The Week Leading Up to… Sunday, July 21, 2013.

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Services This Week:

·         Reader’s service of Small Compline wth Akathist to Saints Peter and Paul, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m
·         Saturday, Great Vespers, 5:00  p.m
·         Sunday, Third Hour, 9:45 a.m., followed by The Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.

During the Sundays of the Church year, we each Sunday move through a repeating cycle of eight Tones, with different music and hymns for each tone, which celebrate the resurrection of Christ. This Sunday falls on Tone 3. Here is the Sunday troparion (hymn) of the Resurrection for this Sunday:

Let the Heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad,

for the Lord has done a mighty act with His arm.

He has trampled death by death

and become the First-born of the dead,

He has delivered us from the depths of hell,

and has granted the world His great mercy.

Click here to listen to this troparion being sung, and here for sheet music.

Epistle
Romans 6:18-23 (4th Sunday after Pentecost)
Sing praises to our God, sing praises.
O clap your hands all ye nations.
The Reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans
BRETHREN, having been set free from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But then what return did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel
Matthew 8:5-13 (4th Sunday of Matthew)
The Reading of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew
At that time: As Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, “Come,” and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

Saints Commemorated this Sunday:

Saint Symeon of Emesa, Fool-for-Christ, and his fellow faster Saint John; Prophet Ezekiel; Saint Onuphrius the Silent of the Kiev Caves; Saint Onesimus, recluse of the Kiev Caves; Martyr Victor of Marseilles; Saint Anna, mother of Saint Sava the Serbian; Martyrs Theophilus, Justus, Trophimus, Mathias, Eugene, Theodore, and George; three martyrs of Melitene; Martyr Acacius of Constantinople; Saint Eleutherius of Dry Hill; Saint Parthenius of Radovizlios, Bishop; Martyr Salome of Georgia; Martyr Ilia Chavchavadze of Georgia; Saint Hilarion of Tvali; Saint Paxedes, virgin of Rome; Armatia Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos; opening of the relics of Saint Anna of Kashin

Martyr Ilia Chavchavadze of Georgia

Commemorated on July 20 [or, 19 or 21, depending on local usage]

Saint Ilia, called the “Uncrowned King of Georgia,” the “Father of the Nation” and “the Righteous,” belonged to the noble family Chavchavadze. He was born on October 27, 1837, in the village of Qvareli in Kakheti. He received his primary education at home: his mother instructed him in reading and writing, prayer and the law of God. When he was eight years old, Ilia was sent to study with Archdeacon Nikoloz Sepashvili of Qvareli. The years he spent there left an indelible impression on this holy man’s life.

Ilia continued his education at a Tbilisi boarding school, and later at the court gymnasium (high school). His parents died at a young age, and the orphaned children were entrusted to the care of their aunt Macrina.

In 1857 Ilia enrolled in the law school at St. Petersburg University. There he read a great deal and struggled to improve himself as an individual. He was fascinated by Georgian history and spent much of his time in the St. Petersburg archives in search of old Georgian texts. His academic achievements were outstanding, but he was uninterested in receiving an official diploma from the school of law. In his fourth year he dropped out of the program and returned to Georgia.

Ilia was certain that a nation that forgets its own history “is like a beggar who knows neither his past nor where he is going.” For this reason he sought to inspire his fellow countrymen with the past glories of their nation and the loyalty of their forefathers to the Christian Faith and the Georgian nation.

The restoration of national independence and the autocephaly of the Georgian Church were the chief objectives toward which St. Ilia strove in every aspect of his life. As a means by which to achieve these goals, Ilia took up the work of a historian: he conducted intensive research and exposed those who had falsified history and dishonored the Georgian nation.

This great philosopher, writer, and historian often repeated the statement “A nation whose language is corrupted can no longer exist as a nation.” He cared deeply about the Georgian language and fought to ensure that it remained the primary language taught in schools.

Ilia inspired many with his patriotic zeal, and he founded the Society for the Propagation of Literacy among the Georgians. He established a depository of Georgian manuscripts and antiquities. In addition he initiated a movement to document oral folk traditions and helped to found the Georgian Agrarian Bank.

Ilia the Righteous was often heard declaring, “We, the Georgian people, have inherited three divine gifts from our ancestors: our motherland, our language and our faith. If we fail to protect these gifts, what merit will we have as men?”

But Ilia’s righteous deeds were an affront and threat to those who adhered to the new atheist ideology, so they plotted to kill him. On August 30, 1907, Ilia Chavchavadze and his wife, Olga (Guramishvili), had just set off from Tbilisi for Saguramo when their carriage stopped abruptly outside of Mtskheta, near Tsitsamuri Forest.

They were awaited by a band of militant social democrats who attacked them and shot Ilia to death.

The Military Court of the Caucasus sentenced Ilia Chavchavadze’s murderers to death by hanging. But Ilia’s wife Olga requested that the governor-general pardon her husband’s murderers. She asserted that, if Ilia had survived, he would have done the same, since the killers were simply his “unlucky brothers gone astray.”

Indeed, Ilia had forgiven his murderers’ offense long before, in his prophetic poem “Prayer”:

Our Father Who art in Heaven!

With tenderness I stand before Thee on my knees;

I ask for neither wealth nor glory;

I won’t debase my holy prayer with earthly matters.

I would wish for my soul to rest in heaven,

My heart to be radiant with love heralded by Thee,

I would wish to be able to ask forgiveness of mine enemies,

Even if they pierce me in the heart:

Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do!

In 1987 the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church considered the deeds of Ilia Chavchavadze before God and his country and decreed him worthy to be numbered among the saints. He was joyously canonized as St. Ilia “the Righteous.”

(from OCA.org)

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