Calendar Factoid: Only Christ is Perfect

Conception of St. John the BaptistReady to do some counting (think in months, not days)? According to the Byzantine Liturgical Calendar, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Conception of the Honorable, Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John, on September 23rd. We celebrate John's nativity on June 24th. We celebrate the Feast of the Conception of Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God by the Righteous Anna on December 9th. We celebrate Mary's nativity on September 8th. On March 25th we celebrate the Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary (the conception of our Lord). We celebrate his nativity on December 25th. Elizabeth carries John in her womb for 9 months + 1 day. Anna carries Mary, the Mother of God in her womb for 9 months - 1 day. Mary, the Mother of God, carries our Lord in her womb for exactly 9 months. Only Christ is perfect.

The conception and birth of the Forerunner is part of God's saving plan which was foretold to us by the Prophet Malachi: "Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me" (Mal 3:1). The Church Fathers note that John is Elijah and Elijah is John for those willing to receive this, but also that John is something more. Irenaeus teaches us that while John "announced beforehand the advent of the Christ he actually saw him when He came and pointed Him out, and persuaded many to believe in Him, so that he himself holds the place of both prophet and apostle". (See "Against Heresies 3.11.4 and 1 Cor 12:28)

Rejoice, O barren one, who formerly did not bear a child,
for you have conceived the Lamp of the Sun,
who is to enlighten the whole universe which has been darkened by blindness.
Rejoice, O Zachariah, and cry out with boldness:
"The prophet of the Most High desires to be born!"
Troparion of the Conception of the Forerunner (September 23)


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Teachings of Christ

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 ESV)

Scripture

April 15, 2018
Third Sunday of Pascha: Myrrh-bearing Women
- Matins: Mark 16:9-20 (Gospel 3)
- Liturgy: Acts 6:1-7, Mark 15:43-16:8

Third Week of Pascha
- Monday: Acts 6:8-7:5, 47-60, John 4:46-54
- Tuesday: Acts 8:5-17, John 6:27-33
- Wednesday: Acts 8:28-25, John 6:35-39
- Thursday: Acts 8:26-39, John 6:40-44
- Friday: Acts 8:40-9:19, John 6:48-54
- Saturday: Acts 9:19-31, John 15:17-16:2

April 22, 1018
Fourth Sunday of Pascha: Paralytic
- Matins: Luke 24:1-12 (Gospel 4)
- Liturgy: Acts 9:32-42, John 5:1-15

Fourth Week of Pascha
- Monday: Acts 10:1-16, John 6:56-69
- Tuesday: Acts 10:21-33, John 7:1-13
- Wednesday: (Mid-Pentecost) Acts 14:6-18, John 7:14-30
- Thursday: Acts 10:34-43, John 8:12-20
- Friday: Acts 10:44-11:10, John 8:21-30
- Saturday: Acts 12:1-11, John 8:31-42

April 29, 2018
Fifth Sunday of Pascha: Samaritan Woman
- Matins: John 20:1-10 (Gospel 7)
- Liturgy: Acts 11:15-26, 29-30, John 4:5-4:2

Fifth Week of Pascha
- Monday: Acts 12:12-17, John 8:42-51
- Tuesday: Acts 12:25-13:12, John 8:51-59
- Wednesday: Acts 13:13-24, John 6:5-14
- Thursday: Acts 14:20-27, John 9:39-10:9
- Friday: Acts 15:5-34, John 10:17-28
- Saturday: Acts 15:35-41, John 10:27-38

May 6, 2018
Sixth Sunday of Pascha: Blind Man
- Matins: John 20:11-18 (Gospel 8)
- Liturgy: Acts 16:16-34, John 9:1-38

Feasts & Fasts

April
1 - Pascha - Feast of the Resurrection of Christ (Easter Sunday)
1-8 - Bright Week
8 - Second Sunday of Pascha (Apostle Thomas)
15 - Third Sunday of Pascha (Myrrh-Bearing Women)
22 - Fourth Sunday of Pascha (Healing of the Paralytic)
25 - Mid-Pentecost
29 - Fifth Sunday of Pascha (Samaritan Women at the Well)

Please pray!

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

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Resurrection

Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Let not us who would be Christians expect anything else than to be crucified....for to be Christian is to be crucified in this time and in any time since Christ came for the first time. His life is the example and warning to us all. We must be crucified personally,mystically; for trough crucifixion is the only path to resurrection, if we would rise with Christ, we must be humbled with him even to the ultimate humiliation, being devoured and spit forth by the uncomprehending world.... We must be crucified outwardly in the eyes of the world, for Christ's kingdom is not of this world and world cannot bear it, even a single representative, even for the single moment.

Fr Seraphim Rose