My beloved spiritual children in Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Only True God and the Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
RENEWAL OR BRIGHT FRIDAY
Renewal Friday: The Holy Feast-Day of the Theotokos of the Life-Giving Spring (Zoodochos peghe)
Outside of the city of Constantinople, towards the district of the Seven Towers, there was in ancient times a very large and most beautiful church named in honor of the Theotokos; it had been built about the middle of the 5th century by the Emperor Leo the Great (also called "Leo of Thrace," he is commemorated on January 20th). Before he became Emperor, he had encountered there a blind man, who being tormented with thirst asked him to help him find water. Leo felt compassion for him and went in search of a source of water but found none. As he became downcast, he heard a voice telling him there was water nearby. He looked again, and found none. Then he heard the voice again, this time calling him "Emperor" and telling him that he would find muddy water in the densely wooded place nearby; he was to take some water and anoint the blind man's eyes with it. When he had done this, the blind man received his sight. After Leo had became Emperor as the Most Holy Theotokos had prophesied, he raised up a church over the spring, whose water worked many healings and cured maladies by the grace of the Theotokos; from this, it came to be called the "Life-Giving Spring." The Holy Orthodox Church celebrates the consecration of this church on this day.
After the fall of the Imperial City, this church was razed to the ground by the Ottoman Turks and the materials from it were used for building the mosque of Sultan Bayezid. Nothing remained of that church's beauty, except for a small and paltry chapel, almost completely buried in the ruins. This chapel had twenty five steps going down into it, and a transom window on the roof, wherefrom it received a little light. Toward the western side of the chapel was the aforementioned holy spring, fenced about with railing, and with fish swimming in it. Such was the condition of the Spring until 1821. Then even that little remnant was destroyed, occasioned by the uprising of the Greek nation against the Ottoman Turkish Empire; the sacred Spring was buried with it and disappeared altogether.
But in the days of Sultan Mahmud, when those subject to him were rejoicing in their freedom to practice their religion, permission was sought by the Greek Orthodox community to rebuild at least part of the chapel. Thus the work was begun on July 26, 1833. When the excavation had been made, and the foundation of the ancient church were found, there was rebuilt-- a later writ of permission from the Sultan -- not merely a chapel of the holy Spring, but another new church, constructed upon the foundations of the ancient one. The building of this spacious, beautiful, and most majestic church began on September 14, 1833, and the work was completed on December 30th, 1834. On February 2, 1835, the Ecumenical Patriarch Constantine II, conducting the Divine Liturgy together with twelve hierarchs (Bishops) and a great company of clergy (priests), as well as a boundless multitude of Orthodox Christians, performed the consecration of this sacred church and dedicated it to the glory of the Mother of God. On September 6, 1955, however, it was desecrated and destroyed again by the Moslem Turks; it has been restored again, but not to the former magnificence.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) hymn of Renewal (Diakainisimos) Friday. Third Tone
As a Life-Giving Fount, thou didst conceive the Dew that is transcendent in essence, O Virgin Maid, and thou hast ebbed forth for our sakes the nectar of joy eternal, which doth pour forth from thy fount with the water that springeth up unto everlasting life in unending and mighty streams; wherein, taking delight, we all cry out: Rejoice, O thou Spring of life for all men.
Kontakion Hymn of Renewal Friday. Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O Lady graced by God, you reward me by letting gush forth, beyond reason, the ever-flowing waters of your grace from your perpetual Spring. I entreat you, who bore the Logos, in a manner beyond comprehension, to refresh me in your grace that I may cry out, "Hail redemptive waters."
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"-- Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God