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St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church Diocese of the South, Orthodox Church in America

The Rev. Father Basil Henry, Priest 1415 Woodstock Ave. • Anniston, Alabama •

January 29, 2012 • 32nd Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday of Zacchæus. New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.

Translation of the Relics of Hieromartyr Ignatius the Godbearer, Bishop of Antioch (107). St. Lavrentii (Lawrence), Recluse, of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Turov (Near Caves—12th c.). Ss. Gerásim (1441-1467), Pitirím (1445) and Jonah (1470), Bishops of Perm. Martyrs Romanus, Jacob (James), Philotheus, Hyperechius, Abibus, Julian, and Paregonius, at Samosata (297). Martyrs Silvanus, Bishop of Emesa, Luke the Deacon, and Mocius (Mucius) the Reader (312).


We welcome our Visitors and hope you can join us for coffee hour. Services for the Presentation of Christ in the Temple are listed below. After liturgy on Thursday, Father Basil will bless candles, as is traditional on this Feast. Speak with Father Basil about scheduling a time to have your home blessed. The icon on the front is of those who suffered under the Bolshevik Yoke in Russia.

This Week’s Fasting, Service and Scripture Schedule Tues, 1/31 Wed, 2/1 Thurs, 2/2 Fri, 2/3 Sat, 2/4

Mon, 1/30 Matins 8 a.m.

Matins 8 a.m.

1 Peter 2:21-3:9

1 Peter 3:10-22

Mark 12:13-17

Mark 12:18-27

Bible Study 5 p.m.

Sun, 2/5

Divine Liturgy 8 a.m.

Matins 8 a.m.

Great Vespers Divine Liturgy 4 p.m. 10 a.m.

1 Peter 4:1-11

1 Peter 4:12-5:5

2 Peter 1:1-10

2 Tim. 2:11-19

2 Tim. 3:10-15

Mark 12:28-37

Mark 12:38-44

Mark 13:1-8

Luke 18:2-8

Luke 18:10-14

St. Simeon the God-Receiver

St. Isidore of Pelusium

Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee

Vespers 4 p.m.

Heb. 13:7-16

Heb. 7:7-17

Matt. 5:14-19

Luke 2:22-40




Three Holy Hierarchs


Unmercenaries Cyrus and John

St. Brigid of Ireland

Presentation of Christ

Service times are subject to change. Please check with Fr. Basil if in any doubt.

“Lord, I Call”

Great Vespers

Sunday (Tone 8)

New Martyrs of Russia (Tone 6)

Lead forth my soul from prison, that I may confess Thy name!

We offer to Thee, O Christ, our evening song and reasonable service, for Thou didst will to have mercy on us by Thy Resurrection. The righteous await me, till Thou shalt reward me.

Lord, Lord, do not cast us away from Thy face! For Thou didst will to have mercy on us by the Resurrection. Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice!

Rejoice, O holy Zion! Mother of the churches, the abode of God! For you were the first to receive remission of sins by the Resurrection. Let Thine ears give heed to the voice of my prayer!

The Word of God the Father, begotten before the ages, in the latter times willed to be incarnate of the Virgin and endured crucifixion unto death. He has saved mortal man by His Resurrection.

New Martyrs of Russia (Tone 5)

If Thou observest transgression, Lord, O Lord, who shall stand? For with Thee is propitiation.

Rejoice, new martyrs and confessors of Russia, the adornment of the Orthodox. lambs of the new slaughter, fellow warriors, and guardians of the faith, blameless intercessors for us with God in the latter years, who in thy sufferings appear as emulators of the first martyrs; O unshakeable pillars of patient endurance, entreat God that our souls be granted great mercy. 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.

For with the Lord there is mercy and with Him is plenteous redemption, and He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

O longsuffering archpastor, Father Tikhon, in a time of terrible godless persecutions, comforting the true children of the Church of Russia, with courage thou didst bear the task of standing up for Christ and the Orthodox faith; and, dying day by day for the sake of thy pastoral service, thou wast revealed as a steadfast confessor. For this, we lovingly glorify thee. O praise the Lord, all ye nations, praise Him, all ye people!

O true shepherd, Hieromartyr Vladimir, when lawless men compelled thee to depart from overseeing the Church of Russia, thou didst remained faithful in deed and word to Hierarch Tikhon. Like a holy sacrifice from Kiev, the mother of Russian cities, Thou didst offer thyself to God, praying for those who were slaying thee. For this, we willingly glorify thee. For His mercy hath been confirmed upon us and the truth of the Lord remaineth forever.

O Hieromartyr Benjamin, as a true son of Christ’s Church, and having heartfelt zeal for her welfare, thou didst bravely take a stand against the false shepherds who were striving to steal thy flock, but not fearing the threats and false testimony of the interrogators, thou didst turn the judgment back upon the head of those who tested thee; and then, by thy death, thou didst strengthen Orthodoxy. For this we willingly glorify thee.

New Martyrs of Russia (Tone 5)

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…

Rejoice, O glorious passionbearers! Following in the steps of the martyrs of old, thou didst contend firmly for the sake of the faith, in the cruel and grievous times of thy land. And now thou didst rise all to the glory and praise of God, Who strengthened thy weaknesses and has enriched thee with gifts of the Spirit. Ever pray for the salvation of our souls. From the morning watch even to the night, let Israel hope in the Lord!

O heavenly protectors, come to us who await the visitation of thy prayer, and deliver us from danger caused by the madness of unbelievers; for which we are often pursued like prisoners and outcasts, moving from place to place and wandering in caves and mountains. Have compassion, O all-praised martyrs and confessors, and grant us relief! Pacify the storm and extinguish the hostility towards us, praying to God Who through thee grants to our land great mercy.

O most high Master, glorified and worshipped in Trinity, take pity on us by the acceptable prayers of Thy new martyrs, who in the presence of tyrants boldly confessed Thee, the One God, and Thine ineffable saving incarnation, O Son of God, from a Virgin Mother.

Dogmatikon (Tone 8)

Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The King of Heaven, because of His love for man, appeared on earth and dwelt with men. He took flesh from the pure Virgin and after assuming it, He came forth from her. The Son is one: in two natures, yet one Person. Proclaiming Him as perfect God and perfect Man, we confess Christ our God! Entreat Him, O unwedded Mother, to have mercy on our souls!


Old Testament Readings New Martyrs

of Russia

The Acts of the Holy Apostles (4:5-31)

In those days, it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord,

and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. The 2nd Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy (4:1-8)

My son Timothy, I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. The Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Hebrews (11:33-40)

Brethren, those who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of


bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.


Sunday (Tone 8)

Descending from heaven to ascend the Cross, the Eternal Life has come for death to raise those who are fallen; to enlighten those in darkness! O Jesus, our Savior and illuminator, glory to Thee! The Lord hath become King; with beauty hath He clothed Himself.

We glorify Christ, who rose from the dead! He accepted the human body and soul, and freed both from suffering. His most pure soul descended to hell, which He spoiled. His holy body did not see corruption in the tomb. He is the Redeemer of our souls! For He hath established the world, which shall not be moved.

In psalms and songs we glorify Thy Resurrection from the dead, O Christ! By it, Thou hast freed us from the tortures of hell, and as God hast granted eternal life and great mercy. Holiness belongeth to Thy house, O Lord, unto length of days!

O Master of all, incomprehensible Creator of heaven and earth! By Thy suffering on the Cross Thou hast gained passionlessness for me! Accepting burial and arising in glory, Thou didst resurrect Adam with Thyself by Thine almighty hand! Glory to Thy rising on the third day! By it Thou hast granted us eternal life and cleansing of sins as the only Compassionate One!

New Martyrs of Russia (Tone 2)

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…

O new house of Ephratha, splendid and elect region, O holy Russia, guard the Orthodox faith, in which is thy confirmation and support.

Theotokion (Tone 2)

Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

A new miracle surpasses all ancient miracles! Who knows of a Mother who gave birth without a man, who carried in her arms her Creator? This birth is the will of God! Since thou didst carry Him as an infant in thy arms, O most pure one, and since thou didst possess motherly boldness before Him, do not cease praying for us who honor thee, that He may be bountiful and save our souls!


Sunday (Tone 8)

Thou didst descend from on high, O Merciful One! Thou didst endure the three-day burial to free us from our sufferings! O Lord, our Life and Resurrection, glory to Thee!

New Martyrs of Russia (Tone 4)

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…

Today the Church of Russia joyfully forms a chorus, praising her new martyrs and confessors; hierarchs and priests, royal passion-bearers, right-believing princes and princesses, venerable men and women, and all Orthodox Christians. Having laid down their life for faith in Christ during the days of godless persecution, they preserved the truth by the shedding of blood. By their protection, O long-suffering Lord, preserve our land in Orthodoxy till the end of the age.

Resurrectional Dismissal Theotokion (Tone 4) Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The mystery of all eternity, unknown even by Angels, through thee, Theotokos, is revealed to those on earth: God incarnate by union without confusion. He voluntarily accepted the Cross for us, by which He resurrected the firstcreated man, saving our souls from death.

Devote all your energy to preaching the word of God and the truth of Christ, especially today, when unbelief and atheism are audaciously attacking the Church of Christ. May the God of peace and love be with all of you!

St. Tikhon of Moscow (1865-1925) ~5~

Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

Beatitude Verses


Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Remember us, O Christ, Savior of the world, as Thou hast remembered the thief upon the cross. And make us all worthy of Thy heavenly kingdom, O Thou Who alone art compassionate. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Hearken, O Adam, and rejoice with Eve, for He Who formerly stripped you both and took thee captive through beguilement, is laid low by the cross of Christ. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Our Savior, having been nailed by Thine own will upon the tree, Thou hast destroyed the curse of the tree that lay on Adam and as Thou art compassionate, Thou hast given those in Thine image a dwelling place in Paradise. Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Today Christ is risen from the tomb giving all the faithful incorruption and He gives back joy to the women bearing myrrh: After the Passion, the Resurrection!

New Martyrs of Russia

Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.

Ye have been shown to be heirs of Eden most sweet, O new martyrs of the land of Russia. Blessed are ye, for your weeping hath found solace in heaven. Ye thirsted after righteousness, wherewithye are now abundantly satisfied in the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.

In cruel imprisonment, the daughters of the Tsar and their holy mother drew forth consolation for themselves from the writings of the holy Fathers, and thus betrothed themselves unto Christ. And Alexis their brother was borne in the arms of the martyred Tsar to the place where those royal persons and their four fellow sufferers were slain. And they intercede before God for our race as animate sacrifices.

en us by yourprayers, that the way may be made straight before the Lord for us who commemorate your struggle. Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Many times hath our race been delivered from misfortunes and evils by people praying before thy holy icons, O Mother of God. O Mistress, in thine intercession unite all of our supplications for deliverance from tribulation most cruel.


St. Luke the Evangelist (Tone 5)

The Holy Apostle, the all-hymned Luke, who is acknowledged by the Church of Christ as the recorder of the Acts of the Apostles and the splendid author of the Gospel of Christ, let us praise with sacred hymns as a Physician who healeth the infirmities of man and the ailments of nature, who cleanseth spiritual wounds and prayeth unceasingly for our souls.

New Martyrs of Russia (Tone 4)

Today the Church of Russia joyfully forms a chorus, praising her new martyrs and confessors; hierarchs and priests, royal passion-bearers, right-believing princes and princesses, venerable men and women, and all Orthodox Christians. Having laid down their life for faith in Christ during the days of godless persecution, they preserved the truth by the shedding of blood. By their protection, O long-suffering Lord, preserve our land in Orthodoxy till the end of the age.


sunday (Tone 8)

By rising from the tomb, Thou didst raise the dead and resurrect Adam. Eve exults in Thy Resurrection, and the world celebrates Thy rising from the dead, O greatly Merciful One!

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit‌

O favored ones of God who have suffered in these dreadful days in the Russian land, ye renowned and unknown alike, monks, nuns, men, women and children: strength-

Sunday (Tone 8)

Thou didst descend from on high, O Merciful One! Thou didst endure the three-day burial to free us from our sufferings! O Lord, our Life and Resurrection, glory to Thee!

St. Luke the Evangelist (Tone 4)

Thou becamest a disciple of God the Word, with Paul thou didst enlighten all the world, casting out its darkness by composing the Holy Gospel of Christ.


unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

New Martyrs of Russia (Tone 3)

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,…

Today the new martyrs of Rus’ stand in white robes be- Alleluia Verses fore the Lamb of God, and with the angels they sing to Sunday (Tone 8) God the hymn of victory: “Blessing, and glory, and wis- Vs: Come, let us rejoice in the Lord! Let us make a joydom, and praise, and honor, and power, and strength be ful noise to God our Savior! to our God unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

Vs: Let us come before His face with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!

Steadfast protectress (Tone 6) Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Steadfast Protectress of Christians, constant Advocate before the Creator; despise not the entreating cries of us sinners, but in thy goodness come speedily to help us who call on thee in faith. Hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for thou dost always protect those who honor thee!

Gospel Reading


The Gospel according to St. Luke (19:1-10)


Sunday (Tone 8)

Pray and make your vows before the Lord, our God! Vs: In Judah God is known; His name is great in Israel.

New Martyrs of Russia (Tone 7)

Vs: God is our refuge and strength, a help in afflictions that severely befall us.

Epistle Reading

New Martyrs of Russia (Tone 4)

Vs: The righteous cried, and the Lord heard them and delivered them out of all their troubles.


The 1st Epistle of the Apostle Paul to Timothy (4:9-15)

My son Timothy, this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now

At that time Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchæus; he was a chief collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchæus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchæus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Translation of the relics of the Hieromartyr Ignatius, the Godbearer and Bishop of Antioch

he Transfer of the Relics of the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer: (See December 20). After the holy hieromartyr Ignatius was thrown to the lions in the year 107 on the orders of the emperor Trajan, Christians gathered up his bones and preserved them at Rome. ~7~

Later, in the year 108, the saint’s relics were collected and buried outside the gate of Daphne at Antioch. A second transfer, to the city of Antioch itself, took place in the year 438. After the capture of Antioch by the Persians, the relics of the Hieromartyr Ignatius were returned to Rome and placed into the church of the holy Hieromartyr Clement in the year 540 ( in 637, according to other sources). St Ignatius introduced antiphonal singing into Church services. He has left us seven archpastoral epistles in which he

provided instructions on faith, love and good works. He also urged his flock to preserve the unity of the faith and to beware of heretics. He encouraged people to honor and obey their bishops, “we should regard the bishop as we would the Lord Himself” (To the Ephesians 6) In his Letter to Polycarp, St Ignatius writes: “Listen to the bishop, if you want God to listen to you... let your baptism be your shield, your faith a helmet, your charity a spear, your patience, like full armor.”

St. Brigid of Ireland

t. Brigid, “the Mary of the Gael,” was born around 450 in Faughart, about two miles from Dundalk, in County Louth, Ireland. According to tradition, her father was a pagan named Dubthach, and her mother was Brocessa, one of his slaves. As a child, Brigid was known for her compassion for the poor. She would give away food, clothing, and even her father’s possessions. One day, her father took Brigid to the king’s court, leaving her outside to wait for him. He asked the king to buy his daughter, since her excessive generosity made her too expensive to keep. The king asked to see the girl, so Dubthach led him outside. They were just in time to see her give away her father’s sword to a beggar. This sword had earlier been presented to Dubthach by the king. Seeing her actions, the king exclaimed, “I cannot buy a girl who holds us so cheap!” St. Brigid received monastic tonsure at the hands of St. Mael of Ardagh. Soon after this, she established a monastery on land given to her by the King of Leinster. The land was called Cill Dara (Kildare), or “the church of the oak.” This was the beginning of women’s cenobitic monasticism in Ireland.

The miracles performed by St. Brigid are too numerous to relate, so only one will be given. One evening, the holy abbess was sitting with a blind nun named Dara. From sunset to sunrise, they spoke of the joys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and of the love of Christ, losing all track of time. St. Brigid was struck by the beauty of the earth and sky in the morning light. Realizing that Sister Dara was unable to appreciate this beauty, she became very sad. Then she prayed and made the Sign of the Cross over Dara’s eyes. All at once, the blind nun’s eyes were opened and she saw the sun in the east, and the trees and flowers sparkled with dew. She looked for a while, then turned to St. Brigid and said, “Close my eyes again, dear Mother, for when the world is visible to the eyes, then God is seen less clearly by the soul.” St. Brigid prayed again, and Dara became blind once more.

St. Brigid fell asleep in the Lord in 523 after receiving Holy Communion from St. Ninnidh of Inismacsaint. She was buried at Kildare, but her relics were transferred to Downpatrick during the Viking invasions. It is believed that she was buried in the same grave with St. Patrick and St. Columba of Iona. Late in the thirteenth century, her head was brought to Portugal by three Irish knights on their way to fight in the Holy Land. They left this holy relic in the parish church at Lumiar, about three miles from Lisbon. Portions of the relic were brought back to Ireland in 1929 and placed in a new church named after St. Brigid in Dublin. The tradition of making St Brigid’s crosses from rushes and hanging them in the home is still followed in Ireland, where devotion to her is strong. She is also venerated in northern Italy, France, and Wales. ~8~

Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov, Feb 8, 2009

Today we celebrate the memory of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, the heavenly intercessors for our parish. Their memory is precious to us for many reasons— some personal, some that relate to the entire Russian Church. Since ancient times, the Christian Church has been strengthened by examples of its martyrsí unshakable faith. These examples, passed down through generations of Christians, have nurtured and strengthened the Holy Church. From the times of the Apostles, Christians have gathered around the holy relics of martyrs, celebrating their memory and looking up to their standing in faith despite torture and persecution as a source of strength and inspiration in their own spiritual lives.

ration. Built at the time when the executioners were still in the Kremlin, our little church in Mulino became the first temple in the world to be consecrated to the memory of the holy new martyrs and confessors of Russia. But today, only a quarter of a century later, we see churches honoring the new martyrs and confessors not only outside of Russia, but also in places where not too long ago were heard pre-execution prayers of the new martyrs. Now, as if continuing their prayers, the words of the Divine Liturgy ascend from the holy ground of the Butovo polygon and other places soaked in the blood of the new martyrs.

Undoubtedly, the new martyrs and confessors of the Russian Church recalled the holy examples of the ancient martyrs as they themselves were tortured, persecuted, and exiled by the Communist regime. Countless faithful of Let us always have the holy example of the new martyrs the twentieth centuryómembers of the Royal Family and before our eyes as we live our lives. Let us find the source peasants, professors and the illiterate, the rich and the of their strength and drink of this fountain of immortality. poor, clergy and lay people, men, women, and children— As we go about our lives, sometimes giving to God five or united around the memory of Christian martyrs , and ten minutes of our day, sometimes a couple of hours from through their intercession were able to defeat the tortur- our week, sometimes even less, let us remember those who gave all, their whole lives and their earthly end to God. ers through unwavering standing in their faith in Christ. Let us ask that God, through the prayers of the holy new History always repeats itself not only in its worst exammartyrs and confessors of Russia, grant us strength to live ples but also in its best. In our time, we, the spiritual our lives the way they lived theirsóin an unshakable faith and very often direct descendants of the countless new in Christ and in service to His Holy Church. martyrs and confessors of the Russian Church, united Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov, Rector of the Holy New Martyrs and around their memory, and through their intercession Confessors of Russia Orthodox Church in Mulino, Oregon became witnesses of the great miracle of God—the uni(Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church) fication of the Russian Church after eighty years of sepa-

What else can I tell you?… no matter what you decide, life or death, I will lift up my eyes reverently to God, cross myself and affirm: ‘Glory to Thee, my Lord, glory to Thee for everything.’

New-Martyr Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd (1872-1922) ~9~

Sunday of Zacchæus by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, February 13, 2001

Last week we have entered into the several weeks on our way to the day of

the Resurrection, when we are told to examine ourselves; then a time will come to think of nothing but the ways of God preparing us for salvation; and when we reach Holy Week, then we should have no thought, anything but the Lord Whose passion we will be contemplating before we enter together with Him into the glory and the joy of His Resurrection.

Last week we read the Gospel of the Blind man of Jeri- dition of our soul, in which we are afraid of human cho; it challenges us directly; we all contend that we judgment, in which we derive our sense of worth from see; we all contend that we are not blind, and yet is not the judgment of those who surround us, and indeed it the way in which we see another form of blindness? is vanity, because the things for which we are praised Are we not blinded by the visible to the invisible, are are vain, empty, unworthy of the greatness of man. we not blinded by prejudice against truth, are we not And also, for praise we do not turn to those people blinded by passion against reality? And so, each of us capable of a sound and at time severe judgment; we has got to ask himself whether what he sees is the real- turn to the peoples who are ready to offer us the praises ity of things, and if not, turn to God asking Him to which we want. This makes these praises doubly vain, give us an insight. And one of the things that blinds us its substance is naught, and the people from whom we most hopelessly is vanity that makes us accept for true receive it are also empty, in our own eyes, until they all the lies we may hear or observe which boost our speak of us good. St John Climacus says that vanity self-respect, which make us reject everything which is is the attitude of one who is afraid of men and is arrogant before the face of God, who thinks God’s judgcriticism or condemnation of us. ment matters little, provided that he has the approval Today’s Gospel is about vanity and about the way in of those who surround him. which it can be overcome, indeed about the condition and the cost of it. Zacchæus was a rich man, a Is that not a true description of the way in which we man known in his town, a man whom everyone would stand in life, in the way in which we are prepared to recognise; he was a man of unrighteous ways, and yet forget the judgment of God provided we feel supportsomething stirred within him when he heard of Christ ed by the judgment of men? And what is the way then? and he wanted to see Him. It probably was to a certain Zacchæus shows us one way: care nothing about the extent the desire to see the New Prophet of Israel, but judgment of men because the judgment of God, the this would not have been enough to prompt him to do presence of God, or perhaps the judgment of one who what he did. In the crowd, because he was too small of will not praise us but is a person of integrity and of stature, he climbs into a tree; sure, he was surrounded truth matters more. Zacchæus did not know Whom with laughter, with mockery and yet, he so wanted to Christ was and that He was the Son of God become see Christ, it mattered so much to him to see Him the Son of man, but he knew that Christ was a man that he was prepared to be mocked, laughed at rather of integrity and he wanted to see Him, to meet Him than let Him pass by. And in all this crowd through face to face. which Christ was passing Christ saw only one man: But then there are also two other ways of shaking off the Zacchæus, and He called him down, and He went to fear of man, this dependence upon human’s judgment at stay with him. the cost of our own wholeness. St John Climacus says to Vanity is that condition of our soul, that miserable con- us that the way to get rid of vanity is humility; St Isaac ~10~

of Syria strangely says the way is also pride, and both are true, only that the one will give us life and the other will give us death. If we choose the way of pride we will assert ourselves arrogantly, not only in the face of men, but also in the face of God; our own judgment shall be the only thing that shall count, and then we will find death at the end of the road. The way of humility is that of bowing before the judgment of God. If we are incapable of soaring Godwards, lie before Him like the parched earth is before the face of the sky, abandoned, helpless, thirsty, hungry, longing, desperate not to be able to achieve what we wish to achieve, this is the beginning of humility.

to forget ourselves completely for the sake of God, for the sake of any person who meets us and challenges us to be compassionate, to be loving, to be understanding, and the blindness might fall of our eyes, vanity will leave us free at least for a moment and we will be able to face ourselves and to face God and others as the Publican did when he entered into the Temple, and did not dare into it because it was the place of holiness where God abides, the place where he thought only the worthy ones can come and we will be accepted by God because of this recognition of His holiness and the reverence, with which we will treat Him and our neighbour. Amen.

But even that may be too much for us, even that may be too difficult for us because we are not used to let go, to abandon ourselves, offer ourselves to an act of God. Then we can begin to overcome vanity by gratitude. Whenever we discover that there is in us a moment of vanity, let us ask ourselves: why? Very often, it is because we have, inadvertently quite often, said the right thing, or inadvertently done the right thing; we can then turn to God and thank Him that He gave us the opportunity, that He gave us eyes to see the need, ears to hear a cry, a mind to understand, a heart to respond, good will to bring us into motion and the mean to do the right thing. Is not that reasons enough for us to be grateful, do we not know, all of us, from experience that it is not the need that will call out of us always, inevitably the right response? How often there is a need and our heart is parched, and cold, and indifferent? How often someone cries for help and we understand nothing, how often our heart has been stirred and our mind began to understand, but we are not used to compel ourselves and our will wavers, and wavers too long, until it is too late. And we could go on describing our condition in many more details.

Antony (Bloom) of Sourozh (19 June 1914—4 August 2003) was best known as a writer and broadcaster on prayer and the Christian life. He was founder and for many years bishop—then archbishop, then metropolitan—of the Diocese of Sourozh, the Patriarchate of Moscow’s diocese for Great Britain and Ireland (the name ‘Sourozh’ is that of the historical episcopal see in Sudak in the Crimea). As a bishop he became well known as a pastor, preacher, spiritual director and writer on prayer and the Christian life.

Let us learn first of all to be grateful that God gives us the possibility to do right instead of preening ourselves and be proud of the fact that for once we have done what should be natural to us always, and then gradually we may outgrow even that level and still remaining grateful, still remaining amazed at God’s goodness we may then learn to be humble in a way in which no one knows, not declaring that we are unworthy, but in adoration of God’s greatness, in veneration of other people, in the readiness ~11~

Temple of Holy Ascension near Nikitsy gates in Moscow. Photograph by Margarita Fedina St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church 1415 Woodstock Ave. Anniston, AL 36207

St Luke Bulletin 012912  

St. Luke Orthodox Church (OCA), Anniston, Alabama, Sunday bulletin for January 29, 2012

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