Photo by Samer Shagoury
Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered; and let those who hate Him flee from His face. As smoke vanishes, let them vanish; and as wax melts from the presence of fire, so let the demons perish from the presence of those who love God and who sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross and say with gladness: Hail, most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, for Thou drivest away the demons by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ Who was crucified on thee, went down to hell and trampled on the power of the devil, and gave us thee, His honorable Cross, for driving away all enemies. O most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, help me with our holy Lady, the Virgin Theotokos, and with all the Saints throughout the ages.
We are at the Sunday of Orthodoxy. This is so much bigger to me this year.
Confession of faith of the Day of Orthodoxy
As the prophets beheld, as the Apostles have taught,… as the Church has received… as the teachers have dogmatized,… as the Universe has agreed,… as Grace has shown forth,… as Truth has revealed,… as falsehood has been dissolved,… as Wisdom has presented,… as Christ Awarded,… thus we declare,… thus we assert,… thus we preach Christ our true God, and honor as Saints in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in Holy Icons; on the one hand worshipping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord; and on the other hand honoring as true servants of the same Lord of all and accordingly offering them veneration.
This is the Faith of the Apostles, this is the Faith of the Fathers, this is the Faith of the Orthodox, this is the Faith which has established the Universe.
Amen, amen, amen.
This Martyr, who was from Antioch in Syria, contested during the reign of Gallienus, about the year 260. Through the working of the evil one, his friendship with a certain Christian priest named Sapricius was turned to bitter hatred. Nikiphoros, repenting of his enmity, tried both through intermediaries and in person to be reconciled with Sapricius, but to no avail. Later, when the persecution broke out under Valerian and Gallienus, Sapricius was seized as a Christian. When Saint Nikiphoros learned that Sapricius had been arrested by the pagans and was enduring torments for Christ, he sent intermediaries to Sapricius, begging his forgiveness; but Sapricius would not forgive him. Later, as Sapricius was being taken to beheading, Nikiphoros, hoping that Sapricius, at his end, in such a holy hour, would at last forgive him, met him on the way, fell before him, and fervently asked his forgiveness; but Sapricius forgave him not. Wherefore, though Sapricius had passed through many sufferings, and the crown of martyrdom was now awaiting him, because he disdained the chief commandments of love and forgiveness, the grace of God, which had been strengthening him in his torments, departed from him, and he told his executioners he would sacrifice. Nikiphoros immediately confessed Christ before them, and being himself beheaded, took the crown that Sapricius had cast away.GOARCH Website
Forgiveness… granting it is liberation, withholding it–bondage. Asking for forgiveness is not weakness, but strength. There is such a paradox in the Christian life, but not just for the Christian, for all of humanity. Through the emptying of self, we can be the most filled and fulfilled.(more…)
The first forty days after a new baby is born are sacred days. At times they seem long, but in retrospect, the entire first year of a new baby’s life just seem to fly right by. The first forty days are no exception. In fact, they are so much like a wedding. There is so much anticipation for the wedding itself but once it arrives it seems to be over just as quick as it all started, and the bride and groom are considered lucky if they get a chance to eat some food. The first six weeks of motherhood are so similar.(more…)