Iconography and Hand painted icons

The Miracle of the Monks in the Caucasus. A single saint is an extraordinarily precious phenomenon for all mankind. By the mere fact of their existence – unknown, maybe to the world but known to God – the saints draw down on the world…

Ασκητες_asketesaΕρημίτης_Hermit_отшельник- еремит_i_058d7b0ad0e7851492On Saturday of Cheese Fare Week we commemorate all the Saints, both Fathers and Mothers of the Lord, known by name and unknown, “who brightly shone forth living ascetically”.

To the souls of the Righteous, whose memory abideth
Forever, do I offer these my words as abiding oblations

“I saw in Egypt,” testifies Rufinus, “fathers who live on the earth but lead a heavenly life … new prophets, of whose worth there is the testimony of their gift of signs and miracles. None of them is anxious over food and clothing, for they know that after all these things do the Gentiles seek (Matt. 6:32). They seek justice and the Kingdom of God, and all this, according to the promise of the Savior, will be added to them. Their faith is such that it can move mountains. Thus certain of them by their prayers stopped river torrents that were about to inundate neighboring villages, crossed over Waters as on dry land, subdued wild beasts, and performed numberless miracles; so that there is no doubt that it is by their virtues that the world stands.” “The heavens, speckled with a multitude of stars, are not as bright,” says Chrysostom, “as the Egyptian desert, which displays everywhere the huts of monks … It is better than paradise, where we see in human form numberless choirs of angels, throngs of martyrs, assemblies of virgins; we see the whole tyranny of the devil overthrown, and the Kingdom of Christ shines.”

Αγία Σκέπη της Υπεραγίας Θεοτόκου -Покров Пресвятой Богородицы-ikona_pokrov_e30a78e7a5203684c977The Miracle of the Monks in the Caucasus

In the 1960’s, the KGB authorities caught everyone who was hiding there, mostly monks, and sent them to correctional camps.

One experienced officer, a member of the party, was given the task of monitoring a group of monks. He watched the monks from the air on the radio and reported all their movements, and soldiers on the ground surrounded them, pressing them to the steep peak, at which they hoped to overtake and arrest them.

The hunt for the monks has been going on for several days and is drawing to a close. The monks had nowhere to go, they climbed to the very top of the mountain, behind them were soldiers with dogs catching up, and in front of them was a bottomless, steep abyss. The officer’s helicopter hovered right above the monks, the pilot let them know that it was all over. Suddenly, something unusual began to happen below. The monks all at once knelt and prayed for a long time, then they got up and went to the edge of the abyss. “Will they really jump? This is certain death! What? Did they decide to commit suicide? ”The helicopter pilot thought with annoyance.

But at this time one of the monks made the sign of the cross and blessed the abyss with a large cross and with one step, stepped into the gap! But he didn’t fall. For some reason, by some miracle he remained hanging in the air over the abyss and slowly went through the air as if on a path. The other monks followed him and also went through the air one by one, rising up disappeared into the clouds.

This made such a strong impression on the pilot that he even lost control over the airplane fell into the clearing, where he was found and picked up by the soldiers. A few months later, when he recovered, he was called to the special unit for an explanation. Instead of answering, he put a party ticket on the table and asked to be fired. Having retired, this former pilot officer accepted baptism and became a believer.”

Ασκητες_asketes-Ερημίτες_Hermit_отшельник- еремит_dormsabbscribes_i_gerontiko342454354Saint Silouan the Athonite

The saints embrace the whole world with their love.
“A single saint is an extraordinarily precious phenomenon for all mankind. By the mere fact of their existence – unknown, maybe to the world but known to God – the saints draw down on the world, on all humanity, a great benediction from God…”
“Because of these people, I believe the Lord preserves the world, for they are precious in His sight, and God always listens to His humble servants and we are all right because of their prayers.”
“Prayer keeps the world alive and when prayer fails, then the world will perish… ‘Nowadays,’ perhaps you will say, ‘there are no more monks like that to pray for the whole world,’ But I tell you that when there are no more men [or women] of prayer on the earth, the world will come to an end and great disasters will befall.. . . when the earth ceases to produce saints, the strength that safeguards the earth from catastrophe will fail. They have already started.”
(Saint Silouan the Athonite, pg. 222, 223.)


Saint Paisios the Athonite

Father Paisios was once asked if it would not be better if he left his monastery to go into the world so that he could better help people.

The army has many divisions and each one fights from its own position; the navy at sea, the airplanes in the air and the army on the land.  A very specialized position is the one of the radio operator.  His main characteristic is that he connects all the army divisions with the headquarters, which send help in case of emergency.  The radio operator must not be close to the combat zone, but higher up in a quiet place, so that he may clearly transmit the messages.  When the soldiers fight and are in danger, they should not say to the radio operator:  “What are you doing up there?  Come and fight with us.”  His duty is to stay where he is and receive orders from headquarters, and keep them up to date regarding the outcome of the combat.

Ερημίτης_ΕΡΗΜΙΤΗς_untitled-6Apolytikion of Holy Protection of the Theotokos in the First Tone

O Virgin, we extol the great grace of thy Protection, which thou didst spread out like a bright cloud beyond all understanding; for thou dost invisibly protect thy people from the foe’s every assault. Since we have thee as our shelter and certain help, we cry to thee with our whole soul: Glory to thy great deeds, O most pure Maid. Glory to thy shelter most divine. Glory to thy care and providence for us, O spotless one.

Apolytikion of Cheesefare Saturday, Fourth Tone

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

Tone 8 (Repeat: “Come, all faithful …”)

Rejoice, Egypt, land of faith! Rejoice, holy Libya, and the Thebaid chosen by God!
Rejoice, every place and country that have brought forth citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, raising them in abstinence and labor, offering them to God as perfect in love.
They are stars guiding our souls, and by the brightness of their wonders and the miracles they wrought, they have shed their spiritual light over all the earth. O all-blessed fathers, pray for our souls!

Who among men can speak of the perfection of your lives, holy fathers? What tongue can utter the sanctity of your efforts: the sufferings in virtue, the control of the flesh;
the struggles with passions, in vigils, in prayers and in tears? Truly ye were angels while ye lived in the world. Ye laid low the highest powers of evil. Ye performed miraculous and wonderful signs. Therefore pray with us, O most blessed fathers, to gain for our souls eternal joy!

After the 1st reading from the Psalter (16th Kathisma), the Sessional hymns:
(Tone VIII):

Illumined by the brilliant lightning of the Fathers, * let us now enter as if into a beautiful Paradise, * and delight beside the river of sweetness therein. * Beholding with wonder their valor, * let us strive to equal them in the virtues, * crying aloud unto the Savior: * O God, by their intercessions ** make us partakers of Thy heavenly Kingdom.

Glory …,
Wandering as it were among flowers of the virtues * in the meadow of God-bearing ascetics, * we are filled with the breath of sweet fragrance. * For by suffering they became hardened against temptations, * and by abstinence they subjected the flesh to the spirit, * living the life of angels here on earth; ** wherefore they have been deemed worthy of glory.

We entrust to You, loving Master, our whole life and hope, and we beseech, pray, and implore You: Grant us to partake of Your heavenly and awesome Mysteries from this sacred and spiritual table with a clear conscience for the remission of sins, the forgiveness of transgressions, the communion of the Holy Spirit, the inheritance of the Kingdom of Heaven, and boldness before You, not unto judgment or condemnation.

Commemorating our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life unto Christ our God.