May 21, 2014 </br>Leave-taking of Mid-Pentecost; Holy Great Rulers Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles

May 21, 2014
Leave-taking of Mid-Pentecost; Holy Great Rulers Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles

Constantine’s parents were Emperor Constantius Chlorus and the Empress Helena. Chlorus had other children by another wife, but from Helena he had only Constantine. After his coronation Constantine fought three great battles: one, against Maxentius, a Roman tyrant; the second, against the Scythians on the Danube and the third, against the Byzantines. Before the battle with Maxentius, while Constantine was greatly concerned and in doubt about his success, a brilliant Cross appeared to him in the sky during the day, completely adorned with stars and written on the Cross were these words: “By this Sign Conquer.” Astonished, the emperor ordered a large cross to be forged similar to the one that appeared to him and that it be carried before the army. By the power of the Cross he achieved a glorious victory over the enemy who was superior in members. Maxentius was drowned in the Tiber river. Immediately after that, Constantine issued the famous Edict of Milan in the year 313 A.D. to halt the persecution of Christians. Defeating the Byzantines, Constantine built a beautiful capital on the Bosphorus which from that time on was called Constantinople. Before that, however, Constantine succumbed to the dreaded disease of leprosy. As a cure, the pagan priests and physicians counseled him to bathe in the blood of slaughtered children. However, he rejected that. Then the Apostles Peter and Paul appeared to him and told him to seek out Bishop Sylvester who will cure him of this dreaded disease. The bishop instructed him in the Christian Faith, baptized him and the disease of leprosy vanished from the emperor’s body. When a discord began in the Church because of the mutinous heretic Arius, the emperor convened the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea, 325. A.D., where the heresy was condemned and Orthodoxy confirmed. St. Helena, the pious mother of the emperor, was very zealous for the Faith of Christ. She visited Jerusalem, discovered the Honorable Cross of the Lord, built the Church of the Resurrection on Golgotha and many other churches throughout the Holy Land. This holy woman presented herself to the Lord in her eightieth year in 327 A.D. Emperor Constantine outlived his mother by ten years. He died in Nicomedia in his sixty-fifth year in 337 A.D. His body was interred in the Church of the Twelve Apostles in Constantinople. (Prologue from Ohrid)


GREAT VESPERS

Kathisma Reading
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.

 

At Psalm 140

In Tone 4

8. The mid-point of the feast has arrived;
the days which begin with the resurrection of the Saviour
and are fulfilled in the divine feast of Pentecost.
Truly it unites both Feasts and draws light from their double brightness,
giving honour to the ascension of the Lord,
which prefigures our glory.

7. The mid-point of the feast has arrived;
the days which begin with the resurrection of the Saviour
and are fulfilled in the divine feast of Pentecost.
Truly it unites both Feasts and draws light from their double brightness,
giving honour to the ascension of the Lord,
which prefigures our glory.

6. Truly Sion heard and was glad
when it received the glad tidings of the resurrection of Christ.
Faithful children also rejoiced at beholding it.
Seeing the blood of Christ washed away by the Holy Spirit,
the Church prepares to worthily celebrate
the joyous midpoint of these two holy feasts.

5. The over-abundant outpouring of the divine Spirit over all is drawing near,
as it is written by the prophet Joel.
The promise of Christ, given to His disciples
after His death, burial and resurrection,
proclaims the coming of the Comforter.

In Tone 4

4. You gave Your precious cross as a most powerful weapon to the emperor.
Through it he reigned righteously on earth, shining with godliness.
And by Your compassion he was counted worthy of Your heavenly kingdom.
Therefore with him we glorify Your dispensation, almighty Jesus,
Saviour of our souls, and Lover of mankind!

3. You gave Your precious cross as a most powerful weapon to the emperor.
Through it he reigned righteously on earth, shining with godliness.
And by Your compassion he was counted worthy of Your heavenly kingdom.
Therefore with him we glorify Your dispensation, almighty Jesus,
Saviour of our souls, and Lover of mankind!

2. As the King of kings, the Lord who reigns over all,
You, Lover of mankind, granted Your servant the wisdom of Solomon
the meekness of David, and the orthodox faith of the Apostles!
Therefore we glorify Your dispensation, almighty Jesus,
Saviour of our souls, and Lover of mankind!

1. Emperor of eternal memory,
first you willingly submitted the purple to Christ,
recognizing Him as true God and King of all,
the great Benefactor and Source of victory.
You saw Him set above every principality and power.
Therefore Jesus made the kingdom prosper for you, lover of virtue,
for He is the Saviour of our souls, and Lover of mankind!

In Tone 2, Glory…

Constantine the great, most powerful emperor,
you received the finest of rich gifts from God making you pre-eminent.
Enlightened by the rays of the most Holy Spirit through baptism,
you appeared invincible while you reigned,
receiving the world as a free gift of the Creator.
You ruled the city with faithfulness.
Since therefore you have boldness before Him,
never cease to pray to Christ
that all who celebrate your memory in faith
may be granted forgiveness of sins and great mercy!

In Tone 6, Now…

The mid-week of the festal season has arrived, O Christ,
the midpoint of Your resurrection and the coming of Your Holy Spirit.
Coming together, we glorify the mystery of Your miracles;
and filled with fear, we cry out to You:
Send down upon us Your great mercy!

 

Readings
(1) 1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30; (2) Isaiah 61:10-62:5; (3) Isaiah 60:1-16

 

Aposticha

In Tone 1

The middle of the fifty days is here,
wherein Christ manifested His divine power.
He healed the paralytic, raising him from his bed by a word.
In the flesh He worked signs and wonders,
granting His people eternal life and great mercy.

Remember Your people whom You chose long ago.

You came to the temple, O Wisdom of God, in the midst of the feast,
to teach and edify the Jews, the scribes and the Pharisees:
Let all who thirst come to Me and drink the water of life.
They will never thirst again.
Whoever believes in Me, streams of living water shall flow from them.
How great is Your goodness and Your compassion.
Glory to You, O Christ our God!

God is our King from time past, the Giver of help throughout all the land.

Jesus went up to the temple in the middle of the feast.
He proclaimed to the stiff-necked people:
Let all who thirst come to me and drink.
I will give them the water of life, and they will never thirst again.
Living streams will flow from the hearts of those who believe in Me.
They will find the Light of the world.

In Tone 8, Glory…

Brightly shining moon and star of evening,
you were turned from unbelief to faith in the true God.
You were led to sanctify the people and city.
Beholding the figure of the Cross in the sky, you heard from above:
Conquer with this Cross in which lies victory over your enemies!
Receiving wisdom from the Holy Spirit, you were anointed as holy emperor,
anointing and supporting the Church of God,
father of orthodox emperors, Constantine,
equal to the apostles whose relics pour forth healing:
ever intercede for our souls!

In Tone 8, Now…

While You taught the scribes in the midst of the feast, O Saviour,
they murmured: How can this man who never studied be learned?
They would not believe that You are the Wisdom who created the world.
O Lord, glory to You!

 

Troparia

In Tone 8
After seeing the image of Your cross in the heavens, O Lord,* and receiving like Paul the summons that was not from men,* Your apostle among kings entrusted into Your hands the imperial city.* Always save it in peace by the prayers of the Mother of God,* only Lover of mankind.

In Tone 8, Glory… Now…
At the mid-point of the Feast, O Saviour,* water my thirsty soul with streams of true godliness;* for You cried out to all: Let any who thirst, come to Me and drink.* Source of life, Christ our God, glory to You!

 


DIVINE LITURGY

Paschal Troparion
Christ is risen from the dead,* trampling death by death,* and to those in the tombs* giving life.

Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 8: At the mid-point of the Feast, O Saviour,* water my thirsty soul with streams of true godliness;* for You cried out to all: Let any who thirst, come to Me and drink.* O Source of Life, Christ our God, glory to You!

Troparion, Tone 8: After seeing the image of Your cross in the heavens, O Lord,* and receiving like Paul the summons that was not from men,* Your apostle among kings entrusted into Your hands the imperial city.* Always save it in peace by the prayers of the Mother of God,* only Lover of mankind.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Kontakion, Tone 3: Today Constantine and Helen his mother reveal the cross,* the all-precious wood which shames those who refuse to believe.* Rulers with faith possess it as a weapon against foes;* a glorious standard frightful in battle revealed for the sake of all.

Now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Kontakion, Tone 4: At the mid-point of the Feast according to the Law,* Maker of all things and Master,* You said to those present, O Christ God:* Come, and draw the water of immortality.* And so we fall before You crying out with faith: Grant us Your mercies , for You are the source of our life.

Prokeimenon, Tone 3
Great is our Lord, and great is His strength;* and of His knowledge there is no end.
verse: Praise the Lord, for a psalm is good; may praise be sweet to Him. (Psalm 146:5,1)

Prokeimenon, Tone 8
Their utterance has gone forth into all the earth, and their word unto the ends of the world. (Psalm 18:5)

Epistle
Acts 13:13-24; Acts 26:1-5, 12-20

Alleluia, Tone 1
verse: Remember Your congregation which You acquired from the beginning.
verse: But God is our king before the ages; He has wrought salvation in the midst of the earth. (Psalm 73:2,12)
verse: I have exalted one chosen from among My people.
verse: O Lord, by Your power the king shall rejoice, and shall greatly exult in Your salvation. (Psalm 88:20; 20:2)

Gospel
John 6:5-14; John 10:1-8

Hymn to the Mother of God
Virginity is alien to mothers and child-bearing is foreign to virgins; yet in you, O Mother of God, both of them came together. Therefore, we and all the nations of the earth without ceasing magnify you.

Communion Hymn
Those who eat My flesh and drink My blood* abide in Me and I in them, says the Lord. (John 6:56)* Their utterance has gone forth into all the earth,* and their word unto the ends of the world.* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia. (Psalm 18:5)

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