St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre Church
Publish Date: 2017-06-11
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St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre Church

General Information

  • Phone:
  • 860-664-9434
  • Street Address:

  • 108 E Main St

  • Clinton, CT 06413-0134
  • Mailing Address:

  • PO Box 134

  • Clinton, CT 06413-0134

Contact Information

Services Schedule

Weekly Services

Tuesdays at 8:30a - Daily Matins

Wednesdays at 6:00p - Daily Vespers

Thursday at 8:30a - Daily Matins

Saturday at 5:30p - Great Vespers

Sunday at 9:30a - Divine Liturgy

The Church is also open on Wednesdays for "Open Doors" - confession, meditation and reflection.

Please see our online calendar for dates and times of Feast Day services.

Past Bulletins



We welcome all visitors to our Divine Liturgy and services. While Holy Communion may only be received by prepared Orthodox Christians, our non-Orthodox guests are welcome to participate in our prayers and hymns and to join us in venerating the Cross and and receiving blessed bread at the conclusion of the Liturgy. Please sign our guest card and join us for refreshments and fellowship after the services.

Feel free to ask questions before or after the services. Any member of our Council or Congregation are glad to assist you. Literature about the Orthodox faith and this parish can be found in the narthex (back of the Church).

Members of our Parish Council are:

Susan Hayes - President: Ad Hoc ministires (25th Anniversary, Red House)

Deborah Bray - Vice President: Building & Grounds/ Maintenance Ministries

William Brubaker - Secretary: Communications Ministry

Susan Egan Treasurer

James Pepitone - Member at Large: Outreach & Evangelism Ministries

Demetra Tolis - Member at Large: Fellowship & Stewardship Ministries




2017 Vacation Church School at Three Saints Park

When- July 10-14, 2016. Where- Three Saints Park, 112 Miller Road, Bethany, CT 06524. Time – Daily 9am to 4pm with Family Night on Friday starting at 5pm. Cost- $40 per child. Come join us for our week-long Vacation Church School for youth ages 5-15. Your child will experience fun, faith, friendship, swimming, games, bible study, religious education, worship and song. This year’s theme will be “Living a Virtuous Life in Christ”. Questions? - Call Mary Pagliaro at (203)513-2049 or Fr. Patrick Burns (203) 734-3988 Children of all faiths are welcome!


Volunteers Welcome

"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed." 

- Maya Angelou

Summer is here!  Are you in search of a meaningful use for some excess free time?

Consider joining our team of dedicated volunteers.  Volunteers are always welcome to fill a wide variety of roles at our pantries and meal sites.  The best way to get started is to attend a volunteer orientation & information session.  Sessions are held the second Tuesday of the month at Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main St. Old Saybrook.  Start times are 5:30 p.m. for youth ages 8 to 16 and mandated community service volunteers; 6:30 p.m. for all others.

Upcoming Sessions: Tuesday, June 13th, Tuesday, July 11th and Tuesday August 8th


Summer Food Needs

Summer vacation is a time to relax - but once school ends, many kids may face hunger at home. With typically fewer food drives during the summer, we need your help.

Summer vacationers - donate your non-perishable food at the end of your stay.

Summer groups - beach clubs, athletes and youth groups - please hold a Food Drive for SSKP. 

Summer Gardeners - donate produce from your garden. 

Summer camps - contact us when camp is coming to a close to donate food.

Call (860) 388-1988 or visit for more information. All donations, no matter what the size, are greatly appreciated. Thank you! 


Social Services Help Day & CT Food Bank Mobile Pantry

Please spread the word about this bi-monthly event. Both the Old Saybrook and the Clinton Help Day services are available to all people who live in our shoreline towns. 

The CT Food Bank Mobile Pantry distributes free groceries. Each month both events provide different offerings for community members in need.


Upcoming Dates

Old Saybrook: Thursday, June 22nd

Grace Episcopal Church

336 Main St. Old Saybrook 

Call (860) 395-3188


Clinton: Monday, July 3rd 

Town Hall Annex

54 E. Main St., Clinton 

Call (860) 669-7347

Pastoral Care - General Information

Emergency Sick Calls can be made at any time. Please call Fr Steven at (860) 866-5802, when a family member is admitted to the hospital.

Anointing in Sickness: The Sacrament of Unction is available in Church, the hospital, or your home, for anyone who is sick and suffering, however severe. 

Marriages and Baptisms require early planning, scheduling and selections of sponsors (crown bearers or godparents). See Father before booking dates and reception halls!

Funerals are celebrated for practicing Orthodox Christians. Please see Father for details. The Church opposes cremation; we cannot celebrate funerals for cremations.




Saints and Feasts

June 11

The Sunday of All Saints

Honouring the friends of God with much reverence, the Prophet-King David says, "But to me, exceedingly honourable are Thy friends, O Lord" (Ps. 138:16). And the divine Apostle, recounting the achievements of the Saints, and setting forth their memorial as an example that we might turn away from earthly things and from sin, and emulate their patience and courage in the struggles for virtue, says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every burden, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1).

This commemoration began as the Sunday (Synaxis) of All Martyrs; to them were added all the ranks of Saints who bore witness (the meaning of "Martyr" in Greek) to Christ in manifold ways, even if occasion did not require the shedding of their blood.

Therefore, guided by the teaching of the Divine Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition, we the pious honour all the Saints, the friends of God, for they are keepers of God's commandments, shining examples of virtue, and benefactors of mankind. Of course, we honour the known Saints especially on their own day of the year, as is evident in the Menologion. But since many Saints are unknown, and their number has increased with time, and will continue to increase until the end of time, the Church has appointed that once a year a common commemoration be made of all the Saints. This is the feast that we celebrate today. It is the harvest of the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world; it is the "much fruit" brought forth by that "Grain of wheat that fell into the earth and died" (John 12:24); it is the glorification of the Saints as "the foundation of the Church, the perfection of the Gospel, they who fulfilled in deed the sayings of the Saviour" (Sunday of All Saints, Doxasticon of Vespers).

In this celebration, then, we reverently honour and call blessed all the Righteous, the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Shepherds, Teachers, and Holy Monastics, both men and women alike, known and unknown, who have been added to the choirs of the Saints and shall be added, from the time of Adam until the end of the world, who have been perfected in piety and have glorified God by their holy lives. All these, as well as the orders of the Angels, and especially our most holy Lady and Queen, the Ever-virgin Theotokos Mary, do we honour today, setting their life before us as an example of virtue, and entreating them to intercede in our behalf with God, Whose grace and boundless mercy be with us all. Amen.

June 11

Bartholomew the Holy Apostle

Saint Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles, and had Galilee as his homeland; this is all that is known of him for certain according to the history of the Gospels. Concerning his apostolic work, certain say that he preached in Arabia and Persia, and especially in India, bringing to them the Gospel written by Saint Matthew, which had been written originally in Hebrew, and which was found there one hundred years later by Pantaenus, formerly a stoic philosopher and later an illustrious teacher of the Christian school in Alexandria (see Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., 5: 10). Other accounts say that he went to Armenia. According to some, he ended his life by being crucified, or by being flayed alive, in Albanopolis (Urbanopolis) of Armenia. This also confirms an ancient tradition preserved by the Armenians. According to some, Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same person, because the Evangelists who mention Bartholomew do not mention Nathanael; and John, who alone mentions Nathanael as one of the Twelve, says nothing of Bartholomew. Indeed, Bartholomew is a patronymic, "son of Talmai," which means "bold, spirited" (see also Jesus of Navi 15:14; II Kings 3:3), and Nathanael could have had this as a surname. According to the Synaxarion of the Menaion on April 22, however, it is Simon the Zealot and Nathanael who are the same; the Evangelists who mention Simon the Zealot (or "the Canaanite") do not mention Nathanael.

June 11

Barnabas the Holy Apostle

Saint Barnabas, one of the Seventy, was from Cyprus, of the tribe of Levi, and a fellow disciple with Paul under Gamaliel. He was called Joses, but was renamed Barnabas, which means "son of consolation," perhaps to distinguish him from the Joses called Barsabas and surnamed Justus (Acts 1:23). Saint Barnabas had a field, which he sold and brought the money to the Apostles (Acts 4:36-37). Before the conversion of Saul to Paul, it was Barnabas who was the leader of the Seventy Apostles, the first in preaching and chief spokesman. After Saul's vision on the road to Damascus, it was Barnabas who joined him to the Apostles when the others, because of Saul's reputation as a persecutor of the Church, still feared him (Acts 9:26-27); again it was Saint Barnabas who conscripted Paul as a preacher, bringing him from Tarsus to Antioch after the stoning of Stephen, to assist in spreading the Gospel (Acts 11:25-26). Saint Barnabas preached the Gospel in many places, traveled together with Paul, and finally was stoned to death by the Jews in his native Cyprus. During the reign of Zeno, in the year 478, his sacred relics were found, having on his chest the Gospel according to Matthew written in Greek by Barnabas' own hand. This Gospel was brought to Zeno. Because of this the Church of Cyprus received the right of autonomy, and its archbishop was given the privilege, like the emperor, of signing his decrees and encyclicals in vermilion.

June 11

Revelation of the Hymn Axion Estin to a monk on Mt. Athos by the Archangel Gabriel

The Synaxis of the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos is celebrated today for the following reason: In 980, during the reign of Emperor Basil II, when Nicholas Chrysoberges was Ecumenical Patriarch, the holy Archangel Gabriel appeared in the guise of a monk to the disciple of a certain elder living in a hermitage belonging to the Monastery of Pantocrator on the Holy Mountain. During Matins, after the monk had chanted the customary hymn, "More honorable than the Cherubim...," composed by Saint Cosmas the Hymnographer, the Angel chanted the same hymn, but with the following prelude: "It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, the ever-blessed and all-immaculate and Mother of our God." Marveling at the hymn's beauty, the monk asked his visitor - who appeared also to be a monk - to record this new text in writing, which the Angel did by miraculously inscribing the words on a piece of slate, using only his finger, and straightway he vanished from sight. This slate was brought to the Church of the Protaton, and from thence to Constantinople, to the imperial court and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as evidence of the miracle. Henceforth, this version of the hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos began to be chanted in the Divine Liturgy in all the churches. The place where the miracle took place is now called Adein, from the Greek word which means "to sing." The icon itself, before which this hymn was first chanted, is called "the icon of the Axion estin" ("It is truly meet") and it is kept in the sanctuary of the Church of the Protaton on the Holy Mountain.


Parish Calendar

  • Parish Calendar

    June 11 to June 19, 2017

    Sunday, June 11

    Akathist to St Luke the Confessor

    Akathist to Chinese Martyrs of the Boxer Rebellion

    Fellowship and Stewardship Ministry

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, June 12

    Onuphrius of Egypt

    Tuesday, June 13

    Aquilina the Martyr of Syria

    Nancy Davis

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    Wednesday, June 14

    The Holy Prophet Elisseus (Elisha)

    4:30PM Open Doors

    6:30PM Daily Vespers

    Thursday, June 15

    Amos the Prophet

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    7:00PM Adult Study

    Friday, June 16

    Tychon the Wonderworker

    Saturday, June 17

    Isaurus the Holy Martyr & his Companions of Athens

    Liturgy at St Nicholas Church

    5:30PM Great Vespers

    Sunday, June 18

    2nd Sunday of Matthew

    Evangelism and Outreach Ministry meeting

    Andrews - A

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    11:15AM Rotation

    Monday, June 19

    Thaddeus (Jude) the Apostle & Brother of Our Lord

    Akathist to St John Maximovich


Prayers, Intersessions and Commemorations


Deborah, Robert, Olga, Daria, Daria, Dori, John, Evelyn, Alla, June, Nina, Joan, John, Alex, Alan, Aaron, Kathryn, Veronica, Nona, Darlyne, Irene, Nancy, Dionysian, Elena, Jevon, Ivan and Joscean.

and for…John, Jennifer, Nicholas, Isabel, Elizabeth, John, Jordan, Michael, Lee, Eva, Neil, Gina, Joey, Michael, Madelyn, Sofie, Katrina, Olena, and Valeriy.

and for our catechumens; Albert Kelly, Kyle Hollis and Stephen Wexell

All of our College Students: Aaron, Alex, Katy, Kaitlyn, Jack, Ellen, Luke and Connor; and those preparing to enter college: Nadia, Matthew and Isaac.

We celebrate

Nancy Davis on the occasion of her birthday.


Pray for:

All those confined to hospitals, nursing homes, and their own homes due to illness; for all those who serve in the armed forces; widows, orphans, prisoners, victims of violence, and refugees;

All those suffering chronic illness, financial hardship, loneliness, addictions, abuse, abandonment and despair; those who are homeless, those who are institutionalize, those who have no one to pray for them;

All Orthodox seminarians & families; all Orthodox monks and nuns, and all those considering monastic life; all Orthodox missionaries and their families.

All those who have perished due to hatred and intolerance and all those departed this life in the hope of the Resurrection.

The souls, families and loved ones of those who died in the mass shooting in Orlando (1 year ago this Monday) 

Today we commemorate:

Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas (1st c.). All Saints. Ven. Barnabas, Abbot of Vetluga (1445). Uncovering of the Relics of Ven. Ephraim, Abbot of Novotórgsk (1572). Commemoration of the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to a monk on Mt. Athos, and the revelation of the hymn, “It is truly meet...”















Bulletin Inserts


Hymns of the Day

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the 8th Tone

From on high didst Thou descend, O Compassionate One; to burial of three days hast Thou submitted that Thou mightest free us from our passions. O our Life and Resurrection, Lord, glory be to Thee.

Apolytikion for All Saints in the 4th Tone

Adorned in the blood of Thy Martyrs throughout all the world as in purple and fine linen, Thy Church, though them, doth cry unto Thee, O Christ God: Send down Thy compassions upon Thy people; grant peace to Thy commonwealth, and great mercy to our souls.

Apolytikion for Apostle Bartholomew in the 3rd Tone

O Holy Apostles, intercede with the merciful God that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offenses.

Seasonal Kontakion in the 8th Tone

As the first-fruits of our nature to the Planter of created things, the world presenteth the God-bearing martyred Saints in off'ring unto Thee, O Lord. Through their earnest entreaties, keep Thy Church in deep peace and divine tranquillity, through the pure Theotokos, O Thou Who art greatly merciful.

Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 4th Tone. Psalm 67.35,26.
God is wonderful among his saints.
Verse: Bless God in the congregations.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 11:33-40; 12:1-2.

BRETHREN, all the saints through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated - of whom the world was not worthy - wandering over deserts and mountains and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

Gospel Reading

The Sunday of All Saints
The Reading is from Matthew 10:32-33; 37-38; 19:27-30

The Lord said to his disciples, "Every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny him before my Father who is in heaven. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." Then Peter said in reply, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first."


Wisdom of the Fathers

Peter ... put to Him this question in behalf of all the world ... For He had required of the rich man these two things, to give that he had to the poor, and to follow Him. ... For the forsaking was done for the sake of following, and the following was rendered easier by the forsaking.
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 64 on Matthew 19, 4th Century

But He seems to me here to intimate also the persecutions. For since there were many instances both of fathers urging their sons to ungodliness, and wives their husbands; when they command these things, said He, let them be neither wives nor parents, even as Paul likewise said, "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart."
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 64 on Matthew 19, 4th Century


In House



Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 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. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 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. 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. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

(Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30)


Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven (Mt. 32–33). The Lord said this to His disciples who stood before Him then; the All-Seeing Lord, Who sees the distant future as the present, said it to all of His disciples, without exception, of all times and countries; the Lord said it also to you who stand here, in His holy temple, who have numbered yourselves amongst His disciples through holy Baptism. As lightening that flashes from one edge of the skies to the other without losing any of its brilliance, so has the Lord’s sentence reached to us through eighteen centuries, proclaimed in the Gospels in all power and clarity. The Lord’s disciples are not only those who call themselves Christians in His name, not only those who took vows of service to Him—His disciples are those who truly confess Him as their Lord, confess Him as their fully empowered Master and eternal King, following His teachings as the teachings of the Lord, fulfilling His commandments as the commandment of the Lord. Their confession must be made with mind, heart, word, deed, and their entire lives. Shame, timidity, and wavering are not tolerated in this confession.


Confession requires decisive self-denial. It must be triumphant. It must be made as if in the open arena, before all mankind, before angels, saints, and fallen angels, before the gaze of earth and heaven. For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men (1 Cor. 4:9), as the Apostle Paul says of himself and the rest of the Holy Apostles. The Apostles were not ashamed or afraid to confess the God-man Who was punished with a shameful execution, sentenced by judges ecclesiastical and civil; they were not ashamed or afraid to confess before ecclesiastical and civil judges, before the powerful and wise of the earth, before tyrants and torturers, faced with torments and execution, with violent death. The holy martyrs bore such confession to the Lord; they gave the entire space of the earth their blood to drink, proclaiming to the all the earth their holy testimony of the truth of the knowledge of God and worship of God. Monastic saints confessed the Lord with unseen martyrdom and constant self-denial throughout the course of their lives: they served as a point of union between earth and heaven, between angels and men, belonging to heaven during their time on the earth, entering into communion with angels and their hosts while yet in their earthly habitations. The pleasers of God who labored in the world confessed the Lord by their disdain and complete disregard for worldly principles, and to these people the Gospel words could be justly applied: These are in the world, yet they are not of the world (Jn. 17:11, 16). Confession of the Lord joined with resolute and total denial of the world and of themselves was the sign of all the saints.

Whoever confesses the Lord during his earthly sojourn as the Lord taught, whoever proves through his own life that he precisely confesses the Lord as his Lord and God—him will the Lord confess as His disciple; He will confess His true disciples not only before the whole universe, but before God the Father. God the Son’s confession of a person before God the Father leads that person into a most intimate unity with God (cf. Jn 14:20).

When a person confesses God in a way that is pleasing to Him and as prescribed by Him, it is a sign that God has chosen that person. The fruit of a good human will is inclusion amongst the ranks of the chosen.

Weak, ambiguous confession is not accepted, it is refused as something unneeded, as something unworthy of God. It is not enough to confess secretly within the soul; it is necessary to confess with the lips and by words. Confession with words is not enough—it is necessary to confess with deeds and by life. The Lord said, Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels(Mk. 8:38). He must not only confess the Lord, not only acknowledge His Divinity and sovereignty; he must confess His teaching, His commandments. His commandments are confessed by fulfilling them. Fulfilling them contrary to the generally accepted customs of human society is the confession of The Lord and His words before men. Human society is called sinful and adulterous because it has mostly inclined towards sinful life; it has betrayed and traded love of God for love of sin. The customs that reign in the world, having the weight of law higher than all laws, is contrary to, at enmity with, a life that is pleasing to God. A life that is pleasing to God is an object of hatred and mockery for the proud world. In order to escape the world’s hatred, persecution, and darts, a heart that is weak and unconfirmed in faith leans toward man-pleasing, betrays the Lord’s teachings, and excludes itself from the ranks of the chosen.

The Lord confirms His disciples in faithfulness to Him and His teachings; He confirms them with threatening words and sentences, timely pronounced. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven (Mt. 10:32-33).

Dependency upon human society is not as strong as dependency upon family. It is easier to refuse to submit to the demands of society than to refuse to submit to the demands of family. Family demands are aided by the laws of nature, and when these demands are in concord with the law of God, then that very law of God aids them. The servant of Christ often finds himself perplexed by conflicting demands, not knowing which of them should be met as pleasing to God. The Lord in His foresight resolves this perplexity to complete satisfaction. He completed the above words with the following: 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 (Mt. 10:37). “He who prefers the will of his parents or any other relatives according to the flesh over My will, he who prefers their way of thinking and philosophy over My teaching, he who prefers to please them rather than please Me, is not worthy of Me.”

Difficulties and hindrances to confession of Christ that work against a Christian from the outside are insignificant when compared with the difficulties and hindrances that are within us. Sin which lives in the mind, heart, and body directly opposes confession of Christ, confession by fulfilling His commandments; sin stubbornly opposes this fulfillment. The most natural goodness, when damaged by sin, makes confession difficult by endeavoring to introduce and mix the confession of fallen nature into it. The confession of Christ is ruined by this mixture; it ascribes an incomplete fallenness to fallen nature, and detracts from the significance of Christ—a significance which is all-perfect, and therefore cannot tolerate such impurity. It demands firm recognition of the corruption of fallen nature.[1]

It is possible to draw back from human society, or from relatives; but where do you go to get away from yourself? Where can you hide from your own nature? How do you escape it? In order to be freed from slavery to fallen nature, the Lord commands us to crucify our nature; that is, to deny its reason and will, to nail the mind’s activity and the heart’s attractions to the commandments of the Gospels. Thus, They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Gal. 5:24): they have crucified their carnal mind and their fallen nature’s will, upon which the soul’s and body’s sinful attractions, and sinful life, are founded and built. Thus was the world crucified to the Apostle and the Apostle to the world (cf. Gal. 6:14). The holy prophet David prayed to God to be granted the strength and ability to so crucify himself: Nail down my flesh with the fear of Thee (Ps. 118:120); that is, my carnal mind and my will, so that they would remain immobilized! Establish for Thy servant Thine oracle [word] unto fear of Thee (Ps. 118:38), so that I might be steadily guided in my seen and unseen activity by Thy word. He who mortifies his fallen nature with the sword of Christ’s teaching—whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, says the Lord, the same shall save it (Mk. 8:35; Mt. 10:39). On the contrary, whoever acts according to the reasoning and attractions of his fallen nature, mistakenly accepting them as good—He that findeth his life shall lose itAnd he that taketh not his cross, who does not take the yoke of My commandments upon himself, and followeth not after me, in self-denial, but follows his own self, is not worthy of me (Mt. 10:38–39).

The Holy Church, intending to explain most satisfactorily the fate of God’s chosen ones in both time and eternity, has determined that after hearing the terrible, impartial, and resolute sentence from the mouth of God, we should read today the Lord’s answer to the Apostle Peter’s question: Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? (Mt. 19:27). The Lord promised great honor to the twelve Apostles. As the God-man is the only eternal King of Israel, that is, of all Christians, the spiritual Israel—which must consist of all nations of the earth and finally inhabit the promised land, heaven—it is natural that the God-man’s Apostles, through whom all the nations came to submit to Him, should be made the leaders and judges of this new Israel, this eternal, heavenly nation. Having informed the Apostles of their significance in the state of human eternity (cf. Mt. 19:28), the Lord adds, And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, (Mt. 19:29) for my sake, and the gospel’s … shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life (Mk. 10:29–30; cf. Mt. 19:29). Persecution is what earthly life is called. It is persecution[2] because humans were cast down to the earth and subjected to a sojourn of suffering upon it for transgressing God’s commandments. It is a place and time of persecution for the followers of Christ, because the prince of this world reigns there, the reign of sin is most widespread there, sin being the enemy of Christ’s followers, cruelly persecuting and oppressing them without interruption. They are subjected to the many different torments of sin both within them and from the outside. The fallen spirits who thirst for their destruction, work against them with frenzied hatred and incredible craftiness; working against them also are the majority of people, who have willingly enslaved themselves to the fallen spirits, and who serve them as blind, unhappy instruments; working against them also are their own passions and weaknesses.

The followers of Christ receive even in this temporary exile a hundred fold more than what they have forsaken for Christ’s sake and for the sake of His commandments. They tangibly receive the grace of the All-Holy Spirit. Before Divine grace brings consolation, all the joys and consolations of the world are destroyed; before spiritual riches, before spiritual glory, all the riches and glory of the world are destroyed; in the eyes of the saints, sinful and fleshly pleasures are disgusting filth, filled with deathly bitterness; the state of the rich and glorious of the world is like a whited sepulcher that is shiny on the outside, but inside full of stink and decay—those qualities inseparable from every corpse. A soul corrupted by eternal death—alienation from Christ—can be justly called a corpse.

All earthly good things and advantages abandon a person and remain on the earth, when, according to the inescapable and inexorable law of death, he leaves the earth and settles irrevocably into eternity. Divine grace, however, follows a different rule: it accompanies to regions beyond the grave that person who acquired it here. As soon as he casts his body, like chains, away from himself, the grace that was hitherto bound by flesh extends itself broadly and magnificently. It serves as a pledge and testimony for the chosen one of God. When he appears before the judgment that awaits every human being after death, and presents his testimony and pledge, grace fittingly brings him spiritual, eternal, indescribable, and boundless riches, splendor, and delight in heaven as the logical outcome. In the world to come (Mk. 10:30) he shall inherit everlasting life (Mt. 19:29), said the Lord—life so superabundant and refined, that fleshly man, who bases his thoughts about the unknown upon his knowledge of the known, cannot construct any understanding of it. May we also be vouchsafed, for precise confession of the Lord, to inherit this life prepared for all of us by the unfathomable, boundless mercy of the Lord, Who has redeemed us through Himself. Amen.


St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
Translated by Nun Cornelia (Rees)


18 / 06 / 2011

[1] See Gal. 5:4; 2:16, 21; [St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)], “Homily on Salvation,” Experience in Asceticism, 2.

[2] In the Slavonic text of this Gospel passage, with persecutions is written as во изгнании, which means also, “in exile,” or “as outcasts.”