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Orthodoxy is nothing but a thirsting for the Kingdom of Heaven, a search for the Kingdom of God and communion with the Persons of the Holy Trinity. But, “the Kingdom of God”, said the Lord, “is within you” – Saint Silouan

Fourth Sunday of Luke:
The Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:5-15) and
Sunday of the Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council

Prophet Hosea (Osee) (820 BC)
Synaxis of the Holy Unmercenaries – Holy Martyrs and Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian, and their brothers, martyrs Leontius, Anthimus, and Eutropius, and 15 Holy Unmercenaries with them, in Cilicia (4th century)
Saints Antigonus, Loukianos, Terentius, Nicomedes and Theophanis
Saints Isidora and Neophyte
Hieromartyr Andrew of Crete, in “the Judgment” (767)
Martyr Kozman (Kosmas), of Georgia
Saint Ioseb (Jandierishvili) the Wonderworker, Catholicos of Georgia (1770)
Translation of the relics (898) of St. Lazarus “Of the Four Days” (in the tomb), Bishop of Kition in Cyprus (1st century)

Commemorated on October 17

Synaxarion
On this day (October 17th) we honor the Synaxis of all the Holy and Wonderworking Unmercenaries (twenty in number).

Verses
I ever honor together the Unmercenaries,
Being gathered here in their church.
The twenty-numbered band of the Unmercenaries,
O choir, save those you entreat you.
Twenty, therefore, Unmercenaries, I ever hymn.

A Vision of the Holy Unmercenaries by Elder Theophylactos of New Skete

Σύναξις των Αγίων Αναργύρων_ Synaxis of the Holy Unmercenaries_ Собор святых целителей, бессребренников, чудотвоtriodul-duminica-ortodoxiei-si-cinstirea-sfintelor-icoane-18448394“Another time I had the same battle and despair afflicted me terribly. I knew of course what a battle was, but I could not change. Because of my inexperience I did not fight with it from the beginning, when this passion first appeared to me, and this became my personal cross. As I sat to rest, I saw a band of men of different ages climbing the road up from the Kyriakon, and heading to where my kalyve was; they were talking among themselves. I tried to see who they were and where they were going. When they passed the cross in the road, and approached my outer gate, they stopped for a short time and I heard them clearly say:
“Won’t we pass by our dwelling place?”
In reality, they opened my door and entered in line chanting their apolytikion:
“The twenty-numbered godly phalanx, that shines with heavenly grace, the radiant band of Unmercenaries let us hymn…”
Leading them all was St. Panteleimon: young, blonde, magnificent and with a physician’s medal on his chest. The rest followed him chanting their hymn melodiously. They climbed the stairs of the kalyve above where the church is, and entering, they stood in two lines as two choirs and began to chant hymns from their service. When they finished the psalmody, they returned and exited towards the upper area of the Skete, having left me their blessing and much consolation; for many days I was full of joy and spiritual happiness.”
(amateur translation – http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.gr/)

***

An old man and a brother led their life together. Now the old man was charitable. It happened that there was a famine and the people came to his door seeking alms, and in charity the old man gave to all who came. Seeing what was happening, the brother said to the old man, “Give me my share of the loaves, and do what you like with yours.” The old man divided the loaves and gave alms from his share.

Now many people hastened to the old man, learning that he supplied everyone, and God — seeing that he supplied everyone — blessed these loaves. But when the brother had consumed his own food he said to the old man, “Since I have only a little food left, Abba, take me back into the common life again.” The old man said, “I will do as you wish.” So they began to again to live in common.

When scarcity came again, the needy came back seeking alms. Now one day the brother came in and saw they were short of loaves. A poor man came, and the old man told the brother to give him alms. He said, “It is no longer possible, father.” The old man said to him, “Go in and look.” The brother went inside and found the bin full of loaves. When he saw that, he was filled with fear, and taking some he gave to the poor. In this way he learned the faith and virtue of the old man, and he gave glory to God.

from “The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers,” by Benedicta Ward, (Oxford: SLG Press, 1985), p. 42

Ιησούς Χριστός ΣΠΟΡΕΑΣ_Jesus-Christ_Господне Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icond64e7ecd92ec2d2ebe869f2e8b8216c9St Seraphim of Sarov said to one monk, “Sow, Father Simon, sow! Sow everywhere the wheat that has been given to you. Somewhere or other it will sprout and grow and bear fruit.” By this he meant that the monk should tell everyone about Jesus Christ and His Heavenly Kingdom.

“You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.” —St Seraphim of Sarov

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men. —St. Isaac of Syria

Dostoevsky, writing in The Brothers Karamazov, ”If you had shone, your light would have lighted the way for others, and the one who did wickedness would perhaps not have done so in your light. And even if you do shine, but see that people are not saved even with your light, remain steadfast, and do not doubt the power of the heavenly light; believe that if they are not saved now, they will be saved later. And if they are not saved, their sons will be saved, for your light will not die, even when you are dead. The righteous man departs, but his light remains.”

***

I have prayed for you, that you too may be granted that great Spirit of fire, Whom I have received. If you wish to receive Him, so that He dwells in you, first offer physical labours and humility of heart and, lifting your thoughts to heaven day and night, seek this Spirit of fire with a righteous heart – and He will be given unto you. In this way Elijah the Tishbite, Elisha and other prophets received Him. He who tills himself thus (as I have described) is granted this Spirit for ever and for ages of ages. Remain in prayer, seeking most arduously with your whole heart – and you will be given. For this Spirit resides in righteous hearts. And when He is received, He will reveal to you the highest mysteries, will banish from you the fear of man or beast, and heavenly joy will be yours day and night, so that you will be, in this body, like those who are already in the kingdom.

Apostle Paul writes, “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings” (I Thessalonians 5: 19-20). Know that nothing quenches the Spirit more than idle talk.

Every man whose effort is to become truly spiritual must try to hold himself aloof from noisy crowds and not go near them, so as to be outside the vortex and turmoil of men in body, heart and mind; for where there are men, there is turmoil. Our Lord showed us an example of withdrawal from people and solitude when He used to go alone up into a mountain to pray. In the wilderness too he conquered the devil, who dared to wrestle with Him. Naturally He was not powerless to conquer him even among the multitude; but He acted thus to teach us that we can more easily overcome the enemy and reach perfection in silence and solitude. Neither did the Lord show His glory to the disciples in the midst of people, but led them up into a mountain and there showed them His glory. John the Forerunner also dwelt in the wilderness until he appeared to Israel. In the world it is easier for the enemy to press upon us with his weapons, both inner and outer; attracting some men as helpers and assistants obedient to him, he there wages war against the faithful. Some shameless woman may serve as a very strong weapon to him, spreading wide her ensnaring nets. When Ezekiel saw four living creatures, each with four faces, all showing the glory of the Lord, he was not in a city or a village but outside in a plain; for God said to him, “Arise, and go forth into the plain, and there shalt thou be spoken to” (Ezekiel 3:22). In general such visions and revelations were given to the saints only in mountains and wilderness. Prophet Jeremiah, knowing how much solitude pleases God, also said, “It is good for a man when he bears a yoke in his youth. He will sit alone, and be silent” (Lamentations 3:27-28). Again, knowing well how much harm human talk brings to those who want to please God, he could not refrain from saying, “Who would give me a most distant lodge in the wilderness, that I might leave my people, and depart from them?” (Jeremiah 9:2). Also Prophet Elijah received food from the angels, and this not among a crowd of people, nor in a city or a village, but in the wilderness. All these and similar things, which occurred to the saints, were written to persuade us to imitate those who loved retirement, for it can lead us too to the Lord. So try to be well grounded in it, that you may be led to the vision of God, which is the most spiritual contemplation….

And when the Spirit of God comes to dwell in them, He brings them rest, or lets them enjoy rest in all their activities, and makes the yoke of the Lord sweet for them, as it is written in the Gospels “and ye shall find rest unto your soul” (Matthew 9:29), although they have taken His yoke upon themselves and are bearing it. Then they become indefatigable, both in the practice of virtue and in carrying out obediences and night vigils. They feel no anger at human calumny and have no fear, whether of man, beast or spirit; for the joy of the Lord stays with them day and night, gives life to their reason and is their food. Through this joy the soul grows and becomes apt for all things or perfect; and through this joy it ascends to heaven. (from “Early Fathers From the Philokalia,” by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, (London: Faber and Faber, 1954), pp. 46-51. )

Orthodoxy is nothing but a thirsting for the Kingdom of Heaven, a search for the Kingdom of God and communion with the Persons of the Holy Trinity. But, “the Kingdom of God”, said the Lord, “is within you” (Lk.ll:21). The Kingdom of God is within us because we can meet God and come into communion with Him only inside of us, in our hearts.

I beseech you, put this to the test. When a man affronts you or brings dishonor on your head, or takes what is yours, or persecutes the Church, pray to the Lord, saying: “O Lord, we are all Thy creatures. Have pity on Thy servants and turn their hearts to repentance,” and you will be aware of grace in your soul… Understand me. It is so simple. People who do not know God, or who go against Him, are to be pitied; the heart sorrows for them and the eye weeps. Both paradise and torment are clearly visible to us: We know this through the Holy Spirit. And did not the Lord Himself say, “The kingdom of God is within you”? Thus eternal life has its beginning here in this life; and it is here that we sow the seeds of eternal torment… O Lord, grant me tears to shed for myself, and for the whole universe, that the nations may know Thee and live eternally with Thee, O Lord, vouchsafe us the gift of Thy humble Holy Spirit, that we may apprehend Thy glory. – Saint Silouan

Παραβολή των κακών γεωργών του αμπελώνος Parable of the Vineyard При́тча о злых виногра́дарях_600x417-2κ-1 (1)Apolytikion for the Holy Unmercenaries – Plagal of the 4th Mode

Holy Unmercenaries and Wonderworkers, visit our weaknesses; freely you have received, freely give to us.

Troparion – Tone 3

The twenty-numbered godly band, that shines with grace from heaven, the radiant band of the Unmercenaries let us praise, for they deposed the power of the evil one, and with sympathy alleviate the illnesses of all those who cry out with reverence: glory to God in Trinity.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Second Tone

O Protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, mediation unto the creator most constant: O despise not the voices of those who have sinned; but be quick, O good one, to come unto our aid, who in faith cry unto thee: Hasten to intercession and speed thou to make supplication, O thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee.

Stichera Automelon – Plagal of the 2nd Mode

Placing all their hope in heaven, the Saints treasured up for themselves an inviolable treasure; freely they received, freely they give remedies to the sick; in accordance with the Gospel they possessed neither gold nor silver; their kind deeds they shared out to humans and beasts alike; that being in all things obedient to Christ they might intercede with confidence on behalf of our souls.

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