Four corners, four angels

gospels

Four corners of my bed

Four angels over head

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Bless this bed I lay upon

Four corners to my bed,

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The Holy Apostles (4) – St. Thomas.

The Virgin hands over her Precious Belt to the Apostle Thomas. An icon of the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos, in which the Holy Belt is kept.

The Virgin, after her assumption, hands over her Belt to the Apostle Thomas. An icon of the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos, in which the Holy Belt is kept.

Continued from (3)

St. Thomas.

Little is recorded of St. Thomas the Apostle, nevertheless thanks to the fourth Gospel his per-sonality is clearer to us than that of some others of the Twelve. His name occurs in all the lists of the Synoptists (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6, cf. Acts 1:13), but in St. John he plays a dis-tinctive part. First, when Jesus announced His intention of returning to Judea to visit Lazarus, “Thomas” who is called Didymus [the twin], said to his fellow disciples: “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16). Again it was St. Thomas who during the discourse before the Last Supper raised an objection: “Thomas saith to him: Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). But more especially St. Thomas is remembered for his incredulity when the other Apostles announced Christ’s Resurrection to him: “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25); but eight days later he made his act of faith, drawing down the rebuke of Jesus: “Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed” (John 20:29).

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The Holy Apostles (3) – St. Barnabas.

Apostolos Varnavas1Continued from (2)

St. Barnabas.

Barnabas (originally Joseph), styled an Apostle in Holy Scripture, and, like St. Paul, ranked by the Church with the Twelve, though not one of them; b. of Jewish parents in the Island of Cyprus about the beginning of the Christian Era. A Levite, he naturally spent much time in Jerusalem, probably even before the Crucifixion of Our Lord, and appears also to have settled there (where his relatives, the family of Mark the Evangelist, likewise had their homes, Acts 12:12) and to have owned land in its vicinity (4:36-37). A rather late tradition recorded by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. II, 20, P.G. VIII, col. 1060) and Eusebius (H. E. II, 1:P. G. XX, col. 117) says that he was one of the seventy Disciples; but Acts (4:36-37) favours the opinion that he was converted to Christianity shortly after Pentecost (about A.D. 29 or 30) and immediately sold his property and devoted the proceeds to the Church. The Apostles, probably because of his success as a preacher, for he is later placed first among the prophets and doctors of Antioch (13:1), surnamed him Barnabas, a name then interpreted as meaning “son of exhortation” or “consolation.” (The real etymology, however, is disputed. See Encyl. Bibli. I, col. 484.) Though nothing is recorded of Barnabas for some years, he evidently acquired during this period a high position in the Church.

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The Holy Apostles (2) – St. Andrew.

The Martyrdom of St Andrew

The Martyrdom of St Andrew. Painting of Bartolome Esteban Murillo 1675-82

Continued from (1)

St. Andrew.

The name “Andrew” (Gr. andreia, manhood, or valour), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the second or third century B.C. St. Andrew, the Apostle, son of Jonah, or John (Mat.16:17; John 1:42), was born in Bethsaida of Galilee (John 1:44). He was brother of Simon Peter (Mat.10:2; John 1:40). Both were fishermen (Mat.4:18; Mark 1:16), and at the beginning of Our Lord’s public life occupied the same house at Capharnaum (Mark 1:21, 29). From the fourth Gospel we learn that Andrew was a disciple of the Baptist, whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus (John 1:35-40).

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The Holy Apostles (1)

apostles

Apostles of Christ.

Under this title it may be sufficient to supply brief and essential information. The reader will find at the end of this article various titles of other articles which contain supplementary information on subjects connected with the Apostles.

The Name.

The word “Apostle,” from the Greek apostello “to send forth,” “to dispatch,” has etymologically a very general sense. Apostolos (Apostle) means one who is sent forth, dispatched — in other words, who is entrusted with a mission, rather, a foreign mission. It has, however, a stronger sense than the word messenger, and means as much as a delegate. In the classical writers the word is not frequent. In the Greek version of the Old Testament it occurs once, in III Kings, 14:6 (cf. ibid, 12:24). In the New Testament, on the contrary, it occurs, according to Bruder’s Concordance, about eighty times, and denotes often not all the disciples of the Lord, but some of them specially called. It is obvious that our Lord, who spoke an Aramaic dialect, gave to some of his disciples an Aramaic title, the Greek equivalent of which was “Apostle.”

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St. Joseph of Arimathea (with Orthodox hymn to the saint from St. Anthony’s Orthodox Monastery in Arizona) – July 31

A contemporary Orthodox icon depicting saints Eudokimos and Joseph of Arimathea (July 31).

A contemporary Orthodox icon depicting saints Eudokimos and Joseph of Arimathea (July 31).

All that is known for certain concerning him is derived from the canonical Gospels. He was born at Arimathea — hence his surname — «a city of Judea» (Luke 23:51), which is very likely identical with Ramatha, the birthplace of the Prophet Samuel, although several scholars prefer to identify it with the town of Ramleh. He was a wealthy Israelite (Matthew 27:57), «a good and a just man» (Luke 23:50), «who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God» (Mark 15:43). He is also called by St. Mark and by St. Luke a bouleutes, literally, «a senator», whereby is meant a member of the Sanhedrin or supreme council of the Jews. He was a disciple of Jesus, probably ever since Christ’s first preaching in Judea (John 2:23), but he did not declare himself as such «for fear of the Jews» (John 19:38). On account of this secret allegiance to Jesus, he did not consent to His condemnation by the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:51), and was most likely absent from the meeting which sentenced Jesus to death (cf. Mark 14:64).

St Joseph of ArimatheaThe Crucifixion of the Master quickened Joseph’s faith and love, and suggested to him that he should provide for Christ’s burial before the Sabbath began. Unmindful therefore of all personal danger, a danger which was indeed considerable under the circumstances, he boldly requested from Pilate the Body of Jesus, and was successful in his request (Mark 15:43-45). Once in possession of this sacred treasure, he — together with Nicodemus, whom his courage had likewise emboldened, and who brought abundant spices — wrapped up Christ’s Body in fine linen and grave bands, laid it in his own tomb, new and yet unused, and hewn out of a rock in a neighbouring garden, and withdrew after rolling a great stone to the opening of the sepulchre (Matthew 27:59, 60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53; John 19:38-42). Thus was fulfilled Isaiah’s prediction that the grave of the Messias would be with a rich man (Isaiah 53:9). The Greek Church elebrates the feast of Joseph of Arimathea on 31 July, and the Roman Church on 17 March. The additional details which are found concerning him in the apocryphal «Acta Pilati», are unworthy of credence. Likewise fabulous is the legend which tells of his coming to Gaul A.D. 63, and thence to Great Britain, where he is supposed to have founded the earliest Christian oratory at  Glastonbury. Finally, the story of the translation of the body of Joseph of Arimathea from Jerusalem to Moyenmonstre (Diocese of Toul) originated late and is unreliable.

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How to read the Bible and why

 “John the Apostle”: An icon of St. John, as he is sitting in the Cave of the Apocalypse on the island of Patmos, writing the Gospel of John. This is from codex 676, a 13th century Greek Gospels manuscript.

“John the Apostle”: An icon of St. John, as he is sitting in the Cave of the Apocalypse on the island of Patmos, writing the Gospel of John. This is from codex 676, a 13th century Greek Gospels manuscript.

by Archimandrite Justin Popovich

The Bible is in a sense a biography of God in this world. In it the Indescribable One has in a sense described Himself.

The Holy Scriptures of the New Testament are a biog­raphy of the incarnate God in this world. In them it is related how God, in order to reveal Himself to men, sent God the Logos, who took on flesh and became man–and as a man told men everything that God is, everything that God wants from this world and the people in it. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »