Iconography and Hand painted icons

The Holy Spirit comes when we are receptive. God respects and does not constrain man. He loves us with a tender love, not haughtily, not with condescension. Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) of Essex

Αγία Τριάδα_ Holy Trinity_День Святой Троицы_ Святая Троица _tr712Create a clean heart in me, O God; and renew a right Spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence; and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.

Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) of Essex

All of us today are in vital need of a firm faith in Christ’s eternal victory, that we, too, may become spiritually invincible. A very great deal depends on ourselves – to remember, for instance, that at the baptismal font we received new birth from on High, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Those who are baptised ‘with the Holy Ghost and with fire’ (Luke 3.16) perceive in their prayer that every given moment of our life is enveloped in Divine eternity. At all times and in all places we are held in the invisible Hand of our HeavenlyFather.

The Holy Spirit comes when we are receptive. He does not compel. He approaches so meekly that we may not even notice. If we would know the Holy Spirit we need to examine ourselves in the light of the Gospel teaching, to detect any other presence which may prevent the Holy Spirit from entering into our souls. We must now wait for God to force Himself on us without our consent. God respects and does not constrain man. It is amazing how God humbles Himself before us. He loves us with a tender love, not haughtily, not with condescension. And when we open our hearts to Him we are overwhelmed by the conviction that He is indeed our Father. The soul then worships in love.

If we pray from our heart, with all our attention, the day will be stamped by our prayer and everything that happens will take on a different character. The blessing that we have sought from the High God will beget a gentle peace in our soul which will have a miraculous effect on the way we see and interpret the world. The man of prayer beholds the surrounding scene in another light. Concern is quickened and the intrinsic quality of life enhanced. In time prayer will penetrate our nature until gradually a new man is born of God… . Indeed, we may positively be disliked for independence of spirit. It is essential in these days to be able to protect ourselves from the influence of those with whom we come in contact. Otherwise we risk losing both faith and prayer.

Real prayer, of course, does not come readily. It is no simple matter to preserve inspiration while surrounded by the icy waters of the world that does not pray. Christ cast the Divine Fire on earthand we pray Him Άγιον Πνεύμα_Holy Spirit_Святой Дух_ΑΓ.ΠΝΕΥΜΑ-ΒΥΖ.ΜΟΥΣΕΙΟ 2so to fire our hearts that we may not be overcome even by cosmic cold, that no black cloud blot out the bright flame.

O Holy Spirit, All-powerful God;
Gracious Comforter and Almighty Defender;
Giver of Wisdom, and Light of Revelation;
Who by Thy descent didst bring
the uttermost parts of the world
to the only true knowledge of God:
Do Thou come down even upon us,
who grieve Thee always,
to enlighten and sanctify us,
to heal and comfort us
with Thine abiding comfort.

Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov (2001) (2nd ed.) His Life is Mine. Chapter 
6: Prayer of the Spirit. New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press

Appearance of the Holy Trinity to St. Alexander Svirsky

Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who Art everywhere present and fillest all things, O Treasury of blessings and Bestower of life, come and dwell within us, and cleanse us from all stain, and save our souls, O Good One.

Apolytikion Saint Alexander of Svir in the Fourth Tone

Thou didst settle in the wilderness from thy youth eager to follow Christ’s footsteps, O Alexander. The Angels were amazed when they beheld thee struggling in the flesh and conquering onslaughts of passions. Dwelling on earth thou wast equal to the Angels. Pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

O Holy and God-bearing Father Sophrony, pray to Christ our God that we too may receive the Heavenly Light of Christ’s Eternal Kingdom



“The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us” (Romans 5:5). St. Nicholai Velimirovich

Αγία Τριάδα_ Holy Trinity_День Святой Троицы_ Святая Троица _tr712“The Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself interceded for us with sighs too deep for words.” (Rom. 8:26)

About how the love of God is shed abroad in the hearts of men

“The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us” (Romans 5:5).

Love is joy and love anoints the heart of man with joy. Brethren, love is power and love anoints the heart of man with power. Love is peace and love anoints the heart of man with peace. And from joy, power and peace, courage is born and love anoints the heart of man with courage.

The love of God, as a fragrant oil, is shed abroad in our hearts by no other than the Holy Spirit, the All-gentle and All-powerful Spirit. Completely undeserved by us, the Spirit of God is shed abroad in us: the love of God in our hearts in the Mystery [Sacrament] of Chrismation. However, in time we neglect this love and by sin we alienate ourselves from God and fall into the disease of spiritual paralysis. And the Holy Spirit unwilling to abide in an impure vessel, distances Itself from our heart. When the Holy Spirit distances Itself from us, then joy, power, peace and courage also departs from us immediately. We become sorrowful, weakened, disturbed and fearful. But the All-good Spirit of God only distances Itself from us but does not abandon us completely. He does not abandon us but He offers to us who are sick, remedies through the Mystery of Repentance and the Mystery of Holy Communion. When we again cleanse ourselves through the Mysteries [Sacraments] of Repentance and Communion then He, the Holy Spirit of God, again abides in us and the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. We fall, we rise, we fall and we rise! When we fall, the Spirit of God stands by us and raises us if we desire to be raised. However, when we are raised, the Spirit of God stands within us all until we, by sin and foolishness, do not desire to fall. Thus, we in this life interchangeably become a fertile field and a wilderness, sons of repentance and prodigal sons, fullness and emptiness, light and darkness.

O All-good Holy Spirit of God, do not depart from us either when we want You and when we do not want You. Be with us all the time until our death and save us for life eternal.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

O JOYFUL Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy blessed Father, O Jesus Christ.
Having come to the setting of the sun, having beheld the evening light, we hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God.
Meet it is at all times to hymn Thee with reverend voices, O Son of God, Giver of Life.
Wherefore the whole world doth glorify Thee.

Every holy mystery and holy virtue is a little Pentecost. Saint Justin Popovich

Αγία Τριάδα_ Holy Trinity_День Святой Троицы_ Святая Троица _tr712THE fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.

Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh

The Spirit of truth, but also Him whom the Scripture calls the Paraclete. It means “the Comforter”, Him who gives consolation. It means Comforter in the sense that He gives us strength, it means also “Him, who brings joy”. 

He is the One Who is the Comforter indeed, the One Who consoles us for our separation from Christ, Who consoles us who are like orphans, who long to be with Christ our God, our Saviour, and who know that as long as we are in the flesh – and these are the words of St. Paul – we are separated from Him.

Strength? St. Paul hoped for strength, he prayed for it and the Lord answered him, “My grace suffices unto thee, My strength is made manifest in weakness.” And Paul rejoices in his weakness, so, he says, that all should be the power of God. Not the weakness of our slackness, of our laziness, of our timidity, of our cowardice, of our forgetfulness, no, not that weakness but the frailty recognised, which is given to God, the surrender of ourselves.

The martyrs were frail, as frail as we were, but they abandoned themselves to God and they lived and died in the power of the Spirit. We need that strength.
And then the Paraclete is the one that gives joy, the joy of entering already now into eternity, the joy of being joined to Christ in the communion of the one body, the joy of giving our lives for Him and if necessary – our death, a joy which the world cannot give but which the world cannot take away.

Let us therefore in all our life, whether we pray, listen to the unutterable groanings of the Spirit within us, teaching us ultimately to call the God of Heaven our Father if we are in Jesus Christ, in the words of Irenaeus of Lyon, sons of God in the Only-Begotten Son of God.Άγιον Πνεύμα_Holy Spirit_Святой Дух_95439_original55Saint Justin Popovich

Everything in the Church comes about through the Holy Spirit, from the least to the greatest.
In fact, every holy mystery and holy virtue is a little Pentecost; in them, the Holy Spirit descends upon us, into us. 
The Lord dwells in us by the Holy Spirit, and we in Him. This is testified to us by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. We live by the Holy Spirit in Christ, and He in us. We know this “by the Spirit which He hath given us” (I Jn. 3:24).


O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save, our souls, O Good One. (Pentecost Vespers, the third sticheron of the Aposticha, and numerous other places)

Apolytikion. Tone 8. (Plagal Tone Four)

Blessed are you, Christ our God, who revealed the fishermen to be most wise by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, and so through them catching the whole world in a net: Lover of mankind, glory to you!

Come closer to me, closer still, O majestic Spirit of Truth. And my heart will be filled with an ineffable heavenly peace… Poem XLVII, St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Άγιον Πνεύμα_Holy Spirit_Святой Дух_978966_7695943698473106014_nPrayers by the Lake
St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid
Poem XLVII (47)

Come closer to me, closer still, O majestic Spirit of Truth. Draw near, and enter into me, more deeply than light and air enter me. Indeed, I can spend an entire night without light, but without You I cannot even lie down on my bed. I can take ten steps without air, but without You I cannot even take one.

Take up your abode in my soul more deeply than my thought can follow. The entire universe is insufficient to encourage my soul to persevere in virginity, if You do not encourage her.

The world incessantly asks for the hand of my soul, in order to be wedded to her. The world offers my soul all its treasures, if only she will abandon her waiting for You. The world whitewashes all its sepulchres,1 just to entice my soul. The world sets all its ashes out in the sun and pours flattery and pomposity all over it, just to seduce my soul.

Manifest all Your splendor, O Holy Spirit, so that my soul may recognize whose bride she is.

Come closer to me, closer still, O Power of the Holy Trinity. Enter into my consciousness more deeply than thoughts and emblems of the world can. In the same way as a wise mother, when she conceives, prepares and embellishes a cradle for her child, so prepare and embellish my mind for that which will be begotten from You, O Beauty and Purity.

Many evil thoughts lurk like serpents around the cradle of Your Son. And many wicked desires emerge from my heart and seek the cradle of Your Prince, to poison Him with their arrows.

Defend the cradle of my mind, and teach my soul how to give birth and care for an infant.

Shroud in deep darkness the journey of all malevolent visitors coming to see my newborn son. And raise aloft a most radiant star over the way of the Wise Men from the East2 men who are truly wise, because they are coming to visit my most precious child with three gifts — faith, hope, and love.3

Come closer to me, closer still, O majestic Son of God. Descend deeper into my heart than any emotion, or desire, or passion of the world can descend into it. Protect my heart from the countless merchants, from the numerous buyers and sellers, who are forever swarming in legions around my young and inexperienced heart. And teach my heart not to be crazy about the motley illusions of people and things.

Take up Your abode in the bottom of my heart, as the master of a house does in his own home, my beloved Son, and be for me a merciless judge and a sagacious counselor.

Once purity of soul and sagacity of mind occupy my heart, truly in vain will evil spirits dance attendance in order to step into it.

And my heart will be filled with an ineffable heavenly peace, and will glorify God in chorus with the cherubim and the seraphim. And enriched, it will return to the soul and the mind what it borrowed, for as their equal it will recompense them in equal measure.

And my heart will be filled with sweet love for its Lord, and with compassion for and good will toward suffering souls in the world and in Hades.

Come closer to me, still closer, my majestic Lord.

1. Cf. Matt. 23:27.
2. Cf. Matt. 2:1-12.
3. Cf. 1 Cor. 13:13.

Prayers by the Lake, XLVII, by St. Nikolai Velimirovic, Bishop of Ochrid and Zhicha
Written at Lake Ohrid 1921-1922.Άγιον Πνεύμα_Holy Spirit_Святой Дух_95439_original55.. Like the Old Testament Psalmist, our holy Vladika poured out his soul in his works and in prayer. This is especially evident in his “Prayers by the Lake,” “The Spiritual Lyre,” and “Prayerful Songs.” From his poetic inspiration and fervor arose prayers on the level of the Psalms, like the most beautiful flowers of paradise. Vladika Nikolai’s spirit of prayer was so powerful that it often threw him to his knees. He was often seen weeping. He was inflamed by divine eros.* His thirst for God was unquenchable; it could be satisfied only with complete union with God.Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Θεολόγος, Κανέο Οχρίδα--Church of St. John at Kaneo Lake Ohrid- Церковь Святого Иоанна Канео (Охрид)-4_4A view of Lake Ochrid (Ohrid), where St. Nikolai composed these prayers.
The 13th century monastery is dedicated to St. John the Theologian at Kaneo, Ohrid.

Pentecost Byzantine Chant – Ormylia Monastery

The Holy Spirit gives faith and light, brings true love which warms his heart, wisdom, true joy, peace and humility. Saint Innocent Enlightener of Alaska, Metropolitan of Moscow

Αγία Τριάδα_ Holy Trinity_День Святой Троицы_413672479.1000.1200_1024x1024” The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control ” (Gal. 5: 22-23).

The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God.St. Seraphim of Sarov

‘‘O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Come and dwell in us…”

Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

When purity comes to man and simplicity with its fervent faith and devotion arrives as well, then the Holy Trinity takes up His abode within us. With this divine enlightenment one easily finds the keys to divine meanings, so as to interpret the Spirit of God in a very simple and natural way, without causing an intellectual headache.

Of greater value is one word of a humble man who has spiritual experience, coming with pain from the bottom of his heart, than a whole array of learned words from a superficial man, coming with great speed from his learned tongue. His tongue does not enlighten souls for it is fleshly and not that fiery tongue of Holy Pentecost…

People who struggle hard, with much devotion, and have reached the angelic state to a certain extent and are nurtured with celestial honey, nevertheless offer nothing significant to God compared with what He has offered us. For they eat honey while offering Him wax. They eat sweet fruits and offer God tree resin with the censer. Therefore, we do nothing and offer nothing to God, compared with His great loving-kindness. For, while the Good God produces beautiful fruit with our rubbish or even with manure, in order to feed us, we wretched people turn beautiful fruit into manure.

The graced man of God imparts Divine Grace, transforming carnal people and liberating them from the slavery of passions; and, in this way, he draws them near to God and they are saved.

The elder said: When I put myself in order, I put in order a bit of the Church, whenever we can be of one mind. The Holy Spirit is One. Now people make many spirits. I can not understand.

Those who struggle patristically become empirical theologians through the visitation of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. All those who have an external education, in addition to the internal enlightenment of the soul, may describe the divine mysteries and interpret them correctly, as did many Holy Fathers.

Whoever thinks that he can come to know the mysteries of God through external scientific theory, resembles the fool who wants to see Paradise with a telescope.

The breath of the Holy Spirit
Saint Innocent Enlightener of Alaska,Metropolitan of Moscow

1. When descending upon a Christian, the Holy Spirit gives him faith and light. No one can have a true living faith without the Holy Spirit. Even a person most learned in Scriptures is totally blind without His enlightenment. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit can make even the lowest simpleton wise and disclose God’s mysteries to them.

 2. Descending upon a Christian, the Holy Spirit brings true love which warms his heart. This love inspires a person to do good deeds, so that for him there is nothing impossible or terrifying anymore. God’s commandments, which appeared to be difficult before, now become easy. Faith and love, gifts from the Holy Spirit, are such powerful means that the person possessing them can easily and joyfully follow the path of Jesus Christ.

 3. The Holy Spirit corrects a worldly outlook and attitude, so that a Christian is no longer overwhelmed by the temptations of this passing world. Gratefully using what God has bestowed, a true Christian does not become attached to anything temporary but considers himself a stranger in this world and wishes most of all to be in contact with God. On the other hand, a person without the grace of the Holy Spirit, despite all his learning and capabilities, always remains a worshiper of the world and a slave of the flesh.

4. The Holy Spirit gives a Christian wisdom. This is illustrated very obviously in the case of the Holy Apostles. Because of their low social position, they were the most simple and unlearned of men. However, after the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them on the day of Pentecost, they received such wisdom and power of speech that even philosophers and orators could not stand up to them. The Holy Spirit always teaches Christians what they must do, and when and how they should act. Thus guided by the Holy Spirit, they will always find the time and the means for the salvation of their soul. Amid all the turmoils of the world and in spite of being busy, they will be able to collect their inner self to be with and pray to God. A non-spiritual person, on the other hand, cannot focus or pray sincerely, even in church.

 5. The Holy Spirit gives Christians true joy and undisturbable peace. They feel this peace and joy even during external difficulties and in times of trial. People, on the other hand, who do not have the Holy Spirit, can never truly rejoice or attain inner peace. When they enjoy themselves, they find their joy is transient, frivolous and pitiful, and on occasion even sinful. After their revelry, a boredom greater than ever before fills their heart. Similarly, when a non-spiritual person feels tranquillity, this is not a true spiritual peace but a sort of dozing or apathy. Woe to the people who do not awaken in time and do not start being concerned with the salvation of their soul! They will remain spiritually dead even while alive physically.

ΑΓ.ΠΝΕΥΜΑ-ΒΥΖ.ΜΟΥΣΕΙΟ 26. The Holy Spirit gives true humility. Even the most intelligent people, if they do not possess the Holy Spirit, cannot know themselves well enough, because their internal illness and spiritual poverty are hidden from them. When they do something good or act honestly, they become haughty, look down on others, and even judge those who in their opinion are inferior to them. Through their own blindness, many self-satisfied falsely righteous ones did not ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and strengthening, and consequently, perished. The Holy Spirit always comes to those who ask for enlightenment and help. As a bright ray of sun penetrates the darkness, enhancing the smallest details found within, so does the Holy Spirit, having descended upon people, disclose to them all the weakness and wretchedness of their soul. Enlightened by the Heavenly light, Christians can no longer boast about their good works, because they realize their soul needs healing and complete renewal. This realization makes them more humble, and they begin to repent and decide to live more carefully. They stop relying on themselves and ask God for guidance and help.

The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. St. Seraphim of Sarov

The Holy Spirit As Comforter. St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Appearance of the Holy Trinity to St. Alexander Svirsky


Heavenly King, Paraclete, Spirit of Truth, present everywhere, filling all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life; come and dwell in us, cleanse us from every stain, and, O Good One save our souls.

Apolytikion of Holy Pentecost. Tone 8.

Blessed are you, Christ our God, who revealed the fishermen to be most wise by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, and so through them catching the whole world in a net: Lover of mankind, glory to you!

O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of truth, come also to us and abide in us, and remain in us as strength, light, and warmth, as our life and joy! Cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One! Fill our hearts with joy and our lips with hymns, that we may glorify and magnify Thee with the Father and the Son—the Trinity One in Essence and Undivided, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
St. Nicholai Velimirovich

Prayer of the Spirit by fr.Sophrony Sakharov

O Holy Spirit, All-powerful God;
Gracious Comforter and Almighty Defender;
Giver of Wisdom, and Light of Revelation;
Who by Thy descent didst bring
the uttermost parts of the world
to the only true knowledge of God:
Do Thou come down even upon us,
who grieve Thee always,
to enlighten and sanctify us,
to heal and comfort us
with Thine abiding comfort.

My hope is the Father, my refuge the Son, my shelter the Holy Spirit. O Holy Trinity, glory be to Thee.

We have to die in order to live, Elder Vasilios Gontikakis, former Abbot of the Monastery of Iviron

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Господне Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icon_xristoss3The Saturday before the Sunday of Pentecost

 We celebrate the memorial of all Orthodox Christians who have fallen asleep from the beginning, our brethren in Christ.


Our bright joyous Faith teaches us that the time will come when we shall see our dear departed ones and shall live with them inseparably forever. God is boundless Love.

Father John of Kronstadt once said, “we must pray for the dead in such a way as if we would be ourselves in hell, suffering. We must feel their torments and pray earnestly for their rest in the place of light where are neither sadness not tears.”
Our holy doctrine says, ‘Pray one for another.” The prayer of the Church is so powerful that in rising to heaven it ascends to the very throne of Almighty God. The same prayer also descends to hell and liberates those who are imprisoned there.

With what tender, holy parental love the dead parents love their children remaining on earth – their orphans! With what angelic love the dead children love their parents who remain on earth! With what strong love the married people who passed away love their remaining partners! With what pure and tender love our brothers, sisters, friends and all true Christians love those who remain here, their relatives and friends united with them in Holy Faith!

What multitude of souls awaits us over there. “There,” Bishop Theophan the Recluse says, “the soul of a man is met by all for whom it prayed, to whom it prayed, during its days on earth.” What a consolation! How merciful is the Lord to our soul. At once He sends to meet us, when we enter the unknown land, all those for whom we prayed and to whom we prayed. This strong faith, this premonition of life to come, serene and radiant death, complete acceptance of their lot in life – all these graces the saints receive because of their faith in Christ.

Until the Last Judgement of Christ there is time to help each other and the state of our dead. The Bloodless Sacrifice offered for the dead washes their sins and they receive an opportunity to come to a better state. After the Bloodless Sacrifice, the most powerful means to obtain the forgiveness of sins of the dead is works of charity. St. John Chrysostom says, “honor dead with alms and good deeds because it will help them to escape everlasting torments.” Amen! November 10/23. 1947.” “Interior Silence”, Hieroschemamonk Michael of Valaam, 1877 – 1962 ψυχες προστατευμενες-164519.b“We have to die in order to live”
Elder Vasilios Gontikakis, former Abbot of the Monastery of Iviron

Fr. Vasileios:
We have to learn to love failure in order to overcome all the difficulties…

It is what Lord says in His Gospel: “If the seed of grain does not die, it remains itself alone… but if it dies, it bears much fruit…” [John 12:24]
There is only one chance that we, as humans, have: we can die! We can go through the life-giving death! And thus not to experience the death-bringing death!

When we put the wheat seed into the ground, it dies and then sprouts! This is the life-giving death.
If we boil it, however, it dies and never resurrects!
Therefore we have to die in order to live… the hour of our death has to come…

Some people tried to take Christ by force and make Him a king, but He run away… they wanted to stone Him, but He ran away, but when the hour came, He went to death alone.
He says in the well-known prayer: “If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me… nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will…” [Matthew 26:39]
After Christ said this prayer three times, the hour came and he went to death.
When those who came to take Him heard that He was the one they were seeking, they fell down to the ground, which was a blessing to them. [John 18:6]
Lord said, “I am He” and they drew back and fell to the ground. “I, the One who said: Thy will be done”. He became free, entered the area of freedom…

We fight in our lives, we do everything we can, but the hour comes when we have to leave them all in the hand of God… We understand that this abandonment in His hand is a life-giving death!
What I can do only with my power is something temporary.
What rises within me through my abandonment and acceptance of death will never pass.
Ultimately, the searching is not how to succeed, humanly speaking, because even if you give me the whole world, it still does not fulfill me. But what will raise from my dead (voluntarily) self is without end!
(Bucharest, December 10th, 2018, Romania)

The Dismissal Troparia of the day, Tone VIII:

O Thou Who by the depth of Thy wisdom * dost provide all things out of love for mankind, * and grantest unto all that which is profitable, O only Creator: * Grant rest, O Lord, to the souls of Thy servants; * for in Thee have they placed their hope, O our Creator and Fashioner and God.

Kontakion, Tone VIII;

 With the Saints grant rest, * O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants, * in a place where there is neither * pain, nor sorrow, nor sighing, * but life everlasting.


In thee we have a wall and a haven * and an intercessor acceptable to God, * Whom thou didst bear, O Theotokos unwedded, salvation of the faithful.

Great is the one who is humble. Elder Vasileios of the Iveron Monastery on Mount Athos

We have to die in order to live” (Fr. Vasileios of Iveron)


“Stop working on Sundays and things will change,” Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

προσευχομενος_praying _Молитва _122940714_9241_Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Our Lord Jesus Christ, with His great love and joy which fill the souls of the faithful during His holy feast days, exalts us spiritually and truly resurrects us. All we need to do is participate in these feasts and celebrate them with a spiritual appetite; for once we taste the heavenly wine to which the Saints will treat us, we will become drunk in spirit.

To live through Christ’s feasts in a spiritual way, we must keep our minds focused on the holy days themselves and not on the work that we have to do to prepare for them. We should think about the events of each holy day (Christmas, Theophany, Pascha and so on) and say the Jesus Prayer glorifying God in our heart. This way we will celebrate with reverence every feast day of the Church.

You see, Christ said, Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh. He did not say, “Get ready right now!” From the moment Christ said, “Be ready!” we must all, but especially monks and nuns, be constantly vigilant and ready.
We must study and live through these divine events all the time. When someone studies the events of each feast day, he will be naturally moved to pray with particular reverence. Then, during liturgical services, our mind will be absorbed by the events we are celebrating and we will follow with great reverence the chanting of hymns. When our mind thinks divine thoughts, we get to live through these holy events, and in this manner we are transformed. We think of a Saint for whom we have a special devotion, or of the Saint whose feast day we are celebrating, and our mind rises higher toward Heaven. And when we keep the Saints in mind, they keep us in mind too, and they come to our assistance. This is how we can start a friendship with them one that will last forever. And so, even though we may live alone, we will actually share our lives with everybody: with the Saints, the Angels, the whole world. Imagine, being alone, and feeling their company! This is the living presence of the Saints who are God’s children and will reach out to help us, their poor brothers and sisters.

If we want to really feel the significance of a feast day, we must abstain from all work.

Silence will be of great help to the soul during feast days. It’s very much like the time that follows the reception of the Great Schema, when a monk or nun will spend a whole week in silence to allow divine Grace to fill the soul and to appreciate what has actually taken place. In silence, we get the opportunity to rest a little, to study and pray. When a good thought crosses our mind, when we examine ourselves, or say the Jesus Prayer, we will really come to feel something of the divine event celebrated on that day.ΘΕΙΑ ΛΕΙΤΟΥΡΓΙΑ_θ.λειτουργια_προσευχη_praying_Молитва_113695649_4527_6ZAYTSEVEN-7It is unfortunate that in our days we don’t use freedom to do good and become holy; instead, we use freedom to become more secular. In the past, people would work all week and rest on Sunday, a holy day. Now, they rest on Saturday as well. But are their lives more spiritual? Or are they more sinful? If people spent their time on spiritual work (prayer, spiritual study and so forth), things could have been different; people would live more conservative and decent lives. But we poor human beings try to rob time from the spiritual things, from Christ. People who live in the world will arrange to do all their heavy chores on Sundays. They are trying to find one Sunday for this chore, a holy day for another, and that’s how they bring God’s wrath on themselves. Why would the Saints then come to their assistance? Turn Sunday into a chore day? Never! Even if others offer to help us on that day, we should never accept it. Not on a Sunday. 


Normally, we must cease all work before the Vespers of Sunday or of a feast day. If arrangements can be made, it is better to work more on the previous day, and avoid any work after the Vespers of a festal celebration. It is a different matter, if, in the event of an emergency, some light tasks need to be taken care of in the afternoon of a Sunday or a feast day. But even in such cases, the work should be done with discretion. In the old days, when farmers out in the fields heard the church bell announcing Vespers, they would do the sign of the cross and cease all work. The women of the neighbourhood would do the same. They would stand up, cross themselves and stop knitting or anything else they were doing. And God would bless them. They had their health and enjoyed life... Now they have abolished the feast days, distanced themselves from God and the Church, and not surprisingly, end up spending all the money they earn on doctors and hospitals… Once, a man came to my Kalyvi and said, “My boy gets sick very often and doctors cannot figure out what’s wrong with him.” “Stop working on Sundays and things will change,” I told him. He followed my advice, and his little boy recovered.

I always tell people that if they want to avoid calamities in their life, they should stop working on Sundays and feast days. Work schedules could be arranged to keep these days free. Where there is spiritual sensitivity, everything is possible; solutions will be found. That’s really the issue here. Even if a particular solution is to our disadvantage, and we suffer a loss, in the end we’ll be twice blessed. But so many people fail to understand this. They do not even attend the Divine Liturgy. The Divine Liturgy sanctifies. If a Christian will not go to Church on Sunday, how will he be sanctified?

It’s unfortunate, but, the way things are going, people will do away with feast days, and with everything else. You see, they are even changing their names, and are forgetting their Saints whose name they bear. If they are named Vasilike, they change it to Vicky; Zoe (Life) to Zozo-which sounds like saying zo (animal) twice! They have come up with new feasts, Mother’s Day, May Day, April Fools’ Day… Pretty soon they’ll say, “Today is Artichoke Day, tomorrow Cypress Day, later the birthday of the inventor of the atom bomb, or of soccer and so on …” But God will not abandon us …
(Saint Paisios of Mount Athos : Spiritual Counsels Vol. 1: With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man”, Holy Monastery “Evangelist John the Theologian”, Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece 2006.)
Βαραχιήλ Barachiel Архангел Варахиил ვარახიელ მთავარანგელოზი10Baruchiel11Lord, You have granted us to offer these common prayers in unison and have promised that when two or three agree in Your name, You will grant their requests. Fulfill now, O Lord, the petitions of Your servants as may be of benefit to them, granting us in the present age the knowledge of Your truth, and in the age to come eternal life.

Master, Lord our God, Who has established the orders and hosts of angels and archangels in heaven to minister to Your glory, grant that holy angels may enter with us, that together we may celebrate and glorify Your goodness. For to You belong all glory, honor, and worship, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

Deacon: For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger, and necessity, let us pray to the Lord.
Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and protect us, O God, by Your grace.
The people respond with Grant this, O Lord, after every petition.
That the whole day may be perfect, holy, peaceful, and sinless, let us ask the Lord.
For an angel of peace, a faithful guide, a guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask the Lord.
For pardon and remission of our sins and transgressions, let us ask the Lord.
For that which is good and beneficial for our souls, and for peace for the world, let us ask the Lord.
That we may complete the remaining time of our life in peace and repentance, let us ask the Lord.
And let us ask for a Christian end to our life, peaceful, without shame and suffering, and for a good defense before the awesome judgment seat of Christ.
Deacon: Commemorating our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.
People: To You, O Lord. (The Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom )