This Sunday we celebrate the Veneration of the Holy Cross. By God’s grace, we’ve reached the third Sunday of Holy and Great Lent, the halfway point of respite where we rest under the shade of the Holy Cross.
A beautiful, and brief, explanation of this Sunday written by Saint Philaret of New York Homily on the Sunday of the Cross with an short excerpt below:
‘We all know, of course, that the Life-giving Cross is our primary sacred object, our main spiritual treasure. And the Church especially glorifies this sacred object. The Cross is glorified over the course of the entire year, on Wednesdays and Fridays, and in the Church’s prayers nearly every Sunday. It is triumphantly brought out for veneration three times a year: in the summer, on the first of August (old style), when its carrying out from the cathedral church in Constantinople, the imperial city, and its procession through the streets of this city is triumphantly celebrated; September 14, (old style) – the main feast of the Cross – when its triumphant Exaltation is remembered; and today’s feast day, in the middle of Great Lent..’
Another edifying and slightly longer HOMILY ON THE THIRD SUNDAY OF GREAT LENT by Saint Ignatius Brianchanov speaks to us about carrying our cross, excerpt below:
‘What does it mean to take up our cross? The cross was an instrument of shameful execution of commoners and captives deprived of a citizen’s rights. The proud world, a world at enmity with Christ, deprives Christ’s disciples of the rights enjoyed by the sons of this world. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me (Jn. 15:19; 16:2–3). Taking up our cross means magnanimously enduring the mocking and derision that the world pours out upon followers of Christ—those sorrows and persecutions with which the sin-loving and blind world persecutes those who follow Christ… ‘
Please see our updated Weekly Schedule of Services for a complete list of services this week at Saint Anna’s, the monastery and convent.
Remember, we continue to include the prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian (below) in our daily prayers except on Saturdays and Sundays.
A Prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian
O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, curiosity, ambition, and idle talk give me not. (prostration)
But a spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love, bestow upon me Thy servant. (prostration)
Yea, O Lord King, grant me to see mine own failings and not to condemn my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen. (prostration)
Then we make 12 bowes, after which we repeat the concluding verse of the prayer:
Yea, O Lord King, grant me to see mine own failings and not to condemn my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.(prostration)
And remember, the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos continues to be chanted for the next two Fridays, 7pm at Saint Anna’s. Please see the Weekly Schedule of Services for times at the monastery and convent.
If you cannot make it to church that evening, you can read the service here. Interesting to note – the word akathist literally means ‘without sitting’ .
Struggling with cooking fasting foods? Visit our Fasting Food Resources page for delicious ideas – with many recipes online in Greek and Russian too!
Prefer Facebook? Join the FB group ‘Lenten Recipe Swap for Keeping the Fast‘ and share your favorites with other Orthodox Christians looking for new options.
Download and print Family Journey Through Great Lent to follow with the whole family!
And a wonderful book on the life of Saint John Maximovitch is back in print and available at Saint Nectarios Press for ages 7 and up – order your copy today
Check out the huge selection of titles available from Saint Nectarios Press in their SPRING SALE!
Something special to listen to this lenten season, a very beautiful collection of hymns (in Greek) from the services of Great Lent below: