Augustin Sokolovski, Doctor of Theology, priest
Today is the beginning of our salvation, / the revelation of the eternal mystery! / The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin / as Gabriel announces the coming of Grace. / Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: / Hail, O Full of Grace, / the Lord is with You! (Troparion — Tone 4).
These words from the Troparion of the Annunciation are very meaningful. “Hence in our Lord Jesus, the personal existence overcomes all own limits and in God, it becomes truly unlimited.” The Annunciation is celebrated in the Russian Orthodox Church on April. It is one of the most important Christian feasts of the month.
If somebody looks at the liturgical calendar, one can feel that it is a special calendar of its kind in which, as in any secular calendar, the time from the beginning of the year to its end is administered, in celebrations, rhythms and data and that it is diachronic.
This means we are dealing with different time sequences, between the liturgical cycles and the festive events, to change those in detail to resolve paradoxical relationships. The first and most important holiday concerning the following of its occurrence is Easter. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
This means that all the celebrations and memories associated with Easter, Lent, the day of Pentecost and the sequence of liturgical readings on Sunday belong to different dates each year. This year 2021, Lent began on March 15 and Easter closes on May 2. The Christmas cycle is parallel to the Easter cycle in the liturgical calendar. It begins with the Annunciation, that is the day of the conception of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Virgin Mary of the Holy Spirit and the Christmas season, circumcision and presentation. And the early church celebrated Christmas and the baptism of Jesus Christ was called Epiphany, on January 6 (19) with the countdown from Epiphany.
Festivals for saints, icons and historical events are celebrated throughout the year. There are ideological celebrations in the liturgical calendar as well. Initially in connection with this or that event, they have turned into celebrations in honour and memory of this or that dogma or doctrinal belief. Concerns related to Easter change by date, the rest do not. One of these holidays – the adornment of April – is the feast of the Annunciation. It will be celebrated by the church on April 7. The event of Annunciation is directly related to salvation and is conducted in the profession of faith. The main song of the festival, the Troparion, is called the “beginning” of our redemption.
The belief that the Lord Jesus was crucified and died on the cross is an important dogma of the Church. In the creed, we confess our faith in “the Lord Jesus, Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate”. This means that the death of the Lord on the cross is not an idea, not a representation, not an accomplishment realised by come great hero, but a real, terrible, shameful, painful, grievous death. Once upon a time in history.
The death of the one who as God once entered into history to save us, something exceptional made up for human salvation. Our being, we know this and see, we recognise and understand it more and more, is connected with suffering, hardship and pain. The Lord’s cross is inseparable from the sufferer. Turning to the cross we refer to it as you. We invoke the cross of the Lord, we glorify the cross, we have bitten the protection and the help of the cross. All sacraments and ordinances of the church are developed from the cross of the Lord.
The sacrament of the sacraments – the Eucharist – becomes the moment when the priest blesses the bread and wine that has to become the Sacrament in a cruciform manner by the power of the Holy Spirit. And they become the body and blood of the Lord Jesus.
The cross of Christ is the foundation of the world. This is the force of gravity that scholars believe to be found and that has since been revealed in the Bible and the life of the Church. The cross of Christ is the life of the world. The cross of Christ is the new heart of the universe. When we worship the cross, we bid him to protect us. We bid him to save us from all misfortune.
We live worried on fearful days. They frighten us because we are unaware of the greatness of the divine gift. Power and protection that was once given by the Lord in his cross. We forget that the Lord belongs to us. He lives and feels, he cries and mourns, sees himself and waits with a childlike love for everyone who turns to him over and over again.
That is how grace, healing and protection from the Lord’s cross are poured out on the world. The cross is not only past and present but also the future. The Church is waiting… on the return of the cross. We are waiting for the Lord’s return according to the Bible.
Not only are we all partakers of this world, but we are flesh of the flesh of our planet. But the world lives its own life, the world goes its own way. Like any real historical event in salvation history, the message must be revealed in the history of the world. If this is not heard, the world has started to collapse. The world starts suffering from ailments and diseases.
“Like there is a soul in the body, there are Christians in the world,” says one of the first Christian texts, “”Epistle to Diognetus”. We are Christians in the Church. Like the angels of the Lord Jesus, messengers of the eternal praise.
“Rejoice, gracious, the Lord is with you” is said to Mother Mary. The divine and the Human meet, never to separate again. The communion of man and God becomes an example, a paradigm, an image and a criterion for every other common coexistence. For the experience of Redemption today.
O Victorious Leader of Triumphant Hosts! / We, your servants, delivered from evil, sing our grateful thanks to you, O Theotokos! / As you possess invincible might, set us free from every calamity / so that we may sing: Hail, O unwedded Bride! (Kontakion – Tone 8).