Posts Tagged ‘Apostle’

The names of the Twelve apostles of Christ – Feast of the Twelve Glorious and Primal Apostles in Eastern Orthodox Church (30th of June)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

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Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, fresco with the Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome

One day after the June 29 the Feast of The Glorious and First among Apostles Peter and Paul  on 30th of June according to so called new calendar in the Eastern Orthodox Church comes, the remembrace of Feast of the gathering of 12 Glorious apostles (Σύναξη των Αγίων Δώδεκα Αποστόλων).

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The Secret Supper (Christ and the 12 Apostles iconographer Simon Ushakov y. 1685 (Jude the Iscariot the traitor without a halo)

"The names of the 12 Holy Apostles are: Simon (called Peter), Andrew his brother, Jacob the Zabedee and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Mathew (tax collectors), James, son of Alphaeus and Levi called (Thadeus), Simon The Canonite and Jude the Iscariot who has betrayed Christ"

(Gospel of Mathew 10:2-4)

 

13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

(Luke 6:13-16)

15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, (Acts 1:15-26)

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The Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles. Russian, 14th century, Moscow Museum.

"Jesus had other desciples as well that were seventeen and other circles of desciples around each of the pupils, however they have alwasys been considered less venerable as they did not been so close to Christ and did not understand so well the mysterios of Christ's teaching and did not persevere as mcuh as the twelve and the seventeen of desciples. Those had been been distinguished among the King, those who have been the closest people to the Teacher" (Saint John Chrysostomos)

In Constantinople Saint King Constantine ( y. 274 – 337 ), has built a famous Church dedicated to the 12 Apostles. In historian documents there is data for a first time the feast is celebrated in the V-th century.

While the memory of each apostle has a separate day in the Church calendar yearly circle, they 12 apostles are sharing the same honor, because the Holy Scriptures and the Tradition glorifious their high efforts for building the Church on top of the corner stone that is Jesus Christ himsef and for their perseverance to accept martyrdom for Christ, thus to accent this they're is this special feast the Gathering of the 12 Glorious Apostles on 30th of June. As the Holy Scriptures says they're a friends of God (John 15:14), and when the Son of Man (Jesus) sits on the glory of his power, they all are to sit on 12 thrones, to judge the 12 Hebrew tribes (Mathew 19:28). 

In first centuries the Church has been feasting all the apostles together, Later she has included saint Apostle Paul, again the full list of names of the apostles are as follows:

1. Saint Apostle Peter the First Called (commemorated 29 June and 16 of January)

2. Saint apostle Andrew the First Called – as has been called by Christ together with Peter (30 November)

3.  Saint Jacob the Zebedee (30 April)

4. Saint Apostle John the Zebedee – the evangelist (26 September and 8 May)

5. Saint Apostle Philip (14 November)

6. Saint apostle Bartholomew or Nathanael (11 June and 25 August)

7. Saint apostle Thomas (6 October)

8. Saint apostle Mathew – evangelist (16 November)

9. Saint Apostle Jacob – son of Alpheus 9 October)

10. Saint Apostle Jude – fleshly brother of Christ (son of Joseph), called also Thadeus and Levi (19 June)

11. Saint Apostle Mathew (Mathias) (9 August)

12. Saint Apostle Paul  (Paul of Tarsus) (29 June)

The Church books define the feast day as the "Gathering of the Twelve", because this number of 12 apostles is initial and depics Christ essence of Completeness (as he is All in everything) Mathew (10:1-5)

 

Saint Martyr Antepas of Pergamum mentioned in the Book of Revelation of saint John the Apostle – 4th Sunday of Great Lent saint John the Climacus

Sunday, April 11th, 2021

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Saint Antepas of Pergamum

Saint Martyr Antepas commemoration in the One Holy Eastern Orthodox Church is on 11 of April. The veneration of this saint in the past centuries was great in both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Western Church (The Roman Catholic Church), especially before the great schism in 1054. Saint Antepas was well known among people in the medieval times for being a saint invoked in troubles with a toothache and all kind of teech diseases which were a true plague in the prior ages as people did not have much knowledge on how to heal or recover teeths and usually in case when someone got a tooth ache the ultimate solution to remove the teeth. 

His Vitae (Living) is mostly interesting as he is a saint according to Orthodox Church tradition that was one of the spiritual titans in the first century, where the church was mainly troubled by persecusion by the jews who refused Christ as Messiah, by the pagan crowds and starting from second part of I-st century officially persecuted by the Roman Empire authorities. In this bloody century for the Church where martyrs lay down the foundation of the Church many saints become a victims of jewish fanatism and pagans atrocities. Saint Antepas is one of those saints who at that time was a bishop of the Church of Pergamum mentioned in the Prophetic boof The Book of Reveletaion (the last book) of the Holy Bible book cannon that is included in every (protestant, anglican, orthodox, catholic Holy Bible). Saint John the Apostle the author of Book Revalation has been exiled on mount Paphos (today Cyprus) at time of Martyrdom of Saint Antepas. St. John the Apostle while being in the cave exiled, received in a vision by Christ the revelation of the furute things to come before the end of the world and antichrists false messiah appearance. Before his revelation it is not known whether saint John knew physically his brethren in Christ antipas but this hypothesis is little likely as appearance the book of Revelation has been revealed to John in a single vision by The son of God Jesus Christ where in mystical vision in which the merits and the deficiency of the Church has been presented of the 7 Churches of Asia Minor present at the first century in the world. The Church of Pergamum was one of the Seven Churches of which the Revelation speaks which surrounded by all kind of uncleanness, idolatry and satanic deeds of the Pergamum people and this diseases partially started even plaguing members of the Church who with time had fallen away from faith due to their sinful deeds and undesire for repentance. The book of Revelation mentions the martyrdom of Antepas as a truthful witness of Christ who steadily kept the faith in the Risen Christ enduring martyrdom. "I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.". Book of Revelations 2:13.
The spiritual State of the Church of Pergamum is described as follows,

"I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth." Rev. 2:13

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Saint Antepas was a missionary bishop who lived in time of Roman Emperor Domition II-nd, By the Revelations book we found out that in the 1st century the Pergamum Church Bishop has been a pious saintly man firm in his faith. The Church tradition's memory give us a little more details on the Martyrdom of Antepas. 

According to tradition and history. The citizens of Pergamum (Pergam) were fanatic admirers of their pagan idols and spend their life in all kind of wickedness. Those who observed their lives got the impression that among them really lives satan himself. Among such uncleanness Antepas has been a true headlight in the dark night or like a rose among prickles, showing path to salvation through the three Christian main viritues of Faith, Pope and Love. Even though Antepas witnessed people ungodliness, he did not embarass from the malice of pagans, but on the contrary good heartedly and with a diligence performed his Christian obligations of a shepherd and preacher, revealing deceptions of idolatries and advised them to turn better for their good to the Truthful one God the creator and Ruler of Universe who has send his Only Begotten son to Cross on Golgotha to suffer for the sins of man and return the fallen man to the Holy Trinity God the Father the Son and the Holy spirit and by his suffering showing us the narrow but straight way to heaven of the Suffering by accepting one's personal Cross uniting and nailing it to Christ's cross by handing over all one's life to Christ.

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St. Antepas preaching turned quickly many of the pagns to Christ's Church. The pagans lost many of their faithful admirers, worshippers of the idols decreased highly and the toll for the idols as well (monetary funds for the shamans) in Pagan temple decreases. Antipas was blamed for his missionary work and revealing the truth to the blind by envious and hard-hearted, greedy idolatries.

In the same time Domitian being loyal to the Roman gods also proclaimed a persecution announcing christians as enemies of the empire. Attaining bravery by that the pagan priests catched Antepas and brought him before the city ruler, blaming him that he become a reason for the gods to become angry and as a reason for the so-called idols (thought to be gods) to stop caring about Pergamon in which they no longer received the high honor for their service to the idols.

– Is that true? asked the ruler of Pergamon – that you have been not giving veneration to the gods, and you teach the others to despire the gods and not give them honour? 
This is why our city is suffering because the gods has been offended and no longer have mercy and take care about this place and our well being.
Leave out Christianity repent and give obbey our law. If you do not give honor to the idols and continue to despise the gods, we will torture you according to roman law.

Antipas replied:

– I AM CHRISTIAN ! And the unwise king's orded i cannot perform and to the false gods i will not obey.
To give you a concreate and clear answer I tell you, the so called gods are not gods and they have no power to protect the city.
Leave your delusions, repent for the wickedness and believe in Christ, who embodied from Heaven to save all humans.
He is the only true God and he is about to come again in the end of ages to Judge everyone according to their deeds – everyone will either receive a gift or punishment.

 

– What is that new teaching shouted enraged the city ruler. You do obey to some new invented by your own law and reject the ancient worships, given us by the fathers. Leave the new faith and stop venerating for God a man who was crucified shamefully as a villain in times of Pilates.
Obey the king order and live in peacefully. We'll help you everything, we'll love you as our sons, because your advanced age requires it – that we all love you and venerate you as a father.

Antepas replied:
– Nomatter what you tell me – I am not that reckless (foolish) for being lived until the old age and being near end of my earthly days, to leave the true faith and to retreat to the salvational faith. You will not deceive my mind because it is enlightened by the wisdom of the Divine books. If you do not repent and do not stop worshipping your idols and you do not believe in the True God you will perish (both physically and spiritually).

Maddened by raged, the pagans crow did not wanted to hear any more the words of the pious elder – bishop. They captured him and drag him to the pagan temple. There was an idol: a big bull, forged by copper. Heating him up till it become red and they throw in the Bishop Antipas. He did not feared but with joy made the Sigh of the Cross and reverently cry out in prayer:

– Oh God,m who have revealed the secret mystery of our our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for all the good deeds to me in my life. Thank you, you have granted me in that hour to be written in the list of the martyrs for your teaching. Receive my departering from temporary life my soul and engift it with your Grace.

Enduring peacefully and with firmness the terrible torturs, saint Antepas prayed for his enemies and for the whole world. Gradually his bodily powers weakened and he quitly passed to Christ. 
Christians with great honor and according to Church tradition buried the body of the saint martyr. 
His Holy relics were saved and God has engifted them with the healing power. 

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Fourth Sunday of The Great Lent Sunday of Saint John the Climacus.
Saint John Lestvichnik and his Book a Spiritual Ladder to Heaven (Lestvica)

 

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Fourth Sunday of the Great Lent – Saint John Lestvichnik / John the Climacus and his Ladder to Heaven

This year the second year of the "Coronavirus pandemy" 2021 the 4th Sunday of the Great Lent which every year commemorates the glorious Holy father and "a commander" of the Monks Saint John the Climacus / Saint John The Sinaites / John the Scholastic that lived in the 6th-7th century. He is mostly known in Bulgaria / Russia and the Slavonic Churches as Saint John Lestvichnik.  Saint John was ascetic monk on the mount of Sinai born circa 579 and passed away to Christ year. 649 A.D. He is revered a saint in both Eastern Orthodox Church as well as the Roman Catholic Church and the rest of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, though he is lesser known in the in the Western world .e.g in Roman Catholic Church. Saint John eagered for a higher spiritual life and thus has spend 20 years in the desert in hermitage, studying and practicing the writtings of the holy fathers to advance his spiritual life and attain spiritual perfection by overcoming all the main passions that are a stopper for a man to become fully spiritually enlightened and reach "in the flesh" the kingdom of heaven and become a victor against the evil passions.  

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A lot can be said about saint John Lestvichnik and his world famous book Lestvica (Ladder ) Κλῖμαξ known in Latin world as Scala Paradisi a ladder of divince ascent.

In Lestvica the later chosen Abbot of Raitha Monastery st. John Lesvichnik describes to brethren monks on how to overcome different temptations and the attached moving passions and is well known in his life time for being a light beam for good truthtful spiritual lifesaint John Lestvichnik. Even Pope Gregory the Great wrote to him recommend himself to his prayers, and sent him a sum of money for the hospital of Sinai, in which the pilgrims were wont to lodge.

In the Book Ladder that should be tabletop book for all Christians,we hear of the ascetic practice of carrying a small notebook to record the thoughts of the monk during contemplation. Some parts of the books sounds scary and completely strange for the modern readers as we're all sunken in comfort and excessness of things.
Κλῖμαξ is mostly known in the Eastern Orthodox Church and highly estimated by anyone who actiively practices orthodoxy for being the best guide for a person to check his current spiritual life.

 

The Ladder describes how to raise one's soul and body to God through the acquisition of ascetic virtues. Climacus uses the analogy of Jacob's Ladder as the framework for his spiritual teaching. Each chapter is referred to as a "step", and deals with a separate spiritual subject. There are thirty Steps of the ladder, which correspond to the age of Jesus at his baptism and the beginning of his earthly ministry. Within the general framework of a 'ladder', Climacus book falls into three sections. The first seven Steps concern general virtues necessary for the ascetic life, while the next nineteen (Steps 8–26) give instruction on overcoming vices and building their corresponding virtues. The final four Steps concern the higher virtues toward which the ascetic life aims. The final rung of the ladder – beyond prayer (προσευχή), stillness (ἡσυχία), and even dispassion (ἀπάθεια) – is love (ἀγάπη).

Let by the prayers of Saint Antepas, Saint John Lesvichnik and Saint John The Apostle, the All Merciful God to have mercy on our Souls and veliver us from temptations and all evils in present and coming and grant peace and relief to all suffering for the truth and enlighten man to turn back in repentance to Christ !
Amen

6 of April Short Living and Death of Saint Methodius a brother of Constantin Cyril – Christian Enlighteners of the Bulgarian and Slavonic Lands

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

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Saint Methodius was the bigger child of the two brothers enlighteners of Bulgarian Lands and the Slavonic nations Saint Cyril (known as The Philosopher) and Saint Methodius born in Thessaloniki
a region of the Byzantine empire. Thessaloniki and its regions according to manuscripts has been mostly inhabited by Slavs at IX century.

In his young age he has chosen to be a Byzantine army man. For 10 years he has been assigned to govern a region of Slavonic lands part of Byzantine Eastern Empire. 
Even though he had been a successful in his worldly career and has been taking a respectful service for the Byzantine Emperor he felt the calling of God, gave up his high position in
aristocracy and entered one of the many monasteries of the empire in mount of Olympus Asia Minor region. Soon after to the same monastery came his younger brother Constantine
Since that moment the two brothers never departed until death of Cyril who died in Rome. And even in his death has been highly venerated by the Pope and considered saint even in
time of his burial at the famous Basillica Church San Clemente where they reside for veneration by Slavs even to this day.

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The receiving of Saint Cyril and Methodius in Rome with the Relics of Saint Clement 4th Pope of Rome

The two God chosen man also achieved a glorious deed which was not achieved by anyone before. The creation of the Glagolic Alphabet which become the foundation of the Cyrillic alphabet
currently used of about 300 000 000 people worldwide including by us Bulgarians. The new language was developed to be able to share the high truths of Christ the Gospel and his Church services and books  and 
most impotantly the eternal salvation prepared by God The Holy Trinity The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit for all those who love him and servce him.

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The Holy relics of Saint Cyril in San Clemente Crypt

As knowing the truth about Heaven and Hell and the Heavenly
kingdom they were highly conserned for the high see of Slavs in the Empire who still have been in darkness of idolatry and paganism. Inspired by God they soon creating an Alphabet in which  translated the whole Holy Bible (The Gospel of Christ the Epistle books and Old Testament book  and Church service books translating the Eastern Orthodox Holy Liturgy of Saint John The Crysostom and Saint John The Basil.
in language understandable for the Slavs. The glagolic alphabet has been soon translated to the Cyrillic Alphabet by the 7 pupils of Saint Cyril and Methodius and has been spread in Bulgarian lands first then in Serbia, Kiev
and rest of Slavonic nations.

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In Great Moravia a region today situated in Chech Republic the two saint brothers teached and baptized the local Slavs , teaching them the Eternal heavenly truths of the Gospel.
The German clergy envied the two apostle equal mans mission great success and tried to rebaptize and teach the already baptized according to a Roman Rite and spread their own influence pushed by a lust for power.
Hence Methodius (also called by Western histographs Method) has been chased away from Moravia by the German clergy to the nearby Pannonia, where king Kocel  who appreciated St. Methodius great deeds for his people and
not understanding why the German-clergy is chasing such a saintly man has moved him to Rome to Pope Adrian II-nd with an enquiry to ordain him a Bishop. The Pope ordained him almost immediately and accepted St. Methodius
and St Cyrilus with all his clergy in honour, because the 2 saints were bringing a highly esteemed gift the Holy Relics who were attained by them earlier in their Baptizmal Mission to The Hazars (an assignment given to them by the Eastern Byzantine Emperor
and successfully achieved).
During their travel in Herzon the two saints has found the Holy Relics of Saint Clement Ist the 4th Pope of Rome who has been exiled and passed away to Christ as a martyr in Herzon (Today's Crimea) in the distant 2nd century.
After his consecration in Rome saint  Metho has been raised from a simple Gospel preacher to the high clergy rank of Archibishop for Pannonia and Moravia, a region who has been under the rule of the Bishop of Rome.

The fight against the clean life of the saint continued with full power even after his raise to the throne of archibishopship. The envious pseudo spiritual missioners sent by the Pope hungering not for Christ but for earthly power slandered
frequently against Method. to the local prince. because Methodius was publicly rebuke their unclean life being filled with the power of Christ spirit who detests all uncleanness in man. At other times suggested to the pope that Methodius is
against the Western Church and eagers to cut Moravia and Pannonia from the diocese of Rome and give it to the Byzantines. In parallel the German "clergy" was frequetnly sending letters slandering against Methodius accusing him in inobedience to the Eastern Christian Emperor
and the The Great Church of Byzantium the homechurch of st. Cyril and Method. and to whom they were obedient still …
Methodius being already in advanced age had to go everywhere by person and rebuke and testify about himself that all this is a far away from truth. His enemies succeeded eventually and for 2 years and a half he has been thrown in prison without the knowledge of the pope.
Finding out about this ungodly deed of his inobedient power-lust german clergy Pope John VIII issued a special order bulla for the immediate liberation of his archibishop.

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Icon of Saint Cyril and Methodius painting from 1848 y.

Even in this hardships saint Methodius never stopped to preach the Gospel to the Slavs and spread the Good news of Jesus Christ The Son of God enbodiment, life, Crucifix for the sins of all mankind anf Glorious Resurrection through which all those who believe are saved if they persist in the good deeds of Christ and stick to the trutfullness  of the Church of Christ which at the time of St. Cyrilus was before the Great Schism in year 1054, when the Roman Catholics has fallen away from the One Church who kept and preserved the head of the Church Jesus Christ teaching the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church.
Being even in prison Saint Methodius continued to translate The Holy books from Greek to the new language invented and adjusted for the Slavs talk. 
He left us as a heritage the Translation Copy of All Books of Holy Bible except the book of Maccabees which is today only present in the Orthodox Bible and considered one of the non-canonical but God inspired books, as well as the Nomocanon (the book with rules and Church laws of the Church and the clergy).
Nomocanon comes from .(Greek: Νομοκανών, Nomokanōn; from the Greek nomos – law and kanon – a rule). It is  a collection of ecclesiastical law, consisting of the elements from both the Civil law and the Canon law.
Nomocanons even today forms part of the canon law of the Eastern Catholic Churches (through the Eastern Catholic canon law) and of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

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Saint Methodius the Slav-Bulgarian enlighter passed silently to Christ full of God''s Grace in saintship on 6th of April year 885 A.D. His burial was in Velegrad Chech Republic, and according to the Church tradition about his living  he "lays in the Great Moravian Church in the left side of the wall behind the alter dedicated to the Mother of God the Holy Theotokos Virgin Maria". A church service dedicated to him is still presented in the Bulgarian Church's manuscripts and a copies of it in preservation museums in Russia.

The deeds of Saint Methodius and Saint Cyrilus has a mark on the whole world's events. Even to this day as in Bulgaria, we have a translation of the Bible based on the Cyrillic language named after saint Cyrilus the brother of Methodius based on his started work to translate Glagolic alphabet to Cyrillic, continued by his pupils and fully completed by Saint Clement (Kliment) of Ohrid, who was warmly accepted by Saint Apostle equal King Boris I of Bulgaria. Thanks to him the deeds of Saint Methodius and their pupils and we have the cyrillic alphabet and Bulgarian Orthodox Church and spirituality even today. The deeds of Saint Cyrilus and the Cyrillic are recognizable worldwide in the face of the strange for the Western and the Asians Cyrillic language used by Russians.

Two Saints Cyril and Methodius has were officially proclaimed as a protectors of Europe recently by Pope John Paul II, for a reason as the ex-Pope has seen and experienced the powerness of prayers of the two saints while he was a cardinal in Bulgaria before his raise to the Roman Popeship throne about little know nowadays.

The Memory and veneration of Saint Methodius and Cyrilus logically are mostly observed in Bulgaria logically as Bulgaria was the first Empire country historically to accept the spiritual fruits the new language.  Many Schools and institutions, streets are named after the two saints.
The official Church veneration of St. St. Cyril and Methodius is on 11 in Church and  May in secular tradition. The Bulgarian Orthodox church has established a number of feasts connected to the two saints as they''re the prime patron saints thanks to whose prayers the Bulgarian Church has been established survived through centuries and conitnues its triumphal march towards the kingdom of heaven.

Let by the two saints Methodius and Cyril Bulgaria and Europe have Peace, Faith and Love and Enlightenment about the true teaching of Christ the Holy Orthodoxy!
 

June 29 the Feast of The Glorious and First among Apostles Peter and Paul in the Church and What were the names of The twelve Apostles

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

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Saint Apostle Peter and Paul are the most glorious of all Christ desciples thanks to whom by God's mercy and Grace the nations have received the good news of the Lord Jesus's Christ Crucifix for the sins of all us the sinful people whose evils and unthankfullness is on the way to reach its climax in this days of apostacy where the Church built on top of the Holy Martyrs blood and the Blood and tortures for Christ and the Truth of this two holy man is in one of its biggest temptetation caused by the Coronavirus hysteria exeggerated by the mass-media and purposing to mark a slavery upon human mind and took away the freedoms of man and change the life as we know it.

The Holy Apostles day is the End of the post-Pentecostal fasting which is in the Church from the ancient days of the Church. Rhe date selected being the anniversary of either their death or the translation of their relics.

Fasting is among the 4 main fasts in the One Holy Orthodox Church and the feast in the number of the biggest feasts of the Church. If one reads the historical records for all the places this two simple man was to preach the Gospel he is puzzled and couldn't comprehend how could it be for a simple Roman and a Fisherman to be able to walk through so many lands by boats, ships, through rivers, by carrets, on horses, donkeys, axes, elephants and God knows what kind of other animals typical for the multiple countries and lands this two most holy man has visit. 
It is even more amazing that their frutis of faith planted in the nations are still present today in so many Christians through the world …

The saint Peter and Paul fasting has been set for the reason the Apostles, have fasted immediately after Pentecost the descent of the Holy spirit over The desciples of Christ on the 50th day after the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The feast has been setup because the Apostles immerse joy of the Holy Spirit who filled their heart spirits, soul and body made them understood how much dirty and how much in sin they and all the humanity is and how much cleanness is necessery in order for them to start their hard mission of spreading the fact of the Resurrection they have witnessed with their own eyes. A small bracket to open here that Saint Paul never had the  chance to see in Body the Savior just like Saint Paul and the rest of the Apostles, but he was illuminated by The Lord Jesus Christ's appearance to him on the road of the mask when he was on a journey to hunt for christians and put them to court and to death.

Saint Paul was so fierce (by his zillotism) for the Old Testamental Jewish pharisee faith who was based on human interpretation of God's laws, that he was even physically present on the Killing of Saint Archideacon Stephan.
Saint Paul was the one holding the dresses of the Killers of the first Christian martyr St. Stephan thinking that this devilish deed was truthful and pleasant to God. 
But God loved Saint Paul for his Zilotism and his heart aiming to know the Truth and because of that on the Road to Damascus appeared, blinding him from the unbearable light that was emitted by the Lord Jesus Christ who has answered the simple prayer of St. Paul who was honestly looking for the truth. On the Question Saint Paul asked the Unknown bright man who appeared in Glory and surrounded by Angels and Archangels he asked "Who are you Lord"? The reply came, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting'." Acts of the Holy Apostles 9:4-5.

This moment changed Paul forever to make him from a fierce persecutor to a truthful desciple. However as it is said in the Holy Scriptures noone who sees the Lord can't stay alive in the Flesh and perhaps due to that the appearance of Christ left St. Paul to be blind for 3 days until God sent Ananias to heal his eyes by the ordination of Hands in the name of Jesus Christ – again a miracle of God aiming to strengthen the weakness of Faith of Saint Paul and stimulate him to continue on the way of Salvation. Even after the healing of his eyes, later in his eyes by God's providence the eyesight of Paul become weak again and he had to dictate his Apostle letters in the New Testament to his desciples who put it on paper and quite rarely write with his own hand due to his visionary problems. But apperantly the weak physical eye sight doesn't always mean a blindness as with his spiritual eyes the holy apostle was seeing much more than with his physical eyes and one weakness of seeing the physical let him contemplate the eternal.

It is little known fact that saint Paul among with his preaching the Gospel everywhere he went had a profession of making Tents and has worked hardly along with praying day and night, and the sleepless nights of vigil, the tortures by different anti-christians, jews, pagans, philosophers, magicians and others multitude of people who led by his spiritual blindness and passions has done multiple evils and tried in all means to stop Paul to preach the Gospel. But they did not succeeded and we see today the Result as there is rarely a man in the civillized world in all continents who doesn't heard or know about him 20-teen centuries after his martyrdom in the Capital of Roman Empire Rome.

saint-Paul-and-Peter-holy-icon

Saint Peter on the other hand was known for his simplicity and he like all of us was suffering of sickness of weakness of faith, he even rejected to know Christ thrice on the Christ trial, even though he was with Christ for the 3.5 years of Christ's preaching his Salvation Way to the world. But again just like with Paul, God made the miracle of preliminary foretelling him the future, warning him that he is about to reject Christ as his teacher a fact that occured just like prophecised by Christ earlier. Saint Peter seeing that The Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God knows the future believed him and recover his trust in the Resurrection and with repentance came to believe and await the Resurrection of Christ which by the mercy of God he soon saw with his own eys. Soon after this mercy of God and his preparation with the Eyes of Christ and his desires to follow the will of God for his life led him to completely sacrifice all he had in his remaining earthly life for Christ. Saint Peter "Simon" (Σίμων Simōn in Greek), means stone and he is called that way for the fact he become a stone on which the Church of Christ was build and this stone is present their in the Church and everyone in both Christians and not Christians knows him well.

Saint-Apostle-Paul-and-Peter-embrace

 

In a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples (Matthew 16:13–19), Jesus asks, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" The disciples give various answers. When he asks "Who do you say that I am?", Simon Peter answers, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus then declares:

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Cephas (Peter) (Petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Saint Peter is known to have been in Antioch and Corinth and many other lands and is believed to have been the First PopSaint-Apostle-Paul-and-Peter-embrace.jpge of Rome.

Saint-Apostle-Peter-Crucifix-with-head-downed-cross-as-he-said-he-is-unworthy-to-die-as-the-saviour

Early Church tradition says that Peter probably died by crucifixion (with arms outstretched) at the time of the Great Fire of Rome in the year 64. This took place three months after the disastrous fire that destroyed Rome for which the emperor (Nero) wished to blame the Christians. This "dies imperii" (regnal day anniversary) was an important one, exactly ten years after Nero ascended to the throne, and it was "as usual" accompanied by much bloodshed. Traditionally, Roman authorities sentenced him to death by crucifixion. In accordance with the apocryphal Acts of Peter, he was crucified head down. Tradition also locates his burial place where the Basilica of Saint Peter was later built, directly beneath the Basilica's high altar.

On the next day 30th of June the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and some of the other Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate another great feast The Assembly of the 12 Apostles which honors all the 12 Apostles who were the main building blocks whose preach and martyrdom for Christ put the second stones on the Building of the Church which was based on the main base cornerstone Jesus Christ whom with his holy blood for the Salvation of mankind made the existence of the Ship of Salvation (as the holy fathers) call the Church posslble.

Feast-of-The-Assembly-of-the-Holy-Apostles-and-St-Peter-and-Paul

Below are the Church Troparions and Kontaktions (Praising songs in the Church sang in Holy Liturgy) on 29 of June that every year marks Feast of the Glorious Apostles who enlightened the Universe, I put the songs in Both English and in Cyrillic translated out of Old Bulgarian (Church Slavonic).

Here are the names of the 12 Apostles as we know them by Church Tradition

The 12 disciples of Lord Jesus Christ

1. Peter
2. James
3. John
4. Andrew
5. Bartholomew or Nathanael
6. James, the Lesser or Younger
7. Judas
8. Jude or Thaddeus
9. Matthew or Levi
10. Philip
11. Simon the Zealot
12 . Thomas

 

Troparion — Tone 4

O first-enthroned of the Apostles, / and teachers of the universe, / intercede with the Master of all / to grant peace to the world, / and to our souls great mercy.

Kontakion — Tone 2

O Lord, You have taken to Yourself the steadfast and divinely-inspired heralds, the leaders of Your disciples, / for the enjoyment of Your blessings for and their rest; / for You have accepted their labors and their deaths as above all burnt offerings, / for You alone know the hearts of men.

Kontakion — Tone 2

Today Christ the Rock glorifies with highest honor / the rock of Faith and leader of the Apostles, / together with Paul and the company of the Twelve, / whose memory we celebrate with eagerness of faith, / glorifying Him Who glorified them.

ТРОПАРЬ, ГЛАС 4-Й

Апостолов первопрестольницы и вселенныя учителие, Владыку всех молите мир вселенный даровати и душам нашым велию милость.

Первенствующие из апостолов и Вселенской Церкви учителя, Владыку всех молите мир миру даровать и душам нашим великую милость.

КОНДАК, ГЛАС 2-Й

Твердыя и боговещанныя проповедатели, верх апостолов твоих, Господи, приял еси, в наслаждение благих Твоих и покой: болезни бо онех и смерть приял еси, паче всякаго всеплодия, Едине сведый сердечная.

Непоколебимых и богогласных проповедников, высших из Апостолов Твоих, Господи, Ты принял в наслаждение благ Твоих и покой, ибо страдания их и смерть благоволил принять как жертву, выше всякой жертвы, Единый, ведающий сердца наши.

ВЕЛИЧАНИЕ

Величаем вас, апостоли Христовы Петре и Павле, весь мир ученьми своими просветившия и вся концы ко Христу приведшия.

Прославляем вас, апостолы Христовы Петр и Павел, весь мир своим учением просветивших и приведших ко Христу народы всей земли.

Let by the Prayers of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and the Apostle James, John, Andrew, Bartholomew (Nathnael), James (the lesser or Younger), Judas, Jude (Thaddeus), Mathew (Levi), Philip, Simon Zealot and Thomas God have mercy on all Christians in our age and the ages to come till the Second Glorious Coming of Christ and in the Frightening Judgement day.

Why saint Apostle (James) Jacobs is called flesh brother to the Lord Jesus Christ / 23 October st. Jacobs feast in Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012


1st ArchiBishop (Patriach) of Jerusalem, First Patriach of Jerusalem Orthodox Church, Saint Apostle James - The Lord's brother by flesh

Today in Bulgarian Orthodox Church. We celebrate the feast of Saint Apostle Jacobs (brother by flesh) as being known from Holy Gospels. I have many protestant friends and I know they literally understand the said about Saint Apostle Jacobs (James as usually used in English) and fall in the trap to think St. Ap. Jacobs was born by the Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary). This is a very wrong understanding, which I myself have pondered in the early days when I believed in Christ.

What it is meant by “brother in Flesh” is therefore an ambigious milestone for all Protestants, who reject our Orthodox Christian belief that the Mother of God (The Holy Theotokos) gave birth to the Incarnated Logos (The only begotten Son of God Lord Jesus Christ without loosing her virginity !)
This is a great miracle of God and the more one thinks over it the more he gets astounished on the greatness of the Lord and the righteousness of the Orthodox Christian faith!

The actual reason why the Gospel talks about the Lord having saint Jacob as a brother in flesh is due to fact he was Joseph’s Son (a good note to make here is Joseph was actually a man in his old age already even physically incapable to have kids – again something protestant christian and the protestant tens of thousands of denominations often did not know or if heard reject it fully).

Joseph was instructed by God to take Mariam as wife for the only reason to not allow the most Holy Theotokos (Virgin mary – which we consider higher in veneration and Spiritual Rank than Angels) from being accused by Jewish. It was very uncommon for ladies to bring forth kids without being married for that time, probably thousand of times more shameful than now. Jewish considered killing by stoning ladies which give birth to kids born by ladies without husband.

It was God’s salvationary plan for us Humans to bore Christ from a Virgin and this is why The Holy Theotokos conceived without being married by the Holy Spirit, the Old Testament prophecies states this will happen among with multiple other fully fulfilled prophecies by Christ – (Check old testament Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Christ (Prophecies for Christ) here ) or here .

With this said we firmly believe in Orthodox Church, The Good Lord give Joseph the order to marry her in order to “save” her from shameful unrighteous jewish accusations..
Joseph himself obeying to God’s instructions to live with Mariam (The Holy Theotokos) was a widowed a man with Sons born by a Holy woman. One of Joseph sons was Saint Apostle James who martyred for Christ in 63 A.D.

The Mother of God (Holy Thetokos) and Joseph were man and Husband officially during, all their earthly living, however they never lived together as man in life and never had sleep together (in a sense of man and wife) but lived in holiness and prayer during their whole living.


The Holy Family Greek Orthodox Christian Icon - The Holy Theotokos with Joseph and the Lord Saviour Jesus Christ

The Holy Family – Greek Orthodox icon

Therefore it is incorrect and sinful thinking to Think Virgin Mary gave birth to others except the Messiah (Christ) Lord Jesus.

Because saint James lived his life as official part of the Holy Family, later in Gospels he was called the brother in Flesh along with his other brothers / other sons of Joseph. Due to God’s desire st. Apostle Jacob was later also choosen in assembly of Holy Apostles, which gathered together and choose st. Jacob to be the first Patriarch of the Jerusalem Church.

St. James Orthodox icon window to heaven Anna Edelman

An Orthodox Church patriarchy which exists even to this day kept by the Grace of the Holy Spirit.

In moment the Good Lord Jesus Christ revealed himself to me and blessed me with the gift of Faith about 8 years ago, I didn’t believed in him reading Orthodox Christian Literature, Holy Apostles writings, the Living of the Saints, or not even had a clear idea that there is difference between Christians). How I believed was, I read the Holy Bible and the Holy Gospels of pure interest. Actually I was in a severe desperation not finding a meaning in life and cause of that researched different major faiths around the world (I put here this details because I think maybe there are others around in same or similar situation and my testimony might strengthen their faith in Christ and his one Holy Apostolic Church – The Orthodox Church). In my quest for truth, I decided to read the Holy Bible with a mindset that Probably it contains some Good Wisdom not believing back in that time it is 100% true). My reasoning to read holy Bible was due to fact Holy Bible is today one of the oldest circulating easy accessible books.

Now having a bit of personal story, I can continue with why Saint Apostle James is called flesh brother to the Lord Jesus Christ; I hope my personal shortly writen story on how I ended up believing in truthfulness of Orthodox Church will be useful for Protestant Christians seeking true faith and will help them find the true faith Christ has given us in the realm of our One Holy Apostolic Church nowdays known as the Orthodox Church

In Holy Gospels it is said Saint Apostle James is brother in flesh to the the Lord Jesus Christ. Earlier when I started being in deep interested to Christian faith and found Orthodox Christian faith is the only true faith in Christ currently present, in small steps I started realizing the teachings of Orthodox Church and Orthodox Saints are the only 100% trustable sources of interpretation which correctly explain the Holy Bible, Gospels and thereon inside the Orthodox Church it is only place where true Christian can find true spirituality and more in depth information on the living of the Lord Jesus Christ; his death on the Cross for our Salvation, His Glorious Resurrection triumphing over deapth, living of the saints, the desert fathers livings and the innumerous number of events and miracles which happened before the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, after his Resurrection (from the Death) and all events related to Christianity and Church for passed 2000 years of Church existence.

According to our Church tradition Saint Apostle Jacob believed in his “brother in flesh” to be the Christ after listening to his words of life after the Lord Jesus’s first public preach.

After The Lord’s Resurrection, as st. Apostle Paul mentions the Lord show himself with his resurrected victorious body over death in front of 500 people and st. Apostle Jacob as well.

The Church tradition continues that saint Apostle Jacobs lived and spend all his life before his martyrdom in Jerusalem along with the rest of The Lord Jesus desciples, working for building, strengthening and extending the Church and faith in the Resurrected Savior.

Because of his great holiness he was well known in Jerusalem during his living by both the Church members and the rest of Jews. Publicly they address him as “Jacobs (James – The Just”.

Because of different translation in different languages there is some unambiguality between the old times (Old Testament) Patriach saint Jacobs and some of the new testamential saints also called Jacobs, hence in English st. Jacobs is often called James.


Saint Apostle Jacob the Just the first Hierarch of Jerusalem Antiochian Church orthodox icon


It was also st. Apostle Jacob who first has give the final decision concerning the big “argueing” division between people who claimed circumcision is necessery for salvation and the Church members who said that it is not. The Jewish people claimed it is necessery for everyone to be well educated in old testamential law and follow the circumcision and all jewish laws and tradition in order to obtain salvation. In Jerusalem on the assembly st. Barnaba and st. Paul along with st. Jacob and all the Church hierarchs decided led by the Holy Spirit in truth that gentiles will not be required to circumcise and follow all jewish traditions. They decided together that every Church member receives his salvation by the Grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Apostle assembly (council) occured in year 51 A.D. This assembly was an example on how huge Church discussions should be decided for future and set the building stone of the next Church Ecummenical Councils in which major decisions concerning our faith was taken.
The Jewish people who was in hatred for Jesus (rejecting him as Christ = Messiah (being the Messiah the Saviour of Israel) and the only one begotten Son of God) killed Holy Apostle Jacob by , first threw him from the summit of the Temple in Jerusalem and (being unable to kill him by throwing him down), then killed him with stones (stoned him). According to Eusibeus who retold what Hegesippus (earlier source history writer writen), the jewish broke the Holy Apostle skull with a fuller’s club trying to completely destroy his holy relics. But obviously as Psalm reads, they couldn’t – As “The memory of the righteous continues live on forver”. –

Psalm 112:6 Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.

While I never before in depth read about Saint Apostle James – (often called THE JUST) for his holy living, whilst reading in in OrthodoxWiki about him, I found also the Church Hymns as translated in English. It is strikingly beautiful to hear and pray with them in this times of decaying less and less faith. Also I was amazed to read about such unachiavable in our generation righteousness in which St. Ap. James lived in; His glorious martyrdom is also one of the most striking ones I ever red ….

The Holy Apostle gave up the spirit after a short prayer, before the Jewish stoned him. He was aged 66 when he received his martyrdom for Christ.

St. James the Just – Troparion – (Tone 4)

As the Lord’s disciple you received the Gospel, O righteous James;
As a martyr you have unfailing courage;
As God’s brother, you have boldness;
As a hierarch, you have the power to intercede.
Pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved.

saint Apostle Jacob The Just and saint Dinisius from Areopagita / Teophan Kritski, Church Wall painting in Greece
Church Wall Painting painted by st. Teophanus from Crit and Smeon (year 1546) Church Saint Nikolas (Monastery StavroNikita Holy Mount Athos)

Kontakion in veneration of Saint James the first Patriach of Jerusalem – (Tone 4)

When God the Word, the Only-begotten of the Father,
Came to live among us in these last days,
He declared you, venerable James, to be the first shepherd and teacher of Jerusalem
And a faithful steward of the spiritual Mysteries. Therefore, we all honor you, O Apostle.

It is interesting fact actually the most ancient Holy Liturgy, text ever written is writen by Saint Apostle James (The Brother of God) himself. This year Praise be to God, a Jacobine Holy Liturgy, will be served in Vidin with blessing of Vidin’s Metropolitan – I read this news in Dveri.BG , an information site discussing Bulgarian Church and related news. Saint Jacob’s Holy Liturgy is served only once per year on his Church feast day. If My memory is not mistaken saint Jacob’s Holy Liturgy is served also on Our Lord Jesus’s Resurrection Day every (Easter), right before the Holy Fire descends from Heaven and lights up the candle of Jerusalem Patriarch

Let by the Holy Prayers of st. Apostle Jacobs (a brother in flesh to the Lord), God have merce on me the sinner and all Christians.

Thomas Sunday (Doubting Thomas) the end of the bright Paschal Week

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

St Apostle Thomas touching the wounds of our saviour Christ

Today in the Orthodox Church, we commemorate the great miracle of our saviour Christ appearing to st. Apostle Thomas, who failed to believe to the rest of the holy apostles that they have seen our saviour alive.

Thomas wanted said that he won’t belief if he doesn’t touch and see the incorruptable risen body of our saviour Jesus.

Our Lord by his great mercy has appeared once again to the pupils dinnering with them.
Thomas was with the teachers and the door was locked (as the fear of persecution for Christ’s testimonial was among the aposltes).
Suddenly our Saviour entered the room where all the pupils were gathered through the locked door (a Glorious miracle inconceivable for our minds).

As the Lord knew about Thomas weak belief and his disbelief in his prophecised Resurrection in the third day, when Christ entered he has addressed Thomas and told him to come forth and see and touch his wounds and see that a spirit has no bones and flesh, (obviously Thomas erroneously thought that the resurrection from the death would be in spirit and no physical body will be present (this kind of belief today is also wide-spread inside many heretical christian groups)).
The Lord continued on and told Thomas, “Thomas you have seen and believed, now blessed is those who haven’t seen me and believed”!

Here is part of the daily troparion:

Touch my rib with a hand, Thomas, speaks Christ, and come and touch (feel) the scars from the nails.
With faith do test it, and be a believer and not a non-believer. Thomas has touched with a finger to the Master and loudly shouted:
"You are my Lord and my God, most merciful Glory to you!"

This Sunday is also the day marking the end of the bright week of the Resurrection.
Let we all the Orthodox Christians be a believers as Thomas and be blessed in accordance to our saviour’s word, as we haven’t seen the Lord’s Risen glorified body as Thomas and the rest of the holy apostles did.