Posts Tagged ‘sufferings’

Great and Holy Friday / Friday of the Crucifix (Remembrance of the holy saving sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Friday of the Crucifix of the Lord Christ

Today is the great and sad day for us Christians in which the Lord has been crucified.

It’s a day of a great spiritual sorrow for all the Orthodox Christian.
It’s also the day in which we do venerate the holy shroud (plashtenica) in which the Lord’s body has been wrapped, after it was removed from the life giving cross.

The priest takes the plashtenica and walks through the temple and afterwards we do venerate the holy plashtenica (The dead body of the saviour).

There is a local Orthodox Church tradition which I believe is very specific to the bulgarian orthodox Church.
The plashtenica is placed on a table, the holy gospel and the holy cross are placed by the priest over the plashtenica (the shroud), after which grouped in a line (first the children, then the man, followed by the woman) we the layman do kiss the holy gospel, the cross and the plashtenica showing evidently our love for Christ and his gospel and our respect for the Lord’s Great Cross sufferings. Further on the layman does crawl (under the table with the plashtenica).

child crawling under a table with plashtenica

plashtenica with the immaculate body of Christ

The crawling under the plashtenica in Bulgarian Orthodox Church is a very known tradition by bulgarian people.

The crawling under the table symbolically shows that we take participation in the Lord’s death.
As it’s written that we all who are in Christ are being death for the world after the Holy Baptism.

There are probably other reasons for which the Church has established the passing under of the holy plashtenica which I’m not aware of.

What is sad is that most people does not really understand the real symbolism behind the crossing below the plashtenica (crossing below the table).

Thus many people who know the feast of Great Friday do come to the church to cross below the plashtenica as an act of superstition, as they don’t really understand why they do it.
They simply interpret that crossing below the plashtenica would grant them “good health”, “a life success” or good fortune.

Many of those people who come to crawl under the table, are not a regular on other Church services (Holy Liturgies) and therefore completely miss even the basics of our Christian beliefs.

Many of those people who are not adept in faith, do come to the Church with the only goal “to crawl below the table” and leave the Church immediately after that …

It’s truly sad to see that especially when I know that we Bulgarians are Orthodox Christian nation.
An Orthodox Christian nation who is starting to forget Christianity …

Just to give you an idea on how people have left astray from Orthodox Christian faith I can tell you for sure that the regular Church goers who attend Holy Liturgies and have intermediate knowledge of Orthodox Christianity and Church order in Bulgaria are not more than 4% of all the Bulgarian population.

This means that probably no more than approximately 300 000 of Bulgarians are in a communion with our Bulgarian Orthodox Church and do regularly confess and take the sacraments.

Here is an Orthodox Singing of the core troparion for the day (in Greek):

Fifth Sunday of the Great Lent. And the Venerable Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church feast

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Saint Mary of Egypt Orthodox Icon

The Fifith week and the fifth Sunday of Lent is preparation for the Holy Week (right before Eastern).
In the Gospel readings on the fifth Sunday it’s being told how God on his way for Jerusalem revealed for a time to his deciples (The Holy Apostles), that his way is the way of the cross, the suffering and death and that the high-priest and the jewish scripture interpreters will betray him, will violate him spit at him, beat him and crucify him and most importantly that he will be Risen on the third day.

The pupils has been terified walking with him on the way to Jerusalem and haven’t really understood the Lord’s prophetic words.

The mother of John and Jacob for example asked the Lord that her sons be allowed to sit on his right and on left side of the Lord’s throne, without knowing like the rest of the desciples that the Lord’s way of unbelievable suffering, which the desciples comprehends a bit later.

The cross’s road of suffering is a predetermined path not only for Christ’s desciples but for the whole Orthodox Church in general and for all the believers inChrist’s name.
God does alone has carried out suffering for the human sin and sinfulness and bears it together with man entering and changing human’s history and completing his redemption for us on the cross.
On this land a man without a revelation of God, never could understand that God is love, that God is good, even if they are already talking about two thousand years all the saints and Fathers of our Church.
God is love and sacrifice himself for man, so our suffering is noble by his feat, carried out for good, because the truth because of the transfiguration of man. His sacrifice is the noblest sacrifice of this world.

But in essense as many ordinary people say in the suffering there is nothing good and noble. The sufferings however after Christ’s sacrifice in his “house-building” plan to transfigurate the man’s personality does prooved miraculous for many Christians throughout the centuries.

A very light example of such a transfiguration of the human’s personality (soul) can be clearly seen in the example of saint Mary of Egypt’s living whose memory do celebrate in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church today (in the Fifth Sunday of the great Lent).

St. Mary of Egypt has lead a very unusual way of living, which is really striking to be comprehend even for us the modern Christians.

Her living is a God’s omen for all generations of Christians and is in clearly distinctive with ours.

As we can read in short in her living, from a very rich and prosperous prostitute touched by Christ’s love after entering an Orthodox temple by the Mercy and the great prayers of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) she has decided to loose all earthly preasures and all the old unrightous way of living and start living a saint hermit life in the desert, she has fought the devil’s temptations and the consequences of sin and God’s wrath for the sinful way of live she has lead for so monay ears before she has turned to Christ in humility in about 25 years alone in the desert!

That’s clearly a God’s great miracle and faith simulator we should thanks God for ..

Her living is a very bright example that we should not despair ourselves about our salvation, and that God takes care for everyone who puts his faith in him and decides consciously to let behind his sinful way of living and evil and starts fighting with it.

God grants us our earthly living and waits throughout our whole earthly live for us to turn back from our sins and change for good.

St. Mary of Egypt is a great example for us who belief in Christ today about how much a repentance could work out in our lives.

From one of the greatest city sinners she has turned into a saint by repenting for her previous sinful life for 25 years.

After the end of her great trial period in the desert, seeing her great repentance God has granted us all the gifts of healing and miraculness of the Holy Spirit.

I would not stop into details of the great saint’s living I’ll just say it’s worthy to check her living in http://orthodoxwiki.org/Sunday_of_St._Mary_of_Egypt and be seriously astonished!

Let us take st. Mary of Egypt for a leading example in our lives and hope that God will have mercy on us and grant us her humbleness and repentance for our great sins we stand in daily ..

Save us Oh Lord by the prayers Saint Mary of Egypt!