The Synaxarion of the Sunday of the Veneration of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross.

On n this day, the third Sunday in Great Lent, we celebrate the veneration of the precious and Life-giving Cross.

As we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24), and will have mortified ourselves during these forty days of the Fast, the precious and Life-giving Cross is now placed before us to refresh our souls and encourage us who may be filled with a sense of bitterness, resentment, and depression. The Cross reminds us of the Passion of our Lord, and by presenting to us His example, it encourages us to follow Him in struggle and sacrifice, being refreshed, assured, and comforted. In other words, we must experience what the Lord experienced during His Passion – being humiliated in a shameful manner. The Cross teaches us that through pain and suffering we shall see the fulfillment of our hopes: the heavenly inheritance and eternal glory.

19.03.2023Read more

Synaxarion of the Saturday of the dead (Soul Saturday).

On this day, Soul Saturday, according to the order instituted by our Holy Fathers, we call to remembrance all those who have died from the beginning of the ages in faith and in the hope of the resurrection and of life eternal.

The present commemoration of the dead is based on the reality that many of our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters died under such circumstances that funeral prayers and normal memorial services could not be offered for them. Either in a foreign land or on the seas, on impassable mountains or in gulfs or precipices, through starvation or diseases, in wars, in fires, or during earthquakes, and in so many other ways, perhaps in poverty or in need, our known and unknown brothers and sisters in Christ did not enjoy the chanting and necessary spiritual care. Therefore, our Holy Fathers, moved by their love for humanity, appointed the present celebration to take place in the Church everywhere, having received this from the Holy Apostles, so that all who have died through various mishaps or accidents may be remembered together, for the benefit of their souls. There is great profit to the soul from these memorials in the Church. This is the first reason.

18.02.2023Read more

The Life of Our Holy Father and Right-believing Prince Daniel Alexandrovich of Moscow. Whose memoiy is celebrated March 4th.

The Right-believing Prince Daniel was the fourth son of the ever-memorable Great Prince Saint Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky. He was the last among his brothers, as was also his great-grandfather Great Prince Vsevolod Yurevich. Thus, Princes Daniel and Vsevolod were likened by the Lord unto the ancient king, ancestor of God, and Prophet, David, who also was the youngest of his brothers.

This blessed Prince Daniel was left without parents two years from birth, but from his childhood the Lord preserved him. The Lord chose him, prospered and established him. No one went to war against him, but the God-preserved dominion of the pre-eminent city of Moscow was obtained by him as an inheritance. God loved and glorified Prince Daniel and his righteous posterity and permitted them to reign for centuries. If at that time the Moscow dominion was not so extensive as afterwards, nevertheless, then the blessed and Great Prince Daniel was invincible. When among the brethren of Prince Daniel and their relatives there occurred civil strife near his dominions, he, clever and courageous, always sought to appear as a zealot of humble-mindedness. Valiantly arming himself against those at enmity with him, he went out against them with his hosts, but he appeased the rancor without the shedding of blood.

17.02.2023Read more

St. Cyril of Alexandria – Homily on the Reception of Christ in the Temple.

Original text of this homily was formed as a result of integrating 3rd and 4th homilies of the "Commentary on the Gospel of Luke" (PG 77, 1039-1050) – Ed.

[Sermons 3 on Luke 2:21-24]

Very numerous indeed is the assembly, and earnest the hearer: – for we see the Church full: – but the teacher is but poor. He nevertheless Who giveth to man a mouth and tongue, will further supply us with good ideas. For He somewhere says Himself, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." Since therefore ye have all come together eagerly on the occasion of this joyous festival of our Lord, let us with cheerful torches brightly celebrate the feast, and apply ourselves to the consideration of what was divinely fulfilled, as it were, this day, gathering for ourselves from every quarter whatsoever may confirm us in faith and piety.

15.02.2023Read more

St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco – Sermon on the Theophany.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

As we celebrate the Epiphany, we remember how God revealed himself as the Trinity, that Jesus appeared to the people as Christ. Where did Christ appear Hos did He begin His mission? Did He enter a great city and reveal Himself in His glory? Did He ascend a great mountain as many thousands of people beheld Him from below, wondering at the miracle? No! Christ went into the wilderness, to the Jordan River, where John was baptizing the people. John preached repentance, and called upon sinners, in a sign of repentance, to be baptized in the Jordan. And it was as a sinner that Christ came and asked for baptism. Yet He had no sin. John was afraid: “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Adam sinned through pride, he wished to elevate himself, to become like God. But Christ cam to fulfill the truth of God, to correct Adam’s pride through humility. Christ entered the water and received baptism from His servant. Trembling, John placed his hand upon his God and Master, and Christ humbly bowed His head. Christ’s humility opened up the heavens, and the voice of God the Father boomed forth: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). This is My Son, Who humbled Himself in order to fulfill My will, My true Son, Who humbles Himself in order to elevate mankind. Christ’s meekness opened the heavens and revealed to mankind the Trinitarian nature of God.

18.01.2023Read more

Saint John Chrysostom – The Nativity Sermon.

Behold a new and wondrous mystery.

My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of justice. And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed; He had the power; He descended; He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God. This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassability, remaining unchanged.

07.01.2023Read more

Saint Dimitri, Metropolitan of Rostov – Synaxis of the Heavenly Bodiless Angelic Powers

Tthe Holy Church, which rejects the impious worship of angels devised by idolaters and heretics of old, has received from the divinely inspired Fathers the tradition of celebrating with reverence the Synaxis of the Holy Angels. In the days of the Old Testament, the people of God, having fallen away from their Creator, began to worship that which the Lord created. They made idols after the likeness of things visible, of that which is in heaven above and earth beneath, the work of their own hands. At that time, when the people offered oblations unto the sun, the moon, and the stars as gods, imagining that these possessed living souls, they also began to worship angels. The Book of Kings makes mention of this, saying that they "burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and to all the host of heaven," that is, to the angels; for the host of heaven is comprised of the angels, as is said in the Gospel: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host."

21.11.2022Read more

St. Demetrius, Metropolitan of Rostov – Homily On The Nativity Of The Most Pure Theotokos.

The Lord, Who lives in the heavens, wishing to appear on earth and abide with men, first prepared a dwelling place of His glory: His Most Pure Mother. For it is the custom of kings that in whatsoever city they desire to live, a place of residence be prepared for them beforehand. And as the palaces of earthly kings are constructed by the most skilled craftsmen, of the most costly materials, and on the most elevated sights, which are more beautiful and spacious than all the other dwellings of men, in the same manner the palace of the King of Glory must be erected. In the Old Testament, when God desired to dwell in Jerusalem, Solomon built a temple for Him, employing Hiram, a most wise master, who possessed full knowledge of every art and science, and was skilled in every enterprise. He constructed the temple with materials of great value: with costly stone, with aromatic woods of cedar and cypress brought from Lebanon, with pure gold, and upon a high place: that is, upon Mount Moriah. The temple was of great beauty. On its walls were portrayed the likeness of cherubims, and of various trees and flowers. The temple was so spacious that the whole Israelite people could be accommodated without crowding, and the glory of the Lord would descend in fire and a cloud. Nevertheless, that temple did not suffice to contain within itself the Uncontainable God, for even though Solomon built Him a temple, "The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands. 'What house will ye build me', saith the Lord: 'or what is the place of my rest?'"

20.09.2022Read more

Saint John of Damascus – First homily on the Dormition of the Theotokos.

 

The memory of the just takes place with rejoicing, said Solomon, the wisest of men; for precious in God's sight is the death of His saints, according to the royal David. If, then, the memory of all the just is a subject of rejoicing, who will not offer praise to justice in its source, and holiness in its treasure-house? It is not mere praise; it is praising with the intention of gaining eternal glory. God's dwelling-place does not need our praise, that city of God, concerning which great things were spoken, as holy. David addresses it in these words: "Glorious things are said of thee, thou city of God." What sort of city shall we choose for the invisible and uncircumscribed God, who holds all things in His hand, if not that city which alone is above nature, giving shelter without circumscription to the supersubstantial Word of God? Glorious things have been spoken of that city by God himself. For what is more exalted than being made the recipient of God's counsel, which is from all eternity?

28.08.2022Read more

Saint Andrew of Crete – Sermon on the Transfiguration of Christ our Lord.

All of you who, by taking off the cloak of irrationality because of the Word’s self-emptying,? have raised up your minds from the earth and learned to think “the things that are above,” (Col 3.2) come now – if you trust me – as I spread out before you a spiritual banquet of words: let us ascend with the Word today, as he goes up the high mountain of the Transfiguration! Let us take off the material, shadowy life that we wear, and put on “the robe woven from above as a single whole,” (cf John 19.23) made beautiful in every part by the rays of spiritual virtue. Christ himself, the pure goal of life, the supernatural Word of the one who begot him, the one who came down from above for our sakes and became a poor man in our flesh out of love for humanity, wishes us – who are already purified in life and mind, who have been given the spiritual wings of sincere thoughts – to make this ascent with him. This is clear from the fact that he takes with him chosen Apostles to be nearer in their relationship to him than ever, and leads them up the high mountain. What is he going to do, what is he planning to teach them? By revealing to them the glory and radiance of his own divinity, more brilliant than lightning, he had, a little earlier in a mystical way, transformed the nature which had once heard the words, “You are earth, and to earth you shall return” now he will reveal it in full view by his transfiguration.

19.08.2022Read more