3 Hierarchs (small)In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, let us remember the 3 Holy Hierarchs, St Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian, and St John Chrysostom, may the holy fathers among the saints, pray for us!

In the earlier years of Christianity, the holy fathers among the saints, St Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian, and St John Chrysostom were all revered, as fathers, confessors, theologians.

However, due to the fallen nature of man, some began to say that one holy father or saint was greater than the others. For example, some would say that St Basil was the greatest of the three, while others would vehemently say that St John Chrysostom, or St Gregory, were greater. This meaningless debate went on for a long time, until 1084, when the 3 hierarchs appeared to St John of Euchita, that all 3 hierarchs in the vision said, “the three of us are with God, with no discord or rivalry dividing us. There is no first, second, or third, and if you invoke one of us, the other two are immediately present with him.” Thereafter, the feast day of the Synaxis of the 3 Hierarchs began to be commemorated.

In our humanity, we too, often argue that one man is better than another, or even one bishop is better than another, or one priest is better than another. God in His infinite and divine will, holds as treasure each one of us, and that each of us serves a divine purpose, and that each of us will struggle to find Him.

In our shortsightedness, we often do not find His Will, especially when we face another person whom we see as ordinary, or worse, due to our pride, as worse off than us. That is the mark of our fallen state and that we have not repented and have not prayed truly to God. Our pride and passions got in our own ways.

In our Gospel reading, we are reminded through Hebrews 13:7-16 that our Lord and Christ does not charge. He, our God, is the same throughout time and existence. When He told us firmly to follow Him in footsteps, He laid the foundation of Orthodoxy that we are to follow. There are not vagueness or uncertainty in what Christ instructed, and any one who deviates from teaching the straight, narrow and challenging path after Christ, is not teaching the Gospel of Christ.

And in St Matthew 5:14-19, we know that Christ did not remove the laws of God from us, but rather, elevated our challenge even further, for God refines us through our labors, through our spiritual struggles, through our material sacrifices, and through our compassion and love for others despite our own wants (Leviticus 19:17-18). Christ our Lord calls us to be greater, to therefore, rise towards God. Christ taught us to leave all judgment to God, for God is our only Judge, and our only salvation. We are told not to judge another (Proverbs 24:28-31).

Saints of old and new, have shown us how they struggled spiritually, in life and even until death, so that the only treasure that mattered, was to seek and find God.

God loves simple prayers, and honest repentance. What better way, then to always pray:

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:

It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Raphael+

Readings
Leviticus 19:17-18
Proverbs 24:28-31
St Matthew 5:14-19
Hebrews 13:7-16