1985 trans. | 中文(简) | српски [2]

1.THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR CLEMENT, BISHOP OF ROME

Clement was born in Rome of royal lineage and was a contemporary of the holy apostles. His mother and two brothers, traveling on the sea, were carried by a storm to different places. His father then went to find his wife and two sons and he, too, became lost. Clement, being twenty-four years old, then set out for the east to seek his parents and brothers. In Alexandria, he made the acquaintance of the Apostle Barnabas and, afterward, he joined the Apostle Peter whom his two brothers, Faustinus and Faustinian, had already followed. By God's providence, the Apostle Peter came upon Clement's mother as an aged beggar woman and then his father also. Thus, the whole family was united and all returned to Rome as Christians. Clement did not separate himself from the great apostle, who appointed him as bishop before his death. After the death of Peter by martyrdom, the bishop of Rome was Linus, then Cletus [Anacletus] - both of them for a short time - and then Clement. Clement governed the Church of God with flaming zeal and, from day to day, brought a great number of unbelievers to the Faith of Christ. In addition, he ordered seven scribes to write the lives of the Christian martyrs who, at that time, suffered for their Lord. The Emperor Trajan banished him to Cherson where Clement found about two thousand exiled Christians. All were occupied with the difficult job of hewing stones in an arid place. The Christians received Clement with great joy and he was a living source of comfort to them. By his prayer, he brought forth water from the ground and converted so many of the unbelieving residents to Christianity that, in one year, seventy-five churches were built in that place. In order that he not further spread the Faith of Christ, Clement was condemned to death and drowned in the sea with a stone around his neck in the year 101 A.D. His miracle-working relics were removed from the sea only in the time of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

2. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR PETER, ARCHBISHOP OF ALEXANDRIA

Peter was a disciple and successor of St. Theonas, Archbishop of Alexandria and, was for a time, was a teacher at Origen's famous school of philosophy. He ascended the archiepiscopal throne in the year 299 A.D., and died a martyr's death in 311 A.D., alongside the grave of the holy Apostle Mark. He governed the Church in the most difficult times when assaults were made by unbelievers against the faithful from without and by heretics from within. During his time, six hundred and seventy Christians suffered in Alexandria; often, whole families were led to the scaffold and perished. At this time, the ungodly Arius confused the faithful with his false teaching. St. Peter cut him off him from the Church and anathematized him both, in this world and in the next. The Lord Himself appeared to this great and wonderful saint in prison.

3. THE VENERABLE PAPHNUTIUS

Paphnutius never drank wine. Once, bandits seized him and the leader of the bandits forced him to drink a glass of wine. Seeing the good-naturedness of Paphnutius, the chief of the bandits repented and abandoned his brigand occupation.

HYMN OF PRAISE

THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR CLEMENT, BISHOP OF ROME

The Aristocrat Clement, of noble birth

Of the living Lord, became a zealous servant.

Scorned all the vanity of opulent Rome,

Above all illusions, raised his spirit.

Spiritual kinship with Peter, bound him,

From bodily kinship, with the emperor loosened.

As a shining star, in Rome he glowed,

With the Honorable Cross, dispelled the dense darkness;

The Apostolic Church, adorned and strengthened,

And, the weak powers of the demons, enraged.

A tempest from the demonic powers rose up

In order to slay with death, the saint of God,

His body they killed; the soul to Paradise went.

On the bottom of the waters of the sea, the holy body remained.

Iron, for eight centuries, would corrode

But, the body of the knight of Christ did not corrode,

But, many glorious miracles proclaimed,

And, with Christ, God glorified Clement.

O, Clement holy, help us also

By your prayers, before the throne of God.

REFLECTION

It said of St. Peter of Alexandria that he never climbed the steps and sat on the patriarchal throne in church but rather stood or sat before the steps of the throne. When the faithful began to complain why their hierarch does not sit in his place, he replied: "Whenever I approach the throne, I see a heavenly light and power upon it, that is why I do not dare climb and sit on it." Besides this vision, St. Peter had another, yet more wondrous vision. While he sat in prison, the ungodly heretic Arius hypocritically pretended as though he was repenting of his heresy and sent word to the captive Peter that he is renouncing his heresy within an appeal that Peter receive him into the Church again. Arius did this solely because he thought that Peter would be killed and that he would seize the patriarchal throne, from which he could, afterward, spread and strengthen his heresy. Before he gave him any kind of reply, Peter prayed to God in the prison. During prayer, an unusual light illumined the prison and the Lord Jesus appeared to him as a twelve-year-old boy, shining more brightly than the sun so that it was not possible to gaze upon Him. The Lord was clothed in a white tunic [hiton], which was rent down the front, from top to bottom. The Lord was clutching the garment around Himself, with His hands as though to hide His nakedness. Seeing this, St. Peter was in great fear and horror and cried out: "Who, O Savior, has torn Your garment?" The Lord replied: "The madman Arius. He tore it, for he alienated My people from Me whom I acquired by My blood, but be careful not to receive him in communion with the Church for he has cunning and diabolical thoughts against Me and My people." Hearing this, St. Peter replied to his priests, Achilles and Alexander, that he cannot receive Arius' petition for it is false and cunning and the saint pronounced a curse on Arius in both worlds. He also prophesied that, first Achilles and, after that, Alexander would follow him as patriarch and, so it was.

CONTEMPLATION

To contemplate the wondrous creation of the world (Genesis 2):

  1. How God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam and took one of his ribs: "Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man and while he was asleep, he took one of his ribs" (Genesis 2:21);
  2. How the Lord God made the woman, Eve, from Adam's rib and brought her to Adam: "And the rib which the Lord God took from the man, he made into a woman and brought her to him" (Genesis 2:22);
  3. How, here is the foundation and reason for the mystical attraction and unity of husband and wife.

HOMILY

About the apportionment of functions and callings

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists [messengers] and some pastors and teachers" (Ephesians 4:11).

As various organs in a man's body have different functions, but all work in harmony for the good of the entire body, thus, the Lord instituted even in the Church, which is His Body, various organs with different functions. In the first place came the APOSTLES, to whom was given not only one honor but rather all honors, not one function, but rather all functions, not only one gift but rather all the gifts of grace. At one and the same time, the apostles were both APOSTLES and PROPHETS and MESSENGERS (EVANGELISTS), PASTORS and TEACHERS. The apostolic calling is not repeated anymore. Of the Great Apostles, there were twelve and the thirteenth was the Apostle Paul, and of the Lesser Apostles, there were seventy. The PROPHETS are those who received the gift of prophecy from the Holy Spirit. Here, the Old Testament prophets are not thought of but rather the New Testament prophets: "And in these days PROPHETS came from Jerusalem to Antioch" (Acts of the Apostles 11:27); "And as we stayed many days, a certain PROPHET named Agabus came down from Judea" (Acts of the Apostles 21:10); "Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain PROPHETS and TEACHERS" (Acts of the Apostles 13:1). The prophets were and still are prophets regardless of their class and position. The MESSENGERS were first EVANGELISTS who wrote the Gospels; after that, missionaries who spread Christ's teaching among the unbelievers; and finally, the interpreters of Holy Scripture who, in writing, presented the Christian truth for all and everyone. PASTORS and TEACHERS - this is one and the same calling, for it is difficult to imagine a pastor who is not a teacher at the same time. The pastors are limited to a certain place and to a certain number of faithful whom they lead to salvation and they govern the Church of God. Thus, the Lord ordained it all through His holy apostles. Blessed is he who knows his function and the gift he received from the Spirit and who, to the end, serves according to his designation. Just as the Holy Spirit now apportions His gifts, so the Lord, in His time, will apportion rewards. O, Lord, Holy Spirit, True God, help us to the end, to use Your gifts in humility for the well-being of Christ's Church and to our eternal salvation.

With prayers for the health and salvation of
Katherine Arnold on her nameday of St. Katherine

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.