St Luke, Bishop of Crimea, the Surgeon: The death of the sinners and the death of the righteous!

image03Before King David, the prophet, became king of Israel, he was serving under King Saul, who trying to kill him because he knew that David was going to succeed him on the throne. Thus when his life was in danger, David told his friends: ‘Only one step separates me from death’.

I remembered these words now because I had to remind them to myself only a week ago. There was only one step separating my life from death. For a while I was near dying, having almost no pulse and my heart almost stopped beating. And yet the Lord had pity on me. I am still weak and can only talk to you while seated. But I want to say something important. I want to speak to you about death, since death is so close to us, as it was close to me last Saturday. Each one of us may die suddenly without expecting it. You already know that peoples’ lives end suddenly and unexpectedly.

You always ought to remember and keep in your hearts Christ’s words: “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning” (Luke 12, 35). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Commandment to Love

By Bishop John (Kallos) of Thermon

The first and great commandment of Christ was the commandment to love. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:27. This commandment of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ passed through my mind as I read the book “Why Pray” by Fr. Mark Gibbard. In the chapter entitled, ‘Praying is Exploration,’ he says, ‘Seldom in the history of mankind has there been such real concern for our fellow man, than there is today. There are the demands that poverty should be wiped out. There are the protests against the horror of war. There are the struggles against unjust racial discrimination. Concern about man and unconcern about God. Demand for action and disregard for prayer.’ Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

St Anna, the Prophetess – February 3

Hannah (Anne) the mother of Samuel and the Prophetess Anne.

«And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four (84) years, which departed not from the temple, but worshipped God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.» (St Luke 2:36-38).

Troparion (Tone 1) –

In the Temple thou didst embrace as an infant God the Word Who became flesh,

O glorious Elder Symeon, who didst hold God in thine arms.

And also as a Prophetess the august Anna ascribed praise to Him. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Message of the day

«Allow little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.»

Gospel according to St. Luke 18:16-17

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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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