use of the Old Testament in the Gospels

This is a shortened version of a paper I wrote in 2011 for Theological Study. I have recently been looking further into the fulfilment of the Old Testament by the new and edited this slighted for sharing (changed a few sentences to make it sound a little less academic). I have left the reference markers in there but removed the several pages of reference listings. Happy to share if anyone is interested, or needs an insomnia cure.

The Old Testament was the scripture of the Jewish people (1) at the time of Christ structured (unlike in the modern Christian Canon of the Old Testament) into the Law (the five books of Moses) the Prophets and the Writings. The Jewish people, as the initial emphasis of Christ’s saving mission on earth (2) were generally well versed in the scriptures and it flows logically that this common point of reference would be used heavily by Christ and his disciples as they ministered to them.

New Testament writers also follow the practice of utilising the words already penned by others in the history of the Scriptures, recognition that the Old Testament has a clarity they could not improve on. (3) This approach is continued in Orthodox tradition in the manner of referring to the Scripture and Church Fathers.

Christians often overlook the importance of these references, halting their attention at the authority of those quoting without considering the origin of the quotes. However, as these Old Testament works are are understood as the direct communication between God and his people these quotations, particularly as they relate to events show the authority of God in the New Testament, as the “New Testament writers firmly believed that what they were witnessing was exactly what the Old Testament spoke about.” (4)

This article will look at a General review of Old Testament usage in each of the Four Gospels, usage for Highlighting the fulfilment of prophecy and as a Revelation of Old Testament types.

General review of Old Testament usage in the Four Gospels

Matthew

With the Gospel of St Matthew being directed at the Jews (5) and it’s main objective being to “to prove to the Jews that Jesus Christ is precisely that Messiah Whom the Old Testament prophets had predicted”6 it is not surprising that it contains much in the way of direct scriptural reference to the Old Testament. The amount of scriptural references that a close enough for biblical commentators to consider as quotations is fifty-five, whereas the the remaining three Gospels number fifty-five.(7) These considerable links to the Old Testament help form a solid transition from the Old Testament to the New and have led to the thought that this had some bearing on it’s placement as the first of the Gospels. (8)

Even as early as St Matthew expounds his infancy narrative there are direct references to prophecies in the book of Isaiah. (9) As the Angel of the Lord explains to Joseph the circumstances of Mary’s conception the words used “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”(10) are all taken from Isaiah “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, And shall call his name Immanuel.”(11).

Further on we come to an explicit reference (12) to the place of the Saviour’s birth, referencing the Old Testament prophecy of Micah: “But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah,Though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,Yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”(13)

In several instances St Matthew explicitly states his quotation of the Old Testament, the first (14) of which occurs during his account of Herrod’s Massacre and his reference of the Prophet Jeremiah “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, (18) In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”(15)

St Matthew’s Gospel also contains one of the more interesting practices of joining the quotations of several prophets together. “Matthew 24:15–31 contains references to Dan. 11:31; 12:11; Dt. 13:1–3; Isa. 34:4; Dan. 7:13; Zech. 12:10; and Isa. 27:13.”(16) This is a long passage spoken by Christ where these prophecies are interwoven in a dialogue about his second coming referencing the scriptures they were familiar with as shown in historical writings.(17)

Mark

St Mark’s Gospel is less endowed with direct quotations from the Jewish scripture, namely as his main focus is on a “strong and clear narration of Christ’s miracles, emphasizing through them God’s heavenly greatness and omnipotence”(18). Mark does maintain the key Old Testament reference of John the Baptist as “The voice of one crying in the wilderness”(19) recalling the speech of the Prophet Isaiah.

In his response to criticism of His disciples by the Scribes and Pharisee’s Christ quotes the Prophet Isaiah also, bringing into question the amount of faith in their hearts as opposed to them “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.(20)”

In the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem prior to his passion, the people praise his arrival using the psalmody of their Jewish tradition. The praise in the verse “And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:”(21) coming straight from the Psalms. (22)

At his trial, answering the question of the high priest, the high priest asked him, and said unto him, “Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”(23), Christ answers directly “I am: hand ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”, (24) using the scriptural references to both Psalms (25) and Daniel (26) to place His authority.

The final complete quotation in Mark comes in the Lord’s final moments as he cries out “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?(27)” quoting the Psalms (28). This was recognized by those around him who mocked him believing he was calling Elijah.

Luke

In the Gospel of St Luke the direct quotations are not as lengthy than in Matthew or Mark, rather a one or two verses at most are generally used in this manner. (29) While St Luke was a convert to Judaism (30) he is very familiar with much of the canon of Hebrew scripture “were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms” (31).

The majority of quotations in Luke are inclosed in the speech of others, in fact all but the first three. (32) Not surprisingly Christ quotes a significant number of these starting with his rebuke of the devil during His temptation in the wilderness. (33)

Although Luke’s direct references are shorter and less prevalent than those in the first two Gospels, there is no shortage of allusion to the Old Testament which some have listed at 449, with this allusion in a first century Jewish context being none the less important than direct reference. (34)

Luke also carries the linkage between Christ and the “Wisdom of God” (35) in the Old Testament and firmly presents that by the allusions and references that announce and witness to Christ’s arrival and mission are proof of their divine ordination.(36)

Similar to Mark there is a direct quotation in the account of Christ’s final moments where the Lord cries out “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (37) as with the former a quote from the Psalms; asserting God’s plan for salvation and the voluntary nature of Christ’s death to fulfil this plan. (38)

John

The timeline of John’s Gospel differs from the others in that it starts with the pre-eternal birth of the Son of God39. These first seven verses in John parallel the creation story in the same location in the book of Genesis but giving these concurrent ideas a more elevated purpose in the New Testament.(40)

The closer the narrative of John’s Gospel moves towards Christ’s death on the Cross the greater the emphasis of the Old Testament reference to the fulfilment of scripture and significant stress on the notion that the rejection of Christ by the Jews strongly achieves this. (41)

The entry of the Lord into Jerusalem has direct quotation in John as in other Gospels, both in the manner of His entry42 and the praises from the people.(43)

When Christ encountered criticism from the Pharisees in the temple regarding Him bearing his own witness44 both parties reference the Jewish Tradition that no person may be a witness to their own works (45). The response of Jesus to this is rejection of the Pharisees judgment of Him as an ordinary man and the reference of His Father as the witness to His authority. (46)

Highlighting the fulfilment of prophecy

Both in the narration of the Gospel authors themselves and the quotations directly from Christ’s teachings Old Testament references are used to highlight the the fulfilment of Jewish prophecy in the words or actions of Christ. From the early references around Christ’s conception, as mentioned above, where the birthplace of the Messiah is shown to be that mentioned in Isaiah, not to mention Herod’s massacre, the Gospel author’s point out how these early events fulfil the Jewish “Messianic Hope”. (47) This highlighting of prophecy serves to highlight the revealing of the Messiah to His people.

One of the earliest open displays of Christ’s succumbing to the fulfilment of scripture comes at his Baptism at the Jordan. Despite St John the Baptists initial refusal to baptize him, 48Jesus insists “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil call righteousness. Then he suffered him.” (49) so that the essential nature of God’s determination is shown. (50)

Many examples of prophetic fulfilment have been outlined in the discussion of the Four Gospels above.

Revelation of Old Testament types

Scriptural references for the elaboration of typology are common in the Gospels (and indeed the remainder of the New Testament). In Christian theology these typological references are seen not only to maintain the original historical context but extend their significance greater than the Old Testament example alone. (51) Many of these typologies relate directly to Christ or His actions.

Christ is seen as the new Adam, with the first human being made in the image of the Word. (52) In Mark’s Gospel this is shown in the wild beasts acknowledging Christ’s sovereignty over them. (53) This typology is also alluded to by tradition by the location of the crucifixion as being that where the first human reposed (54).

In John’s Gospel the recounting of St John the Baptist’s proclamation of Christ as the “Lamb of God” links Him to the replacement of the sacrificial lamb of temple worship and the prophecy of Isaiah where the Messiah is “brought as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, So he openeth not his mouth”.(55) This rendition also types the lamb God calls Abraham to sacrifice in place of his son.(56)

There is also significant Davidic typology, particularly in the Gospel of John (57) where references to Psalms in which David is speaking are used. (58)

The revelation of the Old Testament types started in the Gospels then expands itself through the New Testament especially throughout the Pauline writings and the Apocalypse of John. (59)

Conclusion

Old Testament references occur frequently in the New Testament and particularly in the four Gospels. Even with the different objectives and audiences of the four different Gospels the use of Old Testament reference either by direct quotation or allusion is frequent whether by the recorded words and actions of Christ, the usage of the authors themselves or others with whom Christ and the Apostles interacted.

These references are critical to share in context the arrival of the Messiah with the people of the time, highlight the fulfilment of prophecy to them and to the generations to come and provides to this day a revelation of the Old Testament to the Church in light of Christ’s ministry on earth. The Church has recgnized this fullfillement with the sybolic usage of a man or angel (for Matthew), a lion (for Mark), an ox (for Luke) and an Eagle (for John) itself a reference to the “mysterious chariot seen by the prophet Ezekiel at the river Chebar”. (60)

Advertisements

Thursday of Clean Week – Fourth part of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete

Andrew_of_Crete

Thursday of the First Week

Ode 1

A Helper and a Protector has become salvation to me. This is my God, I will glorify Him. God of my fathers I will exalt Him for in glory was He glorified. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

O Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of all, take from me the heavy burden of sin, and in Your compassion forgive me.

I fall down before You, O Jesus, imploring Your mercy, for I have sinned against You. Take now from me the heavy burden of sin, and in Your mercy grant me tears of repentance.

Now is the time for repentance and I come to You, my Creator. Take from me the heavy burden of sin, and in Your compassion forgive me.

Having wasted my soul in evil habits, I am empty of the fruits of virtue and in great hunger. Therefore, I cry to You, my merciful Father, “Watch over me and have mercy on me”.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

In submitting to the laws of Christ, you renounced all uncontrollable lust and came to Him, piously adopting every virtue.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O Trinity above all essence and worshiped as One God, take from me the heavy burden of sin, and since You are compassionate, grant me tears of repentance.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Theotokos, hope and protection of those who sing to you, take from me the heavy burden of sin and as our pure Lady accept me as I repent.

Ode 2

See, see that I am God Who sent manna, Who made water to spring from the rock in ancient times for my people in the wilderness, by My right hand, and by My strength alone. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Lamech cried, “I have killed a man for wounding me, and a young man for hurting me!” How can you hear this, O my soul, and not tremble? For you too have polluted your flesh and defiled your inward being.

You, my soul, desire to build a tower as a fortress for your lusts, as the people of Babel erected a tower to increase their strength. But as He did with them, so will the Creator also overthrow your desires and shatter all your plans.

How well have I imitated those first murderers, Cain and Lamech! Through the desires of the flesh I have killed my soul as did Lamech a man, and my mind as once he did a young man. I have also murdered my body as did Cain his brother.

Long ago the Lord rained burning sulfur on the city of Sodom to consume its flagrant wickedness. But you, O my soul, have kindled within yourself the fires of hell which now are about to consume you!

I am wounded; I am pierced. See how the enemy’s arrows have sunk into my soul and body! See the bruises, the sores, and the mutilations which cause me to cry out, the wounds resulting from my own passions.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

O Mary, as you sank into the depths of sin you reached out to our merciful God, and as He once saved Peter on the water, He caught you, desiring in His love for mankind your conversion.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O God of all, I sing of You as one yet three in person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O most holy Theotokos, virgin alone praised everywhere, pray fervently that we may be saved.

Ode 3

Establish, O Lord, my unstable heart on the rock of Your commandments for only You are holy and the Lord. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Like Hagar the Egyptian long ago you, my soul, are by your own choice a slave and have given birth to a new Ishmael, your own stubbornness.

You know, my soul, of Jacob’s ladder that appeared from earth to heaven. Why then have you not held fast to the secure rung of piety?

Imitate Melchizedek; that image of the royal and priestly life of Christ.

Do not become a pillar of salt, O my soul, by turning back to what you have left behind; let the destruction of Sodom fill you with fear, and save yourself in the town of Zoar.

O Master, do not reject the prayers of those who praise You, but in Your love for mankind be merciful and grant forgiveness to all who ask in faith.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

One simple and uncreated nature without beginning Whom we praise as God in Trinity, save us who in faith worship Your power.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Without seed you gave birth in time to the timeless Son of the Father, O Theotokos, and, O strange wonder, you nourished Him at your breast while remaining a Virgin!

Ode 4

The prophet heard of Your coming, O Lord, and was afraid that You was to be born of a virgin and appear to men, and he said “I have heard the report of You and am afraid”; Glory to Your power, O Lord. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

My fleeting life is full of pain and wickedness, but accept me, O Lord, in repentance and allow me to behold Your presence. May the enemy never possess me; may I never fall prey to him. O Saviour, have mercy on me.

Job, once crowned and regally attired, abounding in both wealth and virtue, found himself suddenly a beggar, cut off from all his riches and the glory of the kingdom.

Job, whom God deemed more righteous and blameless than anyone else alive, did not escape the traps of the deceiver, so what will you do, O my sin-loving soul, if something unexpected befalls you?

Like the Pharisee I am boastful and my heart is cold; my life I have passed in vanity. O my merciful and righteous Judge, do not condemn me with him, but grant me the tax-collector’s humility and accept me.

I know, O merciful Lord, that I have sinned and corrupted the temple of my soul, but accept me in repentance and allow me to behold Your presence. May the enemy never possess me; may I never fall prey to him. O Saviour, have mercy on me.

I have become an idol to myself, and in passions have I injured my soul. But accept me now in repentance, O merciful Lord, and allow me to behold Your presence. May the enemy never possess me; may I never fall prey to him. O Saviour, have mercy on me.

I have never listened to Your words nor obeyed Your commands, O Lawgiver. But accept me in repentance and allow me to behold Your Presence. May the enemy never possess me; may I never fall prey to him. O Saviour, have mercy on me.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

The depths of sin to which you were dragged were unable to hold you captive. After careful reasoning you returned to safety in God through repentance, and in deeds you attained the heights of virtue beyond all expectation of the angels.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

I confess You as one God in Trinity, a single essence unconfused in persons, co-enthroned and co-ruling, and I sing to You, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

As a virgin you gave birth, and a virgin you remained by nature, your womb giving birth painlessly for He Who was born of you renewed the laws of nature, since when God wills its order is overthrown.

Ode 5

Out of the night watching early for You, enlighten me I pray, O Lover of man, and guide me in Your commandments, and teach me, O Saviour, to do Your will. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Imitate the desire of the crippled woman, O my powerless soul; come and fall down at Jesus’ feet and allow Him to heal you that your path may lead toward God.

As a deep well of living water, O Lord, pour upon me the rivers of life which flow from Your wounds. Let me like the Samaritan woman drink of them that I may thirst no more.

Let my tears, O Lord and Master, be for me a pool of Siloam in which to wash my spiritual senses hat I may see You, the Light which existed before time began.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

O blessed Mary, with unmatched fervor you longed to venerate the Tree of Life until your desire was granted. Help us now to be made worthy of attaining the heavenly glory.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

We glorify You, O Trinity, One in essence, and we praise and adore You forever, singing, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

God the Creator of all things became incarnate through you, O pure Virgin Mother, uniting our human nature to Himself.

Ode 6

With my whole heart, I cried unto the compassionate God, and He heard me; and He lifted up my soul from the depths of hell and from corruption. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

I am the lost coin bearing Your royal likeness, O Word. Therefore, light the lamp (which is John, Your Forerunner and Baptizer) to find and renew that which was created in Your image.

As Joshua subdued Amalek and the lying Gibbeonites, arise, O my soul, and subdue the weakness of your flesh, subduing everything which leads your mind astray.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

O Mary, a constant stream of tears fell from your eyes, extinguishing the flames of lust while setting your soul afire with love of God. Grant me, your servant, this grace of tears.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

Because you lived a heavenly life on earth, you were able to ignore the temptations of this world. Therefore, help those who praise you, that we may also be freed from temptation.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

“I AM the Trinity, simple and undivided in essence, yet divided in Persons. I AM also the Unity, united in nature,” says God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Your womb, O Theotokos, held God Who for our sakes took human form. Implore Him, the Creator of all, that through your prayers we may be justified.

Kontakion (Tone 6)

My soul, my soul, Arise! Why are you sleeping? The end is drawing near, and you will be confounded, awake then and be watchful hat Christ our God may spare you, Who is everywhere, and fillest all things.

Ode 7

We have sinned, transgressed, done wrong before You. We have not watched or done as You hast commanded us, but do not give us up utterly, O God of our fathers. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

My life is vanishing like a dream on waking. Therefore, like Hezekiah, I cry upon my bed, asking that years may be added to my life. But what Isaiah will help me, except the God of all?

I fall down before You, O Lord, offering my words as if they were tears, for no less than the prostitute have I sinned; I have transgressed as no one else on earth. But take pity on Your creature and restore to me Your mercy.

I have distorted Your image, O Saviour, and broken Your commands. The beauty of my soul has been spoiled and its light extinguished by my sins. But have pity on me and in David’s words, “Give me again the joy that comes from Your salvation”.

Return! Repent! Uncover what is hidden! Say to God Who knows all things, “You are my only Saviour and know my terrible secrets. Yet in David’s words, ‘Be merciful to me according to Your constant love.'”

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

You cried to the pure Mother of God and were freed from the deadly grip of sin, putting Satan your tempter to shame. Grant also to me, your servant, aid in times of trouble.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

God Whom you loved and for Whom you longed, Whose path you followed, O Mother, found you and granted you repentance in His compassion. Pray, therefore, that we may be freed from sin and adversity.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Simple and undivided, One in essence and nature, Light and Lights, One Holy and three Holies, God is praised as Trinity. So sing praises to Him, O my soul, and glorify the Life and Lives, the God of all.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

We praise you, we bless and venerate you, O Mother of God, for from the undivided Trinity you brought forth the only Son of God and restored to us on earth the heavenly realms.

Ode 8

Him Whom the hosts of heaven glorify, Whom the Cherubim and Seraphim dread, let every breath and creature praise, bless and magnify throughout all ages. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

As the prostitute broke her priceless jar of myrrh to anoint Your head, O Saviour, so do I weep before You with a broken and contrite heart. Hear my prayer; forgive and have mercy on me.

I am the first and greatest of sinners, O patient Saviour, but I cry to You in fear and love, “Though I have sinned against You alone, and done evil in Your sight, nevertheless have mercy on me!”

Spare me, O my Saviour, for I am the work of Your own hands. Seek me, Your lost sheep, O Good Shepherd, and deliver me from the jaws of the wolf including me as a lamb in Your royal fold.

O most-merciful Christ, when You ascend Your dread tribunal as judge, all of creation will be overcome with fear and tremble, for on that day Your glory will be revealed as a blazing fire.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

The mother of the never-ending Sun enlightened you and freed you from the darkness of your passions. Since now you rejoice in the grace of the Spirit, O Mary, illumine all who praise you in faith.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

Zosimas the Elder marveled meeting you, O Mother, for in you he saw an earthly angel. Filled with awe he praises Christ forever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O eternal Father, co-eternal Son, and gracious Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, O Father of the Divine Word, Word of the eternal Father, and life-creating Spirit, Trinity in unity, have mercy on us.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O pure Virgin, the flesh of Emmanuel was formed within your womb as a robe of royal crimson in spun from scarlet silk. We proclaim you to be truly the Mother of our God.

Ode 9

Ineffable is the child bearing of a seedless conception, a mother remaining pure. For the birth of God renews nature, so in all ages we magnify you as mother and bride of God. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Have pity on me, O Son of David, Who by Your word cured a man possessed by a demon. Let me also hear Your compassionate promise to the thief, “You will be with Me in Paradise when I return in My glory!”

Two thieves were crucified beside You, O Christ. The one abused You while the other confessed You to be God. O most merciful Lord open to me the doors of Your glorious kingdom as You did to the believing thief.

Creation shook beholding Your crucifixion, O Jesus. The mountains and rocks split in fear; the earth quaked and Hell surrendered its prisoners. The sky grew dark at midday seeing You nailed in the flesh to a cross.

O only Saviour, do not require of me in my weakness fruits which will show that I have changed my ways. Grant rather that finding contrition of heart and poverty in spirit, I may offer these to You as a pleasing sacrifice.

Since You know me, O my Judge, look on me in compassion when You come to judge the whole world. Spare and have mercy on me, though I have sinned more than any other.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

O Mary, you overcame the flesh and lived as though bodiless, crossing the River Jordan unhampered by your body. Your wondrous life is an amazement to the ranks both of angels and men.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

O venerable Mother, intercede with the Creator that we who sing your praises may be delivered from the afflictions and sorrows which surround us. That being delivered form temptations we may unceasingly glorify the Lord Who has glorified you.

O holy Father Andrew, pray to God for us.

O honourable Andrew, thrice blessed father and pastor of Crete, never cease praying to God for those who sing your praises, that He may deliver from anger, sorrow, corruption, and countless sins all of us who faithfully honour your memory.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

We glorify the Father, we exalt the Son, and we worship the Holy Spirit, the indivisible Trinity Who exists as One, the Light and Lights, the Life and Lives Who grants light and life to the ends of the world.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O purest Mother of God, preserve your people, for through you are we kept faithful, strengthened, and made able to overcome every temptation, trial and tribulation.

Conception without seed, birth past understanding from a mother who never knew a man, child bearing undefiled, for nature is renewed by the birth of God. Therefore with true worship all generation magnify you as mother and bride of God.

Wednesday of Clean Week – Third part of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete

Andrew_of_Crete

Wednesday of the First Week

Ode 1

A Helper and a Protector has become salvation to me. This is my God, I will glorify Him. God of my fathers I will exalt Him for in glory was He glorified. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

From my youth, O Saviour, I have disregarded Your commandments and passed my life in passions and laziness. but now I cry to You, “Even at the end, save me!”

O Saviour, do not cast me down to hell, even though in old age I lie at Your gate empty of virtue. But in Your love for mankind forgive my sins before I die.

My soul has been wasted in evil habits, and now empty of the fruits of virtue I am in great hunger. Therefore, I cry to You, O merciful Father, “Watch over me and have mercy on me”.

My own thoughts like thieves have attacked me, wounding me and covering me with sores. Come now, O Christ my Saviour, to heal me.

A priest was the first to see me naked and in dreadful condition, but he passed by on the opposite side of the road. Then a Levite came but he too ignored me. O Jesus, Who dawned on the world from Mary, come now Yourself and have pity on me.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

Grant me the brightness of grace from Divine Providence, O Mary, that escaping the darkness of passions I may eagerly sing of your blessed conversion.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O Trinity above all essence and worshiped as One God, take from me the heavy burden of sin, and since You are compassionate, grant me tears of repentance.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Theotokos, hope and protection of those who sing to you, take from me the heavy burden of sin and as our pure Lady accept me as I repent.

Ode 2

Attend O heaven and I will speak, I will sing of Christ, Who from the Virgin took flesh to dwell with us. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Like David stealing Bathsheba, I have fallen and become polluted through passions. O Saviour, cleanse me in my tears.

I have no tears, no repentance, and no compunction, O my God and Saviour, grant these to me!

I lie naked, having torn the garment, which my Creator fashioned for me in the beginning.

Despite their calling to the Bridegroom, “Lord, Lord, let us in,” the foolish virgins found the door to the feast still locked to them. Yet like them will I entreat You, O Lord, “Open Your door to me as I return”.

O Saviour, hear the sighing of my soul. Accept the tears, which drop from my eyes and save me.

O Lover of mankind Whose wish it is that all be saved, in Your goodness receive me as I return to You.

“See, see that I AM God!”, hear this cry of our Lord, O my soul, and turn from your past sins. Fear Him as the righteous Lord, your Judge and your God.

My soul, truly have you come to resemble those first two murderers, Cain and his descendent Lamech; for you have stoned your body with evil deeds and murdered your inward being with senseless passions.

Let us consider those who lived before the Law was given, Adam’s son Seth and his son Enoch; Enoch, who pleasing God was carried up to heaven; and Noah, called “the only good man of his time”. Have you imitated any of these, O my soul? Is there any righteousness to be found in you?

My soul, you alone have opened the flood-gates of God’s wrath anew, and as the earth was covered with water long ago, so have your flesh, your deeds, your whole life become covered with sin, and you remain outside the ark of salvation.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

You overturned your life of sin, O Mary, and eagerly ran to Christ, following His path through a pathless wilderness. And in purity and love you fulfilled His commands.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O God of all, I sing of You as One yet three in Person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O most holy Theotokos, Virgin alone praised everywhere, pray fervently that we may be saved.

Ode 3

Establish, O Lord, my unstable heart on the rock of Your commandments for only You are holy and the Lord. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

You have neither inherited a blessing like Shem, O my wretched soul, nor like Japhet acquired vast possessions in the land of forgiveness.

Come out from sin, O my soul, as Abraham once came out of the land of Haran. Come to the land flowing with everlasting incorruption, which he inherited.

Having heard, O my soul, how Abraham left the land of his ancestors to become a wanderer, imitate his resolution.

At the Oak of Mamre the Patriarch Abraham offered hospitality to angels, and in his old age inherited the prize of God’s promise.

O my wretched soul, knowing Isaac to be a new sacrifice mystically offered to the Lord, imitate also his resolution.

Having heard of Ishmael who as the child of a slave was driven out, watch carefully, O my soul, lest the same befall you because of your slavery to the passions.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

I am caught in a storm and tossed about by sin, O Mother, but guide me through and lead me to the safe harbour of repentance.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

As I now offer my supplications before the compassionate Theotokos, intercede with her before God for me, O venerable Mary of Egypt, that He may open to me the way to His Kingdom.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

One simple and uncreated nature without beginning Whom we praise as God in Trinity, save us who in faith worship Your power.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Without seed you gave birth in time to the timeless Son of the Father, O Theotokos, and, O strange wonder, you nourished Him at your breast while remaining a virgin!

Ode 4

The prophet heard of Your coming, O Lord, and was afraid that You was to be born of a virgin and appear to men, and he said “I have heard the report of You and am afraid”; Glory to Your power, O Lord. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

My body is defiled, and my spirit is impure. I am covered with sores. But as our Physician, O Christ, wash, heal and cleanse me in repentance to make me whiter than show.

You offered Your body and blood for all, O crucified Word, that I might be renewed and washed. You surrendered Your Spirit to the Father that I might be brought to Him.

Accepting voluntarily to be nailed to a Tree, You accomplished salvation in the centre of the earth, O Creator. Eden, which had been closed to us is open again, and all of creation, both in heaven and on earth, is saved and worships You.

Let the blood and water which flowed from Your side be a fountain of living water and deliverance from captivity to sin. May they cleanse, refresh and anoint me as do Your living words, O Word.

Cast out of the banquet for lack of clothes fitting to wear, I awoke with empty lamp like the foolish virgins to find the door to the bridal chamber also closed to me. The supper is eaten but I lay cast out, bound tightly hand and foot.

The Church has been given Your life creating side as a chalice, O Saviour, from which to drink both deliverance and wisdom, which we understand as images of the two Testaments, both Old and New.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

I confess You as One God in Trinity, a single essence unconfused in Persons, co-enthroned and co-ruling. And I sing to You, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

As a virgin you gave birth, and a virgin you remained by nature, your womb giving birth painlessly, for He Who was born of you renewed the laws of nature, since when God wills its order is overthrown.

Ode 5

Out of the night watching early for You, enlighten me I pray, O Lover of man, and guide me in Your commandments, and teach me, O Saviour, to do Your will. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Like Jannes and Jambres, the magicians in service to Pharaoh who opposed Moses, I have opposed You, O Lord, and become burdened in body and soul. My mind has fallen into grief. Come now to help me.

I am in a hopeless state, O Lord, for my mind finds attraction in corruption. Cleanse me now in my tears to make the garment of my flesh whiter than snow.

In considering my deeds, O Saviour, I see that in sin I surpass all people, for the wrong I commit is done knowingly rather than in ignorance.

Spare me Your creature, O Lord, for I have sinned yet now seek forgiveness from you, for You alone are pure by nature; no one else is free from defilement.

Because of Your love for mankind, O Saviour, You became incarnate and worked miracles, healing lepers, freeing paralytics, and stopping a woman’s severe bleeding at just the touch of your robe.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

You found peace, O Mother Mary, after crossing the Jordan River, for the soul-destroying pleasures enjoyed a deserted place to roam. Now by your prayers deliver us also from these evil pleasures.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

We glorify You, O Trinity, One in essence, and we praise and adore You forever, singing. “Holy! Holy! Holy!” Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

God, the Creator of all things, became incarnate through you, O Pure Virgin Mother, uniting our human nature to Himself.

Ode 6

With my whole heart, I cried unto the compassionate God, and He heard me; and He lifted up my soul from the depths of hell and from corruption. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

As Joshua subdued Amalek and the lying Gibbeonites, arise, O my soul, and subdue the weakness of your flesh, conquering everything which leads your mind astray.

Pass through the River of Time as once the Covenant Box crossed the River Jordan, to take possession of the Promised Land in obedience to God’s command.

As once You heard Peter’s cry for help, so now protect me, O Saviour, and deliver me from Satan’s power by pulling me from the depth of sin.

I know You as a clam haven from the storm of transgressions, O Christ my Saviour. Protect and deliver me from the depths of my innermost sin and despair.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

“I AM the Trinity, simple and undivided in essence, yet divided in Persons. I AM also the Unity, united in nature,” says God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Your womb, O Theotokos, held God Who for our sakes took human form. Implore Him, the Creator of all, that through your prayers we may be justified.

Kontakion (Tone 6)

My soul, my soul, Arise! Why are you sleeping? The end is drawing near, and you will be confounded, awake then and be watchful that Christ our God may spare you, Who is everywhere, and fills all things.

Ode 7

We have sinned, transgressed, done wrong before You. We have not watched or done as You have commanded us, but do not give us up utterly, O God of our fathers. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Manasseh sinned of his own choice, setting up his lust as idols and increasing the abomination of false gods in Israel. Later, however, he repented and humbled himself before the Lord. Emulate his return, O my soul, and acquire compunction.

Ahab did more to arouse God’s anger than all the kings of Israel before him, yet you are his rival in sin, O my soul. Cry out now with your whole heart, confessing your sins to God.

Heaven is shut to you, O my soul; a famine sent from God has laid hold of you as it once did Ahab for disobeying Elijah the Tishbite. But imitate how the woman of Zarepath who by feeding the prophet alone received food by a miracle.

Elijah once called down fire on Jezebel’s troops and killed her shameful prophets as a rebuke for Ahab’s idolatry. Avoid al likeness to these two, O my soul, and strive to discipline yourself.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Simple and undivided, One in essence and nature, Light and Lights, One Holy and three Holies, God is praised as Trinity. So sing praises to Him, O my soul, and glorify the Life and Lives, the God of all.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

We praise you, we bless and venerate you, O Mother of God, for from the undivided Trinity you brought forth the only Son of God and restored to us on earth the heavenly realms.

Ode 8

Him Whom the hosts of heaven glorify, Whom the Cherubim and Seraphim dread, let every breath and creature praise, bless and magnify throughout all ages. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

O my righteous Judge and Saviour, have mercy on me! Deliver me from eternal fire and the sentence of condemnation, which I so justly deserve. Grant that by repentance and increase of virtue I may obtain forgiveness before it is too late.

With the thief I cry to You, “Remember me!” Like Peter I weep bitterly, “Forgive me, O Lord!” Receive my broken spirit as once You accepted the tax-collector’s prayer and the prostitute’s tears. The ceaseless entreaty of the Canaanite woman moved You to compassion, so have mercy on me as well, O Lord.

Heal my corrupt life, my only Saviour and Physician. Pour out Your grace on my heart like the good Samaritan’s ointments, that with Your help I may bear the fruits which will show that I have changed. Then all my wounds of sin shall be healed.

Like the Canaanite woman I cry to You, “Have mercy on me, O Son of David!” Like the woman with severe bleeding I touch the hem of Your robe, and like Mary and Martha over Lazarus, I weep before You.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O eternal Father, co-eternal Son, and gracious Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, O Father of the Divine Word, Word of the eternal Father, and life creating Spirit, Trinity in unity, have mercy on us.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O pure Virgin, the flesh of Emmanuel was formed within your womb as a robe of royal crimson in spun from scarlet silk. We proclaim you to be truly the Mother of our God.

Ode 9

Ineffable is the child bearing of a seedless conception, a mother remaining pure. For the birth of God renews nature, so in all ages we magnify you as mother and bride of God. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Christ the Word healed diseases, preached the Good News to the poor and cured cripples. He ate with tax collectors, spoke with outcasts, and by just the touch of His hand recalled Jairus’ daughter from death.

By repenting the tax collector was saved and the prostitute purified, but the outwardly righteous Pharisee was condemned for his pride. For the first cried, “O God, be merciful to me!” The second entreated mercy. But the last in his foolish vanity simply sought to justify himself.

Zacchaeus was a tax-collector yet obtained salvation, while Simon the Pharisee was saddened by the kindness Christ showed a prostitute, for she received complete forgiveness of her sins from Him Who has power to grant this. Now my soul imitate her and receive the same yourself.

O my soul, you have not imitated the prostitute who having washed the Saviour’s feet with her tears and anointed them with perfumed ointment from a costly jar. For this the Lord proclaimed to her, “Go in peace. Your sins are forgiven, for your faith has saved you”.

O my soul, you know the curse upon the towns which hearing Christ’s preaching of the Good News refused to accept it. Fear lest the same happen to you, for comparing them to Sodom, the Master condemned them to hell.

O my soul, do not despair, for have you not heard how the daughter of the Canaanite woman was healed by a word from God? Therefore, imitate her faith and cry out to Christ from the depths of your heart, “O Son of David save me!”

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

We glorify the Father, we exalt the Son, and we worship the Holy Spirit, the indivisible Trinity Who exists as One, the Light and Lights, the Life and Lives Who grants light and life to the ends of the world.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O purest Mother of God, preserve your people, for through you are we kept faithful, strengthened, and made able to overcome every temptation, trial and tribulation.

O holy Father Andrew, pray to God for us.

O Honourable Andrew, thrice-blessed Father and pastor of Crete, never cease praying to God for those who sing your praises, that He may deliver from anger, sorrow, corruption, and countless sins all of us who faithfully honour your memory.

Conception without seed, birth past understanding from a mother who never knew a man, child bearing undefiled, for nature is renewed by the birth of God. Therefore with true worship all generation magnify you as mother and bride of God.

Aug 25 / Sept 7 – Parable of the wicked husbandmen

4

33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? [Matthew 21:33-42 KJV]

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

How often do we remember God in our daily activities? How often do we take into account the will of God for our lives when we make decisions or react poorly to the actions of others? In the current world climate we have waves of violence being inflicted on others and their lives turned upside down in the name of progress, democracy, a religious state or just plain greed. We may all see this and cry out, share statements on social media and complain around the water cooler. But what do we do in our own lives?

No doubt we react as the world does, sternly and with a “proportional response”. We have forgotten the spirit of our WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) wristbands that are now lost in a drawer or keeping some important papers nicely rolled up. Most likely we would give into our passions and take wild offense, lashing out and playing the victim.

In this weeks Sunday Gospel, we see in parable form quite the opposite. We are brought to a “householder” that has built a winery and let it out to a group to manage. This was not a bare patch of earth, but a fully planted vineyard with all the facilities necessary to protect the harvest and cultivate it for the future. The “husbandmen” had been provided for in every way, their only task for the agreement they had made was to share the first fruits with the overseer and make a successful living.

Twice this householder sent servants and they were beaten and slain. Then his son was sent and again, at the thought of taking over the inheritance the wicked men took the son outside the vineyard and murdered him.

St John Chrysostom, in his homily #68 on Matthew, shares with us the rich typology of the householder with that of God’s relationship with Israel; Christ is speaking to many including Chief Priests in the temple [Matt 21:23], learned Jews who knew the scripture and presented to them a situation as had been given them as they left Egypt for the promised land, ” planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower” little was left for them to do but tend as stewards and worship. They were sent prophets to guide them and to share with them the word of the Lord, but like the servants in the parable they met often with criticism, distrust and an unpleasant ending.

And “He sent His servants,” that is, the prophets, “to receive the fruit;” that is, their obedience, the proof of it by their works. But they even here showed their wickedness, not only by failing to give the fruit, after having enjoyed so much care, which was the sign of idleness, but also by showing anger towards them that came. For they that had not to give when they owed, should not have been indignant, nor angry, but should have entreated. But they not only were indignant, but even filled their hands with blood, and while deserving punishment, themselves inflicted punishment. [St John Chrysostom Homily 68 on Matthew]

The typology here is evident, down to the taking of the “son” outside of the vineyard to be slain.

What will we do when God comes to ask us for our “first fruits”? Will we have offered him our prayer and worship? Will we have taken care for our neighbour and fed the hungry?Rather than a rubber band that is now in our drawer somewhere let us inscribe Christ in our hearts with prayer and repentance and look for His image in all we meet.

Glory to Jesus Christ

Orthodoxy 101 Boot Camp – story of journey

In my regular hunt on youtube for something spiritually satisfying and nothing to do with cats playing tricks I discovered a number of catechetical lectures. This video below is part of a seven part boot camp which is an introduction to the Orthodox Faith by Fr. Barnabas, the parish priest at Sts. Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene Greek Orthodox Church in Cumming, GA.

I have not finished watching all six videos, however, this introductory one struck me quite heavily as Father Barnabas began with his journey to Orthodoxy. While my own journey was not as flamboyant and did not contain any Benny Hinn references (except when I picked the wrong channel early in the morning) the feeling of something deeper than pinnacle points of being “saved” and a lack of rhythm were revealing of similarities in my own confusion as a Christian through to my early 20’s.

Recommended. You can find the entire series here.

Readings for the feast of the Annunciation

annunciation

VESPERS

A READING FROM GENESIS
Jacob went forth from the well of the oath, and departed into Haran. And he came to a certain place, and slept there, for the sun had gone down; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it at his head, and lay down to sleep in that place, and dreamed: and behold a ladder fixed on the earth, whose top reached to heaven, and the angels of God ascended and descended on it. And the Lord stood upon it, and said: “I am the God of thy father Abraham, and the God of Isaac. Fear not; the land on which thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be like the sand of the earth; and it shall spread abroad to the sea, and the south. and the north, and the east; and in thee and in thy seed shall all tribes of the earth be blessed. And behold I am with thee to preserve thee continually in all the way wherein thou shalt go; and I will bring thee back to this land; for I will not desert thee, until I have done all that I have said to thee.” And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and said: “The Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.” And he was afraid, and sad: “How fearful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

A READING FROM THE PROPHECY OF EZEKIEL

Thus saith the Lord: “It shall come to pass from the eighth day and onward, that the priests shall offer your wholeburnt-offerings on the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you,” saith the Lord. Then He brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary that faceth eastward; and it was shut. And the
Lord said to me: “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall pass through it; for the Lord God of Israel shall enter by it, and it shall be shut. For the Prince, He shall sit in it, to eat bread before the Lord; He shall go in by the way of the porch of the gate, and shall go forth by the way of the same.” And He brought me in by the way of the gate that faceth northward, in front of the house: and I looked, and, behold! the house was full of the glory of the Lord.

A READING FROM PROVERBS

Wisdom hath built a house for herself and set up seven pillars. She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine in a bowl and prepared her table. She hath sent forth her servants, calling with a loud proclamation to the feast, saying: “Whoso is foolish, let him turn aside to me.” And to those who want understanding, she saith: “Come, eat of my bread, and drink wine which I have mingled for you. Leave folly, that ye may reign forever; and seek wisdom, and improve understanding by knowledge.” He that reproveth evil men shall get dishonor to himself; and he that rebuke an ungodly man shall disgrace himself. Rebuke not evil men, lest they should hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give an opportunity to a wise man, and he will be wiser: instruct a just man, and he will receive more instruction. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the counsel of the law is the character of a sound mind. For in this way thou shalt live long, and years of thy life shall be added to thee.

A READING FROM EXODUS

Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he brought the sheep nigh to the wilderness, and came to the Mount of Horeb. And an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the bush, and he saw that the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. And Moses said: “I will go near and see this great sight, why the bush is not consumed.” And when the Lord saw that he drew nigh to see, the Lord called him out of the bush, saying: “Moses, Moses!” And he said: “What is it?” And He said: “Draw not nigh hither: loose thy sandals from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” And He said: “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses turned away his face, for he was afraid to gaze at God. And the Lord said to Moses: “I have surely seen the affliction of My people that is in Egypt, and I have heard their cry caused by their taskmasters; for I know their affliction. And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land, and to bring them into a good and wide land, into a land flowing with milk and honey.”

A READING FROM PROVERBS

The Lord hath made me the beginning of His ways for His works. He established me before time was in the beginning, before He made the earth: even before He made the depths; before the fountains of water came forth; before the mountains were settled, and all the hills, He begetteth me. The Lord made countries and deserts, and the highest inhabited parts under the heavens. When He prepared heaven, I was present with Him; and when He prepared His throne upon the winds, and when He strengthened the clouds above, and when He secured the fountains of the earth, and when He strengthened the foundations of the earth: I was by Him, arranging all things. I was that in which He took delight; and daily I rejoiced in His presence continually.

MATINS

LUKE ch 1 v 39-49, 56
And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; and entered into the house of Zechariah, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo! as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

LITURGY

HEBREWS ch 2 v 11-18
Brethren: He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause who is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.

LUKE ch 1 v 24-38
In those days, Elizabeth, the wife of Zachariah, conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Thursday of Clean Week – Fourth part of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete

Andrew_of_Crete

Thursday of the First Week

Ode 1

A Helper and a Protector has become salvation to me. This is my God, I will glorify Him. God of my fathers I will exalt Him for in glory was He glorified. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

O Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of all, take from me the heavy burden of sin, and in Your compassion forgive me.

I fall down before You, O Jesus, imploring Your mercy, for I have sinned against You. Take now from me the heavy burden of sin, and in Your mercy grant me tears of repentance.

Now is the time for repentance and I come to You, my Creator. Take from me the heavy burden of sin, and in Your compassion forgive me.

Having wasted my soul in evil habits, I am empty of the fruits of virtue and in great hunger. Therefore, I cry to You, my merciful Father, “Watch over me and have mercy on me”.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

In submitting to the laws of Christ, you renounced all uncontrollable lust and came to Him, piously adopting every virtue.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O Trinity above all essence and worshiped as One God, take from me the heavy burden of sin, and since You are compassionate, grant me tears of repentance.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Theotokos, hope and protection of those who sing to you, take from me the heavy burden of sin and as our pure Lady accept me as I repent.

Ode 2

See, see that I am God Who sent manna, Who made water to spring from the rock in ancient times for my people in the wilderness, by My right hand, and by My strength alone. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Lamech cried, “I have killed a man for wounding me, and a young man for hurting me!” How can you hear this, O my soul, and not tremble? For you too have polluted your flesh and defiled your inward being.

You, my soul, desire to build a tower as a fortress for your lusts, as the people of Babel erected a tower to increase their strength. But as He did with them, so will the Creator also overthrow your desires and shatter all your plans.

How well have I imitated those first murderers, Cain and Lamech! Through the desires of the flesh I have killed my soul as did Lamech a man, and my mind as once he did a young man. I have also murdered my body as did Cain his brother.

Long ago the Lord rained burning sulfur on the city of Sodom to consume its flagrant wickedness. But you, O my soul, have kindled within yourself the fires of hell which now are about to consume you!

I am wounded; I am pierced. See how the enemy’s arrows have sunk into my soul and body! See the bruises, the sores, and the mutilations which cause me to cry out, the wounds resulting from my own passions.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

O Mary, as you sank into the depths of sin you reached out to our merciful God, and as He once saved Peter on the water, He caught you, desiring in His love for mankind your conversion.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O God of all, I sing of You as one yet three in person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O most holy Theotokos, virgin alone praised everywhere, pray fervently that we may be saved.

Ode 3

Establish, O Lord, my unstable heart on the rock of Your commandments for only You are holy and the Lord. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Like Hagar the Egyptian long ago you, my soul, are by your own choice a slave and have given birth to a new Ishmael, your own stubbornness.

You know, my soul, of Jacob’s ladder that appeared from earth to heaven. Why then have you not held fast to the secure rung of piety?

Imitate Melchizedek; that image of the royal and priestly life of Christ.

Do not become a pillar of salt, O my soul, by turning back to what you have left behind; let the destruction of Sodom fill you with fear, and save yourself in the town of Zoar.

O Master, do not reject the prayers of those who praise You, but in Your love for mankind be merciful and grant forgiveness to all who ask in faith.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

One simple and uncreated nature without beginning Whom we praise as God in Trinity, save us who in faith worship Your power.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Without seed you gave birth in time to the timeless Son of the Father, O Theotokos, and, O strange wonder, you nourished Him at your breast while remaining a Virgin!

Ode 4

The prophet heard of Your coming, O Lord, and was afraid that You was to be born of a virgin and appear to men, and he said “I have heard the report of You and am afraid”; Glory to Your power, O Lord. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

My fleeting life is full of pain and wickedness, but accept me, O Lord, in repentance and allow me to behold Your presence. May the enemy never possess me; may I never fall prey to him. O Saviour, have mercy on me.

Job, once crowned and regally attired, abounding in both wealth and virtue, found himself suddenly a beggar, cut off from all his riches and the glory of the kingdom.

Job, whom God deemed more righteous and blameless than anyone else alive, did not escape the traps of the deceiver, so what will you do, O my sin-loving soul, if something unexpected befalls you?

Like the Pharisee I am boastful and my heart is cold; my life I have passed in vanity. O my merciful and righteous Judge, do not condemn me with him, but grant me the tax-collector’s humility and accept me.

I know, O merciful Lord, that I have sinned and corrupted the temple of my soul, but accept me in repentance and allow me to behold Your presence. May the enemy never possess me; may I never fall prey to him. O Saviour, have mercy on me.

I have become an idol to myself, and in passions have I injured my soul. But accept me now in repentance, O merciful Lord, and allow me to behold Your presence. May the enemy never possess me; may I never fall prey to him. O Saviour, have mercy on me.

I have never listened to Your words nor obeyed Your commands, O Lawgiver. But accept me in repentance and allow me to behold Your Presence. May the enemy never possess me; may I never fall prey to him. O Saviour, have mercy on me.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

The depths of sin to which you were dragged were unable to hold you captive. After careful reasoning you returned to safety in God through repentance, and in deeds you attained the heights of virtue beyond all expectation of the angels.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

I confess You as one God in Trinity, a single essence unconfused in persons, co-enthroned and co-ruling, and I sing to You, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

As a virgin you gave birth, and a virgin you remained by nature, your womb giving birth painlessly for He Who was born of you renewed the laws of nature, since when God wills its order is overthrown.

Ode 5

Out of the night watching early for You, enlighten me I pray, O Lover of man, and guide me in Your commandments, and teach me, O Saviour, to do Your will. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Imitate the desire of the crippled woman, O my powerless soul; come and fall down at Jesus’ feet and allow Him to heal you that your path may lead toward God.

As a deep well of living water, O Lord, pour upon me the rivers of life which flow from Your wounds. Let me like the Samaritan woman drink of them that I may thirst no more.

Let my tears, O Lord and Master, be for me a pool of Siloam in which to wash my spiritual senses hat I may see You, the Light which existed before time began.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

O blessed Mary, with unmatched fervor you longed to venerate the Tree of Life until your desire was granted. Help us now to be made worthy of attaining the heavenly glory.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

We glorify You, O Trinity, One in essence, and we praise and adore You forever, singing, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

God the Creator of all things became incarnate through you, O pure Virgin Mother, uniting our human nature to Himself.

Ode 6

With my whole heart, I cried unto the compassionate God, and He heard me; and He lifted up my soul from the depths of hell and from corruption. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

I am the lost coin bearing Your royal likeness, O Word. Therefore, light the lamp (which is John, Your Forerunner and Baptizer) to find and renew that which was created in Your image.

As Joshua subdued Amalek and the lying Gibbeonites, arise, O my soul, and subdue the weakness of your flesh, subduing everything which leads your mind astray.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

O Mary, a constant stream of tears fell from your eyes, extinguishing the flames of lust while setting your soul afire with love of God. Grant me, your servant, this grace of tears.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

Because you lived a heavenly life on earth, you were able to ignore the temptations of this world. Therefore, help those who praise you, that we may also be freed from temptation.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

“I AM the Trinity, simple and undivided in essence, yet divided in Persons. I AM also the Unity, united in nature,” says God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Your womb, O Theotokos, held God Who for our sakes took human form. Implore Him, the Creator of all, that through your prayers we may be justified.

Kontakion (Tone 6)

My soul, my soul, Arise! Why are you sleeping? The end is drawing near, and you will be confounded, awake then and be watchful hat Christ our God may spare you, Who is everywhere, and fillest all things.

Ode 7

We have sinned, transgressed, done wrong before You. We have not watched or done as You hast commanded us, but do not give us up utterly, O God of our fathers. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

My life is vanishing like a dream on waking. Therefore, like Hezekiah, I cry upon my bed, asking that years may be added to my life. But what Isaiah will help me, except the God of all?

I fall down before You, O Lord, offering my words as if they were tears, for no less than the prostitute have I sinned; I have transgressed as no one else on earth. But take pity on Your creature and restore to me Your mercy.

I have distorted Your image, O Saviour, and broken Your commands. The beauty of my soul has been spoiled and its light extinguished by my sins. But have pity on me and in David’s words, “Give me again the joy that comes from Your salvation”.

Return! Repent! Uncover what is hidden! Say to God Who knows all things, “You are my only Saviour and know my terrible secrets. Yet in David’s words, ‘Be merciful to me according to Your constant love.'”

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

You cried to the pure Mother of God and were freed from the deadly grip of sin, putting Satan your tempter to shame. Grant also to me, your servant, aid in times of trouble.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

God Whom you loved and for Whom you longed, Whose path you followed, O Mother, found you and granted you repentance in His compassion. Pray, therefore, that we may be freed from sin and adversity.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Simple and undivided, One in essence and nature, Light and Lights, One Holy and three Holies, God is praised as Trinity. So sing praises to Him, O my soul, and glorify the Life and Lives, the God of all.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

We praise you, we bless and venerate you, O Mother of God, for from the undivided Trinity you brought forth the only Son of God and restored to us on earth the heavenly realms.

Ode 8

Him Whom the hosts of heaven glorify, Whom the Cherubim and Seraphim dread, let every breath and creature praise, bless and magnify throughout all ages. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

As the prostitute broke her priceless jar of myrrh to anoint Your head, O Saviour, so do I weep before You with a broken and contrite heart. Hear my prayer; forgive and have mercy on me.

I am the first and greatest of sinners, O patient Saviour, but I cry to You in fear and love, “Though I have sinned against You alone, and done evil in Your sight, nevertheless have mercy on me!”

Spare me, O my Saviour, for I am the work of Your own hands. Seek me, Your lost sheep, O Good Shepherd, and deliver me from the jaws of the wolf including me as a lamb in Your royal fold.

O most-merciful Christ, when You ascend Your dread tribunal as judge, all of creation will be overcome with fear and tremble, for on that day Your glory will be revealed as a blazing fire.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

The mother of the never-ending Sun enlightened you and freed you from the darkness of your passions. Since now you rejoice in the grace of the Spirit, O Mary, illumine all who praise you in faith.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

Zosimas the Elder marveled meeting you, O Mother, for in you he saw an earthly angel. Filled with awe he praises Christ forever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O eternal Father, co-eternal Son, and gracious Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, O Father of the Divine Word, Word of the eternal Father, and life-creating Spirit, Trinity in unity, have mercy on us.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O pure Virgin, the flesh of Emmanuel was formed within your womb as a robe of royal crimson in spun from scarlet silk. We proclaim you to be truly the Mother of our God.

Ode 9

Ineffable is the child bearing of a seedless conception, a mother remaining pure. For the birth of God renews nature, so in all ages we magnify you as mother and bride of God. Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy on us.

Have pity on me, O Son of David, Who by Your word cured a man possessed by a demon. Let me also hear Your compassionate promise to the thief, “You will be with Me in Paradise when I return in My glory!”

Two thieves were crucified beside You, O Christ. The one abused You while the other confessed You to be God. O most merciful Lord open to me the doors of Your glorious kingdom as You did to the believing thief.

Creation shook beholding Your crucifixion, O Jesus. The mountains and rocks split in fear; the earth quaked and Hell surrendered its prisoners. The sky grew dark at midday seeing You nailed in the flesh to a cross.

O only Saviour, do not require of me in my weakness fruits which will show that I have changed my ways. Grant rather that finding contrition of heart and poverty in spirit, I may offer these to You as a pleasing sacrifice.

Since You know me, O my Judge, look on me in compassion when You come to judge the whole world. Spare and have mercy on me, though I have sinned more than any other.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

O Mary, you overcame the flesh and lived as though bodiless, crossing the River Jordan unhampered by your body. Your wondrous life is an amazement to the ranks both of angels and men.

O venerable Mary of Egypt, pray to God for us.

O venerable Mother, intercede with the Creator that we who sing your praises may be delivered from the afflictions and sorrows which surround us. That being delivered form temptations we may unceasingly glorify the Lord Who has glorified you.

O holy Father Andrew, pray to God for us.

O honourable Andrew, thrice blessed father and pastor of Crete, never cease praying to God for those who sing your praises, that He may deliver from anger, sorrow, corruption, and countless sins all of us who faithfully honour your memory.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

We glorify the Father, we exalt the Son, and we worship the Holy Spirit, the indivisible Trinity Who exists as One, the Light and Lights, the Life and Lives Who grants light and life to the ends of the world.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O purest Mother of God, preserve your people, for through you are we kept faithful, strengthened, and made able to overcome every temptation, trial and tribulation.

Conception without seed, birth past understanding from a mother who never knew a man, child bearing undefiled, for nature is renewed by the birth of God. Therefore with true worship all generation magnify you as mother and bride of God.