On account of his bounteous and paternal spirit, Saint Sava was beloved like an angel of God
among the Hungarians and Bulgarians, and among the Greeks and Arabs. King Milutin repulsed
the Mongol invasios not just from Serbia but from the entire Balkans. Tsar Dusan waged war
and suffered death in battle fare from his own land for the sake of defending the Orthodox
Greeks and Bulgarians as much as for the sake of defending the Serbs. Prince Lazar perished
on the field of Kosovo for the venerable cross and the freedom of Christendom, which all
Europe sensed and recogized at that time. Karageorge rose up in rebellion with the ultimate
aim of liberating all the Balkans and creating a Christian brotherhood of all the Orthodox
peoles on the Balkan peninsula.
A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality.
(Translated by Father Theodore Micka and Father Stevan Scott. The Free Serbian Orthodox
Diocese of the United States and Canada, Grayslake, Illinois, 1988, pp. 62-63)
Remember the Students of St. Sava School of Theology - Libertyville
· Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan.
· The manifestation of the Holy Trinity.
· The place of St. John the Baptist in history.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
January 9 and 14 - Served Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Church, Fairmont, West Virginia.
January 10 - Went to Shadyside Hospital, Pittsburgh where Serbian Orthodox Christian
From the Desert Fathers
A certain brother asked the abbot Pimenion saying, "What is faith?" and the old man said
"To live ever in loving kindness and in humbleness, and to do good to one's neighbor."
Sunday Before Theophany, 2006
Thirthieth Sunday after Pentecost
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the
Prophets: "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths
straight." John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance
for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea and those from Jerusalem, went out
to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
Now John was clothed with camel's hair and with a leather belt around his waist,
and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, 'There comes One after
me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.
I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down,
and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head,
and the other at the feet, awhere the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman,
why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know
not where they have laid Him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back,
and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, "Woman,
why weepest thou? Whom seekset thou?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him,
"Sir,if thou have borne Him hence, tell where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away."
Jesus saith unto her, "Mary." She turned herself, and saith unto Him, "Raboni" which is to
say "Master." Jesus saith unto her, "Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father:
but go to My brethren, and say unto them. I ascend unto my Father, and your Father;
and to my God, and your God." Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had
seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
Today the Holy Orthodox Church has two Gospel messages to consider. The Sunday before
Theophany draws attention to St. John the Baptist and his message of repentance.
St. John the Baptist speaks about the Lord Jesus Christ and baptims with the Holy Spirit.
The Feast of Theophany is coming within days. The Feast of Theophany celebrates a manifestation
of the Holy Trinity.
God gives us minds to use for constructive purposes. God gives us minds to
for the glory of God. God gives us minds to live in ways pleasing to God.
Repentance is a return to God and the renunciation of sin. Repentance is a change of
heart and a commitment to the way of God. Repentance is a determination by the self to
seek the Kingdom of God as God would have us do.
We benefit from thinking about St. John the Baptist's total commitment to Christ.
We benefit from thinking about St.John knowing very specifically his place in relationship
to Jesus Christ.
We benefit from analyzing our own lives in relation to Christ. We benefit from prayerfully
turning to Christ to seek direction. We benefit when living according to Christ's teachings
and the Holy Commandments of God.
St. John the Baptist did not consider himself worthy to untie the sandal strap of Jesus yet
Jesus said "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the
Baptist." (Mt. 11:11) St.John the Baptist is a lesson in humility.
To find our proper place in life, we benefit when turning our attention to the Resurrected
Lord. Mary Magdalene personally experienced the Resurrected Christ when she went to the Tomb.
We experience the Resurrected Christ when we listen to the Holy Gospel. We experience the
Resurrected Christ when we partake of His Precious Body and Blood. We experience the
Resurrected Christ when we attend the Divine Liturgy.
When we turn to God in prayer, we are heard. We have the opportunity to bring to God our
concerns, our hurts and our interests. When we turn to God in prayer, we benefit from listening
to God. We benefit from trying to determine what God would have us do as specific individuals.
Each person is unique. As there has been only one John the Baptist and only one Mary
Magdalene, there is only one of each person. Each person is created in the image and likeness
of God (Gen. 1:26-27)
Each person has unique fingerprints. Each person has unique personality characteristics.
Each person has the opportunity to follow Christ and serve Christ. Individual choices made
determine the degree each person conforms to the way of Christ.
The joy of the Resurrection is heralded in the Gospel of St. John. The joy of the
Resurrection is heralded by the white angels at the tomb. The fresco of the white angel
at Monastery Mileseva is known to Serbian Orthodox Christians as a declaration of the
The joy of the Resurrection is ever-present and prominent in the lives of serious
believers. The joy of the Resurrection is a triumphant joy, a joy denoting Christ's defeat
of death and granting of life.
The Resurrection of Christ gives perspective to all earthly circumstances.
The celebration of the Resurrection of Christ is the Feast of Feasts in the Orthodox Church.
The Feast of the Nativity of Christ is fresh in the minds of Orthodox Christians.
The Feast of Theophany, the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan is immediately on the horizon.
The fullness of life in Christ is ever present for believers to seek and to choose.
Each moment of time believers meet Christ and say "yes" or "no" to His way.
Let us always bear in mind these words of Jesus. Our Lord said: "I am the way,
the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
January 2 / January 15, 2006
Sunday before Theophany. Thirtieth Sunday after Pentecost.
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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