Augustine Sokolovski

Today, May 9, the Church honors the memory of the holy prophet of God Isaiah. Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, Isaiah was one of the four major biblical prophets.

Simultaneously representing the future four Evangelists, the Great Prophets left behind books of considerable volume and precious content, on which the biblical prophetic word is based. Isaiah prophesied seven centuries before the birth of Christ.

Isaiah prophesied seven centuries before the birth of Christ. He was of very noble birth, and of high social standing, in modern terms, a minister at the court of Hezekiah and other Kings of the biblical People. In addition to the prophetic book of Isaiah itself, information about him in the Bible is contained in 4 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

The name of the prophet, translated into Russian, meaning "saves God", conveys the essence of his message. Salvation is not a myth or a technical term, but the paradoxical sovereign Property of God, where every independent human undertaking, even the most incredible in its power, is doomed. The God of the Bible knows how to bring down.

Isaiah in many ways predicted the collapse of then-dominated Babylon. “And I will rise up against them,” says the Lord of Hosts, and will destroy the name of Babylon and all the remnant, both son and grandson, says the Lord. And I will make it a possession of hedgehogs, and a swamp, and I will sweep it with a broom of destruction,” says the Lord of Hosts (Isaiah 14: 22-23). In the image of Babylon, the Holy Fathers and the Church saw the kingdom of death and the universe without the Divine Word (John 1,1). Isaiah's words inspired the Apocalypse, where "death and hell were cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:14), and "the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever" (cf. Rev. 14:11).

Tradition calls Isaiah "the Old Testament evangelist." His testimony of the Coming Messiah - the One who suffers for the redemption of the universe - ended his ministry as a martyr. By order of King Manasseh, he was sawn through with a wooden saw. The saw made of wood was an image of the fiery torment of the wood of the Cross of the Lord.

The name of Isaiah is associated not only with many great Old Testament images and prophecies, but also with those very important components, without which the sacramental church reality would be different.

This is a hymn and an exclamation "God is with us", many prayers and doxology. “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory,” are the words from the vision of Isaiah, which the prophet contemplated at the moment of his calling (Is.6.3). The proclamation of the holiness of God during the Eucharistic Prayer by the priest, choir and people precedes the commemoration of the Last Supper and the prayer for the double transubstantiation - Bread and Wine and the forthcoming People of God - into the Body and Blood of Christ. “And we ask, and we pray, and we implore, send down Your Holy Spirit on us and on the gifts that are set before us” ...

A celebration in honor of Isaiah took place in the Church several times a year. One of them was dedicated to the transfer of the relics of the prophet from Palestine under Emperor Theodosius II (401-450), the other was the consecration of the chapel at the church of St. Lawrence in Blachernae, where under Marcian (450-457) and Pulcheria (450-453) the relics of the Prophet were placed around. Isaiah, a prophet, saint and martyr, was called by the faithful as a healer of diseases and a miracle worker.

The 4th Book of Kings tells how, according to the word of Isaiah, Hezekiah was healed of a fatal illness (2 Kings 20:7). According to the prophet, the Assyrian army was turned back (2 Kings 19:35), during the siege of Jerusalem, according to his prayer, the source of Siloam was exhausted. There, according to the Gospel, the Lord healed the man born blind (John 9:1-38). The commemoration of this event on the Sixth Easter Sunday is usually located next to the feast day of the prophet Isaiah. Truly, the Gospel and the Life of the Church, like the liturgy, are the fulfillment of Sacred History!

Pilgrimages were made to the relics of the prophet in the Blachernae Church in Constantinople asking for help. Thus, more than a thousand years after the end of Isaiah's ministry, the power of grace continued to fulfill his prophecies (cf. Luke 4:21). For at the end of time “God sent His Son” (Gal. 4:4), and by the Holy Spirit, in Christ Jesus He did not cease, by prophetic powers, to visit His people in the Church (cf. Lk. 7:16).

Prophetic memories were extremely dear to the People of God. The Fathers of the Church almost did not quote the Fathers, that is, each other, but turned to the biblical word. The Church is not only the Bride of Christ, but also the Prophetess of God. When it falls silent, false Christs and false prophets arise (Mt.24:24), of which there are many in our age, alone, that cries without a word from God. Between the People of God and his every word of His there is an extraordinary special kinship. After all, the Church and the Bible are filled with the Body and Blood of Christ. Such a perception of Scripture explains the very special attitude of the Fathers of the Church towards the memory of Isaiah the Prophet.