THE MEANING OF PENTECOST
After the fullness of the forty days of Pascha, and the Lord’s glorious Ascension, we find ourselves on the door step of the blessed feast of Pentecost. This important feast celebrates the fulfilment of the mission of Jesus Christ and His promise to his disciples: the descent of the Holy Spirit on them. It also marks the full revelation of the Holy Trinity in His creation; the Spirit is the gift of the Father, which is given through the Son.
We receive the Holy Spirit in our Baptism and Chrismation. However the coming of the Holy Spirit is fulfilled in us by our becoming saints, and this is the very purpose of the creation and salvation of the world and is why the Sunday after Pentecost is the feast of All Saints “be you holy, for I your God am holy” (Lev 11.44–45, 1 Pet 1.15–16).
The Holy spirit is also present in all the Holy Sacraments of the Church. Through Sacraments like Holy Confession, Holy Communion, Holy Matrimony, Ordination and so forth divine grace is transferred to us and cleanses, sanctifies, and guides us to salvation.
However, salvation involves more than just a mental affirmation of our faith. We are called to work in synergy with the Holy Spirit to perfect ourselves so the Spirit within us can carry out God’s will. The Church, as a good spiritual hospital, gives us exercises, practices, rituals, services, and sacraments for this purpose. It’s important to be active in all of these to purify our hearts, cleansing it from all sinfulness, from the passions of the body, of all the temptations of the activities of this world, so with His mercy we will be accepted into His Kingdom with eternal life.
This Sunday of Pentecost a Vespers service called the Kneeling Prayer, will be conducted immediately after the Divine Liturgy. This service includes three marvellous prayers at which the faithful kneel for the first time since Easter.
In order to help us prepare for this great feast properly we have provided a link to these prayers below. Please take the time to read and study them. May you have a blessed Pentecost.