The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom
Sunday, April 20, 2014, 8:00 AM

JohnChrysostomIKON1 258x300 150x150 The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom

St John Chrysostom

The Catechetical Sermon of St. John Chrysostom is read during Matins of Pascha.

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.



Holy Friday (Eastern Orthodox)
Friday, April 18, 2014, 7:00 PM

Lamentations of Holy Friday

Stasis I:

In a grave they laid Thee,
O my life and my Christ,
And the armies of the Angels were sore amazed
As they saw the praise of Thy submissive love.

Thou hast enjoined Thy commmandments, that we should keep them most diligently.
(more…)



Holy Thursday – Western Church
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 4:28 PM

Ubi Caritas by Paul Mealor

Latin:

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur:
Ne nos mente dividamur, caveamus.
Cessent iurgia maligna, cessent lites.
Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul quoque cum beatis videamus,
Glorianter vultum tuum, Christe Deus:
Gaudium quod est immensum, atque probum,
Saecula per infinita saeculorum. Amen.

English:

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Love of Christ has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice in Him and be glad.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love one.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
At the same time, therefore, are gathered into one:
Lest we be divided in mind, let us beware.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease.
And in the midst of us be Christ our God.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
At the same time we see that with the saints also,
Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
The joy that is immense and good, Unto the
World without end. Amen.



Great and Holy Thursday (Eastern Orthodox)
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 12:00 PM

Today He is Suspended

Today He is suspended on a Tree
who suspended the earth over the waters.
A crown of thorns was placed on the head
of the King of angels.
He who wore a false purple robe
covered the heavens with clouds.
He was smitten who, in the Jordan, delivered Adam.
The Groom of the Church was fastened with nails
and the Son of the Virgin was pierced with a spear.
Thy suffering we adore, O Christ.
Make us to behold thy glorious Resurrection.

Sung by Lebanese singer, Fairuz.



Bridegroom Matins – Hymn of Kassiani
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 7:00 AM

O Lord God, the woman who had fallen into many sins, having perceived Thy divinity received the rank of ointment-bearer, offering Thee spices before Thy burial wailing and crying: “Woe is me, for the love of adultery and sin hath given me a dark and lightless night; accept the fountains of my tears O Thou Who drawest the waters of the sea by the clouds incline Thou to the sigh of my heart O Thou Who didst bend the heavens by Thine inapprehensible condescension; I will kiss Thy pure feet and I will wipe them with my tresses. I will kiss Thy feet Whose tread when it fell on the ears of Eve in Paradise dismayed her so that she did hide herself because of fear. Who then shall examine the multitude of my sin and the depth of Thy judgment? Wherefore, O my Saviour and the Deliverer of my soul turn not away from Thy handmaiden O Thou of boundless mercy”.

Exqusitely sung by Margo and David Sinkevitch at St.Catherine Church

The Hymn of Kassiani, also known as the Hymn of the Fallen Woman, is a Penitential Hymn that is based on the Gospel reading for Holy Wednesday morning (Matthew 26:6-16), which speaks of a sinful woman who anoints Jesus’ feet with costly ointment (distinguished from a similar incident with a different woman, St. Mary of Bethany). This hymn is chanted only once a year and considered a musical high-point of the Holy Week, at the Matins and Presanctified Liturgy of Holy Wednesday, in the Plagal Fourth Tone. (Orthowiki.)



Bridegroom Matins – Behold the Bridegroom
Sunday, April 13, 2014, 12:00 PM

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. ~ Matthew 25:6

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night,
And blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching,
Unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, O my soul, be not be overcome with sleep,
Lest thou be given up to death, and lest you be shut out from the Kingdom.
But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O our God,
Through the Theotokos have mercy on us.

Performed by the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir



Rejoice Oh Bethany!
Saturday, April 12, 2014, 12:00 PM

Rejoice, O Bethany!

Rejoice, rejoice, O Bethany!
On this day God came to thee,
And in Him the dead are made alive,
As it is right for He is the Life.

When Martha went to receive Him,
Grieving loudly with bitter tears,
She poured out the sorrow of her heart to Him
With great sadness, wailing her lament.

She at once cried out unto Him:
“My most compassionate Lord, my Lord,
At the great loss of my brother Lazarus
My heart is broken, help me.”

Jesus said to her, “Cease your weeping,
Cease your grieving and sad lament;
For your brother, My most beloved friend, Lazarus,
Very soon will live again.”

Then He, the faithful Redeemer,
Made His way unto the tomb,
Where he cried unto him who was buried four days,
Calling him forth, saying “Lazarus, arise.”

Come with haste, ye two sisters,
And behold a wondrous thing,
For your brother from the tomb has returned to life.
To the beloved Redeemer now give thanks.

To Thee, O Lord of creation,
We kneel down in reverence profound,
For all we who are dead in sin,
In Thee, O Jesus, are made alive.



Icon Meditation of Christ
Sunday, March 23, 2014, 7:00 AM

A meditation on nine icons of Christ to mark the middle of Lent.

1. To Thee we sing, our God (0:00)
2. Lord, have mercy (2:38)
(more…)



Lagniappe – Issac Watts (1707)
Sunday, March 16, 2014, 7:00 AM

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! ~ Psalm 118:24

Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed?

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?

Refrain

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
’Tis all that I can do.

Beautifully sung by the Cathedral Choir of the Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio – arranged by Thomas Jordan.



About true fasting
Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 10:12 AM

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Thoughts on fasting from the eastern church. (The sound quality is scratchy, but it is subtitled. 6 minutes.)

 About true fasting

Saint John Chrysostom

Saint John Chrysostom

For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice. Let the feet fast, but ceasing from running to the unlawful spectacles. Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy themselves with strange beauties. For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it adorns fasting.

~ St. John Chrysostom (Homily III, paragraph 8, Ascetic Treatises)

 About true fasting

Saint Basil the Great

St. Basil the Great

Beware of limiting the good of fasting to mere abstinence from meats. Real fasting is alienation from evil. “Loose the bands of wickedness.” Forgive your neighbor the mischief he has done you. Forgive him his trespasses against you.

St. Basil On Fasting (pdf)


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