14/01/2019

Stop Saying “Glory to God for All Things!”


“A few years ago, I was the parish priest of St. Vasileios church (Piraeus) and was called to hear the confession of a young man, Xenophon, 42 years old.
When I arrived, his days were numbered. Cancer with rapid metastases had affected his brain too. He was all alone at the ward, the bed next to him was empty, so we were all alone.
This is what he told me about how he came to Faith, since he was a “hardened atheist” in his own words:
‘I arrived here about 35 days ago, in this ward of two beds. Next to me was another patient, about 80 years old. He was suffering from cancer too, in his bones, and although he was experiencing excruciating pain, he was constantly praising the Lord “Glory to God! Glory to God for all things!” He also recited more prayers which I heard for the first time in my life since I was an atheist who had never set my foot to church.  Often, all those prayers comforted him and he slept for a couple of hours. Then, after 2-3 hours, he woke up again from the excruciating pain, and he would start over “My Christ, I thank you! Glory be to Thy Name! Glory to God! Glory to God for all things!” I was moaning with my pain, and this patient at the next bed to mine was glorifying God. I was blaspheming Christ and the Theotokos, and he was thanking God, thanking him for the cancer which he had given to him, and for all the excruciating pain he was suffering.
I was so rebellious and indignant at this! Not only for the excruciating pain I was suffering, but also for his never-ending Doxology. He was also partaking daily of Holy Communion, while I was throwing up in disgust.
– ‘Will you please shut up! Shut up and stop saying all the time ‘Glory to God’! Can’t you see that this God, Whom you are thanking and glorifying, this same God is torturing us with such cruelty? What kind of God this is? No, He does not exist!’

20/12/2018

St. John of Cronstadt from Russia narrates this vision he had on January 1901.

‘The blessed people of God would not betray their faith not even with one word".
     Following the evening prayers, being tired, I laid down for a while to relax in my poorly lit cell. My lampada was hanging in front of the icon of the Mother of God. Half an hour had hardly passed when I heard a creak. Someone touched my left shoulder and with a gentle voice told me, "rise servant of God John, and follow the Will of God!"
     I rose and I saw near the window a glorious elder (staretz) with grizzly hair, wearing a black mantia  and holding a cane in his hand. He was looking at me tenderly and I had difficulty standing up because of my great fear. My hands and feet trembled, I wished to talk but my tongue would not oblige. The elder made the sign of the Cross on me and soon I was filled with peace and joy. I then crossed myself.
     In turn, he indicated with his cane the western wall of my cell, so that I would observe a specific sign. The elder had scratched the following numbers on the wall: 1913, 1914, 1917, 1922, 1924 and 1934. Suddenly the wall disappeared and I walked with the elder in a green valley and observed a large number of crosses, in the thousands, as markers of graves.
     They were wooden, ceramic or gold. I asked the elder what was the reason for the crosses. He answered peacefully, "the crosses were for those who suffered and were murdered for their faith in Christ and for the Word of God and became martyrs". We continued to walk.
     Suddenly I saw a whole river of blood and I asked the elder, what is the significance of this blood and how much was spilled. The elder looked around and answered, "This is the blood of the true Christians!"  He then pointed at some clouds and saw a large number of lit oil lamps that burned with a white flame. They began to fall to the ground one after the other in tens and hundreds. Having fallen their light went out and they turned into ashes.

27/08/2018

SODOM AND GOMORRAH

Open the wise book of the world, open holy Scripture, and search somewhere there in the beginning. You will see there were five cities in a rich land. The grass was five meters high; they had goats and cattle; they had wealth. And what happened? They fell into sin, they fell in the flesh: they fell into fornication, into adultery, in sins against nature. They became “oka”. For man is spirit, which rises upwards; while he who has become “oka”, you weigh him and his whole value is only 50, 60, 80 okas of body. So they became people of “okas”. Flesh only, without spirit, without ideals, without anything high and sublime. In that society only one just man remained. And he would tell them: My brethren, stop, depart from sin… It fell on deaf ears; they couldn’t care less; they kept doing what they were doing, their pleasure. Partying, entertainment, woman, fornication. They had nothing more in their brains beyond the flesh and wine and entertainment. They were building houses, palaces, all these things. What was the end? One day, there where the sun shone brilliantly, suddenly the sky became black. There was lightning, thunder, and in a short time there fell not water nor snow nor hail. But what fell? Fire and brimstone! The region lit up. The trees were burned, the sheep were burned, the goats were burned, the houses were burned, their kings were burned, their judges were burned, their teachers were burned, all were burned. Their gold, their silver, everything melted. God passed them through a furnace. And then, after all things were burned, suddenly the earth sank to the depth of 500 – 600 meters, into a chaos. There a sea was formed, where nothing lives. In all the waters fish live; in this not a single fish lives. Sodom and Gomorrah became the Dead Sea.

12/08/2018

Advice for parents from elder Porfyrios

 Today we put before you the words of one of the most inspiring elders of our times. The late Elder Porphyrios was a monk from Mt Athos who, for health reasons, had to leave Mt Athos, and ended up living in the heart of Athens for most of his life. In 1926, and at the age of twenty, he was ordained a priest by the Archbishop of Sinai, Porphyrios III, who gave him the name Porphyrios. At the age of twenty-two he became a confessor and spiritual father. Due to his extreme humility and obedience he received early the gift of spiritual discernment i.e. a type of clairvoyance. Below we provide his invaluable and insightful advice to parents on parenting issues.
 What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home. The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in their relation to their children through their mildness, patience and love. They need to make a new start every day, with a fresh outlook, renewed enthusiasm and love for their children. And the joy that will come to them, the holiness that will visit them, will shower grace on their children. Generally the parents are to blame for the bad behaviour of the children. And their behaviour is not improved by reprimands, disciplining, or strictness. If the parents do not pursue a life of holiness and if they don’t engage in spiritual struggle, they make great mistakes and transmit the faults they have within them. If the par­ents do not live a holy life and do not display love towards each other, the devil torments the parents with the reactions of the children. Love, har­mony and understanding between the parents are what are required for the children. This provides a great sense of security and certainty.
The behaviour of the children is directly related to the state of the parents. When the children are hurt by the bad behaviour of the parents towards each other, they lose the strength and desire to progress in their lives. Their lives are constructed shoddily and the edifice of their soul is in constant danger of collapsing. Let me give you two examples.

20/07/2018

ELDER EUMENIOS (SARIDAKIS), THE SAINT FROM THE LEPER COLONY



Elder Eumenios (in the world, Constantine Saridakis) was born January 1, 1931 in the Cretan village of Efia, to the family of the pious George and Sofia Saridakis. He was the eighth and last child in this poor family, which lost its breadwinner early. The difficult years of Nazi occupation in Greece did not allow little Constantine to receive an elementary education. Nevertheless, the boy stood out not only for his intelligence but also for his special piety. A wondrous event had a decisive influence on the future elder’s choice of path in life. It happened in 1944. During a festive dinner an extraordinary, blinding radiance appeared, which, as Fr. Eumenios later related, penetrated deep into his soul. Amazed and shaken by the divine light, the youth cried out, “I will become a monk!” Constantine’s path in life was foreordained. As the elder himself said, “If a person has a calling from God for something good, then God works and helps him.”
In 1951, Constantine Saradakis entered the monastery of Prophet Elias not far from his village. In that monastery, besides the abbot there labored two elderly, blind monks, whom the young novice served with great love. Three years later Constantine received the monastic tonsure with the name Sophronios.