Archive for the ‘Great Lent’ Category

Behold the man! A command we must respond to. At the tomb, Good Friday Vespers.

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Christ, the Bridegroom. LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: We must answer the questions that are asked and the commands that are given in Scripture. Before giving up Jesus to judgment, Pilate asked a question: "Behold the man!", and gave a command: "What is truth?" What should be our response to these? Our life hands in the balance, depending on what we answer.

 

More homilies on the HOLY WEEK are HERE


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Holy Thursday. Passion Gospels.

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

The narrative of our Lord's Passion — His suffering, death and resurrection — begins in earnest on Holy Thursday after supper. And we therefore began to read and meditate on it today at Vespers (which almost all Orthodox celebrated this morning by anticipation so that we wouldn't be up in the middle of the night tonight for the Matins service).

Tonight at Matins our reading and reflection will continue. We will read together the words of all four evangelists, woven into 12 composite texts that tell nearly the entire account of the Passion from Christ's last words to His disciples at the supper table to his burial by Joseph and Nicodemus. After each reading, we will sing hymns meditating on what we have just read, so that the significance of these events might pass into our hearts and we might give glory to our Lord and Savior. This service, which lasts more than 3 hours, is a wonderful opportunity to learn who our Lord is, to learn something about His love and humility which truly surpass our understanding.

Tomorrow morning at the Royal Hours we will continue our reading and meditation. At each of the four hours we will read a long excerpt from the narrative of one of the four evangelists, along with prophecies from the Old Testament and reflections by the Apostles in their epistles. We will also sing hymns reflecting on these texts.

May our Lord grant that, through prayerful attention during these services, we may each come to love Him more.

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He reckoned up the value of the oil of myrrh, and yet was not afraid to sell thee who art above all price. Judas and us. Holy Thursday Liturgy.

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

The Last Supper

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Synopsis: On Holy Thursday we remember the institution of the Eucharist, and how it is salvific for man – but not for all. Much of our hymnology for this day speaks of Judas and his betrayal of the Lord. If we listen carefully, Judas is not just a historical figure far removed from us, but we will feel deeply that we have dangerous similarities to him. Judas fell into the insanity of deicide because of long-standing passions, and bad choices, In a word, he had bad priorities. This point is "hammered home" in many hymns, such as the one we choose to discuss:
 
Judas the transgressor at the supper /
dipped his hand into the dish with Thee, O Lord, /
yet sinfully he reached out his hands to receive the money. /
He reckoned up the value of the oil of myrrh, and yet was not afraid to sell Thee who art above all price. /
He stretched out his feet to be washed, yet deceitfully he kissed the Master
and betrayed Him to the breakers of the Law. /
Cast out of the company of the apostles, /
he threw away the thirty pieces of silver, /
and did not see Thy Resurrection on the third day. //
Through this Thy Resurrection have mercy on us.
(Praises, Matins of Holy Thursday, Tone 2)

More homilies on the HOLY WEEK are HERE


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I have transgressed more than the harlot, O loving Lord… Cultivating the proper attitude to have regarding our sins and weak repentance. Holy Wednesday Matins

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Woman of Bethany anointing the LordLISTEN NOW

Synopsis:Homily after Holy Wednesday Presanctified Liturgy discussion how the services give us a primer in how to regard our sins and weak repentance. The comparison of Judas and the woman of Bethany is very useful to teach us, and especially the Kontakion at matins which teaches us the essence of Christian honesty, repentance and hope:

I have transgressed more than the harlot, O loving Lord, /
yet never have I offered Thee my flowing tears. /
But in silence I fall down before Thee /
and with love I kiss Thy most pure feet, /
beseeching Thee as Master to grant me remission of sins; /
and I cry to Thee, O Savior: //
Deliver me from the filth of my works.
(Kontakion, Tone 4, Holy Wednesday Matins)

More homilies on the Holy Week are HERE


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While the sinful woman brought oil of myrrh, the disciple came to an agreement with the transgressors… Comparing and personalizing Judas and the woman of bethany.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Icon of the woman of Bethanky annointing Jesus.

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Synopsis:Six minutes after Holy Wednesday Matins about the comparison between Judas and the woman from Bethany who anointed the Lord. It is important to personalize the actions of these two people, and the service texts give a good example of how to acquire this critical spiritual skill:

While the sinful woman brought oil of myrrh, /
the disciple came to an agreement with the transgressors. /
She rejoiced to pour out what was very precious, /
he made haste to sell the One who is above all price. /
She acknowledged Christ as Lord, /
he severed himself from the Master. /
She was set free, but Judas became the slave of the enemy. /
Grievous was his lack of love! /
Great was her repentance! /
Grant such repentance also unto me, //
O Savior who hast suffered for our sake, and save us.
(Praises, Holy Wednesday Matins, Tone 1)

The harlot drew near Thee, O Thou who lovest mankind, /
and poured out on Thy feet the oil of myrrh with her tears; /
and at Thy command she was delivered from the foul smell of her evil deeds. /
But the ungrateful disciple, though he breathed Thy grace, /
rejected it and defiled himself in filth, /
selling Thee from love of money. //
Glory be to Thy compassion, O Christ.
(Sessional Hymn after the 3rd Kathisma, Holy Wednesday Matins, Tone 3, Troparion melody)

More homilies on the Holy Week are HERE


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Judas, with avaricious thoughts, ponders, plots and accepts the darkness The progression of sin into self-imposed slavery. Now in text form also.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Judas, with avaricious thoughts, ponders, plots and accepts the darkness

The progression of sin into self-imposed slavery

Holy Tuesday

2011

 

Judas betraying Christ for thirty pieces of silver http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/holy-week-judas-betrayal-01.jpgIn the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

 

Today we heard about the mechanism of sin, how sin begins to devour us if we allow it to.

 

We heard a sessional hymn about Judas and about how he ended up being annihilated by his thoughts. This hymn is a good description of how we become enslaved to sin. Especially these first three days of Holy Week there's a lot of introspection and a lot of consideration of our sinfulness. We are comparing ourselves in other hymns with the fig tree. We have the ten virgins, the story which is read in Presanctified for Tuesday. We have lots of hymns which really speak about our weakness and beg the Lord to help us and compare ourselves to some of these bad actors that are in the Scripture.

 

So I'll read this sessional hymn to you again and then make a couple of quick comments.

 

"Impious Judas with avaricious thoughts plots against the Master, and ponders how he will betray Him. He falls away from the light and accepts the darkness; he agrees upon the payment and sells Him that is above all price; and as the reward of his actions, in his misery he receives a hangman's noose and death in agony. O Christ our God, deliver us from such a fate as his, and grant remission of sins to those who celebrate with love Thy most pure passion."

 

For Judas, his fatal passion was avaricious thoughts. Saint John says that he had the money bag and he liked to steal from it. And so this was a long-standing passion of his. It wasn't something that was just for the moment; it was long-standing. And so because of this addiction to a particular sin – it could be lust or jealousy or gossip or judging people, or many different things, he was eventually annihilated  by his passion.

 

Because of this sin, this long-standing addiction, he started thinking about a way to have more money, and he pondered. He thought about it, how he might betray Christ.

 

Probably in the beginning when he thought about it, it was revolting to him: No, he couldn't do that. He's been a friend for three years. Because, after all, Judas did raise the dead and heal people too, you know. I don't know if he raised the dead, it’s not given, but he was one of the ones who went out and healed people. And so there must have been some attachment to Christ, but there was a greater attachment to money. And so what does it say? He falls away from the light and he accepts the darkness.

 

If you read monastic literature, you will see that this is indicating how sin progresses in us. It begins with a thought, and then we ponder it and then we accept it. Now, in the case of some sins, if we are able to most of the time be victorious over them, they don't possess us. But in the case of Judas, avariciousness had already possessed him. And so what did he do? He became possessed by murder. He accepted the darkness.

 

http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/holy-week-judas-kiss-03.jpgNow, really, all of us have things that are calling out to us like the sirens that want us to accept them. And we must fight against them. And this warfare that is so necessary in a Christian is spoken about many times in the days of Holy Week. There's a reason for that. Palm Sunday you must think about this warfare.

 

Father Nicholas gave a homily that really spoke about something that is related to this warfare. People had a view of Christ that He wasn't, and they allowed this view to possess them. They wanted a king, a conqueror, someone to rub the nose of Rome in the dirt. That's not what they were getting. They were getting someone meek, lowly, who sat on a colt, the foal of an ass.

 

There are many things in our lives that want to possess us, brothers and sisters, it's absolutely true, and they want us to accept them. Of course I'm personifying passions. They are not really people, nor are they demons. They are our own weaknesses. Of course, the demons act upon those weaknesses. May God help us to understand this progression and to stop it with repentance. A big part of Holy Week is understanding this progression and learning to stop it.

 

May God bless you and help you in all things. Amen.

 

Transcribed by the hand of the handmaiden of God Helen.

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011.    

 

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

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Judas with avaricious thoughts, ponders, plots, and accepts the darkness. The progression of sin into self imposed slavery. Holy Tuesday

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Judas betraying Christ for thirty pieces of silver.

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Synopsis: Six minutes on the progression of sin. Holy Week is not only about the events surrounding the passion of our Lord, but is also a time for introspection and self-amendment. The descent of Judas into the insanity of deicide did not happen all at once, but progressed because of his addiction to a particular passion. We read a sessional hymn from Holy Tuesday Matins, and see how it describes the progression of sin in *our* lives unless we fight to not "accept the darkness". This is VERY important, and applies to EVERYONE.
 
"Impious Judas with avaricious thoughts plots against the Master, and ponders how he will betray Him. He falls away from the light and accepts the darkness; he agrees upon the payment and sells Him that is above all price; and as the reward of his actions, in his misery he receives a hangman's noose and death in agony. O Christ our God, deliver us from such a fate as his, and grant remission of sins to those who celebrate with love Thy most pure passion." (Sessional Hymn, Tone 8, Holy Tuesday Matins)

More homilies on Holy Week are HERE

the Kiss of Judas


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Holy Tuesday – The Parable of the ten virgins. The Oil is the Holy Spirit. The proper dogma regarding works. St. Seraphim of Sarov’s Conversation With Nicholas Motovilov

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Parable of the Ten Virgins g

On Holy Tuesday Presanctified, we read the Parable of the ten virgins. This parable is one of the most important in all of Scripture, and a proper understanding of it is crucial. The interpreter par-excellence of this Gospel is my Patron, St Seraphim of Sarov. His "Conversation with Motovilov" (also here) contains pearls regarding this parable.

Parable of the ten Virgins. The Oil is the Holy Spirit. The proper dogma regarding works. St. Seraphim of Sarov's Conversation With Nicholas Motovilov

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4 new homilies by Pr Seraphim and Dcn Nicholas for Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Palm Sunday- The Entrance into Jerusalem

"Rejoice In The Lord Alway And Again I Say Rejoice" LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: synopsis:A homily by Deacon Nicholas Park in which he discusses the admonition of the Apostle Paul to "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice". Many if the children of Jerusalem who cried "Hosanna" were worshipping Jesus as the person they *wanted* Him to be, and not as He really is.

Philippians 4:4-9 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.


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Learning Humility by recounting the events of Holy Week – LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: A very short homily after Vespers in the vigil for Palm Sunday. The events of Holy week should teach us humility. Many mistakes were made, by those who loved the Lord and those who hated Him. For instance, two prophesies, one from Zechariah, and the other from Jeremiah, were fulfilled to the letter, and the leaders who plotted to destroy Jesus, and who knew the Scripture, were blind to this. Martha and Mary, who loved the Lord, showed deep ingnorance about Who He is. We must learn humility from these examples.


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More homilies on Palm Sunday are HERE


The Raising of Lazarus

 

"In confirming the common resurrection" and other reasons why Lazarus was raised. LISTEN NOW

Synopsis: After Matins for St Lazarus, a short homily giving examples from the services which detail three of the reasons why the story of the resurrection is so prominent in the Gospel of John, and is read at this time of the year, and the most important reason, from the story itself, why this extremely intimate account of this great miracle of Christ is preserved.


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Exegesis of the raising of Lazarus story – LISTEN NOW


More homilies on LAZARUS SATURDAY are HERE




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Lazarus Saturday. Children’s Homily

Friday, April 15th, 2011

A typical Children's homily

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Synopsis: Homily after liturgy on Lazarus Saturday, with the children enthuistically and usually quite theologically correctly participating.

More homilies on LAZARUS SATURDAY are HERE


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