Friday, September 28, 2018

Epistle, Gospel and Sermon – Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece


Epistle, Gospel and Sermon

Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece

God speaks to us through the Sacred readings. The reading from Holy scripture tell us about Jesus’s life and how to follow His teachings. Gospel means “good news.” Both the Gospel and the Epistle readings are meant to inspire us with the good news about God’s love for all of us.

First the Epistle is read. The Epistle is a letter that was written by Saint Paul and other apostles and deemed by the Church to be Holy Scripture. At the beginning we are called to be attentive, to listen closely as we are about to hear God’s wisdom. Then there is the “prokeimenon.” This is a short verse from the Psalms that reveal God’s wonders to us. The reading symbolizes the revelation of the divine mysteries by the Prophets and anticipation of the Kingdom of God on earth. Originally it was a whole psalm chanted in antiphons.

Why is that the Epistle comes before the Gospel? We have an answer given by Saint Nicholas Cabasilas:

“What is said by the Lord Him self is the most perfect revelation, compared to that which is said by the Apostles. And since we mentioned that way is performed in the Divine Liturgy is revealed gradually, there is an upward, gradual journey that is why as we are moving from lower to higher, we first read the Epistle readings and then the Gospel readings” (Saint Nicholas Cabasilas, P.G. 150, 416C).

At the end of the Epistle reading we sing, Alleluia, which is an exclamation of joy which is sung majestically, slowly and melodically. Its actual meaning is “Glorify the Lord God!” It is the hymn of the Angels. It arouses our souls so our heart can turn towards heaven.

Before the reading of the Holy Gospel the priest will cense the Holy book read the following prayer.

“Shine in our hearts, O Master, Who lovest mankind, the pure light of Thy Divine Knowledge, and open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Thy Gospel teachings; implant in us also the fear of Thy blessed commandments, that trampling down all desires of the flesh, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing the things which are well-pleasing unto Thee; for

The Priest is standing before the Holy Gate and exclaims: “Let us attend…” – Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece


The Priest is standing

before the Holy Gate and exclaims: “Let us attend…”

Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece

The Priest is standing before the Holy Gate and exclaims: “Let us attend…”, many times in fact. However, this entreaty is the voice of the Church but most people do not pay attention to it… “Let us attend…”, “let us attend…”, and no one attends.

Many say: “We will hear the same things again… again and again”.

Others again say: “We do not understand anything they say…”.

How dare you say that whatever it is they read it is always the same, for you know neither the names of the Prophets, nor the names of the Apostles, nor the names of the Evangelists?

And again, how do you dare say that you do not understand the sacred texts of the Readings during the Diving Liturgy, when you do not study them at home at all? . . .

In order for us not to be “judged”, let us attend! Let us attend! Let us be attentive!

From the book:

Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Experiences During the Divine Liturgy

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Reasons to study the Holy Bible from Saint Justin Popovich of Serbia (+1979)


Reasons to study the Holy Bible 

from Saint Justin Popovich of Serbia (+1979)

The biography of every man – everyone without exception – is found in the Bible. In it each of us can find himself portrayed and thoroughly described in detail; all those virtues and vices which you have and can have and cannot have.

You will find the paths on which your own soul and everyone else’s journey from sin to sinlessness, and the entire path from man to God and from man to Satan. You will find the means to free yourself from sin. In short, you will find the complete history of sin and sinfulness, and the complete history of righteousness and the righteous.

If you are mournful, you will find consolation in the Bible; if you are sad, you will find joy; if you are angry – tranquility; if you are lustful – continence; if you are foolish – wisdom; if you are bad – goodness; if you are a criminal – mercy and righteousness; if you hate your fellow man – love.

You will find a remedy for all your vices and weak points, and nourishment for all your virtues and accomplishments. If you are good, the Bible will teach you how to become better and best; if you are kind, it will teach you angelic tenderness; if you are intelligent, it will teach you wisdom.

If you appreciate the beauty and music of literary style, there is nothing more beautiful or more moving than what is contained in Job, Isaiah, Solomon, David, John the Theologian and the Apostle Paul. Here music – the angelic music of the eternal truth of God – is clothed in human words.

The more one reads and studies the Bible, the more he finds reasons to study it as often and as frequently as he can. According to St. John Chrysostom, it is like an aromatic root, which produces more and more aroma the more it is rubbed.