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56. The Life of the First Christians.

Soon after the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles Peter and John went into the Temple for prayer at the ninth hour or, in our terms, three o’clock in the afternoon, the hour of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the gate of the Temple, which was called Beautiful, there sat a beggar, lame from birth. He stretched out his hand to the apostles and asked for alms.

The Apostle Peter said to him, "I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk." He took him by the right hand and pull him up.

Immediately, the feet and ankles of the lame man became strong. He started to walk and entered the Temple with the apostles. All the people were filled with wonder at this great miracle, and ran to the portico, called Solomon’s, where the apostles were. Here the Apostle Peter delivered a second sermon about the risen Lord. Many of those who heard his word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.

The many great miracles performed by the Lord through the apostles and the abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit, which moved through them, excited in the believers reverential fear and, at the same time, joy and happiness. They tried in everything to fulfil the commandments of Christ and to live holy and pure lives. The believers gathered in the Temple every day and listened to preaching of the apostles; and on the day of the Resurrection, the first day of the week, Sunday, they gathered in homes for the breaking of bread — the sacrament of Holy Communion. All of them were united in great love, so it was as if they had one heart and one soul. Many sold their possessions and asked the apostles to distribute the money received to the poor. All of the believers gave thanks to God. For their love and good deeds they gained the respect and love of the surrounding people, and the number of believers was increasing daily.

With time, all the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ began to be called Christians, and the teaching and life by faith in Christ — Christianity.

Note: See Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47; 3; 4; 11:26.

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