Saturday, March 29, 2014




 (The Triodion is used in the Orthodox  Church –from 3 weeks before the Fast until Holy Saturday)

 The following hymns from the Triodion, are sung in churches at vespers and orthos, Sunday of the Cross. They are of rare beauty and poetic mastery so we decided to publish them as they are edifying. They stand out among hymns in exalting and glorifying the Cross and Jesus Christ. Many of our Orthodox hymns are divinely inspired and many have been written by saints who have been glorified by the Church. We can see in their rare composition that they are inspired by the Spirit.

     “Shine Cross of the Lord, shine with the light of your grace upon the hearts of those who honor you. With love inspired by God, we embrace you, O desire of all the world . Through you our tears of sorrow have been wiped away; we have been delivered from the snares of death and have passed over to unending joy. Show us the glory of your beauty and grant to us your servants the reward of our abstinence, for we entreat with faith your rich protection and the great mercy.”   1

      “Rejoice Life-giving Cross, the fair Paradise of the Church, Tree of incorruption that brings us the joy of eternal glory; through you the hosts of demons have been driven back; and the hierarchies of angels rejoice with one accord, as the congregations of the faithful keep the Feast. You are an invincible weapon, an unbroken stronghold; you are the victory of kings and the glory of Priests. Grant us now to draw near to the Passion of Christ and to His Resurrection.”     2
    “Rejoice life-giving Cross, unconquerable trophy of the true Faith, door to Paradise, succor of the faithful, rampart set about the Church. Through you the curse is utterly destroyed, the power of death is swallowed up, and we are raised from earth to heaven; invincible weapon, adversary of demons, glory of martyrs, true ornament of holy monastics, haven of salvation, bestowing on the world the great mercy.”     3
“O mighty Cross of the Lord, manifest yourself;  show me the divine vision of your beauty, and grant me to worthily venerate you. For I speak to you and embrace you as though you were alive.”    4

    “No sooner had the wood of your Cross been set up, O Christ our Lord, than the foundations of death were shaken.  Hades swallowed you eagerly, but let you go with trembling. You have shown us your salvation, O Holy One, and we glorify you. O Son of God, have mercy upon us.”    5
“There is joy today in heaven and on earth, for the sign of the Cross is made manifest to the world.  The thrice-blessed Cross is set before us, and to all who show it veneration it is a fount of ever flowing grace.     6

    “Pilate set up three crosses in the place of the skull, two for the robbers and one for the Giver of Life. Seeing Him, Hades cried out to those below: O my ministers and powers!  Who is this who has plunged a nail into my heart? A wooden spear has suddenly pierced me and I am torn apart.  Inwardly I suffer; anguish has seized my belly and my senses.  My spirit trembles, and I am constrained to cast out Adam and his posterity. A tree brought them to my realm, but now the Tree of the Cross brings them back again to Paradise.”                                                                                             7
    “Let all the trees of the forests dance and sing, as they behold their fellow tree, the Cross, today receiving veneration, for Christ, as holy David prophesied, has exalted it on high.”     8

    “O honored Cross, you are the firm foundation of the Church, the strength of kings, the glory and defense of monks. Venerating you today, we are filled with light in heart and soul, through the divine grace of the Lord who was nailed upon you and overthrew the authority of our deceitful enemy, nullifying the curse.”      9
    “Come O you faithful, let us venerate the life-giving Wood, on which Christ, the King of glory, stretched out His hands of His own will. To the ancient blessedness He raised us up, whom the enemy despoiled of old through pleasure, making us exiles far from God. Come O you faithful, let us venerate the Wood whereby we have been counted worthy to crush the heads of our invisible enemies.  Come all you kindred of the nations, and let us honor in hymns the Cross of the Lord.  Rejoice O Cross, perfect redemption of fallen Adam. Glorying in you, our faithful kings laid low by your power the people of Ishmael.We Christians kiss you now with awe, and glorifying God who was nailed upon you, we cry aloud: O Lord. Who was crucified upon the Cross, have mercy upon us, for you are good and the lover of man.”    10

Great Vespers on Saturday Evening of the Cross                              
1.  p 334
2.  p 334 
3.  p 335
4.  p 338
5.  p 339 
6.  p 340
7.  p 343
8.  p 345
9.  p 347 
10.p 348                          

Thursday, March 27, 2014



Let us deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow our Savior

   During this week, Orthodox Christians celebrate Holy Cross Week, for the Cross is raised on high at the midpoint pf the great Fast. The Cross, formerly an instrument of weakness and death, is gloriously transformed. Christ changed  the cross by His willing  death, into a fountain of life and a most formidable weapon for Christians. With it we sign ourselves, and are protected, we bless our loved ones, and they rejoice, we bless our homes and automobiles, thereby securing our family’s happiness and safety. Our food becomes more nourishing and tastes better when blessed with the sign of the Cross.  It is of great importance, that this week we heed the commandment of our Lord, that we “take up our cross daily and follow Him.”

   The beginning of everything good, the path that leads to life begins when we heed God’s command, is to begin  to deny ourselves and turn inwards to our inner man. We are efficient in caring for the outer man, our mortal bodies. We wash, brush our teeth, comb our hair, cover our bodies with clothing, so as to look nice. But, are we washing the outside of the cup leaving the inside unclean as Christ says?  Out of love, He seeks to cure and cleanse our souls, the inner man, as being most important. Sadly few are interested in the welfare and good state of their immortal souls. Why is it that we care for the lesser and ignore the greater, especially when the Lord says: “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014



The Holy Cross is Honored During 
the Entire Third Week of the Great Fast 

   In ancient times the cross was looked upon as an instrument of tortuous death.  Among those who used the cross were the Persians, Greeks and Romans. The Romans used it as punishment for slaves and non-citizens guilty of treason. Crucifixion was dreaded being a slow and tortuous form of execution. 

   The Jews, misled by the Scribes and Pharisees, who cried out for the crucifixion of our Lord, were familiar with the violence and torture of the cross.  In their hatred, they never hesitated in their demands of Pontius Pilate that he crucify the sinless Lord, for when he asked them what he should do with Christ, they cried out:  “Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!” Blinded by envy and hatred, the leaders successfully transformed the mob into God-slayers, with their boisterous accusations that Christ was a criminal deserving the cross.  These unfortunates even cursed themselves with these words to Pilate, who appeared to show some reluctance: “Let His blood be upon us and upon our children.”