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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Το θαυμαστό γεγονός του 1547 μετά Χριστόν, The miracle of the Holy Fire at Sepulcre church, Jerusalem, 1547




Αυτή η κολώνα της εισόδου του Ναού της Αναστάσεως στα Ιεροσόλυμα, παραμένει σιωπηλός αλλά εύγλωττος μάρτυρας του μεγάλου θαύματος.

Πρόκειται για το θαυμαστό γεγονός που συνέβη την εποχή που οι ’ραβες κατέλαβαν τα Ιεροσόλυμα (1547 μ.Χ.) και τους Αγίους Τόπους. Την εποχή που τούρκος διοικητής ήταν ο Μουράτ IV και πατριάρχης Ιεροσολύμων ο Σοφρώνιος Β΄.

Τότε οι Αρμένιοι αιρετικοί, που από χρόνια έψαχναν ευκαιρία να "βάλουν χέρι" στα Ιερά προσκυνήματα και μάλιστα στον Πανάγιο Τάφο και να "βγάλουν" αυτοί το ’γιο Φως, δωροδόκησαν τον τούρκο διοικητή να δώσει διαταγή να παραμείνουν οι Ορθόδοξοι εκτός ναού το Μ.Σάββατο κατά την τελετή αφής του Αγίου Φωτός! Και το πέτυχαν…



Αυτό έφερε μεγάλη λύπη στους Ορθοδόξους που συνέρρευσαν από όλα τα μέρη του κόσμου για να προσκυνήσουν και να δουν το γεγονός. Όλοι περίμεναν έξω από το Ναό και προσευχόταν με θέρμη στο Θεό να τους δώσει το ’γιο Φως και να δώσει διέξοδο στην κρίση. Την ίδια στιγμή ο μουεζίνης από το διπλανό μιναρέ παρακολουθούσε με περιέργεια την εξέλιξη των πραγμάτων.

Όταν λοιπόν οι Ορθόδοξοι με τον Πατριάρχη προσευχόταν έξω από το Ναό, το πρωί εκείνο του Μ. Σαββάτου του 1547, το ’γιο Φως ξεπήδησε από την κολώνα της εισόδου όπου στεκόταν και από τότε η κολώνα είναι ανοιγμένη και καπνισμένη! Έτσι οι Ορθόδοξοι άναψαν τις λαμπάδες τους, ενώ οι Αρμένιοι έφυγαν ντροπιασμένοι και δεν τόλμησαν έκτοτε να αξιώσουν το προνόμιο αυτό.

Ο μουσουλμάνος μουεζίνης που είδε το θαύμα μπροστά στα μάτια τόσων ανθρώπων, πήδησε από τη χαρά του από το μιναρέ και ομολόγησε πίστη στο Θεό των Χριστιανών. Αυτό είχε σαν αποτέλεσμα να μαθευτεί το γεγονός μεταξύ των μουσουλμάνων που το θεώρησαν προδοσία της δικής του πίστης και όρμησαν και τον αποκεφάλισαν. Αυτό ορίζει εξ άλλου ο ισλαμικός νόμος! Έτσι έγινε και μάρτυρας της πίστεως και οι χριστιανοί περιμάζεψαν το λείψανό του που σώζεται μέχρι σήμερα στην Ιερά Μονή Μεγάλης Παναγίας.



The miracle of the Holy Fire at Sepulshre church, Jerusalem, 1547

Another proof of the authenticity of the Orthodox faith

At the Great Gates themselves, on the left side, stands a column made out of marble with a fissure from which the grace, that is, the Holy Fire, came forth

Let me tell you about this: At the Great Gates themselves, on the left side, stands a column made out of marble with a fissure from which the grace, that is, the Holy Fire, came forth. This column is honored by Orthodox as well as non-Orthodox, and even the Armenians. I would like to write a little about this incident, how the Orthodox Eastern Christians unanimously speak of it and the Turks themselves confirm it. In the wall there is an inscribed marble slab, and they say that this very incident is written on it; but we could not read it because it is written in Syrian letters, in the Arab tongue; and I only heard about it, but did not read it. But the incident happened something like this: At one time when the Greeks were completely oppressed by the Turkish yoke, some rich Armenians took it into their heads to force the Greeks out of the Holy Sepulchre and out of the Church of the Resurrection. They gathered a large sum of money and bribed the Ottoman Porte and all the Jerusalem authorities, assuring the unbelievers that the Holy Fire comes forth not simply for the sake of the Greeks, but for all Christians, and "if we Armenians are there, we also will receive it!" And the Turks, who are greedy for money, accepted the bribe and therefore did as the Armenians wished, and they affirmed that only the Armenians would be allowed to receive the Holy Fire. The Armenians rejoiced greatly and wrote to all their lands and to their faithful, that more of them should go on a pilgrimage. And a great multitude of them did come. Holy Saturday approached: the Armenians all gathered in the church, and the Turkish army drove the poor Greeks out. Oh, what unspeakable grief and sorrow filled the Greeks! There was only one comfort for them — the Grave of the Saviour, and they were being kept away from it, and the Holy Gates were locked to them! The Armenians were inside the church and the Orthodox were on the streets. The Armenians were rejoicing and the Greeks were weeping. The Armenians were celebrating and the Greeks were bitterly lamenting!


The Orthodox stood opposite the Holy Gates on the court and around them stood the Turkish army, watching so that there would not be a fight. The Patriarch himself with all the rest stood there with candles, hoping that they would at least receive the Fire from the Armenians through the window. But the Lord wished to dispose things in a different way, and to manifest His true Faith with a fiery finger and comfort His true servants, the humble Greeks. The time had already come when the Holy Fire issues forth, but nothing happened. The Armenians were frightened and began to weep, and ask God that He send them the Fire; but the Lord did not hear them.



Already a half hour had passed and more, and still no Holy Fire. The day was clear and beautiful; the Patriarch sat to the right side. All of a sudden there was a clap of thunder, and on the left side the middle marble column cracked and out of the fissure a flame of fire came forth. The Patriarch arose and lit his candles and all the Orthodox Christians lit theirs from his. Then all rejoiced, and the Orthodox Arabs from Jordan began to skip and cry out, "Thou art our one God, Jesus Christ; one is our True Faith, that of the Orthodox Christians!" And they began to run about all of Jerusalem and raise a din, and to shout all over the city. And to this day they still do this in memory of the incident and they jump and shout, running around the Holy Sepulchre, and they praise the one true God, Jesus Christ, and bless the Orthodox Faith. Beholding this wonder, the Turkish army, which was standing around on guard, was greatly amazed and terrified. From amongst them one named Omir, who was standing at the St. Abraham’s Monastery on guard, immediately believed in Christ and shouted, "One is the true God, Jesus Christ; one is the true faith, that of the Orthodox Christians!" And he jumped down to the Christians from a height of more than 35 feet. His feet landed on the solid marble as if though on soft wax.

And to this day one can see his footprints imprinted as though in wax, although the non-Orthodox tried to erase them. I saw them with my own eyes and felt them with my own hands. And the column with the fissure still bears the scorch marks. As for Omir the soldier, having jumped down, he took his weapon and thrust it into the stone as though into soft wax, and began to glorify Christ unceasingly. For this, the Turks beheaded him and burned his body; the Greeks gathered up his bones, put them into a case and took them to the Convent of the Great Panagia, where they gush forth fragrance until this day. The Armenians in the Holy Sepulchre received nothing and were left only with their shame. The Pasha of Jerusalem and other Turkish authorities were greatly displeased with them and wanted to slaughter them all, but they feared the Sultan. They only punished them heavily: they say that they made each one to eat dung as he left the church. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Written by hieromonc Parthenius

 

http://agapienxristou.blogspot.ca/2013/05/1547-miracle-of-holy-fire-at-sepulcre.html

Synaxarion For Holy and Great Friday




GREAT FRIDAY

On this day, Holy and Great Friday, we celebrate the awesome, holy, and saving Passion of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ - the spitting, the blows with the palm of the hand, the buffeting, the mockery, the reviling, the wearing of the purple robe, the reed, the sponge, the vinegar, the nailing, the lance, and above all, the Crucifixion and Death which He condescended to endure willingly for our sakes - and also the saving confession of the grateful thief upon the cross.

Verse for the Crucifixion

Thou art a living God, even though Thou wast lifeless on the Wood. O naked corpse, Thou art the Word of the living God.

Verse for the Penitent Thief

The thief opened the locked gates of Eden with the key, "Remember me".


Synaxarion

After our Lord Jesus Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver and was betrayed by a friend and disciple, He was led to Annas the High Priest. Annas again sent the Lord to Caiaphas, where He was spat upon and at the same time mocked and laughed at. He heard them saying to Him, "Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one that struck you?" (Matt. 26:68). Then many false witnesses and accusers arrived, perhaps because He said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19) and because He said about Himself, "I am the Son of God" (Matt. 27:43), or because He said, "Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Matt. 26:64). At that point, the High Priest tore his own garment, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!" (Matt. 26:65). And when morning came, Jesus was led into the Praetorium to Pilate, and "they did not enter," as they said, "lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover" (John 18:28).

Then when Pilate came, he asked them about Jesus, saying, "What accusation do you bring against this Man?" (John 18:29). Since he did not find any reasonable cause for the accusation, he sent Him to Caiaphas, since he was the one who was seeking His execution, and Caiaphas sent Him back again to Pilate. Then Pilate said to them, "You take Him and judge Him according your Law." Therefore the Jewish leaders said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death" (John 18:31). They said this so Pilate would pronounce the judgment of death on the cross. Pilate asked Jesus whether He was the King of the Jews, and Jesus acknowledged this and said that His Kingdom is eternal and not of this world (John 18:36). Pilate wished to release Jesus and first told the crowd that he did not find any serious accusation against Him. Then he reminded the Jews of their custom of releasing a prisoner of their choice on the feast of Passover. The crowd named Barabbas the robber as acceptable choice but not Christ. Pilate then sought to placate the crowd, but with no success. Leading Him out through the soldiers, he first had Jesus scourged. Then clothing Him with a purple cloak, the soldiers forced a crown of thorns upon His most pure head and placed a reed in His right hand as though it were a royal scepter. All this time, the soldiers were mockingly sneering and shouting a parody of their salute to Caesar, "Hail, King of the Jews" (Matt. 27:29; Mark 15:18; John 19:3). Clearly, this public humiliation and torment was for the gratification of the mob, for Pilate showed that he was acting against his conscience by saying again, "I find no fault in this Man" (John 18:38; John 19:6; Luke 23:4). The Jewish leaders answered him, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God" (John 19:7).

While these things were being said, Jesus was silent. But the crowd cried out to Pilate, "Crucify Him, crucify Him" (John 19:6). Thus they wished to destroy Him through an inglorious and shameful death, so that they might destroy the noble fame that Jesus possessed. Pilate incited their ethnic pride and said, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!" (John 19:15). Since they could not get their way by any other means, they uttered this blasphemy because Jesus clearly called Himself the Son of God, and they wanted Caesar to stand in His place so that their madness would be satisfied. Therefore they said, "Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar" (John 19:12).

While these events were taking place, Pilate's wife - Procula Claudia (comm. Oct. 27), sent a message to him that she was troubled by a fearful dream, and she said, "Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him" (Matt. 27:19). Then Pilate washed his hands and clearly rejected the responsibility for the blood of the Righteous One. But the people cried out, "His blood be upon us and upon our children" (Matt. 27:25). If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend" (John 19:12). Even though Pilate surely knew that Jesus was not guilty, he feared Caesar and thus confirmed the Lord's condemnation to death on the Cross, and he released Barabbas. When Judas beheld this, he threw away the silver coins and went out and hanged himself from a tree.


The soldiers mocked Jesus, hitting His head with a reed, and they placed the Cross on Him to bear. Then they coerced Simon of Cyrene, obliging him to carry the Cross. About the third hour, they reached the Place of the Skull, and they crucified Him there. On the right and on the left they suspended two thieves so that Jesus would appear to be an evildoer. In a spirit of greed, the soldiers divided His garments, but they cast lots for His seamless tunic. They performed each deed with excessive animosity, as if they were drunk. They not only did these things, but they also feigned ignorance, saying ironically to Jesus on the Cross, "Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the Cross!" (Mark 15:29-30). And they continued, "Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the Cross, that we may see and believe" (Mark 15:32). However, if they had reflected and understood correctly, they would have wished to have recourse to Him without hesitation, because He proved Himself to be not only King of Israel, but even of all the world.

For what other meaning was there when the sun was darken during the Crucifixion of Christ at the third hour, in the middle of the day, but that the Lord's Passion would be revealed to all men? Likewise, when the earth shook and the rocks were rent asunder, did this not reprove the stony-heartedness of the chief priests? And when many bodies arose for the acknowledgment of the common resurrection, did it not provide the evidence that the power of the Suffering One might appear? Moreover, when the curtain of the temple was split in twain, did it not mean that the temple was certainly angered, because the One who was glorified in it was suffering, thereby revealing these things which were not apparent to the multitudes? Therefore, at the third hour, Christ was crucified, as says the divine Mark; from the sixth hour until the ninth there was darkness over the whole land (Mark 15:33). The Centurion Longinus (comm. Oct. 16), seeing these marvelous events and especially the darkening of the sun, cried out with a mighty voice, "Truly this Man was the Son of God" (Matt. 27:54; Mark 15:39). Of the two thieves, one reviled Jesus, but the other reproached him, most profoundly reproving him, and confessed Christ to be the Son of God. Because of his confession, the Savior rewarded his faith and promised that he would be with Him in Paradise that very day. The "good thief" is commemorated on October 12.


When every sort of abuse had been hurled at the Lord Jesus, Pilate wrote out His title, which read, "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS", and placed it on the Cross. (See John 19:19.) Therefore, the chief priests said to Pilate, "Do not write, The King of the Jews, but He said, 'I am the King of the Jews'." Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written" (John 19:21-22). And when the Savior said, "I thirst" (John 19:28), they put vinegar on hyssop and brought it to Him. After saying, "It is finished" (John 19:30), He inclined His head and gave up the spirit. He was crucified on the day when the moon was full and at the hour when, according to the old Law, the Passover lamb was to be slain (See Exod. 12). When all had fled away, His Mother alone kept vigil at the Holy Cross with her sister Mary, the wife of Cleopas (the one, some say, Joachim begot in accordance with the Mosaic Law since his brother Cleopas died childless, but this assertion is false), Mary Magdalene, and John, the Disciple beloved by Him. (See John 19:25.) Then the ungrateful people, not being able to tolerate seeing the bodies on the crosses, since it was the great day of the Passover, asked Pilate that the legs of the condemned might be broken so that death might come more quickly. They broke the legs of the thieves, since they were still alive and, coming upon Jesus, as soon as they saw that He was already dead, they refrained from breaking His legs. One of the soldiers, doing a favor for the ungrateful ones, took his spear and pierced the right side of Christ, and immediately there flowed forth blood and water. On the one hand, the outpouring was as from a man, and on the other hand on behalf of mankind; that is, the blood, for the sake of the Holy Communion of the divine sanctified elements, and the water, for the sake of Holy Baptism. In fact, this two-fold fountain constitutes the foundation of the Holy Mysteries for us.


Also, St. John the Theologian saw and bore witness to these events, and his witness is true, because he was present at all these happenings, and after he saw them he recorded them. For if they were false, clearly he would not have written them, for such things would have appeared as a dishonor to the Teacher. It is said that when he was present at that time, he collected in some kind of vessel the Divine and All-holy Blood from the Life-giving side. Moreover, while these extraordinary events were being accomplished, when night approached, Joseph of Arimathea arrived (he was a disciple from the beginning, as the others, but secretly). He then went to Pilate with boldness since he was clearly known by him, asked for the Body of Jesus, and was given permission to take It. Then he immediately took the divine Body down from the Holy Cross with all reverence. And when night came, Nicodemus arrived, bearing a certain mixture of myrrh and aloes, which had been prepared for the special purpose of anointing, and he wrapped the Holy Body in a winding cloth, as was the regular custom of the Jews. They then entombed the Body of the Lord nearby in the garden tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, which had been cut into a rock, rolling a great stone over the entrance. In this tomb, no one had been buried before, so that when Christ arose the chief priests might not attribute the Resurrection to another person. The mixture of aloes and myrrh strongly cemented the winding cloth to the Body of Christ, so that when the winding cloth and the face cloth would be seen folded up in the Tomb, no one would suppose that His Body had been stolen away. How would it have been possible that anyone could have detached the linen so firmly glued to the flesh? However, those foolish men who shaped this falsehood did not know that in accordance with the economy of God, all these proofs remained inside the Tomb for the censuring of their slander. All these events marvelously happened on Friday. Accordingly, the God-bearing Fathers decreed that we should commemorate all these events with a compunctious and contrite heart. Furthermore, the Church, as received from the time of the Holy Apostles, has given the commandment that every Friday is to be observed as a fast day in remembrance of Christ's Holy Passion and Life-giving Death.


It is fitting to understand that on the sixth day of the week, Friday, the Lord was crucified because on the sixth day of the week during Creation, Adam, the first man, was formed. Furthermore, at the sixth hour of the day, He was suspended on the Holy Cross because at the sixth hour, tradition tells us, Adam stretched out his hands toward the forbidden tree to eat the fruit and inherited death. Therefore it was fitting that at the same shattering hour the Old Adam would be created anew. The Lord's Crucifixion was in a garden because Adam was deceived in a garden in Paradise. The bitter drink which the Lord tasted on the Cross healed the tasting of Adam. The Holy Cross replaced the tree in Paradise. The slap on the Face signified our awakening from the stupor of sin. The spitting and the dishonorable behavior toward the Lord makes manifest the value He places on us. The crown of thorns relieved us from the curse surrounding the head of Adam and Eve. The purple cloak replaced the garment of skin and symbolized the royal garment with which He covers us. The nails indicated our total immobility in our sins. The pierced Side of the Lord, from which our salvation came forth, represented the side of Adam, from which Eve came forth and out of whom the transgression occurred. The spear removed the fiery sword which guarded Paradise after the disobedience. The water from the Side was an image of Holy Baptism. The blood and the reed were the means through which the Savior, as though writing in imperial red ink, decreed, as a King from on high, the restoration of the ancient homeland.

It is said that the skull of Adam lay where Christ, as the Head of all, was Crucified, and Adam was "baptized" through the Blood of Christ, which flowed from Him and down onto Adam's skull. It is called the Place of the Skull because during the Flood the earth expelled the skull of Adam, which rolled around by itself in a circle, and this was viewed as a fearsome sign. The Holy Prophet and King Solomon, out of respect toward the Forefather, covered it up with many stones. Moreover, the eminent saints say, as is the tradition, that Adam was buried there by an angel. Therefore, where Adam's corpse lay, there Christ stood as the everlasting King, the New Adam, healing by the wood of the Holy Cross the Old Adam who had fallen by the wood of the tree.

It should be noted that on this day there is no celebration of the Divine Liturgy, nor of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. On this day of the Holy Crucifixion we neither eat nor drink anything according to the words which the Lord spoke to the Pharisees: "But the days will come when the Bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast" (Matt. 9:15). Yet, if anyone is weak or old and cannot keep the fast, let him be given bread and water after sunset.

Wherefore, O Christ our God, through Your boundless compassion for our sakes,
have mercy on us and save us. Amen.


Apolytikion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
When the glorious disciples at the supper were illumined by the washing of the feet, then was the impious Judas darkened by the disease of avarice. And he betrays Thee, the Righteous Judge, to the lawless judges. See, O lover of possessions, how for money's sake he hanged himself! Flee from that insatiate soul, which dared such things against His Master. O Lord, who art good towards all men, glory to Thee!

Antiphon Six in Plagal of the Third Tone
Coming to Thy voluntary Passion, O Lord, Thou didst cry out to Thy disciples, "If ye were not able to watch one hour with Me, how could ye promise to die for My sake? Behold how Judas does not sleep, but hastens to betray Me to lawless men. Arise and pray that no one deny Me when he sees Me on the Cross." O longsuffering Lord, glory to Thee!

Antiphon Fifteen in Plagal of the Second Tone
He who hung the earth upon the waters hangs today upon the Cross.
He who is King of the Angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.
He who in the Jordan set Adam free receives blows upon His face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails.
The Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear.
We worship Thy Passion, O Christ.
We worship Thy Passion, O Christ.
We worship Thy Passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious Resurrection.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Come, let us all praise Him who was crucified for us, for when Mary beheld Him on the Cross, she cried, "Though Thou sufferest on the Cross Thou art my Son and my God!"

Ikos
Seeing her own Lamb led to slaughter, Mary let down her hair in grief and followed Him with the other women, crying thus: "Where goest Thou, my Child? Why dost Thou run so swiftly? Perhaps there is another wedding in Cana of Galilee, and Thou dost make haste now to go there and change their water into wine? Shall I go with Thee, O my Child, or shall I wait for Thee? Grant me some word, O Word, and pass me not by in silence, O Thou who hast preserved me in virginity. For Thou art my Son and my God.

Exapostilarion
The wise thief at that same hour, O Lord, Thou didst deem worthy of Paradise. Enlighten me as well by Thy Cross, and save me.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thou hast redeemed us from the curse of the Law by Thy precious Blood. Nailed to the Cross and pierced by the spear, Thou hast poured forth immortality upon mankind. O our Saviour, glory to Thee!


http://agapienxristou.blogspot.ca/2013/05/synaxarion-for-holy-and-great-friday.html

Μεγάλη Παρασκευή Βράδυ: «Ώσπερ Πελεκάν» ( ἐπίσκοπος Αυγουστίνου Καντιώτη )



«Ὥσπερ πελεκὰν τετρωμένος τὴν πλευράν σου, Λόγε, σοὺς θανόντας παῖδας ἐζώωσας ἐπιστάξας ζωτικοὺς αὐτοῖς κρουνούς» (Ἐγκώμ. β΄ στάσις)
Στὴν ὑπέροχη ἀκολουθία τοῦ Ἐπιταφίου θρήνου, ἀγαπητοί μου, ποὺ ψάλλεται στὸν ὄρθρο τοῦ Μεγάλου Σαββάτου, ἰδιαίτερη θέσι κατέχουν τὰ Ἐγκώμια. Τί εἶνε τὰ Ἐγκώμια; Εἶνε μία ὡραία συλλογὴ τροπαρίων, ποὺ ἔχει ὡς θέμα τὴν ταφὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Ὅλος ὁ Ἐπιτάφιος θρῆνος εἶνε γλυκυτάτη ἀκολουθία. Ἀρχίζει μὲ τὸ ἀπολυτίκιο «Ὁ εὐσχήμων Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου καθελών…» ,προχωρεῖ μὲ τὸν ἀνεπανάληπτο κανόνα «Κύματι θαλάσσης…» , κορυφώνεται μὲ τὰ ἐγκώμια, τὰ εὐλογητάρια καὶ τοὺς αἴνους, καὶ τέλος κλείνει μὲ τὴν περιφορὰ τοῦ ἐπιταφίουκαὶ τὰ ἀναγνώσματα, μεταξὺ τῶν ὁποίων διακρίνεται ἡ σπουδαία προφητεία τοῦ Ἰεζεκιήλ.
Τὰ Ἐγκώμια, παρ᾽ ὅλο ὅτι ἡ Ἐκκλησία πενθεῖ, δὲν μεταδίδουν φρίκη καὶ σπαραγμό· ἀποπνέουν τὴ γαλήνη καὶ τὸ θρίαμβο τοῦ Νικητοῦ τοῦ ᾅδου. Εἶνε μᾶλλον ἕνας παιὰν δόξης, ἕνα ἐμβατήριο νίκης, μὲ τὸ ὁποῖο συνοδεύουμε στὸν τάφο τὸν μεγάλο μας Νεκρὸ μαζὶ μὲ τὸ Νικόδημο, τὸν Ἰωσὴφ καὶ τὶς μυροφόρες γυναῖκες. «Στῶμεν καλῶς» λοιπόν.Ὁ ἐμπνευσμένος αὐτὸς ὕμνος ἀποτελεῖται ἀπὸ διακόσα περίπου τροπάρια.
Στὶς ἐνορίες μας βέβαια δὲν ψάλλονται ὅλα· χάριν συντομίας λέγονται τὰ μισὰ περίπου. Ὅλα τὰ τροπάρια μπορεῖ νὰ τ᾽ ἀκούσῃ κανεὶς κατανυκτικὰ στὸ Ἅγιο Ὄρος ἢ σὲ ἄλλα μοναστήρια, ὅπου οἱ μοναχοὶ ὑμνοῦν καὶ δοξάζουν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένο Λυτρωτὴ μέχρι τὶς πρωινὲς ὧρες χωρὶς περικοπὲς καὶ παραλείψεις. Ἐμεῖς οἱ κοσμικοὶ εἴμαστε βιαστικοί· θέλουμε νὰ τελειώσουμε τὸ συντομώτερο. Ἔτσι γίνονται δυστυχῶς ὑποχωρήσεις καὶ συμβιβασμοί.Τὰ Ἐγκώμια διαιροῦνται σὲ τρεῖς στάσεις ἢ ὁμάδες· ἡ πρώτη ἀρχίζει μὲ τὸ τροπάριο «Ἡ ζωὴ ἐν τάφῳ…» , ἡ δευτέρα μὲ τὸ «Ἄξιόν ἐστι…» ,καὶ ἡ τρίτη μὲ τὸ «Αἱ γενεαὶ πᾶσαι…» .Ποιός νά ᾽νε ἆραγε ὁ ποιητὴς τῶν Ἐγκωμίων; Δὲν γνωρίζουμε· εἶνε ἄγνωστος. Ἴσως καὶ νὰ εἶ νε ὄχι ἕνας μόνο ἀλλὰ περισσότεροι.Μεταξὺ αὐτῶν ἀναφέρεται καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ ἁγίου Θεοδώρου τοῦ Στουδίτου. Δὲν ἔχουμε πάντως κάτι βέβαιο, ὅπως τὸ ἴδιο συμβαίνει καὶ μὲ τὸν ποιητὴ τοῦ Ἀκαθίστου ὕμνου.
Ὁ ποιητὴς τῶν Ἐγκωμίων καλεῖ ὅλη τὴ φύσι νὰ δοξάσῃ τὸ Χριστό· καὶ τὰ ἄνθη καὶ τὰ φυτὰ καὶ τὰ δέντρα καὶ τὰ βουνὰ καὶ οἱ πεδιάδεςκαὶ οἱ θάλασσες καὶ οἱ λίμνες καὶ τὰ ἄστρα καὶἡ σελήνη καὶ ὁ ἥλιος, ὅλα καλοῦνται νὰ τὸν ὑμνήσουν σὲ μία παναρμόνια συμφωνία.Ὅλα συγκινοῦνται σήμερα· καὶ μόνο ὁ ἄνθρωπος μένει δυστυχῶς ψυχρὸς καὶ ἀδιάφορος. Καὶ ἀπὸ μὲν τοὺς σταυρωτάς του τότε ἦταν ἀναμενόμενο νὰ μένουν ἀσυγκίνητοι ἢ νὰ στέκωνται ἐχθρικοὶ ἀπέναντί του· ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ λεγόμενοι «χριστιανοὶ» σήμερα; Μιὰ φορὰ σταύρωσαν τὸ Χριστὸ οἱ Ἑβραῖοι καὶ οἱ ῾Ρωμαῖοι, μὰ ἐμεῖς τὸν σταυρώνουμε συνεχῶς μὲ τὶς ἁμαρτίες μας.
Εἴμαστε ἀλήθεια χριστιανοί; Αὐτὰ τὰ πλήθη ποὺ ὀνομάζονται χριστιανοί,ποιά οὐσιαστικὴ σχέσι ἔχουν μὲ τὸ Χριστό; Ἂν γινόταν χωρισμὸς κράτους καὶ ἐκκλησίας, πόσοι ἆραγε θὰ ἔμεναν μὲ τὴν Ἐκκλησία;Λίγοι ἀσφαλῶς. Ἀλλὰ προτιμότερο λίγοι ποὺ νὰ λατρεύουν ἀληθινὰ τὸν Κύριο στὸ ναό, παρὰ ἕνα πλῆθος μέσα στὸ ὁποῖο ἄλλος νὰ μιλάῃ, ἄλλος νὰ γελάῃ, ἄλλος νὰ χαζεύῃ, ἄλλος νὰ βγαίνῃ ἔξω… Θά ᾽ρθῃ μέρα, ποὺ θὰ πέσῃ κόσκινο, θὰ κοσκινιστῇ αὐτὸς ὁ λαός, καὶ θὰ μείνουμε ἐλάχιστοι. Τί νὰ τὴν κάνῃς τὴν ποσότητα; Ἡ ἀξία ἑνὸς στρατοῦ δὲν βρίσκεται στὸπλῆθος ἀλλὰ στὴ γενναιότητα τῶν στρατιωτῶν καὶ ἀξιωματικῶν· ἔτσι καὶ ἡ Ἐκκλησία μας πρέπει ν᾽ ἀποβλέπῃ στὴν ἁγιότητα τῶν μελῶν της. Σήμερα στὸν Ἐπιτάφιο ποιός προσεύχεται; ποιός δακρύζει; ποιός συγκινεῖται;
Ἀπὸ τὴ συλλογὴ τῶν Ἐγκωμίων ἂς πάρου-με ἕνα μόνο, ἐκεῖνο τὸ ὁποῖο λέει· «Ὥσπερ πελεκάν, τετρωμένος τὴν πλευράν σου, Λόγε,σοὺς θανόντας παῖδας ἐζώωσας, ἐπιστάξας ζωτικοὺς αὐτοῖς κρουνούς» (Ἐγκωμ. στάσις β΄).
Τὸ ἐγκώμιο αὐτὸ μιλάει γιὰ τὸν πελεκᾶνο. Τί σχέσι ἔχει ὁ πελεκᾶνος μὲ τὸ γεγονὸς τῆς ἡμέρας; Εἴπαμε, ὅτι ὅλη ἡ φύσις καλεῖται νὰ τιμήσῃ τὴν ταφὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ μας· καλεῖ λοιπὸν ὁ ποιητὴς καὶ τὸν πελεκᾶνο.
Τί εἶνε ὁ πελεκᾶνος; Εἶνε ἕνα πουλὶ ὑδρόβιο. Ζῇ συνήθως κοντὰ σὲ λίμνες καὶ ποτάμια.Οἱ πελεκᾶνοι εἶνε κυνηγοί, ψαρᾶδες καὶ ἄριστοι κολυμβηταί· κολυμποῦν θαυμάσια μέσ᾽στὶς λίμνες καὶ ψαρεύουν μὲ τόση ἐπιτυχίαμὲ ὅση κανένας ἀπὸ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους. Στὴν περιφέρεια τῆς Φλωρίνης τὸ θέαμα πελεκάνων εἶνε συνηθισμένο. Ἔχουμε μάλιστα τὸπρονόμιο νὰ ζῇ στὴ λίμνη τῶν Πρεσπῶν ἕναεἶδος μικρῶν πελεκάνων.Τί λέει λοιπὸν τὸ ἐγκώμιο γιὰ τὸν πελεκᾶ-νο; Ὁ πελεκᾶνος εἶνε φιλόστοργο πουλί. Λένε ὅτι, ὅταν λείπει ἀπὸ τὴ φωλιά του, τὸ φίδι βρίσκει τὴν εὐκαιρία καὶ σέρνεται ὣς ἐκεῖ,βρίσκει τὰ μικρὰ τοῦ πελεκάνου μόνα τους,τὰ δαγκώνει, καὶ τὰ πουλάκια δηλητηριασμένα ἀπὸ τὸ φαρμάκι ναρκώνονται κ᾽ εἶνε ἕτοιμα νὰ πεθάνουν . Ὅταν ὁ πελεκᾶνος ἐπιστρέφει στὴ φωλιά, τὸ φίδι ἔχει φύγει, καὶ βρίσκει τὰ παιδιά του ἑτοιμοθάνατα. Τότε μὲ μία πρᾶξι συγκινητική, μία ἐνέργεια θεοκίνητη μποροῦμε νὰ ποῦμε, κάνει τὰ παιδιά του νὰ ζωογονηθοῦν.
Πῶς ζωογονοῦνται; Ὅπως γιὰ ἄλλα φαρμάκια ὑπάρχει ἀντίδοτο, ἔτσι καὶ γιὰ τὴ δηλητηρίασι τῶν πουλιῶν τοῦ πελεκάνου ἀπὸ φίδι ὑπάρχει ἀντίδοτο. Πῶς σῴζονται τὰ πουλιά; Λέει ἡ παράδοσις, ὅτι ὁ πελεκᾶνος σχίζει μὲ τὸ ῥάμφος τὸ στῆθος του, παίρνει ἀπὸ τὸ αἷμα του ποὺ τρέχει, ποτίζει μ᾽ αὐτὸτὰ παιδιά του, καὶ τότε αὐτὰ ζωντανεύουν!Αὐτὸ τὸ γεγονὸς παίρνει τώρα ὁ ποιητὴς καὶ τὸ ἀναφέρει στὸ Χριστό. Πελεκᾶνος, Πελεκᾶνος ὄχι μὲ πῖ μικρὸ ἀλλὰ μὲ Πῖ κεφαλαῖο,εἶνε ὁ Χριστός. (Γιατὶ ὅλα τὰ πράγματα εἶνε σκιὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ· ἥλιος μὲ ἦτα μικρὸ εἶνε ὁ φυσικὸς ἥλιος,
Ἥλιος μὲ ἦτα κεφαλαῖο εἶνε ὁ Χριστός· δέντρο μὲ δέλτα μικρὸ εἶνε τὸ φυσικό, Δέντρο μὲ δέλτα κεφαλαῖο εἶνε ὁ Χριστός· πηγὴ μὲ πῖ μικρὸ εἶνε αὐτὴ ποὺ μᾶς δίνει τὸ φυσικὸ νερό, Πηγὴ μὲ πῖ κεφαλαῖο εἶνε ὁ Χρι-στός). Πελεκάνος λοιπὸν μὲ Πῖ κεφαλαῖο εἶνεὁ Χριστός· αὐτὸς εἶνε ὁ πατέρας. Κ᾽ ἐμεῖς εἴ μαστε τὰ πουλιά του. Καὶ τὸ φίδι ποιό εἶνε; εἶνε ὁ σατανᾶς, ὁ ὁποῖος κατώρθωσε νὰ διεισ-δύσῃ μέσ᾽ στὸν παράδεισο καὶ νὰ δηλητηριάσῃ τὸν ἄνθρωπο. Ἀπὸ τότε τὸ δηλητήριο τὸἔχουμε ὅλοι μέσα μας· τὸ δηλητήριο ποὺ μᾶςφαρμακώνει εἶνε ἡ ἁμαρτία, αὐτὴ εἶνε τὸ φοβερὸ φαρμάκι. Καὶ πῶς σῴζεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος;πῶς τὸ φαρμάκι αὐτὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἐξουδετερώνεται καὶ φεύγει; Ἕνα εἶνε τὸ μέσο, αὐτὸ ποὺ ψάλλει σήμερα ἡ Ἐκκλησία μας· τὸ αἷ μα τοῦ Χριστοῦ , ποὺ ἔτρεξε ἀπὸ τὴν πλευρά του ὅταν τὴ λόγχισε ὁ στρατιώτης. Ὅπως λοιπὸν μὲ τὸ αἷμα ἀπὸ τὴν πλευρά του ὁ πελεκᾶνος σῴζει τὰ παιδιά του ἀπὸ τὸ φαρμάκι τοῦφιδιοῦ, ἔτσι –λέει ὁ ὕμνος μας–ὁ Χριστός, μὲτὸ αἷμα ἀπὸ τὴν πλευρά του ὡς ἀντίδοτο, σῴζει τὸν ἄνθρωπο ἀπὸ τὴν ἁμαρτία.Μεγάλες οἱ ἀλήθειες αὐτές, πολὺ μεγάλες·μὰ δὲν συγκινοῦν τὴν χοιρώδη κοινωνία μας,ἡ ὁποία μὲ ἄλλα πράγματα ἀσχολεῖται τώρα.
Ἄλλοτε, ὅταν ἀκουγόταν στὶς ἐκκλησίες τὸ ἐγκώμιο «Ὥσπερ πελεκὰν τετρωμένος τὴν πλευράν σου, Λόγε, σοὺς θανόντας παῖδας ἐζώωσας ἐπιστάξας ζωτικοὺς αὐτοῖς κρουνούς» ,δὲν ἔμενε μάτι ἀδάκρυτο. Ὁ πιστὸς λέει στὸΧριστό· «Μὲ τὴν πληγὴ στὴν πλευρά σου, Λόγε τοῦ Θεοῦ, ζωογόνησες σὰν πελεκᾶνος τὰ θανατωμένα παιδιά σου στάζοντάς τους (στὸ στόμα) ζωογόνους κρουνούς». Ἀκούγοντας τὸ τροπάριο αὐτό, ὅπως καὶ τὰ ἄλλα, νιώθει εὐγνωμοσύνη σ᾽ ἐκεῖνον ποὺ ἔδωσε τὸ αἷματου γιὰ νὰ ζήσουμε ἐμεῖς τὴν αἰώνιο ζωή.
Γι᾽ αὐτό, ἀγαπητοί μου, σᾶς παρακαλῶ νὰ παρακολουθοῦμε μὲ ἄκρα ἡσυχία τὴν ἀκολουθία καὶ τὴν περιφορὰ τοῦ ἐπιταφίου. Χωρὶς ἄσκοπες μετακινήσεις, μὲ σιωπὴ καὶ μὲ κατάνυξι, ἂς ἀκοῦμε τὰ ἑκατὸ περίπου τροπάρια τῶν ἐγκωμίων, ποὺ ὅπως εἴπαμε εἶνε ἕνα μέρος ἀπὸ τὸ σύνολο.Ἀλλοῦ οἱ ἄνθρωποι δὲν βαριοῦνται καὶ δὲν φεύγουν· στὰ νυχτερινὰ κέντρα κάθονται μέχρι τὶς πρωινὲς ὧρες· στὸ ναὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ δὲν ἔμαθαν δυστυχῶς νὰ μένουν καὶ νὰ λατρεύουν.Γιά σκεφτῆτε· Μεγάλη Παρασκευὴ καὶ νά ᾽νε ἀνοιχτὰ τὰ νυχτερινὰ κέντρα! Θεέ μου Θεέ μου, ἀστροπελέκια θὰ πέσουν, σφοδροὶ ἄνεμοι καὶ τυφῶνες θὰ σαρώσουν αὐτὸ τὸ ἁμαρτωλὸ κράτος. Στοὺς ναοὺς δὲν ἔρχονται· κι ἂν ἔρθουν,δὲ βλέπουν τὴν ὥρα πότε νὰ φύγουν. Γι᾽ αὐτὸ καὶ ἡ ἐκκλησία συγκαταβαίνοντας στὴν ἀδυναμία τῶν ἀνθρώπων, τὰ ψάλλει συντομώτερα, γιὰ νὰ γίνῃ ἡ ἔξοδος τοῦ ἐπιταφίου.Παρακαλῶ, λοιπόν, νὰ ἐπικρατῇ τάξις.
(†) ἐπίσκοπος Αὐγουστῖνος-
Ἀπομαγνητοφωνημένη ὁμιλία, ἡ ὁποία ἔγινε στὸν ἱ. ναὸ Ἁγ. Γεωργίου πόλεως Φλωρίνης τὴν 28-4-1978.


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