Saint Bartholomew, the Apostle. Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Great Apostles. In all probability, it appears that Bartholomew and Nathaniel are one and the same person. He was a companion of the Apostle Philip and Philip's sister, the virgin Mariamna and, for some time, a companion of St. John the Theologian. Bartholomew preached the Gospel first throughout Asia and, after that, in India and finally in Armenia where he died a martyr's death. In Hierapolis, these holy apostles by prayer, caused the death of a large serpent which the heathens kept in their temple and worshipped. In this same city and, by prayer, they restored sight to Stachius who was blind for forty years. It was here that a mob rose up against them and they crucified Philip and Bartholomew (Bartholomew was crucified upside down). At this time, an earthquake occurred in which the evil judges and may people perished. Feeling that this was a punishment from God, many ran to remove the apostles from the crosses but Philip was already dead while Bartholomew was still alive. After this, Bartholomew went to India where he preached and translated the Gospel of St. Matthew into the Indian language.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Last week the Church celebrated the great feast of All Saints—in which every Saint, known and unknown is commemorated—and this Sunday we commemorate specifically all the Saints of Russia, while especially in America is celebrated the Feast of All Saints of North America. We have been blessed with several great Saints in our land—St. Herman who first brought Holy Orthodoxy to this continent from Russia in the 1700's, St. Tikhon, the Patriarch of Moscow who founded our St. Tikhon's Monastery, St. Nikolai Velimirovich, who taught and reposed at our Seminary, and St. John Maximovitch, the wonderworking bishop of San Francisco, among several others. But there is one person in particular that I would like to talk about today—the monk and priest Fr. Seraphim Rose.
The Church calls St Constantine (306-337) “the Equal of the Apostles,” and historians call him “the Great.” He was the son o the Caesar Constantius Chlorus (305-306), who governed the lands of Gaul and Britain. His mother was St Helen, a Christian of humble birth.
At this time the immense Roman Empire was divided into Western and Eastern halves, governed by two independent emperors and their corulers called “Caesars.” Constantius Chlorus was Caesar in the Western Roman Empire. St Constantine was born in 274, possibly at Nish in Serbia. In 294, Constantius divorced Helen in order to further his political ambition by marrying a woman of noble rank. After he became emperor, Constantine showed his mother great honor and respect, granting her the imperial title “Augusta.”
In the Old Testament, Pentecost was the feast that occurred fifty days after Passover. As the Passover feast celebrated the exodus of the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, so Pentecost celebrated God's gift of the ten commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai.
In the new covenant of the Messiah, the Passover event takes on its new meaning as the celebration of Christ's death and resurrection, the "exodus" of men from this sinful world to the Kingdom of God. And in the New Testament as well, the Pentecostal feast is fulfilled and made new by the coming of the "new law," the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed as resting upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit ... (Acts 2:1–4).
St Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia. The Transfer of the Relics from Myra of Lycia to Bari in Italy His Life is found under December 6.
In the eleventh century the Byzantine Empire was going through some terrible times. The Turks put an end to its influence in Asia Minor, they destroyed cities and villages, they murdered the inhabitants, and they accompanied their cruel outrage with the desecration of churches, holy relics, icons and books. The Mussulmen also attempted to destroy the relics of St Nicholas, deeply venerated by the whole Christian world.
When the day of the Jewish Pentecost drew near, the disciples of Christ returned from Galilee to Jerusalem.
On the fortieth day after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they were all together in one house. Jesus Christ appeared to them and spoke with them saying, "Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. He, who believes and is baptized, will be saved, but he, who does not believe, will be condemned. And these signs accompanies those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."