The Week Leading up to… Sunday, March 16th, 2014.

 Services during this coming week:

Wednesday, March 12,5:30 pm: Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Friday, March 14, 5:30 p.m.: Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos (Reader’s Service)

Sunday, March 16th

The Second Sunday of Great Lent –

Commemoration of Saint Gregory Palamas

Divine Liturgy is at 10:00 am Sunday morning,

                                        preceded by Matins (Orthros) at 9:00 am 

Saint Gregory Palamas

Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica

During the Sundays of the Church year, we each Sunday move through a repeating cycle of eight Tones, with different music and hymns for each tone, which celebrate the resurrection of Christ. This Sunday falls on Tone 5. Here is the Sunday troparion (hymn) of the Resurrection for this Sunday:

Let us believers praise and worship the Word,

co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit,

born of the Virgin for our salvation;

for He took pleasure in ascending the Cross in the flesh,

to suffer death,

and to raise the dead

by his glorious Resurrection.

Click here to listen to this troparion being sung, and here for sheet music.

And a special hymn, for the Sunday of Saint Gregory Palamas:

O Star of Orthodoxy, support of the Church and its teacher,
O comeliness of ascetics,
and incontestable champion of those who speak in theology,
Gregory the wonder-worker,
the pride  of Thessalonica and preacher of grace,
implore thou constantly for the salvation of our souls.

Scripture Readings

EPISTLE

St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 1:10-14; 2:1-3

Prokeimenon. Mode Plagal 1.
Psalm 11.7,1

You, O Lord, shall keep us and preserve us.
Verse: Save me, O Lord, for the godly man has failed.

“IN THE BEGINNING, Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will never end.” But to what angel has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet?” Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?

Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him.

GOSPEL

The Gospel of Mark 2:1-12

At that time, Jesus entered Capernaum and it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak thus? It is a blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”-he said to the paralytic-“I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

A Reflection

Again we come to the Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day within Great Lent, and find that the  penitential mood of the days of the Fast is brightened by the ongoing, weekly remembrance of the bright and life-giving Resurrection of Christ, as on every Sunday, and by an additional festive commemoration. On this Sunday, the Church celebrates the memory of the great Fourteenth-Century Archbishop of Thessalonica, Saint Gregory Palamas. In particular, on this Sunday, the Church celebrates another “triumph of Orthodoxy,” a shining forth of the light of truth, in the confirmation of the teaching of Saint Gregory in defense of the  spirituality of the Church known as hesychasm – the knowledge of God through the practice of silence and contemplative prayer. Countering the teachings of one Barlaam, a monk of Calabria in southern Italy (who taught that a human being could basically never have knowledge of or experience of God in this life), Saint Gregory of Thessalonica expounded that, just as the “divine and uncreated light of Tabor” experienced by the apostles Peter, James, and John during the Transfiguration of Christ shows that the “energies” of God are accessible and revealed to mortal and imperfect human beings even while on earth, so the merciful God, the Holy Trinity, may be known and encountered by His creatures. Firmly upholding that true and unceasing prayer is a calling not only for monastics or others “set apart,” but for all Christians, a biography of Saint Gregory records in a section entitled “On the Necessity of Constant Prayer for All Christians in General” how this holy father of the Church emphasized that prayer at all times should be a goal and a central part of the life of every Christian.

This text may be read here, courtesy of abbamoses.com. (http://www.abbamoses.com/unceasing.html)

(- l.r.c.)

(Liturgical Texts and Scripture Readings from goarch.org; Saint Icon from The Orthodox Pages.)

Advertisements