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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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Feb. 26th, 2017 @ 08:13 pm The evening we heard (Vespers, eve of Clean Monday):

Let us set out with joy upon the season of the Fast, and prepare ourselves for spiritual combat. Let us purify our soul and cleanse our flesh; and as we fast from food, let us abstain also from every passion. Rejoicing in the virtues of the Spirit may we persevere with love, and so be counted worthy to see the solemn Passion of Christ our God, and with great spiritual gladness to behold His holy Passover.


Thy grace has shone forth, O Lord, it has shone forth and given light to our souls. Behold, now is the accepted time: behold, now is the season of repentance. Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light, that having sailed across the great sea of the Fast, we may reach the third-day Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of our souls.

The Lenten Triodion

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Feb. 25th, 2017 @ 07:56 pm This evening we heard (Forgiveness Sunday):

O precious Paradise, unsurpassed in beauty, tabernacle built by God, unending gladness and delight, glory of the righteous, joy of the prophets, and dwelling of the saints, with the sound of thy leaves pray to the Maker of all: may He open unto me the gates which I closed by my transgression, and may He count me worthy to partake of the Tree of Life and of the joy which was mine when I dwelt in thee before.

The Lenten Triodion, Forgiveness Sunday (aka Cheese-fare Sunday)

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Feb. 25th, 2017 @ 07:18 am "Good" must be done for the right reasons

When we remember this and eagerly apply ourselves to virtuous actions, the evil one, knowing that nothing can be good unless it is done in a good way, strives to persuade us not to accomplish any good work with the object of pleasing God or of winning His approval, but to look for other people’s approval. By this means he can deprive us of our reward from God and of all spiritual and heavenly honours. Let us frustrate these efforts of his by considering the great recompense stored up for those who live as God pleases, and how insignificant other people’s approval is. Not only is it not worth mentioning in comparison with the great and holy glory to come, but it is also insufficient reason to neglect and waste our flesh.

The Homilies of Saint Gregory Palamas – Homily 6, To Encourage Fasting, p. 43

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Feb. 25th, 2017 @ 06:19 am For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also

The Gospel: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matt 6:21)

The Explanation: Not only does the Lord exhort us to charity, peace, love and unity; He also teaches us to disdain everything earthly and to pursue heavenly things. For he who sows in the flesh reaps his harvest on the earth, and thus he perishes. But he who sows in the spirit, who bears an image of the heavenly and whose life is in heaven, stores up treasure in heaven and rejoices eternally. Since, then, brethren, we have learned from our Master Christ to forgive the transgressions of our brethren, and not to practice fasting so as to be seen by men, but to do all things to please God, and to lay up treasure not on earth, but in heaven, let us strive not only to receive His commandments with our ears, but also to write them in our hearts and to carry them out in our deeds. Let us put an end to all enmity against our brethren and remembering their offences. Let us forgive them for anything whereby they have offended us, bearing in mind our own transgressions and also the reward attached to this commandment. Let us not practice fasting to win praise from men, but in order to please God; neither let us store up treasures on earth, but in heaven, that we may also inherit incorruptible blessings, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to Whom belong all glory, honour and worship, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Gospel Commentary, Compiled and Authored by the Holy Patriarch Philotheos of Constantinople ✠1379, pp. 54-55

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Feb. 19th, 2017 @ 02:31 pm Today we heard (Sunday of the Last Judgement):

When the trial takes place and the books recording all our acts are opened, what shalt thou do, O miserable soul? What answer shalt thou make before the judgement-seat, for thou hast no fruits of righteousness to offer Christ thy Creator?

Terror seizes me when I think of the unquenchable fire, of the bitter worm, the gnashing of teeth, and soul-destroying hell; yet I do not turn to true compunction. O Lord, Lord, before the end, strengthen Thy fear within me.

When Thou, O God, shalt judge all things, who among us earth­born men shall dare to stand before Thee, for we are all beset by the passions? Then the unquenchable fire and the destroying worm shall seize the condemned and hold them fast for ever.

O righteous Judge and Saviour, have mercy on me-and deliver me from the fire that threatens me, and from the punishment that I deserve to suffer at the Judgement. Before the end comes, grant me remission through virtue and repentance.

The fire is prepared, the worm is ready; yet ready also is the glory of rejoicing, the eternal rest, the light without evening, the gladness of the righteous.  And who is he that shall be blessed to escape from the torment and inherit the joy?

The Lenten Triodion - Sunday of the Last Judgement

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Feb. 18th, 2017 @ 09:00 pm This evening we heard (Sunday of the Last Judgement):

When the thrones are set up and the books are opened, and God sits in judgement, O what fear there will be then! When the angels stand trembling in Thy presence and the river of fire flows before Thee, what shall we do then, guilty of many sins? When we hear Him call the blessed of His Father into the Kingdom, but send the sinners to their punishment, who shall endure His fearful condem­nation? But, Saviour who alone lovest mankind, King of the ages, before the end comes turn me back through repentance and have mercy on me.

The Menaion - Sunday of the Last Judgement

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Feb. 18th, 2017 @ 05:25 pm On the Sunday of the Last Judgement:

There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known (Matt 10:26) at that time, for the Lord will expose our sins and present them to the gaze of all. What, then, shall we do when that terrible tribunal appears, with a river of fire and irrefutable accusations and incontrovertible sentences, and we stand before it trembling? O what shall we do, brethren, when there is no one to stand up for us or assist us, neither father, nor mother, nor son, nor daughter nor grandchildren? For then every man will have his own anxiety, and will not be able to take care of others. A brother cannot help us there, nor can a sister, nor a friend, nor a relative, nor a neighbour, nor a wise man, nor an orator, nor an acquaintance, nor gold nor anything belonging to man; all of these will seem insubstantial when confronted with the fear and dread of damnation. Each man to be judged will stand alone with great fear and trembling, whether he be rich or poor, whether small or great, whether master or subject, whether man or woman, whether old or young, whether famous or unknown, even he who wears the robes of royalty. Each will be supported only by his own deeds, whether they be unto justification or condemnation. The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken, and He hath called the earth from the rising of the sun and unto the setting thereof. Out of Sion is the magnificence of His comeliness. God shall come visibly, yea, our God, and shall not keep silence. Fire shall blaze before Him, and round about Him shall there be a mighty tempest (Ps 49:1-4). Clouds and darkness are round about Him; righteousness and judgement are the establishment of His throne. Fire shall go before Him, and shall burn up His enemies round about (Ps 96:2-3). For He cometh to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness (Ps 95:12-13). The just Judge will examine the records of the deeds which each of us has done. The good and the just He will place on His right; He will invite them to enjoy the kingdom which was prepared for them as the blessed of the Father, and He will conduct them to eternal rejoicing (therein). The wicked and the sinful He will place on His left; He will turn away from them as from the damned, and will send them away into that inextinguishable fire which was prepared for the demons, and will condemn them to eternal torment.

The Gospel Commentary, Compiled and Authored by the Holy Patriarch Philotheos of Constantinople ✠1379, pp. 31-32

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Feb. 18th, 2017 @ 02:59 pm On the Sunday of the Last Judgement:
   May we make haste to obtain the riches of kindness and buy an eternal kingdom in exchange for a little money. We should be afraid even now of the sentence pronounced on the unmerciful, lest we receive the same condemnation. There is no need to fear that if we give alms we shall become poor, for we shall hear Christ say, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom” (Matt. 25:34). Let us be afraid of being shown to be excluded from loving God by our lack of compassion, and do everything to avoid this. “For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen”, says the evangelist, “how can he love God Whom he hath not seen” (1 John 4:20). And how can someone who does not love God be with Him? Anyone who is not with Him will be driven away from Him, and anyone driven away from Him will certainly fall into hell.
   Let us show loving deeds towards our brethren in Christ by being merciful to the poor and restoring those who have gone astray, whatever their poverty or error may be, by obtaining justice for the wronged, by encouraging those laid low by sickness, whether their suffering be due to visible enemies and physical ailments or to invisible evil spirits and dishonourable passions, by visiting those confined in prison, and even by bearing with those who injure us, forgiving one another any cause for complaint we may have among ourselves, as Christ forgave us. In a word, let us show love to one another by all our actions and words. So may we attain to God’s love, receive His blessing and inherit the eternal heavenly kingdom promised to us and prepared for us from the foundation of the world.

The Homilies of Saint Gregory Palamas – Homily 4, Sunday of the Last Judgement, p. 33.

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Feb. 14th, 2017 @ 08:49 pm This evening we heard (February 2nd):

Let the gate of Heaven be opened today; for the beginningless Word of the Father, having re­ceived a beginning in time without forsaking His Divinity, is of His own will offered by a Virgin Mother in the Temple of the Law as a babe forty days old. The Elder receiveth Him in his arms, and the servant crieth to the Master: Let me depart; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation. O Thou Who art come into the world to save the race of man, Lord, glory be to Thee.

The Menaion, February 2nd, The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple
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Feb. 14th, 2017 @ 03:09 pm On the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple, February 2nd:
Every feast and festival of the Lord, brethren, is the cultivation of spiritual joy, the bringer of radiance and beauty to the soul, the spiritual adornment and beauty of churches, heaven on earth and the fruit of spiritual ascent. It is a passage from the lowly to the sublime and divine, an ascent from the worldly to the other-worldly, from the fleshly to the spiritual, from the sensual to the noetic, from the earthly to the heavenly. Therefore, let us also celebrate spiritually, and let us please God with holiness, passionlessness, peace and unity; let us spend our time with fear, in hymns, prayers and supplications, and let us entreat God with acts of justice and alms-giving, that in His liberality He will give us entry into His heavenly kingdom, which is blessed and everlasting, and where there is the unceasing sound of them that keep festival, along with ineffable bliss and the enjoyment of immortal blessings. In truth, spiritual feasts and divine festivals procure salvation for our souls. They are so much greater than worldly holidays and celebrations and all the business of life, as the soul is greater than the body, as heaven is greater than earth, and as the future everlasting life of all the saints and the just is greater than this present transitory life.

The Gospel Commentary, Compiled and Authored by the Holy Patriarch Philotheos of Constantinople ✠1379, pp. 765-766

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