A Brief Explanation of the Symbolism of the Analabos

The άνάλαβος (Analab[v]os), which is the distinctive garment of a monk or a nun Tonsured into the highest grade of Orthodox monasticism, the Great Schema, is adorned with the instruments of the Passion of Christ. It takes its name from the Greek αναλαμβάνω («to take up»), serving as a constant reminder to the one who wears it that he or she must «take up his cross daily» (St. Luke 9:23). The ornately-plaited Crosses that cover the Analabos. the Polystavrion (πολυσταύριον, from πολύς, «many,» and σταυρός, «Cross»)—a name often, though less accurately, also applied to the Analabos—reminds the monastic that he or she is «crucified with Christ» (Galatians 2:20):

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Hesychia – «Watchful, Inner Stillness in Prayer»

A Vatopaidi monk (Mount Athos). Photograph: VatopaidiFriend.

The monks of the Holy Mountain teach us that through ascetic practices we are able to perfect quietude of body and mind and to arrive at a vision of the Uncreated Light of the Godhead. The use of our prayer rope together with the Jesus prayer «Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner» is a means to achieve peace and sorrowful joy within the Christian Life. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Monasticism: The Angelic Evangelic Life

Almighty God has gifted Orthodox Christianity with monasticism. It is the “alternative lifestyle” of Orthodoxy to which some, but not all, are called. Many sources state that the monastic life is the angelic life. Going one step further, some sources even state that God has replaced the angelic ranks that fell with Satan with the men and women who have been called to the angelic (that is, monastic) life.

When we think of monasticism, several images and ideas come to mind – such as monasteries, the prayer life, and asceticism. But what about evangelism? Does the angelic life have a connection with the evangelical life that we Orthodox Christians are supposed to be living daily (especially those of us in the “front lines” – in our parishes and in the secular world)?

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The Elder Joseph the Hesychast (+1959) Strugles, Experiences, Teachings (21)

Γέρων Ιωσήφ ο Ησυχαστής 01

Continued from (20)

5. The Differences between the Trials

Trials (peirasmoi) are so called because they engender experience (peira), since in the unseen war they do indeed afford spiritual knowledge to those who are attentive. Anything is called a trial if it is in opposition to our struggle for faith and true piety while we are pressing on towards submission to God, but they are subdivided into various kinds, according to the understanding of the Fathers. There are the trials of those taking part in the struggle, so that they may make additional gains and progress in their struggle. There are the trials of the slothful and unwilling, to make them beware of things that are harmful and dangerous. There are the trials of those who are drowsy or sleeping, in order to wake them up. Then again there are the trials of those who have distanced themselves and gone astray, to make them draw near to God. Different again are the trials of the righteous and friends of God, so that they may inherit the promise. There are also trials of the perfect, which God permits in order to bring them forward in the Church for the strengthening of the faithful and as an example to be emulated. There is also another kind of trial, again of the perfect, such as those endured by our Lord and the Apostles, who fulfilled the law of communion with the world by taking up the trials which are ours.

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The Elder Joseph the Hesychast (+1959) Strugles, Experiences, Teachings (20)

Athos

Continued from (19)

4. On Trials and the Spiritual Law

The Fathers’ saying ‘spill your blood and receive the spirit’ could be described as the ever-memorable Elder’s permanent motto. Intrepid and courageous as he was, he left no room for queries or doubts in his life. But his ardent faith also contributed to this excellent combination, and so the results were always positive. Resolve and daring are the chief characteristics of man’s freedom which manifest his will, and with faith in God – which is all that is asked of our rational nature – they arouse and bring down upon us the divine energy which heals what is infirm and completes what is wanting.

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The Elder Joseph the Hesychast (+1959) Strugles, Experiences, Teachings (19)

athos

Continued from (18)

3. On Regime and Disorder

Among the duties which the ever-memorable Elder taught us during the first days of our life under him was that of good order and keeping to a regime, while he described disorder to us in the blackest of colours. He often quoted to us the saying of St Ephrem the Syrian, ‘Those who have no guidance fall like leaves’ – which signifies, as he told us, the lack of any regime. He was also in the habit of referring to various incidents in the lives of more recent Elders and particularly of the Elder Theophylact from the hermitage of St Artemios, who was renowned for his virtue and spiritual gifts.

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“These Truths We Hold” (Part XXXVII)

holy sepulcher church praying

Continued from (Part XXXVI)

Mechanics of Prayer.

The Church of Christ teaches us prayers composed by righteous and holy men. The Holy Fathers and Ascetics of the Church, enlightened by the grace of God, have composed many beautiful prayers, filled with holy thoughts and deep feeling for the guidance and admonition of Christians. We hear these prayers in Church during the Divine Services, but for private prayer at home, each Christian must recite the prayers contained in the Prayerbook.

When we begin to pray, we do not immediately break off from our daily tasks and just start praying, but we must prepare ourselves. As the Prayerbook says: “Stand in silence for a few moments until all your senses are calmed.” Furthermore, as Holy Scripture tells us: Before offer-ing a prayer, prepare yourself; and do not be like a man who tempts the Lord (Sirach 18:23). In addition to this, before entering into prayer, one must prepare himself not only inwardly, but also outwardly.

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