FIRST SUNDAY OF THE GREAT LENT
SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY
HISTORY OF THE SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY
Icons were venerated in the Eastern Church until the reign of Leo III (717-741 A.D.). Under the influence of two bishops from Asia Minor (Turkey), he decreed that since the veneration of icons was idol worship all veneration of them should cease and all icons should be destroyed.
This decree marked the beginning of a long bloody battle against sacred images in the Eastern Church. Icons were destroyed or burned and their defenders cast into prison, exiled and even tortured. It lasted, with short intervals of peace, for about 100 years.
In 842 A.D. Empress Theodora restored the use and veneration of icons. A synod at Constantinople was convoked which restored the veneration of holy images.
On the first Sunday of the Great Lent the icons were brought back to the churches in solemn procession. That day was made into a perpetual memory of the triumph of Orthodoxy at the end of the Iconoclast persecution.
THEMES OF THE SUNDAY Of ORTHODOXY
1. The expectation of the Old Testament prophets and holy people for the coming of Christ.
2. The incarnation of Christ, the presence of Christ on earth, in the Church, and in our personal lives.
3. The joy of the Church in proclaiming and glorifying Christ and His lordship over all.
SUNDAY MATINS, ODE 3
Refrain: Glory be to You, our God, glory be to You!
Verses: Your Church, O Christ, rejoices in You and cries out:*
O Lord, You are my strength, my support, and my refuge.
The impious heretics no longer raise their heads on high,*
for the power of God has exalted the true faith!
Today, as in days of old, let the clouds pour forth on us*
the life-giving dew* for the renewal of faith!
Let the mystical trumpet of the apostles of Christ* joyfully
ring out* for the restoration of the holy icons!
Let us praise Christ*who has given us a devout and holy
Empress, *together with her son who is crowned by God.
Tropar (Tone 2)
We pay homage to Your undefiled image, Good Lord,*
and beg pardon for our faults, Christ our God.*
By Your will You chose to mount the cross in Your flesh*
to free Your creatures from slavery to the enemy.*
For this we gratefully cry out to You:*
By coming to save the world, our Saviour,
You filled all things with joy.
Kondak (Tone 8)
The uncircumscribed Word of the Father*
became circumscribed by being enfleshed
from you, Godbearer.*
You brought back the stained image to
its original state*
by infusing it with divine beauty.*
But recognizing our salvation,
we portray it by word and deed.
The Epistle reading: Hebrews 11:24-26; 32-12:2
= Why did Moses refuse to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter?
= What sufferings did the prophets, kings, judges, and people of the Old Testament endure for the promises of God?
= Who are we to keep our eyes fixed upon?
The Gospel reading: John 1:43-51
= What did Philip tell Nathanael?
= What did Nathanael reply?
= What did Jesus say when he saw Nathanael?
= How did Nathanael respond?
DID YOU KNOW?
The word “orthodoxy” comes from Greek; orthos=right and doksa=opinion; hence, the true faith and true worship of God.
Iconoclasm comes from Greek: eikon =image and klastes=breaker; hence, an image breaking heresy.
There is a ceremony of Orthodoxy which includes:
= A profession of faith
= A public veneration of the icons of Jesus Christ and the most Holy Mother of God
= A prayer of thanksgiving to God for victory over the heretics
= Prayers for the living and the dead
= A proclamation of an anathema upon the heretics
A heretic is one who denies orthodox beliefs.
Anathema is an ecclesiastical ban, curse, or excommunication.
THE HEART OF EASTERN CHRISTIANITY
The icons, hymns, prayers, worship and liturgy of the Eastern Church unceasingly focus our attention on Jesus Christ: His Person, saving work, and Lordship.
The heart of Eastern Christianity, the inner mystery of its radiant beauty, the source of its worship and teaching is the glorification of Christ, the living God, through whom we know the Father and from whom we receive the Holy Spirit.
In the name of the Father and the Son
and the Holy Spirit.
We venerate your holy icon, O loving Lord,
and we ask that You forgive our sins,
O Christ our God. For of your own will
You ascended the cross, in the flesh,
to deliver us whom You have fashioned from
the bondage of the enemy. Therefore,
We cry out to You in thanksgiving: O Saviour,
You filled all things with joy when
You came to save the world.
WHAT CAN I DO IN MY CLASSROOM OR AT HOME?
1. Have a procession with an icon of Christ or of several icons to the icon corner. Sing an appropriate hymn. Venerate the icon(s)
2. Learn to sing the Tropar and Kondak for the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
3. Prepare for the Sunday liturgy by studying the readings.
4. Learn to chant Ode 3 from Sunday Matins.
5. Continue the Pre-Lenten, Lenten booklet.
6. Find out about my patron saint and pray especially to him/her during this Lenten season.
7. Place a picture of each person in the icon corner. We are each an icon of Christ so we are to respect each other.
LENTEN PRAYER SERVICES
The Pre-sanctified Liturgy: a very old liturgy combined with vespers consisting of psalms, biblical readings and prayers. It is called “presanctified” because the sacred gifts offered for Holy Communion have been sanctified at the previous Sunday’s liturgy. It is normally celebrated on Wednesday evenings (and Friday evenings) during Lent.
The Akathist Hymn: a poem in praise of the Theotokos. Composed of 24 stanzas, it extols Mary the Mother of God. Combined with the Small Compline (consisting of psalms and evening prayers) the Akathist Hymn may be chanted on five Friday evenings of Lent.
The Great Compline: an evening prayer service consisting of psalms, prayer, and hymns. It may be recited one or more times weekly.
The Canon of St. Andrew of Crete: a lengthy poem (200 hymns arranged in nine odes) composed by St. Andrew of Crete. It deals with the themes of human sinfulness, repentance and the mercy of God. (Prostration or Poklony service)