SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT — Tone 1. St. Gregory Palamas. Synaxis of the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves Lavra
Tone 1 Troparion (Resurrection)
When the stone had been sealed by the Jews,
while the soldiers were guarding Your most pure body,
You rose on the third day, O Savior, granting life to the world.
The powers of heaven therefore cried to You, O Giver of Life:
“Glory to Your Resurrection, O Christ!
Glory to Your Kingdom!//
Glory to Your dispensation, O Lover of mankind!”
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. Gregory Palamas)
O light of Orthodoxy, teacher of the Church, its confirmation,
O ideal of monks and invincible champion of theologians,
O wonderworking Gregory, glory of Thessalonica and preacher of grace,//
always intercede before the Lord that our souls may be saved!
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. Gregory Palamas)
Holy and divine instrument of wisdom,
joyful trumpet of theology,
together we sing your praises, O God-inspired Gregory.
Since you now stand before the Original Mind, guide our minds to Him, O Father,//
so that we may sing to you: “Rejoice, preacher of grace!”
Tone 4 Kontakion (from the Lenten Triodion)
Now is the time for action!
Judgment is at the doors!
So let us rise and fast,
offering alms with tears of compunction and crying:
“Our sins are more in number than the sands of the sea;
but forgive us, O Master of all,//
so that we may receive the incorruptible crowns!”
Tone 5 Prokeimenon
You, O Lord, shall protect us / and preserve us from this generation forever. (Ps. 11:7)
V. Save me, O Lord, for there is no longer any that is godly! (Ps. 11:1a)
Tone 1 Prokeimenon (St. Gregory Palamas)
My mouth shall speak wisdom; / the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. (Ps. 48:3)
Hebrews 1:10-2:3 (Epistle)
And: “You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.” But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
Hebrews 7:26-8:2 (Epistle, Saint)
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. God gives vengeance unto me, and subdues people under me. (Ps. 17:48)
V. He magnifies the salvation of the King and deals mercifully with David, His anointed, and his seed forever. (Ps. 17:51)
V. The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak of judgment. (Ps. 36:31)
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 2:1-12 (Gospel)
And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
John 10:9-16 (Gospel, Saint)
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.
Happening this Week
See the calendar for more detailed info.
- Tuesday, March 30 — Parish Council meeting 6:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, March 31 — Presanctified 6 p.m.
Confessions. Before or after Vespers, Saturday evenings, before Presanctified Liturgies (5 p.m.) or during the week by appointment. Please email or call Fr. John to make arrangements for this.
Virtual Coffee Hour
Every Sunday at 1 p.m.
Meeting ID: 890 2782 2896
St. Gregory Palamas: The Wonder of Noetic Prayer
Archimandrite Dionisios Karagiannis
During the Second Sunday of Great Lent, the Church celebrates the memory of the epitome of faith and life, St. Gregory Palamas, later Archbishop of Thessaloniki, who, according to the hymns, is the great teacher of the Church and the preacher of divine light. The distinction of essence and energies of God involves all of those things God can share and those He cannot share. The essence of God is inaccessible and unknown to creation, including people. However, one can come into relationship and communion with God through His uncreated energies, and the grace offered generously.
In the relation of sanctification and communion, the heart, not the mind, is the way for anyone to have the divine experience of uncreated light. Saint Gregory Palamas gives us the example of the sun.
For Palamas, God is known sort of like the sun is known. We see the sun’s light and sense its heat. And though we may not be able to stand on the surface of the sun without melting, or be joined to its essence without disintegrating, we can nevertheless experience its energy. Thus, the face of the Prophet Moses radiated on Mount Sinai.
Yet perhaps one is wondering what is the benefit for us today, of a teaching of a Saint, a Hesychast, focused on noetic prayer known as “prayer of the heart”, an ancient practice of monks and people of the fourteenth century?
Why is the essence–energies distinction of God a basic element of our Orthodox spirituality and our personal relationship with God? Many of us are not monks and ascetics. Learning the ascetic prayer method of the Holy Fathers gives us the possibility to taste the uncreated light of God. It also gives us the necessary spiritual goods in order to participate in this experience. It is not, therefore, merely a reflection that forms the basis of Hesychasm.
Nor is it a super-cognitive inner self-revelation of the mind, which is the hesychastic experience. We feel that these profound teachings of St. Gregory Palamas touch the boundaries of divine presence, out of noetic capabilities, in the depths of our heart, where the prayer is working for union with God. Noetic prayer, which St. Gregory Palamas hands down to us as a spiritual treasure, is not only for those who live in the monasteries and deserts, but also for the faithful. This prayer makes the nous to meet in the heart. The heart in the neptic and hesychastic tradition is the center of the moral and spiritual, and the throne and the place of the grace of God. There a human being meets God and God meets a human being. In this meeting the filthy thoughts and sinful desires will emerge, trying to infect our hearts and severe the ties of communion with the uncreated light.
That is why we need silence, a special way that protects us from the devil’s scourges and our desires. With the basic prerequisite of the essence-energies distinction, noetic prayer is the light in our soul. It is a chain that connects a human being with God. These two things are not doctrinal or abstract concepts and some philosophical views of the Saint. On the Second Sunday of Great Lent the gracious preacher reminds us that God is light, in Whom there is no darkness. Our noetic prayer helps us to taste this divine state and experience, because otherwise God and the uncreated light will remain unknown and invisible and will not touch our everyday life. This light and experience is given to us by the Church through its mysteries, and noetic prayer helps us to become the vessels of the grace of God. Amen.
The Inverted Pyramid
It is essential for us to find the way of humility.
Saint Sophrony of Essex, himself the spiritual son and biographer of Saint Silouan of the Holy Mountain, wrote that the empirical cosmic being is like a pyramid: at the top sit the powerful of the earth, who exercise dominion over others, and at the bottom stand the common people, who demand equality and justice, and are not satisfied with this “pyramid of being.”
Christ, however, took this pyramid and inverted it, and put Himself at the bottom, becoming its Head. In taking upon Himself the weight of our sin, He showed us that we must go downwards to be united with Him, the Head of the inverted pyramid, because it is there that the “fragrance” of the Holy Spirit is found, and it is at the bottom of this inverted pyramid that the power of divine life is to be found. It is therefore essential for us to find the way of going down, which is the way of humility, the Way of the Lord.