“…they (Paul and Barnabas) returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed (χειροτονήσαντες) elders (πρεσβυτέρους) for them in every church, with prayer and fasting, they committed (παρέθεντο) them to the Lord in whom they believed.” (Acts 14: 21b – 23)

“For” the churches of Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, as we learn in our Church’s reading for today, the Apostles “appointed elders,“ while “committing“ them, or placing them in the hands of /in the charge of, the Lord. Because the entire Church, together with the people and the “elders“ appointed “for“ them, always remains in the charge not of human beings, but of the Lord. This may seem obvious, but I think we might lose sight of this fact, for example, when one often hears St. Ignatius of Antioch misquoted, as allegedly having written, “Wherever the bishop is, there is the Catholic Church.“ What he actually wrote, in his Letter to the Smyrneans, is: “Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”

Thank You, Lord, both for our church-“elders,” and for Your staying in charge, as we commit “ourselves and one another,” one and all, to You, as we are invited to do at every Liturgy: “Commemorating our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.”

Happy Feast(s), dear friends! Please tune in to our daily, weekday “Morning Coffee” audio-podcasts, for some daily inspiration on our journey to Pentecost! Join our ca. 500 faith-inspired subscribers at: patreon.com/sistervassa. Love from Vienna, Sister Vassa