Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, August 27, 2017



Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad! For the Lord has shown strength with His arm! He has trampled down death by death! He has become the firstborn of the dead! He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted to the world great mercy!


Dance with joy, O peoples!  Clap your hands with gladness!  Gather today with fervor and jubilation; sing with exultation.  The Mother of God is about to rise in glory, ascending from earth to heaven.  We ceaselessly praise her in song as truly Theotokos.


On this day You arose from the tomb, O Merciful One, leading us from the gates of death. On this day Adam exults as Eve rejoices; with the prophets and the patriarchs they unceasingly praise the divine majesty of Your power!


Today the universe dances with joy at your glorious memorial, and cries out to you, O Mother of God: ‘Rejoice, O Virgin, pride of Christians!’


PROKEIMENON IN TONE THREE: Sing praises to our God, sing praises!  Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: 1 CORINTHIANS 15: 1-11  Brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you - unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.  After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.  After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.  Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.  For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.         

In You, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be put to shame!  Be a God of protection for me, a house of refuge, in order to save me!


TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST: MATTHEW 19: 16-26   At that time, a young man came to Jesus and said, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good?  No one is good but One, that is, God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”  He said to Him, “Which ones?”  Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”  The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.  What do I still lack?”  Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”



The Holy Prophet Micah the Second

Micah was of the tribe of Judah and from the village of Morasth, for which he is called the “Morasthite.” He was a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah, Amos and Hosea, and of the Jewish kings Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Micah rebuked the people for their vices, and rebuked the false prophets who prophesied of wine and of strong drink (Micah 2:11). He foretold the destruction of Samaria. He also foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, which would come because its leaders accepted bribes, its priests taught for hire, and its prophets told fortunes for money. Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field and Jerusalem shall become as heaps (Micah 3:12). But, of all his prophecies, the most important prophecy is that of Bethlehem as the place of the birth of the Messiah, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2). It is not known exactly whether this prophet was slain by the Jews or whether he died a peaceful death (cf. Jeremiah 26:18–19). However, it is known that he was buried in his village. During the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great, Bishop Zevin of Eleutheropolis had a mystical vision that led to the finding of Micah’s relics, together with those of the Prophet Habakkuk.

The Hieromartyr Marcellus, Bishop of Apamea

Marcellus was a highly educated Cypriot, born of wealthy and eminent parents. He married and had children. When his wife died, Marcellus withdrew to Syria for the monastic life, leaving his children to God’s providence. He gained renown by his compassion, meekness and spiritual knowledge. The Apameans elected him as their bishop. Bishop Marcellus zealously labored to convert pagans to the Christian Faith. It happened that an idolatrous temple was burned, and the idolaters seized Marcellus, accusing him of having set the fire. They burned him in about the year 389. Especially instructive in the Life of St. Marcellus is a discussion of the blessing of water, and the use of blessed water.


The Holy Prophet Micah
Micah, God’s prophet, burned with the divine Spirit,
Foretelling doom and proclaiming salvation:
“Hear, you leaders of the house of Jacob:
When fire erupts, the chaff is not saved.
You hate good and relish evil;
You heartlessly defraud God’s people;
You have abandoned the Law and the prophets of old;
You hearken not to God, but to sorcerers!
But misfortune, pain and lamentation will come;
You will cry out to heaven, but in vain and too late.
Samaria will be a threshing floor for the Assyrian,
And Jerusalem, for the barbarous Chaldeans!
But you, Bethlehem, little Ephratha,
Though least, you are dearest to Me.
From you, shall come the Leader we need.
His descent shall be from the heart of heaven;
Out of His fervent love He will come with eagerness.
He will tend His flock with His mighty staff.
He shall be great unto the ends of the earth.
The earth and the heavens shall sing of His mercy,
And peace will reign—He shall be that peace.
He will glorify the race of man in Himself.


Beware of a parent’s curse, for a parental curse is a dreadful thing. Value, and seek, a parental blessing—for it will be with you through your entire life. The all-wise Sirach speaks: For the blessing of the father establishes the houses of children, but the curse of the mother rooteth out foundations (Sirach 3:9). The curse by which Noah cursed the descendants of Ham continued to follow the unfortunate Hamites, but the sons of Jacob have had blessing in their lives, by the grace of their father’s blessing. As a young man, St. Sergius begged his parents for their blessing to become a monk. His aged parents begged their son to wait awhile and abide with them until their death, and then be tonsured a monk. Sergius obeyed his parents, and was blessed throughout his life. Bishop Hermogenes relates that a man mistreated his wife. When his mother tearfully scolded him because of it, the son attacked his mother, beat her, and smashed her head against a wall. The sorrowful mother cried out: “Lord, may my son be cursed, and may he not have my blessing or Thy blessing.” That same day, the son began to tremble throughout his entire body, and for thirteen years he trembled so badly that he was not even able to raise a spoon to his mouth. He finally made his confession and received Holy Communion—which eased his suffering a little. Soon afterward he died.


Contemplate God’s wondrous assistance of Saul, in battle with the Ammonites (I Samuel 11):
1. How the powerful Nahash, the leader of the Ammonites, threatened to pluck out the right eyes of all the Israelites;
2. How the people of Israel wept before the Lord;
3. How God helped Saul and Samuel destroy the Ammonites, for the Spirit of God was upon them.


on the prophecy of light in darkness

The people that walked in the darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined (Isaiah 9:2).
The prophet foretold that, where it was darkest, the light-bearing Messiah would appear. The land of Zabulon and the land of Nephthali were considered to be the darkest lands. There the pagans intermingled with the Jews; the yoke of external and internal slavery was the heaviest; the darkness of the pagans and the spiritual blindness of the Pharisees covered the people with the shadow of death. The Light of heaven shone first in Bethlehem when Christ the Lord was born there. That Light was seen from afar by eastern Magi, and from nearby by the shepherds of Bethlehem. But that Light was driven out of Bethlehem by the bloody sword of Herod, and the Light withdrew to Egypt. After that, the Light shone in full radiance in the land of darkness and the shadow of death—the land of Zabulon and Nephthali. Beside the lake in that region, there lived fishermen whom our Lord chose for His disciples. Also in that land is to be found the Mount of the Beatitudes, from whose slopes the Lord proclaimed His first great sermon. There, also, is Cana of Galilee, where the Lord worked His first miracle. There He began His work for the salvation of mankind by His powerful words and deeds. Men saw this great Light and were astonished. Many were scandalized by the Lord, and many mocked Him. But these men of darkness did not kill Him. There was another, darker place in the land of the Jews, whose people rose up against the Creator and slew Him. It was the same place from which Herod, thirty-three years earlier, had raised his bloody sword to extinguish the Great Light by blood. This place was Jerusalem. Of all the darkness, the darkness of Jerusalem was the blackest—ironically, since the name Jerusalem means “light.”

O Lord, our Great and All-powerful Light, encompass us by Thy Light in our fleeting lives, and receive us, when we pass from this earth, into Thy glorious, immortal Light.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.