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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Χριστός ἀνέστη!




Are there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!

Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary from fasting?
Let them now receive their due!

If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their reward.

If any have come after the third hour,
let them with gratitude join in the feast!

Those who arrived after the sixth hour,
let them not doubt; for they shall not be short-changed.

Those who have tarried until the ninth hour,
let them not hesitate; but let them come too.

And those who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let them not be afraid by reason of their delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
The Lord gives rest to those who come at the eleventh hour,
even as to those who toiled from the beginning.

To one and all the Lord gives generously.
The Lord accepts the offering of every work.
The Lord honours every deed and commends their intention.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

First and last alike, receive your reward.
Rich and poor, rejoice together!

Conscientious and lazy, celebrate the day!
You who have kept the fast, and you who have not,
rejoice, this day, for the table is bountifully spread!

Feast royally, for the calf is fatted.
Let no one go away hungry.
Partake, all, of the banquet of faith.
Enjoy the bounty of the Lord's goodness!

Let no one grieve being poor,
for the universal reign has been revealed.

Let no one lament persistent failings,
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Let no one fear death,
for the death of our Saviour has set us free.

The Lord has destroyed death by enduring it.
The Lord vanquished hell when he descended into it.
The Lord put hell in turmoil even as it tasted of his flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, were placed in turmoil when he encountering you below."

Hell was in turmoil having been eclipsed.
Hell was in turmoil having been mocked.
Hell was in turmoil having been destroyed.
Hell was in turmoil having been abolished.
Hell was in turmoil having been made captive.

Hell grasped a corpse, and met God.
Hell seized earth, and encountered heaven.
Hell took what it saw, and was overcome by what it could not see.

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?

Christ is risen, and you are cast down!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life is set free!
Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead.

For Christ, having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Christ be glory and power forever and ever. Amen!

- Paschal Homily of St John Chrysostom




Sunday, 27 March 2011

3rd Sunday of Lent - Veneration of the Holy Cross



"We adore your cross, 0 Master, and your holy resurrection we glorify"


There are three particular days in our Orthodox calendar when these words are used in liturgical devotion: today, the third Sunday in the Great Fast (Lent); the 1st August, Procession of the Honourable Wood of the Lifegiving Cross of the Lord; and 14th September, the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Cross and Resurrection.
Looking to the Holy Table in our churches we see upon it the book of the Holy Gospels, and a blessing cross. Behind or near too we see fans (εξαπτέρυγα) and a cross, each of these being used at various times in procession, notably at the Great Entrance in the Divine Liturgy. Some may not have noticed that on one side of the crosses and Holy Gospel book is imprinted the crucified Christ and on the other the risen Lord. On Sundays (with one or two exceptions) the imprint (icon) of the Resurrection will be seen and on other days the Crucifixion. We can see this as we reverence the Holy Gospels at Orthros, during the Great Entrance at Divine Liturgy and when we are blessed with the cross. In this way each worshipper can adore and glorify.

Adore and Glorify.
These two words may be taken to have the same meaning and in our act of venerating (kissing) the cross we give due honour and praise to the one who was crucified for our sake, this mid-Lent ceremony reminding and assisting us in our preparation through the Fast, on the way to Holy Week with the passion, crucifixion, death and burial of our Lord. However, in the words we sing too: “your holy resurrection we glorify."

Defeat and Victory.
When the Holy Apostle Paul wrote in his First Letter to the Corinthians, of the death of Christ ("for our sins") he dealt comprehensively with his subsequent resurrection and its meaning for those who follow him, affirming at one point that "If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty, and your faith is also empty." (1 Cor.15:14) Later in the same chapter it's as if he is crying out as he wrote: "0 Death, where is your sting? 0 Hades where is your victory?"(v55) and verse 57: "But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. "

When in today's Gospel reading our Lord says: "Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Mark 8:34) he speaks of a death, a death to self and the preoccupations and interests which too often lie at the centre of our lives, a death to self expressed in the often used Psalm 51 "Create in me a clean heart, 0 God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (v10).

A clean heart and a steadfast spirit. These we are called to have as we continue through the Great Fast, penitent and steadfast, denying self and following, moving closer to the day when the veneration of the cross on Great and Holy Friday discloses to us again the depth of God's love for the world, to be followed shortly after by the celebration of victory - the glorious resurrection of Christ.

So mid-way, we glorify Christ's triumph and our ultimate goal, recognising and adoring his selfless sacrifice and his call to follow him along the same path of self-denial.

From the Archdiocesan Bulletin

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A Letter from Japan


Via Mother Martha of the Sisterhood of St Elizabeth at Rocks Farm Monastery:

Beloved-in-Christ Mother Martha and Kateryna
This terrible earthquake hit the whole East Japan diocese and the tsunami devastated the whole city of Sendai and almost all the regional orthodox communities which exist along the Pacific coast.
By order of His Eminence Daniel, the Metropolitan Council has been trying to get information from the beginning of the incident but does not have enough exact information about the East Japan diocese, because the telephone and internet lines are not working properly. They are mostly destroyed and other lines are restricted by the national authorities for the emergency priority.
However, by now we confirmed that at least the clergy of Sendai orthodox church including Bishop Seraphim and Fr Clement is safe. According to Bishop Seraphim, most of the church buildings in Tohoku parish along the Pacific coast are severely damaged.

There are 24 churches in Tohoku parish. These churches are ministered by 5 priests. Out of these 5, one priest is missing. We have no exact information about the safety of the parishioners.
Fortunately, my churches and parishioners are totally saved by God’s grace.
We are praying fervently Christ our Savior have mercy upon Japanese orthodox faithful and Japanese nation, because the nuclear power plant in Tohoku parish is found in critical situation.
Please remember us Japanese orthodox christians in your fervent prayers.

With love in Christ

Fr Demitrios Tanaka
Holy Trinity Church of Odawara
Director of External Church Relations
Metropolitan Council
Holy Autonomous Orthodox Church in Japan


Saint Nicholas of Japan
Pray for your flock.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy


As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honouring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshipping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honouring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration.
This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world. These preachers of true religion, we praise as brothers and as those we long to have as our fathers, to the glory and honour of the true religion for which they struggled, and say...


May their memory be eternal! 
From the Synodikon of Orthodoxy


Troparion (Tone 2)
Advancing from ungodliness to the true faith, and illumined with the light of knowledge, let us clap our hands and sing aloud, offering praise and thanksgiving to God; and with due honor let us venerate the holy icons of Christ, of the all-pure Virgin and the saints, whether depicted on walls, on wooden panels or on holy vessels, rejecting the impious teaching of the heretics. For, as Basil says, the honor shown to the icon passes to the prototype it represents. At the prayers of Thine undefiled Mother and of all the saints, we beseech Thee, Christ our God, to bestow upon us Thy great mercy.