Iconography and Hand painted icons

Peace starts with each one of us. When we have peace in us, we spread it around to others. Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Θαδδαίος της Βιτόβνιτσα_Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica_Старец Фаддей Витовницкий_свети Тадеј Витовнички_tlfk_nae5qIWe must learn to ease the burden of thoughts that bears down upon us. As soon as we feel burdened, we must turn to the Lord and give our worries over to Him, as well as the worries and cares of our loved ones.

You must strive to have peace in your homes. Peace starts with each one of us. When we have peace in us, we spread it around to others.

Here on earth there is nothing that can give us inner peace. For neither riches, nor glory, nor honor, nor position, nor family, nor neighbors can give us unshakable inner peace. There is only one giver of life, peace and joy – God

Peace and joy are the greatest riches in this world and in the world to come.

Love, joy and peace are Divine gifts, Divine characteristics. In themselves love, peace and joy work miracles, but joined together they can fulfill all the commandments.

 You can see for yourself that there are very few humble and meek souls on the earth—but also that they are truly blessed. They will not be offended if you insult them in any way. Whatever way you treat them, they are quiet and peaceful and they are truly sorrowed because you are in such spiritual torment.

How will we know whether we are living according to the will of God or not? If you are sad for whatever reason, this means that you have not given yourself over to God, although from the outside it may seem that you have. He who lives according to God’s will has no worries. When he needs something, he simply prays for it. If he does not receive that which he asked for, he is joyful as though he had received it. A soul that has given itself over to God has no fear of anything, not even robbers, sickness, or death. Whatever happens, such a soul always cries, “It was the will of God.”


Saint Apostle Jude Thaddaeus and the Holy (Mandylion) Image of Christ not made with hands

Ιούδας ο Θαδδαίος_Apostle JudeThaddeus_Иу́да Фадде́й_SNG--O_6189

Saint Apostle Jude Thaddaeus

Commemorated on June 19

”The light of thy countenance, O Lord, has been manifested towards us.”Psalm 4, 6

The Apostle Jude was of the choir of the Twelve, and by Luke was called Jude, the brother of James the Brother of God (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). the Evangelist Matthew terms him “Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus” (Mt. 10:3).

 After His glorious Resurrection and Ascension, the Lord sent Thaddaeus to Edessa, according to the promise He gave to Prince Abgar at the time when He sent the towel with His face on it. 

Ιούδας ο Θαδδαίος_Apostle JudeThaddeus_Иу́да Фадде́й_im3445At the time when our Lord preached the Good News and healed every illness and infirmity of men, there lived in the city of Edessa on the shore of the Euphrates Prince Abgar who was completely infected with leprosy. He heard of Christ, the Healer of every pain and disease and sent an artist, Ananias, to Palestine with a letter to Christ in which he begged the Lord to come to Edessa and to cure him of leprosy. In the event that the Lord was unable to come, the prince ordered Ananias to portray His likeness and to bring it to him, believing that this likeness would be able to restore his health. The Lord answered that He was unable to come, for the time of His passion was approaching took a towel, wiped His face and, on the towel, His All-pure face was perfectly pictured. The Lord gave this towel to Ananias with the message that the prince will be healed by it, but not entirely, and later on, He would send him a messenger who would erase the remainder of his disease. Receiving the towel, Prince Abgar kissed it and the leprosy completely fell from his body but a little of it remained on his face.

When St. Thaddaeus appeared to Abgar, he received him with great joy. The apostle of Christ instructed him in the true faith and after that baptized him. When the baptized Abgar came out of the water, the remaining leprosy fell from him and he was completely healed. Glorifying God, Prince Abgar also wanted that his people should know the true God and to glorify Him. The prince assembled all the citizens of Edessa before the holy Apostle Thaddaeus to hear teaching about Christ. Hearing the words of the apostle and seeing their prince miraculously healed, the people rejected the idols, unclean living, embraced the Faith of Christ and were baptized. Thus, the city of Edessa was illumined by the Faith of Christ. Prince Abgar brought much gold and offered it to the apostle but Thaddaeus said to him: ” Since we left our own gold, how can we receive the gold of others?”

The prince then destroyed the idols which stood before the gates of the city and above the gates he placed the towel with the likeness of Christ attached to wood, framed in a gold frame and adorned with pearls. Also, the prince wrote beneath the icon on the gates: “O Christ God, no one will be ashamed who hopes in You.”

Jude preached the Gospel throughout Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Idumedia, Syria, Arabia, Mesopotamia and Armenia. When Jude preached throughout the regions around Ararat he was captured by pagans, crucified on a cross and killed by being shot throughout with arrows to eternally reign in the Kingdom of Christ.

The Epistle of Jude


Apolytikion of Apostle Jude
First Tone

We know thee as a kinsman of Christ and we laud thee with sacred hymns and songs as a most steadfast Martyr who trampled on error and who courageously kept the Faith. As we celebrate today thy holy remembrance, we receive forgiveness of our sins and transgressions, O Jude, through thy holy prayers.

Apolytikion of the Holy Mandylion of Christ. Tone 2.

We venerate your most pure icon, loving Lord, as we ask pardon of our offences, Christ God. For by your own choice you were well-pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh, to deliver from the slavery of the enemy those whom you had fashioned; therefore with thanksgiving we cry to you: You have filled all things with joy, our Saviour, by coming to save the world.

We say to God that we are the worst sinner, we are the chief sinner that there is. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (Bloom)

Θεία Ευχαριστία_Eucharist_Holy Communion_Евхаристия_0_1db68f_b5d57f5e_orig - Copy

St. Bessarion – Disciple of St. Antony and then of St. Marcarius, miracle worker, a desert father. (4th-5th century)
Sts. Joseph and Pior disciples of St. Anthony the Great (6th cen.)

Commemorated on June 17

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15

by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (Bloom)
on 11th January 1998

Every time we approach the holy chalice to receive Communion to the Body and Blood of Christ we say a prayer that contains words that must become true on our lips, otherwise they are a lie before God. We say to God that we are the worst sinner, we are the chief sinner that there is.

And isn’t it natural that so often we say these words thinking, ‘This was true of the saints, who could feel that way, but I can’t feel that I am the worst of sinners’. When we look around, when we look at the state of the world in which we live, we can see a number of people who in our eyes are worse than we are. And regarding this I would like to remind you of a passage in the diary of Saint John of Kronstadt, who also asked himself the same question, and in the end answered it in the affirmative: ‘Yes, I am the worst of all the sinners I know’.

And the reason he gave for this judgement of his was that he was aware of how much God had given him, and how little he had given to God in response.

I think we must all of us begin in this frame of mind, ask ourselves: What are the gifts which God has bestowed upon us? What is it that makes us so happy in ourselves, or makes others so happy in us, rightly or wrongly? And when we have come to understand how much we have received, then we can ask ourselves: what are the fruits which we have borne of these gifts?

And we will see that, according to the first Beatitude, there is nothing in us, in our life, which is our own, of our own making. God gave us life. He gave us a body, a soul, a mind. He gave us all that fills our lives with richness. All that we are and all that we possess are gifts of his. Do we give Him gratitude for it, or do we appropriate these gifts, thinking no, they are our own really? And even when we are aware of the fact that they are not of our making, that it is God who has given us all that we are and all that we have, do we know how to be grateful and also to ask ourselves the question which I have already mentioned: what have I done with all the gifts of God? And if we go ever more deeply within ourselves and in our lives, can we begin to be able to say: yes, I really am the worst of all the sinners around me because I am so richly endowed by God and look how little, how very little, I have brought to God and to my neighbour as a result of it?

Let us all reflect on this. And when we come next time to Communion and we think or say these words, let us say them with at least a beginning of understanding that yes, it is true, and I know why. But come with an incipient understanding, because it takes a very long time for us to see how richly God has endowed us and how poorly we have responded to Him. But gradually, step by step, these words will become true and we will receive Communion with a new depth of broken-heartedness and with gratitude. Amen.

Newsletter ¹ 316, 1998 February

Ερημίτης_Hermit_отшельник- еремит_askites_b_gerontiko (1)

A brother who had sinned was turned out of church by the priest. Abba Bessarion got up and left with him saying: “I, too, am a sinner.”

Another time when Abba Bessarion had occasion to do so, he said a prayer and crossed the river Chrysoroas* on foot and then continued his way. Filled with wonder, I asked his pardon and said, ‘How did your feet feel when you were walking on the water?’ He replied, ‘I felt the water just to my heels, but the rest was dry.’
*The Nile River is a major river in Egypt.

On another day, while we were going to see an old man, the sun was setting. So Abba Bessarion said this prayer, ‘I pray you, Lord, that the sun may stand still till we reach your servant,’ and that is what happened.

Abba Bessarion, at the point of death, said, ‘The monk ought
to be as the Cherubim and the Seraphim: all eye.’

Before Holy Communion
Fourth Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief. And I believe that this is Thy pure Body and Thy own precious Blood. Therefore, I pray Thee, have mercy on me and forgive my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, known and unknown. And grant that I may partake of Thy Holy Mysteries without condemnation, for the remission of sins and for life eternal. Amen.

Troparion — Tone 4

O God of our Fathers, always act with kindness towards us; take not Your mercy from us, but guide our lives in peace through the prayers of the venerable Bessarion and Hilarion the New.

Kontakion of St. Bessarion, Tone 2

You imitated the powers on high, venerable Bessarion, living by example the life of those who take flight. Led by steadfast desire to the heavenly good things of Christ the King, you put passing things from your mind and attained to Him. Entreat Him without ceasing for the sake of us all!

The Way We Look And See, Anthony of Sourozh

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matth. 6: 33
Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; Matth. 6: 31

The Way We Look And See
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
Matthew 6, 22-33.

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

Μεταμόρφωσις του Σωτήρος Χριστού_Преображение Господне_Transfiguration of Jesus- Greek Byzantine Orthodox IconTransfiguration-FullWe meet the world, we take cognisance of the world through our senses; and through all our senses we are not only aware of the world, but we are also involved in it, all our senses put us into contact with the world of objects, with all things around us, but also immediately introduce into us sensations and impressions which change us at times very deeply.

Our sight, of which the Lord speaks today in His Gospel, is the only way in which we can take cognisance of the world with serenity, in complete repose of all the powers of our human being, but also on condition, as the Lord puts it, that our eye be single, that it should be light, that is should allow only light to enter into our awareness through it.

One of the modern English writers gives us two images which I believe will allow us to understand something of this passage of the Gospel; in a novel ‘All Hallows Eve’, Charles Williams presents us with a young woman who had died in an accident and whose soul is gradually finding her way in the new world in which she has entered.

She finds herself standing on the banks of the Thames; she looks at the waters, and of a sudden she sees these waters of the Thames as she had never seen them in the past, when her soul was endowed with a body; (then) she had a revulsion against these dark, greasy, dirty waters because her imagination immediately connected them with touch and direct impressions of the body.

But now, this soul is free from the body and she sees these waters of the Thames freely, as they are, as a fact; she sees that these waters are exactly what they should be, being the waters of a river that runs through a great city, collecting all the dirt of it and carrying it away. And because she has no longer the usual revulsion of the body and of the imagination, this soul, through the opacity of these waters, begins to see in them new and new depth; deeper that this superficial opacity she discovers a layer of purer water, a greater translucence, and beyond and deeper again — a layer of transparency; and at the core of these waters that run across the great city — and this city is also called one day to become t h e city of God, — she sees a stream of incredibly shining water, the water of eternal life, the primordial water created by God, the water of which Christ speaks to the Samaritan woman; because she was free from personal reaction and revulsion, the dead woman could see across the superficial darkness, the (increasing?) layers of light.

Because we are continuously entangled in our own self-centred reactions, we manage to see through layers of light somewhere a darkness which at times, we create or imagine; because our eye is dark we see darkness and we are incapable of seeing the depth, the translucence and the shining.

Another image that we find in the same book is perhaps even more tragic. This young woman finds herself standing on one of the great bridges; she knows that this bridge cannot be empty, that people are walking, buses are running, there is life around, and yet, she sees and perceives nothing of it, because disengaged from the body she can see now only those things and those people with which, with whom she is connected through love, and as she loves no one except her husband, she is blind to all things around her, there is only emptiness, nothing.

And it is only when she becomes increasingly aware, through the small love she had in her life, of love altogether and through connection — with this unique love, however small, with other people and other things that were dear that she begins to see.

Is it not the way in which we live? We are surrounded with light and we see nothing but passing shadows or emptiness; how often a human being passes through our life without leaving any trace, passes unnoticed, in spite of the fact that there was a need, or there was a shining beauty; but it was irrelevant to us, our heart had nothing with which it could respond, and we are in a wilderness even when we are surrounded with richness.

This again comes from the way in which we look, we look without love and we see nothing because only love can reveal things to us; and again, we are capable of seeing in a dark and evil way: how often we put evil interpretations on things which we see? Instead of seeing them as facts we see them as we understand them from within our darkened soul and our distorted experience. How often we misinterpret the actions and words of people because we see with an eye which is already darkened!

So, that Christ’s words today call us to an extremely careful attitude; to the way in which we look and see; we must remember that if we see nothing, it comes very often from our blindness; if we see evil — it comes from the darkness within; if we have a revulsion against things, it is so often from the way in which we are centred on ourselves and cannot look with serenity, with a purity of heart. Because ultimately, we see not only with our physical eyes which convey to us impressions, we see also with a heart that can see God only when it is pure and not only God in His mysterious being, but God in His presence through grace and beauty, and (blessing). Saint Isaac the Syrian says that a man who has got a clear eye and a pure heart does no longer see the darkness in the world because this darkness is superseeded by the shining of the divine grace at work and resting on all things, however dark they may appear.

Let us learn this lesson at least from the Gospel. Let us be so careful to see with purity, to interpret with purity of heart and to act from within love, and then we shall be able to see with freedom the transparenc(ies) and the shining of the world and in the world, and love it, and serve it, and be in this world in the place which Christ assigned us, blessing in His own name, believing things, hoping all things and never ceasing to love even if love means laying down our life, either the life of the old Adam who must die so that the new Adam should live, or else the life of the New Adam who gives his life that the world and others may live. Amen.



Παΐσιος ο Αγιορείτης _ св. Паисий Святогорец_ St.Paisios of the Holy Mountain_82cc04095a6a9ff6St.Paisios of the Holy Mountain (July 12): If we seek first the Kingdom of God and this is our only concern, all the other things will be given to us, as well. Will God abandon His creation? The manna which God provided for the Israelites in the desert would spoil if they kept it for the next day. (Cf. Ex 16:19-20.) God arranged things this way so that the people would have confidence in His divine providence.
We have not yet understood the words of Jesus “Seek first the Kingdom of God”. (Cf. Mt 6:33).

We must struggle humbly, we must ask for God’s mercy and we must be grateful to Him for everything. He who abandons himself into the hands of God, without any plan of his own, will pass into God’s plan. As long as man is hooked onto himself, he remains behind; he does not progress spiritually because he obstructs God’s mercy. In order to grow spiritually he must place great trust in God… When man becomes aware of God’s providential care. and the eyes of his soul have been purified, he can experience and live the fullness of divine providence with his cleansed heart, which is then overwhelmed by a profound sense of gratitude and spiritual madness, in the good sense of the term… All those who struggle and are aware of their sinfulness and God’s blessings, entrusting themselves to His abundant mercy, elevate their soul to Paradise with great certainty and less bodily effort.

Gospel of St. Matthew Chapter 6, Verses 22-33

The Lord said: The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The prayer of Elder Porphyrios had overcome place and time.

Account of Abbess Macrina
on Saint Porphyrios.

Πορφύριος Καυσοκαλυβίτης_ Порфирий (Баирактарис )Кавсокаливит_ St Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) the Kapsokalyvite-1432e161ea7e5bba54e - CopyIn the vigil for the Entrance of the Theotokos in 1988, the Abbess of the Monastery of Kato Panagia in Arta, Greece, had come to the monastery of Elder Porphyrios together with her sisterhood. She recounts:
The morning, after the vigil, we went, together, to the ordination of His Eminence the Metropolitan of Arta, Ignatios, in Athens. In the afternoon, we visited Elder Porphyrios, so that he could talk to the sisters and so that we could get his blessing.
Father Porphyrios was in an exceptionally good mood and kept us for a long time. He talked to us about prayer of the nous and stressed there is no real prayer of the nous, if there is no real humility, which is acquired through obedience.

Since we had enjoyed plenty of him and the sisters of Kato Panagia monastery had been filled with joy and blessing, I started to rush to leave. It was 7 o’clock. The Elder, however, was in the mood for talking.
– “Elder, we must get going, it’s late and we are far away”, I said to him. Yet, the Elder did not share my con­cern at all and continued talking. At my insistence, he let us go at twenty to eight. We got his blessing and left most pleased.
As soon as we went downstairs, he sent a sister after me, and called me back up to him. He asked: “Did I speak well? Perhaps I was misunderstood?”.
– “No, Elder, you spoke to us very well, but we must leave as we had a vigil last night, and it is already late. When will we get back to the monastery?” (Our monastery is two and a half hours drive away from Milesi).
– “Don’t rush, you’ll get back on time”, he told me. He asked me if I knew about the Church of Piraeus Radio Station. Full of joy he “jumped” out of his bed and turned the radio on for me, so that I could hear it. The clock in the room said that it was five to eight. I worked out when we would reach the monastery and we had to get a move on.
Father told me how much good the station would do for people and he didn’t seem to be at all in a hurry. “Elder, I must leave, they’ll be worried at the monastery” (I reckoned that we would arrive at about midnight).
– “Don’t rush. You’ll get back on time”. He repeated indefinitely. When the clock struck 8 o’clock, he gave me his blessing to leave. However, the driver was extremely cautious and drove very slowly, we also made two stops in between. One for fuel, and another to find a taxi, because a lady who accompanied us had to go to Athens.
However, while all the sisters were worried, because the car was going so slowly, not one of them looked at her watch. We talked about all the wonderful things the Elder had told us, and every now and then, we told the driver to go faster. Yet, he was unruffled and explained that cars get ruined if they are driven fast etc… For this reason, each time we looked, the speed indicator was somewhere between 40 and 60 km an hour. From Megara to the monastery, it went especially slow, because it was a dirt road and he wanted to look after the car.
When we arrived at the monastery all the sisters greeted us with great joy. We told them our “news” and when we went into the refectory I said to the sisters: – “Why did you stay up so late, especially after a vigil the night before? Why didn’t you go and rest, how will you ever get up in the morning?”.
– “We should go to bed this early Mother, what are we chickens?”.
– “Why? What time is it?”, I asked in surprise.
– “A quarter to nine”.
Naturally, I thought they were joking and I didn’t believe them. When they showed me the clock, I was speechless. From Milesi to Makrino in three-quarters of an hour, and travelling so slowly!. Our wonder and enthusiasm, when we realized what a miracle had taken place, cannot be described. The prayer of Elder Porphyrios had again overcome place and time. God is wondrous in his saints!.
The next day, a doctor we know, a spiritual child of the Elder, went to visit him. Then the Elder laughing with joy said to him: “When you are obedient, miracles hap­pen, and the Abbess suddenly finds herself back at her monastery”. Of course, he didn’t know what the little father meant and only understood the Elder’s words when he came to visit us and mentioned the matter.
The next day, when I told Fr. Porphyrios what had happened; he teased me full of love.

May his prayer introduce us into Paradise in the same way.
Mother Macrina.

Reference: Marina Robb (2001), With Elder Porphyrios: A Spiritual Child Remembers, the Holy Convent of the Transfiguration of the Savior, Athens.

Kontakion St. Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.

The most-holy temple of the Comforter,
And the beloved of the All-Pure Theotokos,
Let us praise Porphyrios from our heart,
For he loves and heals all, and protects,
And intercedes, that we be granted theosis.
Therefore, we cry out:
Hail, O Father Porphyrios.

Abba Doulas of Egypt, ”the body of the innocent passion-bearer was not in the cathedral. Only his clothes and sandals remained.”

Abba Doulas the Passion-Bearer of Egypt
St. Augustine the Bishop of Hippo
St. Jerome (Hieronymus) of Stridon
Translation of the relics of St Theodore the Sykeote
Right-believing Prince Lazarus the Great Martyr of Serbia

Commemorated on June 15

Doulas lived a holy life in a monastery in Egypt. One of his brethren, out of envy, accused him of sacrilege, the stealing of ecclesiastical articles. They removed the cassock from the innocent Doulas and turned him over to the prince for trial. The prince ordered him to be scourged and wanted to cut off his hands according to the law for such a crime but, at that moment, that brother repented and declared the innocence of Doulas. After twenty years of exile and humiliation, Doulas was restored to the monastery and, on the third day, reposed in the Lord. His body vanished in a miraculous way.

The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič –

Abba Doulas, the disciple of Abba Bessarion said, ‘One day when we were walking beside the sea I was thirstty and I said to Abba Bessarion, “Father, I am very thirsty.” He said a prayer and said to me, “Drink some of the sea water.” The water proved sweet when I drank some. I even poured some into a leather bottle for fear of being thirsty later on. Seeing this, the old man asked me why I was taking some. I said to him, “Forgive me, it is for fear of being thirsty later on.” Then the old man said, “God is here, God is everywhere.” ‘‘[Apophthegmata Patrum]


ασκητες_Zy0w6QIw2yISaint Doulas the Passion-Bearer was a monk at one of the Egyptian monasteries. He distinguished himself by his meekness, humility and obedience. For twenty years he endured the mockery, abuse and contempt of several of the monastic brethren. At first it was difficult for him to bear up and humbly endure the insult, but eventually he reached such a degree of passionlessness (apatheia), that he pitied his detractors and prayed for them with all his heart.

At the end of his life Saint Doulas underwent temptation. A certain monk stole some church vessels and hid them. When the Igumen and elders of the monastery started to investigate the theft, they accused Saint Doulas of this sin, because on that day he had not appeared at the Vigil service. Saint Doulas had always come to church before this, but he had been ill that day, and was unable to attend the service. They led Saint Doulas to the elders, to whom he protested his innocence, but his enemies slandered him, saying that they were witnesses of his sin. When he saw that they did not believe his words, Saint Doulas did not argue but said, “Forgive me, holy Fathers, I am a sinner.” The Igumen ordered that the innocent Doulas be stripped of his monastic garb and dressed in secular clothes. Sobbing bitterly, Saint Doulas prayed, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, because of Thy Holy Name I clothed myself in monastic garb, but now, through my sins, it is stripped from me.”

Saint Doulas was placed in chains, and the steward demanded to know where the church vessels were hidden, but the innocent passion-bearer only repeated, “Forgive me, I have sinned.”

Then they turned him over to the civil authorities for trial and subjected him to torture, but the saint repeated, “I have neither silver, nor the lost vessels.” The city eparch asked the monks what to do with him, since they had delivered him over to the secular court. They answered, “Do with him as the laws prescribe.” The saint was sentenced to have both his hands cut off. Before the execution of the sentence the governor said, “Tell us where the vessels are and you shall go free.” The saint answered, “Governor, do you want me to confess something that I did not do? I do not want to tell lies about myself, since every lie is from the devil.” They took the saint to the place of execution. Finally, the perpetrator of the theft experienced remorse and went to the Igumen to confess that he had committed the crime.

After twenty years of exile and humiliation, Saint Doulas was allowed to return to the monastery. The monks began to ask forgiveness of the saint. Not only did he not bear them malice, but he was even grateful that they had given him the opportunity to wipe out his sins by enduring guiltless suffering. The saint asked the Lord to pardon his accusers.

After three days they found the saint had departed to the Lord while kneeling at prayer. His body was locked in the cathedral, and burial was delayed until the arrival of the Igumen and brethren of a nearby monastery. When everyone had gathered and gone into the church, the body of the innocent passion-bearer was not in the cathedral. Only his clothes and sandals remained.

Thus, those who had accused Saint Doulas of sin, were shown to be unworthy of burying his holy body.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

Apolytikion in the First Tone

Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Abba Doula, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.

Synaxis of All Saints of Diveevo. “Here for you is Jerusalem, and Athos, and Kiev!’ Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Synaxis of All Saints of Diveevo

Commemorated on14 Jun /Jun 27

Saint Seraphim of Sarov, Commemorated on January 2 and on July 19/August 1
Saint Alexandra of Diveevo, (Melgunova) ( 1789 ) Commemorated on Jun 13
St Martha of Diveevo, (Melyukova) (+ 1829 ) Commemorated on August 21
St Helena of Diveevo, (Manturova) (+ 1832) Commemorated on May 28
Blessed Pelagia Ivanovna (Serebrennikova) (1884), the Fool for Christ of Diveyevo Commemorated on January 30/ February 12
Blessed Parasceva Ivanovna Semyonovna the Fool for Christ of Diveyevo, called her Pasha of Sarov or “a second Seraphim,” (+1915) Commemorated on September 22
Blessed Natalia Dmitrievna-“Natashenka” of Diveevo (+1900) Commemorated on February 22/March 7
Sts Martyrs Eudocia (Shikova), Daria (Timolina), Daria (Siushinskaya) and Maria of Puzo (+1919) Commemorated on August 5/18
Blessed Maria Ivanovna (Fedina) the Fool for Christ of Diveyevo (+1927). Commemorated on August 26/ September 8
New Martyrs Michael and Jacob Gusev, (+1937) Commemorated on December 16/29
Hieromartyr Seraphim (Chichagov) of Leningrad (+1937) Commemorated on November 28
Hieromartyr Serafim (Zvezdinsky) of Dmitrov (+1937) – Commemorated on August 13/26
St Nun Martyr Martha (Testova) of Diveevo (+1941) Commemorated on April 13/26
St Nun Martyr Pelagia (Testova) of Diveevo (+1944) Commemorated on October 21/November 3
St Confessor Matrona (Vlasova) of Diveevo, (+1963 ) Commemorated on October 25/November 7
St Nun Martyr Xenia (Cherlina-Brailovskaya) (+1937) Commemorated on September 2/15

“Here for you is Jerusalem, and Athos, and Kiev!’ St Seraphim say.

We shall always remember that without according to the expression of St. Seraphim (Rose), “inner unworldliness”, there is no True Orthodoxy. These holy mothers, who have shone out in the holiness of their lives, miracles and clairvoyance, have given us an example of a truly Christian, truly Orthodox life.


Σύναξη των Αγίων του Ντιβέγιεβο ¬_Собор Дивеевских святых_Собор всех святых Дивеевской земли (2)The history of the Holy Trinity St. Seraphim-Diveyevo Convent began in 1760 when the Mother of God appeared to nun Alexandra in a dream at the village of Diveyevo and promised to base a great and unrivalled convent there. The Most Holy Mother of God has chosen Diveyevo to be Her favorite place, “the fouth and last dower on the Earth.” She also promised to gather there the mercy and the grace of the Lord from all her previous dowers:

1) Iberia (Georgia)

2) Mount Athos (Greece),

3) Holy Trinity Lavra of the Caves (Ukraine, Kiev).

On that very spot where the Holy Virgin appeared, nun Alexandra built the church dedicated to the Icon of Kazan of the Mother of God (1773-1780). Later the two Nativity Churches were adjoined. They were the Church of the Nativity of Christ (1829) and the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God (1830), a burial vault, as Father Seraphim foretold.

The Canal of the Mother of God , or “kanafka’’ at Diveyevo 

As St. Seraphim was working in the convent one day, he saw the Mother of God walking around the boundaries of the monastery. He understood that this had been given not only as a sign of her protection, but that the very path she walked would be a blessing for those who followed in her steps. He and his nuns spent many months digging a deep canal along the Holy Virgin’s path, and St. Seraphim gave his sisters a prayer rule of 150 “O Theotokos and Virgin Rejoice… ” to say as they walked around the edge of the canal. The elder also encouraged pilgrims to walk the canal, and that if they did so, the Mother of God would unfailingly answer their prayers.
Dr. Timofievich describes his canal walk in 1926: It had already grown dark when we, having left the church, made our way to the canal, which was sanctified, according to the words of St. Seraphim, by the steps of the Mother of God Herself, and to which he attributed such special significance. Slowly the silent figures of the nuns were moving along the canal with prayer ropes in their hands, quietly
Blessed art thou amongst women,and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Saviour of our souls.whispering prayers. The canal was actually a rather large embankment with a ditch on the outside, and on top of it ran a well-trodden pathway planted with large trees. The sides of the canal were overgrown with grass and field-flowers, which the believers pick and preserve as holy objects. We also walked along the canal with a prayer. Inexpressible was the feeling of contrition of heart when we also touched this mystery so full of grace and were, so to speak, engulfed in the stream of human souls which for over 100 years ceaselessly continued, according to the commandment of St. Seraphim, to follow in the steps of the Queen of Heaven … Several times we walked around the canal with prayer and did not want to leave, so light and joyful were we in soul. With the last breath of St. Seraphim this canal was finished, and it is destined in the future to be a defense against antichrist himself. The whole meaning, the whole completion of this sacred mystery, of course, was open to St. Seraphim alone, but to us sinners it is given only to touch it, like the hem of a garment, and to wholly believe the words of the Saint that not a single stone in Diveyevo was laid without the instruction of the Queen of Heaven.
Nevertheless, Dr. Timofievich’s experience of the canal walk is as true for pilgrims today as it was for him in 1926, and the nuns themselves recount the tradition that each day, unseen, the Mother of God visits her canal. Like many of the pilgrims, I walked around the canal path several times the first day I arrived. Every night after dinner, the Diveyevo nuns walk the canal in procession, carrying a cross and icons of the Mother of God and St. Seraphim, often with several hundred pilgrims in their wake.

Diveyevo: a pilgrim’s chronicle. 1993-2003 by Mother Nectaria McLees
taken from http://www.roadtoemmaus.net/Diveyevo.pdf ;


In 1789 Abbot Pachomius, the treasurer Isaiah, and Hierodeacon Seraphim visited Blessed Agafia Semyonovna Melgunova, in monasticism Mother Alexandra. Having received a warning from God that her life was near its end, she asked of Fr. Pachomius that he not abandon the sisters. Fr. Pachomius answered that he himself was not long for this earth, “But here is Hierodeacon Seraphim—his spirituality is already well-known, and he is young. Give the job to him.”

Mother Alexandra said that she could only ask, but it is the Heavenly Queen Herself who would give him this duty.

In this way was St. Seraphim given the Diveyevo Convent, which he later directed to the last detail of its life, although the Convent was located seven miles from Sarov, and he never even once went there personally.*

Seven years had passed from the time Fr. Seraphim was tonsured into monasticism and four years since his ordination as a deacon. Fr. Pachomius grew nearer to death, and wished to see Fr. Seraphim in full priestly glory. On September 2, 1793, he was ordained by Bishop Theophilus of Tambov. The years that had led St. Seraphim to the staff of God ignited in him a fiery thirst to leave for the desert. His mentors were leaving one after the other for a better world. Fr. Joseph, his first elder, left long ago. Fr. Pachomius, who loved him fervently, was preparing to depart. Fr. Seraphim looked after him, and gave him his word to care for the Diveyevo sisters. Fr. Pachomius was overjoyed and kissed him. After that, he peacefully departed to God. Having cried over his friend and benefactor, Fr. Seraphim requested permission from the new abbot, Fr. Isaiah, to depart for the hermitage, and he received written permission. This was again on the feast of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most Pure Mother of God, November 20. On this day, sixteen years before, the young Prokhor had stepped through the monastery gates. Now, with a flaming soul Fr. Seraphim stepped through them in the other direction—not into the world, but deep into the desert. The Mother of God knew him, and sent him into the Holy of Holies, closer to Herself and to God.

From St. Seraphim Wonderworker of Sarov and His Spiritual Heritage by Helen Kontsevich (St. Xenia Skete)


Troparion of St. Seraphim of Sarov, Tone 4

Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one, and longing to work for Him alone thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labor.  With penitent heart and great love for Christ thou wast favored by the Mother of God.  Wherefore we cry to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim our righteous Father.

The prayer rule of St. Seraphim of Sarov

Святая Канавка в Дивеево