Friday, February 11, 2022

Homilies on the Divine Liturgy - The Antiphons and the Trisagion Hymn (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
Homilies on the Divine Liturgy

The Antiphons and the Trisagion Hymn

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
 
We will continue today with some comments on the Divine Liturgy, which is the greatest good that God has given us, because in it we can feel His love, pray to Him, partake of the Body and Blood of Christ and we taste of Paradise. Because by participating in the Divine Liturgy and by trying to concentrate our mind and live out everything that happens in it, we are in a certain sense preparing to participate in the great festival of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Today we will take a look at the two antiphons which we sing at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, and the trisagion hymn that we sing after the Small Entrance.

In the Divine Liturgy we pray in many ways, such as with chanting, since there are many hymns chanted by the chanters and the priests; with the prayers that the priest recites secretly and in a low voice at the Sacred Bema; and with the melodic reading which is used in the readings, both for the Apostolic and the Gospel readings.

Antiphons are what we call certain small hymns, which are sung antiphonally, that is, alternately by the chanters. The two antiphons are:

"Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior, save us."

"Save us, O Son of God, who has risen from the dead, we chant to you: Alleluia."

These are followed by the "apolytikion" (dismissal hymn) of the day with which the Small Entrance takes place, the entrance with the Gospel.

The central message of the antiphons is that our true Savior is Christ, who became man, was crucified and resurrected to overcome death, sin and the devil. No other human being can save us except Christ. And of course, we feel the need to entreat Christ and ask for the intercessions of the Saints and the Theotokos, precisely because they were united with Christ and constitute the true Church and because in this way we will learn what the Saints did to be saved. This is how the Saints will teach us how we too can be united with Christ.

After the second antiphon, a wonderful hymn of the 6th century is sung, which begins with the phrase "O Only-begotten Son and Word of God ...," and is a wonderful summary of our entire faith. We can learn it and chant it often, because in this troparion one can find triadology, the mystery of the divine economy and soteriology.

The Trisagion hymn, chanted after the Small Entrance, is the well-known "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us," and is one of the best pieces of our divine worship. This hymn consists of the hymn of the angels (the Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Sabaoth) and various Psalms of David which refer to the greatness and glory of God.

The central message of this hymn is twofold. The first is the glory and majesty of God. That is, God is holy, mighty, immortal. The second is that we are human, sinful, weak and mortal. That is why we ask this God for His mercy and compassion. We are like beggars of God and ask for mercy and forgiveness. Who can feel justified and sinless? We are all sinners and hope in God's love and mercy.

These short hymns, namely "Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior, save us," "Save us, O Son of God, who has risen from the dead, we chant to you: Alleluia", "O Only-begotten Son and Word of God ..." and "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us”, we should chant daily. Living in this spirit, that is how our life will change.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
 
 
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