Posts Tagged ‘desciples’

Preeminent Saint apostles Peter and Paul feast in the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church – June 29

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Saint_Peter_and_Paul_old_eastern_Orthodox_Icon

"With the Grace of God I am what I am" (Corinthians 15:10)

This year the Peter and Paul feast period in the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church was just 3 days (27,28,29), because it is a movable feast and depends on the Great Lent's longitude

Saint Apostles Peter and Paul are named Preeminent because they have laboured the most in setting the basis for the Holy Christ Church.

Saint Apostle Peter together with his brother Andrew were the first which was called by the Lord Jesus Christ which was destined by the Great providence of God to become his desciples and apostles.

Saint Peter's distinguishing soul character was his pure heart and the soul simplicity. Always when the Savior asked questions from his desciples to illustrate them the greater spiritual truths of the Eternal Heavenly life and God's greatness shown through all creation and to reveal them the divine truths about the Holy Trinity it was saint Peter who answered first speaking from the name of all desciples.


That's how one time when Christ asked the pupils "Who do you think I am?", st. ap. Peter immediately answered:

"You're Christ, the Son of the Living God".
Then Jesus told him, "Blesssed are you Simon , son of Johna because no flesh and no blood has revealed this secret to you but my Father which is in heaven; and I tell you you're Peter (in Greek meaning stone), and on this stone I'll build my Church and the gates of hell would not prevail it." Mathew 16:14-18

 

This is the basis, this is the stone which the Lord used to establish his Church – the firmness of faith and the confession that Jesus is Christ (The Messiah), Son of the Living God. Since that moment apostle Peter started bearing also the name Simon-Peter.

 

By his age also saint apostle Peter was first among the apostles. After the Ascension of the Savior and the descent of the Holy Spirit over the Holy apostles he preached that firy sermon conquering the hearts and minds of the gathered many leading to the baptism of thousands.

He preached in many regions of the Roman Empire and many cities and wrote two letters which we find in today's Holy Bible, New Testament – First and Second Epistle of Peter also presented in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Bibles named Peter 1 and Peter 2.

Being in persecution, various griefs and sufferings, the primus in honor among apostles has restlessly preached the Gospel.
In 67 A.D. during the persecution against Christians in eperor Nero's time he was martyred.

His persecutors wanted to kill the apostle on the Cross because he was preaching the crucified Christ, but by his humble request to God for his
unworthiness to die with the same death as the Divine Saviour Lord Jesus Christ his executors decided to crucify him with the cross upside down where nowadays we know the inverted cross as a symbol of the holy apostle crucifix.
In later times the inverted upside-down cross started being paradoxically associated with antichrism and satanism but in reality few know that it is also a symbol left from ancient christian church.

Saint Apostle Paul before becoming the desciple and apostle of Christ was called Saulus. He was a very educated person for his time.
However even though his high education he was a soul blind and unenlightened person. He was initially a fierce persecutor of Christians and even requested by authorities to grant him a special task to persecute and kill all members of the new Roman empire "superstitio" as Christianity was called at that time.
On his way to Damascus a great miracle occured and he believed in the Risen Christ the Messiah (Saviour of the World)!

God blessed the repented persecutor with a glory. By a miraculous way the Lord Jesus Christ has appeared to him and he become from a fierest persecutor of Christians he become the most fervent preacher of the Saving Gospel and Love.
He travelled many cities and has enlightened many nations.
Often persecuted because of his preach and has been in chains was fought with sticks and received various tortures for the sake of Christ.
St. Paul wrote many apistles which are red for edification and example for perfect Christian life and dedication during Holy Liturgy to this very day in the Church and his epistle.

Finally in the same year 67 during emperor Nero after being convicted to be a Christian and an enemy of the pagan state not wanting to sacrifice to the Roman idol gods he received martyrdom being beheaded because he was a Roman citizen.

This are the short biographies of the two most glorious among the apostles. So what is the moral and the lesson by this two great saints?
06.29_sv_peter_and_pavel-ikona

What is the common between the two originally contradictious characters / persons?

The first – simple fisherman, quick in speech and fearful in action who first has confessed the Lord Jesus Christ to be truly God and shortly after his ignition he has denied his Master and Christ thrice.

The other an educated but cruel man a persecuter and killer of Christians.
These two very different man became the two central building blocks of the Church that has enlighted a whole meriad of nations and give them examle and tutoring them in the true way of salvation in the Holy Faith and Love.

By the Grace of God which always heals the sick and the frail, by these grace which unifies not only st. Peter and st. Paul but also all of us in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In this Church and through this grace we vitalize and are saved.

Not because of our own merits, not because we've done something worthy but only and because of God's Grace as it is also said in the Holy Scriptures "By the Grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10) says apostle Paul. Let us overcome pride – the mother of all sins.
Because pride is the reason not to give the owed to God's Grace and deceive ourselves that we with our own energies and powers have become what we're.

Everything we achieve by God's Grace but the condition to attain the Grace is to humile ourselves and hope on God's mercy, because God is an enemy of the proud and to the humile he sends his Grace.

Hence, let us live by the Laws of the Gospels, handed in by the Holy Apostles and let us leave completely ourselves to the power of God's Grace and Love, Now and Forever and Ever. Amen!

Translated (with translator cosmetic changes) from Bulgarian Orthodox Church – "Church Newsletter" nr. 26 – year 1995.

The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ feast in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Ascension of Christ Orthodox Icon, Voznesenie Hristovo ikona, Vyznesenie Hristovo icona

On 2 of June this year 2011, our Bulgarian Orthodox Church has marked one more bright feast (one of the 12 chief (God’s) feasts).

The Spiritual Joy is great as our Saviour has Ascended to Heaven 40 days after his Glorious Resurrection in front of the amazed desciples, and crowd of people who were with them.

An Angel has also told the people testifing our Lord’s ascension that the Second Coming of our saviour will take place in the same manner as his Ascension.

Here is some passages from the Gospel of Luke 24:50-53

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
51 hile he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

It’s a tradition in some Orthodox Churches that the Paschal Greeting (Christ is Risen / Hristos Voskrese / Hristos Anesti etc.) is substituted with the greeting:
Christ has ascended by the person greeting, while the respondant confirms answering with Truly he has ascended

This Ascension greeting is not that deeply routed among Christians as the Pashcal greeting, though it’s very truthful and beautiful, to use it instead of the standard daily Hi greeting 😉

The whole following week after Ascension’s feast has been arranged by the Church to be a feast week commemorating our Lord Christ’s glorious Ascension (in his glorified body) to Heaven and sit in the right hand of God.

There is a local village hear in Bulgaria near a village called Spasovo – Saviour’s which has a Church called The Ascension of Christ

In this small village there is a spring which does start flowing only on the date of the Ascension (celebrated on a different date every single year)!!!
That’s amazing God miracle given to strengthen our faith as a confirmation that the Ascension of God’s Son and our saviour Christ is a real event that happened!

There is a false belief seriously accepted in many non-devoted Orthodox Christians who does not know well the Orthodox Christian faith, that on the date of The Ascension the so called Spasov Den (in Bulgarian) – Day of the Saviour , the dead who are in heaven and hell are allowed to get out of Heaven or Hell (for a temporary break) and be a bit closer to the living.
Many people who believe this insanity instead of visiting a Church and being joyful for the Ascension of Our saviour do go to the city graves and spends few hours, crying or remembering the dead …
This kind of believe is firmly non-orthodox and is taken from ancient paganism beliefs.

With all this said I find it important to say few words on why the Lord Jesus Christ has ascended?

The answer to this question gives Christ himself, as he says in the Gospel of John – Chapter 16

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Here is a part of the Troparion for Ascension that is being sing in the Church:

When You fulfilled the dispensation for our sake,
and united earth to heaven:
You have Ascended in Glory, oh Christ our God
not being parted from those who love You,
but remaining with them and crying:
I am with you, and no one will be against you!

Christ has Ascended to all Orthodox Christians!

Fifth Sunday of the Great Lent. And the Venerable Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church feast

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Saint Mary of Egypt Orthodox Icon

The Fifith week and the fifth Sunday of Lent is preparation for the Holy Week (right before Eastern).
In the Gospel readings on the fifth Sunday it’s being told how God on his way for Jerusalem revealed for a time to his deciples (The Holy Apostles), that his way is the way of the cross, the suffering and death and that the high-priest and the jewish scripture interpreters will betray him, will violate him spit at him, beat him and crucify him and most importantly that he will be Risen on the third day.

The pupils has been terified walking with him on the way to Jerusalem and haven’t really understood the Lord’s prophetic words.

The mother of John and Jacob for example asked the Lord that her sons be allowed to sit on his right and on left side of the Lord’s throne, without knowing like the rest of the desciples that the Lord’s way of unbelievable suffering, which the desciples comprehends a bit later.

The cross’s road of suffering is a predetermined path not only for Christ’s desciples but for the whole Orthodox Church in general and for all the believers inChrist’s name.
God does alone has carried out suffering for the human sin and sinfulness and bears it together with man entering and changing human’s history and completing his redemption for us on the cross.
On this land a man without a revelation of God, never could understand that God is love, that God is good, even if they are already talking about two thousand years all the saints and Fathers of our Church.
God is love and sacrifice himself for man, so our suffering is noble by his feat, carried out for good, because the truth because of the transfiguration of man. His sacrifice is the noblest sacrifice of this world.

But in essense as many ordinary people say in the suffering there is nothing good and noble. The sufferings however after Christ’s sacrifice in his “house-building” plan to transfigurate the man’s personality does prooved miraculous for many Christians throughout the centuries.

A very light example of such a transfiguration of the human’s personality (soul) can be clearly seen in the example of saint Mary of Egypt’s living whose memory do celebrate in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church today (in the Fifth Sunday of the great Lent).

St. Mary of Egypt has lead a very unusual way of living, which is really striking to be comprehend even for us the modern Christians.

Her living is a God’s omen for all generations of Christians and is in clearly distinctive with ours.

As we can read in short in her living, from a very rich and prosperous prostitute touched by Christ’s love after entering an Orthodox temple by the Mercy and the great prayers of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) she has decided to loose all earthly preasures and all the old unrightous way of living and start living a saint hermit life in the desert, she has fought the devil’s temptations and the consequences of sin and God’s wrath for the sinful way of live she has lead for so monay ears before she has turned to Christ in humility in about 25 years alone in the desert!

That’s clearly a God’s great miracle and faith simulator we should thanks God for ..

Her living is a very bright example that we should not despair ourselves about our salvation, and that God takes care for everyone who puts his faith in him and decides consciously to let behind his sinful way of living and evil and starts fighting with it.

God grants us our earthly living and waits throughout our whole earthly live for us to turn back from our sins and change for good.

St. Mary of Egypt is a great example for us who belief in Christ today about how much a repentance could work out in our lives.

From one of the greatest city sinners she has turned into a saint by repenting for her previous sinful life for 25 years.

After the end of her great trial period in the desert, seeing her great repentance God has granted us all the gifts of healing and miraculness of the Holy Spirit.

I would not stop into details of the great saint’s living I’ll just say it’s worthy to check her living in http://orthodoxwiki.org/Sunday_of_St._Mary_of_Egypt and be seriously astonished!

Let us take st. Mary of Egypt for a leading example in our lives and hope that God will have mercy on us and grant us her humbleness and repentance for our great sins we stand in daily ..

Save us Oh Lord by the prayers Saint Mary of Egypt!