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Orthodoxy has its own true and infallible Pope, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the wisdom and power of God, who rules all and everything,… O All-seeing God, strengthen our hearts that we neither be blind leaders not blind followers. Saint Nicholas Velimirovich

Ανάληψη_The Ascension of the Lord_ Вознесение Господне __0g-dj9pxbMOn this day, the seventh Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the First Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea of the three hundred eighteen Godbearing Fathers.

Repose in the Lord of Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea,
Holy Elder Eumenios Saridakis (May 23, 1999)
Elder Justin Pârvu of Romania (June 16, 2013).
Abbess Macrina of the Monastery of Panagia Odigitria in Portaria (June 4, 1995)

Verses
Luminous stars of the spiritual sky,
illumine my mind with the light of your rays.
Against Arius
Arius be a stranger to God’s glory,
for calling the Son a stranger to the Father’s essence.

”O Master, leave not as orphans, But as Thou didst promise, * send us Thine All-holy Spirit…”

Saint Nikolai Velimirovich:
To an Orthodox scholar who asks why Orthodoxy doesn’t have its own pope (Letter 48)

Οικουμενική Σύνοδος Α,της Νίκαιας_ First Ecumenical Council of Nicea _Первый Никейский собор _2“Well, oh yes! Orthodoxy has its own Pope, greater than all popes and patriarchs in the world. It has had and will have from the beginning to the end of the ages. This is the same pope invoked by all Christ’s Apostles, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom and reason, the Spirit of God’s comfort and power. He is the true pope of Christ’s Church, without substitution or change, without disputations or elections, with no precursor or successor.

Moreover, fortunately, there is a document, written by their own hands, where we observe that the Apostles recognized/confessed the Holy Spirit as their chosen patron and pope.
At the first Council in Jerusalem, the Apostles had written these famous words: It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. (Acts.15, 28)

It is obvious that the Apostles put the Holy Spirit before and over them. Before this and each of their meetings, they used to pray and invoke Him. Have not the leaders of the Church done the same thing until nowadays? Every time they meet, first of all, they remember of their infallible pope-the Holy Spirit. They invoke Him with fear before all their work and obey to Him without any condition. Not only the leaders of the Church but also the leaders of the Orthodox states, the ministries and the members of the Parliament first used to invoke the Holy Spirit and than began their work as civil authorities. Similarly, also did and do the school leaders. You know that, at the beginning of their school work, they go to church with their students for invoking the Holy Spirit? And the All Benefactor, Almighty and All Wise handles, invigorates and inspires all of them: the Church, the State and those who work into the educational system. And He governs all people in all deeds, not brutally like the earthly dictators but like a father, with wisdom and love. He is our father through the Baptism we received. And you know that the Greek word “papa” means father. Indeed it means, ethically and historically felt, that the Holy Spirit is our father, our pope. Then, what should it be necessary for the Orthodox Church to have another father or pope? Isn’t Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who has advertised us to avoid the earthly fathers, the stepfathers? He, nineteenth centuries ago, ordered us: And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’ (being read: pope), for you have one Father and He is in Heaven. (Mt. 23,9.).

I wish you health and the peace of God

Source: https://svetosavlje.org/sr/misionarska-pisma/49/
Extracted from the Saint’s book: “Missionary Letters”, Translated and published by Anda Maria Martin
https://laortodoxia.wordpress.com/2018/09/29/saint-nikolai-velimirovich-to-an-orthodox-scholar-who-asks-why-orthodoxy-doesnt-have-its-own-pope-letter-48/

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Homily
About the power that God gave to the words of the prophets
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

“Behold, I made My words in your mouth, a fire. And this people is the wood that it shall devour!” (Jeremiah 5:14).

Ανάληψη_The Ascension of the Lord_ Вознесение Господне _01351e62120f9f8d386You see brethren, that the effect of the word of God is different according to different people. The word of God is like fire, in whom the righteous one rejoices, as one frozen in the cold of this world; and the word of God is like fire which burns the unrighteous one whom this material world has overly warmed. The experienced spiritual fathers have left us proof that only the Name of Jesus brings power, joy and refreshment to the faithful – and this Name consumes evil spirits as a living fire. That is the way with every word of God. With some it creates comfort, with others irritation, with some it quiets anger, with others it increases anger, with some it provokes respect with fear and with others scorn. To the healthy it is honey; to the unhealthy it is the honey of wormwood.

But, why should the people be as wood which will be consumed? For, are the people to be blamed if the godless elders and false prophets lead them astray? The people are not to blame to such a degree as their elders and false prophets but nevertheless they are to blame to a certain extent. For God also gave the people to know the right path through conscience and through the preaching of God’s word and the people should not blindly follow their blind leaders when they lead them on the false paths and distance them from God and God’s law.

Brethren, God is Just and He knows the measure of everyone’s faults, and He will not permit the illiterate and the least to suffer as much as the literate and the greatest.

O All-seeing God, save us that we neither be blind leaders not blind followers. Strengthen our hearts that, as leaders and as followers, we will always be Your servants and only Your servants.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/01/prologue-may-6-may-19.html

Here the angelic music of the eternal truth of God—is clothed in human words.St. Justin Popovich
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/here-the-angelic-music-of-the-eternal-truth-of-god-is-clothed-in-human-words-st-justin-popovich/

Let us prepare ourselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we must truly be in the world in which we live an incarnate presence of Christ and the temple of Spirit, a vanguard of the Kingdom. Anthony Bloom of Sourozh
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2021/06/12/let-us-prepare-ourselves-to-be-filled-with-the-holy-spirit-so-that-we-must-truly-be-in-the-world-in-which-we-live-an-incarnate-presence-of-christ-and-the-temple-of-spirit-a-vanguard-of-the-kingdom-a/

St Nicholas Archbishop of Myra and the First Ecumenical Council
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/st-nicholas-archbishop-of-myra-and-the-first-ecumenical-council/

Οικουμενική Σύνοδος Α,της Νίκαιας_ First Ecumenical Council of Nicea _Первый Никейский собор _sf_parinti_de_la_sinodul_i_ecumenic-2image001170Apolytikion For the Fathers.
Glory. Mode pl. 4.

Supremely blessed are You, O Christ our God. You established the holy Fathers upon the earth as beacons, and through them You have guided us all to the true Faith, O greatly merciful One, glory be to You.

Both now. Apolytikion of the Feast. From Pentecostarion
Mode 4.

You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, after You filled the Disciples with joy, by promising to send them the Holy Spirit, and You blessed them and established their faith, that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.

For the Fathers. From Pentecostarion
Mode pl. 2. That woman, who was spurned.

Who is it, O Savior, that rent Your garment? * “Arius,” You said, who creates divisions, * dividing the Trinity’s equipotent dominion. * He rejected You as being one of the Trinity’s persons. * He teaches Nestorius not to use the term Theotokos. * But the holy Council in Nicea * proclaimed that You are the Son of God and share the throne * with the Father and the Spirit, O Lord.

Arius the fool introduced division * into the holy Trinity’s single kingship, * asserting three dissimilar and alien natures. * Therefore the God-bearing fathers convened in the holy Council * burning with zeal for God, like the Prophet Elijah the Tishbite, * and they wielded the sword of the Spirit, * and they cut off that shameful teacher of blasphemy, * according to what the Spirit decreed.

Lauds.
Mode pl. 2. When the saints deposited.

When those holy hierarchs, preachers of Christ, and defenders * of the Gospel teachings and Orthodox traditions had received in themselves * the divine radiance of the Holy Spirit, * they proclaimed the supernatural * pronouncement openly * to be their conviction inspired by God, * namely the Creed, which is concise * yet defines the true faith sufficiently. * Clearly these enlightened and blessed men, receiving from on high * the revelation, declared to all * the decision taught by God.

When the holy Shepherds brought all of their pastoral knowledge * to the Council and they stirred * their most righteous anger now justifiably, * they drove out with the sling of the Holy Spirit * the offensive and corruptive wolves, * and from the complement of the Church of Christ they expelled them all, * as having fallen mortally, and as being ill and incurable. * Thus they demonstrated themselves as loyal servants of the Lord, * and sacred mystics of the divine * and inspired preaching of Christ.

Glory.  From Pentecostarion 
Mode pl. 4.

When the choir of Holy Fathers convened from every corner of the civilized world, they decreed into dogma the single essence and nature of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And the mystery of theology they clearly handed down to the Church. Let us the faithful call them blessed, and extolling them let us say: O divine battalion, heavy artillery of theologians of the Lord’s army; luminaries that shine brightly in the noetic firmament; the mystical Zion’s unassailable towers; the sweet scented flowers of Paradise; the solid gold mouthpieces of the Logos; the glory of Nicaea and the splendor of the universe. Intercede insistently on behalf of our souls.


Every virtue is tasteless and cold if it is not seasoned and warmed by divine love. St Nikolai Velimirovich

Παναγία η Μοσχοβίτισσα_1592_αγίου Αρσενίου Ελασσώνος_Αφιέρωμα-αγιου-Αρσενιου-265x300Saint Arseniosof Elassonos and Archbishop of Suzdal and Tarus (1625)
Saints Theodosia the Princess (daughter of Emperor Hadrian), and the Eunuch Gerontios (c. 117-138)
Martyrs Dadas, Quinctillian and Maximus, the Lectors (c. 284-305)
Martyrs Eleutherius of Persia, and Zoilus, by beheading (4th century)
Saint Ursus, Bishop of Ravenna and Confessor (396)
Saint Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome (655)
Two Confessor Bishops, who were exiled to the Crimean peninsula together with St. Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome (ca. 655)
Venerable martyr Christophoros, of the Great Lavra of St. Sabbas the Sanctified.
New Hieromartyr Stephen (Bekh), Bishop of Izhevsk (1933) and Translation of the relics (1967) of the Holy New Martyr George of Acre-Ptolemais from Cyprus, in Palestine (1752)

Commemorated on April 13

Hymn of Praise
Saint Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome
by St Nikolai Velimirovich

Αρσένιος Ελασσώνος_Арсений Суздальского-Элассонский_Saint Arsenios of Elassonna-Arsenius of Suzdal_Arseny_of_Tver_(fresco) - ΑντιγραφήSaint Martin the Pope, before the Senate speaks:
May my body be crushed and burned,
And the most cruel sufferings, I will joyfully endure;
But, the True Faith, I will not deny.
The Good Savior was God and Man,
Two natures different with two wills, He bore,
But, two natures in one person,
And, both wills in a single light.
Such a Faith, all the Fathers passed on to us,
For such a Faith, many suffered.
May I suffer also; of all, the least
The servant of my Lord, of all the most sinful!
Thus, Martin confessed his faith to all
And truth did he speak before the heretics.
O what is the worth of man when he fears God:
Above little men, he [Martin] stands as a mountain!
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by St Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Zica, Serbia
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/April14.htm

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St Nikolai Velimirovich

Αρσένιος Ελασσώνος_Арсений Суздальского-Элассонский_Saint Arsenios of Elassonna-Arsenius of Suzdal_003215“It is better to be a simpleton and to approach God with love than to be a know-it-all and, at the same time, be an enemy of God.” These are the words of the priest-martyr, St. Iraneaus of Lyon. The truth of these words have been confirmed at all times and is also confirmed in our time. One thing must be added to this, namely, that the lovers of God are not simpletons because they know God well enough that they are able to love Him. Of all human knowledge, this knowledge is more important and greater. To this must be added that the enemies of God cannot be more knowledgeable, even though they consider themselves as such, because their knowledge is unavoidably chaotic, for it does not have a source and does not have order.

For the source and order of all knowledge is God. Some of the saints, such as Paul the Simple, did not know how to read or write yet with the strength of their spirit and divine love surpassed the entire world. Whosoever approaches God with love, that person is not capable of crime. Knowledge without love toward God is motivated by the spirit of criminality and war. St. Euthymius the Great taught: “Have love; for what salt is to food, love is to every virtue.” Every virtue is tasteless and cold if it is not seasoned and warmed by divine love.

Theotokos of Tikhvin (Tikhvinskaya) Troparion Tone 4

Today, like the eternal sun,
Your Icon appears in the sky, O Theotokos.
With rays of mercy it enlightens the world.
This land accepts the heavenly gift from above,
Honoring You as the Mother of God.
We praise Christ our Lord who was born of You.
Pray to Him, O Queen and sovereign virgin
That all Christian cities and lands be guarded in safety,
And that He save those who kneel to His divine, and Your holy image, O unwedded bride.

Kontakion of St Pope Martin Tone 8

O High Priest and Teacher of Mysteries, thou didst pour forth streams of doctrine;/ thou didst expound the true theology that Christ has two natures and wills./ Intercede for those who cry: Rejoice, blessed Father Martin.

Kontakion of Appearance of the Icon of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos of Tikhvin
Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Let us run, O ye peoples, to the Virgin Queen, the Theotokos, thanking Christ our God; and gazing tenderly at her miraculous icon, let us fall down and cry to her: O Lady Mary, having visited this land by the wonderous appearance of thy venerable icon, keep all Christians in peace and prosperity, and make them heirs of the heavenly life; for to thee we cry with faith: Rejoice, O Virgin, salvation of the world.


Lord, most patient and most merciful, open our spiritual vision that we may see that which awaits us after this short-lived life and that we endeavor to fulfill Your law. Saint Nikolai Velimirovic

17th Sunday of Matthew:
The Canaanite WomanMatthew 15: 21-28

Homily
About the visions of the invisible world
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic

“We look not to what is seen but to what is unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Господне Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icon_θυγατηρ Χαναναίοι_282_dionisiatWe see this material and transient world, but we look to that spiritual and immortal world.

We see earthly joy, often interrupted by tears and sighs and, in the end, always concluded in death; but we look to spiritual joy among the angels and saints of God in the heavens, to joy uninterrupted and eternal.

We see sufferings and failures of the righteous in this life; but we look at their glory and celebration in that world.

We see many successes, glory and honor of the unrighteous in this life, but we see their defeat, condemnation and indescribable torment in eternity.

We see the Church of God often humiliated and persecuted in this world, but we look to the final victory of the Church over all of her enemies and adversaries both visible and invisible.

Brethren, we often see tyrants and abductors as rulers and wealthy men in this age, and we see saints as poor, dejected and forgotten, but we look at the other kingdom, the Kingdom of God, eternal, sinless and immortal in which the saints will reign without one, no, not one tyrant or abductor.

O Lord, most patient and most merciful, open our spiritual vision that we may see that which awaits us after this short-lived life and that we endeavor to fulfill Your law.

With prayers for the health and
protection of Stefan in Georgia

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Prologue from Ohrid by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January14.htm


The nearness of Christ restores health, increases life, give fragrance to the soul, to the thoughts and to the words of man. Draw near to us O Lord, and bring to us Your eternal salvation… as You visited the house of Zacchaeus.. Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

Ζακχαίου_Zacchaeus_Закхей_zakheja115th Sunday of Luke
Sunday of Zacchaeus (Luke 19: 1-10)

Homily
About the providence of Zacchaeus of little stature
Saint Nikolai Velimirovich of Ohrid

“Today, salvation has come to this house” (St. Luke 19:9).

Thus it was spoken by the One Whose word is life and joy and restoration of the righteous. Just as the bleak forest clothes itself into greenery and flowers from the breath of spring, so does every man, regardless of how arid and darkened by sin, becomes fresh and youthful from the nearness of Christ. For the nearness of Christ is as the nearness of some life-giving and fragrant balsam which restores health, increases life, give fragrance to the soul, to the thoughts and to the words of man. In other words, distance from Christ means decay and death and His nearness means salvation and life.

“Today, salvation has come to this house” said the Lord upon entering the house of Zacchaeus the sinner. Christ was the salvation that came and Zacchaeus was the house into which He entered. Brethren, each one of us is a house in which sin dwells as long as Christ is distant and to which salvation comes when Christ approaches it. Nevertheless, will Christ approach my house and your house? That depends on us. Behold, He did not arbitrarily enter the house of the sinner Zacchaeus, rather He entered as a most desired guest.

Zacchaeus of little stature climbed into a tree in order to see the Lord Jesus with his own eyes. Zacchaeus, therefore, sought him; Zacchaeus desired Him. We must also seek Him in order to find Him and desire Him in order that He would draw nearer to us and, with our spirit, to climb high in order to encounter His glance. Then He will visit our house as He visited the house of Zacchaeus and with Him salvation will come.

Draw near to us O Lord, draw near and bring to us Your eternal salvation.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/February4.htm

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St. Nikolai Velimirovic
comments on the Gospel of Zacchaeus

Ζακχαίου Zaheu-Vamesul“Christ said a number of times that He had come into this world for the sake of sinners, and especially for the greatest sinners. As a doctor does not visit the healthy but the sick, so the Lord visits those with the sickness of sin, not those with the health of righteousness. It is not said in the Gospel that the Lord, on this occasion, visited any righteous man in Jericho, but He made haste to visit the house of the sinful Zacchaeus. Does not every sensible doctor behave in this way when he goes into a hospital? Does he not go straight to the beds of the most gravely ill? The whole world represents a great hospital, full to overflowing with sick men and women infected by sin. All men are sick in comparison with Christ’s health; all are weak in comparison with Christ’s power; all are ugly in comparison with Christ’s beauty. But there are, among men, the sick and the sicker, the weak and the weaker, the ugly and the uglier. The former are considered righteous and the latter sinful.
And the heavenly Physician, who did not come on earth for His own satisfaction but for the urgent healing and salvation of the infected, hastened first to the aid of the worst infected. To this end, He ate and drank with sinners, permitted sinners to weep over His feet, and entered into Zacchaeus’ house.”
(Homilies, p. 339-340)

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Christ never made a single comment about the human body. He did not say to Zacchaeus, “How short you are!”. He did not say to Judas, “How ugly you are!”. He did not say to the paralytic, “How paralytic you are!”. He did not say to the leper, “You smell bad!”. Christ would always speak to what was real and true in people – that is, to their souls. It was the Soul speaking to souls, it was the Soul healing souls.

Christ considered it indecent to talk about the bodies of people almost in the same way as mature people consider it indecent to speak to each other about clothes. Therefore, when a person is talking to you, do not think about his body, do not look at his body. But look at his soul, examine his soul, get accustomed to his soul – and then you will understand him. When you are talking to a person, do not think about either your body or his, but think about both your soul and his. Repeat to yourself, “This is a soul speaking to a soul. A soul is communicating with a soul.” And then you will feel that God is there with the two of you. And you will understand and be understood.

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Impose upon yourself some form of penance [Epitimija] for the sins of others. If you have judged someone or punished someone, impose upon yourself a form of penance. You should also suffer voluntarily for the sins of sinners. This is pleasing to God. This mystery was known by the saints who condemned themselves for the sins of others. Even non-Christian peoples perceived this mystery.

There exists this custom in China: when an executioner beheads a criminal who is sentenced to death, he then approaches the judge and informs him that the verdict was carried out. The judge then reimburses him with a silver coin because he killed the criminal and orders that the executioner be whipped forty lashes because he killed a man. Christian saints profoundly understood the mystery of sin and human injustice. For the saints, all human sin has as long a history, as there is distance from us to Adam.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/February4.htm

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Becoming Zacchaeus
Archimandrite Zacharias

Ζακχαίου_Zacchaeus_Закхей_2501-f4f1eRemember when the Lord was going through Jericho to Jerusalem for His Holy Passion, a very noble and notable man of Jericho, Zacchaeus, desired to see the Lord, but was unable to do so, because he was “little of stature,” as the Gospel tells us (Luke 19:3). So he made himself a laughing stock, and climbed up a sycamore tree in order to be able to see the Lord. He suffered shame because of his desire to see the Lord, and the Lord noticed him. And not only did He notice him, but He spoke to him saying, “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5). The Lord visited his house, because He saw Zacchaeus’ suffering of shame as a “kinship” with Him. Zacchaeus put himself in the Way of the Lord, voluntarily suffering shame, and so it was unavoidable that he should meet the Lord; and, as we know, the Lord joined Zacchaeus. And do you remember what happened? Christ visited Zacchaeus, and from the moment of the Lord’s visitation, his heart was enlarged and he was restored to spiritual health, and straightway desired to restore every injustice he had committed. He said, “If I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:8). This “fourfold” is very significant, for it indicates the four dimensions of the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ: “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” (Eph. 3:18), which became the source of every grace, the source of every gift. The depth of this great mystery is “the way down,” to the nethermost parts; its height is “His rising up,” above the Heavens; and its breadth and length is seen in the grace of His Cross reaching all nations: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me,” says the Lord (John 12:32).

Zacchaeus, by putting himself in the Way of the Lord, and bearing a little shame for His sake, found the Lord a companion, a guest in his house, and therefore his heart was enlarged to embrace all people. So, when we put ourselves in the Way of our Lord, and we learn to “go down,” we become partakers of his gift, and this gift enlarges the heart, and then man finds his true destiny. Because each one of us, if we are to be in the image of the new Adam, Christ, should bear in his heart the rest of humanity. Therefore, whoever puts himself in the Way of the Lord receives this enlargement of the Cross and Resurrection of the Lord, and this enlargement makes him universal. We cannot become universal with technology, with computers and mobile phones, and such things. True universality comes when we put ourselves in the Way of the Lord. That is why St. Paul says to the Corinthians, “Brethren, be ye also enlarged!” (2 Cor. 6:13). He wanted them to know the power of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, and thereby become “enlarged.” When we read our Fathers, St. Silouan for example, we see that the monk’s calling is fulfilled when he becomes an intercessor for the whole world. And we see this phenomenon clearly in the case of the Apostles, who said, “It is not expedient that we should leave the preaching of the word of God, and be spent in serving tables, the widows and the poor. Let us choose seven people for this ministry.” And they chose seven deacons to help in these matters (cf. Acts 6:1-6). Man truly fulfils his destiny, his purpose – he fulfils God’s will for him – when he becomes an intercessor in his prayers, bares in his heart the whole world, and humbly brings every creature before God in fervent supplication. This is impossible, humanly speaking. It is only possible if the state of the new Adam is transmitted to us. Just as God desires all mankind to be saved (cf. I Tim. 2:4), so He imparts to us the same mind and the same heart which was in Christ Jesus, as says St. Paul to the Philippians (cf. Phil. 2:5).

St. Silouan was living his hell, and it was as if the Lord had said to him, “Well, remain as you are, be humble, and accept that you are worthy of that, but do not despair.” And strange wonder, the Lord offered him hell, and his spirit emerged in triumph. From that moment on, his mind was cleansed, and his enemies – the devils which kept appearing to him – disappeared. When we put ourselves in the Way of our Lord, “going down,” the enemy cannot follow us, because this is a humble way. The enemy cannot “go down.” Lucifer wants to set his throne above the throne of God, and the entire world is poisoned by his spirit. But when we accept the injunction of the Lord, and we learn to judge ourselves, and we learn to go down, we are delivered, because the enemy cannot follow us. And when we are delivered, then we come up again with the strength of the Lord. We “go down” in order to “go up,” but we must first go down. And we say, “Lord, I am the worst of all.” Remember how in the Gospel, when the Apostles came to the Lord, and said to Him, “Lord, increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). The Lord gave them a teaching, and at the end says to them, “When ye shall have done all these things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10). So this – to consider ourselves worse than all – is the summit of ascetical humility.

The texts entitled “Monasticism” (The Science of “Going Down”), by Archimandrite Zacharias, The Enlargement of the Heart (Mount Thabor Publishing, 2006

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Zacchaeus had put himself prophetically in the way of the Christ
Fr. Zacharias Zacharou

Question: In taking the steps which you have presented to us, the most difficult thing, I think, is to overcome the fear of shame. This is what I try to do in my parish. People will not come to confession although their souls are burdened and things are driving them crazy, because they cannot overcome the shame to admit their sins. How do you lead people in this direction?

Answer: I think that the strength to bear shame is a gift from God. When I was a young and inexperienced spiritual father, Elder Sophrony told me to encourage the young people to confess precisely the things of which they are ashamed, for if they learn to do so, shame is transformed into strength against the passions, and they will overcome sin. This is precisely what occurred in the person of Zacchaeus. He bore shame voluntarily, and the Lord, Who was on His way to Jerusalem in order to suffer the Cross of shame, saw Zacchaeus bearing shame for His sake and recognized in him a kindred spirit. Zacchaeus had put himself prophetically in the way of the Christ, in the way of the Cross, and in a prophetic way the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ was activated in the heart of Zacchaeus. His heart was enlarged and he was able to enter into the power of faith. Christ has saved us through the Cross of shame, so when we suffer shame for His sake He considers this as gratitude, and in return He transmits to us His grace which regenerates our life.

This is exactly what happens in confession. Those who confess sincerely and take upon themselves the shame for their sins are regenerated. But those who shrug their shoulders and say, ‘Nothing special, the usual things…’ they do not bear any shame, their heart remains unmoved, and they hardly receive any benefit. But those who, with shame and a contrite heart, strip their souls naked before God and before another mortal, ‘of like passions’ (Acts 14:15) with them—that shame of theirs really finds the heart, humbles it and brings it to the surface. This then, opens the heart to receive the grace of regeneration, of consolation. We see this in the life of many that come to us: the greater the shame they bear with contrition, accusing themselves before God, the greater the grace they receive to amend their lives and make a new beginning.
Source: Orthodox Heritage Vol. 10, Issue 11-12
From “Remember thy First Love,” Archimandrite Zacharias, Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist, Essex, 2010

Today the light of Zacchaeus’ search for God illumines the whole world from the height of the sycamore tree. Sunday of Zacchaeus, St John (Maximovich) and Anthony Bloom of Sourozh
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/01/25/38820/

Zacchaeus shows us care nothing about the judgment of men, and the way to get rid of vanity is humility;to be grateful at God’s goodness. Anthony Bloom Metropolitan of Sourozh
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/01/27/27099/

Glory …. Tone 7.

When Elijah ascended in his fiery chariot, Elisha received double of his spirit. Today Zacchaeus climbs the sycamore tree, and gives back fourfold from his wealth, repenting for those he defrauded. Follow his example, O my soul, that you may receive infinite mercy from Christ the Savior.

The Sunday of Zacchaeus
Luke 19:1-10 –

Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”


Good Lord, strengthen the faith in us and have mercy on us.

Νίνα της Γεωργίας_ Saint Nina_ წმინდა ნინო_Света Нина Грузије_ святой Нины ИберииΝΙΝΑ b4529287cbf4Saints Salome of Ujarma and Perozhavra of Sivnia, disciples of St. Nino, Enlightener of Georgia (ca.361)
Saint Paul of Thebes (342)
Holy 6 Monk-Martyrs of the Desert, who reposed peacefully.
Saint John Kalyvites (the hut-dweller) of Constantinople (~450)
Prochorus, Abbot in the Vranski Desert on the River Pchinja, in Bulgaria (10th century) and Saint Gabriel, Founder of Lesnov Monastery in Bulgaria

Commemorated on January 15

Saints Salome of Ujarma and Perozhavra of Sivnia

ΣΑΛΩΜΗ ΟΥΤΖΑΡΜΑ_saints_salome_of_ujarma_Саломия Уджармская (IV в.), сподвижница святой Нины 0_181bc8_c481aa2f_origSaints Salome of Ujarma and Perozhavra of Sivnia were the helpers and closest companions of St. Nino, Enlightener of Georgia. St. Nino herself had converted them to the Christian Faith.
Salome was the wife of Revi, the son of King Mirian, and Perozhavra was married to the ruler of the Kartli region. Both women were queens, but they succeeded in serving St. Nino while retaining their imperial roles. St. Nino taught them to pray, and the0women fasted regularly and performed good works. As a result of their influential social status, the two queens were able to help St. Nino tremendously in spreading the Christian Faith.
After the conversion of Kartli, with inspiration from St. Nino and by the order of King Mirian, St. Salome erected a cross in Ujarma in the Kakheti region.
When St. Nino fell ill in the village of Bodbe, the queens Salome and Perozhavra stood by her bed and wept bitterly at having to part with their beloved teacher and healer. They entreated St. Nino, who was finishing her last hours on this earth, saying, “Tell us, our Queen, how did you come to our country to free our souls, and where were you raised? Tell us how to continue your good works. You who have delivered us from bondage to the enemy, tell us, what shall we do?”
From the information that St. Nino then related to them, Sts. Salome and Perozhavra wrote The Life of St. Nino, Enlightener of Georgia. The Apostolic Orthodox Church of Georgia commemorates them on January 15, the day following the commemoration of St. Nino.
O Holy Saints Salome and Perozhavra, standing before Christ our King and our God, have mercy on us and save us! (on the book THE LIVES OF THE GEORGIAN SAINTS by Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze, St. Herman Press Platina)

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Saint John Kushchnik (Kalybites – “the Hut-Dweller”)
St. Nikolai Velimirovic

ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΑΛΥΒΙΤΗΣ-John Kalyvites ( = the hut dweller) . Преподобный Иоанн Кущник65645654John was born in Constantinople of wealthy and distinguished parents during the reign of Leo I. He was the only child of his parents. Drawn by the inclination for the spiritual life, the young John secretly fled with a monk to a monastery in Asia Minor. In this monastery he remained for six years in the greatest restraint, prayer and obedience toward the abbot. Then the devil assailed him with temptation that he should leave the monastery and return home to his parents and there to live with them as a nobleman. Indeed, he returned to the home of his parents dressed as a beggar. He saw his parents, but did not introduce himself. He took up lodging as a beggar in their courtyard, living, so to say, from the crumbs which the servants threw to him and enduring many ridicules from everyone. As such, John lived for three years constantly praying to God that He save the souls of his father and mother. When John fell ill and sensed death approaching, he made himself known to his parents who recognized him by a precious book of the Gospels which they had given him in his childhood and which he had kept for himself as his only possession. And so, this young man, even though he was very wealthy, defeated the devil and saved his soul and the souls of his parents. He died in the Lord about the year 450 A.D.
Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/January15.htm

***

Homily
by St Nikolai Velimirovic
About the trial of our faith

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearance of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).

Παύλος Θηβαίος_St Paul of Thebes_Св. Павел Фиве́йский_ღირსი პავლე თებაიდელი_ΠΑΥΛΟΣ ΘΗΒΑΙΟΜBrethren, our faith is tried more often than is the reed rocked by the winds. Trials are like the winds: a weak faith they will uproot and a strong faith will be strengthened even more. Trials are also like the flame in which straw is burned and gold is purified.

Man’s intellectual pursuits and suppositions also try our faith. These are very strong and bitter winds. But we can overcome them if we are willing to adhere to the words of God and if, in opposition to those intellectual pursuits, we are able to emphasize the teachings of the Faith of Christ.

Our faith is further tried by fear and shame: fear of men who persecute the Faith and shame of men who arrogantly despise the Faith. These also are strong winds which we must resist if we wish to remain alive. How will we resist them? By the fear of God which should always be greater in our soul than the fear of men and of shame before the apostles, saints and martyrs who were not ashamed of their faith before emperors, princes and sages of this world.

Our faith is further tried by suffering and misery. This is the fire in which our faith either has to be burned like straw or to be tempered as pure gold. We will resist these trials if we would but remember Christ crucified on the Cross for us and so many thousands of martyrs for the Faith who, in their patience, conquered all and emerged from the flames as gold and who for centuries glow among the angels and among men.

Our faith is also tried by death, the death of our relatives and friends and the death of mankind in general. This is the bitter fire in which the faith of many have been burned. Is death the end of everything? It is not, but rather believe that it is the beginning of everything; it is the beginning of a new and just life. Believe in the Resurrection of Christ, believe in life beyond the grave and believe in the general resurrection and the Dreadful Judgment.

O Good Lord, strengthen the faith in us and have mercy on us.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/July2.htm

Your word, O Lord, is life and truth. Cleanse us by Your All-powerful word as You cleansed Your apostles to bear much fruit and to be made worthy of Your kingdom.

O Lord, Eternal and Immortal, allow these holy words of Yours to ring in the souls of Your faithful always whenever a persecution is raised up against Your Holy Church that, holding on to Your right hand, we may not be afraid.

Send your petition to God and the saints by means of the telegraph of faith and you will speedily obtain an answer. Think of them with your whole heart and they will be present with you. St. Nikolai Velimirovic
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2021/01/14/send-your-petition-to-god-and-the-saints-by-means-of-the-telegraph-of-faith-and-you-will-speedily-obtain-an-answer-think-of-them-with-your-whole-heart-and-they-will-be-present-with-you-st-nikolai-v/Αντώνιος ο Μέγας_St Anthony the Great_Св. Антоний Вели́кий_ ანტონი დიდი_orthodox icon_Παυλος Θηβαιος_2326688Troparion of St. Nina of Georgia, Tone 4

O handmaid of the Word of God, who in preaching equaled the first-called Apostle Andrew, and emulated the other Apostles, enlightener of Iberia and reed-pipe of the Holy Spirit, holy Nina, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Troparion — Tone 8

In you the image was preserved with exactness, O Mothers, / for taking up your cross, you followed after 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, most venerable Mothers Salome and Perozhavra your spirits rejoice with the Angels.

Troparion Venerable Paul of Thebes — Tone 3

Inspired by the Spirit, / you were the first to dwell in the desert in emulation of Elijah the zealot; / as one who imitated the angels, you were made known to the world by Saint Anthony the Great. / Righteous Paul, entreat Christ God to grant us His great mercy.

Troparion Venerable John Calabytes “the Hut-Dweller” — Tone 4

From your early youth, / you longed with fervor for the things of the Lord. / Leaving the world and its pleasures, / you became an example of monastic life. / Most blessed John, you built your hut at the door of your parents’ house and overcame the devil’s guiles. / Therefore Christ Himself has worthily glorified you.

Kontakion — Tone 2
(Podoben: “Having received the grace…“)

Because of your love of God you forsook a bed for rest, O Mothers Salome and Perozhavra, / you illumined your souls with fasting, thoroughly vanquishing your enemies; / but by your intercessions destroy the evil designs of our adversaries.

Venerable Paul, in Tone I:
Spec. Mel.: “Joy of the ranks of heaven …”:

O thrice-blessed Paul, * thou didst show thyself to the world * to be the beginning of the life of the heaven-scaling path of virtue; * for well didst thou appoint spiritual ascents in their soul, * whereby thou didst achieve the apex of the virtues * through abstinence and many pangs.

Furnishing thy mind with wings to fly to divine desire, O blessed one, * thou didst ascend to the upper desert * and didst draw nigh unto the darkness, * wherein thou wast radiantly illumined by the understanding of God * and wast anointed on the tablets of thy heart * with the splendor of the virtues.

The desert blossomed with the beauteous flowers of thy virtues; * for thou didst destroy the thorns of the passions therein, * and didst plant the right glorious pangs * of thy divine words. * Wherefore, like a lily planted by God, * thou dost now perfume us with the sweet fragrance of thy life.

venerable John, in Tone II:
Spec. Mel.: “When from the Tree …”:

When at the behest of God thou didst flee the beauties of the world, rejoicing, O father, thou didst prefer the narrow and exceeding hard path of pain to the broad one. Wherefore, clothed in the image of God, thou didst receive the care of souls, O divinely blessed one, for thine avoidance and denial of pleasures.

Wounded by the love of Christ, Whose ineffable poverty thou didst love, thou didst conceive of a strange life, a strange undertaking, O father; and as a homeless pauper at thy parents’ gate, thou didst endure affliction and oppression. Wherefore, thou wast filled with spiritual gifts and hast inherited riches in the heavens which cannot be taken away.

Bearing the sacred Gospel in thy hands, O father, thou becamest a fulfiller thereof. Spurning the possessions of thy parents, by tears and poverty thou didst perfect thy whole life, O venerable John. Wherefore, thou dost now delight in divine consolation and never-ending gladness, O all-blessed one.


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

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

Commemorated on November 6

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

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

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

***

Synaxarion
by Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite

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

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

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

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Saint Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saint Silouan the Athonite a man of great love. He was a soul filled with sweetness. The book of his life is adorned with pearls of wisdom and the gold of love. St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Σωφρόνιος του Έσσεξ_Elder Sophrony of Essex_მამა სოფრონი_ Старец Софроний (Сахаров) Эссекс_31712981102071405_nIcon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Of the Myrtle Tree” / “Myrtidiotissa” of Kythera (14th century)
Protomartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles Thekla of Iconium (1st century)
Saint Persa (Persis, Persida)
Venerable Coprius of Palestine, monk (530)
Saints Andochius, Thyrsus and Felix, marytrs in Gaul (2nd century)
Saints Stephen the First-Crowned (in monasticism Simon) (1224), David (13th century),and Stephen Vladislav (after 1264) of Serbia
Venerable Dorothea, Schema-Nun of Kashin (1629)
Arrival in America of the first Orthodox Mission, in Kodiak (1794): Sts. Herman of Alaska (1837), Juvenaly Protomartyr of America (1796), Joasaph, Makary, Stephen (1799), Innocent, Yakov and New Martyr Peter (Cungagnaq) the Aleut (1815)
Saint Silouan the Athonite (1938)

Commemorated on September 24

Verses.
He saved you, Thekla, when he rent the rock,
He at whose passion once the rocks were rent.
‘Twas on the twenty fourth day that a rock enfolded great Thekla.

Σιλουανός ο Αθωνίτης_Saint Silouan, the Athonite_Силуан Афонский_ Софроний (Сахаров) Эссекс_34301-silouanUpon the repose of Starets Silouan in 1938, Vladika Nikolaj Velimirovich wrote an obituary about the starets (who would be glorified in future years). This obituary could just as well be used to refer to him and his own life. After outlining many details and after calling the starets a man of great love, and after giving many examples, he continued :
There is only one thing to be said about this marvellous monk — that he was a soul filled with sweetness. I am not the only one to have felt this sweetness — every other pilgrim to Mt. Athos who encountered him felt the same […] He could speak of God’s measureless love for mankind, and bring sinners to judge themselves severely […] This admirable ascetic was a simple monk but rich in love for God and his neighbour [..] And for me, too, Father Silouan was of great spiritual help. I would feel myself fortified by his prayers. On each of my visits to the Holy Mountain I would make haste to see him [..] There is much, much more that I heard either from Father Silouan himself or about him from other people. But who could put it all together and write it all down ? The book of his life is adorned with pearls of wisdom and the gold of love. It is an immense and imperishable book. Now it is closed and submitted by the hands of his guardian angel to the eternal and righteous Judge. And the eternal and righteous Judge will say to the soul who so loved Him on earth, ‘Enter into the joy of Thy Lord, My true and faithful servant, Silouan’.

Love Is Higher Than Knowledge
By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Σιλουανός ο Αγιορείτης_st.Silouan the Athonite_прп. Силуан Афонский-im335108._prp._siluan_afonskiy._30h40When someone visits the Holy Mountain and sees the humble monks, they could think this is a lazy life without purpose. It seems so, when one sees things from the outside. This is because few people can understand the fearsome and uninterrupted war undertaken within the souls of the monks.

This war is almost supernatural, invisible and (conducted) not only against the demonic powers of the rulers of darkness, but for beginners it is also against the flesh, that is, against lusts and passions.

Elder Silouan was my teacher. Once I asked him: “Father Silouan, perhaps these many people bring disturbance to your mind and your prayer? Would it not be better for you to go to a hermitage in Karoulia and live there in peace, like Fr. Artemios, Fr. Dositheos and Fr. Kallinikos? Or you can live in a remote cave like Fr. Gorgonios?” Fr. Silouan responded to me: “I live in a cave. My body is a cave for my soul and my soul is a cave for the Holy Spirit. And I love the people of God and minister to them, without coming out of my cave.”

Despite his willingness to minister to everyone and his admirable modesty and willingness of affection, he spoke about God with extraordinary excitement and the boldness of someone speaking about a friend: “I know God. He is affectionate, good and quick to help.” When the Elder said this, a certain monk, Fr. Theophanes, listened with fear and thought Fr. Silouan had lost the fear of God. But later, when he read the writings of Fr. Silouan, he changed his mind and said: “Fr. Silouan went towards and reached the measure of the Fathers of the Church.”

I think the texts of Father Silouan should take their place among the books of psychology. If for no other reason, at least to confirm that (their author) was a spiritual warrior of the 20th century and to validate what the glorious Fathers of the Church taught and wrote.

There is something new among the teachings of Fr. Silouan: “Keep your mind in Hades and despair not.” These words express a motivation and reminder against melancholy and sloth. I personally never heard such words.

Important is the other expression: “Love is higher than knowledge (epistemology).” This is the daily and fundamental teaching of St. Silouan.

With his love, which was tied together with his tears in prayer, he forgave the sins of sinners, upheld the weak, corrected those who did evil works, healed the sick, and pacified the winds. In the monastery he did backbreaking work. He had the warehouse with the heavy objects.

Once I told him that the Russian monks were in great turmoil, because of the tyranny of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Church of God. He then replied: “I also in the beginning had turmoil over this issue. However, after much prayer the following thoughts came to me: the Lord loves all inexpressibly. He knows everyone’s plans and the time of each. The Lord allowed the persecution of the Russian people for some future good. I cannot understand it nor stop it. I am left only with prayer and love. I say these things to the brothers who have turmoil: You can only help Russia with prayer and love. Anger and cries against the atheists will not correct things.”
Source: Protaton, October – December 2007. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

***

St. Nikolai Velimirovic
“The Voice of Orthodoxy”

Σωφρόνιος του Έσσεξ_Elder Sophrony of Essex_მამა სოფრონი_ Старец Софроний (Сахаров) Эссекс_θεολογια01122--screenIn early 1930, Bishop Nikolaj participated in the Pan-Orthodox Conference held at Vatopedi Monastery on the Holy Mountain. It can be said that Bishop Nikolaj was the Voice of Orthodoxy during this time. He was able to lead pious Orthodox Greeks, Serbs, Russians, and Bulgarians to transcend any nationalistic tendencies which might threaten the bond of love and the unity of spirit amongst them. Perhaps more importantly, by his ability to distil the true Holy Orthodox Tradition from all the local Orthodox Church traditions and customs, the venerable bishop was able to present to Western Christians in a precise and comprehensive manner the true and eternal Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. While Vladika Nikolaj was present for a time on the Holy Mountain (Athos), he went to visit the Russian monastery of Saint Panteleimon (as he always did) so that he could visit Starets Silouan. On this occasion, it had been arranged that the monk Sophrony (Sakharov) would be ordained to the Holy Diaconate. This ordination took place in the “Old Russikon”, which is a distance of an hour’s walk from the main monastery. Father Sophrony recalled that Starets Silouan walked the whole way together with Bishop Nikolaj. Father Sophrony later recalled that Vladika Nikolaj caused some embarrassment to Starets Silouan at the main monastery when Vladika arrived at the monastery’s bookshop where Starets Silouan served an obedience at that time. Vladika ordered many books. He asked the starets to help him put all the books into his bag, and the starets had to handle every book. During this process, Starets Silouan pointed to the book of the homilies of Saint Macarios, and he said : “Here is a great Father. His homilies are full of grace”. Then Vladika Nikolaj replied : “Nowadays, there are also Fathers equal to Saint Makarios“. Starets Silouan felt extremely uncomfortable to understand that Vladika had been referring to him.
“Serbia in Light and Darkness” (1916), St. Nikolai Velimirovic
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19871/19871-h/19871-h.htm

***

A hermit declared with evident satisfaction that “God will punish all atheists. They will burn in everlasting fire.”
Obviously upset, the Staretz [St Silouan] said: “Tell me, supposing you went to paradise, and there you looked down and saw someone burning in hell fire, would you feel happy?”
“It can’t be helped. It would be their own fault,” said the hermit.
The Staretz [St Silouan] answered him in a sorrowful countenance: “Love could not bear that,” he said. “We must pray for all.”
* The Monk of Mount Athos by Elder Sophrony Sakharov

Σιλουανός ο Αγιορείτης_st.Silouan the Athonite_прп. Силуан Афонский-10Troparion St Silouan the Athonite Tone 1:

By prayer didst thou receive Christ for thy teacher in the way of humility; and the Spirit bare witness to salvation in thy heart; wherefore all peoples called unto hope rejoice this day of thy memorial. O sacred Father Silouan, pray unto Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Apolytikion. Tone 4.

O Jesu, your lamb cries aloud: O my Bridegroom, I long for you; and seeking you I struggle, and I am crucified and buried with you in your baptism; and I suffer for your sake, that I may reign with you; and I die for you, that I may live in you; but as a spotless victim now accept one who with longing is slain for you. Through her prayers, as you are merciful, save our souls!

Troparion, in Tone IV:

Taught by the words of Paul, O Thecla, bride of God, and confirmed through faith by Peter, O divinely called one, thou wast shown to be the protomartyr and first sufferer among women. Thou didst enter the flame as it were a place abloom with flowers, and the wild beasts and bulls stood in awe of thee, for thou didst arm thyself with the Cross. Wherefore, O most lauded one, entreat Christ, that our souls be saved.

Troparion of the New Martyrs, in Tone 4:

Today Alaska rejoices and America celebrates /
For the New World has been sanctified by martyrdom. /
Kodiak echoes with songs of thanksgiving; /
Iliámna and Kenai observe the festival of faith. /
The apostle and martyr Juvenaly is glorified /
And Peter the Aleut is exalted by his voluntary sacrifice, /
In their devotion and love for the Lord /
They willingly endured persecution and death for the Truth. ///
Now in the kingdom of heaven they intercede for our souls.

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom – Elder Silouan (St Silouan the Athonite)


A true man, my brethren, does not mean anything else but a saint. Lord Jesus Christ is the Sower of holiness on earth and the Nurturer of the saints in history. St Nikolai Velimirovich

ΑΓΙΟΙ ΠΑΝΤΕΣ ΕΙΣΕΡΧΟΜΕΝΟΙ ΣΤΟΝ ΠΑΡΑΔΕΙΣΟ_3_7645675166716613856_o-620x513 - CopyTranslation of the relics of the Holy and Wonder-working Unmercenaries Cyrus and John (see January 31)
Saint Paul the Physician of Corinth;
Saints Sergius and Herman, Abbots and Wonder-workers of Valaam;
Saint Xenophon, Abbot of Robeika (Novgorod); Martyr Pappias; Martyr Macedonius; Saint Vulkian, monk; Saint Moses the Anchorite; two children crucified for Christ; Hieromartyr Donatus of Libya; three martyrs of Galatia; 70 Martyrs of Scythopolis; Saint Magnus, monk who reposed while praying to the Lord; Blessed Sergius the Magistrate, founder of the Monastery of the Theotokos called Nikitiatus in Nicomedia; Saint Austell, monk of Saint-Meen;

Commemorated on (June 28

The Holy martyrs Cyrus and John
by St Nikolai Velimirovich

Σύναξις των Αγίων Αναργύρων_ Synaxis of the Holy Unmercenaries_ Собор святых целителей, бессребренников, чудотвоtriodul-duminica-ortodoxiei-si-cinstirea-sfintelor-icoane-18448394These holy martyrs are celebrated on January 31. On that date, their lives and sufferings are chronicled. June 28 commemorates the translation of their relics from Canopus to Menuthis and the numerous miracles which occurred over their relics. St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, prayed fervently to God to destroy the idolatrous impurity in the town of Menuthis where a pagan temple was located and where the power of the demons ruled. An angel of God appeared to the patriarch and told him that Menuthis would be cleansed of its impurity if he translated the relics of Saints Cyrus and John to that town. The patriarch did this immediately. He translated the relics of the martyrs to Menuthis and built a church there in honor of Saints Cyrus and John. Ammonius, the son of Julian the mayor of Alexandria, was healed of scrofula; a Theodore healed of blindness; Isidore of Menuthis was cured of a decaying disease of the liver; the wife of Theodore from poisoning, a Eugenia of dropsy as well as many other people were healed of various diseases and torments by the relics of these saints. This all occurred in the year 412 A.D.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/June28.htm

HOMILY
About holiness
by St Nikolai Velimirovich

“But as the One who called you is holy, be you also holy in all your behavior” (1 Peter 1:15).

Brethren, holiness is a virtue which encompasses all other virtues. Hence brethren, a saint is a man adorned with all virtues. But if a man is prayerful and is not compassionate, he cannot be called holy. Or, if a man endures but without faith and hope he cannot be numbered among the saints. Or, if a man is very compassionate but without faith in God in truth, such a man cannot be numbered among the saints. A saint is a perfect man such as Adam was in Paradise; or even better, such as the New Adam was, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the Saint above the saints. This is the Sower of holiness on earth and the Nurturer of the saints in history. He called us to the dignity of the saints. He showed us the example of a true saint. He is the prototype of the saints as He is the arch-type of man. A true man, my brethren, does not mean anything else but a saint. A saint and a man, that is one and the same. He showed us what it means to be a man and what it means to be a saint.

The Apostle Peter commands us: “Be you also holy in all your [living] behavior!” A saint is not a saint in one aspect of his life but rather in every aspect of his entire life. We must be holy in every work and aspect of our life in order to be numbered among the saints, i.e., among men according to the prototype of the saints and the arch-type of man, the Lord Jesus Christ.

With prayers for the health of
Charles and Anne-Marie on her birthday

O All-holy Lord, To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by St Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Zica, Serbia (+1956)
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/June28.htm

Apolytikion of Unmercenaries Cyrus & John
Plagal of the First Tone

Since Thou hast given us the miracles of Thy holy Martyrs as an invincible battlement, by their entreaties scatter the counsels of the heathen, O Christ our God, and strenghten the faith of Orthodox Christians, since Thou alone art good and the Friend of man.

Kontakion of Unmercenaries Cyrus & John
Third Tone

From divine grace, ye received * the gift to work awesome marvels: * thus, O Saints, throughout the world * ye ever work signs and wonders; * and ye cut out all our passions * and all our suff’rings * with an invisible surgery, for ye truly * are divinely-wise physicians, * O godly Cyrus, * and John, beloved of God.


O my King, You are nearer to me than my breath and dwell deeper within me than my thoughts. Poem LXXXV (85) St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Άγιον Πνεύμα_Holy Spirit_Святой Дух_ΑΓ.ΠΝΕΥΜΑ-ΒΥΖ.ΜΟΥΣΕΙΟ23‘‘O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Come and dwell in us…”

Prayers by the Lake
Poem LXXXV (85)
St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid

Wherever a king is found, there is also a kingdom. A king without a kingdom is not a king, nor is a widowed kingdom a kingdom.

“The kingdom of heaven is within you,”1 said the Royal Son, and joy has illuminated all those wayfarers in the cemeteries, who have understood this heavenly message.

A Moslem does not believe that You ever touch the filthy earth. The pagan sees You entirely composed of earth. The Royal Son knows the royal way, and manifests You in purest earth. In purest earth He even clothed Himself and came down to bring luminescence and essence.2

O my King, You are nearer to me than my breath and dwell deeper within me than my thoughts.

What is my breath except something that enters into me from outside and leaves? Even before my lungs began breathing You were inside me. You knew of me while I was still in my father’s loins. Even before the creation of the world You thought about me.3

What are my thoughts except the impressions of external objects, impressions which enter my mind like threads in a loom, where they are woven and brought together, disjoined and lost? All objects are outside my mind, and objects do not enter my mind but only their impressions.

However You are the only reality of my mind, with which my mind is also born. And You were in me before any impression was; You were in contact with me before I had contact with any object.

From the time I first heard the glad tidings of the King, I have spread out my soul like a canopy over most precious treasures and have sought You and Your Kingdom within her. I have spread her out and I see no end or bottom to her. I can neither reach all her height, nor descend into all her vaults.

I have discovered radiant rays, which indicate some sun in the distance. I have discovered the golden columns of a temple, but nowhere do I see any end to the temple.

I smell the fragrant scent of a censer’s incense, but I cannot glimpse a royal throne.

The more I keep trying and discover, the more I see the One who is hidden.

You placed unimagined mysteries in me, O Lord of countless hosts. In each of Your soldiers Your royal radiance shines.

Just as a sun does not exist without radiant rays, so is the King not without His angels, His radiant rays.

You bring infinity with Yourself, my King, and You bring infinity into my soul.

You cloak Yourself with eternity as with a mantle, my King, and with this mantle you cloak my soul.

The Spirit creates His own Where and When, and is not dependent on His creations.

O Lord, Most Rich, I am discovering myself apart from the senses when I gaze into my soul. What immense wealth You have accumulated into this paltry earthen vessel!

Truly, I am to blame, if I feel poor. I am to blame, if I feel mortal.

It is my own suicide, if I feel that I am a slave of the world and of worldly self-deception.

Wherever You are, there also is the kingdom of heaven; and wherever the kingdom of heaven is, You are also.

If Your kingdom has not entered me, truly neither shall I enter Your kingdom.

O immortal King, hear the utterance of my tongue; hear my song, the sole sacrifice of my tongue:

Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Triradiate Life and Blessedness! Amen.
_________________________________________________________
1. Cf. Luke 17:21.
2. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, hill of grace and truth” (John 1:14). “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
3. “He was in the beginning with God. An things were made through Him, and without Hirn nothing was made that was made” (John 1:2-3).
http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/pl85.htm

Apolytikion of Holy Pentecost. Tone 8. (Plagal Tone Four)

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!

Heavenly King, Paraclete, Spirit of Truth, present everywhere, filling all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life; come and dwell in us, cleanse us from every stain, and, O Good One save our souls.

My hope is the Father, my refuge the Son, my shelter the Holy Spirit. O Holy Trinity, glory be to Thee

Ιωάννης Θεολόγος, Κανέο Οχρίδα--Church of St. John at Kaneo Lake Ohrid- Церковь Св Иоанна Канео Охрид-0423at-kaneo-ohrid-st-_john-kaneo04


As long as there is crying out on earth, there will also be an echo in heaven. I am the One who is closest to everyone on earth. I give Myself to everyone who desires Me; I withdraw Myself from everyone who does not acknowledge Me. Poem LXXXIV (84) St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Ανάληψη_The Ascension of the Lord_ Вознесение Господне __0g-dj9pxbMPrayers by the Lake
Poem LXXXIV (84)
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid

Those who educate by blinding rather than by enlightening –what will You do with them, O Lord?

They turn Your children away from You, and prevent them from approaching Your Grace, for they say: “‘The Lord’ is an archaic term of your dead grandparents. It is an old amulet, which your grandparents used to wear but they have died off. We shall teach you how to till the earth, how to fatten the body, and how to dig for gold, which shines more brilliantly than the dead Lord.” What will You do with these corrupters of Your children, O Lord?

“I shall do nothing to them, for they have done everything to curse their own seed and breed. Truly, they have prepared a worse judgment for themselves and their people than the scribes and Sadducees. For they had the example of these latter, and failed to learn from it.

“In their old age, they will hear sabers rattling at their threshold, and will be dying of hunger, bald and gaunt, and they will not dare to poke their heads out of their door to warn their students. How will they warn them, when My name has been expelled from their brigand hearts? What will they even say to warn them, since they prepared their students for this in their own abysmal stupidity, which accompanies everyone whom I do not accompany?” What will happen to them, O Lord?

“It will be worse for them than for the Babylonians, when in their might they used to worship blood and gold, and used to teach their children to worship them also.

“First will come hunger, such as even Babylon never knew. And then war, for the sake of plundering bread, from which they will return defeated. And then an internecine slaughter and burning of cities and towns. And then diseases, which the hands of physicians will not dare to touch. And the teachers will be flogged with whips and goaded to be the gravediggers of their students, whose stenchful corpses fill all the road-ways.”

Those who lead the people are not leading the people, but are misleading the people—what will You do with them, O my Lord? “They are leading the people astray for the sake of their own profit, and once the people arise and rise up, these leaders will step down from power and consume their ill-gotten gains in peace. They accuse their adversaries, and yet follow in their steps. Their clamor prevents a wise man from getting a word in edgeways.

“They flatter idiots and bullies just to attain the first places. They write books daily and expose the wickedness of their kinsmen, in order to conceal their own wickedness.

“They do not teach the people the truth, but feed them lies the year round.

“They are incapable of doing the people justice, so instead they intimidate them by scaring them with a worse injustice of times past.

“They pillage for themselves and their friends, for they know that they are not long for this world.”

What will You do with them, O righteous Lord?

“They have done everything themselves, and I have nothing to do, except to leave them to themselves. Truly, they will not consume their gains in peace, but will spend it on the funeral feasts of their relatives.

“They will be impoverished, and mice will scurry through their torn shirts. They will dream of rebellions by those who have been deluded and looted, and they will arise at midnight, terrified and soaked with sweat. Their life will be long, so that their punishment may be longer.

“They will live to see their house in flames, and will flee their own land, hungry and sickly, and will not dare to utter their own names in the presence of anyone.

“They will see foreigners in their land, and will beg them for a piece of bread.

“It will be worse for their country than it was for the Roman Empire. For they had Rome for an example, and did not learn from it.

“It will be worse for their nation which was born of them, than it was for the Jewish nation. For they had the example of the Jewish nation, and did not learn from it.

“They will hear their names being cursed, and will not dare to poke their heads out the window.

“They will see their people, being led away bound in columns, and will be afraid for themselves.

“And they will hear, both when asleep and when awake, their name being cursed, and they will shiver—they will shiver but will be unable to die.”

O Great and Fearful Lord, all Your ways are grace and truth. What will You do with those who were blinded, misled, deceived and despoiled?

“I wait, to see who will cry out to Me—and I will respond.

“As long as there is crying out on earth, there will also be an echo in heaven.

“I am the One who is closest to everyone on earth. I give Myself to everyone who desires Me; I withdraw Myself from everyone who does not acknowledge Me. Without Me the world is a pile of ashes. And without Me people are feebler than ashes.”

From: Prayers by the Lake by St. Nikolai of Ohrid and Zica, Translated and Annotated by: Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Todor Mika, S.T.M. and Very Rev. Dr. Stevan Scott
Written at Lake Ohrid 1921-1922.
http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/pl84.htm

Εκκλησια_images.. Like the Old Testament Psalmist, our holy Vladika poured out his soul in his works and in prayer. This is especially evident in his “Prayers by the Lake,” “The Spiritual Lyre,” and “Prayerful Songs.” From his poetic inspiration and fervor arose prayers on the level of the Psalms, like the most beautiful flowers of paradise. Vladika Nikolai’s spirit of prayer was so powerful that it often threw him to his knees. He was often seen weeping. He was inflamed by divine eros.* His thirst for God was unquenchable; it could be satisfied only with complete union with God.

Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Θεολόγος, Κανέο Οχρίδα--Church of St. John at Kaneo Lake Ohrid- Церковь Святого Иоанна Канео (Охрид)--Lake-OA view of Lake Ochrid (Ohrid), where St. Nikolai composed these prayers. 
The 13th century monastery is dedicated to St. John the Theologian at Kaneo, Ohrid