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Iconography and Hand painted icons


The apostle Peter appeared to St. Leo A’ of Rome said, “‘I have prayed for you, and all your sins are forgiven, except for those of ordinations.

Λέων Πάπας Ρώμης_Leo A’ pope of Rome_Лев I папа Римский_ΓΚΡΑΤΣΑΝΙΤΣΑSt. Leo A’ the Great, pope of Rome (461).
Martyrs Leo and Parigorius of Patara of Lycia (258)
St. Agapitus, bishop of Sinaus or Synnada in Phrygia (4th c.) the Confessor and Wonderworker, and the Martyrs Victorinus, Dorotheus, Theodulus, and Agrippa, who suffered under Licinius (4th c.).
St. Flavian the Confessor, patriarch of Constantinople (449).
St. Nicholas The Catholicos of Georgia (1591)
New Hieromartyrs Alexander (Medvedsky) (1932) priest and Benjamin hieromonk (1938), New Hieromartyrs Leo of Voronezh, and Agapetus, of Ekaterinoslav.
Commemoration of the New Martyrs who suffered during the “Holy Night” in St. Petersburg (1932), New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1933) and Virgin-martyr Anna (1940).
Saint Valeriu Gafencu, the New Martyr of Romania, at Targu Ocna (1952) and Hilarion, Daniel Tudor and John New Confessors and Prisoners Martyrs of Romania

Commemorated on February 18

Chapter CXLVII
The vision of Eulogius, the patriarch of Alexandria about Leo, roman pope

Abbot Menas, the father of the monastery, told us that he had heard abbot Eulogius the patriarch of Alexandria telling the following story:
When I went to Constantinople, I enjoyed the fellowship of Sir (dominus) Gregory, the archdeacon of Rome, an exceptionally great man, who told me a story about the most holy and blessed Leo, pope of Rome. He said that it had been recorded in the Roman church that when Leo had written to the holy Flavianus, the bishop of Constantinople, his letter against the heretics Eutyches and Nestor, he had placed it on the tomb of Peter the prince of apostles, accompanied by prayers and vigils and fasts.
“If I have all too humanly written with insufficient care or even missed anything out,” he prayed to the chief of the apostles, “do you correct it, for to you was given this see and this church by our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
After forty days the Apostle appeared to him as he prayed.
“I have read, and made corrections,” he said.

He took the letter from the tomb of the blessed Peter, opened it, and found it corrected by the apostle’s own hand.
(The Spiritual Meadow, St. John Moschos,147.)

***

Chapter CXLVIII
The vision of Theodorus bishop of Darna concerning the most blessed LEO.

ΠΕΤΡΟΣ-Peter the Apostle-Petru-Фрески Печской Патриархии, Косово, Сербия0_18208e_fe75b7f_origTheodorus the most holy bishop of the city of Darna in Libya told us the following:
When I was syncellos to the holy pope Eulogius [of Alexandria], I saw in a dream a man of most worshipful appearance and aristocratic demeanour.
“Announce my arrival to the holy pope Eulogius,” he said.
“Who is it who is asking to be announced?” I said.
“I am Leo, the pope of Rome,” he said.
So I went in and announced him.
“The most holy and blessed pope Leo, who occupies the see of Rome, wishes to speak with you.”
On hearing this, pope Eulogius got up and ran quickly to meet him. They greeted each other, said the prayers and sat down.
“Do you know why I have come to see you?” the divine and exalted Leo said to the holy Eulogius.
“No”
I have come to thank you for the magnificently orthodox (rite) reply you wrote to my brother Flavianus, the patriarch of Constantinople. You have enlarged upon the meaning of my own declaration, and brought to naught the prayers of the heretics. Be well assured, brother, that you have given your divine labours and studies not only to me, but even to Peter the supreme chief of the apostles, and also to him who above all others is of the truth, Christ our God.”
I witnessed this vision not once only but twice and thrice. This threefold apparition reassured me and I ran to tell the holy pope Eulogius about it. When he had heard it he wept and lifted up his hands to heaven
“I give you thanks, Christ our God and master,” He said, “for that you have seen fit to let me be a herald of your truth, unworthy though I am, and in your most high and ineffable kindness, through the prayers of your servants Peter and Leo, you have stooped to accept the widow’s two mites of my own modest and insignificant endeavours. (The Spiritual Meadow, St. John Moschos,148.)

***

Chapter CXLIX
The most astonishing story which Amos the patriarch of Jerusalem related about LEO, pope of Rome.

When abbot Ammos went down to Jerusalem and was made patriarch, all the fathers of the desert monasteries went down to pay their respects (adorare) to him, among whom were my abbot and I. This is what he had to say to us:
“Pray for me, my fathers, for a great and heavy burden is laid upon me. The dignity of this priesthood fills me with terror above measure. Peter and Paul and their like may well be able to rule over rational souls, but I am but a miserable sinner. More than anything else I fear the burden of my ordination, for I have found it written that the blessed and angelic pope Leo, who presided over the roman church, kept up a vigil of prayer for forty days at the tomb of the apostle Peter, beseeching him to intercede before God for his sins to be forgiven. At the end of the forty days the apostle Peter appeared to him.
“‘I have prayed for you,’ he said, ‘and all your sins are forgiven, except for those of ordinations. This alone you will be required to answer for, whether you have done well or perchance done otherwise.’(The Spiritual Meadow, St. John Moschos,149.)

Man for by nature and vocation he is a pilgrim of the Absolute. Fr.Alexander Schmemann
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/man-for-by-nature-and-vocation-he-is-a-pilgrim-of-the-absolute-fr-alexander-schmemann/

Returning to the Father’s house, Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou)
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/returning-to-the-fathers-house-archimandrite-zacharias-zacharou/

Apolytikion of Leo the Great
Fourth Tone

A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. Leo, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

Kontakion of Leo the Great
Third Tone

Seated on the priestly throne, O great and glorious Leo, with the Holy Trinity’s inspired and God-given doctrines thou didst stop the gaping mouths of spiritual lions and didst shine upon thy flock the light of God-knowledge, and art glorified now as a divine initiate of the sublime grace of God.

Apolytikion of Romanian Prisoners, New Confessors and Martyrs in Plagal of the First

Flowers of Romania, planted by God, children of the Church true and faithful, let us exalt, O faithful, as martyrs of Christ; for they competed brilliantly, confessing Christ before the atheists, and were worthily crowned, in His glorious kingdom.


Love the sinner as well! love, please, the prodigal son also! there is no worthless man – all those people are God’s sons and daughters. St. Nikolai Velimirovic of Ochrid

άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сыне2e0b70443e32152ba1ce1da341dA brother came to see Abba Poemen and said to him, ‘I sow my field and give away in charity what I reap from it.’ The old man said to him, ‘That is good,’ and he departed with fervour and intensified his charity. Hearing this, Abba Anoub said to Abba Poemen, ‘Do you not fear God, that you have spoken like that to the brother?’ The old man remained silent. Two days later Abba Poemen saw the brother coming and in the presence of Abba Anoub said to him, ‘What did you ask me the other day? I was not attending.’ The brother said, ‘I said that I sow my field and give away what I gain in charity.’ Abba Poemen said to him, ‘I thought you were speaking of your brother who is in the world. If it is you who are doing this, it is not right for a monk.’ At these words the brother was saddened and said, ‘I do not know any other work and I cannot help sowing the fields.’ When he had gone away, Abba Anoub made a prostration and said, ‘Forgive me.’ Abba Poemen said, ‘From the beginning I too knew it was not the work of a monk but I spoke as I did, adapting myself to his ideas and so I gave him courage to increase his charity. Now he has gone away full of grief and yet he will go on as before.’

He also said, ‘It is written: “As the hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for Thee, O God.” (Ps. 42.1) For truly harts in the desert devour many reptiles and when their venom burns them, they try to come to the springs, to drink so as to assuage the venom’s burning. It is the same for the monks: sitting in the desert they are burned by the venom of evil demons, and they long for Saturday and Sunday to come to be able to go to the springs of water, that is to say, the body and blood of the Lord, so as to be purified from the bitterness of the evil one.’(22, 30, From: Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (Preface), Benedicta Ward (Translator) )

άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сыне-gal-2109166Your sins are my sins,
St. Nikolai Velimirovic of Ochrid

Love the sinner as well! Do not fly away from the sinners, but go to them without fear. After all—whoever you may be—you are not much better than they are. Try to love the sinners; you will see that it is easier to love those whom you despise than those whom you envy. The old Zosim (from the “Brothers Caramazov”) said, “Brothers, don’t be afraid of the sins of a sinner; but love a sinner also—that is the record of love upon earth.” I know you love St. Peter and St. John, but could you love the sinner Zacchæeus? You can love the good Samaritan but love, please, the prodigal son also! You love Christ, I am sure; but what about Judas, the seller of Christ? He repented, poor human creature. Why don’t you love him? Dostojevsky—like Tolstoi and Gogol—emphasised two things: first, there is no great man; secondly, there is no worthless man. He described the blackest crimes and the deepest fall and showed that the authors of such crimes are men just as other men, with much good hidden under their sins. Servants and vagabonds, idiots and drunkards, the dirty katorzniki from the Serbian prisons—all those people are God’s sons and daughters, with souls full of fears and hopes, of repentance and longings after good and justice.

Between saintliness and vice there is a bridge, not an abyss. The saintliest and the meanest men have still common ground for brotherhood. Your sins are my sins, my sins are your sins. That is the starting-point for a practical and lucid Christianity. I cannot be clean as long as you are not clean. I cannot be happy as long as you are unhappy. I cannot enter Heaven as long as you are in Hell. What does that mean? It means that you and I are blended together for eternity, and that your effort to separate yourselves from me is disastrous for you and for me. As long as you look to the greatest sinner in the world and say: “God, I thank thee that I am not as that man,” you are far from Christ and the Kingdom of God. God wants not one good man only, He wants a Kingdom of good men. If ninety-nine of us are good and saintly but one of our brothers is far from our solace and support, in sin and darkness, be sure God is not among us ninety-nine, but He has gone to find our brother whom we have lost and forgotten. Will you follow him or will you stand self-sufficient? Never has there existed in the world such a social power binding man to man and commanding each to take and bear the other’s sorrows as Christianity did. Your sins are my sins, my sins are your sins. Such a conception of the Christian religion had Tolstoi in common with Dostojevsky and Gogol, with the Holy Synod, with the popular religious conscience of millions and millions of the living and the dead, in the orthodox world, and with all the jurodivi, the fools for Christ’s sake. That is the religious spirit of the best of the Slavs.
The Religious Spirit of the Slavs (1916) , BY The Rev. Father Nikolai Velimirovich
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13388/13388-h/13388-h.htm#YOUR_SINS_ARE_MY_SINS

 


Guard yourself well, that you do not rebuke the penitent also. How dear the repentant sinner is to God. St. Nikolai Velimirovic

άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сыне_ΑΣΩΤΟςΚΑΥΣΟΚΑΛΥΒΙΑ124324Sunday of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

A brother questioned Abba Poemen saying, If I see a brother whom I have heard is a sinner, I do not want to take him into my cell, but when I see a good brother I am happy to be with him.’ The old man said, If you do a little good to the good brother, do twice as much for the other. For he is sick. Now, there was an anchorite called Timothy in a coenobium. The abbot, having heard of a brother who was being tempted, asked Timothy about him, and the anchorite advised him to drive the brother away. Then when he had been driven away, the brother’s temptation fell upon Timothy to the point where he was in danger. Then Timothy stood up before God and said, “I have sinned. Forgive me.” Then a voice came Poemen (called the Shepherd) [177 which said to him, “Timothy, the only reason I have done this to you is because you despised your brother in the time of his temptation.” (70, From: Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (Preface), Benedicta Ward (Translator) )

Abba Elias, the minister, said, ‘What can sin do where there is penitence? And of what use is love where there is pride?’

St. Nikolai Velimirovic

άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сыне___20120211_1359867634“He who has no patience with us when we sin does not love us. Neither does he love us who does not forgive us when we repent of our sin. And he loves us leasto of all who does not rejoice at our improvement. Patience, forgiveness and joy are the three greatest characteristics of divine love. They are characteristic of all real love…. Without these three characteristics, love is not love. If you give the name “love” to anything else, it is thought you were giving the name “sheep” to a goat or a pig.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, The Lord Jesus has given us a picture of real, divine love, painted in such clear colors that it pulsates with life before our eyes, as this world does when, after the darkness of night, the sun shines forth. Two thousand years have not dulled the colors of the picture, and they will never be dulled as long as there are men on earth, and God’s love for them. On the contrary, the more sinful men become, the more vivid is this picture: the more vivid and the fresher.”

***

One needs to distinguish a sinner from a penitent. If you have taken upon yourself the role to rebuke the sinner, guard yourself well, that you do not rebuke the penitent also. How dear the repentant sinner is to God, call to mind the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Therefore, let it be very dear for you, he who has become dear to God. At one time it happened that a monk succumbed to sin for which he was banished from the monastery. This monk went to St. Anthony, confessed his sin, repented and remained with Anthony for a period of time. Then Anthony sent him back again to the monastery but they did not receive him and, again, they banished him. Again, the penitent came to Anthony. Again, Anthony sent him back to the monastery with a message to the fathers of the monastery: ‘One boat experienced shipwreck and lost its cargo; with great difficulty did that boat arrive in the harbor and you wish to drown even that which was saved from drowning!’ Hearing this wise message, the fathers received with joy the penitent brother into the monastery.”

Tone 3 Kontakion (from the Lenten Triodion)

I have recklessly forgotten Thy glory, O Father; and among sinners I have scattered the riches which Thou gavest me. And now I cry to thee as the Prodigal: I have sinned before Thee, O merciful Father; receive me as a penitent, and make me as one of Thy hired servants!

Tone 1 – ‘Lord, I have cried unto Thee…’

Brethren, our purpose is to know the power of God’s goodness,
For when the Prodigal Son abandoned his sin,
He hastened to the refuge of his Father.
That good man embraced him and welcomed him:
He killed the fatted calf and celebrated with heavenly joy!
Let us learn from this example to offer thanks to the Father who loves all people,
And to the Victim, the glorious Saviour of our souls!

Doxastikon in Tone Six

Loving Father, I have gone far from you, but do not forsake me, nor declare me unfitted for your Kingdom. The all-evil enemy has stripped me naked and taken all my wealth. I have squandered like the Profligate the graces given to my soul. But now I have arisen and returned, and I cry aloud to you, ‘Make me as one of your hired servants, You who for my sake stretched out Your spotless hands on the Cross, to snatch me from the fearsome beast and to clothe me once again in the first robe, for You alone art full of mercy’.

Sessional Hymn, Tone 1

Hasten to open Thy Fatherly embrace to me,
For I have wasted my life as the Prodigal.
In the unfailing wealth of Thy mercy O Saviour,
Do not reject my heart in its poverty.
For I cry to Thee with compunction, O Lord:
Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee!


You want to know God? Just approach him with a painful heart, and it’s easy to relate with him, with a contrite and humble heart. Archimandrite Zacharias, disciple of Elder Sophrony of Essex

Αικατερίνη η Μεγαλομάρτυς _ Святая Екатерина Александрийская_ St Catherine of AlexandriaΗ ΜΝΗΣΤΕΙΑ ΤΗΣ ΑΓ.ΑΙΚΑΤΕΡΙΝΗΣ 001Archimandrite Zacharias, disciple of Elder Sophrony of St. John the Baptist in Essex

I remember an elder saying, “You want to know God? It is very easy. Just approach him with a painful heart, and it’s easy to relate with him, with a contrite and humble heart.” And it’s easy to relate to him and with him and receive his incorruptible consolation. And this incorruptible consolation overshadows the life of the members of this body. When this consolation abounds in the life, it brings the end of the world to them and to us the ends of the world have come, says St. Paul. That is to say, the members of this body, they live in an eschatological way. Like the Lord suffered for their sake outside of the camp of this world, they also come out of the camp of this world, renouncing all the vanity, the futility of this world, the values of this world, the illusions of this world, and the greatest illusion of this world is to want to make compatible the love of God with the love of the world. The love the world is enmity to God, says the Scripture.

So the true members of the body of Christ, they live continually in the presence of God, overshadowed with the incorruptible consolation of his Spirit, and they hasten to his second coming. They do not just simply wait for the second coming, but they hasten to the second coming, because of the great consolation that abounds in their life.

I say these things because, for us who are priests and have received in the Church the ministry of reconciliation of people with God, it’s very important. We are not just the celebrants of sacraments; we are not magicians. Forgive me for this exaggerated word. We are not just celebrants of sacraments. Of course, the sacraments are holy, and the Lord is present in them, but above all we are comforters of souls. God has given us such a grace, and he wants from us to be comforters of souls. But how can we be comforters of souls? Simply by entering the presence of the living God. Every time we approach this living God with a contrite heart and a humble spirit, we enter his presence, and coming out of this presence of the living God we find ready words in our hearts which we are ready to transmit to our fellows, words that will impart grace to them, words which will inform their hearts with grace and gain them for the Lord, and be co-workers with God for their regeneration.

This is par excellence the work of the priests, continually, whether they celebrate the sacraments of the Church, whether they prepare for the Liturgy, whether they offer the Liturgy, whether they preach. Whatever they do, they must have a living word for their fellows, to transmit a living word. Even when we are churching a child, we must say a few sentences, a few words to the parents, to make them understand that they are stewards of this child and co-workers with God for a great edifice, for a wondrous work in God. So whatever we do, whether we marry people, whether we bury people—forgive me—whether we church children, we must always be ready to give a word, a word which will impart strength, grace to the people.

So we see from this that our identity—to be members of this great body—is far greater than any other human identity we may have, because in this body, as I said, we can enter the communion of grace, the communion of gifts of all the saints. When we prepare for the Liturgy, for example, not only the priests but all the faithful, we work in our secret room in our home. We work a little gift in preparing for the Liturgy. That is to say, we try to repent, to warm up our heart with the expectation of his gift, and we come to the Liturgy with this little gift. Each one of us to be members of the body of Christ has to have a small gift, and that small gift will be a key to open the door to the gifts of all the other members of the body.

Σιλουανός ο Αγιορείτης_st.Silouan the Athonite_прп. Силуан Афонский---001_thumb2We come to the Liturgy with a little gift that we have worked in the secret. In the secret—we mustn’t be seen by men. That is a rule of life: not to be seen by men, says the Lord, and that was the rule the mother of God had. That’s why the Most High beheld her humility and did great things to her. So in secret we must work. We must work out a little gift, fill our heart with humble dispositions, with dispositions of repentance, of humility, and even of love for God. And with a heart full of such dispositions we come to the assembly of this body, to the other members, and this gift we bring into the assembly. If we don’t bring any gift, we do wrong to ourselves and also we are not just to our fellows. We must all contribute something in this assembly. We must bring our little gift to this assembly, and this will open up for us the way to share in the gifts of all the other members who are gathered there together in the name of Christ, and that’s how we become rich in this communion of gifts, in this communion of grace, because when we assemble to form the body of Christ, the Lord himself is present, and wherever the Lord is, there are all the orders of saints and all angels. Wherever the Lord is, there are all the armies of heaven present, and that is the kingdom of God in the Liturgy, come in power in the Liturgy.

So when we go to the Liturgy, prepared with a little gift, and we invest this gift in the gifts the priest offers to God on our behalf, we put in those gifts all our prayers, all our repentance, all our humility, all our love, all our expectation we have of him, all our life, and we offer it to God through the words of the priest who does it on our behalf, “Thine own of thine own we offer unto thee, in all and for all.” Then God, who is faithful to us in his promises and his covenant he made with us in baptism, he does the same. He puts his life in the holy Gifts, the grace of the Holy Spirit, in making them his body and his blood, containing all the grace of the Holy Spirit.

And at the end, the Lord speaks to us, and he says: “The holy things unto the holy.” We offer him these gifts full of our life, saying, “Thine own of thine own we offer unto thee, in all and for all,” and the Lord, he accepts our humble and small sacrifice, small life, and he returns to us his infinite and boundless life. “The holy things unto the holy.” And we have the possibility in this gathering, in this assembly of the body of Christ, to make an exchange of our little and small life with the boundless and great life of God. In every Liturgy, we make an exchange of our life with the life of God. That’s why after we have communicated in the holy Gifts, after we have received holy Communion, the Church sings a triumphal song for this exchange that has been accomplished: “We have seen the true light. We have received the heavenly Spirit. We have found the true faith, worshiping the true and undivided Trinity,” and so on.

There is our life: in this body. And we mustn’t forget that St. Paul says to the Ephesians that we can only comprehend the depth and the height, the length and the breadth of the love of God with all the saints. That’s why our Fathers, and especially St. Cyprian of Carthage, taught that outside this body there is no salvation: extra Ecclesia, nulla salvus; outside the Church, there is no salvation, because only in the Church we find this communion of grace, this communion of the gifts of all the saints, the strong ones in heaven and the chosen people of God on earth in every place of his dominion. And in this communion of grace, in this communion of the gifts of the saints, we become rich, and we find salvation.

It was a mystery which was known even in the Old Testament, when the children of the Jews ascended to the temple of Solomon, coming down after having entered the wondrous presence of God in this temple, because the glory of God filled the house of God, as we read in the Scripture, in the old Scripture. When they entered this glorious presence of God, they came out as those that dreamt, says the psalm. They were so happy to enter the living presence of the God in those times, and in those times, the children of the Jews saw the Son, not directly, but reflected in the water, in a pool of water. It was the only way for them to see the Sun of righteousness, Christ.

For us, there is something greater. For us, there is the possibility to become partakers of his body and blood, to become partakers of his nature, in the energetical form, by grace. So as the Jews of old, when they entered the presence of God in the temple, they came out as those that dreamt, so also are the children of God of the New Israel, of the Church of Christ, when they enter the presence of God in the Liturgy, bringing gifts to God in the manner we try to describe. Then they come out renewed. It’s such a wonderful honor, privilege, that we have, to make this exchange of lives. Of course, if we make this exchange of lives, then we would be true witnesses of his death and resurrection, and then our words might convince some people to accept the truth of Christ’s revelation. If we do not manage first to convince God about our belonging to him, in vain will be our effort to convince anybody in this world.

So we said a few words that I wanted to say. And many of the tragedies of the history of the Church are due to the fact that we are not conscious, we are not aware of this great identity we all have in the Church, that we are, above all, members of the body of Christ, and anything else is a shadow. Anything else is very secondary.Δαβίδ Προφήτης_David King prophet_ Давид Пророк-Προσευχή_ΜΕΤΑΝΟΩΝ-2333

ODE VI, Irmos: Beholding the sea of life surging the flood of temptations,

Let us fervently follow the ways of Jesus the Savior and His humility, if we desire to reach the tabernacle of everlasting joy and to dwell in the land of the living.

O Master, Thou hast shown to Thy disciples the humility that raiseth men on high, for girding Thy loins with a towel, and washing their feet Thou didst prepare them to follow Thine example.


Repentance is a complete turning of one’s heart toward Absolute Goodness, Repentance is the unbreakable union of love with our Father and Creator. Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

On Repentance
by Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

God has created us in such a manner that we all influence one another.
When a neighbor or friend feels compassion for our suffering, we immediately feel comforted and stronger.
Likewise, repentance is a change of life.
We must change our way of thinking, for life has dealt us many blows.
We see the entire world, not just our nation, suffering because of that.
If we turn toward the Fountain of Life—God—then He will give us the strength to become rooted in good thoughts—quiet, peaceful, and kind thoughts, full of love.

Σεραφείμ Σάρωφ_St. Seraphim of Sarov_ Преподобный Серафим Саровский_3410033 - CopyOur sincere repentance will shine through, for good thoughts, good wishes, and feelings of love radiate peace and give comfort to every being.
There, now you understand what repentance is all about.
Repentance is a complete turning of one’s heart toward Absolute Goodness, and not only of the heart but also of the mind, the feelings, the body, and one’s whole being.
Repentance is the unbreakable union of love with our Father and Creator.
Therefore we must always be in prayer and at all times ask the Mother of God to give us the strength to love Him as she herself does, along with the saints and the angels.
Then we will be blessed both in this life and in eternity as well.
For God is love, peace, and joy, which fills every being that seeks Him from the heart.
And so, it is clear that if we wish good for ourselves and our neighbors, we must change.
Our thoughts influence not only us but everything that surrounds us.
That is why we must emit only good, quiet, and kind thoughts.
The Lord commands us to love our enemies, not for their sake, but for our own good.
For as long as we wallow in the remembrance of an insult we have suffered from a friend, a neighbor, or a relative, we will have neither peace nor rest.
We must become free from such thoughts.
This means that we must forgive from the heart.

Everything must be forgiven.
The peace we feel afterwards brings a sense of well-being, joy, and comfort not only to us but to all who surround us.
Everyone will feel the impact of our thoughts if our thoughts are kind and peaceful.
And the opposite is true, as well.”
Excerpt from: Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: the Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2010.Δαβίδ Προφήτης_David King prophet_ Давид Пророк-Προσευχή_ΜΕΤΑΝΟΩΝ-2333Tone Plagal of the Fourth

Open to me the gates of repentance, O Giver of Life,
For my spirit rises early to pray towards thy holy temple.
Bearing the temple of my body all defiled;
But in Thy compassion, purify me by the loving kindness of Thy mercy.

Lead me on the paths of salvation, O Mother of God,
For I have profaned my soul with shameful sins,
and have wasted my life in laziness.
But by your intercessions, deliver me from all impurity.

Idiomelon. Mode 1

When the harlot became aware that You, the Son of the Virgin, were God, she began to weep as one who had done things deserving tears, and imploring You she said, “Undo my debt, I pray You, as I undo my braids. Love me who am kissing You, though rightly I am hated; and alongside the publicans I will proclaim You, Benefactor who loves humanity.” (Hymn of Great and Holy Wednesday)


Many accuse modern technology for all the woes in the world. Evil does not come from unfeeling, dead technology, but from the dead hearts of people. St. Nikolai Velimirovich

 

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icon5_tumblr_nnjvle0ANT1rrfu1ao1_1280St. Nikolai Velimirovich

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

Completely conscious of the presence of God and without any pride, Noah built a wondrous ship that was for his salvation and of the new mankinds that was to be born.

In a darkened consciousness regarding God’s presence, people filled with pride agreed among themselves, “Let us build a city and a tower whose top shall reach heaven, and make a name for ourselves.” That was the building of the tower of Babel.

“And you O Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades.” This prophecy of Christ, in the days when Capernaum shined with glory, like a fairytale city beside a lake, was fulfilled. It was so dreadfully fulfilled, that when a traveler finds himself among the thorns and snakes, where once the rich and proud city of Capernaum exalted itself, frightfully asks,” Is it possible that this loathsome place was once a dwelling place of men?”

Ethics are long-lasting and unchanging, that is, evangelic ethics, but technology is always changing. Ethics are likened to a lady, and technology like her handmaiden. That is why ethics have to control technology. Eternal values are the territory of ethics and not technology. It is devastating for an entire people to put the purpose of their lives in technology, and all of their labor and sweat they sacrifice to the advancement of technology, dragging behind them ethics, like Achilles dragged the dead Hector tied to a chariot. A people like that can succeed to build all of their cities from ivory and gold, but if people like Ahab and Jezebel live in them, dogs will have the last word and not people. Between honor and skill it is easy to choose. An honest man even without skill is more respected in our time than a skillful man without honesty.

Technology changes man’s relation towards nature, but not towards man and God.

Whoever thinks otherwise values things more than people, and dust more than the spirit. A horrible tragedy of our time is the war between men and God.

God wants to raise up and exalt man’s identity above dumb and lifeless materiality, while men want to bury their identity and forget their Creator, and make the sole purpose of their lives technology and material wealth.

Many people who are spiritually and morally handicapped by their unbelief in Christ, create out of modern technology idols that they worship, and call upon all peoples and nations to bring sacrifices to those idols.

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

***

Saint Paisius the Athonite

Νωε κιβωτος-Noah's Ark-Ноев ковчег_ΝΩΕ-Noah's Ark-Ноев ковчег_-8-small480O, if only we could realize how long-suffering is God! It took 100 years to build Noah’s ark. Do you not think that God was unable to quickly build some kind of an ark? Of course He could do it, but He allowed Noah to suffer for 100 years, in order for others to likewise realize what awaited them, and to repent. “Look, – said Noah to the people, – there will be a deluge! Repent!” But they only laughed at him. “What a box he is building!” – remarked Noah’s contemporaries sarcastically and continued on their merry way. Even now God can shake up the entire world in two minutes and force it to change, so that all would become believers and even “superbelievers.” How? This is how: if He turns on the switch for “earthquake” and slowly begins to turn the dial: first to a “5 on the Richter scale,” then to a “6,” and then to a “7.” At “eight” the skyscrapers will start to sway like drunkards. At “ten” everyone will cry out: “We have sinned! We entreat Thee – save us!” However, as soon as the earthquake stops, the people – though still unsteady on their feet – will straightaway run off to bars and discos. Because there was no real repentance in their appeal to God, they uttered the words of repentance superficially, only in order to be saved from evil.

Let us ask God to grant the world repentance and that we may escape His righteous anger. God’s imminent wrath cannot be avoided safe through penitence and the keeping of His commandments.

Tone VIII: Glory …,

The gates of repentance, do Thou open unto me, O Giver of Life, * for early in the morning my spirit seeketh Thy holy temple, * bearing the temple of my body all defiled. * But as One who art compassionate ** cleanse it by Thy loving-kindness and mercy.

Now & ever …,

Guide me on the paths of salvation, O Theotokos: * for I have polluted my soul with shameful deeds * and wasted all my life in slothfulness. ** but by thine intercessions * do thou deliver me from all impurity.

Doxastikon of the Aposticha, Saturday Vespers (Tone plagal of the first)

Mine eyes are weighed down by my transgressions, and I cannot lift them up and see the height of heaven. But receive me, Savior, in repentance as the Publican and have mercy on me.

Tone 8

I know the value of tears, almighty Lord: They delivered Hezekiah from the gates of death, And rescued the harlot from repeated sins. Tears justified the Publican instead of the Pharisee: I pray You, Lord: number me with the former, and have mercy on me!


Blessed Staritsa Athanasia (Anastasia) Logacheva, radiated the same Paschal joy and undisturbed cheerfulness as did St. Seraphim

Σεραφείμ Σάρωφ_St. Seraphim of Sarov_ Преподобный Серафим Саровский_ΑΡΚΟΥΔΑ125151182_Σεραφειμ_Blessed Staritsa Athanasia (Anastasia) Logacheva, Hermitess, the cave-dweller (1875)

Repose February 12 

The peasant Anastasia Logacheva (1809-1875), blessed by St. Seraphim of Sarov (1759–1833), to become a hermit, had to wait seventeen years looking after her parents before following her vocation; at length her fame as an ascetic and spiritual mother led to her appointment as Abbess of a monastery in the newly evangelised Altai region.

“The fame of Fr. Seraphim’s ascetical life reached her and when she was seventeen she went to the elder. Having never seen her before, he knew her desire to live as a recluse and said, “What you are thinking about, what you desire, the Queen of Heaven blesses, but the time has not come yet.” A few years later she returned to Seraphim, who told her to go to Kiev to venerate the holy relics there. She complied and while on the pilgrimage she learned to read and write amazingly quickly. At age twenty-three she went again to Fr. Seraphim, who now blessed her intention to live a solitary life, telling her to settle where there was the fragrance of burning incense and giving her permission to wear chains for the mortification of the flesh.

Anastasia went back to the spot in the forest where she had first dug her cave, nine miles distant from her home village, where there was indeed the odor of burning incense, and she took up the solitary life. To avoid attention, she visited relatives in her village only at night, returning to her cave after only a few hours. In the forest she practiced her feats of asceticism. In the manner of Seraphim, she fasted for forty days while remaining unmoving on a rock, and she was seen standing on an anthill, covered with ants and mosquitoes, with blood pouring from her body. She also had to endure demonic temptations and torments of “visions and frightful spectacles,” as she saw animals threatening to eat her, her cabin engulfed in flames, people coming to tear apart her poor building. However, also like Seraphim, she actually lived comfortably with the wild animals of the forest and even ordered bears away from her garden.

Despite her efforts to remain inconspicuous, her renown spread and great numbers of visitors came to her as an eldress for spiritual counsel and advice on how to pray. Others attempted to live with her in the forest but usually they found the life too severe. One man who was thinking of taking up the solitary life asked her about it. She answered, “It is just as difficult to live in solitude as it is to sit peacefully naked on an anthill,” which ended his ambitions.

Προσευχή_PRAYER- Моление-ασκήτρια_anchoress_Orthodox_iocn_of_Saint_Melania_2_1024x1024During this time her intense prayer was observed by those around her, as tears would stream down her face and she would be so deeply absorbed in her prayers that she was oblivious to those around her. Later in her life, shining rays were seen radiating from her face as she prayed. Anastasia was also gifted with foreknowledge of events and would even have fresh berries waiting for guests intending to make surprise visits to her.

The number of women who wanted to join her compelled her to go to the authorities for permission to establish a women’s community in the forest. Disastrously, the authorities not only refused her permission because “she is often not in her right mind” but they also ordered her to leave her cells, which they then demolished. She was officially attached to the nearby Ardatov Protection Convent but she returned to her home village and dug another cell in which she placed a coffin so that she could, in the monastic tradition, contemplate death constantly. To avoid being disturbed, she announced to all that she was going on a pilgrimage and then closed her window, locked her door from the inside and stayed in the cell “as though in the desert.”

Anastasia went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and when she returned after nine months, again the authorities intervened, destroying her cell and ordering her to the Ardatov Convent, a hardship for a recluse accustomed to living alone. Her cellmate was a difficult novice who obstructed her prayers, leading Anastasia to pray for deliverance from the girl. An angry Archangel Michael appeared to her, fiery sword in hand, demanding, “Is this the way people pray to the God of love and peace?” Anastasia repented and continued to enjoy the favor of heaven, and the Virgin Mary again appeared to her, “standing in the air in a prayerful stance, with Her arms out stretched.”

In 1863 Anastasia’s fortunes changed again when she was named to be the superior of the newly established convent of St. Nicholas in the Siberian diocese of Tomsk with the bishop himself tonsuring her under her new name of Athanasia. She remained there for the remaining eleven years of her life, living simply and providing counsel for her nuns, who would leave her presence flying away “as on wings, so light it would be on the soul.”

After her death in 1875, her grave became a pilgrimage site as many were healed of illnesses by drinking the earth from her grave mixed with water.”

Blessed Athanasia radiated the same Paschal joy and undisturbed cheerfulness as did St. Seraphim

Fr. Alexander Priklonsky “Blessed Athanasia & The Desert Ideal” Platina, CA: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1993.

Apolytikion of Blessed Athanasia (Anastasia) Logacheva, Hermitess
Plagal of the Fourth Tone

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

Troparion — Tone 4

You loved Christ from your youth, O blessed one, and longing to work for Him alone you struggled in the wilderness in constant prayer and labor. With penitent heart and great love for Christ you were favored by the Mother of God. Therefore we cry to you: “Save us by your prayers, venerable Seraphim, our father.”