Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meat-fare); The Holy Hieromartyr Haralambos


When You descended to death, O Life Immortal, You slayed hell with the splendor of Your Godhead! And when from the depths You raised the dead, all the powers of heaven cried out: O Giver of Life! Christ our God! Glory to You!


O wise Haralambos, you were proven an unshakable pillar of the Church of Christ; an ever-shining lamp of the universe.  You shone in the world by your martyrdom.  You delivered us from the moonless night of idolatry, O blessed one.  Therefore, boldly intercede to Christ that we may be saved.


Hell became afraid, O Almighty Savior, seeing the miracle of Your Resurrection from the tomb!  The dead arose! Creation, with Adam, beheld this and rejoiced with You! And the world, O my Savior, praises You forever.


O Priest-martyr, athlete, champion Haralambos, your relics are a priceless treasure of the Church.  Therefore she rejoices, glorifying the Creator.


When You, O God, shall come to earth with glory, all things shall tremble and the river of fire shall flow before Your judgment seat; the books shall be opened and the hidden things disclosed.  Deliver me then from the unquenchable fire and make me worthy to stand at Your right hand, O Righteous Judge.

Epistle reading


The Prokimenon in the 3rd Tone:       

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.


Sunday of the Last Judgment: 1 Corinthians 8: 8 – 9: 2

Brethren, food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.  But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.  For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?  And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.  Am I not an apostle?  Am I not free?  Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?  Are you not my work in the Lord?  If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you.  For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.


The Alleluia Verses:

Come let us rejoice in the Lord!  Let us make a joyful noise to God our Savior!  Let us come before His face with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with psalms!

Gospel reading


Sunday of the Last Judgment: Matthew 25: 31-46  

Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’.  Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me’.  Then they will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’  Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me’.  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


Spiritual Articles

From The Prologue for February 10/23 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:


The Hieromartyr Charalampus

This great saint, Charalampus, was a bishop in Magnesia who suffered for Christ in his 113th year. When a terrible persecution began during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus, the elderly Charalampus did not hide from the persecutors. Instead, he freely and openly preached the Christian Faith. He endured all tortures as though he were in someone else’s body. When they skinned him alive, the forgiving elder said to the emperor’s soldiers: “Thank you, my brethren, for in scraping my old body you renew my spirit for a new eternal life.” He worked many miracles and converted many to the Faith. Even the emperor’s daughter, Galina, abandoned the idolatry of her father and became a Christian. Condemned to death and brought to the place of execution, St. Charalampus raised his hands to heaven and prayed to God for all people, that God would grant them bodily health and spiritual salvation and that He would multiply their fruit of the earth: “O Lord, Thou knowest that men are flesh and blood; forgive them their sins and pour out Thy grace on all!” After praying, this holy elder gave up his soul to God before the executioner lowered the sword on his neck. He suffered in the year 202. The emperor’s daughter, Galina, removed his body and honorably buried it.

The Venerable Prochorus, the Orach-eater

Prochorus was a miracle-worker of the Monastery of the Kiev Caves. He is called the orach-eater because, during the time that he lived in the Monastery of the Caves, he did not taste bread. Instead, he fed on orach, mixing it in his own way, and from it he prepared a type of bread. Whenever he would give someone his orach bread with a blessing, the bread tasted sweet, as though prepared from honey. If, however, someone stole the bread, it was as bitter as wormwood. One time, when there was a shortage of salt in Russia, Prochorus distributed ashes to the people in place of salt. The ashes that he distributed with his blessing were as salt; however, the ashes that people took on their own remained ordinary ashes. Prince Svyatopolk ordered that all the ashes from Prochorus’s cell be taken to his palace with neither the permission nor the blessing of the monk. When the ashes were removed, those who tasted them were convinced that they were ashes and not salt. Then Prochorus told the people who came to him for salt to go to the emperor’s palace and, when the prince threw the ashes out of his palace, to take them and carry them home for salt. The people did so, and again the ashes were salt. Having become convinced, the prince himself was filled with respect and love toward the holy man. When Prochorus died in the year 1107, the prince, with his own hands, placed him in the tomb alongside the great Russian saints, Anthony and Theodosius.


HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Charalampus

The inexperienced sword was brandished over Charalampus,
only to be lowered!

The saint knelt and raised a petition to God:
“O Lord, release them!

Absolve the sins of all sinful men;
have mercy again.

Bless their labor and grant abundant fruit
to the fields.

Let them have everything; they are flesh and blood;
let them sing to Thee.

Oh, grant them health, health and joy;
let them remember Thee!

Drive away every evil, save them from misery,
have mercy on them all,

And after death take their souls to Paradise.
Lord have mercy!

Whoever prays to Thee
and mentions my name,

 Because of my suffering, help him, O God,
help him for my sake!”

Then came a voice from heaven: “I accept your prayer;
now render Me your soul!”

The saint released his soul and flew to Paradise,
before the falling of the sword!


Many of the serious infirmities that befall a man have their cause, known or unknown, in his past. The causes of such serious infirmities as, let us say, mental disorder, are nothing other than the transgression of the moral law of God. When St. Charalampus was being tortured, the persecuting emperor learned of his miracle-working power. The emperor ordered an insane man to be brought before Charalampus, to see if Charalampus could heal him. The devil had tormented this man for thirty-five years, driving him into the wilderness and hills and hurling him into bogs and chasms. When this deranged man approached Charalampus, the demon sensed a sweet-smelling fragrance emanating from the holy man and shouted: “I beg you, O servant of God, do not torment me before my time, but command me and I will depart. And, if you wish, I will tell you how it happened that I entered into this man.” The saint commanded the demon to relate the story. The demon said: “This man wanted to steal from his neighbor and thought to himself: ‘If I don’t kill the man first, I will not be able to seize his goods.’ So he went and killed his neighbor. Having caught him in the act, I entered him and, behold, I have dwelt in him for thirty-five years.” Upon hearing this, the saint of God commanded the demon to depart from the man immediately and to leave him in peace. The demon departed, and the demented man was restored to health and became tranquil.



Contemplate the Lord Jesus as the Beauty of the entire created world:

1. As the Beauty of all created things, a Beauty dulled from fear and the melancholy of sin;

2. As the Beauty of man, the most rational being in the material world, a Beauty dulled by fear and the melancholy of sin;

3. As the Beauty of the pure, mental, bodiless world of the angels;

4. As the Beauty of the Holy Trinity, revealed by Him and through Him.


HOMILY on the sin of those who assert that they can see

If ye were blind, ye should have no sin (John 9:41).

These words were spoken to the Jews by Him Who gave them the Law through the prophets, that the Law might serve them as the sight of the soul. The Jews received that sight, but they intentionally and evilly shut their eyes. That is why the righteous Lord spoke these righteous words to them. These are words of true justice, yesterday and today and forever, for a blind man has no sin if he tramples upon someone else’s crop or if he takes someone else’s garment instead of his own. If he who has sight commits this, he will be committing a sin and will incur punishment. If he who has eyes intentionally closes his eyes and does this, he also will be committing a sin and will incur punishment. Nevertheless, what can be said about those who have received baptism and chrismation, the two eyes of the soul, and still sin as those who are unbaptized? At the Last Judgment, they will not be treated as those who are born blind, rather they will be judged as transgressors who have willfully disfigured and blinded themselves. And what can be said about those who receive the other Mysteries of grace in the fullness of Orthodoxy, having before them the examples of the saints, and constantly listening to the warnings and admonitions of God’s Church, but who nevertheless depart and go astray? At the Last Judgment such people will not be able to justify themselves by any type of blindness, rather they will be judged as transgressors who have disfigured themselves and others around them with blindness. O Awesome Lord, save us from sin. O Merciful Lord, open our eyes to the path of salvation. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen

Source: Western American Diocese