Κυριακή, 3 Απριλίου 2016

Γ΄ Κυριακή των Νηστειών - της Σταυροπροσκυνήσεως/ 3rd Sunday of Great Lent, Veneration of the Cross

                               30X45cm - 11,8X17,7inch.
                                Egg tempera.

+ Η άσκηση των αρετών δεν είναι εύκολη υπόθεση. Πέρα από την προσωπική ισχυρή θέληση, είναι απαραίτητη και η αγιαστική δύναμη της Εκκλησίας μας. Έτσι οι άγιοι Πατέρες όρισαν, καταμεσής της αγίας Τεσσαρακοστής να προσκυνείται ο Τίμιος Σταυρός του Κυρίου, για να λαμβάνουμε οι πιστοί από αυτόν χάρη και δύναμη για να συνεχίσουμε με σθένος τον πνευματικό μας αγώνα.

Ο Σταυρός του Χριστού είναι το καύχημα της Εκκλησίας μας και το αήττητο όπλο κατά των δυνάμεων του κακού. Πάνω σε αυτόν συντρίφτηκε το κράτος του διαβόλου και εκμηδενίστηκε η δύναμή του. Από αυτόν πήγασε η απολύτρωση και η αθανασία στο ανθρώπινο γένος. Η Εκκλησία μας ψάλλει θριαμβευτικά: «Κύριε όπλον κατά του διαβόλου τον Σταυρόν Σου ημίν δέδωκας , φρίττει γαρ και τρέμει, μη φέρων καθοράν αυτού την δύναμιν » και «Νυν εμφανιζόμενος ο Σταυρός, δύναμιν παρέχη εν τω μέσω των νηστειών, τοις το θείον σκάμμα, ανύουσι προθύμως ΄ αυτόν μετ ' ευάβείας , κατασπαζόμεθα ».

Από φονικό και έχθιστο μέσον εκτέλεσης κακούργων μεταβλήθηκε σε μέσον αγιασμού και νοητή ασπίδα προστασίας από τις επιβουλές του Εωσφόρου και των σκοτεινών πεσόντων αγγέλων του. Άλλοι τον παρομοιάζουν με ισχυρό κυματοθραύστη κατά των κλυδωνισμών της ζωής, που προκαλεί το κακό και η αμαρτία. Η σωματική κόπωση της νηστείας και η ψυχική νωχέλεια του πνευματικού αγώνα είναι δυο βασικοί παράγοντες, οι οποίοι μπορούν να αναστείλουν τη νηπτική πορεία του πιστού. Η αγιαστική δύναμη του Σταυρού είναι το αντίδοτο σ' αυτή την κατάσταση.

Ο Σταυρός του Χριστού, εκτός από θείο σύμβολο της Εκκλησίας μας, έχει και ηθική σημασία για τον κάθε πιστό. Όπως ο Κύριος έφερε το δικό Του Σταυρό στο Γολγοθά, φορτωμένος τις ανομίες ολοκλήρου του ανθρωπίνου γένους, έτσι και ο πιστός του Χριστού, φέρει αυτός τον προσωπικό του σταυρό, τον αγώνα για σωτηρία και τελείωση. Ο δρόμος για τη σωτηρία είναι πραγματικός Γολγοθάς και απαιτεί αυταπάρνηση σε όσους τον ανεβαίνουν. Το βεβαίωσε ο Κύριος: « όστις θέλει οπίσω μου ακολουθείν , απαρνησάσθω ευατόν και αράτω τον σταυρόν αυτού και ακολουθήτω μοι » (Μαρκ.8,34). Η αγία περίοδος του Τριωδίου είναι κατ' εξοχήν σταυρική πορεία και νοητή σταύρωση των παθών μας.

Γι' αυτό η αγία μας Εκκλησία αφιέρωσε την Κυριακή αυτή στην προσκύνηση του Τιμίου Σταυρού. Οι πιστοί αντλώντας χάρη από αυτόν, δυναμωμένοι πια και ανανεωμένοι, αντιπαρερχόμαστε τα εμπόδια που στήνει ο πονηρός και βαδίζουμε την ουρανοδρόμο ατραπό με οδηγό τη χαρά και τη λαχτάρα να συναντήσουμε τον αναστάντα Κύριό μας Ιησού Χριστό την αγία και λαμπροφόρο η ημέρα της εγέρσεώς Του.
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+ The Third Sunday of Lent is that of the Veneration of the Cross. The cross stands in the midst of the church in the middle of the lenten season not merely to remind men of Christ’s redemption and to keep before them the goal of their efforts, but also to be venerated as that reality by which man must live to be saved. “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mt.10:38). For in the Cross of Christ Crucified lies both “the power of God and the wisdom of God” for those being saved (1 Cor.1:24).
The commemoration and ceremonies of the Third Sunday of Lent are closely parallel to the feasts of the Veneration of the Cross (September 14) and the Procession of the Cross (August 1). Not only does the Sunday of the Holy Cross prepare us for commemoration of the Crucifixion, but it also reminds us that the whole of Lent is a period when we are crucified with Christ.
As we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24), and will have mortified ourselves during these forty days of the Fast, the precious and life-giving Cross is now placed before us to refresh our souls and encourage us who may be filled with a sense of bitterness, resentment, and depression. The Cross reminds us of the Passion of our Lord, and by presenting to us His example, it encourages us to follow Him in struggle and sacrifice, being refreshed, assured, and comforted. In other words, we must experience what the Lord experienced during His Passion - being humiliated in a shameful manner. The Cross teaches us that through pain and suffering we shall see the fulfillment of our hopes: the heavenly inheritance and eternal glory.
As they who walk on a long and hard way and are bowed down by fatigue find great relief and strengthening under the cool shade of a leafy tree, so do we find comfort, refreshment, and rejuvenation under the Life-giving Cross, which our Fathers “planted” on this Sunday. Thus, we are fortified and enabled to continue our Lenten journey with a light step, rested and encouraged.
Or, as before the arrival of the king, his royal standards, trophies, and emblems of victory come in procession and then the king himself appears in a triumphant parade, jubilant and rejoicing in his victory and filling those under him with joy, so does the Feast of the Cross precede the coming of our King, Jesus Christ. It warns us that He is about to proclaim His victory over death and appear to us in the glory of the Resurrection. His Life-Giving Cross is His royal scepter, and by venerating it we are filled with joy, rendering Him glory. Therefore, we become ready to welcome our King, who shall manifestly triumph over the powers of darkness.
The present feast has been placed in the middle of Great Lent for another reason. The Fast can be likened to the spring of Marah whose waters the children of Israel encountered in the wilderness. This water was undrinkable due to its bitterness but became sweet when the Holy Prophet Moses dipped the wood into its depth. Likewise, the wood of the Cross sweetens the days of the Fast, which are bitter and often grievous because of our tears. Yet Christ comforts us during our course through the desert of the Fast, guiding and leading us by His hand to the spiritual Jerusalem on high by the power of His Resurrection.
Moreover, as the Holy Cross is called the Tree of Life, it is placed in the middle of the Fast, as the ancient tree of life was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden. By this, our Holy Fathers wished to remind us of Adam’s gluttony as well as the fact that through this Tree has condemnation been abolished. Therefore, if we bind ourselves to the Holy Cross, we shall never encounter death but shall inherit life eternal
- See more at: http://lent.goarch.org/sunday_of_the_cross/learn/#sthash.0mQIUujR.dpuf
The commemoration and ceremonies of the Third Sunday of Lent are closely parallel to the feasts of the Veneration of the Cross (September 14) and the Procession of the Cross (August 1). Not only does the Sunday of the Holy Cross prepare us for commemoration of the Crucifixion, but it also reminds us that the whole of Lent is a period when we are crucified with Christ.
As we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24), and will have mortified ourselves during these forty days of the Fast, the precious and life-giving Cross is now placed before us to refresh our souls and encourage us who may be filled with a sense of bitterness, resentment, and depression. The Cross reminds us of the Passion of our Lord, and by presenting to us His example, it encourages us to follow Him in struggle and sacrifice, being refreshed, assured, and comforted. In other words, we must experience what the Lord experienced during His Passion - being humiliated in a shameful manner. The Cross teaches us that through pain and suffering we shall see the fulfillment of our hopes: the heavenly inheritance and eternal glory.
As they who walk on a long and hard way and are bowed down by fatigue find great relief and strengthening under the cool shade of a leafy tree, so do we find comfort, refreshment, and rejuvenation under the Life-giving Cross, which our Fathers “planted” on this Sunday. Thus, we are fortified and enabled to continue our Lenten journey with a light step, rested and encouraged.
Or, as before the arrival of the king, his royal standards, trophies, and emblems of victory come in procession and then the king himself appears in a triumphant parade, jubilant and rejoicing in his victory and filling those under him with joy, so does the Feast of the Cross precede the coming of our King, Jesus Christ. It warns us that He is about to proclaim His victory over death and appear to us in the glory of the Resurrection. His Life-Giving Cross is His royal scepter, and by venerating it we are filled with joy, rendering Him glory. Therefore, we become ready to welcome our King, who shall manifestly triumph over the powers of darkness.
The present feast has been placed in the middle of Great Lent for another reason. The Fast can be likened to the spring of Marah whose waters the children of Israel encountered in the wilderness. This water was undrinkable due to its bitterness but became sweet when the Holy Prophet Moses dipped the wood into its depth. Likewise, the wood of the Cross sweetens the days of the Fast, which are bitter and often grievous because of our tears. Yet Christ comforts us during our course through the desert of the Fast, guiding and leading us by His hand to the spiritual Jerusalem on high by the power of His Resurrection.
Moreover, as the Holy Cross is called the Tree of Life, it is placed in the middle of the Fast, as the ancient tree of life was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden. By this, our Holy Fathers wished to remind us of Adam’s gluttony as well as the fact that through this Tree has condemnation been abolished. Therefore, if we bind ourselves to the Holy Cross, we shall never encounter death but shall inherit life eternal
- See more at: http://lent.goarch.org/sunday_of_the_cross/learn/#sthash.0mQIUujR.dpuf

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