Services in April 2014

Pascha (Easter)

This is the day of resurrection.
Let us be illumined by the feast.
Let us embrace each other.
Let us call “brothers” even those who hate us,
And forgive all by the resurrection. . .

Paskha

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith; receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.
(Sermon of St John Chrysostom, read at Paschal Matins)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the center of the Christian faith. St Paul says that if Christ is not raised from the dead, then our preaching and faith are in vain (I Cor. 15:14). Indeed, without the resurrection there would be no Christian preaching or faith. The disciples of Christ would have remained the broken and hopeless band which the Gospel of John describes as being in hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. They went nowhere and preached nothing until they met the risen Christ, the doors being shut (John 20: 19). Then they touched the wounds of the nails and the spear; they ate and drank with Him. The resurrection became the basis of everything they said and did (Acts 2-4): “. . . for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).


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THE PASSION WEEK

Great and Holy Saturday



Holy SaturdayTroparion — Tone 2

When You did descend to death, O Life Immortal, / You did slay hell with the splendor of Your Godhead, / And when from the depths You did raise the dead, / All the Powers of Heaven cried out, / O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory to You!

Kontakion — Tone 6

He who shut in the depths is beheld dead, / Wrapped in fine linen and spices. / The Immortal One is laid in a tomb as a mortal man. / The women have come to anoint Him with myrrh, / Weeping bitterly and crying: / “This is the most blessed Sabbath / On which Christ has fallen asleep to rise on the third day!”

Church links Holy Saturday with the creative act of God. In the initial account of creation as found in the Book of Genesis, God made man in His own image and likeness. To be truly himself, man was to live in constant communion with the source and dynamic power of that image: God. Man fell from God. Now Christ, the Son of God through whom all things were created, has come to restore man to communion with God. He thereby completes creation. All things are again as they should be. His mission is consummated. On the Blessed Sabbath He rests from all His works.

TRAMPLING DOWN DEATH BY DEATH

We sing that Christ is “...trampling down death by death” in the troparion of Easter. This phrase gives great meaning to Holy Saturday. Christ’s repose in the tomb is an “active” repose. He comes in search of His fallen friend, Adam, who represents all men. Not finding him on earth, he descends to the realm of death, known as Hades in the Old Testament. There He finds him and brings him life once again. This is the victory: the dead are given life. The tomb is no longer a forsaken, lifeless place. By His death Christ tramples down death by death.

THE ICON OF THE DESCENT INTO HADES

Descent into HadesThe traditional icon used by the Church on the feast of Easter is an icon of Holy Saturday: the descent of Christ into Hades. It is a painting of theology, for no one has ever seen this event. It depicts Christ, radiant in hues of white and blue, standing on the shattered gates of Hades. With arms outstretched He is joining hands with Adam and all the other Old Testament righteous whom He has found there. He leads them from the kingdom of death. By His death He tramples death.

“Today Hades cries out groaning:
I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary.
He came and destroyed my power.
He shattered the gates of brass.
As God, He raised the souls I had held captive.
Glory to Thy cross and resurrection, O Lord!”
(Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday)

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Great and Holy Friday


Troparion — Tone 2

The Noble Joseph, / When he had taken down Your most pure Body from the tree, / Wrapped it in fine linen, / And anointed it with spices, / And placed it in a new tomb.

Troparion — Tone 2

The angel came to the myrrh-bearing women at the tomb and said: / Myrrh is fitting for the dead, / But Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.

Kontakion — Tone 8

Come, let us all sing the praises of Him who was crucified for us, / For Mary said when she beheld Him upon the tree: / Though You do endure the cross, You are my Son and my God!

Great and Holy Friday

On Great and Holy Friday, Christ died on the Cross. He gave up His spirit with the words: “It is finished” (John 19:30). These words are better understood when rendered: “It is consummated.” He had accomplished the work for which His heavenly Father had sent Him into the world. He became a man in the fullest sense of the word. He accepted the baptism of repentance from John in the Jordan River. He assumed the whole human condition, experiencing all its alienation, agony, and suffering, concluding with the lowly death on the Cross. He perfectly fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

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The Passion Gospels:

Passions 1) Jn. 13:31-‐18:1 (Farewell conversation of the Savior with His disciples and His high-‐priestly prayer for them).5
2) Jn. 18:1-‐28 (the Seizure of the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane and His suffering at the hands of the high priest Annas).
3) Mt. 26:57-‐75. (Suffering of the Savior at the hands of the high priest Caiaphas and Peter's denial of Christ).
4) Jn. 18:28-‐19:16 (Suffering of the Lord in the court of Pilate).
5) Mt. 27:3-‐32 (The despair of Judas by the new suffering of the Lord by Pilate and the judgment for His crucifixion).
6) Mk. 15:16-‐32 (Leading the Lord to Golgotha and his suffering on the cross).
7) Mt. 27:33-‐54 (The continuation of the narrative about the Lord's suffering on the cross, the wonderful signs accompanying His death).
8) Lk. 23:32-‐49 (The Prayer of the Savior on the cross for His enemies and the repentance of the wise thief).
9) Jn. 19:25-‐37 (Words of the Savior from the cross to the Theotokos and Apostle John and the repetition of the narrative of His death and perforation).
10) Mk. 15:43-‐47 (Removal of the body of the Lord from the cross).
11) Jn. 19:38-‐42 (Participation of Nicodemus and Joseph in the burial of the Savior).
12) Mt. 27:62-‐66 (Posting of the guards at the tomb of the Savior and the sealing of the tomb).

You can download a copy of the 12 Passion Gospels in PDF format at

http://www.roq.org.au/uploads/7/9/9/2/7992620/the_12_passion_gospels.pdf
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Great and Holy Thursday

Mistical Supper

Troparion — Tone 6:  Of Your Mystical Supper, O Son of God, / Accept me today as a communicant. / For I will not speak of Your mysteries to Your enemies, / Neither like Judas will I give You a kiss, / But like the thief will I confess You. / Remember me, O Lord, in Your Kingdom!

Troparion — Tone 4: By Your precious blood, / You have redeemed us from the curse of the law. / By being nailed to the cross and pierced by a spear, / You have poured forth immortality for man. / O our Savior, glory to You!

Kontakion — Tone 8: Come, let us all sing the praises of Him who was crucified for us, / For Mary said when she beheld Him upon the tree: / Though You do endure the cross, You are my Son and my God!


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"Simply Orthodox" Newsletter Archive 2009-2010

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