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Sunday, 21st December 2014 --- 12 Kiahk 1731





Today's Readings



Readings for Fourth Sunday of Nativity Fast




Vespers

Vespers Psalm

From the Psalms of our teacher David the prophet.
May his blessings be with us all.

Psalms 144 : 5,7

Chapter 144

5Bow down Your heavens, O LORD, and come down; Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
7Stretch out Your hand from above; Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, From the hand of foreigners,

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Our Lord God, Savior, and King of us all, Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God to whom be glory forever.
Amen.

Vespers Gospel

Stand in the fear of God and listen to the Holy Gospel.
A reading from the Gospel according to our teacher Saint Luke the Evangelist.
May His Blessings be with us all.

Luke 7 : 36 - 50

Chapter 7

36Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat.
37And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,
38and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
39Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner."
40And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." So he said, "Teacher, say it."
41"There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?"
43Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged."
44Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.
45You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.
46You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.
47Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little."
48Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
49And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
50Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

And Glory be to God forever.


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Matins

Matins Psalm

From the Psalms of our teacher David the prophet.
May his blessings be with us all.

Psalms 71 : 6 - 7

Chapter 71

6By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise shall be continually of You.
7I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Our Lord God, Savior, and King of us all, Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God to whom be glory forever.
Amen.


Matins Gospel

Stand in the fear of God and listen to the Holy Gospel.
A reading from the Gospel according to our teacher Saint Luke the Evangelist.
May His Blessings be with us all.

Luke 11 : 20 - 28

Chapter 11

20But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace.
22But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.
23He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
24"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, "I will return to my house from which I came.'
25And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order.
26Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first."
27And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!"
28But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

And Glory be to God forever.


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Liturgy

Paulines Epistle

Paul, the servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, appointed to the Gospel of God.
A reading from the Epistle of our teacher Paul to the Romans .
May his blessings be upon us.
Amen.

Romans 3 : 1 - 4 : 3

Chapter 3

1What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?
2Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.
3For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
4Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged."
5But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.)
6Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?
7For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?
8And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"?--as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.
9What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;
11There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
12They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."
13"Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips";
14"Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."
15"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17And the way of peace they have not known."
18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
26to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
29Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also,
30since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
31Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Chapter 4

1What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

The grace of God the Father be with you all.
Amen.


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Catholic Epistle

A Reading from Epistle 1 of St. John .
May his blessing be upon us.
Amen.

1 John 1 : 1 - 2 : 2

Chapter 1

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life--
2the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us--
3that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
4And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
5This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
6If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Chapter 2

1My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
2And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Do not love the world or the things in the world.
The world passes away, and its desires; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Amen.


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Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of our fathers the apostles, may their blessings be with us.

Acts 7 : 30 - 34

Chapter 7

30"And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.
31When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him,
32saying, "I am the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses trembled and dared not look.
33"Then the LORD said to him, "Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.
34I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt."'

The word of the Lord shall grow, multiply, be mighty, and be confirmed, in the holy Church of God.
Amen.


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Synaxarium

Day 12 of the Blessed Coptic Month of Kiahk, may God make it always received, year after year, with reassurance and tranquility, while our sins after forgiven by the tender mercies of our God my fathers and brothers.
Amen.

The Twelfth Day of the Blessed Month of Kiahk

Commemoration of the Honorable Angel Michael the Archangel

   On this day is the commemoration of the honorable angel Michael, the Archangel, who is standing before God the Almighty interceding on behalf of the human race saying, "O Thou Who art not prone to anger, do not be angry. 0 Righteous One, have mercy on Your creation. 0 Thou Who is long suffering, do not destroy the work of Thy Hands."

May His intercession be for us. Amen.

Departure of St.Hedra, Bishop of Aswan

     On this day also, the great father Abba Hedra, Bishop of Aswan, departed. His parents, who were Christians, raised him and taught him the fear of God since an early age. When he was 18 years old, his parents wanted him to marry one of his relatives, but he refused with the excuse that he was ill. That morning he went to church early, prayed with the congregation asking the Lord Christ to reveal to him, through the readings of the scriptures, what was His will for him. He heard what comforted him. When he left the church, he saw a deceased person was carried and on his way to the cemetery. He walked among the mourners, talking to himself saying, "Listen Hedra, it is not this one that died but you yourself who died from this futile world." When they arrived at the cemetery and buried the deceased, he did not go back to his home but joined the monastery and lived among the monks. When his family and friends heard what he did, they went and told him, "In so doing you have brought grief to us and have saddened your fiancee's heart." They added, "You can worship God in any place you desire." When they failed to change his mind, they went back with grief-filled hearts for his separation. Henceforth St. Hedra went on in intense worship, asceticism, continuous fasting, uninterrupted prayers, and numerous metanias. He was a contemporary of St. Poemin and became his disciple. St. Hedra was guided by Anba Poemin's teachings and his good example.

      Eight years later, he asked to live a solitary life in the desert. Anba Poemin asked him to read the biography of the great saint Anba Antonius (Antony) the father of all monks, in order to learn how to fight the evil enemy, Satan. When the elders allowed him, he went in the desert until he found a cave wherein he lived. He lived there for many years fighting the devil and his soldiers. The devil tempted him frequently. One time the devil appeared with a sword in his hand and wanted to cut off Anba Hedra's hands. The saint cried to the Lord and the devil disappeared at once. One day he left his cave and when he came back, he found a huge dragon in the cave. He prayed to the Lord saying, "My Lord and Master, if it is Your will for me to live with this beast, to be it" He then looked at the dragon and found that it was cut into three pieces. He was in a continuous war with the devils, awakened during the night and unsettled during the day, but the Lord saved him from them all. The defiled spirits cried saying, "Woe to you Hedra for your prayers burnt us and expelled us from the wilderness." He shut himself up in his cell. Nevertheless, they brought the sick and those with evil spirits to him, he prayed over oil, anointed them with it, and they were healed immediately. Syrian monks came to him, asking about unclear issues in the Scriptures (Holy Books). He explained all to them and they marvelled at his knowledge, saying, "We have been in many monasteries and mountains, visited teachers and philosophers, but we did not find anyone to explain these issues as St. Hedra did." When the bishop of the city of Aswan departed, some of the people of the city went to the monastery. There they met the Syrian monks who praised St. Hedra highly. They went to St.Hedra and took him, against his will, and travelled to Alexandria. Anba Theophilus, Pope of Alexandria, ordained him bishop over them. When he sat on his chair, he went on preaching to his people and teaching them the way of life. He performed many miracles and lived the rest of his life in a good demeanor then departed in peace.

May His prayers be with us. Amen.

Commemoration of St.John the Confessor

      Today we also commemorate the departure of St. John the Confessor.

May His prayers be with us. Amen.

Assembly of a Council in Rome against Benates (or Novatus) the Priest

      Also on this day, of the year 249 A.D., a holy Council was assembled in the city of Rome. This was in the first year of the reign of Decius, the infidel, and during the days of Cornelius, Pope of Rome, Dionysius, Pope of Alexandria, Flavianus, Patriarch of Antioch, and Germanus, Archbishop of Jerusalem. They assembled to judge Benates (or Novatus), a priest who said that whoever denied Christ and forsook the faith in the time of persecution, will not be accepted when he repents. Those who committed fornication shall not be accepted when they repent. Abba Cornelius rebuked him for what he was saying, but he did not hearken. Abba Cornelius gathered a Council of 60 bishops and 18 learned priests and deacons of Rome to debate with Benates his teachings. These, he said were based on the words of St. Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame." (Hebrews 6:4-6) The fathers replied and explained to him that the Apostle did not say this concerning the man who repents but concerning the man who intends to be baptized every time he is fallen into sin, for baptism can be carried on only once. Therefore, the Apostle went on saying, "They crucify again for themselves the Son of God and put Him to an open shame." The Apostle here explains that since the crucifixion happened only once, so it is for baptism. As for the door to repentance, it is open to every repentant, otherwise everyone who falls in the sin of denying Christ or sins again will not be accepted even if he repents. That would mean then that David's repentance was not accepted, and when Peter denied the Lord Jesus, his repentance also was not accepted. Therefore, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon St.Peter would be worthless also, setting him to shepherd His flock, invalid, and that would nullify every baptism he performed. On the whole, according to Novatus' opinion, everyone would have perished and that is extreme ignorance. Christ the Lord came to the world to save sinners and to lead them to repentance for He said, "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3) All those who gathered against Benates advised him to abandon his erroneous opinion and repent for it. They told him, "Do not be an enemy of God, yourself and of all mankind." Since Benates did not relinquish his opinion, the Council exiled him, and excommunicated him and all those who believed in his word.

May The prayers of those saints be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


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Divine Psalm

Stand in the fear of God and listen to the Holy Gospel.
A reading from the Gospel according to our teacher Saint John the Evangelist.
May His Blessings be with us all. Amen.
From the Psalms of our teacher David the prophet, and the Good King.
May his blessings be with us all.

Psalms 45 : 10 - 11

Chapter 45

10Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father's house;
11So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.


Hallelujah.


Divine Gospel

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Our Lord God, Savior, and King of us all, Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God to whom be glory forever.
Amen.

Luke 1 : 26 - 38

Chapter 1

26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
29But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
34Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
35And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
36Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
37For with God nothing will be impossible."
38Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.


And Glory be to God forever.


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Today's Readings



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