What Christ Accomplished on the Cross

 by Hieromonk Damascene

A talk delivered at the Annual Lenten Clergy Confession of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate and the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Jackson, California, March 4/17, 2004.

The topic of today’s talk—what Christ accomplished on the Cross—is of course a prime subject of contemplation during the Lenten season, as we prepare to prayerfully commemorate Christ’s passion, death, and the inevitable consequence of His death: His holy Resurrection. As we call to mind and repent of our sins during the Holy Fast, we also call to mind that which has saved us from the eternal consequences of sin. We call to mind Christ’s life-creating death on the Cross, which He underwent for the salvation of each one of us.

The Orthodox dogma of our redemption—which includes the doctrines concerning Christ’s incarnation, death and Resurrection—is the chief dogma of our Faith, together with the dogma of the Holy Trinity. I have been especially contemplating and reading Patristic writings on this subject for a few years now. It is a vast subject. In this lecture I will try to outline its main points in a linear and chronological fashion. I will speak about the state of man before the Fall and after the Fall, and then speak about how Christ saved us from the consequences of the Fall through His incarnation, death and Resurrection. Finally, I will summarize all the present and future accomplishments of Christ’s redemptive work. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

About fools, wiser than the world

«We are fools for Christ’s sake» (1 Corinthians 4:10).

Thus speaks the great Apostle Paul who in the beginning was guided by worldly wisdom, which is against Christ, until he recognizes the falsehood and decay of the wisdom of the world and the light and stability of the wisdom of Christ. Then, the holy apostle did not become angry with the world because they called him «a fool for Christ’s sake» neither did he, in defiance of the world, hesitate to be called by this name.

It is not of any value to us how the world is going to regard or call us. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

ABORTION: THE ORTHODOX VIEW

Again we pray for the children of God condemned to death by the unjust judgement of men: that the Lord our God would soften the hearts of those who seek their violent destruction, and rescue those who are being led forth to the slaughter, we diligently pray Thee, O Lord, hearken and have mercy!

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Life is a precious gift of God. It is given to us so that we, while completing our earthly course, should acquire Divine Grace, should become members «of the household of God» and spiritual «fellow citizens with the Saints» (Ephesians 2:19). It is for this reason also that the Lord has established His Holy Church. In the life of the Church, of this Kingdom of God on earth, we are already destined for blessedness, and partake of it in proportion to our piety.

But the fall of our forefathers introduced sin deeply into our life. Sin has poisoned it, has become a property of this world: that is why the Apostle John can say that «the whole world lieth in wickedness» (1 John 5:19). This evil surrounds us and lures us with particular force when the opposition to it on the part of the society around us weakens. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Message of the day

For if I yet pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Epistle to the Galatians 1:10

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Ιερα Μονή Καρακάλλου – The Holy Monastery of Karakallou

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Η Ιερά Μονή Καρακάλλου. Εξωτερική άποψη. Holy Monastery of Karakallou. External view.

Φαίνεται ότι υπήρχε ήδη το 1018, αλλά μετά από πολλές περιπέτειες ανακαινίσθηκε από τους Παλαιολόγους κατά το 14ο αι. Το 16ο αι. ήταν καταστραμμένη από τους πειρατές και ξανακτίσθηκε από τον ηγεμόνα της Βλαχίας Πέτρο. Το Καθολικό, αφιερωμένο στους αποστόλους Πέτρο και Παύλο, κτίσθηκε κατά τα έτη 1548-1563 και τοιχογραφήθηκε κατά τα έτη 1716, 1750 και 1763. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN MONASTICISM

vatopaidi monk

With the development of monasticism in the Church there appeared a peculiar way of life, which however did not proclaim a new morality. The Church does not have one set of moral rules for the laity and another for monks, nor does it divide the faithful into classes according to their obligations towards God. The Christian life is the same for everyone. All Christians have in common that «their being and name is from Christ»[1]. This means that the true Christian must ground his life and conduct in Christ, something which is hard to achieve in the world.

What is difficult in the world is approached with dedication in the monastic life. In his spiritual life the monk simply tries to do what every Christian should try to do: to live according to God’s commandments. The fundamental principles of monasticism are not different from those of the lives of all the faithful. This is especially apparent in the history of the early Church, before monasticism appeared. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

A simple biomedical presentation of the first miracle of Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi (Mount Athos), who smiled 45 minutes after his death.

Part 1. The contemporary situation.

The present contribution describes a miracle that, as far as we know, is almost unheard of in the entire history of Christianity. A dead person (Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi) smiled. Impressive is the fact, that this smile occurred 45 minutes after his death. This is photographically documented. There have been reported a lot of miracles with dead persons (prophets, saints, e.t.c.). But almost never before did occur a miracle like the one that happened on July 1, 2009 in the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopaidi (Mount Athos, Greece)

Since many months, the spiritual family of Elder Joseph (namely the Brotherhood of the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopaidi and especially Abbot Ephraim) suffers a unique, for our days, persecution. The latter consists of all kinds of lies and slander. Every father is sad, when his children are acused. But he is much more sad, when the acusations are faulty. Elder Joseph, being the spiritual father of this family, suffered from this persecution as well. But where sin abounded (in this case the unjust and systematic persecution of the Vatopaidi Brotherhood and of Abbot Ephraim by the pathetic watchdogs of the New World Order), grace did much more aboud (in this case the smile from eternity) (Apostle Paul, Letter to Romans, chapter 5, vers 20). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

EXCLUSIVE: Religious artifacts in Cyprus in ‘great peril’

Icon from Cyprus

The Washington Times
By Julia Duin

Originally published 04:45 a.m., July 21, 2009, updated 06:22 a.m., July 21, 2009

Religious artifacts on the divided island of Cyprus are in «great peril,» according to a U.S. Helsinki Commission document to be released Tuesday afternoon.

Thousands of Orthodox icons, manuscripts, frescoes and mosaics have been looted from churches, chapels and monasteries in northern Cyprus, ending up on international auction blocks, says the document, the result of a lengthy investigation by the Helsinki Commission and titled «Destruction of Cultural Property in the Northern Part of Cyprus and Violations of International LawΔιαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Becoming «All things to all people in order to save them.» (Elder Porphyrios)

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The holy elder Porphyrios.

Elder Porphyrios throughout his whole life received all those who came to him; becoming, like St. Paul, «All things to all people in order to save them.»

All kinds passed by his humble cell; both holy ascetics and sinful thieves, Orthodox Christians and people of other denominations and religions, insignificant people and famous personalities, rich and poor, illiterate and literate, lay people and clergy of all ranks. To each one he offered the love of Christ for their salvation.

This does not mean that all those who went to the Elder or who knew him, for however long, adopted his message or acquired his virtue, and thus were as worthy of our complete trust as he was. A great deal of care, vigilance and good sense is required, because as the Elder becomes well known, the temptation will come to some people to claim some type of attachment or connection with him. They will want to boast or to create the false impression that they are speaking for him. Apart from pure devotion and true love, apart from humble approach and honest learning, there is also conceit and personal gain. Naivety exists, but so does guile. Ignorance exists but so does error and deception. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

On Holy Scripture, By Elder Cleopa of Romania

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Ch. 2 from The Truth of Our Faith:: A Discourse from Holy Scripture on the Teachings of True Christianity

Inquirer: What do we mean by the term “Holy Scripture?”

Elder Cleopa: The term Holy Scripture denotes the sum of holy books that were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit within a time period of close to 1,500 years, namely, from Moses, 1,400 years before Christ, until the writer of the Apocalypse, nearly 100 years after Christ. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Sunday before Pentecost (Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh)

Ο απόστολος Παύλος. Ψηφιδωτό από το αρχιεπισκοπικό παρεκκλήσιο της Ραβέννας (494-495 μΧ).

The apostle Paul (mosaic). Ravenna, Archiepiscopal Chapel, 494-495 A.D. Ο απόστολος Παύλος. Ψηφιδωτό του αρχιεπισκοπικού παρεκκλησίου της Ραβέννας (494-495 μ.Χ.).

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost

We have heard in the Acts of the Apostles how, as the Feast of Pentecost was approaching, Paul the Apostle had started on his journey to Jerusalem to be there together with all those who on that very day received the Holy Spirit. Of all of them he was the only one who had not been present in the High Room where the event took place. And yet, God had given him a true, a perfect conversion of heart, and of mind and of life, and had given him freely the gift of the Holy Spirit in response to his total, ultimate gift of self to Him, the God Whom he did not know but Whom he worshipped.

We also are on our way to the day of Pentecost, next week we will keep this event. When Paul was on his way, he thought of what had happened to himself in the solitude of his journey from Jerusalem to Damascus and in the gift of the Spirit mediated to him by Ananias. And we also, each of us singly and all of us together should reflect on all that God has given us. He has given us existence and breathed life into us, – not only the life of the body, but a life that makes us akin to Him, His life. He has given us to know Him, the Living God, and He has given us to meet, in the Gospel and in life, His Only Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. In Baptism, in the Anointment with Holy Chrism, in Communion to the Body and Blood of Christ, in the mysterious, silent communion of prayer, in the moments when God Himself came near, although we were not thinking of Him, He has given us so much. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »