Commemoration Of The Appearance Of The Honorable Cross Over Jerusalem During the time of St. Constantine’s son, Emperor Constantius, and Patriarch Cyril of Jerusalem, the Honorable Cross appeared about 9:00 a.m. stretching from Golgotha to above the Mount of Olives. This Cross was brighter than the sun and more beautiful than the most beautiful rainbow. All the people, both believing and unbelieving, left their work and observed this heavenly sign in fear and amazement. Many unbelievers converted to the Christian Faith, and many Arian heretics abandoned their evil heresy and returned to Orthodoxy. About this sign, Patriarch Cyril wrote a letter to Emperor Constantius, who had inclinations toward Arianism. This occurred on May 7, 357 A.D. Thus, even on this occasion it was demonstrated that the Christian Faith is not worldly theorizing, according to the sensual understanding of man. Rather it is God’s power, demonstrated through numerous miracles and signs.
The Holy Martyr Acacius St. Acacius was a Roman officer during the reign of Emperor Maximian. Answering at his trial for his faith in Christ, he said that he inherited this devout Faith from his parents and was strengthened in it by witnessing the many miraculous healings wrought by the relics of Christian saints. After courageously enduring great tortures in the Thracian city of Pyrrinthus, Acacius was taken to Byzantium. There he endured new tortures until he was finally beheaded. He suffered honorably and took up his habitation in the Eternal Kingdom of joy in the year 303 A.D.
The Venerable Fathers Of Georgia In the sixth century, two hundred years after St. Nina preached the Gospel in Georgia, the Most-holy Mother of God appeared to John, an Antiochian ascetic, and commanded that he select twelve of his disciples and go to Georgia to strengthen the Orthodox Faith. And so he did. Arriving in Georgia, these twelve missionaries were solemnly received by the prince of that country and the Catholicos Eulalius and immediately began their work with zeal. The people gathered around them in masses, and they strengthened the people in the Faith with great wisdom and many miracles. The head of these Christ-loving missionaries was St. John of Zedazeni and the names of the others were: Abibus, Anthony, David, Zenon, Thaddeus, Jesse, Isidore, Joseph, Michael, Pyrrus, Stephen and Shio. With apostolic zeal they all confirmed the Christian Faith in Georgia, established many monasteries, and left many disciples after them. Thus, they were made worthy of glory in heaven and power on earth.
Hymn Of Praise The Holy Martyr Acacius Acacius, soldier of the King Most-high, Prepares for death, His soul filled with the incense of prayer. The godless judge asks him: “Why does not Christ deliver the faithful? Why does He not punish your tormentors, When you call Him Almighty God?” The martyr meekly replies to him: “The Lord Christ is great in mercy, Long suffering in mercy and in patience. He awaits repentance from the sinner, And patient suffering from the faithful. If He immediately punished the sinners How would He reveal His mercy? And the righteous–if they would not suffer, By what would they show the power of God? By what would they shine before the world?” Having said these words, Acacius is beheaded, And his souls ascends to Paradise.
Reflection “I recognize that my debt was greater, and that more was forgiven me. I was called to the priesthood from juridical and public offices; and that is why I show myself ungrateful if I love less than the measure to which I am forgiven.” These are the words of St. Ambrose, who was unexpectedly called by God to change vocations and, having been a secular judge, to become an archbishop of Christ’s Church. With these words the saint demonstrated how the priestly calling is greater than the secular calling, how he came to the priestly vocation by God’s calling, and how he who is called owes thanksgiving to God. All the saints considered the debt of thanksgiving to God as their main debt. Without thanksgiving to God there can be no progress in the spiritual life. Ceaseless thanksgiving to God is the noble seed from which, if it is watered by the tears of unceasing repentance, a beautiful fruit grows–love for God.
Contemplation Contemplate the descent of God the Holy Spirit upon the holy apostles:
- How the apostles stood in one mind at prayer;
- How, suddenly, there came a sound from heaven as a rushing mighty wind.
Homily on how good is taken away from man by sin “Your sins have turned back these blessings from you” (Jeremiah 5:25). If you do not possess good in abundance, O people, that means you have sin in abundance. Your sins have turned your good from you. O people, if you wish good for yourselves, reject sin and sin no more. Then you will move toward good, good will come to you, and good will not depart from you. O man, if you do not have good, it means that you have sin. Good cannot dwell in the same house with sin, just as light and darkness cannot exist in the same place at the same time. When light departs, darkness settles in, and when the darkness departs, the light shines. Thus, sin and good can be interchanged, but they cannot dwell together. O my brethren, your sins have turned back these blessings from you. These words were not spoken by only one prophet to only one nation; rather, every true prophet spoke these words to his people. False prophets flatter their people with sins, and thus they assist even more in turning back good from their people. The true prophets oppose the sins of the people, for they consort with good and cry out against sin, so as to introduce the good from God into their people’s souls. If the beehive begins to stink, will the honey-bees enter and deposit their honey in it? No! And when irrational bees refuse to enter a putrid and smoke-ridden beehive, then how will the rational Spirit of God enter a soul that is putrid and smoke-ridden from sin? And the Spirit of God is the possessor and the dispenser of all good gifts. O Lord, Holy Spirit, help Thy people by Thine irresistible power to drive away sin from their souls; so that Thou wouldst be able to enter inside with Thy life-creating gifts. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.