Today we commemorated The Feast of 1) The Circumcision of Christ and 2) St. Basil


Lazarus Saturday

Icon of the Raising of Lazarus from the 12th century...

Thou didst give a pledge of the general resurrection before Thy Passion, O Christ our God, by raising Lazarus from the dead. Therefore, we too, like the children, carry the symbols of victory and cry to Thee, the Vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the Heights! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord.

Lazarus Saturday is a paschal celebration. It is the only time in the entire Church Year that the resurrection service of Sunday is celebrated on another day. At the Liturgy of Lazarus Saturday, the Church glorifies Christ as “the Resurrection and the Life” who by raising Lazarus has confirmed the universal resurrection of mankind even before His own suffering and death.

At the Divine Liturgy of Lazarus Saturday, the baptismal verse from Galatians (“As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” Galatians 32:27) replaces the Thrice-Holy Hymn, thus indicating the resurrectional character of the celebration, and the fact that Lazarus Saturday was once among the few great baptismal days in the Orthodox Church Year.

Because of the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, Christ was hailed by the masses as the long-expected Messiah-King of Israel. Thus, in fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament, he entered Jerusalem, the City of the King, riding on the colt of an ass (Zechariah 9:9; John 12:12) the crowds greeting him with waving branches and shouts of praise: Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! The Son of David! The King of Israel! Because of this glorification by the people, the Jewish priests and scribes were finally driven “to destroy Him, to put Him to death.” (Luke 19:47; John 11:53, 12:10)

Taken from The Orthodox Faith, Vol. II: Worship, by Fr. Thomas Hopko.


Father Stephen writes about his visit to the tomb where Lazarus once laid.

Saturday, April 16 Gospel Reading

1Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2(It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)3Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.4When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.5Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.6When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. 7Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.8His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?9Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.10But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.11These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.12Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.13Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.14Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.15And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.16Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. 17Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.18Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 19And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.20Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 21Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though Continue reading

Celebration of the Feast of Luke the Evangelist…

Troparion (Tone 5):

Let us praise with sacred songs the Holy Apostle Luke

The recorder of the Joyous Gospel of Christ,

And the scribe of the Acts of the Apostles,

For his writings are a testimony of the Church of Christ:

He is a Physician of human weaknesses and infirmities.

He heals the wounds of our souls,

And constantly intercedes for our salvation!

Kontakion (Tone 4):

You became a disciple of God the Word,

With Paul you enlightened all the world,

Casting out its darkness by composing the Holy Gospel of Christ.

Kontakion (Tone 2):

Let us praise the godly Luke:

He is the true preacher of piety,

The orator of ineffable mysteries

And the star of the Church,

For the Word who alone knows the hearts of men,

Chose him, with the wise Paul, to be a teacher of the gentiles!

The following is from the Prologue of Ochrid by St. Nikolai for the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist (October 18th): Continue reading

Today is the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross…

From the Antiochian website, a historical background of the feast…

September 14, Feast Of the Holy Cross “0 Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance: To our Rulers grant victories over the barbarians, And by thy Cross protect thine own Estate.” Each year on September 14 the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of “The Elevation of the Honorable and Life-giving Cross.” This is one of the great feasts of the Church year, and one which has an important historical background. Although one or two of the hymns for the day refer obliquely to the vision of the cross in the heavens, the actual commemoration is not that of Constantine’s vision before his battle with Maxentius on October 28, 312. On that occasion, while he was in doubt about the outcome of the impending battle for Italy, he saw in the heavens the arms of the cross stretching far and wide, and the words. “In This Conquer.” The battle won, he did begin to aid Christians, and ended by being baptized himself…. Continue reading

Feast of Peter and Paul

To commemorate Peter and Paul today, I'm copying a sermon of Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo…

Today the Holy Church piously remembers the sufferings of the Holy
Glorious and All-Praised Apostles Peter and Paul.

Ppw03 St. Peter, the fervent follower of Jesus Christ, for the profound
confession of His Divinity: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living
God," was deemed worthy by the Savior to hear in answer, "Blessed art
thou, Simon … I tell thee, that thou art Peter [Petrus], and on this
stone [petra] I build My Church" (Mt.16:16-18). On "this stone" [petra],
is on that which thou sayest: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the
Living God" it is on this thy confession I build My Church. Wherefore
the "thou art Peter": it is from the "stone" [petra] that Peter [Petrus]
is, and not from Peter [Petrus] that the "stone" [petra] is, just as
the Christian is from Christ, and not Christ from the Christian. Do you
want to know, from what sort of "rock" [petra] the Apostle Peter
[Petrus] was named? Hear the Apostle Paul: "Brethren, I do not want ye
to be ignorant," says the Apostle of Christ, "how all our fathers were
all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were
baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all drink the
same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that
followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (1 Cor.10: 1-4). Here is the
from whence the "Rock" is Peter.

Continue reading