Blessed are You, O Christ our God
Apolytikion of the Feast (Mode pl. 4)
“Blessed are You, O Christ our God. You made the fishermen all-wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit and through them You drew the world into Your net O Lover of mankind, glory to You.”
Ἀπολυτίκιον τῆς Ἑορτῆς (Ἦχος πλ. δʹ)
«Εὐλογητὸς εἶ, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, ὁ πανσόφους τοὺς ἁλιεῖς ἀναδείξας, καταπέμψας αὐτοῖς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, καὶ δι’ αὐτῶν τὴν οἰκουμένην σαγηνεύσας, φιλάνθρωπε, δόξα σοι.»
This Dismissal Hymn of Pentecost is chanted at the end of the Vespers service on the night preceding Pentecost and then throughout the feast itself and the week following.
The Hymn declares the gathering of the world’s people into God’s net through the work of the Apostles.
The Holy Spirit fulfilled Christ’s promise to His Disciples by coming on the day of Pentecost. The Apostles received “the power from on high” (Luke 24:49) and they began to preach and bear witness to Jesus as the risen Christ, the Lord and Saviour. This moment has traditionally been referred to as the birthday of the Church.
The Apostles were simple, uneducated people, mostly fishermen. As they were noble, and decent, when the Holy Spirit came down upon them it transformed them. It made them able to not only become intelligent and wise, but it gave them the ability to fearlessly share and preach to the world the good news that is Christ and His resurrection. Although they faced so much hostility, they succeeded in converting large parts of the then known world to Christianity, which has grown ever since.
The traditional Pentecost icon shows the Apostles sitting in unity surrounding a symbolic image of the ‘kosmos’ – the world. With the Holy Spirit they were able to preach to the ‘kosmos’ and draw people into the net of Christianity and personal encounter with Jesus and His messages of peace, love, hope, repentance and compassion.
Apostle Paul tells us that the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
The Holy Spirit is fulfilled in people by their becoming Saints, which is of course the purpose of the creation and salvation of the world. “Thus says the Lord: Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I your God am holy” (Lev 11:44-45). To become Saints we must know God and do our utmost to achieve theosis – a likeness in union with God. The Apostles made this possible for us by preaching God and drawing us into their net.
Source: Lychnos June-July 2020 edition