Friday, May 31, 2019

A Vision of the Church from the Shepherd of Hermas

Jesus Christ the Son of God the Savior of the World (source)
A Vision of the Church from the Shepherd of Hermas (The Third Vision)

Chapter 1

The vision which I saw, my brethren, was of the following nature. Having fasted frequently, and having prayed to the Lord that He would show me the revelation which He promised to show me through that old woman, the same night that old woman appeared to me, and said to me, Since you are so anxious and eager to know all things, go into the part of the country where you tarry; and about the fifth hour I shall appear unto you, and show you all that you ought to see. I asked her, saying Lady, into what part of the country am I to go? And she said, Into any part you wish. Then I chose a spot which was suitable, and retired. Before, however, I began to speak and to mention the place, she said to me, I will come where you wish. Accordingly, I went to the country, and counted the hours, and reached the place where I had promised to meet her. And I see an ivory seat ready placed, and on it a linen cushion, and above the linen cushion was spread a covering of fine linen. Seeing these laid out, and yet no one in the place, I began to feel awe, and as it were a trembling seized hold of me, and my hair stood on end, and as it were a horror came upon me when I saw that I was all alone. But on coming back to myself and calling to mind the glory of God, I took courage, bent my knees, and again confessed my sins to God as I had done before. Whereupon the old woman approached, accompanied by six young men whom I had also seen before; and she stood behind me, and listened to me, as I prayed and confessed my sins to the Lord. And touching me she said, Hermas, cease praying continually for your sins; pray for righteousness, that you may have a portion of it immediately in your house. On this, she took me up by the hand, and brought me to the seat, and said to the young men, Go and build. When the young men had gone and we were alone, she said to me, Sit here. I say to her, Lady, permit my elders to be seated first. Do what I bid you, said she; sit down. When I would have sat down on her right, she did not permit me, but with her hand beckoned to me to sit down on the left. While I was thinking about this, and feeling vexed that she did not let me sit on the right, she said, Are you vexed, Hermas? The place to the right is for others who have already pleased God, and have suffered for His name's sake; and you have yet much to accomplish before you can sit with them. But abide as you now do in your simplicity, and you will sit with them, and with all who do their deeds and bear what they have borne.

Chapter 2

What have they borne? said I. Listen, said she: scourges, prisons, great tribulations, crosses, wild beasts, for God's name's sake. On this account is assigned to them the division of sanctification on the right hand, and to every one who shall suffer for God's name: to the rest is assigned the division on the left. But both for those who sit on the right, and those who sit on the left, there are the same gifts and promises; only those sit on the right, and have some glory. You then are eager to sit on the right with them, but your shortcomings are many. But you will be cleansed from your shortcomings; and all who are not given to doubts shall be cleansed from all their iniquities up till this day. Saying this, she wished to go away. But falling down at her feet, I begged her by the Lord that she would show me the vision which she had promised to show me. And then she again took hold of me by the hand, and raised me, and made me sit on the seat to the left; and lifting up a splendid rod, she said to me, Do you see something great? And I say, Lady, I see nothing. She said to me, Lo! Do you not see opposite to you a great tower, built upon the waters, of splendid square stones? For the tower was built square by those six young men who had come with her. But myriads of men were carrying stones to it, some dragging them from the depths, others removing them from the land, and they handed them to these six young men. They were taking them and building; and those of the stones that were dragged out of the depths, they placed in the building just as they were: for they were polished and fitted exactly into the other stones, and became so united one with another that the lines of juncture could not be perceived. And in this way the building of the tower looked as if it were made out of one stone. Those stones, however, which were taken from the earth suffered a different fate; for the young men rejected some of them, some they fitted into the building, and some they cut down, and cast far away from the tower. Many other stones, however, lay around the tower, and the young men did not use them in building; for some of them were rough, others had cracks in them, others had been made too short, and others were white and round, but did not fit into the building of the tower. Moreover, I saw other stones thrown far away from the tower, and falling into the public road; yet they did not remain on the road, but were rolled into a pathless place. And I saw others falling into the fire and burning, others falling close to the water, and yet not capable of being rolled into the water, though they wished to be rolled down, and to enter the water.

Chapter 3

On showing me these visions, she wished to retire. I said to her, What is the use of my having seen all this, while I do not know what it means? She said to me, You are a cunning fellow, wishing to know everything that relates to the tower. Even so, O Lady, said I, that I may tell it to my brethren, that, hearing this, they may know the Lord in much glory. And she said, Many indeed shall hear, and hearing, some shall be glad, and some shall weep. But even these, if they hear and repent, shall also rejoice. Hear, then, the parables of the tower; for I will reveal all to you, and give me no more trouble in regard to revelation: for these revelations have an end, for they have been completed. But you will not cease praying for revelations, for you are shameless. The tower which you see building is myself, the Church, who have appeared to you now and on the former occasion. Ask, then, whatever you like in regard to the tower, and I will reveal it to you, that you may rejoice with the saints. I said to her, Lady, since you have vouchsafed to reveal all to me this once, reveal it. She said to me, Whatsoever ought to be revealed, will be revealed; only let your heart be with God, and doubt not whatsoever you shall see. I asked her, Why was the tower built upon the waters, O Lady? She answered, I told you before, and you still inquire carefully: therefore inquiring you shall find the truth. Hear then why the tower is built upon the waters. It is because your life has been, and will be, saved through water. For the tower was founder on the word of the almighty and glorious Name and it is kept together by the invisible power of the Lord.

Icon depicting the prophecy of Christ from the Proverbs: "Wisdom hath built her house..." (source)

Chapter 4

In reply I said to her, This is magnificent and marvellous. But who are the six young men who are engaged in building? And she said, These are the holy angels of God, who were first created, and to whom the Lord handed over His whole creation, that they might increase and build up and rule over the whole creation. By these will the building of the tower be finished. But who are the other persons who are engaged in carrying the stones? These also are holy angels of the Lord, but the former six are more excellent than these. The building of the tower will be finished, and all will rejoice together around the tower, and they will glorify God, because the tower is finished. I asked her, saying, Lady, I should like to know what became of the stones, and what was meant by the various kinds of stones? In reply she said to me, Not because you are more deserving than all others that this revelation should be made to you — for there are others before you, and better than you, to whom these visions should have been revealed — but that the name of God may be glorified, has the revelation been made to you, and it will be made on account of the doubtful who ponder in their hearts whether these things will be or not. Tell them that all these things are true, and that none of them is beyond the truth. All of them are firm and sure, and established on a strong foundation.

Chapter 5

Hear now with regard to the stones which are in the building. Those square white stones which fitted exactly into each other, are apostles, bishops, teachers, and deacons, who have lived in godly purity, and have acted as bishops and teachers and deacons chastely and reverently to the elect of God. Some of them have fallen asleep, and some still remain alive. And they have always agreed with each other, and been at peace among themselves, and listened to each other. On account of this, they join exactly into the building of the tower. But who are the stones that were dragged from the depths, and which were laid into the building and fitted in with the rest of the stones previously placed in the tower? They are those who suffered for the Lord's sake. But I wish to know, O Lady, who are the other stones which were carried from the land. Those, she said, which go into the building without being polished, are those whom God has approved of, for they walked in the straight ways of the Lord and practiced His commandments. But who are those who are in the act of being brought and placed in the building? They are those who are young in faith and are faithful. But they are admonished by the angels to do good, for no iniquity has been found in them. Who then are those whom they rejected and cast away? These are they who have sinned, and wish to repent. On this account they have not been thrown far from the tower, because they will yet be useful in the building, if they repent. Those then who are to repent, if they do repent, will be strong in faith, if they now repent while the tower is building. For if the building be finished, there will not be more room for any one, but he will be rejected. This privilege, however, will belong only to him who has now been placed near the tower.

Chapter 6

As to those who were cut down and thrown far away from the tower, do you wish to know who they are? They are the sons of iniquity, and they believed in hypocrisy, and wickedness did not depart from them. For this reason they are not saved, since they cannot be used in the building on account of their iniquities. Wherefore they have been cut off and cast far away on account of the anger of the Lord, for they have roused Him to anger. But I shall explain to you the other stones which you saw lying in great numbers, and not going into the building. Those which are rough are those who have known the truth and not remained in it, nor have they been joined to the saints. On this account are they unfit for use. Who are those that have rents? These are they who are at discord in their hearts one with another, and are not at peace among themselves: they indeed keep peace before each other, but when they separate one from the other, their wicked thoughts remain in their hearts. These, then, are the rents which are in the stones. But those which are shortened are those who have indeed believed, and have the larger share of righteousness; yet they have also a considerable share of iniquity, and therefore they are shortened and not whole. But who are these, Lady, that are white and round, and yet do not fit into the building of the tower? She answered and said, How long will you be foolish and stupid, and continue to put every kind of question and understand nothing? These are those who have faith indeed, but they have also the riches of this world. When, therefore, tribulation comes, on account of their riches and business they deny the Lord. I answered and said to her, When, then, will they be useful for the building, Lady? When the riches that now seduce them have been circumscribed, then will they be of use to God. For as a round stone cannot become square unless portions be cut off and cast away, so also those who are rich in this world cannot be useful to the Lord unless their riches be cut down. Learn this first from your own case. When you were rich, you were useless; but now you are useful and fit for life. Be useful to God; for you also will be used as one of these stones.

The Exaltation of the Precious Cross in the Church of Christ (source)

Chapter 7

Now the other stones which you saw cast far away from the tower, and falling upon the public road and rolling from it into pathless places, are those who have indeed believed, but through doubt have abandoned the true road. Thinking, then, that they could find a better, they wander and become wretched, and enter upon pathless places. But those which fell into the fire and were burned are those who have departed for ever from the living God; nor does the thought of repentance ever come into their hearts, on account of their devotion to their lusts and to the crimes which they committed. Do you wish to know who are the others which fell near the waters, but could not be rolled into them? These are they who have heard the word, and wish to be baptized in the name of the Lord; but when the chastity demanded by the truth comes into their recollection, they draw back, and again walk after their own wicked desires. She finished her exposition of the tower. But I, shameless as I yet was, asked her, Is repentance possible for all those stones which have been cast away and did not fit into the building of the tower, and will they yet have a place in this tower? Repentance, said she, is yet possible, but in this tower they cannot find a suitable place. But in another and much inferior place they will be laid, and that, too, only when they have been tortured and completed the days of their sins. And on this account will they be transferred, because they have partaken of the righteous Word. And then only will they be removed from their punishments when the thought of repenting of the evil deeds which they have done has come into their hearts. But if it does not come into their hearts, they will not be saved, on account of the hardness of their heart.

Chapter 8

When then I ceased asking in regard to all these matters, she said to me, Do you wish to see anything else? And as I was extremely eager to see something more, my countenance beamed with joy. She looked towards me with a smile, and said, Do you see seven women around the tower? I do, Lady, said I. This tower, said she, is supported by them according to the precept of the Lord. Listen now to their functions. The first of them, who is clasping her hands, is called Faith. Through her the elect of God are saved. Another, who has her garments tucked up and acts with vigour, is called Self-restraint. She is the daughter of Faith. Whoever then follows her will become happy in his life, because he will restrain himself from all evil works, believing that, if he restrain himself from all evil desire, he will inherit eternal life. But the others, said I, O Lady, who are they? And she said to me, They are daughters of each other. One of them is called Simplicity, another Guilelessness, another Chastity, another Intelligence, another Love. When then you do all the works of their mother, you will be able to live. I should like to know, said I, O Lady, what power each one of them possesses. Hear, she said, what power they have. Their powers are regulated by each other, and follow each other in the order of their birth. For from Faith arises Self-restraint; from Self-restraint, Simplicity; from Simplicity, Guilelessness; from Guilelessness, Chastity; from Chastity, Intelligence; and from Intelligence, Love. The deeds, then, of these are pure, and chaste, and divine. Whoever devotes himself to these, and is able to hold fast by their works, shall have his dwelling in the tower with the saints of God. Then I asked her in regard to the ages, if now there is the conclusion. She cried out with a loud voice, Foolish man! Do you not see the tower yet building? When the tower is finished and built, then comes the end; and I assure you it will be soon finished. Ask me no more questions. Let you and all the saints be content with what I have called to your remembrance, and with my renewal of your spirits. But observe that it is not for your own sake only that these revelations have been made to you, but they have been given you that you may show them to all. For after three days — this you will take care to remember — I Command you to speak all the words which I am to say to you into the ears of the saints, that hearing them and doing them, they may be cleansed from their iniquities, and you along with them.

Chapter 9

Give ear unto me, O Sons: I have brought you up in much simplicity, and guilelessness, and chastity, on account of the mercy of the Lord, who has dropped His righteousness down upon you, that you may be justified and sanctified from all your iniquity and depravity; but you do not wish to rest from your iniquity. Now, therefore, listen to me, and be at peace one with another, and visit each other, and bear each other's burdens, and do not partake of God's creatures alone, but give abundantly of them to the needy. For some through the abundance of their food produce weakness in their flesh, and thus corrupt their flesh; while the flesh of others who have no food is corrupted, because they have not sufficient nourishment. And on this account their bodies waste away. This intemperance in eating is thus injurious to you who have abundance and do not distribute among those who are needy. Give heed to the judgment that is to come. You, therefore, who are high in position, seek out the hungry as long as the tower is not yet finished; for after the tower is finished, you will wish to do good, but will find no opportunity. Give heed, therefore, you who glory in your wealth, lest those who are needy should groan, and their groans should ascend to the Lord, and you be shut out with all your goods beyond the gate of the tower. Wherefore I now say to you who preside over the Church and love the first seats, Be not like drug-mixers. For the drug-mixers carry their drugs in boxes, but you carry your drug and poison in your heart. You are hardened, and do not wish to cleanse your hearts, and to add unity of aim to purity of heart, that you may have mercy from the great King. Take heed, therefore, children, that these dissensions of yours do not deprive you of your life. How will you instruct the elect of the Lord, if you yourselves have not instruction? Instruct each other therefore, and be at peace among yourselves, that I also, standing joyful before your Father, may give an account of you all to your Lord.

Jesus Christ, the Angel of Great Counsel, the Holy Wisdom of God and filled with blessed silence (source)

Chapter 10

On her ceasing to speak to me, those six young men who were engaged in building came and conveyed her to the tower, and other four lifted up the seat and carried it also to the tower. The faces of these last I did not see, for they were turned away from me. And as she was going, I asked her to reveal to me the meaning of the three forms in which she appeared to me. In reply she said to me: With regard to them, you must ask another to reveal their meaning to you. For she had appeared to me, brethren, in the first vision the previous year under the form of an exceedingly old woman, sitting in a chair. In the second vision her face was youthful, but her skin and hair betokened age, and she stood while she spoke to me. She was also more joyful than on the first occasion. But in the third vision she was entirely youthful and exquisitely beautiful, except only that she had the hair of an old woman; but her face beamed with joy, and she sat on a seat. Now I was exceeding sad in regard to these appearances, for I longed much to know what the visions meant. Then I see the old woman in a vision of the night saying unto me: Every prayer should be accompanied with humility: fast, therefore, and you will obtain from the Lord what you beg. I fasted therefore for one day.
That very night there appeared to me a young man, who said, Why do you frequently ask for revelations in prayer? Take heed lest by asking many things you injure your flesh: be content with these revelations. Will you be able to see greater revelations than those which you have seen? I answered and said to him, Sir, one thing only I ask, that in regard to these three forms the revelation may be rendered complete. He answered me, How long are you senseless? But your doubts make you senseless, because you have not your hearts turned towards the Lord. But I answered and said to him, From you, sir, we shall learn these things more accurately.

Chapter 11

Hear then, said he, with regard to the three forms, concerning which you are inquiring. Why in the first vision did she appear to you as an old woman seated on a chair? Because your spirit is now old and withered up, and has lost its power in consequence of your infirmities and doubts. For, like elderly men who have no hope of renewing their strength, and expect nothing but their last sleep, so you, weakened by worldly occupations, have given yourselves up to sloth, and have not cast your cares upon the Lord. Your spirit therefore is broken, and you have grown old in your sorrows. I should like then to know, sir, why she sat on a chair? He answered, Because every weak person sits on a chair on account of his weakness, that his weakness may be sustained. Lo! You have the form of the first vision.

Chapter 12

Now in the second vision you saw her standing with a youthful countenance, and more joyful than before; still she had the skin and hair of an aged woman. Hear, said he, this parable also. When one becomes somewhat old, he despairs of himself on account of his weakness and poverty, and looks forward to nothing but the last day of his life. Then suddenly an inheritance is left him: and hearing of this, he rises up, and becoming exceeding joyful, he puts on strength. And now he no longer reclines, but stands up; and his spirit, already destroyed by his previous actions, is renewed, and he no longer sits, but acts with vigour. So happened it with you on hearing the revelation which God gave you. For the Lord had compassion on you, and renewed your spirit, and you laid aside your infirmities. Vigour arose within you, and you grew strong in faith; and the Lord, seeing your strength, rejoiced. On this account He showed you the building of the tower; and He will show you other things, if you continue at peace with each other with all your heart.

Chapter 13

Now, in the third vision, you saw her still younger, and she was noble and joyful, and her shape was beautiful. For, just as when some good news comes suddenly to one who is sad, immediately he forgets his former sorrows, and looks for nothing else than the good news which he has heard, and for the future is made strong for good, and his spirit is renewed on account of the joy which he has received; so you also have received the renewal of your spirits by seeing these good things. As to your seeing her sitting on a seat, that means that her position is one of strength, for a seat has four feet and stands firmly. For the world also is kept together by means of four elements. Those, therefore, who repent completely and with the whole heart, will become young and firmly established. You now have the revelation completely given you. Make no further demands for revelations. If anything ought to be revealed, it will be revealed to you.
In Thee O Full of Grace All Creation Rejoiceth (source)
Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and upon those in the tombs He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

"O noetic sun of righteousness, Christ God..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Christ healing the man born blind (source)
O noetic sun of righteousness, Christ God, You Who from Your spotless condescension illumined him who was deprived of light from his mother's womb, shine also upon the eyes of our souls, showing us forth to be sons of the day, that we might cry out together in faith to You: Great and unspeakable is Your compassion towards us, O Lover-of-mankind, glory to You.
-Doxastikon of the Aposticha in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone from the feast of the Healing of the Blind Man

Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and upon those in the tombs He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

"Let my soul rejoice in the Lord; for He hath clothed me in the garment of salvation..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Christ beholding the risen Christ (source)
Let my soul rejoice in the Lord; for He hath clothed me in the garment of salvation, and with the vesture of gladness hath He covered me: he hath placed a crown upon me as on a bridegroom, and He hath adorned me as a bride with comeliness. And as the earth putting forth her flowers, and as a garden its seed; so shall the Lord, even the Lord, cause righteousness to spring forth, and exultation before all nations. For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as light, and my salvation burn as a torch. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and kings thy glory: and one shall call thee by a new name, which the Lord shall name. And thou shalt be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. And thou shalt no more be called Forsaken; and thy land shall no more be called Desert: for thou shalt be called My Pleasure, and thy land Inhabited: for the Lord has taken pleasure in thee, and thy land shall be inhabited. And as a young man lives with a virgin, so shall thy sons dwell in thee: and it shall come to pass that as a bridegroom will rejoice over a bride, so will the Lord rejoice over thee.
-Isaiah 61:10 – 62:5
Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and upon those in the tombs He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

"Thus saith the Lord: wait upon me until the day when I rise up..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
The Holy Myrrhbearers at the Tomb of Christ beholding the Angel who announces to them the Resurrection of Christ (source)
Thus saith the Lord: wait upon me until the day when I rise up for a witness: because my judgment shall be on the gatherings of the nations, to draw to me kings, to pour out upon them all my fierce anger: for the whole earth shall be consumed with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the peoples a tongue for her generation, that all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve him under one yoke. From the boundaries of the rivers of Ethiopia will I receive my dispersed ones; they shall offer sacrifices to me. In that day thou shalt not be ashamed of all thy practices, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then will I take away from thee thy disdainful pride, and thou shalt no more magnify thyself upon my holy mountain. And I will leave in thee a meek and lowly people; and the remnant of Israel shall fear the name of the Lord, and shall do no iniquity, neither shall they speak vanity; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed, and lie down, and there shall be none to terrify them. Rejoice, O daughter of Zion; cry aloud , O daughter of Jerusalem; rejoice and delight thyself with all thine heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away thine iniquities, he has ransomed thee from the hand of thine enemies: the Lord, the King of Israel, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
-Zephaniah 3:8-15
Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and upon those in the tombs He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Friday, May 24, 2019

"Let the village of Prokopi leap for joy and cry out to God today..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
St. John the Russian (source)
Let the village of Prokopi leap for joy and cry out to God today: My beauty today shines greater than any other city, for behold the divine offspring of Russia and the great treasure of the Venerable, John, who is truly the namesake of grace, proceeds towards Heaven, leaving behind me behind his holy body for my sanctification. Therefore, come, all you ranks of the Orthodox, let us celebrate his divine memory, that we might partake of the grace of him who intercedes on behalf of our souls.
-Doxastikon of the Litia in the Plagal of the First Tone, from the feast of St. John the Russian of Evia
St. John the Russian (source)
Christ has risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

"Being Life itself, and the spring of incorruption..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Christ speaking to the Samaritan Woman St. Photini (Source)
Being Life itself, and the spring of incorruption, You sat beside the spring, O Compassionate One, and for the Samaritan Woman who asked of You, You filled her with the waters of all wisdom, as she hymned You.

The life of all that live, the spring of all good things, the Lord richly rains down His teachings [for all], and cries to the Woman: Give me water to drink, that I might grant you water to dry up the springs of your sins.

O Lord, you are the river of eternal life, and the abyss of mercy, O Good One, and while You were traveling, You sat by the Well of the Oath, and cried out to the Samaritan Woman: Give me water to drink, that you might receive the waters of forgiveness.
-from the Canon for the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman St. Photini
Christ has risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

"Christ God has brought us from death to life, and from earth to heaven..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Moses praying and striking the waters of the Red Sea, while the Lord divided the waters and saved the Israelites (source)
1And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2Speak to the children of Israel, and let them turn and encamp before the village, between Magdol and the sea, opposite Beel-sepphon: before them shalt thou encamp by the sea. 3And Pharao will say to his people, As for these children of Israel, they are wandering in the land, for the wilderness has shut them in. 4And I will harden the heart of Pharao, and he shall pursue after them; and I will be glorified in Pharao, and in all his host, and all the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. And they did so.
5And it was reported to the king of the Egyptians that the people had fled: and the heart of Pharao was turned, and that of his servants against the people; and they said, What is this that we have done, to let the children of Israel go, so that they should not serve us? 6So Pharao yoked his chariots, and led off all his people with himself: 7having also taken six hundred chosen chariots, and all the cavalry of the Egyptians, and rulers over all. 8And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharao king of Egypt, and of his servants, and he pursued after the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went forth with a high hand. 9And the Egyptians pursued after them, and found them encamped by the sea; and all the cavalry and the chariots of Pharao, and the horsemen, and his host were before the village, over against Beel-sepphon.
10And Pharao approached, and the children of Israel having looked up, beheld, and the Egyptians encamped behind them: and they were very greatly terrified, and the children of Israel cried to the Lord; 11and said to Moses, Because there were no graves in the land of Egypt, hast thou brought us forth to slay us in the wilderness? What is this that thou hast done to us, having brought us out of Egypt? 12Is not this the word which we spoke to thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? for it is better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in this wilderness.
13And Moses said to the people, Be of good courage: stand and see the salvation which is from the Lord, which he will work for us this day; for as ye have seen the Egyptians to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Moses parting the Red Sea (Source)
15and the Lord said to Moses, Why criest thou to me? speak to the children of Israel, and let them proceed. 16And do thou lift up thy rod, and stretch forth thy hand over the sea, and divide it, and let the children of Israel enter into the midst of the sea on the dry land. 17And lo! I will harden the heart of Pharao and of all the Egyptians, and they shall go in after them; and I will be glorified upon Pharao, and on all his host, and on his chariots and his horses. 18And all the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I am glorified upon Pharao and upon his chariots and his horses.
19And the angel of God that went before the camp of the children of Israel removed and went behind, and the pillar of the cloud also removed from before them and stood behind them. 20And it went between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel, and stood; and there was darkness and blackness; and the night passed, and they came not near to one another during the whole night.
21And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the Lord carried back the sea with a strong south wind all the night, and made the sea dry, and the water was divided. 22And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the water of it was a wall on the right hand and a wall on the left. 23And the Egyptians pursued them and went in after them, and every horse of Pharao, and his chariots, and his horsemen, into the midst of the sea. 24And it came to pass in the morning watch that the Lord looked forth on the camp of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and troubled the camp of the Egyptians, 25and bound the axle-trees of their chariots, and caused them to go with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.
Moses and the Israelites being led by the pillar of fire (source)
26And the Lord said to Moses, Stretch forth tine hand over the sea, and let the water be turned back to its place, and let it cover the Egyptians coming both upon the chariots and the riders. 27And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the water returned to its place toward day; and the Egyptians fled from the water, and the Lord shook off the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28and the water returned and covered the chariots and the riders, and all the forces of Pharao, who entered after them into the sea: and there was not left of them even one. 29But the children of Israel went along dry land in the midst of the sea, and the water was to them a wall on the right hand, and a wall on the left.
30So the Lord delivered Israel in that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead by the shore of the sea. 31And Israel saw the mighty hand, the things which the Lord did to the Egyptians; and the people feared the Lord, and they believed God and Moses his servant.
Moses parting the Red Sea through the power of God (source)
1Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to God, and spoke, saying, Let us sing to the Lord, for he is very greatly glorified: horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.
2He was to me a helper and protector for salvation: this is my God and I will glorify him; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
3The Lord bringing wars to nought, the Lord is his name.
4He has cast the chariots of Pharao and his host into the sea, the chosen mounted captains: they were swallowed up in the Red Sea.
5He covered them with the sea: they sank to the depth like a stone.
6Thy right hand, O God, has been glorified in strength; thy right hand, O God, has broken the enemies.
7And in the abundance of thy glory thou hast broken the adversaries to pieces: thou sentest forth thy wrath, it devoured them as stubble.
8And by the breath of thine anger the water parted asunder; the waters were congealed as a wall, the waves were congealed in the midst of the sea.
9The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoils; I will satisfy my soul, I will destroy with my sword, my hand shall have dominion.
10Thou sentest forth thy wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty water.
11Who is like to thee among the gods, O Lord? who is like to thee? glorified in holiness, marvellous in glories, doing wonders.

Moses leading out the Israelites (source)
12Thou stretchedst forth thy right hand, the earth swallowed them up.
13Thou hast guided in thy righteousness this thy people whom thou hast redeemed, by thy strength thou hast called them into thy holy resting-place.
14The nations heard and were angry, pangs have seized on the dwellers among the Phylistines.
15Then the princes of Edom, and the chiefs of the Moabites hasted; trembling took hold upon them, all the inhabitants of Chanaan melted away.
16Let trembling and fear fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm, let them become as stone; till thy people pass over, O Lord, till this thy people pass over, whom thou hast purchased.
17Bring them in and plant them in the mountain of their inheritance, in thy prepared habitation, which thou, O Lord, hast prepared; the sanctuary, O Lord, which thine hands have made ready.
18The Lord reigns for ever and ever and ever.
19For the horse of Pharao went in with the chariots and horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought upon them the water of the sea, but the children of Israel walked through dry land in the midst of the sea.
20And Mariam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, having taken a timbrel in her hand—then there went forth all the women after her with timbrels and dances.
21And Mariam led them, saying, Let us sing to the Lord, for he has been very greatly glorified: the horse and rider has he cast into the sea.
-Exodus 14-15,
read during the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil on Great Saturday

The Resurrection of Christ, foreshadowed by the passing of Israel through the Red Sea, which brought humanity not out of physical bondage, but "from death to life, and from earth to heaven" (source)
The day of Resurrection, let us be radiant, O peoples! Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha; for Christ God has brought us from death to life, and from earth to heaven, as we sing the triumphal song.
Christ has risen from the dead, by death he has trampled on death, and to those in the graves given life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"He who thirsts, let him come to me and drink..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Christ preaching in the Temple (source)
When the middle of the feast arrived, Christ ascended to the Temple, and preached, saying to those Jews who had come to Him: He who thirsts, let him come to me and drink of the water of eternal life, that he might never thirst unto the ages, for he who believes in me, from his belly will flow rivers [of living water], and will have the light of life.
-Idiomelon of the Aposticha from the Feast of Mid-Pentecost, by St. John of Damascus

Christ has risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Akathist to Sts. Constantine and Helen the Equals-to-the-Apostles

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Sts. Constantine and Helen the Equals-to-the-Apostles (source)
Akathist to Sts. Constantine and Helen the Equals-to-the-Apostles

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
O multitude bearing the name of Christ, come let us gather and praise with harmonious hymns the God-crowned Constantine and Helen, who clearly preached the faith of Christ, and uncovered the Precious Cross, and let us cry out to them: Rejoice, O ever-memorable ones.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Open my mouth, O Jesus my God, that I might hymn Constantine the Great (3), for he is the joy of all bearing the name of Christ, and a most-radiant proclaimer of the faith. Strengthen also my tongue to cry out to him things such as these:
Rejoice, he who was preordained by God,
Rejoice, he who was sanctified by Him.
Rejoice, he who was descended from royal lineage,
Rejoice, he who was filled with wisdom and counsel.
Rejoice, for in deed you proved God's calling,
Rejoice, for you fled from the darkness of faithlessness.
Rejoice, for you received the call from Heaven in faith,
Rejoice, you who were baptized by Sylvester in Rome.
Rejoice, the chaste joy of the faithful,
Rejoice, the corruption and wailing of the faithless.
Rejoice, through whom the priests take boast,
Rejoice, through whom kings are crowned.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.

Beholding Maxentios and Maximian trampling upon the pasture of Christ, you took boldness in God, O Constantine, and having arrayed yourself in the weapon of the Cross, and having overcome tyrants, you cried out to the Lord: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Having been enriched with divine blessedness, O Helen, you approached the Lord in faith. And having your son as a sacred fellow worker, the ever-memorable Constantine, you filled the world with incomparable joy, as we cry out to you:
Rejoice, foundation of piety,
Rejoice, glory of the Church.
Rejoice, the boast of all those bearing the name of Christ,
Rejoice, the adornment of all rulers.
Rejoice, for you gave to us the Cross of the Lord,
Rejoice, for from you has the wondrous Weapon shone forth.
Rejoice, you who uncovered the life-giving Tomb [of Christ],
Rejoice, you who revealed it to the whole world.
Rejoice, the joy and famed one of the world,
Rejoice, the corrupting and wailing of the idols.
Rejoice, through whom Christ was glorified,
Rejoice, through whom the divine faith was exalted.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.

The power of the Most-high truly descended upon you from on high, O blessed Helen, as you venerated the Holy Lands in reverence, and because of this, you raised up a divine temple that was greatly beautified, crying out to Christ the Savior: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Having Christ dwelling within your soul, and having been filled with divine illumination, you gathered the 318 God-bearing Fathers, and you strengthened the faithful, who cry out these things with fervor:
Rejoice, Christ-bearing King,
Rejoice, God-bearing Ruler.
Rejoice, equal in honor to the Apostles of Christ,
Rejoice, equal in number to the divine Fathers.
Rejoice, for you proclaimed the sacred Trinity,
Rejoice, for you drew everyone towards the true faith.
Rejoice, founder of the City that bears your name,
Rejoice, adorner of the Church of Christ.
Rejoice, for the Angels wondered at you,
Rejoice, for men were pleased in you.
Rejoice, protector of your famed Church,
Rejoice, deliverer of us who honor you.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.

Breathing forth with godly zeal on behalf of you, O Theotokos, the great King Constantine dedicated his city to you, having you as his sustainer and protector, which may you protect unto the ages, crying out to your Son: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
All the nations, through you, O all-joyous one, heard the preaching of the Gospel: Armenians, Indians, Iberians and all the rest, O Lady, therefore the tribes and tongues [of the earth] praise you, crying out these things:
Rejoice, she who was ordained by God,
Rejoice, she who was elected by Him.
Rejoice, equal in honor to the former Prophetesses,
Rejoice, equal in station to the Myrrhbearers of Christ.
Rejoice, for you were zealous for Mariam of Moses,
Rejoice, for you were anointed more divinely that Oldas.
Rejoice, you who poured myrrh upon the Tomb of Christ,
Rejoice, another Magdalene and Joanna.
Rejoice, you who conquered the manliness of Judith,
Rejoice, you who surpassed Queen Esther.
Rejoice, you who desired Christ as Salome,
Rejoice, you who loved Him like Susannah.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.
Performing a God-led journey, O godly-minded one, you returned to the Queen of Cities [Constantinople], and you brought with you the Precious Cross of Christ, and the Nails, bringing them to your son, who was filled with incomparable joy, and cried out to the Lord: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
All the nations beheld the wondrous Cross of the Lord through you, O Constantine, and were straightaway illumined with light, which drove away the terrible darkness, and you brought people to Christ, who therefore offer to you these things:
Rejoice, Apostle of the Lord,
Rejoice, lamp-lighter of the Gospel.
Rejoice, you who revealed the Precious Cross,
Rejoice, you who multiplied the preaching of Christ.
Rejoice, for you brought all nations to Christ,
Rejoice, for you founded divine temples to Him.
Rejoice, you who built the Church of the All-holy Sepulcher,
Rejoice, divine guide of pilgrimages.
Rejoice, for you are the common boast of cities,
Rejoice, our divine nourishment.
Rejoice, through whom kings are granted wealth,
Rejoice, through whom the faith is preserved.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.
As one who received the divine calling and the kingdom for your piety, O Constantine, you have boldness before God for the faithful, therefore intercede for those who joyfully cry out to Christ together: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
You appeared shining forth with the faith as a radiant light, O all-joyous Helen, for the light of your divine works dissolved the darkness of the idols, and illumined all to cry out with fervor these things:
Rejoice, most-radiant light,
Rejoice, most-meek lamp of Christ.
Rejoice, rejoicing of pious Rulers,
Rejoice, adornment of all women.
Rejoice, for you adorned the temples of the Lord,
Rejoice, for you dispersed the altars of the idols.
Rejoice, you who confirmed the true faith in deeds,
Rejoice, you who fought on behalf of all those who are wronged.
Rejoice, common refuge of the poor,
Rejoice, surrounding wall for the naked and strangers.
Rejoice, through whom piety shines forth,
Rejoice, through whom virtue dawns.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.
Always bearing in mind the commandments of the Lord, you loved Him wholly with all your soul and body, and were arrayed in love for God like porphyry, as the Queen of the Psalms, you were arrayed and crying out: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
You received the call from God at a young age like Paul, O godly-minded Constantine, and straightaway you imitated him with your whole soul, following Christ. Therefore we magnify you, crying out these things with joy:
Rejoice, chosen one of the Most-high,
Rejoice, creation of the Master.
Rejoice, most-fervent follower of Christ,
Rejoice, he who followed His good laws in practice.
Rejoice, for you served underwritten by virtues,
Rejoice, for you shone forth as meek and humble.
Rejoice, for you were a pillar of continence,
Rejoice, for you were a tower of righteousness.
Rejoice, incomparable help for the poor,
Rejoice, provider for many of the sick.
Rejoice, spring of forgiveness,
Rejoice, lily of sympathy.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.

Wholly embracing the dogma of the Holy Trinity that was foreign to you, O Constantine, you correspondingly lived a foreign life that matched these foreign teachings, and you shone like a sun upon the earth, and prayed to the Trinity: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Having all your fervor towards God, O blessed one, and love towards for neighbor, you praised God with hymns and prayers, and rejoiced to adorn His temples, and filled all the earth with good works, as we cry out:
Rejoice, fervent worshipper of God,
Rejoice, healer from the Creator.
Rejoice, you who were enriched with ceaseless prayer,
Rejoice, you who ever studied divine hymns.
Rejoice, for you built temples of the Lord,
Rejoice, for you enriched them with your treasures.
Rejoice, for you ever served as a benefactor to men,
Rejoice, for you filled the earth with good deeds.
Rejoice, for the Angels hymned you,
Rejoice, for the demons were afraid of you.
Rejoice, the joyous hymnody of God,
Rejoice, guide of mortals to salvation.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.

All the earth truly received the voice of your deeds, and because of this, every breath hymns the name of Helen, and every tongue praises her, crying out to the Creator of all: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Many words of rhetors are astonished at the multitude of your deeds, O Constantine, for your voice has reached the end of the earth, as David said. Therefore we magnify you, crying out these things joyfully:
Rejoice, wonder of the Angels,
Rejoice, astonishment of men.
Rejoice, you who did not proceed with pride upon the earth,
Rejoice, you whose name is ceaselessly wondered.
Rejoice, broad giant who measures the heavens,
Rejoice, universal Atlas, who upholds the earth.
Rejoice, the glorious boast of the whole world,
Rejoice, the greatly spoken of flower of every ruler.
Rejoice, most-radiant star of heaven,
Rejoice, greatly-shining light of the world.
Rejoice, through whom creation was illumined,
Rejoice, through whom the Creator was glorified.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.

Wishing to save the whole world, the Lord of glory gave the power and the wood of His Cross to you, and He revealed His life-flowing Tomb, which is venerated by all, as we cry out ceaselessly: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Ranks of the Angels, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs and all the Saints received you in joy as you proceeded from earth to Heaven. Intercede along with them, O Helen, that we be saved who cry out to you:
Rejoice, you who proceeded towards the Lord,
Rejoice, you who ever stand beside Him.
Rejoice, you who joined the mansions of the Prophets,
Rejoice, you who dwelt in the dwelling places of the Apostles.
Rejoice, for in your calling, you shine with light among the Saints,
Rejoice, you who entreat the sacred Trinity with joy.
Rejoice, you who were granted the grace of working wonders,
Rejoice, you who stand beside those who call upon you.
Rejoice, for we have been granted you as our protector,
Rejoice, for we have put on you as a surrounding wall.
Rejoice, you who deliver from the danger of death,
Rejoice, you who protect us in creation.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.
We all are led to offer hymns to the Creator, as you were sent from the earth, O blessed one. Patriarchs, Priests, Judges, together with your God-crowned offspring, O Lady, serve litany with fear, and chant unto the Lord: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
I behold you as a light-bearing lamp whose light shines throughout the world with the light of piety, as we praise your holy memory, O Christ-bearing Constantine, and do you also remember those who love you and cry out to you:
Rejoice, divine light of the world,
Rejoice, tasteful salt of all things.
Rejoice, you who stand before the unwaning Light,
Rejoice, you who rejoice in the glory of the Trinity.
Rejoice, you who have received unassailable boldness before God,
Rejoice, beloved friend who stands beside Christ.
Rejoice, you who were enriched with the grace of wonders from God,
Rejoice, you whose reliquary was shown to be a spring of graces.
Rejoice, through whom we are made close to God,
Rejoice, through whom we are delivered from dangers.
Rejoice, protector even at the hour of death,
Rejoice, deliverer from the inexorable Judgment.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.

You proceeded towards Christ with rejoicing, O Constantine, as you departed this life in peace. And while your body lay in your reliquary, your soul was taken by the divine and all-radiant hand of God, and together with the Angels you sing: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
The great David chants and tells beforehand of you with joy, O wondrous Helen, as a mother who ever rejoices over her child. And we your servants ever cry out with joy:
Rejoice, you who ever stand before God,
Rejoice, you who are ever nourished by His glory.
Rejoice, you who dwell with the Mother of God,
Rejoice, you who ever rejoice with your son.
Rejoice, you who receive glory and love of Christ,
Rejoice, you who rule together with Him unto the ages.
Rejoice, the common intercession for the whole world,
Rejoice, the fervent protector of those who honor you.
Rejoice, hope and help,
Rejoice, my strength and foundation.
Rejoice, the protector of your famed church,
Rejoice, the deliverer of us who honor you.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.
O holy pair, Constantine and Helen, the pride of rulers bearing the name of Christ (3), receive our desire to grow closer to God, and intercede that those who share your names might be protected together with all the faithful, who cry out: Alleluia.
And again, the Kontakion. 
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Christ has risen from the dead, by death he has trampled on death, and to those in the graves given life!
Truly the Lord is risen!