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Iconography and Hand painted icons


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

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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

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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 

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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!