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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Daily Reading:

Thursday May 27/June 9
Ascension of our Lord




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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:



Illumine my heart, O Master who lovest mankind, with the pure light of Thy divine knowledge. Open Thou the eyes of my mind to the understanding of Thy Gospel teachings. Implant also in me a love for Thy blessed commandments. Grant me the grace to overcome all my carnal desires, so that I may enter more completely into a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well pleasing to Thee. For Thou art the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, together with Thine all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit; now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Lord Jesus Christ, open Thou the eyes of my heart, that I may hear Thy word and understand and do Thy will, for I am a sojourner upon the earth. Hide not Thy commandments from me, but open mine eyes, that I may perceive the wonders of Thy law. Speak unto me the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom. On Thee do I set my hope, O my God, that Thou shalt enlighten my mind and understanding with the light of Thy knowledge, not only to cherish those things which are written, but to do them; that in reading the lives and sayings of the Saints I may not sin, but that such may serve for my restoration, enlightenment and sanctification, for the salvation of my soul, and the inheritance of life everlasting. For Thou art the enlightenment of those who lie in darkness, and from Thee cometh every good deed and every gift. Amen.

By the intercessions of Thine All-immaculate Mother and of all Thy Saints, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen



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Thursday
The Ascension of Our Lord

VESPERS

Isaiah 2:2-3


And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.



Isaiah 62:10-63:3; 63:7-9


Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.


Zechariah 14:1, 4, 8-11


Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.


MATINS

Mark 16:9-20


Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that He was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. And He said unto them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.


LITURGY

Acts 1:1-12


The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.


Luke 24:36-53


And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, "Peace be unto you." But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, "Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." And when He had thus spoken, He shewed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, "Have ye here any meat?" And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them. And He said unto them, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me." Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.


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Troparion of the Ascension
O Christ God, Thou hast ascended in Glory, granting joy to Thy disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Through the blessing they were assured that Thou art the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world!


Kontakion of the Ascension
When Thou didst fulfil the dispensation for our sake, and unite earth to heaven: Thou didst ascend in glory, O Christ our God, not being parted from those who love Thee, but remaining with them and crying: I am with you and no one will be against you!

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ST JOHN THE RUSSIAN, THE NEW CONFESSOR
HOLY HIEROMARTYR HELLADIOS


Troparion of St John the Russian Tone 4
He Who called thee from earth to heaven/ keeps thy body unharmed even after death, O righteous John./ Thou wast taken to Asia as a prisoner/ and didst win Christ as thy friend./ Beseech Him that our souls may be saved.

Another Troparion of St John the Russian Tone l
Russia thy fatherland boasts of thy birth, O John,/ and Asia rejoices in thy relics:/ carried thither as a prisoner and enduring great hardships,/ as an ascetic thou hast become God's initiate./ Glory to Christ Who has glorified thee; glory to Him Who has made thee wondrous;/ glory to Him Who has given thee to us as a protector.

Troparion of St Helladios Tone 5
The hosts of heaven,/ marvelling at thy steadfast courage,/ were astonished by thine endurance, O blessed one./ For though in a mortal body/ thou didst shame the bodiless by the power of the Cross,/ O Hierarch Helladios,/ defender of godliness and invincible soldier of Christ.

Kontakion of St John the Russian Tone 4
Today we remember thine illustrious contests,/ O righteous Father John./ They gladden the souls of those who venerate thee with reverence and faith.

Kontakion of St Helladios Tone 8
Thou didst blossom like a fruitful olive tree,/ bearing fruit of holy struggles for those who look for God's mercy./ As thou art a martyr and a glorious light of the Faith,/ guide us to divine knowledge, for we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father Helladios.



On the Ascension of Our Lord

http://www.allsaintsnc.org/Ascension.html


On the 39th day after Pascha we celebrate the Leavetaking of the Feast of Feasts, commemorating the last day of the Risen Christ's earthly sojourn. The day following is celebrated as His Leavetaking - His Glorious Ascension into Heaven. As Holy Scripture tells us, after Jesus has spoken with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit, "as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.' Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away" (Acts 1:9-12)

The Lord ascended to Heaven not to sadden us with His departure, but in order to do what is best for us. "It is to your advantage that I go away", He had told His disciples. For "if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you" ( John 16:7) I will pray the Father and He will give you another Comforter, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth...The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things".(John 14:16,26) The Savior saw that His mission on earth was accomplished. The goal of His incarnation was to proclaim the Divine Truth to the world, to direct men into the path of repentance and salvation, and deliver us from Eternal Death. The Lord accomplished our salvation and man acquires it through the action of the Holy Spirit.

(From "These Truths We Hold" - St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, 1986)