Prokeimenon. Grave Mode. Psalm 63.11,1.
The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord.
Verse: Oh God, hear my cry.
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 4:22-27.
Brethren, Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, "Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married."
10th Sunday of Luke
The Reading is from Luke 13:10-17
At that time, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your infirmity." And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day." Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
According to the ancient tradition of the Church, since Saint Anna, the Ancestor of God, was barren, she and her husband Joachim remained without children until old age. Therefore, sorrowing over their childlessness, they besought God with a promise that, if He were to grant them the fruit of the womb, they would offer their offspring to Him as a gift. And God, hearkening to their supplication, informed them through an Angel concerning the birth of the Virgin. And thus, through God's promise, Anna conceived according to the laws of nature, and was deemed worthy to become the mother of the Mother of our Lord (see also Sept. 8).
Saint Menas, according to the Synaxaristes, had Athens as his homeland. He was a military officer, an educated man and skilled in speech, wherefore he was surnamed Kallikelados ("most eloquent"); Eugraphus was his scribe. Both had Christian parents. The Emperor Maximinus (he was the successor of Alexander Severus, and reigned from 235 to 238) sent Saint Menas to Alexandria to employ his eloquence to end a certain strife among the citizens. Saint Menas, having accomplished this, also employed his eloquence to strengthen the Christians in their faith, which when Maximinus heard, he sent Hermogenes, who was an eparch born to unbelievers to turn Menas away from Christ. But Hermogenes rather came to the Faith of Christ because of the miracles wrought by Saint Menas. Saints Menas, Eugraphus, and Hermogenes received the crown of martyrdom in the year 235.
This Saint was from the village of Marutha in the region of Samosata in Mesopotamia. He became a monk at the age of twelve. After visiting Saint Symeon the Stylite (see Sept. 1) and receiving his blessing, he was moved with zeal to follow his marvellous way of life. At the age of forty-two, guided by providence, he came to Anaplus in the environs of Constantinople, in the days of the holy Patriarch Anatolius (see July 3), who was also healed by Saint Daniel of very grave malady and sought to have him live near him. Upon coming to Anaplus, Saint Daniel first lived in the church of the Archangel Michael, but after some nine years, Saint Symeon the Stylite appeared to him in a vision, commanding him to imitate his own ascetical struggle upon a pillar. The remaining thirty-three years of his life he stood for varying periods on three pillars, one after another. He stood immovable in all weather, and once his disciples found him covered with ice after a winter storm. He was a counsellor of emperors; the pious emperor Leo the Great fervently loved him and brought his royal guests to meet him. It was at Saint Daniel's word that the holy relics of Saint Symeon the Stylite were brought to Constantinople from Antioch, and it was in his days that the Emperor Leo had the relics of the Three Holy Children brought from Babylon. Saint Daniel also defended the Church against the error of the Eutychians. Having lived through the reigns of the Emperors Leo, Zeno, and Basiliscus, he reposed in 490, at the age of eighty-four.
Spyridon, the God-bearing Father of the Church, the great defender of Corfu and the boast of all the Orthodox, had Cyprus as his homeland. He was simple in manner and humble of heart, and was a shepherd of sheep. When he was joined to a wife, he begat of her a daughter whom they named Irene. After his wife's departure from this life, he was appointed Bishop of Trimythus, and thus he became also a shepherd of rational sheep. When the First Ecumenical Council was assembled in Nicaea, he also was present, and by means of his most simple words stopped the mouths of the Arians who were wise in their own conceit. By the divine grace which dwelt in him, he wrought such great wonders that he received the surname 'Wonderworker." So it is that, having tended his flock piously and in a manner pleasing to God, he reposed in the Lord about the year 350, leaving to his country his sacred relics as a consolation and source of healing for the faithful.
About the middle of the seventh century, because of the incursions made by the barbarians at that time, his sacred relics were taken to Constantinople, where they remained, being honoured by the emperors themselves. But before the fall of Constantinople, which took place on May 29, 1453, a certain priest named George Kalokhairetes, the parish priest of the church where the Saint's sacred relics, as well as those of Saint Theodora the Empress, were kept, took them away on account of the impending peril. Travelling by way of Serbia, he came as far as Arta in Epirus, a region in Western Greece opposite to the isle of Corfu. From there, while the misfortunes of the Christian people were increasing with every day, he passed over to Corfu about the year 1460. The relics of Saint Theodora were given to the people of Corfu; but those of Saint Spyridon remain to this day, according to the rights of inheritance, the most precious treasure of the priest's own descendants, and they continue to be a staff for the faithful in Orthodoxy, and a supernatural wonder for those that behold him; for even after the passage of 1,500 years, they have remained incorrupt, and even the flexibility of his flesh has been preserved. Truly wondrous is God in His Saints! (Ps. 67:3 5)
The holy New Martyr Peter suffered martyrdom in San Francisco at the time that California belonged to Spain. An Aleut from Alaska, he and his companions were captured in California by the Spaniards. When he refused to abandon Orthodoxy to accept Latinism, which they wished to force upon him, the Spaniards submitted him to a martyrdom like that suffered by Saint James the Persian, cutting him apart joint by joint. He died from loss of blood in steadfast confession of the Faith in 1815.
Saint Herman (his name is a variant of Germanus) was born near Moscow in 1756. In his youth he became a monk, first at the Saint Sergius Hermitage near Saint Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland; while he dwelt there, the most holy Mother of God appeared to him, healing him of a grave malady. Afterwards he entered Valaam Monastery on Valiant Island in Lake Ladoga; he often withdrew into the wilderness to pray for days at a time. In 1794, answering a call for missionaries to preach the Gospel to the Aleuts, he came to the New World with the first Orthodox mission to Alaska. He settled on Spruce Island, which he called New Valaam, and here he persevered, even in the face of many grievous afflictions mostly at the hands of his own countrymen in the loving service of God and of his neighbour. Besides his many toils for the sake of the Aleuts, he subdued his flesh with great asceticism, wearing chains, sleeping little, fasting and praying much. He brought many people to Christ by the example of his life, his teaching, and his kindness and sanctity, and was granted the grace of working miracles and of prophetic insight. Since he was not a priest, Angels descended at Theophany to bless the waters in the bay; Saint Herman used this holy water to heal the sick. Because of his unwearying missionary labours, which were crowned by God with the salvation of countless souls, he is called the Enlightener of the Aleuts, and has likewise been renowned as a wonderworker since his repose in 1837.
The Five Martyrs were from Greater Armenia. Like their ancestors, they worshipped Christ in secret; during the persecution of Diocletian, they presented themselves before the Forum authorities, and having been tormented in diverse manners, by Lysius the proconsul, three of them ended their lives in torments. As for Saints Eustratius and Orestes, they survived and were sent to Sebastia to Agricolaus, who governed the whole East; by his command these Saints, received their end as martyrs by fire in 296. Saint Auxentius was a priest. Saint Eustratius was educated and an orator; he was the foremost among Lysius' dignitaries and the archivist of the province. In the Synaxarion he is given the Latin title of scriniarius, that is, "keeper of the archives." The prayer, "Magnifying I magnify Thee, O Lord," which is read in the Saturday Midnight Service, is ascribed to him. In the Third Hour and elsewhere there is another prayer, "O Sovereign Master, God the Father Almighty," which is ascribed to Saint Mardarius.
Saint Lucia was from Syracuse in Sicily, a virgin betrothed to a certain pagan. Since her mother suffered from an issue of blood, she went with her to the shrine of Saint Agatha at Catania to seek healing (see Feb. 5). There Saint Agatha appeared to Lucia in a dream, assuring her of her mother's healing, and foretelling Lucia's martyrdom. When her mother had been healed, Lucia gladly distributed her goods to the poor, preparing herself for her coming confession of Christ. Betrayed as a Christian by her betrothed to Paschasius the Governor, she was put in a brothel to be abased, but was preserved in purity by the grace of God. Saint Lucia was beheaded in the year 304, during the reign of Diocletian.
Of these, the Martyrs who were from Asia Minor contested for piety's sake during the reign of Decius, in 250. Saint Leucius, seeing the slaughter of the Christians, reproached the Governor Cumbricius, for which he was hung up, harrowed mercilessly on his sides, then beheaded. For boldly professing himself a Christian and rebuking the Governor for worshipping stocks and stones as gods, Saint Thyrsus, after many horrible tortures, was sentenced to be sawn asunder, but the saw would not cut, and became so heavy in the executioners' hands that they could not move it; Saint Thyrsus then gave up his spirit, at Apollonia in the Hellespont. Saint Callinicus a priest of the idols, was converted through the martyrdom and miracles of Saint Thyrsus, and was beheaded.
During the reign of Diocletian (284-305), the Governor of Antinoe in the Thebaid of Upper Egypt was Arian, a fierce persecutor who had sent many Christians to a violent death, among them Saints Timothy and Maura (see May 3) and Saint Sabine (Mar. 16). When he had imprisoned Christians for their confession of faith, one of them, named Apollonius, a reader of the Church, lost his courage at the sight of the instruments of torture, and thought how he might escape torments without denying Christ. He gave money to Philemon a flute-player and a pagan, that he might put on Apollonius' clothes and offer sacrifice before Arian, so that all would think Apollonius to have done the Governor's will, and he might be released. Philemon agreed to this, but when the time came to offer sacrifice, enlightened by divine grace, he declared himself a Christian instead. He and Apollonius, who also confessed Christ when the fraud was exposed, were both beheaded. Before beheading them, Arian had commanded that they be shot with arrows, but while they remained unharmed, Arian himself was wounded by one of the arrows; Saint Philemon foretold that after his martyrdom, Arian would be healed at his tomb. When this came to pass, Arian, the persecutor who had slain so many servants of Christ, himself believed in Christ and was baptized with four of his bodyguards. Diocletian heard of this and had Arian and his body-guards brought to him. For their confession of Christ, they were cast into the sea, and received the crown of life everlasting.
This Saint had Rome as his homeland. Having been orphaned of his father from childhood, he was taken by his mother Anthia to Anicetus, the Bishop of Rome (some call him Anencletus, or Anacletus), by whom he was instructed in the sacred letters (that is, the divine Scriptures). Though still very young in years, he was made Bishop of Illyricum by reason of his surpassing virtue, and by his teachings he converted many unbelievers to Christ. However, during a most harsh persecution that was raised against the Christians under Hadrian (reigned 117-138), the Saint was arrested by the tyrants. Enduring many torments for Christ, he was finally put to death by two soldiers about the year 126. As for his Christ-loving mother Anthia, while embracing the remains of her son and kissing them with maternal affection, she was also beheaded.
DECEMBER ALTAR CANDLES AND FLOWERS
December Altar Candles offered by Despina and Nicholas Mellis in beloved memory of Father John Kefalas, beloved brother and their parents and grandparents.
December Altar Flowers offered by Despina and Nicholas Mellis for their health, and the health of their children, grandchildren and friends.
Last Day to Bring in Giving Tree gifts
Visit the Christmas Boutique
DATES TO REMEMBER
December 12 - St. Spyridon
December 18 - Bible Study
December 23 - Christmas Pageant
December 24 – Christmas Eve Divine Liturgy 8:00 PM
December 30 – Sunday before Theophany Divine Liturgy 10:00 AM
January 1 – The Circumcision of Our Lord and the Feast of St. Basil the Great Divine Liturgy 10:00AM
January 5 – Eve of the Epiphany - Lesser Blessings of the Waters Vesperal Liturgy 6:00 PM
January 6 – Holy Epiphany Great Blessing of the Waters Divine Liturgy 10:00 AM
January 7 – Synaxis of St. John the Baptist 10:00 AM
January 12 - Hope and Joy at Blockspot 2:30PM. RSVP is mandatory to attend
December 9, Bessie Mavrikakis
December 16, Gabriel Galifinakis
December 23, Jim Hatzistavrou
December 30, Sally Peponakis