On this day, the Saturday before Palm Sunday, we celebrate the fourth-day raising from the dead of Lazarus, the righteous friend of Christ.Lazarus was a Hebrew, of the sect of the Pharisees and, as far as is known, he was the son of Simon the Pharisee, who dwelt in the village of Bethany. He became a friend of our Lord Jesus Christ when He sojourned on earth for the salvation of our race. For when Christ continually conversed with Simon, entering his house and discoursing on the resurrection from the dead, Lazarus was quite pleased with the genuineness of this teaching, and not only he, but also his two sisters, Martha and Mary.
Saint Alexis was born at Rome into the family of the pious and poverty-loving Euphemianus and Aglais.
The couple was childless for a long time and constantly prayed the Lord to grant them a child. And the Lord consoled the couple with the birth of their son Alexis. At six years of age the child began to read and successfully studied the mundane sciences, but it was with particular diligence that he read Holy Scripture. When he was a young man, he began to imitate his parents: he fasted strictly, distributed alms and beneath his fine clothing he secretly wore a hair shirt. Early on there burned within him the desire to leave the world and serve God. His parents, however, had arranged for Alexis to marry a beautiful and virtuous bride.
On this (Julian Calender) St. Patrick’s day, historical for its first official ecclesiastical commemoration by churches of the Moscow Patriachate, with the poetic “ode to Celtic saints” by Monk Nicodemos.
1. How Did Orthodoxy Reach Ireland?
How did Orthodox Christianity come to this small green island off the shores of the European continent in the uttermost West? Unknown to many, Christianity in Ireland does have an Apostolic foundation, through the Apostles James and John, although the Apostles themselves never actually visited there.
“Oh, if only I could / At least to some degree, / Write eight lines I would / About passion’s properties. / About the / transgressions and the sins, / The running and the chasing, / The hasty inadvertences, / The elbows, my palms”1—thus wrote Pasternak, aware that a precise, accurate word on the passions is difficult to give, and there can be few such words.
Precise words on the passions slip out of your hands, like a wet and lively fish, and the passions themselves are interwoven together, knit together one with another, forming a repugnant unity. Obviously the word “passions” in the this case is used as a synonym for “disease of the soul,” and not as romantic longing or a noble fire in the blood.
Our present gathering in honor of the Most Holy Virgin inspires me, brethren, to offer her a word of praise, of benefit also for those who have come to this holy celebration. It is a praise of women, a glorification of their gender, which (glory) she brings to it, she who is both Mother and Virgin at the same time.
O desired and wondrous gathering! O nature, celebrate that whereby honor is rendered to woman! Rejoice, O human race, that in which the Virgin is glorified. “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” [Romans 5:20]. The Holy Mother of God and Virgin Mary has gathered us here. She is the pure treasure of virginity, the intended paradise of the Second Adam, the place where the union of natures (divine and human) was accomplished, and the Counsel of salvific reconciliation was affirmed.