FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT — Tone 4. St Mary of Egypt. Ven. John, disciple of Ven. Gregory of Decapolis (9th c.).
Tone 4 Troparion (Resurrection)
When the women disciples of the Lord
learned from the angel the joyous message of Your Resurrection,
they cast away the ancestral curse
and elatedly told the apostles:
“Death is overthrown!
Christ God is risen,//
granting the world great mercy!”
Tone 4 Troparion (St. Nicholas)
The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an image of meekness and a teacher of self-control;
your humility exalted you; your poverty enriched you.//
O Father Bishop Nicholas, pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved.
Tone 8 Troparion (St. Mary of Egypt)
The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Mother,
for you took up the Cross and followed Christ.
By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh for it passes away;
but to care instead for the soul, for it is immortal.//
Therefore your spirit, O holy Mother Mary, rejoices with the angels.
Tone 4 Kontakion (Resurrection)
My Savior and Redeemer
as God rose from the tomb and delivered the earth-born from their chains.
He has shattered the gates of hell,
and as Master,//
He has risen on the third day!
Tone 3 Kontakion (St. Nicholas)
You proved yourself to be be a holy priest, O Nicholas.
You served God in Myra and lived the gospel of Christ.
You offered your life for your people,
And rescued the innocent from death.
There God has glorified you as a trustworthy guide of things divine.
Tone 3 Kontakion (St. Mary of Egypt)
Having been a sinful woman,
you became through repentance a bride of Christ.
Having attained angelic life,
you defeated demons with the weapon of the Cross.//
Therefore, O most glorious Mary, you are a bride of the Kingdom.
Tone 4 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
O Lord, how manifold are Your works; / in wisdom have You made them all. (Ps. 103:26)
V. Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord, my God, You are very great! (Ps. 103:1)
Tone 4 Prokeimenon (St. Mary of Egypt)
God is wonderful in His saints, / the God of Israel. (Ps. 67:35a)
Hebrews 9:11-14 (Epistle)
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Galatians 3:23-29 (Epistle, Saint)
But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. Go forth, prosper and reign, for the sake of meekness, righteousness and truth! (Ps. 44:3b)
V. For You love righteousness, and hate iniquity. (Ps. 44:6)
V. I waited patiently for the Lord; He attended to me and heard my supplication. (Ps. 39:1)
Prayer Before the Gospel
Illumine our hearts, O Master and Lover of mankind, with the pure light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Your Gospel teachings. Implant also in us the fear of Your blessed commandments, that trampling down all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well-pleasing to You. For You are the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto You do we send up glory, together with Your Father, Who is without beginning, and Your all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Mark 10:32-45 (Gospel)
Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Luke 7:36-50 (Gospel, Saint)
Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Happening this Month
See the calendar for more detailed info.
- April 18 — Sunday 8:30 a.m. Matins, 9:30 a.m. Liturgy
- April 19 — 7 p.m. Holy Unction (New day/time), Youth Zoom meeting
- April 20 — 7 p.m. Choir rehearsal
- April 21 — 6 p.m. Presanctified Liturgy
- April 22 — 7 p.m. Choir rehearsal
- April 23 — 6 p.m. Presanctified liturgy
- April 24 — Lazarus Saturday 8:30 a.m. Matins, 9:30 a.m. Liturgy; 6 p.m. Vigil for Palm Sunday
- April 25 — Palm Sunday 9:10 a.m. Hours, 9:30 a.m. Liturgy; 7 p.m. Bridegroom Matins
- April 26 — 7 p.m. Bridegroom Matins
- April 27 — 7 p.m. Bridegroom Matins
- April 28 — 6 p.m. last confessions before Pascha; 7 p.m. Bridegroom Matins
- April 29 — 11 a.m. Vesperal Liturgy; 7 p.m. Passion Vigil
- April 30 — Holy Friday 8:30 a.m. Royal Hours, Time changed; 1 p.m. Vespers; 7 p.m. Lamentations Vigil
- May 1 — Holy Saturday 11 a.m. Vesperal Liturgy; 11 p.m. Paschal Resurrection Vigil
- May 2 — Pascha Sunday! Second Pascha Liturgy 10 a.m. ; 1 p.m. Agape Vespers
- May 3 — Bright Monday 9:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy
Social-distanced with masks. Before or after Vespers, Saturday evenings, before Presanctified Liturgies (5 p.m.) or during the week by appointment or by phone. Please email or call Fr. John to make arrangements for this.
Virtual Coffee Hour
Every Sunday at 1 p.m. Zoom link Meeting ID: 890 2782 2896 Passcode: coffee
The Mystery of the Church
The corporate nature of salvation found within the Church
There is a certain emptiness in trying to live the Christian life outside the life of the Church. This is because it is impossible to truly live as a Christian without the Church. The reading of the scriptures, and our commitment to prayer, are important foundations in the life of a Christian, but they are incomplete without the mystical and sacramental life that is found within the Church.
If we hope to grow spiritually, we will take advantage of the Mysteries that are found only within the Church. Without the Mystery of Penance, and the absolution of the Church, we have no hope of transformation and holiness, for without the corporate life of the Church, our sins keep us captive. Without the Mystery of Christ’s Body and Blood, received during the celebration of the Church’s Divine Liturgy, the healing of the soul remains undone, and salvation is next to impossible.The center of the Church’s Eucharistic liturgy is to be found in the descent, the appearance, the divine presence of the resurrected Christ, and is central to every moment of the liturgy. As believers, the partaking of Communion is actually that moment when we are encountering the living person of the Lord who enters the congregation as “King of the universe borne invisibly over their spears by the angelic hosts.” This act is so central to the life of a Christian, as to make it the necessary component to being a Christian.
“Works of the People”: Prosphora baking team, door greeters, church cleaning, and more, contact Jennifer McDonald.
Church School: This is offered to children from 3yrs old up through high school. At this time however due to COVID, church school has been temporarily halted. Contact Barbara Eng.
Charitable Outreach: We currently are collecting funds for local homeless, as well as support for the Gobezie-Ghoshu Home for the elderly, and school for orphans in Ethiopia, for our Lenten Charity Collection this year, with donations matched by the St. Martin Fund.
St. Martin’s Good Works Fund, a fund started by a large bequest to offer financial help for targeted needs internationally, nationally, and locally. It is overseen by the clergy, and parish council members, and a small number of the laity of the parish. Contact Fr. John or Jan Bear.
St. Elizabeth Pastoral Care Team: Helps with arrangements for meals, rides to church, a monthly prayer list, an intercessory prayer group, provides hand knitted prayer shawls, sends greeting and condolence cards, and provides periodic “bulletin board” tips, thoughts, and general health related advice and news. Contact Mat. Karen Hadley.
Holy Week Crafts Group for Kids
Advance registration is required. Register HERE.
MyOCN Interactive Virtual Community will offer 30-minute virtual crafting activities for children each day of Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday, in partnership with Orthodox Pebbles learning materials.
Holy Week Crafts for Kids happens at 3:30 p.m. EST Sunday, April 25, through Saturday, May 1, 2021.
These simple crafts will engage children each day of Holy Week and prepare them for a joyful Pascha at home. Advance registration is required.
Important Notes for Participation
- Advance registration is required. Please register as early as possible, as participants will receive a list of suggested materials in advance of Holy Week.
- Materials will not be provided. We recommend purchasing materials in advance and following along with your children during the sessions.
- Crafts are suitable for most children, but adult supervision and assistance will be required as these sessions are entirely virtual.
Orthodox Pebbles provides creative resources to familiarize children with our Church, its theology, services, customs and traditions, within an environment of Christian fellowship and community. Every lesson is based on a solid knowledge of our faith and seeks to transmit knowledge in an engaging, interactive and fun way.
Repentance, as I learned it from contemporary Saints and Elders
I was fortunate enough to know personally quite a few of the contemporary Saints and Elders at the time when I was exploring the way of the spiritual life.
What, in practice, is the path to being cured of our sins and passions, so that we ask for love for God and our neighbour?
I’d heard and read that, in order to love God with all our heart, we have to pass through the stages of purification, enlightenment and deification, as these are taught by the Gospels, the Fathers and the sacred Tradition of our Orthodox Church. I read many Lives of the saints, but really needed to be taught by the contemporary holy fathers who were well-known at that time: Saint Porfyrios, Saint Païsios, the holy Elder Iakovos Tsalikis, Elder Amvrosios of the Monastery of Dadi in Amfikleia, Elder Iosif Vatopaidinos, Papa-Markos Manolis, the holy Elder Antonios Ghizas and so many others. I’ll speak about each of them in turn, about the conversations I had with these Holy Fathers and what they told me, in simple and practical terms, about the sacrament of repentance.
The necessity arose from particular problems which took me, with the blessing of my spiritual guide, to Saint Porfyrios, in Milesi, in 1982, before the buildings were constructed as they are today. The meeting took place in a shack where the Saint was living and hearing confessions.
As soon as I saw him, I felt I was standing before God, I thought I was seeing him ‘with the fear of God, faith and love’.
‘Elder, I have a problem’, I told him.
‘I know’, he replied and told me what it was. (It had to do with my infancy and my family).
I’d married and just had a child. Through the relations within the home I realized that I would have to correct a serious problem in myself, which I also understood would be impossible to solve if I relied on my own powers, because it had started in my own infancy.
The Saint related the problem to me in detail, the time when it happened and how old I was then.
My feeling of weakness increased after the revelation and I asked: ‘What do I have to do to be healed?’.
‘Go to confession’, he told me.
‘But I confess. To my spiritual guide. Very often’, I answered.
‘What you’re doing isn’t enough’, he replied. ‘Confession isn’t just going to your spiritual guide and telling him your sins. Confession means that first of all you really repent, before you go. You’ve seen the Prodigal? First he recovered his senses, he became aware of his hunger and poverty, he felt that he’d lost the love of his father and wanted to return home, determined to live as one of the servants of his father. He arose and gladly and humbly returned, certain that his father would receive him with love.
The father forgave him, dressed him in fine clothes, gave him his ring and a fatted calf. In other words, he healed him. He forgave him and healed him.
This is what you do: When you get up in the morning, after you’ve said your prayers, either matins or your prayer-rope, tell Christ whatever sins you’ve committed before God and any hurt you’ve done to other people and ask for forgiveness.
‘How will I know I’ve been forgiven?’
‘Doesn’t Saint Paul say that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace and faith? If you feel these when you repent, you’ve received the first dose of forgiveness of sins and eternal life. In other words, you’ll be forgiven and you’ll feel the presence of God within you.
But we don’t stop there. So far we’ve said “Forgive us our debts”. But Christ wants us also to say: “As we forgive our debtors”, doesn’t He?’.
‘Yes, He does’.
‘In fact, He says that unless we genuinely forgive those who’ve harmed us, He won’t forgive us. So first repent of your sins and, as soon as you’ve received forgiveness and feel the peace of the Holy Spirit, then you can, in turn, forgive others. This is the “fatted calf”, the remission of sins and life everlasting, which the Prodigal received from his father- after he’d first repented- and which he later shared with his friends. That is to say, he gave them it with love, making them friends in his heart rather than the enemies they had been.
‘All this is in accordance with what Saint Symeon the New Theologian has to say on repentance. He writes:
‘“After your formal prayer, kneel and tell God your sins, and if Christ doesn’t remit your sins, may I lose my salvation!”.
‘So this is how you should confess. Repent in your morning prayers and be on guard the whole day long, so that you see if you’re transgressing Christ’s commandments: first in your desires, then in your words and finally in your actions. This is what Christ means when He says: “Watch and pray”.’
(To be continued)