Archive for January, 2011

Theophany house blessings.

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Theophany is Wednesday, next week. Here are some things about house blessings, a Theophany tradition.

Theophany House blessings : 10 Things[1]

 http://www.orthodox.net/10things/theophany-house-blessings.html

1. Houses are traditionally blessed with "Theophany water" each year. A house can be blessed at any time, but the usual season for yearly blessings is from Theophany until the beginning of the Lenten Triodion, which begins four Sundays before Great Lent begins. This is not a hard and fast rule, but a good rule of thumb.

 

2. Some people place great importance on "Theophany water". This is just water that has been blessed with the Great Blessing of the Waters service on Theophany. Another name for this water is simply "Holy Water". We can bless water any time of the year that there is a need for it. In Moscow, for example, there is a huge vat of holy water that the faithful partake of regularly. On  regular basis, the vat is refilled with water when it becomes empty, and this new water is blessed. The water blessed in for instance, August is no more and no less "holy" than the water blessed on Theophany.

 

3. Water is blessed using the “Great Blessing of the Waters” service two distinct times during Theophany: after Vespers on the Eve of Theophany and after the Divine Liturgy on Theophany. The blessings are identical, and the water is identical. 

 

4. In many places, it is traditional to bless water in lakes or rivers. In Russia, clergy often go to such a place, and bless the cold water after a hole has been cut in the ice. Many people will take a dip in the water after it is blessed.

 

5. When a home is blessed, the priest brings everything needed for the blessing:

  • Holy water
  • A "krupilla" (brush for flinging the holy water),
  • Bowl for the water
  • Candles
  • Theophany icon.

 

Many pious homes supply a bowl, candles and the family Theophany icon.

 

The family should provide the priest with a list of all family members, living and deceased.

 

The bowl and icon should be placed on a clean table with a cloth on it, preferably near the family icon corner. It is good for candles to be lit. The house should be clean, with all radios and televisions off.

 

The priest will bless all rooms of the house except the bathrooms. In homes with children, it is always good for the little ones to carry a candle or a small cross and "lead" the priest throughout the house. An elder member of the house may also do this.

 

6. The basic order for a simple home blessing is as follows.

 

a. The bowl of water, icon and lit candles are placed on a clean table. IF there is a censer, it may be lit.  

 

b. The priest begins the service with a blessing and the Trisagion prayers (O heavenly King through the "Our Father".) It is always preferable that the eldest of another member of the family say the Trisagion prayers.

 

c. After this the entire home is blessed, with the family walking with the priest holding candles and the Theophany icon while the Theophany Troparion is sung over and over:

 

Tone 1:  When Thou, wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord,/ the worship of the Trinity was made manifest; /

for the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee,  /

calling Thee His beloved Son. /

And the Spirit in the form of a dove /

confirmed the certainty of the word. /

O Christ our God, Who hast appeared //

and hast enlightened the world, glory be to Thee.

 

It is a very good idea for the family to sing this troparion, and know it by heart. Otherwise, of the priest has many houses to bless, his voice will get tired!

 

d. Upon finishing blessing the house, the family gathers again at the table, and a short litany is said for the welfare of the family. The priest should have been provided a list of all family members, including those who are ill.

 

e. After this a short prayer, and the service is ended.

 

f. It is entirely appropriate the deceased loved ones of the family be commemorated from a list provided to the priest.

 

g. Sometimes the family wants to give the priest a little something to eat; depending on the time the priest has, he may stay and visit.

 

7. When a priest visits, it is NEVER required that the family gives him money. The scripture tells us "Freely you have received, freely give".

 

It is a pious custom among some to give the priest a donation at this time, but this should never be though of as a requirement. The priest comes to the home because he wants God's blessing to be upon it, and to know those in his flock better and to be available to them.

 

 

 

From St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texaswww.orthodox.net

 

This document is at http://www.orthodox.net/theophany-house-blessings.html & http://www.orthodox.net/theophany-house-blessings.doc

 

New 10 things” entries, sermons, journal entries , scripture commentary & more are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Archive of “10 things”: http://www.orthodox.net/10things

 

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!

 

.

 



[1] This document is a list of ten (more or less) things about a particular topic. More “Ten Things” topics may be found at http://www.orthodox.net/10things. They are also posted to the blog of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas, called  “Redeeming the Time” – http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime. Look under the category “10things”. Use anything you wish, but please indicate authorship, with the URL.

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I am come to save Adam, the first-fashioned man. Explanation of Prefestal Theophany Kontakion

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Royal Hours of Theophany

Kontakion of the pre-festival – Tone 4

I am come to save Adam, the first-fashioned man.

 

Baptism of the Lord - detail from Decani Monastery. http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/feasts-of-the-lord-theophany-03-detail-decani-monastery.jpg from http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Decani/exhibits/Collections/GreatFeasts/CX4K1728_l.html

 

In the streams of the Jordan today /

the Lord cried to John:  /

Be not afraid to baptize Me, /

for, I am come to save Adam, //

the first-fashioned man.

 

This Kontakion is sung at each of the Royal Hours of Theophany.

 

As in all of our hymns, it has “facts” in it that usually based on the scriptural record, but the meaning is much deeper than facts.  Let us feel the great consolation that this hymn promises.

 

The hymn first refers to John the Baptist’s reticence to baptize our Lord:

 

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.  (14)   But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?  (15 )  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. (Matthew 3:13-15)

 

Here we have a marvelous thing! A man (who is holy, and was praised by the Lord as the greatest born of woman) feels the weight of his mortality, deeply, completely.  Many people met Jesus, but how many showed this kind of humility? The Apostle Peter comes to mind, who, upon seeing the first great catch of fish, felt uneasy in the presence of deity and cried out “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8)

 

We could do with much more humility. Nothing is accomplished without humility. St John’s witness accuses us, and we are guilty! We do not fear God as we should, and because of this, we are blind in many ways.

 

Despite the Baptist’s protests, the Lord prevails upon him to baptize Him, and this is because the humble man, even though he knows that he is nothing, can do anything when he obeys God. If we feel the weight of our sins, and even great shame, we are “not far from the kingdom of God”. 

 

The end of the hymn has the imaginary dialogue where the Savior tells the Baptist:

 

I am come to save Adam, the first-fashioned man.”

 

“Adam” is a kind of “code word” indicating all of humanity. This is the purpose of our Lord’s baptism – to save humanity. Other hymns for Theophany explore the “how” of this process. Everything the Lord did had a purpose – a single. fixed purpose. May we be so fixed on the purpose of our life, which is only possible because of baptism!

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-01-13-royal-hours-of-theophany-kontakion-of-the-pre-festival-tone-4-for-i-am-come-to-save-adam.html

 

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-01-13-royal-hours-of-theophany-kontakion-of-the-pre-festival-tone-4-for-i-am-come-to-save-adam.doc

 

A collection of materials about Theophany is at:

 http://www.orthodox.net/theophany/index.html

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

Redeeming the Time BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 

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Detailed explanation of the troparion and kontakion for the day before and day of Theophany.

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Icon of the Baptism of the Lord

LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: Detailed explanation of the troparion and kontakion for the day before and day of Theophany. There is a lot here!

Prefestal Troparion. Tone 4
The River Jordan was once turned back by the mantle of Elisha / when Elijah had been taken up, /
and the waters were divided hither and thither. /
And for him the watery path became dry, /
Verily as a type of baptism, /
Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life. //
Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

Prefestal Kontakion – Tone 4
In the streams of the Jordan today /
the Lord cried to John: /
Be not afraid to baptize Me, /
for, I am come to save Adam, //
the first-fashioned man.

Troparion of Theophany Tone 1:
When Thou, wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, /
the worship of the Trinity was made manifest; /
for the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, /
calling Thee His beloved Son. /
And the Spirit in the form of a dove /
confirmed the certainty of the word. /
O Christ our God, Who hast appeared //
and hast enlightened the world, glory be to Thee.

Kontakion of Theophany Tone 4:
Thou hast appeared today unto the whole world, /
and Thy light, O Lord, hath been signed upon us /
who with knowledge chant unto Thee: /
Thou hast come, Thou hast appeared, //
O Light Unapproachable!


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Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Royal Hours of Theophany

Troparion of the pre-festival – Tone 4

Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.

 

 

The River Jordan was once turned back by the mantle of Elisha /

when Elijah had been taken up, /

and the waters were divided hither and thither.  /

And for him the watery path became dry, /

Verily as a type of baptism, /

Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.  //

Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

 

This troparion is sung at each of the Royal Hours of Theophany.

 

It describes an event which is a “type” or foreshadowing of baptism. Many Theophany hymns describe the many types of baptism in the Old Testament. A “type” is an event or thing which foreshadows or “points to” a future event or thing.

 

A good rule of thumb regarding typology is that the more types there are for a given thing, the more important it is. There are many types for baptism, the cross and the resurrection, for example.

 

The dividing of the River Jordan when it was struck by the mantle of Elisha is an obvious type of baptism, since it evokes the memory of the dividing of the Red sea, which is perhaps the quintessential and most important type of baptism in the Old Testament.

 

This event has a nuance to it that the dividing of the Red Sea does not have. We know that when Christ was baptized in the same Jordan waters that were divided by Elisha’s mantle, “the Jordan turned back and fled” from the God man Jesus Christ.

 

If you listen carefully to our hymns you will see that they mix typology, history, dogma and moral instruction quite freely. The most important part of the hymn is at the end, when we sing:

 

Whereby we cross the flowing stream of life.  //

Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

 

Here is the moral connection that I talk so often about. Our Lord’s baptism “sanctified the waters’, that is, changed the nature of water so that the waters of baptism can enable our nature to live victoriously, and to become perfected. Whatever happens to us — with baptism, we will be able to “cross the flowing stream of life” and find perfect rest. Baptism is not just an event. It is active throughout all of our “flowing stream of life”.

As in the parting of the Red Sea, the parting of the Jordan indicates for us that baptism is active in the beginning of our new life, in the middle (as we cross the flowing stream of life) and at the end, when we reach the other side. The waters are a wall of protection and also of guidance.  

 

When we hear this hymn (and there are many opportunities for the zealous to hear), we should feel the

moral implications of baptism. The God-man Jesus Christ made our humanity capable of perfection, so that we could know perfection – God, and in baptism He provided the means of this change.

 

And Eliu said to him, Stay here, I pray thee, for the Lord has sent me to Jordan. And Elisaie said, As the Lord lives and thy soul lives, I will not leave thee: and they both went on.  (7)  And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went also, and they stood opposite afar off: and both stood on the bank of Jordan.  (8)  And Eliu took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the water: and the water was divided on this side and on that side, and they both went over on dry ground.  (9)  And it came to pass while they were crossing over, that Eliu said to Elisaie, Ask what I shall do for thee before I am taken up from thee. And Elisaie said, Let there be, I pray thee, a double portion of thy spirit upon me.  (10)  And Eliu said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: if thou shalt see me when I am taken up from thee, then shall it be so to thee; and if not, it shall not be so.  (11)  And it came to pass as they were going, they went on talking; and, behold, a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and it separated between them both; and Eliu was taken up in a whirlwind as it were into heaven.  (12)  And Elisaie saw, and cried, Father, father, the chariot of Israel, and the horseman thereof! And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his garments, and rent them into two pieces.  (13)  And Elisaie took up the mantle of Eliu, which fell from off him upon Elisaie; and Elisaie returned, and stood upon the brink of Jordan;  (14)  and he took the mantle of Eliu, which fell from off him, and smote the water, and said, Where is the Lord God of Eliu? and he smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither; and Elisaie went over. (2Ki 2:6-14 Brenton, or 4 Kings, Sept, read during the Vesperal Divine Liturgy on the Eve of Theophany

 

 

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/royal-hours-of-theophany-troparion-of-the-pre-festival-tone-4-whereby-we-cross-the-flowing-stream-of-life.html

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/royal-hours-of-theophany-troparion-of-the-pre-festival-tone-4-whereby-we-cross-the-flowing-stream-of-life.doc

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

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Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 

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Quiet and healing for the soul. Monday Moleben and Akathist

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Quiet and healing for the soul

Monday Moleben and Akathist

 

Last night I arrived early at church to prepare for the regular Monday Moleben with Akathist, and to await the arrival of someone for an appointment. We have served a Moleben each week for a long time, with prayer for a long list of names – all of our parish members, our parish “sort of” members, friends from other local parishes and a long list of people on our public prayer list, who have requested prayer.

 

It is one of the most important things I do. It is also often quite hard to do. This is because of me; anything in which the soul feels heavy and does not want to do something is because of us. Let’s be honest here. We all have weak faith, and the best we can do if we want to eventually have real, warm and perfect faith is to be like the son in the parable who at first said he would not go into the field to work, but later repented, and went to work. Our Lord tells us that he did the will of his father, and not the other son who said he would go, but did not.

 

This parable has always been a great comfort to me. It tells me that I can receive a blessing even from imperfect obedience, and that the most important part of obedience is not what we say or feel, but what we do.  This describes a lot of stuff that I do, or, often, describes the way I start to do things. In the case of the Moleben, which, because of the Akathist and the long list of names repeated three times is a rather long service,  when I am tired and sometimes alone in the temple, I am always happy that I prayed after I have begun.

 

I was born for this – to pray, and show my love for others by praying for them, and doing what they cannot or will not do for themselves. I may be alone, or, as it was this night, with only one other person, or perhaps with as many as 10 or a few more, but I cannot think of a more efficacious use of my time.

 

I was thinking during the Moleben (it would be better not to be thinking so much, but our thoughts are like the wind, and hard to stop or even catch) that “it was good to be here”, because I was fulfilling one of my most important pastoral duties for my people – praying for them, aloud, but also that these evenings, especially when I am alone or almost alone are very healing to my soul. Sometimes I am like the son who did not want to go, but went, and other times I serve with enthusiasm and zeal from beginning to end, but in every case, I have done something important, and I absolutely know that in some way I have become stronger, better.

 

My parish needs me to get better. I cannot give what I do not have, and on some level, I feel more strength when I pray alone, or when I am tired. The stronger I get, the more strength I can give to those I love.  Of course, it is great when the church is full of those praying with me, but this is very rare on any day except a Sunday.

 

I try very hard to teach my flock the restorative nature of the services, but many do not seem to “get it”.  Sunday is still “the day’ to go to church, with Saturday (my favorite) a far distant second, and the other days of the week not even “on the radar”. I know that job and other responsibilities can cut into attendance, but this does not account for everything. Part of my prayer, as it were, a “groaning” in my heart, is that all of my flock, and the many that I pray for who are not my flock, or are sort of part of the flock will develop a great zeal for prayer and be comforted in everything in their life.

 

I am a stubborn guy. I know that true happiness only comes from moral change and the increasing

knowledge of our beautiful God that accompanies and assists it. Prayer is a big part of this. I must be honest with myself – if I teach my flock how important it is to pray – I must pray!

 

 

I also noticed something as I was lighting the lamps. It had been a difficult day. I had stumbled upon a passive aggressive attack from a person I know but have never known. I was upset that this person would most likely never apologize and most likely go on as in the past, with snarky accusations, and an air of superiority, without direct communication and person to person honesty and compunction. I came to a conclusion. This person has never really acted like a friend, so they are more like an enemy than a friend. We should pray for our enemies. I have promised to pray for this person in my daily prayers. This brings me more peace. I give the advice all the time that we must pray for anyone we have a conflict with, and I follow it myself. There may be incidents in the future, and I am still upset, but I am sure that my opinion will soften and become perfected as I pray. I was looking forward to mentioning this name for the first time in the Moleben.

 

I also felt a great peace in the quiet church as I lit the lamps. I would wish for all my flock that they come early sometimes, and light the lamps, and take stock of their lives. Really, all that matters is that we gain true peace.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011.     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-07-11-quiet-and-healing-for-the-soul+monday-moleben-and-akathist.doc

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-07-11-quiet-and-healing-for-the-soul+monday-moleben-and-akathist.html

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

Redeeming the Time BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 

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Sunday after Nativity. Joseph the Betrothed.

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Sunday after Nativity

Joseph the Betrothed

 

Joseph the Betrothed, with Christ. http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/joseph-the-betrothed-02.png

In the Sundays before the Nativity, we recalled all the forefathers, both of the flesh and of the spirit, who lead up to Christ. Today we celebrate the memory of three particular saints who are closely related to our Lord, David the King, Joseph the Betrothed, and James the Brother of the Lord.

 

The prophet and King David is the source of the royal line of the Hebrews from which both the Virgin Mary and the righteous Joseph were descended. Because of this lineage, Jesus Christ could properly be called, "King of the Jews" for in the flesh, He is of royal lineage. Of course, because He is also God, the maker and ruler of all creation and was therefore not only King of the Jews but King of all that is.

 

From each of these righteous men – David, Joseph and James – we learn much about the spiritual life. David, of course, was a man after God's own heart, as the scripture tells us and so from him, we can learn how to draw near to God. Even when he fell into grave sin, we see from David's deep and heartfelt repentance our own path back to God when we fall away.

 

James, the Brother of the Lord, was the first bishop of the Church in Jerusalem. He presided over the first apostolic council (which is described in the book of Acts) and was finally martyred for his confession of Jesus Christ.

 

Joseph, the betrothed of the Virgin Mary, was chosen by God to be the guardian of Jesus Christ and his holy Mother, a task which he performed with great humility and diligence.

 

Too often when we consider the saints we tend to project our own situation and passions on them and as a result they become a bit clouded. Few are more distorted in popular life than the righteous Joseph and so it is important to stop occasionally to see who he really was.

 



Joseph the Betrothed. http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/joseph-the-betrothed-03.png First we must remember that Joseph was not a young man, he was indeed already a widower of many years with at least six grown children (there may have been more as the number of daughters is uncertain). At the time he was chosen to be the guardian of the Virgin Mary he was already 80 years old and according to the great menaion of St Dimitri of Rostov he lived to be 110 (meaning that he died just before Jesus began His public ministry).

 

Although he was of royal lineage (being in the line of David the King) Joseph was a poor man who earned his living by means of hard labor (for he was a carpenter). Being a carpenter in that time did not mean going to the lumberyard and picking up a load of 2×4's, plywood and nails with which to build a house – rather it meant going out, felling a tree, sawing it and shaping it into what was needed and then, without nails, assembling that lumber into what was desired. It was extremely hard labor, and this was the daily life of Joseph.

 

He was miraculously chosen by God to be the guardian of the Virgin Mary when she was no longer able to live in the Temple. Although it was the custom for young women such as her to return home and wed and raise families, she was unable to return home as her parents, Joachim and Anna, had died and she was the only child. Also she had made a vow to remain a virgin dedicated to the service of God and the priests recognizing her piety and holiness did not wish to force her to break that vow.

 

Therefore all the eligible widowers were gathered at the temple and from each one was taken a staff which was then placed in the Holy of Holies. The staff of Joseph began to bud just as the staff of Aaron had in ancient times to indicate that he was the one chosen by God. Though he sought to avoid this honor, Joseph finally submitted to the will of God and took the Virgin Mary into his household and for her protection she was betrothed to Him (otherwise she would be considered a prostitute or a mistress, being found in the household of an unrelated man.) Thus we call Joseph, "the betrothed" to set him apart as the chosen protector of the Virgin Mary and her divine Child.

 

Joseph was also righteous, that is, he heard the word of the Lord and kept it. When the Virgin was found to be with child, he assumed this pregnancy to be the result of youthful passion and adultery. He set out to resolve the matter secretly so that she would not be accused or exposed to public dishonor. But before he could accomplish this, an angel came to him in a dream and revealed to him that this pregnancy was not the fruit of sin, but rather that it was the miraculous fruit of righteousness and that the Virgin had been chosen by God to bear the Messiah, miraculously conceived without an earthly father.

 

Joseph became, at this moment, the very first convert to the Christian faith for he abandoned his own fallen opinion and received with joy the revelation of God that this Child would be for the salvation of not only the people of Israel, but of all mankind. Even though this belief was tested by the evil one (as we see depicted in the icon of the Nativity) Joseph did not doubt but remained faithful to the word of God that had been given to him by the angel. Later, after the birth of the Child, an angel again came to him and instructed him to take the Child and his mother (note the words here – the angel did not say "your wife and son" or even "your betrothed" but "the Child and his mother" indicating the true relationship between them all) into Egypt to avoid the wrath of Herod. Here we see a man, over 80 years old, in obedience to the word of God embark upon a very difficult journey of months over the sands of the desert from Israel into Egypt. Even today this is a difficult journey by car or train and at that time the only transportation was to walk. But Joseph, putting his trust in God, obeyed.

 

From this journey to Egypt and the return we can see the complete dependence and faith in God's providence in the life of Joseph. Joseph had no real idea where he was going; he did not know anyone in Egypt; he had no resources or connections. Like the Hebrew people of old, he simply followed day by day the leading of God. Even after having arrived in Egypt and settled there, when they returned again Joseph was redirected throughout the journey avoiding Jerusalem and Judea going into Galilee and finally returning to his home in Nazareth.

 

Throughout this whole time, Joseph acted out of simple trust and obedience to the word of the Lord. He had no guarantees or even any idea of what he would find each day, but trusted in God's provision on a day to day basis, knowing that as long as he was living in obedience to the word of God that God would in turn provide for him his needs.

 

Some 30 years later, Jesus Christ would reiterate this very attitude of simple daily dependence on God in the sermon on the mount. Because he heard the word of the Lord and kept it, because of his simple and unshakeable trust in God, and unwavering dependence upon providence of God, Joseph is known as one of the Righteous Ones.

 

In being the betrothed of the Virgin, Joseph is also known as the guardian and protector first of the Virgin Mary and then of her child the God/man Jesus Christ. This ministry as guardian of the Virgin and child is an angelic calling. From the intervention of the angels in the birth of Christ we can see that they themselves descended from heaven to serve God Who would become man and to wonder at the mystery of the incarnation. God, Who was above all things, submitted Himself not to the angelic life, but descended even to the physical world and become man. He was subject to all the dangers and corruption of the fallen physical world. He could be harmed, he could be injured and even killed. But the angels continued to serve and protect him and when they saw danger they warned those who were charged with the protection of the divine Child.

 

When the angels saw the intent of Herod to destroy the Christ Child through mass murder of the infants, the angel came to Joseph who was the earthly protector. The angel warned Joseph in a dream and committed the Child into his care. Joseph became the agent on earth of the angelic host who served God in heaven. In taking the Child and his mother to safety in Egypt, Joseph was doing the work of the holy angels and so shared the angelic calling. In Egypt, and later in returning to Israel, he continued to be the agent of the angelic host and even after his death, he performed the angelic task of proclaiming the good news for when he descended into Hades to await the coming salvation of the God/man Jesus Christ, he proclaimed the good news of the coming of the promised One to those among the righteous who awaited His coming that they might be freed from the captivity of the evil one.

 

Joseph was indeed one of the righteous and as the betrothed of the Virgin Mary, he became the agent of the angelic host in protecting and serving the incarnate God. His unfailing and undoubting trust in God stands for us as a shining example of how we can order our own lives. Just as he did we trust in God, we hear the word of the Lord and order our lives in obedience to it. Just as he served God in imitation of the angels, so also we serve our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The righteous one, Joseph the betrothed, is the very first convert to the Christian faith and stands even now before the God/man Jesus Christ and His mother, the Virgin Mary as the first of us all who have left behind our own fallen and sinful lives in order to serve God and follow Jesus Christ as He leads us from earth to heaven.

 

Archpriest David Moser

St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)

Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/

Website: http://stseraphimboise.org

 

Posted with permission.

 

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

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This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-nativity-04_2011-01-09+sunday-after-nativity+joseph-the-betrothed.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-nativity-04_2011-01-09+sunday-after-nativity+joseph-the-betrothed.doc

 

It is originally from a post to the “Propoved” mailing list:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/

 

 

http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

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All rights reserved. Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way. We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

 

 

 

 

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We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ! Show us also Thy divine Theophany. Audio.

Monday, January 10th, 2011

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Synopsis: At the Vesperal Divine Liturgy on the Eve of Nativity, a homily about on of the hymns of the Royal Hours. It expresses the connection between Nativity and Theophany, and especially how we must feel and what we must desire as we contemplate the incarnation.

"Today He Who in essence is God intangible and holdeth all creation in His hand is born of the Virgin and creation in His hand is born of the virgin and wrapped in swaddling bands. He lieth in a manger Who established in a manger Who established the heavens by His word in the beginning. He is fed at the breast with milk Who rained down manna upon the people in the wilderness. The Bridegroom of the church summoneth the magi; the Son of the virgin receiveth their gifts.
We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ!
We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ!
Show us also Thy divine Theophany. "



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Holy Protection Cathedral Nativity Photos.

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

I received notice of some photos from Nativity, at Holy Protection Russian Orhtodox Chiurch, Des Plaines, IL. These are picutres relatied to their Nativity celebration. Vladyka Peter, Protodeacon Vadim, and Subdeacon Andrei, who were recently at our Patronal feast, are in some of these pictures. Fr Nicholas needs to study these pictures and learn to look fierce like Fr Vadim!

 

The Photos are on the Facbook Page: "Russian Orthodox Cathedral" at this link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2110240&id=1199811653

Here are a few.

Fr Vadim, Reader Leony, and Fr Alexander. I

Rough looking group. I would not want to meet them in a back alley! :)

Protodeacon Vadim, Reader Leonty, Deacon Alexander.

 

Subdeacon Andrew, Reader Leony, Eugene.

Leonty is smilling when he is not between the two deacons. Coincidence? I think not.

Subdeacon Andrei on the left

Fr Vadim, if you were a sheepdog and I was a cow, I would be scared of you! :)

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How to react to evil. Sunday after Nativity. 2011

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

flight-into-egypt-01

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Synopsis: On the Sunday after Nativity, we commemorate King David, Joseph the Betrothed, and James, the Brother of the Lord. The Gospel reading is about the Flight into Egypt. It teaches us how to react to evil. This is the opposite of the way the world reacts. We must learn this way if we are to understand anything about God – this is the way of meekness, the patience of faith and humility.

Many More homilies on Nativity are HERE

Matthew 2:13-23 13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. 19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. 21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.


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Holy Prophet and King David, Joseph the Betrothed, James The Just, the Brother of the Lord. Why are these saints commemorated near to Nativity?H

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

 

flight-into-egypt-01

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Synopsis: A homily describing on the Eve of the Sunday after Nativity during matins, describing the Holy Prophet and King David, Joseph the Betrothed, James The Just, the Brother of the Lord. Why are these saints commemorated near to Nativity? What do they teach us about the Nativity?


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/catechism/lives-of-saints_2011-07-08+prophet-and-king-david-joseph-the-betrothed-james-the-just-the-brother-of-the-lord.m3u

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