February 19th

THE EIGHTH EOTHINON GOSPEL
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark 16:1-8
And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the
mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and
anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week they went to
the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another,
“Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” And
looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; it was very large.
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side,
dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them,
“Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified.
He is risen, He is not here; see the place where they laid Him. But go,
tell His Disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see Him, as He told you.” And they went out and fled
from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them;
and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.

THE EPISTLE
Reading from the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians 8:8-9:2

Brethren, food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we
do not eat, and no better off if we do. Only take care, lest this liberty of
yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if any one
sees you—a man of knowledge—at table in an idol’s temple, might he
not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to
idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the
brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and
wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat
meat, lest I cause my brother to fall. Am I not free? Am I not an
apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship
in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for
you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

THE GOSPEL
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew 25:31-46

The Lord said, “When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the
angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him
will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from
another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and He will
place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the
King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of
the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and
you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was
naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in
prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him,
‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and feed Thee, or thirsty and give
Thee drink? And when did we see Thee a stranger and welcome Thee,
or naked and clothe Thee? And when did we see Thee sick or in prison
and visit Thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you,
as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Then He will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you
cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I
was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me
no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you
did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then
they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to
Thee?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it
not to one of the least of these, you did it not to Me.’ And they will go
away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

ORTHROS
RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION IN TONE TWO

When Thou didst submit Thyself unto death, O Thou deathless and
immortal One, then Thou didst destroy hell with Thy Godly power.
And when Thou didst raise the dead from beneath the earth, all the
powers of Heaven did cry aloud unto Thee: O Christ, Thou giver of
life, glory to Thee.

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION IN TONE TWO
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
When Thou didst submit Thyself unto death, O Thou deathless and
immortal One, then Thou didst destroy hell with Thy Godly power.
And when Thou didst raise the dead from beneath the earth, all the
powers of Heaven did cry aloud unto Thee: O Christ, Thou giver of
life, glory to Thee.

RESURRECTIONAL THEOTOKION IN TONE TWO
Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Exceeding glorious beyond the power of thought are thy mysteries, O
Theotokos; for being sealed in purity, and preserved in virginity, thou
wast acknowledged to be in very truth the Mother who didst bring
forth the true God. Wherefore, entreat Him to save our souls.

At the Divine Liturgy
RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION IN TONE TWO

When Thou didst submit Thyself unto death, O Thou deathless and
immortal One, then Thou didst destroy hell with Thy Godly power. And
when Thou didst raise the dead from beneath the earth, all the powers of
Heaven did cry aloud unto Thee: O Christ, Thou giver of life, glory to
Thee.
The apolytikion of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos:
“Today the Virgin stands in the midst of the Church, and with choirs of
Saints she invisibly prays to God for us. Angels and Bishops venerate
Her, Apostles and prophets rejoice together, Since for our sake she prays
to the Eternal God!”

KONTAKION FOR SUNDAY OF LAST JUDGMENT
When Thou comest, O God, to earth with glory, and all creatures
tremble before Thee, and the river of fire floweth before the Altar, and
the books are opened and sins revealed, deliver me then from that
unquenchable fire, and make me worthy to stand at Thy right hand, O
righteous Judge.

Meatfare Sunday
The Last Judgment

Matthew 25:31-46
From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Matthew
by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

31-33. When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy
angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and
before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one
from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He
shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Since the
first coming of the Lord was not with glory but with dishonor and
indignity, He says, When He shall come in His glory. For at the second
coming He will come with glory, escorted by angels. First He will divide
the saints from the sinners, delivering them from tribulations, and set
them on His right, and then speak to them. He calls the saints sheep on
account of their gentleness, and because they yield fruit and useful
things for us, as do sheep, providing wool, which is divine and spiritual
protection, and milk, which is the sustenance that is needed. The goats
are the sinners, for they walk along the precipices and are unruly and
fruitless.
34-40. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye
blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and ye fed Me: I was thirsty,
and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and
ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye
came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when
saw we Thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink?
When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed
Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,
ye have done it unto Me. He does not give honor or punishment until He
has first judged. For He loves mankind and teaches us to do the same as
well, not to punish until we have made a careful examination. In this
way those who are punished after the judgement will have no cause for
complaint. He calls the saints blessed as they have been accepted by the
Father. He considers them to be inheritors of the kingdom to show that
God makes them participants in His own glory as His sons. For He did
not say, “receive”, but rather inherit, as a man would say of his father’s
estate. By the least brethren He means either His own disciples or,
simply, all the poor. For every poor man is Christ’s brother for the very
reason that Christ, too, spent His life in poverty. See also God’s
righteousness, how He acclaims the saints; and see the good disposition
of their mind, how they deny, with befitting modesty, that they have
cared for Him. But the Lord accepts as for Himself the things that were
done for the poor.
41-46. Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from
Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
for I was hungry, and ye gave Me nothing to eat: I was thirsty, and ye
gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and
ye clothed Me not: sick, or in prison, and ye visited Me not. Then shall
they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee hungry, or
thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister
unto Thee? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous
into life eternal. He sends those on the left into the fire which had been
prepared for the devil. For as the demons are without compassion and
are cruelly and maliciously disposed towards us, it is fitting that those
who are of like mind with them, and who have been cursed by their own
deeds, should merit the same punishment. See that God did not prepare
the fire for men, nor did He make hell for us, but for the devil—I make
myself liable to hell. Tremble, then, O man, and understand from this
that these men were not punished as fornicators, or robbers, or
perpetrators of any other vice, but for not having done good. Indeed, if
you consider things well, the robber is he who has much and does not
give alms, even if he does no obvious injury. For whatever he has in
excess of his needs, he has stolen from those who are in need and who
have not received anything from him. If he had shared these things with
them, they would not be in need. Now that he has locked these things up
and kept them for himself, for this very reason they are in need. So he
who does not give alms is a robber, doing injustice to all those whom he
could have helped but did not, and for this reason he and those like him
shall go away into eternal punishment which never ends; but the
righteous shall enter into eternal life.
Just as the saints have unceasing joy, so too the unjust have unceasing
punishment, despite the gibberish of Origen who says that there is an
end to hell and that sinners will not be punished for ever, but that there
will be a time when they enter the place of the righteous because they
have been purified by suffering in hell. (1) Origen is clearly refuted here,
both when the Lord speaks of everlasting punishment, that is, never
ending, and when He likens the righteous to sheep and the sinners to
goats. Just as a goat can never become a sheep, neither can a sinner ever
be cleansed and become righteous after the Judgement. Outer darkness
(mentioned in the preceding parable of the talents) is that which is
furthest from the light of God and for that reason renders the punishment
more harsh. There is another reason that could be mentioned, and that is
that the sinner is in darkness even in this life, as he has fallen away from
the Sun of Righteousness, but as there is still hope of conversion, this is
not yet the outer darkness. But when he has died and an examination has
been made of the things he has done, then the outer darkness in its turn
receives him. For there is no longer any hope of conversion, but he
undergoes a complete deprivation of the good things of God. While he
is here in this life he enjoys to some degree the good things of God, I
mean, the tangible things of creation, and he believes that he is in some
manner a servant of God, living out his life in God’s house, which is this
creation, being fed by Him and provided with the necessities of life. But
then he will be altogether cut off from God, having no share at all in the
good things of God. This is that darkness which is called outer by
comparison to the darkness here, which is not outer because the sinner
is not yet completely cut off from this time onward.
You, then, O reader, flee from this absence of compassion, and practice
almsgiving, both tangible and spiritual. Feed Christ Who hungers for our
salvation. If you give food and drink to him who hungers and thirsts for
teaching, you have given food and drink to Christ. For within the
Christian there is Christ, and faith is nourished and increased by teaching.
If you should see someone who has become a stranger to his heavenly
fatherland, take him in with you. While you yourself are entering into
the heavens, lead him in as well, lest while you preach to others, you
yourself be rejected. If a man should cast off the garment of incorruption
which he had at his baptism, rendering him naked, clothe him; and if one
should be infirm in faith, as Paul says, help him; and visit him who is
shut up in the dark prison of this body and give him counsel which is as
a light to him. Perform, then, all of these six types of love, both bodily
and also spiritually, for we consist of both soul and body, and these acts
of love are to be accomplished by both.