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 »

The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Faith, Hope, and Love, and Their Mother, Sophia

During the reign of the impious Roman Emperor Hadrian, a widow of Italian ancestry called Sophia, whose name means wisdom, lived in Rome. She was a Christian, and in accordance with her name, she lived wisely, showing that wisdom praised by the Apostle James, who says, The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits. This wise gentlewoman, Sophia, while living in honorable wedlock, bore three daughters, whom she named after the three great virtues. The first was named Faith, the second Hope, and the third Love, for to what does Christian wisdom give birth other than to God-pleasing virtues?

Read more…

Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Αναρτήθηκε στις 09 Σεπτέμβριος, Christianity, In English, Συναξάρι. Ετικέτες: , , , . 1 Comment »

The Benefits of Ignorance

I have had conversations in recent comments sections on the role of reason in the Orthodox life. I readily acknowledge that no one lives without some use of reason – but I contend that most of what forms the content of our life in Christ is not reason. The faith does have to contend with attacks and challenges from many arenas – and yet its success will not be established by the superiority of its arguments, but by faith in Christ. Arguments are often unfruitful in “reasonable” exchanges, for the form of Orthodox reason often differs from the form reason takes in many places. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Αναρτήθηκε στις Christianity, In English. Ετικέτες: , , , , , , , , , . Leave a Comment »

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 »

Αναρτήθηκε στις Christianity, In English. Ετικέτες: , , , , , . Leave a Comment »

God as a friend (Elder Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite)

This is the way we should see Christ. He is our friend, our brother; He is whatever is good and beautiful. He is everything. Yet, He is still a friend and He shouts it out, «You’re my friends, don’t you understand that? We’re brothers. I’m not…I don’t hold hell in my hands. I am not threatening you. I love you. I want you to enjoy life together with me.» Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Αναρτήθηκε στις Christianity, In English. Ετικέτες: , , , , . Leave a Comment »

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.

Read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Αναρτήθηκε στις In English. Ετικέτες: , , , , , , , . Leave a Comment »

We Should Not Despair Even If We Sin Many Times

By St. Peter of Damascus

Even if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned; why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him in your ignorance as powerless? Is He, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Love and True Faith

In the life and teaching of St. Silouan of Mt. Athos, it is interesting to note that what he considered to be “true faith” was the manifestation of the love of God in us towards all the world. It would have certainly been the case that as an Orthodox monk, St. Silouan would have believed all of the Church’s teaching without question. And yet when he spoke of the true faith it was the state of the heart that he considered rather than running a doctrine check on somebody. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Αναρτήθηκε στις Christianity, In English. Ετικέτες: , , . Leave a Comment »

The Lord never ceases calling us to Himself

The Lord never ceases calling us to Himself: “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.” 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 »

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 »

True love

It was a busy

morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s arrived to have

stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an

appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital

Read more…

Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Prophet Joel: A Message for Today’s Secular World

Fr. George Morelli

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Joel 2: 28

These words by the prophet Joel (whose name means Yahweh is God) were spoken during the reign of King Uzziah (800 BC). Joel prophesied to the people of Judah and probably came from that area. His life overlapped the prophet Amos and the great prophet Isaiah. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

How is it possible that such a beautiful and sweet fruit to hurt anyone?


Once, the Metropolitan of Moscow, Plato, (1730-1812) met with the French intellectual Ninderau, who said to him:
-You know your Holiness, I do not believe in God!
-Don’t you believe that God is our father? Don’t you abandon your life in His hands, in  his Love?
-No, your Holiness. What you are saying is something common. I have told you something new!
-What is new? read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Do everything simply and meekly.

 The Elder Porphyrios, in Wounded by Love:

When simplicity is lacking and you say, ‘I’ll do this, that and the other, and God will give me what I ask for’, then nothing happens. Yes indeed, I should do this, that and the other, but with such secrecy and such simplicity and such meekness, that even I who ask for the thing am unconscious of it.

Do everything simply and meekly. Do nothing with ulterior motives. Don’t say ‘I’ll do this in order to have that result’, but do it naturally, without taking cognizance of it. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Αναρτήθηκε στις Γέρ. Πορφύριος. Ετικέτες: , , , . Leave a Comment »

The Commandment to Love

By Bishop John (Kallos) of Thermon

The first and great commandment of Christ was the commandment to love. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:27. This commandment of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ passed through my mind as I read the book “Why Pray” by Fr. Mark Gibbard. In the chapter entitled, ‘Praying is Exploration,’ he says, ‘Seldom in the history of mankind has there been such real concern for our fellow man, than there is today. There are the demands that poverty should be wiped out. There are the protests against the horror of war. There are the struggles against unjust racial discrimination. Concern about man and unconcern about God. Demand for action and disregard for prayer.’ Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

A task that we as Orthodox Christians have…

The first and most important thing to remember is that we do not bring anyone into the Church – its not our job. We do not attract people to the faith, we do not convince people of the Truth, we don’t do any of that. God is the One Who attracts people, Who brings them in the door, Who convicts their hearts, Who brings them to repentance, Who convinces them of the Truth!

We do none of this.

Too often the individual person is made responsible for doing God’s task, but in attempting to do God’s work, he neglects his own!! What is our task? Our task is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit (St. Seraphim), our task is the working out of our salvation, our task is to repent and weep for our sins, our task is to enter the Kingdom of God. This more than anything else is what we must do. This is an evangelistic task – indeed the primary evangelistic task.

There are other «tasks», however, which derive from this one which are a bit more specific to «evangelism». It is God who brings people to the door of the Church and who convinces them that they should enter – however, we must keep the door to the Church open and visible!!! Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Lord, Crown Me!

In his Epistle to Timothy, his beloved spiritual son, St. Paul admonishes him and us as well, that we watch, that we be diligent in all things, that we endure afflictions, that we do the work of an evangelist, the work of those who spread the Good News of the Gospel throughout the world, that we make full proof of our ministry. Each of us Orthodox Christians as disciples of Him Whom we call Lord and Saviour, has a ministry, a special function that we are to fulfill in our lives. If we are truly evangelists of the Lord, if in our lives we bear witness to Him, we testify to Him, if our lives are living sermons for all people to look at and admire and to know that we are His Disciples, then we deserve the name “Christian”, we maintain the citizenship that is granted us in His Kingdom when we are baptized and when we repent, and when we come to the chalice to receive His precious Body and Blood. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The perception of beauty

The recent questions about knowing God – which I have described as something that often comes to me in the “peripheral vision” of my life – seems somehow related to the perception of beauty as well. Beauty often seems to be “greater than the sum of its parts.” We see beauty not simply by looking at a thing – but by seeing it. Many people look at icons – a rightly prepared heart is required in order to see an icon. Beauty is not an object to be manipulated – but always a gift and a wonder to be venerated. So, too, our knowledge of God. Thus the knowledge of God seems radically different than the knowledge we gain by the exercise of our rational faculty. God cannot be mastered or measured. Even though He has given us words to express Him – He cannot be contained in the words. As the Fathers of the 7th Council said, “Icons do with color what Scripture does with words.” I would suggest that it is also true that Scripture does with words what icons do with color. With that – some brief thoughts on beauty. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

What a mother can do…

Mom, without you, there would be no me.

Your love, your attention, your guidance,

have made me who I am. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Αναρτήθηκε στις In English. Ετικέτες: , , , , , , , . Leave a Comment »

Zeal and Love (St. Nektarios)

«And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentile unto all men . . .» (II Timothy 2:24)

OUR PIOUS BROTHERS AND SISTERS, the laity in Christ, must also take care not to be led astray by the spirit of the world and to confuse imprudent zeal with the true spirit of evangelical love.

St. Nectarios of Aegina offers us, in just a few lines, an image of the true zealot of Christ: Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Teach me your love – A Prayer by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich

Your birds awaken me in the morning, and the murmur of the lake lulls me to sleep in the evening. But it is not the birds that awaken me, nor the lake that lulls me to sleep, but You, 0 Lord, Master of the voice.

You lend Your voice to the birds and the midnight murmur to the lake. You have lent a voice to every throat, and have put a story into every creature. I am surrounded by Your heralds, as a student by many teachers, and I listen to them tirelessly from day until dusk. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »