Sophronius of Jerusalem: A Baptism of Salvation Saturday, Jan 7 2017 

St.-Sophronios-of-JerusalemToday the grace of the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, came upon the waters.

Today the unwaning sun has dawned, and the world is lit up with the light of the Lord.

[…]  Today the clouds refresh humanity with a rain of justice from above.

Today the uncreated One is by His own will touched by the creature.

Today the prophet and forerunner approaches the Master, but pauses in awe, seeing God’s condescension towards us.

Today the waters of the Jordan are turned into healing by the presence of the Lord.

Today all creation is watered by mystical waters. Today men’s sins are washed away in the waters of the Jordan.

Today Paradise is thrown open to humankind, and the sun of righteousness shines upon us. Today the water that the people under Moses found bitter, is turned into sweetness at the Lord’s presence.

Today we are free of the ancient grief, and like a new Israel have been redeemed. Today we are delivered from the darkness and are bathed in the light of the knowledge of God.

Today the world’s gloom is dispersed in the epiphany of our God. Today the entire universe is lit as by a heavenly torch. Today error is abolished and the coming of the Lord opens the way to salvation.

Today the heavenly joins the earthly in celebration, and that which is below holds discourse with that which is above. Today the holy and vibrant assembly of the Orthodox rejoices.

Today the Master hastens towards baptism so as to raise humankind to the heights. Today He Who bends to none, bows before His own servant, so as to free us from bondage.

Today heaven has been deeded to us, for of the Lord’s kingdom there shall be no end. Today the earth and the sky have divided the world’s joy, and the world is filled with gladness.

The waters saw You, O God, the waters saw You and were afraid. The Jordan reversed its flow when it saw the fire of divinity descending bodily and entering it.

The Jordan turned back seeing the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove and hovering about You.

The Jordan turned back seeing the invisible become visible, the creator made flesh, the Master in the form of servant.

The Jordan turned back and the mountains leapt, seeing God in the flesh, and the clouds gave voice, marveling at the One present, light of light, true God of true God, Who submerged in the Jordan the death of disobedience and the sting of error and the bond of Hades, giving to the world a baptism of salvation.

Sophronius of Jerusalem (560-638): Theophany Poem.

Sophronius of Jerusalem: Holy City of God, Jerusalem Tuesday, Mar 11 2014 

St.-Sophronios-of-JerusalemMarch 11th is the feast of St Sophronius of Jerusalem.

From the introduction at Monachos: “The following two poems (nos. 19 and 20) from the collection of Anacreontica by Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem (5th/6th c.), are a cry of longing for the holy city of which he was bishop, apparently written during a voyage away from his see…. They describe a course through all the major shrines and sights of the city in the sixth century from the perspective of their caretaker and pastor.”

Lines 1-6: The Holy City of Jerusalem Cf. Psalm 122.2

Holy City of God,
Jerusalem, how I long to stand
even now at your gates,
and go in, rejoicing!

A divine longing for holy Solyma
presses upon me insistently.

Lines 7-22: The Anastasis (Church of the Resurrection) Cf. Matt 27.57-60 (Burial); Matt 28.1-10 (Resurrection)

Let me walk thy pavements
and go inside the Anastasis,
where the King of All rose again,
trampling down the power of death.

I will venerate the sweet floor,
and gaze on the holy Cube,
and the great four <…>
<…like the heavens.>

Through the divine sanctuary
I will penetrate the divine Tomb,
and with deep reverence
will venerate that Rock.

And as I venerate that worthy Tomb,
surrounded by its conches
and columns surmounted by golden lilies,
I shall be overcome with joy.

Lines 23-42: The Tristoon (Portico) and the Rock of the Cross Matt 27.33-37

Let me pass on to the Tristoon,
all covered with pearls and gold,
and go on into the lovely building
of the Place of a Skull.

Ocean of life ever living
and of the true oblivion.
Tomb that gives light!

And prostrate I will venerate
the Navel-point of the earth, that divine Rock
in which was fixed the wood
which undid the curse of the tree.

How great thy glory,
noble Rock, in which was fixed
the Cross, the Redemption of mankind!

Exultant let me go on to the place
where all of us
who belong to the people of God
venerate the glorious Wood of the Cross.

Let me run to bend the knee
before the artist’s picture
representing the Rulers,
to render homage.

Lines 43-54: The Constantinian Basilica (Martyrium)

And let me go rejoicing
to the splendid sanctuary, the place
where the noble Empress Helena
found the divine Wood;

and go up,
my heart overcome with awe,
and see the Upper Room,
the Reed, the Sponge, and the Lance.

Then may I gaze down
upon the fresh beauty of the Basilica
where choirs of monks
sing nightly songs of worship.

Sophronius of Jerusalem (560-638): Anacreontica 20 (selections); text as tr. in J. Wilkinson Jerusalem Pilgrims before the Crusades, 1977; with reference to on-line text of ‘Franciscan Cyberspot’ (1999). Formatting and textual editing by (2006).

Sophronius of Jerusalem: Our Eyes have Seen God Incarnate, and We have Received Him into the Arms of Our Mind Saturday, Feb 2 2013 

St.-Sophronios-of-JerusalemOur lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendour of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light.

Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.

The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness.

We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.

The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness.

This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.

The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light.

Let all of us share in its splendour, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal.

Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the light, who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendour.

Through Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which he prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves.

As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.

By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as he came to us from Bethlehem. Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God.

Our eyes have seen God incarnate, and because we have seen him present among us and have received him into our arms of our mind, we are called the new Israel.

Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in his honour.

Sophronius of Jerusalem (560-638): Orat. 3 de Hypaphante 6.7 (PG 87, 3, 3291-3293) from the Office of Readings for the Feast of the Presentation on February 2 @ Crossroads Initiative.