Friday, April 30, 2021
Christ on the Cross, as a common criminal. O! inconceivable condescension of the incarnate Word! The cross was then the most dishonorable instrument of death. The worst of the convicts were crucified. But since the Saint of saints was raised on the Cross, it has become an instrument of life, an instrument of redemption and salvation.
Or do you think to be saved another way? Don't you even consider it necessary to think a lot about your salvation? You think that nothing special is needed for salvation, you do not need to make any donations and concessions to others, no restrictions and constraints for yourself, you do not need any fasting, no prayers, no worship, no cleansing, no sanctification, in a word, you do not need to follow the teaching, rules, the charter of the Church of Christ, but it is enough to live and act according to your own understanding and according to your will; to live as you like, to do what you yourself find good, necessary and saving for yourself?
But think about it. If we could be saved this way, by ourselves, living and acting as anyone wants or as anyone thinks, without doing anything special for our salvation, then why did God do so many things solely so that we do not die? Why did He speak to people so many times and in so many ways through the prophets, instructing them on the path of salvation? Why, finally, did He send His only begotten Son into the world, so that everyone who believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life? And why did the Son of God have to do so much for our salvation? He descended from Heaven, was incarnated, He preached everywhere for three years, chose special disciples and sent them to preach, then endured various sufferings, died on the cross, was buried, rose from the grave, ascended into Heaven, sent the Holy Spirit from the Father to His disciples, created a special Church, established special Sacraments, established special pastors of the Church - and all this is solely for the sake of our salvation.
Why would our God do all this for us if we could be saved the way you think and how you live, that is, without thinking a lot about your salvation, not doing anything special for this and not using anything special? Pay attention to this Shroud, where Jesus Christ is depicted lying shortly after His decease when He was taken down from the cross, look: from His ribs there is blood, from His legs and hands - blood, His head - blood. Obviously, He died a martyr's death, painful, although He suffered for us voluntarily. Why should He, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, die such a death for the sake of our salvation, if we can be saved ourselves, without any outside help and without our special efforts?
O, think! It's not only about what is and what was, but also about what will happen to you! Or, in order to rid yourself of fear for your future fate, you are ready to doubt everything, you are ready not to believe anything. But think! What do you doubt, what do you not believe? After all, your eternal fate depends on this. We will die and this cannot be denied, although we are sometimes ready in this too to doubt it. What one does not want so much is reluctant to believe. We will die. And what if after death we regret and grieve that we did not believe in anything here and therefore did nothing for our salvation and did not use anything of what the Savior did for us?
Here, sometimes for a day or an hour you can regret, to grieve when you fail to do something proper, necessary, or do something bad, wicked, or even say something offensive to someone, especially an important person. But what if after death we regret and grieve for all eternity that we did not think about, did not take care of our salvation, did nothing, did not use anything for our salvation?
Think about this and what Jesus Christ did for our salvation. Think, judge, remember, so that you do not sin forever, so that you do not repent forever. And now let us add our sinful lips to His most pure wounds. With His wounds sinners are healed. Perhaps you and I will be healed. Yes, you and I are sick, sick with unbelief, doubt and other mental ailments, sick from birth and spoiled - by bad upbringing, examples of bad people, reading bad books, and most importantly - spoiled by our evil passions.
O, do not allow, Lord, that our present kiss to You be the last for us in this life. And if the latter, then hasten to help us with Your grace and mercy. Amen.
By St. Cyril of Alexandria
(Commentary on Luke, Sermon 152)
By St. Cyril of Alexandria
(Commentary on Luke, Sermon 149)
Thursday, April 29, 2021
The entire seventeenth chapter of the Gospel according to John contains nothing else but this prayer of Jesus to His Father, which He prays first regarding the glory and triumph of His work, which was for the salvation of the world, the salvation of which He was to accomplish with His blood, and the final hour was approaching; secondly, with regard to His disciples, those who from the beginning and at first consisted of the core, the first small flock that believed in His name, and who, though their good shepherd will be taken away, they were to remain as orphaned and unprotected sheep in the midst of wolves, and having need of this support from above and extraordinary divine protection, not only to bravely endure the coming dangers and persecutions, but also with magnanimity to joyfully receive the exalted and thrice-glorious mission, to spread Christianity to the ends of the earth and preach the gospel to the nations glorifying Jesus; and thirdly, Jesus prays for all those, who through the preaching of the Apostles throughout the centuries will believe in Christ, that they will be arrayed as soldiers of that one army under the one flag of the heavenly King, Christ.
The Church has elevated us to the sacred atmosphere of the Secret Supper tonight. That night the Lord delivered to His disciples the All-Holy Mystery of the Divine Eucharist. And He made the greatest gift to His faithful by giving them for spiritual food His Body and His Blood.
This great gift, inconceivable to the human mind, invites us to pay special care and enjoy it, as it should be, according to the holy hymn writer.
(Commentary on Luke, Sermon 143)
Not only God, but we also love humble people; such is the quality of humility - it involuntarily attracts everyone. We love humble people, pious listeners, but we ourselves do not love to humble ourselves before others; we are afraid so as not to humiliate ourselves with humility, we are afraid that we will be considered weak, cowardly people, when we humble ourselves before others.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
The "photikia" are an Easter custom, related to the art of copper.
The traditional art of coppersmithing can still be admired in Ioannina, in shops on Anexartisias Street and in Kaloutsiani Square.
How is the Date of Easter Determined for Orthodox and Catholics? (A Response from the Holy Synod of the Catholic Hierarchy of Greece)
The Mystical Journey of the Christian, Through the Desert, Towards the Resurrection and Pentecost (5 of 5)
The ascetic after a great struggle against the passions, but also from the coming and the hiding of divine Grace, acquires the so-called "dogmatic consciousness". As is understood from the above, "dogmatic consciousness" is not a mental knowledge of the doctrines of faith, but an inner spiritual experience that God offers in the heart of man.
The Orthodox monk feels that Divine Grace, from a theological point of view, "is God's good gift, or a gift of God's goodness - the uncreated supra-human and meta-cosmic energy of Divinity." "When it is God’s good pleasure to unite with the human being, man perceives within himself the action of a Divine force which transfigures him and makes him no longer just potentially godlike—in the image of God—but actually godlike in likeness of being. The grace that is Divinity hallows man, divinizes him, makes him into a god."
"She who was engulfed in sin found You, the port of salvation."
From the moving scene, which I will present to you, the noblewoman of Byzantium, Kassiani, was inspired and composed her wonderful hymn. Kassiani was not a sinner, as some unhistorically say. In her hymn she describes with unattainable breadth and power a scene that happened when the Lord was on earth, a scene which is the focus of today's worship service of our Church.
What was the scene and where did it unfold?
What time did He mean? The time before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and ultimately before the end of the world and Doomsday. Who will be hated by all the nations? The apostles of Christ, their successors, pastors, the Church teachers, and Orthodox Christians all together will be hated. For Whose name’s sake will they be hated? For His name, for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And who will betray and hate each other? The same people who will come to hate the apostles and their successors. First they will hate them, and then will come to hate one another.
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
"Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" (Matthew 23:13-39)
O my brethren! the Lord does not abhor the sinner. He came to save sinners. He turns away from the hypocrite and the two-faced. It was against this type that He thundered in the Gospel we heard, in the person of the Pharisees and Scribes of his day.
Then the Elder said to him:
"Listen, my child. These days in my prayer God has revealed to me the 'bridal chamber' of my soul; as the troparion of Holy Week says: 'I see Your Bridal Chamber adorned, O my Savior, and I have no wedding garment that I may enter therein.' Moreover, He revealed to me the 'garment' of my soul."
The closer the days of the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ approached, the more clearly He spoke to the disciples that He needed to suffer in order to thus gradually prepare them for His sufferings. Let us prepare, listeners, ourselves for the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ by meditating on them.
When thinking about the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, the following thought often comes: why should not the Lord give up suffering? He was free to go or not to suffer, whole legions of God's Angels were ready to stand up for Him. Indeed, all of this is true, listeners. But what would have happened to us if Jesus Christ had not gone to suffer? If He had not suffered, then we should have suffered eternally. No matter how we live on earth, we would not escape hades if Jesus Christ did not descend into hades. But now, with Jesus Christ having suffered, we are free from eternal suffering, now it completely depends on our will - to go to hell or to heaven after death.
Monday, April 26, 2021
We have already entered the most beautiful days of our ecclesiastical festal calendar - Holy Week, which opens before us, floods our hearts with chills and feelings of emotion.
Especially for us Orthodox, the Easter of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, that is, the Passion and the Resurrection of our Lord, has a special significance and weight. Because it is the center of all our liturgical and worship life. In order to benefit from these days it is necessary to delve into the meaning of Holy Week.
They called this week Holy and Great. If we go deeper into these names we will more easily understand the deeper meaning of these days.
Tonight our Church sets before us at the beginning of Holy Week the Righteous Joseph. And the All-Comely Joseph has a major association with Passion Week for two reasons.
First, because in Joseph we have a prefiguration of the Lord.
Second, because Joseph with his prudent conduct provides us with good lessons for our spiritual struggle, especially now during Holy Week.
Once, on this day in the morning, Jesus Christ with His disciples was returning from Bethany to Jerusalem. Continuing His path, He was hungry, and therefore, seeing a fig tree standing not far from the road, He approached it and, finding nothing on it but leaves, said: "Let no fruit grow on you ever again!" The fig tree then immediately withered.
Sunday, April 25, 2021
The Mystical Journey of the Christian, Through the Desert, Towards the Resurrection and Pentecost (4 of 5)
The Uncreated Light is the "is eternal life, the Kingdom of God, the uncreated energy of Divinity."
"Uncreated Divine Light by its nature is absolutely different from ordinary physical light. Contemplating it begets, first and foremost, an all-absorbing feeling of the living God - an immaterial feeling of the Immaterial One, a noetic, yet not a rational perception which with irresistible force transports man into another world but so warily that he neither realises when it happens nor knows whether he is in or out of the body. At the time he is more effectively, more deeply conscious of himself than he ever is in everyday life, yet he forgets both himself and the world, carried away by the sweetness of the love of God. In spirit he beholds the invisible, breathes Him, is wholly in Him."
"The next day a great crowd had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him..." (Jn 12:12-13)
This type of welcome was a popular custom
for the Jews. It was a show of honor that was reserved only for a
king who was to rise to his office by being anointed with sanctified oil. Jesus is hailed as the Messiah, which means "the anointed one". Icons depicting this scene are called in Greek "Vaiophoros", which is translated as "Palm-Bearing", because it depicts the people holding palm branches.
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Some modern scholars have offered an alternative possibility: the Beloved Disciple is Lazarus of Bethany, based on John 11:5: "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus", and John 11:3: "Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick." Furthermore, the character of the Beloved Disciple is not mentioned before the raising of Lazarus (Lazarus being raised in John 11, while the Beloved Disciple is first mentioned in John 13).
The Lord is my light and my savior.
Verse: The Lord is the defender of my life.
Friday, April 23, 2021
15 March 1980
In my poor prayer tonight I begged my Heavenly King and Father to erase from me the crimes of my soul whatever I have written with my carelessness.
May my tears fall on my written sins and erase them. My God do me this great favor and act of mercy, and remove the infinite multitude of my small and great sins. I have wept much regarding the blemishes on the garment of my soul. How will I present myself to my Bridegroom with so many stains and filth?
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Interview Regarding the 200th Anniversary of the Greek Revolution with Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos (2 of 2)
Α.B.: With what you are saying, Your Eminence, you reminded me of the Naval Battle of Gerontas - and I bring this up because you speak of the Orthodox ethos of the Greek slaves - and I remembered that on the 29th of August in 1824 the Naval Battle took place, and the Greeks with Andreas Miaoulis as the navy captain defeated the Turkish and Egyptian fleets, and when the battle was over and everyone was all smoked from the gunpowder, Miaoulis gave the crew bread and olives because it was a day when a strict fast is observed, it was the feast of Saint John, and despite the fact that they could have eaten anything different that day, they instead observed the fast of the Church.
H.E.: Yes, we see this in all the leaders of the Revolution, who had this ethos. And above all, of course, we see this in Makriyannis. When one reads Makriyannis' Memoirs, one sees the whole tradition they had. And what I want to say is that this was the tradition with which the Romans grew up, it is the Romaiik tradition, the Philokalic tradition, the Hesychast tradition.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
When it was Great Lent we fasted strictly. Despite all the hard work, we waited for the Annunciation and Palm Sunday to come, so we could eat some fried salted cod, which seemed tasty to us like brittle, or a few fresh sardines, the only fish that was available to our village from the sea and then only rarely. My mother, in order to test me if I was fasting with my heart, sometimes said to me during lent:
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
The Church, however, comforts people, because it shows them ways to escape from frustration, which is the devil's greatest weapon in order to dismantle people, and it shows them the truth that they have enormous abilities to transform with the energies of divine Grace. It can be that from the worst state of being that they can attain to deification, to become, that is, according to Grace what God is by nature.
The Church, however, is not content only with the teaching of deification, but also presents examples, in which it shows how a person in the most miserable condition can experience blessed deification.
One of these examples is Saint Mary of Egypt, whose memory the Church determined to be celebrated, besides on the day of her repose on April 1st, also on the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent to encourage everyone on their journey towards deification and sanctification.
Interview Regarding the 200th Anniversary of the Greek Revolution with Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos (1 of 2)
Adamantia Bourtzinou: We have the special pleasure and honor to have on our telephone line His Eminence Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou Mr. Hierotheos. Good day, Your Eminence. Your blessing.
His Eminence: Good morning. Hope you are well and a good morning to all our listeners.
Α.B.: Thank you very much for being with us today and we will have the opportunity to discuss the first event that took place in the Holy Metropolis of Nafpaktos for the 200 years since the Greek Revolution of 1821. This year the Holy Synod has organized celebrations in all the Metropolises and you have already begun.
The Mystical Journey of the Christian, Through the Desert, Towards the Resurrection and Pentecost (3 of 5)
The ascetic in his struggle for the purity of his inner world and its preservation is called to struggle against the imagination, which is an energy of the soul; however, when it operates in a paradoxical way and accepts influences from the outside world and from the devil it distorts the inner state of the ascetic.
"The world of the human will and imagination is the world of mirages. It is common to man and the fallen angels, and imagination is, therefore, often a conductor of demonic energy."
Thus, through imagination, demons work and distort the inner state of man.
The ascetic struggles against all forms of the imagination that distract him from God. There are especially four forms of the imagination.
Three monks from Mount Athos, the largest monastic center of Orthodox Christianity, share their thoughts about faith, Monasticism, their decision to become monks, their lives in Mount Athos and the monastic community. The camera travels through the peninsula of Agion Oros, reaches pristine places and the summit of Mount Athos, recording snapshots from monks' every day lives and also images that are unknown even to regular visitors of the Holy Mountain.
Monday, April 19, 2021
Dear brothers and sisters, let us respond to her graceful call, let her tears soothe our pain, cool our afflicted souls, extinguish our murderous passions, erase our pains, the wounds of our souls and our sorrows and finally let us be left in her grace to taste her unstoppable gifts for our salvation. For those who intend to respond to her consolation call, the Holy Temple can be visited from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm daily, while the Holy Paraklesis in front of the Holy Icon is performed at 11:00 am. During the rosy and sweetest period of the Pentecostarion, ie from 05/03/2021 to 06/19/2021, a Divine Liturgy will be performed daily in our Holy Temple. Those who wish, can give names for commemoration For Health and For Repose.
See also: Crowds Continue to Flock to a Suburb of Athens to Venerate a "Weeping" Icon of the Virgin Mary
"The cup that I drink you shall drink." (Mk. 10:39)
She was a very beautiful woman, living in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, and she spent her life in prodigality. One day while walking on the beach she saw a boat with many Christians that was ready to sail to Jerusalem for the feast of the Exaltation of the Honorable Cross. The thought came to her to go for a trip to Jerusalem as well.