A woman was asked by a co - worker, "What is it like to be a
The co - worker replied, "It is like being a pumpkin." God picks you
From The patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then
Cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff.
He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves You a
New smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the
World to see."
This was passed on to me by another pumpkin. Now it's your turn to
Pass it to other pumpkins. I liked this enough to send it to all the
Pumpkins in my patch!!
Love Ya Pumpkins!
A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.
She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat.
She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed for help.
Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her -- a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer...
They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.
When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.
She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them.
Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.
The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the
whole time, and he will never be the same.
May you, and all those you love, be so fortunate...
To be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.
And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
I pass this on to you, my friend, in the same spirit
Life is short ...forgive quickly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably...
and never regret anything that made you smile
How does He, who dwells in the splendor of His glory, descend into the Virgin’s womb without leaving the bosom of the Father?
How is He conceived in the flesh, and does He spontaneously suffer, and suffer unto death, in that material body, gaining immortality through corruptibility?
And, again, ascending to the Father, He drew His Mother, according to the flesh, to His own Father, assuming into the heavenly country her who was heaven on earth.
Today the living ladder, through whom the Most High descended and was seen on earth, and conversed with men, was assumed into heaven by death.
Today the heavenly table, she, who contained the bread of life, the fire of the Godhead, without knowing man, was assumed from earth to heaven, and the gates of heaven opened wide to receive the gate of God from the East.
Saint John of Damascus
He is also called Moses the Black. He was a slave, but was cast out by his master due to his evil life. He then became the leader of a murderous band of robbers in Egypt. He came to repentance and took up monastic life in the desert under St Isidore of Sketis.
For many years he struggled tirelessly, through prayer, fasting and vigils, with lustful and violent thoughts; he was finally freed of them through the prayers of St Isidore. Moses was revered by all the brethren for his ascetical life, his wisdom, and his deep humility. Once a brother committed some sin and the monks gathered to judge him. Moses at first refused to go at all, but when they insisted, he filled an old, leaky basket with sand and carried it into the assembly on his back.
When the brethren asked him what his action meant, he said "My sins run out behind me, and I do not even see them, and I have come to judge my brother." The monk was forgiven. In time the fame of this humblest of monks spread so far that kings and bishops travelled into the desert to seek his wisdom and his blessing. In his old age, he was warned that a band of brigands was coming to attack the Skete. He refused to leave saying, "It is written: he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword."
So, mindful that he had slain others by the sword, he willingly awaited his own murder.Six other monks who remained with him were also slain.
Not even close to fasting!
This recipe originally came from a cookbook for a Greek parish in Chicago, but I've tampered with it, mostly by editorializing.
Doubles well; the recipe given is for one loaf pan worth, but Doubled it makes a bundt pan's worth.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine:
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brandy
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups golden raisins
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for exactly ten minutes -- any longer, and you'll have a good caramelized smelling door stop instead of a cake.
Set pot in cold water to cool mixture completely.
Sift into cooled syrup:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
Beat vigorously for eight to ten minutes (Takes muscles! We use a wooden spoon for this) or until batter is smooth and bubbly.
Stir in: 2 Tablespoons grated orange peel
Turn into well greased 7" fluted pan or 8" loaf pan.
Sprinkle with 1/2 sesame seeds (optional; skip if you like).
Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup brandy and cool cake in pan.
Bring to church to have blessed, and then share with parishioners or the poor.
Smells amazingly wonderful while cooking.
Preheat oven to 350.
1. 1 cup sugar
2. 1 cup oil
3. 2 cups orange juice
4. 3/4 cup raisins
5. 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
6. 1 tsp. baking soda
7. 4 cups flour
Mix oil and sugar, and beat until it's a creamy yellow. This may take a long time.
Put the baking soda IN the orange juice, and stir until dissolved. [NB: this can be spectacularly dramatic if you use a two cup measuring cup with two cups of o.j. in it. (Please don't ask how I found out.) It might be easier to hold a two cup measuring cup OVER the bowl full of oil and sugar and pour in *one* cup of o.j., mix in 1/2 tsp. baking soda, watch the fireworks, pour it into the bowl, and again mix *one* cup of o.j. with 1/2 tsp. baking soda, stir and pour again. If you don't dissolve the baking soda completely, you get lumps of it in the cake. So, stir well.]
Add the flour, then the raisins and nuts.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 9"x13" pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes (or until a clean toothpick dipped in the cake emerges clean.)
I use a bundt pan instead of one 9" x 13", and my kids prefer this with chocolate chips in the place of the raisins and nuts. It doesn't really need a frosting, but if you wanted to drizzle a stiff glaze made out of, say, powdered sugar and lemon juice and a little water over it, that would be okay, too.
If you wanted to put spices in the batter, I'd go with a tiny amount (1/4 tsp. or less) of ground cloves.
Modified from a recipe in Greek Traditions and Customs in America, by Marilyn Rouvelas
Satan says: ‘It’s impossible.’
God says: ‘All things are possible’ (Luke 18:27).
Satan says: ‘You’re too tired.’
God says: ‘I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28-30).
Satan says: ‘Nobody really loves you.’
God says: ‘I love you’ (John 3:16, 13:34).
Satan says: ‘You can’t go on. You’re at the end of your rope.’
God says: ‘My grace is sufficient’ (2 Corinthians 12:9, Psalm 91:15).
Satan says: ‘It doesn’t make sense. There’s nothing but darkness ahead.’
God says: ‘I will direct your steps’ (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Satan says: ‘You can’t do it.’
God says: ‘You can do all things in Me’ (Philippians 4:13).
Satan says: ‘It’s not worth it.’
God says: ‘It will be worth it’ (Romans 8:28).
Satan says: ‘There is no hope for you. Your sins are too many.’
God says: ‘I forgive you’ (1 John 1:9, Romans 8:1).
Satan says: ‘You can’t manage.’
God says: ‘I will supply your needs’ (Philippians 4:19).
Satan says: ‘You should be afraid.’
God says: ‘I have not given you a spirit of fear’ (2 Timothy 1:7).
Satan says: ‘You are too worried and frustrated. You will fail.’
God says: ‘Cast all your cares on me’ (1 Peter 5:7).
Satan says: ‘You don’t have enough faith.’
God says: ‘I’ve given everyone a measure of faith’ (Romans 12:3).
Satan says: ‘Your not smart enough.’
God says: ‘I give you wisdom’ (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Satan says: ‘You are all alone. Everyone has forsaken you.’
God says: ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).
- Anthony Coniaris, Controlling and Confronting Thoughts
Translation of the Image "Not-Made-By-Hands" of our Lord Jesus Christ from Edessa to Constantinople, the Third "Feast of the Savior in August"
The Transfer from Edessa to Constantinople of the Icon of our Lord Jesus Christ Not-Made-by-Hands occurred in the year 944. Eusebius, in his HISTORY OF THE CHURCH (I:13), relates that when the Savior was preaching, Abgar ruled in Edessa. He was stricken all over his body with leprosy. Reports of the great miracles worked by the Lord spread throughout Syria (Mt.4:24) and reached even Abgar. Without having seen the Savior, Abgar believed in Him as the Son of God. He wrote a letter requesting Him to come and heal him. He sent with this letter to Palestine his own portrait-painter Ananias, and commissioned him to paint a likeness of the Divine Teacher.
Ananias arrived in Jerusalem and saw the Lord surrounded by people. He was not able to get close to Him because of the large throng of people listening to the preaching of the Savior. Then he stood on a high rock and attempted to paint the portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ from afar, but this effort was not successful. The Savior saw him, called to him by name and gave him a short letter for Abgar in which He praised the faith of this ruler. He also promised to send His disciple to heal him of his leprosy and guide him to salvation.
Then the Lord asked that water and a cloth be brought to Him. He washed His Face, drying it with the cloth, and His Divine Countenance was imprinted upon it. Ananias took the cloth and the letter of the Savior to Edessa. Reverently, Abgar pressed the holy object to his face and he received partial healing. Only a small trace of the terrible affliction remained until the arrival of the disciple promised by the Lord. He was St Thaddeus, Apostle of the Seventy (August 21), who preached the Gospel and baptized Abgar and all the people of Edessa. Abgar put the Holy Napkin in a gold frame adorned with pearls, and placed it in a niche over the city gates. On the gateway above the icon he inscribed the words, "O Christ God, let no one who hopes on Thee be put to shame."
For many years the inhabitants kept a pious custom to bow down before the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands, when they went forth from the gates. But one of the great-grandsons of Abgar, who later ruled Edessa, fell into idolatry. He decided to take down the icon from the city wall. In a vision the Lord ordered the Bishop of Edessa to hide His icon. The bishop, coming by night with his clergy, lit a lampada before it and walled it up with a board and with bricks.
Many years passed, and the people forgot about it. But in the year 545, when the Persian emperor Chozroes I besieged Edessa and the position of the city seemed hopeless, the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to Bishop Eulabius and ordered him to remove the icon from the sealed niche, and it would save the city from the enemy. Having opened the niche, the bishop found the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands: in front of it was burning the lampada, and upon the board closing in the niche, a copy of the icon was reproduced. After a church procession with the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands had made the circuit of the city walls, the Persian army withdrew.
In the year 630 Arabs seized Edessa, but they did not hinder the veneration of the Holy Napkin, the fame of which had spread throughout all the East. In the year 944, the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitos (912-959) wanted to transfer the icon to the Constantinople, and he paid a ransom for it to the emir of the city. With great reverence the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands and the letter which He had written to Abgar, were brought to Constantinople by clergy.
On August 16, the icon of the Savior was placed in the Tharossa church of the Most Holy Theotokos. There are several traditions concerning what happened later to the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands. According to one, crusaders ran off with it duringtheir rule at Constantinople (1204-1261), but the ship on which the sacred object was taken, perished in the waters of the Sea of Marmora.
According to another tradition, the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands was transported around 1362 to Genoa, where it is preserved in a monastery in honor of the Apostle Bartholomew. It is known that the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands repeatedly gave from itself exact imprints. One of these, named "On Ceramic," was imprinted when Ananias hid the icon in a wall on his way to Edessa; another, imprinted on a cloak, wound up in Georgia. Possibly, the variance of traditions about the original Icon Not-Made-by-Hands derives from the existence of several exact imprints.
During the time of the Iconoclast heresy, those who defended the veneration of icons, having their blood spilt for holy icons, sang the Troparion to the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands. In proof of the validity of Icon-Veneration, Pope Gregory II (715-731) sent a letter to the Byzantine emperor, in which he pointed out the healing of King Abgar and the sojourn of the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands at Edessa as a commonly known fact. The Icon Not-Made-by-Hands was put on the standards of the Russian army, defending them from the enemy. In the Russian Orthodox Church it is a pious custom for a believer, before entering the temple, to read the Troparion of the Not-Made-by-Hand icon of the Savior, together with other prayers.
According to the Prologue, there are four known Icons of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands:
· · at Edessa, of King Abgar (August 16)
· · the Kamulian, -- St Gregory of Nyssa (January 10) wrote of its discovery, while according to St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (July 14), the Kamulian icon appeared in the year 392, but it had in appearance an icon of the Mother of God (August 9)
· · in the time of Emperor Tiberius (578-582), St Mary Syncletike (August 11) received healing from this on ceramic tiles (16 August)
The Feast of the Transfer of the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands, made together with the Afterfeast of the Dormition, they call the third-above Savior Icon, the "Savior on Linen Cloth." The particular reverence of this Feast in the Russian Orthodox Church is also expressed in iconography, and the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands was one of the most widely distributed.
The following questions were asked of the elder by Archimandrite Ioannichie (Balan; 1930–2007)—a talented spiritual writer and poet, author of the Romanian Patericon, and co-ascetic and biographer of Elder Cleopa (Ilie).
* * *
—Fr. Arsenie, tell us, how can we be saved from our many earthly cares, so that we might have more time for prayer?
—Fr. Ioannichie, pure prayer from the heart and lips to God is a great work! Prayer is a sharp arrow that all the saints have aimed at heaven for thousands of years, and not only they, but also the simplest Christians. Prayer has pierced the heart of the heavens, perhaps it has reached those who were displeased with the earth's inhabitants, and salvific replies have returned along the same path; thus was faith preserved on earth from generation to generation.
Brother Christian, you also have your own history: you have entered into the great Christian union—the Church—and are forever redeemed by the Savior's sacrifice. That means that you are of great worth, and you have a great and noble responsibility. Is it so difficult for each of us to simply and directly ask God to help us in our troubles and sufferings, and to thank Him?!
Where is the man who has nothing to ask of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Mother of God? They say that the Mother of God is offended by those who never ask her for anything! She is the prayerful intercessor for people; and as much as God can do through His power, so much can the Mother of God do by Her prayer. Show that you are the child of the Mother of God, having a child's heart in your breast!
And we can be free of earthly cares only if we want to be—after all, our salvation depends upon us. As souls given by God, we must show more will, in order not to immerse ourselves in these earthly cares and burden ourselves with them to such an extent. We shall manage our lives as people of higher thought, and as responsible human beings. If we were to ask those who are saved and living in heaven, "What did it cost you to attain such blessedness?" they would reply, "Time, a little time well spent on the earth!" That means that we have absolutely no other time to bring our souls to perfection—souls that are called, gifted, and full of such resolve.
We must think about the fact that we are called "the angelic ranks" [the monastic rank is called the angelic rank. –OC]. Angels pray unceasingly, throughout eternity.
—What is the easiest way to overcome in the struggle against fornication and fleshly thoughts?
—In order to overcome in the struggle against fornication, in whatever stage it may be, we must first of all ask for grace from the Good God. This is not a short term battle, because we must definitely achieve total victory. At first, each one sees that he is powerless to withstand it; but with God all things are possible.
He who enters into this struggle must:
–want to be freed of this struggle, no matter what happens;
–pray with all his heart to the Mother of God, and ask her help;
–avoid, as much as possible, all circumstances that might arouse passions;
–do not accept into your mind those suggestions that might seem innocent, but then begin to solidify into images. Route all these thoughts, changing your mind to prayer—but your own prayer, and not something someone else recommended, no matter who that might be; into prayer with your own sighing, even if it is without words.
If the attack is aggressive, pleasurable, and vanquishing, one must call out to the Mother of God, and not give in. During the first phases, he should confess contritely and purely, not sparing himself and not blaming incidents, circumstances, or other individuals. He will be greatly helped if he goes to confession often.
The father-confessor will understand him, console him, and assure him that he is not alone, yet not allow him to harden in his motivations, as if it were all "necessary and perfectly natural."
The father-confessor should have zeal and kindness in order to be able to tear his spiritual child away from this secret and many-headed passion. It is recommended to read books and everything that has as its goal the preparation for death. The lost one will be forgiven through repentance, no matter what sin he committed, and this will be a great achievement; but let no one deceive himself or suppose that he can find any forgiveness without repentance. Because of this sin, you cannot ever know what heaven and hell really are; and one should think about this and pray.
A person who is more spiritually inclined, but nevertheless gets wounded to a greater or lesser extent and then passes through the bath of repentance, counts this as a misfortunate accident. He will have a serious reason for truly meek humility—and this gives God more joy than when someone thinks highly of himself as never having fallen.
This is not a paradox, but divine justice and mercy. He, the Master of the house and Good Pastor, left his sheepfold of sheep and went to find the lost sheep, and then happily put it on His shoulders and carried it into the gates of the Kingdom of glory. I once read what I am telling you now: "Brother Christian, believe me, there are two kinds of joy, which cannot be combined—you cannot rejoice here on earth in pleasures that are transient and sinful, and then reign with Jesus Christ." "Then, iniquity will stop its mouth" (cf. Ps. 106:42). "Thou fool, the time that you use for evil digs a pit for you, and tomorrow eternity will come!" Saying this, I think that the father confessor can encourage the person who is struggling with onslaughts from without, and with nature from within.
—How can one conquer and route ambition and prideful thoughts from himself?
—A hideous and impure passion! All evil catches a fish in this murky water! God does not even want to hear about a proud person! He takes all grace away from him, so that he might stumble—maybe then he will become humble, as the Scripture says (cf. 1 Pet. 5:5).
He abandons him, and that person becomes a great abomination; He takes from him all sense of beauty, leaves him to roam around in chaos, in all manner of filthy back alleys of the world. He has no image, or likeness, or healthy reason. The holy fathers say truly, "Wherever there was a fall, pride first did its work." No other passion will liken you to a devil like pride.
All passions can, let's say, be excused due to nature and bad life circumstances; but pride cannot be justified by anything! It has an unbearable insolence—it attaches itself to any virtue if it can, and it even hides behind humility, which serves as its shield. We see this very often, and to prove what I am saying, it is as one father said: "That proud one is so humble!"
Because it is so dangerous and so broadly present in all ages and ranks, it would be good if no one would disdain any person, no matter how unimportant he may be—for Christ is within him—and would even ask his opinion, even if it is for a lark. This would be the first step, one length along the path of the Gospels.
It would be good to ask everyone's opinion, no matter who you are; for who knows? After all, God's grace rests more often upon the simple and unnoticed. Make a prostration, as they say, if only for the sake of humbling the body—for this also shows good manners—and you will see how much you need these people with whom God has assigned you to live. You will see, and will be convinced in life that wisdom really does abide more in places where there is humility—for God is there.
Lucifer fell irreparably; his grandiose fall happened due to one word only: "I". Having fallen, he became an adversary for eternity, an abomination of desolation. Let no one be deceived, thinking that without true purification in the only water of humility he can enter into the Kingdom from which the angels fell!
These are, in brief, my thoughts and exhortations about this, so that one might realize that God created us beautiful only for Himself!
—What can one do to restrain the tongue and acquire the gift of silence?
—This is truly a serious matter—to not be the master of your tongue. As the saints say, "The tongue leads us to great falls." More vanity than benefit comes from loquacity, and malignant gossip brings great danger not only in this world, but also in the next. They say that most of the people in hell are those who murdered with malicious words!
Brother, you must love you brother. Isn't this the Savior's most important commandment? He gave this commandment as the crown of all His teachings—that the only way to salvation is love; and He ascended the unforgettable and soul-rending Golgotha!
We must always reiterate to people the responsibility that we bear for our lifetime, the only time given to us, so that we would set a lock upon our tongue and purify our hearts from evil. St. Gregory the Theologian says: "We must answer for every superfluous word, even more so for every shameful word"; how much more horribly for every murderous word! ThePatericon is very useful in this regard with its chapter on "The benefit of silence."
St. Isidore of Pelusium says, "Speaking with benefit is a blessing, but if it is reinforced by deeds, it is crowned." "For life without words brings greater benefit, while a commanding word evokes anger. If word and life are united they comprise the personification of all philosophy."
Treasure the Lord in your heart and let your attention abide there, and remain there before the Lord without leaving. Then you will notice every speck of dust in yourself. This is how mystical knowledge begins. It is a mirror for the mind and a lamp for the conscience. It dries up lust, extinguishes rage, humbles anger and disperses sorrow, tames insolence, scatters despondency, gives clarity to the mind, casts out sloth, truly humbles you and makes your reason undeceivable; it wounds the demons, and purifies the body. Such a person is no longer the participant in any wicked deed, but rather is alien to it. He thinks all the time, "Who shall I go to? I am a worm…" This is something different, having to do with remembrance of death and man's eternal lot, and belongs to mystical knowledge.
From: Ne vorbeşte părintele Arsenie. Ediţia îngrijită de а Arhimandrit Ioanichie Bălan. Vol. 1–3. Editura Mănăstirea Sihăstria, 2004.
He was so enchanted with the true Faith that he left all worldly things and became a monk in a monastery near the town of Nisibis. He lived among the brethren for some time, then withdrew into silence, going to Archimandrite Urbel, of whom it is said that, for sixty years, he never ate anything cooked.
Urbel made him a deacon, but, when he wanted to make him a priest, Dometius fled to a distant mountain and settled in a cave there. He attained such perfection through fasting, prayer, vigils and meditation that he was able to heal the sick.
When Julian the Apostate came to that place, he heard of Dometius and sent men to wall him up alive in the cave, with two of his disciples. Thus died this saint of God, in 363, and went to the Kingdom of God.
“(Prologue). The Great Horologion says that Dometius and his disciples were stoned to death.
2. Acts 6:8‐15; 7:1‐5, 47‐60 Mk 12:1‐12
3. 1Co 10:12‐22 Mt 16:20‐24
4. 1Co 10:28‐11:7 Mt 16:24‐28
5. 1Pt 1:1‐2:10 Mt 17:10‐18
6. Exod 24:12‐18; Exod 33:11‐34:8; 1Kg 19:3‐16
2Pt 1:10‐19 Mt 17:1‐9
7. 1Co 1:10‐18 Mt 14:14‐22
8. 1Cp 11:31‐12:6 Mt 18:1‐11
9. Acts 1:12, 17,21‐26 Mt 18:18‐22;19:1‐2,13‐15
10. 1Co 13:4‐14:5 Mt 20:1‐16
11. 1Co 14:6‐19 Mt 20:17‐28
12. 1Co 14:26‐40 Mt 21:12‐14,17‐20
13. Rom 14:6‐9 Mt 15:32‐39
14 . 1Co 3:9‐17 Mt 14:22‐34
15 . Gen 28:10‐17; Ezek 43:27‐44:4; Prov 9:1‐11
Php 2:5‐11 Lk 10:38‐42; 11:27‐28
16. 1Ti 3:13‐4:5 Lk 9:51‐57; 10:22‐24; 13:22
17. 1Co 16:4‐12 Mt 21:28‐32
18. 2Co 1:1‐7 Mt 21:43‐46
19. 2Co 1:12‐20 Mt 22:23‐33
20. Rom 15:30‐33 Mt 17:24‐18:4
21. 1Co 4:9‐16 Mt 17:14‐23
22. 2Co 2:4‐15 Mt 23:13‐22
23. Php 2:5‐11 Lk 10:38‐42; 11:27‐28
24. 2Co 3:4‐11 Mt 23:29‐39
25. Titus 1:1‐5;2:15;3:1‐2,12‐15; Mt 5:14‐17
26. Heb 6:9‐12 Mt 24:27‐33,42‐51
27. 1Co 1:3‐9 Mt 19:3‐12
28. 1Co 9:2‐12 Mt 18:23‐35
29. Acts 13:25‐32 Mk 6:14‐30
30. 2Co 5:15‐21 Mk 1:16‐22
31. Heb 9:1‐7 Lk 10:38‐42; 11:27‐28
And there was a man at the shrine of the holy Abba Menas (a military martyr of Alexandria, early century) whose name was Mark. And he was a brickmaker by trade and was extremely poor. He had been ailing with his liver for a long time and had spent all that he had on the doctors, so that he lacked bread to eat. And this is the reason why he was poor. And he had five children and himself and his wife.
The archbishop of the local diocese asked about him and was told, "he has had a severe illness. But God and your prayers came to his aid and cured him. But he has fallen into extreme poverty."
So the archbishop sent for him and told him to make bricks at the shrine of the holy Abba Menas till it was completed; and he gave him alms. And the workman went and did as the archbishop had told him. And after some days the alms were spent and his children were again in need of bread, for, as we have already said, the man was extremely poor. At that time, the builders and locksmiths received their board and expenses daily, but this poor brickmaker did not; for it was not usual to give brickmakers their board and expenses but only their honorarium [Ed., A voluntary payment that is given to a person for services for which fees are not legally or traditionally required].
And while Mark, the workman, was still working, his wife sent to him from Alexandria, saying, "Why do you labor for nothing? Behold, your little children will starve to death here."
When he received his wife's message, he was exceedingly distressed. He said to his eldest son who was working with him, "Let us leave the work today and find out how things are at home. Blessed be God who requites [Ed., repays] us according to the sins we have committed." And his heart was troubled exceedingly as he thought upon the plight and distress of his children and he began to weep and lament.
And when he had washed his hands in order to go to the city (some 40 kilometers to the northeast), his son said to him: "Father, behold the day is done and we shall not be able to reach the city now. Let us finish our work today. Tomorrow, please God, we shall go." His father said to him, ”Father, behold the day is done and we shall not be aple to reach the city now. Let us finish our work today. Tomorrow , please God, we shall go.” His father said to him, “No , we shall go this moment.”
While they were talking together, behold the holly Abba Menas himself came to them mounted on a whith horse AND IN THE GUISE OF A SOLDIER. HE SAID TO HIM, "WHY HAVE YOU WASHED YOURSELF TODAY? IT IS NOT YET TIME."
He said to him, "I am a poor man, my lord, and my children suffer from hunger. I wish to go and see them." Abba Menas, in the guise of a soldier, said to him, "Finish your work today and I myself will give you your wages to take home to your children."
And so the man worked till the next day, for he said within himself, "Better I go home with something than that I go empty-handed and my children starve to death through me."
Next day, at the ninth hour, the holy Abba Menas came to him again, still in the guise of a soldier, and the workman bowed and did reverence to him. The saint said to him, "Are you going to the city today?" He said to him, "Yes, if you please. If you had not told me, your servant, yesterday to wait till today, I should have gone yesterday to have news of my children, lest they starve to death."
The holy Abba Menas dismounted from his horse. He took a clay brick from those which the workman had made and said to him, "This is your wages. Take it home and live on it with your children and come back and finish your work."
The man was bewildered. He said, "If you are going to deal with me as you agreed, my lord, why, do so. If not, let me go and see my children so that they may not starve to death through me."
Abba Menas said to him, "This is your wages."
The man said to him again, "If this is my wages, why, I cannot fill my house with bricks." Abba Mena said to him, "Even if you can make them, nevertheless take this with you to the city till I come and give you your wages."
The man said to him, "If this is my wages, what shall I do with it?"
And when the blessed soldier was saying these things and the workman stood arguing with him, his son said to him, "Hush, father. We will take it with us to the city for him lest he beat you and you have a worse illness and we suffer from hunger. If you had not been ill before, this poverty would not have befallen us."
And the brickmaker held his peace. He took the brick and put it in basket along
with his mould. He went his way sorrowing. And when he was a little way from the soldier, he took out the brick, intending to throw it away.
His son said to him, "Nay father, lest he seek after it and not find it and beat us. I believe that he may be a soldier of the augustal rank who has given us this brick to take to the city for him and he will remember us by it and give us our wages. Unless he had wished to give us our wages because of our poverty, what would be the need of this brick in the city? Scarcely can we our bodies there and we are to carry this great burden.”
His father answered and said to him, "When we arrive in the city, we shall make a brick for him. Did I not make this one? I shall make this other also from the clay in the holders."
His son said to him, "Do you not know that this clay is different from the clay in the holders? Perhaps he wants this clay for some purpose. Give it to me and I will take it to the city for him; for it is better to bear a burden than bear the wrath of an augustal whom you cannot save yourself from."
And his son took the brick and carried it to the city. And when he got home, his mother spoke very despondently to him, saying: "If only you had been here, you would have drawn water for whomever wished it. We shall find our food from day to day." She also said to them, "Why did you not come the day I sent for you?"
He said to her, "A solder of the augustal rank cheated us, saying, "Do your work for me today and tomorrow I will give you your wages." Afterwards he cheated us of our wages and instead put another burden on us, telling us to take it to the city for him. And behold, it is in our basket along with our mould."
His wife put her hand in the basket and took out the brick, intending in her anger to throw it away. And when she had taken it out of the basket, she said: "You yourself do not know what he gave you, brother. I myself was surprised when you told me that he had given you a brick of clay. Behold now, I see that it is bronze."
Her husband cried out, "As the Lord lives, I made it myself with my own hands."
And while they were saying that it was bronze, behold it was transformed and became beaten gold. At once they knew that it was the holy Abba Menas who had given them the brick.
The man's wife said to him, "Perhaps it was really the augustal soldier and he gave you the gold brick, tempting you."
Her husband said to her, "Sister, do not disbelieve us. This was a clay brick, one of those which I had made along with my son, and the soldier took it in his hands and put it in our basket. And when we had got away from him, I took it out, intending to throw it away; and it was the same sort of brick as at the first. If my son had not stopped me, I would have thrown it away."
On saying this, they rose and prayed together in unison, glorifying the God of the holy Abba Menas.
Later on, the brickmaker went to the local market, approached the goldsmiths and said to them: "Be quick and weigh it." And they found that it weighed 53 litrae. With this gold, he had a gold paten made and a gold chalice and gave them to the shrine of the holy Abba Menas and he then among those which he had made that day. It was of fresh clay and smelled fragrantly. And the man realized at once that the holy Abba Menas had put it in the basket. He again made his way home and when he arrived there he again found the brick to be gold.
The man became very rich and he set to work again with a great joy that gave him no respite day or night. He subsequently reported the repeated marvels to the archbishop, who in turn, informed the emperor. The emperor honored the bricklayer with the rank of stratelates [Ed., driver/leader of the army].
And the people living in Alexandria and those living in Mareotis (the site of St. Menas' martyrium) rejoiced that God had visited his people and wrought great wonders in turning the clay bricks into gold.
ORTHODOX HERITAGE VOL 09. ISSUE 07-08