Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, May 29, 2016

Christ is Risen!

Fifth Sunday of Pascha: The Samaritan Woman at the Well; Saint Theodore the Sanctified; Hieromartyr Theodore of Vrshac; New-martyr Vukashin

When the women disciples of the Lord learned from the angel the joyous message of Your Resurrection, they cast away the ancestral curse and elatedly told the apostles:  Death is overthrown!  Christ God is risen, granting the world great mercy! 

In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, fill my thirsting soul with the waters of piety, as You cried to all: ‘If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink!’  O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You! 

The Samaritan woman came to the well in faith; she saw You, the Water of Wisdom, and drank abundantly!  She inherited the Kingdom on high, and is ever glorified. 

Christ God, the Creator and Master of all, cried to all in the midst of the feast of the law: ‘Come and draw the water of immortality!’  We fall before You and faithfully cry: ‘Grant us Your mercies, for You are the Fountain of our life!’ 

The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin!  Again I say: Rejoice!  Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb!  With Himself He has raised all the dead!  Rejoice, all ye people!  Shine!  Shine!  O New Jerusalem!  The glory of the Lord has shone on you!  Exult now and be glad, O Zion!  Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son! 

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (once) 


The Prokimenon in the 3rd Tone:
Sing praises to our God, sing praises!  Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 

Fifth Sunday of Pascha: Acts 11: 19-26; 29-30
In those days, those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.  But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.  And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.  When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  And a great many people were added to the Lord.  Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.  And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.  So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people.  And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.  Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.  This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. 

The Alleluia Verses:

Go forth and prosper and reign, because of truth and meekness and righteousness.  You love righteousness and hate iniquity. 


Fifth Sunday of Pascha: John 4: 5-42
At that time, Jesus came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well.  It was about the sixth hour.  A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”  For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink’, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where then do You get that living water?  Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself as well as his sons and his livestock?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”  Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”  The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”  Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband’, for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  The woman said to Him, “I know the Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ).  “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”  Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”  And at this point His disciples came and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”  The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?”  Then they went out of the city and came to Him.  In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”  But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”  Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”  Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.  Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’  Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!  And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all what I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans had come to Him they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of His own word.  Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” 

From The Prologue
For May 16/29 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

The Venerable Theodore the Sanctified

Theodore was a disciple of St. Pachomius. He was born and raised a pagan, but as a young man he came to the knowledge of the true Faith and was baptized. Learning of St. Pachomius, Theodore secretly fled from his parents’ home to Pachomius’s monastery. St. Pachomius tonsured him a monk and loved him for his extraordinary zeal and obedience. When his mother arrived to summon him back home, Theodore did not want even to appear before her. Instead, he prayed that God would enlighten her with the truth. Indeed, not only did her son not return home but she herself did not return home. Seeing a nearby convent that was under the spiritual direction of Pachomius’s sister, she entered it and was tonsured a nun. After some time Paphnutius, Theodore’s brother, also came to the monastery and was tonsured a monk. In time the bishop of Panopolis called St. Pachomius to establish a monastery for those who desired the monastic life. Pachomius took Theodore with him and entrusted him with the duty of establishing this new monastery. After the death of Pachomius, Theodore became the abbot of all of Pachomius’s monasteries and lived to a ripe old age. Theodore lived a life pleasing to God, directing many monks on the road to salvation. He reposed peacefully and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of Eternal Light in the year 368. 

The Blessed Virgin Musa

St. Gregory the Dialogist recounts of her that she was only nine years old when, on two occasions, the Most-holy Theotokos, surrounded by radiant virgins, appeared to her. When Musa expressed her desire to also be a member of that radiant company of the Queen of Heaven, the Theotokos said to her that she would return and take her in one month. She also instructed Musa how to live for those next thirty days. On the twenty-fifth day, Musa took to her bed. On the thirtieth day the Most-pure One appeared again, calling to her in a soft voice, to which Musa answered, “Behold, I am coming. O Lady, behold, I am coming!” and she gave up her spirit. Musa was translated from this life into life eternal in the fifth century. 

Saint Nicholas Mysticus, Patriarch of Constantinople

Nicholas was famous because of the unusual severity of his life. When Emperor Leo the Wise married for the fourth time, the patriarch refused him entrance into the church and defrocked the priest who performed the marriage. As a result of this, the emperor deposed the patriarch and banished him to a monastery. The delegates of the Roman Pope Sergius II approved the emperor’s fourth marriage. When the emperor died, Nicholas was again restored to the patriarchal throne and called an assembly in the year 925, at which a fourth marriage for a Christian was in general forbidden. The name “Mysticus” signifies the senior member of the emperor’s council. At first, this saint had been a high-ranking courtier, but then he left the vanity of the world and was tonsured a monk. He reposed peacefully in the year 930. 

The Holy New Martyr Nicholas

Nicholas was born in Epira. He was tortured by the Turks for the Christian Faith and beheaded in Trikkala in 1617. A reliquary containing the head of this martyr is preserved today in one of the Meteora monasteries in Thessaly. He performs many miracles and heals the gravest diseases. He is especially known to drive grasshoppers from fields. 

The Venerable Martyrs of the Monastery
of St. Sava the Sanctified

During the reign of Emperor Heraclius, about the year 610, forty-four monks from the Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified near Jerusalem suffered for the Christian Faith. Their heroism and sufferings were recorded by St. Antiochus, an eyewitness (December 24). 

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Nicholas the New Martyr

Nicholas the martyr suffered for Christ,
And by painful endurance overcame the devil.

The hero did not want to deny his Savior,
But glorified God as long as he had a voice;
And he glorified Him in his heart when his voice gave out.

He begged his enemies for greater sufferings.
Cruel as wolves, the Turks beat him;
They put him through every inhuman suffering,
And finally cut off his holy head.

Into the green grass the saint’s head rolled;
And it was shining with light.

A Christian wrapped the head in silk,
And brought it into church to be a remedy for many,
To heal the disfigured, the blind and the insane.

On all sides, God punished the unbelievers,
And the faithful Nicholas He eternally glorified. 


When Theodore the Sanctified was in Panopolis with his spiritual father St. Pachomius, a philosopher approached him and offered to debate with him about the Faith. The philosopher posed these three questions to Theodore: “Who was not born, but died? Who was born and did not die? Who died and did not decay?” To these questions, St. Theodore replied: “Adam was not born but died. Enoch was born and did not die. Lot’s wife died and did not decay.” And the saint added this advice to the philosopher: “Heed our sound advice; depart from these useless questions and scholastic syllogisms; draw near to Christ, Whom we are serving, and you will receive forgiveness of sins.” The philosopher was silenced by such a pointed answer and, ashamed, he departed. From this, the enormous difference is clearly seen between a pagan philosopher and a Christian saint. The one loses himself in abstractions, in cleverly twisted words, in contests of logic and in mental gymnastics, while the other focuses his whole mind on the Living God and on the salvation of his soul. The one is abstract and dead, while the other is practical and alive. 


Contemplate the action of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles:

1. How the Holy Spirit miraculously guided the feet of the apostles to distant lands;

2. How the Holy Spirit assembled them in Jerusalem from distant lands for the burial of the Most-holy Theotokos. 

HOMILY on the appearance of the prophet Jeremiah from the other world

This done, in like manner there appeared a man with gray hairs and exceeding glorious, who was of a wonderful and excellent majesty. Then Onias answered, saying, “This is a lover of the brethren, who prays much for the people and for the holy city, to wit, Jeremiah the prophet of God” (II Maccabees 15:13–14).

This was the vision seen by the courageous Judas Maccabeas. The first to appear to him from the other world was Onias the high priest, and after that the holy Prophet Jeremiah. Just as the apostles saw Moses and Elias in glory on Mount Tabor, so at one time Judas Maccabeas saw the Prophet Jeremiah in glory. Even before the risen Christ, then, the merciful God did not leave men without proof of life after death. In Christian times, however, those proofs are without number and without end. Whoever, even after all of this, doubts life after death, remains under the curse of his sin as under a tombstone. As dead things cannot see the light of day, neither can he see the life that is, and of which there is no end.

But behold how the Prophet Jeremiah is crowned with glory in the other life! Gray hairs and exceeding glorious! Around him was a certain indescribable dignity, a certain bright aureole, a certain inexpressible pleasure and beauty. He was dragged and beaten by the men to whom he had imparted the will of God, was a captive in prison and a martyr in a fetid hole, was derided as a liar, was tried as a traitor, and finally was stoned to death as a transgressor. However, the judgment of sinners os one thing, and the judgment of God is another. The most humiliated among men became crowned with angelic glory before God.

And yet, behold how heaven names one whom the earth called false, a traitor and a transgressor! Lover of the brethren: this is what heaven called him. Lover of the brethren, who prays much for the people. Finally, see how the saints in heaven pray to God for us! Not sleeping, they pray for us while we are asleep; not eating, they pray for us while we are eating—and over-eating; not sinning, they pray for us while we are sinning. O brethren, let us be ashamed before so many of our sincere friends. Let us be ashamed, let us be ashamed of so many prayers for us by the saints, and let us join with their prayers. O Lord All-wonderful, forgive us our sinful slothfulness and dullness. 


To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

Source: Western American Diocese