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
HOLY CROSS SUNDAY – 3 APRIL
On the Third Sunday of Great and Holy Lent, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Services include a special veneration of the Cross, which prepares the faithful for the commemoration of the Crucifixion during Holy Week.
In today’s Gospel the Lord says to us that if we want to be followers of His, disciples, we must take up our crosses and follow Him. And when we think of the Cross of the Lord, we think of His gradual, painful ascent to His Crucifixion, we think of the way of the Cross, of His death. And indeed, the Lord calls us, if we want to be faithful to Him, if we want to be His disciples, to be prepared to walk all the way with Him – all the way.
But on the other hand, we must remember that He does not call us to follow a road which He has not trod Himself. He is a Good Shepherd that walks ahead of His sheep, making sure that all is clear, that dangers have been removed, that they can walk safely in His footstep. His call to take up our cross and to follow Him is a call, at the same time, to accept to be true disciples of Him, and also to do it in the certainty that He will never ask from us what He has not done or endured Himself. We can follow Him safely; we can follow Him with assurance, but also with a sense of peace in our heart and our mind. Continue reading
2 concerts only!
A selection of Holy Week hymns performed by the Byzantine Choirs St Romanos The Melodist and David The Psalmist. Free entry and everyone is invited.
• 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Saturday 2nd April 2016
Antiochian Orthodox Church of St Mary, 291 Somerville Rd, Kingsville
• 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Saturday 9th April 2016
The Presentation Of Our Lady To The Temple Church, 3-7 Macedon Ave, North Balwyn
Please click here to download the flyer.
When Mary was only twelve years old, she left her parents and departed to Alexandria, where she lived a depraved life for seventeen years. Then, moved by curiosity, she went with many pilgrims to Jerusalem, that she might see the Exaltation of the venerable Cross. Continue reading