Sunday & Weekday Divine Services
9:00am - Orthros and Divine Liturgy
Second Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back, for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
Prokeimenon. Fourth Mode. Psalm 103.24,1.
O Lord, how manifold are your works. You have made all things in wisdom.
Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul.
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 2:16-20.
Brethren, knowing that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, is Christ then an agent of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Sunday after Holy Cross
The Reading is from Mark 8:34-38; 9:1
The Lord said: "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power."
Μᾶρκον ΙϚʹ 1-8
Διαγενομένου τοῦ Σαββάτου, Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Ἰακώβου καὶ Σαλώμη ἠγόρασαν ἀρώματα, ἵνα ἐλθοῦσαι ἀλείψωσιν τὸν Ἰησοῦν. Καὶ λίαν πρωῒ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου. Καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἑαυτάς· Τίς ἀποκυλίσει ἡμῖν τὸν λίθον ἐκ τῆς θύρας τοῦ μνημείου; καὶ ἀναβλέψασαι θεωροῦσιν ὅτι ἀποκεκύλισται ὁ λίθος· ἦν γὰρ μέγας σφόδρα. Καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, εἶδον νεανίσκον καθήμενον ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς, περιβεβλημένον στολήν λευκήν, καὶ ἐξεθαμβήθησαν· ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐταῖς· Μὴ ἐκθαμβεῖσθε, Ἰησοῦν ζητεῖτε τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον, ἠγέρθη, οὐκ ἔστιν ᾧδε· ἴδε, ὁ τόπος ὅπου ἔθηκαν αὐτόν, ἀλλ' ὑπάγετε, εἴπατε τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ καὶ τῷ Πέτρῳ, ὅτι προάγει ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν· ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε, καθὼς εἶπεν ὑμῖν. Καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ταχὺ ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου, εἶχε δὲ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις, καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπον· ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ.
Ἀδελφοί, εἰδότες ὅτι οὐ δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, ἐὰν μὴ διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐπιστεύσαμεν, ἵνα δικαιωθῶμεν ἐκ πίστεως Χριστοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου· διότι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σάρξ. Εἰ δὲ ζητοῦντες δικαιωθῆναι ἐν Χριστῷ εὑρέθημεν καὶ αὐτοὶ ἁμαρτωλοί, ἆρα Χριστὸς ἁμαρτίας διάκονος; μὴ γένοιτο! Εἰ γάρ, ἃ κατέλυσα, ταῦτα πάλιν οἰκοδομῶ, παραβάτην ἐμαυτὸν συνίστημι. Ἐγὼ γὰρ διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον ἵνα Θεῷ ζήσω. Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι· ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός· ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντός με καὶ παραδόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ.
Μαρ 8:34-38; 9:1
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος· Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν, ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι. ὃς γὰρ ἂν θέλῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ σῶσαι, ἀπολέσει αὐτήν· ὃς δ᾿ ἂν ἀπολέσῃ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ψυχὴν ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, οὗτος σώσει αὐτήν. τί γὰρ ὠφελήσει ἄνθρωπον ἐὰν κερδήσῃ τὸν κόσμον ὅλον, καὶ ζημιωθῇ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ; ἢ τί δώσει ἄνθρωπος ἀντάλλαγμα τῆς ψυχῆς αὐτοῦ; ὃς γὰρ ἐὰν ἐπαισχυνθῇ με καὶ τοὺς ἐμοὺς λόγους ἐν τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ μοιχαλίδι καὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ, καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπαισχυνθήσεται αὐτὸν ὅταν ἔλθῃ ἐν τῇ δόξῃ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων τῶν ἁγίων. Καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι εἰσί τινες τῶν ὧδε ἑστηκότων, οἵτινες οὐ μὴ γεύσωνται θανάτου ἕως ἂν ἴδωσι τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐληλυθυῖαν ἐν δυνάμει.
Sunday After the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Beloved in the Lord:
Today we continue to celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. It may seem strange that we devote certain periods of the Church year especially to the Cross because it is so characteristic of our entire life in Christ. No matter what else is going on in the Church or in our own lives, we are never done with the Cross, for our Savior calls us—just as He did His original disciples—to take up our crosses and follow Him each and every day. That is not a command limited to certain days or periods, for it is a calling that permeates the Christian life.
The Lord told the disciples what they did not want to hear: that they too must take up their crosses and lose their lives in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The same is true for us, for whatever false gods we are tempted to serve cannot conquer sin and death or bring healing to our souls. To serve them is to become their slaves and to receive nothing in return but weakness and despair. The word of the Cross is that we too must lose ourselves in the service of the Kingdom in order to participate personally in our Lord’s great victory and blessing, both now and for eternity.
Though we do not like to acknowledge it, true holiness contradicts conventional standards of success in our corrupt world. The way of the Cross judges all nations, people, and cultures, and makes clear how they fall short. But let us not think that taking up the cross is reserved only for those called to make the ultimate sacrifice. For He calls every one of us to become a living martyr by dying to our sinfulness, to how we have wounded ourselves, our relationships, and our world. To turn away from corruption in any of its forms is to take up the cross. We do not want to hear it, but if we want to share in the joy of Christ’s resurrection, we must first participate in the struggle, pain, and sacrifice of crucifixion.
That does not mean convincing ourselves that we are being persecuted for our faith whenever someone criticizes or disagrees with us. It does not mean having a “martyr complex” in which we sacrifice in order to gain sympathy from others. We must never distort our faith into a way of getting what we want from others, a habit of feeling sorry for ourselves, or a means of justifying hatred or resentment towards anyone for any reason. If we crucify others even in our thoughts for whatever reason, we turn away from the true Cross. Instead, our calling is to follow the example of our Lord in forgiving even those who hate and reject us.
The One Who offered up Himself calls us to crucify our own sinful desires and actions, the habits of thought, word, and deed that lead us to worship and serve ourselves instead of God and neighbor. That is very hard to do in a culture that celebrates self-centeredness and self-indulgence. Many people are such slaves to their own desires that there is no limit to their wrath when those desires are not met. Of course, this is simply a form of idolatry, of worshiping ourselves instead of the One who went to the Cross for our salvation.
If we are honest, we will confess that living that way simply makes us miserable, ashamed, and even more enslaved to our passions. Contrary to popular option, it is a path toward ever greater weakness, not toward strength of any kind. It may seem possible to gain the whole world for a time by living that way, but those who do still end up losing their souls.
Saint Paul said of himself, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me.” By dying to his sins, Saint Paul became a living icon of the Lord. Our Savior’s glorification of humanity was made present in his life. He became truly himself in the divine image and likeness by sharing in the Lord’s death and resurrection. The same is true of all the Saints, of all those who have manifested in their own lives the holiness of our Lord, whether they died as martyrs or not.
In our culture, it is not hard to find false substitutes for taking up our crosses and following our Lord. We may think that simply expressing ourselves is somehow really virtuous. But true holiness is much more demanding than stating an opinion, “liking” a post on social media, or putting a bumper sticker on our car. For example, it is much harder to give of our time, energy, and resources to help a troubled or needy person than it is to agree with the idea of helping others. Most of us have more than enough work to do in purifying our own hearts before we start worrying too much about how others are doing.
Regardless of how correct we may be on any issue or problem, words and thoughts alone will not help us die to the power of sin in our lives, especially if they inflame passions such as self-righteous pride or judgment toward particular people. In order for our faith to be more than a reflection of how we think or feel, we must act in ways that require self-sacrifice and help to purify our hearts. We must actually follow Christ in our daily lives by taking up our crosses.
We may do so by enduring personal challenges and disappointments with patience, humility, and deep trust that the Lord will not abandon us. There is no “one size fits all” journey to the Kingdom, no legal definition, even as the Saints include people of so many different life circumstances and personalities. Regardless of our situation, we all have the opportunity to bear our crosses in relation to the particular challenges that we face. Most of us do not need to go looking for spiritual challenges; if we will open our eyes, we will see that they are right before us.
Our Lord calls us all to live as those who are not ashamed of His Cross. That means that we must take practical, tangible steps every day in order to die to the corrupting influence of sin so that we may participate more fully in the new life that our Savior has brought to the world. If we do not, then we deny our Lord and His Cross. If we do not, we worship the false god of self because we refuse to place obedience to the way of the Savior over obedience to our own self-centered desires. Our ultimate choice is not between this or that opinion or idea, but between uniting ourselves to our Lord in His great Self-Offering and simply serving ourselves. One is a path to life, while the other leads only to the grave.
If we ever think that we are serving the Lord faithfully when we are not sacrificing to bear our crosses, then we should think again. We must not commemorate the Cross only in certain periods of the Church year, but every day of our lives in how we live, how we treat others, and how we respond to our temptations, weaknesses, and chronic challenges. The Lord offered Himself in free obedience on the Cross for the salvation of the world, and it is only by taking up the cross of dying to sin’s corruption in our lives that we will share in the great victory that He worked through it. He conquered death in His glorious resurrection on the third day. We will participate personally in His great triumph only if we deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him. That is what it means to be one of His disciples.
Praying that the abundant blessings of Almighty God and the prayers of the Holy Theotokos be with you, I humbly remain
With paternal love and blessings in the Lord,
September Liturgical Calendar
Wednesday, Sep. 1st - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (Ecclesiastical New Year)
Sunday, Sep. 5th - 9:00am Orhtros & Divine Liturgy (11th Sunday of Matthew)
Tuesday, Sep. 7th - 7:00pm Great Vespers (Forefeast of the Nativity of the Theotokos)
Wednesday, Sep. 8th - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (Nativity of the Theotokos)
Sunday, Sep. 12th - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (Sunday before the Holy Cross)
Tuesday, Sep. 14th - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (Exaltation of the Holy Cross)
Sunday, Sep. 19th - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (Sunday after the Holy Cross)
Sunday, Sep. 26th - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (Falling Asleep of St. John the Theologian)
October Liturgical Calendar
Friday, Oct. 1st - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (Holy Protection of the Theotokos)
Sunday, Oct. 3rd - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (2nd Sunday of Luke - St. Dionysios the Areopagite)
Sunday, Oct. 10th - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (3rd Sunday of Luke)
Sunday, Oct 17th - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (Sunday of the 7th Ecumenical Council)
Sunday, Oct. 24th - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (6th Sunday of Luke)
Monday, Oct. 25th - 7:00pm Great Vespers for St. Demetrios at Merrick
Tuesday, Oct.26th - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (St. Demetrios the Myrrh-Streamer)
Sunday, Oct. 31st - 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy (5th Sunday of Luke)
The Mystery of Holy Confession
Memorial Service for Sunday, September 12th
Rev. Economos Apostolos Panos - 40 Day Memorial
May his memory be eternal
Sunday School Program
Sunday, Sep. 19th - Sunday School classes begin following Holy Communion
In 278, during the reign of Probus, Saints Trophimus and Sabbatius came to Antioch, and seeing the city celebrating the festival of Apollo at Daphne lamented the blindness of the people, and presented themselves as Christians to Atticus the Governor. Saint Trophimus was stripped of his clothing, and was stretched out and beaten until the earth was red with his blood. Then he was hung up, scraped on his sides, and imprisoned in torments. Saint Sabbatius was tortured so savagely that he gave up his spirit in his sufferings. Trophimus was sent to Synnada, wearing iron shoes fitted with sharp iron nails within; he was further tormented without mercy, then cast into prison. Dorymedon, a counsellor, and a pagan, came to the prison and cared for Trophimus. When a certain feast came, Dorymedon was asked why he did not sacrifice to the idols; he proclaimed himself a Christian, for which he was imprisoned, pierced with heated spits, frightfully punished, and finally beheaded with Saint Trophimus.