Weekly Diocesan Bulletin - Sunday, October 9, 2016

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!

TROPARION TO ST. JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN - TONE TWO: Beloved apostle of Christ our God, hasten to deliver a defenseless people.  He who allowed you to recline on His breast, receives you as you bow before Him.  Implore Him, O John the Theologian, to disperse the persistent threat from the heathens, entreating for us peace and great mercy.

RESURRECTIONAL KONTAKION - TONE SEVEN: The dominion of death can no longer hold man captive, for Christ descended, shattering and destroying its powers!  Hell is bound, while the prophets rejoice and cry:  The Savior has come to those in faith!  Enter you faithful into the Resurrection.

KONTAKION TO ST. JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN - TONE TWO: Who shall declare your greatness, O virgin disciple, for you pour forth wonders and are a source of healings, and pray for our souls as Theologian and friend of Christ.

HYMN TO THE MOTHER OF GOD - TONE SIX: Steadfast Protectress of Christians and constant advocate before the Creator, do not despise the cry of us sinners; but in your goodness come speedily to help us who call on you in faith.  Hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for you always protect those who honor you!


The Prokimenon in the 7th Tone:
The Lord shall give strength to His people!  The Lord shall bless His people with peace!

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost: 2 Corinthians 6: 1-10
Brethren, we then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.  For He says, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.”  Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.  But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

The Alleluia Verses:
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High!  To declare Your mercy in the morning, and Your truth by night.


Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Matthew 25: 14-30
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.  And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.  Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.  And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.  But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.  After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord.’  He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord.’  Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.  Look, there you have what is yours.’  But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.  So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.  For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.  And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

From The Prologue
September 26/October 9 by St. Nikolai Velimirovic:

Saint John the Theologian, Apostle and Evangelist
John was the son of Zebedee the fisherman and Salome the daughter of Joseph, the betrothed of the Holy Theotokos. Called by the Lord Jesus, John immediately left his father and his fishermen’s nets and, with his brother James, followed Christ. From then on, he was not separated from his Lord until the end. With Peter and James, he was present at the raising of Jairus’s daughter and the Transfiguration of the Lord. At the Last Supper, he inclined his head on Jesus’ breast. When all the other apostles had abandoned the crucified Lord, John and the Holy Mother of God remained beneath the Cross. In obedience to the Lord, he was as a son to the Holy Virgin Mary, and carefully served and watched over her until her Dormition. After her Dormition, John took his disciple Prochorus to preach the Gospel in Asia Minor. He lived and labored mostly in Ephesus. By his inspired preaching and miracles he converted many to Christianity and shook paganism to its foundation. The embittered pagans bound him and sent him to Rome, to face Emperor Dometian. Dometian had him tortured and flogged, but neither the bitterest poison he was given to drink, nor the boiling oil into which he was thrown, did him any harm. This terrified the emperor and, thinking him immortal, Dometian sent him into exile to the island of Patmos. There St. John converted many to Christianity by words and miracles, and confirmed well the Church of God. He also wrote his Gospel and Revelation on Patmos. In the time of Emperor Nero, who granted freedom to all prisoners, John returned to Ephesus, where he lived for some time, confirming the work he had begun earlier. He was over one hundred years old when he went to the Lord. When his disciples later opened his grave, they did not find his body. On May 8 of every year, a fine dust, fragrant and healing, rose from his grave. After a long, laborious and fruitful life on earth, this beloved disciple of Christ, a true pillar of the Church, took up his habitation in the joy of His Lord.

The Venerable Nilus of Calabria
Nilus was a great ascetic among the Greeks of Calabria. The founder of several monasteries, he was a miracle-worker and a defender of the purity of the Orthodox Faith. He undertook a long journey to save a man from grave punishment. He had an ardent love for his neighbor, and entered into rest in the year 1005. Nilus left many worthy disciples, among whom was the distinguished St. Bartholomew, the writer of several canons, who reposed in 1044.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint John the Theologian, Apostle and Evangelist

St. John the Evangelist,
Son of Zebedee the fisherman,
Was young when the love
Of Jesus greatly warmed him.

The most faithful friend of the Lord,
With a pure, virginal soul,
With a soul pure and loving,
Visionary and heroic.

He proclaimed wondrous mysteries
And removed the seal from eternity.

He saw the destiny of the world, 
from the beginning to the end.

He preached love,
And in love he walked;
To the throne of the Most-high God
He was raised up in love.

And with love he was exalted
Like a snow-capped mountain:
The Son of Thunder, an awesome prophet,
But meek and tender in heart.

O John, seer of wonders,
O thundering saint—
Bear our small petitions
To your Friend, the Savior!

Bring us close to Him,
The powerful God, the sweet God;
And though we are not worthy of His bosom,
At least bring us close—to His feet!

Thus writes the Apostle James: Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins (James 5:20). The apostles of Christ did not simply speak thus, but confirmed it by their work. St. Clement of Alexandria relates that, somewhere in Asia Minor, St. John the Apostle had baptized a pagan youth and entrusted him to the care of the local bishop, while he went on further to preach the Gospel. In John’s absence, this young man became corrupt, and began to drink and steal, and finally joined a band of thieves in the forest, who attacked men and robbed them. After a while John returned, and heard from the bishop what had happened to this young man. Then Apostle John, not wasting a moment, found a horse and a guide and rushed to the forest where the robbers were to be found. Searching through the forest the saint found them, and confronted their leader. When the young man recognized John, he began to flee. Though aged, John chased him and, despite his old age, caught him. The young man fell at the feet of the apostle and, in shame, could not look him in the eye. John embraced and kissed him, as a shepherd does upon finding his lost sheep. The saint brought him back to town and confirmed him anew in the Faith and in virtuous life. Thereafter pleasing God, this young man entered into rest in due time.

Contemplate the divided heart of King Amaziah toward God, and God’s punishment (II Chronicles 25):
1. How Amaziah at first did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and God granted him victory over the Edomites;
2. How Amaziah brought the Edomite idols (which had not helped the Edomites) to Jerusalem, and worshiped them;
3. How God permitted the Israelites to defeat him, and a rebellion was raised against him and killed him.

on prayer inspired by love

Sanctify them by Thy truth. Thy word is truth (John 17:17).

When a mother is led to death, she worries more about the children whom she leaves behind than about herself. Such is the bond of great love. The Lord Jesus Christ had an even greater love for His disciples than that of a mother for her children. Going to His death, the Lord prayed to His heavenly Father for His disciples. He prayed, not because He lacked power to help them, but prayed to the Father to show the unity of His being with, and love for, His Father. But why did He then ascribe Truth to the Father, when before that He referred to the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17), saying to the disciples: The Spirit of Truth … will guide you into all truth (John 16:13)? To demonstrate the equality of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Did He not first say of Himself: I am the Truth (John 14:6)? And, afterward, did He not call the Holy Spirit the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth? And He now ascribes truth to the Father as well: Sanctify them by Thy truth! He who would see any contradiction in this does not comprehend God as Unity and Trinity—Unity of Essence and Trinity of Persons. In that He ascribes truth as something essential to each Person of the Divine Trinity, the Lord demonstrates the equality of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For if one Person of the Divine Trinity would possess less truth, He would be lesser, in Essence, than the other two Persons. With a lessening of truth, there is also a lessening of power, love and wisdom. Therefore, the Lord referred to Himself, the Father, and the Holy Spirit as Truth, so that men would know and believe in Their complete, essential unity. Therefore let none of the faithful be deluded by any lie asserting an inequality of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Everyone should endeavor to wipe his heart clean of sin, as one cleans a mirror: only then can we truly perceive the great truth of the equality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

O Triune and Divine Truth, enlighten us with Thyself, and save us.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.