On this day, the Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the feast of all the Saints from throughout the inhabited world, in Asia, Libya and Europe, in North and South.
I sing the praise of each friend of my Lord,
If any would, let them now list them all.
As the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the “Days of Slavic Culture”, which yearly begins on the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius (May 11/24), Pravoslavie.ru/OrthoChristian.com would like to note a useful website created as an aide to anyone interested in learning more about the Church Slavonic language. This language has liturgically united Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and other Slavic Orthodox peoples for many centuries. Many modern converts to Orthodoxy also attend churches that use this liturgical language. Contemporary Slavs rarely study Church Slavonic language academically; they find that they begin to understand it naturally according to their zeal for attending services and praying in this language of their fathers, the language of their saints. It is encouraging to see that resources are appearing for the benefit of those who would like to know more about Church Slavonic but have no previous knowledge of any Slavic language.
The Great Martyr George was the son of wealthy and pious parents, who raised him in the Christian faith. He was born in the city of Beirut (in antiquity - Berytos), at the foot of the Lebanese mountains.
Having entered military service, the Greatmartyr George stood out among the other soldiers by virtue of his mind, valor, physical strength, military bearing and beauty. Having quickly attained the rank of millenary [tribunus millenarius, an officer in the Roman army in charge of a thousand or more soldiers - Translator], St. George became a favorite of the Emperor Diocletian.
"And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?" (Mk. 16:1-3).
Brothers and sisters! Can you imagine the state of mind these Myrrhbearing women were in? For those who lived through Soviet times in Russia and through the persecution of the Church, it is so understandable. In some churches, as in the outskirts of Kiev, this service (the Burial of the Savior) was performed at night. People made their way to such a church through dark streets. Anything could happen, you had to be careful of everything. Neighbors might hear that you went somewhere at night; and you could be stopped on the street. And the service itself in church and the carrying of the Shroud around the church could be interrupted by the authorities. One did not know if tomorrow, on Holy Saturday, this already semi-Easter Liturgy would be performed, because the priest might be arrested.
Belief in the great miracle of the Resurrection did not come to the disciples right away. The first witnesses were the myrrh-bearing women. It was still dark out when they came to the cave in the garden belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. The stone which had sealed the tomb was now rolled away. While they stood in astonishment, an Angel stood before them and said, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay (Mt. 28:5–6). It was enough for them to see the empty tomb and hear the words of the Angel in order for them to believe. Their sensitive and loving hearts were not touched by doubt. When they ran to tell the Apostles, Jesus Himself met them and said, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him (Mt. 28:9). The Apostles did not believe the women (cf. Mk. 16:11).
“In the same way we cry to Thee, O Conqueror of death: Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord”
Troparion (hymn) sung on Lazarus Saturday
Great is this Holy Day, brothers and sisters! Just think of it, “Conqueror of death”! There have been many conquerors in the history of humanity: many gifted doctors have conquered many sicknesses, many military leaders have conquered tremendous armies, even entire countries. There have been conquerors of space such as the inventors of automobiles, airplanes; conquerors of distance — the inventors of the telephone, telegraph, and so on. But “Conqueror of death” — the whole world does not know of anyone else but Jesus Christ. He alone. Even the so-called “unbelieving world” cannot mention another name. No one among the most prominent people would ever even attempt to make such a claim. But He is, was, and will be — our Savior and our Lord.