Sayings by Amma Syncletica

Amma Syncletica said: In the beginning there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God. But after that there is indescribable joy. It is just like building a fire: at first it is smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result. Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort. Read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Praying and fasting in our Orthodox Christian life…

We all understand how important prayer is for the spiritual life of an Orthodox Christian. But how are we to pray? Two forms of prayer are evident in the Orthodox Christian life: private prayers said at home and unified Church prayer. Each has certain special characteristics. Our Saviour gave instructions in the Gospel about private prayer: «When you pray, go into your room and shut the door, pray to your Father Who is in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly» (Mt.6:6). Of course, home prayers are basic to us. Prayer is deeply intimate and heartfelt. Everyone who has sincerely searched for heartfelt and moving prayer, knows well how easy and natural it is to pray in solitude, in silence and peace. Moreover, our Lord firmly warns us against hypocritical prayer done for show, to elicit praise from people.

When a Christian prays to God, he must strive to contemplate the words of the prayers which he reads, and to concentrate his thought on the content of the. Everyone knows how difficult it is to struggle against the pressure of outside thoughts and images which tiresomely besiege the person who is praying. This comes to us both from our personal distraction and from the indirect action of the evil-one. The task of a Christian is to apply all his powers to persistently shake off all these side thoughts (which are sometimes impure) that torment him, and to pray piously and with concentration. One should remember that an extra pressure of thoughts and images—often vile and blasphemous—comes to us directly from Satan, and the struggle of resisting these thoughts is a direct struggle against evil. Consequently, one receives great benefit from such a struggle. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

St. John of Rila – October 19

Свети Иван РилскиVenerable St. John of Rila, a great spirit-filled ascetic struggler of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, is the heavenly patron of the Bulgarian People.

He was born in the year 876 in the village of Skrino in Sardica Province (which today is Sofia). Orphaned at an early age, the boy hired himself out to strangers as a shepherd. It happened that a rich man beat him because a cow and its calf had gotten lost. For a long time, the little boy wept and prayed that God help him. At the time he located the cow and the calf, the water level of the Sturma River had risen sharply. The young shepherd prayed, made the sign of the cross over his outer clothing, laid it on the surface of the water, picked up the calf and carried it across, as if on dry land, to the other shore, where the cow was waiting for them. The rich man, who had been hiding in the woods, was terrified upon witnessing this miracle; giving the boy a generous reward, he released him from service.

The boy gave away his fortune, and went off to his native village. When and where he received monastic tonsure is unknown. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »