The holy martyrs of Lazeti

Lazeti is a region in southern Kolkheti (Colchis), the ancient kingdom located in what is now southwestern Georgia and northeastern Turkey. In ancient times, Lazeti was a center of Georgian culture. The holy Apostle Andrew began the conversion of the Georgian nation from this very region.

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The Holy Great Female Martyr Euphemia (11th July & 16th September)

Byzantine mosaic of St. Euphemia of the 6th century. Porec, Basilica of Euphrasius.

Byzantine mosaic of St. Euphemia of the 6th century. Porec, Basilica of Euphrasius.

Saint Euphemia is commemorated on September 16, the day on which she was martyred. On this day, however, is commemorated the miracle surrounding her honorable relics, which was manifested at the time of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon. This Council was convened during the reign of Emperor Marcian and the Empress Pulcheria in the year 451 A.D., after the death of Emperor Theodosius the Younger. The reason for summoning this Council was the heresy of Dioscorus, the Patriarch of Alexandria and Eutyches, an Archimandrite from Constantinople, who spread the false teaching that in Christ the Lord there were not two natures, divine and human, but only one, a divine nature. At this Council Anatolius, Patriarch of Constantinople, and Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, played the most prominent roles. Because a conclusion could not be reached through debates and testimonies from either side, Patriarch Anatolius motioned that the Orthodox and the heretics write down their confessions of faith and then place them in the sarcophagus where the relics of St. Euphemia reposed. They all agreed to this. Therefore, the two confessions of faith were written and placed on the bosom of the great female martyr. The sarcophagus was closed, sealed with the emperor’s seal and military guards were appointed. read more… 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 »

God’s Angels and the Devil’s demons

Angels and Demons

God sent us angels to be our traveling companions and our guides in this life, to guard us and protect us from all evil. They are also our most faithful allies in our struggle against the forces of evil. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Orthodox Man as the Image of God

All too often do we as creatures of the Almighty forget that in each of us, no matter how spiritually depraved or perverted, is the ever present image of God. In some of us its very brilliance overshadows everything that we come in contact with and thus brings admiration and greater glory for God. On the other hand, there are those of us who live as though our existence depended only on our own initiative void of any spiritual power and thus denying the deity within us. Nevertheless, whether we recognize the fact or not. God’s image pervades our natures from the very moment of our conception. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Saint Basil of Ostrog (April 29)

Basil was born in Popova, a village in Hercegovina of simple and God-fearing parents. From his youth, he was filled with love for the Church of God and when he reached maturity, he entered to the Monastery of the Dormition (Assumption) of the Birth-giver of God in Trebinje and there received the monastic tonsure.

 As a monk, he quickly became renown because of his genuine and rare ascetical life. Saint Basil took upon himself mortification upon mortification each one heavier and more difficult than the last. Later, against his will, he was elected and consecrated bishop of Zahumlje and Skenderia. As a hierarch, he first lived in the Monastery Tvrdosh and from there, as a good shepherd, strengthened his flock in the Orthodox Faith, protecting them from the cruelty of the Turks and the cunning ways of the Latins. When Basil was exceedingly pressed by his enemies and, when Tvrdosh was destroyed by the Turks, he moved to Ostrog, where he lived an austere ascetical life, protecting his flock by his ceaseless and fervent prayer.(*) He died peacefully in the Lord in the sixteenth century, leaving behind his incorruptible relics; incorruptible and miracle-working to the present day. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

God — the Supreme Being

The first question we wish to deal with is, what proof have we that there is a God? This is the question which all infidels ask. They want you to prove to them in so many words and by reasoning and the power of logic whether God lives. But the burden of the proof falls to the lot of those who doubt or deny that God lives, and they should be asked, what proof have they that there isn’t a God? One of the great proofs of the presence of God is the beauty and unity of this universe in which we live. No one could be so blind as to deny that there is a God at the control of the universe. Who can look up at the sky on a bright, clear night, and, having watched the myriads of stars and planets whirling through space, was not awed with the majesty, the beauty and magnificence of this world, this home of ours. Who would not be impressed without feeling awed by a sense of reverence and join the Sacred Writer in saying, «The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork. This is indeed my Father’s world and He made everything for man to enjoy it lawfully.» Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

To Live in Wonder

Concepts create idols; only wonder grasps anything – St. Gregory of Nyssa

St. Gregory’s marvelous dictum is among a handful of things that describe what is required for the Christian life. So much of Christian history has been marked with a bifurcation – a split between those who study the faith and those who live it. It is not a necessary split – only a common one. Of course there is the larger number of Christians who do neither.

But wonder is an essential attitude of heart – without it – we will see nothing as it truly is.

The Scriptures tell us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” – which also means that other human beings should be approached with awe and wonder. We will not see them nor love them as we ought if our heart is dwelling in some other mode.

I tend to see wonder in two particular places – in children and in those of older years. My own children have always been a revelation of the world about me – a chance to see the world as though for the first time. To watch the wonder of a child beset with the jaded cynicism of our culture is surely to see one of the most crucial battles of our age. Cynicism is generally always correct, but it lacks the wonder that alone would reveal its error.

The wonder of older years has been something of a new revelation for me – if only because I barely qualify for “older years.” I will turn 57 later this year. But I have been around long enough to see my last child enter college. I have been blessed with 34 years of marriage. With those years comes an increasing sense of wonder at how things have worked together to be what they are. I am less impressed with my choices and the power to choose. Rather I am overwhelmed at the good that has come to me that I did not know to choose (and it came unbidden). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Let us not forget, one day a week…

One day a week you should ‘keep holy’ (Ex. 20:8): that which is called the Lord’s day, because it is consecrated to the Lord, who on that day arose from the dead, disclosing and giving prior assurance of the general resurrection, when every earthly activity will come to an end. And you must not engage in any worldly activity that is not essential; and you must allow those who are under your authority and those who live with you to rest, so that together you may all glorify Him who redeemed us through His death and who arose from the dead and resurrected our human nature with Himself… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Α Sermon for Thomas Sunday (John 20:19-31)

Dearly Beloved Brethren,

Nοbody knows the time or even the place that our Lord is coming again to judge the living and the dead. For this reason, the Fathers of our Church do not tell us to try and outsmart God, by predicting the time that He will appear. On the contrary the Fathers concentrate on teaching us to be constantly ready and watchful, by praying, fasting and doing works of love and faith. We are instructed to expect a sudden if not instant entry of our Lord.

In the final chapter of the Book of Revelations, the Apocalypse of Saint John we are informed that we must fully accept the imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore we are told that our world will suffer terribly before the DEUTERA PAROUSIA (SECOND COMING) of our Lord and that this world will be destroyed. Nevertheless so let it be, in obedience we should pray «Even so come, Lord Jesus [Christ]» (Rev 22:20) and come quickly. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

All things new in the Resurrection!!

The Resurrection of Christ is the one of the most important and central aspects of our Orthodox Christian faith.

Father Stanley S. Ηarakas

I n three of the Gospels, an event is described in which Jesus Himself was challenged by the leading Sadducees, who rejected belief in the resurrection. Jesus countered their denials with an affirmation of resurrection (Mark 12:18-27); Matthew 22:23-33; Luke 20:27-40), saying “You are quite wrong!” (Mark 12:27).

In John 5:29 Christ taught that “those who have done good, (will come) to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. Elsewhere He declared, «I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Mother Gavrilia: “A Holocaust to His Love”

by John Brady

The roster of 20th-century saints includes some who lived very public lives, such as Russia’s Royal Martyrs, and not a few who strove to live “hid with Christ in God.” Saint Silouan of Mount Athos might have passed without a worldly trace if God had not sent Archimandrite Sophrony to record his life for our benefit.

Likewise, Mother Gavrilia (+1992), an undoubted Saint (not yet officially glorified) of the Church, lived only to love and serve God in humility — “not to exist” as she herself said. By God’s providence her spiritual daughter and namesake, nun Gavrilia, has assembled for us a radiant biography and collection of the Gerondissa’s sayings, “Ascetic of Love”, which may prove to be one of the great spiritual testaments of our time. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

ABORTION: THE ORTHODOX VIEW

Again we pray for the children of God condemned to death by the unjust judgement of men: that the Lord our God would soften the hearts of those who seek their violent destruction, and rescue those who are being led forth to the slaughter, we diligently pray Thee, O Lord, hearken and have mercy!

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Life is a precious gift of God. It is given to us so that we, while completing our earthly course, should acquire Divine Grace, should become members «of the household of God» and spiritual «fellow citizens with the Saints» (Ephesians 2:19). It is for this reason also that the Lord has established His Holy Church. In the life of the Church, of this Kingdom of God on earth, we are already destined for blessedness, and partake of it in proportion to our piety.

But the fall of our forefathers introduced sin deeply into our life. Sin has poisoned it, has become a property of this world: that is why the Apostle John can say that «the whole world lieth in wickedness» (1 John 5:19). This evil surrounds us and lures us with particular force when the opposition to it on the part of the society around us weakens. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Christian Warriors

archangelI came across this very direct and very insightful bit of information while continuing my reading of Unseen Warfare. It is the very first paragraph of Chapter 16 which is titled “How a warrior of Christ should prepare for battle in the moring:”

As soon as you wake up in the morning, pray for a while saying: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me.’ Then your first work should be to shut yourself in your own heart, as if taking up position in the arena. Having established yourself there, bring yourself to the consciousness and feeling that your enemy and the passionate urge agaisnt which you struggle at the moment is already there, on your left, ready for immediate attack; therefore rouse against them a firm resolve to conquer or die, but never submit. Realise also that on your right there stands, invisibly present, your Commander, our Lord Jesus Christ, with His Holy Mother and a host of holy Angels, with the Archangel Michael at their head, ready to come to your aid. So take heart and be of good cheer.

What a brilliant visual of the warfare we are all involved in and what hearting one as well! I try to say a set of morning prayers each morning (the usual Glory Be… O Heavenly King… Most Holy Trinity… Come let us worship and bow down… etc.) though sadly the days I don’t do it outnumber the days that I do. However, I can definately tell a difference throughout the day from when I do say my morning prayers and when I do not.

The Fathers teach us that prayer is the single most effective weapon against our enemeis–both internal and external. I don’t know about you, but I find it very comforting to know that as I’m praying, as I’m waging a holy war against my passions and the demons who delight in them, I have the mighty Commander, our Champion Defender, and the Heavenly Army fighting with me. Glory be to God!

IC | XC

—-+—-

NI | KA

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Abraham’s Faith

abraham

St Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews (11: 17-19), writes:

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

St John Chrysosotom, in his commentary on these verses, writes:

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WHAT’S IN THE STARS? A CLOSE LOOK AT ASTROLOGY

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(…For at it they who worshipped the stars, were taught by a star to adore Thee, the Sun of righteousness, and to know Thee the Orient from on high…») (The Christmas Troparion)

Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South

The average person today likes to think of himself as a product of the scientific age. He often flatters himself with the thought that he is superior to his ancestors, not standing in awe of the natural world, having no fear of the unknown, and being free from superstition. He is reluctant to believe anything that cannot be proven logically or scientifically and rejects what he often refers to as “myth” in religion: man’s creation from nothing, his fall, the promise and the coming of the Savior, salvation and life in the world to come. Twentieth-century man has been described as man “come of age”, too sophisticated and knowledgeable to accept these things as literally true, and he takes this description of himself very seriously. He doubts that the Supreme Being, whoever He may be, could have any interest in or plan for man and the rest of creation. For the advocates of twentieth-centuryism, man is entirely on his own and has to work out his own destiny and the meaning of his existence. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Halki Seminary and the Patriarchate’s Existential Crisis

halki1

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 »

Papoulakis, Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (2)

Continued from (1)

by Elder Joseph οf Vatopaidi

Agios Ioakeim Pappoulakis 2

To the Very Reverend Abbot Archimandrite Εphraim And the other venerable Fathers of the Holy, Royal, Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of Vatopaidi on the Holy Mountain, children in the Lord beloved of our humble self, Grace be to you, venerable fathers, and peace from God.

Based on the material submitted by you, beloved and venerable fathers, and on the relative report from our Canonical Commission, which were reviewed in the council of our Holy and Sacred Synod, the Monk Joachim Papoulakis of Vatopaidi from Ithaki – whose blessed life and conduct were distinguished by a genuine Orthodox way of thinking and by a great contribution to the Church – is hereby numbered among the Blessed Ones and Saints of the Church. His commemoration is appointed for the 2nd of March each year, whereas that of the translation of his relics for the 23rd of May. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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Papoulakis, Saint Joachim of Vatopaidi (1)

Elder Joseph οf Vatopaidi

Agios Ioakeim Pappoulakis 2

HOLY GREAT MONASTERY OF VATOPAIDI MOUNT ATHOS 2005

PAPOULAKIS

SAINT JOACHIM OF VATOPAIDI

© Holy Great Monastery of Vatopaidi, Mount Athos, Greece 2005

All rights reserved. Printed in Greece.

Translated from the second Greek edition of

© Holy Great Monastery of Vatopaidi, Mount Athos 1998

 

PROLOGUE

While exploring the inexhaustible library of our Monastery, a book printed in 1902 fell quite unexpectedly into our hands. It bore the title The Life and Acts of our Blessed Father Joachim of Ithaki and was written by a physician from Ithaki named Panos D. Raftopoulos. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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Sts. Eusebius, Zenon and Zenas (June 22)

A modern greek icon depicting Saints Zenon, Eusebius and Zenas

A modern greek icon depicting Saints Zenon, Eusebius and Zenas

1. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR EUSEBIUS, BISHOP OF SAMOSATA

Eusebius was a great exposer of Arianism. When the throne of Antioch became vacant, Meletius was elected patriarch at the insistence of Eusebius. Meletius was a great beacon of the Church who, after his death, was found worthy of great praise by St. John Chrysostom. However, the Arians quickly banished Meletius from Antioch. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »