Beginning August 1 thru August 14, we in the Orthodox Church observe the great penitentiary fast before the Great Feast of the Falling Asleep of the Most Holy Theotokos, (Dormition),the Mother of God. This great feast honors the Virgin Mary, The Prototype of Womanhood, through whom the mystery of the incarnation took place.
Today is the ninth Sunday after Pentecost in which is read the Gospel if St. Matthew Chapter 14 verses 22-33 concerning Jesus walking on water. The miracle of the walking on the water shows Jesus’s divine powers as Lord over creation. As the lesson tells us he came to rescue his disciples from the raging winds and waves which in the Holy Scripture symbolize chaos, sin and death.
Today we in the Orthodox Church remember the Translation of the Holy Relics of Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen as well as the memory of St. Basil, Fool for Christ, whose relics lie beneath the famed Cathedral in Red Square in Moscow. The actual name of the Cathedral is dedicated to the Feast of the Intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God (Pokrov).
Today we commemorate St. Jacob Netsvetov, a mixed Russian and Native American Aleut, who endeavored for many years to be the Enlightener of the Yupik People in Alaska. It was through his missionary efforts that thousands of Yupik Eskimos of the three river basins were brought to the Orthodox Christian faith. Holy Father Jacob pray unto God for Us!
This Sunday we hear the gospel lesson from St. Matthew 8:28-9:1 concerning demons and possession. Jesus himself did not reject the popular notion of his time that Satan and his demons had power over the fallen world, causing physical and spiritual sicknesses and bringing about a distortion of the divine likeness of human beings.
Today we hear the story of the Roman officer who came to Jesus to ask him to heal his servant, saying, “but only say the word and my servant will be healed”. Upon hearing his request Jesus said, “not even in Israel have I found such faith…be it done for you as you have believed.” The centurion’s servant was healed at that very moment!
This weekend we celebrate the end of the Apostles Fast and the coming of the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, whom the Church calls, “the chief of the apostles”. From the Gospels we know that the Apostle Peter was the first who confessed Jesus as the Son of the living God, the leader of the early Church in Jerusalem and the future Bishop of Rome. St. Paul was known as the Apostle to the Gentiles and the preeminent missionary of the Christian faith, the Apostle who has been called the “One after the One (Christ).