Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost:
The Holy and All-praised Apostle Phillip;
Saint Gregory Palamas; Holy Emperor Justinian
RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SIX: The angelic powers were at Thy tomb; and the guards became as dead men; and Mary stood by Thy grave, seeking Thy most pure Body. Thou didst capture hell, not being tempted by it. Thou didst come to the Virgin, granting life. O Lord who didst rise from the dead: Glory to You!
God is He of Whom no questions would arise within us if we weren’t sinful, if we hadn’t fallen from Paradise, as chicks fall from their nest—all would be otherwise, and God would not be a problem. But now God is a problem and a question. Does God exist? And if He exists, where is He? And if He exists and where—then what is He like? What do I owe Him? What does He owe me? A thousand questions arise within us. But none of this would be if we didn’t sin, if sin didn’t blind our eyes. We should recognize that all difficult and tricky questions about God are difficult precisely because of our sinfulness and the darkening of our minds. The darkened human intellect, the weakened human will, the worn-out man—he is disoriented, today he thinks one thing, and tomorrow another, now he thinks one thing, and within half an hour something completely different. Within a single minute his heart can fluctuate from the right to the left, because, again, he is disoriented and clouded.
Saint Cyriacus was born at Corinth to the priest John and his wife Eudokia. Bishop Peter of Corinth, who was a relative, seeing that Cyriacus was growing up as a quiet and sensible child, made him a reader in church. Constant reading of the Holy Scriptures awakened in him a love for the Lord and of a yearning for a pure and saintly life.
Once, when the youth was not yet eighteen years old, he was deeply moved during a church service by the words of the Gospel: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mt.16:24). He believed these words applied to him, so he went right to the harbor without stopping at home, got onto a ship and went to Jerusalem.
Commerated July 5/18; September 25/October 8
The lives of the saints as well as their writings are one of the ways that we learn about the spiritual life. In reading attentively the lives of saints, one of the first things we learn is that the saints are neither distinctively Russian or Greek (nor any other nationality); they are at all times Orthodox and Christ-loving. They breathe forth the same spiritual fragrance no matter when or where they lived.
One of the most beloved Orthodox saints of Russia is St. Sergius of Radonezh whose life for countless generations of pious Orthodox, both young and old, served as a source of spiritual nourishment. And so it can for us, if only we read it not so much with our minds, as with our hearts.
Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Repose of the
Holy Apostle & Evangelist John the Theologian
RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SEVEN: By Thy Cross, Thou didst destroy death! To the thief, Thou didst open Paradise! For the myrrh bearers, Thou didst change weeping into joy! And Thou didst command Thy disciples, O Christ God, to proclaim that Thou art risen, granting the world great mercy!
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Sunday after the Exaltation of the Life-giving Cross; The Holy Martyrs Trophimus, Sabbatius, and Dorymedon
RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION - TONE SIX: The angelic powers were at Thy tomb; the guards became as dead men. Mary stood by Thy grave, seeking Thy most pure Body. Thou didst capture hell, not being tempted by it. Thou didst come to the Virgin, granting life. O Lord who rose from the dead: Glory to Thee!