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.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of Pentecost. Plagal of Fourth Tone
Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, Who has 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 Hymn 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.
THE MONDAY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
As it is the custom of the Church, on the day after every great Feast, to honor those through whom it came to pass--our Lady on the day after the Lord's Nativity, Joachim and Anna after our Lady's Nativity, the holy Baptist the day after Theophany, an so forth-- on this day we honor our God the All-Holy Spirit, the Comforter promised by our Savior to His Disciples (St. John 14:16). Who descended upon them at Holy Pentecost and guided them "into all truth" (ibid. 16:13), and through them, us.
THE DIVINITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos (Source: Entering the Orthodox Church: Catechism and Baptism of Adults)
"One example is the sides of equilateral triangle. There is no side that is higher or lower than the other. The Father is given first place because He is the cause of the Son's birth and the Holy Spirit's procession. The Son is given second place because He was born from the Father and because we feel closer to Him because He became man. Besides, the order of the Persons is often changed to reveal their equality. For example, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (2 Corinthians 13:13). Here Christ takes first place, the Father follows and the Holy Spirit is placed after Him.
"Who proceeds from the Father." The Son is born from the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. We cannot understand this using our reason. Christ revealed this to us when He said, "But when the Comforter (Paraclete) comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, He will testify of Me" (St. John 15:26). Here it is clear that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and is sent by the Son, but ultimately the Holy Spirit bears witness to Christ, and the formation of Christ within us occurs through the Holy Spirit.
The Franks (Latins) added a phrase known as the Filioque to the Creed (Symbol of faith), between the words "proceeds" and "from the Father". They say: "who proceeds from the Father and from the Son." However, this is mistaken and creates huge problems. First of all, they did not have the right to do it, since the Third Ecumenical Council said that not one syllable should be added to the Creed or taken away from it, by anyone at all. Moreover, as in the case of the Son, who is begotten of the Father alone, the same is true of the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father alone. This teaching of the Franks (Latins) leads to the depreciation of the Holy Spirit or the dissolution of the Holy Trinity. Because, if the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, it means that it is below them, because It does not participate in the existence of the other Persons Itself. If, however, It must also participate then the hypostatic particulars would be dissolved, since the Son could be seen as also being born from the Holy Spirit. There could even be another person that comes from the Holy Spirit, whereby the Holy Trinity is dissolved.
Christ clearly revealed that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and is sent forth by the Son. The Franks are heretical in their teaching because they had lost contact with the Church's theology of experience. They lost the presuppositions for true orthodox theology. They distorted the way in which we achieve communion with God and formed the impression and the opinion that their own speculative theology was superior to the theology of our Holy Fathers. We base ourselves on everything that Christ revealed to us and everything that was lived out by the Saints.
"Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified." This phrase demonstrates the Divinity of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the Holy Spirit is not lower than the other Persons of the Holy Trinity, since He is worshipped and glorified together with them.
"Who spoke by the prophets." The Holy Spirit spoke to the Prophets and revealed the truths of the faith to them. Of course, we know that the revelations in the Old Testament are revelations of the unincarnate Word. Nevertheless, these revelations occur through the Holy Spirit. In general, we can say that the work of Christ is not different from the work of the Holy Spirit. Christ sends forth the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit forms Christ within our hearts. The heart is purified and we are united with Christ through the Holy Spirit. As long as we are united with Christ, we feel the gifts of the Holy Spirit."
THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
By Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky (Source: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology)
Father Michael Pomazansky writes, "The whole life of the Church is penetrated by the mystical actions of the Holy Spirit." "The cause of all preservation lieth in the Holy Spirit. If He think fit to blow upon a man, He taketh him up above the things of the earth, maketh him grow, and settleth him on high" (Sunday Antiphons from Matins, Tone 6). Therefore, every Church prayer, whether public or private, begins with the prayer to the Holy Spirit: "O Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of Life, come and abide in us..." Just as rain and dew, falling upon the earth, vivify and nourish and give growth to every kind of growing thing, so do the powers of the Holy Spirit act in the Church.
In the Apostolic epistles, the actions of the Holy Spirit are called "excellency of power" (lit., "superabundant power." II Cor. 4:7). "Divine power" (II Peter 1:3), or "by the Holy Spirit." But most frequently of all they are signified by the word "Grace." Those who enter the Church have entered into the Kingdom of Grace, and they are invited to "come boldly unto the throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16; see also Heb., chaps. 10-13).
The word "Grace" is used in Sacred Scripture with various meanings.
Sometimes it signifies in general the mercy of God: God is "the God of all Grace" (I Peter 5:10). In this its broadest meaning, Grace is God's goodwill to men of worthy life in all ages of humanity, and particularly to the righteous ones of the Old Testament like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, the Prophet Moses, and the later Prophets.
In the more precise meaning, the concept of Grace refers to the New Testament. Here in the New Testament we distinguish two fundamental meanings of this concept. First, by the Grace of God, the Grace of Christ, is to be understood the whole economy of our salvation, performed by the coming of the Son of God to earth, by His earthly life, His death on the Cross, His Resurrection, and His Ascension into heaven: "For by Grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Secondly, Grace is the name applied to the gifts of the Holy Spirit which have been sent down and are being sent down to the Church of Christ for the sanctification of its members, for their spiritual growth, and for the attainment by them of the Kingdom of Heaven.
In this second New Testament meaning of the word, Grace is a power sent down from on high, the power of God which is in the Church of Christ, which gives birth, gives life, perfects, and brings the believing and virtuous Christian to the appropriation of the salvation which has been brought by the Lord Jesus Christ. (Please note: In Orthodox theology "Grace" most commonly refers to the Uncreated Energy, Power, or Operation of God, which is distinct yet inseparable from God's Essence. Thus, St. Gregory Palamas affirms that "This resplendence and deifying Energy of God, that deifies those who participate in it, constitutes Divine Grace, but it is not the Essence of God" [Philokalia, vol. 4, p. 390] ).
The Apostles, therefore, in their writings often used the Greek word "charis", "Grace," as identical in meaning with the word dynamis, "power." The term "Grace" in the sense of "power" given from above for holy life is found in many places of the Apostolic epistles (II Peter 1:3, Rom. 5:2, Rom. 16:20, I Peter 5:12, II Peter 3:18, II Tim. 2:1, I Cor. 16:23, II Cor. 13:14, Gal. 6:18, Eph. 6:24, and other places). The Apostle Paul writes: The Lord "said unto me, My Grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (II Cor. 12:9). "
THE HOLY AND GREAT FEAST OF PENTECOST
THE DOXASTIKON. EIGHTH TONE
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Come, all peoples, let us worship the Godhead in Three Persons: the Son in the Father, with the Holy Spirit. For the Father begat the Son before all ages, co-eternal, and equal in Majesty, and the Holy Spirit was in the Father, glorified with the Son: a single power, a single essence, one Godhead, which we all worship saying, "Holy is God, Who created all things with the Son, with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit. Holy and Mighty, through Whom we have known the Father and the Holy Spirit came into the world. Holy Immortal the Paraclete Spirit, which proceeds from the Father and abides in the Son: Holy Trinity, Glory to You."
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God