Tuesday April 26, 2022 / April 13, 2022
Bright Week. Fast-free“Iveron” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (movable holiday on the Tuesday of the Bright Week). Blessed Martyrs and Fathers of the St. David-Gareji Monastery (17th c.) (Georgia) (movable holiday on the Tuesday of the Bright Week). “Shuisky” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (movable holiday on the Tuesday of the Bright Week). Hieromartyr Artemon, presbyter of Laodicea in Syria (303). Virgin-martyr Martha (1941). Martyr Crescens of Myra in Lycia. Martyr Thomais of Alexandria (476
The Scripture Readings
The Paschal Homily
If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let him enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.If anyone is a wise servant, let him, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.If anyone has wearied himself in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.If anyone has labored from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let him keep the feast. If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; for he shall suffer no loss. If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near without hesitation. If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let him not fear on account of his delay. For the Master is gracious and receives the last, even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first. He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious. He both honors the work and praises the intention.Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward. O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy! O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day! You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today! The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you! The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.Let no one lament his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.Let no one mourn his transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free.He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into hades and took hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed, “Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions.” It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!It took a body and, face to face, met God! It took earth and encountered heaven! It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!”O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?”Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!Christ is risen, and life reigns!Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the First-fruits of them that slept.To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen.
-St. John Chrysostom
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY MARTYRS
The radiant martyrs shed their blood
And empurpled the whole black earth with their blood.
Powerful was the fire in which they were burned,
But more powerful the love with which they loved Christ.
To be a martyr is the greatest good;
With what treasure can this be compared?
The All-victorious Christ, the King of the ages,
Welcomed into heaven their brave souls.
He took them to Himself from the hands of the angels,
And all their heavy pains He blessed.
Concerning contemplation, St. Gregory of Sinai writes: “We confirm that there are eight principle subjects for contemplation: first, God, invisible and unseen, without beginning and uncreated, the First Cause of everything that exists, Triune, the one and only pre-existing Divinity; second, the order and rank of noetic powers [the bodiless powers of heaven; the angelic world]; third, the composition of visible things; fourth, the Divine Economy of the Incarnation of the Word; fifth, the General Resurrection; sixth, the awesome Second Coming of Christ; seventh, eternal torment; eighth, the Kingdom of Heaven. The first four have already been revealed and belong to the past. The last four have not yet been revealed and belong to the future, although these four are clearly contemplated by those who, with the help of acquired grace, have attained complete purity of mind. Whosoever approaches this task of contemplation without the illumination of grace, let him know that he is building fantasies and does not possess the art of contemplation.” Thus wrote the great and discerning Gregory of Sinai, whose knowledge came from personal experience.
Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. How He was concerned about the physical nourishment of His disciples; how He broke and blessed bread for the disciples in Emmaus;
2. How, by the shore of the lake, he asked His disciples: Have ye any meat? (John 21:5). How, when they answered Him that they had not, He prepared bread and fish and gave it to them.
on how we will resemble Him Whom we love
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
Previously we were slaves, but now we are the children of God. We were the slaves of evil, but now we are the servants of good–the supreme good in heaven and on earth. We were slaves to all of that which is lower and worse than man, but now we will serve the All-highest and the All-good. We were oppressed by darkness, but now we will labor in the light. Until now the devil, sin and death held us in continual fear, but now we will live close to God in freedom and joy.
Now–when is this “now?” Now is when the Lord has appeared on earth in the flesh, when He has given us the knowledge of light, freedom and life; when He has gloriously resurrected and manifested Himself in His glorified body; when He has fulfilled all the prophecies of the prophets and all of His promises. Now we, too, are the children of God, seen as sons and heirs of the Kingdom (James 2:5).
We shall be like Him. Truly, this has not yet materialized, but He has manifested Himself and, for now, that is sufficient. He Himself showed how beautiful man is in the Resurrection, and we know that we will also be the same as He. The Apostle John says: We know that we shall be like Him. He does not say, “We suspect,” or, “It has been told to us,” but he says: We know that we shall be like Him. For He did not resurrect for His sake, but for our sake. He did not resurrect from the grave only to show His power to the dead who are without hope, but to assure the dead that they too will live again–and to show them how they will be when they become enlivened. Neither did the apostles write: We know, because of their vanity before the ignorant, but because of brotherly love toward man, that all men may know this–and that we too might know.
O risen Lord, confirm in us also this saving knowledge, through the prayers of Thy Holy Apostles.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.