIVE IN
 HIS PUNISHMENT WOULD BE SO CRUEL, he could not deal CHRIST IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES – not only when we feel
with even the thought of it so he decided to rather like it or have a need for it!
kill himself and prevent any harm done to his  DISCIPLESHIP OF CHRIST IS A CONTINUOUS LIFE-LONG PROCESS.
family.
T H E H OLY G OSPEL ACCO RD ING TO S T J OH N 9 : 1 – 38
At that time, as our Lord Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His Disciples asked Him:
“Rabbi: who sinned – this man or his parents – that he was born blind?” Jesus answered: “Neither this man nor his
parents sinned, but that the Works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the Works of Him Who sent Me
while it is day. The night is coming when no one can Work. As long as I Am in the world, I Am the Light of the
world.”
When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva. And He anointed the eyes of the
Blind Man with the clay. And He said to him: “Go. Wash in the Pool of Siloam,” (which translated means ‘Sent.’) He
went, and washed, and returned, seeing.
The neighbours and those who previously had seen that he was blind said: “Is this not he who sat and begged?” Some
said: “It is he!” Others said: “He is like him!” He said: “I am he!” And they said to him: “How were your eyes opened?”
He answered, and said: “A Man called ‘Jesus’ made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me: ‘Go to the Pool of
Siloam and wash.’ I went and washed - I received sight.” They asked him: “Where is He?” He replied: “I do not
know.”
They took him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. It was a Sabbath when Jesus had made the clay and opened
his eyes. The Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them: “He put clay on my
eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said: “This Man is not from God because He does not keep the
Sabbath!” Others said: “How can anyone who is a sinner do such Signs?”
And there was a division among them.
They said to the Blind Man again: “What do you say about Him because He opened you eyes?” He said: “He is a
Prophet.” The Judeans did not believe him - that he had been blind and now could see – until they called the
parents of him who had received his sight. And they asked them: “Is this your son who you say was born blind?
How then does he now see?” His parents answered them, and said: “We know that this is our son, and that he was

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born blind. By what Means he now sees, we do not know. Who has opened his eyes, we do not know. He is of age -
ask him. He will speak for himself.”
His parents said these things because they feared the Judeans. For the Judeans had agreed already that anyone who
Confessed that He is the Christ, would be put out of the Synagogue. Therefore, his parents said: “He is of age; ask
him.”
They called again the man who was formerly blind, and said to him: “Give God the Glory! We know that this Man is a
sinner!” He replied: “Whether He is a sinner or not, I do not know. One thing I do know is that although I was blind,
now I see!” And they questioned him again: “”What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He replied: “I
have told you already, yet you do not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become His
Disciples?”
They reviled him, and said: “You are His Disciple! We are Moses’ Disciples! We know that God spoke to Moses. As for
this Fellow – we do not know where He is from.” The man answered them: “Why, this is a marvellous thing! – for you
do not know where He is from – and He has opened my eyes! We know that God does not hear sinners, but if
anyone is a Worshipper of God and does His Will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that
anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If He were not from God, He could do nothing!” They
answered and said to him: “You were completely born in sins, and you are teaching us?!” And they cast him out.
Jesus heard that they had cast him out. And when He had found him, He said to him: “Do you believe in the Son of
God?” He answered and said: “Who is He, O Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him: “You have both
seen Him and He Who is speaking to you it is He.” And he said: “O Lord: I believe!” And He worshipped Him.
✳ According to St John’s Holy Gospel, this Divine Healing  The “…Day…” was THE DIVINELY BLESSED THREE YEARS OF
is THE SIXTH SIGN OF OUR LORD’S DIVINE NATURE AND OUR LORD’S PUBLIC MINISTRY, when thousands of souls
TRUE IDENTITY were Cleansed, Restored and Renewed by Him.
✳ …our Lord Jesus … saw a man … blind from birth… His  HE IS THE DIVINE LIGHT WHO ENLIGHTENS AND ILLUMINES us,
Disciples asked Him: “Rabbi: who sinned – this body and soul, WITH HIS DIVINE TRUTH.
man or his parents …?” Jesus answered: “Neither  Our “…Day…” is OUR VERY SHORT LIFESPAN during which
this man nor his parents sinned, but that the Works we are able to STRUGGLE AGAINST TEMPTATIONS AND
of God should be revealed in him…” GRIEVOUS PASSIONS, WHILE STRIVING FOR SPIRITUAL
 Of all the Miracle Accounts throughout Holy Scripture, PERFECTION BY LIVING IN CHRIST.
THIS IS THE ONLY ONE concerning someone BORN  THE DARKNESS OF NIGHT BEFELL US when our Divine
WITHOUT EYES. Saviour was unjustly arrested, tortured, and
 THE BLIND MAN SYMBOLISES ALL SPIRITUALLY BLIND crucified to death.
HUMANITY.  THE DAY DAWNED BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL ON HOLY PASCHA
 WE ALL NEED THE SPIRITUAL ILLUMINATION OF OUR LORD Who SUNDAY - His Resurrection, which ENCOURAGES AND
Enlightens the fallen, Spiritually Darkened world. MOTIVATES US TO STRIVE AND STRUGGLE EVEN MORE.
 This Divine Miracle is AN ILLUSTRATION OF HOLY BAPTISM,  The “...Night...” to which our Lord referred meant THE
which is also referred to as “HOLY ILLUMINATION.” TIME AFTER OUR DEATH AND THE AGE TO COME – ETERNITY.
 As Holy Pascha Sunday was the Traditional Day for  Once our lifespan is over THERE IS NO LONGER ANY
Catechumens to be received into the Holy Church OPPORTUNITY TO REPENT OUR SINS NOR TO EXPRESS OUR
of Christ, THE SACRED LESSONS OF THE HOLY PASCHAL FAITH.
PERIOD – from the Glorious Resurrection of Christ  ALL MANKIND HAS TO SUBMIT TO DEATH, whereby we enter
until Pentecost – ALL REFLECT A BAPTISMAL THEOLOGY. Eternity – an irrevocable, unchanging and
 Thus, this Sacred Lesson is read on THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF permanent state of existence.
HOLY PASCHA. ✳ “…He spat on the ground …made clay with the saliva.
 The respectful title “RABBI” MEANS “TEACHER.” … anointed the eyes of the Blind Man with the clay.
 The Disciples understood that MANY BAD CIRCUMSTANCES And … said … “Go. Wash in the Pool of Siloam,”
WERE CAUSED BY THE SINFULNESS OF MANKIND. (which translated means ‘Sent.’) He went…washed,
 THE OLD TESTAMENT BOOKS OF EXODUS, DEUTERONOMY, AND and returned, seeing…”
NUMBERS WARNED THE FAITHFUL of the dire  As St Irenaeus pointed out, THE MIXTURE OF CLAY AND THE
consequences caused by the sins or iniquities of SALIVA OF CHRIST IS EXACTLY SIMILAR TO HIS ORIGINAL
“… the fathers…” - of one generation passing to CREATION OF MANKIND from the clay of Earth upon
another. which He breathed Life. (GENESIS 2:7)
 OUR SAVIOUR REJECTED THE POPULAR PRESUMPTION that all  CHRIST REVEALS HIS DIVINE NATURE BY RESTORING A TINY PART
troubles and maladies were the consequence of OF CREATION by using the same material with
personal sin or even the sins of parents. (REFER EXODUS which He had created humanity at the beginning
20:5; DEUTERONOMY 5:9 & EZEKIEL 18:19-21) of our existence.
 Although suffering can be the direct result of personal  This unique Divine Restoration confirms that OUR LORD
sin, this is certainly not always the case. JESUS CHRIST IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
 OUR CREATOR NEVER MAKES “A MISTAKE.”  “Siloam” meaning “Sent” is AN OBLIQUE REFERENCE TO
 CERTAIN AFFLICTIONS DO OCCUR, WHICH ARE CAUSED BY OTHER CHRIST WHO IS SENT BY OUR HEAVENLY FATHER TO
FACTORS, most of which are due to mankind’s CLEANSE, RESTORE AND ENLIGHTEN US so as to regain
influence upon nature – either caused by our former, created state.
ignorance or motivated by greed.  By sending the Restored Blind Man to wash in the Pool
 THIS YOUNG MAN WAS BORN WITHOUT EYES but NOT DUE TO of Siloam our Saviour confirms that HE IS THE TRUE
ANY WICKEDNESS, NOR NEGLECT OF HIS PARENTS. AND DIVINE PURIFICATION OF THE HOLY TEMPLE AND ALL
 HE BECAME INSTRUMENTAL IN BRINGING GREAT MULTITUDES TO WHO WORSHIP IN IT WITH TRUE FAITH IN GOD.
FAITH in our Loving and Benevolent God when The Pool of Siloam was situated on the outskirts of Jerusalem
”…the Works of God (were) revealed in him…” FOR - a considerable distance from the Temple. It provided
THE GLORY OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. the water that was essential to the Holy Rites connected
 The “...Works of God...” also refers to our own Spiritual with the Feast of Tabernacles, which, together with
Labours that we ought to fulfil consisting of Pascha and Pentecost, was one of the most important Holy
1. Repentance Feasts of the ancient Judeans, which included numerous
2. Faith sacrifices and celebrations. (READ LEVITICUS 23:33 – 43)
3. Good Deeds  The Blind Man OBEYED CHRIST IMPLICITLY - WITHOUT ANY
✳ “… I must work the Works of Him Who sent Me while it is ARGUMENT, EXCUSES NOR HESITATION, despite the
day. The night is coming when no one can Work. As difficulties with which he would have had to
long as I Am in the world, I Am the Light of the contend, and returned immediately, being able to
world…” see his surroundings for the first time!
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST PERFORMS ALL THE DIVINE MIRACLES ✳ “…neighbours and those who previously had seen that
HIMSELF. Later, having bestowed His Divine he was blind said: “Is this not he who sat and
Authority and Power upon His Apostles (and their begged?” … “It is he!” … “He is like him!” He said: “I
Ordained Successors) His Divine Miracles have am he!”
continued to occur through others.  In those days everyone knew each other very well, so
they could not believe that he who was born

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without eyes suddenly had two very healthy, clear BLIND MAN AND HIS FAMILY, AND ESPECIALLY, OUR LORD
eyes – so he confirmed his identity. JESUS CHRIST, Whom they feared for various
✳ “…they said to him: “How were your eyes opened?” He reasons.
answered…: “A Man called ‘Jesus’ made clay, and  THE PARENTS OF THIS YOUNG MAN HAD NOT WITNESSED THE
anointed my eyes, and said to me: ‘Go to the Pool of ENCOUNTER WITH CHRIST, so could not verify
Siloam and wash.’ I went and washed - I received anything, except the fact that he had been born
sight.” They asked him: “Where is He?” He replied: “I blind (without eyes.)
do not know.” They took him …to the Pharisees. It was  ALL MALE JUDEANS WERE REGARDED AS ADULTS FROM THE AGE
a Sabbath … The Pharisees also asked him again OF 13, being responsible for their own actions.
how he had received his sight. He said to them: “He ✳ “… His parents said these things because they feared
put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see…” the Judeans… had agreed already that anyone who
The people were, of course, excited and intrigued by SUCH Confessed that He is the Christ, would be put out of the
AN OBVIOUS DIVINE HEALING, WHICH THE RESTORED BLIND Synagogue. Therefore, his parents said: “He is of age;
MAN COULD NOT EXPLAIN. ask him.”
 HE ONLY KNEW THE NAME OF OUR LORD, and answered  INSTEAD OF SEEKING AND FINDING DIVINE TRUTH, THE
simply and honestly each time. SPIRITUALLY BLIND AND STUBBORN PHARISEES HAD
 THE MORE HE WAS QUESTIONED, THE MORE HIS FAITH IN CHRIST THREATENED ANYONE WITH BANISHMENT IF THEY ACCEPTED
INCREASED. OUR LORD JESUS AS THE LONG-AWAITED GREAT MESSIAH –
 HIS GROWING ENLIGHTENMENT IS CONTRASTED AGAINST THE the Divinely Anointed Saviour of Israel (and all
SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS OF THE ARROGANT, SELF-RIGHTEOUS mankind)
AND HYPOCRITICAL PHARISEES who regarded ✳ “…They … said ,,,: “Give God the Glory! We know that
themselves as being ‘superior’ to others. this Man is a sinner!” He replied: “Whether He is a
 The fact that it was a Sabbath Day (either Saturday or sinner or not, I do not know. One thing I do know is
a Feast Day) and that our Lord Jesus had so that although I was blind, now I see!”
Miraculously Restored the former Blind Man,  “...Give God the Glory...” was A SACRED OATH FORMULA,
INCENSED THE PHARISEES, WHO FAILED TO GLORIFY GOD which was ALWAYS USED BEFORE GIVING TESTIMONY.
FOR HIS GREAT MERCY AND REJOICE AT THE RESTORATION  THE FORMERLY BLIND MAN MOST CERTAINLY GAVE GOD THE
OF ONE OF HIS PEOPLE. GLORY for the more he was questioned by the
✳“…Some of the Pharisees said: “This Man is not from God hypocrites and doubters, THE MORE FERVENT HIS FAITH
because He does not keep the Sabbath!” Others said: BECAME, while the self-righteous Pharisees lapsed
“How can anyone who is a sinner do such Signs?” And deeper and deeper into Spiritual Darkness and
there was a division among them…” Death.
 THE PHARISEES COULD NOT FIND ANYTHING WITH WHICH TO  The Healed Blind Man is A MODEL OF CHRISTIAN WITNESS.
ACCUSE OUR LORD but they kept on trying – plotting
 MOST PEOPLE DO NOT BEAR WITNESS TO CHRIST since they
fear they will be asked questions that they will not
and scheming against Him.
be able to answer or explain.
 “…Some of the Pharisees…” shows that THERE WAS MUCH
 THIS MAN’S HONEST AND SIMPLE WORDS PROCLAIMS THE TRUTH
DOUBT AND ARGUMENT BETWEEN THEM.
even to those who were far better educated than
 Just as THE HYPOCRITICAL PHARISEES had ignored the him.
Healings of others by Christ, but had FOCUSED ONLY  HE DECLARED SOMETHING OF WHICH HE KNEW AND
ON THE PERCEIVED VIOLATION OF THE SABBATH, so too on
UNDERSTOOD NOTHING AT ALL except what he had
this occasion, because THEY COULD NOT BEHOLD THE done, followed by what he most certainly did
GLORY OF GOD DUE TO THEIR PERSONAL WICKED know only too well, which he could positively
PREJUDICE.
confirm.
 WHEN CHRIST WAS NOT PRESENT, THE PHARISEES DARED TO  CONFIRMING WHAT WE DO MOST DEFINITELY KNOW – the
PRONOUNCE HIM AS A “SINNER,” yet earlier, WHEN HE HAD
absolute, irrefutable Truth - IS FUNDAMENTAL TO
ASKED THEM FACE TO FACE: “...which of you convicts
WITNESSING OUR TRUE FAITH AND SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE
Me of sin?” THEY HAD ALL EVADED THE VITAL QUESTION. to others.
 DIVINE TRUTH ALWAYS PROVES ITSELF for it is indisputable  Our Lord Jesus NOT ONLY CREATED PERFECTLY HEALTHY EYES
and unchangeable. WITH WHICH TO SEE HIS SURROUNDINGS, HE ALSO GRANTED
 GOD IS NOT RESTRICTED TO TIME NOR SPACE, and assuredly HIM SPIRITUAL SIGHT that opens our heart and soul
HIS GOOD WORKS MUST ALWAYS BE GLORIFIED WITH by His Divine Illumination and Enlightenment.
THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE for His Great Mercy and ✳ “…they questioned him again… He replied: “I have told
Love. you already, yet you do not listen. Why do you want
 NO SINNER – no ordinary human being – COULD CREATE to hear it again? Do you want to become His
EYES BY MIXING SALIVA AND CLAY, which ONLY OUR Disciples?...”
DIVINE CREATOR can do.  They continued their interrogation of the formerly
✳ “…What do you say about Him because He opened Blind Man who became understandably
your eyes?” He said: “He is a Prophet.” frustrated for HE HAD BEEN COMPLETELY HONEST, WHILE
 With each interrogation and by listening to the THEY SEEMED NOT TO HEAR NOR UNDERSTAND WHAT HE
arguments between the Pharisees, THE REALITY AND TOLD THEM.
TRUTH CONCERNING OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST BEGAN TO BE  THEY DID NOT BELIEVE THE DIVINE MIRACLE THAT WAS
PERCEIVED BY THIS YOUNG MAN. PRESENTED RIGHT BEFORE THEM for they were focussed
 THE OLD COVENANT PROPHETS OF GOD ALSO PERFORMED on finding something with which they could
MANY DIVINE MIRACLES by the Power and Energy of accuse and destroy our Lord Jesus.
our Lord – not by their own human efforts. ✳ “…They reviled him… “You are His Disciple! We are
 THIS IMPLIES THE OLD COVENANT FAITH AND UNDERSTANDING Moses’ Disciples! We know that God spoke to Moses.
OF THE MAN. … we do not know where He is from…”
✳ “… The Judeans did not believe him … they called the  THEY TRIED TO ACCUSE HIM of being one of our Lord’s
parents … asked them: “Is this your son who you say Faithful Disciples, which would soon give rise to
was born blind? How then does he now see?” His the persecution against all Disciples of Christ who
parents answered …: “We know that this is our son… accepted His New Covenant of Love.
born blind. By what Means he now sees… Who has  THEY NEEDED TO JUSTIFY THEIR OWN SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS AND
opened his eyes, we do not know. He is of age - ask UNLAWFUL PERSECUTION against those who were their
him. He will speak for himself.” Spiritual Brethren.
This account describes the interrogation that followed any  THE FACT THAT THEY FAILED TO UNDERSTAND the magnitude
Healing that occurred – whether due to natural healing or and meaning of any of our Lord’s Divine Miracles
Divine Miracle. Once Healings were confirmed by the or Teachings, MADE THEM EVEN MORE DETERMINED TO
Temple Priests or religious leaders, there were various GET RID OF OUR DIVINE SAVIOUR AND HIS FAITHFUL
Sacred Rituals that needed to be fulfilled. DISCIPLES.
 THIS MIRACULOUS RESTORATION OBVIOUSLY CAUSED QUITE AN  THEY PROCLAIMED THEIR OLD COVENANT HERITAGE,
UPROAR, and DESPITE THE CLEAR EVIDENCE BEFORE THEM, beginning with St Moses to whom GOD GAVE HIS
THE PHARISEES TRIED VERY HARD TO DISCREDIT THE FORMER DIVINE LAW, WHICH THEY HAD ACTUALLY DISTORTED AND

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MISINTERPRETED to suit their own needs and activity in this fallen world that is committed by those
perceptions rather than to fulfil the Divine Truth who are wilfully sinful and disobedient - whose
and Love of our Heavenly Father. thoughts, words and deeds are iniquitous, unworthy
 DESPITE HAVING STUDIED AND CONTEMPLATED THE OLD and unrighteous.
COVENANT SCRIPTURES that was filled with  THE YOUNG MAN’S WORDS ARE TRULY PROFOUND, WHICH SHOOK
prophecies concerning our Lord Jesus Christ – all THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS PHARISEES to their very core,
of which He fulfilled – THEY REJECTED OUR DIVINE exposing their Spiritual Blindness for all to see,
SAVIOUR WHEN HE FINALLY APPEARED in their midst, which prompted them to unjustly “…cast him
PERFORMING ALL THE DIVINE MIRACLES THAT HAD BEEN out…”
FORETOLD!  Those who are UNREPENTANT, VAINGLORIOUS AND
✳ “…this is a marvellous thing! … you do not know where ARROGANT DO NOT LIKE TO HEAR ANY DEGREE OF TRUTH -
He is from … He has opened my eyes! … God does and USUALLY REACT VEHEMENTLY FIERCELY against it
not hear sinners, but if … a Worshipper of God because it exposes whatever they lack, distort, lie
…does His Will, He hears him. Since the world about or miscomprehend.
began it has been unheard of that anyone ✳ Jesus heard that they had cast him out… found him, He
opened the eyes of one … born blind. If He were said… “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He
not from God, He could do nothing!” They answered … “Who is He, O Lord, that I may believe
answered … “You were completely born in sins, in Him?” Jesus said … “You have both seen Him
and you are teaching us?!” And they cast him and He Who is speaking to you it is He.” And he
out….” said: “O Lord: I believe!” And He worshipped Him.
 THE YOUNG MAN WAS AMAZED AT THEIR DENIAL AND REJECTION  OUR LORD JESUS SOUGHT AND WENT TO THE RESTORED BLIND
OF BOTH THE DIVINE MIRACLE AND THE ONE WHO HAD MAN AFTER HE HAD BEEN CAST OUT OF THE SYNAGOGUE,
PERFORMED IT. and asked him “…Dost thou believe in the Son of
 He reminded these erudite Pharisees that THE PRAYERS God?”…”
OF THE RIGHTEOUS WERE ALWAYS HEARD BY OUR LORD GOD,  ALTHOUGH OUR LORD ALREADY KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT US –
which proved at the very least, that OUR LORD JESUS even more that we know about ourselves – HE PUTS
WAS A RIGHTEOUS MAN WHO COULD PERFORM DIVINE VITAL QUESTIONS TO US THAT WE NEED TO ANSWER
MIRACLES, LIKE THE ANCIENT HOLY PROPHETS HAD DONE. TRUTHFULLY.
 HIS FINAL STATEMENT: “… if He were not from God…”  ALL SUCH QUESTIONS that our Lord puts to others, apply
REALLY HIT THE CONSCIENCE OF HIS INTERROGATORS, WHO to each and every one of us, which WE NEED TO
STUBBORNLY PERSISTED to deny the Divine Identity of THOROUGHLY CONTEMPLATE FOR OUR SPIRITUAL BENEFIT
our Lord. AND WELFARE.
 HIS WORDS SHOWED HIS RAPID SPIRITUAL PROGRESS – from Before the Holy Mystery of Baptism, several essential
knowing nothing about our Lord Jesus to his questions are put to the Candidate to ensure that he or
personal realisation, acknowledgement and she knows exactly what they are about to do – commit
Confession that THE “… MAN NAMED JESUS…” IS INDEED
themselves to Life in Christ Jesus.
THE GREAT, DIVINE MESSIAH!
 THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS, HYPOCRITICAL PHARISEES COULD NOT  Our Lord already knew that THE YOUNG MAN REALISED
REFUTE HIS INSPIRED LOGIC AND TRUTH so they resorted THAT OUR SAVIOUR WAS INDEED SOMEONE EXTRAORDINARY
to personal insult and rejection. AND UNIQUE.
 THE RESTORATION OF THE BLIND MAN WAS ONE OF THE GREAT  OUR DIVINE SAVIOUR ALWAYS IDENTIFIES HIMSELF CLEARLY
SIGNS OR MIRACLES OF THE MESSIAH and A PREROGATIVE AND CONCISELY - so that WE KNOW WHO CALLS US to
(RIGHT) UNIQUELY AND EXCLUSIVELY OF ALMIGHTY GOD. follow Him – to COMMIT OURSELVES to FULFILLING HIS
(ISAIAH 35:5 & 42:7 –PSALM 145:8) DIVINE WILL IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, MOTIVATED BY OUR
 THE FIRST APPEARANCE/COMING OF GOD INCARNATE into our LOVE AND FAITH.
world BROUGHT DIVINE JUDGEMENT to us – not  THE FORMER BLIND MAN’S GROWING FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS
because He came to Judge us but BECAUSE OF OUR WAS CONFIRMED AND FIRMLY ESTABLISHED BY HIS
ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD. VISITATION.
 ALL THOSE WHO see, hear and witness our Lord Jesus  The words of the young man are clearly JOYOUS,
Christ but REFUSE TO BELIEVE OR ACCEPT HIS DIVINE RELIEVED AND GRATEFUL, for HE IMMEDIATELY WORSHIPPED
TRUTH ARE JUDGED BY THEIR OWN FAITHLESSNESS! OUR LORD JESUS AS THE GREAT DIVINE MESSIAH –
 THE PHARISAIC ACCUSATION that the young man had WORSHIPPED HIM AS GOD the Eternal Son and Word
been “… BORN IN SINS…” REFERS TO THE BELIEF THAT THE of God our Heavenly Father.
SINS OF OUR FOREFATHERS ARE PASSED DOWN TO FUTURE  THE RESTORED BLIND MAN WOULD NEVER HAVE WORSHIPPED A
GENERATIONS, which they assumed to have been the MERE HUMAN BEING, but HE KNEW WITH ALL HIS BEING
cause for his being born without eyes. THAT OUR LORD IS TRULY GOD INCARNATE – the Eternal,
Psalm 50 – the Psalm of Repentance – states “…I was Only Begotten Son of the Most High Lord God.
conceived in iniquity, and in sins my mother bore me…”  Sadly, THOSE WHO REMAINED SPIRITUALLY STUBBORN AND
but that does not mean that conception and childbirth BLIND LOST AN EXTRAORDINARY OPPORTUNITY TO MEET
is sinful, nor does it mean the passing on of Adam’s CHRIST Face to face and get to know Him
Guilt – Ancestral Sin. Instead, it refers to all wicked intimately.
T H E E TE R NAL , I NSP IR ED W ISD OM OF OU R H OLY FA THE R S
S T BA SIL THE G RE AT and that we are ready to accept anything unpleasant
It is defamation to speak about others when they are not that He may allow to happen to us.
present, with the aim of attacking them – even if what
E LDE R E PH RAIM OF AR IZONA
you say is true!
Our Lord Jesus Christ Calls upon all of us who Love Him,
S T M AX IM OS THE GR EE K to be crucified with Him. Then will follow the
We should know that the only unerring Star than leads us Resurrection of our soul and Spiritual Delight. The
to practise the Holy Virtues is Fear – Diving and Winter is harsh, the cold is painful but Paradise is
always Pure, through which each of us is removed far Sweet! We must raise our eyes and look upon
from evil. We must always steer strictly by (Godly Jerusalem Above, where Happiness, Joy and Bliss
Fear) as we sail straight for the Heavenly, Sheltered reign throughout Eternity. What Joy! What Delight to
Haven. And we must also know that practical Live with God forever! So let us Love one another
observation of the Divine Commandments will be because everything is Love there and those who do
acceptable through Fear of our Lord. not Love, cannot enter.
S T I SAAC THE S YR IAN S T P ORPHY R IOS K AVSOLKALYV ITIS
Those who are timid, generally suffer from two Spiritual We should behold God in the faces of children, and we
Illnesses – lack of Faith and excessive concern for the should give them His Divine Love. Children, too,
body. If we Struggle to overcome these two evils, it should learn to pray and if they are to pray, children
will be obvious that we believe wholeheartedly in God need to have Prayerful parents.

30. 6 T H
S U ND AY OF H OLY P ASCH A – T HE BL IND M AN (B OR N WITH OU T EYE S ) – 24 M AY 2020
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy,
Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together
with all the Saints. And let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life
to Christ our God. Amen.
25 MAY 2020

Christ is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
T H IRD F IND ING OF S T JO H N BA P TIST ’S H EAD
Also the Feast of St Therapon, Bishop of Cyprus – St Urbanos, Hieromartyr, of
Rome – Holy Icon of our Lady, Theotokos “Helper of sinners” of Koretsk

PROKEIMENON – PSALM 63/64 – TONE (7) VARYS/GRAVE


The Righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall Hope in Him.
Hear my voice, O God, in my Supplication.
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF ST PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS 4: 6 – 15
Brethren: It is the God Who Commanded light to shine out of darkness, Who has shone in our heart to grant the Light of
the Knowledge of the Glory of God in the Sight of Jesus Christ. We have this Treasure in earthen vessels so that the
excellence of the Power may be of God and not of us.
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of our Lord Jesus so that the Life of
Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who Live are always Delivered to Death for Jesus’ sake, so that
the Life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So then Death is working in us, but Life in you. We have the same Spirit of Faith, according to what is written: “I
believed and therefore I spoke...” and we also believe.
Therefore speak - knowing that He Who raised up our Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us
with you. All things are for your sakes, that Grace, having spread through the many, may cause Thanksgiving to
abound to the Glory of God.
✳ “…It is the God Who Commanded light to shine out of Plan – the Restoration and Spiritual Perfection of
darkness, Who has shone in our heart to grant the mankind.
Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God in the Sight  KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF GOD IS ONLY POSSIBLE
of Jesus Christ. We have this Treasure in earthen FOR US
vessels so that the excellence of the Power may be of 1. BY THE WILL OF GOD THE FATHER,
God and not of us….” 2. THROUGH GOD THE SON,
 OUR TRIUNE LORD GOD IS “THE GOD” WHO IS ETERNALLY 3. BY THE POWER AND ENERGY OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.
1. LOVE AND TRUTH  ALL KNOWLEDGE OR EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY we may
2. LIVING, BENEVOLENT AND PROVIDENTIAL acquire, IS ONLY DUE TO THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY
3. ALMIGHTY, CREATIVE AND LIFE-GIVING FATHER, through the Teachings and
4. ALL WISE, ALL PRESENT AND ALL MERCIFUL Commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by
 FROM HIS UNCREATED LIGHT – His Divine Power and the Power and Energy of the Life-giving Holy Spirit
Energy – HE CREATED “… light to shine out of WHOSE DIVINE GIFTS MAKE EVERYTHING POSSIBLE FOR US.
darkness…”  OUR LORD GOD CREATED HIS HOLY ANGELS AND MANKIND AS
 HIS DIVINE LOVE ILLUMINES AND ENLIGHTENS US with “…the INTELLECTUAL BEINGS who have limited knowledge
Knowledge of the Glory of God…” as OUR LORD and abilities with which to Serve God and each
JESUS CHRIST HAS REVEALED TO US THROUGH HIS DIVINE other.
TRUTH.  “... the Power is of God...” BECOMES EVIDENT to others
 The DIVINE LIGHT OF GOD’S GLORY IN OUR LORD JESUS WHEN THE DIVINE LIGHT AND LOVE OF GOD SHINES IN AND
CHRIST – HIS TEACHINGS AND DIVINE REVELATIONS - is the THROUGH US.
priceless “…Treasure…” ✳ “…We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;
 Having been CREATED BY GOD FROM THE CLAY OF THE EARTH … perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not
OUR PHYSICAL BODIES ARE “…earthen vessels…” with forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…”
limited power and ability – our weak, temporary  St Paul described the VICTORIOUS, BUT CERTAINLY NOT
human condition. TROUBLE-FREE AND EASY CHRISTIANITY.
 OUR IMMORTAL SOUL IS BREATHED US BY GOD at our  This lifespan is a preparatory period before Eternity,
conception, which enables us to receive His Divine so EVERYTHING WE EXPERIENCE IS FOR OUR SPIRITUAL
Gifts of Love that enable us to become Spiritually DEVELOPMENT AND ETERNAL SALVATION.
Perfected.  No opportunity should be wasted in order to
 All “…excellence of the Power…” AND GLORY IS INDEED STRENGTHEN AND PERFECT OUR IMMORTAL SOUL
DUE ONLY TO OUR TRIUNE LORD GOD .  The Holy Apostles of Christ were “... hard-pressed…
 IT IS ONLY DUE TO THE LOVE OF GOD THAT WE HAVE BEEN perplexed… persecuted… struck down…” BY
GRANTED ALL HIS GOODNESS AND BLESSINGS as well as THOSE OPPOSED TO THE NEW COVENANT OF LOVE AND
HIS DIVINE TRUTH – His essential TEACHINGS AND THOSE INSTIGATED TO ACT AGAINST THEM.
COMMANDMENTS.  BY THE GRACE OF GOD, EVERY OBSTACLE IS OVERCOME, so the
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS REVEALED HIS DIVINE TRUTH TO Apostles and Faithful Disciples were “… not
US whereby He grants us Knowledge that crushed… not in despair… not forsaken… not
surpasses anything we can attain or conceive of destroyed…”
with our limited human abilities.  DESPITE ALL ADVERSITY, their unwavering dedication to
 He is THE ONLY, LIVING, LOVING AND ALMIGHTY GOD WHO IS Christ and His Holy Mission on Earth are
THE CREATOR OF EVERYTHING VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE - magnificent examples of HOW STEADFASTLY
CREATED FROM NOTHINGNESS by His own Divine COMMITTED AND MOTIVATED THEY WERE, which should
Power and Energy for His Sacred Purpose and encourage us to do likewise.

THIRD FINDING OF THE VENERABLE HEAD OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST & FORERUNNER OF CHRIST - 25 MAY 31.
✳ “…always carrying about in the body the dying of our that He Who Raised up our Lord Jesus will also raise
Lord Jesus so that the Life of Jesus also may be us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. All
manifested in our body. For we who Live are always things are for your sakes, that Grace, having spread
Delivered to Death for Jesus’ sake, so that the Life of through the many, may cause Thanksgiving to
Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh…” abound to the Glory of God….”
 BY KEEPING IN MIND THE SALVIFIC, SACRIFICIAL REDEMPTION  ALTHOUGH THE APOSTLES HAD TO CONTEND WITH ALL TYPES OF
OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WE OUGHT TO STRUGGLE EVEN PERSECUTION from others, while Struggling against
MORE against all temptations and grievous the persistent temptations and grievous passions,
passions. THEY BRING US LIFE IN CHRIST BY TEACHING US AND
 THE HOLY MYSTERY OF BAPTISM CLEANSED US of our past GUIDING US ACCORDING TO HIS DIVINE TRUTH.
sinful enslavement AND REGENERATED US with a  THERE IS ONLY ONE FAITH AND ONE TRUTH that is
Newly Restored Nature. according to the Will of God our Heavenly Father,
 Having “...put on Christ...” as a Garment of granted to us by the Eternal Word and Son of God,
Righteousness, WE MUST LIVE IN CHRIST for the rest our Lord Jesus Christ, which, through the Power
of our short lifespan. and Energy of God the Holy Spirit we are able to
 In other words: AS FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST WE MUST fulfil.
ALWAYS BE THE BEST EXAMPLE TO OTHERS by means of  GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER is “…He Who Raised up our
how we think, how we speak and how we act. Lord Jesus…” and who GRANTS US EVERYTHING THAT IS
 REPENTANCE-CONFESSION OF OUR HABITUAL SINS SETS US FREE GOOD, BLESSED AND ETERNAL.
FROM SPIRITUAL DEATH AND RESTORES US TO LIFE IN  HIS LOVE, DIVINE GRACE, TRUTH AND LIFE IS BESTOWED upon
CHRIST. all Faithful Disciples of Christ.
 We need to CEASELESSLY WATCH AND EXAMINE OURSELVES in  WHEN WE ARE CALLED BY GOD TO SERVE HIM IN VARIOUS WAYS,
order to IMMEDIATELY REPENT SINS AND CORRECT ERRORS IT IS ALWAYS FOR THE SPIRITUAL BENEFIT AND WELFARE OF
so that we can LIVE IN CHRIST WITH WORTHY AND MANY OTHERS.
RIGHTEOUS THOUGHTS, WORDS AND DEEDS.  HE GRANTS US KNOWLEDGE THAT MUST BE SHARED WITH EACH
 The Goal in preaching, teaching and guiding others OTHER so that we all make good Spiritual Progress
is NEVER TO GLORIFY NOR TO ENRICH OURSELVES, but together.
exclusively TO GLORIFY, TO HONOUR AND TO WORSHIP  St John Chrysostom explained that ALL OUR
GOD. INNUMERABLE, VARIOUS TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS “...
 Thus, every word, thought and deed should BE THE show both the Power of God and, more, disclose
SAME AS THOSE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, Whose His Divine Grace...”
Divine Name we carry and of which we should  We must thus CONTINUOUSLY EXPRESS OUR THANKSGIVING
always be worthy. AND APPRECIATION OF GOD’S GREAT MERCY, LOVE AND
✳ “…Death is working in us, but Life in you. We have the COMPASSION.
same Spirit of Faith… “I believed and therefore I  The closer we draw to God the more grateful we
spoke...” …we also believe. Therefore speak - knowing become for His Infinite Love and Great Mercy.
T H E H OLY G OSPEL ACCO RD ING TO S T M ATTHE W 11:2 – 15
At that time, when John had heard in prison about the Works of Christ, he sent two of his Disciples who asked Him: “Art
Thou the Coming One, or do we look for Another?” And Jesus answered them: “Go and tell John the things that you
hear and see: the blind see, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are
raised up and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. And Blessed is he who is not offended because of
Me.”
As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to
see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold!
Those who wear soft clothing are in Kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A Prophet? Indeed, I say to
you: and more than a Prophet! For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold! I send My Messenger before Thy
Face, who will prepare Thy Way before Thee.’ Truly, I say to you: among those born of women there has not risen
one greater than John the Baptist!
“He who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than him. From the days of John the Baptist until now the
Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all Prophets and the Law prophesied
until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
✳ "... when John had heard in prison about the Works of  St John the Baptist and ALL WHO ACCEPT OUR LORD JESUS
Christ, he sent two of his Disciples who asked Him: “Art AS OUR DIVINE SAVIOUR ARE INDEED INFINITELY BLESSED.
Thou the Coming One, or do we look for Another?” ✳ “…What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A
 This was the most significant question FOR THE SAKE OF reed … A man clothed in soft garments? Behold!
ST JOHN’S DISCIPLES whom HE WANTED TO FOLLOW OUR Those who wear soft clothing are in Kings’ houses….”
LORD JESUS CHRIST instead of himself.  Our Lord Jesus wanted to emphasise THE GREAT
 St John, being THE BAPTIST AND FORERUNNER to Christ our SIGNIFICANCE OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST.
Lord, ALREADY KNEW THAT INDEED OUR DIVINE SAVIOUR  Multitudes had gone to see him, repented their sins
WAS THE GREAT MESSIAH. and received Baptism, but MANY OTHERS WERE MERELY
 HE IDENTIFIED OUR LORD as “...the Lamb of God...,” AND CURIOUS.
PROCLAIMED THIS DIVINE TRUTH to His Chosen People. ✳ “’…what did you … see? A Prophet? Indeed, …more
 THE LAMB OF GOD WAS THE MOST PERFECT, PUREST AND FINAL than a Prophet! For this is he of whom it is written:
BLOOD SACRIFICE for the forgiveness of mankind’s ‘Behold! I send My Messenger … before Thee…’”
ancestral sin.  In terms of the Old Covenant Law, ST JOHN THE BAPTIST
✳ “… “…tell John the things that you hear and see - the IS THE GREATEST HOLY PROPHET OF BOTH THE OLD AND
blind see… the lame walk… lepers are cleansed …the NEW COVENANTS.
deaf hear… the dead are raised up … the poor have ✳ “… Truly… among those born of women there has not
the Gospel preached to them. And Blessed is he who risen one greater than John the Baptist! …”
is not offended because of Me…”  ST JOHN THE BAPTIST AND FORERUNNER IS THUS WORTHILY
 OUR LORD KNEW THE REASON FOR ST JOHN HAVING SENT THEM EXALTED because C HRIST UNIQUELY ASSIGNING THIS
TO HIM with their question so He REMINDED THEM OF MOST IMPORTANT R OLE IN THE S ALVIFIC HISTORY OF
ALL HIS DIVINE MIRACLES, WHICH THEY HAD PERSONALLY MANKIND TO HIM .
WITNESSED. ✳ “…He who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater
 All these Divine Miracles concerning the Great than him….”
Messiah were foretold by the Holy Prophets of God.  THE NEW COVENANT inaugurated by Christ IS OF SUCH
 St Isaiah had prophesied that AT THE COMING OF THE INCOMPARABLE VALUE THAT EVERYONE WHO SHARES IN IT IS
MESSIAH THE BLIND WOULD SEE, THE LAME WOULD WALK, GREATER THAN ST JOHN,
ETC, - ALL OF WHICH OUR LORD JESUS FULFILLED.

32. T H I R D F I N D I N G OF THE VENERABLE HEAD OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST & FORERUNNER OF CHRIST 25 MAY
 BY DIVINE GRACE under the New Covenant THROUGH 1. He is RIGHTEOUS
FAITH WE BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD AND PARTAKERS OF 2. He is THE FORERUNNER of Christ for having PREPARED THE
THE HOLY SPIRIT. WAY of the First Coming/Appearance of our Lord
✳ “… From the days of John the Baptist until now the and Saviour
Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the 3. He BAPTISED CHRIST whereby THE HOLY TRINITY WAS
violent take it by force. For all Prophets and the REVEALED.
Law prophesied until John. 4. He was MARTYRED FOR SPEAKING THE DIVINE TRUTH.
 THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM IS UNDER ATTACK BY OPPONENTS of St 5. He CONTINUES TO CALL MANKIND TO REPENTANCE.
John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ, or other 6. He CONTINUED PREACHING TO THOSE IN HADES until our
violent men. Lord broke its gates open and freed the Righteous.
 MESSIANIC PRETENDERS TRIED TO BRING IN THE KINGDOM by ✳ “…“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
USING MILITARY FORCE against the Romans.  Those who HEAR, LOVE AND OBEY THE WORD OF GOD make
 An ancient Patristic interpretation is that THE KINGDOM every effort to ENTER THE REALITY OF THE KINGDOM.
ITSELF BREAKS INTO THIS WORLD “...VIOLENTLY.”  To BECOME FAITHFUL DISCIPLES OF CHRIST we must APPLY
 Also, because of the powerful Divine Miracles, ALERT EVERYTHING HE TAUGHT US TO OUR THOUGHTS, WORDS AND
AND DARING PEOPLE TRY TO SEIZE IT AGGRESSIVELY DEEDS so that we can FULFIL THE DIVINE WILL OF OUR
✳ “… he is Elijah who is to come….” HEAVENLY FATHER.
 H E FULFILLED THE M ISSION OF S T E LIJAH the Holy
Prophet of God, and HIS DESTINY IS SIMILAR TO ST
E LIJAH’ S
T H E E TE R NAL I NSPIRE D W ISD OM OF OU R H OLY FA THE R S
A R CH BISH OP T HE OP HYL AKTOS OF O CH R ID
Our mind should be in Heaven. We should be hastening S T AM PH IL OC H IOS M AKRIS
to get to our real Home where we are destined Live. Our attitude light a Fire within us. If we are heaping
The Place where we belong is in Heaven. This is coals on what is within us.
where True Christians differ from the rest of mankind.
O U R H OLY EL DE RS
There is a huge gap between the two.
We must not judge any adulterer if we, ourselves are not
S T N EKTAR IOS OF P E NTAP OL IS chaste. Then we will be breaking the Law as they
Those who are compassionate always put up with the have done. Because our Lord Jesus Christ Who said:
misconduct of others with Patience and Gentleness ‘Do not commit adultery …” also said: ‘Do not judge…’
and show Understanding towards the shortcomings (MATTHEW 5:27 & 7:1)
and faults of others. They welcome everyone, speak in
E LDE R E F SEV IOS Y ANNAKAKIS
a kindly way, put up with those who hurt them and
The evil one whispers to us not to believe. But not the least
forgive sinners, regarding their actions with
thing that our Lord Jesus Christ said will fail to come
Compassion.
to pass. There is Heaven and there is Hell. And we, the
S T E PH RAIM OF AR IZONA Faithful, will be Judged more severely.
Can you measure God’s Mercy? In the Face of God’s
S T LU KE THE D OC TOR
Mercy, the sins of the worst person ever are a handful
A young shoot, wherever you put it, will turn the same
of sand in the ocean. There is no sin that can defeat
way. A new receptacle will give off a sweet smell or
God’s Mercy.
will stink depending on whether you put something
God is depicted as our Mother; Can the sin of a child
fragrant in it or filth.
overcome the Love of a Mother? If a Mother Loves her
child, God Loves us infinitely more than that. He E LDE R J OSE PH THE H ESYC H AST
demonstrated this clearly when He was crucified on Learn to suffer courageously the trials the Lord may
the Cross. allow to visit you. Do not seek comfort from people in
St Peter denied the Lord three times, and Repentance your sorrows, but take your Comfort from God.
Restored him. Through Repentance, the great
persecutor of Christians, Saint Paul, became one of S T J OH N OF K R ONSTAD T

the chief apostles. Repentance has Sanctified harlots, The Purer and more Powerful our Prayers and
robbers, tax-collectors and thousands of other guilty Repentance that Unite us to God the more cunning
people. So put aside your worry and the chastisement and destructive become the actions of the evil one
of your conscience. Become Hopeful, take Courage against us.
and get rid of any thought of despair. S T N EKTAR IOS OF P E NTAP OL IS
Vainglory is the thief of our Spiritual Riches. It does not
S T J OH N OF K R ONSTAD T
only destroy Good Works, but also becomes a guide
We must not make a display of our passion. We must not for the evil ones. It undermines the Foundation of the
hurt other people by externalizing the badness we Greater Virtues. It is the ravenous moth that greedily
have within us. We must Confess our sorrow to God for eats away everything we have, by disguising the
having a soul full of wickedness and that our life is poison of its deception with honey and thus filling our
pure hell. But to others we must show a bright and mind from that disastrous chalice.
pleasant face. Our grievous passions are hardly their
fault. E LDE R TH AD DEU S V ITOVNIC
We make it very difficult (for ourselves) for God to Appear
T H E D E SE RT F ATHE R S to us when we are like a broken mirror, on the shards
A Brother once went to Abba Filika and took some of which even Spiritual Matters are reflected and
laymen with him. He asked the Holy Elder to say reduplicated in a hundred different ways. Our Lord
something Beneficial to them. But the Elder remained Jesus Christ came into this world to make this mirror of
silent. The Brother continued to implore him for a long ours complete so that we can receive and behold His
time until he finally said: ‘You want to hear something Divine Image and Likeness within us.
to your Benefit?’ “Yes, Abba’. they replied. ‘There is
S T I SAAC THE S YR IAN
nothing to say any more’, said the Elder. ‘Because
when the Brothers asked the Elders and did whatever Zeal is the Faithful Dog that guards the Law of God, which
they were told, God provided the advice, so that those is Holy Virtue. Like a fiery furnace, zealous people
who asked would Benefit. But now, because the heat up, like the Cherubim, and are on the lookout at
Brothers do not do what they are told any more, God every moment for the traps and attacks of the evil
has taken away from the Elders the Grace to give spirits. Zeal wanes when we do not believe in Divine
advice. They cannot find anything to say, because Providence and forget God. There is a cooling of Zeal
nobody is working on acquiring the Virtues’. When the when the desire for Virtue lessens, when we trust in
visitors heard this, they sighed and said: ‘Pray for us, ourselves and stop fearing the demons.
Abba!’

THIRD FINDING OF THE VENERABLE HEAD OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST & FORERUNNER OF CHRIST - 25 MAY 33.
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and
forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most
Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all the Saints. And let
us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life to Christ our God. Amen.
28 MAY 2020

ASCENSION THURSDAY

Also the Feast of St Nikitos, Bishop of Chalcedon – St Ignatios the Wonder Worker, Bishop
of Rostov - St Eutychios, Bishop of Melitene – St Heliconis of Thessalonika - St Helladios, a
Bishop of Eastern Roman Empire St Germanos, Bishop of Paris – The Holy Icon of our
Lady, Theotokos “The Softener or Consoler of evil hearts” – St Sophronios the Bulgarian –
St Demetrios the New Martyr – The Holy Icon of our Lady, Theotokos “The Unbreakable Wall” or “Indestructible
Rampart” – The Holy Icon of our Lady, Theotokos of Nicea

P R OKE IME NON – A SCE NSION – TO NE (7) V ARY S /G R AVE

Be Exalted, O God, above the Heavens and upon the Earth Thy Glory!
My heart is ready, O God! My heart is ready! I will sing and give Praise in my Glory!

T H E A CTS OF THE AP OSTLE S ACC ORD ING TO S T L U KE 1 : 1 – 12


In the former account, O Theophilos, I have dealt with all that our Lord Jesus began to do and teach, until after He had
given Commandments, through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles - whom He had Chosen - on the Day when He was
taken up.
To them He had presented Himself alive after His Passion by many proofs, Appearing to them during Forty Days, and
speaking of the Kingdom of God. And while with them, He charged them: “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait
for the Promise of the Father, which you heard from Me. For John Baptised with water – you will be Baptised with
the Holy Spirit before many days.”
When they had come together, they asked Him: “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore the Kingdom of Israel?”He said to
them: “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His Own Authority. But you shall
receive Power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. And you shalt be My Witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all
Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.”
And when He had said this – as they were looking at Him – He was lifted up, and a Cloud took Him out of their sight.
And while they were gazing into Heaven as He went, behold! Two men stood by them in white robes, and said: “Men of
Galilee! Who do you stand looking into Heaven? This Jesus Who was taken up from you into Heaven, will come in
the same way as you beheld Him go into Heaven.”
Then they returned from the Mount called “Olivet,” which is near Jerusalem – a Sabbath’s Day Journey.
✳ “…In the former account, O Theophilos, I have dealt Our Theosis – our ceaseless Spiritual Struggle to regain our
with all that our Lord Jesus began to do and teach, Likeness to God – is only possible by the Will of God the
until after He had given Commandments, through Father, the First Person of the Holy Trinity, through the
the Holy Spirit to the Apostles - whom He had Chosen - Teachings and Commandments of God the Word and Only
on the Day when He was taken up,,,” Begotten Son, Who is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity,
 “...The former account...” is THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING by the Power and Energy of God the Holy Spirit, Who is the
TO ST LUKE . Third Person, making everything possible that is Good and
 Although he was not a Disciple of our Lord Jesus Spiritually Beneficial for us and for all Creation. mp
Christ from the beginning, ST LUKE HAD A PERFECT
UNDERSTANDING of His Holy Gospel because HIS
✳ “…To them He had presented Himself alive … during
KNOWLEDGE CAME FROM OUR LADY, THEOTOKOS AND THE Forty Days… speaking of the Kingdom of God. And …
HOLY APOSTLES OF CHRIST who were the closest charged them: “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but
companions and first-hand – ‘close-up and wait for the Promise of the Father… you will be
intimate’ - eye-witnesses to all that our Saviour Baptised with the Holy Spirit ….”
revealed, taught and commanded.  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST NEVER FAILS NOR DISAPPOINTS US!
 St Luke addressed his Holy Gospel account to  DURING 40 DAYS BEFORE HIS ASCENSION into Heaven, , OUR
“Theophilos” who was supposedly A PROMINENT RESURRECTED LORD GAVE HIS FINAL COMMANDMENTS AND
INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS HOLY APOSTLES, each of whom
GENTILE WHO HAD ACCEPTED CHRIST AS DIVINE SAVIOUR.
 However, according to St Ambrose, “Theophilos” can He had Called to fulfil His Sacred Salvific Mission.
also simply apply to ANYONE WHO LOVES GOD AND  The number “40 “ indicated COMPLETION,
ACCOMPLISHMENT OR FULFILMENT OF SOMETHING
WHO FAITHFULLY FOLLOWS CHRIST – i.e. THOSE WHO TRULY
STRIVE TO LIVE IN CHRIST. IMPORTANT AND HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT.
 In other words, ST LUKE WAS ADDRESSING ALL WHO ARE  HE SHOWED HIMSELF to His Faithful Apostles and
“GOD LOVERS.” - Faithful Disciples of our Lord and Disciples – as well as to innumerable other people
Saviour, Jesus Christ, - TO CONFIRM AND REASSURE THEM AND ALL FUTURE
GENERATIONS THAT WE, TOO, WILL BE RESURRECTED AS HE
 The Holy Gospels concerned THE 33 YEARS OF OUR LORD
JESUS CHRIST’S EARTHLY LIFE IN OUR MIDST. PROMISED US.
 THE BOOK OF THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, which was  Ten days after He had Ascended into Heaven, ON
written by St Luke, concerns MORE THAN 30 YEARS OF PENTECOST SUNDAY, GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT DESCENDED
THE HOLY CHURCH OF CHRIST FROM THE PERIOD AFTER OUR
upon His Holy Apostles, His Faithful Disciples and
LORD’S ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN. innumerable other devout and Faithful souls.
 During the Last Supper, OUR LORD JESUS PROMISED TO  THE PROMISE OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS FULFILLED by the
CONTINUE TEACHING ALL HIS FAITHFUL DISCIPLES
Divine Grace of God the Holy Spirit.
“...through (God) the Holy Spirit...”  By the Divine Power and Energy of the Holy Spirit,
ORDINARY, MUNDANE THINGS OF THIS MATERIAL WORLD,
 GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
ARE TRANSFORMED INTO HOLY AND EXTRAORDINARY
1. is THE THIRD PERSON OF THE HOLY TRINITY – of the One
Godhead. MYSTERIES that only God fully knows and
2. PROCEEDS FROM GOD THE FATHER understands for they are beyond our limited
human intellect.
3. was SENT to us BY OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

34 T H E A SCE NSION OF OU R L ORD & S AV IOU R INTO H E AVE N – 28 M AY 2020


The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is God’s Ultimate robes… said: “Men of Galilee! Who do you stand
Promise and Proof that this life-span is temporary and looking into Heaven? This Jesus Who was taken
merely a preparatory period so that we may improve our up … into Heaven, will come in the same way as
Spiritual State, regain our Divine Likeness to Christ, and you beheld Him go into Heaven...” they returned
thus become worthy Citizens - and Co-Heirs of His from the Mount called “Olivet,” which is near
Eternal, Heavenly Kingdom. Jerusalem – a Sabbath’s Day Journey…”
By focussing on this we are motivated to Strive even more  The Ascension of our Divine Saviour is HIS
each day to fulfil all our Sacred Labours for the Glory, ENTHRONEMENT IN THE FULLNESS OF HIS DIVINE
Honour and Worship of Almighty God.mp AUTHORITY AND GLORY.
✳ “…they asked Him: “Lord, wilt Thou at this time Restore  ICONS OF THE ASCENSION depict our Saviour in such a
the Kingdom of Israel?” He said … “It is not for you to manner that IT IS NOT EVIDENT WHETHER HE IS
know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by ASCENDING TO HEAVEN OR REAPPEARING AGAIN IN OUR
His Own Authority. … you shall receive Power when MIDST.
the Holy Spirit has come upon you. And … shalt be  This depiction captures the profound Truth that WE ARE
My Witnesses in Jerusalem… and to the ends of the ALREADY LIVING UNDER HIS DIVINE REIGN EVEN WHILE WE
Earth…” AWAIT HIS RETURN.
 MANY OF THE DISCIPLES WERE FIXATED ON THE ESTABLISHMENT  Thus ICONS OF THE ASCENSION SHOW OUR LORD JESUS BEING
OF AN EARTHLY KINGDOM, which shows that the Holy “...taken up..” OR REAPPEARING AGAIN, “... in like
Spirit had not yet been bestowed upon them, for manner...” yet BEING ALWAYS PRESENT as He Promised
THEY COULD ONLY UNDERSTAND MATERIAL ASPECTS OF us. (MATTHEW 28:20)
THEIR LIFE.  THE TWO WHITE-ROBED “MEN” WERE GOD’S ANGELS who
 Our Lord’s DIVINE PURPOSE IS TO RESTORE ‘HIS ‘NEW ISRAEL” appeared in order to guide, motivate and comfort
– His Faithful Disciples and our fallen world, as His them.
Promised Land – His Eternal Kingdom of Love.  All Faithful Disciples are required to FULFIL OUR
 ONLY OUR HEAVENLY FATHERS KNOWS EVERYTHING SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL LABOURS until our Lord Jesus
concerning our time and place, which are “… Christ Appears again in all His Magnificent Divine
fixed by His Own Authority…” Glory.
 The Old Covenant Faithful had expected, anticipated  We must ALWAYS
and hoped for GOD’S DIVINE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, 1. BE SPIRITUALLY PREPARED to stand before the
in the “Messianic Age.” (JOEL 3:1) Glorious but Awesome Throne of Christ,
 We need to HUMBLY OBEY AND FULFIL HIS DIVINE WILL IN 2. by REPENTING OUR SINS as soon as we fall, so that
ALL CIRCUMSTANCES WITH COMPLETE FAITH, without we can
hesitation nor doubt – exactly like Christ our Lord. 3. REMAIN IN a Blessed State of Spiritual Life in
 After God the Holy Spirit descended upon them, THEY CHRIST.
WERE FULLY ABLE TO UNDERSTAND everything our Lord  THE JUDEANS WERE ALLOWED TO WALK 2,000 CUBITS - less
Jesus Christ had revealed and taught them. than a mile - WITHOUT BREAKING the Law concerning
 AT OUR BAPTISM WE ALSO RECEIVE THE GIFT OF GOD THE HOLY THE SABBATH Day of Rest.
SPIRIT Who Empowers us to FULFIL OUR SACRED DUTIES  MOUNT OLIVET OVERLOOKS JERUSALEM (Old City) across the
and BECOME SPIRITUALLY PERFECTED. Kidron Valley.
 THE APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES WERE INDEED WITNESSES TO  It is one of three peaks of a mountain ridge that is 3,5
CHRIST’S LIFE AND DIVINE TRUTH. kilometres in length, situated on the edge of the
 Throughout the generations WE HAVE RECEIVED THAT SAME Judean Desert, and has A PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE
DIVINE TRUTH FROM THEM AND SHARE IT WITH OTHERS as TEMPLE MOUNT. THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE IS
we become Spiritually Experienced by Living in SITUATED AT ITS FOOT, and BETHANY IS A SHORT DISTANCE
Christ. AWAY.
✳ “…as they were looking at Him – He was lifted up… a
Cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they
were gazing into Heaven … two Men … in white
T H E H OLY G OSPEL ACCO RD ING TO S T LU KE 24 : 36 – 53
At that time, our Lord Jesus, having Risen from the dead, stood in the midst of His Disciples and said to them: “Peace to
you!” They were startled and frightened, and supposed that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them: “Why
are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your heart? Behold! My Wrists and My Feet – it is I, Myself! Touch
Me, and see! For a spirit does not have flesh and bone as you can see that I have!”
And when He said this, He showed them His Wrists and His Feet. As they still disbelieved for Joy and Wonder, He said to
them: “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish and some honey comb, and He took
it, and ate before them.
He said to them: “These are My Words, which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about
Me in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”Then He opened their minds to
Understand the Scriptures, and said to them: “... for it is written that the Christ should Suffer, and on the Third Day
Rise from the dead, and that Repentance and Forgiveness of sins should be preached in His Name to all
Nations, beginning with Jerusalem.
“You are Witnesses of these Things. And behold: I send the Promise of My Father upon you. Stay in the city of
Jerusalem until you are Vested with Power from on High.”
He led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up His Hands, He Blessed them. And as He Blessed them, He was carried
up into Heaven. And they worshipped Him, and they returned to Jerusalem with Great Joy, and were continually in
the Temple, Blessing God.
Amen.
✳ “…having Risen from the dead, stood in the midst of His  Our Lord’s greeting of Peace is frequently PROCLAIMED
Disciples and said …: “Peace to you!” They were DURING THE HOLY SERVICES by our Priests and Bishops,
startled and frightened… He said …: “Why are you to which we respond: “And to Thy spirit!”
troubled, and why do doubts arise in your heart?  This expresses the Hope and Desire for A PEACEFUL SOUL
Behold! My Wrists and My Feet – it is I, Myself! THAT IS READY AND WILLING TO RECEIVE OUR LORD GOD,
Touch Me, and see! For a spirit does not have having prepared ourselves properly beforehand.
flesh and bone as you can see that I have!”  Obviously, His Disciples were shocked and unable to
 THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME THE APOSTLES BEHELD OUR grasp the Reality of His physical Presence.
RESURRECTED LORD JESUS CHRIST. It is possible that our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ
1. The door was securely locked looked different - for they did not immediately
2. They were trying to deal with the intense sorrow and recognise Him, as was evident when He encountered
bereavement of His Death. St Mary of Magdala in the Garden surrounding His
3. He suddenly Appeared in their midst – in His Living, Empty Tomb, and when He had spent hours in the
Incarnate State

T H E A SC ENSION OF OU R L OR D & S AV IOUR INTO HE AVE N – 28 M AY 2020 35.


company of St Luke and St Cleopas along the road to HIS OWN DIVINE AUTHORITY - always ACCORDING TO THE
Emmaus. WILL OF THE FATHER, by the Power and Energy of the
Only when He speaks to us, and when He identifies Holy Spirit,
Himself, do we KNOW that it is indeed our  THE HOLY TRINITY ALWAYS WORK TOGETHER IN PERFECT
Resurrected Lord, and our Joy is beyond words!! UNISON AND LOVING HARMONY to fulfil the Divine Plan
mp that is motivated and caused by Divine Love.
 THE NATURE OF THE RESURRECTED BODY IS SO DIFFERENT TO ITS  COMPLETE FAITH BELIEVES IN THE MESSIAH - OUR DIVINE
PREVIOUS STATE THAT IT IS NOT IMMEDIATELY SAVIOUR, WHO ENCOMPASSES BOTH HAVING SUFFERED AND
RECOGNIZABLE. (JOHN 20:14; JOHN 21: 4 & 12; 1 CORINTHIANS 15: REIGNING IN HIS DIVINE GLORY, all of which was
35-44) foretold in the Old Covenant Law and the Inspired
 It is also possible that OUR RESURRECTED SAVIOUR Prophecies of the Holy Prophets of God.
INTENTIONALLY PREVENTED HIS APOSTLES FROM  Partial Faith believes in a Messiah Who only either
RECOGNISING HIM IN ORDER TO EXPOSE THEIR DOUBTS AND suffered or Who Reigns in His Glory.
THEN CURING THEM by means of Holy Scriptures,  Our Lord is THE DIVINE OFFERER AND OFFERING.
which He explained and THEY WERE SUDDENLY ABLE  HE VOLUNTARILY ENDURED NOT ONLY OUR HUMAN CONDITION,
TO UNDERSTAND. BUT ALSO all the degradation, dishonour,
 TO REASSURE AND TO CONFIRM THAT HE IS TRULY OUR LORD humiliation and indescribable pain and suffering
Jesus Christ Who was Crucified and Who has of HIS PASSION FOR THE SAKE OF ALL MANKIND.
Resurrected in the Flesh, HE SHOWED THEM HIS Beginning in Jerusalem, LIFE IN CHRIST IS PREACHED IN HIS
WOUNDS. DIVINE NAME TO ALL NATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
 WITHOUT FURTHER QUESTION OR DOUBT THEY WOULD BELIEVE according to the Divine Commandment of our Lord
in Him and especially in the Glorious Truth of the Jesus Christ.
Resurrection – His Resurrection and ours to come. Life in Christ consists of CEASELESS REPENTANCE AND
✳ “…He showed them His Wrists and His Feet. As they still FORGIVENESS OF SINS, so that we might ACQUIRE DIVINE
disbelieved … He said … “Have you anything here to LOVE, which leads to our SPIRITUAL PERFECTION.
eat?” They gave Him … broiled fish … honey comb, ✳ “… You are Witnesses of these Things… I send the
…He took it, and ate before them…” Promise of My Father upon you. Stay in the city of
 IN ADDITION TO INVITING THEM TO TOUCH HIM, HE ALSO ASKED Jerusalem until you are Vested with Power from on
FOR SOMETHING TO EAT, to prove the Reality of His High...”
visible, physical Presence – “…flesh and bone…”  There were 120 APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES, INCLUDING HIS
 “...broiled fish and … honey comb...” has Spiritual ALL HOLY MOTHER, who WITNESSED HIS ASCENSION into
Significance concerning ACTIVE VIRTUE, AND THE Heaven.
DELICIOUS SWEETNESS OF HIS DIVINE WISDOM.  These Faithful Disciples were HIS CLOSEST COMPANIONS
 RESURRECTION INTO ETERNITY, HAS NO NEED FOR PHYSICAL AND THE MOST TRUSTWORTHY WITNESSES to His Life and
NOURISHMENT, maintenance nor sustenance. to His Salvific Ministry – to His Divine Truth.
 OUR RESURRECTED LORD JESUS ATE AS PROOF OF THE REALITY  GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT IS “…THE PROMISE OF MY FATHER…”
OF HIS PHYSICAL RESURRECTION INTO ETERNAL LIFE . Who is sent to us TO EMPOWER, ENLIGHTEN AND ENABLE
 In our Eternal Existence WE WILL NEVER AGAIN HAVE TO US TO ACCOMPLISH EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO THE WILL
EXPERIENCE DEATH – THE SEPARATION OF OUR BODY AND OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER – the ultimate
SOUL, which will be reunited forever in an altered accomplishment being our SPIRITUAL PERFECTION as
state – neither will we hunger, thirst nor His worthy Children and Co-Heirs with Christ.
experience any of our current physical conditions.  THEY REMAINED IN JERUSALEM UNTIL AFTER THE DAY OF
✳ “…These are My Words, which I spoke to you … PENTECOST AND THE DESCENT OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.
everything written about Me in the Law of Moses,  As soon as they were FILLED WITH THE DIVINE GRACE OF
… the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” GOD, THEY WERE ABLE TO BEGIN SHARING AND SPREADING
 OUR LORD FULFILLED EVERYTHING PROPHESIED, WRITTEN AND THE DIVINE TRUTH, LIGHT AND LIFE throughout the
TAUGHT CONCERNING HIM Who is Truly our Great, known world.
Divine Saviour.  ONLY BY THE GRACE OF GOD CAN HIS DIVINE TRUTH BE FULLY
 HIS NEW COVENANT is UNDERSTOOD, APPLIED TO OUR OWN THOUGHTS, WORDS AND
1. the Perfection of Faith and Worship DEEDS, AND TAUGHT TO OTHERS.
2. Eternal and Unchanging  DIVINE TRUTH CANNOT BE COMPROMISED OR CHANGED.
3. For our Spiritual Perfection and  IF WE DEPEND ON OUR OWN PUNY ABILITIES, WE CANNOT
4. Eternal Life UNDERSTAND NOR LIVE ACCORDING TO GOD’S TRUTH –
✳ “…He opened their minds to Understand the Scriptures: and we certainly will not be able to correctly
“...Christ should Suffer… on the Third Day Rise from teach It to others.
the dead, … Repentance and Forgiveness of sins  THE ACQUISITION OF HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE IS ESSENTIAL
should be preached in His Name to all Nations, TO THE ACQUISITION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND DIVINE
beginning with Jerusalem…” TRUTH.
 OUR LORD GRANTED THEM UNDERSTANDING AND KNOWLEDGE
even before the Descent of God the Holy Spirit BY
T H E E TE R NAL , I NSP IR ED W ISD OM OF OU R H OLY FA THE R S
S T BA SIL THE G RE AT rolling down a steep slope, or a gully channelling
Sorrows are not visited on the servants of God without a rushing streams. And it plots our perdition in all
Purpose, but as a Test of our True Love for Him. manner of ways.

S T I GNATIOS B R IANC H ANINOV S T J OH N C HRY SOSTOM


Warm, balmy weather is followed by thunderstorms and All the evil we will ever encounter is the offshoot of the
rain. A soul who finds relief from sorrow in mourning, love of money. Wherever we experience it – in the
and which has been cooled by tears, enjoys a special home, in the market place, in the courts, in the
calmness and serenity, which, like the scent of legislatures or in the highest strata of society!
perfumes, waft from and are released by Pure Prayer.
S T P AISIOS THE AT H ONITE
S T I SAAC THE S YR IAN Let us not expect Spiritual Understanding from those who
Just as healthy eyes desire light, if Fasting is undertaken do not believe in God. Let us pray that God will
with discretion, it is followed by a desire for Prayer. forgive them and show them His Divine Light. And we
must not tire ourselves out trying to talk about Divine
S T THE ODOR OS OF EDE SSA Truth to those who are filled with selfishness and
Those who are overwhelmed by desires and pleasures, wickedness (even if they do call themselves
and who spend their life out and about in this world ‘Christians,’) because they have no room for It.
will quickly fall into the snares of sin. And once sin
has occurred, it is like a fire in dry grass, a stone

36. A SC E NSION T HU R SD AY 28 M AY 2020


Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa
Archdiocese of Good Hope
All Glory, Honour and Worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and
forever, and unto the Ages of ages. Amen. Remembering also our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most
Blessed and Glorious Lady, Maria, Theotokos, yet Ever Virgin, together with all the Saints. And let
us commit ourselves and one another and our whole Life to Christ our God. Amen.
TONE (6) PLAGAL 2 31 MAY 2020

7TH SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA


SUNDAY OF THE 318 HOLY FATHERS OF THE FIRST ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
SUNDAY BEFORE PENTECOST

The Feast of St Hermas of the 70 Apostles of Christ, Bishop of Philippopolis, Thrace – St Hermias
of Comana – St Philosophos at Alexandria – St Philosophos of St Petersburg – St Philotheos,
Metropolitan of Tobolsk, Enlightener of Siberia – St Apollonios of the Egyptian Thebaid

R ESUR REC TION G OSPEL 10 – J OHN 21 : 1 - 14

P ROKE IM ENON – THE P RAYE R OF A ZAR IAH – T ONE 4

Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our Fathers...


For Thou art Righteous in all Thou did for us...
T H E A CTS OF THE AP OSTLE S 20 : 16 – 18 & 28 – 36
In those days, St Paul had decided to sail past Ephesos, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia. He was
hastening to be - on the Day of Pentecost if possible - in Jerusalem. From Miletos he sent to Ephesos and called to
him the Elders of the Church. When they went to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to
Asia, in what manner I always lived among you...
“... Therefore, take heed to yourselves and to all the Flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you Overseers, to Shepherd
the Church of God, which He purchased with His own Blood. For I know that after my departure fierce Wolves will
come in among you - not sparing the Flock. And from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse
things, to draw away the Disciples after them.
“So, watch! – remembering that for three years I did not cease - night or day - to admonish everyone with tears. And
now I commend you, Brethren, to God and to the Word of His Grace, which is able to build you up and to grant you
the Inheritance among all those who are Sanctified.
“I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities, and to
those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by so toiling, one must help the weak, remembering
the Words of our Lord Jesus – how He said: ‘It is more Blessed to give than to receive.’ And when he had spoken
thus, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

✳ "... St Paul had decided to sail past Ephesos…not have CHRIST in order to TAKE CARE OF HIS PRICELESS HOLY
to spend time in Asia… hastening to be - on the FLOCK.
Day of Pentecost if possible - in Jerusalem...”  The Divine Authority bestowed by God the Holy Spirit
 ST PAUL SUFFERED THE WORST PERSECUTIONS IN EPHESOS, Asia upon His Ordained Clergy REQUIRES CONSTANT
Minor. WATCHFULNESS SO AS TO IMMEDIATELY CORRECT ANYONE
 St Paul wanted to be with the other Apostles for FROM GOING ASTRAY – becoming Spiritually Dead
Pentecost which implies that A LITURGICAL CALENDAR and alienated from God and each other.
BASED ON SACRED DAYS/FEASTS WAS ALREADY BEING  AS CHRIST INSTRUCTED all Seven DIVINE MYSTERIES of His
OBSERVED IN THE EARLY CHURCH OF CHRIST. Holy Church are performed IN THE NAME OF THE
 According to that Holy Tradition, THE EASTERN FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
ORTHODOX CHURCH to this very day KEEPS TO A FESTAL  ONLY ORDAINED PRIESTS OR BISHOPS ARE AUTHORISED to
CALENDAR of Sundays, Feast Days, Fasts and Minister these DIVINE MYSTERIES THAT ARE FAR BEYOND
celebrations. HUMAN PERCEPTION OR UNDERSTANDING.
✳ “…From Miletos he sent to Ephesos and called … the  According to the Will of God the Father, through Truth
Elders of the Church...” of God the Son and by the Power and Energy of
 From this meeting it is evident: God the Holy Spirit, THE MUNDANE ELEMENTS used in
1. THE CHURCH IN EPHESOS WAS ALIVE AND GROWING these Holy Mysteries such as water, wine, oil,
2. It had already developed a permanent pattern of bread, laying on of hands, Liturgical Vestments
SACRAMENTAL LEADERSHIP WITH “ELDERS” OR and Implements, etc BECOME EXTRAORDINARY
“PRESBYTERS” – the Priests, and the “Overseers” or ELEMENTS OF SALVIFIC VALUE.
Bishops.  THE POWER AND ENERGY OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT DIVINELY
3. THE THREAT OF FALSE TEACHERS AND THEIR HERESIES FROM SANCTIFIES (make Holy/Sacred) SPECIFIC ELEMENTS,
BOTH WITHIN AND OUTSIDE THE HOLY CHURCH OF that are always be treated with the utmost respect.
CHRIST WAS ALREADY PRESENT, confusing and  THE SANCTIFIED ELEMENTS BESTOW DIVINE SANCTIFICATION
dividing the struggling Disciples. on the Faithful who correctly partake of the Holy
✳ “…he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I Mysteries.
came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among  BEFORE PARTAKING OF ANY HOLY MYSTERY, WE MUST PREPARE
you... OURSELVES with Fasting, Prayers, and Repentance-
 St Paul reminded the Faithful of THE DIFFICULTIES WITH Confession.
WHICH HE HAD HAD TO CONTEND while sojourning in  THE TREATMENT OF ALL HOLY THINGS and our attitude
Ephesos IN ORDER TO ENCOURAGE AND STRENGTHEN towards them REVEALS THE DEPTH OF OUR FAITH,
THEM for what was to come. REVERENCE AND UNDERSTANDING.
✳ “...take heed to yourselves and to all the Flock … the  THE HOLY FLOCK OF CHRIST AND HIS ORDAINED SPIRITUAL
Holy Spirit has made you Overseers, to Shepherd the SHEPHERDS WERE GATHERED, ESTABLISHED AND
Church of God, which He purchased with His own MAINTAINED AT IMMENSE COST.
Blood…”  Consequently, THE CHURCH OF GOD IS INFINITELY VALUABLE,
 St Paul reminded THE PRIESTS AND BISHOPS that they HAD IMPORTANT, SIGNIFICANT AND MOST PRECIOUS compared
TO take good Spiritual Care of themselves – to to all other worldly and social status and
ENSURE THAT THEY REPENTED THEIR SINS AND LIVED IN circumstances.

7TH SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA – 318 HOLY FATHERS - 1ST ECUMENICAL SYNOD – 31 MAY 2020
37
 The One, Holy, Universal, Apostolic Church of our Lord  The thought of any of them being misled or going
God is THE ONLY MEANS OF AND ENTRY INTO astray from the Divine Truth, Great Mercy and
1. SALVATION Love of God made St Paul weep many tears
2. SPIRITUAL PERFECTION because of THE DEPTH OF HIS OWN LOVE AND DEVOTION
3. ETERNAL LIFE TO GOD AND HIS FAITHFUL DISCIPLES.
4. HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM OF LOVE  St Paul fully understood and appreciated HOW PRECIOUS
St Paul reminds us of THE FINAL AND GREATEST SACRIFICIAL EACH IMMORTAL SOUL IS AND AT WHAT COST WE HAVE BEEN
BLOOD OFFERING FOR MANKIND’S SINS, which our Lord REDEEMED.
Jesus Christ made because of His unconditional Love  WE ARE ALL BRETHREN IN CHRIST because we are all
for us. SANCTIFIED MEMBERS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S BODY –
 We are constantly reminded that OUR HOLY CHURCH IS HIS HOLY CHURCH – and are thus all equal in the
ROOTED IN AND WATERED BY THE MOST PRECIOUS AND Sight of God.
LIFE-SUSTAINING BLOOD OF OUR DIVINE SAVIOUR, AS WELL  As Sanctified Brethren in and of Christ we are all
AS THAT OF ALL THE MILLIONS OF DEVOTED HOLY MARTYRS CHILDREN OF GOD AND CO-HEIRS of His Eternal
throughout the centuries. Kingdom of Love.
 IF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH WAS BOGUS or founded on egos  ST PAUL ENTRUSTED US ALL TO THE LOVING CARE AND GRACE
and deceptions, IT WOULD NOT HAVE ENDURED FOR VERY OF OUR LORD GOD - our Heavenly Father, our Lord
LONG, and certainly VERY FEW WOULD HAVE BEEN Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit, Who have
FOOLISH ENOUGH TO DEDICATE THEIR ENTIRE LIFE to Enabled, Enlightened and Empowered us with His
serving our Lord God as devoutly as the Divine Truth.
innumerable Saints and Martyrs.  We are SANCTIFIED AND SUSTAINED BY THE HOLY MYSTERIES
 In Biblical terms “Blood” SIGNIFIES LIFE ITSELF. AND BY OUR LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS, which grants us the
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST VOLUNTARILY SHED HIS OWN most Precious Inheritance of Eternal Life in God’s
PRECIOUS BLOOD by being so cruelly scourged and Heavenly Kingdom of Love.
crucified in order TO REDEEM HIS BELOVED MANKIND  Unless we LEARN EVERYTHING THAT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
AND IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH HIS ETERNAL, HOLY CHURCH AND HIS HOLY APOSTLES HAVE TAUGHT US AND APPLY THEM
ON EARTH. TO OUR DAILY LIFE IN CHRISt, we will inevitably fall
✳ “…after my departure fierce Wolves will come in among victim to such wicked deceptions and heresies.
you - not sparing the Flock. … among yourselves men ✳ “… I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. … these
will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away hands ministered to my necessities, and to those
the Disciples after them…” who were with me….”
 THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THREATENED BY  ST PAUL IMITATED CHRIST OUR LORD BY NEVER DESIRING
UNGODLY PERSECUTORS – “ravenous Wolves” – who ANYTHING OF THIS WORLD, and by doing physical
either persecuted them, frightened them, mislead labours in order to sustain himself and those who
them or scattered them. accompanied him.
 THESE THREATS ARISE FROM BOTH OUTSIDE AND WITHIN OUR  We need to TAKE CARE OF OUR NEEDS WITHOUT BEING AN
HOLY CHURCH AND COMMUNITY. UNNECESSARY BURDEN TO OTHERS, while DESIRING ONLY
 THUS IT IS ESSENTIAL TO ALWAYS SUPPORT, GUIDE, AND SPIRITUAL TREASURES that contribute to our
ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER according to our Lord’s SPIRITUAL PROGRESS AND PERFECTION.
Divine Truth and Life.  There is nothing of this material, visible world that is of
 Our Lord Jesus Christ constantly warned us that any Spiritual Benefit to us.
CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD BECOME FAR MORE DIFFICULT AND  ALTHOUGH ST PAUL TAUGHT THE FAITHFUL TO MATERIALLY
DANGEROUS for His Faithful Disciples throughout the SUPPORT THE CLERGY, HE DID NOT REQUIRE NOR SEEK ANY
time before HIS GLORIOUS REAPPEARANCE on the SUCH ASSISTANCE from the Christian Communities
Eighth Day – our Final Judgement. that he established.
 Without the Steadfast, Faithful and Truly Ordained  HE PHYSICALLY LABOURED TO EARN HIS KEEP WHEREVER HE
Priesthood, we cannot hope to REMAIN FAITHFUL TO WENT, which allowed him to preach all the more
OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. freely and PREVENTED ANYONE FROM QUESTIONING HIS
 WITHOUT LIFE IN CHRIST and the Spiritual Enlightenment MOTIVES.
and Guidance of our Holy Fathers, WE WILL BECOME ✳ “…In all things … by so toiling… help the weak,
ADRIFT – alienated from God and each other. remembering the Words of our Lord Jesus …It is
 All TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS ARISE FROM BOTH OUTSIDE AND more Blessed to give than to receive...’
WITHIN THE HOLY CHURCH, exactly as St Paul had  We must WORK HARD IN ORDER TO SUSTAIN OURSELVES AND
predicted. OUR FAMILIES, WHILE ALSO BEING ABLE TO HELP OTHERS
 OUR ONLY HOPE AND PROTECTION from the evil one’s who are less fortunate or incapable of supporting
machinations IS BY DEVELOPING A CLOSE, INTIMATE themselves.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD OUR GOD.  ST PAUL ALWAYS SHARED WHATEVER HE EARNED WITH EVERYONE
 ONLY BY THE WILL OF GOD THE FATHER, THROUGH THE ELSE, OFTEN DENYING HIS OWN NEEDS, so as to feed the
TEACHINGS AND COMMANDMENTS OF GOD THE SON AND hungry, etc.
BY THE ENERGY AND POWER OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT IS HIS  Although ST PAUL URGED THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES TO
HOLY CHURCH SUSTAINED AND ABLE TO THRIVE FOREVER. HELP EACH OTHER, he also cautioned us to AVOID
 The “Wolves” are ALL THOSE WHO ARE ARROGANT AND SELF- BECOMING AN UNNECESSARY BURDEN UPON OTHERS.
SERVING – those who misguide and deceive the  When we trust implicitly in the Divine Providence of
Faithful through their heresies, lies and egocentric our Most Loving and Benevolent Lord God, WE
schemes that adversely affect mankind, causing NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT OUR MATERIAL OR PHYSICAL
souls to become alienated from God and all His NEEDS.
Goodness.  FREEDOM FROM THE ALL-CONSUMING CARE OF WORLDLY NEEDS
✳ “…So, watch! – remembering … I did not cease … to GRANTS US MORE TIME AND ENERGY TO CONCENTRATE ON
admonish …with tears. … I commend you, Brethren, OUR SPIRITUAL WELFARE – providing for our Eternal
to God and to the Word of His Grace… to build you up Life.
and to grant you the Inheritance among all those who  St Paul liked to teach to all Faithful Disciples this very
are Sanctified….” significant Sacred Teaching of our Lord Jesus
 We always need to BE SPIRITUALLY ALERT AND WATCHFUL Christ – ‘It is more Blessed to give than to
to receive…’
 EXAMINE OURSELVES AND IMMEDIATELY CORRECT OUR GRIEVOUS  Although it is not actually recorded in the four Holy
PASSIONS with Repentance and Confession Gospels of the Apostles of Christ, IT CERTAINLY
 RECOGNISE TEMPTATIONS AND ALL SPIRITUAL THREATS AND ENCAPSULATES THE VERY MEANING OF BEING A FAITHFUL
WEAKNESSES in order to avoid or reject them. DISCIPLE OF CHRIST.
 THE URGENT NEED FOR SPIRITUAL WATCHFULNESS caused St  It is a fact that WHATEVER WE GIVE TO OTHERS – GOOD OR EVIL
Paul to vehemently beseech and admonish the – COMES BACK ‘…A HUNDREDFOLD…’ TO US IN A VARIETY OF
Disciples of Christ. WAYS.

38 7 SUNDAY HOLY PASCHA – 318 HOLY FATHERS - 1ST ECUMENICAL SYNOD – 31 MAY 2020
T H
OF
 THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS OF ST MATTHEW, ST MARK AND ST  ST PAUL WAS CLOSELY INVOLVED with all the Faithful
LUKE CONTAINED MANY MORE MIRACLES AND PARABLES Disciples and Christian Communities he had
BUT THESE TOO, WERE FAR FROM EXHAUSTIVE. established.
 THESE FACTS EMPHASISE THE HOLINESS OF WHAT WAS  HE PARTICIPATED FULLY WITH THEM ALL IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST,
RECORDED – THE WRITTEN TRADITION - and which every Good Shepherd ought to do – WITH
furthermore, POINT TO THE ONGOING ORAL TRADITION UTTER HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE TO GOD – always
(THE ESSENTIAL VERBAL TEACHINGS) of Christ’s Eternal, interacting with each other WITH UNCONDITIONAL
Holy Church. LOVE - AGAPE.
 THE GREAT JOY OF GIVING TO OTHERS IS THE EXPRESSION AND  St Paul’s good example as A HOLY FATHER – a Faithful
EXPERIENCE OF ACTIVE ACTS OF DIVINE LOVE. Shepherd to Christ’s Holy Flock – wHO SHARED ALL THE
✳ “…And when he had spoken thus, he knelt down and JOYS AND SORROWS AS WELL AS THE PHYSICAL LABOURS of
prayed with them all…” the Disciples, needs to be imitated by us all.
T H E H OLY G OSPEL ACCO RD ING TO S T J OH N 17 : 1 – 13
At that time, our Lord Jesus lifted up His Eyes to Heaven, and said: “Father, the Hour has come. Glorify Thy Son that
Thy Son may Glorify Thee, since Thou hast granted Him Power over all flesh, to grant Eternal Life to all whom
Thou hast given Him. This is Eternal Life, that they know Thee, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou
hast sent. I Glorified Thee on Earth, having accomplished the Work that Thou gave Me to do. And now, Thou
Glorify Me in Thine own Presence, Father, with the Glory that I had with Thee before the world was made.
“I have manifested Thy Name to the men whom Thou gave Me out of the world. Thine they were, and Thou gave
them to Me, and they have kept Thy Word. Now they know that everything that Thou hast given Me is from Thee.
For I have given them the Words that Thou gave Me, and they have received them and know in Truth that I
came from Thee. And they have believed that Thou sent Me.
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Mine. All Mine art
Thine, and Thine art Mine, and I Am Glorified in them. And now I Am no more in the world, but they are in the
world, and I Am coming to Thee.
“Holy Father, keep them in Thy Name, which Thou hast given Me, that they may be One, even as we are One. While
I was with them, I kept them in Thy Name, which Thou hast given Me. And none of them is lost except the son of
perdition, that the Scripture may be fulfilled.
“Now I Am coming to Thee; and these Things I speak in the world, that they may have My Joy fulfilled in
themselves…”

✳ “…Father, the Hour has come. Glorify Thy Son that Thy  HE HAS PROVIDED US WITH EVERY MEANS POSSIBLE TO BECOME
Son may Glorify Thee, since Thou hast granted Him SPIRITUALLY PERFECTED IN HIS DIVINE LIKENESS.
Power over all flesh, to grant Eternal Life to all whom  By thinking, speaking and acting exactly as He has
Thou hast given Him…” taught us, according to all Sacred Aspects of His
 This is A DIVINE PRAYER that our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Holy Church and Her Divine Mysteries and Holy
Incarnate, Eternal Son and Word of God ADDRESSED Services – i.e. BY LIVING IN CHRIST – WE GRADUALLY
TO GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. ACQUIRE SPIRITUAL PERFECTION, DEIFICATION OR THEOSIS.
1. ACCORDING TO HIS DIVINE NATURE, our Lord Jesus  This requires our personal commitment to
Christ is THE SON OF GOD – the Eternal, Only 1. HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE
Begotten Son and Word of God our Heavenly 2. CEASELESS REPENTANCE
Father. 3. CONSTANT SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE, DISCIPLINE,
2. ACCORDING TO HIS INCARNATE [human]NATURE, our NOURISHMENT AND SUSTENANCE OF HIS HOLY CHURCH.
Lord Jesus is also THE SON OF MAN[kind] ✳ “… This is Eternal Life, that they know Thee, the Only
3. Thus, our Divine Saviour is most uniquely GOD-MAN, True God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent.
with TWO COMPLETELY SEPARATE NATURES AND …”
ATTRIBUTES – Divine and human.  GOD CREATED US TO BE IMMORTAL – to Live in His Heavenly
 HE VOLUNTARILY BECAME MAN by the Power and Energy Kingdom of Love forever.
of God the Life-giving Holy Spirit and of the All  DISOBEDIENCE TO ONE DIVINE COMMANDMENT caused our
Pure Flesh and Blood of the Ever Blessed, All Holy Fall from Divine Grace.
and Ever Virgin, Mary – our Lady, Theotokos.  However, OUR ALL MERCIFUL LORD GOD HAS PROVIDED US
 According to the Will of our Heavenly Father, THE WITH EVERYTHING NECESSARY to become Reconciled
DIVINE SALVIFIC MISSION OF OUR LORD JESUS WAS with Him and with each other.
ACCOMPLISHED – “… the Hour has come…”
 BY GROWING CLOSER TO OUR LORD GOD, WE LEARN MORE
 EVERYTHING IS ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY ABOUT HIS GREAT MERCY AND LOVE.
FATHER WHO ALONE KNOWS EXACTLY WHEN MAJOR EVENTS  DIVINE LOVE AND KNOWLEDGE MOTIVATES US TO EVEN
WILL OCCUR that irrevocably affect us. GREATER SPIRITUAL EFFORTS, and we begin to
“...the Hour has come...” signifies that OUR LORD JESUS recognise and understand the obstacles that keep
CHRIST IS LORD OVER TIME – AND OVER ALL CREATION. us apart.
 On Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, we sing “...He  ALL UNREPENTED SINS ENSNARE US IN A WRETCHED STATE OF
voluntarily ascended the Cross in the Flesh...”for SPIRITUAL DEATH – alienated and exiled from God
HE DID SO WHEN HE KNEW IT WAS THE RIGHT MOMENt and each other, and everything that is truly Good
 Furthermore, HE GAVE UP HIS HOLY SPIRIT AND DIED ON THE and desirable.
CROSS AT THE NINTH HOUR - ALSO ACCORDING TO GOD’S  REPENTANCE-CONFESSION SETS US FREE AND RETURNS US TO A
OWN CHOSEN TIME, for the sake of all mankind. MARVELLOUS STATE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE that draws us
 EVERYTHING HAPPENS ACCORDING TO GOD’S DIVINE PLAN – close to God and each other, granting us His
FOR THE ETERNAL, SPIRITUAL BENEFIT OF ALL MANKIND. infinite Blessings of Divine Grace, which surpasses
 Our Lord uses the Words “Thy Son” rather than “Me,” anything we can possibly imagine!
for HE PRAYED TO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AS THE SON OF  WE ARE ABLE TO STRUGGLE AND STRIVE UNTIL OUR VERY LAST
MAN – as ‘the New Adam,’ Who is Perfect Man. BREATH, but we need to ACQUIRE THE KNOWLEDGE AND
 THE GOD-MAN – our Divine Messiah/Saviour - IS WISDOM THAT OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND OUR LORD
GLORIFIED by our Heavenly Father FOR HIS LOVING JESUS CHRIST PROVIDE.
DEVOTION to God AND HIS SALVIFIC MISSION to all  Once we LEARN AND UNDERSTAND THE TRUE MEANING OF
mankind. LIFE, we will make far better Spiritual Progress
 HIS ENTIRE EARTHLY LIFESPAN – His Thoughts, Words and towards Eternal Life.
Deeds – GLORIFIED, HONOURED AND WORSHIPPED OF OUR  WE ARE GRANTED INNUMERABLE OPPORTUNITIES TO RETURN TO
HEAVENLY FATHER. GOD AND BECOME WORTHY CO-HEIRS with Christ to His
 He not only Revealed and taught the Divine Truth to Heavenly Kingdom of Love.
us, but also SHOWED US HOW TO FULFIL THE DIVINE  WE CAN ONLY GAIN KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LOVING HEAVENLY
TRUTH AND LOVE OF GOD while sojourning in this FATHER THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, Whom He
preparatory lifespan. sent to Live in our midst, IN ORDER TO ENLIGHTEN,

7TH SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA – 318 HOLY FATHERS - 1ST ECUMENICAL SYNOD – 31 MAY 2020
39
RESTORE, REGENERATE AND GLORIFY OUR FALLEN HUMAN  If we actually accomplish the Holy Work that God
NATURE. wants us to fulfil, we will BE ASSURED OF ETERNAL LIFE
 AT THE BEST TIME POSSIBLE FOR MANKIND, OUR HEAVENLY IN HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM OF LOVE.
FATHER SENT HIS BELOVED SON to teach us His Divine ✳ “…I have manifested Thy Name to … whom Thou gave
Truth directly – without any need for human Me out of the world. Thine they were.. Thou gave
interpreters, such as His Old Covenant Holy them to Me… they have kept Thy Word… they know
Prophets, who had to prepare His People for the that everything that Thou hast given Me is from
Coming of our Divine Saviour and His Divine Truth. Thee… I have given them the Words that Thou gave
 EVERYTHING WE HAVE LEARNT FROM OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS Me… they have received them and know in Truth that
THE ABSOLUTE DIVINE TRUTH, which we can I came from Thee. And they have believed that Thou
accept with utter confidence and assurance. sent Me…”
✳ “… I Glorified Thee on Earth, having accomplished the  ST ISAIAH PROPHESIED THAT in the Days of the Great
Work that Thou gave Me to do. And now, Thou Messiah, the Knowledge of THE NAME OF GOD WOULD
Glorify Me in Thine own Presence, O Father, with BE REVEALED. (ISAIAH 52:6)
the Glory that I had with Thee before the world  In the times of the Old Covenant, the phrase “... the
was made…” Name...” was reverently used as A SUBSTITUTE FOR
GOD’S ACTUAL NAME “YAHWEH,” WHICH WAS CONSIDERED
 These amazing Divine Words are truly revealing!
FAR TOO SACRED TO PRONOUNCE.
 Our Lord Jesus addressed His Heavenly Father in
 THE FULLER REVELATION OF THE NAME OF GOD WAS GRANTED
personal terms “I” and “Me” – CONFIRMING HIS DIVINE
TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN CHRIST, WHO “MANIFESTED”
IDENTITY AS THE ETERNAL SON OF GOD OUR HEAVENLY
(REVEALED) THE DIVINE NAME – not only by DECLARING
FATHER.
GOD AS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, but by BEING THE VERY
 OUR LORD JESUS CERTAINLY ALWAYS GLORIFIED GOD OUR
PRESENCE OF GOD AS SON OF GOD, AND SHARING THE
HEAVENLY FATHER – never seeking any fame or Glory
DIVINE NAME EQUALLY AND RIGHTFULLY
for Himself.
 CHRIST REVEALED HIS DIVINE TRUTH DIRECTLY TO HIS CLOSEST
 Likewise, we Glorify our Heavenly Father BY FULFILLING
APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES, WHOM OUR HEAVENLY FATHER
HIS DIVINE WILL IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.
CHOSE FROM HIS FAITHFUL PEOPLE.
 OUR HEAVENLY FATHER GLORIFIED HIS BELOVED SON IN HIS
 THESE FAITHFUL DISCIPLES WERE DIVINELY ENLIGHTENED WITH
INCARNATE NATURE when HE ASCENDED PHYSICALLY to
HIS DIVINE TRUTH and thus would properly and fully
Heaven to resume His Eternal, Most Honoured
comprehend everything He revealed and taught
Position as the Son of God Who is ENTHRONED AT THE
them.
RIGHT HAND SIDE OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
 OUR LORD JESUS HAS ALWAYS FULFILLED THE WILL OF OUR
 This Prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ is often referred to
HEAVENLY FATHER AND DOES NOTHING THAT IS NOT HIS
as “the High Priestly Prayer,” because it CONTAINS
DIVINE WILL.
THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF OUR PRIESTS’ PRAYER TO GOD
 Likewise, His Faithful Disciples CEASELESSLY STRIVE TO
BEFORE THE BLOODLESS SACRIFICE OF HOLY EUCHARIST IS
FULFIL THE WILL OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER – IN ALL
OFFERED:
CIRCUMSTANCES.
1. GLORIFICATION
 Knowledge of “... the Only True God...” is FAR MORE THAN
2. REMEMBRANCE OF GOD’S DIVINE WORKS
MERE INTELLECTUAL UNDERSTANDING.
3. INTERCESSION ON BEHALF OF OTHERS
 Knowledge of our Triune Lord God is ONLY POSSIBLE
4. A DECLARATION OF THE OFFERING ITSELF.
WHEN WE FULLY PARTICIPATE IN AND ARE COMMITTED to
 THIS PRAYER of the Eternal, Only Begotten Son and Word
His Divine Life and are IN COMMUNION WITH HIM.
of God to His Heavenly Father IS ALWAYS READ ON THE
 Consequently, OUR ETERNAL LIFE, which begins here
SEVENTH SUNDAY OF HOLY PASHA, which is also THE
and now, IS A CONTINUOUS, INCREASING, LOVING
COMMEMORATION OF THE 318 HOLY FATHERS OF THE
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS AND GOD THE HOLY
FIRST ECUMENICAL COUNCIL HELD IN NICEA IN 325.
SPIRIT.
 THE FIRST ECUMENICAL COUNCIL CONDEMNED THE ARIAN
 ONLY THROUGH THE DIVINE REVELATION AND TEACHINGS OF
HERESY that taught the belief that our Lord Jesus
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ARE WE ABLE TO COMPREHEND THE
Christ was created by God the Father, so that there
SIGNIFICANCE AND MEANING OF DIVINE TRUTH.
was a period when the Only Begotten Son and
 THE ABILITY TO FULFIL EVERYTHING REQUIRED OF US AS WELL AS
Word of God did not exist!
BEING ABLE TO FULLY UNDERSTAND, IS GRANTED TO US BY
 The Words of our Divine Saviour’s Prayer to our
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT Who makes everything
Heavenly Father TESTIFY TO THE ABSOLUTE, PERFECT
possible, ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD THE FATHER.
AND DIVINE TRUTH THAT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS
 However, IF WE WANT TO LIVE IN CHRIST WE MUST FREELY
ETERNAL AND DIVINE - HAS A CLOSE, INTIMATE AND FILIAL
DESIRE AND BESEECH SUCH KNOWLEDGE AND ABILITY FROM
RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
GOD for only thereby can we Regenerate our
 THIS DIVINE TESTIMONY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS
created Likeness of God, which we have lost due
SUFFICIENT IN ITSELF TO DISMISS THE HERETICAL CLAIMS OF
to our unrepented sins.
ARIANISM.
 OUR LORD GOD NEVER FORCES HIS DIVINE WILL UPON US, so
 The term “...Glorify...” refers to THE REDEMPTION OF ALL
we must welcome Him into our life and Entreat His
CREATION that is accomplished THROUGH THE HOLY
Divine Assistance.
CROSS OF CHRIST AND HIS VICTORIOUS RESURRECTION,
 GOD’S DIVINE TRUTH COMES TO US THROUGH OUR LORD’S HOLY
which was THE DIVINE PURPOSE OF GOD INCARNATE
APOSTLES.
LIVING FOR A WHILE IN OUR MIDST AS ONE OF US.
This Faithful handing down of God’s Divine Truth to
 IN THIS DIVINE REDEMPTION, BOTH GOD THE FATHER AND GOD
successive generations of Priests and Bishops in an
THE ETERNAL, ONLY BEGOTTEN SON AND WORD OF GOD
unbroken line, is our APOSTOLIC TRADITION.
ARE GLORIFIED.
 Consequently, THE CROSS, which signified the worst, ✳ “…I pray for them… not … for the world but for those
cruellest punishment and execution for criminals, whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Mine. All
IS NOW – since Christ’s Crucifixion – A HOLY, GLORIOUS, Mine art Thine, and Thine art Mine… I Am Glorified in
VICTORIOUS SYMBOL OF ETERNAL LIFE AND SPIRITUAL them….I Am no more in the world, but they are in the
EMPOWERMENT, which we Venerate as “LIFE-GIVING” world… I Am coming to Thee…”
AND THE INVINCIBLE AND MOST POWERFUL WEAPON OF  OUR LORD FIRST PRAYED FOR HIMSELF AND THEN FOR HIS HOLY
PEACE. APOSTLES.
 His Words “...the Glory that I had with Thee before the  HE THEN PRAYS FOR “... those Thou has given Me...” –
world was made...” clearly confirm that OUR LORD meaning ALL HIS FAITHFUL DISCIPLES who believe in
JESUS CHRIST IS INDEED THE ETERNAL, ONLY BEGOTTEN Him as our Lord and Saviour.
SON AND WORD OF GOD WHO HAS ALWAYS EXISTED,  OUR LORD DID NOT PRAY FOR THE REST OF “... the world...”
TOGETHER WITH THE FATHER AND THE HOLY SPIRIT! meaning THOSE WHO ARE IN REBELLION AGAINST GOD OR
 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S WORK – HIS DIVINE MISSION - CAN WHO HAVE CONSCIOUSLY REJECTED HIM AND HIS DIVINE
NEVER BE SEPARATED FROM WHO HE IS. TRUTH, for they prefer being in Spiritual Darkness
 This verse is A STATEMENT THAT EACH OF US WHO HAVE and Death rather than being in His Divine Light
CONSTANTLY STRUGGLED TO LIVE IN CHRIST, MIGHT MAKE and the Abundant Joy, Love and Peace of
AT THE END OF OUR LIFESPAN – no matter how long or Spiritual Life in Christ.
short it is.

40 7 SUNDAY HOLY PASCHA – 318 HOLY FATHERS - 1ST ECUMENICAL SYNOD – 31 MAY 2020
T H
OF
✳ “…“Holy Father, keep them in Thy Name, which Thou  2 THESSALONIANS 2: 3 “... Let no one deceive you by any
hast given Me, that they may be One, even as we are means, for that Day will not come unless the
One. While I was with them, I kept them in Thy Name, falling away comes first, and the man of sin is
which Thou hast given Me. And none of them is lost revealed – the son of perdition, who opposes and
except the son of perdition, that the Scripture may be exalts himself above all that is God or which is
fulfilled. worshipped, so that he sits as ‘god’ in the Temple
 Christ’s Words “...Holy Father, keep them in Thy of God, showing himself that he is ‘god!”
Name...” is repeated in the EUCHARISTIC PRAYER OF  While WE ARE WARNED AGAINST PREDICTING “THE DAY OF THE
THE DIDACHE 10:2 “... We give Thee Thanks, O Holy LORD,” (the Eighth Day – Judgement Day) THERE
Father, for Thy Holy Name, which Thou hast WILL BE SIGNS PRECEDING THE SECOND REAPPEARANCE
made to dwell in our heart…” (PAROUSIA) OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN ALL HIS
 THE MOST SACRED NAME OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS MAGNIFICENT GLORY.
CHRIST, UNITES US WITH GOD AND WITH EACH OTHER by  ST PAUL THUS SEVERELY CAUTIONS US with regard to these
Signs:
His Divine Love and Truth.
1. A GENERAL “FALLING AWAY” – APOSTASY – from our Lord
 JUDAS ISCARIOT IS “… THE SON OF PERDITION…” because he
Jesus Christ and His Holy Church,
not only betrayed and sold our Lord to His 2.THE REVEALING – EXPOSURE – OF “... the man of sin – the
enemies but he surrendered himself to the evil son of perdition...” who is THE ANTICHRIST
one. mentioned in the First and Second Universal
 Once again, THE OLD COVENANT PROPHECIES WERE Epistles of St John the Beloved Apostle and
FULFILLED. concerning our Divine Saviour and His Divine Theologian, who is similar to “The
Salvific Mission Dragon” and “the Beast” mentioned in the Book
 “Perdition” means “destruction.” of Revelation. (REVELATION 13).
 Old Covenant prophecy also alluded to Judas  This evil, lawless and ungodly being is described in
Iscariot: the Old Covenant Book of Daniel, mentioned by
 PSALM 40: 10 “... the man of My Peace, in whom I hoped our Lord Jesus Christ and discussed by St Paul on
– he who ate My Bread, dealt deceptively with his first Missionary Journey to Thessalonika. (DANIEL
Me...” 7:25; 8:25 & 11:36 - MATTHEW 24:15)
 PSALM 108: 2 – 13 “... the mouth of the sinner and the  THE EVIL ONE INCITES DIVISIONS AMONG MANKIND so that
mouth of the deceitful man opened against Me. they will readily receive his antichrist when he
They spoke against Me with a deceitful tongue, comes.
and they surrounded me with the words of  THE MAN OF SIN REFERS TO A COUNTERFEIT ‘MESSIAH’ OR
hatred, and warred against Me without cause. ‘SAVIOUR’ WITH HIS BOGUS ‘KINGDOM’ who exalts himself
Instead of loving Me, they falsely accused Me, above our Almighty Lord God, performs deceptive
but I continued to pray, so they repaid me evil for ‘miracles and wonders’ through satanic trickery,
good, and hatred for My Love. Set a sinner over fools the unrighteous into following him and will
him, and let the devil stand at his right hand. And be removed, conquered and exiled into Outer
when he is Judged, may he go forth Condemned, Darkness by our Lord Jesus Christ.
and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be  WE MUST NOT BECOME DISTRESSED, HOPELESS NOR DECEIVED -
very few, and may a different man receive his no matter how terrible our world becomes.
Office..”.  We must BE COURAGEOUS AND STAND FIRMLY ROOTED IN OUR
 ZECHARIAH 11: 12 & 13 “... I shall say to them: ‘If it is fitting TRUE, ORTHODOX FAITH, trusting implicitly only in our
in your judgement, give me my payment, or Almighty, Triune Lord God and His Great Mercy.
refuse it!’ And they established my wage at thirty ✳ “…Now I Am coming to Thee… these Things I speak in
pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me: ‘Drop the world, that they may have My Joy fulfilled in
them into the smelting furnace and see if it is themselves…”
proven, as in the same manner I was proven for  OUR LORD SPOKE THESE WORDS ALOUD BEFORE HIS ASCENSION,
their sake.’ And I took the thirty pieces of silver FOR THE SAKE OF HIS FAITHFUL APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES
and threw them into the smelting furnace in the who would understand everything when they
House of the Lord...” received the Divine Gift of God the Holy Spirit on
Our Lord Jesus Christ was thus betrayed by Judas Iscariot
the Day of Pentecost.
for 30 SILVER COINS - THE PRICE USUALLY PAID FOR A SLAVE!
 Through the Apostolic Teachings and the Divine
 EXODUS 21 : 32 – “... if a bull gores a male or female
slave, he shall pay their master thirty shekels of Enlightenment of God the Holy Spirit, FUTURE
silver...” GENERATIONS OF DISCIPLES WOULD ALSO BE ABLE TO
 JUDAS ISCARIOT IS TYPICAL OF ALL WHO FALL AWAY FROM GOD COMPREHEND THE DIVINE TRUTH, LOVE AND JOY OF OUR
IN THESE THE LAST DAYS BEFORE ETERNITY. LORD JESUS CHRIST.
THE ETERNA L , I NSP IR ED W ISD OM OF OU R H OLY FA THE R S & M OTH ER S
S T J OH N TH E DAMASCENE
Humility begets Meekness; Meekness begets S T BA SIL THE G RE AT
Discernment; Discernment begets Foresight; Sorrows are not visited upon God’s servants without a
Foresight raises us up to the Perfect Love of God and specific Purpose, but as a test of our True Love for Him.
our neighbours.
S T AR SE NIOS OF B OCC A
S T I SAAC THE S YR IAN Our body lives while it cohabits with our soul, but our soul
The evil one cannot approach us nor bring us into Lives when God inhabits it. So there are some people
temptation unless we become negligent and slothful, who have Living souls within them, while there are
or unless our Lord God permits it (for the sake of our others whose soul is dead.
Spiritual Benefit.)
S T P ORPHY R IOS K AVSOLKALYV ITIS
If we comply with the Words of God and have no regrets
A BBE SS G AV R IIL A
in our conscience, and if we are calm and perform
If we do not like somebody, we must remind ourselves
Good Works, then we will gradually feel our way into
that we are looking at our Lord Jesus Christ in their
Prayer, smoothly, until Divine Grace comes.
face!
S T J OH N C HRY SOSTOM
S T S YM EON THE NE W T HE OL OGIAN
Faith needs Humility and Obedience, not a variety of
Souls who are governed by God should have the
skills. When God commands, we have to obey, not
following properties – straightforwardness, Meekness,
investigate out of curiosity!
Truth, Humility, Obedience, Goodness, Righteousness
and sincere Piety. They should also possess
A BBE SS M AKR INA
Forbearance, Charity, Sympathy, Compassion,
Recite the Prayer of the Heart as much as possible, as if
sincere Love, Clemency, Endurance and Patience. If
seeking a most Precious Pearl, for without this Prayer,
we have none of these Holy Virtues, we are not being
our Lord Jesus Christ is not in our heart. It teaches us
governed by our Lord God.
to Love our Divine Saviour.

7TH SUNDAY OF HOLY PASCHA – 318 HOLY FATHERS - 1ST ECUMENICAL SYNOD – 31 MAY 2020
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