With spiritual songs and hymns let all of us on earth praise the all wise apostles as eyewitnesses and servants of the Word; for they earnestly entreat Christ in behalf of us who hymn their sacred memory and bow down before their relics. Thursday Matins Tone V, First Sessional Hymn
On Thursday in most weeks, we commemorate the Holy Apostles and St Nicholas. Much of the hymnology of Vespers and Matins is about them. The Sessional Hymns are sung after each Kathisma reading.
Why do we praise the Apostles and entreat their prayers? Because of the resurrection. That the resurrection applies to ALL human beings (living or dead) is a pillar of our faith. The church is very aware that the Apostles and all of the saints “earnestly entreat Christ in behalf of us”
The Apostles are not dead! What an idea! God is the God of the living and not the dead. Since the Apostles were entrusted with the pearl of great price, it makes absolutely no sense at all that after their service in this life, after the death of their bodies they would be useless, incorporeal sleeping souls, unable to continue in their ministry. If this were the case, than what victory would there be over death?
We sing hundreds of hymns similar in structure and content to the one above. The concept must be important. I am absolutely convinced that as we sing these hundreds and thousands of hymns through the course of our life, we become more convinced of the resurrection, and learn how to live in it.
Our faith is “polite” Well raised people show their appreciation to their benefactors with “please” and “thank you” and notes of appreciation. This is a lost art in our modern age, and I must admit, not something that I excel at, but by participating in the church’s hymnology, I am becoming more civilized.
This hymn, simple as it is, have many levels of dogmatic meaning. Dogma is not only facts which are true; it is the application of these facts to our way of living. So, in a short, simple hymn, we are taught the reality of the resurrection, the intercession of the Saints, meditate on the incredible ministry of the Apostles (simple men who became extraordinary because of grace, and their desire and integrity – we can too!), and see the good example of thanking those who help us.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2009. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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 Mat 22:31-32 KJV But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, (32) I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.