Palm Sunday and Holy Week Processions, Jerusalem

 

“Behold, the Bridegroom coming at

midnight, and blessed is the servant whom He

shall find watching, but unworthy is the

servant whom He shall find heedless. Beware,

therefore, O my soul, do not be weighted

down with sleep, lest you be given up to

death, and be shut out of the Kingdom. But

rouse yourself crying: “Holy, Holy, Holy art

Thou, O God! Through the Theotokos, have

mercy on us.”

 

The theme of watchfulness, which is so fundamental to true Orthodox belief, is forcefully presented in the scriptures:

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. {2} And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. {3} They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: {4} But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. {5} While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. {6} And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. {7} Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. {8} And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. {9} But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. {10} And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. {11} Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. {12} But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. {13} Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Mat 25:1-13) . The present hymn basically summarizes and emphasizes the above parable. This hymn, and it’s theme, is so important for Christians that the church also sings it every day in it’s daily Midnight Office.

Bridegroom Matins

(Arabic)

 Romanian

  

“Behold, I am coming soon”(Revelation 22:7).

(written by St Nikolai Velimirovic)

The unfaithful and the slayers of the spirit will say, “Nearly two thousand years ago He promised that He will come and He has not come yet!” This is how they, who ridiculed Him, will lament in eternal torment.

But we who are prepared for happiness in His Kingdom know that He will come in power and glory just as He promised. We know that He has already come countless times and showed Himself to His faithful ones. Did He not come to John the Divine [the one who saw God] to whom He spoke these words, “Behold, I am coming soon?” John saw Him in power and glory and felt His hand on him when he was  frightened and fell before His feet as dead, “And He touched me with His right hand” (Revelation 1:17).

 Greek

Greek, Arabic and Romanian

Did He not come to Saul when in the beginning he breathed hatred against the Christians and when on the road to Damascus fell on the ground, seeing the Lord and hearing His voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts of the Apostles 9:4). And again, did He not enter into the heart of the Apostle Paul when he recognized that “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me!” (Galatians 2:20). Did He not come to the countless martyrs, both male and female, who suffered for His Name, to encourage them, to heal them, and to have mercy on them? Did He not come to Anthony the Great, Theodore Stratelates, St. Haralambos, St. Marina, St. Sylvester and many, many more? What are we saying? Did He not return from the Kingdom of Death on the third day and appeared before the apostles? Did He not come to the aid of the Church many, many times and, as out of the dead, resurrected it whenever her enemies rejoiced, thinking that they had given His Church over to death forever? Did He not appear in His power in the Church at the time of Nero as well as at the time of Constantine; at the time of Julian, as well as at the time of Justinian; at the time of Arab tyranny, as well as at the time of the Turkish and Mongolian oppression over Christians?

O, my faithful brethren, do not submit to deception. He came countless times and comes even today.

Russian

He comes to every soul to whom He can, regardless of impurity. However, we are all waiting for Him to come for the last time in power and glory. We know that His coming is certain. O Lord Most Gracious, before You come, make us worthy to recognize Your face and to be ashamed of our faces, darkened by sin.

  Palm Sunday Sermon
 

 

Holy Monday Matins: The Service of the Bridegroom

Beginning on the evening of Palm Sunday and continuing through the evening of Holy Tuesday, the Orthodox Church observes a special service known as the Service of the Bridgegroom. The name of the service is from the figure of the Bridegroom in the parable of the Ten Virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13.

 

Requirements: 107 min.

Holy Tuesday Matins: The Service of the Bridegroom

Beginning on the evening of Palm Sunday and continuing through the evening of Holy Tuesday, the Orthodox Church observes a special service known as the Service of the Bridgegroom. The name of the service is from the figure of the Bridegroom in the parable of the Ten Virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13.

Requirements: 102 min.

Holy Tuesday Sermon by Fr. Michael (video)