March 8, 2017 + Part I: Letter for Lenten Encouragement
From St. Athanasius the Great, written 333 AD
1. We duly proceed, my brethren, from feasts to feasts, duly from prayers to prayers, we advance from fasts to fasts, and join holy-days to holy-days. Again the time has arrived which brings to us a new beginning , even the announcement of the blessed Passover, in which the Lord was sacrificed. We eat, as it were, the food of life, and constantly thirsting we delight our souls at all times, as from a fountain, in His precious blood. For we continually and ardently desire; He stands ready for those who thirst; and for those who thirst there is the word of our Saviour, which, in His loving-kindness, He uttered on the day of the feast; 'If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink. ' Nor was it then alone when any one drew near to Him, that He cured his thirst; but whenever any one seeks, there is free access for him to the Saviour. For the grace of the feast is not limited to one time, nor does its splendid brilliancy decline; but it is always near, enlightening the minds of those who earnestly desire it. For therein is constant virtue, for those who are illuminated in their minds, and meditate on the divine Scriptures day and night, like the man to whom a blessing is given, as it is written in the sacred Psalms; 'Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of corrupters. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law does he meditate day and night. ' For it is not the sun, or the moon, or the host of those other stars which illumines him, but he glitters with the high effulgence of God over all.
2. For it is God, my beloved, even the God Who at first established the feast for us, Who vouchsafes the celebration of it year by year. He both brought about the slaying of His Son for salvation, and gave us this reason for the holy feast, to which every year bears witness, as often as at this season the feast is proclaimed. This also leads us on from the cross through this world to that which is before us, and God produces even now from it the joy of glorious salvation, bringing us to the same assembly, and in every place uniting all of us in spirit; appointing us common prayers, and a common grace proceeding from the feast. For this is the marvel of His loving-kindness, that He should gather together in the same place those who are at a distance; and make those who appear to be far off in the body, to be near together in unity of spirit.
Letter 5, For 333 AD. Accessed at http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2806005.htm.
St. Theophylactus, Bishop of Nicomedia
Troparion, Tone 3
As an unsleeping guardian of the Church, you were a refuter of godlessness. By defending and honoring the icon of Christ, you were made to endure exile and affliction. Righteous Father Theophylactus, entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.
Kontakion, Tone 2
Podoben: "Seeking the highest..." You were revealed as a beacon shining to the ends of the earth, holy hierarch Theophylactus. You preached the Word, one in essence with the Father and the Spirit, enlightening the council of God-bearing fathers. You were revealed to be a favorite of the Trinity; standing before Him unceasingly pray for us all.
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