Monthly Archives: April 2017

WEEKLY PROGRAM | 30 APRIL – 6 MAY 2017

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤH! CHRIST IS ARISEN!

SUNDAY 30 APRIL
† Sunday of the Holy Myrrh-bearers | Mark 15:43-16:8
† Apostle James, Bishop
• 7.30 – 11.00am  Orthros and Divine Liturgy
• 10.30 – 11.00am 
Sunday School Classes
• 12.00 – 2.00pm  FUNDRAISING LUNCHEON (YEVMA) in the Church Hall, prepared by our Philoptochos. Tickets at the door – $25 each. Everyone welcome!

This week’s readings:

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WEEKLY PROGRAM | 23 – 29 APRIL 2017

SUNDAY 23 APRIL
† Sunday of Thomas | John 15:17-16:2
† St George, Great-Martyr
• 7.30 – 11.00am Orthros and Divine Liturgy
• 10.30 – 11.00am
Sunday School Classes
SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES FOR ALL AGES!
(A free voluntary program organised by the Church)
Lessons take place in the building behind the church and begin at the time of Holy Communion until Church dismissal. We have classes for ages ranging from 5yrs to teenage years. Lessons are taught in a relaxed, friendly environment. Please bring your children along to learn of their rich Orthodox faith and come close to God and His Love.

This week’s readings:

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Contemporary Tombs

Sunday of the Holy Myrrh-bearers, Mark 15:43-16:8

‘God is dead!’ This is the infamous proclamation of the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Certainly, this same thought must have crossed the minds of the Myrrhbearing women, whom we read about in today’s gospel reading (Mark 15:43-16:8; Third Sunday of Pascha), as they went to anoint the body of Jesus after His death and burial. The Messiah, our God is dead! One Nietzsche’s proofs, of God being dead, he said, was the churches. In other words, there was no evidence of Divine life nor of belief in the Divine in the churches of Europe at that time. The reality may still be occurring during our time, the 21st century. We modern Christians may be burying Christ in a tomb in this day and age. How? Continue reading

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St Joseph of Arimathea & Nicodemus the Righteous

∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼

St Joseph of Arimathea, who buried the crucified Christ

The holy and righteous Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy member of the Jewish Sanhedrin and a secret follower of Christ (Matt. 27:25; John 19:38). His feast day is July 31. He is also commemorated on the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers – the second Sunday after Pascha. Along with St. Nicodemus, St. Joseph removed Christ’s body from the Cross, prepared it for burial, and placed it in his own sepulchre. Jewish spies found out about this and told their authorities, who imprisoned St. Joseph. However, the resurrected Christ appeared to St. Joseph in prison and convinced him of his Resurrection. Some time later the Jews released St. Joseph from prison and banished him from Jerusalem. He then travelled throughout the whole world preaching the Gospel, eventually sowing the seeds of salvation in Britain, where he reposed peacefully in the Lord.

Nicodemus the Righteous

The holy and righteous Nicodemus was a Pharisee who came to hear the Lord by night. After the Crucifixion, he acted as one of the Holy Myrrh-bearers. Because of this, he is commemorated on the Sunday of Myrrh-bearing Women, two weeks after Pascha. In the Gospel of John, he appears three times. The first is the aforementioned encounter, where he visits Jesus in the dead of the night (in order to avoid persecution by the Sanhedrin, the Jewish temple leaders, of which he was a member) to listen to his teachings (John 3:1-21). This meeting, a poignant scene in the Gospel, is where Jesus tells Nicodemus that one must be “born again” in order to enter into the Kingdom of God. The second appearance is in John 7:45-51, where he states the law concerning the arrest of Jesus at the Feast of Booths. Finally, his last appearance is after the Crucifixion where he assists the Noble Joseph in recovering Jesus’ body and preparing it for burial (John 19:39-42).
Not much is known outside of John’s Gospel regarding the life of St. Nicodemus after the Resurrection. Church tradition states that he was possibly martyred sometime during the 1st Century AD.

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St. Ephraim the Syrian: If He was not flesh . . . And if He was not God . . .

The facts themselves bear witness and his divine acts of power teach those who doubt that he is true God, and his sufferings show that he is true man. And if those who are feeble in understanding are not fully assured, they will pay the penalty on his dread day. Continue reading

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St. Gregory the Great: The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples

∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼

Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. He was the only disciple absent; on his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. The Lord came a second time; He offered His side for the disbelieving disciple to touch, held out His hands, and showing the scars of His wounds, healed the wound of his disbelief. Dearly beloved, what do you see in these events? Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed? It was not by chance but in God’s providence. In a marvelous way God’s mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his Master’s body, should heal our wounds of disbelief.

The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ’s wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection. Touching Christ, he cried out: ‘My Lord and my God.’ Jesus said to him: ‘Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed.’ Paul said: ‘Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.’ It is clear, then, that faith is the proof of what can not be seen. What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told: ‘You have believed because you have seen me?’ Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said: ‘My Lord and my God.’ Seeing, he believed; looking at one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see. What follows is reason for great joy: ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.’

There is here a particular reference to ourselves; we hold in our hearts One we have not seen in the flesh. We are included in these words, but only if we follow up our faith with good works. The true believer practices what he believes. But of those who pay only lip service to faith, Paul has this to say: ‘They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works.’ Therefore James says: ‘Faith without works is dead.’

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WEEKLY PROGRAM | 2 – 8 APRIL 2017

SUNDAY 2 APRIL
† Fifth Sunday of Lent, St Mary of Egypt | Mark 10: 32-45
• 7.30 – 11.00am Orthros and Divine Liturgy
• 3.00pm
AFTERNOON TEA FOR THE MADAGASCAR MISSION in the Church Hall
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