Concepts create idols; only wonder grasps anything. - St Gregory of Nyssa

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Noble Joseph

Commemorated July 31. 
The noble Joseph, a wealthy man and member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, was secretly a follower of Christ. "Now when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, Joseph by name, who was himself a disciple of Jesus" (St. Matthew 27:57). "Now after these things Joseph of Arimathea, because he was a disciple of Jesus (although for fear of the Jews a secret one), besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus" (St. John 19:38). Together with Nicodemus, Joseph removed the body of Christ from the cross and placed it in his sepulchre. Because of this, he was shackled by the Jews and thrown into prison. But the resurrected Lord appeared to him and convinced him of His resurrection. After that, the Jews released him from prison and banished him from the fatherland. He went throughout the world to preach the Holy Gospel of Christ, and that "good news" he brought to England where he reposed in the Lord.

Joseph a noble and rich man,
Of Christ the Crucified, (he) did not scandalize,
But when the sun darkened and the earth shook,
He to Pilate went and brought him news
That the Lord died, the Life-giving Lord,
The secret disciple thus became public.
When the public one hid, the secret became public,
Thus Joseph the wise, in a day became famous.
And together with Nicodemus, the body of Christ
In his garden in a new tomb placed it.
The Jewish spies heard, reported it,
The righteous Joseph in chains they placed.
In the darkened dungeon, Joseph languished
While his Lord in Hades glowed.
Joseph pondered his remembrance of Christ,
Mentioning his miraculous works,
Miracles and words and prophecies many,
Before Him, he stood in the presence of God,
And now darkness everywhere from without and within,
Dark days, nights, evenings and mornings
After a glowing flash, than the sun, more radiant,
O desperate darkness, darker than Hades!
But behold suddenly in the dungeon dawned:
The Resurrected One appeared to the shackled servant.
O Joseph brave and noble
Neither of the Resurrected One did you scandalize.
About the dead Christ, you to Pilate informed
And recognized and glorified the Resurrected One.
Let the land of Britain honorably glorify you,
You, for her, planted the first seed of salvation. 

-from the Prologue from Ochrid

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