The International Cathedral of the Holy Apostles - Washington DC "The CHURCH Without Walls". Earnestly contending for the UNITY of the Faith through Convergence! ++Timothy Paul - Patriarch, ++Joshua Paul - Metropolitan - 3rd Provincial Metropolis
THE FREEDOM CHURCH: The Christian Church Universal was foreshadowed in Eden, it manifested typologically through the congregation of Israel, it was ordained by Christ Jesus in Mark 3:13-15, executed and established on Calvary's cross, it was empowered on the day of Pentecost, organized by the Holy Apostles, succeeded through www.ApostolicSuccession.org, sustained by the Holy Spirit, and reunified by the www.ConvergenceMovement.org! The Christian Church Universal is a Theo-Centric Global Convergence Church Movement manifested through the Ancient Christian Faith. Being ONE, HOLY, Evangelical, Charismatic and Liturgical. Catholic (meaning Universal) and Apostolic Church. www.Church-Universal.org
Mission: Bringing the "ancient Faith" to a modern world, and The reunification of the One Church "Without Walls" that was founded by The Lord Jesus Our King over 2000 years ago.
The Sunday of the Triumph of the Ancient Faith: is celebrated on the first Sunday of Great Lent.
• It is the celebration of the victory of the iconodules over the iconoclasts by the decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council.
o Iconodules: were those who supported the use of ICONS, and Iconoclasts, were those who opposed based upon the Ten Commandments literal translation of not worshipping graven images (EXP).
o ICONS or Iconography refers to the making and liturgical use of icons, which are pictorial representations of Biblical scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, historical events in the life of the Church, and portraits of the saints.
o Icons are usually two-dimensional images and may be made of paint, mosaic, embroidery, weaving, carving, engraving, or other methods.
o Images have always been a vital part of the Church, but their place was the subject of the Iconoclast Controversy in the 8th and 9th centuries, especially in the East.
The Sunday of the Ancient Faith, the first Sunday of the Great Fast or (Lent), every year celebrates the reestablishment of the Ancient Faith veneration of icons.
• Therefore, the service is to commemorate the restoration of icons for use in services and the private devotional life of Christians.
Each of the Sundays of Great Lent: has its own special theme.
• In the course of Church history, almost each Lenten Sunday has obtained a second or historical theme.
• Originally the Lenten fast was the time for catechumens (or candidates for baptism) to prepare for baptism and entry into the Church.
• The Sunday spiritual themes were part of the early Christian catechesis (or training and preparation for their baptism).
The theme, of The Sunday of the Ancient Faith, is “Victory of the True Faith.”
1 John 5:4 declares: "This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith"
Christ’s intention for His Ancient Faith Church is that it would be One…Holy, Catholic (meaning universal), and Apostolic (meaning sent forth) on a mission.
The #ConvergenceMovement Celebrating the #SundayofOrthdoxy
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!!!
A MISSIVE FROM OUR KING: “Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you.”
LUKE 10:19 AMP
#Coptic #Christians #NobelPeacePrize
prnewswire.com WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Coptic Christians have been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their refusal to retaliate against deadly...
Hieromartyr Dionysius the Areopagite the Bishop of Athens
Commemorated on October 3rd:
Saint Dionysius lived originally in the city of Athens. He was raised there and received a classical Greek education. He then went to Egypt, where he studied astronomy at the city of Heliopolis. It was in Heliopolis, along with his friend Apollophonos where he witnessed the solar eclipse that occurred at the moment of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ by Crucifixion. “Either the Creator of all the world now suffers, or this visible world is coming to an end,” Dionysius said. Upon his return to Athens from Egypt, he was chosen to be a member of the Areopagus Council (Athenian high court).
When the holy Apostle Paul preached at the place on the Hill of Ares (Acts 17:16-34), Dionysius accepted his salvific proclamation and became a Christian. For three years Saint Dionysius remained a companion of the holy Apostle Paul in preaching the Word of God. Later on, the Apostle Paul selected him as bishop of the city of Athens. And in the year 57 Saint Dionysius was present at the repose of the Most Holy Theotokos.
During the lifetime of the Mother of God, Saint Dionysius had journeyed from Athens to Jerusalem to meet Her. He wrote to his teacher the Apostle Paul: “I witness by God, that besides the very God Himself, there is nothing else filled with such divine power and grace. No one can fully comprehend what I saw. I confess before God: when I was with John, who shone among the Apostles like the sun in the sky, when I was brought before the countenance of the Most Holy Virgin, I experienced an inexpressible sensation. Before me gleamed a sort of divine radiance which transfixed my spirit. I perceived the fragrance of indescribable aromas and was filled with such delight that my very body became faint, and my spirit could hardly endure these signs and marks of eternal majesty and heavenly power. The grace from her overwhelmed my heart and shook my very spirit. If I did not have in mind your instruction, I should have mistaken Her for the very God. It is impossible to stand before greater blessedness than this which I beheld.”
After the death of the Apostle Paul, Saint Dionysius wanted to continue with his work, and therefore went off preaching in the West, accompanied by the Presbyter Rusticus and Deacon Eleutherius. They converted many to Christ at Rome, and then in Germany, and then in Spain. In Gaul, during a persecution against Christians by the pagan authorities, all three confessors were arrested and thrown into prison. By night Saint Dionysius celebrated the Divine Liturgy with angels of the Lord. In the morning the martyrs were beheaded. According to an old tradition, Saint Dionysius took up his head, proceeded with it to the church and fell down dead there. A pious woman named Catulla buried the relics of the saint.
The writings of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite hold great significance for the Orthodox Church. Four books of his have survived to the present day:
On the Celestial Hierarchy
On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy
On the Names of God
On Mystical Theology
In additional, there are ten letters to various people.
The book On the Celestial Hierarchies was written actually in one of the countries of Western Europe, where Saint Dionysius was preaching. In it he speaks of the Christian teaching about the angelic world. The angelic (or Celestial-Heavenly) hierarchy comprises the nine angelic Ranks:
The account of the Synaxis of the Bodiless Powers of Heaven is located under November 8.
The purpose of the divinely-established Angelic Hierarchy is the ascent towards godliness through purification, enlightenment and perfection. The highest ranks are bearers of divine light and divine life for the lower ranks. And not only are the sentient, bodiless angelic hosts included in the spiritual light-bearing hierarchy, but also the human race, created anew and sanctified in the Church of Christ.
The book of Saint Dionysius On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchies is a continuation of his book On the Celestial Hierarchies. The Church of Christ, like the Angelic ranks, in its universal service is set upon the foundation of priestly principles established by God.
In the earthly world, for the children of the Church, divine grace comes down indescribably in the holy Mysteries of the Church, which are spiritual in nature, though perceptible to the senses in form. Few, even among the holy ascetics, were able to behold with their earthly eyes the fiery vision of the Holy Mysteries of God. But outside of the Church’s sacraments, outside of Baptism and the Eucharist, the light-bearing saving grace of God is not found, neither is divine knowledge nor theosis (deification).
The book On the Names of God expounds upon the way of divine knowledge through a progression of the Divine Names.
Saint Dionysius’ book On Mystical Theology also sets forth the teaching about divine knowledge. The theology of the Orthodox Church is totally based upon experience of divine knowledge. In order to know God it is necessary to be in proximity to Him, to have come near to Him in some measure, so as to attain communion with God and deification (theosis). This condition is accomplished through prayer. This is not because prayer in itself brings us close to the incomprehensible God, but rather that the purity of heart in true prayer brings us closer to God.
The written works of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite are of extraordinary significance in the theology of the Orthodox Church, and also for late Medieval Western theology. For almost four centuries, until the beginning of the sixth century, the works of this holy Father of the Church were preserved in an obscure manuscript tradition, primarily by theologians of the Alexandrian Church. The concepts in these works were known and utilized by Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Dionysius the Great, pre-eminent figures of the catechetical school in Alexandria, and also by Saint Gregory the Theologian. Saint Dionysius of Alexandria wrote to Saint Gregory the Theologian a Commentary on the “Areopagitum.” The works of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite received general Church recognition during the sixth-seventh centuries.
Particularly relevant are the Commentaries written by Saint Maximus the Confessor (January 21). (trans. note: although many scholars suggest that the “Areopagitum” was actually written by an anonymous sixth century figure who employed the common ancient device of piously borrowing an illustrious name, this in no way diminishes the profound theological significance of the works.)
In the Russian Orthodox Church the teachings of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite about the spiritual principles and deification were at first known through the writings of Saint John of Damascus (December 4). The first Slavonic translation of the “Areopagitum” was done on Mt. Athos in about the year 1371 by a monk named Isaiah. Copies of it were widely distributed in Russia. Many of them have been preserved to the present day in historic manuscript collections, among which is a parchment manuscript “Works of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite” belonging to Saint Cyprian, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus (September 16) in his own handwriting.
According to one tradition, he was killed at Lutetia (ancient name of Paris, France) in the year 96 during the persecution under the Roman emperor Dometian (81-96). Today most scholars and theologians believe that Saint Dionysius the Areopagite did not die in Gaul, and that Saint Dionysius (or Denys) of Paris is a different saint with the same name.
Saint Demetrius of Rostov says that the Hieromartyr Dionysius was beheaded in Athens, and that many miracles were worked at his grave
The Protection of our Most Holy Lady the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary
Commemorated on October 1st:
The Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos: “Today the Virgin stands in the midst of the Church, and with choirs of Saints she invisibly prays to God for us. Angels and Bishops venerate Her, Apostles and prophets rejoice together, Since for our sake she prays to the Eternal God!”
This miraculous appearance of the Mother of God occurred in the mid-tenth century in Constantinople, in the Blachernae church where her robe, veil, and part of her belt were preserved after being transferred from Palestine in the fifth century.
On Sunday, October 1, during the All Night Vigil, when the church was overflowing with those at prayer, the Fool-for-Christ Saint Andrew (October 2), at the fourth hour, lifted up his eyes towards the heavens and beheld our most Holy Lady Theotokos coming through the air, resplendent with heavenly light and surrounded by an assembly of the Saints. Saint John the Baptist and the holy Apostle John the Theologian accompanied the Queen of Heaven. On bended knees the Most Holy Virgin tearfully prayed for Christians for a long time. Then, coming near the Bishop’s Throne, she continued her prayer.
After completing her prayer she took her veil and spread it over the people praying in church, protecting them from enemies both visible and invisible. The Most Holy Lady Theotokos was resplendent with heavenly glory, and the protecting veil in her hands gleamed “more than the rays of the sun.” Saint Andrew gazed trembling at the miraculous vision and he asked his disciple, the blessed Epiphanius standing beside him, “Do you see, brother, the Holy Theotokos, praying for all the world?” Epiphanius answered, “I do see, holy Father, and I am in awe.”
The Ever-Blessed Mother of God implored the Lord Jesus Christ to accept the prayers of all the people calling on His Most Holy Name, and to respond speedily to her intercession, “O Heavenly King, accept all those who pray to You and call on my name for help. Do not let them go away from my icon unheard.”
Saints Andrew and Epiphanius were worthy to see the Mother of God at prayer, and “for a long time observed the Protecting Veil spread over the people and shining with flashes of glory. As long as the Most Holy Theotokos was there, the Protecting Veil was also visible, but with her departure it also became invisible. After taking it with her, she left behind the grace of her visitation.”
At the Blachernae church, the memory of the miraculous appearance of the Mother of God was remembered. In the fourteenth century, the Russian pilgrim and clerk Alexander, saw in the church an icon of the Most Holy Theotokos praying for the world, depicting Saint Andrew in contemplation of her.
The Primary Chronicle of Saint Nestor reflects that the protective intercession of the Mother of God was needed because an attack of a large pagan Russian fleet under the leadership of Askole and Dir. The feast celebrates the divine destruction of the fleet which threatened Constantinople itself, sometime in the years 864-867 or according to the Russian historian Vasiliev, on June 18, 860. Ironically, this Feast is considered important by the Slavic Churches but not by the Greeks.
The Primary Chronicle of Saint Nestor also notes the miraculous deliverance followed an all-night Vigil and the dipping of the garment of the Mother of God into the waters of the sea at the Blachernae church, but does not mention Saints Andrew and Epiphanius and their vision of the Mother of God at prayer. These latter elements, and the beginnings of the celebrating of the Feast of the Protection, seem to postdate Saint Nestor and the Chronicle. A further historical complication might be noted under (October 2) dating Saint Andrew’s death to the year 936.
The year of death might not be quite reliable, or the assertion that he survived to a ripe old age after the vision of his youth, or that his vision involved some later pagan Russian raid which met with the same fate. The suggestion that Saint Andrew was a Slav (or a Scythian according to other sources, such as S. V. Bulgakov) is interesting, but not necessarily accurate. The extent of Slavic expansion and repopulation into Greece is the topic of scholarly disputes.
In the PROLOGUE, a Russian book of the twelfth century, a description of the establishment of the special Feast marking this event states, “For when we heard, we realized how wondrous and merciful was the vision... and it transpired that Your holy Protection should not remain without festal celebration, O Ever-Blessed One!”
Therefore, in the festal celebration of the Protection of the Mother of God, the Russian Church sings, “With the choirs of the Angels, O Sovereign Lady, with the venerable and glorious prophets, with the First-Ranked Apostles and with the Hieromartyrs and Hierarchs, pray for us sinners, glorifying the Feast of your Protection in the Russian Land.” Moreover, it would seem that Saint Andrew, contemplating the miraculous vision was a Slav, was taken captive, and became the slave of the local inhabitant of Constantinople named Theognostus.
Churches in honor of the Protection of the Mother of God began to appear in Russia in the twelfth century. Widely known for its architectural merit is the temple of the Protection at Nerl, which was built in the year 1165 by holy Prince Andrew Bogoliubsky. The efforts of this holy prince also established in the Russian Church the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, about the year 1164.
At Novgorod in the twelfth century there was a monastery of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos (the so-called Zverin monastery) In Moscow also under Tsar Ivan the Terrible the cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God was built at the church of the Holy Trinity (known as the church of Saint Basil the Blessed).
On the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos we implore the defense and assistance of the Queen of Heaven, “Remember us in your prayers, O Lady Virgin Mother of God, that we not perish by the increase of our sins. Protect us from every evil and from grievous woes, for in you do we hope, and venerating the Feast of your Protection, we magnify you.”
POSSESSING THE #PROMISEDLAND: “So come on, let’s leave the preschool finger painting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art.”
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