Posted 23 February 2003 - 11:27 PM
Meatfare Sunday is the last day Orthodox Christians eat meat until Pascha (Easter). The week following is a partial fast in that while we abstain from meat products, we still eat dairy products and eggs. The last day we eat dairy and eggs until Pascha is on Cheesefare (Forgiveness) Sunday. Roman Catholics also used to observe a total fast from all animal products - as can be seen by the practice of having pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up all the butter and eggs in the house before Lent. I don't know when Catholics stopped fasting from animal products.
Posted 24 April 2003 - 12:01 PM
Tonight (Holy Thursday evening) is served in most parishes the Matins of Holy Friday with the Twelve Passion Gospels and the Royal Hours. For many who live 'in the world' and are simply unable to attend the full scope of the Holy Week services due to work, family or other commitments, tonight's service is the beginning of the services which one is able to attend and in which one is able to participate.
For those who may read these message boards during the day before the service, I provide a few selections from the hymnography of Holy Friday Matins. To approach the service having already pondered and begun to anticipate its symbolism, its motions, and the actual experience of events into which it calls those who approach it with faith, is a great blessing.
The Matins of Holy Friday speak especially prominently of Judas' betrayal of Christ. We must remember that, amidst and among the harsh words spoken of Judas in the hymns of the service, he is not a man merely to be condemned and cast aside. We are Judas more often than we would care to admit. So the Church asks us to consider, of Judas and of ourselves:
What caused you to betray the Saviour, O Judas? Did He expel you from the ranks of the Apostles? Did He take from you the gift of healing? Did He send you from the table while taking supper with the others? Did He wash their feet but pass you by? Have you forgotten such good things? Your ingratitude is notorious, but His limitless long-suffering and great mercy are proclaimed to all.
Because of the raising of Lazarus, O Lord who lovest mankind, the Hebrew children cried 'Hosanna' to Thee; but Judas the transgressor was unwilling to understand.
At Thy supper, O Christ God, Thou didst announce to Thy disciples, 'One of you shall betray me'. But Judas the transgressor was unwilling to understand.
At the washing of their feet, O Christ God, Thou didst command Thy disciples: 'Do as ye have seen me do'. But Judas the transgressor was unwilling to understand.
'Keep watch and pray, lest ye be tempted', Thou didst say to Thy disciples, O our God; but Judas the transgressor was unwilling to understand.
Tonight's service brings heavily and harshly to mind the deeds of Judas, in which we ourselves are participating even at the present moment. We do not commemorate only his betrayal of Christ: we, too, have called for our own thirty pieces of silver, whatever they might be; and we are betraying Him together with Judas. But the service also calls us to remember and to join together with the thief on the cross:
The thief, whose hands were defiled with blood, Thou didst accept as Thy fellow-traveller O Christ. With him number us also, O Lord, for Thou art Good and lovest mankind.
The thief on the cross uttered a small cry, but he found great faith. In a moment he was saved and became the first to enter paradise when its gates were opened. O Lord, who didst accept His repentance, glory to Thee!
It is in the actions of this thief that we can find the salvation that was offered, too, to Judas - but which he did not take. The thief's hands were 'defiled with blood'; but his repentance was real, and Christ took him into the Kingdom. So also may it be with us.
Posted 26 April 2003 - 06:09 AM
As we are having a bit of trouble with our mailing list server for the Monachos.net eNewsletter, I post here announcement of the Paschal Resources area:
Resources for Holy Pascha 2003
The Paschal Greeting in 59 Languages
The Paschal Greeting ('Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!') is proclaimed throughout the whole of the Paschal season: used as a greeting whenever Orthodox people meet, and as a joyful proclamation in the divine services. It is available here in 59 languages, with more added as they are received.
The Paschal Troparion (Hymn)
'Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death...' The great hymn of the Resurrection, sung at every service in Paschal-tide and inserted into home/personal prayers. The text of the troparion is available in English, Greek and Church Slavonic, including printable versions.
The Paschal Homily of St John Chrysostom
The great Easter sermon first delivered by St John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople, and now proclaimed in every Orthodox temple on Pascha morning, shortly after midnight, while all the faithful stand in attendance. The version of the text on Monachos.net is rendered in stanza format and available in a printable version.
Paschal Encyclicals from Church Hierarchs
A collection of Paschal encyclicals made available as they are published by Orthodox hierarchs throughout the world. The collection also includes encyclicals from past years, many of which are still valuable for their reflections upon the Resurrection of Christ and its impact in the world.
The Personal Mystery of Pascha
A reflection on Pascha not only as the great moment of the life of Christ, but as the personal union with the Resurrected One lived out in the life of every Christian.
The Holy Fathers on Holy Pascha
A collection of texts from the writings of the Fathers on the feast of the Resurrection. Includes passages from Leo of Rome, Cyril of Alexandria, Constantine the Great, Ambrose, Methodius, and Augustine.
All of the above resources for Holy Pascha 2003 are online at: http://www.monachos.net/pascha/.
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