22/12/2014

Elder Paisios: Say this prayer every day and God will always be at your side.

    The love of the Elder Paisios for the whole world is well known.  The Elder has helped a whole host of people before and after his physical death.  But the question is from where did he receive his ability to help people and to perform miracles?  He received this heavenly power through his fervent prayers to God.
   The following prayer of his was given to a convent which had asked the Elder for a prayer rule that could be used by the nuns in their evening vigils.  This directive was given to the nuns during the final years of his life.  The main emphasis of this prayer is his profound love for all of humanity.
  This prayer can be used by every Christian believer since it takes in all the issues of life that need our prayers.  Even the children can understand it easily since it is expressed in simple words.  It can be used by families during their evening prayers.
Our Lord Jesus Christ:
Do not abandon your servants who live far away from the Church.   May your love convict them and bring them back to you.
Lord have mercy on your servants who are suffering from cancer.
On your servants who suffer either from small or serious ailments.
On your servants who suffer from physical infirmities.
On your servants who suffer from spiritual infirmities.

21/12/2014

Holy Protomartyr Archdeacon Stephen

Stephen was a kinsman of the Apostle Paul and one of those Jews who lived in the Hellenic provinces. Stephen was the first of the seven deacons whom the holy apostles ordained and appointed to the service of assisting the poor in Jerusalem. For this, he is called the archdeacon. By the power of his faith, Stephen worked great miracles among the people. The wicked Jews disputed with him, but they were always defeated by his wisdom and the power of the Spirit, Who acted through him. Then the shameful Jews, accustomed to calumnies and slander, incited the people and the elders of the people against the innocent Stephen, slandering him as though he had blasphemed against God and against Moses. False witnesses were quickly found who confirmed this. Stephen then stood before the people, and all saw his face as it had been the face of an angel (Acts 6:15), that is, his face was illumined with the light of grace as was once the face of Moses when he spoke with God. Stephen opened his mouth and enumerated the many good works and miracles that God had performed in the past for the people of Israel, as well as the many crimes and opposition to God on the part of this people. He especially rebuked them for the killing of Christ the Lord, calling them betrayers and murderers (Acts 7:52). And while they gnashed their teeth, Stephen beheld and saw the heavens open and the glory of God. That which he saw, he declared to the Jews: Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God! (Acts 7:56). Then the malicious men took him outside the city and stoned him to death. Among his persecutors was his kinsman Saul, later the Apostle Paul. At that time, the Most-holy Theotokos, standing on a rock at a distance with St. John the Theologian, witnessed the martyrdom of this first martyr for the truth of her Son and God, and she prayed to God for Stephen. This occurred one year after the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. Gamaliel, a prince of the Jews and a secret Christian, clandestinely took St. Stephen's body and buried it on his own estate. Thus, this first among the Christian martyrs gloriously reposed and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of Christ God.

20/12/2014

On Piety, Order, Accuracy, and Respect toward the Venerable Fathers

 The fathers of earlier times were pious, careful and strict. They were unconcerned about their outward appearance, their face and hair, caring not whether their face or hair looked good. Their rasos were short. They kept their heads down with piety and respect and avoided a direct gaze at anyone's face. They were shy. They did not converse or laugh. In the church they wore slippers.
Once the monk Modestos had a new pair of shoes that made a noise when he was walking. The other monks called to him and asked that he wear the new shoes when he was at home and the old ones in church.
"We were afraid to look up at the elderly fathers an ascetic said, meaning that there was fear, respect and piety towards them. "It used to be so. How is it now? O what times these are!"
Elder Antonios the Kafsokalyvitan was a perfect example of order and exactness in Agioritan rules. He was a pious monk, simple and humble. He was always uttering "God bless," or "may it be blessed," or "through the prayers of our Holy Fathers." He always wore his raso. All the elders remember him with nostalgia.
Once we asked an ascetic who was over eighty years old to tell us something that would benefit us, about the fathers of the past. He then replied laconically: "What can I tell you? The past fathers were different. They were pious."
There was a blessed group in Vigla's hut of the Three Holy Children. The pious elder M. from Kerasia told me all abol this group. Their elder Dositheos was very strict. The mo senior subordinate to him was the monk Agathodoros.' most pious of all was Father Akakios, who had a beard which reached to his waist. He predicted his own death, and mo of the time he had tears of joy in his eyes. When there was a visitor he would sit down with his hands crossed. The were all reverent and silent. Only the elder would speak. "I dead person does not do anything," they would say. Until the elder told them to do so, they would not offer any thin to their guests. They knew nothing of anger. They judged no one. They were filled with inner prayer, joy, happiness Even in their sleep they saw Christ.
On the eve of a monk's tonsure, the ever memorable] hegumen Gabriel ate olives. For that reason, the tonsure was postponed, as he told us. He should have eaten on plain bread, as he did the following day, even though it was the feast of the Annunciation.

17/12/2014

HOLD ON TO OUR FAITH WHICH IS ETERNAL AND DEFINITE


...the spiritual world cannot be investigated using the same methods as the material world. Those methods are completely unsuitable for investigating the spiritual world... There are phenomena that science will never be able to explain because it does not use the appropriate methods...
Can scientific study tell us how the great prophet Isaiah foretold the most important events in Christ's life 700 years before His birth? Can it explain the saints' gift of clairvoyance and tell us through which natural methods they acquired this grace and how they were able, as soon as they saw someone, to understand their heart and read their mind? Without waiting for a question from their visitor, they would give them an answer to what was troubling them. Let them explain to us how the saints foretold great historical events that later took place exactly the way they had prophesied...
...Do not be scandalized when you hear what is said against our faith, since the ones that say these things do not comprehend its essence... Always remember the fundamental principle that the first Christians knew well. They considered miserable the man who had knowledge of all the sciences but had no knowledge of God. Contrarily, they considered the one who knew God blessed, even if he knew nothing of what pertains to man. 
Guard over this truth as if it were the greatest of your heart's treasures. Proceed forward and do not look to the right or to the left. Let not what is heard against our faith make us loose our way. Let us keep our faith which is an eternal and definite truth. Amen. 

Teachings of Saint Luke of Crimea

Edition 'Orthodoxos Kypseli'
Thessaloniki

14/12/2014

A stylized icon of the First Alaskan Mission (1794). Leaving Russia, their monastery and their ship, Sts. Herman, Juvenaly and Ioasaph come ashore, bringing the Orthodox Faith to the New World.

15/11/2014

“And who is my neighbor?”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:25-37

31/10/2014

On Halloween

"Halloween" again is upon us. The article below is by one of the Saints of our Holy Church and I believe it is worthy of your attention.
As Orthodox Christians we must carefully examine every aspect of our involvement in the world, its activities, holidays and festivals, to be certain whether or not these involvements are compatible with our Holy Orthodox Faith. For a while now everything in the outside world is reminding us that Halloween is near: at school our children are busy painting pumpkins, cutting and pasting bats, ghosts and witches and planning the ideal costume in which to go trick-or-treating.

Most of our schools, local community organizations and entertainment on television, radio and press will share in and capitalize upon the festival of Halloween. Many of us will participate in this festival by going to costume parties, or by taking our children trick-or-treating in our neighborhood after dark on October 31st. Most of us will take part in the Halloween festivities believing that it has no deeper meaning than fun and excitement for the children. Most of us do not know the historical background of the festival of Halloween and its customs.

The feast of Halloween began in pre-Christian times among the Celtic peoples of Britain, Ireland and Northern France. These pagan peoples believed that physical life was born from death. Therefore, they celebrated the beginning of the “new year” in the fall, on the eve of October 31st and into the day of November 1st, when, as they believed the season of cold, darkness, decay and death began. Instructed by their priests, the Druids, the people extinguished all hearth fires and lights and darkness prevailed.

30/08/2014

PSALM 130

LORD, my heart is not haughty, 
nor are mine eyes lofty.
Neither have I exercised myself in great matters,
or in things too wonderful for me.

If I had not been humble minded,
but had exalted my soul,
like a child that is weaned from his mother,
so wouldest Thou have requited my soul.
Let Israel hope in the Lord,
from henceforth, and for ever.

29/08/2014

PSALM 96



THE LORD reigneth, let the earth rejoice; 
let the multitude of isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about Him; 
righteousness and judgment are the foundation of His throne.
Fire shall go before Him,
and shall burn up His enemies round about.
His lightnings shone forth throughout the world;
the earth saw, and was moved.
The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declared His righteousness,
and all the peoples saw His glory.
Let all them be put to shame that worship graven things,
thatboast themselves of their idols.
Worship Him, all ye His angels.
Zion heard, and was glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoiced
because of Thy judgments, O Lord.
For Thou art Lord Most High over all the earth;
Thou art exalted far above all the gods.
Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.
The Lord preserveth the souls of His saints;
He will deliver them out of the hand of the sinner.
Light is dawned for the righteous,
and gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous,
and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amin.
.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to Thee, O God.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to Thee, O God.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, glory to Thee, O God.

Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amin.

22/08/2014

Love (The only treasure)

How can I stop my tear
when about wars I hear
how can I, how can I
How can I live in a lie
when around me people die
how can I, how can I

Love, love ,love love
stop the war
love, love ,love, love
I can’t any more
love, love, love, love
the only treasure
love, love, love, love
don’t kill this pleasure

How can I feel my dreams
I’m just flying without wings
how can I, how can I
How can I walk away
like there is no other way

how can I, how can I

19/05/2014

The Conqueror of death - documentary with subtitles


THE CONQUEROR OF DEATH - documentary with subtitles 

             The Conqueror of Death is a documentary film that describes the days of 
the so-called Passion Week (the suffering Week, the week in which Christ suffered to death) and Sunday, the day that Christ has resurrected.
The film is designed so as to explain to a wider audience the implications of these events and the significance of the Resurrection of Christ, and therefore the meaning of Theanthropic feats of salvation.

The Divine Services and the Monastery life in the days of Passion Week and the Resurrection were recorded by Cinnamon production from Belgrade in Dečani Monastery (Kosovo and Metohia) between 2009-2012.

The significance of each of these days, in particular, is explained by quotations from the Gospel, from the liturgical texts of the Lenten Triodion of the Holy and Great Week, from the sermons of St. John the Chrysostom, St. Bishop Nikolai of Zhicha and St. Father Justin of Chelije.

Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, Amfilohie who at the time of working on one phase of the film in 2010 was the administrator of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren, in the film explains the meaning of all major events in the last week of Christ's life on earth, his suffering for us and the very significance of the Resurrection of Christ.

03/05/2014

55 Maxims for the Spiritual Life.

 1. Be always with Christ.
2. Pray as you can, not as you want.
3. Have a keep able rule of prayer that you do by discipline.
4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times a day.
5. Have a short prayer that you constantly repeat when your mind is not occupied with other things.
6. Make some prostrations when you pray.
7. Eat good foods in moderation.
8. Keep the Church’s fasting rules.
9. Spend some time in silence every day.
10. Do acts of mercy in secret.
11. Go to liturgical services regularly.
12. Go to confession and communion regularly.
13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings. Cut them off at the start.
14. Reveal all your thoughts and feelings regularly to a trusted person.
15. Read the scriptures regularly.
16. Read good books a little at a time.
17. Cultivate communion with the saints.
18. Be an ordinary person.
19. Be polite with everyone.
20. Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.
21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
22. Exercise regularly.
23. Live a day, and a part of a day, at a time.
24. Be totally honest, first of all, with yourself.
25. Be faithful in little things.
26. Do your work, and then forget it.
27. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
28. Face reality.
29. Be grateful in all things.
30. Be cheerful.
31. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
32. Never bring attention to yourself.
33. Listen when people talk to you.
34. Be awake and be attentive.
35. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
36. Speak simply, clearly, firmly and directly.
37. Flee imagination, analysis, figuring things out.
38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.
39. Don’t complain, mumble, murmur or whine.
40. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
41. Don’t seek or expect praise or pity from anyone.
42. We don’t judge anyone for anything.
43. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
44. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
45. Be defined and bound by God alone.
46. Accept criticism gratefully but test it critically.
47. Give advice to others only when asked or obligated to do so.
48. Do nothing for anyone that they can and should do for themselves.
49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.
50. Be merciful with yourself and with others.
51. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
52. Focus exclusively on God and light, not on sin and darkness.
53. Endure the trial of yourself and your own faults and sins peacefully, serenely, because you know that God’s mercy is greater than your wretchedness.
54. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
55. Get help when you need it, without fear and without shame.


 Fr. Thomas Hopko

19/04/2014

Christ is Risen!

Wishing everyone a very Happy and Joyous Pascha!

Christ is Risen!


Wellington, New Zealand  1 /4/2014

To our devout Priests and Monks and to our beloved Christians of our Holy Metropolis of New Zealand (Fiji, Tonga, Samoa).

My beloved children in Christ,

Our Holy God has made us worthy to celebrate this year also the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This unique event in the history of mankind. The Resurrection of  Christ  is the foundation of our Christian faith and the essence of the Apostles’ preaching. If the Resurrection of Christ had not taken place, the Apostle Paul says, then in vain would be our faith, and in vain would be our preaching.
However CHRIST  IS RISEN – TRULY  IS RISEN.

Let us celebrate this worldsaving event with pure souls and pure bodies, faith and love, with repentance and confession, with forgiveness and charity, with church attendance and Holy Communion.  

This way we will feel the true joy of this great feast, chanting the words of our Churches’ great composer:
“It is the day of the Resurrection, let us be radiant, O people! Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha”.

With fatherely love,
 Metropolitan

of New Zealand Amfilohios