Iconography and Hand painted icons

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

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

About the sign of the Son of Man
Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

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

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

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

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

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

The just person is usually given the worst position, or may even lose his position to others. They abuse him and step all over him. Don’t we have the saying, “They walk over corpses; they stop at nothing?” But the more people push the just and righteous person down, the more the Good God lifts him up, like a cork. It’s not easy though and it takes a lot of patience. Patience clears up so many things. The person who wants to live a virtuous life and be honest in his work, be it a labourer, a merchant, or whatever else, must accept the fact that, once he begins work, he may have to reach the point of not being able to even pay the rent, for example, if he has a store, for the blessing of God to come to him. But he should not have this as his goal: “If I should reach that point, then I will surely have plenty of customers.” One must not think that way or aim at that, because then, God will not bless him. But when he decides to live as God wills and resolves not to cheat or overprice things, God will not abandon him.

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

When someone follows the devil’s path, and comes up with tricks and all kinds of deceptive schemes, God will not bless his work. Schemes of deception don’t work; they appear to flourish, but they collapse in the end. It’s important that we start with God’s blessing in everything we do. A just man has God on his side. And if he has some boldness before God, then miracles hap­pen. When someone lives according to the Gospel, he is entitled to divine help. He walks with Jesus Christ. What can we say? The man has earned His blessing. This is the foundation of it all. Once that is given, there is nothing to fear. The important thing is that Christ, Panaghia and the Saints should find rest in everything we do, and when that happens, we will have their blessing and the Holy Spirit will overshadow us. Honesty is the most precious Holy Cross. If someone is dishonest even if he has a piece of the Honourable Cross on him, it’s like he has nothing. But if one is honest, he has God’s help even though he doesn’t have a piece of the Honourable Cross. Now, if he has both, well, then he’s got everything!

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

(Saint Paisios of Mount Athos : Spiritual Counsels, Vol. 1, With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man”, Part 1, Chapter 4, p. 87-104, Holy Monastery “Evangelist John the Theologian”, Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece 2006.)

Apolytikion of the Holy Cross – First Tone

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

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

Aposticha. Tone 5 – Hail of ascetics.

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

Plagal of Second Tone

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

This was from Me. I want you to know that your weakness has need of My strength, and your safety lies in allowing Me to protect you. St Seraphim of Viritsa

Παναγία Πλατυτερα-χωρα του Αχωρητου_Panagia Platytera_ Богоматерь Знамение11 (2)1 1“There will come a time when not the persecutions but money and the goods of this world will take people far from God. Then many more souls will be lost than in the time of the persecutions. On the one hand, they will be putting gold on the domes and will put the crosses on them and, on the other hand, everywhere evil and falsehood will reign. The true Church will always be persecuted. They who want to be saved will be saved with illnesses and afflictions. The way in which the persecutions will occur will be very sly and it will be very difficult for one to foresee the persecutions. Dreadful will be that time; I pity those who will be living then.”
+ St. Seraphim of Viritsa, Life-Miracles-Prophecies of Saint Seraphim of Viritsa: The New Saint of Orthodox Russian Church 1866-1949

Even in the most difficult times, he who will occupy himself diligently with the Jesus prayer, ascending with the frequent invocation of the Son of God’s name in ceaseless prayer, will be able to be saved easily.

This was from Me
by St Seraphim of Viritsa

This was from me” is a famous letter written by saint Seraphim of Viritsa that he sent to his spiritual child, a bishop who was in a Soviet prison at that time; this homily “This was from me” is written as a consolation and counsel to the bishop to let him know that God the Creator addresses to the soul of man.

Have you ever thought that everything that concerns you, concerns Me, also?
Things that concern you concern the apple of my eye. You are precious in my eyes and I love you; for this reason, it is a special joy for Me to train you. When temptations and the opponent come upon you like a river, I want you to know that,
This was from Me.

I want you to know that your weakness has need of My strength, and your safety lies in allowing Me to protect you. I want you to know that when you are in difficult conditions, among people who do not understand you, and cast you away,
This was from Me.

I am your God, the circumstances of your life are in My hands; you did not end up in your position by chance; it is precisely the position I have appointed for you. Weren’t you asking Me to teach you humility? And there – I placed you precisely in the atmosphere, the school where they teach this lesson. Your athmosphere, and those who live around you, are merely performing My will. Do you have financial difficulties and just barely make it? Know that,
This was from Me.

I want you to know that I dispose of your money, so take refuge in Me and know that you are dependant upon Me. I want you to know that My storehouses are inexhaustible, and I am faithful in My promises. Let it never happen that they tell you in your need, “Do not believe in your Lord and God.” Have you ever spent the night in affliction? Are you separated from your relatives, the people you love? I allowed it to affect you so you turn to Me, and in Me to find consolation and comfort. Did your friend or someone to whom you opened your heart, deceive you?
This was from Me.

I allowed this frustration to touch you so that you may learn that your best friend is the Lord. I want you to bring everything to Me and tell Me everything. Did someone slander you? Leave it to Me; be attached to Me, in Me your refuge so that you can hide from the contradiction of the nations. I will make your righteousness shine like light and your life like midday noon. Your plans were destroyed? Your soul yielded and you are exhausted? 
This was from Me.

You made plans and have your own aims; you brought them to Me to bless them. But I want you to leave it to Me, to direct and guide the circumstances of your life by the hand, because you are the orphan, not the protagonist. Unexpected failures found you and despair overcame your heart, know
That this was from Me.

Because with this tiredness and anxiety I am testing how strong your faith is in My promises and your boldness in prayer for your relatives. Why, is it not you who entrusted their cares to my providential love? Is it not you who now leave them to the protection of my All Pure Mother? Serious illness found you, which may be healed or may be incurable, and nailed you to your bed.
This was from Me.

ΣΕΡΑΦΕΙΜ ΒΙΡΙΤΣΑ_Σεραφείμ Βίριτσα_Saint Seraphim of Vyritsa_Преп. Серафим, Вырицкий__αγ.σεραφ.βιριτσα εικ. 19Because I want you to know Me more deeply, through physical illness, and to not murmur against this trial I have sent you. And do not try to understand My plans for the salvation of people’s souls in various ways, but unmurmuringly and humbly bow your head before My goodness. You were dreaming to do something distinct and special for Me and, instead of doing it, you fell into a bed of pain.
This was from Me.

Because then you were sunk in your own works and plans and I wouldn’t have been able to draw your thoughts to Me. But I want to teach you the most deep thoughts and My lessons, so that you may serve Me. I want to teach you to sense that you are nothing without Me. Some of my best sons are they, who are cut off from active life, to learn to use the weapon of ceaseless prayer. You were called unexpectedly to undertake a difficult and responsible position, supported in Me

I entrust these difficulties to you, and for this reason the Lord your God will bless all your works, in all of your paths. In everything your Lord will be your guide and teacher. On this day in your hands, My child, I gave this vessel with the divine myrrh, for you to use freely. Remember always that every difficulty that you will come across, every offensive word, every slander and criticism, every obstacle to your works, which could cause frustration and disappointment, every revelation of your weakness and incabability, will be anointed with this oil,
This was from Me.

Know and remember always, no matter where you are, That whatsoever stings, will be dulled as soon as you learn in all things, to look at Me.
Everything was sent to you by Me, for the perfection of your soul.
All these things were from Me.
From Life-Miracles-Prophecies of Saint Sraphim of Viritsa pp143-147, Translated by Fr. Nicholas Palis, Orthodox Kypseli Publications, 2005, Thessaloniki, Greece

Read the Fathers, they are authentic spiritual nourishment and a sure guide on the spiritual path. St. Paisios the Athonite


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

Apolytikion of St Seraphim of Viritsa

As a bright star of Russia you shone in Viritsa, Oh venerable Father Seraphim. And from the power of the Holy Spirit, guided, with the light of your miracles, you spiritually illumined our country. For this, taking refuge in your tomb with compunction we cry out: Intercede to Christ God that our souls be saved.

Those who want to live a godly-life will be persecuted. O resurrected Lord, grant us light that we may be pious to the end and give us the strength to endure persecution to the end. St Nikolai Velimirovič

τρεις παίδες εν καμίνω_Three Holy Youths-Анания, Азария и Мисаил-255707185_dacdebb78e_bHomily
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
About the persecution of the pious

“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts of the Apostles 14:22).
“In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

The Lord Jesus prophesied this and by His example He proved it. The apostles also said this and by their examples they proved it. All the God-bearing Fathers of the Church, confessors and martyrs said this and they proved this by their example. Therefore, is there any need to doubt that, through a narrow door, one enters the kingdom of God? Should we hesitate for a moment that, “it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God?” No, there is no basis nor justification for doubt. Can sheep live among the wolves and not be attacked by them? Can a candle burn in the midst of cross winds and not sway back and forth? Can a good fruit-bearing tree grow along side the road and not be disturbed by passersby? Thus, the Church of pious souls cannot but be persecuted and be persecuted by heathens, by idolaters, by heretics, by apostates, from passions and vices, from sin and transgressions, from the world and by demons. So it is that not one devout soul can remain without persecution, be it externally or internally, until it is separated from the body and the world. Someone might oppose this and prove it otherwise according to his calculation and according to his logic. But, in this case, neither the mind nor the logic of one man is of any avail. Thousands who were crucified speak otherwise, thousands burned alive cry out otherwise, thousands who were beheaded prove otherwise and thousands who were drowned witness otherwise.

O my brethren, the Christian Faith is mighty not only when it agrees with sensory reasoning and sensory logic but when, and especially when, it contradicts sensory reasoning and sensory logic.

Those who want to live a godly-life will be persecuted. This the apostle prophesied at the beginning of the Christian era and twenty Christian centuries render a multi-voiced echo to confirm the truth of the prophecy.

O resurrected Lord, grant us light that we may be pious to the end and give us the strength to endure persecution to the end.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

Do not fear troubles, Fear the Lord… Rejoice, if you live to see that time… A Prophesy of Future Lawlessness, St. Anatoly II the Younger of Optina

Troparion The Prophet Daniel and the Three Holy Children, Tone 2

Great are the accomplishments of faith, for the Three Holy Youths rejoiced in the fountain of flames as though in the waters of rest; and the prophet Daniel appeared, a shepherd to the lions as though they were sheep. So by their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls!

God governs the fate of world and of each person. A Christian should never and for no reason worry, for God’s Providence carries him in its arms. St Ignatius Brianchaninov

Faith and hope in God’s Providence
St Ignatius (Brianchaninov), Bishop of the Caucasus and Stavropol (1867- Commemorated on April 30)

Παναγία Σεϊδανάγια (El Chagoura = «η διάσημη»), Συρία mar4There is no such thing as blind happenstance! God rules the world, and all that happens in heaven and under the heavens happens according to the wise and omnipotent God, unfathomable in His wisdom and omnipotence, and unfathomable in His governance.

If there is not a single event that is secret from God, then we must glorify God for everything that happens.

It is necessary to assure ourselves that God governs the fate of world and of each person. Life experiences are not long to prove and confirm this Gospel teaching.

All things pass—both the bad and the good—and neither men, nor demons can do anything if God does not allow it.

Why does our soul rebel against God’s will and allowances? Because we have not revered God as God…

From living faith in God is born complete submission to God, and from submission to God is born peace in our thoughts and calm in our hearts.

From seeing God’s Providence, in the soul develops profound meekness and unfailing love of neighbor, which no winds can disturb or agitate.

God watches over the times, events in society, and personal fates.

The vision of God’s Providence preserves and grows our faith in God.

The Christian who keeps his gaze fixed upon God’s Providence preserves constant courage and unshakable steadfastness, even amidst terrible misfortunes.

Before the sight of God’s Providence, not only can temporary sorrows not stand, but also those that await a person when he crosses the threshold into eternity beyond the grave.

A Christian should never and for no reason worry, for God’s Providence carries him in its arms. Our only care should be that we would ever remain faithful to the Lord.
That one soldier has fallen does not mean the entire army is defeated.
Translation by Nun Cornelia (Rees)

My Hope is the Father, my Refuge is the Son, my Protection is the Holy Spirit: All-Holy Trinity, glory to You.

Rejoice, O Theotokos, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with You. Blessed are You among women and blessed is the Fruit of Your womb, for You have borne the Saviour of our souls.

Open for us the doors of loving-kindness, O Blessed Theotokos, that we who have hoped in You may not perish, but through You may be delivered from all adversity, for You are the salvation of Christian people.

All my hope I place in You, O Mother of God, Keep me under Your protection.

It is easier for man to hide from the air than from the sight of God. All of your good is written in the heavens and will be revealed in its time. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Παναγία Πλατυτερα_Panagia Platytera_ Богоматерь Знамение19bigFor as long as you are on earth, consider yourself a guest in the Household of Christ. If you are at the table, it is He who treats you. If you breathe air, it is His air you breathe. If you bathe, it is in His water you are bathing. If you are traveling, it is over His land that you are traveling. If you are amassing goods, it is His goods you are amassing. If you are squandering, it is His goods that you are squandering. If you are powerful, it is by His permission that you are strong. If you are in the company of men, you and the others are His guests. If you are out in nature, you are in His garden. If you are alone, He is present. If you set out or turn anywhere, He sees you. If you do anything, He remembers. He is the most considerate Householder by Whom you were ever hosted. Be careful then toward Him. In a good household, the guest is required to behave. These are all simple words but they convey to you a great truth. All the saints knew this truth and they governed their lives by it. That is why the Eternal Householder rewarded them with eternal life in heaven and glory on earth.


About revealed secrets
Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed nor secret that will not be made known” (St. Matthew 10:26).

There is one eye, brethren, which never sleeps. That is the eye of God. There are more eyes in the heavens, brethren, than there are stars in the firmament of heaven. They are the eyes of the angels. No veil nor any wall nor darkness can conceal any kind of secret on earth from these eyes. Everything is revealed and open before the All-Seeing God and His Holy Angels. The man who believes that all the works of man can be hidden becomes a criminal. Thus thought the elders of the Jews who arranged and plotted in secrecy their evil plot against Christ the Lord. Secretly they persecuted Him; secretly they judged Him in the darkness of night; and secretly they bribed and paid false witnesses. And, as did Judas, they secretly condemned Him. Where are their secrets today? All have become revealed and open before the entire world. It is easier for man to hide from the air than from the sight of God. All the secrets of mankind, both, the good and evil, are revealed before God. A countless number of those secrets God reveals to the entire world according to His Providence.

Those who can understand this truth, that God sees all and knows all, carefully guard themselves from evil thoughts in the secret of their hearts and especially from evil deeds. Whenever your heart entices you to do evil, O man, call to mind these words which are not of man but of God, “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed nor secret that will not be made known.” And you, whatever good you do in secret, do not become faint-hearted. All of your good is written in the heavens and will be revealed in its time.

O, All-Seeing Lord, help us and save us.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

O Sinless Lord, save us from empty fear but before that, preserve us from sin, the parent of fear. Saint Nikolai Velemirovic

About the fear of the wicked man
by Saint Nikolai Velemirovic

“The wicked man flees although no one pursues him; but the just man, like a lion feels sure of himself” (Proverbs 28:1).

Wicked men are even afraid of shadows; to them shadows of trees seem as an army. Wherever something rustles, the wicked man thinks; the avenger comes! The trembling of leaves, he hears as a sound of chains; he takes the voices of birds as the shout of hunters who give chase after game; he sees grass as a spy of his evil deed; water, as a witness against him; the sun, as a judge; the stars, as those who taunt him. O my brethren, how many lies are born out of fear? For fear is of sin, sin is of the devil and the devil is the father of all lies.

Fear is the first-fruit of sin. When Adam sinned, he hid from the face of God. And when God cried out, Adam said: “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid” (Genesis 3:10). Before sin, Adam did not know about fear; neither did he hide from the face of God but, on the contrary, always hurried to encounter God. And as soon as he sinned, he “was afraid.”

“But the just man, like a lion feels sure of himself.” Without sin, without fear. Without sin, without weakness. The sinless ones are powerful, very powerful and brave, very brave. The righteous ones are strong and fearless. Such are the righteous ones, only the righteous ones.

O Sinless Lord, save us from empty fear but before that, preserve us from sin, the parent of fear.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Lives of the Saints, The Prologue of Ohrid by Saint Nikolai Velemirovic

Another Canon, by Theodore in Tone VII: Irmos: Let us sing unto God …,

Come, ye people, and strengthened by fasting like Samson, let us destroy the demon of gluttony, as he once destroyed the lion; but let us take heed lest the Delilah of our passions deceive us.

Refrain: Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee

As David once armed himself with faith, so let us arm ourselves with humility; and as he overthrew Goliath, so let us overthrow our proud mind, and slay the hosts of sensual passions.

Another Canon, in Tone VII: Irmos: O Thou Who hast covered …,

Emulate the wondrous example of Gideon O my soul, and bearing as Thy weapons the three virtues of faith, hope and love for Christ, go out and slay the alien passions, as he did, conquering the people of Midiam with three hundred men.

Troparion of the Prophecy in Tone IV:

In so far as we are enfeebled and hobbled by sin, * heal our infirmities O Physician of our souls, * Thou who knowest the mind of man, ** O Lover of mankind.

Prokeimenon in Tone VIII:
Prokeimenon: Hope in God, for I will give thanks unto Him, * He is the salvation of my countenance, and my God.
Verse: As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.


Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness. Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Prokeimenon in Tone IV:
Prokeimenon: He is the salvation of my countenance, * and my God. Verse: Judge me, O God, and give judgment in my cause, against a nation that is not holy..

Breathe by faith… Give yourself up entirely to God’s providence, to the Lord’s Will… St. John of Kronstadt

Αγία Σκέπη Παναγίας_Покров Пресвятой Богородицы pokrov_protection-theotokos_Byzantine Orthodox Icon-2344-PLATYTERAThe path to universal’s renaissance, as well as to the personal salvation of each one of us has been clearly indicated by St. John, and this path – the path of universal repentance – is the only one; there is none other.

St. John of Kronstadt

We must trust in God in all temptations, in all desolate conditions of the soul. The Lord will deliver.

Give yourself up entirely to God’s providence, to the Lord’s Will, and do not grieve at losing anything material, nor in general at the loss of visible things; do not rejoice at gain, but let your only and constant joy be to win the Lord Himself. Trust entirely in Him: He knows how to lead you safely through this present life, and to bring you to Himself — into His eternal Kingdom. From want of trust in God’s providence many and great afflictions proceed: despondency, murmurings, envy, avarice, love of money or the passion for amassing money and property in general, so that it may last for many years, in order to eat, drink, sleep and enjoy; from want of trust in God’s providence proceed in particular afflictions such as arise, for instance: from some loss of income through our own oversight, from the loss of objects, specially valuable and necessary, as well as immoderate joy at recovering some objects, or at receiving some large income or gain, or some profitable place or employment. We, as Christians, as “fellow citizens with the Saints and of the household of God,” ought to commit all our life, together with all its sorrows, sicknesses, griefs, joys, scarcities and abundance unto Christ our God.

Bear with humble submission to the will of God every sorrow, every sickness and infirmity, every labour, every offence and disappointment, saying: “Thy Will be done,” knowing that God’s mercy orders everything for your good, and that the Lord can easily change every disappointment into happiness and joy.

“That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us.”What separates us from God and each other? Money, food, and drink — this dust, this dross, this corruption. Why? Because we have not living Christian trust and faith in God. We do not know, or we forget, that man’s true life is love for God and his neighbour. Setting our life upon dust and trusting in it, we do not render to the Heavenly Father the glory that is due to Him, by putting our whole trust in Him, by casting all our care upon Him, as His faithful children in Christ should do. “If then I be a Father, where is Mine honour? Where is your trust in Me? Where is your love for Me? Where is your detachment from earthly, corrupt things, and your hearty desire for the heavenly, spiritual, and eternal ones?

Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς_Jesus-Christ_Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icon135485.pIf God does not leave a blade of grass, a flower, or a small leaf of a tree without His good providence, will He leave us? O, let every man be convinced with his whole heart that God is true to Himself in His providence for even the least of His creatures. Let him understand that the Creator invisibly dwells in all His creatures. In the words of our Saviour, God clothes the grass of the field, feeds the fowls of the air.

Breathe by faith (by certitude in God’s truth), by trust in God, and by love for God and your neighbour. And how can you help yourself in this? By unbelief in the durability of everything earthly; by not putting your trust in earthly blessings, such as food, drink, money, riches, and earthly ties; by not caring for, by being indifferent to everything earthly and perishable. Do not let your heart cling to anything, do not attach yourself to anything. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

To trust in God means to confide to Him our life, our fate, all our future, and to wait with confidence for the fulfilment of His promises. Hope proceeds from faith, as the plant from the seed, or the stream from the source. We believe that the Lord is good and merciful, that He loves us as a Father, and therefore that He desires every good and true happiness for us. He is most wise and omniscient, and consequently He knows better than we ourselves what is really needful and useful for us. He is almighty; and thus He is always able to bestow upon us that which He pleases, to fulfil that which He has promised. He is holy and righteous, and therefore all His words are truth. His promises are unchangeable.
Excerpts from the diary of St. John of Kronstadt on Providence and the Will of GodΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΡΟΣΤΑΝΔΗΣ_St John of Kronstadt_Св. Иоанн Кронштадтский_Ioann_kron.jpgIn his time, a whole galaxy of “progressive” writers ridiculed the Church and the government, trying to outdo one another in blasphemy and mockery. But Leo Tolstoy surpassed them all.
St. John addressed the following words to them: “Here are modern insolent abusers – Tolstoy and all his adherents and followers, true antichrists, liars according to Apostle John: ‘Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son’ (1 John 2:22)… Does Tolstoy believe in the Son? He does not! What follows then? ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God’ (Heb. 10:31). Let us all believe until the end of our lives and let us hold firmly unto our confession.”

St. John entreated the Russian people: “Learn, O Russia, to believe in the Almighty God Who rules over the world’s destinies, and learn from thy holy ancestors to stand strong in faith, wisdom, and courage. The Lord has entrusted us, Russians, with the great and salvific gift of the Orthodox faith… Arise, ye Russians!… Who has taught you insubordination and senseless revolts, which never existed in Russia before?… Cease your madness! It is enough! It is time for both you and Russia to stop drinking from the chalice full of poison!”
“O righteous God! Both the pastors and the flock are mute before Thee. ‘They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one’ (Psalm 14:3). What will finally happen under the disorder that now exists in our life? Lawlessness is spreading all over the earth; the kingdom of the enemy is spreading and Thy kingdom is growing smaller; there are few of Thy chosen ones left, in whose hearts Thou rests; there are many more slaves of the devil, in whose hearts is enthroned the man-killer of yore, sitting there like a thief. What willst Thou do with us, Lord? The blood of Thy Testament is crying out from the earth, but the voice of Thy Gospel is not penetrating the hearts of Christians. Thy commandments are being disregarded, church canons are being violated, – what willst Thou do with us, Lord?”

“The people of the first antediluvian world, – said St. John, – were given 120 years to repent, and they were warned that for their sins there would be a punishment from God – the flood. Time passed, but the people became more depraved and did not think of repentance, nor did they believe the prophet of repentance, the righteous Noah, – and God’s words came to pass exactly. The Jews did not believe their prophets who told them that they would be taken into captivity by the Babylonian king and continued to worship idols, – and so they went into captivity, and Jerusalem was razed, and all their wealth was taken over by the Babylonians. The Jews who were Christ’s contemporaries did not believe in Christ as Messiah and crucified Him, and Christ’s prophecy concerning Jerusalem soon came to pass, and the Romans destroyed the Jews mercilessly.

And now in our present times the people have also gone mad, they do not listen to the call of the Church, they say – these are all fairy tales, the priests are deceiving us for the sake of income. O ye blind and hardhearted ones, are not the events foretold by the Gospel coming to pass now in front of your very eyes? Here is the destructive war, the famine, the plagues. Do you not believe in God’s justice even now? But know ye that judgment is at hand, and that the Lord is coming soon in His glory to judge the living and the dead!”

ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΡΟΣΤΑΝΔΗΣ_St John of Kronstadt_Св. Иоанн Кронштадтский_0d90183d8b6d5ad99e1c22a06f“The Lord, as an artful physician, subjects us to various trials, sorrows, illnesses, and misfortunes, in order to purify us like gold in the furnace. A soul that is hardened in various sins does not easily undergo cleansing and healing, but has to be forced to a great extent, and only through lengthy experience in patience and suffering does it become accustomed to virtue and begins to love God, from Whom it was alienated after becoming attached to all kinds of mortal sins. Such is the purpose of the trials and tribulations sent to us by God in this life.”

St. John always read this prayer so fervently, as though he did not even ask, but demanded from God forgiveness of the sick person’s sins.

“O Lord, Thou said that whatever we asked for in Thy name, Thou would do it for us Thyself, and Thou also said that the heavens and earth would pass, but Thy words would not pass, and that not a single stroke or iota of the law would pass. Therefore, I entreat Thee in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, forgive Thy servant (name) all his sins, both voluntary and involuntary, and heal him.”

The path to universal’s renaissance, as well as to the personal salvation of each one of us has been clearly indicated by St. John, and this path – the path of universal repentance – is the only one; there is none other.

Apolytikion to St. John of Kronstadt in the Fourth Tone

O Wonderworker living in Christ for ever, with love have mercy on them that are in danger; hear thy children who call upon thee with faith; be thou compassionate unto them that hope for aid from thee, O Father John of Kronstadt, our beloved shepherd.