ON THIS DATE: From the Prologue to Ohrid/Ochrid

An online Synaxaristes including martyrologies and hagiographies of the lives of the Orthodox Church's saints.

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Mary Kissel
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March 16/ 29

Postby Mary Kissel » Thu 25 March 2004 6:31 pm

March 16



1. THE HOLY APOSTLE ARISTOBULUS, ONE OF THE SEVENTY APOSTLES

Born in Cyprus, Aristobulus was the brother of the Apostle Barnabas. He followed the Apostle Paul, who mentions him in his Epistle to the Romans saying, "Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus" (Romans 16:10). When the great apostle appointed many bishops throughout the various parts of the world, he appointed Aristobulus as bishop for the British, that is, England. In Britain the people were savages, heathen and wicked. Aristobulus endured many indescribable tortures, misfortunes and evil among them. They struck and beat him mercilessly, dragged him about the streets, ridiculed and mocked him. Finally this holy man succeeded by the power of the Grace of God. He enlightened the people, baptized them in the name of Christ the Lord, built churches, ordained priests and deacons and, in the end, died there peacefully and entered into the Kingdom of the Lord, Whom he faithfully served.(*)

(*) In the Greek Synaxarion the Venerable Christodulos is also mentioned on this day. He lived a life of asceticism on the island of Patmos, where he build a monastery dedicated to St. John the Theologian. He died in the year 1111 A.D. Many miracles occured over his relics.

2. THE HOLY MARTYR SABINUS

Sabinus was a Syrian from the city of Hermopolis and an official of that city. At the time of a persecution against the Christians, he withdrew to a mountain with a large number of other Christians and closed himself off in a hut, where he spent his time in fasting and prayer. A certain beggar, who brought him food and for whom Sabinus performed a good deed, reported him. As did Judas to Christ, so also, this unfortunate one betrayed his benefactor for two pieces of gold. Sabinus, with six others, were apprehended, bound by the soldiers and brought to stand trial. After great and enormous pains he was cast into the Nile river where he gave up his soul to God in the year 287.A.D.

3. THE PRIEST-MARTYRS TROPHIMUS AND THALLUS

They were born in Syria and were brothers by birth. They openly and freely preached Christ and denounced the folly of the Hellenes [Greeks] and Romans. The enraged pagans decided to have them stoned to death, but when they began hurling stones upon these two holy brothers, the stones reverted and struck the assailants and the brothers remained unharmed. Afterward they were both crucified. From their crosses the brothers taught and encouraged those Christians who stood sorrowfully around. After much agony they presented their souls to the Lord to Whom they remained faithful to the end. They suffered honorably in the year 300 A.D., in the city of Bofor.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINTS TROPHIMUS AND THALLUS

Two blood-brothers imbued by the Spirit,

Illumined and regenerated by faith,

These two brothers, on the Cross crucified,

Counseled the masses of right-believing people:

O, brethren, why upon us, from below, do you gaze?

Because of our difficult sufferings, do not, bitterly weep!

Christ our Savior, Doer of heroic deeds,

Because of such sufferings, the Redeemer, He became,

The Redeemer of the entire human race,

Listening to Him, we are being saved.

He obeyed the Father, and to the earth descended,

Suffered and resurrected, into Heaven ascended.

To Him we harken and sufferings endure,

Through sufferings, into His kingdom we walk.

Fear not brethren, neither fire nor sword,

The justice of Christ, than the entire world is stronger.

Fear not brethren, nor for yourself feel sorrow,

For eternal salvation, deny yourself.

All sufferings are small, trivial and bearable,

Compared to the rewards of Paradise, eternal and sublime.

The world, a false mask, is an insane illusion,

Eternity, that is our true homeland.

Give the world to those who love the lie of the world,

And because of lies, they forfeit life and truth,

You, seize the pearl above the mud of the world -

Harken, brethren, to Trophimus and Thallus!


REFLECTION

If we fulfill the law of God in our thoughts, how much easier would it be then for us to fulfill it in our deeds? That is, if we do not transgress the law of God in our thoughts, how much easier would it be not to transgress it in our deeds? Or still, if our hearts, tongues, hands and feet are with God, then our entire body cannot be against God. Heart, heart, prepare your heart for God. Consecrate it to God; worship God; fulfill the law of God in it; unite it with God; and all the rest will follow and will be governed by the heart. It is not he who holds the spoke of the wheel that steers the wheel, but he who holds its axis. The heart is the axis of our being. Speaking about the commandments of God, the Venerable Hesychius says, "If you compel yourself to fulfill them in your thought, then you will rarely have the need to strain yourself to fulfill them in deed." That is, if you set your hearts on God, as on an axis, then the wheels will easily and comfortably follow the axis. In other words all of man will follow after his own heart. "Your law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:9), says the all-wise David.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the Lord Jesus how He walks under the cross to Golgotha:

1. How He quietly and patiently carries His cross;

2. How they took the cross from Him and gave it to Simon of Cyrene; how he carried the cross walking after Christ;

3. How He glanced at the women of Jerusalem, who were weeping, and said to them: "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me: weep instead for yourselves and for your children" (St. Luke 23:28), declaring by this His victory and defeat over His murderers.

HOMILY

About the reproach of Christ as wealth

"By faith Moses considered the reproach than the treasures of Egypt, for he was of the Anointed One greater wealth looking to the recompense" (Hebrews 11: 24-26).

Moses did not want to remain in the palace of the pharaoh nor to be called the adopted son of pharaoh. Desiring more, "He chose to be ill-treated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin" (Hebrews 11:25). How different was Moses from his descendants [The Jews], who out of pharonic reasons, condemned the King of Glory to death! All of them would have liked to live one more year in the decaying court of the pharaoh rather than to travel with God for forty years in the wilderness. Moses left all honors, all riches and all vanities, which only the wealth of Egypt could provide. At the command of God, Moses started out through the hungry and thirsty wilderness with faith that beyond there lay the Promised Land. All of this also means to hold the "reproach of the Anointed One [Christ]" above all the wealth of Egypt.

The "reproach of the Anointed One [Christ]" is that which the men of this world with a powerful stench of the earth, are ashamed in Christ. That is Christ's poverty on earth, His fasting, His vigil, His prayer, His wandering without a roof over His head, His condemnation, His humiliation, and His shameful death. This "reproach of the Anointed One [Christ]" was valued by the apostles, and after them, by countless saints, who thought this to be of greater wealth than all the riches in the entire world. Following these indignities, the Lord resurrected and opened the gates of heaven and revealed the Promised Land of Paradise, into which He led mankind along the path of His reproach or the wilderness of His suffering.

O Lord, glorified and resurrected, help us that we may hold unwaveringly every drop of Your sweat and Your blood as a treasure greater than all worldly riches.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

Justin Kissel

March 15/28

Postby Justin Kissel » Mon 29 March 2004 3:42 pm

1. THE VENERABLE MARTYR EUSTRATIUS OF THE CAVES IN KIEV

Eustratius was very wealthy and, being touched with love for Christ, distributed his entire estate for the sake of Christ and entered the monastery of Pecer and was tonsured a monk. When the Polovtsians waged war against Kiev in 1097 A.D., they plundered the monastery and slew many Christians, including monks. Eustratius, alone, with some of the faithful, were sold into slavery to a Jew in the city of Khorsum [Chresom]. This Jew ridiculed the Faith of Christ and attempted to coerce the Christians into embracing the Jewish religion. Seeing that they had no other alternative, they all agreed to starve themselves to death and not to deny the True Faith. Eustratius encouraged the Christians to follow that decision. They all died of hunger; some after three days, some after four and some after seven. Being accustomed to fasting, Eustratius, alone, remained alive and endured fourteen days without food. The Jew, angered because he lost money with which he purchased the slaves, took out his revenge on Eustratius by nailing him to a cross. Eustratius praised God from the cross and prophesied a severe and imminent death for the Jew. Wild with rage, the Jew pierced him with a spear. The saint of God gave up his soul to his Savior. His body was thrown into the sea, but it floated to the surface. Great miracles occurred over this martyr's body. Shortly after the death of Eustratius, the Byzantine emperor decreed that the Jews of the city of Khorsum be punished for their wickedness toward Christians. This tormentor of Christians was hung on a tree and received the reward of Judas.

2. VENERABLE HILARION, THE NEW CONFESSOR

Hilarion was the abbot of a monastery of Pelekit, near Hellespont. He glowed as the sun with the spirit of God, healed people and expelled evil spirits. This man of God suffered at the time when Leo the Armenian began the Iconoclastic persecution. With forty of his monks, Hilarion was sent into exile near Ephesus and died there in prison and took up habitation in the Kingdom of Christ in 754 A.D.

3. THE VENERABLE HESYCHIUS OF JERUSALEM

A presbyter and profound theologian, Hesychius was a disciple of St. Gregory the Theologian and a contemporary of St. Euthymius the Great. One should read his glorious work "Concerning Sobriety in Prayer." He died peacefully in the year 434 A.D.

4. THE HOLY MARTYR BOYAN, BULGARIAN PRINCE

Boyan was the son of Krutogan and the nephew of Grubash. Boyan confessed his faith in Christ; however, his brother Milomir was a pagan. By decree of his brother, Boyan was beheaded for the True Faith in the year 827 A.D.

5. THE MIRACULOUS OCCURRENCE OF TAXIOTIS

Taxiotis was a soldier from Carthage. He spent his entire life in grievous sinsbut finally repented, left the military service and lived a God-pleasing life. While he was with his wife on his estate near the city, he committed adultery with the wife of his farm worker. Afterwards, he was bitten by a snake and died immediately. Taxiotis was dead for six hours after which he arose. Then, on the fourth day, he spoke and related how and what kind of level of judgment he had passed through until he came to the level of judgment [Mitarstvo] for adultery. There, he fell into the dark abode of demons from which he was led out by an angel who attested on his behalf and was sent back in the flesh to repent for his latest sin. He repented for forty days, going from church to church, beating his head against the doors and thresholds, always crying and telling of the terrible sufferings which sinners undergo in the other world. He implored men not to sin but to repent for those sins already committed. On the fortieth day, with rejoicing, Taxiotis took up habitation into the Kingdom of the Merciful God.

HYMN OF PRAISE

TAXIOTIS THE SOLDIER


Throughout all of Carthage, Taxiotis sobbed,

Telling to all, the horrors seen:

The horrors, O brethren, what my soul saw!

O malodorous abyss where my soul descended!

O monsters terrible, and mud and shrieks!

O weeping without tears, wailing and screaming!

Not six hours did I think, but a hundred years,

In the world of Hades, that, an inhabitant I was!

Until a radiant angel, a guarantee for me offered,

Raised and lowered me near Carthage,

That I, he said, in the body be clothed again;

For my latest misdeed, to repent.

When, upon the body, the smelly corpse I gazed,

My strength left me and my joy perished:

This smelly corpse, O, how can I enter?

How, in this loathsome carrion, to be clothed?

O, how, until now, could I have in it remained?

For pleasure, that garbage, my soul to lose?

O, radiant angel, spare me pain,

Force me not, anymore, into that fetid shame!

At my crying out, the angel, angry became:

Who in the body sins, in the body repents!

Thus, sternly he said and, added this:

Either, into the body you will, or into Hades again?

When Hades he mentioned, I fell painfully silent,

Rapidly to the body I approached and into the body crawled.

Forty days for repentance, I have,

And a lesson to all and a warning.

Repent, O brethren, quickly repent,

With your sins into Hades, do not stumble.

Repent quickly, only repent,

Repentance will not be allowed you there.

Taxiotis is relating to you what he, himself, saw

O, fetid abyss, where my soul descended!


REFLECTION

St. Simeon the New Theologian, in speaking about a handsome twenty year old youth, George by name, who, despite his beauty and youth and living among the conceited of the world, recognized the path of salvation and was enlightened by spiritual wisdom, concludes with these words: "Do you understand how youth does not hinder nor does old age help a man, if he does not have reason and the fear of God." What prevented the young Apostle John from believing in Christ the Lord? What were the benefits of age to the Jewish elders when they were blinded in mind and in their blindness sentenced the Son of God to death? Nothing, nothing prevents youth in the young, even in our time, from giving their faith and love to Christ, who created them out of love. Nothing benefits the age of the aged in our time if their souls are poisoned with maliciousness toward Christ. Young and old bodies are nothing more than a new and an old garment of the soul. One or the other of these garments can conceal a healthy or a sick soul. Our goal is a healthy and clean soul.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the Lord Jesus in death:

1. How all of nature trembled when He gave up the Spirit, as though to protest against this criminal act of the race of men;

2. How the earth quaked, the sun darkened, the rocks were split, the veil of the temple was rent and the graves were opened.

HOMILY

About the horror of nature at the death of Christ

"The earth quaked, rocks weresplit" (St. Matthew 27:51).

O, what a terrible reproach against mankind! Even dead nature recognized Him Whom men were unable to recognize. All mute things trembled and began to protest, each in its own way and in its own language. The mute earth quakes--that is its language. The stones split apart--that is their language. The sun withholds its light--that is its language. All of creation in its own way protested. For all of creation is submissive to Him, as it was to Adam at one time in Paradise, because all of creation recognizes Him as it did Adam in Paradise. How is it that irrational creation knew Him and was obedient to Him, we do not know. It is some kind of inner instinct of irrational creation, which came to them from the word of God, by which they were created. That instinct of irrational creation is more valuable than the mind of man when darkened by sin. Of all the things which are in existence, nothing is more blind than the mind of man when darkened by sin. Not only does he not see what was created to be seen, rather, he sees that which is contrary to being, contrary to God, and contrary to the truth. These are the degrees of the blindness; beneath blindness; these are numbers below zero. This is man of lower creation. For when the priests of God in Jerusalem did not recognize their God, the storms and winds recognized Him; vegetation and animals recognized Him; the seas, the rivers, the earth, the stones, the stars, the sun and even the demons recognized Him. O what kind of shame it is for mankind!

The earth quaked, the rocks split, the sun darkened, as much in anger as in sorrow. All creation grieved over the pain of the Son of God, in Whose pain the priests in Jerusalem rejoiced. Protests and sorrow and fear! The whole of creation was frightened at the death of Him Who cried to them arise from nothing and rejoice in your being. As though it wanted to say: with whom do we remain and who will now uphold us when the Almighty gives up the Spirit?

O brethren, let us be ashamed of this protest, these sorrows and this fear of the mutes of creation! With repentance let us cry out to the Lord, the Victor: forgive, O Compassionate Lord, for indeed, whenever we sin and offend You, we do not know what we are doing.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

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Mary Kissel
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March 18/31

Postby Mary Kissel » Tue 30 March 2004 3:49 pm

March 18





1. SAINT CYRIL, ARCHBISHOP OF JERUSALEM

Cyril was born in Jerusalem during the reign of Constantine the Great and died during the reign of Theodosius the Great [315-386 A.D.] He was ordained a priest in 346 A.D. and succeeded to the throne of Blessed Maximus, Patriarch of Jerusalem in 350 A.D. On three occasions he was dethroned and banished into exile until finally, during the reign of Theodosius, he was restored and lived peacefully for eight years and then gave up his soul to the Lord. He underwent two difficult struggles: one, against the Arians, who became powerful under Constantius, the son of Constantine, and the other during the reign of Julian the Apostate [this turncoat] and with the Jews. At the time of the dominance of the Arians and on the Day of Pentecost, a sign of the cross, brighter than the sun, appeared which stretched over Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives and lasted for several hours from the ninth hour in the morning. Concerning this phenomenon, seen by all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a report was written to Emperor Constantius which served much in establishing Orthodoxy against the heretics. During the time of the Apostate, still another sign occurred. In order to humiliate the Christians Julian persuaded the Jews to restore the Temple of Solomon. Cyril prayed to God that this not happen. There was a terrible earthquake which destroyed all that had been newly built. Then the Jews began restoration anew. Again, there was an earthquake which destroyed not only the newly constructed portion but overturned and scattered the old stones beneath the ground which supported the Temple. And so the words of the Lord came true that "there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down" (St. Matthew 13:2 - St. Luke 2:6). Among the many writings of this holy father is his Catechetical Discourses, a first class work preserved to the present which confirms the faith and practice of Orthodoxy. This saint was a unique arch-pastor and a great ascetic. He was meek and humble, exhausted from fasting, and pallid. After a life of many labors and noble struggles for the Orthodox Faith, Cyril peacefully died and took up habitation in the eternal court of the Lord.

2. ANINUS, THE WONDER-WORKER

Aninus was born in Chalcedon. He was of short stature as was Zacchaeus of old but great in spirit and faith. He withdrew from the world in his fifteenth year and settled in a hut near the Euphrates river where he prayed to God and atoned for his sins, at first with his teacher Mayum and, after his death, alone. Through the power of his prayers, he replenished a dry well with water, healed the sick of various maladies and tamed wild beasts. A trained lion accompanied him and was at his service at all times. He discerned the future. When Pionius, a stylite,was attacked and badly beaten by robbers some distance away from Aninus, Pionius decided to descend from the pillar and proceed to complain to the judges. St. Aninus "discerned the soul" of this stylite and his intention. He sent a letter to Pionius, by his lion, counseling him to abandon his intention, to forgive his assailants and to continue in his asceticism. His charity was inexpressible. The bishop of Neo-Caesarea presented him with a donkey in order to ease the burden of carrying water from the river, but he gave the donkey to a needy man who had complained to him about his poverty. The bishop presented him with another donkey and he gave that one away. Finally, the bishop gave him a third donkey, not only to serve as a water-carrier but one that Aninus was to care for and to return. Before his death Aninus saw Moses, Aaron and Or [Egyptian Ascetic] approaching him, and they called out to him, "Aninus, the Lord is calling you, arise and come with us." He revealed this to his disciples and gave up his soul to the Lord, Whom he faithfully served. He was one-hundred ten years old when his earthly life was ended.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT CYRIL OF JERUSALEM

A large sanctuary light glows before the Altar,

And a small sanctuary light with a smaller flame,

But one and the other gives off the same light

And before the same God, they shine with a glow.

Both, great saints and lesser saints

With the same flame of Christ set on fire.

Among the great saints, a large sanctuary lamp,

Holy Church numbers Saint Cyril.

The Faith, he explained and confirmed,

Whatever he said in words, he confirmed by his life.

His word was of the Holy Spirit,

And his life, a reflection of the flame of heaven.

Arius he shamed and Julian he crushed,

And to many ailing souls he was a balm.

From word to word, he believed Christ

Therefore his word resounds as gold;

And continues today, the weak and those of little faith,

He encourages and makes joyful the right-believers in Christ.

That is why the Church glorifies and honors Cyril,

Throughout the centuries, the name of Cyril echoes.

REFLECTION

There are many vindictive people who think that time brought greatness to Christ, and how, in the early centuries of Christianity, the Lord was not thought of as highly as He was thought of in later times. Nothing is easier than to squelch this untruth. Here is the way St. Cyril of Jerusalem writes about the Lord Christ, "This is He Who is and He Who was, [He Is] consubstantial with the Father, [He Is] the Only-Begotten, [He Is] equally enthroned, [He Is] equal in power, [He Is] Almighty, [He Is] without beginning, [He Is] uncreated, [He Is] unchangeable, [He Is] indescribable, [He Is] invisible, [He Is] inexpressible, [He Is] incomprehensible, [He Is] immeasurable, [He Is] unfathomable, [He Is] uncircumscribed. He is the "brightness of His [Father's] Glory" (Hebrews 1:13). He is the Creator [Author] of the substance of all things created. He is the Light of Light, shining from the bosom of the Father. He is God of gods "that such is God, Our God forever and ever" (Psalm 48:15),and God of God who gives us knowledge of Himself. He is the Fountain of Life "For with you is the Fountain of our life" (Psalm 36:9), flowing from the Father's Fountain of life. He is the River of God; "There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God" (Psalm 46:4), "The river of God is full of water" (Psalm 65:9) Who comes forth from the infinity of God but is not separated from Him. He is the Treasury of the Father's good gifts and endless blessings. He is the Living Water that gives life to the world. "But whoever drinks the water I shall give you will never thirst; the water I shall give you will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (St. John 4:14). He is the uncreated light that is begotten but not separated from the First Sun. He is God the Word [Logos]; "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (St. John 1:1), Who with one word [He] brought forth all things from non-existence into being. "All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be" (St. John 1:3). This is He Who created us in the image of God and has now made Himself man in our image, but at the same time God. Even today, after sixteen centuries since this Confession of Faith was written, the Orthodox Church adheres to this same Faith, word for word and letter for letter.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the Lord Jesus mocked on the cross:

1. How they write this scorn above his head, "King of the Jews" St. Matthew 27:37 - St. Mark 15-27 - St. Luke 23:38);

2. How those passing by scorned Him, shaking their heads and reviling Him;

3. How even the thief on the cross reviles Him;

4. How even throughout the centuries the persecutors of the Christians scorn Him.

HOMILY

About the King who does not wish to defend Himself with an army

"Do you think that I cannot call uponMy Father and He will not provide Me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels" (St. Matthew 26:53).

Thus spoke the Lord to the disciple who drew the sword to defend his Teacher in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is obvious from these words that the Lord could have defended Himself, if He wanted to, not only from Judas and his company of guards, but also from Pilate and the leaders of the Jews. For the might of one angel is greater than the greatest army of men, much less the might of twelve legions of angels.

The Lord did not want to seek this help from the Father. In His prayer in Gethsemane, He said to His Father, "Let Your will be done" (St. Matthew 26:42). With that, He immediately knew the Will of the Father and that it was necessary that He be given over to suffering. He was in agreement with the Will of His Father and set out on the path of suffering. It was necessary to allow the background to be portrayed gloomier in order that the resurrection would be brighter. It was necessary to allow evil to compete as much as it could so that, afterwards, it would explode and disintegrate into nothing. It was necessary to allow evil to cry aloud so that, soon after, it would become speechless before the miraculous resurrection. It was necessary that all the wicked deeds of men against God be manifested so that they would be able to see and appraise the love and mercy of God toward mankind. The angels of God were not sent to defend Christ from the Jews; rather, the angels of God were sent, after three days, to announce the holy resurrection of Christ.

O Lord, All-Powerful and All-Merciful, have mercy on us and save us!

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

Justin Kissel

March 19/April 1

Postby Justin Kissel » Thu 8 April 2004 4:19 pm

1. THE HOLY MARTYRS CHRYSANTHUS AND DARIA AND THE OTHERS WITH THEM

Chrysanthus was the only son of Polemius, a distinguished patrician, who settled in Rome from Alexandria. As the son of wealthy parents, Chrysanthus studied all the secular subjects, having the most learned men for instructors. But secular wisdom confused him and left him in uncertainty as to what is truth. As a result of this, he grieved. But God, who plans all and everything, alleviated his grief. A written copy of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles came into the hands of the young Chrysanthus. Having read them, Chrysanthus was enlightened with the truth, and he desired a teacher and found one in the person of a certain priest, Carpophorus, who taught and baptized him. This did not please his father, who attempted everything in order to dissuade him from believing in Christ. Not succeeding, the wicked father at first tried to corrupt him by placing him alone with an immoral woman. In this, Chrysanthus was victorious over himself and persevered in chastity. His father then coerced him into marring Daria, a pagan girl. Chrysanthus counseled Daria to embrace the Faith in Christ and to live together as brother and sister, although pretending to be married. When his father died, Chrysanthus began to confess Christ openly and to live as a Christian, both he and his entire household. During the reign of Emperor Numerian, he and Daria were cruelly tortured for their faith. Even the torturer Claudius, witnessing the forbearance of these honorable martyrs and the miracles which were manifested during their agony, embraced the Faith of Christ along with his entire household. For this, Claudius was drowned. Both of his sons were beheaded. His wife, after having recited her prayers, died on the gallows. Daria was so steadfast in her agony that the pagans cried out, "Daria is a goddess!" Finally, it was decreed that Chrysanthus and Daria be buried in a deep pit and covered with stones. Later, a church was erected on this site. There was a cave near this pit where some Christians assembled for prayer and Communion in memory of the Saints Chrysanthus and Daria. Hearing of this, the pagans attacked and sealed off this cave. By such a death, the pagans drove these Christians from this world to a better world where Christ reigns eternally. These glorious martyrs, Chrysanthus and Daria and the others with them, among whom were Diodorus the priest and Marianus the deacon, suffered for Christ in Rome in the year 284 A.D.,

2. THE HOLY MARTYR PANCHARIUS

Pancharius was born in Villach, Germany [present day Austria]. He was a high-ranking officer at the court of Diocletian and Maximian. At first, he denied Christ but, being counseled by his mother and sister, he returned to the Faith of Christ and died for it in the year 302 A.D.

HYMN OF PRAISE

THE HOLY MARTYRS CHRYSANTHUS AND DARIA

Saint Chrysanthus counsels Daria,

O virgin, forsake the lie

And do not venerate the idols as gods;

Neither seek, you, truth from the world.

The truth is in the One God,

The One Triune God

Who created the heavenly armies

Of angels and heavenly powers;

Who created the whole universe,

And of the universe, man, the crown.

The only One, immortal and living,

He, out of the earth, creates wrappings

And the clothing of spiritual wealth.

Our soul is spiritual wealth

Wrapped up in the dust of the body.

The soul should be tenderly nurtured

As a bride to make ready for Christ.

Forsake, O virgin, the bodily,

It leads to suffering and sorrow.

God does not look into the vessel of the flesh

But at the flower which grows in it.

O virgin, clothed in death

Today, tomorrow consumed by death:

Adorn your soul with the flower of virtues,

Sow the flower with faith in the Lord,

Enclose it with hope and love,

Water it with the Life-creating Spirit,

Weed it of the weeds of sins,

Let grow the flower of virtues,

Let grow the flower of piety,

Let grow the flower of charity,

Let grow the flower of repentance,

Let grow the flower of patience,

Let grow the flower of abstinence,

Let grow the flower of obedience.

As a hymn of Paradise, your soul is,

Let it smell like a garden in May.

And may God to dwell therein,

For which He created it.

Daria listened to Chrysanthus,

Her soul to Christ she wedded,

Her body to torture she submitted

With Chrysanthus, her spiritual brother.

And God transplanted them to Paradise,

With them, adorned the garden of Paradise.

REFLECTION

"That mercy [of God] that resurrects us and against which we sin later on is even greater then that mercy that He bestowed upon us before He gave us being; when we did not exist. Glory O Lord to Your immeasurable mercy!" Thus speaks St. Isaac the Syrian. He wants to say that greater is the mercy that God showed toward us when, through Christ, He saved us from the corruption of sin and death than when He created us out of nothing. Truly, it is so. Even our earthly parents show greater mercy to the perverted and fallen son when they embrace him again, forgive him all, make him civilized, cleanse him, heal him and again make him their heir then, when they gave him birth.

When the young Pancharius, surrounded by royal honors, denied Christ, his mother wrote him a letter full of pain and sorrow. "Do not be afraid of men," wrote his mother, "but it is essential to fear God's judgment. You should have confessed your faith in Christ before emperors and lords and not to have denied Him. Remember His words: `But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before My heavenly Father' " (St. Matthew 10:33). Being ashamed of himself, the son accepts the advice of his mother, confessed his faith in Christ before the emperor, and died a martyr's death for Christ in order to live with Him eternally. And so the blessed mother of Pancharius brought about a new birth for her son, a spiritual birth more important than the first, physical birth.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the Lord Jesus on the cross:

1. How He suffered in agony on the cross;

2. How He was given vinegar and gall to drink when He said He was thirsty;

3. How those men beneath the cross, insensitive because of selfishness, did not think about Him but were vying for his garments.

HOMILY

About the sign of the Son of Man

"And then the sign of the Son of Manwill appear in the heavens"(St. Matthew 24:30).

What kind of sign will the sign of the Son of Man be, which once had been shown briefly? That is the cross, more brighter than the sun, which manifested itself over Jerusalem before the coming of an earlier personification of the Antichrist by the name of Julian the Apostate. And in lieu of every homily concerning this miraculous sign, it is worthwhile to quote here the letter of St. Cyril of Jerusalem written to Emperor Constatius, the son of Constantine the Great and predecessor of Julian the Apostate. A portion of his letter reads, "For in these very days of the holy feast of Pentecost on the Nones of May, about the third hour, a gigantic cross formed of light appeared in the sky above holy Golgotha stretching out as far as the holy Mount of Olives. It was not seen by just one or two but was most clearly displayed before the whole population of the city. Nor did it, as one might have supposed, pass away quickly like something imagined but was visible to sight above the earth for some hours, while it sparkled with a light above the sun's rays. Of a surety, it would have been overcome and hidden by them, had it not exhibited to those who saw it a brilliance more powerful than the sun, so that the whole population of the city made a sudden concerted rush into the Martyry, [the church] seized by a fear that mingled with joy at the heavenly vision. They poured in, young and old, men and women of every age, not only Christiansbut pagans from elsewhere sojourning in Jerusalem, all of them as with one mouth raised a hymn of praise to the worker of wonders, Christ Jesus our Lord, the Only-begotten Son of God and indeed attested to through experience, came to discern that the honorable [pious] Christian teaching is to be found not only in "persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power" (I Corinthians 2:4), and not only preached by man but, witnessed by God from Heaven. "Announced originally through the Lord, it was confirmed for us by those who had heard. God added His testimony by signs, wonders, and various acts of power" (Hebrews 2:3-4). We consider it our obligation not to remain silent about this Heavenly vision, but through this letter, hasten to inform Your God-glorified and Pious One." O my brethren, everything is possible with God: both, to reveal the created to man and to create the uncreated. But most importantly for us is that He wants to redeem our souls from sin and death and to give us life eternal. Let us pray to Him for this day and night.

O Lord Almighty, To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

Justin Kissel

March 20/April 2

Postby Justin Kissel » Thu 8 April 2004 4:19 pm

1. THE VENERABLE MARTYRS, JOHN AND OTHERS FROM THE MONASTIC BROTHERHOOD OF SAINT SABAS THE SANCTIFIED NEAR JERUSALEM

This glorious monastery, which still exists today, was visited by our own Serbian St. Sava and endowed by several Serbian rulers. Many times it was attacked by brutal Arabs, pillaged and laid waste. But, by the Divine Providence of God, it was always restored and is preserved until today. During the reign of Constantine and Irene, it was attacked and pillaged by the Arabs. The monks did not want to flee but, counseling with their abbot Thomas, they said, "We have fled from the world into this wilderness for the sake of our love for Christ and it would be shameful if we fled from the wilderness out of fear of men. If we are slain here, we will be slain because of our love for Christ for Whose cause we came to live here." Having decided, they awaited the armed Arabs, unarmed as lambs before wolves. Some of the monks the Arabs killed with arrows and some they sealed off in the cave of St. Sabas. They lighted a fire at the entrance of the cave and all were suffocated by the smoke. Thus many of them died as martyrs for the sake of Christ and were translated into the Kingdom of Him Whom they loved and for Whose love they perished. They suffered honorably prior to the Feast of the Resurrection in 796 A.D., during the reign of Constantine and Irene and Elijah, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. A just punishment quickly befell these savage attackers. Returning to their tents, they began to quarrel among themselves and in mutual combat all were slain. This occurred in the year 796 A.D.

2. THE HOLY MARTYR PHOTINA

This was the Samaritan woman who had the rare fortune to converse with the Lord Christ Himself at the Well of Jacob, near Sychar (St. John 4:4-31). Believing in the Lord, Photina afterwards went to preach His Gospel with Victor and Josiah her two sons, and with her five sisters, Anatolia, Phota, Photida, Parasceve and Cyriaca. They had gone to Carthage in Africa. There they were arrested and taken to Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero and were thrown into prison. By God's Divine Providence, Domnina, the daughter of Nero, came into contact with St. Photina and was converted to the Faith of Christ by her. After imprisonment they all suffered for the sake of Christ. Photina, who for the first time was enlightened with the light of truth at the well of Sychar, was now thrown into a well where she died and entered into the eternal kingdom of Christ.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT PHOTINA, THE SAMARITAN WOMAN

The Samaritan Woman met Christ at the well,

And was enlightened with the light of Christ, Himself.

Under Nero, her life she ended in another well,

And her spirit she gave to Christ God, her Lord.

Her glorious sons were Victor and Josiah,

Both, the saintly mother enlightened with holiness.

Five sisters suffered for the Name of Christ,

With her were translated to heaven, their reward to receive.

O, penitent Photina, wonderful sufferer,

How your countenance with eternal light now glows.

At one time, not even water did you give to the Savior,

Finally, even your blood for Him, you shed.

Your soul at one time darkened, while yet a Samaritan you were,

When you became a Christian, above the sun's rays, you shown.

In Sychar, you proclaimed Christ with fear,

In the center of Rome, by your death you witnessed to Him.

Love, every fear, destroys and makes one a hero,

O, Photina, love, forever, glorified you.

Two or three Romes, can Nero burn down

But the soul of Christians cannot burn.

The vessels of clay, Nero can smash

But, over the spirit of Photina, did not have any power.

O, immortal saint, help us now,

By your prayers, before the Throne of Christ the Savior.

REFLECTION

God does not punish sinners because it gives Him gratification to destroy men. If that gave Him gratification, He would not have created man out of nothing. He punishes man out of more important constructive reasons, of which two are most apparent to us: First, that by punishment He corrects them and leads him on the true path of salvation; second, to frighten others from sinning. St. Isaac also thinks this when he says, "The just wise man is similar to God, for he punishes man, not to reproach him for his sin but either to correct man or to instill fear in others." One recalcitrant young man, who ridiculed God and his parents, suddenly went insane. The entire city in which this young man lived saw, in this, the punishment of God and were terrified with the fear of God. The young man was held bound and isolated for three years. His mother wept bitterly and prayed to God for her son. One year, during the Feast of Pentecost, the mother brought her insane son to the monastery of St. Basil in Ostrog. After prayers, the insane youth was cured and became himself again. After that, he became an exemplary person and a true Christian.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the Lord Jesus crucified on the cross:

1. How blood flows from His hands and drips to the ground;

2. How blood flows from His feet and drips to the ground;

3. How blood flows from beneath His ribs and drips to the ground.

HOMILY

About the battle of the Lamb with the beasts

"They will fight with the Lamb,but the Lamb will conquer them,for He is the Lord of Lords andKing of Kings" (Revelation 17:14).

Who speaks these marvelous words? John, who saw God. Who is this Lamb? Christ the Lord. Who is this Lord of Lords and King of Kings? Christ the Lord. With whom will He wage war and whom will He defeat? He will defeat the beast which has seven heads and all those whom receive authority, honor and riches from the unclean beast. The Lamb among the beasts! St. John also saw the Lamb as the Victor over all the beasts. Christ among the demons! One would say, "They will devour Him!" Nevertheless, the terrified demons cry out to Him for mercy and flee from Him without turning back. Christ among His tormentors! One would say, "They will destroy Him forever." Nevertheless, He resurrects and conquers and they flee from Him in terror and perish. The Church among the heathens! One would say, "They will flood her [The Church] like the waves over a small island." Nevertheless, the pagan kingdoms sank and fell apart and the Church still exists, flourishes and advances. The Faith of Christ among the pungent philosophers and theoreticians! One would say, "They will out-smart it [The Faith] and banish it [The Faith] from the world." Nevertheless, they steer one another into lies and persecutions but the Faith of Christ saves men. Reverence among the blasphemers of God and apostates from God! One would say, "We will soil it!" Nevertheless, they are smothered in their own filth and reverence preserves itself in unsoiled purity. Christian meekness and tearfulness in the of midst of tyrants and abductors! One would say, "It will die of hunger!" Nevertheless, it lives and walks satiated, while the tyrants and abductors suffer from starvation. The Lamb among the beasts! Nevertheless, the Lamb is the Victor.

O Lord, Meek and Good, Lamb of God, all caressing, imbue us with Your meekness and goodness, so that even we may share in Your victory.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

Justin Kissel

March 21/ April 3

Postby Justin Kissel » Thu 8 April 2004 4:20 pm

1. SAINT JAMES, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

Neither the place of his birth nor the place where James served as bishop are known. Only this is known: he fulfilled the law of Christ and spent much time in mortifying himself through strict fasting and prayer. During the time of Copronymos, James endured great hardships and suffering at the hands of the Iconoclasts, such as hunger, imprisonment and ridicule of all sorts. Finally, he gave up his soul to God, Whom he had faithfully served in this life. He lived and suffered in the eighth century.

2. VENERABLE CYRIL, THE BISHOP OF CATANIA IN SICILY

Born in Antioch, Cyril was a disciple of St. Peter. He governed the flock of Christ well. With the aid of prayer, he had the gift of working many miracles. He did so with bitter water which was unfit to drink. In that place in the summer, there was no other water, but through prayer he changed this bitter water into sweet drinkable water. He died peacefully.

3. SAINT THOMAS, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE

Thomas lived during the reign of the Emperors Maurice and Phocas and at the time of the Patriarchs St. John the Faster and Cyriac. Because of his great piety and zeal, Thomas attracted the attention of St. John and was advanced to the order of patriarchal deputy by that saint. Following the death of Cyriac, Thomas was elected patriarch. At this time, an extraordinary event occurred. On one occasion when there was a procession with crosses, the crosses began to sway on their own and began to strike one another. All the people were amazed at this. When the patriarch learned about this being an actual occurrence, he summoned Theodore Sykeon, the renown hermit who possessed the "gift of discernment." The patriarch implored Theodore to explain to him what this incident foretells. Theodore prayed to God and revealed to the patriarch that this occurrence portents great misfortunes, both for the Church and for the Greek Empire, which will surface as a result of internal religious and internal political dissensions. Christians will fight and annihilate each other. All of this was shortly fulfilled. Thomas implored Theodore to pray for him that God would take him before these tragedies begin. "Do you command that I come to you or that we see each other over there before God." This is how Theodore replied to the patriarch, indicating that the patriarch would die soon. That very same day the patriarch became ill and died. Shortly after him, St. Theodore also died. St. Thomas died and took up habitation with the Lord in 610 A.D.

4. THE VENERABLE SERAPION

Serapion was a companion of St. Anthony the Great. He was the abbot of the Monastery of Arsina in the Nitrian wilderness where there were over eleven thousand monks. Paladius and Sozomenus called him "Great." He died about the year 366 A.D. St. Serapion wrote, "Do not think that sickness is difficult; only sin is difficult. Sickness accompanies us only to the grave but sin follows the sinner even after the grave."

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT SERAPION

Serapion, to save a sinner, he wanted,

The appearance of a sinner upon himself, he then took,

And to the sinner he entered, as if sin to commit,

But before sinning, to her, in this manner, he spoke:

You wait for a while, the entire night we have

Until, my prayer, I complete, then to misdeed we will proceed!

Serapion began the prayers to read

Uplifting his mind toward God, that it not wander anywhere.

And prayer after prayer began to reel off,

Sigh after sigh, to the Most High he uplifts.

The entire Psalter and other prayers he read,

And lengthy prayers for the sinner he began;

With sobbing and sighing, his prayers he interrupts,

Until even the sinful woman began to moan,

To moan and sob as never before in her life,

Realized that the saint, because of sin did not come,

Rather to save her from her perversion

And to raise her to God and from mud to cleanse her.

Then, exclaimed the woman: What should I do?

Behold, ashamed and repulsed with myself, am I!

Serapion, then instructions, gave he to her,

And to the wise sisters, committed her to their care.

Then the path before him, to the wilderness he took

Joyful, because a sinful soul he saved.

REFLECTION

You will hear this kind of justification from many who pursue riches: "When I become rich, I will be able to perform good works!" Do not believe them, for they deceive both you and themselves. St. John Climacus knew in depth the most secret motives of men's souls when he said, "The beginning of love of money is the pretext of alms giving and the end of it is hatred of the poor" (Step 16). This is confirmed by all lovers of money, the rich or the less rich. The average man says, "If only it were that I had money, I would carry out this and that good work!" Do not believe him. Let him not believe himself. Let him look at himself, as in a mirror, at those who have money and who are not willing to do this or that good work. That is how he would be if he acquired some money. Again, the wise John says, "Do not say that you are collecting money for the poor; so that through and by this you give help to them, in order to gain the kingdom; remember, for two mites the kingdom was purchased" (Step 16) - (St. Luke 21:2). Truly, the Gospel widow purchased it for two mites, and the rich man, before whose gates Lazarus lay, could not purchase it for all of his countless riches. If you have nothing to give to the poor, pray to God that He will give to them and, by this, you have performed almsgiving and purchased the Heavenly Kingdom. When St. Basil the New prophesied to the empress, the wife of Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, that she will first give birth to a daughter and then a son, the empress offered him much gold. The saint refused it. The empress implored the name of the Holy Trinity that he should take the gold. Then, St. Basil took only three pieces of gold and gave it to the needy Theodora, who served him saying, "We do not need too much of these thorns, for they prick much."

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the Lord Jesus crucified on the cross:

1. His head is sorely wounded by the thorny wreath;

2. His eyes are closed from pain;

3. His mouth is dry from thirst.

HOMILY

About the First and Last who lives

"Do not be afraid. I am thefirst and the last, the onewho lives. Once I was dead,but now I am alive foreverand ever" (Revelation 1:17-18).

Thus says the Lord Jesus to His beloved disciple John in a vision on the island of Patmos. Do not be afraid of what! Do not be afraid of the persecution of the Church by the pagans. Do not be afraid of the tormentors who persecute my faithful on all sides. Do not be afraid of emperors who raise up persecutions against the Christians. Do not be afraid of powerful tyrants of this world who mock and ridicule My humility in My death. Do not be afraid of demons who blind men with passions so that they can't see the truth which I brought to the world. Do not be afraid of anything!

How could I not be afraid, O Lord!, Why then should we not be afraid when the entire world is armed to the tooth and assembled against us who are small in number and unarmed?

Do not be afraid for I am the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega. All of those forces armed against you are nothing but a whirlwind of the dead. I am before time and I am after time; before the beginning of all and after the end of all things that were created, I Am! They are all locked in one span of time that I measured out to every created thing and outside of this span of time, they cannot extend. "Do not be afraid, once I was dead but now, I am alive." Do not be afraid, not even of death. I am before death and after death. Death is my servant and I permit my servant to serve me in the world. I gave myself up to my servant for three days and ordered him to release me and "now, I am alive." I am the Master of death as well as of life. I am the Master of time as well as of eternity. Do not be afraid! "I am alive forever and ever." And you will be alive with Me. All they who remain faithful to Me and are not afraid will live with Me. "Do not be afraid, I am the Alpha and the Omega" (Revelation 1:11).

O Lord, Eternal and Immortal, allow these holy words of Yours to ring in the souls of Your faithful always whenever a persecution is raised up against Your Holy Church that, holding on to Your right hand, we may not be afraid.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

Justin Kissel

March 22/ April 4

Postby Justin Kissel » Thu 8 April 2004 4:21 pm

1. THE PRIEST-MARTYR BASIL, PRESBYTER OF ANCYRA

Under Emperor Constantius, Basil endured and suffered much at the hands of the Arians. At that time he was renown as a great zealot of Orthodoxy and a true shepherd of his entrusted flock in Ancyra. When Julian the Apostate ascended the throne, he began to persecute Christians. Because Basil openly unmasked this latest impurity and strengthened his people in the Faith, he was cast into prison. When Emperor Julian came to Ancyra, Basil was brought before him and the emperor tried to persuade him to abandon his faith in Christ, promising him honors and riches. Basil answered the emperor; "I believe in my Christ, Whom you denied and Who gave you this earthly kingdom; but, that will be taken away from you, shortly. Have you no shame of the sacred altar under which you were saved when they sought to kill you as an eight year old child? That is why this temporary kingdom will be taken from you shortly and your body will not be buried when your soul is violently wrested from you in bitter pains." Julian became enraged and ordered that seven strips of skin be pealed from his body everyday. The tormentors did this for several days. When Basil appeared again before the emperor, he took a belt of his own skin and threw it into the face of Julian and crying out to him said, "Take it, Julian, and eat if this kind of food is sweet to you but, for me, Christ is Life." This incident was proclaimed throughout the towns, and the emperor, out of shame, secretly departed from Ancyra to Antioch. They continued to torture Basil with red hot irons until he gave up his soul to God, for Whom he suffered in the year 363 A.D.

2. SAINT DROSIDA

Drosida was the daughter of Emperor Trajan. She was captured with five other women at night while they were gathering the bodies of the tortured martyrs for Christ. For this she was severely disfigured by the emperor. Those five women were horribly tortured and, in the end, were thrown into a vat of molten copper, where they gave up their souls to their Lord. Drosida remained under the strict guard of the emperor. She escaped from the palace and baptized herself in a river. After eight days she gave up her soul to God.

3. THE VENERABLE MARTYR, EUTHYMIUS

Euthymius was born in the village of Dimitsana in the Peloponnese. As a child, Euthymius lived as a Christian but, later on, he went to Romania where he gave himself over to a life of great debauchery. In this debauchery an evil spirit lead him to become a Muslim. As soon as he did that, Euthymius began to repent bitterly. He again returned to the Faith of Christ and was tonsured a monk in Athos, the Holy Mountain. After several years spent in strict fasting and prayer, he decided to die for Christ. With the blessing of his spiritual father, he traveled to Constantinople where he succeeded somehow to come before the Grand Vezir. Euthymius began to cross himself, to praise Christ and to insult Mohammed in the presence of the Vezir. After prolonged torture he was sentenced to death and beheaded on Palm Sunday, March 22, 1814 A.D. Many miraculous healings of the sick occurred over his relics. His honorable head is preserved in the Russian Monastery of St. Panteteimom [Pantaleon] in the Holy Mountain. And so, this twenty-year old youth, at first, died to Christ and after that died for Christ.

HYMN OF PRAISE

CHRIST THE LORD AS A FISHERMAN

A wonderful Fisherman, O Christ the Lord, You are,

Throughout the entire world, the nets You spread,

For pure pearls You trawl from the waters deep,

Invisible net, by the Spirit woven,

Woven with love, moistened with tears,

By angelic hands, everywhere upheld.


Everyone to whom a mother gave birth and by the Spirit reared,

Most beautiful souls all, that the world can give.

All that into the numbers of Your rich catch entered,

All that Your silk net caught.

When nets from the sea of life, You raise

Nothing will remain except the muddy scum.


O, Fisherman, Most Wonderful, of pure pearls,

And we sinners, Your pearls, at one time were,

Now, from Your Throne, we are far away,

Under the sediment of dark passions, covered are we,

But, may Your net also us, to seize,

From Your countenance, we will shine as the stars.


REFLECTION

Even in His pain on the cross, the Lord Jesus did not condemn sinners but offered pardon to His Father for their sins saying, "They know not what they do!"(St. Luke 23:34). Let us not judge anyone so that we will not be judged. For no one is certain that before his death he will not commit the same sin by which he condemns his brother. Saint Anastasius of Sinai teaches, "Even if you see someone sinning, do not judge him for you do not know what the end of his life will be like. The thief, crucified with Christ, entered Paradise and the Apostle Judas went to Hell. Even if you see someone sinning, bear in mind that you do not know his good works. For many have sinned openly and repented in secret; we see their sins, but we do not know their repentance. That is why, brethren, let us not judge anyone so that we will not be judged."

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the Lord Jesus crucified on the cross:

1. How infinite is His sorrow for mankind blinded by sin;

2. How His thoughts on the cross are directed more to His Heavenly Father than to Himself;

3. How His concern on the cross is directed more at mankind than to Himself;

4. How on the cross He is certain of His Victory and Resurrection.

HOMILY

About the majesty of Christ the Victor

"The hair of His head wasas white wool or as snow andHis eyes were like a fiery flame" (Revelation 1:14).

That is how John the Theologian (the one who gazed upon God) saw Jesus after His resurrection and victory. He saw Him as the Son of Man, clothed in a lengthy garment, girded about with a golden sash, with seven stars in His right hand, and His face "shone like the sun at its brightest" (Revelation 1:16). It was with this kind of power and glory that He appeared, Who on the cross was not radiant and Who seemed to be as the weakest of the sons of men to all the passersby. Why were His hairs like white wool and white as snow? Was not our Lord barely thirty-four years old when they killed Him? From where, then, His white hair? Does not white hair indicate old age? It is true that white hair does indicate old age with mortal man, but with Christ in Glory it indicated more than old age; it indicated eternity. Eternal youthful age! Old age is the past and youth is the future. At the same time, is He not the one and the other? More than all the times past and all future times and even beyond time, Christ is eternity beyond time. Why were His eyes like a flame of fire? Because He is the All-seeing. All sorts of things can be hidden from the sun, but of all that is in the heavens, on the earth or under the earth, nothing can be hidden from His sight. He perceives all the threads of the fabric of nature; He perceives all the atoms in the stones, every drop of water in the sea, every particle of air and all thoughts and all desires of every created soul. This is the One and the same and no other; He who out of compassion for the human race came to earth, clothed Himself in a mortal and suffering body, was ridiculed, was mocked and was spat upon by sinful men. That is the same One, and no other, Who, without radiance, hung on the cross between thieves and, as a dead man, was buried by Joseph and Nicodemus.

O brethren, how awesome it is to think what a great and majestic Visitor the earth had! It is even more awesome to think against Whom the deranged men raised their hands!

O Majestic Lord, forgive us our sins and remember us all in Your Power and Glory.

To You all glory and thanks always. Amen.


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