Please Remember in Your Prayers

Schema-Archimandrite Joachim; Archpriest Vincent Saverino; Archpriest Michael Lepa; Archpriest Mark Leasure; Archdeacon Evgeniy & Mat. Klavdiya Burbelo; Deacon Michael Bishop; Nun Elizabeth; Nun Magdalena; Monk Joseph (Isaac Lambertson); Mat. Natalia Kosich; Mat. Diane Winsky; Mat. Catherine Kowalchik; Marie Vass; Charles Snipes; Arthur-Stephen Lisowsky; Yelena Radchenko; Lydia Zorina; Katherine Plaskowitz; Philip Plaskowitz, Michael Stanka; Bernadine Borawick; John Antoniak; Julia Aymold; Mary Johnson; Olga Chanat; Lilli Ann Hoffman; Lara Marinich; Oleg Marinich; Rachel, Vera, Christopher Pastor; Samantha; Ioann and Galina Zernetkin; Monika-Anastasia & Stephanie Handley; Elaine LaPasha; Blanche-Julia Stolkovich; Ekaterina Koroleva; Maryann Black; Matushka Marianne Lobalbo; Lyudmila, Anton & Aleksander Karnup; John Alexander Bylen; Katherine Garrett; Stephen Kaminitsky; Constantine; Maria; Nicander; John-Thomas Planinshek; Kenneth Pukita; Ann Ferkile; Maria and Alexander Lozada; Sergei Krektyshev; Irina Kononova; Petr Borodkin; Anthony and John Bakie; Svetlana & Aleksey; Nina; Mat. Galina, Alla; Anna; Alla; Raisa, Zinaida; Liubov and Maksim Krayushkin; Joseph Germano; Pavel, Vladimir, Valentina and Maria; Maria Pappas; Bonnie Duke; Joseph Lacomy; Diana Radchenko; Aleksey Potapov; Oleg and Andrei; Vitaliy, Tatiana, Olena & Nicholas Berchuk.

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Bulletin

31st Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday After Theophany

Tone 6

January 9/22, 2017

 

Afterfeast of Theophany. Martyr Polyeuctus of Melitene in Armenia (259); Holy Hierarch Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow and all Rus’ (1569); Venerable Jonah of Kiev (1902); Prophet Shemaiah (10th c. B.C.); Holy Hierarch Peter, Bishop of Sebaste in Armenia (395); Venerable Eustratius the Wonderworker of Tarsus (821); Hieromartyr Paul, Priest (1943).

 

 

Today’s Scriptural Readings:      

Ephesians 4: 7-13  /  Matthew 4: 12-17 (Sunday After Theophany)

Hebrews 13: 17-21   /   John 10: 9-16 (Holy Hierarch)

Fr. John’s Sermons (Video): Click here  

 

 

We magnify Thee, O Life-Giving Christ, who for our sakes was now baptized of Johnin the waters of the Jordan

 

 

Through His Incarnation God gave us the model for a holy life and recalled us from our ancient fall. In addition to many other things, He taught us, feeble as we are, that we should fight against the demons with humility, fasting, prayer, and watchfulness. For when, after His Baptism, He went into the desert and the devil came up to Him as though He were merely a man, He began His spiritual warfare by fasting and won the battle by this means – though, being God, He had no need of any such means at all.  St. Hesychios the Priest

 

 

 

This  Week’s  Liturgical  Calendar

Saturday, January 28th – 6:00 PM

Vigil Service at the Chapel

Sunday, January 29th – 10:00 AM

Confessions at 9:15 – 10:00 AM

Divine Liturgy in Church

 

Divine Services at Holy Trinity are now live-streamed at

https://www.youtube.com/user/HolyTrinitySermons

 

 

Please Join us for Coffee Hour – Today after Services

 

Yolka – Thank you! 

Last Sunday, more than 140 people attended our annual Yolka. The students of our Sunday School offered two separate presentations that focused on the Gospel narratives of the Nativity of Christ. The older students gave a ‘shadow’ performance, illustrating the events leading up to Christ’s Nativity. Then, the younger students offered a traditional display of the Christ-Child in the manger. All the students did a great job and enjoyed performing. Afterwards, our Holy Trinity Dance Ensemble gave a fun performance of several dances. Then a few of our youth offered short individual performances, singing and reciting poems. Finally after all the performances, “Santa” (“Uncle Frost”) gave out gifts to all the children and gathered everyone for a group picture in front of the Christmas tree. We offer our most sincere thanks and praise to Natallia Makarava who created the script, costumes and scenes, organized the rehearsals and pulled everything together into a seamless and interesting performance. We congratulate all the Russian Dancers and their teachers Larissa Ogora and Sasha Aleksandrovych on their group’s performance and continued success. We also cordially thank all the parents who ensured that their children attended the rehearsals and participated in the Yolka. We sincerely thank Natalie Burbelo for decorating the hall so beautifully and for coordinating the lunch. And we truly appreciate the efforts of everyone else who helped with the lunch, who set up, served and cleaned up afterwards. The donations collected at this event will support our youth programming. Thank you. God bless you all abundantly. Last Sunday was truly a very joyful and uplifting day! 

 

Sunday School Meeting – Jan. 29

The parents and teachers of our Sunday School will conduct an important meeting

on Sunday, January 29th after Divine Services. We will discuss various projects for our youth.

 

Baptism – Today, January 22nd

Today at 3:00 PM, the infants Katerina Boarman and Savanna Mary Allen will be baptized in church.

The Boarman and Allen families warmly invite all to attend the baptism.

 

Maslenitsa Dinner Dance – February 17th

The St. Catherine Sisterhood will conduct a Maslenitsa Dinner Dance on Friday, February 17th in the church hall. Light fare dinner begins promptly at 7:30 PM, dancing follows at 8:30 PM. Music by DJ. Make your RSVP by February 12th to Larisa Hidar: larafaza@yahoo.com  or  Anna Ogora: aogora@gmail.com. Tickets are $35/person (16 and older). This year’s celebration promises to be even better than last year’s.


Holy Cross Retreat – February 4th

On Saturday, February 4th, beginning at 9:00 AM, Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church will host a retreat, Operation Kingdom Come: Experiencing our Faith in the Modern World, led by His Grace Anthony, Bishop of Toledo and the Midwest. Cost: $20. For information and to register:  http://www.holycrossevents.com/?ct=t(

 

Sisterhood Meeting – Feb. 5

The St. Catherine Sisterhood will conduct a meeting on Sunday, February 5th after Divine Services.

All Sisterhood members are asked to attend. This is the first meeting of the new year.

 

10th Annual Bible Bowl – February 11th – 2:00 PM

St. Andrew Orthodox Church (2028 E. Lombard St., Baltimore, http://standrew-baltimore.org/) will host the Baltimore Orthodox Bible Bowl on Saturday, February 11, 2017.  The competition will be between adolescent and high school teams from our parish, Holy Cross, St. Andrew’s and others. Registration begins at 2:15 PM and the first round of competition starts at 2:30 PM. Pan-Orthodox Great Vespers will be celebrated at 5:00 PM in church. Afterwards, we will conduct an awards reception in the parish hall. A trophy and prizes will be awarded to the winning team. Come and support the youth of our parish. Let us show them how important it is to study the Holy Scriptures.

 

Birthday / Anniversary Celebrations:  January 22-28

We offer our best wishes and birthday congratulations to Anthony Bakie (1/27) and Angel Day best wishes to Tatiana Pearson and Tatiana Masiuk (1/25) and Nina Lewis (1/27). May God bless them with health, prosperity and many years. To include your birthday/anniversary in the bulletin call Fr. John.

 

House Blessings

It is an ancient and pious practice to have our homes blessed with Holy Water from Theophany each and every year. There are few things more vital to our lives than our homes. In our homes we pray, we work, we talk to others, we order our lives, we work out our marriages, we raise our children, etc. And because of this we call upon God to bless our home, to cleanse it with the grace of the Holy Spirit and to sanctify it with the Holy Water.  This is a spiritually significant practice…

 

How to Prepare for the Blessing of your Home? A lighted candle, an icon or cross, and a bowl for holy water should be placed on a table covered with a clean tablecloth preferably white. All radios, TVs, computers, etc. should be turned off. All who are present in the house should come together and stand by the table where the service takes place. The first names of the members of the immediate family should be clearly printed on a sheet of paper for commemoration. To schedule your house blessing, please contact Fr. John at frjohnv@verizon.net or 443-527-7067.  

 

 

Cleaning Groups – Group #4 /  Join a Group – Help your brothers and sisters

Group #4 will clean this week January 23-28: Anna-Zumrat Shkurba (captain), Dmitriy Shkurba,

Margarita Vinogradova, Olga Mychko, and Tatiana Kalish. This group needs more members. Any volunteers??

 

Vigil Candles: On the Altar and near St. Barbara

January 22-28:  Candles offered by the Bakie Family for the health/salvation of the servant of God: the child Anthony.

A $15 donation will keep all three candles lit for one week. Schedule your candle offering with Vadim Radchenko 410-465-6172. Thank you.

 

Ongoing Food Drive 

Our food pantry is empty. We request donations of ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods. Items like canned soups and meats, peanut butter and other food items packaged in plastic that do not need to be cooked are preferred. All food items will be distributed to organizations serving the homeless and to neighborhood schools.  Please bring your food items to the hall storage room. Thank you. May God bless you.

 

Submit your 2017 Pledge

The mission of our parish is to spread the Word of God, to grow, to expand, to improve and not just to preserve our traditions.  Our parish shouldn’t become stale, but pursue holiness.

 

We strive to fulfill the mission of our parish, through prayer, work and sacrifice. Prayer – because we are called to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17); work – because we are taught to increase the talents given to us (Matt. 25: 14-30); and sacrifice – because "everyone to whom much is given, from him will much be required" (Luke 12:48).

 

Please be generous as the Lord is generous to you. When completing your pledge for the new year, please consider raising your level of giving. Our church cannot operate without your financial contributions. Our parish will grow only through your prayers, work and generous sacrifice.

 

When you are generous, you are not bestowing a gift, but repaying a debt. Everything you possess materially comes from God, who created all things. And every spiritual and moral virtue you possess is through divine grace. Thus you owe everything to God. More than that, God has given you his Son, to show you how to live: how to use your material possessions, and how to grow in moral and spiritual virtue. St. John Chrysostom 

 

Please Remember in Your Prayers…

Schema-Archimandrite Joachim; Archpriest Vincent Saverino; Archpriest Michael Lepa; Archpriest Mark Leasure; Archdeacon Evgeniy & Mat. Klavdiya Burbelo; Deacon Michael Bishop; Nun Elizabeth; Nun Magdalena; Monk Joseph (Isaac Lambertson); Mat. Natalia Kosich; Mat. Diane Winsky; Mat. Catherine Kowalchik; Marie Vass; Charles Snipes; Arthur-Stephen Lisowsky; Yelena Radchenko; Lydia Zorina; Katherine Plaskowitz; Philip Plaskowitz, Michael Stanka; Bernadine Borawick; John Antoniak; Julia Aymold; Mary Johnson; Olga Chanat; Lilli Ann Hoffman; Lara Marinich; Oleg Marinich; Rachel, Vera, Christopher Pastor; Samantha; Ioann and Galina Zernetkin; Monika-Anastasia & Stephanie Handley; Elaine LaPasha; Blanche-Julia Stolkovich; Ekaterina Koroleva; Maryann Black; Matushka Marianne Lobalbo; Lyudmila, Anton & Aleksander Karnup; John Alexander Bylen; Katherine Garrett; Stephen Kaminitsky; Constantine; Maria; Nicander; John-Thomas Planinshek; Kenneth Pukita; Ann Ferkile; Maria and Alexander Lozada; Sergei Krektyshev; Irina Kononova; Petr Borodkin; Anthony and John Bakie; Svetlana & Aleksey; Nina; Mat. Galina, Alla; Anna; Alla; Raisa, Zinaida; Liubov and Maksim Krayushkin; Joseph Germano; Pavel, Vladimir, Valentina and Maria; Maria Pappas; Bonnie Duke; Joseph Lacomy; Diana Radchenko; Aleksey Potapov; Oleg and Andrei; Vitaliy, Tatiana, Olena & Nicholas Berchuk.

 

Next Council Meeting: Thursday, January 26th – 7:00 PM in the Church Hall

 

Fr. John Vass, Pastor  410-997-0802

Fr. Deacon Michael Bishop:                       410-563-0472

Victor Marinich, Council President:          443-512-0985

Vadim Radchenko, Vice President:              410-465-6172

Andrei Burbelo,  Recording Secretary:    443-567-6031

Albert Blaszak, Treasurer:                             410-799-3226

Monika Handley, Stewardship Chair:      410-263-5758

Anna-Zumrat Shkurba, Member-At-Large: 443-857-8541

Natalie Burbelo, Sisterhood President:   443-567-6031

Michael Mickel, Cemetery Manager:             410-666-2870

 

 

Ephesians 4:7-13

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says:"When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men." (Now this, "He ascended"-what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

 

Matthew 4:12-17

Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned."  From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

 

 

St. Theophan the Recluse: Thoughts for Each Day of the Year

[Eph. 4:7–13; Matt. 4:12–17]  Yesterday the Apostle armed the Christian who sets out upon the path of salvation with the whole spiritual armour. Now he shows who the leaders are in this battle procession, and what is the final bright goal of all for our inspiration in times of hardship. The leaders are pastors and teachers, whom the Lord gave to the Church and through whose mouth He Himself utters guiding direction needful for all, as soon as one turns to such leaders with faith and prayerful appeal to the Lord. Those who selflessly walk the Lord’s path know this truth, as do those who lead a struggle with the enemies of salvation without pity for themselves. In their pastors they always find help and are brought to understanding, when, looking from the outside, such help could not be anticipated. For they do not come to men, but to the Lord, who is always prepared to direct and give understanding through such men, to anyone who sincerely and with faith seeks help from Him. The final bright goal is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ—the stature of a perfect man (Eph. 4:13). We all know what a perfect man is in the usual order of things, and we could hardly find a person who would not wish to attain such perfection. But the meaning of a perfect man in the Lord is something not known to anyone other than those who have entered into that stature. This, however, should not cool one’s fervour for the attainment of such a stature, but on the contrary should kindle it even more; for this lack of knowledge is due to the height of that spiritual perfection which is called a manly stature in a life according to God. The Apostle defined this as the taking on of the fullness of perfections revealed in the Lord and Saviour. Anyone can see that there is reason for us to apply all diligence (II Pet. 1:5) toward our calling. 

 

About Holy Water

Holy Hierarch John Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco

On Theophany [Jan. 6/19], that is, the Day of the Lord's Baptism, every year a great miracle is performed. The Holy Spirit, coming down upon the water, changes its natural properties. It becomes incorrupt, that is it does not spoil, remains transparent and fresh for many years, receives the grace to heal illnesses, to drive away demons and every evil power, to preserve people and their dwellings from every danger, to sanctify various objects whether for church or home use. Therefore Orthodox Christians with reverence drink Holy Water - a great Agiasma (holy thing), as the Greeks call it. One should always have at home enough Theophany water so that it will last the whole year, and make use of it at every need; in cases of illness, leaving on a journey, whenever one is upset, students when going to examinations. They do well who daily, before eating any kind of food, drink a little Holy Water. It strengthens the powers of our soul - if it is done, of course, with prayer and reverence, and one does not merely expect from it a mechanical result. 

 

 

Holy Hierarch Ignatius (Brianchianinov)

Spiritual Instruction on the Feast of the Theophany

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 

(Mt 3:17; 17:5 )

Thus did the voice of the pre-eternal God the Father speak to people about the pre-eternal God the Son, when the Son, at the behest of the Father, through the action of the Spirit, became incarnate of the Virgin and wrought the salvation of perishing mankind. Brothers! Let us show obedience to the Son of God, as God desires of us, that Divine good will might abide with us. 

 

Perhaps someone might say, "I would like to obey the Son of God; but how can this be done, when two thousand years have passed since our Lord Jesus Christ dwelt on earth in the flesh and preached His all-holy teaching?" 

 

It is very easy for us to be continually with Christ, to ceaselessly hear His sweet voice, and to nourish ourselves with His life-giving teaching; for the Lord Jesus Christ still abides with us. He abides with us in His Holy Gospels, through the Holy Mysteries of the Church; He abides through His omnipresence and omnipotence—bountifully, as befits the boundless, all-perfect God. That the Lord abides with us is plainly proved by souls freed from the captivity of sin, the bestowal of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and by many signs and wonders. 

 

Those who wish to approach the Lord and unite with Him in blessed union forever should begin this sacred work with scrupulous study of God's words; they should begin by studying the Gospels, where Christ can be found, and from which Christ speaks and acts. The words of the Gospels are spirit, and they are life (Jn. 6:63). They turn a fleshly man into a spiritual man, and revitalize a soul deadened by sin and the cares of life. They are spirit, and they are life— beware of trying to explain the great word of the Spirit with your reason, which crawls upon the earth; beware of attempts to explain words filled with awesome Divine power in ways that might seem simpler to your deadened soul, deadened heart, and deadened mind. A word spoken by the Holy Spirit can only be explained through the Holy Spirit. 

 

Those who wish to approach the Lord in order to hear His Divine teaching, to be enlivened and saved by Him—come and stand before the Lord with utmost reverence and holy fear, as do the bright Angels, His Cherubim and Seraphim. Your humility will turn the earth upon which you stand into heaven. The Lord will speak to you from His Holy Gospels as to His beloved disciples! May the holy fathers who expound the Holy Gospels through the gift of the Holy Spirit be your guides to an exact and unmistaken understanding of the Holy Gospels. 

 

It is folly to approach the Gospels, to approach the living Lord Jesus Christ Who abides in the Gospels, without the appropriate reverence, brazenly and self-reliantly. The Lord accepts only the humble, who are filled with an awareness of their sinfulness and nothingness and with repentance, while He turns away from the proud. By turning His face away from a brazen tempter—that is what I call an irreverent, light-minded, and cold listener—He strikes that tempter with eternal death. The God-inspired elder Symeon announced the incarnate God the Word thus: Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against (Lk. 2:34). The word of God is a rock, a rock of immeasurable breadth and weight; And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken (Mt. 21:44), and his brokenness cannot be restored whole. 

 

Brothers, let us be reverent and active hearers of the Word of God! Let us show submission to the Heavenly Father, Who spoke to us today from His Holy Gospels about His all-holy Word: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him (Mt. 3:17; 17:5). We shall hear Him! We shall hear Him! And the good-will of the Heavenly Father shall abide with us unto the ages of ages. Amen. Translated by Nun Cornelia (Rees)  Courtesy of http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/   

 

 

Holy Righteous Father John of Kronstadt

The Baptism of the Lord

John did restrain Him, saying: "I need to be baptized of Thee, and dost Thou, then, come to me?" But Jesus said unto him in reply: "Let it be, for now, for thus doth it behoove us to fulfill all righteousness."  (Mt. 3, 14-15) 

 

Today [Jan. 6/19] the entire Orthodox Church universal celebrates the festive remembrance and glorification of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. The holy Evangelist reports that when the Lord came to the Jordan to be baptized, John attempted to restrain Him, saying: "I need to be baptized of Thee, and dost Thou, then, come to me?" 

 

Would not we say the like, knowing Who this is Who has come: Lord, what doth it signify, this extreme humility of Thine, that Thou, the Lord Who is without sin, comest to be baptized of a man, even if he be one who is righteous through Thine own grace and righteousness? 

 

What is there to wash away in Thee, Who art more pure than the sun; or to enlighten in Thee, the Sun of Righteousness?—But is it for us sinful and short-sighted ones, deprived of far-sightedness, to deny the Lord Himself, Who created all things and Who wisely does much that is beyond word and reason? 

 

All the words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, and all His actions, bear within themselves the seal of the supreme wisdom and righteousness of God, so incomprehensible to the proud scholars of this age, who dare to equate the Very Lord of Glory Himself to ordinary men, and who interpret His words in accordance with the understanding of their perverted and lost minds;—and we must humbly bow ourselves down before Him with perfect trust and with profound reflection, beseeching the gift of understanding from God. 

 

Hence, the aforesaid words of the Lord to John that he baptize Him silently, and without refuting Him,—and the very act of baptism at John's hand—likewise bear upon themselves the seal of the most-supreme wisdom, goodness, and righteousness of God. 

 

Let it be, for now, says the Lord, for thus doth it behoove us to fulfill all righteousness; i.e., it is for this reason that I came to earth and became man, while abiding ever as God, the Lord says, as it were—in order to fulfill all Divine righteousness, which was so brazenly trampled down in paradise by the first-created humans and, later,—the further one penetrates into the depths of time and of the generations of man—even more audaciously, more wickedly, more evilly, more profanely, was trampled down by all mankind, with the exception of a few chosen ones. 

 

I come to take upon Myself all the iniquities and impurities of humanity, without being defiled by them, in order to make payment for them, thereby satisfying the justice of My Father in heaven, and to offer Myself as a redemptive Sacrifice, in order to immerse them all in the waters of the Jordan. 

 

I, of Myself, as the sinless God-man, desire to wash away all human iniquities and to give to My Church a cleansing bath of eternal life in baptism by water and the Spirit; I Myself, having fulfilled all righteousness, desire to teach people Divine righteousness, giving them the power and the grace to fulfill it. That is the significance of the Lord's words to John: "Let it be, for now, for thus doth it behoove us to fulfill all righteousness." 

 

Generally speaking, in the course of reading or hearing the Lord's words, or His gospel concerning His acts, we must not let it slip from our purview that He is the Lamb of God, Who taketh upon Himself the sins of all the world, and the Redeemer of the human race; the High Priest after the Order of Melchisedek, Who offered Himself as a Sacrifice of reconciliation to His Father in Heaven, on behalf of us sinners,—that He is the Righteous Judge of all, the Physician of all those languishing in sin, and the Warrior Who has gone out to engage in spiritual single-combat that spiritual Goliath—the devil—who, with supreme artifice, cunning and perseverance, did subjugate, and continues to subjugate, the entire human race by means of innumerable passions and vileness of all sorts, and whom the Lord, through divinely-wise, righteous forethought, has vanquished completely, delivering mankind from his [the devil's] power. 

 

Thus was the Lord also baptized in the Jordan, in order to subdue our destroyer, the devil, in the waters wherein he had his haunt, and to leave the waters such, that we, in being baptized therein through triple immersion in the Name of the Holy Trinity, might be abundantly washed clean of the filth of the ancestral sin, and that we might be born again into a new life, through water and the Holy Spirit, and might become adopted [sons and daughters] of the Father in Heaven, by living a holy life. 

 

The circumstances of the very Nativity of the God-man likewise bear the seal of the most-profound wisdom and righteousness of God. He was born of a poor Virgin, Most-pure, and was placed in a manger, wrapped in swaddling-cloths, like an infant, in order that through His humility He might make restitution for the pride of Adam and Eve, who aspired to be gods, in order to convict and mortify human pride, and to teach men humility, which is the foundation of all virtue. 

 

All that the Lord spoke and did on earth, He did in accordance with the pre-eternal, most-wise, and all-good Counsel of the Trinity, which transpired before all ages, all of which was necessary for the salvation, perfection and blessedness of mankind; and, if any rejected, and continues to reject, His commandments, counsels, statutes, and that Church which He founded on earth, the same was, and is, the enemy of God and of himself, having thus rejected the Divine Counsel concerning himself. 

 

Baptism was ordained by God in the Church for the salvation of the human race,—and it is necessary for every believer as a door into the Kingdom of God,—and whosoever rejected or rejects it, the same sweeps away his salvation, his own eternal well-being. In this manner did the Lord speak of the Pharisees and the Scribes, who were not desirous of being baptized by John; that they were thus spurning the Counsel of God, concerning themselves, in not being baptized by him. 

 

Beloved brothers and sisters! We all have been found worthy of holy Baptism in our infancy, through the faith of our parents and our sponsors; we were cleansed of the ancestral sin and were reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, and—became the adopted children of the Father in Heaven. 

 

The doors of the Kingdom of Heaven stand open to us. Let us, then, with all our hearts, always esteem the Divine gift and our calling as sons and daughters of God by grace,—withdrawing far from all sin, and let us, in our thoughts, desires, and actions, strive for the Kingdom of Heaven, that incorruptible, unfading inheritance, prepared for us in the heavens.   Amen.   Courtesy of http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/   

 

O Most Holy Trinity, Our God, Glory to Thee!