Our Saints, The Reverend Apostles
It is appropriate-during the Holy Apostles' lentthat
we commemorate our Saints, the reverend
Apostles; they are our fathers and our teachers,
through them we received and apprehended the
Faith. We, therefore, ought to be grateful to them.
Though at the same time we -unfortunately-admit
that there are only very few churches which are
named after those reverend Apostles if compared to
the names of other Saints.
First, we should mention that those reverend
Apostles had been called for their mission by
Jesus Christ himself. He is the One who said to
them:" You did not choose Me, but I chose you and
appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and
that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask
the Father in My name He may give you" (Jn15:16)
And Jesus Christ also said to them after the
Resurrection" As the Father has sent Me, I also send
How gracious it is that God's servants are called
to the service by God Himself. St. Paul the Apostle
said in his Epistle to the Hebrews "And no man takes
this honor to himself, but he who is called by God,
just as Aaron was"(Heb5:4).
In the Old Testament, we find examples of
As when God called Noah (Gn6), and our father
Abraham (Gn12), also when God called Jacob the
father of all fathers and said to him" I am with you
and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you
back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have
done what I have spoken to you"(Gn28:15). God
blessed him and gave him a new name (Gn32:28).
God had also called Moses, He granted him the power
of working miracles, and God said to him "I have
made you as God to Pharaoh" (Ex7:1). And also said
"Not so with my servant Moses; He is faithful in all
my house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly,
and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the
Lord. (Nm12:7, 8).
All those whom God called, were blessed.
And God granted them with special grace.
God had called Jeremiah from the day he was in
his mother's womb. He said "Before I formed you in
the womb I knew you; before you were born I
sanctified you; ordained you a prophet to the nations"
(Jer1:5). And God also said "They will fight against
but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with
you," says the Lord, "to deliver you" (Jer1:19).
God had also called Joshua and said to him" No
man shall be able to stand before you all the days of
your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I
will not leave you nor forsake you" (Jos1:5).
When God called The Apostles in the New
Testament: He granted them a special grace. It
was said that He loved His own who were in the
world, He loved them to the end. (Jn13:1). And said
to them: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go
and prepare a place for you, I will come again and
receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you
may be also." (Jn14:2, 3). And about them He said to
the Father ", I desire that they also whom You gave
Me may be with Me where I am", and also said "And
the glory which You gave Me I have given them."
God loved them so much that, after the
Resurrection, He granted them the grace of
Priesthood with all its power. He breathed on them
and said "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the
sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the
sins of any, they are retained" (Jn20:22.23).
And on the day of Pentecost, God filled them with
the Holy Spirit and the talent of speaking with other
And because He loved them so much He said to
them: "Abide in Me, and I in you." (Jn15) Like a
branch to the vine, abide in My love.
In this concern, St. Paul the Apostle said "I have
been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me" (Gal2:20).
Our Reverend Apostles were the initiators of
They are the first who were blessed by the grace
of Priesthood according to the rite of Melchizedek.
And they are the ones who gave over the grace of
Priesthood to others whom they ordained as Bishops,
Priests and Deacons. They also established the
Christian Socialism System; they had everything in
common (Acts 2, 4), the believers sold their
possessions and goods, and divided them among all,
as anyone had needed…
They are the first who convened a Holy Council.
This was in Jerusalem (Acts15). This Council
discussed the issue of accepting the Gentiles in the
faith and how to deal with them.
They are, as well, the first who chose by lots in
the New Testament when they were choosing Judas
successor and the lot fell on Matthias. (Acts2).
They are the first who spoke with foreign tongues
when they were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day
They are the first who had set rules and
constitutions of the Holy Church.
They are the first who instituted Churches and
constructed it as well, this is mentioned in the Acts of
the Apostles (Acts9:31): "Then the churches
throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace
and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord
and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were
multiplied". I loved this phrase so much that I wrote
it on every occasion of constructing any of our new
Churches in the States or in the UK.
Churches were at first inside the believers' homes
as St. Mark's (Acts 12:12). It was also in Cemeteries,
and then Churches started to be constructed, also,
during the Apostles' era.
The Apostles are the first who made the Holy
Chrism (anointing oil), as mentioned in (1Jn2:20, 27)
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One ".
Believers, at first, received the Holy Spirit when the
Apostles laid their hands on them as mentioned in
(Acts8), (Acts19). And when Churches grew in
number in many different countries, the Apostles then
used the Sacrament of the Holy anointing (Myron).
The Reverend Apostles were the first
preachers, and that shows how importantly
great they were:
That was after the day of Pentecost when they
obeyed God's saying to them; "But you shall receive
power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and
you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all
Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth"
Their missionary started on the day of Pentecost
when they attracted 3000 souls to the faith and
baptized them (Acts2:41). and then when they healed
the lame man at the gate of the temple which was
called Beautiful, they then said to the chiefs of the
Jews: it is not by our own power or godliness we had
made this man walk…and the Apostles directed the
people's attention to God the Holy One whom they
delivered up and denied when they asked for a
murderer to be granted to them instead…and they
said that through faith in His name, the lame man
stood and walked (Acts3). Then many of those who
heard the word believed; and the number of the men
came to be about five thousand (Acts4:4).
And after ordination of the seven Deacons, we
read that: "the word of God spread, and the number
of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a
great many of the priests were obedient to the faith"
After a great persecution had arisen against the
church which was at Jerusalem, and lots were all
scattered, we also read that "those who were
scattered went everywhere preaching the word"
We then read about the faith of the Samarians,
and that the Apostles sent them the two Saints Peter
and Paul who laid their hands on them so they
received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8).
Preaching then started to be extended throughout
Cities, and lots of territories, as from Jerusalem it
extended to Antioch. The Disciples were first called
Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26). Then preaching
moved forward outside of Judea and Galilee to Cyprus
and Minor Asia, to the Western direction in Greece
and Rome and towards the East in Iraq and India,
also it moved towards the South to Egypt and Libya
and in the Northern direction to Europe.
During 30 years of time, preaching has been
extending in such a great success.
Saul of Tarsus, his faith had helped the
preaching missionary to grow (Acts9), Saul
whom God appeared to him and called him to be
a prophet for the Gentiles. Preaching grew with the
great effort of this great Saint, whom Bernaba
participated with for some time, then St. Mark with
lots of other disciples who then became Preachers.
God granted the Reverend Apostles a power
of working miracles; this power helped
strengthening their preaching.
In this concern, the Bible says "And through the
hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were
done among the people…And believers were
increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both
men and women, so that they brought the sick out
into the streets and laid them on beds and couches,
that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall
on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the
surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people
and those who were tormented by unclean spirits,
and they were all healed" (Acts5:12-16).
Concerning St. Paul the Apostle, the Bible says"
Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of
Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were
brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases
left them and the evil spirits went out of them."
We can notice in their preaching the quality
of courage and endurance.
when the Chief Priests wanted to stop them, and
threatened them not to speak at all nor teach in the
name of Jesus, they answered and said to them: "we
cannot but speak the things which we have seen and
heard" (Acts4:20). On the contrary, they replied
courageously "We ought to obey God rather than
When the Apostles were whipped and imprisoned,
they went rejoicing out of jail that they were counted
worthy to suffer shame for His name. "And daily in
the temple, and in every house, they did not cease
teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ"
they were preaching everywhere, even along the
roads as when Philip preached the Ethiopian eunuch
who was sitting in his chariot reading the scripture of
Isaiah the prophet, the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near
and overtake this chariot" and Philip preached Jesus
to him. When he believed, Philip baptized him and
then he went on his way rejoicing (Acts8:27-39).
And also Paul the Apostle who preached the
Gospel to the jailer when he was in the prison of
Philippi, the jailer was saved and his entire household
(Acts16). God's Angel was always getting the
Reverend Apostles out of jails, then they resume their
preaching mission and chiefs became amazed of what
They employed all methods of preaching.
St. Paul the Apostle says" and to the Jews I
became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those
who are under the law, as under the law, that I might
win those who are under the law; to those who are
without law, as without law (not being without law
toward God, but under law toward Christ, that I might
win those who are without law; to the weak I became
as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become
all things to all men, that I might by all means save
some" (1Cor9:20-22). And also said "For if I preach
the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is
laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the
And as they preached the Gospel in the
Sanctuary, in prison and along the road; St. Paul
preached at Areopagus in Athens (Acts17:22). "Dwelt
two whole years in his own rented house, and
received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom
Of God and teaching the things which concern the
Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one
forbidding him." (Acts28:30, 31).
St. Paul spoke also of God's word before both
Felix the Governor (Acts24), and King Agrippa
(Acts26). The Apostles preached the Gospel and lots
of the Epistles, in addition to their oral education.
May their prayers and their intercession be with
all of us. Amen.
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