30th Sunday after Pentecost. Second day of the Feast of the Nativity 2011-12.


Today the Holy Church celebrates the Kinsmen of the Lord: St Joseph the Betrothed, St James the Brother of the Lord, and the Holy Prophet-King David.


All of them were related to the Savior, both to the Son of God, and to the Messiah who came to earth to complete salvation.


First of all we must remember the righteous Joseph the Betrothed as the preserver of Mary's virginity.


Joseph had four sons. James, the eldest, always took part in his father's life and was his helper in everything. When Herod decided to kill the infant Christ and an angel advised Joseph to flee with his wife and infant son to Egypt, his eldest son James accompanied them.


When the Lord came of age and began teaching as someone in authority and not like the scribes and the  Pharisees, the people marveled, saying: 'From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judas, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?' And they were offended at him (Mark 6, 2-3)



When some Sadducees tried to tempt the Lord with a question about the resurrection of the dead, He answered: Even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him (Luke 20, 37-38).”


Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said (Luke 20, 39). And the Lord said unto them: How say they that Christ is David's son? And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, [Un]till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son? (Luke 20, 41-44; Psalm 109, 1).


When it was the Feast of Tabernacles, His brothers told Him, leave here, that is, Galilee, and go to Judea and declare yourself to the world; even then His brothers did not believe he was the Messiah, but later they believed. The youngest of them even became one of the twelve apostles, but did not dare to call himself a brother of the Lord; but he called himself the brother of James, as he writes in his epistle: Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James. (He was also named Thaddeus and Lebbeus.)


After the Resurrection, representatives of the Old Testament Church, who denied the Resurrection of Christ, continued to persecute believers in Christ. And therefore the first three Evangelists, when speaking of the Mother of God, refer to her cryptically, calling her Mary the Mother of James, the Mother of James and Joseph, and the other Mary.


The Holy Kinsman, whom we mentioned earlier and whom the Holy Church celebrates, all entered the Kingdom of Christ. The Lord's body was still lying in the grave, but His soul had already descended into hell and delivered the forefathers, the prophets and righteous ones, and the wise thief, as we sing in the Hours of Easter: In the tomb with Thy Flesh, as God in hell with the soul, in paradise with the thief, and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit wast Thou, O Christ, filling all things yet uncircumscribed.



James the Brother of the Lord, although he was one of the twelve Apostles, was also the Bishop of Jerusalem and composed the first Liturgy. On the day of Pentecost—the beginning of the Holy Church—the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, who preached the word of Christ who suffered and rose from the dead. Even though this preaching often was accompanied by persecution, which often ended in martyrdom, the earthly Church did not shrink but expanded. In the words of Tertullian, a teacher of the ancient Church: The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.[1]


The Heavenly Church also increased, and the residents of the Heavenly Church perpetually rejoice for their salvation and the salvation of the victims.


We will rejoice as well, and pray to the Saints that the Lord strengthen and preserve us for perpetual rejoicing in Christ's Kingdom. Amen.

[1]   (Apologeticus, Chapter 50)