iconandlight

Iconography and Hand painted icons


The Lord Christ Himself appeared to St. Carpus and said: “Strike me; I am prepared to be crucified again for the salvation of mankind.” We should not desire the death of a sinner, but his repentance.

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_passover_frescoe_st_george_near_kumanovo1Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Христос Воскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!
«Rejoice!» «Peace be unto you!»

Synaxarion From the Menaion.
On May 26 we commemorate the holy and glorious Apostle Carpus, one of the Seventy Apostles (1st century).
On this day the holy Apostle Alphaeus died in peace (1st century)
Saint Abercius, son of the Apostle Alphaeus, died after he was laid naked on beehives and was stung by bees (1st century).
Saint Helen, Abercius’ sister, died by stoning (1st century).
Our righteous and God-bearing Father Synesius, Bishop of Carpasia in Cyprus (c. 5th century).
Our righteous Father Macarius of Kalyazin, the recovery of whose holy relics we commemorate.
Saint Alexander the neo-martyr of Thessaloniki, the former Dervish, witnessed in Smyrna and died by the sword (1794).
Translation of the relics (1534) of New Martyr George of Kratovo and Sofia Bulgaria (1515)
New Hieromartyrs Milan Banjac and Milan Golubovic, of Drvar, Serbia (1941-1945)
Our righteous Father Macarius of Saharna the Confessor (April 23, 1969)
The Icon of the Mother of God of Seligersk-Vladimir (16th century)

Apostle Carpus of the Seventy

Κάρπος αποστ_Carpus of the Seventy_2333675Carpus was one of the Seventy Apostles. He was a follower and companion of the Apostle Paul by whom he was appointed as bishop of Varna in Thrace. He also preached the Gospel on Crete where he received St. Dionysius the Areopagite in his home. St. Dionysius testifies that Carpus was a man with an exceptionally pure mind, meekness and innocence and that the Lord Jesus, with His angels, appeared to him in a vision and that he never began the Divine Liturgy that he did not have a heavenly vision beforehand. Enduring many assaults for the Name of Christ, he finally suffered at the hands of the unbelieving Jews and was killed and, with his soul, took up habitation in the kingdom of God to delight eternally gazing upon the Lord in glory.
The The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/May26.htm

***

The Vision of Carpus (Letter VIII)
by St. Dionysius the Areopagite

Κάρπος αποστ_Carpus of the Seventy_Карп Фиатирский, Пергамский3764When I was once in Crete, the holy Carpus [2 Tim. 4:13] entertained me, a man, of all others, most fitted, on account of great purity of mind, for Divine Vision. Now, he never undertook the holy celebration of the Mysteries, unless a propitious vision were first manifested to him during his preparatory devout prayers. He said then, when some one of the unbelievers had at one time grieved him (and his grief was, that he had led astray to ungodliness a certain member of the Church, whilst the days of rejoicing were still being celebrated for him); that he ought compassionately to have prayed on behalf of both, and taking God, the Savior, as his fellow-helper, to convert the one, and to overcome the other by goodness [Rom. 11:21], and not to have ceased warning them so long as he lived until this day; and thus to lead them to the knowledge of God, so that the things disputed by them might be clearly determined, and those, who were irrationally bold, might be compelled to be wiser by a judgment according to law.

Now, as he had never before experienced this, I do not know how he then went to bed with such a surfeit of ill-will and bitterness. In this evil condition he went to sleep, for it was evening, and at midnight (for he was accustomed at that appointed hour to rise, of his own accord, for the Divine melodies) he arose, not having enjoyed, undisturbed, his slumbers, which were many and continually broken; and, when he stood collected for the Divine Converse, he was guiltily vexed and displeased, saying that it was not just that godless men, who pervert the straight ways of the Lord, should live. And, whilst saying this, he besought Almighty God, by some stroke of lightning, suddenly, without mercy, to cut short the lives of them both.

But whilst saying this, he declared that he seemed to see suddenly the house in which he stood, first torn asunder, and from the roof divided into two in the midst, and a sort of gleaming fire before his eyes (for the place seemed now under the open sky) borne down from the heavenly region close to him; and the heaven itself giving way, and upon the back of the heaven, Jesus, with innumerable angels, in the form of men, standing around Him. This indeed he saw above, and himself marvelled; but below, when Carpus had bent down, he affirmed that he saw the very foundation ripped in two, to a sort of yawning and dark chasm, and those very men, upon whom he had invoked a curse, standing before his eyes, within the mouth of the chasm, trembling, pitiful, only just not yet carried down by the mere slipping of their feet; and from below the chasm, serpents, creeping up and gliding from underneath, around their feet, now contriving to drag them away, and weighing them down, and lifting them up, and again inflaming or irritating with their teeth or their tails, and all the time endeavouring to pull them down into the yawning gulf; and that certain men also were in the midst, co-operating with the serpents against these men, at once tearing and pushing and beating them down. And they seemed to be on the point of falling, partly against their will, partly by their will; almost overcome by the calamity, and at the same time resigned.

And Carpus said, that he himself was glad, whilst looking below, and that he was forgetful of the things above; further, that he was vexed and made light of it, because they had not already fallen, and that he often attempted to accomplish the fact, and that, when he did not succeed, he was both irritated and cursed.

And, when with difficulty he raised himself, he saw the heavens again, as he saw it before, and Jesus, moved with pity at what was taking place, standing up from His super celestial throne, and descending to them, and stretching a helping hand, and the angels, co-operating with Him, taking hold of the two men, one from one place and the other from another, and the Lord Jesus said to Carpus, whilst His hand was yet extended, “Strike against Me in future, for I am ready, even again, to suffer for the salvation of men; and this is pleasing to Me, provided that other men do not commit sin. But see, whether it is well for thee to exchange the dwelling in the chasm, and with serpents, for that with God, and the good and philanthropic angels.”

These are the things which I heard myself, and believe to be true.

***

Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιησούς Χριστός ο Καλός ΠοιμέναςChrist the Good Shephera2ba277661596dc56b5b1906d164332fWe should not desire the death of a sinner, but his repentance. Nothing grieves the Lord more, Who suffered on the Cross for sinners, then when we pray to Him for the death of a sinner and thereby to remove him from our path. It happened that the Apostle Carpus lost his patience and began to pray that God send down death upon two sinful men; one a pagan and the other an apostate from the Faith. Then the Lord Christ Himself appeared to Carpus and said: “Strike me; I am prepared to be crucified again for the salvation of mankind.” St. Carpus related this event to St. Dionysius the Areopagite and he wrote it down and gave it to the Church as a lesson to all, that prayers are needed for sinners to be saved and not for them to be destroyed, “for the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Troparion — Tone 3

Holy Apostles Carpus and Alphaeus, entreat the merciful God to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Apolytikion of St Alexander Plagal Tone 1

In lawful contest O Martyr you were valiant, you were wounded after prevailing against the enemy, and you are seen Alexander as a companion of Martyrs. Therefore as its holy offshoot, Thessaloniki honors you, and with longing it proclaims to you: Do not cease interceding for the mercy of those who honor you.

Apolytikion of St Synesius Tone 1

The boast of Karpasia and the ornament of Cyprus, you showed yourself to be a wonderworker, our Hierarch Father Synesios; for through your heavenly miracles you showed, blessed one, that you heal the sick, and the souls of those who run to you with faith. Glory to Him who gave you strength, Glory to Him who crowned you, Glory to Him who works through you healings for all.

Kontakion — Tone 4

Podoben: “Today You have shown forth…” The Church ever sees you as a shining star, Apostle Carpus. Your miracles have brought her great enlightenment. Save those who in faith honor your memory.

Kontakion of St Alexander Tone 3

The city of Thessaloniki celebrates today your holy memory, Alexander Neomartyr; you are its own divine offspring and offshoot; you contested in Smyrna with brave resolve for love of the Lord; therefore entreat Him that He may save us all.

Kontakion of St Synesius Plagal Tone 4

As an invincible champion and fervent support, the faithful flee to you, Father Synesios, redeeming them from sorrows and dangers; but as one having boldness towards the Lord, save us all from disasters that we may cry out: Rejoice Father Synesios.

Sessional Hymn, in Tone III: Spec. Mel.: “Of the divine Faith …”:

Receiving the divine effulgence of the Comforter, O most wise Carpus, thou didst illumine those darkened by ignorance; and having passed over to the kingdom on high, thou standest before the King of all, ever entreating Christ God, that He grant us great mercy.

ODE VIII
Irmos: He Who was nailed to the Cross in the flesh, * hath shown it to be a weapon for our salvation, * O ye children, supremely exalt Christ our God throughout the ages.

Ministering unto the wise Paul, thy guide in divine journeys, O holy hierarch, thou didst impart the doctrines of salvation unto all the saved.

Thou wast shown to be a radiant dawn illumining the whole world with light, O right wondrous one, and as a herald thou hast driven away the profound darkness of ignorance.

Working miracles through the invocation of the Father, the Spirit and the incarnate Word, O wise one, thou didst convince the wise Greeks to worship the One Essence in three Hypostases.

Theotokion: O Birthgiver of God, thou hast been revealed to be a heaven which hath shone forth upon us the Sun of righteousness, illumining us all to the comprehension of divine knowledge.

ODE IX
Irmos: Thy birthgiving was revealed to be incorrupt, * God came forth from thy womb, * and He appeared upon earth in mortal flesh * and dwelt among mankind; * Wherefore we all magnify thee, O Theotokos.

Seeing God ascending into the highest in the flesh with glory, O Carpus, thou wast numbered among the seven disciples and didst depart with them, showing thyself to be a divine preacher.

Thou wast sent like a lamb among wolves, O Carpus, turning them to an understanding of salvation by the word of truth, and transforming their character to piety, O divinely eloquent one.

Thou wast shown to be a converser with the angels, the apostles and the martyrs, who reposed wondrously in piety, O divinely eloquent Apostle Carpus. And joining with them in gladsome chorus, be thou mindful of us.

Treading the earth, O Carpus, thou didst sanctify it, proclaiming the Holy Gospel with faith, and leading souls to the life-bestowing Word. Wherefore, He giveth thee a heavenly inheritance.

Theotokion: We offer unto thee the cry of Gabriel, O Virgin, crying out: Rejoice, O light cloud! Rejoice, O un-ploughed earth which hath produced the comely Grain, the Nurturer of all creation!


Repentance! Repentance! Get on your knees and weep; shed tears of repentance…. Geronda Ephraim of Arizona

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox IconfileNovember 19, 2020

Our beloved Orthodox Christians, evlogeite,

We will soon be commemorating the one-year anniversary of the repose of our holy spiritual father, Geronda Ephraim of Arizona. A recent vision that a woman in Greece had of Geronda Ephraim has come to many people’s attention. The vision concerns the general state of the world, and how prayer and tears of repentance are so necessary today and yet lacking everywhere.
We would like to confirm that the vision is from God, and that its message very much reflects the spirit of our Geronda’s teaching. This holy and spiritual message that is presented here in several languages for the benefit of the Church.
We pray that through Geronda’s intercessions, we will all understand the significance of his powerful message and strive to implement it in our lives.

Geronda Ephraim, the former abbot of Philotheou Monastery and the founder of Saint Anthony’s Monastery, who lived the ascetical life and fell asleep in the Lord in Arizona, appeared to a woman in Northern Greece who at the time was together with her daughter-in-law. At the time of the appearance this woman was not asleep, but in a state of wakefulness. At a certain moment, the woman entered into a state of ecstasy, which lasted about ten minutes, as her daughter-in-law who was watching her related.
The woman herself did not know how long the vision lasted. This was something new for her (i.e., the content of their conversation was unlike any of their previous conversations; for after Geronda’s repose she had seen him several times, both in her sleep and while awake), and for this reason she was astonished and called her spiritual father, in order to ask if what she had seen was delusion or reality.

She saw Geronda Ephraim, who was very sad and who was imploring Christ concerning the coming tribulations—things which certainly correspond with the things Geronda spoke about while he was in this life. And he told her:

‘ Repentance! Repentance! Christ is very angry. We people today should not be in the spiritual state in which we find ourselves. Great evils are coming—you cannot imagine how evil. Alas, what awaits you! Repent as long as there is time. Get on your knees and weep; shed tears of repentance so that perhaps Christ will soften. This also has to do with what is happening in America. Many people will depart through all that is coming, many people will depart [i.e., they will die]. You are not merciful toward one another, you do not have mercy. You are harsh. One person will devour the other. Tell these things to your spiritual father and to others.”

The woman who saw this vision was a spiritual daughter of Geronda Ephraim for many years, and was in communication with him until his repose. It is authentic and verified.
Please feel free to share this message.

In Christ,
+ Kathegoumenos Archimandrite Paisios,
Saint Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery
Florence, Arizona


I saw a light encompassing me on all sides and a certain miraculous peace filled me. Saint Mary the Egyptian, a example of repentance

ΜΑΡΙΑ ΑΙΓΥΠΤΙΑ-St.+Mary+of+Egypt,+detailSaint Mary of Egypt (c. 421)
Saints Hermes and Theodora the martyrs (132)
Saint Melito of Sardis (177)
Martyrs Gerontius and Basilides (3rd century)
Saints Alexander, Dionysius, Ingeniani, Panteros (or Pantainos), Parthenios and Saturninus the Martyrs.
Martyr Polynikos.
Righteous Achaz (Ahaz)
Saint Makarios of Pelekete, Abbot of Pelekete monastery (820)
Saint John Shavteli, great Georgian hymnographer, (John of Black Mountain), Georgia (12th-13th century)
Saint Eulogius of Salosi, Georgia, (Eulogius the Prophet), Fool-for-Christ (12th-13th century)
Martyr Abraham of Bulgaria, on the Volga, Wonderworker of Vladimir (1229)
Saint Gerontius of the Kiev Caves, Canonarch of the Kiev Caves (14th century)
Saint Barsanuphius of Optina (1913)
New martyr Michael (Misha) Fool-for-Christ (1931)

Commemorated on April 1

Saint Mary the Egyptian, a example of repentance
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

μαρια Мария Египтяныня7The biography of this wonderful saint was written by St. Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Once, during the Honorable Fast [Lenten Season], a certain priest-monk (Heiromonk), the Elder Zosimus, withdrew into the wilderness beyond the Jordan, a twenty-day trek. Suddenly, he caught sight of a human being with a withered and naked body whose hair was as white as snow and who began to flee from the sight of Zosimus. The elder ran for a long while until this person crouched down in a brook and cried out: “Abba Zosimus forgive me for the sake of the Lord. I cannot face you for I am a naked woman.”
Zosimus then tossed his outer garment to her which she wrapped around herself and then showed herself to him. The elder was frightened upon hearing his name spoken from the mouth of this woman he did not know. Following his prolonged insistence, the woman related her life story.

She was born in Egypt and at the age of twelve began to live a life of debauchery in Alexandria where she spent seventeen years in this perverted way of life. Driven by the adulterous flame of the flesh, one day she boarded a boat which was sailing for Jerusalem. Arriving at the Holy City, she wanted to enter the church in order to venerate the Honorable Cross but some invisible force restrained her and prevented her from entering the church. In great fear, she gazed upon the icon of the All-Holy Mother of God in the vestibule and prayed that she be allowed to enter the church to venerate the Honorable Cross, all the while confessing her sinfulness and uncleanness and promising that she would go wherever the All-Pure One would direct her.
She was then permitted to enter the church. Having venerated the Cross she again entered the vestibule and, before the icon, gave thanks to the Mother of God. At that very moment she heard a voice saying: “If you cross over Jordan you will find real peace!” Immediately she purchased three loaves of bread and started out for the Jordan where she arrived that same evening.
The next day she received Holy Communion in the Monastery of St. John and crossed over the Jordan river. She remained in the wilderness for forty-eight years in great torment, fear and struggle with passionate thoughts as though with wild beasts. She fed on vegetation.

Afterward, when she stood for prayer, Zosimus saw her levitate in the air. She begged him to bring her Holy Communion the following year on the shore of the Jordan where she would then come to receive it.
The following year, Zosimus arrived on the shore of the Jordan in the evening with Holy Communion. He wondered how this saint would cross the Jordan. At that moment, in the light of the moon, he saw her as she approached the river, made the sign of the cross over it and walked upon the water as though upon dry land. After Zosimus administered Holy Communion to her, she begged him to come the following year to the same brook where they had first met.

Zosimus came and discovered her lifeless body on that spot. Above her head in the sand was written: “Abba Zosimus, bury the body of the humble Mary on this site; render dust to dust. I died on April 1, the same night of the saving-suffering of Christ, after having received Communion of the Divine Mysteries.” From this inscription Zosimus first learned her name and the other and awesome miracle was that, she, on that same night the previous year, when she received Holy Communion, arrived at this brook which took him twenty days to travel. Thus, Zosimus buried the body of this wonderful saint, Mary the Egyptian. When he returned to the monastery Zosimus related the entire history of her life and the miracles which he had personally witnessed. Thus, the Lord knows how to glorify penitent sinners. St. Mary is also commemorated on the Fifth Sunday of the Honorable Fast (Fifth Sunday in Lent). The Church holds her up as an example to the faithful during these fast days as an incentive for repentance. She died about the year 530 A.D.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-april-1-april-14.html

***

Μαρία Αιγυπτία_Saint Mary of Egypt Icon _святая Мария Египтяныня_ 3cdbc8f2404453268736d619bWhy is it that much is said and written about the sufferings of holy men and holy women? Because the saints, alone, are considered victors. Can anyone be a victor without conflict, pain and suffering? In ordinary earthly combat, no one can be considered victorious nor heroic who has not been in combat, tortured much or suffered greatly. The more so in spiritual combat where the truth is known and where self-boasting not only does not help at all but, indeed, hinders it. He who does not engage in combat for the sake of Christ, either with the world, with the devil or with one’s self, how can he be counted among the soldiers of Christ?

How, then, can it be with Christ’s co-victors? St. Mary spoke about her savage spiritual combat to the Elder Zosimus: “For the first seventeen years in this wilderness I struggled with my deranged sexual desires as though with fierce beasts. I desired to eat meat and fish which I had in abundance in Egypt. I also desired to drink wine and here, I did not have even water to drink. I desired to hear lustful songs. I cried and beat my breasts. I prayed to the All-Pure Mother of God to banish such thoughts from me. When I had sufficiently cried and beat my breasts, it was then that I saw a light encompassing me on all sides and a certain miraculous peace filled me.”

***

St. Sophrony Sakharov

On the Day of Judgement all the good that we have done during our lives will stand at our side, to our glory. And vice versa: the bad, if unrepented, will condemn and cast us into outer darkness. Repentance can obliterate the effects of sin. By Divine power life may be restored in all its plenitude- not, however, by unilateral intervention on God’s part but always and only in accord with us. God does nothing with man without man’s co-operation.God’s participation in our individual life we call Providence. This Providence is not like heathen Fate: at certain crucial moments we do, indeed, decide for ourselves on one or other course. When we are faced with various possibilities our choice should be conditioned by the final aim that we have in view: the Kingdom of the Father. But too often we are influenced by other, more temporary considerations, and we turn aside from the true path offered to us by God, on to false tracks which will not lead to the hoped-for dawn. In any case, whatever we choose, suffering is inevitable. But when we opt for the way of God our sacrifice likens us to Christ. ‘Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done’ (Luke 22.42)…

The soul of the man of prayer is often even more dreadfully racked. The dismay that invades him when he sees himself in the grip of base passions drives him ever deeper into the core of his being. This concentration within may take the form of a cramp whereby heart, mind and body are contracted together, like a tightly clenched fist. Prayer becomes a wordless cry, and regret for the distance separating him from God turns to acute grief. To behold oneself in the black pit of sin, cut off from the Holy of holies is distressing indeed. Prayer often proceeds without words. If there are words they come slowly, with long pauses between. Our human word is the image of the Word that was ‘in the beginning’. When words reflect intellectual knowledge they undoubtedly have metaphysical roots, especially where knowledge of God is involved.

μαρια αιγυπτια IMG_9631 αντίγραφοApolytikion: Plagal of the Fourth Tone

In you the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking up your cross, you did follow Christ, and by your deeds you did teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passes away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Mary, your spirit rejoices with the Angels.

Tone VI:
Spec. Mel.: “Having set all aside …”:

Having joyfully worshipped * at the holy places, * from thence thou didst receive * the most saving viaticum of virtue, * and didst set out with exceeding great haste on a good journey; * and having passed beyond the stream of the Jordan, * thou didst zealously make thine abode * in the habitation of the Forerunner, * and by thy dwelling therein didst subdue * the savagery of the passions, * laying waste to the carnal uprisings of thy body * through abstinence, * O ever-memorable mother.

Having made thine abode in the wilderness, * thou didst piously deface * the images of thy passions, * inscribing within thy soul the depiction of the most divine likeness; * and so greatly didst thou shine forth * that thou didst easily traverse the waters on foot * and wast elevated above the ground * in thy supplications unto God. * And now with boldness * thou standest before Christ, * O all-glorious Mary. * Entreat Him in behalf of our souls.

ODE III
Irmos: Thy Church rejoiceth in Thee, O Christ, crying aloud: Thou art my strength, O Lord, my refuge and confirmation!

The sores of thy soul stank and festered, but by the fountain of thy tears thou didst fervently cleanse them.

Legions of demons were vanquished by thee, and thou didst route the uprisings of the passions with thy tears.

Thou hast become like a cloud of the morning and like a trickling droplet pouring forth the waters of saving repentance upon all.

Theotokion: Having thee as our intercessor, salvation and strength, O pure one, the honored Mary bowed down in worship before the Tree of the holy Cross.

Sedalion, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “Of the wisdom …”:

Restraining all the uprisings of the flesh with the pangs of fasting, thou didst show forth the manly wisdom of thy soul; for desiring to behold the form of the Cross, O ever-memorable one, thou didst crucify thyself to the world, and hence didst fervently raise thyself up to the zeal for a life undefiled, O most blessed and all-glorious Mary. Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto them that with love honor thy holy memory.Σπήλαιο της Οσίας Μαρίας της Αιγυπτίας8-pestera-sf-maria-egipteanca - ΑντιγραφήΣπήλαιο της Οσίας Μαρίας της Αιγυπτίας10-interior-pestera-sf-maria-egipteanca - ΑντιγραφήΣπήλαιο της Οσίας Μαρίας της Αιγυπτίας8-pestera-sf-maria-egipteanca2-pestera-sf-maria-egipteanca-pe-peretele-vertical-de-stanca-in-fata-valea-iodanuluiΣπήλαιο της Οσίας Μαρίας της Αιγυπτίας8-pestera-sf-maria-egipteanca7-ce-se-vede-de-la-pestera-sf-maria-egipteanca


We need repentance. The tragedy of our times lies in our almost complete unawareness, or unmindfulness, that there are two kingdoms, the temporal and the eternal.

Αδάμ Εξορια από τον Παράδεισο _Expulsion and Lamenting of Adam and Eve from the Paradisedecani-adam-euaSunday of Forgiveness (Cheesefare)
The Sunday of the Expulsion of Adam from Paradise, also called the Sunday of the Lost Paradise

Verses
Let the world lament bitterly with our first ancestors,
for it fell together with those who fell by a sweet repast.

Fasting gives birth to prophets and strengthens the powerful; fasting makes lawgivers wise. Fasting is a good safeguard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes. Fasting repels temptations, anoints unto piety; it is the comrade of watchfulness and the artificer of chastity. In war it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness. St Basil the Great, First Homily on Fasting (6 )

Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) of Essex

The tragedy of our times lies in our almost complete unawareness, or unmindfulness, that there are two kingdoms, the temporal and the eternal.

We would build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, rejecting all idea of resurrection or eternity. Resurrection is a myth. God is dead.

Let us go back to Biblical revelation, to the creation of Adam and Eve and the problem of original sin. ‘God is light, and in him is no darkness at all’ (1 John 1:5).

The commandment given to the first-called in Paradise indicates this and at the same time conveys that, although Adam possessed absolute freedom of choice, to choose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would entail a break with God as the sole source of life.

By opting for knowledge of evil-in other words, by existentially associating with evil, by savouring evil-Adam inevitably broke with God, Who can in no way be joined with evil (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14-15). In breaking with God, Adam dies. ‘In the day that thou eatest there­of,’ thus parting company with me, rejecting my love, my word, my will, ‘thou shalt surely die’ (Gen. 2:17).

Exactly how Adam ‘tasted’ the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not important. His sin was to doubt God, to seek to determine his own life independently of God, even apart from Him, after the pattern of Lucifer.

Here in lies the essence of Adam’s sin – it was a movement towards self-divinisation.

Adam could naturally wish for deification – he had been created after the likeness of God – but he sinned in seeking this divinisation not through unity with God but through rupture.

The serpent beguiled Eve, the helpmeet God had made for Adam, by suggesting that God was introducing a prohibition which would restrict their freedom to seek divine plenitude of knowledge – that God was unwilling for them to ‘be as gods knowing good and evil’ (Gen. 3:5).

I first met with the notion of tragedy, not in life but in literature. The seeds of tragedy, it seemed to me in my youth, are sown when a man finds himself wholly captivated by some ideal. To attain this ideal he is ready to risk any sacrifice, any suffering, even life itself.

But if he happens to achieve the object of his striving, it proves to be an impudent chimera: the reality does not correspond to what he had in mind. This sad discovery leads to profound despair, a wounded spirit, a monstrous death.

[…] The fate of the world troubled me profoundly. Human life at whatever stage was unavoidably interlinked with suffering. Even love was full of contradictions and bitter crises. The seal of destruc­tion lay everywhere.

from Archimandrite Sophrony, His Life Is Mine, London 1977, p. 37-40

***

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Αδάμ_Adam_Адам_784532We need repentance. You see, repentance is not only going to a priest and confessing. We must free ourselves from the obsession of thoughts. We fall many times during our life, and it is absolutely necessary to reveal everything [in Confession] before a priest who is a witness to our repentance.

Repentance is the renewal of life. This means we must free ourselves of all our negative traits and turn toward absolute good. No sin in unforgivable except the sin of unrepentance.

There are many kinds of tears. Some people cry out of rage, some to spite another person, others because they have been offended. Some cry because they have lost a loved one. There are many kinds of tears. There are also tears of repentance, when a person’s conscience tells him that he has committed many sins. When he realizes his sinfulness, he weeps. That is an act of God’s Grace – a soul repents, and the sin is washed away by tears. These are tears of repentance, and they are a gift from God. When a person realizes his sinfulness, he gradually frees himself from the cares of this world and from his own egoism and leaves all of his cares to the Lord. His soul is humbled, and when this occurs, it is in a state of Grace. Prayer requires a completely carefree life, for even the slightest worry disrupts our prayer, as the Holy Fathers say. Just as the slightest speck of dust can blur our vision, so, too, does the slightest worry interfere with our concentration in prayer. When we are united with the Lord, then our soul is at peace and Grace descends upon us.

A person who dwells in a state of Grace is ready to weep for anyone. He weeps when he sees the suffering of an animal, a plant, a person… Such a person is always ready to shed tears for the whole world. That means that the Grace of God is in that person and that his tears are a gift from God. Those are tears that save. They bring a soul to perfection. Perfection cannot be reached by worrying about the things of this world. The Lord has said that we are not to burden ourselves with food and drink and with the cares of this world.

Source: Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: the Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica. Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2010.

***

Glory …, from the Triodion: (Tone VI):

Adam sat before Paradise * and, lamenting his nakedness, he wept: * ‘Woe is me! By evil persuasion I have been deceived and led astray, * and am now exiled from glory. * Woe is me! * lacking noetic acuity I am now naked, and in need. * O Paradise, no more shall I take pleasure in thy joys; * no more shall I look upon the Lord my God and Maker, * for I shall return to the earth from whence I was taken. * O merciful and compassionate Lord, I cry unto Thee: ** Have mercy upon me who hath fallen.’

Stichera from the Triodion; (Tone VI):

O all-precious Paradise, unsurpassed in goodness, * the tabernacle built by God, * unending gladness and delight, the glory of the righteous, * the beauty of the prophets, * and dwelling-place of the saints, * with the sound of thy rustling leaves pray to the Creator of all: * That He open unto me * the gates which I have closed by my transgression, * and that He may deem me worthy to partake of the Tree of Life ** and of the joy which before I delighted in, when in thee.

Glory …, Now & ever …, in Tone IV:

The ranks of angels glorify thee, O Mother of God, * for the all-pure One hath given birth to God, * who doth dwell together with the Father and the Spirit, * who from nothing created the angelic hosts * by an act of His will. * Entreat Him, all-pure One, * to save and illumine the souls of those * who in Orthodox manner ** hymn thy praises.

O ranks of angels, O beauty of Paradise and all the glory of the garden: weep for me, for in my misery I was led astray and rebelled against God.

O blessed meadow, trees and flowers planted by God, O sweetness of Paradise: let your leaves, like eyes, shed tears on my behalf, for I am naked and a stranger to God’s glory.

O Savior, in Thy compassion Thou hast clothed me in Eden with a divinely woven garment; but, persuaded by the devil, I neglected Thy commandment and was stripped naked in my wretchedness.

Then the Savior said, “I desire not the loss of the creature which I fashioned, but that he should be saved and come to knowledge of the truth; and when he comes to me I will not cast him out.”

Psalm 136

1By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yea, we wept when we remembered Zion.
2 We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song,
and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cleverness.
6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
7 Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem’s fall, who said, “Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof!”
8 O daughter of Babylon who art to be destroyed, happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

[“By the Waters of Babylon” is the entire Psalm 136, sung to a plaintive melody, after the Polyelos Psalm during Matins. It is only sung in church the three Sundays that precede Great Lent, Sunday of the Prodigal Son, The Last Judgment (Meatfare) and Forgiveness (Cheesefare) It is significant that this same hymn is chanted at the beginning of the service of monastic tonsure. –ed.]


Above other created things, God loves man: therefore He forgives much; therefore He waits long. But, when God’s patience exceeds all bounds, then fire, not dew, does the work. Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Господне Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icon_4c47bd7e456e8974ba4a5ce385d6dc79Saint Paul the Confessor, Archbishop of Constantinople (c. 350)
Virgin-martyrs Tecusa, Alexandra, Claudia, Matrona, Polactia, Euphrosyne, and Athanasia, of Ancyra (303)
Venerable Luke of Tauromenium, monk, of Sicily (820)
Saint Demetrianus, Bishop of Cytheria on Cyprus, Wonderworker (c. 915)
Blessed Paul of Corinth, Fool-for-Christ
Venerable Barlaam of Khutyn, founder of Khutyn Monastery, Novgorod (1192)
Saint Barlaam of Keret, Karelia (16th century)
Synaxis of the New Martyrs of Sarov: Anatole, Basil, Hierotheus, Isaac, and Rufinus (1938)
Commemoration of the Sarov Elders: Abbot Pachomius (1794); Hieroschemamonk Joseph (1785); Hieromonks Pitirim (1789) and Matthew (1795); and Monk Joachim (1802).
Commemoration of the falling of ash from the sky in Constantinople in the year 472 during the reign of Emperor Leo the Great and Patriarch Gennadius.

Commemorated on November 6

Verses
You threatened to burn us, but we did not burn,
since You mingled Your anger with long-suffering O Word.

HYMN OF PRAISE
The Lord’s mercy and goodness
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

Ιησούς Χριστός ο Καλός ΠοιμέναςChrist the Good Shephera2ba277661596dc56b5b1906d164332fOur Lord is mercy and true goodness,
Yet He allows man to suffer for his sin:
Floods, sickness, earthquakes, droughts,
Horror and pains for body and soul.
He who does not see the Father when He offers gifts
Will see Him at the Judgment as the Righteous Judge.
The awesome Judge has many servants,
And employs them all for man’s salvation-
The earth’s thorns; serpents and beasts;
And floods, lightning, thunder from the sky;
And evil winds of illness; the sun, heat and darkness;
And the field, which gives either wheat or empty straw.
As many gifts await the faithful,
So many scourges are woven for the evil.
Adam’s fields are watered with gentle dew,
But Sodom and Gomorrah are mowed with a flaming sword.
Above other created things, God loves man:
Therefore He forgives much; therefore He waits long.
But, when God’s patience exceeds all bounds,
Then fire, not dew, does the work.
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, The Prologue from Ohrid
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/November6.htm

***

Synaxarion
by Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite

“In the eighteenth year of Emperor Leo the Great [472 AD] on November 6, in the afternoon hours, the entire sky [of Constantinople] was filled not only with the common black clouds, but with clouds as red as fire. All were amazed and feared that flames of fire would fall, burning them like Sodom. The people ran to the churches and prayed with tears and lamentation.

“But the God who loves mankind tempered His punishment with His love and in the evening it began to rain until midnight. The rain brought down dust that was black as ash and covered the earth and houses more than an inch. All the crops and grass and trees of the earth were burned. It was not easy to unstuck this dust with water, and thereby the anger of God was revealed for our sins.

“The following days many heavy rains fell and the dust was washed away. This means that our sins are like red and black dust on us and it eats away our every virtue, and like the rain many tears are needed and much repentance for us to be washed of the hot ashes of our sins. And when the evil ashes are washed away, let us water the good earth of our nous to bring forth fruit-bearing virtues. In this way we will escape the punishment of hell which will burn our bodies and souls, and gain the Kingdom of Heaven.
Menaion for November 6th, written by Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite

***

Saint Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople

When Blessed Patriarch Alexander lay on his deathbed, the sorrowing faithful asked him who he would have follow him as the chief shepherd of the spiritual flock of Christ. He said: “If you desire a shepherd who will teach you and who will shine with virtues, choose Paul; but if you only want a suitable man, externally adorned, choose Macedonius.” The people chose Paul. Unfortunately, this was not accepted by the Arian heretics, nor was it accepted by Emperor Constantius, who was then in Antioch. Paul was soon deposed, and fled to Rome with St. Athanasius the Great. In Rome, Pope Julian and Emperor Constans received them warmly and upheld them in their Orthodox Faith. Emperor Constans and Pope Julian saw to it that Paul was returned to his throne, but when Emperor Constans died the Arians raised their heads again, and Patriarch Paul was banished to Cucusus in Armenia. Once, as Paul was celebrating the Divine Liturgy in exile, he was attacked by the Arians and strangled with his omophorion, in the year 351. In 381, during the reign of Emperor Theodosius, Paul’s relics were transferred to Constantinople, and in the year 1236 they were translated to Venice, where they still repose. His beloved priests and notaries, Marcian and Martyrius (October 25), suffered soon after their patriarch.
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, The Prologue from Ohrid
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/November6.htm

***

Ιησούς Χριστός ο Καλός ΠοιμέναςChrist the Good Shepherd2014-01-10 16.36.29If God can bring forth water from a rock as a comfort to men, He is also able to send down fire from the heavens as a punishment. The fate of Sodom and Gomorrah is a classic example of God’s punishment upon incorrigible sinners. That God can repeat this punishment was demonstrated over Constantinople in the year 472, during the time of Emperor Leo the Great and Patriarch Gennadius. At noon on November 6 of that year, the sky became overcast with thick, dark clouds, causing darkness on the land. These clouds turned red as fire, then became dark, and alternated their appearance continuously. This phenomenon over Constantinople lasted for a full forty days. The frightened people turned to repentance and prayer. With the emperor and patriarch, they walked in procession through the streets from church to church and prayed to God with tears and lamentation. On the final day hot black ash fell like rain from evening until midnight, then stopped. The following day dawned clear and bright, but the sooty ash lay on the ground to a depth of nine inches. With great effort, the people cleaned their houses and streets of this sooty ash, but the crops in the field were utterly destroyed. All who had understanding, understood that this was God’s punishment, and that it was God’s gentle punishment because the people hastened to repent before Him. Had it not been for this profound repentance for their great and accumulated sins, who knows what would have happened to Constantinople in those days? But the timely repentance of sinners, and the prayers of the Most-holy Theotokos, as well as the prayers of the countless saints and martyrs of Constantinople, greatly lessened the punishment.
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, The Prologue from Ohrid
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/November6.htm

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Господне Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icon_3673665551%818700Troparion of ST PAUL THE CONFESSOR, in Tone III:

Through thy confession of the divine Faith the Church hath shown thee to be another Paul,/ a zealot among her priests;/ and Abel crieth out to the Lord with thee,/ as doth the righteous blood of Zachariah.// O venerable father, entreat Christ God, that we be given great mercy.

On “Lord, I have cried …” , 6 stichera, in Tone IV:
Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast given a sign …”:

The divinely eloquent Paul, * ordaineth thee, O most blessed one, * as his namesake and emulator, * adorned with his character and piety * and his endurance of evil circumstances, * and aflame with his zeal, * O champion of Orthodoxy. * With him thou art now glorified * in the mansions of heaven. (Twice)

With the strong cords of thy dogmas * thou didst strangle the ungodly Arius * and the impious Macedonius; * and with thy right discourse on doctrine * thou didst make multitudes of the Orthodox steadfast, * O hieromartyr and father. * Wherefore, accepting thine all-radiant confession, * He Who loveth mankind * hath shown thee to share in His kingdom. (Twice)

With a splendid wreath of righteousness * hath Christ crowned thee, * O blessed hierarch * who finished thy race * and kept the Faith; * and He hath adorned thy confession, O right wondrous one. * Wherefore, having received a heavenly inheritance, * pray thou to the Savior * in behalf of those who hymn thee. (Twice)

O most blessed Paul, * namesake of confession, * as intercessor for those who fervently praise thee, * deliver us from all misfortune and every sin, * from the tempest of the passions and tyranny, * in that thou art an invincible martyr * and a right acceptable hierarch, O father; * for thou hast acquired boldness * before Christ our God.

Glory …, the composition of Germanus, in Tone I:

Arrayed in hierarchal vestments, O venerable father, thou didst emulate thy namesake Paul: having endured persecution and tribulations, in thy constant pangs thou didst put to shame the pernicious opinions of Arius; and having suffered for the unoriginate and consubstantial Trinity, thou didst cast down the impious Macedonius, the opponent of the Spirit, and, having made the Orthodox Faith clear to all, thou dwellest with the immaterial angels. With them pray now, that our souls be saved.


We, who have the immortal Bridegroom in heaven, do not strive to adorn our souls with repentance; the beauty of the virtues, to bathe them with the tears, The Lord will set the sinner before His Dread Judgment and will rebuke us through her. Saint Nonnus of Heliopolis for Venerable Pelagia the Penitent

Πελαγια-Pelagia_Пелагия_ΠΕΛΑΓΙΑ-ΝΟΝΝΟς-ag-Pelagia - 23443344Virgin-martyr Pelagia of Antioch (303)
Venerable Thaïs of Egypt (Taisia), repentant courtesan (4th century)
Venerable Pelagia the Penitent, of the Mount of Olives (457)
Martyrs Palatias and Laurentia, in Fermo near Ancona, Italy (302)
Saint Keyne (Keyna, Keyne, Ceinwen), hermitess of Cornwall (5th century)
Saint Anthony of Novgorod, Archbishop of Novgorod (1232)
Venerable Dositheus of Verkhneostrov in Pskov (1482)
Saint Tryphon of Vyatka, Archimandrite (1612)
New Monk-martyr Ignatius of Bulgaria and Mt. Athos, at Constantinople (1814)
Translation of the relics of St. Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne and Enlightener of Northumbria.

Commemorated on October 8

Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 

Oh, if only we would invest as much effort in our souls as we invest in our bodies! Oh, if only we could become as desirous of adorning ourselves with virtue before God and His glorious angels, as we do with the vain, transitory, external displays of appearances!
At first, both Pelagia and Thais were only aware of theier bodies, while their souls were slaves bound in the prison of the body. Both were adorned with nothing but vanity: clothed in vanity, arrayed with vanity, surrounded by vanity, and flattered by vanity. But what a sudden change! What a divine turn of events in their lives! More wondrous than if a wild apple were to be grafted and begin to bring forth sweet fruits; or if a turgid, fetid swamp were suddenly to become clear, pure potable water.

When Bishop Nonnus, in the company of other bishops, first saw the sinner Pelagia in her outward splendor-clothed in the most expensive garments, adorned and bedecked with rings, necklaces and baubles, perfumed, and surrounded by slaves-Bishop Nonnus began to weep, and said to his companions: “In truth, I have learned much from this woman. The Lord will set her before His Dread Judgment and will rebuke us through her. How many hours does this woman spend in her room bathing herself, clothing herself, adorning herself, and looking at herself in the mirror-and for what? Only to appear more beautiful to men.

And we, who have the immortal Bridegroom in heaven, do not strive to adorn our souls with repentance; we do not hasten to bathe them with the tears of repentance and clothe them in the beauty of the virtues, that they might appear more beautiful before the eyes of God!”
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/October8.htm

Πελαγια-Pelagia_Пелагия_ΠΕΛΑΓΙΑ-ΝΟΝΝΟς-πελαγια νονος sf_pelaghia_3_decani - ΑντιγραφήHomily
on how the weapons of the enemy will vanish in the end
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

O thou enemy, thy destructions are come to a perpetual end, even as the cities which thou hast destroyed; thy memorial is perished with a roar (Psalm 9:7).

The enemy of the human race, the murderer of men from the very beginning, has used every weapon and intrigue against man. He thinks up new weapons and new intrigues day and night, in order to destroy someone as a roaring lion, … seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). He hides like a poisonous snake and awaits his prey; he stretches his webs everywhere, like a spider, with the sole purpose of ensnaring some human soul and entrapping it in his foul kingdom. Pagan peoples were his cities. Until the coming of Christ, he ruled untroubled and absolutely in them. When they served idols, they served him; the practices of soothsaying and fortune-telling served him; he protected, directed and enhanced men’s unbridled licentiousness; human sacrifice, fiery passions, discord, war, evildoings of all descriptions-this was all pleasure for him.

Ταϊσία η πρώην πόρνη Святая Таисия жила в Египте_1051148But in the end, no weapons remained in him; his “cities” were destroyed and his memorial is perished with a roar. This “end” of which the prophet speaks is the coming of Jesus Christ the Lord into the world.
The Lord manifested His power over the devil when He overcame his temptations on the mountain. He manifested His authority in driving demons out of men, commanding them to go this way or that; He manifested His invincible lordship over sin and death by His suffering and Resurrection. And, what is perhaps most important, He harrowed hell and scattered the demonic power. He did not desire to utterly destroy the demons, but to disperse them and smash their weapons; He smashed them and scattered them as He later did the Jews, but more terribly than He did the Jews. He freed the people from their domination; and even more importantly, He gave men authority over the demons, such that they can drive the demons out by the power of His name.

Do you see how the Lord linked His victory over the demons with His mercy toward men? He so weakened and broke them, He so confused and dispersed them, that He placed them under the authority of men. Even so, the Lord did not grant authority over demons to all men, but only to those who believe in Him and who follow His commandments. He gave them authority, and He also gave them a weapon. That weapon is the Cross.

O Lord our God, our Savior from the dominion of the devil, help us also to do that “least part” that Thou hast left us to do.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Prologue of Ohrid: Lives of the Saints by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.com/2010/04/prologue-october-8-october-21.html

Troparion of ST Pelagia Tone 4

Like a fragrant rose growing from thorns/ thou wast shown to the Church through thy virtuous deeds/ and wast a source of joy for the faithful./ Thou didst offer thy life in sweet-smelling fragrance to Him Who made thee wonderful./ Entreat Him to save us from every passion, O righteous Pelagia.

Troparion of ST Pelagia ― Tone 8

In thee, O Mother, that which was created according to the image of God was manifestly saved./ For accepting thy cross thou didst follow after Christ,/ and praying thou didst learn to disdain the flesh,/ for thou didst transcend it to take care of thine immortal soul.// Wherefore, with the angels doth thy soul rejoice, O venerable Pelagia.

Troparion of ST THAÏS ― Tone 4

O God of our fathers,
Do not take your mercy from us,
But ever act towards us according to your kindness
And by the prayers of your Holy Thais,
Guide our lives in peace!

Troparion of ST Keyne ― Tone 8

Having turned serpents to stone, thou didst give thy name to Keynsham, O holy Keyne,/ and after thy life, resplendent with miracles,/ our Father Cadoc ministered to thee at thy repose./ By thy prayers, O Virgin, may we be granted great mercy.

Kontakion of ST Pelagia ― Tone 2 “Seeking the highest”

Laying waste to thy body with fasting,/ with vigilant supplications thou didst entreat the Creator concerning thy deeds,/ that thou mightest receive complete remission;/ and this thou hast manifestly acquired, O mother,// having shown us the path of repentance.

Kontakion of ST THAÏS ― Tone 2

Let us praise the blessed Thais,
The truly fruitful branch from a corrupt root,
The sweet stream from a salty source,
The image of repentance and rule of patience!
Once a vessel of sin, she is now the chosen vessel of grace!
Let us cry aloud to her:
O Venerable Thais, entreat Christ God that our souls may be saved!


O Lord, slow to anger, have mercy on us before the last wrath of that Dreadful Day. Help us to repent, O God… such as Ninevites. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιωνάς προφήτης_Jonah or Jonas prophet_Иона пророк-Menologion_of_Basil_008Apodosis of the Exaltation of the Cross.
Prophet Jonah (8th century BC)
Apostle Quadratus of the Seventy, bishop of Athens (130).
Martyr Eusebius of Phoenicia (2nd c.) and Martyr Priscus of Phrygia.
Holy Six Martyrs, by the sword (298)
Martyrs Eusebius, Nestabus, Zeno, and Nestor and Busiris, the Confessor of Gaza (4th c.).
Hieromartyr Hypatius, bishop of Ephesus, and his presbyter Andrew (730).
Sts. Isaacius and Meletius, bishops of Sitis (Σίτης) in Cyprus.
Venerable Jonah the Sabbaite (9th c.), father of Sts. Theophanes the Hymnographer and Theodore Graptus
Venerable Daniel, abbot of Shugh Hill (Novgorod) (16th c.).
Venerable Joseph of Zaonikiev Monastery (Vologda) (1612).
New Hieromartyr Archimandrite Platon (Aivazidis), Protosyncellus of Metropolitan Germanos Karavangelis of Amasya (1921)
St. Ioane (Maisuradze) (1957) and St. Giorgi-Ioane (Mkheidze), (1960), confessors, of Georgia
Uncovering of the relics (1752) of St. Demetrius, metropolitan of Rostov (1709)

Commemorated on September 21

Walking humanity through history is a long journey. On this long journey, humanity ‘ gets dirty ‘ ‘ and ‘ ‘ dust ‘ ‘ always with the same dust and ‘ ‘ wash ‘ ‘ always with same water. Dust is sin and water is Repentance. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Hymn of Praise
The Holy Prophet Jonah
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιωνάς προφήτης_Jonah or Jonas prophet_Иона пророк-0_8d228_27812c1c_origs1018006Nineveh! Nineveh resounds with sin,
And God sends Jonah to heal Nineveh.
Jonah does not want to, and flees from God!
Oh, where will you go, Jonah, to hide from the Most High?
Jonah sleeps; he sleeps and the tempest rises.
God moves slowly, but He will find you in time.
Hurled into the waves, swallowed by the whale,
“From whom did I flee?” Jonah asks himself.
“I fled from Him, from Whom one cannot hide!”
God chastises Jonah and yet delivers him,
And, by His providence, glorifies him forever.
Jonah, you do not want to speak to the Ninevites,
But through your punishment you will prophesy the immortal Christ.
You do not want to by words? Then you must, by deeds,
Prophesy Christ and the death and resurrection of the body!
Your deeds, Jonah, will not fade away,
And Christ the Lord will speak of you to men,
That, through you, the mercy of the Living God might be revealed,
By which you will be saved, as well as Nineveh.
Through you, the power of repentance shall be revealed-
The power of repentance and God’s forgiveness.
You pitied the gourd, and God pitied men.
Help us to repent, O God, and save us from condemnation.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.com/2010/04/prologue-september-22-october-5.html

***

St. Nikolai Velimirovich

God was the reason of true faith and good behavior and of the knowledge of technology among people.

While people continually felt God above them, before them, and around them, in the same way air and light is felt, they attributed and dedicated all their technological works and handiwork to Him, their Lord and Creator.

When the feeling of God’s presence became dulled and spiritual vision darkened, that is when pride entered into tradesmen and technologists, and they started to give glory exclusively to themselves for their buildings, handiwork and intellectual works, and began to misuse their work that is when the shadow of cursedness began to fall on technology.
St. Nikolai Velimirovich, From the Complete Works of Bishop Nikolai [in Serbian], Book 12, p. 23. Translated from the Serbian by Marija Miljkovic.

***

Ιωνάς προφήτης_Jonah or Jonas prophet_Иона пророк-0_8d228_27812c1c_origMany complain against technology.
Many accuse modern technology for all the woes in the world.
Is technology really to blame, or those who create technology and use it?
Is a wooden cross to blame if somebody crucifies someone on it?
Is a hammer to blame if a neighbor breaks his neighbors skull?
Technology does not feel good or evil.
The same pipes can be used for drinking water or the sewer.
Evil does not come from unfeeling, dead technology, but from the dead hearts of people.

***

Repentance is the abandoning of all false paths that have been trodden by men’s feet, and men’s thoughts and desires, and a return to the new path: Christ’s path. But how can a sinful man repent unless he, in his heart, meets with the Lord and knows his own shame? Before little Zacchaeus saw the Lord with his eyes, he met Him in his heart and was ashamed of all his ways.
St. Nikolai Velimirovic, “The Thirty-Second Sunday After Pentecost: The Gospel on Repentant Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10,” Homilies Volume II: Sundays after Pentecost

***

Homily
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
About how God whitens the repentant sinners

“Though your sins be like scarlet, they may be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

O, the boundless mercy of God! In His greatest wrath upon the faithless and ungrateful people, upon the people “laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters” (Isaiah 1:4), as “princes [rulers] of Sodom” (Isaiah 1:10) and upon the people who have become as the “people of Gomorrah” (Isaiah 1:10) – in such wrath, the Lord does not abandon mercy but rather calls them to repentance. Just as after terrible lightnings, a gentle rain falls. Such is the Lord long-suffering [patient] and full of mercy and “neither will He keep His anger forever” (Psalm 103:9). Only if sinners cease to commit evil and learn to do good and turn to God with humility and repentance they will become “white as snow.The Lord is mighty and willing. No one, except Him, is able to cleanse the sinful soul of man from sin and, by cleansing, to whiten it. No matter how often linen is washed in water with ashes and soap, no matter how often it is washed and rewashed, it cannot receive whiteness until it is spread under the light of the sun. Thus, our soul cannot become white, no matter how often we cleanse it by our own effort and labor even with the help of all legal means of the law until we, at last, bring it beneath the feet of God, spread out and opened wide so that the light of God illumines it and whitens it. The Lord condones and even commends all of our labor and effort, i.e., He wants us to bathe our soul in tears, by repentance to constrain it by the pangs of the conscience to press it, to clothe it with good deeds and in the end of ends, He calls us to Him: “Come now,” says the Lord, “and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). That is, I will look at you and I will see if there is Me in you and you will look upon Me as in a mirror and you will see what kind of person you are.

O Lord, slow to anger, have mercy on us before the last wrath of that Dreadful Day.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.com/2010/04/prologue-august-5-august-18.html

The Book of Jonah
http://www.christopherklitou.com/old_testament_greek_english_jonah_1-4.htm

Ιωνάς προφήτης_Jonah or Jonas prophet_Иона пророк-0_8d ΙΩΝΑΣApolytikion of the Holy Cross – First Tone

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victories to the to the Emperor over the barbarians; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy habitation. (3 times)

Apolytikion of Prophet Jonah
Third Tone

To the Ninevites, thou wast a trumpet, blaring fearful threats of Heaven’s judgments, at the which they repented with all their hearts; and from the sea-monster’s belly didst thou foreshow the Lord’s divine Resurrection to all the world. Hence, entreat Him to bring out of corruption all of us, who honour thee, O Jonah, as a friend of God.

Kontakion of Prophet Jonah
Third Tone

Thou didst pass three days and nights within the sea-monster’s entrails, showing forth the Lord’s descent into the belly of Hades; for when He had freely suffered His saving Passion, He arose out of the sepulchre on the third day. Hence, we honour thee, O Prophet, who wast deemed worthy to be a figure of Christ.

Apolytikion of St QUADRATUS — Tone 3

O Holy Apostle Kodratos, intercede with the merciful God that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offences.

Troparion of St QUADRATUS — Tone 1

Thy life became radiant with wisdom; thou didst draw down the fire of the Spirit/ and discern the doctrines of life,/ Quadratus, Apostle of Christ./ We cry to thee as to an enlightener:/ Glory to Christ Who has glorified thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee:/ glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.


Let men only repent and they will receive all. Merciful Lord, help us that we may repent before death in order that we may live eternally. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Iconfile

HOMILY
About repentance and the forgiveness of sins

by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name” (St. Luke 24:47).

This is the final instruction of the Savior to the holy apostles. In these words as in the shell of a walnut, is contained the gospel of reconciliation between God and men. What does God seek from men and what does God give them? He seeks repentance and He grants forgiveness of sins. He seeks little but He gives all. Let men only repent for committed sins and let men cease to sin and men will receive all from God; all; not only all that their hearts could desire rather even more, much more. In truth, to the righteous everything is promised. The righteous will be the inheritors of the Kingdom of God, they will be the sons of God, and they will be the children of light, the children of immorality, companions to the angels, brothers of Christ. The righteous will have an abundant life, an abundance of peace, an abundance of wisdom, an abundance of power and an abundance of joy. The righteous will have all, for all has been promised to them.

Let men only repent and they will receive all. Let the beggar only cleanse himself, bathe himself and clothe himself in purity before the doors of the royal court and he will be immediately ushered into the royal court and he will be met and embraced by the king and he will have all. He will live with the king, sit at the royal table; he will have all, all, all!

O my brethren, these are not only words rather this is the living and holy truth. For we know that many penitents, both female and male, received all of this, which was promised. Many have appeared from the other world and have proved the truth of these words, witnessing how they now live as royal sons and daughters. But they repented promptly; and there remains time for us to repent if we desire to be together with them as the heirs of the kingdom.

O Merciful Lord, help us that we may repent before death in order that we may live eternally.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2009/12/prologue-february-24-march-9.html

Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian

O Lord and Master of my life,
give me not the spirit of laziness,
despair, lust of power, and idle talk. (
prostration)

But give rather the spirit of sobriety,
humility, patience and love to Thy servant. (
prostration)

Yea, O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own transgressions
and not to judge my brother,
for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen


Welcome, my Angel! Thank you for coming with such a bright synodeia to take my soul. Thank you! Thank you!

Άγγελοι_Angels_Ангелы_romania-moldavia-24109-L

“A few years ago, I was the parish priest of St. Vasileios church (Piraeus) and was called to hear the confession of a young man, Xenophon, 42 years old.

When I arrived, his days were numbered. Cancer with rapid metastases had affected his brain too. He was all alone at the ward, the bed next to him was empty, so we were all alone.
This is what he told me about how he came to Faith, since he was a “hardened atheist” in his own words:

‘I arrived here about 35 days ago, in this ward of two beds. Next to me was another patient, about 80 years old. He was suffering from cancer too, in his bones, and although he was experiencing excruciating pain, he was constantly praising the Lord “Glory to God! Glory to God for all things!” He also recited more prayers which I heard for the first time in my life since I was an atheist who had never set my foot to church. Often, all those prayers comforted him and he slept for a couple of hours. Then, after 2-3 hours, he woke up again from the excruciating pain, and he would start over “My Christ, I thank you! Glory be to Thy Name! Glory to God! Glory to God for all things!” I was moaning with my pain, and this patient at the next bed to mine was glorifying God. I was blaspheming Christ and the Theotokos, and he was thanking God, thanking him for the cancer which he had given to him, and for all the excruciating pain he was suffering.

I was so rebellious and indignant at this! Not only for the excruciating pain I was suffering, but also for his never-ending Doxology. He was also partaking daily of Holy Communion, while I was throwing up in disgust.

– ‘Will you please shut up! Shut up and stop saying all the time ‘Glory to God’! Can’t you see that this God, Whom you are thanking and glorifying, this same God is torturing us with such cruelty? What kind of God this is? No, He does not exist!’

And the patient on the next bed would meekly answer me: ‘He does exist, my child, and He is also a most loving Father, because with all this illness and pain, He cleanses me from my many sins. If you had worked on some rough task, and your clothes and your body stank, would you not need a rough brush to clean all this dirt? Likewise, God is using this disease as a balm, as a beneficial cleansing for my soul, in order to prepare it for the Kingdom of Heaven’.

His replies got even more on my nerves and I was blaspheming gods and demons. All my reactions were sadly most negative, and all I did was to keep on screaming: ‘There is no God. … I do not believe in anything. … Neither in this God nor in His Kingdom …’

I remember his last words: ‘Wait and you shall see with your own eyes how the soul of a Christian who believes is separated from his body. I am a sinner, but His Mercy will save me. Wait, and you will behold and will believe!’

And that day came. The nurses wanted to place a screen, as is their duty, but I protested against and stopped them. I told them ‘No, don’t do this, because I want to watch how this old man will die!!!’

Νεκτάριος Αιγινης_St. Nectarios of Aegina_прп.Нектарий Аэгинский__3034966954470376762_nSo I watched him and he was glorifying God all the time. He also said a few ‘Hail, Unwedded Bride’ for the Theotokos, which as I later found out, they are called ‘Salutations’. He would also chant “Theotokos Virgin Mary …”, “From my many sins ..” and “It is truly right to bless you, Theotokos …”, and he would also make the sign of the Cross a number of times.

Then … he raised both of his hands and said “Welcome, my Angel! Thank you for coming with such a bright synodeia to take my soul. Thank you! Thank you!” He raised his hands a little bit more, he made the sign of the Cross, he crossed his arms on his chest and fell asleep in the Lord. Suddenly, the ward was filled with Light, like ten and more bright suns had risen all together, such was splendour of the light with which this ward was lit!” And not only was this ward lit, but a heavenly fragrance spread around, inside the ward, even outside the corridor, so powerful that those patients in the neighbouring wards who were not asleep and could get out of their beds, they came out and started walking up and down the corridor, trying to discern where this special fragrance was exuded from.

Thus, my Father, I, the hardened atheist did believe and called for you to hear my Confession.’

***

Xenophon was firm and merciless with his old self, but the Mercy of our Lord was great, really great! He offered a clear confession, received Holy Communion a couple of times, and departed in deep repentance, in peace, a holy death, himself glorifying God!”
By Protopresbyter Stephanos Anagnostopoulos
By: http://deathtotheworld.com/articles/stop-saying-glory-to-god-for-all-things/οι ψυχές στο χέρι του Αγγελου_Души праведных в руце Божией_Orthodox icon_The souls of the righteous in the hand of Angel40054140113_3470978d7b_z

Saint Paisios the Athonite

Geronda, the final diagnosis has been made. Your tumor is cancerous and it’s aggressive. 
–– Bring me a handkerchief so that I may dance to the song: “I bid farewell to you, O poor world!” I have never danced in my life, but now I will dance for joy as my death approaches. 

–– Geronda, the doctor said that first he wants to use radiation to shrink the tumor and then do surgery. 
–– I understand! First the air force will bombard the enemy, and then the attack will begin! I’ll go up then and bring you news! Some people, even the elderly, when told by the doctor, “You will die,” or “You have a fifty percent chance of surviving” get very distressed. They want to live. And then what? I wonder! Now, if someone is young, well , this is justifiable, but if someone is old and is still desperately trying to hang on, well, this I just don’t understand. Of course, it’s quite different if someone wants to undergo therapy in order to manage pain. He’s not interested in extending life; he only wants to make the pain somewhat more bearable so that he can take care of himself until he dies –– this does make sense. 

–– Geronda, we are praying that God may give you an extension on your life. 
–– Why? Doesn’t the Psalmist say, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten?” 

–– But the Psalmist adds the following, “And if by reason of strength they be foreshore years…” 
–– Yes, but he adds the following, “Yet is their strength labor and sorrow,” in which case it is better to have the peace of the other life. 

–– Geronda, can someone, out of humility, feel spiritually unprepared for the other life and wish to live longer in order to get prepared? 
–– This is a good thing, but how can he know that, even if he does live longer, he won’t become spiritually worse? 

–– Geronda, when can we say that a person is reconciled with death? 
–– When Christ lives inside him, then death is a joy. But one must not rejoice in dying just because he has become tired of this life. When you rejoice in death, in the proper sense, death goes away to find someone who’s scared! When you want to die, you don’t. Whoever lives the easy life is afraid of death because he is pleased with worldly life and doesn’t want to die. If people talk to him about death, he reacts with denial: “Get away from here!” However, whoever is suffering, whoever is in pain, sees death as a release and says, “What a pity, Charon has not yet come to take me… He must have been held up!” 
Few are the people who welcome death. Most people have unfinished business and don’t want to die. But the Good God provides for each person to die when he is fully matured. In any case, a spiritual person, whether young or old, should be happy to live and be happy to die, but should never pursue death, for this is suicide. 
For a person who is dead to worldly matters and has been spiritually resurrected, there is never any agony, fear or anxiety, for he awaits death with joy because he will be with Christ and delight in His presence. But he also rejoices in being alive, again because he is united with Christ even now and experiences a portion of the joy of Paradise here on earth and wonders whether there is a higher joy in Paradise than the one he feels on earth. Such people struggle with philotimo and self-denial; and because they place death before themselves and remember it every single day, they prepare more spiritually, struggling daringly, and defeating vanity.
Reference: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual Councils IV: Family Life, pp 274-276.

***

Saint Paisios the Athonite
Everything that God allows to happen is humane

οι ψυχές στο χέρι του Θεού_Души праведных в руце Божией_Orthodox icon_The souls of the righteous in the hand of God_ Manasija (Resava) monasery, Serbia, 15th century2345– Geronda, why does God allow misfortunes to occur?

– There can be many reasons for it. In some cases God allows misfortune to happen in order that something better come of it, while in other cases – for instructional purposes. Some people receive just recompense, while others pay for their sins, so that nothing goes to waste. You should realize that everything allowed by God is humane, even when people perish, for God is kindhearted.

Culture is all well and good, but in order for it to bring benefit, one must also “enculture” one’s soul, otherwise culture will end in catastrophe. “Evil, – said St. Cosmas of Aetolia, – will come from literate people.” Despite the fact that science has progressed far and has attained such great success, people who are trying to help the world are doing it in such a way that they are destroying it without realizing what they are doing. God has allowed man to do everything according to his own lights, but man is destroying himself by disobeying God. Man is ruining himself with what he himself creates.
The people of the 20th century – what have they attained with their culture and civilization! They have driven the world mad, they have polluted the atmosphere, they have spoiled everything on earth. If a wheel comes off its axis, it continues to revolve aimlessly. The same with people – having come off the axis of God’s harmony, they are in torment. In ancient times people suffered from war; today they suffer from civilization. Formerly, because of war, people moved from the cities to the villages and lived somehow by cultivating small plots of land. Nowadays people are unable to live in cities and leave them because of the pressure of civilization. Formerly war brought death to people; civilization now brings them illnesses.

Geronda, why has cancer become so widespread?

– Do you think that Chernobyl and all the rest of if are gone without a trace? Everything comes from there. Such are people and such are their consequences… Mankind has become deformed. In what epoch were there so many sick people? People were not like that in ancient times. And now there is either cancer, or psychosis, or heart attacks, or destroyed families. Cancer used to be a rarity, since life used to be natural. Man ate natural foods and was in good health. Everything was pure: fruits, vegetables, water. But now even the natural foods harm people. Those who eat only fruit and vegetables are harmed to an even greater degree, because everything is polluted. Currently everything is fertilized, everything is sprayed… Just think of what modern people eat! Spiritual unrest, artificial foods – all of this causes illness in people. By using science without reasoning, people are putting themselves out of commission.
Saint Paisios the Athonite  With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man.
http://www.holy-transfiguration.org/library_en/mod_mankind1.html

ODE VIII
First Three-canticled Canon, in Tone IV:
Irmos: In wisdom hast Thou fashioned all things …,

Refrain: Have mercy on me O God, have mercy on me.
The arena of God-given abstinence hath been opened unto us: let us who are in need of mercy gladly enter therein. In His tender compassion God thirsteth for our salvation, and He longeth to grant forgiveness to those who sincerely seek Him, and serve Him with love

ODE IX
First Three-canticled Canon, in Tone III:
Irmos: We magnify thee, the unburnt bush …,

Refrain: Have mercy on me O God, have mercy on me.
Rain down upon us, O Benefactor, the raindrops of Thy compassion, drowning all our filth, and granting us repentance.

Of the Martyrs, in Tone III:

Even after death ye shine as lights in the world O holy martyrs, * ye who have fought the good fight: * since ye have great boldness, ** pray to Christ that He be merciful to our souls.

Glory …, Now & ever …, Theotokion, in Tone III:

Holy art thou among women, O Theotokos, * Mother unwedded: * pray to the King and Son Whom thou didst bear, ** that He save us in that He is the Lover of mankind.


The closer we come to God, the more we see that we are sinners. Archbishop Kallistos Ware

άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сынеprodigal-son-greek-1035426c93013c2e8d53002849e0886071_hdBe compared ourselves with God and not with other people.
The more the saints approach God, the more they see themselves as sinners.
Elder Ignatius Kapnisis of Evia

Verses

If thou art prodigal, as I am, come with confidence.
For the door of God’s mercy hath been opened

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

I would like to say something about the Holy Eucharist.
Let me begin with two words. The first is from 19th century Russia, St. John of Kronstadt: “The Eucharist is a continual miracle.” And my second word is from 14th century Byzantium, from St. Nicolas Cabasilas: “This is the final mystery. Beyond this it is not possible to go, nor can anything be added to it.” So, let us reflect together this evening on this “continual miracle,” this “final mystery,” which holds the church in unity, makes the church to be itself, and which is the heart of our life as Christians
In the Liturgy, the word used is “we.”
We say throughout the Liturgy “we,” not “I.”

I often think of the story retold by Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov about an old woman and an onion. 

άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сынеFiul-cel-pierdut-10Once upon a time there was a peasant woman and a very wicked woman she was. And she died and did not leave a single good deed behind. The devils caught her and plunged her into the lake of fire. So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell to God; ‘She once pulled up an onion in her garden,’ said he, ‘and gave it to a beggar woman.’ And God answered: ‘You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is.’ The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. ‘Come,’ said he, ‘catch hold and I’ll pull you out.’ he began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. ‘I’m to be pulled out, not you. It’s my onion, not yours.’ As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away.

If she had only said, “It’s our onion,” might it not have been strong enough to pull them all out? To be in the image of God to be in the image of the Trinity, a community of love. The old woman was also non-liturgical: “my” and not “our.” In the Divine Liturgy, we are precisely sharing the noetic onion.

As persons made in the image of God, we are made in the image of God the Holy Trinity; and the Holy Trinity signifies mutual love.If we are made in the image of the Trinity, that means we are made to love one another.And if we refuse to love one another, that means we lose our true human personhood…

Always we say “we.” The Liturgy expresses mutual love. One of the things that I was taught by Nicholas Zernov very early in my acquaintance with the Orthodox Church was how important in the Liturgy is the phrase “Let us love one another, that so we may confess Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — the Trinity, one in essence and undivided.” Without mutual love there is no true confession of the Trinity, and no true Liturgy…

First Timothy [2.4]: God desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.The offer of salvation is made to all.The offer of salvation is to all.
God’s love is infinite.άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сынеFiul-cel-pierdut-10

Archbishop Kallistos Ware

To repent is to look, not downward at my own shortcomings, but upward at God’s love; not backward with self-reproach, but forward with trustfulness. It is to see, not what I have failed to be, but what by the grace of Christ I can yet become….

Repentance, then, is an illumination, a transition from darkness to light; to repent is to open our eyes to the divine radiance – not to sit dolefully in the twilight but to greet the dawn …

The connection between repentance and the advent of the great light is particularly significant. Until we have seen the light of Christ, we cannot really see our sins. So long as a room is in darkness, observes St. Theophan the Recluse, we do not notice the dirt; but So it is with the room of our soul. The sequence is not to repent first, and then to become aware of Christ; for it is only when the light of Christ has already in some measure entered our life that we begin truly to understand our sinfulness. To repent, says St. John ofKronstadt, is to know that there is a lie in our heart; but how can we detect the presence of a lie unless we have already some sense of the truth? In the words of E. I. Watkin, “Sin … is the shadow cast by the light of God intercepted by any attachment of the will which prevents it illuminating the soul. Thus knowledge of God gives rise to the sense of sin, not vice versa.” As the Desert Fathers observe, “The closer we come to God, the more we see that we are sinners.” And they cite Isaiah as an example of this: first he sees the Lord on His throne and hears the seraphim crying “Holy, holy, holy;” and it is only after this vision that he exclaims, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips” (Is. 6:1-5)

Such, then, is the beginning of repentance: a vision of beauty, not of ugliness; an awareness of God’s glory, not of my own squalor.
from Archbishop Kallistos Ware. It is a medley of excerpts from a great article of his entitled ” The Orthodox Experience of Repentance .”

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

Rich and fertile was the earth allotted to us,
But all we planted were the seeds of sin.
We reaped the sheaves of evil with the sickle of laziness;
We failed to place them on the threshing-floor of sorrow.
Now we beg Thee, Lord, eternal Master of the harvest:
May Thy love become the breeze to winnow the straw of our worthless deeds.
Make us like precious wheat to be stored in heaven, and save us all! (twice)