July 31, 2015

Saint Joseph of Arimathea


You were found to secretly bury the dead in the tomb,
You who buried as dead the One who will empty the tombs.

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

The noble Joseph, a wealthy man and member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, was secretly a follower of Christ.

"Now when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, Joseph by name, who was himself a disciple of Jesus" (Matthew 27:57).

"Now after these things Joseph of Arimathea, because he was a disciple of Jesus (although for fear of the Jews a secret one), besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus" (John 19:38).

Joseph and Nicodemus removed the body of Christ from the Cross, and placed it in Joseph's sepulchre. As a result of this he was bound by the Jews and thrown into prison. There the resurrected Lord appeared to him and convinced him of His resurrection. The Jews later released Joseph from prison and banished him from his fatherland. He traveled throughout the world preaching the Gospel of Christ, and brought the good tidings even to England, where he reposed in the Lord.


Joseph, a wealthy and noble man,
Was not tempted concerning Christ the Crucified,
But when the sun darkened and the earth shook,
He, to Pilate, went and brought him news
That the Lord had died, the Giver of life;
And so the secret disciple became public.
And when the Revealed one was concealed, 
The concealed one cameout into the open,
Thus Joseph, the wise, in a day became famous.
With Nicodemus, the body of Christ he took,
And in his garden, in a new tomb, laid it.
The Jewish spies heard and reported it,
And in chains, the righteous Joseph they put.
In the dark prison, Joseph languished
While his Lord in hades shone forth.
Joseph pondered his memories of Christ,
Recalling His wondrous works,
And His miracles, sayings and prophecies many.
While near Him, he had stood in the presence of God:
But now all was dark, without and within.
Dark days, nights, evenings and mornings,
After the brilliant radiance of the shining sun!
Oh, desperate darkness, darker than hades!
But lo, suddenly in the dungeon it is dawn;
The Risen One appears to the fettered servant.
O Joseph, brave and noble,
Neither, concerning the Risen One, were you tempted.
Of the death of Christ, Pilate you informed,
And recognized and glorified the Risen One.
Let the land of Britain honorably glorify you,
For you sowed her first seed of salvation.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the First Tone
Let us honor the man that gave burial to God and showed compassion to Him by Whose mercy all things exist, Christ the Angel of Great Counsel’s Noble Counselor, who gave his narrow grave to Christ and received as recompense the vast spaciousness of Heaven, where he entreateth the Savior to show His mercy to those praising him.

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
The noble Joseph, taking down thy most pure Body from the Tree, wrapped it in clean linen and sweet spices and laid it in a new tomb. But on the third day thou didst rise, O Lord, granting the world great mercy.