Re Publican and Pharisee
- I have taken the liberty of making numerous corrections based on the
original Russian in this translation where it is not idomatic or fluent
English and is thus confusing. Feel free to forward this to the
translator. Do you have his translation of the preceeding material "B. The
Triodions, I. Lenten Triodion, Preparation for the Great Fast"? pp.
487-489 I would be glad to offer any help in attaining a better
rendering. The value of this book is well known and to have a sound
translation for non-Russian speakers would be a step forward. TF
Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (33rd Sunday after Pentecost)
The name of this first preparatory Sunday comes from its appointed Gospel
reading of the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, in which the
first, in the image of the parable, left the temple to return to his house
more justified than the second. By [contrasting] the example of one vs. the
other the Holy Church points out the true beginning and basis of
repentance: humility and, on the other hand, the main source of sin and
obstacle to repentance: pride. In the words of the Holy Church, "every good
deed is made of no effect through [foolish] pride, while every evil is
cleansed by humility." Without the humble consciousness of one's sinfulness
one cannot have the appropriate sense of the great height of external
righteousness. It is in this sense that the faithful should begin the
ascetic effort [podvig] of fasting and repentance. In accordance with this
central content, the Holy Church in all its services for this Sunday,
especially in the Vespers' and Matins' stichera and in the troparia of the
canon, denounces, in harmony with the Gospel parable, the self-righteous
pride of the Pharisee, and praises the humility of the Publican and calls
each of us to reject "the swollen boasting and evil exultation of the
Pharisee, his loathsome dementia, and wicked fierce belligerance hateful to
God"; to lay aside self-conceit about one's imaginary worthiness and
perfection, the self-sufficiency of one's imaginary righteousness; to
humble oneself by consciousness of one's unworthiness and guilt before God;
to condemn oneself, as a sinner, worthy of condemnation and judgment, and
beating one's breast to pray: "God be merciful to me a sinner". If each of
us will pray, according to the example of the Publican, with a broken heart
and humble spirit, undoubtedly, we will receive great mercy from the One to
whom all hearts are open: the Lord who opens unto us the door of
repentance, who will lead us into the holy and redemptive days of the Holy
Forty Day Fast, who will enable us by His Grace to bring us to true
repentance that we may receive complete remission and forgiveness.
Kontakion, Tone 4
Let us flee from the pride of the Pharisee
And learn humility from the Publican's tears.
Let us cry to our Savior:
Have mercy on us, O only merciful One.
Penitential Troparia, Tone 8
Open to me the doors of repentance, O Life-giver,
For my spirit rises early to go to pray in Thy holy Temple
Bearing the temple of my body all defiled,
But in Thy compassion
Purify me by the loving kindness of Thy mercy.
Lead me on the paths of salvation, O Theotokos,
For I have profaned my soul with shameful sins
And have wasted my life in laziness,
But by your intercessions
Deliver me from all impurity.
When I think of the many evil things I have done,
Wretch that I am,
I tremble at the fearful Day of Judgment,
But trusting in Thy loving kindness
Like David I cry to Thee:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.
( Please substitute the following paragraphs for 2 of those following the
Penitential troparia just sent. I was indeed a bit hasty in sending them
off.... Trying to explain the Church's Patristic calendar-iffics is no
task to be undertaken cavalierly!! )
Although Matins for the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee and for the
following Sundays, ending with the 5th Sunday of Great Lent, follow the
Tones of the Octoechos and the Matins Gospels according to the [weekly]
Sunday order; in the service books, according to the instructions in the
rubrics, the order for the Tones and Gospels are not designated as to what
is the Tone and Matins Gospel that falls on this or that Sunday, because in
different years the date for the Sundays from All Saints Sunday [the Sunday
after Pentecost] to the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee is not one and
The Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee does not always come as the Sunday
after the 32nd Sunday, or 33rd Sunday, that is why for this and on the
following Sundays in different years one and the same Tone and Resurrection
Matins Gospel are not sung and read, but those according to the order in
[My note: This year is an extreme example, where the Sunday of the P & P
is the 38th Sunday after Pentecost!! What Bulgakov is trying to explain
(perhaps too briefly) is that the Tones and Matins Gospels depend on the
number of weeks after the preceeding Paschal date (which, in turn,
determines Pentecost) but the start of the Great Fast (which, in turn
determines the ordering of the preparatory Sundays preceeding it) is
determined by the upcoming Paschal date, thus the distance from one Pascha
to another in weeks is never the same (rarely being 52 weeks) from one year
to the next, as we all know too well! The simple reason is that Pascha in
part is determined on the basis of the lunar calendar -- with 13 months of
28 days, 364 days -- (and other considerations), while the 52 week year of
365.25 days is solar... and the two do not mesh simply (not least of all
because of those "other considerations" -- one of which is the date of the
Hebrew Passover, another being the time of the first full moon after the
Spring Equinox....). That will do for now, as it exhausts my miserable
grasp of these refinements.]
In Matins for the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee and then for the
following Sundays to the end of the 5th Sunday of Great Lent, after the
reading of the Gospel and the 50th psalm, sing the Penitential Troparia: at
"Glory..." sing "Open
to me the door of repentance", at "Both now and ever..." sing "Lead me on
the paths of salvation", then sing "Have mercy on me, O God," and then
"When I think of the many evil things I have done".
The Matins Gospel stichera, which [usually] are sung on Sundays before the
Great Doxology, from the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee to the Sunday
of All Saints are not sung at this point, but are sung at "Glory..., Both
now and ever..." (at the Dismissal of Matins before the First Hour) at the
Matins Litiya when these are sung.
Note: "The Service for the Saint," appointed for this Sunday and for the
Sunday of the Prodigal, is sung on Friday at Compline, only when the
commemoration is not of a major Saint.
The Epistle: 2 Tim. 3:10-15; sel. 296. The Gospel: Luke 18:10-14; sel. 89.
The Fast Free, or "continuous", Week is so called because during the entire
week, even on Wednesday and Friday, it is permitted to eat meat and dairy
products. The Orthodox Church permits the eating of meat and dairy
products during the entire week following the Sunday of the Publican and
Pharisee in order not to have association with the Armenians who fast
throughout this week. Besides by not permitting a fast during the beginning
of our preparation for Great Lent,
the Holy Church accuses the pride of the Pharisee, who vainly praised
himself for fasting twice a week, and, in agreement with this accusation,
acts contrary to his hypocritical and proud fast.
The weeks of the Lenten Triodion begin on Monday and end on Sunday,
excluding Holy Week, which ends on Saturday.
Note: On Saturdays, beginning on the Saturday before the Sunday of the
Prodigal to the Sunday of All Saints, it is appointed to read the Gospel in
the Liturgy in this order: first read the readings for the Saturday, then
the ones for the Saint.
See below if Meatfare Saturday falls on the feast of the Meeting of the
Lord or the feast of the temple.
S. V. Bulgakov, Handbook for Church Clergy,
2nd ed., 1274 pp., (Kharkov, 1900), p. 489.
Translated by Archpriest Eugene D. Tarris © February 7, 2002.
"...The Word of God Himself, He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might
"On the Incarnation" by St. Athanasius of Alexandria (Sect. 54)