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2015
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Sanctification of the Church, Ecclesiastic New Year

1st. Reading: Acts 8:1-13

1 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 

2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 

3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. 

4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 

5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 

6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 

7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 

8 And there was great joy in that city. 

9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 

10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 

11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. 

12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 

13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

2nd.Reading: Hebrews 8:1-13 & 9:1-10

1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,

2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. 

3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 

4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 

5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 

6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 

7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 

8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah– 

9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 

11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

1 Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. 

2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; 

3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All,

4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 

5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 

6Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 

7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; 

8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. 

9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience– 

10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.

Gospel: Matthew 16: 13-20

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 

14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 

17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 

18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 

19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 

20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.


Sayings of the Saints

The Human being is formed of a body and a soul. If he does not feed the body with bread, he will not live. The same applies to the soul, if it is not fed with prayer and spiritual knowledge, then it is dead.
الانسان مكوّن من جسد ونفس ، ان لم يتغذى الجسد بالخبز فلن يعيش، كذلك النفس ان لم تتغذى بالصلاة والمعرفة الروحانية فهي مائتة

— القديس مار افرام السرياني Saint Ephraim the Syrian
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