Feast of St. Andrew the First Called

30 November 10

In honour

of the Name’s Day

my oldest brother.


Commemorated on November 30

The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called was the first of the Apostles to follow Christ, and he later brought his own brother, the holy Apostle Peter, to Christ (John 1:35-42). The future apostle was from Bethsaida, and from his youth he turned with all his soul to God. He did not enter into marriage, and he worked with his brother as a fisherman. When the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John began to preach, St Andrew became his closest disciple. St John the Baptist himself sent to Christ his own two disciples, the future Apostles Andrew and John the Theologian, declaring Christ to be the Lamb of God.

After the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, St Andrew went to the Eastern lands preaching the Word of God. He went through Asia Minor, Thrace, Macedonia, he reached the River Danube, went along the coast of the Black Sea, through Crimea, the Black Sea region and along the River Dniepr he climbed to the place where the city of Kiev now stands.

He stopped overnight on the hills of Kiev. Rising in the morning, he said to those disciples that were with him: “See these hills? Upon these hills shall shine forth the beneficence of God, and there will be a great city here, and God shall raise up many churches.” The apostle went up around the hills, blessed them and set up a cross. Having prayed, he went up even further along the Dniepr and reached a settlement of the Slavs, where Novgorod was built. From here the apostle went through the land of the Varangians towards Rome for preaching, and again he returned to Thrace, where in the small village of Byzantium, the future Constantinople, he founded the Church of Christ. The name of the holy Apostle Andrew links the mother, the Church of Constantinople, with her daughter, the Russian Church.

On his journeys the First-Called Apostle endured many sufferings and torments from pagans: they cast him out of their cities and they beat him. In Sinope they pelted him with stones, but remaining unharmed, the persistant disciple of Christ continued to preach to people about the Savior. Through the prayers of the Apostle, the Lord worked miracles. By the labors of the holy Apostle Andrew, Christian Churches were established, for which he provided bishops and clergy. The final city to which the Apostle came was the city of Patra, where he was destined to suffer martyrdom.

The Lord worked many miracles through His disciple in Patra. The infirm were made whole, and the blind received their sight. Through the prayers of the Apostle, the illustrious citizen Sosios recovered from serious illness; he healed Maximilla, wife of the governor of Patra, and his brother Stratokles. The miracles accomplished by the Apostle and his fiery speech enlightened almost all the citizens of the city of Patra with the true Faith.

Few pagans remained at Patra, but among them was the prefect of the city, Aegeatos. The Apostle Andrew repeatedly turned to him with the words of the Gospel. But even the miracles of the Apostle did not convince Aegeatos. The holy Apostle with love and humility appealed to his soul, striving to reveal to him the Christian mystery of life eternal, through the wonderworking power of the Holy Cross of the Lord. The angry Aegeatos gave orders to crucify the apostle. The pagan thought he might undo St Andrew’s preaching if he were to put him to death on the cross.

St Andrew the First-Called accepted the decision of the prefect with joy and with prayer to the Lord, and went willingly to the place of execution. In order to prolong the suffering of the saint, Aegeatos gave orders not to nail the saint’s hands and feet, but to tie them to the cross. For two days the apostle taught the citizens who gathered about. The people, in listening to him, with all their souls pitied him and tried to take St Andrew down from the cross. Fearing a riot of the people, Aegeatos gave orders to stop the execution. But the holy apostle began to pray that the Lord would grant him death on the cross. Just as the soldiers tried to take hold of the Apostle Andrew, they lost control of their hands. The crucified apostle, having given glory to God, said: “Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit.” Then a blazing ray of divine light illumined the cross and the martyr crucified upon it. When the light faded, the holy Apostle Andrew had already given up his holy soul to the Lord. Maximilla, the wife of the prefect, had the body of the saint taken down from the cross, and buried him with honor.

A few centuries later, under the emperor Constantine the Great, the relics of the holy Apostle Andrew were solemnly transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Apostles beside the relics of the holy Evangelist Luke and St Paul’s disciple St Timothy.

Troparion – Tone 4

Andrew, first-called of the Apostles
and brother of the foremost disciple,
entreat the Master of all
to grant peace to the world
and to our souls great mercy.

Kontakion – Tone 2

Let us praise Andrew, the herald of God,
the namesake of courage,
the first-called of the Savior’s disciples
and the brother of Peter.
As he once called to his brother, he now cries out to us:
“Come, for we have found the One whom the world desires!”

Semi-Obligatory Thanksgiving Post 2010

24 November 10

Well, it is the eve of Thanksgiving and all is quiet on the home front. There is so much I am grateful for and honestly I am not really sure where to start.

My wife, our little family… I love my family with all my heart and although we have struggles and issues they are the reason I do what I do in my life that makes me question my sanity at times. I want what’s best for them and that makes it worth it.

My family… I am so grateful and thankful for my mother. I wish there was more I could do to help her with her struggles. She has done so much for me it seems almost selfish to not help in some way.

My mom has always been there for me. Good and bad easy and heartbreaking she has always shown me the love that she has for me even when I did not deserve it. I am grateful for all the lessons she has taught me and for all of the advice she has tried to give me. She is my mother and I will always love her.

My friends… there are not many people who have managed to stay in this category for long periods of time. The few that are, I hope they know what they mean to me. Life has its ups and downs and we manage, even in this age of instant communication, to drift apart at times, even if we don’t mean to.

This year has been such an up and down year, but aren’t they all? In the end I have the most loving, caring, patient wife, and beautiful family with a 3 week old son. I have a mission family whom I am so grateful for. They have been a great support in so many ways this year and I am so thankful for all the time and effort and love and support they have shown to us.

All of these things I have are all due to the love and mercy of God, without whom none of this would have ever happened. I am so grateful for the gifts I have been given and am so unworthy of, yet here they are. Glory to God in the highest!

Glory to God for all things!

Day 1: NTC

15 November 10

I got through 8 chapters if the Gospel of Matthew tonight. I over read a bit. I know, but once I started reading I just got sucked in. I learned so many things from the footnotes of the OSB that I had heard or read before, but had forgotten.

I plan on following through with this reading plan as much as I can, especially since with a 2 and a half yr old, a pregnant wife and a 13 day old fasting gets tough. This, I think is a good supplement.

Maybe I will write more tomorrow. Right now, bed time.

2010 New Testament Challenge

14 November 10

New Testament Challenge 2010 for the Nativity Fast

During the Nativity Fast, beginning tomorrow, I am going to undertake an exercise (ascesis) in reading Scripture, which Fr. John Peck in Prescott, AZ calls “The New Testament Challenge.”

It’s really not all that challenging, but for someone who has never read the entire New Testament before, it is an excellent time for just such an exercise. Beginning Nov. 15th, we will do the 40 day reading schedule alone – together

This makes the entire Nativity Fast a time of real devoted ascetic effort and spiritual growth. It is especially appropriate as the term Advent, basically implies a preparation and anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ. Notice, on Christmas Day, one is finishing Revelation!

As a community we will count down the days of the Nativity Fast by not only keeping the fast of the church but by committing to this spiritual exercise. What do you say?

New Testament Challenge

40 Days

1. Matthew 1-7

2. Matthew 8-12

3. Matthew 13-18

4. Matthew 19-24

5. Matthew 25-28

6. Mark 1-4

7. Mark 5-8

8. Mark 9-12

9. Mark 13-16

10. Luke 1-3

11. Luke 4-7

12. Luke 8-11

13. Luke 12-16

14. Luke 17-21

15. Luke 22-24

16. John 1-5

17. John 6-10

18. John 11-16

19. John 17-21

20. Acts 1-6

21. Acts 7-10

22. Acts 11-16

23. Acts 17-22

24. Acts 23-28

25. Romans 1-8

26. Romans 9-16

27. 1 Corinthians 1-9

28. 1 Corinthians 10-16

29. 2 Corinthians 1-13

30. Galatians – Ephesians

31. Philippians – Colossians

32. 1-2 Thessalonians

33. 1 -2 Timothy

34. Titus – Philemon

35. Hebrews 1-10

36. Hebrews 11-13 & James

37. 1- 2 Peter

38. 1 John – 3 John

39. Revelation 1-11

40. Revelation 12-22

New Life With 2

6 November 10

Well, it happened Tuesday. Baby Judah Konstantin Martinka was born. Labor began at 1AM and Rach woke me up at 3. The day before we had our doctor’s appointment and t the end of the appointment she said the following three things:

1. You probably won’t make it past Wednesday.
2. Your labor will probably short, from start to finished 4 hours.
3. I do not expect him to be much over 8lbs.

Well, in retrospect, 2 out of three is not bad.

1. He was born t 5:15AM on Tuesday night.
2. Labor was, from start to finish 4 hours.
3. In the end he came out weighing 8 lbs. 13 oz.

Life is a bit different now. For all of us. I think its harder on the girls in the house. Rach has to be  mom to two now and she and Talia have to figure out how to do that at home while I m at work. Talia has to figure out how to be  big sister to a little brother whose wants and  needs are going to trump hers most of the time. Right now her Fresno Gramma is here with us helping Rach navigate all of this and so things re off to a good start.

Rach is on bed rest right now because her healing is taking a bit longer than it did with Talia but she and he are both doing really well. I go back to work on Monday. That is going to be  hard adjustment for me after being off of work for almost a week. I m proud tht in the midst of ll of this I did manage to get all of my college assignments completed for my lst week of my ENG 106 class. Next 8 weeks – Biology 101. God help me.

Talia is such a good big sister and she loves her little brother. She has been by his side all week and when he is sad she has to make sure she kisses him so that he feels better. It is the cutest thing in the world. She loves to take pictures with him and hold him.

Right now, as soon as I publish this blog we are going to go to a Fall Festival. I had wanted to bring Judah with me, but with Rach on bed rest that was not going to happen right now. We have had some friends over to see him and Father and Matushka came over to the hospital to give Rach and Judah  blessing and the Rite of Naming. In  little less than 4 days (Dec. 12) we will have the baptism of Judah and the Churching of Rach. I remember this from Talia. I love this part.

Well, that is all for now. I will be writing more and posting pictures both here and on FaceBook.

Here is also a link to a video I posted earlier of Judah and Mamma.