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There is nothing better than the monastic life! Nothing is better! St. Seraphim of Sarov

St. Symeon the God-Receiver and St. Anna the Prophetess and Daughter of Phanuel.

Commemorated February 3

Luke 2:36–38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[*] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

”… the saint raised his hands to heaven and with rapture repeated several times in the presence of the Diveyev Sister Paraskeva Ivanovna who was there at the time this doxology to monasticism:

“There is nothing better than the monastic life! Nothing is better!”

(St. Seraphim of Sarov – A Spiritual Biography, Archimandrite Lazarus Moore, New Sarov Press, 1994, p. 255.)

Ὑπαπαντὴ τοῦ Κυρίου_Presentation of Jesus at the Temple_Сретение Господне_Întâmpinarea Domnului_symeon-ypapanti“At the present time,” the elder replied, “Owing to our almost universal coldness to our holy faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and our inattention to the working of His Divine Providence in us, and to the communion of man with God, we have gone so far that, one may say, we have almost abandoned the true Christian life. The testimonies of Holy Scripture now seem strange to us; when, for instance, by the lips of Moses the Holy Spirit says: ‘And Adam saw the Lord walking in Paradise’ (cf. Gen. 3:10), or when we read the words of the Apostle Paul: ‘We went to Achaia, and the Spirit of God went not with us; we returned to Macedonia, and the Spirit of God came with us.’ More than once in other passages of Holy Scripture the appearance of God to men is mentioned…

“So you see, your Godliness, both in the holy Hebrew people, a people beloved by God, and in the pagans who did not know God, there was preserved a knowledge of God—thus, my son, a clear and rational comprehension of how our Lord God the Holy Spirit acts in man, and by means of our inner and outer feelings, one can be sure that this is really the action of our Lord God the Holy Spirit, and not a delusion of the enemy. That is how it was, from Adam’s fall, until the coming into the world of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the flesh.

“Without this perceptible realization of the actions of the Holy Spirit which had always been preserved in human nature, men could not have possibly known for certain whether the fruit of the seed of the woman who had been promised to Adam and Eve had come into the world to crush the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15).

Άννα η Προφήτιδα Anna the Prophetess Анна Пророчица-Фрески церкви Св. Пантелеимона в Нерези0_13fd06_650aaf57_orig“At last the Holy Spirit foretold to St. Simeon, who was then in his 65th year, the mystery of the virginal conception and birth of Christ from the most pure Ever-Virgin Mary. Afterwards, having lived by the grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God for three hundred years, in the 365th year of his life he said openly in the temple of the Lord that he knew for certain through the gift of the Holy Spirit that this was that very Christ, the Savior of the world, Whose supernatural conception and birth from the Holy Spirit had been foretold to him by an Angel three hundred years previously.

And there was also St. Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, who from her widowhood had served the Lord God in the temple of God for eighty years, and who was known to be a righteous widow, a chaste servant of God, from the special gifts of grace which she had received. She too announced that He was actually the Messiah Who had been promised to the world, the true Christ, God and Man, the King of Israel, Who had come to save Adam and mankind.

“But when our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished the whole work of salvation, after His Resurrection, He breathed on the Apostles, restored the breath of life lost by Adam, and gave them the same grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God as Adam had enjoyed.

Saint Seraphim of Sarov: On the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit, Conversation with Motovilov
In November of 1831
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/47866.html

Troparion (Tone 1) – St. Anna, the Prophetess

In the Temple thou didst embrace as an infant God the Word Who became flesh, O glorious Elder Symeon, who didst hold God in thine arms.
And also as a Prophetess the august Anna ascribed praise to Him.
We acclaim you as divine servants of Christ.

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