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)



Ash Wednesday (Western Church)
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 7:00 AM

Jesu meines Lebens Leben

Christ the Life of all the living,
Christ the Death of death our foe,
Who Thyself for us once giving
To the darkest depths of woe,
Patiently didst yield Thy breath
But to save my soul from death;
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Blessed Jesus, brought to Thee.

Thou, ah! Thou, hast taken on Thee
Bonds and stripes, a cruel rod;
Pain and scorn were heaped upon Thee,
0 Thou sinless Son of God!
Thus didst Thou my soul deliver
From the bonds of sin forever.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Thou hast borne the smiting only
That my wounds might all be whole;
Thou hast suffered, sad and lonely,
Rest to give my weary soul;
Yea, the curse of God enduring,
Blessing unto me securing.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Heartless scoffers did surround Thee,
Treating Thee with shameful scorn,
And with piercing thorns they crowned Thee.
All disgrace Thou, Lord, hast borne,
That as Thine Thou mightest own me
And with heav’nly glory crown me.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Thou hast suffered men to bruise Thee
That from pain I might be free;
Falsely did Thy foes accuse Thee:
Thence I gain security;
Comfortless Thy soul did languish
Me to comfort in my anguish.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Thou hast suffered great affliction
And hast borne it patiently,
Even death by crucifixion,
Fully to atone for me;
Thou didst choose to be tormented
That my doom should be prevented.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

Then, for all that wrought my pardon,
For Thy sorrows deep and sore,
For Thine anguish in the Garden,
I will thank Thee evermore,
Thank Thee for Thy groaning, sighing,
For Thy bleeding and Thy dying,
For that last triumphant cry,
And shall praise Thee, Lord, on high

Dietrich Buxtehude 1637 – 1707



Great Canon of St. Andrew (Eastern Orthodox)
Monday, March 3, 2014, 7:00 PM

Canon of Repentance 

1. Where shall I begin to lament the deeds of my wretched life? What first-fruit shall I offer, O Christ, for my present lamentation? But in Thy compassion grant me release from my falls.

2. Come, wretched soul, with your flesh, confess to the Creator of all. In future refrain from your former brutishness, and offer to God tears in repentance.

3. Having rivaled the first-created Adam by my transgression, I realize that I am stripped naked of God and of the everlasting kingdom and bliss through my sins. (Genesis 3)

“The Great Canon is served during the first week of the Great Lent. During Great Compline on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.” (citation)



Sunday before Lent
Sunday, March 2, 2014, 12:00 PM

This evening, the Eastern church begins its annual Lenten fast with the vespers service of Forgiveness Sunday. Before we spend the next 40 days in the repentance of our sins, we prepare ourselves by asking forgiveness not only of Christ and of the priests, but of everyone in our church whether or not we have knowingly offended them. It allows us to put an end to any chance animosity we might bear toward one another and to commence the fast in a proper state of humility and peace.

You’ll notice that participants prostrate themselves before each other, acknowledging the real presence of Christ within all:

In the Western church, this Sunday  is known as Quinquagesima Sunday, Quinquagesimae, Estomihi, Shrove Sunday, [and] the Last Sunday after Epiphany (citation). Bach wrote the following music in its honor:

Bach Cantata BWV 127 “Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen

Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen,
My soul rests in the hands of Jesus,

Wenn Erde diesen Leib bedeckt.
Though earth covers this body

Ach ruft mich bald, ihr Sterbeglocken,
Ah, call me soon, you funereal bells,

Ich bin zum Sterben unerschrocken,
I am not terrified to die

Weil mich mein Jesus wieder weckt.
Since my Jesus will awaken me again.

Recital at Indiana School of Music (1990)
Brian Madsen Oboe, Diana Livingston soprano



Historic Communication
Thursday, February 27, 2014, 11:12 AM

Pope Francis reached out recently to the Evangelical community via a video message that has already started going viral, but which I present here in hopes it will  give our readers pause to consider the sincere love of Christ that fundamentally unites us.


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