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 »

An incredible miracle in Serbia (Part 8)

Continued from (7)

The three large groups of people

All these people who had risen and whom I had seen earlier were now grouped together into three large categories. In the first group to the right, there were all those people with bright and smiling faces. To their left, there stood the people with the sad and darkened faces. These were more numerous than the first group. To the far left in the third group, stood this huge and endless mass of people with very dark and evil faces. When I had seen all those faces, the angel started explaining to me:

Read more…

Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

An incredible miracle in Serbia (part 7)

Continued from (6)

The awful experience of the tortures in hell

Another cloud was waiting for us there. We went inside and it transferred us somewhere to the west. I have the impression that we did not travel for a long time towards the west because the cloud suddenly changed direction and quickly descended towards a ravine. My angel guide ushered me into a dark place. From the very first steps we took, we descended into darkness so thick and so dark, that no other could be worse than this one. We were hit by a terrible stench from the depth of this darkness and I could barely breathe.

Read more…

Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

An incredible miracle in Serbia (part 2)

St. Elijah - Serbian Orthodox Church

Continued from (1)

They know my entire life minute by minute and they remind me of  it

At that moment the monk approached me and said: “God helps” and I replied: “May God help you!” I am not used to giving this kind of reply because I did not believe in God, but I wanted to please him.

He asked me if I could take both of them to the Zitsa monastery. I said “yes” and opened the right passenger door so they could enter and moved the seat to the front so that one of them could sit at the back.

Read more…

Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The three friends and the King, a letter by blessed Elder Arsenios Spileotis and Hesychast

Elder Arsenios Spileotis (1886-1983), fellow struggler for more than 40 years with Saint Elder Joseph the Hesychast ( 1897-1959)

Mount Athos,

My dear child, P. I wish you the best. I have received your letter and I am pleased for your good health.

You did a good deed with the money you have sent me, because I needed it. I am working in the garden and I have been trying to carry water with a small tin because we did not have enough money to buy pipes. With these monies I will now buy the pipes and will be able to rest a great deal. I pray that you have the proper reward from God and that our Christ will give you the eternal goodness and also for us to be together in Paradise. Amen. Amen.

read more Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

In a Single Moment – Paradise

April 11, 2010 by father stephen

Pascha and Bright Week always remind me of the joy of paradise. The doors of the altar stand open for all of Bright Week, reminding the people of God that Christ has opened paradise to us all. These are some thoughts on the suddenness and nearness of paradise. As the Elder Cleopas used to say, “May Paradise consume you!”

The Exapostelarian for the Matins of Good Friday is the hymn, “The Wise Thief.” It draws our attention to the mercy of God – who promised paradise to the wise thief, “This day.” Thoughts on the nearness of paradise are also a theme in the writings of Dostoevsky. If paradise is so near – why do we settle for less? Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Dismissal Hymn (Apolytikion) and Kontakion of the Worship of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross (3rd Sunday of the Fast) – Απολυτίκιο και Κοντάκιο της Κυριακής της Σταυροπροσκυνήσεως

VatopaidiFriend: Notice what the Kontakion (the second hymn) says. It is LITERAL, not «metaphorical».

Dismissal Hymn. First Mode.

Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto the faithful victory over adversaries. And by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.

(Note: The original says «sovereigns» instead of «faithful» and «barbarians» instead of «adversaries». The «sovereigns» are the pious emperors of Byzantium, the best state in all of history, which – with the exception of some dark periods – provides a luminous example of true Christian spirituality, and unsurpassed economy, welfare, culture, ecology etc. The «barbarians» are the ungodly, backward hordes who always wanted to ravage the Byzantine Empire, and, after more than 1000 years, finally did – temporarily.)

Απολυτίκιον. Ήχος α΄.

Σώσον, Κύριε, τον λαόν σου και ευλόγησον την κληρονομίαν σου, νίκας τοις βασιλεύσι κατά βαρβάρων δωρούμενος και το σον φυλάττων, διά του Σταυρού σου, πολίτευμα.

Kontakion. Grave Mode. READ MORE… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Dream of the Rood

The Ruthwell Cross. From: "The Anglo-Saxons", Ed. by James Campbell, Penguin Books, 1991.

The Ruthwell Cross. From: "The Anglo-Saxons", Ed. by James Campbell, Penguin Books, 1991.

VatopaidiFriend: «The Dream of the Rood (=Cross)» is a wonderful Old English poem written in the 8th century (before the Schism). It tells of how the Cross appeared to a man in a vision and spoke to him. It provides profound Orthodox insight on the Mystery of the Atonement. The translation into modern English is by Mary Rambaran-Olm. Note that today, with the Old (Julian) Calendar, we celebrate the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross (September 14/27).

1 Lo! I will tell of the best of dreams,

what I dreamed in the middle of the night,

after the speech-bearers were in bed.

It seemed to me that I saw a very wondrous tree

5 lifted into the air, enveloped by light,

the brightest of trees. That beacon was all

covered with gold. Gems stood Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

«Prayer: the test, the source, the driving force… of all things»

First Christians of Kiev. Painting by Vasily Perov (1880)

First Christians of Kiev. Painting by Vasily Perov (1880)

By Fr. Andrew Jarmus

«Prayer is the test of everything; prayer is also the source of everything; prayer is the driving force of everything; prayer is also the director of everything. If prayer is right, everything is right. For prayer will not allow anything to go wrong.» — St. Theophan the Recluse

Perhaps the most popular and basic definition of prayer is that it is a conversation with God. While this is essentially true, Orthodox Christianity, looks upon prayer as something even deeper than «conversation».

Read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »