4th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 3. Ven. Anthony of the Kiev Caves, Founder of Monasticism in Russia (1073)
Tone 3 Troparion (Resurrection)
Let the heavens rejoice! Let the earth be glad! For the Lord has shown strength with His arm. He has trampled down death by death. He has become the first born of the dead. He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted to 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 4 Troparion (St. Anthony)
You Having left the turmoil of the world, you renounced the world to follow Christ in accordance with the Gospel. Living a life equal to the Angels, you reached the quiet haven of the Holy Mountain of Athos. With the blessing of the Athonite fathers, you came to the hills of Kiev, where you labored with love and illumined your homeland. There you led a multitude of monastics to Christ showing them the path that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven.// Venerable Anthony, pray to Him that our souls may be saved!r holy martyr Hyacinth, O Lord, through his sufferings has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.// Through his intercession, save our souls!
Tone 3 Kontakion (Resurrection)
On this day You rose from the tomb, O Merciful One, leading us from the gates of death. On this day Adam exults as Eve rejoices; with the Prophets and Patriarchs// they unceasingly praise the divine majesty of Your power.
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. Therefore God has glorified you as a trustworthy guide of things divine.
Tone 8 Kontakion (St. Anthony)
Having loved God above all from your childhood, O ven’rable one, you surrendered yourself to Him and followed Him with all your soul. Despising the material things of this world, you made a cave in the earth, where you fought the good fight against the invisible Enemy. Like a brilliant sun you illumined all the ends of the earth, and with rejoicing you passed into the heavenly chambers. Now as you stand with the Angels before the Throne of the Master, remember us who honor your memory as we cry to you:// “Rejoice, our Father Anthony!”
Tone 6 Kontakion (Steadfast Protectress)
Steadfast Protectress of Christians, Constant Advocate before the Creator; Do not despise the cries of us sinners, but in your goodness come speedily to help us who call on you in faith. Hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for you always protect those who honor you!
Tone 3 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
Sing praises to our God, sing praises! / Sing praises to our King, sing praises! (Ps. 46:6)
V. Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! (Ps. 46:1)
Tone 7 Prokeimenon (St. Anthony)
Precious in the sight of the Lord / is the death of His saints. (Ps. 115:6)
Romans 6:18-23 (Epistle)
And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Galatians 5:22-6:2 (Epistle, Saint)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. In You, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be put to shame! (Ps. 30:1a)
V. Be a God of protection for me, a house of refuge in order to save me! (Ps. 30:2b)
V. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. (Ps. 111:1)
Matthew 8:5-13 (Gospel)
Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
Matthew 4:25-5:12 (Gospel, Saint)
Great multitudes followed Him – from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Fr. Thomas Hopko
“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven . . .” (Mt 5.11). Joy is an essential element of the spiritual life, and is one of the “fruits of the Holy Spirit” (Gal 5.22). There is no genuine spirituality without joy. From the first pages of the Gospel, until the very end, the apostles of Christ, with Mary His mother and all Christians, are continually rejoicing in the salvation which Jesus has given.
By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (Jn 15.8–11).
. . . your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you . . . ask and you will receive that your joy may be full (Jn 16.22–24).
Christian joy is not earthly happiness, pleasure or fun. It is the “joy in believing” (Rom 15.13). It is the joy of knowing the freedom of truth in the love of God (cf. Jn 8.32). It is the joy of being made worthy to “share in Christ’s sufferings” (1 Pet 4.13).
By His great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen Him, you love Him, though you do not now see Him you believe in Him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy (1 Pet 1.3–8).
Spiritual joy goes together with spiritual suffering. It is wrong to think that joy comes only at the end when the suffering is over. Joy in Christ goes together with suffering in Christ. They co-exist and are dependent on each other for their power and strength. As blessed mourning over sin is the mourning that comes with the joy of salvation, so suffering in the flesh, in this world, is consonant with—and in a real sense is even caused by—the unspeakable joy of salvation. Thus Saint James can say that Christians should “count it all joy” when they “meet various trials,” knowing that the “full effect” of their steadfast faith is that they may be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (Jas 1.2–3). And this is the firm conviction of Saint Paul as well.
. . . we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love his been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us (Rom 5.2–5).
It is the spiritual joy of Christians, the joy of the martyrs, which, more than anything else, is the invincible witness to the truth of the Christian faith and the genuineness of the Christian spiritual life.
Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility. Everything, both good and evil, comes from our thoughts. Our thoughts become reality. Even today we can see that all of creation, everything that exists on the earth and in the cosmos, is nothing but Divine thought made material in time and space. We humans were created in the image of God. Mankind was given a great gift, but we hardly understand that. God’s energy and life is in us, but we do not realize it. Neither do we understand that we greatly influence others with our thoughts. We can be very good or very evil, depending on the kind of thoughts and desires we breed. If our thoughts are kind, peaceful, and quiet, turned only toward good, then we also influence ourselves and radiate peace all around us—in our family, in the whole country, everywhere. This is true not only here on earth, but in the cosmos as well. When we labor in the fields of the Lord, we create harmony. Divine harmony, peace, and quiet spread everywhere. However, when we breed negative thoughts, that is a great evil. When there is evil in us, we radiate it among our family members and wherever we go. So you see, we can be very good or very evil. If that’s the way it is, it is certainly better to choose good! Destructive thoughts destroy the stillness within, and then we have no peace.
Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: the Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica (p. 58). St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. Kindle Edition.