Passion Week: Great Thursday.
Great Lent. Food with Oil
Luke 22:1-39 (Bridegroom Matins Gospel)
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude. Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?” And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” ‘ Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready. So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover. When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed! Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing. Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren. But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.” Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end. So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.
1 Corinthians 11:23-32
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
“You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.” And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him. Now on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.” ‘ ” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?” He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.” And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee. Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples. Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand. And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus? In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end. Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ” And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think? They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.” Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?” Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly. When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
John 13:1-11 (At the Washing of the Feet, Gospel)
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”
John 13:12-17 (After the Washing of the Feet, Gospel)
So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Martyrs Leonidas, Chariessa, Nice, Galina, Callista (Calisa), Nunechia, Basilissa, Theodora , and Irene of Corinth (250).
The Holy Martyr Leonides and the Holy Martyresses Chariessa, Nika, Galina, Kalisa (Kalida), Nunekhia, Basilissa and Theodora suffered at Corinth in the year 258. They threw them into the sea, but they did not drown, and instead they walked upon the water as though upon dry land, singing spiritual hymns. The torturers overtook them in a ship, hung stones on their necks and drownded them.
The Weeping Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Ilyin Chernigov” (1658) and “Tambov” Icon (1692).
The Tambov Icon of the Mother of God was manifest in the year 1692. Before its glorification it was situated in the Tambov cemetery church in the name of the holy ArchDeacon Stephen. The icon was taken from the cemetery at the request of a certain seriously ill person. It had been revealed to him in a dream, that he would be healed, if a molieben were served before this icon. After fervent prayer of a molieben for the sick, he was healed. The celebration of the icon was established by decree of the MostHoly Synod on 29 March 1888.
Virgin-martyrs Agape , Irene , and Chionia in Illyria (304).
The Holy Martyresses Agapia, Irene and Chionia were sisters by birth and they lived at the end-III Century to beginning-IV Century, near the Italian city of Aquilea. They were left orphaned at an early age. The young women led a pious Christian life and they turned down many an offer of marriage. Their spiritual guide was the priest Xeno. It was revealed to him in a dream-vision, that at a very soon time he would die, and the holy virgins would suffer martyrdom. Situated also at Aquilea and having a similar vision was the GreatMartyress Anastasia (+ c. 304, Comm. 22 December), who is entitled “Alleviatrix-of-Captives” (“Uzoreshitel’nitsa”) because that she fearlessly made visit to Christians locked up in prison, encouraging them and helping them. The GreatMartyress Anastasia made visit to the sisters and urged them to bravely endure for Christ. Soon what was predicted in the vision came to pass. The priest Xeno died, and the three virgins were arrested and brought to trial before the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Seeing the youthful beauty of the sisters, the emperor urged them to recant from Christ and he promised to find them illustrious bridegrooms from his entourage. But the holy sisters answered, that they have only the Heavenly Bridegroom , Christ, for the faith in Whom they were ready to suffer. The emperor demanded they renounce Christ, but neither the elder sisters, nor the youngest of them, would consent. They called the pagan gods mere idols, wrought by human hands, and they preached faith in the True God. By order of Diocletian, who was setting off for Macedonia, the holy sisters were also to be conveyed there. And they brought them to the court of the governor Dulcetius. When he saw the beauty of the holy martyresses, he was aroused with impure passion. He put the sisters under guard and he informed them, that they would receive their freedom, if they agreed to fulfill his desires. But the holy martyresses replied, that they were prepared to die for their Heavenly Bridegroom , Christ. Then Dulcetius decided secretly by night to have his way by force. When the holy sisters arose at night and were glorifying the Lord in prayer, Dulcetius edged up to the door and wanted to enter. But an invisible force struck him, he lost his senses and staggered away. Unable to find his way out, the torturer on his way fell down in the kitchen amidst the cooking utensils, the pots and pans, and he was covered all over with soot. The servants and the soldiers recognised him only with difficulty. When he saw himself in a mirror, he then realised, that the holy martyresses had made a fool of him, and he decided to take his revenge on them. At his court Dulcetius gave orders to strip bare the holy martyresses before him. But the soldiers, no matter how much they tried, were not able to do this: the clothing as it were clung to the bodies of the holy virgins. And during the time of trial Dulcetius suddenly fell asleep, and no one was able to rouse him. But just as they carried him into his house, he immediately awoke. When they reported to the emperor Diocletian about everything that had happened, he became angry with Dulcetius and he gave the holy virgins over for trial to Sisinius. This one began his interrogation with the youngest sister, Irene. Having convinced himself of her unyielding, he despatched her to prison and then attempted to sway into renunciation Saints Chionia and Agapia. But these also it was impossible to sway into a renunciation of Christ, and Sisinius gave orders that Saints Agapia and Chionia be burned. The sisters upon hearing the sentence gave up thanks to the Lord for the crowns of martyrdom. And in the fire Agapia and Chionia prayerfully expired to the Lord. When the fire went out, everyone saw, that the bodies of the holy martyresses and their clothing had not been scorched by the fire, and their faces were beautiful and peaceful, like people quietly asleep. On the day following Sisinius gave orders to bring Saint Irene to court. He threatened her with the fate of her older sisters and he urged her to renounce Christ, and then he began to threaten to hand her over for defilement in an house of ill repute. But the holy martyress answered: “Let my body be given over for forceful defilement, but my soul will never be defiled by renunciation of Christ”. When the soldiers of Sisinius led Saint Irene to the house of ill repute, two luminous soldiers overtook them and said: “Your master Sisinius commands you to take this virgin to an high mountain and leave her there, and then return to him and report to him about fulfilling the command”. And the soldiers did so. When they reported back to Sisinius about this, he flew into a rage, since he had given no such orders. The luminous soldiers were Angels of God, saving the holy martyress from defilement. Sisinius with a detachment of soldiers set off to the mountain and saw Saint Irene on its summit. For a long while they searched for the way to the top, but they could not find it. Then one of the soldiers wounded Saint Irene with an arrow from his bow. The martyress cried out to Sisinius: “I do mock thine impotent malice, and pure and undefiled I do expire to my Lord Jesus Christ”. Having given up thanks to the Lord, she lay down upon the ground and gave up her spirit to God, on the very day of Holy Pascha (+ 304). The GreatMartyress Anastasia learned about the end of the holy sisters and reverently she buried their bodies.
Venerable Theodora-Bassa, princess of Novgorod (1378).
The Nun Theodora of Nizhegorod, in the world Anastasia (Vassa), was the daughter of the Tver’ boyar-noble Ioann and his spouse Anna. She was born in the year 1331. At 12 years of age they gave her in marriage to the Nizhegorod prince Andrei Konstantinovich. after 12 years of childless married life, the prince died, having accepted monasticism (+ 2 June 1365). The holy princess continued to live in the world for another four years, and then she set free her servants, distributed off her substance and entered the Nizhegorod Zachat’ev monastery. She was tonsured by Sainted Dionysii, afterwards the archbishop of Suzdal’ (+ 1385, Comm. 15 October and 26 June). In monastic life the saint often went without food for a day or two, and sometimes even five; her nights she spent in tearful prayers, and on her body she wore an hairshirt. She attained the gift of humility and love and she bore every abuse without malice. The example of the strict life of the Nun Theodora attracted others also: in her common-life monastery were tonsured princesses and boyaresses, and in all there about 100 sisters. The Nun Theodora died in the year 1378.
Martyr Irene of Greece.
The Holy Martyress Irene suffered in Greece in the year 258 on the day of Holy Pascha. She lived with other Christians in a cave and spent her time in constant prayer. Reported on by the pagans, Saint Irene was arrested by soldiers of the governor and locked up in prison. For her fearless confession of Christ as the True God, Saint Irene was cruelly tortured. They cut out her tongue, knocked out her teeth, and finally they beheaded her with the sword.
New Martyr Michael of Smyrna (1772).
The Holy Martyr Michael Burliotes was born in about the year 1754 into a farm family. the boy was raised piously, but his character was flawed. The handsome and ruddy youth caught the attention of the owner of a coffee-house in the city of Smyrna. The Turk flattered him and urged him to accept Mahometanism, so as to work at the coffee-house. The youth consented and with delight he began his employment. But then came Holy Pascha, and he heard the triumphant song of Christians: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb bestowing life!” With all his soul he sensed, that he also , was of Christ, that the Lord was summoning him into His joy, and the youth went down to the singers, but he heard reproaches for his apostasy. “Tomorrow ye will see, what I am”, , he said sadly to the Christians. He immediately set off to the Mussulman judge and asked, whether it was lawful to barter in exchange swine for gold? If the barter exchange were made by deceit, then could the defrauded take back the gold? “Both possible and lawful”, , answered the Mahometan judge. “If that is so, , said Saint Michael, , take back thine swine which thou didst give me for gold, , take back thine faith and return me my gold , the faith of my fathers”. After these words the martyr openly confessed Jesus Christ as the True God, the Judge of both the living and the dead. The Turks locked up the confessor in prison, and after two days they cut off his head (+ 1772). His body lay for three days without burial and remained without decay. The Turks threw it into the sea, but sailors took up the body and buried it at the church of Saint Photinia.
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Martyrs Felix the bishop, Januarius the priest, Fortunatus and Septimus of Lycaonia (304).
St. John, blessed fool-for-Christ’s sake of Verkhoturye (1701).
St. Fructuosis of Braga in Iberia.
Monk-martyr Christopher of Dionysiou, Mt. Athos, who suffered at Adrianople (1818).
Great and Holy Thursday, Troparion, Tone VIII
When Thy glorious Disciples were enlightened at the supper by the feet
washing, then the impious Judas was darkened with the disease of avarice, and he
delivered Thee, the Just Judge, to the lawless judges. See, O lover of money,
this man through money came to hang himself. Flee the insatiable desire which
dared to do such things to the Master. O Lord, Who art good towards all, glory
Kontakion, Tone II
Having taken bread in his hand, the traitor secretly stretches it out, and
takes a price for Him Who with His own hands made man. And Judas remained an
incorrigible slave and liar.
Holy Martyrs Agape, Irene and Chionia
No Troparion is given in the Menaion.
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