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Iconography and Hand painted icons


You need to repent more with your heart than with tears. Repentance is the abandoning of all false paths that have been trodden by men’s feet, and men’s thoughts and desires, and a return to the new path: Christ’s path. Help us to repent, O God, and save us from condemnation.

Ιωνάς προφήτης_Jonah or Jonas prophet_Иона пророк-Menologion_of_Basil_008Synaxarion.
On Sept ember 21 we commemorate the Apodosis of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Prophet Jonah (8th century BC)
Apostle Quadratus of the Seventy, bishop of Athens (130).
Martyr Eusebius of Phoenicia (2nd c.) and Martyr Priscus of Phrygia.
Holy Six Martyrs, by the sword (298)
Martyrs Eusebius, Nestabus, Zeno, and Nestor and Busiris, the Confessor of Gaza (4th c.).
Hieromartyr Hypatius, bishop of Ephesus, and his presbyter Andrew (730).
Sts. Isaacius and Meletius, bishops of Sitis (Σίτης) in Cyprus.
Venerable Jonah the Sabbaite (9th c.), father of Sts. Theophanes the Hymnographer and Theodore Graptus
Venerable Daniel, abbot of Shugh Hill (Novgorod) (16th c.).
Venerable Joseph of Zaonikiev Monastery (Vologda) (1612).
New Hieromartyr Platon (Aivazidis), Protosyncellus of Metropolitan Germanos Karavangelis of Amasya (1921)
St. Ioane (Maisuradze) (1957) and St. Giorgi-Ioane (Mkheidze), (1960), confessors, of Georgia
Uncovering of the relics (1752) of St. Demetrius, metropolitan of Rostov (1709)

Commemorated on September 21

Walking humanity through history is a long journey. On this long journey, humanity ‘ gets dirty ‘ ‘ and ‘ ‘ dust ‘ ‘ always with the same dust and ‘ ‘ wash ‘ ‘ always with same water. Dust is sin and water is Repentance. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Hymn of Praise
The Holy Prophet Jonah
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιωνάς προφήτης_Jonah or Jonas prophet_Иона пророк-0_8d228_27812c1c_origs1018006Nineveh! Nineveh resounds with sin,
And God sends Jonah to heal Nineveh.
Jonah does not want to, and flees from God!
Oh, where will you go, Jonah, to hide from the Most High?
Jonah sleeps; he sleeps and the tempest rises.
God moves slowly, but He will find you in time.
Hurled into the waves, swallowed by the whale,
“From whom did I flee?” Jonah asks himself.
“I fled from Him, from Whom one cannot hide!”
God chastises Jonah and yet delivers him,
And, by His providence, glorifies him forever.
Jonah, you do not want to speak to the Ninevites,
But through your punishment you will prophesy the immortal Christ.
You do not want to by words? Then you must, by deeds,
Prophesy Christ and the death and resurrection of the body!
Your deeds, Jonah, will not fade away,
And Christ the Lord will speak of you to men,
That, through you, the mercy of the Living God might be revealed,
By which you will be saved, as well as Nineveh.
Through you, the power of repentance shall be revealed-
The power of repentance and God’s forgiveness.
You pitied the gourd, and God pitied men.
Help us to repent, O God, and save us from condemnation.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.com/2010/04/prologue-september-22-october-5.html

***

St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Ιωνάς προφήτης_Jonah or Jonas prophet_Иона пророк-0_8d228_27812c1c_origGod was the reason of true faith and good behavior and of the knowledge of technology among people.

While people continually felt God above them, before them, and around them, in the same way air and light is felt, they attributed and dedicated all their technological works and handiwork to Him, their Lord and Creator.

When the feeling of God’s presence became dulled and spiritual vision darkened, that is when pride entered into tradesmen and technologists, and they started to give glory exclusively to themselves for their buildings, handiwork and intellectual works, and began to misuse their work that is when the shadow of cursedness began to fall on technology.
St. Nikolai Velimirovich, From the Complete Works of Bishop Nikolai [in Serbian], Book 12, p. 23. Translated from the Serbian by Marija Miljkovic.

***

Many complain against technology.
Many accuse modern technology for all the woes in the world.
Is technology really to blame, or those who create technology and use it?
Is a wooden cross to blame if somebody crucifies someone on it?
Is a hammer to blame if a neighbor breaks his neighbors skull?
Technology does not feel good or evil.
The same pipes can be used for drinking water or the sewer.
Evil does not come from unfeeling, dead technology, but from the dead hearts of people.

***

Repentance is the abandoning of all false paths that have been trodden by men’s feet, and men’s thoughts and desires, and a return to the new path: Christ’s path. But how can a sinful man repent unless he, in his heart, meets with the Lord and knows his own shame? Before little Zacchaeus saw the Lord with his eyes, he met Him in his heart and was ashamed of all his ways.
St. Nikolai Velimirovic, “The Thirty-Second Sunday After Pentecost: The Gospel on Repentant Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10,” Homilies Volume II: Sundays after Pentecost

***

Γαβριήλ ο διά Χριστόν σαλός και Ομολογητής της Γεωργίας-წმ. ღირსი მამა გაბრიელი აღმსარეSt. Gabriel the Confessor of Mtskheta also admonished: “You need to repent more with your heart than with tears.”

Sometimes Father Gabriel walked around with a sign on his chest, on which was written: “A man without love is like a jug without a bottom.” At the same time, he carried with him a leaky jug through which he looked at people like through binoculars.
The ascetic admonished: “Whoever learns to love will be happy. Just don’t think that love is an innate talent. Love can be learned, and we must do it. ” The elder explained: “There is no person on earth who could fully explain what love is. On earth you will never understand it. “
He also said: “If someone is sick and in need of medicine, but it must be brought from afar, perhaps at night, and through the forest, where wolves roam, – and you, without hesitation, go on a journey to save your neighbor – this is and there is love. ” He also said: “How will a person’s soul be calm when a neighbor is in danger? If you have a patient at home and there is no one to look after him, it is better not to go to church, to stay at home. “
Father Gabriel taught: “We must love everyone. But if you can’t, at least wish everyone well.

He also said: “The Lord had mercy on the harlot, he saved the thief. Mary of Egypt was a harlot, but with the help of God she began to struggle in the wilderness, fasted, prayed and conquered the passions, was cleansed and became worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Lord will diminish and exalt ”.
The elder remarked: “Others’ sins are none of your business. You sit and cry over your sins. ” He also said: “Only with a heart full of love can one expose the sins of another person.”
He also instructed: “Do not judge, God Himself is the judge. The one who condemns is like an empty ear of wheat, whose head is always raised and who therefore always looks down at others. “

***

Saint Ioane (Maisuradze) and Saint Giorgi-Ioane (Mkheidze)
St. Gabriel the Confessor of Mtskheta, Georgia

Ιωάννης Μαϊσουράτζε - Ιωάννης – Γεώργιος Μχεΐτζε Saint Ioane (Maisuradze) - Saint Giorgi-Ioane (Mkheidze. იოანე (მაისურაFather Raphael (Karelin) narrated the story of the St. Gabriel the Confessor of Mtskheta, Georgia himself: “When I was standing in prayer, I suddenly heard a voice:” Hurry, go to Betania. “ This voice was repeated three times. I left prayer rule, dressed, took a staff and a bag and went to Bethany. On the way I bought some bread. There was no passing car, and I went on foot. I was walking through the forest, and some force was hurrying me: “Don’t stop, go quickly.” By evening I arrived at the monastery.

Schema-Archimandrite John, the last surviving monk, met me. He said: “I prayed, child, that you would come to me and read over me a prayer of death.”

Despite the fact that Schema-Archimandrite John was ill for a long time, nothing foreshadowed his imminent death: he met me on my feet, not in bed; his appearance was even more cheerful than when I saw him in last time…

Evening came. Schiarchimandrite blessed me to light the candles. He gave me the book “Kurtkhevani” (this is the name of the Trebnik in Georgian. – Ed. Note), opened in the place where the canon for the exodus of the soul was, and told me to read it. I cried and began to ask: “Father, may I die before you and instead of you.” He replied: “You do not know what you are talking about and what you are asking for.” I continued to cry, falling at his feet. Then he got up and uttered the first exclamation solemnly, like a bishop during a divine service. I could not disobey and began to continue my prayer. I read the canon for the exodus of the soul to the end …

Then I began to read the Jesus Prayer aloud, and suddenly Father John seemed to start, joy was reflected on his face. “My brother and father John came for me,” he said, “and with him …” and he fell silent, his head sank on his chest. Minutes of silence passed. I went up to him. He was already dead … I prayed all night. In the morning, people came to the monastery, as if having learned about the death of the abbot. We informed Patriarch Ephraim about the death of the great elder … “

St. Gabriel the Confessor of Mtskheta, Georgia said:Father Giorgi and Father Ioane were two pillars of fire standing front of God for Georgia and for salvation of human souls. Father Giorgi possessed unlimited strength of prayer. I put him into the grave myself and put a book of the New Testament and a cross on his chest. He lies incorrupt in the grave; I not’only believe in this, but also see it. Open his grave; why would an incorrupt father lie in the soil!”

The Theotokos appeared to Fr. Giorgi-Ioane in a vision and relieved his terrible physical pain. The protomartyr Thekla also appeared to him, presenting him with a bunch of grapes. Several days before his repose, the holy father was in the city when an angel appeared to him and announced his imminent repose. The angel told him to return to the monastery to prepare for his departure from this world.
St. Giorgi-Ioane (Mkheidze) reposed in 1960. He was buried at BetaniaMonastery, next to Fr. Ioane (Maisuradze).

***

,,When the word of God was no longer uttered in Georgia, the Monastery of Betania carried out a significant mission: it was the only place in the country where eternal and life-giving truth of God was still preached overtly, where active confession of the faith was carried out with not only eloquent words of the monks, but also with their very pure and ascetic life… [[Fathers from Betania] were like a beacon standing above the omi- nous and dark abyss, which showed the way to the salvation haven for the spiritually bewildered population”.
(Archimandrite Lazare Abashidze, “Iveria of Betania”, Tbilisi, 1994, pg. 29; 31)

Γαβριήλ ο διά Χριστόν σαλός και Ομολογητής της Γεωργίας-წმ. ღირსი მამა გაბრიელი აღმსარეApolytikion of the Holy Cross – First Tone

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victories to the to the Emperor over the barbarians; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy habitation. (3 times)

Troparion Holy Prophet Jonah – Tone 2

The memory of your Prophet Jonah, we celebrate today, O Lord. By his prayers we entreat you: O Christ God, save our souls!

Apolytikion of Prophet Jonah
Third Tone

To the Ninevites, thou wast a trumpet, blaring fearful threats of Heaven’s judgments, at the which they repented with all their hearts; and from the sea-monster’s belly didst thou foreshow the Lord’s divine Resurrection to all the world. Hence, entreat Him to bring out of corruption all of us, who honour thee, O Jonah, as a friend of God.

Kontakion of Prophet Jonah
Third Tone

Thou didst pass three days and nights within the sea-monster’s entrails, showing forth the Lord’s descent into the belly of Hades; for when He had freely suffered His saving Passion, He arose out of the sepulchre on the third day. Hence, we honour thee, O Prophet, who wast deemed worthy to be a figure of Christ.

Apolytikion of St Apostle Quadratus — Tone 3

O Holy Apostle Kodratos, intercede with the merciful God that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offences.

Troparion of St Apostle Quadratus — Tone 1

Thy life became radiant with wisdom; thou didst draw down the fire of the Spirit/ and discern the doctrines of life,/ Quadratus, Apostle of Christ./ We cry to thee as to an enlightener:/ Glory to Christ Who has glorified thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee:/ glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Saint Ioane (Maisuradze) (1957) and Saint Giorgi-Ioane (Mkheidze), (1960), the Confessors of Georgia

Troparion — Tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile, / and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. / By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe! / O our holy father John, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!

Troparion — Tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile, / and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. / By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe! / O our holy father George, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!

Apolytikion of St. Gabriel (Urgebadze) the Fool-for-Christ of Georgia ― Tone 4

As the Master Christ hid His divinity, clothing it in humanity, and, unseen by us, brought into being His ineffable glory, likewise didst thou hide thy glory by means of foolishness, and by the wonder of thy confession wast shown forth as a shepherd of souls; O venerable Father Gabriel, entreat Christ God to have mercy on our souls.

The Book of Jonah
http://www.christopherklitou.com/old_testament_greek_english_jonah_1-4.htm

Jonah prayer: Jonah 2: 3-10,
(the Sixth ode of the Holy Psalter)

I cried in my affliction to the Lord my God, and he hearkened to me, even to my cry out of the belly of hell: thou heardest my voice.
4 Thou didst cast me into the depths of the heart of the sea, and the floods compassed me: all thy billows and thy waves have passed upon me.
5 And I said, I am cast out of thy presence: shall I indeed look again toward thy holy temple?
6 Water was poured around me to the soul: the lowest deep compassed me, my head went down to the clefts of the mountains;
7 I went down into the earth, whose bars are the everlasting barriers: yet, O Lord my God, let my ruined life be restored.
8 When my soul was failing me, I remembered the Lord; and may my prayer come to thee into thy holy temple.
9 They that observe vanities and lies have forsaken their own mercy.
10 But I will sacrifice to thee with the voice of praise and thanksgiving: all that I have vowed I will pay to thee, the Lord of my salvation.
http://www.christopherklitou.com/old_testament_greek_english_jonah_1-4.htm


Resurrect my soul, O Lord, so that my body might also be resurrected. Dwell in my soul, and my body will become Your temple. Prayer XCII (92) St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Θωμάς ο Απόστολος, The Apostle Saint Thomas, Святой апостол Фома -ΨΗΛΑΦΗΣΙΣ-ΤΟΥ-ΘΩΜΑ_2m-tirea-afteia-alba-fresca-2010-naos-absida-nord-03-Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Христос Воскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!
«Rejoice!». «Peace be unto you!»

Synaxarion From the Pentecostarion.
On this day, the second Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the dedication of Christ’s Resurrection, and St. Thomas’ handling of the Lord’s body.
On this day, we also commemorate the contest of the Holy 1241 New Martyrs of Naousa, who were brutally massacred in the kennels of Arapitsi, Young Women, Mothers, and these Children (1822)
On this day, Memory of Holy New Hieromartyr Niketas of Serres (1808)
On this day, we celebrate the memory of the Holy Five Neomartyrs of Samothrace: Sts. Manuel, Theodore, George, George the younger, and Michael. 1835.
On this day, the Synaxis of the Panagia Pantanassa at Mystras

Synaxarion From the Menaion.
On May 1 we commemorate the holy Prophet Jeremiah (c. 655 – 586 BC)
Venerable Isidora the Fool-for-Christ, of Tabennisi, Egypt (c. 365), died in peace.
On this day we also commemorate the contest of the holy Hieromartyr Batas of Nisibis (Bata the Persian) (c. 364)
New Monk-martyr Romanus of Raqqa (780)
St. Michael, ascetic of Chalcedon (8th-9th century)
Saint Symeon of Mount Sinai, known as the Five-Tongued (or of Syracuse or Trier) (1035)
Saint Tamar the Queen of Georgia (1213)
Hieromartyr Macarius of Kiev, Metropolitan of Kiev (1497)
Saint Panaretus of Cyprus, archbishop (1791)
New Martyrs Euthymius of Dimitsana (March 22), Ignatius of Eski Zagaran (October 8, 1814), and Acacius of Nibori, Thessaloniki (1815) Their joint memory is observed in their holy shrine in the Skete of the Honorable Forerunner [on Mt. Athos].
Saint Nicephorus of Chios, monk (1821)
New Martyr Mary of Crete (Mary of Mirambelos) (1826)
Schemamonk Luke of Glinsk Hermitage (1898)
Virgin-martyr Nina (Kuznyetsova), new martyr of Vologda (1938)
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Unexpected Joy” (“Neochikuvana Radist”) from Andronikov Monastery.

Verses
Locks of neither womb nor tomb impede You.
So how should door locks impede Your entry, O Savior?

My Lord who resurrects…
St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid
Prayer XCII (92)

Εις Άδου Κάθοδος_Ανάσταση_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ_1n1-w3e3-l3-89My Lord is the One who resurrects. He resurrects the dead from morning until dusk, and from dusk until dawn.1
What the morning buries, the Lord brings to life in the evening; and what the evening buries, the Lord brings to life in the morning.
What work is more fitting for the living God than to resurrect the dead into life?
Let others believe in the God who brings men to trial and judges them.
I shall cling to the God who resurrects the dead.
Let others believe in the God, who does not even draw near to the living when they call upon Him.
I shall worship the God, who holds His cupped ear even at cemeteries and listens, to hear whether anyone is crying out for resurrection or for the One who resurrects.
The gravediggers dig graves and are silent. The Lord opens graves and shouts.2
A mother places her daughter in a grave, the Lord takes her out of the grave; the Lord is a better mother than the mother.
A father covers his son with soil, the Lord uncovers him. The Lord is a better father than the father.
A brother buries his brother, the Lord resurrects him. The Lord is a better brother than the brother.
The Lord has neither tears nor smiles for the dead. His whole heart belongs to the living. The world mourns for their kindred in the cemeteries, the Lord seeks His own with a song and awakens them.
Resurrect my soul, O Lord, so that my body might also be resurrected.
Dwell in my soul, and my body will become Your temple.3
My neighbors ask with anxiety whether this body of ours will be resurrected.
If you have denied yourself once and for all, and no longer live for yourself, then your body is already being resurrected.4
If your body is a temple of the Most High God, then the One who resurrects is within you, and your resurrection is already being accomplished.
Our body changes with age, throughout our lifetime we have called many bodies our own. Which of them will be resurrected?
Perhaps none of them. But you can be certain that if you have had a body which expresses the Word of God clearly, it will be resurrected.5
My Lord who resurrects, does not resurrect death, because death was never alive.
You are the One who resurrects and You are the resurrection, for You are life.6
Only the seed which contains You is resurrected, and that seed which is of You.7
You will only bring to life that soul which now lives by You and not by the world.
You will only preserve that body, which has begun to be filled with the Holy Spirit during this time.8
That which is of the Living God in the graves, will be resurrected into life.
No one can resurrect the dead except the Lord, and no one can rise from the dead except the Lord.
For He is in His holy people. Truly, He is in His living people, both in the grave and out of the grave.
__________
1. “Jesus said… ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live”‘ (John 11:25).
2. Cf. John 5:24-30 and 1 Thess. 4:13-17.
3. Cf. 1 Cor. 6:19.
4. Cf. Gal. 2:20, Rom 6:3-11, and Col. 2:12.
5. Cf. 1 Cor. 15:35-57.
6. Cf. John 11:25.
7. Cf. John 12:24.
8. Cf. Phil. 3:10-11, 20-21. http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/pl92.htm
Prayers by the Lake, VIII (8), by St. Nikolai Velimirovic
Written at Lake Ohrid 1921-1922.

Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Θεολόγος, Κανέο Οχρίδα--Church of St. John at Kaneo Lake Ohrid- Церковь Святого Иоанна Канео (Охрид)-6170M3367S-4504Apolytikion. From Pentecostarion Grave Mode.

O Life, You rose from the sepulcher, even though the tomb was secured with a seal, O Christ God. Then, although the doors were shut, You came to Your Disciples, O Resurrection of all. Through them You renew a right spirit in us, according to Your great mercy.

Apolytikion of the Holy Five Neomartyrs of Samothrace – 1st Tone (amateur translation)

O lamps of Samothrace and adornment of Makri, you were shown forth truly as divine Neomartyrs, you struggled steadfastly for Christ and destroyed the fallacy of the enemy, Manuel with Theodore and Michael, and dual Georges, glory to Him Who strengthened you, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him who bestows on us through you grace and mercy.

Apolytikion of Prophet Jeremias
Second Tone

As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Jeremias, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.

Apolytikion of St Isidora Plagal Tone 4

In thee, O mother, that which was created according to the image of God was manifestly saved; for, taking up thy cross, thou didst follow after Christ; and, praying, thou didst learn to disdain the flesh, for it passeth away, hut to care for thy soul as a thing immortal. Where­fore, with the angels thy spirit doth rejoice, O venerable Isidora.

Apolytikion of Tamara, Queen of Georgia
Third Tone

Let the mountain-tops and vales of Georgia sound with songs of praise to laud Tamara as the vessel of wisdom, the smiling sun, the sword of truth, the conversion of infidels, the most harmonious reed-pipe of Jesus Christ, and our fervent intercessor before the King of Kings, entreating Him to grant great mercy unto us.

Apolytikion of Ignatius, & Euthymius the New Martyrs
First Tone

Ye who are equal in number to the unoriginate Trinity stand now with the choirs of the Angels and hosts of Martyrs in boundless joy before the thrice-resplendent throne of the Godhead; wherefore, O most wise ones, ye partake of the beams from that awesome majesty, and grant unto the faithful the divine enlightenment from on high, unending well-springs of healings, and the pardon of our grievous sins. O divine Euthymius, Martyr of Christ, with the wise Ignatius, and God inspired Acacius, ye ever entreat the Lord God in behalf of all.

Apolytikion of St Nikephoros Tone 4

Thou hast been shown to be, O Nikephoros, a most luminous star of the Church of Christ, an exceedingly rich meadow of His truth, and a melifluent clarion, delighting the hearts of the faithful with divinely inspired teachings. Wherefore intercede with Christ God for the salvation of our souls.

THE UNEXPECTED JOY Kontakion Tone 6

We have no other help, we have no other hope, but you, O Lady. / Help us, for in you we hope, / and of you we boast, for we are your servants. / Let us not be put to shame.


Anoint my heart with the oil of Your mercy, my most merciful Lord. – I pray we all go to Paradise or on one goes to Hell! Saint Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Η Τελική Κρίση _The Last Judgement_ Страшный суд_2_Kapinovski_manastirPut on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:12-13

The Future Judgment
by Saint Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Geronda [Elder], how is the soul purified?

When a person observes the Commandments of God, working to be cleansed of one’s own passions, then the mind is enlightened; it attains spiritual vision, and the soul becomes as resplendent as it was before the Fall of man. This is the condition he will be in after the resurrection of the dead. But one can see the resurrection of his soul before the General Resurrection only if he is cleansed entirely from the passions. Then, his body will be Angelic, incorporeal, and will not be concerned with material nourishment.

-Geronda [Elder], how will the future Judgment take place?

In the future Judgment, the condition of each person will be revealed in an instant, and each person on his own will proceed to where he belongs. Each person will recognize*, as if on a television screen, his own wretchedness, as well as the spiritual condition of others. He will reflect himself upon the other, and he will bow his head, and proceed to the place where he belongs. For example, a daughter-in-law who sat comfortably with her legs crossed in front of her mother-in-law, who with a broken leg took care of the grandchild, will not be able to say, “My Christ, why are you putting my mother-in-law into Paradise without including me?” * because that scene will come before her to condemn her. She will remember her mother-in-law who stood with her broken leg in order to take care of her grandchild and she will be too ashamed to go into Paradise — but there will be not place for her there, anyway.

Or, to cite another example, monastics will see the difficulties, the tribulations of the people in the world and how they faced them; and if they have not lived appropriately as monastics, they will lower their heads and proceed on their own to the place where they belong. There, nuns who did not please God will see heroic mothers who neither took vows nor had the blessings and opportunities that they, the nuns, had. They will see how those mothers struggled, as well as the spiritual heights they attained, while they, the nuns, who with petty things preoccupied and tormented themselves, will be ashamed! These are my thoughts about the manner of the Final Judgement. In other words, Christ will not say, “You come here; what did you do?” Nor will He say, “You go to Hell; you go to Paradise.” Rather, each person will compare himself with the others and proceed to his appropriate place.**

St. Paisios of Mt. Athos, Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual Councils IV: Family Life
* Note: Saint of Damascus writes: “For no one should imagine that there will be no recognition of one person by another on that fearful Day of the Judgment. Yes, truly each person will recognize his neighbor, not through the shape of the body, but by means of the vision of the eye of the soul. PG 95, 276A.
** Note: Saint Symeon the New Theologian writes: “On the fearful Day of Judgment each sinful person will simply see, standing opposite them in the eternal life and in that inexpressible light, their fellow human beings; and they will be judged by them.” On Repentance, Logos 5, Sources Chrétiennes 96, 434

Life after death
by Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Geronda [Elder], when a person dies, does he become immediately aware of his spiritual condition?

ΕΛΕΗΜΟΣΥΝΗ_Almsgiving_Подая́ние (ми́лостыня)_Μακάριοι οι ελεήμονες..vasily-perov-wanderer-Yes, he does, and says to himself, “What have I done?” But the result in fayda yok, [An expression in the Turkish language, which means: “There is no benefit, there is no progress or success”.) that is, this awareness is of no benefit. This can be likened to a drunk man who kills his mother and goes on singing and laughing, but who, upon becoming sober and realizing what he has done, will wail and lament and say, “What have I done?” In much the same way, those who commit wrongdoings in this life are like drunken men. They don’t understand what they’re doing; they don’t have a sense of their guilt. But when they die, this “drunkenness” disappears and they become aware of their real condition. The eyes of their soul are opened and they realize their guilt, because the soul, when separated from the body, moves, sees and perceives with an inconceivable speed.
Some people ask when the Second Coming will take place. But for the person who dies, the Second Coming is, in a way, taking place, because he is judged on the basis of the state in which he is found at the time of death

The Future Life

Geronda [Elder], I have brought some sweets for you to offer to your guests.

-Look how happy they are with that! In the other life we will be saying to ourselves, “In what foolish things we found joy! What things inspired us then!” While now our heart flutters over such things.

-Geronda [Elder], how can we understand this at this point in time?

-If you understand this from now, you will not say it in the next life. In any case, those who are to be found up there will be faring well. Have you any idea what handicraft they do there in Heaven? They constantly glorify God. 

-Geronda [Elder}, in the other life will those in Hell see those in Paradise?

-Look, just as those who are out at night in the dark can see those who are in a lit room, so will those who will be in Hell see those in Paradise. And this will be an even greater hell for them. So, too, just as those who are in a lit room at night can’t see those who are out in the dark, so will those who are in Paradise not see those in Hell. For if the saved were to see those who are condemned in Hell, they would be pained and grieved over their suffering, and would not enjoy Paradise, where “there is no pain…” And not only will they not see them, but they won’t even remember if they had a brother or a father or a mother, if they, too are not in Paradise”. The Psalmist says, “On that very day his thoughts perish” (Psalm 146:4). For if they are to be remembered, how can it be Paradise? Moreover, those in Paradise will have no awareness of that existence of others, nor will they remember the sins they had committed. For, if they were to remember their sins, they would not be able to bear, out of philotimo, the thought of ever having grieved God.

Ο ζητιάνος-The Beggar Нищий уйгур-Исаак_Аскназий_Нищий_в_церквиThe amount of joy experienced by each person in Paradise will vary. One will have a thimble full of joy, another a glassful, and yet another, an entire reservoir. But all of them will feel complete and no one will know the other’s extent of joy and delight. The Benevolent God has so ordered these matters, for if one knew that the other had more joy, then it would not be Paradise because then there would be questions like: “Why should he have more joy than me?” In other words, in Paradise, each person will see the glory of God in accordance with the purity of the eyes of his soul. The degree of visibility will not be determined by God, but will depend on each person’s purity.

-Geronda[Elder], some do not believe that Hell and Paradise exist.

-They don’t believe that Hell and Paradise exist? Since they are souls, how is it possible for the dead to remain in non-existence? God is immortal and man is immortal by grace. Consequently, man will be immortal even in Hell. Moreover, Paradise and Hell are experienced by the soul, to a degree, even in this life, analogous with the inner state of each person. When someone experiences the pangs of remorse in his conscience and feels fear, distress, anxiety, hopelessness, or is overcome with hatred, envy and so forth, then he experiences Hell. But when he’s full of love, joy, and peace, gentleness, kindness and so forth, then he experiences paradise. The whole basis is the soul, for it is the souls that experiences both the joy and the pain…

-Geronda [Elder], we have been struggling for such a long time not to go to Hell…are you saying that we may end up there?

-If we have no brain, that is where we will go. I pray we all go to Paradise or on one goes to Hell! Isn’t this the right thing to say? It is a very grave thing, after all that God has done for us humans, to go to Hell and grieve Him. May God so protect that not only people, but also not one creature, not even a bird, go to Hell.

May the Benevolent God grant us a sincere and full repentance, so that death finds us in a good spiritual condition, and may we be established in His Heavenly Kingdom. Amen.

“Ye Sorrow Not, Even As Others Who Have No Hope” (1 Thess. 4:13).
(Source: The Family Life by Saint Paisios of Mount Athos, Spiritual Counsels IV)

***

Prayers by the Lake
St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid
Poem XII (12)

Άγιον Πνεύμα_Holy Spirit_Святой Дух_ΑΓ.ΠΝΕΥΜΑ-ΒΥΖ.ΜΟΥΣΕΙΟ23Anoint my heart with the oil of Your mercy, my most merciful Lord.

May neither anger against the strong nor scorning of the weak ever erupt in my heart! For everything is weaker than the morning dew.

May hatred never make a nest in my heart against those who plot evil against me, so that I may be mindful of their end and be at peace.

Mercifulness opens the way to the heart of all creatures, and brings joy. Mercilessness brings fog to the fore, and creates a cramped isolation.

Have mercy on Your merciful servant, most Tender Hand, and reveal to me the mystery of Your mercy.

The Ultimate Man is the child of the Father’s mercy and the Spirit’s light.

All creation is merely a story about Him. The mighty suns in the heavens and the smallest drops of water in the lake cany in themselves one part of the story about Him. All the builders of heaven and earth, from the exceedingly mighty seraphim to rulers and the tiniest particle of dust, tell the very same story about Him, their fore-essence and fore-source.

What are all the things on the earth and the moon except the sun in stories? Truly, in this way all visible and invisible creation is the Ultimate Man in stories. Essence is simple, but there is no end or number to the stories about essence.

My neighbors, how can I tell you about essence, when you do not even understand stories.

Ah if you only knew how great the sweetness, the expanse, and the strength are, when one reaches the bottom of all thestories—there, where the stories begin and where they end. There, where the tongue is silent and where everything is told at once!

How boring all the lengthy and tedious stories of creatures become then! Truly, they become just as boring as it is for one who is accustomed to seeing lightning to hear stories about lightning.

Receive me into Yourself, O Only-Begotten Son, so that I may be one with You as I was before creation and the Fall.

Let my long and weary story about You end with a moment’s vision of You. Let my self-deception die, that would have me think that I am something without You, that I am something else outside of You.

My ears are stuffed with stories. My eyes no longer seek to see any display of clothing but You, my essence, overladen with stories and clothing.

Prayers by the Lake, No. XII (12), by St. Nikolai Velimirovic of Ohrid and Zica
Written at Lake Ohrid 1921-1922.

.. 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)-St-JohnODE IX
Irmos: Ineffable is the birthgiving of a seedless conception

May I not be rejected from Thy presence O Lord, in Thine anger; may I not hear Thy voice casting me off, as one accursed, to the fire. But rather let me enter then into the joy of Thine eternal bridal-chamber with Thy saints.

Idiomela from the Triodion.
Glory. Mode pl. 4.

Open to me the gates of repentance, O Giver of Life, for early in the morning my spirit hastens to Your holy temple, bringing the temple of my body all defiled. But as one compassionate, cleanse me, I pray, by Your loving-kindness and mercy.


God is with the righteous, not with the mighty. Great-martyr Stephen-Urosh III of Decani, King of Serbia

Μηνάς ο εν τω Κοτυαείω Αίγυπτο_Святой Мина Котуанский Египетский_DSCN7925Martyrs Victor and Stephanida (Corona), at Damascus (160)
Great-martyr Menas of Egypt (304), Martyr Vincent of Spain (Vincent of Saragossa) (304)
Martyr Drakonas of Arauraka in Armenia, by beheading (304)
Venerable Theodore the Confessor (Theodore the Studite), Abbot of the Studion (826)
Saint Mennas, a Greek from Asia Minor who became a hermit in the Abruzzi in Italy, probably in Santomenna (6th century)
Saint Bartholomew the Younger, of Rossano, Calabria (c. 1054)
Saint Nicodemus the Younger, of Beroea in Macedonia (c. 1305)
Great-martyr Stephen-Urosh III of Decani (1331), Blessed Euthymius and Nestor, of Dečani (14th century)
Saint Milica of Serbia, Princess of Serbia (Eugenia in schema) (1405), Saint Neophytus and Saint Stephen Urosica, of Serbia (14th century)
Synaxis of the Saints of Dečani.
Blessed Maximus of Moscow, Fool-for-Christ, Wonderworker (1434)
Saint Martyrius, founder of Zelenets Monastery, Novgorod (1603)(see also: March 1 ), Martyrs of Zelenetsk (1927)
New Martyr Fr. Chariton Lukic monk in the Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren, Kosovo, He was kidnapped by the KLA Albanian extremists, tortured and killed (1960-1999). The body was buried in the first monastery of Fr. Chariton – Crna Reka on November 12, 2000.

Commemorated on November 11

The Holy Martyr Stefan of Decani, King of Serbia
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Stefan was the son of King Milutin and father of Tsar Du an. By the command of his ill-informed father, Stefan was blinded, and at the command of his capricious son (Duan), was strangled in his old age. When he was blinded, St. Nicholas appeared to him in the church at Ovce Polje (Field of the Sheep) and showed him his eyes saying: «Stefan, be not afraid: behold your eyes in my palm. In due time, I will return them to you.» Stefan spent five years in Constantinople as a prisoner in the Monastery of the Pantocrator. By his wisdom and asceticism, his meekness and piety, his patience and benevolence, Stefan not only surpassed all the monks in his monastery, but all monks in Constantinople. When five years had passed, St. Nicholas again appeared to him and said: «I came to fulfill my promise.» He then traced the sign of the Cross on the blind king, and Stefan received his sight. In thanksgiving to God, Stefan built the Church of Decani, one of the most marvelous works of Byzantine artistic beauty, and one of the most famous monuments of Serbian piety. The holy King Stefan, with St. Sava and the holy Prince Lazar, constitute a most glorious trinity of holiness, nobility and self-sacrifice-the gift of the Serbian people. St. Stefan lived his earthly life as a martyr, and died as a martyr in the year 1336, receiving the wreath of immortal glory from the Almighty God Whom he had faithfully served.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/November11.htm

***

Hymn of Praise
The Holy Martyr Stefan of Decani, King of Serbia
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Στέφανος Γ-Stefan_Decanski_ktitor-Stephen-Urosh III of Decani.-св. крал Стефан Урош III-Kralj-Stefan-Decanski-kopija-freske-iz-manastira-Visoki-Decani-foto-Dragan-Kurucic-minTortured and persecuted, Holy King Stefan of Decani
Endured pains and persecutions as a true Christian.
And when it seemed he was defeated by all,
He was actually victorious, powerful and unscathed.
He defeated his father by patient endurance,
And Cantacuzene by profound wisdom.
With silence he overcame malicious Simonida,
And with trust in God he overcame King Shishman.
He was even more powerful than his mighty son-
For those who do not sin are always more powerful.
Earthly power always ends without a glimmer,
But there is no end to heavenly power.
King Stefan of Decani, meek and beloved,
Drew his strength from heavenly power:
His power and glory were from Christ,
And from Christ was his life, throne and sovereignty.
Stefan understood this, and this he confessed;
That is why he defeated all adversaries in the end.
Pray for us, O wondrous king,
That God may grant us salvation and mercy.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/November11.htm

***

«God is with the righteous, not with the mighty».

God most often gives victory in battle to the peacemakers. One example of this is the great Emperor Justinian, and another example is the holy King Stefan of Decani. Following the death of his father King Milutin, Stefan removed the bandage from his eyes and was joyfully proclaimed as king both by the nobles and by the people.
However, Constantine-son of Simonida and Stefan’s younger brother on his father’s side-raised up an army against Stefan. Stefan then wrote him in the following manner: «You have heard what has happened to me (that is, how I received my sight) by God’s providence, that works in all for the good. Shown mercy by God, I have inherited the throne of my parents, to rule over the people in the fear of God and with justice, according to the example of my forefathers. Abandon your undertaking, and come, let us meet with one another; assume the second place in the kingdom as the second son, and do not rise up with foreigners against your fatherland. Our spacious land is sufficient for both you and me. I am not Cain, the slayer of his brother, but a friend of Joseph, the lover of his brethren. In the words of the latter, I say to you: You intended evil against me but God intended it for good (Genesis 50:20)». Thus wrote the holy king, but Constantine did not take heed and was defeated in battle by Stefan. Defeated also was Vladislav, Dragutin’s son, another pretender to the Serbian throne. However, Michael Shishman, the Bulgarian king, fared worst of all. Stefan wrote to him: «Reflect on the meaning of Christian love, calm your wrath, let there be love between us as there was between our parents. Cease to shed Christian blood. Turn your weapons against the enemies of the name of Christ and not on Christians. Remind yourself of how hard it will be to answer for innocent blood. Know this also, that he who takes what belongs to others loses what is his».
Michael scoffed at this letter from the holy king and was utterly defeated at Velbuzd in 1330. «God is with the righteous, not with the mighty».
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/November15.htm

***

Hymn of Praise
St. Stefan of Decani
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Στέφανος Γ-Stefan_Decanski_ktitor-Stephen-Urosh III of Decani.-св. крал Стефан Урош III-Stefan_Dečanski,_portal_fresco,_Dečani (1)On the Field of Sheep, the blind Stefan sleeps
And in a dream, endures misfortune without peace.
His body shivering, his eyes bloody,
Than such a life, death is surely better.
At that moment, in a dream a man appeared to him,
In heavenly glow, in heavenly glory.
“Nicholas I am, of Myra in Lycia,” said he,
“And, one of those whom God chooses, you are.
Into my right hand, O Stefan, look,
Behold are your eyes, preserved in it!
Without eyes you are, the eyes are with me,
To you I will give them, when the Lord wants.”
Five years passed and Stefan in darkness
A strong hope has, a strong faith has:
“To me, Nicholas will come once more, With God’s help; help me, he will.”
Thus did Stefan, once think in the church,
And to the beloved saint, with tears, he prayed.
And while in the chair standing, in a dream, he fell,
But behold, St. Nicholas again to him came!
Two eyes of the king in his right palm:
“Behold,” said he, “to you, O king the day dawned!
In the name of the Lord Who, to the blind, gives sight
Look and cry out: To God be glory!”
And the blind eyes, the saint touched
And darkness from the eyes as a curtain is drawn.
https://www.stnicholascenter.org/how-to-celebrate/resources/music/hymns/hymns-orthodox-byzantine/hymn-st-stefan-of-decani

***

In 1339 the tomb was opened, and his body was found to be incorrupt. That same day saw many miracles of healing. Especially did the holy king prove to heal diseases of the eyes, and at his relics blind people received their sight. The holy Martyr King intercedes not only for Orthodox Serbs but also for Moslems who come to him with faith. A hieromonk from Decani relates the following miracle.
“In 1954 one Moslem brought to the monastery his twelve-year-old nephew, Adem. The boy was mentally disturbed, and doctors would not treat him. One believing doctor suggested that Adem be taken to Decani, to the king-healer. When Adem was led up to the gates of the church, he began to resist; he looked at me maliciously and even flung a stone at me. My efforts to take the possessed boy into the church were unsuccessful. Near the monastery was a mineral spring. I offered the uncle to go with the boy first to the spring. After the walk, I very carefully and gently guided Adem into the church. When I brought him to the reliquary where lay the remains of the Great Martyr, the demon began to shake the boy with such force that a massive candlestand wobbled in its place. The uncle gripped the boy firmly, and I managed with difficulty to place over him my epitrachelion. I hit the boy lightly on the head with the Cross, and several times made the sign of the Cross over him with it. Adem suddenly became calm and came to his right mind. Three or four months later, on the Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, the uncle again brought his nephew, now a normal, healthy boy, to the monastery, where he left a sizeable donation in gratitude for the boy’s healing.”

Great-martyr Menas of Egypt and Great-martyr Stephen-Urosh III of Decani, King of Serbia
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/11/10/great-martyr-menas-of-egypt-and-great-martyr-stephen-urosh-iii-of-decani-king-of-serbia/

Ἅγιοι Βίκτωρ καὶ Στεφανίδα Saints Victor and CoronaTroparion — of Great Martyr Menas Tone 4

Your holy martyrs, O Lord, / Through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. / For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, / And shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through their intercessions, save our souls!

Apolytikion of Martyrs Victor and Stephanie
Fourth Tone

With songs of praise, let us hymn the steadfast athletes of Christ: * divine Victor, Vincent, and the noble Stephanie, with Menas the all-glorious. * Having crushed the foe in sundry ages and countries, * they rejoice together, glorified in the Heavens. * Have mercy, O Christ Saviour, on all, by Thy Great Martyrs’ prayers.

Troparion of ST Theodore the Studite ― Tone 3

As partaker of incorruptible gifts thou wast thyself the Church’s gift, O Theodore:/ for in following sacred doctrines thou wast a light of true profession./ Pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Apolytikion of Theodore the Studite
Plagal of the Fourth Tone

You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Theodore, you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Tone 8:  “O most glorious wonder.…”

Trúe to thy name, O father Théodore, /Thou didst receive gifts from heáven /That surpássed all understánding. /Then thou didst piously share them with those who lóved thee; /Thus increasing the talent given thee, O bléssed one, /And thou didst hear the voice of God calling theé to His présence, /Where thou dost now abide forever before the throne of the Kíng of all, ///O truly wondrous Théodore.Στέφανος Γ' Ούρεσης Ντετσάνι_St. Stephen of Decani, King of Serbia_Стефан Урош III Дечанский Немањић__St. Nicholas healing St. Stefan9)Book of Isaiah 26

1 In that day they shall sing this song in the land of Judea; Behold a strong city; and he shall make salvation [its] wall and bulwark. 2 Open ye the gates, let the nation enter that keeps righteousness, and keeps truth, 3 supporting truth, and keeping peace: for on thee, O Lord, 4 they have trusted with confidence for ever, the great, the eternal God; 5 who hast humbled and brought down them that dwell on high thou shalt cast down strong cities, and bring them to the ground. 6 And the feet of the meek and lowly shall trample them. 7 The way of the godly is made straight: the way of the godly is also prepared. 8 For the way of the Lord is judgment: we have hoped in thy name, and on the remembrance [of thee], 9 which our soul longs for: my spirit seeks thee very early in the morning, O God, for thy commandments are a light on the earth: learn righteousness, ye that dwell upon the earth. 10 For the ungodly one is put down: no one who will not learn righteousness on the earth, shall be able to do the truth: let the ungodly be taken away, that he see not the glory of the Lord. 11 O Lord, thine arm is exalted, yet they knew it not: but when they know they shall be ashamed: jealousy shall seize upon an untaught nation, and now fire shall devour the adversaries. 12 O Lord our God, give us peace: for thou hast rendered to us all things. 13 O Lord our God, take possession of us: O Lord, we know not [any] other beside thee: we name thy name. 14 But the dead shall not see life, neither shall physicians by any means raise [them] up: therefore thou hast brought [wrath] upon [them], and slain [them], and hast taken away every male of them. Bring more evils upon them, O Lord; 15 bring more evils on the glorious ones of the earth. 16 Lord, in affliction I remembered thee; thy chastening was to us with small affliction. 17 And as a woman in travail draws nigh to be delivered, [and] cries out in her pain; so have we been to thy beloved. 18 We have conceived, O Lord, because of thy fear, and have been in pain, and have brought forth the breath of thy salvation, which we have wrought upon the earth: we shall not fall, but all that dwell upon the land shall fall. 19 The dead shall rise, and they that are in the tombs shall be raised, and they that are in the earth shall rejoice: for the dew from thee is healing to them: but the land of the ungodly shall perish. 20 Go, my people, enter into thy closets, shut thy door, hide thyself for a little season, until the anger of the Lord have passed away. 21 For, behold, the Lord is bringing wrath from [his] holy place upon the dwellers on the earth: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall not cover her slain.
https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/septuagint/chapter.asp?book=43&page=26


Let not the righteous be afraid. The All-seeing God watches over them. Lord and Protector of the righteous, multiply our righteous deeds by Thy Holy Spirit, without whom nothing good can be done; and save us by Thy mercy, not according to our deeds. The Holy Martyrs Nazarius, Celsius, Gervasius and Protasius of Milan

Ναζάριος_Γερβασιος, Προτασιος_Κέλσιος_Назарий, Гервасий, Протасий, Келсий и Параскева Пятница_Медиоланский_unnamedGreat-Martyrs Nazarius, Celsius, Gervasius and Protasius, of Milan (54-68)
Saint Cosmas the Hymnographer, Bishop of Maiuma (787) (see also: October 12)
Venerable Parasceva (Petka) of Epivat Thrace (Parascevi the New), whose relics are in Iași, Romania (11th century)
Hieromartyr Silvanus of Gaza, Priest, and with him 40 martyrs, by beheading (311)
Martyr Peter Apselamus of Eleutheropolis in Palestine (309)
Saint Ignatius the Wonderworker, Metropolitan of Mithymna (1566)
Venerable Nikola Sviatosha, Prince of Chernigov and Wonderworker, of the Kiev Caves (1143)
Yakhromsk Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (15th century)

Commemorated on October 14

The Holy Martyrs Nazarius, Gervasius and Protasius
by St Nikolai Velimirovich

Ναζάριος_Nazarius__Назарий Медиоланский_ΝΑΖΑΡΙΟΣ - ΑντιγραφήNazarius was born in Rome of a Jewish father and a Christian mother. His mother, Perpetua, was baptized by the Apostle Peter himself. Confessing his mother’s Faith, Nazarius sincerely fulfilled all the precepts of the Church. Fearlessly preaching the Gospel, Nazarius went to Milan. There, he found the Christians Gervasius and Protasius in prison, and ministered to them with great love. Learning of this, the local eparch ordered Nazarius to be beaten and driven from the city. His mother came to him in a vision and told him to go to Gaul, and to preach the Gospel there; and this is what Nazarius did. After several years, Nazarius returned to Milan-this time with a disciple, the young man Celsus, whom he had baptized in Gaul. There he found the brothers Gervasius and Protasius still in prison, and he was soon thrown in with them by the governor Anulinus. Christ’s martyrs rejoiced because of this reunion brought about by God’s providence. Emperor Nero ordered Nazarius slain, and the governor brought Nazarius and Celsus out of prison and beheaded them. Soon after that, General Astazius, passing through Milan en route to battle against the Moravians, beheaded St. Gervasius along with St. Protasius. He had heard that these two brothers would not sacrifice to idols, and fearing that he might lose the battle by losing favor with his false gods, he commanded that they be executed immediately. Gervasius and Protasius were twins, born of the blessed parents Vitalius and Valeria, who were also martyred for the Faith. The relics of St. Nazarius were translated by St. Ambrose from a garden outside the city to the Church of the Holy Apostles. The relics of St. Gervasius and St. Protasius were revealed to him in a miraculous vision.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/October14.htm

Αμβρόσιος Μεδιολάνων_St Ambrose of Mediolansus–Milan_Св. Амвросий Медиоланский_98amvrosiy_mediolanskiy_595(1)Examples of how the saints themselves reveal their hidden relics to men justify the honor rendered to the relics of the saints-not to mention the miraculous action of these relics, which doubly justifies them. For a long, long time, no one could locate the grave of St. Parasceva. Then it happened that a sailor died, and his body was carelessly laid in the proximity of the saint’s grave. When the body turned into carrion and began to emit an unbearable stench, a monk who lived nearby summoned the peasants to help him bury the corpse. It happened that they buried him in St. Parasceva’s own grave.
That night, St. Parasceva appeared in a dream to one of those peasants (George by name) who had buried the corpse. She appeared as a beautiful and exquisitely-adorned queen, surrounded by many glorious soldiers. She said: ``George, exhume my relics at once, and lay them in another place; for I can no longer endure the stench from that corpse.” Then she told him who she was, and where she was from. The same night a local peasant woman named Euphemia had the same dream. The next day, the peasants began to dig and in fact found the relics of St. Parasceva. They were extraordinarily fragrant, and soon proved to be miracle-working.

Concerning the relics of St. Gervasius and St. Protasius, St. Ambrose relates how their relics were discovered in a similar manner. One night, two handsome youths and an old man appeared to Ambrose, who was awake. He thought that the old man was the Apostle Paul. While the young men remained silent, the old man spoke to Ambrose concerning them, saying that they were Christ’s martyrs, and that their relics lay in the very place where Ambrose was praying to God at that time. He went on to say that everything else concerning them would be revealed in a book that Ambrose would find in their grave.
The following day, Ambrose recounted his vision and began to dig, and found the relics of both men. From the book that he found he learned that their names were Gervasius and Protasius. In the presence of St. Ambrose, a certain blind man named Severus touched these holy relics and immediately received his sight.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by St Nikolai Velimirovich
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/October14.htm

Παρασκευή η Επιβατηνή_ Paraskeve the New of Romania_ Параскева_ Sf.Parascheva de la Iași_moastele-sfintei-parascheva-iasiHOMILY
on how the Lord watches over the bones of the righteous
by St Nikolai Velimirovich

He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken (Psalm 33:21).

Let not the righteous be afraid. The All-seeing God watches over them. Can the All-seeing lose or forget something? On the Day of Resurrection, He shall gather all their bodily parts and gloriously resurrect them. The persecutors hurled the bodies of the martyrs into the sea, buried them in deep pits, or left them in fields for the birds to devour. But the Lord, by His divine providence, so guided events that these holy relics came into the hands of the faithful. They were laid honorably in costly reliquaries, churches were built over them, and wonderworking power emanated from them.
God wanted to show the faithful by this that He watches over the bones of the righteous, and that He has glorified them in the Heavenly Kingdom. And the Church on earth has affirmed this through the miraculous power of their glorified bodies. Wonderworking relics are like forerunners of the general and glorious resurrection of the righteous.

But what if some of the bones of the righteous are burned or ground up-could that be an obstacle to the almighty power of God? Can He not, in the Day of Resurrection, reassemble and enliven them from the scattered ashes? There shall not an hair of your head perish (Luke 21:18), assures the Lord.
Nevertheless, if you want to understand “bones” as “works,” know then that the works of the unrighteous are as smoke, and the works of the righteous are powerful and as lasting as hard bones. Not even one righteous deed will fade away or disappear in the course of time. God knows them and God watches over them, so that He may reveal them like precious pearls before the assembly of angels and men on that Day.

O All-seeing Lord, Master and Protector of the righteous, multiply our righteous deeds by Thy Holy Spirit, without whom nothing good can be done; and save us by Thy mercy, not according to our deeds.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by St Nikolai Velimirovich
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/October15.htm

Ναζάριος_Γερβασιος, Προτασιος_Κέλσιος_Назарий, Гервасий, Протасий, Келсий и Параскева Пятница_Медиоланский_ΓΕΡΒΑΣΙΟΣ7Troparion of the Martyrs Nazarius, Celsius, Gervasius and Protasius ― Tone 4

Let us praise the fourfold company of Martyrs,/Nazarius, Gervasius, Protasius and Celsus./ For they preached the Trinity to all/ and by their contests dispelled idol worship./ By their prayers, O Christ, have mercy on us all.

Troparion of the Martyrs Nazarius, Celsius, Gervasius and Protasius ― Tone 4

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

Apolytikion of the Martyrs Nazarius, Celsius, Gervasius and Protasius ― Tone 4

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

Apolytikion of ST Cosmas the Hymnographer ― Plagal Tone 4

You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Cosmas, you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Troparion of ST Parasceva (Petka) of Epivat ― Tone 4

Thou didst choose a silent and solitary life/ and follow Christ thy Bridegroom./ Thou didst take His easy yoke in thy youth/ and wast armed with the sign of the Cross./ Thou didst contend against spiritual enemies with fasting, tears and labours, O glorious Parasceva./ Thou dost stand before Christ with the wise virgins:/ pray for us who venerate thy memory.

Troparion of ST Parasceva (Petka) of Epivat — Tone 4

You are worthy of praise, Paraskeva. / You loved the ascetic and hesychast life. / You ran with longing to your Bridegroom, Christ. / You accepted His good yoke in your tender years, marking yourself with the sign of the Cross. / You fought against impure thoughts; / through fasting, prayer and the shedding of tears you quenched the burning coal of the passions. / Now in the heavenly bridal chamber of Christ, / as you stand together with the wise virgins / intercede for us who honor your precious memory.

Apolytikion of ST Ignatius of Mithymna ― Tone 1

The shepherd of Mithmyna, Ignatios we praise, who with all the saints is glorified in his wonders, let us the faithful continuously laud, in accordance with this his feast, and as one who is great you look down upon us, healing our passions we cry out: Glory to Him Who glorified you, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who works through you all manner of wonders.


Let us turn gaze upon the power of the Almighty God, Who created the whole world from nothing,… let us give thanks to God, Who often reveals His power, mercy and wisdom to us in ways that are beyond natural law. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ζαχαρίας Ιωάννη Προδρόμου_Zechariah priest_Захария отец Иоанна Крестителя_0_8963e_fe156ac6_Conception of the Forerunner and Baptist John
Venerable Xanthippa and Polyxena the sisters of Spain (109), disciples of the Apostles
Martyr Rhaïs of Alexandria (308)
Venerable Adamnan, abbot of Iona, biographer of St. Columba (704)
Martyrs Andrew, John, Peter, and Antoninus of Syracuse, martyred in Africa (886)
New-Martyr John of Brachorion, formerly a Muslim (+ 1814).
New Martyr Nicholas Pantopolis, the Grocer at Constantinople (1672)
Repose of Abbess St Eupraxia of Old Ladoga Convent (1823)
New Hieromartyr John priest (1937).
Myrrh-streaming Iveron Icon of the Theotokos “Hawaiian” (2007)

Commemorated on September 23

Verses
Archangel’s message to a Prophet was:
Prophet you will beget and more than that.

Verses
Longing to see God’s beauty Raпs gave
The beauty of her flesh up to the sword.

Verses
To be their fellows Angel choirs now take
Xanthippe and Polyxena her kin.

The Conception of Saint John the Baptist

Ζαχαρίας Προδρόμου_ Zechariah (priest)_ Захария отец Иоанна Крестителя _3041-0_cee62_41669557_origOn this day the mercy, miracles and wisdom of God are celebrated: His mercy toward the devout and righteous parents of St. John, the aged Zacharias and Elizabeth, who all their lives had wished for and begged a child from God; His miracle, that of John’s conception in the aged womb of Elizabeth; His wisdom, in the dispensation of man’s salvation. God had an especially great intention for John: namely, that he be the Prophet and Forerunner of Christ the Lord, the Savior of the world. Through His angels, God announced the births of Isaac to the childless Sarah, Samson to the childless wife of Manoah, and John the Forerunner to the childless Zacharias and Elizabeth. All of these were those for whom He had special intentions, and he foretold their birth through his angels. How could children be born of aged parents? If someone desires to understand this, he should not ask men about it, for men do not know; nor should he study natural law, for this is beyond natural law. Rather, he should turn his gaze upon the power of the Almighty God, Who created the whole world from nothing, and Who needed no parents-old or young-for the creation of the first man, Adam. Instead of being curious, let us give thanks to God, Who often reveals His power, mercy and wisdom to us in ways that are beyond natural law-in which we would be imprisoned without these special miracles of God, and would fall into despair and forgetfulness of God.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.com/2010/04/prologue-september-23-october-6.html

***

Hymn of Praise
The Holy female Martyr Iraida
St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Iraida, virtuous virgin, water went to fetch
To her mother, did not return anymore – went to the Lord.
Willingly, Iraida, tortures sought,
For to her, Christ the Lord was more precious than her mother.
A boat, full of martyrs, about ready to depart,
“Receive me also!” Iraida quickly said:
“I, too, am a servant of Christ, for me Christ is everything,
And, a musical string of His hymn, I desire to be,
A hymn of torturing and suffering, for the sake of truth,
O receive Iraida, let her perish.”
And, for her God, Iraida perished,
And, of life eternal, an inheritor she became.
By her prayers, now also saves us,
Holy Iraida, thanks be to you and to God be glory!
From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/September23.htm

Troparion, in Tone IV—

Make merry, O barren woman, who before wast unable to bear a child! For, lo! thou hast manifestly conceived the lamp of the Sun, who will enlighten all the world, which suffereth from blindness. Dance thou, O Zechariah, crying out with boldness: He who will be born is the prophet of the Most High!

Apolytikion of Conception of the Forerunner
Fourth Tone

Rejoice, O thou barren one who hadst not borne until now; for lo, in all truth thou hast conceived the lamp of the Sun, and he shall send forth his light over all the earth, which is afflicted with blindness. Dance, O Zacharias, and cry out with great boldness: The one to be born is the blest Prophet of God Most High.

“HAWAIIAN” Myrrh-streaming Iveron Ikon of the Theotokos Troparion — Tone 6

From thy Holy Icon, O Lady Theotokos, blessed myrrh has flowed abundantly./ Thou hast thereby consoled those, in exile, faithful/ unto thee, and hast enlightened the unbelievers by/ thy Son’s light. / Therefore O Lady, with tears we bow down to thee./ Be merciful to us in the hour of judgment./ Lest having received thy mercy we be punished as those who have been contemptuous of it./ But grant us// through thy prayers to bring forth spiritual fruit, and save our souls

Xanthippe and Polyxene and REBECCA Apolytikion ― Plagal Tone 1

You followed in the footsteps of the Apostles, by your life through good works of brotherly love, distributing pure love, wondrous Xanthippe, and the venerable all-radiant beauty Polyxene, and now you entreat Christ, revered sisters, on our behalf.

Tone IV: Spec. Mel: “Called from on high…”—

While the godly Zechariah was officiating as priest within the most divine temple, offering up the petitions of the people to the most compassionate Benefactor, he beheld a most divine angel, who cried out to him: “Thy supplication and entreaty have been heard! Be of good cheer, O elder, and disbelieve not; for thou shalt have a child, the Forerunner of God, the greatest of all born of women, who, with the power of Elijah, will go before Christ!” Twice

Tone IV: Spec. Mel: “Go thou quickly before…”—

The dove that loveth the wilderness, the sacred Forerunner, who preached repentance and showed Christ to have become man, the intercessor for all sinners, hath been born, ever helping all who are tempest-tossed. By his supplications, O Christ, save Thou Thy world.

Ode VIII
Irmos: From the flame didst Thou pour forth dew upon the venerable ones, and didst consume the sacrifice of the righteous one with water; for Thou, O Christ, dost do all things soever Thou desirest. Thee do we exalt supremely for all ages!

The friend of the Bridegroom is prepared; the voice of the Word receiveth his beginning; the great warrior of the King of all is now nourished in the womb of the barren one.

A husbandman hath come forth to tend barren hearts; an axe is already forged to fell the passions; an honorable bullock is nurtured on abstinence: the great Forerunner. Be glad, O ye people!

Glory…, Now and ever…, in Tone VI—

Elizabeth conceived the Forerunner of grace, and the Virgin conceived the Lord of glory. When both mothers embraced in greeting, the babe of the one leapt up, for the servant within her was praising his Master. Marvelling, the mother of the Forerunner began to cry out: “Why is this granted to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” May He that hath great mercy save His despairing people.


O heavenly Mother, receive me into Your glory. Turn me into hidden gold in Your most hidden treasury, hide me far where only Your eye penetrates and only Your word is heard. St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Παναγία_Божией Матери Икона_Virgin Mary –Byzantine Orthodox Icon_0008 5The entrance of the acheiropoiton (not-made-by-hands) image of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, brought from the city of Edessa to the God-protected Queen of cities (Constantinople).
The Holy Keramion (Ceramic Tile) of Edessa

Commemorated on the 16th of August

«Watch over us, O Queen, the dwelling-place of our Lord. Lead and govern all our ways as thou wilt.…».
“Remain with us, our comfort, our sole joy in this world.
O Mother leave us not orphans…”

Prayers by the Lake
St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid
Poem XXI (21)

O heavenly Mother, receive me into Your glory. For when worldly glory is overtaken by darkness, it never dawns. And the crown that men bestow is always a crown of thorns for those who are rational and a madman’s cap for those who are irrational. While gold is in the ground everyone likes it and searches for it. After it is set as a crown on a man’s head, the darkness of envy and animosity blinds its radiance.

Turn me into hidden gold in Your most hidden treasury, so that no one may know about me except You. For as long as You know me I am known. As long as only people know me, my name is doubt.

Hide me from the evil eyes of the world, for they infuriate me. Keep me like a secret, that envy cannot detect. Be wiser than I, and reveal me to no one. Indeed, I used to have You like a most precious secret, and I revealed You to the world, and the world ridiculed me. For envy ridicules, when it can­not take away what it envies.

Παναγία_Божией Матери Икона_Virgin Mary –Byzantine Orthodox Icon_719403024My friends, why do you partake of human glory to the point of intoxication, a glory that begins with song and ends with lying in the mire? My friends, all the mouths that are singing your praises now know yet another, opposite song, that you will hear later.Flee from the glory that resembles a tower built on the back of a whale, lest both enemies and friends laugh at you from the shore.The unanimous glory that comes from men is the most in­glorious, because it is indifferent.

If your glory is a reward from the people, then you are a day laborer who has been paid off, and tomorrow the people can throw you off their fields.

Truly, no new day recognizes your contract with a day gone by. Every day opens a new field and makes a new agreement.

If your glory is the work of your mighty arms, your days will be anger and your nights will be fear.

If your glory is the work of your wisdom, wisdom will be a castration of your glory and you will be unable to move.

If you call your glory your own, Heaven will punish you for lying and stealing.

Stroll with your glory through a cemetery and see whether the dead will glorify you.

In truth, you are already strolling through a cemetery, and you are receiving glory from mobile tombs. Who will glorify you, after the mobile tombs become immobile?

You will become very sad in the other world, when you hear what those who have been glorifying you in this world really think of you. O heavenly Mother, hide me far from the eyes of men and the tongues of men. Hide me where only Your eye penetrates and only Your word is heard.

I beseech You, my Eternal Beauty!

Prayers by the Lake, XXI (21), by St. Nikolai Velimirovic
Written at Lake Ohrid 1921-1922.
http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/pl21.htm

Παναγία_Божией Матери Икона_Virgin Mary –Byzantine Orthodox Icon_71cb5d%d0%b0_ byzantine-orthodox-icon_theotokApolytikion (First Tone)

In birth, you preserved your virginity; in death, you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos. As mother of life, you departed to the source of life, delivering our souls from death by your intercessions.

Apolytikion of the Holy Mandylion of Christ. Tone 2.

We venerate your most pure icon, loving Lord, as we ask pardon of our offences, Christ God. For by your own choice you were well-pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh, to deliver from the slavery of the enemy those whom you had fashioned; therefore with thanksgiving we cry to you: You have filled all things with joy, our Saviour, by coming to save the world.

Stichera Prosomia of the Holy Mandylion of Christ. Tone 2. With that garlands of praise.

With what eyes shall we who are born of earth look upon your image, which the armies of the Angels cannot look at without fear as it blazes with divine light? For it departs to-day from the land of unbelievers and by divine decree comes to dwell in the Queen of cities and among a people of true religion. At its entry Kings rejoice, O Christ, falling down before it with fear and faith.

.. 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)-426863844A 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


He who has strong faith also has great patience in suffering. Lord, the God of the long-suffering and patient Job, teach us to bless Thy name in our sufferings. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ 001Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
ХристосВоскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!
Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!

Righteous Job the Long-suffering.
Blessed Sophia the ascetic of Kleisoura, the Pontian (1974)
Saint Seraphim of Mt. Domvu of Livadeia (1602)
Venerable Job of Pochaev, abbot and wonderworker (1651)
Venerable Micah (Micheas), the disciple of the Saint Sergius of Radonezh (1385)
Birthday of Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas II

Commemorated on May 6th

A brother said to Abba Poemen, ‘My heart becomes lukewarm when a little suffering comes my way.’ The old man said to him, ‘Do we not admire Joseph, a young man of seventeen, for enduring his temptation to the end? And God glorified him. Do we not also see Job, how he suffered to the end, and lived in endurance? Temptations cannot destroy hope in God.’

Abba John the Dwarf said, ‘You know that the first blow the devil gave to Job was through his possessions; and he saw that he had not grieved him nor separated him from God. Whith the second blow, he touched his flesh, but the brave athlete did not sin by any word that came out of his mouth in that either. In fact, he had within his heart that which is of God, and he drew on that source unceasingly.’

Hymns of Praise
Job, the Suffering Servant,
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ιώβ ο πολύαθλος_Job the Long-suffering_Иов Многострадальный_ΙΩΒ-555Tell me brother, what you are able to endure,
And how much of a man you are, I will tell you.
Job the righteous rich man and all glorious
By Satan, on a dunghill was thrown,
And with pus and sores covered,
To dogs and to men, a horrifying sight!
Whatever he had, in a day perished
Except faith and except patience.
But with the weapon of faith and patience
Job, the horrible Satan overcame.
The uneven struggle, God looked on,
To the righteous one, victory He imparted.
With victory, all other riches,
And the envious devil shamed.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/December22.htm

ΙΩΒ πολύαθλος_Job the Long-suffering_Иов Многострадальный_ ΓΚΡΑΤΣΑΝΙΤΣΑ2- - CopyHomily
on long-suffering Job
St. Nikolai Velimirovich

The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away (Job 1:21).

Brethren, let the righteous one fear nothing; all shall be well with him. [1] The whole of Sacred Scripture shows us that God will never forsake the righteous. The example of Job shows us this as clearly as the sun. Job had seven sons and three daughters; he had riches, respect among the people, and friends. And he lost all of this in one day. He did not grumble against God but fell down upon the ground and worshiped and said,

Naked came I out of my mother’s womb and naked shall I return thither (Job 1:20-21).

Then Job lost his health, the last of what he had, and his entire body, from the top of his head to the heels of his feet, was covered with sores and pus. And Job sat in ashes and lifted up praise to God. His wife tried to persuade him to renounce his God, but righteous Job said to her:
Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? (Job 2:10).

His friends reproached him, saying that he was sinful and proud in his understanding and righteousness before them, but Job humbly prayed to God and patiently endured all his wounds and misfortunes.

It happens today, as it did then, that when some misfortune befalls us, our neighbors consider themselves to be more intelligent and more righteous than we are. But the most wise God permitted all these misfortunes to fall on Job in order to test not only Job His servant but also his kinsmen and his friends. When each of them had shown what kind of person he was, when each of them had been tested before God, then God, with His almighty right hand, restored Job to health, returned twice as much wealth as He had taken away, and gave him again seven sons and three daughters.

He who has strong faith, brethren, has clear spiritual sight, so that he can see the finger of God in his prosperity as well as in his suffering. He who has strong faith also has great patience in suffering. When God gives to him, he gives thanks, and when God takes away, he blesses:
Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21).

O Lord, the God of the long-suffering and patient Job, teach us to bless Thy name in our sufferings.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
[1] And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/new-testament/romans/8.asp
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/December22.htm

***

St. Sophia the Righteous, the “Ascetic of the Panagia”

Σοφία η εν Κλεισούρα_St. Sophia the Ascetic of Kleisoura_Св. Софии (Хотокуриди)_kleisoura~0“Sophia Saoulidi, the “ascetic of the Panagia”, was born in a village of Trebizond in Pontus of Asia Minor in 1883. Her asceticism began in Pontus on a mountain away from her relatives. It was there that one day Saint George appeared to her and warned her to notify the villagers of a coming persecution and to flee, and in this way she saved the village. 

She came to Greece in 1919 as an exile. when they arrived in Greece the Panagia appeared to her and said: “Come to my house.” Sophia asked: “Where are you and where is your house?” The Panagia responded: “I am in Kleisoura.” Therefore she went and settled at the Monastery of the Birth of the Theotokos in Kleisoura of Kastoria.

In 1967 Sophia became very sick and was in great pain. Her stomach had open sores that smelled. She took the pain courageously, saying: “The Panagia will come to take away my pain. She promised me.” Some Athenians have her on videotape explaining what happened soon thereafter:
The Panagia came with the Archangel Gabriel and Saint George, as well as other Saints. The Archangel said: ‘We will cut you now’. I said: ‘I am a sinner, I must confess, receive communion, then you can cut me’. ‘You will not die’, he said, ‘we are doing a surgery on you’, and he cut me open.”

As with many Saints, she had a special relationship with wild animals, especially with bears in the forest, but also with snakes and birds…
Eldress Sophia fell asleep in the Lord on May 6, 1974 and was buried on the grounds of the Monastery. She was well-known in Western Macedonia, and many who knew her come to pray at her tomb. Her relics are kept in the Monastery, and upon request to the nuns can be venerated by the faithful.”Σοφία η εν Κλεισούρα_St. Sophia the Ascetic of Kleisoura_Св. Софии (Хотокуриди)_031Repent, because the clouds of wrath of God have approaching the earth. Great evil is coming, comes from a lot of sin.

The fear of God makes a person wise. What is the fear of God? Not that one should be afraid of God, but to be afraid to sadden someone, to harm someone, to do them no wrong, and to not make accusations. This is wisdom. After all this, God will illumine you as to what to do in your life.

Panagia told me where, in the Holy Books of the chosen of my Son, it says everything that will occur in time. A third war will occur…Three-quarters of mankind will be destroyed…Only one-quarter will be saved…

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on Your world, and later, on us!

Greece, if she keeps the faith, will be saved from the evil which is about to come. If, however, she does not keep the faith, she will be destroyed…All the demons will fall upon her…The evil will come and the wheat will be separated from the chaff, the sheep from the goats…

If the world repents, we will take back the City [Constantinople] with Love… If we do not repent, we will take it back with blood…

Have fear of God…Have Love…Have compassion.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on Your world, and later, on us!

Did you see? Did you hear? Shut your mouth!

“Let the mouth become basil and a rose.”

My soul is burning for Christ!

May you be well. May you have joy! Repent, my children…May you have prayer…day and night…wherever you walk, wherever you are found, wherever you are standing, always you should say: “My Christ, have mercy on me!” With a sweet tongue speak to God, that your prayer might reach Him.

Epistle of James 5,10-11: Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Book of Job – Τo βιβλίο του Ιώβ
http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/septuagint/chapter.asp?book=25

St. Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II Romanov of Russia ‘’I was born on 6 May, on the feast-day of St Job the Long-suffering…”. And all his life he was a Golgotha.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/05/06/i-was-born-on-6-may-on-the-feast-day-of-st-job-the-long-suffering-and-all-his-life-he-was-a-golgotha-holy-tsar-nicholas-ii-romanov-of-russia/

St. Ephraim the Great Martyr of Nea Makri said: “I will do many miracles, I will help many people, before the sufferings come!…before the misfortunes (calamities) come”
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/st-ephraim-the-great-martyr-of-nea-makri-said-i-will-do-many-miracles-i-will-help-many-people-before-the-sufferings-comebefore-the-misfortunes-calamities-come/

Paschal troparion or Christos anesti Tone 1

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Troparion to Righteous Job the Long-Suffering Tone 1

As an indestructible pillar of courage, you repulsed the attacks of Belial and remained unmoved in temptation. Therefore, O wise Job, the Church praises you as a model of endurance and an example of virtue; and she is made radiant by your great deeds.

Tone IV: Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast given a sign …”:

O blessed Job, thou wast known to be * righteous and guileless, * truthful, blameless and faithful, * abstaining from every evil thing, * truly adorned with the virtues * and resplendent in piety. * Wherefore, we call thee blessed * and, rejoicing, we celebrate today * thy holy and honored festival.

Arrayed in the riches of piety * as in a costly robe of purple, * and adorned with mercy and righteousness * as with a divine crown, * thou didst exercise dominion * over the tyrannical passions, * O blameless Job; * wherefore, thou hast passed over to the noetic kingdom, * to stand before the eternal King, O all-glorious one.

Righteous Job the Much-Suffering, Troparion, Tone I —

Seeing the richness of the virtues of Job,/ the enemy of the righteous plotted to steal them;/ yet though he broke down the tower of his body,/ he could not steal the treasure of his spirit;/ for he who, having stripped me naked, took me captive/ found the soul of the blameless one fully armed./ Wherefore, anticipating my need before the end, O Savior,// deliver me from the deceiver and save me.

Kontakion of the saint, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: ”As the first-fruits …”:

Shown to be truthful and righteous, pious, blameless and sanctified, O most glorious one, thou true favorite of God, thou hast enlightened the world with thy patience, O most patient and valiant one. Wherefore, O thou who art divinely wise, we all hymn thy memory.

 ODE IX
Irmos: Eve, through weakness, abode under the curse of disobedience; but thou, O Virgin Theotokos, hast put forth blessing for the world through the Offspring of thy child-bearing. Wherefore, we all magnify thee.

Job was worthily crowned with splendor for his patience; but thou, O Satan, the only enemy of the righteous, wast put to shame, for thine expectation proved in vain, and thou weepest and art downcast, unable to bear the crowning of the righteous one.

Gazing upon Thine immortal glory, insofar as it is possible for men to behold it, and seized with fear and trembling greatly, Job cried out with reverence: “I am dust and earth, but Thou art the Lord!” Wherefore, we all magnify thee.

The books of life have received thee as is meet, and the store-houses of heaven have taken thee in like ripe grain, and thou art full of the days of the Spirit, O blessed Job, favorite of the Lord. Wherefore, we all call thee blessed.

Triadicon: O worshipful Trinity our God, thou Unity in three Hypostases, all-holy and one in glory, thou hast shown Thyself to the world as light, life and incorruption. Save Thy servants from deception, that we may worship Thee with faith.

Theotokion: Thou hast been shown to be a receptacle of Wisdom far exceeding the mind, O all-immaculate Maiden, and an animate throne and gate; wherefore, virgins, loving thee as their Queen, O Virgin, have brought themselves forth, following in the train of thee, the divine Maiden.

 


God wants that all men be saved, that is why He descended into Hades… Pyramid of being… St. Nikolai Velimirovich – St. Sophrony Sakharov

αποκαθήλωση_Положение во Гроб_Jesus Christ Crucifixion_Byzantine-Orthodox-Icon_0_9eb28_ae7ef99e_XX XLSynaxarion.
On Great and Holy Saturday, we celebrate the burial of the divine Body and the descent into Hades of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through which He recalled our human race from corruption and passed it over into life eternal.

Verses
In vain you guard the grave, O guards
No tomb can hold Him who is life itself.

HOMILY
About the great desire of God
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

“Who wills everyone to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4).

God wants that all men be saved, that is why He descended into Hades to save those who lived on earth before His coming. For, had He not descended into Hades, an enormous number of righteous souls would have perished forever. And yet, had He not descended into Hades, the main habitat of evil against God and the human race, Hades would have remained undestroyed.
Therefore, the two reasons which motivated Christ, the Giver-of-Life, to descend into Hades in the Spirit are: First, to destroy the nest of the powers of Hades and, Second, to bring from Hades to Heaven, the souls of ancestors, prophets and righteous men and women, who have fulfilled the Old Dispensation (The Old Law of God) and, by that, pleased God.

Before satan was totally jubilant at gazing upon Christ humiliated and lifeless on the Cross, Christ appeared alive and almighty in the midst of Hades, the primary abode of satan. What unexpected and dreadful news for satan! For three years satan wove snares against Christ on earth and in three days, behold, Christ destroyed satan’s kingdom and carried away the most precious booty in the form of a swarm of righteous souls.

O Lord, You want that all men be saved. We pray to You, save even us. For there is no salvation nor Savior outside of You. In You do we hope, You alone do we worship, You, the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always. Amen.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/April3.htm

Μονή Προδρόμου Έσσεξ-St. John Baptist Monastery-Essex-England-Монастырь св Иоанна Крестителя Эссекс-Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_047

Pyramid of being…
St. Sophrony Sakharov

Fr. Sophrony [Sakharov], in his book on St. Silouan, presents this theory of the “inverted pyramid.” He says that the empirical cosmic being is like a pyramid:
In the structure of the world we observe a hierarchical order, a division into upper and lower — a pyramid of being. Yet the idea of equality is deeply rooted in our consciousness and is not to be denied.

But is equality possible where liberty is the fundamental principle of existence? Millenary experience of the history of humanity suggests a reply in the negative.

What, then, can be done to alter this state of affairs, so unacceptable to the human conscience? We cannot ignore our longing to see all men equal in plenitude of divine life.

Let us see how Christ resolved the dilemma.

The Lord does not deny the fact of inequality, hierarchy, division into upper and lower, into overlord and servant; but He turns the pyramid upside down and thus achieves the ultimate perfection.

Ιησούς Χριστός αποκαθήλωση_Положение во Гроб_Jesus Christ Crucifixion_Byzantine-Orthodox-Icon_snyatie1The incontestable apex of this pyramid is the Son of Man Himself, the Unique, True, Eternal Savior; and He says of Himself that He ‘came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life as a ransom for many.’ (Mat. 20:28) Concerning the angels, we learn that they are beings superior to us in their knowledge and mode of existence, in comparison with our terrestrial mode of existence, but the Apostle speaks of them as ‘ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.’ (Heb. 1:14) The Savior bade His disciples follow the example He gave them when He washed their feet. ‘Ye know,’ He told them, ‘that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister. And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.’ (Mat. 20:25-27; Mk. 10:42-44) Here we are shown both the designation and the raison d’être of the ecclesiastical hierarchy — to raise those low in the spiritual scale to a higher degree of perfection, as the Apostle puts it, ‘And He gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ (Eph. 4:11-13)

Christ as Creator — and in this sense, cause — of the created universe, took upon Himself the burden, the sin of the whole world. He is the summit of the inverted pyramid, the summit on which the whole weight of the pyramid of being falls. In an inexplicable way those who follow after Christ become like Him in taking upon themselves the burdens of the infirmities of others. ‘We then who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.’ (Rom. 15:1)

Ἄκρα Ταπείνωσις_ Christ Extreme Humility_5_496843145835597590_n…The Christian goes downwards, into the depths of the overturned pyramid where the crushing weight is concentrated — to the place where the Lord is, Who took upon Himself the sins of the world — Christ… At the base of the overturned pyramid — the unfathomable base which is really the summit — is He Who took upon Himself the sins and burdens of the world, the Christ crucified in love for the world. And there we remark a quite especial life, a quite especial light, an especial fragrance. This is where love attracts the athletes of Christ. Love for Christ martyrizes the chosen one, weighs heavily on him, makes his life unbearably hard, until this love arrives at its ultimate desire, and the ways the soul elects to attain to that ultimate end are peculiar. (St. Silouan the Athonite, p. 237-239) 

One of the strongest elements drawn out in both the life and teachings of St. Silouan is just this word of humility as illustrated in my opening quote. To be a follower of Christ is to accept a “downward path,” to follow Christ into the depths of His humility. This is not a new word, but echoes that of the Apostle (which itself seems to have been a hymn which the Apostle was quoting):
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phillipians 2:5-11).

Ιησούς Χριστός_Jesus-Christ_Господне Иисус-Христос-Byzantine Orthodox Icon_εν ταφω_653756862436“Τον ήλιον κρύψαντα” (Seeing the sun hide its rays)

This hymn is a lament chanted from the perspective of Joseph of Arimathea, pleading with Pontius Pilate for the Body of Jesus. It is one of the most beautiful hymns of the Holy Week, Matins of Holy and Great Saturday.

To all the strangers of this world…

Plagal of First Tone

Ιωσήφ της Αριμαθαίας_St Joseph of Arimathea_ Иосиф Аримафейский__Saint-Joseph-of-Arimathea-cf83cf89cebcceb1-cf84cebfcf85-cf87cf81ceb9CX4K2833As the sun hid its very rays at the Savior’s death, and the curtain of the temple was rent in twain,Joseph of everlasting memory approached Pilate beseeching him in this manner;

Give me this stranger, who from infancy has been as a stranger,a sojourner in the world.

Give me this stranger, whon His own race has hated and delivered unto death as a stranger.

Give me this stranger, who in a strange manner is a stranger to death.

Give me this stranger, who has received the poor as guests.

Give me this stranger, whom the jews from envy estranged from the world.

Give me this stranger, that i may hide him in a tomb, for as a stranger He has no place to lay His head.

Give me this stranger, whose Mother seeing His dead body cries out:”O my Son and my God, I am sorely wounded within me and my heart is rent,seeing Thee as one dead:but in Thy Resurrection I take courage and magnify Thee”.Thus entreating Pilate with these words, noble Joseph receives the body of the Savior: and wrapping it with fear in a linen with myrrh, he places in a tomb Him Who bestows upon all eternal life and great mercy.

Idiomelon. Mode 2.

Today, the sepulcher holds Him who holds creation in the palm of His hand, and a stone covers Him who covers the heavens with virtue. Life sleeps, and Hades trembles, and Adam is released from his bonds. Glory to Your dispensation, through which, when You had accomplished all, You gave us the eternal Sabbath rest, Your all-holy Resurrection from the dead.

Second Stanza. Mode pl. 1.

Truly you are Myrrh, * truly, Word of God, the Myrrh Unfailing, * so it was myrrhbearers brought myrrh to you, * to the Living God brought myrrh as to the dead.

Both now. Theotokion.
Mode 1

Let us praise Mary the Virgin, glory of all the world. Born of human parents, she gave birth to the Lord, and is the doorway to heaven. The adornment of the faithful, she is hymned by the angelic hosts. For she has been shown to be heaven and the temple of the Godhead. She is the one who, breaking down the wall of enmity, ushered in peace and threw open the Kingdom. With her as the anchor of our faith, we have a defender in the Lord, to whom she gave birth. Take courage, therefore, people of God, take courage; for he, the Almighty, will defeat your enemies.

Grave Mode.

Arise, O God; judge the earth, for You shall inherit all the Gentiles.

τρεις παίδες εν καμίνω_Three Holy Youths-Анания, Азария и Мисаил-2557071Chanted during Holy Saturday Morning Service
THE EIGHTH ODE – The Hymn of the Holy Three Children (Dan. 3: 57-88)

Praise the Lord, ye creatures which He hath made.
Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages

Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, all ye angels of the Lord, and ye heavens of the Lord: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, all ye waters that are above the heavens, and all ye powers of the Lord: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, O ye sun and moon, and ye stars of heaven: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, every shower and dew, and all ye winds: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, O ye fire and heat, ye winter cold and summer heat: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, O ye falls of dew and snow, ye ice and cold: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, O ye frosts and snows, ye lightning and clouds: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, O ye light and darkness, ye night and day: praise the Lord, and exalt Him above for ever.
Bless the Lord, O ye earth, ye mountains and hills, and all things that spring up therein: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, O ye fountains, ye seas and floods, ye monsters of the sea, and all things that move in the waters: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, all ye winged creatures of the air, ye beasts and all cattle: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, O ye sons of men; let Israel bless the Lord: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
For 8 verses
Bless the Lord, O ye priests of the Lord, ye servants of the Lord: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages

Bless the Lord, O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, ye holy and humble of heart: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
For 6 verses
Bless the Lord, O Ananias, Azarias and Misael: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
Bless the Lord, O ye apostles, ye prophets and martyrs of the Lord: Praise Ye the Lord and Supremely Exault him unto the ages
For 4 verses
Let us bless the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Lord: Praising the Lord and Supremely Exaulting him unto the ages
Let us praise, and bless, and worship the Lord: Praising the Lord and Supremely Exaulting him unto the ages

The Song of the Three Holy Youths


O Lord Jesus, our Mind and our Life, help us to think with Thee, and to live with Thee. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_Teofanía_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon0106theophany250_a0d50_81ec794c_

Wash you, be clean; remove your iniquities from your souls before mine eyes; cease from your iniquities; ( Isaiah 1, 16)

And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be purged from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols, and I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and will put a new spirit in you: and I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36, 25-26)

HOMILY
About how God whitens the repentant sinners
St. Nikolai Velimirovich

“Though your sins be like scarlet, they may be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

O, the boundless mercy of God! In His greatest wrath upon the faithless and ungrateful people, upon the people “laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters” (Isaiah 1:4), as “princes [rulers] of Sodom” (Isaiah 1:10) and upon the people who have become as the “people of Gomorrah” (Isaiah 1:10) – in such wrath, the Lord does not abandon mercy but rather calls them to repentance. Just as after terrible lightnings, a gentle rain falls. Such is the Lord long-suffering [patient] and full of mercy and “neither will He keep His anger forever” (Psalm 103:9). Only if sinners cease to commit evil and learn to do good and turn to God with humility and repentance they will become “white as snow.” The Lord is mighty and willing. No one, except Him, is able to cleanse the sinful soul of man from sin and, by cleansing, to whiten it. No matter how often linen is washed in water with ashes and soap, no matter how often it is washed and rewashed, it cannot receive whiteness until it is spread under the light of the sun. Thus, our soul cannot become white, no matter how often we cleanse it by our own effort and labor even with the help of all legal means of the law until we, at last, bring it beneath the feet of God, spread out and opened wide so that the light of God illumines it and whitens it. The Lord condones and even commends all of our labor and effort, i.e., He wants us to bathe our soul in tears, by repentance to constrain it by the pangs of the conscience to press it, to clothe it with good deeds and in the end of ends, He calls us to Him: “Come now,” says the Lord, “and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). That is, I will look at you and I will see if there is Me in you and you will look upon Me as in a mirror and you will see what kind of person you are.

O Lord, slow to anger, have mercy on us before the last wrath of that Dreadful Day.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Homily for August 5 in The Prologue of Ohrid Volume II
http://livingorthodoxfaith.blogspot.gr/2010/04/prologue-august-5-august-18.htmlΘεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_Teofanía_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon0100HOMILY
on the ignorance and hardheartedness of the pagans
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

The gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart (Ephesians 4:17-18).

What is vanity, my brethren? All that is seen outside God, cut off from God and done without the fear of God. What is vanity of the mind, my brethren? To live and interpret life, not by God’s law but rather by one’s own passing thoughts and desires. Whence, my brethren, does this evil come to men? From hardness of heart and from inner ignorance. What does hardness of heart mean, brethren? It means a heart empty of love for God and fear of God, and filled with lustfulness and fear of everything for the body’s sake. Brethren, what is born of hardness of heart? Ignorance-complete ignorance of divine things, divine ways and divine laws; a heart completely dulled to spiritual life and spiritual thought. What is the final consequence, brethren, of hardness of heart and ignorance of divine truth? A darkened understanding and alienation from the Living God. Darkened understanding occurs when the mind of man becomes as darkened as the body, and the light that is in man becomes darkness. Oh, such a darkness! A darkened understanding is a darkened mind. A darkened mind knows the meaning of nothing, or denies the meaning of everything. In such a condition, a man is alienated from the life of God, and he withers and dies like a body part cut off from the body. Such are the pagans, such are the godless, and such are those of little faith or false Christians. But even dry wood, when it is watered with the life-creating water of Christ, comes to life and bursts forth in greenery. Even the dried-up pagan world was raised up and brought to life by Christ the Lord. How much more so would it be for repentant Christian sinners!

Let us look at ourselves, my brethren. Let us do so every day. Let us ask ourselves every day whether we have become darkened and alienated from the life of God because of our vanity. Soon there will be death, the end and judgment. The dry wood will be cast into the unquenchable fire.

O Lord Jesus, our Mind and our Life, help us to think with Thee, and to live with Thee.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/November30.htmΠηγή_πουλιά_Mausoleums_der_Galla_Placidia_in_Ravenna_008

Repentance is conversion, the recentering of our life upon the Holy Trinity. That is the essence of repentance.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/repentance-is-conversion-the-recentering-of-our-life-upon-the-holy-trinity-that-is-the-essence-of-repentance/

Troparion of the forefeast, in Tone IV:

Once, the River Jordan was turned back by the mantle of Elisha when Elijah was borne aloft, and the waters were parted on either side, and the path which before was wet became dry for him, as a true image of baptism, whereby we pass through the flow of life. Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

Tone VIII:
Spec. Mel.: “Thy martyrs, O Lord …”:

He that is truly unbearable Fire shall go forth into the Jordan to cleanse me who have been destroyed by the wicked violation. In the midst of the waters shall He receive the rain of heaven which washes away the stain of many transgressions, in that He is compassionate and great in mercy.

Glory … , Now and ever … , in Tone VI:

Christ came to the Jordan truly to be baptized by John; and he said to Him: “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? I, a shadow, dare not come in contact with fire! Sanctify me, O Master, by Thy divine manifestation!”