Feasts: Strict Fast
Constant communication with God is imperative as believers. I ask that we pray the following prayer.
O Lord, our God, please bless the Youth of our community: Altar Boys, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Youth Dance Groups, Greek School and Sunday School teachers and their Students, and all the young people of our church with a sacred desire to serve with gladness and dedicated hearts. Assign a Guardian Angel to walk before them so that they grow in faith and discernment. Multiply their efforts, sanctify their work and bless all of their endeavors. Grant them well-being and health. Grant them understanding, peace and happiness in this life to help them fulfill Your will. AMEN
Our Righteous Father Alkeisonus, Metropolitan of Nicopolis; Old Epirus
Neophytos & Auxentios the Martyrs of Cyprus
Wenceslaus the Martyr, Prince of the Czechs
Chariton the Confessor
Saint Chariton was born in the city of Iconium during the reign of Aurelian, about the year 274. He was arrested, tortured, and condemned to death because of his Christian Faith, but finally set free by imperial edict. He came to Palestine, where he took up the ascetic life. He also brought many Jews and pagans to the Faith. Having dwelt in the desert of Judea for many years, and established several monasteries throughout the region, he reposed in peace.
Apolytikion of Chariton the Confessor in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Chariton, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.
Kontakion of Chariton the Confessor in the Second Tone
Delighting in abstinence, O godly-minded one, and reining in the desires of thy flesh, thou wast seen to be increasing in faith. And thou didst blossom forth like the tree of life in the midst of Eden, O all-blessed and most sacred Chariton.
Baruch the Prophet
The Prophet Baruch was the son of Nerias, and the disciple of the Prophet Jeremias ( Jer. 39:12; 43:4 LXX). The extant prophetical book that he wrote is divided into five chapters; it was composed in the fifth year of the Babylonian Captivity of the Jews during the years of Sedekias, 583 B.C. The prophetic lection that is read on the eve of the Feast of Christ's Nativity, which bears Jeremias' name, is taken from the prophecy of Baruch (Bar. 3:35-4:4). His name means "blessed."
Apolytikion of Prophet Baruch in the Fourth Tone
Thou didst foretell the Lord's divine Incarnation when thou didst cry out to the whole world, O Prophet: This is our God, there shall be none compared to Him; He was seen upon the earth, being born of a Virgin: He hath shone upon our souls the divine light of knowledge. And He doth grant salvation unto all who sing thy praise, O divinely-inspired Baruch.
Kontakion of Prophet Baruch in the Second Tone
As thou was vouchsafed the shining rays of prophecy, thou also wast bound to Jeremias as his friend, and foretoldest of the Word's self-abasement for our refashioning, O all-lauded Prophet Baruch. Entreat Him to save us all, who honour thee.
St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 4:6-15
The saints shall rejoice in glory.
Verse: Sing to the Lord a new song.
Brethren, it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, "I believed, and so I spoke," we too believed, and so we speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
Chariton the Confessor
The Gospel according to Luke 6:17-23
At that time, Jesus stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven."
Sixth Hour Prayers
O You Who on the sixth day and hour
Nailed to the cross the sin which rebellious Adam committed in Paradise,
Tear asunder also the bond of our iniquities,
O Christ our God, and save us.
Prayer of St. Basil
God, Lord of hosts and Maker of all creation, who in Your great compassion and mercy sent down Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for the redemption of mankind and by His precious Cross destroyed the record of our sins, triumphing over the source and power of darkness: O Lord and Lover of mankind, accept also the thanksgiving and fervent prayers of us sinners. Deliver us from every dark and harmful transgression and from all the visible and invisible enemies that seek to destroy us. Nail our flesh to the fear of You, and do not incline our hearts to deceitful words or thoughts, but wound our souls with love for You, that always looking to You, guided by Your light, and seeing You, the eternal and ineffable Light, we may give You unceasing praise and thanksgiving: to the Father without beginning, with Your Only-Begotten Son and Your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Fr Gary's New Year's Challenge:
Educate yourself in the Word of God. A weekday, Monday - Friday, reading guide has been prepared for the year. By sticking to this plan you will read the entire New Testament (The Gospel of Matthew through Revelation) by the end of the 2016. Milestones are easily set and marked so that you do not fall behind. Reading and knowing God’s Word is essential to Christian growth.
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop,[a] he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,[b] but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
4 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God[c] was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.