Well, as I sit here at the pediatrician’s office waiting for Judah’s checkup I figured it would be a good time to jot a small post.
In the midst of 4 projects right now and I have sent out a few emails in the hopes of obtaining a few more clients. No word yet, but I also have some really close friends who are spreading the word about Theophany Designs. I really am grateful to everyone who has helped me get this business off the ground.
I received my final paycheck from MA today. Yay for rent money. Hopefully all is well there. I have spoken to a few people in the past few weeks, but it is hard to keep in touch when my schedule is blown wide open and they are still in the old 9-5.
Other than that, all is well. Lent is its usual struggle and we are managing our way through it week after week. I am glad to be home from vacation and able to get back into the swing of services and things. I love Lenten services. Their message and solemnity.. nothing like it.
Glory to God for all things.
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!”
The blessed holy martyr Saint Paraskevi was born in Rome (circa 130A.D.) during the reign of the pagan Emperor Adrian. Her parents, Agathon and Politia, were devout Christians even though belief in Christ was a crime against the state punishable by death. Agathon and Politia, who were of nobility, likewise ignored the disdain of their peers by championing the cause of the down trodden. In spite of their devotion to Christ and His teachings, Agathon and Politia secretly and painfully bore the cross of a childless marriage. Trusting in the great mercy and love of God, this Christian
couple did not despair, nor did they cease praying for a child, which they vowed to rear in a God fearing manner. Lo the miracle! Late in life Agathon and Politia were blessed with a daughter. Because the child was born on Friday (Paraskevi in Greek), they named her Paraskevi.
Keeping their promise to God, Agathon and Politia were vigilant in exposing Paraskevi to the fullness of Christianity. The task was made considerably easier because the young girl had a natural penchant for learning. With the help of private tutors, Paraskevi became an ardent student of both Holy Scriptures and secular learning. However, the greatest influence in her life, according to her own testimony, was the Christ-like example of her parents.
Young Paraskevi developed into a cultured, sensitive and beautiful woman. It wasn’t long before some of the noblemen began to take notice of her, and to seek her hand in marriage. Paraskevi always managed, however, to find some excuse to politely refuse. Because inwardly she was convinced that she was destined for a more sublime mission in life.
Paraskevi was orphaned of both parents when she was twenty years old. At this point in her life, that inner feeling, that she was destined for a higher calling, had crystallized into love and zeal for Christ. Her greatest desire was to become an apostle for Christ. To achieve her goal, Paraskevi distributed all her inheritance among the poor of Rome; entered a convent and was tonsured a nun. At the convent, Paraskevi distinguished herself in humility, love and spiritual fortitude. When she finally became proficient in prayer and sacrifice, the Abbess granted her leave so that she could fulfill her life’s ambition; to preach the love of God to all men. This was truly a precarious mission, because the pagan Roman Empire was extremely hostile toward Christianity. Even the most courageous of Christians were reluctant to openly admit that they were followers of Christ. Nevertheless, this did not daunt Paraskevi, nor did it dampen her zeal. As a matter of fact, she began her preaching mission right in Rome! The fervor of her kerygma, and the example of her commitment were such an inspiration, that great multitudes were converted on their very first encounter with the Saint. In spite of her great fame and legacy, Paraskevi managed to elude the authorities. Heartened by this, she decided to extend her ministry to Turkey.
It was in Turkey where Paraskevi experienced her first encounter with the law. One day, as she was preaching just beyond present day Istanbul, in the village of Therapia, the soldiers of Emperor Antonius Pius arrested her. The charge against the young missionary was that the blasphemous words which she uttered were the cause of all the ills that had recently befallen the empire. At her trial, the Emperor, infatuated by her beauty, begged Paraskevi to renounce Christ and worship the idols of Rome. To entice her further, Antonius Pius offered to take her as his wife, and to give her half of his empire. Paraskevi’s reply was quick and resolute: “I have made my choice; no amount of wealth or deprivation can separate me from my love for Christ.” Rebuffed and infuriated, Antonius Pius ordered that Paraskevi be imprisoned and beaten mercilessly until she died. The soldiers were astounded to discover that no matter what punishment and torture she received one day, the next morning she would be as refreshed and carefree as if nothing had happened. Fearing the wrath of the Emperor, the soldiers decided to report this strange phenomenon to him. Castigating the ineptness of his soldiers, Antonius Pius shouted another form of execution. This time he ordered the soldiers to take Paraskevi out to the spot where she was arrested and to prepare a cauldron of boiling water, tar and oil. He further stated that it would be his pleasure to personally supervise the scalding of that “blasphemous Paraskevi”.
When Paraskevi was finally thrown into the boiling cauldron, she reacted as if the water were delightfully lukewarm. In utter disbelief, Antonius again began castigating the soldiers. Softly and with a loving smile, Paraskevi reassured the Emperor that his soldiers had executed his command faithfully. She also stated, “My Lord and Master wills that I continue His work”. Utterly enraged and oblivious of her words, Antonius yelled, “Sprinkle me with the oil and tar. I don’t believe what I see!” Obligingly, Paraskevi scooped some of the boiling mixture in her hands, and splashed it on the Emperor’s face.
Antonius squealed with pain and began yelling, “I’m blind! I can’t see!” Instinctively, he began imploring the Saint to have mercy and pity on him. “Restore my eyesight, and I shall believe”, he begged. “Your God is surely the true God!” Accepting his latter statement as a confession of faith, Paraskevi jumped out of the cauldron; rushed to a spring of water that was nearby, and scooped up fresh cool water onto Antonius’ face, invoked the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and sealed his eyes with the sign of the Precious and Life-saving Cross and the Emperor’s eyesight was restored immediately! The miracle had such a profound effect on Antonius that he not only freed Paraskevi and ordered that all persecutions against Christians be stopped, but he himself was baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. Thus, Paraskevi resumed her apostolic mission with greater zeal and faith. The calm, however, did not last long. Marcus Aurelius, Antonius’ successor, renewed the persecutions against the Christian Church. Paraskevi was beheaded in Rome on the 26th of July, in the year 180 A.D.
Portions of the preceding text are from “The Synaxarion: The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church” by Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, and translated from the French by Christopher Hookway
Its odd how to situations, totally on opposite ends if the spectrum can seem so close together even if in such different ways.
I have written about Gregory a few times before. I am hoping that one day he may take steps toward Orthodoxy, but right now it seems to me that he is just stagnant. He has other things to keep him entertained, but we will see.
I have been thinking of another Gregory since last night. Totally different situation, but in same ways the same. I offer prayers for both Gregorys and leave the rest to God.
I am learning things about a coworker/friend that I am not sure what to think.. I guess the best thing to do here is the same as the others.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the chief of sinners.
These are hard times. However, even with all the stuff I am going through and as hard as it is, it is more important to me to ask for prayers for my younger brother Noah as well as for my mother.
My brother Noah is 12 years old. When he was born he had a heart defect where one of the valves of his heart did not grow correctly and therefore he needs to have a tube placed so that his heart will work properly. There is a slight problem with this though. As he grows the tube will have to be fitted because as he grows, his heart will grow and as that happens he will need surgeries to replace the tube. I believe, he has had at least 4 surgeries up to this point, and apparently it is time for it again.
My mother got a phone call yesterday from the doctor and after they had run some tests they decided it was that time again. He had a situation at the Special Olympics this past year and it was the signal that it was time to do this.
My mother called and she is worried, and rightly so. The last time Noah had surgery he almost died on the table. Granted, they will be even more careful, but there is always that fear that something will happen…
So, I am writing this post with an implied prayer request. If you could sparethe time, even just 5 minutes, please pray for my mother and for Noah Christopher. That mymother will have the strength to handle this along with all of the rest of the drama in her life with her kids (more on this in time, trust me,) and that she will trust God in all things. Also, prayers for Noah. I know from what my mom has said tat he is scared of the surgery and is every time it happens. Prayers for strength and faith for Noah and in the end that God’s Will be done.
Saint Luke the Surgeon, Holy Saint Panteleimon, and Blessed Olga of Alaska, pray unto God for the salvation of my mother Barbara and my brother Noah Christopher, that in all things they may see God and that He may give to them peace and strength in their hour of need.