Friday, August 29, 2008
THE THRID SPAS - THE NUT-TREE SALVATION
On the Feast of the Icon of the Savior, "Not Made by Hands," church tradition observes the final "spas" of the harvest season, when nuts are blessed.
Legend tells that when the Lord was spreading his teaching in the world, in the Syrian city of Edessa, there lived and ruled a certain man who "was full of leprosy." When he heard of the great miracles the Lord worked, he immediately believed in him as the Son of God. The man wrote Jesus a letter, asking him to come and heal him. He gave the letter to a painter and sent him to Palestine, so that he would paint a portrait of Christ.
The painter came to Jerusalem and saw the Lord surrounded by people. There were so many of htem that he could not approach Christ. So he climbed on top of a big stone and tried to paint a picture of the Lord from a distance. However, he was unable to do so.
The Savior saw him and after he had finished preaching, Jesus asked the painter to come near him, called the man by name and gave him a letter for the ruler in which he promised to send his disciple to heal the ruler's leprosy and gave him instructions for salvation. Then the Lord asked for some water and a piece of cloth. Jesus washed his face and wiped it clean with the cloth. All were surprised to see his face imprinted on it.
The painter brought the Savior's letter and cloth to Edessa. When leprosy "departed from the ruler." he adorned the "Image not made by Hand" and installed it on top of the city's gates.
In 944 CE, the Savior's image was taken to Constantinople. This day, the "transfer of Salvation," is celebrated on August 16/29.
The Third Salvation is often called the Savior of the Canvas or Canvasses, first of all because of the piece of cloth on which the image of Christ was imprinted and also because on this day peasants traded in canvasses.
It is my prayer that this period of the "Savior" has been one which has brought us closer to mercy and kindness of Jesus, as experienced by the man in the story above.
As we prepare to begin a new church year, let us thank God for his many blessings, especially those of a fruitful harvest. God's harvest blessings pertain not only to actual agricultural crops, but to all of the provisions for life's needs, however they are given to us. God is in all and around all and from him, comes every thing that is good.
On Apple Salvation Day people pick ripe apples and have them sanctified.
On the First Salvation they stand on the water, on the Second Salvation they eat apples, on the Third Salvation they sell canvasses on green hills.
By the Third Salvation nuts have ripened. The Third Salvation yields good crops.
(Old Ukrainian Proverb)