Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Risen Lord, God, Redeemer and the Only True Savior of the world,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
HYMN OF THE THREE YOUTHS (Holy and Great Saturday Morning)
Praise ye, the Lord and exalt Him forever. (After each verse, we repeat "Praise ye the Lord
and exalt Him forever.)
1. O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord; praise and exalt, Him forever.
Praise ye, the Lord and exalt Him forever. (This phrase is repeated).
2. O ye Angels of the Lord, and ye Heavens of the Lord, bless ye the Lord.
3. O all ye waters that be above the Heavens, and all ye Powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord.
4. O ye sun and moon and ye stars of Heaven, bless ye the Lord.
5. O ye light and darkness, ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord.
6. O ye showers and dew and all ye winds, bless ye the Lord...
14. O ye Priests of the Lord, servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord.
15. O ye spirits and souls of the Righteous, holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord.
17. O ye Apostles, Prophets and Witnesses of the Lord, bless ye the Lord.
We bless the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Lord.
We praise, and exalt the Lord in all the Ages.
We praise, we bless, and worship the Lord.
We praise and glorify the Lord in all the Ages.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On May 17th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefather, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers and every righteous soul perfected in our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy Apostles Andronicus and Junia of the Seventy Secret Apostles; Saints Solochon, Pamphamer, and Pamphalon at Chalcedon; Saints Nectarios and Theophanes, builders of Varlaam Monastery at Meteora; Saint Athanasius the New of Christianopolis; Saint Efrosyne of Moscow; Saint Macacarius of Kalyazin.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyr, Holy Apostles, Holy Monastics, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Ascetics, Holy Confessors, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 12:1-11
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 8:31-42
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"A wise and excellent means of struggle...is to uproot at the very first impulse--that is, at the assault--the thought which comes to us." (Saint Nilus Sorsky)
SERMON FOR THE SUNDAY OF THE SAMARITAN WOMAN
By Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
The Holy Gospel has not given us the name of the Samaritan woman. But the Holy Tradition of the Church remembers, and calls her in Greek-Photini, in Russian-Svetlana, in the Celtic languages-Fiona, in Western language-Claire. And all these names speak to us of one thing-light.
Having met the Lord Jesus Christ she has become a light shining in the world, a light that enlightens those who meet her. Every Saint is offered to us as an example; but we cannot always emulate the concrete ways in which a Saint lived, we cannot always repeat their way from earth to heaven. But we can learn from each of them two things. The one is that by the grace of God we can achieve what seems humanly impossible; that is, to become a person in the image and likeness of God, to be-in this world of darkness and tragedy which is in the power of lies-a word of truth, a sign of hope, the certainty that God can conquer if we only allow Him access to our souls. Because if the Kingdom of God is not established within us, if God is not enthroned in our minds and hearts, a fire that destroys everything unworthy of ourselves and of Him, we cannot spread God's Light around.
And the second thing which the Saints can teach us is to understand the message which their names convey to us. And today's Samaritan woman speaks of light. Christ has said that He is the Light of the world, the Light that enlightens all men; and we are called to give shelter within our souls, minds and hearts - indeed, within our whole self - to this Light; so that the word spoken by Christ, "Let your light so shine before all men, that seeing your good deeds they may give glory to your Father Who is in Heaven", may be fulfilled and accomplished in and through us.
It is only through seeing our deeds, through seeing how we live that people can believe that the light is God's Light; it is not in our words, unless they are words of truth and of power like those of the Apostles, or of Christ Himself indeed. And let us reflect, each of us, on the meaning of our name and on the way in which we can become what we are called.
The Samaritan woman came to the well without any spiritual purpose; she came, as she came daily, to fetch water-and she met Christ. Each of us may meet our God at any turn in our life, when we are about our most homely tasks, if our hearts are turned in the right direction, if we are prepared to receive a message, to listen; indeed-to ask questions! Because the Samaritan woman asked a question of Christ, and what she heard transcended her question in such a way that she recognized in Him a prophet, and later-the Christ, the Savior of the world.
But the light must not be pushed under a bushel. Having discovered that the Light had come into the world, that the word of divine truth was resounding now amidst men, that God was among us, she left behind all concerns and ran to share the joy, the wonder of what she had discovered with others. She brought her fellow-citizens to Christ. She told them first why she believed; and when perhaps curiosity, or the convincing power of her words, and the change that had occurred in her brought them to Christ, they saw for themselves and said to her, "It is no longer because of what you say that we believe-we have seen, we have heard."
And this is what the Samaritan woman teaches all of us: be open at every moment of life, while we are busy with the simplest things, to receive the Divine word, to be illumined by the Divine Light, to be cleansed by His purity, to receive it in the depths of our souls, receive it with all our life, so that people seeing what we have become may believe that the Light has come into the world.
Let us pray to the Samaritan woman, Saint Photini, the holy martyr of the Church, to guide us, to bring us to Christ in the ways in which she came, and to serve Him in the way in which she served Him, being the salvation of all who were around her. And may the blessing of God be upon you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and world without end! Amen.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The Samaritan Woman, having come to the well in faith, beheld You, the Water of Wisdom from which she drank plentifully and inherited the Heavenly Kingdom as one who is blessed forever.
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God