Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 14, 2011 - 14th Week after Pentecost

The Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Giving Cross of the Lord
Tone 4 Fast Day; wine and oil allowed

The reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 1:18-24
BRETHREN, the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart." Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

The Reading is from John 19:6-11, 13-20, 25-28, 30 
At that time, when the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him." The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God." When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid; he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?" Jesus answered him, "You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin." When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called the Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" They cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King!" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.
But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. Then when Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.Reading from the Synaxarion:

Saint Helen, the mother of Saint Constantine the Great, when she was already advanced in years, undertook, in her great piety, the hardships of a journey to Jerusalem in search of the cross, about the year 325. A temple to Aphrodite had been raised up by the Emperor Hadrian upon Golgotha, to defile and cover with oblivion the place where the saving Passion had been suffered. The venerable Helen had the statue of Aphrodite destroyed, and the earth removed, revealing the Tomb of our Lord, and three crosses. Of these, it was believed that one must be that of our Lord, the other two of the thieves crucified with Him; but Saint Helen was at a loss which one might be the Wood of our salvation. At the inspiration of Saint Macarius, Archbishop of Jerusalem, a lady of Jerusalem, who was already at the point of death from a certain disease, was brought to touch the crosses, and as soon as she came near to the Cross of our Lord, she was made perfectly whole. Consequently, the preci ous Cross was lifted on high by Archbishop Macarius of Jerusalem; as he stood on the ambo, and when the people beheld it, they cried out, "Lord have mercy." It should be noted that after its discovery, a portion of the venerable Cross was taken to Constantinople as a blessing. The rest was left in Jerusalem in the magnificent church built by Saint Helen, until the year 614. At that time, the Persians plundered Palestine and took the Cross to their own country (see Jan. 22, Saint Anastasius the Persian). Late, in the year 628, Emperor Heraclius set out on a military campaign, retrieved the Cross, and after bringing it to Constantinople, himself escorted it back to Jerusalem, where he restored it to its place.Rest from labour. A Fast is observed today, whatever day of the week it may be.Apolytikion in the First ToneSave, O Lord, Thy people and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto the faithful victory over adversaries. And by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.Kontakion in the Fourth ToneLifted up on the Cross by Your free will, Christ God, grant mercies to the new commonwealth that bears Your name. Gladden our faithful rulers by Your power, giving them victories over their adversaries. May Your alliance be for them a weapon for peace, an invincible standard.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Save, O Lord, Thy people and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto the faithful victory over adversaries. And by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Lifted up on the Cross by Your free will, Christ God, grant mercies to the new commonwealth that bears Your name. Gladden our faithful rulers by Your power, giving them victories over their adversaries. May Your alliance be for them a weapon for peace, an invincible standard.


Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 1:18-24
Ἀδελφοί, ό λόγος γὰρ ὁ τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῖς μὲν ἀπολλυμένοις μωρία ἐστίν, τοῖς δὲ σῳζομένοις ἡμῖν δύναμις θεοῦ ἐστιν. Γέγραπται γάρ, Ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν, καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω. Ποῦ σοφός; Ποῦ γραμματεύς; Ποῦ συζητητὴς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου; Οὐχὶ ἐμὼρανεν ὁ θεὸς τὴν σοφίαν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου; Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἔγνω ὁ κόσμος διὰ τῆς σοφίας τὸν θεόν, εὐδόκησεν ὁ θεὸς διὰ τῆς μωρίας τοῦ κηρύγματος σῶσαι τοὺς πιστεύοντας. Ἐπειδὴ καὶ Ἰουδαῖοι σημεῖον αἰτοῦσιν, καὶ Ἕλληνες σοφίαν ζητοῦσιν· ἡμεῖς δὲ κηρύσσομεν χριστὸν ἐσταυρωμένον, Ἰουδαίοις μὲν σκάνδαλον, Ἕλλησιν δὲ μωρίαν· αὐτοῖς δὲ τοῖς κλητοῖς, Ἰουδαίοις τε καὶ Ἕλλησιν, χριστὸν θεοῦ δύναμιν καὶ θεοῦ σοφίαν.

Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 19.6-11, 13-20
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, συμβούιον ἐποίησαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ ὑπηρέται, ἐκραύγασαν λέγοντες· σταύρωσον σταύρωσον αὐτόν. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Πιλᾶτος· λάβετε αὐτὸν ὑμεῖς καὶ σταυρώσατε· ἐγὼ γὰρ οὐχ εὑρίσκω ἐν αὐτῷ αἰτίαν. ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ ᾿Ιουδαῖοι· ἡμεῖς νόμον ἔχομεν, καὶ κατὰ τὸν νόμον ἡμῶν ὀφείλει ἀποθανεῖν, ὅτι ἑαυτὸν Θεοῦ υἱὸν ἐποίησεν. ῞Οτε οὖν ἤκουσεν ὁ Πιλᾶτος τοῦτον τὸν λόγον, μᾶλλον ἐφοβήθη, καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸ πραιτώριον πάλιν καὶ λέγει τῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ· πόθεν εἶ σύ; ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἀπόκρισιν οὐκ ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ. λέγει οὖν αὐτῷ ὁ Πιλᾶτος· ἐμοὶ οὐ λαλεῖς; οὐκ οἶδας ὅτι ἐξουσίαν ἔχω σταυρῶσαί σε καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἔχω ἀπολῦσαί σε; ἀπεκρίθη ᾿Ιησοῦς· οὐκ εἶχες ἐξουσίαν οὐδεμίαν κατ᾽ ἐμοῦ, εἰ μὴ ἦν σοι δεδομένον ἄνωθεν· διὰ τοῦτο ὁ παραδιδούς μέ σοι μείζονα ἁμαρτίαν ἔχει. ὁ οὖν Πιλᾶτος ἀκούσας τοῦτον τὸν λόγον ἤγαγεν ἔξω τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν, καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος εἰς τόπον λεγόμενον Λιθόστρωτον, ἑβραϊστὶ δὲ Γαββαθᾶ· ἦν δὲ παρασκευὴ τοῦ πάσχα, ὥρα δὲ ὡσεὶ ἕκτη· καὶ λέγει τοῖς ᾿Ιουδαίοις· ἴδε ὁ βασιλεὺς ὑμῶν. οἱ δὲ ἐκραύγασαν· ἆρον ἆρον, σταύρωσον αὐτόν. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Πιλᾶτος· τὸν βασιλέα ὑμῶν σταυρώσω; ἀπεκρίθησαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς· οὐκ ἔχομεν βασιλέα εἰ μὴ Καίσαρα. τότε οὖν παρέδωκεν αὐτὸν αὐτοῖς ἵνα σταυρωθῇ.
Παρέλαβον δὲ τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν καὶ ἤγαγον· καὶ βαστάζων τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ ἐξῆλθεν εἰς τὸν λεγόμενον κρανίου τόπον, ὃς λέγεται ἑβραϊστὶ Γολγοθᾶ, ὅπου αὐτὸν ἐσταύρωσαν, καὶ μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ ἄλλους δύο ἐντεῦθεν καὶ ἐντεῦθεν, μέσον δὲ τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν. ἔγραψε δὲ καὶ τίτλον ὁ Πιλᾶτος καὶ ἔθηκεν ἐπὶ τοῦ σταυροῦ· ἦν δὲ γεγραμμένον· ᾿Ιησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων. τοῦτον οὖν τὸν τίτλον πολλοὶ ἀνέγνωσαν τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων, ὅτι ἐγγὺς ἦν τῆς πόλεως ὁ τόπος ὅπου ἐσταυρώθη ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· καὶ ἦν γεγραμμένον ῾Εβραϊστί, ῾Ελληνιστί, ῾Ρωμαϊστί. Οἱ μὲν οὖν στρατιῶται ταῦτα ἐποίησαν. εἱστήκεισαν δὲ παρὰ τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ ἀδελφὴ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ, Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Κλωπᾶ καὶ Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή. ᾿Ιησοῦς οὖν ἰδὼν τὴν μητέρα καὶ τὸν μαθητὴν παρεστῶτα ὃν ἠγάπα, λέγει τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ· γύναι, ἴδε ὁ υἱός σου. εἶτα λέγει τῷ μαθητῇ· ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ σου. καὶ ἀπ᾽ ἐκείνης τῆς ὥρας ἔλαβεν ὁ μαθητὴς αὐτὴν εἰς τὰ ἴδια. Μετὰ τοῦτο εἰδὼς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ὅτι πάντα ἤδη τετέλεσται, ἵνα τελειωθῇ ἡ γραφή, λέγει· διψῶ. ὅτε οὖν ἔλαβε τὸ ὄξος ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπε, τετέλεσται, καὶ κλίνας τὴν κεφαλὴν παρέδωκε τὸ πνεῦμα.

Τὸ ἔτος 326 ἡ Ἁγία Ἑλένη πῆγε στὴν Ἱερουσαλὴμ γιὰ νὰ προσκυνήσει τοὺς Ἁγίους Τόπους καὶ νὰ εὐχαριστήσει τὸ Θεὸ γιὰ τοὺς θριάμβους τοῦ γιοῦ της Μ. Κωνσταντίνου. Ὁ Θεῖος ζῆλος, ὅμως, ἔκανε τὴν Ἅγια Ἑλένη νὰ ἀρχίσει ἔρευνες γιὰ τὴν ἀνεύρεση τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ. Ἐπάνω στὸ Γολγοθὰ ὑπῆρχε εἰδωλολατρικὸς ναὸς τῆς θεᾶς Ἀφροδίτης, τὸν ὁποῖο γκρέμισε καὶ ἄρχισε τὶς ἀνασκαφές. Σὲ κάποιο σημεῖο, βρέθηκαν τρεῖς σταυροί. Ἡ συγκίνηση ὑπῆρξε μεγάλη, ἀλλὰ ποιὸς ἀπὸ τοὺς τρεῖς ἦταν τοῦ Κυρίου; Τότε ὁ ἐπίσκοπος Ἱεροσολύμων Μακάριος με ἀρκετοὺς Ἱερεῖς, ἀφοῦ ἔκανε δέηση, ἄγγιξε στοὺς σταυροὺς τὸ σῶμα μίας εὐσεβέστατης κυρίας ποὺ εἶχε πεθάνει. Ὅταν ἦλθε ἡ σειρὰ καὶ ἄγγιξε τὸν τρίτο σταυρό, ποὺ ἦταν πραγματικὰ τοῦ Κυρίου, ἡ γυναῖκα ἀμέσως ἀναστήθηκε. Ἡ εἴδηση διαδόθηκε σὰν ἀστραπὴ σὲ ὅλα τὰ μέρη τῆς Ἱερουσαλήμ. Πλήθη πιστῶν ἄρχισαν νὰ συρρέουν γιὰ νὰ ἀγγίξουν τὸ τίμιο ξύλο. Ἐπειδή, ὅμως, συνέβησαν πολλὰ δυστυχήματα ἀπὸ τὸ συνωστισμό, ὕψωσαν τὸν Τίμιο Σταυρὸ μέσα στὸ ναὸ σὲ μέρος ὑψηλό, γιὰ νὰ μπορέσουν νὰ τὸν δοῦν καὶ νὰ τὸν προσκυνήσουν ὅλοι. Αὐτή, λοιπόν, τὴν ὕψωση καθιέρωσαν οἱ ἅγιοι Πατέρες, νὰ γιορτάζουμε στὶς 14 Σεπτεμβρίου, γιὰ νὰ μπορέσουμε κι ἐμεῖς νὰ ὑψώσουμε μέσα στὶς ψυχές μας τὸ Σταυρὸ τοῦ Κυρίου μας, ποὺ ἀποτελεῖ τὸ κατ᾿ ἐξοχὴν «ὅπλον κατὰ τοῦ διαβόλου». (Ὁρισμένοι Συναξαριστές, αὐτὴν τὴν ἡμέρα, ἀναφέρουν καὶ τὴν ὕψωση τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη τὸ 628 ἀπὸ τὸν βασιλιὰ Ἡράκλειο, ποὺ εἶχε νικήσει καὶ ξαναπῆρε τὸν Τίμιο Σταυρὸ ἀπὸ τοὺς Ἀβάρους, οἱ ὁποῖοι τὸν εἶχαν ἁρπάξει ἀπὸ τοὺς Ἁγίους Τόπους).

Ἀπολυτίκιον. Ἦχος α’.
Σῶσον Κύριε τὸν λαόν σου, καὶ εὐλόγησον τὴν κληρονομίαν σου, νίκας τοῖς Βασιλεῦσι, κατὰ βαρβάρων δωρούμενος, καὶ τὸ σὸν φυλάττων, διὰ τοῦ Σταυροῦ σου πολίτευμα.

Κοντάκιον. Ἦχος δ’. Αὐτόμελον.
Ὁ ὑψωθεὶς ἐν τῷ Σταυρῷ ἑκουσίως, τῇ ἐπωνύμῳ σου καινῇ πολιτείᾳ, τοὺς οἰκτιρμούς σου δώρησαι Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός· εὔφρανον ἐν τῇ δυνάμει σου, τοὺς πιστοὺς Βασιλεῖς ἡμῶν, νίκας χορηγῶν αὐτοῖς, κατὰ τῶν πολεμίων· τὴν συμμαχίαν ἔχοιεν τὴν σήν, ὅπλον εἰρήνης, ἀήττητον τρόπαιον.

Τῇ ΙΔ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, ἡ παγκόσμιος Ὕψωσις τοῦ τιμίου καὶ ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ.

[Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Ἡ κοίμησις τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἰωάννου Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου· ἐν ταύτῃ γὰρ ἀνεπαύσατο, ἀλλὰ διὰ τήν Ἑορτὴν τοῦ τιμίου Σταυροῦ μετετέθη ἡ τούτου Ἑορτὴ εἰς τὸν Νοέμβριον μῆνα.]
Καὶ μνήμη τῆς εὐσεβεστάτης Βασιλίσσης Πλακίλλης, συζύγου γενομένης τοῦ μεγάλου Βασιλέως Θεοδοσίου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατέρων ἡμῶν, τῶν συνελθόντων ἐν τῇ Ἁγίᾳ καὶ Οἰκουμενικῇ Ἕκτῃ Συνόδῳ, ἐπὶ τῆς Βασιλείας Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ Πωγωνάτου, υἱοῦ Ἰουστινιανοῦ τοῦ δευτέρου, τοῦ καλουμένου Ῥινοτμήτου, Σεργίου τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν Κωνσταντινουπόλεως ἰθύνοντος, καὶ Ἀγάθωνος τῶν Ῥωμαίων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Πάπα. Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρτυς Θεοκλῆς ξίφει τελειοῦται. Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ ἅγιος Βαλεριανός, τὸ νήπιον, ξίφει τελειοῦται.

Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.