O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Either Produce The Body or Worship The Risen Lord

I love these antiphons. They make me laugh every time they come up at Sunday Matins every eight weeks:

Matins, At the Praises, Tone 2:
Let the Jews tell how the soldiers lost the King they were guarding. * Why then did the stone not guard the Rock of Life? * Let them either produce the body or worship the risen Lord, * exclaiming together with us: * 'Glory to the multitude of Thy mercies: * O Saviour, glory be to Thee!'.

In truth, O wicked ones, * by sealing the tomb you have granted us a greater wonder; * for the guards having complete knowledge of what took place were compelled by you to say * "while we slept the Disciples came and stole him". * And who would steal a corpse, especially one that is naked? * But He hath arisen by His own authority as God, * leaving behind His grave-clothes in the tomb. * Come, O ye Jews, * see that He did not burst the seals, * the One who hath trampled on death * and granteth mankind life without end * and His great mercy.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Model Bishop During Elections

How Patriarch Svyatoslav is handling elections in Ukraine (from the UGCC news site; my emphases and comments):

It was informed on September 4th by Father and Head of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav during a web conference on the site of Religious Information Service of Ukraine.

"To protect our pastors from the use in the election campaign, we are preparing a separate instruction. Hopefully at the end of this year at the Synod we will have the first reading of this document. The discussion will take place, and it will be put over to every priest as a certain rule of conduct, failure of which will be subject to disciplinary consequences, "- said the Arch-priest.

He reminded that due to the fact of irregularities priests’ responsibilities during the previous elections in the Church it was created the commission that conducted the research regarding each fact. The head of the commission was Bishop Igor (Voznyak ), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Lviv .

«There was a clear and sharp conversation with each of those priests. Some evidence has not been confirmed, some confirmed. Strict disciplinary measures were taken to the fault of each priest. Someone got oral warning, and someone - a written reprimand. [This is what's supposed to happen when priests act in regards to the government in a way that opposes Church Teaching.]  The results of this checking may have been unknown to the wider public, because it probably was an inside analysis, organized by our Church. The purpose of this action was not to punish anyone, even if it is also useful, but understand how aggressively and in what way our priests have been used for campaigning, "- remarked the Head of the Church.

He noted that the methods with which the pastors were used "were very treacherous." According to the Arch-priest’s words, there were cases that even His Beatitude Lyubomyr was not aware that he was used for political campaigning. Someone stood next to him, took a picture and then printed in campaign materials as a fact of support by His Beatitude Lyubomyr. [I wonder if Card. Dolan is reading this. Just a random thought.] "It is the immoral use and instrumentalization of a blind person," - His Beatitude Sviatoslav supposes.

So, he says, the Church wanted to understand how to counteract this in the future to prevent such things.

Information Department of the UGCC

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Cross, Churchbells, and Victory

Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Holy, Precious, and Life-Creating Cross

We venerate the cross by prostrating and chanting the following:
Krestu Tvoyemu poklanyayemsya Vladiko,
i svyatoye voskreseniye Tvoye slavim.

We bow before Thy Cross, O Master,
and glorify Thy holy resurrection.

Troparion, Tone 1:
Save Thy people O Lord and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory to Thy faithful people over their enemies, and by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.

Kontakion, Tone 4:
O Thou Who wast lifted up willingly on the Cross, bestow Thy mercies upon the new community named after Thee, O Christ God. Gladden with Thy power Thy faithful people, granting them victory over enemies; may they have as Thy help the weapon of peace, the invincible trophy.

...and something else, which I originally posted here:

Did you know that the Tropar of the Holy Cross is chanted in Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture? The piece is about Napoleon's (failed) invasion of Russia. It was composed to mark the anniversary of that victory by Russia. Let's pick up the overture at the 11:30 mark below. First we have Napoleon's invasion of Russia marked by the French National Anthem and 5 cannon shots. Then at 12:15, we have descending violins marking Napoleon's forces being annihilated by the Russian winter. Then at 12:55 we have the bells of the Cathedral of the Holy Savior in Moscow (Moscow's main cathedral; the piece was specifically written for this cathedral so that it could debut in this cathedral with the cathedral's bells serving as themselves in the piece) calling all of Russia to prayer while the Tropar of the Holy Cross is chanted (the text of the chant makes it obvious why the Russians chose to chant it at such a time). At 13:59 we have Russia's counter represented by the Russian Imperial Anthem with over twice the cannon shots (11!). In celebration of the merciless rout, at 14:31, we have the same cathedral bells ringing in thanksgiving. And you thought the 1812 Overture had nothing to do with the faith...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Happy Birthday!

September 8th
The Nativity of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos, and Ever-Virgin Mary.

Troparion, tone 4:
Thy birth, O Mother of God, has brought joy to all the world; for from thee arose the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, Who, having dissolved the curse, has given His blessing, and having abolished death, has granted us life eternal.

Kontakion, tone 4:
Joakim and Anna were freed from the reproach of childlessness and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death, O Immaculate One, by thy holy nativity. And thy people, redeemed from the guilt of sin, celebrate thy birth by crying to thee: The barren woman gives birth to the Mother of God and the nurse of our life.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bless Those Who Persecute You...

It does not require any virtue to be kind to those who are kind to you. It does require virtue to be kind to those who hate you.

We rejoice when we are persecuted for our persecutors increase the intensity and value of our self-sacrifice to God. Being hated by the world for our faith is a sign that we are faithful to God and it is also a participation in the Passion of Christ. But woe to those who persecute us, for the punishment will be severe for those who persecute the faithful of God. Therefore, we must simultaneously bless those who persecute us and pray for their conversion.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Divine Love is So Massive...

Divine Love is so massive, that being able to see it for only an instant is worth loosing an entire lifetime of pleasure and happiness.