St. Irene of Chrysovalantou Orthodox Church
Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians - Greater Detroit Metro Area
Divine Liturgy starts Sunday at 10:15 AM - Orthros at 8:30 AM - Vespers Saturday at 7:30 PM
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (586) 707- 2918
Rector's Message for July 2017
Thou hast taken to Thyself, O Lord, the firm and God-proclaiming heralds, the chief Apostles, for the enjoyment of Thy blessings and for repose; for Thou hast accepted their labors and death as above all sacrifice, O Thou Who alone knowest the secrets of our hearts.
Today we need both the example and the prayers of the Apostles more than ever. We need to remember that the apostles went forth to preach the Resurrection of Christ in the midst of a world hostile to God: on the one hand were the pagans, who worshipped demons, and on the other was apostate Israel who had rejected their Messiah, slain Him, and was persecuting His followers. The Apostles had no beautiful cathedrals to liturgize in; they had no budgets, no education departments, no publishing houses, no chauffeured limousines. On the contrary, they were, in the words of St. Paul, in the whole world the most despised:
“God hath set forth us, the Apostles, last, as it were appointed to death; for we are made a spectacle unto the world, to Angels, and to men…Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place, and labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat; we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” - I Corinthians 4:9-16
As today the true Church shrinks in size and influence, we must always bear these things in mind. We must pray to the Holy Apostles, read their Lives, and honor them by imitating their struggles. Let us ask them to pray that we may obtain courage and boldness to live the Apostolic life, to receive a lively and transforming faith in Christ, and live in all sober watchfulness and Godly fear, while rejoicing in the sure hope of our salvation.
The Teachers of the Whole World
If we commemorate each of the saints with hymns and appropriate songs of praise, how much more should we celebrate the memory of Peter and Paul, the supreme leaders of the pre-eminent company of the apostles? They are the fathers and guides of all Christians: apostles, martyrs, holy ascetics, priests, hierarchs, pastors, and teachers. As chief shepherds and master builders of our common godliness and virtue, they tend and teach us all, like lights in the world, holding forth the word of life (Phil. 2:15-16). Their brightness excels that of the other radiantly pious and virtuous saints as the sun outshines the stars, or as the heavens, which declare the sublime glory of God (Ps. 19:1), transcend the skies. In their order and strength they are greater than the heavens, more beautiful than the stars, and swifter than both, and as regards what lies beyond the realm of the senses, it is they who reveal things which surpass the very heavens themselves and indeed the whole universe, and who make them bright with the light “in which there is no variableness neither shadow of turning (James 1:17). Not only do they bring people out of darkness into this wonderful light, but by enlightening them they make them light, the offspring of the perfect light, that each of them may shine like the sun (Matt. 13:43), when the author of light, the God-man and Word, appears in glory.
- from Homily 28 of St. Gregory Palamas, delivered on June 29th, the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, the Leaders of the Apostles
Let Us Imitate St. Peter by Our Godly Fear
- I Peter 1:17
A foolish man takes fright when the lightning merely flashes and the thunder cracks, but a wise man stands in the fear of God every day and every hour. The Creator of thunder and lightning is more awesome than either, and He does not just appear before you from time to time as do thunder and lightning, but is with you unceasingly and never separates Himself from you. Therefore it is not enough to feel the fear of God only from time to time, but we must breathe it in with every breath. The fear of God is the fresh ozone in the suffocating air of our souls. This ozone brings purification and lightness, and a sweet fragrance and health. Until he had become established in the fear of God, Peter was merely Peter and not an apostle, a hero, a teacher of the people and a worker of wonders.
- from the Prologue for the 29th of June, by St. Nikolai Velimirovic