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)


Father Simeon de la Jara: On a righteous path from Peru to Mount Athos

When Miguel Angel de la Jara Higgingson was seven, his mother had a vision. She sensed that her son would some day leave her for a "far away place, like an island, there where people of solitude lived who pray all the time and rarely step out into the world". Even she, however, could probably not have imagined just how far from his native Peru, both physically and spiritually, his life's search would take him.
Now he is Father Simeon the hermit, a GreekOrthodox monk who lives on Mount Athos, a self-administrating, all-male monastic community on the Athos peninsula - the eastern most of three jutting peninsulas in the northern Greek prefecture of Halkidiki.
However, it's not just his Peruvian origins that make Father Simeon such a well-known figure among visitors to MountAthos; it's also his radiant presence as an artist, poet and painter that makes him so sought after, especially by the young.
His journey began in 1968, when at the age of 18 he left Peru to discover the world. After travelling through Europe and Asia for over two years - during which time he was exposed to eastern philosophies and religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and yoga - he finally settled in Paris, where he lived for the next three years.
It was in Paris that he first met a GreekOrthodox monk and learned about Orthodoxy, a meeting that was to have a profound effect on him. For the next two and a half years he studied hagiography (icon painting) with Leonide Ouspensky, while his interest in Orthodoxy deepened.
He first visited Greece in 1972, where he accepted the Orthodox faith, before returning to stay in 1973, originally joining the monastery of Agios Georgios (St George) on the large Greek island of Evia. When, in 1974, the entire monastery relocated to Agios Grigorios (St Gregory) on Mount Athos, Simeon followed, living at the Agios Grigorios Monastery until 1987. He subsequently became a hermit, moving to the old hermit's cell of Timios Stavros near the Stavronikita monastery, where he built a new dependency and formed a complex.
On first meeting Father Simeon, one is struck by his youthful passion and joy - qualities which, as he says, "one cannot hide". A compassionate listener and gentle speaker, he responds to questions with spontaneity and rigour, without ever becoming dogmatic or distant. Behind his piercing eyes is an inquisitive mind, forever seeking ways to express the love and joy he wants to share with others.
After 24 years in Greece, Father Simeon declares a profound love and admiration for Greek culture and language, saying he prefers writing in Greek to even his native Spanish. To his extensive travels he owes a rich and varied experience, as well as a love of French Surrealism, tatami mats, Japanese food and Chinese art. And to his Peruvian family he owes his love of art.
According to Simeon, it is the need to tap into the inner joy in all things which has led him to art and prayer; that has been the predominant force in his life. Through poetry, paintings, photographs, prayers and lectures he has reached out and tried to touch people's hearts beyond the borders of the Holy Mount.
He has several published works, including his 1985 lecture "Nifalios Methi" (Sober Drunkenness), the 1983 publication"The Holy Mountain Today" brought out by Alexandria Press in London andthe poetry collection "Simeon Mnema", published in 1994. A new book of poetry, entitled "Me Imation Melan" (In Black Cloth), is due to be broughtout shortly by Agra Editions in Athens.
An artist in solitude as much as a solitary, a monk, in the midst of art, his poems and his paintings have both the freshness of the "here and now" and the depth of eternity, and are of a striking immediacy and poise. They make one wonder what the difference between the artist and the hermit is - or even if there is one at all.


Liturgy of St. John (Modern English) - staff notation

All the music for the Eastern Orthodox Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in Modern English in staff notation in the style of Byzantine chant.
Liturgy of St. John (Modern English) - staff notation



Honey was always, evening ancient Greece, a precious natural and therapeutic food. It is also well-known that in mythology it was the food of the gods. Many nations have a history of honey spanning thousands of years, as do the Greeks. Greek honey is distinguished as it comes from wild flowers, aromatic plants and cone-bearing trees and so is more complete because of the great variety of pollen that it contains, in comparison with most honeys from other countries which come from single crops.

It is beneficial to people of all ages, especially to children, to pregnant women, athletes and generally to all who need invigorating, due to physical or mental exhaustion.

There are various types of honey, which are divided into three categories:

a) Honey from thyme – known throughout the world for its particular and unique aroma
b) Honey from con-bearing trees (fir, pine etc) which belongs to the rare tastes. It is worth noting that this variety has great healing value, as it contains many minerals and vitamins
c) Honey from flowers, which comes mainly from wild flowers, aromatic plants and medicinal plants. This variety crystallizes easily

There are many therapeutic properties in honey and we will mention only a few here. For example three or four teaspoons of honey daily help in the following instances:

 Exhaustion
 Post operative situations as it helps I convalescence
 Flu and colds
 The clear working of the brain so it is good for children with difficulties in learning
 Pregnancy
 For insomnia – one teaspoon of honey diluted in a little warm water just before bed
 One small spoon of honey daily helps infants that are underweight

It also helps infants that are teething as well as being a very mild laxative. Honey can be given to infants in their bottles.

Those suffering from cardiac problems can drink a glass of hot water with honey every night before bed, because honey revitalizes the heartbeat and generally assists the heart in its work. As it contains glucose, honey helps the liver to work properly. It also helps to regulate the acidity and secretion of gastric juices and helps prevent ulcers. It is also excellent in the treatment of constipation. It helps in the faster burning of food and improves the body’s digestion.

Medical research has shown that spreading of honey on burns is especially effective. This research has also shown that one of the reasons for longevity is the frequent use of honey.

In other words honey is beneficial, it helps in all ways, especially dark-coloured honey which is rich in minerals and vitamins.


The Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Today we celebrate the Nativity of the most Holy Mother of God (8 September)

The most Holy Mother of God was born of her elderly parents Joachim and Anna. Her father was of the royal line of David, and her mother of the line of Aaron. Thus, She was of royal line on her father's side, and of hierarchical on her mother's side, with which She pre-imaged Him Who was to be born of Her, as a King and High priest. Her parents had been already grown old, yet, childless. Therefore, they were embarrassed before the people and humble before God. In their humbleness they prayed to God in tears to bring them joy in their old age and to grant them a child, as once before he had brought joy to elderly Abraham and Sarah granting them their son Isaac. And the Almighty God, Who sees everything, brought them joy that surpassed all their expectations and the most beautiful dreams. For He had granted them not only a daughter, but also the Mother of God; He lightened them not only with temporary bliss, but eternal as well. God granted them only one daughter who later gave birth to only one grandson - Yet, what a daughter and a grandson! Most blessed Mary, magnified among women, the temple of the Holy Spirit, the altar of the Living God, the table of the heavenly bread, the reliquary of the holiness of God, the tree with the sweetest fruit, the glory of men, the praise of women, the source of virginity and purity - that was the God-given daughter of Joachim and Anna. Born in Nazareth, and after three years taken to the Temple of Jerusalem, where from She returned to Nazareth later, only soon afterwards to hear the annunciation of the Holy Archangel Gabriel of the nativity of the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, of her most pure and chaste body.



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.


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


Psalm 102

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy of me, a sinner.
A prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before the LORD.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry for help come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.

3 For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers.

4 My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food.

5 Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones.

6 I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins.

7 I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof.

8 All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse.

9 For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears

10 because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside.

11 My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass.

12 But you, O LORD, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations.

13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come.

14 For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity.

15 The nations will fear the name of the LORD, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.

16 For the LORD will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory.

17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.

18 Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD :

19 "The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth,

20 to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death."

21 So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem

22 when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the LORD.

23 In the course of my life [a] he broke my strength; he cut short my days.

24 So I said: "Do not take me away, O my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations.

25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

26 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded.

27 But you remain the same, and your years will never end.

28 The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you."

Preface Psalm 103

Following “Blessed is our God…” which the Priest who is to conduct the Vespers Service says majestically, the Hierarch, Priest, Psalte (chanter) of the Church recites articulately, slowly and steadily, the majestic Psalm 103, which in liturgical terms is called the Psalm of Preface because it is the psalm which is the prelude to Vespers.
This Psalm expresses all the majesty and grandeur of the Creator who in His Omnipotence and Omniscience created the world. It is a wonderful poem, through which the Poet in just a few verses, shows us the wondrous works of creation and calls on the most perfect of Creations, mankind, to sing praises to the Creator. It comprises 35 verses and we can distinguish them as follows: In the first part, verses 1-4 refer to the things created on the first and second day, beginning at the creation of light and the heavens. The second part, verses 5-18 the created things of the third day are praised, referring to the separation of the waters from the earth, the waters which water the dry earth and bring forth food to the animals and to man. The third part, verses 19-23 speaks of the creations of the fourth day, the sun and moon. The fourth part, verses 24-30 speaks again of the sea and of the creations of the fifth and sixth days, expressing his wonder for all the fish of the sea. We then come to the fifth and final part, verses 31-35 which are verses in praise of the Creator.
It is these verses that are sung in a celebratory manner by the Psaltes during festal Vespers Services and are usually known by the name Anixantaria.
This Psalm promotes the majesty of the Creator through His creations and calls on mankind, the crowning glory of creation, to stand between the Creator and creation and to hymn and praise the Most High God. Psalm 103 follows in the simplest language, so that it can be understood by all.

1. Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, You are very great. You are clothed with praise and splendour.
2. You wrap Yourself with light as with a garment, stretching our the sky like a skin.
3. It is You who covers the upper regions of the heavens with water, who makes the clouds His chariot, who walks on the wings of the winds.
4. Who makes spirits His angels, and His servants flames of fire.
5. Who poises the earth on its axis so that it will never wander throughout the ages.
6. The deep, like a garment, is its clothing, and waters stand on the mountains.
7. At Your rebuke they run away, and at the peal of Your thunder they quail.
8. They spring from mountains and flow down valleys, to the place which You have appointed for them.
9. You have set a bound which they cannot pass, so they can never return to cover the earth.
10. He sends torrents down ravines; and the waters pass between the mountains.
11. They give drink to all the beasts of the field; and wild asses quench their thirst there.
12. The birds of heaven settle on them; among the rocks they pipe their calls.
13. You water the mountains from above, the earth is filled with the fruit of Your works.
14. He makes grass spring up for the cattle and plants, through the labour of men, to produce bread from the earth.
15. That wine may cheer the heart of man, that his face may shine with oil, and bread sustain man’s heart.
16. The trees of the plains are drenched, the cedars of Lebanon which He planted.
17. There the birds make their nests, and the herons higher up.
18. The high mountains are for the deer, the rocks are a refuge for badgers.
19. He has made the moon for the seasons and the sun knows its time for setting.
20. You order darkness and night falls, during which all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21. Young lions roar for their prey, and they seek their food from God.
22. The sun rises and they gather together and then lie down in their dens.
23. Man goes out to his work and to his labour until the evening.
24. How magnificent are Your works, O Lord! You have made all things in wisdom. The earth is full of Your many creations.
25. There is the sea, great and wide; there live reptiles without number, creatures small and great.
26. There ships sail to and fro; there to is the serpent which You made to play there.
27. All of these look to You to give them their food in due season.
28. When You give it to them they gather it, when You open Your hand all things are filled with goodness.
29. When You turn Your ace away they are troubled. You take away their spirit and they vanish and return to dust.
30. You send out Your Spirit and they are created; and You renew the face of the earth.
31. May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; the Lord delights in His works.
32. He looks upon the earth and makes it tremble; He touches the mountains and they smoke.
33. I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34. May my meditation please Him and I will delight in the Lord.
35. May sinner vanish from the earth, and the lawless too, so that they may no longer exist. Bless the Lord, O my soul.