Various Miracles of Saint Barbara

The Miraculous Icon of Saint Barbara in London, England

This is a miraculous icon of Saint Barbara which currently is in Harrow, London. It belongs to a Greek family from Egypt who has had it for generations. It was handed down to them while living in Alexandria, travelled with them during a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands, and when they decided to move to England they now reside in London where this icon has become well-known among the Greeks and even non-Greeks. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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.

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An incredible miracle in Serbia (part 9)

Continued from (8)

The angel counsels and exhorts me

When among the righteous and the sinners I recognized my relatives and friends the angel- guide warned me: “Dousan, you must not give an account on how each one of your friends and relatives looks like. You must only say what the sinners and the righteous look like”.

After these words, the angels sounded their trumpets again and the entire vision disappeared. Soon afterwards my angel –guide explained that on the day of the Judgment, all the people who will be living during that time will be reckoned among the risen, will be transformed as quickly as the shut of an eye and will have their deeds written on their foreheads.

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The last days of Elder Sofronios of Essex (+11 Ιουλίου 1993)

Four days before he died, he closed his eyes and did not want to talk to us anymore. His face was radiant but not sad; full of tension. He had the same expression like when he was ministering the Devine liturgy. He would not open his eyes, or utter any words, but he would lift up his hand and bless us. He was blessing us without words but I knew that he was going away. Before, I used to pray that God should let him leave longer, just as we pray during the liturgy of St. Vasilios: “prolong the time of the old”. However during those days, when I knew he was leaving, I started praying: “My Lord, give your servant a rich welcome into your Kingdom”. I was praying using St Peter’s words, as we read it in his second letter. (2 Peter 11)
Thus I was praying intensely: “Please God give your servant a rich entry into your Kingdom and place him among his Fathers”. Then, I would call the names of all his brothers, ascetics, in Ayio Oros, whom I knew he had connections with, beginning with Saint Silouanos and then all the others.  read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Miracles of Saint (Archimandrite) Justin of Chelije (part 1)


Translated by Fr. Milorad Orlic from Banatski Vesnik: List Pravoslavne Sprske Eparhije Banatske (Banat Messenger: Journal of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Banat), vol. 51, no. 11, June 1991.

The Year 1952

In 1952 there occurred a great miracle in the bakery of Chelije Monastery. In the monastery there were forty sisters, and Mother Nina was assigned to the kitchen. Having prepared bread for supper, she realized that there remained only one cup of flour. As she lamented this problem to the other sisters during dinner, Fr. Justin said: «Pray to Godthe Lord will take care of us!» Early the next morning, as Mother Nina entered the bakery, she found two large canisters of flour. Fr. Justin, Mother Sarah and all the other sisters witnessed this miracle, and all together gave thanks unto God.

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The Struggle for True Communion

For many Protestants (and some others) whose Church experience has largely been shaped in the past few decades, one of the most disconcerting aspects of a first visit to an Orthodox Church is the fact that not everybody, not all Baptized Christians, are permitted to receive communion. Indeed, communion is restricted to Orthodox Christians who have made preparation to receive (that’s another topic). For some, this is a surprise, for others, not, and for still some few, this is a welcome fact. When I first visited an Orthodox Church I fell into this last group. I did not rejoice that I was not able to take communion, but I rejoiced that I was not allowed to (in the state of schism in which I was living). Someone was saying to me, “There are things in your Christian life that must be addressed before you approach the Cup.” I understood this as healthy. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Q & A: Holy Communion and Confession

Question: How many times a year must one receive Holy Communion? Is the Sacrament of Confession necessarily tied to Holy Communion?

Answer: Holy Communion is not absolutely linked to Confession. In the ancient Church, people had the Grace of God in them; they were in a state of enlightenment of the nous* and they of course prayed and received Holy Communion frequently. When someone committed a sin, it meant that they had forfeited the Grace of God, in which case, they would remain outside the Temple, together with the catechumens. This is because one cannot have the Grace of God and yet deny Christ. When one sins, and especially in the flesh – and I am not referring to the carnal relations within a marriage in Christ – it shows that they are preferring carnal pleasure more than Christ and as such, are denying Christ in practice. This reduces them to the ranks of the repentants, and they will need to re-attain the state of enlightenment of the nous, following a specific procedure.

In Basil the Great and other Fathers, we notice that there were four ranks of Christians. Firstly, there were the «forgiveness-seekers», who sat outside the Holy Temple and asked for forgiveness from the Christians that went into the Temple. Secondly, there were the «beseechers», who remained in the Temple only up to the recitings of the Divine Liturgy and would depart along with the catechumens. Thirdly there were the «aligned», who remained in place until the end of the Divine Liturgy, but without receiving Holy Communion. And fourthly, there were the partakers of Holy Communion. In other words, when someone committed a sin, they would have to go through a period of repentance and repentance meant that the person had to reach the enlightenment of the nous through catharsis – he would have to alter his nous, and from a darkened state make it light again. The Bishop would then read a blessing and that person could afterwards receive Holy Communion.

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Two experiences on dying

A priest, Fr Theodoros, was called to give the Holy Communion to two people who were near death. One was a rich man, hardened and stingy and the other was a virtuous widow, who managed to bring up eight children in circumstances of acute poverty and hard work, in all honesty and prudence!!

Fr Theodoros was accompanied by deacon, Fr Lavrentios. The sexton was leading the way, followed by Fr Lavrentios and Fr Theodoros, who were walking side by side. The priest was without his cap, carrying the Holy Grail, and was having the Aera on his shoulders, as it was the custom those days. They first visited the place of the rich man. He did not even want to hear about taking the Holy Communion! He was only shouting:

«I am not for dying!» Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Beginning of the School Year: Some Questions for Parents to Think About

children at church door

Summer is over, family vacations taken, new clothes and school supplies purchased, children ready to go back to school; and parents are ready for them to go! These are August traditions and part of our getting back into routine.

Accompanying our children’s education, there are some other areas with which parents need to concern themselves in relation to students’ spiritual and moral lives. Below are a few questions for personal reflection. Since we are approaching the Church New Year, perhaps some of these can be “resolutions” for our families.

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The Communion of Children

childrenThe anonymous writer at the marvelous French-language blog Moinillon au quotidien offers the following points of reflection on children and Holy Communion, which I here translate for your consideration:

  • -Communion is not a magical act; its action is related to a certain preparation and to a certain interior disposition.

-Communion is communion with Christ and with the other faithful in Christ; it must therefore take place within the context of communal Liturgy.

-The entire Liturgy is a preparation for Communion; all people who commune must therefore be present at least from the beginning of the Liturgy of the faithful.

-It is important to teach children from their youngest age to behave themselves in church; even if they do not understand the words and action of the Liturgy, they are impregnated with the spiritual atmosphere and benefit from the prayers of the priest and of the community, and recieve the grace of the Holy Liturgy.

RAISING CHILDREN IN ORTHODOX FAITH

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St. Sophia with her daughters Sts. Elpis (Hope), Pistis (Faith) and Agape (Love). Icon from Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston.

In the same way, any child who grows up surrounded in an atmosphere of prayer in the home will, almost certainly, find himself drawn into that pattern of regular and effortless prayer.

By Fr. John-Mark

Source: St. Aidan’s Orthodox Church Manchester

You may think it odd of Fr Gregory (Fr.Gregory Hallam is the priest-in-charge of St. Aiden’s Church and the Web Editor of The Orthodox Web Site – Ed.) to ask someone with no direct knowledge of the subject to speak about the Raising of Children, but he is really being, as usual, very astute. Not only does the outsider often see more of the game, but this particular aspect of the Eastern religion was the main cause, many years ago now, of my initial interest in Orthodoxy. I say this, because it didn’t take me long, as an Anglican parish priest, to see that in the introduction to, and raising of, children in the Christian faith, the Eastern Churches were approaching the subject in a much more intelligent manner than the Western Churches.

On paper, the differences do not appear to be great, but in practice there is all the difference in the world. As you probably know, the Western Church has generally speaking, a three-step approach to Christian initiation. A baby is baptised and then waits a good number of years before being confirmed and in my early days, then had another wait of perhaps days or even weeks, before receiving Holy Communion. The results of this in practice were :–(1) Most parents expected “someone else” to inform their child about the Christian faith—day or Sunday school teachers, the parish priest,–any one, but them. (2) If a baptised child was brought to Church, he/she could not receive Holy Communion and so came to regard themselves as second-class Christians. (3) A lot of children, baptised as infants, were never brought back for Confirmation and Holy Communion. This meant that in any parish there was a significant number of half-baked Christians. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Sacrament of Confession

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St. Cosmas Aitolos

Perhaps the most misunderstood sacrament of the Christian Church is confession (or repentance). How did it originate? What role does a priest play? Is there a special procedure for confession? The Holy Scriptures hold answers to these questions.

God’s Word promises «If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness» (1 John 1:9). The faithful are to bring their sins to God in repentance and receive cleansing and forgiveness.

The early Christians would stand and confess their sins to God in the presence of the whole congregation. Jesus encouraged His followers to walk in the light together, to confront problems corporately, to «tell it to the church» (Matt. 18:17). Thus James writes, «Confess your trespasses to one another» (James 5:16). But as time went on and the Church grew in numbers, strangers came to visit and public confession became more difficult. Out of mercy, priests began to witness confessions of sin privately on behalf of the Church.

Jesus, giving His disciples the authority to forgive sin, said, «If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained» (John 20:23; c.f. Matt. 16:19, 18:17-19). From the beginning, Christians understood that the grace of ordination endowed the shepherd of the flock with the discernment and compassion to speak the words of remission, on behalf of Christ, regarding the sins of those who confess and turn from sin. For God has promised the removing of sin from us «as far as the east is from the west» (Ps. 103:12). St. John Chrysostom says, «The priests decree below, God confirms above, and the Master agrees with the opinion of His slaves». Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Holy Eucharist

St Basil before the holy altar, celebrating the Divine Liturgy. Byzantine fresco of the 11th century in the church of St Sophia in Ohrid, in modern-day FYROM.

St Basil before the holy altar, celebrating the Divine Liturgy. Byzantine fresco of the 11th century in the church of St Sophia in Ohrid, in modern-day FYROM.

«For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks [Gr. euchariste’sas], He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me'» (1 Cor. 11:23-25).

With these words – quoting the same words of Christ in Luke 22:19, 20 – St. Paul instructs the Corinthians concerning the Eucharist, the giving of thanks. Some two thousand years after Jesus gave Himself «for the life of the world» (John 6:51), there are in Christendom at least three different interpretations of His words.

How do we view the Eucharist?

For the first thousand years of Christian history, when the Church was visibly one and undivided, the holy gifts of the Body and Blood of Christ were received as just that: His Body and Blood. The Church confessed this was a mystery: The bread is truly His Body, and that which is in the cup is truly His Blood, but one cannot say how they become so. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

STRUGGLERS WILL BE SAVED

jesus confessional 1By Archpriest Aleksiy Uminskiy Translated by Zhanna Menshikova

If we understand that confession is not merely a conversation with a priest but one’s turning to God, then it should be treated by a penitent not as an opportunity to receive advice and consolation from a wise and kind priest, but as the way to turn to Christ through one’s own spiritual labours. As the Holy Fathers say: «God saves us, but not without our participation». The Sacrament of Penance can be performed in various ways subject to the circumstances of one’s life. A penitent can repent in front of a priest, who is using a stole and prayerbook, or the penitent can repent outside the church without any of the mentioned attributes, as it was the case over the period of religious persecution. The only thing neccesary for the sacrament to take effect is the repentance itself. The sacrament may not have effect even if all conditions of the procedure are met with, that is, the repentance has been received by the priest with the stole, prayerbook, cross and Gospel, all the prayers have been said, the sinner’s head has been covered with the stole and the remission of sins has been granted. How does this sacrament work then? As we have already mentioned, this is one of the most mysterious sacraments. Everything in it can be characterised as ineffable, indescribable or inexplicable. Only by performing the outer part of the rite can we consciously participate in the sacrament. As much as it is beyond our understanding to describe how God created the world with the Word, so much it is impossible to describe how God re-creates man. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Everyday Spirituality: The Importance of a Thankful Heart

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Michael Haldas
St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:4, «I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus.» The note in our Orthodox Study Bible that corresponds to this passage reads, «Nothing is so acceptable to God as our thankfulness for His grace, both to us and to others.» This explanatory note is profound and is so important to our well-being because having a thankful heart is ultimately what leads us to love as God loves.

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