Icon: Holy Prophet Habakkuk
From the book "The Winter Pascha" by Thomas Fr. Hopko - teachings leading to the Nativity of Christ (pgs. 29-32)
While the canon of the feast of the Nativity begins to be sung on the festival of the entrance of the Virgin Mary into the temple, the first prefeast of hymns of Christmas are sung on the feast of "the all-praised and first-called apostle Andrew." In the gospel according to Saint John, Philip calls his friend Nathanael to "come and see" Jesus, but it is Jesus Himself who invites Andrew to "come and see" where he dwells and to spend the day with Him, together with another disciple of John the Baptist, who is probably the evangelist himself.
John the Baptist was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" And they said to Him, "Rabbi" (which means teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ). (Jn. 1:35-41).
Come and see! This is the abiding invitation of the Church in her liturgical services. Come with faith and you will be numbered with those to whom "it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 13:11). You will be found with those to whom insight has been granted into "the mystery of Christ" which is "the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things" which is now made manifest "through the Church" even to the angels (Eph. 3:4, 9-10).
When He who was proclaimed by the voice of John the Forerunner,
"The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,"
Came bringing life and salvation to all the earth
You, O holy Andrew, were the first to follow Him.
You were offered as the first-fruits of the human race.
You proclaimed to Peter your brother,
"We have found the Messiah!"
Pray that He may enlighten and save our souls.
Rejoice, O Isaiah, and receive the Word of God.
Prophesy to Mary the Maiden.
She is the Burning Bush unconsumed by the fire of divinity.
Adorn yourself, O Bethlehem.
Open your gates, O Eden.
Enter, O Magi, and see salvation swaddled in a crib.
Behold the star shining above the cave;
It announces the life-giving Lord who saves the human race.
Tell us, O Joseph, how you led the Virgin
Into the Bethlehem cave.
"After searching the scriptures and hearing the angel," he says,
"I am certain that Mary will wondrously give birth to God
Whom the wise men from the East will worship,
Offering to Him their precious gifts."
O Lord, incarnate for our sake, glory to You!"
Icon: The Nativity of Christ
Weekly Liturgical Calender
Monday, November 28: Monk-Martyr Stephen; Martyr Irenarchus and the Seven Women Martyrs
Tuesday, November 29: Martyr Paramon and his Companions; Venerable Acacius of Sinai
Wednesday, November 30: Holy and All-praised Apostle Andrew, the First-called; St. Frumentius, Archbishop of Abyssinia; St. Sebastian (Dabovic) of Jackson and San Francisco
Thursday, December 1: Holy Prophet Nahum; Righteous Philaret the Merciful of Amnia
Friday, December 2: Holy Prophet Habakkuk; Venerable Porphyrius of Kavsokalyva
Saturday, December 3: Holy Prophet Zephaniah; Venerable Savva of Zvenigorod
Sunday, December 4: Great-martyr Barbara and Martyr Juliana, at Heliopolis in Syria; Venerable John of Damascus; Glorification of New Hieromartyr Protopresbyter Alexander Hotovitzky, missionary to America
For today's scripture readings, click on the following link: https://www.oca.org/readings
Remember in Your Prayers: ill & shut-in: Priest John Bernardi, Mary Anne, Helen, Katherine, Daniel H., James, Luis, Ramon, Maria, Marya, Paul, Simon, Alban Frank Ryles, Matushka Eleanor, Priest Antony, Matushka Beverly, Alexandra, Conor, Peter, Alexandra; Catechumens: Kaitlyn, Judith, Ryan, Rebecca, Ari, Selah, Matthew, Robert, Gabriel, David; the kidnapped Hierarchs Metropolitan Paul (Boulos Yazigi) & Archbishop John (Yohanna Ibrahim); deployed: Andrew; for the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine; for the suffering as the result of Hurricane Ian; newly-illumined Kaitlyn Vachon & Matthew Wagman
Icon: Holy Apostle Andrew, the First Called
The Holy Prophet Habakkuk (from The Prologue)
(Commemorated on December 2)
Habakkuk was the son of Asaphat from the tribe of Simeon. He prophesied six hundred years before Christ, during the time of King Manaseeh, and foretold the destruction of Jerusalem. When Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, Habakkuk sought refuge in the land of the Ishmaelites. From there, he returned to Judea where he lived as a farmer. One day, he was carrying lunch to the workers in the fields, when suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said: Go carry the dinner that thou hast into Babylon unto Daniel, who is in the lion's den (Daniel 14:34). But Habakkuk responded: Lord, I never saw Babylon; neither do I know where the den is (Daniel 14:34-3). Then the angel took him by his hair and instantly brought him to Babylon, over an immense distance, to the the lion's den, where Daniel had been cast by King Cyrus as a punishment for not worshipping idols.
O Daniel, Daniel, cried Habakkuk, take the dinner which God hath sent thee (Daniel 14:37), and Daniel took it and ate. Then the angel of God again took Habakkuk and carried him back to his field in Judea. Habakkuk also prophesied the liberation of Jerusalem and the time of the coming of Christ. He entered into rest in ripe old age and was buried at Kela. His relics were discovered during the reign of Theodosius the Great.
Reflection for December 2
"Who has ever returned from the other world to inform us of it?" Thus the unbelievers ask. One should reply to them: "Repent of your sins if you wish to find out; make yourselves worthy and you will see." St. Habakkuk traveled with an angel. St. Myrope saw a host of angels and among them the martyr, St. Isidore. St. Athanasius of the Kiev Caves was dead to this world for two days and alive only in the other world. Upon the return of his soul to his body, they gathered around him and asked him: "How did you return in life? What did you see? What did you hear?" He would say nothing about it, being totally in horror at that which he had seen in the other world, and would only say: "Save yourselves!" When they pressured him to tell a little more of what he had seen in the other world after death, he replied: "Even if I should tell you, you would not believe me or listen to me." When they urged him yet further, however, he said among other things: "Repent every moment and pray to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His Most-pure Mother."
Even in our own time, there are cases of those who have temporarily died, and the visions and accounts of those who have returned to life in the body do not contradict but rather compliment one another. For example, every person who dies sees one part of that other world that is vast and incomparably larger than this world. Many people, at death, see their long-dead relatives and speak with them. This is almost a common occurence. In 1926, in the village of Vevcani, Meletije P. was on his deathbed. He spoke with his children, who had died twenty years earlier. When his living relatives said to him, "You're rambling!" he replied, "I am not rambling, but rather I am speaking with them as I am speaking with you, and I see them as I see you."
Icon: Holy Prophet Habakkuk
Community Christmas Card Fundraising Event
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Mark of Ephesus:
As the 2022 Nativity season approaches, we invite you to participate in our parish Community Christmas Card fundraising event.
Your name will appear in our community Christmas card, which is mailed to each participant, thus giving you the opportunity to extend your holiday greetings to fellow parishioners and church family. A copy of a past year's card is on display at the church vestibule; Christmas card forms are also available in the church vestibule.
The price remains at $20.00 per individual/family.
Simply fill in the name section and kindly update your address if you've moved in the past year.
Thank you and God bless you.
Please make your check for $20.00 payable to St. Mark of Ephesus Church. You may give your check/cash to George or Nancy Haddad or pay with PayPal on this website. If using PayPal, please specify in the "add a note" that the donation is for the Christmas Card.
Many thanks for your support in this fundraiser.
Your Name: _________________________________________________
PLEASE PRINT YOUR NAME (ABOVE) AS YOU WOULD LIKE IT LISTED IN THE CHRISTMAS CARD.
Please note the deadline is Sunday, December 11, 2022