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The Making Of A minister Of The Gospel Perspective of the message of the hour By Simon Ekwenye ©2014 A minister of the gospel is a holder of either the office of a pastor, teacher, prophet, evangelist or apostle Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Stars appear between the heads of each Apostle, and each is crowned with a wreath representing the Crown of Life (Rev.
ARE CHRISTIANS MEANT TO COMMUNE ONLY ON A SATURDAY AND NEVER ON A SUNDAY? In the second paragraph of his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “Also, all Christians, when they are going to commune, know that they must approach Holy Communion on Saturday (since it is preceded by the fast of Friday) and on Sunday only by economia, so that they are not compelled to break the fast of Saturday and violate the relevant Holy Canon [sic: here he accidentally speaks of breaking the fast of Saturday, but he most likely means observing a fast on Saturday, because that is what violates the canons].” The first striking remark is “All Christians.” Does Bp. Kirykos consider himself to be a Christian? If so, why does he commune every Sunday without exception, seeing as though “all Christians” are supposed to “know” that they are only allowed to commune on a Saturday, and never on Sunday, except by “economia.” Or perhaps Bp. Kirykos does not consider himself a Christian, and for this reason he is exempt of this rule for “all Christians.” It makes perfect sense that he excludes himself from those called Christians because his very ideas and practices are not Christian at all. Is communion on Saturdays alone, and never on Sundays, really a Christian practice? Is this what Christians have always believed? Was Saturday the day that the early Christians ʺbroke breadʺ (i.e., communed)? Let us look at what the Holy Scriptures have to say. St. Luke the Evangelist (+18 October, 86), in the Acts of the Holy Apostles, writes: “And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, being to depart on the morrow (Acts 20:7).” Thus the Holy Apostle Paul would meet with the faithful on the first day of the week, to wit, Sunday, and on this day he would break bread, that is, he would serve Holy Communion. St. Paul the Apostle (+29 June, 67) also advises in his first epistle to the Corinthians: “On the first day of the week, let every one of you put apart with himself, laying up what it shall well please him: that when I come, the collections be not then to be made (1 Corinthians 16:2).” Thus St. Paul indicates that the Christians would meet with one another on the first day of the week, that is, Sunday, not only for Liturgy, but also for collection of goods for the poor. The reason why the Christians would meet for prayer and breaking of bread on Sunday is because our Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead on one day after the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, that is, the Lordʹs Day or Sunday (Matt. 28:1‐7; Mark 16:2,9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). Another reason for the Christians meeting together on Sundays is because the Holy Spirit was delivered to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, which was a Sunday, and this event signified the beginning of the Christian community. That Pentecost took place on a Sunday is clear from Godʹs command in the Old Testament Scriptures: “You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord (Leviticus 23:16).” The reference to “fifty days” and “seventh Sabbath” refers to counting fifty days from the first Sabbath, or seven weeks plus one day; while “the day after the seventh Sabbath” clearly refers to a Sunday, since the day after the Sabbath day (Saturday) is always the Lord’s Day (Sunday). It was on the Sunday of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. Thus we read: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance (Acts 2:1‐4).” A final reason for Sunday being the day that the Christians met for prayer and breaking of bread was in order to remember the promised Second Coming or rather Second Appearance (Δευτέρα Παρουσία) of the Lord. The reference to Sunday is found in the Book of Revelation, in which Christ appeared and delivered the prophecy to St. John the Theologian on “Kyriake” (Κυριακή), which means “the main day,” or “the first day,” but more correctly means “the Lordʹs Day.” (Revelation 1:10). For the above three reasons (that Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the Pentecost and the Second Appearance) the Apostles themselves, and the early Christians immediately made Sunday the new Sabbath, the new day of rest, and the new day for Godʹs people to gather together for prayer (i.e., Liturgy) and breaking of bread (i.e., Holy Communion) Thus we read in the Didache of the Holy Apostles: “On the Lordʹs Day (i.e., Kyriake) come together and break bread. And give thanks (i.e., offer the Eucharist), after confessing your sins that your sacrifice may be pure (Didache 14).” Thus the Christians met together on the Lord’s Day, that is, Sunday, for the breaking of bread and giving of thanks, to wit, the Divine Liturgy and Holy Eucharist. St. Barnabas the Apostle (+11 June, 61), First Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, in the Epistle of Barnabas, writes: “Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead (Barnabas 15).” The eighth day is a reference to Sunday, which is known as the first as well as the eighth day of the week. How more appropriate to keep the eighth day with joyfulness other than by communing of the joyous Gifts? St. Ignatius the God‐bearer (+20 December, 108), Bishop of Antioch, in his Epistle to the Magnesians, insists that the Jews who became Christian should be “no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our Life rose again (Magnesians 9).” What could commemorate the Lord’s Day as the day Life rose again, other than by receiving Life incarnate, to wit, that precious Body and Blood of Christ? For he who partakes of it shall never die but live forever! St. Clemes, also known as St. Clement (+24 November, 101), Bishop of Rome, in the Apostolic Constitutions, also declares that Divine Liturgy is especially for Sundays more than any other day. Thus we read: “On the day of the resurrection of the Lord, that is, the Lord’s day, assemble yourselves together, without fail, giving thanks to God, and praising Him for those mercies God has bestowed upon you through Christ, and has delivered you from ignorance, error, and bondage, that your sacrifice may be unspotted, and acceptable to God, who has said concerning His universal Church: In every place shall incense and a pure sacrifice be offered unto me; for I am a great King, saith the Lord Almighty, and my name is wonderful among the nations (Apostolic Constitutions, ch. 30).” The reference to “pure sacrifice” is the oblation of Christ’s Body and Blood; “giving thanks to God” is the celebration of the Eucharist (εὐχαριστία = giving thanks). The Apostolic Constitutions also state clearly that Sunday is not only the most important day for Divine Liturgy, but that it is also the ideal day for receiving Holy Communion. It is written: “And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent Him to us, and condescended to let Him suffer, and raised Him from the dead. Otherwise what apology will he make to God who does not assemble on that day to hear the saving word concerning the resurrection, on which we pray thrice standing in memory of Him who arose in three days, in which is performed the reading of the prophets, the preaching of the Gospel, the oblation of the sacrifice, the gift of the holy food? (Apostolic Constitutions, ch. 59).” The “gift of the holy food” refers to Holy Communion. The Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church also distinguish Sunday as the day of Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion. The 19th Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council mentions the importance of Sunday as a day for gathering and preaching the Gospel sermon: “We declare that the deans of churches, on every day, but more especially on Sundays, must teach all the clergy and the laity words of truth out of the Holy Bible…” The 80th Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council states that all clergy and laity are forbidden to be absent from Divine Liturgy for three consecutive Sundays: “In case any bishop or presbyter or deacon or anyone else on the list of the clergy, or any layman, without any grave necessity or any particular difficulty compelling him to absent himself from his own church for a very long time, fails to attend church on Sundays for three consecutive weeks, while living in the city, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be removed from communion.” Take note that if one attends Divine Liturgy for three consecutive Saturdays, but not on the Sundays, he still falls under the penalty of this canon because it does not reprimand someone who simply doesn’t attend Divine Liturgy for three weeks, but rather one who “fails to attend church on Sundays.” The reference to “church” must refer to a parish where Holy Communion is offered every Sunday, for an individual who does not attend for three consecutive Sundays cannot be punished by being “removed from communion” if this is not even offered to begin with. Also, the fact that this is the penalty must mean that the norm is for the faithful to commune every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday. The 9th Canon of the Holy Apostles declares that: “All those faithful who enter and listen to the Scriptures, but do not stay for prayer and Holy Communion must be excommunicated, on the ground that they are causing the Church a breach of order.” The 2nd Canon of the Council of Antioch states: “As for all those persons who enter the church and listen to the sacred Scriptures, but who fail to commune in prayer together and at the same time with the laity, or who shun the participation of the Eucharist, in accordance with some irregularity, we decree that these persons be outcasts from the Church until, after going to confession and exhibiting fruits of repentance and begging forgiveness, they succeed in obtaining a pardon…” Both of these canons prove quite clearly that all faithful who attend Divine Liturgy and are not under any kind of penance or excommunication, must partake of Holy Communion. Thus, if clergy and laity are equally expected to attend Divine Liturgy every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday, they are equally expected to Commune every Sunday, or at least every third Sunday. Should they fail, they are to be excommunicated. St. Timothy of Alexandria (+20 July, 384), in his Questions and Answers, and specifically in the 3rd Canon, writes: “Question: If anyone who is a believer is possessed of a demon, ought he to partake of the Holy Mysteries, or not? Answer: If he does not repudiate the Mystery, nor otherwise in any way blaspheme, let him have communion, not, however, every day in the week, for it is sufficient for him on the Lord’s Day only.” So then, if even those who are possessed with demons are permitted to commune on every Sunday, how is it that Bp. Kirykos advises that all Christians are only permitted to commune on a Saturday, and never on a Sunday except by extreme economia? Are today’s healthy, faithful and practicing Orthodox Christians, who do not have a canon of penance or any excommunication, and who desire communion every Sunday, forbidden this, despite the fact that of old even those possessed of demons were permitted it? The above Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church are the Law of God that the Church abides to in order to prevent scandal or discord. Let us now compare this Law of God to the “traditions of men,” namely, the Sabbatian, Pharisaic statement found in Bp. Kirykos’s first letter to Fr. Pedro: “… I request of you the avoidance of disorder and scandal regarding this issue, and to recommend to those who confess to you, that in order to approach Holy Communion, they must prepare by fasting, and to prefer approaching on Saturday and not Sunday.“ Clearly, Bp. Kirykos has turned the whole world upside down, and has made the Holy Canons and the Law of the Church of God as a matter of “discord and scandal,” and instead insists upon his own self‐invented “tradition” which is nowhere to be found in the writings of the Holy Fathers, in the Holy Canons, or in the Holy Tradition of Orthodoxy. The truth is that Bp. Kirykos himself is the one who introduced “disorder and scandal” when he trampled all over the Holy Canons and insisted that his priest, Fr. Pedro, and other laymen do likewise! The truth is that Fr. Pedro and the laymen supporting him are not at all causing “disorder and scandal” in the Church, but they are the ones preventing disorder and scandal by objecting to the unorthodox demands of Bp. Kirykos. Throughout the history of the Orthodox Church, Sunday has always been the day of Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion. This was declared so by the Holy Apostles themselves, was also maintained in the post‐apostolic era, and continues even until our day. Nowhere in the doctrines, practices or history of Orthodox Christianity is there ever a teaching that laymen are supposedly only to commune on a Saturday and never on a Sunday. The only day of the week throughout the year upon which Liturgy is guaranteed to be celebrated is on a Sunday. The Liturgy is only performed on a few Saturdays per year in most parishes, and mostly only during the Great Fast or on the Saturday of Souls. Liturgy is more seldom on weekdays as the Liturgies of Wednesday and Friday nights have been made Pre‐sanctified and limited to only within the Great Fast. Liturgy is now only performed on weekdays if it is a feastday of a major saint. But Liturgy is always performed on a Sunday without fail, in every city, village and countryside, because it is the Lord’s Day. The purpose of Liturgy is to receive Holy Communion, and the reason for it being celebrated on the Lord’s Day without fail is because this is the day of salvation, and therefore the most important day of the week, especially for receiving Holy Communion. For, “This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).” What greater way to rejoice on the Lord’s Day than to commune of the very Lord Himself? The theory of diminishing Sunday as the day of salvation and communion, and instead opting for Saturday, is actually a heresy known as
The Prayer of Episcopal Consecration The consecration prayer itself proves the fact that other bishops must be present and lay their hands on the ordinand during the rite consecration: Hierarch: Master, Lord, our God, Thou who legislated unto us through Thine All‐ famed Apostle Paul, regarding the order of degrees and orders, for the purpose of serving and liturgizing Thy venerable and immaculate Mysteries in Thy Holy Sanctuary: first Apostles, second Prophets, third Teachers. Likewise, O Master of All, this here elected one who has been granted worthy to carry the Evangelical yoke, and the High Priestly rank, by the hand of sinful me, and by those of the witnessing Concelebrants and Co‐Bishops, by the inspiration and power and grace of Thy Holy Spirit, strengthen, as Though strengthened the Holy Apostles and Prophets, as Thou anointed the Kings, as Though sanctified the High Priests, and grant unto him the High Priesthood without reproach, and adorning him with all piety, elect him holy and make him worthy, that he may intercede for the salvation of the people, and that they may obey Thee through him. For sanctified is Thy Name and glorified is Thy Kingdom, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” The original Greek is as follows: Ἀρχιερεὺς: Δέσποτα Κύριε, ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, ὁ νομοθετήσας ἡμῖν διὰ τοῦ πανευφήμου σου Ἀποστόλου Παύλου, βαθμῶν καὶ ταγμάτων τάξιν, εἰς τὸ ἐξυπηρετεῖσθαι, καὶ λειτουργεῖν τοῖς σεπτοῖς, καὶ ἀχράντοις σου Μυστηρίοις ἐν τῶ ἁγίω σου Θυσιαστηρίω, πρῶτον Ἀποστόλους, δεύτερον Προφήτας, τρίτον Διδασκάλους. Αὐτός, Δέσποτα τῶν ἁπάντων, καὶ τοῦτον τὸν ψηφισθέντα, καὶ ἀξιωθέντα ὑπεισελθεῖν τὸν Εὐαγγελικὸν ζυγόν, καὶ τὴν Ἀρχιερατικὴν ἀξίαν, διὰ τῆς χειρὸς ἐμοῦ τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ, καὶ τῶν συμπαρόντων Λειτουργῶν καὶ Συνεπισκόπων, τῆ ἐπιφοιτήσει καὶ δυνάμει, καὶ χάριτι τοῦ Ἁγίου σου Πνεύματος, ἐνίσχυσον, ὡς ἐνίσχυσας τοὺς ἁγῖους σου Ἀποστόλους, καὶ Προφήτας, ὡς ἔχρισας τοὺς Βασιλεῖς , ὡς ἡγίασας τοὺς Ἀρχιερεῖς, καὶ ἀνεπίληπτον αὐτοῦ τὴν Ἀρχιερωσύνην ἀπόδειξον, καὶ πάση σεμνότητι κατακοσμῶν, ἅγιον ἀνάδειξον, εἰς τὸ ἄξιον γενέσθαι, τοῦ αἰτεῖν αὐτὸν τὰ πρὸς σωτηρίαν τοῦ λαοῦ, καὶ ἐπακούειν σε αὐτοῦ. Ὄτι ἡγίασταί σου τὸ ὄνομα καὶ δεδόξασταί σου ἡ Βασιλεία, τοῦ Πατρός, καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ, καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου Πνεύματος, νῦν καὶ ἀεί, καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων.
Paul was the “ Apostle to the Gentiles,” the “ chosen vessel” of the Lord to bear his name to the Gentiles;
It is confusing, too, to read the Apostle’s words (specially intended and suited for such an occasion) about the second coming of Christ, and the blessing at that time, by a resurrection of “ them that sleep in Jesus” (1 Thes.
January 2018 Sunday Monday 1 Tuesday Wednesday Thursday 2 3 4 9 10 William Laud Bp 11 Friday 5 The Holy Name 7 8 1st Sun after Epiphany 8am Said Mass 10am Sung Mass 14 15 16 4th Sun after Epiphany 8am Said Mass 10am Sung Mass 12 13 17 Anthony of Egypt 18 19 20 26 27 6.30pm Said Mass Confession of St Peter, 7.20pm Finance Comm Apostle 22 23 3rd Sun after Epiphany 8am Said Mass 10am Sung Mass 11.40am Vestry Meeting 28 6 The Epiphany 10am Said Mass 6.30pm Said Mass 2nd Sun after Epiphany 8am Said Mass 10am Sung Mass 21 Saturday 24 Francis de Sales 25 6.30pm Said Mass 29 30 31 Feria 6.30pm Said Mass Conversion of St Paul, Apostle February 2018 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday 1 Friday Saturday 2 The Presentation 3 10am Healing Mass 4 5 6 5th Sun after Epiphany 8am Said Mass 10am Sung Mass 11 12 13 19 20 1st Sunday in Lent 8am Said Mass 10am Sung Mass 11.40am Vestry Meeting 25 2nd Sunday in Lent 8am Said Mass 10am Sung Mass Feria 8 9 10 16 17 6.30pm Said Mass 7.20pm Finance Comm End of Epiphanytide 8am Said Mass 10am Sung Mass 11.40am Buildings &
Quotes from President Hinckley, Joseph Fielding Smith, Apostle Orson Pratt, Elder Bernard P.
Paul’s erstwhile colleague, the apostle St Peter, is not referenced in the Bible or in any other document subsequent to his imprisonment in Jerusalem,2 from where he escaped to Antioch, Syria, in AD 44.
As an assistance we suggest as a text to be remembered and practiced daily, the words of the Apostle Paul (2 Cor.
and when God would reveal it to his people, he inspired his spe cially chosen and prepared Apostle (Paul— Gal.
True, the Apostle to the Gentiles went on so-called “ mis sionary journeys” for years, in the cities near the Mediterra nean sea, but those were not “ Foreign Missions” in the sense that this term is now understood.
Perhaps few have learned to value the discipline of the your character and to cause the principles of truth and right Lord as did the faithful Apostle who wrote these words.
IS IT SINFUL TO EAT MEAT? ARE MARITAL RELATIONS IMPURE? In his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “Regarding the Canon, which some people refer to in order to commune without fasting beforehand, it is correct, but it must be interpreted correctly and applied to everybody. Namely, we must return to those early apostolic times, during which all of the Christians were ascetics and temperate and fasters, and only they remained until the end of the Divine Liturgy and communed. They fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” In the above quote, Bp. Kirykos displays the notion that early Christians supposedly abstained from meat and from marriage, and were thus all supposedly “ascetics and temperate and fasters,” and that this is what gave them the right to commune daily. But the truth of the matter is that the majority of Christians were not ascetics, yet they did commune every day. In fact, the ascetics were the ones who lived far away from cities where Liturgy would have been available, and it was these ascetics who would commune rarely. This can be ascertained from studying the Patrologia and the ecclesiastical histories written by Holy Fathers. The theories that Bp. Kirykos entertains are also followed by those immediately surrounding him. His sister, the nun Vincentia, for instance, actually believes that people that eat meat or married couples that engaged in legal nuptial relations are supposedly sinning! She actually believes that meat and marriage are sinful and should be avoided. This theory appears much more extreme in the person of the nun Vincentia, but this notion is also found in the teachings of Bp. Kirykos, and the spirit of this error can also be found in the above quote, where he believes that only people who are “ascetics and temperate and fasters” are “worthy of communion,” as if a man who eats meat or has marital relations with his own wife is “sinful” and “unworthy.” But is this the teaching of the Orthodox Church? Certainly not! These teachings are actually found in Gnosticism, Manichaeism, Paulicianism, Bogomilism, and various “New Age” movements which arise from a mixture of Christianity with Hinduism or Buddhism, religions that consider meat and marriage to be sinful due to their erroneous belief in reincarnation. The Holy Apostle Paul warns us against these heresies. In the First Epistle to Timothy, the Apostle to the Nations writes: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” If all of the early Christians abstained from meat and marriage, as Bp. Kirykos dares to say, how is it that the Apostle Paul warns his disciple, Timothy, that in the future people shall “depart from the faith,” shall preach “doctrines of demons,” shall “speak lies in hypocrisy,” shall “forbid marriage” and shall “command to abstain from meats?” The heresy that the Holy Apostle Paul was prophesying about is most likely that called Manichaeism. This heresy finds its origins in a Babylonian man called Shuraik, son of Fatak Babak. Shuraik became a Mandaean Gnostic, and was thus referred to as Rabban Mana (Teacher of the Light‐Spirit). For this reason, Shuraik became commonly‐known throughout the world as Mani. His followers became known as Manicheans in order to distinguish them from the Mandaeans, and the religion he founded became known as Manichaeism. The basic doctrines and principles of this religion were as follows: The Manicheans believed that there was no omnipotent God. Instead they believed that there were two equal powers, one good and one evil. The good power was ruled by the “Prince of Light” while the evil power was led by the “Prince of Darkness.” They believed that the material world was inherently evil from its very creation, and that it was created by the Prince of Darkness. This explains why they held meat and marriage to be evil, since anything material was considered evil from its very foundation. They also believed that each human consisted of a battleground between these two opposing powers of light and darkness, where the soul endlessly battles against the body, respectively. They divided their followers into four groups: 1) monks, 2) nuns, 3) laymen, 4) laywomen. The monks and nuns abstained from meat and marriage and were therefore considered “elect” or “holy,” whereas the laymen and laywomen were considered only “hearers” and “observers” but not real “bearers of the light” due to their “sin” of eating meat and engaging in marital relations. The above principles of the Manichean religion are entirely opposed to the Orthodox Faith, on account of the following reasons: The Orthodox Church believes in one God who is eternal, uncreated, without beginning and without end, and forever good and omnipotent. Evil has never existed in the uncreated Godhead, and it shall never exist in the uncreated Godhead. The power of evil is not uncreated but it has a beginning in creation. Yet the power of evil was not created by God. Evil exists because the prince of the angels abused his free will, which caused him to fall and take followers with him. He became the devil and his followers became demons. Prior to this event there was no evil in the created world. The material world was not created by the devil, but by God Himself. By no means is the material world evil. God looked upon the world he created and said “it was very good.” For this reason partaking of meat is not evil, but God blessed Noah and all of his successors to partake of meat. For all material things in the world exist to serve man, and man exists to serve God. If there is any evil in the created world it derives from mankind’s abuse of his free will, which took place in Eden, due to the enticement of the devil. The history of mankind, both good and bad, is not a product of good or evil forces fighting one another, but every event in the history of mankind is part of God’s plan for mankind’s salvation. The devil has power over this world only forasmuch as mankind is enslaved by his own egocentrism and his desire to sin. Once mankind denies his ego and submits to the will of God, and ceases relying on his own works but rather places his hope and trust in God, mankind shall no longer follow or practice evil. But man is inherently incapable of achieving this on his own because no man is perfect or sinless. For this reason, God sent his only‐begotten Son, the Word of God, who became incarnate and was born and grew into the man known as Jesus of Nazareth. By his virginal conception; his nativity; his baptism; his fast (which he underwent himself but never forced upon his disciples); his miracles (the first of which he performed at a wedding); his teaching (which was contrary to the Pharisees); his gift of his immaculate Body and precious Blood for the eternal life of mankind; his betrayal; his crucifixion; his death; his defeating of death and hades; his Resurrection from the tomb (by which he also raised the whole human nature); his ascension and heavenly enthronement; and his sending down of the Holy Spirit which proceeds from the Father—our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, accomplished the salvation of mankind. Among the followers of Christ are people who are married as well as people who live monastic lives. Both of these kinds of people, however, are sinners, each in their own way, and their actions, no matter how good they may be, are nothing but a menstruous rag in the eyes of God, according to the Prophet Isaiah. Whether married or unmarried, they can accomplish nothing without the saving grace of the crucified and third‐day Risen Lord. Although being a monastic allows one to spend more time devoted to prayer and with less responsibilities and earthly cares, nevertheless, being married is not at all sinful, but rather it is a blessing. Marital relations between a lawfully married couple, in moderation and at the appointed times (i.e., not on Sundays, not on Great Feasts, and outside of fasting periods) are not sinful but are rather an expression of God’s love and grace which He has bestowed upon each married man and woman, through the Mystery of Holy Matrimony. The Orthodox Church went through great extremes to oppose the heresy of Manichaeism, especially because this false religion’s devotion to fasting and monasticism enticed many people to think it was a good religion. In reality though, Manichaeism is a satanic folly. Yet over the years this folly began to seep into the fold of the faithful. Manichaeism spread wildly throughout the Middle East, and throughout Asia as far as southern China. It also spread into Africa, and even St. Aurelius Augustinus, also known as Blessed Augustine of Hippo (+28 August, 430), happened to be a Manichaean before he became an Orthodox Christian. The heresy began to spread into Western Europe, which is why various pockets in the Western Church began enforcing the celibacy of all clergy. They also began reconstructing the meaning of fasting. Instead of demanding laymen to only fast on Wednesday and Friday during a normal week, they began enforcing a strict fast on Saturday as well. The reason for this is because they no longer viewed fasting as a spiritual exercise for the sake of remembering Christ’s betrayal and his crucifixion. Instead they began viewing fasting as a method of purifying one’s body from “evil foods.” Thus they adopted the Manichean heresy that meat, dairy or eggs are supposedly evil. Thinking that these foods were evil, they demanded laymen to fast on Saturday so as to be “pure” when they receive Holy Communion on Sunday. In so doing, they cast aside the Holy Canons of the All‐famed Apostles, for the sake of following their newly‐found “tradition of men,” which is nothing but the heresy of Manichaeism. The Sixth Ecumenical Council, in its 55th Canon, strongly admonishes the Church of Rome to abandon this practice. St. Photius the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople New Rome (+6 February, 893), in his Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs, in his countless writings against Papism and his work against Manichaeism, clearly explains that the Roman Catholic Church has fallen into Manichaeism by demanding the fast on Saturdays and by enforcing all clergy to be celibate. Thanks to these works of St. Photius the Great, the heretical practices of the Manicheans did not prevail in the East, and the mainstream Orthodox Christians did not adopt this Manichaeism. However, the Manicheans did manage to set up their own false churches in Armenia and Bulgaria. The Manicheans in Armenia were referred to as Paulicians. Those in Bulgaria were called Bogomils. They flourished from the 9th century even until the 15th century, until the majority of them converted to Islam under Ottoman Rule. Today’s Muslim Azerbaijanis, Kurds, and various Caucasian nationalities are descendants of those who were once Paulicians. Today’s Muslim Albanians, Bosnians and Pomaks descend from those who were once Bogomils. Some Bogomils migrated to France where they established the sect known as the Albigenses, Cathars or Puritans. But several Bogomils did not convert to Islam, nor did they leave the realm of the Ottoman Empire, but instead they converted to Orthodoxy. The sad thing is, though, that they brought their Manichaeism with them. Thus from the 15th century onwards, Manichaeism began to infiltrate the Church, and this is what led to the outrageous practices of the 17th and 18th centuries, wherein hardly any laymen would ever commune, except for once, twice or three times per year. It is this error that the Holy Kollyvades Fathers fought. Various Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church condemn the notions that it is “sinful” or “impure” for one to eat meat or engage in lawful marital relations. Some of these Holy Canons and Decisions are presented below: The 51st Canon of the Holy Apostles reads: “If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or anyone at all on the sacerdotal list, abstains from marriage, or meat, or wine, not as a matter of mortification, but out of abhorrence thereof, forgetting that all things are exceedingly good, and that God made male and female, and blasphemously misinterpreting God’s work of creation, either let him mend his ways or let him be deposed from office and expelled from the Church. Let a layman be treated similarly.” Thus, clergy and laymen are only permitted to abstain from these things for reasons of mortification, and such mortification is what one should apply to himself and not to others. By no means are they permitted to abstain from these things out of abhorrence towards them, in other words, out of belief that these things are disgusting, sinful or impure, or that they cause unworthiness. The 1st Canon of the Holy Council of Gangra reads: “If anyone disparages marriage, or abominates or disparages a woman sleeping with her husband, notwithstanding that she is faithful and reverent, as though she could not enter the Kingdom, let him be anathema.” Here the Holy Council anathematizes those who believe that a lawfully married husband and wife supposedly sin whenever they have nuptial relations. Note that the reference “as though she could not enter the Kingdom” can also have the interpretation “as though she could not receive Communion.” For according to the Holy Fathers, receiving Communion is an entry into the Kingdom. This is why when we are approaching Communion we chant “Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.” Therefore, anyone who believes that a woman who lawfully sleeps with her own husband, or that a man who lawfully sleeps with his own wife, is somehow “impure,” “sinful,” or “evil,” is entertaining notions that are not Orthodox but rather Manichaean. Such a person is anathematized.
The doctrine of the ransom is thus shown by the Apostle to be fundamental to a proper conception and appreciation of God’s character.
SPIRITUAL PATH REMEMBERING SACRED TRADITION AND REFERRING TO THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH Quotes from St. Basil the Great A. Holy Tradition. Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us ʺin a mysteryʺ by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will gainsay—no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in its very vitals; or, rather, should make our public definition a mere phrase and nothing more. For instance, to take the first and most general example, who is thence who has taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the cross those who have trusted in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? What writing has taught us to turn to the East at the prayer? Which of the saints has left us in writing the words of the invocation at the displaying of the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing? For we are not, as is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching. (Quote from St. Basil the Great’s work “On the Holy Spirit,” Patrologia Graeca 32, 188) B. Frequent Holy Communion. To commune each day and to partake of the holy Body and Blood of Christ is good and beneficial; for He says quite plainly: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life.” Who can doubt that to share continually in life is the same thing as having life abundantly? We ourselves commune four times a week: on the Lord’s Day (i.e., Sunday), on the Third Day (i.e., Wednesday), on the Preparation Day (i.e., Friday) and on the Sabbath Day (i.e., Saturday); and on other days if there is a commemoration of any saint. (Quote from 93rd Epistle of St. Basil the Great’s work “To Caesarea Patricia Regarding Communion,” Patrologia Graeca 32, 484)
A “hearer of Apostle John” and the other Apostles:
Peter the Apostle Catholic Church Monthly Ministry Schedule April 2015 Saturday 5:15 pm EM 04/04 Easter Vigil 8:30 pm LECTORS SERVERS USHERS GREETERS GIFT BEARER Jan Smalley Marcinda Hempen John Podleski Jo Ann Brothers Mary Lowry James Nguyen John Nguyen Joseph Nguyen Jan Smalley Volunteers Volunteers 04/11 Lich Than Nguyen Family Audrey Haberman Mary Lowry Bill Duke Audrey Habermann Jeanne Brummet Rachel Brummet Bill Maguire Harold/Evelyn Redwine Volunteers 04/18 Harold/Evelyn Redwine Ivan Johnson Kim Vaughn Dale Williams Bill Duke Evelyn Redwine Elizabeth Motazedi Brook Wear Bill/Martha Duke Volunteers Bill/Martha Duke 04/25 EM LECTORS SERVERS USHERS GREETERS GIFT BEARER Jerry Knight Frances Davis Olympia Wark Jim Johnson Karen Porter Christy Jones Jim Johnson Mady Szell Mark Ford Dale Wark Kirk Metts Volunteers Volunteers Frances Davis Ron Kaiser Lisa Tholen Greg Emory Francis Corcoran Larry Gollhofer Francis Corcoran Becca Diskin Shane Diskin Phillip Stremel Mark Ramsour Volunteers Volunteers J Parrigon Family Mary Emory Mary Kaiser Frances Davis Barb Gollhofer Jim Johnson Brian Cronenwett Anthony Windle Andy Nguyen Skylar Cauble Jim Johnson Ron/Mary Kaiser Volunteers Volunteers Tholen/Kukes family Mike Parrigon Olympia Wark Karen Porter Jerry Knight Francis Corcoran Jane Turk Kyle Wolfe Chandler Olmstead Daniel Wagner Dale Wark Volunteers Volunteers Bill Murray Sunday 9:00 am 04/05 04/12 04/19 04/26 812 South Pearl Avenue Joplin, Missouri 64801 417.623.8643 2 St.
For, as the Apostle by inspiration declares, Tho we should preach the gospel eloquently to others, and tho we should give all our goods to feed the poor, or become martyrs for a good cause, without love, the spirit of Christ and the Father, developed in us as the ruling principle of life, we would be nothing, from the divine standpoint.