July 2, 2023

Homily Two on the Feast of the Deposition of the Honorable Robe of the Theotokos (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Feast of the Deposition of the Honorable Robe of the Theotokos

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

(Epistle Reading: Hebrews 9:1-7)

With today's Sunday we begin the written Sermons which were established to be read during the Summer months in all the churches of the Sacred Metropolis. This is also a communication with all the Christians of the Metropolis, those who remain permanently in this area and those who come during the Summer. This year's sermons will analyze phrases from the apostolic readings read during the Sunday Liturgy.

Today's apostolic reading refers to the analysis made by the Apostle Paul of the Tabernacle established by God in the Old Testament. As is known, the Tabernacle was established following God's instructions, before the Temple of Solomon was built in Jerusalem, and of course it is also considered a prototype of the Christian Temple.

According to the description of the epistle to the Hebrews, the Tabernacle was divided into two parts, namely the Holy Place and the innermost area known as the Holy of Holies. And of course outside the tent there was a courtyard called the Worldly Sanctuary. The Jews, the Nazirites, the converts and the pagans stayed in the courtyard area, which had the name Worldly Sanctuary. Inside, i.e. the Holy Place, the priests entered, who performed the rites and there were the lampstand, the table and the bread offering. And finally, the innermost part of the tabernacle was the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest entered and that only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, and there were found the golden censer and the Ark of the Covenant, in which the pitcher of gold was kept which had the manna, the rod of Aaron that sprouted and the tablets of the covenant on which the law that God gave to Moses was written.

This Tabernacle of Testimony was a prototype of the Christian Temple, which is divided into three parts, the Narthex, the main Temple and the Holy Bema, where the bloodless mystagogy is performed. Christianity constitutes the new Covenant, which has a universal character, it is this that saves man, since it leads him to perfect communion and union with God in the person of Jesus Christ.

This passage is read today because we celebrate the Deposition of the Honorable Robe of the Panagia in the Church of Blachernae. And of course, in the interpretation of the holy Fathers, it appears that the Panagia is actually the living tabernacle of God, she is the lampstand, the table and the bread offering, she is the golden censer, the Ark of the Covenant, the pitcher, the rod of Aaron and the Tablets of the Covenant. Everything that was done in the Old Testament was aimed at preparing the people, at finding the right person from whom Christ would be born. That is why we greatly honor our Panagia, who is our joy, hope, consolation and fervent intercessor.

And of course, we must say that, just as the Old Testament is a prototype of the New Testament, so the New Testament and what is celebrated in our worship is a prototype and experience of what will follow in heaven after the end of the world. May the Panagia, who became the cause of Christ's incarnation, also become the bridge that will lead us to heavenly and eternal worship.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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