iconandlight

Iconography and Hand painted icons


St. George’s day, Anthony Bloom (Metropolitan of Sourozh)

Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!

Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος _Saint George the Trophy-bearer_ Святой Георгий Победоносец_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_2_500Icon_16th_c._(8384472164) (1)

St. George the Great-martyr,the Trophy-bearer and St. Martyr Polychronia mother of St. George the Trophy-bearer

Commemorated on 23 April

Verses
George, cutting down all his foes in battles,
Is gladly cut down of his foes by beheading.

On the twenty-third George’s neck was seized
by the brazen blade

Verses
O husbandman Glycerius, as is right fitting,
I see thy neck as soil, and the sword, as a plowshare.
By the intercessions of Thy saints, O God, have mercy on us.

Sermon for St. George’s day May 3, 1981
Anthony Bloom (Metropolitan of Sourozh)

We are keeping this week the feast of St. George, the patron saint of this country, and this is why I want to say a few words in English instead of preaching in Russian as I always do.

Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος _Saint George the Trophy-bearer_ Святой Георгий Победоносец_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_2_500.jpgWhen you look at an icon of St. George you see a man who had the courage, the daring, to confront evil not for his own sake, but for the sake of something greater than he, to confront it face to face at the cost, the possible cost, of his own life. The icons of St. George show us the great knight fighting the dragon, while at the gate of her palace the maiden whom he wishes to save, stands waiting either for his victory or her shame and death. Each of us has got within himself something of which this pure maiden could be a symbol: our integrity, our purity, our uprightness, our wholeness and so many other things that make us akin to the living God. And against all these things the powers of evil are unleashed like the dragon of the icon, ready to devour all this beauty so that nothing is left but death, destruction and defeat — not for us alone, but for God. And within each of us there is the greatness and the generosity, the noble spirit of knighthood that can be aroused to fight for all that is pure, all that is noble, all that is great, both for the sake of its own beauty and for the sake of the Lord to whom it belongs as a bride belongs to the beloved and pure bridegroom.

This image of St. George is a call to all of us: evil is rife, evil is not only rampant around us, it is within us, trying to conquer all beauty and wholeness, and we are called to enter into this fight, to fight that evil be defeated, not only for our own sake, not only for God’s sake, but also for the sake of all those whom evil may poison and destroy. Let us look at this icon, mentally at least if we have not got one actually, in the course of this week and ask ourselves: what is there in us which is standing at the door of the king’s palace, at the gates of the Kingdom of God, ready to enter it if only it be freed from the fetters to which evil has subjected it, if only it would be safe from the destruction which evil is attempting to cast upon it. Let us also look at the evil in us and take a stand like the good knight St. George did, and whether it costs us our life, or whether it costs the defeat of evil, let us enter into the arena, let us fight, and may all that is holy, all that is beautiful, great and noble in us be protected, saved, freed, and enter into the palace, into the Kingdom of the living God who is waiting for us with so much love, so much faith, with a hope unshaken. Amen.

Newsletter ¹ 131 1981 May
1981-05-03-1-E-E-S-EM04-158StGeorge
http://masarchive.org/Sites/texts/1981-05-03-1-E-E-S-EM04-158StGeorge.html

HYMN OF ST. GEORGE
St. George Patriarchal Monastery, Al-Humayrah-Talkalakh, Syria.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvRrAeH_EOI

Άγιε μου Γιώργη αφέντη μου κι αφέντη μ’ καβαλλάρη…
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/%CE%AC%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%B5-%CE%BC%CE%BF%CF%85-%CE%B3%CE%B9%CF%8E%CF%81%CE%B3%CE%B7-%CE%B1%CF%86%CE%AD%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%B7-%CE%BC%CE%BF%CF%85/

Apolytikion of St. George the Great Martyr Fourth Tone

LIBERATOR of captives, defender of the poor, physician of the sick, and
champion of kings, O trophy-bearer Great Martyr George, intercede with
Christ God that our souls be saved.

Fourth Tone. The Original Melody

WITH unflinching and steadfast mind, * thou didst go of thine own accord, *
fearless as a lion, to strive in martyrdom. *While disregarding the body as
a thing soon corruptible, * thou didst wisely turn thy care * to thy precious
immortal soul; * and by many kinds * of sore torments wast thou assayed like
pure gold sevenfold as in a furnace, * O great and glorious Martyr George.

Glory. Plagal of Second Tone

THOU hast lived worthily of thy name, O soldier George; for taking the Cross of Christ upon thy shoulders, thou hast cultivated the earth that had become barren because of diabolic deception; and uprooting the thorny religion of the idols, thou hast planted the vine of the Orthodox Faith. Wherefore thou gushest forth healings for the faithful throughout the world, and hast proved to be the Trinity’s righteous husbandman. Intercede, we pray, for the peace of the world and the salvation of our souls.

ODE EIGHT
This chosen and holy day

COME, O Melodist, chief of the Prophets, speak: That righteous man, which flourisheth like a palm tree, who and what manner of man is he? He is the great conqueror George, a tree verily laden with sweet fruit that nourisheth the heart.

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SUNDAY OF THE MYRRH -BEARING WOMEN, Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!

Μυροφόρες_ Myrrhbearers_ Жёны-мироносицы_5

SUNDAY OF THE MYRRH -BEARING WOMEN
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
April 21, 1991

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

We remember today the Myrrh-bearing women, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, people who in the course of the Gospel are hardly mentioned, yet who, when Christ was seemingly defeated, when death, rejection, betrayal and hatred had conquered, proved to be people of faithfulness and courage, the faithfulness of the heart and the courage that can be born only of love. At the moment of the Crucifixion all the Apostles had fled save one, John, who stood at the foot of the Cross with the Mother of God. Everyone else had abandoned Christ, only a small group of women stood at a short distance from the Cross, and when He had died, they came to anoint His Body which Joseph of Arimathea had sought from Pilate, unafraid of being recognised as a disciple, because in life and in death love and faithfulness had conquered.

Let us reflect on this. It is easy to be Christ’s disciples when we are on the crest of the wave, in the security of countries where no persecution, no rejection is endured, no betrayal can lead us to martyrdom, or simply to becoming the victims of mockery and rejection.

Let us think of ourselves not in regard to Christ alone but with regard to one another, because Christ has said that what we have done to any one of us, to the smallest, to the most insignificant, we have done to Him.

Let us ask ourselves how we behave when someone is rejected, mocked, ostracised, condemned by public opinion or by the opinion of those who mean something to us, whether at that moment our heart remains faithful, whether at that moment we find courage to say, ‘He was, and he remains my friend whether you accept or reject him’. There is no greater measure of faithfulness than that faithfulness which is made manifest in defeat. Let us consider this, because we all are defeated, we are defeated in so many ways. We all strive, with whatever energy we have – a little or much, to be what we should be, and we are defeated at every moment. Should we not look at one another not only with compassion, but with the faithfulness of friends who are prepared to stand by a person who falls, falls away from grace, falls away from his own ideal, frustrates all hopes and expectations which we have set on him or her. At that time let us stand by, at that time let us be faithful and prove that our love was not conditioned by the hope of victory but was a wholehearted gift, gratuitous, joyful, wonderful. Amen.

http://www.mitras.ru/eng/eng_66.htm

The Myrrhbearing women and the Christian women of today, Elder Sofian (Boaghiu)
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/the-myrrhbearing-women-and-the-christian-women-of-today-elder-sofian-boaghiu/

Pasha: In the Beginning was the Word.
Saint John (Maximovitch) of San Francisco
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2017/05/07/13144/

Μυροφόρες_ Myrrhbearers_ Жёны-мироносицы__thumb13

Tone II:

Thy Resurrection, O Christ our Savior, * hath enlightened the whole universe; * and Thou hast called back Thine own creation. ** O All-powerful Lord, glory be to Thee!

Tone II:

When Thou didst descend unto death, O Life Immortal, * then didst Thou slay Hades with the lightning of Thy Godhead. * And when Thou didst also raise the dead out of the nethermost depths, * all the Hosts of the heavens cried out: ** ‘O Life-giver, Christ our God, glory be to Thee’.

Come from that scene, O women, bearers of good tidings, and say to Zion: Receive from us the tidings of joy, of the Resurrection of Christ. Exalt, rejoice, and be glad, O Jerusalem, for thou dost see Christ the King as a Bridegroom come forth from the tomb.

Doxastikon of the Praises (Plagal of the First Tone)

It is the day of Resurrection; let us be radiant for the festival, and let us embrace one another. Let us say, O brethren, even to those that hate us: Let us forgive all things on the Resurrection; and thus let us cry: Christ is risen from the dead, by death He has trampled down death, and on those in the tombs He has bestowed life.


‘Blessed is he who has kin in Zion and relatives in Jerusalem’, we boast that St George the Trophy-bearer is our kin and our relative.

Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!

The winner of the trophy of love 
(In memory of the great Martyr, St George, the Trophy bearer)

Commemorated on 23 April

   Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος _Saint George the Trophy-bearer_ Святой Георгий Победоносец_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_ (82)--byzantine-icons-Our Church today celebrates the feast of a martyr. If we try to pay any tribute to the celebrated martyr, we will demean him. This particular Saint is the glory of all martyrs, the boast of the Saints and the prestige of the Heavens and the Church Triumphant. He is the all- mighty George. No Christian exists who has not called upon George’s sweet name, be it a baby or a man on his deathbed. There is no Christian country which does not boast of a church dedicated to his name, even if it is now in ruins. This guiding light of a Saint hides a great mystery not properly deciphered yet. Why do people love him so much? His love for people is so great that he prevents us forgetting him. Instead we are constantly calling his name. There’s always someone called George amongst any given three or four families. There is no family which has not received the assistance of the love of this Saint.

   This particular hero has managed to perfect his Christian capacity not only through his confession of faith but also through martyrdom. And he continues in the same vein after his martyrdom. He has embraced the Church and the faithful of all ages throughout the universe. Even in places where Orthodoxy is unheard of and the mist of idolatry still covers everything, he descends uninvited and offers the presence of his love. He was aptly named by the Church as ‘Athloforos’(Accomplisher) , Tropaioforos’ (Trophy-bearer) and ‘Great Martyr’. All martyrs are described as ‘great’ because they have sacrificed their lives and have demonstrated their perfect love for our Jesus. However in my opinion the descriptions ‘Athloforos’ and ‘Tropaioforos’ do not refer so much to the courage he had shown during his torment as to the fullness of his love, verified not only in his lifetime but also unto to the end of ages. This love has enabled him to intervene and prevent even the slightest form of suffering and offer his support to anyone calling his name.

   For us, being monks, St George is our nurse and protector. The 9nth Ode of the Saint’s canon says: ‘You, the Holy Mountain, take special delight. Dance now and be joyful because you have found George the Great as your best guardian’. He stands second only to the Lady Mother of God as a protector of this place and of the monks. Four monasteries and several Sketes and huts are dedicated to his holy name.

   In his biography it is said that his father, Gerontios was also a martyr. George espoused Christianity from a young age. At the age of 22, he bought the title and became an Earl. When he was about to be awarded the title, he noticed that his superiors were preparing the persecution order against the Christians. He was astonished that the decree was blatantly ordering the extermination of the Christians without any reason. He took off his belt and threw it at the officers and declared: ‘I am a Christian. I will not obey your decree’. His ordeal began right from that very moment. This great martyr, despite being so young, patiently put up with all the insults and humiliation without losing his temper. He persevered during the horrid torture, showing fatherly forgiveness and affection. He performed miracles to convince them so as not to demean the power of grace – even though he knew that they wouldn’t believe in the Lord. While performing the miracle he declared: ‘I will do it, but you will not believe’. He even raised from the dead someone who had been buried for three hundred years.

   We are considerably moved by his forgiveness. He could have reprimanded them but didn’t. He could have been reproachful but instead he was very kind.

Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος _Saint George the Trophy-bearer_ Святой Георгий Победоносец_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_5fa031897996e376 (2)   As monks, we make him an example, especially his bravery and his selflessness because he toughens us during our own martyrdom of conscience (μαρτύριο συνειδήσεως). The executioners were asking the martyrs: ‘You either deny Christ or you die’. And they did not deny Him and died. We do not have to go through this questioning. However, we do face the secret struggle against the spiritual tyrant who is constantly testing us. It is as if he is warning us: ‘You will either worship the multifaceted idol of sin or I am going to launch temptations, sickness and tribulation against you’. And we vehemently reply:“‘you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’ (Matthew 4, 11).We derive great courage from this mighty man, indeed! We are kindred spirits. He did not spare fortune, values, titles, opulence, all lying in front of him; he even gave up his very own life for the love of Jesus.

          In our present difficult hour, we believe that the Lord, who is the same now as He was then, will demonstrate the same Fatherly affection and sympathy to us, strengthening us in our wretchedness. On our part, we persist with the same frame of mind to believe in Jesus, to obey Him and prefer His love against all others. It is for His sake that despite our weaknesses we have walked away from the stream of secular confusion and vanity. We have denied our family, even our very own nature and found ourselves in self inflicted exile, holding on to the same hope. By freely extricating ourselves with the assistance of the grace of our Jesus from the causes of sin and temptations, we wish to practically prove that we genuinely love Him while abhorring the devil and sinfulness.

          Occasionally we fail in our goal out of inexperience, ignorance or weakness but we never change our intention. We constantly declare that we worship the Lord God and serve only Him. We also declare that ‘we believe everything to be rubbish’ in the face of His love, deriving courage from the innumerable martyrs who have walked the same path and left it to us as a legacy. We wholeheartedly believe that divine Grace will abide by us and that we will also attain to our goal. In this way we manage to accomplish two feats: Firstly, our own salvation and secondly, we offer support to our brothers who remain in the society and carry a tough and heavy burden, fighting against all odds, facing so many hardships and trying to confess their faith without denying Him to the best of their ability. Angels are the beacons for the monks and the monks are the beacons for the Christians in the world. For, they are not able to meet people like St Antony the Great, St Paisios or St Pahomios these days. These holy people are gone. We, the humble monks, are stepping in their shoes, holding on to the same insignia, following the same path and tradition and walking the same route.

          Let us all seek St George’s love, with the proper frame of mind, since he is looking for such excuses to employ his all powerful mediation and fortify us in our struggle. For it is said: ‘Blessed is he who has kin in Zion and relatives in Jerusalem’. Behold, we boast that St George is our kin and our relative. We have praised him with meager words, in order to offer him the excuse to fulfill his divine-like love and grant us the heavens. Amen.

Elder Joseph of Vatopedi

Source: Translated by Olga Konari Kokkinou from the Greek edition: Γέροντος ΙωσήφΒατοπαιδινού, Διδαχές από τον Άθωνα, Εκδόσεις ‘Το Αγιον Όρος’, Θεσσαλονίκη, 1989.

Kontakion. Fourth Tone
Thou Who wast raised up

HAVING been cultivated well by the Lord God, * as the most honored
cultivator of piety * thou hast now gathered sheaves of virtues for thyself; * for, as thou didst sow with tears, * thou dost reap with rejoicing; * with thy blood thou didst contest * and thou now hast received Christ. * And by thine intercessions, O Saint George, * thou grantest all the forgiveness of trespasses.

Fourth Tone. The Original Melody

WE know thee as a brilliant star * and a sun in the firmament * pouring forth the beams of its far-resplendent light; * and as a son of the day; a goodly pearl of the greatest price; and a brightly shining gem; * as one valiant in martyrdom, * and the champion * of the faithful in perils; thus we praise and glorify thee while observing * thy hallowed feast, O prizewinner George.

AS I voyage upon the sea, * as I journey o’er hill and plain, * as I sleep throughout the night, do thou keep me safe! *As I wake do thou rescue me, all-blessed Great Martyr George; deem me worthy to perform * every day the Lord’s holy will, * so that I may find * in the day of dread judgment the remission of all sins that in my lifetime * I have wrought, who now flee unto thee. (HYMNS FROM THE GREAT VESPERS)


About the fulfillment of the prophecy, Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_010 2

HOMILY
About the fulfillment of the prophecy

“Because You will not abandon My Soul to the nether world, nor will you suffer your faithful One to undergo corruption” (Psalm 16:10).

These are the words, the glowing prophetic words of the inspired discerner of mystery. This, David speaks about Christ the Lord, about His soul and about His body, i.e. about that which is human in Him. That these words of David pertain to the resurrected Christ was witnessed by the Apostle Peter in his first sermon immediately after the descent of the Holy Spirit: “Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption” (Acts of the Apostles 2:27). For the apostle says, “about the patriarch David that he died and was buried and his tomb is in our midst to this day” (Acts of the Apostles 2:29). It is not possible that those words refer to David, although David speaks as though they are from him and refer to him, but rather those words refer to a descendant of David according to the flesh. The body of David is decomposed as are the bodies of his other descendants. Christ, therefore, is David’s descendant in the flesh, Who, neither remained in Hades nor did His body see corruption. “He [David] foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah” (Acts of the Apostles 2:31). Truly, a glowing prophecy! Truly, a wondrous foresight! Before the resurrection of the Lord, these words must have sounded unintelligible and irrational for all the Jewish interpreters of the Psalms! When the seal on the tomb is removed, then the seal of the many, totally obscure and unclear prophecies, is also removed. Christ resurrects and the mysteries become known. The seal of the tomb is removed not only from His body but also from the countless words and visions of the prophets. Christ resurrects and the prophetic words are also resurrected. Descending into Hades the Lord brought the heavenly light to the souls of the righteous fathers and prophets. By His resurrection, He brought their words and visions to the light of understanding and truth. Christ resurrects and all that is good, righteous and truthful, before and after the resurrection morning, resurrected also.

O, resurrected Lord, place us among the resurrected citizens of Your eternal kingdom.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date April 5, and New Calendar date April 18.
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-april-5-april-18.html

***

Saint John (Maximovitch) of San Francisco

Ιωάννης Μαξίμοβιτς_Saint John (Maximovitch) of San Francisco the Wonderworker_св. Иоанн Максимо́вич - Сан Францисский_(ΜΕ ΜΑΝΔΥΑ)Fear not nor be saddened, O people, but be jubilant and rejoice! The power of God is stronger than that of men (I Cor. 1:25).

Christ suffers as mortal, but by His sufferings, mortality is clothed in a splendid garment of incorruption and immortality! The Lord descends to the nether regions of the earth in order to shatter the eternal bars.

The Immortal One goes down to the grave, but by this He destroys the power of hell.

The Light was hidden only for a short time, in order to shine brighter. The Mighty One went down into the depths of the earth in order to strike a blow to evil, at its root. Moreover, in three days, as Jonah from the whale, Christ rises now from the grave!

Lift your heads, ye downcast, rejoice, ye sorrowful! Come together, ye who are scattered! Arise, ye fallen! Although your soul may be filled with evils and your life have drawn near to hell, may the storm of the sea of life not engulf you who are in sorrows.

Death, where is thy sting? Hell, where is thy victory? Where is the darkness that thought to hide the Sun of justice?

Leap in spirit, all ye faithful, and joyfully cry out: “Thou didst rise as Conqueror, O Christ our God, announcing to the myrrh-bearing women, Rejoice…to Thy Apostles granting peace, and to the fallen giving resurrection!

From the Sermons of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco

Though Thou didst descend into the grave ,O Immortal One, yet didst Thou destroy the power of hell (Kontakion of Pascha)

 

 


“Christ is Risen, my joy!” Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!

Saint Seraphim of Sarov said

Σεραφείμ Σάρωφ_St. Seraphim of Sarov_ Преподобный Серафим Саровский_171-580x4355409icon-serafim (2)Oh, send out Thy light and Thy truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Thy holy hill and to Thy tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy” (Psalm 43:4). God is joy, and to draw near to God is to draw near to joy. “Thou shalt show me the path of life; In Thy presence is the fullness of joy; At Thy right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Those coming to Saint Seraphim felt his great love and tenderness. No matter what time of the year it was, he would greet everyone with the words, “Christ is Risen, my joy!” He especially loved children. Once, a young girl said to her friends, “Father Seraphim only looks like an old man. He is really a child like us.”

Everyone saw St. Seraphim as meek, joyful, pensively sincere. He greeted all with the words: “My joy!” To many he advised: “Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved.” No matter who came to him, the starets bowed to the ground before all, and, in blessing, kissed their hands. He did not need the visitors to tell about themselves, as he could see what each had on their soul. He also said, “Cheerfulness is not a sin. It drives away weariness, for from weariness there is sometimes dejection, and there is nothing worse than that.”
Oh, if you only knew,” he once said to a monk, “what joy, what sweetness awaits a righteous soul in Heaven! You would decide in this mortal life to bear any sorrows, persecutions and slander with gratitude. If this very cell of ours was filled with worms, and these worms were to eat our flesh for our entire life on earth, we should agree to it with total desire, in order not to lose, by any chance, that heavenly joy which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Love for God

He who has acquired perfect love for God goes through this life as if he did not exist. For he considers himself a stranger to all that is visible, and awaits with patience that which is unseen. He is completely transformed into love for God and has abandoned all worldly attachments.

He who truly loves God considers himself a wanderer and newcomer on earth, for in him is a striving towards God in soul and mind, which contemplates Him alone.

As for care of the soul, a person in his body is like a lighted candle. The candle must burn out, and a person must die. But as our soul is immortal, so our cares should be directed more toward the soul than the body: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mt. 16:26)” for which, as is known, nothing in the world can serve as ransom? If the soul alone is worth more than all the world and the worldly kingdom, then the Kingdom of Heaven is incomparably more precious. We consider the soul as most precious for the reason stated by Macarius the Great, that God did not desire to bond and unite His spiritual essence with any visible creation except man, whom He loves more than any of His creations.

Patience and Humility

It is necessary always to be patient and to accept everything that happens, no matter what, with gratitude for God’s sake. Our life — is a minute compared to eternity. And for this reason “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).

Bear the insults of your enemy in silence, and open your heart only to the Lord. Try in any way possible to forgive those who humiliate you or take away your honor, by the words of the Gospel: “Of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again” (Lk. 6:30).

When people curse us, we must consider ourselves unworthy of praise, imagining that if we were worthy, everyone would be bowing down to us. We must always, and before everyone, humble ourselves, according to the teachings of St. Isaac the Syrian: “Humble yourself and you will see the glory of God within yourself.” Therefore let us love humility, and we shall behold the glory of God. His glory is imparted to us in proportion as we become humble.
If there were no light all things would be dark. Similarly, without humility there is nothing in man but darkness.

“… All the enjoyments of this world are not even a shadow of that which is prepared in the heavenly abodes for those who love God; there, is eternal joy and triumph.”

There is nothing better than peace in Christ, for it brings victory over all the evil spirits on earth and in the air. When peace dwells in a man’s heart it enables him to contemplate the grace of the Holy Spirit from within. He who dwells in peace collects spiritual gifts as it were with a scoop, and he sheds the light of knowledge on others. All our thoughts, all our desires, all our efforts, and all our actions should make us say constantly with the Church: “O Lord, give us peace!” When a man lives in peace, God reveals mysteries to him..”

Tone 4 (Of the Forefeast) (As valiant among martyrs)

You are the River of Peace and Valley of Paradise,
O All-powerful Lord.
How can a river receive You, naked, in its course,
the One Who mantled the heavens with clouds?
You shall strip the evil Enemy naked,//
clothing mankind with immortality.

Tone 5 (Rejoice, O life-bearing Cross)

Rejoice, O venerable Seraphim,
emulator of the Angels,
Living piously on earth, you taught the fear of the Lord to many who
flocked to you.
Illumined by the grace of the Holy Spirit,
you beheld the future as though it were the present,
and filled with joy and tender contrition many who were sorrowful in
soul.
Therefore, we entreat you://
“Pray to the Lord for those who honor you!”

 


He who hopes in the Living God has a living hope. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_010 2

Homily
Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
About living hope

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who in His mercy gave us a new the resurrection of Jesus Christ birth to a living hope through from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

Brethren, who has dead hope and who has living hope? He who hopes in dead things has a dead hope. He who hopes in the Living God has a living hope.

Further, he who hopes in himself and in other people has a dead hope. He who hopes in the Living God has a living hope.

Further, he who hopes in luck and well-being in this brief earthly existence and does not extend his hope beyond the grave, has a dead hope. He who hopes in the resurrection and eternal life in the kingdom of heaven has a living hope.

Truly, a living hope is better than a dead hope; as life is better than death; as light is better than darkness; as health is better than sickness; as understanding is better than ignorance.

But, Who brought and showed man that living hope; Who, and how? The Apostle Peter gives an answer to that question: Our Lord Jesus Christ and that, by His resurrection from the dead. No one else but the Lord Jesus Christ and by nothing else than His own resurrection from the dead. By His resurrection, the Lord gave wings to the pathetic hopes of man, extended him beyond the grave and showed him the goal, purpose and fruit beyond the grave.

All of this is not confirmed by a credulous man but by an apostle who wavered for a long while in his faith and who denied Christ three times. That is why St. Peter’s witness of the resurrected Lord and the significance of His resurrection is inexpressibly priceless for us.

O resurrected Lord, Victor over death, uproot from us dead hope and plant a living hope in us through the prayers of St. Peter, Your great apostle.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-april-10-april-23.html

Being resplendently clothed in a garb of righteousness whose whiteness far transcendeth the resplendence of pure snow, let us all exult in this Pascha, whereon Christ, the bright Sun of Righteousness, brilliantly dawned forth and rose from among the dead, bright’ning all with incorruption’s light.

This day is lady and queen; yea, it is the feast of feasts; this is the day the Lord made in all truth, O ye peoples. Herein, therefore, let us rejoice mystically, as the Prophet David doth chant. For while the doors were shut, Christ entered and vouchsafed the disciples His transcendent peace.

When with his probing right hand Thomas felt the Word’s wounded limbs, his unbelief established the world-saving Arising, for the world’s assuarance; for the God-man, in His great love for all mankind, arose from Hades’ abysses and thus destroyed all it strength as the Almighty One.


Depression is a spiritual cross, Saint Maria of Gatchina

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_anastasi xristou moni xoras

Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!

Saint New Nun-martyr Matushka Maria of Gatchina,
a healer of depression of our century

Commemorated on January 26 and April 4 (17)

And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself. As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering. Wisdom of Solomon [3, 5-6].

In the town of Gatchina, some thirty miles from Petrograd, there lived before the revolution the nun Maria, in the world Lydia Alexandrovna Lilyanova. From her youth, before the revolution of 1917, Matushka Maria had been ill with Parkinson’s disease after suffering encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). This left her whole body as it were chained and immovable, her face anemic and like a mask. She could speak, but with a half-closed mouth, through her teeth, pronouncing the words slowly and in a monotone. She was a total invalid and in constant need of help and carefully looking after. The slightest touch caused her pain. Usually this disease proceeds with sharp psychological changes (irritability, a tiresome stubbornness in repeating stereotyped questions, an exaggerated egoism, manifestations of senility, etc.), as a result of which such patients often end up in psychiatric hospitals. But Mother Maria not only did not degenerate psychically, but revealed extraordinary features of personality and character not characteristic of such patients: she became extremely meek, humble, submissive, undemanding, concentrated in herself. She became engrossed in constant prayer, bearing her difficult condition without the least murmuring. As if as a reward for this humility and patience, the Lord sent her a gift: the consolation of the sorrowing. Completely strange and unknown people, finding themselves in sorrows, grief, despondency and depression, began to visit her and converse with her. And everyone who came to her left consoled, feeling an illumination of their grief, a pacifying of sorrow, a calming of fears, a taking away of depression and despondency. The news of this extraordinary nun gradually spread far beyond the boundaries of the city of Gatchina.

ΜΑΡΙΑ ΓΚΑΤΣΙΝΑ_Saint Maria of Gatchina_Св Мария Гатчинская_-- МарияГатчинская3 7Matushka Maria lived with her unmarried sister, Julia Alexandrovna, and brother, Vladimir Alexandrovich, first in the centre of the city near the Peter and Paul cathedral, and then in a little wooden house on the outskirts. She was known not only by the inhabitants of Gatchina, but by the residents of Petrograd as well. Thus when she was tonsured, it was in the presence of many bishops, priests and deacons who had arrived from St. Petersburg (she was given the schema immediately).

Two circles formed around Matushka Maria – a large one, which helped in various household chores, and a small one which mainly chanted molebens. There were about sixteen girls aged between 13 and 14 in the smaller circle. They were led by Fr. John Smolin, with whom they sang at matushka’s bedside, visited the sick and buried the dead. When Fr. John died in 1927, his place was talken by the deacon, Fr. Daniel.

In March, 1927, Ivan Mikhailovich Andreyevsky visited matushka. While waiting to be received, he examined the numerous photographs in the reception room and noticed two: Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd and Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd. On his photograph Metropolitan Joseph had written a touching dedication to Matushka Maria, quoting a large selection from his work In the Father’s Embrace, while Metropolitan Benjamin had written briefly: “To the deeply-respected sufferer, Matushka Maria, who, among many grieving ones, has consoled also me, a sinner…”

Ivan Mikhailovich had the great good fortune to be present at the manifestation of miracles of healing of grieving souls. A young man who had grown despondent after the arrest and exile of his priest-father, left Matushka with a joyful smile, having resolved to accept the rank of deacon. A young woman who was grieving became radiantly joyful, similarly resolving to become a nun. An elderly man who was suffering deeply over the death of his son left Matushka upright and encouraged. An elderly woman who had come in tears left calm and firm.

When Ivan Mikhailovich went in to her, he told her that a terrible depression often attacked him, lasting several weeks, and that he could find no way to get rid of it.

“Depression is a spiritual cross,” she told him; “it is sent to help the penitents who do not know how to repent, that is, who after repentance fall again into their earlier sins… And so only two medicines can treat this sometimes very difficult suffering of soul. One must either learn to repent and offer the fruits of repentance; or else bear this spiritual cross, one’s depression, with humility, meekness, patience and great gratitude to the Lord, remembering that the bearing of this cross is accounted by the Lord as the fruit of repentance… And after all, what great consolation it is to realize that your discouragement is the unacknowledged fruit of repentance, an unconscious self-chastizement for the absence of the fruits that are demanded… From this thought one should come to contrition, and then the depression gradually melts and the true fruits of repentance will be conceived…”

From these words of Matushka Maria it was as if someone had literally made an operation on Ivan Mikhailovich’s soul and removed a spiritual tumour… And he left a different man.

In the night of February 8, 1930, many monastics and believers were arrested throughout the country. Many Gatchina nuns were also arrested, including Matushka Maria and her sister. She was accused of counter-revolutionary propaganda and of participating in a counter-revolutionary organization, according to paragraphs 10 and 11 of Article 58 of the Soviet criminal code. Her brother was also arrested. The “organization” was composed of only two people. And the “propaganda” against Communism was her gift of consolation in sorrows. Those who were present during the arrest describe a frightful picture of mockery and cruel violence upon the patient sufferer who was paralysed and incapable of any physical movement.

The “politico-religious” crime of Matushka Maria was deepened by her refusal to recognize Metropolitan Sergius after his famous declaration of 1927, which led to a schism in the Russian Church. For she told her spiritual children that “there is no grace and no righteousness [in the sergianist churches], since they have departed from Orthodoxy and sold themselves to the authorities.”

The poor sufferer was dragged by her arms, which were twisted behind her back, along the floor from her bed on the second floor to the truck by two chekists… Swinging her much-suffering, paralysed body, the chekists threw it into the truck and took her away to Leningrad, where she remained for two months before her death. The compassionate venerators of Matushka Maria began to bring modest parcels to her in prison. These were accepted for a month. And then, once, they did not accept the parcels and said briefly:

“She died in the hospital.”
(Such helpless patients were usually killed.)

It is not known who buried matushka’s body in the Smolensk cemetery. Her grave is visited by many people, who serve pannikhidas and pray there. She died on April 4 (17) or 5 (18), 1930.

Matushka’s brother, Vladimir Alexandrovich, a weak, small, refined gentleman who had looked after her with self-sacrifice and received visitors, was taken away in another automobile, a so-called “black raven”, a black limousine used especially for transporting the victims of arrests made in the deep of night. After nine months of investigation he received five years’ imprisonment in a Siberian concentration camp. His sister, Julia Alexandrovna, was exiled on some charge, and remained in exile for ten years. Her friends visited her and brought her food. It is not known when she died.

(Sources: I.M. Andreyev, Russia’s Catacomb Saints, Platina, Ca.: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1982, chapter 5; Anna Alexeyevna Yepanchina, in Vosvrashcheniye, N 3, 1995 and Pravoslavnaya Rus’, N 9 (1558), May 1/14, 1996, p. 12)
http://www.orthodox.net/russiannm/maria-of-gatchina-nun-martyr-and-those-with-her.html

Blessed Martyr Maria of Gatchina, pray to God for all the souls who pass through a time of sadness and depression, pray for the inner solace of our minds and hearts. Amin.

ΜΑΡΙΑ ΓΚΑΤΣΙΝΑ_Saint Maria of Gatchina_Св Мария Гатчинская_51014590

Troparion (Tone 4) –

O our blessed Mother Maria, who didst bear the cross of illness so meekly and humbly, with such sobriety and prayer that God granted thee the gift of the consolation. Pray for us sinners who know not how to repent, that God may grant us His great mercy.

The Wisdom of Solomon [3, 1-9].

The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, and their departure is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter destruction, but they are in peace. For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality. And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded, for God proved them and found them worthy for Himself. As gold in the furnace hath He tried them, and received them as a burnt offering. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. They shall judge the nations and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. They that put their trust in Him shall understand the truth; and such as be faithful in love shall abide with Him; for grace and mercy is to His saints and visitation for His elect..