"My God, my God why have you forsaken me"

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Christ's fourth saying on the Cross is the cry: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46). This saying must be interpreted in an Orthodox way, within the interpretive analysis of the holy Fathers of the Church, because otherwise it can be considered heretical. This is said because there are some scholastics and rationalists who try to interpret these words of Christ by maintaining that, if only for a few seconds, the divine nature abandoned the human nature on the Cross in order for Christ to feel the pain, the suffering of His abandonment.
In the first place this saying is connected with a Psalm of David (22) which is purely christological, since it refers to Christ's incarnation and His saving Passion, and which begins as follows: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Ps. 22:1). This Psalm is prophetic, because it reveals Christ's suffering on the Cross. Christ was not repeating it mechanically, but by the repetition He was fulfilling the prophecy. Of course the prophet's vision came first, and Christ said it in order for all the prophecies which had been spoken about Him to be fulfilled.
St. Gregory the Theologian, interpreting this cry of Christ, says that Christ was not abandoned by either His Father or by His own divinity, as if fearing the Passion and shrinking from the suffering of the Christ. So what happened? By this cry Christ "stamps on Himself what is ours". In other words, at that moment Christ is speaking in our place. For we were those abandoned and overlooked and then assumed and saved by the Passion of the impassible One. And St. Cyril of Alexandria, interpreting this, says that "He abandoned understanding and forgave the passion". Christ's kenosis, which began with His incarnation, reached its highest point. And this is called abandonment.
In Christ the divine and human natures were united unchangeably, inseparably and indivisibly, according to the definition of the Fourth Ecumenical Council. This means that they have not been separated, nor ever will be separated. And this is why we can partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. So this cry of Christ to the Father expresses our own cry at having lost communion with God through sin. Moreover, Christ was suffering for us.
By Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos

The service of the Bridegroom

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Beginning in the evening of Palm Sunday and continuing through the evening of Great and Holy Tuesday, the Orthodox Church observes a special service known as the Service of the Bridegroom. Each evening service we chant the Matins service of the following day (e.g. the service held on Sunday evening is the Matins service for Great and Holy Monday). The name “Service of the Bridegroom” is derived from the parable of the Ten Virgins, in which Christ speaks of mystical marriages in which the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night. Some of the brides were prepared with lamps to receive Him; others had come unprepared and consequently were left out of the wedding feast (Matthew 25:1-13). The term “Bridegroom” suggests the unifying intimacy of Christ’s divine-human love for us all and is of great significance; in the parable He compares the Kingdom of God to a bridal chamber. The “Bridegroom” also suggests the Parousia, and in the patristic tradition the parable is also related to His Second Coming: it is associated with the need for spiritual vigilance and preparedness, by 

Stand Fast and Watch!

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By St. John the Wonderworker, Bishop of Shanghai and San Francisco

 Stand fast on spiritual watch, because you don’t know when the Lord will  call you to Himself. In your earthly life be ready at any moment to give Him an account. Beware that the enemy does not catch you in his nets, that he not deceive you causing you to fall into temptation. Daily examine your conscience; try the purity of your thoughts, your intentions.

There was a king who had a wicked son. Having no hope that he would change for the better, the father condemned the son to death. He gave him a month to prepare. And when the month went by, the father summoned the son. To his surprise he saw that the young man was noticeably changed: his face was thin and drawn, and his whole body looked as if it had suffered.

“How is it that such a transformation has come over you, my son?” the father asked. “My father and my lord,” replied the son, “how could I not change when each passing day brought me closer to death?” “Good, my son,” remarked the king. “Since you have evidently come to your senses, I shall pardon you. However, you must maintain this vigilant disposition of soul for the rest of your life.” “Father,” replied the son, “that’s impossible. How can I withstand the countless seductions and temptations?

"Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"

Mathew 28:19