Please Remember in Your Prayers

Archpriest Michael Hatrak; Deacon Michael Bishop; Mat. Myra Kovalak; Mat. Klavdiya Burbelo; Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green; Nun Elizabeth; Nun Magdalena; Mat. Natalia Kosich; Priest Gregory and    Mat. Diane Winsky; Mat. Catherine Kowalchik; Marie Vass; Charles Snipes; Arthur-Stephen Lisowsky; Yelena Radchenko; Lydia Zorina; Tatiana; Katherine Plaskowitz; Philip Plaskowitz; Bernadine Borawick; Julia Aymold; 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; John-Thomas Planinshek; Kenneth Pukita; William and Ann Ferkile; Sergei Krektyshev; Irina Kononova; Petr and Lyudmila Borodkin; Anthony Bakie; Svetlana & Aleksey; Nina; Alla; Anna; Alla; Raisa, Zinaida; Joseph Germano; Pavel, Vladimir, Valentina, Nina, and Maria; Maria Pappas; Bonnie Duke; Joseph Lacomy; Diana Radchenko; Aleksey & Lidia Potapov; Oleg and Andrei; Vitaliy, Tatiana, Olena & Nicholas Berchuk; Irena and Isabella; David, Selina-Sophia, John, Maryann, David, Joseph, Lisa Ann Eichelberger; Cynthia and Bill (Basil) Popomaronis; Andrei, Marina, Valentina and Vladimir; Archpriest Cezar, Mat. Christina, Cezara–Maria, Darius, Justina, Christian; Victoria Lardiero; Donela-Maria w/child; Richard Wright; Valentina Shultieva; Shanna, Stephen, Trent-Michael, Grant-Alexander, Adalynn Lisowsky; Julie Smith; Tayisia Solvieva; Lubov Pavuk; Leonid and Zoya; James McAteer; Jayne Sudol; Rita and Richard Herber; Lubov; Svetlana.

 

 

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Bulletin

34th Sunday after Pentecost

Tone 1

January 7/20, 2019

Sunday After Theophany

 

 

Afterfeast of Theophany. Synaxis of the Holy, Honorable, Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scriptural Readings:    

Ephesians 4: 7-13  /  Matthew 4: 12-17

Acts 19: 1-8   /   John 1: 29-34

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

 

 

Humble people are not annoyed with anyone either in spirit or in thought, but always consider themselves to be guilty and sinful, and they do not complain about anyone but they thank God for everything…

 

A humble person lives on earth as if in the Kingdom of Heaven, always, happy, peaceful, and satisfied with everything.  Venerable Anthony of Optina

 

We magnify Thee, O Life-Giving Christ, 

who for our sakes was now baptized of John in the waters of the Jordan

 

This Week’s Liturgical Calendar

Saturday, January 26th – 6:00 PM

Vigil Service at the Chapel

Sunday, January 27th – 10:00 AM

Private Confessions 9:15 – 10:00 AM

Divine Liturgy in Church

 

 

Divine Services at Holy Trinity are live-streamed at 

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

 

 

Special Petitions for the Unity of the Orthodox Church

Again we pray to the Lord and our Savior to preserve the Orthodox Church abiding in the whole world in unity and right belief, and to grant her peace and tranquility, love and consent, let us all say, Lord, hearken and have mercy.

 

Again we pray to look upon the Holy Orthodox Church with the goodness of heart and with mercy, and to preserve her from divisions and schisms, from hostility and disorder, so her unity will not be diminished or shaken, but Thine Thrice-Holy name be glorified in her, let us all say, Lord, hearken and have mercy.

 

 

 

Please join us for coffee hour today after services

Sponsors for today: Potluck- Thank you!

 

 

Yolka – Thank you!

Last Sunday, January 13th, the children of our parish offered wonderful Yolka performances. First, the younger students of our Sunday School recited special Christmas greetings and gave a performance of the Nativity. Then our older students gave a “black light” performance, illustrating the events described in the popular Christmas carol “Do you hear what I hear?” As each verse of the song was sung the scenes changed to depict the Nativity narrative. After this, our Romashka Dance Ensemble gave an energetic performance, displaying traditional Russian dance steps with great talent. They are showing such improvement each year! Then at the conclusion of the event, “Santa” (“Uncle Frost”) gave gifts to everyone after their dance around the Christmas tree singing “In the forest the young Christmas tree was born...” All the students did a great job and really enjoyed performing. We offer our sincere thanks to Natallia Makarava who coordinated the performances, rehearsals, and stage set-up, and to Olga Hansen who coordinated the gifts and luncheon. We also cordially thank all the parents who ensured that their children attended the rehearsals and participated in the Yolka. And we truly appreciate the efforts of everyone who donated toward the luncheon and who set up, served and cleaned up afterwards. The donations collected at the luncheon will support our youth programming. Thank you very much. May God bless you all abundantly.

 

Joint Meeting – Restoration and Celebration Committees

On Wednesday, January 23rd at 7:00 PM the Restoration and Celebration Committees will conduct a joint meeting in the church rectory. “Celebration” will discuss all the banquet details, program book, and other issues. Also, “Restoration” will discuss plans for the church floor. All are strongly encouraged to attend.

 

Birthday / Anniversary Celebrations:  January 20-26

We offer our best wishes and birthday congratulations to Elena Loyko (1/26), and Angel Day best wishes to Tatiana Pearson and Tatiana Masiuk (1/25). May God bless them with health, prosperity and many years. To include your birthday/anniversary in the bulletin call Fr. John.

 

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land: March 18-26, 2019

As a part of our Centennial Celebrations, we will travel to the Holy Land through: Orthodox Pilgrimage Tours https://www.orthodoxpilgrimagetours.com/. We may select from two (2) options: A- 7 days/6 nights ($680 + airline ticket) or B- 9 days/8 nights  ($800 + airline ticket). ASAP, please send down payment of $1,000 and register your place at https://www.orthodoxpilgrimagetours.com/copy-of-2018-sentyabr-svyataya-zeml-1. All questions please direct to Irina Pakhomova 215-816-8132. Airline tickets will be purchased by the tour group.

 

12th Annual Bible Bowl – February 9th – 3:00 PM

St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church (909 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley; www.nativityofthetheotokos.org/) will host this year’s Baltimore Orthodox Bible Bowl on Saturday, February 9, 2019.  The competition will be between adolescent and high school teams from our parish, St. Mary, Holy Cross, St. Andrew’s and others. Registration begins at 2:00 PM and the first round of competition starts at 2:15 PM. Pan-Orthodox Great Vespers will be celebrated at 5:00 PM in the church. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to the winning teams. Come and support the youth of our parish. Let us show them how important it is to study the Holy Scriptures.

 

Sunday School Projects for our Centennial

The Sunday School students are conducting monthly projects in 2019 to commemorate our parish centennial. For 10 of the 12 months they will focus on special parish milestones of each decade. In January, to remember the establishment of the parish in 1919 and its beginnings in the 1920’s, they will build a church model made from non-perishable foods, e.g. canned goods, packs of pasta, boxes of cereal, etc. Then at the end of the month the food will be used to stock our charitable food pantry. In January, please bring in non-perishable food items. Look for the display in the hall. Thank you for your help. For info contact Dr. Pat Disharoon pdisharoon@aol.com. 

 

Submit your 2019 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.

 

New Cleaning Groups Have Begun

We are currently recruiting volunteers for new cleaning groups to begin in January 2019. Our goal is to recruit enough volunteers to create eight (8) groups. Each new group will have at least two experienced volunteers from our current cleaning schedule. With eight groups in rotation, volunteers will have to clean the church/hall only once every other month. Contact Larisa Hidar for more information: 443-986-0047 larafaza@yahoo.com  

 

New Cleaning Group – Group #5 /  Join a Group – Help your brothers and sisters

Group #5 will clean this week Jan. 21-26: Natasha and Vlad Volkov, Yelena and Vadim Radchenko and

Nadiya Aleksandrovych. Please join a group. We always need more members. Thank you!

 

Vigil Candles: On the Altar and near St. Barbara

January 20-26: Candles offered by Maria Radchenko for the health/salvation of the servants of God: Ernesto Castillo and Maria Radchenko. A $15 donation will keep all three candles lit for one week. Schedule your candle offering with Elena Loyko   443-537-8978; elenaakinina71@gmail.com. 

 

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…

Archpriest Michael Hatrak; Deacon Michael Bishop; Mat. Myra Kovalak; Mat. Klavdiya Burbelo; Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green; Nun Elizabeth; Nun Magdalena; Mat. Natalia Kosich; Priest Gregory and    Mat. Diane Winsky; Mat. Catherine Kowalchik; Marie Vass; Charles Snipes; Arthur-Stephen Lisowsky; Yelena Radchenko; Lydia Zorina; Tatiana; Katherine Plaskowitz; Philip Plaskowitz; Bernadine Borawick; Julia Aymold; 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; John-Thomas Planinshek; Kenneth Pukita; William and Ann Ferkile; Sergei Krektyshev; Irina Kononova; Petr and Lyudmila Borodkin; Anthony Bakie; Svetlana & Aleksey; Nina; Alla; Anna; Alla; Raisa, Zinaida; Joseph Germano; Pavel, Vladimir, Valentina, Nina, and Maria; Maria Pappas; Bonnie Duke; Joseph Lacomy; Diana Radchenko; Aleksey & Lidia Potapov; Oleg and Andrei; Vitaliy, Tatiana, Olena & Nicholas Berchuk; Irena and Isabella; David, Selina-Sophia, John, Maryann, David, Joseph, Lisa Ann Eichelberger; Cynthia and Bill (Basil) Popomaronis; Andrei, Marina, Valentina and Vladimir; Archpriest Cezar, Mat. Christina, Cezara–Maria, Darius, Justina, Christian; Victoria Lardiero; Donela-Maria w/child; Richard Wright; Valentina Shultieva; Shanna, Stephen, Trent-Michael, Grant-Alexander, Adalynn Lisowsky; Julie Smith; Tayisia Solvieva; Lubov Pavuk; Leonid and Zoya; James McAteer; Jayne Sudol; Rita and Richard Herber; Lubov; Svetlana.

 

Next Council Meeting: Thursday, February 28 – 7:00 PM in the Church Hall

 

 

Fr. John Vass, Rector    443-527-7067

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

Oxana Chumak-Strianese, Stewardship Chair:      831-673-1937

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

Natallia Makarava Sisterhood President:                443-625-8470

Michael Mickel, Cemetery Manager:          410-666-2870

 

Synaxis of the Holy, Honorable, Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John.

In the Orthodox Church the custom was established, that on the day following the Great Feasts of the Lord and the Mother of God, would be remembered those saints who most essentially participated in whichever the sacred event. And thus, on the day following after the Theophany of the Lord, the Church honors he that participated directly in the Baptism of Christ, indeed placing his own hand upon the head of the Savior. Saint John, the holy Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, termed by our Lord the greatest of the prophets, both concludes the history of the Old Testament and opens up the epoch of the New Testament. The holy Prophet John gave witness concerning the arrival on earth of the Only-Begotten Son of God, incarnated humanly in the flesh. Saint John was deemed worthy to baptize Him in the waters of the Jordan and he was a witness of the Theophany or Manifestation of the Most Holy Trinity on the day of the Baptism of the Savior. The holy Prophet John was a kinsman of the Lord on His mother's side, the son of the Priest Zachariah and Righteous Elizabeth. The holy Forerunner of the Lord, John, was born six months earlier than Christ Jesus. The Archangel Gabriel was the messenger of his birth, in the Jerusalem Temple revealing to his father, that for him a son was to be born. Through the prayers offered up beforehand, the child was filled with the Holy Spirit. Saint John prepared himself in the wilds of the desert for his great service by a strict life, by fasting, prayer and sympathy for the fate of God's people. At the age of about 30 years he came forth preaching repentance. He appeared at the banks of the Jordan, by his preaching to prepare the people for acceptance of the Savior of the world. In the expression of churchly song, Saint John was a "bright morning star", whose gleaming outshone the shining of all the other stars, announcing the coming morning of the day of grace, illumined with the light of the spiritual Son, – our Lord Jesus Christ. Having baptized the sinless Lamb of God, Saint John soon died a martyr's death, beheaded by the sword on orders of king Herod in fulfilling the request of his daughter Salome. (About Saint John the Baptist, vide: Mt. 3: 1-16, 11: 1-19, 14: 1-12; Mk. 1: 2-8, 6: 14-29; Lk. 1: 5-25, 39‑80, 3: 1-20, 7: 18-35, 9: 7-9; Jn. 1: 19-34, 3: 22-26). 

 

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.  Every priest should take care to bless a sufficient quantity of water for his church, so that it will be on hand for the course of the whole year for every need and to be given out to those who ask for it; and parishioners should provide for themselves at Theophany with Holy Water for the whole year and even so that it can be kept for future years.   

 

 

 

Why then is this day called Theophany? Because Christ made Himself known to all—not then when He was born—but then when He was baptised. Until this time He was not known to the people. And that the people did not know Him, Who He was, listen about this to John the Baptist, who says: Amidst you standeth, Him Whom ye know not of (Jn.1:26). And is it surprising that others did not know Him, when even the Baptist did not know Him until that day? And I—said he—knew Him not: but He that did send me to baptise with water, about This One did tell unto me: over Him that shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, This One it is Who baptiseth in the Holy Spirit (Jn.1:33).  —St. John Chrysostom

 

 

 

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!