Great-Martyr Kyriaki of Nicomedia & Third Sunday of Matthew
Venerable Thomas of Mt. Maleon; Hieromartyr Evangelos, bishop of Tomi (Constanta) in Romania; New-martyr Polycarp; Eudokia, princess of Moscow
July 7, 2019
“Thou didst prove an auspicious and pleasing sacrifice, a holy off’ring, O valiant prizewinner Kyriaki, when thou broughtest thy Creator thine own spotless soul; which Christ in turn hath glorified, for through thee, He poureth forth divine gifts and endless graces upon the faithful who praise thee, since He is the Friend of man.”
+Apolytikion for St. Kyriaki
From the Synaxarion (What is that?)
On July 7 in the Holy Orthodox Church, we commemorate the holy and glorious Great-Martyr Kyriaki of Nicomedia.
Though Kyriaki dieth before beheading, she is perfected by the sword in volition.
On the seventh, Kyriaki ascended to her Betrothed.
Kyriaki means “the Lord’s day” in Greek. Her devoutly Christian parents, Doretheus and Eusebia, gave their only child this name because she was born on a Sunday. From her childhood, Kyriaki consecrated herself to God, restraining from everything that unruly children do. When she matured, beautiful in body and soul, many suitors came to ask for her hand in marriage. Kyriaki refused them all, saying that she betrothed herself to Christ the Lord and desired to die as a virgin. One of the rejected suitors denounced Kyriaki and her parents to Emperor Diocletian as being Christians. The emperor ordered that her parents be tortured and banished to the town of Melitene where they died for Christ. Kyriaki endured trial and similar tortures. When Kyriaki lay in her prison cell, completely covered with wounds, Christ the Lord appeared to her, healed her and said: “Kyriaki, do not be afraid of torture. My grace is with you.” When she was taken from there for beheading, Kyriaki—bearing in mind all of the glorious martyrs before her—offered one last prayer that God would have mercy and save all those who would celebrate her memory, and to give rest to her soul together with the souls of her parents. Kyriaki rendered her soul to God just before the sword was lowered on her head. Many pagans believed in Christ through her, and also received martyrdom. Kyriaki was received into eternal joy in 289 in Nicomedia.
On this day, we also commemorate Venerable Thomas of Mount Maleon; Hieromartyr Evangelos, bishop of Tomi (Constanta) in Romania; New-martyr Polycarp; and Eudokia, princess of Moscow.
By the intercessions of Thy Saints, O Christ God, have mercy upon us. Amen.
The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians. (3:23-4:5)
Brethren, before faith came, we were confined under the Law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the Law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate; but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (6:22-33)
The Lord said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not the soul more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of heaven: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon himself in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”
2019 Patronal Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul
Celebrated at St. Peter Orthodox Church in Bonita Springs
Many faithful gathered to commemorate and honor these beautiful champions and pillars of the Ancient Patriarchate of Antioch – Sts. Peter and Paul.
Despite the flight being delayed, His Grace Bishop +NICHOLAS was determined to be with us as promised.
He braved the almost two hour drive in the monstrous rain storm from Miami International Airport to St. Peter in Bonita Springs (and drove back the same night).
It is a great blessing to have such a committed shepherd that cares about being with the “flock” – no matter what!
We thank our brothers and sisters at St. Peter for the warm hospitality and prayerful service.
St. Paul will host next year, God willing!
Join us immediately after the Divine Worship each Sunday for Fellowship Coffee Hour.
There is great joy in serving, offering hospitality, and “breaking bread” together, which are essential elements of the Christian life.
In order to avoid allowing this “labor of love” to fall upon the same few people week-after-week, please sign-up to sponsor the Fellowship Coffee Hour on any available Sunday.
“Great – what exactly am I signing up for?”
Simply bring 1 1/2 – 2 dozen Bagels sliced in half (or specialty breads, breakfast cake, etc.) to the kitchen, upon arrival to service Sunday morning. After service, set the food out and then clean up at the end – there is help so you’re not alone! We already have the toppers (peanut butter, jam, etc.), paper goods, and coffee at the parish!
“Can I support Fellowship Coffee Hour in a different way?”
No problem – make an offering that would donate towards the bagels and we will handle the rest!
Either way, keep it simple and give it a shot!
Don’t wait – send a note back to this email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or reach out to our Antiochain Women (AW) Chair, Anna Castley (email@example.com), to learn which Sunday is available.
May it be blessed!
NEW Ancient Faith Ministries
New and wonderful Ancient Faith Ministries material waiting for you on the visitors table!
This free material provides an excellent opportunity to learn the basics, share the liberating Truth of Orthodox Christianity with family and friends, refresh our memory and so forth!
Take them home, read at the church, grab for friends and family – either way!
Spread the Gospel starting with your own life! Learn the faith!
Commemoration of a Contemporary Saint!
Feast of St. Paisios the Athonite (+1994)
Friday – July 12, 2019
Preparation Prayers 9:30AM
Divine Liturgy 10:00AM
These beautiful weekday Divine Liturgies are very quiet, peaceful and prayerful.
They last only about 45-50 minutes.
NO Bible Study This Week
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY – BE SAFE!
We will, God willing, resume Thursday – July 11
If we don’t know our faith, how can we live it?
Come learn about the Faith, which was “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). We will continue our “pilgrimage” through the edifying spiritual counsels of St. Paisios the Athonite concerning the “Passions and Virtues”.
Why is Great Vespers important?
“The service leads to the meditation of God’s word and the glorification of his love for men. It instructs and allows us to praise God for the particular events or persons whose memory is celebrated and made present to us in the Church. It prepares us for the sleep of the night and the dawn of the new day to come. On the eves of the Divine Liturgy, it begins the movement into the most perfect communion with God in the sacramental mysteries.”
Learn more about Great Vespers here
Miracle Regarding 40 Day Liturgies
In the Orthodox Church the practice of celebrating 40 consecutive Divine Liturgies is an ancient Tradition.
The Late Elder Cleopa tells of a miraculous story of a priest who celebrated 40 Divine Liturgies for his supposedly dead brother who was in fact alive and a prisoner of war.
I want to relate a story to you. France was Orthodox until the year 1054, as was Italy. The Roman Catholics separated from us in 1054, in the great papal schism when our Church was torn apart because of papal reforms.
Before that time, there was a priest in France (which was still Orthodox) who had a brother in the military. France wa at war with Mauritania (French Africa), right on the other side of the Gibraltar, toward Liberia. At one time it was a Kingdom. So the French were there fighting against the Mauritanians, on the other side of Gibraltar, in Africa. The French priest’s brother went to Mauritania with his military regiment. At that time war wasn’t like it is now with atomic bombs and planes, canons and guns; then they fought with Swords, like in the days of Stephen the Great, with swords and arrows.
The French thus went into Mauritania to fight this great battle between the European armies and those in Africa. Even though the French won the battle, many of their soldiers were captured by the Mauritanians, amongst whom was the priest’s brother. The priest was from Marseilles, a French port which is on the Mediterranean Sea. The priest did not know that his brother had fallen prisoner, and when the other soldiers returned to France at the end of the war, he asked them, “Have you seen my brother?” “Father, I think he died in all the carnage of the battle. Bodies were laying like tree stumps –The Battle was so bad- and I think that he died, poor man.”
The priest, with a BROTHER’S LOVE, decided to serve the Divine Liturgy for Forty days in which he specifically commemorated his Brother. However, the priest’s brother was not dead, but rather a prisoner, and he was bound with chains in a prison with many others who were also chained. The priest would be serving Divine Liturgy at about 10:00 in the morning, and at that exact time all the chains would fall off of his brother, leaving him completely free.
The other prisoners said, “What is happening with you? Why do those Chains fall off of you? Are you some kind of wizard?”
“No, I don’t know anything about magic stuff.”
“Yeah right!, You don’t know magic!”
All of his chains would break and fall off every day at 10:00. The guards would chain him again and the next day the chains would break and fall. Another set of chains, and another set broken like dust.
“This Guy is a real Wizard! He’ll just walk out of prison when he wants, look, the chains can’t hold him!”
No one understood what was going on, and they would ask Him,“What kind of magic do you have? Do you have some magical amulet hidden in your shirt or in your pants?”
Saying this, the guards would strip him of his clothes. “Tie me up naked, if you don’t believe me!”
They did exactly that, and the next day, the chains would again fall off of him.
The guards were baffled and asked each other, “Where does he hide his magic? If we knew how to do what he does, we could escape from anywhere!”
“Now where do you hide your magic?” He insisted,
“I don’t know magic.”
“Then what religion are you?” they asked, since they were all Moslems.
“I am a Christian. I believe in Christ. I don’t know any incantations because I believe otherwise. My brother is a priest in my homeland of France, and I think that he is serving the Liturgy now and removes a particle for me at Proskomedia, thinking that I am dead. If I WERE dead and in hell, I would be unbound even there, like I am here.
I think this is what is happening, but I don’t even know for sure.”
“How long is this going to happen to you?”
“Our practice is to serve forty Liturgies. You will see that for these forty days, the chains fall off of me.”
“After that, what will happen?”
“I don’t know what will happen, except that I will be delivered from your hands.”
“How? You won’t slip out of our hands!”
“I believe that God would deliver me even if I were in hell, thanks to the forty Liturgies; and he will certainly deliver me from your hands here.”
“You’ll see what kind of supervision we put you under then!”
The guards figured out when the Forty days would be up, and did not put chains on the Man during that time, “It’s useless to chain him because during these forty days they just break apart and fall off of him!”
On the Fortieth day, they were all keeping watch over him. They put double bars on the doors, bound him in chains again, and set a guard just for him, “Don’t take your eyes off of him. Today is the fortieth day and he claims that he will leave here!”
As the guards were watching him, suddenly they beheld that the roof of the prison split open and a hand descended, took the prisoner by the hair of his head, and he was gone. Where did he go? He was deposited on the porch of his house in Marseilles within a moment from the time he was lifted out of prison.
The Guards were asked, “What Happened!?”
“Christ came. We saw a hand,” (They did not know that it was the angel of the Lord, not Christ himself.) “He snatched the prisoner from us and we fell down trembling. No one could have even grabbed him by the foot.”
“How did he get out?”
“Through the roof of the prison, and then it closed back up again.”
One of the guards said, “Do you see how powerful the Christian faith is? Do you see the strength of their Christ? It didn’t matter how much you guarded him, but he took him when He wanted!”
When the priest saw his brother, he said “My Brother! You have come home! They told me you died. Today I finished serving the fortieth Liturgy in which I removed a particle for your soul.”
The former prisoner said, “You did the right thing, Brother, for if I had been in hell, you would have delivered me from there. Since I was still on Earth, you brought me out of prison. May God reward you. Listen to what happened to me…” and he proceeded to tell his brother about the chains.
So you see how strong those prayers are during the forty Liturgies when one is remembered at the Proskomedia.”