Friday, June 27, 2014



      We honor Peter and Paul and claim no authority from either one, for we are under the same authority  as them, Jesus Christ our Lord. Peter was the son of Jonas and brother of Andrew the First-called, of the tribe of Simeon and the town of Bethsaida. Among the disciples Peter first gave the clear expression of our faith, when he said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. To this very day this remains the foundation stone of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and is the necessary dogma that introduces every one into the Church.  Howe great was Peter’s love for the Lord, it increased over and over. But when the Lord went to His trial, Peter denied Him three times as the Master told him he would.  Christ corrected Peter with the threefold questions:; beginning with : “Peter, do you love me?

     The day of Pentecost changed everything for now Peter and all the disciples were fearless and Peter the gave his first sermon to the Jews, resulting in 3,000 souls being baptized and saved.  He preached the Gospel in Palestine and Asia Minor, in Italy and also in Illyria; Peter performed many wonder, healed the sick, and raising the dead.  He did battle with Simon the Magician and defeated him, and was condemned to death. Peter went to His death by crucifixion with great joy, and asked to be crucified upside down, and he went to receive his crowns of glory.

     Paul born in Tarsus of the tribe of Benjamin, was originally called Saul, and studied under the Pharisee Gamaliel.  He was wondrously brought to Christ by a brilliant and blinding light, and was told that he would preach to the nations.  Both Peter and Paul had great fear of God, without which there is not wisdom.

     Paul preached the Gospel to the uncircumcised gentiles or nations, while Peter was the preacher to the circumcised or Jews.  There is perfect harmony between the two when they both adhere to truth, for their Master is the Truth who came down from heaven. We Orthodox must never forget who we are. We are not a church but the Church. We are not a body of Christians, but we are the Body of Christ. We do not belong to Peter or Paul but the Jesus Christ, who is our Lord and God

     These two were important pillars of the Church, and Orthodoxy rejoices not in their rank or authority, but in their faithfulness and holiness of life. They radiate Christ wherever they went and their presence was similar to the presence of Christ who dwelled within them., being the reason for their great success. They did not "found" the Church of Romne or Constantinople, but the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

     Orthodoxy alone can bear the name APOSTOLIC, for it keeps the faith of the Apostles and follows their 85 Canons, which guide the Church on its journey to heaven. A most marvelous thing about the Church founded by the Apostles is that it also has remained one, having one baptism, one chrismation, one priesthood, one doctrine, one liturgical life. All partake of the one cup of bread and wine which became the body and blood of Christ. The one Lord is our Master and Head, the one Holy Spirit unified us and is our guide, as the one Father has established.

     This is the glorious Church of Peter and Paul.  This is the all powerful  Church against which the gates of Hades shall not prevail. This is the sacred Body of Christ and the Ark of Salvation. This is the only Church outside of which there is no salvation. Everything necessary for eternal life is found within her and is made available to everyone, no one being excluded.

   On June 30, we celebrate the Synaxis of the Glorious and All-praised Apostles. We also should remember how they gave themselves to Christ;

Peter was crucified upside down; 
Andrew was crucified; 
James was beheaded; 
John the Theologian did not die but was translated
Philip was crucified.
Bartholomew crucified, flayed and beheaded.
Thomas, pierced with five spears
Matthew, burned by fire.
James, Son of Alphaeus was crucified.
Thaddeus was crucified.
Simon the Zealot was crucified.
Matthias stoned, beheaded with an axe after death.  
Paul was beheaded.

Thursday, June 26, 2014



     The Great Saint and Apostle Paul stands in a position where no one can resist the power of his words. Unbelievers, atheists, papists, protestants,  heretics and schismatics, in fact all those outside the Church are sternly rebuked  as enemies by the zealous example and teaching of this Apostle – the Apostle sent to the nations. 

1. Paul was not seeking Christ for he saw the advent of the Messiah as being  a more  futuristic event, which could be understood through the law. Paul’s main effort was to persecute and jail  those who accept the one who he believed, was a false Messiah.  With great zeal he headed for Damascus to seize and jail al those who followed the teachings of Jesus..

1.  In extremely great light Christ appeared and spoke to Paul while on the road to Damascus. Paul was beside himself in fear and trembling being filled with amazement, even to the point of asking the Lord then speaking: Who are you?

2.  Paul did not receive the Gospel from Peter or any of the Apostles, but from Christ himself. As the other Gospels are perfect, this too is a perfect Gospel

3. Paul firmly establishes what Orthodoxy has always accepted to the shame of the papists who claim they got their authority from Peter.  Paul shows that Peter never had the authority which they falsely attribute to him.

4. Paul, did not go to Jerusalem to report to Peter, but set out, not for Jerusalem but for Arabia. “I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither did I go up to Jerusalem to them who were Apostles before me, but I went to Arabia, and then returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter” (Gal.1:16-18).

It is perfectly clear that no authority was vested over the others in Peter this being a papal innovation.  Christ himself assigned Paul his duties and the Holy Spirit was his guide. It is also clear for Christ sent Paul to Arabia where he preached for three years.

“But of those who seemed to be something, in conference added nothing to me. On the contrary when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcised was committed unto me, as the gospel of circumcision was to Peter, for He who wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the nations.”   Peter was not given to preach the gospel to the nations but only to the Jews or the circumcision.

Paul meets James, Peter and John, saying: they appeared to be pillars of the Church.

“Paul then rebuked Peter for his hypocrisy. “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed.  Fort before that James did eat with the gentiles, but when they were come he drew back and separated himself, fearing them which are of the circumcision. And the other Jews hypocritical did likewise, insomuch that Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.  But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according the truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before them all; “If you, being a Jew lives among the gentiles, knowing that man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by faith in Jesus Christ and not by the works of the law, for by works of the law shall no man be justified.” 

The Jews believed that by keeping the law they could be saved, therefore they kept the law, and did it so well that they became proud.  They began to attribute their salvation to what they could do.  Quoting and justifying themselves by the terms of the law, they strove to keep the letter but failed to understand and keep the spirit.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014



      Paul the glorious Apostle was appointed directly by Christ to bear witness to Him before the nations of the entire  world.  He was born in Tarsus of Cilicia, and was a citizen of Rome. His parents had him go to Jerusalem where he studied under Rabbi Gamaliel, He was related to Stephen the Proto-martyr. One of his friends was Barnabas who eventually became an Apostle of Christ. When Barnabas was enlightened by Christ, he incessantly prayed for Paul’s soul to come to truth.

     Paul learned well, endowed with a keen mind And eventually joined the ranks of the Pharisees. He became strictly zealous of their heritage, and outwardly displayed their piety. In the meantime the Apostles were preaching Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, and engaged in clashes with Pharisees and Sadducees, the latter rejected tradition and the immortality of the soul.

     Paul looked upon the preachers of Christ as enemies who were  breaking their sacred tradition. He disregarded Barnabus’ preaching of Christ and when Stephen the first martyr was suffering in martyrdom, Paul consented to his death.

     Paul not being  satisfied with the amount of followers of Christ he had imprisoned, received  papers from the high priest to the synagogues and , breathing bitterness against the new sect, he went on the road to Damascus, to bring even more to jail in Jerusalem.  These preachers who heralded the coming of the Messiah being Jesus Christ had to be stamped out, thus preserving  the traditions of the fathers.

     Saul was on his way to Damascus, when suddenly a light, powerful and blinding shone on him from the heavens. Then he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me. Filled with amazement Saul asked, Who are you, Lord? The Lord said: I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads. Saul in fear and trembling, asked: What will you have me do? The Lord said: Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told you what you must do." (Acts 9:4-6). Soldiers that were with Paul were struck with amazement by the miraculous light, for they had stood silent and blinded, hearing the voice speaking to Saul but unable to see  it’s source.

     Doing as the Lord had told him, Saul arose and although his eyes were open he could see nothing, for his bodily eyes were blinded and his spiritual eyes were now being opened. He remained physically blind while in Damascus for three days, seeing nothing. In his deep repentance he ate nothings but continued in prayer that the Lord would reveal what was His will.

     "In Damascus was an apostle named Ananias, and the Lord appeared to him in a vision ordering him to seek out Saul, living in a house with a man named Judas, and enlighten the eyes of his body by touching them, and those of his soul by baptism. Ananias said: Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he has done to your saints At Jerusalem, and he is here having much authority to seize and arrest all that call upon your name. The Lord replied: Go your way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name befo9re the nations and before rulers and kings and the children of Israel, and I will show him how many things he will suffer for my sake" (Acts 9:13-16).

     Ananias set out to do all that the Lord had commended, and he found Saul and laid his hands upon him, instantly it was as though great scales fell from his eyes and he recovered his sight, and rising up was baptized , and was filled with Holy Spirit, He immediate began to preach the Lord Jesus Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.  Those who heard him were astonished at the change in attitude of the former persecutor of the Church.

     Saul, however, filled with holy zeal, increased even stronger in faith caused many among the Jews in Damascus to believe through his proofs that Jesus is the Messiah who was promised.  The Jews than rose up in great anger, conspiring to murder   him, and set up a watch over the city gates, lest he escape them. Ananias, when he found out about the murderous Jewish plot, took him at night and let him down in a basket through a window of a house built into the city wall. 

     Paul, set out, not for Jerusalem but for Arabia. “I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither did I go up to Jerusalem to them who were Apostles before me, but I went to Arabia, and then returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter” (Gal.1:16-18).