Synaxarion From the Menaion.
On May 28 we commemorate the holy Hieromartyr Eutychius, Bishop of Melitene (1st century) .
On this day we commemorate the holy Martyr Heliconis of Thessalonica (244).
On this day we commemorate the Venerable Nicetas the Confessor, Archbishop of Chalcedon and His Brother, the Priest Ignatius (early 9th century)
On this day we commemorate the Blessed Andrew of Fool-for-Christ of Constantinople (911)
On this day we commemorate the Venerable Virgin-Martyr Philothea of Pamphylia, Wonderworker (16th century)
On this day we commemorate the Saint Ignatius of Rostov, Bishop and Wonderworker (1288)
On this day we commemorate the Venerable Sophronius of Bulgaria, Monk (1510)
On this day we commemorate the New Martyr Mitros (or Demetrios) of Tripolitsa of Peloponnesos (1794)
On this day we commemorate the New Hieromartyr Zachariah, Priest of Prusa (1802)
On this day we commemorate the Saint Helena Manturova of Diveyevo (1832), the spiritual daughter of St. Seraphim of Sarov.
Blessed Domnica (Likvinenko), Ascetic of Cherson (1967)
Icon of the Mother of God “the Unbreakable Wall”.
Icon of the Mother of God the “Softener of Evil Hearts”
On this day, the seventh Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the First Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea of the three hundred eighteen Godbearing Fathers.
Repose in the Lord of Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea,
Holy Elder Eumenios Saridakis (May 23, 1999)
Elder Justin Pârvu of Romania (June 16, 2013).
Abbess Macrina of the Monastery of Panagia Odigitria in Portaria (June 4, 1995)
Luminous stars of the spiritual sky,
illumine my mind with the light of your rays.
Arius be a stranger to God’s glory,
for calling the Son a stranger to the Father’s essence.
Sermon on Sunday between Ascension and Pentecost
Anthony Bloom of Sourozh
22 May 1988
In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
During the Last Supper our Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples that separation was near, that He was to ascend to His God and to His Father as He would repeat again to the women who came to the grave. And when their hearts were filled with sorrow at the thought that they will not see Him again, He said, “Your hearts are full with sorrow and yet, you should rejoice for Me that I am returning to My Father. But I will not,” he added, “leave you orphan, I will send you the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, whom I will send to you and who will teach you all things.” And so do we here now while we are still in the light of the Ascension.
St. Paul grieved about the necessity of living in the world and in the flesh. He said, “To me life is Christ and death would be a gain, a blessing, because as long as we are in the flesh, we are separated from Christ.” And yet, this separation is not total, we are not separated irremediably, we are not separated desperately from Christ if we only long for Him, if we only love Him, if as St. Paul longed to die to be inseparably forever with Him because according to the promise the Holy Spirit has come on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit whom we call the Comforter by word, which in ancient languages has a much wider meaning. It means the one who consoles, the one who gives strength, the one who brings joy. His presence indeed can console us from our separation from Christ because the Holy Spirit if we only live according to the Gospel, if we become not only in word or in imagination but in all truth, in action and in thought, in our heart and in our being disciples of Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in us. We become His temples and He speaks to us either in unutterable groaning or with that wonderful clarity that allows us to call ‘Father’ the God of Heaven because in Christ and by the power of the Spirit we have become the children of the Living God.
So the separation from Christ is a separation in space, it is the loss of that moving, wonderful contact of humanity as we know it on earth but it is the beginning of a new discovery of Christ, the Christ not only risen but ascended, the Christ who according to today’s Gospel is resplendent with the glory, the shining that belonged to Him before all ages, the shining, the resplendence, the splendour of Divinity. And it is this Christ whom we meet in prayer, whom we discover through and in the Holy Sacraments, to whom we can get united only by a faithfulness in life, it is this Christ of whom Paul speaks when he says, “We no longer know Christ according to the flesh”, we do not touch Him as Thomas did, we do not hear and see Him as Apostles and the women, and all crowds of people did, but we know the Christ of the Spirit, the risen and ascended Christ, who is everywhere where two or three are gathered together, who is everywhere when a lonely soul cries for Him, when a life is being dedicated to Him.
And so we are confronted with this mystery of a separation, which is a victory, a separation, which leads us to a new knowledge, to a new discovery of Christ. His Divinity is no longer veiled for us by His human presence, He is revealed to us as God resplendent not only in His Godhead but also in His humanity. And so it happens also all the time when people meet on a human level and then discover one another in the Holy Spirit, a discovery that makes humanity resplendent with eternity.
Let us rejoice in the Ascension but also let us remember that in a week’s time we will stand here remembering the day of Pentecost, not only remember it as an event of the past but bringing it back by presenting ourselves to the descent of the Holy Spirit as the Apostles offered themselves to Him in the Upper Room nearly 2,000 years ago. But to do this we must be disciples of Christ, we must be His own, we must be faithful to the word of His preaching, we must follow the example which He gave us, we must truly be in the world in which we live an incarnate presence of Christ and the temple of Spirit, a vanguard of the Kingdom.
Let us devote the coming week to preparing ourselves by searching our lives, by rejecting at least in intention and determination all that is unworthy of our calling. Let us prepare ourselves to come open, empty to be filled with the Spirit, so that we truly may be also in an ever-increasing way become the temples of His presence. Amen.
The words of the prayer of Christ are also magnificently realized in the Holy Fathers, the successors to the apostles. Saint Nicolai Velimirovic explains:
“Christ’s prayer [`Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are.’] is not only for the apostles – although it is firstly for them – but is also for all those who have and will come to faith in Christ through their word. This prayer, then, was also for the hoily Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, that we commemorate today. `Keep them!’ – the Lord prayed to His Father. And the Father kept them from the errors of Arius , and inspired, illumined and strengthened them by the Holy Spirit to defend and confirm the Orthodox Faith. This prayer is for all of us who are baptised in the apostolic Church and who have from the apostles and their successors, come to know the saving name of Christ the Saviour.” Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, Homilies, V. 1, on the 6th Sunday after Pascha.
St. Sophrony of Essex
In Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit God gave us the full and final revelation of Himself. His Being now for us is the First Reality, incomparably more evident than all the transient phenomena of this world. We sense His divine presence both within us and without: in the supreme majesty of the universe, in the human face, in the lightning flash of thought. He opens our eyes that we may behold and delight in the beauty of His creation. He fill our souls with love towards all mankind. His indescribably gentle touch pierces our heart. And in the hours when His imperishable Light illumines our heart we know that we shall not die. We know this with a knowledge to prove in the ordinary way, but which for us requires no proof, since the Spirit Himself bears witness within us. “For us, Christians, Jesus Christ is the measure of all things, divine and human. “In Him dwells the fulness of the Godhead” (Col 2:9) and of mankind. He is our most perfect ideal. In Him we find the answer to all our problems, which without Him would be insoluble. He is n truth the mystical axis of the universe. If Christ were not the Son of God, then Salvation through the adoption of man by God the Father would be totally incomprehensible. With Christ man steps forward into divine eternity.
I heard my Most-merciful Creator when, with His most sweet and pure lips, He spoke three words to me, which so sweetened my heart and inflamed it with love for Him, that I melted as warm wax from spiritual warmth… St. Andrew the Fool for Christ
Orthodoxy has its own true and infallible Pope, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the wisdom and power of God, who rules all and everything,… O All-seeing God, strengthen our hearts that we neither be blind leaders not blind followers. Saint Nicholas Velimirovich
St Nicholas Archbishop of Myra and the First Ecumenical Council
Living as Orthodox means self-sacrifice, not for one minute or one day, not for a week, a month or a year, but for a lifetime …. Elder Justin (Pârvu)
If your heart becomes one with Christ’s heart, you feel what He feels. Elder Evmenios Saridakis
Mode pl. 2.
When the angelic powers appeared at Your tomb, the soldiers guarding it feared and became as dead. And standing by the sepulcher was Mary, who was seeking Your immaculate body. Unassailed by Hades, You divested it of spoils. Then You met the Virgin. You granted life. O Lord, risen from the dead, glory to You!
Apolytikion For the Fathers.
Glory. Mode pl. 4.
Supremely blessed are You, O Christ our God. You established the holy Fathers upon the earth as beacons, and through them You have guided us all to the true Faith, O greatly merciful One, glory be to You.
Both now. Apolytikion of the Feast. From Pentecostarion – – –
You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, after You filled the Disciples with joy, by promising to send them the Holy Spirit, and You blessed them and established their faith, that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.
Troparion Blessed Andrew Fool-for-Christ of Constantinople, Tone 4
Thou didst choose foolishness for the sake of Christ/ and didst make the crafty one foolish./ Thou didst persevere with thy struggle in the midst of turmoil,/ and Christ has brought thee to paradise./ Intercede with Him, O Andrew for those who honor thee.
Apolytikion of Saint Helena Manturova of Diveyevo
Tone Plagal of the Fourth Tone
In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother;for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ,and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlookthe flesh,for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal.Wherefore, O righteous Helena, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.
Troparion, tone 1
You shone with the virtues of meekness, humility and reverence, / you appeared to the mysterious head of the Mill community in Deveyevo, / our reverend mother Elena, / even until death, in perfect obedience to the elder Seraphim, you remained, / and you were honored to see the Lord, / ask us boldness to Him alone serve / for the salvation of our souls.
Troparion of St Ignatius of Rostov Tone 4
Thy doctrine was a source of enlightenment;/ thou didst receive a flock as a Hierarch and wast an heir to the Apostles./ Thou didst receive the gift of wonderworking:/ O holy Bishop Ignatius,/ entreat Christ our God to save our souls.
Apolytikion of St Eutyches ― Tone 4
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Eutyches. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Troparion of St Nicetas Tone 4
In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith, / an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; / your humility exalted you; your poverty enriched you. / Hierarch Father Nicetas, / entreat Christ our God that our souls may be saved.
For the Fathers. From Pentecostarion
Mode pl. 2. That woman, who was spurned.
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption; and He shall redeem Israel from all his transgressions.
Who is it, O Savior, that rent Your garment? * “Arius,” You said, who creates divisions, * dividing the Trinity’s equipotent dominion. * He rejected You as being one of the Trinity’s persons. * He teaches Nestorius not to use the term Theotokos. * But the holy Council in Nicea * proclaimed that You are the Son of God and share the throne * with the Father and the Spirit, O Lord.
Mode pl. 2. When the saints deposited.
When the holy Shepherds brought all of their pastoral knowledge * to the Council and they stirred * their most righteous anger now justifiably, * they drove out with the sling of the Holy Spirit * the offensive and corruptive wolves, * and from the complement of the Church of Christ they expelled them all, * as having fallen mortally, and as being ill and incurable. * Thus they demonstrated themselves as loyal servants of the Lord, * and sacred mystics of the divine * and inspired preaching of Christ.