Παρασκευή, 21 Απριλίου 2017

Bright Friday: The Life-Giving Spring of the Theotokos

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Icon of the Life-giving Spring of the Most-Holy Theotokos ("Zoodochos Pigi") (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)

Full of Grace and Truth

ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ για τη Ζωοδόχο Πηγή εδώ & εδώ.
(taken from here):

"Outside of Constantinople, towards the district of the Seven Towers, there was in ancient times a very large and most beautiful church named in honour of the Theotokos; it had been built about the middle of the fifth century by the Emperor Leo the Great (also called "Leo of Thrace," he is commemorated on Jan. 20). Before he became Emperor, he had encountered there a blind man, who being tormented with thirst asked him to help him find water. Leo felt compassion for him and went in search of a source of water but found none. As he became downcast, he heard a voice telling him there was water nearby. He looked again, and found none. Then he heard the voice again, this time calling him "Emperor" and telling him that he would find muddy water in the densely wooded place nearby; he was to take some water and anoint the blind man's eyes with it. When he had done this, the blind man received his sight. After Leo became Emperor as the most holy Theotokos had prophesied, he raised up a church over the spring, whose waters worked many healings and cured maladies by the grace of the Theotokos; from this, it came to be called the "Life-giving Spring." The Church of Christ celebrates the consecration of this church on this day.

Holy church of Theotokos Life-Giving Spring, st David of Evia & Elder Iacobos of Evia, Nyamahana, Tanzania (more here)

After the fall of the imperial city, this church was razed to the ground and the materials from it were used for building the mosque of Sultan Bayezid. Nothing remained of that church's ancient beauty, except for a small and paltry chapel, almost completely buried in the ruins. This chapel had twenty-five steps going down into it, and a transom window on the roof, wherefrom it received a little light. Toward the western side of the chapel was the aforementioned holy Spring, fenced about with a railing, and with fish swimming in it. Such was the condition of the Spring until 1821. Then even that little remnant was destroyed, occasioned by the uprising of the Greek nation against the Ottoman Empire; the sacred Spring was buried with it and disappeared altogether.

Artist's Rendering of the Church of Zoodochou Pigi in Constantinople (taken from here)
The interior of the Church of the Theotokos Zoothochou Pigi in Baloukli, as it appears today (taken from here)

But in the days of Sultan Mahmud, when those subject to him were rejoicing in their freedom to practice their religion, permission was sought by the Orthodox Christian community to rebuild at least part of the chapel. Thus the work was begun on July 26, 1833. When the excavation had been made, and the foundations of the ancient church were found, there was rebuilt -- by a later writ of permission from the Sultan -- not merely a chapel of the holy Spring, but another new church, constructed upon the foundations of the ancient one. The building of this spacious, beautiful, and most majestic temple began on September 14, 1833, and the work was completed on December 30, 1834. On February 2, 1835, the Ecumenical Patriarch Constantine II, serving the Liturgy together with twelve hierarchs and a great company of clergy, as well as a boundless multitude of Christians, performed the consecration of this sacred church and dedicated it to the glory of the Mother of God. On September 6, 1955, however, it was desecrated and destroyed again by the Moslem Turks; it has been restored again, but not to the former magnificence."

"Opened, desecrated graves of Patriarchs in the courtyard of the Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pege Baloukli." (here)
The following is from the website of the Eccumenical Patriarch (here):

"A number of epigrams [in the Church of the Theotokos Zoodochos Pigi in Baloukli] express awe, veneration and enthusiasm for the hagiasma [Holy Water] and the miracles associated with it. Preserved to our day are six by Manuel Philes, another six by the Magister Ignatius, one by John Mauropous and others.
Numerous photos from the Monastery of the Theotokos Zoodochos Pigi in Constantinople (taken from here)
The icon of Zoodochos Pege: Zoodochos Pege (i.e. Life-giving Fount) is an epithet of the Holy Virgin and Her representation as Zoodochos Pege is related to the sacred spring. It soon became very popular and this type of icon spread throughout the Orthodox world, particularly in places where a spring was believed to be hagiasma. In the 9th century, Joseph the Hymnographer gave for the first time the title «Zoodochos Pege» to a hymn for the Mother of God.

The Agiasma (Holy Water) of the Theotokos in Baloukli, with the icon of the Theotokos Zoodochos Pigi above (taken from here)

A marble fountain, from which water flows, occupies the centre of the icon. Above, the Theotokos is holding Christ who makes the sign of blessing. Two angels hovering over Her head carry a scroll inscribed with the verse: «Hail! That you bear. Hail! That you are». Around the fountain the emperor and many ailing people are shown, in a variety of postures, being sprinkled with Holy Water. According to the tradition, a small pond with fish is painted to the side. Actually, it is the fish that have given its present name to the locality, for Balikli in Turkish means «a place with fish».
The Agiasma of the Theotokos Zoothochou Pigi that exists to this day, and continues to work miracles (taken from here)

The Zoodochos Pege type of icon is found in many variations in all the Orthodox regions. Miniatures, mosaics, icons, woodcuts, copperplates have been in great demand these last centuries."
For selected hymns from this Feast, see here.
For the Akathist service (in Greek) to the Life-giving Spring of the Most-Holy Theotokos, see here, for the Paraklesis to the Theotokos of this feast, see here.
May the Most-Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary intercede for all of us and save us!
Another Icon of the Life-giving Spring of the Most-Holy Theotokos ("Zoodochos Pigi") (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)
Apolytikion of The Life-Giving Spring of the Theotokos in the Third Tone As a life-giving fount, thou didst conceive the Dew that is transcendent in essence, O Virgin Maid, and thou hast welled forth for our sakes the nectar of joy eternal, which doth pour forth from thy fount with the water that springeth up unto everlasting life in unending and mighty streams; wherein, taking delight, we all cry out: Rejoice, O thou Spring of life for all men.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone O Lady graced by God, you reward me by letting gush forth, beyond reason, the ever-flowing waters of your grace from your perpetual Spring. I entreat you, who bore the Logos, in a manner beyond comprehension, to refresh me in your grace that I may cry out, "Hail redemptive waters."
(hymns taken from here)
The Life-giving Spring of the Theotokos, with various scenes and miracles of the Theotokos (here)  
See also 

The Vespers of Love (& "Christ is Risen" in different languages)

Khanya e isoe ho Molimo holimo

The sacred image of Christ's Resurrection 

Holy Week and Pascha is always a busy time for us, rushing to get to different services. to prepare things and so on. But it ends with the Vespers of Love on Easter Sunday evening, which is always relaxed and quietly joyful.
This year was no exception. We had got home from the Easter Vigil at 4:00 am, up again at 7:00 to go to the Hours and Readers Service at Atteridgeville at 9:00. That was shorter than usual, because the Hours of Pascha are much shorter, and there’s a lot more singing.
Then at 4:45 we set off for the Vespers of Love at St Nicholas of Japan Church in Brixton, which we always think of as our “home” parish, since we were among those who started it 30 years ago. Even the drive down was more relaxed and leisurely. There was time to enjoy the sunset at Midrand while waiting for the robot to change. Val says Midrand sunsets are always spectavular because it has a big sky — Midrand is the highest part of Gauteng, so in many places the horizon is lower than your viewpoint.

Sunset at Midrand, Easter 2017. Allandale Road.

At Vespers the church is usually dimly lit, except at the Entrance, where we sing about beholding the light of evening. But for the Vespers of Love and the rest of Bright Weak (Easter Week) it is brightly lit all the way through, and the doors on the ikonostasis are always open, symbolising the empty tomb.

St Nicholas of Japan Orthodox Church, Brixton, in Bright Week.

During Vespers we read the Gospel story of Jesus meeting the disciples after the resurrection, when Thomas was absent, and it is read in as many different languages as one can find people to read. This year there were fewer languages than usual, only about 7. I think the most we ever had was 19, including Mandarin, read by a former parishioner, Michael Gluckman, whose business included trading with China, where he spent quite a lot of time.
This time I was also serving with Deacon Irenaeus (Brian) MacDonald, for whom St Nicholas was also a “home” parish, though now most Sundays he, like us, serves elsewhere. So here’s a picture of two aged deacons. And, as also usually happens at the Vespers of Love (Agape Vespers), people seem to hang around chatting for a long time afterwards.

Two superannuated deacons: Stephen Hayes and Irenaeus (Brian) MacDonald

Lazarus Saturday 2017 (the last day of Great Lent) 
in St Sergius Orthodox Church in Midrand, South Africa (from here):

"Christ is Risen" in different languages - Marilyn Accaoui Leignel 


From the School of Ecclesiastic Music (SEM) of Mount Lebanon.
The School of Ecclesiastic Music (SEM) of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Mount Lebanon was established in 1997. It is a department of the Archdiocese working with the blessings of his Eminence bishop George (Khodr) and it aims at spreading Byzantine Music in Lebanon and in the world, especially amongst the youth (Evangelization Objective).


Christus het opgestaan uit die dode, deur sy dood het Hy die dood vertrap en aan hulle in die grafte die lewe geskenk. 

Prot. Nr. 20/2017

“En kyk, Ek is met julle al die dae tot aan die voleindig van die wêreld.” (Mt. 28:20)

My liewe broers en susters,
Met hierdie woorde, met hierdie belofte vol hoop, het die Seun van God sy verlossingswerk op aarde voltooi. Hy wat die hemele verlaat het en na die aarde gekom het om ons verlossing te bied. Hy wat vir ons arm geword het. Hy wat die Kruis bestyg het en vir ons gely het. Hy wat vir ons begrawe is. Hy wat vir ons weer opgestaan het, en die dood wat Hy verduur het, het vir ons die aankondiger van onsterflikheid geword.
Hierdie uiteinde was egter nie net verbaal nie, ook was dit nie bloot histories nie. Hierdie uiteinde was, in teendeel, dinamies en tydloos. Die Kerk het die werktuig vir hierdie tydlose dinamiek van Sy opstanding geword. Nie as ‘n gevestigde godsdiens nie, maar as die Liggam van Christus, ‘n oop gemeenskap van sondige mense wat verlossing wil verkry; mense wat die oproep van Christus aanvaar: “Kom na my toe almal wat vermoeid en belas is, en Ek sal julle rus gee. (Mt. 11:28)
Die Kerk het uiteindelik die lewende bewys geword van hoe lief die Verrese Here ons het. Want ‘n mens kan twyfel hê oor enigiets, maar nie oor die liefde van God nie. Maar wat is dit wat ons van die Huis van die Vader weghou? Wat is dit wat ons nie toelaat om terug te keer na die Vader wat ons liefhet en op ons wag? Is dit miskien ons uitermate vertroue op ons eie krag? Of is dit miskien die indruk dat ons foute so groot is dat dit die liefde van God oorskry?
Wat die antwoord ookal is, openbaar die afstand wat ons van God skei, ‘n gebrek aan geloof. Dit is as gevolg van die feit dat hoop en liefde ons in gemeenskap met God bring, eers wanneer dit gegrond is op ware geloof. Hoop en liefde verlig die pad van terugkeer na God, eers wanneer ons gereed is om, soos Petrus, te bely: U is die Christus, die Seun van die lewende God” (Mt. 16:16) Eers wanneer geloof nie bloot ‘n bron van ‘n gespogery is nie, maar wanneer dit die onuitputlike bron van die goeie toepassing daarvan is.
Deesdae het ons, ongelukkig, miskien die hoogtes van kennis bereik, maar het ons in die geloof ongeletterd geraak. Ons het miskeien tegnologies uitgeblink, maar dit het daarop uitgloop dat ons  teologies onkundig geword het. Ons het die geopenbaarde woord van God verwerp en het in nuwe evangelies begin glo, op die gebied van die wetenskap, die filosofie of die politiek. Ons het God ontken en begin glo dat ons Hom nie nodig het ten einde ons bestaan te omskryf nie. Ons het die ware geloof vergeet en het ons oorgegee aan die kettery van ons tyd: die verheerliking van ons ego, van mag en rykdom.
En nou dat ons helaas vind dat ons wêreld oorheers word deur die redeloosheid van die sterkste onder ons medemens, soek ons ‘n manier om die weg na verlossing te vind. En nou dat ons in God se liefde ongeletterd geraak het, probeer ons die krag vind om te sê: “Ek sal opstaan en na my vader gaan” (Lk. 15:18). Ons persoonlike opstanding is egter onmoontlik sonder die hervuwing van ons geloof. Ons evangeliese ongeletterdheid kan net genees word deur die woord van God deur persoonlike ervaring te leer ken.

Malawi, Easter 2017 (here)
My liewe broers en suster.
21 eeue na die Opstanding van die God-Mens en die verspreiding van die Gevangelie aan die volke, het die mensdom weereens hopeloos verwyderd van God se wil geraak. Die enigste veilige kompas vir ‘n terugkeer na ons vaderlike tuiste, is om weer tot geloof ge-evangeliseer te word. Na geloof, nie net as ‘n blote saak van die denke nie, maar wesenlik as ‘n ervaring van die hart. Na geloof, nie as die belydenis van ‘n idee nie, maar as die belydenis van die persoon van Christus, wat die Weg, die Waarheid en die Lewe is, na geloof as sending, as ‘n plig om Christus se Evangelie te bring na die uiteindes van die aarde.
Dit is wat ons in Afrika doen, want, soos Johannes Chrysostomos dit gestel het, is daar niks meer ongevoelig as ‘n Christen wat nie omgee vir die verlossing van ander nie ((pg 60, 162). Hierdie sending is moontlik reusagtig en die arbeiders miskien min, maar ons harte klop warm by die belofte van hoop van die Here dat “die poorte van die doderyk dit (die Kerk) nie (sal) oorweldig nie. (Mt. 16:18) Hierdie belofte van hoop van die Here is wat ons sendingwerk omvorm tot ‘n sending van liefde wat die dood te bowe gaan. Net soos wat ons Heer die dood met sy Opstanding oorwin het.
Christus het opgestaan!

(Geteken deur) +Theodoros ll
Pous en Patriarg van Alexandrë en die Hele Afrika

Sien ook 


The Orthodox Holy Week & Holy Easter (Pascha)

A voice from Orthodox Christian Africa: "The hopeful message of Resurrection: with power, solidarity with fellow human beings, faith and optimism, we will find the way out of the terrible ordeal!"

Χριστός Ανέστη, Christ is Risen, Христос воскрес,
Cristo Ressuscitou, Al-Masih-Qam, UKristu wavuka, Kristo amefufuka

Orthodox Metropolis of Zambia and Malawi
(from here & here)

16 th April, 2017 Lusaka-Zambia

With respect, humility and contrition, we attended the Holy Days of the course and the culmination of the Divine Drama. We experienced the sacred moments of Divine Passion, pain, humiliation and suffering. At the end of this course, however, it was the happy and hopeful message of Resurrection.
The message of Easter celebration, above all, is a message of love to our fellow man, and hope for life, that through the resurrected difficulties, timeless values ​​and so timely. The symbolism of the greater celebration of Christianity teaches us that no matter how hard you are tested, you stand with power, solidarity with fellow human beings, faith and optimism, we will find the way out of the terrible ordeal.
Let's keep this great truth as a valuable legacy in our daily life. Those difficulties and adversities, even in the bad times, there is always an end in the Light of Hope and Optimism. For everyone and each individual.
Best wishes to all from the heart, spend these days blessed with health, peace, personal and family warmth and happiness.
Christ is Risen !

About Orthodox Christian Zambia here
Photos from In the Orthodox Vineyard of Africa (April 2017)

Orthodox Christian Easter 2017 in Malawi


Orthodox Christian Easter 2017 in Republic of the Congo - Brazzaville

Orthodox Christian Easter 2017 in Bunia (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Orthodox Christian Easter 2017 in Burundi

Orthodox Christian Easter 2017 in Kenya

 Orthodox Christian Easter 2017 in Uganda

St Nicholas of Japan Orthodox Church, Brixton (South Africa), in Bright Week 2017. From the post The Vespers of Love.

See also 

Baptêmes à Bunia, dans l' Est du Congo

Jesus and the deads - The Icon of Resurrection or The descent into Hades  
We and the spirits of departed 
"Christ est ressuscité des morts": Africaine de Pâques orthodoxe 2016 - African Orthodox Easter (Pascha) 2016
De Pâques à la Pentecôte  
Tuesday after Easter: Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene the Wonderworkers, the Newly-Revealed Martyrs of Lesvos