27/12/2009

Letter from Jesus about Christmas



It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.


How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up... It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5 Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there.. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :


I LOVE YOU,

JESUS

Have a blessed day,

God Bless you always,

26/12/2009

The Monastery of Levin New Zealand



The Monastery


We are pleased to present the location, the first buildings and future plans for the completion of the first Orthodox Christian Monastery in New Zealand. One can ask, what is the reason for the existence of a monastery? We Orthodox Christians can very easily answer that such a monastery is necessary for one is the Holy and Catholic Church which supports, provides spiritual shelter and center for every feeble soul. In this idyllic environment Levin, AN estate owned 104 acres, will serve God first, soon THE FIRST holy male monastery of the Holy Metropolis of New Zealand, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in the name of the Synaxis of the Archangels (9x5) AND THE adjacent church of St. Basil (6x2.5) WILL cost about 60,000 euros, or $130,000 N.Z.

We kindly ask you if you can donate whatever you can in this account:
Bank Westpac: Branch, 2 Devon St. East, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Name: Amfilochios Tsoukos
Full account number: 03-1566-0068447-00
Swift code: WPACNZ2W
Thank you for your support. May the Archangels be of help to you and your families and may you have the blessings of Saint Basil the organizer of Orthodox Monasticism.

† Archbishop of New Zealand Amfilochios

04/12/2009

Russian Priest Killed in Church




By SOPHIA KISHKOVSKY
Published: November 19, 2009
MOSCOW - The Rev. Daniil Sysoyev, a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church who was known for promoting missionary work among Muslims, was shot and killed in his parish church late Thursday night, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Father Sysoyev, 35, died at a Moscow hospital of gunshot wounds to the head
and chest, RIA Novosti said. The Web site of the Moscow patriarchate
confirmed his death. The parish's choir director was wounded in the
shootings at the Church of St. Thomas by the unidentified assailant.
A Moscow Patriarchate official called Father Sysoyev a "talented missionary"
whose work among Muslims, including Tatars, might have been the motive for the shooting. "I don't exclude that the murder is connected to the fact that he preached among and baptized those who belong to Muslim culture," the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with the news media, said in a telephone interview.
Father Sysoyev had spoken out in opposition to Islam and had warned Russian
women against marrying Muslim men.
Anatoly Bagmet, an official of the prosecutor's office, said there was
reason to believe that the shooting took place "on religious grounds," the
news agency reported. Kirill Frolov, a prominent Orthodox missionary
activist, said that Father Sysoyev had said that he had been receiving
threats for several years.
"Over the course of two, three years Father Daniil, who was famous for his active missionary work, periodically received
e-mails stating that if he didn't stop his theological polemics with Islam,
then he will be dealt with like an infidel," Mr. Frolov told the Interfax
news agency.
Missionary work and outreach to young people and non-churchgoers has become a keystone of the Moscow Patriarchate since Patriarch Kirill I became its leader 10 months ago. The church has been organizing rock concerts and trying to reach out to people through blogs.
Officials of the Russian Orthodox Church have complained in recent years
about violence directed against churches and priests. ...........................................................................
..................
This is from an Orthodox Forum:

Dear Andreas,
Let me share my own impressions and everything I know from TV news about the martyrdom of Fr. Daniel Sisoyev, Dean of the Church of Apostle Thomas in the south of Moscow. On Thursday, the week before I met Mr. Maximov in this church, I attended a lecture on Biblical studies led by Fr Daniel and I saw him alive for the first and, alas, for the last time on this earth.
The audience was waiting for him about one hour because he reportedly just
landed (apparently in Domodedovo airport, the road to which goes near this small log church perched on a high bank of a small, muddy river meandering along a wooded ravine next to a vast and dull residential area in the south of Moscow, near metro station Kantemirovskaya, far away from the center).
At long last, Fr. Daniel showed up, very cheerful, outgoing and full of energy,
with no trace of fatigue after a long flight; he blessed the audience with
the grace of all the Serbian saints and holy places. He had just arrived
from Serbia.
Presumably he was there to attend the funeral of the late Patriarch Paul.
Fr. Daniel went to his parish church straight from the airport.
After a prayer the lecture began. It was recorded on video as usual. The topic was the Book of Isaiah. Fr Daniel pointed out that in this Book God showed through Isaiah that a righteous man is physically taken away from the sinful people in order to be placed in His presence, to be delivered from sorrows of a mundane life and to be rewarded eternally for his ministry to his people on behalf of God. Thus, for a righteous man such as a prophet, to be severed from sinful people is the ultimate good, whilst for the sinful people left on the earth it is a punishment.
God always takes away the last righteous man from the sinful people before judging this people.
For example, Lot and his family were removed from Sodom before God's wrath fell upon it.
Fr Daniel also said that this example applied to Moscow as well. He said
addressing the audience:
“ Why do you think Moscow is still standing? It stands only thanks to some righteous people still inhabiting the city. Once they are removed the city will collapse.'
His manner of addressing the audience was altogether uninhibited, colloquial, even peppered with good humour.
To illustrate the truths of the Scripture he used examples from everyday life.
His speech was absolutely informal and vivid, free-flowing.
Now I realize that late Fr Daniel was one of the few righteous ones still
protecting Moscow and Russia from the imminent wrath of God. And the fact that God took him away from us is alarming signal to me.
To my knowledge, Fr Daniel was very active preaching Orthodox faith among the homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics and even immigrants from Central Asia.
He was hated and frequently threatened with death by Islamic radicals for his ministry among traditionally Islamic people and by Russian extreme nationalists (fascists) who could not stand his preaching among Eastern immigrants. Many times Islamists promised to behead him, cut open his belly and let loose his intestines.
The last threat like this was voiced the day before his murder.
He was gunned down late in the evening on Thursday before last weekend,
after his regular Bible study session.
If I had not bought my ticket for Thursday, I could be there.
Someone telephoned him on his mobile that evening presumably asking for
confessions.
The killer wearing an anti-flu mask (which is commonplace now
in Moscow due to the epidemic) rushed into the church shouting 'Where is
Sisoyev?' while the church choir director followed by Fr Daniel went
downstairs from the attic of the church where they have a hybrid of a
warehouse and book publishing office with two very old computers.
Without asking more questions the killer took out a pistol and fired a shot at the choir director. He was badly wounded and rushed to an emergency ward but his state was reported as almost hopeless.
I don't know whether he is still alive.
They say that Fr Daniel rushed towards his killer after he called his
name but the killer first gunned down the choir director and then fired
three shots at Fr Daniel, one bullet hitting him in the heart and another in
the head.
Fr Daniel was rushed to emergency but soon died in hospital.
He left his wife with 3 children.
Even an Islamic opponent of Fr Daniel expressed his condolences.
Among other forms of ministry, late Fr Daniel prepared hundreds of volunteer preachers; he travelled on his missionary trips extensively across Russia and beyond, as far as Central Asia.
His funeral service was in the church of SS Peter and Paul in Yasenevo residential area across the Bitsa forest to the south of Chertanovo), where his father, also a priest, is the dean.
Incidentally, the church of SS Peter and Paul belongs to the metochia of
Optina Pustyn.
Years ago I visited there a number of times, having walked
all the way through the forest (about 5 -7 kilometers) from Chertanovo and back home.
Reportedly, Fr Daniel was bored by hearing numerous death threats
but he was not scared and never gave up.

Here is the testimony of his matushka. (Presbytera)
"My dear ones, thank you for your support and your prayers. This is
unspeakable pain. This is the pain suffered by those standing by the Cross
of the Saviour. This is unspeakable Joy, which was shared by those who came up to the empty Tomb.
Death, where is your sting?
Fr Daniel foresaw his death years before the murder.
He always wished to be martyred and the Lord gave him the martyrdom.
The killer and those behind him wanted to spit again in the face of the Church, as their predecessors spat in the face of Christ, but they arrived nowhere because it is impossible to spit in the face of the Church.
Fr Daniel ascended his Golgotha in his church which he built and to
which he contributed all of his time and efforts.
He was killed as an ancient prophet between the altar and the sanctuary and he was truly martyred. He died for Christ Whom he served with all of his strength.
He would often tell me that he was running out of time and was afraid to be
short of time to accomplish so many things. He was in a hurry.
Humanly speaking, he would err and go sideways, go to extremes and stumble; but he was never mistaken in the main thing; his life was fully dedicated to HIM.
I did not understand why he was in a hurry.
Over the last 3 years, he officiated without any holidays and days off. I would murmur because I wanted at least sometimes to enjoy simple happiness, to have my husband and father of my children to be around.
But his way was different.
He said that they would kill him.
I asked him, 'who will take care of us', i.e. me and our three children.
He answered that he would place us under reliable care.
"I will entrust you to the Mother of God and she will take care of you".
These words were forgotten for a while but I recall them now.
In his will he described his funeral vestment.
When he said this I joked that it was too early to discuss this matter because nobody knew then who will bury whom. He said that I would bury him.
Once we talked about funeral services; I don't remember the whole conversation but I said that I never attended a funeral service for a priest. And he answered that I would attend his funeral service.
Today many of his words are recalled and their meaning became clear.
Now I am clear and understand all the points that lacked meaning before this happened.
We did not say farewell to each other in this life, we did not ask each other for forgiveness, we did not embrace each other.
It was an ordinary day; he left home for the Divine Liturgy and I never saw him again.
Why I did not go to the church in order to meet him there? I was thinking
about this but then I decided that I had better cook the dinner and put my
children to bed.
It was because of the children that I did not go there - the Hand stopped me from going there.
And the day before, I went to the church and met him there, and I sensed the dark clouds becoming denser around him.
During our last days together I tried to spend more time with him.
During the last week I was thinking only about death and life beyond
death.
I failed to come to terms with either.
On that day this phrase was spinning in my mind, "I feel the breath of death behind my back".
I was under great pressure during the last week; it felt like tons of cargo fell upon me.
I am not broken. He supports me, I feel him by my side.
During this time we have said more tender words to each other than ever before in our lifetime.
Only now I realise how great was our love for each other.
The commemoration of forty days since the death of Fr Daniel will coincide
with his name day and the patron feast of the new church - December 30th
which is the feast day of prophet Daniel.
According to prophecy of a starets, this new church will be erected, but, he foretold, Fr Daniel will not officiate there; the second part of this prophecy has already fulfilled."

In Christ,
Andrei.

15/10/2009

Daily Rules from God



1. Wake Up!! Decide to have a good day. "Today is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24
2. Dress Up!! The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance; but the Lord looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7
3. Shut Up!! Say nice things and learn to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking. "He who guards his lips guards his soul." Proverbs 13:3
4. Stand Up!!... For what you believe in. Stand for something or you will fall for anything.. "Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good..." Galatians 6:9-10
5. Look Up!!... To the Lord. "I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me." Phillippians 4:13
6. Reach Up!!... For something higher. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path."
Proverbs 3:5-6
7. Lift Up!!... Your Prayers.
"Do not worry about anything; instead PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING."
Philippians 4:6

13/10/2009




If you're spiritually alive, you're going to love this! If you're spiritually dead, you won't want to read it. If you're spiritually curious, there is still hope!

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons.. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals But I do know this.. They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!" When you are DOWN to nothing.... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

11/10/2009

THE 'OBIDIENT' GREEK WIFE!



Petros was a Greek immigrant man who had worked all his of life, had saved all of his money and was a real 'miser' (tsingouni) when it came to his money.

Just before he died, he said to his Greek wife.... "Voula, when I die, I want you to take all my money and put it in the casket with me. I want to take my money to the after life with me."

And so he persuaded Voula to promise him, with all of her heart, that when he died, she would put all of the money into the casket with him.

Well, he died. Petros was stretched out in the casket, his wife was sitting there - dressed in black, (what else) screaming 'Petros my love, where are you going?' and her best friend Tasia, was sitting next to her.

When they finished the ceremony, and just before the priest got ready to close the casket, the wife said, "Wait just a moment!"

Voula put a small metal box into the casket. Then the priest locked the casket down and they rolled it away...

So her friend said, "Voula!, I know20you weren't foolish enough to put all that money in there with him!."

"Listen" Voula said, "I'm a Greek Orthodox wife & I cannot go back on my word. I promised Petros that I was going to put that money in the casket with him."

"You mean to tell me you put that money in the casket with him!?!?!?"

"I sure did," said the wife. "I got it all together, put it into my account, and wrote him a check. If he can cash it, then he can spend it."

AMEN!

09/10/2009

4th Sunday of Louke




Today is the fourth Sunday of Luke and we commemorate the holy Father of the Seventh ecumenical Council in Nicaea, who defined the correct teaching of the Church regarding the honourable veneration of the holy icons. Icons have great power. We know it best today based on television which influences us and is a teacher of life.
Jesus also spoke to us in images and parables. And in the Gospel He spoke to us the parable of the Sower, and He Himself is the Good Sower. He sows the divine word in our souls and in the fields and lands of our existence. He tells us of a sower who went out and sowed seeds. The seed was good. But the places on which it fell were not the same, the differed. That is why two thirds of the seeds were lost. Only the fourth brought fruit one hundred times over.
The Apostles heard the parable and asked Christ about it. He replied: “It has been given to you to understand so that I may entrust you with the mysteries of God”.
The seed is the word of God. He did not speak of Himself as the Sower. This is how humble Jesus Christ is! And that part of the seed which fell on the road and was trodden by man and eaten by birds is those souls and hearts which are fanatics, plundered, incapable of anything good. The word of God, the divine word, and whichever other way the Lord knows of to speak to our souls, falls and brings no results. Along comes the devil and takes up the word. And says to those souls in his sly way: “These are all lies, there is no truth in them. You are good, you don’t need anything”.
Then some seed fell on stone, where there was very little sand. And it sprouted. But, because it had no moisture and good conditions, it dried out. These are those people who have the good will but whose souls are cold and full of difficulties. They are enthused, make a start, but as soon as difficulty or temptation or any other problem strikes, they disappear. They let the seed go and they, too, leave.
Then, some seed fell on the land where there were thorns, various other plants and insects. The seed grew together with the stones. But the thorns grew over the seed and it vanished. These are those people who want to be with God and with evil too, both with the Church and in the world. “And so they hobble on both legs” as the Prophet Elijah would say. They want to be right with everyone. But this is not possible. In the end, both the word of God is lost and our souls are in difficulty.
The fourth instance is those souls and hearts which are the good and pure soil. As the Gospel says and gladly accept the divine word. They have great patience, they are nurtured and bring enormous results that are important and loved by God. They are the souls that struggle, that try, that accept the divine word and do everything possible in order that God’s will be realized and applied.
So, where do we belong…? We each need to ask of our souls. But we should not lose hope. Our soul is a field. It may be trodden on and have thorns. But the word of God is all-powerful and His divine Grace is effective. And a field full of stones and thorns and that is trodden on can become a beautiful garden. The soul of an evil person can be softened by divine grace and be sanctified. We have examples in the Gospel of the thief and from the life of the Church and of this world.
O, good Sower! O, our Jesus Christ, who continues every day, in happy or sad times and in ways which You know, to sow in our souls! Do not leave us. Continue to sow in us. And persist. Persist and help us to cultivate the field of our soul, so that we might make our souls into a place of Your Kingdom. Amen.

07/10/2009

Holy Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos of Christchurch New Zealand



The seed for the establishment of this Community was sown by Father Elias Economou, the touring priest.
When he conducted the Divine Liturgy in Christchurch one day in 1959, in a small building transformed into the Holy Church of St Nicholas – the building was rented by the Russians and they used it as a chapel – the church was full as were the grounds outside. There were 60 people in total. At the end of the Divine Liturgy he urged the people on telling them that it would be good for them to now have their own church. This idea started to spread and flame up. The priest appointed three people from the congregation – Messrs Athanasios Titsos, Andreas Matsis and Elias Karambasis – to form the first fund-raising committee and all three accepted without objection.
So the collecting of money began together with the search for an appropriate piece of ground to purchase on which to build the church.
At the beginning of May 1961 Mr. Malcom Ott, husband of Mrs. Parthenia Ott, learned that the Anglican church in Christchurch was selling a church in Malvern and Roosevelt Street in the district of St Albans. Having seen the church and its surrounding grounds, the committee agreed to purchase it at a price of 3500 New Zealand pounds. The deposit of 1000 pounds was given by Mr. Ott and Mr. Panayiotis Pavlides. So, the Greeks of New Zealand obtained their church from 19 May 1961.
A General Assembly was called immediately, on 28 May of the same year, during which the first council was elected, with Mr. Theodosios Papageorgiou as Chairman and P. Pavlides, A. Matsis, A. Titsos, Th. Kerdemelides, M. Ott and H. Karambasis as members.
The first Divine Liturgy was conducted by His Eminence Archbishop Hezekiel of Australia.
From 1966 the teacher of Greek language was Mrs. Georgia Nikolis, and at the same time the search was on for a permanent priest.
On 3 / 4 / 1967 the church was paid off.
From May 1970 they had Father Constantine Lendakis as their permanent priest. The inauguration of the church took place on 21 / 11 / 1971 by His Eminence Dionysius of New Zealand.
The serving chairmen to today are:
Theodoros Kerdemelides
Andreas Matsis
Nikos Kosmatos
Kyprianos Kotzikas
George Xypteras
Nikos Nikolis
Rallou Keeley
Haralambos Kazianis and today the Chairman is Mr. Panayiotis Halloumis, the Deputy Chairman is Kyriakos Georgiou, 1st Secretary Nikky Symeonides- McDonald, 2nd Secretary Nikos Tesco, Treasurer Patra Lyford, members Nikos Nikolis and Chrysoula Blake.

04/10/2009

OCTOBER 2009



1 THURSDAY +St. Ap. Anania, St. Romanos the Melodist. Holy water service 10:30- 11:30 a.m.

4 SUNDAY +2nd Sunday of Luke, St Hierotheos of Athens D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
8 THURSDAY +Sts. Pelagia, Taisia, Pelagia Virgin,Philotheos Supplication 10:30- 11:30 a.m.

11 SUNDAY +Sunday of the Holy Fathers of 7th Ecumenical Council. Philip the Deacon D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
The film «The St. Kyprianos & Ioustina» will be shown 12:00 - 01:30 p.m.
15 THURSDAY +Sts. Lukien, Sabbinos, Varsos, Euthymios. Supplication 10:30- 11:30 a.m.

18 SUNDAY +3rd Sunday of Luke. St. Luke the Physicians & Evangelist, St. Marinos the Old Man (Spiritual Father)
D. Liturgy 9.00 – 11:45 a.m.
22 THURSDAY +St. Avercios the Isap. The 7th Youth in Ephesos Ms.
Supplication 10:30- 11:30 a.m.

25 SUNDAY +6th Luke. St. Marcian & Martyrios the Notaries.
D. Liturgy 9: 00 – 11:45 a.m.
26 MONDAY +St. Demetrius Gm. the Myrth-Flowing
D. Liturgy 9: 00 – 11:30 a.m.
28 +The Protection of our Lady Theotocos Mary. Commemoration of the OCHI (OXI), National Feat day in Greece D. Liturgy 9: 00 – 11:30 a.m.
29 THURSDAY + St. Anastasia of Rome, Sts. Abramios and his Niece Maria, St Anna. Supplication 5:00– 6:30 p.m.

20/09/2009

Pie apples


1 tin Pie apples - cut into pieces and place in greased pie dish.

3 eggs and 1 cup sugar - beat well
3 dessertspoons soft margarine, 1/4 cup milk and teasp of vanilla - add and beat well.
1 cup self raising flour OR
1 cup cake flour and 1 1/4 teasp Baking Powder - add and mix well.
Plus bit of salt
Pour runny mixture over apples
Bake at 180 for about 30 mins

Sauce. 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cup fresh cream, 1 teasp vanilla.
Boil and pour over cake when it comes out of the oven.

07/09/2009

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS




As Orthodox Christians we need to make the sign of the cross:
1. Before and during our prayers.
2. When we leave or return to our home.
3. Before and after each meal.
4. When we enter the church or when passing by it. It is a type of greeting to our friends the Saints.
5. When beginning or completing any task.
6. When we see a funeral procession passing. We should stop and not move until the procession has passed.
7. When a litany is passing by us.
8. When the priest bears the Holy Communion under his stole.
9. When we are faced with danger. We should also say a short prayer at this time.
10. When we are starting out on a journey, when we reach our destination and give thanks to God.
11. At every piece of good news or event, thanking God.



6 SUNDAY + 13th Sunday of Matheou. Miracle of Archangel Michael
D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
8 TUESDAY +THE NATIVITY OF OUR MOST HOLY AND EVER – VIRIGIN MARY.
D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
10 THURSDAY Menodora, Metrodora, Nimphodora martys
Supplication 6:00- 7:00 p.m.
13 SUNDAY +BEFORE THE HOLY CROSS EXALTATION.
D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
14 MONDAY +THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS.
A Fast is observed today, whatever day of the week it may be.
D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
17 THURSDAY Sofias, Pisteos ,Elpis & Agape (Faith, Hope, Love) Supplication 10:30- 11:30 π.μ. / a.m.
20 SUNDAY +AFTER HOLY CROSS EXALTATION. Greatmartyr Eustathiou .
D. Liturgy 9.00 – 11:45 a.m.
24 THURSDAY +The Lady of Myrties Supplication 6:00- 7:00 p.m.

27 SUNDAY + 1st SUNDAY OF LUKE. Martyr Kallistratos
D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.

16/08/2009

WEDDING CAKE




INGREDIENTS

2 cups love
1 cup courtesy
3 cups respect
1 cup tolerance and understanding
2 cups trust
1 kg faith in God

METHOD

Beat everything together in the mixer and once the crowns (stephana) have been worn, place on the fire of routine and daily existence!
Stir continually removing the selfishness which arises and adding as much patience as is needed! Continue stirring throughout life! BE CAREFUL: if stirring is stopped it will stick in the pot and could burn!

GOOD LUCK

12/08/2009

WHY DO PEOPLE SMOKE?



If you have not seen the films “Thank you for smoking” and “The Insider”, you should. You will get a clear picture of what goes on behind the scenes of this issue!

Why do people in our society smoke cigarettes? The answer is simple. Because someone taught them to associate pleasure with it.

Think about it. When someone smokes for the first time, does he say “yay”? I doubt it…it more likely that he chokes and coughs and his mind says “Idiot, what are you doing”? But he continues to smoke. Why? Because he sees that adverts and sees his friends and watches films over and over and over… so, what does he associate with cigarettes?

They taught us. Think about it. A small group of people got together one day and said:

“So, do you know what? We have a product. It is cheap and totally addictive. If we sell it and manage to get enough people addicted to it we will make billions”.

Someone in the group then said: “We do however have a problem. Our product stinks and it kills people”.

Someone else said: “Don’t worry. People are fools. We can educate them. We will bring them to a point where they will associate smoking with whatever they most desire. Things that have nothing to do with cigarettes…”

And what did they tell us we would achieve with cigarettes? Think about it. What did they tell us we gain? “You will be a smart aleck, an enchantress, a great guy, you will be in, modern you will have style and image”, etc. And to the youngsters they said: “You will be a man/woman”. So, if the way in which we can achieve this is to smoke a cigarette, no problem, because the pleasure is worth it. And in reality this pleasure is far more genuine than the pain of choking for a few minutes on a cigarette.

The essence is that we associate all kinds of irrelative things with smoking, and sex is one of these. When you smoke, you are regarded as “sexy”. And truly, does it not make you feel that someone is sexy when you smell his breath after he has smoked? Does this not make you feel good? It is probably the complete opposite… Or, another thing: If we smoke we will be able to relax. This is true. If we continue smoking we will be able to relax for a long, long time!

So, what’s the story? We started smoking a cigarette and our mind told us: “Hey, what are you doing, you fool?” and we said: “Quiet, mind! The sex will be worth it”. And so we continued smoking more and more… For similar reasons, people take drugs and abuse alcohol.

So you see, the associations in our minds direct us, even if they make no sense. So, can some people even urge others to do something destructive just by making their minds associate it with pleasure? Naturally they can. A classic example from the 2nd World War: The Japanese created a group of people who were called “kamikaze pilots” and made them voluntarily kill themselves. How? Simple. They made them associate their death (!), something painful, with some “final pleasure”: they would honour their family and their country and would go to a place that is far better than here where there is eternal pleasure.

Truly people can be taught to do anything, especially negative things…
So, if we can realize the roots of the destructive habit of smoking (for ourselves and others), we need only to regain control of ourselves and stop once and for all!

03/08/2009

AUGUST 2009



AUGUST 2009 1ST DAY OF LENT

1 SATURDAY The 7 Maccabee children. Vespers 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

2 SUNDAY +8th Sunday of Matthew. Divine Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Supplication 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

3 MONDAY +Salomi, Dalmatios, Theodora. Supplication 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

4 TUESDAY +7 Holy Youths of Ephesus. Supplication 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

5 WEDNESDAY +Martyr Eusignius. Evgenios Aitolos the righteous.
Vespers 4:00 – 4:30 p.m.

6 THURSDAY +COMMEMORATION OF OUR LORD’S TRANSFIGURATION. Divine Liturgy 9:00 –11:45 a.m. Supplication 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

7 FRIDAY +Dormetios of Persia. Ninanor the wonderworker.
Supplication 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

8 SATURDAY +Aimilianos Bishop of Kyzikos, Myron, Anastasiou new mart of Thes/ki. Vespers 5:00 –6:00 p.m.

9 SUNDAY +9th MATHEW. Mathias the Apostle. Divine Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Supplication 4:00 –5:30 p.m.

10 MONDAY +Archdeacon Lavrentios. Supplication 4:00 –5:30 p.m.

11 TUESDAY +Euplus the Deacon. Commemoration of St Spyridon’s miracle.
Supplication 4:00 –5:30 p.m.

12 WEDNESDAY +Photios and Aniktos the martyrs. Supplication 4:00 –5:30 p.m.

13 THURSDAY +Transportation of the relics Of Maximos Supplication 10:30 –11:30 a.m.

14 FRIDAY + Mathias the Profit. Vespers 5:00 –6:00 p.m.

15 SATURDAY +DORMITION OF THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS.Divine Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Vespers 5:00 –6:00 p.m.

16 SUNDAY +10th Sunday of Matthew. Holy Mandilion.
Lamentation and Holy Ceremony of the Burial of Theotokos (Panagia).
Divine Liturgy 8:45 – 12:00 a.m.

20 THURSDAY +Samuel Supplication 10:30 –11:30 a.m.

23 SUNDAY +Restitution feast of the Dormition of Holy Theotokos.
Divine Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.

27 THURSDAY +Phanourios the martyr, Poemen Supplication 10:30 –11:30 a.m.

29 SATURDAY +The Beheading of the Holy, Glorious and Baptist John
Fasting day Divine Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.

30 SUNDAY +12th Sunday of Matthew. Alexander, John and Paul Patriarchs
of Constantinople. Divine Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.

24/07/2009

Letter 1'


Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of New Zealand
Holy Church of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, Christchurch

Christchurch 20/6/2009
Dearest Brethren.
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
With the Grace of God, the blessings of our Bishop of New Zealand H. E. Amphilochios and the help and permission of my home Bishop of Mytiline H. E. Iakovos, three months have already passed since my family and I came to New Zealand.
It is the love and concern of our Bishop towards our Church, towards all of you, which brought us here.
We have met and spoken with the most of you and I'm filled with joy every time I see your beloved faces during our Holy Services.
For those I've not met yet, I' m looking forward to meeting you and for that reason; I have started visiting many of you at your jobs or at your homes.
I would like us all to have unity in Christ and to strengthen our relationship with our Lord.
Therefore, we want you to have opportunities for prayer and Catechism, except of those we already have on Sundays and big Feast Days.
One of those opportunities is the service of the holy Paraklesis to Panagia, the Mother of God, who intercedes for us to her Son.
This prayer is followed by Catechism.
So all, you that are not occupied with a job are invited to come and pray together every Thursday 10.30-11.30 a.m.
For those that are working, I would like to hear from you if you are interested to make some time for an individual or a group prayer and Catechism.
Now about our beloved children and youth. Don't you think it is time to help them find their way to Christ, to help them open up their souls for Him to step in? Jesus said: “Let the children come to me.”
My wife presvitera Anastasia and I would be very happy if you could manage to find one hour every week for your children to come together to learn about the life of our Church. Our Treasure is right here! We just have to reach out to get it!
If you are interested in any of the above, please let me know. You can visit us, call us for a visit or phone us. My phone numbers are: Tel. 3554885
and 0210473894.
My e-mail address is: amphilochio@ yahoo.gr. Also, I would very much like to have your e-mail address to communicate personally with you.
With love in Christ.


Rev. Amphilochios S. Vasiltsotelis

21/07/2009

HOW TO EFFECTIVELY DESTROY YOUR CHILD!




• From the time he is very young do not deny him anything. Give him whatever he wants, especially when he becomes stubborn and cries. In this way he will grow up believing that others owe him everything and that his rights are paramount.

• When he begins to swear, you should laugh. In this way you will show him that he is very clever!

• Never tell him that “That is naughty”! This is the old way of thinking. When he faces difficulties later in life and when something bad happens to him, he can rightly believe that society is treating him unfairly.

• You should always pick up after him – books, clothes, shoes… Never say to him: “Pick them up. Put them where they belong”! In this way he can believe that his mother is his slave and that everyone else is always responsible for everything.

• Let him see everything (especially on television) and let him read everything without ever guiding him. Your child is sharp and knows how to distinguish between things! In this way his education will be broadened!

• Never teach him anything spiritual. In front of him, mock faith, the Church, the priests and all who follow them. When the child grows up “He will choose for himself”.

• Give him lots of pocket money so that he never feels beneath others and so that “he never lacks what you lacked”. When he grows up, he will be certain that money will give value to people no matter how they came by it.

• Never say to him “Do this” or “Don’t do that” because in this way you suppress him, you do not respect his freedom and his character. You could also cause him…psychological damage! When he grows up he will believe that he can give orders in life but never obey them himself.

• Fight, swear, insult one another in front of him, shamelessly. (Don’t worry, no psychological trauma will come from this!). Later on, when he marries, it will seem natural to him to do the same.

• When he begins to become involved with eroticism and sexuality, you must close your eyes. Do not say anything, do not guide him, do not advise him. Let him do whatever he needs to do because “it is natural”!

• Always side with him in the presence of his teachers and neighbours. Never believe that “your little angel” can do anything wrong or mischievous. Swear at those who in a friendly and well-meaning manner mention anything to you. They are slanderers and are jealous.

* * * * * * * * *

• When you go to the police station, where he will have been taken because of theft, or drugs, shout out loud in front of everyone that he is a wicked child, a hooligan, that you sacrificed everything for him but could not control him. In this way, you will come out on top.

• Prepare yourselves for a life of pain and guilt. You will have it.

13/07/2009

“E” ELEMENTS IN OUR NUTRITION



Every pre-packed foodstuff is accompanied by a label which contains information about the chemical composition and the methods of standardization and storage. Apart from the date of expiry which is also on this label and which we should systematically look for before we purchase the product, there should also be the constituents of the food in order of priority according to their weight. Apart from the ingredients there is also a note of the chemical additives, in other words the “E” (trace elements) which are used by the companies preparing the foods, for which there are indications according to the “Cheumont” Hospital Centre in France, as well as other research centres, that these chemical additives are harmful to our health.
They are usually added in small amounts and that is why they are recorded at the end of the list of contents. We need to stress here that most people have no particular knowledge of chemistry and so most of these words cannot be understood. The result is that most times we take no notice and simply place the product in our shopping baskets.
It is important for us to know that the more chemical additives are contained in food, the less beneficial it is for our health. These chemical additives are used to add flavour, colour or aroma to the food and even a longer shelf life. The “E” code has been instituted by the European Union to indicate the presence of an approved particular chemical additive. Independent of whether the “E” trace elements are approved by the European Union, the more products we use that contain the “E” elements, the more we burden our health, especially if we consume them on a daily basis. The catalogue below is indicative and we hope that it will make us all more careful us consumers: we need to look very carefully at the ingredients of the products to be sure that they do not contain “E” elements.

E 102: Tartrazine (Harmful - allergies)
E 104: Quinoline yellow (Suspicious. – Banned in the U.S.A.)
E110: Sunset yellow (Harmful – causes allergies)
E120: Cochineal (Harmful)
E122: Carmoisine (Suspicious – has many side-effects)
E123: Amaranth ( Very dangerous and a carcinogen)
E124: Ponceau 4R (Harmful)
E127: Erythrosine (Harmful – causes hyperactivity in children)
E131: Patent blue V (A carcinogen – causes allergies)
E141: Copper complexes of chlorophylls and chlorophyllins (i) Copper complexes of chlorophylls (ii) Copper complexens (Suspicious)
E142: Green S (A carcinogen)
E150: Sulphite Ammonia Caramel (Suspicious)
E151: Brilliant Black BN, Black PN (Suspicious)
E153: Vegetable carbon
E161: Lutein (Harmful to the liver)
E171: Titanium dioxide (Suspicious)
E173: Aluminium (Suspicious)
E180: Lithol Rubine PK - cheese coverings (side effects for kidneys and lymphglands)
E210: Benzoic Acid (A carcinogen – causes allergies and asthma)
E211: Sodium Benzoate (A carcinogen)
E213: Calcium Benzoate (A carcinogen – causes allergies and asthma)
E214: Ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate (A carcinogen – causes allergies and asthma)
E215: Sodium ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate (A carcinogen)
E217: Sodium propyl p-hydroxybenzoate (A carcinogen)
E220 & E228: Sulphur Dioxide & Potassium Hydrogen Sulphite (Cause headaches, nausea and asthma)
E:230 & 232: Biphenyl, diphenyl - Sodium orthophenyl phenol
Mainly added to fruits, especially to citrus fruits which is why we transfer the taste to foods from our hands as we clean them.
E239: Hexamethylene tetramine (A carcinogen)
E250 & E252: Very harmful to young children and prevent transfer of oxygen to the blood)
E259: (A carcinogen)
E280: Propionic acid (Banned in many countries)
E311: Octyl Gallate (Causes eczema)
E312: Dodecyl Gallate (Causes eczema)
E321: Butylated hydroxytoluene (Causes cholesterol)
E330: Citric Acid ( A Carcinogen)

08/07/2009

A little old lady sighs and says


A little old lady sighs and says:
“Lord”!
A man next to her asks her:
“Have you ever seen the Lord”?
“Of course I’ve seen Him”.
“What kind of ‘man’ is He”?
“Good, kind-hearted, slightly-built, he feels our pain”.
The man understood that he was dealing with a clever old lady, but he did not give up.
He asked again:
“Have you ever seen Satan”?
“Of course I’ve seen Him”.
“And what is he like”?
“Exactly like you: well-fed, coarse, both in body and manners, and sarcastic”!
He got more than he bargained for. The little old lady was sharp.

02/07/2009

POLLEN AND ITS BENEFITS





Pollen is a product which bees collect from various flowers which they themselves choose. When they visit the flowers pollen sticks to the bees. As they gather more and more pollen, the bees “comb” the pollen from their bodies. They add the tiniest quantity of nectar and honey and keep it in the “little basket” which they have on their legs so that they can transport it to their hives. For us to collect the pollen painlessly, we will have placed pollen traps at the entrance to the hives and as the bees enter the hive, they will pass a small opening and some of the pollen will fall from their legs into the trap.



ITS BENEFITS

Pollen is the richest natural source of protein, vitamins, essential amino-acids, hormones, enzymes and other useful ingredients for our nutrition.

So, pollen:

• Effectively raise iron levels and blood count
• Improves the appetite and so is prescribed for:

• Weakness and general feelings of being run-down
• Loss of weight
• Sluggish metabolism
• Memory loss
• Intestinal abnormalities
• Nervous breakdowns
• Assists those who have mild allergic reactions to gain steady immunity
• Aids in the therapy of prostate inflammation
• Aids mental operation, strengthens the contraction heart and has diuretic effects
• Aids those with cholesterol problems
• Diminishes and significantly lessens menopausal problems
• Protects the system from cerebral haemorrhage

HOW IT IS CONSUMED

Pollen should be taken every morning, shortly before breakfast and the suggested amount is one teaspoonful every day for about a week. From the second week the amount should be increased until the daily does is one tablespoonful.

It can be eaten as it is in dry form.

There are other ways too for those who do not like the strong smell of flowers which accompanies pollen.

Pollen can also be mixed with a little yoghurt and honey.

If you want to dilute it, add the required amount to some milk, tea, or juice and leave it for 10-15 minutes so that it can be diluted.

For best results the “treatment” should continue for at least 4-5 months, although the first signs of improvement in our systems are already apparent from the first month.

24/06/2009

ELDER PAISIOS


ELDER PAISIOS
On July 25, Arsenios Eznepidis was born in Farasa, Cappadocia, shortly before the population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Arsenios' name was given to him by St Arsenios the Cappadocian, who baptised him, named the child for himself and foretold Arsenios' monastic future. After the exchange, the Eznepidis family settled in Konitsa, Epirus. Arsenios grew up here, and after intermediate public school, he learned carpentry.

During the civil war in Greece, Arsenios served as a radio operator. He worried about his compatriots who had family, whereas he didn't worry for himself because he was single and had no children. He was noted for his bravery, self-sacrifice and moral righteousness. After the civil war ended, he wanted to begin the monastic life, but had to provide for his sisters. In 1950, this was accomplished, and he went to Mt Athos: first to Fr Kyril, the future abbot of Koutloumousiou Monastery (Athos), and then to Esphigmenou Monastery (although he was not supportive of their later opposition to the Ecumenical Patriarchate).

Arsenios, having been a novice for four years, was tonsured a monk and was given the name Averkios. Soon after, Fr Averkios went to the (then) idiorrhythmic brotherhood of Philotheou, where his uncle was a monk. While there, he was in obedience to Elder Symeon. In 1956, Elder Symeon was to tonsure Fr Averkios to the small schema, giving him the name Paisios.
Early life

On July 25, 1924 the future Elder Paisios (Eznepidis) was born to pious parents in the town of Farasa, Cappadocia of Asia Minor. The family's spiritual father, the priest monk Arsenios (the now canonized St. Arsenios of Cappadocia), baptized the babe with his name, prophesying his future profession as monk. A week after the baptism (and barely a month after his birth) Arsenios was driven, along with his family, out of Asia Minor by the Turks. St. Arsenios guided his flock along their 400-mile trek to Greece. After a number of stops along the way, Arsenios' family finally ended up in the town of Konitsa in Epiros (north western Greece). St. Arsenios had reposed, as he had prophesied, forty days after their establishment in Greece, and he left as his spiritual heir the infant Arsenios.

The young Arsenios was wholly given over to God and spent his free time in the silence of nature, where he would pray for hours on end. Having completed his elementary education, he learned the trade of carpentry. He worked as a carpenter until his mandatory military service. He served in the Army during the dangerous days of the end of World War II. Arsenios was brave and self-sacrificing, always desiring to put his own life at risk so as to spare his brother. He was particularly concerned about his fellow soldiers who had left wives and children to serve.

Having completed his obligation to his country, Arsenios received his discharge in 1949 and greatly desired to begin his monastic life on the Holy Mountain. Before being able to settle there, however, he had to fulfil his responsibility to his family, to look after his sisters, who were as yet unmarried. Having provided for his sisters' future, he was free to begin his monastic vocation with a clean conscience. He arrived on Mt. Athos in 1950, when he learned his first lessons in the monastic way from the virtuous ascetic Fr. Kyril (the future abbot of Koutloumousiou Monastery), but was unable to stay by his side as he had hoped, and so was sent to the Monastery of Esphigmenou. He was a novice there for four years, after which he was tonsured a monk in 1954 with the name Averkios. He was a conscientious monk, finding ways to both complete his obedience’s (which required contact with others) and to preserve his silence, so as to progress in the art of prayer. He was always selfless in helping his brethren, unwilling to rest while others worked (though he may have already completed his own obediences), as he loved his brothers greatly and without distinction. In addition to his ascetic struggles and the common life in the monastery, he was spiritually enriched through the reading of soul-profiting books. In particular, he read the lives of the Saints, the Gerontikon, and especially the Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian.
Monastic Life

Soon after his tonsure, monk Averkios left Esphigmenou and joined the (then) idiorhythmic brotherhood of Philotheou Monastery, where his uncle was a monk. He put himself under obedience to the virtuous Elder Symeon, who gave him the Small Schema in 1956, with the new name Paisios. Fr. Paisios dwelt deeply on the thought that his own spiritual failures and lack of love were the cause of his neighbour’s shortcomings, as well as of the world's ills. He harshly accused himself, pushing himself to greater self-denial and more fervent prayer for his soul and for the whole world. Furthermore, he cultivated the habit of always seeking the "good reason" for a potentially scandalous event and for people's actions, and in this way he preserved himself from judging others. For example, pilgrims to Mt. Athos had been scandalized by the strange behaviour and stories told by a certain monk, and, when they met Elder Paisios, they asked him what was wrong with the monk. He warned them not to judge others, and that this monk was actually virtuous and was simply pretending to be a fool when visitors would come, so as to preserve his silence.

In 1958 Elder Paisios was asked to spend some time in and around his home village so as to support the faithful against the proselytism of Protestant groups. He greatly encouraged the faithful there, helping many people. Afterwards, in 1962, he left to visit Sinai where he stayed for two years. During this time he became beloved of the Bedouins who benefited both spiritually as well as materially from his presence. The Elder used the money he received from the sale of his carved wooden handicraft to buy them food.

On his return to Mt. Athos in 1964 Elder Paisios took up residence at the Skete of Iviron before moving to Katounakia at the southernmost tip of Mt. Athos for a short stay in the desert there. The Elder's failing health may have been part of the reason for his departure from the desert. In 1966, he was operated on and had part of his lungs removed. It was during this time of hospitalization that his long friendship with the then young sisterhood of St. John the Theologian in Souroti, just outside of Thessaloniki, began. During his operation he greatly needed blood and it was then that a group of novices from the monastery donated blood to save him. Elder Paisios was most grateful, and after his recovery did whatever he could, materially and spiritually, to help them build their monastery.

In 1968 he spent time at the Monastery of Stavronikita helping both with its spiritual as well as material renovation. While there he had the blessing of being in contact with the ascetic Elder Tikhon who lived in the hermitage of the Holy Cross, near Stavronikita. Elder Paisios stayed by his side until his repose, serving him selflessly as his disciple. It was during this time that Elder Tikhon clothed Fr. Paisios in the Great Schema. According to the wishes of the Elder, Fr. Paisios remained in his hermitage after his repose. He stayed there until 1979, when he moved on to his final home on the Holy Mountain, the hermitage Panagouda, which belongs to the Monastery of Koutloumousiou.

It was here at Panagouda that Elder Paisios' fame as a God bearing elder grew, drawing to him the sick and suffering people of God. He received them all day long, dedicating the night to God in prayer, vigil and spiritual struggle. His regime of prayer and asceticism left him with only two or three hours each night for rest. The self-abandon with which he served God and his fellow man, his strictness with himself, the austerity of his regime, and his sensitive nature made him increasingly prone to sickness. In addition to respiratory problems, in his later days he suffered from a serious hernia that made life very painful. When he was forced to leave the Holy Mountain for various reasons (often due to his illnesses) he would receive pilgrims for hours on end at the women's monastery at Souroti, and the physical effort which this entailed in his weakened state caused him such pain that he would turn pale. He bore his suffering with much grace, however, confident that, as God knows what is best for us, it could not be otherwise. He would say that God is greatly touched when someone who is in great suffering does not complain, but rather uses his energy to pray for others.

In addition to his other illnesses he suffered from haemorrhaging which left him very weak. In his final weeks before leaving the Holy Mountain, he would often fall unconscious. On October 5, 1993 the Elder left his beloved Holy Mountain for the last time. Though he had planned on being off the mountain for just a few days, while in Thessalonica he was diagnosed with cancer that needed immediate treatment. After the operation he spent some time recovering in the hospital and was then transferred to the monastery at Souroti. Despite his critical state he received people, listening to their sorrows and counselling them.

After his operation, Elder Paisios had his heart set on returning to Mt. Athos. His attempts to do so, however, were hindered by his failing health. His last days were full of suffering, but also of the joy of the martyrs. On July 11, 1994, he received Holy Communion for the last time. The next day, Elder Paisios gave his soul into God's keeping. He was buried, according to his wishes, at the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Souroti. Elder Paisios, perhaps more than any other contemporary elder, has captured the minds and hearts of the Greek people. Many books of his counsels have been published, and the monastery at Souroti has undertaken a great work, organizing the Elder's writings and counsels into impressive volumes befitting his memory. Thousands of pilgrims visit his tomb each year.

Elder Paisios was a very simple man, who believed in the word of the Gospel, making monasticism and the teachings of the Orthodox ascetical tradition his way of life. His general education was limited to primary school level. Despite all this he was distinguished by his “charming” simplicity and his intense anxiety to help his fellow man, who needed a spiritual guide. He himself was the example of a person dedicated to God, removing from himself personal aspirations and all personal wills. Obedience, practice (ascesis), humility, piety, a sense of honour and, above all, love and patience, were a way of life for him, as well as teachings for all who sought a word of comfort or a solution to a personal problem.

Teachings
Thoughts. The Elder gave great importance to thought. He always stressed that everything begins from good thoughts which drive away evil ones. We should think positive thoughts about our fellow men, not negative ones, otherwise guile and obstinacy enter our thoughts. He also mentioned that we should not trust our thoughts and rather give way to God’s will, because he who does this, always wins.

Sense of Honour. The Elder constantly mentioned that people should have noble love. “Whatever we offer or do”, he would say, “should always be done with a sense of honour and not out of necessity or selfishness. We should not follow out of fear but rather we should have good will and intention, as did Christ when He came to this world”.

Divine Justice. He always said that if we want to be like the Saints we need to enforce Divine Justice and not human justice. According to the Elder, human justice is blind and is there only to drive away evil and cunning people. Divine Justice however, aims to assist man who is weak and those who have need. When we enforce Divine Justice we avoid disputes, castigations and differences between with our fellow men.

Divine Providence. Divine Providence is unfathomable and uncharted and aims at the salvation of man and eternal life. He emphasized that we should not constantly concern ourselves with life’s needs, because God provides in such a way that He will give us want we desire, many times before we even ask for it, as long as our thoughts are on Him and we pray. When something bad happens to someone it is God’s concession, not sent by Him, so that He can teach man, because of His dispensation.

Humility. For the Elder, humility was the foundation element of the salvation of man and generally, the element which brings about good relations between people. He also said that God “is unable” to help when man is not humble and tries in every way to bring about this humility, through suffering. “Without humility”, he continued, “ there can be not Divine Grace, we close off our hearts to Christ and whatever it is that we gained, we quickly lose”.

Obedience. Total obedience, according to the Elder, brings about humility which is the beginning of all good. “We must obey even when we are unfairly treated, because God rewards patience in injustice”, he often said. “Today everyone is impatient, but those who are patient, according to Christ, will gain the kingdom of heaven”, he would say.







21/06/2009

God's cake...


This is about the best thing I've ever read as an explanation.

Sometimes we wonder, 'What did I do to deserve this?' or 'Why did God have to do this to me?' Here is a wonderful explanation! A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, 'Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.'
'Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers.
'Yuck' says her daughter.
'How about a couple raw eggs?' 'Gross, Mom!'
'Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?'
'Mom, those are all yucky!'
To which the mother replies: ‘Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! '
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!
God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.
If you like this, send this on to the people you really care about.
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance! God's cake...
This is about the best thing I've ever read as an explanation.

Sometimes we wonder, 'What did I do to deserve this?' or 'Why did God have to do this to me?' Here is a wonderful explanation! A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, 'Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.'
'Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers.
'Yuck' says her daughter.
'How about a couple raw eggs?' 'Gross, Mom!'
'Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?'
'Mom, those are all yucky!'
To which the mother replies: ‘Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! '
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!
God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.
If you like this, send this on to the people you really care about.
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

20/06/2009

SUFFERING IN OUR LIVES


Human life is integrally bonded with pain; sorrows, troubles, sadness, illnesses, deaths of loved ones take first place in our lives. Many times we ask “why?” For this reason, one of the greatest fathers of our Church has given us the answer. He is St John Chrysostom, who speaks not only as the “golden tongue”, or even as one with a deep knowledge of the human soul, but presents the experience of his own life. A life molded by pain, grief, persecution and slander. Suffering is what the Crucified Lord left us as an honour and a sign of recognition for His faithful. St John Chrysostom, however, ended his distressed and suffering life with his immortal words: “Glory to God for all things”. For the joys, and sorrows, successes and misfortunes – he glorified God for all.
Many accept that time, etc as the doctor of the philosophy of grief and pain; but these are false intercessors. Only God can ease and soften our suffering. In one of his letters to Olympias, his deaconess, Chrysostom wrote characteristically, during a very distressed period in his life while in exile, the following: “Leave people to live their comfort in the shadows. You must fervently ask Jesus whom you adore, to cast His eye on your grief and then your sorrows will instantly cease”. It is help from above which eases pain; divine comfort is given to us from God, if we ask for it, of course…
We must not forget, though, that suffering is often God’s invitation calling us to repentance…
Never think that if God loved someone, He would not allow him to be poor, says St John Chrysostom. “Forget superstitions. These sorrows are themselves the proof of God’s love”. Pain is given to the impious as a means of moving them to repentance, or as a punishment if their mind has been calloused. To the just, pain is allowed so that they may shine even more, as gold glows when it is heated by the fire. Also, though, for another reason: to glorify them for their patience and perseverance. That is why Chrysostom calls grief and pain “the medication of the soul”. As all medication has its effects and side-effects, so the effect this medication will have on us depends on our willingness to submit to the will of God. Either way, we need to endure our suffering and grief. If we can endure without complaint we will gain much; if we become angry with God, however, our suffering will become greater. It is in our hands to apply willingly the will of God, because then, within ourselves, we will be peaceful and content, praising God for whatever happens to us. However, when we are unwilling to do the will of God, we do not harm God in any way, but we do condemn ourselves to hell; for that is what hell is – our voluntary dissociation from God.
CAN WE COPE WITH SUFFERING?

Once again, Holy Chrysostom provides the solutions for us: Firstly, even with prayer, which is the most powerful antidote to pain, do you still hurt, grieve and suffer? Even then, praise God. These days, we humans have become used to comfort and we become indignant at even the slightest difficulty, so it seems inconceivable to us to praise God in our grief. Yet, from the example of Job and up to even St John Chrysostom himself, together with thousands of the other saints, let us struggle in prayer to glorify God with our hearts, for our suffering. Charity is yet another form of medication against pain. Are you distressed or suffering? Think of your grieving brothers. Give them some form of charity so that united with God through prayer and bound to your brothers through charity, you have strong support in the difficulties you have to endure. Prayer connects us to God, charity to our fellow man. The third form of medication then is self-examination which will connect you to yourself. You need to examine the depths of your soul well, without flattery and love of self. You will then see that you are not innocent and that is the reason for your suffering. Do not think that others are worse sinners than you yet are having a good time. Do not look at others. Look only at yourself. Maybe your own grief and suffering is a good way to pay off the debts of your sins. Then, as a tree which is deeply rooted in the earth remains unmoved by the strength of the wind, so a faithful person will not yield to the storms which he has to face, knowing that God knows what is good for him and loves him…This trust is the power which helps God’s faithful children to endure their present sorrows with perseverance and patience and so they will inherit future riches. God is aware of our troubles and sorrows and will never allow us to be faced with a temptation greater than our strengths. The fifth form of medication against pain is the desire and love of God. The soul turns its eyes constantly on God, does not fear poverty, does not complain when ill, does not lose courage when facing death, because God’s love conquers all… Holy Chrysostom brings us the living example of the Apostle Paul who, through his sorrows and temptations was as joyful as if he was in Paradise. Therefore, every faithful person who remains close to God’s love never falls into melancholy. Even with eyes brimming with tears due to suffering, a bleeding heart due to attacks and temptations, he steeps himself in God’s love. For, as Christ assures us, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Finally, another way to face the difficulties and distresses of life with courage and strength, according to St John Chrysostom, is to view everything through the prism of eternity.
With our thoughts and desires on the heavenly kingdom we will not even feel the trials and disasters of this life. A businessman conquers adversity with the hope of profits. An athlete gladly accepts privations and limitations with thoughts of victory. So it should be with us. Looking at heaven and seeing the riches which await us there, and seeing that here on earth we are but temporary residents, let us bravely endure the struggles of this life.
Let us take strength and strong patience from the hope of future riches. Here, we are the brave novice fighters for life. In Heaven we shall enjoy the glory and radiance of God. Holy John Chrysostom again reminds us of the Apostle Paul who, by placing before us a non-earthly scale to weigh, on the one hand the pain of the present life and on the other heavenly enjoyment, says: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

St John Chrysostom

06/06/2009

JUNE 2009

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of New Zealand
Holy Church of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, Christchurch




ΙΟΥΛΙΟΣ / JULY 2009

5 ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗ SUNDAY +Δ’ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΥ. Αθανασίου Ο. εν τω Άθω.
+4th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW. Athanasios of Mount Athos.
Θ. Λειτουργία D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 π.μ. / a.m.

12 ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗ SUNDAY +E’ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΥ. Πρόκλου και Ιλαρίου Ιρμ.
+5th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW. Proklos and Hilario the Martyrs.
Θ. Λειτουργία D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 π.μ. / a.m.

17 ΠΑΡΑΣΚΕΥΗ FRIDAY +Αγ. Μαρίνας Μεγαλομάρτυρος / St. Marina the Great Martyr.
Θ. Λειτουργία D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 π.μ. / a.m.

19 ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗ SUNDAY +ΑΓΙΩΝ ΠΑΤΕΡΩΝ ΤΗΣ Δ’ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΗΣ ΣΥΝΟΔΟΥ.
+HOLY FATHERS OF THE 4th ECUMENICAL SYNOD. Θ. Λειτουργία D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 π.μ. / a.m.

20 ΔΕΥΤΕΡΑ MONDAY +Προφήτου Ηλιού. +Prophet Elias. Θ. Λειτουργία D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 π.μ. / a.m.

26 ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗ SUNDAY +Z’ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΥ.Ερμολάου ιερομ. +7th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW. Hermolaou . Θ. Λειτουργία D. Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 π.μ. / a.m.

27 ΔΕΥΤΕΡΑ MONDAY +Αγίου Παντελεήμονος / Panteleimon the Great Martyr. Παράκλησις
Supplication 10:30 – 11:30 π.μ. /a.m.

MALICE



A priest named Sapricius had a very close friend named Nicephorus, who was a layman. There was so much love between them that each thought that he lived within the soul of the other. However, the devil’s malice caused a situation which brought about all this friendship and made them enemies, so that neither wanted to set eyes on the other. Nicephorus quickly overcame the passion and with perseverance sought to restore the beauty of their friendship. At first he sent mutual friends to reconcile them, saying that he was to blame for all the causes of the disagreement and begging for forgiveness. Sapricius however remained adamant and hard and did nothing to dissolve the enmity, albeit that he was a priest. At some point Nicephorus approached Sapricius, felt at his feet and with tears begged for his forgiveness and asking that they become friends again. However Sapricius, with no feelings at all, walked past him quickly, without even speaking to him, without even looking at him.
That is how things were between them, when the Epmperor Julian began a new persecution against the Christians in his efforts to restore the old idolatrous religion. So when the order for the persecution arrived in the city in which both Nicephorus and the priest Sapricius lived, Sapricius was arrested first because he was a priest. The ruler of the city, after torturing him, asked him to deny Christ, putting him through many torments, but Sapricius would not deny his faith. Finally, the ruler sentenced him to death by the sword. Knowing all this, Nicephorus believed that now the time was right for their reconciliation. He appeared before Sapricius, knelt in front of him, embraced his feet and begged him before he dies to forgive him. However he continued his inhuman feeling and did not soften his heart at all at the emotion and lamentation of Nicephorus. With the wax of malice he had blocked his ears and quickly bypassed his friend. Again Nicephorus did not despair, but went to him again and with more fervent please begged his mercy, shedding many tears. Sapricius remained deaf and seemed to be made of stone when he arrived at the place of the execution.
As the hands of the executioners lifted the sword and Sapricius bent his neck to receive the torment, and the crowns which he was to inherit from Christ, were already above his head, something astonishing happened: Darkened by malice he seemed to not be aware of whose presence he was standing in and seemed also to forget why he had been arrested, and in total confusion having lost his mind, asked why he was to be executed. The executioners replied that he had ignored the royal commands and was not convinced to offer sacrifices to the gods. And then came the worst fall of resentment together with his denial of Christ and the true faith and his declaration that he would sacrifice to the gods.
As soon as Nicephorus saw this, his heart broke and with fervent words said to Sapricius:
“My brother and father, do not wish to betray the God who created you and to whom you will return after your death! Do not assail the laws of piety, or the confession which you made before God and the angels. Respect the previous torments which you underwent for Christ. Honour the great office of the Priesthood. I beg you, my friend, on bended knee, do not deny your confession of the Holy Trinity, now that you have in your hands the awards and almost upon your head the crowns of the athlete. But Sapricius became all the more harder and unfeeling, because his heart had been filled with malice and therefore could no longer contain piety. Then Nicephorus, bursting with zeal because of his own piety and that of his friend, and because he could no longer do anything for him, threw himself into the torment, confessed Christ and placed his neck under the swords of the executioners. So, in this way, Nicephorus the forbearing and forgiving, endured the martyred death by the sword and in a short time and with little effort earned the Kingdom of Heaven and was proved to be genuinely victorious. This example shows us that no physical struggles and labours can reconcile us with God as much as compassion and concern and love for our neighbour can, for this is the beginning and the end of all virtues…((Evergetinos Volume 2, Issue 42)

I said to the 80-year old Elder Ascetic…



“Tell me, my fathers, why on this earth, night and day are inseparable?

Why do the thorn and flower, laughter and tears grow together as twins?

Why do scorpions, vipers and cold poisons nest in the most beautiful greenery of the forest?

Why, before the delicate bud can emerge and open its beauty to the light, does a black worm come and stab it an leave it as a lifeless rag in its crib?

Finally, why does confusion and disorder push its way into the harmony of the world?...”

Lifting his right hand to heaven and with his deep voice, the ascetic replied:

“Behind those golden clouds, the Most Blessed One is busy creating a priceless piece of embroidery.

And as we walk down here on earth, we see the rear view of it, my child.

And it is obvious then that we will see errors at a time when we should be giving thanks and praise.

As a Christian, wait for the day when your winged soul will fly through the sky

And you will see God’s masterpiece from its proper view and then…you will see that all is methodical and ordered”.

25/05/2009

Η ΓΙΟΡΤΗ ΤΗΣ ΜΗΤΕΡΑΣ


Σήμερα ο φεμινισμός κάνει ακαταλόγιστη τη γυναίκα, υποτιμά και καταργεί τη μητρότητά της. Στην καθιερωμένη λοιπόν γιορτή της μητέρας αξίζει να υπενθυμίσουμε στη γυναίκα τι λένε οι σοφοί για την άξια μητέρα.
α) Η ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ ΤΟΥ ΧΩΡΙΟΥ
Εσύ, είσαι ο στύλος του σπιτιού και του χωρίου καμάρι,
Γυναίκα εσύ , μάνα αδερφή,
σου πρέπει εσέ προσκυνητάρι.

Εσύ, γυναίκα, τον τραβάς της γης τον πιο σκληρό αγώνα
για τ' όργωμα, για την σπορά, το θέρο,
τ 'άντρα σου κολόνα.

Εσύ θα ψήσεις το ψωμί, εσύ θα στρώσεις το κλινάρι,
κι εσύ θα κάτσεις τη νυχτιά νυχτέρι δίπλα στο λυχνάρι...
Για το λιομάζωμα θα πας και για τα ζα συ θα φροντίσεις

Εσύ στη βρύση για νερό και το παιδί συ θα κοίμησης
Όλη δικιά σου ειν' η δουλειά , γυναίκα του χωρίου.

Μπροστά σου ας σκύψουν όλοι ταπεινά
κι ας προσκυνήσουν την ποδιά σου.
Γ . ΑΝΝΙΝΟΣ

β) Ο ΠΑΤΕΡΑΣ ΣΤΟ ΠΑΙΔΙ ΤΟΥ
Χθες, παιδί μου, έδειξες έλλειψη σεβασμού στη μητέρα σου.
Τα ανευλαβή σου λόγια μπήκαν στην καρδιά μου σαν μαχαιριά...
Συ, να προσβάλεις τη μητέρα σου!
Τη μητέρα σου , που θα έδινε ένα χρόνο από την ευτυχία της , για να σου αφαιρέσει μιας ώρας πόνο, που θα γινόταν ζητιάνα για σένα, που θα σκοτωνόταν ακόμα, για να σου δώσει τη ζωή.
Άκουσε, παιδί μου. Βάλ’ το καλά στο μυαλό σου αυτό που θα σου πω.
Υπόθεσε ότι έχεις να περάσεις πολλές άσχημες στιγμές στη ζωή σου. Αλλά η πιο τρομερή στιγμή θα είναι εκείνη που θα χάσεις τη μητέρα σου...
Τότε θα θυμηθείς κάθε πίκρα που την πότισες και θα αισθανθείς τύψεις να σε τυραννούν, δυστυχισμένε!
Μην περιμένεις γαλήνη στη ζωή σου, αν έχεις λυπήσει τη μητέρα σου...
Πρόσεχε , παιδί μου: η αγάπη της μητέρας είναι ένα από τα πιο μεγάλα αισθήματα του ανθρώπου...
Ο κακούργος που σέβεται τη μητέρα του έχει ακόμα μέσα του κάτι το τίμιο και το ευγενικό. Ο πιο ένδοξος των ανθρώπων που προσβάλλει και στενοχωρεί τη μητέρα του, δεν είναι παρά ένα σιχαμερό πλάσμα.
Να μη βγει πια από το στόμα σου, παιδί μου, μια σκληρή λέξη για κείνη που σου έδωκε τη ζωή.
Κι αν σου ξεφύγει ποτέ μια τέτοια λέξη, γονάτισε μπροστά της και παρακάλεσέ την μ' ένα φίλημά της να σβήσει από το μέτωπό σου το στίγμα της αγνωμοσύνης.

γ) Ο ΟΥΓΚΩ ΓΙΑ ΤΗ ΜΗΤΕΡΑ ΤΟΥ
Κατάκοπος από τη μεγάλη ένταση ο Ουγκώ αποσύρθηκε να κοιμηθεί. Προτού κλειδώσει το υπνοδωμάτιο , είπε στον υπηρέτη.
- Μη με ξυπνήσει κανείς. Αν έλθει ο συμβολαιογράφος και σου πει ότι κληρονόμησα κάποια τεράστια περιουσία, πες του δεν είμαι εδώ. Αν πιάσει φωτιά το σπίτι, μη με ξυπνήσεις- προτιμώ να καώ. Αν έλθει η μητέρα μου από τον άλλο κόσμο, να της πεις να με περιμένει. Και διόρθωσε: Μάλλον μην της πεις τίποτα. Αυτή δε θα θελήσει ποτέ να με ξυπνήσει, θα περιμένει...
Έτσι ύμνησαν τη μητέρα από τα παλιά τα χρόνια…