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Saturday, 11 June 2011

Pentecost and the Church's mission

The traditional icon of Pentecost has some features that are easily identified by Western Christians: the gathered Apostles, and the tongues of fire upon them, sign of the Holy Spirit, given to the Church on this day. But there is a mysterious figure, like a king, around whom they appear to be gathered. Who is he? The Eastern Churches teach that he is a symbol of the cosmos. Thus he is surrounded by darkness, as the world lives in the darkness of sin. But the figure is holding scrolls which represent the teaching of the Apostles, which through the Church's witness, is carried throughout the nations of the earth. The icon links this great feast to the mission of the Church: a mission which is driven by the power of the Holy Spirit, and which is at the heart of the Church's life, as we can see the Apostles gathered around it. 
Blessed are you, O Christ our God, who made fisherman all-wise, by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit, and through them, drawing all the world into your net. O Loving One, glory be to you.(Orthodox hymn for Pentecost)

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