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The Syriac Monastery of the Virgin Mary El Sourian would like to extend its sincere and heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of the feast of our fathers the pure Apostles.  The Apostles shed their blood with zeal on behalf of their love for our Lord, Master, and King Jesus Christ, so that all will share a part in the Kingdom of Heaven.  May God grant us the spirit of honesty and may He sustain us so that we may maintain our righteous faith, which was passed on to us by the saints.  Also, we long to become practical and living Bibles - silent sermons and luminous models, so that others may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. 

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Holy Mass & Praises Time

 

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Essential conditions to spend a spiritual retreat in the monastery

To carry a legal proof of personality.

To be not less than 16 years of age.

To carry a letter from the recognition father directed to the Abbot or the father responsible for the retreat house.

To be punctual to the timings of the prayers, work and retreats in the retreat house.

The retreat period does not exceed three days.

Between a retreat and another, there should be a minimum period of 2 months.

Not to visit the Abbot or the monks fathers except with a permission from the father responsible for the retreat house.

To be calm in order to maintain and respect the sanctity of the place.

 

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Abib 18, 1732 - July 25, 2016, Monday

Readings source: Abib 5

Vespers

Psalms 68:11, 35

11 The Lord gave the word; Great was the company of those who proclaimed it:.

35 O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. [NKJV]  Alleluia

Mark 3:7-21

7 But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. 9 So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. 10 For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. 11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, You are the Son of God. 12 But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known. 13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. 14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, 15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: 16 Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder; 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. And they went into a house. 20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, He is out of His mind. [NKJV]  Glory is due to our God to the age of all ages. Amen

Matins

Psalms 145:10-12

10 And Your saints shall bless You. 11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power, 12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts. [NKJV]  Alleluia

Luke 6:12-23

12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor. 17 And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, 18 as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all. 20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. [NKJV]  Glory is due to our God to the age of all ages. Amen

Liturgy

Romans 10:4-18

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, The man who does those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, Do not say in your heart, `Who will ascend into heaven?'  (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or,  `Who will descend into the abyss?'  (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report? 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world. [NKJV]  The Grace of God the Father be with you all. Amen

2 Peter 1:12-21

12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. 16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. [NKJV]  Do not love the world, nor the things which are in the world. The world shall pass away and all its desires; but he who does the will of God shall abide forever. Amen

Acts 3:1-16

3:1 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, Look at us. 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. 11 Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly amazed. 12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. [NKJV]  The word of the Lord shall grow, multiply, be mighty and be confirmed in the holy church of God. Amen

Psalms 19:1, 4

19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.

4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. [NKJV]  Alleluia

Matthew 10:1-15

10:1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10 nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. 11 Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. 12 And when you go into a household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!. [NKJV]  Glory is due to our God to the age of all ages. Amen

Church Occasions

Our Fathers, the Apostles: a variety of characters & circumstances

Apostles’ Acts

The characteristics of the apostolic church

Christianity in the Apostolic Era

Christianity in the Apostolic Era

The importance of the Apostolic era:

·        Just as the life of our Lord Jesus Christ – glory be to Him, is the Divine source of Christianity, so also the Apostles’’ era is the foundation of our Christian church.  It can be likened to a unique organized society in contrast to the Jewish society, which once occupied that era.  The Apostolic era is the era of the Holy Spirit, the era of Divine revelations, and it paved the way for all the future centuries.  It is here that the waters of life pour in their pure and original form – they are the waters of the new creation.

Christianity comes from heaven above as a truth that surpasses all nature.  It has been prophesied about since many generations ago, even prior to its revelation.  The preparation for Christianity was made possible according to God’s plan and His will.  Christianity meets even the deepest needs and necessities of humankind.  As Christianity entered into the world of sin, it was accompanied by many wonders and miraculous revelations through the Holy Spirit, this occurred in order to convert the Jews, the gentiles, and the non-believers to the Christian faith – to believe in Christ the amazing Saviour – the incarnate God.

·        The Apostolic era is extremely important, especially throughout the history of the whole church.  This era established an unshakable foundation for the church as a whole.  This great importance goes back to the Apostles of Christ.  They were the vessels that were prepared by the Holy Spirit.  They served as teachers to shed light on the ignorance of mankind.  The Apostolic era is unique for its original purity, its active role, and its beauty.  It was so luminescent, to the point where the Jews at the time commented furiously by saying that the Apostles managed to permeate through to all of mankind – through the power of their influences in converting people to Christ. Just as it is stated in the Holy Bible, But when they did not find them, they draggedJason and some other believersbefore the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the worldhave now come here,and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.”(Acts 17:7)

The duration of the Apostolic era and the regions in which the Apostles preached and served:

The Apostles’ era extends from the fiftieth day all the way up until the death of St. John the Apostle, and it spans a period from the year 30 A.D. to the year 100 A.D.  The Apostles initially began to preach in Palestine, and their preaching gradually extended to Syria and Asia Minor, as well as Greece and Italy.  Also, it was by Divine providence that Philip was directed to take the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, and this is where he encountered an Ethiopian Eunuch.  Through God’s grace, the Eunuch was converted to Christianity, and it was through him that the Christian Faith reached Ethiopia.  Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship,was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot. “So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading? “And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8:26-31)

Throughout the year 58 A.D., St. Paul the Apostle preached, as it was stated in the Holy Bible,But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Mein Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”(Acts 8:27)

Afterwards, St. Paul began to preach in Rome, and it was quite possible that he also preached in Spain, as per the words of Eklimandos the Roman.  This was mentioned in St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in the fifth chapter.

 

Some information about the time span of their preaching:

The Acts of the Apostles and the letters of St. Paul the Apostle lead us to the year 65 A.D. 

·        The martyrdom of saints Peter and Paul occurred in the year 67 A.D. during the reign and persecution of Neron. 

·        The destruction of Jerusalem occurred in the year 70 A.D.

·        There is a span of thirty years between the martyrdom of saints Peter and Paul and the departure of St. John the Apostle (he departed between the years 98 A.D. and 100 A.D.)  During this thirty year time period, the writings of St. John the Apostle were the only teachings available at that time.  Those were written between the years 95 A.D. and 80 A.D.

Non-Christian sources that also noted the Apostolic era:

·        The Roman historian Tasinos

·        The Jewish historian Yosabios

 

1.     The three Apostles – Peter, Paul, and John were vividly apparent, because it is through their writings that they fulfilled great works throughout the Apostolic era.  They served as a strong, solid foundation for all the centuries which were to follow.

2.     Saints Peter and Paul: Throughout the first century, between the years 64 A.D. and 68 A.D., the first persecution swept through – the culprit being the Roman Empire,and it was targeting the Christian church.  This is known as Neron’s persecution.  During this time of persecution, he burned the city of Rome and he blamed the destruction on the Christians.  In order to torture the Christians, Neron ordered that they be wrapped in flammable cloth and burned to death in the city’s centre, amidst a multitude of spectators.  The church history informs us that the Apostles Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome in the year 67 A.D. during the same time of this persecution. 

3.     St. John the Apostle: After the martyrdom of saints Peter and Paul, there were no apostlesremaining in Asia Minor or Europe, except for St. John the Apostle.  In the year 58 A.D., he migrated to Asia Minor after the departure of our Lady the Virgin Mary.  He remained in the city of Ephesus after the martyrdom of saints Peter and Paul, and he was the only Apostle left in the church.  During this time, he was the light that illuminated the church through his writings, his righteous living, and his marvelous teachings that were centred on love.  He remained there until the year 98 A.D. during the reign of Trajan the Emperor.  In other words, he remained for thirty years after the martyrdom of saints Peter and Paul.

The life of Christianity in the Apostolic Era:

·        Christianity’s Spiritual strength and fervency:  When Christianity is put into practice, it is known as the fruit of new life, a life of spirituality, a life that surpasses the natural.  It is a life of holiness and peace, a life of unity with God the Father, His only Son, and the Holy Spirit.  It is an eternal life that is renewed through baptism, and it extends through to the glorious resurrection that is to come.  This new life embraces the inner depths of man’s personality and it frees man from the slavery of sin.  It leads man to a strong and lively unification with God through Christ.  From this inner depth of a man’s heart, this new life works with strength as it purifies, uplifts, and organizes man’s inner self, embracing all his emotions, his feelings, his will, and his mind.  It transforms a man’s whole body to become an altar for the Holy Spirit.
Christianity established the highest possible peak of love towards God and towards man, not only as a theoretical phenomenon, but as a true life in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ who established it.  For it is through His life that we experience strength – because actions speak louder than words.  These marvelous traits were further described by the wise and lawmakers throughout the centuries.

·        Although philosophical organizations and science failed to renew the life of mankind, Christ’s Holy Bible continues to renew man.  The source of the Holy Bible is Christ Himself, for the life of Christ on earth – from its start until the cross is free of any blemish, because He is without any blame or doubt.  Both enemies and friends alikeconfessed that He is the purest and the wisest person who has ever appeared on this earth.  This complete life that is in harmony with God, along with dedication to doing good for mankind was needed to be poured out from Christ Himself unto His followers.  The life of Christianity presents Christ as the role model, because from His word and His spirit who lives and governs the church, a never-ending spring of holy, glorified, and pure strength continues to pour over individuals, families, and all the nations, even until this day.  Indeed, it will continue to pour until the world becomes transformed into the Kingdom of God, where God is all in all.

Christianity throughout the lives of individuals:

·        The spiritual transformational power in Christianity appears first through the lives of individual people.  Throughout the Apostolic era, the Apostles and the believers rose to such a distinguished level of holiness and gentility that surpassed that of the Greek heroes of virtue.  They even surpassed the caliber of saints who lived throughout the Holy Testament.  Their daily lives consisted of a living unification with Christ – they always strived to glorify God and they toiled on behalf of the salvation of the nations.  Some of the essential virtues that were not known prior to Christ, were humility and the love for enemies.

 

·        Throughout the Old Testament, we notice how the Holy Bible shone through some female characters.  Clearly, Christianity has uplifted women from their position of oppression, which was the norm of their lives throughout Judaism and in the lands of the gentiles.  However, moving forward, when Christianitywas introduced, it restored dignity back to women, and their spiritual importance was emphasized.  Christianity ensured that women would inherit salvation along with men, just as it is written in 1 Peter 3:7, Husbands, likewise, dwell withthemwith understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and asbeingheirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”Christianity opened more doors and created more opportunities for women to live in dignity and to be shown respect within the circle of their personal lives, without having to be forced out of their comfort zones.

Our Lady the Virgin Mary and the female race:

·        Our Lady the Virgin Mary pinpoints the time during which the history of women was transformed ever since the time of creation.  Just as Christ is the second Adam, our Lady the Mother of God coincides with Eve, in the spiritual meaning, she is the mother of all mankind – the second Eve.  The first person who spoke of the comparison between Eve and our Lady the Virgin Mary, was St. Irinios – Bishop of Leon, who lived during the second century.

As it is stated in the Holy Bible, “Blessed are you among women…” (Luke 1:28), hence, the women’s race became blessed.  She shewed away the curse that resulted from sin.  Through the persona of the Virgin Mary, we see the mother and the rearer of the Saviour of the world.  Without a doubt, we need to recognize the Christian virtues that women embrace; these include:  purity, gentleness, simplicity, humility, and complete obedience and submission to God. 

We also notice a group of loving women who were likewise close disciples to Christ, including Mary the wife of Clopas, Mary who sat at Christ’s feet, and her sister Martha who hosted Christ in their home in Bethany.  Also, Mary Magdalene, the woman who was a sinner who washed Christ’s feet with her tears of repentance and she wiped them with the hair of her head.  Those righteous women and many others served our Lord during His days on earth, as they offered their love to Him.  Similarly, there were other women who remained at the crucifixion site where Christ was crucified, even unto the end, as it was stated, Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary thewifeof Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” (John 19:15).  We also recall the women who were the first to come to Christ’s empty tomb, very early Sunday morning – the morning of the resurrection.

Women in Christianity are never oppressed, they are never considered as slaves to their husbands, nor are they labelled as objects to satisfy lusts; instead, they are considered the pride and joy of their husbands, as it is stated in Proverbs: An excellentwifeisthe crown of her husband…”(Proverbs 12:4).  Women in Christianity are the adornment of their families, they harbour their households with zeal and love in all that they do, especially through serving their local churches.  All in all, they are the guardian angels of peace.  Through them we see purity, humility, patience, love, kindness, and loyalty even unto death.  This caliber of women were not known prior to Christ.  This is what led the Greek philosopher and gentile – Lebanyos to cry out when he saw St. John the beloved’s mother, he said, ‘How great are the women in Christianity!”

The Christian Family:

·        After Christianity uplifted women out of the life of oppression and bondage, it automatically transformed and sanctified the lives of each member of the family.  This eliminated the need for a man to wed many wives; moving forward, it was rightful for a man to be dedicated to one wife.  Christianity set forth organized rules for both a husband and wife, for parents, and for children.  In this new Christianlife, the concept of marriage became a holy invisible union between Christ and the Church – His bride.  This is why Christianity sanctified marriage to be a holy sacrament, as it is stated, Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body.” (Ephesians 5:22-23)

Henceforth, the family became a safe haven for pure and virtuous budding lives – in itself, it is a miniature church.  The father of the household is the shepherd – leading his family to the pastures of God’s word on a daily basis.  He is also likened like the priest who presents the family’s sacrifices of prayers, praises, and gratitude to God.

Alongside marriage, if a person chooses not to wed, he or she must be sanctified by the strength of Christ’s love, and the dedication to Christ, as well as serving on behalf of heaven.  Just as we saw through the characters of St. Paul, Barnabas, and St. John the Apostle.  This is also clear as we observe individuals who choose to lead lives of ascetism, as specified in the Holy Bible, His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man withhiswife, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them,“All cannot accept this saying, but onlythoseto whom it has been given:For there are eunuchs who were born thus fromtheirmother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to acceptit, let him acceptit.” (Matthew 19:10-12) and For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.” (1 Corinthians 7:7), finally, “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4)

Christianity and Society:

·        As the virtues of Christianity appeared within society, they were likened to yeast spreading to all parts of society and to all the nations – as it led them in the path of true civilization and a better life.  Christianity does not describe a certain way in which a society is required to be ruled, and it avoids any interference with politics or rulings.  Christianity is able to adapt to any type of ruling, whether democratic or even in the form of a monarchy.  Christianity is able to flourish and increase under persecution in any land, and this was clearly observed throughout the first three centuries.  Christianity supports the heroes of the law, and it encourages justice for everyone in any society.  It refuses tyranny or tyrant leaders, and it equally refuses disorder or looseness.  No matter what a government is made up of, Christianity loves order, justice, respect to humankind, and peace.Christianityinstills responsibility in the heart of any ruler, as this ruler will face the King of Kings and the supreme ruler – Jesus Christ.  It also instills the spirit of loyalty and virtue to all the common people who are under any particular rule.

In addition, the Holy Bible has a very important role in the lives of those who accept it when trying to restore peace between countries and nations.  The Holy Bible removes all boundaries that create hatred between many nations and cultures.  Christianity unified the Jews and the Gentiles in a brotherly unity around the Eucharist – those were the two nations that were separated by fervent bitterness.  However, just as Christ’s Spirit appeared in the Apostolic age, it is the Spirit of complete unity, and it rises above all disputes that can occur amongst nations.

Throughout the Apostolic age, when the church appeared in Jerusalem, it was known to have one heart and one mind, Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” (Acts 4:32)  Despite the fact that there was some earthly turbulence, as what happened to saints Peter and Paul in Antioch, or even disputes amongst Christians that resulted from confusion between the Jews and gentiles, we need to rejoice with regards to the never-ending victory that we obtained in the spirit of love.  It is this rejoicing that rises above all disputes, which the ‘old person’once experienced.  This rejoicing rises above and beyond the life of dreariness that people once led, prior to their faith in Christ.

·        For example, we can also mention the actions of the Christians who were once gentiles (who lived in Greece) – where St. Paul the Apostle established churches.  They collected their offerings and they presented them to St. Paul the Apostle, who in turn sent these gracious offerings to help the poor Christians who lived in Jerusalem.  Those offerings were acts of love from the newly converted gentiles, and they were trying to express theirgratitude to the mother church in Jerusalem, for sending the Holy Bible to their land so that they too may participate in the Christian faith along with them. 

·        Clearly Christianity utilizes spiritual means as well as civilized means, in contrast to the ideals of the Jews, the Greeks, and the Romans who lived during the Apostolic era and adopted dictatorship and vigour as their laws.  Christianity established a spiritual kingdom that embraces everyone, it also established unity with the saints, it stands firm to this day without being shaken.  Christianity will continue to embrace all believers from all corners of the world so that they may become living members within her embrace – Christianity reconciles everyone with God, through Christ.  

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