5th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 4. Fathers of the 1st Six Ecumenical Councils. Greatmartyr Marina (Margaret) of Antioch in Pisidia (4th c.). Royal Passionbearers Tsar Nicholas (Nikolai), Tsaritsa Alexandra, Tsarevich Aleksy, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia (1918—July 4th O.S.).
Tone 4 Troparion (Resurrection)
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!”
Tone 8 Troparion (Fathers)
You are most glorious, O Christ our God! You have established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth. Through them You have guided us to the true Faith.// O greatly compassionate One, glory to You!
Tone 4 Kontakion (Resurrection)
On this day You rose 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 Your power.
Tone 8 Kontakion (Fathers)
The Apostles’ preaching and the Fathers’ doctrines have established one Faith for the Church. Adorned with the robe of truth, woven from heavenly theology,// It defines and glorifies the great mystery of piety.
Tone 6 Kontakion (Steadfast Protectress)
Steadfast Protectress of Christians, Constant Advocate before the Creator; Do not despise the cries 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!
Tone 4 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
O Lord, how manifold are Your works; / in wisdom have You made them all. (Ps. 103:26)
V. Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord, my God, You are very great! (Ps. 103:1)
Tone 7 Prokeimenon (Song of the Three Holy Children)
Blessed are You, O Lord God of our fathers, / and praised and glorified is Your Name forever! (Song of the Three Holy Children, v. 3)
Romans 10:1-10 (Epistle)
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Hebrews 13:7-16 (Epistle, Fathers)
Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. Go forth, prosper and reign, for the sake of meekness, righteousness and truth! (Ps. 44:3b)
V. For You love righteousness, and hate iniquity. (Ps. 44:6)
V. The Lord, the God of gods, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. (Ps. 49:1)
Matthew 8:28-9:1 (Gospel)
When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.” And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water. Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region. So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.
John 17:1-13 (Gospel, Fathers)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.
Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
The Lord has taken all of our sufferings and cares upon Himself, and He has said that He will provide for all our needs, yet we hold on to our cares so tightly that we create unrest in our hearts and minds, in our families, and all around us. Whenever I am burdened by problems, and when I try to bear all the cares of the monastery and the brotherhood by myself, then there is trouble in store for me and the brethren. Even the easiest job is carried out with great difficulty. But when I commit myself, the brotherhood, and everything else unto the Lord, even the hardest of jobs gets done with ease. There is no pressure, and peace reigns among the brethren.
The Lord is present everywhere, and nothing happens without His will or His permission, either in this life or in eternity. When we accept this idea, everything is made easier. If God would allow us to do everything the way we desire and when we desire, this would certainly result in catastrophe. One cannot even imagine the chaos that would occur. God reminds us in different ways of His presence. We, however, quickly forget about it, especially when things are going well for us. We forget that we are here for a short time only, and we think that we will be around forever, but when misfortune strikes, we cry, “Lord have mercy!” This is why we should try hard to change our character for the better.
A man who has within him the Kingdom of Heaven radiates holy thoughts, Divine thoughts. The Kingdom of God creates within us an atmosphere of heaven, as opposed to the atmosphere of hell that is radiated by a person when hades abides in his heart. The role of Christians in the world is to filter the atmosphere on earth and expand the atmosphere of the Kingdom of God. We can keep guard over the whole world by keeping guard over the atmosphere of heaven within us, for if we lose the Kingdom of Heaven, we will save neither ourselves nor others. He who has the Kingdom of God in himself will imperceptibly pass it on to others. People will be attracted by the peace and warmth in us; they will want to be near us, and the atmosphere of heaven will gradually pass on to them. It is not even necessary to speak to people about this. The atmosphere of heaven will radiate from us even when we keep silence or talk about ordinary things. It will radiate from us even though we may not be aware of it.
The Kingdom of God will not make its abode in the heart of a person who has no obedience, for such a person always wants his will—rather than God’s—to be done. In the Kingdom of God, there is no possibility of a kingdom within a kingdom. This was the goal of the fallen spirits too, and that is why they have fallen away from the Lord, the King of Glory. A person who is entrapped in the vicious cycle of chaotic thoughts, in the atmosphere of hades, or has only so much as touched it, feels the torments of hell. For example, we read the newspapers or take a walk in the streets, and afterwards we suddenly feel that something is not quite right in our souls; we feel an emptiness; we feel sadness. That is because by reading all sorts of things, our mind becomes distracted and the atmosphere of hades has free access to our minds.
Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: the Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica (pp. 59-61).
Homily: On the Need to Repeat and Repeat
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth (II Peter 1:12)
A plower ploughs a field. Does not the plower repeat the same task every moment? How would he plow the field, if not by plowing from morning to dusk, making furrow after furrow?
A traveler walks down a road. Does not the traveler repeat the same task every second with the same effort? How else would he travel the road and reach his destination? The carpenter prepares the boards in his workshop. Does not the carpenter repeat the same task with every board, with the same labor? How else would he be able to prepare the required number of boards? Brethren, are not all of our beneficial works comprised of strands and strands of repetition? Therefore, let not the preacher of the truth become slothful, and let him not say: “I’ve told them, and I will not repeat it!” Let not the hearer of the truth become proud, and let him not say: “I have heard it once, and I do not need to hear it again!” O preacher of the truth, do not be afraid to repeat and repeat; to teach repeatedly, and to remind repeatedly. Without repetition, the field is not plowed, nor the path traveled, nor the framework of the house prepared. And it is your task to plow, to lead and to prepare. O hearer of the truth, do not become proud and say that you have heard the truth once. Truth is food for the soul. You have eaten bread today, yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and for months before, and years past. And you will eat it again, so that your body will be healthy. Nourish your soul as well. Nourish it with the truth—the same truth, yesterday, today, tomorrow and until death—so that your soul may be healthy, strong and radiant. O Lord Jesus, nourish us every day and every hour with Thy truth, which is Thyself, O Jesus, sweet nourishment! To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Velimirovic, Saint Nikolai. The Prologue of Ohrid. Sebastian Press Publishing House.