Posts about feasts and services of the church


St. Gregory Nazianzen: Oration on Pentecost

Icon of Pentecost“But as the old Confusion of tongues was laudable, when men who were of one language in wickedness and impiety, even as some now venture to be, were building the Tower; for by the confusion of their language the unity of their intention was broken up, and their undertaking destroyed; so much more worthy of praise is the present miraculous one. For being poured from One Spirit upon many men, it brings them again into harmony. And there is a diversity of Gifts, which stands in need of yet another Gift to discern which is the best, where all are praiseworthy.”

St. John Maximovitch: On the Holy Pentecost

posts-icon-pentecostThe Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit share one nature, one essence, one substance. That is why the Three Faces are the Trinity, one-in-substance. Humans also have one nature, one substance.

But while God is the Indivisible Trinity, divisions occur in mankind constantly … The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have common thought, common will, common actions. What the Father desires, the Son also desires, and the Holy Spirit also desires. Whatever the Son loves, so do the Father and the Holy Spirit also love. Whatever is pleasing to the Holy Spirit, is pleasing to the Father and Son. Their actions are also common among them (more…)

Meditation on the Feast of Pentecost by St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Icon of Pentecost“And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:3-4). They partook of fire, not of burning but of saving fire; of fire which consumes the thorns of sins, but gives luster to the soul. This is now coming upon you also, and that to strip away and consume your sins which are like thorns, and to brighten yet more that precious possession of your souls, and to give you grace; for He gave it then to the Apostles. And He sat upon them in the form of fiery tongues, that they might crown themselves with new and spiritual diadems by fiery tongues upon their heads. A fiery sword barred of old the gates of Paradise; a fiery tongue which brought salvation restored the gift.”

+ St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 17 no. 15)

By the Waters of Babylon

posts-pic-waters-of-babylon“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion”.

In these words of the Lenten Psalm, we Orthodox Christians, the New Israel, remember that we are in exile. For Orthodox Russians, banished from Holy Russia,[2] the Psalm has a special meaning; but all Orthodox Christians, too, live in exile in this world, longing to return to our true home, Heaven.

For us the Great Fast is a session of exile ordained for us by our Mother, the Church, to keep fresh in us the memory of Zion from which we have wandered so far. We have deserved our exile and we have great need (more…)

St. Theophylact on Zacchaeus

posts-icon-zacchaeus-sunday4This is St. Theophylact’s commentary on the Luke 19:1-10 which was read this past Sunday (Zacchaeus Sunday).

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

Luke 19:1-10

1-10. And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, who was a chief publican, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who He was, and could not for the crowd, because he was of little stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him: for He was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down: for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received Him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, He has gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. The Lord seizes the mightiest of the devil’s vessels and destroys his cities. See how the Lord not only makes publicans His disciples, but He even takes prisoner—in order to save him—the chief of publicans, Zacchaeus. No one doubts that a publican is an abomination: how much more so is the chief publican, who is foremost in wickedness? For the publicans derived their living from no other source than the tears of the poor. But even this chief publican is not despised by the Lord. In return only for showing eagerness to see Jesus he receives salvation. He desired to see Jesus, which is why he climbed up into the sycamore tree, but before he had caught (more…)

Christmas Christology: An Interview with Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

posts-icon-nativityThis interview with his Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou was published in the journal “Καθ’ οδόν” by the Community Youth of the Sacred Metropolis of Limassol, and as the reader will see, the questions cover a large part of the Christology of Christmas.

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Question: The word Χριστούγεννα (Greek word for “Christmas”) means the birth of Christ. We would like you to tell us what was the purpose of the birth of Christ and generally why did the Word of God have to incarnate. Couldn’t there have been another way for the salvation of the human race?

Answer: As it is written throughout our biblical-patristic tradition, the purpose of the Incarnation of the Word of God is (more…)

An Overview of the Divine Liturgy

This article on the Divine Liturgy by the late Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky (+ 1988) is quite edifying and instructional. Though it is a bit long, it is well worth your time.

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“The Holies for the Holy”

An Overview of the Divine Liturgy

by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky

THE DIVINE LITURGY takes the central place in the prayer-service of the day. Indeed it is not only a prayer service, but it is the greatest of the Mysteries (sacraments) of the Church, the mystery of the offering of the bloodless Sacrifice and the communing of the faithful in the Body and Blood of Christ.

After the prayerful struggles of the whole day, after these prayerful labours, there is laid before the believers the sacred mystical Table (more…)