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Патриарх Кирилл совершил чин умовения ног

12 апреля 2012 года, в четверг Страстной седмицы, Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл совершил Литургию святителя Василия Великого в кафедральном соборном Храме Христа Спасителя. За Литургией Предстоятель Русской Церкви совершил чин освящения мира.

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Патриарх совершил литургию в Донском монастыре

April 9, 2012, Monday of Holy Week, the Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill celebrated the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts in the Small Cathedral stavropigialny Don monastery. At the end of the Liturgy of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church made a public prayer at the beginning of the service of chrism.

9 апреля 2012 года, в понедельник Страстной седмицы, Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл совершил Литургию Преждеосвященных Даров в Малом соборе Донского ставропигиального монастыря. По окончании Литургии Предстоятель Русской Церкви совершил молебен на начало чина мироварения.

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В неделю 6-ю Вел.поста, ваий, Патриарх совершил литургию

April 8, 2012, in the 6th week of Lent, Palm Sunday, the feast of the Lord’s Entranceinto Jerusalem, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill celebrates Divine Liturgy of St. St. John Chrysostom in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. During the Liturgy was performed consecration of Archimandrite Augustine (Anisimov) Bishop Gorodetsky and Vetluzhsky.

8 апреля 2012 года, в неделю 6-ю Великого поста, ваий, праздник Входа Господня в Иерусалим, Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл совершил Божественную литургию св. Иоанна Златоуста в кафедральном соборном Храме Христа Спасителя. За Литургией была совершена хиротония архимандрита Августина (Анисимова) во епископа Городецкого и Ветлужского.

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Holy and Great Monday

HOLY AND GREAT MONDAY

Troparion, tone 8: Behold, the Bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find awake and watching, but unworthy is he whom He shall find idle and careless. Beware, then, my soul, lest thou be weighed down with sleep, lest thou be given up to death and shut out of the Kingdom. But awake and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O God: through the intercessions of the Bodiless Ones, save us. (Sung three times; however, the ending the third time is: through the Mother of God, have mercy on us.)

Kontakion, tone 8: Jacob lamented the loss of Joseph, but his noble son was sitting in a chariot and honoured as a king. For when he refused to be enslaved by the pleasures of the Egyptian woman, he was glorified by Him Who sees the hearts of men and bestows an incorruptible crown.

Passion Week: Great Monday

MATINS

Matthew 21:18-43

     18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. 23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. 28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. 33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

SIXTH HOUR

Ezekiel 1:1-20

     1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. 2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, 3 The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. 4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. 5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. 6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. 7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. 8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. 9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. 15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. 18 As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. 19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.

VESPERS

Exodus 1:1-20

     1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. 8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. 9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. 11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. 13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour. 15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: 16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. 18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? 19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. 20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.

Job 1:1-12

     1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. 4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

LITURGY OF THE PRESANCTIFIED GIFTS.

Matthew 24:3-35

     3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

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Annunciation Homily – St. John of Kronstadt

The mystery that transpired upon this day awes not only the human mind; it likewise astonishes all angelic, exalted minds. They, too, are amazed at how God, Who is without beginning — Who is unencompassable, unapproachable — how He could lower Himself to the status of a servant and become a man, without ceasing to be God — and without in any way diminishing His Divine glory.

How could the Virgin contain within Her most-pure womb the unbearable fire of Divinity and remain unscathed — and, throughout all ages to come, be the Mother of God-incarnate?

So great, so marvelous, fraught with such Divine Providence, is this mystery of the annunciation to the Most Holy Virgin by the Archangel [Gabriel] — and the incarnation of the Son of God from Her!

Rejoice, O ye who are earth-born; rejoice, especially, ye faithful Christian souls — but rejoice with trepidation in the face of the magnitude of this mystery, being encompassed by the filthiness of sin.

With pure hearts and lips, magnify the Mother of God, Who is magnified and exalted above all creatures, Angels and men; Who is magnified by God Himself, the Creator of all — and remember that the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God, and of His becoming man, was accomplished for our salvation from sin, from the curse that was rightfully pronounced upon us by God, in the beginning, by reason of our sins, and from temporal and eternal death.

With peace and joy, receive ye the Lord, Who comes to us in order to establish upon earth, in our hearts and in ours souls, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 4, 17) — and come to hate divinely-detested sin, impurity, incontinence, pride, hardness of heart, lack of mercy, self-love, satisfaction of [the cravings of] the flesh, and all unrighteousness.

Christ descended to the earth in order to raise us up to heaven (Akathist to the Mother of God, kondak 8). Let us, therefore, being nailed down to the earth by the passions of life, incline our heads towards heaven, whither it is that the Lord Jesus Christ desires to raise us all up, and lift up the eyes of our heart.

Lift up the heart! Long enough have we crept along the ground, like worms, in our thoughts and in our hearts. It is true that we are insignificant worms, according to our sins, although our souls have been created in the image of God, which we have disfigured by our sins, and which we must invariably re-instate through sincere penitence while we yet live.

If is necessary that this image of God, like the sun, shine forth within us as it did in the beginning, when Adam and Eve alone had been created. It is for this purpose that we have been given life; it is for this reason that our life continues on, that we are joined to God’s Church and participate in her divine services, mysteries and fasts.

Behold: how the image of the Ever-Virgin Mother of God gleams! Yet, She is also human…. What exalted Her to such incomparable heights? What made Her so glorious and so great — loftier than the Cherubim and more glorious than the Seraphim?

It was the three supreme virtues: humility, purity and a fiery love for God — a love that is alien to earthly, to external, love.

She Herself confesses that the Lord has looked upon the humility of His hand-maiden (Luke 1, 48).

Do thou also, O Christian, begin to love, and implant deep within thine heart that humility which is divinely-pleasing; acquire also, though exerted labors lasting thine entire life, a purity of heart — do this by [means of] fasting, prayer, meditation upon God, tears, and especially by a frequent and worthy communion of the holy Mysteries of Christ.

Begin, also, to love God, thy Creator and thy Saviour, with all thine heart, and prefer nothing that is in the world to His holy love.

Meditate ever upon Him and upon His wondrous works; live Him and breathe Him; nourish thy soul with Him,; attire thyself in Him; purify thyself, enlighten thyself, sanctify thyself, establish thyself, adorn thyself, praise thyself, console thyself, through Him. By means of Him, vanquish the temptations and impositions of foes, visible and invisible.

Whatsoever ye do, do all with thought of Him, and for His sake. Wheresoever ye might be, be everywhere with Him, as He is always with us, being everywhere, and filling all things (Tropar’ to the Holy Spirit).

If thou comest to love the Lord in such a way, then in thee also shall the Lord be magnified — and the Lord shall magnify thee, as the holy Church says on His behalf: those who glorify Me, I shall likewise glorify (“The Epistle of Tarasios, the Patriarch of Constantinople, to Pope Adrian of Rome.” Kormchaya [kniga (The Rudder)], Part 1, Chapter 36, 1787 edition).

Learn, O Christian, to hate, to humiliate, to annihilate every sin within thyself — and the Lord of Glory shall be magnified in thee, and thou shalt be great before God and men; begin to love humility — and the Lord will exalt thee.

Amen.

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Annunciation Homily – St Ambrose of Milan

Sermon by St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

The mysteries of God are unsearchable, as is especially declared in the prophetical words: What man is he that can know the counsel of God? or who can think what the will of the Lord is?

Nevertheless, some things have been revealed to us. And hence we may gather, from the words and works of our Lord and Saviour, that there was a special purpose of God in the fact that she who was chosen to bring forth the Lord was espoused to a man.

Why did not the power of the Highest overshadow her before she was so espoused? Perhaps it was lest any might blasphemously say that the Holy One was conceived in fornication.

AND the Angel came in unto her. Let us learn from this Virgin how to bear ourselves : let us learn by her devout utterance ; above all let us learn by the holy mystery to be timid, to avoid the advances of men, and to shrink from men’s addresses. Would that our women would learn from the example of modesty here set before us. She upon whom the stare of men had never been fixed was alone in her chamber, and was found only by an Angel. There was neither companion nor witness there, that what passed might not be debased in gossip ; and the Angel saluted her.

THE message of God to the Virgin was a mystery so great that it must needs not be uttered by the mouth of man, but only by an Angel. For the first time on earth the words are spoken : The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee. The holy maiden heareth, and believeth.

At length she saith : Behold the handmaiden of the Lord ; be it unto me according to thy word. Here is an example of lowliness, here is a pattern of true devotion. At the very moment she is chosen to be the Mother of the Lord she declareth herself to be his handmaid. The knowledge that she was chosen to this high vocation wrought in Mary only an act of humility.

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Состоялось заседание Высшего Церковного Совета

3 апреля 2012 года в кафедральном соборном Храме Христа Спасителя началось очередное заседание Высшего Церковного Совета Русской Православной Церкви, которое возглавил Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл. Во вступительном слове Предстоятель представил повестку дня и поделился своими размышлениями о стратегии взаимодействия Русской Православной Церкви со средствами массовой информации.

April 3, 2012 in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior began the next session of the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, headed by His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. In his opening remarks, the Primatepresented the agenda and shared his thoughts on the engagement strategy of the Russian Orthodox Church with the media.

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Lazarus Saturday

Taken from “The One Thing Needful” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko, 1893-1978)

“In the same way we cry to Thee, O Conqueror of death: Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord”

(Troparion (hymn) sung on Lazarus Saturday).

Great is this Holy Day, brothers and sisters! Just think of it, “Conqueror of death”! There have been many conquerors in the history of humanity: many gifted doctors have conquered many sicknesses, many military leaders have conquered tremendous armies, even entire countries. There have been conquerors of space such as the inventors of automobiles, airplanes; conquerors of distance — the inventors of the telephone, telegraph, and so on. But “Conqueror of death” — the whole world does not know of anyone else but Jesus Christ. He alone. Even the so-called “unbelieving world” cannot mention another name. No one among the most prominent people would ever even attempt to make such a claim. But He is, was, and will be — our Savior and our Lord.

During His historical evangelistic life He proved this in three instances: the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus, the resurrection of the son of the widow of Nain, and here in today’s Gospel, the resurrection of Lazarus.

The death of the daughter of Jairus was a recent one. She died while Christ and her father were going to her. Even Christ called it slumber; but the people “laughed Him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise! And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and He commanded to give her meat” (Lk. 8:53-55).

In the case of the son of the widow of Nain, death, seemingly stronger, came into its own: the dead man had already been laid on the funeral bier. They had carried him not only from the house, but already through the city gates. In order to touch the bier, the Lord had to stop the carriers. And only then did He say, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise! And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother” (Lk. 7:14-15).

And now Lazarus. The victory of death here was final, one hundred percent. Lazarus had been in the tomb four days already. There was weeping, but no one had any hope of an instantaneous resurrection. Even one of the dead man’s sisters said to the Lord: “I know he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Even the Lord Himself, when He “saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,” and He wept. Finally He said, “Take ye away the stone.” Here, even the sister of the dead man could not contain herself and said to Him: “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” So the stone was removed from the tomb where the dead man was lying, and Christ cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth! And he that was dead came forth bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go” (Jn. 11:17-44).

Besides physical death, there is mental death. Physical death is visible to everyone, but mental death is usually not noticeable to people. It is felt only by the dead person himself. Bishop Theophan the Recluse said much about this. Sometimes it happens that a sinful thought darts into your mind and awakens a sinful feeling, but the soul catches itself and calls to the Lord in repentance. And the Lord, as with the daughter of Jairus, will as if stretch out His hand and say, “Soul, arise!” And life will return to its joyous flow. But sometimes it happens that we do not catch ourselves in time and sin enters more deeply into our soul (like going out from the house) and the result will be full acceptance of the sin, and turmoil. But also here, by the prayers of our Mother, the Church of Christ, who cries before the Lord for her children, we can be alerted; and the Lord will tell us as He did the son of the widow of Nain: “Soul, I say unto thee, Arise!” This is salvation.

But what shall we do if sin completely enslaves our soul, as if covering it with a tombstone; and so day after day goes by and passions start to exude their sinful stench, just as with Lazarus? What should we do then? Well, then we need confession, the sacrament which Christ established after His Resurrection, when He said to His disciples, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit: Whose so ever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven” (Jn. 20:22-23). See how all this is reflected in the resurrection of Lazarus. Lazarus, on his own, could not go out from the tomb because it was blocked by a stone. He couldn’t even walk, because he was bound hand and foot with funeral bandages. And here Christ said to His disciples, “Loose him.” In application to us, this means that the Lord orders our clergy, who have received in the Sacrament of the Priesthood the gift of the Holy Spirit, to loose our sins. What joy!

And more: death is not the cause but only the result, the consequence of sin. And Christ is, first of all, the Conqueror of sin, and then along with it, the Conqueror of death. So let us triumph: “Hosanna in the highest!”

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Tonsures to the Lesser Schema at Holy Trinity Monastery

Many of our parishioners will know Fr Dionysios (now Fr Seraphim) who was tonsured to the monastic ranks last Friday at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. The story below is from the monastery website 

On Friday March 27 2012 after the Matins service Riassaphore monks Laurence and Dionysios were tonsured to the Lesser Schema by Archimandrite Luke. At the end of Matins they entered the Altar were they received the blessing of the Abbot and then proceeded to venerate the holy icons. During the First Hour they put on white gowns as one does when they are to be baptized and when the service finished they were led by the hieromonks of the monastery to the middle of the Church were they prostrated themselves to the ground three times during which the choir sung the sessional hymn after the Third Ode of the Canon from the Prodigal Son “Thy fatherly embrace hasten to open to me, for like the prodigal have I spent my life. Disdain not a heart now impoverished O Savior, Who hast before Thine eyes the inexpressible riches of Thy mercies. For to Thee, O Lord, in compunction I cry: Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before Thee”.

When they reached the front of the ambon the Abbot signaled them to get up and read the prayers of the tonsure and exchanged in a dialog questions and answers as to the purpose of coming to the monastic life. Below are some of the exchanges that took place:

Question: Why hast thou come hither, Brother, falling down before the Holy Altar and before this Holy Assembly?
Answer: I am desirous of the life of asceticism, Reverend Father.
Question: Of thine own willing mind comest thou unto the Lord?
Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.
Question: Not by any necessity, or constraint?
Answer: No, Reverend Father.
Question: Dost thou renounce the world, and the things belonging to the world, according to the commandment of the Lord?
Answer: Yes, Reverend Father.
Question: Wilt thou endure all the strain tribulation belonging to the monastic life, for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake?
Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.

Fr. Laurence was tonsured with the name of St John of St. Fransisco and and Fr. Dionysios received the name of St. Seraphim of Sarov. May our Lord help the newly tonsured monks to live steadfastly their monastic vocation by a “pure and virtuous life” so that their life becomes a light to the world.

Archimandrite Luke counseled the newly tonsured monks to become imitators of the lives of the saints whose names they received and to struggle in humility enduring all afflictions for the salvation of their souls. At the end of this very moving service everyone went up to the newly tonsured monastics and greeted them with the traditional greeting, “What is your name father?” to which they replied “sinful monk John and Seraphim” and all wished them many years and God’s blessing in their struggles.

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