Friday, January 27, 2012

January 27, 2012 - 33rd Friday After Pentecost


Removal of the Relics of John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople
Peter the Righteous of Egypt
Demetrios the New Martyr of Constantinople

Ἀνακομιδή τοῦ ἱεροῦ λειψάνου τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρός ἡμῶν Ἰωάννου, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου.


The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 7:26-28; 8:1-2
Brethren, it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever. Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord.

Πρὸς Ἑβραίους 7:26-28; 8:1-2
Ἀδελφοί, τοιοῦτος γὰρ ἡμῖν ἔπρεπεν ἀρχιερεύς, ὅσιος, ἄκακος, ἀμίαντος, κεχωρισμένος ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν, καὶ ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος· ὃς οὐκ ἔχει καθʼ ἡμέραν ἀνάγκην, ὥσπερ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς, πρότερον ὑπὲρ τῶν ἰδίων ἁμαρτιῶν θυσίας ἀναφέρειν, ἔπειτα τῶν τοῦ λαοῦ· τοῦτο γὰρ ἐποίησεν ἐφάπαξ, ἑαυτὸν ἀνενέγκας. Ὁ νόμος γὰρ ἀνθρώπους καθίστησιν ἀρχιερεῖς, ἔχοντας ἀσθένειαν· ὁ λόγος δὲ τῆς ὁρκωμοσίας τῆς μετὰ τὸν νόμον, υἱὸν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τετελειωμένον. Κεφάλαιον δὲ ἐπὶ τοῖς λεγομένοις· τοιοῦτον ἔχομεν ἀρχιερέα, ὃς ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θρόνου τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, τῶν ἁγίων λειτουργός, καὶ τῆς σκηνῆς τῆς ἀληθινῆς, ἣν ἔπηξεν ὁ κύριος, καὶ οὐκ ἄνθρωπος·

The Reading is from John 10:9-16
The Lord said, "I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd."

Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 10.9-16
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος· ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα τῶν προβάτων. πάντες ὅσοι ἦλθον πρὸ ἐμοῦ, κλέπται εἰσὶ καὶ λῃσταί· ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἤκουσαν αὐτῶν τὰ πρόβατα. ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα· δι᾽ ἐμοῦ ἐάν τις εἰσέλθῃ, σωθήσεται, καὶ εἰσελεύσεται καὶ ἐξελεύσεται, καὶ νομὴν εὑρήσει. ὁ κλέπτης οὐκ ἔρχεται εἰ μὴ ἵνα κλέψῃ καὶ θύσῃ καὶ ἀπολέσῃ· ἐγὼ ἦλθον ἵνα ζωὴν ἔχωσι καὶ περισσὸν ἔχωσιν. ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός. ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλὸς τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ τίθησιν ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων· ὁ μισθωτὸς δὲ καὶ οὐκ ὢν ποιμήν, οὗ οὐκ εἰσὶ τὰ πρόβατα ἴδια, θεωρεῖ τὸν λύκον ἐρχόμενον καὶ ἀφίησι τὰ πρόβατα καὶ φεύγει· καὶ ὁ λύκος ἁρπάζει αὐτὰ καὶ σκορπίζει τὰ πρόβατα. ὁ δὲ μισθωτὸς φεύγει, ὅτι μισθωτός ἐστι καὶ οὐ μέλει αὐτῷ περὶ τῶν προβάτων. ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός, καὶ γινώσκω τὰ ἐμὰ καὶ γινώσκομαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἐμῶν, καθὼς γινώσκει με ὁ πατὴρ κἀγὼ γινώσκω τὸν πατέρα, καὶ τὴν ψυχήν μου τίθημι ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων. καὶ ἄλλα πρόβατα ἔχω, ἃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τῆς αὐλῆς ταύτης· κἀκεῖνά με δεῖ ἀγαγεῖν, καὶ τῆς φωνῆς μου ἀκούσουσι, καὶ γενήσεται μία ποίμνη, εἷς ποιμήν.


Τῇ ΚΖ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Ἡ Ἀνακομιδὴ τοῦ Λειψάνου τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἰωάννου, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου.
Νεκρὸς καθίζῃ, ὦ Ἰωάννη, θρόνῳ,
Ἀλλ᾿ ἐν Θεῷ ζῶν, πᾶσιν Εἰρήνη, λέγεις.
Ἄπνουν ἑβδομάτῃ κόμισαν δέμας εἰκάδι χρυσοῦν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Ἡ Ἁγία Μαρκιανὴ Βασίλισσα, ἡ ἐν τοῖς Ἁγίοις Ἀποστόλοις, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Τὴν Βασίλισσαν Μαρκιανὴν ἐκ βίου,
Χριστὸς Βασιλεὺς ἐξάγει Βασιλέων.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Κλαυδῖνος ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ψυχῆς ἰδὼν σῆς κάλλος ἐξῃρημένον,
Ὁ ψυχεραστὴς λαμβάνει σε Κλαυδῖνε.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ὅσιος Πέτρος ὁ Αἰγύπτιος εἰς βαθὺ γῆρας ἐλθών, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ὡς ὥριμός τις σῖτος ἐκ γήρως Πέτρε,
Οἶνον ταμείῳ συγκομίζει τῷ τάφῳ.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

This event took place on this day in the year 438, when Saint Theodosius the Younger had been Emperor for thirty years; he was the son of Arcadius, and Eudoxia, who had exiled Saint John. The Archbishop of Constantinople at that time was Proclus, who had been the Saint's disciple (see Nov. 13 and Nov. 20).

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ἡ τοῦ στόματός σου καθάπερ πυρσὸς ἐκλάμψασα χάρις, τὴν οἰκουμένην ἐφώτισεν, ἀφιλαργυρίας τῶ κόσμω θησαυροὺς ἐναπέθετο, τὸ ὕψος ἡμῖν τῆς ταπεινοφροσύνης ὑπέδειξεν. Ἀλλὰ σοὶς λόγοις παιδεύων, Πάτερ, Ἰωάννη Χρυσόστομε, πρέσβευε τῶ Λόγῳ Χριστῷ τῶ Θεῷ, σωθῆναι τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.
Grace shining forth from thy mouth like a beacon hath illumined the universe, and disclosed to the world treasures of uncovetousness, and shown us the heights of humility; but while instructing us by thy words, O Father John Chrysostom, intercede with the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls.

Kontakion in the First Tone
Ἐφράνθη μυστικῶς, ἡ σεπτὴ Ἐκκλησία, τὴ ἀνακομιδή, τοῦ σεπτοῦ σου λειψάνου, καὶ τοῦτο κατακρύψασα, ὡς χρυσίον πολύτιμον, τοὶς ὑμνούσί σε, ἀδιαλείπτως παρέχει, ταὶς πρεσβείαις σου, τῶν ἰαμάτων τὴν χάριν, Ἰωάννη Χρυσόστομε.
The holy and august Church is mystically gladdened today on the translation of thy holy relics. And though she had kept them hid in concealment like precious gold, by thine intercessions she unceasingly granteth, unto them that praise thee, the divine grace of healing, O Father John Chrysostom.

Στις 27 Ιανουαρίου του 438, τριανταένα χρόνια ύστερα από τόν θάνατό του, έφεραν στην Κωνσταντινούπολη από την Κουκουσό της Αρμενίας τα οστά του Αγίου Ιωάννου του Χρυσοστόμου, του μεγάλου Ιεράρχου και Οικουμενικού Διδασκάλου. Ο Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Χρυσόστομος, στην Αντιόχεια Πρεσβύτερος και στην Κωνσταντινούπολη Επίσκοπος, είναι ο ακούραστος διδάσκαλος του ποιμνίου του, ο ασκητικός μοναχός, ο δραστήριος κληρικός, ο ατρόμητος μαχητής, πού συγκρούεται κατά μέτωπο με την κακία, χτυπά σαν τον Πρόδρομο την παρανομία και πέφτει τελειώνοντας μαρτυρικά τη ζωή του. Είναι ο καλός ποιμήν, ο όσιος και ο μάρτυς. Πολλούς από τους αγίους Μάρτυρας εγκωμίασε και στο τέλος φάνηκε απόλυτα συνεπής στα λόγια του· "...ει τις βούλεται επαινείν μάρτυρας, μιμείσθω μάρτυρας· ει τις βούλεται εγκωμιάζειν τους αθλητάς της ευσεβείας, ζηλούτω τον εκείνων πόνον".

Ἀνακομιδὴ Λειψάνων Ἁγ. Ἰωάννου Χρυσοστόμου
Εἶναι γνωστὸς ὁ μαρτυρικὸς θάνατος τοῦ μεγάλου διδασκάλου τῆς Ἐκκλησίας Ἰωάννου τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου. Ἀπὸ τὸ ἕνα μέρος οἱ σκοτεινοὶ καὶ μοχθηροὶ ἐπίσκοποι ποὺ δὲν ἄντεχαν τὴν ὑπεροχὴ καὶ τὴν δόξα του, ἀπὸ τὸ ἄλλο οἱ αὐλικὲς ῥᾳδιουργίες καὶ ἐμπάθειες μὲ πρωταγωνίστρια τὴν βασίλισσα Εὐδοξία, ἐπέφεραν τελικὰ τὴν ἐξορία του. Κατὰ τὴν διάρκεια δὲ αὐτῆς, οἱ ἐχθροί του πῆραν ὅλα τὰ ὠμὰ μέτρα γιὰ νὰ πολλαπλασιάσουν τὶς θλίψεις του. Τελικά, μ᾿ αὐτὸ τὸ σκληρὸ τρόπο ἐπέφεραν τὸ θάνατό του. Ἐτάφη σὲ μία ἐκκλησία τοῦ χωριοῦ Κόμανα τῆς Καππαδοκίας. Τὸ λείψανό του ἔμεινε τριάντα ὁλόκληρα χρόνια ἐκεῖ, ὅπου ἦταν καὶ ὁ τελικὸς τόπος τῆς ἐξορίας καὶ ὑπέφερε τόσες δοκιμασίες. Ἀλλὰ «πᾶσα παιδεία πρὸς μὲν τὸ παρὸν οὐ δοκεῖ χαρᾶς εἶναι, ἀλλὰ λύπης, ὕστερον δὲ καρπὸν εἰρηνικὸν τοῖς δι᾿ αὐτῆς γεγυμνασμένοις ἀποδίδωσι δικαιοσύνης». Κάθε, δηλαδή, δοκιμασία πρὸς τὸ παρὸν δὲ φαίνεται πρόξενος χαρᾶς, ἀλλὰ λύπης. Ὕστερα, ὅμως, ἀνταμείβει ἐκείνους ποὺ δοκιμάστηκαν, μὲ καρπὸ εἰρηνικό, ποὺ εἶναι δικαιοσύνη καὶ ἁγιότητα. Πράγματι, ἔτσι ἔγινε καὶ μὲ τὸν Ἰωάννη τὸ Χρυσόστομο. Στὶς 27 Ἰανουαρίου 438, ὅταν Πατριάρχης ἦταν ὁ μαθητής του Πρόκλος καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ ὁ Θεοδόσιος ὁ Β´, μεταφέρεται μὲ συγκινητικὴ πομπὴ τὸ λείψανό του στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Τίθεται στὸ νάο τῶν Ἁγίων Ἀποστόλων καὶ ὁ πολυπληθὴς λαός, ἔξαλλος ἀπὸ χαρά, φώναζε: «Ἀπόλαβε τὸν θρόνον σου, Ἅγιε!».

Ἡ Ἁγία Μαρκιανὴ ἡ βασίλισσα
Ἦταν ἡ εὐσεβέστατη σύζυγος τοῦ Ἰουστίνου Α´ τοῦ γέροντος (518-527), πρῶτα μὲν ὀνομαζόταν Λουπικία, ἔπειτα δὲ Εὐφημία. Ἔλαμψε μὲ τὰ ἀγαθά της ἔργα καὶ ἀφοῦ ὁσιακὰ ἔζησε, ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ καὶ τάφηκε στὸν ναὸ τῶν Ἁγίων Ἀποστόλων στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Κλαυδῖνος
Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Πέτρος ὁ Αἰγύπτιος
Ὑπῆρξε μαθητὴς τοῦ Ἀββᾶ Λώτ. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ σὲ πολὺ βαθιὰ γεράματα.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Κλήμης ὁ Στυλίτης, ποὺ ἀσκήτευσε στὸ ὄρος Σαγματᾶ τῆς Βοιωτίας
Τὸν ἀσκητὴ αὐτὸ ἀγνοοῦν οἱ Συναξαριστὲς καὶ τὰ Μηναῖα. Ἡ μνήμη του μαζὶ μὲ τὴν Ἀκολουθία του, βρίσκεται στοὺς Λαυριωτικοὺς Κώδικες Ε 152 φ. 332 α καὶ Γ 12φ. 82 β. Στὴν Ἀκολουθία του ὑμνολογεῖται σὰν «πνευματοφόρος ἐπὶ στύλου ὑψηλοῦ ἀναβὰς καὶ ἀσκητικώτατος φανεῖς, ὡς στῦλος τῶν μοναζόντων ἀκλινής, ὡς μοναστῶν τὸ στήριγμα ἔργα φωτὸς διαπραξάμενος». Στὸ δὲ Κοντάκιο δηλώνεται, ὅτι «ἀνδρείας ψυχῇς εἰς ὄρος Σαγμάτειον ἐν στύλῳ στενῷ μονάσας, προθυμότατα τὸν χορὸν ἐκόσμησας τῶν ὁσίων, Κλήμη ὁσιώτατε».

Ὁ Ἅγιος Δημήτριος ὁ ἐν Κωνσταντινούπολει
Ἦταν ὄμορφος στὴν ὄψη, δυνατὸς στὸ σῶμα καὶ σεμνὸς στὰ ἤθη. Εἰκοσιπέντε χρονῶν, ἐργαζόταν στὸν Γαλατὰ τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως σ᾿ ἕνα οἰνοπωλεῖο, ποὺ ἀνῆκε στὸν Χριστιανὸ Χατζῆ Παναγιώτη. Κάποιοι ἀπὸ τοὺς θαμῶνες τοῦ οἰνοπωλείου, μωαμεθανοὶ ἀπὸ τὸν Πόντο, προσπάθησαν νὰ παρασύρουν στὸν Μωαμεθανισμὸ τὸν Δημήτριο. Κάποια μέρα λοιπόν, μετὰ ἀπὸ πολύωρη οἰνοποσία, οἱ Τουρκοπόντιοι αὐτοὶ διώχτηκαν ἀπὸ τὸν οἰνοπώλη μὲ τὴ βοήθεια τοῦ ῥωμαλέου Δημητρίου κακὴν κακῶς. Κατὰ τὴν συμπλοκὴ αὐτή, τραυματίστηκε κάποιος ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς τοὺς Τούρκους, οἱ ὁποῖοι κατάγγειλαν σὰν δράστη τὸν Δημήτριο. Ἔτσι ὁ Δημήτριος ὁδηγήθηκε στὸν βεζίρη καὶ ἐπειδὴ δὲν μπόρεσε νὰ ἀποδείξει τὴν ἀθῳότητά του, τοῦ ἐτέθη τὸ ἑξῆς δίλημμα: ἢ νὰ γίνει μωαμεθανὸς ἢ θὰ πεθάνει. Ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Δημήτριος σθεναρὰ ἐπέμενε στὴν χριστιανικὴ πίστη. Μπροστὰ στὴ σταθερὴ ἐμμονὴ τοῦ Δημητρίου, ὁ βεζίρης διέταξε τὸν ἀποκεφαλισμό του. Πρὸ τῆς ἐκτελέσεως, ὁδηγήθηκε καὶ πάλι μπροστὰ στὸν βεζίρη, ἀλλὰ καὶ πάλι ὁ Δημήτριος δὲν ὑπέκυψε στὶς κολακεῖες, τὶς ὑποσχέσεις καὶ τὰ βασανιστήρια τῶν Τούρκων, καὶ εἰδικὰ αὐτὰ τῶν ἰδίων τῶν κατηγόρων του. Ἔτσι ὁ Δημήτριος, στὶς 27 Ἰανουαρίου 1784, ἀποκεφαλίστηκε μπροστὰ στὸ οἰνοπωλεῖο ποὺ ἐργαζόταν.

Translation of the relics (437) of St John Chrysostom.
In the year after the Saint's repose both the Emperor Arcadius and his wife Eudoxia, who had been most responsible for St John's exile, died. Their son Theodosius II succeeded to the throne. Soon most of the exiled supporters of St John were restored to their sees. In 434 St Proclus, a disciple of St John Chrysostom, was made Archbishop of Constantinople, and persuaded the Emperor to have St John's relics solemnly translated from Comana to Constantinople. But all efforts to disinter his remains failed, as if his coffin were sealed in the earth. Learning of this, the Emperor wrote a letter to St John asking forgiveness for his father's persecution, and pleading with him to agree to return to the Imperial City for the benefit of the faithful. As soon as this letter was placed over the Saint's tomb, his coffin was removed with no difficulty and conveyed solemnly to Constantinople.
  When the cortege reached Constantinople, the Emperor met it and prostrated himself before it, once again begging the Saint's forgiveness for the sins of the State against him. At last, the relics were deposited beneath the altar of the Church of the Holy Apostles, where they worked many miracles during the celebration of the Liturgy. Since then, the relics have been scattered throughout the world, where they never fail to reveal the Saint's loving presence.

Menologion 3.0
Sainted John Chrysostom -- a great ecumenical teacher and hierarch, died in the city of Comene in the year 407 on his way to a place of exile, having been condemned by the intrigues of the empress Eudoxia because of his daring denunciation of the vices ruling over Constantinople. The transfer of his venerable relics was made in the year 438: after 30 years following the death of the saint during the reign of Eudoxia's son emperor Theodosius II (408-450).
Saint John Chrysostom had the warm love and deep respect of the people, and grief over his untimely death lived on in the hearts of christians. Saint John's student Saint Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople (434-447), making Divine-services in the Church of Saint Sophia, preached a sermon which in glorifying Saint John he said: "O John! Thy life was filled with difficulties, but thy death was glorious, thy grave is blessed and reward abundant through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. O graced one, having conquered the bounds of time and place! Love hath conquered space, unforgetting memory hath annihilated the limits, and place doth not hinder the miracles of the saint". Those who were present in church, deeply touched by the words of Saint Proclus, did not allow him even to finish his sermon. With one accord they began to entreat the Patriarch to intercede with the emperor, so that the relics of Saint John might be transferred to Constantinople. The emperor, overwhelmed by Saint Proclus, gave his consent and made the order to transfer the relics of Saint John. But the people dispatched by him were by no means able to lift up the holy relics -- not until that moment when the emperor realising his oversight that he had not sent the message to Saint John, humbly beseeching of him forgiveness for himself and for his mother Eudoxia. The message was read at the grave of Saint John and after this they easily lifted up the relics, carried them onto a ship and arrived at Constantinople. The reliquary coffin with the relics was placed in the Church of the holy Martyr Irene. The Patriarch opened the coffin: the body of Saint John had remained without decay. The emperor, having approached the coffin with tears, asked forgiveness. All day and night people did not leave the coffin. In the morning the reliquary coffin with its relics was brought to the Church of the Holy Apostles. The people cried out: "Receive back thy throne, father!" Then Patriarch Proclus and the clergy standing at the relics -- saw Saint John open his mouth and pronounce: "Peace be to all".
In the IX Century the feastday in honour of the transfer of the relics of Sainted John Chrysostom was written into church singing.


The memory of this illuminary of the Church is celebrated on November 13 and January 30 but, on this date, the Church celebrates the translation of his honorable relics from the Armenian village of Comana, where he died in exile, to Constantinople, where earlier he had governed the Church. Thirty years after his death, Patriarch Proculus delivered a homily in memory of his spiritual father and teacher. He so enflamed the love of the people and Emperor Theodosius the Younger toward this great saint that all of them desired that Chrysostom's relics be translated to Constantinople. It was said that the sarcophagus, containing the relics of St. John Chrysostom, did not allow itself to be moved from its resting place until the emperor wrote a letter to Chrysostom begging him for forgiveness (for Theodosius' mother, Eudoxia, was the culprit responsible for the banishment of this saint) and appealing to him to come to Constantinople, his former residence. When this letter of repentance was placed on the sarcophagus, its weight became extremely light. At the time of the translation of his relics, many who were ill and who touched the sarcophagus were healed. When the relics arrived in the capital, then the emperor in the name of his mother as though she herself was speaking over the relics, again, prayed to the saint for forgiveness. "While I lived in this transient life, I did you malice and, now, when you live the immortal life, be beneficial to my soul. My glory passed away and it helped nothing. Help me, father; in your glory, help me before I am condemned at the Judgment of Christ!" When the saint was brought into the Church of the Twelve Apostles and placed on the patriarchal throne, the masses of people heard the words from St. Chrysostom's mouth saying: "Peace be to you all." The translation of the relics of St. John Chrysostom was accomplished in the year 438 A.D.

At first, Titus was a soldier. When in battle he sustained a head injury, Titus withdrew from the world to the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev where he was healed and then was tonsured a monk. Titus spent his time in unceasing mourning for his earlier sins. Before his death Titus was informed through a heavenly apparition that all of his sins were forgiven. His relics repose in the Caves of Theodosius.

Saint John, a trumpet forged of gold,
Heralded to mankind, the mercy of God,
Miraculous mercy, which even loves the sinners,
Wonderful mercy, that shines through the sun,
And with the moon, amazes the earth,
In the cradle of the stars, mercy, he is rocking,
The awesome mercy from bloody Golgatha,
Where God Crucified forgives the crime of the world,
Mercy of fear, forgiveness and glory,
Mercy which the angels sing,
Of which the whole of creation drinks,
Which only the saints glorify,
Mercy which is a balm to the ill,
Joy to the simple, foolishness to the scribes,
Antidote for the proud and a punishment for the vain;
The mercy of God, which all creation enjoys,
Which is poured out like a current of air,
Mercy that covers all sins -
Such mercy - unknown until Christ,
Eternal glow, from Christ radiated.
O Teacher of God's mercy,
Pray to God that He forgives our sins.

Fasting is a great thing but love is even greater. If by fasting demons are cast out, passions tamed, the body pacified, the spirit composed then, by love, God takes up abode in man. The Lord Himself emphasized fasting as necessary but stressed love as the main commandment. In the first half of the last century, Jeladin Bey ruled in Ohrid, a renegade from the Sultan and an independent ruler. At that time, the Church was governed by Metropolitan Kalinikos. Even though of different faiths, Jeladin Bey and Kalinikos were very good friends and often visited one another. It happened that Jeladin Bey condemned twenty-five Christians to be hanged. They were scheduled to be hanged on Great and Holy Friday [Good Friday]. The Metropolitan, totally disturbed because of this incident, went to Jeladin Bey and began to implore him to be more lenient with the punishment. While they were conversing, the time for lunch arrived and the Bey invited the Metropolitan to dine. Lamb was prepared for lunch. The Metropolitan excused himself, saying that because of fasting he could not remain for lunch, and he prepared to leave. The Bey was sorry and said to the Metropolitan: "Choose; either you will dine with me and free twenty-five men from the gallows, or you will not dine and allow them to be hanged." The Metropolitan crossed himself and sat down to eat and Jeladin freed the condemned from the punishment of death.

To contemplate the Lord Jesus as High Priest:
1. Who offers to God as a sacrifice the entire time of His life on earth;
2. Who offers to God as a sacrifice His every word, His every feeling, His every thought, His every labor and His every tear;
3. Who finally offers Himself completely as a man to God for man.

About the confusion of those of little faith
"What sort of man is thisWhom even the winds andthe sea obey?" (St. Matthew 8:27).
In these words the apostles, not yet knowing the Lord Jesus and seeing how He calmed the turbulent sea and winds questioned: "What sort of man is this Whom even the winds and the sea obey?" This is He Who created the winds and the sea. Therefore, what kind of miracle is it that His own created things obey Him? Is not the axe an obedient tool in the hands of him who made it? The Lord created everything by His word, that is why all things submit to His word.
Brethren, "What sort of man is this?" Who is He? This is the same One Who, before that, raised the winds and quieted them and Who agitated the sea and subdued it. This is the same One Who also does that today . As a man, He stood before men and rebuked the animated wind and unbridled sea in order to dispel the confusion of men as though the winds and the sea are moved and calmed either by blind chance or by some evil power; to reveal the truth for ever that the wise and beneficial power of the Creator directs and commands all the elements according to His Providence.
The apostles questioned: "Who is He?" O, Holy Apostles, He is the sinless Son of God Whose Name you will spread throughout the whole world and for Whose Name you will be tortured and slain as lambs by wolves. Who are the wolves? The wolves are those who think that the wind moves on its own and that the sea agitates and calms itself on its own, either only of itself or of the devil. O, Holy Apostles, you who asked and who received a true reply and the whole truth you proclaimed to the whole world, pray for us so that we too may be enlightened by that truth.
 O Lord, All-Wise and All-Powerful, calm the winds of sin and subdue the storm of our filthy and unworthy passions.