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Iconography and Hand painted icons


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)

Verses
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.”

Homily
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 
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/04/prologue-may-19-june-1.html

***

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 
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/May19.htm

***

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
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/June19.htm

***

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
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2021/06/26/if-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
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/06/13/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-sou/

The Saints will be more sanctified and the dirty will become more dirty. Saint Paisios the Athonite
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/the-saints-will-be-more-sanctified-and-the-dirty-will-become-more-dirty/

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.


The Miracle of the Monks in the Caucasus. A single saint is an extraordinarily precious phenomenon for all mankind. By the mere fact of their existence – unknown, maybe to the world but known to God – the saints draw down on the world…

Ασκητες_asketesaΕρημίτης_Hermit_отшельник- еремит_i_058d7b0ad0e7851492On Saturday of Cheese Fare Week we commemorate all the Saints, both Fathers and Mothers of the Lord, known by name and unknown, “who brightly shone forth living ascetically”.

Verses
To the souls of the Righteous, whose memory abideth
Forever, do I offer these my words as abiding oblations

“I saw in Egypt,” testifies Rufinus, “fathers who live on the earth but lead a heavenly life … new prophets, of whose worth there is the testimony of their gift of signs and miracles. None of them is anxious over food and clothing, for they know that after all these things do the Gentiles seek (Matt. 6:32). They seek justice and the Kingdom of God, and all this, according to the promise of the Savior, will be added to them. Their faith is such that it can move mountains. Thus certain of them by their prayers stopped river torrents that were about to inundate neighboring villages, crossed over Waters as on dry land, subdued wild beasts, and performed numberless miracles; so that there is no doubt that it is by their virtues that the world stands.” “The heavens, speckled with a multitude of stars, are not as bright,” says Chrysostom, “as the Egyptian desert, which displays everywhere the huts of monks … It is better than paradise, where we see in human form numberless choirs of angels, throngs of martyrs, assemblies of virgins; we see the whole tyranny of the devil overthrown, and the Kingdom of Christ shines.”

Αγία Σκέπη της Υπεραγίας Θεοτόκου -Покров Пресвятой Богородицы-ikona_pokrov_e30a78e7a5203684c977The Miracle of the Monks in the Caucasus

In the 1960’s, the KGB authorities caught everyone who was hiding there, mostly monks, and sent them to correctional camps.

One experienced officer, a member of the party, was given the task of monitoring a group of monks. He watched the monks from the air on the radio and reported all their movements, and soldiers on the ground surrounded them, pressing them to the steep peak, at which they hoped to overtake and arrest them.

The hunt for the monks has been going on for several days and is drawing to a close. The monks had nowhere to go, they climbed to the very top of the mountain, behind them were soldiers with dogs catching up, and in front of them was a bottomless, steep abyss. The officer’s helicopter hovered right above the monks, the pilot let them know that it was all over. Suddenly, something unusual began to happen below. The monks all at once knelt and prayed for a long time, then they got up and went to the edge of the abyss. “Will they really jump? This is certain death! What? Did they decide to commit suicide? ”The helicopter pilot thought with annoyance.

But at this time one of the monks made the sign of the cross and blessed the abyss with a large cross and with one step, stepped into the gap! But he didn’t fall. For some reason, by some miracle he remained hanging in the air over the abyss and slowly went through the air as if on a path. The other monks followed him and also went through the air one by one, rising up disappeared into the clouds.

This made such a strong impression on the pilot that he even lost control over the airplane fell into the clearing, where he was found and picked up by the soldiers. A few months later, when he recovered, he was called to the special unit for an explanation. Instead of answering, he put a party ticket on the table and asked to be fired. Having retired, this former pilot officer accepted baptism and became a believer.”
https://throughthegraceofgod.wordpress.com/the-miracle-of-the-monks-in-the-caucasus/

Ασκητες_asketes-Ερημίτες_Hermit_отшельник- еремит_dormsabbscribes_i_gerontiko342454354Saint Silouan the Athonite

The saints embrace the whole world with their love.
“A single saint is an extraordinarily precious phenomenon for all mankind. By the mere fact of their existence – unknown, maybe to the world but known to God – the saints draw down on the world, on all humanity, a great benediction from God…”
“Because of these people, I believe the Lord preserves the world, for they are precious in His sight, and God always listens to His humble servants and we are all right because of their prayers.”
“Prayer keeps the world alive and when prayer fails, then the world will perish… ‘Nowadays,’ perhaps you will say, ‘there are no more monks like that to pray for the whole world,’ But I tell you that when there are no more men [or women] of prayer on the earth, the world will come to an end and great disasters will befall.. . . when the earth ceases to produce saints, the strength that safeguards the earth from catastrophe will fail. They have already started.”
(Saint Silouan the Athonite, pg. 222, 223.)

***

Saint Paisios the Athonite

Father Paisios was once asked if it would not be better if he left his monastery to go into the world so that he could better help people.

The army has many divisions and each one fights from its own position; the navy at sea, the airplanes in the air and the army on the land.  A very specialized position is the one of the radio operator.  His main characteristic is that he connects all the army divisions with the headquarters, which send help in case of emergency.  The radio operator must not be close to the combat zone, but higher up in a quiet place, so that he may clearly transmit the messages.  When the soldiers fight and are in danger, they should not say to the radio operator:  “What are you doing up there?  Come and fight with us.”  His duty is to stay where he is and receive orders from headquarters, and keep them up to date regarding the outcome of the combat.

Ερημίτης_ΕΡΗΜΙΤΗς_untitled-6Apolytikion of Holy Protection of the Theotokos in the First Tone

O Virgin, we extol the great grace of thy Protection, which thou didst spread out like a bright cloud beyond all understanding; for thou dost invisibly protect thy people from the foe’s every assault. Since we have thee as our shelter and certain help, we cry to thee with our whole soul: Glory to thy great deeds, O most pure Maid. Glory to thy shelter most divine. Glory to thy care and providence for us, O spotless one.

Apolytikion of Cheesefare Saturday, Fourth Tone

O God of our Fathers, even dealing with according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

Tone 8 (Repeat: “Come, all faithful …”)

Rejoice, Egypt, land of faith! Rejoice, holy Libya, and the Thebaid chosen by God!
Rejoice, every place and country that have brought forth citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, raising them in abstinence and labor, offering them to God as perfect in love.
They are stars guiding our souls, and by the brightness of their wonders and the miracles they wrought, they have shed their spiritual light over all the earth. O all-blessed fathers, pray for our souls!

Who among men can speak of the perfection of your lives, holy fathers? What tongue can utter the sanctity of your efforts: the sufferings in virtue, the control of the flesh;
the struggles with passions, in vigils, in prayers and in tears? Truly ye were angels while ye lived in the world. Ye laid low the highest powers of evil. Ye performed miraculous and wonderful signs. Therefore pray with us, O most blessed fathers, to gain for our souls eternal joy!

After the 1st reading from the Psalter (16th Kathisma), the Sessional hymns:
(Tone VIII):

Illumined by the brilliant lightning of the Fathers, * let us now enter as if into a beautiful Paradise, * and delight beside the river of sweetness therein. * Beholding with wonder their valor, * let us strive to equal them in the virtues, * crying aloud unto the Savior: * O God, by their intercessions ** make us partakers of Thy heavenly Kingdom.

Glory …,
Wandering as it were among flowers of the virtues * in the meadow of God-bearing ascetics, * we are filled with the breath of sweet fragrance. * For by suffering they became hardened against temptations, * and by abstinence they subjected the flesh to the spirit, * living the life of angels here on earth; ** wherefore they have been deemed worthy of glory.

We entrust to You, loving Master, our whole life and hope, and we beseech, pray, and implore You: Grant us to partake of Your heavenly and awesome Mysteries from this sacred and spiritual table with a clear conscience for the remission of sins, the forgiveness of transgressions, the communion of the Holy Spirit, the inheritance of the Kingdom of Heaven, and boldness before You, not unto judgment or condemnation.

Commemorating our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life unto Christ our God.


Saint Polycarp the Hieromartyr and Bishop of Smyrna, the saints dealt with sinners cautiously and compassionately; Acting thusly, you build yourselves up. by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

ΠΟΛΥΚΑΡΠΟς ΣΜΥΡΝΗΣ_Поликарп, епископ Смирнскийst-polycarp-martyrdom

Saint Polycarp the Hieromartyr and Bishop of Smyrna (167)
Saint Gorgonia (372) the elder sister of St Gregory the Theologian and the daughter of St Gregory Nazianzen the Elder (January 1) and St Nonna (August 5)
Venerable Father Alexander the Unsleeping (430)
John, Antiochus, Antoninus, Moses, Zebinas, Polychronius and Damian, Ascetics of the Syrian Deserts (5th century)[
Holy 73 Martyrs of Sirmium (303)
Moses of White Lake Monastery (1480)
New Monk-martyr Damian of Philotheou and Kissavos, at Larissa (1586)
Venerable Polycarp of Bryansk, monk of Bryansk(1620-1621)
Nazarius, Abbot of Valaam Monastery (1809)
Seraphim (Zenobius), Schema-Metropolitan of Tetritskaro, Georgia, monk of Glinsk Monastery (+1985)
Uncovering of the relics (1998) of Blessed Matrona of Moscow (1952)

Commemorated on February 23

The Holy Priestly-Martyr Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Polycarp, this great apostolic man, was born a pagan. St. John the Theologian converted him to the Faith of Christ and baptized him. In his childhood, Polycarp became an orphan and according to a vision in a dream Callista, a noble widow, took him as her own son, raised and educated him. From his childhood Polycarp was devout and compassionate. He strove to emulate the life of St. Bucolus, then the Bishop of Smyrna, as well as the holy Apostles John and Paul, whom he knew and heard. St. Bucolus ordained him a presbyter and before his death, Bucolus designated him as his successor in Smyrna. The apostolic bishops, who gathered at the funeral of Bucolus, consecrated Polycarp as bishop. From the very beginning, Polycarp was gifted with the power of working miracles. He expelled an evil spirit from the servant of a prince and through prayer stopped a terrible fire in Smyrna. Upon seeing this, many pagans regarded Polycarp as one of the gods. He brought down rain in times of drought, healed illnesses, discerned, prophesized and so forth. He suffered during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Three days before his death, St. Polycarp prophesized: “In three days, I will be burned in fire for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ!” And on the third day when the soldiers arrested him and brought him to trial, he cried out: “Let this be the will of the Lord my God.” When the judge counseled him to deny Christ and to acknowledge the Roman gods, Polycarp said: “I cannot exchange the better for the worse!” The Jews especially hated Polycarp and endeavored to have Polycarp burned alive. When they placed him bound at the stake, he prayed to God for a long while. He was very old, grey and radiant as an angel. The people witnessed how the flame encircled him but did not touch him. Frightened by such a phenomenon, the pagan judges ordered the executioner to pierce him with a lance through the fire. When he was pierced, so much blood flowed from him that the entire fire was extinguished, and his body remained whole and unburned. At the persuasion of the Jews, the judge ordered Polycarp’s lifeless body be incinerated according to the custom of the Hellenes. So the evil ones burned the dead body of the lifeless one whom they could not burn while alive.

St. Polycarp suffered on Great and Holy Saturday in the year 167 A.D.
Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One.
prologue.orthodox.cn/February23.htm

***

Hymn of Praise
Saint Polycarp
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

ΠΟΛΥΚΑΡΠΟς ΣΜΥΡΝΗΣ_Поликарп, епископ Смирнский24344His holy ones, God preserves
That until their appointed time, they do not perish,
Until they complete their task, they perish not.
The Elder Polycarp and saint of God
With his deacon, journeyed,
In a road inn, spent the night.
The Elder prays while the deacon sleeps.
Until an angel of God appeared to the Elder
And commanded that they immediately arise,
And from this road inn to depart,
For the inn is soon to be destroyed.
The young deacon, the Elder awakes,
But the deacon fatigued, slept on.
In that, the angel appeared again,
And again, the same warning gave,
Again, the Elder, his deacon awakes,
But, a heavy sleep, the deacon, overpowered
One moment he awakes, the next moment he is drowned in sleep.
And a third time, the angel appeared,
And a warning he issues for the third time.
That this was not a deceit, the Elder perceived,
But a warning from God, verily.
The saint jumped and the deacon he lifted,
And from the road inn, walked out.
And as soon as they walked out from the inn,
To the foundation, the entire house was destroyed,
All who were in it perished
Because of certain kinds of secret transgressions.
With fright, the young deacon was filled,
But in prayer, the saint was silent.
To the Most High God, they offered thanks,
They continued their way, under the stars.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
prologue.orthodox.cn/February23.htm

***

St. Polycarp writes the following to the Philippians about a priest Valentine who fell into the sin of avarice and secretly hid money belonging to the church: “I was deeply saddened because of Valentine who, at one time, was a presbyter among us, who had forgotten the rank [the priesthood] bestowed upon him. That is why I beg you, beware of greed and remain pure and just. Restrain yourself from every vice. He who cannot restrain himself, how will he be able to teach others restraint. He who submits to avarice pollutes himself with idolatry and numbers himself among the ranks of pagans. Who is not aware of God’s judgement? As Paul teaches: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” (1 Corinthians 6:2). In other words, I have not noticed anything similar among you neither have I heard anything among you; among those whom Blessed Paul lived a life of asceticism and about whom he speaks with praise at the beginning of his Epistle to the Philippians. He boasts of you throughout the churches, which, at that time, knew God, and we did not yet know him, i.e., Polycarp and the inhabitants of Smyrna. Brethren, that is why I am very saddened because of Valentine and his wife. May God grant them true repentance. “And you, be prudent in that and `not count him as an enemy’ (2 Thessalonians 3:15), but endeavor to correct them as suffering and prodigal members, that your entire body be sound. Acting thusly, you build yourselves up.” Thus, the saints dealt with sinners: cautiously and compassionately; cautiously to prevent others from a similar sin and compassionately in order to correct and save sinners.
prologue.orthodox.cn/February23.htm

Apolytikion

As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Polycarp. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion

Through godly virtues, thou broughtest forth for the Lord God much spiritual fruit, O thou most blessed Hierarch, and so didst prove worthy of God thy Lord, O wise Polycarp. Wherefore, on this day we who have all been enlightened through thy holy words extol thy praiseworthy mem’ry and glorify Christ the Lord.


Saint Sophrony Sakharov the Athonite, End Times Prophecy : the way of tears

Σωφρόνιος του Έσσεξ_Elder Sophrony of Essex_მამა სოფრონი_ Старец Софроний (Сахаров) Эссекс_e1434ba1430fa5dSaint Sophrony Sakharov the Athonite (from Essex, UK):

How can we be reborn and consider everything “great to men” as “abomination before God”? How can one become a man who is no longer a slave to pride, nor to vanity, nor a bearer of the desire to trample on his brother? – Through the love of Christ, love which is crucified in this world.

And the world hates us for this path, for this is not the path of “the prince of this world.” [John 14:30]

In our era, salvation has become more difficult than ever before. In the past, the witnesses of God who performed unbelievable miracles were a daily occurrence. How did Peter, a simple fisherman with no education, suddenly become a teacher for the entire world? The Lord gave him the power to raise even the dead by his prayer.

There are prophecies of the Holy Fathers of the 4th century who say that in the last times God will hide from people, from His faithful, their own spiritual state. They will no longer work miracles, and will feel as if they are forsaken by God in a state of emptiness. This is the only true way, as Saint Silouan writes – the way of tears. The most important struggle is with the passion of pride. All those who want to rule over people are wrong: they do not understand the authority of God. God Himself does not want to rule over man, He is waiting for man, in the freedom of his love for God, to decide for himself like a god. And my prayer is that you listen to the word of Saint Silouan: “the way of the saints is the way of loving tears”.

Where there is love, there are tears. And where there is no love, there are no tears.

Even in the greatest sufferings and torments (let us say in the times of war) when we witnessed all kinds of abuse of a defeated enemy, when sadism was becoming a daily routine throughout the world – there were no tears. I have even heard of such a way of surviving: in order to overcome the tortures applied by the conquerors, one must hate them with all his being. This hatred eases the pain, and then they couldn’t obtain anything from that prisoner. But the Lord says: “Love your enemies” [Matthew 5:44]. From this love, weeping is born for those who sin, for the tormentors who did not know the way to salvation and the true life in the image of God.

End-Times PROPHECY: the way of tears (St. Sophrony) – English


Saint Mary Magdalene with great love toward the resurrected Lord, and with great zeal, she proclaimed the Holy Gospel to the world as a true apostle of Christ.

Μυροφόρες_Myrrhbearers_ Жёны-мироносицы_μη μου απτου_Icon_of_Noli_me_tangere-Не прикасайся ко МнеAN00453552_001_lSaint Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal to the Apostles
virgin-martyr Marcella of Chios (14th century);
Venerable Cornelius of Pereyaslavl (1693);
translation of the relics of the Hieromartyr Phocas, the bishop of Sinope (117);

Commemorated on July 22

Love our Christ, just as Saint Mary Magdalene loved Him.
Elder Ignatios Kapnisis of Euboea

Mary Magdalene was one of the myrrh-bearing women and “equal to the apostles”. She was born in the town of Magdala along the shore of Lake Gennesaret and was from the tribe of Issachar. She was tormented by seven evil spirits from which the Lord Jesus freed her and made her whole. She was a faithful follower and servant of the Lord during His earthly life. Mary Magdalene stood beneath the Cross on Golgotha and grieved bitterly and mourned with the All-Holy Birth-giver of God. After the death of the Lord she visited His sepulchre three times. When the Lord resurrected she saw Him on two occasions: once alone and the other time with the other myrrh-bearing women.

She traveled to Rome and appeared before Tiberias Caesar and presenting him with a red colored egg, greeted him with the words: “Christ is Risen!” At the same time, she accused Pilate before Caesar for his unjust condemnation of the Lord Jesus. Caesar accepted her accusation and transferred Pilate from Jerusalem to Gaul where, this unjust judge, in disfavor with the emperor, died of a dread disease. After that, Mary Magdalene returned from Rome to Ephesus to St. John the Theologian whom she assisted in the work of preaching the Gospel. With great love toward the resurrected Lord, and with great zeal, she proclaimed the Holy Gospel to the world as a true apostle of Christ. She died peacefully in Ephesus and, according to tradition, was buried in the same cave in which seven youths were miraculously put to sleep for hundreds of years and, after that, were brought to life and then died (August 4). The relics of St. Mary Magdalene were later transferred to Constantinople. There is a Russian Orthodox convent dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene near the Garden of Gethsemane. Prologue from Ochrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 

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Counsels on Divine Eros of St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain

– Elder, is “divine eros” the love we feel for God?
 
Μαρία Μαγδαληνή_Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer_ ΜΑΓΔΑΛΗΝΗ-Христа-Марии-Магдалине.-Роспись-кафоликона-монастыря-Дионисиат-на-Афоне.-Сер.-XVI-в.-e1407026652957 Divine eros is something far superior to one’s love for God. It is a kind of madness. “Love – eros – madness” – is along the same lines as “envy – hatred – murder”. A precise love of God – complete with sacrifices – simmers slowly inside the heart; then, just like steam, divine eros (which cannot be held back) bursts forth and unites with God.  Divine eros can soften even the toughest bones so much, that a person can no longer stand upright; he actually falls down!  He then resembles a wax candle in a warm environment, which cannot stand firmly upright. It falls to one side, then it falls to the other side… you straighten it, but again it bends, again it falls, because of the heat of its environment, which is too hot for it to bear.. When a person finds himself in such a state and he needs to go somewhere or do something, he cannot… He struggles; he has to actually struggle to get out of that state….

– Elder, when someone is in a state of divine eros, and if he is in pain, can he feel that pain?

– If the pain is very intense, it is subdued and becomes tolerable. If the pain is minimal, it disappears altogether… Haven’t you seen how people who are in love with each other are entirely oblivious? They can hardly sleep… A monk once told me: “Geron, a brother of mine has fallen in love with a gypsy girl and has lost his sleep over her. He keeps repeating her name, over and over again… Is he perhaps bewitched? I have been a monk for so many years, and even I don’t feel that much love for the Holy Mother as he feels for that gypsy! I don’t feel my heart leaping like that!”

Unfortunately, there are spiritual people who are scandalized by the term “divine eros”. They haven’t perceived what “divine eros” means, and they are attempting to remove this term from the Menaia and the Paracletic texts, because they claim that it scandalizes. Where have things come to! On the contrary, if you speak to secular people (who have experienced “secular eros”) about divine eros, they immediately say: “That must be something a far superior thing.” There have been so many youngsters who have experienced “secular eros”, whom I immediately “aligned” when I mentioned divine eros to them! I ask them: “Have you ever lost your footing on account of the love that you felt for someone? Have you ever felt that you cannot move and you cannot do absolutely anything?” They then immediately comprehend how this must be a really superior state, and we understand each other perfectly thereafter. They usually respond with: “If we feel that way with something secular, imagine what that celestial feeling must be like!”

 How can one become dotty, Elder, by their love for God?
 
– Well, by keeping company with …other dotty ones, who will infect you with their spiritual dottiness! I will pray to one day see you… a complete madman! Amen…
 
I too have a small experience of spiritual madness, which comes from divine eros.In that state, a person reaches the stage of divine absentmindedness and wants to think of nothing else except God, the divine, the spiritual, the celestial… While divinely in love, he is deliciously ablaze internally, and he explodes externally in a mad manner – within the divine confines of modesty – and glorifies his God and Maker like an angel, day and night….
 
 Is that what we call “ecstasy”, Elder?
– Yes. That is when a person “takes leave of himself” – in the good sense, of course. That is also what we mean by ….”stand aside and shudder, o heavens” (έκστηθι φρίττων ουρανέ) [from the Eirmos of the 8th Ode of the Canon of Easter Saturday].
Divine madness takes a person beyond the earth’s pull; it lifts him up to the Throne of God, and makes him feel like a puppy at his master’s feet; a puppy licking His Feet joyfully and with reverence…
Translation by A. N
Source: “Spiritual Counsels” , St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain, vol.5 p.205-206

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Troparion, Tone 1

O holy Mary Magdalene, thou didst keep Christ’s commandments/ and follow Him Who for our sakes was born of a Virgin./ Today we celebrate thy memory/ and receive forgiveness through thy prayers.

Apolytikion in the First Tone

When Christ God had been born for our sakes from the Virgin, thou faithfully didst follow him, keeping His statutes and heeding His sacred laws, O august Mary Magdalene. Hence, as we today observe thy holy remembrance, we receive the loosing of our sins and transgressions through thy holy prayers for us.

Kontakion (Tone 3)

Standing before the Cross of the Savior,
Suffering with the Mother of the Lord,
The most glorious Mary Magdalene offered praise with tears.
She cried out: What is this strange wonder?
He who holds the whole creation in His hand chooses to suffer:
Glory, O Lord to Your power!


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

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

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

Commemorated on March 23

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

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

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Papa Fotis the Fool Meets St. Silouan the Athonite

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

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

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

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

Apolytikion for a Male Martyr in the Fourth Tone

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