Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
ХристосВоскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
«Rejoice!» «Peace be unto you!»
On May 18 we commemorate the holy Martyrs Peter of Lampsacus, Dionysius, Christina the Virgin, Andrew, Paul, Benedimus, Paulinus, and Heraclius of Athens (c. 249 – 251).
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyrs Theodotus and Tecusa, and the holy seven virgins of Ancyra: Alexandria, Claudia, Phaeina, Euphrasia, Matrona, Julia, and Theodota (304).
On this day we also commemorate the Hosios Stephanos the Chorabyte of Sinai (7th century)
Hieromartyr Felix, Bishop of Spoleto, in Umbria (304)
Martyr Dioscorus, in Cynopolis of Egypt (305)
Hieromartyr Potamon (Palæmon), Bishop of Heraclea in Egypt, and Confessor (340)
Martyr Euphrasia of Nicaea (c. 303)
The Holy clergy and lay martyrs massacred under Emperor Valens (364-378)
Martyrs David and Tarechan, of Georgia (693)
Stephen the New Patriarch of Constantinople (893)
Saint Anastaso (Anastasia) of Leukadion (or Laucation), near the Bithinian sea-shore
Saint Martinian of Areovinthus (Areobindus, Areovinchus), monk of the church of the Theotokos of the Areovinthus quarter, Constantinople
Saint Macarius (Glukharev) of the Altai (1847)
Repose of Blessed Philip, founder of the Gethsemane Caves Skete of St. Sergius Lavra (1869)
Synaxarion From the Pentecostarion
On Wednesday of the fourth week after Pascha of the Paralytic, we celebrate the feast of Mid-Pentecost.
Verse: Standing in the midst of the teachers, Christ the Messiah teacheth at Mid-feast.
Verse: By Thy boundless mercy, O Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen
Hymn of Praise
Christ is wisdom
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
…. Wisdom shown,
And the truth of God enlightened men.
Wisdom is not bitter, the people recognized;
But, to everyone who drinks of it to the bottom, it is sweet,
To everyone who suffered for it, it is dear.
To whomever, in the world, all hope is first extinguished,
Who walks throughout the world as over an old cemetery,
Who thinks about men as about weak slavery,
Who thinks about five earthly dry lands [continents] as about five threshing floors,
Who thinks about five puddles, as about five oceans –
To him, Christ is the measure by which eternity is measured’
Adhere to that measure, confirmed in faith;
Whoever recognizes this measure [Christ] will never abandon it,
For the mysteries of the world, he will find no other;
Every other measure, inspite of exertion
Does not reach to the Alpha nor the Omega,
But is as deceiving as the moon which crawls over the water.
But appears that it reaches to the bottom of the water.
Christ surpasses both ends of the world,
Where the drama ends and where it began.
Of all the mysteries, the greatest mystery is He.
From His Nativity to His Crucifixion on the Cross,
From His Crucifixion on the Cross to His Resurrection –
He is the true measure of all God’s creation.
By Him, measuring sufferings in the midst of worldly rumbling
The saints of God suffered — without pain.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
on love that surpasses knowledge
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
… to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge (Ephesians 3:19).
The love that surpasses knowledge, that exceeds our understanding, is the love of Christ. No one can have even an inkling of the quality or the greatness of this love until Christ enters into him. Can anyone who has never tasted honey have any idea of its taste? Only when Christ enters into the heart of man by faith, does man know the inexpressible taste of the love of Christ-its sweet and intoxicating fragrance and incomparable comprehensiveness.
Just as a man who has Christ in his heart touches the breadth, length, depth and height of the knowledge of divine wisdom, so this man with Christ in his heart also touches the limitless open seas of the divine love of Christ.
O my brethren, how feeble are words when one needs to speak of the love of Christ-words are never weaker than in this situation. Indeed, what can one say before such astounding proofs of His love? He created us out of love, He was incarnate out of love, and out of love He accepted mockery and death for our sake. He opened the heavens for us out of love, and He revealed to us the immortal glory prepared for us! Even all this is only a part of the inexhaustible wealth, glory, beauty and life-creating sustenance that is the love of Christ. Oh, if only we too would be made worthy by faith, so that the Lord Jesus would enter our hearts, and that we would taste of His ineffable love!
O Lord Jesus Christ, our Life, our Wisdom and our Love, cleanse us and enter into us.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
O my brethren, let us open the doors of our souls to the Wisdom of God Incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ!
O Lord Jesus, Wisdom and Power of God, open our souls and abide in them.
Saint Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite
All things around us are droplets of the love of God
The beauties of nature are the little loves that lead us to the great Love that is Christ
Take delight in all things that surround us. All things teach us and lead us to God. All things around us are droplets of the love of God — both things animate and inanimate, the plants and the animals, the birds and the mountains, the sea and the sunset and the starry sky. They are little loves through which we attain to the great Love that is Christ. Flowers, for example, have their own grace: they teach us with their fragrance and with their magnificence. They speak to us of the love of God. They scatter their fragrance and their beauty on sinners and on the righteous.
For a person to become a Christian he must have a poetic soul. He must become a poet. Poetic hearts embrace love and sense it deeply.
Make the most of beautiful moments. Beautiful moments predispose the soul to prayer; they make it refined, noble and poetic. Wake up in the morning to see the sun rising from out of the sea as a king robed in regal purple. When a lovely landscape, a picturesque chapel, or something beautiful inspires you, don’t leave things at that, but go beyond this to give glory for all beautiful things so that you experience Him who alone is comely in beauty. All things are holy — the sea, swimming and eating. Take delight in them all. All things enrich us, all lead us to the great Love, all lead us to Christ.
St. Nicholai Velimirovich
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (Jn. 7:38).
…Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Living water here means the Holy Spirit, as the Evangelist himself explains: He spake here of the Spirit. Thus, the Holy Spirit comes to abide in the one who believes in the Son of God, and spiritual, life-bearing rivers shall flow from his belly. But why from his belly? Because the body of a saint in this life is the habitation of the Holy Spirit, as the apostle says: What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Cor. 6:19). This is what the Apostle Paul said to the faithful, upon whom the Holy Spirit had already descended through their faith in the Son of God. In a narrower sense, the belly is understood to be the human heart, as the concentration of life both physical and spiritual. The same Apostle Paul says: God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts (Gal. 4:6).Thus, from the heart as from the main lamp of the Holy Spirit pour spiritual, life-bearing streams throughout the entire person, both bodily and spiritually. The consequence of this will be that the body of a person with faith will become an instrument of the human spirit, and the human spirit will become an instrument of the Holy Spirit. The whole person will be purified, illumined, confirmed, and made deathless by the streams of God the Spirit, so that all of his thoughts, all his love, and all his activities will be aimed at eternal life. The streams of his life will pour into eternity, and the streams of eternity will pour into his life.
Venerable Stephen the Chorabyte of Sinai
On mourning which causes joy. Step 7
by St. John Climacus
50. There lived here a certain Stephen who had embraced an eremitic and solitary life, and had spent many years in the monastic training. His soul was especially adorned with tears and fasting, and was bedecked with other good achievements. He had a cell on the slope of this holy mountain where the holy prophet and seer Elijah once lived.
But later this famous man resolved upon a more effective, austere and stricter repentance, and went to a place of hermits called Siddim. There he spent several years in a life of great austerity. This place was bereft of every comfort, and was almost untrodden by the foot of man, being about seventy miles from the fort.1 Towards the end of his life the elder returned to his cell on the holy mountain where he had two extremely pious disciples from Palestine who took care of the elder’s cell.
Having passed a few days there he fell into the illness from which he died. On the day before his death, he went into ecstasy of mind and with open eyes he looked to the right and left of his bed and, as if he were being called to account by someone, in the hearing of all the bystanders he said: ‘Yes indeed, that is true; but that is why I fasted for so many years.’ And then again: ‘Yes, it is quite true; but I wept and served the brethren.’ And again: ‘No, you are slandering me.’ And sometimes he would say: ‘Yes, it is true. Yes, I do not know what to say to this. But in God there is mercy.’
And it was truly an awful and horrible sight—this in visible and merciless inquisition. And what was most terrible, he was accused of what he had not done. How amazing! Of several of his sins the hesychast and hermit said: ‘I do not know what to say to this,’ although he had been a monk for nearly forty years and had the gift of tears. Alas, alas! Where was then the voice of Ezekiel to say to the tormentor: ‘As I find you, I will judge you, says God.’2 Truly he could not say anything of the sort. Why? Glory to Him who alone knows! And some, as before the Lord, told me that he even fed a leopard from his hand3 in the desert. And while being thus called to account he was parted from his body, leaving us in uncertainty as to his judgment, or end, or sentence, or how the trial ended.
This is the seventh step. May he who has been found worthy of it help me too; for he himself has already been helped, since through this seventh step he has washed away the stains of this world.
1 See above, p. 37, note 143.
2 Cf. Ezekiel xxxiii, 13—20. This ‘unwritten saying’ of Christ is recorded by St. Justin (Dial. 47).
3 Another reading is: ‘reared a leopard by hand’.
The Ladder of Divine Ascent, St. John Climacus, Step,Translated by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore (Harper & Brothers, 1959)
Vespers readings: Micah 4:2-3, 5; 6:1-5, 8; 5:4; Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-13; Proverbs 9:1-11.
Epistle: Acts 14:6-18.
Liturgy: John 7:14-30.
Mid-Pentecost – My brethren, let us open the doors of our souls to the Wisdom of God Incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ! Lord Jesus, Wisdom and Power of God, open our souls and abide in them. St. Nicholai Velimirovich
Mid-Pentecost, But you seek to kill Me because My word has no place in you (St. John 8:37) St Nikolai Velimirovich
The Dismissal Troparion, Tone VIII:
At Mid-feast give Thou my thirsty soul to drink of the waters of piety; * for Thou, O Savior, didst cry out to all: * Whosoever is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. ** Wherefore, O Well-spring of life, Christ our God, glory be to Thee.
Troparion of St Stephen the Chorabyte of Sina, Tone 8
With the streams of thy tears thou didst irrigate the barren desert,/ and with sighs from the depths of thy soul thou didst render thy labors fruitful an hundredfold./ Thou wast a beacon for the whole world, radiating miracles.// O our father Stephen, entreat Christ God that our souls be saved.
Verse: O praise the Lord, all ye nations; * praise Him, all ye peoples.
The bountiful pouring forth of the Spirit upon all, * is now at hand as the Scripture saith. * This is proclaimed by the mid-point of the blessed season * after Christ death, burial and arising, * when He gave unto His disciples * His unfailing and true promise, ** which revealed most clearly the coming of the Comforter.
Exapostilarion, Tone III:
O Thou that hast the never-emptying wine-bowl of gifts, * vouchsafe that I may draw water unto remission of my sins. * For with great thirst am I taken, ** O Thou only lovingly compassionate One. (Twice)