May 23 Our Holy Father and Confessor Michael, Bishop of Synnada

Our holy father Michael the Confessor was a monk in a monastery on the coast of the Black Sea before the Patriarch Tarasius (784-806) consecrated him as Bishop of the city of Synnada. He was present at the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 787. St. Michael bravely and openly opposed the iconoclast heresy of Leo the Armenian (813-820), and was banished to the city of Eudokiada, where he died in the year 821.


The sincerity of your deeds has revealed you to your people as a teacher of moderation, a model of faith, and an example of virtue. Therefore, you attained greatness through humility, and wealth through poverty. O father and archbishop Michael, ask Christ our God to save our souls. 


As a dear prelate and a holy martyred priest, you did not fear the threats of the evil one. You fought heretical forces by proclaiming: I reverence the icon of Christ and that of his most pure Mother. For this we honor you, O Michael.


Romans 1:28 – 2:9

Brothers and sisters: [Perverse men] did not see fit to acknowledge God, so God delivered them up to their own depraved sense to do what is unseemly. They are filled with every kind of wickedness: maliciousness, greed, ill will, envy, murder, bickering, deceit, craftiness. They are gossips and slanderers, they hate God, are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wrongdoing and rebellious toward their parents. One sees in them men without conscience, without loyalty, without affection, without pity. They know God’s just decree that all who do such things deserve death; yet they not only do them but approve them in others. 

That is why everyone of you who judges another is inexcusable. By your judgment you convict yourself, since you do the very same things. “We know that God’s judgment on men who do such things is just.” Do you suppose, then, that you will escape his judgment, you who condemn these things in others yet do them yourself? Or do you presume on his kindness and forbearance? Do you know that God’s kindness is an invitation to repent? In spite of this, your hard and impenitent heart is storing up retribution for that day of wrath when the just judgment of God will be revealed, when he will repay every man for what he has done: eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor, and immortality by patiently doing right; wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. Yes, affliction and anguish will come upon every man who has done evil, the Jew first, then the Greek. 


Matthew 5: 27-32

The Lord said: “You have heard the commandment, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ What I say to you is: anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts. If your right eye is your trouble, gouge it out and throw it away! Better to lose part of your body than to have it all cast into Gehenna. Again, if your right hand is your trouble, cut it off and throw it away! Better to lose part of your body than to have it all cast into Gehenna. 

“It was also said, ‘Whenever a man divorces his wife, he must give her a decree of divorce.’ What I say to you is: everyone who divorces his wife forces her to commit adultery, but lewd conduct is a separate case. The man who marries a divorced woman likewise commits adultery. 

Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications –

All Saints: Mini Bible Study

Mini-Bible Study: Sunday of All-Saints
Hebrews 11:36 ff (From today’s Epistle):
Others (faithful of the Old Testament) suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword…And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Commentary from St. John Chrysostom:
Do you also consider what a thing it is, and how great, that Abraham should be sitting and the apostle Paul waiting till you have been perfected, so that they may then be able to receive their reward? For the Savior has told them before that, unless we also are present, he will not give it to them, just as an affectionate father might say to sons who were well approved and had accomplished their work that he would not give them to eat unless their siblings came… For “God,” he says, “has provided some better thing for us.” In order that they might not seem to have the advantage over us of being crowned before us, God appointed one time of crowning for all; and he that gained the victory so many years before will receive his crown with you. Do you see God’s tender mercy?  They were before us as regards the conflicts but are not before us as regards the crowns. God did not wrong them; God honored us. For they also wait for the siblings, for, if we are “all one body,” the pleasure becomes greater to this body when it is crowned altogether and not part by part. For the righteous are also worthy of admiration in this, that they rejoice in the welfare of their siblings, as in their own, and, for themselves also, it is according to their wish to be crowned along with their own members. To be glorified all together is a great delight.
For Prayerful Reflection:
  1. Have you considered how eagerly the saints await our glorification with them? Since they are in the Body of Christ, they reflect Christ’s own eagerness. They anticipate our prayer of intercession even more than we cry out in prayer.
  2. We are also gifted with the ability to intercede for those for whom we promise to pray with the same eagerness.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day
Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor
257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison
camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as
gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by
2,800 black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.
= = = = = = = = = = = = =
Memorial Day
Memorial Day honors sacrifice of nation’s war dead
“God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him,” says today’s
passage from the First Letter of John. When we observe the nation’s 140th Memorial Day
on Monday, we are aware of the paradox that though war is perhaps the greatest human
evil, our faith teaches us that humans can have no greater love than to lay down their
lives for another.


The Defense Department counts more than a million Americans who have died in the
nation’s armed conflicts, starting with the American Revolution. In modern times, it’s
hard to appreciate that only about two-thirds died from battle wounds and that the
remainder were victims of the soldier’s universal enemy—diseases such as typhoid fever,
dysentery, pneumonia, malaria, and influenza.
As an illustration that remembrance is never finished, a stonecutter in Washington, D.C.,
recently added the names of a handful of soldiers to the black granite expanse of the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Almost every year just before Memorial Day, a few more
names are inscribed with Defense Department approval, based usually on restoration of
missing documents or correction of some other oversight.
Americans typically view Memorial Day as the unofficial beginning of summer, a time
for picnics, family gatherings, and sporting events, including the running of the
Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. In
recent years, a movement has grown to reemphasize the original meaning of the day, with
commemorative parades, ceremonies, services, and visits to cemeteries and monuments.
A National Moment of Remembrance takes place at 3 p.m., and the U.S. flag is flown at
half-staff from dawn until noon local time.
John Rollefson, pastor of Lutheran Church of the Master in Los Angeles, also suggests
that religious communities honor the dead by committing themselves to offering
assistance and advocacy to living veterans. “Far too many seriously and variously
damaged veterans wander the streets of our cities alienated from their families, their
hometown folks, their religious communities, and their pre-service lives,’’ Rollefson
wrote recently. “Regardless of where we stand, we can be united in advocating for quality
care and support for our veterans.”
Source: Articles by Sue Anne Pressley Montes for The Washington Post, the U.S.
Department of Defense, John Rollefson for The Lutheran, and Wikipedia
= = = = = = = = = =
A Prayer for Those Who Have Lost Loved Ones in Military Service:
+ + +
Heavenly Father who sees all of the hurt, comfort the hearts of those who have lost loved
ones in the military. Let us remember those families are still grieving today. Remind
them of Your love for them. Their loss provides for us a safe place to live and worship
You. Keep those families close to Your heart today. Comfort them, be with them and let
them know we do not forget their loved one’s sacrifice. We pray with a grateful heart.

May 22 The Holy Martyr Basiliscus

The holy martyr Basiliscus was a soldier and a cousin of St. Theodore the Recruit. Through his preaching and example, St. Basiliscus brought many to the Faith. He suffered greatly for the sake of Christ. His two brothers suffered with him and were crucified before he was sent to Prison in Comana where he met his martyrdom by beheading in the year 308.


O Lord our God, your holy martyr Basiliscus has deserved the crown of immortality on account of his good fight. Armed with your strength, he has vanquished his persecutors and crushed Satan’s dreadful might. Through his supplications, O Christ our God, save our souls. 


You stood firmly with fortitude in your sufferings. You astonish us with your wonderful miracles which promote the name of Christ among us. You shamed the devil and so we venerate you, calling out: Rejoice, O Basiliscus, dearest and most brilliant of martyrs. 


Romans 1: 18-27

Brothers and sisters: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against the irreligious and perverse spirit of men who, in this perversity of theirs, hinder the truth. In fact, whatever can be known about God is clear to them; he himself made it so. Since the creation of the world, invisible realities, God’s eternal power and divinity, have become visible, recognized through many things he has made. Therefore these men are inexcusable. They certainly had knowledge of God, yet they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks; they stultified themselves through speculation to no purpose, and their senseless hearts were darkened. They claimed to be wise, but turned into fools instead; they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images representing mortal man, birds, beasts, and snakes. In consequence, God delivered them up in their lusts to unclean practices; they engaged in the mutual degradation of their bodies, these men who exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator blessed be he forever, amen! God therefore delivered them up to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and the men gave up natural intercourse with women and burned with lust for one another. Men did shameful things with men, and thus received in their own persons the penalty for their perversity. 


Matthew 5: 20-26

The Lord said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the kingdom of God. You have heard the commandment imposed on your forefathers, ‘You shall not commit murder; every murderer shall be liable to judgment.’ What I say to you is: everyone who grows angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; any man who uses abusive language toward his brother shall be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and if he holds his brother in contempt he risks the fires of Gehenna. If you bring your gift to the altar and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar, go first to be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Lose no time; settle with your opponent while on your way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent may hand you over to the guard, who will throw you into prison. I warn you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications –

May 21 The Holy Emperor Constantine and His Mother Helen, Equal to the Apostles

Constantine reigned in ancient Rome and in Byzantium (which became New Rome), and was the first Christian emperor and champion of the Faith. Though he was not baptized until on his deathbed, he considered himself a Christian, and called the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 325 to settle the Arian heresy. 

On the Via Labicana in old Rome, Helen, the mother of emperor Constantine, is remembered. She single-mindedly worked to help the needy and piously visited churches, mingling with the crowds. Having made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to see the places of the Nativity, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ, she honored the manger and cross of the Lord by building basilicas worthy of respect.  


Seeing the cross in the sky like Paul, and like him you received a call from the Divine. You committed the royal city into the hands of the Lord. Save this city always in peace, O only Lover of Humankind, through the prayers of the Theotokos.


Today Constantine and his mother Helen reveal the cross, that most precious tree which puzzles the Jews. It is the armor of Christian authority against enemies. It has proved itself awesome in war by its many miracles.

Readings for the feast


Acts 26: 1-5 & 12-20

In those days Agrippa spoke to Paul: “You have permission to state your case.” So Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense. “Many charges have been leveled against me by the Jews, King Agrippa. I count myself fortunate to be able to make my defense today in your presence, especially since you are expert in all the various Jewish customs and disputes. I beg you to listen to me patiently.

“The way I have lived since my youth, and the life I have led among my own people from the beginning and later at Jerusalem, is well known to all Jews. They have been acquainted with me for a long time and can testify if they wish, to my life lived as a Pharisee, the strictest sect of our religion.

“On one such occasion I was traveling toward Damascus armed with the authority and commission of the chief priests. On this journey, Your Majesty, I saw a light more brilliant than the sun shining in the sky at midday. It surrounded me and those who were traveling with me. All of us fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.’ I said, at that, ‘Who are you, sir?’ and the Lord answered: ‘I am that Jesus who you are persecuting. Get up now and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to designate you as my servant and as a witness to what you have seen of me and what you will see of me.

‘I have delivered you from this people and from the nations, to open the eyes of those to whom I am sending you, to turn them from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God; that through their faith in me they may obtain the forgiveness of their sins and a portion among God’s people.’

“King Agrippa, I could not disobey that heavenly vision. I preached a message of reform and of conversion to God, first to the people of Damascus, then to the people of Jerusalem and all the country of Judea; yes, even to the Gentiles. I urged them to act in conformity with their change of heart.”


John 10: 1-9

The Lord said, “Truly I assure you: whoever does not enter the sheepfold through the gate but climbs in some other way is a thief and a marauder. The one who enters through the gate is shepherd of the sheep; the keeper opens the gate for him. The sheep hear his voice as he calls his own by name and leads them out. When he has brought out those that are his, he walks in front of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will not follow a stranger; such a one they will flee, because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

Even though Jesus used this figure with them, they did not grasp what he was trying to tell them. He therefore said to them again: “My solemn word is this: I am the sheepgate. All who came before me were thieves and marauders whom the sheep did not heed. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture.” 

Readings for the day


Romans 1: 1-7 and 13-17

Greetings from Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart to proclaim the gospel of God which he promised long ago through his prophets, as the holy Scriptures record – the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh but was made Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness, by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we have been favored with apostleship, that we may spread his name and bring obedient faith to all Gentiles, among who are you who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. 

To all in Rome, beloved of God and called to holiness, grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

My brothers, I want you to know that I have often planned to visit you (though up to now I have been kept from it) in order to do some fruitful work among you, as I have among the other Gentiles. I am under obligation to Greeks and non-Greeks, to learned and unintelligent alike. That is why I am eager to preach the gospel to you Romans as well. 

I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God leading everyone who believes in it to salvation, the Jew first, then the Greek. For in the gospel is revealed the justice of God which begins and ends with faith; as Scripture says, “The just man shall live by faith.”


Matthew 4: 23-25, 5: 1-13

At that time Jesus toured all of Galilee. He taught in their synagogues, proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, and cured the people of every disease and illness. As a consequence of this, his reputation traveled the length of Syria. They carried to him all those afflicted with various diseases and racked with pain: the possessed, the lunatics, the paralyzed. He cured them all. The great crowds that followed him came from Galilee, the Ten Cities, Jerusalem and Judea, and from across the Jordan. 

When he saw the crowds he went up on the mountainside. After he had sat down his disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them: “How blest are the poor in spirit: the reign of God is theirs. Blest too are the sorrowing; they shall be consoled. Blest are the lowly; they shall inherit the land. Blest are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill. Blest are they who show mercy; mercy shall be theirs. Blest are the single-hearted for they shall see God. Blest too are the peacemakers; they shall be called sons of God. Blest are those persecuted for the sake of holiness; the reign of God is theirs. Blest are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven; they persecuted the prophets before you in the very same way.

“You are the salt of the earth. But what if salt goes flat? How can you restore its flavor? Then it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications –

May 20 The Holy Martyr Thaleleus

The holy martyr Thaleleus at Agea in Cilicia. Born in Lebanon in the third century, St. Thaleleus was an eighteen-year-old fair haired young man, training to be a physician. He courageously confessed Christ as God. After several attempts to execute the martyr, he was finally beheaded. The relics of the holy martyr Thallelaeus are in the church of St. Agathonicus of Constantinople and have performed many miracles. Because St. Thalelaeus treated the sick without payment, the Church calls him an Unmercenary Physician. He is invoked in prayers during the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, and during the Blessing of Waters.



O Lord our God, your holy martyr Thaleleus has deserved the crown of immortality on account of his good fight. Armed with your strength, he has vanquished his persecutors and crushed Satan’s dreadful might. Through his supplications, O Christ our God, save our souls.



Becoming a companion of martyrs and a good warrior, you were a pleasing soldier to Christ, the King of glory. You wiped out the glory of idols by endurance and pain; therefore, O wise Thaleleus, we praise your memory. 



Ephesians 5: 8b-19

Brothers and sisters: Live as children of light. Light produces every kind of goodness and justice and truth. Be correct in your judgment of what pleases the Lord. Take no part in vain deeds done in darkness; rather, condemn them. It is shameful even to mention the things these people do in secret; but when such deeds are condemned they are seen in the light of day, and all that then appears is light. That is why we read: “Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Keep careful watch over your conduct. Do not act like fools, but like thoughtful men. Make the most of the present opportunity, for these are evil days. Do not continue in ignorance, but try to discern the will of the Lord. Avoid getting drunk on wine; that leads to debauchery. Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and inspired songs. Sing praise to the Lord with all your hearts.



Matthew 18: 10-20

The Lord said to his disciples: “See that you never despise one of these little ones. I assure you, their angels in heaven constantly behold my heavenly Father’s face. What is your thought on this: A man owns a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away; will he not leave the ninety-nine out on the hills and go in search of the stray? If he succeeds in finding it, believe me he is happier about this one than about the ninety-nine that did not wander away. Just so, it is no part of your heavenly Father’s plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief. 

“If your brother should commit some wrong against you, go and point out his fault, but keep it between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. If he does not listen, summon another, so that every case may stand on the word of two or three witnesses. If he ignores them, refer it to the church. If he ignores even the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. I assure you, whatever you declare bound on earth shall be held bound in heaven, and whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be held loose in heaven.

“Again I tell you, if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven. Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.”

Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications –

May 19 The Holy Priest Martyr Patrick, Bishop of Prusa

The holy martyr Patrick, Bishop of Prusa, and his companions were martyred during the reign of the emperor Julian the Apostate. Taken to a boiling spring, the governor asked if Christ would save them. Patrick replied, “If he will, he can keep me whole and uninjured, although I would wish, in this water, to be parted from this temporal life that I may live eternally with Christ; but let his holy will be done, without which not a hair of a man’s head can fall.” He was thrown in the spring, but remained unharmed. He was then beheaded with his three presbyters.  



O holy priest-martyr Patrick, you lent yourself to the apostles’ way of life and succeeded them on their throne. Inspired by God, you found the way to contemplation through the practice of virtue. Therefore, you became a perfect teacher of the truth, fighting for the faith unto the shedding of your blood. Intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls. 



As a beacon fed by the virtue of the priesthood, you were emblazoned with the blood of martyrdom. Standing before Christ with those who died with you, remember us, O precious martyr Patrick.



Acts 2: 1-11

When the day of Pentecost came it found the Apostles gathered in one place. Suddenly from up in the sky there came a noise like a strong driving wind which was heard all through the house where they were seated. Tongues as of fire appeared, which parted and came to rest on each of them. All were filled up with the Holy Spirit. They began to express themselves in foreign tongues and make bold proclamations as the Spirit prompted them.

Staying in Jerusalem at the time were devout Jews of every nation under heaven. These heard the sound, and assembled in a large crowd. They were much confused because each one heard these mean speaking his own language. The whole occurrence astonished them. They asked in utter amazement, “Are not all of these men who are speaking Galileans? How is it that each of us hears them in his native tongue? We are Pathians, Medes, and Elamites. We live in Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the regions of Libya around Cyrene. There are even visitors from Rome – all Jews, or those who have come over to Judaism; Cretans and Arabs too. Yet each of us hears them speaking in his own tongue about the marvels God has accomplished.



John 7: 37-52, 8: 12

On the last and greatest day of the feast of Booths, Jesus stood up and cried out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me; let him drink who believes in me. Scripture has it: ‘From with him rivers of living water shall flow.’”

Here he was referring to the Spirit, who those that came to believe in him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit as yet, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Some in the crowd who heard these words began to say, “This must be the Prophet.” Others were claiming, “He is the Messiah.” But an objection was raised: “Surely the Messiah is not to come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Messiah, being one of David’s family, is to come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” In this fashion the crowd was sharply divided over Jesus. Some of them wanted to apprehend him. However, no one laid hands on him. 

When the temple guards came back, the chief priests and Pharisees asked them, “Why did you not bring him in?” The guards replied, “No man ever spoke like that before.” The Pharisees retorted, “Do not tell us you too have been taken in! You do not see any of the Sanhedrin believing in him, do you? Or the Pharisees? Only this lot, that knows nothing about law – and they are lost anyway!” One of his own number, Nicodemus (the man who had come to Jesus by night), spoke up to say, “Since when does our law condemn any man without first hearing him and knowing the facts?” They taunted him: “Do not tell us you are a Galilean too! Look it up. You will not find the Prophet coming from Galilee.”

Jesus spoke to the people once again: “I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness; no, he shall possess the light of life.”


Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications –

Sunday Bulletin 5/19


Saturday, May 18  –  5th All Souls Saturday        

9:30 AM          All Souls Saturday Divine Liturgy & Panachida

5:00 PM          Santa Paula Outreach Divine Liturgy

5:30 PM          Reader Vespers

Sunday, May 19  –  Pentecost Sunday         

8:30 AM          Matins

9:30 AM          Divine Liturgy

Monday, May 20  –  Pentecost Monday        

8:30 AM          Morning Prayer

4:00 PM          Evening Prayer

5:00 PM          Akathist* for those suffering Addictions & Mental Illness

6:30 PM          Divine Liturgy: Pentecost Monday    Sandy Barba

Wednesday, May 22  –  Basiliscus, Martyr   

6:30 PM          Divine Liturgy            +John Smith from Anne Seabright   

7:30 PM          Firepit Social

Saturday, May 25  –  3rd Finding of the Head of John the Baptist        

5:00 PM          Santa Paula Outreach Divine Liturgy

Sunday, May 26  –  Sunday of All Saints           

8:30 AM          Matins

9:30 AM          Divine Liturgy

*Add first names to this prayer service by emailing


St. Mary’s: Sundays 8:45 AM or by appointment

Santa Paula: Saturdays 4:15 PM or by appointment


(Please resubmit or submit names to

The Carlin Family, Michael Hefferon, Shirley Kunze, Michael Mina, Peter Mina, Fr. John Mina, Mila Mina, Lana Zimmerman, Patrick Zimmerman, Shannon O’Neill, Fern Bonowicz, All the sick and suffering of St. Mary’s


Collection: $1686.00; Santa Paula: $790.76; Online: $205.00; Candles: $27.25; Holydays: $160.00; Church Improvements: $125.00; Gift Shop: $20.00

Total: $3,014.01 / Attendance – PSM: 56 SPO: 70  


Eparchial Appeal 2024

The Eparchial Appeal for 2024 is underway! Our goal for our parish this year is $32,260.00. The appeal runs through August. As of May 2nd, we have already raised $6,049.20. Only $26,210.20 to go!

Thank you to those who have already contributed:

Clemens; Golya; Horey, M.; Matthews; Michnya; Mina; O’Loughlin; Petach; Reichert; Zimmerman, P.; Zimmerman, W.

Why Green on Pentecost?

In our Byzantine tradition there are only two “colors” used for liturgical vestments and altar veils:  “Light” and “Dark”.  Dark vestments (usually red, purple, or black) are used during penitential seasons like the fasts and penitential days like when we commemorate the dead or the cross.  Light vestments (usually white, gold, blue and green) are used for non-penitential seasons or days.  Within this dichotomy though, traditions have sprung up for certain colors to be used for specific days or seasons.  You will often find gold being used on most Sundays and feasts, while white is reserved for the Paschal (Easter) season.  You will also find blue used on Marian feasts (blue is the color of the inner vestments she wears on most icons) and green on Pentecost (symbolizing “new life” since Pentecost is considered the birth of the church), and in some churches on Palm and Flowery Sunday or feasts of the fathers or monastics.  Some churches also begin the Great Fast wearing red, and switch to purple closer to Great and Holy Friday.  The use of these visual identifiers is yet another way that our church engages all five senses in our worship and commemoration.

-Father Michael 

“Whoever follows me will not walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” The Holy Spirit is our light of life. The Church is strengthened by those servants filled with the Spirit, whose life of prayer and service brings light and life to the world. Is the Holy Spirit guiding you to this life as a priest, deacon, monk or nun? Call the Vocations Office at 206-329-9219 or email:

May 18 The Holy Martyr Theodotus of Ancyra and the Seven Holy Virgins

The Holy Martyr Theodotus and the Holy Seven Virgins Tecusa, Phaine, Claudia, Matrona, Julia, Alexandra and Euphrasia lived during the second half of the third century in the city of Ancyra, Galatia, and died as martyrs for Christ at the beginning of the fourth century. Saint Theodotus was an innkeeper and was married. The prefect of Ancyra issued a proclamation informing Christians that they were obliged to offer sacrifice to idols, and if they refused, they would be tortured and killed. Pagans would deliver Christians over to torture, and then divide up their property. Theodotus was not afraid to bury the remains of holy martyrs, either carrying them off secretly or ransoming them from the soldiers. When the Christian churches at Ancyra were destroyed and closed, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in his inn. At this time, seven holy virgins died for Christ. The eldest, St. Tecusa, was the aunt of St. Theodotus. The holy virgins Tecusa, Phaine, Claudia, Matrona, Julia, Alexandra and Euphrasia had dedicated themselves to God from their youth, living in constant prayer, fasting, temperance and good deeds. Brought to trial as Christians, the holy virgins bravely confessed their faith in Christ before the prefect and were given over to torture, yet remained steadfast. A heavy stone was tied to the legs of each, and all seven of the holy virgins were drowned in a lake. The next night, St. Tecusa appeared to St. Theodotus in a dream asking him to retrieve her body and give her a Christian burial. St. Theodotus found all the bodies of the seven martyrs and brought them to church where they were buried. After this act, St. Theodotus gave his life for Christ. 



O Lord our God, your holy martyrs have deserved the crown of immortality on account of their good fight. Armed with your strength, they have vanquished their persecutors and crushed Satan’s dreadful might. Through their supplications, O Christ our God, save our souls. 



You fought well by your martyrdom, O Theodotus, as did those who were martyred with you. You were crowned along with those martyred virgins. Implore Christ our God unceasingly for all of us.



Acts 28: 1-31

In those days, once on shore, we learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us extraordinary kindness by lighting a fire and gathering us all around it, for it had begun to rain and was growing cold. Paul had just fed the fire with a bundle of brushwood he had collected, when a poisonous snake, escaping from the heat, fastened itself on his hand. At the sight of the snake hanging from his hand, the natives said to one another, “This man must really be a murdered if, after his escape from the sea, justice will not let him live.” But Paul shook the snake into the fire and suffered no ill effects from the bite. They expected to see him swell up or suddenly fall dead. After waiting for some time, however, and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say he was a god.

In the vicinity of the place was the estate of Publius, the chief figure on the island. He took us in and gave us kind hospitality for three days. It happened that the father of Publius was sick in bed, laid up with chronic fever and dysentery. Paul went to see the man, and praying, laid his hands on him and cured him. After this happened, the rest of the sick on the island began to come to Paul and they too were healed. They paid us much honor, and when we eventually set sail they brought us provisions for our needs.

Three months later we set sail in a ship which had passed winter at the island. It was an Alexandrian vessel with the “Heavenly Twins” as its figurehead. We put in at Syracuse and spent three days there. Then we sailed around toe and arrived at Rhegium. A day later a south wind began to blow which enabled us to reach Puteoli in two days. Here we found some of the brothers, who urged us to stay with them for a week. 

This is how we finally came to Rome. Certain brothers from Rome who heard about us came out as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took fresh courage. Upon our entry into Rome Paul was allowed to take lodging of his own, although a soldier was assigned to keep guard over him.

Three days later Paul invited the prominent men of the Jewish community to visit him. When they had gathered he said: “My brothers, I have done nothing against our people or our ancestral customs; yet in Jerusalem I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner. The Romans tried my case and wanted to release me because they found nothing against me deserving of death. When the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to the emperor, though I had no cars to make accusations against my own people. This is the reason, then, why I have asked to see you and speak with you. I wear these chains solely because I share the hope of Israel.”

They replied: “ We have had no letters from Judea about you, nor have any of the brothers arrived with a report or a rumor to your discredit. For our part, we are anxious to hear you present your views. We know very well that this sect is denounced everywhere.”

With that, they arranged a day with him and came to his lodgings in great numbers. From morning to evening he laid the case before them, bearing witness to the reign of God among men. He sought to convince them about Jesus by appealing to the law of Moses and the prophets. Some, indeed, were convinced by what he said; others would not believe.

Without reaching any agreement among themselves, they began to leave. Then Paul added one final word: “The Holy Spirit stated it well when he said to your fathers through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Go to his people and say: You may listen carefully yet you will never understand; you may look intently yet you will never see. The heart of this people has grown sluggish. They have scarcely used their ears to listen; their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their minds, and repent; and I should have to heal them.’ Paul continued in his own words: now you must realize that this salvation of God has been transmitted to the Gentiles-who will heed it!”

For two full years Paul stayed on in his rented lodgings, welcoming all who came to him. With full assurance, and without any hindrance whatsoever, he preached the reign of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. 



John 21: 14-25

At that time Jesus appeared to the disciples after being raised from the dead. When they had eaten their meal, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” At which Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

A second time he put his question, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus replied, “Tend my sheep.

A third time Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus had asked a third time, “Do you love me?” So Peter said to him: “Lord, you know everything. You know very well that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. I tell you solemnly: as a young man you fastened your belt and went about as you please; but when you are older you will stretch out your hands, and another will tie you fast and carry you off against your will.”

What he said indicated the sort of death by which Peter was to glorify God. When Jesus had finished speaking he said to Peter, “Follow me.”

Peter turned around at that, and noticed that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following – the one who had leaned against Jesus’ chest during supper and said, “Lord, which one will hand you over?” – Seeing that disciple, Peter was prompted to ask Jesus, “But Lord, what about him?” Jesus replied, “Suppose I want him to stay until I come, how does that concern you? Your business is to follow me.” This is how the report spread among the brothers that this disciple was not going to die. Jesus never told him, as a matter of fact, that the disciple was not going to die; all he said was, “Suppose I want him to stay until I come. How does that concern you?”

It is this same disciple who is the witness to these things; it is he who wrote them down and his testimony, we know, is true. There are still many other things that Jesus did, yet if they were written about in detail, I doubt there would be room enough in the entire world to hold the books to record them. 


May 17 The Holy Apostle Andronicus and his Companions

The holy apostle Andronicus was one of the Seventy apostles. He and his companion Junias were kinsmen of St. Paul, as he mentions in Romans 16:17. St. Andronicus was Bishop of Pannonia but still he traveled preaching the gospel with Junias, bringing the word of God to pagans. Many pagans temples were closed and Christian churches opened in their stead. Andronicus and his companions were martyred for the Faith. 



O holy apostles, intercede with the all-merciful God that He may grant us forgiveness of our sins.



We praise Andronicus, the apostle of Christ, the bright star who enlightened the pagans with understanding of God. We also praise Junias who labored along with him in bringing the Gospel to the pagans. We cry out: Implore God for us unceasingly. 



Acts 27:1 – 28:1

In those days, when it was decided that we were to set sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius from the cohort known as Augusta. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium bound for ports in the province of Asia, and set sail. With us in Macedonia, Aristarchus of Thessalonica. The following day we put in at Sidon, where Julius kindly allowed Paul to visit some friends who cared for his needs. Then, putting out from Sidon, we sailed around the sheltered side of Cyprus because of the strong headwinds. We crossed the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, and came to Myra in Lycia. 

There The centurion discovered an Alexandria vessel bound for Italy, and he ordered us a board. For many days we made little headway, arriving at Cnidus only with difficulty. Since the winds would not permit us to continue our course, we sailed for Salmone and the shelter of Crete. Again with difficulty we moved along the coast to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

Much time had now gone by. The autumn fast was over, and with the lateness of the year sailing had to become hazardous. It was then that Paul uttered this warning: “Men, I can see that this voyage is bound to meet with disaster and heavy loss, not only to ship and cargo, but to our own lives as well.” However, the centurion preferred listening to the pilot and the shipowner to listening to Paul.

Since The harbor was not fit to pass the winter in, the majority preferred to put out to sea in hope of making Phoenix and spending the winter there. This was a Cretan port exposed on the southwest and the northwest. When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had what they were looking for, so they weighed anchor and proceeded, hugging the coast of Crete. It was not long before a hurricane struck, the kind called a “northeaster.” Since the ship was caught up in it and could not head into the wind, we yielded and ran before it. We passed under the lee of a small island named Cauda and only with difficulty were able to gain control of the ship’s boat. They hoisted it aboard and then made use of cables to brace the ship itself. Because of their fear that they would be driven on the reef of Syrtis, they lowered the small anchor used for moving the ship and the ship was carried along. We were being pounded by the storm so violently that the next day some of the cargo was thrown over the side. On the third day they deliberately threw even the ship’s gear overboard. For many days neither the sun nor the stars were to be seen, so savagely did the storm rage. Toward the end, we abandoned any hope of survival.

All hands had gone without food for a long time when Paul stood up among them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice and not set sail from Crete. Then you would not have incurred this disastrous loss. I urge you now to keep up your courage. None among you will be lost – only the ship. Last night a messenger of the God whose man I am and whom I serve, stood by me. ‘Do not be afraid, Paul,’ he said. ‘You are destined to appear before the emperor. Therefore, as a favor to you, God has granted safety to all who are sailing with you.’ So keep up your courage, men. I trust in God that it will all work out just as I have been told, though we still have to face shipwreck on some island.”

It was the fourteenth night of the storm, and we were still being driven across the Ionian Sea, when toward midnight the sailors began to suspect that land was near. They took a sounding and found a depth of twenty fathoms; after sailing on a short distance they again took a sounding and found it to be fifteen. For fear that we should be dashed against some rocky coast, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. Then the sailors tried to abandon ship. Pretending that they were going to run out anchors from the bow of the ship, they let the ships boat down into the sea. Paul alerted the centurion and the soldiers to this: “If these men do not stay with the ship, you have no chance to survive.” At this, the soldiers cut the ropes and let the boat drift.

At dawn Paul urged all on board to take some food: “For fourteen days you have been in constant suspense; you have gone hungry-eaten nothing. Now I urge you to take some food, which will give you strength to survive. Not one of you shall lose a hair of his head.” When he had said this he took some bread, gave thanks to God before all of them, broke it, and began to eat it. This gave them new courage, and they too had something to eat. (In all, there were two hundred and seventy-six of us on board.) When they had had enough to eat, they lightened the ship further by throwing the wheat overboard.

With the coming of daylight, they did not recognize the land they saw. They could make out a bay with a sandy beach, however, so they plan to run the ship aground on it if possible. They cut loose and anchor and abandoned them to the sea. At the same time the untied the guy-ropes of the rudders, hoisted the force sail into the wind, and made for the beach; but the ship hit a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and could not be budged, while the stern was shattered by the pounding of the sea. The soldiers thought at first of killing the prisoners so that none might swim away and escape; but because the centurion was anxious to Saint Paul, he posed their plan. Instead, he ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for land. The rest were to follow, on planks, or on other debris from the ship. And this way all came safely ashore. Once ashore, we learned that the island was called Malta.



John 17: 18-26

After Jesus had spoken to his disciples he raised up his eyes to heaven and said: “Father, as you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world; I consecrate myself for their sake now, that they may be consecrated in truth. I do not pray for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word, that all may be one as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; I pray that they may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one – I living in them, you living in me – that their unity may be complete. So shall the world know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me. Father, all those you gave me I would have in my company where I am, to see this glory of mine which is your gift to me, because of the love you bore me before the world began. Just Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you; and these men have known that you sent me. To them I have revealed your name, and I will continue to reveal it so that your love for me may live in them, and I may live in them.”


Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications –