Iconography and Hand painted icons

This the Feast of the Entry of the Blessed Virgin Mary into the Holy of Holies exhorts every mother and every father to say to our children from an early age the following words: Enter reverently, tremblingly into the area where no door – neither the church nor the mental or any other door – leads, except for the silent, trembling waiting before God. Go into that Holy of Holies and grow into the full measure of Christ, to become like the Mother of God and to turn into a temple, a place of residence for the Holy Spirit and the Lord in the Sacraments, and to become a child of our Heavenly Father. Anthony of Sourozh (Bloom)

Εισόδια της Θεοτόκου_Entrance of the Theotokos_Боянская церковь_2591Synaxarion.
On November 21, we commemorate the Entry of the Mother of God into the Holy of Holies
Feast of the Hesychastic monasticism

On Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

There are feasts in which the power lies in the event being remembered; it is the event itself that is important, significant, and decisive for the destinies of men; this is true of the feast of the Nativity of Christ and the Feast of the Resurrection; the decisive thing is, respectively, that God became a human being on that day and was born on Earth, and that it was on that day that the Lord who had died on the cross for the sake of our salvation was risen from the dead.

There are also holidays, as well as icons, which tell us about some very special event, even if their historical context is not clear. Such is the feast of the Entry of the Blessed Virgin Mary into the Temple. It is hardly possible that the event described in the liturgical hymn did indeed happen in ancient Jerusalem; but it tells us something more significant and important about the Mother of God than Her physical entry into the Holy of Holies, which was forbidden even to the High Priest other than on specific days. This is the day when the Blessed Virgin, who has reached her early maturity that makes a child capable of experiencing, perceiving and responding personally to the mysterious touch of grace, entered the Holy of Holies – not the actual Holy of Holies but rather the deep union with God, which the Temple stood for.

Εισόδια της Θεοτόκου_Entrance of the Theotokos_Введение во храм Пресвятой Богородицы_10_11_11-2With what trembling should we read the words in the divine service book, which are attributed to Joachim and Anne with such tenderness and intensity: Go, child! Be the praise and sweet fragrance to the One who gave you everything. Enter the area to which there is no door; learn the mysteries and prepare yourself to become the abode of God Himself. How wonderful it is to think that a mother and a father can address their child with such words: Go into the depth, enter the mystery where no physical door leads, and prepare yourself to be an offering unto God, a sweet fragrance, a divine habitation…

This is how some Fathers of the Church and Saint Theophan interpret the meaning of this entry of the Mother of God into the temple, into the Holy of Holies. Not touched by sin, not desecrated by anything, but capable of responding to the holiness, the glory, the wondrousness of God with her pure heart, unblemished flesh, and her unmarred mind, the three-year-old Maiden is sent to these depths of prayerful, contemplative communion.

We read elsewhere in the same divine service that the Archangel Gabriel told her quietly that she was to open herself up for God and prepare herself to become the place of the Savior’s coming incarnation.

This is what the feast tells us: from the very first steps of her life, taught by her mother and father and guided by an angel, she enters into the depths of prayer, silence, awe, love, contemplation, and purity that make up the true Holy of Holies. Isn’t it amazing after all that we celebrate this day as the beginning of our salvation? The Blessed Virgin, the first of all creatures, enters these impenetrable, impregnable depths, enters into the fellowship with God that will grow and grow, untainted, unclouded, unblemished, unspoiled throughout her life, until, as one Western writer writes, she will be able, in response to God’s call, to utter God’s name with all her mind, with all her heart, with all her will, with all her flesh, and to give birth to God’s Incarnate Word by the Holy Spirit.

Εισόδια της Θεοτόκου_Entrance of the Theotokos_Введение во храм Пресвятой Богородицы_i400 (1)Yes, the day of this holiday is indeed the day when we witness the occurrence of this miraculous event, the beginning of this growth. At the same time, it gives us the idea of what we are called to – where the Lord calls us – the Holy of Holies. Yes, we are defiled; yes, our minds are blurred; yes, our hearts are unclean; yes, our lives are corrupt and unworthy of God. Still, there is repentance available to all, which can purify our minds, our bodies, our hearts; it can correct our will and make our lives righteous, so that we may also enter the Holy of Holies.

No doubt that this holiday, with the words that appear to be spoken by Joachim and Anna, which I’ve quoted, exhorts every mother and every father to say to our children from an early age – from the moment when a child can understand anything, or at least to feel it in his heart, to be sensitive, and to receive grace – the following words: Enter reverently, tremblingly into the area where no door – neither the church nor the mental or any other door – leads, except for the silent, trembling waiting before God. Go into that Holy of Holies and grow into the full measure of Christ, to become like the Mother of God and to turn into a temple, a place of residence for the Holy Spirit and the Lord in the Sacraments, and to become a child of our Heavenly Father. Amen.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Source: https://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Antonij_Surozhskij/propovedi/3_2


Εισόδια της Θεοτόκου_ Entrance of the Theotokos_Боянская церковь_монастыря Хора (Кахрие-джами). Ок.1315—1321 гг. Стамбул, Турция. Фрагмент073“A brother came to Scetis to visit Abba Moses and asked him for a word. The old man said to him, ‘Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.’”

Having withdrawn from the palace to the solitary life, abba Arsenius prayed and heard a voice saying to him, “Arsenius, flee, be silent, pray always, for these are the source of sinlessness.”


St. Seraphim of Sarov

Many explain that this stillness refers only to worldly matters; in other words, that during prayerful converse with God you must ‘be still’ with regard to worldly affairs. But I will tell you in the name of God that not only is it necessary to be dead to them at prayer, but when by the omnipotent power of faith and prayer our Lord God the Holy Spirit condescends to visit us, and comes to us in the plenitude of His unutterable goodness, we must be dead to prayer too.
The soul speaks and converses during prayer, but at the descent of the Holy Spirit we must remain in complete silence, in order to hear clearly and intelligibly all the words of eternal life which He will then deign to communicate. Complete soberness of both soul and spirit, and chaste purity of body is required at the same time. The same demands were made at Mount Horeb, when the Israelites were told not even to touch their wives for three days before the appearance of God on Mount Sinai. For our God is a fire which consumes everything unclean, and no one who is defiled in body or spirit can enter into communion with Him. (St. Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore, Chap. 8)


Saint Symeon the New Theologian 949 -1022 A.D

I know that the Immovable comes down; I know that the Invisible appears to me; I know that He who is outside the whole creation takes me within Himself and hides me in His arms, and then I find myself outside the whole world.
I, a frail, small mortal in the world, behold the Creator of the world, all of Him, within myself; and I know that I shall not die, for I am within the Life, I have the whole of Life springing up as a fountain within me.
He is in my heart, He is in heaven: both there and here He shows himself to me with equal glory.
Hymn 13, ed. Johannes Koder, vol 1


On Eschatology and Hesychasm
Fr. John Romanides 1928-2001

Those who really speak about the end times are those who practice hesychasm, not relaxation. Genuine Orthodox eschatology is hesychasm. (Protopresbyter John S. Romanides, Patristic Theology: The University Lectures of Fr. John Romanides, trans. Hieromonk Alexios [Trader] pg. 108)

We must strive to acquire the inner tranquility. Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Building our Own House Churches: On the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. St. Luke Archbishop of Simferopol

The Mother of God in the Holy of Holies found the “deep heart” through her humble prayer and she began to intercede for the whole world. Fr Zacharias Zacharou

The Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom which is conducted on the morning of the Feast and preceded by a Matins (Orthros) service. A Great Vespers is conducted on the evening before the day of the Feast. Scripture readings for the Feast are the following: At Vespers: Exodus 40:1-5, 9-10, 16, 34-35; I Kings 7:51, 8:1, 3-4, 6-7, 9-11; Ezekiel 43:27—44:4. At the Matins: Luke 1:39-49, 56. At the Divine Liturgy: Hebrews 9:1-7; Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28.

The 21st Day Of The Month Of November
The Entry Of Our All-Holy Mistress, The Theotokos & Ever-Virgin Mary, Into The Temple

Εισόδια της Θεοτόκου_Entrance of the Theotokos_Введение во храм Пресвятой Богородицы_εισοδια 1Apolytikion For the Feast
Mode 4.

Today is the prelude of God’s good pleasure, and the proclamation of humanity’s salvation. In the temple of God, the Virgin is presented openly, and in herself she announces Christ to all. Let us, then, with a great voice cry aloud to her: “Rejoice, you are the fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation.”

Kontakion of the Feast.
Mode 4. “Having been lifted up…”

The most pure temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasury of the glory of God, is on this day brought into the house of the Lord, bringing with her the grace that is in the divine Spirit. To her do the angels of God chant the hymn: She is the heavenly tabernacle!

Ikos: Beholding the grace of the ineffable and divine mysteries of God made plainly manifest in and filling the Virgin, I rejoice; yet I know not how to understand this strange and ineffable image. How hath the pure one alone been shown to be above all creation, visible and noetic? Wherefore, desiring to praise her, I am greatly in awe in mind and word; yet, making bold, I proclaim and magnify her, saying: She is the heavenly tabernacle!

The angels, beholding the entry of the all-pure one, were amazed to see the Virgin enter into the Holy of holies.

Irmos: May the hands of the profane in nowise touch the Theotokos, the animate ark of God; but let the lips of the faithful, unceasingly chanting the cry of the angel, joyfully cry out: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

O my soul, magnify her who is greater in honor and in glory than the armies of heaven.

For us who faithfully hasten * to your compassion for refuge, * O Virgin Mother of our God, * and who piously worship * your Son as God of all the world * and Master, entreat Him now most fervently * that He save us from injury and dangers * and temptations of all kinds.

Glory…, Now and ever…, the composition of Leo Magister, in Tone II

Today the most immaculate Virgin is brought to the temple, to the habitation of God, the King of all, the Nourisher of our whole life. Today the most pure and holy one, is led to the Holy of holies like a heifer three years of age. Let us cry out unto her like the angel: “Rejoice, thou who alone art blessed among women!



May the Spirit of God Who came in tongues of fire upon the Apostles, come to us also – perhaps like a fire that sets us aglow and makes us like a Burning Bush, or touches us like the still, small voice which the Prophet heard in the wilderness in which God was… Anthony Sourozh

Άγιον Πνεύμα_Holy Spirit_Святой Дух_978966_7695943698473106014_nSynaxarion From the Menaion.
On June 14 we commemorate the holy Prophet Elisha (9th century BC)
On this day we also commemorate our Father among the Saints Methodius Archbishop of Constantinople (846)
On this day we also commemorate the holy Hieromartyr Cyril Bishop of Gortynia on the island of Crete (c. 303)
Our righteous Mother Julitta (Julia) of Tabennisi in Egypt (4th century)
Our righteous Father Elisha of Sumsk, monk of Suma (Solovki) (15th-16th centuries)
Our righteous Father Niphon Kausokalybites of Mount Athos, proponent of hesychastic theology (1411)
On this day we also commemorate our Father among the Saints Justin (Popovic) of Ćelije Monastery in Serbia (1979)
Synaxis of All Saints of Diveevo:
Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, Venerable Alexandra of Diveevo (Melgunova) (1789), Martha of Diveevo (Melyukova) (1829), Helena of Diveevo (Manturova) (1832), Blessed Pelagia Ivanovna (Serebrennikova) the Fool for Christ (1884), Blessed Parasceva Ivanovna Semyonovna the Fool for Christ of Diveyevo, called her Pasha of Sarov or “a second Seraphim,” (1915), Maria Ivanovna (Fedina) the Fool for Christ of Diveyevo(1927), Natalia Dmitrievna -“Natashenka” of Diveevo (1900), Holy Martyrs Eudocia (Shikova), Daria (Timolina), Daria (Siushinskaya) and Maria of Puzo (1919), Martha (Testova) of Diveevo ( 1941), Pelagia (Testova) of Diveevo (1944), Confessor Matrona (Vlasova) of Diveevo (1963), Xenia (Cherlina-Brailovskaya) (1937), New Hieromartyrs Michael and Jacob Gusev (1937), Seraphim (Chichagov) of St Petersburg (1937), Serafim (Zvezdinsky) of Dmitrov (1937)

We know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Rom 8:26);
Lord, I know not what to ask of You.
You alone know what my true needs are.
I put all my trust in You.
I have no other desire than to fulfil Your will.
Teach me to pray. Pray Yourself in me. Amen

St. Seraphim of Sarov

The true aim of our Christian life consists of the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God.
The Kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
“My joy, I beg you, acquire the Spirit of Peace.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
When the Spirit of God comes down to man and overshadows him with the fullness of His inspiration, then the human soul overflows with unspeakable joy, for the Spirit of God fills with joy whatever He touches.
Always rejoice! You can’t do anything good from inner straining, but from joy – you can do anything.”
This is the way all righteous men were saved and inherited the Heavenly Kingdom…”

Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh
1989, 19 JUNE

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

Today we are keeping the Feast of the Holy Spirit. What do we know about Him? We heard wonderful words of prayer about Him yesterday on Trinity Sunday, but let us think of Him, of the name He is given in the Gospel, which is translated ‘The Comforter’ in English, in other translations ‘The Advocate’. He is the One Who is the Comforter indeed, the One Who consoles us for our separation from Christ, Who consoles us who are like orphans, who long to be with Christ our God, our Saviour, and who know that as long as we are in the flesh – and these are the words of St. Paul – we are separated from Him. But for Him to be our Comforter, to be our consolation, we must first be aware of the fact that we are separated and this is the first question we must ask ourselves: are we aware of it, or do we live in the delusion that we are in God and God in us, and that nothing more is needed? How much more is needed!
He is also the One Who, as the Comforter, gives us strength, strength to live despite the separation, strength to stand fast and to be the doers of the Will, the fulfillers of the Commandments of God, the One Who can give us vigour of soul, determination, power to act. But this, again, only if we turn to Him and say, Come! Come and abide in us! Cleanse us! Be not only our Comforter but our strength also.

Αγία Τριάδα_ Holy Trinity_День Святой Троицы_ Святая Троица _ rublev_troitsa-3Lastly, He is the One Who gives us, already now, the joy of knowing how close we are despite what seems to be an infinite distance between God and us, the One Who, in unutterable groanings, speaks to God from the depths of our being; the One Who, because we are Christ’s own people, His brothers and sisters in humanity – and these are His own words – that we are the children of the Father. The joy of this, the wonder of this, the dignity of this! Indeed also, the responsibility of this…

If we think of our world which is to such a great extent alien to God, the Spirit is already the beginning of eternal life. His presence is a decisive fact. He beats against the rocks like the sea, He breaks resistances. He is the joy of eternity knocking at our door, forcing Himself into our lives, reminding us of God our Father, of Christ our Saviour and of our greatness and dignity before God, showing us that all things are possible in the power of Christ Who sustains us.

Let us therefore responsibly and gratefully keep this Feast. And may the Spirit of God Who came in tongues of fire upon the Apostles, come to us also – perhaps like a fire that sets us aglow and makes us like a Burning Bush, or touches us like the still, small voice which the Prophet heard in the wilderness in which God was, in His quiet humility, in His surrender to us, in His love for us. Amen.


Your faces are radiant with the glory of the Holy Spirit…

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_CS4LF4uUcAEK6SCTen years ago a certain two of the fathers of Holy Mount Sinai went up to worship on the Holy Summit. One of them is still alive. When they arrived at a distance of about two bow-shot from (the chapel of) Saint Elias they smelled a fragrance unlike any worldly fragrance. Then the disciple thought that the one who dwelt there was offering incense. The elder, his spiritual guide who is still living said, “The fragrance is not of this earth.”
Therefore, approaching the church, behold they saw within it like a fiery flaming kiln with tongues of fire coming from all the doors (and windows). Then, seeing this the disciple feared the sight. But the elder reassured him saying, “Why are you afraid, my child. It is an angelic power and our fellow servant; don’t lose courage. They venerate our nature in heaven; not we theirs.” Thus they fearlessly entered the church as if (going) into a kiln. They prayed and thus they ascended to the summit in the morning.
Beholding them, the guardian (of the peak) saw their faces glorified and shining like the face of Moses and he said to them, “Did you see anything unusual coming up?” Wanting to conceal the matter, they said, “No”. Then he said to them, Believe me, you saw some vision for behold your faces are radiant with the glory of the Holy Spirit.” They bowed to him and related the matter, asking that he tell nobody.


3. Once when the festival of Pentecost was celebrated, there was liturgy on the Holy Summit. When the priest intoned ‘the triumphal hymn of great glory’ the mountains answered with an awesome sound, saying three times, “Holy Holy Holy.” And the sound of the echo and the shout remained for about half an hour. This shout not everyone heard but only those having ears as the Lord said, “He who has ears let him hear.”
Various Narrations of Anastasios the humble monk concerning the holy fathers in Sinai
F. Nau. “Le texte grec des recits du moine Anastase sur les saints peres du Sinai”. Oriens Christianus 2 (1902) 58-89.


St Seraphim of Sarov

Σύναξη των Αγίων του Ντιβέγιεβο ¬_Собор Дивеевских святых_ Synaxis of All Saints of Diveevo_p1916amup41pdb1k801e39103f1req3Saint Seraphim of Sarov talks about the Holy Spirit with his friend and disciple Nicholai Motovilov:
“How do you feel now?” Father Seraphim asked me.
“Extraordinarily well,” I said.
“But in what way? How exactly do you feel well?”
“An extraordinary joy in all my heart.”
“When the Spirit of God descends on a man, and envelops him in the fulness of His presence, the soul overflows with unspeakable joy, for the Holy Spirit fills everything he touches with joy…
This is that joy of which the Lord speaks in His Gospel: A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. In the world you will be sorrowful; but when I see you again, your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you (Jn. 16:21-22). Yet however comforting may be this joy which you now feel in your heart, it is nothing in comparison with that of which the Lord Himself by the mouth of His Apostle said that that joy eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for them that love Him (I Cor. 2:9).
If the first-fruits of futire joy have already filled your soul with such sweetness, with such happiness, what shall we say of the joy in the Kingdom of Heaven, which awaits all those who weep here on earth. You also, my freind, have wept during your earthly life, but see the joy which our Lord sends to console you here below. For the present we must work, and make continual efforts to gain more and more strength to attain ‘the perfect measure of the stature of Christ…’ “so that the words of the Lord may be fulfilled in us: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall grow wings like eagles; and they shall run and not be weary (Is. 40:31); they will go from strength to strength, and the God of gods will appear to them in the Sion (Ps. 83:8) of realization and heavenly visions. Then this transitory and partial joy which we now feel will be revealed in all its fulness, overwhelming our being with ineffable delights which no one will be able to take from us.”
An extract from a booklet called “The Message of Saint Seraphim” by Irina Gorainov and published by Fairacres Publications

Synaxis of All Saints of Diveevo. “Here for you is Jerusalem, and Athos, and Kiev!’ Saint Seraphim of Sarov

“O Lord, give us peace!”St. Seraphim of Sarov
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2016/01/26/o-lord-give-us-peacest-seraphim-of-sarov/Αγία Τριάδα_ Holy Trinity_День Святой Троицы_ Святая Троица _ detail1Apolytikion of Holy Pentecost
Mode pl. 4.

Blessed are You, O Christ our God. You sent down the Holy Spirit into the fishermen, and You gave them knowledge and wisdom in everything; and through them, as in a net You caught the whole world. O Lord who loves humanity, glory to You!

Idiomelon. Mode 1

The Holy Spirit supplies all things: He pours out prophecies, He perfects priests; He taught wisdom to the unlettered, He showed fishermen to be theologians; He welds together the whole institution of the Church. “O Comforter, You who share the same essence and throne with the Father and the Son, glory to You!”

Mode pl. 2

Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, present in all places and filling all things, treasury of good things and giver of life: come; take Your abode in us; cleanse us of every stain, and save our souls, O Good one.

Troparion of Prophet Elijah the Tishbite, the fiery Prophet, the prince of the Prophets – Tone 4

An angel in the flesh and the cornerstone of the prophets, the second forerunner of the coming of Christ, Glorious Elijah sent grace from on high to Elisha, to dispel diseases and to cleanse lepers. Therefore, he pours forth healings on those who honor him.

Troparion of St. Seraphim of Sarov, Tone 4

Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one, and longing to work for Him alone thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labor. With penitent heart and great love for Christ thou wast favored by the Mother of God. Wherefore we cry to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim our righteous Father.

Apolytikion of Saint Justin of Ćelije in Tone One

Let us honor with splendor the divinely inspired theologian, the wise Serb Justin, who by the scythe of the Holy Spirit hath thrashed the error of atheism and the insolence of the Latins, being a mystic of the God-man and lover of piety, crying out: Glory to Christ Who hath glorified thee, glory to Him Who hath crowned thee, glory to Him Who hath rendered thee a luminary to those who are in a state of darkness.

St. Seraphim of Sarov told Saint Helen Manturova of Diveyevo: take your brother’s death upon yourself, matushka! Do not be afraid of death, my joy, it will be an eternal joy for you and me!

ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ_Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ_Воскресение Иисуса Христа_anastasi-protaton-1 6Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Христос Воскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!
«Rejoice!» «Peace be unto you!»

Synaxarion From the Menaion.
On May 28 we commemorate the holy Hieromartyr Eutychius, Bishop of Melitene (1st century) .
On this day we commemorate the holy Martyr Heliconis of Thessalonica (244).
On this day we commemorate the Venerable Nicetas the Confessor, Archbishop of Chalcedon and His Brother, the Priest Ignatius (early 9th century)
On this day we commemorate the Blessed Andrew of Fool-for-Christ of Constantinople (911)
On this day we commemorate the Venerable Virgin-Martyr Philothea of Pamphylia, Wonderworker (16th century)
On this day we commemorate the Saint Ignatius of Rostov, Bishop and Wonderworker (1288)
On this day we commemorate the Venerable Sophronius of Bulgaria, Monk (1510)
On this day we commemorate the New Martyr Mitros (or Demetrios) of Tripolitsa of Peloponnesos (1794)
On this day we commemorate the New Hieromartyr Zachariah, Priest of Prusa (1802)
On this day we commemorate the Saint Helena Manturova of Diveyevo (1832), the spiritual daughter of St. Seraphim of Sarov.
Blessed Domnica (Likvinenko), Ascetic of Cherson (1967)
Icon of the Mother of God “the Unbreakable Wall”.
Icon of the Mother of God the “Softener of Evil Hearts”

Saint Helena Manturova of Diveyevo

Ελένα του Ντιβέεβο_Saint Helena of Diveyevo_ Св Елена Дивеевская_prp_ElenaElena Vasilyevna Manturova was born to a noble family and lived not far from the Sarov monastery at the family estate in the village of Nucha. She was of cheerful disposition and did not give spiritual life a thought. However, one accident caused her to turn her life completely around. While travelling through a provincial town of Knyaginin of Nizhny Novgorod Province, she saw a vision of a gigantic terrifying serpent. It was so black and so frightfully dreadful, its jaws so threatening, that it seemed she would be devoured right away. The serpent descended lower and lower, so close that Elena Vasilyevna felt its breath all over her. Then she uttered a cry: “Queen of Heaven, save me! I take a vow that I will never marry and enter the monastery!” The dreadful serpent immediately soared up into the sky and vanished.

Since then, Elena Vasilyevna was completely transformed. She grew serious, spiritually alert and began reading holy texts. Worldly life became intolerable to her, and she longed to leave for the monastery where she would shut herself in. She went to Sarov to Father Seraphim seeking his blessing to enter the monastery. Father told her instead: “Why, matushka, what is it that you came up with! No, not the monastery, my joy, as you will get married!” “What are you talking about, father!” – uttered Elena Vasilyevna in dismay. – “I will never marry, I cannot, as I gave my word to the Queen of Heaven to enter the monastery, or She will punish me!” “No, my joy,” – the elder continued. – “Why don’t you get married? You will have a fine and pious Bridegroom, matushka, so that everyone will envy you! Well, don’t even bother, matushka, you will certainly get married, my joy!”

Elena Vasilyevna left in distress. Arriving home, she prayed and cried a lot, asking for the Queen of Heaven’s intercession and guidance. The more she tried and tested her feelings, the deeper she understood that all the worldly and earthly cares were not for her as she has been born anew spiritually. Elena Vasilyena visited Father Seraphim a few more times only to hear him say over and over again that she must marry instead of going to a monastery. For the next three years, Father Seraphim prepared her for the forthcoming change in her life and for entering the Diveyevo community. Finally, he told her: “Well, now, if you really desire so, go then to this small community, twelve verst from here, run by Agatha Semenovna, Colonel Melgunov’s widow. Stay there for awhile, my joy, and give it a try!” Elena Vasilyevna rejoiced and went straight from Sarov to Diveyevo. By then she had turned twenty.

After staying at Diveyevo for about a month, Elena Vasilyevna was called in to see Father Seraphim, who told her: “Now, my joy, it is about time you were betrothed to your Bridegroom!” Terrified, Elena Vasilyevna broke into tears and exclaimed: “I do not want to get married, father!” But Father Seraphim calmed her down saying: “How is it you still do not understand me, matushka! You just need to mention to your superior Xenia Mikhailovna that I instructed her to betroth you to the Bridegroom and have you robed in black robes… That is what I meant by marrying, matushka! That is who your Bridegroom will be, my joy!” And then he added: “I have your whole God-loving life in front of my eyes! This is where you are destined to stay, as there is no better place for reaching salvation than here. That is where mother Agatha Semenovna’s relics are. Visit her every evening, she walked that path and you can do as she has done. You need to go on the same path, for if you choose not to, it will be impossible for you to find salvation. Do not desire to be like a lion, my joy, for it is hard, and I will take care of it. But be like a dove, and behave like the doves with one another. Live there like a dove for three years, and I will help you. Here is what I instruct you to do: as your rule of obedience, read the Akathist daily with the Psalter and psalms, and keep a morning prayer rule. Spin flax into yarn and let another sister assist you by combing and rippling it. You can spin and learn, while another one will sit by you and instruct you how to do it. Keep yourself in silence, do not talk idly with anyone, answering to only most urgent inquiries and even then answer “as if with difficulty.” When you are questioned, respond “I do not know!” As soon as you hear others saying needless things amongst themselves, leave right away, so as “not to fall into temptation.” Never stay idle, be mindful of your inner thoughts, always stay busy. To avoid falling asleep, eat moderately. On Wednesdays and Fridays, eat just once a day. From waking hour till lunchtime repeat: “Oh Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” From lunch till nighttime repeat: “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!” In the evenings, walk outside and say the Jesus prayer 100 times and a prayer to the Theotokos 100 times and never tell anyone what you do. Pray so that no one sees or even assumes how you do it, and you will be equal to the angels! As your Bridegroom is away, do not be despondent and persevere and do not lose courage. With prayer, that everlasting and inseparable prayer, prepare yourself. He will walk in at night, softly, and bring you a ring, a finger ring, just as He did to Catherine, the Great Martyr. Therefore, prepare yourself for the next three years, my joy, and have it all ready in three years. Oh, what an unspeakable joy it will be, matushka! I am talking here about your taking the veil, matushka. Take the veil in three years, having thus prepared yourself, for it is not necessary to do it earlier. As soon as you take the veil, you will have such grace inside you and you will ascend higher and higher, oh, how it will be then! When the Archangel Gabriel appeared before the Mother of God and announced the news to Her, She was perplexed at first but immediately responded: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be according to Thy word.” That is how you will respond as well: “let it be according to Thy word!” That is the kind of marriage and the Bridegroom I am talking about, matushka. Be obedient to me and never tell anyone about it before it is time, but keep faith that everything spoken here to you will be fulfilled, my joy!”

Overcome with gladness, Elena Vasilyevna returned home to Diveyevo. Having put simple black monastic garments, she resumed her monastic endeavors with love, unceasing prayer, constant contemplation, and in complete silence.

ΕΛΕΝΑ-μοναχή Έλενα-Saint Helena of Diveyevo-Прп. Елена Дивеевская7155058743_fbfe1c958f_b (1)Venerable Seraphim wanted to appoint Elena Vasilyevna a superior nun of his Community by the Mill. When father excitedly announced his will to her, Elena Vasilyevna was greatly confused. “No, I cannot, simply can’t do it, father!” she told him right away. “I always was obedient to you in everything, but I cannot be now! Rather, ask me to die, right here, right now, by your feet, but to be a superior is neither what I want nor what I can do, father!” Despite everything, when the mill was built and the first seven maidens settled there, Father Seraphim instructed them to seek her blessing and treat Elena Vasilyevna as their nun superior, even though she stayed in the community by the Kazan Church until her death. It so deeply confused the young ascetic that, even before her passing, she kept insisting, as if in fear: “No! No! As father wishes, but I just cannot obey this will of his, how can I be a superior here! I am not even sure how I shall be held responsible for my own soul, while here there are others to be accountable for! No, please, may father forgive me, I simply cannot obey him in this!” Nevertheless, Father Seraphim entrusted all the newly arriving sisters into her care and, speaking of her, would always say “Your lady, your superior!”

Despite being nominally called a superior of the Community by the Mill, Elena Vasilyevna labored and carried obediences equally with other sisters. When Father Seraphim gave his blessing to dig a Kanavka, as commanded by the Queen of Heaven, he pointed out to the visiting sisters her commitment and diligence: “Your Superior, your lady, she labors so hard, and you, my joy, why don’t you set up a tent for her, a linen tent, so that your lady can take a break from her hard work!”

Exceptionally and inherently kind, she was keen on doing good in secret. Knowing the needs of the sisters who had poor families and the visiting beggars, she gave away everything she owned and whatever she received from others, but did so discreetly. As she walked by or, while at church, she would offer alms to someone saying: “Here, matushka, such and such asked me to give it to you!” All she had to nourish herself was a baked potato and some flat bread that used to be stored in a bag hanging on her porch. No matter how many were baked, she never had enough of them. “How odd,” nun the baker used to tell her. “I have just filled your bag with breads and where are they all gone?” “Ah, matushka,” Elena Vasilyevna would meekly answer. “Please, forgive me for Christ’s sake, matushka, do not be sad because of me. What can I do, I have this weakness, as I love them so much and eat them all!” She slept on a stone barely covered with some raggedy rug.

Once the Nativity churches were consecrated, Father Seraphim appointed Elena Vasilyevna a church sacristan and reader. For this purpose, he asked Hieromonk Father Hilarion from Sarov to tonsure her as a riassophore nun, and it was duly performed.

She stayed continually at church reading the Psalter six hours in a row, since there were only a couple of literate sisters. Due to this shortage of readers, she would even spend the night at the church at times, resting right on the church’s brick floor.

Σεραφείμ Σάρωφ_St. Seraphim of Sarov_ Преподобный Серафим Саровский_1Svjatojj_Serafim_Sarovskijj0_6333Her repose was of a miraculous and mysterious manner. Cured from a serious illness by Father Seraphim, her brother Mikhail Vasilyevich Manturov received his blessing to sell the estate and to use the money from the sale to build the churches to the Nativity in Diveyevo. All his life, Mikhail Vasilyevich Manturov had to endure humiliation for this godly act. He, in turn, bore it humbly, patiently, meekly, good-naturedly and in silence, all out of his love and unfathomable faith in the elder. He rendered complete obedience to him, doing nothing without his blessing, and surrendering his own life into the hands of the Venerable Seraphim. Father, in return, fully entrusted him in everything that related to settling things in Diveyevo. Everyone concerned knew it and duly paid full respects to Manturov, implicitly obeying him as the executor of Father Seraphim’s will.

When Mikhail Vasilyevich Manturov fell sick and was about to die from a malignant tertian fever, Father Seraphim called Elena Vasilyevna to come see him. He told her: “You were always obedient to me, my joy, and I want to give you one more obedience… Will you do it, matushka?” “I always obeyed you,” she said, “and I am ready to obey you now!” “You see here,” the elder went on, “your brother Mikhail Vasilyevich is quite sick and it is time for him to die, matushka. But he is sorely needed in our monastery for our orphans… So, here is the obedience I have for you: take his death upon yourself, matushka!” “Bless, father!” calmly and humbly replied Elena Vasilyevna. Father Seraphim had a really long conversation with her afterwards, pleasing her heart and talking about death and future life eternal. Elena Vasilyevna listened in silence, but suddenly she responded in embarrassment: “Father! I am afraid of death!” “How can we be afraid of death, my joy!” said Father Seraphim. “It will be an eternal joy for you and me!”

Having returned home, she fell ill, lay down and said: “I will not get back on my feet again!” Once, having changed in appearance, she joyfully cried: “Holy Igumenia! Matushka, do not forsake our community!” During her last confession, the dying one told about the vision and revelation she had been honored to receive. “I should not have talked about it earlier,” explained Elena Vasilyevna, “but now I can! I was at church where I saw, standing in the Royal Doors, a sovereign Queen of indescribable beauty, who called me saying: “Follow Me, behold and see!” We entered the palace; I do not have words, no matter how much I try, to describe its beauty, father! It was made from a clear crystal, while its doors, locks, doorknobs and all furnishings were of pure gold. It was gleaming, radiant and splendid to such an extent that it was difficult to look at it. As soon as we approached its doors, they opened by themselves and we entered an endless hallway framed with closed doors on both sides. Upon reaching the first door, it opened as if on it own as well, and inside I saw a great room.

ΕΛΕΝΑ(μοναχή Έλενα)prp_Elenaserafim_sarovskiy_i_elena_diveevskaya2There were tables, armchairs, just as splendid, as if on fire from some unspeakable decorations. The hall gradually filled with dignitaries and some young men of rare beauty were seated there. As soon as we entered, everyone rose in silence and bowed down to the Queen. “Look around here,” She said gesturing at them. “They are my pious merchants….” The next room looked even more beautiful, it was as if awash with light! It was full of only young maidens, one prettier than another, dressed in robes of extraordinary lightness and wearing shimmering crowns on their heads. The crowns varied and a few wore two or three of them. The maidens were seated but rose silently as we entered and bowed down before the Queen. “Have a good look around: aren’t they pretty? How do you find them?” She asked me kindly. I took time looking at them lined on one side of the room and then, who do you think I saw – one of the maidens, father, as my doppelganger!” Saying that, Elena Vasilyevna first looked confused, paused and soon continued: “This maiden smiled and wagged her finger at me! Then, by instruction of our Queen, I turned towards the other side of the room and saw a maiden with a crown of such a striking beauty that I even felt envy!” uttered Elena Vasilyevna and sighed. “All of them, Father, were sisters of our community from days past, residing there now and in the future! But I do not have permission to name them. Having left this room, its doors closed on their own behind us. We approached the third room and found ourselves in another less radiant room. It was also filled with our sisters as in the previous room, from the past, from current times and of the future. They all wore crowns, less shiny though, and I have no permission to name these either. Next, we moved on to the fourth room. It was poorly lit and full of sisters from the past, present and future, who were either were seated or laying down. Some of them, dreary and long-faced, were crouching from illness and had no crowns at all. Everyone bore the signs of affliction and untold sorrow. “And these are the slothful!” the Queen told me pointing at them. “They are maidens, too, but as they were negligent, they will never be exulted!”

Elena Vasilyevna died at twenty-seven years old on the eve of Pentecost, on May 28, 1832, having spent a mere seven years in the Diveyevo community. The following day, on Trinity Day, during the Memorial service and the singing of the Cherubic Hymn, everyone present watched in amazement as the deceased Elena Vasilyevna smiled three times as though lying alive in her coffin. Father used to say: “Her soul fluttered up like a birdie! The Cherubims and Seraphims parted to let her pass! She had the honor of being seated like a maiden not too far from the Holy Trinity!”

Elena Vasilyevna was buried next to the head superior mother Alexandra, to the right from the Kazan church. There had been previous attempts to bury deceased lay people in that spot, but the grave would get flooded with the burial deemed impossible. This time, however, the grave stayed dry and the coffin of the Seraphim community’s fervent intercessor was lowered there safely.

Σύναξη των Αγίων του Ντιβέγιεβο ¬_Собор Дивеевских святых_ Synaxis of All Saints of Diveevo_p1916amup41pdb1k801e39103f1req3Elena Vasilyevna, who was of remarkable beauty, had an attractive appearance, rounded face, expressive dark eyes and dark hair, and of a high stature.

The veneration of Elena Vasilyevna in Diveyevo began soon after her repose. Beginning from 1850s, the monastery held a written account of the miracles and healings that took place on her grave. Unfortunately, this register was lost. After the Diveyevo monastery closed in 1927, and after the subsequent closure of the Kazan church, the nearby gravesites were leveled to the ground. In July of 1991, excavations revealed the gravesites of Venerable Alexandra, Martha and Elena, as well as one of N.A.Motovilov. The graveyard mounds and the crosses were restored. At the end of 2000, in preparation to the glorification of the venerable women of Diveyevo, the excavations were performed and the relics of the ascetics were found. On December 22, 2000, Elena Vasilyevna was added to the community of local saints of Niznhy Novgorod Diocese. In 2004, the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church approved her for universal veneration. Her holy relics are held at the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery.

Μάρθα του Ντιβέεβο_St. Martha (Miliukova), schemanun of Diveyevo_Преподобная Марфа Дивеевская (Милюкова)_храме Рождества Богородицы _600Apolytikion of Saint Helena Manturova of Diveyevo
Tone Plagal of the Fourth Tone

In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother;for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ,and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlookthe flesh,for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal.Wherefore, O righteous Helena, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

Troparion, tone 1

You shone with the virtues of meekness, humility and reverence, / you appeared to the mysterious head of the Mill community in Deveyevo, / our reverend mother Elena, / even until death, in perfect obedience to the elder Seraphim, you remained, / and you were honored to see the Lord, / ask us boldness to Him alone serve / for the salvation of our souls.

Troparion Blessed Andrew Fool-for-Christ of Constantinople, Tone 4

Thou didst choose foolishness for the sake of Christ/ and didst make the crafty one foolish./ Thou didst persevere with thy struggle in the midst of turmoil,/ and Christ has brought thee to paradise./ Intercede with Him, O Andrew for those who honor thee.

Troparion of St Ignatius of Rostov Tone 4

Thy doctrine was a source of enlightenment;/ thou didst receive a flock as a Hierarch and wast an heir to the Apostles./ Thou didst receive the gift of wonderworking:/ O holy Bishop Ignatius,/ entreat Christ our God to save our souls.

Apolytikion of St Eutyches ― Tone 4

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

Troparion of St Nicetas Tone 4

In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith, / an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; / your humility exalted you; your poverty enriched you. / Hierarch Father Nicetas, / entreat Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion, tone 5

Having lived piously in monasticism / and having ended your path at a young age, / by obedience, fasting and eternally inseparable prayer / prepared for yourself to meet the Bridegroom, / God-wise Elena, we pray to you: / deliver us from troubles with your prayers, blessed.

Megalynarion of Saints Alexandra, Martha and Elena of Diveevsky

We bless you, / our reverend mothers Alexandra, Marfa and Elena, / and we honor your holy memory, / you pray for us / / Christ our God.

Megalynarion of Holy New Martyr Mitros of Peloponnesos

Select offspring of Theisoa, fragrant white-flower of courage which blossomed in Tripolis, of Demetrios let us sing praise.

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

O all-glorious wonder! Thou didst show the incorporeal beings and didst reveal hidden things to thy favored one Andrew, whose heart was of flesh and who was foolish for Thy sake, who endured suffering on earth, taking up his cross and following Thee, his Master and God. Through his supplications, O Christ God, save Thou our souls, in that Thou art merciful.

O all-glorious wonder! walking the earth in a body of clay for Thy sake, O Lord, yet living like an incorporeal being, Andrew, Thy favorite, spurned the acquisition of possessions, desiring instead the things Thou hast promised, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man entered upon, which are prepared for those who love Thee. By his supplications save Thou our souls, in that Thou art merciful.

Troparion of St. Seraphim of Sarov, Tone 4

Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one, and longing to work for Him alone thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labor. With penitent heart and great love for Christ thou wast favored by the Mother of God. Wherefore we cry to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim our righteous Father.

Christ is risen from the dead, by death
trampling down upon death, and to those in the
tombs He has granted life.Ντιβεγιεβο_Diveyevo St. Seraphim of Sarov_Серафи́мо-Диве́евский монасты́рь- __Дивеево-с-высотыΝτιβέγιεβο_diveevo_Дивееве_6454577 - ΑντιγραφήΝτιβέγιεβο_Diveyevo_diveevo_Αλεξανδρας_Ελενας_Μαρθας_λειψανα_tild6137-3234-4464-b062-653537623665__tild6436-6437-4239-b - Αντιγραφή

In the days of Noah, it was like this, the flood was approaching. The ark is the church. Only those who are in it will be saved. Saint Nectarius of Optina

Μυροφόρες_ Myrrhbearers_ Жёны-мироносицы_femeile_mironositeΧριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
ХристосВоскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
ქრისტეაღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტადაღსდგა!
«Χαίρετε»! «Ειρήνη υμίν»

Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis and Metropolitan of Cyprus (403)
Saint Calliope (Callitropos), nun, sister of St. Epiphanius of Cyprus
Patriarch Germanus I of Constantinople (740)
Saint Domitilla the martyr (c. 81-96)
Saints Nereus and Achilleus the martyrs (100)
Saint Dracontius, Bishop of Nicaea (c. 1st to 3rd centuries)
Saint Polybius, Bishop of Cyprus, Wonderworker (5th century) and Saint Sabinus, Archbishop of Cyprus (successor of St. Epiphanius to the Cypriot cathedra) (5th century)
Saint Theophanes, Archbishop of Cyprus (7th century)
Venerable Theodore of Kythera, ascetic (922)
Martyr Pancratius of Rome (304) and Martyr Dionysius (Denis), uncle of St. Pancratius (304)
Saint Theophanes, Bishop of Solea (Solia), Cyprus, later a hermit in the Troodos Mountains; the Outpourer of Myrrh (1550)
New Martyr John of Wallachia, at Constantinople (1662)
Saint Nectarius (Tikhonov) of Optina (1928)
New Martyr Abbess Athanasia (Lepeshkina), of the Smolensk Hodigitria Convent near Moscow (1931) and Martyr Evdokia Martishkina (1938)
Discovery of the holy relics (1961) of Saint Irene of Lesvos the Virgin-martyr (1463)

Commemorated on May 12

St. Tsar Martyr Nicholas II of Russia
’I was born on the feast-day of St Job the Long-suffering…”

Νικόλαος Β΄ Τσαρος της Ρωσίας_ Tsar Nicholas II of Russia_ святого страстотерпца Николай II_unnamed (16)Tsar-Martyr Nicholas was born in St. Petersburg on May 6, 1868, the day upon which the Holy Church celebrates the memory of St. Job the Long-Suffering. And how prophetic this turned out to be – for Nicholas was destined to follow the example of this great Old Testament Saint both in circumstance and in faith. Just as the Lord allowed the Patriarch Job to suffer many things, trying him in the fire of calamity to test his faith, so was Nicholas tried and tempted, but he too never yielded and remained above all a man of God.

Tsar Nicholas himself used to say: “I was born the same day as righteous Job the Long-Suffering was celebrated and I am ready to accept the tribulations of God and to suffer the sufferings to the end.” And indeed all his life was a Golgotha (Calvary).

Not only the Tsar, but the whole of his blessed family, met their fate with truly Christian patience. Thus on March 13, 1917, the Tsarevich Alexis wrote to his sister Anastasia:
“I will pray fervently for you and Maria. With God everything will pass. Be patient and pray.”
And shortly after the abdication the Empress said: “Our sufferings are nothing. Look at the sufferings of the Saviour, how He suffered for us. If this is necessary for Russia, we are ready to sacrifice our lives and everything.”


Νικόλαος Β΄ Τσαρος της Ρωσίας_ Tsar Nicholas II of Russia_ святого страстотерпца Николай II_fSaint Tikhon Patriach of Moscow writes about the birthday of our Tsar-Martyr Nicholas:
We find out justification in the fact of our Sovereign’s birthday coinciding with the day which the Orthodox Church has consecrated to the memory fo the long-suffering Job. To man this coincidence will seem to be but mere chance. But in the eyes of a believer there can be no chance, and only the more so when the elected by the Lord Himself in the time of need (Ecclesiastes 10:4). Consequently it is no mere chance, but rather a mysterious coincidence, that the birth of our Sovereign and the memory of the long-suffering Job come on the same day…

By permission of God, dreadful clamities befall this righteous man, and shock after shock strike at him. One after the other messengers come to him bringing sad news about the loss of all his possessions. And when the preceding messsenger was still speaking,there came one more to tell him about the loss of all his children and servants. Then, in his own turn, he is stricken with a painful disease- leprosy. Was it easy for Job to bear all this? “Was this strength the strength of stones and was his flesh of brass?” (Job 6:12).”If his griefs were thoroughly weighed and his calmities laid in the balance together,” possibly they would have outweighed the sand of the sea (Job 6:1-2).
Yet Job bore manfully all this misfortunes that befell him, and “in all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10), he did not murmur against God…

Now brethren, let us trun from the ancient times to our days, from the man who “was the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3) to our country and its Supreme Chief…
Our Tsar received,as Job did of yore, tiding after tiding, telling of failing crops, of devastating fires, of earthquakes, mountain landslides and inundations…

Like Job, misunderstood by his friends and suffering from this misunderstanding, the Russian people, with its crown bearing Chiefat its head, have failed to this day to receive a correct valuation from their neighbors. Their best intentions are met with mistrust and are suspected of insincerity. Monstrous scheming is ascribed to them. Their best endeavors are commented upon in an unfavourable way, are distorted and laughed at. All the good in them is passed by in silence and their failings are manified to a huge size and are announced to all the world…

Let us not continue the enumeration of those foolish accusations: all our compatriots who abroad know them well. “Judge them, O Lord,that do me inustice; war againstthem that war against me” (Psalm 34:1).

Grant unto our beloved Sovereignthe successfulness of Moses, the manliness of David and wisdom of Solomon, together with the patience of Job.
Help him, O Lord, and all the Russian people to believe in Christ’s truth and int he righteousness of his labors and to hold to the way of the Lord, as in the past, in spite of anything our ill-wishers may say. Thus the Lord shall not forsake us, but will strengthen us with the hand of His truth, and those who go against us shall be brought to shame (Isaiah 41:10-11).

“Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord” (St. James 5:11)….
Excerpt , A Sermon On The Occasion Of The Birthday Of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II By Saint Tikhon Patriach of Moscow


ΣΕΡΑΦΕΙΜ Τσιτσαγκωφ_St Seraphim Chichagov of Leningrad_Св Серафим (Чичагов)_file_608The Tsar, as a fervent lover of the Beatitudes of Christ, strove to emulate them all. He was truly meek, sought after righteousness, and was acknowledged by all who knew him as pure hearted. As desirous of peace, he made an unprecedented suggestion to the world early in his reign — that all nations come together and meet in order to cut down on their military forces and submit to general arbitration on international disputes. The result of his proposal, the Hague Peace Conference, was convened on May 18, 1899, and served as the precedent for the later League of Nations and United Nations. As a giver of mercy he was unparalleled in Russian history pardoning criminals, even revolutionaries; giving away vast quantities of his own land to alleviate the plight of the peasants; and countless other charitable deeds of which only God knows. And, of course, few mourned as he did, and few were persecuted unjustly as he was.

There soon began an endless succession of tragedies, even a small number of which would have broken a lesser man. But for the Tsar they only served to further refine the nobility of his soul.

In May, 1917, a Sarov archimandrite, who was sorrowing over the fate of the Royal Family, fell asleep during prayer and saw a vision of the Family together with St. Seraphim. And the saint told him not to sorrow, that God would not forsake his chosen ones, and that He had sent him, Seraphim, to comfort the Royal sufferers in the hour of their trial.
“Do you see the radiant light come from the faces of the Royal sufferers? This is a sign that they are under the special protection of God, as being righteous ones… Look at the face of the Empress and you will see that the light coming from it is brighter than the others. This is a sign that she will suffer more slander than any from the followers of the world’s slanderer.”

St. Tsar Martyr Nicholas II of Russia And His Family were murdered by the Bolshevik revolutionaries on 17 July 1918 in Yekaterinburg at the Ipatiev House.
The killing of Tsar Nicholas, opened the way to the destruction of Orthodox Russia and its transformation into Babylon.
Thus ended the life of the Christ-like Tsar, as a sacrifice for the Orthodox Faith and for the Russian people, both of whom he so fervently loved and believed in.
The Tsar, spiritually united at birth to the righteous and long-suffering Prophet Job laid down his life for his friends, and what’s more—even for his enemies, showing the greatest of love. Upon the Cross our Lord called out Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Lk. 23:34).


Saint Nectarius (Tikhonov) of Optina

ΝΕΚΤΑΡΙΟΣ_nektarij_optinskij_st_-nektary-of-optina-0_14ffe6_bf99ab61_orig - CopyIn 1917 the elder Nectarius of Optina prophesied: “A hard time is coming. The number six has passed in the world, and the number seven has begun. Now begins the age of silence. Be silent, silent,” said batiushka, and tears flowed from his eyes. “And now his Majesty is not his own man, he is suffering such humiliation for his mistakes. 1918 will be still worse. His Majesty and all his family will be killed, tortured. And our tsar will stand before the throne of God wearing the crown of a great-martyr. Yes, this tsar will be a great-martyr.
“In the last days,” he said, “the world will be encircled by paper and iron. Noah’s time is a figure of our own. The flood was approaching. Noah knew about it and told the people, but they did not believe him. He hired workers to build the ark, and they, while building the ark, did not believe, and so they only received the agreed pay for their work, but were not saved. Those days are a prefiguring of ours. The ark is the Church, only those who are in it will be saved.”

Once he advised: “Pray simply:” Lord, grant me your grace! ” A cloud of sorrows is falling on you, and you pray: “Lord, grant me your grace!” And the Lord will carry a thunderstorm past you. “

“Lord, grant me Thy grace,” the venerable elder Nectarios taught to pray and said: “And now a cloud is coming at you, and you pray: Give me grace, and the Lord will carry the cloud past.”

Valuable memories of Elder Nektarios can be found in Father Vasily Shustin, who visited him with his wife. “Father tells me,” says Fr. Vasily – …Now I will say that soon there will be a spiritual hunger for books. You won’t get spiritual books. It is good that he is collecting this spiritual treasure, it will be very useful. A hard time is coming now. The number six has passed in the world and the number seven begins, the century of silence. Shut up, shut up, says the priest, and tears flow from his eyes. The sovereign endures the humiliated for his mistakes. In 1918 it will be even harder. – The sovereign and the whole family will be killed, tortured. One pious girl had a dream: Jesus Christ is sitting on the throne, and there are 12 apostles near him, and terrible groans are heard from the ground. And the Apostle Peter asks Christ: When, Lord, will these torments end? – And Jesus Christ answers him: “I give the term until 1922. If people do not repent, do not come to their senses, then everyone will perish like that. ” Immediately before the Throne of God, our Sovereign is also in the crown of the Great Martyr. Yes, this Sovereign will be a great martyr. Recently, he redeemed his life, and if people do not turn to God, then not only Russia, but all of Europe will fail.

Archpriest Vasily Shustin told how the priest, without reading, went through the letters:
“On one of my visits to Optina Pustyn, I saw Father Nektariy read sealed letters. He came out to me with the received letters, of which there were about fifty, and, without printing, began to sort them. Some he postponed with the words: “Here you need to give an answer, but these thanks can be left unanswered.” He, without reading, saw their content. He blessed some of them, and even kissed some … “

The Monk Nektarios, being a seer, predicted in 1917: “Russia will rise and will not be rich in material, but it will be rich in spirit, and in Optina there will be seven more lamps, seven pillars.”

“If at least a few faithful Orthodox remain in Russia, God will have mercy on her,” Father Nectarius predicted in the early 1920s, who remained the only elder of Optina Pustyn after the death of Father Anatoly Jr. And he added with a smile: “But we have such righteous people.”. And the elder said: “In the last times the world will be girded with iron and paper”.

Here is what the Optina Elder Nektary answered to the nun Nektaria, who in 1924 asked the priest “about the end of the world”: « … it is not useful for people to know the time of the second coming. “Watch and Pray”, – said the Savior, it means that there is no need to foresee events, but in due time everything will be revealed to be true”.

We need, leaving European customs, to love Holy Russia and repent of the past passion for them, to be firm in the Orthodox faith, to pray to God, to repent for the past”.

Once a young doctor Sergey Nikitin came to Kholmischi for advice, but instead of solving the visitor’s problems, father delivered a monologue about the flood, secretly exposing the current situation. “Imagine,” he said to the surprised guest, “it is now completely unreasonable to believe that the era experienced by the human race in the antediluvian time was bleak, wild and ignorant. In fact, the culture then was very high. People knew how to do a lot of things, extremely witty in design and magnificent in appearance. Only on this man-made property they spent all their strength and souls. They concentrated all the abilities of their primitive young nature in only one direction – the full satisfaction of bodily needs. Their trouble is that they “became flesh.” So the Lord decided to correct this one-sidedness of theirs. Through Noah, he announced the flood, and for a hundred years Noah called people to correction, preached repentance in the face of God’s wrath, and built an ark to prove the right words. And what do you think? It was very strange for the people of that time, accustomed to the elegant form of their civilization, to see how an old man who had gone out of his mind knocks together some kind of awkward box of enormous size in the age of magnificent culture, and even preaches on behalf of God about the coming flood … ” “In the days of Noah, it was like this,” said the elder Nadezhda A. Pavlovich another time, “the flood was approaching. Noah knew about him and told people, but they did not believe. He hired workers to build the ark, and while building it, they did not believe, and therefore received only payment, but were not saved. Those days are a prototype of our days. The ark is the church. Only those who are in it will be saved.” And again: “Noah called all the people, but only cattle came.”

Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is coming to judge the living and the dead, have mercy on us sinners, forgive the sins of our whole life, and with them weigh the fates hiding us from the face of the Antichrist in the hidden wilderness of Your salvation. Amen.


Conversion of an atheist.

Here is another testimony, received from Monk Ippolit of the Zosima Hermitage (near Moscow):

Νικόλαος Β΄ Τσαρος της Ρωσίας_ Tsar Nicholas II of Russia_ святого страстотерпца Николай II_9-sf-mc-tarul-nicolae-1918-1“Before my entrance into the Monastery, as I recall, I brought a portrait of Emperor Nicholas II and one of his wife, Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, to my parents. Since they were taught during the Soviet period to think of the tsars as despotic, my parents were puzzled that there could be talk of glorification, and looked with alarm at these two portraits, hung in a prominent place. My mother, educated as a woman of letters, immediately recalled ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1905, the shooting of workers by Lensky; but, being a God-fearing woman from childhood, she restrained herself from too many opinions and only posed the question, ‘How can this be?!’ to herself. My father, by his own admission an unbeliever, did not spare his opinions, but since he had a grudge against the Communists at that time, he expressed sympathy for the fate of the Royal Martyrs. The nervousness of our domestic atmosphere, with various comments directed at the Tsar, aggravated the critical situation of my parents or, to be more precise, of my father. He was threatened with prison since he, through his simplicity and ignorance, had fallen in with a crowd of swindlers. They had already been indicted for a criminal act, interrogations had already taken place, and a date for the trial had been appointed. Then my father had a dream at night. The Tsar himself stood there in an officer’s uniform of the royal army with shoulder straps — he was tall, blue-eyed and radiant. He stood half-turned towards my father, and someone dressed in black said, ‘Venerate him and he will help you’ — and my father bowed down before him. He further recalled that the Tsar was surrounded by his family. After this dream my father and mother went to a small village church dedicated to the Archangel of God, Michael, and all the Heavenly Bodiless Hosts, and had a moleben served to the Royal Martyrs, which the parish priest agreed to serve, after first hearing about the dream my father had had. And what happened? About three or four days later there was a coup in Moscow, the infamous shooting at the White House. Immediately thereafter there was a coup in the regional government; and the head of the local government, who hated my father and wanted in any way possible to convict him and send him to prison, was replaced. The change of officials gave hope for my father to be treated with leniency. After a while the trial took place. My father was given one year of probation. Later he was given amnesty, and they dismissed his conviction — and out of six people convicted, his was the only dismissal.

“After this incident my fathers attitude towards the Tsar changed and even became reverent. Now that he had felt real help — he who until then had disparaged all things holy — he ran again, when he encountered ordinary difficulties, to him from whom he had seen this help — to Tsar Nicholas II and all the Royal Martyrs, and that’s the way it was. My father, a farmer, once found himself with nothing to sow. There were no seeds for planting and this threatened him not only with being left without money, but with having to give away all his possessions to settle his debt. Again he, together with my mother, had a moleben served to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas and all the Royal Martyrs. Immediately after this, the superior of a nearby monastery came to see my father at home and told him that he had an acquaintance who wanted to give him seeds for planting. All the land was planted — 370 acres.”

Saint Irene of Lesvos the Virgin-martyr said, if you only knew the terrible pain that I had undergone… it is impossible to even imagine it… The Turks burnt me alive inside this clay pot.

The destiny of a true Orthodox ruler, St. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia

Νικόλαος Β΄ Τσαρος της Ρωσίας_ Tsar Nicholas II of Russia_ святого страстотерпца Николай II_85a19c7ba4e43ddeApolytikion of Epiphanius, Bp. Of Cyprus in the Fourth Tone

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

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 Nectarius, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!

Kontakion of 14 Elders of Optina Monastery
Plagal of the Fourth Tone

To Leo, Moses, Anatolius, and Anthony; to Barsanuphius, Macarius, Hilarion: to Isaacius and Nicon, the righteous Martyrs; to Nectarius and Joseph and Isaacius, Anatolius, and Ambrose, who outshineth all, let us cry with joy: Rejoice, O Elders of Optina

Apolytikion of Renewal Tues.
Fourth Tone

On Lesbos, ye strove in contest for the sake of Christ God; ye also have hallowed her with the discovery of your relics, O blessed ones. O God-bearer Raphael, with thee, we all honour Nicholas the deacon and Irene the chaste virgin, as our divine protectors, who now intercede with the Lord.

Tropar-Dismissal Hymn of the Royal Martyrs. First Tone

Most noble and sublime was your life and death, O Sovereigns;* wise Nicholas and blest Alexandra, we praise you,* acclaiming your piety, meekness, faith, and humility,* whereby ye attained to crowns of glory in Christ our God,* with your five renowned and godly children of blessed fame. * O passion-bearers decked in purple, intercede for us.

Glory…, in Tone VI —

Who can recount thy labors and sufferings? O great passion-bearer, martyred Tsar Nicholas, thou didst assume the grievous burden of authority, not for the sake of glory, but as a Christian king and servant of Christ, as one concerned for the good of his people, enduring a multitude of tribulations. All of these things did the Lord permit because of the sins of the people, and that He might reveal thy piety, showing the world thy longsuffering, which was like that of the much suffering Job, that thou mightest receive a glorious martyr’s crown in the heavens, like unto that of Abel. And now joining chorus there with the angels, thou dost intercede for us before God, praying for the salvation of our souls.

Song 3
Having set me on the rock of faith, Thou have expanded my lips against my enemies. Make my spirit glad to sing continually: “No-one is as holy as our God, no-one is more righteous than Thee, O Lord.”

You exchanged the diadem of your perishable terrestrial kingdom for the imperishable crown of the Kingdom of Christ and instead of the scepter you have received a cross in your hand – you are rejoicing with the Tsarina and children.

In the day of much-afflicted Job you were born; much distress you endured: disdain, treachery, expulsion, brutal murder, and after-after the death-slander against your honest name; yet you received your reward not from the men, but from the Lord. Thereby, intercede for the salvation on behalf of the sons of Russia.

Aforementioned Job’s pleasant life had your life become identical to, holy Great-Martyr; not merely honor and glory, as well as Tsar’s crown, but also life itself Satan had desired to take away from you, yet he was overcome to you.

To The Virgin
Thou have been gracious to accept the scepter of the All-Russian kingdom from the hand of the holy Tsar, O Potent Lady. Do not cease covering holy Russia with thy glorious protection.

Song 9
The Word of God came from God in unspeakable wisdom-to renew Adam, who utterly fell into corruption-from the Holy Virgin was inexplicably incarnated for our sake; the faithful ones extol Him single-mindedly.

It would be better for you not to be born, wicked tormentors, for it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for the murderers of the Holy Tsar; by his prayers, Lord, strengthen the faith of the Orthodox ones.

You commanded us, Holy Tsar, not to avenge your murder, saying: “Lest evil be multiplied in the land of Russia, for evil will not defeat evil, but only love will.” Therefore, pray that we will amass love for God and our neighbors.

Prayer of the Optina Elders

Lord, give me peace of mind to meet everything that the coming day brings me. Let me completely surrender to Your holy will. For every hour of this day, instruct and support me in everything. Whatever news I receive during the day, teach me to accept it with a calm soul and firm conviction that everything is Thy holy will. In all my words and deeds guide my thoughts and feelings. In all unforeseen cases, do not let me forget that everything is sent down by You. Teach me to act directly and reasonably with each member of my family, without embarrassing or upsetting anyone. Lord, give me the strength to endure the fatigue of the coming day and all the events during the day. Guide my will and teach me to pray, believe, hope, endure, forgive and love. Amen.”

Both now. Of Pascha. Mode pl. 1.

It is the day of the Resurrection. Let us shine brightly for the festival, and also embrace one another. Brethren, let us say even to those who hate us, “Let us forgive everything for the Resurrection.” And thus let us cry aloud, “Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.”

St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Neo-Caesarea prayed to God for help, and God rendered them invisible to their pursuers. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 

Προσευχή_PRAYER- Моление-Иларион ВеликийSt. Gregory the Wonderworker of Neo-Caesarea (266).
Venerable Longinus of Egypt (4th c.).
Venerables Zacharias the Leather-worker and John of Constantinople. (7th c.)
St. John the Cobbler of Olumba, Cairo, and Sinai (7th c.).
Venerable Hilda, abbess of Whitby British (680)
Venerable Lazarus the iconographer Confessor of Constantinople (857).
Martyr Gobron (Michael) Prince of Georgia, and 133 soldiers martyred with him (914)
Venerable Nikon, abbot of Radonezh, disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh (1426).
St. Sebastian (Dabovich) of Jackson Serbia (1940)
New Hieromartyrs of Russia: Gennadius the Archimandrite; Timothy, Constantine, and Theodore, the Priests; and another anonymous Priest.

Commemorated on November 17

One day Abba Longinus questioned Abba Lucius about three
thoughts saying first, ‘I want to go into exile.’ The old man said to
him, ‘If you cannot control your tongue, you will not be an exile
anywhere. Therefore control your tongue here, and you will be an
exile.’ Next he said to him, ‘I wish to fast.’ The old man replied,
‘Isaiah said, “If you bend your neck like a rope or a bulrush that is
not the fast I will accept; but rather, control your evil thoughts.” ‘
(of. Isaiah 58) He said to him the third time, ‘I wish to flee from
men.’ The old man replied, ‘If you have not first of all lived rightly
with men, you will not be able to live rightly in solitude.’

Abba Longinus said to Abba Acacius: Give blood and
receive the Spirit.’


Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neocaesarea

ΓΡΗΓΟΡΙΟΣ ΘΑΥΜΑΤΟΥΡΓΟΣ_Григорий Чудотворец ΝΕΟΚΑΙΣΑΡΙΑΣ 0This man of God and powerful wonderworker was called a second Moses. Gregory was born of pagan, but eminent and wealthy, parents. He studied Hellenic and Egyptian philosophy and became aware of the meagerness and insufficiency of pagan philosophy. He then turned to Christian teachers, particularly Origen of Alexandria, with whom he studied for several years and from whom he received baptism. Pure in body and soul, he wanted to dedicate himself solely to Christ God, for which reason he withdrew to the wilderness, where he spent much time in rigorous asceticism. His fame spread everywhere. Bishop Phaedimus of Amasea wanted to consecrate him Bishop of Neocaesarea. The clairvoyant Gregory perceived Phaedimus’s intention and hid from the bishop’s emissaries in the wilderness. Finally, Phaedimus consecrated him in a strange way, and Gregory had to accept the office of bishop. The Most-holy Theotokos and St. John the Theologian appeared to him in a vision, and St. John, at the command of the Theotokos, gave him the Symbol of Faith that is known by Gregory’s name. Who can enumerate all the miracles of this second Moses? He had power over evil spirits, and over mountains and waters, healed every pain and infirmity, could become invisible to his persecutors, and clairvoyantly perceived distant events and men’s thoughts. He ended his earthly life in the year 270, in great old age. When he arrived in Neocaesarea as bishop, he found only seventeen Christians in that pagan city. When he departed this life, he left the city Christian, with only seventeen pagans, and received the wreath of glory from his Lord in the Heavenly Kingdom.


Let the following examples from the Life of St. Gregory show how God guards and saves the righteous from assaults. While he was still at the school of philosophy in Alexandria, St. Gregory preserved the purity of his soul and his body, as he preserved it to the end of his life. In this, he was an exception among the dissolute youth of that time. This evoked envy and hatred among his companions. In order to debase Gregory, they found a harlot to help them carry out an evil plan. Once, when Gregory was standing in the square with eminent teachers and philosophers, the foul woman approached him and loudly demanded that Gregory pay her the remainder due for impure relations with her. Some of the people present were scandalized, while others were angry at this shameless woman and began to chase her away; but she shouted even louder, demanding money. The innocent Gregory blushed, as any decent man would before such coarse slander, but he displayed neither anger nor hatred, and asked a friend to give her the amount that she sought so she would leave. The friend heeded Gregory, and gave her the money she wanted. But at that moment God let an evil spirit enter the woman and she fell to the ground and began writhing and convulsing, gnashing her teeth, and foaming at the mouth. Seeing this, everyone was terrified. But St. Gregory, innocent as a lamb, prayed to God for her, and the woman was healed and arose. Thus, instead of humiliation, Gregory acquired even greater glory.

Another example: When a bitter persecution of Christians took place, St. Gregory counseled Christians to hide, and he and his deacon hid on a hill. But the imperial soldiers caught sight of them and pursued them. When they were almost upon them, Gregory prayed to God for help, and God rendered them invisible to their pursuers. The soldiers searched for them in vain, and finally left without them.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič 


St. Seraphim of Sarov
The Spiritual World


The spiritual world is gained by sorrows. The scriptures say: “We went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place” (Ps. 66:12). For those who desire to serve God the path lies through many sorrows. How can we praise the holy martyrs for the sufferings which they bore for God, when we cannot even bear a fever?

Nothing so aids the acquiring of internal peace as silence, and as much as is possible, continual discussion with oneself and rarely with others.

A sign of spiritual life is the immersion of a person within himself and the hidden workings within his heart.

This peace, as some priceless treasure, did our Lord Jesus Christ leave his followers before His death, saying, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27). The apostle also spoke this about it: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7); “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

In this way, we must direct all our thoughts, desires and actions toward obtaining God’s peace, and always cry out with the Church: “Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us” (Is. 26:12).

It is necessary by all means to try to keep one’s spiritual peace, and not to become provoked by insults from others. To do this, it is necessary always to restrain oneself from anger, and by careful watch to guard the mind and heart from unclean waverings.

Insults from others must be borne without disturbance; one must train oneself to be of such a nature, that one can react to insults as if they did not refer to oneself. Such an exercise can bring serenity to our heart and make it a dwelling of God Himself.

We see an example of such a lack of malice in the life of St. Gregory the Miracle-Worker. A certain immoral woman demanded payment from him, purportedly for a sin committed with her. He, not in the least angry with her, humbly said to one of his friends: pay her the price which she demands, quickly. The woman became possessed as soon as she accepted the unrighteous payment. The bishop then prayed and exorcised the evil spirit from her.

If it is impossible not to become indignant, then at least restrain your tongue according to the words of the Psalmist: “I am so troubled that I cannot speak” (Ps. 77:4).

The Blessed Ephraim, living in the desert, was once deprived of food in the following fashion. His pupil, carrying the food, accidentally broke the vessel on the way. Blessed Ephraim, seeing the pupil downcast, said to him: “Do not grieve, brother. If the food did not want to come to us, then we will go to it.” And so the monk went, sat next to the broken vessel, and, gathering the food together, ate it. He was thus without malice!

In order to keep spiritual peace it is also necessary to avoid judging others in any way. Condescension towards your neighbor and silence protect spiritual peace. When a person is in such an state, then he receives Godly revelations.

In order not to lapse into judgment of others, it is necessary to be mindful of oneself, to refuse to receive any bad information from anyone and to be as if dead to others.

For the protection of spiritual peace it is necessary to enter into oneself more often and ask: Where am I? In addition, it is necessary to watch that the physical senses, especially sight, serve the inner person, not diverting the soul with mortal items, because the gifts of grace are received only by those who have inner workings and keep watch over their souls.

From the Teachings of St. Seraphim of Sarov

Troparion St Gregory the Wonderworker of Neocaesarea — Tone 8

You became worthy of your name through your way of life: through your vigilance in prayer and your constant works of mercy. Therefore, O Father Gregory, beseech Christ God to enlighten our minds, that we may not sleep in sin, which leads to death!

Apolytikion of Gregory the Wonderworker
Plagal of the Fourth Tone

By vigilance in prayer, and continuance in the working of wonders, thou didst acquire thine achievements as a surname; wherefore, intercede with Christ our God, O Father Gregory, to enlighten our souls, lest we sleep in sin unto death.

Kontakion of Gregory the Wonderworker
Second Tone

Since thou hadst received the power to work miracles, thou dravest from men diseases, O wise Gregory, and with fearful signs thou madest the demons tremble; hence, thou art called Wonderworker, O man of God; for thou hast received thy surname from thy works.

Stichera Mode pl. 4. What are we to call you

Now what shall I call you, O Gregory? * Fierce destroyer of impiety and godless heresy; * right determiner of Orthodoxy, teacher of the world; * a peerless chief and leader of peace in the Church; * unyielding terminator of disputes therein. * Although you dwelt on a mountain far, * you were observing society. * So intercede, we entreat you, that our souls be saved.

Mode pl. 1. Rejoice.

Rejoice, for you were clearly adorned * in sacred manner with most sacred theology. * The Church’s unshaken pillar, * and the dogmatical base, * and the divine organ of the Paraclete; * the mind that is heavenly, * the divine Spirit’s cithara, * primatial shepherd, * gentle lamb and a genuine * member of the flock of the Chief Shepherd Christ our God. * Fountain that gushes forth the draught * of dogmas abundantly, * and an effusion of healings, * divine initiate Gregory: * to Christ pray intently * and petition Him to send down great mercy on our souls.

Torrents of your divine prayers, O Saint, * dried up the lakelet that had formerly caused a row. * O wise one, you stopped the wayward stream * from overflowing its banks * with your staff that sprouted and became a tree. * You leveled the altar stones of the demons, O Gregory. * By your most ardent supplications to God on high, * you have brought an end to the winter of unbelief. * You gave assurance unto souls * by miracles, leading them * unto the great Benefactor, * who has rewarded you worthily. * To Him pray intently * and petition Him to send down great mercy on our souls.

Glory. Mode pl. 2

You most wisely embarked upon the depths of knowledge, ⁄ hierarch of Christ! ⁄ You acquired the vision of the Trinity, ⁄ foreseeing steadfastly in the spirit Christ our God! ⁄ You poured forth on us a flood of miracles, ⁄ making solid the watery nature of the sea, ⁄ changing the pagan priest’s dark delusion to belief! ⁄ You persuaded the persecutors truly to believe, ⁄ revealing yourself to them as a pillar of virtue! ⁄ You were called a prophet through your miracles! ⁄ therefore we beseech you, ⁄⁄ ever pray for us to the Savior that our souls may be saved!

Living Lord, the God of Thy Prophet Elias, Who hast adopted us through baptism by Thy holy grace: enkindle also in us the faith and zeal of Thy holy prophet. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_Sfantul-Ilie-in-fata-lui-Dumnezeu-iesind-din-pestera-2Prophet Elijah the Tishbite, The fiery Prophet, the prince of the Prophets

Commemorated on July 20

St. Seraphim of Sarov

Elijah the Tishbite, in complaining to the Lord against Israel that in its entirety it had bent the knee to Baal, said in prayer that he alone, Elijah, had remained faithful to the Lord, but they were already seeking to take away his soul also… And what, Batisuhka, did the Lord answer him? — I have left seven thousand men in Israel who have not bent the knee to Baal (1 Kgs. 19:18). And so, if in the kingdom of Israel, which had fallen away from the kingdom of Judea which was faithful to God and had become completely corrupted, there remained still seven thousand men faithful to the Lord, then what shall we say of Russia? I suppose that in the kingdom of Israel at that time there were no more than three million people. And how many, Batiushka, are there now in our Russia?

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_CS4LF4uUcAEK6SCI replied: “About sixty million.” And he continued.

“Twenty times more. Then judge for yourself how many we have now who are still faithful to God! So it is, Batiushka, so it is: ‘Whom He did foreknow, He also did forechoose, and whom He did forechoose, He also did predestinate; and whom He did predestinate, He will watch over and glorify. And so, what is there for us to be downcast about!… God is with us! (cf. Rom. 8:29-31). He that trusteth in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion… and the Lord is round about His people (Ps. 124:1-2). The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth even forevermore; …the sun shall not smite thee by day nor the moon by night (Ps. 120:6-8).

And then I asked him what this means, and why he was saying this to me.

“Because,” Batiushka Seraphim replied, “in this same way the Lord will preserve, as the apple of His eye, His people, that is, Orthodox Christians who love Him and serve Him with all their heart and all their mind, both in word and deed, day and night. And such are they who preserve entirely all the rules, dogmas, and traditions of our Eastern Orthodox Church, and who with their lips confess the piety which has been handed down by the Church, and who act in very deed in all circumstances of life according to the holy commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(Little Russian Philokalia, pp. 118-119. “Concerning the Fate of True Christians”, written down by Motovilov on the night of October 26-27, 1844)


The world is on fire! Do you understand? There is so much temptation. The devil has started such a blaze that all the fire-fighters in the world will not be able to put it out: it is a spiritual fire! There’s nothing left. And there’s no other help for us: only prayer can save us now. We must pray to God to take pity on us. You see, when a fire spreads and the fire-fighters can do nothing about it, people are forced to turn to God and pray for Him to send a heavy rain. It’s the same with the spiritual fire started by the devil: we must all pray to God for Him to help us. – St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain


on Elias the Prophet
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years but according to my word (I Kings 17:1).

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_ΗΛΙΑ_kT86i81x5ewThese words are terrible sounding to every mortal ear, for a man spoke them, a man subject to like passions as we are (James 5:17). You ask yourselves, brethren, how can a mortal man shut up the heavens and stop the rain? But ask yourselves: how can a mortal man open the heavens and bring down rain upon the parched ground? We know that even now God opens the heavens and gives rain at the prayers of men: And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Matthew 21:22), says our Savior. As Moses, by living faith and prayer, worked awesome miracles in Egypt and in the wilderness, as Joshua the son of Nun held back the course of the sun, so also God’s prophet Elias shut and opened the heavens, brought down fire from heaven, and worked other mighty and awesome miracles all through faith and prayer. God gave Elias the power to work such miracles, for Elias was zealous for the glory of God and not for his own glory: I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts (I Kings 19:14). This man of God sought nothing for himself but sought everything for God. God was everything to him: all glory, all strength, all good. Therefore, God crowned him with immortal glory, awesome might, and treasure which does not decay and which moths do not corrupt. God did not permit Elias to die but took him to heaven as he did Enoch. St. Elias had a soul as pure as the morning dew, a body as chaste as a child’s, and a heart and mind as blameless as that of an angel of God. Therefore, he was and remains a vessel of God’s power. He worked wonders then and works them today.

O Living Lord, the God of Thy Prophet Elias, Who hast adopted us through baptism by Thy holy grace: enkindle also in us the faith and zeal of Thy holy prophet.

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

Ηλία Προφήτη_Prophet Elijah-Elias_Илия пророк_0459_najmanja-crkva-u-srbiji300313ras-foto-djordje-kojadinovic14_origDismissal Hymn. Fourth Tone

Be quick to anticipate HE Incarnate Angel and the Prophets’ summit and boast, * the second forerunner of the coming of Christ our God, Elias, the glorious, * from above sent down his grace upon Elisseus: * he doth cast out sickness and doth cleanse lepers; * and unto all that honour him, he poureth forth streams of cures.

Troparion, in Tone IV:

The angel in the flesh, the foundation of the prophets, the second forerunner of the Coming of Christ, the glorious Elijah from on High sent down grace upon Elisha to dispel infirmities and to cleanse lepers. Wherefore, he poureth forth healings upon them that honor him.

Tone I:
Spec. Mel.: “Joy of the ranks of heaven …”:

 In the earthquake and the gentle breeze thou didst perceive the coming of God which of old enlightened thee, O divinely blessed Elijah; and, seated in a chariot drawn by four steeds, amazed thou didst traverse the sky in a strange manner, O divinely inspired one.

Aflame with zeal divine, thou didst slay the shameful priests with a knife; and with thy tongue thou didst constrain the sky, that it not rain upon the earth; and thou didst fill Elisha with grace divine, by the twofold bestowal of thy mantle, O wise Elijah.

Ikos: Beholding the great iniquity of men and the great love of God for mankind, the prophet Elijah was troubled and grew wroth; and he addressed pitiless words to the Merciful One, crying out: Be Thou angered against them that deny Thee, O righteous Judge! But he did not move the com passion of the Good One to torment them that deny Him, for He that alone loveth mankind doth ever await the repentance of all.

St. Seraphim of Sarov and the bear “Misha” 

Σεραφείμ Σάρωφ_St. Seraphim of Sarov_Преп. Серафим Саровский_Walk with St. Seraphim-walkingwithstseraphim231St. Seraphim of Sarov the Wonderworker

Commemorated on January 2 and on July 19 (The translation of the Saint’s holy relics)

My joy, I beg you, acquire the Spirit of Peace. 
“Oh, if you only knew what joy, what sweetness awaits a righteous soul in Heaven! 

Always rejoice! You can’t do anything good from inner straining, but from joy – you can do anything.”

St. Seraphim of Sarov and the bear “Misha” 

The life of the secluded desert-dweller, who had attained dispassion, was filled with unspeakable divine consolations with which God rewarded him. All creatures obeyed him. Animals from the woods streamed to his cell, and he fed them bread. He was asked where he was able to get enough food for them all. He answered that there was always enough food for them in the basket.

Σεραφείμ Σάρωφ-αρκούδα_St. Seraphim of Sarov_Преп. Серафим Саровский_Sf-Serafim-de-Sarov_icon_091fc67cc95ad-d1%84%cf%83%ce%b5One day Matrona, one of the nuns, saw [Father Seraphim] sitting on a tree trunk in the company of a bear. Terrified, she let out a scream. The Staretz turned round and, seeing her, patted the animal and sent him away. Then he invited Matrona to come and sit beside him. ‘But’, Matrona relates, ‘hardly had we sat down when the animal returned from the wood and came and lay at the Staretz’ feet. I was as terrified as before, but when I saw Father Seraphim, quite unconcerned, treating the bear like a lamb, stroking him and giving him some bread, I calmed down. I looked at the father and was dazzled by the sight of his face which seemed to me full of light and like an angel’s. When I was wholly reassured the Staretz gave me a piece of bread and said: “You needn’t be the least afraid of him, he won’t hurt you.” So I held out the bread to the bear and, while he was eating it, it was such joy to be feeding him that I wanted to go on doing so. Seeing how much I was enjoying it, Father Seraphim said: “You remember the story of St Jerome feed­ing a lion in the desert? Well, here we’ve got a bear obeying us.” I exclaimed: “The sisters would die of fright if they saw such a sight!” “They won’t see it,” replied the Staretz. Then, “I’d be very sad if anyone killed him,” I went on. “Nobody will kill him and nobody except yourself will see him,” answered the father.’ Matrona was already rejoicing at the thought of telling the sisters about it but the Staretz, reading her thoughts, said to her, ‘No, my joy, you’re not to tell anyone until eleven years after my death. Then God will show you whom to tell.’

And so it happened: a day came when, some years after the father’s death, Matrona went past an artist’s studio in the monastery; he was working on a portrait of the father in the forest on a tree trunk. `0,’ she said, ‘you really must paint the bear!’ What bear?’ asked the artist in surprise. Then Matrona told him the story and remembered the Staretz’ words. Eleven years had gone by.


Two other sisters witnessed such a scene: Fr. Seraphim sat on a log, when suddenly out of the woods came an enormous bear on his hind legs. The nuns were quite startled. The Elder said: “Misha, why are you scaring the orphans? You’d better go and get some sort of consolation, or I won’t have anything to treat them to.” The bear returned in two hours bringing with him a fresh honeycomb, covered with leaves. The elder took the honey, gave him a piece of bread and bade him depart.
From St. Seraphim Wonderworker of Sarov and His Spiritual Heritage by Helen Kontsevich (St. Xenia Skete)

He who would be saved should ever have his heart disposed to repentance and broken. St. Seraphim of Sarov

St. Seraphim of Sarov, Let every superior always be as a wise mother to his subordinates.

St. Seraphim loved children as “flowers of paradise.”

Σεραφείμ Σάρωφ_St. Seraphim of Sarov_ Преподобный Серафим Саровский_ΑΡΚΟΥΔΑ125151182_Σεραφειμ_Troparion, in Tone IV:

From thy youth didst thou love Christ, O blessed one; and, aflame with the desire to serve Him alone, thou didst struggle in the wilderness in unceasing prayer and labor; and with compunction of heart acquiring the love of Christ, thou wast shown to be the beloved favorite of the Mother of God. Wherefore, we cry unto thee: Save us by thy prayers, O our venerable father Seraphim.

Troparion — Tone 4

You loved Christ from your youth, O blessed one, and longing to work for Him alone you struggled in the wilderness in constant prayer and labor. With penitent heart and great love for Christ you were favored by the Mother of God. Therefore we cry to you: “Save us by your prayers, venerable Seraphim, our father.”

Glory …, Now & Ever …, The Troparion of the Fore-feast, In Tone IV:

Make ready, O Zebulon! Adorn thyself, O Nephthali! O River Jordan, leaping up receive thou the Master Who cometh to be baptized! Rejoice, O Adam, with our first mother! Hide not yourselves as ye did before in paradise; for He that beheld you naked hath appeared, that He may clothe you in your primal raiment. Christ hath appeared, desiring to make all creation new!

in Tone V; Spec. Mel.: “Rejoice, O life-bearing Cross …”:

Rejoice, converser with angels, O venerable Seraphim! Having lived piously on earth, thou didst teach the fear of the Lord unto the many that came to thee. Illumined by the grace of the all-holy Spirit, thou didst behold as present things which were to come, and hast filled many that were suffering in spirit with compunction and joy. Wherefore, we beseech thee: Pray to the Lord in behalf of them that honor thee!

Rejoice, most wondrous instructor of the erring, who wast vouchsafed to behold in the temple Christ the Lord with angels and archangels. And now, O venerable one, who in the heavens dost take unceasing delight in the vision of Him, do thou pray for us that keep thy memory in faith.

Rejoice, O venerable Seraphim, for thou hast commanded all to keep Christ’s true faith; and, yearning for the life on high, thou didst disdain wealth. And thou dost now behold the ineffable beauty of heaven and takest delight in the sweet hymnody of the angels. Wherefore, entreat thou the Lord, that He grant us peace and great mercy.

Glory …, in Tone VI:

O venerable father Seraphim, who can recount thy labors and sufferings? And what tongue can describe thy harsh life in the wilderness, thy vigils and fasting, yea, and thy life in seclusion, thy silence and unceasing prayer? Thou hast truly been shown to be the adornment of them that fast and a steadfast intercessor before God. Wherefore, we cry unto thee: Rejoice, a model of monastic life! Rejoice, great consolation amid misfortunes and sorrows, and fervent advocate for all! O venerable one, pray thou that our souls be saved!



I want you to receive Christ’s Holy and Life-Giving Mysteries; the more often the better. One man who performs God’s will is greater in God’s eyes than many lawless ones. St. Seraphim of Sarov

Σεραφείμ Σάρωφ_St. Seraphim of Sarov_ Преподобный Серафим Саровский_84_4773_12St. Seraphim of Sarov the Wonderworker

Commemorated on January 2 and on July 19/August 1

My joy, I beg you, acquire the Spirit of Peace. 
“Oh, if you only knew what joy, what sweetness awaits a righteous soul in Heaven!

What the God-pleaser experienced during Holy Communion is known to him alone.

He gave the Diveyevo sisters the following instructions: “It is not right to forego the chance to benefit as often as possible from the blessing given through the Communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ. Concentrate as hard as you are able, in meek awareness of your utter sinfulness and with hope and firm faith in God’s unspeakable mercy, upon approaching His Holy Mysteries by which He has redeemed all and everyone. Say with tender feeling: Forgive me my sins, O Lord, that I have committed with my soul, heart, words, deeds, and all my senses.

Especially remarkable were St. Seraphim’s following words to Fr. Vasily, the father-confessor of the Diveyevo Convent:

Σεραφείμ Σάρωφ_St. Seraphim of Sarov_ Преподобный Серафим Саровский_1Svjatojj_Serafim_Sarovskijj0_6333“I want them to receive Christ’s Holy and Life-Giving Mysteries, Batiushka, during all the four fasts, and all the twelve major feasts. I would even like them to receive more often than on feast days alone; the more often the better.

“You are their father-confessor—do not prohibit them, I say to you. For the gift of Holy Communion is so great, that even though a person be sinful, he may, with humility and awareness of his sinfulness only, approach the Lord who has redeemed us all. And though he be covered with festering sins from head to toe, he will be cleansed, Batiushka, by Christ’s blessing, and will become lighter and lighter, until he is completely enlightened and is saved. There, Batiushka, you are their father-confessor, and I tell you all this so that you will know.”

However, Fr. Seraphim cautioned: “If they approach without sufficient repentance, it sometimes happens thus: on earth they have received Communion, but with the Lord they have not communed. He who reverently receives the Holy Mysteries more than once a year will be saved, happy, and live long upon the earth. I believe,” he added, “that by God’s great mercy he and all his kin shall be marked with grace. One man who performs God’s will is greater in God’s eyes than many lawless ones.” (Kontzevitch, Helen, Saint Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov and His Spiritual Inheritance, St. Xenia Skete, Wildwood, CA, 2004.)

St. Seraphim loved children as “flowers of paradise.”

He who would be saved should ever have his heart disposed to repentance and broken. St. Seraphim of Sarov

St. Seraphim of Sarov, “Ah, if you only knew what joy, what sweetness awaits the souls of the righteous in heaven…”

Troparion, in Tone IV:

From thy youth didst thou love Christ, O blessed one; and, aflame with the desire to serve Him alone, thou didst struggle in the wilderness in unceasing prayer and labor; and with compunction of heart acquiring the love of Christ, thou wast shown to be the beloved favorite of the Mother of God. Wherefore, we cry unto thee: Save us by thy prayers, O our venerable father Seraphim.

Glory …, Now & Ever …, The Troparion of the Fore-feast, In Tone IV:

Make ready, O Zebulon! Adorn thyself, O Nephthali! O River Jordan, leaping up receive thou the Master Who cometh to be baptized! Rejoice, O Adam, with our first mother! Hide not yourselves as ye did before in paradise; for He that beheld you naked hath appeared, that He may clothe you in your primal raiment. Christ hath appeared, desiring to make all creation new!

in Tone V;Spec. Mel.: “Rejoice, O life-bearing Cross …”:

Rejoice, converser with angels, O venerable Seraphim! Having lived piously on earth, thou didst teach the fear of the Lord unto the many that came to thee. Illumined by the grace of the all-holy Spirit, thou didst behold as present things which were to come, and hast filled many that were suffering in spirit with compunction and joy. Wherefore, we beseech thee: Pray to the Lord in behalf of them that honor thee!

Rejoice, most wondrous instructor of the erring, who wast vouchsafed to behold in the temple Christ the Lord with angels and archangels. And now, O venerable one, who in the heavens dost take unceasing delight in the vision of Him, do thou pray for us that keep thy memory in faith.

Rejoice, O venerable Seraphim, for thou hast commanded all to keep Christ’s true faith; and, yearning for the life on high, thou didst disdain wealth. And thou dost now behold the ineffable beauty of heaven and takest delight in the sweet hymnody of the angels. Wherefore, entreat thou the Lord, that He grant us peace and great mercy.

Glory …, in Tone VI:

O venerable father Seraphim, who can recount thy labors and sufferings? And what tongue can describe thy harsh life in the wilderness, thy vigils and fasting, yea, and thy life in seclusion, thy silence and unceasing prayer? Thou hast truly been shown to be the adornment of them that fast and a steadfast intercessor before God. Wherefore, we cry unto thee: Rejoice, a model of monastic life! Rejoice, great consolation amid misfortunes and sorrows, and fervent advocate for all! O venerable one, pray thou that our souls be saved!

What will the Christians of the last times do?

ντετσανι 55

St. Seraphim of Sarov

The word of God does not say in vain: “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21), and it “suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12). That means that people who, in spite of the bonds of sin which fetter them and (by their violence and by inciting them to new sins) prevent them from coming to Him, our Savior, with perfect repentance for reckoning with Him…

“Such people were once seen by the holy Seer John the Divine clothed in white robes (that is, in robes of justification) and with palms in their hands (as a sign of victory), and they were singing to God a wonderful song: Alleluia. And no one could imitate the beauty of their song. Of them an Angel of God said: “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9-14). They were washed with their sufferings and made white in the communion of the immaculate and life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of the most pure and spotless Lamb – Christ – Who was slain before all ages by His own will for the salvation of the world, and Who is continually being slain and divided until now, but is never exhausted (in the Sacrament of Communion). Through the Holy Mysteries we are granted our eternal and unfailing salvation as a viaticum to eternal life…

St. Seraphim of Sarov,The Aim of the Christian Life

Αβρααμ_Abraham_ Авраам6

God tested Abraham. That is, he sent him afflictions for his benefit, not so that he could find out what sort of man he was, for God knows everything, but so that He give him the means to perfect his faith.”

St. Mark the Ascetic, Homilies, 2.203

Abba Ischyrion was asked, “What have we done in our life?”He replied, “We have done the half of what our Fathers did.”When asked, “What will the ones who come after us do?”He replied, “They will do the half of what we are doing now.”And to the question, “What will the Christians of the last times do?”He replied, “They will not be able to do any spiritual exploits, but those who keep the faith will be glorified in heaven more than our Fathers who raised the dead.

– From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers