Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
For me, the fall is really the best, most pleasant and enjoyable time of the year
here in the Valley of the Sun. The mornings and evenings are pleasantly cool and
the days are generally not too warm. In addition to the fine weather, this time
of the year also signals the imminent approach of the holiday season—from the Nativity
Fast (which starts on November 15), Thanksgiving Day later this month (November 27),
the Feast of the Nativity (December 25), the Civil New Year (January 1), to our annual
celebration of the Great Feast of the Theophany (January 6). Before we know it,
the evening and morning will grow cold, the days will be shorter, and our appreciation
for the warmth of our homes will grow stronger.
In addition to the coming weeks signaling a time of preparation for the holidays,
for me, personally, this year brings with it an even more heightened sense of preparation.
As you are aware, I was recently elected by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church
in America as the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of the West, with the title “Bishop
of Santa Rosa.” My consecration to the episcopacy has been scheduled to take place
at Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco, California, the weekend of January 23-25,
2015. However, in the weeks leading up to this awesome and life-changing moment,
I must also add additional preparation to my calendar. There is much to prepare,
much to do, many details to be seen to. But the most important preparation for me
to undertake is the personal spiritual preparation that is necessary. Prayer, reflection,
and study will be an important part of my spiritual preparation.
In the eight-plus years that I have served the parish community of Saints Peter and
Paul, I have always depended on your prayerful support. And I do so now more than
ever. And so, I ask you to share in this imminent preparation through your prayers
and, in the coming weeks, by entering into the full spirit of the Nativity Fast.
As we journey toward the celebration of the Nativity of Christ- and as I prepare
for my Consecration and for episcopal service in the Church- let us hold one another
in prayer, asking the Lord that we may be granted to fully embrace, understand, and
share the meaning of His coming into the world as the Prince of Peace and Savior
of our Souls.
Be assured that I will provide regular updates on the events surrounding the consecration
in the days and weeks to come.
With love in the Lord,
Synaxis of the Holy Unmercenaries
Martyr Acindynus of Persia
Saint Acindynus suffered martyrdom in Persia along with Sts Pegasias, Aphthonius,
Elpidephorus, Anempodistus, and 7,000 and 7,000 other Christians at the time of King
Sapor II (310-381). These saints were Sapor’s courtiers, and were secret Christians.
When the king began his persecution against Christians, envious pagans denounced
them to him. Summoned to Sapor’s presence for trial, the holy martyrs fearlessly
confessed their faith in the Holy Trinity. The king ordered them to be beaten with
Sapor told the people that Sts Acindynus, Pegasias, Anempodistus and Elpidephorus
would have their heads cut off, and that he would not permit the Christians to bury
A tremendous crowd accompanied these saints as they were led outside the city walls
for execution, glorifying Christ. On Sapor’s orders, soldiers massacred all the Christians
in the procession (about 7,000), including St Elpidephorus.
Acindynus, Pegasias, and Anempodistus were burned on the following day with the mother
of the emperor. Christians, came secretly by night to the place of execution, found
the bodies of the holy martyrs unharmed by the fire, and they buried them with reverence.