Announcements for Holy Week and Pascha, 2009

Today:  Matins, Blessing of Palms, Procession, Liturgy, Salmon BBQ ($5 per plate, please)

Monday:  7:00 pm Vigil of the Bridegroom

Tuesday:  6:00 pm Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Wednesday:  7:00 pm Vigil of the Bridegroom & Unction

Thursday:  5:00 pm Vesperal Divine Liturgy; 7:00 pm Vigil of the Passion

Friday:  2:00 pm Vespers of the Burial; 7:00 pm Vigil of the Lamentations

Saturday:  10:15 am Baptism; 11:00 am Vesperal Divine Liturgy; 11:00 pm Paschal Vigil, Liturgy & Banquet

Sunday:  1:00 pm Paschal Vespers & BBQ

Bright Monday:  9:30 am Paschal Divine Liturgy

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Here’s the link to the homily by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom that was mentioned in church today…it relates to some of the themes in the homily by St. Gregory the Theologian, below.

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St. Gregory the Theologian (+390)
Oration (Homily) 45 on Pascha, 23-24: PG 36, 654-655

…So let us take our part in the Passover prescribed by the law, not in a literal way, but according to the teaching of the Gospel; not only for a time, but eternally.

Let us regard as our home the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one; the city glorified by angels, not the one laid waste by armies. We are not required to sacrifice young bulls or rams, beasts with horns and hoofs that are more dead than alive and devoid of feeling; but instead, we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word, imitating his passion by our sufferings, and honoring his blood by shedding our own. We must be ready to be crucified.

Let us accept anything for the Word’s sake. By sufferings let us imitate His Passion: by our blood let us reverence His Blood: let us gladly mount upon the Cross. Sweet are the nails, though they be very painful. For to suffer with Christ and for Christ is better than a life of ease with others.

If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ.

If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God. For your sake, and because of your sin, Christ himself was regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must cease to sin. Worship him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself. Derive some benefit from the very shame; purchase salvation with your death. Enter paradise with Jesus, and discover how far you have fallen. Contemplate the glories there, and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.

If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christ’s body.

Make your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world.

If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshipped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for burial.

If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.

Say something; hear His Voice. If He say to you, Touch Me not, stand afar off; reverence the Word, but grieve not; for He knows those to whom He appears first. Keep the feast of the Resurrection; come to the aid of Eve who was first to fall, of Her who first embraced the Christ, and made Him known to the disciples.

Be a Peter or a John; hasten to the Sepulchre, running together, running against one another, vying in the noble race.  And even if you be beaten in speed, win the victory of zeal; not looking into the tomb, but going in.

And if, like a Thomas, you were left out when the disciples were assembled to whom Christ shows Himself, when you do see Him be not faithless; and if you do not believe, then believe those who tell you; and if you cannot believe them either, then have confidence in the print of the nails.

If He descend into Sheol, descend with Him. Learn to know the mysteries of Christ there also, what is the providential purpose of the twofold descent, to save all men absolutely by His manifestation, or there too only them that believe.