On Kneeling and Sunday Church Prayers (Part II)

Prophet Nahum

Prophet Nahum

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.

ON KNEELING AND SUNDAY CHURCH PRAYERS (Part II)
[From Orthodox Life, Vol. 27, (May-June, 1977), pp. 4750.]

Canon of Saint Basil the Great

"And every Pentecost is a reminder of the expected resurrection in the age to come. For that one first day, being multiplied seven times over, constitutes the seven weeks of the holy Pentecost. For by starting from the first day of the week, one arrives on the same day...The laws of the Church have taught us to prefer the upright posture at prayer, thus transporting our mind, so to speak, as a result of vivid and clear suggestions, from the present age to the things come in the future. And during each kneeling and standing up again we are in fact showing by our actions that it is through sin that we fell to earth, and that through the kindness of the One Who created us we have been called back to Heaven..." (Canon XCI of Saint Basil the Great). The three well-known kneeling prayers of Pentecost composed by this great holy Father of the Church are thus not read at third hour, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the holy Apostles, nor at Liturgy on Pentecost, but at Vespers (Esperinos), which is already part of the following day, after the Entrance. The holy Fathers were determined not to break the ancient traditions of the Church.

In Canon XC of the Sixth Ecumenical Synod (Council), we read: "We have received it canonically from our God-bearing Fathers not to bend the knee on Sundays when honoring the resurrection of Christ. Since this observation may not be clear to some of us, we are making it plain to the faithful, that after the entrance of those in holy orders into the sacrificial altar on the evening of the Saturday in question, let none of them bend the knee until the evening of the following Sunday, when, following the entrance after the lamps have been lit, again bending knees, we thus begin to offer our prayers to the Lord. For, inasmuch as we have received it that the night succeeding Saturday was the precursor of our Savior's rising, we commence our hymns at this point in a spiritual manner, ending the festival by passing out of darkness into light, in order that we may hence celebrate the resurrection together for a whole day and a whole night."

There appears in the Church Typicon a direction concerning how the priest must approach and kiss the Gospel after reading it during the all-night vigil for the resurrection: "Do not make prostrations to the ground, but small bows, until the hand touches the ground. For on Sunday and feasts of the Lord (Despotikes Eortes) and during the entire fifty days between Pascha (Resurrection Sunday) and Pentecost the knee is not bent." (Typicon, ch. 2).

Nevertheless, standing at the divine services on Sunday and on the days between Pascha and Pentecost was the privilege of those who were in full communion with the Church; but the so-called "penitents" were not dispensed from kneeling even on those days.

We will close with these words from the famous interpreter of the Church holy Canons, Theodore Balsamon, Patriarch of Antioch: "Preserve the canonical decrees, wherever and however they should be phrased; and say not that there are contradictions among them, for the All-Holy Spirit has worded them all." (Interpretation of Canon XC of the Council of Trullo).

[Source: Orthodox Heritage)

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"Saints are people who live on earth by holy, eternal Divine truths. That is why the Lives of the Saints are actually applied dogmatics, for in them all the holy eternal dogmatic truths are experienced in all their life-creating and creative energies. In The Lives of the Saints it is most evidently shown that dogmas are not only ontological truths in themselves and for themselves, but that each one of them is a wellspring of eternal life and a source of holy spirituality" (Saint Justin Popovich).

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THE PROPHETS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

On December 1st our Holy Church commemorates the holy and venerable Prophet Nahum.

Nahum (Heb. 'comforted') c. 7 century BC was a Hebrew Prophet. In his brief prophetic Book, Nahum the Elkoshite (the place is unknown) is not concerned with the religious and moral welfare of his own people, like other Hebrew Prophets. He confines himself to lashing out against Nineveh, the capital of the hated Assyrian empire, that dominated the Near East of his time. He calls it a 'bloody city, all full of lies and booty' (Nah. 3:1), and predicts its coming downfall in some of the most vivid and powerful descriptive passages in the Old Testament. The Book must have been written a few years before the actual fall of the city in 612 BC.

Nahum describes the assault troops--the scarlet uniforms and shields and the flashing steel of the chariots: 'Horsemen charging, flashing sword and glittering spear, hosts of slain, heaps of corpses, dead bodies without end--they stumble over the bodies.' (Nah. :3),

Among the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the Qumran caves were portions of a commentary on Nahum, which has helped to establish the dates of the Scrolls and identify some of the obscure references. [Book of Nahum] (Source: Who's Who in the Old Testament together with The Apocrypha by Joan Comay)

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According to the Prologue from Ochrid:

The Holy Prophet Nahum was born of the tribe of Simeon in a place called Elkosh, on the further side of the Jordan, he lived seven hundred years before Christ and foretold the fall of Nineveh two hundred years after the Prophet Jonah. The people of Nineveh had repented after hearing Jonah's preaching, and God had protected them and not destroyed them. But, with the passage of time, they came to forget God's mercy and turned again to evil. Nahum foretold their doom, warning them that, if they showed no repentance, they would receive no protection. The entire city was so utterly destroyed by earthquake, flood and fire that its location is no longer known. Holy Nahum lived for forty-five years before going to his rest in the Lord, leaving us a small book of his true and genuine prophecies.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

Who were the Prophets of the Old Testament? The Prophets were people who, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, prophesied, that is, foretold what would be in the future, especially about the coming Messiah and Savior of the world. They announced the will of God, taught the people true faith and piety, and performed various signs and miracles.

They exposed the idolatry of the Hebrews and called them to repent. Some of them preached only orally, and others, in addition, left behind sacred books, written by them under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The most famous or the Prophets living in the Israelite kingdom were, Elijah, Elisha and Jonah, and of the Prophets living in the Judean kingdom, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Ezekiel and Daniel. (Source: The Law of God)

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George