18th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 1. Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council.
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 8 Troparion (Fathers)
You are most glorious, O Christ our God! You have established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth. Through them You have guided us to the true Faith.// O greatly compassionate One, glory to You!
Tone 1 Kontakion (Resurrection)
As God, You rose from the tomb in glory, raising the world with Yourself. Human nature praises You as God, for death has vanished. Adam exults, O Master! Eve rejoices, for she is freed from bondage and cries to You:// “You are the Giver of Resurrection to all, O Christ!”
Tone 6 Kontakion (Fathers)
The Son Who shone forth from the Father was ineffably born, two-fold in nature, of a woman. Having beheld Him, we do not deny the image of His form, but depict it piously and revere it faithfully. Thus, keeping the True Faith,// the Church venerates the icon of Christ Incarnate.
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 1 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us /as we have set our hope on You! (Ps. 32:22)
V. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the just! (Ps. 32:1)
Tone 4 Prokeimenon (Song of the Three Holy Children)
Blessed are You, O Lord God of our fathers, / and praised and glorified is Your Name forever! (Song of the Three Holy Children, v. 3)
2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (Epistle)
But this I say: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
Hebrews 13:7-16 (Epistle, Fathers)
Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Hebrews 9:1-7 (Epistle, Theotokos)
Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance.
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 Lord, the God of gods, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. (Ps. 49:1)
Luke 7:11-16 (Gospel)
Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother. Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”
John 17:1-13 (Gospel, Fathers)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.
Today the Church remembers the 350 holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council under the holy Patriarch Tarasius (February 25).
The Synod of 787, the second to meet at Nicea, refuted the Iconoclast heresy during the reign of Empress Irene and her son Constantine VI.
The Council decreed that the veneration of icons was not idolatry (Exodus 20:4-5), because the honor shown to them is not directed to the wood or paint, but passes to the prototype (the person depicted). It also upheld the possibility of depicting Christ, Who became man and took flesh at His Incarnation. The Father, on the other hand, cannot be represented in His eternal nature, because “no man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18). In Greek practice, the holy God-bearing Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council are commemorated on October 11 (if it is a Sunday), or on the Sunday which follows October 11. According to the Slavic menaion, however, if the eleventh falls on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, the service is moved to the preceding Sunday.
The Body, Created for the Divine Likeness
God made man not only in his image but also according to his likeness: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness” (Gen 1:26). Most of the Father distinguish between these two nothings, given them different meanings. The image is actual, already realized; the likeness, on the other hand, is potential or virtual, something still to be accomplished. Whereas the image relates to our nature and is independent of our will – which is why it remains a permanent characteristic of every human being – the likeness relates to our person and depends on our choices, on the inclination of our will, on our way of life as shown in our moods, our inner states, and our actions. Yet the two concepts are not unrelated. On the one hand, it is the image that makes us aim at achieving this likeness and which, moreover, contains the necessary powers and means that it is our responsibility to make use of in attaining it. On the other hand, the realization of the likeness corresponds to an actualization of the image’s potential. In other words, to strive for the likeness enables us to accomplish, in our own person, our nature as humans, to flourish, and to realize ourselves fully.
For the Fathers, it is by means of the virtues that we can become like God (See St. John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition), and it is in this likeness to God, acquired by a collaboration between our free will and the grace given us that we can ultimately become a partaker of divine life – a participation to which we are both destined by our nature and called by personal vocation.
A life lived virtuously involves both soul and body, even it it is true that some virtues are more of the soul (humility) and others more of the body (temperance). For we have seen that we are inextricably both soul and body, that our spirit entirely permeates and envelopes both, that our body always takes part, to a certain extent, in the activities and states of the soul, and vice versa. For example, the body contributes by its words, actions, attitudes, and expressions to our love for God or neighbor. Our humility, our kindness, our inner peace, our spiritual sadness or joy – all are reflected by our bodily attitudes and our facial expressions.
Like Scripture, the Fathers often point out the role played in our spiritual life by the different members of the body. They stress that their purpose is not merely physiological but also one of enabling us, in superlative fashion, to attune ourselves to God and unite ourselves with Him. This is above all the case with the senses, which should contribute to our perception of God in all sensible phenomena…. “For as God created the sky and the earth as a dwelling place for man,” notes St. Macarius of Egypt, “so he also created man’s body and soul as a fit dwelling for himself to dwell in and take pleasure in the body, having for a beautiful bride the beloved soul, made according to his own image.”
—Jean-Claude Larchet, The Theology of the Body