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Weekly Newsletter: January 23 – 29


He must increase, but I must decrease. What is this? He must be exalted, but I must be humbled. How is Jesus to increase? How is God to increase? The perfect does not increase. God neither increases nor decreases. For if He increases, He is not perfect; if He decreases, He is not God. And how can Jesus increase, being God?… This is a great mystery! Before the Lord Jesus came, people were glorifying themselves; He came as a man to lessen human glory and to increase the glory of God…. For this is what the apostles says, this is what holy scripture says: “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” Will you glory in yourself? You will grow; but you will grow worse in your evil. For whoever grows worse is justly decreased. Let God, then, who is ever perfect, grow and grow in you. For the more you understand God and apprehend Him, He seems to be growing in you; but in Himself He does not grow, being always perfect. – St. Augustine 


Saint of the Week: St. Hilaria 

Emperor Zeno was an Orthodox believer who loved the church. He had two daughters, Hilaria and Thaopesta. From a young age, Hilaria loved the solitary life and thought about the monastic life. When she was 18 years old, she left her father’s court and traveled to Egypt, disguised in men’s clothing. 

At the monastery of St. Macarius, she met Anba Pemwah and told him about her desire to become a monk. He ordained “him” a monk under the name of Hilary. Three years later, Anba Pemwah found out that she was Hilaria, the daughter of Emperor Zeno. He kept her secret and placed her in a cave. She stayed there for fifteen years. When she did not grow a beard, the monks thought she was a eunuch and called her “Hilary, the eunuch.”

Meanwhile, her sister Thaopesta became possessed with an unclean spirit, and her father spent much money on her in vain. The men of his court advised the emperor to send her to the elders of Scetis. He sent her with his men and a letter to the elders telling them about his pain and grief. He told them that God had given him two daughters: one departed and did not return and he did not know where she was, and the other became possessed with an evil, tormenting spirit. He asked them to pray for her so that the Lord might heal her and be a comfort to him in place of his disappeared daughter.

When the princess arrived at Scetis, the elders read the emperor’s letter and prayed for her for many days, but she was not healed. Finally, the fathers decided that St. Hilary should take her and pray for her healing. St. Hilary refused, but the elders obliged her. St. Hilary knew that she was her sister, but her sister did not recognize her. St. Hilaria embraced and kissed her sister, then left to weep outside. A few days later, Thaopesta, was healed and St. Hilaria took her to the elders saying, “Through your prayers, God has granted her healing.” The elders sent Thaopesta back to her father.

When Thaopesta arrived, her father rejoiced and offered many thanks to the Lord. Her father asked her about her stay at Scetis, and she said that St. Hilary the eunuch who healed her by his prayers, embraced and kissed her often. The emperor asked the elders asking them to send St. Hilary to receive his blessings. When the elders ordered “him” to go to the emperor, “he” wept bitterly, pleading with them to spare “him” from the trip. They told “him” that the emperor was a righteous man who loved the holy church and that it was only proper not to disobey him.

St. Hilaria went to the emperor. He had a private meeting with Hilaria together with the empress. They asked “him”, “How did you ‘a holy man’ embrace and kiss the princess?” Then Hilaria asked them to bring the Bible and pledge to “him” not to prevent “him” from going back to the wilderness after answering their inquiry. So they got the Bible and pledged. Then “he” made “himself” known to them, saying, “I am your daughter Hilaria,” and she told them all that had happened to her. Her parents wept with a loud voice and all the people in the palace were confused.

She remained three months, then she wanted to return, and when her parents refused, she reminded them of their oath. St. Hilaria stayed five years after returning to the wilderness, then departed in peace. No one knew that she was a woman until after her death.

Saints of the Week:

  • St. Philotheus – Monday, Jan. 24
  • St. Dometius – Tuesday, Jan. 25
  • St. James Bishop of Nisibu, Mary & Martha – Wednesday, Jan. 26
  • Sts. Abahour, Bisoura, & their Mother – Thursday, Jan. 27
  • St. Prochorus – Friday, Jan. 28
  • Departure of St. Mary,  St. Hilaria– Saturday, Jan. 29

This Week’s Schedule:

  • Monday:
    • Midnight Praises: 8:00-9:30pm
  • Tuesday:
    • Bible Study: 7:00-8:30pm (in-person and Facebook)
  • Wednesday:
    • Liturgy: 5:00-7:00am
  • Thursday:
    • Liturgy: 7:30-10:00am
  • Friday:
    • Liturgy: 8:00-10:30am
  • Saturday:
    • Hymns Class: 5:00-6:00pm
    • Sunday School: 6:00-7:00pm
    • Vespers: 7:00-7:30pm.
    • Midnight Praises: 7:30-9:30am
  • Sunday:
    • Liturgy: 7:30-11:00am

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