On Sunday 19 June, Protobresbyter Nikoloas officiated at the Service for the Feast of Holy Pentecost at the Cathedraal of Saint George’ in Cape Town, together with Deacon father Michael Simos and Deacon Nicholas Esterhuizen.
This milestone feast in the Church calendar is observed each year on the fiftieth day after Easter and ten days after the Feast of the Ascension of Christ and it is always celebrated on a Sunday with the very moving and humbling Vespers of the Holy Spirit. It is known as the “Kneeling Prayers” as the congregation and clergy kneel to ask the Holy Spirit to fill them with His divine blessing.
Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on this day and it also proclaims the establishment of the Church through the preaching of the Apostles. The Holy Spirit came to empower them to carry out Christ’s mission and from then on they went out and spread the Holy Word and baptised people.
Apart from praying together, the disciples and apostles gathered for the” breaking of the bread” ( Acts 2:42) which also marked the start of the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, in which we partake to this very day. The Feast of Pentecost is also seen as the culmination of the revelation of the Holy Trinity.
This miraculous event occurred on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, celebrated by the Jews on the fiftieth day after the Passover and so there were many visitors and pilgrims in Jerusalem and when they heard their own languages being spoken by the Apostles they were amazed and impressed.
Saint Peter took advantage of the occasion and preached to the people regarding the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Holy Spirit and the life and death and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. The people were intrigued and asked what they should do. Peter told them that they should be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the repentance and remission of their sins and then they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Pater Nicholaos closed the service with a few words regarding the importance of Pentecost in our daily lives.
He explained that it is not only an event that happened long ago but that it is something we need to be aware of in our lives every day. We must ask the Holy Spirit to infuse us with His strength, guidance and help, for without this divine intervention we cannot live our proper Christian life. He also told us how the gift of the Holy Spirit rejuvenates and inspires us in every way including to help us obtain forgiveness of our sins.
The Feast of Pentecost coincided with Father’s Day this year and Pater Nikolaos mentioned that it would be good if we remembered that God the Father and the Theotokos should take preference over celebrations such as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day as they are our divine parents and through celebrating and venerating them, we honour our parents too.