December 28, 2012

Orthodox Answer To a Question About head coverings, veil, 1 Cor 11:2-16 - Answer #1103

Orthodox Answer To a Question About head coverings, veil, 1 Cor 11:2-16 - Answer #1103

My Orthodox Study Bible is silent on the text contained in I Cor 11:2-16 and the thorny question of head covering. Can you help?


This text is indeed perceived as a "hot potato," (which may explain the absence of commentary on it) but it is actually quite straightforward: the universe is by nature and function hierarchical, and this the foundation of order in the universe. The angel are especially aware of this, which is why the liturgy (entrance) talks about "rank and orders of angels and archangels." To imitate Christ is also to recognize and embrace this order.
In the human family, there is a divine taxis or order: the head is the husband, and it is a headship of service, not tyranny.
In 1 Corinthians 11, St Paul teaches that in the church (in the assembly), women should wear on their heads a sign (a head covering) "because of the angels." Here is the full text in the EOB NT:
Be my imitators, even as I imitate Christ.
2Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm to the traditions as I delivered them to you. 3But I desire you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered dishonors his head. 5But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head, and it is as if she were shaved. 6Indeed, if a woman does not wear a head covering,[1] she should be shaved; and if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, then let her be covered. 7Certainly, a man should not have his head covered, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8Man is not from woman, but woman from man; 9for man was not created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10For this cause, a woman should have [a sign of] authority[2] on her head, because of the angels.
11Nevertheless, in the Lord, a man is not independent from the woman, nor a woman independent from the man. 12For as woman came from man, so a man also comes [to life] through a woman; but all things are from God. 13Judge for yourselves: is it appropriate that a woman pray to God unveiled? 14Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her, because her hair is given to her as a covering. 16But if anyone wishes to dispute these things, we have no other custom[3], and neither do God’s Churches.

[1] Or “is not covered”
[2] Greek evxousi,an
[3] Or “we have no such custom”
The following passage is a very detailled comment by St John Chrysostom (who explains that the veil is not simply the hair but an actually veil) and the whole topic is often mentioned by the pre-Nicene fathers.
Basically, the universal custom in the early Churches was that women should have a head covering in church, and because "praying" can take place anywhere, this practice was generally extended to life in society. The reason was not cultural (Greek environment, etc) as is often claimed to render the text obsolete. Rather, the reference to "because of the angels" places it in the context of the cosmic hierarchy and the use of symbol of harmony. The veil was the sign of acceptance of the divine order that was approved and called for for women.
We can note in passing that men were not supposed to cover their head, with the possible exception of those in priestly ministry (in accordance with the Old Testament pattern), but even clergy today remove their head covering at particular times of worship and prayer. Likewise, it is clear from Scripture and tradition that men should not have long hair, except if there is (with the blessing of the bishop who is the authority) a specific vow of obedience and sacrifice attached to this practice.
The apostolic custom of wearing a head covering has been universal since New Testament times and was only challenged in particular areas, in recent years, for obvious cultural reasons.
It must be granted that this custom (and with it 1 Co 12 which is simply a witness to this often repeated practice) is quite 'outrageaous' by modern Western standards. In practice, in North America, the wearing of a head covering is not mandated or enforced in most parishes, but it is well-known that this is the ancient and universal custom of the holy churches and that one must make a personal (or family-wide decision) regarding these signs of acceptance of the divine order.

Answered on 8/30/2011 by Fr Laurent

October 07, 2012

Archpriest Pimen Simon on Mission

We Orthodox Christians, probably because of our own sin of pride, often make comments that, very often, let’s say in Roman Catholic Churches now, and even Protestant Churches, they’ve become more social agencies than repositories of salvation. And we really need to understand, of course, that the first goal of the Universal Church and also of the parish church is to save souls. That’s its first goal. But we cannot deny the fact that when our Lord comes back — and we know this from chapter twenty-five of St. Matthew. — He makes very clear that his questions to us will not be ones such as: “Did you have a beard? Did you say the Vigil? Did you make prostrations?” He says “Did you feed the hungry? Did you clothe the naked? Did you give drink to the thirsty?” And so we know that Christian love and charity really is a prime obligation of the parish. We try very hard. I don’t think we did it well years ago, and we still have far to go in this area, but we’ve tried in the past thirty years. We work certain days, for example, at the Benedictine-sponsored soup kitchen. They have different groups come in every day and serve meals for the poor. Our parish serves at that soup kitchen one Friday every month. We serve at that soup kitchen on Western Christmas so that the nuns can celebrate their Christmas and the poor still have a place to have dinner on December 25th. We deliver food baskets to maybe forty, fifty, sixty families at Western Christmas so they can celebrate Christmas and have food enough to eat. We run a food pantry and are now delivering food to maybe forty or fifty families every other week so that they have enough food in their community. Even though it’s during the Nativity Fast, we have a Christmas party for about one-hundred and fifty really indigent children who are mostly from homeless families who have nothing, so we can give them something during Western Christmas. So there’s many ways that any ROCOR parish, even a small parish, can do things that don’t cost you a lot of money. In fact the food pantry I mentioned for the fifty families may sound really admirable, but there is a food bank here in the area, with most of the food being provided by them, and so we’re not paying for the food. We’re simply picking it up, distributing and so forth. Therefore, we can’t make the argument that we can’t afford to do that. It simply comes down to the fact that we can’t afford not to do this, because, once again, as we discussed earlier, how will we answer the Lord and say to Him, “But Lord, I didn’t know it was you.” If we do that, He will say to us, “Go onto the left side and be with the goats rather than the sheep.”

When the seminarians and I visited your parish. We were impressed by the volume of volunteer services that your parish provides to the local community. Can you tell us what social projects your parish runs and how a typical small ROCOR parish can initiate something similar?

Now that we can no longer claim the exclusiveness of the Russian Church Abroad, what should be our mission within both the Russian Orthodox Church and Orthodoxy in Northern America?

That’s a very interesting question, and one that I guess I should be use discretion answering. I prefer not to get myself into trouble, but I will answer honestly. I do think we must be very careful. We understand, of course, that the Church Abroad was founded by immigrants who fled because of persecution. The goal of the Church Abroad was primarily to preserve Russian Orthodox Christianity and also to preserve Russian Culture — and that was a valid goal. Now that we’ve reconciled with the Church in Russia, we really no longer need to be the repository of Russian culture and the Russian Christianity. What we need to be now is the Church that sees itself as being the repository of Orthodox Christianity for those outside of Russia, not only for Russian immigrants, and for second, third and fourth generation Russian people, but for the converts in many places who are coming into Orthodoxy. Vladyka Daniel used to be very adamant about the idea that some decades ago our mission changed. It was no longer to preserve Russian culture and Orthodoxy until we could go back to Russia (because most people haven’t), but that we see our role as this: Orthodox Christianity is the faith of our fathers, and we believe that it is the true heir of the Apostolic Church. Thus, our mission now is to offer Orthodox Christianity as an alternative for all those who are dissatisfied with the Christianity that is found in the West.

So I think that our mission now is really much more than merely the idea of reinvigorating our Russianness. Certainly we should rejoice in the fact that we are again united with our co-religionists in Russia, and we should share in that common faith with those in Russia, but we must make sure that they understand and that we understand that our mission is to be Orthodox Christians outside of Russia and to bring the word of God to those people in our adopted countries who look to Orthodoxy as an answer to their spiritual needs.

Taken from an interview with Archpriest Pimen Simon:

October 02, 2012


LiturgicsOne of the textbooks we use in liturgics class at seminary is Archbishop Averky's "Liturgics". Archbishop Averky of Blessed Memory taught Litugics at Holy Trinity Seminary. His lecture notes are some of great value to those who would like to know more about the Typicon and or serve according to the Russian Ustav.

+Metropolitan Laurus had this to say about the notes that were compiled.  "We hope, above all, that the publication of this liturgics textbook will be a useful aid for students of the seminary, and likewise for all who study or are interested in our divine services. These lectures present a systematic presentation of material on the subject of liturgics, in which a short historical description of the origins of worship is given, the symbolic meaning of several aspects of the services is discussed, and other necessary explanations and instructions involving the order of the divine services are likewise given. In addition to this, owing to its typographic publication, this academic textbook will now be available to a wider range of readers and lovers of ecclesiastical-liturgical literature."

This book is available on line in several locations. A print copy can be ordered through Lulu Publishing below:

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

September 15, 2012


That good thing which was committed unto thee, keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

2 Timothy 1, 14


Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Greek Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodoxy, Romanian Orthodoxy: whatever name it is given, it is surrounded by ignorance, myths, inventions and fantasies. Perhaps the greatest of these is the myth that Orthodoxy is different from Christianity. Let us be clear from the very beginning: Orthodoxy is Christianity. The two words mean exactly the same thing. Anything that calls itself Christianity and is not Orthodoxy is something less than Christianity. And anything that calls itself Orthodoxy and is not Christianity is something less than Orthodoxy.

You can call it Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Evangelism, Baptism, Methodism, Pentecostalism, anything you like. However, if it is not Orthodoxy, it is not Christianity, and if it is not Christianity, it is not Orthodoxy, but a reductionist, manmade adaptation of it. True, the words Orthodox and Christianity, and Orthodox and Christian, are often put together to make ‘Orthodox Christianity’ and ‘Orthodox Christian’, but only in contexts where people might not otherwise understand and be confused. The words Orthodoxy and Christianity, the words Orthodox and Christian, mean exactly the same, they are synonyms.

It is therefore curious to see how sometimes newcomers to Orthodoxy confuse Orthodoxy with something other than Real Christianity, Real Orthodoxy, so creating a false Orthodoxy and a false Christianity. The source of such confusion is in a non-spiritual approach to Christianity/Orthodoxy. This non-spiritual approach takes two different illusory forms, created by two sorts of temptations. The first temptation is that of the body, resulting from an external, physical approach. The second temptation is that of the mind, resulting from an intellectual, rationalistic approach. Since both sorts of temptation are superficial, they are not spiritual, and therefore do not lead to a Christian/Orthodox way of life.

The First Temptation

There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

I Cor 15, 44

The first temptation of some new to the Orthodox Church (because that is the only place where Christianity/Orthodoxy can be confessed) is to muddle the outward with the inward, confusing externals with internals. For example, we have sometimes seen how those new to the Church imitate what they think Orthodox ‘look like’, a fantasy which seems to be obtained from books. This can mean men growing long beards and long hair (so disobeying the words of the Apostle in 1 Cor 11, 14) and women wearing nineteenth-century clothes and putting impossibly huge headscarves over their heads. In such cases, both sexes may dress in black, displaying large crosses and, on their wrists, prayer-knots, in a manner exaggerating that of Orthodox monks and nuns (who do not wear crosses). Sometimes, both sexes may spend long hours talking about strange fasting foods and spend large sums on them. Sometimes, both sexes also wish to change ordinary Christian names to exotic Christian names.

In over thirty years of Orthodox life, I have never met any ‘ordinary’ Orthodox behaving or dressing in the above way. Since Orthodoxy is simply Christianity, it most certainly does not involve bizarre ways of dressing or hairstyle. Neither does it mean non-monastics pretending to be monastics. And certainly the aim of Orthodoxy is not to eat strange foods. The aim of fasting is not to talk about food, still less eat it, be it fasting food or non-fasting food, but to spend less time eating and talking, and more time praying. And one of the benefits of fasting is spending less money on food and giving the money saved to good causes. In everyday life, ‘normal’ Orthodox, who may have been baptised ‘Dmitri’, Theophilus, ‘Haralambos’ or ‘Vladimir’, often modify their names to ‘Jim’, Theo’, ‘Harry’ or ‘Walter’. Newcomers, on the other hand, sometimes do the opposite, trying to change names like ‘Antony’, ‘Michael’, ‘Peter’ and ‘John’ to ‘Vladimir’, ‘Auxentius’, ‘Rostislav’ and ‘Theologos’. Why? Who knows.

I plead with such newcomers to the Orthodox Church to get through this phase as swiftly as possible, if possible before they are received into the Church, and to start living like other Orthodox. They should look around. If they care to visit ordinary Orthodox churches, they will not find anyone dressed bizarrely. They will not find a single woman wearing a gigantic headscarf, they will rarely find a single man with a long beard (except for the priest, and his beard may be short and, perhaps like his hair, trimmed). They will not see a single person wearing prayer-knots around their wrists – for the simple reason that the other people in church are not monks or nuns, but married or single laypeople, who have not taken on the obediences of monastic life inside a monastery or convent. Regarding crosses, Orthodox do not wear them on the outside of their clothes, they do not even display them; small metal neck-crosses are worn inside our clothes, next to our hearts. And people rarely discuss the boring topic of food (unless, of course they own or work in restaurants, and even then they tend to change the topic swiftly – who wants to talk about work on a day off?).

A superficial, physical view of Orthodoxy is not only strange, but it can also be spiritually dangerous. A strange external appearance, not an imitation at all, fails to understand that Orthodoxy is simply Christianity, it fails to understand that Orthodoxy is simply the Christian way of life. It reduces the Faith to an external and immodest show. And in failing to understand this, it can, in certain circumstances, degenerate, becoming pretentious, both in the sense of pretending to be what it is not, but also developing into pride. This pretentiousness can lead to people referring to themselves as ‘slaves of God’ (we are not called to be ‘slaves’ of God but servants and children of God). It can lead to people signing letters with the word ‘the unworthy’, ‘the sinful’ before their names. Let monks and nuns do this. But let the rest of us refrain from this: we already know that we are all unworthy and sinful – we have no illusions about ourselves. It can lead to the backbiting and gossiping of little hothouse groups, who gather together in order to criticise others.

Such criticism and aggressiveness towards others come from insecurity. Not surprisingly, those who come into the Orthodox Church and think that Orthodoxy is about a fantasy imitation of supposed externals, which in reality do not exist in any Orthodox parish, will not last long in the Church, precisely because they are insecure. They will usually find that the Church is ‘not good enough’ for them, that they are well on their way to lapsing completely. The convert complex, the disease of the neophyte, is actually rooted in pride, the wish to be ‘better’ than everyone else. The curious thing is that when such people do fall away from the Church, they rarely blame themselves, but always ‘the Church’, which is ‘not good enough’ for them.

The best away to avoid this temptation is to start looking at other Orthodox, at people have been Orthodox for decades and generations and to accept obedience. I knew a young man who turned up in an Orthodox church with long hair and a long beard, dressed in black clothes, and asked the priest if he could become Orthodox. When the priest told him that the first thing he needed to do was to have a haircut and shave and dress normally, the young man revolted and left. His refusal to accept a small dose of humility and obedience meant that he did not become Orthodox, and in more than one sense. The spiritual disease of the neophyte imitating externals, is to be overcome as quickly as possible. After a few months of frequenting an Orthodox church, it is time to become Orthodox. It is time to leave the first course of the meal and to come to the main course, to enter the arena, for only this will lead to our ‘dessert’ – salvation. However, there is yet another sort of temptation to overcome before we can begin this main course.

The Second Temptation

Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know

I Cor 8, 1-2

For newcomers to the Church who are of a more intellectual frame of mind, there is another and perhaps still greater temptation. This is to turn Orthodoxy/Christianity into a mere set of ideas, booklore, a bookish cult. In reality, Orthodoxy/Christianity is not an idea, it is a way of life, the faith lived. Look at other Orthodox; they do not necessarily read piles of books and yet they have a faith stronger than piles of University professors. I know elderly Orthodox who have never read the Bible in their lives, and yet when they speak, they speak the Bible. How is it possible? It is simply because all their lives they have been to church, they have been bathed in a way of life impregnated with the living Scriptures. They do not read the Bible, because, much more importantly, they live it.

The intellectual mentality often degenerates into mere rationalism. What we need, they say, is a new form of Orthodoxy, a better one, a reformed version. In other words, as worldly people, they want to invent their own religion, reducing Orthodoxy/Christianity to the size of their reason. They want to reduce eternal and infinite spiritual reality to the tiny neatness of their limited created minds, rather than humbly accept a drop of the limitless greatness of the grace of God, far beyond human reason and social conditioning. This spirit of rationalism does not come from the Church; they bring it with them from the outside, like so many holiday suitcases, full of unneeded clothes.

Then, demands start. First of all, there are those who demand that the secret prayers and the Eucharistic Canon be shouted out during the Divine Liturgy. Apparently, salvation is only possible for them, if this is done, for, as they say, ‘everyone must understand’. But we have not come to church to understand what cannot be understood anyway, we have come to pray, to purify our hearts. Only when our hearts are purified will our minds begin to be enlightened and so understand. Spiritual enlightenment, true education, begins in the heart and then spreads to the mind, and not the other way round. For the mind is merely a tool, whereas without the heart we suffer both physical and spiritual death.

However, this is not acceptable to those who think that the proud and sinful human mind can understand everything. Their next demand may be that the iconostasis be removed from their local church. Naturally, they have no concept of the sacred, or of the sacrifices that previous generations made to set up the iconostasis in their church. Then, of course, the calendar must be changed, so that ‘we can be like everyone else’. Unknown are the Scriptures, which say that we are not like everyone else, that we Christians are a race apart: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people (I Peter 2, 9).

What next? Well, of course, we must get rid of all these strange and irrational, ‘anti-feminist’ customs, that women cover their heads modestly in church (in obedience to the words of the Apostle in 1 Cor 11, 5), that women do not take communion during menstruation, that mothers do not go to church for forty days after childbirth (since both menstruation and childbirth are involuntary consequences of the Fall). Once they have eliminated all of the above ‘customs’, then, of course, why not have deaconesses and priestesses – ‘like everyone else?’ And on the subject of everyone else, we must have ‘ecumenism’ and intercommunion. In fact, why not destroy the Church completely and start all over again? What a pity the Holy Spirit has been wrong for all these 2,000 years, when only they were right. Clearly, they are God’s gift to mankind.

Such is the logic of the rationalist. Such is the obstacle to reaching the main course of the meal, to reaching what is above reason, the supra-rational. Such rationalism is the result of pride and self-flattery. Pride can be seen in the desire of the rationalist to avoid confession (one of the hallmarks of the rationalistic approach) and to take communion at every single Liturgy. However, to refuse confession, in the words of the Evangelist John the Theologian, is self-deceit, for there is no man without sin and we all need confession (I John 1, 8-10). And communion without confession will only lead to the sickness described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 11, 29. The rationalistic, anti-mystical approach to Church life is in fact the quickest exit from the Church, because it denies the essence of the Church, which is mystery. Sadly, there are those who have taken this exit.


Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some, having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling.

I Timothy 1, 5-6

Several years ago I remember hearing an anecdote about an elderly Russian woman commenting on the behaviour of a zealous young convert: ‘He’s certainly Orthodox’, she said, ‘but is he Christian?’ What she meant was that he observed all the externals, in fact he observed them to the exclusion of everything else, and, as a result, he observed none of the internals. In the words of the proverb, ‘he could not see the wood for the trees’. In the words of the Apostle, he suffered from ‘zeal not according to knowledge’. Outwardly he was Orthodox, but inwardly he tended to resemble a ravening wolf. In any case, he did not live a Christian/Orthodox way of life. Zeal was without experience.

The conclusion must be that those who are new to the Church need first to follow the examples of others around them, who have never known anything other than Orthodoxy/Christianity. Hence the danger of parishes where, unfortunately, there are only newcomers to the Church. They can become unhealthy hothouses. Sadly, I have known people who have never got over their period as neophytes and all their lives remained ‘converts’, even describing themselves as such (for that is what they feel). This is because they have never passed through the first course of the meal and reached the main course, they have never been into the arena. How then will they get to the ‘dessert’?

Our summary of ‘Towards Real Orthodoxy’ is seven words: Be humble, be simple and be modest. For is this not the message of the Gospels? Why complicate Christian/Orthodox life? Be humble, be simple and be modest. That is all there is to it.

September 03, 2012

How to Keep the Church Typicon

How to Keep the Church Typicon

The Question of Uniformity in the Church Services Discussed at the Council of Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (1951)

by St. John (Maximovitch)

The divine services and rites of the Orthodox Church, having as their foundation one typicon and preserving commonality in all that is substantially important, are extremely different one from another in practice. Not only are the customs of different countries and local Churches different, but even in the bounds of a single region, sometimes even in a single city, the customs vary greatly in churches located close to each other. More than once the question has arisen regarding the introduction of a single common abbreviated typicon which would be mandatory for all churches. However, what may be only a theoretical decision may be in reality impossible to carry out and even harmful if attempted. The difference in the carrying out of the Church typicon comes about as a result of the strength of customs that have taken root. Sometimes these customs have deeply sensible meanings, but sometimes the meanings are quite nonsensical; thus, they remain because of the zeal and determination of those who carry them out. Without a doubt, we must take into consideration that which has been accepted as sanctified custom; that is, what has been accepted from antiquity as having been established and which has entered into the consciousness not only of the clergy that carry it out but of the laity as well. However, we must give considerably less weight to that which is only common practice; that is, to that which is merely a habit of those who carry it out, not having an inner meaning and not having entered into the consciousness of the laity. We must hold onto the first as long as they are of benefit to our activity, as long as they do not contradict the Church typicon. As for the latter, one may give only a common rule: the closer it is to the Church typicon, the better. Our Church typicon is not a compilation of dead rules and it is not the fruit of some abstract desk work, it was imprinted on the spiritual experience of holy ascetics who came to fully understand the depths of the human spirit and the laws of the spiritual life. The Holy Fathers themselves experienced the battle with the infirmities of soul and body, as well as the means for their healing; they came to understand very well the path of prayerful podvig and the power of prayer. The Church typicon is a guidebook for training and schooling in prayer and the more it is adhered to the more benefit is derived from it. In the case of the inability to fulfill all that is laid out in the typicon, we must fulfill all that is in our power, preserving its general structure and main content. It is necessary, on the one hand, to fulfill the principal characteristics for a given service unchanged in its composition and that which maintains its identity separate from others. On the other hand, we must try as much as we can to fill in those parts of the service, which, changing according to the day, express the meaning and reason of the commemoration of the day's event. Divine Services combine in themselves prayer, which is lifted up to God by the faithful, the receiving of God's grace in communion with Him, and the instruction of the faithful. The latter consists of teaching through reading in the divine services and hymns, catechism, and instruction in the Christian life. The divine services in their composition contain all the fullness of the dogmatic teaching of the Church and set forth the path to salvation. They present invaluable spiritual wealth. The more fully and precisely they are fulfilled, the more benefit the participants receive from them. Those who perform them carelessly and who shorten them by their laziness rob their flock, depriving them of their very daily bread, stealing from them a most valuable treasure. The shortening of the services which comes about through lack of strength must be done wisely and performed circumspectly in order not to touch that which should not be tampered with.

Specifically, at Vespers Psalm 103 must be read in its entirety; if it is sung it is allowable to sing only a few verses, but with majesty. Preferably, the verses of Psalms 140, 141, 129, and 116, which begin with the words "Lord, I have cried," will be always sung in full, all of the stichera absolutely.

On the prescribed days it is necessary to read the Old Testament readings and to perform the Litia.

Matins must be served in the morning. Serving Matins in the evening, except for when the All-Night Vigil service is held, is not allowable because, by doing this, essentially the morning service, which is very necessary for the faithful, is abolished; even a short church attendance in the morning has a beneficial effect on the soul, while sanctifying and giving direction to the whole day. The Six Psalms are not to be shortened; also it is necessary to read the Lauds psalms in their entirety. Reading should not take the place of singing except when there is absolutely no one who is able to sing, since the effect of singing is much stronger than reading and very seldom is reading able to substitute for singing. Do not dare to leave out the Theotokia after the Troparia and other hymns, for in them is given the foundation of our faith — the teaching of the incarnation of the Son of God and of the Divine Economy.

The Hours must be served exactly without omissions, as they are already so short. All three psalms of each Hour must be read, as well as the assigned Troparia and other prayers. At the end of each Hour special attention must be given to the prayer, which expresses the meaning of the sacred event commemorated at the given hour.

Liturgy must be served, if impossible daily, then at least on all Sundays and Church Feastdays, without taking into account the number of faithful that are able to attend the service. The Liturgy is the Bloodless Sacrifice for the whole world and it is the priest's duty to serve it when required. It is positively forbidden to skip any part of the Service Book (sluzhebnik). It is also necessary to fulfill the given hymns for the Liturgy. Included are Psalms 103, 145, and 33: if Psalm 103 is shortened because of its length (although it is better not to do so), then for the days in which both of them are replaced by the antiphons. Psalm 33 is replaced only during Bright Week by the singing of "Christ is Risen"; as for the rest of the year, it is to be read or sung in view of its edification and there is no justification for its omission. Those troparia. which are appointed for each given Liturgy are to be sung and in their proper order, since they are the festive part of the Liturgy. The Church typicon also refers to preserving accurately the order of the Epistle and Gospel readings. If this is adhered to, then throughout the whole year, in those churches where the services are held daily, the Gospel, as well as Epistles, will be read in its entirety. That order requires that the cyclic reading be read necessarily; its replacement by the festive readings happens only on great feastdays, but even then the cyclic reading is not omitted; it is read on the preceding day, together with the ordinary readings: on medium rank feastdays the consecutive and festive readings are read. The reading of only the festive readings, that is, with the omission of the ordinary, is called "irrationality" by the typicon because when this is done the whole meaning of the division of the readings in the specific order is transgressed and those who do this show their lack of understanding (of the meaning of the divisions).

The remaining sacraments, as in all of the order of services in the Book of Needs, also must not be shortened except for dire need, and even then only by adhering to all that is essential and the order of the service, remembering one's accountability before God for the damage done to the souls of the flock by one's negligence. Everyone, while celebrating divine service, must fulfill it more precisely and with better execution so that, bringing spiritual benefit to others, he himself in the Day of Retribution may be likened to the servant who brought forth the ten talents and hear:  Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things.

Published at Holy Trinity Monastery 1951. Translated by seminarian Akim Provatakis. Originally published in Orthodox Life, Vol. 41, No. 4 (July-Aug 1991), pp. 42-45.

August 28, 2012

When No Priest is Available: Reading the Service Books While Traveling or at Home

When No Priest is Available: Reading the Service Books While Traveling or at Home

by Archpriest Sergei Shukin

Note: The article that follows is over fifteen years old. You will want to check out Fr. John Whiteford's Liturgical Texts and Resources Site for more recommendations on current liturgical materials available in English. Nevertheless, this article is still timely due to current world events that could easily result in many Orthodox Christians being cut off from their parish churches, if not openly persecuted. It behooves all those who love Christ and His Holy Church to know, and to have the materials to do, the Divine Services so that they may be carried on regardless of one's ability to attend church.

This article is admittedly out-of-date. A plethora of service books has appeared since this was first published, especially from St. John of Kronstadt Press. I do not have time to research what changes should be made to this article. I am asking that those more knowledgeable about these things than I please email me any corrections they think should be made to this compilation. Also, any changes resulting from variations in Greek practice are also welcome. I will update the article and announce the major changes, as a service to all. Thank you.
+ + +
When Orthodox people have no opportunity to attend Orthodox divine services, especially in non-Orthodox countries, then the Church allows and encourages individuals and groups of Orthodox to read the service books privately, for the preservation of their faith. Such readings have long been customary in monastic establishments, hospitals, schools, on shipboard and, in recent times, by Orthodox in the USSR and in the diaspora. Reading prayer books or service books may, at least to some extent, replace church services.
Besides preserving our Orthodox faith, reading services is beneficial because:

1. It teaches us, even in non-Orthodox lands, to remember and honor Orthodox feasts and saints' days.

2. It acquaints us with the order of church services and with the profound content of our service books.

3. It safeguards us from the danger of sectarian and heterodox influence

4. It helps parents and teachers raise their children and young adults in the spirit of Orthodoxy.

5. It unites dispersed Orthodox people in our faith and love for the Orthodox Church.

Orthodox Divine Services

The daily ecclesiastical office consists of a cycle of services that covers the entire 24-hour period. Since the church day begins with the evening, the order of daily services is: 1) Vespers, 2) Small Compline, 3) Midnight Office, 4) Matins, 5) First Hour, 6) Third and Sixth Hours, 7) the Liturgy and 8) Ninth Hour. Orthodox laymen may read or chant some portion of all of these, except the Divine Liturgy, which is replaced by the Typica.
In addition, it is permissible to read canons and akathists, either separately or as part of another service.
A canon is a collection of hymns in nine odes that honors the Savior, the Mother of God, a saint, a holy day. or a spiritual theme.
An akathist is a song of praise in twelve parts that glorifies the Savior, the Mother of God, a saint.... An akathist may be read or sung, or read with the refrains sung. [1]

How Laymen Read Service Books

The reading of service books should be conducted according to the following rules:

1. All [reader's] services are to begin with the exclamation: "Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen.

2. All the priest's prayers and exclamations are omitted.

3. In place of the Great and Augmented Ectenias and the Ectenia of Supplication, "Lord, have mercy" is said twelve times; in place of the Small Ectenia, three times.

4. The Gospel is not intoned, but read in an ordinary voice.
Note: Every Orthodox Christian is obliged to read the Gospel privately, according to the ecclesiastical lectionary found in church calendars.

5. All other hymns, psalms and prayers are read or sung as when a priest serves.

6. The Typica (in place of the liturgy) may be read as indicated in Appendix 1.

The Order of Services on Feast Days

Since laymen are often involved with work and may not have time to read services in the ordinary week days, we shall give directions only for the festal services. [2]
On weekdays, the daily morning and evening prayers could be combined with Small Compline and Midnight Office, as desired.

On feast days, it is important to devote more time to God and to observe the feast with the appropriate reading and hymns. On the eve of the feast one may read Vespers, Matins and the First Hour, in the place of the All-Night Vigil. In the morning, one may read the Midnight Office, the Third and Sixth Hours, if desired, and the Typica. The evening of the feast, one should read the Small Compline with the proper canon or akathist of the feast.
The order and content of the services depend on the free time available and on the service books at hand. Here are more detailed instructions for three kinds of feasts: 1) Sundays, 2) the Twelve Great Feasts and other holidays of the Lord and of the Mother of God, 3) saints' days, our name-saints or ones we especially venerate.

1) Sundays

On Saturday evenings we read Vespers, including the stichera and troparia according to the tone indicated in the calendar. In the morning (or on the eve), we read Matins and the First Hour. At Matins we may read the Resurrection canon for the appropriate tone, or, if not available, the Canon to Our Sweetest Lord Jesus (in the prayers of preparation for Holy Communion) may be substituted. 'Me stichera for the aposticha, the troparia and the theotokia are according to the tone of the Sunday.

If Vespers and Matins are unavailable, then on Saturday night one may read Small Compline with the Canon and Akathist to our Sweetest Lord Jesus.

On Sunday morning we should read: the Midnight Office for Sunday, with the morning prayers and the Typica (the order for Typica is given in Appendix I).

Finally, on Sunday evening. we may read Small Compline with a canon to the Mother of God (either to one of her wonder-working icons or any other available).

2) Feasts of the Lord and of the Theotokos

On these feasts, including all of the Twelve Great Feasts, it is customary to read the proper service from the Festal Menaion. Vespers and Matins according to the Vigil are read, while the stichera, troparia, etc., come from the Festal Menaion. The canon of Matins is to the Lord or to the Theotokos, depending on the feast.

If the Festal Menaion is unavailable, then one may read Vespers (or perhaps Small Compline) with the canon or corresponding akathist, and one may take the stichera from the General Menaion, using the "General Service for the Feasts of the Lord" or "of the Mother of God."

In the morning: the Third and Sixth Hours and the Typica, with the troparia and kontakia of the feast sung in the proper places.

In the evening: Small Compline with the Canon of Repentance to Our Lord Jesus Christ, or the Supplicatory Canon to the Most Holy Theotokos (Paraclesis).

3) Saints' days

If there is a service to the saint in the Festal Menaion, then Vespers, Matins and the First Hour are read as usual, with the stichera, troparia, etc., from the Menaion. If there is no service to the saint, then we read from the General Menaion, taking the stichera, etc., from the general service to the class of saint being commemorated: i.e., to a hierarch, to a monastic, to a martyr, etc. At the polyeleos or perhaps at the end of the service, we chant the megalynarion to the saint (see Appendix II). In the appropriate places we insert the name of the saint being commemorated.

If neither the Horologion nor the Menaion is available, then we may read Small Compline with the canon or akathist to the saint, if available. (A church dedicated to that saint might allow us to copy the proper canon or akathist, so that we might read it on a nameday or other feast days.)

In the morning, we read the Midnight Office, the Hours and the Typica, with the troparia and kontakia to the saint at the Hours, and the kontakia of the temple, and of the saint or the day of the week, at the Typica.

In the evening, we read the canon to the saint; but if there is none, then the canon for Saturday to all the saints.

Appendix I. The Order of the Typica

Beginning: Psalm 102, "Bless the Lord, O my soul..."
Glory to the Father...
Psalm 145, "Praise the Lord, O my soul..."
Both now and ever...
"O Only-begotten Son and Word of God...
The Beatitudes.
Glory... Both now...
The Symbol of Faith (the Creed, I believe...'), and the prayer: "Remit, pardon, forgive, O God, our offences, both voluntary and involuntary, in deed and word, in knowledge and in ignorance, by night and by day, in mind and thought; forgive us all things, since -Thou art good and the Lover of mankind.
The Lord's Prayer.
The kontakion of the feast or of the day of the week.
Glory... Both now... And ending with the prayer: "O protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, O mediation unto the Creator unfailing, disdain not the suppliant voices of sinners; but be thou quick, O good one, to help us who in faith cry unto thee: Hasten to intercession and speed thou to make supplication, thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee."
During Great Lent, in place of this prayer, we end thus:
Lord, have mercy. 40 times. Glory... Both now... More honorable than the Cherubim... And the prayer, "O Lord and Master of my life...," with 16 prostrations.

Appendix II. Megalynaria to Various Saints.

To an Apostle: We magnify thee (pl., you), O Apostle(s) of Christ, N. (or NN.), and we honor thy (your) pains and labors, with which thou hast (you have) labored in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.
To a Hierarch: We magnify thee (you), O holy Hierarch(s), Father(s) N. (or NN.), and we honor thy (your) holy memory, for thou dost (you do) pray for us to Christ our God.
To a Monastic Saint: We glorify thee (you), O holy Father(s) N. (NN.), and we honor thy (your) holy memory, instructor(s) of monks and converser(s) with angels.
To a Martyr: We magnify thee (you), O holy (Great-)Martyr(s) N. (NN.), and we honor thy (your) precious sufferings, which thou didst (you did) endure for Christ.
The megalynaria, of the Twelve Great Feasts and other holy days are found in the Festal Menaion.

Appendix III. Service Books: A Revised List.

In Slavonic

  1. Velikij Sbornik. In three parts and five books. Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. 13361. Part I, Horologion, Sunday Octoechos and General Menaion with canons and the Epistle readings for Sundays. 588 pp. $28.
  2. Velikij Sbornik. Part II, Book 1. Festal Menaion. Great feasts and important saints' days. September through February. 524 pp. $26.
  3. Velikij Sbornik. Part 11, Book 2. Festal Menaion. March through August. 346 pp. $24.
  4. Velikij Sbornik. Part III, Book 1. Lenten Triodion. Contains the full services for the first week of Great Lent and for Holy Week, as well as for Sundays and other feasts in the Triodion period. 608 pp. $30.
  5. Velikij Sbornik. Part III, Book 2. Pentecostarion. Contains the services for Pascha and Bright Week in full, as well as for Sundays and feast days in the Pentecostarion period through the feast of All Saints of Russia. 375 pp. $26.
  6. Velikij Chasoslov (The Great Horologion). Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. 13361. The daily office, the fixed portions in full, morning and evening prayers, troparia and kontakia for every day of the year, various canons and akathists, the order of preparation for 877 pp, $35.
  7. Bogosluzhebnaya Psaltir (Service Psalter). Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. 13361. The Psalms in full and divided into kathismata, the Scriptural Odes, select verses to various feasts and saints with their megalynaria, prayers for the departure of the soul. 506 pp. $25.
  8. Molitvoslov (Prayer Book). Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y., 1,3361. In either Slavonic script or Russian civil type. $8.
  9. Various canons, akathists, and services to saints or feast days. Ask for catalogue, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. 13361.
  10. Sbornik Molitv. (Collection of Prayers) Ed., Fr. V. Chuvashev, 1938. Available from Holy Trinity Monastery Bookstore. Prayers to the Savior, the Mother of God and various saints. To be read at the end of canons or akathists or at molebens. 268 pp. $6.
  11. Troitsky Pravoslavnyj Russkij Kalendar. Published annually by the Holy Trinity Monastery. Calendar, readings for every day of the year, the order of services (Typicon or Ustav) for Sundays and feast days. $9.
  12. Pravilo k Bozhestvennomu Prichascheniju (Rule for Divine Communion). Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. 13361. 802 pp. $16.
  13. Kelejnoe Pravilo (Cell Rule). Publ., Convent of the Vladimir Mother of God, S.F. Available at Holy Trinity Monastery Bookstore.
  14. Chasoslov (Horologion). YMCA Press, Paris. Also reprinted by Monastery Press, Montreal. The daily office.
  15. Akafistnik. Akathists to various saints and feasts, in Russian civil type and new orthography. Inquire Holy Trinity Monastery Bookstore.
  16. Typikon siest Ustav (The Typicon). The Order of Church Services, Paschalion, orders for various aspects of church life. 984 pp. Inquire Holy Trinity Monastery Bookstore.
  17. Nastol' naya Kniga (Handbook). Fr. S. Bulgakov. In Russian. Contains the typicon, short lives of the saints for every day of the year, information on the church calendar, the Mysteries and on many aspects of church life.
  18. Nikolskij Ustav. In Russian, similar to above.
  19. Sputnik Psalomschika (Cantor's Companion). Abp. Arseny of Novogorod, 1916. Reprinted by Holy Trinity Monastery. Hymns for the entire church year. A music book in square notation, for one voice. Traditional Russian chant.
  20. Obikhod notnaga pjeinja. Reprint of the 1909 Synodal Edition. Hymn book for one voice in square notation. Official Chant Book of the Russian Church. Contains music for Vespers, Matins and the Liturgy, in various chants; Znamenny, Kievan, "Greek" and "Bulgarian."

In English

  1. Service Book, Isabel Hapgood. The first of its kind generally available in English. Various offices and services from the Horologion, Octoechos, Menaia, Triodion, Pentecostarion and Euchologion. 615 pp.
  2. Divine Prayers and Services, Seraphim Nasser. Similar to the above, but with more material from the Octoechos, Triodion and Pentecostarion.
  3. THE PSALTER according to the Seventy, Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston. Service Psalter, including the Scriptural Odes. Translated from the Septuagint, the official text of the Old Testament in the Orthodox Church.
  4. Prayer Book, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. Morning and evening prayers, selections from Vespers and Matins, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Sunday and feast-day troparia, and kontakia, selections from the Paschal service, canons to the Savior, the Mother of God and the Guardian Angel, akathists to the Savior and the Mother of God, prayers of preparation for Holy Communion and thanksgiving after Communion.
  5. The Festal Menaion, Mother Mary and Archim. Kallistos Ware. Faber and Faber, paperback only. The services in full for the rune immovable of the Twelve Great Feasts, also contains an outline and description of the order of church services. Very useful.
  6. The Lenten Triodion, Mother Mazy and Archim. Kallistos Ware. Contains the services in full for the first week of Great Lent and for Holy Week, as well as for Sundays and other feasts of the Triodion Period.
  7. The Lenten Triodion, Supplementary texts, Mother Mary and Archim. Kallistos Ware. Paperback only. Contains the services in full for the Lenten Triodion which, for reasons of space, were not included in the above.
  8. The Sunday Octoechos, Mother Mary. Paperback. The services in full for Sundays in each of the eight tones.
  9. The Parakletike, Weekday Offices, Tone One, Mother Mary. Paperback. The weekday offices; in full, but only for the first tone.
  10. Individual services to various saints and feast days, by Mother Mary. Paperback.
  11. The Sunday Octoechos, Prof. N. Orloff. AMS Press. A reprint of the earliest available translation of these services into English. Generally awkward but faithful translation.
  12. The General Menaion, Orloff. AMS Press reprint. Stilted and archaic language, but the only translation available in English.
  13. The Ferial Menaion, Orloff. AMS Press reprint. Services for the Twelve Great Feasts and the Feast of the Circumcision and St, Basil the Great. On translation, see above.
  14. The Unabbreviated Horologion, Rassaphore-monk Laurence, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y., 13361. The fixed portion of the daily cycle of services in full, and the Divine Liturgy, without the usual abbreviations and with copious rubrics not ordinarily found in the Horologion. Looseleaf photocopy. Also available in pamphlet form are: a) The Divine Liturgy with the Third and Sixth Hours, Post-Communion Prayers, troparia, kontakia, and prokeimena for many feast days. b) The All-Night Vigil. Text of Vespers and Matins and the First Hour, and the Eleven Resurrection Gospels. c) The Typica, An Orthodox Worship Service for Laymen who are without Clergy. d) Great Compline and Evening Prayers. e) Small Compline and Evening Prayers. O Music for the Divine Liturgy, and others. For a complete list write directly to Fr. Laurence, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. 13361. (These translations are according to the usage of the Russian Church Abroad, but are not official texts.)
  15. An Abridged Typicon, Fr. Feodor Kovalchuk. Out of print, but may be available in parish or university libraries. Useful and interesting, but with rather peculiar terminology.
  16. The Service of the Small Supplicatory Canon to the Mother of God, St. Nectarios Press, Seattle, WA.
  17. The Lamentations of Matins of Holy and Great Saturday, Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, MA.
  18. Selected Byzantine Hymns, Holy Transfiguration Monastery. In western musical notation. Selected hymns of Vespers, and from the Lenten Triodion and the Paschal Services.
  19. The Divine Liturgy, Holy Transfiguration Monastery. Byzantine chant in western notation.
  20. The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y.
  21. Various services to individual saints (St. Herman, St. Xenia), published by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, CA 96076.
  22. Various canons and akathists in back issues of Orthodox Life.
For more information on any of these, write: Holy Trinity Monastery Bookstore Jordanville, N.Y. 13361.


1. The order for reading canons and akathists in private is found in the back of the prayer book published by Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y.
2. Laymen are not forbidden to read services in the middle of the week, but it is rare that one could afford either a complete set of the Menaia (in Slavonic, $750 or more) or the time needed to read the full cycle of services each day. From Orthodox Life, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Jan-Feb 1983), pp. 41-47. Translated from the Russian with more recent additional information by Fr. George Lardas.

August 27, 2012

Fort Ross Celebration

Metropolitan Hilarion and Metropolitan Ilarion Lead Anniversary Celebrations at Fort Ross, CA
Highslide JSOn August 25, 2012, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of External Church Relations, and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, officiated at Divine Liturgy in Fort Ross, CA, the first Russian settlement in California.
Liturgy was celebrated under the open skies near the renovated Holy Trinity Church. The two metropolitans were joined by His Eminence Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA; His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada (ROCOR); His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Administrator of the Diocese of Mid-America and Chicago; His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, Vicar Bishop of the Western American Diocese (ROCOR), and clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church and Orthodox Church in America. Also praying at the service were His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasim of San Francisco (Constantinople Patriarchate) and His Grace Bishop Daniil of Dragovitsa (Bulgarian Patriarchate), along with a multitude of believers from Russia, the US, Canada and other countries. Also in attendance was Mr VN Vinokurov, Consul General of the Russian Federation to San Francisco.
After the ambo prayer, Metropolitan Ilarion delivered the following sermon:
“Your Eminence, Vladyka Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Your Eminences, Your Graces, Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!
First of all I would like to pass on the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, by whose blessing I am visiting North America in order to celebrate Divine Liturgy together with Metropolitan Hilarion and a host of hierarchs here at Fort Ross to mark the 200th anniversary of its establishment as the first outpost of Russia on the American land.
Of course, this site is of great importance to us. Even as we approach this locale, we see the stark landscape—ocean, mountains—and we lose our cell-phone connection, and we feel as though we are in another world, not in today’s blossoming nation of America, but a place where human civilization has not yet reached. It is difficult to imagine what this land was like two hundred years ago, when Russian entrepreneurs chose this place to build a wooden fortress. Wherever Russian went in this world, they first and foremost built churches. This was connected to the fact that Russians always sensed a special proximity to God and a special sense of their historic duty to spread the Christian faith.
The Russian Orthodox Church was always a multi-national, missionary Church. As soon as Russian missionaries set foot on American soil, Orthodox witness commenced among the local population: first in Alaska, among the Aleutians, then further south, among native Americans. Such outposts as Fort Ross did not only serve as points of trade, but became missionary centers. And today, two centuries later, such places have special meaning for us, mostly as centers from which Orthodoxy was spread on the American land.
Today, there are over a million souls professing Orthodox Christianity in America, so many towns and cities have Orthodox churches. But back then, this was not the case, and America could have been considered a spiritual desert, and the light of Orthodoxy came to the American continent thanks to the efforts of Russian missionaries. For over a century, there was no Orthodox Church in America besides the Russian Orthodox Church, or as it was then called, the Russian Greek-Catholic Orthodox Church.
The great Russian missionaries such as St Innocent (Veniaminov) and St Tikhon, the future Patriarch of All Russia, labored here, motivated by one desire: to bring the light of faith in Christ to as many people as possible regardless of their nationality or language. Today’s Orthodox Church in America, even if it is divided into several jurisdictions, carefully preserves the legacy of those Russian missionaries and remembers them as pillars and founders of the Orthodox faith in this land.”
In memory of the 200th anniversary of the founding of Fort Ross, the President of the DECR gave Holy Trinity Church an icon of St Tikhon, Patriarch of All Russia.
He then granted ecclesiastical awards to those who worked especially hard for the good of the Church. Mr Vinokurov was given the Medal of St Sergius of Radonezh, Third Level, and representatives of Fort Ross Museum and other benefactors were given a Patriarchal decree of blessing.
After Liturgy, a procession of the cross was made around the walls of For Ross, then went to the cemetery, where a commemorative litiya was performed. A plaque was then unveiled with information on the Russian settlers buried there.
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Press Service of the DECR

John of Damascus, on the Dormition

John of Damascus, on the Dormition

This day the Ark of the living God even the holy and living Ark, wherein once its own Maker had been held, is borne to its resting place in that Temple of the Lord which is not made with hands. Her ancestor David leapeth before it. And in company with him the Angels dance, the Archangels sing aloud, the Virtues ascribe glory, the Principalities shout for joy, the Powers make merry, the Dominions rejoice, the Thrones keep holiday, the Cherubim utter praise, and the Seraphim proclaim its glory. This day the Eden of the new Adam receiveth her who was the living garden of delight, wherein the condemnation was annulled, wherein the Tree of Life was planted, wherein our nakedness was covered.

This day the spotless Virgin, who had been defiled by no earthly lust, but rather was enobled by heavenly desires, died only to live without returning to dust. For being herself a living heaven, she took her place today among the heavenly mansions. From her the true Life had flowed for all men, and how should she taste of death? But she yielded obedience to the law established by him to whom she had given birth, and , as the daughter of the old Adam, underwent the old sentence, which even her Son, who is the very Life itself, had not refused. But, as the Mother of the living God, she was worthily taken by him unto himself.

Eve, who had said yea to the proposals of the serpent, was condemned to the pains of travail and the punishment of death, and found her place in the shades of the Netherworld. But this truly blessed being had inclined her ears to the Word of God. Her womb had been filled by the action of the Holy Ghost. As soon as she heard the salutation of the Archangel, she conceived. And the Son of God thus was made Man in her womb, without any physical union or delectation, but solely by the Spirit. And she brought forth her Offspring without the pangs of travail. So was she altogether consecrate unto service of God. How was death ever to feed upon such an one as this? How was the grave ever to eat her up? How was corruption to break into that body into which Life had been welcomed? For her there was a straight, smooth, and easy way to heaven. For if Christ, who is the Life and the Truth, hath said: Where I am, there shall also my servant be: how much more shall not rather his Mother be with him?