Lesvos Island - Agiasos - "The Virgin Mary Festival"

Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, informally the Presanctified Liturgy, is a liturgical service for the distribution of the Holy Gifts on the weekdays of Great Lent.

Communion during Great Lent: Because Great Lent is a season of repentance, fasting, and intensified prayer, the Orthodox Church regards more frequent reception of communion as especially desirable at that time. However, the Divine Liturgy has a festal character not in keeping with the season. Thus, the Presanctified Liturgy is celebrated instead; the Divine Liturgy is only performed on Saturdays and Sundays. Although it is possible to celebrate this service on any weekday of Great Lent, the service is prescribed to be celebrated only on Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent, Thursday of the fifth week of Lent (when the Great Canon of St. Andrew is read), and Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week. Common parish practice is to celebrate it on as many as possible of these days.

During Lent, many Orthodox faithful fast sometimes from midnight and sometimes the entire workday, not eating anything after the morning meal until they break the fast with Holy Communion at this evening service. They have this anticipation to help them with this somewhat difficult ascetic discipline.

Presanctified Liturgy: The service consists of Daily Vespers combined with additional prayers and communion. The communion bread has already been consecrated and intincted with the precious Blood and reserved at the previous Sunday's Divine Liturgy. Unconsecrated wine is placed in the chalice. Local practice also varies as to whether or not this wine must be thought of as the Blood of Christ. The only practical effect of this variety is that the celebrant who must consume all the undistributed communion at the end of the service might or might not partake of the chalice when he communes himself.

The service is preceded by the reading of the Typical Psalms, and the Divine Liturgy's opening blessing, Blessed is the Kingdom... is used at the start of the part of the service that resembles daily vespers. Psalm 103, Bless the Lord, O my soul is read. The Great Litany is then intoned and then Psalms 119–133 are read. Then the choir sings Lord, I have cried unto Thee with stichera. The priest makes an entrance with the censer. If the occasion is a feast, the entrance is with the Gospel Book and there is then an epistle and gospel reading for the feast day.

The choir sings O Gladsome Light, and the first reading, from Genesis (or Exodus), is read with a prokeimenon. Then the priest intones Wisdom, let us attend. The Light of Christ enlightened all men, and those praying prostrate themselves. The second reading, from Proverbs (or Job) is read.

In the second part of the service, the choir chants Let my prayer be directed as incense before Thee, after which the prayer of St. Ephraim is read. After a litany the choir sings Now the powers of Heaven with us invisibly do worship, and the presanctified Gifts are brought into the holy altar in a procession resembling the Great Entrance at a Divine Liturgy but in silence. There is no anaphora because the gifts are pre-consecrated.

The prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian is repeated, and the Litany of Petition is proclaimed. The choir sings the Lord's Prayer, after which the priest intones: The Presanctified Holy Things are for the holy. The Holy Sacraments are brought out through the Royal Doors, and the faithful receive Holy Communion. After the Litany of Thanksgiving and the prayer before the Ambo ("Every good and perfect gift is from above..."), the believers venerate the Holy Cross.

Second Sunday οf Lent St. Gregory Palamas

His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes
On the second Sunday of Lent our Church commemorates St. Gregory Palamas, who played a leading role in the triumph of Orthodoxy at a very difficult time in its history.
St. Gregory was born in the Emperor's palace in Constantinople. He grew up there and was educated as a prince. Although the Emperor showered favours on him and established him in a high position, St. Gregory's heart leaned towards Christ. For this reason he left the palace at an early age and went to Mount Athos to become a monk.
His stay on Mount Athos enabled him to go deeply into the writings of the Fathers and to experience the fruits of the Prayer of the Heart.
The “Prayer of the Heart” or the “Jesus Prayer” is that of the Publican, "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner", is a prayer that is repeated constantly and which has as its aim the cleansing of the heart of all thoughts and desires, so that he who prays, may with the Grace of God, experience the Divine Light.
The Divine Light is uncreated and is revealed only after great and intense spiritual struggle, which the monk undertakes under obedience to his Abbot or Spiritual Father. It is the same light that the three Apostles, namely Peter, James and John, saw on Mount Tabor, when our Lord was Transfigured before them. His face becoming as radiant as the sun and His clothes as white as snow. The vision of Divine Light may be vouchsafed to any Orthodox Christian who sincerely strives to clean his heart, soul and body, of all unclean thoughts and desires, thus becoming a true temple of the Holy Trinity. Our Lord promised that He would come down and make His abode in the heart of any man who loves Him and keeps His commandments.

To the 2nd Salutations to the Theotokos

His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

            The incarnation of “Christ’s presence” was for man’s history the miracle of all miracles, the greatest of all miracles. Man because of his fall day by day was alienated from his God and Creator. AS time was passing, he was going down to the path of catastrophe. The heart of the fallen man was infected and his will was crushed.
            From the ruins of man’s moral and spiritual condition, the joyful sound of the angelic hymns was heard, glorifying “the presence of Christ’s incarnation”.  The Word and Son of God is incarnated and becomes perfect man. God descends from heaven to raise man to heaven. The Son of God takes up all the human nature in order to make man a god. God the Word, who created man in the “image and likeness” of God, vests Himself with that which He Himself had created. The Son of God humbles Himself in order to correct the pride of His creation.
            This incarnation of “Christ’s presence” was the saving solution which God provided to save man. Man by his own was unable to be saved and to restore his relationship with God. All men were guilty of sin. No one was just, so that he might offer the unique Sacrifice which was required “for the world’s life and salvation”.


Program of Holy Services April 2013 - May 2013

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of New Zealand
Holy Church of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, Christchurch
Program of Holy Services April 2013
3  Wednesday
9th Hour, vespers and Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
8:30 – 11:30 am

5  Friday        2nd Salutation to Theotokos   6:00 pm 

7 Sunday      It will not work the church          

12 Friday      3th Salutation to Theotokos 6:00 pm

14  Sunday      4th Sunday of Lend. St. John Climacus Matins,
Divine Liturgy of St. Basil  9:00 – 11:30 a.m.

17 Wednesday  Small Compline and the Great Canon of Saint Andreou of Creta.
5:00 – 7:00 pm           

19  Friday       The Akathist Hymn.  5:30 – 7:00 pm    

21  Sunday      5th Sunday of lend. St. Mary of Egypt.
Matins, Divine Liturgy of St. Basil  9:00 – 11:45 a.m.  

24  Wednesday           9th Hour, vespers and Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
8:30 – 11:30 am
27  Saturday   Lazarus Saturday. Matins, Divine Liturgy   9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Great Vespers 5:00-5:45 pm  

28  Sunday      Palm Sunday: Triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Fish permitted )
Matins, Divine Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Divine Service of the Bridegroom (Nymfios).  6:00 – 7:30 pm 

29  Monday  Great and Holy Monday. Divine Liturgy  of the Presanctified
9:00 – 11:00 am
Great Compline  5:00 – 6:00 pm
Divine Service of the Bridegroom (Nymfios) 6:00 – 7:30 pm   

30 Tuesday     Great and Holy Tuesday . The 10 Virgins .
Divine Liturgy  of the Presanctified Gifts 9:00 – 11:00 am
Great Compline  5:00 – 6:00 pm
Divine Service of the Bridegroom (Nymfios) and Hymn of Cassiane 6:00 – 7:30 pm.   

Program of Holy Services May 2013

1 Wednesday              Great and Holy Wednesday.
Divine Liturgy  of the Presanctified Gifts 9:00 – 11:00 am
The Sacrament of the Holy Unction   5:00 – 7:00 pm  

2 Thursday     Great and Holy Thursday. The Mystical Supper & the Passion of the Lord
Divine Liturgy of St. Basil 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Divine Service of Nymfios , Our Lord’s Passion & the 12 gospel readings
 6:30 – 9:00 pm          

3 Friday   Holy & Great Friday Unnailing & Burial of our Lord
Royal hours, Vespers,  Apokathelosis 8:30 –11:00 am
Lamentation and Holy Ceremony of the Burial of Christ. 7:00 – 9:30 pm.        

4 Saturday Great and Holy Saturday. Divine Liturgy of St. Basil 7:00 – 8:30 am
Matins, Divine Liturgy of Our Lord’s Resurrection  23:00 pm – 1:45 am         

5 Sunday         Great and Holy Pascha.
Service of Love 11:00am – 12:30 pm 

6 Monday       Renewal Monday. George the Great Martyr & Triumphant
Matins, Divine Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.        

7 Tuesday       Renewal Tuesday Matins, Divine Liturgy  9:00 – 11:45 a.m.    

Father Amphilochios, along with the president and the Community Council wishes you a Holy and Blessed Easter.
Christ is Risen!  Truly Risen!!!