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Nicean Creed 325 AD

I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages;

Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father through Whom all things were made.

Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven and was incarnate
of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.

He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
and suffered and was buried;

And He rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father;

And He will come again with glory to judge the living and dead. His kingdom shall have no end.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke through the prophets.

In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the age to come.

Amen. 

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 frsteven@saint-irene.com
 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.


 - The Kontakion for Saints Peter and Paul


 As we begin the new calendar days of July, which are really the closing days of June, we draw near to the closing days of the Fast of the Holy Apostles, in preparation for the Feast of the Holy Pre-Eminent Apostles Peter and Paul, which the Holy Church celebrates on 29 June (12 July new style). This holy fast is often neglected, which is a great pity, for its observance holds out to us the promise of great spiritual reward, namely, the grace obtained through the intercessions of the Apostles whom we are preparing to honor, and the courage incited in us by their example. As the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul draws near, let us resolve to continue – or to resume, or to begin – our struggles to please God in holy fasting, prayer, attendance at divine service, and acts of love. We receive the reward of these struggles in the joy of an un-hypocritical celebration of the Apostles' feast, for these struggles are the marks of the Apostolic way of life, by which we imitate the Apostles' example and acquire the power of their intercession.

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


Yet the true Faith and the true Church were with them and not with the magnificent pagan temples or the wealthy synagogues. By the power of the Holy Spirit, they preached and worked miracles, bringing many souls to Christ, both Jew and Gentile, despite having little material wealth and no “official” recognition. Centuries later, through S. Constantine and his successors, the Lord enriched His Church with great wealth and imperial sanction, indeed all the riches and might of Old and New Rome, in order to reach more souls. This condition of the Church, that at least in some significant nations of the world She was always guarded and promoted by the successors of the Roman imperium, lasted until the dawn of our own era, and Christians became used to it. But in the beginning it was not so. Ss. Peter and Paul ruled from Rome for three hundred years not materially but spiritually, by the memory of their witness, the presence of their holy relics, the continuation of their apostolic grace in their successors the Orthodox bishops, and in the apostolic way of life shining forth and giving hope to the tired pagan world in the lives of legions of martyrs and ascetics.

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.

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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

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Let Us Imitate St. Peter by Our Godly Fear


Pass the time of your sojourning here in 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.

Oh, my brethren, let us not make merry before the time of harvest. This life of ours is not the harvest but the time of sowing, in toil, sweat, and fear. The farmer lives in trepidation until he has gathered the crop from his field. Let us also leave our merrymaking until the day of harvest, for now is the season of toil and fear. Shall I be saved? That question should torment each one of us, just as the question, 'Shall I reap the fruit of my labor from the field?' torments the farmer. The farmer labors and waits in trepidation every day. Let us also labor and wait in fear for the [completion of the] whole season of our sojourn here on this earth.

O Lord, who art fearful and mighty, uphold us in Thy fear. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.

- from the Prologue for the 29th of June, by St. Nikolai Velimirovic


The Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians (GOC) of America is an Old Calendar Orthodox Church serving the faithful of North and South America. Having its roots in the Diocese of Astoria, founded by Metropolitan Petros (Astyfides) in 1954, it presently consists of two Metropolises (America and Toronto) and two dioceses (Portland and Boston), shepherded by five hierarchs.

The Church of the GOC of America is an autonomous Eparchy whose hierarchs are members of the Holy Synod of the Church of the GOC of Greece, under the Presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All Greece. We follow the Patristic (Julian) Calendar and resist the heresy of Ecumenism.