Magnificat from Matins

July 30, 2011

At Matins, the Church sings the Virgin Mary’s words from the Annunciation:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.  (Luke 1:46-55)

Known as the Magnificat, it is accompanied by a refrain that is sung between the verses, called the megalynarion, which in a very real way fulfills her words: “all generations will call me blessed.”

More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify you.

Here is a recording of this sung Magnificat from Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in State College, Pennsylvania. The bells heard in the background are from the bells on the censer the Deacon is while this is sung:

Deacon: The Theotokos and the Mother of Light, let us magnify in songs of praise:

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.

More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement thou gavest birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify thee!

For He hath looked upon the lowliness of His handmaiden; for behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement thou gavest birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify thee!

For the Mighty One hath done great things to me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those that fear Him from generation to generation.

More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement thou gavest birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify thee!

He hath shown strength with His arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart.

More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement thou gavest birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify thee!

He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent away empty.

More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement thou gavest birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify thee!

He hath holpen His servant Israel in remembrance of His mercy, as He spake to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement thou gavest birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify thee!

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Address of Bishop Michael to the Diocesan Assembly

July 21, 2011

The address of His Grace, Bishop Michael, to the Diocesan Assembly of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey (Orthodox Church in America) on July 19, 2011 in Endicott NY:

 


Pilgrimage to the Eternal City: Apostle Peter

July 20, 2011

From the Russian film: “Pilgrimage to the Eternal City,” a look at St. Peter in Rome. This film, with English captions, was a joint Orthodox-Catholic production.

Later in the same film, the story of St. Constantine and St. Helen:

For further reading:

Orthodox Divine Liturgy Celebrated at St. Peter’s in Rome


Do Not Lament Me, O Mother

July 13, 2011

Every once in awhile during the rest of the year, I like to think back to Pascha. This hymn is one of my favorites — sung just before the proclamation “Christ is Risen!” during the Nocturne service shortly before the Midnight Pascha Service begins. The hymn, rich in both theological content and emotion, consists of an interchange between Christ and his mother, recalling the Virgin Mary’s words that “all generations will call me blessed” because of her special privilege in bearing the God-Man (Luke 1:48):

Do not lament me, O Mother, seeing me in the tomb, the Son conceived in the womb without seed, for I shall arise and be glorified with eternal glory as God. I shall exalt all who magnify thee in faith and in love.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee!

I escaped sufferings and was blessed beyond nature at Thy strange birth, O Son, who art without beginning. But now, beholding Thee, my God, dead and without breath, I am sorely pierced by the sword of sorrow. But arise, that I may be magnified.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee!

By my own will, the earth covers me, O Mother, but the gatekeepers of hell tremble at seeing me clothed in the blood-stained garments of vengeance; for when I have vanquished my enemies on the cross, I shall arise as God and magnify thee.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Let creation rejoice, let all born on earth be glad, for hateful hell has been despoiled, let the women with myrrh come to meet me, for I am redeeming Adam and Eve and all their descendants, and on the third day shall I arise.

Do not lament me, O Mother, seeing me in the tomb, the Son conceived in the womb without seed, for I shall arise and be glorified with eternal glory as God. I shall exalt all who magnify thee in faith and in love.

The chant in the video above is an example of  harmonized Znamenny Chant (settings by Saint Vladimir’s Seminary) and sung by St. Maximus the Confessor Orthodox Church in Denton, Texas.


The Fathers on the Spirit of Pride

July 6, 2011

From The Vitae Patrum:

An old man said, “Anyone freely praised by people is in not a little danger to his soul. But anyone not held in honor among people will finally be given glory.”

The same man said, “Seed will not germinate among weeds, and it is impossible for those who get praise and glory from the world to enjoy the harvest of heaven.”

The same man said, “When you are assaulted by thoughts of vainglory or pride, examine yourself whether you have obeyed all God’s commandments, loved your enemies, rejoiced in the success of your enemy and been saddened at his fall. If you constantly realize that you are an unprofitable servant and a greater sinner than all others, you will never then think highly of yourself however much good you may do, for you will remember that any boastful thought undoes all the good.”

An old man said, “Do not set yourself up against your brother, claiming that you are more reliable or abstinent than he. Be subject to the grace of God in the spirit of poverty and unfeigned charity, lest puffed up by the spirit of pride you lose all the fruit of your previous labors.”

Again he said, “Insofar as a man immerses himself in humility, so may he be exalted on high. Pride which would exalt itself to the skies is brought down to hell, and humility if it goes down to hell is lifted up to the heavens.”

Abba Macarius was once returning to his cell at daybreak carrying a bundle of palm leaves, when the devil met him carrying a sharp reaping hook. He tried to strike him down but failed.

“I suffer a great deal from you, Macarius,” he said, “for every time I want to harm you I am unable to do so. For whatever work you do I am forced to do even greater. You fast sometimes, I am never able to partake of any food; you frequently keep vigil, but I can never allow sleep to overcome me; but I declare that there is one thing in which you always come out the winner.”

“And what may that be?” inquired Macarius.

“Your humility alone it is that beats me.”

As the devil said this, the blessed Macarius lifted up his hands in prayer, and the unclean spirit vanished into thin air.

One of the fathers said, “Everything a monk labors at is worth nothing without humility. Humility goes before love just as John Baptist went before Christ, drawing all people to him. Humility draws you towards love, that is, to none but God, since God is love.”

A brother asked an old man what humility was. He replied, “It is the tree of life, growing up into the heavens.”

He also said, “Humility is the ground in which God told us to offer him sacrifice.”

An old man when asked how the soul could acquire humility replied, “Think only of your own sins.” He added, “Humility marks the perfection of a human being.”

Abba Motois said that humility consisted in never getting angry and never causing others to get angry.

He also said that humility consists in forgiving the brother who sins against you, even before he has repented.


Orthodox Western Rite Mass Easter 2011

July 5, 2011

A video of Lauds and Easter Mass from Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church in Lincoln Park, Michigan, a mission of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese which uses the Western Rite. This appears to be from Sunday morning of their Holy Week Services.

The video can be viewed here in HD.


Ora et Labora in Horto

July 4, 2011

A new short film: Scenes from the work and prayer of monks at Skite Sainte-Foy, an Orthodox monastery in the Cévennes in south-central France. Beautiful photography and chant from the choir Melodi: