Apolytikion Ήχος Πλ. Δ – 8th
Εξ ύψους κατήλθες…
From on high did You descend O merciful Lord. For us did You endure three days in the tomb. That we may be, released from passions in this world. You who are our resurrection and our life, glory unto you O Lord!
Apolytikion for Sun. of St. John Climacus in the Plagal Fourth Mode
Ταίς τών δακρύων σου ροαίς…
With the streams of thy tears, thou didst cultivate the barrenness of the desert; and by thy sighings from the depths,thou didst bear fruit a hundredfold in labours; and thou becamest a luminary, shining with miracles upon the world, O John our righteous Father. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
Apolytikion of St. Demetrios
Μέγαν εύρατο έν τοίς κινδύνοις…
The world found in you a great champion in dangers a victor who could turn the nations back! As you restrained Levi in the arena, you also inspired Nestor to courage! Therefore, holy, great martyr, Demetrios, entreat Christ God to grant us great mercy!
Seasonal Kontakion in the Plagal Fourth Mode
To you, Theotokos, invincible Defender, having been delivered from peril, I your city, dedicate the victory festival as a thank offering. In your irresistible might, keep me safe from all trials, that I may call out to you: “Hail, unwedded bride!”
Charles and Barbara Mangus (1yr) survived by her daughter Lora Fossler, son-in-law Michael grandchildren Thomas and Kaitlyn
Ernest Constantine (2yrs) survived by his sister Kalliope Hanlon
Louis Zeno (4yrs) survived by his daughter Lisa Khoury, son-in-law Fadi and grandchildren Taylor, Matthew and Andrew
Speros Vlahos (16 years) father and grandfather and George Mehallis (9 years) husband and father of Mantha, Spero, and Rocio Mehallis
Saints and Feast Days
St. John Climacus (St. John of the Ladder)
On this Sunday of Great Lent, we remember St. John Climacus or St. John of the Ladder. He was the abbot of the Monastery of St. Katherine on Mt. Sinai during the seventh century. St. John wrote The Ladder of Divine Ascent, which is a guide to ascetic living (living a spiritually disciplined life). This book is read in every Orthodox monastery during Great Lent. In this book, St. John writes about 33 rungs of the ladder we climb in our ascent to heaven. Each rung represents a different Christian virtue (obedience, repentance, love, humility, etc.).
In today’s Gospel passage, we are shown that through faith in Christ all things are possible. We too need to cry as the father in today’s Gospel, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” Furthermore, this passage reveals that faith to conquer our demons comes only from prayer and fasting. At this point, Christ begins to reveal to the disciples about His upcoming suffering. St. John of the Ladder is commerated on the Fourth Sunday of Lent. His Feast Day is on March 30.
Annunciation of the Theotokos– March 25
Six months after John the Forerunner’s conception, the Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth, a town of Galilee, unto Mary the Virgin, who had come forth from the Temple a mature maiden (see Nov. 21). According to the tradition handed down by the Fathers, she had been betrothed to Joseph four months. On coming to Joseph’s house, the Archangel declared: “Rejoice, thou Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” After some consideration, and turmoil of soul, and fear because of this greeting, the Virgin, when she had finally obtained full assurance concerning God’s unsearchable condescension and the ineffable dispensation that was to take place through her, and believing that all things are possible to the Most High, answered in humility: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” And at this, the Holy Spirit came upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her all-blameless womb, and the Son and Word of God, Who existed before the ages, was conceived past speech and understanding, and became flesh in her immaculate body (Luke 1:26-38).
Bearing in her womb the Uncontainable One, the blessed Virgin went with haste from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea, where Zacharias had his dwelling; for she desired to find Elizabeth her kinswoman and rejoice together with her, because, as she had learned from the Archangel, Elizabeth had conceived in her old age. Furthermore, she wished to tell her of the great things that the Mighty One had been well-pleased to bring to pass in her, and she greeted Elizabeth and drew nigh to her. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, she felt her six-month-old babe, Saint John the Baptist, prophesied of the dawning of the spiritual Sun. Immediately, the aged Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and recognized her as the Mother of her Lord, and with a great voice blessed her and the Fruit that she held within herself. The Virgin also, moved by a supernatural rejoicing in the spirit, glorified her God and Savior, saying: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour,” and the rest, as the divine Luke hath recorded (1:39-55
Healing through Prayer and Fasting
Do you see how He now proceeds to lay beforehand in them the foundation of His doctrine about fasting? You see, at any rate, how many blessings spring from them both. For he who is praying as he ought, and fasting, has not many wants, and he who has not many wants cannot be covetous; he who is not covetous, will be also more disposed for almsgiving. He who fasts is light, and winged, and prays with wakefulness, and quenches his wicked lusts, and propitiates God, and humbles his soul when lifted up. Therefore even the apostles were almost always fasting. He who prays with fasting has his wings double, and lighter than the very winds… nothing is mightier than the man who prays sincerely…But if your body is too weak to fast continually…although you cannot fast, yet you can avoid luxurious living.
St. John Chrysostom
The Reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 6:13-20
BRETHREN, when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore to himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. Men indeed swear by a greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he interposed with an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God should prove false, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Sunday of St. John Climacus
The Reading is from Mark 9:17-31
At that time, a man came to Jesus kneeling and saying: “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; and wherever it seizes him it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has he had this?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he would not have any one know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”