1½ cup dried chickpeas
4-6 cloves of garlic
125 ml olive oil
1 teaspoon salt for boiling chickpeas
1½ teaspoons salt in food processor
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup fresh parsley
1-2 squeezed lemons
¼ cup water if too thick when processing chickpeas
·           Soak chickpeas overnight in water 3-4 cm higher than the peas. Chickpeas can double in size when soaked.
·           Drain excess water off the next day (minimum of 6 hours soaking). Rinse in cold water, put into a pot and cover with water, add a teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off, drain off water and allow to cool.
·           Place parsley, 4 cloves of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into a food processor and make into a paste, 4-5 minutes.
·           Add chickpeas gradually
·           To taste – add lemon juice, a little more salt / pepper, and water if mixture is too thick, about ¼ of a cup
NB: Play with it by adding more garlic or other herbs if you want to J


Regarding confession

Anthony Bloom (Metropolitan of Sourozh (1914- 2003))
2nd sermon

26th September 1999

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I have been asked to give a couple of sermons on Confession. This is my second sermon on the subject.
When we come to Confession we come to meet a friend face to face. We are not coming to be judged and condemned. We do not come in terror of what will happen. We come to the One who, being God, beyond suffering, beyond death, has chosen, for the love of us, to become Man, to take upon Himself all our human destiny and to give His life for us. His life, His death are to us evidence that we are so loved of God that we can come up to Him whether we are good or bad with hope that He will receive us with open arms; that if anyone is to cry over our unworthiness and our sins it is Him, for compassion, for pity, for love - with a readiness, as He said in a vision to one of the saints, that if there was only one sinner in the world He would again become Man and again die for him, because He cannot endure the thought of anyone perishing.

This is the God, the Christ, to Whom we come when we come to Confession - to the One who is open to us with all His life and death; One who waits for us to come to be healed, to be consoled, to be supported - not to be condemned, not to be judged.

And then, what is the role of the priest? In the prayer which is read before Confession we are told, 'I am but a witness'. What does it mean? A witness to what? To the fact that you have come? That would not be enough. But if you think of what witnesses are: there are accidental, occasional witnesses. You are present in the street when an accident takes place. You are asked: what did happen? You are neither in favour of the ones or the others. You are just telling what your eyes have seen. It's for others to judge and to know.
There are other forms of witness. At times a friend of ours is brought to judgement. And we come to defend him, to testify for him, to save him. That's another kind of witness.

And then there is the witness which the Holy Gospel mentions speaking of St. John the Baptist: as the friend of the Bridegroom, the one who comes to the wedding, invited both by the bride and the bridegroom, because he is the nearest, the closest, to them both. And he is there to share their joy, the miracle of their encounter, the miracle of a blessing that will come upon them and out of two make one, unite them so that they are inseparable for ever in the mystery of eternal love, of divine love shared with them.



by Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov

A review and excerpts from an amazing book that eloquently speaks about the soul of Russia that is so misunderstood in the world today.
        I discovered this book while surfacing the internet at the beginning of December and I ordered it from Amazon.   I finished reading it last night and I was simply blown away by the profound spirituality that it offers to a suffering world.  The book was first published in Russian in 2011.  It was translated into English in 2012.   More than a million copies and several million electronic versions of this book were published in less than a year after its release.   Every Day Saints is the English translation of the work that has soared to the top of the bestseller lists in Russia since its publication in late 2011.  Winner of several national awards including “Book of the Year,” its readership spans philosophical boundaries.  Surpassing all competition many times over, it was voted the most popular book in Russia for 2012.
        Open the book and you will discover a wondrous, enigmatic, remarkably beautiful yet absolutely real world. Peer into the mysterious Russian soul, where happiness reigns no matter what life may bring.  Page upon page of thanks, praise, and testimonies to the life-changing effect of these bright, good hearted, and poignant tales have flooded the Russian media.
        As a retired Greek Orthodox priest in America, I would recommend especially that every priest or young man who plans to become a priest in the Orthodox Christian Church should read this book.   Every lay person in the Orthodox Church in America should read this book to grasp the triumphant spirituality that pervades our Holy Orthodox Church.  It reveals to us how the Russian Orthodox Church survived seventy years of brutal atheistic communist brutality.   This is especially important for Orthodox Christians in America who, facing rampant materialistic liberalism, need a firm spiritual foundation to defend themselves from this scourge of contemporary life.  This scourge is just as destructive as communist atheism.
Compiled by:
+Fr. Costas J. Simones, Waterford, CT, USA, December 30

          The translator of this book writes the following in the introduction of the book.  “It may surprise some of us who grew up during the Cold War, but Russia, feared for so many years as the land of godless Communists, is in fact one of the most intensely spiritual and devout nations in the world.  The profound faith of its people, Orthodox Christianity, rooted in a mystical understanding of  life as a covenant and of worship as a sacrament, has always been the secret underpinning of the mysterious Russian soul, whose elusive immanence makes Russian literature, art, and music so special.  In the twentieth century, under brutal totalitarianism of the Soviet system, Russia endured some of the very darkest days in human history.  Yet where there is darkness, as this book shows, light shines forth ever brighter to meet it.  Ultimately, though it may take a while, love and light and compassion conquer hatred and darkness and indifference.


How Angels Serve Priests in the Holy Altar

by Fr. Stephanos K. Anagnostopoulos
This incident was narrated to the author by the blessed departed Gerondas Gabriel, who for a great period of time was the abbott at the Holy Monastery of Dionysios on Mount Athos.
“There once lived a most devout Priest. Even though he barely knew how to read and write, he was a Priest, a clergyman of strong faith, great virtue and of many spiritual struggles. He used to stand up-right for hours during the Proskomedia, despite the fact that the veins of his feet had been affected and were hemorrhaging. There were times when one could see the blood running down since he was standing up-right commemorating the names of numerous people. He was a man of sacrifice to his last breath, in fact, his soul departed just after the Divine Liturgy.
As he barely knew how to read and write, by some misunderstanding, he did not place the portions on the Holy Diskos properly. When we place the portion of the All-Holy Theotokos on top of the Holy Diskos,we say; The Queen stood at thy right hand…” The Gerondas (Elder) Priest was under the impression that,since he said”at thy right hand”, the portion of the All-Holy Mother of God must be placed on the right side of the Lamb (as he was looking at the Holy Diskos). In other words, he was placing the portions backwards.
Once a Hierarch [Bishop] visited the Holy Monastery for the Ordination of a Deacon. During the Psalms of Praise, when the Bishop enters the Holy Altar, he vests, then later goes to the Proskomedia, which has already been prepared up to a certain point. From then on he alone is the one to continue commemorating.
Thus, the Bishop noticed that the portions had been placed backwards by the priest:
“You did not place the pieces properly, father,” he told him.
“Father, come here for a minute. The All Holy Theotokos is placed over here and the Orders are placed over there. Hasn’t anyone told you; hasn’t anyone seen how you do the Proskomedia?”
“Certainly,Your Eminence,” replied the Geronda Priest. “Everyday, when I celebrate (for a day did not go by unless he celebrated the Divine Liturgy), the Angel who serves me sees what I am doing but does not tell me anything at all. I apologize, illiterate as I am, for making such a mistake; I will be careful from now on.”
“Who did you say? Who did you say serves you here?” asked the Bishop, “Isn’t he a monk who serves you?”
“No”, answered the Priest, “an Angel of the Lord.”
The Bishop fell silent,what could he have said, anyway? He was astonished and had certainly realized that a holy priest was standing before him.
At noon, following the meal in the trapeza, the Bishop said goodbye to the Abbot as well as the rest of the monks, and departed. The following day, as it was still night, when the Geronda Priest went to the Holy Altar in order to hold the Proskomedia.
The Angel of the Lord came down. During the act of breaking the Lamb, the Angel noticed that the Priest had placed the portions properly.
“Fine father!” he told the Priest. “Now you have placed them properly!”
“Yes, you knew the mistake I have been making for so many years!”
“And why didn’t you tell me anything; why didn’t you correct me?”, he asked.
“I could see it, but I do not have the right to tell you anything. I am not worthy to correct a Priest.
“God,” the Angel continued, commands me to serve the Priest. “Only a Bishop has the right to correct you!”


The Greek Christian Orthodox Chapel of St. Theodora in Vasta, Megalopoli, Arkadia, Greece!

  "The Greek Christian Orthodox Chapel of St. Theodora in Vasta, Megalopoli, Arkadia, Greece! A continuous and inexplicable miracle! 17 trees are on the roof of this church for over than half a thousand years. Some are huge other smaller! No way how to find where their roots are coming! Rapid wings are not able to take them from that small roof! The young saint Theodora has been condemned and beheaded for a false accusation! She didn't declare her innocence to save the life of the woman who falsely accused her (because then the other woman had to be condemned) !!!!!! Her last worlds were: "Oh Christ let my hair to be trees, my body a church and my blood refreshing water". The executors understood their mistake immediately when they discovered that she was not a man (she has been accused for being a monk that raped and left pregnant another woman who bore "his" illegitimate child). In fact she pretended to be a man so to live an ascetic and monastic life not to scandalize everybody in the wilderness. So with tears of repent they built a small chapel over her grave! Then one day a whole stream (or rather a small river) of fresh water passed underneath without destroying the fragile foundations of the small, plain, made by stones church! And by the years small trees were growing on the roof which became huge without having their roots to destroy the chapel!
                            It still stands there, in the Greek wilderness just to prove that any logical explanation stands not reasonable too!"