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Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee

From the book, “Thoughts for Each Day of the Year”, St. Theophan the Recluse:

Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee

Luke 18: 10-14

Yesterday the Gospel reading taught us persistence in prayer, and now it teaches humility, or the feeling that we have no right to be heard. Do not assume that you have the right to be heard, but approach prayer as one unworthy of any attention, allowing yourself only the boldness needed to open your mouth and raise up your prayer to God, knowing the Lord’s boundless condescension toward us poor ones. Do not even allow the thought to come to your mind, “I did such and such – so give me such and such.” Consider whatever you might have done as your obligation. If you had not done it you would have been subject to punishment, and what you did deserves no reward; you did not do anything special. That Pharisee enumerated his rights to be heard and left the temple with nothing. The bad thing is not that he actually did as he said, for indeed he should have done it. The bad thing is that he presented it as something special; whereas, having done it he should have thought no more of it. Deliver us, O Lord, from this sin of the Pharisee! People rarely speak like the Pharisee in words, but in the feelings of their heart they are rarely unlike him. For why is it that people pray poorly? It is because they feel as though they are just fine in the sight of God without praying.

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Joint Statement of the Serbian and Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchs

Irenic  & Official visit of His Beatitude Patriarch JOHN X to the Serbian Orthodox Church
From October 11th to 19th, 2018

BELGRADE – 19th of October 2018 – This historical visit, the first since Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch THEODOSIOS VI (Abou-Rjaili) visited Belgrade, was made in the context of the difficult and painful circumstances that are facing the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Syria, Lebanon and the Middle East. This visit also coincides with the crisis that is currently facing the world-wide Orthodox Church, where developments are evolving rapidly and in a disturbing manner, and could lead to the occurrence of permanent detrimental impacts on the bonds of communion, peace and unity between brothers.

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Statement from the Holy Synod of Antioch on Current Developments in the World

The Holy Synod of Antioch met in Our Lady of Balamand Patriarchal Monastery,Lebanon, (October 3-6, 2018) and made the following statement:

The fathers examined the general orthodox situation. They stressed that the Church of Antioch expresses Her deep worries about the attempts to change the boundaries of the Local Orthodox Churches through a new reading of history. She considers that resorting to a unilateral reading of history does not serve Orthodox unity; rather such a change contributes to the fueling of  dissentions and quarrels within the one Church. Thus, the Church of Antioch refuses the principle of establishing parallel jurisdictions within the canonical boundaries of the Patriarchates and the Autocephalous Churches, as a way to solve conflicts, or as a de facto situation in the Orthodox World.

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Reflections on the Dormition of the Mother of God

Christ is in our midst!

Following are reflections on the Dormition of the Mother of God as we look forward to the Dormition Fast:

From the Antiochian Women of North America:

The Church Fathers have written that we should remember three things every day: the Lord Jesus Christ, our Baptism and the remembrance of the day of our death.

Realizing none of us knows the day or hour of our death, we must still be prepared when the Lord comes. Whether at His Second Coming or when we breathe our last breath here and go to be with Him.

Preparation is needed for our last days and, as mentioned, most of us do not know how long we will be on this earth. Any day could be our last. Due to illness, some are made aware of the probable time left.

We have been given a way to follow by the Theotokos. Read more…

Selections from The Life of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, published by Holy Apostles Convent and Dormition Skete

THE THEOTOKOS DELIVERS HER SOUL, FULL OF LIGHT

It was the Lord’s day, and the fifteenth day of the month of August, when that blessed hour that all were awaiting drew near. It was the third hour of the day (9:00 a.m.). In the room a number of lamps were burning. The holy Apostles were offering praise to God. Upon a beautifully adorned bed, the Theotokos was lying and preparing herself for her blessed end when her beloved Son and Lord would come to her. She then greeted each Apostle with a blessing.

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Meditation on Benefits of Prayer — Metropolitan ALEXIOS of Atlanta

In my recent reading, I came across this beautiful explanation of the benefits of prayer, which I feel is a great help to us all. According to St. Ephraim the Syrian,

“Virtues are formed by prayer.
Prayer preserves temperance.
Prayer suppresses anger.
Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy.
Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit,
and raises man to Heaven.”

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