PROPER OF SEASON
Sunday for the veneration of the Holy Cross
Ikos for the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross (Matins)
Three crosses Pilate fixed on Golgotha,
Two for the thieves and one for the Giver of life,
Whom Hades saw and said to those below:
"My ministers and powers, Who has fixed a nail in my heart? A wooden lance has suddenly pierced me and I am being torn apart. My insides are in pain, my belly in agony. My senses make my spirit tremble,
And I am compelled to disgorge Adam and Adam's race,
Given me by a tree,
A tree is bringing them back Again to Paradise".
St Theodore the Studite
Brethren and fathers, fasting is good if it possesses its own special characteristics, which are to be peaceable, meek, well-established, obedient, humble, sympathetic and all the other forms of virtue. But the devil hurries to suggest the opposite to fasters and to make them insolent, angry, bad-tempered, puffed up, so as to produce hurt more than gain. But let us not be ignorant of his plans, but continue our path peaceably, gently, meekly and steadfastly bearing with one another in love, knowing that this is what is acceptable to God; for though you bend your neck double like a hoop and smother yourself with sackcloth and ashes, if these qualities are lacking to you, you would not be well-pleasing to him. Because while fasting batters and wastes the body, it clears the soul and makes it flourish. For as much as our outer nature is perishing, it says, by so much the inner is being renewed day by day. And Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding weight of glory.
So that looking at the recompense, let us bear the toils of virtue with long-suffering, giving thanks to the God and Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love And so, my brothers, let us rejoice and be glad as we repudiate every pleasure.
All flesh is grass, and all human glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withered and the flower faded, but the work of virtue endures for ever. Is anyone among you suffering? as the brother of God says, Let him pray. Is anyone sad? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone tempted by evil passion? - since the tempter is always at work - let him endure patiently as he listens to the one who says:
Blessed is the one who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him.
If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them, said the Lord, to whom be glory and might, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Translated from the original Greek by The Very Revd. Archimandrite of the
Ecumenical Throne Ephrem Lash
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