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Mark Smith is a priest of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece under the Omophorian of Metropolitan Kirykos of Mesogaias and Lavreotikis. He lives in Chilliwack, BC, Canada
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Sep. 27th, 2016 @ 03:16 pm Today we heard (Tuesday, September 14th):

Come, O ye people, and beholding the strange wonder, let us worship the power of the Cross. For a tree sprouted forth death in Paradise; but this one hath made life to blossom forth, since it hath the sinless Lord nailed upon it, from Whom all we the a nations reap incorruption as we cry: O Thou Who through the Cross hast abolished death and hast made us free, glory be to Thee.


The Menaion for September 14th

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Sep. 26th, 2016 @ 08:12 pm This evening we heard (September 14th):
Rejoice, O holy Cross of the Lord, * whereby the race of man was loosed from the ancient curse; * thou ensign of joy and gladness, thou who dost dash down the foes * by thine Exaltation, O all-ven'rable. * Our succour and help art thou, and the might of all them that rule, * strength of the righteous, and the beauty adorning priests; * where thou art portrayed, thou dost rescue from every ill. *Sceptre of power, staff of strength, wherewith we are shepherded; * weapon of peace round about which the Angels hover with fear and awe; * divine and true glory * of Christ God, Who doth bestow His great mercy on the world.


The Menaion, September 14th

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Sep. 26th, 2016 @ 07:54 am The Son of Man must be crucified . . .

Thus, the Lord said, The Son of Man must be crucified (e.g. Luke 9:22; 24:7); in other words, there can be no other punishment than the cross; though there were a thousand other ways of death, by means of which the Lord could have fulfilled His design to die, the death of the cross was preferred above all others, as something fixed and necessary. Wherever the Cross is traced, it blesses, hallows, enlightens and bestows the means of salvation. Therefore, since we possess such an invincible weapon, let us not tremble before our enemies, brethren, but let us resist them mightily and boldly; for faced with the Cross they shudder and flee; they cannot for a moment bear to gaze upon this standard. For this reason we perform all our deeds with the divine Cross. Thus, in lifting high the Cross and bowing down before it, we exalt and glorify Christ Who was lifted up upon it; and he who praises the Cross, honours, glorifies and worships Him Who was crucified on it.



The Gospel Commentary, Compiled and Authored by the Holy Patriarch Philotheos of Constantinople ✠1379, September 14th, pp. 629-630

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Sep. 24th, 2016 @ 09:47 am At that time a serpent cured a serpent's bite


At that time a serpent cured a serpent's bite (Num. ch. 21), but now Christ, raised upon the Cross, heals us of the mortal wounds of the noetic serpent. There they that gazed with the eyes of the body were healed, whereas here we who gaze with the eyes of the soul remove all sins. There what was hung upon the tree was brass fashioned in the image of a serpent, whereas here it is the Body of the Lord Which was formed by the Holy Spirit. Serpents were biting at that time, and a serpent conferred healing; likewise, here death was ravaging, and a Death gave salvation. Moreover, the pernicious biting serpents possessed poison, while the saving serpent of brass was pure of any poison. And here it is again the same; for the pernicious death of Adam bore sin, as did the serpent poison, whereas the death of the Lord was as free from any sin as the brass serpent was free from poison. For this reason, the Lord made the comparison, saying, As Moses lifted up the serpent, and the rest; for just as Moses lifted up the serpent in order that those who looked at it might have life, so also was Christ lifted up, that those who look upon Him, that is, who believe, might have life everlasting.


The Gospel Commentary, Compiled and Authored by the Holy Patriarch Philotheos of Constantinople ✠1379, – Sunday Before the Exaltation of the Cross, pp. 621-622
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Sep. 20th, 2016 @ 09:01 pm This evening we heard (Wednesday, September 8th):
Today God, Who resteth upon the noetic thrones, hath made ready for Himself a holy throne upon the earth. He that established the heavens in wisdom, hath prepared a living Heaven in His love for man. For from a barren root He hath made a life-bearing branch to spring forth for us, even His Mother. O God of wonders and hope of the hopeless, O Lord, glory be to Thee.


The Menaion September 8th, the Nativity of the Theotokos
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Sep. 20th, 2016 @ 08:45 am If we too wish to dwell in heaven . . .

If we too, brethren, wish to dwell not on earth but in heaven, and not to fall to the ground or into sin that pulls us down, but to reach out continuously towards the divine heights, let us fear God, abstain from everything evil, return to Him through good works, and strive by self-control and prayer to wipe out the evil accretions within us, to change our inner thoughts for the better, and, according to the prophet, to be in labour with the spirit of salvation and bring it to birth, having as our helper, through invoking her name, the Virgin who was today bestowed upon her parents through prayer and a manner of life pleasing to God. She transformed their sorrow, annulled the ancestral curse, and brought our first Mother’s pangs to an end, painlessly bearing Christ in her virginity.

The Homilies of Saint Gregory Palamas – Homily 42 - On the Nativity of the Theotokos (September 8th), p. 338

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Sep. 17th, 2016 @ 09:42 pm This evening we heard (Sunday, September 5th):

Veritably clothed with the vestments of the priesthood under the Law, thou didst serve after the order of Aaron; and as thou stoodest in the Temple, thou didst manifestly behold an Angel's form, O all-blessed one; wherefore, as we all celebrate thy translation as is due, we acclaim thee with songs, O Zacharias, who in deep old age broughtest forth the glorious John. Intercede for us with the merciful God, that we be saved.


The Menaion, September 5th

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Sep. 17th, 2016 @ 08:53 am Death is a grievous thing . . .

Death is a grievous thing, both when it happens and when it is awaited, but not turning from our sins is far worse, because it increases our punishment here in this life, and afterwards dispatches us to never-ending punishments, which God forbid that any of us should experience. The terrors of the present seem unbearable, even though they pass and only affect the body, but those others punish both body and soul, without any expectation of deliverance. But let us, brethren, repent and turn back, demonstrating our penitence in word and deed. Let us fall down before God with a contrite heart, saying to Him, “O Lord, rebuke me not in Thine anger, nor chasten me in Thy wrath” (Ps. 37:1), but do unto us according to Thy mercy and not as we deserve. “As Thy greatness is, so is Thy mercy” (cf. Ecclus. 2:18). For the Lord is near to those who call upon Him if they cry out, not only with their lips, but with their understanding, directing their deeds and their preoccupations towards Him.

“Turn ye unto Me, and I will turn unto you,” says the Lord (Zech. 1:3), and “I will remember your sins no more” (cf. Jer. 31:34, Heb. 8:12; 10:17). Provided, of course, we either flee away from them never to return, or else we propitiate God through confession and works of repentance equivalent to our iniquities, reconciling Him to ourselves through active humility. Then, if God's love for us will consent to make up for what we lack, we shall be delivered now from this manifestation of divine anger, from widespread premature death and the universal destruction it causes, and in the age to come we shall obtain everlasting life, to the glory of Christ, the only giver of life.

The Homilies of Saint Gregory Palamas, Homily 39, pp. 310-311

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Sep. 17th, 2016 @ 08:47 am The stone which the builders, the Jews, rejected . . .
The stone which the builders, the Jews, rejected, the same is become the cornerstone (Matt 21:42), to join and unite two walls which before were separate. This refers to Christ, our reconciliation, Who joined together what had been separated and made the two to be as one. He was placed at the head of the corner, meaning that He became the Head of the Church, uniting Jews and Gentiles in one faith. Just as a stone laid at the corner of a building holds two walls together, so also Christ joined together all men in one faith. This corner is marvellous, and it is the Lord's doing; for the Church which contains us all and makes us one by faith is the Lord's work, and it is worthy of great wonder, because it is well-built. It is also marvellous in another way, in that Christ's word has been established and confirmed by miracles. The composition of the Church is marvellous, great and lofty; evil will never prevail over our immaculate and pure faith, or over the correct dogmas of the Church of Christ. The kingdom of God, meaning familiarity with God, was taken away from the Jews and given to those who believe. Those who have stumbled on the stone and taken offence at Christ will be crushed at His Second Coming; moreover, they have already been crushed here in this world by the very same Christ; that is, they have been dispersed over all the earth, as we see from the wretched Jews who are scattered and who suffer greatly. This is the lesson contained in what ye have heard, my brethren; yet this parable rebukes not only the Jews, but also believers who spurn the divine commandments and the injunctions of Christ; for those who sin and imagine that God does not see the future also crucify the Lord. Therefore, when the Lord, the Planter of the vineyard, comes to judge all at His second and dread Advent, He will bring those evil men to an evil end, and will send them into that dismal and unquenchable fire, which is outside of the light; there, as He said, shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 8:12). May that not befall us, my brethren! Let us strive to cultivate Christ's vineyard, so that, when fruits are required and must be rendered, we may be ready, and may be found like the tree which is planted by the streams of waters, and may bring forth our fruits in their season, and our leaves, meaning our hope of salvation in Christ, may not fall (Ps 1:3 altered), and we may not be sent into the fire of Gehenna as barren trees.

The Gospel Commentary, Compiled and Authored by the Holy Patriarch Philotheos of Constantinople ✠1379, 13th Sunday After Pentecost, pp. 388-389

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Sep. 10th, 2016 @ 08:15 pm This evening we heard (Sunday, August 29th):

O Forerunner of the Saviour, thou didst rebuke kings, that they might not work iniquity; wherefore, the frolicking of a lawless woman persuaded Herod to cut off thy head. For this cause, thy name is to be praised from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same. Since thou hast boldness toward the Lord, make earnest entreaty in behalf of our souls.


The Menaion, August 29th, the Beheading of the Venerable Forerunner

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