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

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 ESV)

Feasts & Fasts

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)

Resurrection

Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and to those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

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

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

This Week's Scripture

April 8-16, 2017
Great and Holy Week

April 8, 2017
Saturday of Saint Lazarus the Righteous
: Hebrews 12:28-13:8, John 11:1-45

April 9, 2017
Palm Sunday
The Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem    
- Vespers: Genesis 49:1,2,8-12, Zephaniah 3:14-19, Zechariah 9:9-15
- Matins: Matthew 21:1-11,15-17
- Liturgy: Philippians 4:4-9, John 12:1-18

Great and Holy Monday
- Matins: Matthew 21:18-43
- Sixth Hour: Ezekiel 1:1-20
- Vespers (Presanctified): Exodus 1:1-20, Job 1:1-12, Matthew 24:3-35

Great and Holy Tuesday
- Matins: Matthew 22:15-23:39
- Sixth Hour: Ezekiel 1:21-2:1
- Vespers (Presanctified): Exodus 2:5-10, Job 1:13-22, Matthew 24:36-26:2

Great and Holy Wednesday
- Matins: John 12:17-50
- Sixth Hour: Ezekiel 2:3-3:3
- Vespers (Presanctified): Exodus 2:11-22, Job 2:1-10, Matthew 26:6-16

Great and Holy Thursday
- Matins: Luke 22:1-39
- First Hour: Jeremiah 11:18-12:5,9-11,14,15
- Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil: Exodus 19:10-19, Job 38:1-23; 42:1-5, Isaiah 50:4-11, 1 Corinthians 11:23-32, Matthew 26:1-20; John 13:3-17; Matthew 26:21-39; Luke, 22:43-45; Matthew 26:40-27:2 (Composite Reading)

Holy Friday (Thursday Evening)
- Matins - The Twelve Passion Gospels: 1) John 13:31-18:1, 2) John 18:1-28, 3) Matthew 26:57-75, 4) John 18:28-19:16, 5) Matthew 27:3-32, 6) Mark 15:16-32, 7) Matthew 27:33-54, 8) Luke 23:32-49, 9) John 19:25-37, 10) Mark 15:43-47, 11) John 19:38-42, 12) Matthew 27:62-66

Great and Holy Friday
- First Royal Hour: Zechariah 11:10-13, Galatians 6:14-18, Matthew 27:1-56
- Third Royal Hour: Isaiah 50:4-11, Romans 5:6-11, Mark 15:16-41
- Sixth Royal Hour: Isaiah 52:13-54:1, Hebrews 2:11-18, Luke 23:32-49
- Ninth Royal Hour: Jeremiah 11:18-23; 12:15,9-11,14,15, Hebrews 10:19-31, John 18:28-19:37
- Vespers: Exodus 33:11-23, Job 42:12-16, Isaiah 52:13-54:1, 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:2, Matthew 27:1-38; Luke 23:39-43; Matthew 27:39-54; John 19:31-37; Matthew 27:55-61 (Composite Reading)

Great and Holy Saturday
- Matins: Ezekiel 37:1-14, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 and Galatians 3:13,14 (Composite Reading), Matthew 27:62-66
- Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil: 1) Genesis 1:1-13, 2) Isaiah 60:1-16, 3) Exodus 12:1-11, 4) The Book of Jonah, 5) Joshua 5:10-15, 6) Exodus 13:20-15:19, 7) Zephaniah 3:8-15, 8) 1 Kings 17:8-24, 9) Isaiah 61:10-62:5, 10) Genesis 22:1-18, 11) Isaiah 61:1-9, 12) 2 Kings 4:8-37, 13) Isaiah 63:11-64:5, 14) Jeremiah 31:31-34, 15) Daniel 3:1-90, Romans 6:3-11, Matthew 28:1-20

April 16, 2017 - Pascha (Easter Sunday)
- Matins: Mark 16:1-8
- Liturgy: Acts 1:1-8, John 1:1-17
- Bright Monday: Acts 1:12-17; 21-26, John 1:18-28
- Bright Tuesday: Acts 2:14-21, Luke 24:12-35
- Bright Wednesday: Acts 2:22-36, John 1:35-51
- Bright Thursday: Acts 2:38-43, John 3:1-15
- Bright Friday: Acts 3:1-8, John 2:12-22
- Bright Saturday: Acts 3:11-16, John 3:22-33

April 23, 2015
Second Sunday of Pascha: Thomas Sunday
- Matins: Matthew 28:16-20 (Gospel 1)
- Liturgy: Acts 5:12-20, John 20:19-31

Second Week of Pascha
- Monday: Acts 3:19-26, John 2:1-11
- Tuesday: Acts 4:1-10, John 3:16-21 (Commemoration of the Departed: 1 Corinthians 15:39-57, John 5:24-30)
- Wednesday: Acts 4:13-22, John 5:17-24
- Thursday: Acts 4:23-31, John 5:24-30
- Friday: Acts 5:1-11, John 5:30-6:2
- Saturday: Acts 5:21-33, John 6:14-27

April 30, 2017
Third Sunday of Pascha: Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women
- Matins: Mark 16:9-20 (Gospel 3)
- Liturgy: Acts 6:1-7, Mark 15:43-16:8

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We truly love God and keep His commandments if we restrain ourselves from our pleasures. For he who still abandons himself to unlawful desires certainly does not love God, since he contradicts Him in his own intentions. . . Therefore, he loves God truly, whose mind is not conquered by consent to evil delight. For the more one takes pleasure in lower things, the more he is separated from heavenly love.

St. Gregory the Great