St. LukeDiocese Orthodox Christian Church of the South, Orthodox Church in America The Rev. Father Basil Henry, Priest 1415 Woodstock Ave. • Anniston, Alabama • www.stlukeanniston.org/ firstname.lastname@example.org • (256) 235-3893
Sunday, February 27, 2011 • 40th Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday of the Last Judgement • St. Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn (1915).
St. Procopius the Confessor of Decapolis (ca. 750). Martyrs Julian and his disciple Chroniun, at Alexandria (250-252). Martyr Gelasius the Actor of Heliopolis (297). St. Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem (333). St. Thalelaeus, hermit of Gabala in Syria (ca. 460). Sts. Aselepius and James of Nimouza, monks near Cyrrhus (5th c.). St. Stephen, monk of Constantinople (614). St. Titus, priest of the Kiev Caves (1190). St. Titus the Soldiet, monk of the Kiev Caves (14th c.). St. Pitirim, bishop of Tambov (1698). New Martyr Elias ofTrebizond (1749). (Gr. Cal.: St. Timorhy of Caesarea, monk.)
After today Orthodox Christians fast from meat until the Feast of Holy Pascha; next Sunday will be the last day to eat dairy products.
This Week’s Service Schedule & scripture readings Monday, 2/28
No Service Vespers 4 p.m.
3 John 1:1-15
Luke 19:2940; 22:7-39
Matins 8 a.m.
Matins 8 a.m.
Matins 8 a.m.
Vespers Romans 4 p.m. 14:19-23
Gal. Matt. 5:22-6:2 11:27-30
Divine Liturgy 10 a.m.
Memorial Sat. — Sat. of Cheesefare
Sunday of Forgiveness 40 Martyrs of Sebaste (transferred)
Hours 9:40 a.m.
Service times are subject to change. Please check with Fr. Basil if in any doubt.
This Week’s Fasts Sunday
“Lord, I Call”
of Glory, have mercy on us! Number us with those who love Thee, for Thou alone art good, O Master!
sunday (Tone 7)
Lead forth my soul from prison, that I may confess Thy name!
From the morning watch even to the night, let Israel hope in
Come, let us rejoice in the Lord, Who destroyed the the Lord! dominion of death! Let us sing to Him with the bodi- I shudder in terror when I think of that dreadful day; I less hosts, for He enlightened the race of Man! O our weep as I consider the darkness that will never see light: Maker and Savior, glory to Thee! there the worm shall not cease, or the fire be quenched; the pain of those who reject Thee will never end. Save The righteous await me, till Thou shalt reward me. me, Thy most worthless servant, O Righteous Judge, Thou didst endure the Cross and burial for our sake! for Thy mercy and compassion are my only hope! By Thy death, Thou didst slay death as God! We fall down before Thy Resurrection on the third day, O St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Tone 2) Savior, glory to Thee! For with the Lord there is mercy and with Him is plenteous redemption, and He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice!
Let all the choirs of Orthodox Christians in America When the Apostles beheld the Resurrection of the Mak- sing hymns in honor of the holy Bishop Raphael! By er, they were amazed and sang the angelic praise! This is birth an Arab, nourished by streams of Greek theolothe glory of the Church! This is the richness of the gy, he was consecrated by the Church of Russia, which Kingdom! O Lord, crucified for our sake, glory to Thee! had adopted us all. True to his name, he brings God’s healing to us as we celebrate his holy memory. Sunday of the
Last Judgement (Tone 6)
O praise the Lord, all ye nations, praise Him, all ye people!
Let Thine ears give heed to the voice of my prayer!
As the Archangel Raphael guided Tobit in a foreign land O Righteous Judge of all mankind, Thou shall come to long ago, Bishop Raphael kept his flock on the true path judge the living and the dead, enthroned in glory and esin a land far from their homes. Always imitating the corted by angels. Every man will stand in fear before Thee, Good Shepherd, he fed his many sheep from a table that trembling at the river of fire flowing past Thy throne, as the Lord prepared in the presence of their enemies. So each one waits to hear the sentence he deserves. On that now, as we are fed by his teaching and example, we pray awesome day have mercy on us as well, O Christ; count us that he continue to intercede for us with Christ our God. worthy of salvation, for, worthless as we are, we turn to For His mercy hath been confirmed upon us and the truth of Thee in faith, O compassionate and merciful Lord! the Lord remaineth forever.
If Thou observest transgression, Lord, O Lord, who shall stand? For with Thee is propitiation.
The books will be opened, and the works of all men laid bare; the vale of tears will echo with the gnashing of teeth; the sinners will mourn in vain, as they depart to eternal damnation. Thy judgments are just, O Lord Almighty! We beg Thee, O Master, full of goodness and compassion, take pity on us who sing to Thee, O most merciful One! For Thy name’s sake have I waited upon Thee, O Lord; my soul hath waited upon Thy word; my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
Let us sing hymns of praise to the holy Bishop Raphael, who shone forth from Brooklyn and enlightened those in darkness! To those who were wounded by sin, he brought healing in Christ; to those who were deceived, he brought the truth of the Orthodox Faith; he gathered his scattered sheep safely into the fold of the Church. Therefore we praise him as a worthy bishop and a citizen of Heaven.
The trumpet shall sound, and the graves shall be opened; all mankind will arise in trembling; the righteous will rejoice, as they receive their reward, but the wicked will depart to eternal fire with wailing and horror. O Lord ~3~
Sunday of the
Last Judgement (Tone 8)
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…
lips shall come what is right. For my throat shall meditate truth; false lips are an abomination before me. All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing in them that is twisted or perverse. They are all straight to him who understands and right to those who find knowledge. I shall instruct you in truth, so that your hope will be in the Lord and ye shall be filled with the Spirit.
When the thrones are set in place and the books are opened, then God will take His place on the judgment seat. Oh, what a fearful sight! The Angels stand in awe, and the river of fire flows by. What shall we do, who are already condemned by our many sins, as we hear Christ call the righteous to His Father’s Kingdom, and Proverbs of Solomon send the wicked to eternal damnation? Who among us The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the can bear that terrible verdict? Hasten to us, O Lover of perverse tongue will be cut off. The lips of the righteous mankind and King of the universe; grant us the grace know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, of repentance before the end, and have mercy on us! what is perverse. A false balance is an abomination to the Dogmatikon (Tone 7) Lord, but a just weight is his delight. When pride comes, Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. then comes disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom. No tongue can speak of thy wonderful childbearing, The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookfor the order of nature was overruled by God. Thou edness of the treacherous destroys them. Riches do not wast revealed to be a Mother above nature, for thou profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from didst remain a Virgin beyond reason and understand- death. The righteousness of the blameless keeps his ways ing. Thy conception was most glorious, O Theotokos! straight, but the wicked falls by his own wickedness. The The manner of thy giving birth was ineffable, O Vir- righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treachgin! Knowing thee to be the Mother of God, devoutly erous are taken captive by their lust. When the wicked we pray to thee: “Beseech Him to save our souls!” dies, his hope perishes, and the expectation of the godless comes to naught. The righteous is delivered from trouble, Old Testament Readings and the wicked gets into it instead. With his mouth the St. Raphael of Brooklyn godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowlProverbs of Solomon edge the righteous are delivered. When it goes well with The memory of the righteous is celebrated with praise the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perand the blessing of the Lord is upon his head. Blessed is ish there are shouts of gladness. By the blessing of the the man who hath found wisdom and the mortal who upright a city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the hath understanding, for it is better to purchase her than mouth of the wicked. He who belittles his neighbor lacks treasuries of gold and silver. She is more precious than sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. precious stones and all that is precious is unworthy of her. Wisdom of Solomon For length of days and years of life are in her right hand; and in her left hand are riches and glory. Out of her The righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest. mouth proceeds righteousness and she bears law and For old age is not honored for length of time, nor meamercy upon her tongue. Hear me, O child, for I will sured by number of years; but understanding of grey hair speak noble things. Blessed is the man who keeps my for men, and a blameless life is ripe old age. There was ways, for my ways are the ways of life, and in them is one who pleased God and was loved by him, and while prepared favor from the Lord. Therefore, hear me, I pray living among sinners he was taken up. He was caught up thee, and utter my voice to the sons of men: For I, Wis- lest evil change his understanding or guile deceive his dom, have dwelt with counsel and knowledge and I have soul. For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is called upon understanding. Counsel and safety are mine, good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind. Beunderstanding and strength are mine. I love those who ing perfected in a short time, he fulfilled long years; for love me and those seeking me shall find grace. Under- his soul was pleasing to the Lord, therefore he took him stand craftiness, O ye who are simple, and imbibe knowl- quickly from the midst of wickedness. Yet the peoples edge, ye who are untaught. Hear me again, for I will saw and did not understand, nor take such a thing to speak noble things: I will open my mouth and from my heart, that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect, and ~4~
he watches over his holy ones.
sunday (Tone 7)
As the Savior of the world Thou didst arise from the tomb. As God, Thou didst resurrect the race of men with Thy flesh. O Lord, glory to Thee! The Lord hath become King; with beauty hath he clothed himself.
Come, let us worship the One Who rose from the dead, and enlightened all creation! By His death, He has saved us from the torments of hell. By His Resurrection He has granted us eternal life and great mercy.
can you flee the awesome thought of Judgment Day? When will you change your way of life? On that day your sins will rise against you. What will your answer be then? Your acts will condemn you; your deeds will expose you. The time is at hand, O my soul. Turn to the good and loving Savior! Beg Him to forgive your malice and weakness, as you cry in faith: “I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against Thee, but I know Thy love for all mankind. O Good Shepherd, call me to enjoy Thy lasting presence on Thy right hand!”
For He hath established the world, which shall not be moved.
sunday (Tone 7)
Into hell didst Thou descend, capturing death, O Christ. By Thy Cross, Thou didst destroy death. To the thief In three days, didst Thou arise again, resurrecting us who Thou didst open Paradise. For the Myrrhbearers Thou didst change their lamentation into joy. And Thou didst glorify Thy Resurrection, O Lord and Lover of Man! command Thine Apostles, O Christ God, to proclaim Holiness belongeth to Thy house, O Lord, unto length of days! that Thou art risen granting unto the world great mercy. When Thou wast placed in the tomb as one asleep, the St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Tone 1) sight was great and awesome. But when Thou didst Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit… rise on the third day as almighty God, Thou didst resurrect Adam with Thyself. Glory to Thy Resurrection, Your proclamation has gone forth throughout North America, calling the scattered sheep into the unity of O only Lover of Man! the Church. Hearing your voice, they responded to St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Tone 4) your teaching, and through your writings you inGlory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit… structed them in piety. Now guided by your example, Today a great festival shines like a sun over all the O Father Raphael, we sing hymns of praise to Christ world, as we celebrate the memory of the holy Bishop our God: “Glory to Him Who gave you strength! Raphael, apostle to the lost sheep of North America. Glory to Him Who granted you a crown! Glory to Let us rejoice on this festive day and cry out unto him: Him Who, through you, grants healing to all!” “Hail, new Moses, who led thy people to the Promised Land! Hail, new Elijah, who bequeathed a double por- Resurrectional Dismissal Theotokion (Tone 1) Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. tion of thy spirit to us! Hail, new Ezra, who built a When Gabriel announced to thee, O Virgin, “Rejoice,” temple of God in our midst! Hail, new apostle of with that word the Master of all was incarnate in thee, Christ our God, drawing us closer to Him! As thou O holy Ark. As the righteous David said, thy womb dost stand among the saints before the throne of God, became more spacious than the heavens, bearing thy never cease to intercede for us who honor thee!” Creator. Glory to Him Who took abode in thee! Glory Sunday of the Last Judgement (Tone 8) to Him Who came from thee! Glory to Him Who Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. freed us by being born of thee! Woe, to you, O my darkened soul! Your life is stained by depravity and laziness; your folly makes you shun all thought of death. How complacent you remain! How “The last enemy to be destroyed is death…” And that destruction, that extermination of death began when the Son of God Himself in His immortal love for us voluntarily descended into death and its darkness, filling its despair and horror with His light and love. And this is why we sing on Pascha not only “Christ is risen from the dead,” but also “trampling down death by death…” Fr. Alexander Schmemann (1921–1983) ~5~
Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom Beatitude Verses
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
The place wherein lie thy precious relics, doth shed perfume as God’s paradise, filling the faithful with Fair to look upon and good for food was the fruit that sweet incense, O most glorious and all-honored Father killed me; while Christ is the tree of life. Eating there- Raphael. of, I die not but cry aloud with the thief; Remember Sunday of the Last Judgement me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom. Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Lifted upon the cross, Thou Who art compassionate, hast blotted out the handwriting of Adam’s sin in days of old, and Thou hast saved from error all the whole line of mortal men. Therefore we sing Thy praises, O benefactor and Lord.
At Thy fearful coming, O Christ, when Thou didst appear from heaven, when the thrones are set up and the books are opened, then spare, O Savior, spare Thy creature.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.
Since God is the Judge, nothing can help you there, no Thou hast nailed our sins upon the cross, O Christ zeal, no skill, no glory, no friendship, but only what Who art compassionate, and by Thy death hast Thou you have gained in strength from your works, my soul. put death to death, raising the dead from the dead. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit… Therefore we venerate Thy holy Resurrection. I sing the praises of the Triune Godhead: Father, Son Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and divine Spirit, one sovereign Principle divided in for they shall be filled. three Persons. The serpent once emptied his poison into the ears of
Eve; while Christ on the wood of the cross poured the Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. sweetness of life into the world. Remember me, O You are the gate, pure Lady, through which One alone Lord, in Thy kingdom. has passed, entering in and leaving, yet not breaking the seal of your virginity: Jesus, the Creator of Adam, St. Raphael of Brooklyn and your Son. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
Thy tongue was sharpened as a pen by the Spirit, and Troparia inspired by God thou hast written, as with a copyist’s sunday (Tone 7) quill, words of grace in the hearts of the faithful, O By Thy Cross, Thou didst destroy death. To the thief holy hierarch. Thou didst open Paradise. For the Myrrhbearers Thou Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. didst change their lamentation into joy. And Thou Learning the things divine, and entering spiritually didst command Thine Apostles, O Christ God, to into the holy of holies, O holy Father, thou didst per- proclaim that Thou art risen granting unto the world fect in spirit the faithful by the light of the Trinity, great mercy. thyself being made perfect, O Raphael. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Tone 1)
Your proclamation has gone forth throughout North With the streams of thine admonitions thou didst stop the America, calling the scattered sheep into the unity of influx of wicked heresy, as a peaceful river, watering the the Church. Hearing your voice, they responded to flocks of the faithful with piety, O all-honored hierarch. your teaching, and through your writings you in~6~
structed them in piety. Now guided by your example, O Father Raphael, we sing hymns of praise to Christ our God: “Glory to Him Who gave you strength! Glory to Him Who granted you a crown! Glory to Him Who, through you, grants healing to all!”
sunday (Tone 7)
No longer can the might of death hold mankind, for Christ hath come down destroying and loosing its powers. Hell is bound, and the prophets with one voice rejoice, saying, the Savior hath appeared to those with faith. Go forth, ye faithful unto the resurrection.
are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit… If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to You were a guardian and a defender of the Church’s you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. teaching, you protected your flock from false doctrines St. Raphael of Brooklyn and confirmed them in the true faith! O holy Father Hebrews 13:17-21 Raphael, son of Syria and glory of North America, alBrethren, Obey, them that have the rule over you, and ways intercede before the Lord that our souls may be submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as saved! they that must give account, that they may do it with Sunday of the Last Judgement (Tone 3) joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in When Thou, O God, shall come to earth with glory, all things willing to live honestly. But I beseech you all things shall tremble, and the river of fire shall flow the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the before Thy judgment seat; the books shall be opened, sooner. Now the God of peace, that brought again and the hidden things disclosed; then deliver me from from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the unquenchable fire, and make me worthy to stand the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting coveat Thy right hand, O Righteous Judge! nant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his Prokeimenon sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever Sunday (Tone 3) and ever. Amen. Great is our God, and great is His might, and of His
St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Tone 8)
understanding there is no measure.
Vs: Praise ye the Lord for psalmody is a good thing.
St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Tone 1)
Sunday (Tone 8)
Vs: Come, let us rejoice in the Lord! Let us make a joyful noise to God our Savior!
Vs: My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation Vs: Let us come before His face with thanksgiving; let of my heart understanding. us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!
St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Tone 2)
Vs: The mouth of the righteous shall proclaim wisdom, Brethren, meat commendeth us not to God: for nei- and his tongue shall speak of judgment. ther, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, 1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visitSunday ed me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Matthew 25:31-36 Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a The Lord said: “When the Son of man shall come in stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, sayshall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before ing, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall sepato one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And rate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth these shall go away into everlasting punishment: his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep but the righteous into life eternal.” on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, St. Raphael of Brooklyn Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom John 10:9-16 prepared for you from the foundation of the world: The Lord said: “I am the door: by me if any man enFor I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was ter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto might have life, and that they might have it more me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepLord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? herd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the have done it unto one of the least of these my breth- good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known ren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Please note Holy Communion is reserved for Orthodox Christians who have prepared themselves beforehand. All are welcome to receive the blessed bread and Father’s blessing after services.
The Last Judgement (Meat-Fare Sunday)
It is love again that constitutes the theme of “Meat-Fare Sunday.” The Gospel lesson for the day is Christ’s parable of the Last Judgement (Matt. 25:31-46). When Christ comes to judge us, what will be the criterion of His judgement? The parable answers: love—not a mere humanitarian concern for abstract justice and the anonymous “poor,” but concrete and personal love for the human person, any human person, that God makes me encounter in my life…. ~8~
Christian love is the “possible impossibility” to see Christ in another man, whoever he is, and whom God, in His eternal and mysterious plan, has decided to introduce into my life, be it only for a few moments, not as an occasion for a “good deed” or an exercise in philanthropy, but as the beginning of an eternal companionship in God Himself. For, indeed, what is love if not that mysterious power which transcends the accidental and the external in the “other”—his physical appearance, social rank, ethnic origin, intellectual capacity—and reaches the soul, the unique and uniquely personal “root” of a human being, truly the part of God in him? If God loves every man it is because He alone knows the priceless and absolutely unique treasure, the “soul” or “person” He gave every man. Christian love then is the participation in that divine knowledge and the gift of that divine love. There is no “impersonal” love because love is the wonderful discovery of the “person” in “man,” of the personal and unique in the common and general. It is the discovery in each man of that which is “lovable” in him, of that which is from God. The parable of the Last Judgement is about Christian love. Not all of us are called to work for “humanity,” yet each one of us has received the gift and the grace of Christ’s love. We know that all men ultimately need this personal love—the recognition in them of their unique soul in which the beauty of the whole creation is reflected in a unique way. We also know that men are in prison and are sick and thirsty and hungry because that personal love has been denied them. And, finally, we know that however narrow and limited the framework of our personal existence, each one of us has been made responsible for a tiny part of the Kingdom of God, made responsible by that very gift of Christ’s love. Thus, on whether or not we have accepted this responsibility, on whether we have loved or refused to love, shall we be judged. For “inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it unto Me…”
St. Raphael Hawaweeny, Bishop of Brooklyn
Our holy Father Raphael was born in Syria in 1860 to pious Orthodox parents, Michael Hawaweeny and his second wife Mariam, the daughter of a priest of Damascus. The exact date of Raphael’s birth is not known, but he estimated it to be on or near his Name Day, the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven (November 8). Due to the violent persecution of Christians, at which time their parish priest, St Joseph of Damascus (July 10) and his companions were martyred, the Hawaweeny family was forced to flee to Beirut for their safety. It was here that the future saint first saw the light of day, and not in the city of his parents. Indeed, as the child’s life unfolded, it was evident that he would have no continuing city in this world, but would seek the city which is to come (Heb 13:14). He received his primary and secondary education in the parochial schools of Damascus, and his first
theological training at the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Theological School at Halki in Constantinople. He later studied at the Kiev Theological Academy in Imperial Russia, served as the Rector of the Metochion of the Patriachate of Antioch in Moscow and taught at the Theological Academy of Kazan. During this time, the Syro-Arab community in the
United States was growing at an increasing rate. A In 1898 St. Raphael was the ranking representative of Syrian Orthodox Benevolent Society was organized in the American Mission to greet St. Tikhon (Bellavin), New York City and the president, Dr. Ibrahim Arbeely, the new diocesan bishop. At the Liturgy on December contacted St. Raphael, then a priest in Russia, about 15, 1898, he spoke of St. Tikhon’s mission in his sermon. coming to the United States. In 1895 he come to the ‘He has been sent here to tend the flock of Christ— United States and was placed in charge of the entire Russians, Slavs, Syro-Arabs, and Greeks—which is Syrian Orthodox Mission. He was assigned to New scattered across the entire North American continent.’ York City and organized the parish, which later became St. Tikhon recognized his qualities of leadership St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn. He supervised the tempered by piety and wanted St. Raphael to be one of development of other Syrian communities, traveling his vicar-bishops. The Holy Synod of Russian approved widely through the United States in 1896 to organize and he was consecrated bishop at St. Nicholas Cathedral parishes. By 1898, St. Raphael published a large Arabic in Brooklyn on March 13, 1904. Service Book for use in his churches. For the next sixteen years St. Raphael continued his work among the Syrian Orthodox and also helped St. Tikhon and his successors to administer the North American Mission. He consecrated the grounds of St. Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, the first Orthodox monastery in the New World. Author of many books, articles and translations of Greek liturgical books in to Arabic, he also founded the journal al-Kalimat in 1905 to spread the ‘word’ to places he could not himself be. al-Kalimat now renamed The Word is the official publication of the Antiochian Archdiocese. After twenty years of service in North America, at the age of 55, St. Raphael fell asleep in Christ on February 27, 1915. At the time of his repose, he administered thirty Syrian Orthodox congregations with 25,000 faithful. St. Raphael’s sacred relics were first interred in a crypt beneath the holy table at his St. Nicholas Cathedral (March 7, 1915), later buried in the Syrian Section of Brooklyn’s Mt. Olivet Cemetery (April 2, 1922), and finally were taken to the Holy Resurrection Cemetery at The Antiochian Village near Ligonier, Pennsylvania (August 15, 1988). His sanctity was officially proclaimed on March 29, 2000, and his glorification celebrated on May 29, 2000, at St. Tikhon’s Monastery.
The Lenten Spring, Chapter 5
If I Forget You, O Jerusalem By Fr. Thomas Hopko
The theme of man’s exile from God, his estrangement from the true spiritual reality to which he belongs, is constantly repeated in the lenten services. We are not at home. We are not where we belong. We are alienated and estranged. We are in exile. This message is at the very heart of the biblical world-view. It is at the center of Christ’s teaching, and that of His prophets, apostles, martyrs and saints of all ages. It is symbolized in many different ways in scriptural stories, parables and events. ~10~
The lenten season makes use of them all. It is first proclaimed in the solemn chanting of Psalm 137 at the Sunday matins of the preparatory weeks before the beginning of Lent. By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres. For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?
(Heb. 12:22-24,28-29) Christians await the “holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” which is the true homeland of all human beings (Rev. 21:2). They long to be taken up into that festal gathering where they will be inflamed with the fire of God. They already live in it to the measure that they have discovered their authentic humanity made in God’s image and likeness in Christ. Their sin is that they forget it in the present age and become comfortable in Babylon, pampering the passions of the flesh, which wage war against the soul to destroy it.1 To forget God is the cause of all sins, to be unmindful of Zion is the source of all sorrows. To settle down in this fallen world, which is not God’s good creation but rather the Babylon which the wicked have made, is death to the soul.
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Raze it, Raze it! Down to its foundations!” O daughter of Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall he be who requites you with what you have done to us! Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock! Spiritually we are all by the waters of Babylon. Our true home is Jerusalem; not a place on the map but a spiritual reality. It is the true Jerusalem, the city of God, the Jerusalem on high which, according to St. Paul, is “free, and she is our mother” (Gal. 4:26). But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2: 15-17) The things of the world creep up on us to destroy us. We hardly notice it happening. Lust and pride and covetousness begin, little by little, to take over our lives. Their enslaving power always begins with little things. This is the spiritual meaning of the last line of Psalm 137, which scandalizes many people when they first hear it in literal terms. The “little ones” must be killed. The small temptations, the petty demons, the little sins, seemingly so innocent, insignificant and harmless, must be dashed upon the Rock of Christ. Otherwise they grow big and become strong and destroy the heedless and negligent with their lethal power. 2 Blinded by sensual pleasure, I bear within me a darkened soul, and the crafty enemy laughs when he sees me. Give me light, O Christ, and deliver me forever from his malice.3 1 See 1 Peter 2: 11. 2 In the prologue of his Rule for Monasteries, St. Benedict asks who shall dwell in the tent of the Lord and rest upon His holy mountain (Ps. 15). And he answers that it is he who, among other things, when tempted by the devil, “has laid hold of his [tempting) thoughts while they were still young and has dashed [hem against Christ.” 3 First Friday matins. The “enemy” referred to in the hymns is the devil.
Romanian Orthodox monks from the Assumption Monastery fishing.
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