Apolytikion of the Feast. From Pentecostarion
Mode pl. 4.
Blessed are You, O Christ our God. You sent down the Holy Spirit into the fishermen, and You gave them knowledge and wisdom in everything; and through them, as in a net You caught the whole world. O Lord who loves humanity, glory to You!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The word "Pentecost" means “the fiftieth” and is used to designate the great event of the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Epiphoitesis) upon the Apostles and the Church on the 50th day after the Resurrection of Christ, just ten days after His Ascension into Heaven.
Before His Passion, the Lord spoke to his Disciples about the gift of the Holy Spirit, which they were to receive after the Ascension. The details are preserved in the Gospel of Saint John:
“I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will defend you and always be with you”
He also said,
“The Holy Spirit can not come to defend you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you”
After His Resurrection, the Lord appeared to the Disciples, and He said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit”
This was a foretaste of the Outpouring (Epiphoitesis) on Pentecost Sunday.
Near the end of Saint Luke’s Gospel, Christ tells His Disciples, “I will send you the One My Father has promised, but you must stay in the city until you are given power from above” (24:49). It is in the Acts of the Apostles, however, that Saint Luke speaks of the fulfillment of this promise:
“On the day of Pentecost, all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly, there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind. It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever language the Spirit let them speak”
Since ancient times, the 50-day period from Pascha to Pentecost has been called Pentecost because what began with the Lord breathing the Holy Spirit on His Disciples was consummated with the full descent of the Spirit upon the Disciples and the whole Church. Thus, the Church was fully born and began to grow.
During this period, all fasting and kneeling is prohibited as a tangible confession of the Resurrection of Christ. It is only on the actual day of Pentecost that kneeling is resumed, and is connected with a special kneeling ceremony (akolouthia gonyklesias), which consists of prayers for the gift of the Holy Spirit, hence the name, “Kneeling Day” (tes gonatistes) for Pentecost.
Later on, another week was added to these 50 days in order to celebrate the post-feast (metheorta) of the Feast of Pentecost.
May He who sent down the all-holy Spirit from heaven in the form of fiery tongues on His holy Disciples and Apostles, Christ our true God, through the intercessions of His all-pure and all-immaculate holy Mother, the power of the precious and life-giving Cross, the protection of the honorable, bodiless powers of heaven, the supplications of the honorable, glorious prophet and forerunner John the Baptist, of the holy, glorious, and praiseworthy apostles, of the holy, glorious, and triumphant martyrs, of our righteous and God-bearing fathers, Saint Athanasios the Great; of the holy and righteous ancestors of God Joachim and Anna, and of all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and merciful and loves mankind.
Yours in Christ,
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