17th Sunday after Pentecost – after the Exaltation of the Cross Synaxis of the Macedonian Saints

17th Sunday after Pentecost – after the Exaltation of the Cross

Synaxis of the Macedonian Saints

17-та Недела по Педесетница – (по Воздвижение)

Собор на македонските светители


“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself,

and take up his cross, and follow Me”

(Mark 8: 34-39)

GOSPEL READING: Mark 8:34-9:1

Take Up the Cross and Follow Him

34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” 9 And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God [a]present with power.”

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ЕВАНГЕЛСКО ЧЕТИВО: 8, 34-9, 1

34. И кога го повика народот и учениците Свои, им рече: „Кој сака да врви по Мене, нека се одрече од себе, и нека го земе крстот свој и нека оди по Мене. 35. Зашто, кој сака да ја спаси својата душа, ќе ја загуби; а кој ја загуби душата своја заради Мене и Евангелието, тој ќе ја спаси. 36. Оти каква полза е за човека, ако го придобие целиот свет, а на душата своја ѝ напакости? 37. Или каков откуп ќе даде човек за својата душа? 38. Зашто, кој се срами од Мене и од зборовите Мои во овој прељубодеен и грешен род, и Синот Човечки ќе се срами од него, кога ќе дојде во славата на Својот Отец со светите ангели.”

9. 1. И им рече: „Вистина, ви велам: тука стојат некои, што нема да вкусат смрт, дури не го видат царството Божјо, дојдено во сила.”

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THE SPIRITUAL EXALTATION OF THE CROSS


The Exaltation of the Lord’s Cross has arrived. Then the Cross was erected on a high place, so that the people could see it and render honor to it. Now, the cross is raised in the churches and monasteries. But this is all external. There is a spiritual exaltation of the cross in the heart. It happens when one firmly resolves to crucify himself, or to mortify his passions—something so essential in Christians that, according to the Apostle, they only are Christ’s who have crucified their flesh with its passions and lusts (cf. Gal. 5:24). Having raised this cross in themselves, Christians hold it exalted all their lives. Let every Christian soul ask himself if this is how it is, and let him hearken to the answer that his conscience gives him in his heart. Oh, may we not hear, “You only please your flesh in the passions; your cross is not exalted—it is thrown into the pit of the passions, and is rotting there in negligence and contempt!”

When the Lord was taken down from the Cross, the Cross remained on Golgotha, and then it was thrown into the pit that was in that place, where this instrument of execution was usually thrown, together with other refuse. Soon Jerusalem was razed and all of its edifices were leveled to the ground. The pit containing the Cross of Christ was also filled over. When the pagans rebuilt the city (the Jews were forbidden to come near the place where it was), it happened that on the place where the Cross of Christ was hidden, they placed an idol of Venus, the pagan Goddess of fornication and all manner of lusts. This is what the enemy suggested to them. This is how it is with our inner cross. When the enemy destroys the spiritual order in the soul, this is our mental Jerusalem, and then the spiritual cross is thrown down from the Golgotha of the heart and is covered over with the garbage of the affections and lusts. Lustful self-pleasure then rises like a tower over all our inner peace, and everything in us bows down to it and fulfills its commands until grace shines upon us, inspiring us to cast down the idol and lift up the cross of self-crucifixion.

St. Theophan the Recluse