|The Faith Bulletin
The 6th Sunday After Pascha
Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him". (John 9:3)
Our life is full of mystery. We travel through it asking questions, seeking to find at least some answers to the mysteries of life. And more than once we are obliged to admit that we cannot understand these mysteries and that they are part of the plan of God for His creation.
And here in this passage Christ teaches us we should attribute these mysteries to the work of God, and shows we are right to do so. But the mystery from this Gospel is revealed through the attitude which is adopted by those who witness the miracle of the healing of the man blind from birth. There are those who give glory to God and those who criticize the fact that the miracle was done on the Sabbath. For such reasons our access to the miraculous is often blocked. For we lack the desire to accept things as they are revealed and we desire to understand, even when that which we see exceeds our ability to understand.
Commemoration of the Holy Martyr John the Wallachian (May 12)
As his name, "the Wallachian", suggests, this holy martyr was a Wallachian that is a Romanian from the Romanian Country. He was born in this God-blessed land in 1644, of parents who were faithful, pious, and good managers of their land and possessions. During that time the country came under the rule of Voievod Mihnea III, nicknamed "the Turkicized". The latter started a rebellion against Ottoman domination, because of the tribute imposed by the Ottoman court.
When he heard the news, Sultan Mehmet sent an army of Turks to the Romanian Country to end the revolt and to punish the rebellious ruler. Mihnea fled in fear over the mountains into Transylvania, where he died, but the Turks, seeing this, laid waste to the country, enslaving a great number of men, women, and children. Among them was also the young John, who was 15 years old and had received as a gift from God an extraordinary physical beauty. Along the road, however, one of the pagans who were taking the Romanians off to captivity came upon John and, attracted to the external beauty of his body, bought him with evil intentions. The Saint however resisted this unlawful act, not recognizing as his master anyone except Christ, the Master of All. Infuriated, the pagan prepared to tie John to a tree and to carry out his evil intention, but the Saint, revolted in his heart and not wishing to be humiliated before God, remembered David, who conquered Goliath, and taking courage, he killed the pagan. Not long after that, the Hagarenes who were taking the captives to Constantinople noticed that John-s master was missing. Finding out the truth, they bound John in chains and took him to Constantinople, torturing him cruelly. When they arrived in Constantinople, John was taken to the authorities, where he witnessed to the truth, saying that in killing the pagan he did nothing more than protect his character as a true Christian. The Vizier, hearing these things, gave St. John to the widow of the dead pagan, to do with him whatever she wished.
Being carried away by the youth-s beauty, she took him home, where she promised him that if he would give up his faith and convert to hers, she would take him as husband in the place of her dead one, offering him riches and countless pleasures. The woman gave as an example Mihnea the Turkicized, who had also been enslaved by the Turks, but converting to the Muslim religion, had become ruler of the Romanian Country. But John resisted, unwilling to forsake his faith, remembering Joseph, the son of Jacob, who triumphed over the seduction of Potiphar-s wife. These temptations lasted two and a half years, after which the woman, seeing the Saint-s steadfastness, became infuriated and turned John over to the ruler of the city, who threw him into prison. There the martyr was subjected to many horrible and dreadful tortures. During this time, the woman often visited John, believing that the youth would give in to her request and take her as wife. But John, like a diamond, remained steadfast in his faith, seeking only Christ, from Whom he received strength and wisdom.
When everyone saw there was no way to persuade the young man to forsake Christ, they decided to put John to death. Thus, the blessed martyr of Christ was hanged on May 12, 1662, and so gave his life into the hands of Christ, from whom he also received the crown of victory.
The life of the Saint and his passion were written by John Cariophil, a learned Greek of that period, after which it was published at Venice by St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, and later entered into the Greek synaxarion and finally into the Romanian.
Saturday, May 15 - Vespers at St. Nicholas Parish, NY.
Sunday, May 16 - Divine Liturgy at St. George Parish, NY.
Thursday, May 20 - Ascension of the Lord - Divine Liturgy - Sts. Constantine and Helen, Chicago.
Friday May 21 - Sts. Constantine and Helen - Divine Liturgy at the same church.
- Sunday, May 23 - Divine Liturgy at the same church; the first name day of the new Eparchial Center in Chicago.