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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

The Holy Spirit with the Disciples


Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, had spent

forty days with His disciples the saints talking to them

about the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Ac

1:3)…afterwards and prior parting ascending to

Heaven, He told them "tarry in the city of Jerusalem

until you are endued with power from on high" (Lk


So what was this power which they needed to


He told 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" (Ac 1:8).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Yes, they couldn't start their service preaching

spiritual work unless they were endued with that

power from on high; the Holy Spirit being upon


They were taught at the hands of Jesus Christ

Himself for more than three years; listening to the

teachings of this Great Master " in whom are hidden

all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col 2:3)

with all the depth, strength and influence of His

teachings… with all what they practically witnessed of

His various means in treating everyone, the way He

served, the wonders and miracles…yes, God didn't

find all that as to be sufficient for them, even the

forty days period which He spent with them after the

resurrection God saw that they weren't sufficient.

They ought to have power from the Holy

Spirit in their service. So God gave us an

example on how to prepare Church servants…

It happens that we, mistakenly, introduce

servants to work in God's vineyard before they are

well matured and before acquiring power from the

Holy Spirit…!

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

It's not how many Church servants are in

number; what counts is how strong their

spiritualities are.

It's not how quickly we prepare them; but

how well they are internally filled up.

Only one sermon by Peter the Apostle, after the

Holy Spirit came upon them on Pentecost, was quite

sufficient for attracting three thousand persons who

were cut to the heart and then were baptized (Ac


And so was the work of the Holy Spirit with all the

other disciples whom "with great power the apostles

gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

And great grace was upon them all" (Ac 4:33). That is

why we read about their service that "the Lord added

to the church daily those who were being saved" (Ac

2:47), and that is why we also 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 " (Ac 6:7).

They are clear examples of the fruitful service in

which God's spirit continually works, its God's Spirit

who gives words to preachers.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The Holy Spirit came upon the reverend

apostles and that was a necessary condition for

them to serve, as well as on ordaining deacons

it was a prerequisite.

In the story of appointing the first seven deacons

chosen to serve, we hear the apostles saying to the

people "brethren, seek out from among you seven

men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and

wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business"

(Ac 6:3). "And the saying pleased the whole

multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith

and the Holy Spirit" as well as the rest of the seven

men, it was said about Stephen the deacon that he

was full of faith and power… (Ac 6:5-8).

For that reason when St. Stephen commenced his

service he was able to dispute with three Synagogues

of the Freedmen "they were not able to resist the

wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke" (Ac 6:10).

It was also said that "all who sat in the council,

looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of

an angel" (Ac 6:15).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

How broad and deep is the work of the Holy

Spirit in the preliminary Church.

The Holy Spirit was choosing servants and

commanding that they should be ordained.

The Holy Spirit is the One who said to the

forefathers " Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul

for the work to which I have called them " (Ac 13:2),

the Book says " Then, having fasted and prayed, and

laid hands on them, they sent them away" " So, being

sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to

Seleucia " (Ac 13:3, 4).

The Holy Spirit then called the two apostles Paul

and Barnabas and sent them away…the Holy Spirit

even indicated places where service was to take

place…as it was said once that they were forbidden by

the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia and in

Bithynia…then guided them to go to Macedonia (Ac


The Holy Spirit also led the Holy Councils.

The first of which was convened by the reverend

apostles in Jerusalem on year 45 A.D. which was

concluded by their saying " For it seemed good to the

Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden…" (Ac 15:28).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

If the work of the Holy Spirit was essential for the

reverend apostles so how would it be for the ordinary

Church servants whom if fallen into sin would be an

offense to the service and the congregation.

If some people served and failed in their service,

or may be their service was incomplete and not up to

the required level of perfection; the main reason

could be that they worked without the Holy Spirit and

this shows us the importance of the Holy Spirit's

leadership in the service.

The first work of the Holy Spirit is granting

numerous and various talents which St. Paul the

apostle mentioned in his first epistle to

Corinthians chapter 12.

Regarding the strength of the service, the Holy

Spirit not only gives utterance to the servant as when

Paul the apostle asked to pray for him saying " that

utterance may be given to me, that I may open my

mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the

gospel " (Eph 6:19)…but also the Spirit gives such

influence and effectiveness to the word uttered on

souls listening to it, the Holy Spirit grants the ability

to implement what is heard, as well as working

through the person's will hence this word would bear

its fruit.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

As the Church cares for the work of the Holy

Spirit in every person, she set up among the

daily prayers the third hour prayer which refers

to the Holy Spirit and His work.

I know that the majority prays the Prime and the

twelfth hour prayer, but do you care, as well, praying

the third hour prayer in which you say to the Holy

Spirit “O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of

truth, who is present in all places and fills all, the

treasury of good things and the Life, Giver, graciously

come, and dwell in us and purify us from all

defilement, O Good One, and save our souls”.

You have an evident relation with the Father in

most of your prayers and in the prayer of

thanksgiving, you also have a relation with the Son

our Savior especially in the prayer of the sixth hour in

which you say "O You, Who on the sixth day and in

the sixth hour was nailed to the cross, for… ", but

what is your relationship with the Holy Spirit whom

without Him you cannot live in the life of

righteousness …

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

In the prayer of the third hour we ask for

the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the work of this

grace in us particularly for the sake of purifying


And in the absolution of the third hour we say "we

thank You for You raised us for prayer in this holy

hour, in which You abundantly poured the grace of

Your Holy Spirit upon Your holy disciples and

honorable and blessed apostles…"

We also repeat the phrase ' the grace of Your

Holy Spirit ' and say "send forth upon us the grace of

Your Holy Spirit, and purify us from all defilement of

body and spirit. Change us into a spiritual manner of

life, that we may walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the

lusts of the flesh."

Point out here that according to the Holy

Spirit; we are speaking about the grace being

sent forth upon us and not the hypostasis as some may falsely think…

Sending forth the grace is for the apostles and for

us too…

Notice the work of the Holy Spirit as well in

purifying body and spirit.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

It is good for a person to seek purification of his

soul through the work of the Holy Spirit in him and

not just by means of his own humanly effort

throughout which he might fall and rise…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

There are other kinds regarding the work of

the Holy Spirit; we say about Him in the third

hour prayer: "a spirit of prophecy and chastity, a

spirit of holiness, justice and authority".

The book of Isaiah the Prophet says about the

Holy Spirit: "The Spirit of the Lord, The Spirit of

wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and

might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the

Lord " (Is 11:2).We ask in our prayers for the work of

all this.

Regarding authority, it is mainly appointed

to Priesthood.

Including the power of forgiving sins, as the Lord

said to His disciples "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" (Jn 20:22,


When the Priest forgives sins of those who repent,

he forgives through the power of the Holy Spirit

working in him. As God says about the congregation

at the end of the Divine Liturgy prayer "be absolved

by my mouth through You Holy Spirit".

Spirit of authority as regarding average

believers is:

Either having control on their own selves through

self discipline or on the other hand having power on

devils not allowing them to be in control of their life

or of their own will…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The Holy Spirit as well is the Spirit of truth

(Jn 15:26), the Spirit of justice.

He, whom the Spirit of God works in him is fair

and honest, rightly divides the word of truth, has no

partiality in his judgments and avoids the idle

babblings in his talks.

The work of the Holy Spirit is infinite; He is the

treasury of good things, the Life, Giver He is the giver

of the spiritual gifts as mentioned in (1 Co 12), He

gives words of wisdom, of knowledge, gives words of

faith, of prophecy, healing and mighty acts…

We must not also forget the work of the Holy

Spirit in all the Church Sacraments.

We are born through baptism from water and

spirit, and then we are given the sacrament of Holy

Chrism (anointment with the Myron oil) hence we

abide in the Spirit and become temples for the Holy

Spirit, and the Spirit of God dwells in us (1 Co

3:16)…in addition to the work of the Holy Spirit

through the rest of Church sacraments.


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