Feeds:
Posts

Posts Tagged ‘Uncategorized’

Should at any time we feel ourselves to be alone, or for the secular world to be so overwhelming and powerful as to render spiritual life redundant, we can reflect on the difficulties of our predecessors and be inspired by their cheerfulness and joy in the face of tremendous privations.

As mentioned before, the mid 1920’s was a period of ferocious attacks upon the Church by the Bolsheviks, both clergy and laity. Many of the faithful were executed or imprisoned in the Gulag for extended periods on nonsensical charges. The Solovetsky Island concentration camp (Solovki for short), formerly a remote monastery on an island in the White Sea region of Russia’s far north, was reserved for particularly “recalcitrant” prisoners, in particular priests from throughout the Soviet Union, including the newly annexed Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. Conditions were brutal and fatalities commonplace.

This letter from Bishop Maxim of Serpukhov, a Russian priest, is a moving testament to the resilience and cheerfulness of interned clergy during tremendous oppression. The Paschal context of his letter is poignant for us this week.

At Solovki we had several secret Catacomb “churches,” but our “favorites” were two: the “Cathedral Church” of the Holy Trinity, and the church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. The first was a small clearing in the midst of a dense forest in the direction of the “Savvaty” Assignment Area. The dome of this church was the sky, The wails were the birch forest. The church of St. Nicholas was located in the deep forest towards the “Muksolm” Assignment Area, It was a thicket naturally formed by seven large spruces. Most frequently the secret services were conducted only in the summer, on great feasts and, with special solemnity, on the Day of Pentecost. But sometimes, depending on circumstances, doubly secret services were celebrated also in other places. Thus, for example, on Great Thursday of 1929, the service of the reading of the Twelve Gospels was celebrated in our physicians’ cell in the 10th Company, Vladika Victor and Fr. Nicholas came to us as if for disinfection. Then, catacomb style, they served the church service with the door bolted. On Great Friday an order was read in all Companies informing that for the next three days no one would be allowed to leave the Companies after 8 p.m. save in exceptional circumstances and by special written permit of the Camp Commandant.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, when we physicians had just returned to our cells after a 12-hour workday, Fr. Nicholas came to us and told us that a Plashchanitsa (burial shroud with the image of Christ) the size of one’s palm had been painted by the artist R. The service-the rite of burial–was to be held and would begin in an hour. “Where?” Vladika Maxim asked. “In the great box for drying fish which is closest to the forest, next to Camp N. The password: three knocks and then two. It’s better to come one at a time.”

In half an hour Vladika Maxim and I left our Company and started out for the indicated “address.” Twice patrols asked for our permits. We, as physicians, had them. But what about the others?–Vladika Victor, Vladika Ilarion, Vladika Nektary, and Fr. Nicholas? Vladika Victor worked as-a bookkeeper in the rope factory. Vladika Nektary was a fisherman; and the others weaved nets. Here was the edge of the forest. Here was the box, about nine yards long, without windows, the door scarcely noticeable. Light twilight, the sky covered with dark clouds. We knock three times and then twice. Fr. Nicholas opens. Vladika Victor and Vladika Ilarion are already here… In a few minutes Vladika Nektary also comes. The interior of the box has been converted into a church. On the floor, on the wails, spruce branches. Several candles flickering. Small paper icons. The small Plashanitsa is buried in green branches. Ten people have come to pray. Later another four or five come, of whom two are monks. The service begins, in a whisper. It seemed that we had no bodies, but were only souls. Nothing distracted or interfered with prayer… I don’t remember how we went “home,” i.e., to our Companies. The Lord covered us!

The bright service of Pascha was assigned to our physicians’ cell. Towards midnight under various urgent pretexts arranged by the section, without any kind of written permit, all who intended to come gathered, about fifteen people in all. After the Matins and Liturgy, we sat down and broke the fast. On the table were Paschal cake and cheese, colored eggs, cold dishes, wine (liquid yeast with cranberry extract and sugar). About three o’clock we parted.

Control rounds of our Company were made by the Camp Commandant before and after the services, at 11 p.m. and  4 a.m. Finding us four physicians headed by Vladika Maxim, on his last round, the Commandant said: “What doctors, you’re not sleeping?” And immediately he added: “Such a night…and one doesn’t want to sleep!” And he left.

“Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the miracle of Thy mercy and power,” pronounced Vladika Maxim movingly, expressing our common feelings.

The white night of Solovki was nearing its end. The delicate, rose-colored Paschal morning of Solovki, the sun playing for joy, greeted the monastery-concentration camp, converting it into the invisible city of Kitezh and filling our free Souls with a quiet, unearthly joy. 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Ilia the Prophet (known in Greek as Elias and in Hebrew or English as Elijah).

He is venerated because he was in many ways an image (“icon” in Greek) of John the Baptist, and in some ways even an image of Christ; he denounced the powerful for apostasy and corruption, enlightened the Gentiles while the Jews lived in heresy, miraculously created inexhaustible supplies of food from meagre sources, and raised the dead from the tomb.

Ilia lived in the Kingdom of Israel in the 9th century BC, when the Jewish State had been divided into two rival kingdoms of Israel in the north and Judah in the south.

From Wikipedia: “Elijah”

During Elijah’s life, the Kingdom of Israel had extensive cultural and trade links with heathen peoples to the north, including the Phoenicians (ancestors to today’s people of Lebanon, Syria and Malta). At a time when Israel was economically and militarily rather weak, the Phoenician states were incredibly wealthy as a result of their seafaring skills and their extensive trading network throughout the entire Mediterranean region (the city-state of Carthage in Tunisia, that later rivaled Rome, was founded by Phoenician traders.)

From Wikipedia “Phoenicia”

In the face of such economic and diplomatic power, the court of Israel cultivated close links with the Phoenician elite, and the king of Israel, Ahab, married a Phoenician princess, Jezebel, who was an avid missionary for the idolatrous Phoenician religion of Baal. Priests of the religion of Baal were introduced to court, established a temple in the palace, and set up temples to Baal in Jewish communities throughout Israel to convert Jews to their faith.

Of obscure origin, Saint Ilia presented himself at court to deliver a message from God to King Ahab; there would be years of catastrophic drought so severe that not even dewdrops would form, because Ahab and his idolatrous queen stood at the end of a line of kings of Israel who are said to have “done evil in the sight of the Lord”. Because Baal was the Phoenician god of thunder, rainfall and dew, this was not only an admonition of the Court, but a direct challenge to the false god and all those who served him.

God warned Ilia to flee for his life to east of the Jordan River, and from there to the drought-stricken Phoenician States where he was to seek refuge with an idol-worshipping widow of no means. While evading capture in her house, she was frightened that her meagre supplies of flour and oil would be exhausted; Ilia commanded her to continue cooking for them and the food supplies would replenish themselves until the drought broke. Miraculously, her tiny supplies sustained her household for an extended period, considered by some to be a premonition of Christ’s Feeding of the Five Thousand.

While Ilia lived at her house, the widow’s only son died, leaving her heartbroken and destitute as she had no other means of support. Ilia prayed to God that her son would be restored to her, and miraculously the young man returned to life. This is the first documented case of resurrection in the Bible. The woman cried out in joy ” …the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”, acknowledging both the existence of the one true God, and the veracity of Ilia’s pronouncements and teachings.

It is fascinating that a Gentile was chosen to be the first to recognise Ilia’s authority and powers, at a time when he was held in contempt among his own people. This can be seen as a premonition of the many Gentiles who accepted God upon witnessing Christ’s miracles, at a time when mainstream Jewish society, royalty and the priesthood held Christ in contempt.

God commanded Ilia to return to Israel to announce the end of the drought, as a demonstration of God’s power rather than as  reward for repetance; Ahab and Jezebel had been martyring many Jewish priests and prophets in Ilia’s absence. Confronting Ahab on Mount Carmel, a furious argument over who was responsible for Israel’s miseries and whose god was true ensued. Ilia finally challenged the idolatrous priests to a contest; whose god could light a sacrificial pyre without any human assistance would be acknowledged as the one true God. The priests of Baal failed in this challenge, and Ilia’s invocation of God’s name and power caused his pyre to spontaneously catch fire, while a massive thunderstorm raged and deluges of rain fell.

Ilia condemned the heathen priests to death, enraging Queen Jezabel, and he was forced to flee to Beersheba in Judah. Cared for by angels in the wilderness, he walked to Mount Horeb.  

This was the location where Moses had received the Ten Commandments seven centuries earlier. Similar to Moses, Ilia was addressed by God in a cave, and Ilia vented his frustrations at the sinfulness and apostasy of the Jews. God revealed himself to Ilia through fire, wind and earthquake on the mountain, followed by “the still small voice of calm”, and commanded Ilia to prophecy the death of King Ahab and anoint his successor.

Ilia confronted King Ahab and prophesies that his entire kingdom will reject his authority; that Jezebel will be eaten by dogs within Jezreel; and that his family will be consumed by dogs as well (if they die in a city) or by birds (if they die in the country). Ahab repented of his sins and was spared by God but the prophecies  regarding his family came to pass.

Knowing that his work was done, Elijah proceeded to the River Jordan with his disciple Elisha  and parted the waters of the Jordan. They crossed the river, and then a fiery chariot took Elijah up into the heavens, with his mantle falling to the ground and Elisha taking possession of it while taking on Elijah’s role as prophet and spiritual father of the Kingdom of Israel. The English phrase “taking up the mantle” emanates from this biblical passage.

William Blake, the writer of the English hymn “Jerusalem” , in 1804 incorporated the vision of a Chariot of Fire as the manifestation of God’s divine energy; the hymn serves now as a de facto English national anthem and it was sung recently en masse at the opening of the London Olympics.

Saint Ilia has another great attribute of significance to Christians. In the Book of Malachi it is prophesied that “Behold, I will send you Ilia the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” This is widely interpreted as representing Saint John the Baptist’s mission prior to Christ’s passion and resurrection. Indeed, the father of John the Baptist, Zechariah, was visited by an angel before John’s birth foretelling that John  would turn the hearts of many towards God “in the spirit and power of Ilia”. Like Ilia, John was stern and powerful in his denunciations of corrupted nobility. He had the same connection with the wilderness, the same habits of asceticism in the desert, the same abrupt and commanding manner when addressing royalty, even the same clothing, a hairy coat and a leather belt.

He also is reported as being seen at the Transfiguration, the event in Christ’s life on Mount Tabor when his face began to shine and he was seen in conversation with Ilia and Moses.

The Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, His Holiness Ilia II, of course was named after the Saint, and so I humbly wish to extend warm greetings and deep respect on his Name Day, and wish him many more happy returns of the day.

Saint Ilia the Prophet’s hymns are presented below:

Troparion (Tone 4)

An angel in the flesh and the cornerstone of the prophets,
the second forerunner of the coming of Christ,
Glorious Ilia sent grace from on high to Elisha,
to dispel diseases and to cleanse lepers.
Therefore, he pours forth healings on those who honor him.

Kontakion (Tone 2)

Prophet Ilia of great renown,
seer of the mighty mighty works of God,
by your command you held back the rain!
Pray for us to the only Lover of mankind!

Read Full Post »

For those who are interested, an English translation of the Midnight Office and Paschal Matins are provided below. Please forgive any inaccuracies as the text has been translated from Greek rather than Georgian.

The Midnight Office

 Midnight Office for Pascha begins at 11:00 P.M.

 Priest: Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Reader: Amen. Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O Heavenly king, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present, and fillest all things, Treasury of good things, and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (Thrice)

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

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

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

Our Father, Who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Priest: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (Twelve times)

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

O come let us worship God our King.

O come let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and God.

O come let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and God.

Psalm 50

 Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy compassions blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know mine iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee, that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged. For behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother bear me. For behold, Thou hast loved truth; the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom hast Thou made manifest unto me. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be made clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me to hear joy and gladness; the bones that be humbled, they shall rejoice. Turn Thy face away from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and with Thy governing Spirit establish me. I shall teach transgressors Thy ways, and the ungodly shall turn back unto Thee. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; my tongue shall rejoice in Thy righteousness. O Lord, Thou shalt open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise. For if Thou hadst desired sacrifice, I had given it; with whole-burnt offerings Thou shalt not be pleased. A sacrifice unto God is a broken spirit; a heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise. Do good, O Lord, in Thy good pleasure unto Zion, and let the walls of Jerusalem be builded. Then shalt Thou be pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, with oblation and whole-burnt offerings. Then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.

Canon, Sixth Tone

ODE I

Irmos, Tone 6: He Who in ancient times hid the pursuing tyrant beneath the waves of the sea, is hidden beneath the earth by the children of those whom once He saved. But let us, like the maidens, sing unto the Lord, for gloriously is He glorified.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O Lord my God, I will sing to Thee a funeral hymn, a song at Thy burial: for by Thy burial Thou hast opened for me the gates of life, and by Thy death Thou hast slain death and Hades.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

All things above and all beneath the earth quaked with fear at Thy death, as they beheld Thee, O my Saviour, upon Thy throne on high and in the tomb below. For seeing Thou wert mortal is beyond understanding, O Author of life.

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

To fill all things with Thy glory, Thou hast gone down into the nethermost parts of the earth: for my substance that is in Adam is not hidden from Thee, but when buried, Thou dost restore me from corruption, O Lover of mankind.

Katavasia, Tone 6: He Who in ancient times hid the pursuing tyrant beneath the waves of the sea, is hidden beneath the earth by the children of those whom once He saved. But let us, like the maidens, sing unto the Lord, for gloriously is He glorified.

ODE III

Irmos, Tone 6: When the creation beheld Thee, Who hast hung the whole earth freely upon the waters, hanging on Golgotha, it was seized with horror and cried aloud: “There is none holy beside Thee, O Lord.”

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Images of Thy burial hast Thou disclosed in a multitude of visions; and now, as the God-Man, Thou hast revealed Thy secrets unto those in hades, O Master, who cry aloud: “There is none holy beside Thee, O Lord.”

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Thou hast stretched out Thine arms and united all that of old was separated; clothed in a winding sheet, O Saviour, and buried in a tomb, Thou hast loosed the captives, who cry aloud: “There is none holy beside Thee, O Lord.”

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

By a tomb and seals, O Uncontainable One, wast Thou held of Thine own will; but through Thine energies Thou hast showed Thy power by Divine action to those who sing: “There is none holy beside Thee, O Lord, Lover of mankind.

Katavasia, Tone 6: When the creation beheld Thee, Who hast hung the whole earth freely upon the waters, hanging on Golgotha, it was seized with horror and cried aloud: “There is none holy beside Thee, O Lord.”

 Sessional Hymn, First Tone

The soldiers keeping watch over Thy tomb, O Saviour, became as dead men from the shining brightness at the appearing of the angel, who proclaimed to the women the Resurrection. We glorify Thee as the Destroyer of corruption; we fall down before Thee, risen from the tomb, our only God.

ODE IV

Irmos, Tone 6: Foreseeing Thy divine self-emptying upon the Cross, Habakkuk, amazed, cried out: “Thou hast cut asunder the strength of the mighty, O Good One, and preached to those in hades, as the Almighty One.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Today Thou hast sanctified the seventh day, which anciently Thou didst bless by resting from Thy works. Thou bringest all things into being and renewest all things, observing the sabbath, O my Saviour, and restoring all.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

By Thy greater power, Thou hast conquered; from the flesh Thy soul was parted, yet Thou hast burst asunder both bonds, death and hades, O Word, by Thy might.

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

Hades was embittered when it met Thee, O Word, for it saw a mortal deified, striped with wounds, yet all-powerful; and it shrank back in terror at this sight.

Katavasia, Tone 6: Foreseeing Thy divine self-emptying upon the Cross, Habakkuk, amazed, cried out: “Thou hast cut asunder the strength of the mighty, O Good One, and preached to those in Hades, as the Almighty One.

ODE V

Irmos, Tone 6: Thy Theophany, O Christ, the Unwaning Light, that mercifully came to pass for us, Isaiah, keeping watch, beheld out of the night, and he cried aloud: “The dead shall arise, and those in the tombs shall be raised up, and all that are born of earth shall rejoice.”

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Thou makest new those of earth, O Creator, becoming a thing of dust, and the winding-sheet and tomb reveal, O Word, the mystery that is within Thee; for the noble counselor typifies the counsel of Him that begat Thee, Who hath majestically refashioned me in Thee.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

By Thy death dost Thou transform mortality and by Thy burial, corruption, for Thou makest incorruptible, by divine majesty, the nature Thou hast taken, rendering it immortal; for Thy flesh saw not corruption, O Master, nor was Thy soul left in Hades as that of a stranger.

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

Coming forth from an unwedded Mother, and wounded in Thy side with a spear, O my Maker, Thou hast brought to pass the re-creation of Eve. Becoming Adam, Thou hast in ways surpassing nature slept a nature-restoring sleep, raising life from sleep and from corruption, for Thou art the Almighty.

Katavasia, Tone 6: Thy Theophany, O Christ, the Unwaning Light, that mercifully came to pass for us, Isaiah, keeping watch, beheld out of the night, and he cried aloud: “The dead shall arise, and those in the tombs shall be raised up, and all that are born of earth shall rejoice.”

ODE VI

Irmos, Tone 6: Caught but not held in the belly of the whale was Jonah; for, bearing the image of Thee, Who hast suffered and wast given to burial, he came forth from the monster as from a bridal chamber, and he called out to the watch: “O ye who keep guard falsely and in vain, ye have forsaken your own mercy.”

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Torn wast Thou, but not separated, O Word, from the flesh of which Thou hadst partaken; for though Thy temple was destroyed at the time of Thy Passion, yet the Substance of Thy Godhead and of Thy flesh is but one. For in both Thou art one Son, the Word of God, both God and man.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Fatal to man, but not to God, was the sin of Adam; for though the earthly substance of Thy flesh suffered, yet the Godhead remained impassable; that which in Thy nature was corruptible Thou hast transformed to incorruption, and a fountain of life incorruptible hast Thou revealed by Thy Resurrection.

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

Hades reigneth, but not for ever over the race of man; for Thou, laid in a tomb, O Sovereign Lord, hast burst asunder the bars of death with Thy life-giving hand, and Thou hast proclaimed to those who slept from the ages the true redemption, O Saviour, Who art become the Firstborn from the dead.

Katavasia, Tone 6: Caught but not held in the belly of the whale was Jonah; for, bearing the image of Thee, Who hast suffered and wast given to burial, he came forth from the monster as from a bridal chamber, and he called out to the watch: “O ye who keep guard falsely and in vain, ye have forsaken your own mercy.”

Kontakion, Sixth Tone

He Who closed the abyss is beheld dead, and as a corpse the Immortal is wrapped in linen with sweet spices and laid in a tomb. The women come to anoint Him with myrrh, weeping bitterly and crying: “This is the most blessed sabbath on which Christ sleepeth but on the third day He shall rise again.”

Ikos

He Who sustaineth all things was lifted upon the Cross, and all creation wept, seeing Him hanging naked on the Tree. The sun hid its rays, and the stars cast aside their light; the earth shook in much fear, and the sea fled, and the rocks were rent, and many graves were opened and the bodies of the saints arose. Hades groaned below, and the Jews conspired to spread slander against Christ’s Resurrection. But the women cried aloud: “This is the most blessed sabbath on which Christ sleepeth, but on the third day He shall rise again.”

ODE VII

Irmos, Tone 6: O ineffable wonder! He Who delivered the holy Children from the fiery furnace is laid a corpse without breath in the tomb, for the salvation of us who sing: “O God our Redeemer, blessed art Thou.”

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Wounded in the heart was Hades when it received Him Who was wounded in the side by a spear, and consumed by divine fire it groaned aloud at the salvation of us who sing: “O God our Redeemer, blessed art Thou.”

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O wealthy tomb! For it received within itself the Creator, as one asleep, and it was shown to be a divine treasury of life, for the sa1vation of us who sing: “O God our Redeemer, blessed art Thou.”

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

In accordance with the law of the dead, the Life of all submitteth to be laid in the tomb, and He showeth it to be a source of awakening, for the salvation of us who sing: “O God our Redeemer, blessed art Thou.”

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Whether in Hades or in the tomb or in Eden, the Godhead of Christ was indivisibly one with the Father and the Spirit, for the salvation of us who sing: “O God our Redeemer, blessed art Thou.”

Katavasia, Tone 6: O ineffable wonder! He Who delivered the holy Children from the fiery furnace is laid a corpse without breath in the tomb, for the salvation of us who sing: “O God our Redeemer, blessed art Thou.”

ODE VIII

Irmos, Tone 6: Be ye astonished and afraid, O heaven, and let the foundations of the earth be shaken; for lo, He Who dwelleth on high is numbered with the dead and lodgeth as a stranger in a narrow tomb. Him do ye children bless, ye priests praise, and ye people supremely exalt unto all ages.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

The most pure Temple is destroyed, but raiseth up the fallen tabernacle. For the second Adam, He Who dwelleth on high, hath come down to the first Adam, even into the chambers of hades. Him do ye children bless, ye priests praise, and ye people supremely exalt unto all aces.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

The disciples’ courage failed, but Joseph of Arimathea was bolder; for, seeing the God of all a corpse and naked, he asked for the body and buried Him, crying: Him do ye children bless, ye priests praise, and ye people supremely exalt unto all ages.

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

O new wonders! O what goodness! O ineffable forbearance! For of His own will He Who dwelleth on high is sealed beneath the earth, and God is falsely accused as a deceiver. Him do ye children bless, ye priests praise, and ye people supremely exalt unto all ages.

Katavasia, Tone 6: Be ye astonished and afraid, O heaven, and let the foundations of the earth be shaken; for lo, He Who dwelleth on high is numbered with the dead and lodgeth as a stranger in a narrow tomb. Him do ye children bless, ye priests praise, and ye people supremely exalt unto all ages.

ODE IX

Irmos, Tone 6: Weep not for Me, O Mother, beholding in the tomb the Son Whom thou hast conceived without seed in the womb; for I shall arise and shall be glorified, and as God I shall exalt with glory unceasing those that with faith and love magnify thee.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

At Thy strange birth, O Son without beginning, I was blessed in ways surpassing nature, for I was spared all travail. But now, beholding Thee, my God, a lifeless corpse, I am pierced with the sword of bitter grief. But arise, that I may be magnified.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

The earth covereth Me as I desire, O Mother, but the gatekeepers of hades tremble as they see Me, clothed in the bloodstained garment of vengeance; for on the Cross as God have I struck down Mine enemies, and I shall rise again and magnify thee.

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

Let creation rejoice, let all that are born of earth be glad, for the enemy, Hades, hath been despoiled; let the women come with myrrh to meet Me, for I am delivering Adam and Eve with all their offspring, and on the third day I shall rise again.

Katavasia, Tone 6: Weep not for He, O Mother, beholding in the tomb the Son Whom thou hast conceived without seed in the womb; for I shall arise and shall be glorified, and as God I shall exalt with glory unceasing those that with faith and love magnify thee.

Trisagion

Reader: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (Thrice)

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

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.

Lord have mercy. (Thrice)

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

Our Father, Who art in the Heavens, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Priest:For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory; of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

Troparion, Second Tone:

 Choir: When Thou didst descend unto death, O Life Immortal, then didst Thou slay Hades with the lightning of Thy Divinity. And when Thou didst also raise the dead out of the nether-most depths, all the hosts of the heavens cried out: O Life-giver, Christ our God, glory be to Thee.

Priest: Have mercy on us, O God, according to Thy great mercy, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.

Choir: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

Priest: Again let us pray for Our Great Lord and Father, His Holiness Catholicos Ilia, Patriarch of All Georgia ; for our lord the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan N., and all our brethren in Christ.

Choir: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

Priest: Again we pray for all the brethren and for all Christians.

Choir: Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

Priest: For a merciful God art Thou, and the Lover of mankind, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Choir:Amen.

Priest: Glory to Thee, O Christ God, our hope, glory to Thee.

Choir: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

Father bless.

THE DISMISSAL

Priest: May Christ our true God, Who rose from the dead, through the intercessions of His most pure Mother, of our holy and God-bearing fathers, and of all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and the Lover of mankind.

Choir: Amen.

Paschal Matins

At the stroke of midnight, the clergy, assembled in the altar, begin to chant the following, at first quietly and then more loudly with each of the two repetitions:

 Clergy: Thy Resurrection, O Christ Savior, / the angels in the heavens sing; / vouchsafe also us on earth // with pure hearts to glorify Thee. (Thrice)

 As this is chanted the third time, the clergy go out of the church in procession, followed by all the faithful.

 Choir: Thy Resurrection, O Christ Savior, / the angels in the heavens sing; / vouchsafe also us on earth // with pure hearts to glorify Thee. (Repeatedly)

 After going around the church, the clergy stop at the closed doors.

 Senior Clergyman: Glory to the holy, and consubstantial, and life-creating, and indivisible Trinity, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

 Choir: Amen.

 Clergy: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Thrice)

 Choir: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life! (Thrice)

 While the choir chanteth, the priest censeth the people exclaiming:

 Priest: CHRIST IS RISEN!

 People: INDEED HE IS RISEN!

 The Priest reads the stichoi, and the choir sings the troparion after each

stichos:

Stichos 1: Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Him flee from before His face.

Choir: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

Stichos 2: As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish, as wax melteth before the fire.

Choir: Repeat Troparion

Stichos 3: So let the sinners perish at the presence of God, and let the righteous be glad.

Choir: Repeat Troparion

Stichos 4: This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad therein.

Choir: Repeat Troparion

Priest: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Choir: Repeat Troparion

Priest: Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Choir: Repeat Troparion

Priest: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death.

Choir: And upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

 And all enter the church. The Priest (or clergy) stand before the icon of the Resurrection in the center of the church. And the Great Litany is said.

 Deacon:In peace let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon: For the peace from above, and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:For the peace of the whole world, the good estate of the holy churches of God, and the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:For this holy temple, and for them that with faith, reverence, and the fear of God enter herein, let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon: For our Great Lord and Father, His Holiness Catholicos Ilia, Patriarch of All Georgia.; for our lord the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan N., for the venerable priesthood, the diaconate in Christ, for all the clergy and people, let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:For this land, its authorities and armed forces, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:That He may deliver His people from enemies both visible and invisible, and confirm in us oneness of mind, brotherly love and piety, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:For this city (or this town, or this holy monastery), for every city and country, and the faithful that dwell therein, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:For seasonable weather, abundance of the fruits of the earth, and peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:For travelers by sea, land and air; for the sick, the suffering, the imprisoned, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:That we may be delivered from all tribulation, wrath, and necessity, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

Priest: For unto Thee is due all glory, honor and worship; to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Choir: Amen.

ODE I

 Irmos, Tone 1:It is the Day of Resurrection, /

let us be radiant, O ye people; /

Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha: /

for from death to life, /

and from earth to heaven, /

Christ God hath brought us, //

as we sing the song of victory.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

Let us purify our senses, /

and we shall behold Christ, /

radiant with the unapproachable light of the Resurrection, /

and we shall clearly hear Him say, Rejoice! //

as we sing the hymn of victory.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

Let the heavens be glad as is meet, /

and let the earth rejoice, /

and let the whole world, both visible and invisible, /

keep festival: /

for Christ is risen, //

O gladness eternal.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. (Thrice)

Small Litany

Deacon: Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

Priest: For Thine is the dominion, and Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Choir: Amen.

ODE III

 Irmos, Tone 1: Come, let us drink a new drink, /

not one miraculously brought forth from a barren rock /

but the Fountain of Incorruption, /

springing forth from the tomb of Christ, //

in Whom we are strengthened.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

Now all things are filled with light; /

heaven and earth, /

and the nethermost parts of the earth; /

let all creation, therefore, celebrate the arising of Christ //

whereby it is strengthened.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

Yesterday I was buried with Thee, O Christ; /

today I rise with Thine arising. /

Yesterday I was crucified with Thee; /

do Thou Thyself glorify me with Thee, O Savior, //

in Thy kingdom.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. (Thrice)

 Small Litany

 Deacon: Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

 Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

 Priest: For Thou art our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

 Choir: Amen.

 Hypakoe, Eighth Tone

 Forestalling the dawn, the women came with Mary, /

and found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre, and heard from the angel: /

Why seek ye among the dead, as though He were mortal, Him Who liveth in everlasting light? /

Behold the grave-clothes. Go quickly and proclaim to the world that the Lord is risen and hath slain death. //

For He is the Son of God Who saveth mankind.

ODE IV

 Irmos, Tone 1:

On divine watch let the God-inspired Habakkuk stand with us, /

and show forth the light-bearing angel clearly saying: /

Today salvation is come to the world, /

for Christ is risen //

as Almighty.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

As a man-child did Christ appear /

when He came forth from the Virgin’s womb, /

and as a mortal was He called the Lamb. /

Without blemish also, is our Pascha /

for He tasted no defilement; //

and as true God, perfect was He proclaimed.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

Like unto a yearling lamb, /

Christ, our blessed Crown, /

of His own will was sacrificed for all, /

a Pascha of purification; /

and from the tomb the beautiful Sun of Righteousness //

shone forth again upon us.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

David, the ancestor of God, /

danced with leaping before the symbolical Ark; /

let us also, the holy people of God, /

beholding the fulfillment of the symbols, /

be divinely glad; //

for Christ is risen as Almighty.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. (Thrice)

Small Litany

 Deacon: Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

 Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

 Priest: For Thou art a good God, and the Lover of mankind, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

 Choir: Amen.

ODE V

 Irmos, Tone 1: Let us awake in the deep dawn, /

and instead of myrrh, offer a hymn to the Master, /

and we shall see Christ, /

the Sun of Righteousness, //

Who causeth life to dawn for all.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

Seeing Thy boundless compassion /

they who were held in the bonds of hades /

hastened to the light, O Christ, /

with gladsome feet, //

praising the Pascha eternal.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

Bearing lights, let us approach Christ, /

Who cometh forth from the tomb like a bridegroom, /

and with the feast-loving ranks of angels /

let us celebrate //

the saving Pascha of God.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. (Thrice)

Small Litany

 Deacon: Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

 Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

Priest: For sanctified and glorified is Thy most honorable and majestic name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Choir: Amen.

 ODE VI

 Irmos, Tone 1: Thou didst descend into the nethermost parts of the earth, /

and didst shatter the eternal bars that held the fettered, O Christ, /

and on the third day, /

like Jonah from the whale, //

Thou didst arise from the tomb.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

Having kept the seals intact, O Christ, /

Thou didst rise from the tomb, /

O Thou Who didst not break the seal of the Virgin by Thy birth, /

and Thou hast opened for us //

the doors of Paradise.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

O my Savior, the living and unslain Sacrifice, /

when, as God, Thou, of Thine Own will, /

hadst offered up Thyself unto the Father, /

Thou didst raise up with Thyself the whole race of Adam, //

when Thou didst rise from the tomb.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. (Thrice)

Small Litany

 Deacon: Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

 Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

 Priest: For Thou art the King of peace, and the Savior of our souls, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

 Choir: Amen.

 Kontakion:

 Tone 8:

Thou didst descend into the tomb, O Immortal, /

Thou didst destroy the power of hell. /

In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, /

proclaiming “Rejoice!” to the myrrh-bearing women; /

granting peace to Thine apostles, //

and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.

Ikos

 The myrrh-bearing women forestalled the dawn, seeking, as it were day, the Sun that was before the sun and Who had once set in the tomb, and they cried out one to another: O friends! come, let us anoint with spices the life-bringing and buried Body, the Flesh that raised up fallen Adam, that now lieth in the tomb. Let us go, let us hasten, like the Magi, and let us worship and offer myrrh as a gift to Him Who is wrapped now not in swaddling clothes but in a shroud. And let us weep and cry aloud: O Master, arise, Thou Who dost grant resurrection to the fallen.

 Hymn of the Resurrection

 Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ, * let us worship the holy Lord Jesus, * the only sinless One. * We worship Thy Cross, O Christ, * and Thy holy Resurrection we hymn and glorify. * For Thou art our God, * and we know none other beside Thee; * we call upon Thy name. * O come, all ye faithful, * let us worship Christ’s holy Resurrection, * for, behold, through the Cross joy hath come to all the world. * Ever blessing the Lord, * we hymn His Resurrection; * for, having endured crucifixion, * He hath destroyed death by death. (Thrice)

 ODE VII

 Irmos, Tone 1: He Who delivered the Children from the furnace, /

became man, suffereth as a mortal, /

and through His Passion /

doth clothe mortality with the beauty of incorruption, /

He is the only blessed and most glorious //

God of our fathers.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

The godly-wise women with myrrh /

followed after Thee in haste; /

but Him Whom they sought with tears as dead, /

they worshipped joyfully as the living God, /

and they brought unto Thy disciples, O Christ, //

the good tidings of the mystical Pascha.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

We celebrate the death of death, /

the destruction of hades, /

the beginning of another life eternal, /

and leaping for joy, /

we hymn the Cause, //

the only blessed and most glorious God of our fathers.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

For truly sacred and all-festive is this saving night, /

and this shining, light-bearing day, /

the harbinger of the Resurrection, /

whereon the Timeless Light bodily //

from the tomb upon all hath shined.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. (Thrice)

Small Litany

 Deacon: Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

 Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

 Priest: Blessed and most glorified be the dominion of Thy kingdom: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

 Choir: Amen.

 ODE VIII

 Irmos, Tone 1: This chosen and holy day /

is the first of the sabbaths, /

the queen and lady, /

the feast of feasts, /

and the festival of festivals, //

wherein we bless Christ unto the ages.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

Come, on this auspicious day of the Resurrection, /

let us partake of the fruit of the new vine /

of divine gladness of the kingdom of Christ, /

praising Him as God //

unto the ages.

Refrain: Christ is risen from the dead.

Lift up thine eyes about thee, O Zion, /

and see, for behold, there cometh unto thee /

like God-illumined beacons, /

from the west, and from the north, /

and from the sea, and from the east, //

thy children, in thee blessing Christ unto the ages.

Refrain: O Most Holy Trinity, our God, glory be to Thee.

O Father Almighty, and Word, and Spirit, /

one Nature united in three Persons, /

transcendent and most divine! /

Into Thee have we been baptized, //

and Thee will we bless unto all ages.

Choir: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. (Thrice)

Small Litany

Deacon: Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

 Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

 Priest: For blessed is Thy name, and glorified is Thy kingdom: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Choir: Amen.

 ODE IX

 Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, Him Who willingly suffered, and was buried, and rose from the grave on the third day.

 Tone 1:Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem, /

for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; /

dance now and be glad, O Zion, /

and do thou exult, O pure Theotokos, //

in the arising of Him Whom thou didst bear.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, Christ the Giver of life, Who arose from the grave on the third day.

Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem, /

for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; /

dance now and be glad, O Zion, /

and do thou exult, O pure Theotokos, //

in the arising of Him Whom thou didst bear.

Refrain: Christ is the new Pascha, the living-sacrifice, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

O how divine, how loving, /

how sweet is Thy voice! /

For Thou hast truly promised /

to be with us unto the end of the age, O Christ; /

having this foundation of hope, //

we the faithful rejoice.

Refrain: Today all creation is glad and rejoiceth, for Christ is risen, and hades is led in captivity.

O how divine, how loving, /

how sweet is Thy voice! /

For Thou hast truly promised /

to be with us unto the end of the age, O Christ; /

having this foundation of hope, //

we the faithful rejoice.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, the dominion of the Tri-hypostatic and Indivisible Godhead.

O Christ, Thou great and most sacred Pascha! /

O Wisdom, Word and power of God! /

Grant us to partake of Thee more fully /

in the unwaning day //

of Thy kingdom.

Refrain: Rejoice, O Virgin, rejoice; rejoice O blessed one; rejoice, O most glorified one: for thy Son is risen on the third day from the grave.

O Christ, Thou great and most sacred Pascha! /

O Wisdom, Word and power of God! /

Grant us to partake of Thee more fully /

in the unwaning day //

of Thy kingdom.

Choir: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. (Thrice)

Small Litany:

 Deacon: Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon:Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

 Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

 Priest: For all the hosts of heaven praise Thee, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

 Choir: Amen.

 Exapostilarion

 Tone 3: Having fallen asleep in the flesh, * as a mortal, * O King and Lord, * on the third day Thou didst rise again, * raising up Adam from corruption, * and abolishing death: * O Pascha of incorruption, * Salvation of the world! (Thrice)

 The Lauds (the Praises) in 1st tone:

 Choir: Let every breath praise the Lord. * Praise the Lord from the heavens, * praise Him in the highest. * To Thee is due praise, O God.

Praise Him, all ye His angels; * praise Him, all ye His hosts. * To Thee is due praise, O God.

Praise Him, O sun and moon; praise Him all ye stars and light.

Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens, and thou water that art above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord; for He spake, and they came to be; He commanded, and they were created.

He established them for ever, yea, for ever and ever; He hath set an ordinance, and it shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all ye abysses.

Fire, hail, snow, ice, blast of tempest, which perform His word.

The mountains and all the hills, fruitful trees, and all cedars.

The beasts and all the cattle, creeping things and winged birds.

Kings of the earth, and all peoples, princes and all the judges of the earth.

Young men and virgins, elders with the younger; let them praise the name of the Lord, for exalted is the name of Him alone.

His praise is above the earth and heaven, and He shall exalt the horn of His people.

This is the hymn for all His saints, for the sons of Israel, and for the people that draw nigh unto Him.

Sing unto the Lord a new song; His praise is in the church of the saints.

Let Israel be glad in Him that made him, let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.

Let them praise His name in the dance; with the timbrel and the psaltery let them chant unto Him.

For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people, and He shall exalt the meek with salvation.

The saints shall boast in glory, and they shall rejoice upon their beds.

The high praise of God shall be in their throat, and two-edged swords shall be in their hands.

To do vengeance among the heathen, punishments among the peoples.

To bind their kings with fetters, and their nobles with manacles of iron.

To do among them the judgment that is written. This glory shall be to all His saints.

Praise ye God in His saints, praise Him in the firmament of His power.

 Stichos: Praise Him for His mighty acts, * praise Him according to the multitude of His greatness.

Tone 1: We hymn, O Christ, Thy saving Passion, // and glorify Thy Resurrection.

Stichos: Praise Him with the sound of trumpet, * praise Him with the psaltery and harp.

 O Thou Who didst endure the Cross, / and didst abolish death, / and didst rise again from the dead: / Make our life peaceful, O Lord, // for Thou alone art almighty.

 Stichos: Praise Him with timbrel and dance,  praise him with strings and flute.

O Thou Who didst lead hades captive, / and didst raise up man by Thy Resurrection, / deem us worthy, with pure hearts, // to hymn and glorify Thee.

 Stichos: Praise Him with tuneful cymbals, praise Him with cymbals of jubilation. * Let every breath praise the Lord.

 Glorifying Thy Godly-majestic condescension, / we hymn Thee, O Christ; / for Thou wast born of a Virgin, / yet Thou didst remain inseparable from the Father; / Thou didst suffer as a man, and willingly didst endure the Cross; / Thou didst rise from the tomb, / coming forth as from a bridal chamber, / that Thou mightest save the world: // O Lord, glory be to Thee.

 THE PASCHAL STICHERA

Fifth Tone:

 Stichos: Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered.

 A Pascha sacred today hath been shown unto us;  Pascha new and holy,  a Pascha mystical,  a Pascha all-venerable!  A Pascha that is Christ the Redeemer;  a Pascha immaculate,  a great Pascha;  a Pascha of the faithful;  a Pascha that hath opened the gates of Paradise to us;  a Pascha that doth sanctify all the faithful.

 Stichos: As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish.

 Come from the vision, O ye women, bearers of good tidings, * and say ye unto Zion: * Receive from us the good tidings * of the Resurrection of Christ; * adorn thyself, exult, * and rejoice, O Jerusalem, * for thou hast seen Christ the King, * like a bridegroom come forth from the tomb.

 Stichos: So let sinners perish at the presence of God, and let the righteous be glad.

 The myrrh-bearing women * in the deep dawn * stood before the tomb of the Giver of life; * they found an angel sitting upon the stone, * and he, speaking to them, said thus: * Why seek ye the Living among the dead? *Why mourn ye the Incorruptible amid corruption? *Go, proclaim unto His disciples.

 Stichos: This is the day which the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad therein.

 Pascha the beautiful, * Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha, * the Pascha all-venerable hath dawned upon us. * Pascha, with joy let us embrace one another. * O Pascha! * Ransom from sorrow, * for from the tomb today, * as from a bridal chamber, * hath Christ shone forth, * and hath filled the women with joy, saying: * Proclaim unto the apostles.

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

 It is the Day of Resurrection, * let us be radiant for the feast, * and let us embrace one another. * Let us say, Brethren, even to them that hate us, * let us forgive all things on the Resurrection, * and thus let us cry out: *Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

 Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Thrice)

 Catechetical Homily of St. John Chrysostom

SEE HERE

Troparion to the Saint, Eighth Tone:

Choir: Grace shining forth from thy mouth like a beacon hath illumined the universe, / and disclosed to the world treasures of uncovetousness, / and shown us the heights of humility; / but while instructing by Thy words, O Father John Chrysostom, // intercede with the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls.

 After this, the deacon saith the Ektenia:

 Deacon: Have mercy on us, O God, according to Thy great mercy, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy. Thrice.

 Deacon: Again we pray for our Great Lord and Father, His Holiness Patriarch N.; for our lord the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan N., First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad; for our lord the Most Reverend (Archbishop or Bishop N., whose diocese it is) and all our brethren in Christ.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy. Thrice.

 Deacon: Again we pray for the God-preserved land and its Orthodox people both in the homeland and in the diaspora and for their salvation.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy. Thrice.

Deacon: Again we pray for this land, its authorities and armed forces.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy. Thrice.

 Deacon: Again we pray to the Lord our God that He may deliver His people from enemies visible and invisible, and confirm in us oneness of mind, brotherly love and piety.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy. Thrice.

 Deacon: Again we pray for our brethren, the priests, priestmonks, and all our brethren in Christ.

 Choir: Lord have mercy. Thrice.

 Deacon: Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable, holy Orthodox patriarchs; for pious kings and right-believing queens; and for the founders of this holy temple (if it be a monastery: this holy monastery): and for all our fathers and brethren gone to their rest before us, and the Orthodox here and everywhere laid to rest.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy. Thrice.

 Deacon: Again we pray for them that bring offerings and do good works in this holy and all-venerable temple; for them that minister and them that chant, and for all the people here present, that await of Thee great and abundant mercy.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy. Thrice.

 Priest: For a merciful God art Thou, and the Lover of mankind, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

 Choir:Amen.

 Deacon: Let us complete our morning prayer unto the Lord.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

 Choir: Lord, have mercy.

 Deacon: That the whole day may be perfect, holy, peaceful and sinless, let us ask of the Lord.

 Choir: Grant this, O Lord.

 Deacon: An angel of peace, a faithful guide, a guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask of the Lord.

 Choir: Grant this, O Lord.

 Deacon: Pardon and remission of our sins and offences, let us ask of the Lord.

 Choir: Grant this, O Lord.

 Deacon: Things good and profitable for our souls, and peace for the world, let us ask of the Lord.

 Choir: Grant this, O Lord.

 Deacon: That we may complete the remaining time of our life in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord.

 Choir: Grant this. O Lord.

 Deacon: A Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful, and a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ, let us ask.

 Choir: Grant this, O Lord.

 Deacon: Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God.

 Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

 Priest: For a good God art Thou, and the Lover of mankind, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

 Choir: Amen.

 Priest: Peace be unto All.

 Choir: And to thy spirit.

 Deacon: Let us bow our heads unto the Lord.

 Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

 Priest: For Thine it is to show mercy and to save us, O our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

 Choir: Amen.

 Deacon: Wisdom!

 Choir: Father, bless.

 Priest: He that is, is blessed, Christ our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

 Choir: Amen. Establish, O God, the holy Orthodox Faith and Orthodox Christians, unto the ages of ages.

 Clergy: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death:

 Choir: And upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

THE DISMISSAL:

 Priest: May Christ our true God, Who rose from the dead, and trampled down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowed life, through the intercessions of His most pure Mother, and of all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and the Lover of mankind.

 Priest: CHRIST IS RISEN! (Thrice)

 People: INDEED HE IS RISEN! (After each)

 Choir: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Thrice)

And unto us hath He granted life eternal; we worship His Resurrection on the third day.

Read Full Post »

The text of the Holy Saturday Matins is deeply moving and poetic, with very dramatic hymns. It is performed late at 6 a.m. Saturday.

An English translation is provided here, kindly translated by nuns of The Community of Holy Myrrhbearers in  New York.

Read Full Post »

Saint Basil the Great was a 4th century Bishop of Caesarea, a city in the Cappadocia region of Anatolia from whence Saint Nino came. He is renowned as one of the Three Holy Heirarchs of the early church, along with Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Gregory the Theologian. His Divine Liturgy is used during Lent today, and his homilies (sermons) are still widely read and discussed by Orthodox Christians. This sermon on Fasting is considered authoritative.

1. “Sound the trumpet at the new moon,” says the Psalmist, “in the notable day of your feast.”2 This injunction is prophetic. The Scripture readings indicate to us more loudly than any trumpet and more distinctly than any musical instrument the Feast that precedes these days. For we have learned from Isaiah the Grace to be gained from the fasts. Isaiah rejected the Jewish way of fasting and showed us what true fasting means. “Fast not for quarrels and strifes, but loose every bond of iniquity.”3 And the Lord says: “Be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, but anoint thine head, and wash thy face.”4 Let us, therefore, exhibit the demeanor that we have been taught, not being doleful about the coming days, but maintaining a joyful attitude, as befits holy people. No one who desponds is crowned; no one who sulks sets up a trophy of victory. Do not be sullen while you are being healed. It would be absurd not to rejoice over the health of your soul, but rather to be distressed over a change of diet and to give the impression of setting more store by the pleasure of your stomach than by the care of your soul. For satiety brings delight to the stomach, whereas fasting brings profit to the soul. Be of good cheer, for the physician has given you a medicine that destroys sin. For, just as the tapeworms that breed in the intestines of children are obliterated by certain very pungent drugs, so also fasting — a remedy truly worthy of its appellation —5, when introduced into the soul, kills off the sin that lurks deep within it.

2. “Anoint thine head, and wash thy face.”6 This sentence summons you to mysteries. One who has been anointed has received unction; he who has been washed has been cleansed. Apply this injunction to your inner members. Wash your soul clean of sins. Have your head anointed with holy oil, so that you might become a partaker of Christ, and approach the fast in this spirit. Do not disfigure your face as do the hypocrites.7 The face is disfigured when one’s inner disposition is obscured by a sham external appearance, concealed by falsehood as if beneath a veil. An actor in a theatre is one who assumes someone else’s persona — if he is a slave, he often plays a master, and if he is a private citizen, he plays a king. Likewise, in this life, as if on some stage, the majority of people turn their existence into a theatre, entertaining one thing in their hearts, but displaying something else to men by their outward appearance. Therefore, do not disfigure your face. Whatever you may be, appear as such. Do not transform yourself into a sullen person, seeking the glory that comes from appearing to be abstemious. For there is no profit in trumpeting your good deeds, nor any gain in advertising your fasting. Things that are done for outward show do not yield any fruit in the age to come, but terminate in human praise. Run with gladness to the gift of the fast. Fasting is an ancient gift, which does not grow old or become outmoded, but is ever renewed and flourishes with vigor.

3. Do you think that I am resting the origin of fasting on the Law? Why, fasting is even older than the Law. If you wait a little, you will discover the truth of what I have said. Do not suppose that fasting originated with the Day of Atonement, appointed for Israel on the tenth day of the seventh month.8 No, go back through history and inquire into the ancient origins of fasting. It is not a recent invention; it is an heirloom handed down by our fathers. Everything distinguished by antiquity is venerable. Have respect for the antiquity of fasting. It is as old as humanity itself; it was prescribed in Paradise. It was the first commandment that Adam received: “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat.”9 Through the words “ye shall not eat” the law of fasting and abstinence is laid down. If Eve had fasted from the tree, we would not now be in need of this fast. “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”10 We have been wounded through sin; we are healed through repentance, but repentance without fasting is fruitless. “Cursed is the ground…. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth for thee.”11 You were ordered to live in sorrow, not in luxury. Make amends to God through fasting. Yet even life in Paradise is an image of fasting, not only insofar as man, sharing the life of the Angels, attained to likeness with them through being contented with little, but also insofar as those things which human ingenuity subsequently invented had not yet been devised by those living in Paradise, be it the drinking of wine, the slaughter of animals, or whatever else befuddles the human mind.

4. Since we did not fast, we fell from Paradise; let us, therefore, fast in order that we might return thither. Do you not see how Lazarus entered Paradise through fasting?12 Do not emulate the disobedience of Eve; never again accept the advice of the serpent, who suggested eating out of regard for the flesh. Do not use bodily sickness and infirmity as an excuse for not fasting. You are not offering such excuses to me, but to Him Who knows all about you. Tell me, you are unable to fast, and yet you are able eat to satiety throughout your life and oppress your body with the burden of what you eat? And yet, I know of doctors who prescribe for sick people not a variety of foods, but fasting and abstinence. How is it, then, that, while you are able to carry out doctors’ orders, you allege that you are unable to keep the fasts ordained by the Church? What is easier for the stomach? To pass the night after observing a frugal diet, or to lie in bed weighed down by an abundance of foods? Or rather, not lying down, but tossing and turning, heaving and groaning — unless you are going to say that it is easier for a helmsman to save a vessel weighed down with cargo than one that is less encumbered and lighter. The one that is laden with a multitude of goods will be submerged when any wave, no matter how low, rears up against it, whereas the one carrying a moderate quantity of freight easily rides the waves, there being nothing to prevent it from rising above the surge. Likewise, the bodies of men, when weighed down by constant surfeiting, easily become overwhelmed by illnesses, whereas, when they avail themselves of simple and easily-digested fare, they not only escape, as from the eruption of a tempest, the suffering that is to be expected from any disease, but also repel like the onslaught of a squall the sickness that is already present within them. In your view, I suppose, it is more laborious to rest than to run and to be still than to struggle — if, indeed, you assert that it is more appropriate for those who are ill to indulge in delicacies than to observe a frugal diet. For the force that governs living creatures naturally engenders moderation and frugality and adapts itself to that which is eaten; but when the body ingests sumptuous and varied foods, this force, being entirely unable to tolerate them, gives rise to a variety of diseases.

5. But let our discourse proceed to history in reviewing the antiquity of fasting, and how all of the Saints, receiving it as an ancestral legacy, preserved it in the way that fathers hand things on to their children; thus, this possession has come down to us by a process of successive transmission. There was no wine in Paradise, nor any slaughter of animals, nor any consumption of meat. After the flood, there was wine; after the flood came the ordinance: “Eat all things as the green herb.”13 When hope of human perfection was abandoned, then enjoyment was permitted. Noah, who knew nothing about the use of wine, is proof that men had no experience thereof. For wine had not yet found its way into human life, nor had men become accustomed to it. Therefore, when he had neither seen anyone else drinking wine nor tried it himself, he unguardedly succumbed to the harm that comes therefrom: “For Noah…planted a vineyard; and he drank of its fruit, and became drunk”;14 not because he was a drunkard, but because he did not know how much wine he could imbibe. Thus, the discovery of wine-drinking is more recent than Paradise, so ancient is the dignity of fasting. Moreover, we know that Moses ascended the mountain while fasting.15 For he would not have dared to touch the peak of the mountain while it was smoking, nor would he have made bold to enter the darkness, had he not been armed with fasting. It was through fasting that he received the commandment inscribed on the tablets by the finger of God. Above, fasting ushered in the Law; below, gluttony led to the madness of idolatry. “And the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”16 The forty days in which the servant of God waited on God in fasting and prayer were rendered futile by a single drinking bout. For the tablets inscribed by the finger of God that Moses obtained were shattered by drunkenness, since the Prophet did not judge the drunken people worthy to receive the Law from God. In one moment of time that people, who had been taught about God through stupendous miracles, plunged headlong, through gluttony, into the idol-madness of the Egyptians. Now juxtapose both of these facts: how fasting brings one close to God, and how indulgence drives away salvation. Once you descend to indulgence, you are on the road to perdition.

6. What ruined Esau and made him a slave of his brother? Was it not a single act of eating, which caused him to sell his birthright?17 Was it not prayer combined with fasting that bestowed Samuel on his mother?18 What was it that rendered the mighty champion Samson invincible? Was it not fasting, with which he was conceived in his mother’s womb?19 Fasting gave birth to him; fasting suckled him; fasting made him grow to manhood, and an Angel enjoined this fast on his mother: “She shall not eat of anything that cometh from the vine, neither shall she drink wine or strong drink.”20 Fasting gives birth to prophets and strengthens the powerful; fasting makes lawgivers wise. Fasting is a good safeguard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes. Fasting repels temptations, anoints unto piety; it is the comrade of watchfulness and the artificer of chastity. In war it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness. It sanctifies the Nazirite21 and perfects the Priest. For it is not possible to dare to perform sacred actions without fasting, not only in the mystical and true worship of the present era, but also in the symbolic worship offered according to the Law. Fasting made Elias a beholder of that great vision; for, having cleansed his soul by fasting for forty days, he was thus vouchsafed, in the cave in Horeb, to behold the Lord as far as it is possible for a man to do so.22 While fasting he restored to the widow her son, having been fortified against death itself through fasting.23 A voice that went forth from the mouth of one fasting shut the heavens for the transgressing people for three years and six months. For, in order to soften the untamed heart of his stiff-necked people, he chose to condemn himself to hardship together with them. Hence, he said: “As the Lord liveth, there shall not be water upon the earth, except by the word of my mouth.”24 He brought a fast upon the people through famine, so as to correct the evil caused by their dissolute life of luxury. What kind of life did Elissaios have? How did he enjoy hospitality from the Shunamite woman? How did he himself welcome the prophets? Did he not fulfill the duties of hospitality with wild greens and a little flour?25 At that time, after the gourd had been placed in the pottage, those who had tasted it would have been in peril, had not the poison been neutralized by the prayer of the faster.26 There is a physical substance called amianthus,27 which is noncombustible, and which, when placed in a flame, appears to glow like coal, but emerges purer when removed from the fire, as if it has been brightened and cleansed with water. Such were the bodies of those three Youths in Babylon, which, on account of their fasting,28 possessed the properties of amianthus. For in the fiery furnace, as if they were golden by nature, they thus proved to be invulnerable to the fire. In fact, they proved to be stronger than gold. For the fire did not smelt them, but preserved them intact. And yet, nothing could have withstood those flames, which were being fed with naphtha, pitch, and brushwood, to such an extent that they streamed forth forty-nine cubits into the air and, feeding on what surrounded them, consumed many of the Chaldæans.29 Entering that conflagration, therefore, armed with fasting, the Youths trampled it underfoot, breathing refined and dew-laden air in such a fierce fire. The fire did not dare to touch even their hair, because they had been nourished by fasting.30

7. Daniel, a man greatly beloved,31 who ate no bread and drank no water for three weeks,32 when he descended into the den, taught even lions to fast.33 The lions were not able to sink their teeth into him, as if he were made of stone, bronze, or some other harder material. Thus, fasting, as when iron is dipped in water, had toughened that man’s body and rendered it impregnable to lions; for they did not even open their mouths against the Saint. Fasting extinguished the power of fire and stopped the mouths of lions. Fasting sends up prayer to Heaven, becoming, as it were, a wing for it on its upward journey. Fasting is the enhancement of households, the mother of health, the guide of the young, the adornment of elders, the good companion of wayfarers, the steadfast comrade of married couples. A husband does not suspect a plot against his marriage when he sees his wife observing the fast. A wife does not pine with envy when she sees her husband embracing the fast. Who has ever diminished his resources during a fast? Count up today what is in your house, and after a fast count it again. You will not have run short of any household goods because of the fast. No animal laments death, nowhere is there any blood, no sentence is pronounced against animals by the inexorable stomach. The knives of cooks are checked; the table is content with foods that grow naturally. The Sabbath was given to the Jews, Scripture says, that your beast of burden and your servant might enjoy a rest.34 Let the fast be a rest from constant toils for the menials who serve you throughout the year. Give your cook a break, grant your footman a holiday; stay the hand of your cupbearer. Let your pastry cook have a vacation from time to time. Let your household at last have some respite from the never-ending commotion, smoke, the odor of fat, and people running hither and thither and ministering, as it were, to that implacable mistress, the stomach. In any case, even tax-collectors sometimes give small breaks to those who owe them money. Let the stomach give the mouth some rest, and let it make a truce with us for five days35—for otherwise it is always making demands and never desists, receiving today and forgetting tomorrow. When it is full, it philosophizes about abstinence; when it is deflated, it forgets such ideas.

8. Fasting knows nothing of loans; the table of a faster does not reek of usury. A father’s debts do not suffocate the orphaned son of a faster like serpents that coil themselves around their victims. In other ways, too, fasting is the occasion of gladness. For, just as thirst makes a drink refreshing and prior hunger makes a meal pleasant, so also fasting heightens our enjoyment of food. For, by interposing itself and interrupting your constant self-indulgence, it will make the consumption of food appear desirable to you, like an absent friend. Hence, if you wish to make a meal appetizing, accept the transformation that comes about in you from fasting. Because of your intense addiction to lavish fare, you have dulled your enjoyment of food without realizing it, ruining pleasure through hedonism. For nothing is so desirable that it does not become contemptible through constant gratification. It is the things that rarely come our way that we enjoy with the greatest avidity. Thus, He Who created us provided that we should take abiding delight in His gifts through an alternation in our lifestyle.36 Do you not see that the sun is more resplendent after the night, that being awake is more pleasant after sleep, that health is more desirable after the experience of the opposite condition, and that the meal table is more gratifying after a fast? It is the same for the rich and those who dine sumptuously as it is for those whose diet is frugal and improvised.

9. Fear the example of the rich man, who was consigned to the fire by his lifelong luxury.37 It was not for injustice that he was condemned, but for his sumptuous lifestyle, and for this reason he was tormented in the fiery furnace of Hell. Now, in order to extinguish that fire, we need water. Fasting is beneficial not only for the life to come, but even more is it profitable for the flesh itself. For even those in the peak of condition experience reverses and changes, when nature fails and proves unable to maintain an abundance of good health. Beware of spurning water now,38 lest you subsequently find yourself longing for a drop of it, as did the rich man. No one has ever gotten drunk on water. No one has ever contracted headaches from drinking too much water. No one who drinks only water has ever needed someone else’s feet.39 No one has lost the use of his feet or hands through their being nourished with water. Bad digestion, which inevitably dogs those who indulge in dainties, causes serious bodily disorders. The complexion of a faster is venerable, not breaking out in unseemly red blotches, but adorned with the pallor of temperance.40 His gaze is calm, his gait is sedate, his countenance is thoughtful — not demeaned by unrestrained laughter —, his speech is moderate, and his heart is pure. Call to mind the Saints from all ages, “of whom the world was not worthy, [who] wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.”41 Emulate their way of life, if you seek their portion. What was it that gave Lazarus rest in the bosom of Abraham?42 Was it not fasting? The life of John the Baptist was one continuous fast.43 He did not have a bed, a table, arable land, a plough ox, wheat, a quern, or anything else that pertains to nourishment. For this reason, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.”44 Among other things, fasting, which Paul reckoned among the afflictions in which he gloried, raised him up to the third Heaven.45 To cap all that we have said, our Lord, having fortified through fasting the flesh which He assumed for our sake, submitted to the attacks of the Devil therewith, both instructing us to anoint and train ourselves with fasting for the struggles that we must undergo amid temptations and affording the adversary a handle, so to speak, through hunger.46 For on account of the height of His Divinity He would have been inaccessible to the Devil, had He not submitted to human weakness through hunger. However, before He ascended back to Heaven, He tasted food, giving assurance of the true nature of His risen body.47 Will you not give up fattening and gorging yourself? Will you allow your mind to waste away through lack of nourishment, because you take no thought for saving and life-giving teachings? Or do you not know that, just as in the case of a battle those who fight for one side cause the defeat of the other, so he who sides with the flesh prevails over the spirit, while he who aligns himself with the spirit brings his flesh into subjection? “[For] these [flesh and spirit] are contrary the one to the other.”48 Hence, if you wish to make your mind strong, tame your flesh through fasting. For this is what the Apostle says, that to the extent that our outward man perishes, our inward man is renewed;49 he also says: “[W]hen I am weak, then am I strong.”50 Will you not disdain perishable foods? Will you not conceive a desire for the table in the Kingdom of Heaven, for which fasting here on earth is assuredly a preparation? Do you not know that by immoderate satiety you fatten for yourself the worm that torments? For who amid lavish feasting and perpetual delectation has become the partaker of any spiritual gift? Moses needed a second fast in order to receive the second set of laws.51 If the animals had not fasted along with the Ninevites, the Ninevites would not have escaped the threat of destruction.52 Whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?53 Were they not those of the people who demanded to eat meat?54 As long as they were content with manna and water from the rock, they overcame the Egyptians and journeyed through the sea; there was not a feeble one among their tribes.”55 But when they recalled the fleshpots56 and returned to Egypt in their desires, they did not see the Promised Land. Do you not fear their example? Do you not shudder at their gluttony, lest it exclude you from the good things for which we hope? But not even the wise Daniel would have seen visions, had he not rendered his soul more pellucid through fasting. For certain thick vapors are emitted from rich foods, which, like a dense cloud, prevent the illumination produced by the Holy Spirit from entering the mind. But if there is any food that is proper even to Angels, it is bread, as the Prophet says: “Man ate the bread of Angels”57 — not meat, nor wine, nor those items that are zealously sought after by those enslaved to their stomachs. Fasting is a weapon against the army of demons. “[For] this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”58 So many are the benefits of fasting, whereas satiety is the beginning of lasciviousness. For sybaritism, inebriation, and all manner of rich foods immediately give rise to every kind of brutish wantonness. Hence, men become lecherous stallions59 on account of the frenzy wrought in the soul by self-indulgence. Perversions of nature arise from drunkards when they seek the feminine in the masculine and the masculine in the feminine. Fasting teaches moderation in conjugal relations, and, by chastising intemperance even in licit sexual activity, engenders abstinence by mutual agreement, so that married couples may devote themselves to prayer.60

10. Do not, however, define the benefit that comes from fasting solely in terms of abstinence from foods. For true fasting consists in estrangement from vices. “Loose every burden of iniquity.”61 Forgive your neighbor the distress he causes you; forgive him his debts. “Fast not for quarrels and strifes.”62 You do not eat meat, but you devour your brother. You abstain from wine, but do not restrain yourself from insulting others. You wait until evening to eat, but waste your day in law courts. Woe to those who get drunk, but not from wine.63 Anger is inebriation of the soul, making it deranged, just as wine does. Grief is also a form of intoxication, one that submerges the intellect. Fear is another kind of drunkenness, when we have phobias regarding inappropriate objects; for Scripture says: “Rescue my soul from fear of the enemy.”64 And in general, every passion which causes mental derangement may justly be called drunkenness. Pray consider a man smitten with anger, how he is inebriated by this passion. He is not in control of himself, he does not know who he is, nor does he know those around him. He attacks everyone and collides with everyone just as in a night-battle; he speaks recklessly, cannot restrain himself, rails, pounds his fists, utters threats, swears, shouts, and becomes apoplectic. Avoid such inebriation as this, and do not accept the inebriation that comes from wine. Do not precede the season in which you drink only water by consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Let not drunkenness initiate you into the fast. For neither through greed do you attain to righteousness, nor through wantonness to temperance, nor, in short, through vice to virtue. The door to fasting is a different one. Inebriation leads to wantonness, frugality to fasting. An athlete trains before a contest; a faster practices abstinence before a fast. Do not indulge in drunkenness before the five days as if taking revenge for the days of fasting or attempting to outwit the Lawgiver. For you toil in vain if you afflict your body, but do not receive consolation for your privation.65 The receptacle is unreliable, you are drawing water with a perforated jar.66 For wine flows through your body, coursing along its own path, but sin remains in you. A servant runs away from a master who beats him; but you cleave to wine, which beats your head every day? Bodily need is the best criterion for the use of wine. If you exceed your limits, on the following day you will have headaches, you will be listless and dizzy, and you will reek of putrid wine. Everything will seem to you to be spinning around and unstable. For drunkenness not only brings on sleep, the brother of death, but also a wakefulness that resembles dreams.

11. Do you know Whom you are going to receive?67 He Who gave us this promise: “I and my Father will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.”68 Why do you forestall Him by inebriation and prevent the Master from entering you? Why do you encourage the enemy to occupy your ramparts? Inebriation does not receive the Lord; inebriation drives away the Holy Spirit. For smoke drives bees away, while drunkenness drives away spiritual gifts. Fasting is the adornment of a city, the stability of the marketplace, peace in the home, and security of possessions. Do you want to see its dignity? Pray compare this evening with tomorrow evening, and you will see a city transformed from tumult and commotion into profound tranquillity. Would that today might resemble tomorrow in dignity, and that tomorrow might yield nothing to today in gladness. May the Lord Who has brought us to this period of the year grant us, as contenders, to display steadfast and vigorous perseverance in these preliminary contests and to attain to the Day of the Lord, whereon crowns are bestowed, so that we might now commemorate the saving Passion of Christ, and in the age to come enjoy the reward for our deeds in life at the just Judgment of Christ Himself, for unto Him be glory unto the ages. Amen.”

1 Translated from the Greek original in Patrologia Græca, Vol. XXXI, cols. 164A-184C.
2 Psalm 80:4, Septuaginta.
3 Isaiah 58:4, 6.
4 St. Matthew 6:16, 17.
5. “Νηστεία” literally means “not eating.” St. Basil is arguing, here, that fasting kills off sin by starving it of the aliment on which it feeds.
6 St. Matthew 6:17.
7 St. Matthew 6:16.
8 Leviticus 23:27.
9 Genesis 2:17.
10 St. Matthew 9:12.
11 Genesis 3:17-18.
12 St. Luke 16:19-31.

13 Cf. Genesis 9:3.
14 Genesis 9:20-21.
15 Exodus 24:18.
16 Exodus 32:6.
17 Genesis 25:29-34.
18 I Kings 1:13-16, Septuaginta.
19 Judges 13:4.
20 Judges 13:14.
21 Another name for an ascetic; cf. St. Basil the Great, “Epistle 44,” §1, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XXXII, col. 361C.
22 III Kings 19:8-13.
23 III Kings 17:17-24.
24 III Kings 17:1.
25 IV Kings 4:39-41.
26 Elissaios, as a Prophet, was an ascetic and therefore a practitioner of fasting.
27 Amianthus is a fine, silky type of asbestos.
28 Daniel 1:8-16.
29 Daniel 3:46-48, Septuaginta.
30 Daniel 3:50, Septuaginta.
31 Daniel 10:11.
32 Daniel 10:2-3 (where it is stated that Daniel drank no wine).
33 Daniel 6:16-22.
34 Exodus 20:10.
35 During five weekdays in Lent, the Fast is observed with greater strictness than on weekends, when wine and oil are permitted.
36 That is, through the alternation of fasting and non-fasting seasons.
37 St. Luke 16:19-31.
38 That is, during Lent.
39 That is, to carry him home when drunk.
40 Cf. Long Rules, XVII.2, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XXXI, col. 964C.
41 Hebrews 11:38, 37.
42 St. Luke 16:23.
43 St. Matthew 3:4.
44 St. Matthew 11:11.
45 II Corinthians 11:27; 12:2.
46 St. Matthew 4:2.
47 St. Luke 24:43.
48 Galatians 5:17.
49 II Corinthians 4:16.
50 II Corinthians 12:10.
51 Exodus 34:28.
52 Jonah 3:4-10.
53 Hebrews 3:17; cf. Numbers 14:29.
54 Numbers 11:33.
55 Psalm 104:37, Septuaginta.
56 Exodus 16:3.
57 Psalm 77:25, Septuaginta.
58 St. Mark 9:29.
59 Jeremiah 5:8.
60 I Corinthians 7:5.
61 Isaiah 58:6.
62 Isaiah 58:4.
Mas63
Isaiah 51:21.
64 Psalm 63:2, Septuaginta.
65 That is, by excessive drinking before the Fast or on weekends during the Fast, one impairs his ability to live a more spiritual life by giving himself the spiritual consolation of the prayers appointed for Great Lent.
66 The latter phrase is taken directly from Xenophon (Oikonomicos, VII.40) and cited elsewhere by St. Basil, e.g. in “Homily XXI, ‘That We Should Not Be Attached to Earthly Things,’” §3, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XXXI, col. 545C.
67 That is, in Holy Communion. The verb ὑποδέχεσθαι is very commonly used by the Greek Fathers to denote the reception of Communion; cf. St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, IV.13, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XCIV, col. 1149A.
68 Cf. St. John 14:23.

Source: Orthodox Tradition, Volume XXIII, Number 3 (2006), pp. 6-16.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: