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Iconography and Hand painted icons


St. Panteleimon the All-Compassionate, Sickness and Pain Are A Gift of God

Παντελεήμων ο Ιαματικός_ St Pantaleon all-compassionate_ Святой Пантелеймон целителя-098

Great Martyr and the Unmercenary Healer Panteleimon

Commemorated on July 27

Sickness and Pain Are A Gift of God

In the Kalyva of Saint Chrysostomos of the Skete of Koutloumousiou of the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon on Mount Athos, there lived years ago Monk Daniel who for 20 years was sick and had headaches and backaches, kidney and heart problems, leg problems and pain sometimes throughout his entire body.

Many times he travelled to doctors and received numerous X-ray examinations and radiographies, but the outcome was always the same. The doctors could not find any physical explanation for his sickness. Yet Monk Daniel continued to suffer his sicknesses and there was not a physician or scientist to be found that could help him.

Παντελεήμων ο Ιαματικός_ St Pantaleon all-compassionate_ Святой Пантелеймон целителя-vmch_PanteleimonOne 27th of July, during the vigil of Saint Panteleimon, brother Daniel prayed with tears in his eyes and pleaded with Saint Panteleimon saying: “Saint of God and protector of our Skete, you who are a physician and for the love of Christ was martyred and spilled your blood, show your love and plead to the Master Christ to grant me health, so that with health I could glorify His name and psalmodize during the vigils.”

Having said this, Monk Daniel grew a bit tired and took some sleep. He then in a vision saw Saint Panteleimon kneeling before the throne of God pleading for the health of Daniel. Monk Daniel heard the Master Christ say to Saint Panteleimon: “My brother Great-Martyr Panteleimon, do you think you are more compassionate than me? Do you think you love humanity more than me? I understand that out of love for me you spilled your blood, but did I not also spill mine and daily spill my blood for the salvation of people’s souls? Learn that it is my will in which it happens many times for the body to suffer in order for the soul to be saved. This is how I want many people to be saved.”

When brother Daniel heard this he awoke and glorified the name of God, thanked Saint Panteleimon for his effort and mediation, and immediately, as the same monk related, a great burden was lifted off of him and related that we must endure with patience, joy and thanksgiving the cross and situation of our sicknesses.

Apolytikion of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr – Third Tone

Holy Laurel-bearer and Physician Panteleimon, make intercession to our merciful God, that He grant our souls remission of offenses.


Saint Parasceva of Rome appearing to a young Elder Iakovos (Tsalikis) of Evia

Saint Martyr Parasceva of Rome

Commemorated on July 26

St. Paraskevi appearing to a young Elder Iakovos (Tsalikis) of Evia

Παρασκευὴ ἡ Ὁσιομάρτυς _St. Paraskevi the Great_ Святая Параскева Пятница _sf_parascheva_de_la_romanOutside the village there was, on a small hill, a chapel of St. Paraskevi.

Elder Iakovos would go there regularly when he was young, to pray to the Saint.

The Elder himself relates:
“With my hands I dug the soul and created a make-shift staircase, so pilgrims could go without difficulty to the chapel. I cut a fluffy bush, swept the church, lit the vigil lamps, and sat and gazed at the icons, in the total silence of the night on the deserted hill.
I was neither afraid on my own, nor did I ever have cowardly thoughts.

I then saw the Saint as nun coming out of the Holy Altar, crossing through her church and out into the yard, and to bend and clean her vigil lamps. With my childish mind I said that the Saint was cleaning her plates, just like my mother did every evening, no matter how tired she was (for she thought what if she died during the night, and in the morning the women find dirty dishes, and be scandalized for the absent homemaker).

Having this thought in my mind, I thought that the Saint cleaned her plates at night, too.
One night, as I was going to the chapel as usual, I saw the Saint dressed like a nun a few meters outside the church. She told me:

“Come here, Iakovos, I want to talk to you!”

I was afraid, and my legs buckled. I told her:

“I am afraid to come near you. Tell me from were I am standing what you wanted to say. I am afraid to come near you.”

Then the Saint said to me:

“Why are you afraid of me? You have come here for so long and helped keep my church tidy and lit my vigil lamps! I have much to tell you. Ask me what gift you want from me, what gift should I give you?”

Then I told her:

“Let me go ask my mother.” And immediately I turned around and fled running for my home.

I told my mother that I saw St. Paraskevi and she asked me to tell her what gift I want from her.

You saw St. Paraskevi, my child? How did you see her? What happened exactly?” my mother asked.

And having related all the details, she told me: “My child, ask the Saint to give you her favor.”

The next night I went to the chapel, and again I see the Saint like a nun waiting for me outside of her church. I waited far away a bit then told her:

“I want you to give me your favor.”

The Saint told me: “My favor? During your life you will see many glories and honors, and you will take gold in your hands (and she made a motion, indicating a great amount), but it will not touch you.”

And in reality, as the Elder said, “Countless money passed through my hands, but all of it went towards its goal, to those suffering, to the poor, to those in need. And St. Paraskevi told me many other things, and again I returned to my home.”

(amateur translation)

Commemorated on July 26
Γέροντας Ιάκωβος της Εύβοιας_ St. elder Iakovos of Evia_Старец Иаков (Тсаликис) Эвбейский -πολυχρονιας23.JPGSaint Hermolaus; Hermippus and Hermocrates of Nicomedia; St. Moses the Hungarian; St. Gerontius of Athos; St. Savva III of Serbia and also St. Sergius the Presbyter, St. Virgin Martyr Oriozela of Reuma, disciple of Saint Andrew; Saint Ignatius, monk of Mount Stirion; St. Martyr Appion; St. Virgin Martyr Jerusalem of Byzantium and Saint Prisca the Righteous Martyr, St. James of Alaska; Assembly of All Saints of Smolensk.

Through the prayers of St. Paraskevi the Great Righteous Virgin Martyr, of our Father blessed St. Iakovos of Evia, of all the ascetic Fathers and all the saints, O Lord of compassion and hope, have mercy on us and save us! May each of us learn humility and that we learn to love others in charity, just as God loves us. May each we can learn to live out our Christian vocation in all times and places, and in all circumstances.

Apolytikion St. Paraskevi the Great of Rome : First Tone

Appropriate to your calling, O Champion Paraskevi, you worshipped with the readiness your name bears. For an abode you obtained faith, which is your namesake. Wherefore, you pour forth healing and intercede for our souls.

Kontakion St. Paraskevi the Great of Rome : Plagal of the Fourth Tone

O most majestic One, we have discovered your temple to be a spiritual clinic wherein all the faithful resoundingly honor you, O famed and venerable martyr Paraskevi.

Apolytikion St.Elder Iakovos of Evia in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Father; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Iakovus, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.


A just man walks with Jesus Christ. St.Paisios of Mount Athos

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St.Paisios of Mount Athos

Not all people fit well in the world today, especially those who want to lead spiritual and honest lives; they seem to have such a hard time.

– Geronda, why don’t they fit?

– When someone is sensitive and finds himself in a harsh environment and people make his life hell, how can he put up with it? Either he has to begin cursing, or he must leave. But that’s difficult because one needs to make a living. His boss tells him, “I trust you because you don’t steal, but put some rotten produce among the fresh. Take these fresh clover bales and stick some fermented ones in the package.” He even makes him manager in order to keep him on the job and the poor man has to do as told to stay employed. And of course, he cannot sleep at night and starts taking sleeping pills. Do you know how hard life is for honest people? They run into all kinds of difficulties and have to take all kinds of abuse from their employers. Life becomes hell for them. And they cannot quit because they have a family to feed. If they stay on, it’s trouble everyday. They are between a rock and a hard place. Wherever they turn their eyes, they see a dead end. It makes one go crazy. So, they carry on and try to man­age as best they can.
In another case, one employee did all the work while another colleague would only show up to collect his pay check. I know of someone who was department head somewhere. When the new government came to power, they removed him from the post and replaced him with a party member who had not even graduated from High School. They made him department head but he knew nothing about the work and so they could not really send the previous manager away to some other position. What did they do? They just added a second desk in the office. The old boss did the work and the new one was just sitting there smoking, chatting and drinking coffee … and being completely shameless. And in addition to this, he would say whatever came to his mind while all responsibility fell on the other employee who was doing all the work, until he finally couldn’t put up with the situation anymore and left the job, the poor soul. “Maybe I should go some­where else, there’s not enough space for two desks,” he said one day and got up and left, because the new head was making his life hell. We are not talking about one or two days. It is unbearable to have someone like that over your head every day.

The just person is usually given the worst position, or may even lose his position to others. They abuse him and step all over him. Don’t we have the saying, “They walk over corpses; they stop at nothing?” But the more people push the just and righteous person down, the more the Good God lifts him up, like a cork. It’s not easy though and it takes a lot of patience. Patience clears up so many things. The person who wants to live a virtuous life and be honest in his work, be it a labourer, a merchant, or whatever else, must accept the fact that, once he begins work, he may have to reach the point of not being able to even pay the rent, for example, if he has a store, for the blessing of God to come to him. But he should not have this as his goal: “If I should reach that point, then I will surely have plenty of customers.” One must not think that way or aim at that, because then, God will not bless him. But when he decides to live as God wills and resolves not to cheat or overprice things, God will not abandon him.

It’s important that we start with God’s blessing in everything we do. A just man has God on his side. And if he has some boldness before God, then miracles hap­pen. When someone lives according to the Gospel, he is entitled to divine help. He walks with Jesus Christ.

St.Paisios of Mount Athos: Spiritual Counsels Vol. 1: with pain and love for Contemporary Man”, Part 1, Chapter 4, p. 87-104, Holy Monastery “Evangelist John the Theologian” Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece.


Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. The Monk Leo

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39).
“On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:40).

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:12-14).

Every act of goodness that we perform through our compassionate feelings for another person is accepted by God as though we did it for Him: “inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matt. 25:40).

The Monk Leo

Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς_Jesus-Christ_Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icon5_А0_10707f_91ad5ac6_origDuring the reign of the true-believing Emperor and Caesar Tiberius (II, 578-582), in a Libyan oasis there lived a monk Leo from Cappadocia (in Asia Minor, now being eastern Turkey). Great was he in God’s eyes, and we heard wondrous things about him. Having met him and knowing him better, we received a great benefit from him – especially from his humility, unselfishness, silence, and love for everyone.

He told them: “Believe me, children, I will rule!” “What are you saying, Abba? – they replied. – There has not been a single king from Cappadocia. It is useless to nurture such thoughts.” “No, children, I shall rule,” he confirmed, and none could convince him otherwise.

When the barbarians invaded and destroyed that country, they also arrived at the oasis. Many monks were killed and many more taken prisoner. Among those taken from the monastery were Abba John (a former reader at the great church of Constantinople), Abba Evstafius the Roman, and Abba Theodoros. All three were in feeble condition. In prison, Abba John said to the barbarians: “Take me into town. At my request, the bishop will pay you twenty-four numismata (gold coins of great value) for me.” One of the barbarians took him into town where Abba John went to see the bishop.

Abba Leo and other fathers who were not taken prisoner were in town. Coming into the presence of the bishop, Abba John began to plead with him to pay his ransom. The bishop had only eight numismata, which were offered to the barbarian. However, he wouldn’t accept it. “Either you give me all twenty-four or the monk.” Despite Abba John’s grief and tears, they were forced to give him up. After three days, Abba Leo took the eight numismata and went to the barbarians in the wilderness and addressed them: “Take me and the eight numismata and release the three monks. They are weak and are unable to work. You will still have to kill them. Whereas I am strong and can serve you.” The barbarians agreed to his proposition and released the three monks. Arriving at some place with the barbarians, Abba Leo labored for them, and when he became exhausted, was beheaded. In this way Abba Leo acted according to the words of the Holy Scripture: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13) It was only then that the meaning of his words was understood: “I shall rule.” Indeed, he had achieved imperial eminence, having laid down his life for his friends.

Examples of Love from The Spiritual Meadow

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8)


The complaint of Odysseas Elytis

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The complaint
of Odysseas Elytis

I wonder sometimes:
Am I the man who thinks daily,that I have ONE life?
Do the rest of the people forget it?
OR do they believe that they will have many,more lives in order to gain the time that they had lost?
You must confront life with courage.
Waiting Friday followed by Saturday and Sunday in order to live.
And then realizing, this is not enough, you end up waiting for the holidays.
Yet also, these are not enough.
Waiting for grand moments.
Not expecting them, but waiting for them.
And then admitting that you are unlucky and life was unfair with you.

And not realizing that there next to you, sorrows happen to other people that life chose.
To those people who never gave up and they keep on fighting.
And still not learning from their lesson.
And not feeling that you are blessed for once, cherishing three things in your life,health, a couple of good friends, a love, a job, an activity that makes you feel that you are creating,giving you a reason for your existence.

And then there you are, self-pitying that you do not have enough.
And even if you had them, you would still want more.
Believing that you learned everything but not learned to listen.
Gathering sorrows and desparations and waking up every day feeling saturnine.
Fooling yourself that time is infinite.
Every day I try to see the world through your eyes.
Every day I fail.
Because I love those people who love life.
Those whose their sorrow is their power.
Those whose eyes are looking without guile and guiltiness,even if the passage of time was relentless to them.
Those who know that they do not know eveything,because everything is not learned.
Those who drain from nothing, eveything.
For themselves and all the other people they love.
And they do not get tired, seeking out each day’s beauty, in people’s smiles, in hugging animals,in a black and white photo, in a colourful laundry.
No matter how careful someone is, no matter how long pursues it,will always be late second life does not exist.

The collected poems of Odysseus Elytis / translated by Jeffrey Carson and Nikos Sarris ; Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.


Saint Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer , Hymn, Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Μαρία Μαγδαληνή-Мария Магдалина Svjataja_ravnoapostolnaja_Marija_Magdalina(8)

Saint Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal to the Apostles

Commemorated on July 22

HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT MARY MAGDALENE
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Magdalene, in dark sorrow wrapped herself
Because of the bloody death of the Son of God.
Sorrow is to love, the most bitter sorrow,
It, in the world, has no comfort or companion,
To it, tears are comfort and pain its only companion,
To Saint Magdalene, in darkness the world became wrapped.
The weak creation of man, asked for light,
Without hope, in the dark Mary groped.
His tomb to her is light but behold, the tomb is empty!
Stolen she thought, naked and not anointed!
Bitterly she wept, to weeping never any end,
At that moment, a man’s voice beside her, she heard:
Woman, why are you weeping, tell me: Whom do you seek?
Whom do I seek, you ask? To comfort me, do you wish!
But, if you took Him away, where did you place Him?
Tearful and melancholy, Jesus looked at her,
And with a sweet voice called her: Mary!
In Mary’s heart, a light began to shine
O familiar voice, with sweetness unsurpassable,
The voice overly generous by life and power!
With that voice, the Lord healed the sick,
With that same voice, He resurrected the dead.
Life-creating voice, a miraculous voice!
Mary recoiled and turned around
Rabbi, she cried out at that moment the sun came out
A New Day dawned to Mary and to the world.

The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date July 22, and New Calendar date August 4.
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/04/prologue-july-22-august-4.html


St. Elias Diamantidis, the Myrrh – Such is the will of God: that the most spiritual are saved by the most narrow path.

St. Elias Diamantidis, the Myrrh,the miraculous

Commemorated on July 20

”I have seen injured souls who have endured injustice with good thoughts, and have been showered with God’s Grace in this life.” St.Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Άγιος Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος _Saint George the Trophy-bearer_ Святой Георгий Победоносец_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_ikona-23-234St. Elias Diamantidis was born in the Pontus in the Greek village Houmourkianton of Surmene region, in the year 1880. His mother died and were orphaned. He had suffered many injustices and malice in his life by his father’s wife. When he was young child life had become hell for him. But he was full of kindness and endured it all without grudges and without complaining.He married and had six daughters. St. George the Trophy-bearer played a pivitol role in the life of St.Elias. St. George appeared to Elias many times either to instruct him or to save him from certain dangers in which the evil demons placed him. He built churche St. George in Makhmudiye of Batum.
He received from God a truly abundant gift of wonderworking. He healed all sicknesses and pains and drove out demons.
He entered into rest in the Lord on July, 1946. His body was soon shown to be incorrupt and miracle-working;

May St. George and St. Elias intercede for us all and help us!

***

We must love and feel grateful to the person who has treated us unjustly, because he benefits us eternally…those who accept injustice with joy will be justified eternally…. It’s important that we start with God’s blessing in everything we do. A just man has God on his side. And if he has some boldness before God, then miracles hap­pen. When someone lives according to the Gospel, he is entitled to divine help. He walks with Jesus Christ. What can we say? The man has earned His blessing. This is the foundation of it all. Once that is given, there is nothing to fear. The important thing is that Christ, Panaghia and the Saints should find rest in everything we do, and when that happens, we will have their blessing and the Holy Spirit will overshadow us. St.Paisios of the Holy Mountain

The greatest treasure of any realm is the saintly and good men who live in it. Compared to this wealth, all other wealth is as nothing. Devout Christian emperors considered holy men in their realms as the greatest of God’s blessing. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 

When our soul is sanctified, it shines with goodness. We silently sent out our love without saying words. Christ never wants evil. Instead, He commands: “Bless those who curse you…” Elder Sampson of Russia

“I await a thousand deaths for myself,” wrote St. Athanasius the Great to his flock in Egypt at the time of the terrible Arian heresy. Every religious man can say this about himself who, in the spirit, has glanced and seen the net in which is contained every human soul in this world. The more spiritual a man is, the denser the net becomes. Such is the will of God: that the most spiritual are saved by the most narrow path. The Psalmist David also says: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous” (Psalm 34:19). However, in the end, victory and glory belong to the righteous. They need only to arm themselves with faith and forbearance. Whoever believes also understands their suffering. He who clothes himself with patience, will see victory and glory. To him who loves the Lord, even the narrowest path is sufficiently wide enough, the greatest pain an easy yoke and the most violent death, a joyful wedding feast.

The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date April 3, and New Calendar date April 16.
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-april-3-april-16.html

ΗΛΙΑΣ ΔΙΑΜΑΝΤΙΔΗς_Блаженный Илии Диамантидис __iliya-diamantidis75446.b

“In proportion to your humility you are given patience in your woes; and in proportion to your patience the burden of your afflictions is made lighter and you will find consolation; in proportion to your consolation, your love of God increases; and in proportion to your love, your joy in the Holy Spirit is magnified. Once men have truly become His sons, our tenderly compassionate Father does not take away their temptations from them when it is His pleasure to ‘make for them a way to escape’ (1 Cor. 10:13), but instead He gives His sons patience in their trials. All these good things are given into the hand of their patience for the perfecting of their souls.”
+ St. Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homilies (42)

let us listen carefully to everything our Lord has to say. As we are forgiven, so must we forgive – not with lip service, but from the heart .

‘Forgiveness is not a little brook on the boundary between slavery and freedom: it has breadth and depth, it is the Red Sea.’ Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (1914-2003),

Only through forgiveness can we enter into what St Paul terms ‘the freedom of the glory of the children of God’ (Rom. 8:21).

We take up a radical way of living when we follow Christ – one natural to our spirit, yet contrary to our pride. Let us remember the words that Christ, who tells this parable, spoke on the Cross: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Lk 23:34). Surely He had grounds for a grudge; surely He might have warned His enemies that they were under judgment. But no, He shows us how to keep far from eternal danger – we are to forgive from the heart.
O Lord Jesus Christ, cleanse us from all wiles and wickedness and lead us into the kingdom of Thy love, that we may be heirs with all the saints in Thine unfathomable mystery. – Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov

Apolytikion St. Elias Diamantidis, the Myrrh in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Father; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Elias, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

Troparion of St George the Great Martyr Tone 4

As the deliverer of captives and defender of the poor, healer of the infirm and champion of kings, victorious great martyr George intercede with Christ our God for our souls salvation.