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Iconography and Hand painted icons


Lord, Almighty, Thou holdest not only heaven and earth, but also all mankind, the life of every man, the hearts of all in Thy Hand; Glory to Thine All-merciful, Most-wise, and All-powerful Providence!

Μυροφόρες_ Myrrhbearers_ Жёны-мироносицы_beliandjeoΧριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
ХристосВоскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!

«Rejoice!». «Peace be unto you!»

`Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ “ (St. Matthew 5:8).

A brother said to Abba Poemen, ‘Give me a word,’ and he said to him, As long as the pot is on the fire, no fly nor any other animal can get near it, but as soon as it is cold, these creatures get inside. So it is for the monk; as long as he lives in spiritual activities, the enemy cannot find a means of overthrowing him.’ (111. )

A brother asked Abba Poemen, ‘How can a man avoid speaking ill of his neighbour?’ The old man said to him, ‘We and our brothers are two images; when a man is watchful about himself, and has to reproach himself, in his heart he thinks his brother better than he; but when he appears to himself to be good, then he thinks his brother evil compared to himself. (148 )

Abba Poemen said that a brother asked Abba Simon, ‘If I come out of my cell and find my brother amusing himself, I amuse myself with him and if I find him in the act of laughing, I laugh with him. Then when I return to my cell, I am no longer at peace.’ The old man said to him, ‘So, when you come out of your cell and find people laughing or talking you want to laugh and talk with them, and when you return to your cell, you expect to find yourself as you were before?’ The brother said, ‘What should I do?’ The old man replied, ‘Be watchful inwardly; be watchful outwardly.(The Alphabetical Collection Translated, with a foreword by Benedicta Ward, SLG ;Patrologia Graeca, vol.65, col. 71-440 DOC, 137. )

Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

If we fulfill the law of God in our thoughts, how much easier would it be then for us to fulfill it in our deeds? That is, if we do not transgress the law of God in our thoughts, how much easier would it be not to transgress it in our deeds? Or still, if our hearts, tongues, hands and feet are with God, then our entire body cannot be against God. Heart, heart, prepare your heart for God. Consecrate it to God; worship God; fulfill the law of God in it; unite it with God; and all the rest will follow and will be governed by the heart. It is not he who holds the spoke of the wheel that steers the wheel, but he who holds its axis. The heart is the axis of our being. Speaking about the commandments of God, the Venerable Hesychius says, “If you compel yourself to fulfill them in your thought, then you will rarely have the need to strain yourself to fulfill them in deed.” That is, if you set your hearts on God, as on an axis, then the wheels will easily and comfortably follow the axis. In other words all of man will follow after his own heart. “Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 39(40):9), says the all-wise David.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/March16.htm

Μυροφόρες_ Myrrhbearers_ Жёны-мироносицы__panorama2Elder Tychon (Golenkov) the ascetic Athonite used to say, “Whenever one prays, the prayer must unite with the heart just like you join two different things together with glue”’

Keep watch over your heart throughout your life. Keep an eye on, and pay attention to, what it is that impedes you from uniting it to all-blessed God.

“Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God. When shall I come to appear before the presence of God?” Thy name, Lord, is Almighty, because Thou holdest not only heaven and earth, but also all mankind, the life of every man, the hearts of all in Thy Hand; Glory to Thine infinite Omnipotence, Lord! Glory to Thine All-merciful, Most-wise, and All-powerful Providence! Lord of heaven and earth! 
St. John of Kronstadt

Μυροφόρες_ Myrrhbearers_ Жёны-мироносицы_5512468091_dae339cdf4Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou)

When you read in Scripture, the Kingdom of God is within us (Lk 17:21), what does this mean to you? The Church Fathers refer to this place within also as the “Heart.” It is in this place that God has fashioned that God abides so He can manifest Himself through each person. The role of the Church is to help us discover this deep place of the “Heart” that is also the center of our soul.
It is the place within where we wage a battle for our salvation. This is the target of all our ascetic efforts. We want it to be made pure. Jesus has told us that the pure of Heart will see God. As we seek to become united with God, to overcome our sinfulness, we desire that our soul, its “Heart” be ignited by His grace.

***

Εις Άδου Κάθοδος_Ανάσταση_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ_1CX4K1804Jesus told us, You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Matt 12:30) So, what does this mean? Saint Gregory Palamas says the heart is the body of our body, a place where our whole being becomes like a knot. When our mind and heart are united we have only one thought––the thought of God. All of our desire is focused on God. When we give our whole mind, our whole heart to God we are totally focused on Him. In this stance we receive His grace and are given the ability to do His will. In this way we attain what Apostle Paul meant when he said that Christ is formed in us (Gal 4:19). We become whole and are perfected.

When our whole heart and mind are turned to God we become holy, enlightened, “the light of the world.” It is in this way that God directs our life, fulfilling the purpose He has for us.

Reflect on the following passage from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus told His disciple the following:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In this same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
We want to purify our heart so that is shines, becomes a great light, enabling us to take action in the world in a way that glorifies God, that encourages others to purify their hearts and to seek God with their whole heart and mind and soul. In this way the whole world can become a great light.

***

The great tragedy of our time lies in the fact that we live, speak, think, and even pray to God, outside our heart, outside our Father’s house. And truly our Father’s house is our heart, the place where ‘the spirit of glory and of God’ would find repose, that Christ may ‘be formed in us’. Indeed, only then can we be made whole, and become hypostases in the image of the true and perfect Hypostasis, the Son and Word of God, Who created us and redeemed us by the precious Blood of His ineffable sacrifice.

Paschal Troparion tone 1

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Tone 2. By Koumoulas.

Why do you mingle sweet spices with your tears, O Women Disciples? The stone has been rolled away; the tomb has been emptied; see corruption trampled on by life, the seals clearly bearing witness, the guards of the unbelieving fast asleep. Mortality has been saved by the flesh of God. Hell is lamenting. Run with joy, say to the Apostles: Christ the first born from the dead has slain death and is going before you into Galilee.

The Myrrhbearers rose at dawn and came to your tomb with haste. They were seeking you, O Christ, that they might anoint your spotless body, and instructed by the words of the Angel, they proclaimed the joyful signs to the Apostles, ‘The author of our salvation has risen, despoiling death but granting the world eternal life an d his great mercy’.


The parable of the Prodigal Son speaks to us not only of sin and repentance but also of the forgiveness that God gives us. Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh

άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сынеprodigal-son-greek-1035426c93013c2e8d53002849e0886071_hdSunday of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

Parable of the Prodigal Son
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
1967, 26 February

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

The parable of the Prodigal Son speaks to us not only of sin and repentance but also of the forgiveness that God gives us. When the prodigal son had come to his senses through suffering, privation, loneliness and rejection he set out to his father’s house, and his father, who had probably often looked out for his return, saw him from afar. The Gospel tells us that love and tenderness and pity filled his heart, “his son was dear to him” and without waiting for his son’s arrival the old man who had been deeply hurt by the young man’s sins and heartlessness ran to meet him, fell on his neck, embraced and kissed him.

Is that how we meet each other when we see from a distance someone coming from that far country to which all of us at some moment, frequently perhaps, get drawn by sin, a former friend, relation or acquaintance returning to us? Is that how we meet him? To begin with, is it often that our love is so unshakeable that we constantly go to the door of the house and look into the distance hoping for his return? And when we do see a person who once was close but has become estranged moving our way, are we often pierced to the heart by the old love and tenderness and pity? And do we often make the first move towards him without waiting for his repentance or words of regret, embrace him and try to console him for his own inconstancy in love and friendship? Do we not in fact more often behave like the son who had nothing to reproach himself with before his father? When that one returned from work in the fields and heard sounds of rejoicing in the house he asked a servant what it was about, and hearing that his younger brother who was starving had returned, he was unwilling to go in. His sinful brother through shame and fear had understood what he had done, and seeing the state he had reduced himself to had come from the far country to his father’s house uncertain how he would be received. But he, the righteous one was standing outside the house where there was rejoicing over the return to life of one who was dead, and waiting for his father to come and implore him, “enter into the common joy. I rejoice, the servants rejoice, your brother rejoices, partake of our joy.” But the righteous son rebukes his father saying that for all those years of work and virtuous living he had received no reward, whereas when that “son of yours” returned the father had slain the fatted calf. And the father says, “should we not have rejoiced when your brother came back?” But the elder son sees in the prodigal only the sinful son of his father whom he can no longer accept as a brother, though his father reminds him that if the prodigal also is his son, he must be the righteous one’s brother.

άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сынеFiul-cel-pierdut-10Again I say, does it often happen that we perceive someone who has sinned, not necessarily against us but done wrong in general as our brother? Do we not more often say “your son” with contemptuous rejection? Do we often admit that he is our brother all the same, he is dear to the father and should be infinitely dear to us? But no, we are like the son who thought himself virtuous because he was a good worker, although he remained alien to the spirit of his father’s house.

One further comment. The father did not allow his son to ask to become a servant; he could not take him as a servant but only as a son returned. And he told then to bring his original robe, not the best garment in the house but the one he used to wear before he became a stranger, before he shed it to dress up as a foreigner. When the son put on his former robe instead of his rags he felt it fit him snugly, and his father ordered then to bring him the ring, not just a ring, but the ring with which in older times a man sealed his letters. The father put complete trust in him. Why? Why did he not first demand proofs of his repentance? Because he knew that if his son had overcome shame and fear in order to come home his return was secure. But when a person, formerly a friend but who has hurt either us or someone dear to us, approaches us, are we ready to entrust ourselves to him, give him the old affection? No, and therefore the reconciliation is not permanent. That is why a person is so afraid of seeking reconciliation; he knows he will not meet the father but only false, humiliating virtue which says “you are not my brother even if my father does acknowledge you as his son”.

Let us consider this question of forgiveness, because soon it will be forgiveness Sunday and it might catch us unprepared. Amen.
http://www.mitras.ru/eng/eng_157.htm

A family man flooded with Taborian Light, He seen the “uncreated Light”. When the Grace of God is within us, then day is within our souls. Saint Paisius the Athonite – Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/30716/

Your sins are my sins, St. Nikolai Velimirovic Bishop of Ochrid
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/your-sins-are-my-sins-st-nikolai-velimirovic-bishop-of-ochrid-2/

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’.


Prayer is a great consolation in all temptations and trials in life. It is an invincible weapon. Elder Pavlos of Sinai

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_ THE-BAPTISM-OF-JESUS Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon-Baptism- fresco.-egg-tempera.-2003Because the Apodosis of the Feast of Holy Theophany falls on January 14, the Service to the Righteous Martyrs of Sinai and Raithu is transferred to the 13th.

Elder Pavlos of Sinai (Bougiouras; † March 1, 2020)

“Do Not Judge!”

The name of God is great power! As are the words that we monks say: “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.” If you say them from your whole heart, and you labor and preserve your heart in purity, they will have great power. A simple example: We often lose something. The evil one makes us nervous and irritated: “Come on, where did I put it?” Don’t make a fuss, but say: “Lord, Jesus Christ, show me what I lost.” And He will show you.

Σιναΐτες Άγιοι_Saints of Mount Sinai_Святые Синайской горы_546756ΣΙΝΑ ΡΑΙΘΩ ΑΒΒΑΔΕςPrayer is a great consolation in all temptations and trials in life. It is an invincible weapon. Therefore, the enemy frightfully rises up against prayer and tries to take it away from a man by any means. When we pray in church and our mind is dissipated, we need to bring it back: “Where are you going? Come back!” And watch after the purity of your heart, because the purer the heart, the easier it is to reach Christ. The great ascetics reached great heights, but this was preceded by their podvig of purifying the soul from the passions. The passions, like clouds in the sky, conceal the light and it becomes dark.

In confession, we often say: “I don’t have any special sins… they’re normal…” And among them is condemnation, which is a heavy sin. We consider it “normal.” Condemnation is a spiritual disaster. Non-condemnation was laid at the foundation of the podvig of all those who have succeeded spiritually. The Desert Fathers tried to cultivate the virtue of non-condemnation. They condemned no one; they were very afraid to condemn. St. John Climacus says: “A monk who does not condemn goes to another monk’s cell and sees it dirty and cluttered. And what does he say? Ah, this brother is engaged in spiritual work, and he has no time for himself. Then he goes to another’s cell, and there it’s clean and everything is tidy. He thinks: This brother has the same purity within as he has in his cell.” He didn’t condemn either of them. But we, in our carelessness, could have condemned both.

Christ very wisely said: Judge not, and ye shall not be judged (Lk. 6:37). And we easily lose non-condemnation and often justify ourselves: “I said it out of love!” It’s not love! The great ascetic St. Isaac the Syrian says: “On that day when you open your mouth and condemn your brother, all the good you have done will be lost.” So strong! If we are attentive to ourselves, we will see the fruits of non-condemnation.

Non-condemnation, prayer, and purity of heart are the foundation upon which spiritual work is built.

***

—Tell us about the Divine consolation that life on Mt. Sinai brings.

We need to be simpler. A child, simple by nature, rejoices in everything. Everything pleases him. He has no problems. And if someone grows up and remains a child in his soul, he lives wonderfully! He who does not judge knows that non-condemnation brings peace to the soul. When a man has peace within himself, he also has great consolation! Therefore, it’s no accident that the Church prays at every service: “Again and again in peace let us pray to the Lord,” “For the peace from above … let us pray to the Lord.” We lose peace through inattentiveness. And even we monks get distracted. But if we manage to remain as simple as children in our souls, to not condemn, to pray, and to have peace in our souls and live in the presence of God, then this is the greatest comfort.

 ***

—How should I be if I don’t know the life of my saint?

—If someone doesn’t know the life of his saint, I advise him to labor such that they will write a life about him, and his name will be inscribed with the saints.

ΣΙΝΑ_Mount Sinai_Синай (гора)_st-catherines-monastery-sharm376567878.jpgApolytikion of Holy Fathers Slain at Sinai and Raitho
Fourth Tone

O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

Kontakion of Holy Fathers Slain at Sinai and Raitho
Second Tone

Ye fled from the world’s * confusion and wild turbulence * and passed over to * a state of great tranquility, * crowned with blood of martyrdom and the pains of valiant ascetic deeds. * Hence, ye dwell together with all * the Martyrs and righteous Fathers in the heights.

Glory …, Sedalion of the venerable martyrs, in Tone IV:
Spec. Mel.: “Go Thou quickly before …”:

Revealed as wanderers and sojourners on earth, establishing cells in the deserts, ye manifestly undertook ascetic labors, O venerable ones, and were adorned yourselves in nakedness as with the vesture of the virtues, becoming images of the sufferings of Christ. Wherefore, ye endured slaughter at the hands of the barbarians.


Lord, deliver us from hypocrisy and pour Your fear into our hearts so that our hearts could stand continually upright in prayer before You… as the St. Genevieve of Paris

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox IconДмитрием Кунцевичем19277Forefeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Holy Prophet Malachi (c. 400 BC)
Venerable Genevieve of Paris (502)
Martyr Gordius, at Caesarea in Cappadocia, centurion, by the sword (c. 314)
Venerable Acacius the Wonderworker, of Mount Latros (Latmos), at the Megisti Lavra of the Theotokos of Myrsinon (c. 10th century)
Saint Bertilia of Mareuil, anchoress (c. 687)
Venerable Peter of Atroa (Peter the Standard-Bearer) (837)
Saint Thomais of Lesbos (10th century)
Venerable Meliton of Beirut (537)
Abbess Thaisia of Leushino
Righteous Euthymius (Takaishvili) the Man of God, of Tbilisi (1953)
Finding of the relics of New Monk-martyr Ephraim of Nea Makri, in 1950

Commemorated on January 3

Abbess Thaisia of Leushino

‘‘The Kingdom of God is Within You’’ Luke 17:21

If you think to find paradise on earth, even in a monastery, then you are very mistaken. Paradise-full blessedness-does not exist on earth, and cannot, because man was not created for earth, but for heaven.”

St. John of Kronstadt

There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for God’s Mystery is always accomplished, even though we were incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration… Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God;our dullness shall not overpower God’s wisdom, nor our infirmity God’s omnipotence.” — My Life in Christ..Γερμανός της Auxerre-Γαλλία_ St-Germanos of Auxerre -Blesses-St Genevieve_Женевьева- Геновефы Парижская_Orthodox Byzantine icon-70023537Vezelay, France -

Saint Genevieve of Paris († 502)

Genevieve is the Patroness of the city of Paris. Through fasting, prayer and almsgiving she was made worthy of the Kingdom of God and died on January 3, 512 A.D., in the eighty-ninth year of her life.

When she was about ten years old St Germanus of Auxerre (July 31) and Saint Lupus of Troyes, passing through Nanterre on their way to Britain to fight the heresy of Pelagius, Saint Germanus’s gaze lit upon Genevieve; discerned a special divine purpose for her, and told her parents that she had been chosen for the salvation of many and that she would be great before God. “He asked her that day, and early the next, if she would consecrate herself to holy virginity for Christ and, on both occasions, she answered that it was her dearest wish. Then he blessed her and gave her a copper coin inscribed with the Cross to wear around her neck, telling her never to wear gold, silver or pearls, but to elevate her mind above the small beauties of this world in order to inherit eternal and heavenly adornments.”

She kept Lent from Theophany to Pascha, during which time she never left her house. God gave her the gift to know the secrets of hearts and to speak to the hidden conscience of her hearers, and her holiness soon became known to all Paris. These relics were mostly burned and thrown into the River Seine by the godless Revolutionaries in 1793, (Synaxarion)

***

Hymn of Praise
The Holy Prophet Malachia
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Μαλαχίας προφήτης_Malachias Prophet_Малахия пророк_ih3925Malachi proclaims what the angel tells him:
The day, the day, O the day is coming! The day which like an oven is blazing.
Who will endure it? Who will survive it?
Who, with their justice, before the Judge will stand?
All non-believers as a dry stubble will be
Food for the hungry fire. Weeping, sighing and shrieking!
The fire overflows and as a river flows,
Here what can the tongue of a sinner say?
O, my priests, you, who do not render Me praise,
Why do not your tongues the glory of the Lord sing?
Everywhere, among the people, you have become despised,
For My judgment, law and miracles you scorn.
I, the Lord am speaking, the Lord of hosts,
O, of those odious sorcerers, the judgment severe!
The fire when it charges, the smoke and the dreadful rumble it chases
Then, the hand of the Lord does not caress anymore.
Repent, O people, while days you have left,
Return to Me and I will return to you.
I the Lord am speaking, the Lord of hosts,
Return to Me and I will return to you.
Malachi proclaims what the angel tells him:
The day, the day, O the day is coming! The day which like an oven is blazing.

***

God hears the prayers of the just.
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Γενοβέφα Γενεβιέβη Παρισίων_St Geneviève-Genovefa of Paris_Св. Геновефы Парижской_ Женевьева Парижская_Orthodox Byzantine icon_0115_1122524320God hears the prayers of the just. This is clearly seen from the lives of Moses, Elijah, and the other Old Testament righteous ones and prophets as well as from the lives of the apostles and saints. While St. Genevieve, as a nun, lived a life of asceticism in Paris, it so happened that Attila with his savage Huns surrounded Paris. Fear and terror overcame the entire population of Paris who, at any moment, awaited the capture of the city by the enemy. Then, St. Genevieve called upon the people to fast and to pray to God and then the calamity will be averted. Many men and women responded to the call of this saint and began to fast and pray to God. Genevieve herself fasted the most and prayed most ardently to God. After a short while the enemy turned away from Paris without any visible reason and departed for another place. That which the sword of many sinners cannot do, the prayer of the righteous person can.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič, 
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-january-04-january-17.html

***

Homily
About how the Kingdom of God is gained with the heart and not with the tongue
 by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

“Not everyone who says, `Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (St. Matthew 7:21).

Brethren, one does not gain the Kingdom of God with the tongue, but with the heart. The heart is the treasury of those riches by which the kingdom is purchased; the heart and not the tongue! If the treasury is full with the riches of God, i.e., a strong faith, good hope, vivid love and good deeds, then the messenger of those riches, the tongue, is faithful and pleasant. If the treasury is void of all those riches, then its messenger [the tongue] is false and impudent. The kind of heart, the kind of words. The kind of heart, the kind of deeds. All, all depends on the heart.

Hypocrisy is helpless before men, and is even more helpless before God. If then I am a father, says the Lord through the Prophet Malachi, If then I am a father, where is the honor due to me? And If I am a master, where is the reverence due to me? (Malachi 1:6). That is, I hear you call me father, but I do not see you honoring me with your heart. I hear you call me master, but I do not see fear of me in your hearts.

Our prayer: “Lord! Lord!” is beautiful and beneficial only when it emerges from a prayerful heart. The Lord Himself commanded that we pray unceasingly, but not only with the tongue to be heard by men, but rather enclosed in the cell of the heart so that the Lord could hear and see us.

Lord, majestic and wonderful, deliver us from hypocrisy and pour Your fear into our hearts so that our hearts could stand continually upright in prayer before You.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January3.htm

Troparion of the Theophany Forefeast — Tone 4

Make ready, O Zebulon, and prepare thyself, Nephthali./ River Jordan, stop flowing and leap for joy at the Lord’s coming for Baptism./ Rejoice, O Adam, with our first mother;/ hide not yourself as in Paradise of old./ For seeing us naked He has appeared,/ to clothe us with our first garment./ Christ has appeared, to renew the whole of creation.

Troparion of the Prophet Malachi  — Tone 2

We celebrate the memory / of Your prophet Malachi, O Lord; / through him we beseech You: / “Save our souls.”

Troparion of the saint, in Tone I

Shepherds who tended their flocks once beheld Christ our Savior; and thou, O godly maiden, as a shepherdess pure of heart, didst worship the Great Shepherd of the reason-endowed sheep. Fend off the wolves that come in sheep’s clothing to devour us, and in thy love lead us to the pastures of heaven, O venerable mother Geneviève..

Apolytikion of Saint Genevieve of Paris — Plagal Fourth 4

Through thee the divine likeness was securely preserved, O Mother Genevieve; for thou didst carry the cross and followed Christ. By example and precept thou didst teach us to ignore the body because it is perishable, and to attend to the concerns of the undying soul. Therefore, doth thy soul rejoice with the angels.

Tone IV Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast given a sign…”—

Unto us, the faithful, hath the Lord given a wondrous sign: the venerable Geneviθve, bride of the noetic Bridegroom, guide of virgins, counselor of kings and princes, mighty protectress of her city, who by her supplications doth repel the foe and dispel grievous pestilence.

Come, all ye faithful, and let us hymn the venerable one; for, beholding divine visions and possessing the gift of prophecy, with boldness she encouraged the people, urging them to be of good courage while the heathen armies besieged the city, until, by her supplications, the danger passed.

Glory…: Idiomelon, in Tone VI—

Come, ye who love the saints of God, and let us praise Geneviθve, the instrument of the Spirit, blessing her as a model of piety, a wondrous healer of our souls and bodies. And with wreaths of eloquence let us crown her, our intercessor, the radiant lamp of France, the clear-voiced clarion of divine discourse, the divinely wise seer of visions, the devoted daughter of the all-pure Mother of God; and let us cry out to her thus: Rejoice, O unblemished ewe-lamb! Rejoice, O thou who leadest us to the knowledge of God! Rejoice, boast of the great city of Paris! Rejoice, adornment of all Gaul and glory of Christendom!

At Matins, Aposticha 
Glory…: Idiomelon of the venerable one, in Tone V—

O Paris, thou city of light, rejoice and be glad; for today is celebrated the splendid memory of Geneviève thy protectress, the peer of the holy women of old, the preacher of the Gospel, the beholder of visions divine, the ward of holy hierarchs, thy bold champion and mediatress, the seer who foretold the future, the mother of the poor and guardian of maidens! And honoring her, with us cry aloud: O Christ God, by the supplications of thy holy one establish Thy Church in peace!

Troparion — 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 Euthymius, your teachings have gleamed with light upon all things. / Intercede before Christ God to save our souls.


Saint Sophrony of Essex: “I will act as if I had love.”

Κοίμησιν τῆς Θεοτόκου _Dormition of the Mother of God_ Успение Богородицы_72895. bфреска храма св. Николаяz_b9d4d2b2Saint Sophrony of Essex: “I will act as if I had love.”

One day, a man who was visiting Mount Athos asked several wise elders the following question: ‘What is the most important thing in your life?’
Each time he was answered like this: ‘It is divine love; to love God and to love one’s neighbour’.
He said: ‘I don’t have love, either for prayer, or for God, or for other people. What must I do?’
And then he decided by himself: ‘I will act as if I had this love’.
Thirty years later, the Holy Spirit gave him the grace of love.

***

Σωφρόνιος του Έσσεξ_Elder Sophrony of Essex_მამა სოფრონი_ Старец Софроний (Сахаров) Эссекс_e143431d7a577Acquiring the Love of God is the ultimate purpose of Christian asceticism.  Its achievement demands long and arduous travail. But by a gift from on High, one can experience a Divine visitation in great strength at times when the soul, in a burst of repentance for her sins, becomes receptive to the coming God.

       The way of the Lord is this: He manifests himself to man, and man apprehends His Love in the uncreated light, in timeless mode. I keep harping on the word “love” but ontologically it contains wisdom, not of this world, and grandeur infinite in its boundless humility, all-conquering beauty and deep peace. When this love touches man, God thereby makes him a participant in His Being, and this, there are no earthly worlds to describe. We are possessed by one single longing – to acquire this Divine Love in such fashion that it becomes our nature, forever inalienable.

       Love, the Flame of which Christ cast into the soul of man, possesses an amazing attribute. It will lead him into depths and heights inaccessible to anyone else. It will enable him to master suffering of all kinds, even death itself. Time and again it will hurl him into indescribable infinity where he will be “alone”, yearning to behold again the Light of the beloved God.

       Such is the process for cleansing our nature infected by the poison of Lucifer. The way of Christ leads from a relative, constantly vacillating type of existence to an absolute, unshakeable Kingdom.

Nothing but sacred love can cause the tears to flow from the Christian’s heart. The Scriptures write that Jesus “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13: 1). And only this “unto the end” can account for His sweat that fell like “great drops of blood” as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Where there is no love there are no tears, even when ascetic striving goes to extreme like exhaustive meditation, prolonged fasting, rigorous living conditions faraway from the rest of the world – of all of which both Western Christianity and the non-Christian East provide many instances.

       And it is just when the spirit of humility takes command of us that tears flow from the depths of our heart.

Excerpts of the book “We Shall See Him as He is” by Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov): On Spiritual Mourning

Apolytikion (First Tone)

In birth, you preserved your virginity; in death, you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos. As mother of life, you departed to the source of life, delivering our souls from death by your intercessions.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Sophrony, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.


St.Constantius Palamas, St. Gregory’s father, given to unceasing noetic prayer and was counted worthy to perform miracles.

Synaxis of the Family of St. Gregory Palamas,
St. Constantius (the father), St. Kalloni-Kallis (mother), Saint Theodosius, Saint Epicharis, Saint Theodota and Saint Makarios, his brothers

Commemorated on November 14 or and December 18

Saint Gregory Palamas, constantly prayed: “Lord, Enlighten my darkness, Enlighten my darkness…!” “Most-Holy Theotokos, Enlighten my darkness, Enlighten my darkness…!”

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

Γρηγορίου Αρχιεπισκόπου Θεσσαλονίκης τού Παλαμά-Family of St. Gregory Palamas-PalamaMy brethren, all Christians, small and great, should always pray, using the noetic prayer, “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”;St. Gregory Palamas said the following: “Let no one think that it is the duty only of clergy and monastics to pray with ceasing and not of laypeople. No, absolutely not; it is the duty of all Christians to remain always in prayer.” Using the Jesus prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner) “… this we can always do if we wish. For when we sit down to work with our hands, when we walk, when we eat, etc. we can always pray mentally as this is pleasing to God. Let us work with the body and pray with the soul.”

As an example of someone like this, let us take St. Gregory’s father, that amazing Constantine Palamas.

This man was an official of the imperial court, and was called the father and teacher of the Emperor Andronikos (II Palaiologos ,1282–1328),. He was daily occupied with imperial affairs, in addition to those his own house, since he was very wealthy and owned a large estate and servants, and had a wife and children. Nevertheless, he was so inseparable from God and so given to unceasing noetic prayer, that most of the time he would forget what it was the Emperor and the officials of the palace were discussing with him about imperial matters, and he would ask about the same things several times. Often the other officials, not knowing the reason for this, would become agitated and reproach him for forgetting so quickly, and for disturbing the Emperor with his repeated questions. But the Emperor, who knew the cause, would defend him, saying, “Lucky Constantine has his own concerns, and they do not permit him to pay attention to what we are saying on matters temporal and vain. But the nous of this blessed man is fixed on what is true and heavenly, and thus he forgets what is mundane. All of his attention is focused on the prayer and on God.”

Thus, as the most holy Patriarch Philotheos relates, Constantine was admired and loved by the Emperor and all the magnates and officials of the Empire. Likewise, he was loved by God, and the venerable one was even counted worthy to perform miracles. The holy Philotheos tells us in his biography of St. Gregory (Constantine’s son), that he took his whole family once on a boat to a place above Galatas, to pay a visit to a hermit who lived in stillness there, and get his blessing. On the way, he asked his servants if they had any food to take to that Abba, so that they might eat with him. The servants said that in the Γρηγόριος Παλαμάς- Saint Gregory Palamas _ Святой Григорий Палама_ Ioan-Popa-Otopeni-2012rush they had forgotten to bring any. The blessed man was saddened a bit, but said nothing. As they continued on in the boat, he simply put his hand into the sea, and with silent and noetic prayer he asked God, the Master of the sea, to let him catch something. After a short time (how wonderful are your works, O Christ King, by which you marvelously glorify Your servants!), he brought up his hand from the sea holding a large bass-fish. Tossing it into the boat in front of his servants, he said, “Look here how our Lord provided for his servant the Abba and has sent him something to eat.” Do you see, my brethren, with what sort of glory Jesus Christ glorifies those servants who are always with Him and who constantly invoke His sweetest name?…

Blessed and lucky are they who accustom themselves to this heavenly work, for they overcome every temptation of the wicked demons by it, like David prevailed over the proud Goliath; they put out the inordinate desires of the flesh by it, as the three youths put out the flame of the furnace. By this noetic work of prayer, they calm the passions, like Daniel tamed the wild lions; by it they bring down into their hearts the dew of the Holy Spirit, like Elias brought down the rain on Mount Carmel… Amen. Amen.

By St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain ,Taken from “The Life of St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica, the Wonderworker” – http://www.orthodoxheritage.org/MOM%2001%202006.htm

Kontakion to Saint Gregory Palamas (Tone 8)

Holy and divine instrument of wisdom,
joyful trumpet of theology,
together we sing your praises, O God-inspired Gregory.
Since you now stand before the Original Mind, guide our minds to Him, O Father,
so that we may sing to you: “Rejoice, preacher of grace.”