2021

On Saturday | May 1

   

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The Readings from Vespers

READER

The reading is from the book of Genesis.

PRIEST/DEACON

Wisdom. Let us be attentive.

READER

Gn 1:1-13

In the beginning God made heaven and earth. The earth was invisible and unfinished; and darkness was over the deep. The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw the light; it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day; the darkness He called Night; and there was evening and morning, one day. Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water, and let it divide the water from the water”; and it was so. Thus God made the firmament, and God divided the water under the firmament from the water above the firmament. So God called the firmament Heaven, and God saw that it was good ; and there was evening and morning, the second day. Then God said, “Let the water under heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. The water under heaven was gathered into its places, and the dry land appeared. So God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the herb of grass, bearing seed according to its kind and likeness. Let the fruit tree bear fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind on earth.” It was so. Thus the earth brought forth the herb of grass, bearing seed according to its kind and likeness. The fruit tree bore fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind on earth. God saw that it was good. So evening and morning were the third day. [SAAS]

READER

The reading is from the Prophecy of Jonah.

PRIEST/DEACON

Wisdom. Let us be attentive.

READER

Jon 1-4

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise and go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach in it; for the cry of her wickedness has come up to me." But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish, paid his fare, and boarded the ship to set sail with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord raised up a great wind upon the sea, and there came about a mighty tempest, and the ship was in danger of breaking up. And the mariners were afraid and cried out, each one to his god. And they cast out the cargo of the ship into the sea, attempting to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, had gone to sleep, and was snoring. The captain came to him and said, "Why are you snoring? Get up and call upon your God, that your God may keep us safe so we do not perish." And each one said to his shipmate, "Come! Let us cast lots and find out on whose account this calamity is upon us." So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then they said to him, "Tell us, what is your occupation? Where do you come from and from what country and people are you?" And he said to them, "I am a servant of the Lord, and I worship the Lord God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land." Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, "What is this that you did?" For the men knew he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, "What should we do to you that the sea will calm itself for us?" For the sea continued to be tempestuous, and the waves rose up even higher. And Jonah said to them, "Take me up and cast me into the sea, and the sea will grow calm for you, for I know this great tempest is upon you because of me." And the men tried hard to return to the land, but were unable to do so, for the sea arose and grew even more tempestuous against them. Then they cried out to the Lord and said, "Please, O Lord, do not let us perish on account of this man's life, nor bring righteous blood upon us; for you, O Lord, have brought this about." So they took up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. And the men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and vowed vows. Now the Lord commanded a huge sea creature to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the sea creature three days and three nights. And from the belly of the sea creature, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God, and said: "I cried out in my affliction to the Lord, my God, and He heard my voice; out of the belly of Hades, You heard the cry of my voice. You cast me into the depths of the heart of the sea, and rivers encompassed me; all Your surging waters and Your waves passed over me. And I said, 'I have been driven away from Your sight; shall I again look with favor toward Your holy temple?' Water is poured over me to my soul; the lowest depth encircled me; my head plunged into the clefts of the mountains. I descended into the earth, the bars of which are everlasting barriers; yet let my life ascend from corruption, O Lord, my God. When my soul was failing from me, I remembered the Lord. May my prayer be brought to You, into Your holy temple. Those who follow vanity and lies forsake their own mercy. But with a voice of thanksgiving and praise, I will sacrifice to You. As much as I vowed, I shall offer up to You, to You, the Lord of Deliverance." Then the Lord commanded the sea creature, and it cast up Jonah onto the dry land. Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, "Arise and go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach there according to the message I previously spoke to you." So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, just as the Lord spoke. Nineveh was an exceedingly great city to God, a journey of about three days. And Jonah began to enter into the city, going a day's journey, where he proclaimed and said, "Yet three days and Nineveh shall be overthrown." And the men of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least. Then the word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and put on sackcloth, and sat upon ashes. And it was proclaimed and spoken in Nineveh by the king and by his great men, saying, "Let not the men, cattle, oxen, or sheep taste anything, eat, or drink water." So the men and the cattle were clothed with sackcloth, and they cried out fervently to God; and they each turned back from their evil ways and from the wrongdoings of their hands, saying, "Who knows if God shall have a change of heart and turn from His fierce anger, that we should not perish?" And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil ways. And God had a change of heart about the evil which He said He would do to them, and He did not do it. But Jonah was deeply grieved and was troubled. So he prayed to the Lord and said, "O Lord, were these not my words when I was yet in my land? Therefore I saw the need to flee to Tarshish; because I knew You to be compassionate and merciful, longsuffering and abundant in mercy, and willing to change your heart concerning evils. And now, Master, Lord, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live." And the Lord said to Jonah, "Are you exceedingly grieved?" Then Jonah went out of the city and seated himself opposite it. There he made for himself a tent and sat under its shade, until he might observe what would happen to the city. And the Lord God commanded a gourd, and it came up over the head of Jonah to be a shade over his head, to shield him from his discomforts. Jonah rejoiced with great joy because of the gourd. But early the next morning, God commanded a worm, and it smote the gourd, and the gourd withered up. And when the sun rose, God commanded a burning east wind; and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah, and he grew faint and despaired of his life. And he said, "It is better for me to die than to live." Then God said to Jonah, "Are you exceedingly grieved on account of the gourd?" And he said, "I am exceedingly grieved, even unto death." And the Lord said, "You took pity on the gourd, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came up during the night and perished before the next night. And shall I Myself not take pity upon Nineveh, the great city, in which dwell more than one hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know either their right hand or their left—and many livestock?" [SAAS]

READER

The reading is from the Prophecy of Daniel.

PRIEST/DEACON

Wisdom. Let us be attentive.

READER

Dan 3:1-56

In his eighteenth year, King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden image. Its height was sixty cubits and its width, six cubits, and he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather together the high officials, the commanders, the governors, the rulers, and all those in authority, along with all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image King Nebuchadnezzar set up. So the governors, the high officials, the leaders, the great rulers—all those in authority who ruled the provinces came to the dedication of the image King Nebuchadnezzar set up, and they stood before the image Nebuchadnezzar made. Then the herald cried out in a loud voice, "To you it is commanded, O peoples and tribes and languages, that in what hour you hear the sound of the trumpet, the pipe, the harp, the four-stringed instrument, the psaltery, the symphony, and every kind of music, you shall fall down and worship the golden image King Nebuchadnezzar set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the burning fiery furnace." So at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound of the trumpet, the pipe, the harp, the four-stringed instrument, the psaltery, the symphony, and every kind of music, all the peoples, tribes, and languages fell down and worshipped the golden image King Nebuchadnezzar set up. Then Chaldean men came forward and brought charges against the Jews, and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever. You, O king, made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the trumpet, the pipe, the harp, the four-stringed instrument, the psaltery, the symphony, and every kind of music, but does not fall down and worship the golden image shall be cast into the burning fiery furnace. Now there are certain Jews you set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Those men did not obey your decree, O king; and they do not serve your gods, nor do they worship the golden image you set up." Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So the men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar then answered and said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image I set up? Now then, if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, the pipe, the harp, the four-string ed instrument, the psaltery, the symphony, and every kind of music, that you shall fall down and worship the golden image I made. But indeed, if you do not worship it at that time, you shall be cast into the burning fiery furnace. Then what god is there who will deliver you from my hands?" Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "We have no need to answer you in regard to this thing. For there is a God in the heavens, whom we serve, and He is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us from your hands, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image you set up." Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of anger, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So he commanded them to heat the furnace seven times more, until it burned to its fullest. Then he commanded certain very strong men to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Thereupon, those men were bound together with their sandals, caps, leg-coverings, and clothing, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Because the king's command was urgent, and the furnace was exceedingly hot, these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. But they walked about in the midst of the flame, singing to God and praising the Lord. Then Azariah stood and prayed thus and opened his mouth in the midst of the fire and said: "Blessed are You and praiseworthy, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and praised and glorified is Your name unto the ages. For You are righteous in all You did for us, and all Your works are true. Your ways are upright, and all Your judgments are true. The judgments You made are true, according to all You brought on us and on the holy city of our fathers, because in truth and judgment You did all these things on account of our sins. For we sinned and acted lawlessly to depart from You. We sinned in every way, and did not obey Your commandments. Neither did we treasure or do as You commanded, that it might go well with us. Everything You brought on us and all You did to us, You did in true judgment. You delivered us into the hands of lawless and rebellious enemies and to an unjust king—the most evil in any land. Now it is not for us to open our mouth, for this has become a shame and disgrace to Your servants and to those who worship You. For Your name's sake, do not hand us over to the end, and do not reject Your covenant. Do not withdraw Your mercy from us for the sake of Abraham, who is loved by You, and for the sake of Isaac, Your servant, and of Israel, Your holy one, as You spoke to them, saying that You would multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand along the seashore. Yet we have been diminished in number, O Master, more than all the nations, and we are humbled in all the earth today because of our sins. At this time, there is no prince, no prophet, and no leader; there is no whole burnt offering, no sacrifice, no offering, and no incense; there is no place to bear fruit before You and to find mercy. Yet with a contrite soul and humbled spirit, may we receive mercy, as with whole burnt offerings of rams and bulls, and as with thousands of fatted lambs. So let this be our sacrifice before You today, and may it be accomplished for those who follow You; for there is no shame for those who trust in You. Now we are following You with all our heart, and we fear You and seek Your face. Do not put us to shame, but deal with us according to Your kindness and according to the abundance of Your mercy. Deliver us by Your wondrous works and give glory to Your name, O Lord. May all those who inflict evils upon Your servants be put to shame and humiliated in their power; and let their strength be crushed. Let them know that You alone are the Lord God and glorious over all the inhabited earth." Now the king's servants who cast them in did not cease to stoke the furnace with naphtha, pitch, coarse fiber, and brushwood. The flame shot forty-nine cubits above the furnace, and it broke out and burned those it found around the furnace of the Chaldeans. But the Angel of the Lord went down into the furnace to join Azariah and his companions, and shook off the fiery flame of the furnace. He made the inside of the furnace to be as though a dew-laden breeze were blowing through it, so the fire did not touch them at all, or cause them pain, or trouble them. Then the three, as if with one mouth, sang, glorified, and blessed God in the furnace, saying: "Blessed are You, O Lord God of our fathers, for You are praiseworthy and exalted beyond measure unto the ages. Blessed is Your name and the temple of your glory, and You are praised exceedingly and exalted beyond measure unto the ages. You are blessed in the holy temple of Your glory, and are highly praised and exceedingly glorious unto the ages. Blessed are You on the throne of Your kingdom, and You are praised and exalted beyond measure unto the ages. Blessed are You who behold the depths and sit upon the cherubim. You are praiseworthy and exalted beyond measure unto the ages. Blessed are You in the firmament of heaven, for You are praised and glorified unto the ages." [SAAS]

The Epistle

The reading is from Paul's Letter to the Romans.

Rom. 6:3-11

Brethren, all who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. The death He died He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [RSV]

The Gospel

Great and Holy Saturday Morning

The reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.

28:1-20

After the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you." So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. Amen." [RSV]

   

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The Readings for the Commemoration

The Epistle

For the Prophet.

The reading is from Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians.

2 Cor. 11:5-21

Brethren, I think that I am not in the least inferior to these superlative apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not in knowledge; in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. Did I commit a sin in abasing myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God's gospel without cost to you? I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. And when I was with you and was in want, I did not burden any one, for my needs were supplied by the brethren who came from Macedonia. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine shall not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. I repeat, let no one think me foolish; but even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. (What I am saying I say not with the Lord's authority but as a fool, in this boastful confidence; since many boast of worldly things, I too will boast.) For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! For you bear it if a man makes slaves of you, or preys upon you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! [RSV]

The Gospel

For the Prophet.

The reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

Lk. 4:22-30

At that time, the crowd spoke of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" And he said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here also in your own country.' " And he said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed but only Naaman the Syrian." When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But passing through the midst of them he went away. [RSV]

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Synaxarion.

From the Menaion.

On May 1 we commemorate the holy Prophet Jeremiah.

On this day we also commemorate the contest of the holy Hieromartyr Batas of Persia.

On this day was the dedication of the New Church, when the Patriarch entered by the Palace and from there go in procession to the New Church and liturgize there.

On this day we also commemorate the three new devout monastic Martyrs: Efthymios of Dimitsana (March 22), Ignatios of Eski Zagaran (October 8), and Akakos of Nibori, Thessaloniki. Their joint memory is observed in their holy shrine in the Skete of the Honorable Forerunner [on Mt. Athos].

From the Triodion.

On great and holy Saturday, we celebrate the burial of the divine Body and the descent into Hades of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through which He recalled our human race from corruption and passed it over into life eternal.

Verses

In vain you guard the grave, O guards.

No tomb can hold Him who is life itself.

By Your ineffable condescension, O Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen.

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Fasting Rule

Strict: Refrain from meat, fish, oil, dairy, and eggs.

It is Holy Week.