We celebrate the death of Death!

Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom
Archbishop of Constantinople

Descent into Hades

Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God?
Let him enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Is there anyone who is a grateful servant?
Let him rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let him now receive his wages!
If any have toiled from the first hour,
let him receive his due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he, too, shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come, too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.
To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!

You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

He destroyed Hades when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."

Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, O Death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be glory and power
now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

St. John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407) was the Patriarch of Constantinople.


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Feasts & Fasts

July
1 Canada Day (Canada)
4 Independence Day (USA)
18 Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils
20 Holy, Glorious Prophet Elijah

August
1-14 Dormition Fast
6 Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ
15 The Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary
29 The Beheading of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John

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"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

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Holy Prophet Elias

The glorious Elias, * an angel in the flesh, the foundation of prophets and the second Forerunner of the coming of Christ * sent grace from on high to Elisha * to drive away sickness and cleanse lepers. * Wherefore, he pours forth healings for those who honor him. (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Prophet and foreseer of the great works of our God, * O renowned Elias, who, by your word restrained the clouds of rain, * pray for us to the only One Who loves mankind. (Kontakion - Tone 2)

The Church celebrates the memory of the Holy Prophet Elias on July 20th.

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Those who have truly decided to serve the Lord God should practice the remembrance of God and uninterrupted prayer to Jesus Christ, mentally saying: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

St. Seraphim of Sarov