1. The Cross of a Prosecutor
In a termination hearing, one of the last big trials, the Prosecutor Liberis Papandreou told me the following, when he noticed a cross around my neck. He also showed me a cross that he wore around his neck and told me the following:
"This cross saved my life. Without this I would have been dead in the Winter of 1943. It was the period when anyone who fell into the hands of the Germans and brought to the torturers, on the road Merlin, did not leave except to go to the cemetery.
During this time I also was arrested. I was accused by a senior official of the Municipality of Piraeus - a German organization - and a Mayor of a Settlement of Piraeus as a General Prosecutor of the Communists, because these two men I had arrested for the abuse of food, which was intended for the hungry. My refusal, in which I denied any "blame", infuriated my investigators.
For this reason I was brought to be tortured. On the third day of my martyrdom I was lead into a spacious room. This was hell on earth. Inside paraded five giant torturers, each of which exhausted all his powers upon me. Slowly I started to feel that soon I would be dead there.
After the huge torturers, I was taken by the investigator himself. In a furious moment he took me with both hands by the throat and began to squeeze. I felt that I would die of asphyxiation. He used all his power and I was freed from his hands. Immediately I tore my shirt for my chest to breathe. I had not even thought about what I did. At the same time I noticed my torturer become pale. He turned white, more white than the wall of the room. He tried to lift his hands but could not succeed.
He then began to cry... Yes, crying like a frightened baby! He then came near me, leaned on my chest and kissed this here cross! I confess that I could not believe what I saw with my eyes.
After a little while he called out to be brought a glass of water. With this he washed, with his own hands, which now could move, my wounds, and after he sat me on a chair to recover. He then left to return to several colleagues, to whom he recounted the following:
'Once this man opened his chest, lightning flashed before my eyes from this tiny cross. This flash formed a fiery "nein" [German for "no"]. Now that I've recovered, gentlemen, I can say that God is close to the faithful.'
Then he returned to me and said:
'I would ask you to offer this cross to me to protect me from this unjust crisis. Not from death, because I do not fear it. But I'm not worthy, I do not believe in God like you. Because if I believed...' and he stopped short the sentence.
So, my beloved one, it saved me from certain death thanks to my faith," said the Prosecutor Liberis Papandreou.
From Ν. Καπιτσόγλου, "Θαύματα που γίνονται σήμερα", περιοδ. Κιβωτός, αριθ. 21/ Σεπτέμβριος 1953, σελ. 347.
2. The Cross of Preveli Monastery
This miraculous relic constitutes the "Palladium" of the Monastery and is associated with many miracles especially related with eye diseases. It's a big silver cross (Dim. 0.56 x 0.25) with wider points at the ends and protruded decorative buttons and tokens in a wire working process. The Baptism of Jesus Christ is shown from one side. The Father on the upper part and the Angels beside the points of the cross. On the other side the crucifixion are the symbols of four Evangelists. A big crystal is attached to the handle of the cross and in the perimeter of the cyclical base the donation inscription appears: "The Fatigue And Hard Work Of Abbot Ephraim, Whom The Lord Saved From Hell Fire". The cross demonstrates the level of folklore silversmiths in Crete had during the second half of 18th century, when the active and energetic Abbot Ephraim Prevelis lived. The cross is kept in a shrine in the main church of the Monastery.
The Cross was carried in the front line of every battle thus greatly encouraging the fighters. In 1823, in the unequal battle against the Turks at Amourgeles, in Monofatsiou province, the Holy Symbol was lost. The Cross was found at the end of 1823 in the hands of Genoese sailors, who had purchased it in Heraklion. According to the legend, they returned the Cross to the Monastery when their ship simply stopped in the water, in a a quite mysterious way, while sailing in the Libyan Sea near the Monastery of Preveli, and was able to proceed only after the precious relic was given back. In 1941, German officers removed the Cross from the Monastery and attempted to send it to Germany. The airplane though which would transfer the Holy Symbol away could not take off. They put the Cross in another airplane without result, the second airplane could not start. They attributed this event to the Holy Symbol, so a few days after the looting, the Cross was back in its position. It was also September 13th, the eve of the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the feast day of the Monastery.
3. The Hodja Who Became A Christian
According to reliable sources, a well-known Hodja of Egypt with his family abandoned Islam and were baptized Christians. As he says, it was because of a miracle.
The former Hodja, now a Christian convert, said that his daughter was suffering from an incurable disease. They went to every hospital and saw many doctors where they lived in Egypt, and even travelled abroad. They would recommend treatment, but did not have much hope. Indeed they would inform the desperate father to take his daughter home since there really was no treatment. The Hodja prayed daily to Allah for help.
A close friend saw the father's grief, and offered to put a cross on the pillow of his daughter. On hearing this proposal, the father responded: "It is not possible for me to do something like that..., I will not sell my faith." The idea however began to occupy his thoughts. Without telling anyone, he bought a cross and placed it on the pillow of his daughter. The days passed and his daughter entered a comatose state, losing all consciousness. The whole family and the people of the area served by the former Hodja waited for her death. The desperate father day and night sat next to her, crying. Inside, as he confesses now, there was a hope that something would happen.
One evening as the depressed father held the hand of his daughter, he saw the cross that was on the pillow to emit a bright light which spread all over the bed. Initially he thought that it was a dream or something wrong with his mind because of his sadness. However, the light he saw was obvious. Suddenly he saw his daughter getting up from bed and saying: 'Dad, I am hungry, bring me something to eat." The Hodja could not understand what had happened. He went to the kitchen overjoyed. The voices roused his wife and the neighborhood. Soon the house was crowded. He told and re-told what happened. He spoke about the miracle of the cross. He even phoned his friend who had proposed to put the cross on the pillow of the daughter and thanked him.
Neighbors and friends tried to ascribe the miracle to Saint George, who is accepted by Muslims. But he knew the power of the cross. He experienced the miracle. The daughter no longer had anything and physicians aware of the situation did not believe their eyes when they saw that the new tests did not show anything. A few days after the miracle the former Hodja had made a decision. He told his wife he would become a Christian. She initially was against this and thought of the persecution that will follow the entire family by Muslims. "They will kill us" she said. But he was already on his way. He notified her that they leave permanently from Egypt. "We will be baptized and live in another country." So it happened.
However, the news of his entering the Church of Christ, was widely circulated in the city he served, and to Muslim clergy. Today, the former Hodja and now Christian convert studies theology. For Muslims today, he and his family are outlaws. This is why we cannot publish more data.
4. The Miraculous Power of the Cross and Prayer - A Scientific Study
The Sign of the Cross and Orthodox Prayer Are Capable of Killing Microbes and Change the Optical Properties of Water - A Study
Read the rest here.
Translations by John Sanidopoulos
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
1. The Cross of a Prosecutor
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
Often unexpected misfortune befalls us, and in vain we ask "why"?
The Church of Christ alone knows how to explain the cause of every misfortune. The Church basically classifies misfortunes into two groups. Some misfortunes befall the sinner because of old, unrepented sins. Other misfortunes assault the righteous and serve, according to the words of St. John Chrysostom, "as a means of receiving a wreath, as was the case with Lazarus and Job."
The Empress Eudocia secretly agreed with the Eutychian heresy, having heeded the counsel of the perfidious eunuch Chrysaphius. But misfortune unexpectedly befell her. One day her husband, Emperor Theodosius, brought her an apple of unusual size. The empress sent the apple to the ailing senator Paulinus and he, out of love for the emperor, sent this same apple to Emperor Theodosius. This gave the emperor reason to suspect an illicit relationship between his wife and the senator. The emperor asked his wife to show him the apple he had given her. The empress lied and said: "I ate it!" This made the emperor's suspicion even stronger, and he banished Eudocia to Palestine. In time Eudocia cured herself of heresy, and through the counsels of the great Palestinian spiritual fathers returned completely to Orthodoxy.
The misfortune that befell the empress did not arise from an illicit relationship with Paulinus - in this, she was completely innocent - but because of her heretical disposition.
A second but different case: When he was still a military commander, the future Emperor Marcian was traveling near Philipopolis and saw the corpse of a murdered man on the road. Out of pure compassion, he got off his horse and started to bury the corpse. Just then someone came by and saw him burying the corpse, and reported him to the court as a murderer. Marcian would have been punished by death, had God not shortly revealed the true murderer. This kind of misfortune falls into that second category - "for the receiving of a wreath". Shortly after this, General Marcian was chosen to be emperor.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Two Narrations on the Old Calendar vs. New Calendar Controversy By the Blessed Elder Cleopa Ilie of Romania:
First Narration On Why the Calendar Is Not Holy
The thing that happened once to a priest here, Calistrat Bobu, my God! He was a very good priest. Very good. But one day he dropped by to see a nun who was living in the forest (as at that time there were about fifty hermits living in the woods around here) and she told this young priest:
“Holy Grace doesn’t descend upon you people, because you have shifted to the New Calendar!”
Father Calistrat came back home and told our Elder. My Elder back then was from the Holy Mountain, Hieroschemamonk Ioanichie, from whom I received tonsure. He was the kind of monk that would only eat on Saturdays and Sundays, and during the rest of the week — nothing. On Sundays, he would only ask me: “Would you happen to have a little bit of cabbage juice and a bit of wheat broth?”
For twenty years he served the Holy Liturgy all by himself and took strength only through the Holy Eucharist. When the calendar was adjusted, he fasted for twenty-three days. He didn’t taste anything, until the Holy Three Hierarchs showed themselves to him and told him to listen to the Church! To keep the calendar as our Church would!
So one day this Father, Calistrat Bobu, was performing the service. I was a sexton back then. Now, every time our Elder would prepare the Holy Communion bread, it was white and sweet, while the one that Fr. Calistrat would prepare would always taste sour and have a greenish tinge. I asked our Superior:
"Elder, why is it that when Fr. Calistrat serves, his Communion bread is greenish and sour?"
"My boy, it’s because he serves with doubt in his heart! He’s been to see that mad woman, Isidora, who stirred up so many troubles in the monastery already, and she told him that the grace of the Holy Spirit doesn’t descend because of the calendar change. And I told him he would get into trouble because of doubting that the Holy Spirit descends!"
As I said, I was a sexton then. As Fr. Calistrat got to the point where he would invoke the grace of the Holy Spirit – lo and behold! – he saw the Lamb bread turning into meat and blood was running on the Holy Diskos and on the Holy Antimension. And when he looked into the chalice, he saw blood. He called to me:
"Costică! Come over here, son! What do you see?"
"Oh, Father! It’s turned into meat and blood! Our Superior told you that you would get into trouble if you lose faith in the calendar, because the calendar is neither a holy thing, nor a dogma! It’s just a 'clock' to measure time. It’s already been canonically adjusted a few times until now."
When our Elder came, he asked for the Book of Psalms to be read.
"Well now! Do you believe that the Holy Spirit comes down and turns the Sacraments holy?"
"Forgive me, Father!" And he fell to his knees.
"Look! The Holy Spirit has come! It’s turned into meat! It’s turned into blood! Do you have any more doubts now, Father?"
"I believe it, Father, forgive me!"
"Come on now — and let’s collect the Holy Mysteries!"
And he took a chisel and made a hole into the leg of the Holy Table – because the Holy Table is our Lord’s grave – and he buried the Sacraments in there. And he sanctified the chalice again and washed it and the Holy Antimension and everything else at the holy water place. And we stayed there until the whole Book of Psalms was read, all of it - four hours in all - and then he started the Liturgy from the Holy Proskomedi: “And one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side,…”; and continued from there. And he carried out the Holy Liturgy and the incident didn’t repeat.
"You see? Do you believe it now?"
"I believe it, Father!"
Our Elder gave him a 40-day penance.
“Why don’t you believe it when I tell you to, and instead, you go to old women to teach you about the calendar?” This was in 1932. I was here in the summer of 1932. I came to this place in 1929.
Second Narration On Why the Calendar Is Not Holy
Father, what’s going on with the folks in Slătioara? They say we’ve sold out our faith.
Stylists [Old Calendarists] are defrocked by the Holy Synod, because they care more about the calendar than about the dogmas of our Church and thus have fallen away from obedience.
The Stylists also boast that they have true faith and we don’t.
They have pride and disobedience in that faith. In the summer of 1992, the Elder of the Xeropotamou Monastery [Mount Athos], together with a few monks, visited Romania and toured the whole country while carrying the Holy Cross – a cross that was made in the fifth century by Emperor Martian and Empress Pulcheria – which preserves in it a large part of our Savior’s cross. And I kissed the Holy Cross, which had been stained with the blood of Christ. Twice, I kissed it.
The monks in Mount Athos follow the Old Calendar. Why didn’t they visit the Stylists in Slătioara and instead, they only visited our New Calendar Orthodox monasteries?
They went to many places in our country, and all the monks of the Holy Mountain follow the Old Calendar; they cursed the ones in Romania that still followed the Old Style. As Athonite monks, they didn’t break their obedience to the Church. They follow the Old Calendar but they listen to the Holy Synod of Greece* – and Greeks have all been New Calendar followers since 1924. They do not ordain deacons, priests, churches, they don’t do anything without the approval of their Holy Synod. And they told me: “Tell the Stylists in your country that they are heretics. They started to build their monasteries and churches without the permission of your Holy Synod.”
Why, wasn’t I there myself, at the Holy Mountain? Didn’t I perform the holy services with them? The Old Calendar people here won’t do that with us, but the monks of Mount Athos sure did! We partook in the Eucharist with them. They consider the Old Calendar folks in our country as pagans. These folks have remained just as the Lipovans of Russia here [in Romania]!
The calendar isn’t a holy thing! I went and held a speech about that when our Metropolitan was enthroned in Iaşi. There were Bishops and Metropolitans gathered there, yet they asked [unworthy] me to speak — in the refectory, where there were so many officials! I spoke for almost an hour.
The next day I spoke at the Faculty of Theology in Iaşi and I showed them how the Old Calendar had already been adjusted until now. I showed them the year, the month, the time, and how, when it falls behind again – as the Pedalion says – it will be adjusted again. The calendar is a mere time-keeper.
Are we going to argue about a calendar, now? Is it worth it?
There are a few claims to the true burial tomb of Christ, but no claim has stronger evidence than the traditional site of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, whose consecration in the thirtieth year of the reign of Emperor Constantine in 335 AD the Orthodox Church celebrates annually on September 13th. For two excellent introductory resources to examine this issue I provide two links below, one a study of its authenticity from Biblical Archaeology Review and the other a documentary from the Secrets of the Dead series, as well as a homily on the feast of the dedication of the Holy Sepulchre we celebrate today. Of course, these two studies below are scientific studies that do not take account of the miracle of the Holy Light which annually takes place in this church on Pascha.
1. Does the Holy Sepulchre Church Mark the Burial of Jesus?
By Dan Bahat
Biblical Archaeology Review
Since 1960, the Armenian, the Greek and the Latin religious communities that are responsible for the care of the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem have been engaged in a joint restoration project of one of the most fascinating and complex buildings in the world.
In connection with the restoration, they have undertaken extensive archaeological work in an effort to establish the history of the building and of the site on which it rests. Thirteen trenches were excavated primarily to check the stability of Crusader structures, but these trenches also constituted archaeological excavations. Stripping plaster from the walls revealed structures from earlier periods. A new, modern drainage system was put in place, but the work itself was also used for archaeological research. Elsewhere, soundings were made for purely archaeological purposes.
The results of all this excavation and research have now been published in a three-volume final report by Virgilio C. Corbo, professor of archaeology at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem. Father Corbo has been intimately involved in this archaeological work for more than 20 years, and no one is better able to report on the results than he.
Read the rest here.
2. Secrets of the Dead: The Tomb of Christ
This episode of the popular PBS series takes an in-depth look at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, long thought by many Christians to be the tomb of Christ before his eventual resurrection. An English couple investigates the truth behind the myths and tries to shed some light on the events of that long ago day, as well as other issues of the Crucifixion.
For centuries, visitors to the Church of the Holy Seplulchre in Jerusalem believed that they stood within what was merely a symbolic representation of Jesus' burial place. But what if the edicule within the church, and ancient crumbling structure, really does house Christ's actual tomb? Oxford archeologists Martin and Birthe Biddle reconstruct Jesus' final day and trace the history of the various incarnations of the edicule-looking for evidence that there is a tomb present, and trying to decipher whether or not Christ actually lay there. At the very center of Christianity, in one of the holiest cities on Earth, a mystery as old as the Christian faith is close to being solved. An academic couple from Oxford -- respected archaeologists both -- have within their grasp the proof as to whether or not Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher houses the place where Jesus Christ was crucified and buried.
Further resources can be read here and the DVD can be ordered here. The accompanying book also is worth a read as it goes into greater detail than the documentary, and it can be ordered here.
3. Homily on the Dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem by St. Dimitri of Rostov
A summary of some proofs and the history of the Holy Sepulchre can be read here.
In this video, the current Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transports and Networks Nikolaos Sifounakis (current PASOK government) claims that the Holy Cross should be removed from the Greek flag and completely remove the Church from the State.
Here is a list of national flags with crosses on them.
For a history of the flag of Greece, see here.
by Anton Evseyev
The unusually hot summer that devastated Russia this year once again reminded of a trendy horror story called "global warming." Proponents of this hypothesis, talking about their cause, have entirely lost sight of an abnormally cold winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Their opponents said that single point cannot be used for plotting. However, reasonable arguments both for and against the warming have not been presented to the general public.
There is an old joke about a weather station in Chukotka.
Once the Chukchi came to their shaman and asked him whether it will be a cold winter. He replied that the winter will be cold, and told them to gather plenty of firewood. But after some time he decided to test his prediction, and went to the nearest weather station. Meteorologist looked out of the window, and told the shaman, that winter, no doubt, will be cold, since the Chukchi are actively collecting firewood.
Studies by many scientists who promise global warming are not much different from observations of that meteorologist. If you analyze all the methods they use, it is astonishing that at least something can be predicted on the basis of their findings.
Russia Today: Russia's brutal summer inspires green awakening
The focus of studies on global climate processes is traditionally given to the study of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Indeed, the increase in the proportion of these gases in the air envelope of our planet, according to scientists, leads to the so-called greenhouse effect, where CO2 is formed from a certain "film" that interferes with the transferring of heat from the ground to the cold outer space. Scientists in many countries are concerned that because of human emissions of this gas into the atmosphere is ever-increasing, which may result in greenhouse effect in the coming years.
Here it gets interesting. First of all, no one can say exactly how much CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere every year through human activity. American researchers name the number of 5.5 billion tons, Australian - 7.2 million tons, Russian - roughly $10 billion. The one who sees such a discrepancy immediately raises the question - but where do these numbers come from? How exactly the measurement of this "dangerous" gas is taken?
As it turns out, there is no single accounting method. Some count the amount of industrial and automobile exhausts of enterprises in industrialized countries and multiply it by the number of days per year, excluding weekends and holidays. Some measure the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere within several years and then blame all carbon dioxide on human activities. Others generally calculate this number based on the dynamics of mining and fuel production.
It is obvious that the data obtained by some methods says nothing. Here is an example. Assume that we know exactly how much CO2 is emitted into the air by a specific factory. But it is unclear how much gas remains in the atmosphere, because soon, for example, a field of wheat can easily dispose of the entire exhaust (as we know, plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis). No one conducted research on how much carbon dioxide is produced by the man, or is consumed by plants and phytoplankton.
Much more reliable is the method of systematic measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But there are some difficulties. The man is not the only "polluter" of Earth's atmosphere; CO2 is duly delivered to the atmosphere by most living organisms on our planet, and volcanoes. The World Ocean alone, according to American researchers, annually emits approximately 90 billion tons of this gas. How can we distinguish between "man-made" CO2 and the "natural" one, is not quite clear.
Moreover, scientists still do not know anything about natural oscillations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Nobody knows anything about the reason why the ocean sometimes emits more, and sometimes less. But if so, why some researchers are adamant in saying that recently the quantity of "man-made" CO2 emissions has increased? What if it is not "technological" but "natural" emissions?
As you can see, there is no single system for calculating the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but also there is no unified methodology to interpret the data. And, most interestingly, the similar "chaos" is observed in studies of changes in average temperature on Earth.
Here scientists in each country mainly use their own weather station data, and then make conclusions of "planetary" scale. But it is not a secret that if a weather station, for example, in Moscow, recorded a steady increase in temperature, say, in the summer period, then such law will be followed throughout the world during the same time. The same weather station somewhere in Lima can, conversely, record a steady decrease in temperature. A consolidation of all data in one table is not done by anyone at least because many of the meteorological observations are made by the order of the military and, therefore, constitute a state secret.
The same can be said about other symptoms of the so-called warming - for example, rapid melting of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. Satellites can only observe the process, but no one can explain why this happens, since this is registered for the first time. In addition, researchers often do not take into account other possible causes that lead to similar results. What if it is some warm unaccounted underwater current or a volcano are being mischievous?
Anyway, if we recall that the systematic study of the climate began just over 100 years ago, we can confidently say that people still know very little about its effects on our world. The likelihood that a scientist, focusing on observational data of the past years, will be able to make an accurate prediction of global climate change is approximately equal to the probability that a child of three, who barely learned to stammer, will suddenly prove the Pythagorean Theorem.
So, talks about global warming, as of a proven fact, are perhaps a bit premature, if only because there is no single method of investigation of this phenomenon. We must first develop it, then create an international group of researchers equipped with its standard equipment and leave them alone for 50 years that way. Let them work.
After this period, ask the group to report on progress and then decide if the Earth is warmer or colder on the basis of the results. Then, there will be at least some basis for such global conclusions.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
St. Chrysostomos of Smyrna and those with him, the hierarch Sts. Gregorios Kydonion, Amvrosios Moschonision, Prokopios Ikoniou, Euthymios Zilon, as well as the clergy and laity of the Asia Minor Catastrophe are commemorated on the Sunday before the Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross (Sep. 14) according to the Encyclical of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (2556) dated July 5th 1993.
St. Chrysostom Metropolitan of Smyrna the New Ethno-Hieromartyr, and those with him
Chrysostomos of Smyrna: Wikipedia
The Slaying of Metropolitan Chrysostomos: Testimonies of Chrysostomos' Death
Remembering Chrysostomos: A Modern Day Martyr
Slain Archbishop Foresaw Massacre: Chrysostomos Sent Letters To Foreign Officials Predicting Smyrna Disaster (New York Times article from September 24, 1922)
CITY A MASS OF WRECKAGE; Foreign Quarter Leveled but Turkish Section Untouched. STREETS STREWN WITH DEAD 900 Armenians Were Driven Aboard a Lighter and Killed by Fusillade From Shore. OUR BLUEJACKETS POLICING But the Host of Homeless Christians Are in a State of Terror. (New York Times article from September 15, 1922)
The Whispering Voices of Smyrna
SMYRNA 1922 - PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVE
My Sons, sons of Hellenism! Today you see the miracle of God. The time for Liberty and religious freedom has arrived! Please rejoice but also be respectful to our Muslim and Jewish brothers.
- Metropolitan Chrysostomos in 1919 in a speech welcoming the Greek army
I seek a great Cross, upon which I will put my pleasure to trial, I am called and I don’t have anything else of my own to give towards the salvation of our worshiping homeland, other than to give my blood. Thus I perceive of my life and the arch-priesthood...and the miter, which your holy hands placed upon my head, if it is called for, may the radiance of its stones never be destroyed; it will be converted to the crown of thorns of martyrdom of a hierarch.
- St. Chrysostom's prophetic statement at his consecration as Metropolitan of Drama in 1902
Μνήμη Νεομαρτύρων Μικράς Ασίας Κληρικών τε Μοναχών και Λαϊκών τελειωθέντων τω 1922
Άγιος Χρυσόστομος Σμύρνης
Η Αγιότητα του Χρυσοστόμου Σμύρνης
Χρυσόστομος Σμύρνης μάρτυρας της Εκκλησίας και του Έθνους
Ο ΕΘΝΟΜΑΡΤΥΣ ΜΗΤΡΟΠΟΛΙΤΗΣ ΣΜΥΡΝΗΣ ΧΡΥΣΟΣΤΟΜΟΣ ΚΑΙ Η ΜΙΚΡΑΣΙΑΤΙΚΗ ΚΑΤΑΣΤΡΟΦΗ
Εισήγησις του Μητροπολίτου Πατρών Νικοδήμου προς την Ιερά Σύνοδο της Εκκλησίας της Ελλάδος περί αναγνωρίσεως του Μητροπολίτου Σμύρνης Χρυσοστόμου ως Ιερομάρτυρος
Το Mαρτύριο του Σμύρνης Χρυσόστομου
Ο Μητροπολίτης Κυδωνιών Γρηγόριος (1864-1922)
Η μνήμη των Ιερομαρτύρων της Μικρασιατικής Καταστροφής
Νέας Σμύρνης Συμεών "Ο Μικρασιατικός Ελληνισμός έδωσε εκατόμβες μαρτύρων και ηρώων"
Η Δράμα τιμά τον ‘Αγιο Χρυσόστομο Σμύρνης
Ιερός Ναός Αγίου Χρυσοστόμου Μητρ. Δράμας-Σμύρνης
Η Θεία Πρόνοια, δοκιμάζει την πίστιν μας και το θάρρος μας και την υπομονή μας την ώραν αυτήν. Αλλ’ ο Θεός δεν εγκαταλείπει τους χριστιανούς. Εις τας τρικυμίας αναφαίνεται ο καλός ναυτικός και εις τας δοκιμασίας ο καλός Χριστιανός. Προσεύχεσθε και θα παρέλθη το ποτήριον τούτο. Θα ίδωμεν πάλιν καλάς ημέρας και θα ευλογήσωμεν τον Θεόν. Θαρρείτε ως εμπρέπει εις καλούς χριστιανούς.
- Από τελευταίο κήρυγμά του Μητροπολίτου Σμύρνης Χρυσοστόμου
Ζητώ μεγάλον Σταυρόν, επί του οποίου θα δοκιμάσω την ευχαρίστησιν, καθηλούμενος και μη έχω έτερον τι να δώσω προς σωτηρίαν της ημετέρας λατρευτής πατρίδος, να δώσω το αίμα μου. Ούτως εννοώ το έπ’ εμοί την ζωήν και την αρχιερωσίνην”… “…και η μίτρα, την οποίαν αι άγιαι χείρες σου εναπέθεσαν επί της κεφαλής μου, εάν πέπρωται, να απολέση ποτέ την λαμπηδόνα των λίθων της θα μεταβληθεί εις ακάνθινον στέφανον μάρτυρος ιεράρχου.
- Χρυσόστομος Σμύρνης
Ο Ελληνισμός της Μ. Ασίας, το Ελληνικόν κράτος, αλλά και σύμπαν το Ελληνικόν Έθνος καταβαίνει εις τον Άδην, από του οποίου καμμία πλέον δύναμις δεν θα δυνηθή να το αναβιβάση και το σώση . Της αφαντάστου ταύτης καταστροφής, βεβαίως αίτιοι είναι οι πολιτικοί και προσωπικοί Σας εχθροί, πλην και Υμείς φέρετε μέγιστον της ευθύνης βάρος, διά δύο πράξεις σας.
Πρώτον, διότι απεστείλατε εις Μ. Ασίαν ως Ύπατον Αρμοστήν ένα τουτ' αυτό παράφρονα και εγωιστήν, φλύαρον, απερροφημένον εν τω αυτοθαυμασμώ και καταφρονούντα και υβρίζοντα και δέροντα και εξορίζοντα και φυλακίζοντα όλα τα υγιή και σώφρονα στοιχεία του τόπου, διότι εν τω φρενοκομείω του βεβαίως δεν είχον τόπον, και εις το τέλος αποδώσαντα αυτούς τους αγλαούς καρπούς της τελείας του Μικρασιαστικού λαού καταστροφής, τους οποίους νυν θερίζομεν.
Και δεύτερον, διότι πριν αποπερατώσητε το έργον Σας και θέσητε την κορωνίδα και το επιστέγασμα επί του αναγερθέντος αφαντάστως ωραίου και μεγαλοπρεπούς δημιουργήματός Σας, της καταθέσεως των θεμελίων της περικλεεστάτης ποτέ Βυζαντινης μας Αυτοκρατορίας, είχατε την ατυχή και ένοχον έμπνευσιν να διατάξητε εκλογάς κατ' αυτάς ακριβώς τας παραμονάς της εισόδου Σας εις Κωνσταντινούπολιν και της καταλήψεως αυτής υπό του Ελληνικού Στρατού προς εκτέλεσιν των όρων της -οίμοι- δια παντός καταστραφείσης συνθήκης των Σεβρών.
- Επιστολή του Χρυσοστόμου Σμύρνης προς τον Ελευθέριο Βενιζέλο δύο ημέρες προ του μαρτυρικού του θανάτου.
Απολυτίκιο του Αγίου Χρυσοστόμου Σμύρνης
υπό Μητροπολίτου Πατρών ΝΙΚΟΔΗΜΟΥ (Βαλληνδρά)
Μέγαν μάρτυρα η Εκκλησία, μέγαν ήρωα το έθνος σύμπαν, τον της Σμύρνης υμνούμεν Χρυσόστομον. Kαι γάρ γενναίως αθλήσας υπέμεινεν υπέρ πατρίδος και πίστεως θάνατον. Ιεράρχου τε υπόδειγμα εαυτον ανέδειξε τον στέφανον λαβών τον αμαράντινον.
Apolytikion of St. Chrysostom of Smyrna in the Third Tone
A great martyr of the Church, a great hero to the whole nation, let us hymn Chrysostomos of Smyrna. Bravely struggling patiently for homeland and faith until death, he showed himself a model hierarch, receiving the unfading crown.
Centuries ago the icon of Panagia Tsambika was located at the Holy Monastery Panagia Kykkos in Cyprus. In a miraculous manner, the icon would leave Cyprus and go to the mountain Zambiki of the Archangel in Rhodes. This would upset the monks of Kykkos and they went to all lengths within their power to confine the icon.
On Mount Zambiki the icon hid in a cypress tree. In the opposite region near the spring of Aimahiou a humble shepherd lived and he saw a strange light coming from Zambiki. At first he ignored it, but after three days of seeing the light he decided to climb the mountain to see what it was. Afraid that it might be thieves, he first notified the men of the village who grabbed their guns and went with him.
When they reached the top of the mountain they saw to their amazement that the light came from the icon of the Virgin Mary on the cypress tree, and it lit the icon like a vigil light. It was from this that the icon received its name, as the word tsamba in the local dialect of Rhodes means "spark" or " small fire"; the word has Turkish origins. The villagers brought the icon to the village, but the icon would leave and go to the spot it was found. After three repeated attempts it was figured that it was the will of the Panagia to have a church built on that spot.
This cypress tree is still there and can be viewed by the faithful. On its root there is a hole which sometimes releases warm or cold air, depending on the weather.
It should be underlined that the miraculous icon of Panagia Tsambika came from Cyprus three times. The monks of Kykkou Monastery located the icon in Rhodes and they took it back to Cyprus, but the icon returned to the same spot in Rhodes. In order to verify that the icon really left Cyprus the monks burned the back of the icon. This burned part can be seen very clearly till today.
From that time the icon has never left Rhodes. There were attempts to bring it to other parts of Greece for it to be venerated by the faithful, but each time in a miraculous manner the icon would return back to Rhodes. However in 2002 a chapel was built in honor of Panagia Tsambikas in Pera Horio of Cyprus, and the faithful asked for the consecration to take place in July 24th. The icon of Panagia Tsambikas was brought from Rhodes by Metropolitan Kyrillos of Rhodes with three priests. For three days the icon remained in Cyprus and was returned back to Rhodes by the Metropolitan.
The Holy Monastery of Panagia Tsambikas celebrates its feast day on September 8th to honor the Nativity of the Theotokos, and on the Third Sunday of the Great Fast when we also commemorate the Holy Cross.
One of the oldest miracles associated with Panagia Tsambika is tied around the buildings which surround the Monastery. These buildings belonged to a Turkish Pasha whose wife was unable to bear children. Learning of Panagia Tsambika, the wife of the Pasha prayed to her and ate the wick which burned the fire of the vigil lamp before the holy icon. Soon thereafter she found out she was pregnant, though the Pasha did not believe it and even believed the child was from another man. When the child was born, however, it held within its hand the wick the mother had eaten. As a thank offering, the Pasha gave all his property surrounding the Monastery to the Monastery.
Lower Panagia Tsambika
Panagia Tsambika is unique but she is honored and venerated in two places. The one monastery is high on the Sacred Hill, where the Higher Panagia, or the Lady (Kyra) is venerated. The other monastery, which is also a center of religious joy and consolation for the believers, is by the highway and it is called Panagia of Lower Tsambika.
In the region that the well-known and old Panagia Tsambika monastery lies today, there was a temple of the goddess Artemis in the classical period, as it is stated in an Epigram, that is a Sacred Law, where sacrifices and oblations to the goddess Artemis, the patron of hunting, are mentioned. An ancient necropolis has been located, with tombs dating from the Mycenaean and the Hellenistic periods. An ancient inscription was also found, which describes the offering of sacrifices by a woman to the goddess Artemis.
On the 8th of September every year thousands of believers come from all over the island to honor Virgin Mary. The church itself is of the Dodecanese type and it is covered externally with concave tiles. The floor of the church is covered with pebbles, as it was common in older times to cover the yards and the floors of houses and churches with black and white sea pebbles in various religious patterns. This fine church has an excellent wooden icon screen. The icons date from the 19th century, while the icon screen is older.
Higher Panagia Tsambika
Whilst sunning yourself on a sunbed at Tsambika you may notice a tiny white building atop the hill on the left hand side of the bay (as you face the sea). This is Panagia Tsambika Monastery, sometimes also known as Kyra (Our Lady). To visit it and admire the tremendous views there from the top, then you have to navigate a concrete road that twists and turns steeply up from the main road. The rest of the journey has to be made on foot - 307 stony stairs. The Monastery itself is tiny but has a reputation for helping women conceive - on its feast day barren women climb on their knees or barefoot up here to pray for children and when the happy event occurs the child is often called Tsambiko (boy) or Tsambika (girl). This name is unique on Rhodes. If you doubt this habit, just call this name out on a busy street in Rhodes, and you will see how successful the Monastery is. For a contemporary and detailed account of this miracle, read here.
Ἀπολυτίκιον (Σύνθεση του Μητροπολίτου Ρόδου κ.κ. Κυρίλλου)
Κρήνην έχουσα των δωρεών σου την εικόνα σου, η νήσος Ρόδος, Θεοτόκε Τσαμπίκα γεραίρει σε, και καυχωμένη ενθέως σοις θαύμασι, τον ασπασμόν του Αγγέλου προσάδοι σοι, Χαίρε κράζουσα, Παρθένε θεοχαρίτωτε, λαού του χριστωνύμου το διάσωσμα.
HYMN OF PRAISE: SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
O Saint John, wonderful Baptizer,
Of the Savior, you were the glorious Forerunner,
You, with your purity, touched human souls
And, as an awesome trumpet, from the Jordan resounded
From sleep and idle vices, awakening men,
When the axe was near to the root.
To you I bow, to you I pray:
Every temptation, help me to resist.
Prophet most powerful, to you I bow,
And before you kneel and before you I weep:
From your heart, grant me the strength of a lion,
From your spirit, grant me angelic whiteness.
Grant me your strength that by practice to attain
To God be submissive and to rule over myself,
To baptize by fasting, to purify by all-night vigils,
To sweeten by prayer and heavenly vision,
And to every martyrdom, walk without fear
With your courage and with a strong faith.
O Saint John, God's chosen one,
And glorious martyr for supreme justice,
You, of whom the godless armies are afraid
To my prayers, do not turn a deaf ear,
But, strengthen me by your prayers,
That as a true candle before the Lord, I stand.
Apolytikion of St. John the Forerunner in the Second Tone
The memory of the just is observed with hymns of praise; for you however suffices the testimony of the Lord, O Forerunner. You have proved to be truly more venʹrable than the Prophets, since you were granted to baptize in the river the One whom they proclaimed. Therefore, when for the truth you had contested, rejoicing, to those in Hades you preached the Gospel, that God was manifested in the flesh, and takes away the sin of the world, and grants to us the great mercy.
The ascetic wandered much, but most often he lived at a churchyard of the village of Merkushinsk not far from the city of Verkhoturye (on the outskirts of Perm). St Simeon loved nature in the Urals, and while joyfully contemplated its majestic beauty, he would raise up a thoughtful glance towards the Creator of the world. In his free time, the saint loved to go fishing in the tranquility of solitude. This reminded him of the disciples of Christ, whose work he continued, guiding the local people in the true Faith. His conversations were a seed of grace, from which gradually grew the abundant fruits of the Spirit in the Urals and in Siberia, where the saint is especially revered.
St Simeon of Verkhoturye died in 1642, when he was 35 years of age. He was buried in the Merkushinsk graveyard by the church of the Archangel Michael.
On September 12, 1704, with the blessing of Metropolitan Philotheus of Tobolsk, the holy relics of St Simeon were transferred from the church of the Archangel Michael to the Verkhoturye monastery in the name of St Nicholas.
St Simeon worked many miracles after his death. He frequently appeared to the sick in dreams and healed them, and he brought to their senses those fallen into the disease of drunkenness. A peculiarity of the saint's appearances was that with the healing of bodily infirmities, he also gave instruction and guidance for the soul.
The memory of St Simeon of Verkhoturye is celebrated also on December 18, on the day of his glorification (1694).
The Land of St. Simeon
The Relics of St. Simeon
Intersting Fact: According to Rasputin, St. Simeon healed him of his torturous insomnia after visiting the monastery where his relics lie. This event helped inspire him to embark on a pilgrimage and dedicate his life to God. When he visited the Tsar Nicholas II and his family, the Tsar wrote in his diary: "At 6:15 Grigory came. He brought an icon of St. Simeon of Verkhoturye, saw the children, and chatted with us until 7:15."
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
What kind of bond should there be between man and God? An unbreakable and continual bond. `"Adhere to God as a son adheres to his father," counseled St. Anthony. And St. Alonius said: "If a man is not set in his heart that there is no one else in the world but himself and God, he cannot find peace in his soul." The one God is enough, and more than enough, for all that the heart of man can desire.
Without a single protest, Blessed Theodora received a stranger's child, given to her by slanderers, as if it were her own. Theodora raised this child with love, and reared it in the fear of God. Before her death, this is how she counseled the child:
"What is more necessary for man than God and His divine love? He is our refuge, He is our treasure, He is our food and drink, He is our raiment and shelter, He is our health and strength, He is our happiness and joy, He is our hope and our trust. Strive then, my son, to gain Him. If you succeed in gaining the One God, it will be sufficient for you; you will rejoice more in Him than if you had gained the entire world."
In saying this, St. Theodora did not speak from a book or from someone else's words, but on the basis of her own personal experience. She lived for seven years, driven out and scorned by all men, and during that time she learned by experience that God was everything to her, and that the One God was sufficient for all that the heart of man desires.
Every living thing seeks love: man, animals and plants. All people seek God and long for Him, regardless of whether they are believers or unbelievers. Some people call themselves atheists, but they do not know that their hearts long after God. For when someone yearns for justice, love and truth, he is really yearning after God. All people long for love that never changes, and for justice that is always the same.... The only difference is that: some oppose Him and others don't; some yearn after Him consciously, while others are not aware that their yearning is really after God.
- Elder Thaddeus of Serbia (+2002)
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Notice, as you read the excerpt from the Life of St. Theodora below, the five stages that lead to the sin of St. Theodora and which are the same five stages we all go through when we sin against the Lord:
1. Assault - When a thought/temptation knocks on the door of our mind; at this point there is no sin.
2. Interaction - This is the stage when we open our mind to the thought; at this point things become dangerous.
3. Consent - At this point you consent to do what the thought is urging you to do; the decision is made and it has taken root, becoming extremely difficult to escape.
4. Captivity - When you finally give in to your consent, you have been defeated; you are now the captive of your thought and have lost your true freedom over yourself.
5. Passion - Being a captive of your thought you are now spiritually sick; this sickness will become worse and worse throughout your life unless you repent and purify your mind of the germ which you allowed to enter your heart.
Below is the tale of St. Theodora, as written by St. Dimitri of Rostov:
"The eyes of the Lord are ten thousand times brighter than the sun, beholding all the ways of men, and considering the most secret parts. He knew all things before they were ever created" (Eccles. 23).
There once lived in the city of Alexandria a noblewoman named Theodora who did not know this truth. She hearkened rather unto the enemy, who whispered to her, saying, "The sin committed secretly, which the sun does not see, is likewise unknown to God." When she learned later that nothing can be concealed from God, great was her repentance!
Abiding with her husband in honorable wedlock, she was tempted in the following way. A wealthy man, young and childish of mind, moved by the devil, was wounded with lust for her, and he tried by every means to lead her into adultery. He sent her costly presents and promised her yet greater gifts, seeking to seduce her by his words. Unable to achieve his wish with these devices, he employed a certain sorceress to bewitch the chaste Theodora, hoping thus to ensnare her in his evil designs. Having Satan as her helper, the sorceress found a convenient time to speak to Theodora concerning the youth.
However, Theodora replied, "Oh, that I could be delivered from that man, who has vexed me for so long! If I hearken unto him, the very sun will be the witness of my sin before God!"
The temptress responded, "Then when the sun sets and the darkness of night falls, do what the youth desires in some secret place, and no one, not even God, shall know of your deed, for the deep darkness of night hides all."
"Oh, how good it would be," said Theodora, "were it true that God did not know the sin which is committed in the night!"
The seductress answered, "It is true; God sees only those sins upon which the sun shines. As for those committed in the dark, how can He see them?"
With such words the temptress ensnared Theodora, who was a young woman, guileless and inexperienced. In this the sorceress was assisted much by the temptations of the demons, whose power is strong, whereas ours is feeble. Theodora consented to the counsel of the evil one, and in the depth of night she committed the sin of adultery. However, with the rising of the sun, the light of the ready mercy of God shone in her heart, for she acknowledged her sin and repented of it, striking herself on the face, reviling herself, and tearing her hair in shame. Thus, the mercy of God, Who desires not the death of a sinner, roused her to repentance and amendment because of her former chastity. Indeed, God sometimes permits man to fall so that, amending himself and rising up, he may labor more earnestly and display more zeal for God, Who has forgiven his sin.
Weeping and grieving over the sin she had committed, Theodora consoled herself somewhat and said, "God does not know of my sin. Nevertheless, it shames me and causes me anguish." Seeking to lighten her sorrow, she went to a convent to visit the abbess, with whom she was acquainted. The abbess, seeing her sorrowful face, questioned her, saying, "What is wrong, my daughter? Have you offended your husband?"
Theodora answered, "No, my lady. I do not know why my heart is so heavy."
The abbess, moved by the Spirit of God and wishing to comfort Theodora, began to speak in an edifying manner and to read to her from the writings of the Fathers. As she was reading a certain homily, she came to this citation from the Gospel: "For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore, whatsoever you have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which you have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed from the housetops" (Matt. 10; Lk. 12).
When Theodora heard these words from the Gospel, she beat herself on the breast and said, "Woe is me, the wretched one! Now I have perished! I have been deceived, thinking that God did not know my sin!" and she struck herself, crying and weeping.
The abbess then discerned the nature of her fall, and she began to ask her exactly what she had done. Because of her weeping, Theodora could scarcely speak, but she succeeded in telling the abbess all in detail, and she fell at her feet, crying, "Forgive me, for I am perishing, and tell me what I should do! Is it possible for me to be saved, or am I lost for all eternity? Can I hope for God's mercy, or must I only despair?"
The abbess said to her, "In hearkening to the enemy you have not done well, my daughter. You were mistaken, thinking that you could hide from God, Who searches the hearts and reins, Who knows the thoughts of men from afar, Whose eye sees even that which has not yet been done. No night, no dark place, is able to conceal the sinner from His all-seeing eye. You have angered God and not kept faith with your husband, my daughter. You have defiled your body and done harm to your soul. Why did you not tell me this when you were being tempted? Then I could have helped you and taught you how to guard yourself from the snares of the enemy. But since the deed is already done, fall down in repentance before God's mercy, pray that He will forgive you, and correct yourself. Do not despair, my daughter, for although you have committed a great sin, God's mercy is yet greater. There is no sin which defeats His love for mankind. Now arise and you will be saved."
The abbess reproved and instructed Theodora, and she guided her onto the path of repentance. She comforted her by speaking of God's compassion, of His unutterable goodness, of His quickness to accept those who repent, and His readiness to forgive those who have transgressed. She reminded Theodora of the sinful woman in the Gospel who washed Christ's feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head, thereby receiving forgiveness of her sins from God.
Theodora gave heed to her good instructress, and having stored these things in her heart, she said, "I trust in my God that I shall never commit such sins again, and I shall do whatever I am able to make amends for the sin itself."
Her heart somewhat comforted, Theodora returned to her home. But she was ashamed to look her husband in the face, for her conscience upbraided her, and she considered by what means she might incline God to mercy. Although she wished to enter a convent, she knew that her husband would forbid this, so to hide herself from her husband and from all her acquaintances, she devised the following plan.
When her husband left home on some task, she, in the dark of night, cut her hair and dressed herself in men's clothing. Committing herself to God, she hid herself, and quietly forsaking her home, she fled like a bird taking flight from a trapper's net. Arriving at a desert monastery named Oktokedeka, located eighteen miles from the city, she knocked at the door, and when the doorkeeper came, she said, "Be so kind, Father, as to ask the abbot to receive me, a sinner, into the monastery, for I wish to repent of my evil deeds. I have come to wash the feet of holy men such as you, and to serve you day and night in whatever manner you direct."
The rest of the story of St. Theodora covers eighteen more pages in the Life written by St. Dimitri, but he goes on to give details about how St. Theodora overcame her captivity and entered into true freedom in Christ, suffering much yet attaining greater glory in Christ.
St. Nikoalai Velimirovich summarizes her life in his Prologue with the following words:
Theodora was from Alexandria and the wife of a young man. Persuaded by a fortune-teller, she committed adultery with another man and immediately felt the bitter pangs of conscience. She cut her hair, dressed in men's clothing and entered the Monastery of Octodecatos, under the male name of Theodore. Her labor, fasting, vigilance, humbleness and tearful repentance amazed the entire brotherhood. When a promiscuous young woman slandered her, saying that Theodore had made her pregnant, Theodora did not want to justify herself, but considered this slander as a punishment from God for her earlier sin. Banished from the monastery, she spent seven years living in the forest and wilderness and, in addition, caring for the child of that promiscuous girl. She overcame all diabolical temptations: she refused to worship Satan, refused to accept food from the hands of a soldier, and refused to heed the pleas of her husband to return to him - for all of this was only a diabolical illusion, and as soon as Theodora made the sign of the Cross everything vanished as smoke. After seven years, the abbot received her back into the monastery, where she lived for two more years, and reposed in the Lord. Only then did the monks learn that she was a woman; an angel appeared to the abbot and explained everything to him. Her husband came to the burial, and then remained in the cell of his former wife until his repose. St. Theodora possessed much grace from God: she tamed wild beasts, healed infirmities, and brought forth water from a dry well. Thus, God glorified a true penitent, who with heroic patience repented nine years for just one sin. She reposed in the year 490.
St. Nikolai goes on to offer the following reflection about how St. Theodora went to live in a convent following her sin without telling her husband. It should be noted that the Holy Fathers in a later Canon ruled that husbands or wives are no longer permitted to do such a thing without mutual consent, yet St. Nikolai offers the following advice if the desire comes up in at least one spouse:
One must not hinder anyone on the path of perfect devotion and service to God. Many saintly women who wanted to flee from marriage and devote themselves to God were pursued and hindered in this by their husbands. These women were usually victorious in the end, remaining steadfast in their intention, and often awakened the consciences of their husbands by their example, and directed them on the path of salvation. St. Theodora, dressed in men's clothing, had to carefully hide from her husband, and she retreated to a men's monastery. However, there were prudent husbands who approved their wives' intentions, permitting their withdrawal from the world to devote their lives completely to God. King Frederick was betrothed to a Czech maiden, Agnes. But she never agreed to enter into marriage, and broke her betrothal, fleeing to a monastery. Then the prudent king said: "Had she left me for a mortal man, I would have sought revenge; but I must not find myself insulted that she chose the Heavenly King in place of me."
Lastly I would like to offer a hymn also written by St. Nikolai in honor of the Venerable Theodora of Alexandria:
Wretched Theodora was tangled in sin;
Glorious Theodora was forgiven her sin.
One sin she ransomed with a hundred virtues
And the eternal mercy of the Son of God.
She thrust from herself into diabolical suggestions,
And meekly endured the slanders of men.
Her mind immersed in her Lord,
Her thoughts were freed from earthly dust.
To the end, she submitted to God's will,
And thus was worthy of God's Paradise.
St. Theodora, citizen of Paradise,
Now help us, O God-pleaser!
That we sinners also be delivered from sin
And live with you as inhabitants of Paradise.
You were given power, before and after death,
To destroy all the snares of the enemy.
Because of your love, God gave you power,
And even the demons fear your power.
Now you worship Christ with all the saints,
And protect us from bitter attacks.
Apolytikion in the 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 overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Theodora, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
With fasting didst thou consume thy body utterly; with vigilant prayer didst thou entreat thy Fashioner, that thou shouldst receive the complete forgiveness of the sin thou hadst wrought; which receiving in truth, thou didst mark out the path of repentance for us all.
James N. Watkins
September 10, 2010
The Christian Post
The Dove World Outreach Center, a non-denominational church in Gainesville, Florida, announced in July that it would host a Qur'an burning event on its church property in observance of the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks "to warn Americans about the dangers of Islam."
While the church's pastor, Terry Jones, may not burn Qur'ans after all, Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps is promising to do so if Jones is a "sissy" and doesn't.
Also, another character is promising to burn Qur'ans on the Wyoming Capitol steps. (The crazy meter is spiking!)
So, I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today's category:
Top Ten Reasons "Burn a Qur'an Day" is Anti-Biblical
10. It goes against the Bible's teaching to "let your conversation always be full of grace." (Colossians 4:6)
9. It goes against the Bible's teaching to "love your neighbor." (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39)
8. It goes against the Bible's teaching to "love your enemies." (Matthew 5:43)
7. It goes against the Bible's teaching to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 22:39, Luke 6:31)
6. It goes against the Bible's teaching of "overcoming evil with good." ((Romans 12:21)
5. It goes against the Bible's teaching of "vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." (Romans 12:19)
4. It goes against the Bible's teaching to be "full of truth and grace." (John 1:14)
3. It goes against the Bible's teaching to "live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:18)
2. It goes against the Bible's teaching to "be wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove" (Matthew 10:16)
1. It goes against the Bible's teaching that "whoever spreads slander is a fool" (Proverbs 10:18)
Read also: Taking Christianity Back From Creepy "Christian" Churches
The Venerable Martyr Theodora of Vasta is most well-known for the amazing chapel which stands in her honor in Vasta of Arkadia with 17 trees growing miraculously on its roof and a river flowing beneath it. However, there is another chapel dedicated to this same St. Theodora in Argos in the region of Makrovouni Leukakion which is about 3 km away from the city of Nauplion. This chapel was built on the exact spot where four years ago the owner of that particular field named Sotiris Tzinieris saw St. Theodora in a vision multiple times. In her honor he built this chapel with his own hands. Fr. Dionysios Tampakis celebrated the Great Vespers on September 10, 2010 for its feast on September 11th.
September 10, 2010
In a move hailed as ‘historic,’ the Holy Synod yesterday approved the text of a new charter rendering the Church of Cyprus truly autocephalous.
The new charter will be endorsed by the body Monday at the Archbishopric, during a ceremony to be attended by the President, political leaders and VIPs.
An autocephalous church is one that enjoys total canonical and administrative independence and elects its own prelates and bishops. The Cypriot Orthodox Church was granted autocephaly by the Council of Ephesus of 431 and is ruled by the Archbishop of Cyprus, who is not subject to any higher ecclesiastical authority, although his church remains in full communion with the other Eastern Orthodox churches.
Under the new charter, the Holy Synod will comprise of 17 members (16 metropolitans and the Archbishop), a number sufficient to allow it to regulate all internal matters, without the need to call a ‘Greater Synod’ involving the participation of bishops from affiliated Orthodox churches.
It is also empowered to put on trial, and pronounce sentence on, bishops and even the Prelate. Bishops will have the right to appeal such decisions with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul.
In addition, by a three-quarters majority vote the Synod will have the right to remove the Archbishop or a metropolitan on the grounds of incapacity due to ill health.
In 2006 it took a Greater Synod decision to call for elections to replace the then ailing Prelate, Archbishop Chrysostomos, who for years had been incapacitated from Alzheimer’s disease.
The new charter provides for a new method of electing bishops and the Archbishop. A list of qualified candidates will be drawn up and the public will be asked to vote. The top three candidates will then make it to a short-list, and the winner will be chosen via secret ballot by the Holy Synod.
By St. Dimitri of Rostov
Our holy monastic father Euphrosynos was born of simple parents although he surpassed even those of noble lineage in good works. For there are many who are devoid of good works, despite their noble birth, and so are cast down into Hades while the simple in their humility are lifted up to paradise by God as was the godly Euphrosynos. Because of his virtuous life he was translated to paradise, as we will see, and was shown to be an inhabitant there.
Euphrosynos lived in a monastery where he served the brethren, laboring in the kitchen and serving them with great humility and submissiveness as though they were not men but God Himself. He labored in obedience day and night, but he never left off praying and fasting. His patience was inexpressible. He bore much abuse and disparagement and suffered frequent vexations. Scorched by the material fire of the cookstove, he was warmed by the spiritual fire of the love of God, and his heart burned with longing for the Lord. While passing his days preparing food for the brethren, he at the same time prepared a table for himself in the kingdom of God by his virtuous life, where he would eat his fill with those of whom it is said, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. He served the Lord secretly so that he might be rewarded by Him openly, even as it came to pass.
The Lord’s reward to His servant was made manifest in the following manner. A certain priest who lived in the same monastery prayed fervently to the Lord that He reveal to him the things which are prepared for them that love Him. One night he had a vision. It seemed to him that he was standing in a garden, and as he considered the unutterable beauty of this garden, he saw Euphrosynos, the monastery’s cook, walking by. The priest approached him and asked, "Brother Euphrosynos, what is this place? Can this be paradise?"
"It is paradise, Father," answered Euphrosynos.
Again the priest inquired, "How is that you are here?"
Euphrosynos the cook replied, "This is the dwelling place of God’s elect, and by God’s great goodness I have made my abode here as well."
The priest asked, "Do you have authority over all these beautiful things?"
Euphrosynos replied, "As far as I am able, I distribute to others the things you see here."
The priest inquired, "Can you give me some portion of these things?"
"By the grace of my God, take what you desire," Euphrosynos said.
The priest then pointed to some apples and asked for them. Euphrosynos took three apples, placed them in a kerchief, and gave them to the priest, saying, "Take what you have requested and delight therein."
At that moment, the semantron was struck for Matins, and the priest awoke and came to himself. He thought that he had been dreaming, but when he stretched out his hand to pick up his handkerchief, he found in it the three apples that he had received from Euphrosynos in the vision. They gave off an ineffable fragrance. Amazed, he arose from his couch, placed the apples on the bed, and went to church where he found Euphrosynos standing together with the brethren at the morning service. Approaching Euphrosynos, the priest implored him to reveal where he had been that night.
Euphrosynos replied, "Forgive me, Father; I have been in that place where we saw one another."
The priest said, "You must reveal God’s greatness, so that the truth is not concealed!"
But the wise Euphrosynos humbly answered, "You, Father, implored the Lord to reveal to you the reward given to His chosen. The Lord was pleased to make this known to your godliness through me, wretched and unworthy as I am, and thus, we found ourselves together in paradise."
The priest inquired, "What did you give me, Father, in paradise when I spoke with you?"
"I gave you the three fragrant apples which you have placed on your bed in your cell," answered Euphrosynos. "But forgive me, Father, for I am a worm and not a man."
When Matins had finished, the priest summoned the brethren and showed them the three apples from paradise, and he told them exactly what had occurred. All smelled the ineffable fragrance emitted by those apples and discerned their spiritual sweetness, and they marvelled at what they were told by the priest. They hurried to the kitchen to reverence the servant of God, but they could not find him. When Euphrosynos left the church, he hid from the glory of men, and no one knew where he had gone. It is pointless to inquire into his whereabouts, for if he had access to paradise, where could he not have hidden himself?
The brethren divided the apples among themselves and distributed pieces of them as a blessing to many, especially to those who were in need of healing. Whoever ate of these apples was healed of his infirmities, and thus, all received great benefit from the holy and venerable Euphrosynos. The account of the vision was written down not only on scrolls but also in the hearts of those who were told of it, and all who heard thereof strove to increase their labors and please God.
By the prayers of the venerable Euphrosynos, may the Lord deem us also worthy to dwell in paradise. Amen.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
You lived in great humility, in labors of asceticism and in purity of soul, O righteous Euphrosynos. By a mystical vision you demonstrated the Heavenly joy which you had found. Therefore make us worthy to be partakers of your intercessions.
Source: The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, Volume 1: September
Friday, September 10, 2010
One day the Elder was liturgizing in the Church of Saint Marina. As was usual, he stayed after the Divine Liturgy in the Holy Altar. The rest of the priests went to their offices to drink some coffee. There they began to discuss almsgiving, on whether or not it should be given without discrimination to everyone who asks or only after putting the matter into consideration. The discussion turned into an argument. One priest upheld the opinion of the Divine Chrysostom how alms should sweat from one's hand until it is given, and the other priest upheld the opposite view of Saint Basil. In the end, both priests decided to wait for Papa Fotis to give his argument. After a little time Papa Foti came and one of the priests tried to ask him about the matter. Papa Foti then stopped him immediately, before he said a word, saying: "Be quiet, I am going to drink coffee now." He drank his coffee, got up, and began talking about almsgiving and specifically about the matter the two priests disagreed over. His advice was to give alms without over-analyzing if there is or isn't a need from our fellow man.
He would say to me that in the olden days the memorable Metropolitan Iakovos II of Mytlini was liturgizing and a scorpian fell in the Holy Cup. Everyone became frightened. The Bishop removed the scorpian from the Holy Cup and was about to give it to his deacon in order to throw it in the melting pot. Astonished, Papa Foti said: "Bring him here". Taking the half-dead/half-living scorpian he ate it. "Since it was baptized in the Blood of Christ", he said. The Metropolitan told him: "I am amazed, Elder, at your faith".
The Elder would say: "The ethos and pure life of a priest is the salt of our life. If the priest, deacon or bishop do not have a pure life, then they are for the garbage".
From ΠΑΠΑ ΦΩΤΗΣ Ο ΔΙΑ "ΧΡΙΣΤΟΝ ΣΑΛΟΣ" by Π. ΑΘΑΝΑΣΙΟΥ ΓΙΟΥΣΜΑ