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Iconography and Hand painted icons


What does it mean to take up your cross? I means the willing acceptance, at the hand of Providence, of every means of healing, bitter though it may be, that is offered… Protect yourself with the power of the Holy and Life-giving Cross. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič – St. Matrona of Moscow

Σταυρός_Крест Иисуса Христа_Cross of Jesus Christ-Orthodox Icons_crux_gemmata_ravenna460Afterfeast of the Exaltation of the Cross
Great-martyr Nicetas the Goth (372).
“Novoniketas” Icon of the Mother of God, carried by St Nicetas the Goth (372).
Martyr Porphyrius the Mime of Caesaria (361).
St. Joseph, abbot, of Alaverdi in Georgia (570)
St. Philotheus the Presbyter and Wonderworker, in Asia Minor (10th c.)
Saint Nicetas, disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh and founder of the Theophany Monastery in Kostroma (15th century)
New Martyr John of Crete, at New Ephesus (1811)
Virgin-martyr Eudokia Tkachenko (1918)

Commemorated on September 15

“What does it mean to take up your cross? I means the willing acceptance, at the hand of Providence, of every means of healing, bitter though it may be, that is offered. Do great catastrophies fall on you? Be obedient to God’s will, as Noah was. Is sacrifice demanded of you? Give yourself into God’s hands with the same faith as Abram had when he went to sacrifice his son. Is your property ruined? Do your children die suddenly? Suffer it all with patience, cleaving to God in your heart, as Job did. Do your friends forsake you, and you find yourself surrounded by enemies? Bear it all without grumbling, and with faith that God’s help is at hand, as the apostles did.”
St. Nikolai Velimirovich, “The Great Fast – Third Sunday: Of the Holy Cross,” Homilies Vol. 1

***

Hymn of Praise
the Honorable Cross
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Σταυρός_Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_σχέδιο-028Covered with blood, the saving Cross,
As though in a grave, for a long time, covered with darkness!
For three days in darkness, from you [the Cross] a Hero [Christ] dwelled,
And you [the Cross], three hundred years, under the ground lay.
When, from Hades the forefathers He liberated, the Lord arose,
And, when freedom for the Church reigned, You [the Cross] arose.
After that, the Lord, for a little while, remained on earth
And to the faithful, you [the Cross] for sometime, still shown,
Until you [the Cross] adequately helped them to strengthen the Faith,
Until with the sign of the Cross, everyone learned to sign themselves,
Until, by their conscience, the baptized recognized the power of the Cross –
With this, you [the Cross] completed your service with honor,
A thousand seasons if they come and pass, but still,
Your image, your power will not perish.
The faithful, before the Honorable Cross, pray to Christ the God,
Heal all difficulties, heal all pains by the Honorable Cross.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/February21.htm

***

In 1925 they asked St. Matrona of Moscow:
“Why did God allow them to close and raze so many Churches in Russia?”
And she answered with the following words:
“This was the will of God. The people are hypnotized, and a terrible demonic power has been put into action. It is in the air, and penetrates everything.
In olden times, this demonic power dwelt in the marshes and the dense forest, because people would go to church regularly, and wore and honored the Cross. Their homes were protected by holy icons, the vigil lamps that were burning, the holy water services which they did…
The demons were sent far away and feared to approach…
Today, however, these homes and these very people have become dwelling places of demons because of their faithlessness and by their distancing themselves from Christ.”

Matushka taught people to leave their lives to God’s will, to live with prayer, to cross oneself and everything around to protect oneself from evil. She advised to have Holy Communion often. “Protect yourselves with the sign of the cross, prayer, holy water, frequent Communion…Light lamps before the icons.”

“When the enemy approaches you, you should pray. Cross yourself as frequently as possible! The cross is like a lock on the door“. Protect yourself with the power of the Holy and Life-giving Cross.”
Difficult times are our lot, but we Christians must choose the Cross. Christ has placed us on His sleigh, and he will take us where He will.”

***

The Holy Presbyter and Wonderworker Philotheus

The Holy Presbyter and Wonderworker Philotheios lived in the X Century in the village of Mrauino (or Murav’evo) located in Bythnia in Asia Minor. He was married and had children. Philotheios accepted the dignity of priesthood and from that time he devoted himself to deeds of prayer and fasting, and works of charity. Because of his holy life the Monk Philotheios received from God the gift of wonderworking. The ascetic continually fed the hungry and helped the needy. The Monk Philotheios died peacefully. From his relics flowed myrh.

The Novonikita Icon

Novonikita Icon_novonikita_32876349856381The Novonikita Icon – is one of the ancient icons of the Mother of God. It appeared to the holy GreatMartyr Nikita (+ 372). The Martyr Nikita was a former soldier and student of Theophilus, Bishop of the Goths. Prior to accepting Baptism from him, Nikita in a dream saw a Child, holding in hand His Cross. Awakening, he for a long time pondered over the meaning of the vision. A certain Christian girl, by the name of Juliania, on an inspiration from God told the youth that he should turn his glance upon his own chest. To his unspeakable astonishment he discovered there on his own chest an image of the MostHoly Mother of God with the Praeternal Christ-Child, standing on the knees of His Mother and holding in hand the Cross. “This is the same image I saw in the dream”, — cried out Saint Nikita. The appearance of the icon produced such an effect on him, that he quickly took holy Baptism. Soon there began a persecution against Christians, and Saint Nikita accepted the martyr’s crown amidst a number of other confessors.

Give yourself into God’s hands with the same faith as Abram had when he went to sacrifice his son.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/32126/

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:32-49) That God may forgive us, let us forgive men, We are all on this earth as temporary guests.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/09/14/51354/

Troparion of the Cross, in Tone I—

O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory to Orthodox Christians over their adversaries. And by Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.

troparion of the Theotokos, in Tone IV—

To thee, the Theotokos, we, the sinful and lowly, now earnestly have recourse; and we fall down in repentance, crying out from the depths of our heart: O Mistress, take pity and have mercy upon us! Haste thou, for we are perishing in the multitude of our transgressions! Turn not thy servants empty away, for thee do we have as our only hope!

Troparion Saint Philotheus the Presbyter in Asia Minor – Tone 1

O pure and holy Philotheus, you were a lover of God, And now glorified by the Holy Spirit, You work miracles to save from harm all who cry to you: Glory to him who has glorified you; Glory to him who has made you wonderful; Glory to him who through you works healings for all!

Kontakion – Tone 2

You ended your life in righteousness And were a lover of God. O holy Philotheus, having received power to work wonders, Pray unceasingly for us all!

Troparion, in Tone IV—

Taking up the Cross of Christ ardently, as it were a sword, thou didst make haste to do battle with the enemy, and, having later suffered by fire for Christ, thou didst commit thy sacred soul to the Lord, and hence thou hast been vouchsafed to receive from Him gifts of healing, O greatmartyr Nicetas. Entreat Christ God that our souls be saved.


My spirit required eternal life, and eternity. Lord, strengthen the faith in us and have mercy on us. St. Sophrony the Anthonite

αποκαθήλωση_Положение во Гроб_Jesus Christ Crucifixion_Byzantine-Orthodox-Icon_144567659Forefeast of the Procession of the Precious and Life-giving Cross of the Lord.
Righteous Joseph of Arimathea who buried the Master Christ (1st century).
Virgin Martyresses Sisters aged 14 MAXIMA and very young DONATILLA & aged 12 SECUNDA (Septima) in Tebourba (or Tuburbo) in North Africa (303)
St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre in Gaul (448).
Righteous Eudocimus of Cappadocia, Military Commander of Cappadocia (9th century)
Translation of the Relics of Apostle Philip to Cyprus.
Saint Arsenius, Bishop of Ninotsminda in Georgia (1082)
Repose of Elder Gerasim the Younger of Kaluga’s St. Sergius Skete (1918).

Commemorated on July 31

Homily:
About Joseph of Arimathea
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

At that time Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the Kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. There was another great man who had come from Arimathea, or Ramathain, on Mount Ephrem: the Prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:1 ).
This Joseph is mentioned by all four Evangelists, specifically in connection with the dead Lord’s burial. John calls him a disciple of Jesus secretly (19:38); Luke – a good man and a just (23:50), Matthew – a rich man (27:57). (The Evangelist does not call Joseph rich from vanity, to show that the Lord had rich men among His disciples, “but in order to show how it was that he was able to get Jesus’ body from Pilate. To a poor and unknown man, it would not have been possible to penetrate to Pilate, the representative of Roman power.”- Jerome: “Commentary on Matthew“.) He was noble in soul: he feared God and waited for the Kingdom of God. In addition to his outstanding spiritual traits, Joseph was also a rich man of good standing. Mark and Luke call him a counsellor. He was, then, one of the elders of the people, like Nicodemus. Also, like Nicodemus, he was a secret admirer and disciple of the Lord Jesus. But, even though these two men were secret followers of Christ’s teaching, they were nevertheless ready to lay themselves open to danger by standing together with Christ. Nicodemus once asked the embittered Jewish leaders to their faces, when they were seeking an excuse to kill Christ: “Doth our law judge any man before it hear him?” (John 7:51). Joseph of Arimathea laid himself open to even greater danger by taking thought for the Lord’s body when His known disciples had fled and dispersed, and when the Jewish wolves, having killed the Shepherd, could at any moment fall on the sheep. That what Joseph was doing was dangerous is indicated by the Evangelist by the word “boldly”. He needed, then, more than courage; he needed daring to go to Caesar’s representative and ask for the body of a crucified felon. But Joseph, as Nicephorus says, “in his greatness of soul, threw off his fear and shook off all subservience, showing himself to be a disciple of Jesus Christ”.
+ St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Homilies: Commentary on the Gospel Readings for Great Feasts and Sundays Throughout the Year, Volume 1, “22. The Second Sunday After Easter: The Gospel on the Myrhh-Bearing Women”

***

Homily:
About the trial of our faith
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearance of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).

Ιωσήφ της Αριμαθαίας_St Joseph of Arimathea_ Иосиф Аримафейский__Saint-Joseph-of-Arimathea-cf83cf89cebcceb1-cf84cebfcf85-cf87cf81ceb9CX4K2833Brethren, our faith is tried more often than is the reed rocked by the winds. Trials are like the winds: a weak faith they will uproot and a strong faith will be strengthened even more. Trials are also like the flame in which straw is burned and gold is purified.

Man’s intellectual pursuits and suppositions also try our faith. These are very strong and bitter winds. But we can overcome them if we are willing to adhere to the words of God and if, in opposition to those intellectual pursuits, we are able to emphasize the teachings of the Faith of Christ.

Our faith is further tried by fear and shame: fear of men who persecute the Faith and shame of men who arrogantly despise the Faith. These also are strong winds which we must resist if we wish to remain alive. How will we resist them? By the fear of God which should always be greater in our soul than the fear of men and of shame before the apostles, saints and martyrs who were not ashamed of their faith before emperors, princes and sages of this world.

Our faith is further tried by suffering and misery. This is the fire in which our faith either has to be burned like straw or to be tempered as pure gold. We will resist these trials if we would but remember Christ crucified on the Cross for us and so many thousands of martyrs for the Faith who, in their patience, conquered all and emerged from the flames as gold and who for centuries glow among the angels and among men.

Our faith is also tried by death, the death of our relatives and friends and the death of mankind in general. This is the bitter fire in which the faith of many have been burned. Is death the end of everything? It is not, but rather believe that it is the beginning of everything; it is the beginning of a new and just life. Believe in the Resurrection of Christ, believe in life beyond the grave and believe in the general resurrection and the Dreadful Judgment.

O Good Lord, strengthen the faith in us and have mercy on us.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.com/2010/04/prologue-july-2-july-15.html

***

St. Sophrony the Anthonite

Ιωσήφ Αριμαθαίας_St Joseph of Arimathea_Иосиф Аримафейский__Saint-Joseph-of-Arimathea-CX4K2833“No one on this earth can avoid affliction; and although the afflictions which the Lord sends are not great men imagine them beyond their strength and are crushed by them. This is because they will not humble their souls and commit themselves to the will of God. But the Lord Himself guides with His grace those who are given over to God’s will, and they bear all things with fortitude for the sake of God Whom they have so loved and with Whom they are glorified for ever. It is impossible to escape tribulation in this world but the man who is given over to the will of God bears tribulation easily, seeing it but putting his trust in the Lord, and so his tribulations pass.”

My profound conviction is that if you—this goes for everybody—do not live through these ordeals[:] poverty, humiliations, perhaps even hunger, utter abandonment by everybody—by men and even by God too . . . you will never know divine love.” 

“The heart that is not broken by the wounds of tribulations and has not been humbled unto the end by every form of poverty, both spiritual and material, will never be fitted to receive divine grace.”

Everything subject to decay lost its value for me. When I looked at people, without thinking further I saw them in the power of death, dying, and my heart was flooded with fellow-suffering. I wanted neither fame from those ‘dead mortals’ nor power over them. I did not look to people to like me. I despised material wealth and did not think much of intellectual assets which afforded no answer to what I was seeking. Had I been offered centuries of happy life, I would have refused them. My spirit required eternal life, and eternity.

“It is vital to have experienced, if only once, the heavenly fire which Christ brought with Him to know with our entire being what it is to be even a little like Christ.”

“Essentially speaking, it is impossible to ‘live’ as a Christian. It is only possible to ‘die’ as a Christian, a thousand deaths every day.”

“[The soul] cannot come down from the cross because every time she considers ‘coming down’ [cf. Matt. 27:40] from this cross the flow of real eternity decreases in her.”

No one descends from the Cross, but they take him down” Christ to Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)

St Germanus the Bishop of Auxerre discerned a special divine purpose for St. Geneviève of Paris
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2016/07/30/st-germanus-the-bishop-of-auxerre-discerned-a-special-divine-purpose-for-st-genevieve-of-paris/

Troparion of the Forefeast, Tone 1.

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant Thou unto Orthodox Christians victories over adversaries, and by Thy Cross preserve Thy people.

Troparion of St JOSEPH ― Tone 2

Noble Joseph took Thine immaculate Body down from the tree,/ wrapped It in a clean shroud and spices,/ and having embalmed It, laid It in a new sepulcher./ But on the third day Thou didst rise, O Lord,/ granting the world great mercy.

Apolytikion of St JOSEPH ― Tone 2

The noble Joseph, taking down thy most pure Body from the Tree, wrapped it in clean linen and sweet spices and laid it in a new tomb. But on the third day thou didst rise, O Lord, granting the world great mercy.

Apolytikion of St JOSEPH ― Plagal Tone 1

Let us honor the man that gave burial to God and showed compassion to Him by Whose mercy all things exist, Christ the Angel of Great Counsel’s Noble Counselor, who gave his narrow grave to Christ and received as recompense the vast spaciousness of Heaven, where he entreateth the Savior to show His mercy to those praising him.

Apolytikion of St GERMANUS ― Plagal Tone 4

By endurance you gained your reward, venerable Father, you persevered in prayer unceasingly, you loved the poor and provided for them in all things. Blessed Germanus of Auxerre, intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Troparion of St Eudocimus, Tone 4.

He who did call thee from earth unto heaven keepeth thy body unharmed after death, holy Eudocimus; for thou didst live a sober and holy life and didst not defile thy flesh; so with boldness intercede with Christ that we may be saved.

Kontakion of the Forefeast, Tone 4.

O Thou Who was raised up on the Cross of Thine own will, do Thou bestow Thy bounties now upon Thy people which is named after Thee, O Christ our God. Gladden Orthodox Christians with Thy power, granting them victories over their adversaries; for they have for their aid Thy weapon, the invincible trophy of peace.

Kontakion of St JOSEPH ― Tone 2

Joseph of Arimathea took Thee, the Life of all, down from the Tree as one dead,/ and wrapped Thee in clean linen and spices./ He yearned to embrace and kiss Thy pure Body with heart and lips/ yet he restrained himself with fear./ He cried to Thee rejoicing:/ Glory to Thy condescension, O Lover of Mankind.


Brethren, how petty are those Christians who recognize the Lord as resurrected, as the Victor but, nevertheless, retain in their hearts doubt and buries their lives in eternal darkness. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Σταύρωσις_The Crucifixion_Greek-Byzantine-Orthodox-Icon_Распятие_ИИСУСА_ХРИСТА20707738_decani2

In 1925 they asked St. Matrona of Moscow:
“Why did God allow them to close and raze so many Churches in Russia?”
And she answered with the following words:
“This was the will of God. The people are hypnotized, and a terrible demonic power has been put into action. It is in the air, and penetrates everything.
In olden times, this demonic power dwelt in the marshes and the dense forest, because people would go to church regularly, and wore and honored the Cross. Their homes were protected by holy icons, the vigil lamps that were burning, the holy water services which they did…
The demons were sent far away and feared to approach…
Today, however, these homes and these very people have become dwelling places of demons because of their faithlessness and by their distancing themselves from Christ.”

***

Homily:
About recognizing the Son of Man among the common darkness
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

” Truly, this was the Son of God” (St. Matthew 27:54).

Σταυρός_ Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_72892These words were spoken by the captain who carried out his duties conscientiously as a soldier. Under orders of his superiors, he had to guard the body of Christ on Golgotha. Externally, like a machine, but internally, a soul wide awake.

He, a Roman soldier, a pagan, and an idolater, saw all that had occurred at the time of the death of Christ the Lord, and cried out: “Truly, this was the Son of God.” Not knowing about the One God and not knowing the Law and the Prophets, he immediately comprehended that which the priests of the One God and authorities of the Law and the Prophets were unable to comprehend! On this occasion, the word of God came true. “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see, might see, and those who do see, might become blind” (St. John 9:39). Truly, he who was blind in the spirit saw and those who thought they could see were completely blinded.

Was it not possible that the elders of the Jews did not see the darkened sun, did not feel the earthquake, did not notice how the rocks were split, did not see that the veil in the Temple was rent, did not recognize many of the saints who came out from opened graves and appeared in Jerusalem?

They saw all of this and all of them accurately witnessed all of this. Nevertheless, their spirits remained blind and their hearts, stony. All of these manifestations, the awesome and the unusual, they probably interpreted as the unbelieving would do today – accidents and illusions. The pagans of all times interpret everything as accidents or self-deceptions whenever the finger of God appears to reprimand men, to direct or to inform them.

The Roman captain Longinus, which was the soldier’s name, saw all that occurred without prejudice and beneath the cross confessed his faith in the Son of God. His exclamation was not wrested accidentally from his frightened heart. But that was his confession of faith, for which he later on laid down his life to embrace a better life in the Kingdom of Christ.

O brethren, how great is this Roman captain, who upon seeing the lifeless Lord between thieves crucified on the dunghill of Golgotha, recognized Him as God and confessed Him as God. O brethren, how petty are those Christians who recognize the Lord as resurrected, as Glorified, as the Victor and the Victor-bearer through thousands of His saints but, nevertheless, retain in their hearts doubt like a poisonous serpent who poisons them every day and buries their lives in eternal darkness.

O crucified and resurrected Lord, have mercy on us and save us!

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/March30.htm

Apolytikion of the Holy Cross – First Tone

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victories to the to the Emperor over the barbarians; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy habitation.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone (amateur translation)

Unassailable eighth pillar of Russia, who was blind from birth, we reverently praise Matrona the ever-memorable, as a treasury of divine gifts and fervent love towards all those in danger, crying out scatter the darkness of our passions with the light of Your grace.

The Cross is the guardian of the whole world; the Cross is the beauty of the Church, the Cross is the might of kings; the Cross is the confirmation of the faithful, the Cross is the glory of angels and the wounding of demons.” (Exapostilarion of the Exaltation of the Cross)


In solidarity with all mankind Christ taking upon Himself all the suffering of the world, accepting to die an impossible death has said in the name of all the sufferers, ‘Yes, – we forgive!’ Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh

Σταύρωσις_The Crucifixion_Greek-Byzantine-Orthodox-Icon_Распятие_ИИСУСА_ХРИСТА_ (1)

Third Sunday of Great Lent
Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross

Verse
L
et all the earth venerate the Cross,
through which it has learned to worship Thee, the Word.

Sunday of the Holy Cross
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
18 March 1990

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

As we progress deeper and deeper into the weeks of Lent, we can say with an ever-growing sense of gratitude and of joy, of a serene and exulting joy the words of a Psalm, ‘My soul shall live, and with gratitude I will give glory to the Lord’.

In the first week of Lent we have seen all the promises of salvation given in the Old Testament fulfilled: God became man, salvation has come, and all hopes are possible. And then, in the second week of Lent, we had the glorious proclamation of all the Saints of Christendom that not only did God come and dwell in our midst, but He has poured out upon us, into the Church, and into every human soul ready to receive Him the presence, the transforming gift of the Holy Spirit that makes us gradually commune ever deeper to the Living God until one day we become partakers of the Divine nature.

And today, if we ask ourselves, ‘But how that? How can we be forgiven, how can evil be undone?’ – one step brings us deeper into gratitude, deeper into joy, deeper into certainty when we consider, when we contemplate the Cross.

There is a passage of the Gospel in which we are told that when Christ spoke of salvation and of its conditions, Peter said to Him, ‘Who then can be saved?’ – and Christ answered, ‘What is not possible to men is possible for God!’. And He Himself came; the fullness of God abided in a human person, and He has power to forgive because He is the victim of all the evil, all the cruelty, all the destructiveness of human history. Because indeed, no one but the victim can forgive those who have brought evil, suffering, misery, corruption and death into their lives. And Christ does not only forgive His own murderers, when He says, ‘Father, forgive – they don’t know what they are doing’: He goes beyond this, because He had said, ‘Whatever you have done to one of My smaller brethren and sisters, you have done it to Me’ – not only in good, but indeed, the worst: because in compassion, in solidarity He identifies with every sufferer: the death, the pain, the agony of each of those who suffer is His. And so, when He prays, ‘Father, forgive! They do not know what they are doing, what they have been doing’, He prays for each of us not only in His own name, but in the name of all those upon whom evil has visited because of human sin.

But it is not only Christ who forgives; everyone who has suffered in soul, in body, in spirit, – everyone is called to grant freedom to those who have made him suffer.

And so, we can see why Christ says, ‘Forgive so that you may be forgiven’ because both the victim and the culprit are tied in one knot of solidarity and reciprocal responsibility. Only the victim can say, ‘Lord – forgive him, forgive her’, and only then can the Lord say, ‘I do!’.

But do you realise what responsibility it puts on each of us with regard to all and everyone? But also the depth, the glorious depth of hope which opens up to us when we look at the Cross and see that in solidarity with all mankind Christ taking upon Himself all the suffering of the world, accepting to die an impossible death has said in the name of all the sufferers, ‘Yes, – we forgive!’

This is one more step towards freedom, this is one more step towards the moment when we will be faced with Christ’s resurrection that engulfs us also because the risen Christ is risen and is offering all and each of us the fullness of eternal life.

And so again, and again we can say that Lent is a spring of a new life, a new time, a time of renewal, not only in repentance, but in being taken by Christ Himself as the shepherd took the lost sheep, as the Lord took up His Cross, brought it to the place of death, and undid death, undid evil by forgiveness and giving His life. Once more we are confronted with another step of our freedom and of newness. Let us enter ever deeper into this mystery, into this wonder of salvation, and rejoice in the Lord, and rejoicing, step after step, more and more, let us also express our gratitude by newness of life. Amen!
http://www.mitras.ru/eng/eng_36.htm

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:32-49) That God may forgive us, let us forgive men, We are all on this earth as temporary guests.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/09/14/51354/

The power of the Cross. Honesty is the most precious Holy Cross. Saint Niphon of Constantiane – Saint Paisios of Mount Athos
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/09/13/the-power-of-the-cross-honesty-is-the-most-precious-holy-cross-saint-niphon-of-constantiane-saint-paisios-of-mount-athos/

Apolytikion of the Holy Cross – First Tone

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victories to the to the Emperor over the barbarians; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy habitation.

Tone 5 – Hail of ascetics

Shine, Cross of the Lord, with the bright darting rays of your grace on the hearts of those who honour you, and with love inspired by God, embrace you, O desire of all the world. Through you our tears of sorrow have been wiped away; we have been delivered from the snares of death and have passed over to unending joy. Show us the splendour of your beauty, granting to us your servants the reward of our abstinence, for we entreat with faith your rich protection and great mercy.

Hail, life-giving Cross! the fair Paradise of the Church, Tree of incorruption that blossoms for us with the enjoyment of eternal glory. Through you the hosts of demons are driven back, the companies of the Angels rejoice with one accord and the congregations of the faithful keep the feast. You are an invincible weapon, an unbroken stronghold; you are the victory of kings and the glory of priests. Grant us also now to draw near to the Passion of Christ and to His Resurrection.

Hail, life-giving Cross! unconquerable trophy of the true faith, door to Paradise, succour of the faithful, rampart set about the Church. Through you the curse has utterly destroyed, the power of death swallowed up, and we are raised from earth to heaven: invincible weapon, adversary of demons, glory of martyrs, true ornament of holy monks, haven of salvation bestowing on the world great mercy.

Plagal of Second Tone

O CROSS of Christ, thou hope of Christians, guide of them that are gone-astray, haven of the storm-tossed, victory in war, surety of the whole world, physician of the sick, and resurrection of the dead: Have mercy on us.

Exapostilarion of the Exaltation of the Cross

“The Cross is the guardian of the whole world; the Cross is the beauty of the Church, the Cross is the might of kings; the Cross is the confirmation of the faithful, the Cross is the glory of angels and the wounding of demons.”

Through the power of Thy Cross, O Christ our God,
preserve us also from the temptations of the Evil One.
And make us worthy to venerate
Thy divine Passion and life-bearing Resurrection,
having radiantly traversed the great length of the Fast,
and have mercy on us, as Thou art good
and lovest mankind.
Amen.


God does not look into the vessel of the flesh But at the flower which grows in it. Saints Chrysanthus and Daria by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Σταυρός_Крест Иисуса Христа_Cross of Jesus Christ-Orthodox Icons_crux_gemmata_ravenna460Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria, and those with them in Rome (283)
Martyr Pancharius at Nicomedia (302)
Saint Leontius of Saintes, Bishop of Saintes (640)
Saints Landoald and Amantius, a priest and deacon who helped enlighten what is now Belgium and north-eastern France, founded the church at Wintershoven (c. 668) Saint Adrian, disciple of St Landoald, Maastricht in the Netherlands (c. 668)
Venerable Innocent of Komel the Wonderworker, in Vologda (1521), disciple of St. Nilus of Sora
Saint Sophia of Slutsk and Minsk, descendant of the Sovereigns of the Kyivan-Rus’ (1612)
Saint John Blinov, Confessor (1932) and New Martyr Matrona Alexeeva (1938)
Smolensk “Umileniye” (“Tender Feeling”) Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Icon of the Mother of God of Lubyatov (15th century)

Commemorated on March 19

Hymn of Praise
The Holy Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Saint Chrysanthus counsels Daria,
O virgin, forsake the lie
And do not venerate the idols as gods;
Neither seek, you, truth from the world.
The truth is in the One God,
The One Triune God
Who created the heavenly armies
Of angels and heavenly powers;
Who created the whole universe,
And of the universe, man, the crown.
The only One, immortal and living,
He, out of the earth, creates wrappings
And the clothing of spiritual wealth.
Our soul is spiritual wealth
Wrapped up in the dust of the body.
The soul should be tenderly nurtured
As a bride to make ready for Christ.
Forsake, O virgin, the bodily,
It leads to suffering and sorrow.
God does not look into the vessel of the flesh
But at the flower which grows in it.
O virgin, clothed in death
Today, tomorrow consumed by death:
Adorn your soul with the flower of virtues,
Sow the flower with faith in the Lord,
Enclose it with hope and love,
Water it with the Life-creating Spirit,
Weed it of the weeds of sins,
Let grow the flower of virtues,
Let grow the flower of piety,
Let grow the flower of charity,
Let grow the flower of repentance,
Let grow the flower of patience,
Let grow the flower of abstinence,
Let grow the flower of obedience.
As a hymn of Paradise, your soul is,
Let it smell like a garden in May.
And may God to dwell therein,
For which He created it.
Daria listened to Chrysanthus,
Her soul to Christ she wedded,
Her body to torture she submitted
With Chrysanthus, her spiritual brother.
And God transplanted them to Paradise,
With them, adorned the garden of Paradise.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-march-19-april-1.htmlΧρύσανθος και Δαρεία_Saints Chrysanthus and Daria of Rome_Хрисанф и Дария Римские_Chrysanthus_and_Daria_of_Rome

HOMILY
About the sign of the Son of Man
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens” (St. Matthew 24:30).

What kind of sign will the sign of the Son of Man be, which once had been shown briefly? That is the cross, more brighter than the sun, which manifested itself over Jerusalem before the coming of an earlier personification of the Antichrist by the name of Julian the Apostate. And in lieu of every homily concerning this miraculous sign, it is worthwhile to quote here the letter of St. Cyril of Jerusalem written to Emperor Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great and predecessor of Julian the Apostate.

Σταυρός_ Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_S48287 (1)A portion of his letter reads, “For in these very days of the holy feast of Pentecost on the Nones of May, about the third hour, a gigantic cross formed of light appeared in the sky above holy Golgotha stretching out as far as the holy Mount of Olives. It was not seen by just one or two but was most clearly displayed before the whole population of the city. Nor did it, as one might have supposed, pass away quickly like something imagined but was visible to sight above the earth for some hours, while it sparkled with a light above the sun’s rays. Of a surety, it would have been overcome and hidden by them, had it not exhibited to those who saw it a brilliance more powerful than the sun, so that the whole population of the city made a sudden concerted rush into the Martyry, [the church] seized by a fear that mingled with joy at the heavenly vision. They poured in, young and old, men and women of every age, not only Christians but pagans from elsewhere sojourning in Jerusalem, all of them as with one mouth raised a hymn of praise to the worker of wonders, Christ Jesus our Lord, the Only-begotten Son of God and indeed attested to through experience, came to discern that the honorable [pious] Christian teaching is to be found not only in “persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power” (I Corinthians 2:4), and not only preached by man but, witnessed by God from Heaven. “Announced originally through the Lord, it was confirmed for us by those who had heard. God added His testimony by signs, wonders, and various acts of power” (Hebrews 2:3-4). We consider it our obligation not to remain silent about this Heavenly vision, but through this letter, hasten to inform Your God-glorified and Pious One.”

O my brethren, everything is possible with God: both, to reveal the created to man and to create the uncreated. But most importantly for us is that He wants to redeem our souls from sin and death and to give us life eternal. Let us pray to Him for this day and night.

O Lord Almighty, To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/March19.htm

Tone IV:
Spec. Mel.: “Called from on high …”:

From on high there hath appeared * the rod of divine power, * the Cross sent to us in Sion, * wholly illumined by grace * and boundless light. * The heavenly Cross of our crucified God * hath shone forth * above glorious Golgotha, * proclaiming to all * that salvation hath come to the world through His sufferings. * And bowing down before it * we chant unceasingly * and ask with faith * that He grant peace to the world * and save our souls.

Tone IV: Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast given a sign …”:

Having received the effulgence * of the knowledge of God, * thou didst illumine thy heart, O most wise father, * expelling the gloom of the mind’s deception, * and didst confess Christ, * the Lord of all Who assumed our flesh. * Hence, O all-praised Chrysanthus, * made strong by the power of the Spirit, ** thou wast shown to be stronger than thy tortures.

Thou didst reckon the deceits of the enemy * and the burning of pleasures to be like a spider’s web. * And standing in thy gloomy dungeon * thou wast illumined with divine effulgence * and wast filled with noetic fragrance * while surrounded by the fetid stench; * and as a most excellent escort * thou didst bring to Christ as an undefiled bride ** the woman who sought to defile thee.

Wounded by the most sweet love of the Creator, * thou didst utterly spurn all ungodliness; * and having betrothed thyself to Christ * by the many torments of thy body, * thou didst find within thyself a divine bridal chamber, * Daria of great renown, * thou divine receptacle of the Spirit, * adornment of athletes ** and ornament of virgins.


Righteous Joseph of Arimathea the secret disciple who buried the Lord Jesus Christ.

Forefeast of the Procession of the Precious and Life-giving Cross of the Lord.
Righteous Joseph of Arimathea who buried the Master Christ (1st century).
Virgin Martyresses Sisters aged 14 MAXIMA and very young DONATILLA & aged 12 SECUNDA (Septima) in Tebourba (or Tuburbo) in North Africa (303)
St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre in Gaul (448).
Righteous Eudocimus of Cappadocia, Military Commander of Cappadocia (9th century)
Translation of the Relics of Apostle Philip to Cyprus.
Saint Arsenius, Bishop of Ninotsminda in Georgia (1082)
Repose of Elder Gerasim the Younger of Kaluga’s St. Sergius Skete (1918).

Commemorated on July 31

And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counselor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. (Luke 23:50-51)

Ιωσήφ της Αριμαθαίας_St Joseph of Arimathea_ Иосиф Аримафейский__ ΖΗΤΩΝ ΤΟ ΣΩΜΑ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥThe noble Joseph, a wealthy man and member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, was secretly a follower of Christ. “Now when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, Joseph by name, who was himself a disciple of Jesus” (St. Matthew 27:57). “Now after these things Joseph of Arimathea, because he was a disciple of Jesus (although for fear of the Jews a secret one), besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus” (St. John 19:38). Together with Nicodemus, Joseph removed the body of Christ from the cross and placed it in his sepulchre. Because of this, he was shackled by the Jews and thrown into prison. But the resurrected Lord appeared to him and convinced him of His resurrection. After that, the Jews released him from prison and banished him from the fatherland. He went throughout the world to preach the Holy Gospel of Christ, and that “good news” he brought to England where he reposed in the Lord.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/July31.htm

***

Hymn of Praise
Saint Joseph of Arimathea
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιωσήφ της Αριμαθαίας_St Joseph of Arimathea_ Иосиф Аримафейский__Saint-Joseph-of-ArimatheaJoseph a noble and rich man,
Of Christ the Crucified, (he) did not scandalize,
But when the sun darkened and the earth shook,
He to Pilate went and brought him news
That the Lord died, the Life-giving Lord,
The secret disciple thus became public.
When the public one hid, the secret became public,
Thus Joseph the wise, in a day became famous.
And together with Nicodemus, the body of Christ
In his garden in a new tomb placed it.
The Jewish spies heard, reported it,
The righteous Joseph in chains they placed.
In the darkened dungeon, Joseph languished
While his Lord in Hades glowed.
Joseph pondered his remembrance of Christ,
Mentioning his miraculous works,
Miracles and words and prophecies many,
Before Him, he stood in the presence of God,
And now darkness everywhere from without and within,
Dark days, nights, evenings and mornings
After a glowing flash, than the sun, more radiant,
O desperate darkness, darker than Hades!
But behold suddenly in the dungeon dawned:
The Resurrected One appeared to the shackled servant.
O Joseph brave and noble
Neither of the Resurrected One did you scandalize.
About the dead Christ, you to Pilate informed
And recognized and glorified the Resurrected One.
Let the land of Britain honorably glorify you,
You, for her, planted the first seed of salvation.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

***

Homily:
About Joseph of Arimathea
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιησούς Χριστός αποκαθήλωση_Положение во Гроб_Jesus Christ Crucifixion_Byzantine-Orthodox-Icon_snyatie1At that time Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the Kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. There was another great man who had come from Arimathea, or Ramathain, on Mount Ephrem: the Prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:1 ).

This Joseph is mentioned by all four Evangelists, specifically in connection with the dead Lord’s burial. John calls him a disciple of Jesus secretly (19:38); Luke – a good man and a just (23:50), Matthew – a rich man (27:57). (The Evangelist does not call Joseph rich from vanity, to show that the Lord had rich men among His disciples, “but in order to show how it was that he was able to get Jesus’ body from Pilate. To a poor and unknown man, it would not have been possible to penetrate to Pilate, the representative of Roman power.”- Jerome: “Commentary on Matthew“.) He was noble in soul: he feared God and waited for the Kingdom of God. In addition to his outstanding spiritual traits, Joseph was also a rich man of good standing. Mark and Luke call him a counsellor. He was, then, one of the elders of the people, like Nicodemus. Also, like Nicodemus, he was a secret admirer and disciple of the Lord Jesus. But, even though these two men were secret followers of Christ’s teaching, they were nevertheless ready to lay themselves open to danger by standing together with Christ.

Nicodemus once asked the embittered Jewish leaders to their faces, when they were seeking an excuse to kill Christ: “Doth our law judge any man before it hear him?” (John 7:51).

Joseph of Arimathea laid himself open to even greater danger by taking thought for the Lord’s body when His known disciples had fled and dispersed, and when the Jewish wolves, having killed the Shepherd, could at any moment fall on the sheep. That what Joseph was doing was dangerous is indicated by the Evangelist by the word “boldly”. He needed, then, more than courage; he needed daring to go to Caesar’s representative and ask for the body of a crucified felon. But Joseph, as Nicephorus says, “in his greatness of soul, threw off his fear and shook off all subservience, showing himself to be a disciple of Jesus Christ”.
+ St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Homilies: Commentary on the Gospel Readings for Great Feasts and Sundays Throughout the Year, Volume 1, “22. The Second Sunday After Easter: The Gospel on the Myrhh-Bearing Women”

St Germanus the Bishop of Auxerre discerned a special divine purpose for St. Geneviève of Paris
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2016/07/30/st-germanus-the-bishop-of-auxerre-discerned-a-special-divine-purpose-for-st-genevieve-of-paris/

“Τον ήλιον κρύψαντα” (Seeing the sun hide its rays)

This hymn is a lament chanted from the perspective of Joseph of Arimathea, pleading with Pontius Pilate for the Body of Jesus. It is one of the most beautiful hymns of the Holy Week,Matins of Holy and Great Saturday.

To all the strangers of this world…

Plagal of First Tone

Ιωσήφ Αριμαθαίας_St Joseph of Arimathea_Иосиф Аримафейский__Saint-Joseph-of-Arimathea-CX4K2833As the sun hid its very rays at the Savior’s death, and the curtain of the temple was rent in twain,Joseph of everlasting memory approached Pilate beseeching him in this manner;

Give me this stranger, who from infancy has been as a stranger,a sojourner in the world.

Give me this stranger, whon His own race has hated and delivered unto death as a stranger.

Give me this stranger, who in a strange manner is a stranger to death.

Give me this stranger, who has received the poor as guests.

Give me this stranger, whom the jews from envy estranged from the world.

Give me this stranger, that i may hide him in a tomb, for as a stranger He has no place to lay His head.

Give me this stranger, whose Mother seeing His dead body cries out:”O my Son and my God, I am sorely wounded within me and my heart is rent,seeing Thee as one dead:but in Thy Resurrection I take courage and magnify Thee”.Thus entreating Pilate with these words, noble Joseph receives the body of the Savior: and wrapping it with fear in a linen with myrrh, he places in a tomb Him Who bestows upon all  eternal life and great mercy.

Troparion of the Forefeast, Tone 1.

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant Thou unto Orthodox Christians victories over adversaries, and by Thy Cross preserve Thy people.

Troparion of St Eudocimus, Tone 4.

He who did call thee from earth unto heaven keepeth thy body unharmed after death, holy Eudocimus; for thou didst live a sober and holy life and didst not defile thy flesh; so with boldness intercede with Christ that we may be saved.


Saint Mary Magdalene with great love toward the resurrected Lord, and with great zeal, she proclaimed the Holy Gospel to the world as a true apostle of Christ.

Μυροφόρες_Myrrhbearers_ Жёны-мироносицы_μη μου απτου_Icon_of_Noli_me_tangere-Не прикасайся ко МнеAN00453552_001_lSaint Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal to the Apostles
virgin-martyr Marcella of Chios (14th century);
Venerable Cornelius of Pereyaslavl (1693);
translation of the relics of the Hieromartyr Phocas, the bishop of Sinope (117);

Commemorated on July 22

Love our Christ, just as Saint Mary Magdalene loved Him.
Elder Ignatios Kapnisis of Euboea

Mary Magdalene was one of the myrrh-bearing women and “equal to the apostles”. She was born in the town of Magdala along the shore of Lake Gennesaret and was from the tribe of Issachar. She was tormented by seven evil spirits from which the Lord Jesus freed her and made her whole. She was a faithful follower and servant of the Lord during His earthly life. Mary Magdalene stood beneath the Cross on Golgotha and grieved bitterly and mourned with the All-Holy Birth-giver of God. After the death of the Lord she visited His sepulchre three times. When the Lord resurrected she saw Him on two occasions: once alone and the other time with the other myrrh-bearing women.

She traveled to Rome and appeared before Tiberias Caesar and presenting him with a red colored egg, greeted him with the words: “Christ is Risen!” At the same time, she accused Pilate before Caesar for his unjust condemnation of the Lord Jesus. Caesar accepted her accusation and transferred Pilate from Jerusalem to Gaul where, this unjust judge, in disfavor with the emperor, died of a dread disease. After that, Mary Magdalene returned from Rome to Ephesus to St. John the Theologian whom she assisted in the work of preaching the Gospel. With great love toward the resurrected Lord, and with great zeal, she proclaimed the Holy Gospel to the world as a true apostle of Christ. She died peacefully in Ephesus and, according to tradition, was buried in the same cave in which seven youths were miraculously put to sleep for hundreds of years and, after that, were brought to life and then died (August 4). The relics of St. Mary Magdalene were later transferred to Constantinople. There is a Russian Orthodox convent dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene near the Garden of Gethsemane. Prologue from Ochrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 

***

Counsels on Divine Eros of St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain

– Elder, is “divine eros” the love we feel for God?
 
Μαρία Μαγδαληνή_Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer_ ΜΑΓΔΑΛΗΝΗ-Христа-Марии-Магдалине.-Роспись-кафоликона-монастыря-Дионисиат-на-Афоне.-Сер.-XVI-в.-e1407026652957 Divine eros is something far superior to one’s love for God. It is a kind of madness. “Love – eros – madness” – is along the same lines as “envy – hatred – murder”. A precise love of God – complete with sacrifices – simmers slowly inside the heart; then, just like steam, divine eros (which cannot be held back) bursts forth and unites with God.  Divine eros can soften even the toughest bones so much, that a person can no longer stand upright; he actually falls down!  He then resembles a wax candle in a warm environment, which cannot stand firmly upright. It falls to one side, then it falls to the other side… you straighten it, but again it bends, again it falls, because of the heat of its environment, which is too hot for it to bear.. When a person finds himself in such a state and he needs to go somewhere or do something, he cannot… He struggles; he has to actually struggle to get out of that state….

– Elder, when someone is in a state of divine eros, and if he is in pain, can he feel that pain?

– If the pain is very intense, it is subdued and becomes tolerable. If the pain is minimal, it disappears altogether… Haven’t you seen how people who are in love with each other are entirely oblivious? They can hardly sleep… A monk once told me: “Geron, a brother of mine has fallen in love with a gypsy girl and has lost his sleep over her. He keeps repeating her name, over and over again… Is he perhaps bewitched? I have been a monk for so many years, and even I don’t feel that much love for the Holy Mother as he feels for that gypsy! I don’t feel my heart leaping like that!”

Unfortunately, there are spiritual people who are scandalized by the term “divine eros”. They haven’t perceived what “divine eros” means, and they are attempting to remove this term from the Menaia and the Paracletic texts, because they claim that it scandalizes. Where have things come to! On the contrary, if you speak to secular people (who have experienced “secular eros”) about divine eros, they immediately say: “That must be something a far superior thing.” There have been so many youngsters who have experienced “secular eros”, whom I immediately “aligned” when I mentioned divine eros to them! I ask them: “Have you ever lost your footing on account of the love that you felt for someone? Have you ever felt that you cannot move and you cannot do absolutely anything?” They then immediately comprehend how this must be a really superior state, and we understand each other perfectly thereafter. They usually respond with: “If we feel that way with something secular, imagine what that celestial feeling must be like!”

 How can one become dotty, Elder, by their love for God?
 
– Well, by keeping company with …other dotty ones, who will infect you with their spiritual dottiness! I will pray to one day see you… a complete madman! Amen…
 
I too have a small experience of spiritual madness, which comes from divine eros.In that state, a person reaches the stage of divine absentmindedness and wants to think of nothing else except God, the divine, the spiritual, the celestial… While divinely in love, he is deliciously ablaze internally, and he explodes externally in a mad manner – within the divine confines of modesty – and glorifies his God and Maker like an angel, day and night….
 
 Is that what we call “ecstasy”, Elder?
– Yes. That is when a person “takes leave of himself” – in the good sense, of course. That is also what we mean by ….”stand aside and shudder, o heavens” (έκστηθι φρίττων ουρανέ) [from the Eirmos of the 8th Ode of the Canon of Easter Saturday].
Divine madness takes a person beyond the earth’s pull; it lifts him up to the Throne of God, and makes him feel like a puppy at his master’s feet; a puppy licking His Feet joyfully and with reverence…
Translation by A. N
Source: “Spiritual Counsels” , St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain, vol.5 p.205-206

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Troparion, Tone 1

O holy Mary Magdalene, thou didst keep Christ’s commandments/ and follow Him Who for our sakes was born of a Virgin./ Today we celebrate thy memory/ and receive forgiveness through thy prayers.

Apolytikion in the First Tone

When Christ God had been born for our sakes from the Virgin, thou faithfully didst follow him, keeping His statutes and heeding His sacred laws, O august Mary Magdalene. Hence, as we today observe thy holy remembrance, we receive the loosing of our sins and transgressions through thy holy prayers for us.

Kontakion (Tone 3)

Standing before the Cross of the Savior,
Suffering with the Mother of the Lord,
The most glorious Mary Magdalene offered praise with tears.
She cried out: What is this strange wonder?
He who holds the whole creation in His hand chooses to suffer:
Glory, O Lord to Your power!