According to the Synaxarion, the feast celebrates the veneration of the Holy Cross in Constantinople. The early days of August were dangerous in antiquity. Because of the heat, many diseases became strong, and so the Cross was displayed in various places in the city for fourteen days. This feast was then introduced into Rus in the fifteenth century.
Today it announces the coming of the great feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14, approximately forty days from now. I think in may ways we misunderstand the Cross, we equate it with pain and suffering, as a negative sign that Christians were made to be miserable. That is not what St. Paul says in today’s epistle, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God …. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 18:18.23-24).
Many Christians tend to think of the spiritual life as something entirely opposed to physical reality. This can translate into Christian practice today in the form of plain churches and simple services, especially among Protestant denominations.
In contrast, apostolic Christianity is incarnational and sacramental, incorporating many physical things into worship: not just in the art and music accompanying the liturgy, but in the very liturgy itself we make use of fire and water, bread and oil, gestures and postures. Are these merely relics of a more religious era, or does the Church recognize there is something fundamental to our human nature that needs such signs and symbols?
As ever-blooming fruits, you offer the teachings of your God-given book, O wise John, most blessed, while sweetening the hearts of all them that heed it with vigilance; for it is a ladder from the earth unto Heaven that confers glory on the souls that ascend it and honor you faithfully. (Kontakion)
Here are the resources for the Sunday of St John Climacus (or, known as “of the Ladder”), the 4th Sunday of Lent. In particular, we ought to listen to the resurrection hymn and the gospel reflection by Father Hezekias and Sebastian.
Do yourself a favor, spend time with the Word of the Lord in preparation for Sunday Liturgy.
Having just finished the Nativity Cycle we start moving toward the Lenten Cycle and Zacchaeus is our man. In fact, he’s the model of Christian conversion: turning toward the Lord.
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”(Luke 19:5) Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.” (19:9)
Jesus is passing through the town of Jericho and there is a crowd of people gathering to catch sight of the Lord passing by. Zacchaeus is one such person who had heard of Jesus’ talks (sermons) and miraculous deeds. However, Zaccheus has a disadvantage, an impediment: he is of small stature. So what does Zaccheus do? He climbs up a sycamore tree and this way he’d be able to catch a glimpse of the Lord passing by. This does not go unnoticed. Our Lord sees Zaccheus and says: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”
As we are quickly approaching Christmas, I want to remind you of a beautiful talk in the library of God With Us Online by Fr. David Anderson called The Gift of God: Preparing for the Nativity of the Lord.
I invite you to take a little time in the bustle of the next few days to watch it and let the Church’s hymns for this holy season prepare your heart for Christ’s coming!
Today is the Sunday or Synaxis of the Holy Forefathers. Two weeks until the feast of the Nativity of Lord and Savior.
God With Us Online has provided us with some resources for our personal preparation for actively participating in the worship of the Holy Trinity. The Gospel Reflection is host by Father Daniel, a priest for St. George Byzantine Catholic Church in Olympia, Washington.
God With Us Online has new 3-week study of Genesis starting TONIGHT, November 3rd at 8 PM ET! It’s not too late to register or invite someone else to join us!
Join us as we immerse ourselves in the study of Genesis, which St. Ephrem the Syrian called “the treasure house of the Ark, the crown of the Law.” With Saints Ephrem, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great & Gregory of Nyssa as our guides, we will dive deeply into the Sacred Word which created the world in the beginning.
Dr. Hayes has asked that we provide a handout for you for this week’s class, which will focus on St. Ephrem. You can find it among the resources on the registration page!
UNITY IS NOT UNIFORMITY
The Development of the Apostolic Churches, a presentation to be given by Fr. Hezekias Carnazzo of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton.
Wednesday, June 30 @ 8 – 9 p.m. ET
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life.” Only after Jesus has shown the hurt to be unspeakable, then and not before does he make the instruction stricter. He not only asks us to cast away what we have but also forbids us to take thought even for the food we need, saying, “Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat,” not because the soul needs food, for it is incorporeal. He spoke figuratively. For though the soul as such needs no food, it cannot endure to remain in the body unless the body is fed. (St. John Chrysostom)
As always, God With Us Online, there are several things to help us go deeper in knowing and following the Scripture we hear at the Divine Liturgy. So, at the link above for the resources there is a very brief piece on the Domestic Church (the church at home) by Melkite Deacon Thomas Moses. Most importantly listen to the Gospel reflection.