Ecumenical Patriarchate Communiqué on the Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe

The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in its session of November 27, 2018, decided to revoke the patriarchal tomos of 1999 by which he granted the pastoral care and administration of Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe to his archbishop-exarch. This decision responds to the pastoral and spiritual needs of our time, with the greatest respect for canon law and our spiritual responsibility. Indeed, the historical circumstances that led to its creation of such a structure in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of October 1917, just a hundred years ago, have changed profoundly. We thank God for the tireless courage your communities have shown over time in preserving the rich spiritual tradition that came from Russia in the aftermath of the bloody persecution of the new atheist regime. We are especially pleased that the Mother Church of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has taken the responsibility to offer its canonical protection to these communities and thus allow them to enjoy, in the respect of the ecclesial order, a freedom synonymous with life in the Holy Spirit.

Mother Church of the Patriarchate of Constantinople

The purpose of today’s decision is to further strengthen the bond of the Russian tradition parishes with the Mother Church of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Each of these communities holds a spiritual heritage that has been established in the wake of a dramatic story of persecution and exile and prophetically participated in the theological revival of Orthodoxy in the 20th century. It is indeed through personalities, theologians, philosophers, artists, prominent, from Russian immigration that the orthodox faith has radiated in Western Europe and beyond.

Here we wish to reassure the pious faithful of the parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe and their communities. It is through pastoral solicitude that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has decided the integration and the attachment of the parishes to the various holy cities of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the countries where they are located (part underlined by the editorial staff). Our Mother Church will continue to ensure and guarantee the preservation of their liturgical and spiritual tradition. The bond of filiation will be all the more close with the siege of Constantinople that the latter is desirous of continuing to show his pastoral leniency and his apostolic solicitude for the people of God for whom he is responsible. We pray fervently to the Lord, whose preparation we are preparing at this time for the divine nativity, that you will remain faithful to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as the Mother Church of Constantinople is devoted to you.

Orthodox faith in Western Europe

We sincerely hope that you continue to be witnesses to the Orthodox faith in Western Europe through the practice of virtue and the fulfillment of the principles of the Gospel. We also thank His Excellency, Archbishop Jean de Charioupolis for having led his communities with love and loyalty to this new stage of their history, trusting in the grace of God who calls us to “be renewed by the spiritual transformation of the understanding and to put on the new man, created according to God in justice and holiness which come from the truth. “(Eph 4, 23-24) May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you, by the prayers of the Most Holy Mother of God and of all the saints. Phanar, November 27, 2018 Source Previous notes on this topic: The Ecumenical Patriarchate has just dissolved the Archbishop-Exarchate of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe ; Communiqué from the Office of the Diocesan Administration of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe .

 

 

Review of Guillaume Cuchet’s book: “How our world ceased to be Christian. Anatomy of a collapse”

Catholicism in France

For half a century, many authors have noted the spectacular decadence of Catholicism in France and more widely in Europe, and have worried about it: Louis Bouyer in The Decomposition of Catholicism (1968), Serge Bonnet in À hue et à dia. The Avatars of Clericalism in the Fifth Republic (1973), Michel de Certeau and Jean-Marie Domenach in Christianity Exploded (1974), Paul Vigneron in A History of the Crises of the Contemporary French Clergy (1976), Jean Delumeau in Will Christianity die? (1977), Emile Poulat in The Post-Christian Era (1994), Bishop Simon in Towards a Pagan France? (1999), Denis Pelletier in The Catholic Crisis (2002), Danièle Hervieu-Léger, Catholicism: The End of a World (2003), Yves-Marie Hilaire in Will the Churches Disappear? (2004), Denis Pelletier, in The Catholic Crisis: Religion, Society, Politics in France (1965–1978) (2005), Emmanuel Todd and Hervé Le Bras in The French Mystery (2013), and Yvon Tranvouez in The Decomposition of Western Christianity (2013).

When Our World Became Christian

In this book — the title of which plays on that of Paul Veyne’s book When Our World Became Christian, yet announces the inversion of the process whose beginnings the latter analysed — Guillaume Cuchet, professor of contemporary history at the University of Paris-Est Créteil who specialises in the history of Catholicism, proposes to define the moment when this decadence began and to determine the reasons for it. One of the main scientific tools he uses is statistical analysis, and one of the objective criteria he considers is the rate of regular Sunday church attendance among the French population, which has declined from 27% in 1952 to 1.8% in 2017. This criterion can be challenged because, according to a recent article in the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, one can be a “practicing” Catholic with other commitments. True, in the absence of such a Sunday practice, a Christian culture can last for a while; but the loss of contact with liturgical life can only lead to its gradual weakening and eventual disappearance.

The first third of the book defines adherence to Catholicism as it appears from a mass of statistical data compiled by the clergy between 1945 and 1965, and in particular statistics carefully and regularly established over a wider period (1880–1965) by Canon Boulard, a sociologist and author of the four-volume work Materials for the Religious History of the French People, 19th–20th Centuries.

According to Cuchet, it is in the 1960s — more precisely in 1965 — that the rupture inaugurating the process of Catholic decadence in France can be dated. This break coincides with the Second Vatican Council, which is paradoxical, since this council was designed, by those who organised it, as an aggiornamento to vivify a Catholicism confronted with the modern world. Yet as the author, after examining various hypotheses, points out, “we do not see what other event could have generated such a reaction. By its mere existence, to the extent that it suddenly made possible the reform of the old norms, the council was enough to shake them, especially since the liturgical reform which concerned the most visible part of religion for most people began to be implemented as early as 1964.”

In the second half of his book, the author precisely analyses the causes, related to the council, of the rupture and process of decadence which continues today throughout the world.

The council caused the faithful to lose their bearings. The conciliar text published in 1965 on religious freedom, Dignitatis humanae, appeared “as a kind of unofficial authorisation to rely on one’s own judgment with regard to beliefs, behaviour, and practice, which contrasted strongly with the former system.” This occasioned Father Louis Bouyer’s sad remark: “Nobody believes anymore; everyone does only what they want.”

In the area of piety, notes Cruchet, aspects of the liturgical reform which might appear secondary, but which were not at all on the psychological and anthropological level, played an important role. This included the abandonment of Latin, the reception of Communion in the hand, and the relativisation of old ties. To this can be added the criticisms of solemn communion which increased starting in 1960 and especially in 1965, as well as the new pastoral practices around baptism (from 1966) and marriage (from 1969–1970), which tended to increase the level of access to the sacraments by requiring more preparation and personal investment on the part of those wishing to receive them.

In the area of beliefs, the very fact of there being a change in discourse was what mattered. Variation in official teachings made skeptics out of the humble faithful, who concluded that if the institution had been “mistaken” yesterday in declaring as immutable what had ceased to be, one could not be assured that the same would not occur in the future. A whole series of old “truths” suddenly fell into oblivion, as if the clergy themselves had ceased to believe in them or did not know what to say about them after having spoken of them for so long as something essential.

Another area in which this situation was able to destabilise the faithful, notes the author, is “that of the image of the Church, its hierarchical structure and the priesthood. The ‘Catholic crisis’ of the years 1965–1978 was at first a crisis of the clergy and Catholic militants. The abandonment of the cassock (from 1962) and the religious habit, the politicisation (towards the left) of the clergy, the departure of priests, religious and nuns, appeared to many as a real ‘betrayal of the clergy’ without equivalent since the French Revolution, which had had the same destabilising effects.”

Furthermore, “the council paved the way for what might be called ‘a collective exit from the obligatory practice on pain of mortal sin,’ which occupied a central place in ancient Catholicism. […] This ancient culture of obligatory practice was mainly expressed in the area of the ​​‘commandments of the Church,’ which children learned by heart at catechism and the guarding of which had to be verified during the examination of conscience when preparing for confession. This also included the duty of keeping Sundays and feast days holy, of confessing sins, and of receiving Holy Communion at least once a year; [and] of fasting on Fridays, on the eves of great feasts, and during the so-called “Four Seasons” of Lenten periods. All these requirements were relaxed to the point of disappearing with the exception of Communion, which became systematic and was received without any preparation, since confession and fasting had practically disappeared. The easing of the Eucharistic fast, however, had been accomplished in several preliminary stages: in 1953, Pius XII, while maintaining the obligation of fasting from midnight on before communion, decided that the intake of water would no longer break it; in 1957, the motu proprio entitled Sacram communionem reduced fasting to three hours for solid food and one hour for liquids; in 1964, Paul VI decreed that one hour sufficed in both cases, which meant in practice the disappearance of the Eucharistic fast, since one hour is the time of travel to church and the duration of the Mass before communion.

During this conciliar and post-conciliar period, “it is striking,” notes the author, “to see to what extent the clergy voluntarily removed the old system of norms which they had so much difficulty putting in place,” inevitably creating in the people the feeling that one had “changed their religion,” and provoking amongst some of them an impression of generalised relativism.

The author dedicates two whole chapters to the causes of decadence which seem to him fundamental: the crisis of the sacrament of penance and the crisis of the preaching on the Last Things.

1) According to Cuchet, “The crisis of confession is one of the most revealing and striking aspects of the ‘Catholic crisis’ of the years 1965–1978.” “The decline of confession is in itself a major sociological and spiritual fact that historians and sociologists probably have not taken full measure of: nothing less, in fact, than the overwhelming transformation by massive abandonment, in the space of only a few years, of a practice which over a long period of time had profoundly shaped Catholic attitudes. In 1952, 51% of Catholic adults admitted going to confess at least once a year (at Easter, it had been obligatory since the promulgation of Canon 21 of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215); in 1974, this had decreased to only 29%, and in 1983, to 14%. According to the author, the breaking point is around 1965–1966, when confession ceased to be presented as the “sacrament of penance,” and began to be presented as the “sacrament of reconciliation.” This went hand in hand with the following:

– the end of the aforementioned “obligatory practice” and a decriminalisation of the abstention from religious practice, previously considered as a sin inasmuch as this was a breaking with the commandments of the Church, which were presented as duties one was compelled to fulfil;

– a loss of the sense of sin in the conscience of many faithful, but also among the clergy who now feared to evoke this notion, as well as that of the Last Things. The author notes in this regard: “The clergy have quite abruptly stopped speaking on all these delicate subjects, as if they had stopped believing in them themselves, while at the same time a vision of a Rousseau kind of God carried the day: the “Love God” (and no longer merely “God of love”) of the years 1960–1970.” As one old Breton peasant summarised in the early 1970s in an interview with the sociologist Fañch Élégoët, “The priests have paved the road to heaven.” Once narrow and steep, it was now a highway used by almost everyone. With such a road at hand, if there were no longer any sin or hell, or at least some serious sin that could deprive you of heaven, the usefulness of confession, in its traditional definition, was actually less obvious”;

– a disconnect between confession and communion. “In the old system, we confessed more than we communed, and confession was first perceived as a sort of purification ritual conditioning access to the Eucharist.” The development of frequent communion, accompanied by the loss of a sense of sin, as well as the idea among some clergy — influenced by psychoanalysis — that it was necessary to liberate the faithful from feeling guilty and to “free them from the confessional” had as a consequence that the faithful were now invited to communion without needing to confess. Communion then became trivialised, while the very possibility of confession practically did not exist any more, the regular individual confessions being replaced, starting in 1974, by “penitential ceremonies” celebrated once a year before Easter. At these gatherings, the faithful did not confess anything (the author calls these ceremonies “forms of penance without confession”) but received a collective absolution after listening to a vague speech in which the notion of sin was most often bypassed. And when the possibility of confessing remained in some parishes or was later restored, “the faithful did not know very well how to confess, or even if it was still useful to do so.”

2) The last chapter is devoted to a cause of decadence which seems equally fundamental to the author: the crisis of the preaching on the “Last Things.” In the chapter’s title, the author wonders whether that might not mean in the background “the end of salvation,” and he notes that in ancient catechisms and theological treatises, an important place was given to death, judgment, and the two final destinations of the hereafter, hell and paradise. Worried as early as December 1966 at seeing them disappear from teaching and preaching, the bishops of France noted: “Original sin […], as well as the Last Things and Judgment, are points of Catholic doctrine directly related to salvation in Jesus Christ and whose presentation to the faithful actually makes it difficult for many priests to teach them. We do not know how to talk about them.” Shortly before this, Cardinal Ottaviani, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had noted that original sin had almost completely disappeared from contemporary preaching. Cuchet remarks that it was not only a pastoral and pedagogical problem of presenting dogma, but also that “in reality, it was indeed a problem of faith and doctrine, and a discomfort shared between the clergy and the faithful. Everything happened as if, quite suddenly, at the end of a whole work of underground preparation, whole parts of the ancient doctrine considered hitherto as being essential, such as judgment, hell, purgatory, the devil, had become unbelievable for the faithful and unthinkable for theologians.” The author situates this crisis (although it had had some warning signs for some time) in the 1960s, along with the crisis of confession, noting that the former is closely related to the latter: “The collapse of the practice of confession follows an identical chronology, in particular the virtual disappearance in a few years, or even a few months, of the group that once was so common among those who confessed frequently. The relationship is directly, if not exclusively, linked with the erasure of the notion of mortal sin (in the sense of sin making one liable to damnation). But it also had implications on other sacraments related to the Last Things. In the new ritual of baptism, the exorcisms were considerably reduced (because it did not seem desirable to insist on the role of Satan, in whose existence some clergy no longer believed and who seemed to belong to a mythology from which the faithful, judged to be naive, were to be freed); there was also a clear mocking of original sin, from which [baptism] was supposed to deliver so as to secure eternal life.”

As far as baptism is concerned, another reform was to cause the disaffection of many of the faithful: beginning in December 1965, “a new pastoral ministry of baptism, whose primary concern until now was to have children baptised as soon as possible, on the contrary, [strove] on the contrary to put off the date so as to involve the parents more in the preparation.” It should be added that a certain number of priests went so far as to discourage the baptism of children on the pretext that it must be a free, voluntary, and fully conscious act, and advocated postponing the discussion of baptism until they had reached adolescence.

Approaching his conclusion, the author emphasises again the catastrophic effects of the crisis of the 1960s on the dogmatic conscience of the faithful, which in a way had become Protestantised: “The consecration of the freedom of conscience by the council has often been interpreted in the Church, unexpectedly at first, as a new freedom of the Catholic conscience, implicitly allowing it to distinguish between dogmas and practices of obligation. The very notion of dogma (as obligatory belief in conscience) then became problematic. This major decision of the council, coupled with the notion of a “hierarchy” of truths, seems to have operated in the minds of many as a kind of official decriminalisation of the “DIY believer” which contrasted greatly with the previous system, where the truths of the faith were to be taken as a whole and not by pick-and-choose. It was to be expected that the most disagreeable of these [tenets], or those most counter-intuitive to common sense, would pay the price, and this did not fail to occur.”

Whatever the external factors might have been that could have played a role in the collapse of Catholicism (modern attitudes, social pressure, etc.), the internal factors are what appear to be decisive according to the author of this book.

Catholicism itself bears a heavy responsibility in the dechristianisation of France (and more broadly of Europe, because an analysis made for other countries would lead to identical conclusions). The aggiornamento realised by the Second Vatican Council, and which had proposed to face the challenges of the modern world, did nothing but adapt itself to the latter; thinking to bring the world to its side, it ended up giving in to the world, and despite wanting to be heard in the secular sphere, Catholicism has instead become secularised. Fearing to assert its identity, it became relativised to the point that a large number of faithful no longer found in it the signposts to which they had been accustomed or that they expected, and no longer saw the point of seeking in Catholicism what the world already offered them in a less roundabout way.

The Catholic authorities seek to minimise the collapse described in this book by various arguments (a large number of French remain Catholic and have their children baptised; religious practice is measured by commitments other than Mass attendance; quality has replaced quantity, etc.). Yet they struggle to convince. John Paul II is often presented as having engineered a recovery from the excesses that followed Vatican II, but it must be noted that Sunday religious observance in France declined from 14% at the time of his election to 5% at the time of his death in 2005. If it is true that living communities existing in cities can provide a false example (as was also the case with the few churches open during the Communist period in the Eastern Bloc, crowded on account of others being closed), as well as the spectacular gathering of young people during the World Youth Days, the French countryside nevertheless shows the reality of a dramatic desertification: the multiplication of disused churches (that is to say, churches no longer acting as place of worship); priests having the care of twenty or even thirty parishes and celebrating every Sunday a “regional” Mass for a small group of faithful, mostly elderly and sometimes coming from several dozen kilometres away; the disappearance of burials celebrated by priests due to the lack of available celebrants; the lack of contact between priests and faithful because of their mutual distance and the unavailability of the former, who are more occupied with clerical meetings than with pastoral visits …

The sad evolution of the post-conciliar Catholic Church, as described in Cuchet’s book, should serve as a warning to the Orthodox bishops and theologians who have dreamt and still dream of calling for a “Great Orthodox Council” similar to that by which the Catholic Church wanted to accomplish its aggiornamento, but whose main effect was to provoke its internal disintegration and the dramatic haemorrhage of a large number of its faithful.

Marriage from an Orthodox perspective – Part 2

In May 2018, the program Orthodoxie on France-Culture Radio was on the theme of Marriage from an Orthodox Perspective.

After the voice of John Meyendorff, let’s listen to an excerpt from his book Marriage: An Orthodox Perspective.

An Orthodox Perspective

“It is beyond the author’s competence and the size of the present essay to discuss all the issues involving marriage and sexuality raised by the developments mentioned above. Our only topic is marriage as sacrament, i.e., an aspect which enters neither the field of psychology nor that of physiology nor that of sociology. It is the author’s belief, however, that the Orthodox understanding of the sacrament of marriage suggests the only possible Christian attitude towards most of the issues raised today. This understanding is clearly different from those which traditionally prevailed in Western Christianity; and, thus, it may give different openings to practical solutions.

The very notion of marriage as a sacrament presupposes that man is not only a being with physiological, psychological, and social functions, but that he is a citizen of God’s Kingdom, i.e., that his entire life -and especially its most decisive moments-involves eternal values and God Himself. For Orthodox Christians, this essential involvement is best realized in the Eucharist. The Eucharist, or “Divine Liturgy,” is the moment and the place when and where a Christian should realize what he truly is. In the Eucharist, the Kingdom of God -whose citizen he is by baptism- becomes available directly to his spiritual senses. The Divine Liturgy actually starts with the exclamation: “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In the Liturgy, the Church, being concretely a gathering of people, ceases to be a human organization and becomes truly the “Church of God.”

Then Christ Himself leads the assembly, and the assembly is transformed into His Body. Then all partitions between concrete historical happenings and eternity are broken. The true meaning of marriage as a sacrament becomes understandable in the framework of the Eucharistic Divine Liturgy. In our contemporary practice the connection of marriage with the Eucharist is not obvious. Marriage appears to us primarily as a personal or a family affair. It may be blessed in Church and thus acquire a comforting flavor of both legitimacy and sacredness; but its relation to the Liturgy of the Church remains unclear for most of us. The actual church ceremony has no obvious relation to the Eucharist, and only a circle of invited relatives and friends take part in it. However, as we will try to show in this essay, it is impossible to understand either the New Testament doctrine on marriage, or the very consistent practice of the Orthodox Church, without seeing Christian marriage in the context of the Eucharist. The Eucharist, and the discipline which our communion in the Eucharist presupposes, is the key which explains the Christian attitude toward “church marriage” as well as toward those marriages which were or still are concluded outside the Church.

Many practical difficulties which we face come from a misunderstanding of this basic connection of marriage with the Eucharist. The misunderstanding must be corrected if we want to face our responsibilities in our modern, secular society, and if we desire an articulate Orthodox Christian answer to the challenges of the day. Actually, the “eucharistic” understanding of marriage clearly illustrates what is the essential Christian claim for man -an image of God, destined to participation in divine life itself. Psychologists and sociologists, on the basis of their respective limited fields of inquiry, may reach a foretaste of this truth, but certainly not affirm it in its entirety. The Christian experience of “God becoming man, so that man may become God” (St. Athanasius of Alexandria), is alone able to make the claim in all its daring significance. Of this, Christian marriage is also an expression.”

 

Marriage from an Orthodox perspective – Part 1

In May 2018, the program Orthodoxie on France-Culture Radio was on the theme of Marriage from an Orthodox Perspective.

“Marriage: An Orthodox Perspective”

This is the first of two programs entitled “Marriage: An Orthodox Perspective”, a book by Father John Meyendorff written in English and published in 1975 by Saint Vladimir Press. I was translated into French, published by YMCA Press in 1986 is reissued in 2017 by Apostalia. It is a study on the theological meaning of Christian marriage, accompanied by a series of patristic, canonical, and liturgical texts.

Before talking about the content of this book, let’s present in a few words the life and work of Father John Meyendorff, one of the greatest Orthodox theologians of the twentieth century.

John Meyendorff was born in France in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1926, from parents of Germanic origin who belonged to the Russian nobility. He studied in Paris, literature at the Sorbonne and theology at the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute, where he was taught by most of the great representatives of Russian theological thought of the time. He was ordained a priest in 1959, then with a great erudition and a true theological research, Meyendorff presented his doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne on the work and theology of Saint Gregory Palamas, thus contributing significantly to the renewal of the studies on this great Byzantine theologian of the 14th century. Meyendorff taught at the St. Sergius Institute before leaving for the United States, invited by Father Alexander Schmemann. He taught at the Saint Vladimir Institute in New York, where he was also the dean. He left a considerable work in the fields of dogmatic theology, the history of the Church. He was also a very committed precursor in the dialogue with Western Christians, and a true witness of Christ as a pastor and a celebrant. Father John died in 1992 in Montreal at the age of 66. Many of his books were written or translated into French from the English. As examples, we mention here his major syntheses on Orthodox dogmatics, Christ in Eastern Christian Thought and Introduction to Byzantine Theology, as well as his study on Gregory Palamas entitled Saint Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality.

This program is devoted to Father John Meyendorff’s book on marriage in the Orthodox perspective. I will read a few excerpts of it, followed by comments on marriage made by Father John himself. Indeed, thanks to the valuable archives of our program found recently, we were able to hear Father John Meyendorff’s voice, when he gave an interview to my predecessor at this microphone Father Stéphane, currently the Metropolitan of Estonia, and the producer of Orthodoxy for several years.

The main idea of ​​this book on marriage recurs constantly in the words of Father John. It is the connection between marriage and the Eucharist, which gives it a sacramental dimension that goes beyond the limits of earthly life and its needs. Thus marriage is set in the perspective of eternal life in God.

Let’s now listen to the first extract of archives. John Meyendorff introduces the subject of marriage, considering it in relation to the current society and the moral crisis that we are going through.

sense of morality

“The world and the society we live in are going through a very deep crisis in the whole area of ​​sexuality and family. Is it legitimate to say that our society today has lost all sense of morality, and to take things tragically? It is legitimate to try to know if in the old days, people were more moral than today. We can say undoubtedly that the principles which used to guide our society in this domain are no longer accepted. Therefore, from this point of view, there is a definitely a crisis. In my opinion, what is most important from the point of view of the Church, is to maintain a perspective and a vision of human nature, a positive vision which is that of Scripture, that of the Church Fathers, that of the Christian tradition as a whole. And all this tells us that man is called to commune with God, that what is essential in the life of man is the ascent towards what is above him, towards God himself. The Orthodox tradition speaks of deification on the one hand, and on the other hand, by affirming that marriage is a sacrament, it declares that sexuality and relations between men and women are not only compatible with the Christian vision of man, but that they must and can be saved, transfigured, sanctified. This is the meaning of marriage as a sacrament.”

November 19th (old calendar) / December 2nd (new)

November 19th (old calendar) / December 2nd (new)
Lent of the Nativity

St. Obias, prophet (9th century BC); St. Barlaam, martyr in Antioch (about 304); saints Severin, Exupere and Felicien, martyrs at Vienna (170); St. Heliodorus, martyr in Pamphylia (273); Saint Cydroine, martyr (3rd century); saints Barlaam, monk, and Joasaph, prince of the Indies, and future king, his father (4th century); St. Azas of Isauria, miracle worker, martyr with his companions, 150 soldiers (about 304); St. Theodemir, abbot (585); Saint Eudes, first abbot of Monestier, in Auvergne (v. 720); Saint Houadon Bishop of Saint-Pol-de-Léon (7th century); St. Hilarion the Georgian, miracle worker (875); St. Barlaam, abbot of the Kiev Caves (1065); St. Philaretus, Metropolitan of Moscow (1867); St. Porphyry the Kavsokalybite (1991); Holy Neo-Martyrs of Russia: John Vishnevsky, Priest (1920), Porphyry, Bishop of Simferopol, Joasaph, Bishop of Chistopol, Serge (Makhayev), Michael (Dmitrev), Alexander (Michutin), John (Malinovsky), Constantine (Mihaylovsky ), Alexander (Serebrov), Ignatius (Tesline), John (Piramidin), Simeon (Krivoyev), John (Florovsky), James (Briliantov), ​​Dimitri (Kuklin), James (Peredery), priests, Joasaph (Krymzin), Gennade (Rebeza), Peter (Mamontov), ​​Gerasim (Sukhov), Michael (Kvanin), monks, Valentin (Kornienko), Peter (Antonov), Leonid (Salkov) and Timothy (Kutcherov) (1937).

THE SAINT PROPHET ABDIAS

Saint Obias, prophet (9th century BC)

We do not know the exact origin of the holy prophet Obadiah, whose prophecy, the shortest of the Twelve Little Prophets, contains threats against the proud Edom and the announcement of the proximity of the Day of the Lord, where the Nations will be punished in the fire and Israel will shine with the light of God from the top of the mystical mountain of Zion. According to some, Obadiah would be the steward of King Ahab who, when Jezebel slaughtered the prophets of the Lord, hid a hundred of them in caves, fifty by fifty, and supplied them with bread and water (2 Kings 18 Heb. ). Sent by the king in search of fodder for the hungry cattle because of the drought that Elijah had unleashed, he met the great prophet, who commanded him to go and announce to the king his visit. Afterwards, Obadiah gave up his service to the king and became a disciple of Elijah. It was then that he wrote his prophecy.

SAINT BARLAAM of ANTIOCHE

St. Barlaam was a wise and prudent old man, but full of ardor for piety. He lived in Antioch, probably at the time of the great persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian Galerius. Delivered to the governor of the city, he confessed Christ and refused to sacrifice to idols. After being subjected to flogging, he was tormented with iron nails. A few days later, he was released from prison to submit to further torture. Suspended from a gallows, he was stretched to dislodge his bones. Before the unshakable constancy of the martyr, the governor imagined an ordeal still unusual: he stretched his hand over an idolatrous altar, holding a burning coal on which incense had been placed, so that, forced by the pain of pouring him on the altar, he seemed to have sacrificed voluntarily. But the love of Christ was more burning in the heart of Barlaam than all the braziers of this world. Although devoured by suffering and seeing his flesh burn, the holy martyr firmly held his hand over the impious altar without pouring incense into it. He himself became a sacrificer, an altar, and a sacrifice. He offered himself as a holocaust to the only eternal God, raising to him, in the place of incense, the bitter odor of his burnt flesh. His charred hand eventually fell to the ground, so St. Barlaam surrendered his soul to God.

(From the Hieromonk Macarius Syntax of Simonos Petras)

TROPAIRES AND KONDAKIA OF THE DAY

Sunday Tropar, 2nd tone

When You descended into death, You, immortal Life, You destroy hell with the brightness of Divinity. When you raised the dead from the underground dwellings, all the powers of heaven cried out, “O Christ, Source of Life, our God, glory to You! “

Tropea of ​​the holy martyr Barlaam, your 4

Your martyr Barlaam, Lord, by his fight, received from you, our God, the incorruptible crown. With Your strength, He has defeated tyrants and broken even the impotent audacity of demons. By his entreaties, O Christ God, save our souls.

Troparium of Saint Philaretus, your 4

Having acquired the grace of the Holy Spirit, O hierarch Philaretus, you preached truth and justice to men through your enlightened spirit; you showed peace and mercy to those who suffered and you kept the flock of Russia, as a master of faith and a watchful watchman, by the rod of righteousness. Also, having freedom from Christ God, ask him to grant the Church and our souls salvation.

Troparium of Saint Porphyry Kavsokalybite, your 8

Room of the divine light and receptacle of the gifts of the Spirit, splendor of the presbyters, true stallion of the monks, oh wise Porphyry, resplendent with the gift of miracles and discernment, our venerable Father, pray the Christ God to save our souls.

Kondakion of the holy martyr Barlaam, your 4

You were admired by the power of your holocaust, you offered yourself as a pleasant incense as a sacrifice to Christ, and you received the crown of honor, Barlaam, always pray for us, you who have suffered.

Kondakion of Saint Philaretus, your 2

Like a real imitator of St. Sergius, you have loved virtue since your youth, O blessed Filaret in God. As a righteous pastor and an immaculate confessor, you suffer the outrages and insults of atheists after your holy death; but God has glorified you with signs and wonders and has made you a protector of our church.

Kontakion of Saint Porphyry the Kavsokalybite, your 8

You who since childhood have dedicated yourself to the love of Christ, cultivating the joy of renouncing ephemeral pleasures, you have adopted the Athonite rule, and while undressing yourself from the old tunic of skin, you made you the interior of the Holy Trinity, praying incessantly, Father venerable, for our salvation.

Sunday Kondakion, your 2

Almighty Savior, You have risen from the Tomb: hell, seeing this wonder, is seized with astonishment and the dead are resurrected. At this sight, creation rejoices with you; Adam shares the gladness, and the world, O my Savior, does not cease to praise You!

Episode of the day

Eph. VI, 10-17

strengthen yourself in the Lord and in the power of his strength. Put on the armor of God, that you may resist the devil’s maneuvers; for it is not against the adversaries of flesh and blood that we have to struggle, but against the principalities, the powers, the princes of this world of darkness, the spirits of evil spread in the air. That’s why you have to put on the armor of God, so you can resist the day of evil and stand firm after you have overcome everything. Stand firm then, having for your belt the truth, for armor the justice, for your shoes the zeal to spread the Gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, thanks to which you can extinguish all the fiery darts of the Evil one; take at last the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, that is, the word of God.

GOSPEL OF THE DAY

Lk XII, 16-21

The lands of a rich man had yielded a lot. And he reasoned within himself, saying, “What shall I do? because I have no place to squeeze my crop. Behold, he says, what I will do: I will bring down my barns, and build greater ones, and there will I gather all my harvest and all my goods; and I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods in store for many years; rest, eat, drink, and rejoice. “But God said to him,” Fool! this night even your soul will be required again; and what have you prepared, who will it be? “So is he who amasses treasure for himself, and is not rich for God.