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

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’" (John 7:37-38 ESV)

Feasts & Fasts

May
7 - Fourth Sunday of Pascha (Paralytic) Feast of Saints Cyril & Methodius
10 - Mid-Pentecost
14 - Fifth Sunday of Pascha (Samaritan Women at the Well)
21 - Sixth Sunday of Pascha (Man Born Blind)
22 - Victoria Day (Canada)
25- Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ
28 - Seventh Sunday of Pascha (Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council)
29 - Memorial Day (USA)

June
3 - Fifth All-Souls Saturday
4 - Pentecost - Descent of the Holy Spirit
5 - Feast of the Holy Trinity
11 - All Saints Sunday
12-28 - The Apostles' Fast
24 - Nativity of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John
29 - The Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter & Paul

Ascension

You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit; * through this blessing they were assured * that You are the Son of God * the Redeemer of the world! (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.

When You fulfilled the divine plan for us * and united things on earth with things in heaven, * you ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * in no way departing from us but remaining inseparable, * and crying out to those who love You: “I am with you, and no one is against you.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

This Week's Scripture

May 21, 2017
Sixth Sunday of Pascha (Blind Man)
- Matins: John 20:11-18 (Gospel 8)
- Liturgy: Acts 16:16-34, John 9:1-38

Sixth Week of Pascha
- Monday: Acts 17:1-15, John11:47-57
- Tuesday: Acts 17:19-28, John 12:19-36
- Wednesday: Acts 18:22-28, John 12:36-47

May 26, 2017
Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord
- Vespers: Isaiah 2:1-3, Isaiah 62:10-63:9, Zechariah 14:1,4,8-11
- Matins: Mark 16:9-20
- Liturgy: Acts 1:1-12, Luke 24:36-53

- Friday: Acts 19:1-8, John 14:1-11
- Saturday: Acts 20:7-12, John 14:10-21

May 28, 2017
Seventh Sunday of Pascha (Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council)
- Vespers: Genesis 14:14-20, Deuteronomy 1:8-11, Deuteronomy 10:14-21
- Matins: John 21:1-14 (Gospel 10)
- Liturgy: Acts 20:16-18, 28-36, John 17:1-13

Seventh Week of Pascha
- Monday: Acts 21:8-14, John14:27-15:7
- Tuesday: Acts 21:26-32, John 16:2-13
- Wednesday: Acts 23:1-11, John 16:15-23
- Thursday: Acts 25:13-19, John 16:23-33
- Friday: Acts 27:1-44, John 17:18-26
- Saturday (All Souls Saturday): Acts 28:1-31, John 21:15-25

June 4, 2017
Pentecost - Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit
- Vespers: Numbers 11:16,17,24-29, Joel 2:23-32, Ezekiel 36:24-28
- Matins: John 20:19-23
- Liturgy: Acts 2:1-11, John 7:37-52; 8:12

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

God is nearer to us than any man at every time. He is nearer to me than my raiment, nearer than the air or light, nearer than my wife, father, mother, daughter, son or friend. I live in Him, soul and body. I breathe in Him, think in Him, feel, consider, intend, speak, undertake, work in Him. `For in Him we live, and move, and have our being' (Acts 17:28).

St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ