The Ancient Christian Church in the modern world
We are part of the worldwide Orthodox Church – the oldest Christian Church in the world. This is not a theological statement, it is an historical one. In every part of the world there are Orthodox churches, missions, and monasteries. They are found in traditionally Orthodox countries such as Russia, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, and the Middle East. Orthodoxy is found in India, Japan, China, the Philippines, Germany, France, Poland, Finland, across the British Isles, and Scandinavia.
Orthodox churches are found throughout the African continent, including Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, and across Central and South America. In fact, the only religious structure of any kind on the entire continent of Antarctica is an Orthodox church. The oldest form of Christianity is alive and well, and found throughout the whole of the world.
With love in Christ,
Wednesday January 2, 2019 / December 20, 2018
32nd Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). Food with Oil
Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ.
Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer, bishop of Antioch (107).
Repose of Righteous John of Kronstadt (1908).
Venerable Ignatius, archimandrite of the Kiev Caves (1435).
St. Anthony, archbishop of Voronezh (1846).
St. Philogonius, bishop of Antioch (323).
St. Daniel II, archbishop of Serbia (1338).
“Novodvorskaya” and “Lenkovskaya” (Novgorod-Severny) named “Rescuer of the Drowning” Icons of the Mother of God.
New Martyr John of the isle of Thasos (1652) (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
Do Good to Please God
6 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
The Model Prayer
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Heavenly Versus Demonic Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing arethere. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Pride Promotes Strife
4 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
11 So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.