Wednesday, December 13, 2017 UTC

JULY 15 & 16: SUNDAY OF THE FATHERS OF THE 1ST SIX ECUMENICAL COUNCILS (6TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST) & COMMEMORATION OF VLADIMIR THE GREAT EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

ecumenical_councilsJULY 15: DIVINE LITURGY (Fr. Matthew Schroeder) – 4:00 PM; JULY 16: TYPIKA (Fr. Deacon Joseph)- 10:30 AM.

The Church venerates the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils because Christ has established them as “lights upon the earth,” guiding us to the true Faith. “Adorned with the robe of truth,” the doctrine of the Fathers, based upon the preaching of the Apostles, has established one faith for the Church. The Ecumenical Councils, are the highest authority in the Church. Such Councils, guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and accepted by the Church, are infallible.

The Gospel Reading for this Sunday is Matthew 9:1-8 in which Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man. We learn that not only does Jesus have authority, but we have an account of an event that shows that He has authority to forgive sins. The point is that if Jesus can take care of the effects of sin–by healing a paralytic — He can therefore also take care of the cause of the illness–by forgiving the sin. For Jesus the forgiving of sins and the healing of diseases are two sides of His mission, with the forgiveness of sins being the most important. Additionally, He defends His authority to forgive sins to the Pharisees who time and again rebuke Him.  The application is that for the forgiveness of sins one must come to Jesus by faith, believing that He will forgive and make things well. By faith our hearts are opened to receiving God’s power, and by repentance we are made capable of receiving this power.

On July 15th we commemorate St. Vladimir the Great, Equal to the Apostles. He was a devout pagan in his early life. He was a great conqueror who had many wives and erected many pagan statues in the lands that he ruled over. Upon finding out that other faiths existed beyond his own paganism, he decided to send his envoys out into the world to find out what was true faith on earth. His envoys met with Muslims, Jews and Catholics, but everything changed, however, when the envoys arrived in Constantinople. Upon attending Divine Liturgy in Hagia Sophia, the envoys said, “We no longer knew whether we were in heaven or on earth.” Taking the word of his envoys, St. Vladimir had himself and his nation baptized into the Orthodox Church. St. Vladimir changed completely after his baptism. He destroyed all the pagan statues that stood in Kievan Rus’, and replaced them with churches.  He also attempted to live in peace with his neighbors and had only one wife.

 

 

 

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