For God so loved the world… (John 3:14-21)

A symbolic image of the Passion and the Holy Trinity. Drawing by St Mary Skobtsova of Paris.

«And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.»

The King who does not wish to defend Himself with an army

“Do you think that I cannot call upon My Father and He will not provide Me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels” (St. Matthew 26:53).

Thus spoke the Lord to the disciple who drew the sword to defend his Teacher in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is obvious from these words that the Lord could have defended Himself, if He wanted to, not only from Judas and his company of guards, but also from Pilate and the leaders of the Jews. For the might of one angel is greater than the greatest army of men, much less the might of twelve legions of angels. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

For God so loved the world… (John 3:14-21)

A symbolic image of the Passion and the Holy Trinity. Drawing by St Mary Skobtsova of Paris.

«And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.»

Dismissal Hymn (Apolytikion) and Kontakion of the Worship of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross (3rd Sunday of the Fast) – Απολυτίκιο και Κοντάκιο της Κυριακής της Σταυροπροσκυνήσεως

VatopaidiFriend: Notice what the Kontakion (the second hymn) says. It is LITERAL, not «metaphorical».

Dismissal Hymn. First Mode.

Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto the faithful victory over adversaries. And by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.

(Note: The original says «sovereigns» instead of «faithful» and «barbarians» instead of «adversaries». The «sovereigns» are the pious emperors of Byzantium, the best state in all of history, which – with the exception of some dark periods – provides a luminous example of true Christian spirituality, and unsurpassed economy, welfare, culture, ecology etc. The «barbarians» are the ungodly, backward hordes who always wanted to ravage the Byzantine Empire, and, after more than 1000 years, finally did – temporarily.)

Απολυτίκιον. Ήχος α΄.

Σώσον, Κύριε, τον λαόν σου και ευλόγησον την κληρονομίαν σου, νίκας τοις βασιλεύσι κατά βαρβάρων δωρούμενος και το σον φυλάττων, διά του Σταυρού σου, πολίτευμα.

Kontakion. Grave Mode. READ MORE… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Dream of the Rood

The Ruthwell Cross. From: "The Anglo-Saxons", Ed. by James Campbell, Penguin Books, 1991.

The Ruthwell Cross. From: "The Anglo-Saxons", Ed. by James Campbell, Penguin Books, 1991.

VatopaidiFriend: «The Dream of the Rood (=Cross)» is a wonderful Old English poem written in the 8th century (before the Schism). It tells of how the Cross appeared to a man in a vision and spoke to him. It provides profound Orthodox insight on the Mystery of the Atonement. The translation into modern English is by Mary Rambaran-Olm. Note that today, with the Old (Julian) Calendar, we celebrate the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross (September 14/27).

1 Lo! I will tell of the best of dreams,

what I dreamed in the middle of the night,

after the speech-bearers were in bed.

It seemed to me that I saw a very wondrous tree

5 lifted into the air, enveloped by light,

the brightest of trees. That beacon was all

covered with gold. Gems stood Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

St. Irenaeus (2nd century AD) on the Atonement

Icon of Christ the Great High-priest, from the Orthodox Church of St. Gabriel in Nazareth

Icon of Christ "the Great High-priest", from the Orthodox Church of St. Gabriel in Nazareth

«But as our Lord is alone truly Master, so the Son of God is truly good and patient, the Word of God the Father having been made the Son of man. For He fought and conquered; for He was man contending for the fathers, and through obedience doing away with disobedience completely: for He bound the strong man (St. Matthew 12:29), and set free the weak, and endowed His own handiwork with salvation, by destroying sin. For He is a most holy and merciful Lord, and loves the human race.
   Therefore, as I have already said, He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become, one with God. For unless man had overcome the enemy of man, the enemy would not have been legitimately vanquished. And again, unless it had been God who had freely given salvation, we could never have possessed it securely. And unless man had been joined to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility. For it was incumbent upon the Mediator between God and men, by His relationship to both, to bring both to friendship and concord, and present man to God, while He revealed God to man. For, in what way could we be partaken of the Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »