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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

The Feast of Pentecost


The Feast of Pentecost has become one of

the greatest feasts celebrated in the church

with ordinations that everyone look forward to.

On this year’s feast we celebrated with ordaining

3 reverend bishops and 20 reverend fathers…

Therefore I would like to talk to you today about the

Holy Spirit.

Because of the importance of the Holy Spirit’s

work with us, the Lord said to His disciples, the

saints: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your

advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the

Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will

send Him to you” (Jn 16:7)… And told them about

Him “that He may abide with you forever… and will be

in you” (Jn 14:16, 17).

The Glorified, Lord Christ, lived with them in His

body until He rose to Heaven then promised them the

Holy Spirit to stay with them forever, the Spirit of

truth, the Comforter… So what should we know about

the Holy Spirit?

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit, therefore it

existed since ever.

We read about it in the first verses of the Genesis

Book. The divine response says: “In the beginning

God created the heavens and the earth. The earth

was without form, and void; and darkness was on the

face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering

over the face of the waters.” (Gn 1:1, 2).

And Isaiah talks about the Holy Spirit and gives

Him names in his saying: “…The Spirit of the LORD…,

The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of

counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the

fear of the LORD.” (Is 11:2).

And we add to that in the third Hour Prayer

(Terce) of every day and say: “…a spirit of prophecy

and chastity, a spirit of holiness, justice and

authority…” and call Him by saying: “O Heavenly

King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who is

present in all places and fills all, the treasury of good

things and the Life-Giver…”.

And the Lord says about Him in the St John’s

Gospel “the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the

Father” (Jn 15:26). And the doctrine of being

proceeded from the Father was mentioned by the

Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in the Faith

Creed. Yet our brothers, the Catholics add to it

“Filioque” meaning “and from the Son”. And this is

opposing to the Holy Trinity Doctrine. In assimilating

the Holy Trinity to Fire we say: "Fire brings forth

heat; and light proceeds from it” and we do not say

that the light proceeds from heat! But the light and

the heat both come from the origin, which is the fire

and not one from the other…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The Holy Spirit used to work in the Old

Testament as well.

In the story of Samson we read that “the Spirit of

the LORD began to move upon him at Mahaneh Dan”

(Jg 13:25). And we also read that after Saul was

anointed as king that “the Spirit of God came upon

him, and he prophesied” (1 S 10:10). This also

happened when David was anointed by Prophet

Samuel to be king “the Spirit of the LORD came upon

David from that day forward” (1 S 16:13).

And the way the Holy Spirit came upon both Saul

and David was through the Anointing Oil that the Lord

ordered them to prepare in Exodus Book (Ex 30:22-

31). And Aaron was anointed as a high priest when

Moses poured from this holy anointing oil on Aaron’s

head and anointed him (Lv 8:12), as we say in the

psalm “It is like the precious oil upon the head,

Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron,

Running down on the edge of his garments.” (Ps

133:2). And with this anointing oil the tent of meeting

along with the altars and the utensils were anointed

and became holy (Ex 40, Lv 8). With this anointing oil

also kings and prophets were anointed (1 K 19).

And as a result to the anointing, the Holy Spirit

comes upon them and so comes His gifts as well.

And we read in prophet Joel the Lord’s saying:

“And it shall come to pass afterward That I

will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons

and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old

men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall

see visions.” (Jl 2:28).

And this is what happened on the fiftieth day (the

Day of Pentecost), as St Peter the Apostle explained

this verse from Prophet Joel’s Book (Ac 2:16, 17).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The Holy Spirit also could be transferred

from one person to another.

This happened to the seventy elders on the days

of Prophet Moses when the Lord said to him: “Gather

to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel… Then I will

come down and talk with you there. I will take of the

Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon

them” (Nm 11:16, 17). And here the bible says:

“Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke

to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and

placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it

happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that

they prophesied” (Nm 11:25).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

We notice that before Moses, when Joseph the

Righteous interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream, “Pharaoh

said to his servants, "Can we find such a one as this,

a man in whom is the Spirit of God?"” (Gn 41:38).

And here was the Holy Spirit’s gift

interpreting dreams, i.e. the Spirit of


Also there is another work for God’s Spirit in


every art, so as to what the tent of meeting needed

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: "See, I have

called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur,

of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the

Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in

knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to

design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in

bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood,

and to work in all manner of workmanship” (Ex 31:1-


Here we see that the Holy Spirit works even in

the talent of workmanship that is given to some even

in jewelry and carving woods…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Among the most important characteristics of

the Holy Spirit is that it is Who spoke in the


And this is a statement in the content of the Faith

Creed. This means that the Holy Spirit is the source of

the divine response of the Holy books. the Holy Spirit

was the source of all what the prophets and apostles

said in the holy books.

In this St Peter the Apostle said in his second

epistle “for prophecy never came by the will of man,

but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by

the Holy Spirit.” (2 P 1:21).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Nowadays, in the New Testament, the Holy

Spirit is given through three ways: The holy

anointing, laying priests’ hands and the holy


􀂙 As for the holy breath, it was written in St John’s

Gospel that our Lord Jesus, after His Resurrection,

when He appeared to His disciples, the saints, in the

upper room, He told them “As the Father has sent

Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He

breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the

Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are

forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are

retained."” (Jn 20:21-23).

And in the ordination of the bishop or the priest

we breathe in his face and say “Accept the Holy

Spirit”, so he opens his mouth to accept the holy

breath and says with the psalm “I opened my mouth

and accepted myself a spirit”.

􀂙 As for laying hands, the Holy Spirit in the time of

our fathers the apostles was given through the

apostles laying hands. This was mentioned in giving

the Holy Spirit to the People of Samaria. The Apostles

Synod in Jerusalem sent them St Peter and St John

“Then they laid hands on them, and they received the

Holy Spirit” (Ac 8:14-17). And the same was done to

the People of Ephesus “And when Paul had laid hands

on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them” (Ac 19:7).

Same applied to the Priesthood Sacrament, St

Paul the Apostle said to his disciple Timothy “I remind

you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through

the laying on of my hands” (2 Ti 1:6).

􀂙 The holy anointing was also known in the

apostolic age. St John the Apostle says about that:

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One…” (1

Jn 2:20) “… But the anointing which you have

received from Him abides in you” (1 Jn 2:27).

􀂙 And we, in anointing children after baptism: we

anoint them with the Holy Chrism (Myron) and lay

hands on them and breathe in their faces. And say to

them: “Accept the Holy Spirit”.

And with the Holy Anointing Sacrament we

become temples for the Holy Spirit. And the

Holy Spirit dwells in us…

St Paul the Apostle talks about that in his first

epistle to Corinthians and says: “Do you not know

that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of

God dwells in you?” (1 Co 3:16), and “Or do you not

know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit

who is in you” (1 Co 6:19). Then every one of should

remember that on the day he was anointed with the

Holy Chrism (Myron) that he became a temple for the

Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit became dwelling in


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The Holy Spirit works in priesthood and

priesthood is granted through the Holy Spirit.

It has the power of forgiving sins. But someone

may say: How is that? And no one can forgive sins

except God alone! We say: Yes, the Holy Spirit that is

in the priest is one who forgives sins. As we say in the

Holy Liturgy “…be absolved by my mouth through the

Holy Spirit”, so it is the Holy Spirit that forgives sins.

And this forgiveness comes from the priest’s mouth.

And the absolution that the priest gives through the

absolution prayer in which he says: may God absolve

you, may God pardon you, may God forgive you…

And the Holy Spirit is present also in all the

Church Sacraments. He also is present in all the Holy

Synod decisions. In the first decision that came from

the Synod in Jerusalem on the days of our fathers the

apostles, they said: “it seemed good to the Holy

Spirit, and to us…” (Ac 15:28).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The Holy Spirit works in the Service too…

The fathers, the apostles did not start the service

until the Holy Spirit came upon them and the Lord’s

promise saying: “But you shall receive power when

the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be

witnesses to Me” (Ac 1:8) was fulfilled in them.

The Holy Spirit was the One choosing the

servants, like when He said: “Now separate to Me

Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called

them” (Ac 13:2, 4). And it was Him who directed the

servants in their paths and worked in them and using


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Asking for the Holy Spirit is a point of our

daily prayer of the Third Hour (Terce).

We ask it to come upon us and purify us from all

defilement of body and spirit. And we cry to God

saying: Your Holy Spirit, O Lord, do not take away

from us.

It is part of our freedom to accept the Holy Spirit,

work with Him, and go into the “Holy Spirit

Partaking”. And we are also free to reject and quench

the Spirit and fight the Spirit. And the most serious

thing is to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit,

meaning to reject it completely all through the life.

But how beautiful is the bible’s saying: “For as many

as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”

(Ro 8:14).

Here I would like to warn those who are deceived

and think that every spirit that leads them is God’s

Spirit!! The apostle says: “do not believe every spirit,

but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because

many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1

Jn 4:1).

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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

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