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May 18, 2016 + "Condemned" to Be Immortal: Part 2

by St. Justin Popovich
(...continued from Part 1)

By the grace of the resurrection of Christ, by the grace of His conquest over death, men became, are now becoming, and will in the future become Christians. All of Christian history is nothing other than that of one singular miracle, the miracle of the Resurrection of Christ, which is eternally contained within the hearts of Christians from day to day, from year to year, and from age to age, until the Second Coming.

Man is truly born, not when he is brought into the world by his mother, but when he comes to believe in the Resurrected Savior, Christ; for then he is born into immortality and eternal life, while the mother brings a child only into death, to the grave. The Resurrection of Christ is the mother of all of us, all of us Christians — the mother of all who are deathless. By his faith in the Resurrection of Christ, man is born anew, born into eternity.

This is impossible, the skeptic responds. And the Resurrected God-Man replies: "All things are possible to him who believes" (St. Mark 9:23). And one who believes is he who, with all of his heart, with all of his soul, and with all of his being, lives according to the Gospel of the Resurrected Lord Jesus.

Our Faith is the victory in which we conquer death; faith, that is, in the Resurrected Lord. "O death, where is thy victory? O Hades, where is thy sting?" "The sting of death is sin" (I Corinthians 15:55-56). By His Resurrection, the Lord "removed the sting of death." Death is the serpent and sin is its sting. Through sin, death injects its poison into the souls and bodies of men. The more sins that a man has, the more powerful the sting by which death injects its poison into him.

When a wasp stings a person, the person makes every possible effort to extract the stinger from his body. But when he is stung by death —this sting of Hades—, what should he do? He must, with faith and prayer, call upon the Resurrected Savior, Christ, that He may take from his soul the sting of death. And He, compassionate as He is, will do so, for He is the God of Mercy and Love. When many wasps set upon a man's body and wound him with their stings, a man becomes poisoned and dies. The same thing happens when a man is wounded by the many stings of manifold sins. He who is not resurrected from sin succumbs to death.

Translated from the Greek by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna. From a series of theological essays, Anthropos kai Theanthropos (Athens, 1970). The Greek text is a translation of the Serbian original. Translation appeared in Orthodox Tradition, Vol. 4, No. 2 (1987), pp. 38-42. Accessed at http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/condemned.aspx.

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Holy Martyr Theodotus and the Seven Virgins: Tecusa, Thaine, Claudia, Matrona, Julia, Alexandra and Euphrasia

Troparion, Tone 4

Your holy martyr Theodotus and his companions, O Lord, through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through their intercessions, save our souls!

Kontakion, Tone 2

Podoben: "Seeking the highest..."
You struggled well, O Theodotus, together with your fellow athletes and the passion-bearing virgins. You have all received crowns of honor. Therefore, unceasingly pray to Christ God for us all.


Readings and Inspiration from the Diocese of Charleston Homepage

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