April 22, 2018

THE FOURTH EOTHINON GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke

24:1-12

On the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women went to the tomb, taking the spices which, they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the Living among the dead? He is not here but is risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” And they remembered His words and returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the Apostles; but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, wondering to himself what had happened.

THE EPISTLE

The Reading from the Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7

In those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, “it is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochoros, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaos, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

THE GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark 15:43-16:8

At that time, Joseph of Arimathaea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the Kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. And Pilate wondered if He were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether Jesus was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that He was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. And he bought a linen shroud, and taking Him down, wrapped Him in the linen shroud, and laid Him in a tomb, which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where He was laid. And when the Sabbath was passed, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices so that they might go and anoint Him. 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 has 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 anyone, for they were afraid.

ORTHROS

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

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.

APOLYTIKION OF JOSEPH OF ARIMATHAEA

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

The pious Joseph, having brought down Thy pure body from the Tree, wrapped it in fine linen, embalmed it with ointment, provided for it, and laid it in a new tomb. But Thou didst verily rise after three days, O Lord, granting the world Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF THE MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN

Both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. Verily, the angel came to the tomb and said to the ointment-bearing women: the ointment is meet for the dead, but Christ is shown to be remote from corruption. But cry ye: The Lord is risen, granting the world the Great Mercy.

AT THE DIVINE LITURGY

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

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.

APOLYTIKION OF JOSEPH OF ARIMATHAEA

The pious Joseph, having brought down Thy pure body from the Tree, wrapped it in fine linen, embalmed it with ointment, provided for it, and laid it in a new tomb. But Thou didst verily rise after three days, O Lord, granting the world Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF THE MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN

Verily, the angel came to the tomb and said to the ointment-bearing women: the ointment is meet for the dead, but Christ is shown to be remote from corruption. But cry ye: The Lord is risen, granting the world the Great Mercy.

APOLYTIKION OF ST. GEORGE IN TONE FOUR

Since thou art a liberator and deliverer of captives, a help and support of the poor and needy, a healing physician of the sick, a contender and fighter for kings, O great among Martyrs, the victory-clad George; intercede with Christ God for the salvation of our souls.

KONTAKION OF PASCHA IN TONE EIGHT

O Immortal One, when Thou didst descend into the tomb, Thou didst destroy the power of Hades; and Thou didst rise victorious, O Christ God. Thou hast said to the ointment-bearing women: Rejoice! And Thou gavest peace to Thy Disciples, O Bestower of Resurrection to those Who had fallen.

Third Sunday of Pascha

The Myrrh-bearing Women

Mark 15:43-16:6

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Mark by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

42-47. Now when the evening was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counsellor, who also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and asked for the Body of Jesus. And Pilate wondered if He were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether He had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the Body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a tomb which was hewn out of a rock and rolled a stone unto the door of the tomb. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where He was laid. While yet a servant of the law, the blessed Joseph recognized Christ as God, and this is why he dared to do such a praiseworthy deed of courage. He did not stop to think to himself, “I am a wealthy man, and I will lose my wealth if I ask for the body of one condemned by the rulers authority, and I will be slandered by the Jews.” No such thoughts did he harbor, but placing all other considerations second, he begged to bury the Body of the One condemned. Pilate wondered if He were already dead, for Pilate thought that Jesus would endure on the cross for a long time, as did the thieves. So he asked the centurion if Jesus had already died some time before. Joseph then took the Body, having bought linen, and when he had taken It down from the cross he wrapped It in the linen, and buried reverently that which was worthy of all reverence. For Joseph too was a disciple of Christ, and he knew that it was necessary to honor the Master. He was noble, that is, devout, pious, and blameless. And he held the rank of counsellor, a title which conferred duties of public service and responsibility; the counsellors supervised the affairs of the marketplace, and danger often befell one holding this position because of the evildoings in the market. Let the wealthy, and those engaged in public business, heed that Josephs high rank in no way hindered him from living a virtuous life. Joseph means “increase,” and Arimathea means “taking hold of that.” Let us be like Joseph, always increasing in virtue, and taking hold of that which is truly good. Let us also take the Body of Jesus, through Holy Communion, and place It in a tomb hewn out of a rock, that is, place It within a soul which always remembers God and does not forget Him.

And let that soul be hewn from a rock, that is, from Christ Who is the Rock on which we are established. Let us wrap the Body of Jesus in the linen, that is, let us receive It within a pure body. For the body is the linen and the garment of the soul. We must receive the divine Body of the Lord not only with a pure soul, but with a pure body as well. And we must wrap It and enfold It within ourselves, and not leave It exposed. For this Mystery is something veiled and hidden, not something to be exposed.

16:1-8. And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the tomb at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him. But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the tomb; for they trembled and were amazed; neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid. The women had no understanding of Christs divinity while they sat by the tomb, and they bought myrrh with which to anoint His Body in accordance with the Jewish practice, so that It would remain fragrant and not begin to have the foul odor of decay. Myrrh also dries things out, and thus it absorbs the moisture of the body and preserves it from corruption. Thinking such thoughts as these, the women rose and came to the tomb very early in the morning, or, as Matthew says, after the sabbath, or, as Luke says, at early dawn.” [Mt. 28:1; Lk. 24:1] All four Evangelists say, On the first of the sabbath [mias Sabbaton], meaning, on the first day of the week (for “sabbath” was also the name they gave to the seven days of the week considered together, so that the “first day of the sabbath” meant Sunday). As the women approached the tomb, they talked among themselves about who would roll away the stone. While they were thinking about this, the angel rolled away the stone without their noticing. Matthew says that the angel rolled away the stone after the women had come to the tomb [Mt. 28:2] On this point Mark is silent, because Matthew had already said who rolled away the stone. Do not be troubled that Matthew says that the angel was sitting on the stone, while Mark says that after they entered the tomb, the women saw the angel sitting on the right side. It is likely that they first saw the angel sitting on the stone outside the tomb, as Matthew says, and that he then went before them into the tomb, where they saw him again. Some say that the women mentioned by Matthew were not the same ones mentioned here by Mark. Mary Magdalene, however, was with all of them, as she was fervent and aflame with zeal. The angel who appeared to the women said, Be not affrighted. First he takes away their fear, and then he announces to them the good tidings of the Resurrection. He calls Jesus “the Crucified”, for the angel was not ashamed of the Cross, which is the salvation of mankind and the beginning of good things. He is risen. How do we know this? Because He is not here. Do you want further assurance? Behold the place where they laid Him. This is why the angel had moved away the stone to show them the place. But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter. He names Peter separately from the other disciples, as Peter was the foremost of the apostles. Also, because Peter had denied the Lord, the angel singles him out by name so that, when the women came and said that the Lord had commanded them to tell the disciples, Peter could not say, “I denied the Lord, and therefore I am no longer His disciple. He has rejected me and abhors me.” The angel added the words and Peter, so that Peter would not be tempted to think that Jesus found him unworthy of mention, and unworthy to be ranked among the Lords disciples, because of his denial. He sends them [out of Judea] into Galilee, delivering them from tumult and from their great fear of the Jews. Fear and amazement had taken hold of the women at the sight of the angel and at the awesome mystery of the Resurrection, and because of this neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid.” Either they were afraid of the Jews, or they were so in awe of what they had seen that their minds were confounded. For this reason, neither said they anything to any man, and they even forgot the command the angel had given them.