Sunday, November 19, 2017 UTC

JULY 8 & 9: 5TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST & COMMEMORATION OF ANTHONY OF THE CAVES

JULY 8: GREAT VESPERS – 3:00 PM; JULY 9: MATINS – 7:00 AM, DIVINE LITURGY – 10:30 AM.

The Gospel Reading for this Sunday is from Matthew 8:28 – 9:3 in which Jesus Restores Two Demon-Possessed Men & cast the demons into the Pigs. In this reading Jesus is now in His public ministry and encountered humans who are “demon-possessed”, because the demons took control of their faculties and tormented and twisted their lives out of control. But when Jesus came to their area, He brought deliverance for them from the powers of darkness. During the confrontation, the demons begged Jesus to send them into a herd of pigs that was nearby. These powerful evil spirits are in a panic, afraid of Christ, worried their days are coming to an end, knowing that a judgment is appointed for them. The news quickly spread to the town about what happened, but the amazing thing is that when they saw Jesus they pleaded with Him to leave their region. Why would they not welcome Him? Perhaps they thought only of their loss of the pigs. Or, perhaps they were more afraid for themselves, for this was no ordinary prophet in their midst, but one who judges and casts out evil. We do not know, as we do not understand why some believe and accept Jesus and some do not. So this Gospel record is one in which though Christ leaves when asked, He is always willing to help those who receive and asks for them to spread “the Good News.”

On July 10th we commemorate Anthony of the Caves, Venerable. Anthony of Kiev (c. 983-1073) was a monk and the founder of the monastic tradition in the Kievan Rus’. Also called Anthony of the Caves he, together with Theodosius of Kiev, co-founded the Kiev Monastery of the Caves. Anthony in his early years was well known for his strict asceticism. He ate rye bread every other day and drank only a little water. With the spread of his fame came those who offered to join him. Eventually, Anthony accepted the company of a few of them. The first was a priest named Nikon. The second was Theodosius. As more monks joined the order, he and Theodosius decided to build a larger stone church to accommodate the ever increasing number of monks. Anthony himself did not live to see the church completed. He died in 1073, shortly after blessing the foundation of the new church, at 90 years old. Shortly before his death he called the monks together and consoled them about his coming death. He also asked them that his remains be hidden away forever. The monks carried out his request. He was reportedly buried in his cave, but no relics have ever been found. Many however have subsequently come to the cave to pray and many of them have reported being healed there.

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