A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Holy Pentecost. Christian Orthodox Churches Great Feast, named after the Jewish festival day of Shavuot (Pentecost) that celebrates G-d’s revelation of the Five Books of the Torah to Moses and the Israelites on Mount Sinai, with the Ten Commandments for all Jewish people to follow as their main source of wisdom. Holy Pentecost is an important festival in the Christian year, often seen as the birthday of the Church, since this is when the Disciples of Jesus first proclaimed the Gospel after the Holy Spirit descended on them on the eighth Sunday, the fiftieth day, after the 2 May Great and Holy Feast of Pascha (Easter), the descent of the Holy Spirit completing the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the basis of Christian theology. The Holy Spirit allowed the Apostles to speak in other languages through tongues of flame and they started preaching the word of Jesus to the Jews who had come to Jerusalem for their Pentecost, the first time that the Apostles had preached to the masses. As a Great Feast, there is a vigil (παννυχίς), a period of purposeful sleeplessness for devotional watching, on the eve of Pentecost with psalms, prayers, hymns or silent meditation beginning the evening before, as the Early Church continued the Jewish practice of starting the day at sunset rather than midnight. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, an All-Night Vigil with Great Vespers, Matins and the First Hour is held. Pentecost comes at the end of 9 days of waiting, a silence hovering over the Church’s liturgy with a certain Pascal joy and anticipatory expectation. At the 10 June Feast of the Ascension of our Lord God and Saviour, the fortieth day after Pascha, Jesus blessed His Disciples and asked them to wait for the fulfilment of the promise of the Father, that of their being baptised with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. On Pentecost, grace is rained down on parched souls and bodies so that they may be fruitful: “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink”. The theme of the Paschal Season has thus been the acquisition of the Holy Spirit poured out as a gift upon all the faithful who partake of the living water that is Christ Himself. The liturgical texts used by the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches during the Paschal Season are from the Pentecostarion (Πεντηκοστάριον, Цвѣтнаѧ Трїωдь, Paschal Triodion, Flowery Triodon, Book of the Fifty Days), covering the period from Pascha to Pentecost, beginning with the 2 to 8 May Bright Week and continuing to the 27 June Feast of All Saints. The name of Whit Sunday derives from the custom of the newly-baptised wearing white at Pentecost. Eastern Christianity has no specific recognition of the Western Trinity Sunday, beyond the Sunday of Pentecost, which is the start of a fast-free week. Image: holycrossoca.org.
Prayer The Holy Spirit has always been, is now and ever shall be, having neither beginning nor end, but one with the Father and the Son, life and life giving, goodness itself and source of goodness. The Father is made known and the Son glorified by all through one entity, one power, one unity and one worship of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is light and life, the living fountain of reason, the spirit of wisdom and honesty, intelligence and sovereignty, expiating sins. In the name of the God who deifies, fire deriving from fire, speaking and acting. Amen
Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche.Theravada Buddhist celebration, with religious services in Buddhist temples across Bhutan, of birthday on the tenth day of the Bhutan sixth lunar month of Padmasambhava, who is referred to as Guru Rinpoche (precious master) in Tibet and Bhutan. The tradition is that Padmasambhava (Lotus-born) was nascent in the 8th Century as an eight-year-old boy within a lotus flower on the lake of Dhanakosa in Oddiyana. Padmasambhava is credited with bringing Buddhism to Bhutan and defeating demons who wanted to stop its spread. It is said that he changed his consort into a tigress and travelled on her back to a cave in Bhutan where he meditated for three years, three months, three days and three hours. The famous Tiger’s Nest (Paro Taktsang) temple is said to have been built around this cave. Image: facebook.com.
St Æthelwine of Lindsey (dc700). Feast Day for noble second Christian Bishop of Lindsey, the brother of Æthelhun, a youth of great capacity in the English nobility who died of the plague while visiting a monastery in Ireland. Another brother, Ældwin, was abbot at Partney and a sister, Æthelhild, was an Abbess whom St Bede says visited Queen Osthryth at Bardney Abbey and was still alive when Bede was writing in the 720s. Alternative Feast Day 3 May. Image: pyhiinvaeltaja.wordpress.com.