Iconography and Hand painted icons

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.

Memorials serve as the best attorney on behalf of the souls of those fallen asleep. I pray we all go to Paradise or on one goes to Hell! May God so protect that not only people, but also not one creature, not even a bird, go to Hell. Saint Paisios of the Holy Mountain

ΠΑΡΑΔΕΙΣΟΣ-Paradise-kingdom of God-Царство Божие (Небесное)-Greek Byzantine Orthodox IconDSCN0770Soul Saturday – The Saturday before the Sunday of Pentecost

Synaxarion From the Pentecostarion.
Our most godly Fathers ordered that on this day we remember all those who have ever reposed with correct faith and with the hope of the resurrection of life eternal.

Communion Hymn. Psalms 64, 101.
Blessed are they whom You have chosen and received, O Lord. Their memorial abides from generation to generation. Alleluia.

When we light a pure candle for the soul of a sleeping person, it is like giving a soft drink to someone who is burning, it is very beneficial. Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

οι ψυχές στο χέρι του Θεού, _Души праведных в руце Божией_Orthodox icon_The souls of the righteous in the hand of God5453-Geronda [Elder], can the indicted souls who await trial pray?
-They are aware of their condition and seek help, but they cannot help themselves. Those who are in Hades desire only one thing from Christ: to live for five minutes in order to repent. We, who live, still have time for repentance, but those unfortunate ones who have fallen asleep cannot improve their condition on their own; they await help from us. This is the reason why we have an obligation to help them with our prayer.

-It is my belief that only about ten percent of the indicted dead awaiting trial are, as the demons do. They don’t seek any help, and they also reject all help. For what can God do for them? It’s like a child who has alienated himself from his father, squanders all of his property, and on top of that, curses him. What can his father do for him? But the other indicted ones, who still have a little philotimo, are aware of their guilt. They repent and are tormented because of their sins. They ask to be helped and are helped through the prayers of the faithful. [Saint Nectarios, in his study, A Treatise on the Immortality of the Soul and on the Sacred Memorials, ed. Basil Regopoulos, Thessaloniki 1973, p. 202, writes as a conclusion to what he developed on the basis of the witness of the Holy Fathers: “On the basis of all the above, it becomes clear that the soul after death is unable to do any solitary deed and be relieved from the indissoluble bonds of Hades. Only the Divine Liturgies, the prayers of family members, of the just, which are offered for them, including charity, become instrumental agents of deliverance and freedom from the bonds of Hades.”] In other words, God provides an opportunity for them, now that they are awaiting trial, to be helped until the Second Coming takes place. And just as in this life when one who’s a friend of the king can intercede and request help for someone awaiting trial, so, too, if one is “a friend” of God, he can intercede with prayer to God, and He can transfer the indicted souls of the dead from one “prison” to another, better one, from one “detention-cell” to another, better one. Or God may transfer them to a “room” or to an “apartment”.

Just as we provide some comfort to the imprisoned with the refreshments and other material goods we bring to them, so are the dead refreshed by the prayers and the charity we execute for their souls. The prayers and the sacred memorial offered by the living for the dead are the final chance that God gives to the dead to be helped until the Final Judgment takes place. After the Judgment, there will no longer be any possibility for help.

God wants to help those who have fallen asleep because He cares about their ultimate salvation; but He does not help because He has a noble spirit. He does not want to give the devil the right to say: “How can you save him, since he did not labor to achieve it?” But when we pray for those who have fallen asleep, we give God the right to intervene. God is moved more by our prayers for the dead than by those for the living.

Προσευχή_PRAYER-Моление-ψυχοσαββατο_10590514_10205299883432716_426883023279451099_n - Copy14_10205299883432716_426883023279451099_nThis is the reason why our Church has the sacred memorials with the kollyva. [Kollyva (κόλλυβα): boiled wheat kernels. The wheat kernels express belief in everlasting life, according to what Jesus said, “Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (St. John 12:24). It is a tradition among Orthodox Christians to bring a tray of boiled wheat kernels to church for the Memorial Service.] Memorials serve as the best attorney on behalf of the souls of those fallen asleep. They even have the power to bring a soul out of hell. At every Divine Liturgy, we should pray with kollyva for those who have fallen asleep. The wheat has a symbolic meaning: “It is sown in corruption; it is raided in incorruption” (1 Cor. 15:42) according to Sacred Scripture. Some people can’t be bothered to boil some wheat and instead bring raisins, cookies or other pastries so that the priest may bless those things. Up on the Holy Mountain, there are some elderly monks who will prepare kollyva for every Divine Liturgy for those who have fallen asleep in the hope of the Resurrection and for the Saint commemorated that day, in order to have his blessing.

I pray we all go to Paradise or on one goes to Hell! Isn’t this the right thing to say? It is a very grave thing, after all that God has done for us humans, to go to Hell and grieve Him. May God so protect that not only people, but also not one creature, not even a bird, go to Hell.
May the Benevolent God grant us a sincere and full repentance, so that death finds us in a good spiritual condition, and may we be established in His Heavenly Kingdom. Amen.
“Ye Sorrow Not, Even As Others Who Have No Hope” (1 Thess. 4:13).

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Господне Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icon_xristoss3“…The death of a child help the parents. They should know that from that moment on they have an ambassador in Paradise. When such parents die, their children will appear with angelic wings at the gates of paradise to receive their soul. This is not a small matter! Again, to the little children who have suffered here from illnesses or from some disability Christ will say, “Come into Paradise and select the best place.” And then the children will say to Him, “It is very beautiful here, beloved Savior, but we want to have our dear mother with us.” And Christ will then listen and in some way save the mother also.

We must understand that the human person in reality does not die. Death is simply a transfer from one life to the other. It is a separation for a short time. This is like, for example, when someone goes abroad for a year–his family will miss him and worry about him because he will be away from them for a year. If he should go away for ten years, they will worry all the more over his absence for ten years. This is how people should look upon death–as having separated them from their beloved family members. Let’s say, for example, that someone dies and his family members are elderly. They can say, “After ten or fifteen years, we will be together again.” If the family members are younger, they can say, “After fifty years, we will be together again.” Naturally, one is pained by the death of a relative, but this must be faced in a spiritual way. What does Saint Paul say? “That you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). How many times would we have seen that relative here on earth? Once a month? Let us consider that in the next life we will see our loved one constantly. Only when the departed did not lead a good life, are we justified in worrying. And if the departed was a difficult and harsh person, then, if indeed we love him and desire to meet in the other life, then we must pray fervently for him. (Source: Family Life by Saint Paisios of Mount Athos. Spiritual Counsels, IV)

οι ψυχές στο χέρι του Αγγελου_Души праведных в руце Божией_Orthodox icon_The souls of the righteous in the hand of Angel40054140113_3470978d7b_zSaint Nikolai Velimirovič

Even the dead sense and know the good deeds that are performed for them. Christians need not have any doubt in this.

A good deed spreads through the heavenly world like an electrical current. An imperial clerk, Magistrian, was sent by the emperor on an important errand. Along the way, Magistrian saw a poor dead man, completely naked. He was moved with pity, removed his shirt, dressed the dead man, and buried him honorably. After a while, Magistrian had an unfortunate accident: he fell from his horse and broke his leg, and lay sick in bed for a long time. On one occasion, several doctors gathered around him to take counsel concerning his illness. The doctors agreed that his leg would have to be amputated. That night Magistrian could not sleep, but grieved and wept. At midnight a man suddenly appeared in his room and asked him: “Why are you weeping?”

When Magistrian explained his condition, the unknown man then rubbed the infected leg with his hand and the leg was healed. “For God’s sake, tell me-who are you?” asked Magistrian. The unknown man replied: “Look at me, and see, is not this your shirt? I am he whom you saw naked and dead, and whom you dressed in this shirt. And behold, for your good deed God has sent me to heal you. Give thanks to God!”
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

οι ψυχές στο χέρι του Θεού_Души праведных в руце Божией_Orthodox icon_The souls of the righteous in the hand of God_ Manasija (Resava) monasery, Serbia, 15th century2345Apolytikion. Mode pl. 4.

O only Creator who out of love for man arrange all things with depth of wisdom, and impart to all what is beneficial, O Lord, grant repose to the souls of Your servants. For they have placed their hope in You our Creator and Fashioner and God.

For they have placed their hope in You our Creator and Fashioner and God.

Both now. Theotokion.
We have you as a fortress and a port and an acceptable intercessor with God, whom you bore, O unwedded Theotokos, the salvation of the faithful.

Aposticha. From Pentecostarion Mode pl. 2. When the saints deposited.

Since incomprehensible is Your compassion towards us, * and abundant is the well of divine benevolence, Lord most merciful, * we entreat on behalf of Your faithful servants * who have died and passed away to You: * let them dwell in the land * of the living, in most beloved and * longed for dwellings, giving them * a possession which is forevermore. * You, O Christ our Savior, * have shed Your holy blood for all mankind, * and thus You ransomed the whole world * for a price that gave us life.

Both now. Theotokion.
Mode pl. 2. When the saints deposited

You became a dwelling place that was for God most befitting; * in your body You held God, * and also gave birth to God, holy Virgin Maid. * He was seen by mankind, * as our Lord and Savior, * in one person and two essences. * Earnestly pray to Him, * your firstborn and only beloved Son, * who after being born kept you * spotless and preserved your virginity. * Ask Him to grant rest to the souls of those who fell asleep in faith, * that they may dwell in the light and pure * splendor and in blessedness.

Evlogetaria for the Dead.
Mode pl. 1.

Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes
The choir of Saints has found the fountain of life and the door of Paradise. May I also find the way through repentance. I am the sheep that is lost: O Savior, call me back and save me.

Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes
I am an image of Your ineffable glory, though I bear the scars of my transgressions. On Your creation, Master, take pity and cleanse me by Your compassion. Grant me the homeland for which I long and once again make me a citizen of Paradise.

Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes
Give rest, O God, to Your servant, and place him (her) in Paradise where the choirs of the Saints and the righteous will shine as the stars of heaven. To Your departed servant give rest, O Lord, and forgive all his (her) offenses.


Among the spirits of the righteous perfected in faith, give rest, O Savior, to the soul(s) of Your servant, keeping it (them) in the blessed life which is from You, O loving One.

In your place of rest, O Lord, where all Your saints repose, give rest also to the soul of Your servant, for You alone are immortal.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
You are our God who descended into Hades and loosened the pains of those who were held captive. Grant rest also, O Savior, to the soul of Your servant.

Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You the only pure and spotless Virgin, who ineffably gave birth to God, intercede for mercy and forgiveness of the soul of your servant(s).

O Master Christ, assign the souls of those who have already reposed to the dwellings of the Righteous, and have mercy on us, as the only Immortal One. Amen.

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

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

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

Apostle Carpus of the Seventy

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

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

Troparion — Tone 3

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

Apolytikion of St Alexander Plagal Tone 1

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

Apolytikion of St Synesius Tone 1

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

Kontakion — Tone 4

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

Kontakion of St Alexander Tone 3

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

Kontakion of St Synesius Plagal Tone 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conceal your spiritual treasures. by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič – An Indian chief’s ‘secret path’ to Orthodoxy

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_56940.bΧριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Христос Воскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!
«Rejoice!» «Peace be unto you!»

Synaxarion From the Menaion.
On May 25 we commemorate the Third Finding of the Precious Head of the holy and glorious Prophet, Forerunner, John the Baptist.
On this day the holy Martyr Celestine died after his heels were pierced with iron spikes.
Our devout Father Olbian reposed in peace.
Our Father among the Saints Dionysius the Confessor, Bishop of Milan.
Our Father among the Saints Zenobius, Bishop of Florence
On this day the Our devout Father Therapont of Cyprus, Hieromartyr (300-305)
On this day the Saint Thekla of Pereyaslavl, nun, (mother of St. Daniel, Abbot of Pereyaslavl-Zalesski +1540) (16th century)
Saint Innocent of Cherson and Taurica (1857)
Commemoration of the Reunion of 3,000,000 Uniates with the Orthodox Church at Vilnius in 1831
The Saints of Volhynia: Yaropolk, Prince of Vladimir; Stephen, Bishop of Vladimir; Macarius of Kanev; Igor, Grand Duke of Chernigov and Kiev; and Juliana, Princess of Olshansk, whose Synaxis we celebrate.
Repose of recluse George of Zadonsk (1836)
Repose of righteous Vladimir Natawe (1927-2000), An Orthodoxy Indian Chief of the Native American Mohawk

Conceal your spiritual treasures
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιωάννης ο Πρόδρομος εύρεσης της τιμίας κεφαλής του _St. John the Baptist Finding of the Precious Head_см. Иоа́нн Предте́ча_3d8fe3b92d97f69d77d7dd4aa758f3fudConceal your spiritual treasures and do not reveal them unnecessarily. Behold, how men conceal and hide their material wealth and how, when forced to reveal how much they have, they always conceal the greater amount and only reveal the lesser amount. Very few are the number of men who want to reveal all that they possess, and fewer still are those who would reveal more than they, in reality, possess. This, the world considers frivolous and mindless. This clearly shows you how you need to conceal your spiritual wealth, that is, your virtues, your good works, your fastings, your vigils, and your prayers. Why do not the wise children of this world reveal their material wealth? For two reasons: So that thieves would not hear of it and not to provoke the envy of evil men. There also exist envious and jealous thieves after spiritual treasure. They are the spirits of envy. As soon as you reveal your spiritual treasure, they will endeavor to belittle it and to squander it. Just as soon as you reveal it without need [let us say, out of vanity, so as to be praised], they have seized it and disparaged it; and you, O rich man of spiritual treasure, will imperceptibly and suddenly become a poor man. Many who were spiritually rich, the saints, made themselves out to be fools before the world so that by appearing foolish, they would conceal their great wisdom and strength within themselves. The Abba Isaiah writes, “Those good works which are performed in secret are more pleasing to God.” St. Nilus of Sinai says, “The covered skin of the body is white, but the uncovered skin in parched and black.” So it is with our concealed and revealed good works.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 


Learn to become invisible… so that God can see you and bless you.
Tito Colliander

Ιωάννης Πρόδρομος_St. John the Forerunner_св.Иоанна Предтечи_Greek Byzantine Orthodox Iconc_234214123It all takes place in the heart, and in silence, deep within us; and this is another serious matter, on which the holy Fathers lay much stress: keep your lips tight shut on your secret! If one opens the door of the steam bath the heat escapes, and the treatment loses its benefit.

Thus say nothing to anyone of your newly conceived purpose. Say nothing of the new life you have begun or of the experiment you are making and experiences you expect to have. All this is a matter between God and you, and only between you two. The only exception might be your father-confessor.

This silence is necessary because all chatter about one’s own concerns nourishes self-preoccupation and self-trust. And these must be stifled first of all! Through stillness one’s trust grows in Him who sees what is hidden; through silence one talks with Him who hears without words. To come to Him is your endeavour, and in Him shall be all your confidence: you are anchored in eternity, and in eternity there are no words.

Hereafter you will consider that everything that happens to you, both great and small, is sent by God to help you in your warfare. He alone knows what is necessary for you and what you need at the moment: adversity and prosperity, temptation and fall. Nothing happens accidentally or in such a way that you cannot learn from it; you must understand this at once, for this is how your trust grows in the Lord whom you have chosen to follow. (taken from The Way of the Ascetics by Tito Colliander)


Ιουβενάλιος της Αλάσκας_St. Juvenal of Alaska_ Ювеналий Аляскинский_крещение алеут204576_originalAn Indian chief’s ‘secret path’ to Orthodoxy
A modern-day story of orthodox «lunacy» in the Indian reservations of Canada.

Saturday night. Very few lights were on.  In the Russian Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Vespers have just started. The shadowy silhouettes of the few faithful who were attending the service became more defined, as the candles were lit, one by one, in the candle stand. The iconostasis of the altar was very imposing; it was something that was carved by experienced craftsmen at the beginning of the century…….
It was my second time at Vespers, years ago… The words of the prayer “mirthful light” in Slavonic gave one a sense of inner peace and relaxation.  Everything seemed to be in prayer at that moment; for the day that passed and the day that was to come. After the madness of the day, this refuge of thankfulness actually calmed the wild beasts of the mind….

In the dim, half-light I could discern a few of the profiles there: an old Russian lady with her grandchild, a tall, skinny, middle-aged man, a young girl around fifteen, a young family with their two children… and suddenly, my attention was caught by a figure near the large window.  Directly below it, I made out a silhouette that was completely different to all the others.  It was a fifty-year old Indian with vivid, characteristic features, and his long hair tied back in a ponytail that reached his waist. My gaze stopped upon him… What a strange figure in here…  I imagined he was just a visitor.

At the end of the service, I couldn’t fight the urge.  I approached him, eager to meet him.
-Yannis, I said to him in English. Welcome..
– Vladimir, he replied.
– I’m Greek. And you? I asked him.
– So am I, he replied.
I was stunned…. That was the last thing I expected to hear!
– Do you speak Greek? I asked.
He paused to think for a moment, then quoted in Greek:
– «In the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with God, and God was the Logos».
Just as he finished saying this phrase, he burst into laughter. I was lost for words…
– I am Indian, he said sharply. But somehow, I also feel Russian and Greek and Serbian and Romanian, because…. I’m Orthodox…..

A glimmer appeared in his eye, as it did in my heart…
This was how Vladimir and I met. His real name was F.N., before becoming Orthodox and being baptized as Vladimir. I so craved to hear his life story – both out of curiosity as well as genuine interest..
Much later, we became friends. We shared many conversations and walks together, especially in his Indian village. He showed me paths and manners totally unknown to us white folks. And always simply and unpretentiously.  With no trace of arrogance. When I was with him, I always had a strong sensation of tuition, and whenever I admitted this to him, he always said that all beautiful things are mutual….

That first period has become unforgettable, when I was swept away by my youthful enthusiasm and kept asking him difficult questions.  He would always calmly reply:
– I don’t know – will you tell me?
Once, when I was fed up with hearing “I don’t know”, I begged him to tell me something, so, he showed some pity and said:
– Well, if you insist, I will tell you, after I ask my friend first.
He sprang up and then lay down on the ground, placing his ear to the earth.
– What are you doing? I asked. 
– I am asking the earth, he said, and before I could recover from my surprise, he added somewhat hesitantly:
– Like Aliosha Karamazov.

I never again insisted on replies. I guess that with him, I was just living the surprise of a sudden lightning bolt that gives birth to gentle rain that nourishes the earth…
It has been some time now, that Vladimir has left us.  His passing away – along with his will and testament – overwhelmed me.  Now that the feeling of his presence – instead of fading into oblivion – appears before me every now and then, I thought I should record on paper all of his incidents, images, memories, words and expressions, in order to sketch a portrait of his presence amongst us… hopefully so that my ear will also perceive… the tumultuous silence of the mother earth of Vladimir – Karamazov to me…

He was born in the Indian reservation of Caughnawaga, just outside Montreal, where he lived all his life, to the day he died.  His village numbers 5.000 Indians today. It was built by the government, next to the river, and houses the greater part of the Indians of that area.  The Indians, as the only true indigenous people of America, along with the Eskimos, enjoy special privileges and treatment, due to the fact that they had ceded vast areas of their “mother earth” -as they call it- to their white brothers.
These privileges – such as not needing a passport yet enjoying state welfare – are sometimes interpreted as an intentional attempt by whites to keep the Indians uneducated – something that is observed extensively. The percentage of alcoholism is very high. The struggle for survival –as a group- is their daily concern, along with the preservation of their traditions, which they are very proud of. They are governed in a unique way, which however may have much to teach “civilized” politics and social structures.

The supreme authority is the Confederation of all the Indian tribes. There is a respect towards all of the Indian tribes. There is a respect towards the chiefs and the elders, and the elderly women of each tribe, from generation to generation.  Their love and respect for each other is the foundation of the Confederation.
In the village Caughnawaga there are basically three Indian tribes. The majority however are Mohawk. The village has existed since about 1600 and comprises the main center of the Mohawk tribe.  The last generations are mostly involved with steel construction and building.

«Our village», Vladimir told me, «along with other Indian reservations was turned basically into a Roman Catholic protectorate in the 18th century. The Catholic missionaries had actually tried in every way to forcefully convert our entire community. Not with love, but with a noose around the neck. They trampled on centuries-old traditions and they used other ones as springboards for their own designs. Myself, to the age of 32, had kept to the trodden path. As my mother used to say – who was an elderly tribal leader of our tribe – “By day a roman catholic for the eyes of the world and by night an Indian, for the eyes of the soul.”  But at that age of 32, I couldn’t tolerate that kind of restriction, that noose that I was wearing, so I revolted in my own way…  I researched our roots, I learnt all of our native tongues, I studied at white men’s universities – which, for an Indian of my generation, was a very unusual thing.  For years, they had me as a traveling lecturer of comparative linguistics. Quite often, I would dishonestly play the clown at their academic games, since to them I was a rare, exotic species of bird, with a different kind of plumage. I used to compare our words with their French or English equivalents; our habits with theirs.  There were times that I felt as though they were observing me like archaeologists observe fossils. To me however, those meetings alone – those cultural meetings – regardless of the response, contained joy and grief together. My revolution was still thundering, because it was muted, like the tread of a rabbit… My mother – the pillar of our community – was to me a source of wisdom and immense pain.  She was my…. Indian Zosimas….”

(He took a deep breath and continued …..)

Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Πρόδρομος_St. John the Baptist_ см. Иоа́нн Предте́чаΠΡΟΔΡΟΜΟΣ 589«My path to the Orthodox Church was a “secret path”, as we say in our tongue. There came a time, that I became caught in her net, and ever since then, I have been treading very discreetly, carrying a very heavy crucifix. It happened to me through linguistics. It was always the subject that impressed me most. By taking linguistics courses, I became impressed when I happened to read the lives of saints Cyril and Methodius, who are known as the Apostles of the Slavs. I was especially intrigued by the Cyrillic alphabet and the pursuant Slavonic tongue. I asked my professor if there was any chance I could listen to Slavonc being spoken. He suggested that I should visit one of the Russian churches. I rang one of them, but I heard only the answering machine. I rang the next day, and a friendly voice informed me that Vespers were held at 7in the evening, and that Sunday Service was held at 10 in the morning. I asked if I could attend. He replied of course I could. I told him I wasn’t Russian, or Orthodox. He responded that the Orthodox Liturgy was not only for the Russians or only for the Orthodox, but for all people. So, I mustered some courage and went on a Saturday evening to listen to spoken Slavonic and to meet the priest, who had spoken so pleasantly. He was a priest-monk from Mavrovouni of Serbia.  His name was father Anthony… He too has passed away now…. Well, anyway, the first Saturday that I attended Orthodox Vespers in the cathedral of saints Peter and Paul, I experienced something unprecedented. Looking at the icons, listening to the melodies, observing the penance bows and the prostrations, the fragrance of the incense wafting in the atmosphere, were all reminiscent of my having discovered the “secret path”…”

«You won’t believe it, but, every now and then, I can discern parallels between the Indian traditions and Orthodox tradition. Somewhere inside me, this discovery fulfilled my Indian ethos and supplemented it. At first, I felt I was floating among the clouds.  During my first liturgy, I asked if I could stay on, after the benedictions for the catechumens… They said: you may.  So I sat down, like an Indian dog!  Ever since then, I began to go more frequently.  At first, on Sundays only, then on Saturdays, and later on, during weekdays, whenever there were important feasts. It wasn’t much later, that I noticed confession was taking place in the evening, after Vespers. It was the period of Lent. At the end, they all asked for forgiveness from the priest. He placed his stole over their head and blessed them with the sign of the cross.  I stood in line, but they said:

-You can’t, you’re not Orthodox.  This is a holy Sacrament.  
– But our entire life is a sacrament, I said.
I pondered again, and asked them:
– So, how can I become Orthodox?
– Talk it over with the priest, they suggested.  
Not much time had passed by, when I decided I wanted to become Orthodox. On the day that it was to take place, there was a snowstorm that didn’t allow me to leave the village. It was postponed, for the feast of the Induction of the Theotokos. And that’s how it finally happened…. I was given the name Vladimir.
Much later, when reminiscing over my induction into the Orthodox Church, I drew out of my memories the imposing figure of a Serb priest, who had visited our village when I was young.  His appearance and his manner had left a deep impression inside me.   I remember my mother having commented that:
Now there’s someone who isn’t making propaganda with his truth…”.

Quite some time had passed, when I decided to visit him again.  This time, I went with two of my friends and a little car, equipped with tape recorders and microphones, and we departed one sunny morning for his village, Caughnawaga.  He had suggested that we meet at the Indians’ radio station since he had been the radio commentator for several years, and had promised us walks and conversations in their territory.
We did find him at the radio station in the village, with headphones over his ears, reading the morning prayer in each and every Indian tongue. Then in French and English. Naturally his audience did not…detect him making the orthodox sign of the cross.

We waited respectfully until he had finished…. He removed the headphones and approached us… He was more talkative than usual, and somewhat cheerier. 
– What would you like me to tell you? He asked warm-heartedly. And what could you ever want to learn from me?
– Tell us whatever you want, Gregory replied. Say, for instance, something about your people, your celebrations, your mission…. 
– You’re going too fast, he interrupted. One thing at a time.
– Well, my people…

It took him some time to formulate his reply.  He was seated in an armchair, but found it was not comfortable for him… he abandoned it and sat down on the porch with us… he preferred to be on the same level with us…
 «My people are simple, just like their food. The chief of the tribe is a man, but he is elected by the council of woman-elders of the tribe.  All of our group rituals take place in the “long house”. This has two doors. The men enter through the eastern door and the women from the western one. It is a simple edifice, just like  most of our rituals are. In our marriages, an integral part of the ritual is the blessing of the elders. During our funerals, for both men and women, when they are carried into the long house they enter through their separate doors, but the head of the deceased always faces the east. After nine days, we prepare the funeral meal, but without salt…”

He suddenly jumped up, because the record he had selected to be played over the radio had stuck.  He put on another record, made an announcement, and came back to us…
«What were we talking about?  Ah, yes! The rituals. I will show you the long house, before it gets too dark… Now, about our celebrations. The entire year is a celebration (he burst out laughing). We have the mid-winter festival (four days long); we have the snow festival, the first bloom festival, the first crop – which is the berry; the festival of plenteous harvest (thanksgiving), the threshing festival (4 days), the festival of surplus, of rain and of sowing, and the cycle starts all over again.. Something like an ecclesiastic calendar of our holy earth…”

He took another deep breath and continued:
«We don’t say much, nor do we eat much; We don’t get angry often, we love what was given to us and we continuously give thanks for the bounteous gifts…»
– Do you happen to have any tobacco? He asked me.
– No, I said.
– You know, we chew our tobacco – in other words, we eat it. We don’t smoke it.  When you smoke it, it turns into air, whereas if you eat it, it becomes one with you, and you bless the earth that gave it to you… Now, what else did you ask me?  Ah, yes!  About my mission…..
«What can I say?  My people got tired of the missionaries. They have been coming here for years, mostly to take rather than to give.. They never showed any interest in what we have. They just brought on the steamroller, they flattened everything, and then they embarked on their…. evangelical sowing.
But that Serb was different. He actually gave something, with his presence…he took nothing from us, except a piece of our heart. That was what I loved, when I later read about saint Herman of Alaska and the Orthodox missionaries amongst the Eskimos… it is impossible for the mind not to make comparisons…as hard as it may try…
I still remember that Jesuit, who told me to my face that he was instructed to teach spirituality.  When he left our home, my mother shook her head in disapproval, saying: “we, my child are a spiritual people, while he, even if his Christ came to him, he would sit him down to preach at Him…”.
– Are there any other orthodox amongst the Indians? Gregory asked again.
– I have met an Orthodox Eskimo in Plattsburg and one more – a very tall Mis Mac. There may be others, who I’m not aware of.  But in the Indian hospital we do have a couple of Serb doctors, the Moscovitches. Real gems of people; they have a special love for our world, and they offer all their assistance.”

Lesley looked him directly in the eyes.
– Tell us if you want about that story with the Indian masks*. It was in all the newspapers and they all mentioned your name.  What happened exactly ?
Vladimir sat down, cross-legged, and after taking a few minutes to think, replied:
«To us, those masks are sacred.  We always keep them in the dark, and we protect them with silk material. They represent the…holy personage that we are in search of. We find it in silence, in darkness, where we also find the light of our soul.  Our soul is never displayed in exhibitions, or in artificial lighting… Those who organized the exhibition have lost every sense of what is sacred, and that is why they strive to “gently” remove it from our souls also…. We love the earth, because it knows how to keep silent and be fruitful. We have learnt to humbly love it and to honor it.. It is something like Orthodoxy’s Holy Mother….since you like parallels.  But, I have said too much… Let’s get up now, and I will show you my village…”

We got into the little car, and I sat in the driver’s seat.  Vladimir was the co-driver. He began to show us all the landmarks:
«Here in the center of the village you can see the catholic church.  It is dedicated to saint Kateri Tekekwitha, an Indian woman whom the priest proclaimed a saint. We keep her bones in this church, which perform miracles. This is a pilgrimage for the laity. Her life is as beautiful as a fairytale… To me, she was a fool in Christ… She was a grace-filled fool.. She would roll over in the snow, to purify her heart… My fellow villagers –who became Catholics- are not particularly fond of catholic propaganda, but they do show reverence to their saint; it was their pressure on the Vatican that brought on her beatification… Next to the church, there is a small museum. In there, you will find a map of the confederation, that describes in detail all of the Indian tribes, the symbols, the numbers, the places they originated from, their historical course, their languages…. Everything has become a part of the….. museum… Now turn right, here…. This is our Cultural Center. Above it, is the radio station where we met…. That is where I broadcast from… Now, during the Triodion, and afterwards, during Lent, I play a lot of western spiritual music and little by little, I include some Orthodox innuendos, but only just enough as to not be provocative. Indian spiritual music is not permitted over the radio. It is only for the “long house”.  The cultural center is financially supported by the white government. The powers outside, of the “civilized” world, want to help us, but only on paper; in actual fact, they want to drown us, to humiliate us, to exhaust us – not so much us, as our souls and whatever we carry. They want to turn us into masks for museums, clowns at parties, research for archaeologists… They haven’t taken a whiff of, nor do they suspect what kind of….tobacco we prefer.”

He burst into laughter.  I nearly lost control of the steering wheel…I continued to drive on, following his instructions – left- right – straight ahead etc….Until, at a bend in the road, we saw a modern but very unusually shaped structure..
«This is our school, Grade School and High School. It has a good program, I like it. It is truly Indian. Apart from the classic subjects of “white” education, we have many other lessons that are most probably unfamiliar to the whites. We don’t call them “customs” or “culture”, but “Indian ways”, “Indian paths” (the sounds of the earth), Indian dances, Indian songs and cries (like an ancient drama), Indian law, and other things. The grounds surrounding the school are sacred.  We also have a “dark room”, but not for photographs… it is for the making of the….mask inside us”

– Now go straight ahead, eastward.  Continue, until you find the highway.  Two-three kilometers from there…
«This here is our Hospital. It is a new building and is a new idea for us. A beneficial one, I hope. It was built in 1985. Before that, we had our own medicine men, or we resorted to the white man’s hospitals.  But.. they were difficult..  Most of their staff was unaccustomed to our way; it was difficult for them to look after our old folk. They have to be in our shoes, in order to understand…  Many try. Besides, you can tell apart those who truly love and who can be discerned from the usual professionals….”

Vladimir N. was the chief of his tribe; he was their spiritual leader. It was he who recited at their funerals and their weddings – he was something like a priest for them.  In the evening, he would sit cross-legged in the “long house”, listening to his people’s problems and solving them with the advice he offered. He had a judge’s role, which was one of their most powerful traditions. He was a poet and a translator, and also a philosopher.  He knew their problems better than anyone else; he also knew the strict laws that governed their tribes. Those who denied their ancestral principles and became Christians were allowed to remain in the village, but were not given any office. They would have to leave the council of the wise, the elders; they would “lose their destiny” as they described it … in their own special kind of way, they would be disowned.  All of this may not be of much significance for an ordinary Indian, but for a chief……

No-one in the village ever found out –until the day he died- that their chief was an Orthodox Christian. And Vladimir –who was F. to them- lived and worked with them, for them, with the ever-present fear that they might find out. He had to be perpetually moderate, careful, flexible, otherwise his image would have been smashed inside them. He was in charge of the radio station for years, and he also worked at their cultural Center. He was considered an authority on subjects of tradition, and was unimaginably touched, whenever he found “parallels” –as he called them-  in Orthodox tradition. He shared many of his experiences with us, because he couldn’t share them with his own people. What a heavy crucifix to bear….

Whenever I would see him coming out of the inner sanctum of the little orthodox church of the Sign of the Theotokos –which held services in English and French- dressed as an altar-boy and holding the candle in front of priests and bishops, I couldn’t help wondering what kind of heart that old Indian wolf had inside him, who persistently said “God knows”.  And he would forever be prostrating himself on the ground, so that God would give him enlightenment to govern his people through tempests and ordeals, and to give him the strength to hold up the heavy load that was given to him, right to the end.
The years passed.  Every friend that visited us in Montreal had to make the imperative trip to the Indian village and to meet Vladimir. And many of them told me that they had recorded their own experiences there.

One morning, I received a phone call in Montreal, telling me that Vladimir had passed away in his village. The question that arose in my mind was: who was going to bury him, what was to become of him?  He had however left a specific, written instruction for all the rituals to be done in the Indian tradition in the “long house” and for an Orthodox priest to read benedictions over him. Naturally, the Indians had no idea what he meant by “an Orthodox priest”, but he had left a few telephone numbers too.
They did actually phone, and an Orthodox priest went and recited the funeral service before they carried Vladimir into the long house.
Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to attend the ritual in the long house, but a mutual friend who attended the funeral conveyed the details to me. 

Two days after the funeral, that same friend, Michael, brought me the news, together with a package. He told me that he had attended the entire ritual. It was truly impressive.  When they go to the long house, the Indians put on the outfits that befit their rank in the village. The ritual –which was of course in their own languages- had a particular form, much like the old, Byzantine type. At the end, the tribal chief’s testament was read out aloud, before all the tribe.   In his will and testament, he mentioned where he left each of his belongings. Vladimir was 75 years old at the most. He had children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He left something to every single member of his family. At one point, the Indian who was reading the will found some difficulty in reading a name – a non-Indian name- and, after grimacing a bit, he put on his glasses and pronounced the name, in a distorted kind of way: “Ya-nis Ha-ji-ni-ko-la-ou”. My friend Michael raised his hand and they gave him the package, which he in turn gave to me.

When I opened the package, I saw what was inside: it was a book, “The Divine Liturgy”, in Greek and in English, which I had given to him many years ago. Inside, on the first page, it said: “To Yanni”, and below that, in Greek: “Until we meet again – Vladimir N.”.  I took this to be a very kind gesture on his behalf; he had in fact inserted those words before his final departure; perhaps because he had sensed that his death was near.  He had written the words “Until we meet again” in Greek.  Of course, the surprise did not end there; there was more to come. When I leafed through the book, I was astounded, my mouth gaping… He had translated the entire text of the liturgy into the Mohawk tongue, above the lines of the English text!  Of course I can’t read Mohawk, but I am holding on to the book as a memento – this orthodox liturgy by Vladimir in Indian – the entire Liturgy of Saint John the Chrysostom… If God bestows me the honor, I may publish it one day…

Contemporary stories like this one may sound like a fairytale, because our life seems equally fleeting. And yet, these stories are filled with a never-setting light; they are modern-day testimonies of that blessed “lunacy” – that yeast, which leavens all of the dough, from the tiny church atop an Aegean islet, to the distant Indian reservations of Canada.

Until we meet again, Vladimir…. Karamazov….

[Reproduced from the magazine “Synaxis” and the article by John (Yanni) Hadjinikolaou, titled “The passing of an Indian”]
* For the reader’s information, I will briefly report the events.  The Canadian government decided to open a new museum in Western Canada, in the city of Calgary, where it would put on display amongst other exhibits a number of Indian masks, which it had borrowed in an ‘unorthodox’ manner from a long house, as folklore artifacts… This provoked the indignation of the Indians.

Troparion, tone 4

As a divine treasure hidden in the ground Was your head revealed to us by Christ, O prophet and forerunner. We have gathered in commemoration of this finding With inspired hymns of praise to the Savior, Who saves us from corruption through your prayers!

Troparion Tone 4

Christ has revealed thy head to us, O Prophet and Forerunner/ as a divine treasure hidden in the earth./ We come with hymns to honour its discovery,/ and praise the Saviour Who saves us from corruption,/ through thy intercessions.

Troparion of the saint, in Tone IV—

Like a divine treasure hidden in the earth hath Christ revealed thy head to us, O prophet and forerunner; wherefore, assembling for the feast of its discovery, let us all chant divinely sounding hymns to the Savior Who saveth us from corruption by his supplications.

Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “O all-glorious ­wonder…”

Pouring forth abundant grace, O blessed forerunner, thy sacred head was shown to the divinely wise priest all unaware; and he, hastening with faith and grace, manifestly accomplished its arrival, sanctified with the emperor and the divinely wise people, who fervently maintain the Orthodox Faith.

We celebrate the third revelation of thy precious head, which, when it was severed, O glorious one, the Trinity crowned because of thy godly zeal. The ranks of the angels, the company of martyrs, the divine apostles and all the prophets rejoice in its discovery. With them be thou ever mindful of us, O forerunner of the Lord!

On the Praises, in Tone V: Spec. Mel.: “Rejoice…”

The head of the Forerunner, which once was concealed in an earthen vessel, hath appeared, manifestly yielded up from the bosom of the earth and pouring forth streams of healing; for in the waters did he wash the head of Him that even now covereth the chambers of the firmament with waters and raineth down divine remission upon men. Wherefore, let us bless it as truly most glorious, and in its discovery let us joyously keep festival, entreating Christ to grant our souls great mercy.

The head which proclaimed the Lamb of God Who hath appeared in the flesh, which with divine commands hath declared to all the ways of saving repentance, which of old denounced the transgression of Herod and was therefore severed from its body and endured concealment for a time, hath shone forth upon us like a radiant sun, crying out: Repent ye, and in compunction of soul now submit to Christ Who granteth the world great mercy!

If the world does not a saint produce, the world, a fig tree is without fruit and worth, a dead barren tree! Glory to wonderful Simeon, of the Wonderful Mountain. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_anastasis1Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Христос Воскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!
«Rejoice!» «Peace be unto you!»

Synaxarion From the Menaion.
On May 24 we commemorate our devout Father Symeon Stylites the Younger of Wonderful Mountain (c.592).
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyrs Meletios the Commander and those with him: John, Stephen, Serapion the Egyptian, Callinicus the Magus, and twelve Counts and Tribunes: Faustus, Festus, Marcellus, Theodore, Meletius, Sergius, Marcellinus, Felix, Photinus, Theodoriscus, Mercurius, and Didymus; three women: Marciana, Palladia, and Susanna; two infants: Kyriacus and Christian; and another 11,208 who witnessed with them. The service in their honor is celebrated in the Temple of the holy Martyr Plato, found in the vestibule called Domninus, in Constantinople.
On this day we also commemorate the Saint Kyriakos of Evrychou, in Cyprus, the Wonderworker
Venerable Nikita Stylites, Wonderworker of Pereyaslavl-Zalesski (1186)
Saint Gregory of Novgorod, Archbishop (1193)
Translation of the relics (c.1067) of St. George of the Holy Mountain and Georgia (1065)
Commemoration of Inauguration of the church of Virgin Mary in Karrais of Syria

Hymn of Praise
Saint Simeon the Stylites
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

%ce%b1%ce%bb%cf%8d%cf%80%ce%b9%ce%bf%cf%82-%ce%bf-%ce%ba%ce%b9%ce%bf%ce%bd%ce%af%cf%84%ce%b7%cf%82-saint-alypius-the-stylite-%d1%81%d0%b2-%d0%b0%d0%bb%d0%b8%d0%bf%d0%b8%d0%b9-%d1%81%d1%82%d0%be%d0%bbGlory to wonderful Simeon of the Wonderful Mountain,
Of the Most-high Creator, he was the praise.
Prayer, fasting and all night vigils
A saint he became, with powerful gifts,
With powerful gifts, God’s grace.

With Grace, his labor the Lord rewarded,
In works and in deeds, powerful Grace,
Which cures diseases and demons destroys,
Which, according to the truth, every deed he judges,
And, the mysteries of heaven and men he recognizes.
From his childhood years, until his older days
A beautiful and fragrant sacrifice, he was.
His heart, the altar of the Living God was,
For the Spirit All-holy, a glowing sanctuary.
To the greatest spheres, the mind powerfully uplifted,
Where all the objects of faith, with the eyes are seen.
And, toward good his will was extended,
Mightily strengthened in God’s law.
What are all riches, and all kingdoms; What are they?
As a quick spark, they glow and extinguish!
Compared to a holy man – even the whole world, what is it?
The world changes, perishes and the saint remains.

If it (the world) does not a saint produce, the world, a fig tree is
Without fruit and worth, a dead barren tree!
Glory to wonderful Simeon, of the Wonderful Mountain,
Of creation and the Creator, he was the praise.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


The Apostle Paul said: “To the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15). Even the food of man, by itself, cannot be called impure although some food in man can provoke impure thoughts and desires in man. Concerning this, the wonderful St. Simeon the Stylite reflects on a conversation with his Elder John. John the Elder said: “Man does not soil food and drink for the Lord says in Scripture: `Even as the green herb have I given you all things’ ” (Genesis 9:3). To that Blessed Simeon responded: “If man then does not soil food, nevertheless it gives birth to impure thoughts and darkens the mind and it gives root to and fattens passions and transforms the spiritual man into the physical, nailing his thoughts to earthly desires.” Is not the water which falls from the clouds clean? But when too much rain falls, the crops decay from it. Likewise heavy foods provoke the decay of the spiritual and moral being of man.


ΔΑΝΙΗΛ ΣΥΜΕΩΝ Sf-Cuv-Stalpnici-Daniel-si-Simeon-Mogosoaia-2012-893x1024This wonderful saint Simeon was born in Antioch in the year 522 A.D. during the reign of Emperor Justin the Elder. His father perished in an earthquake and he was left alone with his mother Martha. At age six, he withdrew to the desert to a spiritual father John under whose guidance he submitted himself to a life of austere fasting and prayerful asceticism to the astonishment of all who saw him. Enduring horrible demonic temptations, he received great comfort and grace from the Lord and His angels. The Lord Christ appeared to him under the guise of a handsome youth. After this vision, a great love for Christ burned in Simeon’s heart. He spent many years on a “pillar” praying to God and chanting psalms. Under God’s guidance, he withdrew to a mountain named “Wonderful” by the Lord Himself. Because of the name of this mountain, Simeon was surnamed the “Man of the Wonderful Mountain.”

Because of his love for God, he was endowed with the rare gift of grace, by which he healed every infirmity, tamed wild beasts, discerned into distant parts of the world and the hearts of men. He left his body and gazed at the heavens and conversed with angels, frightened and cast out demons, prophesied, at times lived without sleep for thirty days and even longer without food and received nourishment from the hands of angels. The words of the Lord were completely fulfilled in him: “He that believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do” (St. John 14:12). In the year of our Lord 596 A.D. and in the seventy-fifth year of his life, St. Simeon presented himself to the Lord that he, together with the angels, may satisfy himself gazing upon the face of God.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


Saint Martha (July 4), mother of Saint Simeon of Wonderful Mountain was a native of Antioch. From her youth Saint Martha prepared herself for a life of virginity and longed for monasticism, but her parents insisted that she marry John. After ardent prayer in a church dedicated to Saint John the Forerunner, the future nun was directed in a vision to submit to the will of her parents and enter into marriage.
Saint John the Forerunner revealed to Martha that she would have a son who would serve God. When the infant was born, he was named Simeon and baptized at two years of age.

When Simeon was six years old, an earthquake occurred in the city of Antioch, in which his father perished. Simeon was in church at the time of the earthquake. Leaving the church, he became lost and spent seven days sheltered by a pious woman. Saint John the Baptist again appeared to Saint Martha, and indicated where to find the lost boy. The saint’s mother found her lost son, and moved to the outskirts of Antioch after the earthquake. She particularly venerated Saint John the Forerunner, who was for her a protector, frequently appearing to her in visions. Saint Martha was reserved, and no one heard from her a frivolous, false or vain word, no one saw her angry, nor fighting with anyone nor bitter. She was a model of chaste and pious life and by her example she guided many on the pathway to salvation…

”She had the regular habit of rising at midnight for prayer. With great charity, she helped the needy and misfortunate, visited the poor, the orphaned and attended the sick. A year before her death she saw many angels with candles in their hands and, from them, learned the time of her death. Learning of this, Martha with even greater zeal dedicated herself to prayer and good works. She died peacefully in the year 551 A.D. and was buried in the proximity of her son, Simeon the Stylite. After her death, she appeared many times for the purpose of instructing mankind and for the sake of healing the sick. Recorded as her most significant appearance was the one to the abbot of Simeon’s monastery. Following the burial of St. Martha, the abbot placed a votive candle on her grave with the understanding that it should never be extinguished. Then the abbot became ill and the saintly Martha appeared to him and said: “Why do you not burn a votive candle on my grave? Know that I am not in need of the light from your candle since I have been made worthy before God, the Eternal Heavenly Light, but it is needed for you. So when you burn a light on my grave, you entreat me to pray to the Lord for you.” It is obvious from this that the goal of our veneration for the saints is to entreat them as those worthier than us to pray to God for us and for our salvation.”
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Troparion, in Tone I:

A desert dweller, an angel in the flesh and a wonder-worker * wast thou revealed to be, O our God-bearing father Symeon. * Receiving heavenly gifts through fasting, vigils and prayers, * thou healest the infirm and the souls of those who with faith have recourse unto thee. * Glory to Him Who hath given thee strength! * Glory to Him Who hath crowned thee! ** Glory to Him Who through thee worketh healings for all!

Apolytikion of Symeon the Stylite
First Tone

Thou becamest a pillar of patience and didst emulate the Forefathers, O righteous one: Job in his sufferings, Joseph in temptations, and the life of the bodiless while in the body, O Symeon, our righteous Father, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Troparion of St Nicetas the Stylite Tone 4

O Nicetas, thou didst despise the lusts of youth with true discernment./ In thy courageous life thou didst defeat the enemy and wast pleasing to God in thy prudence./ Thou hast received the gift of wonderworking/ and dost cast out demons and healest infirmities./ Entreat Christ our God to save our souls.

Troparion — 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 venerable Martha, rejoices with the angels.

Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “O most glorious wonder …”:

Taking wing with divine desire, * while yet bearing the flesh * and clad in dust, * thou didst manifestly become a dweller with the angels, * having forsaken earthly things * and ascended to the heavenly, O father, * ever mounting to God * on thy lofty pillar, ** and shining forth in thine ascents. (Twice)

Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.

O my brethren, if only we too would be made worthy by faith, so that the Lord Jesus would enter our hearts, and that we would taste of His ineffable love! O Lord Jesus Christ, our Life, our Wisdom and our Love, cleanse us and enter into us. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Μεσοπεντηκοστή_ Σοφία- καί – Λόγος- του- Θεού_Mid-Pentecost_ Преполовение _13999746942001451251Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
ХристосВоскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!
«Rejoice!» «Peace be unto you!»

On May 18 we commemorate the holy Martyrs Peter of Lampsacus, Dionysius, Christina the Virgin, Andrew, Paul, Benedimus, Paulinus, and Heraclius of Athens (c. 249 – 251).
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyrs Theodotus and Tecusa, and the holy seven virgins of Ancyra: Alexandria, Claudia, Phaeina, Euphrasia, Matrona, Julia, and Theodota (304).
On this day we also commemorate the Hosios Stephanos the Chorabyte of Sinai (7th century)
Hieromartyr Felix, Bishop of Spoleto, in Umbria (304)
Martyr Dioscorus, in Cynopolis of Egypt (305)
Hieromartyr Potamon (Palæmon), Bishop of Heraclea in Egypt, and Confessor (340)
Martyr Galactia
Martyr Euphrasia of Nicaea (c. 303)
Martyr Julian
The Holy clergy and lay martyrs massacred under Emperor Valens (364-378)
Martyrs David and Tarechan, of Georgia (693)
Stephen the New Patriarch of Constantinople (893)
Saint Anastaso (Anastasia) of Leukadion (or Laucation), near the Bithinian sea-shore
Saint Martinian of Areovinthus (Areobindus, Areovinchus), monk of the church of the Theotokos of the Areovinthus quarter, Constantinople
Saint Macarius (Glukharev) of the Altai (1847)
Repose of Blessed Philip, founder of the Gethsemane Caves Skete of St. Sergius Lavra (1869)

Synaxarion From the Pentecostarion
On Wednesday of the fourth week after Pascha of the Paralytic, we celebrate the feast of Mid-Pentecost.

Verse: Standing in the midst of the teachers, Christ the Messiah teacheth at Mid-feast.
Verse: By Thy boundless mercy, O Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen

Hymn of Praise
Christ is wisdom
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Μεσοπεντηκοστή_ Σοφία- καί – Λόγος- του- Θεού_Mid-Pentecost_ Преполовение _03…. Wisdom shown,
And the truth of God enlightened men.
Wisdom is not bitter, the people recognized;
But, to everyone who drinks of it to the bottom, it is sweet,
To everyone who suffered for it, it is dear.
To whomever, in the world, all hope is first extinguished,
Who walks throughout the world as over an old cemetery,
Who thinks about men as about weak slavery,
Who thinks about five earthly dry lands [continents] as about five threshing floors,
Who thinks about five puddles, as about five oceans –
To him, Christ is the measure by which eternity is measured’
Adhere to that measure, confirmed in faith;
Whoever recognizes this measure [Christ] will never abandon it,
For the mysteries of the world, he will find no other;
Every other measure, inspite of exertion
Does not reach to the Alpha nor the Omega,
But is as deceiving as the moon which crawls over the water.
But appears that it reaches to the bottom of the water.
Christ surpasses both ends of the world,
Where the drama ends and where it began.
Of all the mysteries, the greatest mystery is He.
From His Nativity to His Crucifixion on the Cross,
From His Crucifixion on the Cross to His Resurrection –
He is the true measure of all God’s creation.
By Him, measuring sufferings in the midst of worldly rumbling
The saints of God suffered — without pain.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


Μεσοπεντηκοστή_ Σοφία- καί – Λόγος- του- Θεού_Mid-Pentecost_ Преполовение _cf83cebfcf86ceb9ceb1-cebfcf81cf86ceb1cebdcebfcf830_-dbbf3_24693c9c_xxxlHomily:
on love that surpasses knowledge
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

… to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge (Ephesians 3:19).

The love that surpasses knowledge, that exceeds our understanding, is the love of Christ. No one can have even an inkling of the quality or the greatness of this love until Christ enters into him. Can anyone who has never tasted honey have any idea of its taste? Only when Christ enters into the heart of man by faith, does man know the inexpressible taste of the love of Christ-its sweet and intoxicating fragrance and incomparable comprehensiveness.

Just as a man who has Christ in his heart touches the breadth, length, depth and height of the knowledge of divine wisdom, so this man with Christ in his heart also touches the limitless open seas of the divine love of Christ.

O my brethren, how feeble are words when one needs to speak of the love of Christ-words are never weaker than in this situation. Indeed, what can one say before such astounding proofs of His love? He created us out of love, He was incarnate out of love, and out of love He accepted mockery and death for our sake. He opened the heavens for us out of love, and He revealed to us the immortal glory prepared for us! Even all this is only a part of the inexhaustible wealth, glory, beauty and life-creating sustenance that is the love of Christ. Oh, if only we too would be made worthy by faith, so that the Lord Jesus would enter our hearts, and that we would taste of His ineffable love!

O Lord Jesus Christ, our Life, our Wisdom and our Love, cleanse us and enter into us.

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

O my brethren, let us open the doors of our souls to the Wisdom of God Incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ!
O Lord Jesus, Wisdom and Power of God, open our souls and abide in them.


Saint Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite

All things around us are droplets of the love of God

Άγ. Πορφύριος Καυσοκαλυβίτης_ Порфирий (Баирактарис )Кавсокаливит_ St Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) the KapsokalyviteπολυχρονThe beauties of nature are the little loves that lead us to the great Love that is Christ
Take delight in all things that surround us. All things teach us and lead us to God. All things around us are droplets of the love of God — both things animate and inanimate, the plants and the animals, the birds and the mountains, the sea and the sunset and the starry sky. They are little loves through which we attain to the great Love that is Christ. Flowers, for example, have their own grace: they teach us with their fragrance and with their magnificence. They speak to us of the love of God. They scatter their fragrance and their beauty on sinners and on the righteous.

For a person to become a Christian he must have a poetic soul. He must become a poet. Poetic hearts embrace love and sense it deeply.

Make the most of beautiful moments. Beautiful moments predispose the soul to prayer; they make it refined, noble and poetic. Wake up in the morning to see the sun rising from out of the sea as a king robed in regal purple. When a lovely landscape, a picturesque chapel, or something beautiful inspires you, don’t leave things at that, but go beyond this to give glory for all beautiful things so that you experience Him who alone is comely in beauty. All things are holy — the sea, swimming and eating. Take delight in them all. All things enrich us, all lead us to the great Love, all lead us to Christ.


St. Nicholai Velimirovich

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (Jn. 7:38).

Μεσοπεντηκοστή_ Σοφία- καί – Λόγος- του- Θεού_Mid-Pentecost_ Преполовение _Mesopentikosti01…Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Living water here means the Holy Spirit, as the Evangelist himself explains: He spake here of the Spirit. Thus, the Holy Spirit comes to abide in the one who believes in the Son of God, and spiritual, life-bearing rivers shall flow from his belly. But why from his belly? Because the body of a saint in this life is the habitation of the Holy Spirit, as the apostle says: What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Cor. 6:19). This is what the Apostle Paul said to the faithful, upon whom the Holy Spirit had already descended through their faith in the Son of God. In a narrower sense, the belly is understood to be the human heart, as the concentration of life both physical and spiritual. The same Apostle Paul says: God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts (Gal. 4:6).Thus, from the heart as from the main lamp of the Holy Spirit pour spiritual, life-bearing streams throughout the entire person, both bodily and spiritually. The consequence of this will be that the body of a person with faith will become an instrument of the human spirit, and the human spirit will become an instrument of the Holy Spirit. The whole person will be purified, illumined, confirmed, and made deathless by the streams of God the Spirit, so that all of his thoughts, all his love, and all his activities will be aimed at eternal life. The streams of his life will pour into eternity, and the streams of eternity will pour into his life.


Venerable Stephen the Chorabyte of Sinai
On mourning which causes joy. Step 7
by St. John Climacus

Σιναΐτες Άγιοι_All Saints of Mount Sinai_Святые отцы Синайской горы_σιναιτεσ sinaxi_sinaiton_pateron50. There lived here a certain Stephen who had embraced an eremitic and solitary life, and had spent many years in the monastic training. His soul was especially adorned with tears and fasting, and was bedecked with other good achievements. He had a cell on the slope of this holy mountain where the holy prophet and seer Elijah once lived.

But later this famous man resolved upon a more effective, austere and stricter repentance, and went to a place of hermits called Siddim. There he spent several years in a life of great austerity. This place was bereft of every comfort, and was almost untrodden by the foot of man, being about seventy miles from the fort.1 Towards the end of his life the elder returned to his cell on the holy mountain where he had two extremely pious disciples from Palestine who took care of the elder’s cell.

Having passed a few days there he fell into the illness from which he died. On the day before his death, he went into ecstasy of mind and with open eyes he looked to the right and left of his bed and, as if he were being called to account by someone, in the hearing of all the bystanders he said: ‘Yes indeed, that is true; but that is why I fasted for so many years.’ And then again: ‘Yes, it is quite true; but I wept and served the brethren.’ And again: ‘No, you are slandering me.’ And sometimes he would say: ‘Yes, it is true. Yes, I do not know what to say to this. But in God there is mercy.’

And it was truly an awful and horrible sight—this in visible and merciless inquisition. And what was most terrible, he was accused of what he had not done. How amazing! Of several of his sins the hesychast and hermit said: ‘I do not know what to say to this,’ although he had been a monk for nearly forty years and had the gift of tears. Alas, alas! Where was then the voice of Ezekiel to say to the tormentor: ‘As I find you, I will judge you, says God.’2 Truly he could not say anything of the sort. Why? Glory to Him who alone knows! And some, as before the Lord, told me that he even fed a leopard from his hand3 in the desert. And while being thus called to account he was parted from his body, leaving us in uncertainty as to his judgment, or end, or sentence, or how the trial ended.
This is the seventh step. May he who has been found worthy of it help me too; for he himself has already been helped, since through this seventh step he has washed away the stains of this world.
1 See above, p. 37, note 143.
2 Cf. Ezekiel xxxiii, 13—20. This ‘unwritten saying’ of Christ is recorded by St. Justin (Dial. 47).
3 Another reading is: ‘reared a leopard by hand’.
The Ladder of Divine Ascent, St. John Climacus, Step,Translated by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore (Harper & Brothers, 1959)

Μεσοπεντηκοστή_ Σοφία- καί – Λόγος- του- Θεού_Mid-Pentecost_ Преполовение _0Mesopentikosti-midpentecost243456Vespers readings: Micah 4:2-3, 5; 6:1-5, 8; 5:4; Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-13; Proverbs 9:1-11.
Epistle: Acts 14:6-18.
Liturgy: John 7:14-30.

Mid-Pentecost – My brethren, let us open the doors of our souls to the Wisdom of God Incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ! Lord Jesus, Wisdom and Power of God, open our souls and abide in them. St. Nicholai Velimirovich

Mid-Pentecost, But you seek to kill Me because My word has no place in you (St. John 8:37) St Nikolai Velimirovich

Μεσοπεντηκοστή_ Σοφία- καί – Λόγος- του- Θεού_Mid-Pentecost_ Преполовение _Ναός της του Θεού Σοφίας (1)The Dismissal Troparion, Tone VIII:

At Mid-feast give Thou my thirsty soul to drink of the waters of piety; * for Thou, O Savior, didst cry out to all: * Whosoever is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. ** Wherefore, O Well-spring of life, Christ our God, glory be to Thee.

Troparion of St Stephen the Chorabyte of Sina, Tone 8

With the streams of thy tears thou didst irrigate the barren desert,/ and with sighs from the depths of thy soul thou didst render thy labors fruitful an hun­dredfold./ Thou wast a beacon for the whole world, radiating miracles.// O our father Stephen, entreat Christ God that our souls be saved.

Tone IV:

Verse: O praise the Lord, all ye nations; * praise Him, all ye peoples.
The bountiful pouring forth of the Spirit upon all, * is now at hand as the Scripture saith. * This is proclaimed by the mid-point of the blessed season * after Christ death, burial and arising, * when He gave unto His disciples * His unfailing and true promise, ** which revealed most clearly the coming of the Comforter.

Exapostilarion, Tone III:

O Thou that hast the never-emptying wine-bowl of gifts, * vouchsafe that I may draw water unto remission of my sins. * For with great thirst am I taken, ** O Thou only lovingly compassionate One. (Twice)

αγια σοφια-Κωνσταντινούπολη_Constantinople_Константино́поль-agiasofia2

We are fools for Christ’s sake. Let us rejoice and be glad and repeat with a powerful echo in the ears of the world: yes, yes, indeed we are fools for Christ’s sake! O Lord Most-wise, strengthen us by Your power that we not fear the non-believing world neither when they lash us with whips nor when they insult us with words for Your sake. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_56946.bBeloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Христос Воскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!
«Rejoice!». «Peace be unto you!»

Synaxarion From the Menaion.
On May 2 we commemorate the recovery of the holy relics of our Father among the Saints Athanasius the Great, Patriarch of Alexandria.
On this day we also commemorate the holy Martyrs Hesperos and his wife Zoe and their children Kyriacos and Theodulos, at Attalia (c. 124).
Devout Saint Jordan the Wonder-worker reposed in peace.
The blessed Boris-Michael, King of Bulgaria, the Equal to the Apostles (907).
The holy Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb (1015), who in holy Baptism were renamed Romanus and David, the recovery of whose sacred relics we commemorate (1072 and 1115).
Our Father among the Saints Athanasius Patelarius of Luben, the Wonderworker, former Patriarch of Constantinople (1654).
Blessed Basil of Kadom, fool-for-Christ (1848)
Saint Matrona the Blind (Matronushka), the Righteous Wonderworker of Moscow (1952)

Synaxarion From Pentecostarion
On Monday of St. Thomas we celebrate the Synaxis of Panagia Voithia (the Helper) in Chios
On this day, the miraculous holy icon of Panagia Chrysafitissa of Monemvasia
On this day, Memory of New Martyrs Anastasius of Epirus and Daniel (1750)

Hymn of Praise
Saint Isidora, the Fool for Christ (The Venerable Pitirim)
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ισιδώρα η δια Χριστόν Σαλή της Ταβέννης_ Saint Isidora the Simple of Tabenna_ святая Исидо́ра Тавеннийская _ΙΣΙΔΩΡΑ ΤΑΒΕΝIn the desert, the ascetic Pitirim
Prays to God and asks himself:
In the world, is there anyone equal to me?
Then appeared, an angel of God,
Gently reproached Pitirim:
In thoughts, you magnify yourself O Elder
As though, in the world, there is no better!
Come, follow me, O Elder Pitirim,
Come, follow me to see the aged woman,
Isidora makes herself a “fool for Christ,”
To see her and then to be amazed:
She, from God her heart does not separate,
All her thoughts, to God, she binds,
And not like you, who, in the body, are here,
And thoughts, in the ends of the world!
And all of her mortifications that you see
That by shame, of the woman to be ashamed!
And the wisdom of God that you glorify
Which, in the weeds, nurses the roses!
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič


“We are fools for Christ’s sake” (1 Corinthians 4:10).
Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ισιδώρα η δια Χριστόν Σαλή της Ταβέννης_ Saint Isidora the Simple of Tabenna_ святая Исидо́ра Тавеннийская _…It is not of any value to us how the world is going to regard or call us. However, it is important, and extremely important, how the holy angels in the heavens will regard and call us when, after death, we meet with them. This is of crucial importance and everything else is nothing.
Either we are fools for the world because of Christ or we are fools for Christ because of the world. O how short-lived is the sound of a word of the world! If the world would say to us “fool,” the world will die and its word will die! What then is the value of its word? But if the heavenly, immortal ones say to us “fool,” that will neither die nor is it removed from us as eternal condemnation.
Whoever does not believe in the Living God, nor in eternal life, nor in the Incarnation of the Lord Christ, nor in Christ’s Resurrection nor in the truth of the Gospel nor in God’s eternal mercy and justice – is it any wonder if he considers that one a fool who does believes in all of this?

O, may every one of us who cross ourselves with the Sign of the Cross not only find it easy to endure but with satisfaction receive the name “fool” for Christ’s sake! Let us rejoice and be glad if the non-believers call us such, for that means that we are close to Christ and far away from the non-believers. Let us rejoice and be glad and repeat with a powerful echo in the ears of the world: yes, yes, indeed we are fools for Christ’s sake!

O Lord Most-wise, strengthen us by Your power that we not fear the non-believing world neither when they lash us with whips nor when they insult us with words for Your sake.

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


Ισιδώρα η δια Χριστόν Σαλή της Ταβέννης_ Saint Isidora the Simple of Tabenna_ святая Исидо́ра Тавеннийская _-2011Learn to respect and to love the lowly and simple people. Such as these are the most on earth: such as these are the most in the Kingdom of Heaven. In them, there is no pride, i.e., the basic madness from which the souls of the rich and the powerful of this world suffer.

They carry out their duty in this world perfectly and yet it appears to them amusing when someone praises them for it, while the self-seeking men of this world seek praise for all their work and often, it is imperfectly completed…

Many kings and princes, learning of the sweetness of Christ’s Faith, removed the crowns from their heads and fled from aristocratic vanity to be among the simple people. Did not He alone, the King of Kings, the Lord our Christ appear among shepherds and fishermen? St. Zeno counsels: “Do not choose a glorious place for living and do not associate with a man of a prominent name.”
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

St. Matrona the Blind of Moscow, Difficult times are our lot, but we Christians must choose the Cross. Christ has placed us on His sleigh, and he will take us where He will.

Brethren, how petty are those Christians who recognize the Lord as resurrected, as the Victor but, nevertheless, retain in their hearts doubt and buries their lives in eternal darkness. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Troparion of St Athanasius the Great Tone 3. Your confession.

You were Orthodoxy’s sturdy pillar; * you held up the Church with godly dogmas, * St. Athanasius, devout and great Hierarch. * For by preaching that the Son is homoousios * with the Father, you humiliated Arius. * Holy Father, pray to Christ our God fervently, * entreating Him to grant us His great mercy.

Hymns of St Matrona of Moscow
Tropar Tone 4

Having sprouted in the lands of Tula, the blessed eldress Matrona grew to be an ascetic in the city of Moscow. From birth, she was in bodily blindness unto the end of her days, but from God she received abundant spiritual vision, clairvoyance, and intercession. Above all, she received the gift of healing, and she helps us in mental and bodily diseases, who with faith come to her and ask help from her, our joy.

Apolytikion for a Martyr in the Fourth Tone

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

Troparion of Ss Boris and Gleb Tone 2

O Passion-bearers and fulfillers of the Gospel of Christ,/ chaste Boris and guileless Gleb:/ you did not oppose the attacks of the enemy, your brother,/ when he killed your bodies but could not touch your souls./ Let him therefore mourn while you rejoice with the Angels/ standing before the Holy Trinity./ Pray that those who honour your memory may find grace with God/ and that all Orthodox people may be saved.