Russian Orthodox Church
of St Nicholas
Dallas, Texas
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Redeeming the Time Vol. 02.12 8th Sunday After Pentecost July 20/ Aug 2 1998

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.

July 20/August 2, 1998

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

The feeding of the 5000

Holy Prophet Elias

Vol. 02.12

News and Announcements *

Good progress for Bishop Daniel *

David Miller's back surgery *

St Nicholas Upcoming Events and Plans *

Choir Practice *

Reader's classes *

International Dinners *

Many Years! *

Questions about the Holy Prophet Elias *

Questions about the Feeding of the 5000 *

Holy Great Martyr Marina *

Gleanings from the Fathers *

All good is in Me *

How to obtain forgiveness of sins *

Answers to Questions about the Holy Prophet Elias *

Answer 1 *

Answer 2 *

Answer 3 *

Answer 4 *

Answer 5 *

Answer 6 *

Answer 7 *

Answer 8 *

Answer 9 *

Answer 10 *

Answers To Questions About The Feeding Of The 5000 *

Answer 1 *

Answer 2 *

Answer 3 *

Answer 4 *

Answer 5 *

Answer 6 *

Answer 7 *

Answer 8 *

Answer 9 *

Answer 10 *

News and Announcements

Good progress for Bishop Daniel

Please remember to pray for the health of Bishop Daniel, who has had a stroke. Fr Seraphim talked with Fr. Theodore, who is one of the priests at the Old-Rite parish in Erie, about Bishop Daniel's condition on Saturday. His Grace is in a rehabilitative center, and will probably be there for several more weeks, although he wants to be home right now. He had trouble with talking and other things, but all things are normal now, except that he cannot walk very long without becoming dizzy. He also is occasionally a little bit depressed about his condition, and surely would be cheered up by receiving a card. Please do not forget to pray for him.

Bishop Daniel

c/o Nativity of Our Lord

Russian Orthodox Church

Erie, PA 16507-1612

Even in the midst of his troubles, Bishop Daniel has not lost his humor. Part of his therapy involves looking at pictures, which evaluate critical thinking skills, to see if he is "all there" (he is!). One of the pictures was of a man putting his hand on a hotplate. The therapist asked him what was wrong with the picture. His Grace replied "Well, of course, the hot plate is not even on, so nothing is wrong"!

David Miller's back surgery

David will have serious back surgery Tuesday, Aug 4th. We will serve a molieban to St Elias today, for his health and recovery. The surgery is very complicated, and has great risk. Please remember to pray for David, especially during his recovery period.

St Nicholas Upcoming Events and Plans

Choir Practice

All choir members are requested to assemble on
Thursday evenings after the Molieban (which is at 6:30 PM - note the new time) for weekly choir practice. We must give fair warning that this practice will probably become obligatory for those who wish to sing in the choir, except under special circumstances, which should be discussed with Fr Seraphim and the choir director. The progress of the choir has been fantastic, and we should want to build on these accomplishments. Singing in the choir is a ministry God and to the faithful in the church, and therefore demands effort of us, both during and outside of the services. Thanks in advance for your participation.

Reader's classes

There will be regular reader's classes soon, which will be obligatory for all those who wish to read in the church. Fr. Seraphim will be contacting the readers and those who wish to learn to become readers about this very soon. As we read for the edification of others, and to glorify God, we must learn to read in the correct manner, and with reverence, piety and a sense of responsibility. Reading is an honor to be taken very seriously. May God grant His mercy and grace upon our readers!

International Dinners

We would like to resume our International Dinners again soon! If you would like to host the next one, please pick an Orthodox country and a date, and let us know! We'll all pitch in food and fun, and celebrate Orthodoxy as it is celebrated in the country you picked. This is the 5th call! Do we want to do this?

Many Years!

Many years to Matushka Marina, who celebrated her namesday last Thursday, and Elias Nassar, whose patron is St Elias.

Questions about the Holy Prophet Elias

Question 1
We hear nothing of the Holy Prophet Elias (aka Elijah), until, in a mysterious way, he appeared, subsequently, there would be other even more wondrous appearances and disappearances), made a bold pronouncement to an apostate king, which came true, during which this time, he lived by a brook, and was fed in a wondrous way.

In which book does the Holy Prophet Elias first appear?

If you did not have a Bible handy, but were in the church with all the service books available, where could you find the most important stories about the Holy Prophet, to answer these questions:

  1. What appellation was given to the Holy Prophet? What does it mean?
  2. Who was the king?
  3. What did Elias tell the king, and why?
  4. What was the brook?
  5. How was the prophet fed in a wondrous way?
  6. The Holy Prophet continually showed in his actions great zeal, great fearlessness and unconcern for his personal circumstances, because of his great faith in God. We stand in awe of his exploits and intimacy before God, and have much to learn from him. What does the order of events (the holy prophet first rebuking Achab, then foretelling a serious drought, and then being told where to go during the drought) teach us?

Question 2

During the drought the Holy Prophet lived by the brook as the Lord commanded him, until it dried up. Then the Lord told him to go to another place to meet a certain person, for his sustenance.

  1. Who was this person?
  2. Describe their meeting and the miracle that occurred.

Question 3

The Holy Prophet was much loved by the small family, who were his benefactors, and he stayed with them for a long while. "And it came to pass", as the Holy Scripture puts it, that a great calamity befell the family, and the Holy prophet worked a great miracle by the power of his bold prayer.

  1. What was the calamity?
  2. What was the reaction of the mother?
  3. The Holy Prophet did more than pray. His actions mystically pointed to the cross and resurrection. How?

Question 4

We must yet tarry a little while on the great miracle of Elias regarding the widow's son. His successor also performed such a miracle, and in this case, the cross and resurrection were even more strongly and unmistakably prefigured. Describe this miracle. How was the cross so strongly prefigured? What do we mean by "prefigured" anyway? What is a another word used to mean the same thing as a "prefigurement"?

Question 5

After the drought had lasted many days the Holy Prophet was told to again confront the apostate king. What were his bold denunciation and orders to the king? Describe Elias' great miracle, which put to shame the apostate followers of idols. What happened after this miracle?

Question 6

After the Holy Prophet brought rain and destroyed the prophets of Baal, he received a message. What was it, and what did he do? Elias became depressed. Why? What did the Lord do, and where did Elias go? What did the meals that he ate foreshadow? When he reached a certain place, God manifested Himself to him intimately. Describe the experience. Has it anything to teach us?

Question 7

There are many unique aspects to the life of the Prophet Elias (aka "Elijah"). He shares a very unique status with only three other human beings that have ever walked the earth. Who are the others, and what is this status?

Question 8

The holy Prophet Elias is known far and wide for his powerful intercessions, especially concerning which two things? Speculate why.

Question 9

"The angel in the flesh, the foundation of the prophets, the second forerunner of the Coming of Christ, the glorious Elijah from on High sent down grace upon Elisha to dispel infirmities and cleanse lepers. Wherefore, he poureth fourth healings upon them that honor him." Troparion for Elijah

The Holy Prophet is called in his troparion a "second forerunner of the Coming of Christ."

  1. Why?
  2. Who was the first forerunner of the coming of Christ?
  3. Did the Jews understand this about Elias? What is the proof?

Question 10

Have the so-called Orthodox ecumenists of this age of compromise anything that they can learn from the Holy Prophet Elias? Do you think that his type of piety would offend them? Why or why not?

Questions about the Feeding of the 5000

Question 1

There are four accounts in the Gospels where a multitude are fed. Summarize in one sentence each occurrence, and state the Gospel it is found in. Extra credit: When are these various texts Read During the church year?

Question 2

The Church particularly values the spiritual truths presented in the "Feeding of the Five Thousand", so much so, that there is a service constructed around this event. What is it, and when is it served? Describe the service.

Question 3

Why did Jesus enter a ship and cross over the sea immediately after this miracle?

Question 4

According to the Fathers, what great virtue is taught by the sharing of the five loaves and two fishes, and the abundance left over?

Question 5

The Lord makes a point to tell the disciples, who are concerned for the people, and have asked Him to send them away to buy food: "They need not depart; give ye them to eat " Mat 14:16) What is the significance of this instruction?

Question 6

Jesus does a very simple thing before having the apostles distribute the food to the people, that we would do well to emulate at all times. What is it?

Question 7

There is a mystical meaning to the five thousand, and the five loaves and two fishes. What is it?

Question 8

There is an outer and inner meaning to the twelve baskets full. What is it?

Question 9

According to one account, the is miracle was the precursor to another teaching, wondrous to behold, about another kind of bread. Which?

Question 10

The Feeding of the five thousand occurred at what part of Jesus' ministry (early, in the middle, or late)?

Holy Great Martyr Marina

Commemorated July 17

Born in Pisidian Antioch of pagan parents, Marina only heard of the Lord Jesus at the age of twelve, of His incarnation of the most pure Virgin, His many miracles, His death by crucifixion and His glorious Resurrection. Her little heart was inflamed with love for the Lord, and she vowed never to marry and, further, desired in her soul to suffer for Christ and be baptized with the blood of martyrdom. Her father hated her for her faith, and would not regard her as his daughter. The imperial governor, Olymbrius, hearing of Marina and learning that she was a Christian, at first desired her for his wife. When Marina refused, he ordered her to sacrifice to idols. To this, Marina replied: 'I shall not worship nor offer sacrifice to dead idols, lacking the breath of life, which have no awareness of themselves and are not even aware of our honoring or dishonoring them. I will not give them that honor that belongs to my Creator alone.' Then Olymbrius put her to harsh torture, and threw her into prison all wounded and bleeding. Marina prayed to God in the prison, and, after she had prayed, there appeared to her first the devil in the form of a terrible serpent, which twined itself about her head. When she made the sign of the Cross, the serpent split asunder and disappeared. Then she was bathed in heavenly light; the walls and roof of the prison disappeared and a Cross was revealed, resplendent and lofty. On the top of the Cross was perched a white dove, from which there came a voice: 'Rejoice, Marina, thou dove of Christ, daughter of the Sion that is on high, for the day of thy joy is drawing near!', and Marina was healed by the power of God of all her wounds. The demented judge tortured her the next day by fire and water, but Marina endured it all as if not in her own body. She was finally sentenced to death by beheading. At the moment of her death, the Lord Jesus appeared to her, accompanied by angels. She was beheaded in the time of the Emperor Diocletian, but remains alive in soul and in power in heaven and on earth. One of her hands is preserved in the monastery of Vatopedi on the Holy Mountain. Even in Albania, in the Langa mountains overlooking Lake Ochrid, there is a monastery of St Marina with some of her wonderworking relics. Numerous miracles have been wrought in this monastery and still are, witnessed not only by Christians but also by Moslems. The Turks have such a veneration for this holy place that they have never laid hands on either the place or the monastery's possessions. At one time, a Turk was caretaker of the monastery.

From the Prologue of Ochrid

See for a Search facility for the entire Prologue

Gleanings from the Fathers

All good is in Me

Do you desire good for yourself? All good is in Me. Do you desire blessings? All blessings are in Me. Do you desire beauty? What is lovelier than I? Do you desire noble birth? What birth is more noble than that of the Son of God and the Virgin? Do you desire rank? Who is of higher rank than the King of heaven? Do you desire glory? Who is more glorious than I? Riches? All riches are in Me. Wisdom? I am the Wisdom of God. Friendship? Who is a greater friend than I - I who laid down y life for all? Help? Who can help but I? Happiness? Who can be happy without Me? Do you seek consolation in distress? Who will console you but I? Do you seek peace? I am the peace of the soul. Do you seek life? In Me is the fount of life. Do you seek light?

I am the light of the world.

St Tikhon of Zadonsk

How to obtain forgiveness of sins

Do we forgive our neighbors their trespasses? God also forgives us in His mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to forgive us. As we treat our neighbors, so also does God treat us. The forgiveness, then, of your sins or unforgiveness, and hence also your salvation or destruction, depend on you yourself, man. For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see for yourself how terrible it is.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven.

Answers to Questions about the Holy Prophet Elias

Answer 1

In the 17th chapter of the Third Book of Kings, the Holy Prophet Elias appears, being called only "Elias the Tishbite (or, Thesbite), of the inhabitants of Galaad". The word "Tishbite" is interpreted "that makes captive", and most probably indicated the place of the Holy Prophet's birth. Josephus, the Jewish Historian, supposes that "Tishbi" was some place in the land of Giliead. (See Easton's Bible Dictionary)

The Holy Prophet boldly rebuked the apostate king Achab, who had married the pagan Jezebel, and submitted, for the sake of her charms, to idolatry:

"And Achab, the son of Amri, did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.{31} Nor was it enough for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nabat: but he also took to wife Jezabel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians. And he went, and served Baal, and adored him. {32} And he set up an altar for Baal, in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria; {33} And he planted a grove: and Achab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, than all the kings of Israel that were before him." (3 Kings:16:30-33, Douay-Reims)

The Holy Prophet warned him that a drought would occur, because of Achabs' wickedness. During the first portion of the drought, the Holy Prophet lived by the brook Cherith, where he was fed by ravens:

And Elias the Thesbite, of the inhabitants of Galaad, said to Achab: As the Lord liveth, the God of Israel, in whose sight I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to the words of my mouth. {2} And the word of the Lord came to him, saying: {3} Get thee hence, and go towards the east, and hide thyself by the torrent of Carith, which is over against the Jordan; {4} And there thou shalt drink of the torrent: and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. ... {6} And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the torrent. (3 Kings:17:1-4,6 Douay-Reims)

The most important stories concerning the Holy Prophet Elias are read during the Vespers service commemorating him, and is therefore found in the Menaion for July 20. Throughout his life, Elias showed utter disdain for his personal circumstances and safety, and he was unafraid to tell the truth, even to those who could kill him. He foretold a great drought, with his righteous anger obscuring from him even his own bodily needs, and the Lord did not abandon his chosen one, but led him to the brook Cherith, to feed him with ravens. We see this pattern throughout the Prophet's life. He acts according to zeal, and the Lord protects him, rewarding his great faith. We must also strive to have such zeal and faith, and stand in the truth only, obeying the words of our Savior: "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? {32} (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. {33} But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Mat 6:31-33)

Take courage, Christian. Don't compromise your faith because of fear, whether for your position or job, or title, or comfort, or anything else.

Answer 2

"After the brook Cherith dried up, the Lord said: "Arise, and go to Sarephta of the Sidonians, and dwell there: for I have commanded a widow woman there to feed thee." 3 Kings 17:9

This set the stage for the wondrous dialogue between the poverty stricken woman who, with her only son, expected to die, and the Holy Prophet, and teaches us much about the virtues of obedience and hospitality.

"He arose, and went to Sarephta. And when he was come to the gate of the city, he saw the widow woman gathering sticks, and he called her, and said to her: Give me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. {11} And when she was going to fetch it, he called after her, saying: Bring me also, I beseech thee, a morsel of bread in thy hand. {12} And she answered: As the Lord thy God liveth, I have no bread, but only a handful of meal in a pot, and a little oil in a cruise: behold I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it, for me and my son, that we may eat it and die. {13} And Elias said to her: Fear not; but go, and do as thou hast said but first make for me of the same meal a little hearth cake, and bring it to me, and after make for thyself and thy son. {14} For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: The pot of meal shall not waste, nor the cruise of oil be diminished, until the day wherein the Lord will give rain upon the face of the earth. {15} She went, and did according to the word of Elias: and he ate, and she, and her house: and from that day {16} The pot of meal wasted not, and the cruise of oil was not diminished according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke in the hand of Elias." (3 Kings 17:9-16)

I believe Holy Tradition holds that the widow's son was none other than St Jonah, the prophet.

Answer 3

While Elias was staying with the widow and her son, the boy fell grievously ill and died. The woman believed that it was because of her sins that the boy had died. What a piteous scene! The family had only just been saved from starvation by the Holy Prophet, and now the woman has lost her only son. Elias took her son and went into his room. In the heat of his own grief, with compassion for the widow, he cried out to the Lord: "...O Lord, my God, hast thou afflicted also the widow, with whom I am after a sort maintained, so as to kill her son?" (3 Kings 17:20) Now we are vouchsafed to see a great miracle, and the power of sincere prayer, and a prophesy of the power of the cross:

And he stretched, and measured himself upon the child three times, and cried to the Lord, and said: O Lord, my God, let the soul of this child, I beseech thee, return into his body. {22} And the Lord heard the voice of Elias: and the soul of the child returned into him, and he revived." (3 Kings 17:21-22)

We worship the same God as Elias. Why are our prayers so weak, and why do we ask for so little? He saw only in a figure the redemption of the cross, and we have had it revealed to us fully. The Holy Paul certainly included Elias among those great ones of God whose exploits in turn rebuke and exhort us:

"And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: {40} God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. {12:1}Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, {2} Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.(Heb 11:39-40,12:1-2)

Through the prayers of the Holy Prophet Elias, may we live as believers in the redemption of the cross!

Answer 4

The Lord chose Elisha to be the successor of the Holy Prophet Elias. This holy prophet also worked a miracle that even more strongly prefigures the resurrection, and prophesies that our redemption will come through the cross. A "prefigurement" is an event which occurs in the Old Testament and points to an event in the New Testament. It is also called a "type". Another example of a "type" is when Moses struck his staff in the bitter waters, and they were made sweet (drinkable). This also is a prefigurement of the cross, which will make "sweet" our life which would without the cross end in bitter death. There are hundreds of examples in the Old Testament, which the Holy Church understands and meditates upon in the holy services. In fact, the best way to become a true scholar of the Old Testament is to listen attentively to the services of the church, which always understand it in the light of the New!

The Holy Elisha worked an even greater miracle than Elias. He was often a guest at the house of a Shunamite woman who was barren. Through his prayers, she conceived and bore a son. When the lad was a young boy, though able to work with his father in the fields, he took sick suddenly and died. The woman immediately saddled her ass and rode to Mount Carmel, where the prophet was living. Although the prophet sent Gehazi, his servant, to lay his staff upon the boy, he did not revive. This staff represents the Old Covenant, which is not able to give life.

In the meantime, Elisha had followed the Shunamite woman back to her home, at her insistence. In the miracle of the son's resurrection, we see clearly the type of the cross:

"Eliseus, therefore, went into the house, and behold the child lay dead on his bed: {33} And going in, he shut the door upon him, and upon the child, and prayed to the Lord. {34} And he went up, and lay upon the child: and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he bowed himself upon him, and the child's flesh grew warm. {35} Then he returned and walked in the house, once to and fro: and he went up, and lay upon him: and the child gaped seven times, and opened his eyes." 4 Kings:4:32-35

The staff represents the Old Covenant, which is superceded by the New and brought in by the cross, which Elisha clearly prefigured by laying upon the boy in the form of a cross. (Read the entire story in 4 Kings 4:1-37)

Answer 5

"After many days, the word of the Lord came to Elias, in the third year, saying: Go, and shew thyself to Achab, that I may give rain upon the face of the earth. " (3 Kings18:1)

On the way to Achab, Elias met Abidias, the governor of Achab's house, who had been sent to forage for feed and water for the livestock. There ensued a rather funny discussion between them, as Elias asked Abidias to announce his coming to Achab, but the servant feared doing this because:

"And when I am gone from thee, the Spirit of the Lord will carry thee into a place that I know not: and I shall go in and tell Achab; and he, not finding thee, will kill me: but thy servant feareth the Lord from his infancy. {13} Hath it not been told thee, my lord, what I did when Jezabel killed the prophets of the Lord; how I hid a hundred men of the prophets of the Lord, by fifty and fifty in caves, and fed them with bread and water? {14} And now thou sayest: Go and tell thy master: Elias is here: that he may kill me. (3 Kings 18:12-14)

Elias prevailed upon Abdias to announce him, and came to Achab, who immediately denounced the Holy Prophet, blaming him for the drought. The Holy prophet fearlessly denounced the king because of his idolatry, and ordered him to gather people together, setting the stage for a great miracle.

<PP Elias prevailed upon Abdias to announce him, and came to Achab, who immediately denounced the Holy Prophet, blaming him for the drought. The Holy prophet fearlessly denounced the king because of his idolatry, and ordered him to gather people together, setting the stage for a great miracle. >

"And when he had seen him, he said: Art thou he that troublest Israel? {18} And he said: I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy father's house, who have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and have followed Baalim. {19}Nevertheless send now, and gather unto me all Israel, unto Mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, who eat at Jezabel's table." (3 Kings 18:17-19)

The Holy Prophet then rebuked the people and challenged the "prophets of Baal" (pagan priests):

"And Elias coming to all the people, said: How long do you halt between two sides? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word. {22} And Elias said again to the people: I only remain a prophet of the Lord: but the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty men. {23} Let two bullocks be given us, and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it upon wood, but put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under it. {24} Call ye on the names of your gods, and I will call on the name of my Lord: and the God that shall answer by fire, let him be God. And all the people answering, said: A very good proposal." (3 Kings 18:21-24)

The Holy Prophet had a flair for the dramatic, as well as great zeal. He gave the pagan priest the first opportunity to prove that their "god" was better. They prayed from the morning until the "time of the giving of sacrifice", and even cut themselves with knives and wailed, to no avail. In the middle of their fruitless gesticulations, Elias, with great humor told them:

"... Cry with a louder voice: for he is a god; and perhaps he is talking, or is in an inn, or on a journey; or perhaps he is asleep, and must be awaked. " (18:27)

Near the end of the day, the prophet called to people unto him, and did a very strange thing, showing that he not only possessed a sublime sense of humor, but also a flair for the dramatic. He built an altar of twelve stones, for the twelve tribes of Israel, and dug a trench to contain water. After cutting up the bullock and placing it on the altar, he did a very strange thing:

"18:34. And he said: Fill four buckets with water, and pour it upon the burnt offering, and upon the wood. And again he said: Do the same the second time. And when they had done it the second time, he said: Do the same also the third time. And they did so the third time. {35} And the water run round about the altar, and the trench was filled with water." (18:34-35)

Elias then prayed to the Lord, and:

"Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the holocaust, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. " (18:38)

After this, understandably the people believed in the Lord, and Elias ordered that all the prophets of Baal be immediately slain.

Answer 6

After the prophets were killed, the pagan queen Jezebel sent Elias a message telling him she would not rest until he was dead:

"And Jezabel sent a messenger to Elias, saying: Such and such things may the gods do to me, and add still more, if by this hour to morrow I make not thy life as the life of one of them." (19:12)

Elias, the holy prophet, as a man felt fear, and fled from Jezebel. He went into the desert, and cast himself down by a Juniper tree, and desired to die, because he knew that all of Israel was in the throes of apostasy, and he could not bear to endure anymore.

"And he went forward, one day's journey into the desert. And when he was there, and sat under a juniper tree, he requested for his soul that he might die, and said: It is enough for me, Lord; take away my soul: for I am no better than my fathers." (19:4)

The prophet was fed two times by an angel, with bread and water, then commenced to take a forty day journey across the desert to Mount Horeb. This bread foreshadows the "heavenly bread", which empowers a man to do anything, if he has faith.

Upon arriving at the cave, Elias renewed his complaint to the Lord:

"And when he was come thither, he abode in a cave. and behold the word of the Lord came unto him, and he said to him: What dost thou here, Elias? {10} And he answered: With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant: they have thrown down thy altars, they have slain thy prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek my life to take it away." (19:9-20)

Then the Lord revealed Himself to the Holy Prophet, in a still small voice:

" {11} And he said to him: Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord: and behold the Lord passeth, and a great and strong wind before the Lord, overthrowing the mountains, and breaking the rocks in pieces: but the Lord is not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: but the Lord is not in the earthquake. {12} And after the earthquake, a fire: but the Lord is not in the fire. And after the fire, a whistling of a gentle air. {13. And when Elias heard it, he covered his face with his mantle, and coming forth, stood in the entering in of the cave, and behold a voice unto him, saying: What dost thou here, Elias? And he answered: {14} With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant: they have destroyed thy altars, they have slain thy prophets with the sword; and I alone am left, and they seek my life to take it away. {15} And the Lord said to him: Go, and return on thy way, through the desert, to Damascus: and when thou art come thither, thou shalt anoint Hazael to be king over Syria; {16} And thou shalt anoint Jehu, the son of Namsi, to be king over Israel: and Eliseus, the son of Saphat, of Abelmeula, thou shalt anoint to be prophet in thy room."

St. Elias only heard the Lord when he was still and quiet. We can only hear him when our passions are stilled and quieted.

Answer 7

The Holy Prophet Elias was taken up from the earth in a fiery chariot, hence, he did not die a natural death, as it is wont for all flesh to do. He shares this distinction with Enoch, of whom the scripture states: And he walked with God, and was seen no more: because God took him." (Genesis 5:24). Enoch and Elias abide in the heavens with two others who have flesh, albeit in a perfected state, namely, Jesus Christ the God-man, who deified his flesh by rising from the dead and ascending into heaven, and His most pure mother, who died as anyone else must, but was taken up into the heavens by her son.

Answer 8

The church prays to the Prophet Elias to alleviate drought, and bring rain, since by his prayers the rains were stopped, and by his prayers they came again. His intercessions are also a powerful aid to the sick, as the resurrection of the widow's son proves unmistakably. The church's experience, has confirmed again and again, and her services, for those who listen, teach this clearly.

"O prophet, preacher of Christ, thou dost never depart from the throne of Majesty, and ever intercedest for every one afflicted with sickness. Ministering in the highest, glorified in all places, thou dost bless the whole world. Ask thou for cleansing for our souls" (Glory, at the Aposticha, service for St Elias, July 7)

"The angel in the flesh, the foundation of the prophets, the second forerunner of the Coming of Christ, the glorious Elijah from on High sent down grace upon Elisha to dispel infirmities and cleanse lepers. Wherefore, he poureth fourth healings upon them that honor him" Troparion for Elijah

Answer 9

Just as the Holy Baptizer of Christ, John, heralded the first coming of Christ, when He came meekly, as a servant, so the glorious Elias will herald the second coming of Christ, when He will come in al power and majesty, as a King, swiftly, from the Mount of Olives. The church knows that both Enoch and Elias will come back to the earth in it's very last days, and preach Christ. They will be slain by the antichrist, and lay in the streets for three days, after which the Lord will come and usher in the New, unwaning age.

The Jews of Jesus' day certainly understood this about Elias, although they were confused, and thought that perhaps Christ himself was Elias: "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? {14} And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. " (Mat 16:13-14)

Answer 10

The Holy Prophet Elias burned with zeal for the truth, and this zeal made him never consider compromise with falsehood. In our day, Orthodox compromise the truth with regularity, first by being wishy washy about where the church is, and where it is not. Sometimes they compromise the truth because of fear, and oftentimes because of desire for political or material gain, or because of an unwholesome, ignorant pursuit for "unity", which they mistakenly equate as the only indicator of true love. Their apostate way of thinking has even led some to worship in services with pagans. Their actions have even been captured on video tape, and their words have been printed, for all with eyes to see.

Here is one small example. The Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, is attempting union with the Papist Roman Catholics, but this union is not being pursued in truth. Instead of teaching them where they have erred, and making it clear to them that they have fallen away from the truth, he uses Byzantine flattery which clearly shows that he fully accepts that they are members of the church of Christ, ignoring the clear teaching of the church that obdurate heretics are anathema (outside the church). Here is a portion from a recent speech by one of the Patriarch's operatives, on the sad occasion of yet another concelebration of the Orthodox and the Papists, during their celebration in Rome of the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul:

"It is indeed for the sake of this sacred cause of unity that our two churches are officially engaged in theological dialogue so that on the basis of their common heritage of the first thousand years of the Church's life they may remove the obstacles to full communion that have appeared since the tragic Schism which has separated us for almost a millennium now. The bitter experience of this long period of separation has made us all aware of the need to accelerate the process of restoring our full communion so that the approaching third millennium of the Christian era may find the Church of God visibly united as she was before the great Schism. As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breaths; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. (emphasis F.S.)" (Metropolitan John Of Pergamon, speech in Rome, on the occasion of the (Latin) Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29, 1998. This speech was distributed via the "Orthodox News mailing list" (, and is also available at

I hope everyone can recognize the heresy and accommodation to falsehood in these words. Anyone who understands the Holy Prophet Elias would know that he would not be welcome in such an assembly. The only way to stand for the truth fearlessly is to live in it. May the ecumenists come to their senses, and stand for the truth, instead of uttering false and oily platitudes, through the prayers of the Holy Prophet Elias.

Answers To Questions About The Feeding Of The 5000

Answer 1

In the Gospel of St. Matthew, the "Feeding of the Five Thousand" is recounted, where a multitude of 5000 men "besides women and children", were fed by Christ, who multiplied five loaves of bread and two fishes to the extent that all were satisfied, and the apostles collected twelve baskets of leftovers. (Matthew 14:14-22)

In the Gospel of St. Mark, two separate events are described. The feeding of the five thousand is recounted in Mark 6:32-42. A wholly separate miracle, record in Mark only tells of four thousand are fed, from seven loaves, and a few small fishes, and seven baskets of left over food are collected. (Mark 8:1-10)

St. Luke recounts the feeding of the five thousand in much the same way as St. Matthew, providing the additional detail that the apostles were told to make the men sit "by fifties" in the grass. (Luke 9:7-18)

In the Gospel of St. John, the same feeding of the Five Thousand is recounted, with the additional detail being provided that the bread was barley loaves. (John 6:3-14)

  • Matthew 14:14-22 is read on the 8th Sunday After Pentecost
  • Mark 6:30-45 is read on the 15th Thursday after Pentecost
  • Mark 8:1-10 is read on the 16th Friday after Pentecost
  • Luke 9:7-18 is read on the 21st Thursday after Pentecost

Answer 2

The service of Litya is served at most Vigil services (although, in current practice, alas, not at most Saturday evening Vigils), after Great Vespers, and immediately before matins, or in some cases, when the vigil consists of Great Compline and matins, (such as the Nativity of the Savior, and Theophany), after Great Compline.

It consists of long prayers, asking God, by the intercession of many named Holy ones, for mercy, which are chanted by the priest (or deacon), and answered by the faithful with various amounts of "Lord have mercy", sung many times to sweet melody. The service is conducted in front of a table, on which are placed 5 loaves of bread, and small vessels filled with wheat, wine and oil. This table is usually in front of an icon of the Saint or event being commemorated. In Russian practice, the clergy stand at the entrance to the nave, by the narthex, when the long prayers are intoned, then move in front of the table, which is in the center of the church, when the Aposticha are sung. After the Aposticha hymns, sung in sticheric melody, the troparion (troparia) of the feast is sung (3 times), while the table is censed round about on all four sides three successive times. At the conclusion of the troparia, the priest blesses "these loaves, wheat, wine and oil". The bread and wine are brought into the altar, and cut up, and dipped in the wine, for the faithful to partake of after the Gospel reading at matins.

In earlier, more zealous times, this food was the only sustenance the people had for the all night vigil, which went on all night, ending with the Divine Liturgy in the early morning.

Answer 3

The people saw Christ's miracle in a military context. They wanted to make him king, mount an army (which would have no trouble with provisions), and drive back the hated Romans. St. John states this plainly:

"When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone." (John 6:15)

Christ avoided this by leaving the area. When the Pharisees caught up with Him, it is evident, as recounted in St. John's gospel, that they did not understand the implications of the miracle, as Christ told them:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." (John 6:26-27)

Answer 4

Blessed Theophylact comments that our Lord's command to the disciples to "give them to eat" even when there was so little is a clear command to the Christian to exercise hospitality.

Such love will be abundantly rewarded, as the twelve baskets full show, although this reward may be in the next life, for we are told elsewhere that "great is your reward in heaven" (Mat 5:12), and "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." (Mat 6:19-20)

Answer 5

The Lord gave authority to his apostles, and through them, to the entire church, and their successors, the bishops. We are "given to eat" from the mellifluous flow of their teachings, and the entire mind of the church. Nothing in the Christian life is out of the context of life in the church, and obedience to what we have been taught, from Christ to the Apostles and the Apostles to us. The account given in St. Luke, where the apostles are told to organize the men in "fifties", further illustrates the organization of the divine organism of the body of Christ, the church. He who is not in a group of fifty, obedient to the teachings of the church, which are life, because they have preserved the words and teaching of the one Who is life, is outside of the church. Perhaps such a one is at the base of the mountain, from which Jesus did teach before feeding the people, but he is not on the grass, partaking of the bread of life.

He who has eyes to see, let him see. He who has ears to hear, let him hear, and not be offended unto his own death.

Answer 6

"... and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude." (Mat 14:19, partial)

Before we do any task, or eat any food, we must ask God's blessing upon it. This is why Orthodox Christians make the sign of the cross so readily. We ask God's blessing in all that we do. Without this blessing, we cannot expect our actions to be of good effect.

"He looks up to heaven and blesses the loaves, as if both to confirm that He is not opposed to God but that He came from the Father and from heaven, and also to teach us to give thanks when wee begin a meal and only then to eat" (Blessed Theophylact, commentary of St. Matthew)

Answer 7

According to blessed Theophylact: "The five thousand are those who are sick in their five senses, and who are healed by the five loaves".

Our Lord heals the whole man, all five senses denoting the totality of our physical being, and by extension, our whole essence, including our soul which is diseased and in need of healing.

Blessed Theophylact continues to explain that the two fish are the words of the fisherman, preeminently contained in the gospels and epistles. In additions, some have understood the five loaves to signify the Pentateuch of Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament)

Answer 8

The leftovers were abundant, and there were twelve apostles called upon to gather them up, in twelve baskets. We see that God will provide for us abundantly, if we only trust in Him. Blessed Theophylact explains that even Judas the unworthy one was called upon to fulfill this task, so that "thus remembering the miracle (he would not) rush headlong into betrayal".

The mystical meaning is very profound, and important. We are poor people, with limited understanding. We fall on our own, but are saved if we become part of the mind of the church, through our actions and beliefs. We are unable to assimilate on our own divine truth, if we do not submit to those who know the truth, the church.

"Twelve baskets were lifted up and carried by the apostles; for whatever we, the multitude, are unable to eat, that is, to understand, the apostles carried and held, that is, they accepted and understood". (Blessed Theophylact, commentary of St. Matthew)

The Christian who wishes to be saved would do well to be humble himself, and lean not on his own understanding, and look to the church for guidance in all things. May you, O reader, find the repository of all truth, and be fed continually from the bread of life, held in the baskets which you have neither the strength or knowledge to hold on your own.

Answer 9

After He fed the five thousand, and his apostles crossed over the sea in a ship, in which He joined them halfway into their voyage by walking upon the water, Jesus was met by the unbelieving Pharisees, and another multitude. Then and he expounded those words which are sweet to the believer and terrible and unbelievable to the carnal man. He is the bread of life.

"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:32-25)

"I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:48-51)

Then, as now, these words were hard to behold, and require a man to truly believe in Him Who said them.

"The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? {53} Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. {54} Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. {55} For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. {56} He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. {57} As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. {58} This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." (John 6:52-58)

Do you, O reader, believe the words spoken plainly by our Lord? These very words were understood from the beginning by the apostles (after their enlightenment by the Holy Spirit), and have been in the mind of the church ever since. Are you in one of the groups of fifties, partaking of this bread, or do you subscribe to a foreign interpretation, and invention, unknown even to those outside the church for over a thousand years?

Answer 10

Immediately after the beheading of the honorable prophet, forerunner and Baptist John, Jesus departed into a desert place. Blessed Bede believes that this was 1 year before his passion.

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