Jerusalem

Here’s an aerial video preview of an upcoming movie about Jerusalem (IMAX). Beautiful images…

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Israel, Greece sign aviation pact, first treaty in 60 years

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his visiting Greek counterpart, Dimitris Droutsas, signed an aviation treaty yesterday, amid signs of strengthening ties between Jerusalem and Athens. This was the first treaty to be signed between the two nations since 1952, a Foreign Ministry statement said. The deal paves the way for, among other things, two carriers to service each side for each destination instead of just one.

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Convent of St. Thekla

During the primacy of His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, the Patriarch of All Georgia and Archbishop of Miskheta and Tbilisi, one more spiritual treasure, the convent of St. Thekla was added to the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church. The convent was founded in 1995, when eight spiritual children οf the Archpriest Teimuraz Chachibaia fulfilled their firm desire to live the monastic life. Due to their common goal, they were attached to each other with bonds of close friendship. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

St. Helen, Mother of Emperor Constantine, Equal of the Apostles

St. Helen was the mother of St. Constantine the Great, and was born at Drepanum (Helenopolis) in Asia Minor to parents of humble means. She married Constantius Chlorus, and their son Constantine was born in 274. Constantius divorced her in 294 in order to further his political ambitions by marrying a woman of noble rank. After he became emperor, Constantine showed his mother great honor and respect, granting her the imperial title “Augusta.”

After St. Constantine became the sole ruler of the Western Roman Empire, he issued the Edict of Milan in 313 which guaranteed religious tolerance for Christians. St. Helen, who was a Christian, may have influenced him in this decision. In 323, when he became the sole ruler of the entire Roman Empire, he extended the provisions of the Edict of Milan to the Eastern half of the Empire. After three hundred years of persecution, Christians could finally practice their faith without fear. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Elder Arsenios Spileotis (1886-1983) [with many pictures]

by Monk Joseph of Dionysiou Monastery

Elder Arsenios Spileotis (1886-1983), fellow struggler for more than 40 years with Saint Elder Joseph the Hesychast ( 1897-1959)

It is not easy to describe in a few pages the life and works of a great ascetic of the might of blessed Elder Arsenios. He was born in Pontos. While still young he was burning with Holy zeal. He decided to leave his country and walk from Russia to Constantinoupole and from there to the Holy Land, where he served at the Holy Sepulchre and at other Holy places for almost ten years.

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Jerusalem Power

To spend the past few days in the crowded, narrow streets of Jerusalem’s Old City, among the multilingual throngs marking Passover or Easter, was to get an unforgettable sense of the power this place has over the minds of millions. It also gives an insight into some of the ways Jerusalem, and control of access to its holy sites, plays into global power politics.

For the majority of Palestinians who are Muslim, as well as for the Islamic world beyond, the Jewish state of Israel’s hold on the city since its capture from Jordan in the 1967 war is a deep grievance. Sporadic violence around the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque has flared again this year.

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Jerusalem: ‘Holy Fire’ lights up Jerusalem church for Easter

JERUSALEM – The flame poured forth from the tomb, lighting up the cavernous church as fire passed from candle to candle held by thousands of Christian pilgrims convinced they were witnessing a miracle.

Orthodox Christians packed into Jerusalem’s centuries-old Church of the Holy Sepulchre and spilled out into the surrounding cobblestone alleys in anticipation of the annual «Holy Fire» ceremony on the eve of Easter Sunday.

Believers hold that the fire is sent from the heavens to ignite candles held by the Greek Orthodox patriarch in an annual rite symbolising Jesus’s resurrection that dates back many hundreds of years.

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Jesus and the Donkey…

What exactly is the meaning of Palm Sunday? We know the simple facts: Jesus arrived in Jerusalem and asked his disciples to bring him a foal, the colt of a donkey to ride upon into the gates of . As Jesus entered the city the crowds began shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” and waved palm branches and spread out their coats on the streets. But this story is quite rich with symbolism and points to something much deeper.

First of all, the waving of palms and laying down of coats by the people was no accident or coincidence. Palms were signs of victory and of military achievement. The Romans gave palms to the victors in the Roman games and emperors gave them to their subjects following thier military conquests. The Jewish people had picked up on this and in 1 Maccabees the people waved palm branches to celebrate the newly established independence of Jerusalem and Judea.

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Palm Sunday- the Entrance of Our Lord into Jerusalem

The Saturday of Lazarus from the liturgical point of view is the pre-feast of Palm Sunday – the Entrance of Our Lord into Jerusalem. Both feasts have a common theme; triumph and victory. Saturday reveals the Enemy, which is Death. Palm Sunday announces the meaning of victory as the triumph of the Kingdom of God. Palm Sunday announces the acceptance by the world of its only King, Jesus Christ.

In the life of Jesus the solemn entrance in the Holy City was the only visible triumph. Up to that day, He consistently rejected all attempts to glorify Him. But six days before the Passover, He not only accepted to be glorified, He Himself provoked and arranged this glorification by doing what the prophet Zacharias announced: «behold, Thy King cometh unto thee… lowly and riding upon an ass.. «(Zac. 9:9). He made it clear the He wanted to be acclaimed and acknowledged as the Messiah, the King and the Redeemer of Israel.

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Heiligenkalender der Orthodoxen Kirche – 6. Februar (24. Januar)

Selige Ksenia von Petersburg († 1794-1806).

Die selige Ksenia Grigorjewna Petrowa wurde zwischen 1719 und 1732 Geboren; sie war verheiratet. Als 26jährige Witwe widmete sie sich für ihr ganzes Leben dem Dienste Gottes und der Menschen in der christlichen Weise der heiligen Einfalt. Langsam begriffen die Leute, dass sie keine gewöhnliche Arme vor sich hatten; sie nahm keine milden Gaben an, sie trug keine warme Kleidung und lief das ganze Jahr in ärmlichen, durchlöcherten und zerrissenen Schuhen.

Beweis ihrer christlichen Haltung waren die absolute Bedürfnislosigkeit, die Güte, die Bescheidenheit und die Gabe, Künftiges vorauszusehen. Oft half die Selige den Menschen ein frommes, christliches Leben zu führen. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Holy Flame: the Greatness of the Miracle, and the Helplessness of the Skeptics

The Holy Edicule after the descent of the Holy Fire

Why do atheists and skeptics want to destroy faith?

During the long history of Christianity, there has never been a single miracle that skeptics and atheists have not tried to disprove. They have used and still use every possible means in this bat­tle. Even St. John Chrysostom talked about those [the chief priests and Pharisees] who denied the miracle of the Resurrection, saying, “But note, I pray thee, their plotting, how ridiculous it is. They [the chief priests and Pharisees] say, ‘Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, “After three days I will rise again”’ (Matthew 27:63). Yet if He were a deceiver, and boastfully spoke falsehood, why are ye afraid, and why do ye rush about, and make such a com­motion? They reply, ‘We are afraid that the disciples might steal Him away, and deceive the multitude.’ And yet it has been proved [in the previous paragraph of his homily] that this could in no way happen. Malice, however, is a thing obstinate and shameless, and attempts to do what is foolish” (The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Gospel of St. Matthew. Homily LXXXIX 2).

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Dialogue between a Geron (Elder) and an atheist

The Holy Image or "Mandylion" (also known as the Shroud of Turin). For proof that this cloth is indeed the ancient image of Jesus Christ venerated since early Christian times in Syria, see these two books: http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Faces-Secret-Places-Wilson/dp/0385261055 and http://www.amazon.com/Crucifixion-Second-Completely-Revised-Expanded/dp/1590770706/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254215747&sr=1-1

The Holy Image or "Mandylion" (also known as the Shroud of Turin). For proof that this cloth is indeed the burial cloth of Jesus Christ that is venerated since early Christian times in Syria and then in Constantinople, see these two books: http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Faces-Secret-Places-Wilson/dp/0385261055 and http://www.amazon.com/Crucifixion-Second-Completely-Revised-Expanded/dp/1590770706/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254215747&sr=1-1

One morning, the holy Elder («Geron») Epiphanios Theodoropoulos (1930-1989) was in a conversation with 2-3 visitors at his home. One of them was an ideological atheist and a communist. Suddenly, someone from outside came rushing in, and informed them that the city of Athens had been flooded with photographs of Mao Tse Tung, with the inscription “Glory to the great Mao”. It was the day that the Chinese dictator had died.

Geron:

That’s the way things are, my child. Atheists do not exist. Only idolaters exist, who take down Christ from His throne and in His place they enthrone their own idols. We say: “Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”. They say: “Glory to the great Mao”. You pick and choose which one you prefer.

Atheist:

You also choose your drug, grandpa. The only difference is, that you call it Christ, others call it Allah, or Buddha, etc. etc…

Geron:

My child, Christ is not a drug. Christ is the Creator of the entire universe. He is the one Who governs everything wisely, from the multitudes of infinite galaxies, down to the minutest particles of the microcosm. He has given life to all of us. He is the One Who brought you into this world and has bestowed you with so much freedom, that you can actually doubt Him, and even deny Him.

Atheist:

Grandpa, its your right to believe in all of those things. But that doesn’t mean they are true. Do you have any proofs? Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

“These Truths We Hold” (Part VI)

theotokos

Continued from (Part V)

Other Orthodox Communities in America.

Albanian.

Albanian Orthodox immigrants had been arriving in America for some time and, after some troubles with the local Greek Priest in Boston, Massachusetts, the Albanians there selected Theophan (Fan) Noli to be their own Priest. Accordingly, on February 9,1908, Fan Noli was ordained to the Priesthood by Archbishop Platon in New York and the first Liturgy in the Albanian language was celebrated by Fr. Theophan in Boston on March 18, 1908. After serving for some years, organizing Albanian parishes, Fr. Theophan returned to Albania, where he was consecrated Bishop, on November 21,1923, subsequently becoming Prime Minister of that country in 1924. After a coup-d’etat, Bishop Theophan was forced to leave Albania, eventually returning to America as Bishop of the Albanian Orthodox Church in America. At his death in 1965, he was succeeded by Bishop Stephen (Lasko), who joined the Albanian Church to the newly-autocephalous Orthodox Church in America in October, 1971. Another tiny Albanian Diocese in America is under the spiritual care of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

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Patriarch Kirill to Islamic states: More attention to Christian minorities

Kiril-BartholomewMoscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow has urged the governments of Muslim majority states to respect Christian minorities.

Meeting ambassadors from 20 Arab States, September 4, Kirill said that » More attention to the needs of the Christian minority [in Islamic countries] would be an additional factor in the Christian-Muslim dialogue».

During the talks, held in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the Patriarch also stressed the theme of reciprocity by stating that «Christian Orthodox churches in Arab lands the same as numerous mosques in Russia are a symbol of the friendship of Christians and Muslims, an indication of our intentions to live in friendship and mutual respect». Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

“These Truths We Hold” (Part V)

american saints

Continued from (Part IV)

Orthodoxy in America.

In the 18th Century, the great Orthodox Christian missionary work which began with Pentecost in Jerusalem, so many centuries before, finally crossed from the continent of Euro-Asia into North America. The first missionaries traveled with the explorers Vitus Bering and Alexei Chirikov, who formally claimed Alaska and the Aleutian Islands in 1741. For the next fifty years, together with the exploration and economic development of this new outpost of the Russian Empire, the first attempts were made to bring the Orthodox Faith to the natives of that region (the Aleuts, the Athabascan Indians, the Tlingits, and the Eskimos).

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“These Truths We Hold” (Part IV)

Enthroned Mother of God and Child with Archangels.Circa 1600

Enthroned Mother of God and Child with Archangels.Circa 1600

Continued from (Part III)

World Orthodoxy Today.

Constantinople.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople again, at least nominally, became independent after World War I and the rise of modern, secular Turkey, although greatly reduced in size. At present the Patriarch’s jurisdiction includes Turkey, the island of Crete and other islands in the Aegean, the Greeks and certain other national groups in the Dispersion (the Diaspora) — in Europe, America, Australia, etc. — as well as the monastic republic of Mt. Athos and the autonomous Church of Finland. The present position of the Patriarchate in Turkey is precarious, persecution still exists there, and only a few thousand Greek Orthodox still remain in Turkey.

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Greek Orthodox patriarch blocks East Jerusalem land confiscation

intro2

Jerusalem – Ma’an – Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III blocked a recent attempt by Israel’s Jerusalem municipality to confiscate 43 dunums of church property near Beit Safafa village, officials said Saturday.

A Palestinian lawyer representing the patriarch said he presented an appeal against a decision taken by an Israeli regional planning committee within the municipality to confiscate Greek Orthodox property in order to expand streets and build public facilities. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

St. Joseph of Arimathea (with Orthodox hymn to the saint from St. Anthony’s Orthodox Monastery in Arizona) – July 31

A contemporary Orthodox icon depicting saints Eudokimos and Joseph of Arimathea (July 31).

A contemporary Orthodox icon depicting saints Eudokimos and Joseph of Arimathea (July 31).

All that is known for certain concerning him is derived from the canonical Gospels. He was born at Arimathea — hence his surname — «a city of Judea» (Luke 23:51), which is very likely identical with Ramatha, the birthplace of the Prophet Samuel, although several scholars prefer to identify it with the town of Ramleh. He was a wealthy Israelite (Matthew 27:57), «a good and a just man» (Luke 23:50), «who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God» (Mark 15:43). He is also called by St. Mark and by St. Luke a bouleutes, literally, «a senator», whereby is meant a member of the Sanhedrin or supreme council of the Jews. He was a disciple of Jesus, probably ever since Christ’s first preaching in Judea (John 2:23), but he did not declare himself as such «for fear of the Jews» (John 19:38). On account of this secret allegiance to Jesus, he did not consent to His condemnation by the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:51), and was most likely absent from the meeting which sentenced Jesus to death (cf. Mark 14:64).

St Joseph of ArimatheaThe Crucifixion of the Master quickened Joseph’s faith and love, and suggested to him that he should provide for Christ’s burial before the Sabbath began. Unmindful therefore of all personal danger, a danger which was indeed considerable under the circumstances, he boldly requested from Pilate the Body of Jesus, and was successful in his request (Mark 15:43-45). Once in possession of this sacred treasure, he — together with Nicodemus, whom his courage had likewise emboldened, and who brought abundant spices — wrapped up Christ’s Body in fine linen and grave bands, laid it in his own tomb, new and yet unused, and hewn out of a rock in a neighbouring garden, and withdrew after rolling a great stone to the opening of the sepulchre (Matthew 27:59, 60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53; John 19:38-42). Thus was fulfilled Isaiah’s prediction that the grave of the Messias would be with a rich man (Isaiah 53:9). The Greek Church elebrates the feast of Joseph of Arimathea on 31 July, and the Roman Church on 17 March. The additional details which are found concerning him in the apocryphal «Acta Pilati», are unworthy of credence. Likewise fabulous is the legend which tells of his coming to Gaul A.D. 63, and thence to Great Britain, where he is supposed to have founded the earliest Christian oratory at  Glastonbury. Finally, the story of the translation of the body of Joseph of Arimathea from Jerusalem to Moyenmonstre (Diocese of Toul) originated late and is unreliable.

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St Elizabeth the New-Martyr (+1918) – July 18

st elizabeth the new-martyr

 Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna of Russia (Елизавета Фёдоровна), née Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Luise Alice of Hesse and by Rhine (February 24, 1864 – July 18, 1918), was the wife of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, the fifth son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and Maria Alexandrovna (née Princess Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt). After the assassination of her husband, she went on to found a convent dedicated to ministering to the poor. She was later martyred by the Bolsheviks, and more recently she has been glorified as a new martyr.

Early life and Marriage

Elizabeth was the second child and daughter of Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, a daughter of Queen Victoria. She was also the elder sister of Alexandra Fyodorovna, the last empress of Russia. Elizabeth was affectionately called Ella by her family. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

MENTAL IMAGERY IN EASTERN ORTHODOX PRIVATE DEVOTION (Part 3)

Continued from (2)

In the context of forbidding attitude of the Eastern Fathers toward mental images, it seems necessary to briefly mention elaborate and very imaginative Orthodox iconography.[5] Icons in the Orthodox Tradition are used for prayer, meditation, and contemplation. Yet, even during prayer before icons, which obviously present visual imagery, the use of mental imagery, according to the Orthodox Tradition, is to be avoided. St. Ignatii (Bryanchaninov) writes:

The holy icons are accepted by the Holy Church for the purpose of arousing pious memories and feelings, but not at all for arousing imagination. Standing before an icon of the Savior, stand as if before the Lord Jesus Christ himself, Who is invisibly everywhere present and by His icon is in that place, where the icon is; standing before an icon of the Mother of God, stand as if before the Most-Holy Virgin Herself; but keep your mind without images: there is a great difference between being in the presence of the Lord or standing before the Lord and imagining the Lord. (Works 2004, 1:76) Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

SAINT MARY MAGDALENE

Saint Mary Magdalene. Drawing by a 5-year-old.

Saint Mary Magdalene. Drawing by a 5-year-old child.

by St Nicholas Velimirovic

Mary Magdalene was one of the myrrh-bearing women and «equal to the apostles». She was born in the town of Magdala along the shore of Lake Gennesaret and was from the tribe of Issachar. She was tormented by seven evil spirits from which the Lord Jesus freed her and made her whole. She was a faithful follower and servant of the Lord during His earthly life. Mary Magdalene stood beneath the Cross on Golgotha and grieved bitterly and mourned with the All-Holy Birth-giver of God. After the death of the Lord she visited His sepulchre three times. When the Lord resurrected she saw Him on two occasions: once alone and the other time with the other myrrh-bearing women. She traveled to Rome and appeared before Tiberias Caesar and presenting him with a red colored egg, greeted him with the words: «Christ is Risen!» At the same time, she accused Pilate before Caesar for his unjust condemnation of the Lord Jesus. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

MENTAL IMAGERY IN EASTERN ORTHODOX PRIVATE DEVOTION (Part 2)

Continued from (1)

In other words, according to St. Ignatii (Bryanchaninov), purposefully creating images in one’s mind, and even accepting those appearing spontaneously, is not only dangerous spiritually, but can also lead to the damage of the soul, or psychological problems, “which,” he says, “has happened to many.” Undoubtedly, here St. Ignatii refers to the spirituality of some Western saints: “Do not play with your salvation, do not. Take up the reading of the New Testament and the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church, but not of Teresa and other Western crazies…” (25) But cases of mental disorders facilitated by improper prayer or state of mind are also mentioned in various Orthodox literature, especially paterikons.

Saint Simeon the New Theologian (949-1022), writing in the late tenth to early eleventh centuries, warns against the method of prayer later used by St. Ignatius of Loyola and other Western saints as potentially leading to mental problems:

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MENTAL IMAGERY IN EASTERN ORTHODOX PRIVATE DEVOTION (Part 1)

a devoted monk in prayer

Just as there can be a properly trained voice, there can be a properly trained soul.[1]

—Fr. Alexander Yelchaninov

Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

This presentation is based on the research that I undertook for a book titled Imagine That… : Mental Imagery in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Private Devotion, published in paperback in February of 2009 with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco. The work is an analytical comparison of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox attitudes toward mental imagery. In this presentation, I wish to focus specifically on the Orthodox tradition of prayer.

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The Holy Great Martyr Saint Procopius (July 8)

prokopios

Procopius was born in Jerusalem of a father who was a Christian and a mother who was a pagan. At first, his name was Neanias. Following the death of his father, the mother raised her son completely in the spirit of Roman idolatry. When Neanias matured, Emperor Diocletian saw him and, at once, took a liking to him and brought him to his palace for military service. When this nefarious emperor began to persecute Christians, he ordered Neanias to go to Alexandria with a garrison of soldiers and there to exterminate the Christians. But, on the road, something happened to Neanias similar to that which happened to Saul [Paul]. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »