120. Holy Thursday evening Twelve Gospels service

Thursday evening: Matins for Holy Friday – “The Twelve Gospels Service” Gospel Readings: 1 John 13:31-18:1, 2 John 18:1-29, 3 Matthew 26:57-75, 4 John 18:28 -19:16, 5 Matthew 27:3-32, 6 Mark 15:16-32, 7 Matthew 27:33-54, 8 Luke 23:32-49, 9 John 19:25-37, 10 Mark 15:43-47, 11 John 19:38-42, 12 Matthew 27:62-66 I will not (believe me!) comment on each of these readings, which carry the story from Holy Thursday through Holy Saturday evening. I will say a little to try to explain what was happening, which is sometimes not so obvious. In this conflation of the…

119. Holy Wednesday evening Matins and Anointing, and Holy Thursday Divine Liturgy

Holy Wednesday evening Matins and Holy Unction For most of our history the Holy Wednesday night service was Matins/Orthros alone, which continues the Holy Week narrative. However, beginning a few hundred years ago in Greek and Antiochian churches, Matins began to be replaced by Holy Unction. The Anointing was used as part of the preparation for Pascha Communion. In those days the Holy Eucharist was received rarely, for many only at Pascha,…

118. Holy Tuesday evening Bridegroom Matins, Holy Wednesday morning Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Holy Tuesday evening Bridegroom Matins   Before we get into the Gospel story … Tonight we hear the Hymn of Kassiane, a ninth century nun and hymnographer. She was Irish, but her family moved to Constantinople, where she was one of several young women interviewed by Emperor Theophilus as his prospective bride. The story says he was so flummoxed by Kassiane’s beauty that he said something stupid (as men have been known…

117. Holy Monday evening Bridegroom Matins, Holy Tuesday morning Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

It will help if you read the Gospel passages before you read this Post. Holy Monday evening Bridegroom Matins Gospel Reading: Matthew 22:15-46; 23:1-39 In tonight’s Gospel, the confrontation between Jesus and the authorities continues. They must stop this man. Killing him was the last option. The better way, the cleanest way was still to outwit him, discredit him. They’d had no success at this so far but now  they try one more…

116. Palm Sunday evening Bridegroom Matins, Holy Monday morning Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

This week I’ll post articles daily to explain the services of this blessed Week. This is especially for the benefit of those who can’t make it to church.  It will help if you first take out your Bible and read the Gospel lessons as noted, since I’ll do a lot of paraphrasing of the actual text. These Posts are based on Holy Week homilies I’ve given at Saint Nicholas, Cedarburg, over the last thirty…

115. An Introduction to Holy Week

Lazarus Saturday There had been fake Messiahs here and there before. The authorities had always been able to discredit them, and their followers had disappeared into the woodwork. But now here was this Jesus at Bethany only two miles from Jerusalem, still going strong – pulling off this ‘fake miracle”, this supposed raising of a dead man. Many people were beginning to wonder: “Is this one really the Messiah?” He must be…

114. The Seven Deadly Sins, Part Two: Sloth – Slothfulness about Leisure, Spiritual Sloth, How to Overcome Sloth

Last week we looked at Bodily, Intellectual and Moral Sloth. Now, moving ahead… 5 Slothfulness regarding Leisure. This sounds like a contradiction. It is not. Fifty five years ago one of my professors predicted that the big problem by the end of the twentieth century would be finding something for people to do with all their spare time. I don’t think so! at least not in America. After Sunday Liturgy not long ago someone said…

113. The Seven Deadly Sins #6 – Sloth, Part One: Bodily Sloth, Intellectual Sloth, Moral Sloth

Well…  …  I’ve intended to finish this Blog Post for the longest time. I really meant to, but I’ve been putting it off and putting it off and putting it off… till now… today… at last… finally… “I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken…

112. The Icon, Part Two – Iconoclasm, the Seventh Council, and after that

In the year 767 Stephen of Constantinople saw soldiers trampling an icon. He objected and was told it was ok – it was only a picture. So he took a coin with the image of the Emperor and trampled it, explaining it was only a picture. We celebrate the feast of Saint Stephen the New Martyr every November 26. The Emperor didn’t forbid images of himself, only of Christ and the saints. You get…

111. The Icon, Part One – Judaism, Early Church

Did you ever watch a classic iconographer paint (“write”} an icon? This requires many layers of egg tempura paint, each properly prayed over. The iconographer begins with a plain board, correctly shaped and prepared. (I’m omitting much of the process here.) Along the way a layer of clay earth tone is used, then later white on which the outline of the person is sketched. After this come layer after layer after layer…