Παρασκευή 30 Απριλίου 2021

Great and Holy Friday + Great and Holy Saturday!...

Orthodox Church in America

Great and Holy Friday

Photo from here (Kefalonia, Greece)

On Great and Holy Friday, Christ died on the Cross. He gave up His spirit with the words: “It is finished” (John 19:30). These words are better understood when rendered: “It is consummated.” He had accomplished the work for which His heavenly Father had sent Him into the world. He became a man in the fullest sense of the word. He accepted the baptism of repentance from John in the Jordan River. He assumed the whole human condition, experiencing all its alienation, agony, and suffering, concluding with the lowly death on the Cross. He perfectly fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

(Isaiah 53:12)

Troparion — Tone 2

The Noble Joseph, / when he had taken down Your most pure Body from the tree, / wrapped it in fine linen, / and anointed it with spices, / and placed it in a new tomb.

Troparion — Tone 2

The angel came to the myrrh-bearing women at the tomb and said: / Myrrh is fitting for the dead, / but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.

Kontakion — Tone 8

Come, let us all sing the praises of Him who was crucified for us, / for Mary said when she beheld Him upon the tree: / Though You endure the cross, You are my Son and my God!

The Man of Sorrows

On the Cross Jesus thus became “the man of sorrows; acquainted with grief” whom the prophet Isaiah had foretold. He was “despised and forsaken by men” and “smitten by God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:3-4). He became the one with “no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). His appearance was “marred beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14). All these Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus as he hung from the Cross.

As the end approached, He cried: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). This cry indicated His complete identification with the human condition. He had totally embraced the despised, forsaken and smitten condition of suffering and death—alienation from God. He was truly the man of sorrows.

Yet, it is important to note that Jesus’ cry of anguish from the Cross was not a sign of His loss of faith in His Father. The words which He exclaimed are the first verse of Psalm 22, a messianic Psalm. The first part of the Psalm foretells the anguish, suffering and death of the Messiah. The second part is a song of praise to God. It predicts the final victory of the Messiah.

The Formal Charges

The death of Christ had been sought by the religious leaders in Jerusalem from the earliest days of His public ministry. The formal charges made against Him usually fell into the following two categories:

1) violation of the Law of the Old Testament, e.g., breaking the Sabbath rest;
2) blasphemy: making Himself equal with God.

Matters were hastened (consummated) by the moment of truth which followed His entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He had the people behind Him. He spoke plainly. He said that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. He chastised the scribes and Pharisees for reducing religion to a purely external affair;

“You are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27-28).

It was the second formal charge; however, that became the basis for His conviction.

The Religious Trial

Christ’s conviction and death sentence required two trials: religious and political. The religious trial was first and took place during the night immediately after His arrest. After considerable difficulty in finding witnesses for the prosecution who actually agreed in their testimony, Caiaphas, the high priest, asked Jesus the essential question: “Are you Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus, who had remained silent to this point, now responded directly:

“I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:61-62).

Jesus’ reply recalled the many other statements He had made beginning with the words, “I am.” “I am the bread of life . . . I am the light of the world. . . I am the way, the truth, and the life. . . before Abraham was, I am.” (John 6 through 15). The use of these words themselves was considered blasphemous by the religious leaders. The words were the Name of God. By using them as His own Name, Jesus positively identified Himself with God. From the burning bush the voice of God had disclosed these words to Moses as the Divine Name:

“Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:13-14).

Now Jesus, as He had done on many other occasions, used them as His own Name. The high priest immediately tore his mantle and “they all condemned Him as deserving death” (Mark 14:64). In their view He had violated the Law of the Old Testament:

“He who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16).

The Political Trial

The Jewish religious leaders lacked the actual authority to carry out the above law: to put a man to death. Such authority belonged to the Roman civil administration. Jesus had carefully kept His activity free of political implications. He refused the temptation of Satan to rule the kingdoms of the world by the sword (Luke 4: 1-12). He often charged His disciples and others to tell no one that He was , the Christ, because of the political overtones that this title carried for many (Matthew 16: 13-20). He rebuked Peter, calling him Satan, when the disciple hinted at His swerving from the true nature of His mission (Matthew 16:23). To Pilate, the spineless and indifferent Roman Governor, He said plainly: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Jesus was not a political revolutionary who came to free the people from Roman control and establish a new kingdom based on worldly power.

Nevertheless, the religious leaders, acting in agreement with the masses, devised political charges against Him in order to get their way. They presented Christ to the Romans as a political , leader, the “King of the Jews” in a worldly sense, a threat to Roman rule and a challenge to Caesar. Pilate became fearful of his own position as he heard the charges and saw the seething mobs. Therefore, despite his avowed testimony to Jesus’ innocence, he passed formal sentence, “washed his hands” of the matter, and turned Jesus over to be crucified (John 19:16).

Crucifixion—The Triumph of Evil

Before succumbing to this cruel Roman method of executing political criminals, Jesus suffered still other injustices. He was stripped, mocked and beaten. He wore a “kingly” crown of thorns on His head. He carried His own cross. He was finally nailed to the cross between two thieves at a place called Golgotha (the place of the skull) outside Jerusalem. An inscription was placed above His head on the Cross to indicate the nature of His crime: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” He yielded up His spirit at about the ninth hour (3 p.m.), after hanging on the Cross for about six hours.

On Holy Friday evil triumphed. “It was night” (John 13:30) when Judas departed from the Last Supper to complete his act of betrayal, and “there was darkness over all the land” (Matthew 27:45) when Jesus was hanging on the Cross. The evil forces of this world had been massed against Christ. Unjust trials convicted Him. A criminal was released to the people instead of Him. Nails and a spear pierced His body. Bitter vinegar was given to Him to quench His thirst. Only one disciple remained faithful to Him. Finally, the tomb of another man became His place of repose after death.

The innocent Jesus was put to death on the basis of both religious and political charges. Both Jews and Gentile Romans participated in His death sentence.

“The rulers of the people have assembled against the Lord and His Christ.” (Psalm 2—the Prokeimenon of the Holy Thursday Vesperal Liturgy)

We, also, in many ways continue to participate in the death sentence given to Christ. The formal charges outlined above do not exhaust the reasons for the crucifixion. Behind the formal charges lay a host of injustices brought, on by hidden and personal motivations. Jesus openly spoke the truth about God and man. He thereby exposed the false character of the righteousness and smug security, both religious and material, claimed by many especially those in high places. The constantly occurring expositions of such smugness in our own day teach us the truly illusory nature of much so-called righteousness and security. In the deepest sense, the death of Christ was brought about by hardened, personal sin—the refusal of people to change themselves in the light of reality, which is Christ.

“He came to His very own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:11).

Especially we, the Christian people, are Christ’s very own. He continues to come to us in His Church. Each time we attempt to make the Church into something other than the eternal coming of Christ into our midst, each time we refuse to repent for our wrongs; we, too, reject Christ and participate in His death sentence.

The Vespers

The Vespers, celebrated in the Church on Holy Friday afternoon, brings to mind all of the final events of the life of Christ as mentioned above: the trial, the sentence, the scourging and mocking, the crucifixion, the death, the taking down of His body from the Cross, and the burial. As the hymnography indicates, these events remain ever-present in the Church; they constitute the today of its life.

The service is replete with readings from Scripture: three from the Old Testament and two from the New. The first of the Old Testament readings, from Exodus, speaks of Moses beholding the “back” of the glory of God—for no man can see the glory of God face to face and live. The Church uses this reading to emphasize that now, in the crucifixion and death of Christ, God is making the ultimate condescension to reveal His glory to man—from within man himself.

The death of Christ was of a wholly voluntary character. He dies not because of some necessity in His being: as the Son of God He has life in Himself! Yet, He voluntarily gave up His life as the greatest sign of God’s love for man, as the ultimate revelation of the Divine glory:

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

The vesperal hymnography further develops the fact that God reveals His glory to us in this condescending love. The Crucifixion is the heart of such love, for the One being crucified is none other than He through whom all things have been created:

Today the Master of creation stands before Pilate. Today the Creator of all is condemned to die on the cross. . . The Redeemer of the world is slapped on the face. The Maker of all is mocked by His own servants. Glory to Thy condescension, 0 Lover of man! (Verse on “Lord I call”, and the Apostikha)

The verses also underscore the cosmic dimensions of the event taking place on the Cross. Just as God who revealed Himself to Moses is not a god, but the God of “heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible,” so the death of Jesus is not the culmination of a petty struggle in the domestic life of Palestine. Rather, it is the very center of the epic struggle between God and the Evil One, involving the whole universe:

All creation was changed by fear
when it saw Thee hanging on the cross, 0 Christ! The sun was darkened,
and the foundations of the earth were shaken.
All things suffered with the Creator of all.
0 Lord, who didst willingly endure this for us, glory to Thee!
(Verse I on “Lord, I Call”)

The second Reading from the Old Testament (Job 42:12 to the end) manifests Job as a prophetic figure of the Messiah Himself. The plight of Job is followed in the services throughout Holy Week, and is concluded with this reading. Job is the righteous servant who remains faithful to God despite trial, humiliation, and the loss of all his possessions and family. Because of his faithfulness, however, “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42: 12)

The third of the Old Testamental readings is by far the most substantial (Isaiah 52:13 to 54:1). It is a prototype of the Gospel itself. Read at this moment, it positively identifies Jesus of Nazareth as the Suffering Servant, the Man of Sorrows; the Messiah of Israel.

The Epistle Reading (I Corinthians 1:18 to 2:2) speaks of Jesus crucified, a folly for the world, as the real center of our Faith. The Gospel reading, a lengthy composite taken from Matthew, Luke and John, simply narrates all the events associated with the crucifixion and burial of Christ.

All the readings obviously focus on the theme of hope. As the Lord of Glory, the fulfillment of the righteous Job, and the Messiah Himself, humiliation and death will have no final hold over Jesus. Even the parental mourning of Mary is transformed in the light of this hope:

When she who bore Thee without seed
saw Thee suspended upon the Tree,
0 Christ, the Creator and God of all,
she cried bitterly: “Where is the beauty of Thy countenance, my Son?
I cannot bear to see Thee unjustly crucified. Hasten and arise,
that I too may see Thy resurrection from the dead on the third day!
(Verse IV on “Lord I call.”)

Near the end of the Vespers, the priest vests fully in dark vestments. At the appointed time he lifts the Holy Shroud, a large icon depicting Christ lying in the tomb, from the altar table. Together with selected laymen and servers, a procession is formed and the Holy Shroud is carried to a specially prepared tomb in the center of the church. As the procession moves, the troparion is sung:

The Noble Joseph, when he had taken down Thy most pure body from the tree, wrapped it in fine linen and anointed it with spices, and placed it in a new tomb.

At this ultimate solemn moment of Vespers, the theme of hope once again occurs—this time more strongly and clearly than ever. As knees are bent and heads are bowed, and often tears are shed, another troparion is sung which penetrates through this triumph of evil, to the new day which is contained in its very midst:

The Angel came to the myrrh-bearing women at the tomb and said: “Myrrh is fitting for the dead, but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.

A new Age is dawning. Our salvation is taking place. The One who died is the same One who will rise on the third day, to “trample down death by death,” and to free us from corruption.

Therefore, at the conclusion of Holy Friday Vespers, at the end of this long day of darkness, when all things are apparently ended, our eternal hope for salvation springs forth. For Christ is indeed a stranger to corruption:

“As by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” (I Cor. 15:21-32)

“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35)

- Father Paul Lazor 

Great and Holy Saturday

Orthodox Church in America

Great and Holy Saturday is the day on which Christ reposed in the tomb. The Church calls this day the Blessed Sabbath.

“The great Moses mystically foreshadowed this day when he said:
God blessed the seventh day.
This is the blessed Sabbath
This is the day of rest,
on which the only-begotten Son of God rested from all His works....”

(Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday)

By using this title the Church links Holy Saturday with the creative act of God. In the initial account of creation as found in the Book of Genesis, God made man in His own image and likeness. To be truly himself, man was to live in constant communion with the source and dynamic power of that image: God. Man fell from God. Now Christ, the Son of God through whom all things were created, has come to restore man to communion with God. He thereby completes creation. All things are again as they should be. His mission is consummated. On the Blessed Sabbath He rests from all His works.

Troparion — Tone 2

When You descended to death, O Life Immortal, / You slayed hell with the splendor of Your Godhead, / and when from the depths You raised the dead, / all the Powers of Heaven cried out, / O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory to You!

Kontakion — Tone 6

He who shut in the depths is beheld dead, / wrapped in fine linen and spices. / The Immortal One is laid in a tomb as a mortal man. / The women have come to anoint Him with myrrh, / weeping bitterly and crying: / “This is the most blessed Sabbath / on which Christ has fallen asleep to rise on the third day!”


Holy Saturday is a neglected day in parish life. Few people attend the Services. Popular piety usually reduces Holy Week to one day—Holy Friday. This day is quickly replaced by another—Easter Sunday. Christ is dead and then suddenly alive. Great sorrow is suddenly replaced by great joy. In such a scheme Holy Saturday is lost.

In the understanding of the Church, sorrow is not replaced by joy; it is transformed into joy. This distinction indicates that it is precisely within death that Christ continues to effect triumph.


We sing that Christ is “...trampling down death by death” in the troparion of Easter. This phrase gives great meaning to Holy Saturday. Christ’s repose in the tomb is an “active” repose. He comes in search of His fallen friend, Adam, who represents all men. Not finding him on earth, he descends to the realm of death, known as Hades in the Old Testament. There He finds him and brings him life once again. This is the victory: the dead are given life. The tomb is no longer a forsaken, lifeless place. By His death Christ tramples down death by death.


The traditional icon used by the Church on the feast of Easter is an icon of Holy Saturday: the descent of Christ into Hades. It is a painting of theology, for no one has ever seen this event. It depicts Christ, radiant in hues of white and blue, standing on the shattered gates of Hades. With arms outstretched He is joining hands with Adam and all the other Old Testament righteous whom He has found there. He leads them from the kingdom of death. By His death He tramples death.

“Today Hades cries out groaning:
I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary.
He came and destroyed my power.
He shattered the gates of brass.
As God, He raised the souls I had held captive.
Glory to Thy cross and resurrection, O Lord!”
(Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday)


The Vespers of Holy Saturday inaugurates the Paschal celebration, for the liturgical cycle of the day always begins in the evening. In the past, this service constituted the first part of the great Paschal vigil during which the catechumens were baptized in the “baptisterion” and led in procession back into the church for participation in their first Divine Liturgy, the Paschal Eucharist. Later, with the number of catechumens increasing, the first baptismal part of the Paschal celebration was disconnected from the liturgy of the Paschal night and formed our pre-paschal service: Vespers and the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great which follows it. It still keeps the marks of the early celebration of Pascha as baptismal feast and that of Baptism as Paschal sacrament (death and resurrection with Jesus Christ—Romans 6).

On “Lord I Call” the Saturday Resurrectional stichiras of Tone 1 are sung, followed by the the special stichiras of Holy Saturday, which stress the death of Christ as descent into Hades, the region of death, for its destruction. But the pivotal point of the service occurs after the Entrance, when fifteen lessons from the Old Testament are read, all centered on the promise of the Resurrection, all glorifying the ultimate Victory of God, prophesied in the victorious Song of Moses after the crossing of the Red Sea (“Let us sing to the Lord, for gloriously has He been glorified”), the salvation of Jonah, and that of the three youths in the furnace.

Then the epistle is read, the same epistle that is still read at Baptism (Romans 6:3-11), in which Christ’s death and resurrection become the source of the death in us of the “old man,” the resurrection of the new, whose life is in the Risen Lord. During the special verses sung after the epistle, “Arise, O God, and judge the earth,” the dark lenten vestments are put aside and the clergy vest in the bright white ones, so that when the celebrant appears with the Gospel the light of Resurrection is truly made visible in us, the “Rejoice” with which the Risen Christ greeted the women at the grave is experienced as being directed at us.

The Liturgy of Saint Basil continues in this white and joyful light, revealing the Tomb of Christ as the Life-giving Tomb, introducing us into the ultimate reality of Christ’s Resurrection, communicating His life to us, the children of fallen Adam.

One can and must say that of all services of the Church that are inspiring, meaningful, revealing, this one: the Vespers and Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great and Holy Saturday is truly the liturgical climax of the Church. If one opens one’s heart and mind to it and accepts its meaning and its light, the very truth of Orthodoxy is given by it, the taste and the joy of that new life which shines forth from the grave.

Rev. Alexander Schmemann

The end of Judas and the potter's field


Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries 

Translation by A. N.

Greek Text: Ο θάνατος του Ιούδα & ο Αγρός του Κεραμέως

Those who read the Scriptures of the Church in a casual manner – in their struggle to find mistakes – now 'toss their hats in the air', overjoyed that they have (supposedly) discovered two, differing narratives regarding Judas’ death.

This makes them believe they have finally found reasons to debunk the Bible’s texts.

But as usual, they have overlooked details...

The two “conflicting narratives”

The two passages in question are found in Matthew and in the Acts of the Apostles. Let's take a look at both of them, and then comment in more detail on these seemingly different narrations. We will see them both in the ancient text and in a rendition, for an easier understanding of the present analysis:

The first passage:

Matthew 27: 3-10:

Then Judas, His betrayer, upon seeing that He had been condemned, repented and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the head priests and elders,  saying, “I sinned, by surrendering innocent blood.”  Τhey said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” (=it’s YOUR problem!) Then, throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed, and having gone, he hanged himself.  But the head priests, on taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not appropriate to put them into the treasury, for it is the price of blood.”  And having consulted together, they themselves purchased the potter’s field  for the burial of strangers; it is for this, that it was named “Field of Blood” to this day. Then were fulfilled the words of Jeremiah the prophet, who had said, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the priced One, whom they of the children of Israel had priced, and they gave them for the potter’s field – the way that the Lord had informed me.”

Rendered by the Bible "critic", Sp.F.:

Then Judas, who had betrayed Him, seeing that he was condemned, returned to the elders with the 30 pieces of silver, saying, I have sinned, because I have shed innocent blood. And they said: And to us, what? It concerns you. And throwing the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed; and leaving, he was hanged. And the priests took the pieces of silver, and said, It is not lawful to put them into the treasury: for it is a price of blood. And when they had made a council, they purchased the field of the potter, so that the strangers might be buried there. Therefore that field was called the Field of Blood up to this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the 30 pieces of silver, which was valued by the children of Israel: And they gave them towards the potter's field''.

The second passage is the following:

Acts 1: 18-20:

Now this man acquired a field out of the wages of injustice; and having fallen prone (=face down), he burst open in the middle and all of his entrails spilled out. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem, so that field is called in their own language, Akeldama, that is, ‘field of blood’. For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘May his homestead become desolate, and may there be none who will live in it, and may another take his estate”

Rendered by the Bible "critic", Sp.F.:

So, he got a field from the wages of injustice, and after falling on his face he was torn in half, and all his entrails were poured out. And it became known to all who lived in Jerusalem, so that this field was named in their dialect ‘Akeldama’; that is, ‘field of blood’. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation become desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and let another take his estate”.

The supposed contradictions

In the above two passages, the 'critic' of the Bible has supposedly identified the following two differences, which – according to his biased opinion – also contradict each other:

1. Matthew tells us that Judas 'hanged himself’, whereas Luke in Acts writes that 'he fell and was torn apart and his entrails spilled out'.  (According to the accuser, these two Evangelists give us a different way that Judas died.)

2. Matthew tells us that the potter’s field was purchased by the priests with Judas’ money, whereas Luke tells us that the field was purchased by Judas – an absolute impossibility, given that Judas - according to Matthew - had already hanged himself.

The observant and unprejudiced reader has already discerned the answers. But we will analyze them further along, in response to those who read the Bible carelessly.

So, exactly how did Judas die?

First of all, after studying the first supposed contradiction regarding the manner of Judas' death, it is evident that the pseudo-accuser who strives to find contradictions is IMAGINING certain facts, which the Evangelists had NOT written!  

He has assumed that the Evangelists had given the reason for Judas' death. But a careful reading of the text shows that neither Matthew nor Luke wrote anything that specifies the reason Judas died. They mention certain events, but they DO NOT clarify whether Judas's death was linked to those events!

The one Evangelist informs us that Judas ‘hanged himself’, whereas the other Evangelist informs us that Judas 'fell on his face and all his entrails spilled out'. Well, let's think about this: Is it possible, if someone simply falls down, for his belly to be torn open and all his entrails be scattered around?  Does anyone know of a case, where someone has suffered such results after a simple fall? Of course not!  For a result so extreme to happen, the one who fell MUST HAVE FALLEN FROM A VERY HIGH PLACE!

And here, we come to the significant point.

In Acts, where Luke speaks of Judas’ fall, he was clearly indicating that Judas did NOT merely trip over, but had actually fallen from a great height!  He had obviously dropped from a higher up branch of the tree he had chosen to hang himself from. 

Thus, the one Evangelist had described Judas’ act of hanging, while the other Evangelist had highlighted the detail of Judas’ horrific death, after his fall from the tree.

Luke’s words ELABORATED the outcome of Judas’ suicidal act – the result of which not only doesn’t contradict the other excerpt; in fact, it CONFIRMS Matthew’s words, that Judas had hanged himself from a very high spot!

(A quaint, old oral tradition adds that the tree was so disgusted with Judas' treason, that it purposely made its branch break off, in order to rid itself of the traitor...)

The purchase of the Potter’s Field

Finally, let us look at the second supposed contradiction. The 'critic' of the Bible asserts that:

“The one Evangelist says that Judas hanged himself, and that the field was purchased by the priests. The other Evangelist, however, says that Judas purchased a field.  This must surely be a contradiction”.

Once again, people like him tend to insert things in the text of the Bible which the Bible itself does NOT actually say! Nowhere does the text say that Judas himself 'purchased' a field. It says: 'ACQUIRED'. The original (Greek) text is very clear; it says: 'acquired'. If someone has an acquisition, it does NOT necessarily imply that it was purchased by that person himself; it could very well have been purchased by someone else, for them!

Here too, the one Evangelist not only does not contradict, but confirms the other!

Matthew says very clearly that: “But the head priests – on taking the pieces of silver - said, ‘It is not appropriate to put them into the treasury, for it is the price of blood’.  And after having consulted together, they purchased the potter’s field, for the burial of strangers”.

He says very clearly, that NONE OF THEM kept Judas' money; NONE OF THEM purchased something for himself with that money. THEY DIDN'T EVEN GIVE IT TO THE TEMPLE, because it was blood money.  Ergo, the field that was purchased did not actually belong to any of the Priests - not even to the Temple!  This field was handed over for PUBLIC USE, for the burial of strangers!

Since it did not belong to any priest or the temple, then who did that field belong to, if not to the possessor of the 30 silver coins of the betrayal – that is, Judas?

Thus Matthew confirms Luke, who mentions Judas as the 'owner' of the field!

Here, of course, one might also comment: How could Judas have "acquired" the field if he was dead?

To answer those who pose this question: they are obviously not focused on the meaning of the term “acquisition”. The owner of a property is NOT necessarily the one who enacted the purchase - it is the  one whose money was used for that purchase! 

We  need only to bring to mind a very familiar example, in confirmation of this statement: 

Among the various prayers that are offerred by the Church are the commemorations of (reposed) persons who had GIVEN-DONATED-BEQUEATHED MONEY TO THE CHURCH for its needs during their lifetime. Albeit reposed, they are nonetheless the "purchasers" of the ACQUISITION, given that it was THEIR MONEY which had been used for it. This is the reason behind every commemoration - and not only by the Church:  


Commemorative acts can also be seen in places that publicly acknowledge who the (reposed) benefactor and/or donor of the acquisition was... 

We believe the above analysis suffices as proof that there are no conflicting points in the Holy Bible; hopefully, it will also dispel all doubts in the minds of those who intentionally seek faults in the holiest of writings.

Original article from here



Τhe Troparion hymn :

 «When the glorious disciples were being illuminated during the ablution (washing) of the Supper, then the disrespectful Judas - sick with greed – was darkened, and to lawless judges he surrendered You, the rightful Judge!  Observe, o lover of moneys, the one who for their sake used the hanging noose!  Avoid the unsatisfied soul, who dared such things against the Teacher!  Glory to You o Lord, Who are benevolent to all!

The person of Judas is central to the story of Christ's Passion.

The hymnography of the previous days of Holy Week were already focused on the traitor disciple. The pertinent Troparion hymn focuses on this subject even more so, because the betrayal was in sight on that day.

It was Holy Thursday. Christ had expressed His desire to be with his disciples, to share the last (Jewish) Passover meal of His life, during which He would be enacting the (soon to be) Sacrament of the Divine Eucharist.

All the disciples had gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem, where they had prepared for this Passover supper.  Judas was also among them.

However, during those crucial hours, while the eleven disciples were being enlightened by the radiance of the divine Master and their minds opened to Grace in order to recognize the unfolding of the salvific Mystery before them, Judas had instead surrendered himself to the darkness and remained emotionless before this miracle; his mind was absent from the heavenly mystagogy. He chose to run far, far away – to the very depths of Hades and the dreadful darkness of Hell. He had become more attached to the enemies of Christ who had sought to assassinate Him, and had even planned to hand over the Redeemer of the world into their hands himself!

He had studied betrayal! What a horrific outcome for the disciple-traitor!

The author of the Troparion draws our attention to this monster of a man; “Take a look”, he says, “all you who love money – you, who restrict your soul and your life to money, and do everything to obtain it, you slaves to Mammon (=riches), you ruthless money-lovers – take a look at the one who for the love of money found a horrible and disgraceful death:  he hung himself from an inhospitable tree, which allowed him to fall so forcefully from its branches, that his body burst open and his bloody entrails were scattered around!”

“Avoid”, he cries out, “such an unsatisfied soul, which, for the love of money dared to perpetrate the betrayal of the Master!”

The hymn writer closes with the following words:  “We, o Lord, who are speechless before the Mystery of Your divine benevolence which embraces every person without exception – the good and the bad – remain silent in the presence of the dark mystery of the traitor who had exploited Your grace, and we cry out ‘Glory to You’!”


From the prayers of Holy Wednesday, making comparisons of the two extremes:

When the sinner woman was offering the myrrh,

the disciple was agreeing with the lawless ones.

The one rejoiced when pouring out the costly item,

the other hastened to sell the priceless One.

She was acknowledging the Master,

he was deserting the Master.

She was liberated, and Judas became the enemy’s slave.

A terrible thing is indolence,

A great thing is repentance!


Τρίτη 27 Απριλίου 2021

The Bridegroom and Judgment // Orthodox Holy Week

Ancient faith / Glory 2 God for all things ·

Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching; and again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.  Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep, lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom.  But rouse yourself crying: Holy, holy, holy, art Thou, O our God.  Through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.

+ Troparion of Bridegroom Matins

The services of the first few days of Orthodox Holy Week have a collective theme of judgment. The centerpiece of those days is the service known as “Bridegroom Matins,” so named for the icon of Christ the Bridegroom (pictured here), an interesting name for Christ depicted in His humiliation, crowned with thorns, robed in derision, with the rod of His chastisement in His hand. It is part of the “upside-down” character of Holy Week. Judgment is clearly one of the most upside-down characteristics of the events that unfold in Christ’s last earthly days.

I was nurtured on stories as a child that contrasted Christ’s “non-judging” (“Jesus, meek and mild”) with Christ the coming Judge (at His dread Second Coming). I was told that His second coming would be very unlike His first. There was a sense that Jesus, meek and mild, was something of a pretender, revealing His true and eternal character only later as the avenging Judge.

This, of course, is both distortion and heresy. The judgment of God is revealed in Holy Week. The crucified Christ is the fullness of the revelation of God. There is no further revelation to be made known, no unveiling of a wrath to come. The crucified Christ is what the wrath of God looks like.

The first three days of Holy Week are collectively known as the End. And it is this End that forms the character of judgment. The end of something always reveals the truth of a thing. As the popular saying has it, “Time will tell.” When the End is the end that is brought by God, then the true end of all things is revealed.

And this is the characteristic of the judgment made manifest in Holy Week. Christ is moving towards His end, the consummation of the Incarnation. As He is increasingly revealed, everything around Him is revealed as well. Things are shown to be more clearly what they are. Those who hate Him, begin to be revealed as plotters and murderers. What was once only thoughts and feelings of envy become plots and perjury. The power of Rome is unmasked for its injustice, mere people-pleasing. The High Priest is revealed to believe that the destruction of God is good for his nation. The weakness of the disciples and the empty boasting of Peter and the rest are shown for their true emptiness. The sin of the world is revealed in the death of God.

But this had been prophesied from the beginning:

Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel…that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed  (Luk 2:34-35).

But the righteous are revealed as well. The steadfast love of the Mother of God never wavered before the Cross. Her faithfulness is revealed. The kindness of Joseph of Arimathea is forever marked by an empty tomb. The tears of a harlot reveal the nature of love, even hidden beneath the deeds of her life. In the judgment of God, all things are simply shown to be what they truly are. Sin is seen to be sin. Love is seen to be love. There is clarity.

And in the judgment of God, His own love is shown to be what it truly is – self-sacrificing, forgiving, relentless in its mercy. It is not a love that pronounces forgiveness from the Cross only to pronounce destruction on another occasion. The crucified Christ is not a revelation that is succeeded by another.

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1Co 2:2)

The Bridegroom comes. Judgment arrives. All things are revealed for what they truly are.

Thy bridal chamber I see adorned, O my Savior, and I have no wedding garment that I may enter. O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me.

+ Exaposteilarion of Bridegroom Matins

Orthodox Christian Palm Sunday 25th April 2021 ! Celebrate with the Orthodox Christians all over the World the Holy Week and Orthodox Christian Easter 2021 ! Δείτε φωτογραφίες από την Κυριακή των Βαϊων σε διάφορες Ορθόδοξες ιεραποστολές !


Domingo de Ramos cristiano ortodoxo 25 de abril de 2021 desde las Islas Fiji hasta Colombia ! Kristiyanong Orthodox Palad Linggo ika-25 ng Abril 2021 mula sa Fiji Islands hanggang Colombia ! 东正教徒 棕榈 2021年4月25日,星期日,从斐济群岛到哥伦比亚 ! Chrétien Orthodoxe Paume Dimanche 25 avril 2021 des îles Fidji à la Colombie ! Sigatabu ni Taba ni Niu Karisito Vakarisito ena ika 25 ni Epereli 2021 mai na Yanuyanu o Viti me yacova na Colombia ! ʻEvangelioo e Sapate Paame faka-Kalisitiane 25 ʻEpeleli 2021 mei he ʻotu motu Fisi kae ʻoua kuo aʻu ki Kolomupia ! 


Sigatabu ni Draunivola Vakarisito Vakarisito e 25 ni Epereli 2021 mai Viti

( https://www.facebook.com/Pacific-Islands-Greek-Orthodox-Church-173979183205985 )


The Bridegroom Service at Saint Luke Orthodox Cathedral in Hong Kong 香港圣路加东正教大教堂的新郎礼仪 香港聖路加東正教​​大教堂的新郎禮儀 


Palm Sunday at the Theotokos Orthodox Monastery in Masbate, Philippines 


Ang Bridegroom Service ngayong gabi sa Saint Eleftherios Orthodox Church sa Sorsogon, Pilipinas

( https://www.facebook.com/orthodoxchurchinsoutheastasia


Palm Sunday at the Annunciation of the Theotokos Orthodox Cathedral in Manila of Philippines,Linggo ng Palma sa Pagbabalita ng Theotokos Orthodox Cathedral sa Maynila ng Pilipinas,
Ika-25 ng Abril 2021

( https://www.facebook.com/orthodoxmanila


Ordination of new deacon in the Orthodox Church of Singapore, 新加坡东正教新执事的任命, 新执事在新加坡东正教之任

( https://www.facebook.com/groups/67484830455 )

Palm Sunday 2021 of the Ivory Coast Orthodox Church, Dimanche des Rameaux 2021 de l’Église orthodoxe de Côte d’Ivoire 


Eglise Orthodoxe de Côte d’ivoire

( https://www.facebook.com/pere.behanzin/videos/10222296996912783 )

( https://www.facebook.com/Eglise-Orthodoxe-de-C%C3%B4te-divoire-Patriarcat-Grec-172811082792481/ )

Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Cathedral – Accra ( Ghana )- Cathédrale orthodoxe de la Sainte Transfiguration – Accra / Ghana

( https://www.facebook.com/107832654401730/videos/300072644831053 )

Palm Sunday at St. Dimitros Orthodox Church, Bwetyaba in Luweero district. Fr. Antonios Mutyaba led the service. HOSANNA WAGULU ENNYO!! #PalmSunday

( https://www.facebook.com/UOChurch/videos/806093006666992


Domingo de Ramos 2021 en la Iglesia Ortodoxa de Colombia, Palm Sunday 2021 in the Orthodox Church of Colombia

( https://www.facebook.com/ltoppes


Domingo de Ramos 2021 en la Iglesia Ortodoxa de Guatemala, Palm Sunday 2021 in the Orthodox Church in Guatemala

( https://www.facebook.com/iglesia.anunciacion


Minggu Palem 2021 di Gereja Ortodoks Sumatera, Telapak tangan
Ahad 2021 di Gereja Ortodoks Sumatera

( https://www.facebook.com/orthodoxsumatera )

See about Palm Sunday 2021 in the Orthodox Churches in Africa below :

( http://ampelonas-trygetes.blogspot.com/ )





Κυριακή 18 Απριλίου 2021

5th Sunday of Great Lent: Saint Mary of Egypt, "the most amazing story, which has taken place in our generation"...


Please, see:
5th Sunday of Great Lent: Saint Mary of Egypt, "the most amazing story, which has taken place in our generation"...

St. Mary of Egypt القديسة مريم المصرية (5th Sunday of Great Lent) 

St. Mary of Egypt Convent, Uganda

Maria die Egiptenaar - Die verhaal van groot Egiptiese Heilige

St. Mary of Egypt Multi-Cultural Orthodox Christian Church - Kansas City, Missouri

 The icons are from here

Saturday of the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos

Orthodox Church in America

On the Fifth Saturday of Great Lent, the Saturday of the Akathist, we commemorate the “Laudation of the Virgin” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.

In 625, when the emperor Heraclius was fighting the Persians, the Khan sent forces to attack Constantinople by land and by sea. Patriarch Sergius urged the people not to lose heart, but to trust in God.

A procession was made around the city with the Cross of the Lord, the robe of the Virgin, the Icon of the Savior not made by hands, and the Hodēgḗtria Icon of the Mother of God. The Patriarch dipped the Virgin’s robe in the sea, and the city’s defenders beat back the Khan’s sea forces. The sea became very rough, and many boats sank. The invaders retreated, and the people of Constantinople gave thanks to God and to His Most Pure Mother.

On two other occasions, in 655 and 705, the Theotokos protected the city from Saracen invaders. A feastday dedicated to the Laudation of the Virgin was established to commemorate these victories. The Akathist to the Mother of God is believed to originate from this period, and its use has spread from Constantinople to other Orthodox lands.

The icon before which the Akathist was sung was given to the Dionysiou Monastery on Mt. Athos by Emperor Alexius Comnenos. There, it began to flow with myrrh. There were at least three wonderworking copies of this icon in Russia before the Revolution.

This icon shows the Mother of God seated on a throne, and surrounded by Prophets with scrolls. 

Troparion & Kontakion

Troparion — Tone 8

When the archangel understood the mysterious command, / he came to the house of Joseph with haste and proclaimed to the unwedded Lady: / The One Who bowed the heavens by His condescension / is contained wholly and without change in you! / As I behold Him in your womb, taking the form of a servant, I am frightened, but cry: / Rejoice, unwedded Bride!

Kontakion — Tone 8

Victorious leader of triumphant hosts, / we your servants, delivered from evil, sing our grateful thanks to you, Theotokos! / As you possess invincible might set us free from every calamity, / so that we may sing: Rejoice, unwedded Bride!



Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos

An akathist (Greek, akathistos) is a hymn dedicated to a saint, holy event, or one of the persons of the Holy Trinity. The word akathist itself means "not sitting." The akathist par excellence is that written in the 6th century to the Theotokos. In its use as part of the Salutations to the Theotokos service (used in the Byzantine tradition during Great Lent), it is often known by its Greek or Arabic names, Chairetismoi and Madayeh, respectively.

The writing of akathists (occasionally spelled acathist) continues today as part of the general composition of an akolouthia, especially in the Slavic tradition, although not all are widely known nor translated beyond the original language. Isaac E. Lambertsen has done a large amount of translation work, including many different akathists. Most of the newer akathists are pastiche, that is, a generic form imitating the original 6th century akathist into which a particular saint's name is inserted.

There is more than one icon "of the Akathist": the Hilandar icon (January 12), the Dionysiou icon (March 27 and Fifth Saturday of Great Lent), and the Zographou icon (October 10).


The Trisagion Prayers are often said as a prelude to the akathist hymn. The akathist hymn itself is divided into thirteen parts, each of which has a kontakion and an oikos. The kontakion usually ends with the exclamation: "Alleluia!" Within the latter part of the oikos comes an anaphoric entreaty, such as "Come!" or "Rejoice!" The thirteenth kontakion (which does not have a corresponding ikos) is usually followed by the repetition of the first ikos and kontakion. After the thirteen kontakia and ikoi, additional prayers are added, such as a troparion and another kontakion. In some akathists, Psalms are also included.


Relating to the Trinity

Akathist to

Relating to the Theotokos

When the word akathist is used alone, it most commonly refers to the original hymn by this name, the 6th century Akathist to the Theotokos, attributed to St. Roman the Melodist (though this attribution is hotly debated). This hymn is often split into four parts and sung at the "Salutations to the Theotokos" service on the first four Friday evenings in Great Lent; the entire Akathist is then sung on the fifth Friday evening. Traditionally it is included in the Orthros of the fifth Saturday of Great Lent. In monasteries of Athonite tradition, the whole Akathist is usually inserted nightly at Compline.

The four sections into which the Akathist is divided correspond to the themes of the Annunciation, Nativity, Christ, and the Theotokos herself.

The hymn itself forms an alphabetical acrostic—that is, each oikos ("house," possibly from the Syriac terminology) begins with a letter of the Greek alphabet, in order—and it consists of twelve long and twelve short oikoi. Each of the long oikoi include a seven-line stanza followed by six couplets, employing rhyme, assonance, and alliteration, beginning with the word Chaire (translated as either "Hail!" or "Rejoice!") and ending with the refrain, "Hail, Bride without bridegroom!" In the short oikoi, the seven-line stanza is followed by the refrain, "Alleluia!"

The Salutations to the Theotokos service, often known by its Greek name, the Chairetismoi (from the Chaire! so often used in the hymn), consists of Compline with the Akathist hymn inserted. It is known in Arabic as the Madayeh.

Akathist of the

Akathist to the

  • Holy Virgin Theotokos (by St. Roman the Melodist)
English - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (PDF), 13 (PDF)
Other - 14 (French), 15 (German-PDF), 16 (Spanish) 17 (Finnish)
  • Burning Bush of the Theotokos - 1 (PDF), 2 (Romanian)
  • Most Holy Theotokos "Keeper of the Portal" of Iviron - 1, 2, 3 (Slavonic), 4 (Romanian)
  • Most Holy Theotokos, Myrrh-streaming Montreal-Iveron Icon - 1, 2 (Slavonic)
  • Theotokos of All Protection - 1

Akathist to the Theotokos,

  • All-Venerable Abbess to Monasteries of the Entire World
  • Daughter of Zion - 1
  • the Deliverer
  • the Door-keeper
  • the Enricher of the Harvest
  • the Inexhaustible Cup - 1, 2, 3, Finnish
  • Joy of All Who Sorrow - 1
  • the Milkgiver
  • Nurturer of Children - 1
  • Our Lady of Sitka - 1 (PDF)
  • Port Arthur Mother of God - 1 (PDF), 2 (Russian)
  • Queen of All (Pantanassa, or "Healer of Cancer") - 1, 2
  • Spring of Healing
  • Swift to Aid
  • Unexpected Joy

Akathist to the Theotokos for Reconciliation

Akathist to the Theotokos at her

Relating to the Great Feasts

Akathist of the

Relating to Saints

Singular - Akathist to St.

Plural - Akathist to

  • All Saints 1 (Romanian)
  • the Chinese martyr saints who died in the Boxer (Yihetuan Movement) Rebellion - 1 (PDF), 2
  • to all the Saints that shone forth in the lands of the West - 1 (PDF), 2 (PDF-Romanian)
  • Ss. Joachim and Anna [2] (includes music)
  • Ss. Peter and Paul - [3]
  • Ss. Sergei and Herman of Valaam - 1 (Finnish)

Local/Diocesan Saints

Relating to Angels

Akathist to the

  • Holy Archangel Michael - 1 2 - (Finnish)
  • Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel
  • Guardian Angel

Other Akathists

  • Akathist for Holy Communion - 1, 2 (Finnish)
  • Akathist to the Tomb and the Resurrection of the Lord - 1, 2 (Finnish), 3
  • Akathist to the Resurrection of Christ 1 (Finnish)
  • Akathist "Glory to God for All Things" or "of Thanksgiving" - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (Finnish)
The Akathist is often attributed to Priest Gregory Petrov who died in a Soviet prison camp in 1940, but also to Metropolitan Tryphon (Prince Boris Petrovich Turkestanov) +1934. The title is from the words of St. John Chrysostom as he was dying in exile. It is a song of praise from amidst the most terrible sufferings.
  • Akathist in Praise of God's Creation (by Metropolitan Tryphon (Turkestanov)) - 1
  • Akathist for the Repose of the Departed - 1, 2 (Finnish)
External links



Other languages

Other traditions