Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
+ Blessed is our God, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.
Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, everywhere present and fillings all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of Life, come and dwell in us; cleanse of every stain and save our souls, Gracious One.
Amen. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3)
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to Holy Spirit, now and always, and forever and ever. Amen.
All Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, be gracious to us in our sins. Master, forgive our transgressions. Holy One, consider our weaknesses and heal them, for Thy Name's sake.
Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Our Father, Who art in heaven...
Who is so great a God as our God? Thou only are the God that does wonders. (3)
A PRAYER AT PENTECOST SUNDAY
(Saint Basil the Great)
O Lord, Lord, Who does deliver us from every arrow that flies by day, do Thou deliver us from all things that walk in the darkness. Accept the lifting up of our hands as an evening sacrifice. Vouchsafe unto us that we may blamelessly, and untempted of evil, through the watches of the night; redeem us from all tumult and cowardice which is of the devil; grant compunction to our souls, and solicitude to our meditations concerning the trial at Thine awful and righteous judgment seat. Nail down our flesh in Thy fear, and mortify our earthly members, that in the quietness of sleep we may be made joyful with the vision of Thy judgments. Remove from us every hurtful fancy and dark desire. May we rise again at the hour of prayer, established in the Faith and advancing in Thy Commandments.
OUR GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is consubstantial with the Son and the Father, because all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity have a common essence or nature, and a common energy or intention glory. This is why wherever Christ is, there is the Holy Spirit, and wherever the Holy Spirit, there is Christ.
We have already emphasized that the Persons of the Holy Trinity are not separate, nor is their work independent. Saint Maximos the Confessor says that the Holy Spirit is active in all people, but in a different way in each one. It works in all people without exception, since they are created by God, Who is able to hold together, provide for and set in motion the natural seeds. In those peoples who are living by Christ it works to make them sons, since they become sons by the energy of the Holy Spirit. And in the deified, those who have made themselves worthy of citizenship in God and the indwelling of Divine power, it works as creative wisdom. Thus the Holy Spirit is active in all, but differently in each, according to their spiritual condition.
In this light we understand that the Holy Spirit was active in the Old Testament as well, in the Prophets, for it was by the power and energy of the Holy Spirit that the Prophets saw the unincarnate Logos (Word) and prophesied about the Incarnate Logos (Word), Christ. We know very well from Orthodox theology that all of God's revelations in the Old Testament were revelations of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the unincarnate Logos (Word). Since the Logos (Word) is not present without the Holy Spirit, it was the Holy Spirit that manifested the unincarnate Logos (Word) to the Prophets and revealed the future mysteries.
Saint Basil the Great says that the Holy Spirit came to the nous of the Prophets and they prophesied the good things to come. A characteristic example is the case of Saint John the Forerunner, who was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother's womb while he was an embryo of six months, and, as Saint Gregory Palamas says, it is by the Holy Spirit that the initiation of the age to come is received in his mother's womb and makes theology about Christ. And indeed as we saw in the feast of the Meeting, it was by the Holy Spirit that St. Symeon the Righteous recognized Christ.
Therefore the Holy Spirit is active in the Old Testament as well, differently from the way it acts in the New Testament, in the Church. For, as we said before, in the Old Testament it pointed out to the Prophets the transgression of the commandments and revealed the coming of Christ, while in the New Testament it makes men sons of God and members of the Body of Christ and guides them to deification (theosis).
The Incarnation of the Son and Logos (Word) of God and the whole work of the divine Economy is dependent on the Holy Spirit. Saint Basil the Great is very expressive on this point. He says that when Christ comes to dwell in the world, the Holy Spirit precedes Him because it announces His coming and reveals His presence. The Holy Spirit is also inseparable from the presence in the world of the incarnate Christ. The working of the powers and the charismas of the cures is by the energy of the Holy Spirit. The demons come out of men by the Spirit of God. The devil is abolished by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Deliverance from sin is by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The dead are raised through the energy of the Spirit...
The unincarnate Logos (Word), the Son and Logos (Word) of God, said by His Prophet Joel: "I will pour out my Spirit on all people, your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams" (Joel 2:28). Clearly here he is speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the bestowing of the gift of prophecy which will take place on the day of Pentecost. According to Saint Cyril of Alexandria, the prophecy refers to the events that took place at Pentecost, because at that time the Disciples were speaking prophetically, that is to say, proclaiming the mysteries of Christ which had been foretold by the Prophets. In other words, at that time the Disciples understood by the power of the Holy Spirit that all the prophecies which existed in the Old Testament referred to the Person of Christ. In this way they were perfected in knowledge and revelation.
By the power and energy of the Holy Spirit human nature will return to its previous and ancient condition, because it possesses the prophetic gift of grace which Adam had in Paradise (St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite). Actually, seeing Adam's life in Paradise before the fall, we discern that he had a pure nous and was prophesying. God formed Eve from Adam's side while he was sleeping. But when he awoke from sleep and saw Eve, he was enlightened by the Holy Spirit and confessed that she had come from his own body: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (Gen. 2:23).
This means that all who receive the Holy Spirit and are members of the Church are not only to be restored to the previous state in which Adam was, but will rise still higher because they are united with Christ. A person having the Holy Spirit becomes a prophet, acquires prophetic gifts, as we see in the lives of the Saints, knows the mysteries of Christ, sees and experiences the Kingdom of God. By the power and energy of the Holy Spirit the prophetic gift becomes a natural condition in the person. Noetic prayer is an indication of this gift and of the energy of the Holy Spirit. (Source: The Twelve Feasts of the Lord by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos).
(To be continued)
Apolytikion of Pentecost (Dismissal) Hymn). Plagal of Fourth Tone
Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, Who hast shown forth the fishermen as supremely wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit, and through them didst draw the world into Thy net. O Befriender of man, glory be to Thee.
Kontakion of Pentecost. Plagal of Fourth Tone
Once, when He descended and confounded the tongues, the Most High divided the nations; and when He divided the tongues of fire, He called all men into unity; and with one accord we glorify the All-Holy Spirit.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God