Sunday of the Holy Cross and John Climakos - The Ladder of Divine Ascent
The Reading is from Mark 8:34-38; 9:1
The Lord said: "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power."
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-6
BRETHREN, since we have a high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"; as he says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek."
Do Thou open unto me the doors of repentance, O Giver of Life;
For my spirit goeth early unto Thy Holy Temple,
Bringing the temple of my body all defiled.
But, as One compassionate, cleanse me by Thy compassionate mercy.
On the height of abstinence did the Lord establish thee as a true and
unerring star, guiding the ends of the world by thy light, O John, our
instructor and father.
Like that lofty ladder which Jacob saw reaching to the Heavens, even so, by
thy godly words, thou hast raised a ladder that bringeth all the faithful
unto the heights of virtue, O Blessed Father John.
Having raised up a sacred ladder by thy words, thou wast shown forth unto
all as a teacher of monastics; and thou dost lead us, O John, from the
purification that cometh through godly discipline unto the light of Divine
vision. O righteous father, do thou entreat Christ God that we be granted
"For though you all have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you all
have not many fathers." 1 Corinthians Chapter 4, Verse 15.
To you, Theotokos, invincible Defender, having been delivered from peril, I, your city, dedicate the victory festival as a thank offering. In your irresistible might, keep me safe from all trials, that I may call out to you: "Hail, unwedded bride!"
Genuine "Easter", properly termed, Holy Pascha of the Lord Jesus Christ is on Sunday, April 27, 2008. The R.C. Date for Holy Pascha (March 23, 2008) is incorrect because it comes before the Jewish Passover (Evening, Saturday April 19, 2008), and does not follow the formula set forth by the Ecclesiastical Councils.
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