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Iconography and Hand painted icons


Pride always precedes the fall. Heretics, who are they? The children of pride. Saint Flavian, as a lion, fearlessly defended Orthodoxy. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιησούς διωγμός φαρισαίων απο ναο_Церковь Св. Никиты в Чучере. Иконописцы - Михаил Астрапа и Евтихий.0_b44f1_f296aa85_XXXLHieromartyrs Pamphilus of Caesarea, Priest, and 11 companions, at Caesarea in Palaestina (c. 307-309): Valens, Deacon, and Martyrs Paul, Seleucus, Porphyrius, Julian, Theodulus, Elias, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Samuel, and Daniel.
Saint Maruthas of Martyropolis, Bishop of Sophene and Martyropolis (422), and the Martyrs of Persia (4th century), whose relics rest in Martyropoli in Mesopotamia
Saint Flavian I of Antioch, Archbishop of Antioch (404) (see also: September 27)
Saint Flavian the Confessor, Archbishop of Constantinople (449)
Venerable Flavian the Hermit, monastic and Wonderworker (364-378).
Saint Mary the Younger (the New) of Byzia in Thrace (9th century)
New Monk-martyr Romanus of Karpenision and Kapsokalyvia, Mount Athos, at Constantinople (1694) (see also January 5)
Saint Basil Gryaznov of Pavlovo-Posadsky (1869)
Saint Macarius (Nevsky), Metropolitan of Moscow, Apostle to the Altai (1926)
Translation of the relics of Virgin-martyr Juliana of Nicomedia (304) (see also December 21)

Commemorated on February 16

Hymn of Praise
To the Holy Martyrs of Christ
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Jesus the Vine with Saint Martyrs Brвncoveanu199481.bMartyrs of Christ, flowers bountiful,
Which will never and forever not fade away.
Martyrs of Christ, an evergreen living in the winter,
You who stretched toward heaven stained with blood,
Martyrs of Christ, aromas of incense,
And the votive light of oil, illumined by God.
You ran the race for the beauty of Christ
In Paradise, met with Christ forever.
The world will be and then cease to be and you will always be
With the Lord in Paradise, to rejoice eternally.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
prologue.orthodox.cn/February16.htm

***

Hymn of Praise
Saint Flavian the Confessor
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“When pride comes, then comes shame.”(*)
That is the word of God, the lesson of life.
Heretics, who are they? The children of pride,
What did they want? Shame, to bring,
That is why they had to endure shame.
Eutyches hoped in the help of the eunuch,]
Flavian, in the help of the Spirit of God,
Pride always precedes the fall:
Eutyches perished and Flavian conquered.
Dioscorus, his hope was his fist
That is why all generations despise him.
Flavian beaten and trodden underfoot
Now on earth is glorified and blessed in Heaven.
The truth stands and he was not afraid of anything.
Leo the Roman extended him the assistance of a lion
In defense of the radiant face of Christ.
These two hierarchs and Eulogious the third one
Guided the Church to victory and fortune.
Without such spirits what would the Church be?
A wounded bird with broken wings.
(*) Proverbs 16:18
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/February18.htm

***

Ιησούς Χριστός_Εικόνα_Jesus-Christ_Иисус-Христос-Byzantine-Orthodox Icon0_dabef_14b98423_origWith great difficulty and with even greater effort and sacrifice, the tares of heresy were sifted from the wheat of the truth of Orthodoxy. The heretics have always made use of lower means and mediocre persons in undermining Orthodoxy. Archmandrite Eutyches of Constantinople and Dioscorus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who spread the heretical teaching, that there were not two natures in Christ, Divine and Human, rather one nature, had as their ally in the imperial court the mediocre eunuch Chrysaphius. Empress Eudoxia was secretly aligned with them. Patriarch Flavian, as a lion, fearlessly defended Orthodoxy in which he was assisted by Plucheria, the sister of the emperor. The eunuch Chrysaphius presented to Emperor Theodosius the most disgusting slanders against Flavian in order that the emperor would remove him from the throne and bring in the heretic Eutyches as patriarch. When this and all else did not succeed, the heretics plotted to kill Flavian. At the Robber Council in Ephesus [431 A.D.] they beat him so badly and trampled upon him that St. Flavian, on the third day, gave up his soul to God. What happened in the end? At the Fourth Ecumenical Council (Chalcedon 451 A.D.], Eutyches and Dioscorus were anathematized. The eunuch was ousted from the court and shamefully ended his life. The Empress Eudoxia was banished from Constantinople to Palestine. Flavian and Plucheria were proclaimed as saints and the Orthodox Faith victoriously confirmed.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/February18.htm

Troparion — Tone 4

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

Troparion of the Holy 12 Martyrs― Tone 3

Let us praise with hymns the company of twelve martyrs/ Pamphilos, Paul, Samuel, Valens and Elijah,/ Heremiah, Seleucos, Daniel and Porphyrios,/ Julian, Isaiah and Theodulos;/ for they ever pray to the Master for us all.

Troparion — Tone 4

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

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

Apolytikion of ST ROMANUS of Carpenision ― Tone 4

You first struggled ascetically on Athos, and received the Divine will through the teachings of the Venerable Akakios, and hastened towards the trials of martyrdom and death, and you, O Romanos, stand beside the crown-bestowing Christ, interceding for us, O all-glorious one.

Tone I: Spec. Mel.: “Joy of the ranks of heaven…”—

Let Pamphilus and Seleucius, together with Valens and Paul, Porphyrius, Theodulus and Julian, and the company of the five Egyptians be melodiously hymned with faith as a harp of twelve strings.

Exalted splendidly in the Faith of Christ by divine glory, O glorious Pamphilus, thou wast shown to be the goodly adornment of Cæsaria, being therein an all-beloved hierarch, in accordance with thy name, a most honored athlete and a faithful martyr.

O mighty Pamphilus, thou didst assemble a company of valiant athletes, twelve in number, who showed themselves to be a godly army. And vanquishing the enemy together, ye were taken to the Lord in divers ways, reposing amid your martyrdom.


Saint Theodosius the Cenobiarch, The Orthodox Fathers of the Church were not given to bribery nor to be intimidation. O Lord, the Conqueror of the World and our victorious commander, be close to us always that we may not become frightened and direct us, that we may always be close to You in heart, mind and soul.

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_Teofanía_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox Iconih3932Saint Theodosius the Great, the Cenobiarch (529).
Synaxis of the Myriads of Holy Angels (Synaxis of the Myriangelon) The Ten Thousands of holy Angels, whose Synaxis we celebrate.
Hieromartyr Hyginus, Pope of Rome (142)
Saint Theodosius of Antioch (412).
Saint Vitalius of the monastery of Abba Serid (Seridos) at Gaza (620)
Saint Michael the Fool-for-Christ of the Klops Monastery, Novgorod (1452).
Saint Theodosius of Philotheou Monastery, the Bishop of Trebizond (14th c.)
“Chernigov-Eletskaya” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1060).
St. Joseph from Kermir of Cappadocia (1860)

Commemorated on January 11

Hymn of Praise
Saint Theodosius the Great
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Θεοδόσιος ο Κοινοβιάρχης _Saint Theodosios the Cenobiarch_св. Феодосия Киновиарха_sf-teodosie-cel-mare-11Those who with fear stand before God,
Those who fear the Living God only,
Only they can witness
That the righteous one receives that for which he prays to God.
By true prayer, God does for people –
The dawn glows to the one who turns to the dawn.
Saint Theodosius, by his prayers
Helped many and also helped us.
For he lives even now as he once did
And works miracles, as he once did and does now –
The Lord bestowed upon him power, because of his faith,
And love for God; love immeasurable.
Wonderful Theodosius, zealot of truth,
Wondrous organizer of the monastic life,
Let him be praised by us, who is glorified by God,
Now a glorious citizen of the Kingdom of Christ
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://www.orthodox.cn/prologue/January11.htm

***

Saint Theodosius the Cenobiarch,
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Theodosius was the first founder and organizer of the cenobitic way of monastic life. He was born in the province of Cappadocia in the village of Mogarissus of devout parents. As a child, he visited St. Simeon the Stylite who blessed him and prophesied great and spiritual honors about him. With a thurible [censer] in which he placed unburned charcoal and incense, Theodosius sought out a place where he could settle and establish his monastery and stopped when the charcoal fired up on its own. Here, he settled and began to live the ascetical life. Soon, he gathered around him many monks of various nationalities. He built a church for each nationality so that, at the same time, services and hymns were offered to God in Greek, Armenian, Georgian, etc. But, on the day of Holy Communion, all the brotherhood gathered in the great church in which the Greek language was used. There was a communal table for all, communal property, communal penance, communal labor, communal patience and, not too rare, communal hunger. Theodosius was an exalted model of life to all the monks; an example in labor, prayer, fasting, watchfulness and in all Christian virtues. God granted him the gift of working miracles by which he was able to heal the sick, to appear from a distance, to tame wild beasts, to discern the future and to cause bread and wheat to multiply. Prayer was on his lips day and night. He died peacefully in the Lord in the year 529 A.D., the one-hundred fifth year after his birth.
Prologue From Ochrid by St Nikolai Velimirovich
http://www.orthodox.cn/prologue/January11.htm

Θεοδόσιος ο Κοινοβιάρχης _Saint Theodosios the Cenobiarch_св. Феодосия Киновиарха_-ΝΕΑ ΜΟΝΗprepFeodosijVelikijTo be bribable means to be not a Christian. The Orthodox Fathers of the Church were not given to bribery nor to be intimidation. Bribery in matters of the Faith is equal to Judas’s betrayal of Christ for money. Such bribery was characteristic only of certain heretics. When Emperor Anastasius succumbed to the heresy of Euthychius, Emperor Anastasius rose up against the decisions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (Chalcedon, 451 A.D) and wanted to outlaw those decisions. In order to win over the most distinguished representatives of the Church for himself, the emperor began to send them various gifts. St. Theodosius, by his fame, was the first in all of Palestine. The emperor sent him thirty liters of gold as a gift, supposedly for the needs of the monastery. By this, Theodosius immediately understood that the emperor wanted to bribe him. How wisely this saint of God acted! He did not want to keep the money for the monastery even though it was in great need; neither did he want to return it to the emperor so that the emperor would not become more embittered against Orthodoxy; thus he immediately distributed all the gold to the poor in the emperor’s name. This charity strengthened his prayer to God for the correction of the emperor and return to the true path.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://www.orthodox.cn/prologue/January11.htm

***

Homily
About victory over the world
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (St. John 16:33).

Θεοδόσιος ο Κοινοβιάρχης _St Theodosios the Cenobiarch Icon_св. Феодосия Киновиарха_11-1-7The Only One and the Unique One, the Conqueror of the World, with these words, teaches His followers not to be afraid of the world.

Indeed, the world appears very strong; however, is not the One Who created the world, stronger than the world?

The world is very frightening for him who does not know that God rules the world and that He has the authority to hold it in existence as long as He wills and to return it into non-existence whenever He wills. But, to him who knows that, the world is not frightening.

Compared to Christ the Lord, this world is as a fabric woven of weakness itself; while in Christ the Lord, there is not a single weakness. To him who does not know that, the world is frightening and he who knows that, has no fear of the world.

The world has loaned us a body and because of that it wants to acquire our soul. How can the world overpower us if we stand as soldiers of the Conqueror of the world?

The Conqueror of the World gives us weapons for the battle. By His example, He teaches us how to fight it, reveals the hidden enemy, shows us the path of attack and retreat, holds us with His hand, protects us under His wing, feeds us by His Life-giving Body and more, He encourages us by shouting: “Take courage!” Brethren, what then can the world do when its defeat is sealed with the victory of Christ?

O Lord, the Conqueror of the World and our victorious commander, be close to us always that we may not become frightened and direct us, that we may always be close to You in heart, mind and soul.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January19.htm

Θεοδόσιος ο Κοινοβιάρχης _Saint Theodosios the Cenobiarch_св. Феодосия Киновиарха_00144_sapTroparion of Epiphany (Tone 1)

At Your Baptism in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was revealed. For the Father’s voice bore witness to You by calling You His beloved Son; and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of these words. O Christ God who have appeared to us and enlightened the world, glory to You!

Apolytikion: (First Tone)

Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved; and the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.

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 Theodosius, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.

Kontakion of Theodosius the Cenobiarch
Plagal of the Fourth Tone

As being planted in the courts of Christ thy Lord and God, with holy virtues thou delightfully didst blossom forth and didst multiply thy children amid the desert, who were watered with the showers of thy fervent tears, O chief shepherd of the godly sheepfold of our God. Hence we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father Theodosius.

Troparion – Tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile,
and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance.
By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe!
Our Father Theodosius, pray to Christ God to save our souls!

Troparion of St. Michael, the Fool for Christ Tone 8

Thou wast foolish on earth for the sake of Christ and didst hate the beauty of this world wholeheartedly./ By thirsting and fasting and by lying on the earth thou didst wither the flesh and the play of the passions./ Thou didst never shun heat, frost, rain nor snow, nor other hardships of climate and weather./ Like gold in the crucible thou didst purify thy soul, O holy and Godbearing Father Michael./ Thou dost now stand in heaven before the throne of the Trinity./ Boldly pray to Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

 in Tone V:
Spec. Mel.: “O venerable father …”:

venerable father, God-bearing Theodosius, having found thy soul pure, as it desired, the grace of the All-holy Spirit dwelt within thee as an all-holy light, and with its activity thou wast splendidly adorned. Thou didst unceasingly glorify Christ, the one Son in two natures, Who is baptized at the hand of the Forerunner, and borne witness to by the Father’s voice. Him do thou beseech, to Him do thou pray, O venerable one, that He grant to the whole world oneness of mind, peace and great mercy. (Twice)

Venerable Father, God-bearer Theodosios, rightly you were counted worthy of the blessed life, having found it by purity and ascetic practice; for while living you passed over to the life on high, bidding all things farewell, and with the Bodiless Powers ceaselessly glorifying Christ, who took flesh ineffably from a Virgin and sunk our sins by Baptism in Jordan’s streams. Entreat him, implore him, Venerable Father, that the inhabited world may be given harmony, peace and great mercy. [Twice]

Glory …, in the II Tone:

O venerable father, the river’s streams, the waters of remission, made glad thy sacred soul like a city of the living God, Christ our God Who crossed the Jordan and hath poured forth the word of piety upon all the ends of the earth. Him do thou entreat, O most blessed Theodosius, that our souls be saved.

Glory …, in Tone VIII: the composition of the Studite:

Multitudes of monks honor thee as their instructor, O Theodosius our father. For, following thy steps, we have truly learned to walk aright. Blessed art thou who, having labored for Christ, didst denounce all the power of the enemy, O converser with the angels, companion of the venerable and the righteous. With them entreat the Lord, that our souls find mercy.

After the Polyeleos, Sedalion in Tone III:
Spec. Mel.: “Of the divine faith …”:

Lifting up thy hands to the divine summit, thou wast shown to be a radiant pillar, shining with beams of prayer, O venerable one. For, furnishing thy mind with wings to fly to the heavens, thou hast illumined all, as a partaker of ineffable things, praying to Christ God, that He grant us great mercy. (Twice)

Reading from the Wisdom of Solomon [3:1-9]

The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace. For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality. And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for Himself. As gold in the furnace hath He tried them and received them as a burnt offering. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. Those who put their trust in Him shall understand the truth: and such as be faithful in love shall abide with Him: for grace and mercy is to His saints, and He hath care for His elect.

Reading from the Wisdom of Solomon [5:15-6:3]

The righteous live for evermore; their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the Most High. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord’s hand: for with his right hand shall He cover them, and with His arm shall He protect them. He shall take to Him His jealousy for complete armor, and make the creature His weapon for the revenge of His enemies. He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate, and true judgement for an invincible shield. His severe wrath shall He sharpen for a sword, and the world shall fight with Him against the unwise. Then shall the right-aiming thunderbolts go abroad; and from the clouds, as from a well drawn bow, shall they be cast as out of a stone bow, and the water of the sea shall rage against them, and the floods shall cruelly drown them. Yea, a mighty wind shall stand up against them, and like a storm shall blow them away: thus iniquity shall lay waste the whole earth, and ill dealing shall overthrow the thrones of the mighty. Hear, therefore, O ye kings, and understand; learn, ye that be judges of the ends of the earth. Give ear, ye that rule the people, and glory in the multitude of nations. For power is given you by the Lord, and sovereignty from the Most High.


St. Elder Ieronymos of Aegina of Cappadocia, a great lover of the life of stillness and prayer, “In Anatolia there were many places where you could pass the whole day in prayer, without anybody seeing you.”

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΚΥΡΙΟΥΧριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Христос Воскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!

Elder Ieronymos of Aegina
Lover of Tradition

The region of Anatolia, Cappadocia in Asia Minor, where he lived his childhood years, where he came to know the first spiritual stirrings, where he tasted the springing waters of Orthodoxy from the holy elders who lived there, and where he matured spiritually remained unforgettable for him. He frequently referred to his homeland and waved nostalgic for all the things he had experienced there. He never forgot the solitary chapels in the rocks, where one could go and pray in utter stillness, nor those simple people, those first-rate artisans, who, whatever they put their hand to, did it perfectly, with ardor, and with good taste.

Ιερώνυμος της Αιγίνης_Elder Jerome (Hieronymos) of Aegina_Старец Иероним эгинский_678Being a great lover of the life of stillness and prayer, he often recollected the beautiful days full of spiritual ascents and exaltations that he had passed in the chapels and abandoned monasteries of his homeland.

“Here in Greece you cannot find a quiet place to pray,” he was wont to say. “In Anatolia there were many places where you could pass the whole day in prayer, without anybody seeing you.”

This insatiable and never-silent desire for quietude and prayer, for undisturbed communion with God, never abandoned him. He never lost an opportunity to draw apart and give himself to prayer. Usually, even when he was speaking to his visitors, he would stop for a little and say, “Now let’s chant something.”

And he would begin with his imposing, deeply resounding, and melodious voice to chant “Let us worship the Word,” or “It is truly meet…” or some other hymn, these intermissions of prayer were indispensable for him, they were his life-breath, his spiritual supply-Iine. And at the same time, it was an excellent example for those who conversed with him, that they might form the habit of conjoining their every occupation with prayer.

He lived the essence of Orthodoxy, tradition, in all its breadth. Without rejecting any of the attainments of technological society, he had a special weakness, a passion we might say, for whatever was olden, ancient-from material things to the spiritual. He liked the ancient order of the services, the old books, antiques, because he believed that they carried the seal of their maker, they had been constructed with fondness and were not machine-made and in bad taste.

With such convictions and perceptions, having always lived his life within but also “outside this world,” within the strict province of tradition, he felt a certain uneasiness from the time that the ecclesiastical Calendar was changed and the new was enforced. These anxieties of his increased as the years went by and he beheld many Orthodox customs changed. He did not like the abridgement of the church services, the secularization of the clergy, the abandonment of the Orthodox way of life. And although he always attended to the essence and not the dim outward form, he believed that these alterations in traditional usages and forms in and of themselves betrayed a certain indifference and slackness towards the Faith: that this was the beginning of a downhill slide whose end was unknown…

His foremost and principal aim was to instill into his visitors faith and love towards Christ; his chief care was how they progressed in the spiritual life, how they were united to God

He was very discerning and refined in his ways. Even when he went so far as to censure, he did it with the utmost love, and not only did he not cause adverse reactions, but on the contrary he elicited confession and repentance, which was his intended purpose.
Botsis, Peter. The Elder Ieronymos of Aegina. Brookline, MA: The Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 2007, pp. 159-163.

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_56940.bChrist is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.

Apolytikion St.Elder Ieronymos of Aegina in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

In thee, O Father, was preserved unimpaired that which is according to God’ s image; for thou didst take up the Cross and follow Christ. By thine actions thou hast taught us to despise the flesh for it passes away, but to care for the soul which is thing immortal. Wherefore thy spirit holy Ieronymos rejoices with the angels.

Glory . . . Now . . . tone 5:

It is the Day of Resurrection, so let us be radiant for the festival, and let us embrace one another. Let us speak, brothers and sisters, also to those who hate us, and in the Resurrection let us forgive everything, and so let us cry:
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling on death by death, and on those in the tomb bestowing life. (Thrice)


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”.

Verses
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.”
https://throughthegraceofgod.wordpress.com/the-miracle-of-the-monks-in-the-caucasus/

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.


Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Mediolansus (Milan), I knew of your fearlessness; that is why I helped you to be chosen as bishop. Correct our faults as the Law of God teaches, and heal our unrighteousness.

Γέννηση του Ιησού Χριστού_ Рождество Христово_ Nativity of Christ-icon1122528d9401e31c_kSaint Ambrose, Bishop of Mediolansus (Milan) (397).
Martyr Athenodorus of Mesopotamia (304).
Saint Ammoun, Bishop of Nitria, reposed in peace.
holy 300 Martyrs in North Africa slain by the Arian Vandals (474-475)
Saint Neophytos died when he was thrown into the sea.
Saint Dometios died by the sword.
Saints Isidore, Acepsimas, and Leo died by fire.
Martyrs Gaianos and Gaius died by fire.
St. Ignatius, who was near Blachernae, reposed in peace.
father Paul the Monk, the subordinate
hesychast Gregory, Founder of Gregoriou Monastery on Mount Athos(1405)
Martyr Philothea of Arges, Protectress of Romania (1206-1208)
Gerasimos, Ascetic of Euboea, (c. 1320)
Anthony the New, Wonderworker of Siya (1556).
holy Martyrs Priscus, Martin, and Nicholas; the first (Priscus) was starved, the second (Martin) cut to pieces with an axe, and the third (Nicholas) died by fire. The services in their honor were held near the wall of Blachernae.
Consecration of the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos at the Curator.

Commemorated on December 7

Saint Ambrose,
Bishop of Mediolanum (Milan)

Αμβρόσιος Μεδιολάνων-St Ambrose of Mediolansus–Milan_Свт. Амвросий Медиоланский_palermo_e13Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, was born in the year 340 into the family of the Roman prefect of Gaul (now France). Even in the saint’s childhood there appeared presentiments of his great future. Once, bees covered the face of the sleeping infant. They flew in and out of his mouth, leaving honey on his tongue. Soon they flew away so high that they could no longer be seen. Ambrose’s father said that the child would become something great when he reached manhood.

After the death of the father of the family, Ambrose journeyed to Rome, where the future saint and his brother Satyrius received an excellent education. About the year 370, upon completion of his course of study, Ambrose was appointed to the position of governor (consular prefect) of the districts of Liguria and Aemilia, though he continued to live at Mediolanum (now Milan).

In the year 374 Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Mediolanum, died. This led to complications between the Orthodox and the Arians, since each side wanted to have its own bishop. Ambrose, as the chief city official, went to the church to resolve the dispute.

While he was speaking to the crowd, suddenly a child cried out, “Ambrose for bishop!” The people took up this chant. Ambrose, who at this time was still a catechumen, considered himself unworthy, and tried to refuse. He disparaged himself, and even tried to flee from Mediolanum. The matter went ultimately before the emperor Valentinian the Elder (364-375), whose orders Ambrose dared not disobey. He accepted holy Baptism from an Orthodox priest and, passing through all the ranks of the Church clergy in just seven days, on December 7, 374 he was consecrated Bishop of Mediolanum. He dispersed all his possessions, money and property for the adornment of churches, the upkeep of orphans and the poor, and he devoted himself to a strict ascetic life.

Ambrose combined strict temperance, intense vigilance and work within the fulfilling of his duties as archpastor. St Ambrose, defending the unity of the Church, energetically opposed the spread of heresy. Thus, in the year 379 he traveled off to establish an Orthodox bishop at Sirmium, and in 385-386 he refused to hand over the basilica of Mediolanum to the Arians.

The preaching of St Ambrose in defense of Orthodoxy was deeply influential. Another noted Father of the Western Church, St Augustine (June 15), bore witness to this, having accepted holy Baptism in the year 387 by the grace of the preaching of the bishop of Mediolanum.

St Ambrose also actively participated in civil matters. Thus, the emperor Gracian (375-383), having received from him the “Exposition of the Orthodox Faith” (De Fide), removed, by decree of the saint, the altar of Victory from the halls of the Senate at Rome, on which oaths were wont to be taken. Displaying a pastoral boldness, St Ambrose placed a severe penance on the emperor Theodosius I (379-395) for the massacre of innocent inhabitants of Thessalonica. For him there was no difference between emperor and commoner. Though he released Theodosius from the penance, the saint would not permit the emperor to commune at the altar, but compelled him to do public penance.

The fame of Bishop Ambrose and his actions attracted to him many followers from other lands. From faraway Persia learned men came to him to ask him questions and absorb his wisdom. Fritigelda (Frigitil), queen of the military Germanic tribe of the Markomanni, which often had attacked Mediolanum, asked the saint to instruct her in the Christian Faith. The saint in his letter to her persuasively stated the dogmas of the Church. And having become a believer, the queen converted her own husband to Christianity and persuaded him to conclude a treaty of peace with the Roman Empire.

The saint combined strictness with an uncommon kindliness. Granted a gift of wonderworking, he healed many from sickness. One time at Florence, while staying at the house of Decentus, he resurrected a dead boy.

The repose of St Ambrose, who departed to the Lord on the night of Holy Pascha, was accompanied by many miracles. He even appeared in a vision to the children being baptized that night. The saint was buried in the Ambrosian basilica in Mediolanum, beneath the altar, between the Martyrs Protasius and Gervasius (October 14).

***

Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Αμβρόσιος Μεδιολάνων -St Ambrose of Mediolansus– Milan_Свт. Амвросий Медиоланский__e1354843281678Fear of God drives all fear from the hearts of men. In every great hierarch of the Orthodox Church, we see meekness and fearlessness wonderfully united. St. Nicholas grabbed the sword of the executioner and pulled it away so that innocent men would not be beheaded. St. Chrysostom reproached the Empress Eudoxia for her misdeeds without consideration for the unpleasantness and danger to his own life, to which he was exposed as a result. And there are many, many other examples similar to this: Emperor Valentinian the Elder, upon hearing of Ambrose‘s stern criticism of him, said: “I knew of your fearlessness; that is why I helped you to be chosen as bishop. Correct our faults as the Law of God teaches, and heal our unrighteousness.” When Valentinian the Younger, at the instigation of his mother Justina, an Arian, ordered that the cathedral church in Milan be yielded to the heretics, Ambrose shut himself in the church with the faithful and would not come out for three days. He sent a message to the emperor and empress that, if they desired his death, he was prepared at any moment “here in the church to be run through either by the sword or spear.” Hearing this, the emperor and empress withdrew their decree. When a riot occurred in Thessalonica, at which time about seven thousand people were beheaded by the decree of Emperor Theodosius the Great, Ambrose became so enraged at the emperor that, when the emperor visited Milan and wished to enter the church, the saint forbade him. The emperor said to Ambrose: “Even David sinned and was not deprived of God’s mercy.” To this the bishop replied: “As you have imitated David in sin, imitate him also in repentance.” The emperor was ashamed, turned back and repented bitterly of the sin he had committed.
http://www.westsrbdio.org/en/prologue/718-december-9

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Apolytikion. For the Saint
Mode 4.

A rule of faith are you, and an icon of gentleness, and a teacher of self-control. And to your flock this was evident, by the truth of your life and deeds. You were humble and therefore you acquired exalted gifts, treasure in heaven for being poor. Father holy hierarch Ambrose, intercede with Christ our God, and entreat Him to save our souls.

Exaposteilarion
Mode 2. N/M (On the mountain.)

O Ambrose, you were a champion of Orthodoxy, a firm foundation of the Church, the supporter of hierarchs, and a wise shepherd, guiding the flock to pastures of true religion. You drove out the untamed factions of heretics like wild beasts, O revealer of God, and you publicly taught that the Holy Trinity is consubstantial.

Tour virtuale of the Basilica of Saint Ambrose in Milan – εικονική περιήγηση στην Βασιλική του Αγίου Αμβροσίου στο Μιλανο
http://www.basilicasantambrogio.it/la-basilica/tour-virtuale/


The shortest sermon by Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh, a great man of prayer.

Μεταμόρφωσις του Σωτήρος Χριστού_Преображение Господне_Transfiguration of Jesus- Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon.p0210130039.bForefeast of the Transfiguration
Righteous Nonna (374), wife of Gregory of Nazianzus the Elder and mother of St. Gregory the Theologian
Venerable Eugenius of Aetolia (1682)
New Martyrs Eudocia Shikova, and Novices Daria Timolina, Daria Siushinskaya, and Maria, of Diveyevo Convent (1919)
Saint John Jacob the Chozebite, of Neamț (1960)

Commemorated on August 5

Verses.
Fair offspring to fair Nonna in her death
Gives a fair speech of burial, his words.

Anthony Bloom Metropolitan of Sourozh
Reposed peacefully 4th August, 2003

Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh was a well known archpastor, preacher, spiritual guide and brilliant writer on prayer and the Christian life. He was, himself, a great man of prayer.
His sermon below is, most likely, the shortest ever recorded. Yet the impact of the same continues to reverberate as an exceptional spiritual reminder and guide to prayer. 

“One Sunday Metropolitan Anthony Bloom gave a sermon as follows:

‘Last night a woman with a child came to this church. She was in trousers and with no headscarf. Someone scolded her. She left. I do not know who did that, but I am commanding that person to pray for her and her child to the end of his days to God for their salvation. Because of you she may never go to church again.’

He turned around, head down, and entered the Altar. That was the entire sermon.”

***

“We should try to live in such a way that if the Gospels were lost, they could be re-written by looking at us.”

“It is only in becoming the living message of the Gospel that we can truly say that we have received the message, The disciples of Christ should be such that people looking at them would be puzzled, perturbed, challenged by the awareness that they have encountered men and women who were like no one else, not on account of their wisdom or reasoning but because they were different: they had become new creatures.”

“We are part of a fallen world, and it is in and through this turmoil that we must find our way. We are walking on the sea on which St Peter walked, and we meet Christ at the very centre of the storm, the point of equipoise of all its violence.”

***

Αντώνιος Bloom Σουρόζ_Anthony Bloom of Sourozh_Антоний Сурожский _127713.pHumility in Russian means a state of being at peace, when a person has made peace with God’s will; that is, he has given himself over to it boundlessly, fully, and joyfully, and says, “Lord, do with me as Thou wilt!” As a result he has also made peace with all the circumstances of his own life—everything for him is a gift of God, be it good or terrible. God has called us to be His emissaries on earth, and He sends us into places of darkness in order to be a light; into places of hopelessness in order to bring hope; into places where joy has died in order to be a joy; and so on. Our place is not necessarily where it is peaceful—in church, at the Liturgy, where we are shielded by the mutual presence of the faithful—but in those places where we stand alone, as the presence of Christ in the darkness of a disfigured world.

On the other hand, if we think about the Latin roots of the word humility, we see that it comes from the word humus, which indicates fruitful earth. St. Theophan writes about this. Just think about what earth is. It lies there in silence, open, defenseless, vulnerable before the face of the sky. From the sky it receives scorching heat, the sun’s rays, rain, and dew. It also receives what we call fertilizer, that is, manure—everything that we throw into it. And what happens? It brings forth fruit. And the more it bears what we emotionally call humiliation and insult, the more fruit it yields.

Thus, humility means opening up to God perfectly, without any defenses against Him, the action of the Holy Spirit, or the positive image of Christ and His teachings. It means being vulnerable to grace, just as in our sinfulness we are sometimes vulnerable to harm from human hands, from a sharp word, a cruel deed, or mockery. It means giving ourselves over, that it be our own desire that God do with us as He wills. It means accepting everything, opening up; and then giving the Holy Spirit room to win us over.

***

It is deeply embedded practice among Orthodox Christians that we treat icons, even those that are second-rate from an aesthetic point of view, with respect and reverence. Would that we did the same with each other. Perhaps what was most remarkable about Metropolitan Anthony is that he normally treated people as if they were icons. Here too he was a living translation of the Gospel. As he explained on one occasion, “Christ saw the beauty of the divine image in every person who came to him. Perhaps it was hidden or deformed, but it was beauty nevertheless. We must do the same. Each of us resembles a damaged icon. When anyone gives us a painted icon that has been damaged by age or circumstances or profaned by human sinfulness, we always treat it with tenderness, with reverence and with a broken heart. It is what remains of its former beauty, and not what has been lost, that is important. And that is how we should learn to treat ourselves and each other.” [This Holy Man, p 194]Αντώνιος Bloom Σουρόζ_Anthony Bloom of Sourozh_Антоний Сурожский _images (2)

How can I deal with my sinful condition?
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
12 August 1984

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

So often we ask ourselves and one another a very tormenting question: How can I deal with my sinful condition? What can I do? I cannot avoid committing sins, Christ alone is sinless. I cannot, for lack of determination, or courage, or ability truly repent when I do commit a sin, or in general, of my sinful condition. What is left to me? I am tormented, I fight like one drowning, and I see no solution.

And there is a word which was spoken once by a Russian staretz, one of the last elders of Optina. He said to a visitor of his: No one can live without sin, few know how to repent in such a way that their sins are washed as white as fleece. But there is one thing which we all can do: when we can neither avoid sin, nor repent truly, we can then bear the burden of sin, bear it patiently, bear it with pain, bear it without doing anything to avoid the pain and the agony of it, bear it as one would bear a cross, — not Christ’s cross, not the cross of true discipleship, but the cross of the thief who was crucified next to Him. Didn’t the thief say to his companion who was blaspheming the Lord: We are enduring because we have committed crimes; He endures sinlessly… And it is to him, because he had accepted the punishment, the pain, the agony, the consequences indeed of evil he had committed, of being the man he was, that Christ said, ‘Thou shalt be with Me today in Paradise…’

I remember the life of one of the divines, the story of one who had come to him and have said that he had led all his life a life that was evil, impure, unworthy both of God and of himself; and then he had repented, he has rejected all evil he had done; and yet, he was in the power of the same evil. And the divine said to him: There was a time when you lapped up all this filth with delight; now you perceive it as filth and you feel that you are drowning in it with horror, with disgust. Take this to be your reward for your past, and endure…

This is something which all of us can do: to endure the consequences, to endure the enslavement which is our patiently, humbly, with a broken heart; not with indifference, not with a sense that as we are abandoned to it by God, then, why not sin? But taking it as a healing perception of what sin is, of what it does to us, of the horror of it. And if we patiently endure, a day will come when our inner rejection of sin will bear fruit, and when freedom will be given us.

So, if we can, in all the ways we can, let us avoid sin in all its forms, even those sins which seem to be so unimportant, because the slightest crack in a dam sooner or later leads to its bursting. If we can — let us truly repent, that is turn away from our past in a heroic, determined act; but if we can do neither of them — let us carry humbly and patiently all the pain and all the consequences. And this will also be accounted one day by the Lord Who in a folkloric life of Moses, in response to His angels saying, ‘How long shall you endure their sins’ — the sins of the Jews in the wilderness, answered: ‘I will reject them when the measure of their sins will exceed the measure of their suffering’.

Let us therefore accept the pain as a redeeming pain, even if we cannot offer it as pain pure of stain. Amen.
http://masarchive.org/Sites/texts/1984-08-12-1-E-E-S-EM03-058HowToDealWithSinfulCondition.html

Saint Nonna, the mother of St Gregory the Theologian, a model wife and mother
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/08/04/30463/

The Little Orphan, by St. John Jacob (the Romanian) the Chozebite
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/08/18/the-little-orphan-by-st-john-jacob-the-romanian-the-chozebite/

Apolytikion of Forefeast of the Transfiguration
Fourth Tone

Come, let us all welcome the Transfiguration of Christ, and joyously celebrate the bright prefestival, O ye faithful, and let us cry: Nigh at hand now is the day of God-given gladness, as the Sovereign Master goeth up on Mount Tabor to flash forth with the beautiful light of His Divinity.

prosomia of the Forefeast Tone 4. You have given as a sign.

Come, let us go up with Jesus, as he ascends the holy mountain, and there let us hear the voice of the living God, the Father without beginning, which through a cloud of light bears witness by the divine Spirit to the truth of his eternal Sonship, and enlightened in mind, in light we shall see light.

Come, let us dance beforehand, purify ourselves and faithfully prepare ourselves for the divine ascent of the exalted life of God, that we may become spectators of his majesty, and attain the glory which the leaders of the Apostles were allowed to see mystically on Mount Thabor.

Come now, having undergone the greater change, let us prepare ourselves well to approach the holy mountain of God as we contemplate the unchanging glory of Christ blazing forth more brightly than the sun, and made radiant by the triple light, in it let us glorify his condescension.

Prosomoia of the Stichera in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
What shall we call you, O Saints?

How shall we call you, O divine Nonna? A mother of fervant prayer, like that of the Prophet Samuel, the sweetest spouse, as proclaimed by Gabriel? You sprouted the all-wise Gregory, and you watered Caesarios and Gorgonia with the springs of piety, and the waters of the faith, intercede, that our souls be saved.

Apolytikion of Gregory the Theologian
First Tone

The pastoral flute of your theology conquered the trumpets of orators. For it called upon the depths of the Spirit and you were enriched with the beauty of words. Intercede to Christ our God, O Father Gregory, that our souls may be saved.


On July 25 1924, on the day of St. Anne, St. Paisios the Athonite was born in Pharasa (Çamlıca), Cappadocia

Παΐσιος Αγιορείτης_св. Паисий Святогорец_St.Paisios of the Holy Mountain_Αρσένιος ο Καππαδόκης-_104953_n (2)On 25 July [O.S. 12 July] 1924, on St. Anne’s day, Saint Paisios of Mount Athos (Eznepidis) was born in Pharasa (Çamlıca), Cappadocia

St. Arsenios of Cappadocia and Saint Paisios of Mount Athos (Eznepidis)

Although his monastic cell was in the world, St. Arsenios of Cappadocia managed to live out of the world. In this, as well as in his divine works and achievements, he benefited greatly from the two days he spent in retreat, praying in his cell. These days proved even more productive spiritually, because they not only sanctified his work of the following days, but we too, to this day, are nour­ished by the blessed fruit of this Father’s labours.

In addition to his other spiritual activities, it was his rule to remain in isolation in his cell every Wednesday and Friday and to do spiritual exercises and to pray. On these two days the threshold of his cell served as a substitute for him. Whenever any sick person arrived from afar, who did not know his rule and knocked at the door, Father Arsenios would certainly open it, but would not speak. He learned about the illness of the person concerned through signs, found the right prayer, read it and the sufferer would recover. On other occasions though, people knocked but he did not answer. Surely, during such times of prayer, he must have been in an ecstatic state of spiritual contemplation. Events indicate that on those days when he would shut himself in his cell, not only would he draw down divine powers of Heaven, while praying, but he, too, would be drawn up to Heaven by Angelic powers.

The Pharasiotes did not disturb him on those two days, except for the sick who would go outside his cell and take soil from the threshold of his door, spread it on the afflicted part of their body and get well. One woman from Pharasa, whose bent and misshapen hand was healed when she put soil from the threshold of Hadjiephentis on it, reportedly said:

“Where we come from, we didn’t know what a doctor was. We would go to Father Arsenios, Hadji­ephentis. It was in Greece that we found out about doctors, but if we tell the local people these things, they think it very strange.”

All the pain of those suffering was gathered in the cell of Hadjiephentis…

Once, when Hadjiephentis was going to Vespers, the moment he unlocked the door of the Church he saw a Woman Whose face was shining, coming out of the Church. She disappeared right in front of both him and the people who were with him. (Solomon Koskeridis was among them.) Hadjiephentis said it was Panaghia.

***

Αρσένιος ο Καππαδόκης_St. Arsenios of Cappadocia_Св Арсений Каппадокийский_2b895760e678The blessed man of God, Hadjiephentis, apart from his many other gifts, was also endowed with the gift of foresight. He had been told by God, years before, that they would leave forGreece, and so would tell the Pharasiotes not to spend too much, but to save for the journey.

A year before the exchange of populations, a woman went to him and said: “Your blessing, Hadjiephentis, I hear that this year they’re going to move us.”
“Don’t worry; keep on with what you’re doing, because there’s another year to go,” Father Arsenios told her.

When that year had gone by, the dread message then arrived that they were to get ready quickly for the journey. The expulsion from their fatherland was naturally a very bitter affair, but good Father Arsenios had sweetened even this, by saying that they would be returning to their motherland, Greece.

On 25 July [O.S. 12 July] 1924, on St. Anne’s day, Arsenios Eznepidis (St. Paisios the Athonite) was born in Pharasa (Çamlıca), Cappadocia, shortly before the population exchange between Greece and Turkey. His father, Prodromos Eznepidis, a pious man, was the mayor of Farasa. He was characterised by a strong sense of patriotism and his life was many times put in danger by the Tsetes, who were a constant threat to the town of Farasa. Prodromos felt a deep devotion and love for Father Arsenios, the spiritual father of the family; he was recently canonized by the Church because of the numerous miracles he had worked, even before his death. Impressed by St. Arsenios’ miraculous life, Prodromos kept a notebook where he recorded the saint’s miracles, which he either heard, or experienced himself, for the benefit of both his children and his own. The Elder’s mother was called Eulambia and he had nine brothers and sisters altogether.

All the Pharasiotes began their preparations at once, just as Father Arsenios did. On August 7, 1924, a week before the big emigration from Farasa (Turkey) to Greece, St. Arsenios decided to have all the children baptized including Prodromos’ son. The boy was supposed to be named Christos, after his grandfather, according to the old Greek custom. However, Fr. Arsenios refused to name him so, as he wished to give him his own name. So, he said to his parents: “I understand you wish to leave someone in the grandfather’s shoes. Shouldn’t I wish to leave a monk in my shoes, too?” Then, he turned to the godmother and said: “Arsenios will be his name!” Thus, St. Arsenios had predicted the Elder’s calling who, since his early childhood, was chosen to become a receptacle of the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, from an early age, this child did aspire to become a monk, and in fact became one. Whether it was Father Arsenios’ prayer that took effect, or his gift of foresight, both alternatives reveal the holiness of the person.
After the baptism of the children, Father Arsenios was digging for a week in order to hide the sacred vessels so that they would not be desecrated by the Turks. He placed some in the Church of the Blessed Martyrs Varachesios and lonas, and others in the cemetery. It was, of course, impossible to take them on the journey, because the animals were loaded down with small children in cases of twos, or with the elderly, with foodstuffs and other urgent supplies for the long march.

Source: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian, Thessaloniki 2007

***

“Father Arsenios proclaimed true Orthodoxy with his Orthodox life. He mortified his flesh in asceticism from his ardent love of God, and modified souls with the Grace of God. He believed deeply and healed many, believers and non-believers. Few words, many miracles. He experienced much and hid much. Within his hard outer shell, he concealed his sweet, spiritual fruit. A very harsh father to himself, but also a very loving father to his children. He never beat them with the law.… As minister of the Most High, he did not tread the earth, and as co-administrant of the sacraments he shone upon the world.” —St. Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Prophecy of St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain

St. Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain said:

Παΐσιος o Αγιορείτης _Saint Paisios of Mount Athos_Паи́сий Святого́рец_20200711_170239-4“Events will start that will culminate with us taking back Constantinople. Constantinople will be given to us. There will be war between Russia and Turkey. In the beginning the Turks will believe they are winning, but this will lead to their destruction. The Russians, eventually, will win and take over Constantinople. After that it will be ours. They will be forced to give it to us.” The text reads further, “(The Turks) will be destroyed. They will be eradicated because they are a nation that was built without God’s blessing. One third of the Turks will go back to where they came from, the depths of Turkey. One third will be saved because they will become Christians, and the other third will be killed in this war.” 

“I wanted nothing else but God to keep me alive for a few more years so I could see my country expand. And it will expand…” “Turkey will be dissected. This will be to our benefit as a nation. This way our villages will be liberated, our enslaved homelands. Constantinople will be liberated, will become Greek again. Hagia Sophia will open again,”

Turkey will be dissected in 3 or 4 parts. The countdown has begun. We will take the lands that belong to us, the Armenians will take theirs and the Kurds their own. The Kurdish issue is at the works,”

“As long as there is faith and hope in God, a lot of people will rejoice. All that will happen in these years. The time has come.”

Now read the prophecy — how to read a newspaper: everything is clearly written. Thought tells me that there will be many events: the Russian occupy Turkey, Turkey will disappear from the map, because one third of Turks will be Christian, one third die and one third will go to Mesopotamia. Middle East will become an arena of war, which will include Russian. Shed a lot of blood, and even the Chinese will move the Euphrates River, with 200,000,000 army and reach Jerusalem. Characteristic feature that makes these events will be the destruction of the mosque of Omar, as it would mean the destruction of the beginning of work on the reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple, which was built right in the place. In Constantinople, will the great war between Russian and European, and shed a lot of blood.

Greece will not play a primary role in this war, but it will give Constantinople, not because they are in front of us fear the Russian, but because they can not find a better solution, and agreed to work together with Greece, and will put pressure on them difficult circumstances. The Greek army will not have time to come back to the city will be given to her. Jews, because they will have the strength and support of the European leadership obnagleyut and will show their pride and shamelessness and try to govern Europe. Then 2/3 of the Jews will be Christians. Unfortunately, people are pushed into the theology, not related to the church and is worldly sophistication that say different things and make impermissible action, to deliberately remove his position from the faith of Christians. So did Russian, when they wanted to introduce communism in Russia. What are they doing there? Once joined the party some wrong priests and theologians — and were already “together with them,” — they were forced to accuse the Church and often speak against it. So they poison the people, because he could not recognize the role of these theologians. Then he took one of his priests, who, because of illness was very thick, looking for some months skinny kid, put them on a poster and wrote down: “This is how the Church lives and how people are poor.” We took a photograph of the Patriarchal chambers covered with a carpet, furniture, etc., and placed next to the hut of one of the poor (as our gypsies) and said, look at the luxury of priests and a languishing Russian citizen! So little by little, they managed to poison the people and the “ruin his thought.” And after people consume themselves, and they were, and, as we know, have rejected Russia 500 years ago, and left her to die, killing millions of Russian Christians. They will build many machinations, but through persecution that followed, Christianity completely united. But not in the way they want those machinations suit global alliance of churches wanting to be at the head of the religious leadership. United, because the present situation will be separation of sheep from the goats. Each sheep will tend to be with the other sheep and then realized, in fact, “one flock and one shepherd.” Delve? See that this is already partly implemented: Christians, you see, have already begun to feel that they are in an unhealthy climate, and will try to avoid painful situations and replenished by the thousands in the monasteries and churches. Will soon see that the city there are two parts of people: those who will live lascivious and far from the life of Christ, and others that will be on the vigil pritekat and places of worship. Mean state, as it is now, can no longer exist.

Apolytikion of St. Arsenios of Cappadocia in the Third Tone (Commemorated on November 10)

You strived to live a life trully inspired by God, you became a holy vessel of the Paraclete, bearer of God, Arsenios, and you were given the grace to perform miracles, offering to everyone your quick help, our holy Father, we plead you, pray to Jesus Christ our Lord to grant us His grand mercy.

Kontakion in Tone 4

Cappadocia’s new-sprung flower and precious vessel of virtues, Holy Arsenios, let me hymn. For as an angel he lived in the flesh, and now resides with all the Saints. With them, he ever prays to Christ to grant us forgiveness of our sins.

Apolytikion to St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain in the First Tone

The offspring of Farasa, and the adornment of Athos, and the imitator of the former righteous, equal in honor, O Paisios let us honor O faithful, the vessel full of graces, who hastens speedily to those who cry out: glory to Him Who gave you strength, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who grants through you healings for all.

Megalynarion

Rejoice the communicant with the Venerable, the pride of Athos, the adornment of Monastics, Rejoice the new teacher of the Church, O godly-minded Paisios, our boast.Φάρασα -Καππαδοκίας _Фарасы- Каппадокия_ Farasa- Çamlıca Cappadocia _amlca


The relationship between of the Papa-Fotis Lavriotis of Mytilene with Sts Luke of Mytilene and Silouan the Athonite

Λουκάς Ανδριανούπολεως εν Μυτιλήνη_Luke the New-Martyr of Adrianople-at Mytilene_

St. Luke the New -Martyr of Adrianople and Mt. Athos, at Mytilene (+1802)

Commemorated on March 23

Λουκάς Ανδριανούπολεως εν Μυτιλήνη_Luke the New-Martyr of Adrianople-at Mytilene_102_3368St. Luke was born in Adrianoupolis. At six years of age he lost his father, and his mother. At a young age, teenager converted to Islam , then repented with deep remorse, go to the Holy Mountain St Anne’s Skete became an ascetic monk upon his return to Christ. Felt compelled to return and confess his faith in Christ.
He go to Mytilene. In Pamphila where the righteous Luke arrived, he came to know the priests at the church of St. Barbara, Frs. Gregory and Parthenios. After fervent supplications and meditation on the martyrdom of St. Theodore, who had been martyred seven years before in Mytilene, St. Luke appeared before Nazer the Aga of Mytilene, and with bravery of soul sought to bear witness as a Christian. He was imprisoned and martyred by hanging on March 23rd 1802 at the age of 19.The translation of his miraculous relics is celebrated on August 25th.

Papa-Fotis Lavriotis of Mytilene built a church dedicated to St. Luke in Pamphila. He had a great devotion to st .Luke, and especially celebrated his feast day in August because his primary feast fell during Great Lend.
Papa-Foti built this church on the spot where St. Luke slept the night before he was martyred.

***

Papa Fotis the Fool Meets St. Silouan the Athonite

παπα-Φώτης Λαυριώτης_Father Photis Lavriotis of Mytilini_старец Фотий из Митилене (Лесбос)_000000000000000000cPapa Fotis had the blessing to know, at the Russian Saint Panteleimon Monastery of Mount Athos, the new Saint of our Church, Silouan the Athonite. He said about this acquaintance: “I also had the blessing on Mount Athos to minister to and meet Papa Tychon the Russian. But I also met saint Silouan the A thonite whose holiness was wonderful. Great personalites. “

Another time he said : “I went to the monastery of Saint Panteleimon to worship. After worship I headed to the monastery dining room.The dining room some time before had closed to visitors and the monk housekeepers had gone to the oikomomeio to eat after their services to the visitors. Amonk received news of my presence and came to me with love and asked me if I ate. I told him I was not on time for the dining room and it closed. The monk was Silouan and he took me by force almost to the oikonomeio and he served me . We were given an opportunity to discuss many spiritual man and his face shined with holiness. He explained that he took the obedience of serving in the oikonomeio for the sake of  obedience and thanked God for this obedience. “

Papa Fotis remembers the advice he received from the Holy Man of God Silouan : ” You must love your fellow men , to suffer with them, and pray for others not in a simple way, but to spill blood with your prayer! “

From the book of fr. Themistocles Christodoulou, “Papa Fotis Lavriotis, Point Controversial”, ed. Homology.
http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/02/papa-fotis-fool-meets-st-silouan.html

Apolytikion for a Male Martyr in the Fourth Tone

Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.


When St. Arsenios of Cappadocia was rescued by St. George

St. Arsenios of Cappadocia

Commemorated on November 10th

When St. Arsenios of Cappadocia was rescued by St. George

Αρσένιος ο Καππαδόκης_St. Arsenios of Cappadocia_Св Арсений Каппадокийский_ Sf. Arsenie Capadocianul_1ΑΡΣΕΝΙΟΣ ΚΑΠΠΑΔΟΚΗΣ (6)One day, Vlasios persuaded his younger brother, Theodoros, to go with him to a field which belonged to their father, which lay close to a torrent called the Evkasis. As they were crossing this torrent, the water carried Theodoros away, and Vlasios, in tears, called on Saint George, whose Chapel was close by. While Vlasios was crying and asking the Saint to help, because his conscience was troubled for having put his brother in danger, he suddenly saw Theodoros next to him, joyfully telling him how a horseman, dressed like a monk, had hauled him out of the water, set him on his horse and brought him out of the torrent. From then on, Theodoros maintained that he, too, was going to become a monk. In this way God saw to it that he would take the right road from an early age. This event had its effect on Vlasios, as well, who in his own way, also gave himself to God, by glorifying Him as a teacher of Byzantine Music. He later came to live in Constantinople.
Theodore later became a monk.

Continuing to grow, Theodore moved to Nigde and after to Smyrna to continue his studies.

When he was about 20 years old he went to the Holy Monastery of the Precious Forerunner Flavianon, and later he was tonsured a Monk and took the name Arsenios. Unfortunately he did not have much time for hesychia, because at that time there was a great need for teachers, and Metropolitan Paisios II ordained him Deacon and sent him to Farasa for teach letters to the neglected children. This naturally was done in secret, with two thousand precautions, so that the Turks wouldn’t learn what they were doing. At the age of 30 he was ordained a priest in Caesarea with the title of Archimandrite and the blessing to be a spiritual father…

His cell, small, unadorned, was located in the world. He lived in the world, but at the same time established to live outside the world. In this, and for his divine feats, he was much aided by the two days (Wednesday and Friday) when he remained locked in his cell, in prayer. These bore more fruit spiritually, because they blessed the work of the other days. For hours he remained on his knees praying to God for His people, which he had entrusted to His servant Arsenios…

Father Arsenios proclaimed true Orthodoxy with his Orthodox life. He mortified his flesh in asceticism from his ardent love of God, and modified souls with the Grace of God. He believed deeply and healed many, believers and non-believers. Few words, many miracles. He experienced much and hid much. Within his hard outer shell, he concealed his sweet, spiritual fruit. A very harsh father to himself, but also a very loving father to his children. He never beat them with the law.… As minister of the Most High, he did not tread the earth, and as co-administrant of the sacraments he shone upon the world.

The inhabitants of Farasa would say “in our Homeland we did not know of any doctor, we ran to Hatzefendis [what the people would call St. Arsenios]. He reposed on November 10th 1924. (Source: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian, Thessaloniki 2007)Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος_ св вмч Георгий победоносец_St. George the Trophy-bearer_წმინდა გიორგი გმირავს_d0%b9

Apolytikion of St. Arsenios of Cappadocia in the Third Tone

You strived to live a life trully inspired by God, you became a holy vessel of the Paraclete, bearer of God, Arsenios, and you were given the grace to perform miracles, offering to everyone your quick help, our holy Father, we plead you, pray to Jesus Christ our Lord to grant us His grand mercy.

Apolytikion of St George the Victory-bearer Tone 4

Liberator of captives, defender of the poor, physician of the sick, and champion of kings, O trophy-bearer, Great Martyr George, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

May St. Arsenios and Saint George intercede for us all and help us!


Papa-Fotis Lauriotis the “Fool For Christ” of Mytilini

Papa-Fotis Lauriotis the “Fool For Christ” of Mytilini

Reposed on March 5, 2010

παπα-Φώτης Λαυριώτης_Father Photis Lavriotis of Mytilini_старец Фотий из Митилене (Лесбос)_images96754718814381_1392675527491876_2422396364038074406_n - CopyHe was an unmarried Archimandrite who worked tirelessly for the gospel, yet in a silent and real way, as displayed in the fact that he would walk around barefoot in both summer and winter.He was loved by all and known for his courage, asceticism, and commitment to Orthodox tradition. For the peculiarity of his appearance, he said: “I am a monk, which is why I do not attach much importance to my dress.”

St. Paisios the Athonite

-Father Paisios, when I walk in the streets of Thessaloniki, I face the following problem: As I walk, I come across various beggars most of whom are women holding babies in their arms, and claiming they are ill and in need of financial assistance. I always think they are lying to me. What would you do in my place?
-I, too, came across one of these women who asked for help, he replied. I immediately sympathised with her problem but I had very little money on me. I gave her 500 drachmas and told her: “Please forgive me as I do not have more money on me. However, I will give you my address so you can write to me and send me your own. When I go back to Mount Athos, I will try to collect some money to forward you.”
She took my address and I felt she was touched by my offer. After some time, I received a letter from her which did not include her address. Instead, she had enclosed the 500 drachma bill I had given her, and was asking me to forgive her for putting me in a difficult situation and thanked me for my kindness. I believe that if someone develops positive thoughts, even in the case of the woman beggar, he will not be a loser, because God, who knows our deepest intentions, will do him justice.

“God opposes the proud, but gives Grace to the humble.” (1Pet 5:5).

Priestmonk Christodoulos , “Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain”,On Positive Thinking, Holy Mountain (1998)