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Loosed from the stench of sin
In the mystery that is the sacrament of holy confession, which Christ established after His Resurrection, He said to His disciples, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit: Whose so ever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven" (John. 20:22-23).
As we wind down our Lenten journey, and approach Holy Week, we celebrate Lazarus Saturday, commemorating the resurrection of Lazarus, a friend of the Lord, and the man who was raised from his tomb of death by the Lord Himself. We are told that when the tomb was opened, the stench of death was overwhelming, and Lazarus was unable on his own to come out of the tomb because he was still bound hand and foot with funeral bandages, and the entrance to the tomb was blocked by a stone.
Christ instructed His disciples, to move the stone aside, and "loose him". The Church sees this as perhaps the first moment that the Lord orders the priests, who have received in the Sacrament of the Priesthood the gift of the Holy Spirit, to loose the sins of the repentant sinner. Like Lazarus, the stench of our sins is overwhelming, yet the absolution we receive, after having offered a good confession, leaves us smelling like a meadow of sweet wild flowers on a Spring day.
The same Lord Who raised Lazarus from the dead, raises us up from our own tomb of sin, removing the stench, and promises us our own eventual resurrection from the dead.
With love in Christ,
Notice: In previous postings on this blog, I wrote that the monastery is not supported by the Western American Diocese, of which we are a part. This statement was incorrect, and in fact our diocese holds a special collection each year for its two main monasteries, of which All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is one, and parishes all throughout the diocese, which are often themselves extremely poor, offer what they are able on our behalf. Additionally, the diocese has in the past offered us additional financial support in cases of extreme need, and has even this year made adjustments to its collections to help bring funds to us earlier in the year. As a monastery of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, we are grateful to the diocese, and to its parishes and many faithful who contribute to our life in this way--whose small but heartfelt contributions join with those of our many other benefactors to make our life here possible.
Saturday April 12, 2014 / March 30, 2014
Lazarus Saturday. Tone eight.
Great Lent. Caviar Allowed
Feast of the Georgian Language (movable holiday on the Lazarus Saturday) (Georgia).
Venerable John (Climacus) of Sinai, author of The Ladder (649).
St. Sophronius, bishop of Irkutsk (1771).
Prophet Joad (I Kings 13:11 -10th c. BC ) who dwelt in Bethel.
Holy Apostles Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas, Caesar, and Epaphroditus, of the Seventy (1st c.).
St. Eubula, mother of St. Panteleimon (304).
Venerable John the Silent of St. Sabbas monastery (558).
Venerable Zosimas, bishop of Syracuse (662).
St. John II, patriarch of Jerusalem (5th c.).
Hieromartyr Zacharias, bishop of Corinth (1684).
St. Osburga of Coventry, virgin (1015) (Celtic & British).
Translation of the relicts of the Martyr-King Edmund of East Anglia (Celtic & British).
Venerable John the Hermit of Cilicia (4th c.).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
The Scripture Readings for the Day
Concluding Moral Directions13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. 3 Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say:
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
Concluding Religious Directions7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The Death of Lazarus11 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”
8 The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”
12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.
14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
I Am the Resurrection and the Life17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Jesus and Death, the Last Enemy28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”
32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”
Lazarus Raised from the Dead38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
The Plot to Kill Jesus45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.
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All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a non-profit, 501 C3 organization, under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible. We support ourselves through the sales of Monastery Blend Coffee, our fine line of teas, and make Monastery Jams, all sold on line, and in our gift shop. We grow as many of our fruits and vegetables as we can, tend bee hives, and raise free range chickens for our eggs. With all we do to support ourselves, receiving also offerings from our diocese and parishes, we still depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery's mailing address.
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA
Abbot Tryphon's email address:email@example.com