Little ones to Him belong

Jesus loves me! This I know,

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong;

They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

The Bible tells me so. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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«I went to Christouli and Panagitsa high in heaven»

I went to Christouli (Christ Jesus) and Panagitsa (Mary, Most Holy Mother of God) high in heaven» (amateur translation)

E. and T. T., from Drosato N. Kilkis, are the parents of three children. They relate the following: «On March 30th 2001 we took our M., four and a half years old, to the Hospital in Thessaloniki because of an unbearable stomach pain. With the appropriate tests they diagnosed him with obstructive ileus, and operated on him for three and a half hours, removing half a meter of necrotic gut.

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Ascension of Jesus Christ

VatopaidiFriend: The Day of Ascension, is celebrated in many European countries by being a public holiday. Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland are honouring the Ascension of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

… and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father

After his resurrection from the dead Jesus appeared to men for a period of forty days after which he «was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God» (Mk 16:19; see also Lk 24:50 and Acts 1:9-11).

The ascension of Jesus Christ is the final act of his earthly mission of salvation. The Son of God comes «down from heaven» to do the work which the Father gives him to do; and having accomplished all things, he returns to the Father bearing for all eternity the wounded and glorified humanity which he has assumed (see e.g. Jn 17).

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For God so loved the world… (John 3:14-21)

A symbolic image of the Passion and the Holy Trinity. Drawing by St Mary Skobtsova of Paris.

«And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.»

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 »

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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When our soul is troubled (St. Diadochus of Photice)

When the soul is agitated by anger, or troubled by dissipation or oppressed by heavy discouragement, no matter what violence it does itself, the mind cannot achieve recollection of the Lord Jesus… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Give and it will be given back to you

by David Grier

Jesus said:

«Give and it will be given back to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.» (Luke 6:38)

This is so plain and direct that we often are tempted to doubt that our Lord meant it. A recent article in the Oprah Magazine (December 2000) illustrates an example of someone who lived her life by this and other biblical principles. The article is an interview with Maya Angelou, a 72 year old woman who had overcome poverty, a broken home, childhood rape, single parenting, and the difficulties of being black in America to become a successful performer, author, and teacher. Oprah, who knows Ms. Angelou well, made the observation that «people flock to your home because of your generosity. Generosity must be a life principle for you.»

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Should children attend church services?

by Deborah Wegh

Why do we want our children to participate in the Divine Liturgy? Other churches have nurseries, separate Sunday School classes for young children, children’s liturgies ­ why not the Orthodox? Orthodox parents bring their children to church so that they can experience God, not only intellectually as in their church school classes, but from the heart. We bring our children to the Liturgy because they are part of our family and thus part of our church community; the liturgy is the «common work» of the people of God.

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Epiphany

At the completion of the thirty hidden years in which he had passed through all the stages of the common life of man and had shown exemplary humility in all that (he did, obedient to his parents, and submissive to the Law, Our Lord Jesus Christ entered upon His public ministry—the path that would lead to His Passion—by a dazzling revelation of His divinity For the Father and the Holy Spirit then bore witness that Jesus is truly the Only Son of God, consubstantial with the Father, Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Word made flesh for our salvation, the Saviour foretold by the Prophets; and that, in His Person, the Godhead is united without admixture to our humanity and has made it shine with His glory. Hence this feast of the Baptism of Christ has been called the Epiphany (‘manifestation’) or the Theophany, that is to say, the showing forth of the divinity of Christ and the first clear revelation of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.

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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 »

Joseph the Betrothed

Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus by Guido Reni, c 1635

Saint Joseph the Betrothed was of the lineage of King David. In his first marriage, he had four sons and two daughters. After he became a widower, St Joseph led a life of strict temperance. He was chosen to be the husband and guardian of the Most Holy Theotokos, who had taken a vow of virginity.

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When Magi Camped In Bethlehem

"The Journey of the Magi" by James Jacques Joseph Tissot 1894

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

«Could I rent that little house in the back for my family?» Joseph inquired at our door. «We’ve just moved to Bethlehem from Nazareth.»

«And how do you plan to pay for it,» my husband Jacob retorted. He didn’t trust outsiders, you know. Mercy! If we had just known who they were, we’d have given it to them. But no one knew. Not then.

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The Life of Saint Eleftherios

When the phrase «child pro­digy» is mentioned it may bring to mind the name of Mozart, who composed music before he was twelve that is still extant, or Alexander Pope, who wrote the classic poem «Solitude» when he was but eleven years old. It would be difficult to recall any boy genius of religion, but the one who comes closest to this was a Roman lad of the second century. His name was Eleftherios and he was among the first and youngest to carve a niche for himself in Christianity in the eternal city of Rome, where he astounded his elders with his prodigious intellect and early development.

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St. Herman, North Star of the Church (with video)

Troparion – Tone 7

O joyful north star of the Church of Christ,

Guiding all men to the Heavenly Kingdom;

Teacher and apostle of the true faith;

Intercessor and defender of the oppressed.

Adornment of the Orthodox Church in America,

Blessed Father Herman of Alaska,

Pray to our Lord Jesus Christ

For the salvation of our souls!

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Give and it will be given back to you

by David Grier

«good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over»

Jesus said:

Give and it will be given back to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)

This is so plain and direct that we often are tempted to doubt that our Lord meant it. A recent article in the Oprah Magazine (December 2000) illustrates an example of someone who lived her life by this and other biblical principles. The article is an interview with Maya Angelou, a 72 year old woman who had overcome poverty, a broken home, childhood rape, single parenting, and the difficulties of being black in America to become a successful performer, author, and teacher. Oprah, who knows Ms. Angelou well, made the observation that «people flock to your home because of your generosity. Generosity must be a life principle for you.»

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Guidelines for funerals

….all things should be done decently and in order…. (1 Corinthians 14:40)

The Orthodox Liturgy of Death (a term used to describe all services – panikhidas, requiems, Divine Liturgies – that are usually celebrated in connection with death) presupposes that the deceased had been baptized, was a communicant of the Eucharist and, in life, strove to be obedient to the Lord’s commandments in pursuit of that «holiness without which no one will see God» (Hebrews 12:14).
Through prayer and remembrance, the function of the Liturgy of Death is to incorporate and affirm the departed in the death and resurrection of Christ, which are the very content of the life of the Church. The primary – and probably only – function of the Liturgy of Death is to make and proclaim that connection – and even identification – between the death of each Christian and Christ’s death. «Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life» (Romans 6:3).

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Elder Joseph of Vatopedi on the life and personality of Abbess Taisia

Our Church, with its rich patristic tradition, is not devoid of examples and stories on spiritual matters in order to coach its people. Both our Fathers and the martyrs have left abundant material of remarkable splendor which refers to their life stories. Their sweet smelling sayings and their teachings have drawn the luminous trail for the salvation of those who would like to take the narrow and sorrowful path which leads to the Kingdom of God.

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The Place of the Heart

«God reveals Himself in the silence of the heart.» The early desert monks, followed by ascetic laborers of every generation, came to know this truth through their own, most personal experience.

We can acquire knowledge about God in many different ways, first of all through the Bible and the Liturgy. The question, however, is how we move from knowledge about God to knowledge of God, that is, to an ever-deepening communion with Him in love.

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The Demonic Truth

This morning in Matins I read the Gospel reading for the day from Mark 1:23-28:

And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

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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.

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Take Care How You Hear!

The Lord Jesus said something once that I found odd. He said, take care HOW you hear.” I would have thought that he would have said to take care WHAT you hear. Apparently, the way in which you hear something is about as important as what you are hearing. When you think of it, the Lord warned often about ears becoming so dull that people would hear, but they would not hear.

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Miracles by the Holy Belt of Most Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary) [Volume 15]

23. The odds of survival were few
«My name is Koulina Glodarenko. I live in Konstanza, Romania, at Mircea cel Batran 152, A, and I am the chief accountant at the hospital.
I am writing to you to inform you about a terrible event which had a good ending with the grace of God.
On the 5 January 1999, my husband, Victor, had a stroke. He was taken to hospital and a few days later his kidneys stopped functioning. The tests showed that his condition was very serious. Even though the doctors used every method to keep him alive, the odds for his survival were very few. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Miracles by the Holy Belt of Most Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary) [Volume 14]

21. We would like to thank you for the miracle performing Belt
Limassol, Cyprus
«We would like to thank you for the miracle performing Belt of our Most Holy Lady, which you have sent us.
Once again, her Grace helped us to have a child, which we have named Paul.
We thank you for your help in giving the opportunity to her Grace to perform one more miracle.
With humble worship,