iconandlight

Iconography and Hand painted icons


The Holy Most-pure One Theotokos appeared to St. John Koukouzelis in heavenly light and said: “Rejoice, O John! Chant and do not stop chanting, and for this I will not abandon you.”

Παναγία «Γλυκοφιλοῦσα»_Mother of God «Sweetly loving»_εκκλησία της Πόρπης _(Tokali Kilise_Buckle Church)_ церкви Токалы _Göreme (Κόραμα) Гёреме _ Καππαδοκία 52This is a true story as told by a pious Christian…

“While I was still a very young child, my father died. My mother quickly remarried and she and my stepfather put me into an orphanage. Later on, when I was older, they brought me out of the orphanage to live with them. My stepfather sent me out to sell lottery tickets to make money. At the end of each day he would take the money that I had earned, then he would abuse me and beat me badly. At one stage I felt much despair and said to myself “does God not exist for me”? I went to church to pray. Inside I went to venerate and kiss the feet of the icon of the Crucifixion. I am telling you this, and it still makes my hair stand on end… I felt I was kissing real feet, flesh!
Source: Translated from the Greek book «Ασκητές μέσα στον Κόσμο, Τόμος Α» (Ascetics in the World, Volume 1), by the Monastery of St John the Forerunner, Mount Athos Press, 2008.

***

Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 

The Most-holy Theotokos has often appeared to holy men in need: sometimes to encourage them in asceticism, or to heal them from sickness, or to reveal a certain mystery to them. Two similar, wonderful events took place in the Great Lavra on the Holy Mountain. In Great Lent, during the chanting of the Great Akathist, St. John Koukouzelis was tired and sat down, facing the icon of the Theotokos. As he sat, he fell asleep. Just then, the Holy Most-pure One appeared to him in heavenly light and said: “Rejoice, O John! Chant and do not stop chanting, and for this I will not abandon you.” With this, she placed a gold coin in John’s hand. When he awoke from sleep, the gold coin was still in his hand. After this, many wonderful miracles were worked from the icon of the Theotokos, as well as from the gold coin. 

The second incident involved St. Gregory the monk, who, like John Koukouzelis, was a church cantor. Patriarch Kallistos had established that in the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, “All Creation Rejoices in Thee” be sung in place of “It Is Truly Meet.” His successor, Patriarch Philotheus, rescinded this, reinstating “It Is Truly Meet” because of its brevity. But then, on the eve of the Theophany, and in the presence of Patriarch Gregory of Alexandria, St. Gregory sang “All Creation Rejoices in Thee” instead. Immediately after this, the Holy Most-pure One appeared to him, and, as she had done to John Koukouzelis, placed a gold coin in his hand. She said: “I am very grateful for your singing in my honor.” Because of this, it was instituted that all Liturgies of St. Basil would thereafter include “All Creation Rejoices in Thee.”

The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/04/prologue-october-1-october-14.html

***

Παναγία Γοργοϋπήκοος_Mother of God Quick to Hear_Gorgoepikoos_Божией Матери Скоропослушница_08%d0%b50%b8%d0%b5A long while after St. Athanasios of Athos had started constructing the Great Lavra, he faced a great economic difficulty: he had neither the money to pay the craftsmen’s 1 wages, nor did he have any food. So he started out for Karyes the Holy Mountain’s capital, to find out what he ought to do.
After he had walked for two hours, suddenly there appeared before him a glorious lady, who asked him,
“Abba Athanasios, where are you going? Why have you abandoned the project which you have started, a project which pleases God? Go back and finish it!” Astonished, he looked at her with awe and asked,
“Who are you? My lady, how do you know me, and how do you order me to return? With what can I continue the monastery’s construction, since no means are left for it?” Then she told him that she was the Mother of God. She ordered him to return, and she promised that she would take care of the money and the food supplies. The saint asked her to give him a sign in confirmation of this.
“Here, hit with your staff this rock,” she told him, and i immediately fresh water sprang from the rock — which to this day is still flowing.
Saint Athanasios returned to his monastery where he found money, and his storage bins were full of food, even as the Theotokos had promised. With renewed desire and zeal he continued, and soon the monastery was completed, and he gave thanks and glory many times to her blessed name.
“An Athonite Gerontikon:, Sayings of the Holy Fathers of Mount Athos.

Apolytikion in the First Tone

O Virgin, we extol the great grace of thy Protection, which thou didst spread out like a bright cloud beyond all understanding; for thou dost invisibly protect thy people from the foe’s every assault. Since we have thee as our shelter and certain help, we cry to thee with our whole soul: Glory to thy great deeds, O most pure Maid. Glory to thy shelter most divine. Glory to thy care and providence for us, O spotless one.

Kontakion

O Champion General, we your faithful inscribe to you the prize of victory as gratitude for being rescued from calamity, O Theotokos. But since you have invincible power, free us from all kinds of perils so that we may cry out to you: Rejoice, O Bride unwedded.


Do not be afraid of the world for I have overcome the world. by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Hymn of Praise
Saint Theodore Tiro
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Γαβριήλ_Gabriel Archangel _Архангел Гавриил. Икона_arhangel_Gavriil_d0a107bc9d202cDo not be afraid of the world for I have overcome the world.” (*)
These are holy words both then and now.
For all who suffer, that is the true balm,
Mostly for the glorious martyrs of God.
Why should you, of the more fearful ones, be afraid?
Of its own shadow, the world is afraid!
The powerful and the ruling ones, why fear?
And of dying things, constantly dying?
Who is with the Householder is not afraid of the house,
The Householder sees everything that is in the house,
And nothing there is, that He would not know,
And His servant, what should he be afraid of?
And yet when he hears the Lord as He says:
“Do not be afraid of the world!” What more do you desire?
“Do not be afraid of the world for I have overcome the world!”
Our Lord reigns and rules over the world.
At the fire and death, Theodore smiled,
For that, wreaths he received, that never fades.

(*) St. John 16:33
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/February17.htm

Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

A man adorns simple clothing and ornate clothing adorns a man. Simple clothing calls attention to the man, but ornate clothing calls attention to itself. The passion for ornate clothing simply drains and withers the soul of man. This is the real reason why the Church from time immemorial stood against opulence in dress and recommended the simple and plain. Among the countless Christian saints there is no mention of one for whom ornate clothing helped to attain sanctity. Many great and wise kings, not only Christians but also heathens, loved simplicity in dress. Thus, it is said that the Emperor Augustus Octavius, during whose reign the Lord Christ was born wore only simple clothing which was woven for him by his wife, sister or daughter. Of King Charles V, it is said, that he wore such simple clothing that even ordinary citizens, his subjects, were better dressed than he. A man once invited the glorious Greek military general Philopomenes to dinner in whose home he had never previously entered. Philopomenes arrived at the home of his host a little early. The host had not yet arrived and, the hostess not knowing Philopomenes personally and seeing him attired in simple clothing, thought that he was a servant of Philopomenes who was sent in advance to inform her husband of the coming of the military general. Because of this, she ordered him to chop wood. Philopomenes willing acceded to her command and began to chop wood. When the host came and saw what this honored guest was doing, he was horrified and asked him: “Who dared to give this type of work to Philopomenes?” Quietly, the military general answered: “My clothing.”


“Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” The greatest perfection, and the greatest honor that a woman can attain on earth, is to be a handmaid of the Lord. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ευαγγελισμος της Θεοτόκου Παναγιας_Благовещение Пресвятой Богородицы_Annunciation_ უბისის მონასტერი_4061“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

Verses
The Angel announced as Son to the Virgin, the Great Angel of the Father’s great counsel.
On the twenty-fifth the Angel spake of joy unto Mary.

Homily One:
The Handmaid of the Lord

“And Mary said: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord'” (Luke 1:38).

Here indeed, brethren, is a true handmaid of the Lord! If a handmaid is she who exchanges her will completely for the will of her Lord, then the Most-holy Virgin is the first among all of the Lord’s handmaids. If a handmaid is she who, with intent and with complete attention, beholds her Lord, then again the Most-holy Virgin is the first among the handmaids of the Lord. If a handmaid is one who meekly and quietly endures all insults and trials, awaiting only the reward of her Lord, then again and again the Most-holy Virgin is the first and most excellent of all the handmaids of the Lord. She did not care to please the world, but only God; nor did she care to justify herself before the world, but only before God. She herself is obedience; she herself is service; she herself is meekness. The Most-holy Virgin could in truth say to the angel of God: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” The greatest perfection, and the greatest honor that a woman can attain on earth, is to be a handmaid of the Lord. Eve lost this perfection and honor in Paradise without effort, and the Virgin Mary achieved this perfection and this honor outside Paradise with her efforts.

Through the prayers of the Most-holy Virgin Theotokos, O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai VelimirovičΕυαγγελισμος της Θεοτόκου Παναγιας_Благовещение Пресвятой Богородицы_Annunciation_ უბისის მონასტერი_М-рь Милешева. Фото ЖЖ.Homily
About the great desire of God

“Who wills everyone to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4).

God wants that all men be saved, that is why He descended into Hades to save those who lived on earth before His coming. For, had He not descended into Hades, an enormous number of righteous souls would have perished forever. And yet, had He not descended into Hades, the main habitat of evil against God and the human race, Hades would have remained undestroyed. Therefore, the two reasons which motivated Christ, the Giver-of-Life, to descend into Hades in the Spirit are: First, to destroy the nest of the powers of Hades and, Second, to bring from Hades to Heaven, the souls of ancestors, prophets and righteous men and women, who have fulfilled the Old Dispensation (The Old Law of God) and, by that, pleased God. Before Satan was totally jubilant at gazing upon Christ humiliated and lifeless on the Cross, Christ appeared alive and almighty in the midst of Hades, the primary abode of Satan. What unexpected and dreadful news for Satan! For three years Satan wove snares against Christ on earth and in three days, behold, Christ destroyed Satan’s kingdom and carried away the most precious booty in the form of a swarm of righteous souls.

O Lord, You want that all men be saved. We pray to You, save even us. For there is no salvation nor Savior outside of You. In You do we hope, You alone do we worship, You, the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always. Amen.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-april-3-april-16.html

Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann

Ὁ Εὐαγγελισμὸς τῆς Θεοτόκου_Благовещение Пресвятой Богородицы_The AnnunciationВизантийские иконы г. Охрид.3“With the voice of the Archangel, we cry to You, O Pure One: Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with You!” Hundreds and hundreds of years have gone by, and still, as we hear this invitation to rejoice, joy fills our heart in a wave of warmth. But what is this joy about? Above all we rejoice in the very presence of this woman herself, whose face, whose image, is known throughout the world, who gazes upon us from icons, and who became one of the most sublime and purest figures of art and human imagination. We rejoice in her response to the angel, to her faithfulness, purity, wholeness, to her total self-giving and boundless humility, all of which forever ring out in her words: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Tell me, is anything in this world, in any of its rich and complex history, more sublime and more beautiful than this one human being? Mary, the Most Pure One, the One who is full of grace, is truly the One in whom, as the Church sings, “all Creation rejoices.” (The Annunciation )

There’s a war on today, a holy war… Saint Paisios of Mount Athos
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2018/09/11/theres-a-war-on-today-a-holy-war-saint-paisios-of-mount-athos/

The Tower of Babel is upon us! Don’t be afraid! God is above everything. St. Paisios the Athonite
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/22406/

Troparion of the Annunciation, Tone 4

Today is the beginning of our salvation, the revelation of the eternal mystery! the Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin as Gabriel announces the coming of Grace. Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you.

Tone Six (**Having laid up all their hope**)
Verse 4. From the morning watch until night, from the morning watch let Israel trust in the Lord.

Wheresoever God doth will, * there nature’s order is conquered, * spake he that is bodiless; * and that which exceedeth man * then is brought to pass. * O thou all-holy Maid, * purer than all telling, * now believe these truthful words of mine. * She cried aloud to him: * Be it unto me now as thou hast said, * and I shall bear the Fleshless One, * Who shall borrow flesh from me, so that He, * Who alone is able, * might lead man back up to his first estate * and ancient dignity once again * by His union with our race.


Today is the beginning of our salvation, The revelation of the eternal mystery! St Dimitry of Rostov – St Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite

Ευαγγελισμὸς της Θεοτόκου_Благовещение Пресвятой Богородицы_The Annunciation20 (1)The Annunciation (or Evangelismos in Greek) to the Theotokos
the Holy Burning Bush of Sinai

celebrated on March 25

”Proclaim, O earth, the glad tidings of great joy, and ye heavens, praise the glory of God.”

“Thy Name is ointment poured forth” (Song of Sol. 1).
Saint Dimitry of Rostov

“When the Archangel Gabriel descended from heaven and appeared to the most pure Virgin Mary, he made known that her Son would be called thus; whereupon, she consented to the tidings and cried, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1). And immediately, the Word of God assumed flesh and took up His dwelling in her immaculate, most sacred womb. At His circumcision, the Name disclosed by the herald before the Virgin conceived was formally given to Christ the Lord to announce the coming of our salvation. Jesus means salvation, as the same angel explained to Joseph in a dream, saying, Thou shalt call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins (Matt. 1). Similarly, the Apostle Peter declared, There is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4). The saving Name of Jesus was reserved by the pre-eternal counsel of the Holy Trinity for our salvation, and on this day the righteous Joseph brings it forth like a priceless pearl from heaven’s treasury, so that it may be used to redeem the whole human race. In it are revealed the hidden and secret things of God’s wisdom (Ps. 50). It shines on the world like the sun, as the prophet tells us: “To you that fear My Name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise.” It fills creation with the fragrance of myrrh, as it is written: Thy Name is ointment poured forth” (Song of Sol. 1). It is poured out and no longer hidden. So long as myrrh is kept enclosed in a jar, its aroma is trapped, but when the seal is broken fragrance fills the air. Similarly, while Jesus’ Name remained spoken only in pre-eternal counsels, its power remains unknown, sealed as it were, in a jar. When the infant’s blood was spilled during circumcision, however, it descended from heaven to earth like the sweet-smelling myrrh of grace. Now every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2)…

How sweet is this precious Name to those that seek and love Jesus Christ! Jesus is their sole desire, their only delight. How beloved is this all-holy Name to Jesus’ servants and prisoners, captives of His love! Jesus is in their thoughts, Jesus is upon their lips. With the heart they believe in Jesus unto righteousness; with the mouth they confess Jesus unto salvation (Rom. 10). Whether they are sitting or walking – whatever they may be doing – Jesus is before their eyes. (Homily on the Circumcision of the Lord (excerpt),By Saint Dimitry of Rostov, The Great Collection of the Lives of Saints, Vol. 5, Chrysostom Press, 2002.)

***

Saint Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite

Ευαγγελισμος της Θεοτόκου_Благовещение Пресвятой Богородицы_Annunciation_ უბისის მონასტერი_Γεωργιος_15v_Krit_f1bc73f0tElder Porphyrios: “You should experience the mystery of the divine incarnation…”
Good morning, and many years! May we have the blessing of our Panagia. I pray this for everyone. I am very happy for our Panagia. Today I embrace everyone. I kissed Demosthenes, Kosmas, Thomas, everyone. But they did not understand me. This occurred mystically. “We are all one in Christ.”
“Today is the beginning of our salvation, The revelation of the eternal mystery! The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin, As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace. Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O Full of Grace, The Lord is with You!”
Say this also yourselves. Say it again even more beautifully. I don’t get my fill of this!
This was announced from ages beforehand. What does the Katavasia of Christmas say?
“To the Son, begotten without flux, of the Father, before the ages, and who was lately made incarnate of the Virgin without seed; to Christ God now let us cry aloud: You have exalted the horn of our strength. Only You are holy, O Lord.”
You should experience the mystery of the divine incarnation. “Your Nativity, O Christ our God…” I say this within myself and cry.
The Holy Spirit has crafted these, the “Today is the beginning of our salvation”, and the “Your Nativity, O Christ our God…”, they were not crafted by men. They are very rich in meaning and depth. Very strong words.
You understand little. I am telling you the truth, it was not written by men, but by the Holy Spirit. I cry every time I hear them. As many times as I think of this, I am always moved. My Christ, my little Christ! Say it again, but with beautiful recitation. Read now, I can’t speak, I can’t, I am unable, I don’t have the strength, I surrender, I should get up and hurry myself along.
I am very moved, and my eyes filled with tears. And because I am laid up in bed, the tears don’t fall down, but my eyes are filled with tears. All day, if you would tell me the troparion, I would be moved constantely. I should have two megaphones to stand upon the pine trees and to play “Today is the beginning of our salvation…”, and “Your Nativity, O Christ our God…” to be taken by the air and projected north and south, to be heard far away, so that all creation and nature would hear it!
This event occurred on the feast of the Annunciation in the year 1987.
From the Book: Logoi Peri Pneumatikes Zoes. The Holy Monastery of Chrysopigis. Chania. 2010.

Scripture readings for the Feast are the following: At Vespers: Genesis 28:10-17; Ezekiel 43:27—44:4; Proverbs 9:1-11. At the Matins: Luke 1:39-49, 56. At the Divine Liturgy: Hebrews 2:11-18; Luke 1:24-38.

‘Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word.’ St. Silouan the Athonite
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/17264/Παναγία φλεγόμενη βάτος_Icon of the Mother of God the Unburnt Bush_Богоматерь Неопалимая Купина_ 4 Σεπτεμβρίου-_1Troparion of the Annunciation, Tone 4

Today is the beginning of our salvation, the revelation of the eternal mystery! the Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin as Gabriel announces the coming of Grace. Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you.

THE NINTH ODE OF THE ANNUNCIATION CANON IN TONE FOUR
Proclaim, O earth, the glad tidings of great joy, and ye heavens, praise the glory of God.

The Theotokos, being the living tabernacle of God, shall never be touched by an unclean hand. But the lips of believers shall sing unto her ceaselessly with the voice of angels, crying joyfully: Rejoice, O full of grace. The Lord is with thee.

DOXASTICON FOR THE ANNUNCIATION IN TONE EIGHT
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad; for the co-eternal and co-beginningless Son of the Father, Who is of one throne with Him, taking pity and filled with man-befriending mercy, condescended unto the emptying of Himself according to the good pleasure and will of the Father, and He dwelt in the Virgin’s womb, which was purified before by the Spirit. O wonder! God is among men, the Uncontainable is in the womb, the Timeless One is in time; and wondrous it is that the conception is without seed, and the emptying ineffable, and the mystery so great! For God emptieth Himself, and becometh flesh, and is fashioned, the Angel having declared the conception unto the pure Virgin: Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee, even He that hath Great Mercy.


The creation of the world is a great miracle of the word of God. For nothing will be impossible for God. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΥΛΟΓΩΝ“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. “ (1 Thes. 5:16-18)

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.”

Thou art my refuge from the affliction that encompasses me; my joy, to deliver me from them that have compassed me. (Ps 31:7)

***

HOMILY
About the omnipotent Word of God

“For nothing will be impossible for God” (St. Luke 1:37).

ΔΗΜΙΟΥΡΓΙΑ ΟΥΡΑΝΟΣ23676“Then God said, Let there be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). Until God spoke, there was no light. Nor was there anyone who could know what light was, until God spoke, and light came into being. In the same manner, when God spoke, then water and the dry land came into existence, the firmament of the heavens, vegetation, animals and finally man. Until God spoke, none of this existed nor was there anyone, except God, Who could know that all of this could exist. By the power of His word, God created all that is created on earth and in the heavens. Whatever God wanted to exist and spoke that it be, must be and it cannot but be, for the word of God is irresistible and creative. The creation of the world is a great miracle of the word of God.

Having created all things, God again, by His word, established the order of creation and the manner of behavior and relationship of creatures one with another. This order and manner which God established is a great miracle of God’s word. There exists an order and manner among created things, visible and comprehensible for us people; and there also exists an order and manner, invisible and incomprehensible. According to that invisible and incomprehensible order and manner, which is a mystery in the Holy Trinity, there have occurred and are occurring those manifestations which people call miracles. One such manifestation is the conception of the Lord Jesus Christ in the womb of the All-Holy Virgin Mary without a husband [The Virgin Birth]. This appears like an interruption in the visible and comprehensible order and manner but it is never an interruption for the invisible and incomprehensible order and manner. This birth, truly, is a great miracle; perhaps the greatest miracle that was ever revealed to us mortals. But the entire created world is a miracle, and all the visible and comprehensible order and manner is a miracle, and altogether these miracles came about by the word of God; therefore, much in the same way the Lord was conceived in the Virgin’s womb. Both one and the other was all brought about by the power and word of God. That is why the wonderful Gabriel replied to the question of the All-Pure One which is the question of all generations: “How can this be?” (St. Luke 1:34), and he answered her: “For nothing will be impossible for God” (St. Luke 1:37).

O Lord God, our Creator, Immortal and Existing Miracle-Worker, enlighten our minds that we no longer doubt, but believe and enlighten our tongue that it not question You, but praise You.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-march-25-april-7.html

In order to hold back a great evil, great holiness is needed. St.Paisios of the Holy Mountain
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/7845/

Troparion Icon of the Mother of God “Quick to Hear”, in Tone IV:

Let us make haste to the Theotokos amid our misfortunes,
and fall down now before her holy icon,
crying out with faith from the depths of our soul:
Hearken quickly to our entreaty, O Virgin,
in that thou art called ‘she who is quick to hear’
For thee do we, thy servants,
have as a ready helper in our needs.


We, by the name of Christ and by the power of His Cross, are able to disperse legions of demons like smoke-for.. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

ΕΤΟΙΜΑΣΙΑ ΘΡΟΝΟΥ_Throne-Σταυρός_Holy-Cross_Αποκάλυψη_toixografia_068HOMILY
on the sufferings of David and the prophecy of the sufferings of Christ
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

For many dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet (Psalm 22:16).

This is the mystical experience of the penitent David, and, at the same time, a clear prophecy of Christ’s sufferings. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (II Timothy 3:12), says the Apostle Paul. When King David sinned, the devils did not appear to him nor did they disturb him; but when he began to repent and to direct his life on the path of God, then the devils surrounded him and tormented him. The words here are not about men but about demons, who sometimes attack the penitent directly, or torment him through other men. David would not have called God’s people, the crown of God’s creation, “dogs.” Rather, he called the demons “dogs,” who are perceived by righteous men as dogs, snakes, black men, lions, or in some other form. That he here means “dogs” as evil spirits can be proven by the written lives of the great ascetics, to whom the demons appeared in the form of dogs and other animals, to frighten them. We can also be convinced of this from the words of the Lord our Savior, that He spoke from the Cross: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). This means that the Jews were not doing their own will but rather someone else’s: the demons’ will. For many dogs and the congregation of the wicked gathered to destroy Christ the Lord.

When the devil-the tempter-could not defeat the Lord on the Mount of Temptation by his false promises, he began with all his might to destroy Him through men by a dishonorable death on the Cross.

 Brethren, see how clear the prophecy is! They pierced My hands and My feet. These words could not have pertained to anyone else, in the entire history of the world, but the crucified Savior. This prophecy continues in great detail: They divided My garments among them and for My vesture they cast lots (Psalm 22:18). Everything happened as it was prophesied-everything! But the devil was deluded in his reckoning. He thought he could destroy the One mightier than death, by condemning Him to death. He thought to dishonor Him Who alone gives honor to all creation.

By his glorious Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ conquered and shamed the devil and his entire pack of dogs, and gave man power and authority over them. The whole pagan world was unable to exorcize even one single demon; but we, by the name of Christ and by the power of His Cross, are able to disperse legions of demons like smoke-for, after Christ’s victory, the demons became like whipped and frightened dogs.

O Lord, Conqueror and Savior, to Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/04/prologue-october-10-october-23.html

 


When someone lives according to the Gospel, he is entitled to divine help. He walks with Jesus Christ. Honesty is the most precious Holy Cross. Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Σταυρός_ Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_20_4The Third Sunday of Great Lent: Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross

About the sign of the Son of Man
Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens” (St. Matthew 24:30).

What kind of sign will the sign of the Son of Man be, which once had been shown briefly? That is the cross, more brighter than the sun, which manifested itself over Jerusalem before the coming of an earlier personification of the Antichrist by the name of Julian the Apostate. And in lieu of every homily concerning this miraculous sign, it is worthwhile to quote here the letter of St. Cyril of Jerusalem written to Emperor Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great and predecessor of Julian the Apostate. A portion of his letter reads, “For in these very days of the holy feast of Pentecost on the Nones of May, about the third hour, a gigantic cross formed of light appeared in the sky above holy Golgotha stretching out as far as the holy Mount of Olives. It was not seen by just one or two but was most clearly displayed before the whole population of the city. Nor did it, as one might have supposed, pass away quickly like something imagined but was visible to sight above the earth for some hours, while it sparkled with a light above the sun’s rays. Of a surety, it would have been overcome and hidden by them, had it not exhibited to those who saw it a brilliance more powerful than the sun, so that the whole population of the city made a sudden concerted rush into the Martyry, [the church] seized by a fear that mingled with joy at the heavenly vision. They poured in, young and old, men and women of every age, not only Christians but pagans from elsewhere sojourning in Jerusalem, all of them as with one mouth raised a hymn of praise to the worker of wonders, Christ Jesus our Lord, the Only-begotten Son of God and indeed attested to through experience, came to discern that the honorable [pious] Christian teaching is to be found not only in “persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power” (I Corinthians 2:4), and not only preached by man but, witnessed by God from Heaven. “Announced originally through the Lord, it was confirmed for us by those who had heard. God added His testimony by signs, wonders, and various acts of power” (Hebrews 2:3-4). We consider it our obligation not to remain silent about this Heavenly vision, but through this letter, hasten to inform Your God-glorified and Pious One.”

O my brethren, everything is possible with God: both, to reveal the created to man and to create the uncreated. But most importantly for us is that He wants to redeem our souls from sin and death and to give us life eternal. Let us pray to Him for this day and night.

O Lord Almighty, To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-march-19-april-1.htmlΣταυρός_Ελκόμενος επί Σταυρού_Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_S1luarea_crucii--_Greek-Byzantine-Orthodox-Icon_Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

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.

Σταυρός_Крест Иисуса Христа_Cross of Jesus Christ-Orthodox Icons_holycross1Another person may gain much profit by overpricing. At first, he makes a lot of money and becomes rich, but then people find out that he is dishonest, and his busi­ness goes stony broke. On the other hand, the honest mer­chant gains customers and hires more employees. So he is tested in the beginning, but wins in the end.The good person is tried and tested by evil and cunning people; he has to pass through the card (7).

When someone follows the devil’s path, and comes up with tricks and all kinds of deceptive schemes, God will not bless his work. Schemes of deception don’t work; they appear to flourish, but they collapse in the end. 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. Honesty is the most precious Holy Cross. If someone is dishonest even if he has a piece of the Honourable Cross on him, it’s like he has nothing. But if one is honest, he has God’s help even though he doesn’t have a piece of the Honourable Cross. Now, if he has both, well, then he’s got everything!

7. Card is a wire-toothed brush or a machine fitted with rows of wire teeth, used to disentangle fibres, as of wool, prior to spinning.

(Saint 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 2006.)

Apolytikion of the Holy Cross – First Tone

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victories to the to the Emperor over the barbarians; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy habitation.

“The Cross is the guardian of the whole world; the Cross is the beauty of the Church, the Cross is the might of kings; the Cross is the confirmation of the faithful, the Cross is the glory of angels and the wounding of demons.” (Exapostilarion of the Exaltation of the Cross)

Aposticha. Tone 5 – Hail of ascetics.

REJOICE, the Life-Giving Cross of the Lord, thou never-conquered battle-trophy of piety, support and staff of the faithful, the wall surrounding the Church, and the door that leadeth into Paradise. Through thee hath corruption been made to vanish and be no more; death’s mighty power hath been vanquished and swallowed up, and we have been raised from the earth to celestial things. O truceless foe of demons, and our weapon invincible, thou art the glory of Martyrs and true adornment of all the Saints, calm port of salvation, that which granteth the great mercy of God unto the world.

Plagal of Second Tone

O CROSS of Christ, thou hope of Christians, guide of them that are gone-astray, haven of the storm-tossed, victory in war, surety of the whole world, physician of the sick, and resurrection of the dead: Have mercy on us.