Second Sunday of Lent
Commemoration of Gregory Palamas, archbishop of Thessalonica
Venerable Theophanes the Confessor of Sigriane; Gregory the Dialogist, pope of Rome; Venerable Simeon the New Theologian; Righteous Phineas, grandson of Aaron the High Priest
March 12, 2017
Troparion of the Resurrection – Tone 5
Let us believers praise and worship the Word; coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, born of the Virgin for our salvation. For, He took pleasure in ascending the Cross in the flesh to suffer death; and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.
Troparion for St Gregory Palamas – Tone 8
O Star of Orthodoxy, support of the Church and its teacher, O comeliness of ascetics, and incontestable champion of those who speak in theology, Gregory the wonder-worker, the pride of Thessalonica and preacher of grace, implore thou constantly for the salvation of our souls.
Troparion of St Joseph – Tone 2
Proclaim, O Joseph to David, the ancestor of God, the amazing wonder, for by the angel they were revealed unto thee. For thou hast seen a Virgin great with child, and thou gave glory with the shepherds and didst worship with the Magi. Wherefore, plead with Christ God to save our souls.
Kontakion for The Annunciation (And Great Lent) – Tone 8
To thee, the Champion Leader, do I offer thanks of victory, O Theotokos, thou who hast delivered me from terror; but as thou that hast that power invincible, O Theotokos, thou alone can set me free: from all forms of danger free me and deliver me, that I may cry unto thee: Hail, O Bride without Bridegroom.
Epistle – Hebrews 1:10-2:3
“In the beginning, Thou, O Lord, didst found the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands; they will perish, but Thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, like a mantle Thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will never end.” But to what angel has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a stool for thy feet”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation? Therefore, we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For if the message, declared by angels, was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard Him.
Gospel – Mark 2:1-12
At that time, when Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and He was preaching the Word to them. And they came, bringing to Jesus a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now, some of the scribes were sitting there, reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus reasoned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you reason thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the paralytic – “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all. So that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Gregory the Dialogist, Pope of Rome – March 12th
Saint Gregory Dialogus, Pope of Rome, was born in Rome around the year 540. His grandfather was Pope Felix, and his mother Sylvia (November 4) and aunts Tarsilla and Emiliana were also numbered among the saints by the Roman Church. Having received a most excellent secular education, he attained high government positions.
Leading a God-pleasing life, he yearned for monasticism with all his soul. After the death of his father, Saint Gregory used his inheritance to establish six monasteries. At Rome he founded a monastery dedicated to the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, where he received monastic tonsure. Later, on a commission of Pope Pelagius II, Saint Gregory lived for a while in Constantinople. There he wrote his Commentary on the Book of Job.
After the death of Pope Pelagius, Saint Gregory was chosen to the Roman See. For seven months he would not consent to accept this service, considering himself unworthy. He finally accepted consecration only after the persistent entreaties of the clergy and flock.
Wisely leading the Church, Saint Gregory worked tirelessly in propagating the Word of God. Saint Gregory compiled the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts in the Latin language, which before him was known only in the verbal tradition. Affirmed by the Sixth Ecumenical Council, this liturgical service was accepted by all the Orthodox Church.
He zealously struggled against the Donatist heresy; he also converted the inhabitants of Brittany – pagans and Goths – who had been adhering to the Arian heresy, to the True Faith.
Saint Gregory has left behind numerous written works. After the appearance of his book, Dialogues Concerning the Life and Miracles of the Italian Fathers, the saint was called “Dialogus.” His Pastoral Rule was well-known. In this work, Saint Gregory describes the model of the true pastor. His letters (848), dealing with moral guidance, have also survived.
Saint Gregory headed the Church for thirteen years, ministering to all the needs of his flock. He was characterized by an extraordinary love of poverty, for which he was granted a vision of the Lord Himself.
Pope Saint Gregory the Great, as he is known, died in the year 604, and his relics rest in the cathedral of the holy Apostle Peter in the Vatican.