April 30, 2012

Notorious Criminal Wants To Become Monk on Mount Athos

Kostas Passaris was an armed robber and murderer; convicted for a string of armed robberies and assaults; escaped Korydallos Prison in Athens in February 2001 while being transferred to a hospital, killing two policemen in the process; arrested in November 2001 in Bucharest and is currently jailed in Romania. He was once the most wanted man in Greece and its most notorious criminal.

April 30, 2012

His hands were dyed in the blood of citizens and policemen, and he managed to discredit and "decapitate" the Greek Police by escaping arrest and fleeing after committing a host of felony offenses. Now he is ready to devote his life to God hoping that - if and when he is released from prison - he will become a monk at Mount Athos.

The notorious criminal Kostas Passaris, the man who was described as "the beast of the Balkans" and since 2001 is held in the maximum security prison Gkerlas in Romania, appears to regret his sinful past, and as another "black sheep" prays on his knees in his narrow cell asking remission of his sins and hopes that one day he will succeed in ... wearing the cassock and entirely devote himself to his Lord and Creator.

This is what is claimed in an interview which was given to the newspaper Jurnalul National of Bucharest with the priest to whom is credited this dramatic shift of the criminal, known as the "saint of prisoners", Archimandrite Gervasios John Raptopoulos.

The 80-year-old Archimandrite, founder of the brotherhood "Saint Xeni - Diaconate for the Release of Poor and Prisoners" came into contact with Passaris last Easter when, while he was in Romania, he learned that the 34-year-old criminal was desperately asking to meet him.

After obtaining the necessary authorization from the Romanian Ministry of Justice, Father Gervasios met Passaris in the presence of the director of prisons, and even four fully armed guards watching the meeting with their finger on the trigger. Since then, the communication became more frequent, and the "spiritual father" of Passaris started visiting him and supplies him with ecclesiastical books (some of which are considered - such as The Ascetic Writings of Abba Dorotheos - particularly difficult and read by monks of Mount Athos), while for his part, the criminal has taken a particularly hard monastic lifestyle and started fasting every Wednesday and Friday, without regard even for derision by many fellow inmates.

According to reports, the daily "ecclesiastical" program of the criminal begins early in the morning. Immediately when he wakes up he prays the Orthros for the day, then a few hours later says the Paraklesis, in the evening he says the Esperinon, and at night he ends with the Small Apodeipnon.

Indeed, at 3:00 in the morning Passaris wakes up and prays the Midnight Service, and immediately after begins his Monastic Canon (ecclesiastical prayers for the monastic order). Specifically, he takes in his hands his prayer rope and begins to pray, while doing prostrations! According to statements by the Archimandrite in the Romanian newspaper, the prison has radically changed Passaris, who now communicates better and is more open, having turned to God.

Indeed, in an earlier interview with the show Ηξεις Aφήξεις, on television channel Super, the Archimandrite confided to the journalist Theodore Doukas:

When I saw him for the first time, the child was contrite and confessed for about a half hour. I gave him a beautiful icon of the Panagia and told him, "Kosta, this is an icon that moves me deeply."

He responded to me: "Elder, give it to me that I may kiss it, but forgive me, I will not hold on to it because it reminds me of my mother." This child never knew a mother. For me he is on the road of repentance and loves very much the Athonite fathers. All the books he reads speak of repentance. He is my spiritual child.

Orthodoxy receives in its embrace all people and does not discriminate even for the most dangerous criminals. The particular case of Kostas Passaris could not be an exception because, according to reports, he is said to have regretted his actions and through confession to his spiritual father has sought absolution and expressed a desire to become a monk. However, in order to follow the path of monasticism he must first be released from serving two life sentences.

If this were to happen then he can go to a monastery, after filing his criminal record and successfully passing the probationary period of a few months which applies to all novices.

During the probationary period the novice wears civilian clothing and not a cassock. If he qualifies then he is able to become a monk, after it is judged by his spiritual father, who certifies the repentance of the novice. From there it is determined that he is ready to leave the world like all monks and follow the path of God.

Translated by John Sanidopoulos

An Encyclical Against Fanatical Evangelicals

My Beloved Christians,

Christ is Risen!

With the help of God we celebrated this year again the great days of the salvific Passion and the glorious Resurrection of our Lord.

However, despite the great blessings of these days, temptations were not absent. Thus, during Holy Week, the so-called Jehovah's Witnesses launched in the region of Mesogeion and Lavriotiki proselytizing activity among Christians, with the purpose of confusing and acquiring unsuspecting followers.

What is even more unfortunate is that along the same lines others were moving, purporting to be preachers of the Gospel and self-proclaimed Christians, that is, followers of the Lord Jesus; people that we are supposedly in dialogue with for mutual understanding, were the same "deceiving and deceived", in the middle of Renewal Week, in the area of Pallini and Pikermiou, sent phone messages by SMS, in an effort to attract "friends" who belong to the blessed body of our holy Church, to possibly include them in their religious organization, what they call "Abundant Life", in order to, as they write, "save people".

These, known by the name Evangelicals, have replaced theology with arbitrary reflection, the Mysteries and worship with sermons and religious songs, and prefer a Christianity that is based more on human reason than divine revelation.

They deny the Panagia and our Saints, the Mysteries and Icons, our blessed Tradition and Worship. They invite the Orthodox to celebrate without the Lamentation Hymns and the Epitaphios, without the Akathists' and the Paraklesis', without Holy Communion and the words of the Fathers, without honor towards the Martyrs and the righteous Ascetics, replacing all these things with dry religious rhetoric.

At a time when many who were deceived by the same and have felt betrayed and thirsty and are returning in groups to our Church - even in our own Metropolis in recent years many dozens have been catechized - they are trying to seduce innocent souls from the blessed baptismal font of our Orthodox Faith.

Our Church can perhaps appear absent from its pastoral calling, and can, as it has accepted state influence by an unhealthy relationship with the state, often seem inconsistent with the life of faith.

But no one can contest that our Church has preserved the authentic Christian teaching till today, as well as the wealth of its high theology and the conscience of true tradition.

With my contribution I wanted to draw everyone's attention beyond all impassioned fanaticism. It is unfair to ourselves to exchange the gold of our Orthodox Faith for the polished copper of pseudo-teachers, to replace the timeless treasure of the truth of Christ with baseless human interpretations of the Gospel.

Those who supposedly evangelize the word of God in the Greece of Martyrs, of Miracles, of Tradition, would do good to learn the Gospel not like they want with their outlandish spiritual weak mindedness, but as it has been lived by the ecumenical Church in its unbroken history, especially in this land.

This is not proselytizing, this is holy evangelism. This is what we need.

This ultimately will incite all of us to return to our Orthodoxy, all of us, even us who are born Orthodox, with our hearts and with our lives.

With warm blessings in the Resurrection and fatherly love,

† NICHOLAS of Mesogaias and Lavreotiki

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos

Alexander the Great, Mount Athos, and a Lofty Proposal

Both Plutarch and Strabo record an ambitious proposal made by Deinocrates (or Cheirocrates or Stasicrates), chief architect to the Macedonian king Alexander the Great and the builder of Alexandria. According to Plutarch, in his Life of Alexander, he says:

Once when they [Deinocrates and Alexander] had met before, he had told him, that of all the mountains he knew, that of Athos in Thrace was the most capable of being adapted to represent the shape and lineaments of a man; that if he pleased to command him, he would make it the noblest and most durable statue in the world, which in its left hand should hold a city of ten thousand inhabitants, and out of its right should pour a copious river into the sea. Though Alexander declined this proposal, yet now he spent a great deal of time with workmen to invent and contrive others even more extravagant and sumptuous.

In other words, if Alexander followed through with this plan, on Mount Athos there would have been something like a Greek Mount Rushmore likeness of Alexander, though grander.

It is likely that this rejection was based not so much on a sense of personal modesty (for which Alexander was not well known), as on a desire to avoid being remembered by history as a man quite so arrogant as Xerxes. Xerxes, the famed Persian king, had carved a canal through the beginning of the Athonite penninsula in 481 BC, joining the Ierissos (on the north) and Singitic (on the south) gulfs and providing safer passage than the journey around Athos' southern point (Cape Akrothoos). Some historians doubt that this canal was ever finished, some that it was ever begun. Yet present-day visitors to the Holy Mountain can still see remnants of this canal, long since filled in with sediment, but still clearly evident as a long, narrow, and obviously artificial valley in precisely the location attributed to Xerxes' project.

Two Opinions On Macedonian Canonicity

What is most important to Macedonian Orthodox Church is to return to canonical field, says Russian bishop

April 29, 2012

What is most important to the Macedonian Orthodox Church is for it to return to the canonical field, bishop Hilarion, Chairman of External Church Relations Department of the Moscow Patriarchate, said in an interview with Bulgarian National Radio.

He says there are many models of church structure, which, without obligatory recognition of autocephaly, can give the church actual independence.

“I think we should not stick to Greek terms, such as autocephaly and autonomy. It is necessary to set up a model that would satisfy the Macedonian church, but which will enable it [the church] to keep in contact with the canonical Orthodox churches and not to stay outside this process, as it does now,” said bishop Hilarion.

According to him the issue should be settled in a dialog between the Serbian and Macedonian orthodox churches. The Russian Orthodox Church is always ready to help in this process and suggest solutions based on our own experience, he added.
He says the Balkans is a very complex region.

It is not an accident that the world wars started with the Balkans and today the region is at a crossroads of two civilization paradigms. On the side, this is the western civilization, which works in favor of secular values, and the view of the world through this prism. On the other side, the east Christian heritage preserved by the local orthodox churches is very important in the process of globalization when the Balkan countries integrate into the European Union, bishop Hilarion said further in the interview.

He also noted the relations between Russia and Bulgaria were developing and added there were no problems between the two churches.

If canons are so important, Macedonian Church should return to Bulgarian Church: historian

April 29, 2012

If you consider the issue from the point of view of the genesis of today’s Macedonian Archbishopric, it could return to canonical communication with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, historian Associate Professor Plamen Pavlov, a lecturer with the University of Veliko Tarnovo, said in an interview with FOCUS News Agency.

He was asked to comment on the statement of bishop Hilarion, Chairman of External Church Relations Department of the Moscow Patriarchate, that the Macedonian Orthodox Church should return to the canonical field and its future should be determined in a dialog with the Serbian Orthodox Church, from which the Macedonian one separated.

“I do not think the event of 1967 and then of 1991 – separation of today’s Macedonian Archbishopric from the Serbian Patriarchate – rests on any serious historical reasons. It rests on a huge historical injustice – seizure of these lands by the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, also known as Yugoslavia, which was inherited by Communist Federation of Yugoslavia after the WWII,” said the historian.

According to him the Russian Patriarchate cannot say anything different. “If it says that the Macedonian Church should separate, the self-proclaimed Ukrainian Patriarchate could separate as well; so could the bishoprics in Moldova. The Russian church has the same problem with Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and, quite naturally, it will support the Serbian [Church]. But if it considers canons and orthodoxy so important, the Macedonian Church should return to the Bulgarian one. After all, Joseph I was the last legal spiritual head of these people,” he added.

Orthodox Community Embraces Renewable Energy in the Czech Republic

April 26, 2012

High on a windmill, hidden amongst the cherry orchards and the wheat fields of Eastern Czech Republic, is a painting of a raven with a piece of bread in its mouth. The prophet St. Elias the Tishbite was kept alive by ravens feeding him bread when he was hidden in the desert. This is the St. Elias windmill and it belongs to the Pravoslavná Akademie Vilémov, a non-profit Orthodox NGO specialized in renewable energy.

“Everything was given to us by God to survive,’ says Roman Juriga, director of the Akademie, “that includes the energy and the capacity to create energy, that is why we have named our turbine St. Elias.”

Roman Juriga, is a devout member of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. He grew up in communist Czechoslovakia as an atheist as ordered by state decree. Outspoken and anti-communist, secretly he studied English, and secured entrance to an international English school where he received a better education. Joining the Orthodox Church he was encouraged by leaders to attend University to study theology. He objected: the government knew he was anti-communist and if they discovered him studying, he would be thrown out. The Church offered their protection. Luckily, just as the authorities got wind of his studying, the 1989 Velvet Revolution happened and communism in Czechoslovakia disintegrated.

After successfully completing his education, Mr Juriga established the Akademie, with the support of the church and Orthodox Monastery, in the little village of Vilemov. Through small scale solar, wind, and hydro power, the Akademie educates kids and adults about renewable energy and climate change. The reaction has been incredibly positive from all groups, especially the secondary school students. Many of them say that the information provided by the Akademie is in complete disagreement with the information provided to the schools by the Temelin Nuclear Plant.

Members of the Monastery and village are very proud of the installations. Additionally, several new solar thermal installations that were inspired by the Akademie have sprung up in the community, an anomaly for this area of the country. The Akademie offers free consultancy on renewable energy for other churches and church-related NGO’s. All this is made possible from the revenue from the 100kw St. Elias turbine.

Mr. Juriga has been instrumental in shining some light on the complicated world of clean energy bureaucracy in the Czech Republic. The approval process for small energy production is very difficult to navigate. Complicated submission procedures and reams of paper work protect the vested interests of fossil fuels, politicians and corporations.

Mr. Juriga has become something of an expert in negotiating the submissions process and his successes have become examples and inspirations for others across the Czech Republic.

Wind energy in the Czech Republic is lagging compared to Western Europe. This is partially due to propaganda by invested fossil fuel interests. However, Mr. Juriga recognizes that it is a natural progression for a church to move in the direction of small-scale energy production and that it is essential to the development of a post carbon world. He also believes that as the Czechs look to Germany and see the rapid deployment of clean energy, the future will look different in the Czech Republic.

Christian High School Students Walk Out During Anti-Christian Tirade

April 28, 2012

Dan Savage offended some Christian teens when he told them "We can learn to ignore the bull---t in the Bible about gay people."

Savage made his comments during a speech at the National High School Journalist Conference in Seattle.

After many students walked out of the speech, one of whom appeared to be crying, Savage said, “It’s funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back.”

Fox News reports that Savage's comments upset the executive director of GOProud, a gay conservative group.

"Dan Savage should apologize for his comments and should apologize to the high school students in attendance whom he called ‘pansy-asses,’” Jimmy LaSalvia told Fox. “It is ironic that someone whose claim to fame is fighting bullying would resort to bullying tactics in attacking high school students who were offended by his outrageous remarks.”

Towleroad had a different take:

"It's too bad the Christian kids left the hall. They're supposed to be journalists, and we in the journalism biz must often dirty our ears with others' distasteful utterances. While Savage might have profitably avoided the use of profanities (which, when used to describe allegedly sacred documents, tend to make believers less than receptive to whatever might come next), what he said was materially true, and good journalism students of any creed ought to know it."

Pink News reports that Savage said he was sorry if he hurt anyone, but did not apologize for what he said.

St. Silouan the Athonite: "Unbelief Proceeds From Pride"

By St. Silouan the Athonite

Unbelief proceeds from pride. The proud person believes he will know everything with his mind and from science, but the knowledge of God is impossible for him, because God is known by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. God reveals Himself to humble souls. To these the Lord shows His works, which are unknowable to the mind.

April 29, 2012

Saint Tamar, Queen of Georgia (+ 1213)

Saint Tamar of Georgia (Feast Day - May 1 and Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women)

In 1166 a daughter, Tamar, was born to King George III (1155–1184) and Queen Burdukhan of Georgia. The king proclaimed that he would share the throne with his daughter from the day she turned twelve years of age.

The royal court unanimously vowed its allegiance and service to Tamar, and father and daughter ruled the country together for five years. After King George’s death in 1184, the nobility recognized the young Tamar as the sole ruler of all Georgia. Queen Tamar was enthroned as ruler of all Georgia at the age of eighteen. She is called “King” in the Georgian language because her father had no male heir and so she ruled as a monarch and not as a consort.

At the beginning of her reign, Tamar convened a Church council and addressed the clergy with wisdom and humility: “Judge according to righteousness, affirming good and condemning evil,” she advised. “Begin with me--if I sin I should be censured, for the royal crown is sent down from above as a sign of divine service. Allow neither the wealth of the nobles nor the poverty of the masses to hinder your work. You by word and I by deed, you by preaching and I by the law, you by upbringing and I by education will care for those souls whom God has entrusted to us, and together we will abide by the law of God, in order to escape eternal condemnation…. You as priests and I as ruler, you as stewards of good and I as the watchman of that good.”

The Church and the royal court chose a suitor for Tamar: Yuri, the son of Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky of Vladimir-Suzdal (in Georgia Yuri was known as “George the Russian”). The handsome George Rusi was a valiant soldier, and under his command the Georgians returned victorious from many battles. His marriage to Tamar, however, exposed many of the coarser sides of his character. He was often drunk and inclined toward immoral deeds ("sodomy"). In the end, Tamar’s court sent him away from Georgia to Constantinople, armed with a generous recompense. Many Middle Eastern rulers were drawn to Queen Tamar’s beauty and desired to marry her, but she rejected them all. Finally at the insistence of her court, she agreed to wed a second time to ensure the preservation of the dynasty. This time, however, she asked her aunt and nurse Rusudan (the sister of King George III) to find her a suitor. The man she chose, Davit-Soslan Bagrationi, was the son of the Ossetian ruler and a descendant of King George I (1014-1027).

In 1195 a joint Muslim military campaign against Georgia was planned under the leadership of Atabeg (a military commander) Abu Bakr of Persian Azerbaijan. At Queen Tamar’s command, a call to arms was issued. The faithful were instructed by Metropolitan Anton of Chqondidi to celebrate All-night Vigils and Liturgies and to generously distribute alms so that the poor could rest from their labors in order to pray. In ten days the army was prepared, and Queen Tamar addressed the Georgian soldiers for the last time before the battle began. “My brothers! Do not allow your hearts to tremble before the multitude of enemies, for God is with us…. Trust God alone, turn your hearts to Him in righteousness, and place your every hope in the Cross of Christ and in the Most Holy Theotokos!” she exhorted them.

Having taken off her shoes, Queen Tamar climbed the hill to the Metekhi Church of the Theotokos (in Tbilisi) and knelt before the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. She prayed without ceasing until the good news arrived: the battle near Shamkori had ended in the unquestionable victory of the Orthodox Georgian army.

After this initial victory the Georgian army launched into a series of triumphs over the Turks, and neighboring countries began to regard Georgia as the protector of the entire Transcaucasus. By the beginning the 13th century, Georgia was commanding a political authority recognized by both the Christian West and the Muslim East.

Georgia’s military successes alarmed the Islamic world. Sultan Rukn al-Din was certain that a united Muslim force could definitively decide the issue of power in the region, and he marched on Georgia around the year 1203, commanding an enormous army.

Having encamped near Basiani, Rukn al-Din sent a messenger to Queen Tamar with an audacious demand: to surrender without a fight. In reward for her obedience, the sultan promised to marry her on the condition that she embrace Islam; if Tamar were to cleave to Christianity, he would number her among the other unfortunate concubines in his harem. When the messenger relayed the sultan’s demand, a certain nobleman, Zakaria Mkhargrdzelidze, was so outraged that he slapped him on the face, knocking him unconscious.

At Queen Tamar’s command, the court generously bestowed gifts upon the ambassador and sent him away with a Georgian envoy and a letter of reply. “Your proposal takes into consideration your wealth and the vastness of your armies, but fails to account for divine judgment,” Tamar wrote, “while I place my trust not in any army or worldly thing but in the right hand of the Almighty God and the infinite aid of the Cross, which you curse. The will of God--and not your own--shall be fulfilled, and the judgment of God--and not your judgment--shall reign!”

The Georgian soldiers were summoned without delay. Queen Tamar prayed for victory before the Vardzia Icon of the Theotokos, then, barefoot, led her army to the gates of the city.

Hoping in the Lord and the fervent prayers of Queen Tamar, the Georgian army marched toward Basiani. The enemy was routed. The victory at Basiani was an enormous event not only for Georgia, but for the entire Christian world.

The military victories increased Queen Tamar’s faith. In the daytime she shone in all her royal finery and wisely administered the affairs of the government; during the night, on bended knees, she beseeched the Lord tearfully to strengthen the Georgian Church. She busied herself with needlework and distributed her embroidery to the poor.

Once, exhausted from her prayers and needlework, Tamar dozed off and saw a vision. Entering a luxuriously furnished home, she saw a gold throne studded with jewels, and she turned to approach it, but was suddenly stopped by an old man crowned with a halo. “Who is more worthy than I to receive such a glorious throne?” Queen Tamar asked him.

He answered her, saying, “This throne is intended for your maidservant, who sewed vestments for twelve priests with her own hands. You are already the possessor of great treasure in this world.” And he pointed her in a different direction.

Having awakened, Holy Queen Tamar immediately took to her work and with her own hands sewed vestments for twelve priests.

History has preserved another poignant episode from Queen Tamar’s life: Once she was preparing to attend a festal Liturgy in Gelati, and she fastened precious rubies to the belt around her waist. Soon after she was told that a beggar outside the monastery tower was asking for alms, and she ordered her entourage to wait. Having finished dressing, she went out to the tower but found no one there. Terribly distressed, she reproached herself for having denied the poor and thus denying Christ Himself. Immediately she removed her belt, the cause of her temptation, and presented it as an offering to the Gelati Icon of the Theotokos.

During Queen Tamar’s reign a veritable monastic city was carved in the rocks of Vardzia, and the God-fearing Georgian ruler would labor there during the Great Fast. The churches of Pitareti, Kvabtakhevi, Betania, and many others were also built at that time. Holy Queen Tamar generously endowed the churches and monasteries not only on Georgian territory but also outside her borders: in Palestine, Cyprus, Mt. Sinai, the Black Mountains, Greece, Mt. Athos, Petritsoni (Bulgaria), Macedonia, Thrace, Romania, Isauria and Constantinople. The divinely guided Queen Tamar abolished the death penalty and all forms of bodily torture.

A regular, secret observance of a strict ascetic regime--fasting, a stone bed, and litanies chanted in bare feet--finally took its toll on Queen Tamar’s health. For a long time she refrained from speaking to anyone about her condition, but when the pain became unbearable she finally sought help. The best physicians of the time were unable to diagnose her illness, and all of Georgia was seized with fear of disaster. Everyone from the small to the great prayed fervently for Georgia’s ruler and defender. The people were prepared to offer not only their own lives, but even the lives of their children, for the sake of their beloved ruler.

God sent Tamar a sign when He was ready to receive her into His Kingdom. Then the pious ruler bade farewell to her court and turned in prayer to an icon of Christ and the Life-giving Cross: “Lord Jesus Christ! Omnipotent Master of heaven and earth! To Thee I deliver the nation and people that were entrusted to my care and purchased by Thy Precious Blood, the children whom Thou didst bestow upon me, and to Thee I surrender my soul, O Lord!”

The burial place of Queen Tamar has remained a mystery to this day. Some sources claim that her tomb is in Gelati, in a branch of burial vaults belonging to the Bagrationi dynasty, while others argue that her holy relics are preserved in a vault at the Holy Cross Monastery in Jerusalem.

St. Tamara is commemorated on the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women in addition to her regular commemoration on May 1.

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

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
O Thou whom thy people called a king in justice and truth, the father of orphans and the judge of widows, thou sun which shone on the Georgian land, thou who spentest all thy strength defending thy kingdom, rise up, O Tamara, and defend us now also, and by thine intercessions with Christ, save us from sufferings.

Video: Flying Over Mount Athos

A flight over Mount Athos, set to Aria No. 6 "But Who May Abide The Day Of His Coming" of Handel's Messiah.

"But who may abide the day of His coming?
And who shall stand when He appeareth?
For He is like a refiner's fire." - Malachi 3:2

April 28, 2012

Akathist to the Lifebearing Tomb of Christ

Kontakion 1
To the chosen Champion Leader risen from the dead, a hymn of victory do we sing unto Thee, O Christ Eternal King, for Thou hast risen from the tomb: and we being delivered from everlasting corruption, bring joyous acclamations unto Thine honorable tomb crying out: Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Ikos 1
An Archangel came down from heaven to roll away the stone from before Thy tomb at Thy resurrection, O Christ God, and to announce Thy rising unto the Myrrh-bearers saying: Go ye and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead. And they, wondering at the strange word of the angel, cried unto Thy life-bearing tomb these praises:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb wherein Christ lay as dead and whence He arose upon the third day!
Rejoice, for He arose from thee and hath granted us resurrection!
Rejoice, for as a bridegroom from the bridal-chamber so did Christ come forth from thee, leading hell captive!
Rejoice, for in His rising the dead of all ages have arisen.
Rejoice, for by thee hath Peter the chief Apostle known the resurrection!
Rejoice, for by Christ's lying within thee hath all the earth been hallowed.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 2
When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came unto Thy tomb to anoint Thy Body, O Christ God, they found an angel sitting upon the stone and he said unto them: Be ye not afraid for I know that ye seek the Crucified! He is not here but is risen as He said unto you. And when they had announced the resurrection to the disciples then did all sing as unto the Creator and Master of All, the angels' hymn:


Ikos 2
Their thoughts storming within their minds, Thy disciples, O Christ, knew not the scripture that it was fitting for Thee to rise from the dead: therefore, they did not believe the Myrrh-bearers' joyous announcement of Thy rising: but Peter ran unto Thy tomb and stooping down beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves and the napkin which had been about Thy divine Head, and rightly believed together with the rest of the disciples and, therefore, rejoicing, cried such praises unto Thy life-bearing tomb:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for by thee was wrought the salvation of all the world!
Rejoice, for thou art venerated by all creation.
Rejoice, for coming unto thee from the North and from the sea the faithful glorify Christ!
Rejoice, for from the West and from the East all magnify the resurrection within thee.
Rejoice, for thou wast couch and repose unto the King of kings.
Rejoice, for by thee the assembly of the Jews was put to shame.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 3
The sentries, that vain guard placed about Thy tomb, O Christ, heard the mighty earthquake and the Angel proclaiming the good news of Thy resurrection to the Myrrh-bearers and, quaking with fear became as dead men, and rushing headlong into the city told the high-priest and the elders the things that had come to pass, but in their great unrighteousness they thought to conceal Thy resurrection but were not able, and rather taught all to sing:


Ikos 3
The Arimathean who from fear of the Jews had secretly been Thy disciple, O Christ, did beg Thy divine body from Pilate and then, too, did Nicodemus come bearing a mixture of myrrh and aloes and did anoint Thine incorruptible body, and, having wrapped it in a winding sheet with spices, did lay Thee in a new tomb wherein no other had yet been placed but Thou only, O Lord, that Thou mightest sanctify the substance of the earth. But when they had learned of Thy resurrection from the dead, they shouted praises unto Thy life-bearing tomb:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for the mysteries of salvation have been performed within thee!
Rejoice, for by thee the resurrection hath been made known unto all the world.
Rejoice, sure and certain knowledge of the resurrection!
Rejoice, for Christ coming forth from thee hath led captivity captive, and brought human nature unto God the Father.
Rejoice, for although as man He was laid within thee, as God did He arise with glory!
Rejoice, for thou didst hold within thyself Him Who holdeth all creation.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 4
When the Myrrh-bearers came unto Thy disciples, O Christ God, announcing Thy resurrection, they were filled with joy and went into Galilee to the mount, as Thou hadst commanded them! and seeing Thee, very God, in the flesh and not an apparition, they worshiped God, crying:


Ikos 4
This knowledge remained unknown to the Jews who neither understood the prophecies nor sought to understand Thy resurrection, O Christ: how Thou couldst come forth from Thy tomb without breaking the seals thereof. Wherefore do they slander and jeer at Thy rising, but we, marveling at the mystery, bring praises to Thy life-bearing tomb, saying:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for Christ from thee hath risen and raised up the dead!
Rejoice, for through thee hell is known and stripped bare.
Rejoice, for the naked Adam is once more clothed in a divinely-woven garment!
Rejoice, for the earth, polluted by Abel's fratricidal blood, is hallowed again by Christ's abiding in thee.
Rejoice, for when the Angel had rolled away the stone from before thee, the Myrrh-bearers came to know of Christ's resurrection!
Rejoice, for when Christ had arisen from thee, the news of this resurrection did spread throughout all the world.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 5
On the eighth day after Thy resurrection, Thou, O Lord, didst come unto Thy disciples, although the doors were closed, and bestow the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon them. And then Thou didst say unto Thy disciple Thomas, "Come hither and touch Me!" and he, at the touch, knew Thee as being truly risen and not an apparition. Wherefore together with the other disciples did he cry unto Thee:


Ikos 5
We see the council of the Jews, the falsely-wise orators, mute as fish and unable to speak about Thy resurrection, O Christ, and not understanding the prophecies, how it was meet for Thee, the God of all, to rise from the dead. But we, marveling at the mystery of Thy resurrection, cry out unto Thy life-bearing tomb:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for Pilate's foolish watchmen were terrified when Christ came forth from thee!
Rejoice, for He Who arose from thee broke not the seals upon the grave.
Rejoice, O truly rich tomb, for thou didst hold within thyself Christ the Lifegiver, Who bestoweth life upon all!
Rejoice, for when Christ arose from thee the heavens did
Rejoice, for then the things of earth did teach the resurrection to all!
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 6
When after Thy resurrection Thou, O Christ, didst reveal Thyself to Thy disciples at the sea of Tiberias and command them to cast the net on the right side of the ship, then did Thy beloved disciple, recognizing Thee, O God, from the mighty draught of fishes, say unto Peter, "It is the Lord!" And as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire and fish thereupon and bread, and in the giving of bread they did know Thee and as to the risen God did shout:


Ikos 6
The women made their way unto Thy tomb in the deep dawn, O Christ God, and though they found not Thy sought-for body, O Jesus, they discerned not Thy rising, but straightway saw an Angel standing before them, who asked them, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen." And seeing Thy resurrection with great gladness they cried out these praises unto Thy life-bearing tomb:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for by Christ's abiding within thee the nether regions were seized with great fear!
Rejoice, for then with trembling did hell give up the dead which it had held down through the ages.
Rejoice, for by Christ's rising we are all restored to newness of life!
Rejoice, for by Christ's rising from thee Thomas was taught to say, "My Lord and my God!"
Rejoice, for in Christ's rising all creation hath found joy!
Rejoice, too, O Arimathean, for within thine own garden thou hast acquired so great a treasure.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 7
The sun at Thy passion, O Christ, unable to bear the raging frenzy of the lawless, did hide its light and the veil of the temple was rent, and when Thou wast laid in the life-bearing tomb the earth was shaken as though wanting to swallow up the unlawful, but Thou as God didst rise in glory and with Thyself didst raise up Adam, the father of us all. Wherefore, unto our truly risen God to we sing:


Ikos 7
After Thy resurrection, O Christ, Thou didst reveal Thyself unto Luke and Cleopas along the way and didst acompany them as they discussed together those things that had happened unto Thee, O Master of all, and Thou wast scorned by them as being but a stranger in Jerusalem. But Thou as God didst open unto them the prophecies concerning Thyself and thus wast known by them in the breaking of the bread, whence with great joy they turned back to Jerusalem and told the good news of Thy resurrection and appearance unto Thy disciples. Wherefore, all together they did worship and sing praises unto Thy life-bearing tomb:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for thou hast received within thyself Christ, the heavenly bread, given as food for all!
Rejoice, for thou wast able to contain Christ as a sleeping king.
Rejoice, for heaven and earth were filled with glad tidings when Christ arose from thee!
Rejoice, for by thee the Jews were brought to disgrace.
Rejoice, for no longer are the unlawful able to slander Christ's resurrection.
Rejoice, for through thee the Apostles' choir was filled with joy.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 8
Mankind together with all the Angels doth stand in wonder before Thy great care for us -- Thou Who as God art inaccessible and yet as an approachable man art seen by all! Thou Who wast crucified and buried and Who didst rise in glory, and therefore, unto Thee as Creator and Master doth sing:


Ikos 8
In Thy resurrection, O Christ, Thou didst show forth the new creation, for, just as in Thy birth from the Virgin, Thou didst not destroy the seal upon the tomb. Therefore, we honor Thy Passion, we glorify Thy Burial, in faith we worship Thy glorious Resurrection and offer hymns of thanksgiving unto Thy tomb, saying:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for Christ is risen from thee and hath renewed all the world!
Rejoice, for the stone that was rolled away from thee hath shattered the gates and door-posts of hell.
Rejoice, for the sun of the whole world hath shone forth from thee!
Rejoice, for when Christ lay within thee the nether regions were shaken asunder.
Rejoice, for those dead whom hell of old did seize, it hath unwillingly given back alive!
Rejoice, thou lightning flash which did hide the divine pearl within thyself.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 9
The Apostles, those God-bearing heralds of Thy resurrection, were sent out into all the world and they did preach Thee, the true God! they taught all the faithful to sing unto Thee, the Creator and Master:


Ikos 9
After Thy rising from the grave, Mary Magdalene came unto the tomb while it was still dark and saw the stone taken away from the tomb. She, therefore, went quickly to the disciples, saying, "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre!" Then Peter, that disciple of burning faith, ran with John to the tomb and peering within saw the garments lying together and, coming to the knowledge of Thy resurrection, began to shout praises to Thy life-bearing tomb:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for when Christ was shut within thee He shone forth light upon the nether regions!
Rejoice, for when the stone was removed from thee the stoney-hearted nations began to sing, "Christ is truly risen!"
Rejoice, for within thee God did pass three days asleep in the flesh!
Rejoice, for by His rising hath He awakened those who through the ages have been asleep.
Rejoice, for coming forth from thee He hath bestowed resurrection upon all!
Rejoice, for as a bright sun shining forth from thee hath He enlightened all the world.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 10
The earth grew frightened and fell silent, seeing Thee its Creator lying in a small tomb, and hell, trembling with fear before Thy power, gave up its dead preparing for Thee Thy rising to the Father from Whom Thou wast never separate. Wherefore do we sing unto Thee:


Ikos 10
Mary Magdalene with most ardent faith in Thee, O Jesus Christ, came very early unto Thy tomb, O Savior, and was granted the vision of an angel telling her, "He is not here, but is risen." Furthermore, Thou didst Thyself appear to her as God, therefore she was sent as the bearer of good news to anounce to Thy disciples Thy rising to the Father. Thy disciples were thereby filled with joy and together with the Myrrh-bearers offered praises unto Thy life-bearing tomb, crying:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, thou opening of the gates of paradise!
Rejoice, for of Him Who lay within thee doth hell unwillingly speak truly, saying, "It were better for me had I never seized the Son of Mary!"
Rejoice, for He Who arose from thee hath led hell captive and filled the heavenly Jerusalem!
Rejoice, for as one who sleepeth hast thou held within thyself the very Lamb, the Son of God.
Rejoice, for according to the prophecy Christ did sleep within thee and as a lion did take His rest and who hath stirred Him up?
Rejoice, for from thee He raised Himself by His own power.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 11
When the Savior stood before His disciples, granting them peace, He also gave them the power to forgive sins and to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and to preach His resurrection from the dead! and they did go and teach all nations to cry unto the risen God:


Ikos 11
After Thy rising from the dead, O Christ, appearing unto Thy disciples Thou didst say unto Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" And after his threefold declaration of his love for Thee, Thou didst establish him as the first leader of Thy Church and all the faithful, having known Thee the risen God, cried out praises to Thy life-bearing tomb:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for in coming forth from thee hath Christ made us a path up to heaven!
Rejoice, for, placed within thee, Christ hath raised up the dead of all the ages.
Rejoice, for unto the resurrected hath He given eternal life!
Rejoice, for the Cross and Resurrection are glorified in thee!
Rejoice, for by thee the sentries learned of the resurrection.
Rejoice, for thou art the fountain of divine knowledge.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 12
Glorifying Thy Passion, we honor Thy divine providence for us and we worship Thy divine resurrection. Glorifying Thine all-glorious ascension from earth unto the heavenly Father, we pray: Take not Thine all-holy Spirit away from us, so that we may all sing unto Thee as Creator and Master:


Ikos 12
Thou the radiance of the Father didst go unto the Mount of Olives and then a most bright cloud did lift Thee up, as Thy disciples looked on, O Almighty One, and Thine angels said unto Thine Apostles, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? Him Whom ye see taken up from you shall come again in the flesh." And they returned to Jerusalem with joy, praising Thee, the true God, and offering praises unto Thy life-bearing tomb, wherein Thou wast laid and on the third day didst rise:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb, for from thee hath Christ, the ineffable light, shone forth and enlightened the whole world.
Rejoice, for the Myrrh-bearers did hear, "
Rejoice!" when Christ arose from thee.
Rejoice, for thou hast been the resting-place of the King of kings and Lord of lords!
Rejoice, for thou hast held the sustainer of all creation.
Rejoice, for the most wise Jews were made fools by thee, for they could not speak against the resurrection!
Rejoice, for the choir of the Apostles hath found joy through thee.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 13 [3 times]
O most holy and life-bearing tomb of Christ, thou the enrichment of all the world! Standing before thee as the bearer of life we pray unto Christ our God Who lay within thee and rose in glory on the third day, the He deliver His inheritance from famine, pestilence, earthquake and flood and from every mortal wound, that He grant peace unto Orthodox Christians and subdue under their feet those who strive against them, that we may all sing unto Thee, our Creator and Master:

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!!

Ikos 1 repeated
An Archangel came down from heaven to roll away the stone from before Thy tomb at Thy resurrection, O Christ God, and to announce Thy rising unto the Myrrh-bearers saying: Go ye and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead. And they, wondering at the strange word of the angel, cried unto Thy life-bearing tomb these praises:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb wherein Christ lay as dead and whence He arose upon the third day!
Rejoice, for He arose from thee and hath granted us resurrection!
Rejoice, for as a bridegroom from the bridal-chamber so did Christ come forth from thee, leading hell captive!
Rejoice, for in His rising the dead of all ages have arisen.
Rejoice, for by thee hath Peter the chief Apostle known the resurrection!
Rejoice, for by Christ's lying within thee hath all the earth been hallowed.
Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!

Kontakion 1 repeated
To the chosen Champion Leader risen from the dead, a hymn of victory do we sing unto Thee, O Christ Eternal King, for Thou hast risen from the tomb: and we being delivered from everlasting corruption, bring joyous acclamations unto Thine honorable tomb crying out:

Rejoice, life-bearing tomb whence Christ hath risen!


Photo of an Orb of Light in the Cave of the Apocalypse

Agioritkovima.gr has posted an interesting photo that was taken last August of an orb of light inside the Cave of the Apocalypse on the island of Patmos. This was the cave where the Apostle John the Theologian saw Christ in a vision and the apocalypse was revealed. In the photo one can see where, according to tradition, John rested his head at night behind the golden cage and behind the orb is the spot where he would put his hands to get up. Some also say that these rock fissures appeared when Christ full of light appeared to John and John fell back in fear causing the formation in the stone. The Gospel is placed on the spot where John's disciple Prochorus wrote the Book of Revelation as it was dictated to him, and possibly even his Gospel.

I have personally studied hundreds of orb photos and 95% of the time, at least, there is some natural explanation (bugs, balls of energy, dust, camera flash, etc.). It is hard to determine from a photo if there is something paranormal or supernatural going on, but there are videos that show some sort of intelligence behind certain orbs. Orb experts usually agree that solid spherical orbs of light which you cannot see through are a rarity and could possibly be supernatural at most and paranormal at least. If supernatural, it is still not known exactly what role orbs play.

April 27, 2012

Elder Philotheos Zervakos On Today's Theologians

Elder Philotheos Zervakos said:

"Today I see many learned Theologians and Scientists, but one Basil the Great, one Gregory the Theologian, one divine Chrysostom, one Athanasius the Great I do not see. Those ever-memorable and all-honorable Fathers were not praised so much for their erudite education, as much as for their virtues. Do you currently exclude the possibility for one today from becoming great and wondrous and virtuous? Or maybe God today does not give His Grace like He did in the olden days? No. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He gives His Grace to the strugglers and the contenders."

From New Gerontikon (Greek) by Presbyter Dionysios Tatsis. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.

Super-Rich Spiritual Gurus of India

March 27, 2012

In today’s profane world the Indian gurus or in other words “miracle workers” who are often referred as “godmen,” have more of a celebrity image with their savvy, powerful figures who control vast business empires and own enormous wealth they also dabble in politics and manipulate the media.

These modern day Gurus are not only renowned but they also possess a lot of wealth through NGO and private funds. Some prominent ones who have passed away cannot be missed, like Sathya Sai Baba who died recently could count more followers than any other Indian guru, and the financial worth of his spiritual empire is several times bigger. Sai Baba reportedly had wealth of over more than Rs 40,000 crore.

Here are 5 super-rich Indian gurus who own vast business empire.

Baba Ramdev

‘Yoga Guru’ Baba Ramdev gained popularity through ventures in yoga, alternative medicine and agriculture, as well as his advocacy on Indian political issues. His life is no less than a typical bollywood movie. He was born in a poor farmer's family in Haryana and until 15 years back Ramdev was a struggling man who was often seen on the streets of Haridwar, peddling his bicycle as he went to temples and people's homes to teach them yajnas. Later through his knowledge of yoga asanas Baba Ramdev went on to build an enviable Rs 1,100 crore empire.

He was also among the first to raise the issue of black money publicly in 2008 and before the assembly elections of 2009 it was during this time he officially announced his wealth of Rs 1,100 crore but according to tehelka.com t is said he controls over Rs 11,000 crore

Wealthy Assests: Patanjali Yogpeeth and Divya Yogi Mandir trusts and other branches, Patanjali Ayurved College, Patanjali Chikitsalaya, Yog Gram, Goshala, Patanjali Food And Herbal Park, etc. His empire today consists of over three dozen companies.

Mata Amritanandamayi

Sudhamani Idamannel, also known as Mata Amritanandamayi Devi and Amma ("Mother"), the Hindu spiritual leader and teacher, who is revered as a saint by her followers. Amritanandamayi spontaneously embraces people to comfort them in their sorrow and therefore is also referred to as "The Hugging Saint." She has hugged close to 30 million people to date, she is widely respected for her humanitarian activities and is probably by far the richest godwoman in the country.

Main Source of Income: Amrita Viswa Vidyapeetham colleges, Amrita Institute of Medical Science (Kochi), Amrita Schools, TV channel. Amrita Schools are located across Kerala where students are charged the same fee as topnotch private schools. Adding to it are the contributions from her millions of Indian and foreign devotees.

Even by modest estimates, the Amritanandamayi Trust, which presides over, is said to have assets worth over Rs 1,500 crore. Today, her ashram at her native Vallikavu, a small island off Kollam, is a posh five-storey building.

Sri Sri Ravishankar

Sri Sri Ravishankar is a renowned spiritual leader, known worldwide. He is the founder of the very famous Art of Living foundation that has an estimated 300 million followers in 151 countries who donate millions to this foundation. He was born in Tamil Nadu and took up Vedic studies when he was just six years old and by the age of 17, he had completed studies in Vedic literature and science according to indiatoday.in

Main Source of Income: Art of Living Centre (Bangalore), Sri Sri Shankar Vidya Mandir Trust, PU College (Bangalore), Sri Sri Centre for Media Studies (Bangalore), Sri Sri University, Art of Living Health & Educational Trust (US), etc.

It is estimated that, he has built an empire with that has total turnover of approximately Rs 1,000 crore that includes his Art of Living (AOL) institutes, pharmacy and health centres, and a hill 40 km from Bangalore on lease from the Karnataka government for 99 years.

Asaram Bapu

Sant Shri Asharam Ji Bapu is endearingly known as Bapu among all the godmen and self proclaimed saints mentioned above Asaram Bapu is one of the most controversial. He is accused of land grabbing in Gujarat and various other cities and is busy settling the string of cases charged against him. There have also been rumors of "sinister activities" at his ashrams, after four children were found dead at his ashrams a couple of months ago and though it turned out that a student had killed them, it was bad publicity for the Godman nonetheless.

His most popular and well established asharam Motera in Ahmedabad, is also said to be built on land acquired illegally. The trust headed by the controversial godman owns more than 350 ashrams in the country and abroad, besides 17,000 Bal Sanskar Kendras.

Asaram Bapu’s trust is said to have turnover Rs 350 crore according to official announcement (figures may vary) which includes the multicrore controversial ashram in Delhi’s Ridge area.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan is the current leader of an organization called Dera Sacha Sauda. Since becoming the head of this sect, he has often been involved in controversy, even having criminal cases filed against him. The Dera Sacha Sauda was established by Shah Mastana Ji from Baluchistan in 1948, as a centre for spiritual learning.

Assets: Over 700 acres of agriculture land in Sirsa, a 175- bed hospital in Ganganagar, Rajasthan, gas stations, market complexes and over 250 ashrams across the globe. Although his income isn’t revealed officially but he considered to be one among the richest gurus

Ram Rahim the Dera chief is accused of murder, rape and sexual harassment The most damaging allegation as yet on Baba Ram Rahim is of a female follower's letter anonymously sent to Prime Minister, President which claimed that Baba Ram Rahim had allegedly raped her and at least 50 more female followers in the Dera Sacha Sauda premises. This Baba is currently out on bail, he is being investigated by the CBI and trial is on before a special CBI court at Ambala.

Doomsday Shelter Being Built Below Kansas Prairie

The 'Doomsday shelter' being built below Kansas prairie where millionaires will be able to sit out the Apocalypse in style.

Four buyers have already invested in condos below the ground.

Fears range from pandemics, terrorism and solar flares.

Indoor farm to provide fish and vegetables for 70 people for as long as necessary.

Eddie Wrenn
April 10, 2012

When you buy a house, you end up feeling like you will be paying it off until the world ends.

Well, how about one of these luxurious condos, which come with all the mod-cons, as well as a pool, a movie theater and a library - oh, and a guarantee that it will survive Doomsday if and when that fateful day comes.

For these luxury flats, deep below the Kansas prairie in the shaft of an abandoned missile silo, are meant to withstand everything from economic collapse and solar flares to terrorist attacks and pandemics.

Naturally, there will be no one around to phone if the guarantee fails - but at that point, the insurance will probably be the least of your worries.

So far, four buyers have thrown down a total of about $7million (£4.4m) for havens to flee to when disaster happens or the end is nigh. And developer Larry Hall has options to retro-fit three more Cold War-era silos when this one fills up.

Hall said: 'They worry about events ranging from solar flares, to economic collapse, to pandemics to terrorism to food shortages.'

These 'doomsday preppers', as they are called, want a safe place and he will be there with them because Hall, 55, bought one of the condos for himself. He says his fear is that sun flares could wipe out the power grid and cause chaos.

He and his wife and son live in Denver and will use their condo mostly as a vacation home, he says, but if the grid goes, they will be ready.

Hall isn't the first person to buy an abandoned nuclear missile silo and transform at least part of it into a shelter.

Built to withstand an atomic blast, even the most paranoid can find comfort inside concrete walls that are nine feet thick and stretch 174 feet (53 meters) underground.

Instead of simply setting up shop in the old living quarters provided for missile operators, Hall is building condos right up the missile shaft.

Seven of the 14 underground floors will be condo space selling for $2 million a floor or $1 million a half floor. Three and a half units have been sold, two contracts are pending and only two more full units are available, Hall said.

For now, metal stairs stretch down to connect each floor but an elevator will later replace them. The units are within a steel and concrete core inside the original thick concrete, which makes them better able to withstand earthquakes.

Hall is also installing an indoor farm to grow enough fish and vegetables to feed 70 people for as long as they need to stay inside and also stockpiling enough dry goods to feed them for five years.

The top floor and an outside building above it will be for elaborate security.
Other floors will be for a pool, a movie theater and a library, and when in lockdown mode there will be floors for a medical center and a school.

Complex life support systems provide energy supplies from sources of conventional power, as well as windmill power and generators.

Giant underground water tanks will hold water pre-filtered through carbon and sand. And, of course, an elaborate security system and staff will keep marauding hordes out.

The condo elevator will only operate if a person's fingerprint matches its system, Hall said. Cameras will monitor a barbed-wire topped fence and give plenty of warning of possible intruders. Responses can range from a warning to lethal force.

A Russian Study of the Holy Light of Jerusalem

February 17, 2009

The results of the scientific experiment, which took place on Holy Saturday in 2008 in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, have been announced at the conference “Science and Christianity” of the XVII Christmas educational readings in Moscow, last Tuesday.

The director of the sector of the Nuclear Energy Institute “Kurchatov”, candidate of physical-mathematical science Andrei Volkov, spoke about his attempt to measure the low-frequency long-wave radio signals appearing at the Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the time of occurrence of the Holy Fire, which is happening every year at Holy Saturday.

Using special scientific equipment, the scientists have performed several measuring in the church, while in the period of 6.5 hours waiting for the occurrence of the Holy Fire, and in the next months he worked at the decoding of such measuring.

Andrei Volkov considers as an ”absolute miracle” the difference in indexes measured at the day of the Holy Fire occurrence and those from the day before. Beside this, according to his words, “the analyses of the fissures on the pillars of the temple just before the occurrence of the Holy Fire in the temple, indeed leads to the conclusion that such fissures could appear only as a result of the effect of electric charge.”

His colleague Evgeniy Morozov, who is the most famous specialist in the world in mechanics, discusses the same matter, as well.

Declaring that “from the scientific point of view, the only one measuring made, can’t prove anything credible yet”, Andrei Volkov at the same time stated that he is ready to take the full responsibility for the results obtained, and his readiness to publish them.

“Anyway, if you ask me for a scientific answer was it or was it not a miracle I will certainly tell you – I don’t know” – added Mr. Volkov.

Professor of the Moscow Russian Orthodox University “St. John the Theologian” Alexander Moskovskiy, who was for some time deputy president of the Commission for studying miraculous phenomena stated that Andrei Volkov “has made a scientific accomplishment, performing the first serious, credible and responsible scientific measuring of the Holy Fire in the whole of history.”

The Holy Fire occurs for centuries, in the Eve of the Orthodox Easter in the Temple of the Holy Tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. Orthodox Christians are persuaded that the miracle of the Holy Fire convincingly witnesses the credibility of the Orthodox Religion, moreover, taking the fact that in the whole history of the Church, not one feast of Resurrection has passed without the Holy Fire appearance. The occurrence of the Holy Fire itself denies any atheistic standpoint – consider the Orthodox believers.

Mathematics of Eternity Prove The Universe Must Have Had A Beginning

Cosmologists use the mathematical properties of eternity to show that although universe may last forever, it must have had a beginning.

April 24, 2012

The Big Bang has become part of popular culture since the phrase was coined by the maverick physicist Fred Hoyle in the 1940s. That's hardly surprising for an event that represents the ultimate birth of everything.

However, Hoyle much preferred a different model of the cosmos: a steady state universe with no beginning or end, that stretches infinitely into the past and the future. That idea never really took off.

In recent years, however, cosmologists have begun to study a number of new ideas that have similar properties. Curiously, these ideas are not necessarily at odds with the notion of a Big Bang.

For instance, one idea is that the universe is cyclical with big bangs followed by big crunches followed by big bangs in an infinite cycle.

Another is the notion of eternal inflation in which different parts of the universe expand and contract at different rates. These regions can be thought of as different universes in a giant multiverse.

So although we seem to live in an inflating cosmos, other universes may be very different. And while our universe may look as if it has a beginning, the multiverse need not have a beginning.

Then there is the idea of an emergent universe which exists as a kind of seed for eternity and then suddenly expands.

So these modern cosmologies suggest that the observational evidence of an expanding universe is consistent with a cosmos with no beginning or end. That may be set to change.

Today, Audrey Mithani and Alexander Vilenkin at Tufts University in Massachusetts say that these models are mathematically incompatible with an eternal past. Indeed, their analysis suggests that these three models of the universe must have had a beginning too.

Their argument focuses on the mathematical properties of eternity--a universe with no beginning and no end. Such a universe must contain trajectories that stretch infinitely into the past.

However, Mithani and Vilenkin point to a proof dating from 2003 that these kind of past trajectories cannot be infinite if they are part of a universe that expands in a specific way.

They go on to show that cyclical universes and universes of eternal inflation both expand in this way. So they cannot be eternal in the past and must therefore have had a beginning. "Although inflation may be eternal in the future, it cannot be extended indefinitely to the past," they say.

They treat the emergent model of the universe differently, showing that although it may seem stable from a classical point of view, it is unstable from a quantum mechanical point of view. "A simple emergent universe model...cannot escape quantum collapse," they say.

The conclusion is inescapable. "None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal," say Mithani and Vilenkin.

Since the observational evidence is that our universe is expanding, then it must also have been born in the past. A profound conclusion (albeit the same one that lead to the idea of the big bang in the first place).

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1204.4658: Did The Universe Have A Beginning?