Divine Liturgy, April 18, 2021 - Fifth Sunday of Great Lent -

Commemoration of the Venerable St. Mary of Egypt

A Video Of Fr. Micah's Homily Can Be Viewed Here:

https://www.facebook.com/NWMichiganOrthodox

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Fifth Sunday of Great Lent (Tone 4)

Commemoration of the Venerable St. Mary of Egypt

Fast: Wine & oil allowed

          Father Micah Chisholm       Phone: (989) 324-8773

[www.stsebastianorthodoxchurch.org]

[Please Note: A modified approach to reading, chanting, and singing the various portions of this Liturgy Service, while we are still in a period of “prevention” regarding any possible spread of the COVID-19 virus, will be employed.  A maximum of three (3) readers/singers (possibly pairs of readers/singers) will be utilized, and they will be located a significant distance away from the worshipers.  They will be wearing their masks when not delivering any “audio”.  Generally, out of necessity, masks will be lowered when delivering “vocalizations”, otherwise breathing difficulties can be encountered.]

Entrance Hymn:  Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, Who rose from the dead O Son of God, save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia!

Resurrectional Troparion – Tone 4: When the women disciples of the Lord learned from the angel the joyous message of Thy Resurrection; they cast away the ancestral curse and elatedly told the apostles: Death is over thrown!  Christ our God is risen, granting the world great mercy. 

Troparion – St. Sebastian – Tone 8:  The image of God was preserved in thee, O father, for thou didst take up thy cross and follow Christ.  Thou didst teach by thine own example that the flesh is to be spurned as transient, while the soul needs great care as it is immortal.  Wherefore, O venerable Sebastian, thou dost rejoice with the Angels.

Troparion - Saint Mary of Egypt (522) – Tone 8: The image of God was truly preserved in thee, O Mother, for thou didst take up the Cross and follow Christ.  By so doing, thou hast taught us to disregard the flesh, for it passes away; but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal.  Therefore thy spirit, O holy Mother Mary, rejoices with the angels.

Resurrectional Kontakion – Tone 4: My Savior and Redeemer, as God rose from the tomb and delivered the earth-born from their chains.  He has shattered the gates of Hell, and as Master, He has risen on the third day!

Kontakion – St. Sebastian – Tone 2: O father Sebastian, armed with purity of soul and grasping unceasing prayer as firmly as a spear, thou didst pierce the demons’ armies.  Unceasingly pray for us all. 

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit!

Kontakion - Saint Mary of Egypt (522) – Tone 3: Having been a sinful woman, thou hast become through repentence a Bride of Christ.  Having attained angelic life, thou didst defeat demons with the weapon of the Cross!  Therefore, most glorious Mary, thou art a Bride of the Kingdom.

Both now and ever and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

Kontakion of the Theotokos – Tone 6: Steadfast Protectress of Christians, constant advocate before the Creator, despise not the cries of us sinners, but in thy goodness come speedily to help us who call on thee in faith: hasten to hear our petition and to intercede for us, O Theotokos, for thou dost ever protect those who honor thee.

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The Prokeimenon (in the 4th Tone): O Lord, how manifold are Thy works; in wisdom hast Thou made them all.

Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul!  O Lord my God, Thou art very great.

The Prokeimenon (in the 4th Tone): God is wonderful in His saints, the God of Israel.

Epistle Reading (Hebrews 9:11-14 (§321 ctr); Galatians 3:23-29 (§208))

Brethren, Christ came as a high priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place.  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.  For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Brethren, before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed.  So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Gospel (St. Mark 10:32-45 (§47); St. Luke 7:36-50 (§33))

At that time: His disciples were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise."  And James and John, the sons of Zeb'edee, came forward to him, and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?"  And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."  But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"  And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."  And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.  And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

At that time: one of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house, and took his place at table.  And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.  Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner."  And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "What is it, Teacher?"  "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?"  Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly."  Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."  And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."  Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?"  And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

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Hymn to the Theotokos

All of creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace, the assembly of angels and the race of men.  O sanctified temple and spiritual paradise, the glory of virgins, from whom God was incarnate and became a child – our God before the ages.  He made your body into a throne, and your womb He made more spacious than the heavens.  All of creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace.  Glory to you, glory to you!

Communion Hymn

Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the highest!  The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.  He shall not fear evil tidings.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Pre-Communion Prayer

     I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, Who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.  Moreover, I believe that this is truly Thy most Pure Body, and that this is truly Thine Own Precious Blood.  Wherefore, I pray Thee: Have mercy on me and forgive me my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and in deed, in knowledge and in ignorance.  And vouchsafe me to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries unto the remission of my sins and life everlasting.

     Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, receive me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of the Mystery to Thine enemies, nor will I give Thee a kiss as did Judas, but like the Thief do I confess Thee:  Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.

     Let not the communion of Thy Holy Mysteries be unto me for judgment, or condemnation, O Lord, but for healing of soul and body.  Amen.

The Many Years

Our Great Lord and Father, His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, our Lord the Very Most Reverend Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, our Lord the Most Reverend Peter, Archbishop of Chicago and Mid-America, and their God-protected flock, this land, its civil authorities and armed forces, the God-preserved Russian Land, the Rector of this Holy Parish and all Orthodox Christians: preserve, O Lord, for many years!

5th Sunday of Great Lent: Venerable St. Mary of Egypt

(Commemorated on April 14 / 1 & on the 5th Sunday of Lent)

The Fifth Sunday of Lent is reserved for the remembrance of the woman from Egypt who spent 48 years in the wilderness in combat with her passions.  Once, during Great Lent, a certain priest-monk, the Elder Zosimas, withdrew into the wilderness beyond the Jordan, a 20-day trek.  Suddenly, he caught sight of a human being with a withered and naked body, whose hair was as white as snow, and who fled from Zosimas’s sight.  The elder ran for a long while, until this person stopped at a brook and cried out: “Abba Zosimas, forgive me for the sake of the Lord.  I cannot face you for I am a naked woman.”  Zosimas then threw his outer garment to her, which she wrapped around herself, and then she showed herself to him.  The elder was frightened upon hearing his name spoken from the mouth of this woman whom he did not know.  Following his prolonged insistence, the woman related her life’s story.  She was born in Egypt, and at the age of twelve began to live a life of debauchery in Alexandria, where she spent 17 years in this perverted way of life.  Driven by the adulterous flame of the flesh, she one day boarded a boat which was sailing for Jerusalem.  Arriving at the Holy City, she wanted to enter the church in order to venerate the Honorable Cross, but some invisible force restrained her, preventing her from entering the church.  In great fear, she gazed upon the icon of the All-holy Mother of God in the narthex and prayed that she be allowed to enter the church to venerate the Honorable Cross, all the while confessing her sinfulness and uncleanness, and promising that she would go wherever the All-pure One would direct her.  She was then permitted to enter the church.  Having venerated the Cross, she went back to the narthex and, before the icon, gave thanks to the Mother of God.  At that very moment she heard a voice saying: “If you cross over Jordan you will find true peace!”  Immediately she purchased three loaves of bread and started out for the Jordan, arriving there that same evening.  The next day she received Holy Communion in the Monastery of St. John and crossed over the Jordan River.  She remained in the wilderness for 48 years in great torment and fear, struggling with passionate thoughts as though with wild beasts.  She ate vegetation.  After she finished her narrative, when she stood for prayer, Zosimas saw her levitate in the air.  She begged him to bring her Holy Communion the following year on the shore of the Jordan, where she would then come to receive it.  The following year Zosimas arrived with Holy Communion on the shore of the Jordan in the evening.  He wondered how the saint would cross the Jordan.  Then, in the light of the moon, he saw her approach the river, make the sign of the Cross over it and walk upon the water as though upon dry land.  After Zosimas communed her, she begged him to come the following year to the same brook where they had first met.  Zosimas came the following year and discovered her lifeless body on that spot.  Above her head in the sand was written: “Abba Zosimas, bury the body of the humble Mary on this site; render dust to dust.  I died on April 1, the same night of the saving suffering of Christ, after having received Communion of the Divine Mysteries.”  From this inscription Zosimas first learned her name and the other and awesome miracle – that the previous year, when she received Holy Communion, she arrived that same night at this brook, which took him 20 days to reach.  Thus, Zosimas buried the body of this wonderful saint, Mary of Egypt.  When he returned to the monastery, Zosimas related the entire story of her life and the miracles which he had personally witnessed.  Thus the Lord knows how to glorify penitent sinners.  The Church holds her up as an example to the faithful during these days of the Fast as a model of repentance.  She reposed in the year 522.


We welcome everyone to Saint Sebastian Orthodox Church.  
Please stay and join us for fellowship and refreshments after the service today.