CHRISTMINSTER
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR)
1910 Falls Street, Niagara Falls, New York 14303 USA
July -- August 2015

Daily Posting: June 18/July 1

"The glory of God is man alive; but the life of man is the vision of God." — St. Irenaeus of Lyons, in the territory of France, in his great work Against All Heresies, written c. 180 A.D.

If we go the way of the cross with Him and share in His suffering, we will also share in His glory (Rom 8:17). Carrying my cross always involves saying yes to a particular suffering, a cross, which God has brought into my life.

And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

While you are young and healthy, fast, for old age with its weakness will come. As long as you can, lay up treasure, so when you cannot, you will be at peace. Fasting is a good period to involve God in all our problems, a period for the humble heart to call out and for God to listen.

EPHRAEM was born of Syrian parentage at the turn of the third century, at Nisibis in Mesopotamia, which at that time was still under Roman rule. And he became so renowned as a teacher, orator, poet, theologian, and defender of the Faith that by Western Catholics he is now reckoned amongst the Doctors of the Church, even as by all those in the East he hath ever been esteemed as one of the greatest of the early fathers, the only Syrian to be so generally honoured throughout all Christendom. Of him blessed Jerome wrote : Ephraem the Deacon of the Church of Edessa composed many works in Syriac, and became famous in such wise that his writings are publicly read in some churches after the Sacred Scriptures. A lasting debt is owed him by all Christians because of his accomplishments in hymnody, for the metrical songs composed by him for his own liturgy proved so popular that the custom of such hymn-singing spread from Edessa through all the liturgies of the East, and finally found a permanent place in the Western Liturgy also. ★ So completely was he a poet that nearly everything he wrote except his exegetical works, took poetic form, that is to say, his sermons and exhortations as well as his hymns ; for which reason the Syrians call him The-sweet-stringed-instrument-of-the-Holy-Spirit. At the age of eighteen he was baptized by Saint Jacob the Bishop of Nisibus, and sometime thereafter was appointed master over the flourishing school which the Christians maintained in that city ; where he remained during the time of the three succeeding bishops, until the Persians over-ran and took that country, whereafter Ephraem finally established himself in a cave on a mountain overlooking Edessa. Here he lived a most ascetic life, his small body shrivelled and dried up from much fasting and the heat of the sun, but his beardless face ever glowing with a strange inner fire. Since he was always known as the Deacon Ephraem it is believed that his humility made him refuse the priesthood. In the night-season he wrote his books, if so be he might, with all diligence, spread far and wide the mysteries of our Lord Jesus Christ, and destroy the many errors which at that time were creeping in and tearing asunder the Church of God. * But often he came down from his mountain to preach in the city, and so eloquent was he in speaking of the things of God that the sobs of the congregation sometimes made it well nigh impossible for him to continue. He had a great devotion to the sacred humanity of our Lord, and to the Blessed Virgin as his spotless Mother. Of the Upper Room he once wrote : O blessed spot! that which was contained in thee, though bounded in so strait a compass, filleth the universe! blessed dwelling-place wherein with holy hand the bread was broken, and the grape which grew on Mary's vine was crushed in the chalice of salvation! About the year 370 he undertook a journey to Caesarea in Cappadocia, to visit Saint Basil, and so fruitful was this conference between these two holy Doctors that Basil's brother Saint Gregory of Nyssa, as well as Ephraem himself, wrote accounts thereof. On his return to Edessa there was a famine in the land, and he undertook to organize all the agencies available for the relief of the poor, for whom he had a most tender compassion. Thereafter, worn out by his long labours for God and men, he went to heaven full of years, sometime around the third quarter of the fourth century, on the eighteenth of June. [Life, St. Ephraim, June 18/July 1]
JULY 2015

DAYNCOCF/AOBSERVANCE
WED118F/A*St. Ephraim of Syria, DCD, III
THU219St. John Maximovitch, BC, II / Sts. Gervase & Protase, MM, IV
FRI320F/A
SAT421[Repose of Abbot Augustine Whitfield]
SUN522PENTECOST V; St. Alban, M, III
MON623F/A*Vigil; St. Etheldreda, AB, IV
TUE724Nativity of St. John the Baptist, I
WED825F/A
THU926St. John and Paul, MM, IV
FRI1027F/A
SAT1128A*Vigil, St. Irenaeus, BM, IV
SUN1229St Peter and Paul, AP, II ; PENTECOST VI
MON1330ALL HOLY APOSTLES, II
TUE141
WED152Visitation of BVM, I
THU163
FRI174F/AHoly Royal Russian Martyrs, III
SAT185
SUN196PENTECOST VII
MON207St. Cyril and Methodius, BC, III
TUE218
WED229F/A
THU2310St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves, AB, IV
FRI2411Solemnity of our Holy Father Benedict, I
SAT2512
SUN2613PENTECOST VIII
MON2714
TUE2815St. Vladimir, Enlightener of Russia, III
WED2916F/A
THU3017St. Andrei Rublev, Mk, IV
FRI3118


RANKS of Feasts:
I.Solemnity
II.Greater Feast
III.Lesser Feast
IV.Commemoration

Ranks I & II always have first and second Vespers; take precedence over Sundays ranked II; suspend fasting & abstinence from First Vespers through Second Vespers.

Rank III has First Vespers only and uses the psalms of the occurring feria, with proper antiphons (or antiphons from the Common).

Rank IV are commemorated only at First Vespers and Lauds, though the Mass may be of the commemorated saint(s).

See Customary for ranking of Sundays.

Abbreviations:
Ab = Abbot, AbbessK = King
AP = ApostleM = Martyr
APS = ApostlesMk = Monastic
B = BishopMM = Martyrs
C = ConfessorP = Priest, Prophet
Dc = DeaconV = Virgin
D = DoctorVV = Virgins
EV = EvangelistW = Widow


Daily Posting: June 19/July 2

We honor today Saint John the Wonder Worker, patron of the Western Rite in Orthodoxy. It was to our previous abbot., Dom Augustine, that Saint John once spoke these memorable and encouraging words:

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be Eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of Her heresies."

We are privileged to have here at Christminster Saint John's monastic skoufia and we pray to him for his continuing intercession.

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GERVASIUS and Protasius are believed on good evidence to have been martyred in the second century. And their cultus arose on this wise. When Saint Ambrose was ready to consecrate the great basilica at Milan (which is now known by his name), he desired the relicks of Martyrs to enshrine therein, and caused a search to be made in the burial vaults of Saints Nabor and Felix ; where were found the skeletons of two tall men who had been beheaded; which same were identified as the relicks of Saints Gervasius and Protasius, of whom little was remembered except their names and a tradition of their martyrdom. In later times their story was told as followeth. They were said to have been the twin sons of Vitalis and Valeria, both of whom had testified even unto death for the Lord Christ's sake, the father at Ravenna, and the mother at Milan. After the victory of their parents, Gervasius and Protasius gave all their inheritance to the poor, and set free their slaves. This act of theirs stirred up the hatred of the heathen priests. And when the Count Astasius was about to set forth to war, the heathen priests told him that their gods had revealed how that he had no chance of conquering in the war, unless he had first made Gervasius and Protasius to deny Christ, and to offer sacrifice to the gods. The holy brothers, being commanded so to do, flatly refused; and Astasius then ordered Gervasius to be lashed until he died between the stripes, and Protasius to be cudgelled and beheaded. This took place on a certain June 19th, at Milan, and a servant of Christ named Philip took away their dead bodies by stealth, and buried them in his own house. And as said above, in after times Saint Ambrose found their relicks, and bestowed them in an honourable place in his basilica, where they are venerated as the Patrons of Milan. [Life, Sts. Gervasius and Protasius, June 19/July 2]
Daily Posting: June 20/July 3

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

The Gospel of John: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

The Gospel of Matthew: "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself."

St. Maximos the Confessor: "Do not disdain the commandment to love, because by it you will be a son of God."

Daily Posting: June 21/July 4

I know that Immovable comes down;
I know that the Invisible appears to me;
I know that he that who is far outside the whole creation
Takes me within himself and hides me in his arms,
And then I find myself outside the whole world.
I, a frail, small mortal in the world,
Behold the Creator of the world, all of him, within myself;
And I know that I shall not die, for I am within the Life,
I have the whole of Life springing up as a fountain within me.
He is in my heart, he is in heaven:
Both there and here he shows himself to me with equal glory.

St. Symeon the New Theologian (Hymn 13)

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What child can possibly understand everything his father decides or says or does? How can we human beings comprehend the actions of the great, omnipotent, everlasting God, who is both our Maker and our Father?

O man, who are you to reply against God? (Rom 9:20)

Daily Posting: June 22/July 5

From the Ecclesiastical History by St. Venerable Bede the Priest

ALBAN was still a heathen when the decrees of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian set the storm raging against the Christians, at which time he gave a certain clergyman refuge in his house. As he saw this person intent on prayer and vigils by day and night, suddenly the grace of God moved him to seek to copy that ensample of faith and godliness. Thereupon he was gradually taught by the precious exhortations of his guest and cast away the darkness of idolatry, and became a Christian with his whole heart.

UPON a time the persecutors came to the house to search for this clergyman, and Alban, to save his guest and teacher, wrapped himself in the other's great cloak, and allowed the soldiers to take him ; who bound him with thongs and led him unto the judge. When the judge found out the trick that had been played upon him, he commanded God's holy Confessor to be smitten by the tormentors, and when he found that he could not overcome him by the torture, nor beguile him from the practice of the Christian Faith, he ordered him to be beheaded.

WHEN Alban came to the top of W the hill which was hard by, the executioner, who was to behead him, was seized with terror from God, cast away his sword, and threw himself at the feet of the Saint, himself desiring rather to die with the Martyr or for the Martyr. Alban therefore was beheaded there, and received that crown of life which God hath promised unto them that love him ; and along with him was beheaded that soldier who refused to strike God's witness, and of whom we know that, although he was not washed in the water of Baptism, he was purified in the laver of his own blood, and was made worthy to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Alban suffered hard by Verulam on the twenty-second day of June. [And the date of the death of this brave man, Britain's Protomartyr, is set at 304.]

Daily Posting: June 23/July 6

Queen of Northumbria; born (probably) about 630; died at Ely, 23 June, 679. While still very young she was given in marriage by her father, Anna, King of East Anglia, to a certain Tonbert, a subordinate prince, from whom she received as morning gift a tract of land locally known as the Isle of Ely. She never lived in wedlock with Tonbert, however, and for five years after his early death was left to foster her vocation to religion. Her father then arranged for her a marriage of political convenience with Egfrid, son and heir to Oswy, King of Northumbria. From this second bridegroom, who is said to have been only fourteen years of age, she received certain lands at Hexham; through St. Wilfrid of York she gave these lands to found the minster of St. Andrew. St. Wilfrid was her friend and spiritual guide, but it was to him that Egfrid, on succeeding his father, appealed for the enforcement of his marital rights as against Etheldreda's religious vocation. The bishop succeeded at first in persuading Egfrid to consent that Etheldreda should live for some time in peace as a sister of the Coldingham nunnery, founded by her aunt, St. Ebba, in what is now Berwickshire. But at last the imminent danger of being forcibly carried off by the king drove her to wander southwards, with only two women in attendance. They made their way to Etheldreda's own estate of Ely, not, tradition said, without the interposition of miracles, and, on a spot hemmed in by morasses and the waters of the Ouse, the foundation of Ely Minster was begun. This region was Etheldreda's native home, and her royal East Anglian relatives gave her the material means necessary for the execution of her holy design. St. Wilfrid had not yet returned from Rome, where he had obtained extraordinary privileges for her foundation from Benedict II, when she died of a plague which she herself, it is said, had circumstantially foretold. Her body was, throughout many succeeding centuries, an object of devout veneration in the famous church which grew up on her foundation. (See ANCIENT DIOCESE OF ELY.) One hand of the saint is now venerated in the church of St. Etheldreda, Ely Place, London.

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GRANT, we beseech thee, O Lord, that we thy family may ever walk in the way of salvation : that following the teachings of thy holy forerunner, Saint John ; we may attain in safety unto him whom he foretold, even Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vigil of St. John the Baptist, June 23/July 6]

Daily Posting: June 24/July 7

An Homily by St. Ambrose the Bishop
Liber 1 in Lucam

THE divine Scriptures teach us that we are behoven to praise the holy living of those who are worthy of public honour, and of their forebears as well, so that this their transmitted heritage of spiritual resplendence may be made manifest. What other meaning can the holy Evangelist have had in this place but to glorify Saint John Baptist, as well for having been the offspring of such parents, as for his miracles, his life, his gifts, and his sufferings? So likewise is praise ascribed to Hannah, the mother of Samuel ; so also did Isaac draw from his parents that noble godliness which he in his turn bequeathed to his children. Thus it is told not only that Zacharias was a priest, but a priest of the course of Abia, that is to say, of a family noble among the noblest.

AND his wife was of the daughters of Aaron. Thus we see that the noble blood of holy John was inherited not only from parents, but from an ancient ancestry, not illustrious indeed by worldly power, but worshipful for the tradition of a sacred succession. Such were the forefathers whom it well became the Forerunner of the Christ to have, that it might manifestly fall to his lot, not as a sudden gift, but as an heirloom, to preach belief in the coming of the Lord.

AND they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless. What do they make of this text who, to get them some consolation for their own sins, hold that man cannot exist without oftentimes sinning? To this end they are wont to quote what is written in Job to the effect that no one is clean, even though his life on the earth be but one day? To such we must reply by asking them first to tell us what they mean by a man without sin—-whether it be one who hath never sinned, or one who hath ceased to sin. If they mean by a man without sin one who hath never sinned, I myself agree in their position, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. But if they mean to deny that he who hath reformed his old crooked way, and changed his life for a new one, on purpose to avoid sin, cannot avoid sin, I am not able to subscribe to their opinion while I read that Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify it, and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but that it would be holy and without blemish.

[Nativity of St. John the Baptist, June 24/July 7]

Daily Posting: June 25/July 8

Jesus warns us not to resist violence with more violence. Evil and the evil person can be overcome only by good. This keeps us free from anger - from being poisoned by the evil directed against us and its destructive forces - and instructs others through Christian forbearance.

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Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

St. Silouan: "Our brother is our life."

St. Silouan: "The greater the love, the greater the sufferings of the soul."

Elder Sophrony: "Where there is great love, the heart necessarily suffers and feels pity for every creature."

Daily Posting: June 26/July 9

A person who is mercilessness "passes by" the needs of his neighbor and does nothing. Let us pray for a merciful heart that could feel the needs of the others and to be willing to make a sacrifice for the needy.

Be merciful, just as Your Father also is merciful. [Luke 6:36]

"Woe to you hypocrites!" This cry resounds seven times in Jesus' address to the scribes and Pharisees. The same may be true with us Christians today. It often happens that others think we are believers, but really our hearts are full of sins such as bitterness, judging, pride, lying, hate, etc..

Daily Posting: June 27/July 10

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

St. Maximos the Confessor: "Be as eager as you can to love every man ... The friends of Christ love everyone sincerely."

Elder Sophrony: "We see in others that which our own spiritual experience has shown us about ourselves ... Whoever has experienced how deep and intense the suffering of the human spirit can be ...has no doubt that every human being is a permanent eternal value ... He is conscious of man's worth, conscious that 'the least of these my brethren' is dear in God's sight."

St. Silouan: "Love cannot suffer a single soul to perish."

Daily Posting: June 28/July 11

A Homily by St. Irenaeus the Bishop
Lib. 3 adversus Haereses cap. 18

The Lord knew them that would suffer persecution. He knew both them that would be scourged, and them that would be slain, for his sake. Therefore he spake words of exhortation to them also : Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul ; but rather fear him that is able to destroy both soul and body in hell, and to save them that fear him. Yea, verily, he hath promised to confess before his Father them that confess his Name before men ; and to deny them that deny him ; and to be ashamed of them that be ashamed to confess him. Yet despite all this, there be some that, in their audacity, have gone so far as to scorn even the Martyrs, and to revile them that have been put to death for their confession of the Lord. Thus they scorn them that endure all that the Lord foretold, even them that, as far as they could, endeavoured to follow in the footsteps of his passion. But these audacious detractors we may well leave to the Martyrs themselves. For when the blood of the Martyrs shall be requited, and they shall obtain their glory, then all them that dishonoured their martyrdom will be put to confusion by Christ himself. Thus also is met the objection of them that maintain that Christ but seemed to suffer and did not. For if Christ suffered not, no thanks is due him for his pretended suffering. And further, if he did not himself truly endure pain on our behalf, his exhortation to us to accept buffetings, and to turn the other cheek to the smiter, will seem but false words of beguilement in the moment that we begin to suffer pain. And on the basis of such misbelief, even as he deceived them that saw him undergo what only seemed to be pain, so also he doth but mislead us when he exhorteth us to endure things which he endured not. And on this wise we would become better than the Master, if we were to suffer things which the Master neither suffered nor endured. On the contrary, however, it is our Lord alone who is truly the Master. He also is truly the Son of God, kind and good, the very Word of the Father who was made Son of Man. Because he truly strove, he verily conquered. For he was as a man contending on behalf of his father, and paying the debt of disobedience by his obedience. Yea, he hath bound the strong man, and unbindeth the weak, and hath given salvation to his creature by destroying sins. Therefore, all they that say he was not truly born in the flesh, so that he was not in fact made man, but was manifested only in appearance, are still under the old condemnation of ignorance and unbelief.

Daily Posting: June 29/July 12

The Apostles' Feast
Martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul

The Church celebrates the the martyrdom of the apostles not just to honor them but to walk after their example in steadfast faith, burning love, righteous fight and faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.

O LORD, who by thy right hand didst save thy blessed Apostle Saint Peter, that he sank not when he walked upon the waves, and didst thrice in shipwreck deliver Saint Paul his fellow from the depths of the sea : mercifully hear our prayers; and grant that by the intercessions of these thy Saints, we may be brought unto the glory of everlasting life : Who with God the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Sts. Peter and Paul June 29/July 12]

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The Lord Jesus gave His disciples power and authority before sending them out on their first mission. He gave them power and authority to perform exorcism and healings as well as to preach the kingdom of God. He gave them power to perform miracles, while he performed miracles by His own power.

Whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.

Daily Posting: June 30/July 13

A NOTE ON THE FEAST:

We owe today's feast of All Holy Apostles to the Orthodox Church of France, under its hierarch, Saint John Maximovitch. The Roman calendar celebrated Saint Peter on 29 June, with a commemoration of Saint Paul on 30 June. This arrangement and the texts of the feast tended to emphasise the Roman claim of special petrine authority. By combining Saints Peter and Paul, both apostles martyred in Rome, and following with a feast of all the Apostles, the shared collegial authority of all of them is celebrated.

O ALMIGHTY GOD, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone : grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, All Holy Apostles, June 30/July 13]

Daily Posting: July 1/14

NOTICE FROM METROPOLITAN HILARION

The Reverend Priest-monk Andrew (Winters), formerly attached to Holy Rood Monastery in Florida, under the direction of the late Abbot David (Pierce), is canonically transferred to the monastic brotherhood at Christminster, located presently at 1910 Falls Street in Niagara Falls, New York 14303, under the spiritual direction of Abbot James (Deschene).

Priest-monk Andrew is currently on loan to the Orthodox Church in America and serves in one of its parishes.

May God grant Fr. Andrew many years in the monastic life!

+ Hilarion

Daily Posting: July 2/15

The Lesson from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

MARY arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop

It is to be perceived that the superior comes to the inferior, to bring aid to the inferior: Mary comes to Elisabeth, Christ to John. And it was the same later, for the Lord came to baptism, to sanctify the baptism of John. Also, Mary came in haste, and the benefits of the Divine Presence are made manifest. Notice the difference and the appropriateness of every word. Elisabeth was the first to hear the voice, but John was the first to realize the grace.

Elisabeth heard by natural means; John by reason of the mystery. She perceived the coming of Mary, he of the Lord. Mary and Elisabeth speak words of grace; Jesus and John work inwardly, and take up the mystery of godliness which their mothers had begun: by a double miracle the mothers prophesy through the spirit of their little ones. The babe leaped, the mother was filled. It was not the mother who was filled first, but the son; yet when the babe was filled with the Holy Ghost he filled his mother also.

And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? That is: How is it that such great good should come to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? I perceive the miracle, I acknowledge the mystery: The Mother of the Lord is pregnant with the Word, she is full of God. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. It is rightly shown that Mary both performed this kindness, and kept the mystic number.

For the cause of her remaining was not only that of friendship; it was also for the advantage of the prophet. For if at her first entrance so great an advantage was seen that at Mary's salutation the babe leaped in the womb, and the mother was filled with the Holy Ghost: what great benefit should we think was bestowed upon him by his being in the presence of Mary for so long a time? Therefore was the prophet anointed, and trained like a good athlete, in his mother's womb; for his strength was being prepared for a very great contest.

[Lessons from Matins, Third Nocturn, Visitation of Blessed Virgin Mother, July 2/15]

Daily Posting: July 3/16

The parable of the shepherd and his flock is usually the Gospel reading on the days the church honors her true bishops.

And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

The primary purpose of Jesus' ministry was to preach the kingdom of God. For this reason the psalmist calls all people to clap their hands and shout with the voice of triumph for the greatness of Christ our King. We as believers today walk in Christ's spiritual victory.

Oh clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph. [Ps 47:1]

The Lord Jesus commands His apostles to go and do their work among wolves. They are to be set as a ready prey tor the wolves' attack. But they will be peaceful for they have the Lord as their Shepherd.

Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.

Daily Posting: July 4/17

O God of unspeakable mercy, who didst enable thy holy Royal Martyrs to lay aside an earthly for an heavenly crown, and to overcome death by dying for thy Name: deliver us, we beseech thee, by their intercession, from all bondage to sin and death, that with them we may come to thy perfect freedom in the heavenly fatherland. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest for ever. Amen. [Collect, Holy Royal Russian Martyrs, July 4/17]

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THOU who didst visit on the hill, deign in these plains to visit still our Mother Church below; Of Christian souls thou medicine, may that be ours by grace divine which man cannot bestow. Of earthly women, thou most blest, Star of the Sea, Light manifest, comfort thy mournful servants' breast, on all thy brightness send. Grant us that blessedness to know which from thy Holy Child doth flow, that so He may on us bestow a glory without end. [From the Sarum Missal]

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I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day;
had so much to accomplish
That I did not have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task,
"Why don't God help me? I wondered.
He answered, "You didn't ask."

Daily Posting: July 5/18

When we reflect on the measurelessness of His power and His unsleeping eye which looks upon the hidden things of the heart and which nothing can escape, we are filled with the deepest awe, marveling at Him and adoring Him. When we consider that He numbers the raindrops, the sand at the sea and the stars of heaven, we are amazed at the grandeur of His nature and His wisdom. When we think of ineffable and inexplicable wisdom, His love for mankind, and His limitless long-suffering at man's innumerable sins, we glorify Him. When we consider His great love for us, in that though we have nothing good, He, being God, deigned to become man in order to save us from delusion, we are roused to longing for Him. When we reflect that He Himself has vanquished in us our adversary the devil, and that He has given us eternal life if only we would choose and turn toward his goodness, then we venerate Him. [St. John Cassian]

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St. Shenoute was born in 348 A.D. in the village in the region of Akhmim. As a youth he worked as shepherd. He entered the White Monastery in about 371. He became a disciple to his maternal uncle. Abba Pijol. When Abba Pijol died about 385, St. Shenoute became the abbot. The Monastery grew significantly under his rule. In 431, he, with Pope Cyril, attended the Council of Ephesus that admonished Nestorius.

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The faith of our Orthodox Church maintains both Testaments of the Holy Bible. The Old Testament is introductory to the New Testament. The New Testament is complementing the Old Testament. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17).

Daily Posting: July 6/19

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

The Gospel of Matthew: "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'. But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also ... You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy'. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."

The Gospel of Luke: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you."

St. Silouan: "If you forgive your brother the affronts he puts upon you, and love your enemies, then you will receive forgiveness for your sins, and the Lord will give you to know the love of the Holy Spirit."

Daily Posting: July 7/20

THE brethren Cyril and Methodius were born to a senatorial family of Thessalonica, whose worldly honours they later renounced to become priests and monks. They studied at Constantinople, where Cyril remained as a priest, and became Librarian to the Church of Holy Wisdom, and also taught in the University ; and there, in the Capitol of the Eastern World, his reputation became so great, that he was called for excellency, The Philosopher. But the elder brother, Methodius, first became governour in one of the Eastern imperial provinces, and afterwards retired to a monastery. In 856 Cyril went on a mission to Bagdad, and later laboured among the Khazars who dwelt beyond the Crimea, where many were joined to Jesus Christ. In this latter mission Methodius assisted, and then returned to Constantinople, and became Abbot of the Polychron Monastery. But in 862, when Rastilav, Prince of Moravia, asked for Gospel labourers, Cyril and Methodius were sent to him, and applied themselves with such power and industry to the work of Christianizing souls, that it was not long before Moravia also joyfully submitted to Christ. To this end their learning was of great use, for it was necessary to reduce the Slavonic language to writing, so as to translate therein both the Scriptures and the liturgy. Wherefore Cyril invented an alphabet, (later worked over by his followers, and called Cyrillic,) in which the language of the Slavs is characteristically expressed, whereby he and Methodius, through their writings, became the fathers of Slavonic literature. * But the German bishops, (who were not of the Patriarchate of Constantinople but of Rome,) opposed Cyril and Methodius for their use of the liturgy in the vulgar tongue. For which reason the two brethren appealed to Rome, and went thither, bringing with them the reputed relicks of Saint Pope Clement I which Cyril had discovered at Cherson. Pope Adrian II thereupon gave judgement that the two brethren were to be consecrated bishops, so that they could ordain their own priests ; and furthermore that they were to continue the use of the vernacular in the liturgy. Cyril, old in grace rather than in years, shortly thereafter died at Rome, namely on February 14th, 869, and was finally enshrined in the Basilica of Saint Clement, hard by the relicks of that Martyr. Methodius, however, went back to Moravia, and confirmed the Pannonians, the Bulgarians, and the Dalmatians in the Christian religion, and also laboured much to bring the Corinthians to the worship of the one true God. * But Methodius was again accused, before Adrian's successor, John VIII, of unsoundness in the Faith, and hence was summoned to Rome, where he easily disproved the accusations. And when he shewed that, in the use of the Slavonic language for public worship, he had acted for good reasons, with the permission of Pope Adrian, and in nowise contrary to Holy Writ, John VIII gave him a written confirmation of his archepiscopal authority and his mission among the Slavs. Methodius therefore went back to Moravia, where he had much to suffer from those who had previously opposed him, which same continued to try to undo all that he had done. Worn out by his apostolic labours and this continuous persecution, he went to heaven on April 6th, 885. The festival of these Saints, which had long been observed among the Slavic nations, was inserted in the Western Kalendar in 1880. [Life, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, July 7/20]
Daily Posting: July 8/21

"Darkness" means ungodliness. To sit in darkness means to be overcome by spiritual ignorance. The "great light" is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.

You are my God. And I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. (Ps 118:28)

Everything you say in the back of your brother and cannot say in his presence is a slander. (Abba Marcus). Whoever tame his tongue, his evil thoughts will die same as if he is covering a pit full of serpents and scorpions thus it die.

"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch ^over the door of my lips". (Ps 141:3)

Daily Posting: July 9/22

God give me eyes that I may see
The treasures You have given me,
And give me ears that I may hear
The words of faith that keep you near.

Lord, give me strength when I am weak,
And may your goals be those I seek,
Grant me courage when I am alone
And when I face the great unknown.

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It is easy to be part of the crowd, but that is not true discipleship. He calls you away from the crowd to take up your cross and follow Him. He wants those who will die to self and for Him.

Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

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After the sorrow of the cross joy comes with the revelation of Christ. Jesus does not promise that sorrow will be removed. His promise is that no one can remove our joy.

I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

Daily Posting: July 10/23

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

St. John Chrysostom: "There is nothing more grievous than the remembrance of injuries."

St. Silouan: "The soul sorrows for her enemies and prays for them because they have strayed from the truth. That is love for our enemies." ... "The Lord is love, and He gave the Holy Spirit on earth, Who teaches the soul to love her enemies and pray for them, that they, too, may find salvation. That is true love."

St. Silouan: "The Lord taught me to love my enemies. Without the grace of God we cannot love our enemies. Only the Holy Spirit teaches love."

Daily Posting: July 11/24

O BENEDICT, invincible
Commander in the holy fight
Of warrior-saints, defend us now
With prayer's strong arm of holy might.

WITH those same conquering arms defeat
The lion's roar, our ghostly foe,
With which thou dravest once from thee
The fearful blackbird long ago.

WITH fresh wounds' force those wounds were cured,
With nettles' sting and thorny brier;
With mind divinely kindled thou
Didst quench the flame with added fire.

THE Cross like crushing stone destroyed
The fatal cup of poisoned wine;
The cup of death could not prevail
Against that strong, lifegiving sign.

A BROTHER'S mind from prayer reft
Was by a vagrant spirit led:
Stability returned to him
When from thy staff the demon fled.
ALL laud to God the Father be;
All praise, Eternal Son, to thee:
All glory, as is ever meet,
To God the Holy Paraclete. Amen.

[Matins hymn {Signifer invictissime}, Solemnity of Our Holy Father Benedict, Abbot, July 11/24]

Daily Posting: July 12/25

Use your tongue, which has been given to you by God, to speak kind, gentle, reconciliatory words, and one day you will hear merciful words from the lips of God. When you meet someone, let your greeting be a blessing, and God will bless you from heaven in return.

Christians shine as lights in the world. Living according to the gospel, they bear good works and show the goodness of the Father to every person.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

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Sure, it takes a lot of courage
To put things in God's hands,
To give ourselves completely,
Our lives, our hopes, our plans;

To follow where He leads us
And make His will our own,
But all it takes is foolishness
To go the way alone.

Daily Posting: July 13/26

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

Elder Sophrony: "The bearer of such love ... is the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit ... the brother and friend of Christ — he is a son of God and a god through grace."

The Gospel of Matthew: "But I say to you, love your enemies ... pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven ..."

St. Silouan: "If we love our enemies, peace will dwell in us day and night."

Daily Posting: July 14/27

Hypocrisy blinds people so that they cannot see the Lord, themselves, or other people. Because they major on the externals, they never saw the rottenness in their hearts.

... Justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

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What God needs from you?
He needs your hands to minister
To the sick and insecure,
Your life to be a sermon
How to love and to endure,
He needs your voice to tell men
The humble Gospel story
And to spread abroad the knowledge
Of His great love and glory.

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The Pharisees invited to their feasts only people who would return the favor. To share hospitality with the needy is to imitate God's love which welcomes the lowly into the banquet of His kingdom. Hospitality is ministry only if our motive is to help others and glorify God.

For whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Daily Posting: July 14/27

THIS Vladimir, before he was conquered and gentled by Christ, was a barbarous man and an heathen, who had numerous concubines and several wives, of whom he had begotten many children. Before his time Christianity had spread somewhat in his dominions, and his own grandmother, Olga, was not only a Christian, but is revered as a great Saint. Nevertheless, she had been unable to turn her son, the father of Vladimir, from his pagan ways, in which same Vladimir walked with boldness after his father's death. He persecuted Christianity, and thereby gave the Church in Russia its first Martyrs. He made war unto death against his brothers, and took from them their dominions, whereby all the Russians came under his sway. In his pride he then carried his warfare westward, unto the eastern borders of the Roman Empire, and demanded that the Princess Anne, sister to the Emperor, be given him to wife ; to whom the Emperor Basil made reply that true Christians do not wed with heathens. ★ By this time it had come to pass that the prayers and example of Saint Olga had begun to have an effect upon him. For Vladimir had caused emissaries to be sent out, that they might gather for him knowledge of Mohammedism, Judaism, and the worship of Christ as it was to be seen in both the Latin and Greek Churches. And when the offering of the holy liturgy in Constantinople was described to him as a foretaste of heaven, because of its awesomeness, he was much impressed. Wherefore he sent word to the Emperor Basil that he had somewhat looked into the truth of Christianity and was prepared to forsake his pagan ways, with his pagan wives and concubines, and to put on the yoke of Christ, he and his household. ★ After his Baptism, and his marriage to Anne with Christian rites, it was as though a miracle had been wrought in him. For he that hitherto had been so ferocious now became remarkable for mildness and for zeal concerning the conversion of his kingdom to the rule of the Lord Christ. To this end he brought Greek missionaries from Constantinople, and founded many churches, monasteries, and schools. Romanus and David, (otherwise known as Boris and Gleb,) who were the sons born to him and Anne, he trained so well in loyalty to Christ that those of the contrary part found occasion to take them and put them to death, and their feast is kept by the Ruthenians on July 24th with the rite of the holy Martyrs. In his last years the sons that he had begotten in his pagan days caused him much grief ; and during an expedition against one of them, who was in rebellion against the Christian State which Vladimir had endeavoured to set up, he was seized of a mortal sickness, and departed this life to reign for ever with Christ, namely, on July 15th, 1015. But during his lifetime he had so established the dominion of Christ over the Russians, that they all began to turn to salvation ; by which people he is venerated as the Apostle of Russia, since it was he that had made it possible for them as a nation to enter into the kingdom of God. [Life, St. Vladimir, Enlightener of Russia, July 15/28]

Daily Posting: July 16/29

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

St. Maximos the Confessor: "Many people have said much about love, but only in seeking it, among Christ's disciples will you find it, for only they have the true love, the teacher of love. Therefore, the one who possesses love possesses God himself, since 'God is love'."

Elder Zechariah of Essex, England: "Prayer is a matter of love. Man expresses love through prayer, and if we pray, it is an indication that we love God. If we do not pray, this indicates that we do not love God, for the measure of our prayer is the measure of our love for God."

St. John Climacus: "War reveals the love of a soldier for his king, and the time and practice of prayer show ... a monk's love for God. So your prayer shows where you stand."

Daily Posting: July 17/30

Today is the commemoration of St. Andrei Rublev. The following is excepted from the book “Thoughts on Iconography” by monk Gregory Krug and is posted on a page of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Russian Orthodox Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

Andrei Rublev’s Icon of the Holy Trinity.

The Church has many different depictions of the Holy Trinity. But the icon which defines the very essence of Trinity Day is invariably the one which shows the Trinity in the form of three angels. The prototype for this icon was the mysterious appearance of the Holy Trinity in the form of three travelers to Abraham and Sarah under the oak of Mamre. The Church specifically chose this particular icon because it most fully expresses the dogma of the Holy Trinity: the three angels are depicted in equal dignity, symbolizing the triunity and equality of all three Persons.

We find the deepest understanding of this dogma in the icon of the Trinity painted by the venerable Andrei Rublev for the Trinity Cathedral of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. This icon is a masterpiece of ancient Russian iconography, and it is not surprising that the Church established it as the model for depicting the Trinity.

In Andrei Rublev’s icon, the persons of the Holy Trinity are shown in the order in which they are confessed in the Credo. The first angel is the first person of the Trinity - God the Father; the second, middle angel is God the Son; the third angel is God the Holy Spirit. All three angels are blessing the chalice, in which lies a sacrificed calf, prepared for eating. The sacrifice of the calf signifies the Saviour’s death on the cross, while its preparation as food symbolizes the sacrament of the Eucharist. All three angels have staffs in their hand as a symbol of their divine power.

The first angel, shown at left, is vested in a blue undergarment which depicts his divine celestial nature, and a light purple outer garment which attests to the unfathomable nature and the royal dignity of this angel. Behind him and above his head towers a house, the abode of Abraham, and a sacrificial altar in front of the house. This image of the abode has a symbolic meaning: the house signifies God’s master plan for creation, while the fact that the house towers above the first angel shows him to be the head (or Father) of this creation. The same fatherly authority is seen in his entire appearance. His head is not bowed and he is looking at the other two angels. His whole demeanor - the expression on his face, the placement of his hands, the way he is sitting - all speaks of his fatherly dignity. The other two angels have their heads inclined and eyes turned toward the first angel with great attention, as though conversing with him about the salvation of mankind.

The second angel is placed in the middle of the icon. This placement is determined by the position held by the second Person within the Trinity Itself. Above his head extend the branches of an oak tree. The vestments of the second angel correspond to those in which the Saviour is usually depicted. The undergarment is a dark crimson color which symbolizes the incarnation, while the blue outer robe signifies the divinity and the celestial nature of this angel. The second angel is inclined towards the first angel, as though deep in conversation. The tree behind him serves as a reminder of the tree of life that was standing in Eden, and of the cross.

The angel on the right is the third Person of the Trinity - the Holy Spirit. His light blue undergarment and smoky-green outer garment represent heaven and earth, and signify the life-giving force of the Holy Spirit, which animates everything that exists. “By the Holy Spirit every soul lives and is elevated in purity” - sings the Church. This elevation in purity is represented in the icon by a mountain above the third angel.

Thus Andrei Rublev’s icon, while being an unsurpassed work of iconography, is first and foremost a “theology in color,” which instructs us in all that concerns the revelation of the triune God and the three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

Daily Posting: July 18/31

The Lord Jesus respected the Holy Tradition. As an example:
He submitted Himself to the tradition of circumcision (Lk2:21).
He entered the temple after forty days of His birth to be blessed according to the Jewish tradition (Lk 2:22).
He ate the Passover to fulfill the Old Testament before He establishes the mystery of the Last Supper.

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St. Theodorus' father was a Christian soldier from upper Egypt. His mother was a pagan woman from Antioch. Though Theodorus was raised by his pagan mother but his father kept praying for many years that the Lord Jesus would enlighten his child's heart to believe in Him. As a young man Theodorus was baptized and he also became a very courageous soldier. In the year 220 A.D. he was tortured, burned and martyred for his Christian faith.

AUGUST 2015

DAYNCOCF/AOBSERVANCE
SAT119St. Macrina, V, IV
SUN220PENTECOST IX; St. Margaret of Antioch, VM, IV
MON321
TUE422St. Mary Magdalene, Penitent, II
WED523F/ASt. Apollinaris, BM, IV
THU624F/A*Vigil
FRI725St. James the Greater, Apostle, II
SAT826Sts. Joachim and Anne, Parents of BVM, III
SUN927PENTECOST X
MON1028St. Pantaleimon, MK, IV; St Victor, BM, IV
TUE1129St. Martha of Bethany, V, III
WED1230F/A
THU1331
FRI 141F/AChains of St. Peter, III; Holy Maccabees, IV
SAT152St. Stephen, BM, IV
SUN163PENTECOST XI; St. Nicodemus, M, IV
MON174
TUE185St. Oswald, KM, IV
WED196TRANSFIGURATION, I
THU207Holy Name of Jesus, II
FRI218F/A
SAT229F/A*Vigil
SUN2310PENTECOST XII; St. Lawrence, M, II
MON2411
TUE2512
WED2613F/A
THU2714F/A*Vigil
FRI2815ASSUMPTION, I; St. Tarcisius, M, IV [Blessing of herbs]
SAT2916
SUN3017PENTECOST XIII
MON 3118St. Helena, Empress, III; St. Fiacre, M, IV


RANKS of Feasts:
I.Solemnity
II.Greater Feast
III.Lesser Feast
IV.Commemoration

Ranks I & II always have first and second Vespers; take precedence over Sundays ranked II; suspend fasting & abstinence from First Vespers through Second Vespers.

Rank III has First Vespers only and uses the psalms of the occurring feria, with proper antiphons (or antiphons from the Common).

Rank IV are commemorated only at First Vespers and Lauds, though the Mass may be of the commemorated saint(s).

See Customary for ranking of Sundays.

Abbreviations:
Ab = Abbot, AbbessK = King
AP = ApostleM = Martyr
APS = ApostlesMk = Monastic
B = BishopMM = Martyrs
C = ConfessorP = Priest, Prophet
Dc = DeaconV = Virgin
D = DoctorVV = Virgins
EV = EvangelistW = Widow


Daily Posting: July 19/August 1

A wedding is a joyful event and Jesus can share and give joy at such event when he is invited. At the wedding of Cana the Lord Jesus fulfilled the guests' need for good wine and shared their joy. The joy He supplies go on forever. Be sure to invite Him.

God desires that we experience the peace and unity in a married relationship that we long for. The psalmist explains some of the things that you can do to maintain peace in your marriage. He says: "Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Ps 34:12-14).

To maintain peace in your marriage St Paul advice us saying: "Let us pursue the thing which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another"(Rom 14:19). It is futile to try to achieve peace with your mate apart from God. St. John tells us that peace comes from God (Jn 14:27). Strengthen your relationship with the God of peace.

To have a happy married life you need to openly share your thoughts and feelings with each other. This communication involves complete emotional and personal truthfulness. To reach that level of communication you need to begin with being open with God. King David when trying to rectify relationships was first transparent with God. He wrote: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, ..." (Ps 139:23-24)

Daily Posting: July 20/August 2

Today is the commemoration of St. Margaret of Antioch. Here is a brief history of her life.

Daily Posting: July 21/August 3

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

St. Mark the Ascetic: "There is nothing higher than love for God;" "Undistracted prayer is a sign of love for God; but careless or distracted prayer is a sign of love for pleasure."

St. John Climacus: "Prayer is by nature a dialogue and a union of man with God."

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos: "Prayer is not an abstract state but personal communion with God."

Daily Posting: July 22/August 4

Sermon by St. Gregory the Great

MARY MAGDALENE, a woman of the city, which was a sinner, washed out the stains of her sins with her tears, by her love of the Truth; and the Word of Truth is fulfilled which says, Her sins are forgiven, for she loved much. She who had previously been cold through sin was afterwards aflame with love. She would not leave the Lord's sepulchre even when the disciples had left. She was seeking him and could not find him. As she sought, she wept, and enkindled with the fire of his love, she was aflame with longing for him whom she believed had been taken away. Whence it happened that she alone saw him, as she alone had stayed behind to seek him: for the power of good works lies in perseverance.

THE first time that she sought him she could in no wise find him: she persevered in seeking, and so it came about that she found him. And this happened, because longing increases when unsatisfied, and thus increased, can retain what it finds. For it is of him that the Church, the Bride in the Song of Solomon, says: By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth. We seek the Beloved on our bed, when, in the brief rest of this present life we pine with love for our Redeemer. We seek by night, because, although our mind is now watching for him, yet is our eye still in darkness.

BUT it remains for her who finds not her Beloved to rise and go about the city; that is, by thought and questioning to go through the Church of the elect: let her seek in the streets and in the broad ways; that is, let her look upon the passers by in the narrow and in the wide paths, to see whether there is any among them whose footprints she may follow: for there are some even in this present life whose virtuous deeds we may strive to follow.

BUT the watchmen that go about the city find us as we search: for the holy fathers who guard the bulwarks of the Church hasten to meet our good endeavours, that they may teach, us either by word or writing. When we have passed from them but a little, we find him whom our soul loveth: for although by his humility our Redeemer became a man among men, yet by his Divinity was he above men.

Daily Posting: July 23/August 5

O GOD, who rewardest the souls of the faithful, who hast likewise made this day holy with the martyrdom of thy blessed Priest Apollinaris : grant, we pray thee ; that we thy servants, who here observe his solemn festival, may by his intercession obtain the pardon of thy mercy. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Apollinaris, July 23/August 5]

APOLLINARIS was the first to be Bishop of Ravenna, and Saint Peter Chrysologus, the most illustrious of his successors, in a sermon which hath come down to us, referred to him as a Martyr, but added that although he frequently shed his blood for Christ, his persecutors did not take away his life. However, he was venerated in the early days as one of the greatest of Martyrs, and it is therefore to be presumed that he suffered much and often for Christ. ★ The Book of his Acts, which is not considered entirely historical, saith that he came to Rome along with blessed Peter, and that the Apostle himself consecrated him as bishop, and sent him to Ravenna to preach the Gospel, where he converted many to the Christian Faith. For which the idolatrous priests caught him and gave him a sharp flogging. Whereafter a second riot was got up against him because he healed Boniface, a nobleman who had long been dumb, and delivered his daughter from an unclean spirit. On this occasion Apollinaris was flogged again, and made to walk barefoot over hot embers, and then expelled from the city. Whereupon he hid for a while with certain Christians, and afterwards went to Emilia, where he brought many to Christ. For which the ruler of that city also had him driven from place to place and country to country, until he was thus driven back to Ravenna, where he was denounced by the same idolatrous priests as before. * After which things Apollinaris fled away again, but was followed after, and caught and beaten, and left for dead by the roadside, where some Christians found him, and took him and cared for him, so that he lived seven days, exhorting them to stand firm in the Faith. And so he departed this life with the glorious splendour of martyrdom, and his body was buried hard by the wall of the city. [Life, St. Apollinaris, July 23/August 5]

Daily Posting: July 24/August 6

Almighty God, we beseech thee, that Blessed James the Apostle, may implore for us thine aid: that we may be absolved from our offenses and set free from all dangers. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vigil, St. James the Apostle, July 24/August 6]

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"I am not worthy" was the centurion's confession of humility, and his confession of faith was, "say the word!” It is great faith when we trust Christ to work to work just by speaking the Word. We can never deserve His blessings, but we can ask for them in faith.

To You, O my strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, the God of my mercy. [Ps 59:17]

Be Sober, Be Vigilant

A person may start a spiritual practice for one day, as not committing any error of the tongue, but he cannot continue in his practice. It is good to have a good start but what is important is to continue. Remember to be sober and vigilant as St. Peter says: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (I Pet 5:8)

You have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.

Daily Posting: July 25/August 7

JAMES the son of Zebedee, brother of John the Apostle, a Galilean, was one of the first Apostles to be called, and together with his brother he left his father and his nets, and followed the Lord; the two brothers were called Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder, by Jesus himself. He was one of the three Apostles whom the Saviour loved most, whom he wished to be witnesses of his Transfiguration, to be present at the raising to life of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, and to be there when he withdrew to the mount of Olives to pray to the Father before he was taken by the Jews.

AFTER the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, James preached his Divinity in Judaea and Samaria, and led many to the Christian faith. Soon after that he set out for Spain, where he converted many to Christ; among these were the seven who were later made bishops by blessed Peter and were the first to be sent into Spain.

THEN James returned Jerusalem, and imbued Hermogenes the Magician, among others, with the true faith. Herod Agrippa, who had been raised to the kingship by the emperor Claudius, wishing to ingratiate himself with the Jews, condemned James to death for boldly confessing Jesus Christ to be God. When the man who had brought him to the tribunal saw the courage with which he faced martyrdom, he immediately declared that he also was a Christian.

As they were being hurried to the place of execution this man begged James to pardon him. James kissed him, and said: Peace be unto thee. They were both beheaded, James having healed a paralytic a little while beforehand. His body was later brought to Compostella, where it is honoured with great veneration, pilgrims flocking to it from all the corners of the earth to pay their devotion. The memorial of his birthday is celebrated to-day, which is the day of his translation, since it was at Easter time that he was the first of the Apostles to shed his blood at Jerusalem as a witness of Jesus Christ. [Life, St. James, Apostle, July 25/August 7]

Daily Posting: July 26/August 8

Sermon by St. John Damascene

JOACHIM and Anne were the parents of the most blessed Virgin. Since Joachim was led as a sheep by the Lord God, he lacked nothing that was excellent. But let no man think that I speak of things which are pleasing to most men and for which the hearts of the covetous are wont to thirst: which things are neither of their own nature lasting, nor do they make their owner a more righteous man, in whatever abundance they may come to him. Of such sort the pleasures of this world are found to be, which cannot possess a sure and constant power, but suddenly fall away and dissolve in the very hour in which they are born.

May these things be far from us! By no means does it behove us to be moved by them, nor is such the duty of those that fear God. Assuredly those things are good which are sought out and loved by men of sound judgment; they endure for ever, and both delight the Divine Majesty and will bring forth ripe fruit for those that possess them. Good things of this kind are clearly the virtues which will bring forth their fruit in due season, that is, eternal life in the age to come, to all those who foster them worthily and bestow labour upon them according to their strength. Labour, indeed, goes first. Eternal happiness will follow.

JOACHIM was wont to feed his inmost thoughts in the place of pasture, that is, he lingered in contemplation of the sacred sayings. He restored his soul beside the refreshing waters of divine grace, and turning his soul wholly from forbidden things by this rule of conduct, he directed it in the paths of righteousness. Moreover, his wife Anne was united with him no less in character than in the bond of wedlock.

JOACHIM married that most virtuous and praiseworthy woman, Anne. Just as in former times another Anne had, by prayer and promise, borne Samuel, although she had been suffering from the affliction of barrenness, similarly this Anne, by prayer and promise, received from God the Mother of God, so that in the matter of childbearing she was far from being inferior to the other virtuous wives. Therefore Grace, (for that is the meaning of the name, Anne) bore the Queen (for thus is the name, Mary, interpreted), and indeed she was made Queen of all things created since she was the Mother of their Creator. [Sts. Joachim and Anne, July 26/August 8]

Daily Posting: July 27/August 9

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

Elder Aimilianos of Simonos Petras Monastery on Mount Athos: "Prayer ... is a turning towards a person. And thus for prayer to exist, this person must also exist. And for me to say 'I pray' means that the active presence of that person is a reality for me. I must be able to realize a certain degree of intimacy with that person's presence and existence."

Elder Aimilianos: "Thus worship and Holy Communion are inseparably united. And what is it that they do for me? They make God present and alive for me. After that, what then remains to be done? For me to talk to Him, to address myself to Him Who comes to me. And so God, through worship, stretches out towards me, and I, through prayer, stretch out towards Him."

Evagrius writes: "If you wish to pray, you have need of God 'who gives prayer to him who prays'."

Daily Posting: July 28/August 10

The Lord Jesus has the desire and longing for us to follow Him because He loves us so much. He wants to take us with Him all the way to the throne. Our job is to follow Him. To follow Him is to choose the way of the Lamb. That means to learn obedience even through what we suffer.

We are all called to love as He loves, serve as He serves, and live as He lives. But each will do in his or her specific manner. Some will do it in clerical orders; others as lay people. Each must find his or her own way, and glorify God through it as these women who were following Jesus and serving Him (Luke 8:1-4).

God gives us a free will. He does not impose on us. However, everyone who truly acknowledges Him as the God of love and calls upon Him will experience His love eternally.

Daily Posting: July 29/August 11

GRACIOUSLY hear us, O God of our salvation : that, like as we do rejoice in the festival of blessed Martha thy holy Virgin ; so we may learn to follow her in all godly and devout affections. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Martha of Bethany, July 29/August 11]

MARTHA, (whose feast is kept on the Octave of Saint Mary Magdalene,) lived with her sister Mary and her brother Lazarus, in their home in Bethany. Which same was a place of such noble hospitality that they are believed to have been of gentle birth and ample means. But chiefly Martha is remembered as the loving hostess of our Lord; for whose sake, and for Mary's, he raised to life again his friend Lazarus, after he had been three days dead, and over whose grave, as the Evangelist saith : Jesus wept. For the Gospel payeth them this great tribute : Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. According to the ancient fathers, Mary is to be considered a type of the contemplative vocation, but Martha that of the active : that is to say, of a life devoted to God in good works for one's neighbour. * In the middle ages in France a strange story came into belief concerning these three Saints, as followeth. After the Ascension, they and their household were baptized by Maximin, who was one of the seventy-two disciples of the Lord Christ. They all, with many other Christians, were taken by the Jews, and turned adrift upon the open sea in a ship without sail or oars, to meet with certain wreck : but by the governance of God, the ship came to land at Marseilles with all safe. Through this miracle and the preaching of the Saints, the people round about came to believe in Christ, and Lazarus was made Bishop of Marseilles, and Maximin Bishop of Aix. ★ Mary continued, as it were, to sit at Jesus' feet, for she ever was altogether given to prayer and the contemplation of heavenly blessedness ; and in order that the good part which she had chosen might not be taken away from her, she withdrew herself to a cave in an exceeding high mountain, where she lived for thirty years, utterly cut off from all conversation with mankind, but having the holy Angels as her familiars. And Martha drew upon herself, by the wondrous holiness and charity of her life, the love of all the inhabitants of Marseilles, until she withdrew in company with some other honourable women, into an out-of-the-way place, to prepare for her going to him who loved her, and whence she passed away to be ever with him. [Life, St. Martha of Bethany, July 29/August 11]

Daily Posting: July 30/August 12

The Christian person is committed to work for the increase of the church or he would be considered as a destructive one for His kingdom. St. Cyprian said: "Whoever breaks the peace of Christ works against Him."

He who is not with Me is against Me ...

Christ commissions His servants to give a greeting of peace, the same peace He offered when He said, 'Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.'

If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy let your peace return to you.

The Lord Jesus did not limit His call to the twelve disciples. He appointed seventy others who obeyed Him and helped to reap the harvest. But the laborers are still few. The ministry is difficult and dangerous, but it is also very rewarding. Are you obedient to His call?

Daily Posting: July 31/August 13

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

St. John Climacus: "Always be brave, and God will teach you your prayer. ... You cannot discover from the teaching of others the beauty of prayer. Prayer has its own special teacher in God. ... He grants the prayer of him who prays."

Elder Porphyrios: "Prayer of the heart is prayed only by a person who has attracted the grace of God. I mustn't be done with the thought, 'I'll learn it, I'll do it, I'll acquire it', because in this way we may be led to egotism and pride."

St. John Climacus: "The attitude for prayer is the same for all, but there are many kinds of prayer and many different types of prayers. ... But heartfelt thanksgiving should have first place ... Next should be confession and genuine contrition of soul. After that should come our requests to the universal King. This method of prayer is best, as one of the brothers was told by an angel of the Lord."

Elder Porphyrios: "What did I tell you about the nightingale? It sings without anyone seeing. Be like that -- selfless. Give yourself over to the worship of God in secret."

Daily Posting: August 1/14

RIGHT wondrously set free, set Peter freedom gains,
And at the Lord's command casts off his iron chains;
As shepherd and as guide he shews to life the way,
And from his Master's sheep drive guileful wolves away.

Now to the Trinity eternal glory sing,
All honour, virtue, might, and hymns of gladness bring,
He rules the universe in wondrous Unity,
And shall, through all the days of vast eternity. Amen.

[Hymn, First and Second Vespers [Petrus beatus catenarum], St. Peter's Chains, August 1/14]
Who were the Maccabees? For it is under their name that the festival, at which you are this day assembled, is kept. It is true that many persons do not hold them in honour, because they fought before the coming of Christ. Nevertheless they deserve to be venerated by all men, for they bore themselves bravely and faithfully in defence of the laws and ordinances of their people. They that underwent martyrdom before the time of Christ, what would not have been their deeds, if they had suffered persecution after he came, and so had had before them, for a pattern, the death which he embraced for the sake of man's salvation? With no ensample to lead them, their bravery was what it was. If they had had the ensample before their eyes, would they not have gone down with double courage to the battle? Howbeit, there is a mystic and subtle idea, which seemeth very likely to me and to all lovers of God, namely, that none of those who were crowned with martyrdom before Christ came, could have been so, unless they had had something like unto what we call faith in Christ. [From a Sermon by St. Gregory of Nazianzus [Oratio 20 in Machabaeos]; the Holy Maccabees, August 1/14]
Daily Posting: August 2/15

Be merciful to the people of thy flock, O Lord, eternal Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of men : keep us in thy continual protection ; at the intercession of thy blessed Martyr, the Holy Father Stephen, whom thou didst raise up in thy Church to be thine under-shepherd. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [St. Stephen, August 2/15]

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God knows your secret longings,
He knows your silent tears,
And even within the shadows
His hands are on your fears.

Just trust Him for the answers
That a questioning heart cannot give,
For God holds your every tomorrow
Knowing your "each day" is His.

Daily Posting: August 3/16

O GOD, who didst shew great mercy unto thy servant Nicodemus in that first thou didst reveal unto him the mystery of baptismal regeneration (even though he came unto Jesus secretly by night for fear of the Jews), and thereafter didst give him grace to confess the same Jesus openly in the Sanhedrin and at the holy Sepulchre : give us such an increase of faith and grace that we may not fear to bear the reproach of Christ ; but rather may serve him in boldness with fervent zeal. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Nicodemus, August 3/16]

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Christ never leaves His disciples to remain in distress working hard to bring the ship of the church to the land of safety and peace. Christ silenced the disciples' fears and bring them with the ship of the church safely to the land.

It is I; do not be afraid.

Daily Posting: August 4/17

When the disciples rejoiced over their successful ministry, Jesus told them to rejoice because they were citizens of heaven. After all, their work might not always be successful. Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.

Sow a word of praise today,
Plant a kindness-seed;
Listen to a troubled friend,
Help someone in need.
Scatter deeds of love each day,
Plant each row with care;
Sprinkle joy along your way,
Soak each one in prayer.

We have to labor for the nourishment of the soul which endures for everlasting life. When we labor for it the Son of Man gives it to us as a free gift.

Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life,...

Daily Posting: August 5/18

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast hallowed this day to be a day of gladness and rejoicing by the Martyrdom of thy blessed Saint King Oswald : we pray thee, pour into our hearts such an increase of thy charity, that like as we do honour his glorious battle for thy Faith, so we may imitate him in constancy even unto death. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Oswald, August 5/18]

OSWALD was the son of Ethelfrid the Ravager, King of the Northumbrians. After his father had been slain in battle by Redwald, King of the East Angles, he was carried into exile in Scotland, where he was taught the Faith of Christ and baptized. When he returned to his own country he found Cadwalla, King of the Britons, pitifully wasting everything. This Cadwalla had already slain three kings of the English, and was seeking to destroy all of that nation. Oswald gathered together a small army and, placing his trust in God, bravely attacked the countless hosts of the enemy. Before he joined battle he set up the standard of the Cross of the Lord with his own hands, knelt down, and prayed God to help a righteous war for the saving of the fatherland. He exhorted all his soldiers to do likewise, and so they did ; and all promised that if God granted them the victory they would believe in him who had been crucified. Thereupon they obtained an easy victory, and crushed the tyrant with all his legions. And the place where this Sign of the Cross was set up was afterwards called in the English language Heaven's Field; and pieces of the wood of this cross which Oswald erected were believed to have been the occasion of many miracles in later times. * Oswald being thus placed in possession of his kingdom was fain that all that nations should receive the grace of Christian belief. Hence he sent forthwith into Scotland, praying them to send him a bishop, by whose teaching and ministry the English people might receive the Faith and Sacraments of Christ. Whereupon there was sent unto him blessed Aidan, unto whom the King granted at his own prayer the Island of Lindisfarne to be the See of his Bishoprick. After Aidan came many other Gospel-preachers, especially from the Island of Iona. By their preaching and the support given to them from the godliness and zeal of the King, Christ's own kingdom was wonderfully spread abroad in all the country between the Humber and the Forth ; churches were built in divers places, schools set up for the teaching of children, and monasteries founded by the King's bounty, so that the English might learn not only the greater studies but also the institutes of regular discipline. The King himself listened to the preaching of Aidan, and humbly and cheerfully granted all his wishes, and by his own illustrious example did much to set forward the cause of the Church throughout all his dominions. Now Aidan could not speak English well, and when he was preaching the Gospel there could often be seen the lovely spectacle of the King himself interpreting the heavenly Word to his own officers and servants. ★ Thus did this most devout King Oswald shew himself a loyal and ready subject of the eternal King of kings, and by this he was glorified as regards his temporal dominion more than all that had been before him, so that nearly all the provinces of all Britain came under his sway ; and nevertheless he was never tainted with pride, but was always lowly, kindly, and open-handed to Christ's poor and to strangers. When he had happily reigned for eight years he was encompassed in battle by heathen rebels ; and when he saw that he was bound to perish, he called for the divine mercy for himself and for the souls of them that were about to slay him ; namely, in the year of Christ 642, and of his own age the thirty-eighth, upon the 5th day of August, upon the which day mention is made of his memory in the Martyrology. How precious was his death in the sight of the Lord became afterwards manifest by countless miracles obtained through his intercession. [Life, St. Oswald, August 5/18]

Daily Posting: August 6/19
ALL ye who yearn the Christ to see,
Uplift your eyes exultingly,
Eternal glory's symbol there
To your astonished gaze lies bare.

EXCEEDING bright the mystery
To us revealed, that knows no end.
Celestial, everlasting, high,
And older far than heaven or hell.

WE there the Gentiles' King behold,
And King of his own Israel;
To Abraham once promised,
And all his seed, whilst ages ran.

TO him, foretold by prophets old,
Again by prophets witnessed here,
The Father's greater witness bids
Us listen and with faith adore.

TO thee, O Lord, be glory given,
Revealing thus thyself to-day,
With Father and with Spirit one,
For ever and for evermore. Amen.

(Hymn at Matins [Quicumque Christum], Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, August 6/19)
Daily Posting: August 7/20

O JESU, King of wondrous might,
O Victor, glorious from the fight,
Sweetness that may not be expressed,
And altogether loveliest:

WHEN once thou visitest the heart,
Then earthly vanities depart;
Eternal truth begins to shine,
The spirit glows with love divine.

JESU, thou sweetness pure and blest,
Life's Fountain, Light of souls distress'd,
Surpassing all the heart requires,
Exceeding all the soul desires:

JESU, let all acknowledge thee,
Entreat thy love more ardently:
In seeking thee with longing yearn,
And by their search with fervour burn.

OUR lips, good Jesu, bless thy Name;
O may our lives thyself proclaim:
And may we love thee and adore
With all our hearts for evermore. Amen.

(Matins Hymn [Jesu Rex admirabilis], Holy Name of Jesus, August 7/20)
Daily Posting: August 8/21

When Jesus Christ returns, it will be a time of separation: the wise will be separated from the foolish. The parable of the ten virgins illustrates the need for being spiritually prepared while the bridegroom -- Christ -- is delayed in His return.

If we have come to know God as the great, Omnipotent Maker and Ruler of the world as well as an ever-caring God of love, all these questions Satan prompts in us will dissolve into nothing: Why does God permit such things? Why doesn't He hear me when I pray so much? Why did that have to happen to me? ... etc.

A person who is merciless "passes by" the needs of his neighbor and does nothing. Let us pray for a merciful heart that could feel the needs of the others and to be willing to make a sacrifice for the needy.

Be merciful, just as Your Father also is merciful.

Daily Posting: August 9/22

Be favourable, O Lord, to our supplications: and by the intercessions of blessed Laurence thy Martyr, to whose feast we are drawing nigh, graciously bestow upon us thy mercy for evermore. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vigil of St. Laurence, Martyr, August 9/22]

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The Lord Jesus assures us that if we hear His word and keep it we will see Him glorified in our bodies.

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Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. [Ps 29:2]

Daily Posting: August 10/23

No Martyr of the Church hath a name more famous than Lawrence, in whose praise the most illustrious of the Latin Fathers have written, and in whose triumph the universal Church hath ever delighted to join. Spain hath claimed him as her son ; but nothing of his early life is known except that he was one of the seven Deacons of the Church in Rome during the popedom of Saint Sixtus II. These Levites bore an important office, namely, to care for the sacred vessels and church-property ; to succour, with the alms entrusted to them, all the Christian poor and needy, of whom there were very many ; and to assist the Pope in the administration of the Sacraments, and in offering the holy Sacrifice. In 257 the Emperor Valerian published an edict which decreed that all Christian leaders, the clergy in particular, should be put to death, so that the flock might be scattered through the destruction of its shepherds. In the following year, on August 6th, holy Sixtus was martyred, and four days thereafter the Archdeacon Lawrence followed his spiritual father in martyrdom. And the names of them both have had, for centuries, grateful mention in the Gregorian Canon. The poet Prudentius, Bishop Saint Ambrose, Pope Saint Damasus, and other early writers, who made use of the oral traditions of their days, wrote of the holy Archdeacon in such wise as to give the form to his liturgical Office which it still hath. According to Prudentius, the blessed Martyr in his death agony offered the sacrifice of himself to God in impetration for the triumph of Christianity in pagan Rome. And when this became an accomplished fact, it was regarded as a victory which Lawrence had won for Christ; and his day therefore was the chief Saint's Day after that of Saints Peter and Paul. Hence, in the Lateran palace, since early times, the Pontifical Chapel hath been named for holy Lawrence ; and there, every day after Mass the Thanksgiving, now to be found in the Missal, was recited with the Collect of Saint Lawrence as a memorial to him.
Daily Posting: August 11/24

(From: Istochnik (Herald of the Serbian Orthodox Church - Canada Diocese / Issue 90 - August 2014 / pages 29 - 30)

Love, Love, Love
Milica Yaksich

The media and technology are amazing, aren't they? In mere seconds, before you have time to think, a message is sent via text or twitter or email or some other device. On television we are preached to on a daily basis by celebrities on the evils of prejudice, hate and bullying. I find it ironic when one of these messages is followed by a show about celebrities that is a nonstop barrage of mockery, insult and condemnation. Even on the evening news one cannot escape the judgemental mob mentality (without the mob). Unfortunately, the gossip and judgement are delivered through the speed of technology by and against all sectors of society faster than anyone can assess the damage. Where is the innocent until proven guilty? Where is the compassion? Where is the fairness? The world truly needs more love.

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (1 John 4:8) Yes, if more in the world believed, truly believed in God, then the world would have more Love.

When asked "which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt. 22: 36 - 40)

God gave man free will, for love that is not given freely means nothing. In the same way, obedience that is not of one's own free will means nothing. Love that is pure and true radiates from the soul like light from the sun to shine on all. Those who love God with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their mind, would surely also have love for their neighbours as well as all of God's creation.

To be continued...

Daily Posting: August 12/25

(From: Istochnik (Herald of the Serbian Orthodox Church - Canada Diocese / Issue 90 - August 2014 / pages 29 - 30) continued

Love, Love, Love
Milica Yaksich

Throughout the New Testament our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles teach that to be a Christian one must love (not to be confused with lust). "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor. 13:13) True, pure love is what we see demonstrated by God, our Lord Jesus Christ and the saints wherein there is loyalty, sacrifice and humility. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (1 John 3:16-18) "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." ( 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Love must be the same for all, even those who do not seem to deserve our love and kindness. "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. 'Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked." (Luke 6:35)

Such love requires compassion, humility and obedience. All sin is disobedience though it is not only God that man must obey. There would be no order, no civilization and no peace without obedience. One has only to look at the violence and chaos in the world today to understand the consequences of not respecting authority and not loving your neighbour as yourself. Then again, so many do not even value their own lives; is it any wonder they have so little regard for others?

Even the Lord, when He came into this world as the incarnation of God, did not put Himself above the law. As a true example to us He demonstrated obedience. "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matt. 5:17) "Behold, I have come ... to do thy will, O God" (Hebrews 10:7). "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak" (John 12:49). Though we have free will, Jesus makes it clear when He gives us instruction on how to pray whose will (authority) we should honour. "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father, who art in heaven,... thy will be done" (Matthew 6:9-10). It is not enough to recognize the authority of Scripture as the word of God. God wants us to honour that authority by our obedience. In fact, Jesus makes obedience to the Father a condition of our relationship with Him: "For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother" (Matthew 12:50).

To be continued...

Daily Posting: August 13/26

(From: Istochnik (Herald of the Serbian Orthodox Church - Canada Diocese / Issue 90 - August 2014 / pages 29 - 30) continued

Love, Love, Love
Milica Yaksich

Our church is structured as a hierarchy with God at the top, but we are also directed to respect and honour our elders, our parents, our grandparents, and governing bodies (except when they are directing us against God's commandments). "Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5) "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6: 1-4)

Humility is necessary to faith, necessary to accepting and being open to even those things one does not want to hear or cannot understand because they are outside one's experience. When our Lord sat down with His Apostles, after they recognized Him as "the Christ, the Son of the Living God" and told them that when they went to Jerusalem He would "suffer. .., be killed and be raised on the third day"(Matt. 16:21), they could not accept it. They believed He was the Messiah, and they had witnessed miracles, but they still had worldly expectations. The Lord rebuked them and then "after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead." (Matt. 17: 1-9)

"On the mountain wast Thou transfigured, O Christ God, and Thy disciples beheld Thy glory as far as they could see it; so that when they would behold Thee crucified, they would understand that Thy suffering was voluntary, and would proclaim to the world that Thou art truly the Radiance of the Father" (Kontakion).

Love one another as God the Father loves you "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Daily Posting: August 14/27

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

Elder Porphyrios: "Whether you pray with brethren or alone, try to pray not simply as a routine, but with conscious awareness of your prayer."

Elder Porphyrios: "Pray without forming images in your mind. Don't try to imagine Christ. The Fathers emphasized the need for prayer to be free of images. With an image, the focus of prayer is easily lost, because one image can easily be displaced by another. And the evil one may intrude images and we lost the grace."

Elder Porphyrios: "Nor should you employ diverse techniques. You don't need to sit on a low stool, nor do you need to bow down your head, nor to close your eyes. Many say, 'Sit on a low stool, hunch yourself up, gather yourself up tightly and concentrate.' But on what? Try and see. It's not necessary to concentrate particularly to say the prayer. And you don't need any effort when you're filled with divine love."

Daily Posting: August 15/28

TO-DAY the holy and life-containing ark of the living God, who conceived the Creator in her womb, comes to rest in the temple of God that is not made with hands. David, her ancestor, dances with all his might, while Angel choirs make melody, Archangels honour her, Virtues glorify her, Principalities rejoice, Powers are in gladness, Dominations are joyful, Thrones keep feast-day, Cherubim praise her, and Seraphim shew forth her glory.

TO-DAY the Eden of the second Adam became a living paradise, wherein our condemnation is annulled, wherein the Tree of Life is planted, wherein our nakedness has been truly hidden. To-day the spotless Virgin, who was never stained by any earthly sin, but was nourished on thoughts of heaven, returns not to the earth; but, since her soul was heaven-filled, in heaven is she brought to rest.

FOR how can she, in whom was the true Life of all things, ever taste of death? Yet she obeyed the law ordained by him whom she bore, and as a daughter of the first Adam, submitted to the ancient sentence (for even her Son, who is Life Itself, did not refuse it); but as Mother of the living God she merited to be brought unto him. Eve, who consented to the serpent's suggestion, was condemned to travail in pain, and to the sentence of death, and was borne to the depths of hell.

BUT the Virgin is truly blessed. The Virgin who inclined her ear to the Word of God and was filled by the Holy Ghost; who at the message of the Archangel, without stain or spot of sin conceived the Son of God and brought forth without pain, and consecrated herself wholly to the service of God, how could corruption invade that body in which Life itself had been received? For her was prepared a straight, smooth and simple pathway to heaven. For, Where I am, there shall my servant be also, said Christ, the Truth and the Life; how much more should his Mother be there also?

[On the Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God – Sermon by St. John Damascene]

Daily Posting: August 16/29

Daniel Opperwell is a professor of Orthodox Studies at the University of Toronto, and a long-time friend of Christminster, visiting regularly with his wife and children. Saint Vladimir's Press has just published a fine book by him which we recommend to our readers. The following from the back cover describes the book well.

"Orthodox Christians today have no lack of resources on monastic spirituality. And yet startlingly little has been done to critically engage the monastic tradition and adapt its ancient wisdom for the Orthodox faithful living in today's complex society. A Layman in the Desert aims to bridge this crucial gap.

Working with the Conferences of St John Cassian, Opperwall constructs a kind of relationship handbook that shows us how the desert saints of old can help us build healthy, Christ-centered relationships with our spouses, children, friends, and coworkers."

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If slander has become to you the same as praise, poverty as riches, deprivation as abundance, you will not die. Indeed it is impossible for anyone who firmly believes, who labors with devotion, to fall into the impurity of the passions and be led astray by the demons (St Macarius)

Daily Posting: August 17/30

Message from Metropolitan Hilarion to Fr. Abbot James

>>>>>

Dear Father James,

I wish you heartfelt greetings and send you congratulations with the 25th anniversary of your ordination! We pray that God will keep you in good health and will strengthen you in the struggles of monastic life and pastoral service to Christ's holy Church for many years.

With love in Christ,
+ Metropolitan Hilarion

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Be calm my soul - even in the midst of life's troubled sea - have faith in God, and know He keeps you. Be firm and stand fast! He'll keep you now - He has in the past.

The very hairs of your head are numbered. Do not fear therefore ...

Abide in Him

Do not lose yourself in your every day work and activities. Rather, lose yourself in God. When you are doing your work, let your inner most heart be centered on Him. Live in His presence and abide in Him. Then your work will follow you into eternity and you will reap a rich harvest.

God's sustaining and redeeming work in the world does not cease on the Sabbath. Never withhold love from your neighbor. If you give him love, you give him everything - and God will power out His love upon you and richly reward you.

Daily Posting: August 18/31

Quotes from the Fathers given in an Orthodox Retreat given on Saturday, March 28, 2015 by Dr. Henry Boosalis at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

Elder Porphyrios: "First of all, you must shun all self-interest. Prayer must be entirely selfless. Everything must happen mystically and without self-interest. That is, don't think that if you concentrate with your mind then grace will come into your heart also and you will experience that leap of joy. Don't pray with that motive, but with simplicity and humility. Aspire always to the glory of God."

Elder Porphyrios: "In prayer what is important is not the duration but the intensity. Pray albeit for five minutes, but abandoning yourself to God with love and longing. One person may pray all night long and another person only for five minutes and yet the five-minute prayer may be superior. This is a mysterious matter ..."

Elder Porphyrios: "Before we pray the soul must prepare itself with prayer. Pray for prayer."