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O gracious and merciful Lord, forgive us our sins, and grant us Thine Eternal Kingdom. – Saint Akylina The New Martyr by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Σταυρός_Крест Иисуса Христа_Cross of Jesus Christ-Orthodox Icons_crux_gemmata_ravenna460Synaxarion.
On September 27 we commemorate the holy Martyr Callistratus of Carthage and the holy 49 Martyrs with him.
On this day we also commemorate the holy woman Martyr Epicharis of Rome (c. 298)
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father St. Ignatius, Abbot of the Monastery of Christ the Saviour, which is called the Monastery of the Deep Stream in Asia Minor (963-975)
On this day we also commemorate the holy Apostles Mark, Aristarchos, and Zeno.
On this day we also commemorate the Saint Flavian I of Antioch, Archbishop of Antioch (404)
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyrs Philemon the bishop, and Fortunianos; and the holy woman Martyr Gaiana.
On this day we also remember the 15 Martyrs who were put on a ship, which was set on fire, and then drowned at sea.
On this day the holy New-Martyr Aquilina the virgin of Zagliveri of Thessalonica, who died in the year 1764.
The holy martyred brethren Adulphus and John of Cordova.
Our righteous Father Sabbatius of Solovki (1435)
The holy Hieromartyr Anthimus of Georgia, Metropolitan of Wallachia (1716)
The holy New Hieromartyrs Aristarchus, Archimandrite of Borki, and Rodion.
Our righteous Father Archippus (Shestakov) of the Glinsk Hermitage (1896)
New Hieromartyr Demetrius Shishokin, Priest (1918)
New Hieromartyr Herman (Kosolapov), Bishop of Volsk (1919)
New Hieromartyr Michael Platonov, Priest (1919)
Uncovering of the relics of the Sts. Alexandra of Diveevo (Melgunova) (1789), Martha of Diveevo (Melyukova) (1829), Helena of Diveevo (Manturova) (1832), in the year 2000.
Commemoration of the vision and speechlessness of the Prophet Zachariah

Saint Akylina The New Martyr
by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Ακυλινα Ζαγκλιβεριου_agia-akylina-exofyllo_web - Αντιγραφή (2)Akylina (or Angelina), the holy New Martyr of Christ was from Thessalonica, from the village of Zagliveri situated in the Ardameri Diocese. She was the offspring of a pious mother. Her martyrdom took place from the following set of circumstances.

One day the Saint’s father quarreled and wrestled with a Turkish neighbour (since both Christians and Turks lived side by side in this place). By the Evil One’s collaboration he struck and slew the Hagarene. Whereupon he was arrested by the local authorities, who led him to the pasha of Thessalonica to have him condemned. Now he was terrified of death and sought acquittal, so he offered to become a Muslim. (Alas, his fall!) Therefore, they did not execute him. At that time Akylina was an infant nursing on her mother’s milk. After the passage of some time, the Turks enjoined her father that he must have his daughter become a Muslim. He told them:

“Do not be concerned about my daughter. She is under my authority and I will convert her when I want.”

However, Akylina’s mother remained anchored in the Faith of Christ and never ceased every hour to exhort her child to stand firmly in the Faith of Christ and not to ever deny Jesus Christ.

When the maiden reached 18 years of age, the Turks once again spoke with her father concerning the conversion. At this point he summoned Akylina and said:

“My child, other Turks have approached me daily on the matter of your accepting Mohammedanism. Therefore, either now or a little later, you will become a Muslim, only make the decision in a day or two, so the Muslims will not harass me.”

Yet the Saint, who was ignited and enflamed with the love of Christ, with great courage declared:

“Perhaps you think that I have the same little faith as yourself to deny my Maker and Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ Who submitted to the cross and death for our sake? I refuse. I am prepared to undergo the woeful torment, even death, for the love of Christ.”

By these superb and admirable statements she was not the daughter of the thrice-miserable father, but truly the daughter of Christ the Heavenly King!

Observing the Saint’s unswerving belief, the father went before the Turks and divulged to them:

“I am unable to induce my daughter to change her beliefs; you do with her whatever you will.”

Upon hearing this they went into a flurry, and immediately dispatched men of the court to apprehend the Martyr. Seeing them approaching, the Saint’s blessed mother took hold of Akylina, and gave her this final instruction:

“Lo, my most beloved child and my sweetest daughter, Akylina. Behold, fruit of my womb, the hour has arrived of which I have warned you. Therefore, my girl, attend and obey my admonition. Display courage in the torments which you will face and do not renounce Christ.”

Likewise, Akylina replied:

“Have no fear, my mother, for I have this intention. The All-kind God will be my help. Pray for me.”

Thus, they bid each other farewell with tears.

The servant of the judge bound the Saint and led her to the tribunal. The compassionate mother followed after her beloved daughter to the place of condemnation, since motherly feelings could not conceive of being separated from her dear child. However those that had taken her intocustody, locked her outside the courtyard. Akylina was taken inside into the presence of the judge, who in a coarse manner blurted out to her:

“Eh! You, become a Muslim.”

The Saint exclaimed:

“No, I will not become one. Never will I forsake my belief and my Master Christ!”

Hearing this, the judge became incensed. Therefore he commanded that the Saint be undressed and be left wearing only her chemise. Then they tied Akylina to a column and two servants beat her with rods for many hours. Notwithstanding, the Martyr underwent this torture bravely.

Afterwards the judge and other Turks had the Martyr brought forward again before them. They began to flatter Akylina and promise her expensive gifts if she would renounce the faith. But the bride of Christ possessed in her heart love towards her sublime Bridegroom Christ and would not even consider their offers. Furthermore, since he was extremely wealthy, he brazenly proposed to her:

“Akylina, become a Muslim and I will make you my son’s bride.”

Christ’s Martyr replied with an immense daring:

“You and your son go to perdition.”

With these words the judge’s wrath was kindled. They tied her again as before and flogged her for many hours. When they unfettered her for a third examination, the judge asked her:

“Hapless one, are you not embarrassed to be beaten naked in front of so many men?”

He said this because from the countless blows her slip was in shreds and she was exposed. The judge continued:

“Either you become a Muslim or have your bones shattered before all.”

In refutation she declared:

“And what attraction does your faith have for me to deny my Christ, or what miracle of your religion shall I believe, since you have filthy and indecent lives?”

O fearless testimony! A noble reply worthy of heavenly praise, not from a gentle and delicate young girl, but from a valiant giant!

All within earshot were disgraced, essentially by the brilliancy of her truthful speech. They were at a loss at how to deal with her. In their rage they scourged the Saint mercilessly a third time, leaving her as dead. The earth was reddened by her blood and her flesh fell in pieces to the ground. Next they untied the Martyr and had her carried by a Christian who was present to her mother’s home. Whereupon the mother embraced her daughter who was breathing her last, and asked:

“My child, what have you done?”

As she came to herself slightly, the Martyr exerted much effort to answer, and opening her eyes, beheld her mother:

“O my mother, what else could I do except that which you instructed me? Behold, according to your command I have preserved my confession of faith inviolate.”

Akylina’s mother raised her arms and eyes towards heaven and glorified God. After conversing with her mother, the Martyr surrended her soul into the hands of God on September 27, 1764 and received the martyr’s crown.

St. Akylina’s most venerable and sacred relics straightaway emitted a marvelous fragrance so divine that all the streets which they traversed with her martyric relics for burial were filled with scent. At night a heavenly light descended upon and illuminated Akylina’s tomb like a shining star. All the Christians who observed this phenomena praised God, to Whom is due glory and power unto endless ages. Amen.

Feast Day:September 27
Source: This Life was written by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite and was translated in New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke, Translated by Leonidas J. Papadopoulos, Georgia Lizardos & others St Nectarios Press, Seattle, Washington 1985.


on Christ’s last prayer for the faithful
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am (John 17:24).

Ακυλινα Ζαγκλιβεριου_agia-akylina-exofyllo_ΑΚΥΛΙΝΑ-ΚΥΡΑΝΑ_639cf0--orthodox-icons-byzantine - ΑντιγραφήBehold the recompense of God’s laborers! Behold the glorious reward of the followers of Christ! That which the Son of God desires, the Father desires and the Holy Spirit also desires. And that which the Holy Trinity desires, comes to pass. What does the Lord, the Son of God, desire? He desires that His disciples be together with Him in the Heavenly Kingdom-and not only His twelve disciples, but also all those which shall believe on Me through their word (John 17:20).

My brethren, we who are baptized and who have received the Faith of the apostles and have kept it, are also numbered among these-but only under the condition that we ourselves do not disown that great treasure by our misdeeds, by apostasy from the Faith, by the impurity of sin, or by blasphemous words and thoughts.
The Lord further says: Father I will … that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me (John 17:24). No one should conclude from these words that the Son is less than the Father. For the Lord Himself said to His Father: I have glorified Thee (John 17:4). Do you see the equality of the Father and the Son, and the boundlessness of Their mutual love? I have glorified Thee … and now, O Father, glorify Thou Me (John 17:4, 5).
But the fact that Christ’s glory did not begin on earth or in time is shown by these words of the Lord Christ: the glory which I had with Thee before the world was (John 17:5). Therefore, this is not an earthly or temporal glory: it is not worldly and human glory, but rather a heavenly, eternal, lasting and inexpressible glory. How does the Son of God want the Father to glorify Him? In such a way that He will show the heavenly and eternal glory to all those who have obeyed His Son, and who have followed after Him, and who have fulfilled His commandments.

The man-loving Lord wills that, not only the apostles, but all of us who are called by His name, participate in this glory. Oh what mercy! Oh what love for mankind! Brethren, the dogma of our immortality, eternal life and eternal glory is not of men, but of our Lord and Savior Himself. May bodily cares, slothfulness at prayer, and mutual strife not separate us from this glory of Christ, from eternal life!

O gracious and merciful Lord, forgive us our sins, and grant us Thine Eternal Kingdom.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Apolytikion of the holy New-Martyr Aquilina the virgin of Zagliveri
— Plagal Tone 1

Let us praise the divine Akylina, whom I behold as a godly-minded girl and Champion of Christ, who watered the faith with her love for Him, deposed the enemy through her holy struggles, and was granted divine glory. She entreats Christ the Word that He be merciful to our souls.

Apolytikion of the holy New-Martyr Aquilina the virgin of Zagliveri
— Plagal Tone 1

Zagliveri rejoices in your struggle, the village that sprouted you as a fragrant flower, O most-comely virgin of Christ Akylina, for you struggled steadfastly, and received from God the crown of incorruption. Entreat ceaselessly that He be merciful to our souls.

Troparion of the holy Martyr Callistratus of Carthage
Tone 3

Strengthened by the Holy Spirit thou wast glorious in contest/ and didst cast down the enemy, O Martyr Callistratus./ And thou dost offer a noble army of athletes/ as incense to Christ./ With them pray for us who praise thee with hymns.

Troparion of the holy Martyr Callistratus of Carthage
Tone 4

In their sufferings, O Lord,/ Thy martyrs received imperishable crowns from Thee our God;/ for, possessed of Thy might,/ they set at nought the tormentors and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons.// By their supplications save Thou our souls.

Troparion of ST Sabbatius of Solovietsk
Tone 3

Thou didst abandon the world and fight the good fight/ by hardship, vigil and prayer./ Pray to Christ our God to save our souls, O holy Father Sabbatius.

Troparion of ST Sabbatius of Solovietsk
Tone 3

You abandoned the world and fought the good fight / By hardship, vigil and prayer. / Pray to Christ our God to save our souls, O holy Father Sabbatius!

Holy Virgin Martyr, Aquilina, pray to God for us. Pray that we will manfully stand strong for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, even if it means going against the wishes of our earthly fathers. Amen.

Apolytikion of the Holy Cross in the First Tone
(First Tone)

Save, O Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance; grant victory to the faithful over their adversaries. And protect Your commonwealth, by the power of Your Cross.

O Good Lord, Wise and Holy, fill us with Your Life-creating wisdom. Teach the children to seek God’s help. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič – Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia

Σοφία–Πίστη-Ελπίδα-Αγάπη_Saint Sophia-Faith- Hope -Love_Св.София-Ве́ра, наде́жда, любо́вь_-0_156c4f_aab2f60a_XLSynaxarion.
On September 17, we commemorate the holy martyrs and valiant Virgins: Faith (Vera), Hope (Nadezhda), and Love (Lyubov), and their mother Sophia. (c. 137)
On this day we commemorate the holy martyr Agathocleia and Martyr Theodota at Nicaea (230)
On this day we commemorate the holy martyrs Maximus, Theodotus and Asclepiodote of Marcianopolis in Thrace (305-311)
On this day, we commemorate Saint Lucia and her son, the martyr Germinianus of Rome (303)
On this day we commemorate the holy 100 martyrs of Egypt; 56 Martyrs of Palestine, including (310): Peleus and Nilus, Bishops of Egypt; Zeno, Priest; Patermuthius and Elias, noblemen, by fire.
Saint Satyrus of Milan, elder brother of St Ambrose of Milan in Italy (376)
On this day we remember the holy martyrs Charalambos, Pantoleon and those with them. The synaxis in their honor was held in their martyrium, which was in Deuterus.
On this day we remember the holy hieromatyrs Heracleides and Myron, bishops of Tamasus, Cyprus (1st century)
On this day we remember the Venerable Anastasius of Perioteron, in Cyprus, Wonderworker (12th century)
On this day we remember the Saint Euxiphius of Cyprus, monk (12th century)
On this day we remember the Saint Joachim I, Patriarch of Alexandria (1567)
On this day we remember the Saint Innocent Stepanov of Glinsk Hermitage (1888)
On this day we remember the New Hieromartyrs Paul, Theodosius, Nicodemus and Seraphim (1918)
On this day we remember the Virgin-martyr Irene Frolov (1931)
Icon of the Mother of God of Constantinople (“Tsaregrad”) (1071), Icon of the Mother of God of Macariev (“Directress”) (1442)

About two different types of wisdom
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God” (I Corinthians 3:19).

Σοφία–Πίστη-Ελπίδα-Αγάπη_Saint Sophia-Faith- Hope -Love_Св.София-Ве́ра, наде́жда, любо́вь_-xxixio_x12x-51Even this scriptural concept is one great news which Christianity proclaims to the world. One is the wisdom according to God and from God and the other is the wisdom according to the world and from the world. Wisdom, according to God, is from the Holy Spirit. The apostles were filled with such wisdom when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Wisdom, according to the world, is from the senses and from material and it represents true insanity before God if it is not seasoned and inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.
All worldly wisdom which is guided only by the physical senses, without regard for the Holy Spirit, is insanity before God and before God’s angels; for such a wisdom does not perceive either the spirit or the purpose of this world; rather it knows this world only as ashes from without and ashes from within; as ashes which the wind of chance piles up and strews at one moment this way and at another moment that way.
All wisdom of man which is directed only by the senses and by physical conceptions and fantasies is insanity before God and before angels and saints of God, for it does not know man as man; that is, as a spiritual being related to God, rather it knows man only as a body from without and as a body from within; as a body according to form and as a body according to essence. It is the same as if a monkey, looking at an iron locomotive, described it and said, “This is iron on the outside and iron on the inside; iron which heats it and iron which operates it, iron which gives it direction and iron which stops it!” Brethren, who is able to be filled with the wisdom of God except him who, at first, empties himself of the insanity’s of the world? With God’s help, each one of us can do this. However, to our desires and to our efforts, without Faith, God’s help goes to assist us. For God alone is Goodness, Wisdom and Holiness.

O Good Lord, Wise and Holy, fill us with Your Life-creating wisdom.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia

It’s great to walk, to work, to move and to have your health. But first you should have your spiritual health. Your spiritual health is fundamental, then comes bodily health. Almost all sicknesses come from the lack of trust in God and this creates stress.

A large part of the responsibility for a person’s spiritual state lies with the family. A child’s upbringing commences at the moment of its conception.

The sanctity of the parents is the best way of bringing up children in the Lord.

Σοφία–Πίστη-Ελπίδα-Αγάπη_Saint Sophia-Faith- Hope -Love_Св.София-Ве́ра, наде́жда, любо́вь_-Sofia-Romana-martiriul-man-biz-s11-INWe must see God in the faces of our children and give God’s love to our children. The children should learn to pray. And in order for children to pray they must have in them the blood of praying parents. This is where some people make the mistake of saying, ‘Since the parents are devout and pray, meditate on Holy Scripture and bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, it is natural that they will become good children.’ But nevertheless we see the very opposite result on account of coercion.

It is not sufficient for the parents to be devout. They mustn’t oppress the children to make them good by force. We may repel our children from Christ when we pursue the things of our religion with egotism. Children cannot endure coercion. Don’t compel them to come with you to church. You can say, ‘Whoever wants can come with me now or come later.’ Leave God to speak to their souls. The reason why the children of some devout parents become rebellious when they grow up and reject the Church and everything connected with it and go off to seek satisfaction elsewhere is because of this pressure which they feel from their ‘good’ parents. The so-called ‘devout’ parents, who were anxious to make good Christians of their children with their human love, pressurized their children and produced the opposite result. The children are pressurized when they are young, and when they reach the age of sixteen, seventeen or eighteen years old, they end up the opposite of what was intended. By way of reaction they start to mix with bad company and to use bad language.

When children grow up in an atmosphere of freedom and at the same time are surrounded by the good example of grown-ups, they are a joy to see. The secret is to be good and saintly and to inspire and radiate. The life of the children seems to be affected by the radiation of their parents. If the parents insist, ‘Come on now, go and make confession, go and receive Communion’, and so on, nothing is achieved. But what does your child see in you? How do you live and what do you radiate? Does Christ radiate in you? That is what is transmitted to your child. This is where the secret lies. And if this is done when the child is young, it will not be necessary for it to undergo ‘great travail’ when it grows up. Solomon the Wise uses a beautiful image about exactly this subject, underlining the importance of a good start and good foundations: He who seeks her [Wisdom] early shall have no great travail; for he shall find her sitting at his doors. The person who ‘seeks her early’ is the person who occupies himself with Wisdom from an early age. Wisdom is Christ.

When the parents are saintly and transmit this to the child and give the child an upbringing ‘in the Lord’, then the child, whatever the bad influences around it, will not be affected because by the door of its heart will be Wisdom — Christ Himself. The child will not undergo great travail to acquire Wisdom. It seems very difficult to become good, but in reality it is very easy when from an early age you start with good experiences. As you grow up effort is not required; you have goodness within you and you experience it. You don’t weary yourself; it is yours, a possession which you preserve, if you are careful, throughout your life.”

What is true for parents is also true for teachers. With prayer and sanctity you can also help children at school. The grace of God can overshadow them and make them good. Don’t attempt with human methods to correct bad situations. No good will come of this. Only with prayer will you produce results. Invoke the grace of God on all the children — for divine grace to enter their souls and transform them. That is what it means to be a Christian.
You teachers transmit your anxiety to the children, without realizing it, and this affects them. With faith anxiety dissolves. What is it that we say? ‘We commit our whole life to Christ our God.’
Respond to the love of the children with discernment. And once they love you, you will be able to lead them to Christ. You will become the means. Let your love be genuine. Don’t love them in a human way, as parents usually do. This does not help them. Love in prayer, love in Christ. This is truly beneficial. Pray for each child you see, and God will send His grace and will unite the child to Him. Before you enter the classroom, especially difficult classes, repeat the prayer, ‘Lord Jesus Christ…’. And as you enter, embrace all the children with your gaze, pray and then start your lesson, offering your whole self. By making this offering in Christ, you will be filled with joy. And in this way both you and the children will be sanctified.

There are often orphan children at a school. It’s a hard thing to be an orphan. A child who’s deprived of its parents, especially at an early age, becomes unhappy in life. But if it acquires spiritual parents in Christ and our Holy Lady, it becomes a saint. Treat orphan children with love and understanding, but above all bring them into contact with Christ and the Church.”

Teach the children to seek God’s help

Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος_παιδι_ св Георгий победоносец_St. George the Trophy-bearer_ გიორგი გმირავს_Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon__7444410193602936832_n“The medicine and great secret for children’s progress is humility. Trust in God gives perfect security. God is everything. No one can say that I am everything. That cultivates egotism. God desires us to lead children to humility. Without humility neither we nor children will achieve anything. You need to be careful when you encourage children. You shouldn’t say to a child, ‘You’ll succeed, you’re great, you’re young, you’re fearless, you’re perfect!’ This is not good for the child. You can tell the child to pray, and say, ‘The talents you have, have been given to you by God, Pray and God will give you strength to cultivate them and in that way you will succeed. God will give you His grace.’ That is the best way. Children should learn to seek God’s help in everything.

Praise is harmful to children. What does Scripture say? Oh my people, those who call you blessed lead you astray, and pervert the path of your feet. The person who praises us leads us astray and perverts the paths of our life. How wise God’s words are! Praise does not prepare children for any difficulties in life and they grow up badly adjusted; they lose their way and in the end they become failures. Now the world has gone haywire. Little children are constantly being praised. We are told not to scold children, not to go against their will and not to impose on them. The child learns to expect this, however, and is unable to deal maturely with even the slightest difficulty. As soon as it encounters opposition, it is defeated and drained of all strength.

Prime responsibility for the failure of children in life lies with their parents and thereafter with their teachers. They praise them constantly. They fill them with egotistical words. They do not lead them to the spirit of God and they alienate them from the Church. When the children grow up a little and go to school with this egotism they abandon and disdain religion and they lose their respect for God, for their parents and for everyone. They become stubborn, hard and unfeeling, with no respect for religion or for God. We have produced a generation of egotists and not of Christians.”


προσευχομενος_praying_Молитва_Μητερα πηγαινει στην εκκλησια το παιδι της122940714_9241_“Children are not edified by constant praise. They become self-centred and vain. All their lives they will want everyone to be praising them constantly, even if they are being told lies. Unfortunately, nowadays all people have learned to tell lies and the conceited accept those lies as their daily sustenance. ‘Say it, even if it’s not true, even if it’s ironical,’ they say. God does not want this. God wants truth… When you praise children constantly and indiscriminately, they fall prey to the temptations of the evil one. He sets the mill of egotism in motion, and accustomed as they are to praise from their parents and teachers, they make progress at school perhaps, but what is the gain? In life they will be egotists and not Christians. Egotists can never be Christians.

An egotist is mixed-up and is led by the devil and the evil spirit. And so, growing up in the spirit of egotism, his first task is to deny God and to be a badly adjusted egotist in society.

The natural state of man as created by God, however, is humility. Egotism, on the contrary, is something unnatural, an illness and contrary to nature… Humility is from God; it is something essential for the human soul. It is something organic. And if it is missing, it is as if the heart were missing from the human organism. The heart gives life to the body and humility gives life to the soul. With egotism a person is given over to the part of the evil spirit, that is, he develops with the evil spirit and not with the good spirit.

παιδι_προσευχη_4364564This is what the devil has succeeded in achieving. He has turned the earth into a labyrinth so that we are unable to come to an understanding with one another. What has happened to us without our realizing it? Do you see how we have been led astray? We have turned our world and our age into one large psychiatric hospital! And we don’t understand what’s gone wrong. We all ask, ‘What’s become of us, where are we going, why have our children taken off, why have they left their homes, why have they resigned from life, why have they given up their studies? Inside me Why is all this happening?’ The devil has succeeded in concealing himself and in making people use other names. Doctors and psychologists often say when someone is tormented, ‘Ah, this person has a neurosis or is suffering from anxiety.’ They don’t accept that the devil is inciting and arousing egotism in the person. But yet the devil exists and is the spirit of evil. If we say he doesn’t exist, it is as if we are rejecting the Gospel that speaks of him. He is our enemy, our adversary in life, the contrary of Christ, which is why he is called the Anti-Christ. Christ came to earth to release us from the devil and to grant us salvation.

The conclusion is that we need to teach our children to live humbly and simply and not continually to seek praise and applause. We need to teach them that there is humility and that this is the healthy state of life.
The mind-set of our contemporary society does harm to children. It is based on another psychology and another theory of education that is addressed to the children of atheists.


Humility, once firmly established, makes the foundation for wisdom strong . King Solomon famed for his wisdom said, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). David the Prophet and King said, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making the wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7), “the simple” referred to here being the humble.

Χριστος_αγ Σοφια Κωνσταντινουπολη_198588.pWISDOM / ΣΟΦΙΑ ΣΟΛΟΜΩΝΤΟΣ


The spiritual life of a mother imperceptibly, silently will help the souls of her children. My mother taught me to Jesus prayer. How many mothers who had a holy life had their children sanctified too! Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

παιδια_προσευχη_2_~1Apolytikion of Martyrs Sophia, Pistis, Elpis and Agape
Fourth Tone

O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

Troparion — Tone 4

The Church celebrates and rejoices / In the feast of the three daughters: Faith, Hope, and Love / And their Mother Sophia, named for her wisdom: / For in them she gave birth to the three godly virtues. / Now they eternally behold their bridegroom, God the Word. / Let us rejoice spiritually in their memory and cry: / O our three Heavenly Protectors, / Establish, confirm and strengthen us / In Faith, Hope and Love.

Troparion — Tone 5

You blossomed in the courts of the Lord / as a fruitful olive tree, / holy martyr Sophia; / in your contest you offered to Christ the sweet fruit of your womb, / your daughters Faith, Hope, and Love. / Together with them intercede for us all.

Troparion of Ss SOCRATES and STEPHEN ― Tone 1

Thou didst win the crown of martyrdom,/ O noble Socrates and Stephen,/ when thou, following in the footsteps of both our nation’s Patron and our protomartyr,/ didst resist the edict of the God-hating Diocletian./ Pray to God that we also may be given strength to be faithful, even unto death,/ that we too may inherit eternal life.

Apolytikion of Ss HERAKLEIDES and MYRON ― Tone 4

You shepherded the flock, of the Savior Christ, and with divine springs, blessed one, you watered all souls, wherefore the choir who honors you sings, hymns to you and celebrates with dance, your holy memory. Ever entreat on our behalf, Hierarch Herakleides.

Mode 1. In heaven be amazed.

The sacred progeny of devout St. Sophia * were Faith and Hope and Love, her most decorous daughters. * They showed that the wisdom of the pagan Greeks was nonsensical. * They competed well and were victorious Martyrs. * They received the crowns of incorruptible glory * from Christ who is Lord of all.

Kontakion — Tone 1. In heaven be amazed.

The holy branches of noble Sophia, / Faith, Hope, and Love, / confounded Greek sophistry through Grace. / They struggled and won the victory / and have been granted an incorruptible crown by Christ the Master of all.

Troparion of the Feast, in Tone I—

O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; grant victory unto Orthodox Christians over their adversaries, and by the power of Thy Cross preserve Thou Thy commonwealth.

Oh! What kind of death is that, which fills the Universe and our hearts with the joy of immortality! Today the wind feels sweeter on our tired faces…

Κοίμησιν τῆς Θεοτόκου _Dormition of the Mother of God_ Успение Богородицы_72895. bΜονή της Χώρα, ΚωνσταντινούποληSynaxarion From the Menaion.
On August 15 we commemorate the august Translation [i.e. Assumption] of our most glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary.

”Watch over us, O Queen, the dwelling-place of our Lord. Lead and govern all our ways as thou wilt. Save us from our sins. Lead us into the calm harbour of the divine will. Make us worthy of future happiness through the sweet and face-to-face vision of the Word made flesh through thee…”
St John of Damascus: Sermon I on the Dormition of the Virgin

Today the wind feels sweeter on our tired faces, the trees become greener, the August waves are cooling down in the sea. Everything celebrates and rejoices. Oh! What kind of death is that, which fills the Universe and our hearts with the joy of immortality! And the hymn writer, chants very beautifully today: ‘’ You gave birth yet preserved your virginity. You fell asleep in death yet did not desert the world’’ (Fotis Kontoglou)

Hymn of Praise
The Most-Holy Birthgiver of God [the Theotokos]
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Κοίμησιν τῆς Θεοτόκου _Dormition of the Mother of God_ Успение Богородицы_Adormirea-Maicii-DomnuluiThus spoke the Lord Most High
From your heart, Virgin pure,
Living water, to flow,
That, those who thirst, drink Christ –
Life-bearing Source,
We are all boastful of you!
So that the thirsty, drink Christ:
By Him, the bitter to be sweetened,
By Him, the blind to be washed
And by Him, the sorrowful, to heal their grief
Life-bearing Source
We are all boastful of you!
Beverage, from eternity arrived,
The arid time, the brook filled,
And again, toward the heavens raised;
The world exhausted, became refreshed-
Life-bearing source,
We are all boastful of you!
O All-pure One, glory to You,
O Mother of God, glory to You!
For us, to the Living Christ, You gave birth
The living water of grace –
Life-bearing source
We are all boastful of you!
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 


Saint John of Kronstadt
Sermon on the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos

“Magnify O my soul, the honourable Translation of the Mother of God from earth to heaven.” (Refrain for the 9th Ode of the Canon)

Παναγια Ιεροσολυμιτισσα_Иерусалимская икона Богоматери нерукотворная гефсиманская_Virgin Mary Of Jerusalem (IerLet us be happy, beloved brothers and sisters that we belong to the Holy Orthodox Church, worthily and rightly glorifying the Most Holy Sovereign Theotokos on this eminent day out of all the days of the year with special solemnity. There exists on earth many societies and entire governments that do not consider the need nor the obligation to call upon and glorify the Queen of heaven and earth, the Mother of Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ, and other saints and angels; to submissively serve Her lovingly, as the true Mother of God. Sadly in Russia nowadays we have heretics (among us) who actively dishonor the Mother of God, the saints, their icons, their relics and their festivals. O, if only they also unanimously with us glorified the worthy Queen of heaven and earth!

Today the Holy Church solemnly glorifies the honorable Dormition or translation of the Mother of God from earth to heaven. A wonderful translation – she died without serious illness, peacefully. Her soul is taken up in the divine hands of Her Son and carried up into the heavenly abode, accompanied by the sweet singing of angels. And then, her most pure body is transferred by the apostles to Gethsemane where it is honorably buried, and on the third day it is resurrected and taken up to heaven. You see this on the icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos. On it is represented the life-bearing body of the Theotokos laying on a bier, surrounded by the apostles and hierarchs, and in the center of the icon the Lord holding in His hands the most pure soul of the Theotokos. The translation of the Mother of God is a paradigm of the translation in general of the souls of Christians to the other world.

We say that our dead have “fallen asleep” or “passed away.” What does this mean? This means that for the true Christian there is no death. Death was conquered by Christ on the cross. But there is a translation, i.e, a rearrangement of his condition, i.e. his soul is in another place, in another age, in another world beyond the grave, eternal, without end, that is what is meant by “falling asleep”. It is as if it were a temporary dream after which, by the voice of the Lord and the fearful yet wonderful trumpet of the Archangel, all the dead shall live and come forth each to his place: either to the resurrection of life or to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:29). This is what the Christian means by translation. We should be ready for this translation, for the day of the general resurrection and judgment, for this indescribable world event, recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

This preparation for the meeting of the heavenly King before the dread judgment seat, after death, is essentially the person’s preparation throughout the whole of his life. This preparation means a change in all his thoughts, and the moral change of all his being, so that the whole man would be pure and white as snow, washing clean everything that defiles the body and spirit, so that he is adorned with every virtue: repentance, meekness, humility, gentleness, simplicity, chastity, mercifulness, abstention, spiritual contemplation, and burning love for God and neighbor.

Our preparation for meeting the heavenly King, and for the inheritance of eternal life in heaven, should consist of these things. The heavenly King desires souls adorned with immutable virtue, souls prepared so that the Very Lord Himself could abide in them. Do not marvel that the Very Lord wants to live in us. In fact the human soul is more spacious than the heavens and the earth, for it exists in the image of God. And if one removes sins from the soul, the Lord of all will settle in it and will fill it with Himself. “We will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (John 14:23), says the Lord about the souls who love Him.

And so, ye participants in the Christian feasts, and especially the present feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, ye who are brightly adorned with every virtue and translated to the heavenly kingdom, to Her Son and God, proclaim to each and every one about preparing their souls to be the dwelling place of the Lord, about continual repentance, and about the incorruptible adornment of Christian virtue. Let your death also be unashamed and peaceful, serving as the pledge of a good answer at the dread judgment seat of Christ. Amen.

Κοίμησιν τῆς Θεοτόκου _Dormition of the Mother of God_ Успение Богородицы_9128203Apolytikion.
Mode 1.

You gave birth yet preserved your virginity. You fell asleep in death yet did not desert the world, O Theotokos. You were transported to life, as you are Mother of Life and, by virtue of your intercessions, deliver our souls from death.

Mode pl. 2. Automelon.

The Theotokos is undying in intercession.* Immovable is our hope in her for protection. * Neither death nor burial prevailed over her. * As she is Mother of Life, she was removed to life by Him, * the Lord who lived in her evervirgin womb

Fortify my mind, O my Savior; for I am daring to extol Your immaculate Mother, the fortress of the world. Reinforce me with a tower of words, and shelter me in a castle of concepts; for You have promised to fulfill the requests of those who request with faith. Do, therefore, endow me with elocution, expression, and dauntless meditation; for every dose of illumination is sent down from You, O guiding Light, who lived in her ever-virgin womb.

Κοίμησιν τῆς Θεοτόκου _Dormition of the Mother of God_ Успение Богородицы_ceb1cf80cebf-cf84ceb7cebd-cebacebfceb9cebcceb7cf83The Service of Vespers – Dormition of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos

The Service of Matins – Dormition of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos

Glory. Both now. – From Menaion – – –

Mode 1.
By the command of God, the God-bearing Apostles everywhere were transported through the skies on clouds.
Mode pl. 1.
And reaching your all-immaculate body, that origin of Life, they kissed it in grand veneration.
Mode 2.
The supreme Hosts of heaven arrived with their Master.
Mode pl. 2.
Seized with awe, they ushered your inviolate body, which had hosted God. High above the earth, they went before you, and invisibly they shouted to the angelic orders above them, “Behold, the Queen of all, the Mother of God, has arrived.
Mode 3.
“Lift up the gates, and give a formal heavenly reception to the Mother of the everlasting Light.
Grave Mode.
“For the salvation of all humanity came through her. We are unable to gaze on her, and it is impossible to bestow worthy honor on her.
Mode 4.
“For her excellence surpasses all understanding.”
Mode pl. 4.
Therefore, O immaculate Theotokos, as you now live forever with the life-bearing King who is your Son, intercede unceasingly, that He guard us, your children, and that He save us from every hostile assault, since we are under your protection.
Mode 1.
And to the ages with splendor we call you blessed.

Wonderful Lord, we give You unceasing thanks that You have made us worthy to be the children of Your Holy and True Church that is exalted above all the worldly heights. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Μεταμόρφωσις του Σωτήρος Χριστού_Преображение Господне_Transfiguration of Jesus- Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icontransfiguration-fresco-visoki-decani-monastery-serbia«O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance shall they walk, and in Thy, Name shall they rejoice all the day long. »
«the light of thy countenance, O Lord, has been manifested towards us. »

On August 7, we commemorate the devout Martyr Dometius the Persian.
On this day, devout St. Or died in peace.
On this day Saint Hyperechius died in peace.
On this day the devout Theban ascetics died in peace.
On this day the devout woman Potamia the Wonderworker died by the sword.
On this day St. Narcissus, Archbishop of Jerusalem, reposed in peace.
On this day devout St. Asterius the Wonderworker died by the sword.
On this day Saint Sozon of Nicomedia died in peace after he was thrown into fire and came out uninjured.
On this day we commemorate the perfect help which Christ our true God granted us, beyond all hope and reason, against our godless enemies who had surrounded us on every side by land and sea, which help came when our all-holy and immaculate Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, who without seed gave birth to Him, interceded for the salvation of the God-protected imperial City [of Constantinople].
On this day the devout healer Theodosius the New died in peace.
On this day devout St. Dometius, the worker of signs, who lived as an ascetic in the area of Philotheou Monastery [on Mt. Athos] died in peace.
On this day devout St. Nicanor, who was illustrious on Mt. Callistratus, died in peace.

7. Abba Hyperechius said, ‘Let your thoughts be ever in the kingdom of heaven and soon you will possess it as an heritage.’

About the exaltation of the Church of God
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it” (Isaiah 2:2).

This prophecy pertains to the Church of Christ. However much of this prophecy could seem to be mysterious to the Jews before Christ, so much more is it completely clear for us today. Mountain or height: the house of the Lord is truly established “in the top of the mountains”, i.e., in the heights of the heavens, for the Church of Christ, first, is not sustained by the earth but rather by the heavens and finally, one part of the members of the Church (and now, a greater part) is to be found in heaven, while the other part is still on earth.

Further, the Church of Christ is “exalted above the hills”, i.e., above all earthly and human greatness. Human philosophy and art and all the cultures of people as well as all earthly values represent only the low hills in comparison to the infinite heights of Christ’s Church. For it was not difficult for the Church to create all of those hills, while neither one of them, nor all of them together, in the course of many thousands of years, was able to create the Church.

Finally, the prophet says: “all nations shall flow into it.” To what, truly, up to now, have all the nations flowed if not into the Church of Christ? The Temple of Jerusalem was inexcessible to the Gentiles under the penalty of death. The Church, however, from the beginning called all nations on earth, obedient to the command of the Lord: “Go ye therefore and teach all nations” (St. Matthew 28:19).
This is the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amos, a vision from afar, a vision truthful and wonderful.

O Wonderful Lord, we give You unceasing thanks that You have made us worthy to be the children of Your Holy and True Church that is exalted above all the worldly heights.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Apolytikion of the Feast. 
Grave Mode.

You were transfigured upon the mountain, O Christ our God, showing to Your disciples Your glory as much as they could bear. Do also in us, sinners though we may be, shine Your everlasting light, by the intercessions of the Theotokos, O Giver of light. Glory to You. (3)

Lord, Merciful and Lover of Mankind, help sinners to sense Your mercy and Your pity toward them to sense and to repent to repent and to turn away from their wicked ways. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Παναγία_Божией Матери Икона_Virgin Mary –Byzantine Orthodox Icon_0008 5Synaxarion.
On July 29, we commemorate the holy Martyr Callinicus.
The holy Martyr Serapia of Antioch.
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyr Theodota and her children. The holy Martyrs, a father, mother and their two children, died by fire.
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyrs Mamas and Basiliscus in the district of Darius; and Saints Benjamin and Berius by Hebdomon Palace.
We also commemorate blessed John the soldier; and Constantine the Patriarch of Constantinople; and the pious Emperor Theodosius the Younger.
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyr Eustathius the Cobbler of Mtskheta in Georgia (589).
On this day we also commemorate the Saint Kilian, an abbot of a monastery on the island of Inis Cealtra in Ireland, and author of a Life of St Brigid (7th century)
On this day we also commemorate the Hieromartyr Bessarion of Smolyan, Bulgaria (1670)

About the delaying of the Dreadful Day according to the mercy of God
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness: but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Αποκαλυψη_Το όραμα του Ευαγγελιστού Ιωάννου, τέλη 16ου αιώνα_Apokalypsis_Orama_Eyaggelistou_Xristos85-john7angels - ΑντιγραφήBrethren, the mercy of God delays “that day which burns like a furnace, according to the words of the Prophet Malachi” (Malachi 4:1). Therefore, let the scoffers be ashamed, who scoff at the promise of God and say: “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Peter 3:4). God has not forgotten His promise but the sinners themselves have forgotten it. God, according to His immeasurable mercy, waits for the sinners to come to their senses, repent and to prepare themselves for that day which is not repeated. Behold that day is not like the many days which are given to men for the sake of repentance and to prepare for the encounter with God. That day is the only day and it differs from all other days, for it does not come for the sake of repentance but rather for judgment. Just as the Dreadful Judgment is only one and unrepeatable, thus is that day only one and unrepeatable.

God does not desire that any man be lost. He did not create man for death but for salvation. Is there a gardener who sows vegetables and desire that his vegetables dry out and perish? God is wiser and more compassionate than all men. God has only one desire, i.e., that all men repent and turn away from evil. How does the husbandman rejoice when his withered vineyard comes to life and again becomes green and brings forth fruit! How much more then is the joy of God and the angels of God when the souls of men, withered from sin, return and become young again from the tears of repentance and bring forth fruit of repentance.

O Lord, Merciful and Lover of Mankind, help sinners to sense Your mercy and Your pity toward them to sense and to repent to repent and to turn away from their wicked ways.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Knowing the truth, a person will begin to mull things over and shake himself out of his sleep. What’s going on will begin to cause him pain. He’ll begin to pray and to be on his guard, so as to not fall into that trap.

What do we see now? It’s bad enough that cunning ‘interpreters of Scripture’ are commenting prophecy after their own fashion. They’re representatives of the clergy, but they’re more cowardly than lay people. And it would behoove them to exhibit a healthy spiritual unease and help Christians by sowing beneficial concern so they’ll be strengthened in their faith and receive divine consolation.

I’m amazed: Doesn’t what’s happening give them any cause for concern? And why don’t they at least add a question mark to the interpretations they come up with? And if they help the Antichrist and the mark, lead other souls to perdition?

No, behind the “perfected credit card system”, behind “computerized security” lurks worldwide dictatorship and the yoke of the Antichrist.

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.
“And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”
(Rev. 13:16-18)

ΙΠΠΕΙΣ_ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΗ_5eb0369bd41cbe2eOur time is like a bubbling and steaming cauldron. One needs temperament, audacity, courage. Take care not to be caught unprepared, if something is to happen. Start getting ready now so that you’ll be able to resist difficulties. Christ Himself tells us: “Therefore be ye also ready” (Matt. 24:44), doesn’t He? Today, living in such complicated times, we have to be not merely ready, but triply ready, at the minimum!
Possibly we may meet not only with sudden death, but with other dangers. So let’s drive away the desire to arrange our lives comfortably! May love of honor and the spirit of self-sacrifice live in us.

In our age audacity has become a rarity. Water, not blood, flows in people’s veins. So if a war were to break out, God forbid, many would simply die of fright while others would lose heart, because they’re used to an easy life. Fear is necessary when it helps a person turn to God. Fear from lack of faith, from lack of trust in God, on the other hand, is ruinous.
Such fear is driven out by audacity. We must remember: The more a person fears, the more he is tempted by the enemy. If a person refuses to strive to become courageous, and doesn’t strive for real love, then when a difficult situation arises he’ll become a laughingstock.

In order to hold back a great evil, great holiness is needed. A spiritual person can hold back evil and help others. In the spiritual life the biggest coward can attain great courage by entrusting himself to Christ and His divine help. He can go to the front lines, do battle with the enemy, and win! So therefore we will fear God alone, not people, no matter how evil they may be. The fear of God makes any coward into a hero! A person becomes fearless to the extent he unites with God.

“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.”

Άγιος Γεώργιος ο Τροπαιοφόρος- св вмч Георгий победоносец- St. George the Trophy-bearer σχεδιοTroparion of St Callinicus — Tone 4

O Callinicos, thou didst receive a worthy crown and prize/ for thy victory over tyrants,/ for thou didst finish thy course and wast glorified as a noble athlete./ O glorious Martyr,/ entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Troparion in Tone 4 (Martyr Callinicus)

Thy holy martyr Callinicus, O Lord, through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from Thee our God. For having Thy strength, he laid low his adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through his intercessions, save our souls!

Troparion of St Theodota — Tone 1

O godly-minded Theodota, thou didst offer thy holy children to God as choice gifts./ Together with them thou didst nobly contend and struggle./ Intercede with Christ our God for us/ that He grant us all forgiveness and correction of life.

Apolytikion of St Eustathius of Mtskheta — Tone 4

Thy Martyr Eustathius, 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.

Living souls believe in the powerful miracles of the Prophet Elijah. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič – Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_0459_najmanja-crkva-u-srbiji300313ras-foto-djordje-kojadinovic14_origSynaxarion.
On July 20, we commemorate the fiery ascent into the heavens of the holy and glorious Prophet Elias (Elijah) the Tishbite, The fiery Prophet
Saint Flavianus II of Antioch, Patriarch and Confessor (512)
Saint Elias I of Jerusalem, Patriarch and Confessor (518)
Martyr Salome of Jerusalem and Kartli, who suffered under the Persians (13th century)
Saint Elias (Chavchavadze) the Righteous of Georgia (1907)
New Martyrs Lydia, with soldiers Alexei and Cyril, near Ufa (1928)
Repose of Schema-nun Sarah of Borodino (1908)
Repose of righteous mother Salome fool for Christ, Thermo of Aetolia

Those who have a good predisposition will understand the Prophet Elijah…
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_0_1609f7_cb628884_L– Elder, when the Prophets Elijah and Enoch come back in order to preach repentance, will people understand what is happening, and come back to their senses?
Those who have a good predisposition will understand. Those who aren’t positively predisposed will not understand and will be misled. Our Lord has warned us that we must be very careful, because “false Christ’s and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders, to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13:22).
There are some who mistake certain deluded persons for prophets. Several years ago, there was a Protestant who constantly wandered around with a leather briefcase which had an inscription on it, written in English: “I am the Prophet Elijah”! He wore a short-sleeved shirt, he had a Bible in English and he claimed to have descended from heaven!
When they asked him what he believes in and what religion he belongs to, he said “Eh, they are obsolete things. Religions didn’t exist then!” You see? To him, everyone – Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals, all the heresies and all the branches of heresies – are the same to him. Is it not obvious then what his true state was? And oh, how many letters did that person send me! He would write down various passages from the Holy Bible and all his positions were Protestant. He would also send a whole lot of letters to various other people, sometimes from England and sometimes from other places. There were those who believed the things he wrote and they wanted to publish in a magazine that the Prophet Elijah had come. “Are you in your right minds? What on earth are you about to do?” I said to them. Poor people…they are so confused!
A person sins just through listening to what such deluded people have to say. There are some who say: “If you believe that it will happen that way, then it will.” This is pure belief in themselves, but behind them is the little imp (mythological demonic-looking creature,). Thus, they deify themselves and they strip themselves of Divine Grace. It is with theories like these that they strive to fool people.
From Spiritual Counsels: Spiritual Struggle, vol. 3, ch. 4.


The priests of the idols were deceiving all the people, to the point where the Prophet Elijah said: “I am on my own!” So much!
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Elder, why does God allow calamity to happen?

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_ΗΛΙΑΣ_prophet_ilias-024_resize– There are many cases. Sometimes God allows something to happen for something better to happen, and sometimes something is allowed for a lesson. Some things are rewarded and some things we get back. Nothing happens that is lost.
Know that when God allows something, even if people for example are killed, it is benevolent, because God has “guts”. How many did the Prophet Elijah slaughter? Over three hundred prophets of Baal. When he told them: “You pray, and I will also, and for whoever the flame is lit by itself, their God is true.” And the priests of Baal began to cry out: “Hear us, our god Baal, hear us!” But there was neither voice nor sound. The Prophet Elijah said to them: “You god is busy and does not hear you! Call out louder!” They continued to cry out and cut their flesh with knives, as was their custom, so that they would be in pain and cry out louder, in order that Baal would hear them. Having finally achieved nothing, the Prophet Elijah said: “Pour water on my wood three times.” They poured water once, twice, three times! Because of all the water the wood was soaked and water was running off it all around. As soon as the Prophet prayed, fire came down from heaven and consumed everything that was on the alter for a sacrifice, together with the altar itself! Then he said: “Capture the priests, because they lure the people into idolatry,” and he slaughtered them all.
Some say: “How could the Prophet Elijah slaughter so many people?” God is not a barbarian, and the Prophet is not a barbarian. But the priests of the idols were deceiving all the people, to the point where the Prophet Elijah said: “I am on my own!” So much! Also the priests of the idols suffered more by their own cutting than by the knife of the Prophet Elijah, who put an end to their suffering. The pain of their own mangling was greater. Because, you see, whatever God allows is benevolent, while their own cuttings were painful.

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_10The knife to the Prophet Elijah
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

– Elder, in the apolytikion of the Prophet Elijah, it says that he is the second forerunner of the Coming of Christ. It is well known that the Prophet Elijah did not repose, like Enoch. Will the Prophet Elijah come back to earth?
The Elder smiled.
The Prophet Elijah is sharpening and preparing his knife! And he will even begin with the patriarchs, bishops, priests and monks!
– What about laypeople, Father Paisios?
Yours are ignorances, while ours are sins. The Prophet Elijah is sharpening his knife, but caution is needed, because some things that are said by the Fathers of the Church are interpreted differently by people.
From a Testimony of Stephen Papavasileiou from Thessaloniki.


Living souls believe in the powerful miracles of the Prophet Elijah.
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_CS4LF4uUcAEK6SCWriting about the life of his sister St. Macrina, St. Gregory of Nyssa hesitates to enumerate her miracles, “that I not be,” says he, “responsible for the sin of unbelief among helpless men.” He calls helpless, those who do not believe. Truly, there is nothing more helpless than a man without faith. The man without faith believes in the power of dead things and dead elements of nature and does not believe in the power of God or in the strength of the men of God. That is spiritual dullness and that dullness is equated with spiritual death.

Thus, the living souls believe and the dead souls do not believe. Living souls believe in the powerful miracles of the Prophet Elijah. These miracles give them courage and joy, for they know that they are a manifestation of the might of God. When God manifests His might through lifeless things and elements of nature, why then would He not manifest it through living and holy men? That which especially gives joy to the faithful is that the Prophet Elijah appeared alive on Mount Tabor at the time of the Transfiguration of the Lord. During his life on earth, this great prophet gave proof of the existence of the One and Living God and, after his death, and even after several hundred years, by his appearance on Mt. Tabor, he gave to mankind visible proof of life after death.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


About the prophesied scoffers of holy things
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3).

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_ΗΛΙΑ_kT86i81x5ewDoes the mirror change and bend when the scoffer stands before it laughing and scoffing at it? No, the mirror does not change and bend but remains the same as it was. Brethren, neither does God change or bend when scoffers laugh and scoff at Him. The unchanging and All-pure God knows that the scoffer scoffs at himself. By his scoffing at the holy things of God, the scoffer bends himself and makes himself hideous and the holy things of God remain intact.

O, how already in our times, in our days, many scoffers are already here! Many, too many but their multitudes are weaker than the One and Only One. What is a lot of dust before a strong wind? You have only to wait, to wait armed with patience until a strong wind blows.

Many and too many scoffers are already here, who scoff at God’s word. They offer their own words in place of God’s word; they offer the unholy in place of the holy, the putrid in place of the healthy, death dealing in place of life creating. The word of God is like a strong wind and their words are as dust.

The scoffers are already here, many and too many that scoff at God’s works and still many more will arrive. They praise their works above God’s works and say that the works of their hands are better and more comprehensible that the works of God. Their works are thievery; for all the good that they built, they built from God’s materials and according to the likeness of God’s buildings; and all the evil that they have built, they built from the devil’s materials, and according to the likeness of the devil’s buildings. Therefore, of what will the dust boast? With what will the scoffers praise today or tomorrow, when wild asses trample over their graves with their hooves?

All-pure Lord, Holy and Powerful are Your words, as a strong wind and holy are Your works, and there is no number or measure of them. All-pure Lord, save our tongues from scoffing and save our lives from the scoffers.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_ΗΛΙΑΣ_f313c5833794cedff9ca02d54e8fc64cApolytikion. From Menaion – – –
Mode 4. Come quickly.

The angel incarnate and the Prophets’ pedestal, * the second Forerunner of the coming of Christ, Elias the glorious, * sent down to Elisha the divine grace from heaven. * He drives away diseases and he cleanses lepers. * Therefore he pours out healings to those who honor him.

Glory. Mode 3. Seeing how beautiful.

You crossed the Jordan’s streams, before the chariot * carried you up as if into the heavens’ heights, * and thus depicted a sublime mystery, O Elias, * namely that no one ascends to the heavenly heights unless * he previously passes through the waters of repentance first * and purifies his soul. And the Jordan * was a symbol of baptism.

Stichera. For the Prophet
Mode pl. 4. What are we to call you

O Elias, Prophet and Oracle, * when by virtue and your unadulterated way of life * you were joined to God, and thus received authority from Him, * creation’s natural order you altered at will, * and likewise shut up heaven’s gates against the rain. * And you made fire come down to earth, * and it consumed the impious men. * So intercede, we entreat you, that our souls be saved.

Fired up with zeal for the Lord your God, * O Elias, you rebuked the kings who disobeyed the Law, * and most fervently you put to death the shameful priests of Baal; * ignited fire in water paradoxically, * and likewise brought forth food not harvested from earth. * And with your mantle you struck the stream * of River Jordan and parted it. * So intercede, we entreat you, that our souls be saved.

Prophet, when you learned and in very truth * manifested in your ways the life of heaven here on earth, * and obtained within yourself the wealth of hypostatic life, * you breathed on the deceased and resurrected him. * And you have still remained superior to death. * Aboard a fiery chariot * you were transported into the heights. * So intercede, we entreat you, that our souls be saved.

The atmosphere of the home should be one of prayer. The parents ought to inspire the children with their love for Christ and the All-Holy Virgin. St. Elder Sophrony of Essex

Γενέσιον του Τιμίου Προδρόμου_Nativity of the Forerunner St. John the Baptist_Рождество Иоанна Предтечи_Nașterea Sfântului Ioan BotezăSynaxarion From the Menaion.
On June 24 we celebrate the Nativity of the honorable and glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John.
Synaxis of the Righteous Zechariah and Elizabeth, parents of John the Forerunner.

Hymn of Praise
to St. John the Baptist
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ζαχαρίας Προδρόμου_ Zechariah (priest)_ Захария отец Иоанна Крестителя ___20110325_1162322742330By God’s miracle, John entered the world,
As once did Sarah’s and Abraham’s Isaac,
By God’s miracle, remained alive
From Herod’s bloody knife.
The knife, the young child John missed,
But John’s father, it did not miss;
By God’s miracle, John in the desert
For thirty years, he sustained himself,
To the servant of God angels are shepherds
To the poor angels are guardians!
John grew loveable lamb,
The Lamb of God to serve,
To proclaim the bright day, before the sun,
The Unknown, recognized and glorified.
Of the great prophets, the last
And of God’s apostles, the beginning.
As Elijah, with God he speaks
And as an apostle, loves and rebukes,
Of the high priest, wondrous son,
Of the martyr of God, the first-born brother.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ζαχαρίας Ιωάννη Προδρόμου_Zechariah priest_Захария отец Иоанна Крестителя_0_8963e_fe156ac6_St. Gabriel (Urgebadze) the Fool for Christ of Samtavro in Georgia

A young couple once visited St. Gabriel (Urgebadze). The woman was pregnant. St. Gabriel blessed them and said, “My dears, be aware, a child understands everything, therefore read the word of God to him, so he will grow up properly from the very beginning.”
The husband was amazed by what St. Gabriel said and asked, “Yes, but Father, I don’t even understand what’s said through a half-closed door, so how will a child in the womb understand?”
St. Gabriel looked at the woman and addressed the child in his mother’s womb: “Hello baby, I ask you—do you hear the word of God?”
He had just finished saying it when the child began to move so much that the mother grabbed her stomach and couldn’t hide her emotions. Her husband, amazed and already believing what St. Gabriel had said, looked at his wife, astounded.


St.Paisios of the Holy Mountain
Little children need a bit of sunshine.

Q.: I’ve noticed, Elder, that sometimes babies smile at the time of Divine Liturgy.
A.: They don’t do that only at the Divine Liturgy. Babies are in constant contact with God, because they’ve got nothing to worry about. What did Christ say about little children? ‘Their angels in heaven continually gaze upon the face of my Father who is in heaven’. They’re in touch with God and with their guardian angel, who’s with them all the time. They smile in their sleep sometimes, and at other times cry, because they see all sorts of things. Sometimes they see their guardian angels and play with them- the angels stroke them, tease them, shake their fists and they laugh. On other occasions they see some kind of temptation and cry.

Q.: Why does temptation come to babies?
A.: It helps them to feel the need to seek their mothers. If there wasn’t this fear, they wouldn’t need to seek the comfort of being cuddled by their mothers. God allows everything so that it’ll turn out well.
Q.: Do they remember what they see as babies when they grow up?
A.: No, they forget. If a little child remembered the number of times it had seen its guardian angel, it might fall into pride. That’s why, when it grows up, it forgets. God’s wise in His doings.
Q.: Do they see these things after baptism?
A.: Of course after baptism.

Q.: Elder, is it all right for an unbaptized child to reverence relics?
A.: Why not? And they can be blessed with the holy relics. I saw a child today, it was like a little angel. I asked, ‘Where are your wings?’ It didn’t know what to say! At my hermitage, when spring comes and the trees are in blossom, I put sweets on the holm-oaks next to the gate in the fence and I tell the little boys who come: ‘Go on, boys, cut the sweets from the bushes, because if it rains they’ll melt and spoil’. A few of the more intelligent ones know that I’ve put them there and laugh. Others really believe that they’ve grown there and some others have to think about it. Little children need a bit of sunshine.

Ιωάννης ο Πρόδρομος_св.Иоанна Предтечи_ St. John the Forerunner _032_Icon_71a54ee93f530909Q.: Did you put lots of sweets, Elder?
A.: Well, of course. What could I do? I don’t give good sweets to grown-ups; I just give them Turkish delight. When people bring me nice sweets, I keep them for the kids at the School [the Athoniada]. ‘See, last night I planted sweets and chocolates and today they’ve come up! See that? The weather was good, the soil was well-turned because you’d dug it over well and they came up just like that. See what a flower garden I’ll make for you. We’ll never need to buy sweets and chocolates for kids. Why shouldn’t we have our own produce?’ (Elder Païsios had planted sweets and chocolates in the freshly dug earth and put lilac blossoms on top to make it seem that they were flowering).
Q.: Elder, some pilgrims saw the chocolates you planted in the garden because the paper stood out against the soil. They didn’t know what to make of it. ‘Some kid must have put them there’, they said.
A.: Why didn’t you tell them that a big kid put them there?

Q.: Elder, why does God give people a guardian angel, when He can protect us Himself?
A.: That’s God looking after us especially carefully. The guardian angel is God’s providence. And we’re indebted to Him for that. The angels particularly protect little children. And you wouldn’t believe how! There were two children once, playing in the street. One of them aimed at the other to hit him on the head with a stone. The other one didn’t notice. At the last moment, apparently, his angel drew his attention to something else, he leapt up and got out of the way. And then there was this mother who went out into the fields with her baby. She breast-fed it, put it down in its cradle and went off to work. After a bit, she went to check and what did she see? The child was holding a snake and looking at it! When she’d suckled the child, some of the milk had stayed on its lips, the snake had gone to lick it off and the baby had grabbed hold of it. God looks after children.
Q.: Elder, in that case, why do so many children suffer from illnesses?
A.: God knows what’s best for each of us and provides as necessary. He doesn’t give people anything that’s not going to benefit them. He sees that it’s better for us to have some sort of defect, a disability instead of protecting us from them.
Source: Discourses 4, Family Life, published by the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Theologian,
Souroti, Thessaloniki


St. Elder Sophrony of Essex , disciple of St. Silouan the Athonite

Ιωάννης ο Πρόδρομος_св.Иоанна Предтечи_ St. John the Forerunner _032_Icon_10e19f5ee2399694‘“How can I, living in the world, dwell in the presence of God?” The elder answered” “Do everything as one cooperating in God’s work.” To be a fellow worker with God in the task of marriage and bringing up Christian children is a grandiose and holy role…. All you learn about marriage, all your work for your marriage, is work for the salvation of your children, and this is not something small, but something which is of eternal value.
The aim of marriage is for the couple to collaborate with God, so that they will give birth to sons and daughters of God. Prayer is needed when choosing. In order for them to make a good choice, much prayer is needed that the suitable person may be given for this purpose.

When someone marries, he does so in order that his wife may be his helper for salvation. He must show love, and they must struggle for their salvation.
Through marriage the husband takes the wife as a helper, so that they may achieve perfection [theosis]. Children are gifts from God.

We should pray God to give inspiration. God enlightens everyone, especially mothers, and gives them inspiration. This is the only way we can bring up children. When the parents have God’s grace within them, the children sense it.
The aim is not simply that the infant should partake of the Most Pure Mysteries, but that it should live in an atmosphere of prayer at home. The atmosphere of the home should be one of prayer. The parents ought to inspire the children with their love for Christ and the All-Holy Virgin. The aim in bringing up children is that they may acquire personal love for Christ and the All-Holy Virgin. We ought not to advise them simply to become good people.

Ιωάννης ο Πρόδρομος_св.Иоанна Предтечи_ St. John the Forerunner _032_Icon_St. Elizabeth and St. ZachariahApolytikion of Nativity of John the Forerunner
Fourth Tone

O Prophet and Forerunner of the presence of Christ, we who fervently honor you cannot worthily praise you. For by your revered and glorious birth the barrenness of your mother and the muteness of your father were unbound, and the incarnation of the Son of God is proclaimed to the world.

Kontakion of Nativity of John the Forerunner
Third Tone

She that once was barren doth today bring forth Christ’s Forerunner, John, the culmination and the crown of all the Prophets. For when he, in River Jordan, laid his hand on Him Whom the Prophets preached aforetime, he was revealed as God the Word’s fore-chosen Prophet, His mighty preacher, and His Forerunner in grace.

Let it be around me only filth and stench Let me flowers not to see For in my soul is planted a garden Of foreign fruits so sweet… Matushka Tamar Madzhanishvili the Confessor of the St. Seraphim –Znamensky Skete

Παναγια_λιτανεια_πολεμος κριμαικος_Е-Зайцев.-Молебен-на-Бородинском-поле_Отечественная война 1812_9613Synaxarion From the Menaion.
On the June 23 we commemorate the Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary, the Synaxis of whose Icon of Vladimir we celebrate (1480).
On this day we also commemorate the Holy Martyr Agrippina of Rome and her companions Paula, Bassa, and Agathonica (253-259)
On this day we also commemorate the Holy Hieromartyrs Aristocles the Presbyter, Demetrius the Deacon, and Athanasios the Reader, at Salamis on Cyprus (302 or 306)
On this day we also commemorate the Our righteous Father Barbarus the Myrrh-streamer, “the Pentapolitis” (c. 820-829) (see also: May 15 – Translation of Relics )
On this day we also commemorate the Repose of Our Father among the Saints Mark Eugenicus of Ephesus, the single-handed contender and champion of Orthodoxy (1392 – 1444)(see also: January 19)
On this day we also commemorate the righteous youth Artemius of Verkola (1545)
On this day we also commemorate the holy New Hieromartyrs Metrophanes, Archbishop of Astrakhan, and Leontius, Bishop of Yenotaevsk (1919)
On this day we also commemorate the Michael of Klops, the Fool for Christ’s sake, the translation of whose holy relics we commemorate (1482)
On this day we also commemorate the holy Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos: “Umileniye” (“Of Tender Feeling”) of the Pskov-Caves Monastery (1524)
On this day we also commemorate the holy Repose of Schemamonk Zosimas of Solovki (1855)
On this day we also commemorate the holy Repose of Schema-abbess Tamar (Marjanishvili) the Confessor, of the St. Seraphim–Znamensky Skete (1936)

The Commemoration of the Icon of the All-holy Birth-Giver of God [Theotokos] of the town of Vladimir
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Παναγία Βλαντιμίρ_Божией Матери Владимирская Икона_Virgin Mary Vladimirskaya –Byzantine Orthodox Icon_most_holy_theotokos_of_vladimir- IconWhen the Tartar King Ahmet besieged Moscow, Prince John Vasillievitch set out with an army to defend the city. Even though the army of Prince John was smaller in number and weaker than the Tartar army, nevertheless, it emerged victorious. All at once, an indescribable fear overcame the Tartars and they became confused and fled. Everyone ascribed this unexpected success to the icon of the All-Holy Birth-giver of God before whom the Russian people prayed for salvation from the Tartars. As a result of this, June 23 was designated in Russia for the commemoration of this miracle.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 


Matushka Tamar Madzhanishvili the Confessor
of the St. Seraphim–Znamensky Skete (1936)

Let it be around me only filth and stench
Let me flowers not to see
For in my soul is planted a garden
Of foreign fruits so sweet

Ταμάρα Σκήτεως αγ Σεραφείμ -Ζναμένσκι_Tamar Mardzhanishvili-St Seraphim–Znamensky Skete_Св Фамарь-Тама́ра Марджанишви́ли23Tamara Mardzhanova was born into a princely Georgian family, lost her father early, and at nineteen years old, her mother. She remained independent on her ancestral estate with her younger sister. Having vocal and musical abilities, she prepared to enter the St. Petersburg Conservatory.
Once her aunt invited her to come for a visit, offering to take her to see the opened Russian women’s monastery of St. Nina. The sisters arrived in the city of Signakh and headed for the Bodbe Monastery for Vigil. When Tamara entered the church, she thought: “I will join the monastery.” They drew the attention of the abbess Juvenalia who asked why they were in mourning. They answered: “Our mother died.” Tamara returned to her aunt with the intention of ending up at the monastery. Soon she met with the abbess and told her about her desire and about how before the age of maturity she could not make any donation to the monastery. The mother abbess answered that she could join without any donation.

At home Tamara began to prepare herself for her departure, but her relatives hindered her and intercepted her mail. Abbess Juvenalia wrote to her to ask about the delay, and that with the help of a cousin she had organized Tamara’s secret escape to the monastery.

Abbess Juvenalia replaced her birth mother and became her spiritual mother, placing her in her own cell, teaching her reading, Church singing, and all the rules of monastic life.

Before long the abbess noticed that Tamara began to return late to the cell, and found out that she and other novices had begun to dig caves in the neighboring mountains, to save themselves within them. The wise directress forbade them to continue this dangerous podvig.

Tamara lived in the monastery for fourteen years, and at twenty-eight was tonsured as a nun with the name Juvenalia.

In 1902 the Bodbe abbess was transferred to Moscow to be the superior of the Nativity Monastery, and the young Mother Juvenalia was appointed as the superior of Bodbe. On October 12, 1902, the Georgian exarch Archbishop Alexei elevated Juvenalia to the rank of abbess. The Lord helped His chosen one, and the new abbess began to manage the monastery honorably.

Mother Juvenalia was significantly influenced by Fr. John of Kronstadt, who she met on several occasions while attending business in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Once, in the beginning of her service under the old abbess, all the money dried up in the monastery. Unexpectedly they received two hundred rubles and then a letter from Fr. John: “Receive, my dears, in your extreme need two hundred rubles.” It was amazing because none of them knew Fr. John. At one encounter with Fr. John, before Tamara was tonsured, he demanded the cross from Abbess Juvenalia and put it on Tamara, jokingly saying: “You are my abbess.”

When the young abbess met and spoke with Fr. John after her appointment she felt that he “took away her grief, and infused her with energy and joy.”

Σεραφείμ Σάρωφ_St. Seraphim of Sarov_ Преподобный Серафим Саровский_1Svjatojj_Serafim_Sarovskijj0_6333St. Seraphim of Sarov gave her great help, support and protection. In her youth she saw a dream in which Fr. Seraphim asked her blessing, saying, “Mother abbess, bless,” thus predicting her abbacy, fourteen years in advance.
On July 19, 1903 Fr. Seraphim’s relics were opened, and Mother sent Nun Agnes to pray for the whole monastery, bearing an icon of the God-bearer Seraphim. Once an inhabitant of the monastery was injured while stacking firewood and was on the brink of death. Mother sent her the icon of St. Seraphim to be placed on the chest of the sufferer. Half an hour later the nun jumped out of bed, fully healthy. She saw the blessed elder coming towards her and saying: “Let’s go, wash yourself in my spring, and you’ll be healthy.” She threw herself at the elder’s feet on her knees, began to pray to him, and immediately revived and began to speak. The doctor confirmed that it was a full recovery.

In the pre-revolutionary years a spiritual circle of those close to her developed. Among them was the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fedorovna, who received her at the Martha and Mary Convent; Sts. Gabriel of Seven Lakes Hermitage; Fr. Alexei of the St. Zosima Hermitage; and Bishop Arseny (Zhadanovskii).

The Lord preserved her and in the years of the first Russian revolution. When some mountaineers were irritated by her (Mother had given shelter in the monastery to peasants suffering from their harassment), and they literally shot her carriage full of holes. At that moment, when the shooting began, the abbess prayerfully raised above herself, accompanied by her sisters, the icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov, who she greatly venerated, and although her horse fell under a hailstorm of bullets, the driver was killed, and the halted carriage became a target, the nuns were not injured. After this episode, in 1905, she was transferred to Moscow against her will by Synodal decree, and appointed the superior of the Pokrov community of Sisters of Mercy, where there were twenty nuns and 210 Sisters of Mercy.

By the time of Mother Juvenalia’s departure in 1907 from Bodbe Monastery there were 180 sisters and two working schools: one beyond the walls of the monastery for children who would come daily, and the second for 120 girls living entirely on the monastery’s provisions and receiving the rank of teachers of the lower classes. Russians, Georgians, Ossetians, Greeks, Svanis, and Armenians all lived together. The Bodbe Convent began in 1889 with the arrival of six nuns with Mother Juvenalia. It was opened at the behest of Emperor Alexander III, who traveled there to venerate the tomb of the Equal-to-the-Apostles, holy virgin and enlightener Nina.

After her miraculous survival, the holy ascetic St. Seraphim became for Mother a truly living, real person. Venerable Seraphim helped her in troubling circumstances, protecting her from dangers.

During a pilgrimage to Sarov in 1908, Mother stopped at the Royal Hermitage and walked eight miles on her ailing feet to Sarov, where she fervently implored the saint to stay near her. Returning and communing the next day, she prayed before the icon of the Mother of God of the Sign, and from the Heavenly Kingdom she heard a voice: “No, you will not stay here, but will build a skete not only for yourself, but for others as well.” And every day when she went up to the icon she heard the same voice.

Thinking it was a temptation, she upon her return asked advice from Fr. Alexei, the hermit of the Zosima Hermitage, who blessed her to build the skete herself somewhere in the forest: “You will retreat to there, and then finally move. The Queen of Heaven has chosen you and the place, and will provide the means and spiritually arrange everything.”

Before long she had to leave to inspect a farm in the woods near the Vostryakovo Station and the village of Bityagovo, which belonged to the community, and to register its transfer to the railway, which wanted to extract sand from there; but she understood that that was the place where she had to build the skete. According to the advice of Fr. Alexei, she began to push for saving this place for the community.

Παναγία του Βλαδιμήρου Vladimirskaya Икона Божией Матери Владимирская0_199ff0_7ef95fc8_LTo determine how to conduct herself, Matushka went to Optina Pustyn, and all the elders with whom she spoke directed her on how to arrange the skete. To completely check herself, she traveled to the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra to pray to St. Sergius. The Father Superior of the Lavra, Fr. Tobias, listened to her, went to his office, and returned with an icon in his hands, saying: “Well, Mother, let’s pray and I will bless you. You should arrange the skete yourself—it is the will of the Heavenly Queen.” With these words he inspired her to determination and confidence.
Having besought the blessing of Venerable Sergius, Matushka began to arrange the skete. A. V. Schusev, who had designed many churches, including the Martha and Mary Convent, participated in the first stage of designing the skete.

The foundation was completed in the summer of 1910, and from henceforth the project was carried out by architect L. V. Sterzhenskii. The complex has a square plan, with a tiered church in the center, and twelve cells symmetrically placed around the perimeter of the brick walls. Thirty-three sisters lived in the skete—the number of years of Christ’s earthly life.

On September 29, 1912, Metropolitan Vladimir (Bogoyavlenskii) of Moscow and Kolomna consecrated the Seraphimo-Znamenskii Skete. In 1915, Abbess Juvenalia was tonsured into the schema with the name Fomar. With great spiritual enthusiasm, and a feeling of unconquerable faith and love for the Lord, she stretched herself on the earth in the sign of the crucifix for the sake of higher spiritual goals.[1]

Νίνα της Γεωργίας_St Nina of Georgia_წმინდა ნინო_Света Нина Грузије_св Нины Иберии_nino01-ΑγίαΝίναMother Fomar established a strict order in the skete. The thirty-three sisters occupied themselves only with prayerful service, not participating in the monastery administration. The administrative offices were in a house beyond the walls of the skete. The sisters were spiritually guided by the skete’s elder, Bishop Arseny (Zhadanovskii), who stayed in a separate cabin with Archimandrite Seraphim (Zvdezdinsky), traveling weekly to the skete. They called the cabin the cenobium, and would seclude themselves there for prayer.

The St. Seraphim- Znamenskii Skete (Of the Sign) existed for twelve years. It was closed and destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1924. The sisters dispersed in various directions. Mother relocated with ten sisters and Hieromonk Philaret (Postnikov) to Perkhushkovo. Many went to Mother Fomar for advice and guidance.

In 1931 Mother Fomar, the priest, and some sisters were arrested and then exiled to Siberia, 130 miles from Irkutsk. In 1934 Mother Fomar, having contracted a serious lung disease, was returned from exile and placed in a suburban village by Pioneer Station on the Belorusian Railway. She showed signs of tuberculosis. Mother reposed on June 23, 1936, and Vladyka Arseny celebrated her funeral service at home, burying her at the Entrance of the Mother of God cemetery in Moscow. Every year on the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers, on her name’s day, and on the day of her repose, June 23, those who venerate her arrive for Pannikhidas served there.

[1] This gesture is part of the monastic tonsure service. The tonsure into the great schema is almost identical to the first tonsure.
Translated by Jesse Dominick

Apolytikion of Icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir
Fourth Tone

Today the most glorious city of Moscow rejoiceth radiantly, for it receiveth as a ray of sun thy wonderworking icon, O Lady; and as we now have recourse thereto, we pray to thee and cry: O most wonderful Lady Theotokos, pray to Christ our God, Who was incarnate of thee, that this city and all Christian cities and countries be kept unharmed from all assaults of the enemy, and that our souls be saved, for He is merciful.

Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God in memory of the Saving of Moscow from the Invasion of Khan Achmed – 
Troparion (Tone 4)

O Mistress, Empress and Lady, / defend all who are in danger and misfortune / or weak from many sins, / and who stand before your holy Icon / praying with tears, humility, repentance, and invincible hope, / free them from all evil, / give them the grace they need. / And save us all, O Virgin Mother of God, / for You are the divine refuge of those who follow you!

Troparion of St Agrippina — Tone 4

Your lamb Agrippina calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice: / “I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering. / In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, / and I died so that I might live with You. / Accept me as a pure sacrifice, / for I have offered myself in love.” / Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

Troparion of St Tamar, Tone Tone 8

The image of God was truly preserved in you, O mother, / For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. / By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh, for it passes away; / But to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal. / Therefore your spirit, O holy Mother Tamar, rejoices with the Angels.

Troparion Our Father Barbarus the Myrrh-streamer, “the Pentapolitis” — Tone 3

Your holy martyr Barbarus, O Lord, / through his sufferings has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries, / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through his intercessions, save our souls!

Troparion Our Father Among the Saints Mark Eugenicus, Metropolitan of Ephesus. (Tone 4)

By your profession of faith, O all-praised Mark the Church has found you to be a zealot for truth. You fought for the teaching of the of the Fathers; You cast down the darkness of boastful pride. / Intercede with Christ God to grant forgiveness to those who honor you!

Kontakion of the saint, in Tone II:

Come ye all, and let us hymn today the all-praised Nina, * the preacher of the Word of God, * the equal of the apostles, who was chosen by Christ, * the wise evangelist who hath led the people of Kartalinia * to the path of life and truth, * the disciple of the Mother of God, ** our fervent helper and tireless guardian.

By their holy intercessions, Christ God, have mercy on us. Amen.

Νίνα Γεωργίας Μποντμπε_Nina Georgia_Св Нина Грузије_ბოდბის ნინოს_Монастырь святой Нино Бодбе 33254Bodbe Monastery-555Νίνα της Γεωργίας_ Монастырь святой Нино Бодбе m1 მონასტერიτάφος Αγίας Νίνας-Μπόντμπε_St. Nino's grave of Bodbe_Могила св. Нины Монастыря Бодбе_IMG_7681 (1)

The Lord gave the Saints such great grace that they embrace the whole world with their love. They see and know how we languish in affliction, how are hearts have withered within us, how despondency has fettered our souls; and they never cease to intercede for us with God. St. Silouan the Athonite

ΑΓΙΟΙ Παντες ΕΙΣΕΡΧΟΜΕΝΟΙ ΣΤΟΝ ΠΑΡΑΔΕΙΣΟ_παράδεισος_kingdom of God-Царство Божие Небесное-Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon 3Synaxarion From the Pentecostarion.
On this day, the Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the feast of All Saints, who are from every part of the world, those in Asia, Africa, Europe and America, from the North and from the South.

Synaxarion From the Menaion.
On the June 19 we commemorate the Holy Apostle Jude, also called Judas, Thaddaeus, or Lebbaeus.
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyr Zosimas.
On this day we commemorate our devout Father Zeno hermit, of Egypt, wonderworker (4th century)
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father Paisios the Great of Egypt (5th century)
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father Macarius of Petra (4th century)
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father Barlaam of Shenkursk, monk (1462)
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father Job, Patriarch of Moscow (1607)
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father Paisius of Hilendar, the Bulgarian (18th century)

I sing praises to all the Friends of my Lord.
If one is so destined, to their number be added.

Abba Poemen said that Abba John said that the saints are like a group of trees, each bearing different fruit, but watered from the same source. The practices of one saint differ from those of another, but it is the same Spirit that works in all of them.”

About the holy men of God
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

ΠΑΝΤΕς ΑΓΙΟΙ-1302627982_st.-pauls-mount-athos-039This is witnessed by the Apostle Peter who himself was a holy man of God, a rock of faith and a knight of the Cross. As a holy man of God he, by his own personal experience, explains how the holy men of God spoke and what they said and he says: “They spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” However, they did not speak according to their own reasoning nor according to their own memory nor according to their own speculation nor according to their own eloquence but rather they spoke from the Spirit and according to the Holy Spirit. The wisdom of God flowed through them and the truth of God was revealed through them. Holy Scripture was not written with “the false pen of the scribes” (Jeremiah 8:8), but was written by the servants and the chosen ones of the Holy Spirit of God. Neither was Holy Scripture written by men whose writing was a vocation, but rather it was written by the saints of God, directed and compelled by the Spirit of God. Often, not even wanting and, at times even protesting, they had to write as the Holy Prophet Jeremiah witnesses saying: “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His Name. But His word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing and I could not stay” (Jeremiah 20:9).

O my brethren, Sacred Scripture is not of men but of God; it is not of the earth but rather from heaven; neither is it from the body but from the Spirit; yes, from the Holy Spirit of God. Inspired by the wisdom and truth of the Holy Spirit, these holy men of God wrote: Prophets, Evangelists, Apostles, Fathers, Teachers, Hierarchs and Shepherds.

O God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Truth, inspire us by Your Life-creating breath, that we may recognize Wisdom and Truth and by Your help to fulfill them.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 


Αγίων Πάντων_Synaxis of All Saints_Собор всех святых_ΠΑΝΤΕς ΑΓΙΟΙ-1302627996_st.-pauls-mount-athos-038The great hierarchs, the pillars of the Orthodox Church, knew how to blend meekness and resoluteness into their character. Meekness toward the righteous and penitents and resoluteness toward the unrepentant criminals. One Sunday, following the Divine Liturgy, the Tsar Ivan the Terrible approached Metropolitan Philip to receive the metropolitan’s blessing. The metropolitan pretended not to see the Tsar and gazed at the icon of the Savior. The Tsar’s adjutant approached the metropolitan and said to him: “Your Eminence, the Ruler is before you, bless him.” The metropolitan looked at the Tsar and said: “O Tsar, fear the judgment of God. Here, we offer up the Unbloody Sacrifice to God and outside the sanctuary, the blood of Christians is being spilled. How many innocent suffer? You are lofty on the throne but, nevertheless, you are a man.” The enraged Tsar reminded the metropolitan to keep silent, but the metropolitan said to him: “Where is my faith, if I remain silent?” When the Tsar began to threaten the metropolitan he quietly replied: “I am a visitor and guest on earth and am ready to suffer for the truth!” After a period of time, the evil Tsar strangled the metropolitan but did not strangle the saint.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 


The monks once inquired of Paisius the Great: “Father, speak to us a word of salvation and how, according to God, we should live?” The elder replied to them: “Go and keep the commandments of God and preserve the traditions of the Fathers.” The tradition of the Fathers is the experience of the saints in the spiritual field, the enormous experience of nearly two-thousand years, the experience of many hundreds and thousands of holy men and women. What a very rich depository of wisdom! What kind of an immense mass of proofs of every truth of Holy Scripture! All of that wealth, all of that wisdom, all of those proofs, all of this experience the Protestants have rejected! O madness inexpressible! O, the poverty of beggars!
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


St. Silouan the Athonite

Προσευχή_PRAYER- Моление-Γεώργιος Καρσλίδης_Св. Георгий Карслидис_ St George Karslides_მამა გიორგი ქარსლადისი-00b5eba53b10d26The Saints live in another world, and there through the Holy Spirit they behold the glory of God and the beauty of the Lord’s countenance. But in the same Holy Spirit they see our lives, too, and our deeds. They know our sorrows and hear our ardent prayers. In their lives they learned of the love of God from the Holy Spirit; and he who knows love on earth takes it with him into eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, where love grows and becomes perfect. And if love makes one unable to forget a brother here, how much more do the Saints remember and pray for us!

The holy Saints have attained the Kingdom of Heaven, and there they look upon the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ; but by the Holy Spirit they see, too, the sufferings of men on earth. The Lord gave them such great grace that they embrace the whole world with their love. They see and know how we languish in affliction, how are hearts have withered within us, how despondency has fettered our souls; and they never cease to intercede for us with God.

O Lord, grant me tears to shed for myself,
and for the whole universe,
that the nations may know Thee and live eternally with Thee,
O Lord, vouchsafe us the gift of Thy humble Holy Spirit,
that we may apprehend Thy glory.

ΑΓΙΟΙ ΠΑΝΤΕΣ ΕΙΣΕΡΧΟΜΕΝΟΙ ΣΤΟΝ ΠΑΡΑΔΕΙΣΟ_3_7645675166716613856_o-620x513 - CopyIf the man compels himself with discernment to follow saints’ way of living, he sanctifies himself. Saint Paisios the Athonite

The holy Saints embrace the whole world with their love. They know our sorrows and hear our ardent prayers, and they never cease to intercede for us with God. St. Silouan the Athonite – Anthony of Sourozh

The Saints will be more sanctified and the dirty will become more dirty. Saint Paisios the Athonite

Troparion Synaxis of All Saints — Tone 4

As with fine porphyry and royal purple, / Your church has been adorned with Your martyrs’ blood shed throughout all the world. / She cries to You, O Christ God: / Send down Your bounties on Your people, / Grant peace to Your habitation, and great mercy to our souls!

Apolytikion of Paisius the Great
Fourth Tone

The incarnate Angel, and the boast and summit of monks, the bodiless man, the citizen of Heaven, the great God-bearing Paisius celebrateth with us in divine jubilation, granting grace to all them that extol him with rev’rence. With fervour let us honour this day, off’ring him songs of praise.

Apolytikion of Apostle Jude
First Tone

We know thee as a kinsman of Christ and we laud thee with sacred hymns and songs as a most steadfast Martyr who trampled on error and who courageously kept the Faith. As we celebrate today thy holy remembrance, we receive forgiveness of our sins and transgressions, O Jude, through thy holy prayers.

Stichera. For the Saints
Mode pl. 2. When the saints deposited.

Consumed by the Master’s love, the Martyr Saints disregarded * fires they were thrown into. * And in Christ they burned away pagan insolence * as if dry shrubbery, for they were ignited * as divine and hotly burning coals. * They stopped the mouths of beasts * by the invocations they wisely made. * And even as their heads were cut, * they cut down the enemy’s regiments. * They endured and poured out the fountains of their blood, by which the Church * is irrigated and flourishes * daily in the faith of God.

Glory. Mode pl. 2

Godly choir of Martyrs, you are the foundation of the Church, the perfect accomplishment of the Gospel. By your deeds you have fulfilled the words of the Savior; for in you the gates of Hades, which were opened against the Church, have now been shut. The spilling of your blood dried up the libations poured out to idols. Your slaughter gave birth to the membership of the faithful. You amazed the choirs of bodiless Angels. You were crowned by God, and now you stand near Him. Unceasingly pray to Him on behalf of our souls.

Prosomia of the Saints. Tone 4.

Verse: God is wonderful in his Saints, the God of Israel.
The Martyrs made the earth heaven by the radiance of their virtues, they imitated the death of Christ, they trod the way which brings immortality, they purified the passions of mortals by the surgery of grace, they competed nobly with their whole soul in all the world: let them be praised.

O All-good Holy Spirit of God, do not depart from us either when we want You and when we do not want You. Be with us all the time until our death and save us for life eternal. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Άγιον Πνεύμα_Holy Spirit_Святой Дух_978966_7695943698473106014_nSynaxarion From the Pentecostarion.
On this day, Monday after Pentecost, we celebrate the all-holy, life-giving, and almighty Spirit, God, one of the Trinity, same in honor, essence, and glory with the Father and the Son.

Everything that breathes, glorify the Lord’s Spirit,
through whom gone is the impudence of evil spirits.

“The true aim of our Christian life consists of the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God.
“My joy, I beg you, acquire the Spirit of Peace.”
St. Seraphim of Sarov

About how the love of God is shed abroad in the hearts of men
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us” (Romans 5:5).

Love is joy and love anoints the heart of man with joy. Brethren, love is power and love anoints the heart of man with power. Love is peace and love anoints the heart of man with peace. And from joy, power and peace, courage is born and love anoints the heart of man with courage.

The love of God, as a fragrant oil, is shed abroad in our hearts by no other than the Holy Spirit, the All-gentle and All-powerful Spirit. Completely undeserved by us, the Spirit of God is shed abroad in us: the love of God in our hearts in the Mystery [Sacrament] of Chrismation. However, in time we neglect this love and by sin we alienate ourselves from God and fall into the disease of spiritual paralysis. And the Holy Spirit unwilling to abide in an impure vessel, distances Itself from our heart.

When the Holy Spirit distances Itself from us, then joy, power, peace and courage also departs from us immediately. We become sorrowful, weakened, disturbed and fearful. But the All-good Spirit of God only distances Itself from us but does not abandon us completely. He does not abandon us but He offers to us who are sick, remedies through the ystery of Repentance and the Mystery of Holy Communion.

When we again cleanse ourselves through the Mysteries [Sacraments] of Repentance and Communion then He, the Holy Spirit of God, again abides in us and the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. We fall, we rise, we fall and we rise! When we fall, the Spirit of God stands by us and raises us if we desire to be raised. However, when we are raised, the Spirit of God stands within us all until we, by sin and foolishness, do not desire to fall. Thus, we in this life interchangeably become a fertile field and a wilderness, sons of repentance and prodigal sons, fullness and emptiness, light and darkness.

O All-good Holy Spirit of God, do not depart from us either when we want You and when we do not want You. Be with us all the time until our death and save us for life eternal.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


Αγία Τριάδα_ Holy Trinity_День Святой Троицы_ Святая Троица _986The burning Holy Table and Father John of Gelveri Kapadokya

On another occasion [Elder Ieronymos] told us about a certain priest of Kelveri named John, married and with a family. He was very compunctionate and when he served the Liturgy he wept and sighed and cried like a little child. He would often tarry at the time of the epiclesis when the Precious Gifts are sanctified — five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, and more. The chanters didn’t know what to do in their bewilderment. They would slowly chant “We hymn Thee, we bless Thee…” once, twice, thrice — after that they didn’t know what to chant. Begin to chant the Polyeleos? But that would be out of place. Chant the Communion Hymn? That wouldn’t do either. So one day they said to some of Father John’s disciples, ‘The Teacher [that is, the priest] takes a long time at the epiclesis, and we fall into despair about what to do. We chant ‘We hymn Thee’ over and over, but the blessed one doesn’t finish, we don’t hear the ‘Especially our all-holy, immaculate…,’ and everything’s in confusion out here.” They in turn said to Father John, “Venerable Father, you often take a long time at the epiclesis, and the chanters and the people are waiting outside. The chanters fall into despair and perplexity about what to say. Forgive us, is it not possible for you to finish the prayer, that confusion might be avoided?” At that the blessed one answered them, saying, “How can this be?” “Easily,” they said. “As you are prostrate, get up, seal the Precious Gifts with your right hand with the sign of the Cross, and say ‘And make this bread… and this cup… and the rest of the prayer, and so you finish.” “The prayer I know,” he answered. “It’s even written in the book. But I can’t.” “Why can’t you, our Father? Forgive us, it’s easy! Just say the prayer and seal the Precious Gifts, and then we can finish.”

Άγιον Πνεύμα_Holy Spirit_Святой Дух_aaa2c5dd7230755f26bed969260eeab2“It’s not that easy. For there is a fire round about the Table, and I am not able. I say the prayer up to a certain point, but suddenly I am unable to enter into the fire to seal the Precious Gifts. There is fear and terror then, and I don’t know what to do. I fall down prostrate, I weep, I sigh, I beseech the Father of Lights, my sweet Jesus, the All-holy Spirit. I cry out, ‘Lord and Master of my life! My Fashioner and God! Spare Thy creatures and take away these flames so that I can approach and seal the Precious Gifts.’ I then lift up my eyes and gaze towards the Holy Table. If the flames have ceased, I get up and seal the Gifts. If not, then I pray again and beseech with tears and deep sighs until either the fire ceases, or a way is found that I might be able to enter into the veil of fire without being burned. Sometimes the fire ceases and everything is as it was before. At other times the flames divide to one side and the other, and become like an arch, and thus trembling I enter and dare to stretch out my hand and seal the Precious Gifts.”

Hearing such astonishing things, they didn’t bother Father John any more about the length of the epiclesis.
The Elder Ieronymos of Aegina by Peter Botsis, Pub. Holy Transfiguration Monastery; pages 282–283

I am begging you: shed at least one [little] drop of tears every day. Let there pass for you no day without tears. St. Gregory of Nyssa writes: “A deep sigh returns the grace of God, to have been gone”.


Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Whoever thinks that he can come to know the mysteries of God through external scientific theory, resembles the fool who wants to see Paradise with a telescope.

Those who struggle patristically become empirical theologians through the visitation of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. All those who have an external education, in addition to the internal enlightenment of the soul, may describe the divine mysteries and interpret them correctly, as did many Holy Fathers.

When purity comes to man and simplicity with its fervent faith and devotion arrives as well, then the Holy Trinity takes up His abode within us. With this divine enlightenment one easily finds the keys to divine meanings, so as to interpret the Spirit of God in a very simple and natural way, without causing an intellectual headache.

I wish you could find the heavenly divine spigot and drink and continue to get drunk away from the heavenly wine.

Troparion of Holy Pentecost, Tone 8.

Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit: through them Thou didst draw the world into Thy net. O Lover of Man, Glory to Thee!

Tone II

We have seen the true Light; * we have received the Heavenly Spirit; * we have found the true Faith, * we worship the indivisible Trinity; ** for He hath saved us.

O Gracious Light Phos hilaron
(At Vespers daily)

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

By the coming of Your Holy Spirit, by the intercessions of Your Apostles, O Christ God, have mercy on us. Amen.