Sunday, 18 May 2008

Apostle and Gospel of Holy Saturday

(Note: Liturgy of St Basil for Holy Saturday from the beginning of the Apostle to the end of the Gospel, as given in the Lenten Triodion.)

Brothers, as many of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death. We were buried together with him, then, into death; so that, just as Christ rose from the dead by means of the Glory of the Father, thus also we might walk in newness of life. For if we have become kindred to the likeness of his death, yet we will also be of the Resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified together [with him] so that the body of sin be abolished, so that in turn we might no longer serve sin. For he who dies is justified from sin. If, however, we died together with Christ, we believe that we will also live together with him; knowing that Christ, having risen from the dead, will never again die; death no longer rules over him. For he who died to sin, died once only; he who lives, lives to God. Thus you also should reckon yourselves: being dead to sin but living to God in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

(Romans 6, 3 – 11)

We do not say ‘Alleluia’, but immediately chant the present verse, in the Eighth (Grave) Tone:

Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for you will receive an inheritance in all the nations.

We also chant the same verse to each one of the following verses of Psalm 81, which are recited in prose by the reader.

Verse. God is in the assembly of the gods, in the midst he judges the gods.

Rise up, O God, judge the earth, …

Verse: Until when will you (pl.) judge injustice and take the part of sinners?

Rise up, O God, judge the earth, …

Verse: Judge (pl.) for the orphan and the poor man, justify (pl.) the lowly and the hungry.

Rise up, O God, judge the earth, …

Verse: Lead (pl.) the hungry man and the poor man out, deliver (pl.) him from the hand of the sinner.

Rise up, O God, judge the earth, …

Verse: They did not know, neither did they understand; they go forth in darkness; let all the foundations of the earth be shaken.

Rise up, O God, judge the earth, …

Verse: I said: You are gods and all sons of the Most High. You, then will die as men and fall as one of the rulers.

Rise up, O God, judge the earth, …

And immediately, the Gospel according to Matthew.

On the evening of the Sabbath, which dawns on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to view the tomb. And behold! there was a great earthquake. An angel of the Lord, having descended from Heaven and coming forth, rolled the rock away from the entrance and sat upon it. His appearance, then, was as lightning and his robe white like snow. From the fear of him, those guarding [the tomb] were shaken and became as if dead. Having replied, the angel said to the women: ‘You, be not afraid; I know that you seek Jesus the crucified. He is not here. He has risen as he said. Come see the place where the Lord lay. And having gone quickly, say to his disciples that he has risen from the dead; and behold! he goes before you to Galilee, you will see him there. Behold! I have spoken to you.’ They, then, going quickly out of the tomb with fear and great joy, ran to announce the news to his disciples. As they were going to announce the news to his disciples behold! Jesus met them, saying, ‘Greetings.’ They, then, having come forth, held his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them: ‘Do not be afraid. Go, announce to my brothers that they should go to Galilee. There they will see me. While they were going, behold! some of the guard, coming into the city, announced to the High Priests everything that happened. And having gathered together with the Elders and taking counsel, they gave a considerable amount of silver to the soldiers, saying, ‘Say that his disciples, coming at night, stole him while we were sleeping. And if this is heard before the Ruler, we will persuade him and make you free of worry.’ They, then, taking the silver did as they were taught. And, until today, this word has been spread about among the Jews. The eleven disciples, then, went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had ordered them. And seeing him they worshipped him; some, however, hesitated. And coming forth, Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in Heaven and on earth. Going, then, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and behold! I am with you all days up to the end of the Age.’

(Matthew 28, 1 – 30.)

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