Tuesday, October 8, 2019

‘Thank Goodness It’s Friday!’

That phrase typifies secular thinking about Friday:  the end of the workweek, a day to relax, let loose, have fun!  However, the Protestant mindset (and no few Roman Catholics, too) is right in line with it.  We are reminded of this every Friday when Evangelical talk show hosts like Wil and Meeke Addison of Airing the Addisons on American Family Radio speak of having a light-hearted show and discuss what items from Chick-fil-A they’ve indulged in that day.

This shows how secular the Protestants and Roman Catholics have become.  Friday is not a day for ‘fun’; it is a day to remember the Crucifixion of Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.  And not just to remember it, but to join in the sufferings of the Lord by fasting.  This has been the practice of the Church from the very beginning.  In The Didache, a late first or early second century Christian work, we find it written,

Chapter 8. Fasting and Prayer (the Lord’s Prayer). But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation (Friday).  . . .

Sunday is not the only day of the week that has been hallowed by Christ and by His Body, the Holy Orthodox Church.  We get a glimpse of this in The Didache, too, where not just Friday but also Wednesday is a special day, the day on which Christ was betrayed by Judas.  The Orthodox fast for this reason on Wednesdays as well.

But not just Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays are holy; not just Christmas and Easter, either.  Every day of the week has been transformed by the holy incarnation, birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus; the coming of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost; and Their continual working through the Orthodox Church in this present age.  Each week is a recapitulation of the main events in the divine economy of our salvation:

Sunday of course is a celebration every week of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, of His victory over sin and death.

Monday is for the Holy Bodiless Powers (angels, powers, thrones, etc.), who were present at the creation of the world and also at its recreation in the incarnation and the birth of the Lord.

Tuesday is for St John the Baptist, the herald of the Lord Jesus and His earthly ministry.

Wednesday, as said above, is for the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas.

Thursday is for the Holy Apostles and for St Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra (+342); the Apostles are the foundation of the Church, while St Nicholas represents the ongoing work of the Church of building upon that foundation in the present age.

Friday again is for the Crucifixion of Christ.

Saturday is for the holy martyrs and other holy saints of the Orthodox Church, the first-fruits of the Church and all the creation offered to God. 

(Perhaps the English-speaking Christians ought to consider Christianizing the days of the week by changing the names from the present Teutonic deities (Sun, Tiw, Woden, Thor, etc.) to names associated with the Church’s accounting of the week:  Angels’ Day for Monday, St John’s Day for Tuesday, etc.)

Hymns also attend each of these days (the hymns are copied from https://www.orthodox.net/services/small-compline.html):

Sunday (there are actually eight pairs that make up the cycle of Resurrection hymns in the Orthodox Church; here is the first pair; the other seven are at the link just above):

Troparion of the Resurrection. First Tone.
When the stone had been sealed by the Jews, and the soldiers where guarding Thine immaculate Body, Thou didst rise on the third day, O Savior, granting life unto the world. Wherefore, the Hosts of the Heavens cried out to Thee, O Life-giver: Glory to Thy Resurrection, O Christ. Glory to Thy kingdom. Glory to Thy dispensation, O only Lover of mankind.

Kontakion of the Resurrection. First Tone.
As God Thou didst arise from the tomb in glory, and Thou didst raise the world together with Thyself. And mortal nature praiseth Thee as God, and death hath vanished. And Adam danceth, O Master, and Eve, now freed from fetters, rejoiceth as she crieth out: Thou art He, O Christ, that grantest unto all resurrection.


Supreme Commanders of the Heavenly Hosts, we unworthy ones implore you that by your supplications ye will encircle us with the shelter of the wings of your immaterial glory, and guard us who fall down before you and fervently cry: Deliver us from dangers since ye are the Marshals of the Hosts on high.


The memory of righteous is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be even more venerable than the prophets since thou wast granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades; that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.


Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto Orthodox Christians victory over enemies; and by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.·


O holy Apostles, intercede with the merciful God, that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offenses.

And to St. Nicholas, Fourth Tone:
The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness and a teacher of temperance; therefore thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.


Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto Orthodox Christians victory over enemies; and by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.


O Apostles, Martyrs, and Prophets, Venerable and Righteous Ones; ye that have accomplished a good labor and kept the Faith, that have boldness before the Savior; O Good Ones, intercede for us, we pray, that our souls be saved.

To Thee, O Lord, the Planter of creation, the world doth offer the God-bearing martyrs as the first-fruits of nature. By their intercessions preserve Thy Church, Thy commonwealth, in profound peace, through the Theotokos, O Greatly-merciful One.

This is the ministry of the Church:  to hallow mankind and through him all time and all space (not simply the artifacts of his culture); the waters, the air, and the earth; all the stars of the heavens above and all things on the earth below; to fill them with the Grace of God.  To reduce the ministry of the Church to conducting a legal transaction between God and man; to imitate the fallenness of the world by indulging the passions on holy days is a betrayal of the high calling Christians have received.

More than that, a ‘church’ that lives according to the ways of the world, that feasts on fasting days and that laughs overmuch, watches movies and football games, and so on the evening before the holy Sunday liturgy and other holy days, is a church that has already been defeated by the devil; it is a church that will have no lasting positive impact on the culture around it.  The holy Archbishop Averky (+1976) of Jordanville, New York, made it quite plain how seriously we are to conduct ourselves when holy days draw near:

Christians must instead crucify their desires for the corruptions and distractions of the fallen world that they might experience the Life of the Holy Trinity and then offer that Grace to the world around them, that it might be transformed:

[21] That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us . . . .

--The Holy Gospel According to St John, 17:21, https://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/k/kjv/kjv-idx?type=DIV1&byte=4760421

[10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
[11] For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

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