On this day, the Church recalls the horrible tragedy that humanity suffered in the very beginning of history: The expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise.

As we heard in the Gospel reading, the Lord describes to us vividly His Second Coming, and the importance of love for others in action that is the key to enter His heavenly kingdom. This great love can be seen in the lives of the saints, such as St. Polycarp, who is also commemorated today.

Todays parable of the Prodigal Son clearly highlights for us the sad consequences of turning away from God, as well as Gods infinite Paternal love for every person, no matter how sinful. In the life of the Church, we have many striking examples of being a faithful Christian. Many of these exemplary people became known as Holy Martyrs (Witnesses), responding to the great love that God has for humanity, which was ultimately demonstrated with the sacrifice of His Son at Calvary. Out of love for Christ, the Holy Martyrs were willing to give their lives for His sake. Among them is St. Theodore (Tyro), who is celebrated from tonight at Vespers (The Saint is called Tyro, due to him belonging to the military unit of the Tyrones---this name being to distinguish him from other Saints named Theodore).

From today we enter the Triodion, during which the Church prepares us for the coming spiritual struggle of Great Lent. With the devotions, services and readings of this period, we are given what we need to acquire the virtues of obedience, illumination, true faith and love. All of these virtues can be seen in the life of St. Haralambos, whose memory we celebrate beginning with todays Vespers.

As St. Luke the Evangelist writes, we see the righteous Symeon, who was advanced in age and had only one hope in his heart. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him early on in his life, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. Time was passing, and yet St. Symeon never doubted that this profound desire of his would be fulfilled. And the blessed moment came, when the Holy Mother Mary, St. Joseph and the Holy Infant (just forty days old) arrived at the Temple in Jerusalem, where the baby Jesus was to be dedicated to God according to the Law (Luke 2:23-24). When the venerable Symeon saw the Holy Mother with our forty-day old Lord in her arms entering the Temple, the Holy Spirit told him that this is the One he has been waiting for. With this message he rushed forward, took Jesus to his chest and gave glory to God: Lord, now, You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen the Savior” (see Luke 2: 29-30). He finally was granted the deepest wish of his heart, and he felt such a blessing and fulfillment in his soul. He needed nothing else, and could depart this life in peace and thanksgiving. The joy of this moment was indescribable. For Symeon, it was enough to just see the infant Lord and touch Him. The righteous elder would hear none of Jesusteachings, nor would he witness any of the great miracles that were to come. And yet, this moment was everything to him.


Schedule of services on December 2020

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