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Brethren, how petty are those Christians who recognize the Lord as resurrected, as the Victor but, nevertheless, retain in their hearts doubt and buries their lives in eternal darkness. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Σταύρωσις_The Crucifixion_Greek-Byzantine-Orthodox-Icon_Распятие_ИИСУСА_ХРИСТА20707738_decani2

In 1925 they asked St. Matrona of Moscow:
“Why did God allow them to close and raze so many Churches in Russia?”
And she answered with the following words:
“This was the will of God. The people are hypnotized, and a terrible demonic power has been put into action. It is in the air, and penetrates everything.
In olden times, this demonic power dwelt in the marshes and the dense forest, because people would go to church regularly, and wore and honored the Cross. Their homes were protected by holy icons, the vigil lamps that were burning, the holy water services which they did…
The demons were sent far away and feared to approach…
Today, however, these homes and these very people have become dwelling places of demons because of their faithlessness and by their distancing themselves from Christ.”

***

Homily:
About recognizing the Son of Man among the common darkness
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

” Truly, this was the Son of God” (St. Matthew 27:54).

Σταυρός_ Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_72892These words were spoken by the captain who carried out his duties conscientiously as a soldier. Under orders of his superiors, he had to guard the body of Christ on Golgotha. Externally, like a machine, but internally, a soul wide awake.

He, a Roman soldier, a pagan, and an idolater, saw all that had occurred at the time of the death of Christ the Lord, and cried out: “Truly, this was the Son of God.” Not knowing about the One God and not knowing the Law and the Prophets, he immediately comprehended that which the priests of the One God and authorities of the Law and the Prophets were unable to comprehend! On this occasion, the word of God came true. “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see, might see, and those who do see, might become blind” (St. John 9:39). Truly, he who was blind in the spirit saw and those who thought they could see were completely blinded.

Was it not possible that the elders of the Jews did not see the darkened sun, did not feel the earthquake, did not notice how the rocks were split, did not see that the veil in the Temple was rent, did not recognize many of the saints who came out from opened graves and appeared in Jerusalem?

They saw all of this and all of them accurately witnessed all of this. Nevertheless, their spirits remained blind and their hearts, stony. All of these manifestations, the awesome and the unusual, they probably interpreted as the unbelieving would do today – accidents and illusions. The pagans of all times interpret everything as accidents or self-deceptions whenever the finger of God appears to reprimand men, to direct or to inform them.

The Roman captain Longinus, which was the soldier’s name, saw all that occurred without prejudice and beneath the cross confessed his faith in the Son of God. His exclamation was not wrested accidentally from his frightened heart. But that was his confession of faith, for which he later on laid down his life to embrace a better life in the Kingdom of Christ.

O brethren, how great is this Roman captain, who upon seeing the lifeless Lord between thieves crucified on the dunghill of Golgotha, recognized Him as God and confessed Him as God. O brethren, how petty are those Christians who recognize the Lord as resurrected, as Glorified, as the Victor and the Victor-bearer through thousands of His saints but, nevertheless, retain in their hearts doubt like a poisonous serpent who poisons them every day and buries their lives in eternal darkness.

O crucified and resurrected Lord, have mercy on us and save us!

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/March30.htm

Apolytikion of the Holy Cross – First Tone

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victories to the to the Emperor over the barbarians; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy habitation.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone (amateur translation)

Unassailable eighth pillar of Russia, who was blind from birth, we reverently praise Matrona the ever-memorable, as a treasury of divine gifts and fervent love towards all those in danger, crying out scatter the darkness of our passions with the light of Your grace.

The Cross is the guardian of the whole world; the Cross is the beauty of the Church, the Cross is the might of kings; the Cross is the confirmation of the faithful, the Cross is the glory of angels and the wounding of demons.” (Exapostilarion of the Exaltation of the Cross)

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