We Should Not Despair Even If We Sin Many Times

By St. Peter of Damascus

Even if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned; why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him in your ignorance as powerless? Is He, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

When our soul is troubled (St. Diadochus of Photice)

When the soul is agitated by anger, or troubled by dissipation or oppressed by heavy discouragement, no matter what violence it does itself, the mind cannot achieve recollection of the Lord Jesus… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Τimidity…

“…Timidity leads the soul into confusion and a certain unsteadiness, and a soul which is unstable can very easily fall. Yet self-satisfaction and conceit are the very enemies which one has to fight. Anybody who has let them in has fallen already, and is predisposed to further falls because they make a man inactive and negligent.

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«This Was From Me»

The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most ven...

The Theotokos of Vladimir

By Metropolitan Manuel Lemeshevsk

Have you ever thought that everything that touches you touches Me as well? For that which touches you touches the apple of My eye.

You are dear in my eyes, precious, and I have loved you; therefore it is a particular pleasure for Me to educate you.

When temptations arise against you, and the enemy comes like a river, I want you to know—This was from Me.

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Archimandrite Sophrony of Essex: the regenerated soul

Wall-Painting in Church of Pantassa at Porto Lagos

Those who are not reborn from on High will never understand those who are. There appears to be nothing outstanding about Christians, who may often seem morbid or hypocritical. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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Spiritual Warfare (St. Ignatius Brianchaninov)

For his invisible warfare or conflict with man, especially by means of sinful thoughts and imaginations, the fallen angel relies on the mutual affinity of the sins one with another. This conflict never ceases day or night, but it becomes specially intense and furious when we stand for prayer. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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”.

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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.

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Συγκλονιστικό βίντεο – Amazing video!!!

English: We received from our Serbian friends, an e-mail with the following text and video attached. We do not know anything about this video, nor are we in any position to explain what is happening. We would like you to draw your own conclusions.

«This is something very unusual I’ve never seen it before! One believer was trying to make a photo of the sunset when he noticed a very unusual light on the left and started recording it. It was an Angel taking the soul of one man – when they went to that building one man had really died! Have a look!»

Ελληνικά: Kάποιοι φίλοι από την Σερβία, μας έστειλαν το παρακάτω βίντεο και κείμενο. Εμείς δεν γνωρίζουμε περισσότερα για αυτό το βίντεο και δεν είμαστε σε θέση να μιλήσουμε για αυτό. Θα θέλαμε να βγάλετε τα δικά σας συμπεράσματα.

«Κάτι πολύ ασυνήθιστο που δεν έχουμε ξαναδεί! Ένας πιστός, προσπαθώντας να αποθανατίσει το ηλιοβασίλεμα, με το κινητό του, πρόσεξε ένα παράξενο φως στα αριστερά και άρχισε να το βιντεοσκοπεί. Ήταν ένας Άγγελος που έπαιρνε την ψυχή ενός ανθρώπου. Όταν πήγαν στο κτίριο, βρήκαν ότι όντως κάποιος είχε πεθάνει! Κοιτάξτε!» read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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 »

The Commandment to Love

By Bishop John (Kallos) of Thermon

The first and great commandment of Christ was the commandment to love. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:27. This commandment of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ passed through my mind as I read the book “Why Pray” by Fr. Mark Gibbard. In the chapter entitled, ‘Praying is Exploration,’ he says, ‘Seldom in the history of mankind has there been such real concern for our fellow man, than there is today. There are the demands that poverty should be wiped out. There are the protests against the horror of war. There are the struggles against unjust racial discrimination. Concern about man and unconcern about God. Demand for action and disregard for prayer.’ Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The human soul without Him becomes hell.

Christ healing the blind

 Sunday of the blind man

Ιn today’s Gospel, the Gospel of the blind man, we heard our Lord say, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5)

What does it mean to have Christ as the light of the world or, on a more personal level, to have Christ as the light of our lives? In order to understand what it means to have Christ as our light, we must first acknowledge our own blindness. Like the man in the Gospel, most of us have been born blind when it comes to God and His Christ. We are unable to see that which is directly in front of us. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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Deliver Us From the Evil One

“Whose voice is that rattling in your brain?”

The following words of St. Silouan are fairly straightforward. God give us grace and good hearts to hear him.

If you think evil of people, it means you have an evil spirit in you whispering evil thoughts about others. And if a man dies without repenting, without having forgiven his brother, his soul will go to the place where lives the evil spirit which possessed his soul. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Invisible Scars

 By Dr. Stacy Becker

Stacy L. Becker, Psy. D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and has been an advocate of abuse victims and survivors for several years. She is particularly committed to educating and treating survivors of psychological maltreatment. Your comments are welcome by e-mailing yesican@yesican.org.

A middle-aged woman walked into my office, took a seat and asked, «Is it possible for me to have been a victim of child abuse if I was never beaten or molested? I responded, «yes» and asked why she asked. She described herself as being frequently depressed and unable to feel good about herself. She said that she felt that she did not know who she was, or what her purpose in life was. She said that her parents were good, strict parents and that, in all honesty, she had no right to feel badly about herself. «After all,» she added, «worse things have happened to other people.» Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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 »

The First Week of Great Lent – Clean Monday… Redeeming the time

Wash yourselves, and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17.learn to do well; diligently seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. 18.Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: and though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they red like crimson, I will make them white as wool. 19.If then ye be willing, and obedient unto Me, ye shall eat the good of the land; 20.but if ye desire not, nor will obey me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.(Is 1:1-20, First Monday of Great Lent, the Sixth Hour)

Everyone needs to frequently wash. The accumulated grime of the day is unsightly, unpleasant and unhealthy. If we wash carefully, and ignore no dirty place, then we will be invigorated, and healthy, but if we ignore some place for a long time, that place will fester and cause us to be ill.

Great Lent is especially a time for careful washing. In us there may be wicked ways: thoughts, feelings, priorities and habits that are not immediately apparent, and are all displeasing to God. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

What is Forgiveness Sunday? (included are readings in greek)

We enter today the period of the Great Fast in preparation for Pascha. We are called to repent, to forgive, to pray, to fast from food and passions remembering the exile of Adam from Paradise banished because of uncontrolled desire to eat from the tree. It is the Sunday of Forgiveness. Reconciliation with God and restoration from the exile of sin is given to all who seek it through repentance and confession. We make a beginning in forgiving one another and asking for forgiveness which is the purpose of the special Vespers this afternoon. Our relationship with God is not outside and distinct from our personal relationships.

God is love. He makes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on both the good and the evil so that all have a chance to apprehend His love and repent. If we show God-like love in forgiving one another we shall also be forgiven. Full of gratitude to God for this promise and experience of forgiveness of our own sins we extend this forgiveness to all who trespass against us. In forgiving one another we release ourselves from the heavy chains of pride which imprison our souls. If we do not forgive one another we can have no communion with the God of forgiveness. We remain in the self exile of pride and outside of salvation. But today we are called to freedom through the cross of struggle against sin. Sorrowing for our sins we rejoice that these holy days lie before us in which we can draw closer to the great love and mercy of God. In our ascetical strivings we are warned not to let our right hand know what our left hand is doing. We are not to count, nor advertise our fasting which is a tool and not an end in itself. The Great Fast is not essentially about food but about returning to God. There is no evil in food nor in the body which needs it to live but our return to God is not possible when the soul is subject to the body and to the uncontrolled desires and appetites of fallen man. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

St. Ephraim the Syrian On Repentance

Grant forgiveness, O Lord, send also strength. Convert me, that I might live in sanctity, according to Thy holy will. Sanctify my heart that has become a den and dwelling-place of demons.

I am unworthy to ask forgiveness for myself, O Lord, for many times have I promised to repent and proved myself a liar by not fulfilling my promise. Thou hast picked me up many times already, but every time I freely chose to fall again.

Therefore I condemn myself and admit that I deserve all manner of punishment and torture. How many times hast Thou enlightened my darkened mind; yet every time I return again to base thoughts! My whole body trembles when I contemplate this; yet every time sinful sensuality reconquers me. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Fear evil like fire

By St. John of Kronstadt

Fear evil like fire. Don’t let it touch your heart even if it seems just or righteous. No matter what the circumstances, don’t let it come into you. Evil is always evil. Sometimes evil presents itself as an endeavor to God’s glory, or as something with good intentions towards your neighbor. Even in these cases, don’t trust this feeling. It’s a wrong labor and is not filled with wisdom. Instead, work on chasing evil from yourself. Evil, however innocent it looks, offends God’s long-suffering love, which is His foremost glory. Judas betrayed his Lord for 30 silver pieces under the guise of helping the poor. Keep in mind that the enemy continuously seeks your death and attacks more fiercely when you’re not alert. His evil is endless. Don’t let self-esteem and the love of material goods win you over.

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The battle against despondency, slothfulness and weakness

Christ the Redeemer by St. Andrei Rublev (ca. 1410, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow).

St. Paisius Velichkovsky

When this happens, occupy the mind with the thought of death.

Come mentally to the grave; behold there one who has been dead four days: how he grows dark, bloated, and gives off an intolerable foul odor, is eaten by worms, having lost his fair appearance and beauty. Then look in another place: here there lie in the grave the bones of young and old, the beautiful and the ugly; and consider: who was fair, or ugly? Who was a faster, a continent man, an ascetic, or a careless man? And did it bring benefit to rich men that they had repose and enjoyment in this world?

Remember then the endless torments of which the holy books speak: the fire of Gehenna, the outer darkness, the gnashing of teeth, the infernal Tartarus, the unsleeping worm. And depict to yourself how sinners cry out there with bitter tears, and no one delivers them. They lament and weep over themselves, and no one has pity on them. They sigh from the depths of the heart, and no one has compassion on them. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

IN THE TEMPLE OF BROKEN HEARTS (PART 2)

the power of the cross

“Search for me,

A needle in a haystack,

Find where I lie,

Pain hidden by a rag,

Here I hide – from you? –

Blood wounds, undried and shining,

I hide, fearing

Your loving hands hold salt”.

(from a Belarusian poem)

Continued from (1)

Monk Alexander

Source: Orthodox Research Institute

The Beginning of Love

True love starts when we let others be the way they are, rather than adjusting our impression of them to our own liking. Otherwise, we will love only our own fixed perception of them. It is necessary to understand ourselves and everyone else as God’s creatures, to see God’s image and dignity in ourselves and in others. He granted it to everyone of us, and if we hurt this dignity in others, we actually hurt ourselves.

We have no power to change another person, and we should not waste our time analysing why he behaves this way or that. Let him follow his own path. We should accept people as they are, otherwise our intrusion can prove to be destructive. A person might know what we expect of him and behave the opposite way.

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IN THE TEMPLE OF BROKEN HEARTS (PART 1)

woman

Monk Alexander

Source: Orthodox Research Institute

We have no power to change another person, and we should not waste our time analysing why he behaves this way or that. Let him follow his own path. We should accept people as they are, otherwise our intrusion can prove to be destructive.

The Moral Schism

The faith and love of every man is put to the test by something – misfortunes, psychological difficulties, moral perplexities, even by our happiness. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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MENTAL IMAGERY IN EASTERN ORTHODOX PRIVATE DEVOTION (Part 3)

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 »

MENTAL IMAGERY IN EASTERN ORTHODOX PRIVATE DEVOTION (Part 2)

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:

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MENTAL IMAGERY IN EASTERN ORTHODOX PRIVATE DEVOTION (Part 1)

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.

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