Russian Orthodox Church
of St Nicholas
Dallas, Texas
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Phone:972 529-2754
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Redeeming the Time Vol 01.03 20th Sunday after Pentecost Oct 20/Nov 2 1997


Redeeming the Time

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Dallas TX

See then that ye walk circumspectly,

not as fools, but as wise,

redeeming the time,

because the days are evil.

20th Sunday after Pentecost

Oct 20/ Nov 2 1997

Vol. 01.03

Local News and Announcements *

Fall Mission conference *

Clergy Conference In Atlanta *

Reader's services the weekend of Nov 8-9 *

"French" Luncheon November 16 *

Parish Work Day - November 15, 1997 *

Reader Andrew and Lydia have moved to Mercury *

Sick *

Scripture *

21st Monday after Pentecost Oct 7/20 *

Luke 7:36-50 *

21st Tuesday after Pentecost Oct 7/20 *

Luke 8:1-3 *

21st Wednesday after Pentecost Oct 23/Nov 5 *

Luke 8:22-25 *

Lives of the Saints and Feasts *

Sunday, Oct 20/Nov 2 *

Holy Righteous youth Artemius, Wonderworker of Verkola *

Monday, Oct 21/Nov 3 *

St Hilarion the Great *

Tuesday, Oct 22/Nov 4 *

Seven Holy Sleepers of Ephesus, Maximilian, Jamblicus, Martinian, John, Dionysius, Exacustodian (Constantine) and Antoninus *

Our Holy Monastic Father Arethas of the Kiev Caves *

Local News and Announcements

Fall Mission conference

Fr Seraphim, Michael Daum, Andrew Temple and Jason Waghorne are attending the Fall Missions Conference in Atlanta. The conference is from Nov 8-10. Fr Seraphim will stay Monday in order to participate in the diocesan clergy conference.

Clergy Conference In Atlanta

Following the missions conference will be a daylong clergy conference (1/2 on Sunday. 1/2 on Monday), with Bishop Gabriel presiding. Our diocese has many needs, and the fields are "white for harvest". Please pray for the clergy.

Reader's services the weekend of Nov 8-9

Because Fr Seraphim will be at the Mission conference, reader's vigil on Saturday and reader hours and Typica on Sunday will be served. Fr Constantine will be in charge of the services.

"French" Luncheon November 16

The next get together will be about France, at Michael Daumís house. Bring something French, and use your noodles; try to bring something to do with Orthodoxy. Here are some ideas: The life of St. Genevieve, St. Ambrose, Nicetas the Goth, Martin of Tours, etc. St. John Maximovich ministered in Paris (that counts!) St. Patrick lived in Gaul for a while.

Parish Work Day - November 15, 1997

8:00 am to 12:30 PM

Efforts to improve the building appearance will continue with work focusing on the south exterior wall (repair windows and door, install gutters, scrape and paint, etc.) No previous work experience is required. We need a minimum of 5 or 6 people to complete the work

Please sign the sheet on the bulletin board in the church and indicate the time you will be able to work Any Questions?

Talk to Michael Daum (214) 337-8713 or Keith Temple (972) 733-4785

Reader Andrew and Lydia have moved to Mercury

We will miss them, but not all the time! Those two still like to see the white lines moving, and plan to visit us often. They will be a great help to Fr Patrick and Matushka Joyce around their homestead, which is also a retreat center for Orthodox Christians.

Sick

Please pray for Hieromonk Averky, who is very ill with an ailment of the spine, and Tim Clader, who is recovering from a serious fall, which shattered one of his ankles.

Scripture

The daily scripture readings for the 21st week after Pentecost, 1997 (the coming week AFTER the publication date of this journal) were from Philippians and Luke.

Almost all scripture readings are on the St. Nicholas Calendar. Reading scripture is an important and too often neglected spiritual discipline. With God's help, let us decide to read the Holy Scripture for the daily readings, for the good of our souls.

21st Monday after Pentecost Oct 7/20

Luke 7:36-50

This is one of the stories of the Lord's anointing before His burial, by a woman. He was in the house of Simon, a Pharisee, and a woman came in and, "Ö behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, {38} And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment." (Luke 7:37-38). The Pharisee was scandalized within himself, and our Lord, who knows all things, took the opportunity to teach him and us with simple, yet highly nuanced words.

Our Lord taught the haughty Simon by means of a parable. He described two debtors, one owing a great sum, and the other a pittance, who were forgiven their debts, and then queried Simon: "Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?" Simon answered as most of us would, and the Lord approved this answer: "I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most."

Simon still did not understand the point Jesus was trying to make, so our Lord gently rebukes Him concerning the lack of his showing hospitality in comparison to the sinful women. His teaching has echoes of the discourse with woman at the well, St Photini, whom he skillfully persuaded by simple, direct words, gradually bringing her to an understanding of herself, and Who He Is. At the end of His short discourse, He makes His main point, and his words sound like thunder over a convicted soul: " Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." (verse 47)

We may take our Lord's statement in two ways, brethren. We are all great sinners, and therefore would love the Lord much because He has forgiven us our sins and will forgive us all, if we cleave to Him, and follow in the paths of the gospel, which is simply the life in the church. On the other hand, if we do not repent of our sins, we will be "forgiven little", and will love little. Saying this in another way, the Theologion says, "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19) God's love, which flows like a warm and healing balm into the soul, causes us to love Him. The catalyst to this process is our realization of Who He Is, and who we are. We have been given such a great dignity by God, and even in the midst of our sins, are restored again and again to a high place. Let us say with the Psalmist, He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings", (Psa 40:2)

21st Tuesday after Pentecost Oct 7/20

Luke 8:1-3

"And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, {3} And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance." (Luke 8:2-3)

This short selection is alas, of little application in our day. Our Lord's ministry was made possible by the labors of those who loved Him, and supported Him. The laborer is truly worthy of his hire! It is a sign of great love when a man digs into his pocketbook, because the sin of greed, and acquisitiveness runs deep in the soul. In our day, the laborers in the church are not deemed worthy of their hire by those who barely hear their words. There are large Orthodox churches of over one hundred families that do not support their clergy. This is a shame upon us, and upon our church. In every place, where the true gospel is preached and lived, let there be "certain women", and "many others" who minister "of their substance" and in so doing further the gospel and become co-Apostles with those who teach and minister!

21st Wednesday after Pentecost Oct 23/Nov 5

Luke 8:22-25

And he said unto them, Where is your faith? (Luke 8.25)

Whenever we read Scripture we must answer the questions it poses, and continually measure ourselves against the commandments it presents to us. Here is a critical question for the Christian: "Where is your faith?"

The Apostles had just endured a fierce storm in a small boat, and had feared for their lives. These men, being men of the sea, knew the limits of their frail craft, and all indications were that they were going to capsize and drown.

A man of faith realizes his predicament, and turns to the Lord, simply and decisively, and that is the end of the matter. The Apostles, whose faith was being tested by the Lord, showed that they had made a good beginning in faith, but were not yet perfect. For they turned to Him quickly, saying "save us", but after this added "For we perish!"

It is not possible for one to perish when he cleaves to the God-man with faith. This fact is a hard lesson to learn, on two accounts. First of all, we rarely turn to the Lord decisively when we first encounter trials. We poor sinners, forgetful of God, overestimate our own weak powers, or else we do not realize the danger until it is fully upon us. When we tardily call upon the Lord, we do it as a double-minded man, and a part of us still says "we perish". But the Lord is merciful. He will repeatedly still the waves, even for those with imperfect faith, as long as they at least call "save me". Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief."

What waves and wind assail you O Christian? The problems of life are many. Will the Lord rebuke you, because you do not turn to Him?

Lives of the Saints and Feasts

Sunday, Oct 20/Nov 2

Holy Righteous youth Artemius, Wonderworker of Verkola

The Holy youth Artemius was killed tragically by a bolt of lightning when he was with his father in a field. His body was left without burial, no doubt because the peasants mistakenly believed the "judgment of God" had been pronounced upon the holy youth. It is always dangerous to judge a person's sanctity by the way they die, except in rare cases, such as the death of the arch-heretic Arius, whose bowels gushed out, or the death of the child and would be Christ killer Herod, who was eaten by worms.

Forty-two years later, the holy youth's sacred and incorrupt relics were found in the forest. There were many healings from the relics, and the very villagers and their descendants who had judged the youth were healed of their infirmities by the prayers of the newly revealed saint.

Monday, Oct 21/Nov 3

St Hilarion the Great

Our Holy Father Hilarion was born a pagan, in the area of Gaza in Palestine in the late third century. He was a serious student, inclined to philosophy, and was sent to study in Alexandria. It was there that he embraced the only true Philosophy and became a Christian. He went very frequently church services, and his heart burned with love for God and a desire to serve Him.

Learning of St Anthony the Great, he desired to see him. Anthony saw the virtues of the young man right away, and tonsured him a monk after only two days, and Hilarion became his disciple. They were co-strugglers together for some time, before Hilarion asked a blessing to return to his homeland in order to find a place of greater solitude (for Anthony's fame was well known, and many came to him for advice and healing). He was only fifteen at the time.

Upon arriving home, Hilarion discovered his parents had died. He divided up his inheritance, into two parts, one for the poor, and one for his family, leaving himself nothing.

The holy Hilarion went into the desert, in areas frequented by thieves and demons. He had great struggles in the desert, both from demons and men, but endured especially by making the sign of the cross with faith, and by an austere regimen of prayer and fasting.

Although he had gone to the desert to hide from the tumult of the world, and be alone with God, the Divine Will was that such a bright light would not be kept hidden, and countless people came to him, and a group settles around him. He constantly moved from place to place, seeking solitude, but the people found him, and he became in Palestine what the great Anthony had been in Egypt. His great fear was that he would lose his reward because he was being given the praise of men. He lived in Egypt, Sicily, Dalmatia, and finally Cyprus, where his struggles came to their end, and he received his reward, in about 373, at eighty years old.

Tuesday, Oct 22/Nov 4

Seven Holy Sleepers of Ephesus, Maximilian, Jamblicus, Martinian, John, Dionysius, Exacustodian (Constantine) and Antoninus

The main commemoration for these saints is August 4th.

These saints lived in the third century. Saint Maximilian was the son of the Ephesian city governor; the remaining six youths were the sons of other notable Ephesian citizens. The youths were friends from childhood, and all were in military service. When the Emperor Decius (249-251) arrived in Ephesus, he commanded all the citizens to appear for the offering of sacrifice to the pagan deities; but torments and the death penalty awaited the recalcitrant. Upon denunciation by those who sought the Emperor's favor, the seven Ephesian youths were also called to account. While standing before the Emperor, the holy youths confessed their faith in Christ. Immediately, their military insignia - their military belts - were taken from them. However, Decius set them free, hoping that they would change their minds while he was on a campaign. The youths left the city and hid in a cave on Mount Ochlon, where they passed the time in prayers, preparing for the martyric struggle. The youngest of them - Saint Jamblicus - clothing himself in pauper's rags, would go to the city and buy bread. During one such excursion to the city, he heard that the Emperor had returned and that they were being sought in order to be put on trial.

Saint Maximilian inspired his friends to leave the cave and appear voluntarily in court. But the Emperor, having learned where the youths were hiding, ordered that the entrance to the cave be locked up with stones so that the youths would die therein from hunger and thirst. Two of the officials present at the blocking up of the entrance to the cave were secret Christians. Desiring to preserve the memory of the saints, they placed among the stones a sealed coffer in which were two tin plaques. Written thereon were the names of the seven youths and the circumstances of their passion and death.

But the Lord brought upon the youths a miraculous sleep, which lasted nearly two centuries. By that time, the persecutions against the Christians had ceased, although under the holy, right-believing Theodosius the Younger (408-450), heretics appeared, who rejected the resurrection of the dead at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of them said: "How can there be a resurrection of the dead, when there will be neither body nor soul, since they will be annihilated?" Others asserted: "Only souls will have a recompense, since it is impossible for bodies to rise and come to life after a thousand years, when even dust from them does not remain. It was then that the Lord revealed the mystery of the awaited resurrection of the dead and the future life through His seven youths.

The owner of the parcel of land on which Mount Ochlon was situated began a stone building, and the workers took the entrance to the cave to pieces. The Lord revived the youths, and they awoke literally from ordinary sleep, not suspecting that early two hundred years had passed. Their bodies and clothes were completely incorrupt. Preparing to receive torments, the youths charged Saint Jamblicus once more to buy them bread in the city to fortify their strength. On approaching the city, the youth was astounded to see the holy Cross on the gates. On hearing the Name of Jesus Christ freely pronounced, he began to doubt that he had come to his own city.

When paying for the bread, the holy youth gave to the merchant a coin with the depiction of the Emperor Decius and was detained as one who had hidden a treasure of old coins. Saint Jamblicus was brought to the city governor, whom the Ephesian bishop was with at that time. Listening to the youth's perplexed answers, the bishop understood that God was revealing through him some mystery, and he himself set out for the cave together with the people. At the entrance to the cave, the bishop drew the sealed coffer out from the pile of stones and opened it. He read the names of the seven youths on the tin plaques and the circumstances of their immurement in the cave at the command of the Emperor Decius. On entering the cave and seeing the youths alive therein, everyone rejoiced and understood that the Lord, through their waking up from a long sleep, was revealing to the Church the mystery of the resurrection of the dead. Soon the Emperor arrived in Ephesus and conversed with the youths in the cave. And then the holy youths, before everyone's eyes, laid their heads on the ground and again fell asleep, this time until the general resurrection. The Emperor wanted to place each of the youths in a precious reliquary, but the holy youths, appearing to him in a dream, said that their bodies were to be left in the cave on the ground. In the twelfth century, the Russian pilgrim, Abbot Daniel, saw these holy relics of the seven youths in the cave.

The memory of the seven youths is celebrated a second time on the 22nd of October. (According to one tradition, which entered into the Russian Prologue, the youths fell asleep the second time on this day; according to a note in the Greek Menaion of 1870, they fell asleep the first time on the 4th of August, and awoke on the 22nd of October. The holy youths are also remembered in the service of the ecclesiastical new year - the 1st of September.)

Parish Life August, 1996

From: http://www.stjohndc.org/saints/9608c.htm

Wednesday, Oct 24/Nov 6

Our Holy Monastic Father Arethas of the Kiev Caves

Perhaps the most edifying stories for us great sinners are those where heaven rejoices over the one lost sheep, a formerly great sinner, who turns to God. These stories should give us hope that even we, great sinners, can be saved, but we must mark something well; when a sinner comes to himself, he must verify his repentance by labor and desire. St Arethas was one such man.

He was a monk in the Kiev caves lavra, and was secretly a miser, with great stocks of hidden wealth. He never gave alms to the poor for the sake of his poor soul, and gave no thought to our Lords command: " Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Mat 6:19-21)

One day thieves did break in and stole all his goods, and Arethas was plunged into despondency, because of the loss of his treasure. He made accusations against many, and the brethren begged him to leave off, telling him, "Brother, cast they care upon the Lord, and He will nourish thee".

Arethas became very embittered and fell into a serious illness. Even in this state, with eternity around the corner, he ceased not to complain. Many spiritual things occur to those who are near death. Some see angels, and others demons. Some see visions. God was merciful to the sick man and gave him a vision. He saw angels and demons quarreling over his soul. The demons said "He did not thank God that these things were stolen from him; he cursed him." Therefore, he is ours, and you must hand him over to us." The angels had nothing to say in return, and rebuked Arethas, telling him that he was wretched because he failed to give thanks to God for taking away his wealth, an occasion of great sin for him, since he did not give alms.

When Arethas heard this, he came to himself, and cried aloud "Lord, forgive me! I have sinned, O Lord. All things are Thine and I regret not the loss of my riches." Immediately the demons vanished. Arethas explained his outburst to his brethren, who together with the angelic host, rejoiced in the reclamation of a former sinner.

The Holy Arethas showed the sincerity of his deathbed prayer, and began to live a life of poverty, true obedience, and purity. He struggled in unceasing prayer, fasting, and alms giving, and departed in peace. The brothers laid him to rest in one of the caves, where his wonder-working relics still lie incorrupt. By his holy prayers may we escape the snare of riches, and bless God for all things.

Copyright 1997 Fr Seraphim Holland

Address: 2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75071

Phone: 972 529-2754

Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

Web: http://www.orthodox.net

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Russian Orthodox Church
of St Nicholas
Dallas, Texas
Phone: 972 529-2754
Priest Seraphim Holland

nicholas@orthodox.net
Web Editor:
Fr. Seraphim Holland
Email:
seraphim@orthodox.net
Phone:
972/529-2754
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2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75071, USA

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