Life & Faith

Homily on Palm Sunday

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; proclaim it aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, the King is coming to thee, just, and a Savior; he is meek and riding on an ass, and a young foal (Zach. 9:9).

Entry of The Lord Jesus Christ in JerusalemThe prophet of God pronounced this prophecy over four hundred years before the event that we commemorate and celebrate today. Having completed His preaching on the earth, our Lord Jesus Christ made His triumphant entry into the royal city of Jerusalem, into the city where the true God was worshipped, a city in most ways Godly. The Lord made this entry as the King and victor, in order to finish His service by a decisive exploit: destroying death by death; removing the curse from the human race by taking this curse upon Himself. He made His entry into the royal city on the colt of an ass, whereon yet never man sat (Lk. 19:30), in order to restore to mankind the royal dignity which our forefather had wasted; to restore this dignity by ascending the cross. The unbroken colt was tamed beneath the wondrous Rider. The Apostles placed their garments upon the colt; great multitudes of people ran ahead to meet the Lord and walk alongside Him, shouting in their ecstasy, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he [the king (Lk. 19:38)] that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest (Mt. 21:9). The Lord is proclaimed King in the name of the Lord at His own beckoning—not accidentally, and not by conscious human will. In the course of four days, those same people who that day proclaimed Him King will cry, Away with him, away with him, crucify him… We have no king but Caesar (Jn. 19:15).

Spiritual instruction on St Lazarus Saturday

Wishing to strengthen His disciples before His coming Passion on the Cross, the Lord works the greatest miracle that anyone has ever seen. Neither He nor the saints who lived before Him had ever raised decaying human corpses from the dead. The Raising of Lazarus is an image of both the Resurrection of Christ following it and the resurrection of all mankind that will come at the end of the world. St. John Chrysostom interprets the spiritual meaning of this wondrous miracle, which truly goes beyond the laws of nature and clearly shows the Savior’s divinity:

The Raising of Lazarus (Lazarus Saturday)

Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday

Visible triumphs are few in the earthly life of our Lord Jesus Christ. He preached a kingdom “not of this world.” At His nativity in the flesh there was “no room at the inn.” For nearly thirty years, while He grew “in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52), He lived in obscurity as “the son of Mary.” When He appeared from Nazareth to begin His public ministry, one of the first to hear of Him asked: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). In the end He was crucified between two thieves and laid to rest in the tomb of another man.

Venerable John Climacus of Sinai, Author of “the Ladder”

Saint John of the Ladder is honored by Holy Church as a great ascetic and author of the renowned spiritual book called THE LADDER, from which he is also called “of the Ladder” (Climacus).

There is almost no information about Saint John’s origins. One tradition suggests that he was born in Constantinople around the year 570, and was the son of Saints Xenophon and Maria (January 26).

John went to Sinai when he was sixteen, submitting to Abba Martyrius as his instructor and guide. After four years, Saint John was tonsured as a monk. Abba Strategios, who was present at Saint John’s tonsure, predicted that he would become a great luminary in the Church of Christ.

The First Vigil

The Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete

The Great Canon of St Andrew, Bishop of Crete, also known in the Serbian Tradition as the First Vigil. This is the longest canon in all of our services, and is associated with Great Lent, since the only times it is appointed to be read in church are the first four nights of Great Lent (Clean Monday through Clean Thursday, at Great Compline, when it is serialized) and at Matins for Thursday of the fifth week of Great Lent, when it is read in its entirety (in this latter service, the entire life of St Mary of Egypt is also read).

Instructions For The Laity From St. John Climacus

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark. (9:17-31)

 Today’s reading is given to us on this, the fourth Sunday of Great and Holy Lent. This day we commemorate the memory of our father among the saint John Climacus. He is most well known for the spiritual classic which he wrote called “The Ladder of Divine Ascent”. In this powerful book, he outlines steps of the spiritual life as rungs of a ladder that lead up to heaven. As we climb and gain new virtues through God’s help, we ascend further towards the Kingdom. This book is so highly regarded that it is often the main lenten reading in monasteries around the world. This of course makes great sense when you realize that this book was written for monastics and from a monastic mindset. Nevertheless, it has many wonderful treasures for the average layperson who eagerly studies it with some guidance from their priest and spiritual father.

Homily on the Annunciation of the Mother of God

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb,and bring forth a son,
and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great,
and shall be called the Son of the Highest.

Lk. 1:31–32

The Annunciation. Fresco in High Decani Monastery (Kosovo, Serbia) 14th century