Let’s not shoot at people in the name of Christ! (Elder Paissios the of Hoyly Mount Athos)

I told someone once: ‘What are you? Are you Jesus’ warrior or a fighter for the tempter? Do you realize that there are also fighters for the evil one? A Christian ought not to be a fanatic but ought to love all people’.

Whoever speaks without discretion, he harms people even when he is right. I met a writer who was very devout, but when he was talking to laymen, he was very blunt to the extent that they were shocked. He told me once: ‘I said such and such to a lady during a meeting’. However, he had talked in such a way that he had ‘damaged’ her, offending her in front of everyone.

‘Look’, I said to him. ‘You throw wreaths with diamonds at people. But the way you do it, breaks their heads, even the heads which are not very sensitive. Let’s not throw stones at people, in the name of Christianity. Whoever… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is risen!

russian-anastasi1Ecumenical wishes…

English: Christ is Risen! Indeed He is risen!
Aleut: Khristus anahgrecum! Alhecum anahgrecum!
Alutuq: Khris-tusaq ung-uixtuq! Pijii-nuq ung-uixtuq!
Amharic: Kristos tenestwal! Bergit tenestwal!
Anglo-Saxon: Crist aras! Crist sodhlice aras!
Arabic: El Messieh kahm! Hakken kahm!
Armenian: Kristos haryav ee merelotz! Orhnial eh harootyunuh kristosee!
Aroman: Hristolu unghia! Daleehira unghia!
Athabascan: Xristosi banuytashtch’ey! Gheli banuytashtch’ey!
Bulgarian: Hristos voskrese! Vo istina voskrese!
Byelorussian: Khrystos uvaskros! Sapraudy uvaskros!
Chinese: Helisituosi fuhuole! Queshi fuhuole!
Coptic: Christos anesti! Alithos anesti!
Czech: Kristus vstal a mrtvych! Opravdi vstoupil!
Danish: Kristus er opstanden! I sandhed Han er Opstanden!

More…

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Let us prepare ourselves to come open, empty – to be filled with the Spirit

See also: “Α true canon of the Christian faith”.

Sunday before Pentecost

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

During the Last Supper our Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples that separation was near, that He was to ascend to His God and to His Father as He would repeat again to the women who came to the grave. And when their hearts were filled with sorrow at the thought that they will not see Him again, He said, “Your hearts are full with sorrow and yet, you should rejoice for Me that I am returning to My Father. But I will not,” he added, “leave you orphan, I will send you the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, whom I will send to you and who will teach you all things.” And so do we here now while we are still in the light of the Ascension. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Specific Truth

The Truth, spoken in general, is, perhaps, the most easily spoken truth in all the world. It smooths over the rough edges of hard truth and says more easily that to which all can agree. If all can agree – it is not probably the truth – or it is not a truth worth speaking.

As a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, I find the present time to be one in which the truth is both difficult to discern and difficult to speak. My policy on this blog has always been to avoid the “politics” of the moment and to write of things of greater importance. The politics of the moment are among those things hardest to discern. None of us have enough information to speak with clear authority – and we are often compromised by our own allegiances and friendships.

However, I do believe in truth – not the truth that serves only one point-of-view, not a truth that paints itself as all white while painting its opponent as all black. In the long span of human history, such characterizations have rarely proved to be entirely true.

First off, truth is not simply an accurate account of events. Truth is defined in and by a relationship with Jesus Christ. We have all encountered “masters of the truth” who while offering an irrefutable account of events, have somehow departed from the truth as it is in Christ. 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 »

The King who does not wish to defend Himself with an army

“Do you think that I cannot call upon My Father and He will not provide Me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels” (St. Matthew 26:53).

Thus spoke the Lord to the disciple who drew the sword to defend his Teacher in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is obvious from these words that the Lord could have defended Himself, if He wanted to, not only from Judas and his company of guards, but also from Pilate and the leaders of the Jews. For the might of one angel is greater than the greatest army of men, much less the might of twelve legions of angels. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Saint Syncletica (January 5)

St Syncletica. Fresco by Elder Sophrony Sakharov at the refectory of St John the Baptist Monastery in Essex.

Our holy mother Syncletica was born at Alexandria in the course of the fourth century to rich and devout parents, who came originally from Macedonia. From her youth, she had been seen as an excellent match on account of her great beauty, intelligence and virtues, and she had many suitors; but she remained deaf and blind to every worldly attraction, for she aspired only to spiritual marriage to Christ, the heavenly Bridegroom. Bringing her flesh into subjection by fasting and austerities of every kind, she constantly gathered her spirit in the depths of her heart and cried out night and day: My Beloved is mine, and I am His (Song of Songs 2:16).

On the death of her parents, she distributed her great fortune to the poor and then, accompanied by her blind sister, she fled far from the city. Read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Why study the signs of the times? (Fr. Seraphim Rose) Part 1

In the following talk, Fr. Seraphim speaks to us from almost twenty years ago, and yet his words are quite relevant to our times as we approach the end of the second millennium. Although some of the individual examples he gives are now dated, there are now even more extreme examples of the same phenomena of which he speaks. As always, he humbles his understanding before the holy Scriptures and their interpretation by the Orthodox Holy Fathers, and thus his teaching about the times remains timeless, free of the intellectual fashions and prejudices of this world. As time goes on, the Orthodox world-view from which he received his wisdom will become ever more  necessary for the spiritual survival of true Christians. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord

There is a “texture of life” that cannot be reduced. It has a richness that rational descriptions cannot capture. Though we battle with powerful forces that draw us towards the destructiveness of sin – there is written deep within us a hunger for wholeness and the capacity for God. In the words of St. John, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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Christ addresses Himself to each person

Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Celebration of Faith (Sermons, Vol. 1: «I Believe»), pp. 15-17

Several years ago a French publishing house asked a cross-section of famous people –writers, philosophers, artists– to contribute to a small book, entitled What I Believe. … Their responses were profoundly different from one another, and each essay is fascinating to read. One and the same faith has become new and personal when mediated by personal experience, personal understanding, yet it never ceases to be one faith shared in common.

[P]eople today often speak about religion and Christianity primarily on an impersonal, objective, dogmatic level. Not only religion’s opponents, but even believers are accustomed to discussing how and what Christianity teaches, how and what believers affirm. Yet faith, in its very nature and essence, is something deeply personal, and therefore it is only really alive when seen in the context of personality and personal experience.Only when a particular teaching of the Church –or, as we say, a dogma, an affirmation of some particular truth– becomes my faith and my experience, and therefore the main content of my life, does this faith come alive. If one reflects on faith and thinks about how it passes from one person to another, it becomes obvious that what really convinces, inspires and converts is personal experience. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple (November 21)

 

+Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann

It seems thousands of years removed from us, but it was not so very long ago that life was marked out by religious feasts. Although everyone went to church, not everyone, of course, knew the exact contents of each celebration. For many, perhaps even the majority, the feast was above all an opportunity to get a good sleep, eat well, drink and relax. And nevertheless, I think that each person felt, if not fully consciously, that something transcendent and radiant broke into life with each feast, bringing an encounter with a world of different realities, a reminder of something forgotten, of something drowned out by the routine, emptiness and weariness of daily life. Consider the very names of the feasts: Entrance into the Temple, Nativity, Epiphany, Presentation, Transfiguration. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Saint Winefride Virgin and Martyr

Her father, whose name was Thevith, was very rich, and one of the prime nobility in the country, being son to Eluith, the chief magistrate, and second man in the kingdom of North Wales, next to the king. Her virtuous parents desired above all things to breed her up in the fear of God, and to preserve her soul untainted amidst the corrupt air of the world. About that time Saint Beuno, Benno, or Benow, a holy priest and monk, who is said to have been uncle to our saint by the mother, having founded certain religious houses in other places, came and settled in that neighborhood. Thevith rejoiced at his arrival, gave him a spot of ground free from all burden or tribute, to build a church on, and recommended his daughter to be instructed by him in Christian piety.

Read more…

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Miracles by the Holy Belt of Most Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary) [Volume 7]

9. The deadly plague is stopped
22 August 1827. Father Savvas writes: “At Enos, the deadly plague has stopped on the 15th of June with the grace of the Holy Belt”. From Enos, the Holy Belt was transported to Didimotichon. In another letter, dated 12th September, the same priest writes: “Here, the deadly plague has stopped as it did at Enos, with the grace of the Holy Belt”.
10. We have been freed from the onslaught of lucusts. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Miracles by the Holy Belt of Most Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary) [Volume 6]

5. Fr Daniel Katounakiotis is cured of an inflammation of the kidneys.
In his book, “Contemporary Figures of the Holy Mountain”, Vol. 4, the late Archimandrite Cherubim describes how Father Daniel Katounakiotis had been miraculously cured of an acute inflammation of the kidneys. We quote the account: “No sooner did he reach Vatopedi than he suffered an acute inflammation of the kidneys. This “thorn in the flesh” afflicted him very seriously this time and he had to stay in bed for weeks.
The fathers at the monastery have been nursing him with a lot of affection. But even more affection was shown by the great Doctor of the Mountain, the Mother of God. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Miracles by the Holy Belt of Most Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary) [Volume 5]


The Holy Belt has performed innumerable miracles over the years. We will only refer to some of them, here.

1.    The ship stays montionless
Once, the inhabitants of Ainos invited the Holy Belt. The monks who were accompanying it were being offered hospitality at the house of a priest, whose wife secretly cut off a small piece.     When the monks boarded the vessel, the ship stayed motionless, even though the sea was calm. When the woman saw this extraordinary event she realized her mistake and handed back the missing piece. The ship sailed off only after the piece was handed over. Since then a second casket was crafted to accommodate this piece to this day. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Miracles by the Holy Belt of Most Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary) [Volume 4]

The history of the Holy Belt chapter

The Holy Belt of the Mother of God, divided these days in three parts, is the only relic or remains, which endures from her life on earth and is being safeguarded at the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi. According to the tradition, the belt was woven from camel hair from the Mother of God herself, and after her Repose, while she was ascending to heaven, she handed it over to Thomas the Apostle. The apolytikio of the feast for the deposition of the Holy Belt of the Mother of God says: “While you were ascending to the forthcoming glory, you have given your most venerable belt to Thomas the Apostle”.  read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Miracles by the Holy Belt of Most Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary) [Volume 3]

The Holy Apostles became the vessels of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Miracles are events beyond nature, which use and are being energized by material things (handkerchiefs and aprons), which are full of Grace. Our Orthodox Church celebrates the worship of the “chains” of Saint Peter in January. When he had been imprisoned by Herod in Jerusalem, his hands were chained. An angel sent by the Lord, freed him. The Christians have preserved the chains and they have been honoring and worshiping them for the benefit of their souls. The chains have received “eternal grace” and became “the cure of ailments, the consolation of those afflicted, the harbor for those distressed”. In a troparion of the Canon of the feast it is written: “Peter, drive away demonic disturbances, pacify the tempest of sin and eradicate all sicknesses, dangers and afflictions as well as the assaults by barbarians from all those who revere your chains”. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Miracles by the Holy Belt of Most Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary) [Volume 2]


Introduction

Our Church honors the holy and sacred relics, whether they are derived from the bodies of Saints, or are items belonging to them. One such relic, the only one which has been found to this day and belongs to the Most Holy Mother of God, is her Holy Belt. It constitutes a precious treasure and the most sacred relic which the Great, Holy Monastery of Vatopedi possesses. The Grace of the Holy Spirit continues to act through the holy relics. As Saint Chrysostomos says: “Jesus Christ, honoring the struggles, the blood they have shed and the martyrdom of the saints, has safeguarded their souls in heaven. But He left on earth their body and their holy relics to assist in our salvation”. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Miracles by the Holy Belt of Most Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary) [Volume 1]

 

Prologue

The works of God and His Saints, which cannot be rationally explained, are called miracles. God performs miracles ad infinitum. This is revealed by our Lord Jesus Christ who says: “My father is working until now” ( John 5, 17). By His uncreated energies, God provides, preserves and controls the whole universe, the whole creation. That is, God preserves the creation in the mint condition He had created it. He conserves and protects it by His divine consideration. Therefore, God’s uncreated energies are constantly and incessantly being revealed in the physical world and cause natural and physical results.Therefore, we are living a constant miracle. All of our abilities are being set in motion by God’s will. If God withdraws His energy from one of our abilities, we are going to lose it. Now I am able to see. I can see because God allows it. If God withdraws his energy I will become blind. read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Do you know how the Apostles died?

1 Matthew

Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia , killed by a sword wound.

2

Mark

Died in Alexandria , Egypt , after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

3

Luke

Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

Read more…

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Liturgical Gestures

Orthodox worship is characterized by a complete utilization of the senses sight, smell, hearing, speech and touch. We see the candles, Icons, frescoes, etc., we hear the sounds of singing and reading, at times lifting up our own voices, and we smell the characteristic odor of the incense. The whole of the human person is involved in worship, and important among the senses is the actual deportment of the human body. The attitude of the Orthodox Believer to worship is reverential, and certain types of bodily movements are utilized to reinforce this sense of reverential piety we stand during the services, we make bows and prostrations, and with great frequency, we make the Sign of the Cross. Accordingly, there are several types of Bows, depending on the solemnity of the moment.

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L’humilité à la sainte Montagne de l’Athos

L’ascète Russe père Tikhon, qui vécut soixante ans au Mont Athos après avoir visité trois cents monastères en Russie disait: » Au matin, Dieu bénit d’une main le monde entier, mais il utilise les deux mains pour bénir l’homme humble. Une personne humble est au-dessus du monde entier.»

Il disait aussi: » Seigneur Jésus-Christ, enracine-moi dans l’humilité.»

Ancore..

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On the Sunday of Pentecost

By Fr. Antony Hughes

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.

Glory to Jesus Christ!

The Reading is from John 7:37-52; 8:12

“He who believes in me, as the scripture says, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive.“ “Do you not know,” writes St. Paul, “that you are temples of the Holy Spirit?”

The question is: are there rivers of living water flowing from our hearts or rivers of something else? Are our hearts at peace or are we troubled within? Are we at ease or anxious, happy or confused? Do we bring joy to others? What is coming from our hearts? Is it compassion? Kindness? Patience? Love? Does our presence bring peace and healing to the people we meet or would it have been better had they not met us at all? The fruit of our lives reveals much about the state of our souls.

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom poses the same question in a different way:

“Why is it that people who meet us never notice that we are limbs of the risen Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit? Why? Each of us has got to give his own reply to this question. Let us, each of us, examine ourselves and be ready to answer before our own conscience and do what is necessary to change our lives in such a way that people meeting us may look at us and say,’Such people we have never seen. There is something about them that we have never seen in anyone. What is it?’ And we could answer:

Read more…

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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 »

Let us prepare ourselves to come open, empty – to be filled with the Spirit.

Sunday before Pentecost

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

During the Last Supper our Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples that separation was near, that He was to ascend to His God and to His Father as He would repeat again to the women who came to the grave. And when their hearts were filled with sorrow at the thought that they will not see Him again, He said, “Your hearts are full with sorrow and yet, you should rejoice for Me that I am returning to My Father. But I will not,” he added, “leave you orphan, I will send you the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, whom I will send to you and who will teach you all things.” And so do we here now while we are still in the light of the Ascension. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »