Numinous Milestones of Holy Week

The Winding Sheet from Great and Holy Friday, 2023

On Holy Week: I remember that when my nephew Andrew was seventeen years old, he said to me: “Ah!… Why don’t we have Holy Week four or five times a year? So that we may all get that into our head and assimilate everything!” Truly, Holy Week makes us meditate for hours and days… even permanently. It is something beyond this world… ~ St. Gavrilia (Ascetic of Love)

Holy Week

Lovely to Listen To: St. Matthew’s Passion Music composed by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, takes us through the services in Holy Week, as recorded through the Gospel of St. Matthew. Music and Scripture are poignantly entwined.

Presanctified Liturgy: This service is partly like the service on Saturday evenings and partly like the usual Liturgy. At the Presanctified Liturgy, the Holy Communion is already consecrated from a previous usual Divine Liturgy.

Great and Holy Monday

Let My Prayer Arise

Services of the Bridegroom

Great and Holy Tuesday

Hymn of St. Kassiani
The Woman Who Had Fallen Into Many Sins

On Holy Tuesday: Listening to the Hymn of Kassiani, (sung on Holy Tuesday evening and Holy Wednesday morning): O Lord, the woman who had fallen into many sins… Have we not all fallen into many sins? But how else could we have felt the Miracle of His Pardon and Love? This is why all of us, who worship the Lord, are aware that without His help, His intervention, we would be wallowing in the mud permanently. O my God, I thank You! I thank You day and night, with my eyes open or closed, with or without words, alive or dead… ~ St. Gavrilia (The Ascetic of Love)

Great and Holy Wednesday

Great and Holy Thursday

Natural Onion Skin Brick- Red Dye for Pascha Eggs and Banquet of Faith

Great and Holy Friday

Do Not Lament Me O Mother One of my favourite hymns by St. Kassiani

Great and Holy Saturday

Let us open our arms and throw ourselves in Christ’s embrace. When Christ comes, we will have gained everything. Christ will alter everything within us. He will bring peace, joy, humility, love, prayer and the uplifting of our soul. The grace of Christ will renew us. ~ Elder Porphyrios, Wounded By Love

May your cup overflow with Holy Week’s multitude of blessings!

Looking forward to greeting you again on the other side of Great and Holy Pascha! May your Bright Week be radiant!

Paschal Sermon by St. John Chrysostom (347-407) Archbishop of Constantinople

…Orthodox Pascha is not just a festival, but the Festival of all festivals, an event for exceeding all the events of this world. Pascha shakes the whole cosmos: the sun, by our faith, dances and becomes iridescent with every colour of the rainbow, and all of creation rejoices. Some observe a magnificent silence, lacking the strength to express the inexpressible feeling of Paschal joy which fills their souls. Others hasten to share their feeling of the Paschal triumph. All people and all things begin to move, the tedious vanities of this world are cast aside, and all are transfigured. Pascha is, first of all, in us ourselves, in our hearts. God’s gift of the feeling of love penetrates our whole being, and we love each person and all things. This relates not just to the animal kingdom, but to the whole of creation, extending to the smallest blade of grass and the smallest flower. Nothing escapes our loving attention. May the Lord help us all to keep ourselves like this, for as such did the Lord create us. ~ Excerpt Paschal Epistle from Metropolitan Vitaly, May, 2000; The Two Thousandth Pascha of Christ

Thank you for visiting Blisswood!

The Healing Strength of Tears

On a recent gray day, raindrops on our patio’s Montana Clematis reminded me of tears.

There are tears that burn and there are tears that anoint as oil. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian (Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian)

True tears, flowing from love for God, possess such power. Greater than Baptism itself is the fountain of tears after Baptism. ~ St. John Climacus

When said with pain, the prayer gives birth to mourning. Mourning brings tears. Tears in turn give birth to purer prayer. For tears like a fragrant myrrh wash away the filth, and thus the inbreathing of God is cleansed, which like a dove is confined within four walls, as if made of the four elements… And then, as soon as the walls break down and collapse, the dove immediately flies to the Father whence it came. ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast

You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Aren’t they listed in your book? The day I call to you, my enemies will be turned back. Because I know God is on my side. ~ Psalm 56:8-9

All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. ~ Psalm 38:9

Everyone has heartache. That’s part of life, and there are many kinds of tears. There are tears of sorrow, contrition, and frustration… to name a few. There are also good, and joyful nourishing tears of gratitude that flow from the love of God.

Accept the fountain of my tears, Thou who dost gather the waters of the sea to clouds... ~ Hymn of Kassiani

Standing in front of an holy icon, and looking into the eyes of our Saviour or His Most Pure Mother, or our Patron Saint…. our tears can become prayers when we can’t speak. Tears bring us back to God, closer to God.

A place without sorrows can only be in the heart, when the Lord is within it. ~ St. Nikon of Optina

May we bathe more often in the sweet consolation of prayerful tears and God’s holy, healing, spiritual myrrh. Both now and ever.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ~ St. Matthew 11:28-30

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