Friday 10:30 am Choir Practice
9 am Iconography Class
July 17-4th Sunday after Pentecost-Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils
Tone 3–Troparion of The Resurrection
Let the heavens rejoice! 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 first born of the dead. He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted to the world//great mercy.
Tone 8-Troparion of Pentecost
Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, Who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit – through them Thou didst draw the world into Thy net. O Lover of all Mankind, glory to Thee!
Tone 8-Troparion of the Holy Fathers
Thou art most glorious, O Christ our God! Thou hast established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth. Through them Thou hast guided us to the true Faith.//O greatly compassionate One, glory to Thee!
Tone 3-Kontakion of the Resurrection
On this day Thou didst rise 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 Patriarchs//they unceasingly praise the divine majesty of Thy power.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
Tone 8-Kontakion of Pentecost
When the Most High came down and confused the tongues, He divided all the nations, but when He distributed the tongues of fire, He called all mankind to unity. Therefore, with one voice we glorify the Holy Spirit.
Now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Kontakion of Ordinary Sundays
Steadfast protection of Christians, constant advocate before the creator, despise not 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 Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to St. Titus. (3:8-15)
Titus, my son, the saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men. But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.
When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful. All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (5:14-19)
The Lord said to His Disciples: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven.
Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Lighting A Candle
In the Vestibule or Narthex usually we see a table with cartons of candles. The candles are also called tapers. We notice that as people come in they leave a money in a basket near the candles. Some pick up a candle and take it to the front of the church and place it upon a candle-stand. Some put a taper in the back of the church.
In the Old Testament people brought some living thing, like a lamb or a pair of doves, for a sacrifice in the temple. Such sacrifice was made for their sins. In the New Testament such sacrifice was abolished because our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself as a complete and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of all humanity when He died on the cross.
In Orthodox churches we see many lights and candles burning. They are lit in the Sanctuary during services, burn before icons, and they are carried in front of the Gospel in the procession and when reading from it.
People take a candle and light it before an icon of Christ, the Mother of God or some Saint as an expression of their love. The burning candle symbolizes the warmth and sincerity of the prayers offered and also serves as a reminder of the words of Our Savior when He said: “I am
the Light of the world.” We who believe in Him are the children of light: “In Thy light shall we see light” (Psalm 36:9).
The burning candle is a symbol that we want our soul to be pure as light and our heart to burn with the flame of love to God, the Blessed Virgin and the Saints. A Russian Saint, Father Seraphim, once said: “Let our heart glow with love and our life shine with light before Our Lord like the flame of a candle before His icon.”
One of the most beautiful verses of the Bible brought to mind when we watch the candlelights in church is the following from. Psalm 119: “Thy word is a lamp unto My feet, and a light unto My path.”
On some occasions we hold a candle in our hands,’ as at the Service of the Passions of Our Lord on Holy Thursday, Vespers and Matins on Good Friday, and in some churches candles are held during the Panikhida (Memorial) services as a symbol of life and light beyond the darkness of the grave.
The vigil lights burning before the icons are to remind us of the light and warmth of love that have been brought to our lives by the lives of the Saint.
St. John Chrysostom (d. 407AD) in a sermon offered an explanation for why God’s chosen saints suffer in the world.
“I have eight explanations of why God requires Saints to endure affliction.
- The first is to guard against their great works and miracles resulting in their developing too high of a self-esteem.
- The second is so that others may not take them to be gods instead of men.
- The third is so that the power of God might be made more evident through the efforts of men who suffer.
- The fourth is so that their sacrifices demonstrate to others their dedication to the service of God and their undiminished love for Him, even in the midst of suffering so many evils.
- The fifth is to help reinforce in men the belief in the doctrine of resurrection. To see a just and virtuous man die in bondage, without earthly reward, strengthens in men a belief in an afterlife, when men receive just reward for their labors.
- The sixth is to encourage all men to accept their suffering with patience, as they realize that far more virtuous and worthy persons than they have experienced even greater suffering.
- The seventh is to remind us that the Saints were men like ourselves. So if they, sharing our mortal frailties, still could endure suffering for their beliefs, we should be no less able to do so.
- The eighth is to help us to distinguish between those whom we call blessed as opposed to those who are not blessed.
A Note About Liturgy and Music
I want to thank the person who wrote a letter to the office about the changes in the hymns. I truly want all of you to feel free to offer comments, ask questions, offer suggestions.
In our Divine Liturgy we plan to change a few (3) hymns. This is always difficult. I hesitate to change anything, especially our prayers. These changes are not made quickly or without regard to your prayers and worship.
But sometimes change is needed and can be beneficial. It is good to know a few versions of hymns for different liturgical seasons.
Beginning in August we hope to be using a new service book. It will include some small changes to music and wording, in order to bring us in conformity to what the OCA is using.
Please be patient with us. When we learn these three songs they too will be beautiful and we think you will learn to love them.
Fr. Stephen and Matushka Nancy will be out of town next Sunday. They are going to the Conference of the Diocese of the South in North Carolina. Nancy is the church delegate, representing our parish.
Fr. Konstantine (Dean) Mendrinos will serve the Liturgy on Sunday. We welcome him and his Presbytera Roxanne.
NO Great Vespers on Saturday until August.
Today we will take up a second offering for Missions and Charities