Happy 3rd Day of the Holy Spirit!

Image by Joe from Pixabay

As Children of Light, may we (with purpose and gratitude) strive to reflect the Holy Trinity’s Joyous, Gladsome Light- on all whom we meet today – and every day… The Three in One and One in Three!

The Holy Spirit has always been, is now and ever shall be, having neither beginning nor end, but one with the Father and the Son: life and life giving; goodness itself and source of goodness, through Whom the Father is made known and the Son is glorified, and is known by all: one power, one unity, one worship, of the Holy Trinity. ~ Pentecost Vespers

I praise the Godhead, unity in three persons, for the Father is light, the Son is light, and the Spirit is light; but the light remains undivided, shining forth in oneness of nature; yet in the three rays of the persons! ~ Matins, Sunday of the Cross

Come, O ye people, let us worship the Godhead in Three Hypostasis: the Son in the Father, with the Holy Spirit; for the Father timelessly begat the Son Who is Co-eternal and Equal in Majesty, and the Holy Spirit was in the Father, glorified together with the Son; One Might, One Essence, One Godhead. In worshipping Whom let us all say: O Holy God, Who madest all things by the Son, through the cooperation of the Holy Spirit; Holy Mighty, through Whom we have known the Father, and through Whom the Holy Spirit came into the world; Holy Immortal, the Comforting Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father, and restest in the Son: O Holy Trinity, glory be to Thee. ~ Dogmaticon of Great Vespers of Pentecost

Sung by the GG’s

When asked to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity in a simple manner, 5th century St. Patrick of Ireland used a tiny shamrock (a low growing plant of the clover family) with its three lobed leaves on a single stem, to demonstrate how God the Father- God the Son- and God the Holy Spirit are the Holy Trinity; Three in One, One in Three… Undivided. St. Patrick wrote many hymns. Above is an excerpt from a beautiful, longer hymn. “I bind unto myself today, the Strong Name of the Trinity! By Invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three!” 

May your fast-free week of the Afterfeast be peaceful and fruitful!

Pentecost! The Earth’s Name’s Day!

Image by Anja from Pixabay

The Great Feast of Pentecost ~ Holy Trinity Sunday!

Greeting you with resplendent joy! Happy Feast Day!

Today is the Church’s Birthday and we also celebrate that at our own baptisms, we received the Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Chrismation, and have become participants in the Church’s Life of Grace!

Previous Blisswood Pentecost Posts:
Pentecost Greetings (Preparing for Pentecost)
Pentecost Rose and Traditions (Associated colours, making a Braided Grass Cross, creating a simple floral bouquet to bring/hold at Church)
Greetings on Pentecost (Troparion of Pentecost and excerpts from the beautiful Pentecost Vespers Kneeling Prayers )
Mosaic of Life
Day of the Holy Spirit
Happy Holy Spirit Day
I Believe

Virtual Tour of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (Vancouver BC) decorated with nature’s greenery for Pentecost.

Greetings on the Feast, and Happy Whitsuntide during the Afterfeast & Fast-Free Week until next Saturday!

Pentecost – Also known as Whitsun means literally “White Sunday” from the fact that many were baptized on this feast and thus dressed in white baptismal gowns, but perhaps also from the white light of the Holy Spirit. In Somerset, “God’s Land”, it was customary for women to wear white ribbons in their shoes, or at least carry a white flower, perhaps a daisy. It was a great feast and bells which were rung on this day were decorated with red ribbons to remind the faithful of the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit. The main dish this day was veal, in other words, the Biblical “fatted calf”, with gooseberry pie… Indeed an old rhyme says: “For gooseberry tart at Whitsuntide, trim old wood out ‘ere Christmastide”. ~ Old English Pentecost Traditions

A little chapel at Pentecost 2004

The Earth’s Name’s Day
~ Vasily Nikiforov-Volgin
(1900-1941)
The birch trees under our window murmured of the coming of the Holy Trinity. Sitting under their canopy, merging with the waves of their glittering leaves, I close my eyes tightly and imagined a path of shimmering light, just like on a river at sunrise; and along this path, in the form of three angels in white raiment, walks the Holy Trinity.
On the eve of the holiday my mother said, “Tomorrow is the earth’s name’s day!”
“How is that?” I asked.

“Because tomorrow, my son, is Holy Trinity Day. Tomorrow, the Holy Spirit walks upon the earth, and decorates the earth with the most beautiful field flowers and thick green grass. That is why on Trinity Day the earth always looks so bedecked and merry, like a name’s day celebrant!”
“The earth’s name’s day!” These extraordinary words sounded so wonderful, that my whole heart was illumined…
In the early morning, the arrival of the Holy Trinity at our village came in the form of the rising sun’s rays, which filled our little room with a delicate radiance. Mother lit the lampada in front of the icons murmuring, “O most Holy Trinity, save us….” Over the earth, which was celebrating its name’s day, the sun spilled its rays in thick and fragrant waves. The church crowned the earth’s name’s day with wondrous words, hymns and long mysterious prayers, during which we stood on our knees, and the floor was covered with flowers and fresh grass. I picked up blades of grass from the floor, rubbed them between my palms and, breathing in their fragrant smell, I sensed with all my heart: how wonderful it is to be alive on the earth’s name’s day!

The Lord grant thee according to thy heart, and all thy purposes fulfill.
~ From 2nd Antiphon at Pentecost

Glory to Thine Ascension

Image by Thanasis Papazacharias from Pixabay

Greetings on the Feast of The Ascension!

Christ Has Ascended!

In Glory… From Earth to Heaven!

You were born, our God, in a manner of Your own choosing. You appeared and suffered in the flesh as You willed. Through Your resurrection You conquered death and ascended into glory, fulfilling all things; You sent down the divine Spirit upon us, therefore in songs we praise Your divinity. ~ St. Romanos the Melodist

And now we, who before were considered unfit to dwell even upon the earth are being raised up to heaven, ascending with Christ to the heavenly kingdom. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Let us climb the Mount of Olives today in our hearts, and joyfully raise our minds on high beholding the Lord ascending into the heavens… Glory to Thine Ascension, O most greatly merciful One!

Pentecost Rose & Traditions

Image by Stux from Pixabay

Tree Peony Flower

The Peony is known and called the Pentecost Rose, as it always blooms around this great Feast!

Joyous Holy Pentecost greetings!

Today is the Church’s Birthday!

Over the years I’ve noticed that Trinity Sunday may seem breezier than usual! The trees, flowers and grasses sway and dance in the gentle winds. The Breath of the Holy Spirit encompasses all. Today the sun shines brighter. More golden. Birdsong is sweeter. Beauty is everywhere, rejoicing vibrantly.

Previous Bisswood Pentecost Posts
Pentecost Greetings
Greetings on Pentecost
Mosaic of Life
Day of the Holy Spirit
Like so Many Thorns
Happy Holy Spirit Day
I Believe

Pentecost Traditions
Today green vestments are worn by the clergy. Parishioners also wear a bit of white or green if they wish. Churches are decorated with greenery and flowers reflecting the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life. People bring small floral bouquets to church with them and hold them during the Divine Liturgy, to be later placed in their icon corners, or on a loved one’s grave.

Long grasses strewn on the floor may be collected after Liturgy, taken home and braided into a Grass Cross for one’s icon corner. (Loosely form two individual braided pieces and wrap/tie them together with a long grass blade.) Kids love to do this.

How to Make a Simple Floral Pentecost Bouquet
(to bring and hold at church) Materials Needed: Tin Foil, Plastic Wrap, Paper Towel, Elastic Band

1

To make a small floral bouquet that won’t wilt, have at least 3 flowers with some greenery (herbs or leaves).

2

Remove extra leaves from bottom of stems. Tie a thin elastic band up towards the top of the bouquet. Cut the bottom of stems so they are even at bottom, and they can be held easily in your hand.

3

Lightly dampen (shouldn’t drip) 1 or 2 squares of paper towel and wrap around the bottom, and up the stems.

4

Next, wrap the paper towel and stems tightly in an approximate 11 x 14 inch piece of plastic wrap. It can go up as high as you wish, but make sure it’s enclosed securely under the stems, so as not to leak.

5

Now tear an approximately 11 x 14 inch piece of tin foil and lay the paper-towelled/plastic wrapped bouquet on top of it. Doesn’t matter if it’s on the shiny or dull side of the foil.

6

7

Fold up the foiled bottom, making sure to enclose the the stems.

8

Roll the foil tightly over and over, keeping the bottom sealed. Once completely closed, scrunch the foil to tighten more if needed.

9

My husband holds this finished garden bouquet of foxglove, nepeta catmint, valerian, hosta leaf, lemon balm, and maiden’s hair fern. The foil looks too loose for my liking, and will be scrunched and gently twisted more tightly.

Now you have a fresh Pentecost Bouquet for church. If you make two bouquets, you can share one with someone who may not have access to garden flowers.

With love in Christ.


Mosaic of Life

Mosaic from 5th century church – Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy

Today is the Third Day of Holy Trinity.

The Lord grant thee according to thy heart, and all thy purposes fulfill. ~ Excerpt from Second Antiphon at Pentecost

Sometimes life may resemble a mosaic… with seemingly random bits of broken, snaggy shards, that cut and wound – like painful memories. When the Holy Spirit speaks to our heart, the Healing Balm of Forgiveness lovingly smooths residual roughness… transforming chaos to harmony. Through the Holy Spirit, we are strengthened and renewed. There is peace. Clarification. Understanding. We joyfully begin work on becoming a small part of the larger picture… the beautiful, tangible, and divinely designed mosaic of creation -As we were meant to.

Every one of us is in the image of God, and every one of us is like a damaged icon. But if we were given an icon damaged by time, damaged by circumstances, or desecrated by human hatred, we would treat it with reverence, with tenderness, with broken-heartedness. We would not pay attention primarily to the fact that it is damaged, but to the tragedy of its being damaged. We would concentrate on what is left of its beauty, and not on what is lost of its beauty. And this is what we must learn to do with regard to each person as an individual, but also, and this is not always as easy, with regard to groups of people, whether it be a parish or a denomination, or a nation. We must learn to look, and look until we have seen the underlying beauty of this group of people. Only then can we even begin to do something to call out all the beauty that is there. Listen to other people, and whenever you discern something which sounds true, which is a revelation of harmony and beauty, emphasize it and help it to flower. Strengthen it and encourage it to live. ~ Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Day of the Holy Spirit

Altar Mosaic Hospitality of Abraham in St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada (Based on the mosaic from 6th century church St. Vitale, in Ravenna, Italy)

On the day after every Great Feast, the post-feast honours the one through whom the Feast Day is made possible. Today is called Day of the Holy Spirit. It is the 2nd of the three days in a row dedicated to the Holy Spirit, with Pentecost beginning the three-day run. This whole week is fast-free.

When you look at the candles and lamps burning in church, rise in thought from the material fire to the immaterial fire of the Holy Spirit, for our God is a consuming fire. When you see and smell the fragrant incense, rise in thought to the spiritual fragrance of the Holy Spirit, ‘for we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ’… ‘Every soul is quickened by the Holy Spirit.’ Recognize that the Holy Spirit stands in the same relation to your soul as air stands in relation to your body… The Holy Spirit comforts the believing soul, as a mother comforts her child. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

The grace of the Holy Spirit which is given mystically to every Christian when he is baptized acts and is manifested in proportion to our obedience to the commandments of the Lord. That is, if a Christian obeys the commandments of the Lord more, grace acts with him more, while if he obeys them less, grace acts within him less. Just as a spark, when covered in the ashes of fire becomes increasingly manifest as one removes the ashes, and the more fire wood you put the more the fire burns, so the grace that has been given to every Christian through Holy Baptism is hidden in the heart and covered up by the passions and sins, and the more a man acts in accordance with the commandments of Christ, the more he is cleansed of the passions and the more the fire of Divine grace lights in his heart, illumines and deifies him. ~ St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain


Pentecost Greetings

Icon of the Holy Trinity St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

Greetings on Great and Holy Pentecost!

Fifty days after Great and Holy Pascha, we celebrate the wonderful, joyful Great Feast of Pentecost. This important day commemorates the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to his disciples and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them, and later…. on us. This day is often called the birthday of the Church. The disciples were gathered in prayer at Jerusalem, waiting as Christ had commanded… when a mighty wind was heard, and tongues of fire appeared over their heads. A multilingual crowd heard the disciples preaching about Christ… miraculously speaking to the multitudes in their various native languages.

Preparing for Pentecost, people clean and decorate their homes and icon corners with herbs and green tree branches, that symbolize rebirth of all life through the Holy Spirit.

Today Churches are decorated with flowers, and greenery. Fresh grasses and herbs are strewn on the floors. Everything is vibrant. Small floral bouquets are often held by the faithful at the Liturgy. Sometimes people take the flowers they held at church and afterwards place them in their home’s icon corner, or to the grave of a loved one, or give them to someone who is sick, or elderly.

The Holy Spirit is is the Giver of Life, and clergy wear green vestments in honour of the Holy Spirit. Parishioners also wear green or white in celebration.

It is also said to be traditionally (with a small “t”) windy at Pentecost, to remind us of Holy Spirit.

Today is the first of the Three Days of the Holy Spirit.

May you find and enjoy a delightful, refreshing breeze today!

The Holy Spirit is life and life, the noetic Source of life – the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of understanding, good upright, noetic, possessing dominion, cleansing transgressions: God and deifying, Fire and transcending fire, speaking, acting, distributing gifts, by Whom all the prophets and divine apostles and martyrs have been crowned. Strange is the report, strange is the sight – fire distributed in the bestowal of gifts. The Holy Spirit has always been, is now and ever shall be, having neither beginning nor end, but one with the Father and the Son: life and life giving; goodness itself and source of goodness, through Whom the Father is made known and the Son is glorified, and is known by all: one power, one unity, one worship, of the Holy Trinity. ~ Matins at Pentecost Vigil

…The closer we approach God, the closer we approach each other, just as the closer rays of light are to each other, the closer they are to the Sun. In the coming Kingdom of God there will be unity, mutual love and concord. The Holy Trinity remains eternally unchanging, all-perfect, united in essence and indivisible... The One, Indivisible Trinity ever remains the Trinity. The Father always remains the Father, the Son remains the Son, the Holy Spirit remains the Holy Spirit. Besides Their personal Properties, They all share all in common and in Unity. That is why the Holy Trinity is One God. ~ St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco

Happy Holy Spirit Day

Hospitality of Abraham Icon St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

Happy Holy Spirit Day!

Over the years I’ve noticed that on Pentecost and the following day (Holy Spirit Day), it seems breezier than usual. The trees, flowers and grasses sway and dance in the gentle winds. The Breath of the Holy Spirit encircles all. Today the sun shines brighter. More golden. Today the birds sing sweeter. Today a wordless song of gratitude bubbles up within me – a fountain of joy… Thanking God, for everything. (Even my sore foot!)

Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. ~ Psalm 100:2  

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. ~ Isaiah 55:12

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance… ~Galatians 5:22-23

For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, … but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord… ~ Ephesians 5: 9, 18, 19

The closer we approach God, the closer we approach each other, just as the closer rays of light are to each other, the closer they are to the Sun. In the coming Kingdom of God there will be unity, mutual love and concord. The Holy Trinity remains eternally unchanging, all-perfect, united in essence and indivisible. ~ St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco

The One, Indivisible Trinity ever remains the Trinity. The Father always remains the Father, the Son remains the Son, the Holy Spirit remains the Holy Spirit. Besides Their personal Properties, They all share all in common and in unity. That is why the Holy Trinity is One God. ~ St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco

The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who fills the whole universe, passes through all believing, meek, humble, good, and simple human souls, dwelling in them, vivifying and strengthening them. He becomes one spirit with them and everything to them – light, strength, peace, joy, success in their undertakings, especially in a pious life, and everything good – “going through all understanding, pure and most subtle spirits” … filled with the Spirit of God similarly as a sponge is filled with water. ~ St. John of Kronstadt.

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