The Things We Share

Modern culture frequently celebrates the freedom we each enjoy – in come cases going so far as to think of human beings as discreet individuals. Of course each of us lives in his/her own body – but even as such – we live in a common world. What I do and how I live affects others whether I want it to or not. In one manner or another, we live on the consequences of those who have gone before us – our landscapes – our resources – the shape of political boundaries – the language we speak – generally the whole of our life – is something that is being shared with us – again, whether we want it to be so or not. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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There Is No Rest On Earth For Those Desiring Salvation

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

«There can be no rest for those on earth who desire to be saved,» says St. Ephrem the Syrian. The struggle is unceasing be it either external or internal. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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Prayer to the Guardian Angel

O Angel of God, my holy guardian, given to me from heaven, enlighten me this day, and save me from all evil. Instruct me in doing good deeds, Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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An incredible miracle in Serbia (part 6)

Continued from (5)

It is impossible to describe the beauty of paradise. I could not understand a single thing of what I have seen. I was wondering: Why are some souls standing in groups? Why this, why the other. But again my angel-guide, replied to me without me voicing my questions:

“Dousan, if everything was being revealed to you, you could not take it”.

Read more…

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An incredible miracle in Serbia (Part 5)

Continued from (4)

Archangel Gabriel enters my life

It has been difficult for me to describe what happened afterwards in simple words, since it is beyond imagination, incredible!

The room suddenly brimmed with light and at the same time a winged angel appeared! He was incredibly handsome with long hair tied at the back, like a pony tail. He was wearing a bright, long robe with a garment even brighter on top which was not handmade. He had sandals on his feet.

Read more…

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Healing of two possessed in Gergesene

Metropolitan Antony of Sourozh 

In one of the Gospels, before the passage which was read today about the healing of two possessed in the country of Gergesene, there is a short story about Christ crossing the sea of Galilee together with His disciples. In the course of their journey a storm broke out. And as the Gospel puts it, Christ was peacefully asleep with His head on a pillow. And the apostles cried out, not in a prayer, but in indignation: Do You not care that we are perishing? Christ awoke, and He stood up, and looked at them sadly, and said: ‘O men of little faith!’ Then He turned to the storm and commanded it to be still. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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The salvation of the soul

by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

After a large number of people had gathered around our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord spoke these words: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” In addition, He spoke these words: “What can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

This means that a man’s soul has more value than the whole visible world. And if a man loses his soul, with what can he make payment, with what can he buy it back again? With nothing in the world. Not even if he gives the whole world can he buy his lost soul. 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 »

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 »

SUNDAY OF THE CROSS

Metropolitan  Anthony  of  Sourozh

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

As we progress deeper and deeper into the weeks of Lent, we can say with an ever-growing sense of gratitude and of joy, of a serene and exulting joy the words of a Psalm, ‘My soul shall live, and with gratitude I will give glory to the Lord’.

In the first week of Lent we have seen all the promises of salvation given in the Old Testament fulfilled: God became man, salvation has come, and all hopes are possible. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS SUNDAY

Saint Grigorios Palamas. Detail from a stole. Vatopaidi Monastery

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

In one of the Psalms we can read the following words: Those who have sown with tears will reap with joy… If in the course of weeks of preparation we have seen all that is ugly and unworthy in us mirrored in the parables, if we have stood before the judgement of our conscience and of our God, then we have truly sown in tears our own salvation. And yet, there is still time because even when we enter into the time of the harvest, God gives us a respite; Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

About the man whom no one knows

» Who are you?’ Jesus said to them: `The beginning «(St. John 8:25).

The Lord Jesus is the beginning of creation, the beginning of restoration, the beginning of salvation, the beginning of resurrection, and the beginning of immortal glory.

Wherever there is any evil in the world that needs to be uprooted, He is the beginning. Without Him, it is impossible. Wherever there is any good that is desired to be done in the world, He is the beginning. Without Him, it is impossible. If anyone desires to uproot dissent and malice in the family, in the village, in the town, in the entire world, without Him, it is impossible. One must begin with Him.

Read more…  Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Απολυτίκιο και Κοντάκιο του Αγίου Νικολάου (με εξήγηση) – Apolytikion and Kontakion of St Nicholas

Απολυτίκιον. Ήχος δ’.

Κανόνα πίστεως, και εικόνα πραότητος, εγκρατείας διδάσκαλον, ανέδειξε σε τη ποίμνη σου, η των πραγμάτων αλήθεια δια τούτο εκτήσω τη ταπεινώσει τα υψηλά, τη πτωχεία τα πλούσια. Πάτερ Ιεράρχα Νικόλαε, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τω Θεώ, σωθήναι τας ψυχάς ημών.

Ερμηνεία 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 »

THE CALLED AND THE CHOSEN

the chosen

In one of the Sunday Gospel readings we hear the parable of the Royal Son’s wedding feast.

In a direct historical sense this parable refers to the Jews, who were called, but who disdained the honor of their heavenly calling. However, just like the entire Gospel in general, this particular parable is not limited to a single meaning, but contains greater depths.

The image of the man who came to the feast without wearing wedding garments reveals to us the principle that for our salvation it is not enough to be among those who are called. We still need “our own” clothes, i.e. personal striving in life which transforms us from the “called” into the “chosen.” Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The long road home.

ROAD_TO_HEAVEN_THIS_ONEOn my own accord as a little boy I used to walk about a mile to the Baptist church that some of my extended family was a part of. My aunt taught Sunday school there. These were during the good days when a little kid could walk to church on Sundays in a good little southern country town where nothing ever went wrong. Oddly enough, every Sunday, I’d walk past a church with a big golden dome on it, but I didn’t know anyone there and I was too intimidated to walk in. It was called St. Mary’s.

All throughout my early youth I continued on with the Baptists, doing the little Christmas plays and learning about the usual Sunday school material.

Eventually we moved from that town and I started going to church with a different side of the family at a local Pentecostal assembly, still just up the street from where I live now. It wasn’t really a church thing for me at that time, even as a little boy, even though I loved the activities and things with my family and friends then, I knew something was missing and frankly… shallow. I was done coloring pictures of Jonah and the whale and leaving the room when it was time for the grown people to hear their message… I never understood why the children were encouraged(sometimes forced) to leave the main area of the church when the real preaching was getting started. That’s what I wanted to hear. I was thirsting for something substantial that I could never find, and it wasn’t being filled by the redundant praise music and childish activities we were being spoon-fed. 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 »

THE SALVATION OF THE SOUL

christ-kievo

Christ giving Holy Communion to His disciples. Byzantine mosaic of the 11th century from the Cathedral of Sancta Sophia in Kiev.

by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

After a large number of people had gathered around our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord spoke these words: «What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?» In addition, He spoke these words: «What can a man give in exchange for his soul?»

This means that a man’s soul has more value than the whole visible world. And if a man loses his soul, with what can he make payment, with what can he buy it back again? With nothing in the world. Not even if he gives the whole world can he buy his lost soul.

Blessed is he who knows this, and who guards his soul as his greatest treasure. Blessed is he who stands guard over his soul every day and does not permit his soul to suffer harm in any way. For he who saves his soul will save everything, and he who loses his soul will lose everything.

In a small town there once lived a very rich man. He lived in a small dilapidated house. He did not want to renovate his house, but saved and guarded his wealth.

Now this one night his house happened to catch fire and burn down. The man, however, jumped out of bed undressed, searched out his saved-up treasure, and leapt out of the house. His whole house was reduced to ashes, but he did not feel sorry about it at all. Rather, with his wealth he moved to a large city, and in this large city he built a beautiful palace, and there he continued to live cheerfully and free from worry.

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St. Irenaeus (2nd century AD) on the Atonement

Icon of Christ the Great High-priest, from the Orthodox Church of St. Gabriel in Nazareth

Icon of Christ "the Great High-priest", from the Orthodox Church of St. Gabriel in Nazareth

«But as our Lord is alone truly Master, so the Son of God is truly good and patient, the Word of God the Father having been made the Son of man. For He fought and conquered; for He was man contending for the fathers, and through obedience doing away with disobedience completely: for He bound the strong man (St. Matthew 12:29), and set free the weak, and endowed His own handiwork with salvation, by destroying sin. For He is a most holy and merciful Lord, and loves the human race.
   Therefore, as I have already said, He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become, one with God. For unless man had overcome the enemy of man, the enemy would not have been legitimately vanquished. And again, unless it had been God who had freely given salvation, we could never have possessed it securely. And unless man had been joined to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility. For it was incumbent upon the Mediator between God and men, by His relationship to both, to bring both to friendship and concord, and present man to God, while He revealed God to man. For, in what way could we be partaken of the Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »