Tone 7 Troparion (Resurrection)
By Your Cross You destroyed death. To the thief You opened Paradise. For the Myrrhbearers You changed weeping into joy. And You commanded Your disciples, O Christ God, to proclaim that You are 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 4 Troparion (St. Cyprian)
By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, you became a successor to their throne. Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God; by teaching the word of truth without error, you defended the Faith, even to the shedding of your blood.// O Hieromartyr Cyprian, entreat Christ God to save our souls!
Tone 7 Kontakion (Resurrection)
The dominion of death can no longer hold men captive, for Christ descended, shattering and destroying its powers. Hell is bound, while the Prophets rejoice and cry: “The Savior has come to those in faith;// enter, you faithful, into the Resurrection!”
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 people, And rescued the innocent from death. Therefore God has glorified you as a trustworthy guide of things divine.
Tone 1 Kontakion (St. Cyprian)
You turned from the art of sorcery to the knowledge of God, and were shown forth as a skillful healer for the world, Cyprian, inspired by God. Together with Justina you grant cures to those who honor you;// with her, pray to the Master Who loves mankind that He may save our souls!
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 7 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
The Lord shall give strength to His people. / The Lord shall bless His people with peace. (Ps. 28:11)
V. Offer to the Lord, O you sons of God! Offer young rams to the Lord! (Ps. 28:1a)
2 Corinthians 6:1-10 (Epistle)
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High. (Ps. 91:1)
V. To declare Your mercy in the morning, and Your truth by night. (Ps. 91:2a)
Luke 6:31-36 (Gospel)
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Christ’s True Mission
Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron
When the Jews at the time of the Crucifixion asked the Lord to come down from the Cross so that they might believe, He did nothing of the sort. He had not come to impress a few people momentarily by working external wonders. He came down from the Cross dead. He descended into Hades. He conquered death and freed the ranks of those in bondage. He descended into Hades, to the hopelessness of everyone who is alone and broken down, raising them up to the light of eternal life. He exists as if He did not exist. He intervenes as if He were absent, out of respect for His creature. And He gives us the treatment fitting of God, that of freedom. He offers a helping hand to whomever wants it. And He does not in any way bind anyone who does not wish to accept His help.
A New Form of Existence
This is a different culture, a different theology, another type of revolution, a compulsion of a different sort: it is the overthrow of everything. In the Church of the God-man (Theanthropos), one does not hear the phrase “dog-eat-dog” (“I should eat you so that I can live”) in the Divine Liturgy, but rather, “Eat my Body, and drink my Blood” (cf. Mt 26:26–27), so that you may have life. And so, man is fed heavenly food and joy; the resulting blessing is that man himself becomes Christ by grace. Then he rejoices because he comprehends that his existence, his life, and his words can feed and strengthen others. He understands that his presence and his words are food to be eaten, and drink to be consumed in order to satisfy and quench the thirst of another who is unknown and a stranger, who suffers and grieves, to quench the thirst of his true, precious, and actual self, his entire being. This is the goal of life: to reach maturity in order to give and offer oneself to others.
The Reality of the Resurrection
In the liturgical texts of the Paschal Resurrection service, we say that the Lord is risen and, in rising, He raises up the whole world with Him, “the human world,” in the words of the Synaxarion of Pascha. In the Orthodox Church, the icon of the Resurrection does not depict Christ smiling above the tomb, as if He had accomplished some individualistic feat, but rather presents Him with a face so joyful that it appears at the same time sorrowful. He is shown pulling up those “bound in shackles” and drawing out all of the condemned from death into life, and from darkness into light. And we sing at Pascha: “Now all things are filled with light—heaven, earth, and the infernal underworld.” When one lives within the Orthodox Church, one experiences this as reality, as ontological fact. And when we sing that “all the trees of the forest are rejoicing today; their nature has been sanctified because the Body of Christ was stretched out upon a tree,” this too is experienced as reality.
Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron. The Thunderbolt of Ever-Living Fire: “American” Conversation with an Athonite Elder (Contemporary Christian Thought Series, number 24 Book 1) . Sebastian Press Publishing House. Kindle Edition.