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Monday, December 19, 2016

Visit of Nomadic Community Islamabad

By the grace of God after setting up successful Nomadic school in Sargodha, on request of Consular of Nomadic community of capital city Islamabad Mr. Mirdad Khan and Muhammad Akram. 

On dated 15th December 2016 Representative of Orthodox mission Pakistan Fr. Cyril Amer along with Mr. Afzal and mission team visited Nomadic Community , Nomadic community of Islamabad residing in Islamabad last 40 years but their children's are deprived from their basic rights and specially education they requested to Fr. Cyril Amer that orthodox mission also take care educational needs of children of Nomadic community of Islamabad as well. Orthodox mission setup first ever nomadic school system for the underprivileged students of Nomadic community Sargodha, mission providing free books, uniforms and providing free education to neglected children’s. Mission have plan to start tent school for Nomadic community of Islamabad very soon, we request please come forward and take part in this noble cause. Mission needs your generous support for buy books, Note books, School bags and school tents.
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done. (Proverbs 19:17)
For your feedback and donation contact at: www.ftncpak.org/info@ocpak.com

Orthodox Church Pakistan

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Holy Apostle St. Luke

St. Luke

The name Lucas (Luke) is probably an abbreviation from Lucanus, like Annas from Ananus, Apollos from Apollonius, Artemas from Artemidorus, Demas from Demetrius, etc. (Schanz, “Evang. des heiligen Lucas,” 1, 2; Lightfoot on “Col.” 4:14; Plummer, “St. Luke,” introd.) The word Lucas seems to have been unknown before the Christian Era; but Lucanus is common in inscriptions, and is found at the beginning and end of the Gospel in some Old Latin manuscripts (ibid.). It is generally held that St. Luke was a native of Antioch. Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 3:4:6) has: Loukas de to men genos on ton ap Antiocheias, ten episteuen iatros, ta pleista suggegonos to Paulo, kai rots laipois de ou parergos ton apostolon homilnkos — ”Lucas vero domo Antiochenus, arte medicus, qui et cum Paulo diu conjunctissime vixit, et cum reliquis Apostolis studiose versatus est.” Eusebius has a clearer statement in his “Quæstiones Evangelicæ,” 4:1:270: ho de Loukas to men genos apo tes Boomenes Antiocheias en — ”Luke was by birth a native of the renowned Antioch” (Schmiedel, “Encyc. Bib.”). Spitta, Schmiedel, and Harnack think this is a quotation from Julius Africanus (first half of the third century). In Codex Bezæ (D) Luke is introduced by a “we” as early as Acts 11:28; and, though this is not a correct reading, it represents a very ancient tradition. The writer of Acts took a special interest in Antioch and was well acquainted with it (Acts 11:19-27; 13:1; 14:18-21, 25, 15:22, 23, 30, 35; 18:22). We are told the locality of only one deacon, “Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch,” 6:5; and it has been pointed out by Plummer that, out of eight writers who describe the Russian campaign of 1812, only two, who were Scottish, mention that the Russian general, Barclay de Tolly, was of Scottish extraction. These considerations seem to exclude the conjecture of Renan and Ramsay that St. Luke was a native of Philippi.
            St. Luke was not a Jew. He is separated by St. Paul from those of the circumcision (Col. 4:14), and his style proves that he was a Greek. Hence he cannot be identified with Lucius the prophet of Acts 13:1, nor with Lucius of Rom. 16:21, who was cognatus of St. Paul. From this and the prologue of the Gospel it follows that Epiphanius errs when he calls him one of the Seventy Disciples; nor was he the companion of Cleophas in the journey to Emmaus after the Resurrection (as stated by Theophylact and the Greek Menol.). St. Luke had a great knowledge of the Septuagint and of things Jewish, which he acquired either as a Jewish proselyte (St. Jerome) or after he became a Christian, through his close intercourse with the Apostles and disciples. Besides Greek, he had many opportunities of acquiring Aramaic in his native Antioch, the capital of Syria. He was a physician by profession, and St. Paul calls him “the most dear physician” (Col. 4:14). This avocation implied a liberal education, and his medical training is evidenced by his choice of medical language. Plummer suggests that he may have studied medicine at the famous school of Tarsus, the rival of Alexandria and Athens, and possibly met St. Paul there. From his intimate knowledge of the eastern Mediterranean, it has been conjectured that he had lengthened experience as a doctor on board ship. He travailed a good deal, and sends greetings to the Colossians, which seems to indicate that he had visited them.
            St. Luke first appears in the Acts at Troas (16:8 sqq.), where he meets St. Paul, and, after the vision, crossed over with him to Europe as an Evangelist, landing at Neapolis and going on to Philipp1:“being assured that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them” (note especially the transition into first person plural at verse 10). He was, therefore, already an Evangelist. He was present at the conversion of Lydia and her companions, and lodged in her house. He, together with St. Paul and his companions, was recognized by the pythonical spirit: “This same following Paul and us, cried out, saying: These men are the servants of the most high God, who preach unto you the way of salvation” (verse 17). He beheld Paul and Silas arrested, dragged before the Roman magistrates, charged with disturbing the city, “being Jews,” beaten with rods and thrown into prison. Luke and Timothy escaped, probably because they did not look like Jews (Timothy's father was a gentile). When Paul departed from Philipp1:Luke was left behind, in all probability to carry on the work of Evangelist. At Thessalonica the Apostle received highly appreciated pecuniary aid from Philippi (Phil. 4:15, 16), doubtless through the good offices of St. Luke. It is not unlikely that the latter remained at Philippi all the time that St. Paul was preaching at Athens and Corinth, and while he was travelling to Jerusalem and back to Ephesus, and during the three years that the Apostle was engaged at Ephesus. When St. Paul revisited Macedonia, he again met St. Luke at Philipp1:and there wrote his Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
            St. Jerome thinks it is most likely that St. Luke is “the brother, whose praise is in the gospel through all the churches” (II Cor. 8:18), and that he was one of the bearers of the letter to Corinth. Shortly afterwards, when St. Paul returned from Greece, St. Luke accompanied him from Philippi to Troas, and with him made the long coasting voyage described in Acts 20. He went up to Jerusalem, was present at the uproar, saw the attack on the Apostle, and heard him speaking “in the Hebrew tongue” from the steps outside the fortress Antonia to the silenced crowd. Then he witnessed the infuriated Jews, in their impotent rage, rending their garments, yelling, and flinging dust into the air. We may be sure that he was a constant visitor to St. Paul during the two years of the latter's imprisonment at Cæarea. In that period he might well become acquainted with the circumstances of the death of Herod Agrippa 1, who had died there eaten up by worms” (skolekobrotos), and he was likely to be better informed on the subject than Josephus. Ample opportunities were given him, 'having diligently attained to all things from the beginning,” concerning the Gospel and early Acts to write in order what had been delivered by those “who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word” (Luke 1:2-3). It is held by many writers that the Gospel was written during this time, Ramsay is of opinion that the Epistle to the Hebrews was then composed, and that St. Luke had a considerable share in it. When Paul appealed to Cæsar, Luke and Aristarchus accompanied him from Cæsarea, and were with him during the stormy voyage from Crete to Malta. Thence they went on to Rome, where, during the two years that St. Paul was kept in prison, St. Luke was frequently at his side, though not continuously, as he is not mentioned in the greetings of the Epistle to the Philippians (Lightfoot, “Phil.” 35). He was present when the Epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon were written, and is mentioned in the salutations given in two of them: “Luke the most dear physician, saluteth you” (Col. 4:14); “There salute thee . . . Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke my fellow labourers” (Philem. 24). St. Jerome holds that it was during these two years Acts was written.
            We have no information about St. Luke during the interval between St. Paul's two Roman imprisonments, but he must have met several of the Apostles and disciples during his various journeys. He stood beside St. Paul in his last imprisonment; for the Apostle, writing for the last time to Timothy, says: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. . . . Make haste to come to me quickly. For Demas hath left me, loving this world. . . . Only Luke is with me” (II Tim. 4:7-11). It is worthy of note that, in the three places where he is mentioned in the Epistles (Col. 4:14; Philem. 24; II Tim. 4:11) he is named with St. Mark (cf. Col. 4:10), the other Evangelist who was not an Apostle (Plummer), and it is clear from his Gospel that he was well acquainted with the Gospel according to St. Mark; and in the Acts he knows all the details of St. Peter's delivery — what happened at the house of St. Mark's mother, and the name of the girl who ran to the outer door when St. Peter knocked. He must have frequently met St. Peter, and may have assisted him to draw up his First Epistle in Greek, which affords many reminiscences of Luke's style. After St. Paul's martyrdom practically all that is known about him is contained in the ancient “Prefatio vel Argumentum Lucæ,” dating back to Julius Africanus, who was born about A.D. 165. This states that he was unmarried, that he wrote the Gospel, in Achaia, and that he died at the age of seventy-four in Bithynia (probably a copyist's error for Boeotia), filled with the Holy Ghost. Epiphanius has it that he preached in Dalmatia (where there is a tradition to that effect), Gallia (Galatia?), Italy, and Macedonia. As an Evangelist, he must have suffered much for the Faith, but it is controverted whether he actually died a martyr's death. St. Jerome writes of him (De Vir. III. vii). “Sepultus est Constantinopol1:ad quam urbem vigesimo Constantii anno, ossa ejus cum reliquiis Andreæ Apostoli translata sunt [de Achaia?].” St. Luke its always represented by the calf or ox, the sacrificial animal, because his Gospel begins with the account of Zachary, the priest, the father of John the Baptist. He is called a painter by Nicephorus Callistus (fourteenth century), and by the Menology of Basil 2:A.D. 980. A picture of the Virgin in S. Maria Maggiore, Rome, is ascribed to him, and can be traced to A.D. 847 It is probably a copy of that mentioned by Theodore Lector, in the sixth century. This writer states that the Empress Eudoxia found a picture of the Mother of God at Jerusalem, which she sent to Constantinople (see “Acta SS.” 18 Oct.). As Plummer observes. it is certain that St. Luke was an artist, at least to the extent that his graphic descriptions of the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Shepherds. Presentation, the Shepherd and lost sheep, etc. have become the inspiring and favourite themes of Christian painters.
            St. Luke is one of the most extensive writers of the New Testament. His Gospel is considerably longer than St. Matthew's, his two books are about as long as St. Paul's fourteen Epistles: and Acts exceeds in length the Seven Catholic Epistles and the Apocalypse. The style of the Gospel is superior to any N. T. writing except Hebrews. Renan says (Les Evangiles, xiii) that it is the most literary of the Gospels. St. Luke is a painter in words. “The author of the Third Gospel and of the Acts is the most versatile of all New Testament writers. He can be as Hebraistic as the Septuagint, and as free from Hebraisms as Plutarch. . . He is Hebraistic in describing Hebrew society and Greek when describing Greek society” (Plummer, introd.). His great command of Greek is shown by the richness of his vocabulary and the freedom of his constructions.

Orthodox Church Pakistan

 by: Fr. Cyril 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Holy Apostle St. Jude

St. Jude

In the address of the Epistle the author styles himself “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James.” “Servant of Jesus Christ“ means “apostolic minister or labourer.” “Brother of James” denotes him as the brother of James kat exochen who was well-known to the Hebrew Christians to whom the Epistle of St. Jude was written. This James is to be identified with the Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; 21:18), spoken of by St. Paul as “the brother of the Lord” (Gal. 1:19), who was the author of the Catholic Epistle of St. James. and is regarded amongst Catholic interpreters as the Apostle James the son of Alpheus (St. James the Less). This last identification, however, is not evident, nor, from a critical point of view, does it seem beyond all doubt. Most Catholic commentators identify Jude with the “Judas Jacobi” (“Jude, the brother of James” in the D.V.) of Luke 6:16, and Acts 1:13 — also called Thaddeus (Matt. x, 3: Mark 3:18) — referring the expression to the fact that his brother James was better known than himself in the primitive Church. This view is strongly confirmed by the title “the brother of James,” by which Jude designates himself in the address of his Epistle. If this identification is proved, it is clear that Jude, the author of the Epistle, was reckoned among the Twelve Apostles. This opinion is most highly probable. Beyond this we find no further information concerning Jude in the New Testament, except that the “brethren of the Lord,” among whom Jude was included, were known to the Galatians and the Corinthians; also that several of them were married, and that they did not fully believe in Christ till after the Resurrection (I Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:10; John 7:3-5; Acts 1:14). From a fact of Hegesippus told by Eusebius (Hist. eccl. III, 19:xx, xxii) we learn that Jude was “said to have been the brother of the Lord according to the flesh,” and that two of his grandsons lived till the reign of Trajan.

Tradition as to the Genuineness and the Canonicity of his Epistle
            The Epistle of Jude is one of the so-called antilegomena; but, although its canonicity has been questioned in several Churches, its genuineness has never been denied. The brevity of the Epistle, the coincidences between it and II Peter, and the supposed quotation from apocryphal books, created a prejudice against it which was gradually overcome. The history of its acceptance by the Church is briefly as follows:
            Some coincidences or analogies exist between Jude and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers — between Barnabas, 2:10, and Jude, 3, 4; Clemens Romanus, Ep. 20, 12; 65:2, and Jude, 25; Ep. ad Polyc. iii 2; 4:2, and Jude, 3. 20, Mart. Polyc. xx, and Jude, 24 sq. It is possible, though not certain, that the passages here noted were suggested by the text of Jude. The similarity between “Didache” 2:7 and Jude, 22 sq. does not seem to be accidental, whilst in Athenagoras (about A.D. 177), “Leg.” 24, and in Theophilus of Antioch (d. about 183), “Ad Autol.” II, 15, there is a clear reference to Jude, 6 and 13 respectively.
            The earliest positive reference to the Epistle occurs in the Muratorian Fragment, “Epistola sane Judæ et superscriptæ Joannis duae in catholica [scil. Ecclesia] habentur.” The Epistle was thus recognized as canonical and Apostolic (for it is Jude the Apostle who is here meant) in the Roman Church about 170. At the end of the second century it was also accepted as canonical and Apostolic by the Church of Alexandria (Clement of Alexandria, “Pæd.” III, 8:followed by Origen), and by the African Church of Carthage (Tertullian). At the beginning of the third century the Epistle was universally accepted except in the primitive East Syrian Church, where none of the Catholic Epistles were recognized, nor the Apocalypse.
            This remarkably wide acceptance, representing as it does the voice of ancient tradition, testifies to the canonicity and the genuineness of Jude. During the third and fourth centuries doubt and suspicion, based on internal evidence (especially on the supposed quotation from the Book of Henoch and the “Assumption of Moses”), arose in several Churches. However the prejudice created against the deuterocanonical Jude was soon overcome, so that the Epistle was universally accepted in the Western Church at the very beginning of the fifth century.
            In the Eastern Church Eusebius of Cæsarea (260-340) placed Jude among the antilegomena or the “disputed books, which are nevertheless known and accepted by the greater number” (Hist. Eccl. II xxiii; III, xxv); he incorporated all the Catholic Epistles in the fifty copies of the Bible which at the command of Constantine, he wrote for the Church of Constantinople. St. Athanasius (d. 387) and St. Epiphanius (d. 403) placed Jude among the canonical and Apostolic writings. Junilius and Paul of Nisibis in Constantinople (513) held it as mediæ auctoritatis. However, in the sixth century the Greek Church everywhere considered Jude as canonical.

            The recognition of Jude in the Syriac Church is not clear. In Western Syria we find no trace of Jude in the fifth century. In Eastern Syria the Epistle is wanting in the oldest Syriac version, the Peshito, but it is accepted in the Philoxenian (508) and Heracleon (616) versions. Except among the Syriac Nestorians, there is no trace of any ecclesiastical contradiction from the beginning of the sixth century till the Council of Trent, which defined the canonicity of both the proto- and deutero-canonical books of the New Testament.

Orthodox Church Pakistan
by: Fr. Cyril Amer

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Holy Apostle St. John the Evangelist

St. John the Evangelist

New Testament Accounts.

            John was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of James the Greater. In the Gospels the two brothers are often called after their father “the sons of Zebedee” and received from Christ the honourable title of Boanerges, i.e. “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). Originally they were fishermen and fished with their father in the Lake of Genesareth. According to the usual and entirely probable explanation they became, however, for a time disciples of John the Baptist, and were called by Christ from the circle of John's followers, together with Peter and Andrew, to become His disciples (John 1:35-42). The first disciples returned with their new Master from the Jordan to Galilee and apparently both John and the others remained for some time with Jesus (cf. John 12:12, 22; 4:2, 8, 27 sqq.). Yet after the second return from Judea, John and his companions went back again to their trade of fishing until he and they were called by Christ to definitive discipleship (Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20). In the lists of the Apostles John has the second place (Acts 1:13), the third (Mark 3:17), and the fourth (Mat.10:3; Luke 6:14), yet always after James with the exception of a few passages (Luke 8:51; 9:28 in the Greek text; Acts 1:13).
            From James being thus placed first, the conclusion is drawn that John was the younger of the two brothers. In any case John had a prominent position in the Apostolic body. Peter, James, and he were the only witnesses of the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37), of the Transfiguration (Mat.17:1), and of the Agony in Gethsemani (Mat.26:37). Only he and Peter were sent into the city to make the preparation for the Last Supper (Luke 22:8). At the Supper itself his place was next to Christ on Whose breast he leaned (John 13:23, 25). According to the general interpretation John was also that “other disciple” who with Peter followed Christ after the arrest into the palace of the high-priest (John 18:15). John alone remained near his beloved Master at the foot of the Cross on Calvary with the Mother of Jesus and the pious women, and took the desolate Mother into his care as the last legacy of Christ (John 19:25-27). After the Resurrection John with Peter was the first of the disciples to hasten to the grave (John 20:2-10). When later Christ appeared at the Lake of Genesareth John was also the first of the seven disciples present who recognized his Master standing on the shore (John 21:7). The Fourth Evangelist has shown us most clearly how close the relationship was in which he always stood to his Lord and Master by the title with which he is accustomed to indicate himself without giving his name: “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” After Christ's Ascension and the Descent of the Holy Spirit, John took, together with Peter, a prominent part in the founding and guidance of the Church. We see him in the company of Peter at the healing of the lame man in the Temple (Acts 3:1 sqq.). With Peter he is also thrown into prison (Acts 4:3).
            We have no positive information concerning the duration of this activity in Palestine. Apparently John in common with the other Apostles remained some twelve years in this first field of labour, until the persecution of Herod Agrippa I led to the scattering of the Apostles through the various provinces of the Roman Empire (cf. Acts 12:1-17). Notwithstanding the opinion to the contrary of many writers, it does not appear improbable that John then went for the first time to Asia Minor and exercised his Apostolic office in various provinces there. In any case a Christian community was already in existence at Ephesus before Paul's first labours there (cf. “the brethren,” Acts 18:27, in addition to Priscilla and Aquila), and it is easy to connect a sojourn of John in these provinces with the fact that the Holy Ghost did not permit the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey to proclaim the Gospel in Asia, Mysia, and Bithynia (Acts 16:6 sq.). There is just as little against such an acceptation in the later account in Acts of St. Paul's third missionary journey. But in any case such a sojourn by John in Asia in this first period was neither long nor uninterrupted. He returned with the other disciples to Jerusalem for the Apostolic Council (about A.D. 51). St. Paul in opposing his enemies in Galatia names John explicitly along with Peter and James the Less as a “pillar of the Church,” and refers to the recognition which his Apostolic preaching of a Gospel free from the law received from these three, the most prominent men of the old Mother-Church at Jerusalem (Gal. 2:9). When Paul came again to Jerusalem after the second and after the third journey (Acts 18:22; 21:17 sq.) he seems no longer to have met John there. Some wish to draw the conclusion from this that John left Palestine between the years 52 and 55.
            Of the other New-Testament writings, it is only from the three Epistles of John and the Apocalypse that anything further is learned concerning the person of the Apostle. We may be permitted here to take as proven the unity of the author of these three writings handed down under the name of John and his identity with the Evangelist. Both the Epistles and the Apocalypse, however, presuppose that their author John belonged to the multitude of personal eyewitnesses of the life and work of Christ (cf. especially I John 1:1-5; 4:14), that he had lived for a long time in Asia Minor, was thoroughly acquainted with the conditions existing in the various Christian communities there, and that he had a position of authority recognized by all Christian communities as leader of this part of the Church. Moreover, the Apocalypse tells us that its author was on the island of Patmos “for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus,” when he was honoured with the heavenly Revelation contained in the Apocalypse (Apoc. 1:9).

The Alleged Presbyter John.

            The author of the Second and Third Epistles of John designates himself in the superscription of each by the name (ho presbyteros), “the ancient,” “the old.” Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, also uses the same name to designate the “Presbyter John” as in addition to Aristion, his particular authority, directly after he has named the presbyters Andrew, Peter, Philip, Thomas, James, John, and Matthew (in Eusebius, “Hist. eccl.” 3:39:4). Eusebius was the first to draw, on account of these words of Papias, the distinction between a Presbyter John and the Apostle John, and this distinction was also spread in Western Europe by St. Jerome on the authority of Eusebius. The opinion of Eusebius has been frequently revived by modern writers, chiefly to support the denial of the Apostolic origin of the Fourth Gospel. The distinction, however, has no historical basis. First, the testimony of Eusebius in this matter is not worthy of belief. He contradicts himself, as in his “Chronicle” he expressly calls the Apostle John the teacher of Papias (“ad annum Abrah 2114”), as does Jerome also in Ep. 75:“Ad Theodoram,” 3: and in “De viris illustribus,” xviii. Eusebius was also influenced by his erroneous doctrinal opinions as he denied the Apostolic origin of the Apocalypse and ascribed this writing to an author differing from St. John but of the same name. St. Irenaeus also positively designates the Apostle and Evangelist John as the teacher of Papias, and neither he nor any other writer before Eusebius had any idea of a second John in Asia (Adv. haer. 5:33:4). In what Papias himself says the connection plainly shows that in this passage by the word presbyters only Apostles can be understood. If John is mentioned twice the explanation lies in the peculiar relationship in which Papias stood to this, his most eminent teacher. By inquiring of others he had learned some things indirectly from John, just as he had from the other Apostles referred to. In addition he had received information concerning the teachings and acts of Jesus directly, without the intervention of others, from the still living “Presbyter John,” as he also had from Aristion. Thus the teaching of Papias casts absolutely no doubt upon what the New-Testament writings presuppose and expressly mention concerning the residence of the Evangelist John in Asia.

III. The Later Accounts of John.

            The Christian writers of the second and third centuries testify to us as a tradition universally recognized and doubted by no one that the Apostle and Evangelist John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province. In his “Dialogue with Tryphon” (Chapter 81) St. Justin Martyr refers to “John, one of the Apostles of Christ” as a witness who had lived “with us,” that is, at Ephesus. St. Irenæus speaks in very many places of the Apostle John and his residence in Asia and expressly declares that he wrote his Gospel at Ephesus (Adv. haer. 3:1:1), and that he had lived there until the reign of Trajan (loc. cit. 2:22:5). With Eusebius (Hist. eccl. 3:13:1) and others we are obliged to place the Apostle's banishment to Patmos in the reign of the Emperor Domitian (81-96). Previous to this, according to Tertullian's testimony (De praescript. 36), John had been thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil before the Porta Latina at Rome without suffering injury. After Domitian's death the Apostle returned to Ephesus during the reign of Trajan, and at Ephesus he died about A.D. 100 at a great age. Tradition reports many beautiful traits of the last years of his life: that he refused to remain under the same roof with Cerinthus (Irenaeus “Ad. haer.” 3:3:4); his touching anxiety about a youth who had become a robber (Clemens Alex. “Quis dives salvetur,” xiii); his constantly repeated words of exhortation at the end of his life, “Little children, love one another” (Jerome, “Comm. in ep. ad. Gal.” 6:10). On the other hand the stories told in the apocryphal Acts of John, which appeared as early as the second century, are unhistorical invention.

St. John in Christian Art.

            Early Christian art usually represents St. John with an eagle, symbolizing the heights to which he rises in the first chapter of his Gospel. The chalice as symbolic of St. John, which, according to some authorities, was not adopted until the thirteenth century, is sometimes interpreted with reference to the Last Supper, again as connected with the legend according to which St. John was handed a cup of poisoned wine, from which, at his blessing, the poison rose in the shape of a serpent. Perhaps the most natural explanation is to be found in the words of Christ to John and James “My chalice indeed you shall drink” (Matthew 20:23).

Orthodox Church of Pakistan 
by: Fr. Cyril Amer

Monday, October 31, 2016

Holy Apostle St. JamesTthe Less

St. James The Less.

The Identity of James.

            The name “James” in the New Testament is borne by several:
            James, the son of Zebedee — Apostle, brother of John, Apostle; also called “James the Greater.”
            James, the son of Alpheus, Apostle — Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13.
            James, the brother of the Lord — Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19. Without a shadow of doubt, he must be identified with the James of Galatians 2:2 and 2:9; Acts 12:17, 15:13 sqq. and 21:18; and I Corinthians 15:7.
            James, the son of Mary, brother of Joseph (or Joses) — Mark 15:40 (where he is called ò mikros “the little,” not the “less,” as in the D.V. nor the “lesser”); Matthew 27:56. Probably the son of Cleophas or Clopas (John 19:25) where “Maria Cleophæ” is generally translated “Mary the wife of Cleophas,” as married women are commonly distinguished by the addition of their husband's name.
            James, the brother of Jude — Jude 1:1. Most Catholic commentators identify Jude with the “Judas Jacobi,” the “brother of James” (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13), called thus because his brother James was beter known than himself in the primitive Church.
            The identity of the Apostle James (2), the son of Alpheus and James (3), the brother of the Lord and Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 15, 21), although contested by many critics and, perhaps, not quite beyond doubt, is at least most highly probable, and by far the greater number of Catholic interpreters is considered as certain. The objection moved by Mader (Biblische Zeitschrift, 1908, p. 393 sqq.) against the common statement that “Apostles” in Galatians 1:19 is to be taken strictly in the sense of the “Twelve” has been strongly impugned by Steinmann (Der Katholik, 1909, p. 207 sqq.). The James (5) of Jude 1:1 must certainly be identified with James (3), the brother of the Lord and the Bishop of Jerusalem. The identification of James (3), the brother of the Lord and James (4), the son of Mary, and probably of Cleophas or Clopas offers some difficulty. This identification requires the identity of Mary, the mother of James (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40), with Mary the wife of Cleophas (John 19:25), and, consequently, the identity of Alpheus (2) and Clopas (4). As Clopas and Alpheus are probably not two different transcriptions of the same Aramaic name Halpa1:it must be admitted that two different names have been borne by one man. Indeed, there are several examples of the use of two names (a Hebrew and a Greek or Latin name) to designate the same person (Simon-Petrus; Saulus-Paulus), so that the identity of Alpheus and Cleophas is by no means improbable.
            On the whole, although there is no full evidence for the identity of James (2), the son of Alpheus, and James (3), the brother of the Lord, and James (4), the son of Mary of Clopas, the view that one and the same person is described in the New Testament in these three different ways, is by far the most probable. There is, at any rate, very good ground (Galatians 1:19, 2:9, 2:12) for believing that the Apostle James, the son of Alpheus is the same person as James, the brother of the Lord, the well-known Bishop of Jerusalem of the Acts. As to the nature of the relationship which the name “brother of the Lord” is intended to express.

James in the Scriptures.

            Had we not identified James, the son of Alpheus with the brother of the Lord, we should only know his name and his Apostleship. But the identity once admitted, we must consequently apply to him all the particulars supplied by the books of the New Testament. We may venture to assert that the training of James (and his brother Jude), had been that which prevailed in all pious Jewish homes and that it was therefore based on the knowledge of the Holy Scripture and the rigorous observance of the Law. Many facts point to the diffusion of the Greek language and culture throughout Judea and Galilee, as early as the first century B.C.; we may suppose that the Apostles, at least most of them, read and spoke Greek as well as Aramaic, from their childhood. James was called to the Apostolate with his brother Jude; in all the four lists of the Apostles, he stands at the head of the third group (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). Of James individually we hear no more until after the Resurrection. St. Paul (I Corinthians 15:5-7) mentions that the Lord appeared to him before the Ascension.
            Then we lose sight of James till St. Paul, three years after his conversion (A.D. 37), went up to Jerusalem. Of the Twelve Apostles he saw only Peter and James the brother of the Lord (Galatians 1:19; Acts 9:27). When in the year 44 Peter escaped from prison, he desired that news of his release might be carried to James who held already a marked preeminence in the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 12:17). In the Council of Jerusalem (A.D. 51) he gives his sentence after St. Peter, declaring as Peter had done, that the Gentile Christians are not bound to circumcision, nor to the observance of the ceremonial Mosaic Law, but at the same time, he urged the advisability of conforming to certain ceremonies and of respecting certain of the scruples of their Jewish fellow-Christians (Acts 15:13 sqq.). On the same occasion, the “pillars” of the Church, James, Peter, and John “gave to me (Paul) and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision” (Galatians 2:9). He publicly commended the great charter of Gentile freedom from the Law, although he still continued the observance in his own life, no longer as a strict duty, but as an ancient, most venerable and national custom, trusting to “be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:11). When afterwards some came from James to Antioch and led Peter into dissimulation (Galatians 2:12), his name was used by them, though he had given them no such commandment to enforce their interpretation of the concordat which, on his proposal, had been adopted at the Council of Jerusalem. When St. Paul after his third missionary journey paid a visit to St. James (A.D. 58), the Bishop of Jerusalem and “the elders” “glorified the Lord” and advised the Apostle to take part in the ceremonies of a Nazarite vow, in order to show how false the charge was that he had spoken of the Law as no longer to be regarded. Paul consented to the advice of James and the elders (Acts 21:1 sqq.). The Epistle of St. James reveals a grave, meek, and calm mind, nourished with the Scriptures of the Old Testament, given to prayer, devoted to the poor, resigned in persecution, the type of a just and apostolic man.

James outside of the Scriptures

            Traditions respecting James the Less are to be found in many extra-canonical documents, especially Josephus (Antiq. XX, 9:1), the “Gospel according to the Hebrews” (St. Jerome, De vir. ill. II), Hegesippus (Eusebius, “Hist. eccl.” 2:23), the pseudo-Clementine Homilies (Ep. of Peter) and Recognitions (1:72-73), Clement of Alexandria (Hypot. 6:quoted by Eusebius, “Hist. eccl.” 2:1). The universal testimony of Christian antiquity is entirely in accordance with the information derived from the canonical books as to the fact that James was Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem. Hegesippus, a Jewish Christian, who lived about the middle of the second century, relates (and his narrative is highly probable) that James was called the “Just,” that he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor ate animal food, that no razor touched his head, that he did not anoint himself or make use of the bath, and lastly that he was put to death by the Jews. The account of his death given by Josephus is somewhat different. Later traditions deserve less attention.


Orthodox Church of Pakistan
by; Fr. Cyril Amer

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Holy Apostle St. James the Greater

St. James the Greater

(Heb. Yakob; Sept. Iakob; N.T. Greek Iakobos; a favourite name among the later Jews).
            The son of Zebedee (q.v.) and Salome (Cf. Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). Zahn asserts that Salome was the daughter of a priest. James is styled “the Greater” to distinguish him from the Apostle James “the Less,” who was probably shorter of stature. We know nothing of St. James's early life. He was the brother of John, the beloved disciple, and probably the elder of the two.
            His parents seem to have been people of means as appears from the following facts.
            Zebedee was a fisherman of the Lake of Galilee, who probably lived in or near Bethsaida (John 1:44), perhaps in Capharnaum; and had some boatmen or hired men as his usual attendants (Mark 1:20).
            Salome was one of the pious women who afterwards followed Christ and “ministered unto him of their substance” (cf. Mat. 27:55, sq.; Mark 15:40; 16:1; Luke 8:2 sq.; 23:55-24:1).
            St. John was personally known to the high-priest (John 18:16); and must have had wherewithal to provide for the Mother of Jesus (John 19:27).
            It is probable, according to Acts 4:13, that John (and consequently his brother James) had not received the technical training of the rabbinical schools; in this sense they were unlearned and without any official position among the Jews. But, according to the social rank of their parents, they must have been men of ordinary education, in the common walks of Jewish life. They had frequent opportunity of coming in contact with Greek life and language, which were already widely spread along the shores of the Galilean Sea.

Relation of St. James to Jesus
            Some authors, comparing John 19:25 with Matthew 28:56 and Mark 15:40, identify, and probably rightly so, Mary the Mother of James the Less and of Joseph in Mark and Matthew with “Mary of Cleophas” in John. As the name of Mary Magdalen occurs in the three lists, they identify further Salome in Mark with “the mother of the sons of Zebedee” in Matthew; finally they identify Salome with “his mother's sister” in John. They suppose, for this last identification, that four women are designated by John 19:25; the Syriac “Peshito” gives the reading: “His mother and his mother's sister, and Mary of Cleophas and Mary Magdalen.” If this last supposition is right, Salome was a sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and James the Greater and John were first cousins of the Lord; this may explain the discipleship of the two brothers, Salome's request and their own claim to the first position in His kingdom, and His commendation of the Blessed Virgin to her own nephew. But it is doubtful whether the Greek admits of this construction without the addition or the omission of kai (and). Thus the relationship of St. James to Jesus remains doubtful.

His life and apostolate
            The Galilean origin of St. James in some degree explains the energy of temper and the vehemence of character which earned for him and St. John the name of Boanerges, “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17); the Galilean race was religious, hardy, industrious, brave, and the strongest defender of the Jewish nation. When John the Baptist proclaimed the kingdom of the Messias, St. John became a disciple (John 1:35); he was directed to “the Lamb of God” and afterwards brought his brother James to the Messias; the obvious meaning of John 1:41, is that St. Andrew finds his brother (St. Peter) first and that afterwards St. John (who does not name himself, according to his habitual and characteristic reserve and silence about himself) finds his brother (St. James). The call of St. James to the discipleship of the Messias is reported in a parallel or identical narration by Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:19 sq.; and Luke 5:1-11. The two sons of Zebedee, as well as Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew with whom they were in partnership (Luke 5:10), were called by the Lord upon the Sea of Galilee, where all four with Zebedee and his hired servants were engaged in their ordinary occupation of fishing. The sons of Zebedee “forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him” (Matthew 4:22), and became “fishers of men.” St. James was afterwards with the other eleven called to the Apostleship (Mat. 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13). In all four lists the names of Peter and Andrew, James and John form the first group, a prominent and chosen group (cf. Mark 13:3); especially Peter, James, and John. These three Apostles alone were admitted to be present at the miracle of the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51), at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:1; Mat.17:1; Luke 9:28), and the Agony in Gethsemani (Mat.26:37; Mark 14:33). The fact that the name of James occurs always (except in Luke 8:51; 9:28; Acts 1:13 — Gr. Text) before that of his brother seems to imply that James was the elder of the two. It is worthy of notice that James is never mentioned in the Gospel of St. John; this author observes a humble reserve not only with regard to himself, but also about the members of his family.
            Several incidents scattered through the Synoptics suggest that James and John had that particular character indicated by the name “Boanerges,” sons of thunder, given to them by the Lord (Mark 3:17); they were burning and impetuous in their evangelical zeal and severe in temper. The two brothers showed their fiery temperament against “a certain man casting out devils” in the name of the Christ; John, answering, said: “We [James is probably meant] forbade him, because he followeth not with us” (Luke 9:49). When the Samaritans refused to receive Christ, James and John said: “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?” (Luke 9:54; cf. 5. 49).

His martyrdom
            On the last journey to Jerusalem, their mother Salome came to the Lord and said to Him: “Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom” (Mat.xx, 21). And the two brothers, still ignorant of the spiritual nature of the Messianic Kingdom, joined with their mother in this eager ambition (Mark 10:37). And on their assertion that they are willing to drink the chalice that He drinks of, and to be baptized with the baptism of His sufferings, Jesus assured them that they will share His sufferings (Mark 5:38-39).
            James won the crown of martyrdom fourteen years after this prophecy, A.D. 44. Herod Agrippa 1:son of Aristobulus and grandson of Herod the Great, reigned at that time as “king” over a wider dominion than that of his grandfather. His great object was to please the Jews in every way, and he showed great regard for the Mosaic Law and Jewish customs. In pursuance of this policy, on the occasion of the Passover of A.D. 44, he perpetrated cruelties upon the Church, whose rapid growth incensed the Jews. The zealous temper of James and his leading part in the Jewish Christian communities probably led Agrippa to choose him as the first victim. “He killed James, the brother of John, with the sword” (Acts 12:1-2). According to a tradition, which, as we learn from Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 2:9:2, 3), was received from Clement of Alexandria (in the seventh book of his lost “Hypotyposes”), the accuser who led the Apostle to judgment, moved by his confession, became himself a Christian, and they were beheaded together. As Clement testifies expressly that the account was given him “by those who were before him,” this tradition has a better foundation than many other traditions and legends respecting the Apostolic labours and death of St. James, which are related in the Latin “Passio Jacobi Majoris,” the Ethiopic “Acts of James,” and so on.

St. James in Spain
            The tradition asserting that James the Greater preached the Gospel in Spain, and that his body was translated to Compostela, claims more serious consideration.
            According to this tradition St. James the Greater, having preached Christianity in Spain, returned to Judea and was put to death by order of Herod; his body was miraculously translated to Iria Flavia in the northwest of Spain, and later to Compostela, which town, especially during the Middle Ages, became one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in the world. The vow of making a pilgrimage to Compostela to honour the sepulchre of St. James is still reserved to the pope, who alone of his own or ordinary right can dispense from it. In the twelfth century was founded the Order of Knights of St. James of Compostela.
            With regard to the preaching of the Gospel in Spain by St. James the greater, several difficulties have been raised:
            St. James suffered martyrdom A.D. 44 (Acts 12:2), and, according to the tradition of the early Church, he had not yet left Jerusalem at this time (cf. Clement of Alexandria, “Strom.” 6:Apollonius, quoted by Euseb. “Hist. Eccl.” 6:xviii).
            St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (A.D. 58) expressed the intention to visit Spain (Romans 15:24) just after he had mentioned (15:20) that he did not “build upon another man's foundation.”
            The argument ex silentio: although the tradition that James founded an Apostolic see in Spain was current in the year 700, no certain mention of such tradition is to be found in the genuine writings of early writers nor in the early councils; the first certain mention we find in the ninth century, in Notker, a monk of St. Gall (Martyrol. 25 July), Walafried Strabo (Poema de XII Apost.), and others.
            The tradition was not unanimously admitted afterwards, while numerous scholars reject it. The Bollandists however defended it (see Acta Sanctorum, July, VI and 7:where other sources are given).

            The authenticity of the sacred relic of Compostela has been questioned and is still doubted. Even if St. James the Greater did not preach the Christian religion in Spain, his body may have been brought to Compostela, and this was already the opinion of Notker. According to another tradition, the relics of the Apostle are kept in the church of St-Saturnin at Toulouse (France), but it is not improbable that such sacred relics should have been divided between two churches. A strong argument in favour of the authenticity of the sacred relics of Compostela is the Bull of Leo X3:“Omnipotens Deus,” of 1 November, 1884.

Orthodox Mission Pakistan
By: Fr. Cyril Amer

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Holy Apostle St. Barnabas.

St. Barnabas.

Barnabas (originally Joseph), styled an Apostle in Holy Scripture, and, like St. Paul, ranked by the Church with the Twelve, though not one of them; b. of Jewish parents in the Island of Cyprus about the beginning of the Christian Era. A Levite, he naturally spent much time in Jerusalem, probably even before the Crucifixion of Our Lord, and appears also to have settled there (where his relatives, the family of Mark the Evangelist, likewise had their homes, Acts 12:12) and to have owned land in its vicinity (4:36-37). A rather late tradition recorded by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. II, 20, P.G. VIII, col. 1060) and Eusebius (H. E. II, 1:P. G. XX, col. 117) says that he was one of the seventy Disciples; but Acts (4:36-37) favours the opinion that he was converted to Christianity shortly after Pentecost (about A.D. 29 or 30) and immediately sold his property and devoted the proceeds to the Church. The Apostles, probably because of his success as a preacher, for he is later placed first among the prophets and doctors of Antioch (13:1), surnamed him Barnabas, a name then interpreted as meaning “son of exhortation” or “consolation.” (The real etymology, however, is disputed. See Encyl. Bibli. I, col. 484.) Though nothing is recorded of Barnabas for some years, he evidently acquired during this period a high position in the Church.
            When Saul the persecutor, later Paul the Apostle, made his first visit (dated variously from A.D. 33 to 38) to Jerusalem after his conversion, the Church there, remembering his former fierce spirit, was slow to believe in the reality of his conversion. Barnabas stood sponsor for him and had him received by the Apostles, as the Acts relate (9:27), though he saw only Peter and James, the brother of the Lord, according to Paul himself (Gal. 1:18, 19). Saul went to his house at Tarsus to live in obscurity for some years, while Barnabas appears to have remained at Jerusalem. The event that brought them together again and opened to both the door to their lifework was an indirect result of Saul's own persecution. In the dispersion that followed Stephen's death, some Disciples from Cyprus and Cyrene, obscure men, inaugurated the real mission of the Christian Church by preaching to the Gentiles. They met with great success among the Greeks at Antioch in Syria, reports of which coming o the ears of the Apostles, Barnabas was sent thither by them to investigate the work of his countrymen. He saw in the conversions effected the fruit of God's grace and, though a Jew, heartily welcomed these first Gentile converts. His mind was opened at once to the possibility of this immense field. It is a proof how deeply impressed Barnabas had been by Paul that he thought of him immediately for this work, set out without delay for distant Tarsus, and persuaded Paul to go to Antioch and begin the work of preaching. This incident, shedding light on the character of each, shows it was no mere accident that led them to the Gentile field. Together they laboured at Antioch for a whole year and “taught a great multitude.” Then, on the coming of famine, by which Jerusalem was much afflicted, the offerings of the Disciples at Antioch were carried (about A.D. 45) to the mother-church by Barnabas and Saul (Acts xi). Their mission ended, they returned to Antioch, bringing with them the cousin, or nephew of Barnabas (Col. 4:10), John Mark, the future Evangelist (Acts 12:25).
            The time was now ripe, it was believed, for more systematic labours, and the Church of Antioch felt inspired by the Holy Ghost to send out missionaries to the Gentile world and to designate for the work Barnabas and Paul. They accordingly departed, after the imposition of hands, with John Mark as helper. Cyprus, the native land of Barnabas, was first evangelized, and then they crossed over to Asia Minor. Here, at Perge in Pamphylia, the first stopping place, John Mark left them, for what reason his friend St. Luke does not state, though Paul looked on the act as desertion. The two Apostles, however, pushing into the interior of a rather wild country, preached at Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, at Derbe, and other cities. At every step they met with opposition and even violent persecution from the Jews, who also incited the Gentiles against them. The most striking incident of the journey was at Lystra, where the superstitious populace took Paul, who had just cured a lame man, for Hermes (Mercury) “because he was the chief speaker,” and Barnabas for Jupiter, and were about to sacrifice a bull to them when prevented by the Apostles. Mob-like, they were soon persuaded by the Jews to turn and attack the Apostles and wounded St. Paul almost fatally. Despite opposition and persecution, Paul and Barnabas made many converts on this journey and returned by the same route to Perge, organizing churches, ordaining presbyters and placing them over the faithful, so that they felt, on again reaching Antioch in Syria, that God had “opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:13-14:27).
            Barnabas and Paul had been “for no small time” at Antioch, when they were threatened with the undoing of their work and the stopping of its further progress. Preachers came from Jerusalem with the gospel that circumcision was necessary for salvation, even for the Gentiles. The Apostles of the Gentiles, perceiving at once that this doctrine would be fatal to their work, went up to Jerusalem to combat it; the older Apostles received them kindly and at what is called the Council of Jerusalem (dated variously from A.D. 47 to 51) granted a decision in their favour as well as a hearty commendation of their work (Acts 14:27-15:30). On their return to Antioch, they resumed their preaching for a short time. St. Peter came down and associated freely there with the Gentiles, eating with them. This displeased some disciples of James; in their opinion, Peter's act was unlawful, as against the Mosaic law. Upon their remonstrances, Peter yielded apparently through fear of displeasing them, and refused to eat any longer with the Gentiles. Barnabas followed his example. Paul considered that they “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel” and upbraided them before the whole church (Gal. 2:11-15). Paul seems to have carried his point. Shortly afterwards, he and Barnabas decided to revisit their missions. Barnabas wished to take John Mark along once more, but on account of the previous defection Paul objected. A sharp contention ensuing, the Apostles agreed to separate. Paul was probably somewhat influenced by the attitude recently taken by Barnabas, which might prove a prejudice to their work. Barnabas sailed with John Mark to Cypress, while Paul took Silas an revisited the churches of Asia Minor. It is believed by some that the church of Antioch, by its God-speed to Paul, showed its approval of his attitude; this inference, however, is not certain (Acts 15:35-41).

            Little is known of the subsequent career of Barnabas. He was still living and labouring as an Apostle in 56 or 57, when Paul wrote I Cor. (9:5-6). from which we learn that he, too, like Paul, earned his own living, though on an equality with other Apostles. The reference indicates also that the friendship between the two was unimpaired. When Paul was a prisoner in Rome (61-63), John Mark was attached to him as a disciple, which is regarded as an indication that Barnabas was no longer living (Col. 4:10). This seems probable. Various traditions represent him as the first Bishop of Milan, as preaching at Alexandria and at Rome, whose fourth (?) bishop, St. Clement, he is said to have converted, and as having suffered martyrdom in Cyprus. The traditions are all late and untrustworthy. With the exception of St. Paul and certain of the Twelve, Barnabas appears to have been the most esteemed man of the first Christian generation. St. Luke, breaking his habit of reserve, speaks of him with affection, “for he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of Faith.” His title to glory comes not only from his kindliness of heart, his personal sanctity, and his missionary labours, but also from his readiness to lay aside his Jewish prejudices, in this anticipating certain of the Twelve; from his large-hearted welcome of the Gentiles, and from his early perception of Paul's worth, to which the Christian Church is indebted, in large part at least, for its great Apostle. His tenderness towards John Mark seems to have had its reward in the valuable services later rendered by him to the Church. The feast of St. Barnabas is celebrated on 11 June. He is credited by Tertullian (probably falsely) with the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the so-called Epistle of Barnabas is ascribed to him by many Fathers.

Orthodox Church Pakistan
By: Fr. Cyril Amer

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Holy Apostle St. Andrew

St. Andrew

The name “Andrew” (Gr. andreia, manhood, or valour), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the second or third century B.C. St. Andrew, the Apostle, son of Jonah, or John (Mat.16:17; John 1:42), was born in Bethsaida of Galilee (John 1:44). He was brother of Simon Peter (Mat.10:2; John 1:40). Both were fishermen (Mat.4:18; Mark 1:16), and at the beginning of Our Lord's public life occupied the same house at Capharnaum (Mark 1:21, 29). From the fourth Gospel we learn that Andrew was a disciple of the Baptist, whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus (John 1:35-40). Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messias, and hastened to introduce Him to his brother, Peter (John 1:41). Thenceforth the two brothers were disciples of Christ. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11; Matt. 4:19-20; Mark 1:17-18). Finally Andrew was chosen to be one of the Twelve; and in the various lists of Apostles given in the New Testament (Matt. 10:2-4); Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13) he is always numbered among the first four. The only other explicit reference to him in the Synoptists occurs in Mark 13:3, where we are told he joined with Peter, James and John in putting the question that led to Our Lord's great eschatological discourse. In addition to this scanty information, we learn from the fourth Gospel that on the occasion of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, it was Andrew who said: “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fishes: but what are these among so many?” (John 6:8-9); and when, a few days before Our Lord's death, certain Greeks asked Philips that they might see Jesus, Philip referred the matter to Andrew as to one of greater authority, and then both told Christ (John 12:20-22). Like the majority of the Twelve, Andrew is not named in the Acts except in the list of the Apostles, where the order of the first four is Peter, John, James, Andrew; nor have the Epistles or the Apocalypse any mention of him.
            From what we know of the Apostles generally, we can, of course, supplement somewhat these few details. As one of the Twelve, Andrew was admitted to the closest familiarity with Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension; shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Faith in Palestine.
            When the Apostles went forth to preach to the Nations, Andrew seems to have taken an important part, but unfortunately we have no certainty as to the extent or place of his labours. Eusebius (H.E. III:1), relying, apparently, upon Origen, assigns Scythia as his mission field: Andras de [eilechen] ten Skythian; while St. Gregory of Nazianzus (Or. 33) mentions Epirus; St. Jerome (Ep. ad Marcell.) Achaia; and Theodoret (on Ps. cxvi) Hellas. Probably these various accounts are correct, for Nicephorus (H.E. II:39), relying upon early writers, states that Andrew preached in Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia, then in the land of the anthropophagi and the Scythian deserts, afterwards in Byzantium itself, where he appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop, and finally in Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Achaia. It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia, and that he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew's, though the evidence for this view seems to be no older than the fourteenth century. His martyrdom took place during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, A.D. 60); and both the Latin and Greek Churches keep 30 November as his feast.

            St. Andrew's relics were translated from Patrae to Constantinople, and deposited in the church of the Apostles there, about A.D. 357. When Constantinople was taken by the French, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, Cardinal Peter of Capua brought the relics to Italy and placed them in the cathedral of Amalf1:where most of them still remain. St. Andrew is honoured as their chief patron by Russia and Scotland.

Orthodox church Pakistan
by: Fr. Cyril Amer

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Apostles of Christ

Apostles ofChrist.

Under this title it may be sufficient to supply brief and essential information. The reader will find at the end of this article various titles of other articles which contain supplementary information on subjects connected with the Apostles.

The Name.

            The word “Apostle,” from the Greek apostello “to send forth,” “to dispatch,” has etymologically a very general sense. Apostolos (Apostle) means one who is sent forth, dispatched — in other words, who is entrusted with a mission, rather, a foreign mission. It has, however, a stronger sense than the word messenger, and means as much as a delegate. In the classical writers the word is not frequent. In the Greek version of the Old Testament it occurs once, in III Kings, 14:6 (cf. ibid, 12:24). In the New Testament, on the contrary, it occurs, according to Bruder's Concordance, about eighty times, and denotes often not all the disciples of the Lord, but some of them specially called. It is obvious that our Lord, who spoke an Aramaic dialect, gave to some of his disciples an Aramaic title, the Greek equivalent of which was “Apostle.” It seems to us that there is no reasonable doubt about the Aramaic word being seliah, by which also the later Jews, and probably already the Jews before Christ, denoted “those who were despatched from the mother city by the rulers of the race on any foreign mission, especially such as were charged with collecting the tribute paid to the temple service” (Lightfoot, “Galatians,” London, 1896, p. 93). The word apostle would be an exact rendering of the root of the word seliah,= apostello.

Various Meanings.

            It is at once evident that in a Christian sense, everyone who had received a mission from God, or Christ, to man could be called “Apostle.” In fact, however, it was reserved to those of the disciples who received this title from Christ. At the same time, like other honourable titles, it was occasionally applied to those who in some way realized the fundamental idea of the name. The word also has various meanings.
            The name Apostle denotes principally one of the twelve disciples who, on a solemn occasion, were called by Christ to a special mission. In the Gospels, however, those disciples are often designated by the expressions of mathetai (the disciples) or dodeka (the Twelve) and, after the treason and death of Judas, even of hendeka (the Eleven). In the Synoptics the name Apostle occurs but seldom with this meaning; only once in Matthew and Mark. But in other books of the New Testament, chiefly in the Epistles of St. Paul and in the Acts this use of the word is current. Saul of Tarsus, being miraculously converted, and called to preach the Gospel to the heathens, claimed with much insistency this title and its rights.
            In the Epistle to the Hebrews (3:1) the name is applied even to Christ, in the original meaning of a delegate sent from God to preach revealed truth to the world.
            The word Apostle has also in the New Testament a larger meaning, and denotes some inferior disciples who, under the direction of the Apostles, preached the Gospel, or contributed to its diffusion; thus Barnabas (Acts 14:4, 14), probably Andronicus and Junias (Rom.16:7), Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25), two unknown Christians who were delegated for the collection in Corinth (II Cor. 7:23). We know not why the honourable name of Apostle is not given to such illustrious missionaries as Timothy, Titus, and others who would equally merit it.
            There are some passages in which the extension of the word Apostle is doubtful, as Luke 11:49; John 13:16; II Cor. 13; I Thes. 2:7; Ephes. 3:5; Jude, 17, and perhaps the well-known expression “Apostles and Prophets.” Even in an ironical meaning the word occurs (II Cor. 11:5; 12:11) to denote pseudo-apostles. There is but little to add on the use of the word in the old Christian literature. The first and third meanings are the only ones which occur frequently, and even in the oldest literature the larger meaning is seldom found.

Origin of the Apostolate.

The Gospels point out how, from the beginning of his ministry, Jesus called to him some Jews, and by a very diligent instruction and formation made them his disciples. After some time, in the Galilean ministry, he selected twelve whom, as Mark (3:14) and Luke (6:13) say, “he also named Apostles.” The origin of the Apostolate Iies therefore in a special vocation, a formal appointment of the Lord to a determined office, with connected authority and duties. The appointment of the twelve Apostles is given by the three Synoptic Gospels (Mark 3:13-19; Matthew 10:1-4; Luke 6:12-16) nearly in the same words, so that the three narratives are literally dependent. Only on the immediately connected events is there some difference between them. It seems almost needless to outline and disprove rationalistic views on this topic. The holders of these views, at least some of them, contend that our Lord never appointed twelve Apostles, never thought of establishing disciples to help him in his ministry, and eventually to carry on his work. These opinions are only deductions from the rationalistic principles on the credibility of the Gospels, Christ's doctrine on the Kingdom of Heaven, and the eschatology of the Gospels. Here it may be sufficient to observe

§   that the very clear testimony of the three synoptic Gospels constitutes a strong historical argument, representing, as it does, a very old and widely spread tradition that cannot be erroneous;
§   that the universally acknowledged authority of the Apostles, even in the most heated controversies, and from the first years after Christ's death (for instance in the Jewish controversies), as we read in the oldest Epistles of St. Paul and in the Acts cannot be explained, or even be understood, unless we recognize some appointment of the Twelve by Jesus.

Office and Conditions of the Apostolate.

            Two of the synoptic Gospels add to their account of the appointment of the Twelve brief statements on their office: Mark 3:14-15, “He appointed twelve to be with him and to send them to herald, and to have power to heal the illnesses and to cast out demons”; Matthew 10:1, “He gave them power over unclean spirits so as to expel them, and to heal every disease and every illness.” Luke where he relates the appointment of the Twelve, adds nothing on their office. Afterwards (Mark 6:7-13; Matthew 10:5-15; Luke 9:1-5). Jesus sends the Twelve to preach the kingdom and to heal, and gives them very definite instructions. From all this it results that the Apostles are to be with Jesus and to aid Him by proclaiming the kingdom and by healing. However, this was not the whole extent of their office, and it is not difficult to understand that Jesus did not indicate to His Apostles the whole extent of their mission, while as yet they had such imperfect ideas of His own person and mission, and of the Messianic kingdom. The nature of the Apostolic mission is made still clearer by the sayings of Christ after His Resurrection. Here such passages as Matthew, 28:19, 20; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8, 21-22 are fundamental. In the first of these texts we read, “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.” The texts of Luke point to the same office of preaching and testifying (cf. Mark 16:16). The Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles written by the Apostles exhibit them in the constant exercise of this office. Everywhere the Apostle governs the disciples, preaches the doctrines of Jesus as an authentic witness, and administers the sacred rites. In order to fill such an office, it seems necessary to have been instructed by Jesus, to have seen the risen Lord. And these are, clearly, the conditions required by the Apostles in the candidate for the place of Judas Iscariot. “Of the men, therefore, who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John unto the day He was received up from us, of these must one become a witness with us of His Resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22). This narrative, which seems to come from an Aramaic Palestinian source like many other details given in the earlier chapter of Acts was ancient and cannot be set aside. It is further strengthened by an objection made to St.Paul: because he was called in an extraordinary way to the Apostolate, he was obliged often to vindicate his Apostolic authority and proclaim that he had seen the Lord (I Cor. 9:1). Instruction and appointment by Jesus were, therefore, the regular conditions for the Apostolate. By way of exception. an extraordinary vocation, as in the case of Paul, or a choice by the Apostolic College, as in the case of Matthias, could suffice. Such an extraordinarily called or elected Apostle could preach Christ's doctrine and the Resurrection of the Lord as an authoritative witness.

Authority and Prerogatives of the Apostles.

            The authority of the Apostles proceeds from the office imposed upon them by Our Lord and is based on the very explicit sayings of Christ Himself. He will be with them all days to the end of ages (Matthew 28:20), give a sanction to their preaching (Mark 16:16), send them the “promise of the Father,” “virtue from above” (Luke 24:49). The Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of the New Testament show us the exercise of this authority. The Apostle makes laws (Acts 15:29; I Cor. 7:12 sq.), teaches (Acts  2:37 f.), claims for his teaching that it should be received as the word of God (I Thes. 2:13), punishes (Acts 5:1-11; I Cor. 5:1-5), administers the sacred rites (Acts 6:1 sq.; 16:33; 20:11), provides successors (II Tim. 1:6; Acts 14:22). In the modern theological terms the Apostle, besides the power of order, has a general power of jurisdiction and magisterium (teaching). The former embraces the power of making laws, judging on religious matters, and enforcing obligations by means of suitable penalties. The latter includes the power of setting forth with authority Christ's doctrine. It is necessary to add here that an Apostle could receive new revealed truths in order to propose them to the Church. This, however, is something wholly personal to the Apostles.
            Theologians rightly speak in their treatises of some personal prerogatives of the Apostles; a brief account of them may not be superfluous.
            A first prerogative, not clearly inferred from the texts of the New Testament nor demonstrated by solid reasons, is their confirmation in grace. Most modern theologians admit that the Apostles received so abundant an infusion of grace that they could avoid any error in their teaching.
            Another personal prerogative is the universality of their jurisdiction. The words of the Gospel on Apostolic office are very general; for the most part, the Apostles preached and travelled as if they were not bound by territorial limits, as we read in the Acts and the Epistles. This did not hinder the Apostles from taking practical measures to properly organize the preaching of the Gospel in the various countries they visited.

Apostolate and Episcopate.

            Since the authority with which the Lord endowed the Apostles was given them for the entire Church, it is natural that this authority should endure after their death, in other words, pass to successors established by the Apostles. In the oldest Christian documents concerning the primitive Churches we find ministers established, some of them, at least, by the usual rite of the imposition of hands. They bear various names: priests (presbytero1: Acts 11:30; 14:22; 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4; 20, 17; 21:18; I Tim. 5:17, 19; Titus, 1:5); bishops (episkopo1:Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:1; I Tim. 3:2; Titus, 1:7); presidents (proistameno1:I Thes. 5:12; Rom. 12:etc.); heads (hegoumeno1:Hebrews, 13:7, 17, 24, etc.); shepherds (poimenes, Eph. 4:11); teachers (didaskalo1:Acts 13:1; I Cor. 12:28 sq. etc.); prophets (propheta1:Acts 13:1; 15:32; I Cor. 12:28, 29, etc.), and some others. Besides them, there are Apostolic delegates, such as Timothy and Titus. The most frequent terms are priests and bishops; they were destined to become the technical names for the “authorities” of the Christian community.
All other names are less important; the deacons are out of the question, being of an inferior order. It seems clear that amid so great a variety of terms for ecclesiastical authorities in Apostolic times several must have expressed only transitory functions. From the beginning of the second century in Asia Minor, and somewhat later elsewhere, we find only three titles: bishops, priests, and deacons; the last changed with inferior duties. The authority of the bishop is different from the authority of priests, as is evident on every page of the letters of the martyr Ignatius of Antioch. The bishop — and there is but one in each town — governs his church, appoints priests who have a subordinate rank to him, and are, as it were, his counsellors, presides over the Eucharistic assemblies, teaches his people, etc. He has, therefore, a general power of governing and teaching, quite the same as the modern Catholic bishop; this power is substantially identical with the general authority of the Apostles, without, however, the personal prerogatives ascribed to the latter. St. Ignatius of Antioch declares that this ministry holds legitimately its authority from God through Christ (Letter to the Philadelphians, i). Clement of Rome, in his Letter; to the Church of Corinth (about 96), defends with energy the legitimacy of the ministry of bishops and, priests, and proclaims that the Apostles established successors to govern the churches (xlii-xliv). We may conclude with confidence that, about the end of the second century, the ministers of the churches were everywhere regarded as legitimate successors of the Apostles; this common persuasion is of primary importance.
            Another and more difficult question arises as to the Acts and in the Epistles, the various above mentioned names, chiefly the presbyteroi and the episkopoi (priests and bishops).
            Some authors (and this is the traditional view) contend that the episkopoi of Apostolic times have the same dignity as the bishops of later times, and that the episkopoi of the apostolic writings are the same as the priests of the second century. This opinion, however, must give way before the evident identity of bishop and priest in Acts 20:17 and 28, Titus, 1:5-7, Clement of Rome to the Church of Corinth, xliv.
            Another view recognizing this synonymous character estimates that these officers whom we shall call bishops — priests had never the supreme direction of the churches in Apostolic times; this power, it is maintained, was exercised by the Apostles, the Prophets who travelled from one church to another, and by certain Apostolic delegates like Timothy. These alone were the real predecessors of the bishops of the second century; the bishop priests were the same as our modern priests.
            Mgr. Batiffol (Rev. bibl. 1895, and Etudes d'hist. et de théol. positive, 1, Paris, 1903) expresses the following opinion: In the primitive churches there were (1) some preparatory functions, as the dignity of Apostles and Prophets; (2) some presbyteroi had no liturgical function, but only an honourable title; (3) the episkopo1:several in each community, had a liturgical function with the office to preach; (4) when the Apostles disappeared, the bishopric was divided: one of the bishops became sovereign bishop, while the others were subordinated to him: these were the later priests. This secondary priesthood is a diminished participation of the one and sole primitive priesthood; there is, therefore, no strict difference of order between the bishop and the priest.
            Whatever may be the solution of this difficut question, it remains certain that in the second century the general Apostolic authority belonged, by a succession universally acknowledged as legitimate, to the bishops of the Christian churches. The bishops have, therefore, a general power of order, jurisdiction, and magisterium, but not the personal prerogatives of the Apostles.

The Feasts of the Apostles.

            The memorable words of Hebrews, 13:7: “Remember your presidents who preached to you the word of God,” have always echoed in the Christian heart. The primitive churches had a profound veneration for their deceased Apostles (Clement of Rome, Ep. ad Corinth. v); its first expression was doubtless the devotional reading of the Apostolic writings, the following of their orders and counsels, and the imitation of their virtues. It may, however, be reasonably supposed that some devotion began at the tombs of the Apostles as early as the time of their death or martyrdom; the ancient documents are silent on this matter. Feasts of the Apostles do not appear as early as we might expect. Though the anniversaries of some martyrs were celebrated even in the second century, as for instance the anniversary of the martyrdom of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (d. 154-156), the Apostles had at this time no such commemoration; the day of their death was unknown. It is only from the fourth century that we meet with feasts of the Apostles. In the Eastern Church the feast of Saint James the Less and Saint John was celebrated on the 27th of December, and on the next day the feast of Saints Peter and Paul (according to St. Gregory of Nyssa and a Syriac menology). These commemorations were arbitrarily fixed. In the Western Church the feast of Saint John alone remained on the same day as in the Eastern Church. The commemoration of the martyrdom of Saint Peter and Saint Paul was celebrated 29 June; originally, however, it was the commemoration of the translation their relics (Duchesne, Christian Worship, p. 277). From the sixth century the feast of Saint Andrew was celebrated on the 30th day of November. We know but little of the feasts of the other Apostles and of the secondary feasts of the great Apostles. In the Eastern Churches all these feasts were observed at the beginning of the ninth century.


Orthodox Church Pakistan
by: Fr. Cyril Amer