Please Remember in Your Prayers

Schema-Archimandrite Joachim; Archpriest Vincent Saverino; Archpriest Michael Hatrak; Deacon Michael Bishop; Mat. Myra Kovalak; Mat. Klavdiya Burbelo; Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green; Nun Elizabeth; Nun Magdalena; Mat. Natalia Kosich; Mat. Diane Winsky; Mat. Catherine Kowalchik; Marie Vass; Charles Snipes; Arthur-Stephen Lisowsky; Yelena Radchenko; Lydia Zorina; Tatiana; Katherine Plaskowitz; Philip Plaskowitz, Michael Stanka; Bernadine Borawick; Julia Aymold; Mary Johnson; Olga Chanat; Lilli Ann Hoffman; Lara Marinich; Oleg Marinich; Ioann and Galina Zernetkin; Monika-Anastasia & Stephanie Handley; Blanche-Julia Stolkovich; Ekaterina Koroleva; Nina Lewis; Maryann Black; Lyudmila, Anton & Aleksander Karnup; John Alexander Bylen; Katherine Garrett; Stephen Kaminitsky; Constantine; John-Thomas Planinshek; Kenneth Pukita; William and Ann Ferkile; Sergei Krektyshev; Irina Kononova; Petr and Lyudmila Borodkin; Anthony Bakie; Svetlana & Aleksey; Nina; Mat. Galina, Alla; Anna; Alla; Raisa, Zinaida; Joseph Germano; Pavel, Vladimir, Valentina, Nina, and Maria; Maria Pappas; Bonnie Duke; Joseph Lacomy; Diana Radchenko; Aleksey Potapov; Oleg and Andrei; Vitaliy, Tatiana, Olena & Nicholas Berchuk; Marian, Irena and Isabella; David, Selina-Sophia, John, Maryann, David, Joseph, Lisa Ann Eichelberger; Cynthia and Bill (Basil) Popomaronis; Katerina Spilio; Ekaterina Kuzmina.



Happy New Year ! С Новым Годом !


32nd Sunday after Pentecost

Tone 7

January 1 / 14, 2018

Sunday before Theophany

Circumcision of the Lord


Holy Hierarch Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (379); Martyr Basil of Ancyra (ca. 362); St. Emilia, mother of St. Basil the Great (4th c.); Venerable-martyr Jeremiah (1918); Hieromartyrs Platon, Bishop of Revel, Estonia and with him Priests Michael and Nicholas (1919); Hieromartyrs Alexander Archbishop of Samara and with him the Priests John, Alexander, John, Alexander, Vyacheslav, Basil and James (1938). 


Today’s Scriptural Readings:      

2 Timothy 4: 5-8  /  Mark 1: 1-8 (Sunday Before Theophany)

Colossians 2: 8-12   /   Luke 2: 20-21, 40-52  (Circumcision)

Hebrews 7:26 – 8:2   /   Luke 6: 17-23  (Saint)

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


This  Week’s  Liturgical  Calendar

Wednesday, 1/17  and  Friday, 1/19: no fasting

Thursday, January 18th – 6:00 PM 

Strict Fast Day

Vigil Service in the Chapel

Friday, January 19th – 10:00 AM

Theophany - Baptism of our Lord

Divine Liturgy in the Chapel 

Great Blessing of Water 

Saturday, January 20th – 6:00 PM 

Vigil Service in Church

Sunday, January 21st – 10:00 AM 

Confessions at 9:15 – 10:00 AM

Divine Liturgy in Church

Great Blessing of Water



Divine Services at Holy Trinity are now live-streamed at



Please Join us at the Yolka – Today after Services

Sponsors for today: Sunday School Parents


Yolka – Today, January 14

The students of our Sunday School will offer a “Yolka” presentation on Sunday, January 14th. This year, the students will give us a performance using music and puppets. It promises to be interesting! Our students have been preparing diligently for this day and their parents have been helping a great deal as well. Please show your support of our youth by attending this year’s “Yolka”. For info call: Natallia Makarava 443-625-8470.


Great Blessing of Water –  Friday, January 19th and Sunday, January 21st 

The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ will be celebrated from January 19-27.  During that time the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the Great Blessing of Water.  On Friday, January 19th, Theophany, we will perform the Great Blessing of Water at the end of Divine Liturgy in the Chapel and bless the waters of Rockburn Branch Creek which runs through our cemetery property. Then, on the following Sunday, January 21st, we will celebrate the Great Blessing of Water after Divine Liturgy in Church. Please bring bottles to take Holy Water home with you.


Installation of Parish Council Officers

TODAY – Sunday, January 14th at the end of the Divine Liturgy we will conduct

the installation of the Parish Council Officers for the Year 2018. May God bless their work for our parish.


Victor Marinich


Vadim Radchenko

Vice President

Andrei Burbelo

Recording Secretary

Albert (Augustine) Blaszak


Monika (Anastasia) Handley

Stewardship Chairperson



Michael Mickel

Cemetery Committee President

Natallia Makarava

Sisterhood President


Nativity Celebrations – Thank you !

We extend our sincere thanks to all the women of the Sisterhood for coordinating the Christmas Eve Holy Supper and the Christmas Day Dinner last week. And, we offer our very warm thanks to all who brought so many delicious dishes to share with everyone. The table was full of food for these events. And even more importantly, thank you for your prayers, support and warm fellowship. The church was full for both services! It certainly felt like a Winter Pascha. Such joyous feast days and celebrations leave a big impression on our souls and they help us to grow in love and faith, and to further strengthen our bonds of friendship. Thank you!


11th Annual Bible Bowl – February 10th – 3:00 PM

Our parish will host this year’s Baltimore Orthodox Bible Bowl on Saturday, February 10, 2018.  The competition will be between adolescent and high school teams from our parish, Holy Cross, St. Andrew’s and others. Registration begins at 3:15 PM and the first round of competition starts at 3:30 PM. Pan-Orthodox Great Vespers will be celebrated at 6:00 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.



Restoration of our Church – A Historic Project ! – Please Help

We ask for your support and generosity! With your help these significant projects will prepare our church for the Centennial Commemoration in 2019!


Phase 1

Restoration & Beautification of Large Icons


Partially Paid

Almost complete

Phase 2

Repair & Painting of Walls


Need Donations

June, 2018

Phase 3

New iconography on entire ceiling


Need Donations

July-Aug., 2018

Phase 4

Flooring, Electrical & Lighting Upgrades


Need Donations



Amazon Smile  &  Popular Gift Cards

Every time you shop on Amazon go to log in as you usually do, select our church – Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church (Baltimore, MD) – as your targeted charity, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase (every purchase) to our church. 


Looking for a simple way to contribute to the church restoration? Consider Gift Cards for your shopping and gift giving. When you use gift cards to pay for your purchases and gift giving, you automatically contribute to our church restoration! You raise money by paying for your shopping with gift cards you purchase from our church! 


Just look at the earnings from these popular retailers:

·      Earn 2.5% on gifts from Amazon (remember to purchase at

·      Earn 10% when you shop at Macy's

·      Earn 6% with gift cards from CVS

·      Earn 7% with gift cards from Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Home Goods

·      Earn 14% on your holiday outfits from GAP or Old Navy

·      You can even earn 4% when you’re buying holiday meal supplies at Safeway, Shop Rite or Giant!


If you want to start raising easy money in-store, online, on-the-go, or on last-minute gifts, email  410-987-4850 or stop by the Gift Kiosk in the parish hall for our enrollment code so you may purchase your gift cards today!   Invite your family and friends to purchase gift cards from Holy Trinity too!



Vigil Candles: On the Altar and near St. Barbara

Jan 14-20: Candles offered by the Vass Family for the repose of the soul of the servant of God +Matushka Tatiana.

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


Cleaning Group – Group #2 /  Join a Group – Help your brothers and sisters

Group #2 will clean this week Jan. 15-20: Natallia Makarava (captain), Mikhail Merzliakov,

Catalin Frujinoiu,  Anca Frujinoiu and Gabriel Wagner This group needs more members.


Birthday / Anniversary Celebrations:  January 14-20

We offer our best wishes and birthday congratulations to Alexandra Boarman (1/14) and Dmitriy Shustov (1/15),

and Angel-Day congratulations to Catalin-Vasiliy (1/14) and Brian-Seraphim Cardell (1/15). May God bless them with health, prosperity and many years.



Submit your 2018 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 Hatrak; Deacon Michael Bishop; Mat. Myra Kovalak; Mat. Klavdiya Burbelo; Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green; Nun Elizabeth; Nun Magdalena; Mat. Natalia Kosich; Mat. Diane Winsky; Mat. Catherine Kowalchik; Marie Vass; Charles Snipes; Arthur-Stephen Lisowsky; Yelena Radchenko; Lydia Zorina; Tatiana; Katherine Plaskowitz; Philip Plaskowitz, Michael Stanka; Bernadine Borawick; Julia Aymold; Mary Johnson; Olga Chanat; Lilli Ann Hoffman; Lara Marinich; Oleg Marinich; Ioann and Galina Zernetkin; Monika-Anastasia & Stephanie Handley; Blanche-Julia Stolkovich; Ekaterina Koroleva; Nina Lewis; Maryann Black; Lyudmila, Anton & Aleksander Karnup; John Alexander Bylen; Katherine Garrett; Stephen Kaminitsky; Constantine; John-Thomas Planinshek; Kenneth Pukita; William and Ann Ferkile; Sergei Krektyshev; Irina Kononova; Petr and Lyudmila Borodkin; Anthony Bakie; Svetlana & Aleksey; Nina; Mat. Galina, Alla; Anna; Alla; Raisa, Zinaida; Joseph Germano; Pavel, Vladimir, Valentina, Nina, and Maria; Maria Pappas; Bonnie Duke; Joseph Lacomy; Diana Radchenko; Aleksey Potapov; Oleg and Andrei; Vitaliy, Tatiana, Olena & Nicholas Berchuk; Marian, Irena and Isabella; David, Selina-Sophia, John, Maryann, David, Joseph, Lisa Ann Eichelberger; Cynthia and Bill (Basil) Popomaronis; Katerina Spilio; Ekaterina Kuzmina.


Next Council Meeting: Tuesday, January 16th – 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



The Circumcision of the Lord

On the eighth day after His Nativity, our Lord Jesus Christ – in accordance with the Old Testament Law, accepted circumcision, which was decreed for all infants of the male gender as a sign of the Covenant of God with the Forefather Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 17: 10-14, Lev. 12: 3). Upon the performing of this ritual the Divine Infant was given the name Jesus, which had been announced by the Archangel Gabriel on the day of the Annunciation (Blagoveschenie) to the Most Holy Virgin Mary (Lk. 1: 31-33, 2: 21). According to the explanation of the fathers of the Church the Lord, the Creator of the Law, accepted circumcision, giving example for people how faithfully the Divine ordinances ought to be fulfilled. The Lord accepted circumcision for this reason – so that later on no one should be in doubt that He was truly Man, rather than merely being the bearer of illusion-seeming flesh as certain heretics (Docetism) happened to teach. In the New Testament (Covenant) the ritual of circumcision gave way to the sacrament of Baptism, which it pre-figured (Col. 2: 11-12). Accounts about the feast day of the Circumcision of the Lord in the Eastern Church continue right up through the IV Century. The Canon of the feast was written by the Monk Stephen Savvaites (Comm. 28 October and 13 July). Together with the Circumcision, accepted by the Lord as a sign of the Covenant of God with mankind, He received also the Name Jesus (Savior) as the seal of His service – the deed of the Salvation of the world (Mt. 1: 21; Mk. 9: 38-39, 16: 17; Lk. 10: 17; Acts 3: 6, 16; Phil. 2: 9-10). These two events, the Circumcision and Naming, remind Christians that they have entered into a New Covenant (Testament) with God and "are circumcised with a circumcision not done by hand, in putting off the sinful body of the flesh, by the Circumcision of Christ" (Col. 2: 11). The very name "Christian" witnesses to an entrance of mankind into a New Covenant with God.    © 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.


St. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea Cappadocia

St. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea Cappadocia, "belongs not to the Church of Caesarea alone, nor merely to his own time, nor to his own kinsmen was he merely of benefit, but rather to all lands and cities worldwide, and to all people he brought and yet brings benefit, and for Christians he always was and will be a teacher most salvific", – thus spoke the contemporary of Saint Basil, – Sainted Amphylokhios, Bishop of Iconium (+ 344, Comm. 23 November). 


Saint Basil was born in about the year 330 at Caesarea, the administrative center of Cappadocia. He was of illustrious lineage, famed for its eminence and wealth, and giftedly zealous for the Christian faith. The grandfather and grandmother of the saint on his father's side, during the time of persecution under Diocletian, had to hide themselves away in the forests of Pontum for a space of seven years. The mother of Saint Basil – Saint Emilia (Emily), was the daughter of a martyr. The father of Saint Basil was also named Basil: he was a lawyer and renown rhetorician and lived constantly at Caesarea. 


Into the family of this elder Basil ten children were born – five sons and five daughters. Of these, five were later enumerated to the ranks of the Saints: Basil the Great; Macrina (Comm. 19 July) – was an exemplar of ascetic life, and exerted strong influence on the life and character of Saint Basil the Great; Gregory, afterwards Bishop of Nyssa (Comm. 10 January); Peter, Bishop of Sebasteia (Comm. 9 January); and Righteous Theozua – a deaconess (Comm. 10 January). Saint Basil spent the first years of his life on an estate belonging to his parents at the River Irisa, where he was raised under the supervision of his mother Emilia and grandmother Macrina. They were women of great refinement, preserving in memory the tradition of an earlier sainted-hierarch of Cappadocia – Sainted Gregory Thaumatougos (Wonderworker) (+ c. 266-270, Comm. 17 November). Basil received his initial education under the supervision of his father, and then he studied under the finest teachers in Caesarea Cappadocia, and it was here that he made the acquaintance of Sainted Gregory the Theologian (Bogoslov, i.e. title of Saint Gregory Nazianzus; Comm. 25 January and 30 January). Later on, Basil transferred to school at Constantinople, where he listened to eminent orators and philosophers. For the finishing touches to his education Saint Basil set off to Athens – a center of classical enlightenment.


After a four or five year stay at Athens, Basil the Great had mastered all the available disciplines: "He so thoroughly studied everything, more than others are wont to study a single subject, each science he studied to its very totality, as though he would study naught else". Philosopher, philologist, orator, jurist, naturalist, possessing profound  knowledge in astronomy, mathematics and medicine, – "this was a ship, loaded down full of learning, to the extent allowed of by human nature". At Athens a close friendship developed between Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian (Nazianzus), which continued throughout all their life. Later, in an eulogy to Basil the Great, Saint Gregory the Theologian speaks with delight about this period: "Various hopes guided us and in deed inevitably – in learning... Two paths opened up before us: the one – to our sacred temples and the teachers therein; the other – towards preceptors of disciplines beyond"


In about the year 357 Saint Basil returned to Caesarea, where for a certain while he devoted himself to rhetoric. But soon, refusing offers from Caesarea citizens wanting to entrust him with the education of their offspring, Saint Basil entered upon the path of ascetic life. 


After the death of her husband, Basil's mother together with her eldest daughter Macrina and several maid-servants withdrew to the family estate at Irisa and there began to lead an ascetic life. Basil, however, having accepted Baptism from the bishop of Caesarea Dianios, was ordained a reader. As an expounder of the Sacred Scriptures, he at first read them to the people. Later, "wanting to acquire a guide to the knowledge of truth", the saint undertook a journey into Egypt, Syria and Palestine, – to the great Christian ascetics dwelling there. Upon returning to Cappadocia, he decided to do likewise. Having given his wealth to the needy, Saint Basil settled on the opposite side of the river not far from his mother Emilia and sister Macrina, gathering around him monks living in common community. Through his letters, Basil the great attracted to the wilderness monastery his good friend Gregory the Theologian. Saints Basil and Gregory asceticised amidst strict abstinence in their hovel, without roof and without fireplace, and the food was very humble. They themselves heaved the stones, planted and watered the trees, and carried heavy loads. Their hands were constantly calloused from the hard work. For clothing Basil the great had only chiton-tunic and monastic mantle; the hair shirt he wore only at night, so that it would not be obvious. In their solitude, Saints Basil and Gregory occupied themselves in an intense study of Holy Scripture with manuscript guidances from the most ancient commentators, and in parts Origen also, – from all whose works they compiled an anthology – a Philokalia (Dobrotoliubie). And also at this time at the request of the monks, Basil the Great wrote down a collection of rules for virtuous life. By his preaching and by his example Saint Basil the Great assisted in the spiritual perfecting of Christians in Cappadocia and Pontus; and many indeed turned to him. Monasteries were organized for men and for women, in which places Basil sought to unite the coenobitic (koine-bios or life in common) lifestyle with that of the solitary hermit.


During the reign of Constantius (337-361) the heretical false-teachings of Arius spread about, and the Church summoned both its saints into service. Saint Basil returned to Caesarea. In the year 362 he was ordained deacon by the bishop of Antioch, Meletios; later on, in 364 he was ordained to the dignity of priest by the bishop of Caesarea, Eusebios. "But seeing, – as Gregory the Theologian relates, – that everyone exceedingly praised and honored Basil for his wisdom and reverence, Eusebios, through human weakness, succumbed to jealousy of him, and began to show dislike for him". The monks rose up in defense of saint Basil. To avoid causing Church discord, Basil withdrew to his own monastery and concerned himself with the organization of monasteries. With the coming to power of the emperor Valens (364-378), who was a resolute adherent of Arianism, there began for Orthodoxy the onset of a time of troubles – "the onset of the great struggle". Saint Basil then hastily returned to Caesarea at the call of bishop Eusebios. In the words of Gregory the Theologian, he was for bishop Eusebios "a good advisor, a righteous representative, an expounder of the Word of God, a staff for the aged, a faithful support in matters internal, and an activist in matter external". From this time church governance passed over to Basil, though he was subordinate to the hierarch. He preached daily, and often twice so – in the morning and in the evening. And during this time Saint Basil compiled the order of his Liturgy; he wrote a work "Discourse on the Six Days" and another in 16 Chapters on the Prophet Isaiah, yet another on the Psalms, and also a second compilation of monastic rules. Saint Basil wrote also Three Books "Against Eunomios", an Arian teacher who with the help of Aristotelian concepts had presented the Arian dogmatics in learnedly philosophic form, converting the Christian teaching into a logical scheme of rationalist concepts.


Saint Gregory the Theologian, speaking about the activity of Basil the Great during this period, points to "the caring for the destitute and the taking in of strangers, the supervision of virgins, written and unwritten monastic rule for the monasticising, the arrangement of prayers (Liturgy), the felicitous arrangement of altars and other things". Upon the death of the bishop of Caesarea Eusebios, Saint Basil in the year 370 was elevated onto his cathedra-chair. As Bishop of Caesarea, Saint Basil the Great was the newest in rank of 50 bishops in eleven provinces. St. Athanasius the great (Comm. 2 May), with joy and with thanks to God welcomed the bestowing of Cappadocia with such a bishop as Basil, famed for his reverence, deep knowledge of Holy Scripture, great learning, and his efforts for the welfare of Church peace and unity. In the empire of Valens the external government belonged to the Arians, who held several various opinions on questions of the Divinity of the Son of God and hence were divided into several factions. And to these dogmatic disputes were connected questions about the Holy Spirit. In his books "Against Eunomios", Saint Basil the Great taught about the Divinity of the Holy Spirit and Its Oneness together with the Father and the Son. Subsequently, for a full explanation of the Orthodox teaching on this question, – at the request of the Bishop of Iconium Saint Amphylokhios, Saint Basil wrote his book "About the Holy Spirit".


The generally sorry state of affairs for the Caesarea bishop was made even worse by various circumstances: Cappadocia was divided in two under the re-arrangement of governance of provincial districts. Then too at Antioch a schism occurred, occasioned by the ordination of a second bishop. There was the negative and haughty attitude of Western bishops to the attempts to draw them into the struggle with the Arians. And there was also the departure over to the Arian side by Eustathios of Sebasteia, with whom Basil had been connected by close friendship. Amidst the constant perils Saint Basil gave encouragement to the Orthodox, affirmed them in the faith, summoning them to bravery and endurance. The holy bishop wrote numerous letters to the Churches, to bishops, to clergy and to individuals. Overcoming the heretics "by the weapon of his mouth, and by the arrows of his letters", as an untiring champion of Orthodoxy, Saint Basil all his life gave challenge to the hostility and the every which way possible intrigues of the Arian heretics.


The emperor Valens, mercilessly dispatching into exile any bishops that displeased him, and having implanted Arianism into other Asia Minor provinces, suddenly appeared in Cappadocia for precisely this purpose. He sent off to Saint Basil the prefect Modestus, who began to threaten the saint with ruin, banishment, beatings and even death by execution. "All this, – replied Basil, – for me means nothing, since one cannot be deprived of possessions that one does not have, beyond some old worn-out clothing and some books, which comprises the entirety of my wealth. For me it would not be exile, since I am bound to no particular place, and this place in which I now dwell is not mine, and indeed any place whither I be cast shalt be mine. Better it is to say: everywhere is the place of God, whither be naught stranger nor new-comer (Ps. 38 [39]: 13). And what tortures can ye do me? – I am so weak, that merely but the very first blow will be felt. Death for me would be an act of kindness: it will bring me all the sooner to God, for Whom I live and do labor, and to Whom moreover I do strive". The official was bewildered by such an answer. "Perhaps, – continued the saint, – thou hast never had encounter with a bishop; otherwise, without doubt, thou wouldst have heard suchlike words. In all else we are meek, the most humble of all, and not only affront the mighty, but also affront all, since such is prescribed for us by the law. But when it is a matter concerning God and they make bold to rise up against Him, then we – being mindful of naught else, think only of Him alone, and then fire, sword, wild beasts and chains, the rending of the body, would sooner hold satisfaction for us, than to be afraid".


Reporting to Valens on the not to be intimidated Saint Basil, Modestus said: "Emperor, we stand defeated by a leader of the Church". Basil the Great again showed firmness and in front of the very person of the emperor himself and his retinue produced such a strong impression on Valens, that the emperor dared not give in to the Arians demanding the exile of Basil. "On the day of Theophany, amidst an innumerable multitude of the people, Valens entered the church and mixed in amidst the throng, in order to give the appearance of being in unity with the Church. When began the singing of psalmody in the church, it was like thunder to his hearing. The emperor beheld a sea of people, and in the altar and all around was splendor; in front of all was Basil, acknowledging neither by gesture nor by glance, as though in church was occurred aught else, than that everything was intent only on God and the altar-table, and the clergy thereat in awe and reverence". 


Saint Basil almost daily celebrated Divine-services. He was particularly concerned about the strict fulfilling of the canons of the Church, and kept attentive watch, so that only worthy individuals should enter into the clergy. He incessantly made the rounds of his own church, lest anywhere there be an infraction of Church discipline, and setting aright any unseemliness. At Caesarea Saint Basil built two monasteries, a men's and a women's, with a church in honor of 40 Martyrs whose relics were buried there. On the example of monks, the metropolitan clergy of the saint , – even deacons and priests lived in remarkable poverty, to toil and lead lives chaste and virtuous. For his clergy Saint Basil got an exemption from taxes. All his personal wealth and the income-proceeds from his church he used for the benefit of the destitute; in every center of his diocese he built a poor-house; at Caesarea – a home for wanderers and the homeless. 


Sickly since youth, the toil of teaching, efforts at abstinence, the concerns and sorrows of pastoral service early sapped the strength of the saint. Saint Basil died on 1 January 379 at age 49. Shortly before his death, the saint gave blessing to Saint Gregory the Theologian to enter upon the Constantinople cathedra-chair. 


Upon the repose of Saint Basil, the Church immediately began to celebrate his memory. Saint Amphylokhios, Bishop of Iconium (+ 394), in his eulogy to Sainted Basil the Great, said: "It is neither without a reason nor by chance that holy Basil hath taken leave from the body and had repose from the world unto God on the day of the Circumcision of Jesus, celebrated betwixt the day of the Nativity and the day of the Baptism of Christ. Wherefore this most blessed one, preaching and praising the Nativity and Baptism of Christ, extolling spiritual circumcision, himself forsaking the flesh, doth ascend to Christ now especially on the sacred day of remembrance of the Circumcision of Christ. Therefore, also let be established on this present day annually to honor the memory of Basil the Great festally and solemnly".   © 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.



Theophany – Baptism of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ

Friday, January 19


The Feast of the Holy Theophany of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated each year on January 6/19. The Feast commemorates the Baptism of Christ and the divine revelation of the Holy Trinity. At the Baptism of Christ, all three Persons of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—were made manifest. Thus, the name of the Feast is Epiphany, meaning manifestation, or Theophany, meaning manifestation of God.


The Biblical story of the Baptism of Christ is recorded in all four of the Gospels: Matthew 3, Mark 1:1-9, Luke 3:21-22, and John 1:31-34. John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus and the one chosen by God to proclaim His coming, was preaching in the wilderness and was baptizing all who would respond to his message calling for repentance. As he was doing this, John was directing the people toward the one who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). The Scriptures tell us that Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. Initially, John would not do this, saying that Jesus should baptize him. Jesus said to John, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness (3:15). John consented and baptized Jesus. When Jesus came up from the water, the heavens opened suddenly, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. The Bible records that the Spirit descended like a dove and alighted on him. When this happened, a voice came from heaven and said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” This was the voice of God the Father.


Christ’s baptism in the Jordan was “theophany,” a manifestation of God to the world, because it was the beginning of our Lord’s public ministry. It was also a “theophany” in that the world was granted a revelation of the Holy Trinity. All three Persons were made manifest together: the Father testified from on high to the divine Sonship of Jesus; the Son received His Father’s testimony; and the Spirit was seen in the form of a dove, descending from the Father and resting upon the Son. The theme of “manifestation” or “revelation” is also expressed in Scripture with the symbolism of light. In the hymn of the Feast we sing, “Christ has appeared and enlightened the world.” 


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