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 »

The Temptations of Church

I have sometimes said (in a light-hearted manner) that God gave us the Church to keep us honest. The truth is, that God gave us the Church that we might be saved. The failure to see why and how the Church is the ark of salvation is a failure to understand some of the most fundamental parts of our Christian faith – and often a failure which transforms Christianity into an ersatz religion that knows nothing of the Church.

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An incredible miracle in Serbia (Part 11- last part)

Continued from (10)

I confess my sins and take Holy Communion

A few days later, I travelled to the Zitsa monastery again to confess my sins and take Holy Communion. Earlier, I gave it a long thought as to which church I should go to, but I thought it was best to go where it all happened.

When I reached the monastery, I asked a nun to inform Bishop Basil that I wished to confess and take Holy Communion and felt the need to do it in his presence. I briefly described the experiences I had and that this was the reason I was asking the Bishop to see me. After a short wait, I was given permission to enter the Bishop’s office.

Read more…

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An incredible miracle in Serbia (part 10)

Continued from (9)

Return to the everyday life of our world

As soon as the vision ended, I woke up and noticed that I was drenched in sweat and that I could not move because of some inexplicably enormous fatigue. The clock next to me was indicating the time to be six o clock in the afternoon! Still under the spell of the vision, I was feeling both joy and fear, but nevertheless I thanked the Lord for allowing me to experience all these.

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St Constantine and Helen (May 21) – «In this thou shalt win»

Great Constantine this renowned sovereign of the Christians was the son of Constantius Chlorus (the ruler of the westernmost parts of the Roman empire), and of the blessed Helen. He was born in 272, in (according to some authorities) Naissus of Dardania, a city on the Hellespont. In 306, when his father died, he was proclaimed successor to his throne, in York. In 312, on learning that Maxentius and Maximinus had joined forces against him, he marched into Italy, where, while at the head of his troops, he saw in the sky after midday, beneath the sun, a radiant pillar in the form of a cross with the words: «In this thou shalt win» (Greek: ΕΝ ΤΟΥΤΩ ΝΙΚΑ). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Christian Woman’s Faith Attacked In Istanbul Airport

Returning from a recent trip to Lebanon, Helen Talia, traveling with  her friend Laurice Somo, both from Chicago, approached the security gates at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, carrying a host of religious (Christian) gifts ~ crosses, rosaries in her carry-on  handbag.

«No sooner did I approach the first security attendant, says Talia, my bag was turned upside down and ridded of all the religious gifts I had brought back from places of worship I had traveled thousands of miles in pilgrimage to Lebanon ~ Mar Charbel and Haresa. Needless to say, the manner in which the procedure was carried out was very vicious and without any regard to the value that another human places on his or her spiritual practices.

Read more…

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In a Single Moment – Paradise

April 11, 2010 by father stephen

Pascha and Bright Week always remind me of the joy of paradise. The doors of the altar stand open for all of Bright Week, reminding the people of God that Christ has opened paradise to us all. These are some thoughts on the suddenness and nearness of paradise. As the Elder Cleopas used to say, “May Paradise consume you!”

The Exapostelarian for the Matins of Good Friday is the hymn, “The Wise Thief.” It draws our attention to the mercy of God – who promised paradise to the wise thief, “This day.” Thoughts on the nearness of paradise are also a theme in the writings of Dostoevsky. If paradise is so near – why do we settle for less? Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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 »

A Childs Hymn… a prayer by Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Hear my prayer, O heavenly Father,

Ere I lay me down to sleep;

Bid Thy angels, pure and holy,

Round my bed their vigil keep.

My sins are heavy, but Thy mercy

Far outweighs them, every one;

Down before Thy cross I cast them,

Trusting in Thy help alone.

Read more…

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”I pray for all of you”, from the Letters of Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi (2)

Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi together with his first spiritual children Fr Athanasius (who later becam Metropolitan of Lemesos (Cyprus), Fr Efraim (who later became the Abbot of the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopaidi) and the theolgian and former Highschool Headmaster Mr ALekos Hristodoulou from Pyrgos Ileias (Greece)

Nea Sketi 21/1/1987

To my beloved child, I fatherly pray that Christ’s Grace be with your spirit.

I have received your letter, which was just a little smaller than a newspaper, though it could even be as big as that! Fr. Athanasios and Fr. Theonas are about to leave for Thessaloniki to see some doctors and to sort out the book, and they will perhaps speak with you there. I was very pleased to hear about X; it is good for him to have his own family nest, since time passes and then everything seems like drudgery. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Mid-Lent: The Worship of the Cross… A Weapon of Victory!!

The Adoration of the Cross. Etching by Wenzel Hollar (1607–1677).

Archbishop Dimitri of Dallas and the South

«And he said unto them: Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his own soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.» (Mark 8:34-38. From the reading for the Sunday of the Cross.)

This, the Third Sunday of the Fast is dedicated every year to the Adoration of the Holy Cross. As the Cross is at the center of our Faith, it seemed natural to the Church over the course of history, to place this «weapon of victory» in the midst of the assembly mid-way through the most spiritually intense season of the year. Gazing and meditating upon it, the faithful, who have chosen the way of the Cross as the way that leads to life, are renewed and strengthened for what remains of their Lenten pilgrimage to Pascha. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

SUNDAY OF THE CROSS

Metropolitan  Anthony  of  Sourozh

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

As we progress deeper and deeper into the weeks of Lent, we can say with an ever-growing sense of gratitude and of joy, of a serene and exulting joy the words of a Psalm, ‘My soul shall live, and with gratitude I will give glory to the Lord’.

In the first week of Lent we have seen all the promises of salvation given in the Old Testament fulfilled: God became man, salvation has come, and all hopes are possible. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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Dismissal Hymn (Apolytikion) and Kontakion of the Worship of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross (3rd Sunday of the Fast) – Απολυτίκιο και Κοντάκιο της Κυριακής της Σταυροπροσκυνήσεως

VatopaidiFriend: Notice what the Kontakion (the second hymn) says. It is LITERAL, not «metaphorical».

Dismissal Hymn. First Mode.

Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto the faithful victory over adversaries. And by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.

(Note: The original says «sovereigns» instead of «faithful» and «barbarians» instead of «adversaries». The «sovereigns» are the pious emperors of Byzantium, the best state in all of history, which – with the exception of some dark periods – provides a luminous example of true Christian spirituality, and unsurpassed economy, welfare, culture, ecology etc. The «barbarians» are the ungodly, backward hordes who always wanted to ravage the Byzantine Empire, and, after more than 1000 years, finally did – temporarily.)

Απολυτίκιον. Ήχος α΄.

Σώσον, Κύριε, τον λαόν σου και ευλόγησον την κληρονομίαν σου, νίκας τοις βασιλεύσι κατά βαρβάρων δωρούμενος και το σον φυλάττων, διά του Σταυρού σου, πολίτευμα.

Kontakion. Grave Mode. READ MORE… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

What is Forgiveness Sunday? (included are readings in greek)

We enter today the period of the Great Fast in preparation for Pascha. We are called to repent, to forgive, to pray, to fast from food and passions remembering the exile of Adam from Paradise banished because of uncontrolled desire to eat from the tree. It is the Sunday of Forgiveness. Reconciliation with God and restoration from the exile of sin is given to all who seek it through repentance and confession. We make a beginning in forgiving one another and asking for forgiveness which is the purpose of the special Vespers this afternoon. Our relationship with God is not outside and distinct from our personal relationships.

God is love. He makes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on both the good and the evil so that all have a chance to apprehend His love and repent. If we show God-like love in forgiving one another we shall also be forgiven. Full of gratitude to God for this promise and experience of forgiveness of our own sins we extend this forgiveness to all who trespass against us. In forgiving one another we release ourselves from the heavy chains of pride which imprison our souls. If we do not forgive one another we can have no communion with the God of forgiveness. We remain in the self exile of pride and outside of salvation. But today we are called to freedom through the cross of struggle against sin. Sorrowing for our sins we rejoice that these holy days lie before us in which we can draw closer to the great love and mercy of God. In our ascetical strivings we are warned not to let our right hand know what our left hand is doing. We are not to count, nor advertise our fasting which is a tool and not an end in itself. The Great Fast is not essentially about food but about returning to God. There is no evil in food nor in the body which needs it to live but our return to God is not possible when the soul is subject to the body and to the uncontrolled desires and appetites of fallen man. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Christmas Message of the Ecumenical Patriarch

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Prot. No. 1237 

BARTHOLOMEW

By God’s Grace

Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome

and Ecumenical Patriarch

To the Plenitude of the Church

Grace, peace and mercy from the Savior Christ

Born in Bethlehem

 

Beloved concelebrants and blessed children in the Lord,

Heaven and earth have united

Through the birth of Christ.

Today, God has appeared on earth,

And man has ascended to heaven.

(Christmas Hymn)

The distance and separation between God and humanity resulting from sin has been abolished with the assumption of the entire human nature by the Only-Begotten Son and Pre-eternal Word of God. It was God’s good will – that is to say, His initiative and will – that the incarnation of His Son should abolish all such distance uniting heaven and earth, as well as creation with its Creator. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Dream of the Rood

The Ruthwell Cross. From: "The Anglo-Saxons", Ed. by James Campbell, Penguin Books, 1991.

The Ruthwell Cross. From: "The Anglo-Saxons", Ed. by James Campbell, Penguin Books, 1991.

VatopaidiFriend: «The Dream of the Rood (=Cross)» is a wonderful Old English poem written in the 8th century (before the Schism). It tells of how the Cross appeared to a man in a vision and spoke to him. It provides profound Orthodox insight on the Mystery of the Atonement. The translation into modern English is by Mary Rambaran-Olm. Note that today, with the Old (Julian) Calendar, we celebrate the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross (September 14/27).

1 Lo! I will tell of the best of dreams,

what I dreamed in the middle of the night,

after the speech-bearers were in bed.

It seemed to me that I saw a very wondrous tree

5 lifted into the air, enveloped by light,

the brightest of trees. That beacon was all

covered with gold. Gems stood Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Ιερά Μονή Εσφιγμένου – The Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou

Η Ιερά Μονή Εσφιγμένου. Εξωτερική άποψη. Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou. External view.

Η Ιερά Μονή Εσφιγμένου. Εξωτερική άποψη. Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou. External view.

Ιδρύθηκε πριν τo τέλος το 10ου αι.. Πρωτοστάτησε στην επανάσταση της Χαλκιδικής 1821. Το Καθολικό, τιμώμενο στην Ανάληψη του Χριστού, κτίσθηκε κατά τα έτη 1810-1816 και τοιχογραφήθηκε το 1811, το 1818 και το 1841. Από τα κειμήλια της Μονής πρέπει να μνημονευθούν ο σταυρός ο λεγόμενος Πουλχερίας», η μικροψηφιδωτή εικόνα Χριστού και το υπ΄ αριθμό 14 χειρόγραφο με τις ογδόντα μικρογραφίες του. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

UK: Christian nurse faces sack over ‘dangerous’ 1-inch cross

Shirley ChaplinMonday, September 21, 2009 – A devout Christian nurse has been told to stop wearing a cross around her neck – as it could be dangerous. Shocked Shirley Chaplin, 54, faces the sack unless she obeys the health and safety order.

She has worn the one-inch silver cross necklace since her confirmation 38 years ago – and has worked at the same hospital for 31 years. But now bosses claim it could be a risk to patients or to Shirley if someone tried to grab it.

The nurse said no one had EVER reported an injury caused by a necklace to the Health and Safety Executive.

She added: «I can’t explain how important the cross is to me. Being told to take it off has completely and utterly shaken me. I don’t want to have to decide between my faith and my job. My Christian faith is what motivates me to care for others.

«I’m distressed and confused at their attitude. I’ve worn it for years and now, at the end of my career, I’m told to take it off. I feel I’m being bullied and victimised because of my faith. They are prepared to make allowances for other faiths, but not for Christianity.» Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Message of the day

The joy of human life springs forth from the Cross.

Elder Ephrem of Katounakia

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Exaltation of the Cross

Feast of the CrossSeptember 14

The Exaltation of the Cross is one of the twelve great feasts in the yearly Church cycle. It commemorates two historical events: first, the finding of the Life-giving Cross in the year 326, and second, its recovery from Persia in 628.

History of the Feast

In the first centuries of Christianity, during the years of persecution, the pagans wished to destroy all evidence of the life of Jesus Christ, and the Cross on which He was crucified disappeared. With the conversion of Emperor Constantine the Great, Christians were at liberty to worship openly and build churches. The emperor’s mother, St. Helen, longed to find the True Cross of Christ. She traveled to Jerusalem and was told by a very old Jew that the Cross was buried beneath the temple of the pagan goddess Venus, built in 119 AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

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Ιερα Μονή (Αγίου) Διονυσίου – The Holy Monastery of Dionysiou

Η Ιερά Μονή Αγίου Διονυσίου. Εξωτερική άποψη. The Holy Monastery of Dionysiou. External view.

Η Ιερά Μονή Αγίου Διονυσίου. Εξωτερική άποψη. The Holy Monastery of Dionysiou. External view.

Ιδρύθηκε λίγο μετά το 1370 από τον όσιο Διονύσιο, τον καταγόμενο από την Κορυσό της Καστοριάς, με χρηματοδότηση του αυτοκράτορα της Τραπεζούντος Αλεξίου Γ΄ Κομνηνού. Το 1520 κτίσθηκε ο πύργος, ύψους 25 μέτρων. Το 1535 καταστράφηκε από πυρκαγιά το μεγαλύτερο μέρος της Μονής. Το Καθολικό, τιμώμενο στο Γενέσιο του Προδρόμου, πρέπει να είναι κτίσμα του 1375, ανακαινισμένο μετά την πυρκαγιά. Τα ιδιόρρυθμα Τυπικαριά του φαίνεται να είναι τα παλαιότερα του είδους στο Άγιον Όρος Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The sign of the Cross

sign of cross 

The symbol of Christian faith has ever been and always will be the Cross, for it is the sign of our redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth to suffer for us and was crucified upon the Cross. When we wish to show that something is dedicated to Christ, we mark it with a Cross. The Cross is placed on church buildings, on the Holy Gospel, on banners, on the graves of the depart­ed. When we join the three fingers of our right hand together, it is as if we want­ed to say: «I believe in God, One in the Trinity; in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; not in one person, but Three Persons; not in three gods, but One God.» When we bend the other two fingers of our right hand down to the palm it is as if we were saying: «I believe that our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is at the same time Real God and Real man – the God-man – came down to earth for our salvation. «As we make the sign of the Cross, we say the following prayer:

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Kουβαλώντας το Σταυρό σου – Holding your Cross

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism in the Orthodox Christian Church

normal_bapt1864

Why infant Baptism ?

Holy Baptism is the first of seven Sacraments in the Orthodox Christian Church. Together with the Sacrament of Holy Chrism it joins the candidate to the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. Some people argue that the only valid baptism is that of an adult who believes in Christ first. They argue that to baptise a helpless infant only a few weeks old who is unable to believe is meaningless. So why baptise a baby when it doesn’t know yet what is happening? Why not wait for the baby to grow and believe in Christ and ask for baptism? If we were to follow this line of reasoning, we wouldn’t inoculate the baby against diphtheria until he grows up and asks for it! But we know better. Baptising infants before they know what is going on is an expression of God’s great love for us. It shows that God loves us and accepts us before we can ever know and love Him. It shows that we are wanted and loved by God from the very moment of our birth. Nothing shows the nature of God’s grace more than infant baptism. The Orthodox Church does not belittle personal faith in an adult who seeks baptism, but instead insists that the whole emphasis of baptism is not an what the baby does or the parents or the godparents, but on what God does. The fact that we are Christians is not due to any act on our part; it is due to the act of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Of course Baptism demands a personal response on the part of the baptised child when it reaches the age of reason. The child must accept what God did for him or her in Baptism. Baptism is not a divine pass that will get us into Heaven automatically. It must be followed by a personal awareness or awakening to the many gifts of God’s love bestowed upon us through this great sacrament. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »