Science

Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women with the Noble Joseph

Today we commemorate the Holy Myrrh-bearing women Saints Mary Magdalene (July 22), Mary the wife of Clopas, Joanna (June 27), Salome, mother of the sons of Zebedee (August 3), Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus (June 4). Also Saint Joseph of Arimathea (July 31), and Nicodemus. The holy right-believing Queen Tamara of Georgia is commemorated twice during the year: on May 1, the day of her repose, and also on the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women.

Synaxis of all Saints of Thessalonica. Saint Seraphim Bishop of Phanar (December 4, 1610), New Martyr Elias Ardunis (January 31, 1686), New Martyr Demetrius of the Peolponnesos (April 13, 1803).

The Origins of Pascha and Great Week

In worship we encounter the living God. Through Worship God makes Himself present and active in our time, drawing the par­ticles and moments of our life into the realm of redemption. He bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, who makes real the promise of Jesus to be in the midst of those gathered in His name (Mt 18.20). In our ecclesial assemblies, therefore, we do more than remember past events and recall future promises. We experience the risen Christ, who is "clothed with his past and future acts," as someone has noted. Thus, allthat is past and all that is future are made present in the course of our liturgical celebrations.

Antipascha: St Thomas Sunday

Some icons depicting this event are inscribed “The Doubting Thomas.” This is incorrect. In Greek, the inscription reads, “The Touching of Thomas.” The Slavonic inscription is, “The Belief of Thomas.” When Saint Thomas touched the Life-giving side of the Lord, he no longer had any doubts.

This day is also known as “Antipascha.” This does not mean “opposed to Pascha,” but “in place of Pascha.” Beginning with this first Sunday after Pascha, the Church dedicates every Sunday of the year to the Lord’s Resurrection. Sunday is called “Resurrection” in Russian, and “the Lord’s Day” in Greek.

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.

Paschal Epistle of St. John Maximovitch, 1940

Pascha, 1940, Shanghai. A large Russian diaspora, forced to leave behind their homeland; many had lost their dear ones, and everything they owned, and now lived in want, in a foreign land. But God gave them a saintly bishop to comfort them, and keep them in remembrance of the grace and strength of Holy Orthodoxy.

A member of St. John’s Shanghai flock, Nicholas Feodorovich Tsepitov, of Revda, Russia, preserved this Pascal Epistle all his life, even after his return to the Soviet Union in 1947. It gave him comfort there also, where more trials awaited him. He gave this epistle for publication to the Fund for the Canonization of St. John Maximovitch in Russia, and we present it here, in English translation, as a comfort to all.

Christ is Risen!

Let us arise in the deep dawn,
And instead of myrrh offer a hymn to the Lord.

St. John Maximovitch

We forestall the rising of the sun, and hasten in the depth of night to meet the Sun of Righteousness.

The Feast of Feasts - PASCHA

On Saturday, the day after the crucifixion of the Lord, His disciples and followers were filled with gloom, for they had seen their Lord and Master die, crucified on a cross. As Holy Scripture tells us, there was a man named Joseph from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their purpose and deed, and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus (Luke 23:50-52). Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away His body. [He and] Nicodemus also, who had at first come to Him by night...took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen clothes...as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there (John 19:38-42). The women who had come with Him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how His body was laid; then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment (Luke 23:55-56).

Synaxarion: Great and Holy Saturday

Of all the days the Holy and Great Forty Day Fast is the most distinguished, but more than the Holy Forty Day Fast the Holy and Great Passion Week is exalted, and more than the days of Holy Week Great and Holy Saturday is the most exalted. This week is called great not because these days or hours are more exalted but because the great, portentous and extraordinary deeds of our Savior were accomplished during this week, but especially on this day.