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Iconography and Hand painted icons


Oh, Great Martyr George Trophy-bearer! sweet name all Christians. – Your name, Nikiforοs Vrettakos

Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος _Saint George the Trophy-bearer_ Святой Георгий Победоносец_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_23452356

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

Martyrs Eusebius, Neon, Leontius, Longinus, and 40 Others at Nicomedia were present at the sufferings of the Great Martyr George (April 23), through which they came to believe in Christ.
Commemorated on April 24

Saint Martyr Nike (Nice), by the sword (303) who was converted by Great Martyr George (April 23),
Commemorated on April 25

Oh, all- mighty Great Martyr St George Trophy-bearer!
the sweet name and thing that exists the faithful;
No Christian exists who has not called upon George’s sweet name, be it a baby or a man on your deathbed….Your love for people is so great that it prevents us from forget , but constantly calling your name.

Your name (Megalynari)
“Magnificat”
Nikiforοs Vrettakos

Άγιος Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος _Saint George the Trophy-bearer_ Святой Георгий Победоносец_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_Печ; XIII в83943_133Your name: bread on the table
Your name: water at the source
Your name: honeysuckle of climbing stars
Your name: window open by night on the first of May
Your name: two oaks the rainbow supports its edges.

Your name: a whisper from star to star.
Your name: chat between two streams.
Your name: monologue of a pine at Sounion

Your name: chips of sun
Your name: verse by flute at night
Your name: A rose on the lips of angels.
Your name: a deer soaked to the knee in a low tide of the sun.
Your name: two oaks the rainbow supports its edges.

Your name: a whisper from star to star.
Your name: chat between two streams.
Your name: monologue of a pine at Sounion

Your name: five swans’ route dragging the Pleiades high up in the sky
Your name: Peace in the twigs of the forest
Your name: Peace in the streets of the cities
Your name: A pediment of doves on the horizon.
Your name: hallelujah over Everest.

Your name: hallelujah over Everest.

Nikiforοs Vrettakos, poet
Music: Terpsihori Papastefanou
First version: Danai Barabouti

Nikiforos Vrettakos was widely regarded as The poet of PEACE and LOVE.
His poem here is panegyric to a peaceful world…

Ikos 1

The Creator of angels and Maker of all creation hath revealed thee unto His Church as a guardian and passion-bearer for the faith. Thou art an inspiration for us, and we lift up praises unto thee for the ascetic labors of thy sufferings, Saint George, in this manner:
Rejoice, thou who didst love unto the end Jesus, the Son of God.
Rejoice, thou who didst lay down thy life with love for His Name.
Rejoice, confessor called forth by God.
Rejoice, spiritual athlete glorified by the grace of God.
Rejoice, thou who dwellest with the angels.
Rejoice, thou who art the equal of the prophets.
Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Apolytikion of St George the Great Martyr in the 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.

St. George the Great-martyr, the Trophy-bearer, the Victorious, the Wonderworker and St.Polychronia pray to God for us and help us!

Pray to God for us, that the Light from Pascha illumine our hearts and minds, and our lives through Christ’s redeeming glory and through your intercessions for us. Amen.

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St. George the Trophy-bearer, by St. Luke of Simferopol

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

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

Commemorated on 23 April

St. Luke of Simferopol on St. George the Trophy-bearer

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you… If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also (John 15:19-20).

Άγιος Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος _Saint George the Trophy-bearer_ Святой Георгий Победоносец_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს__LARGE_t_4266128 (1)These words of the Lord Jesus Christ were spoken not only to His Holy Apostles, but to all those whom He so often called His little flock.

The little flock is made up of all those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and taken His law into their hearts – the law of love, His beatitudes, which are all commandments of love – and who fulfill His commandments.

In this small flock of His, the holy martyrs shine as stars of the first magnitude, serving as great examples for us of the most profound faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, of boundless love for Him, and of self-denial in sufferings and unimaginable torments and tortures.

Among the enormous host of holy martyrs, the number of which likely exceeds ten thousand, there shine the holy great martyrs, those who endured especially terrible sufferings for Christ and whose exploits have the greatest significance for the entire Christian world. And even among the great martyrs, the great George the Trophy-Bearer, whom we are now honoring, stands out as one of the very greatest.

Why do I attribute such enormous importance to the exploits of the holy martyrs?

First of all, because by their blood and boundless love for the Lord Jesus Christ they contributed greatly to the preaching of Christ’s Apostles.

Think of this: had it not been for the tens of thousands of holy martyrs, would the preaching of the Resurrection of Christ, of the Resurrection of the crucified Lord, really have had such all-conquering force?

Could all nations, over the course of a few centuries, really have come to believe in a crucified Jewish Teacher as the True Son of God, as the Savior of the entire human race?

The pagans would have laughed at faith in the Crucified One had it not been confirmed by His Resurrection from the dead; had the Apostles not possessed the right to preach Him as having been Crucified and Resurrected, as having died and risen again, as the Conqueror of death and the devil.

The holy martyrs played a most profound and effective role in this great work, for you all know what a tremendous impression their sufferings had on pagan witnesses and even on the executioners themselves, when they underwent horrific torture fearlessly and silently, sometimes even with thanksgiving on their lips.

Today, along with the memory of St. George the Trophy-Bearer, we also celebrate the memory of Alexandra, wife of the wicked Diocletian who tortured and tormented more Christians than all the other Roman emperors.

You know that witnessing the sufferings of the Great-Martyr George immediately converted this pure-hearted woman to faith in Christ. She fearlessly declared herself a Christian before her terrible spouse, suffering death for our Lord Christ along with the Great-Martyr George.

Why does the blood of the martyrs have such enormous significance for the entire Christian world? Because this blood blessed and sanctified the earth; because this blood makes the devil himself and his dark angels fear and tremble more than anything else.

The exploits of the holy martyrs have a most profound significance in other regards as well. They serve as the most vivid examples for us of absolutely unwavering faith in Christ and of love for Him. We should be ashamed if we show cowardice, fearing with fear where there is no fear[Psalm 13:15].

The martyrs themselves did not fear anyone or anything; they were not seduced by anyone or anything.

The Emperor Diocletian, who martyred St. George, loved him very much, considering him his bravest and most essential soldier. When he saw that the severest torments could not break his faith in Christ, he even reached the point of offering George the second place in his great Roman Empire if he offered sacrifice to the gods.

In reply, St. George only laughed at this pledge; he, of course, rejected even the first place in glory and honor after the Roman Emperor, for his fidelity to Christ was firmer than adamant and His love for Him was boundless.

You have heard more than once from your pastors about the terrible torments the holy Trophy-Bearer George underwent for Christ. I will not enlarge on them. You yourselves will remember well how he was tortured for days on end with his legs fixed in stocks, with an enormous stone placed on his chest that nearly crushed him; you will remember how he was broken on the wheel, being tied to an enormous wheel under which a plank with nails and blades was placed, which cut and tore his holy body; how iron boots with sharp nails inside were placed on him, and how he was driven to run through the streets of the city in these boots; how he was thrown into a pit filled with quicklime, filled from the top with lime. He was supposed to have been burned in the lime; but when, three days later, Diocletian ordered a report on how St. George had been burned, the messengers returned to report to him that George was unharmed. When the Great-Martyr was brought alive before Diocletian, the latter could not believe his eyes.

The Great-Martyr George’s exploit was a difficult one. The good favor of the Lord Jesus Christ towards him for this great exploit was shown by how He Himself came to him in prison, encouraging and blessing him for the completion of his martyrdom.

Άγιος Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος _St George the Trophy-bearer_ Св Георгий Победоносец_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_233333George the Trophy-Bearer feared nothing. But do we, weak and worthless Christians, face in like manner that which, in whatever small and distant a measure, threatens us with some difficulty?

Did it not happen quite recently that there were hundreds of thousands of people among us that easily renounced faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, declaring in questionnaires that they were unbelievers, fearing something that did not in any way threaten them? They were not threatened in any way; they were required only to write in the questionnaire whether they believed or did not believe. And this was enough for them to commit the terribly grave sin of denying the Lord Jesus Christ, forgetting His dread words: But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father Which is in heaven (Matthew 10:33).

Do we not really prefer the worthless and quickly fleeting goods of this world to those of eternity? Do we really place traversing the path He pointed out to us as the goal of our lives? Do we really always remember Christ’s words: I am the way, the truth, and the life [John 14:6]?

For the holy martyr and Trophy-Bearer George, He was truly the Path and the Life; he neither followed any other path, nor did he wish to know of any other. He was not frightened by threats or fears, boldly following the way of Christ.

Therefore, we bow down before all the martyrs, and especially such great ones as George the Trophy-Bearer, commending them by our ardent love.

They strengthen our faith and love by their miracles, for the majority of them work miracles. You will know from your pastors about the miracle performed three times by the Great-Martyr George, freeing from bondage the youth who were languishing and suffering in captivity. You will remember how, as they were thinking about their native home and the Great-Martyr’s feast day while they were supposed to be serving food or wine to their masters, George the Trophy-Bearer suddenly carried them away on a white horse, transporting them in an instant to the home of their parents, who were then celebrating the memory of the Great-Martyr.

Do not such miracles serve as a great and powerful fortification of your faith in that which the Lord Jesus Christ said? After all, He said that those who believed in Him could perform not only such miracles as did He, but even greater ones. The martyrs accomplished great deeds, confirming the truth of these words of Christ.

Let us then be ashamed of our cowardice in the face of the slightest fear presented to us by our imaginations.

Let us love the Lord Jesus Christ and His martyrs with all our hearts, and especially the Holy Great-Martyr George the Trophy-Bearer, whose memory we celebrate today.

Amen.

Originally delivered on April 23 / May 6, 1954.

Translated from the Russian. http://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Luka_Vojno-Jasenetskij/propovedi_3_22.shtml
http://www.pravmir.com/courage-and-cowardiceon-st-george-the-trophy-bearer/

Apolytikion of St George the Great Martyr in the 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.

Ikos 11

Πολυχρονία,μητρὸς Ἁγ. Γεωργίου-Мученица Полихронии мать св вмч Георгий Победоносец- St. Polychronia mother of St. George the Trophy-bearer24._2_A light-receiving lamp of the True Light art thou to those on earth, Saint George, chosen of God, for thou dost enlighten the hearts of the faithful and dost guide them all unto divine understanding, instructing us also to joyfully cry aloud:
Rejoice, for thou dost dwell in the all-radiant angelic mansions.
Rejoice, for thou dost commune of the never-waning light of the Trinity not in a mirror, but face to face.
Rejoice, provider for the needy and defender of the wronged.
Rejoice, healer of the infirm and support of kings.
Rejoice, champion of Orthodox soldiers in battle.
Rejoice, fervent intercessor for the salvation of sinners.
Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 12

Knowing the grace granted by God, we celebrate thy memory, Great Martyr George. Running with fervent prayer to thy miraculous icon, we are protected by thine all-powerful help in the Lord as by an invincible wall. In praise of thine aid to others, we fervently cry unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

Hymning thy glorious end, by which thou wast magnified as a good soldier of Christ, we pray thee, O passion-bearer and helper in all good for us: Protect us as we earnestly cry unto thee:
Rejoice, by thee the Church of the faithful is enlightened.
Rejoice, for thy name is praised even among the infidels.
Rejoice, wondrous glory of the confessors.
Rejoice, lofty praise of the martyrs.
Rejoice, protector of those who honour thy memory.
Rejoice, deliverer of those who confess Christ God.
Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

St. George the Great-martyr, the Trophy-bearer, the Victorious, the Wonderworkerand his mother Saint Martyr Polychronia intercede for all of us and help us!


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.


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!”