December 17, 2017

Synaxarion for the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers

Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (Second Sunday Before Christmas)


Receive joy O Forefathers of old,
Beholding Christ the Messiah drawing near.
Rejoice Abraham, for you have been shown to be the great-grandfather of Christ.

The subject of the blessed Abraham is known as much by the wise men as by common Christians. For the Book of Genesis, written by the Prophet Moses, which speaks of him, is read to be heard by all Christians in the Church, during the fasting days of the Holy and Great Lent. Wherefore we all learn from this book, that our forefather Abraham was from the land of the Chaldeans, and he was a gentile. The Chaldeans were a nation before the Jews. And his father Terah was an idolater. The divine Abraham was also an idolater, but he was not prevented by this from coming to know the true God. Rather, we should say something strange, for the great Abraham even by this idolatry was led to understand the true God.

When the renowned one understood that nothing created is God, and should not be worshiped as God, and having contemplated the good arrangement of things that exist, and by seeing these things which were made, he came to know their invisible Maker. And having come to know Him, he worshiped Him as God, Who upholds and governs all of creation, and designated these things which have come into being to be suitable and orderly. He was therefore ordered by God to leave his homeland and relatives, and go to the land of Canaan (where also Palestine and Jerusalem are located). Immediately he obeyed, without having doubt in his heart, for he had much faith towards God. For this reason he received as a wager for his faith, a son named Isaac who was born to him in his old age, and he became the father of many nations. Isaac was born of Abraham, Jacob was born of Isaac, and from Jacob was born Judah (from whose tribe Christ was born) and his brother Patriarchs.

For this reason therefore our God-bearing Fathers and Teachers, have arranged it for today to commemorate the divine Abraham, as the forefather from whom Christ was born. And they delivered this to be reckoned by us, not for a long period of many days, but near the birth in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was not done simply by chance, but according to the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For the most good and philanthropic Son of God, made the Patriarch Abraham and his descendants His forefathers according to His human nature. Thus the most divine Fathers rightly deemed for us to celebrate their memory as Forefathers, not long from the Lord's nativity according to the flesh.

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
You justified the Forefathers by faith, and through them betrothed yourself, aforetime, to the Church taken from out of the Gentiles. The saints boast in glory, for from their seed, there exists a noble crop, who is she who without seed has given You birth. By their intercessions, O Christ our God, save our souls.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Second Tone
You did not worship the graven image, O thrice-blessed ones, but armed with the immaterial Essence of God, you were glorified in a trial by fire. From the midst of unbearable flames you called on God, crying: Hasten, O compassionate One! Speedily come to our aid, for You are merciful and able to do as You will.