What Christ Accomplished on the Cross

 by Hieromonk Damascene

A talk delivered at the Annual Lenten Clergy Confession of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate and the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Jackson, California, March 4/17, 2004.

The topic of today’s talk—what Christ accomplished on the Cross—is of course a prime subject of contemplation during the Lenten season, as we prepare to prayerfully commemorate Christ’s passion, death, and the inevitable consequence of His death: His holy Resurrection. As we call to mind and repent of our sins during the Holy Fast, we also call to mind that which has saved us from the eternal consequences of sin. We call to mind Christ’s life-creating death on the Cross, which He underwent for the salvation of each one of us.

The Orthodox dogma of our redemption—which includes the doctrines concerning Christ’s incarnation, death and Resurrection—is the chief dogma of our Faith, together with the dogma of the Holy Trinity. I have been especially contemplating and reading Patristic writings on this subject for a few years now. It is a vast subject. In this lecture I will try to outline its main points in a linear and chronological fashion. I will speak about the state of man before the Fall and after the Fall, and then speak about how Christ saved us from the consequences of the Fall through His incarnation, death and Resurrection. Finally, I will summarize all the present and future accomplishments of Christ’s redemptive work. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Ιερα Μονή Φιλοθέου – The Holy Monastery of Filotheou

Η Ιερά Μονή Καρακάλλου. Πανοραμική εξωτερική άποψη. Holy Monastery of Filotheou. A panorama view.

Η Ιερά Μονή Φιλοθέου. Πανοραμική εξωτερική άποψη. Holy Monastery of Filotheou. A panorama view.

Πρώτη αναφορά της Μονής γίνεται σε έγγραφο του 1013, όταν ονομαζόταν «Μονή της Πτέρης» Δύο έτη αργότερα αναφέρεται με το σημερινό όνομά της, το οποίο φαίνεται να είναι το όνομα του κτήτορα. Κατά το 16ο αι., ηγούμενος της ήταν ο άγιος Διονύσιος ο οποίος αργότερα ίδρυσε τη Μονή του Αγίου Διονυσίου στον Όλυμπο. Στη Φιλοθέου μόνασε κατά το 18ο αι. και ο πολύς, άγιος Κοσμάς ο Αιτωλός. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Ιερα Μονή (Αγίου) Διονυσίου – The Holy Monastery of Dionysiou

Η Ιερά Μονή Αγίου Διονυσίου. Εξωτερική άποψη. The Holy Monastery of Dionysiou. External view.

Η Ιερά Μονή Αγίου Διονυσίου. Εξωτερική άποψη. The Holy Monastery of Dionysiou. External view.

Ιδρύθηκε λίγο μετά το 1370 από τον όσιο Διονύσιο, τον καταγόμενο από την Κορυσό της Καστοριάς, με χρηματοδότηση του αυτοκράτορα της Τραπεζούντος Αλεξίου Γ΄ Κομνηνού. Το 1520 κτίσθηκε ο πύργος, ύψους 25 μέτρων. Το 1535 καταστράφηκε από πυρκαγιά το μεγαλύτερο μέρος της Μονής. Το Καθολικό, τιμώμενο στο Γενέσιο του Προδρόμου, πρέπει να είναι κτίσμα του 1375, ανακαινισμένο μετά την πυρκαγιά. Τα ιδιόρρυθμα Τυπικαριά του φαίνεται να είναι τα παλαιότερα του είδους στο Άγιον Όρος Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The sign of the Cross

sign of cross 

The symbol of Christian faith has ever been and always will be the Cross, for it is the sign of our redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth to suffer for us and was crucified upon the Cross. When we wish to show that something is dedicated to Christ, we mark it with a Cross. The Cross is placed on church buildings, on the Holy Gospel, on banners, on the graves of the depart­ed. When we join the three fingers of our right hand together, it is as if we want­ed to say: «I believe in God, One in the Trinity; in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; not in one person, but Three Persons; not in three gods, but One God.» When we bend the other two fingers of our right hand down to the palm it is as if we were saying: «I believe that our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is at the same time Real God and Real man – the God-man – came down to earth for our salvation. «As we make the sign of the Cross, we say the following prayer:

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St. Joseph of Arimathea (with Orthodox hymn to the saint from St. Anthony’s Orthodox Monastery in Arizona) – July 31

A contemporary Orthodox icon depicting saints Eudokimos and Joseph of Arimathea (July 31).

A contemporary Orthodox icon depicting saints Eudokimos and Joseph of Arimathea (July 31).

All that is known for certain concerning him is derived from the canonical Gospels. He was born at Arimathea — hence his surname — «a city of Judea» (Luke 23:51), which is very likely identical with Ramatha, the birthplace of the Prophet Samuel, although several scholars prefer to identify it with the town of Ramleh. He was a wealthy Israelite (Matthew 27:57), «a good and a just man» (Luke 23:50), «who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God» (Mark 15:43). He is also called by St. Mark and by St. Luke a bouleutes, literally, «a senator», whereby is meant a member of the Sanhedrin or supreme council of the Jews. He was a disciple of Jesus, probably ever since Christ’s first preaching in Judea (John 2:23), but he did not declare himself as such «for fear of the Jews» (John 19:38). On account of this secret allegiance to Jesus, he did not consent to His condemnation by the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:51), and was most likely absent from the meeting which sentenced Jesus to death (cf. Mark 14:64).

St Joseph of ArimatheaThe Crucifixion of the Master quickened Joseph’s faith and love, and suggested to him that he should provide for Christ’s burial before the Sabbath began. Unmindful therefore of all personal danger, a danger which was indeed considerable under the circumstances, he boldly requested from Pilate the Body of Jesus, and was successful in his request (Mark 15:43-45). Once in possession of this sacred treasure, he — together with Nicodemus, whom his courage had likewise emboldened, and who brought abundant spices — wrapped up Christ’s Body in fine linen and grave bands, laid it in his own tomb, new and yet unused, and hewn out of a rock in a neighbouring garden, and withdrew after rolling a great stone to the opening of the sepulchre (Matthew 27:59, 60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53; John 19:38-42). Thus was fulfilled Isaiah’s prediction that the grave of the Messias would be with a rich man (Isaiah 53:9). The Greek Church elebrates the feast of Joseph of Arimathea on 31 July, and the Roman Church on 17 March. The additional details which are found concerning him in the apocryphal «Acta Pilati», are unworthy of credence. Likewise fabulous is the legend which tells of his coming to Gaul A.D. 63, and thence to Great Britain, where he is supposed to have founded the earliest Christian oratory at  Glastonbury. Finally, the story of the translation of the body of Joseph of Arimathea from Jerusalem to Moyenmonstre (Diocese of Toul) originated late and is unreliable.

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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 »