Orthros at 8:45 am & Divine Liturgy at 10am
Weekday Orthros and Liturgies begin at 8am
Registration is required where indicated with Eventbrite Link. (click on Eventbrite link to reserve seat(s) Where no registration is indicated, the first 85 people to arrive may worship in the sanctuary, others may enter to light a candle and wait outside socially distancing. In case of inclement weather, we will livestream the service in the gym. Please follow the Parish Council’s guidance. Participation will be available via livestream go to Home | St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church (orthodoxws.com) and choose LIVESTREAM on the Menu bar
April 29 HOLY THURSDAY
7:30am +The Mystical Supper Vespers & Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great (HC) No registration required. First 85 people to arrive may worship in the sanctuary. Participation will be available via livestream
6:30pm +The Sacred Passion & Crucifixion of Our Lord No registration required. First 85 people to arrive may worship in the sanctuary. Participation will be available via livestream
April 30 GOOD FRIDAY
9:00am +Divine Service of The Royal Hours No registration required. First 85 people to arrive may worship in the sanctuary. Participation will be available via livestream
3:00pm +Service of The Apokathelosis Descent of Christ From the Cross No registration required. First 85 people to arrive may worship in the sanctuary. Participation will be available via livestrea
7:00pm +The Burial of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (The Service of Lamentation) we have reached capacity allowed
Registration required and limited to 85 people. Reserved Late Arrivals (15min) may loose their seat. If you were unable to register and would like to join the outdoor procession, weather permitting, you may join us outside the church. Please wear a mask and keep socially distant. Participation will be available via livestream
May 1 HOLY SATURDAY
9:00am +Great Vespers of The Feast of Resurrection & Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great (HC) we have reached capacity allowed
Reservations have reached capacity allowed Reserved Late Arrivals (15min) may loose their seat. Those who have not registered may line up outside, six feet apart, to listen to the service. The faithful may enter to receive Holy Communion at the appropriate time. Please follow the Parish Council’s guidance as to when you may enter to receive Holy Communion. Incase of inclement weather we will livestream the service in the gym.
11:00pm +Midnight Service of The Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ Orthros and Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (HC) We have reached capacity allowed Registration required and limited to 85 people. Reserved Late Arrivals (15min) may loose their seat. If you are unable to register and would like to join the outdoor procession, weather permitting, you may join us outside the church. Please wear a mask and keep socially distant. Participation will be available via livestream
May 2 SUNDAY OF PASCHA
11:00am +The Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ he Great Paschal Vespers of Agape No registration required. First 85 people to arrive may worship in the sanctuary. Participation will be available via livestream
8am Orthros 9:00am Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom [O & DL]
No registration required for the weekday services. First 85 people to arrive may worship in the sanctuary. Sign-in, contact information and social distancing still mandatory.
May 3 Monday +St GeorgeCommemorated | St Xenia of Kalamata [8am O & DL]
May 5 Wednesday + St. Irene the Great Martyr | St Ephraim the Holy Martyr [8am O & DL]
May 7 Renewal Friday +Theotokos of the Life-Giving Spring [8am O & DL]
May 8 Saturday + St. John the Apostle and Evangelis [8am O & DL]
May 9 Sunday +Thomas Sunday | St Isaiah the Prophet | Mother’s Day
8:45am Orthros & 10am Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
Reservation required for Sunday services. Link will open on Sunday 5/2/21
For Sunday’s Liturgy please come to church by 10:15am. Late arrivals will lose their reservation if we have people waiting to be seated. If you are not able to attend please cancel your reservation. If you are having problems with link or do not have access to the internet call the church office 973-584-0388 (leave a message and we’ll get back to you).
Prayers/Liturgy can always be found at: https://www.agesinitiatives.com/dcs/public/dcs/dcs.html
Registration to all services will be open until allowed seating has been reached. see Eventbrite Link and make your Reservation
You will then get a confirmation that you may attend the service. Please arrive within 15 minutes of the start of the service. We cannot guarantee reservations for late arrivals. Late arrivals may lose their reservation if we have people waiting to be seated. If you are not able to attend, please cancel your reservation. If you are having problems with link or do not have access to the internet, call the church office 973-584-0388 (leave a message and we will get back to you). Our Church occupancy is 85 attendees on a first come, first serve basis. However, weather permitting we will have seating and video monitor outside but in case of rain we will set up in the gym with seating and video monitor.
We will adhere to social distancing and the COVID protocols
FOR HOLY PASCHA
Prot. No. 289
+ B A R T H O L O M E W
BY GOD’S MERCY
ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE-NEW ROME
AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH
TO THE PLENITUDE OF THE CHURCH:
MAY THE GRACE, PEACE AND MERCY
OF CHRIST RISEN IN GLORY BE WITH YOU ALL
* * *
Having completed the soul-profiting Lent and venerated the Lord’s Passion and Cross, behold today we are rendered participants of His glorious Resurrection, radiant through the feast and crying out with ineffable joy the world-saving announcement: “Christ is Risen!”
All that we believe, all that we love, and all that we hope as Orthodox Christians is associated with Pascha, from which everything derives its vividness, through which everything is interpreted, and in which everything acquires its true meaning. The Resurrection of Christ is the response of the Divine love to the anguish and expectation of man, but also to the “yearning” of creation that groans with us. In the Resurrection the meaning of “let us make man in our image and likeness” and of “God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good” has been revealed.
Christ is “our Pascha,” “the resurrection of all.” If the fall comprised the suspension of our journey toward the “divine likeness,” in the risen Christ the way toward deification through grace is once again opened for “the beloved of God.” The “great miracle” is performed, which heals the “great wound,” mankind. In the emblematic icon of the Resurrection at the Chora Monastery, we behold the Lord of glory, who descended “to the depths of Hades” and conquered the power of death, to arise as life-giver from the tomb, raising with Himself the forefathers of humankind and in them the entire human race from beginning to end, as our liberator from the slavery of the enemy.
In the Resurrection the life in Christ is revealed as liberation and freedom. For “Christ has set us free … for freedom.” The content, the “ethos” of such freedom, which must be experienced here in a manner befitting to Christ, before it is perfected in the heavenly kingdom, is love, the experiential quintessence of the “new creation.” “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.” The freedom of a believer, grounded on the Cross and Resurrection of the Savior, is a journey upward and toward our neighbor; it is “faith working through love.” It is an exodus from the “Egypt of slavery” and of the diverse alienations, the Christ-given transcendence of an introverted and shriveled existence, the hope of eternity that renders man human.
As we celebrate Pascha, we confess in Church that the Kingdom of God “has been already inaugurated, but not yet fulfilled.” In the light of the Resurrection, earthly things assume new significance, because they are already transformed and transfigured. Nothing is simply “given.” Everything lies in motion toward eschatological perfection. This “unrestrained rush” toward the Kingdom, which is especially lived out in the eucharistic assembly, safeguards God’s people, on the one hand from indifference toward history and the presence of evil in it, and on the other hand from forgetfulness of the Lord’s words, that “my kingdom is not of this world,” which marks the difference between the “already” and the “not yet” of the coming of the Kingdom, in accordance with the most theological expression that “The King has come, the Lord Jesus, and His Kingdom is to come.”
The chief characteristic of this God-given freedom of the believer is the unrelenting resurrectional pulse, this freedom’s vigilance and dynamism. Its character as a gift of grace not only does not restrict, but in fact manifests our own consent to this gift, and strengthens our journey and our conduct into this new freedom, which also contains the restoration of our estranged relationship with creation. One who is free in Christ is not trapped in the “earthly absolutes” like “the rest, who do not have hope.” Our hope is Christ, the existence fulfilled in Christ, the brilliance and resplendence of eternity. The biological boundaries of life do not define its truth. Death is not the end of our existence. “Let none fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He was held prisoner by it and has annihilated it. The one who descended into hell, He made hell captive.” Freedom in Christ is the “other creation” of man, a foretaste and model of the fulfillment and fullness of the Divine Economy in the “now and always” of the last day, when the “blessed of the Father” will live person to person with Christ, “seeing Him and seen by Him, as they enjoy the fruits of the endless delight that comes from Him.”
Holy Pascha is not merely a religious feast, albeit the greatest feast for us Orthodox. Every Divine Liturgy, every prayer and supplication of the faithful, every feast and commemoration of Saints and Martyrs, the honor of sacred icons, the “abundant joy” of Christians (2 Cor. 8.2), every act of sacrificial love and fraternity, the endurance of sorrow, the hope that never disappoints the people of God, is a festival of freedom. All of these radiate the paschal light and exude the fragrance of the Resurrection.
In this spirit, then, as we glorify the Savior of the world, who trampled down death by death, we convey to all of you – our most honorable Brothers throughout the Lord’s Dominion and our dearly beloved children of the Mother Church – a festal greeting, as, with one voice and one heart, we joyously bless with you Christ unto the ages.
At the Phanar, Holy Pascha 2021
+ Bartholomew of Constantinople
Fervent supplicant for you all to the Risen Lord.
 Gen. 1.26.
 Gen. 1.31.
 1 Cor. 5.7.
 Gal. 5.1.
 Gal. 5.13.
 Gal. 5.6.
 Georges Florovsky, Bible, Church, Tradition, Belmont MA: Nordland Publishing, 1972, 36.
 John 18.36.
 Florovsky, op. cit., 72.
 1 Thess. 4.13.
 From the Catechetical Homily of St. John Chrysostom on the holy and glorious Resurrection.
 Gregory the Theologian, Ethical Poems 61.
 John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, IV. 27.
COVID protocols are in place: wear your mask, social distancing, no sitting where indicated
5/8 Sat@2pm Sun Wedding Stamoutsos_Pilovsky
5/9 Sunday of Thomas | St. Isaiah the Prophet | Mother’s Day
5/11 The Caregiver's Workshop Zoom to register Andi (484)809-0775 or Catherine at (862)254-0878 to register
5/14Philoptochos Scholarship Applications due
5/15 @10:30 am Baptism
5/16 Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women + Theodore the Sanctified / Relics*
5/16 Memorial Service: +Elias Kalavrezos, +Eugenia Sedereas, +Kyriaki Sedereas, +Chris Pittas, +John Plastoris, +Spyros Simonis, +Evangelos Tsakiris
5/21 Sts Constantine & Helen, Equal to the Apostles
5/22 Faith Kitchen - Parish Council
5/23 Sunday of the Paralytic
5/23 Memorial Service: +Fr. Demetri Tsigas, + Olga Lambos
5/23 @1:00 pm Baptism
5/24 @7:30pm Parish Council Meeting virtual
5/25@ 7pm Philoptochos Monthly Meeting virtual
5/26 +Mid Pentecost 4th Wednesday after Pascha
5/26 @6pm DOP EOY Dinner & Elections /Bruno’s
5/27@ 7pm GOYA Monthly Meeting virtual
5/30 Sunday of the Samaritan Woman
5/31 Memorial Day
Attending services with COVID Protocols
May & June 2021
BMW to be raffled in September 2021 | $25 per chance
Archiepiscopal Encyclical on the Feast of Great and Holy Pascha English
June 12 & 13
Tuesday May 11 at 7pm
Patriarchal Encyclical for the Feast of Great and Holy Pascha (in English) + B A R T H O L O M E W
SOME COMMON MISPERCEPTIONS ABOUT THE DATE OF PASCHA/EASTER by Archon John Fotopoulos
Paschal Encyclical from His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America (in Greek)
the Patriarchal Encyclical for the Feast of Great and Holy Pascha (in Greek) + B A R T H O L O M E W
If you would like us to remember you or your loved one in our prayers, please contact the office. 973-584-0388 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Names will be kept on this list for approximately 3 months. Please resubmit Names if needed. Fr. John will pray for the Names above during the Proskomide “Offering of gifts” during the first part of the Divine Liturgy when our priest prepares the mystical gifts of bread and wine. Please keep these names in your prayers as well.
Joanna, Athanasios, Amalia, Elias, Christopher, Stamatis, Eleni, Stephanie Ellen, Demetra, Kenneth, Artemis, Vasileke, John, Kalliope, Maro, Mike, Maria, Mary, Haroula, Ioannis, Irene, Christos, Evangelia, Alice, Larry, Julia, Maria, Catherine, Mark, Vasiliki-Christina, Christina, Eleni, Fr._Konstantine, Prz._Spiridoula, Linda, Jeremy, Angeliki, Nikolaos, Kyriacos, Olga, Antonia, Sofie, Marina, Vasiliki, Klaus, Lori, Despina, Bob, Julie, Kyriaki, Sergios, Nikoletta, Roger, Constantinos, Ioanna, Alexandra, Dimitri, Maria, Eleni, Anastasia, George, Vasiliki, Jeff, George, Joanna, Eliana, Constantinos, Elena, Nicholas, Konstantinos, Georgia, Jutta, Irene, George, Eftihia, Christina, Athanasios, Anna, John, Rick, Christine, John, Freda, Estelle, Christina, Fotios, Julie, Joanna, ..
Prayer for a Sick Person:
Heavenly Father, physician of our souls and bodies, who have sent Your only-begotten Son and our Lord Jesus Christ to heal every sickness and infirmity, visit and heal (me) Your servant from all physical and spiritual ailments through the grace of Your Christ. Grant (me) patience in this sickness, strength of body and spirit, and recovery of health. Lord, You have taught us through Your word to pray for each other that we may be healed. I pray that You heal (me) as Your servant and grant (me) the gift of complete health. For You are the source of healing and to You I give glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
Prokeimenon. Plagal Fourth Mode. Psalm 117.24,29.
This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Verse: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his mercy endures for ever.
The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 1:1-8.
In the first book, O Theophilos, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of lsrael?" He said to them, "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth."
Προκείμενον. Plagal Fourth Mode. ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 117.24,29.
αὕτη ἡ ἡμέρα, ἣν ἐποίησεν ὁ Κύριος· ἀγαλλιασώμεθα καὶ εὐφρανθῶμεν ἐν αὐτῇ
Στίχ. ἐξομολογεῖσθε τῷ Κυρίῳ, ὅτι ἀγαθός, ὅτι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ
τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων 1:1-8.
Τὸν μὲν πρῶτον λόγον ἐποιησάμην περὶ πάντων, ὦ Θεόφιλε, ὧν ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς ποιεῖν τε καὶ διδάσκειν, ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας, ἐντειλάμενος τοῖς ἀποστόλοις διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου οὓς ἐξελέξατο, ἀνελήφθη· οἷς καὶ παρέστησεν ἑαυτὸν ζῶντα μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν αὐτὸν ἐν πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοις, διʼ ἡμερῶν τεσσαράκοντα ὀπτανόμενος αὐτοῖς, καὶ λέγων τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ. Καὶ συναλιζόμενος παρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων μὴ χωρίζεσθαι, ἀλλὰ περιμένειν τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ πατρός, Ἣν ἠκούσατέ μου· ὅτι Ἰωάννης μὲν ἐβάπτισεν ὕδατι, ὑμεῖς δὲ βαπτισθήσεσθε ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ οὐ μετὰ πολλὰς ταύτας ἡμέρας. Οἱ μὲν οὖν συνελθόντες ἐπηρώτων αὐτὸν λέγοντες, Κύριε, εἰ ἐν τῷ χρόνῳ τούτῳ ἀποκαθιστάνεις τὴν βασιλείαν τῷ Ἰσραήλ; Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς, Οὐχ ὑμῶν ἐστιν γνῶναι χρόνους ἢ καιροὺς οὓς ὁ πατὴρ ἔθετο ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ. Ἀλλὰ λήψεσθε δύναμιν, ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς· καὶ ἔσεσθέ μοι μάρτυρες ἔν τε Ἱερουσαλήμ, καὶ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ καὶ Σαμαρείᾳ, καὶ ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς.
Great and Holy Pascha
The Reading is from John 1:1-17
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'") And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Great and Holy Pascha
Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 1:1-17
Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος. Οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν. Πάντα δι᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἓν ὃ γέγονεν. Ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.
Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ Θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης· οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσι δι᾽ αὐτοῦ. Οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός. Ἧν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον. Ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω. Εἰς τὰ ἴδια ἦλθε, καὶ οἱ ἴδιοι αὐτὸν οὐ παρέλαβον. Ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα Θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ, οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων, οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκός, οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρός, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ Θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν.
Καὶ ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας. Ἰωάννης μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ κέκραγε λέγων· Οὗτος ἦν ὃν εἶπον, ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν. Καὶ ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἐλάβομεν, καὶ χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος· ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο.
Mary Magdalene, and the other women who were present at the burial of our Saviour on Friday evening, returned from Golgotha to the city and prepared fragrant spices and myrrh, so that they might anoint the body of Jesus. On the morrow, because of the law which forbids work on the day of the Sabbath, they rested for the whole day. But at early dawn on the Sunday that followed, almost thirty-six hours since the death of the Life-giving Redeemer, they came to the sepulchre with the spices to anoint His body. While they were considering the difficulty of rolling away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, there was a fearful earthquake; and an Angel, whose countenance shone like lightning and whose garment was white as snow, rolled away the stone and sat upon it. The guards that were there became as dead from fear and took to flight. The women, however, went into the sepulchre, but did not find the Lord's body. Instead, they saw two other Angels in the form of youths clothed in white, who told them that the Saviour was risen, and they sent forth the women, who ran to proclaim to the disciples these gladsome tidings. Then Peter and John arrived, having learned from Mary Magdalene what had come to pass, and when they entered the tomb, they found only the winding sheets. Therefore, they returned again to the city with joy, as heralds now of the supernatural Resurrection of Christ, Who in truth was seen alive by the disciples on this day on five occasions.
Our Lord, then, was crucified, died, and was buried on Friday, before the setting of the sun, which was the first of His "three days" in the grave; observing the mystical Sabbath, that "seventh day" in which it is said that the Lord "rested from all His works" (Gen. 2:2-3), He passed all of Saturday in the grave; and He arose "while it was yet dark, very early in the morning" on Sunday, the third day, which, according to the Hebrew reckoning, began after sunset on Saturday.
As we celebrate today this joyous Resurrection, we greet and embrace one another in Christ, thereby demonstrating our Saviour's victory over death and corruption, and the destruction of our ancient enmity with God, and His reconciliation toward us, and our inheritance of life everlasting. The feast itself is called Pascha, which is derived from the Hebrew word which means "passover"; because Christ, Who suffered and arose, has made us to pass over from the curse of Adam and slavery to the devil and death unto our primal freedom and blessedness. In addition, this day of this particular week, which is the first of all the rest, is dedicated to the honour of the Lord; in honour and remembrance of the Resurrection, the Apostles transferred to this day the rest from labour that was formerly assigned to the Sabbath of the ancient Law.
All foods allowed during Renewal Week.
In the half-century after the First Ecumenical Council held in Nicaea in 325, if there was one man whom the Arians feared and hated more intensely than any other, as being able to lay bare the whole error of their teaching, and to marshal, even from exile or hiding, the beleaguered forces of the Orthodox, it was Saint Athanasius the Great. This blazing lamp of Orthodoxy, which imperial power and heretics' plots could not quench when he shone upon the lampstand, nor find when he was hid by the people and monks of Egypt, was born in Alexandria about the year 296. He received an excellent training in Greek letters and especially in the sacred Scriptures, of which he shows an exceptional knowledge in his writings. Even as a young man he had a remarkable depth of theological understanding; he was only about twenty years old when he wrote his treatise On the Incarnation. Saint Alexander, the Archbishop of Alexandria, brought him up in piety, ordained him his deacon, and, after deposing Arius for his blasphemy against the Divinity of the Son of God, took Athanasius to the First Council in Nicaea in 325; Saint Athanasius was to spend the remainder of his life labouring in defence of this holy Council. In 326, before his death, Alexander appointed Athanasius his successor.
In 325, Arius had been condemned by the Council of Nicaea; yet through Arius' hypocritical confession of Orthodox belief, Saint Constantine the Great was persuaded by Arius' supporters that he should be received back into the communion of the Church. But Athanasius, knowing well the perverseness of his mind, and the disease of heresy lurking in his heart, refused communion with Arius. The heresiarch's followers then began framing false charges against Athanasius; finally Saint Constantine the Great, misled by grave charges of the Saint's misconduct-which were completely false-had him exiled to Tiberius (Treves) in Gaul in 336. When Saint Constantine was succeeded by his three sons Constantine II, Constans, and Constantius, in 337, Saint Athanasius returned to Alexandria in triumph. But his enemies found an ally in Constantius, Emperor of the East; Saint Athanasius' second exile was spent in Rome. It was ended when Constans prevailed with threats upon his brother Constantius to restore Athanasius (see also Nov. 6). For ten years Saint Athanasius strengthened Orthodoxy throughout Egypt, visiting the whole country and encouraging all, clergy, monastics, and layfolk, being loved by all as a father. But after Constans' death in 350, Constantius became sole Emperor,and Athanasius was again in danger. In the evening of February 8, 356, General Syrianus with more than five thousand soldiers surrounded the church in which Athanasius was serving, and broke open the doors. Athanasius' clergy begged him to leave, but the good shepherd commanded that all the flock should withdraw first; and only when he was assured of their safety, he also, protected by divine grace, passed through the midst of the soldiers and disappeared into the deserts of Egypt, where for some six years he eluded the soldiers and spies sent after him.
When Julian the Apostate succeeded Constantius in 361, Athanasius returned again, but only for a few months. Because Athanasius had converted many pagans, and the priests of the idols in Egypt wrote to Julian that if Athanasius remained, idolatry would perish in Egypt, the heathen Emperor ordered not Athanasius' exile, but his death. Athanasius took ship up the Nile. When he learned that his imperial pursuers were following him, he had his men turn back, and as his boat passed that of his pursuers, they asked him if he had seen Athanasius. "He is not far," he answered. After returning to Alexandria for a while, he fled again to the Thebaid until Julian's death in 363. Saint Athanasius suffered his fifth and last exile under Valens in 365, which only lasted four months because Valens, fearing a sedition among the Egyptians for their beloved Archbishop, revoked his edict in February, 366.
The great Athanasius passed the remaining seven years of his life in peace. Of his fifty-seven years as Patriarch, he had spent some seventeen in exiles. Shining from the height of his throne like a radiant evening star, and enlightening the Orthodox with the brilliance of his words for yet a little while, this much-suffering champion inclined toward the sunset of his life, and, in the year 373, took his rest from his lengthy sufferings, but not before another luminary of the truth, Basil the Great, had risen in the East, being consecrated Archbishop of Caesarea in 370. Besides all his other achievements, Saint Athanasius wrote the life of Saint Anthony the Great, with whom he spent time in his youth; ordained Saint Frumentius first Bishop of Ethiopia; and in his Paschal Encyclical for the year 367 set forth the books of the Old and New Testaments accepted by the Church as canonical. Saint Gregory the Theologian, in his Oration On the Great Athanasius, said he was "Angelic in appearance, more angelic in mind; ... rebuking with the tenderness; of a father, praising with the dignity of a ruler ... Everything was harmonious, as an air upon a single lyre, and in the same key; his life, his teaching, his struggles, his dangers, his return, and his conduct after his return ... be treated so mildly and gently those who had injured him, that even they themselves, if I may say so, did not find his restoration distasteful."
George, this truly great and glorious Martyr of Christ, was born of a father from Cappadocia and a mother from Palestine. Being a military tribune, or chiliarch (that is, a commander of a thousand troops), he was illustrious in battle and highly honoured for his courage. When he learned that the Emperor Diocletian was preparing a persecution of the Christians, Saint George presented himself publicly before the Emperor and denounced him. When threats and promises could not move him from his steadfast confession, he was put to unheard-of tortures, which he endured with great bravery, overcoming them by his faith and love towards Christ. By the wondrous signs that took place in his contest, he guided many to the knowledge of the truth, including Queen Alexandra, wife of Diocletian, and was finally beheaded in 296 in Nicomedia.
His sacred remains were taken by his servant from Nicomedia to Palestine, to a town called Lydda, the homeland of his mother, and then were finally transferred to the church which was raised up in his name. (The translation of the Saint's holy relics to the church in Lydda is commemorated on November 3; Saint Alexandra the Queen, on April 21.)
If April 23 falls on or before Great and Holy Pascha, the Feast of St. George is translated to Bright Monday.
Saint Irene was the daughter of a princelet called Licinius; named Penelope by her parents, through a divine revelation she was brought to faith in Christ and at Baptism was renamed Irene. In her zeal for piety she broke in pieces all the idols of her father, who commanded that she be trampled underfoot by horses. But while she remained unharmed, one of the horses rose up and cast down her father, killing him. By her prayer she raised him to life again, and he believed and was baptized. Afterwards, in many journeyings, Saint Irene suffered torments and punishments for her faith, but was preserved by the power of God, while working dread miracles and converting many thousands of souls. At last she came to Ephesus, where she fell asleep in peace, in the first half of the fourth century. Two days after her death, her gravestone was found lifted off, and her grave empty. At least two churches were dedicated to Saint Irene in Constantinople, and she is also the patroness of the Aegean island of Thera, which is commonly called Santorin (or Santorini), a corruption of "Saint Irene."
On this day in the year 351, not long after Cyril had succeeded Maximus as Archbishop of Jerusalem, during the reign of Constantius, the son of Saint Constantine the Great, on the day of Pentecost, the sign of the Cross appeared over Jerusalem. Saint Cyril, in his letter to the Emperor Constantius, says, "At about the third hour of the day, an enormous Cross, formed of light, appeared in the heaven above holy Golgotha and reaching to the holy Mount of Olives, being seen not by one or two only, but manifest with perfect clarity to the whole multitude of the city; not, as one might suppose, rushing swiftly past in fancy, but seen openly above the earth many hours in plain sight, and overcoming the beams of the sun with its dazzling rays" (PG 33:1 16q).
The feast today in honour of the holy Apostle John commemorates the miracle taking place each year in Ephesus, in which a certain dust or powder, called manna, suddenly poured forth from his tomb and was used by the faithful for deliverance from maladies of both soul and body. For an account of his life, see September 26.
Though the doors were shut at the dwelling where the disciples were gathered for fear of the Jews on the evening of the Sunday after the Passover, our Saviour wondrously entered and stood in their midst, and greeted them with His customary words, "Peace be unto you." Then He showed unto them His hands and feet and side; furthermore, in their presence, He took some fish and a honeycomb and ate before them, and thus assured them of His bodily Resurrection. But Thomas, who was not then present with the others, did not believe their testimony concerning Christ's Resurrection, but said in a decisive manner, "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe." Wherefore after eight days, that is, on this day, when the disciples were again gathered together and Thomas was with them, the Lord Jesus came while the doors were shut, as He did formerly. Standing in their midst, He said, "Peace be unto you"; then He said to Thomas, "Bring hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not unbelieving, but believing."
And Thomas, beholding and examining carefully the hands and side of the Master, cried out with faith, "My Lord and my God." Thus he clearly proclaimed the two natures - human and divine - of the God-man (Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-29).
This day is called Antipascha (meaning "in the stead of Pascha," not "in opposition to Pascha") because with this day, the first Sunday after Pascha, the Church consecrates every Sunday of the year to the commemoration of Pascha, that is, the Resurrection.
The Prophet Esaias, the son of Amos, was descended from a royal tribe. He prophesied in the days of Ozias (who is also called Azarias), Joatham, Ahaz, and Hezekias, Kings of Judah. About 681 B.C, in the reign of Manasses, the son and successor of the most pious Hezekias, when this Prophet was censuring Manasses' impiety and lawlessness, he was sawn asunder with a wooden saw, and thus received a martyr's end.
Of all the Prophets, he is called the most eloquent because of the beauty and loftiness of his words. His book of prophecy, divided into sixty-six chapters, is ranked first among the greater Prophets. The Fifth Ode of the Psalter, "Out of the night my spirit waketh at dawn unto Thee, O God . . ." is taken from his book. It was this holy Prophet who foretold that a Virgin would conceive in the womb (7:14); that not an ambassador, nor an angel, but the Lord Himself would save fallen man (63:9); that the Messiah would suffer, bearing our sins (ch. 53). His name means "Yah is helper."
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Reading is under copyright and is used with permission, all rights reserved by: Greek Standard Text
Reading is under copyright and is used with permission, all rights reserved by: Narthex Press
Reading is under copyright and is used with permission, all rights reserved by: Greek Standard Text