Entrance of the Lord Into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) April 28
On the last Sunday of the Great Lent, the Church remembers the triumphant entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. The day before, on Saturday, is the remembrance of the great miracle which had recently been wrought in Bethany - the resurrection of Lazarus, who had been dead and buried four days in his tomb. Many of the people, having witnessed this miracle, believed in Christ and were awaiting His coming into Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. But the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees wanted to have Jesus killed because they envied Him, and so they gave an order to be told when Jesus would come into Jerusalem.
The time of Christ’s great length about the suffering that was drawing near for Him. Just six days before Passover, when Mary, the sister of the resurrected Lazarus, poured expensive myrrh on Jesus’ feet, some of His disciples were displeased at such waste, thinking that the money from the sale of this myrrh could have been used to help the poor. Knowing what lay in store for Him in Jerusalem, Christ told His disciples that with this anointing His body was being prepared for burial. He spoke at is disciples to go to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. “When they drew nigh unto Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them: ‘Go into the village opposite you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them unto Me. And if any man say aught unto you, ye shall say, “The Lord hath need of them,” and straightway he will send them.’ . . . And the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. And they brought the ass and the colt and saddled them with their clothes, and they set Him thereon” (Matt. 21:1-3; 6-7). Coming near Jerusalem, Jesus wept over the city that was doomed to be destroyed for not recognizing the time that God came to save it.
Many in Jerusalem found out that Jesus, the one who had resurrected Lazarus-who had been dead four days - was nearing. “And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way, and others cut down branches from the trees and strewed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and followed, cried out, saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’ And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the multitude said, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.’ And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers and seats of those who sold doves, and said unto them, ’It is written, “My house shall be called the house of prayer,” but ye have made it into a den for thieves’
And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were sore displeased, and said unto Him, ‘Hearest thou what these say?’ and Jesus said unto them ‘Yea, have ye never read, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou has perfected praise”?’” (Matt. 21:8-16).
In the next days Jesus Christ taught in the temple. He spent the nights outside the city. The chief priests, the teachers of the Law, and the elders of the people looked for an opportunity to kill Him, but they could not because all the people were around Him listening to His teachings.
At the end of the Service we will give away blessed PALM BRANCHES. Donations are greatly appreciated.
May 5 - Easter - Khristos Voskrese! Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!
Easter Sunday, Easter-the main event of the year for Orthodox Christians and the largest Orthodox holiday.
This year, Easter is celebrated on May 5.
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices, which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass. Luke 24:1-12
TroparionChrist is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and on those in the tombs bestowing life.
·The Catechetical Homily of St. John Chrysostom
·Christ’s Glorious Resurrection. Archpriest George Benigsen. April 1984.
·From the Prologue from Ochrid, by bishop N.Velimirovic
·Lessons from the Fathers
·The Origin and Meaning of the Paschal Greeting/
April 21 - Fifth Week of Great Lent. Commemoration of St. Mary of Egypt
St. Mary, who is known as Mary of Egypt, lived in the middle of the fifth century and at the beginning of the sixth century. Her youth did not presage anything good. Mary was twelve years old when she left her home for the city of Alexandria. Being free of parental oversight, young and inexperienced, Mary was allured by a life of depravity. There was no one to stop her on the way to perdition, and there were not a few temptations. Thus, for seventeen years Mary lived in sin, until the merciful Lord turned her to repentance.
It happened thus. By coincidence, Mary joined a group of pilgrims bound for the Holy Land. While sailing with the pilgrims on the ship, Mary did not cease from seducing men and sinning. On getting to Jerusalem, she joined the pilgrims who were heading for the Church of Christ’s Resurrection.
People were entering the church in an large throng, but Mary was stopped at the entrance by an invisible hand and could not by any efforts enter it. Here she understood that the Lord was not permitting her to enter into the holy place because of her impurity.
Seized by horror and a feeling of profound repentance, she began to entreat God to forgive her sins, promising to radically correct her life. Seeing an icon of the Mother of God at the entrance of the church, Mary began to beg the Divine Mother to plead for her before God. After this, she immediately felt a clearing up in her soul and entered the church unhindered. Having poured out abundant tears at the Lord’s Tomb, she went out of the church a completely different person.
Mary fulfilled her promise to change her life. From Jerusalem, she withdrew into the harsh and barren Jordanian Desert, and there spent almost half a century in complete solitude, in fasting and prayer. Thus, by severe ascetic feats, Mary of Egypt completely eradicated in herself all sinful desires and made her heart a pure temple of the Holy Spirit.
The Elder Zosima, who lived in the Jordanian Monastery of the Prophet John the Forerunner, was deemed worthy, by God’s providence, to meet Venerable Mary in the desert, when she was already an extremely old woman. He was struck by her holiness and gift of clairvoyance. He saw her once during prayer as if raised up above the earth, and another time ¬ walking over the river Jordan, as if on dry land.
In parting with Zosima, Venerable Mary asked him to come again to the desert in a year to give her Communion. The Elder returned at the appointed time and gave Venerable Mary Communion of the Holy Mysteries. Then, when he went into the desert after another year in the hope of seeing the Saint, he did not find her among the living.
The Elder buried the remains of Venerable Mary there in the desert. In this a lion helped him, who dug a hole with his claws for burying the body of the righteous one. She died in the year 521.
Thus, from a great sinner, Venerable Mary became, with God’s help, a very great saint and left such a striking example of repentance. Her memory is marked on the 1st of April (according to the Church calendar) and on the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent.
Kursk Root Icon of Our Lady of the Sign visiting our parish (April 17)
In the 13th century, during the dreadful period of the Tartar invasion of Russia, the devastated province of Kursk was emptied of people and its principal city, Kursk, became a wilderness. Now, the residents of the city of Rylsk, which had been preserved from invasion, often journeyed to the site of Kursk to hunt wild beasts. One of the hunters, going along the bank of the river to Skal, which was not very far from ruined Kursk, noticed an icon lying face down on the ground next to the root of a tree. The hunter picked it up and found that it was an icon of the Sign, such as was enshrined and venerated in the city of Novgorod. At this time, the icon’s first miracle was worked, for no sooner had the hunter picked up the sacred image than there immediately gushed forth with great force an abundant spring of pure water. This took place on September 8th in the year 1295.
The hunter constructed a small wooden chapel and placed the newly manifested image of the Mother of God therein. The residents of Rylsk began to visit the place of the manifestation of this holy object and the icon was glorified by miracles all the more. Prince Vasily Shemyaka of Rylsk ordered that the icon be brought to the city of Rylsk itself and this was done in a solemn manner, for the people of the city went forth to meet the icon of the Mother of God; but Shemyaka himself declined to attend the festivities and for this reason was punished with blindness. The prince, however, repented and straightway re ceived healing. Moved by this miracle, Shemyaka constructed a church in the city of Rylsk in honor of the Nativity of the All-holy Theotokos, and there the miraculous icon was enshrined on September 8th, the day of its manifestation, appointed as the annual feast date.
But the icon vanished in a miraculous manner and returned to the place of its original appearance. The residents of Rylsk continually brought it back, but each time it returned to its former place. Then, understanding that the Mother of God was well pleased to dwell in the place of the manifestation ofher image, they eventually left it there in peace. Innumerable pilgrimages streamed to the site and services of supplication were celebrated there by a certain priest whose name was Bogoliub and who dwelt at the site of the wooden chapel and struggled there in asceticism.
In the year 1383, the province of Kursk was subjected to a new invasion of Tartars. They decided to set fire to the chapel, but it refused to burn, even though they piled up fuel all around it, and so the superstitious barbarians fell upon the priest Bogoliub, accusing him of sorcery. The pious priest denounced their foolishness and pointed out the icon of the NI other of God to them. The malicious Tartars laid hold of the holy icon and cut it in two, casting the pieces to either side. The chapel then caught fire and the priest Bogoliub was carried off a prisoner.
In his captivity, the God-loving elder kept the Faith, placing his hope on the all-holy Mother of God, and this hope did not fail him. Now, one day as he was guarding flocks and passing the time by singing prayers and doxologies in honor of the Mother of God, there passed by some emissaries of the Tsar of Moscow.
They heard this chanting, arranged to ransom the priest from captivity, and Bogoliub returned to the former site of the chapel. There he found the pieces of the miraculous icon which the Tartars had cast away. He picked them up and straightway they grew together, although the signs of the split remained. Learning of this miracle, the residents of Rylsk gave glory to God and to His all-pure Mother. Again they attempted to transfer the holy icon to their city, but once more the miraculous image returned to its former place. A new chapel was then built on the original site of the icon’s appearance and here it remained for about 200 years.
The city of Kursk was revived in the year 1597 at the command of Theodore Ivanovich of Moscow. This pious Tsar, who had heard of the miracles of the icon, expressed his desire to behold it, and in Moscow, the icon was greeted with great solemnity. The Tsaritsa, Irene Theodorovna, adorned the holy icon with a precious riza. At the command of the Tsar, the icon was set in a silver-gilt frame upon which were depicted the Lord of Hosts and prophets holding scrolls in their hands. The icon was subsequently returned and, with the close cooperation of the Tsar, a monastery was founded on the site of the chapel. A church, dedicated to the Life-bearing Spring, was built above the same spring that had appeared when the icon was first revealed and the monastery attached to it was called the Kursk Root Hermitage in honor of the manifestation of the icon at the root of the tree.
During an invasion of Crimean Tartars, the icon was transferred to the cathedral church of Kursk, and an exact copy was left at the Hermitage. Tsar Boris Godunov bestowed many precious gifts for the adornment of the icon and even the pretender, the false Dimitry, who desired to call attention to himself and to win the support of those who lived in the vicinity of Kursk, venerated this icon and placed it in the royal mansions where it remained until the year 1615.
While the icon was absent from the city of Kursk, the grace-bearing aid of the Mother of God did not forsake that city, for when in the year 1612 the Poles laid siege to Kursk, certain of the citizens beheld the Mother of God and two radiant monks above the city. Captured Poles related that they, too, had beheld a woman and two radiant men on the city walls, and that this woman made threatening gestures at those who were conducting the siege. The citizens then made a vow to construct a monastery in honor of the all-holy Theotokos and to place the miraculous icon therein. The besiegers were quickly put to flight and in gratitude to their heavenly helper, the people of Kursk built a monastery in honor of the all-holy Theotokos of the Sign.
In 1676, the icon of the Mother of God of the Sign was borne to the Don River to bless the forces of the Don Cossacks. In 1684, a copy of the miraculous icon of the all-holy Theotokos of the Sign was sent to the Monastery of the Root by the sovereigns and great princes Ivan and Peter Alexievich. This copy was set in a silver-gilt frame and a command was made that this copy be borne wherever Orthodox warriors went into battle.
In the year 1812, the Kursk Civic Society sent to General Kutuzov a copy of the miraculous icon of Kursk, setting it in a silver-gilt frame. The commander expressed his gratitude to the citizens of Kursk and his belief that Kursk would remain free, thanks to the protection of the Queen of Heaven.
In March of 1898 a group of anarchists, desiring to undermine the faith ofthe people in the wonder-working power of the icon, decided to destroy it. They placed a time bomb in the Cathedral of the Sign, and at two o’clock in the morning a horrendous explosion rent the air and all the walls of the monastery were shaken. The frightened monastic brethren rushed immediately to the cathedral, where they beheld a scene of horrible devastation. The force of the blast had shattered the gilded canopy above the icon. The heavy marble base, constructed of several massive steps, had been jolted out of position and split into several pieces. A huge metal candlestick which stood before the icon had been blown to the opposite side of the cathedral. A door of cast iron located near the icon n’ad been torn from its hinges and cast outside, where it smashed against a wall and caused a deep crack. All the windows in the cathedral and even those in the dome above were shattered. Amid the general devastation, the holy icon remained intact and even the glass within the frame remained whole. Thinking to destroy the icon, the anarchists had, on the contrary, become the cause of its greater glorification.
Every year on Friday of the ninth week after Pascha, the icon of the Sign was solemnly borne in procession from the Kursk Cathedral of the Sign to the place of its original manifestation at the Kursk Hermitage, where it remained until September 12. On September 13, it was again solemnly returned to the city of Kursk. This procession was instituted in the year 1618 in memory of the transfer of the icon from Moscow to Kursk and to commemorate its original appearance.
During the Bolshevik revolution, the icon was removed from the Cathedral of the Sign on April 12, 1918. Search was made for the icon hut without result. The holy object was discovered under the following circumstances: Not far from the monastery there lived a poor girl and her mother who for three days had not had anything to eat. At that time Kursk was controlled by the Bolshevik regime. On May 3, the girl, a seamstress, went off to the marketplace in search of bread. Returning home at about one o’clock in the morning, she passed by a well which, according to tradition, had been dug by St. Theodosius of the Caves. There, on the edge of the well, she beheld a package wrapped in a sack, and when she opened it, in the package she found the sacred icon, which apparently had been left there by those who had stolen it.
At the end of October 1919, when the White Russian Army was evacuating the city of Kursk, twelve monks of the monastery transferred the icon to the city of Belgorod, from which it was again transferred, first to Taganrog and Ekateri nodar, and then to Novorossiisk. During the cvacuation, with the permission of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky who was then President of the Higher Ecclesiastical Administration in Southern Russia, the icon was taken aboard the steamship St. Nicholas by Bishop Theophan of Kursk on March 1, 1920, and was transported to the city of Thessalonica. On April 3, Bishop Theophan took the icon to the city of Pec, the ancient capital of Serbia. For four months the icon remained in Pec, and in September, at the request of Baron Wrangel, it was returned again to the Crimea. A year after departing from the city of Kursk, on October 29, 1920, the holy image again left its native land during the evacuation of the White Army and those Russian people who refused to submit to the Soviet regime. After arriving again in the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croatians and Slovenes, with the blessing of Patriarch Dimitry. the holy icon remained with Bishop Theophan in the Serbian monastery of Yazak on Frushkaya Mountain. From the end of 1927, the icon was to be found in the Russian church of the Holy Trinity in the city of Belgrade.
With the blessing of the Synod of Bishops, Bishop Theophan bore the icon around to various places where Russians of the diaspora dwelt. During World War II, when Belgrade was subjected to bombardment and other tribulations associated with the war, the miraculous icon became a rampart of hope for all that approached it with sincere prayer.
The steadfast companion of those Russian people who did not accept the satanic authority, this great and ancient holy object, which remained in Moscow during the dreadful turmoil of the 17th century, was removed from Yugoslavia in the autumn of 1944 together with those who again fled the godless regime. From ruined Vienna, the icon was borne to the tranquil city of Carlsbad to which the Synod of Bishops had been evacuated. With the approach of the Bolsheviks it was again transferred to Munich in the spring of 1945. The holy icon proved to be an unending consolation to many thousands of people who were experiencing all the trials and tribulations of the latter years of World War II. From Munich the icon was borne to Switzerland, France, Belgium, England, Austria, and many cities and camps in Germany itself. Subsequently, the icon was transferred to the New World where it had its permanent residence first in the New Kursk Hermitage in Mahopac, N.Y., and then in the Synod’s Cathedral Church of the Mother of God of the Sign in New York City, the residence of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. At present, by decree of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, a festival is held in honor of the icon at the New Kursk Hermitage in Mahopac, N.Y., on the Sunday nearest the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, and in the Synod’s Cathedral of the Mother of God of the Sign in New York City on November 27/December 10.
Troparion. Tone 4.
Having obtained thee as an unassailable wall and as a fountain of miracles, 0 most pure Theotokos, thy servants subdue the attacks of enemies. Wherefore, we pray to thee: Grant peace to our native land, and to our souls great mercy.
March 25 / April 7 - The Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary
On March 25 according to the Church calendar (or April 7 on the civil calendar) the Holy Church celebrates The Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary. On this day we remember the glad tidings of the Archangel Gabriel to the Most Holy Virgin Mary, concerning Her birthgiving to the Son of God, which were announced to Her in Nazareth, the home of the betrothed of the Most Holy Virgin, the righteous elder Joseph. This year the feast of the Annunciation falls unto the 3rd Sunday of the Great Lent, which is known as the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross.
On the third Sunday of Great Lent a service is performed in honor of the Cross of the Lord, which at the All-night Vigil, following the Great Doxology, is solemnly carried out to the center of the temple for veneration, due to which, not only this Sunday, but the entire week which follows is one ”of the Veneration of the Cross.” The cross is carried out in the middle of the fast for the encouragement and strengthening of the spiritual vigor of those fasting, for the remembrance of the passions of the Lord, undertaken for the sake of our salvation, and of the subsequent glorious resurrection of the Lord from the dead; hence, in glorifying the Cross of the Lord, the Church sings: ”Before the Cross we fall down in worship, O Master, and Thy holy resurrection we glorify.”
Today is the fountainhead of our salvation
and the manifestation of the mystery which was from eternity.
The Son of God becometh the Virgin’s Son,
and Gabriel proclaimeth the good tidings of grace;
wherefore, we also cry to the Theotokos with him:
Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee..
On Sunday of the Annunciation, and any other Sunday and holiday Orthodox Christians should not work.
One should go to the church to Vigil on Saturday night and to Liturgy on Sunday.
Troparion above can be added to the morning and evening pray.
This Sunday we can add fish, oil and wine to our menu.