Apolytikon for Holy Pentecost
Εύλογητός εἶ Χριστὲ ὁ Θεος ἡμῶν…
Blessed are You, O Christ our God, who made fisherman all-wise, sending upon them the Holy Spirit. And, through them, netting the world. O Loving One, glory to You.
Ὅτε καταβὰς τὰς γλώσσας συνέχεε…
When the Most High came down and confounded tongues of men at Babel, He divided the Nations. When He dispensed the Tongues of Fire, He called all to unity, and with one voice we glorify the Most Holy Spirit.
Saints and Feast Days
Feast of Pentecost
Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, which happened and is always celebrated 50 days after the Resurrection of our Lord. At Pentecost, the disciples received the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire, fulfilling the promise that Christ had given them while He was still with them. This spirit was the Comforter who would lead them into the fullness of the Truth concerning God and would be for them their final preparatory gift from God for their ministry. As Orthodox Christians we each receive the seal of the Holy Spirit when we are chrismated into the Faith. This is our personal Pentecost. This feast reminds us of our apostolic calling as baptized and chrismated members of the Church—to spread the Gospel in word and deed wherever we happen to find ourselves in the world.
Because the main passage from the New Testament for this feast is from the Acts of the Apostles and is read as the Epistle during the Divine Liturgy, the Gospel reading quoted above, spoken during Jesus’ public ministry while the Jews were celebrating the feast of the Tabernacles, serves as a commentary on the Epistle. After summoning those who would follow Him and promising them the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ’s divinity is in question as several voices debate the issue. It is probably safe to assume that the majority in the crowd that day were seeking the Messiah and a prophet to lead them out of Roman oppression. However, Jesus Christ’s role was not one of political freedom fighter. He is God incarnate and brings freedom to liberate humanity from sin, the devil, and death. We are called to witness our faith in Christ as Lord in the midst of a world that may strongly disagree and persecute us for our convictions. Yet those who choose to know the Light will be brought to Him through our living the light of the Gospel and will find in our heartfelt words the living water of the Spirit.
Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11
WHEN THE DAY of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontos and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
John 7:37-52; 8:12
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. The officers then went back to the chief priest and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Are you led astray, you also? Have any of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, who do not know the law, are accursed.” Nikodemos, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee.” Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”