Posts Tagged ‘third day’

Thomas Sunday – The day of Disbelievers

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Thomas-sunday-the-day-of-disbelieve-Thomas-reaching-to-Jesus-wounds

A week passed since we Christian celebrated Resurrection of Christ (Pascha). Each year on first Sunday after Easter in orthodox Church is celebrated the so called Thomas Sunday. So why is it called Thomas Sunday and why it is the day of disbelievers?
The root of this ancient Christian feast comes after commemoration of Christ desciple St. Thomas who disbelieved the testimony of ( 10 apostles ) and the Virgin Mary  that Jesus Christ is Risen from the Death.

The disbelieve of Thomas was logical and human cause even though Thomas was with the Apostles with Christ for 3 years, saw all Jesus miracles and shared the Secret Supper (Last Supper), and even knew in advance (heard by Jesus on Last supper) that Jesus will betrayed mocked, hanged on the Cross and Rise from the death on the third day, he disbelieved.

Thomas Sunday (Sundy of Thomas) is "the day of Disbelievers", because all are disbelievers in moments of their life not only those who believe God but all the humanity!  Even the most faithful Christian, be it a deacon, monk or priest has difficult moments in life where God's existence or providence for one's faith is seriously questioned.
The fallen nature of man is such that the initial belief in God given to man in Eden (Paradise garden) is broken, and only in Jesus's name through the Gift of Faith given by the Holy Spirit, believe in God is restored.

Thomas very much like unto everyone of us doubted the rumors of Christ resurrection and said he would only believe in Resurrected Christ only if he sees his hands nails print and put his fingers into Christ’s wounds to test he is not seeing a Ghost but Christ is alive in a body after his death.

Here is the Gospel reading re-telling the story in short:

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19)

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-26)

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)

We Christians should be joyful for have not seen Christ in Flesh but have believed for we are blessed for his believe without seeing.

By same faith in God without seeing him even in old times the Jews were led by the Lord God in the desert have won wars by their believing without seeing God, prophets has prophecised, Simeon (The God receiver) hold The Savior (Christ) in his hands, by faith David won the battle with Goliath, by faith we understand the universe was formed at God’s command, by faith we know that the visible came out of the invisible.

o Kyrios mou kai o Theos mou (Greek) – My Lord and my God (Jn. 20:28) this declaration of faith clearly shows an unexpressable excitement of Thomas and his unexpectency to see Christ resurrected. Here it is interesting that here the son of God Jesus Christ is called by Thomas exactly how Jewish used to call God Yahweh (One and Only God) in the Old testament.

Today the evangical story is very accurate for our generation – a generation of disbelievers, even we who say we believe often doesn’t justify our believe with our deeds, we say we believe but we don’t keep God’s commandment “to love God and our neigbor like ourselves.” Often only difference between believers and disbelievers is on Sunday we believers visit Church and “play Christians”, but even but in daily life our deeds are same like unbelievers. Often many are disbelievers not because they reject God but because they never heard the Gospel or misheard it, also we disbelieve because we’re very much like st. Thomas, we often say “I will believe in God if I see him”, but even Thomas who saw God before the Crucifix and knew him disbelieved – a proof that often seing once could still leave space for doubt. The glorious event of Christ showing himself Alive to Thomas was made by Christ to establish the Church and strengthen faith of first Christians in resurrection. Nowadays there are plenty of people who question God’s existence saying that they will believe if they see but they’re not given to see the resurrected Christ because God knows that even if we see the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected we would try to rationally explain the phenomenon with holograms, modern technology or science.

Thomas Sunday is not only a day of Thomas disbelieve it is a day of disbelieve of all humanity. , St. Thomas should be an example even to all of us Christian disbelievers and non-believers that even if we disbelieve and doubt and strive to see God, He is powerful to come and appear Resurrected in His Glory to our souls.
Let us therefore have the Wisdom of the Holy Apostles and say together with them “Lord, Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5

Pilgrimage to Holy Relics of saint Alexander Nevsky in St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Sofia Bulgaria

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

st Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Sofia Bulgaria

It is my third day, I'm staying in Sofia and I'm trying to use the time as efficient as possible. I had a dinner with my school years friend and my current employee Anton in a small restaurant near Hotel Pliska called King's breakfast. I wanted to save some money so use Sofia's public transport to reach to hotel Pliska from a train stop near the so called "Winter Palace". The bus I traveled with was crowded, I was not sure of which bus-stop I had to go down of the bus so tried to ask the bus driver. Interestingly he seemed puzzle that I asked him and being lazy to explai me or not being sure of the number of bus stops I had to count until I reach to Pliska Hotel, he suggested to ask someone in th ebus. Thanksfully there were some people helpful and thanks God the young student Lady which sit near me, had to go down on the same bus stop as me and was kind and helpful.
I should stop for a second and mention few words on the bus hygiene, I've not been in Bulgaria over the last 5 months and I didn't travelled in Sofia bus for maybe at least 2 or 3 years – the hygiene was worse than critical it looked unhygienic there were some weird stickers which was supposed to instruct the reader something but they were so intuitive, that I hardly doubt anyone fully understands, some of the visual instructions seemed also ridiculous …. The bus I traveled with was probably at least 20 or 25 years old, and it seemed the last time it was clean by someone was maybe a few months before, of course the weather was rainy and this is one of the reason of the dirt, but even besides that it was obvious noone puts even a cent for hygiene and the bus aesthetic appearance. Well so far so good. What I liked of the bus is the ticketing system which was very old fashioned, you buy a ticket which costs the low fee of 1 lv (0.50 cents), you pierce it on a mechanical pierce machine located on few places on left and right and that's all, in some buses a control person comes by and checks if the person has pierced the little piece of paper … Just for comparison in Arnhem, the ticketing system was a bit different whether you desire to buy it from the driver, he give you a ticket and stamps it with a date and hour, then the ticket is valid 1 hour after so you can use it in another bus as well. Also just as a matter of short comparison in Holland, maybe 50% of people or more already use the new contactless OV-Chipkaart which is a standard way to pay for transportation. Happily, such a system is not available in Bulgaria – and hence from purely tracking perspective and freedom prespective and efficiency the symplicity of ticketing system in Bulgaria and the low price rox and IMHO beats up Western one 🙂
Back to where I was after using Bus number 280, I reached and having the dinner with my dear friend, I had a walk of about 30 minutes from Hotel Pliska (which is one of the most key (and busy) central bus stops in Sofia). The walk was not nice, a multitude of cars, dirty air smog, muddy streats, broken sideways, very little space allowing only one person to walk by …. The infrastructure of this Boulevard was meakly said SHIT and it seems it was not planned at all for people like me who like walking or for bikers.
On the way I've seen a bunch of beautiful architecture buildings and this was all the enjoyment besides the dirt, something that little raised up my very negative opinion of this 30 minutes walk was the sideview of Vitosha mountain (worthy scenery to see).
After 25-30 minutes I reached a Subway of a central busy place, which was leading to city Sofia's State University St. Kliment Ohridski, to the city center where st. Alexander Nevski, the National Assembly and the Bulgarian Patriarchate is located.
I wanted to go and pilgrimate to st. Alexander Nevski's cathedral, since I was there just one or two times and my memories of the Biggest Cathedral Orthodox Church on the balkans was little. St. Alexander Nevski's size and architecture is mostly amazing surely even for non-believers.As a believer I was thankful to God for being able to enter the Church light up a candle and pray, my joy was double cause in the Church I found there wss a miracle making icon of Holy Virgin Mary (probably from Holy Mount Athos), there was acathist (a little prayer service in glorification of the Mother of God asking the Holy Mother of God to pray the Lord Jesus Christ for us. I stayed for the Church service and tried litening to the priest leeading the serive, there was a young deacon helping in the service, which I happened to have met and know in my stay in Pomorie Monastery before 5 months time. After the end of the acathist, all Christians who stayed until the end of prayer service including me went and bowed down to venerated the Holy icon. I take a quick look in st. Alexander Nevski and venerated the rest of icons I see in the Church. I was mostly surprise to find on the left side near the ikonostas a small treasurer holding incorruptable (finger) of the Saint.

Holy Relics of Saint Alexander Nevksi kept in largest bulgarian Orthodox Church in capital city Sofia - venerate holy relics of St. Alexander Nevsky

 

I venerated and asked st. Alexander Nevski to pray the Lord for me the sinner this completed my short pilgrimage to the Patriarchate Cathedral and biggest Church building in whole Bulgaria. I had desire to venerate also the other neraby ancient Church saint Sofia, but it was already 6:30 and the Church was closed.
On left side of the exit of st. Alexander Nevsky is located another of the old and important buildigns in Sofia, the holy synod palace (Синодална Палата) – a place where Bulgarian Church hierarchs, gather routinely to discuss and take important decisions concerning our autocephalous Church. This building represents a Roman Catholic Holy See Orthodox Church equivalent and if I'm not mistaken is an official residence of the Patriarch.

Bulgarian orthodox church synodal palace sveti sinod holy see of bg orthodox church
Since I had to go back to my friend's house which is nearby the Winter Palace, I took bus 280 from the bus stop located nearby Sofia State University and went back, engraced and thankful to God for the big blessing to be able to venerate the Holy Relics of one of the greatest Russian Saints st. Alexander Nevski.
 

st Alexander Nevsky orthodox icon

Last year 2012 in st. Alexander Nevski Church, his holiness Patriach Maxim – Patriarch of our Bulgarian Orthodox Church who recently passed away together with all metropolitans and bishops canonized the Holy Martyrs of Batak slaughter. St. Alexander Nevski is a monument also playing singificant importance reminding Bulgaria for back times, when Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians and Romanians helped us to receive liberation from Turkish 500 years slavery. If you happen to be visiting Bulgaria, somehow I warmly recommend you visit this magnificient Church, even if you're not a strong believer or Catholic, you will certainly appreciate the beautiful wall paintings and megnificient

Jesus is Risen – Truly he is Risen / Hristos Voskrese paschal greeting and why Orthodox Christians don’t celebrate with Roman Catholics and Jewish

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Jesus Glorious Resurrection from the grave in the third day Orthodox Christian Icon

It is the first week after Orthodox Christian Easter. This year 2012, the Orthodox Christians Easter date was on fifteen of April.
We've not just had a feast of an Eastern, but we actually celebrated the greatest day in all human history that happened 2012 years ago – The Glories Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the Death in the Third day!

Some Roman Catholic Christians, might be wondering, why the Orthodox Church is celebrating one week after Jewish Pascha, so in short I will explain in the reason.We orthodox christians do not celebrate with Roman Catholics Easter because Roman Catholics use the gregorian calendar to calculate and decided the day in which the Eastern celebrations should occur, where we the Orthodox Christians use still the old moon calendar (which the jews used too), when Jesus was crucified.
The gregorian calendar is very precise from a scientific point of view, however from a Church stand point it is completely wrong because, plainly taking the gregorian calendar math model doesn't take in consideration, that the jews are still celebrating their pascha following the old moon calendar.

The consequence is this year Roman Catholics, celebrated with Jewish. This from our Orthodox Christian point of view is incorrect, because Christ's Cross suffering is the pascha for us christians.
We Christians consider that the old God ordained jewish pascha was a prophecy feast, simply to remind jewish people before Christ's coming that Messiah (Christ) will come to say his people.
As Jewish rejected their true Messiah and Crucified him on the Cross, they have rejected to accept Christ as being the true pascha lamb slained for our sins.

Hence the Orthodox Christian Church teaches even to this day, that it is not righteous to celebrate Christ's Glorious Resurrection with Jewish Pascha.
Prohibition to celebrate Easter and Jewish Pascha on the same day is an Orthodox Church rule, since the early church days.
The Holy Fathers in their Church councils Council of Nicaea etc. has established as unchangable Church rule that, Jesus's Resurrection day feath, should never-ever coincide with the Jewish Pascha Celebrations.

The reasons the Church fathers ordered the Church Easter day to be always 1 week after Jewish Pascha is our saviour Jesus Christ ate pascha with his desciples as we can read in the 4 gospels in Holy Bible. After Jesus ate pascha, he was caught mocked, tortured and crucified (killed on a cross shaped trees).

Jesus is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

The Slavonic Paschal Greeting, translated words, we use across the Slavonic dome: ( Bulgaria / Russia / Ukraine, Serbia) is:
 

Христос Воскресе ! Воистину Воскресе!

According to our Church Tradition, Christians should great each other with the Paschal greeting Hristos Voskrese during the whole "bright week" instead of the usual Hi / Hello phrase.

The current Bulgarian version of Христос Възкресе ! Воистину Воскресе! is

Христос Възкръсна! Наистина Възкръсна!

 

One great miracle that testifies about the Christ's resurrection each and every year happens on each Orthodox Christian Eastern in Jerusalem in the Temple of Holy Sepulchre (where the saviour's grave cave, before the resurrection used to be). Last year, I've written to great all Christians for the Resurrection with the joyful Paschal Greeting Jesus is Risen and the Miracle of the Holy Fire
Pitily, the number of Roman Catholics who heard or know about this amazing miracle are mostly within the clergy. Its very rare a layman Christian in Roman Catholic realm heard of the miracle. Once again as a closure I want to great everyone with the joyful paschal greeting in the manners of Russians which say it three times during the paschal period.

Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе !
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе !
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе !

Thomas Sunday (Doubting Thomas) the end of the bright Paschal Week

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

St Apostle Thomas touching the wounds of our saviour Christ

Today in the Orthodox Church, we commemorate the great miracle of our saviour Christ appearing to st. Apostle Thomas, who failed to believe to the rest of the holy apostles that they have seen our saviour alive.

Thomas wanted said that he won’t belief if he doesn’t touch and see the incorruptable risen body of our saviour Jesus.

Our Lord by his great mercy has appeared once again to the pupils dinnering with them.
Thomas was with the teachers and the door was locked (as the fear of persecution for Christ’s testimonial was among the aposltes).
Suddenly our Saviour entered the room where all the pupils were gathered through the locked door (a Glorious miracle inconceivable for our minds).

As the Lord knew about Thomas weak belief and his disbelief in his prophecised Resurrection in the third day, when Christ entered he has addressed Thomas and told him to come forth and see and touch his wounds and see that a spirit has no bones and flesh, (obviously Thomas erroneously thought that the resurrection from the death would be in spirit and no physical body will be present (this kind of belief today is also wide-spread inside many heretical christian groups)).
The Lord continued on and told Thomas, “Thomas you have seen and believed, now blessed is those who haven’t seen me and believed”!

Here is part of the daily troparion:

Touch my rib with a hand, Thomas, speaks Christ, and come and touch (feel) the scars from the nails.
With faith do test it, and be a believer and not a non-believer. Thomas has touched with a finger to the Master and loudly shouted:
"You are my Lord and my God, most merciful Glory to you!"

This Sunday is also the day marking the end of the bright week of the Resurrection.
Let we all the Orthodox Christians be a believers as Thomas and be blessed in accordance to our saviour’s word, as we haven’t seen the Lord’s Risen glorified body as Thomas and the rest of the holy apostles did.

The third day after Resurrection (Easter)

Monday, April 25th, 2011

It’s the third day, after the saviour’s tomb was found empty. The third day after the evel living has manifested his divinity by showing himself alive to The Holy Virgin Mary (Theotokos) to Mary Magdalene and to few of the Holy Apostles.
The upcoming week is called within the Church The Bright Week
The whole week is a week of a divine spiritual joy which we all the Christians experiens (feels).

God is really graceful to us the sinners in this holy days of the year.

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!