The services of Holy Week transform us into eyewitnesses and direct participants in the awesome events of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In readings taken from both Old and New Testaments, in hymns, processions, and liturgical commemoration, we see the fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies, and the mighty acts by which God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, grants us forgiveness for our sins, and rescues us from the pain of eternal death.
Click to view / download the HOLY WEEK MEDITATION
We Must Enter into Christ’s Death In Order to Rise with Him: A Homily Near the End of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church
We go to great lengths to insulate ourselves from the realities of suffering and death. Consequently, people who experience profound loss and sorrow often find themselves alone. Surely, it is difficult to be in the presence of those in great pain of any kind, especially those who are dying, for we often feel helpless before them and are reminded of our own mortality. At some level, we know that something similar is in store for us.
Perhaps these tendencies have at least something to do with why so few of our Lord’s followers stood at the foot of His cross as He suffered and died. The Theotokos, the other women, and St. John refused to abandon Him, but the rest of the disciples fled in fear. Surely, they had good reason to be afraid for it had to be dangerous to be associated publicly with someone who was crucified as a traitor to the Romans after being rejected as a blasphemer by the leaders of the Jews. But the Theotokos, the other righteous women, and St. John did not flee. They refused to allow their shock and sorrow to cause them to abandon their Saviour, even in the midst of His horrible suffering and death. Continue reading
The faith of the thief, born of his esteem for Christ’s moral greatness, proved stronger than the faith of the Apostles . . .
The Apostles wavered in their faith in Jesus as the Messiah, because they anticipated and desired to see in Him an earthly king, in whose kingdom they could sit at the right and the left hand of the Lord.
The thief understood that the Kingdom of Jesus of Nazareth, despised and given over to a shameful death, was not of this world. And it was precisely this Kingdom that the thief now sought: the gates of earthly life were closing after him; opening before him was eternity. He had settled his accounts with life on earth, and now he thought of life eternal. And here, at the threshold of eternity, he began to understand the vanity of earthly glory and earthly kingdoms. He recognized that greatness consists in righteousness, and in the righteous, blamelessly tortured Jesus he saw the King of Righteousness. The thief did not ask Him for glory in an earthly kingdom but for the salvation of his soul. Continue reading
Make the sign of the cross regularly to acknowledge the presence of our Lord.
This signifies Christ’s suffering, Crucifixion and Resurrection for our salvation.
This reminds us that we are called to follow in the steps of Christ.
This helps us bear our sorrows and deprivations in His name.
This keeps the image of the cross in front of us.
This helps gain strength against our battle with the devil.
This keeps in mind the glory of Christ in the Second Coming which is preceded by the sign of the Cross in the sky.
You can begin all your prayer times with this prayer –
Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, present everywhere and filling all things, the Treasury of Good and Giver of life;
come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every impurity and save our souls, Gracious One.
Holy God. Holy Mighty. Holy Immortal Have mercy on us. (3)
Glory to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen
All Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, be merciful to our sins. Master, forgive our transgressions. Holy One, visit us and heal our infirmities, for Your name’s sake.
Lord, have mercy. (3)
Glory to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen
Our Father, in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Philippians 4:4-9 | John 12:1-18
Human beings are blessed with the ability to focus on what is most important. So much of what we do at work or school, for example, requires that we tune out distractions and give our minds to the task before us.
St. Paul reminds us that we especially need to do so in the Christian life by giving our minds to what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praise worthy. Palm Sunday is a time that we all need this reminder as we enter into the mystery of our salvation as Jesus Christ journeys to His cross, descent into Hades, and glorious resurrection. Continue reading
The saints were people like all of us. Many of them came out of great sins, but by repentance they attained the Kingdom of Heaven. And everyone who comes there comes through repentance, which the merciful Lord has given us through His sufferings.
– St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings
Do not forsake prayer, for just as the body becomes weak when it is deprived of food, so also the soul when it is deprived of prayer draws nigh to weakness and noetic death.
– St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
At the end of the coming week Great Lent will be over. Next Saturday is Lazarus Saturday, which is followed by Palm Sunday, the Entry of our Lord into Jerusalem, and then by Passion Week. However, today we commemorate another entry into Jerusalem, not the Entry into Jerusalem of our Lord, but the entry into Jerusalem of Mary of Egypt. Who was she and what is her significance today? Continue reading
The fourth Sunday of Great Lent is dedicated to the memory of St. John of the Ladder, who was so named because he left us his teaching concerning the spiritual ladder that unites Heaven and Earth.
In Holy Scripture there is a story about our Lord’s forefather, the patriarch Jacob. Once he spent the night alone in a desolated place. Having fallen asleep, he saw in a dream something like a tower rising by degree to heaven, with angels of God ascending and descending, atop of which was the throne of the Heavenly King. When Jacob awoke, he understood that there is a link between God’s world and the created world, one that is mysterious and invisible to our eyes. In the dream it was depicted to him in the form of a tower with steps leading up to heaven. He said: “This is a holy place.” Continue reading
∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
“You cannot learn to see just because someone tells you to do so. For that, you require your own natural power of sight. In the same way, you cannot discover from the teaching of others the beauty of prayer. Prayer has its own special teacher in God, who ‘teaches man knowledge’ (Ps. 93:10). He grants the prayer of him who prays. And He blesses the years of the just.”
“In all your undertakings and in every way of life, whether you are living in obedience, or are not submitting your work to anyone, whether in outward or in spiritual matters, let it be your rule and practice to ask yourself: Am I really doing this in accordance with God’s will?”
– Saint John Of The Ladder (Cilmacus)
∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
“Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the Cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow, and on everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we rise up; when we are in the way, and when we are still. Great is that preservative; it is without price, for the sake of the poor; without toil, for the sick; since also its grace is from God. It is the Sign of the faithful, and the dread of devils: for He ‘triumphed over them in it, having made a show of them openly’ (Colossians 2:15); for when they see the Cross they are reminded of the Crucified; they are afraid of Him, who bruised the heads of the dragon. Despise not the Seal, because of the freeness of the gift; but for this the rather honour your Benefactor.”
St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lecture 13.36