My beloved spiritual children 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.
THE LENTEN PRAYER OF SAINT EPHRAIM THE SYRIAN
Lord and Master of my life, cast away from me the spirit of laziness, idle curiosity, love of power and vain talk. (Prostration)
But grant me, Your servant, the spirit of moderation, humility, patience and love. (Prostration)
Yes, Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters. (Prostration)
For You are Blessed forever. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On March 5th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors, and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers and of every righteous soul made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: St. Mark the Athenian; St. Conon of Isauria; St. Conon the Gardener of Nazareth; St. Onisius of Isauria; St. Evlambius of Palestine; St. Rhais of Antinoe in Egypt, with Archelaus and 152 Holy Martyrs; St. Mark the Faster of Egypt; St. Evlogios of Palestine; St. Basil and St. Constantine of Yaroslavl; Holy New Martyr George of Rapsani (+1818); St. Nikolai Velimirovich, bishop of Zhicha, Serbia (+1956) St. John of Bulgaria (+1784); St. Adrian of Poshekhonye and ascetic Leonidas; St. Theodore, Prince of Smolensk, with Yaroslav, David, and Constantine; Kieran of Ireland; St. Virgil, Archbishop of Aries; "Nurtured Up-Bringing" Icon of the Mother of God.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Confessors, Holy Gardeners, Holy Bishops, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Princes, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
HOLY MARTYR EVLOGIOS OF PALESTINE. St. Evlogios was the child of pagan idol-worshippers, but he gave up the beliefs of his ancestors and converted to Christianity. He sold whatever he owned and gave it to the poor so that he might have treasure in heaven, and then he lived on the charity of others. Filled with the zeal of his new faith, St. Evlogios went and preached the gospel and converted many Saracens. However, he was arrested for teaching Christianity and was taken before the governor, where he was condemned to die by the sword.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Proverbs 6" 3=20
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"Do not be irritated either with those who sin or those who offend; do not have a passion for noticing every sin in your neighbor, and for judging him, as we are in that habit of doing. Everyone shall give an answer to God for himself. Everyone has a conscience, everyone hears God's Word, and knows God's Will, either from books, or from conversation with other people. Especially do not look with evil intention upon the sins of your elders, which do not regard you; 'to his own master he stands or falls'. Correct your own sins, amend your own life." (Saint John of Kronstadt)
FROM THE LAST SUPPER TO THE CRUCIFIXION
By Veselin Kesich
(Source: The Church History, Vol. I, Part I. Formation and Struggles: The Birth of the Church AD 33-200.)
All the Synoptic Gospels recount Jesus' Last (Mystical) Supper with His disciples, the group of the Twelve (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-22), as does St. Paul (I Corinthians 11:23-26). In the Fourth Gospel, the Last Supper is reflected in several chapters (John 13-17), and we may see a reference to the sacramental meal in John 6:35-59. The Evangelists agree that the Last Supper took place on Thursday evening, which is already Friday according to Jewish reckoning of day from sunset to sunset. For the Synoptics it was the first day of Passover, and the meal that Jesus had with His disciples was a Passover meal...
"...Which day did Jesus choose to celebrate the Passover? In view of the gathering of hostile forces and His imminent death, especially after the cleansing of the Temple, He apparently decided to celebrate Passover a day earlier than recorded in all four versions, point to His redemptive death and vindication. Behind the four versions of the institution of the Lord's Supper, two distinct traditions can be detected, Pauline (I Cor. 11:23-26) and the Marcan (Mark 14:22-25). Some differences between them are due to liturgical development, centering upon the very meaning of Jesus' actions at the Last Supper. In both traditions there is a link between breaking bread and offering wine and Jesus' coming death. The disciples present at the meal are asked to eat bread that is broken and to drink of one cup. The bread represents His Body that is "broken for you" (I Cor. 11:24). The bread Jesus distributes is not a token food furnished for daily needs but an offering of Himself for His own. The wine represents His Blood "which is poured out for many" (Mark 14:24), meaning for all, not a few. It alludes to Moses, who sealed the covenant by sprinkling the blood of a sacrificial animal (Exodus 24:28). Here Jesus seals the covenant with His own blood. "This cup is the new covenant in My blood"(I Cor. 11:25). He sees His coming death as necessary for gathering the people of Israel, for restoring their relations with God, and for their salvation. Death is not strong enough to break the ties that exist between Jesus and the Twelve, for God will vindicate Him beyond death (Mark 14:25; 1 Cor. 11:26). The disciples therefore are commanded to do what He has done "in remembrance of Me." The tradition that St. Paul delivered has this demand both in reference to the bread and the cup. St. Luke, who is close to the Pauline tradition, has the same exhortation, but only in connection with the bread (Luke 22:19).
Paul's version of the Last Supper of Jesus, called "the Lord's Supper" or "the Supper of the Lord" (I Cor. 11:20), is the earliest written account of its celebration in the church, developed in liturgical use, and Paul quite likely added his own commentary at the end of the words of institution. In 1 Corinthians 11:26 he makes explicit what is given in the exhortation "Do this in remembrance of Me" (I Cor. 11:24, 25). To remember Jesus is to imitate Him. The disciples are asked to mirror His life, to proclaim at their liturgical gathering the supreme act of His Sacrifice until Christ returns in glory (1 Cor. 11:26). They too are called to sacrifice themselves in the service of others...
"...The Last Supper should also be seen in the context of Jesus' table fellowship meals during His public ministry. It is the last in the series, linked with them and yet distinctly different. At meals, in the most ordinary setting, Jesus had proclaimed the gospel. His opponents criticized Him for having meals even with tax collectors and sinners. Here He offered forgiveness and salvation. At the Last Supper Jesus offered Himself. Facing death, He anticipates another series of meals in the future, Eucharistic meals. The ancient Eucharistic prayer "Our Lord, come!" [maranatha] (1 Cor. 16:22) brings together the remembrance of the Last Supper with the joy of His coming. The Lord Who was with His disciples at the Last Supper, Who after the Resurrection appeared to them during meals (Luke 24:13ff; John 21:1-14; Acts 1:4, 10:41)is now present in His body, which is the Church.
(To be continued: Arrest and Trials)
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God