My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
2nd Plagal Tone
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
"The Great Moses mystically foreshadowed this day, saying: And God
blessed the Seventh Day. This is the Blessed Sabbath; it is the day of
rest, and on it the Only-Begotten Son of God rested from all His works.
And through the dispensation of Death in the flesh He rested. On this
day He returned again through the Resurrection, and as a Righteous
and Merciful Lord bestowed on us, Eternal Life." (Holy Saturday
In His wisdom, power, and love for mankind, God knew how to transform incomparably for the better the falls resulting from our self-willed waywardness. If the Son HAD NOT COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN we should have no hope of going up to Heaven. If He had not become incarnate, suffered in the flesh, risen, and ascended for our sake, we should not have known God’s SURPASSING LOVE FOR US. If He had not taken flesh and endured the Passion while we were still ungodly, we should not have desisted from the pride which so often lifts us up and drags us down. Now that we have been exalted without contributing anything, we stay humble, and as we regard with understanding the Greatness of God’s promise and Benevolence we grow in humility; FROM WHICH COMES SALVATION.
The Son of God became man TO SHOW TO WHAT HEIGHTS HE WOULD LEAD US, that we might not be conceited as if we had reversed that defeat by our own efforts. Being twofold in name, He could truly be a Mediator, joining each of the two to the other. He LOOSED THE BOND OF SIN AND CLEANSED THE STAIN THAT COMES OF BEING JOINED WITH FLESH. He showed God’s agape (love) for us and demonstrated that we had sunk so deeply into evil as to make it necessary for God to become flesh. In His flesh and His sufferings, He BECAME AN EXAMPLE TO US OF HUMILITY AND A HEALING REMEDY FOR PRIDE. He made it clear that God CREATED OUR NATURE GOOD. He became THE AUTHOR AND GUARANTOR OF HTE RESURRECTION AND ETERNAL LIFE, DELIVERING US FROM DESPAIR. By becoming the Son of man and sharing OUR MORTALITY, He made men SONS OF GOD AND PARTAKERS OF DIVINE IMMORTALITY. Human nature was shown to have been created IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, UNLIKE THE REST OF CREATION, AND THIS KINSHIP WITH GOD WAS SUCH THAT HUMAN NATURE COULD BE JOINED TO HIM IN ONE PERSON. He honored this moral flesh so that the proud spirits should not consider themselves, or be considered, favored above mankind or as deified because of being without bodies and apparently immortal. He UNITED MEN AND GOD, who were by nature separate, becoming a Mediator through His twofold nature. What more can be said? If the Logos/Word of God had not been made flesh, the Father WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO BE TRULY FATHER, NOR THE SON TO BE TRULY SON, NOR WOULD THE HOLY SPIRIT HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO SHINE FORTH FROM THE FATHER. God would NOT have been shown to be ESSENCE and HYPOSTASES but would have seemed to be merely some sort of energy observed in creatures, as was by the foolish sages of old, and now by those who think like Barlaam and Akindynus.
A SACRIFICE WAS NEEDED TO RECONCILE THE Father on High WITH US and sanctify us, since we had been soiled by fellowship with the evil one. There had to be A SACRIFICE WHICH BOTH CLEANSED AND WAS CLEAN, AND A PURIFIED, SINLESS PRIEST. We needed A RESURRECTION NOT JUST OF OUR SOULS BUT OF OUR BODIES, AND A RESURRECTION FOR THOSE TO COME AFTER US. This LIBERATION and RESURRECTION, and also THE ASCENSION and the Everlasting Heavenly Order, not only had to be bestowed upon us but ALSO CONFIRMED. And all this was necessary not just for those alive at the time and those to come, but also FOR THE PEOPLE BORN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME. In Hades, there were far more of such people than there were people to be born later, and far more were to believe and be saved at once. I think that is why Christ CAME AT THE END OF THE AGES. He had to preach THE GOSPEL TO THOSE IN HADES (cf. 1 Peter 3:19), TO REVEAL HIS GREAT PLAN FOR SALVATION TO THEM AND TO GIVE THEM COMPLETE FREEDOM FROM THE DEMONS WHO HELD THEM CAPTIVE, AS WELL AS SANCTIFICATION AND PROMISES FOR THE FUTURE. It was clearly NECESSARY for Christ TO DESCEND INTO Hades, but all these things were done WITH JUSTICE, WITHOUT WHICH GOD DOES NOT ACT.
CHRIST overturned the devil THROUGH SUFFERING and His flesh which He OFFERED AS A SACRIFICE TO GOD THE FATHER, AS A PURE AND ALTOGETHER HOLY VICTIM — HOW GREAT IS HIS GIFT? — AND RECONCILED GOD TO OUR HUMAN RACE. He underwent the passion according to the Father’s will and BECAME FOR US, WHO WERE DESTROYED THROUGH DISOBEDIENCE AND SAVED THROUGH OBEDIENCE, AN EXAMPLE OF HOW OBEDIENT WE SHOULD BE. He showed that death WAS FAR MORE PRECIOUS THAN THE DEVIL’S IMMORTALITY BECAUSE IT PROCURED LIFE THAT WAS TRULY IMMORTAL, LIFE THAT WILL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE SECOND AND ETERNAL DEATH, TO THE COMING DAMNATION, WHICH IS WORSE THAN TEN THOUSAND DEATHS BUT STAYS WITH CHRIST IN THE HEAVENLY DWELLINGS. When Christ had risen from the dead ON THE THIRD DAY and had shown Himself alive to His Disciples, He Ascended into heaven. He remained immortal and bestowed on us, with complete assurance, RESURRECTION, IMMORTALITY, AND TRULY BLESSED, ETERNAL, INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE IN HEAVEN. By means of the one death and resurrection of His flesh, He HEALED OUR TWOFOLD AND FREED US FROM OUR DOUBLE CAPTIVITY OF SOUL AND BODY.
GOD OUR CREATOR had mercy upon our wretchedness and graciously willed TO DESCEND TO THE PLACE WHERE WE HAD BEEN THROWN, TO CALL US BACK. HE ALONE appeared free among the dead (Psalm 88:5), DESCENDING WITH HIS LIVING SPIRIT. Not only that, but He RADIATED DIVINE LIGHT AND POSSESSED LIFE-GIVING POWER SO THAT HE COULD ENLIGHTEN THOSE WHO SAT IN DARKNESS, AND SPIRITUALLY QUICKEN THOSE IN THAT PLACE WHO BELIEVED IN HIM. However, on that day when He stands up to raise the whole human race to life and judge it, He will quicken the bodies of all as well. As the leader of the Apostles teaches us in his letter, "FOR THIS CAUSE WAS THE GOSPEL PREACHED ALSO TO THEM THAT ARE DEAD, THAT THEY MIGHT BE JUDGED ACCORDING TO MEN IN THE FLESH, BUT LIVE ACCORDING TO GOD IN THE SPIRIT" (1 Peter 4:6). A little earlier in the Epistle he shows us who it was that preached his gospel to the dead in Hades and why saying, "Christ has once suffered for sinners, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but alive in the spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison" (cf. 1 Peter 3:18-19), that is, TO THE SOULS OF THOSE WHO HAVE DIED SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.
Before THE TRANSGRESSION, ADAM SHARED IN THIS DIVINE ILLUMINATION AND BRILLIANCE. He was clothed in the Ture Robe of Glory and was NOT naked, nor was he ugly in his nakedness, but WAS TRULY UNSPEAKABLY BETTER ADORNED THANT THOSE WHO WEAR DIADEMS EMBELLISHED WITH MUCH GOLD AND PRECIOUS STONES. When our human nature was stripped of this divine illumination and radiance as a result of the ugly transgression, the Logos/Word of God had mercy on this nature and in His compassion took it upon Himself On Mount Tabor he showed it clothed once more to His chosen Disciples (Matthew 17:1-9); Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-37; cf. 2 Peter 1:16-18), proving to all what we had once been, and what those of us who believed in Him and attained to perfection in Him would be through Him int eh age to come.
May we too attain this through the grace and love for mankind of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, Who for our sake was made man, suffered, was buried, Rose from the dead, took our fallen human nature up to heaven and honored it by sitting on the Father’s Right hand. To Our Lord Jesus Christ belongs Glory, Honor, and Worship, together with His Father without beginning and the All-Holy and Life-Giving Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen. [Source: Saint Gregory Palamas. HOMILIES]
"Glory Be to GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God