Sunday, November 23, 2014

An Exhortation on Attending Church

By St. John Chrysostom

Churches Are Spiritual Ports

Churches resemble ports in the ocean, which God has placed in cities — spiritual ports, wherein whoever of us takes refuge finds indescribable calmness of soul, made dizzy from worldly business. And precisely as a calm and waveless port offers safety to the boats docked there, so also the Church saves from the storm of earthly cares whoever hastens to it, and grants the believers to stand securely and listen to the word of God with great calmness.

The Church is the foundation of virtue and the school of spiritual life. Just cross its threshold at any time, and immediately you forget daily cares. Pass inside, and a spiritual ray will surround your soul. This stillness causes awe and teaches the Christian life. It raises up your train of thought and doesn’t allow you to remember present things. It transports you from earth to Heaven. And if the gain is so great when a worship service is not even taking place, just think, when the Liturgy is performed — and the prophets teach, the Apostles preach the Gospel, Christ is among the believers, God the Father accepts the performed sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit grants His own rejoicing — what great benefit floods those who have attended church as they leave the church.

The joy of anyone who rejoices is preserved in the Church. The gladness of the embittered, the rejoicing of the saddened, the refreshment of the tortured, the comfort of the tired, all are found in the Church. Because Christ says, “Come to me, all who are tired and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). What is more longed for than [to hear] this Voice? What sweeter than this invitation? The Lord is calling you to a Banquet when He invites you to church. He urges you to be comforted from toils and He transports you to a place of comfort from pain, because He lightens you from the burden of sins. He heals distress with spiritual enjoyment, and sadness with joy.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Let Us Guard Our Faith As The Greatest Treasure

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea

Do not be scandalized when you hear what is said against the Faith, since they who say those things do not understand its essence... You should always remember the basic principle that the early Christians knew very well. They considered unfortunate the man who knew all the sciences, but did not know God. Conversely they considered the one who knew God to be blessed, even if they completely lacked human knowledge.

"Guardians of the Avaton" at the Athonite Monastery of Docheiariou

By George-Fivos Sargentis

With the blessing of my much-beloved Elder Gregory, abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Docheiariou at Mount Athos, for the last eight months I have been making two Archangels for the Monastery.

I feel this project to be the "Guardians of the Avaton".*

The Metropolis of Sweden Acquires the Monastery Established by Elder Eusebios Vittis

On Sunday 16 November 2014 a ceremony took place in the Cathedral of Saint George in Stockholm transferring the Hesychasterion* of Saint Nicholas in Rattvik to the Holy Metropolis of Sweden and all Scandinavia.

In his homily, His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden said: "Our earnest desire and goal was to establish a monastery to attract both Christians and non to a spiritual center of prayer, asceticism and spiritual reflection for our Orthodox brethren in the five countries that make up the Metropolis of Sweden. The soul of the blessed founder of the Hesychasterion, Archimandrite Eusebios Vittis, must be rejoicing and resting after the memorial service we conducted for him today. The transfer of the Hesychasterion to the Holy Metropolis was his innermost desire."

Friday, November 21, 2014

A First-Fruit Offering to the Temple of the Lord

By His Grace Bishop Epiphanios of Ledra,
the Most Reverend Abbot of the Monastery of Machaira

Entering the blessed period of the holy forty days of Christmas we are revived by the fast, and we are revived by the feast that has arisen and are gladdened by the protagonist of the celebration.

We are revived by the fast through the rich dishes that come with it, especially by the fish. We are revived by the celebration of the Entrance of the Mother of God that has arisen, and through the festival of the celebration schedules are compiled, and work is organized and conducted, in order to adorn the holiday. Apart from the above, the greatest, most primary, most joy creating, and especially most graceful, is the protagonist of the festival, the heart of our sweet love, the Most Holy Theotokos.

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