Calendar Christian Living Great Feasts

Holy Pentecost

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

– Acts of the Apostles 2:4

Fifty days after Pascha

Account from Holy Scripture

The Acts of the Apostles

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

– Acts 2:1-11

Troparion (Tone 8)

Blessed art You O Christ Our God / You have revealed the fishermen as most wise / By sending down upon them the Holy Spirit / Through them You drew the world into Your net / O Lover of Man, Glory to You!
( audio )

Kontakion (Tone 8)

When the most High came down and confused the tongues, / He divided the nations; / But when he distributed the tongues of fire / He called all to unity. / Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the All-holy Spirit!

Teaching from the Pentecost Icon

Jesus the Messiah, head of the Church, is physically not among the apostles anymore, as we can see by the empty seat of honor between Saints Peter and Paul. He has sent the Hoy Spirit to guide and comfort us until the Second Coming. We who make up the Church are now His presence on earth.”

The Holy Spirit is represented by the rays of light coming down from heaven to each of the apostles. Iconographers often substitute the apostles’ halos with tongues of fire to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Apostles harmoniously face each other, displaying their oneness of mind and purpose. Their multicolored robes show that this unity doesn’t mean the loss of diversity. Gospel writers like Matthew and Luke are often depicted holding the Gospels they will write, while the others hold scrolls that symbolize the teaching authority given to them by Christ. Their semicircular formation mirrors that of the darkened world – not to conform to it, but to transform it through the light of Christ.”

Paul, Mark and Luke – who helped spread the gospel but were not present at Pentecost – are often included since this icon represents not only the earthly Church’s beginning but the divinely guided life of the Church throughout time.”

The Cosmos, the old kingly figure beneath the feet of the apostles, represents creation and the peoples, kingdoms and authorities of the world. He stands in darkness because he hasn’t yet received the light of Christ. His crown of worldly glory symbolizes the sins that ruled over humanity before Christ, while his old age reminds us that everything of this world falls victim to time and decay.”

Twelve Scrolls, one for each apostle, lie on a cloth stretched between the Cosmos’s hands, containing the message of the gospel. Through the gospel the Holy Spirit reaches out to the darkest corners of humanity, bringing light and life.”

Quoted from: Heaven meets Earth: Celebrating Pascha and the Twelve Feasts (page 50), by John Kosmas Skinas

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