Archive for September, 2010

Exaltation of the Cross. Three questions about the Cross. Catechetical talk.

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Synopsis Three Questions About The Cross regarding the sign of the cross,prostrations on Sunday and ,venerating the cross or any icon in church. The text follows the talk very closely. These talks are designed to get a little information into the faithful right after the liturgy before it becomes too chaotic to teach.

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Document with the three questions: http://www.orthodox.net/catechism/orthopraxis_2010+three-questions-about-the-cross,-the-sign-of-the-cross,prostrations-on-sunday,venerating-the-cross-or-any-icon-in-church.doc


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Sunday before the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – John 3:13-17. Audio Homily 2010

Monday, September 27th, 2010

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SYNOPSIS:A line by line exegesis of the important passage John 3:13-17, with particular emphasis on how the cross and the resurrection must be thought of in the same "breath;", and how we must live because of the cross.

More homilies on the Exaltation of the Cross are HERE

John 3:13-17 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved


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Preparing for the Exaltation of the Cross

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Desiring to see beforehand the holy scepter of the Cross / borne aloft in the midst of the earth, / let us purify our souls in advance, / and being illumined with light, / let us render our thoughts radiant, / and, shining with divine power let us hymn Christ / Who imparteth His holiness through the precious Tree / unto those who cry out with faith / and fervently hymn Him.

This hymn was sung at the end of the Matins service tonight, on the day before the Exaltation of the Precious Cross. It is fitting that this hymn was sung after 2 1/2 hours of prayer, for it speaks of how we must prepare our souls to encounter the mystery. This is the "synergy" of which we so often speak: it is only through the mystery of the Cross that we are able to purify our souls and be illumined, but it is only when we do so that we can approach and venerate this mystery. It is fitting that this hymn was followed by the following, urging us to place all of our hope in our crucified Lord.

O Christ our God, of Thine own will / Thou hast accepted crucifixion / that all mankind might be restored to life. / Taking the quill of the Cross, / out of love for man in the red ink of royalty / with bloody fingers Thou hast signed our absolution. / We are in danger once again of being parted from Thee; / O forsake us not! / Take pity on Thy people in distress, / for Thou alone art long-suffering. // Rise up and fight against our enemies in Thine almighty power.

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Homily on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross We preach Christ crucified What is the way of the cross? 1 Corinthians 1:18-24. Text Homily.

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Homily on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
We preach Christ crucified

What is the way of the cross?
1 Corinthians 1:18-24

Sep 14/27 2009

(Many more homilies about the Exaltation of the Holy Cross here )

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


“For the preaching of the Cross is, to them that perish, foolishness. But unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.” [1]

 

So says the Apostle. We also preach that the Lord Jesus Christ crucified just as he did.

What is the preaching of the Cross? The preaching of the Cross is preaching about the way of the Cross.

 

Our Lord spoke about the way of the Cross. It’s rather mysterious, really. And the reason it’s mysterious is because of our sins, because the way of the Cross is the way of life; and yet, in order to gain it, we must die. The way of the Cross is the way of joy — or to joy. But in order to gain it, we must undergo tribulation and be sad.

The world does not understand this. It is foolishness to them. To the world, when someone takes something from you, take it back. To the world, when something is good for you, it is good, no matter whether it’s bad for someone else. To the world it is: I take what is mine. To the world it is: No one should treat me in this kind of way, whatever way we don’t enjoy or don’t like or think is beneath our station. To the world: When you have an enemy, you fight him. The way Christians live with their enemies, the way Christians do not strive after or shouldn’t strive – a true Christian, that is — after only things that they desire: The world doesn’t understand this; it’s foolishness.

And the reason I say, “The way of the Cross is a mystery” is because, to a large extent, we don’t understand either. We know what is right, but our sins obscure from us the real truth of the matter.

How can this be otherwise? Just look at your life. You know that, as a Christian, you should forgive everyone; and yet when someone slights you, what is your first response? Just like the world: To be angry, to judge. Perhaps, with reaching some maturity in the way of the Cross, you wouldn’t reach out against this person, but still the thought is there.

The way of the Cross is the way that Jesus Christ lived.

 

When we preach the Cross, we preach the One Who is on the Cross. We preach the way of life of the One Who is on the Cross. He taught us the way to live. The way to live is to turn your other cheek when your enemy slaps you on your cheek. The way to live is to love your enemies and to not fight against them. The way of life is to humble yourself, to not seek after the things that the world thinks are so pleasant and so alluring, and yet are so ephemeral and will go away. This is the preaching of the Cross. This is the way of the Cross.

The Lord said in another place: “He who wills, let him take up his Cross and follow Me” [2]. And in another place He says, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Take My yoke upon you for I am meek and lowly, and you shall find rest for your souls.” [3]

The way of the Cross is also taking on the yoke of our Lord Jesus Christ. But He said, it’s easy and light. The way of the Cross is not easy and light. This is where the mystery comes in. This is where the Christian begins to understand, in living his life, what the Lord means by “the way of the Cross” and by His promises that in the world we will have tribulation and then also promising that His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Truly, to be holy is to have an easy way and a light way and a restful way. That is absolutely true. The problem is that we who are trying to be holy make many missteps. And we must have tribulation in order to learn to become holy.

So this way of the Cross is difficult. Our Lord’s way, the yoke of Christ, is easy and is light. When oxen follow their master’s command, it is quite easy for them. When they chafe against the yoke, when they’re disobedient, when they’re recalcitrant, then the yoke chafes them, bruises them, hurts them. So it is with us.

Our Lord’s yoke is easy and light. And the way of the Cross is difficult, because of us, and because of the world. This is a mystery that is difficult to penetrate. It is difficult to understand: Why should I delay my personal gratification when there is no immediate reward? The world doesn’t understand this.

 

Many times, let’s be honest with ourselves, we don’t either, which is why we sin. But the more we learn of our Lord’s yoke, the more we follow Him in every way, unfortunately, for us, there is going to be pain and difficulty, because every Christian must have a Cross.

I tell you right now, if you do not feel pain in your heart about the world, about the person you are and the person you should be and the difficulties that you have (I’m not talking about whether or not you don’t have enough money to pay the electric bill. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about deep in your heart, feeling the kind of person you are) —  If you don’t feel pain over that, then be afraid. Be very afraid, because you cannot be saved unless you know that there is a better way and you know that you’re lacking completeness and wholeness.

 
The way of the Cross is to feel pain. Not self-inflicted pain; we’re not masochists, but pain because things are not the way they should be, neither in your heart, nor the hearts of your loved ones, nor the hearts of those in the world. It’s not the way it should be. So the way of the Cross is to always be aware of this.

The Lord was walking the way of the Cross from the moment He was born. His face was always set to Jerusalem [4], and so should we, according to our meager abilities which increase with time. You must feel in your heart that you’re lacking something in order to desire what you need.

 

This is the way of the Cross: To know that you are missing something that is so critically important to your soul; to know that you’re missing wisdom and compassion and gentleness and humility and wholeness. And that the only way to gain this is to follow Christ and to cleave to Him, to hold onto Him, no matter what.

If you think your life is relatively easy right now, then be afraid. No one’s life should be easy, not in this world. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, sick or healthy; the Christian must feel deeply with his soul how things are out of order. Our Lord did. That’s all He thought about in the world. We call him “The Man of Sorrows.” [5] We have the tradition that He never laughed, because all He could think about was those who He loved and what they needed.

So all we should think about is what He thought about: Love for others without consideration for ourselves. That’s the way of the Cross.

It’s good to be before the Cross and to bow down before it and to have beautiful singing, decorate the church and all the other things that are beautiful in our faith. But if your heart doesn’t ache for what you should be and what others should be, then you’re not following the way of the Cross.

 

Cultivate this pain; don’t be afraid of it. The world doesn’t want to feel pain. Our Lord did, every day, every moment. So did the Apostles, so did the Saints. And eventually they found perfect peace.

You cannot find perfect peace without going the way of the Cross. And in the world the way of the Cross is not peaceful, because the world hates the Cross. Oh, it’s okay to wear it in an earring or as a tattoo, but they hate the way of the Cross.

And if we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit, there are many times when we do not want to go the way of the Cross either. Because the way of the Cross is difficult and painful. But let us ask God to help us to follow the way of the Cross, because this is the only way to life. What we see around us in the world: Most of it is death, most of it is meaningless and diseased. If we look even in ourselves, we see that there are meaningless and diseased things even in our own souls.
God came so that: Nothing would be meaningless; everything would have meaning; there would be no disease; everything would be made whole and perfect.

And so let us follow the way of the Cross. It is the only way to perfection. God help us. Amen.

 

Transcribed by the handmaiden Helen.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2008.    

 

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-exaltation-of-the-cross_2009-09-27+we-preach-christ-crucified.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-exaltation-of-the-cross_2009-09-27+we-preach-christ-crucified.doc

Audio: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-exaltation-of-the-cross_2009-09-27+we-preach-christ-crucified.mp3

 

 

http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

 

To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

 

Our parish Email list ( http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

 

All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

 



[1] 1 Corinthians 1:18

[2] “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

[3] “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  (30)  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

[4] “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,  (52)  And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.  (53)  And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51-53). Jerusalem is also a symbol of righteousness.

[5] “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?  (2)  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  (3)  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isa 53:1-3 KJV)

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Nativity of the Theotokos. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Text/Audio Homily.

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Nativity of the Theotokos

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”

Why do we err? Why do we sin? Because we don’t have the mind of Christ at that moment.
Philippians 2:5-11
Sep 8/21

 

Nativity of the TheotokosIn the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sometimes in the Services, you just have a moment of clarity, and something touches you. Don’t you just wait for those moments – those times when it just seems that you understand? I do. It’s only for a moment. You feel the mercy of God so present. You feel God so close to you. You feel so much the desire to do good, and you feel that hope springing up within your breast that you can.

 

I hope that you have these moments. I hope that you pray to God, when you come to the services, that God will enlighten you, and you will come away better than when you came. We don’t come just to worship God; we come to be fed, to be helped, to be healed. And there’s great Grace present in all of the services, whatever they are.

A moment came for me when the Epistle from the Nativity of the Theotokos was being read. It is about the Incarnation. This makes sense; the Theotokos is always associated with the Incarnation.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”

 

That’s enough right there. If we live our life according to what the Apostle said, we will be saved. That’s the totality of the Gospel, just as the greatest Commandment is the totality of the Law. So one could say, that the Epistle read here is all we need to know to save our souls, to have the mind of Christ.

 

The Church has the mind of Christ, and we are part of the Church. If we have the mind of Christ, then we have all wisdom, all holiness; nothing would confuse us. We would always choose the right way, because Christ always chose the right way.

I was recently speaking about something to someone and saying that the scripture, and the services for that matter as well, have many phrases in them that could be, as it were, a mnemonic device, a memory aid for us. These phrases are not always something to be put on a flash card that we’d memorize but something that is in our heart, deeply in our heart, and that motivates us. This could be one of those things.

 

There’s all kind of silly and stupid things that happen daily. And we participate in these things: things that don’t matter, things that go away, almost as soon as we are concerned about them and they are gone.

 

Why do we err? Why do we sin? Because we don’t have the mind of Christ at that moment.

If we cultivated this “mind” at all moments in our life, we would not sin. The man who knows Christ intimately would never sin, ever. He would never be confused, would never be despondent, never be angry. Christ did none of those things, because He was always with a mind towards obeying His Father. He always knew what the right thing to do was. He always valued the right thing.

Look at us; we value things that go away, every day, things that just don’t matter. How much time do we waste: reading things that don’t matter, talking about things that don’t matter, being all angry and upset about things that don’t matter?

Only one thing matters: To know Jesus Christ. That’s all.

 

The only thing in your life that is important is who you are becoming. What kind of person are you? You were born for greatness. You were born to know God, to become holy, to become all, as the Scriptures say or as the Services say, “All eye,” [1] like the Angels. That’s what we were born for.

And what do we spend our time with? Silly things. Sinful things. But what if we always evaluated everything that we are going to do, whether it be getting on a bus or going to work or cutting the lawn or fixing dinner? Or whatever it is in our daily lives. If everything was evaluated by: Do we have the mind of Christ at this moment? Would we sin if the mind of Christ was in us richly? No.

 

So when you’re presented with some situation, is the mind of Christ in you? If it is, then you will not sin. And to the extent that it isn’t, then that’s when we fall into these sins. All pettiness in our lives, foolishness about what we want, things that upset us, bad habits and our daily life style – all of is it going away. The only thing that will be left is what we become – so that when in the end, the Lord will see us, He will know us, and recognize us, He will look at us, and we will have the likeness of God, the image of God within us. [2]

 

Otherwise, He will look at us and say, I don’t know you. And those that are confused will say, Lord, when did I not help you? When did I see you hungry and not feed you or naked and did not clothe you or sick or in prison? [3] And the Lord will tell them.

Well, it’s not just that we should help everyone, the least of these. Yes, that is the application of having the mind of Christ within you. That’s the result of having the mind of Christ within you. That’s not the goal of life, to help all people. That’s the result of our goal: To have the mind of Christ in us.

How much would we be saved from sin if we took the Apostle seriously here? If we fully understood what Christ did for us, oh, yes, we can recount it, we can say, yes, the prophets proclaimed Him. And we could even talk about this parable which is really about the Incarnation and the Jews’ rejection of Christ and the bringing in of the Gentiles. All beautiful, exalted theological ideas.

We could say that Jesus Christ became Man through the Theotokos and lived and showed us how to live and died on the cross and went to hell and preached to those in Hades and rose from the dead, making us capable of breaking the bonds of death. Yes, that’s all true and I hope you know it. But do you feel it? Is it uppermost in your mind when you are doing something – especially when you are considering something that’s sinful or foolish or a time waster?

So we must emulate what He did. Examples are much more powerful than expressions of teaching. You can say to someone how to live, but if you show them how to live, then they will learn. Well, Christ showed us, in ways that words cannot express. But the mind can know.

Here is what to do the next time you are presented with something that is foolish or a time waster or petty — and that will be probably within the next ten minutes, right? Because we are always getting upset about the silliest things, that someone crosses in front of us or that a baby cries or that we are hungry or that whatever it is. Foolishness, silliness, unfruitfulness. The next time that you’re presented with such a thought, evaluate it: Is it the mind of Christ or not? What did Christ do for you? Since He did so much for us, can’t we do a little for Him? If we think this way, then we will be saved.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross.”

Let’s remember this. Not just such that we remember it as facts, but that it lives in our heart. Amen.

 

 

Philippians 2:5-11 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

 My transcribing angel got this homily transcribed yesterday, but I was too tired to put it up last night, having worked 14 hours. This was the first major feast I have missed in a long time because of work. It felt pretty wierd

Priest Seraphim Holland 2008    

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

·         Rectory Phone: 972/658-5433

·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-theotokos_2008-09-21+nativity-of-the-theotokos.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-theotokos_2008-09-21+nativity-of-the-theotokos.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-theotokos_2008-09-21+nativity-of-the-theotokos.mp3

 

http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

 

To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

 

Our parish Email list ( http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

 

All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

 



[1] And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had. (Ezekiel 10:12 , describing the cherubim)

 

[2] I had in mind here: “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Mat 25:21) , from the parable of the talents, and “But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” (Mat 25:12). Both verses describe the encounter of the soul with God at the judgment.

 

[3] See Matthew 23:31-66, read on the Sunday of the Last Judgment. Homilies here: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/index.html#Sunday_of_the_Last_Judgment_(Meatfare)

 

 

 

 

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Nativity of the Theotokos, Sep 8/21. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Audio Homily.

Monday, September 20th, 2010

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Synopsis: Before the homily, a little bit about those special "memoents of clarity" and what we should expect each time in the holy services. The homily addresses the Epistle reading, where the Apostle tells us: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." This is the totality of the Gospel, just as the two great commandements are the totality of the law. If we fulfilled this command, we would never sin! Let us explore how to attain this "mind". Everything we do or think of doing should be evaluated in the light of this command.

More homilies on the feast days of the Theotokos are HERE

God willing, there will be a transcript of this homily in time for the feast. It is currently being worked on by our "transcribing angel".

Philippians 2:5-11 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-theotokos_2008-09-21+nativity-of-the-theotokos.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-theotokos_2008-09-21+nativity-of-the-theotokos.mp3


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The Canaanite Woman. *Exactly* how to pray. Audio Homily 2010

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

miracle-canaanite-woman

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Synopsis:The Caananite woman teaches us *exactly* how we should pray: with knowledge, simplicity, persistence and humility. A close examination of her encounter with Christ shows these virtues plainly, and should also show us which ones we are lacking in (definitely at least 3 of the 4!).

More homilies on the 17th day after Pentecost are HERE

Matthew 15:21-28 21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-17_2010-09-19+the-canaanite-woman+exactly-how-to-pray.m3u

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Audio talk with outline. Prosphora. Liturgy of Preparation, Proskimidia, Service of Prothesis Offering Prosphora and names at the Liturgy.

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Byzantine style prosphora. LISTEN NOW

SYNOPSIS:A short talk on prosphora, which follows the pretty closely. What is prosphora? Styles of Prosphora. How and when is prosphora used? Important pastoral notes, explaining the meaning of commemoration at proskimidie and how to offer prosphora the best way, and local notes about offering prosphora at St Nicholas.

More catechetical talks and articles are HERE


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/catechism/orthopraxis_2010+offering-prosphora+proskimidia,service-of-preparation.m3u

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:http://www.orthodox.net/catechism/orthopraxis_2010+offering-prosphora+proskimidia,service-of-preparation.mp3


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Prosphora Liturgy of Preparation, Proskimidia, Service of Prothesis. Offering Prosphora and names at the Liturgy.

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

This is the outline for the "after liturgy" talk that is customarily given in our church, before it is too chaotic to teach. The plan is to give this talk tommorow, with the material below as a handout. I "try" to keep things short, so by no means is the talk comprehensive.


Prosphora

Liturgy of Preparation, Proskimidia, Service of Prothesis

Offering Prosphora and names at the Liturgy.

 

 

What is prosphora?

·         The bread used for the liturgy.

o       Pure wheat flour, water, yeast, salt ONLY.

o       ALWAYS leavened. – to celebrate the Resurrection

o       ALWAYS two layers to symbolize the dual nature of Christ.

o       Stamped on the top.

o       Baked by the faithful as an offering.

§         The process of baking should be discussed another time.

 

Styles of Prosphora

§         Greek “Byzantine” style

§         L to R: Byzantine style stamp, Byzantine style prosphora.
Greek Style prosphora stamp. http://www.prosphora.org/newbyz4.jpg

·         One large loaf

·         Stamp in the form of a cross, in 5 parts.

·         Vertical:

o       Three stamps IC XC NIKA ("Jesus Christ conquers")

o       Top: commemorate the living

o       Center – the Lamb, only part that will become the body of Christ

o       Bottom – for the dead

·         Horizontal

o       Left: Triangular area:Theotokos 

o       Right: 9 small triangular pieces the nine ranks of commemorations

1.      St John the Baptist

2.      Prophets

3.      Apostles

4.      Hierarchs

5.      Martyrs

6.      Monastics and all righteous.

7.      Unmercenary healers

8.      Saints of the day and patron of the temple

9.      Saint whose liturgy we celebrate (St John Chrysostom or St Basil)

§         Russian Style

§         L to R – Russian style stamp, 2 Russian style prosphora
   Russian style prosphora seal. From http://www.stmarkorthodox.org/prosphora.html Image at: http://www.stmarkorthodox.org/pictures/russ_seal.gif Russian style prosphora http://www.prosphora.org/rusloaves.jpg

·         Five separate loaves. – recalling Feeding of the 5000 (with 5 loaves and 2 fish)

·         Usually the Theotokos loaf has a special stamp.

·         Sometimes the loaf for the 9 ranks has a special stamp.

§         Prosphora for individual offering

·         Smaller.

·         Stamp of IC XC NIKA or sometimes a Saint or the Theotokos.

 

How is prosphora used?

  • Two ways
    • Collectively – Offered by all the people.
      • The bread that will become the body of Christ
    • Individually.
      • Submitted with a list of names of the living and the dead.  
      • 1 or 2 loaves.
      • Should be always with alms. (Some crudely call this “purchasing” a prosphora.

 

When is prosphora used?

  • Liturgy of Preparation = Proskimidia” = “offering”= Prothesis (Gk. “setting forth”)
  • Service before Divine Liturgy.
    • By the priest only, with deacon.
    • Five loaves prepared, placed on diskos for Divine liturgy.
    • Priest commemorates people from his (usually very large) dyptichs.
    • INDIVIDUAL PROSPHORA OFFERINGS SHOULD BE DONE AT THIS TIME.

 

 

Diskos prepared for liturgy. The Lamb and particles placed on the diskos. The large triangle to the viewer's left of the Lamb is the particle for the Theotokos; to the right of the Lamb are the particles for the nine ranks (saints); below the Lamb are the particles commemorating the living and the departed. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liturgy_of_Preparation<br />
\<br />
Image at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/18/Patene-byzantine.jpg/250px-Patene-byzantine.jpg Diskos prepared for liturgy.

* The Lamb and particles placed on the diskos.
* The large triangle to the left of the Lamb is the particle for the Theotokos
* To the right of the Lamb are the particles for the nine ranks (saints)
* Below the Lamb are the particles commemorating the living and the departed.



Important pastoral notes.

 

·         “The priest prays for the people and with the people but not instead of the people.”

o       This means you should be present to offer your prosphora!

  • Prosphora should be offered
    • By the individual making the offering ONLY (not by proxy)
    • With alms.
    • Before the Divine Liturgy, so the priest can commemorate the names properly.
  • Concerning names.
    • Living and the Dead. 
    • For each Orthodox name (if there is time!) a particle is taken out and placed on the diskos.
      • Near the end of the liturgy, after the communion of the faithful, all particles are poured into the chalice with the prayer: “By thy precious Blood, O Lord, wash away the sins of those here commemorated, through the intercessions of Thy saints. “
      • Clearly, non Orthodox do not commune from the chalice, so neither should non Orthodox be commemorated with a particle, which will be put in the chalice
    • Orthodox names should be used – no nicknames, etc
    • It really helps if you *print* legibly.  It is REALLY frustrating to try to make out bad handwriting. Russian cursive is almost impossible for me to read.
    • Non-Orthodox must be clearly marked.
      • Non-Orthodox are not “placed on the diskos”, but I always pray for all names. Christians pray for everyone, but do not pray for everyone in the exact same way.
  • What happens when prosphora is offered late?
    • The priest’s prayer is disrupted.
      • He should never leave the front of the altar except when the service calls for movement.  Concentration is difficult.
      • The names are not commemorated properly.
    • The commemorations may be missed.

 

 

Locally at St Nicholas

  • Everyone must offer their own prosphora. If a person is sick, of course, arrangements can be made with a friend to offer their commemoration book, but this is the exception, not the rule.
  • Please indicate clearly if a person is not Orthodox.
  • Use Orthodox names, not nicknames, etc.
  • There are commemoration books in back, and commemoration slips, for the living and dead. . Each person must individually get a prosphora and offer it along with their book or slip(s).
  • I am asking people to make a good faith effort to offer prosphora before the Liturgy begins.
  • We do not have a strict cutoff” times when prosphora are not accepted, but keep in mind that any prosphora offered after the liturgy starts cause a problem for the priest and guarantee that individual particles for each name will not be taken out, and definitely, none are accepted after the Great Entrance.
  • Keep in mind that my dyptichs are extensive and all current/past/sometime parishioners are commemorated.

 

References

Service of the Proskimidea http://www.orthodox.net/services/proskomede.html (also in PDF and DOC formats)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liturgy_of_Preparation

http://www.stmarkorthodox.org/prosphora.html

http://prosphora.org/

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2010     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This outline is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/catechism/orthopraxis_2020+offering-prosphora+proskimidia,service-of-preparation.doc

 

http://www.orthodox.net/catechism/orthopraxis_2020+offering-prosphora+proskimidia,service-of-preparation.html

 

 

New catechism outlines, Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Articles Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/articles

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

Catechism Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/catechism

 

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 

 

 

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Baptism And Emergency Baptism. Short catechetical talk.

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Synopsis:A Short talk about the minimum requirements for baptism, and emergency baptism, which is a baptism performed withot a priest when a person is in danger of immanent death. Who can perform this baptism, how should it be done, and what must be done after the baptism is performed. The text is an outline of the talk. These talks are designed to get a little information into the faithful right after the liturgy before it becomes too chaotic to teach.

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