Κυριακή, 11 Ιουνίου 2017

"We are called to holiness!" ― Two orthodox voices from Africa about the Sunday of All Saints (Sunday after Pentecost)


Sunday of All Saints

Orthodox Metropolis of Zambia and Malawi

Icon from here
 
Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages, amen.
Today we commemorate all the saints who are throughout the world. We commemorate all those who shone, east and west, north and south, as well as those who will become saints. Holiness is not limited to a time or to a certain number of people but rather it spreads like light that disperses the darkness. In this way, Christ’s grace spreads among humankind, and those who approach it possess holiness. The saints do not belong to a long-lost time that has passed. They are present now in our era and they will also be present after us. There is no limit to sanctity, so we commemorate them all in order to know that we are not limited by the feasts of saints whom we know and the dates of whose feasts we know and so celebrate at certain times. Rather, we commemorate all the saints as a result of giving glory to God, who gave us the grace of holiness.
This is an opinion that we must adopt and a teaching that we must follow in order to know that we are also called to holiness. Did we not receive this grace at baptism?! So we must cause it to bear fruit and be serious, as the Apostle Paul teaches about those whom he remembers in today’s epistle, how they suffered, asking us to patiently struggle. This is what is asked of us, to be patient in our struggle, to be patient in or sufferings and our temptations. When we are patient, we will inevitably be victorious, because God, who arranged for us to undertake this struggle, is with us, struggling with us, sanctifying us, and ministering to us, so that we might be victorious and He might be pleased with our struggle.
In this way He looked upon the struggles of Saint Anthony (icon) in the desert. After being exhausted from toil and worn down and wounded by many blows from the devil, Anthony asked the Lord, “Where were you? I I called upon you often, and you did not come to me?” He said to him, “O Anthony, I was with you, rejoicing in your struggle and now I will appear to you in order to confirm to you that you are in a righteous struggle and on the true path.” Do not ask for a miracle immediately. God is with you, so be patient in your struggle. When He sees your patience, He will help you even more and will reveal victory to you.


So let us struggle in patience and let us be persistent. What is the point of this life that we live, if it is not training for us to arrive at holiness? What use is it? It has no use, if it does not lead to holiness and the kingdom. This is the valley of the shadow of death, where man toils and grieves and sheds much sweat, but God will crown his patience with victory, holiness, and the life of the kingdom.
So struggle, especially early in life, because in this way you will become accustomed to following this path. When someone becomes accustomed to loose living and distances himself from the Lord, it is hard for him later to follow this path, just like with sports. If you have trained every day from your youth, then in adulthood and old age you will persist, because you have become used to this regimen. But if you come to train after seventy years of relaxation and immobility, then you will not move at all. So struggle while you are young in order to arrive at victory starting now. Then you will become accustomed to being victorious and evil will not overcome you. Do not be careless and do not allow yourself to submit to the temptations that come your way, lest you become negligent and in your negligence you will not be victorious. But in your struggling and your patience in the suffering, difficulty, and temptation, that you go through, you will be victorious and your reward will stick to Christ and in this way you will become holy.
If you want to know more, you should read the lives of the heroic saints that the Church has announced, not in order to say, “we have many saints” but in order to say to your, “these are the guiding models, you should emulate them and walk in their footsteps.” Then, in your familiarity with the righteous, you can come to Christ and in your daily prayer and reading of the Bible, you will be upright and set limits in your life, so that you do not deviate into sin. In this way you will preserve yourself through discipline and you will struggle with patience and steadfastness and so receive the great reward of being with Christ in the kingdom.
So let all the saints intercede for us, those whom we commemorate in every country and place. Notice that the Church is not limited to local saints. She seeks their intercession, but she commemorates and rejoices in all saints in every place, because they also bear the grace of the Lord and possess this grace in order to sanctify and enlighten us. So by learning from their biographies and their lives, we emulate them and are also filled with their graces, abundant blessings, we are made holy, strengthened, and advance in our struggle. May they bless us on this blessed morning and may they make our life story be in imitation of their story and their holiness, so that we too may receive blessed victory from the Lord. May His name be holy in us, amen.


Because the teaching of our Church is based on the teaching of the Holy Apostles, it is called the Apostolic Church.

 Bishop Neofitos of Nyeri and Bishop Athanasius of Kisumu (Kenya) in Nandi (from here)

Orthodox Archbishopric of Zimbabwe

Our Church this Sunday honors the memory of all the saints in order to show us visible examples of holiness, which we can follow so that we can also enter like them into the Kingdom of Heaven. Among the first saints are the holy Apostles.
Precisely because the teaching of our Church is based for approximately two thousand years on the teaching of the Holy Apostles, it is called the Apostolic Church. The Holy Apostles were the first disciples of Christ who, having received teaching from Him for three years by hearing Christ’s teaching, seeing Christ’s miracles and helping their distressed fellow human beings, they were made worthy on the day of Pentecost with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit of themselves becoming carriers of the Revelation of God and Apostles of the Evangelical message of Salvation through Christ. All the Christians who follow the example of the Holy Apostles are the saints we celebrate today. Main common characteristic of all the saints is that they follow the teachings of our Apostles.
The Holy Apostles were not well-known scholars nor distinguished political men, neither were they wealthy people but they were also not sinners. The Holy Apostles were simple, honest people full of love for their distressed fellow human beings. The saints we honor today are all those who protecting the teachings of the Apostoles.



Above all however, an outstanding well-known characteristic of theirs was deep faith in God. They were pious people. They were guileless, innocent people who could not think of malice against anyone. They were God’s people. Furthermore, most of Christ’s disciples had received their tutorship from the great prophetic entity of Saint John the Baptist who, with his ascetic life and his sermon of repentance, suitably prepared them to serve God completely and to become Disciples and Apostles of Christ. The saints we honor today follow the lives of the holy Apostles.
If the first reason for the Holy Disciples to follow Christ was their piety and their deep faith in God, the second reason was their self-denial of everything for Christ. Truly, they left behind their family, native country, wealth, relatives and friends in order to follow Christ. The decision of the Holy Apostles to become Disciples of Christ was characterized by the lack of every kind of ulterior motive and self-interest. Their motive was their deep faith and pure love for the salvation of humanity. This is what also what our saints did in their lives.
The majority of us today, many times, behave like the wealthy young man of the Gospel, who in the face of Christ’s summons to become His Disciples like the Holy Apostles by selling and distributing his wealth to the poor and the needy, our attitude is rather to distance ourselves impatiently because we are still strongly bound to the material and temporary things of this world.
Some people want things to be on good terms for them both on this earth and in heaven. On earth they want to be stuck to their material possessions without them having any inclination to share them with those who don’t have and to generally support the important, philanthropic, catechistic and missionary work of our Church. In heaven, they think again that they are secure because they have not murdered, they have not stolen, they honour their father and mother and they attend Church at Christmas and Easter. They deceive themselves

Собор славных и всехвальных 12-ти апостолов
however, because as it is evident from the report given by our Church on the life of the Holy Apostles in today’s specific Gospel extract of the Apostle Paul’s letter, it is not merely enough for someone who wants to enter the Kingdom of Heaven to avoid sinning, but what counts is the efforts he makes to contribute to the facing of the problems which torment and cause suffering to his fellow human beings. This is what our saints did in their lives.

Icon: The Holy Apostles (from here)
 
Our Lord Jesus Christ speaks with the same anguish in today’s Gospel extract when He refers to the harvest being plentiful but the workers being few. That is, people expect with their innocence to hear the Word of God in order to be saved but even so, those who are ready and prepared with self-sacrifice and love to carry out this important Apostolic work are few indeed.
Hence, just like in Christ’s time when the workers of the Gospel were few, as were the Holy Apostles, and there was a multitude of people who relied on the salvific message of the Gospel and then the saints, similarly today, there are people everywhere who wait to hear the Word of God but even so we are unable to harvest because we are lacking in enlightened people who are ready to leave everything, to leave their comfortable way of life, to become Apostles, for humanity to be saved.
However, if this is difficult to achieve from the multitude, just as it was in Christ’s time, let at least some people stop fighting against the contemporary Apostles of our time, who have been called by God for the Evangelism of humanity, because they do not merely fight against these honest workers of the Gospel, but against the work of God for the evangelism of the world.
Our Blessed Patriarch, our Metropolitans, our Bishops and our worthy clergy with the co-operation of the devout pioneering lay people, support “in many ways and in many places” ethically and materially the work of our church. We continue our historical course of two thousand years heading towards the third millennium, following the example of the Holy Apostles and all the saints of our Church, transferring the Evangelical message of salvation to all the races of the earth, by participating with our prayers and works in the social problems of our fellow human beings.
The Apostolic identification of our church is preserved when we follow daily the examples of the lives of the Holy Apostles and all our saints. 


See also

"That is the purpose of the Church, to make people holy" : Sunday of All Saints 
OBSERVING THE FEAST DAYS OF THE AFRICAN SAINTS (& The perennial honoring of saints by the Church)
Tags: African Saints, Saints, Saints (another), Watakatifu, Santé, Santos, التأله

The Gospel of the Sunday of All Saints



Orthodox Metropolis of Zambia and Malawi

Matthew 10:32-33. 37-38.
 
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
 

Matthew 19:27-30

27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.


O Evangelho do Domingo de Todos os Santos

Mateus 10:32-33
 

32 Portanto, qualquer que me confessar diante dos homens, eu o confessarei diante de meu Pai, que está nos céus. 33 Mas qualquer que me negar diante dos homens, eu o negarei também diante de meu Pai, que está nos céus
Mateus 10:37-38
37 Quem ama o pai ou a mãe mais do que a mim não é digno de mim; e quem ama o filho ou a filha mais do que a mim não é digno de mim. 38 E quem não toma a sua cruz e não segue após mim não é digno de mim.
 

Mateus 19:27-30
 

27 Então, Pedro, tomando a palavra, disse-lhe: Eis que nós deixamos tudo e te seguimos; que receberemos? 28 E Jesus disse-lhes: Em verdade vos digo que vós, que me seguistes, quando, na regeneração, o Filho do Homem se assentar no trono da sua glória, também vos assentareis sobre doze tronos, para julgar as doze tribos de Israel. 29 E todo aquele que tiver deixado casas, ou irmãos, ou irmãs, ou pai, ou mãe, ou mulher, ou filhos, ou terras, por amor do meu nome, receberá cem vezes tanto e herdará a vida eterna. 30 Porém muitos primeiros serão derradeiros, e muitos derradeiros serão primeiros.

Injili ya Jumapili ya Watakatifu wote

Matayo 10:32-33
 
32 Kila mtu atakayenikiri mbele ya watu, mimi pia nitamkiri mbele ya Baba yangu aliye mbinguni. 33 Lakini ye yote atakayenikana mbele ya watu, mimi pia nitamkana mbele ya Baba yangu aliye mbinguni.”


Matayo 10:37-38
 

37 Ye yote anayempenda baba yake au mama yake kuliko anavyonipenda mimi, hastahili kuwa wangu. Na ye yote ampendaye mwanae au binti yake kuliko anavyoni penda mimi, hastahili kuwa wangu. 38 Na ye yote asiyechukua msalaba wake na kunifuata, hastahili kuwa wangu.
 

Matayo 19:27-30
 

27 Ndipo Petro aka mwambia, “Na sisi tulioacha kila kitu tukakufuata tutapata nini?”
28 Yesu akawajibu, “Ninawahakikishia kwamba, katika dunia mpya, wakati mimi Mwana wa Adamu nitakapoketi kwenye kiti changu cha utukufu cha enzi, ninyi mlionifuata pia mtaketi katika viti vya enzi kumi na viwili, mkiyahukumu yale makabila kumi na mawili ya Israeli. 29 Na kila mtu aliyeacha nyumba au ndugu zake au dada zake au baba au mama au watoto wake au mashamba kwa ajili ya jina langu, atapokea mara mia zaidi ya hayo, na atarithi uzima wa milele. 30 Lakini wengi walio wa kwanza watakuwa wa mwisho na walio wa mwisho watakuwa wa kwanza.”


إنجيل الأحد لجميع القديسين

ﻣﺘﻰ 10:32-33
الاعتِرافُ بِالمَسِيحِ أمامَ النّاس
32 «كُلُّ مَنْ يَعتَرِفُ بِي أمامَ الآخَرِينَ، فَسَأعتَرِفُ بِهِ أمامَ أبِي الَّذِي فِي السَّماءِ. 33 وَمَنْ يُنكِرُنِي أمامَ النّاسِ، سَأُنكِرُهُ أمامَ أبِي الَّذِي فِي السَّماءِ.


ﻣﺘﻰ 10:37
37 «لِأنَّ مَنْ يُحِبُّ أباهُ وَأُمَّهُ أكثَرَ مِنِّي، لا يَستَحِقُّ أنْ يَكُونَ مِنْ خاصَّتِي. مَنْ يُحِبُّ ابْناً أوْ ابنَةً أكثَرَ مِنِّي، لا يَستَحِقُّ أنْ يَكُونَ مِنْ خاصَّتِي. 38 وَمَنْ لا يَأخُذُ صَلِيبَهُ وَيَتبَعُنِي فَهُوَ لا يَستَحِقُّنيْ.


ﻣﺘﻰ 19:27-30
27 حَينَئِذٍ قالَ لَهُ بُطرُسُ: «ها نَحنُ قَدْ تَرَكنا كُلَّ شَيءٍ لِكَيْ نَتبَعَكَ! فَماذا سَيَكُونُ لَنا؟»
28 فَقالَ لَهُمْ يَسُوعُ: «أقولُ الحَقَّ لَكُمْ، عِندَما يَجلِسُ ابْنُ الإنسانِ عَلَى عَرشِهِ المَجِيدِ فِي العَصْرِ الجَدِيدِ، سَتَجلِسُونَ أنتُمُ الَّذِينَ تَبِعْتُمُونِي عَلَى اثْنَي عَشَرَ عَرْشاً، لِتَحكُمُوا عَلَى قَبائِلِ بَنيْ إسرائِيلَ الاثنَتَي عَشْرَةَ. 29 وَكُلُّ مَنْ تَرَكَ بُيُوتاً أوْ إخْوَةً أوْ أخَواتٍ أوْ أباً أوْ أُمّاً أوْ أبناءاً أوْ حُقُولاً مِنء أجلِي، فَإنَّهُ سَيَنالُ مِئَةَ ضِعْفٍ، وَسَيَرَثُ الحَياةَ الآتِيَةَ مَعَ اللهِ إلَى الأبَدِ.» 30 فكَثيرونَ هُمْ أوَّلُ النّاسِ الَّذينَ سَيَصيرونَ آخِرَ النّاسِ، وَكَثيرونَ هُمْ آخِرُ النّاسِ الَّذينَ سَيَصيرونَ أوَّلَ النّاسِ.

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