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Lord, Holy Spirit, help Your people by Your irresistible power that they drive away sin from their soul; so that You would be able to enter inside with Your life-creating gifts. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Άγιον Πνεύμα_Holy Spirit_Святой Дух_978966_7695943698473106014_nHomily
About how by sins good is being turned back from man
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Your sins have turned back these blessings from you” (Jeremiah 5:25).

If you do not possess good in abundance, O people, that means you have sin in abundance. Your sins have turned your good from you. O people, if you wish good for yourself, reject sin and do not sin anymore and you will travel toward good, and good will come to you and good will not depart from you.

O man, if you do not have good, it means that you have sin. Good cannot dwell in the same house with sin just as light and darkness cannot exist in the same place at the same time. When light departs, darkness settles in and when the darkness departs, the light shines. Thus, sin and good can be interchanged but they cannot dwell together.

O my brethren, “Your sins have turned back these blessings from you.” These words were not spoken by only one prophet, to one people only, rather every true prophet spoke these words to his people. False prophets flatter the sins of their people, and thus, assist them even more to turn back good from their people. The true prophets go against the sins of the people, for they go along with good and cry out against sin, in order to be able to introduce good, which is from God, in the souls of their people. If the beehive begins to smell, will the honey carrying bees enter it and deposit their honey in it? No! And when the irrational bees do not want to enter in a putrid and smoke-ridden beehive, then how will the rational Spirit of God enter a soul, putrid and smoke-ridden from sin? And the Spirit of God is the possessor and the dispenser of all good gifts.

O Lord, Holy Spirit, help Your people by Your irresistible power that they drive away sin from their soul; so that You would be able to enter inside with Your life-creating gifts.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/May7.htm

Love makes me God… Poem XXXIV(34) St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2017/12/26/20129/

Saint Symeon, the New Theologian (949-1022 CE)

Come, O true light!
Come, O eternal life!
Come, O hidden mystery!
Come, O indescribable treasure!..
Come, O endless delight!
Come, O unsetting light!
Come, O true and fervent expectation of all those who will be saved!..
Come, O resurrection of the dead!
Come, O powerful one, who always creates and re-creates and transforms by your will alone!..
O Master, stay and do not leave me alone, so that my enemies, arriving unexpectedly, they who are always seeking to lessen my soul, may find you living within me and that they may take flight, in defeat, powerless against me, seeing you, O more powerful than everything, installed within my essence in the home of my poor soul.


The parable of the Prodigal Son speaks to us not only of sin and repentance but also of the forgiveness that God gives us. Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh

άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сынеprodigal-son-greek-1035426c93013c2e8d53002849e0886071_hdSunday of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

Parable of the Prodigal Son
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
1967, 26 February

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

The parable of the Prodigal Son speaks to us not only of sin and repentance but also of the forgiveness that God gives us. When the prodigal son had come to his senses through suffering, privation, loneliness and rejection he set out to his father’s house, and his father, who had probably often looked out for his return, saw him from afar. The Gospel tells us that love and tenderness and pity filled his heart, “his son was dear to him” and without waiting for his son’s arrival the old man who had been deeply hurt by the young man’s sins and heartlessness ran to meet him, fell on his neck, embraced and kissed him.

Is that how we meet each other when we see from a distance someone coming from that far country to which all of us at some moment, frequently perhaps, get drawn by sin, a former friend, relation or acquaintance returning to us? Is that how we meet him? To begin with, is it often that our love is so unshakeable that we constantly go to the door of the house and look into the distance hoping for his return? And when we do see a person who once was close but has become estranged moving our way, are we often pierced to the heart by the old love and tenderness and pity? And do we often make the first move towards him without waiting for his repentance or words of regret, embrace him and try to console him for his own inconstancy in love and friendship? Do we not in fact more often behave like the son who had nothing to reproach himself with before his father? When that one returned from work in the fields and heard sounds of rejoicing in the house he asked a servant what it was about, and hearing that his younger brother who was starving had returned, he was unwilling to go in. His sinful brother through shame and fear had understood what he had done, and seeing the state he had reduced himself to had come from the far country to his father’s house uncertain how he would be received. But he, the righteous one was standing outside the house where there was rejoicing over the return to life of one who was dead, and waiting for his father to come and implore him, “enter into the common joy. I rejoice, the servants rejoice, your brother rejoices, partake of our joy.” But the righteous son rebukes his father saying that for all those years of work and virtuous living he had received no reward, whereas when that “son of yours” returned the father had slain the fatted calf. And the father says, “should we not have rejoiced when your brother came back?” But the elder son sees in the prodigal only the sinful son of his father whom he can no longer accept as a brother, though his father reminds him that if the prodigal also is his son, he must be the righteous one’s brother.

άσωτος γιος_ the Prodigal Son_ Притча о блудном сынеFiul-cel-pierdut-10Again I say, does it often happen that we perceive someone who has sinned, not necessarily against us but done wrong in general as our brother? Do we not more often say “your son” with contemptuous rejection? Do we often admit that he is our brother all the same, he is dear to the father and should be infinitely dear to us? But no, we are like the son who thought himself virtuous because he was a good worker, although he remained alien to the spirit of his father’s house.

One further comment. The father did not allow his son to ask to become a servant; he could not take him as a servant but only as a son returned. And he told then to bring his original robe, not the best garment in the house but the one he used to wear before he became a stranger, before he shed it to dress up as a foreigner. When the son put on his former robe instead of his rags he felt it fit him snugly, and his father ordered then to bring him the ring, not just a ring, but the ring with which in older times a man sealed his letters. The father put complete trust in him. Why? Why did he not first demand proofs of his repentance? Because he knew that if his son had overcome shame and fear in order to come home his return was secure. But when a person, formerly a friend but who has hurt either us or someone dear to us, approaches us, are we ready to entrust ourselves to him, give him the old affection? No, and therefore the reconciliation is not permanent. That is why a person is so afraid of seeking reconciliation; he knows he will not meet the father but only false, humiliating virtue which says “you are not my brother even if my father does acknowledge you as his son”.

Let us consider this question of forgiveness, because soon it will be forgiveness Sunday and it might catch us unprepared. Amen.
http://www.mitras.ru/eng/eng_157.htm

A family man flooded with Taborian Light, He seen the “uncreated Light”. When the Grace of God is within us, then day is within our souls. Saint Paisius the Athonite – Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/30716/

Your sins are my sins, St. Nikolai Velimirovic Bishop of Ochrid
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/your-sins-are-my-sins-st-nikolai-velimirovic-bishop-of-ochrid-2/

Tone 3 Kontakion (from the Lenten Triodion)

I have recklessly forgotten Thy glory, O Father; and among sinners I have scattered the riches which Thou gavest me. And now I cry to thee as the Prodigal: I have sinned before Thee, O merciful Father; receive me as a penitent, and make me as one of Thy hired servants!

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

Brethren, our purpose is to know the power of God’s goodness,
For when the Prodigal Son abandoned his sin,
He hastened to the refuge of his Father.
That good man embraced him and welcomed him:
He killed the fatted calf and celebrated with heavenly joy!
Let us learn from this example to offer thanks to the Father who loves all people,
And to the Victim, the glorious Saviour of our souls!

Doxastikon in Tone Six

Loving Father, I have gone far from you, but do not forsake me, nor declare me unfitted for your Kingdom. The all-evil enemy has stripped me naked and taken all my wealth. I have squandered like the Profligate the graces given to my soul. But now I have arisen and returned, and I cry aloud to you, ‘Make me as one of your hired servants, You who for my sake stretched out Your spotless hands on the Cross, to snatch me from the fearsome beast and to clothe me once again in the first robe, for You alone art full of mercy’.


A man declares war on God! This is more preposterous than if a withered autumn leaf were to declare war on the wind. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Γέννηση του Ιησού Χριστού_ Рождество Христово_ Nativity of Christ Икона2286_aApodosis of the Nativity of Christ.
Holy Ten Virgin-martyrs of Nicomedia (c. 286 – 305)
Martyr Olympiodora, by fire
Hieromartyr Zoticus the Priest, of Constantinople, Guardian of Orphans (c. 340)
Venerable Melania the Younger, Nun of Rome (439)
Venerable Gelasius, Monk (Abba), of Palestine
Saint George the Wonderworker, “the stabbed”

Commemorated  on December 31

Abba Gelasius of Palestine

1. It was said of Abba Gelasius that he had a leather Bible worth eighteen pieces of silver. In fact it contained the whole of the Old and New Testaments. He had put it in the church so that any of the brethren who wished, could read it. A strange brother came to see the old man and, seeing the Bible, wished to have it, and stole it as he was leaving. The old man did not run after him to take it from him, although he knew what he was doing. So the brother went to the city and tried to sell it, and finding a purchaser, he asked thirteen pieces of silver for it. The purchaser said to him, ‘Lend it to me, first, so that I may examine it, then I will give you a price.’ So he gave it to him. Taking it, the purchaser brought it to Abba Gelasius for him to examine it and told him the price which the seller had set. The old man said to him, ‘Buy it, for it is beautiful, and worth the price you tell me.’ This man when he returned, said something quite different to the seller, and not what the old man had said to him. ‘I have shown it to Abba Gelasius,’ he said, ‘and he replied that it was dear, and not worth the price you said.’ Hearing this, he asked, ‘Didn’t the old man say anything else?’ ‘No,’ he replied. Then the seller said, ‘I do not want to sell it any more.’ Filled with compunction, he went to find the old man, to do penance and ask him to take his book back. But he did not wish to make good his loss. So the brother said to him, ‘If you do not take it back, I shall have no peace.’ The old man answered, ‘If you won’t have any peace, then I will take it back.’ So the brother stayed there until his death, edified by the old man’s way of life.

προσκύνηση των ποιμένων_ Adoration of the Shepherds__Pastiri_freska6. It was said of Abba Gelasius that he was often assailed by the thought of going to the desert. One day he said to his disciple, ‘Do me the favour, brother, of bearing with whatever I may do, and say nothing to me for the whole of this week.’ Taking a reed, he began to walk in his little atrium. When he was tired, he sat down a little, then stood up again to walk about. When evening came, he said to himself, ‘He who walks in the desert does not eat bread, but herbs; so because you are weary, eat a few vegetables.’ He did so, then said to himself again, ‘He who is in the desert does not lie in a bed, but in the open air; so do the same.’ So he lay down and slept in the atrium. He walked thus for three days in the monastery, eating a few chicory leaves in the evening and sleeping the whole night in the open air and he grew weary. Then, taking the thought which troubled him, he refuted it in these words, ‘If you are not able to perform the works of the desert, live patiently in your cell, weeping for your sins, without wandering here and there. For the eye of God always sees the works of a man and nothing escapes him and he knows those who do good.’ The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

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Homily
on the burden of sin and deliverance from sin
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered (Psalm 31:1).

Fear, confusion, weakness, infirmity and darkening of the mind are born of sin. By sin, a man provokes others against himself, confuses his own conscience, attracts demons to himself, and gives them weapons against himself. By sin, a man separates himself from God, estranges himself from his guardian angel, and walls himself off from the source of all good. The committing of sin signifies a declaration of war against God and all godly powers. This is more preposterous than if a withered autumn leaf were to declare war on the wind. And, indeed, the most preposterous thing of all occurs: a man declares war on God! This declaration alone guarantees ruin and destruction for a man if he does not quickly come to himself, repent and flee to God for mercy.

Προσκύνηση τριών μαγων_Поклонение волхвов Три царя_Adoration of the Three Magi_genisi-magi1The great King David was well aware of the terrible predicament of the sinner, and he himself experienced it. He felt inexpressible fear, confusion, weakness and loneliness; he felt the arrows of men and the arrows of demons. But, realizing his horrible situation, David acknowledged his sin, prostrated himself in ashes before God, soaked the ground with tears of repentance and words of anguish that burned like fire, and prayed to the merciful God to forgive him. And, when all was forgiven him, he felt inexpressible blessedness. This blessedness of the forgiven soul he could not express in words. He could only declare, confirm and assure us of the condition of sinfulness and the condition of forgiveness from God, based on his direct experience of both conditions: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered (Psalm 32:1). What is this blessing? Freedom, courage, indescribable joy, power, strength, clarity of thought, peace of conscience, hope in God, hymnody to God, love for one’s neighbors, and meaning to one’s life! In other words: light, joy and strength are the blessing. This is the blessing that one who is forgiven of sin feels here on earth. If this is so, then what is the blessing that awaits him in heaven, that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man (I Corinthians 2:9)?

O Lord our God, forgive us our transgressions by Thine infinite mercy, and cover our sins!

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
prologue.orthodox.cn/October13.htm

Apolytikion of Holy Nativity in the Fourth Tone

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shined the light of knowledge upon the world; for thereby they that worshipped the stars were instructed by a star to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory be to Thee.

Kontakion of Holy Nativity in the Third Tone

Today, the Virgin bears Him who is transcendent, and the earth presents the cave to Him who is beyond reach. Angels, along with shepherds glorify Him. The Magi make their way to Him by a star. For a new child has been born for us, the God before all ages.

By Anatolios 2nd Tone The same Tone.

Your kingdom, Christ God, is a kingdom of all the ages, and your Rule is from every generation to generation. Incarnate of the Holy Spirit and becoming man of the ever-Virgin Mary, you made light shine on us, Christ God, by your coming. Light of Light, Radiance of the Father, you have made all creation bright with joy. Everything that has breath praises you, Imprint of the Father’s glory. O God, who exist and pre-exist and who shone from a Virgin, have mercy on us.