Deisis (Novogorod)

The Holy Festival of the Lights

St. Gregory Nazianzus

BaptismChrist is bathed in light; let us also be bathed in light.  Christ is baptized; let us also go down with Him, and rise with Him.

John is baptizing when Jesus draws near.  Perhaps He comes to sanctify His baptizer; certainly He comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters.  He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake and in readiness for us; He Who is spirit and flesh comes to begin a new creation through Spirit and water.

The Baptist protests; Jesus insists.  Then John says: "I ought to be baptized by You."  He is the lamp in the presence of the Sun, the voice in the presence of the woman in the presence of the Firstborn of all creation, the one who leapt in his mother's womb in the presence of Him Who has already come and is to come again.  "I ought to be baptized by You"; we should add: "and for You," for John is to be baptized in blood, washed clean like Peter, not only by the washing of his feet.

Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with Him.  The heavens like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open.  The Spirit comes to Him as to an equal, bearing witness to His Godhead.  A voice bears witness to Him from heaven, His place of origin.  The Spirit descends in bodily form like a dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honor to the body that is one with God.

Today let us do honor to Christ's baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness.  Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed.  Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of humanity, for whom His every word and every revelation exist.  He wants you to become a living force for all humanity, lights shining in the world.  You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of Him Who is the light of heaven.  You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received - though not in its fullness - a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to Whom be glory and power now and ever, and to the ages of ages.  Amen!

Taken from Christ-bearers - Meditations for the Pre-Christmas Fast, Christmas, and Theophany.


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Teachings of Christ

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

Feasts & Fasts

March
5 - First Sunday of the Great Fast (Sunday of Orthodoxy)
11 - Second All-Souls Saturday
12 - Second Sunday of the Great Fast (St. Gregory Palamas)
18 - Third All Souls Saturday
19 - Third Sunday of the Great Fast (Veneration of the Cross)
25 - Annunciation to the the Mother of God
26 - Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast (St. John of the Ladder)
30 - Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

April
1 - Akathistos Saturday
2 - Fifth Sunday of the Great Fast (St. Mary of Egypt)
8-16 - Great and Holy Week
8 - Lazarus Saturday
9 - Palm (Flowery) Sunday
13 - Great and Holy Thursday
14 - Great and Holy Friday
15 - Great and Holy Saturday
16 - Pascha - Feast of the Resurrection of Christ (Easter Sunday)
16-23 - Bright Week
23 - Second Sunday of Pascha (Apostle Thomas)
30 - Third Sunday of Pascha (Myrrh-Bearing Women)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Annunciation

Today is the fountainhead of our salvation, * and the revelation of an eternal mystery: * The Son of God becomes the Son of a Virgin, * and Gabriel announces the good news of grace. * Therefore, let us also cry with him to the Mother of God: * "Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

To you, O Mother of God, our leader and defender, * we, your servants, delivered from calamity, offer hymns of victory and thanksgiving. * So you, who have invincible might, * set us free from every peril * that we may cry to you: * "Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!" (Kontakion, Tone 8)

Random Proverb

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

This Week's Scripture

March 19, 2017
Third Sunday of Great Lent (Veneration of the Holy Cross)
- Matins: John 21:15-25 (Gospel 11)
- Liturgy: Hebrews 4:14-5:6, Mark 8:34-9:1

Fourth Week of Great Lent
- Monday: Isaiah 14:24-32, Genesis 8:21-9:7, Proverbs 11:19-12:6
- Tuesday: Isaiah 25:1-9, Genesis 9:8-17, Proverbs 12:8-22
- Wednesday: Isaiah 26:21-27:9, Genesis 9:18-10:1, Proverbs 12:23-13:9
- Thursday: Isaiah 28:14-22, Genesis 10:32-11:9, Proverbs 13:20-14:6
- Friday: Isaiah 29:13-23, Genesis 12:1-7, Proverbs 14:15-26

March 25, 2017
Annunciation
- Vespers: (Parables of the Feast) Genesis 28:10-17, Ezekiel 43:27-44:4, Proverbs 9:1-11, Exodus 3:1-8, Proverbs 8:22-30
- Matins: Luke 1:39-49, 56
- Liturgy: Hebrews 2:11-18, Luke 1:24-38

March 26, 2017
Fourth Sunday of Great Lent (Saint John of the Ladder)
- Matins: Matthew 28:16-20 (Gospel 1)
- Liturgy: Hebrews 6:13-20, Mark 9:17-31 (Sun), Ephesians 5:9-19, Matthew 4:25-5:12 (St. John)

Fifth Week of Great Lent
- Monday: Isaiah 37:33-36:6, Genesis 13:12-18, Proverbs 14:27-15:4
- Tuesday: Isaiah 40:18-31, Genesis 15:1-15, Proverbs 15:7-19
- Wednesday: Isaiah 41:4-14, Genesis 17:1-9, Proverbs 15:20-16:9
- Thursday: Isaiah 42:5-16, Genesis 18:20-33, Proverbs 16:17-17:17
- Friday: Isaiah 45:11-17, Genesis 22:1-18, Proverbs 17:17-18:5
- Saturday: Hebrews 9:24-28, Mark 8:27-31 (Saturday) Luke 10:38-42, 11:27-28, Hebrews 9:1-7 (Akathistos Saturday)

April 2, 2017
Fifth Sunday of Great Lent (Saint Mary of Egypt)
- Matins: Mark 16:1-8 (Matins Gospel 2)
- Liturgy: Hebrews 9:11-14, Mark 10:32-45

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We honor the relics of the martyrs, that we may adore Him whose martyrs they are. We honor the servants that their honor may be reflected upon their Lord who Himself says: "He that receives you receives me."

St. Jerome, Epistle 109:1, NPNF II, 6:212