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"Purity of mind is one thing, and purity of heart is another. Now the mind is one of the senses of the soul, but the heart is what contains and holds the inner senses, that is, their root; but if the root is holy, then the branches are holy"

—Saint Isaac the Syrian

News & Events

Wed 1st Apr 2015

Today's readings
Reading: Isaiah 58:1-11
Isaiah 58:1-11

Fasting that Pleases God

1 "Cry aloud, spare not;
      Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
      Tell My people their transgression,
      And the house of Jacob their sins.

2 Yet they seek Me daily,
      And delight to know My ways,
      As a nation that did righteousness,
      And did not forsake the ordinance of their God.
      They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
      They take delight in approaching God.

3 ' Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and You have not seen?
      Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?'

      " In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure,
      And exploit all your laborers.

4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate,
      And to strike with the fist of wickedness.
      You will not fast as you do this day,
      To make your voice heard on high.

5 Is it a fast that I have chosen,
      A day for a man to afflict his soul?
      Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
      And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
      Would you call this a fast,
      And an acceptable day to the LORD?

6 " Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
      To loose the bonds of wickedness,
      To undo the heavy burdens,
      To let the oppressed go free,
      And that you break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
      And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
      When you see the naked, that you cover him,
      And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
      Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
      And your righteousness shall go before you;
      The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
      You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.'

      " If you take away the yoke from your midst,
      The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

10 If you extend your soul to the hungry
      And satisfy the afflicted soul,
      Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
      And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you continually,
      And satisfy your soul in drought,
      And strengthen your bones;
      You shall be like a watered garden,
      And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Reading: Genesis 43:26-45:16
Genesis 43:26-45:16

26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed down before him to the earth.

27 Then he asked them about their well-being, and said, "Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?"

28 And they answered, "Your servant our father is in good health; he is still alive." And they bowed their heads down and prostrated themselves.

29 Then he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, "Is this your younger brother of whom you spoke to me?" And he said, "God be gracious to you, my son."

30 Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep. And he went into his chamber and wept there.

31 Then he washed his face and came out; and he restrained himself, and said, "Serve the bread."

32 So they set him a place by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves; because the Egyptians could not eat food with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.

33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men looked in astonishment at one another.

34 Then he took servings to them from before him, but Benjamin's serving was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.

Genesis 44

Joseph's Cup

1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, "Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man's money in the mouth of his sack.

2 Also put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his grain money." So he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.

3 As soon as the morning dawned, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys.

4 When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, "Get up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, 'Why have you repaid evil for good?

5 Is not this the one from which my lord drinks, and with which he indeed practices divination? You have done evil in so doing.'"

6 So he overtook them, and he spoke to them these same words.

7 And they said to him, "Why does my lord say these words? Far be it from us that your servants should do such a thing.

8 Look, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord's house?

9 With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's slaves."

10 And he said, "Now also let it be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and you shall be blameless."

11 Then each man speedily let down his sack to the ground, and each opened his sack.

12 So he searched. He began with the oldest and left off with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack.

13 Then they tore their clothes, and each man loaded his donkey and returned to the city.

14 So Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, and he was still there; and they fell before him on the ground.

15 And Joseph said to them, "What deed is this you have done? Did you not know that such a man as I can certainly practice divination?"

16 Then Judah said, "What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; here we are, my lord's slaves, both we and he also with whom the cup was found."

17 But he said, "Far be it from me that I should do so; the man in whose hand the cup was found, he shall be my slave. And as for you, go up in peace to your father."

Judah Intercedes for Benjamin

18 Then Judah came near to him and said: "O my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord's hearing, and do not let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even like Pharaoh.

19 My lord asked his servants, saying, 'Have you a father or a brother?'

20 And we said to my lord, 'We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, who is young; his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother's children, and his father loves him.'

21 Then you said to your servants, 'Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.'

22 And we said to my lord, 'The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.'

23 But you said to your servants, 'Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.'

24 "So it was, when we went up to your servant my father, that we told him the words of my lord.

25 And our father said, 'Go back and buy us a little food.'

26 But we said, 'We cannot go down; if our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down; for we may not see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us.'

27 Then your servant my father said to us, 'You know that my wife bore me two sons;

28 and the one went out from me, and I said, "Surely he is torn to pieces"; and I have not seen him since.

29 But if you take this one also from me, and calamity befalls him, you shall bring down my gray hair with sorrow to the grave.'

30 "Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad's life,

31 it will happen, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die. So your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant our father with sorrow to the grave.

32 For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, 'If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father forever.'

33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad as a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.

34 For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would come upon my father?"

Genesis 45

Joseph Revealed to His Brothers

1 Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, "Make everyone go out from me!" So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.

2 And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it.

3 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph; does my father still live?" But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence.

4 And Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come near to me." So they came near. Then he said: "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.

5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.

7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

9 "Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, 'Thus says your son Joseph: "God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry.

10 You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children's children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have.

11 There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine."'

12 "And behold, your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my mouth that speaks to you.

13 So you shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen; and you shall hurry and bring my father down here."

14 Then he fell on his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.

15 Moreover he kissed all his brothers and wept over them, and after that his brothers talked with him.

16 Now the report of it was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, "Joseph's brothers have come." So it pleased Pharaoh and his servants well.


News & Events

Saint of the Day

Christ 2nd April

The divine Apostle, recounting the achievements of the Saints, and setting forth their memorial as an example for us to turn away from earthly things and sin, and emulate their patience and courage in the struggles for virtue, says, "therefore we also are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every burden, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Heb 12:1). Guided by the teaching of the Holy Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition, we honour the Saints, who are friends of God who keep His commandments, are shining examples of virtue, and are benefactors of mankind. Of course, we honour the known Saints on their own day of the year. However, many Saints are unknown and their number increases with time, so the Church has appointed that once a year a common commemoration be made of all the Saints on All Saints Day. This 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 Gospel's perfection, they who fulfilled in deed the sayings of the Saviour" (Sunday of All Saints, Doxasticon of Vespers). (read more)

Also celebrating:

St Mary of Egypt

Holy Martyr Gerontius


His Eminence

On the occasion of the New Year, I wish to share with you certain simple thoughts. … (read more)

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Calendar

30 MonStrict Fast

Mark of Arethusia

Martyr Cyril the Deacon

St Eustathios the Confessor and Bishop of Bithynia

31 TueStrict Fast

Metropolitan Innocent of Moscow

Holy Hieromartyr Hypatios the Wonderworker

Acacius of Melitene

1 WedStrict Fast

St Mary of Egypt

Holy Martyr Gerontius

2 ThuStrict Fast

Theodora the Virgin-martyr

St Titus the Wonderworker

Amphianos & Aedesios the Martyrs of Lycia

3 FriStrict Fast

St Nikitas the Confessor

Joseph the Hymnwriter

Theodosia and Irene the Martyrs

4 SatOil & Wine Allowed

Saturday of Lazarus

Righteous Father George of Mount Maleon

Nicetas the Hieromartyr. Struggler of Serrai (1808)

Righteous Zosima

Righteous Plato the Studite

5 SunFish Allowed

Palm Sunday

Monk-Martyrs Claudius, Diodore, Victor, Victorin, and those with them

Agathopodes and Theodulos the Martyrs

George the new Martyr

Theodora the Righteous of Thessaloniki