Sunday, December 17, 2017 UTC

MAR 4 & 5: 1ST SUNDAY OF THE GREAT FAST – SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY & COMMEMORATION OF THE MIRACLE OF THE GREAT-MARTYR THEODORE

sunday_of_orthodoxy01 MAR 4 – CONFESSIONS: 2:00-2:45 PM, GREAT VESPERS: 3:00 PM; MAR 5 – MATINS: 7:00 AM, DIVINE LITURGY & AGAPE REPAST: 10:00 AM, SPANISH LITURGY: 1:00 PM.

Today’s Gospel is John 1: 43-51 in which Jesus Calls Philip and Nathaniel.  The Gospel today teaches us a simple way to our Christian life. We look at the calling of Nathaniel and the simple way he was told to approach his doubts; this applies to every doubt and difficulty in our life. We must heed the words of Philip, “Come and see!” For with the fullness of God in our hearts the Lord seeks out each of us, telling us to follow Him. This is a process that must be cultivated, and if we do, the “greater things” that Jesus promised to Nathaniel will be ours as well. On Saturday we remember the miracle of St Theodore and the boiled wheat.

The first Sunday of the Great Fast is called the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” or the “Sunday of the Triumph of the Holy Images,” wherein the Byzantine East commemorates “the restoration of icons, which had been banned for several decades, to their rightful liturgical use.” The English word “Orthodoxy” finds its root in the Greek word “ortodoxia” (or “thos” which means right and “doksa” which means praising) which signifies the true faith and the true worship of God. The “Orthodoxy” we celebrate on the first Sunday of the Great Fast is the universal-catholic orthodoxy, professed by the entire Church of Christ of the first eleven centuries in the battle against the heresy of Iconoclasm. (“breakers of icons”). The Council of Constantinople in the year 842 designated the first Sunday of Great Lent as the Triumph of Orthodoxy and decreed that it be celebrated yearly.

On March 4th  we commemorate the Miracle of the Great Martyr Theodore. Fifty years after the death of St Theodore, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), wanting to commit an outrage upon the Christians during the first week of Great Lent. He commanded the city-commander of Constantinople to sprinkle all the food provisions in the marketplaces with the blood offered to idols. St Theodore appeared in a dream to Archbishop Eudoxius, ordering him to inform all the Christians that no one should buy anything at the marketplaces, but rather to eat cooked wheat with honey (kolyva).

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