Announcements for June 12-18, 2011

Today: 8:30 am Festal Matins, 9:30 am Festal Divine Liturgy, Kneeling Prayers & BBQ

Tuesday:  6:00 pm Vespers

Thursday:  6:00 pm Vespers & Bridges to Contemplative Living

Saturday:  5:00 pm New City Initiative Workshop; 6:00 pm Vespers

Sunday:  8:30 am Matins; 9:30 am Divine Liturgy & Brunch

Today, commencing with the Prayers that follow Liturgy, we leave the season of the Pentecostarion behind for another year.  This inaugurates the option of kneeling for prayer until next Pascha.

May he who emptied himself from the bosom of the Father and took up our whole human nature and made it divine, and who after he had gone up again to heaven and sat down at the right hand of his God and Father sent down the divine, holy, consubstantial, co-eternal Spirit, identical in power and identical in glory, upon his holy Disciples and Apostles, and through him enlightened them, and through them the whole inhabited world, Christ our true God, at the prayers of his all-pure and all-blameless holy Mother, of the holy, glorious and all-praised Apostles, heralds of God, and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us through his own loving-kindness.

The Feast of Pentecost / The Feast of Weeks (i.e., the closing festival for the 7 weeks of Passover = 50 days) was called Pentecosté (i.e., 50) in the Greek speaking Jewish world (Ex. 34:22; Lev. 23:11; Deut. 16:10).  It was a harvest feast also connected with the giving of the Law (Torah) on Mt. Sinai on the 50th day after the original Passover / Exodus events (Ex. 19:11).  It was a great homecoming feast for 1st century Jews from all parts of the world (Acts 2:5-11).  Fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ, the extraordinary events in the Upper Room took place.

It is often called Whitsunday due to the white garments worn by those who were baptized during the Pentecost Vigil…i.e., the catechumens who had not been baptized at Pascha.  In Italy it was customary to scatter rose leaves from the ceiling of the churches to recall the miracle of the fiery tongues.  In France it was customary to blow trumpets during Liturgy to recall the sound of the miracle of the great mighty rushing wind.  In England horse racing was customary on Whitsunday.  In the Christian East the extraordinary service of Kneeling is held — whereat the faithful kneel for the first time since Pascha.  In Russia, the faithful carry flowers and green branches in their hands and decorate the church interiors with greenery, branches and the like on the Feast of Pentecost (which commemorates the Holy Trinity as well as the Descent of the Holy Spirit.)