Saturday, April 23, 2011

Photo taken from the highest spot on the grounds of the Monastery.
April 23, 2011 / April 10, 2011

Passion Week: Great Saturday, descent into Hades.
Great Lent. Food with Oil
Martyrs Terence, Pompeius, Africanus, Maximus, Zeno, Alexander, Theodore, and 33 others, beheaded at Carthage (250).
New Hieromartyr Flegont priest (1938).
Martyr Demetrius (1942).
Martyrs James, presbyter, and Azadanes and Abdicius, deacons, of Persia (ca. 380).
New Hieromartyr Gregory V, patriarch of Constantinople (1821) (Greek).
Prophetess Huldah (Olda) (II Kings 22:14).
St. Milteades, pope of Rome.
The Holy Martyrs of the Kvabtakhevi Convent (Georgia), who suffered during the invasion of Tamerlane (1386).
New Martyr Demos of Smyrna (1763) (Greek).
Nun-martyr Anastasia, abbess of Uglich and 34 nuns with her (1609).
Monk-martyr Chrysanthus of Xenophontos, Mt. Athos (Greek).
Martyrs Beocca, Hethor and others, at Chertsey.

Photos of the Day:

Today's photos taken by Seattle photographer, Michael Menard.

Quote for the Day:

Before the Epitaphios
By Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk

That for which God became man, for which the Son of God became the son of man, has been accomplished: the Savior’s death on the Cross has been accomplished. 
During the last days of His earthly life, the Lord was abandoned in the face of His tormentors, in the face of suffering and death. He drained to the dregs the cup that was prepared for Him, and experienced the most dreadful thing ever suffered by man – loneliness and abandonment.

He was alone in Gethsemane, for His disciples were fast asleep. He was alone before the council of the chief priests, alone during Herod’s interrogation, alone before Pilate’s tribunal, for His disciples had run away in fear. He was alone when He went to Golgotha: a chance passer-by, and not His beloved disciple, helped Him bear the cross. He was alone upon the cross, He died alone, abandoned by all.

Jesus cried out to His Father on the cross: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mt. 27:46). This cry bore the pain of all humanity and of every person – the pain of everyone who feels lonely and abandoned by God.

For it is dreadful to be abandoned by neighbors and friends, but it is even more dreadful to think that God has left you, when an insuperable wall has been raised between you and God, and He seems neither to hear, nor see, nor notice you.

If you suffer from loneliness, remember how lonely the Savior was during the last days of His life.

If your neighbors or your disciples have turned their backs on you, if you are subjected to unrighteous slander, if they call you a heretic and a destroyer of paternal traditions, if they bear false witness against you and pronounce you worthy of death, remember that the Lord Himself underwent this. 

If the one who lived under the same roof with you, took Communion from the same chalice, ate your bread, the one whom you trusted with all the power of love, with whom you shared your thoughts and feelings, from whom you concealed nothing and for whom you spared nothing — if this man betrayed you, turned his back on you, “raised his heel to smite you,” and spat on you, remember that the Lord endured all that.

If your cross is too heavy for you to bear, and if your neighbors do not want to share it with you, be grateful even to a chance passer-by who would help you bear it at least a part of the way.

If the wave of God-forsakenness has covered you entirely, and it seems to you that there is no God, that He has turned His back on you or does not hear you, do not despair, for Christ underwent this experience, dreadful and bitter.

If you are judged and blasphemed, struck on the face and spat upon, nailed to the cross and given bitter gall instead of water, pray for those who crucify you, for “they know not what they do.”

Venerating the holy tomb of Jesus with fear and trembling, in silence and with piety, let us praise the Lord that He became lonely that we might not be lonely; that He was abandoned that we might not be abandoned; that He went through insults and mockery, slander and humiliation, sufferings and death so that in each suffering of ours, we might feel that we
are not alone but that the Savior Himself is with us “unto the end of the ages.” Amen. 

Scripture Readings for the Day:

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Galatians 3:13-14

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Matthew 27:62-66

Pilate Sets a Guard

62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
Romans 6:3-11
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 28:1-20

He Is Risen
 1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
The Women Worship the Risen Lord
9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
The Soldiers Are Bribed
11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Click photo to enlarge.

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