Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom (d. 407)
If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.
And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away. (more…)
April 8 – 16, 2017
The Orthodox Holy Week and Pascha services set before us a rich feast of Christian experience that no seeker of God should miss. This article is to speak briefly of them to give our guests an idea what to expect. Many people ask me how long these services last, so I have given the time as well as I remember. Orthodox are not very conscious of time in the Church services; if you think you can’t stay for the entire service, just come for what you can.
LAZARUS SATURDAY, April 8, 9:00 a.m. – This is the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom such as we have on most Sundays, celebrating the raising of Lazarus (John 11). It lasts about an hour and 45 minutes. This is considered the beginning of Holy Week, since His love for His friend Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha was the immediate reason that Our Lord returned to Judea (John 11:8). This service is served in bright vestments as the raising of Lazarus is a precursor of Our Lord’s own Resurrection and ours.
PALM SUNDAY, April 9, 9:30 a.m. – Procession with palms outdoors around the Church and Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. This is a festive service recalling Our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. After a meal we return to the Temple for the first Bridegroom Matins service, so that our out-of town members can attend it.
BRIDEGROOM MATINS is so called from the haunting theme song which begins:
Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight. And happy is that servant whom he shall find watching, But behold, unworthy is that servant whom he shall find heedless… (cf Matt. 25:1 ff, Luke 12:35 ff)
Our Lord is the Bridegroom whom His beloved bride, His people, were not ready to receive. At these services we read the scathing prophesies addressed these three days to the leaders of Israel (Matthew 21:18 – 23:39). Will we be ready when He comes? Each Bridegroom service lasts about an hour.
HOLY MONDAY and TUESDAY, April 10 – 11, 6 p.m. – Bridegroom Matins (see above).
HOLY WEDNESDAY EVENING, April 12, 6 p.m. – we bless olive oil and members are anointed with it for healing. Our Lord’s death and Resurrection are for our healing and salvation: “By His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). This service lasts about an hour, and will be followed by Bridegroom Matins.
HOLY THURSDAY, April 13, noon – we serve the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil celebrating the Mystical Supper at which Our Lord washed His disciples’ feet and instituted the Eucharist.
HOLY THURSDAY, April 13, 6 p.m. – Matins of Holy Friday. During it we read twelve Gospel readings of Our Lord’s crucifixion, interspersed with some of the most beautiful hymns of the whole year. In the middle of this service a large Cross is placed in the center of the Church for veneration. This service lasts over two hours.
HOLY FRIDAY, April 14, 3 p.m. – Vespers. The Epitaphios, a fabric with an image of the Lord laid in the tomb, representing the burial cloth of the Lord, is carried in procession and laid on a special table covered with flowers representing His Tomb.
HOLY FRIDAY, April 14, 7 p.m. – Matins of Holy Saturday – the Epitaphios is carried in procession through the cemetery next to the Church, as Christ descended among the dead to raise them to himself. This service lasts about an hour and a half. The many readings and hymns of the Holy Friday services present us with many different facets of the awesome and compelling mystery of our Lord’s Passion.
HOLY SATURDAY, April 15, 9 a.m. – Initiation of new members and Divine Liturgy. This is the ‘Blessed Sabbath’ on which God rested — in the Tomb, the real meaning of Genesis 2:2. It is the most appropriate time for Baptism, as those baptized are ‘buried’ with Christ to share His Resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). Lent has its origin as the last intensive preparation for those who would be baptized this day. We read 15 Old Testament readings that illuminate Baptism, including the Creation and the Exodus. Our new members are Baptized and Chrismated (Anointed), then we continue with the Divine Liturgy. This service lasts about three hours.
HOLY SATURDAY, April 15, 11:30 p.m. – this is THE service of the year for Orthodox, and no one wants to miss it. At midnight all lights in the Church are put out. This is the darkness and silence of the Tomb. Finally the bishop or priest comes out of the altar with a candle. Everyone comes forward and lights a candle from this light. Carrying the candles, we make a procession outside around the Temple, coming back to the front porch. There we hear the greeting ‘Christ is Risen!’ for the first time and reply, ‘Indeed He is Risen!’ We will greet each other this way for forty days. We go into the Temple, now brightly lighted and adorned with flowers, and sing the joyous Paschal Matins and Liturgy, and members receive the Body and Blood of the Risen Lord. After this service we go to the Parish Hall and find the tables sagging with every kind of good food, and we celebrate together until quite late.
SUNDAY April 16, there is NO MORNING SERVICE (the midnight service was the Sunday Liturgy).
SUNDAY, April 16, 4 p.m. we will gather for the short, joyous Paschal Vespers and more feasting. This will take place at Holy Trinity and St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church, Pear Orchard Rd. at Old Canton Rd., Jackson. Members and clergy of Holy Resurrection and St. Peter Orthodox Church, Madison, will participate. The Jackson area Orthodox churches do this service together every year; join us for the service and the feast afterwards.
Group Photo After Liturgy, February 5, 2017 – Thanks to James Patterson
Clergy and Servers – Thanks to James Patterson
Group Photo – 1983
Let us fast with a fast pleasing to the Lord. This is the true fast: the casting off of evil, the bridling of the tongue, the cutting off of anger, the cessation of lusts, evil talking, lies and cursing. The stopping of these is the fast true and acceptable.
–Monday Vespers of the First Week
The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian
O Lord and Master of my life
Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk.
But grant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother,
For blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.
Friday Evening and Saturday Meals – pictures by Johnny Cano
More pictures will be posted as we receive them.
By Bishop Alexander of Dallas and the South:
February 3, 2017
Friday Evening Vespers – “Mercy shall follow me”
Friday Evening at Banquet – “Forty Years”
February 5, 2017
Sunday Morning – “The Publican and the Pharisee”
At our 40th Year Celebration, Bishop Alexander presented Gramota (official commendations) to Frank and Vicki Kulik, Charles and Vivian Haddad, and Tim and Sam Leonard.
Vivian fell asleep in the Lord on May 14, 2015, and Sam on June 29, 2012. May their memory be eternal.
See the text of the Gramota scrolls here:
Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church
invites you to join us in celebrating
Our First Forty Years
His Grace, Alexander, Bishop of Dallas and the South, will preside.
Friday, February 3
- 6:00 p.m. Vespers
- 7:30 p.m. Dinner at Cock of the Walk Restaurant, Pocahontas – 13560 US 49, Jackson
Saturday, February 4
- 9:00 a.m. Greeting and Vesting of the Bishop
- 9:30 a.m. Pontifical Liturgy, Luncheon in Archbishop Dmitri Hall
- 5:30 p.m. Vespers
Sunday, February 5
- 8:30 a.m. Matins
- 9:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy, potluck lunch
The Lord has blessed us richly these forty years. Many people who discovered the Orthodox faith here now live elsewhere. We invite all to come and give thanks with us for all that the Lord has done here.
Friday night dinner tickets are $40 per person. Please reserve these as soon as possible by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be no charge for the Saturday lunch but we do need to know many will eat; please send an email. Young children are invited to the Saturday lunch. For more information email or call 601 497-5093.
For those coming from afar, the nearest airport is Jackson-Evers (JAN), 25 miles east of us on I-20.
SANCTITY OF LIFE SUNDAY – the Sunday nearest the anniversary of the infamous 1973 Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion at every stage of pregnancy, is observed by the Orthodox Church in America and many other churches as a time of prayer for the deliverance of our country from this evil, and for the repentance, forgiveness and healing of the mothers, fathers, and abortionists. Metropolitan Tikhon and several other bishops and well as many Orthodox priests, seminarians, and laymen will participate in the Annual March for Life in Washington Friday, January 27 – see https://oca.org/news/headline-news/metropolitan-tikhons-sanctity-of-life-message-video-now-available
Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon
Sanctity of Life Sunday
January 22, 2017
To the honorable Clergy, venerable Monastics, and pious Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America,
My beloved brothers and children in Christ:
When Christ approached the River Jordan to go down into its waters, John the Baptist trembled. With spiritual vision, he recognized the Lord that day, for they had met years earlier, before either of them had yet emerged from their mothers’ wombs. Elizabeth felt John leaping within her upon hearing the voice of the Holy Virgin. John’s little heart already burned with joy at perceiving the presence of Him Who was to take away the sins of the world. John was to spend his entire life preparing for a future encounter with this same Lamb of God, but what happened that day at the river was unlike anything he could have foreseen.
Christ, who had no sins of His own, took the weight of our sins upon Himself. At the Jordan, He submitted to a ritual purification of sins, in order to cleanse us from the grime of the passions. He descended into the waters as into a grave, so that we might be given new and everlasting life.
These bright themes echo in our ears in early January each year with the Church’s celebration of the Feast of Theophany. The joy of sins forgiven, of hearts made clean, of spiritual eyes washed and illumined by the shining face of Christ: these are joys that “no one can take away from us” (cf. John 16:22).
It is only with such corrected vision, with such purified thoughts and hearts that, later in January each year, we can turn our attention, with sobriety and indeed with sorrow, to the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and all that it entails.
And what, in fact, has legalized abortion led to? We need to ask this question and provide a frank, if only partial, answer, because in the nearly five decades since Roe, a deep cultural and moral cynicism has set in, and I fear that our ears, our minds and our hearts may have grown dull to the full horror of abortion. For many, this is but one among several political “issues”—stale, overemphasized, and divisive—while for others, it can bring long-hidden pain and grief to the surface. In either case, the Church, so it is sometimes suggested, is better off not speaking out.
The Lord, however, has endued His Church with a voice of mercy and truth, a voice of righteousness and peace (cf. Psalm 84:10). And as long as Rachel continues to weep for her children because they are no more, the Church’s voice cannot be silent (cf. Matthew 2:18).
Therefore, the Church cannot refrain from consoling women who, for whatever reason—whether pressured or abandoned by others or overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness or despair—have had recourse to abortion. Where there is grief, the Church must offer hope; where there is trauma, she must offer healing, and where there is repentance, she must offer forgiveness and reconciliation.
The Church also has a perennial duty to educate her younger members about the sanctity of marriage and sexuality which are inextricably bound to the holy gift of new life. Where the world eagerly teaches our youth to identify with and serve their passions, adult Christians, by their word and example, must form them in a life of ascetic restraint, without which the passions bring about turmoil and destruction.
And, perhaps more controversially but no less true, the Church must provide a prophetic witness and forthright correction to the powerful of this world, to the abortion industry and those who give it financial and legal support. By introducing lethal instruments into the sacred intimacy of a mother’s womb, the abortion industry has succeeded in commodifying human vulnerability and fragility. While deeming itself a provider of “reproductive health,” it leaves in its wake the wreckage of psychological and physical trauma, spiritual ruin, and a death toll of staggering proportions, all the while amassing its own profit and prestige. No Christian can “stand with” such evil. No Church can fail to denounce it.
Our words, of course, must be confirmed by our deeds. In the many grassroots efforts of the Pro-Life Movement, such as neighborhood crisis pregnancy centers, volunteer counseling hotlines, and campus student groups, we see the commandment to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” put into action (Galatians 6:2). The humility and selflessness exhibited in such good works gives the lie to the caricature of the Pro-Life Movement as fueled by Pharisaical rancor.
Indeed, the Pharisees laid heavy burdens on their neighbors’ shoulders (Matthew 23:4), but our Savior came to take away the heavy yoke of sin. He stood among sinners on the shores of the Jordan, not in order to support or condone sin, but that all the world’s sins should be laid on His shoulders.
As His disciples, we have a mandate to bring all nations to Christ the Giver of Life, by baptizing them and by teaching them to observe all that He has commanded (Matthew 28:20). In our society this will often involve us in voicing unpopular opinions that, however gently and lovingly expressed, may well lead others to marginalize or reject us. The Lord repeatedly warned His disciples of this likelihood. But if we are to take part in Christ’s saving work of lightening His people’s heavy load of sin, then we cannot neglect such faithful witness. In humility, but also with boldness, we must stand with Christ. And—though the evil one tells us otherwise—Christ’s commandments are not burdensome. His yoke is easy. His burden is light (1 John 5:3; Matthew 11:30).
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
On January 6 Orthodox Christians celebrate the Baptism of Christ.
Services at the Church:
- Thursday, January 5, 6 p.m. – Blessing of Water
- Friday, January 6, 6:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy
The following Sunday, January 8, at 4 p.m. the Orthodox Churches in the Jackson area will celebrate this together by blessing the waters of the Ross Barnett Reservoir and plunging a Cross into it. Participating Churches are Holy Trinity and St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church, Jackson, St. Peter Orthodox Church, Madison, and Holy Resurrection.
Join us at 4 p.m. Sunday, January 8, at Old Trace Park on the Reservoir. Afterwards we eat together at the nearby Cock of the Walk Restaurant.
Our Lord’s Baptism is one of the major events of His life. All four Gospels start His public ministry at the Jordan. It is an image of His entire work of salvation: He descends into the water just as He has descended from Heaven to earth to take our life as His own, and as later He will descend into death to take our death as His own, win the victory over death and raise us to life with Him. It is the pattern of our own baptism, in which we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)”