Iconography and Hand painted icons

The power of the Cross. Saint Niphon Bishop of Constantiane, in Algeria of Africa

Σταυρός_ Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_20_4The power of the Cross
Saint Niphon Bishop of Constantiane, in Algeria of Africa. (4th century- Commemorated on December 23 )

A pious Christian related to me the following amazing incident: He told me that one Saturday night, when he was praying in the narthex of St Anastasius during the usual resurrectional vigil, the servant of God Nephon also came, because he always observed vigils every Saturday night in the churches of the saints.
“Well,” my companion said, “I see a large number of white-clad men travelling with him, some in front of him and others behind him, rejoicing that they were surrounding him. But even more dread, a Cross as tall as he and glittering as if made of pure gold was rising in front of him. Similar glittering Crosses were on the right and left, in back and over the saint’s head They were entwined and built a wall around him. When a temptation came, during that moment of the battle, the Lord, wanting to test him, permitted the Crosses to part. Thus they left a small opening amongst them through which the enemies were able to throw their arrows. A great number of angels and demons watched the battle. The saint would raise his hands toward the Most-High God and with his pure mind would ascend to Him. He would remain up there praying. Seeing him and fearing the wrath of God, Satan would tremble and say to his army: ‘Let’s go, boys, away from this Nephon, because he has ascended to heaven and is praying against us to the Great One. Let’s disappear then before His wrath comes down and tortures us.’”
“And immediately they would vanish. Then that blessed one would come down to earth after the prayer, come to himself and, not finding any enemy, he would thank the good Lord Who shielded him.”
“Then the angels also departed happy, while the precious Crosses came together again closing the entrance and guarding the righteous one.”
“Many times,” that good Christian continued, “the devil would come with a large number of demons to throw him in a passion but couldn’t, because, surrounded by the power of the Cross, he would ridicule them and spit on them. Thus the dark demons, thoroughly ashamed, would disappear, while he glorified God even more for granting him such power against the invisible enemies.”

Troparion of the Cross in Tone I:

Save O lord Thy people * and bless thine inheritance. * Grant now unto the faithful, * victory over adversaries, * and by the power of Thy Cross * do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.


O STRANGE wonder, great and marvelous! The length and breadth of the Cross is the equal of Heaven’s span, for by means of grace Divine, it doth hallow the universe. By this, barbarian nations are subdued; by this, the scepters of princes are made strong, O ladder most divine! Whereby we ascend unto the Heavens’ heights, while exalting Christ the Lord with hymns and songs of praise.


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.

Exapostilarion of the Exaltation of the Cross, 2 Tone

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.”


In solidarity with all mankind Christ taking upon Himself all the suffering of the world, accepting to die an impossible death has said in the name of all the sufferers, ‘Yes, – we forgive!’ Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh

Σταυρός_Крест Иисуса Христа_Cross of Jesus Christ-Orthodox Icons_crux_gemmata_ravenna460Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria, and those with them in Rome (283)
Claudius the Tribune, his wife Hilaria, their sons Jason and Maurus, the priest Diodorus, and the deacon Marianus.
Martyr Pancharius at Nicomedia (302)
Saint Leontius of Saintes, Bishop of Saintes (640)
Saints Landoald and Amantius, a priest and deacon who helped enlighten what is now Belgium and north-eastern France, founded the church at Wintershoven (c. 668)
Righteous Mary (Maria Shvarnovna), wife of Vsevelod III (1206)
Saint Bassa, nun, of the Pskov-Caves Monastery (1473)
Venerable Innocent of Komel the Wonderworker, in Vologda (1521), disciple of St. Nilus of Sora.
New Martyr Demetrius, at Constantinople (1564)
Saint Sophia of Slutsk and Minsk, descendant of the Sovereigns of the Kyivan-Rus’ (1612)
New Martyr Nicholas Karamanos of Smyrna (1657)
“Sweet-Kissing” Icon of the Mother of God of Smolensk

Commemorated on March 19

Third Sunday of Great Lent
Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross

Let all the earth venerate the Cross,
through which it has learned to worship Thee, the Word.

Sunday of the Cross
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
18 March 1990

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

Σταυρός_ Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_πορεια στην ανω ιερουσαλημ5764821315_3e9821491fAs we progress deeper and deeper into the weeks of Lent, we can say with an ever-growing sense of gratitude and of joy, of a serene and exulting joy the words of a Psalm, ‘My soul shall live, and with gratitude I will give glory to the Lord’.

In the first week of Lent we have seen all the promises of salvation given in the Old Testament fulfilled: God became man, salvation has come, and all hopes are possible. And then, in the second week of Lent, we had the glorious proclamation of all the Saints of Christendom that not only did God come and dwell in our midst, but He has poured out upon us, into the Church, and into every human soul ready to receive Him the presence, the transforming gift of the Holy Spirit that makes us gradually commune ever deeper to the Living God until one day we become partakers of the Divine nature.

And today, if we ask ourselves, ‘But how that? How can we be forgiven, how can evil be undone?’ – one step brings us deeper into gratitude, deeper into joy, deeper into certainty when we consider, when we contemplate the Cross.

There is a passage of the Gospel in which we are told that when Christ spoke of salvation and of its conditions, Peter said to Him, ‘Who then can be saved?’ – and Christ answered, ‘What is not possible to men is possible for God!’. And He Himself came; the fullness of God abided in a human person, and He has power to forgive because He is the victim of all the evil, all the cruelty, all the destructiveness of human history. Because indeed, no one but the victim can forgive those who have brought evil, suffering, misery, corruption and death into their lives. And Christ does not only forgive His own murderers, when He says, ‘Father, forgive – they don’t know what they are doing’: He goes beyond this, because He had said, ‘Whatever you have done to one of My smaller brethren and sisters, you have done it to Me’ – not only in good, but indeed, the worst: because in compassion, in solidarity He identifies with every sufferer: the death, the pain, the agony of each of those who suffer is His. And so, when He prays, ‘Father, forgive! They do not know what they are doing, what they have been doing’, He prays for each of us not only in His own name, but in the name of all those upon whom evil has visited because of human sin.

But it is not only Christ who forgives; everyone who has suffered in soul, in body, in spirit, – everyone is called to grant freedom to those who have made him suffer.

And so, we can see why Christ says, ‘Forgive so that you may be forgiven’ because both the victim and the culprit are tied in one knot of solidarity and reciprocal responsibility. Only the victim can say, ‘Lord – forgive him, forgive her’, and only then can the Lord say, ‘I do!’.

But do you realise what responsibility it puts on each of us with regard to all and everyone? But also the depth, the glorious depth of hope which opens up to us when we look at the Cross and see that in solidarity with all mankind Christ taking upon Himself all the suffering of the world, accepting to die an impossible death has said in the name of all the sufferers, ‘Yes, – we forgive!’

This is one more step towards freedom, this is one more step towards the moment when we will be faced with Christ’s resurrection that engulfs us also because the risen Christ is risen and is offering all and each of us the fullness of eternal life.

And so again, and again we can say that Lent is a spring of a new life, a new time, a time of renewal, not only in repentance, but in being taken by Christ Himself as the shepherd took the lost sheep, as the Lord took up His Cross, brought it to the place of death, and undid death, undid evil by forgiveness and giving His life. Once more we are confronted with another step of our freedom and of newness. Let us enter ever deeper into this mystery, into this wonder of salvation, and rejoice in the Lord, and rejoicing, step after step, more and more, let us also express our gratitude by newness of life. Amen!

Through the power of Thy Cross, O Christ our God, preserve us also from the temptations of the Evil One. And make us worthy to venerate Thy divine Passion and life-bearing Resurrection, having radiantly traversed the great length of the Fast, and have mercy on us, as Thou art good and lovest mankind. Amen.

Σταυρός_Ελκόμενος επί Σταυρού_Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_S1luarea_crucii--_Greek-Byzantine-Orthodox-Icon_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.

Apolytikion (First Tone)

Save, O Lord, Your people and bless Your inheritance; grant victory to the faithful over their adversaries. And protect Your commonwealth, by the power of Your Cross.

If you believe, you will walk on the water like St. Peter. first, Faith; second, Faith; third, Faith. That’s all! Mother Gabrielia

ΑΓΓΕΛΟΙ-Monastery-Sucevita-exterior-frescoe-Ladder-of-Virtues-Romanian-Sucevita-Monastery-8Mother Gabrielia
Love everyone as your own

Everywhere are people of God. You never know if the one you see today might tomorrow be a saint.

And the Mother said . . .
Only one thing do I know that I have always, and it is not pride, nor fantasy, but that which I have day and night, wherever I find myself–three things: first, Faith; second, Faith; third, Faith. That’s all! Nothing else can I say to you. It has directed all my life.

When we believe and someone says, “Do you want to come to Lebanon with me?” I say, “Yes.”

-“How do you say Yes to everything?”

-I say yes because I believe that if it is not for my good God will make it so that the “No” will come from the very one who invited me. Some paper will not be ready, or something will happen.

Today I am ninety years old–may you live so long! I read again and again and again in the Gospels, and I see something strange. Jesus Christ comes and says to the Apostles, “Leave now what you have and follow Me.”

Now, if they said, “And who are you? Why should we lose what we have? Why should we lose our profit? Where will you take us? What will you do with us?”–if they had said that, what would have happened? They would have remained in darkness.
They said Yes to some Unknown who came and said, “Throw all that away!” Why? Because they believed in God, and they waited for the One who would say to them, “Come!” And that was the beginning.
Because if we say No, what will happen? . . . One or the other: If you believe, you will walk on the water like St. Peter. If you are scared–Bloop! Nothing else.

Through all my life it has been like that. They called me to the strangest and most distant place in India. One night they sent me a message: “Come and see someone who is sick.” We started out in an ox cart driven by some shepherd boy. And as we were going up the mountain in the forest, what do I see above us? Two eyes shining, a tiger. What do you say then? “Lord have mercy on me, and may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
So I closed my eyes and saw that written within me. Because He said to us, “Why do you worry? Why do you worry? Even the hairs of your head are numbered!” Why worry? Faith is lacking. May we have faith.

ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ_αγγελος-καρδιά-Angel Ангел-angel4_12592309_1744643362435368_5723213547361763369_nAgain, Mother said . . .
-Once when I was there where I was, some foreign missionary came and said to me, “You may be a good woman, but you’re not a good Christian.”
I said, “Why?”
“Because you have been here so long and you only go about speaking English. What local languages have you learned?”

I said to him, “I haven’t managed to learn any of the local languages, because I travel a great deal from place to place. As soon as I learn one dialect, they start speaking another. I’ve only learned ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good evening.’ Nothing else.”
“Bah, you’re no Christian. How can you evangelize? All the Catholics and Protestants learn all the local dialects in order to . . .”

Then I said, “Lord, give me an answer for him.” I asked it with all my heart, and then I said, “Ah. I forgot to tell you. I know five languages.”

-“Really? What are these five?”

“The first is the smile; the second is tears. The third is to touch. The fourth is prayer, and the fifth is love. With these five languages I go all around the world.”

Then he stopped and said, “Just a minute. Say that again so I can write it down.”
With these five languages you can travel the whole earth, and all the world is yours. Love everyone as your own–without concern for religion or race, without concern for anything.
Mother Gabrielia – The Sayings From the book: “Mother Gabriel, The Ascetic of Love”, by Sister Gabriel.

22. In the early steps of our life we need the presence of someone we love. As we advance, the One, God, fills us with His Love and Joy so much that we no longer need anyone. The soul does this at the beginning because she does not know yet Whom she loves, and thinks it is this or that person.

23. Many times what God expects from us is the intention rather than the act itself. Our readiness to follow His Commandment is enough for Him.

26. A Christian must have reverence for the Mystery of Existence in everyone and everything

31. Never identify a person with the wrong way in which he is treating you, but see Christ in his heart. 

32. Never ask: “Why has this happened to me” ‘When you see somebody suffering from gangrene or cancer or blindness, never say: “Why has this happened to him”‘ Instead, pray God to grant you the vision of the other shore… Then, like the Angels, you will be able to see things as they really are: Everything in God’s plan. EVERYTHING. 

Αγγελος_Angel_Ангелы_Byzantine Orthodox icon_Икона_ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ ΤΟΙΧ.Ι.Μ.ΑΓ.ΙΕΡΟΘΕΟΥ ΜΕΓΑΡΩΝ-4085464Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian

O Lord and Master of my life,
give me not the spirit of laziness,
despair, lust of power, and idle talk. (prostration)
But give rather the spirit of sobriety,
humility, patience and love to Thy servant. (prostration)
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own transgressions
and not to judge my brother,
for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen (prostration)

Return to Me with humility whenever you fall and say, I have sinned and I will cure your passions and stand by you as your helper. Saint Niphon Bishop of Constantiane, in Algeria

Παναγία Πλατυτερα_Panagia Platytera_ Богоматерь Знамение19bigVenerable Benedict of Nursia, abbot (543).
St. Euschemon, the Confessor, Bishop of Lampsacus (9th century).
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of St. Theodore (“Feodorovskaya”) (1613).
Martyr Eustathius and his company at Carrhae, Mesopotamia (741).
St. Rostislav-Michael, prince of Kiev (1167).
Saint Theognostus of Kiev, the Greek Metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus’ (1353).
Holy 47 Martyrs of Rome, baptised by the Apostle Peter, and suffered in Rome under Nero, all on the same day (c. 67)
Venerable Andreas (Andrew), Abbot, of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Rafailovo, Siberia (1820)
Repose of Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ of Yurievets (1893

Commemorated on March 14

The City and the Desert
Saint Niphon Bishop of Constantiane, in Algeria

Many times the saint would depart alone from the city and go to the northern regions. He lived there in the midst of absolute conversing with God. He always loved isolation, and once he smilingly said to me: “Silence hides great spiritual pleasures, my son. And we leave it and live in the mouth of the devil losing enjoyment so rare for this present life.”

“Father,” I disagreed, “what harm did it do to you, who live in the city with the grace of Christ?”

“Only God knows, my son, that Satan tempted me so much, that my Lord Jesus Christ took many pains, humanly speaking, to pry loose the wicked thoughts from my mind Sometimes He admonished me with His own mouth and taught my unworthiness. Other times He sent His Spirit in the form of a white dove that sat on my shoulders filling my ears with divine mysteries. And in spite of this, the evil habit would still pull me into sin. Blessed Paul came often and advised me from the teeth of the dragon. I committed so many evil deeds, my son; may God, the only Mighty One, deliver you from them.”

“I was still young and a slave to my passions. One day, when I was in the church of the Theotokos, suddenly ecstasy and fear overtook me. I heard a voice from heaven saying to me: ‘Nephon, how much longer? Enough! You’ve committed much evil!’ The voice was such that the pew was shaken powerfully and left me terrified.”

“Therefore, my son, since God testified that I am sinful, what can I say for myself? And even if He gives me such power – something that cannot be – as to create another heaven and another earth, so that people may say, ‘Behold the work of Nephon,’ reflecting upon my iniquities I will not cease to believe that they’ve reduced me to an evil demon.”

ΑΣΩΤΟς 77“How can you tell me then that I wasn’t harmed by living in the city? If you knew my indecent deeds, you would disappear from my side instantly. Just think that once when I fell into a great sin, the Lord Himself came to chase me away from the church warning me that I would not be saved because of what I was doing. Immediately, I fell at His immaculate feet and kissing them again and again, I whispered with a painful soul: ‘Lord will I not find salvation even in Your infinite mercy?’ And He, won over by His own measureless love, lifted me up and said to me with compassion: Yes, you will find salvation in My mercy. Only return to Me with humility whenever you fall and say, I have sinned and I will cure your passions and stand by you as your helper. The Lord infinite in mercy and with ineffable compassion said this and disappeared from my sight.”

These words of the saint also humbled my own heart. I would think about them and say: “Woe to me, the wretch! If such a luminary has such a humble opinion of himself, where will I slang when I don’t have even a trace of virtue? ….”

The saint always had this habit of reducing himself to nothing before God. Many times as he was walking by himself, he would reproach himself. “Wretch, it’s not enough that you’ve polluted the people in the city by your indecent acts, now you’ve come here in the country, too, to fill it also with stench and wilt the plants by your sins?”

Then he would descend to Hades with his mind and tie himself with chains under Satan’s feet. “That’s what you deserve, filthy one! I tied you under the demons, that you may realize you’ve committed worse deeds than they.” Tears would stream from his eyes, because he feared eternal damnation.

Another time when he was again in the country, he lifted up his hands to pray. Suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Lord sitting on a glorious throne surrounded by the apostles and a multitude of angels. Dazzled he stood looking at them. He wanted to fly like a bird, if he could, because he was ablaze with the desire to be close to them.

But they, too, were observing him with satisfaction, saying among themselves: “There’s our beloved friend, Nephon! Look, with what longing and love he looks at us! Rightly we also commemorate him during out divine and sacred Offices.”

The immaculate angels were saying these things. And when he came to himself, flooded with exhilaration, he extolled them with praises and songs full of sweetness. “Oh, how the holy angels love the Christian race! They help us in every good deed Then why shouldn’t our desire and longing remain unfailing for them, the precious stones, the glittering pearls, the heavenly beauty, the immortal flowers? They intercede for us unceasingly and they supplicate the Lover of man to pity us and deliver us from eternal fire. Night and day they stand by us: when we eat, they guard us and defend us; when we sleep, they cover us with their wings; when we work, walk or travel, they are always near us, protectors and helpers in everything!”

Saint Theognostus, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia
Troparion — Tone 4

In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith, / an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; / your humility exalted you; / your poverty enriched you. / Hierarch Father Theognostus, / entreat Christ our God / that our souls may be saved.

Troparion of St Benedict Tone 1

By thine ascetical struggles, O Godbearing Benedict,/ thou didst prove true to thy name./ For thou wast the son of benediction, and didst become a model and rule/ to all who emulate thy life and cry:/ Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee;/ glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Troparion of St Benedict Tone 1

By your ascetic labors, God-bearing Benedict, / you were proven to be true to your name. / For you were the son of benediction, / and became a rule and model for all who emulate your life and cry: / “Glory to Him who gave you strength! / Glory to Him who granted you a crown! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!”

Apolytikion of St Alexander of Pidna Tone 3

You were clothed, with the full armor, of the divine Spirit, through faith, you were distinguished in contest Alexander, and in Pydna you ended your path, having been found worthy of a brilliant martyrdom. Glorious Martyr, entreat Christ God, to grant us the great mercy.

Pray, as Saint Gregory Palamas, who cried for many years, “Lord, Enlighten my darkness,” and he was heard… remembering that the Church does not pray for things that cannot be done.” Saint Sophrony (Sakharov) of Essex

Προσευχή_PRAYER- Моление-b87a7bcd29156a66b72687346b4ed841Saint Theophanes the Confessor of Sigiane, the “Big Settlement”
Righteous Phineas, grandson of Aaron (ca. 1500 BC
Holy Nine Martyrs in the Persian Empire.
Saint Cyrus (Abba-Cyr), monk of Alexandria (6th century)
Saint Gregory the Dialogist, Pope of Rome (604)
Venerable Saints Symeon the New Theologian (1022), and his elder, Symeon the Studite (Symeon the Reverent, the Pious), of the Studion (987) (see also: October 12)
Saint Nicodemus of Mammola in Calabria (990)
Martyr Demetrius the Devoted, King of Georgia (1289)
Commemorated on March 12

Second Sunday of Great Lent
Commemorated of St Gregory Palamas, intellectual leader of Hesychasm

Verse: Now is the truly great preacher of the Radiant Light,
Verse: Led by the Source of Light to the never-setting Light.

O most wise one, thy words and sacred writings are to those who draw near to them; a heavenly dew, honey from the rock, the bread of angels, nourishing food, and sweetness, O Gregory, thou fount of living water. (ODE V )

Saint Sophrony (Sakharov) of Essex

Γρηγόριος Παλαμάς- Saint Gregory Palamas _ Святой Григорий Палама_3What can I do to inherit eternal life?

And I was given the answer:

“Pray, as Saint Gregory Palamas, who cried for many years, “Lord, Enlighten my darkness,” and he was heard.

“Pray in the words of the Ecclesiastical Ode “Enlighten, O Giver of Light, and me the sinner with Your light inaccessible”, and strengthen your faith, remembering that the Church does not pray for things that cannot be done.”

Then, that Man, in excluding the possibility that such a prayer would remain without the above answer, closed his argument as follows:

” When your soul knew this light, then, when it happened to lose it, you will burn for it, and mimicking the Saint Simeon the New Theologian will seek and will I cry unto them:

— Come, O true light!

— Come, O eternal life!

— Come, O raising of the fallen!

— Come, O rising of those who lie down!

— Come, O resurrection of the dead!

— Come, All-Holy King.

— Come, and dwell in us

and live continually, inseparably within me,

and you reign in us

ever and unto the ages of ages.


Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
11 March 1990

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

Γρηγόριος Παλαμάς- Saint Gregory Palamas _ Святой Григорий Палама_0_143963_e96e4d98_origIn one of the Psalms we can read the following words: Those who have sown with tears will reap with joy... If in the course of weeks of preparation we have seen all that is ugly and unworthy in us mirrored in the parables, if we have stood before the judgement of our conscience and of our God, then we have truly sown in tears our own salvation. And yet, there is still time because even when we enter into the time of the harvest, God gives us a respite; as we progress towards the Kingdom of God, towards the Day of the Resurrection, we still can, at every moment, against the background of salvation, in the face of the victory of God, turn to Him with gratitude and yet, brokenheartedness, and say, ‘No, Lord! I am perhaps the worker of the eleventh hour, but receive me as Thou promised to do!’

Last week we have kept the day of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the day when the Church proclaimed that it was legitimate and right to paint icons of Christ; it was not a declaration about art, it was a deeply theological proclamation of the Incarnation. The Old Testament said to us that God cannot be represented by any image because He was unbottomed mystery; He had even no Name except the mysterious name which only the High Priest know. But in the New Testament we have learned, and we know from experience that God has become Man, that the fullness of the Godhead has abided and is still abiding forever in the flesh; and therefore God has a human name: Jesus, and He has got a human face that can be represented in icons. An icon is therefore a proclamation of our certainty that God has become man; and He has become man to achieve ultimate, tragic and glorious solidarity with us, to be one of us that we may be one of the children of God. He has become man that we may become gods, as the Scripture tells us. And so, we could last week already rejoice; and this is why, a week before, when we were already preparing to meet this miracle, this wonder of the Incarnation, softly, in an almost inaudible way, the Church was singing the canon of Easter: Christ is risen from the dead! – because it is not a promise for the future, it is a certainty of the present, open to us like a door for us to enter through Christ, the Door as He calls Himself, into eternity.

And today we remember the name of Saint Gregory Palamas, one of the great Saints of Orthodoxy, who against heresy and doubt, proclaimed, from within the experience of the ascetics and of all believers, proclaimed that the grace of God is not a created Gift – it is God Himself, communicating Himself to us so that we are pervaded by His presence, that we gradually, if we only receive Him, open ourselves to Him, become transparent or at least translucent to His light, that we become incipiently and ever increasingly partakers of the Divine nature.

This is not simply a promise; this is a certainty which we have because this has happened to thousands and thousands of those men and women whom we venerate as the Saints of God: they have become partakers of the Divine nature, they are to us a revelation and certainty of what we are called to be and become.

And today one step more brings us into the joy, the glory of Easter. In a week’s time we will sing the Cross – the Cross which was a terror for the criminals, and has become now a sign of victory and salvation, because it is to us the sign that God’s love has no measure, no limits, is as deep as God is deep, all-embracing as God is all-embracing, and indeed, as tragically victorious as God is both tragic and victorious, awe-inspiring, and shining the quiet, joyful light which we sing in Vespers.

Let us then make ourselves ready to meet this event, the vision of the Cross, look at it, and see in it the sign of the Divine love, a new certainty of our possible salvation; and when the choir sings this time more loudly the canon of the Resurrection, let us realise that step by step God leads us into a victory which He has won, and which He wants to share with us.

And then we will move on; we will listen to the Saint who teaches us how to receive the grace which God is offering, how to become worthy of Him; and a step more – and we will see the victory of God in Saint Mary of Egypt and come to the threshold of Holy Weak. But let us remember that we are now in the time of newness, a time when God’s victory is been revealed to us, that we are called to be enfolded by it, to respond to it by gratitude, a gratitude that will make us into new people – and also with joy! And joy full of tears in response to the love of God, and a joy which is a responsible answer to the Divine love. Amen!

Προσευχή_PRAYER- Моление-390_1269234149_977262_5653820_n[4]The vision of uncreated light is man’s deification. Saint Gregory Palamas

Experiences of Uncreated Light of St. Seraphim of Sarov With Nicholas Motovilov

Troparion for the Saint in Tone VIII:

The light of Orthodoxy, support and teacher of the Church, * glory of monastics and invincible protector of theologians, * O wonderworker Gregory praise of Thessalonica and preacher of grace, ** pray thou without ceasing that our souls be saved.

Kontakion Tone 8:

Holy and divine instrument of the highest wisdom, * joyful trumpet of theology, * with one accord we sing thy praises, O Gregory thou divinely inspired one. * But since thy mind standest before the original Mind, ** guide our minds to Him, O father, * that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, thou preacher of grace.

ODE IV To Saint Gregory:
Irmos: Seated in glory …,

Thou hast opened thy mouth, O wise father, and preached the divine Wisdom which thou hast ever learnt in thy heart; and which showed Balaam to be vainly lacking in understanding and foolish.

Refrain: Holy Hierarch Father Gregory, pray to God for us.

Thou hast set beneath the earth, O most sweetest Sun, in accordance with the laws of nature, but in the morning thou shalt rise again with Christ, the Sun that knoweth no evening, Who doth watch over all by thine intercessions.

Glory …,

The grace of God hath been manifest in thee, O blessed one, the great glory and strong support of the Orthodox, the good shepherd, and second Theologian, and brave guardian of thy flock.

ODE IX, To Saint Gregory:
Irmos: Let every mortal born on earth … ,

Refrain: Holy Hierarch Father Gregory, pray to God for us.

A mirror divine wast thou, O Gregory, for in accordance with the divine image, thou hast kept thyself undefiled; and manfully establishing thy mind as master over the passions of the flesh, thou hast attained to that which is in accordance with God’s likeness. Wherefore thou hast become the most glorious dwelling-place of the Holy Trinity.

Refrain: Holy Hierarch Father Gregory, pray to God for us.

Like an inspired winged angel, thou dist come to the aid of the pious Emperor, as one completely filled with the Holy Spirit, fighting against the vainminded Balaam, who in his madness unjustly spake against the God of heaven; Wherefore thou didst justly gain the victory over him.

Glory …,

Wholly filled with heavenly wisdom, thou didst shine forth upon the world as light, teaching the dogmas of Orthodoxy. Befriending thyself to and loving Wisdom, O most wise one, thou didst conceive the fear of God within thyself, giving birth to the words of the Spirit.

Troparion Venerable Theophanes the Confessor of Sigriane — Tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile / And by your longing for God you brought forth fruits in abundance. / By the radiance of miracles you illuminated the whole universe. / O our holy Father Theophanes, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “O most glorious wonder …”:

Truly the Bestower of good things hath richly granted thee * rewards for thy pangs: * to expel demons * and to heal afflictions, * imparting power, O all-blessed one, * and vouchsafing thee ineffable joys * where the angelic ranks hold chorus, * gazing continually upon ** the countenance of the Almighty.

Troparion, in Tone IV:

Receiving divine grace from God on high, * and strengthened by its power, * O glorious Gregory, thou didst will to walk the path of the Gospel. * Wherefore, thou hast received from Christ * the reward of thy labors, O all-blessed one. ** Him do thou entreat, that He save our souls

If a Troparion need be chanted, we use the following; In Tone VIII:
With the streams of thy tears thou didst irrigate the barren desert, * and with sighs from the depths of thy soul thou didst render thy labors fruitful an hundredfold, * becoming a beacon for the whole world, resplendent with miracles. ** O Symeon our father, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “O most glorious wonder …”:

O father Symeon, thou peer of the angels, * standing continually before the joyous Light, * thou dost behold what the angels see, * delighting in the never-waning effulgence which on Tabor once shone forth upon the three disciples. * Thou hast illumined the ends of the earth like the sun * with the splendor of thy corrections, * warming thy children with beams of Orthodoxy, * and removing the darkness of the defilement of sin. ** O fervent advocate, entreat Christ God, that we be saved!

When a Christian devoutly kisses the holy Icons and prays for help from Christ, Panagia, the Saints, he draws into his heart not only the Grace of Christ, of Panagia , and of the Saints, but also the whole of Christ,or of Panagia, or of a Saint, and places them upon the iconostasis of his own temple. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.. Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Άγιο Μανδήλιο-Βαρτζια-Γεωργια_Спас Нерукотво́рный-чудотворный-Мандилио́н Вардзиа, Грузия _The Holy Face Christ, Mandylion-Vardzia-Georgia- ვარძიაGr2004_36First Sunday of Great Lent
the Triumph of Orthodoxy

On this first Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the Church of Christ celebrates the restoration of the holy and venerable icons by the Emperor Michael, the holy and blessed Empress Theodora and the Holy Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople.

Verse: I rejoice when I see the veneration due the icons,
Verse: Once so ignominiously rejected.

On Reverence For Icons
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Αλύπιος των σπηλαίων Κιέβου εικονογράφος_Saint Alypius of the Caves of Kiev Pechersk Lavra_Алипий Печерский иконописец_viewImgWhat reverence we must have for the holy icons!
-A monk once prepared an Icon of Saint Nicholas to give to someone as a blessing. He wrapped it in a clear piece of paper and placed it in a cabinet until the time came to give it. But without realizing it, he placed it upside down. After a while, a rattling sound could be heard in the room.The monk looked around to see where the sound was coming from. He did not realize at first that it was coming from the cabinet. The rattle continued for some time,”tap, tap, tap” and would not leave him in peace. Finally, when he approached the cabinet and realized the sound was coming from there , he opened it and heard the sound coming from the icon. “Let me see what is the matter with this Icon,” he said to himself and unwrapped it. He saw what had happened, stood the Icon upright and immediately the sound stopped.
The devout person will especially venerate the holy Icon. And when we say, “He will venerate the holy Icons” we mean he venerates the person depicted on the Icon. When someone has a picture of his father, his mother, his grandfather,or grandmother, his brother, he cannot possibly tear it or step on it. How much more must we venerate the Icons of the Saints.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have no Icons.The honour we show to the Icons they consider to be idolatry. I asked one of them once,”Don’t you have photographs in your homes?”Yes,we do,”he said.”Well then, does a mother kiss the photograph of her child, when that child is far away?” “Yes, she does,” he said “Does she kiss the paper of the photograph or her child?”I asked and he replied, “She kisses her child.” “well then, just as she kisses her child when she kisses his photograph, we kiss Christ when we kiss His Icon, we don’t kiss the paper or the wood.”

-Elder, even if a plank of wood had been once painted with an Icon of Christ, οf Panagia (Mother οf God), or of a Saint and the colours have faded away over time, are we not still to show reverence for it?
-Yes, of course. When someone venerates the holy Icons with devoutness and fervent love, he absorbs the colours from them and the Saints are imprinted on his soul. The Saints are pleased when they are lifted up from the paper or the wood and imprinted in people’s hearts. When a Christian devoutly kisses the holy Icons and prays for help from Christ, Panagia, the Saints, he draws into his heart not only the Grace of Christ, of Panagia , and of the Saints, but also the whole of Christ,or of Panagia, or of a Saint, and places them upon the iconostasis of his own temple. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6;19.3;16) You see, every divine service begins and ends with the veneration of the Holy Icons. If people could understand this they would feel such joy, they would receive so much power!

-Elder, in the Supplication Service of the Theotokos, why does a verse in the hymns of praise say, Speechless be the lips of the impious who do not venerate your sacred Icon?
When someone is not devout and yet kisses the Icons, are his lips not speechless? And, when the devout kisses the Icons, aren’t his lips full of praise?There are some people who do not even touch the Icon when they venerate it. Others touch only their lips to the Icon when they kiss it. Here, like this(Without a sound) Did you hear anything?
Well then, “speechless are the lips.
Where as the devout person kisses the Icon and you can hear the sound of the kiss. In that case, the lips are “eloquent” with praise. It is not a matter of cursing when the verse says “speechless”, but rather that those lips are without a sound, while the others are eloquent with sounds. When we look upon the holy Icons, our hearts should be overflowing with love for God and for the Saints, and we should prostrate ourselves to venerate the Icons and kiss them devoutly.

The Foundation is devoutness.

You see, someone may lean against the wall where an Icon has stood and he receives Grace, while another may own the best Icon, but because he is not devout, receives no benefit. Or one may benefit from a simple wooden cross, while another, who is not devout,may not even benefit from the True Precious Cross itself . Cultivate your devoutness and your modesty as much as you can. This will help you receive the Grace of God. For, if someone is devout and spiritually modest and humble too,he can expect to receive divine Grace. If he has no devoutness and no humility, the Grace of God does not come to him. What does the Sacred Scripture say? But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word. ISA 66;2.
Taken from Saint Paisios of Mount Athos : Spiritual Counsels, Vol. 2: Spiritual Awakening, translated into English and published in 2008 by Holy Monastery “Evangelist John the Theologian”, Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Λουκάς ευαγγελιστης-ιατρός_Γεώργιος_Saint Luke Evangelist_Св Лука_438683dd1f3a64b09082dbe45f1d65f3ddeGive thanks to God for everything. Try to be manly. Pull yourself together a bit. Do you know what Christians are suffering in other countries? There are such difficulties in Russia! But here many exhibit indifference. There’s not enough disposition to kindness, love of devotion. You see, if we don’t begin to make war against evil, to expose those who tempt believers, then the evil will grow larger. If we throw aside fear then the faithful will be emboldened a bit. And those who wage war against the Church will have a harder time.
In the past our nation lived spiritually, so God blessed her, and the saints helped us in miraculous fashion. And we were victorious against our enemies, who always outnumbered us. Today we continue to call ourselves Orthodox Christians, but we don’t live Orthodox lives.
Taken from Saint Paisios of Mount Athos : Spiritual Counsels, Vol. 2: Spiritual Awakening,


Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος_παιδι_ св Георгий победоносец_St. George the Trophy-bearer_ გიორგი გმირავს_Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon__7444410193602936832_nThe Lord says: “I am the Lord your God. You shall not make for yourself a carved image nor any likeness of anything. You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God”. The Orthodox Church worships icons. Is this the right thing to do?
– The saint responded. A mother whose child is fighting in a war, fears for his life, day and night. She is constantly in anguish and always anxious. Suddenly, she gets a letter from her child with his photograph inside. When she sees the photograph, what does she do? She takes it into her hands and she kisses it, and afterwards she brings it up to her chest so that it always touches her heart. Well, what do you think? Do you think that this mother with such burning desire for her child believes that she is kissing a photograph? She, of course, thinks that she is kissing her very own child! The situation is the same for the faithful people who have a burning respect and passion for the All Holy Theotokos and the Saints. We don’t venerate the icons but rather we venerate the holy persons they depict. And we venerate these holy persons not because they are the faces on the icons, but because they fought and many times they died for Christ. God is jealous, that is the truth, though He is not jealous of us venerating His own children (the saints). He is jealous when we venerate the devil and the devil’s children. The father isn’t jealous of his own children. Do not worry, the Lord is proud and happy when He sees you respecting and loving His Mother and the Saints.
From the article “A conversation with Saint Paisios” published in the journal “Osios Gregorios” a publication of the Holy Monastery of Osios Gregorios of Mount Athos 20th edition (1995), page 66. Translated by Anna Pipinos, Elias Pipinos and Margarita Pipinos.


Anthony Bloom Metropolitan of Sourozh
16 March 1997

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

ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑς_Triumph of Orthodoxy_Торжество православия_im3391We are keeping today, as every year at the end of the first week of Lent, the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. And every year we must give thought to what is meant, not only as a historical event, but also in our personal lives. First of all we must remember that the Triumph of Orthodoxy is not the Triumph of the Orthodox over other people. It is the Triumph of the Truth Divine in the hearts of those who belong to the Orthodox Church and who proclaim the Truth revealed by God in its integrity and directness.

Today we must thank God with all our hearts that He has revealed Himself to us, that He has dispelled darkness in the minds and hearts of thousands and thousands of people, that He who is the Truth has shared the knowledge of the perfect Truth Divine with us.

The occasion of this feast was the recognition of the legitimacy of venerating icons. By doing this we proclaim that God – invisible, ineffable, the God whom we cannot comprehend, has truly become man, that God has taken flesh, that He has lived in our midst full of humility, of simplicity, but of glory also. And proclaiming this we venerate the icons not as idols, but as a declaration of the Truth of the Incarnation.

By doing this we must not forget that it is not the icons of wood and of paint, but God who reveals Himself in the world. Each of us, all men, were created in the image of God. We are all living icons, and this lays upon us a great responsibility because an icon may be defaced, an icon may be turned into a caricature and into a blasphemy. And we must think of ourselves and ask ourselves: are we worthy, are we capable of being called “icons”, images of God? A western writer has said that meeting a Christian, those who surround him should see him as a vision, a revelation of something they have never perceived before, that the difference between a non-Christian and a Christian is as great, as radical, as striking, as the difference there is between a statue and a living person. A statue may be beautiful, but it is made of stone or of wood, and it is dead. A human being may not at first appear as possessed of such a beauty, but those who meet him should be able, as those who venerate an icon – blessed, consecrated by the Church – should see in him the shining of the presence of the Holy Spirit, see God revealing Himself in the humble form of a human being.

As long as we are not capable of being such a vision to those who surround us, we fail in our duty, we do not proclaim the Triumph of Orthodoxy through our life, we give a lie to what we proclaim. And therefore each of us, and all of us collectively, bear every responsibility for the fact that the world meeting Christians by the million is not converted by the vision of God’s presence in their midst, carried indeed in earthen vessels, but glorious, saintly, transfiguring the world.

What is true about us, simply, personally, is as true about our churches. Our churches were called by Christ as a family, a community of Christians to be a body of people who are united with one another by total love, by sacrificial love, a love that is God’s love to us. The Church was called, and is still called, to be a body of people whose characteristic is to be the incarnate love of God. Alas, in all our churches what we see is not the miracle of love divine.

From the very beginning, alas, the Church was built according to the images of the State – hierarchical, strict, formal. In this we have failed – to be truly what the early, first community of Christians were. Tertullian writing in defence of the Christians said to the Emperor of Rome: “When people meet us they are arrested and say: ‘How these people love one another!‘” We are not collectively a body of people about whom one could say this. And we must learn to recreate what God has willed for us, what has once existed: to recreate communities, churches, parishes, dioceses, patriarchates, the whole church, in such a way that the whole of life, the reality of life should be that of love. Alas, we have not learned this yet.

And so, when we keep the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy we must remember that God has conquered, that we are proclaiming the truth, God’s own Truth, Himself incarnate and revealed, and there is a great responsibility for all of us collectively and singly in this world, that we must not give the lie to what we proclaim by the way in which we live. A western theologian has said that we may proclaim the whole truth of Orthodoxy and at the same time deface it, give it the lie by the way in which we live, showing with our life that all these were words, but not reality. We must repent of this, we must change, we must become such that people meeting us should see God’s truth, God’s light, God’s love in us individually and collectively. As long as we have not done this we have not taken part in the Triumph of Orthodoxy. God has triumphed, but He has put us in charge of making his triumph the triumph of life for the whole world.

Therefore, let us learn to live according to the Gospel which is the Truth and the Life, not only individually but collectively, and build societies of Christians that are a revelation of it, so that the world looking at us may say: “Let us re-shape our institutions, re-shape our relationships, renew all that has gone or remains old and become a new society in which the Law of God, the Life of God can prosper and triumph. Amen.

O unchanging Image of the Father,
through the prayers of Thy holy confessors,
have mercy on us. Amen.

εικονες_σχεδιο_Eikonos-iicon345465Apolytikion of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, Tone Two

O Christ our God, begging forgiveness of our sins, we venerate your pure image O Good One. Of Your own will You condescended to ascend upon the Cross in the flesh and delivered those you created from the bondage of the enemy. Wherefore, thankfully we cry out: When You came to save the world You filled all things with joy, O our Savior.

Troparion of the Sunday of Orthodoxy (Tone 2)

We venerate Thy holy icon, loving Lord,/ asking Thee to pardon our transgressions, Christ our God./ For Thou of Thine own will wast pleased in the flesh to ascend upon the Cross,/ so to deliver from the bondage of the enemy those Whom Thou hast fashioned./ Therefore in thanksgiving we cry aloud to Thee:/ Thou hast filled all things with joy, our Saviour,// when Thou hast come to save the world.

As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured,
So we think, so we speak, so we preach, honouring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshipping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honouring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and giving to them due veneration.
This is the faith of the Apostles;
This is the faith of the Fathers;
This is the faith of the Orthodox;
This faith makes fast the inhabited world!
(From the Synodikon of Orthodoxy)

O our Lord, Mighty Lord, mightier than death, give us strength and understanding to keep Your holy word to the end; that we do not taste of death and that death does not taste of us; that decay does not touch our soul. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox IconfileFirst Saturday of Lent:
On this day, the Saturday of the First Week of the Fast, we celebrate the wondrous miracle wrought through Kollyva by the holy and glorious Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit.

The Recruit entertaineth the city with the nourishment of Kollyva,
Thereby rendering the polluted delicacies ineffective

By Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos

Προσευχή_PRAYER-Моление-ψυχοσαββατο_10590514_10205299883432716_426883023279451099_n - CopyWhen Julian the Apostate, who ruled over the Empire after Constantios, the son of Constantine the Great, had departed from Christ to idolatry, a mighty persecution was stirred up against Christians, both openly and secretly. Refraining from inflicting savage or inhuman punishments on them, the ungodly Emperor tempted the Christians in the following way: feeling shame, and at the same time suspecting that more might be added to their numbers if he persecuted them openly, the crafty and impious man plotted somehow to pollute them secretly.

Observing that our Christian race purifies itself and devotes itself to God more during the First Week of the Fast, he summoned the Eparch of the city and ordered him to remove the food that was usually for sale and to set out other comestibles in the marketplace, namely bread and beverages, having first mixed these with the blood from his sacrificial offerings, polluting them in the process, so that, when the Christians purchased them during the Fast, they might be defiled rather than cleansed. The Eparch carried out his order immediately and set out all over the marketplace the food and drink that had been polluted with blood from the sacrifices.

But the all-seeing eye of God, Who catches the wise of this world in their cleverness and ever provides for us, His servants, destroyed the loathsome devices directed against us by the Apostate. He dispatched His Great Trophy-bearer, Theodore the Recruit, to Evdoxios, the Archbishop of the city, who had obtained this office improperly.

Standing before Evdoxios, not in a dream, but while he was awake, St. Theodore spoke words such as these: “Arise with all speed and gather together the flock of Christ, and order them under no circumstances to buy any of the items set out in the marketplace; for they have been polluted by the most impious Emperor with blood from his sacrificial offerings.” Puzzled by this, the Archbishop asked: “And how can those who do not have abundant provisions in their homes easily avoid buying food from the marketplace?” “Provide them with Kollyva,” the Saint replied, “to relieve them in their time of need.” Puzzled again, and not knowing what Kollyva was, Evdoxios asked the Saint for an explanation. The great Theodore replied: “It is boiled wheat; for this is what we are accustomed to calling it in Evchaïta.” When the Archbishop inquired who precisely this provider for the Christian people might be, the Saint answered: “I am Theodore, the Martyr of Christ, Who has just now sent me to aid you.”

The Archbishop arose at once and announced what he had seen to the multitude. By acting thus, he preserved Christ’s flock unharmed by the machination of their enemy, the Apostate. When Julian saw that his trickery had been exposed, that he had accomplished nothing, and that he had been sufficiently put to shame, he ordered the usual comestibles to be put back in the marketplace.

At the end of the week, the Christian people gave thanks to their benefactor, the Martyr, and joyously celebrated his memorial on this Saturday with Kollyva. Ever since then, and up until now, we faithful revive this miracle, lest the Martyr’s great deed become forgotten with the passage of time, and celebrate the memory of the Great Theodore with Kollyva.

By his intercessions, O God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.


St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain:

Christ will shorten the years of the Antichrist for the love of the faithful; the possession of the Antichrist will last three and a half years. However, just as God helped the believers then with the miracle of the Kollyva, something similar will happen to us and will protect us. Don’t be afraid!”

The Seal of the Antichrist Becomes a Reality

Ιησούς Χριστός_ΠΕΡΠΑΤΩΝΤΑΣ ΠΑΝΩ ΣΤΑ ΚΥΜΑΤΑ_Jesus-Christ_Walking-on-Water- Господне Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icon_sanpietroIt’s possible that you’ll live through much which is described in the Book of Revelations. Much is coming to the surface, little by little. The situation is horrible. Madness has gone beyond all bounds. Apostasy is upon us, and now the only thing left is for the ‘son of perdition’ (2 Thess. 2:3) to come.
The world has turned into a madhouse. A great confusion will reign, in which each government will begin to do whatever comes into its head. We’ll see how the most unlikely, the most insane, events will happen. The only good thing is that these events will happen in very quick succession.

Ecumenism, common markets, a one-world government, a single made-to-order religion: such is the plan of these devils. The Zionists are already preparing their messiah. For them the false-messiah will be king, will rule here, on earth.
A great discord will arise. In this discord everyone will clamor for a king to save them. At that moment they’ll offer up their man, who’ll say: “I’m the Imam, I’m the fifth Buddha, I’m the Christ whom Christians are awaiting. I’m the one whom the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been waiting for. I’m the Jewish messiah.”

Difficult times are ahead. Great trials await us. Christians will suffer great persecutions. Meanwhile, it’s obvious that people don’t understand that we’re on the verge of the end times, that the seal of the Antichrist is becoming a reality. As if nothing’s happening. That’s why Holy Scripture says that even the chosen will be deceived.
The Zionists want to rule the earth. To achieve their ends they use black magic and satanism. They regard satan-worship as a means to gain the strength they need to carry out their plans. They want to rule the earth using satanic power. God is not something they take into account.

One sign that the fulfillment of prophecy is near will be the destruction of the Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem. They’ll destroy it in order to restore the Temple of Solomon which used to be on the same place. In the end the Jews will pronounce the Antichrist messiah in this rebuilt temple.
The rabbis know that the true Messiah has already come and that they crucified Him. They know this, and yet they are blinded by egoism and fanaticism.


How great is the devil’s hatred of mankind! How strong is the enemy’s desire to destroy us! And yet we forget with whom we are doing battle. If only you knew how many times the devil has already wound his tail around the earth, planning to destroy it! However, God does not allow him to do it, He ruins all his plans. God extracts benefit even from the evil which the devil attempts to do to us; God turns this evil into good.

Look: the merciful God never allows great trials to continue for more than three generations. He always leaves some good stock available. Prior to the Babylonian captivity the Israelis concealed the fire from their last offering to God in an empty well, in order to afterwards light the fire for new offerings. And, in fact, when they returned from captivity seventy years later, the fire used for the first offering to God was lit from the one they found in the well. In difficult times not everyone inclines towards evil. God keeps a good stock for future generations. The Communists held up for 75 years – exactly three generations. And the Zionists, despite going strong for so many years, at the end will not last even seven.


About the word of God which is mightier than death
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“Whoever keeps My word will never taste death” (St. John 8:52).

Παΐσιος o Αγιορείτης_Παναγια _Saint Paisios of Mount Athos_Паи́сий Святого́рец_vpcuviosul-paisie-aghioritul3a2ce6e0aed5649c1bc224 - ΑντιγραφήAs long as a candle burns in a room, there will not be darkness as long as the candle burns and emits light. If food is seasoned with salt, it will be preserved from spoiling. If someone keeps the word of Christ in his soul, that one keeps salt and light in his soul and life will abide in him. Such a soul will not become dark in this life neither will it taste decaying death.

Whoever keeps the word of Christ in himself, the word of Christ sustains him from within and feeds him and enlightens him and enlivens him. Whether he is in the body or outside the body, he feels equally alive from the word of Christ, i.e., from the undying eternal life. The death of the body will give to his Life-bearing soul only a freer enthusiasm in embracing Christ, the Beloved Life-giver.

But, what does it mean, brethren, to keep the word of Christ within ourselves? That means; First: to keep the word of Christ in our mind, thinking about it; Second: to keep the word of Christ in our heart, loving it; Third: to keep the word of Christ in our will, fulfilling it in deeds; Fourth: to keep the word of Christ on our tongue, openly confessing it when it is necessary to do so. Thus, to keep the word of Christ means to fill ourselves with it and to fulfill it. Whoever would keep the word of Christ in this manner, truly, he will never taste of death.

O our Lord, Mighty Lord, mightier than death, give us strength and understanding to keep Your holy word to the end; that we do not taste of death and that death does not taste of us; that decay does not touch our soul. O Lord All-merciful be merciful to us.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Apolytikion of 1st Sat. of Lent
Second Tone

Great are the achievements of faith! In the fountain of flame, as by the water of rest, the holy Martyr Theodore rejoiced; for having been made a whole-burnt offering in the fire, he was offered as sweet bread unto the Trinity. By his prayers, O Christ God, save our souls.

Troparion to St Theodore in Tone II;

Great are the achievements of faith! * The holy martyr Theodore rejoiced in the fountain of the flames * as though in the still waters of rest; * consumed in the fire, he was offered as a sacrifice to the Trinity. ** By his intercessions, O Christ God, save Thou our souls.

Troparion of St. Gerasimus of the Jordan – Tone 1

Dweller of the desert and angel in the body, / you were shown to be a wonderworker, our God-bearing Father Gerasimus. / You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer: / healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith. / Glory to Him who gave you strength! / Glory to Him who granted you a crown! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!

Troparion of St. Gerasimus of the Jordan— Tone 1
(Podoben: “When the stone had been sealed…”)

O citizen of the desert and angel in the body, / you were shown to be a wonderworker, O God-bearing Gerasimos, our Father. / You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer, / healing the sick, and the souls of those who run to you with faith. / Glory to Him Who strengthened you. / Glory to Him Who crowned you. / Glory to Him Who, through you, works healing for all.

Troparion Martyrs Paul and his sister, Juliana — Tone 4

Your holy martyrs Paul and Juliana, O Lord, / through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. / For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through their intercessions, save our souls!

Troparion Right-believing Prince Daniel of Moscow— Tone 3

You have appeared to our land as a shining star / O faithful prince Daniel! / Your light illumined your city and monastery! / O champion of the Orthodox, / deliverer of captives, / advocate of the poor, / O sovereign of Russia pray to Christ God / to grant us peace and save our souls!

Troparion Venerable Gerasimus of Vologda — Tone 5

Equal in the image of the Bodiless Powers, / and of one mind with them, O Venerable Gerasimos, / you arrived alone at the Vologda River, foretelling that there would be a great city, / and in it a holy church, and that Hierarchs would appear there. / Therefore, you deigned to be buried near that city, / and after your death you were renowned for many miracles of healing. / Always pray for us, that we may receive mercy from God.

Appearance of the Kolomenskoye “Reigning” (“Derzavnaya”), Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos on March 2, 1917, the day of the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II. By making this appearance, the Mother of God took over supreme royal power over Russia in the most difficult period in the life of the Russian state.

Νικόλαος Β΄ Τσαρος της Ρωσίας_святого страстотерпца Николай II_Coronation of Tsar St. Nicholas II Romanov (Holy Communion)Saint Nicholas Planas of Athens (1932)
Hieromartyrs Nestor the Bishop, and Tribiminus the Deacon, at Perge in Pamphylia (ca. 250)
Martyr Troadius of Neo-Caesarea, and those with him (251)
Virgin-martyr Euthalia of Sicily (252
Martyr Hesychius the Senator (the Palatine), of Antioch (ca. 304)
Saint Agathon of Egypt, monk (5th century)
440 Martyrs slain by the Lombards in Italy (Martyrs of Campania) (ca. 579)
Saint Ambrose (Khelaia) the Confessor, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia (1927)
Repose of Abbess Philareta of Ufa (1890)
Appearance of the Kolomenskoye “Reigning” (“Derzavnaya”), Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1917), the day of the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia

Commemorated on March 2nd

Παναγία η Βασιλεύουσα_Reigning icon of the Mother of God_Державная икона Божией Матери_23_p1bb683o23sv3p5r1vun18bb1tpc4 - CopyAt the very moment of the Tsar’s abdication – 3 o’clock on March 2, 1917 – a miracle took place that attested to God’s love for Russia.
In the village of Kolomenskoye, near Moscow, according to a revelation of the Mother of God, a search had been taking place for several days for her icon “The Reigning Mother of God”. This icon had gone at the head of the Russian army in 1812 as it drove Napoleon out of Russia. But then this wonder-working icon had been forgotten and seemingly lost. No one knew about its fate. And only on March 1, 1917, did a pious widow by the name of Eudocia Andrianova receive a revelation to look for the icon in the village of Kolomenskoye. And there she immediately identified the Church of the Ascension as the church where she had seen the Heavenly Queen in her dream. Father Nikolai Mikhachev, rector of the church, showed her all the old icons of the Mother of God that were part of the iconostasis, but the one that she had seen in her dream was not there. 
 Then she asked whether they had any old icons. They told her that there were some in the basement. She asked to go there, and she and a deacon went down into the basement.
“And truly, there were many old, dust-covered icons there. They began to wipe them one by one. But they still did not find the icon they were looking for. But when she came up to the icon “The Reigning Mother of God”, Eudocia cried out:
“That’s her!”, although it was still covered with a thick layer of dust which made it impossible to recognise. But when they cleaned it, it was true: the wonder-working icon of the Mother of God had been found. It depicted the Mother of God seated on a royal throne, her countenance stern, severe, and commanding gaze of her sorrowful eyes, filled with tears, an orb and sceptre in her hands and the Christ-child giving a blessing in her lap, with God the Father looking down from above. This icon soon thereafter miraculously renewed itself and the robe of the Mother of God was seen to be blood red, something which had been foretold also in the dream. Services were written to this icon and many people made the pilgrimage to venerate it. Healings, both of physical and mental infirmities began to take place before it.
However, the attention the event deserved was given to it neither by the provisional government, which was only to be expected, nor by the people, which was less expected, nor even by the Church herself… Then the servant of God Eudocia insisted that according to the revelation the icon had to be taken round the Kremlin seven times. But they managed to take it round only once during the time of Patriarch Tikhon, that is, after the October revolution, and to the sound of gunfire. Eudocia said:
“The Mother of God said: if they take it round the Kremlin seven times, the Bolsheviks will not be able to capture it!”
But this was not done. The Bolsheviks put the icon in a museum under the title “A counter-revolutionary icon of the Mother of God”. Recently, it has been returned to Kolomenskoye.
By making this appearance, the Mother of God took over supreme royal power over Russia in the most difficult period in the life of the Russian state.
Knowing the exclusive strength of faith and prayer of Tsar Nicholas II and His particularly reverent honoring of the Mother of God, – we may not doubt that it was he who succeeded through prayer in having the Mother of God take upon Herself the Supreme Royal authority over the people, who renounced their Tsar Anointed one. And the Mother of God came into the “Home of the Virgin Mother of God” that had been prepared for Her by the whole of Russian history, in the most difficult moments of life of the God chosen people, in the moment of its greatest fall, and took upon Herself the succession of authority of the Russian empire, when the idea itself of the Orthodox Supreme National Tsardom had been trampled in favor of satanic tyranny.
It is for this reason that the gaze of Her wondrous eyes, filled with tears of Divine wrath and maternal love, are so stern, severe and filled with such sorrow: it is for this reason that Her royal robe is soaked with Russian martyr blood and the jewel tears of innocent Russian martyrs decorate Her crown.
The symbolic meaning of this holy icon is clear for spiritual eyes: through uncountable suffering, blood and tears, after repentance, the Russian people would be forgiven and the Supreme power, preserved by the Heavenly Queen Herself, would without any doubt be returned to Russia. Otherwise why should the most holy Mother of God preserve this power.
With joyful fear and repentant trepidation the Russian people began to pray before the “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God throughout Russia, and the icon itself, in innumerable reproductions, started to embellish all the Russian churches. A marvelous akathist and canon dedicated to this holy icon appeared, listening to which the whole church was to fall upon its knees. (Editors notes: The New Martyr And Confessor Patriarch Tikhon [1917-1925] wrote this akathist to the “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God. St. Tikhon was the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia at the time. This Venerable Patriarch said this Akathist frequently).
The news of the revelation of the new icon on the day of the Tsar abdication of the Throne, on March 2, 1917 – quickly spread through the neighboring vicinities, penetrating into Moscow, and started to spread throughout all of Russia. A huge number of pilgrims started to accumulate in the village of Kolomskoye, and before the icon miracles of healing of both physical and mental infirmities were manifested, according to the witness of those had received this help. They started to carry about the icon in the neighboring churches, factories, manufacturing plants, the icon remaining in the Ascension Russian Orthodox Church in Kolomskoye only on Sundays and holidays… Several years passed and then the most cruel persecution set in upon the heads of the pious reveres of this holy icon, who prayed before its copies throughout all of Russia. (Source: Orthodox Life, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York., Vol. 4/76, July & August, 1962., 4-8).


Νικόλαος Β΄ Τσαρος της Ρωσίας_ Tsar Nicholas II of Russia_ святого страстотерпца Николай II_0bfd5544ee17f91225The enemies of Holy Russia knew well that the greatest unifying factors in Russia were the love of God and love for the Tsar, the visible symbol of the Orthodox Empire. By cutting off the head, they hoped to render the body powerless through fragmentation, thereby making it malleable to their evil intents. Through infiltration of the press, slanderous stories against the Royal Family were printed. The foreign press, hungry for scandal, printed unverified stories, many of which are still believed to this day. Even the Empress was accused of disloyalty and treason – she who was above reproach in her heartfelt love for her adopted land. Conspiracies began to take shape among court officials, the Duma (Parliament), the generals and the nobility, even including relatives of the Tsar. This, at a time when unity was more than ever needed.
The Duma deputies and army generals were putting pressure on the Tsar to abdicate. They kept reassuring him that only such an act would save Russia from bloodshed. He repeatedly asked:
“Are you confident that my abdication will save Russia from bloodshed?”
Again they reassured him that it would.
But the Tsar knew the quality of the men who were advising him. As he sadly wrote in his diary on the day of his abdication:
“All around me I see treason, cowardice and deceit.”
And again, on the same day, while holding a bundle of telegrams from the Corps of Generals and even from his own uncle, he said:
“What is left for me to do when everyone has betrayed me?”

And after the abdication, the Empress wrote to the Emperor: “You will be crowned by God Himself on this earth, in your own country…”
And so, after an entire night spent in prayer, he laid aside the crown for what he felt was the good of his country. For, as he wrote: “I am ready to give up both throne and life if I should become a hindrance to the happiness of the homeland.” And again: “There is no sacrifice that I would not make for the real benefit of Russia and for her salvation.”

Metropolitan Anastasius writes that the emperor “was far removed from the idea of defending his authority only for the sake of the desire to rule. ‘Are you sure that this will be to Russia’s benefit?’ he asked those who, supposedly in the name of the nation, presented him with the demand that he renounce his hereditary rights, and when he received a positive answer, he immediately laid aside the burden of royal government, fearing lest a single drop of Russian blood might fall on him in case a civil war arose.”
Though he no longer had the responsibility of government, his first thoughts were for his nation, as he said to one of his officers,
“Just to think that, now I am Tsar no longer, they won’t even let me fight for my country.”

Νικόλαος Β΄ Τσαρος της Ρωσίας_ Tsar Nicholas II of Russia_ святого страстотерпца Николай II_LbY2CmaJllsAfter the abdication, on March 9, the Tsar arrived back in Tsarkoye Selo, where his family were all under house arrest like common criminals, and found all of his children ill. Alexis, Olga and Maria had the measles and were bedridden with high fevers; Tatiana and Anastasia both had painful ear abscesses, which left Tatiana temporarily deaf.
Again the image of Job overshadowed him – all had been taken from him except his dear ones and his indomitable faith. He did not curse his fate, accepting all as the will of God, and did not even murmur against his captors who treated him with disrespect and even contempt. What greater example could the Russian people have asked for, or what nobler man could have led them as their king? Thus Christ’s lament over the chosen people was fulfilled in Holy Russia as well: “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23.37-38).
He had a very strong sense of his destiny as an Orthodox ruler. Although he had an opportunity to flee the country with his family and seek refuge outside Russia, he and his Empress deliberately chose to stay and accept whatever awaited them. He had been born on the feast of the Prophet Job and because of this he often remarked to his advisors: “I have a secret conviction that I am destined for a terrible trial, that I shall not receive my reward on this earth.”
He wrote: “I am ready to give up both throne and life if I should become a hindrance to the happiness of the homeland.” And again: “There is no sacrifice that I would not make for the real benefit of Russia and for her salvation.”
And shortly after the abdication the Empress said: “Our sufferings are nothing. Look at the sufferings of the Saviour, how He suffered for us. If this is necessary for Russia, we are ready to sacrifice our lives and everything.”
And again: “I love my country, with all its faults. It grows dearer and dearer to me… I feel old, oh, so old, but I am still the mother of this country, and I suffer its pains as my own child’s pains, and I love it in spite of all its sins and horrors… Since [God] sent us such trials, evidently He thinks we are sufficiently prepared for it. It is a sort of examination… One can find in everything something good and useful – whatever sufferings we go through – let it be. He will give us strength and patience and will not leave us. He is merciful. It is only necessary to bow to His will without murmur and wait – there on the other side He is preparing for all who love Him indescribably joy.”


According to Diveyevo tradition, during the triumphant glorification of St. Seraphim in 1903, the Tsar and Tsaritsa met blessed Pasha, who foretold them the birth of an heir, and also the fall of Russia and the Dynasty, the devastation of the Church and a sea of blood. After this his Majesty sought her counsel on all serious questions. Not long before her death she answered the Tsar’s last question with the words, “Sir, leave the throne yourself.” In 1914, while praying before the portrait, she said, ‘There’s not much time left now for our dearest one.”


Νικόλαος Β΄ Τσαρος της Ρωσίας_ Tsar Nicholas II of Russia_ святого страстотерпца Николай II_fOn February 21 in 1917 a fourteen-year-old novice of the Rzhishchev Monastery (below Kiev, along the Dnieper), Olga Zosimovna Boiko saw a prophetic dream:
“…In a blinding light, on an indescribably wondrous throne sat the Savior and beside Him, at His right hand, our Emperor, surrounded by angels. The Sovereign was in full royal garb — in a bright white royal mantle and crown, with a scepter in his hand… And I heard how the martyrs were conversing among themselves, rejoicing that the last times were coming and that their numbers were increasing. They said that people would be martyred for the Name of Christ and for not accepting the mark and that churches and monasteries would soon be destroyed and those living in monasteries would be driven out, and that not only clergy and monastics would be martyred, but all who did not want to receive the mark and who would stand for the Name of Christ, for the faith, and for the Church… “
…On Wednesday evening, March 1, Olga awakened and said, ‘You will hear what will happen on the twelfth day (of her sleep)’. On that very day in Rzhishchev they found out by telephone from Kiev about the Emperor’s abdication…
The eldress asked, ‘What is the reason for this?’ Olga answered, ‘The same as it was for the Heavenly King, when they cast Him out, reviled Him, and crucified Him. Our Tsar,’ she said, ‘is a martyr…’ The sisters then felt pity for the Sovereign and said, ‘The poor, poor unfortunate sufferer.’ Olga smiled and said, ‘On the contrary, he’s the luckiest of the lucky. He’s a martyr. He’ll suffer here, but there he’ll be with the Heavenly King.’ This, for the most part, is the vision of novice Olga Boiko from the Rzhishchev Monastery in the diocese of Kiev.”
by R. Monk Zachariah (Liebmann) (From a letter of Sergei Nilus to Hierodeacon Zosima, August 6, 1917)

I know of a priest in Athens. He is the most humble of priests and the most simple of men. Alexandros Papadiamandis on St. Nicholas Planas

St. Nicholas Planas, the Simple Shepherd of Athens

Troparion icon of the Mother of God named “Pantanassa” (All-Reigning or Queen of All), in Tone IV—

Seeking the city of Sion, we flee today beneath thy protection, O pure Virgin, and none can assail us, for there is no city as powerful as the one of Him Who is God, and no other might to equal that of the mercy of the Virgin Mistress.

Troparion  – Tone 4

Do Thou, O Sovereign Lady, by Thy joy-bestowing honorable Icon “Queen of All,” saves those who with fervent desire implore Thy grace; deliver from afflictions those who run to Thee; from all dangers do Thou guard Thy flock, who ever calls upon Thine intercession.

Apolytikion of St. Nicholas Planas
Plagal First Tone

Let us praise our protector, the godly Nicholas;
as one endowed with blest virtue,
he shone forth as true priest of the most high God,
and was His fervent worshipper.
For, by his holy life on earth, he has left us most sublime,
divine and unfailing teachings of long-suffering, meekness, patience, unfeigned humility
and true God-like love.

Troparion of Saint Ambrosi the Confessor, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia (†1927)
— Tone 8

Champion of Orthodoxy, teacher of purity and of true worship, / the enlightener of the universe and the adornment of hierarchs: / all-wise father Ambrose, your teachings have gleamed with light upon all things. / Intercede before Christ God to save our souls.

On “Lord, I have cried…”, 8 stichera, in Tone IV—

Injustice hath covered thy land like a sea, and we are now cruelly engulfed; but do thou stretch forth thy right hand and, as thou art all-lauded, set us upon the rock of the Faith. Save us, save us, O Mistress, and establish thy dominion among us.

Thy flock here is shown to have the character of the serpent, for we are buffetted by the wind and are unable to endure; but, as thou art good, still thou the waters of contention and reject not thy servants, ever maintaining thy mercy even unto us. If thou, O Theotokos who art exalted far above all others, if thou, O impregnable rampart and joy of the world, wilt not, who then will beseech thy Son, Christ our God, in our behalf, that He have mercy upon His grieving people, who are contrite of heart? Before Him, then, be thou a never-tiring mediatress, and save us.

Glory…, Now & ever…, in the same tone—

Put not your trust in princes who pass away; for they are able to accomplish nought, and are sons of men; they will fade like the grass, and no one will remember them. But pray, pray, O brethren, and the Mother of our God will take you under her protection; and we shall find rest, O ye people, beneath her mantle.

Ode IV
Irmos: Seated in glory upon the throne of the Godhead, Jesus most divine hath come on a light cloud, and with His incorrupt arm hath saved those who cry: Glory to Thy power, O Christ!

Desolation is come upon thy servant, and our house is become empty and deserted. I go and cry out, but there is none to save me: death alone respondeth to my voice. And, lamenting, I entreat thee and say: Reject me not, O pure virgin, that I may be saved.

Extend thy flower-bearing hand, O Mistress, and bring life to thy garden, that the poor may find their bread and the paupers raiment for themselves, and all may praise thy name, for thy mercy is truly ineffable.

If thou desire it, no one will destroy us, for thou hast acquired great boldness with Christ God, thy Son; and, perceiving this, we cry out to thee, O Mistress, that thou keep us also under thy ­protection.

We, the Orthodox Christians, flee today beneath thy mercy; and, splendidly celebrating the manifestation of thy precious icon, we say to thee: Thou dost spread thine invincible mantle over us also, O gracious one.

Understand, ye rebellious nations, and boast not in your designs, for there is one city which is impregnable, and that is thy dominion and kingdom, O Ever-virgin Mistress, which will stand until the end of time.

Even when I am in bondage, O pure Maiden, yet through thee am I ever free, and my degradation is not a cause of fear to me, but is as the crucible and the fire are to gold. For, understanding this, I glorify my bonds and magnify thee, the immaculate Virgin.

On the Praises, stichera, in Tone V—

O Virgin Theotokos, we the faithful bless and glorify thee as is meet: the impregnable city, the invincible rampart, the steadfast intercessor and refuge of our souls.

Ikos 3
Thy icon called “Queen of All” was miraculously glorified when it appeared conveying healing.
Do Thou give healing to those who with faith sing before it that such healing would be
multiplied by songs such as these:
Rejoice, the Mother of Unfading Light.
Rejoice, the Victory of those who suffer to the end.
Rejoice, the Medication of those who are in illness and sorrow.
Rejoice, the inviolable Wall of all orphans and widows.
Rejoice, Thou Who opens the doors of Paradise.
Rejoice, Thou Who defends all who labor and are burdened.
Rejoice, the Intercessor for the salvation of all.
Rejoice, Thou Who prays for mankind.
Rejoice, the Heavenly Ladder that rises from the earth to Heaven.
Rejoice, the Living Water that cleanses deadly sins.
Rejoice, the Lamb that protects the hearts of the honest ones.
Rejoice, the Cover that spreads over the children of the Church.
Rejoice, O Queen of All, do Thou heal our ailments by Thy grace!

For myself, I will ask forgiveness of you for all that I have not done that should have been done, for the awkward way in which I do things, and for the many, many things that should be done and are never done. Anthony of Sourozh

ΠΑΡΑΔΕΙΣΟΣ-Paradise-kingdom of Godw-Царство Божие (Небесное)-bs06_WqXPFzlsItQVespers, Forgiveness Sunday
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

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

Σταυρός_ Holy-Cross_Крест Господня_πορεια στην ανω ιερουσαλημ5764821315_3e9821491fWe are now on our journey from the land of dereliction to the glorious land, where we meet the Loving God as children of His Kingdom. This church at this moment is an apt image of the situation in which we are; we are in twilight, and we see the sanctuary of God, God’s own realm in all the glory of light. And yet we know that Christ has brought light into the world, that He is the Light, and that we are children of Light. It is from darkness to twilight, and from the twilight into the full glory of the uncreated Light of God that we are now moving. As in every journey, when one leaves the place of one’s habitual abode, one is still full of feelings and memories and impressions; and then gradually they fade away until in the end nothing is left but the expectation of the end of our journey.

This is why, in the course of this first week of Lent, the penitential canon of St Andrew of Crete is read. For the last time we think of ourselves; for the last time we shake off the dust from our feet; for the last time we remember the wrongs of the past years, and before we proceed further to the Triumph of Orthodoxy, to the day when we remember that God has conquered, that He has come and brought the truth into the world, and life abundant, and joy, and love, we can turn a last time to ourselves and one another to ask one another for forgiveness: Free me from the fetters which my unworthiness has made and which tie me down; fetters which are made of sins of commission and sins of omission, of what was done by us to one another, and what was left undone that could have brought so much joy, so much hope, that would have been evidence to each of us that we are worthy of God’s faith in us.

And so, in the course of this week let us for the last time look at ourselves and look at one another and make our peace. Making peace, reconciliation, does not mean that all problems are over. Christ came into the world to reconcile the world with Himself and in Him with God; we know what it cost Him: He gave Himself, helpless, vulnerable, unprotected, gave Himself to us, saying: Do with Me what you want, and when you will have done your worst ” see that My love has never faltered, and that it could be joy and it could be searing pain, but it was nothing but love…

And this is an example which we can, which we must follow if we want to be Christ’s own people. Forgiveness comes at the moment when we say to one another: I recognise your frailty, I see how deeply you wound me, and because I am wounded, because I am a victim — at times guilty, and at times innocent” I can turn to God, and from the depth of pain and of agony, of shame, and at times of despair, I can say to the Lord: Lord ” forgive! He does not know what he is doing! If he only knew how deeply wounding his words are, if he only knew how destructive he is for me in my life, he would not do it. But he is blind, he is immature, he is frail; and I accept his frailty, and I will carry him, or her, as a good shepherd carries the lost sheep; because we are all lost sheep of the fold of Christ. Or else, if necessary, I will carry him, or her, or them as Christ carried His cross — to the point of death, to the point of love crucified, to the point when all power of forgiveness is given if we only have accepted to forgive whatever was done to us.

And so let us enter into this Lent, as one moves from darkness into twilight, and from twilight into light: with joy and light in our hearts, shaking off our feet the dust of the earth, shaking off all the fetters that make us prisoners” prisoners of greed, of envy, of fear, of hatred, of jealousy, prisoners of our lack of mutual understanding, prisoners of our self-centredness because we live like prisoners within ourselves and we are called by God to be free. Then we will see how step after step we move as though it were across the vast sea, away from the earth of darkness and twilight towards the divine Light, we will meet the Crucifix, and we will meet one day at the end of it, Love Divine revealed to us in its tragic perfection before it reaches us as an unutterable glory and joy. First ” Passion Week, first the Cross; and then the wonder of Resurrection. We must enter into both, enter into the Passion of Christ together with Him, and enter together with Him in the great peace and in the shining light of the Resurrection.

For myself, I will ask forgiveness of you for all that I have not done that should have been done, for the awkward way in which I do things, and for the many, many things that should be done and are never done.

But let us now support one another on this journey by mutual forgiveness, by love, remembering that very often on a hard journey it is the people from whom we expect nothing good that at a moment of crisis will stretch out a supportive hand ” people whom we thought were alien to us, or inimical, who suddenly will see our need and meet it. So, let us open our hearts, our minds and eyes and be ready to see and to respond.

Let us now begin by going to the icon of Christ, our God and our Saviour, who paid a heavy cost to have power to forgive; let us turn to Mother of God Who has given Her only-begotten Son for out salvation; if She can forgive ” who would refuse forgiveness to us? And then turn to one another. While we come we will hear no longer songs of repentance, but as though they were coming from afar off, the hymns of the Resurrection that will grow stronger halfway when we reach the Feast of the Cross, and will fill this church and indeed the world in the night when Christ was risen and His victory won. Amen.

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem… Fr. Seraphim Rose

We will start on this journey to-night as the people of Israel started from the land of Egypt for the Promised Land by looking towards the Living God Who is Life and salvation, and to the example of those who have been victorious by the power of God that we will find courage, inspiration to come to the final victory, to the newness of life which is our calling and God’s promise. Anthony of Sourozh

Δαβίδ Προφήτης_David King prophet_ Давид Пророк-Προσευχή_ΜΕΤΑΝΟΩΝ-2333Fasting gives birth to prophets and strengthens the powerful; fasting makes lawgivers wise. Fasting is a good safeguard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes. Fasting repels temptations, anoints unto piety; it is the comrade of watchfulness and the artificer of chastity. In war it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness. St Basil the Great, First Homily on Fasting (6 )


Father Sophrony tells us: “Prayer is an infinite creation, the supreme art. Again and again, we feel a fiery rush to God, followed only by a fall in His light Again and again, we become aware of infirmity of mind to stand up to him. There are times when we feel the edge of madness. “You gave us the commandment to love, but not in my power to love. Come and commits everything you commanded me: for thy commandments surpasses my powers. My mind is too weak to You understand you. My spirit can not see the mysteries of Your will. My days pass in endless strife. Am I tormented by the fear of losing because of bad thoughts in my heart ‘(Archimandrite. Sophrony Sakharov,” Prayer – the experience of eternal life “, Sibiu, Ed. Deisis, p. 84).

St Sophrony of Essex

In difficult times, when all my efforts have failed to conform the events of my life towards the Gospel teaching, I would pray in the following manner:

“Come and make Yourself one with my will. Your commandments do not fit within my narrow heart, and my finite nous does not comprehend their content. If You are not well pleased to come and dwell within me Yourself, then I will inevitably be led towards the darkness. I know that You do not work through force, so I entreat You: Come and take charge of my house, and wholly renew me. Transform the hellish darkness of my pride into Your humble love. Transfigure with Your Light my corrupted nature, that no passion might be able to remain within me that would prevent Your coming with Your Father (John 14:21-23). Make me a dwelling place of that holy life which You Yourself have allowed me to taste of here in part…Yes, O Lord, I entreat You, do not deprive from me this sign of Your goodness.” ‘

Tone V

The arena of the virtues hath been opened, * let all who wish to struggle now enter therein, * girding themselves for the noble struggles of the Fast; * for those that strive lawfully are justly crowned. * Taking up the armor of the Cross, * let us make war against the enemy. * Let us have as our invincible rampart – the Faith, * and as our breastplate – prayer, * and as our helmet – almsgiving; * and in place of a sword let us make use of fasting * which doth cut away every evil from our heart. * If we do this, we shall receive the true crown from Christ the King of all, ** at the day of Judgment.

Aposticha, (Tone IV):

Thy grace hath shone forth, O Lord, * making our souls radiant. * Behold, now is the acceptable time: * behold, now is the time of repentance. * Let us cast off the works of darkness and clothe ourselves in an armor of light, * that having sailed across the great sea of the Fast, * we may reach the third-day Resurrection * of our Lord and Savior; Jesus Christ, ** Who doth save our souls.


Dear Fathers and Mothers of the Lord and beloved brothers and sisters,
May the Lord grant us a Blessed Great and Holy Lent
and celebrate His Glorious Resurrection!

We are the three strangers you offered hospitality with rich and abrahamic heart and we were sent by our Lord to help you, and reward you for all the love you showed us…

A Wondrous Vision

ΕΛΕΗΜΟΣΥΝΗ_Almsgiving_Подая́ние (ми́лостыня)_μακαριοι οι ελεημονες...Mystical Supper -A married man who had children, servants and plenty of wealth, was very merciful and hospitable. One evening after dinner, he slept and in the morning he was found lying on the ground, cold and unconscious as if dead. His relatives carried him to his bed giving him first aid and warming him to bring him back to consciousness. After many days, he recovered and was asked by his relatives to tell them what happened to him and where he was while he was as dead for so many days. He did not respond, only crying inconsolably and without ceasing and until his death he told nobody. When he was approaching his end he called his eldest son and told him this in front of everybody.

My dear son, I give you this last commandment and order you to keep it strictly as much as you can. Be charitable to the poor and have a lot of affinity towards the strangers and travelers. Look after them in your home and with great love serve them willingly and give them generously, as much as they need as you saw me do until now. Because hospitality is the most welcome of all virtues by God, and receives great reward in the heavenly Kingdom. And to motivate you all my relatives for such God pleasing act of kindness and sympathy towards the strangers and the poor, this my last day I shall relate this amazing vision I had, when you found me as dead down on the floor of our house a few years ago.
Know that from my early years I had great reverence for the Most Holy Theotokos and every day I would read her eulogies and blessings. For this longing and love that I had with all my soul and heart, the Despot (Christ) blessed me through her intercessions to receive many gifts and graces, especially for the sympathy I had for the poor and strangers, as you know, receiving everyone with love and giving generously whatever was needed.

That night I had the vision, I heard a voice calling my name saying “Rise from the bed and follow me”. When I got up, the one that had called me grabbed me firmly by the hand, and brought me to a valley. He then disappeared and I, left alone and not knowing what to do, I suddenly heard behind me voices and disturbances. Turning back I saw a huge crowd of demons who were coming against me to grab me, as savage beasts. I, as soon as I saw them, I started running as fast as I could with incredible fear until I arrived at a house and after entering I closed the door. However, they broke the door and came in to grab me. To understand better, listen to this. It was now three years that I received a stranger in my house, from the evening of the feast of All Saints, to host as was our custom. Arriving at the house I met another stranger that was received by your mother according to my commandment to her, to receive and offer hospitality to everybody as if he were an angel of the Lord, and soon your brother brought another one. I then tasted great happiness for having been blessed to receive and offer hospitality in my home to these three strangers similar to the type of the Most Holy Trinity. I offered them rich hospitality, as much as I could, according to my custom.

When I returned therefore to my vision, the demons had come in and I started to cry to the Lord to have mercy through the intercessions of His Most Holy Mother.

I then saw three good looking men who told me :“Fear not for we have come to help you”. Having expelled the demons they asked me if I knew them. I replied “No, my Lords, I do not know you”. They then replied, “We are the three strangers you offered hospitality with rich and abrahamic heart and we were sent by our Lord to help you, and reward you for all the love you showed us and here you are saved from the demonic hands”. Having said that, they disappeared.

I thanked God and fearing to go outside in case they disturb me again, I remained in the house for a while. After a little while I crossed myself and went outside, hoping on the Lord. Having walked a little, I saw the demons running behind me saying “Let us run now to catch him in case he escapes”. I became afraid and running faster, I cried to the Theotokos, “Most Holy Theotokos help me”. Thus running, I reached a flaming river, that was full of snakes, and other fearsome beasts of Hades. Their body was fully immersed in the flames and only their mouth was out, and open, as if they were hungry wishing to eat. The demons who chased me, were shouting to me to fall in the river or they would do it themselves. I then checked the surrounding for a possible different exit, when I saw a narrow bridge with one span and so tall that it looked to me to reach the sky. Not knowing what to chose between those three options, for example, to fall in the river where I feared the fire and the dragons, to submit to the authority of the demons that was worse, or to climb on the bridge. I chose the third. So I climbed the steps one by one with great fear and danger of falling in the fire. The cunning demons followed me with shouts and threats. When I got to the top of the bridge, the demons reached me and with tears I cried to the Theotokos. “Most Holy Theotokos help me”. Then in front of me appeared the compassionate Mother of mercy and she stretched her right hand saying, “Fear not my dear servant, because you used to read for me eulogies and prayers and loved the poor, the least brethren of my Son and my Despot, that is why I came to help you in your need”. Having told me these she held me by the hand and oh what a miracle! In one moment she brought me back to my house and my soul returned to my body, that you believed I was dead.

For this my son do not neglect your service to the Mother of the Almighty God the All blessed Theotokos, but every hour to sing hymns to her and glorify her as you should and as I did, your father.This way you will have her as your helper in all your needs. This is my first commandment I recommend to you. The second is, as I already told you earlier, force yourself to love as much as possible the strangers, the poor, the widows, the orphans and give them whatever they need, if you wish to enjoy in the world everything good and to inherit the eternal Kingdom of God.
The blessed one, having said to all those present, to venerate the Godmother and to help the poor, he delivered his soul in the hands of God. His son, remembering all his life the fatherly advices, he exercised a life of virtue and after the end of his earthly life, he was found worthy of the heavenly bliss.
From the book, “Soul beneficial visions and narrations on the other life”.
“Orthodox Kypseli” Publications.