Our Lord, after His Ascension, had ordered the Apostles to stay in Jerusalem, and promised that they would receive the Holy Spirit- which would give them strength and after which they were to be Christ’s witnesses in Judea and Samaria until the ends of the earth.
Fifty days after Easter we celebrate Pentecost. The word Pentecost means the “fiftieth.”
The Jewish celebration of the 50th day after Passover was originally instated as a spring harvest celebration of first grain and fruits, but is traditionally also connected with God’s giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai. This Feast formed together with Passover and the Autumnal Feast of Booths, the three holidays when many pilgrims would go to the Temple in Jerusalem.
We read in the book of Acts chapter two that the apostles all gathered together on this feast:
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
After the Holy Spirit came over them, St. Peter started the preach the Gospel to the crowds. He started with references to prophecies in the Old Testament- which the crowd was familiar with.
St. Peter told them what to do:
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
About 3,000 people received baptism that day and lived a Christian life:
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Picture: 13th century Gospel from Malatia N#10675, Erevan Mashtocian library, illustrated byToros Roslyn
We celebrate Pentecost according to the following schedule:
Saturday June 15:
3.00 pm Vespers and the Eve of Pentecost in St. James Cathedral
7.15 pm Evening Vigil in St. James Cathedral
Sunday June 16 in the morning:
6.30 am Morning Prayers and Andestan (Blessing of the corners of the earth) in St. James Cathedral
9.00 am Ringing of the bells
9.15 am Departure to the Second Prison and St. Saviour’s Monastery
9.30 am Solemn Entry (Hrashapar), Episcopal Divine Liturgy
11.30 am Returning to St. James Monastery
That same day in the afternoon:
2.30 pm Ringing of the bells
2.45 pm Departure to the Room of the Last Supper/Cenacle on Mt. Zion
3.00 pm Vespers in the Room of the Last Supper on Mt. Zion
3.30 pm Requiem service at the Second Prison and St. Saviour’s Monastery
4:30 pm Returning to St. James Monastery