Information for pilgrims to Mount Athos

Holy Executive
οf the Holy Mount Athos
Pilgrims’ bureau
Mount Athos, known in Greek as Ago Oros (Hholy Mountain), is a peninsula in Halkidiki, Northern Greece. This sacred area contains twenty monasteries including one Serbian, one Bulgarian and one Russian. Although the peninsula of Athos is part of Greece, it enjoys certain autonomy. The «Holy Community» under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul administrates the region. This administrative body is composed of representatives of the monasteries and maintains an office at Karyes (Iera Epistasia) where all visitors register upon arrival at Mount Athos. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

St. Alexander of Svir (30 August) and His Monastery in Russia (with many pictures)

From a contemporary travel chronicle:*

Thursday, August 22, 2002

We crossed the Svir River, arriving at the renowned Monastery of St. Alexander of Svir.

The Monastery is composed of two separate clusters of buildings. The older section no longer functions as a Monastery, but rather as a mental hospital. The newer section is renovated and well equipped. It has an enormous interior courtyard with a free-standing Katholikon [main church] in the center. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »



Continued from (2)

Virtual family

I will tell you again about one of my personal experiences. At some point of time Father told me: ‘Connect to Skype.” I did not know whether he was speaking metaphorically, “skaj” as heavens in English, so that I would pay more attention to heavenly things and spiritual way of living, or he was talking about the Skype program. So I asked him and got the answer to connect to Skype program. Then I notice that, for example, my phone bill is much lower. I can see that Father gives me some advices to make my life easier. That is how I got familiar with the Skype, which did not interest me previously; I was more interested in a writing program, and the things that I work on. This is only a small example of how Father helps people by making their spiritual and practical sides of life easier.

Question: In this book Father Gabriel often mentions the virtual family, which connects all people who communicate to him into one, no matter where they are. Therefore, now we could talk about the two aspects that this book reveals. One aspect is the assembly, the collectiveness since many people met thanks to the web-site of the Monastery Lepavina and thanks to the effort of Father Gabriel. Many people virtually met this way, and now many collaborate, comfort each other, and communicate to each other. The second aspect, which we can talk about, would represent the positive characteristics and the mission, if we can call it so, of computers in spiritual life. Father Gabriel once said that young people, who are frightened by computers, do not want to work on computers and are afraid in some way, contact him. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »


KnjgaOtacAbout Christian deed

Question: the Lord’s ways are truly miraculous. It is miraculous how Father Gabriel got a computer, without knowing how to use it, then how he learned to use it flawlessly because sometimes it seems like he knows more then those who learn about computers in schools. After he mastered the technology, Father started the missionary work which branched out, and this way he induced happiness in many people who now could, from anywhere in the world, communicate with the Father. I think that communication via internet, love for the God, love for fellow beings, and spreading of the Word of God represent the exact and essential value of this book. How would you present this book to the people who did not have an opportunity to communicate with Father Gabriel via internet?

Answer: As far as I understand, as a spiritual child and as someone who met Father Gabriel, his spiritual work has always been very meaningful; it has been polyvalent, and one can always look at his work from many different angles. His work has always been founded in Christian deed and strictness in his personal life. So, in his life he testifies the strictness of norms, and now suddenly from that strictness, from that one source and an internal focus, comes out his effort which reflects itself in his work via internet.

Read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Halki Seminary and the Patriarchate’s Existential Crisis


Posted By Allen Yekikan

AFP reported on Thursday that the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, Bartholomew I, was hopeful Turkey would re-open a historic seminary it shut down nearly four decades ago. The Halki Orthodox Theological Seminary, located on the island of Halki off the coast of Istanbul, was the key Patriarchical institution for educating the Greek Orthodox Community and training its future clergy for more than a century before it was closed down by the Turkish government in 1971.

The Patriarch was responding to signals last week by Turkey’s Culture Minister that Ankara is planning to re-open the Greek seminary, considered vital to the survival of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

A simple biomedical presentation of the first miracle of Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi (Mount Athos), who smiled 45 minutes after his death.

Part 1. The contemporary situation.

The present contribution describes a miracle that, as far as we know, is almost unheard of in the entire history of Christianity. A dead person (Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi) smiled. Impressive is the fact, that this smile occurred 45 minutes after his death. This is photographically documented. There have been reported a lot of miracles with dead persons (prophets, saints, e.t.c.). But almost never before did occur a miracle like the one that happened on July 1, 2009 in the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopaidi (Mount Athos, Greece)

Since many months, the spiritual family of Elder Joseph (namely the Brotherhood of the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopaidi and especially Abbot Ephraim) suffers a unique, for our days, persecution. The latter consists of all kinds of lies and slander. Every father is sad, when his children are acused. But he is much more sad, when the acusations are faulty. Elder Joseph, being the spiritual father of this family, suffered from this persecution as well. But where sin abounded (in this case the unjust and systematic persecution of the Vatopaidi Brotherhood and of Abbot Ephraim by the pathetic watchdogs of the New World Order), grace did much more aboud (in this case the smile from eternity) (Apostle Paul, Letter to Romans, chapter 5, vers 20). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »


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 »


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:

Read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »


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.

More… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

On the Presuppositions of our Personal Salvation, Elder Cleopa of Romania

Fresco detail from Vatopedi Monastery (Ascending to Heaven)

Fresco detail from Vatopedi Monastery (Ascending to Heaven)

Ch. 13. from The Truth of Our Faith:: A Discourse from Holy Scripture on the Teachings of True Christianity

Inquirer: Father, earlier you spoke about our “personal salvation.” Can you tell me more about this?

Elder Cleopa: Some religious confessions teach that personal salvation presupposes the action of Divine Grace alone, according to Calvin, or the grace of faith, i.e. of trust in God, according to Luther, by which the “merits” or virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ are conferred upon man. Therefore, to give a general outline, there are Protestant Christians who believe that salvation stems only from faith and that on the part of man himself there is placed no condition or requirement for his salvation. MORE… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

NE SUDITE (Σέρβικα, Serbian)


Dragi moji, neka ove reči Gospoda našega Isusa Hrista budu zakon u našem životu… » Ne sudite!» izgleda laka zapovest. Laka, jer kada bismo je analizirali sa pažnjom, moguće je zakljuciti da je lako izbeći osude. Lako je zaštiti dušu našu i naša usta od nje. Osuda nije u nama začeta od rođenja i nije deo naše duše. To je nešto spoljašnje, posebno kada se ne začinje iz mržnje i netrpeljivosti, nego iz naše uobičajene navike da uvek pričamo o nekom drugome.

U stvarnosti, osuda je težak greh. Na žalost, lako se širi. Osudu susrećemo svuda. To je kao zagađeni vazduh koji mi svakodnevno udišemo. To je toliko uobičajena pojava da se može reći da je postala normalna za čoveka. «Ništa ne pričinjava čoveku veće zadovoljstvo, nego da osuđuje druge», kaže Sveti Gregorije Bogoslov. Upravo zbog lakog širenja osude, teško je boriti se protiv nje. Teško je boriti se protiv ovog greha, a još je teže ispunjavati Božju zapovest koja glasi: «Ne sudite!»

Niko ne može osporiti ovo tužno stanje u nama, ali ni jedna osoba zdravih razmišlja ne može tvrditi da je osuda opravdavajića. Teško nama ako, kao etičko merilo za vodjenje ipravnog zivota, mi uzimamo za primer neuredan život drugih. Naša savest, bez obzira koliko zaslepljena zbunjujućim i neurednim stanjem društva, pobuniće se i osudiće osudu. Zavapiće naša savest da našim životima ne treba da vladaju glas i navike sveta, već ona-savest, koja u konačnoj analizi jeste glas Božiji. Zbog toga svaki čovek, bez obzira koliko daleko otišao u osudu, smatra «Ne sudite!» važnom i ispravnom Božijom zapovešcu. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

SVAKODNEVNA DUHOVNOST: Zahvalnost u srcu (Σέρβικα,Serbian)


Sveti Apostol Pavle u Prvoj Poslanici Korićanima kaže: «Blagodarim neprestano Bogu mojemu za vas, na blagodati Božijoj koja vam je data u Hristu Isusu» (Kor.1:4). Beleška u našem pravoslavnom priručniku, koja objašnjava ovaj Biblijski citat kaže: «Ništa nije toliko drago Bogu kao naša zahvalnost za Njegovu milost prema nama i bližnjem našem.»

Ova kratka napomena veoma je važna, jer nam objašnjava da zahvalnost srca rađa ljubav i pokazuje nam put ka Gospodu. Kada počnemo da osećamo Božiju ljubav,upećemo da osetimo i prepoznamo pozitivne promene u nama. Bog koji je stvorio svemir( tj. nešto iz ničega) dao je život svemu, pa i nama. Mi postojimo po promislu Njegovom. Kao naš Stvoritelj, Bog nam daje sve neophodno za životnu radost i zadovoljstvo. Međutim, On nas ninašta ne prisiljava.Mi imamo potpunu slobodu da govorimo, radimo, samostalno mislimo…On hoće da mi imamo tu slobodu i On nam je ne uskraćuje čak i ako se odlučimo da ga se odrekenemo.

Bog hoće da ga mi ljubimo,ali da ljubimo i bližnjega svog. Bog zna da ljubav prema Njemu i bližnjem našem jeste ključ unutrašnjeg mira. Ta ljubav je temelj za život ispunjen radošću; život bez briga i strahova. Da bismo to ostvarili, Gospod od nas traži samo jednu žrtvu, a to je da uzmemo krst naš i da ga sledimo. «Ako hoće ko zamnom ići, neka se odrekne sebe i uzme krst svoj i zamnom neka ide. Jer ko hoće život svoj da sačuva, izgubiće ga, a ako ko izgubi život svoj mene radi, naći će ga»(Mat.16:24-25). Ova zapovest znači da pratimo Gospoda i da se neprestano borimo protiv naših grešnih sklonosti, kako bismo živeli u radosti i miru. Uprkos činjenici da je On naš Stvoritelj, Gospod je sebe prineo kao žrtvu, da bi otkupio grehe koje smo mi počinili onda kada smo ga se odrekli. Gospod je pretrpeo raspeće i smrt na Krstu da bi nas izbavio, da bismo pobedili greh i da bismo naše živote ponovo usmerili ka Njemu. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

STARAC JOSIF ISIHAST : O strpljenju i izdržljivosti (Σέρβικα, Serbian)

In English


Četrdeseto pismo

Bog uvek pomaže. On uvek dolazi na vreme, ali je potrebno strpljenje. Dođite moja dobra i ljubljena sestro. Dođite i ja ću odagnati Vašu tugu ponovo. Dođite i mi ćemo hvaliti Boga slatkim glasom našeg srca, pesmom ispevanom usnama našim, rečima koje odzvanjaju duboko u nama:»Blagosiljaj Gospoda, o dušo moja, i neka sve što je u meni hvali Njegovo sveto ime.» Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

What is an Elder?


St. Ambrose of Optina

St. Ambrose of Optina

The elder or «old man», known in Greek as Geron and in Russian as Starets, need not necessarily be old in years, but he is wise in his experience of divine truth, and blessed with the grace of «fatherhood in the spirit», with the charisma of guiding others on the Way. What he offers to his spiritual children is not primarily moral instruction or a rule of life, but a personal relationship. «A starets» says Dostoevsky, «is one who takes your soul, your will, into his soul and his will.» Fr. Zachariah’s disciples used to say about him, «It is as though he bore our hearts in his hands.» Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Altvater Joseph der Hesychast

Altvater Joseph.pdf


Abt Ephraim von Vatopedi:Altvater Joseph der Hesychast und die Lehre des Inneren Gebets, die aus seinen Briefen fließt (Seiten 43-47)

– Altvater Joseph der Hesychast: Anweisungen zum Erlernen des geistigen Gebets (Seiten 48-49)

– Altvater Joseph der Hesychast: Über Geduld und Ausdauer (Seiten 50-57)




Quelle (auf Deutsch):

Der Schmale Pfad, Dezember 2005, Band 14, Seiten 43-57. Internet Seite: 

Elder Joseph the Hesychast on Patience and Endurance

Fortieth Letter
God always helps. He always comes in time, but patience is necessary.

Come, my good and beloved sister. Come and I shall comfort your sorrow once again. Come and we shall bless God with the sweet voice of our heart, intoned through our mouth, and resonating in our nous, saying, «Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within me bless His holy name.» [1]

Do you see how much the Lord loves us? Do you see how fortunate we ungrateful ones are for everything that His goodness gives us every day? But the time of the real harvest still awaits us: that blessed moment when we shall leave everything here and depart to the other homeland-the true one-the blessed life, the certain joy, so that each one of us receives the portion that the munificent, sweetest Jesus will give him.

O joy! O gratitude! O love of the heavenly Father! He cleanses us from all defilement, honors us, enriches us, bestowing His riches! There, my golden sister, there are no crafty people to wrong us. Envy and jealousy will have disappeared. There are no passions there whatsoever; those who have them have remained on the other side of the bridge. For a great gulf is fixed between here and there. [2] Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra (2)

ser_dove«…One night while St. Sergius was praying, he heard a voice calling his name. He was greatly surprised and, having read his prayer, he opened the window to see who had called him. A miraculous vision appeared before him. A great light coming from heaven made the night as bright as day. Once again a voice called him saying, «Sergius, you pray for your children and the Lord has heard your prayer. See how many monks have come together in honour of the Holy Trinity to be guided by you». Then the saint saw a multitude of birds that were not only on the wall of the monastery, but also in the clearing surrounding it. The voice said: «The number of your monks will be as the number of the birds, and it will not decrease if they follow your path»».

Having become abbot of the monastery, St. Sergius did not change anything in his life and continued to work for all. He remembered the words of Christ, «The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve» (Mt. 20:28 ). He was not only a father but also a servant to all those who came to him, giving an example of humility and work. Saint Sergius officiated every day, and he himself prepared alter bread, grinding wheat and making dough. He also prepared food, made boots and habits for the monks, carried water form the spring and left a bucket at each monk’s cell. He himself built 3 or 4 cells for other monks. He spent the night praying, eating only a little bread and water and never spent an hour without working. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »