Contemporary theology

Sixth Sunday of Great Lent

PALM SUNDAY, THE ENTRANCE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST INTO JERUSALEM           

FIRST ANTIPHON

 
VERSE: I love the Lord because He has heard the voice of my supplication.
 
REFRAIN: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Savior, save us.
 
VERSE: Because He inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.
 
REFRAIN: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Savior, save us.
 
VERSE: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
 
REFRAIN: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Savior, save us.
 
SECOND ANTIPHON
 
VERSE: I kept my faith even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted!”
 
REFRAIN: O Son of God who sat upon the foal, save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia!
 
VERSE: What shall I render to the Lord for all the things He has given me?
 
REFRAIN: O Son of God who sat upon the foal, save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia!
 
VERSE: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.  Only-begotten Son and immortal Word of God...
 
THIRD ANTIPHON
 
VERSE: O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever!
 
PALM SUNDAY TROPARION - TONE ONE:
 
By raising Lazarus from the dead before Thy Passion, Thou didst confirm the universal resurrection, O Christ God! Like the children with the palms of victory, we cry out to Thee, O Vanquisher of Death: Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!
 
VERSE: Let the house of Israel say: For He is good, for His mercy endures forever!
 
PALM SUNDAY TROPARION
 
INTROIT OF THE LITTLE ENTRANCE:
 
Wisdom, let us be attentive! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord! God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
 
PALM SUNDAY TROPARION
 
SECOND PALM SUNDAY TROPARION - TONE FOUR:
 
When we were buried with Thee in Baptism, O Christ God, we were made worthy of eternal life by Thy Resurrection! Now we praise Thee and sing: Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!
 
PALM SUNDAY KONTAKION - TONE SIX:
 
Sitting on Thy throne in Heaven, carried on a foal on earth, O Christ God! Accept the praise of angels and the songs of children, who sing: Blessed is He that comes to recall Adam!
 
HYMN TO THE THEOTOKOS (REPLACES “IT IS TRULY MEET”):
 
God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us! Celebrate the feast and come with gladness! Let us magnify Christ with palms and branches, singing: Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!
 
EPISTLE READING
 
THE PROKEIMENON IN TONE FOUR:
 
Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
 
PALM SUNDAY: PHILIPPIANS 4: 4-9  
 
Brethren, rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
 
THE ALLELUIA VERSES:
 
O sing to the Lord a new song, for the Lord has done marvelous things! All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God!
 
GOSPEL READING
 
PALM SUNDAY: JOHN 12: 1-18
 
At that time, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.” Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it, as it is written: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.”  His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him. Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign.

 

Venerable Mary of Egypt

Saint Zosimas (April 4) was a monk at a certain Palestinian monastery on the outskirts of Caesarea. Having dwelt at the monastery since his childhood, he lived there in asceticism until he reached the age of fifty-three. Then he was disturbed by the thought that he had attained perfection, and needed no one to instruct him. “Is there a monk anywhere who can show me some form of asceticism that I have not attained? Is there anyone who has surpassed me in spiritual sobriety and deeds?”

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Zosimas, you have struggled valiantly, as far as this is in the power of man. However, there is no one who is righteous (Rom 3:10). So that you may know how many other ways lead to salvation, leave your native land, like Abraham from the house of his father (Gen 12:1), and go to the monastery by the Jordan.”

The Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

The Feast of the Annunciation is one of the earliest Christian feasts, and was already being celebrated in the fourth century.

There is a painting of the Annunciation in the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome dating from the second century. The Council of Toledo in 656 mentions the Feast, and the Council in Trullo in 692 says that the Annunciation was celebrated during Great Lent. The Greek and Slavonic names for the Feast may be translated as “good tidings.” This, of course, refers to the Incarnation of the Son of God and the salvation He brings. The background of the Annunciation is found in the Gospel of Saint Luke (1:26-38). The troparion describes this as the “beginning of our salvation, and the revelation of the eternal mystery,” for on this day the Son of God became the Son of Man.

St. Gregory Dialogus, the Pope of Rome

Saint Gregory Dialogus, Pope of Rome, was born in Rome around the year 540. His grandfather was Pope Felix, and his mother Sylvia (November 4) and aunts Tarsilla and Emiliana were also numbered among the saints by the Roman Church. Having received a most excellent secular education, he attained high government positions.

Leading a God-pleasing life, he yearned for monasticism with all his soul. After the death of his father, Saint Gregory used his inheritance to establish six monasteries. At Rome he founded a monastery dedicated to the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, where he received monastic tonsure. Later, on a commission of Pope Pelagius II, Saint Gregory lived for a while in Constantinople. There he wrote his Commentary on the Book of Job.

St. Gregory Palamas the Archbishop of Thessalonica

Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica, was born in the year 1296 in Constantinople. Saint Gregory’s father became a prominent dignitary at the court of Andronicus II Paleologos (1282-1328), but he soon died, and Andronicus himself took part in the raising and education of the fatherless boy. Endowed with fine abilities and great diligence, Gregory mastered all the subjects which then comprised the full course of medieval higher education. The emperor hoped that the youth would devote himself to government work. But Gregory, barely twenty years old, withdrew to Mount Athos in the year 1316 (other sources say 1318) and became a novice in the Vatopedi monastery under the guidance of the monastic Elder Saint Nicodemus of Vatopedi (July 11). There he was tonsured and began on the path of asceticism. A year later, the holy Evangelist John the Theologian appeared to him in a vision and promised him his spiritual protection. Gregory’s mother and sisters also became monastics.

Feast of the Holy Great Martyr Theodore the Tyron

Life of the Saint

This holy, glorious Martyr of Christ came from Amasia in Pontus and was a Roman legionary at the time of Maximian’s great persecution (c. 303). He had been a Christian since childhood but kept his faith secret, not out of cowardice but because he had not yet received a sign from God to present himself for martyrdom. While his cohort was stationed near the town of Euchaïta (Helenopontus), he learned that the people of the district lived in terror of a dreadful dragon, which lurked in the surrounding forest. He realized that here was the quest in which God would show him whether the time had come to offer himself for martyrdom. Going deep into the woods, he came upon an abandoned village whose only remaining occupant, a Christian princess named Eusebia, told him where the monster had its lair. He set off to find it, arming himself with the sign of the Cross, and when he confronted the roaring, fire-spitting beast, he thrust his spear through its head and killed it.

A Sermon for Forgiveness Sunday

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!

“Forgive me…” Such easy, simple words! It doesn’t even take a deep breath to say them. It took mankind so many generations, tears, sins and so much suffering to respond to the call for repentance by the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John, the Baptist of the Lord, with the words: “Forgive me, O Lord!” and enter the waters of the Jordan.