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Iconography and Hand painted icons


Prayer is the path to God. Saint Silouan the Athonite

Σιλουανός ο Αγιορείτης_st.Silouan the Athonite_прп. Силуан Афонский-10

Icon of the Mother of God of “The Myrtle Tree”
Protomartyr and Equal of the Apostles Thekla (1st c.)
Venerable Copres of Palestine (530)
Saint Dorothy of Kashin (6/2 & 24/9, 1629)
On the anniversary of the arrival of the Russian missionaries in Alaska (1794)
Saint Silouan the Athonite (+1938)

Commemorated on September 24 / 11

The mystery of God which the Church understands in the Holy Spirit is the love of Christ. The holy thought of the Church is that all men should be saved. And the path she treads towards this holy end is the path of patience – that is, of sacrifice.
In preaching the love of Christ to the world, the Church calls all men to the fullness of Divine life but people do not understand her call, and repudiate it. When she bids men keep Christ’s commandment and love their enemies, the Church finds herself caught between conflicting forces who naturally vent their anger upon her when she crosses their course. But the Church, actualizing Christ’s mission on earth – the salvation of the whole world – purposely takes upon herself the world’s anger, just as Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world. And as Christ was persecuted in this world of sin, and had to suffer, so the true Church of Christ must also be persecuted and suffer. The Lord Himself and the Apostles spoke of this spiritual law of life in Christ, and St. Paul put it in plain words when he wrote, ‘Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Σιλουανός ο Αγιορείτης_st.Silouan the Athonite_прп. Силуан Афонский-im335108._prp._siluan_afonskiy._30h40Prayer comes with praying, as the Scriptures say; but prayer which is only a habit, prayer without contrition for our sins, is not pleasing to the Lord.

My soul yearns after the Lord, and I seek Him ardently, and my soul suffers thought of no other matter… O all ye people, let us humble ourselves for the sake of the Lord and the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us humble ourselves and the Lord will give us to know the power of the Jesus Prayer. Let us humble ourselves and the Spirit of God Himself will instruct the soul.
O man, learn the humility of Christ and the Lord will give you to taste of the sweetness of prayer. 

Unceasing prayer is born of love, while fault-finding, idle talk and self-indulgence are the death of prayer.

The Lord gave us the commandment to love God with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our souls. But without prayer how can one love? The mind and heart of man, therefore, must always be free to pray.

All the Saints lived in prayer, and they call others to prayer. Prayer is the best of all activities for the soul. Prayer is the path to God. Through prayer we obtain humility, patience and every good gift. The man who speaks against prayer has manifestly never tasted of the goodness of the Lord, and how greatly He loves us. No evil ever comes from God. All the Saints prayed without ceasing: they filled every moment with prayer.

When the soul loses humility, she loses grace and love for God at the same time, and ardent prayer is extinguished. But when the soul stills her passion and grows humble, the Lord gives her His grace, and the n she prays for her enemies as for herself, and sheds scalding tears for the whole world.

Many people think silence in the desert to be the noblest form of life. Others would opt for reclusion. Some would say, being a fool for Christ’s sake. Still others elect for pastoral service or scientific theological study. And so on. The Staretz did not consider that any of these types of asceticism manifested spiritual life at its noblest but each of them could be so for someone if it conformed to God’s will for that person. And God may have an especial purpose for each of us.
But whatever God’s will for each individual, when it comes to choosing one or other form of ascetic life, or place, or manner of service, the quest for pure prayer remains imperative.

Such pure – pure in the primary sense – prayer is a rare gift of God. It depends in no way on human effort. Divine power comes and with elusive care and ineffable tenderness transports man into the world of Divine light – or rather,
Divine light appears and lovingly embraces the whole man, so that he can recall nothing, incapable of any thought.

This is the state the Staretz had in view when he said,
‘He whose prayer is pure is a theologian.’

From St. Silouan the Athonite by Archimandrite Sophrony

I pray thee, O Merciful Lord, let all mankind, from Adam to the end of time, come to know Thee, that Thou art good and merciful, that all nations may rejoice in Thy peace, and behold the light of Thy countenance. Thy gaze is tranquil and meek and draws the soul to Thee.

Troparion St Silouan the Athonite, Tone 4

By thy prayers thou didst receive Christ as thy Master on the path of humility; and in thy heart the Holy Spirit witnessed unto thy salvation. For this cause all people called to live in hope are now rejoicing and celebrating thy memory. O holy Father Silouan, pray to Christ to save our souls.

Troparion St Silouan the Athonite (Tone 2)

O all-blessed Father Silouan,
Flaming zealot of the seraphim’s love for the Lord
And fervent imitator of Jeremiah who wept for the people,
Hearing the call of the Mother of the Lord of Hosts,
With wise courage you spewed out the sinful serpent
And withdrew from the snares of the world to the mountain of Athos,
Where in labors and prayer, joined with tears,
In abundance you acquired the grace of the holy Spirit with which our hearts are enflamed.
Being strengthened by you, we cry out with compunction:
My Lord, my Life and the Joy of your saint,
Save the world and us from all cruel things!

‘Saint Silouan the Athonite, Pray to the Lord that there be less affliction in the world.’

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom – Elder Silouan (St Silouan the Athonite)

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St. Sergius of Radonezh blessed Prince Dmitry of Moscow

ΣΕΡΓΙΟΣ Ραντονεζ_saint Sergius of Radonezh_ Се́ргий Ра́донежский __i4773-icon-middle

St. Sergius of Radonezh
Commemorated on September 25 /October 8th

Sergius of Radonezh’s spiritual authority was extremely high. Grand Prince of Moscow and princes of other principalities came to his monastery for advice and blessing. Frequently, he left his beloved cloister for Moscow or other cities to baptize princely children. Metropolitan Alexei who had an enormous influence on the secular power, entrusted him important tasks to make peace between princes.

St. Sergius of Radonezh blessed Prince Dmitry of Moscow to struggle against the Golden Horde. The Battle of Kulikovo took place on 8 September 1380 and contributed to the integration of the Russian regions. «The Life» tells the story of how the saint, foreseeing a victory, sent a letter to Prince Dmitry to notify him. The messenger managed to deliver it to the Russian army before the start of the battle. 

According to more recent sources, St. Sergius not only blessed Prince of Moscow to fight, but delegated two monk-warriors to help him. They were Peresvet and Oslabia, who were ‘well trained in military affairs and could command the army regiments, they also had the strength and boldness, and courage’ and became heroes of the Battle of Kulikovo. Sergius of Radonezh blessed the feat of defending the fatherland. 

Chronicle reported that on the eve of the battle, the messenger from the Holy Trinity Monastery handed to Prince Dmitry bread baked at the monastery and the letter of St. Sergius, ‘Without any doubt, go against them, and God and the Holy Trinity will help you’. During all the fight, St. Sergius prayed unceasingly and his inner eye saw the battlefield, he named the fallen soldiers killed on the Don to the brethren. Today, the Kulikovo Field is a museum complex including a memorial church in honour of St. Sergius of Radonezh, which was errected in 1913-1918 by the famous architect Alexey Shchusev.

Saint Alexander Nevsky exhorted his troops with words of faith: “The power of God is not in numbers, but in truth.” 

ΣΕΡΓΙΟΣ Ραντονεζ_saint Sergius of Radonezh_ Се́ргий Ра́донежский __2786


It is not of any value to us how the world is going to regard or call us. St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Παρασκευή-Πάσα του Σάρωφ, η δια Χριστόν Σαλή_Blessed Parasceva Ivanovna (Pasha of Sarov)_Блж. Параскева-Паша Дивеевская_sv.-blzh.-Paraskeva-Diveevskaya-9

Blessed Praskovya Ivanovna (Pasha of Sarov) fool for Christ’s of Diveyevo and the disciple of St. Seraphim of Sarov

Commemorated on September 22

Homily
St. Nikolai Velimirovich
About fools, wiser than the world

“We are fools for Christ’s sake” (1 Corinthians 4:10).

Thus speaks the great Apostle Paul who in the beginning was guided by worldly wisdom, which is against Christ, until he recognizes the falsehood and decay of the wisdom of the world and the light and stability of the wisdom of Christ. Then, the holy apostle did not become angry with the world because they called him “a fool for Christ’s sake” neither did he, in defiance of the world, hesitate to be called by this name.

Παρασκευή-Πάσα του Σάρωφ, η δια Χριστόν Σαλή_Blessed Parasceva Ivanovna (Pasha of Sarov)_Блж. Параскева Дивеевская_bl.-ParaskevaIt is not of any value to us how the world is going to regard or call us. However, it is important, and extremely important, how the holy angels in the heavens will regard and call us when, after death, we meet with them. This is of crucial importance and everything else is nothing.

Either we are fools for the world because of Christ or we are fools for Christ because of the world. O how short-lived is the sound of a word of the world! If the world would say to us “fool,” the world will die and its word will die! What then is the value of its word? But if the heavenly, immortal ones say to us “fool,” that will neither die nor is it removed from us as eternal condemnation.

Whoever does not believe in the Living God, nor in eternal life, nor in the Incarnation of the Lord Christ, nor in Christ’s Resurrection nor in the truth of the Gospel nor in God’s eternal mercy and justice – is it any wonder if he considers that one a fool who does believes in all of this?

O, may every one of us who cross ourselves with the Sign of the Cross not only find it easy to endure but with satisfaction receive the name “fool” for Christ’s sake! Let us rejoice and be glad if the non-believers call us such, for that means that we are close to Christ and far away from the non-believers. Let us rejoice and be glad and repeat with a powerful echo in the ears of the world: yes, yes, indeed we are fools for Christ’s sake!

O Lord Most-wise, strengthen us by Your power that we not fear the non-believing world neither when they lash us with whips nor when they insult us with words for Your sake.

The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date February 22, and New Calendar date March 7 (6)
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-february-22-march-7.html
Blessed Praskovya Ivanovna ”Pasha of Sarov”,Fool-for Christ of Diveyevo
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/he-who-gives-to-the-poor-gives-to-christ-saint-bishop-nikolai-velimirovic/

Blessed Parasceva Ivanovna “Pasha of Sarov,” of Diveyevo, pray to God for us! Pray that we labor in the fast with joy, and let God’s light illumine our hearts. Pray that our days are filled with humility, and that we learn to love others in charity, just as God loves us. Pray that we can learn to live out our Christian vocation in all times and places, and in all circumstances. Pray that we can learn to be “Fools for Christ” in our own lives…

The Troparion, In Tone I:
Having heard the voice of Thine Apostle Paul, saying: * We are foolish for Christ’s sake, * Thy servant Parasceva, O Christ God, * did love the life of the foolish for Thy sake on earth. * Wherefore in venerating her memory * we entreat Thee, O Lord, to save our souls.

For the Vespers Aposticha the Stichera.
In Tone II:
Spec. Mel.: O House of Ophrah.

A temple and abode of the Most Holy Spirit wast thou, * O most wise Parasceva; * wherefore also make us who honor thy holy memory * temples of the same Spirit.

Stichos: The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall hope in Him.
Thy life like the sun shines forth in the hearts of the faithful, * emitting miracles; * wherefore illumine with the never-fading light * us also who honor thine all-honorable memory.

Stichos: The righteous man shall flourish like a palm-tree; like a cedar in Lebanon shall he be multiplied.
Cease not making supplication on behalf of us thy servants, * so near unto thee, * since thou Parasceva, hast enlightened us with thy spiritual life, * that we all may joyfully honor thy honorable memory.


Help us to repent, O God, and save us from condemnation. Prophet Jonah

Ιωνάς  προφήτης_Jonah or Jonas prophet_Иона пророк-0_8d228_27812c1c_orig

Holy Prophet Jonah

 Commemorated on September 21 (Greek) / 22 (Russian)

The Lord said, “The Ninevites shall rise in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and one greater than Jonah is here” (Mt. 12: 41).

“And God said to Jonas: Are you then so very grieved over the gourd [which withered in the sun]? And he said: I am very grieved, even to death. And the Lord said: You had pity for the gourd, for which you had suffered no evil, nor did you rear it; it came into being before night, and perished before night. And I, shall I not have pity for Nineve the great city…” (Fourth Reading of the Vespers of Holy Saturday)

Jonah lived more than eight hundred years before Christ. It is said that he was that son of the widow of Zarephath in Sidon whom the Prophet Elias had raised from the dead. By his three-day sojourn in the belly of the whale, he prefigured the three days that Christ lay in the tomb; and, by his deliverance from the belly of the whale, he prefigured the Lord’s Resurrection from the dead. Everything else concerning this wonderful prophet can be read in the Book of Jonah.

Ιωνάς  προφήτης_Jonah or Jonas prophet_Иона пророк-Menologion_of_Basil_008

Hymn of Praise
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
The Holy Prophet Jonah

Nineveh! Nineveh resounds with sin,
And God sends Jonah to heal Nineveh.
Jonah does not want to, and flees from God!
Oh, where will you go, Jonah, to hide from the Most High?
Jonah sleeps; he sleeps and the tempest rises.
God moves slowly, but He will find you in time.
Hurled into the waves, swallowed by the whale,
“From whom did I flee?” Jonah asks himself.
“I fled from Him, from Whom one cannot hide!”
God chastises Jonah and yet delivers him,
And, by His providence, glorifies him forever.
Jonah, you do not want to speak to the Ninevites,
But through your punishment you will prophesy the immortal Christ.
You do not want to by words? Then you must, by deeds,
Prophesy Christ and the death and resurrection of the body!
Your deeds, Jonah, will not fade away,
And Christ the Lord will speak of you to men,
That, through you, the mercy of the Living God might be revealed,
By which you will be saved, as well as Nineveh.
Through you, the power of repentance shall be revealed-
The power of repentance and God’s forgiveness.
You pitied the gourd, and God pitied men.
Help us to repent, O God, and save us from condemnation.

The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date September 22, and New Calendar date October 5.
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/04/prologue-september-22-october-5.html

Troparion Holy Prophet Jonah – Tone 2

The memory of your Prophet Jonah, we celebrate today, O Lord. By his prayers we entreat you: O Christ God, save our souls!


St. Eustathius the Great Martyr with hope in God lived

Ευστάθιος_ St. Eustathius- Eustace _ Св Евстафий_ΕΥΣΤΑΘΙΟΣ_z8z2SglJW4o

St. Eustathius (Eustace) Placidas the Great Martyr with his wife and children

Commemorated on September 20

Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Suicide is a mortal sin and an act of defiance against the Holy Spirit, Who gives life. Suicide is a much greater sin than murder, since for the sin of murder a man can still repent; but for the sin of suicide there is no repentance. Here are two examples of overwhelming misfortune, in the face of which a fainthearted man would commit suicide, yet in which holy men of God showed themselves to be heroes.

Ευστάθιος_ St. Eustathius- Eustace _ Св Евстафий_487px-Saint_Eustace_Cretan_school_17_c.St. Eustathius found himself in the following predicament: he left one of his sons on the bank of a river, while he carried the other son to the opposite bank and returned for the first son. Halfway back across the river, he saw that a lion had seized his son and carried him away. He looked at the other bank and saw a wolf seize the second son and carry him away. A fainthearted man in such a situation would have drowned himself in the water, and made an end to his life. Even though drowning in sorrow, Eustathius did not commit suicide, but with hope in God lived as a hireling for fifteen years. This patient man lived to see his two sons again. Thus, God rewarded his faith and patience.

As a young man, St. Hilarion was forced to become a Moslem, but his conscience began to torment him cruelly, and he had no peace at all. He returned to the Christian Faith, was tonsured a monk, and gave his body over to intense fasting and every difficult ascetic labor. Even so, his peace of soul did not return to him. A fainthearted man of little faith would have committed suicide. But Hilarion chose an incomparably better path. He went to Constantinople with his spiritual father Bessarion, and not only openly confessed the Christian Faith at the sultan’s court, but even counseled him to go to Russia and be baptized. After being subjected to mockery and torture, this courageous young man was beheaded, and God glorified him both in heaven and on earth. Even today, his holy relics are miracle-working. But where is the glory of those who commit suicide? Where are their relics?

The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date September 20, and New Calendar date October 3.
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/04/prologue-september-20-october-3.html

Apolytikion of Martyr Eustathius and His Companions
Fourth Tone

Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion of Martyr Eustathius and His Companions
Second Tone

O blest one, since thou didst emulate Christ’s sufferings and drankest His cup with eagerness, thou didst become a partaker and joint-heir of His glory, O wise Eustathius; and since He is God of all things, He gave thee divine power from Heaven’s heights.


If you have everything else, but love, you have nothing. St. Gabriel the Fool for Christ of Samtavro in Georgia

Νίνα της Γεωργίας_Saint Nina of Georgia_წმინდა ნინო_Света Нина Грузије_святой Нины Иберии_NINA

St. Gabriel the Fool for Christ of Samtavro in Georgia

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword. Epistle of Paul to the Romans: 8, 35

Love dominates all rules and laws.
Denounce a man with love. God is an infinite Love, Goodness and Justice. Who loves goodness and justice, he loves God and he is loved by God as his own child.

If you have everything else, but love, you have nothing.
If you hate even a single person – you are disgusting before GOD.
Love your enemies – it’s clear. But how to love enemies of Christ? Stop hating and then you will be able to love them.
How to love the evil man? Hate the evil, but love those who do evil. Who knows maybe one day they will repent their sins by the powers of prayer, tears and confession and become like an angel. Everything is God’s Will.
Love everyone; if you can’t, at least show a goodwill.

Faith and love are perceived through sufferings.

A true faith finds its place in the man’s heart, not in his mind. Antichrist will be disclosed by the believers having their faith in their hearts; those with their faith in their mind follow him.

We are witnessing the End Days.
The Lord our God will demand love for God and the neighbor; whoever holds out to the end will be saved.
A humbled man is protected from temptations. No one can enter the Kingdom of God without humbleness.
Never lose hope for God’s Providence.The believers will be protected by the Holy Spirit. Whatever happens, never lose your hope. Help each other. God will clear your mind and you will know how to react. The one who endures will be saved.

The purpose of this life is to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven; be close to God and rest in the Eternity. And I wish you all to succeed.


Evil does not come from dead technology, but from the dead hearts of people. St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Return to the Christ’s path.

Δαβίδ Προφήτης_David King prophet_ Давид Пророк-David_the_Prophet_(Georgian_Psalter_MSS,_1494)_01Repentance is the abandoning of all false paths that have been trodden by men’s feet, and men’s thoughts and desires, and a return to the new path: Christ’s path. But how can a sinful man repent unless he, in his heart, meets with the Lord and knows his own shame? Before little Zacchaeus saw the Lord with his eyes, he met Him in his heart and was ashamed of all his ways.

St. Nikolai Velimirovic, “The Thirty-Second Sunday After Pentecost: The Gospel on Repentant Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10,” Homilies Volume II: Sundays after Pentecost

***

Many complain against technology.
Many accuse modern technology for all the woes in the world.
Is technology really to blame, or those who create technology and use it?
Is a wooden cross to blame if somebody crucifies someone on it?
Is a hammer to blame if a neighbor breaks his neighbors skull?
Technology does not feel good or evil.
The same pipes can be used for drinking water or the sewer.
Evil does not come from unfeeling, dead technology, but from the dead hearts of people.

St. Nikolai Velimirovich, From the Complete Works of Bishop Nikolai [in Serbian], Book 12, p. 23. Translated from the Serbian by Marija Miljkovic.

Only the foolish think that suffering is evil. A sensible man knows that suffering is not evil but only the manifestation of evil and healing from evil. Only sin in a man is a real evil, and there is no evil outside sin. Everything else that men generally call evil is not, but is a bitter medicine to heal from evil. The sicker the man, the more bitter the medicine that the doctor prescribes for him. At times, even, it seems to a sick man that the medicine is worse and more bitter than the sickness itself! And so it seems at times to the sinner: the suffering is harder and more bitter than the sin committed. But this is only an illusion – a very strong self-delusion. There is no suffering in the world that could be anywhere near as hard and destructive as sin is. All the suffering borne by men and nations is none other than the abundant healing that eternal Mercy offers to men and nations to save them from eternal death. Every sin, however small, would inevitably bring death if Mercy were not to allow suffering in order to sober men up from the inebriation of sin; for the healing that comes through suffering is brought about by the gracefilled power of the Holy and Life-giving Spirit.

St. Nikolai Velimirovich, “23. The Third Sunday After Easter: The Gospel on the Miracle at Bethesda John 5:1-16,” Homilies Volume 1: Commentary on the Gospel Readings for Great Feasts and Sundays Throughout the Year

Psalm 50

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of thy compassions blot out my transgression. 2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I am conscious of mine iniquity; and my sin is continually before me. 4 Against thee only have I sinned, and done evil before thee: that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 5 For, behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother conceive me. 6 For, behold, thou lovest truth: thou hast manifested to me the secret and hidden things of thy wisdom. 7 Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be purified: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. 8 Thou shalt cause me to hear gladness and joy: the afflicted bones shall rejoice. 9 Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in my inward parts. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and remove not thy holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation: establish me with thy directing Spirit. 13 [Then] will I teach transgressors thy ways; and ungodly men shall turn to thee. 14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation: [and] my tongue shall joyfully declare thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, thou shalt open my lips; and my mouth shall declare thy praise. 16 For if thou desiredst sacrifice, I would have given [it]: thou wilt not take pleasure in whole-burnt-offerings. 17 Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit: a broken and humbled heart God will not despise. 18 Do good, O Lord, to Sion in thy good pleasure; and let the walls of Jerusalem be built. 19 Then shalt thou be pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, offering, and whole-burnt-sacrifices: then shall they offer calves upon thine altar.