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Thomas Sunday

Thomas Sunday


The Reading from the Acts of the Holy Apostles (5:12-20)

In those days: By the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people, and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. But of the rest, no man dared join himself to them, but the people magnified them. And more believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks and those who were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed, every one. Then the high priest rose up and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees); and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth and said, ‘Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this Life.’

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John (20:19-31)

The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in their midst and said unto them, ‘Peace be unto you.’ And when He had so said, He showed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, ‘Peace be unto you. As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said unto them, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained.’ But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said unto them, ‘Unless I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days the disciples were again within, and Thomas was with them. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be unto you.’ Then said He to Thomas, ‘Reach hither thy finger and behold My hands, and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said unto Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said unto him, ‘Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.’ And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through His name.


Troparion for Thomas Sunday (Tone 7)
While the tomb was sealed, Thou, O Life, didst shine forth from the grave, O Christ God. And while the doors were shut, Thou didst come unto Thy disciples, O Resurrection of all, renewing through them an upright Spirit in us according to Thy great mercy.

Kontakion of Thomas Sunday (Tone 8)
With his searching right hand, Thomas did probe Thy life-bearing side, O Christ God; for when Thou didst enter while the doors were shut, he cried out unto Thee with the rest of the disciples: Thou art my Lord and my God!

Synaxarion for Thomas Sunday

On this Sunday, the second Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the Antipascha, that is to say the re-dedication of the Resurrection of Christ, and also commemorate the event of the Holy Apostle Thomas’ touching the wounds of Christ.

This commemoration is due to the ancient custom of rededicating important events. As a year would pass and the date of such an event would arrive, a commemoration was made so that such great events would not be forgotten. This is why the Israelites celebrated the Passover at Gilgal, to commemorate the passing through the Red Sea. They also commemorated the consecration of the Tabernacle of Witness that was in the wilderness and many other holy events.

Since the Resurrection of the Lord is the greatest and most important event and beyond all thought, it is rededicated not only once a year, but also on every “eighth” day. The first rededication of the Resurrection is this present Sunday, for it is truly both the “eighth” day and the “first.” It is the eighth day after Pascha, and the first day, because it is the beginning of the other days. Again, it is called the “eighth” day because it prefigures the unending day of the future age to come, which will be truly the “first” day and a day that is not divided by a single night. This is why this Sunday is called the Antipascha, which interpreted means “in the place of Pascha.” We should also know that due to the honor given Sunday by the Lord’s Resurrection, the Holy Apostles transferred the weekly day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) to this most honored day.

It is also called Thomas Sunday, the reason being as follows: On the day of the Resurrection, when Christ showed himself to the Disciples in the evening, Thomas was not present, because he had not yet joined the other Disciples for fear of the Jews. When he rejoined the others, not only did he not believe what they told him about the Resurrection of Christ and the fact that they had seen Him, but he absolutely refused to believe that Christ had risen, even though he himself was one of the Twelve. God the good Master, in His true economy, waited eight days to make His love more perfect, firmly willing to truthfully verify the Resurrection and also the events that had occurred after the Resurrection. Thus, Thomas did not believe so that he could more truthfully proclaim to all the belief in the Resurrection. Therefore, the Lord came to the Apostles again while Thomas was among them. Though the doors were shut as before, He entered and granted them peace according to the custom. He then turned toward Thomas and said, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27). Then Thomas intentionally scrutinized the Lord’s side more attentively, and receiving faith through the examination, he cried, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). He said “Lord” in witnessing to the bodily form of Christ and “God” in witnessing to His Divinity. Then Christ said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). This was the second appearance of Christ.

Thomas was called “The Twin” for one of several possible reasons: either he was born a twin – one of two children born at the same time; or because he was born doubtful of the Resurrection; or because by nature the middle finger and the index finger of his right hand were joined together. Since by Divine Providence he was allowed to doubt, it was with these certain two fingers that he would probe Christ’s side. Yet, others say that it is more likely and more truthful that Thomas, being interpreted, means “twin.”

The third appearance of Christ was at the Sea of Tiberias during the catching of the fish where He even ate a meal of broiled fish and honeycomb; this particular food, as He alone knew, was consumed by the Divine Fire. This event gave further proof of the Resurrection of the body – not only His, but ours in the Age to come. After this, He revealed himself on the road to Emmaus. The fifth time He appeared was in Galilee to the eleven, as it is written. From the Resurrection until His Ascension, He worked before His Disciples many signs that surpassed all nature. However, He did not reveal all these signs to very many, for it was impossible for men yet living in this world to hear such inexpressible wonders.

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Matins of Great Monday – Archpriest Valentin Amfiteatrov (+1908)

Matins of Great Monday – Archpriest Valentin Amfiteatrov (+1908)

Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today He returns from Bethany and proceeds of His own free will toward His holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with Himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of His own free will to make His journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and He will make His entry in simplicity.

Today, by God’s mercy, the Holy Forty Days have concluded. We have come a long way and we find ourselves at our destination. The Father’s house is already visible, where the joy of the bright day awaits us. Let us hasten to complete what we have begun. Fathers and mothers, encourage your children to finish their good podvig. Sons and daughters, help your fathers and mothers to enter into the joy of the Lord. But now we hear the sorrowful voice of the old and the young: Thy bridal chamber, O my Savior, I see all adorned, but I have no wedding garment so that I may enter it.

Poor strangers! Why is your clothing so old and improper? Have time or negligence made it so? Let your conscience, both human and Christian, answer this question.

But our mother, the Church, reaches out to you with her customary appeal. We hear this hymnody from her: Come, brethren; come all, great and small, enlightened and simple, young and old; come, let us be united in the spirit of faith and love and share the feeling of the suffering God-Man. The luminous bridal chamber is visible, but it is not possible to enter therein with a mind full of impure thoughts.

Unfortunately, many people’s thoughts and entire souls are never more filled with daily concerns than during this coming week. Concern for finishing various affairs before the feast, for the preparation of various items for the feast, distracts the mind on all sides and diverts the senses towards vain objects. For this reason the Divine Services of Passion Week are not attended in full; much of what is read in church — most importantly, the Evangelists’ narratives about the life of Jesus Christ — pass by without proper attention.

Yet Holy and Great Week does not require such a distracted mind from us. We will hear the good tidings of the entire life of our Savior. When is it not more fitting to view the whole of it than before its end? But will someone who is distracted, who does not even know his own life, be able to absorb the meaning of this life? We will be witnesses of the Lord’s final discourse with His disciples at the Mystical Supper; but can our hearts be inflamed with the fire of the love of Jesus if, like Judas, it will be where its treasure is? Therefore, it is not for the Lord’s sake, but for our very own sake, that we must in the present days collect our thoughts as best we can, and purify them; or else we will leave behind the Savior and remain with Judas, in despair; or, in Pilate’s judgment hall, left with washed hands alone; or in Herod’s palace, dressed up in our best clothes alone; but we will not rise with Christ, will not enter His bridal chamber of glory. Thy bridal chamber, O my Savior, I see all adorned, but I have no garment so that I may enter it.

What should we do about our everyday cares, one of you may ask. The feast is great, and the daily cares are great. We know about this situation, and we mourn: Christ is on the Cross, and Christians are from morning till night in stores. Christ, in pain, cries out I thirst, and drinks vinegar; while Christians prepare all manner of food and drink. At the very moment that Christ gives up His spirit, Christians barely take a break from their everyday concerns … How, after all this, can Christians in the end cry out the words: Thy bridal chamber, O my Savior, I see all adorned, but I have no garment so that I may enter it… We do not demand a change in the order of life, but a good Christian can find without difficulty the means of meeting all the demands of the feast without disturbing his mind and feeling, without losing sight of his Savior. The Apostles themselves went shopping. They prepared supper, and the equal-to-the-Apostle women bought aromatic fragrances; but regard how everything they did was decorous and pious. Why can it not be the same with us? Because we are children of the nineteenth century… because our vanity fabricates a great number of petty needs, and tortures itself and others with their satisfaction: petty people and petty feelings. The insatiability of our flesh magnifies beyond measure the needs of these bright days. The bright days are in and of themselves nourishing to the spirit and therefore require little food for the flesh. But we are so sensual that we cannot find love without victuals; we have fallen out of the habit of understanding delight and sweetness of heart without food. A Christian feast day is great and holy not for the great number of food; it is joyful not for the permission of shrill gaiety that takes one’s breath away… No, this is serving the body. Not in the name of the Risen Christ do people overeat and drink to satiety; not in the name of the Risen Christ do they array themselves to the point of temptation. A pure delight of the heart is a holy exaltation of the heart; it is truth, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Such feeling is unknown to the majority of us. If they were to visit us even once, we would not forget them, just as one does not forget the feeling of young, adoring, and pure love, the feeling of deep and unselfish friendship.

But inasmuch as we are poor in these holy feelings, it remains for me with a sad heart to repeat for all and to all the touching words of the prayer: Thy bridal chamber, O my Savior, I see all adorned, but I have no garment so that I may enter it. O Giver of Life, enlighten the vesture of my soul, that I might go into Thy house unrebuked; I shall worship toward Thy holy temple, I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. Amen.

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Вход Господень во Иерусалим Архиепископ Аверкий

Вход Господень во Иерусалим Архиепископ Аверкий

(Матф. 21:1-11; Мрк. 11:1-11; Лк. 19:28-44; Иоан. 12:12-19).

Об этом великом событии, которое служит преддверием страданий Христовых, понесенных нас ради человек и нашего ради спасения, рассказывают весьма обстоятельно все четыре Евангелиста, св. Иоанн короче первых трех.

Господь Иисус Христос шел теперь в Иерусалим для того, чтобы исполнилось все написанное о Нем, как Мессии, пророками. Он шел для того, чтобы испить чашу искупительных страданий, дать душу Свою в избавление за многих и потом войти в славу Свою. Поэтому в полную противоположность тому, как держал Себя Господь прежде, Ему было благоугодно этот Свой последний вход в Иерусалим обставить особой торжественностью. Первые три Евангелиста передают нам подробности, которыми сопровождалась подготовка этого торжественного входа. Когда Господь с учениками, окруженный множеством народа, сопровождавшего Его от Вифании и встречавшегося по пути, приблизился к горе Елеонской, Он послал двух учеников в селение, находившееся перед ними с поручением привести ослицу и молодого осла. Гора Елеонская, или Масличная, называлась так по множеству росших в ней масличных деревьев (елея — маслина). Она находится к востоку от Иерусалима и отделяется от него ручьем или потоком Кедроном, который почти совершенно высыхал летом. На западном склоне горы, обращенном к Иерусалиму, находился сад, называвшийся Гефсиманией. На восточном же склоне горы лежали два селения, упоминаемые у свв. Марка и Луки Вифсфагия и Вифания (Матфей говорит только о первой). С горы Елеонской был прекрасный вид на все части Иерусалима.

Из Вифании в Иерусалим было два пути: один огибал гору Елеонскую с юга, а другой шел через самый верх горы: последний был короче, но труднее и утомительнее. В Палестине было мало коней, и они употреблялись почти исключительно для войны. Для домашнего обихода и путешествий употреблялись ослы, мулы и верблюды. Сесть на коня было тогда эмблемой войны, сесть на мула или осла — эмблемой мира. В мирное время и цари и вожди народные ездили на этих животных.

Таким образом, вход Господа Иисуса Христа в Иерусалим на осле был символом мира: Царь мира едет в свою столицу на осле — эмблема мира. Замечательно, что хозяева осла и ослицы, по слову Господа, сразу же отдали своих животных, когда Апостолы сказали, для Кого они их берут. Отмечая удивительность этого обстоятельства, св. Златоуст говорит, что Господь хотел этим дать понять, что “Он мог воспрепятствовать жестоковыйным иудеям, когда они пришли схватить Его, и сделать их безгласными, но не захотел сего.” Евангелисты Матфей и Иоанн указывают, что это было исполнением пророчества Захарии, которое они приводят, но в сокращенном виде и которое полностью читается так: “Ликуй от радости, дочь Сиона, торжествуй, дочь Иерусалима: се Царь твой грядет к тебе, праведный и спасающий, кроткий, сидящий на ослице и молодом осле, сыне подъяремной” (осле, который ходит под ярмом; Зах. 9:9). Это пророчество близко пророчеству Исаии, из которого св. Матфей заимствует первые слова: “Скажите дочери Сиона: грядет Спаситель твой; награда Его с Ним и воздаяние Его — перед Ним” (Ис. 62:11).

Разумея величие этих минут, Апостолы сами стараются украсить это шествие торжественностью: они покрывают ослицу и молодого осла своими одеждами, которые как бы должны были заменить собой златотканые ткани, коими украшались царские кони. “И накинув одежды свои на осленка…” Ехал Господь, как ясно видно из повествования св. Марка, Луки и Иоанна, на осленке, а ослица, по-видимому, шла рядом. “Многие же постилали одежды свои по дороге,” следуя примеру учеников, “другие же,” не имея верхних одежд, по бедности, “резали ветви с дерев и постилали по пути,” чтобы сделать путь мягким и удобным для осленка и таким образом послужить и воздать честь Сидящему на нем. Далее, совмещая повествования всех Евангелистов, можно представить себе следующую картину: “Когда Он приблизился к спуску с горы Елеонской” (Лук. 19:37), то есть когда они приблизились к перевалу, откуда начинался спуск и открылся дивный вид на Иерусалим, “Все множество учеников начало в радости велегласно славить Бога” за спасение мира, уготованное во Христе, и в частности за все чудеса — “какие видели они.” К этому добавляет св. Иоанн: “Множество народа, пришедшего на праздник, услышав, что Иисус идет в Иерусалим, взяли пальмовые ветви и вышли навстречу Ему” (Иоан. 12:12-13).

Так соединилось два множества народа: одно шло от Вифании со Христом, другое из Иерусалима, навстречу Ему. Вид Иерусалима, представшего с горы во всей своей красе, вызвал восторг всей народной массы, который вылился в радостных и громогласных криках: “Осанна! благословен грядущий во имя Господне, Царь Израилев!” “Осанна” в буквальном переводе с древнееврейского языка значит: “Спаси же,” даруй спасение. Это восклицание употреблялось как выражение радости и благоговения наподобие нынешнего: “Да здравствует.” “Осанна в вышних” — пожелание чтобы и на небе было принесено в дар Царю Израилеву, Сыну Давидову, то же радостное восклицание “Осанна.” “Благословен грядущий во имя Господне” — значит: достоин благословения или прославления Тот, Кто приходит от Иеговы с Его повелениями, с Его властью, как приходят от земного царя посланники и правители с полномочиями заменять его (срав. Иоан. 5:43). Еванг. Марк присоединяет к этому еще восклицание: “Благословенно грядущее царство во имя Господа, отца нашего Давида.”

Царство Давида должен был восстановить Мессия, Которого престол должен был пребывать вечно и власть должна была распространиться на все народы. В этих словах сыны Израилевы и прославляют Христа, грядущего восстановить это царство Давидово. Св. Лука передает еще одно восклицание: “Мир на небесах,” в смысле: с небес снисходят все истинные духовные блага и вечное спасение.

Св. Иоанн объясняет, как причину этой радостной встречи Господа, великое чудо воскрешения Лазаря, только что Им совершенное, а св. Лука — все вообще чудеса Его. В этом событии наша Церковь усматривает особое Божие устроение и внушение Духа Святого, как говорит об этом Синаксарь на Неделю Ваий: “Сие же быша языки подвигшу, Всесвятому Духу.” С этой точки зрения понятен ответ Господа, данный Им на лукавый и злобный совет фарисеев: “Учитель, запрети ученикам Твоим (ибо Ты, как и мы, понимаешь, насколько все это неприлично и опасно для Тебя).” — “Если они умолкнут, то камни возопиют” (Лук. 19:39-40); т.е. это славословие Христу Мессии устрояется в сердцах и устах народа Самим Богом, и если бы люди воспротивились этому Божиему повелению, тогда бездушные камни заменили бы людей в прославлении Господа. В этих словах Церковь видит также иносказательное указание на язычников, имевших прежде как бы каменные сердца, но потом заменивших собой Израиля, отвергшего Христа. Тот же смысл имеет и приводимый ап. Матфеем ответ Господа фарисеям, негодовавшим по злобе и зависти на то, что дети в храме восклицали: “Осанна Сыну Давидову!” — “Разве вы никогда не читали: Из уст младенцев и грудных детей Ты устроил хвалу”; то есть Бог Сам устроил Себе хвалу в устах младенцев и грудных детей (Пс. 8:3; Матф. 21:15-16).

Смотря на город, как повествует св. Лука (19:41-44), Господь “заплакал о нем,” по причине его скорой погибели. Замечательно, что в 70 году Римляне, начиная осаду Иерусалима, устроили свой лагерь как раз на том месте Елеонской горы, где находился в то время Христос Спаситель, и самая осада началась тоже незадолго до Пасхи. “О, если бы ты хоть в сей день твой день узнал, что служит к миру твоему! Но это сокрыто ныне от глаз твоих.” — Если бы ты, народ иудейских, хотя бы сейчас уразумел, что служит к твоему спасению; но ты упорно закрываешь глаза, чтобы не видеть. Отвергая Меня, ты ускоряещь свою гибель. “… Не уразумел времени посещения твоего,” то есть того благоприятного времени, когда Бог явил тебе особую милость и призывал тебя ко спасению через посланного к тебе Мессию.

Св. Матфей свидетельствует, что “когда Он вошел в Иерусалим, весь город пришел в движение” — столь велико было впечатление от этой торжественной встречи.

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Palm Sunday – Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Palm Sunday – Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem

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

Today, in the day of Palms we stand in awe and amazement before what is happening in a way in which the Jews of Jerusalem could not meet Christ because they met Him imagining that He was the glorious king who would now take over all power, conquer and reject the heathen, – the Romans who were occupying their country, that He would re-establish a kingdom, an earthly kingdom of Israel. We know that He had not come for that, He had come to establish a Kingdom that will have no end, a Kingdom of eternity, and the Kingdom that was not open only to one nation but was open to all nations, and the Kingdom that was to be founded on the life and on the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God become the Son of man.

And Holy Week is from one end to another a time of tragic confusion. The Jews meet Christ at the gates of Jerusalem because they expect of Him a triumphant military leader, and He comes to serve, to wash the feet of His disciples, to give His life for the people but not to conquer by force, by power. And the same people who meet Him shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” in a few days will shout, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” because He has betrayed their expectations. They expected an earthly victory and what they see is a defeated king. They hate Him for the disappointment of all their hopes.

And this is not so alien to us in our days. How many are those people who have turn away in hatred from Christ because He has disappointed one hope or another. I remember a woman who had been a believer for all her life and whose grandson died, a little boy, and she said to me, “I don’t believe in God anymore. How could He take my grandson?” And I said to her, “But you believed in God while thousands and thousands and millions of people died.” And she looked at me and said, “Yes, but what did that do to me? I didn’t care, they were not my children.” This is something that happens to us in a small degree so often that we waver in our faith and in our faithfulness to God when something which we expect Him to do for us is not done, when He is not an obedient servant, when we proclaim our will, He does not say, “Amen,” and does not do it. So we are not so alien from those who met Christ at the gates of Jerusalem and then turned away from Him.

But we are entering now in Holy Week. How can we face the events? I think we must enter into Holy Week not as observers, not reading the passages of the Gospel which are relevant, we must enter into Holy Week as though we were participants of the events, indeed read of them but then mix in the crowd that surrounds Christ and ask ourselves, Who am I in this crowd? Am I one of those who said, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’? And am I now on the fringe of saying, ‘Crucify him’? Am I one of the disciples who were faithful until the moments of ultimate danger came upon them?.. You remember that in the Garden of Gethsemane three disciples had been singled out for Christ to support Him at the hour of His supreme agony, and they did not, they were tired, they were desponded and they fell asleep. Three times He came to them for support, three times they were away from Him.

We do not meet Christ in the same circumstances but we meet so many people who are in agony, not only dying physically, and that also happens to our friends, our relatives, people around us, but are in agony of terror one way or another. Are we there awake, alive, attentive to them, ready to help them out, and if we can’t help, to be with them, to stand by them or do we fall asleep, that is, contract out, turn away, leave them in their agony, their fear, their misery? And again I am not speaking of Judas because no-one of us is aware of betraying Christ in such a way, but don’t we betray Christ when we turn away from all His commandments? When He says, “I give you an example for you to follow,” and we shake our heads and say, “No, I will simply follow the devices of my own heart.” But think of Peter, apparently the strongest, the one who spoke time and again in the name of others. When it came to risking not his life, because no-one was about to kill him, to be rejected simply, he denied Christ three times.

What do we do when we are challenged in the same way, when we are in danger of being mocked and ridiculed and put aside by our friends or our acquaintances who shrug their shoulders and say, “A Christian? And you believe in that? And you believe that Christ was God, and you believe in His Gospel, and you are on His side?” How often? O, we don’t say, “No, we are not,” but do we say, “Yes, it is my glory, and if you want to crucify Him, if you want to reject Him, reject me too because I choose to stand by Him, I am His disciple, even if I am to be rejected, even if you don’t let me into your house anymore.”

And think of the crowd on Calvary. There were people who had been instrumental in His condemnation, they mocked Him, they had won their victory, so they thought at least. And then there were the soldiers, the soldiers who crucified Him. They had crucified innumerable other people, they were doing their job. It didn’t matter to them whom they crucified. And yet Christ prayed for them, “Forgive them, Father, they don’t know what they are doing.” We are not being crucified physically, but do we say, “Forgive, Father, those who offend us, who humiliate us, who reject us, those who kill our joy and darken our life in us.” Do we do that? No, we don’t. So we must recognise ourselves in them also.

And then there was a crowd of people who had poured out of the city to see a man die, the fierce curiosity that pushes so many of us to be curious when suffering, agony comes upon people. You will say, it doesn’t happen? Ask yourself how you watch television and how eagerly, hungrily you look at the horrors that befall Somalia, the Sudan, Bosnia and every other country. Is it with a broken heart? Is it that you can not endure the horror and turn in prayer to God and then give, give, give generously all you can give for hunger and misery to be alleviated? Is it? No, we are the same people who came out on Calvary to see a man die. Curiosity, interest? Yes, alas.

And then there were those who had come with the hope that He will die because if He died on the cross, then they were free from this terrifying, horrible message He had brought that we must love one another to the point of being ready to die for each other. That message of the crucified, sacrificial love could be rejected once and for all if He who preached it died, and it was proved that He was a false prophet, a liar.
And then there were those who had come in the hope that He will come down from the cross, and then they could be believers without any risk, they would have joint the victorious party. Aren’t we like that so often?

And then there is a point to which we hardly should dare turn our eyes – the Mother of the Incarnate Son of God, the Mother of Jesus silent, offering His death for the salvation of mankind, silent and dying with Him hour after hour, and the disciple who knew in a youthful way how to love his master, standing by in horror, seeing his Master die and the Mother in agony. Are we like this when we read the Gospel, are we like this when we see the agony of men around us?

Let us therefore enter in this Holy Week in order not to be observers of what happened then, let us enter into it mixed with the crowd and at every step ask ourselves, who am I in this crowd? Am I the Mother? Am I the disciple? Am I one of the crucifiers? And so forth. And then we will be able to meet the day of the Resurrection together with those to whom it was life and resurrection indeed, when despair had gone, new hope had come, God had conquered. Amen.

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Palm Sunday – St Andrew of Crete

Palm Sunday – Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem

Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today He returns from Bethany and proceeds of His own free will toward His holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with Himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of His own free will to make His journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and He will make His entry in simplicity.

Let us run to accompany Him as He hastens toward His passion, and imitate those who met Him then, not by covering His path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before Him by being humble and by trying to live as He would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at His coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.

In His humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and He is glad that He became so humble for our sake, glad that He came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to Himself. And even though we are told that He has now ascended above the highest heavens – the proof, surely, of His power and godhead – His love for man will never rest until He has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with His own in heaven.

So let us spread before His feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in His grace, or rather, clothed completely in Him.

We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before Him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of His victory.

Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song:

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.

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Palm Sunday – Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem

Palm Sunday – Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem


Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Philippians (4:4-9)

Brethren: Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, ‘Rejoice!’ Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Fret not about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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. 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.

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John (12:1-18)

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, who had been dead and whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son who was to betray Him, said, ‘Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money bag and took what was put therein. Then Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; against the day of My burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you, but Me ye have not always.’ Many people of the Jews therefore knew that He was there. And they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted, that they might put Lazarus also to death, because by reason of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. On the next day many people who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went forth to meet Him and cried, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord!’ And Jesus, when He had found a young ass, sat thereon, as it is written: ‘Fear not, daughter of Sion; behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.’ These things His disciples understood not at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things unto Him. The people therefore who were with Him, when He called Lazarus out of his grave and raised him from the dead, bore record. For this cause the people also met Him, for they heard that He had done this miracle.


Troparion of Palm Sunday (Tone 4)
In confirming the common Resurrection, O Christ God, Thou didst raise up Lazarus from the dead before Thy Passion.Wherefore, we also, like the children bearing the symbols of victory, cry to Thee, the Vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the highest; blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Kontakion for Palm Sunday (Tone 6)
Being borne upon a throne in heaven, * and upon a colt on the earth, O Christ God, * Thou didst accept the praise of angels and the laudation of children as they cry to Thee: * Blessed is He that cometh to recall Adam.

Synaxarion for Palm Sunday

After Lazarus had been raised from the dead, many, on beholding this event, came to believe in Christ. And indeed, a resolution was passed by the Jewish synagogue that Christ, and Lazarus himself, should be killed. Jesus, therefore, departed, letting evil run its course, and the Jews meditated how they might kill Him on the Feast of Passover. Some time after His flight, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, and there, after a supper had been made, Lazarus ate with Him; his sister Mary poured out ointment on Christ’s feet. On the following day, He sent His Disciples to fetch the ass and the foal. He Who has Heaven for His throne entered Jerusalem, riding on the foal of an ass. The children of the Hebrews themselves spread their garments under Him and, cutting down palm branches, threw some of them in the way and carried others in their arms, and they cried out as they escorted Him: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel.”

This took place because the All-Holy Spirit moved their tongues to praise and laud Christ. Through the palms (the name given by the Hebrews to the tender branches) they signified Christ’s victory over death. For it was customary for the victors of athletic contests and wars to be honored and borne about with branches of evergreen trees. The foal signified us, the people of the Gentiles, sitting and resting on whom Christ is proclaimed victor, conqueror, and King of all the earth.

About this Feast the Prophet Zacharias said: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; for behold, thy King is coming to thee, meek and riding on an ass and the foal of an ass.” And again, about the children, David says: “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou perfected praise.” When Christ entered the city, the whole of Jerusalem quaked and, goaded on by the High Priests to defend it, the crowds sought to do away with Him. He eluded them by hiding, and when He did appear, He spoke to them through parables.

By Thine ineffable compassion, O Christ our God, make us victors over irrational passions, and vouchsafe us to behold Thy clear victory over death, Thy radiant and life-bearing Resurrection, and have mercy on us. Amen.

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Слово Епископа Митрофана в Лазареву субботу

Слово Епископа Митрофана (Зноско-Боровского), Бостонского (+2002г.) в Лазареву субботу

(Иоан. XI, 1-45).

Из радушного дома сестер Марфы и Марии, получил Господь, чрез посланца, известие о том, что «тот, которого Он любит, опасно болен». Не видя надежды на выздоров¬ление, сестры настойчиво просили, чтобы Он возможно ско¬рее прибыл к ним и помог им в постигшем их горе. Но Христос не сразу пошел в путь. Он пришел в Вифанию на четвертый день кончины Лазаря.

Эта медлительность послужила к еще большей Божией славе. Сестры не могли понять печальной для них медли¬тельности и Марфа, встретив к их дому приближающегося Христа, воскликнула: «Господи, если бы Ты был здесь, не умер бы брат мой», но вера и надежда взяли перевес над болью душевной, и она прибавила: «но и теперь я знаю, что чего Ты не попросишь у Бога, даст Тебе Бог». Христос подтвердил ея веру: «Воскреснет брат твой» — сказал Он. «Знаю, что воскреснет, в последний день», в день всеобщего воскресения, — с печалью ответила Марфа, на что Христос, открывая Свое Божественное существо, в кото¬ром заключается источник нашего воскресения, сказал ей: «Я есмь Воскресение и Жизнь; верующий в Меня, если и умрет, оживет. Веришь-ли сему?», — на что убежденная Марфа ответила: «Так, Господи, я верую, что Ты Христос, Сын Божий, грядущий в мир».

Эта беседа ободрила Марфу и она пошла за сестрой: «Учи¬тель зовет тебя». — «Господи, если бы Ты был здесь, не умер бы брат мой», припадая к ногам Спасителя, вос¬кликнула и Мария. Эта единодушная вера сестер во всемогу¬щество Христа над смертью и жизнью, вместе с надрываю¬щим душу их горем, тронули Христа и Он едва мог проговорить: «где вы положили его?

Когда Он шел за сестрами к могиле, из глаз его текли безмолвные слезы. Некоторые из присутствовавших иудеев видели в слезах доказательство Его любви к умершему; другие, с насмешкой, говорили: «не мог ли Он, отверзший очи слепому от рождения, сделать, чтобы и друг Его не умер?» Слышал и знал Сердцеведец Господь тол¬ки и мысли окружающей толпы. И все это: тяжелая скорбь сестер, наемныя плакальщицы, неутолимая к Нему нена¬висть, — так потрясло Его, что, несмотря на предстоящую славу воскресения мертвеца, Он плакал.

Подойдя к могиле, Христос велел отвалить камень от пещеры, в которой был погребен Лазарь, но Марфа, возможно по деликатности, желая избежать неприятного зре¬лища, возразила: «Господи, уже четыре дня как он в могиле, уже смрад тления исходит от него!» Спаситель торжественно напомнил ей а Своем обещании, и камень отвалили от пещеры, в которой лежал умершый.

Христос стоял у входа в пещеру, от исходящего из пещеры смрада народ отшатнулся назад, притаив дыхание, когда Иисус возвел очи Свои к небу, благодарив Бога: «Отче, благодарю Тебя, что Ты услышал Меня», и, возвы¬сив Свой голос, воскликнул: «Лазарь, выйди вон!» К ужасу всех присутствовавших, мертвец встал из гроба и вышел в своем страшном погребальном одеянии. Сняли с него погребальныя пелены и Лазарь мог спокойно пойти домой, а вся присутствовавшая толпа народа, в страхе и в изумлении, следила за Лазарем и разсуждала о Том, кто совершил такое чудо великое.

Воскрешение Лазаря это — третье воскрешение Христом умершего. Дочь Иаира воскресил Христос тотчас после ея смерти; сына Наинской вдовы, когда его несли на кладбище; в случае же с Лазарем Христос убедительно доказал Свое Божественное всемогущество воскрешением четверо¬дневного мертвеца, котораго уже коснулось тление.

«Я есмь Воскресение и Жизнь», говорит и нам Христос — Источник нашего воскресения. И как залог нашего вос¬кресения, мы принимаем с вами святыя Тайны Тела и Крови, по слову Спасителя нашего: «Ядущий Мое Тело и пию¬щий Мою Кровь во Мне пребывает и Я в нем».

Сегодня, за шесть дней до Пасхи, мы возносим славу По¬бедителю смерти-Христу. Многие в Вифании, видя воскрес¬шего Лазаря, уверовали во Христа, как Мессию — Спасителя мира, но было немало и таких, упорство душевной тьмы которых не мог победить и Лазарь, возвратившийся из загробной жизни. Душевная тьма! Ведь это результат возгор¬дившегося ума в его отпадении от Бога живаго. Да не будет сего с нами, вместе с Марфой и Марией восклицающими: «Господи, мы веруем, что Ты Христос, Сын Божий, при¬шедый въ мир». Аминь.

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Слово Архиепископа Павла, Сиднейскаго и Австралийскаго на Лазареву Субботу

Слово Архиепископа Павла, Сиднейскаго и Австралийскаго на Лазареву Субботу

Во имя Отца, и Сына, и Святаго Духа.

Воскрешение Лазаря. Это событие, которое предварило Воскресение Господа нашего Иисуса Христа. Об этом празднике вот что говорит один из величайших богословов и церковных писателей Русской Православной Церкви, живший в прошлом столетии, епископ Иннокентий Херсонский. Он говорит, что настоящий праздник можно назвать праздником дружества или дружбы. Господь Иисус Христос, когда узнал о том, что друг Его Лазарь умер, то сказал: “Лазарь, друг наш, умер” и сразу же поспешил в Вифанию, несмотря на опасность для Своей жизни, потому что, как вы знаете, иудеи сговорившись решили убить Его.

Когда ученики Христовы услышали что Лазарь умер и Господь собирается идти к нему, то они говорят: “Идем и мы, и да умрем вместе с ним”, то есть вместе с Лазарем. Они говорят то, что могла внушить только самая пламенная дружба к Лазарю. И только лишь с тем, кого мы любим, к кому мы искренне расположены, только с тем мы готовы разделить все и, даже самую смерть; и как ученики Христовы, любившие Лазаря, узнав о том, что он умер, идти и умереть вместе с ним.

Что же можно сказать о Марфе и Марии – сестрах его? Никак нельзя сомневаться в том, что их душа и сердце были как бы погребены вместе с братом их и другом. Да и сами фарисеи, забыв свое лицемерие, рассчеты и виды, пришли в Вифанию, которая была недалеко расположена от Иерусалима, не для чего другого, как только для того, чтобы утешить сестер о смерти брата. И у гроба Лазаря Господь Иисус Христос даже прослезился. Прослезился Он, конечно, дорогие братья и сестры, не от уныния и печали, ибо Он сейчас же скажет: “Лазаре, изыди вон!” Он знал, что Лазарь встанет и выйдет, а заплакал Он, прослезился, от того, что для истинной любви и дружбы всегда бывает тяжело, несказуемо тяжело, видеть хотя бы на одну минуту возлюбленного своего в гробу среди праха и тления. Поэтому и сами иудеи, говорят, когда увидели что Христос прослезился, они сказали: “Смотрите, как Он любил его”.

И так этот праздник – есть праздник, по всей справедливости, истинной дружбы. Если когда-либо и есть самый удобный момент для того, чтобы нам наблюдать как поступает Господь Иисус Христос со Своими друзьями и возлюбленными, то это настоящий день, настоящий праздник. Он их очень всех любит, так любит, что проливает слезы на их гробе, то есть не только Лазаря, а и вообще каждого, кого Он любит. А Лазарь только примером для нас является. Иисус не плакал на Своем кресте, а над Лазарем плачет и сделал Он для него то, что не сделал ни для кого, ибо воскресил его из мертвых уже четверодневного и смердящего.

Но любовь эта делает ли людей Господа вовсе не неприкосновенными ни для какой скорби и искушений? Конечно делает. Из примера Лазаря и сестер его особенно видно, как справедливо замечено апостолом Павлом, что тех, кого Господь любит, тех Он и наказует. Смотрите, семейство, то есть семейство Лазаря, Марфы и Марии, которое Господь постоянно отмечал Своим вниманием. Среди этого семейства, во время пребывания Своего в Иерусалиме, Господь всегда находил для Себя дружеский прием и успокоение. Этому семейству Он явил столько знаков внимания, любви, благорасположенности, что оно само уже нисколько не сомневалось в любви Господа к ним и возлагало на Господа полную надежду во всех случаях своей жизни. И вот теперь, как только Лазарь сделался болен, сестры сразу же дали Ему знать, то есть Господу, что Его друг заболел, в уверенности, что Господь немедля придет к ним и возвратит здоровье Своему болящему другу. Это семейство было благочестивое, святое, самое близкое к Господу. И, однако, какому великому искушению и какой скорби подвергается оно теперь со смертью Лазаря? Господь без сомнения мог бы отвратить от Своего друга болезнь, но не отвратил. Мог сделать ее, по крайней мере не смертельной, но не сделал. Мог поспешить чудом и прийти в Вифанию на другой и третий день после смерти, но явился уже на исходе четвертого и к началу пятого дня. Почему и для чего так Господь поступил? Потому и для того, чтобы сделать и Лазаря, и сестер его вполне орудием славы Божией; чтобы дать им и печалью своей, и болезнью брата, и самой смертью его послужить великому делу спасения человечества. Да прославится Сын Божий ея ради. Так поступает Господь и с другими близкими Своими. Он соблюдает их и хранит как зеницу ока. Без Его воли не падает с головы их не одного волоса. Но это не значит того, что Он непрестанно одаряет их Своими благодеяниями, чтобы увеселять их и питать их сладостями, подобно тому, как поступают с детьми сердобольные, но очень неумные матери, портя нрав их и приучая их к изнеженности и роскоши, в удовлетворение их самого малого желания. Нет, Господь премудр и не может поступить таким образом. Он взирает не на удовольствия, а на истинную пользу любящих Его. И для усовершенствования их в вере, любви, смирении и преданности нередко посылает на них такие искушения, каких не видят над собою грешники.

У кого, например, из грешников требовал когда Господь в жертву Себе сына? А у Авраама Он потребовал. Кто любезней Ему был в двенадцати учениках Его? И почти все они скончались за Имя Его в мучениях. Иной от меча, иной от креста, иной от камней. Все это не только по любви их к Господу, но и по любви их от Господа. Ибо для Него, как всемогущего, ничего не стоило отвратить от них все искушения, окружить их всеми сокровищами счастья земного, но Он не сделал этого. А, напротив, попустил обрушиться на них всем бедствиям. За перенесение этих бедствий пойдут они на большую высоту и достигнут светлейших венцов, потому что ничто так не делает человека чистым, ни что так не возвышает его в духе и не приближает его к Богу, как мужественное перенесение скорбей и напастей.

Перестанем же братия соблазняться и недоумевать, если видим, что кто-либо из верных рабов Божиих не благопоспешествуется в земных делах своих, терпит нападения или клевету, страдает от болезней и других зол. Ужаснемся, напротив, когда встретим счастливого во всем нечестивца-грешника, возвышающегося как кедр Ливанский. Ибо это значит, что он, как неисправимый, предоставлен уже самому себе и, по выражению Писания, принимает подобно богачу евангельскому “благие в жизни сей”, чтобы по смерти идти прямо в огнь гееннский. Перестанем унывать и отчаиваться когда, несмотря на чистоту рук и правоту путей наших, посетит нас какая-нибудь горесть, утрата или потеря. Напротив, если мы хотим быть во истину рабами Господними, то должны в этом случае не падать, а возвышаться в духе, утешаясь той мыслию, что Господь взирает на нас уже не как на малых детей, неспособных ни к какому трудному опыту и подвигу, а как на возросших, от которых в благонадежности можно ожидать и требовать жертв любви. А для этого утвердим навсегда в душе нашей мысль, что все горести и напасти земные, в чем бы они не состояли, и как бы велики не были, коль скоро переносятся надлежащим образом, то есть со смирением, верою и преданностью воле Божией, то они никогда ни в чем не могут повредить нам, а всегда, напротив, доставляют великую пользу душевную. Хотите знать какую? Ту, что ослабляет в нас плотского человека, этого опаснейшего врага нашему спасению. Ту, что подавляет в нас приверженность к благам мира сего и его нечестивого утешения, и обращает мысли наши к небу и к вечности тем, что приближает нас к Богу, заставляя в Нем Едином, как неизменном и вечном, искать для себя опоры и утешения. Ту, наконец, что видимо уподобляет нас Господу и Спасителю нашему, который во время бытия Своего на земле не царствовал и не блаженствовал, хотя и имел на это все право, а ежедневно претерпевал лишения, терпел и страдал, спасения ради нашего. Аминь.

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Sermon on Lazarus Saturday by Metropolitan Philaret

Sermon on Lazarus Saturday by Metropolitan Philaret

It often happens that a child does a bad thing, and his father properly punishes him. But when he sees the child crying in sorrow, parental love takes hold and the father seeks to console the punished child.

A terrible sentence was imposed upon our fallen ancestors living in the Garden of Eden. The Lord, after their terrible sin, when they betrayed Him and heeded the tempter, His enemy, said: “thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken,” that is “unto dust thou shalt return.” In this way the Lord sentenced our ancestors and their progeny to death, for before this, mankind was not to taste death. Having no sin, man could not before then die and would have lived forever, but after that, he became the prey of death. But our Lord knows that death is terrifying for man, that nothing terrifies him more. That is why, in order to ease the very thought of death, in order to alleviate this fear, the Lord performed His wondrous deeds of which we read in the Holy Gospel.

In particular, He performed the miracle we remember today, the greatest of His miracles—the Raising of Lazarus.

The Lord had earlier told the Apostles: “he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” He said that the moment would come when those in the grave would hear the voice of the Son of God and would emerge alive. And yet death, which destroys the body of man, horrifies us. And the Lord, consoling us, encouraging us, made an example of Lazarus, who, hearing the voice of the Son of God, came out of his tomb. He spoke, His Omnipotent Voice shook the depths of hell, and Lazarus, whose body had already begun to decay, came out of the tomb alive, unharmed and in good health.

Today’s holiday is for this reason especially close to our hearts, especially joyful. Today we celebrate our future resurrection. In seven or eight days the Feast of Feasts will arrive, the Triumph of All Triumphs, when we will celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord, “raising us with Him,” as the Church sings. And so to illustrate how this will occur, how the dead will rise from their graves to the sound of the voice of the Son of God, the Lord raised the dead Lazarus. That this is so is declared by the troparion which will be sung today and tomorrow: “By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your Passion, You confirmed the universal resurrection, O Christ God!”—that is, it confirmed that there will be resurrection for all.

Our souls are filled with special joy on this day, a brilliant joy, because death ceases to terrify us. How unfortunate are the godless! Of course, we know that they are in error, that man is not annihilated after death. But these poor folks think that death comes and everything comes to an end, the person is dead, his body is killed and there is no question of any life. All their talk about how their leaders live in eternity in the hearts of their followers are simply nonsense!

The human soul does not seek this, it seeks only an escape from the fear of death. The Lord grants it, for after all He had done for us, it turns out that death is not disappearance into the abyss of non-existence, but only a temporary slumber, but longer than earthly sleep. But sleep nonetheless, for with His Almighty Voice, He will wake us all at a time known only to Him so that we pass into eternity.

How bright and happy is this day! The human soul cannot but tremble with elation because, again, we are celebrating our universal resurrection! Remember this, o human soul, and thank your Lord for His great mercy to you.


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Saturday of Holy and Righteous Lazarus

Saturday of Holy and Righteous Lazarus


The Reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Hebrews (2:28-13:8)

Brethren: Since we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in bonds as though you were bound with them, and those who suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your manner of living be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have. For He hath said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’; so that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’ Remember those who have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God. Follow their faith, considering the outcome of their manner of living. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John (11:1-45)

At that time: A certain man was sick named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick.’ When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. When He heard therefore that Lazarus was sick, He stayed two days still in the same place where He was. Then after that He said to His disciples, ‘Let us go into Judæa again.’ His disciples said unto Him, ‘Master, the Jews of late sought to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth because there is no light in him.’ These things said He, and after that He said unto them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep.’ Then said His disciples, ‘Lord, if he sleep he shall do well.’ However Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He had spoken of the taking of rest in sleep. Then Jesus said unto them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent that ye may believe. Nevertheless let us go unto him.’ Then Thomas, who was called Didymus, said unto his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with Him.’ Then when Jesus came, He found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about two miles away, and many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him; but Mary sat still in the house. Then Martha said unto Jesus, ‘Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now, whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee.’ Jesus said unto her, ‘Thy brother shall rise again.’ Martha said unto Him, ‘I know that he shall rise again at the resurrection on the Last Day.’ Jesus said unto her, ‘I am the resurrection and the Life. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ She said unto Him, ‘Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, who should come into the world.’ And when she had so said, she went her way and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, ‘The Master has come, and calleth for thee.’ As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came unto Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met Him. The Jews then, who were with her in the house and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, ‘She goeth unto the grave to weep there.’ Then when Mary had come where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying unto Him, ‘Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping who came with her, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled, and said, ‘Where have ye laid him?’ They said unto Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, ‘Behold, how he loved him!’ And some of them said, ‘Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?’ Jesus therefore again, groaning in Himself, came to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, ‘Take ye away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of him that was dead, said unto Him, ‘Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he hath been dead four days.’ Jesus said unto her, ‘Said I not unto thee that if thou would believe, thou should see the glory of God?’ Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always, but because of the people who stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me.’ And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said unto them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’ Then many of the Jews who came to Mary and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed in Him.


Troparion of Lazarus & Palm Sunday (Tone 1)
In confirming the common Resurrection, O Christ God, Thou didst raise up Lazarus from the dead before Thy Passion. Wherefore, we also, like the children bearing the symbols of victory, cry to Thee, the Vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the highest; blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Kontakion of Lazarus Saturday (Tone 2)
Christ, the Joy of all, the Truth, the Light, the Life, the Resurrection of the world, hath, of His goodness, appeared to those on earth, and become the archetype of the Resurrection, granting divine forgiveness unto all.


On this day, the Saturday before Palm Sunday, we celebrate the fourth-day raising from the dead of Lazarus, the righteous friend of Christ.

Lazarus was a Hebrew, of the sect of the Pharisees and, as far as is known, he was the son of Simon the Pharisee, who dwelt in the village of Bethany. He became a friend of our Lord Jesus Christ when He sojourned on earth for the salvation of our race. For when Christ continually conversed with Simon, entering his house and discoursing on the resurrection from the dead, Lazarus was quite pleased with the genuineness of this teaching, and not only he, but also his two sisters, Martha and Mary.

As the time of the Savior’s Passion drew near, when it was especially necessary to believe in the Mystery of the Resurrection, Jesus was sojourning on the other side of the Jordan. Here, He raised from the dead the daughter of Jairus and the son of the widow. At this time, His friend, Lazarus, contracted a grievous illness and died. Then Jesus, even though He was not present there, said to His disciples, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11), and again a little later, Lazarus is dead. (See John 11:14.) Then Jesus left the Jordan and went to Bethany, which was about fifteen stadia (approximately 2 miles) away from Jerusalem. Martha, the sister of Lazarus, went to meet Him and said, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. (John 11:21-22). Jesus asked the crowd, Where have ye laid him? (John 11:34.) Immediately everyone went to the tomb. As the stone was removed, Martha said, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. (John 11:39). He shed tears for the one lying there, and He cried out with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth (John 11:43). At once, he who was dead came forth, was unbound, and set out for home amidst great rejoicing and thanksgiving. This strange wonder roused the Hebrew people to malice, and they were infuriated with Christ. But Jesus once more fled and escaped. The high priests determined to kill Lazarus, because many who saw him were won over to Christ. Since Lazarus knew what they were thinking, he sailed away to Cyprus. He dwelt there and was later elevated by the Holy Apostles to be Archbishop of Citium (present-day Larnaka). He was beloved by God, conducting himself most nobly as an archpastor, performing many miracles.

Thirty years after his resurrection, in 63 A.D., he died once more and was buried in Citium.
It is said that after his return to life Lazarus ate only meals having some sweetness, because of the bitter taste in his mouth from having been dead. Also, it is related that the All-Holy Mother of God sewed his omophorion and cuffs with her own hands and presented them to him as a gift. Furthermore, it is told that Lazarus never laughed more than once after being raised from the dead, and that was when he observed someone stealing a clay vessel. At that point he smiled and said, “Clay stealing clay.” Lazarus said nothing concerning those in Hades, either because he was not permitted to behold anything, or he was directed to be silent about what he had seen.

The most wise emperor Leo, in 890 A.D., after a divine vision, transported the precious and holy relics of this saint to Constantinople to the church of St. Lazarus that he had constructed and deposited them reverently and ceremoniously to the right of the church’s entrance against the front walls of the holy bema. Here his precious relics still remain, exuding an ineffable fragrance. The translation of his holy relics is commemorated on October 17.

The resurrection of Lazarus is appointed to be celebrated on this present day, after the forty-day purifying Fast, because our Holy and God-bearing Fathers, especially the Holy Apostles, found this miracle to be the beginning and cause of the fury of the Jews against Christ, when He was about to give Himself over to His Holy Sufferings. For this reason they placed this extraordinary and wonderful event here. In addition, the placement of this feast by the Holy Fathers serves as a necessary rest” and “transition” between the rigors of the Fast and the awesome and saving events of Holy Week. For in truth, yesterday evening’s Vespers not only ended the Holy Forty Days, but also ushered us into a joyous resurrectional prelude that will eventually lead to our Savior’s Passion.

St. John the Theologian alone records the raising of Lazarus, since the other Evangelists omitted it—perhaps because Lazarus was still living and able to be seen. It is said that the rest of the Gospel of John was written about the eternal begottenness of Christ, the other Evangelists including nothing about this. It is desired to believe that Christ is both the Son of God and God, that He is risen, and that there will be a resurrection of the dead. And because of the raising of Lazarus, this is especially to be believed since his resurrection is a confirmation of the universal resurrection of man. Therefore, from this event, every man who has already died is said to be a “Lazarus,” and the burial garment is called a Lazaroma, for the word alludes to the remembrance of the first Lazarus. For if Lazarus was raised by the word of Christ and came back to life again, so all men, even if they have died, will rise at the last trumpet and live eternally.

Through the intercessions of Your beloved friend, St. Lazarus, О Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.