This is the most holy Tree – the strong hope of faithful, deliverance from the curse, the joy of all nations is placed before us, revealing the master of evil. Faithful, let us venerate it with joy.
9th canticle of the Canon
By presenting the most powerful weapon of peace and the undefeated victory – the Holy Cross of Christ, and by the memory of the Holy Maccabean Martyrs, the Divine Church begins today with the two weeks long Holy Dormition Fast. And this is its calling: “Faithful come and venerate the life-giving Tree, on which Christ – The King of Glory voluntarily opened His arms in order to rise us to the original bliss, that the enemy separated us from and distanced us from God just for one bitter delight“. Come faithful let us wisely correct the sin of our ancestors with this holy and blessed Fast, to bring joy to our soul and please our Lord. It’s wise of the Church to begin with the Holy Cross this fasting fit, because it “prepares a path to heaven for those who venerate it with unshakable faith, and the One Who crucified Himself on it enjoins to the angelic union those who celebrate Him with love”. A perfect example for restraint and dedicated following of the Divine Law, is the life and martyrdom of the seven Old Testament Maccabean Martyrs, along with their mother Solomonia and the teacher Eleazar, who boldly confessed their faith in God the King of All before the torturing king: “Not even the sword, nor the beasts, nor the wounds could separate us from Him, we would rather die here, together with our old mother and the father teacher, so that we could live and rejoice forever in the never ending eternity“.
This luminous triumph of the Cross of Christ and the glorious Maccabees, was celebrated prayerfully and gratefully by the brothers Holy Bigorski Monastery, with the bringing out and veneration of the Holy Tree, right after the great praise hymn. The Service was such a great spiritual delight for us, especially the Divine Liturgy served by our Elder, Archimandrite Parthenius and the hieromonks and hierodeacons of our brotherhood. After the Liturgy, according to the ecclesiastical tradition, the Elder blessed the water and the honey produced this year, as a kind of symbolical presentation of the sweetness of the Fast and the spiritual fit.
May our Lord bless the beginning of this Holy Dormition Fast!