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 6 Troparion (St. John)
Glorious apostle to an age of coldness and unbelief, invested with the grace-filled power of the saints of old; divinely-illumined seer of heavenly mysteries, feeder of orphans, hope of the hopeless: you enkindled on earth the fire of love for Christ upon the dark eve of the day of judgment. Pray now that this sacred flame// may also rise from our hearts!
Tone 3 Kontakion (Resurrection)
Hell became afraid, O almighty Savior, seeing the miracle of Your Resurrection from the tomb! The dead arose! Creation, with Adam, beheld this and rejoiced with You,// and the world, my Savior, praises You forever.
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 8 Kontakion (St. John)
Chosen wonderworker and superb servant of Christ, you pour out in the latter times inexhaustible streams of inspiration and multitudes of miracles. We praise you with love and call out to you,// Rejoice, O holy hierarch John, Wonderworker of the latter times.
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 1 Prokeimenon (St. John)
My mouth shall speak wisdom; / the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. (Ps. 48:3)
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.
Hebrews 7:26-8:2 (St. John)
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.
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. The mouth of the righteous shall proclaim wisdom, and his tongue shall speak of judgment. (Ps. 36:31)
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.
John 10:9-16 (St. John)
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Holy Confession and Repentance
The Orthodox Christian who has been baptized, chrismated, and communed in the Holy Mysteries has been perfectly initiated and incorporated into the life of the Body of Christ. His sins were forgiven in Baptism, and he has been reborn into the spiritual world of the Church. After being cleansed and refashioned, he was sealed with the Holy Myrrh and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. He was then led to the Mystical Table of the Body and Blood of Christ in order to receive the spiritual food befitting his new spiritual life and to receive the innumerable and wondrous gifts that the incorruptible food and drink of immortality grant. However, when sin- that which is contrary to life and separates one from God – enters into that new spiritual life, it pollutes the white baptismal garment, extinguishes the Spirit, and separates man from the Body of Christ. The old man, who suffered a mortal blow in the baptismal waters, is resurrected through sin. What is to be done? How can a person who has been canonically baptized into the Orthodox Church regain his baptismal purity and his divine sonship when a second Baptism is strictly forbidden? How can the new man resume his continuous fight against the old man with even greater vigor? St. Nikodemos says that there is only one way, and that is through the Mystery of Confession and Repentance. While it is true that St. Nikodemos writes in one place that “from these seven (i.e. Mysteries), then, the most necessary and the most soul-saving are Holy Baptism and the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,” in another place he distinctly states that the Mystery of Holy Confession and Repentance is “a second Baptism for penitents, more laborious than the first Baptism, and just as necessary for salvation as the fist Baptism.” Therefore, in St. Nikodemos’ mind, the Sacrament of Confession and Repentance is just as necessary for the Christian as are the Holy Mysteries of Baptism and the Eucharist, and for this reason he refers to it as “salvific”. In fact, in the life of the Christian the two Sacraments which he needs to participate in most frequently – even continually – are Confession and the Eucharist.
St. Nikodemos, in agreement with the Patristic tradition, clearly states that “it is impossible for us men not to falter after Holy Baptism.” This is the reason for the need of the Baptism of Confession and Repentance. And also, if one sins after Baptism, he should not fall into despair, even if he committed grave sins, because God has provided Christians with Confession and Repentance, although great repentance is required when sinning after Baptism. …St. Nikodemos stresses the fact that Confession is a bath and a washing by which the sinner is cleaned of his post-baptismal sins. This description of Confession is encountered frequently in his writings. He refers to the Sacrament of Confession as “the all-holy bath,” “the bath of Repentance and Confession,” “a purging bath” and “the cathartic bath of Holy Confession.” And in a epigram, in his advice to the penitent about Confession, St Nikodemos writes: “One is washed anew of every evil in the depth of repentance.” This washing away of sins, again, is possible because of the great compassion and mercy of God, and particularly because of the Blood of Christ. Therefore St. Nikodemos also calls the Mystery of Confession “a fountain that wells up from the life-flowing and bleeding wounds of the sweetest Jesus.”
— Excerpts from Made for Union: The Sacramental Spirituality of St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain by Fr. George Dokos. Newrome Press.
‘I Must Feel Her Pain’
An acquaintance of Saint Païsios once asked him to pray for a girl who’d become involved with the occult. The saint said: ‘I have to feel her pain’. The man didn’t understand and thought the saint meant that he’d cause her pain, but was told: ‘Tell me something about her so that I can feel her pain and pray for her with pain in my soul’.
All believing Christians know the value of prayer and its power in the life of those who are praying and those who are being prayed for. Prayer’s a matter of life and death; without it Christians literally can’t live and breathe. The saints of our Church point this out: ‘We must pray more than we breathe’ (Saint Gregory the Theologian). And it’s obvious. How can we live naturally and joyfully without constant reference to God our Father, Creator, Provider and Ruler? Those who’ve expunged God from their lives have found out, even if they’re often not fully aware of it, that their lives have become hellish. Spiritual asphyxiation makes them experience death before their death.
And if prayer has absolute value and tremendous power for every Christian how much more is this true of the saints, that is for people whose faith in Christ is the absolute hallmark of their existence, whose body and soul are embraced by the sense of his presence? Of course, as evidenced by a very great many Christians, the prayer of Saint Païsios had awesome power. Thousands of people had recourse to his prayers every day, to be comforted, fortified and healed. And he exhausted himself for them. United in prayer with his Lord and God, he became Christ’s instrument, so that the latter’s almighty power could work on everyone in need and difficulty.
There are an infinite number of examples from our saints. And they show us how we, too, can pray with greater fervor, that is with a greater sense of Christ’s presence and with greater trust in him and his willingness to do what’s best in our own life and in that of others. We’ll feel the pain of other people. When we hear of something troubling in their life, we’ll be moved to prayer, not to gossip or to the satisfaction of our curiosity. In other words, our imagination and knowledge will be weighed on the scales of love, not on those of delusion and demonic wickedness.