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December 12, 2012 + Illustrations of the Blessings of Communion

from St. Ambrose, On the Mysteries and the Treatise on the Sacraments, Translations of Christian Liturature, Series III. Translated by T. Thompson, B.D., 1919, pp. 120-121.

Illustrations of the Blessings of Communion from Psalm 23 and from the Canticles

Therefore thou hast come to the altar, thou has received the body of Christ. Hear again what sacraments thou hast obtained. Hear holy David speaking. He too foresaw these mysteries in the spirit and rejoiced and said that he lacked nothing* Why? Because he that hath received the body of Christ shall never hunger.1

How often hast thou heard the twenty-second Psalm2 and not understood ? See how it is suited to the heavenly sacraments. The Lord is my shepherd; and I shall not want. In a green pasture, there hath he made me to lie down. He hath tended me by the water of comfort, he converteth my soul. He hath led me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me.3 Rod is rule, staff is passion ; that is the eternal Divinity of Christ, but also his passion in the body. The one created, the other redeemed. Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that trouble me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my inebriating cup how glorious it is.4

Therefore thou hast come to the altar, thou hast received the grace of Christ, thou hast obtained the heavenly sacraments. The Church rejoices in the redemption of many and is glad with spiritual exultation that her white-robed household stand at her side.5 Thou hast this in the Song of Songs. In joy she calls Christ, having ready a feast which can seem worthy of heavenly banqueting. Therefore she says: Let my brother come down into his garden and take the fruit of his fruit-trees.6 What are his fruit-trees? Thou becamest a dry tree in Adam ; but now through the grace of Christ thou hast budded into a fruitful tree.

1 Jn - vi - 35- Cf. de Mvst. viii. 48.

2 The author follows the numbering of the Psalms in the Latin Version, which is also that of the LXX.

3 Ps. xxiii. (xxii. Vulg. ) 1-4.

4 Ps. xxiii. (xxii. Vulg.) 5. Cf. de MySt. viii. 43 (note).

5 A reference to the newly-baptized in their white robes. Cf. de Myst. vii. 34. The word familia (rendered "household") is of common occurrence in the prayers of the Western service books.

6 Cant. v. 1. Cf. de Myst. ix. 56.


St. Spyridon the Wonderworker and Bishop of Tremithus

Troparion of St. Spyridon - Tone 1

You were revealed as a champion of the First Council and a wonderworker, our God-bearing father Spyridon. You spoke to one dead in the grave and transformed a serpent into gold. While chanting your holy prayers you had angels serving with you!

Kontakion of St. Spyridon - Tone 2

Wounded by the love of Christ, all-holy one, your mind was given wings through the light of the Spirit, you found work in active contemplation, God-pleasing Spyridon, becoming a divine sacrifice, and imploring divine illumination for all.