2014-December Sacred Lessons

Eastern Orthodox Christian Sacred Lessons for December 2014
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    S T B ARBARA THE G REAT V IRGIN M ARTYR OF H ELIOPOLIS ,   S YRIA 4   D ECEMBER 2012   1 .... Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa  A  LL G LORY  ,   H ONOUR AND  W  ORSHIP TO THE F  ATHER ,  AND TO THE S ON ,  AND TO THE H OLY S PIRIT ,  NOW AND F OREVER ,  AND UNTO THE  A  GES OF  A  GES .    A  MEN  R EMEMBERING ALSO OUR M OST H OLY  ,   M OST P URE ,   M OST B LESSED AND G LORIOUS L  ADY  ,   M  ARY  ,   T HEOTOKOS  YET E  VER  V  IRGIN ,  TOGETHER WITH ALL THE S  AINTS .    A  ND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE L IFE TO C HRIST OUR G OD .    A  MEN . 4   D ECEMBER 2014 S T B  ARBARA THE G REAT  V  IRGIN M  ARTYR OF H ELIOPOLIS ,   S  YRIA     A  LSO THE F EAST OF S T J ULIANA OF H ELIOPOLIS ,   S  YRIA –   S T J OHN OF D  AMASCUS –   S T J OHN OF P OLYBOTUM ,   P HRYGIA –   S T G ENNADIOS OF N OVGOROD –   S T S ERAPHIM ,   H IEROMONK OF THE P HANAR F ESTAL  A  POLYTIKION O F S T B  ARBARA –   T ONE 4 V  arvaran tin Agian Timisomen; ehthrou gar tas pagidas sinetripse ke os strouthion erristhi ex afton, voithia ke opio tou Stavrou i pansemnos. B arbara the Saintly: let us honour now; for she shattered the snares of the enemy, and like a sparrow she freed herself from them, with the Help and Weapon of the Cross all stately.   A  DVENT K  ONTAKION -   E  VER B LESSED T HEOTOKOS   I   Parthenos simeron, ton Proeonion Logon, en Spileo ethete apotekin aporritos. Horeve, i ikoumeni, akoutisthisa; Doxason meta Angelon ke ton Pimenon, voilithenta apofthine, Pedion Neon, ton Pro Eonon Theon. T oday the Virgin comes to the Cave to give Birth Ineffably to the Word Pre-Eternal. Hearing this, be of good cheer, O Earth and its people: Glorify Him with the Angels and the Shepherds, Whose Will it was to  be made manifest as a young Child – the Pre-Eternal God. M  ATINS G OSPEL  A  CCORDING TO S T M  ATTHEW 25   :   1   -   13  W  E MUST B E P REPARED  A  ND R EADY  A  T  A  LL T IMES F OR O NLY G OD K  NOWS  W  HEN C HRIST  W  ILL R ETURN F OR O UR F INAL J UDGEMENT &    E TERNITY    At that time, our Lord Jesus said: “... the Kingdom of Heaven shall be likened to Ten Virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the Bridegroom. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. And Those who were foolish took their lamps but took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. And while the Bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold! The Bridegroom is coming! Go out to meet Him!’ And all those Virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish Virgins said to the wise: ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise Virgins answered and said: ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell and buy oil for yourselves.’ “And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came, and those who were ready, went in with Him to the Wedding; and the Door was shut. “Afterwards the other Virgins came also, saying: ‘Lord! Lord! Open to us!’ But He answered and said: ‘Truly, I say to  you: I do not know you!’ “Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”    P ROKEIMENON –   P SALM 67   –   T ONE 4 G  od is wonderful in His Saints. B less God in the Congregations! T HE E PISTLE OF S T P  AUL TO THE G  ALATIANS 3   :   23-   4   :   5  S ONSHIP (O UR D IVINE  A  DOPTION )   T HROUGH F  AITH  A  ND H OLY B  APTISM   Brethren: Before Faith came, we were kept under guard by the Law, kept for the Faith that would afterwards be revealed. Therefore the Law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be Justified by Faith. But after Faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through Faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were Baptised into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is neither male nor female; for you are all One in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and Heirs according to the Promise. T HE H OLY G OSPEL  A  CCORDING TO S T M  ARK 5   :   24   –   34 T HE F  AITH OF THE  W  OMAN WHOM NO ONE COULD HEAL   At that time our Lord Jesus went with (Jairus, one of the rulers of the Synagogue,) and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was not better, but rather grew worse. And when she heard about Jesus, she went behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment, for she thought: “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that Power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and asked: “Who touched My clothes?” And His Disciples said to Him: “Thou see the multitude thronging Thee, yet Thou ask: “Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to see her who had done so, but the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, went and fell down before Him and told Him the whole Truth. And He said to her : “Daughter, your Faith has made you well. Go in Peace, and be healed of your affliction.” S T B  ARBARA THE G REAT  V  IRGIN M  ARTYR OF H ELIOPOLIS T HE R IGHT R EVEREND F  ATHER M ICHAEL D.   J ORDAN   St Barbara lived in the city of Heliopolis at the beginning of the third century, and although she had no human teacher to bring her to the Knowledge of God's Existence, her mind, heart and soul were receptive to Divine Grace and she felt His Presence. Secretly, she met with some Christians who told her about Christ and His Teachings. Convinced of the Truth concerning our Saviour, she became a Christian whose Love for God has inspired all who have heard of her. Her pagan father was enraged when he learnt of her conversion and he delivered her to the Roman Prefect, to be mercilessly tortured until she finally Reposed in  2. S T B  ARBARA THE G REAT  V  IRGIN M  ARTYR OF H ELIOPOLIS ,   S  YRIA 4   D ECEMBER 2014 Christ and gained her Crown of Martyrdom on 4 December 306. St Barbara is the Patron Saint of those who seek protection from dangerous storms and lightning, explosions, and sudden death. In the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy we sing the Beatitudes - one of which says: Blessed are you when men shall persecute you for My Name's Sake. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your Reward in Heaven.    Many Saints were raised as pagans before their conversion to Christianity – and so great and complete was their Conversion that they were willing to suffer agonizing deaths rather than renounce Jesus Christ. Today, Conversions to Christianity have become almost commonplace and a casual choice rather than a most serious commitment – heart and soul – to God. Christianity should never be taken for granted, nor considered a simple, mundane choice. St Barbara’s Conversion was not ‘a simple matter’ - nor did she take her Spiritual Responsibilities lightly. She was willing to put her Faith into action by implicitly trusting in our Lord Who said: He who saves his life shall lose it; and he who loses his life for My sake shall find it.     (MATTHEW 10:22).  In those days, suffering meant torture and death! The persecution that St Barbara endured was witnessed by all the people and her Spiritual Commitment was quite clear: maintain our Faith and gain Eternal Life, or deny it and suffer Spiritual Death! Today, suffering for Christianity means small personal sacrifices for our Spiritual Good, like Fasting, and refraining from sinful behaviour. Persecution of Christians still exists throughout the world and it is far worse than the persecution that S. Barbara endured! We are all persecuted by innumerable temptations that surround us and threaten to overwhelm us in so many subtle ways today. We are more often than not totally unaware that we are  being victimized by demons far worse than those with which St Barbara had to contend. The demons we have to fight against are crafty. They use our bodily needs, our desires, our self esteem, our greed and all our weaknesses against us. The seven deadly sins - Pride, Greed, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, and Laziness - separate us from God, just like the pagans tried to separate St Barbara from God by trying to force her to renounce her Faith in Christ Jesus. The same demons attack us in ways that we do not easily recognize, so that when we attain goals, or accomplish something, instead of being thankful to God, we tend to  be puffed up with pride. The opposite Virtue is Humility so when we enjoy success, we should immediately offer Prayers of Thanksgiving to God, and ask Him to protect us from the sin of pride. When we are employed, and have a comfortable life, we are often discontented with what we have – for the demons convince us that we need more. They persuade us that we need ‘financial security’ or bigger, better, more possessions than we really need. However, our Lord Jesus Christ cautioned us: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the Earth, but lay up for yourselves Treasures in Heaven, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.    ( MATTHEW 6:22)  The sin of greed is opposite to the Virtue of Liberality. We must always express our gratitude for the abundance with which God has Blessed us by joyfully giving alms to those less fortunate in proportion to our Blessings. Lust takes many forms, but is usually associated with the desire for things that are impure or unworthy of pursuit. Everyone has impure thoughts from time to time. However,  by dwelling on these wicked thoughts, and becoming obsessed with them, makes them sinful. The opposite Virtue is Chastity, which rejects all impure and unworthy thoughts and actions. Anger is one of the most common of the deadly sins,  because it is one of the strongest human emotions. This deadly sin can lead to destructive behaviour – to murder, bodily harm and even to suicide - as well as to permanent emotional harm, and alienation from God and all His Divine Goodness – and from each other. Demons provoke us to anger, by inflaming our pride and causing us to be enraged by those we are convinced have done us wrong. Nothing puts the demons to flight quicker than immediately forgiving trespassers for their transgressions! The opposite to anger is the Virtue of Mildness. One of God's Divine Characteristics is that He is ‘slow to anger’ and we who have been created in His Image and Likeness should act likewise! Gluttony is a deadly sin that is rampant in society today. We all consume much more food than is required for the nourishment of our body. Gluttony causes us immense Spiritual Harm, and can lead to our physical death. By consuming far too much food, we shorten our lives due to all kinds of health problems. The opposite of gluttony is the Virtue of Temperance, which means consuming food and drink in moderation. If we resist the vice of gluttony, it becomes easier for us to control the other deadly sins. This is why the Holy Church has periods of Fasting – periods of self-denial and self-discipline - to help teach us to root out or at the very least, to control, all our passions. The fatal sin of envy, or jealousy, has caused countless people become alienated and estranged from friends, families and loved ones. When we see others with more material Blessings than us and we resent them for it, that's envy. When we are possessive of our friends or family that is the destructive vice of jealousy, which destroys Love and which causes us to commit the other deadly sins of anger and greed. The opposite of envy is the Virtue of Happiness. We must always be satisfied with whatever we have, knowing with all certainty and Faith that if we truly need something important or significant, God will Bless us with it. We must always Love unconditionally, and accept the unconditional Love of others. Finally the last of the deadly sins is laziness, which is so common among all people. We have all tried to get out of work that we find unpleasant or tedious. Everyone is trying to find ‘an easy way to the top’ when in Truth, ‘the easy way’ may not be the best way! In the experience of life, most often, the journey that requires more effort affords us the most rewards. The opposite to laziness is the Virtue of Diligence – striving ceaselessly to achieve whatever we are required to do for the Glory, Honour and Worship of God and for the good of ourselves and those whom we Love. The reason I chose to cover the seven deadly sins and their opposite – the Virtues - while commemorating St Barbara is because this wonderful Saint embodied the seven capital Virtues in her Life. St Barbara was wealthy beyond belief, yet pride did not prevent her from becoming a model Christian. Although she was materially rich, and lived in a family of prominence, greed did not keep her away from sacrificing it all for Jesus Christ. Although she was secluded in a tower, and constantly taught about the pagan gods and their rituals, her thoughts remained pure and focused on God until her last breath. While many of us would certainly be provoked to anger by the unjustified and horrific torture that St Barbara suffered, she responded with Prayers for Spiritual Strength from God. St Barbara's Life in Christ was a brilliant example of unselfishness, and displayed her personal zeal and absolute commitment for and to our Christian Faith. May St Barbara Intercede for us that we may be Strengthened by the same depth of Faith that helped her through the unspeakable tortures she had to endure. May her Martyrdom inspire us to fight zealously against the surreptitious and sinister battle that we face against the demons in the world today. May St Barbara’s memory be Eternal. May the Blessings of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour – His Divine Peace, Joy and Love - be with you always.    S T S AVVAS THE S ANCTIFIED 5   D ECEMBER 2013 3 Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria & All Africa  A  LL G LORY  ,   H ONOUR AND  W  ORSHIP TO THE F  ATHER ,  AND TO THE S ON ,  AND TO THE H OLY S PIRIT ,  NOW  AND F OREVER ,  AND UNTO THE  A  GES OF  A  GES .    A  MEN  R EMEMBERING ALSO OUR M OST H OLY  ,   M OST P URE ,   M OST B LESSED AND G LORIOUS L  ADY  ,   M  ARY  ,   T HEOTOKOS YET E  VER  V  IRGIN ,  TOGETHER WITH ALL THE S  AINTS .    A  ND LET US COMMIT OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER AND OUR WHOLE L IFE TO C HRIST OUR G OD .    A  MEN . 5   D ECEMBER 2014 S T S  AVA THE S  ANCTIFIED OF C  APPADOCIA     A  LSO THE F EAST OF S T D IOGENOS –   S T G URIAS OF K   AZAN –   S T  A  NASTASIOS THE F ULLER OF S  ALONA  ,   D  ALMATIA –   S T K   ARION (C  YRION )  AND S T Z  ACHARIAH ,  HIS SON ,  OF S KETIS ,   E GYPT –   S T N EKTARIOS OF B ITYLYA &   M OUNT  A  THOS –   S T P HILOTHEOS OF K   ARYES ,   M OUNT  A  THOS –  THE H OLY M ONASTIC M  ARTYRS OF K   ARYES ,   M OUNT  A  THOS –   S T C RISPINA OF T HACORA (T  AGORA  ),    A  FRICA May the Blessings of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour – His DivinePeace, Joy and Love - be with you always. F ESTAL  A  POLYTIKION –   S T S  AVVA THE S  ANCTIFIED  – T ONE (8)   P LAGAL 4 T  es ton dakrion Sou roes, tis erimou to agonon egeorgisas; ke tis ek vathous stenagmis, is ekaton tous ponous ekarpoforisas; ke gagonas Fostir, tis ikoumenis, lambon tis thavmasi, Savva Patir imon Osie. Presveve Hristo to Theo, Sothine tas psihas imon. W ith the rivers of Thy tears, Thou changed the barren desert into fertile land; and with the sighs from Thy depths, Thou made Thy Labours produce a hundredfold; and Thou became a Bright Star, shining on the earth with Thy Miracles. O Savvas our Father Righteous: Intercede with Christ our God, for our souls to be Saved! F ESTAL K  ONTAKION -   S T S  AVVAS THE S  ANCTIFIED  - T ONE (8)   P LAGAL 4 O  s apo vrefous to Theo thisia amomos, prosevehthis di aretis, Savva Makarie, to Se prin gennithine epistameno, ehrimatisas Osion egkallopisma, polistis te tis erimou exietpenos. Dio krazo Si. Heris Pater aidime. O  Blessed Savvas, Thou was offered from Thine infancy through Thy Great Virtue as a Pure and Spotless Sacrifice to God, Who before Thy Birth, verily foreknew Thee; wherefore Thou was an Adornment of the Righteous Saints, an All-praised Founder of cities in the wilderness. Hence, I cry to Thee: Rejoice, O Father of Great Renown! F ESTAL K  ONTAKION OF THE N  ATIVITY O F C HRIST   I   Parthenos simeron, ton Iperousion tikti, ke i gi to spyleon to aprito prosagi. Angeli meta Pimenon doxologousi, Magi de meta asteros odiporousi, di’ imas gar egenniti, Pedion neon, O Pro Aionon Theos. T oday the Virgin gives Birth to Him Who is above all  being, and the earth offers a cave to Him Whom no man can approach. Angels with Shepherds give glory, and Magi journey with a Star. For unto us is Born a young Child: the Pre-Eternal God. P ROKEIMENON   T  he Saints shall rejoice in Glory S  ing unto the Lord a New Song. T HE E PISTLE OF S T P  AUL TO THE G  ALATIANS 5   :   22   –   6   :   2  W   AR  A  GAINST T HE F LESH &   D O G OOD T O E  VERYONE   Brethren: the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren: if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are Spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of Gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ. This Sacred Lesson commemorates all Holy Monks and it reminds us,  AS STRUGGLING DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, WHOM  WE STRIVE TO IMITATE AND FAITHFULLY FOLLOW – OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST WHO IS THE SON OF GOD – BEING GUIDED AND ENABLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT – OUR DIVINE COMFORTER, ADVOCATE AND HELPER WHO GRANTS US HIS DIVINE GIFTS OF VIRTUE  – such as Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.  As developing, maturing and faithful Christians we are reminded that THROUGH OUR HOLY BAPTISM WE HAVE  ABANDONED OUR FORMER SELVES – “THE OLD MAN”   – who  were ruled and dominated by our passions or vices and selfish desires but now, HAVING BEEN REGENERATED IN CHRIST, OUR ONLY DESIRE TO BECOME LIKE HIM THROUGH HUMILITY AND WILLING OBEDIENCE TO GOD IN  ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE. TO WALK IN THE (HOLY) SPIRIT IS TO LIVE EVERY MOMENT “IN THE (HOLY) SPIRIT,” BEING CONSTANTLY AWARE OF OUR HOLY MISSION DURING THIS PREPARATORY PERIOD OF LIFE ON EARTH AND MAKING EVERY EFFORT TO FULFIL GOD’S DIVINE WILL  instead of indulging our own flawed and destructive desires and whims that do not benefit anyone at all.  WITHOUT HUMILITY AND OBEDIENCE – TWO INSEPARABLE  VIRTUES – WE CANNOT EXPECT TO MAKE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST PROGRESS FOR ONLY BY WORKING IN HARMONY  AND UNITY WITH GOD AND WITH ONE ANOTHER, CAN WE  ACHIEVE THEOSIS – SPIRITUAL PERFECTION AND ETERNAL LIFE. BEING ENLIGHTENED BY CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST ONE ANOTHER , especially when anyone of us stumbles or falls along the way. However,  WHEN CORRECTING OUR FALLEN OR STUMBLING BRETHREN, WE MUST ALWAYS DO SO WITH HUMBLE AGAPE OR LOVE  – “... a spirit of Gentleness  ...” and never with a sense of criticism or condemnation because the next time we ourselves may fall even harder than any of our fellow sinners: “ Today my brother, tomorrow me!”    (ST JOHN OF KRONSTADT)   TO BE ABLE TO ADMINISTER CORRECTION WITH “GENTLENESS” IS  A SPIRITUAL GIFT OF GOD.    S T S  AVVAS THE S  ANCTIFIED 5   D ECEMBER 2014   4 St Paul admonishes us to BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS AND TO BEAR OUR OWN BURDENS AS WELL  because we are Called to initiate True Care-giving in our Holy Church and NEVER TO BE NEEDLESS BURDENS TO OTHERS! T HE H OLY G OSPEL  A  CCORDING TO S T M  ATHEW 11   :   27   –   30  W  E R EST  A  SSURED &    C ONFIDENT IN C HRIST   At that time, our Lord Jesus said: “... All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and the one to whom the Son Wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labour and who are heavily laden, and I will grant you rest. Take My Yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I Am Gentle and Lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My Yoke is easy and My Burden is light.” St Theophylact explained to us that GOD HAS HIDDEN HIS DIVINE MYSTERIES FROM THE WISE AND ERUDITE PEOPLE OF THE  WORLD  – not out of any malice towards His creatures but rather because of their unworthiness, for they chose to trust their own fallen, warped and limited  wisdom and judgement instead of God’s Perfect and  Absolute Wisdom and Knowledge. Furthermore, IT IS OUT OF HIS LOVE FOR MANKIND THAT GOD  WITHHOLDS DIVINE REVELATION FROM THOSE WHO WOULD SCORN IT – IN ORDER THAT THEY DO NOT RECEIVE EVEN WORSE ETERNAL CONDEMNATION AT THEIR FINAL JUDGEMENT. THE YOKE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS OUR FREE AND WILLING SUBMISSION TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND EVERYTHING THAT IS REQUIRED OF US AS WORTHY FUTURE CITIZENS.  A Yoke could be seen as a sign of hardship, burdens, and responsibilities, but IN CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR, HIS YOKE IS EASY, BECAUSE DIVINE POWER WORKS IN EACH OF US.   (2 KINGS 12: 1 – 11; JEREMIAH 34: 1-11; WISDOM OF SIRACH 40:1) Furthermore, THE ULTIMATE REWARD IS INFINITELY GREATER THAN ANY EFFORT MANKIND PUTS FORTH. The term “ Gentle  ” is literally translated “ Meek  .” S T S  AVA THE S  ANCTIFIED OF C  APPADOCIA –  BY S T N IKOLAI  V  ELIMIROVICH   The unknown village of Mutalaska, in the Province of Cappadocia, became famous through this Great Luminary of the Orthodox Church. St Savva was born there of his parents, John and Sophia. At the age of eight, he left his parental home to be tonsured a Monk in the nearby Flavian Monastic Community. After ten years, St Savva moved to the Monasteries of Palestine, remaining for the longest period at the Monastery of St Euthymios the Great and St Theoktistos. The clairvoyant, St Euthymios prophesied that St Savva would become a famous Monk and Teacher of Monks, and that he would establish a Lavra greater than all the others of that time. After the Repose of St Euthymios, St Savva withdrew into the desert, where he lived for five years as a Hermit in a cave to which he had been directed by an Angel of God. Having been Perfected in Monastic Life, St Savva began by Divine Providence to gather many who sought Spiritual Life and soon there were so many people that the Holy Father had to build many additional cells and a church where they celebrated the Holy Services in the Armenian language. After his father had Reposed, St Savva’s mother, Sophia, arrived and was tonsure a Nun, receiving a cell which was located at a distance from his Monastery, and where she lived in Holy Asceticism until her Repose in Christ. St Savva endured so many assaults from all sides – from those who were close to him, from heretics and from demons. However, he triumphed over them all – those who were close to him by his Kindness and indulgence, the heretics by means of his unwavering Confession of the Orthodox Faith and the demons by the Sign of the Cross and by calling ceaselessly upon God for Divine Help. St Savva had a particularly Great Struggle against demons on Mount Castellium, where he established his second Monastery. In all, St Savva the Sanctified, established – by the Love and Grace of Almighty God – seven Holy Monasteries. St Savva and St Theodosios the Great – his neighbour – are considered to be the greatest Lights and Pillars of Orthodoxy in the East. They have corrected Emperors and Patriarchs in matters of our Faith, and to everyone – great or humble – they served as Perfect Examples of Saintly Humility and the Miraculous Power of God. After a toilsome and very Fruitful Life in Christ, St Savva entered into his final Repose in 532, at the ripe age of ninety-four. Among his many wondrous and Good Works, was his compilation of the Order of Services used in Monasteries, which is now referred to as “The Jerusalem Typikon.” A man may be great in some skill, as a statesman or a military leader, but no one is greater than one who is great in Faith, Hope and Love. How great St Savva the Sanctified was in Faith and Hope in God is best shown by the following incident: One day the Steward of the Monastery went to St Savva to inform him that the following Saturday and Sunday he would be unable to strike the semantron  to summon the Brethren to the communal Service and meal because there was not a trace of flour in the Monastery, nor was there anything at all to eat or drink. For this same reason, even the Divine Liturgy was not possible. Without any hesitation whatsoever, St Savva replied: “I shall not cancel the Divine Liturgy because of the lack of flour. Faithful is He Who Commanded us not to be concerned about bodily things, and Mighty is He Who feeds us in times of hunger.” And he placed all his Hope and Trust in our Lord God. In this extremity, St Savva was prepared to send some of the Ecclesiastical Vessels or Vestments to be sold in the city so that neither the Divine Services nor the Brothers’ customary meal would be omitted. However, before Saturday, some men, moved by Divine Providence, brought thirty mules lades with wheat, wine and oil to the Monastery. “ What do you say now, Brother  ?” St Savva asked the worried Steward. “ Shall we not strike the semantron and assemble the Fathers  ?” The Steward was ashamed of his own lack of Faith and  begged the Abbot to forgive him. St Savva’s biographer described him as being most “... severe with demons but mild towards men.” Once, when some Monks had rebelled against St Savva, they had been driven from the Monastery by order of Patriarch Elias. They then built for themselves huts by the Thekoa River, were they endure privation in all things. Hearing that they were starving, St Savva loaded mules with flour, which he then took to them himself. Seeing that they had no church, he built one for them. At first the rebellious Monks received St Savva with resentment and even hatred, but afterward they responded to His Love with love and repented of their former misdeeds towards him. “ Venerable Savva, chief of Monks, Spiritual Commander of Christ’s Heroes, was glorified by Fasting, Vigils and Meekness, by Prayer and Faith and Blessed Mercy. “Thou taught the Monks to not be concerned with bread; Thou entrusted Thyself to Heaven, with Labour and Prayer. “Thou sought neither precedence nor rank of any kind. Most rarely did Thou taste of oil or wine. Thou kept all the Services at the appointed time. “‘Let the Service be a Joy and not a heavy burden,’ St Savva told the Monks, and he showed this to all by his example. “Like a Wise Gardener, he enclosed the Garden, and carefully planted many young men. The young men grew and brought forth Fruit: a Regiment of Monks, to the glory of Savva...”
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