Elder Paisios

Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Is there anyone who is a grateful servant? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Are there any weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages! If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss. And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate; but let him come too. And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay. For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that toiled from the first. To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows. He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor. The deed He honors and the intention He commends. First and last alike receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together! Sober and slothful, celebrate the day! You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden! Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His goodness! Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. He destroyed Hell when He descended into it. He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh. Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with. It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed. It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated. It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive. Hell took a body, and discovered God. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever.



Abba Evagrius the Monk on anger

Anger is by nature designed for waging war with the demons and for struggling with every kind of sinful pleasure. Therefore angels, arousing spiritual pleasure in us and giving us to taste its blessedness, incline us to direct our anger against the demons. But the demons, enticing us towards worldly lusts, make us use anger to fight with men, which is against nature, so that the mind, thus stupefied and darkened, should become a traitor to virtues.

Abba Evagrius the Monk(Texts on Active Life no. 15)

Biblical Readings FEBRUARY 2011

Date Day Apostolic Gospel
1. T. Rom. 8:28 - 39. Lk.10:19-21.
2. W. Hb.7:7-17. Lk. 2 :22 - 40.
3. T. Hb.9:11 -14. Lk. 2:25 - 38.
4. F. 2Pt. 1:1 -10 Mk.13:1 -9.
5. S. 2Tim.2:11 -19. Lk. 18:2-8.
6. S. 2Cor.6:16-7:1. Mt. 15:21-28.
7. M. Eph.4:25-32. Mk. 13:9-13.
8. T. Eph.2:4-10. Mt. 10:16-22.
9. W. Eph.5:8-19. Lk.21:12-19.
10. T. 2Tim.2:1 -10. Jn.15:17-16:2.
11. F. Hb.4:14-5:6. Mt. 10:1, 5- 8.
12. S. 1 Cor. 15:39-45. Lk. 20:46-21:4.
13. S. 2Tim.3:10-15. Lk. 18:10-14.
14. M. 2Pt 1:20-2:9. Mk.13:9-13.
15. T. Philem.1 -25. Mk. 13:14-23.
16. W. 2 Pt.3 :1 - 18. Mk. 13:24-31.
17. T. 2Tim.2:1 -10. Lk. 20:46-21:4.
18. F. 1 Jn2:7-17. Mk. 14:3-9.
19. S. 1Tim.6:11 -16. Lk. 20:46-21:4.
20. S. 1 Cor. 6:12-20. Lk. 15:11 -32.
21. M. 1 Jn.2:18-3:8. Mk. 11:1 -11.
22. T. 1 Jn.3:9-21. Mk. 14:10-42.
23. W. Eph.4:7-13. Jn. 12:24-26, 35-36.
24. T. 2Cor.4:6-15. Mt. 11:2- 15.
25. F. 2Jn. 1 -13. Mk. 15:20, 22, 25, 33-41.
26. S. Hb.13:17-21. Lk.21 :8-9,25-27,33-36.
27. S. 1 Cor. 8:8 - 9:2. Mt. 25:31 -46.
28. M. 3Jn.l -15. Lk. 19:29-40,22:7-39.


Biblical Readings


Date Day Apostolic Gospel
1. S. Col. 2:8-12. Lk. 2:20 -21,40 -52.
2. S. 2Tim. 4:5-8. Mk.1 :1 - 8.
3. M. Gal. 2:11 -16. Mk.5:24-34.
4. T. 1 Cor.4:9-16. Jn. 1 :18-28.
5. W. 1 Cor. 9:19-27. Mt.3:1 -18.
6. T. Tit 2:11 -14,3:4-7. Mt.3:13-17.
7. F. Acts 19:1 -8. Jn. 1 :29 - 34.
8. S. Eph.6:10-17. Mt.4:1 -11.
9. S. Col.3 :4 -11. Mt.4:12-17.
10. M. Eph.4:7-13. Mt4:25-5:12.
11. T. Hb.13:7-16. Mtl 1 :27 - 30.
12. W. Gal. 6:2-10. Jn. 10:39-42.
13. T. Eph. 1:1-7. Lk. 20:1 - 8.
14. F. Hb. 10:32-38. Lk. 12:32-40.
15. S. Eph.4:7-13. Lk. 12:32-40.
16. S. Col.3:4-11. Lk. 17:12 -19.
17. M. Hb.13:17-21. Lk. 6:17-23.
18. T. Hb.13:7-16. Mt.5:14-19.
19. W. Gal: 5 :22 - 6:2. Mk. 8:30 - 34.
20. T. 2Cor.4:6-15. Lk.6:17-23.
21. F. Phil. 1 :12-20. Lk. 12:8-12.
22. S. 2 Tim. 1 :3-9. Mt. 10:32-33,37-38,19:27-30.
23. S. ITim. 1 :15 - 17. Lk. 18:35-43.
24. M. Gal.5:22-6:2. Mk. 6:54 - 7:8.
25. T. Hb. 7:26-8:3. Jn.10:9-16.
26. W. 1 Pt 4:1 - 11. Mk. 7:14-24.
27. T. Hb. 7:26 - 8:3. Jn. 10:9-16.
28. F. Gal.5:22-6:2. Lk. 6:17-23.
29. S. Hb. 10:32-38. Mk.9:33-41.
30. S. Hb.l3:7-16. Lk. 19:1 -10.
31. M. 1 Cor. 12:27-13:8. Mt. 10:1,5-8.

Prayers before meals


Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Amen.

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses, as we
forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and for ever and until the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord have mercy. (3)

Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us, and save us. Amen.

Christ our God, bless the food and drink of your servants, for you are holy always, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


We thank you. Christ our God, for you have satisfied us with earthly gifts. Do not deprive us of your heavenly kingdom, but as you, O Saviour, came among your disciples and gave them peace, come among us also and save us. Amen.

Through the prayers of the holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come. Your will
be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and forever and until the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord have mercy. (3)

Through the prayers of the holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Amen.

Christ our God, bless the food and drink of your servants, for you are holy always, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


We thank you, Christ our God, for you have satisfied us with earthly gifts. Do not deprive us of your heavenly kingdom, but as you, O Saviour, came among your disciples and gave them peace, come among us also and save us.


The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and they who seek the Lord shall praise him, their hearts shall live to the ages of ages.

Through the prayers of the holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Amen.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and forever and until the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord have mercy. (3)

Christ our God, bless the food and the drink of your servants, for you are holy always, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


Through the prayers of the holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Amen.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and for ever and until the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord have mercy. (3)

Lord, you have gladdened our hearts in your creation, and we have rejoiced in the work of your hands. The light of your countenance has shined upon us, Lord. You have gladdened our hearts. We have been satisfied with the good things of the earth.

Blessed is God, who has mercy upon us and nourishes us from his bountiful gifts by his grace and love always.

We shall sleep in peace and repose in you, for you alone, Lord, have sustained us in hope, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The Salutations to the Most Holy Theotokos (Akathist Hymn).

When the bodiless one learned the secret command, in haste he came and stood before Joseph’s dwelling, and spoke unto the Maiden who knew not wedlock: The One who hath bowed the Heavens by His decent is held and contained unchanging wholly in thee. Seeing Him receiving the form of a servant in thy womb, I stand in awe and cry to thee: Rejoice thou Bride unwedded.

To thee, the Champion Leader, we thy flock dedicate a feast of victory and of thanksgiving, as ones rescued out of sufferings, O Theotokos. But as thou art one with might which is invincible, from all dangers that can be do thou deliver us, that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, thou bride unwedded.

An Angel, and the chiefest among them, was sent from heaven to cry: Rejoice! To the Mother of God. And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form, he stood in awe, and with his bodiless voice he cried aloud to her such things as these:

Rejoice, thou through whom joy shall shine forth. Rejoice, thou through whom the curse shall be blotted out.

Rejoice, thou the Restoration of fallen Adam. Rejoice, thou the redemption of the tears of Eve.

Rejoice, Height hard to climb for human thought. Rejoice, Depth hard to explore, even for the eyes of Angels.

Rejoice, for thou art the Throne of the King. Rejoice, for thou sustainest the Sustainer of all.

Rejoice, Star that causest the Sun to appear. Rejoice, womb of the divine Incarnation.

Rejoice, thou through whom creation is renewed. Rejoice, thou through whom the Creator becometh a babe.
Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.

Beholding herself in chastity, the holy one spoke boldly unto Gabriel: The strangeness of thy words seemeth hard to my soul to receive, for how speakest thou of a seedless conception? Crying aloud:

Seeking to know knowledge unknown, the Virgin cried to him who ministered unto her: From a chaste womb how can a Son be born? Tell thou me! Then he spoke unto her in fear, yet crying aloud thus:

Rejoice, thou Initiate of the ineffable counsel. Rejoice, thou Faith in that which demandeth silence.

Rejoice, Prelude of the miracles of Christ.

Rejoice, Pinnacle of His doctrines.

Rejoice, heavenly Ladder whereby God came down. Rejoice, Bridge leading those of earth to Heaven.

Rejoice, Marvel far-famed of Angels. Rejoice, Wounding much-bewailed of demons.

Rejoice, thou who ineffably gavest birth to the Light. Rejoice, thou who didst reveal the mystery to none.

Rejoice, thou who oversoarest the knowledge of the wise. Rejoice, thou who enlightenest the minds of the faithful.

Rejoice, thou bride unwedded.

The power of the Most High then overshadowed her who knew not wedlock, that she might conceive, and showed forth her fruitful womb as a sweet meadow to all who desire to reap salvation, whilst chanting:


Carrying God in her womb, the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth, whose unborn babe straightway perceiving her salutation rejoiced, and with leaps as it were with songs, he cried out to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, vine bearing the unfading bloom. Rejoice, land yielding the untainted Fruit.

Rejoice, thou who dost tend the caring Husbandman. Rejoice, thou who dost blossom forth the Sower of our life.

Rejoice, Field bearing a bounty of compassions. Rejoice, Table laden with an abundance of mercies.

Rejoice, for thou revivest the meadow of delight. Rejoice, for thou preparest a haven for souls.

Rejoice, acceptable Incense of intercession. Rejoice, Oblation for all the world.

Rejoice, Favour of god to mortals. Rejoice, Access of mortals to God.

Rejoice, thou bride unwedded.

Having a tempest of doubting thoughts within, the chaste Joseph was troubled, for he suspected a secret union as he beheld thee unwed, O blameless one, but when he learned of thy conception through the Holy Spirit, he cried:


On hearing the Angels praising the incarnate presence of Christ, the shepherds hastened as to a Shepherd, and beholding Him as a spotless lamb, pastured in Mary’s womb, her they hymned, and said:

Rejoice, Mother of the Lamb and Shepherd. Rejoice, Fold of the rational sheep.

Rejoice, Protector against invisible foes. Rejoice, Opener of the gates of Paradise.

Rejoice, for the things of Heaven rejoice with the earth. Rejoice for the things of earth join chorus with the Heavens.

Rejoice, never silent Voice of the Apostles. Rejoice, never-conquered Courage of the Martyrs.

Rejoice, firm Support of the Faith. Rejoice, shinning Token of grace.

Rejoice, thou through whom Hades was laid bare. Rejoice, thou through whom we are clothed with glory.

Rejoice thou Bride unwedded.

Beholding the Godward-pointing star, the Wisemen followed in its splendour, and holding it as a lantern, they sought thereby the mighty King. And as they approached the unapproachable, they rejoiced and cried to Him:


The sons of the Chaldees beheld in the hands of the Virgin him who by His hands fashioned man, and percieving Him as Master, though He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened with gifts to do homage, and they cried out to her who is blessed:

Rejoice, Mother of the never-setting Star. Rejoice, Dawn of the mystic Day.

Rejoice, thou who Quenchest the fiery furnace of error. Rejoice thou who

enlightenest the initiates of the Trinity.

Rejoice, thou who didst cast down from power the inhuman tyrant. Rejoice thou who didst show forth Christ, the man-befriending Lord.

Rejoice, thou who redeemest from the creeds of barbarism. Rejoice, thou who dost rescue from the works of mire.

Rejoice, thou who makest the worship of fire to cease. Rejoice, thou who makest the flame of the passions to be allayed.

Rejoice, Guide of the faithful to chastity. Rejoice, Rejoicing of every generation.

Rejoice thou Bride unwedded.

God-Bearing heralds did the Wise Men become, when they returned to Babylon, and fulfilling Thy prophecy, they preached Thee to all as the Christ, and they left herod as a trifler, who knew not how to chant:


Shining in Egypt the illumination of truth, thou didst dispel the darkness of falsehood, and unable to bear Thy strength, O Saviour, her idols fell, and they that were set free therefrom cried to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, Uplifting of men. Rejoice, Downfall of demons.

Rejoice, thou who hast trampled upon the delusions of error. Rejoice, thou who hast censured the deceit of the idols.

Rejoice, Sea which drowned the noetic pharaoh. Rejoice, Rock which refreshed those athirst for Life.

Rejoice, Pillar of fire, guilding those in darkness. Rejoice, Protection of the world, more spacious than a cloud.

Rejoice, Sustenence, successor to manna. Rejoice, Minister of holy joy.

Rejoice, Land of promise. Rejoice, thou from whence flow milk and honey.

Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.

When Symeon was near unto departing from this age of deception, thou wast presented to him as a newborn Babe, but thou wast recognized by him as perfect God. Wherefore, he marveled at Thine ineffable wisdom, and cried out:


New was the Creation which the Creator showed to us His creatures, when He sprang forth from the seedless womb, and He preserved it incorrupt, even as it was, that we, seeing this marvel, may praise her as we cry out:

Rejoice, Flower of incorruption. Rejoice, Crown of continence.

Rejoice, thou who flashest forth the type of the Resurrection. Rejoice, thou who showest forth the life of the Angels.

Rejoice, Tree of goodly Fruit whereby the faithful are nourished. Rejoice, Wood of leafy branches whereby many are sheltered.

Rejoice, thou who bearest the Guide of those astray. Rejoice, thou who engenderest the Redeemer of captives.

Rejoice, Supplication before the righteous Judge. Rejoice, Forgiveness for many transgressors.

Rejoice, Robe of confidence for the naked. Rejoice, Tenderness vanquishing all desire.

Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.

Seeing a strange childbirth, let us estrange ourselves from the world by transporting our minds to Heaven: to this end the Most High God appeared on earth a lowly man, that He might draw to the heights those who cry to Him:


Wholly present with those below was the Uncircumscribed Word, yet in no way absent from those above, for this was a divine condescension and not a mere change of place, and His birth was from a Virgin chosen of God, who heard such words as these:

Rejoice, Closure of the Uncontained God. Rejoice, Portal of the solemn mystery.

Rejoice, doubtful Rumour of the faithless. Rejoice, undoubted Boast of the faithful.

Rejoice, all holy Chariot of Him who rideth upon the Cherubim. Rejoice, choicest Dwelling-place of Him who sitteth upon the Seraphim.

Rejoice, thou who makest things that differ to agree. Rejoice, thou who yokest together motherhood and virginity.

Rejoice, thou through whom transgression is annulled. Rejoice, thou through whom Paradise is opened.

Rejoice, Key of the Kingdom of Christ. Rejoice, Hope of eternal blessings.

Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.

All Angel-kind was amazed by the great deed of Thine Incarnation, for they saw the inaccessible God accessible to all, dwelling among us and hearing from us all:


Orators most eloquent do we behold as fish before thee, O Theotokos, for they are at a loss to explain how thou couldst remain a virgin and yet give birth. But as for us, marveling at this mystery, we cry with faith:

Rejoice, Vessel of the Wisdom of God. Rejoice, Treasury of His providence.

Rejoice, thou who showest forth philosophers fools. Rejoice, thou who provest logicians illogical.

Rejoice, for the subtle disputants are confounded. Rejoice, For the inventors of myths are faded away.

Rejoice, thou who dost draw us from the depths of ignorance. Rejoice, thou who dost enlighten many with knowledge.

Rejoice, Raft for those who desire to be saved. Rejoice, Haven for those who fare on the sea of life.

Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.

Wishing to save the world, to this end did the Ruler of all come of His own will, and, though as God He is the Shepherd, for by this likeness He called those of like kind, yet as God He doth hear:


A Rampart art thou for virgins and all that have recourse to thee, O Theotokos and Virgin, for the Maker of heaven and earth prepared thee, O Immaculate One, and dwelt in thy womb, and taught all to cry out to thee:

Rejoice, Pillar of virginity. Rejoice, gate of salvation.

Rejoice, Leader of spiritual restoration. Rejoice, Bestower of divine goodness.

Rejoice, for thou didst regenerate those conceived in shame. Rejoice, for thou didst admonish those despoiled in mind.

Rejoice, thou who dost bring to naught the corrupter of hearts. Rejoice, thou who dost give birth to the Sower of chastity.

Rejoice, bridal Chamber of a seedless marriage. Rejoice, thou who dost join the faithful to the Lord.

Rejoice, fair Nursing-Mother of virgins. Rejoice, bridal Escort of holy souls.

Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.

Defeated is every hymn that striveth to pay homage to the multitude of Thy many compassions, for even should we offer Thee, O holy King, odes of praise numberless as the sands, we should still have done nothing worthy of what Thou hast given unto us who cry to Thee:


As a brilliant beacon-light shining to those in darkness do we behold the holy Virgin, for she kindleth the supernal Light and leadeth all to divine knowledge, she illumineth our minds with radience and is honoured by these our cries:

Rejoice, Ray of the spiritual Sun. Rejoice, Beam of the innermost Splendour.

Rejoice, Lightning, enlightening our souls. Rejoice, Thunder, striking down the enemy.

Rejoice, for thou dost cause the manystarred Light to dawn. Rejoice, for thou dost cause the ever-flowing River to gush forth.

Rejoice, thou who dost depict the image of the font. Rejoice, thou who dost wash away the stain of sin.

Rejoice, Laver purifying conscience. Rejoice, Wine- bowl pouring forth joy.

Rejoice, sweet-scented Fragrance of Christ. Rejoice, Life of mystic festival.

Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.

Wishing to bestow His grace, He that forgiveth the ancient debts of all men came of His own will to dwell among those who had departed from His favour, and having rent asunder the handwriting against them, He heareth from all:


Whilst hymning Thine Offspring, we all praise thee, O Theotokos as a living temple, for the Lord, who holdeth all things in His hand, dwelt in thy womb, and He hallowed and glorified thee, and taught all to cry to thee:

Rejoice, Tabernacle of God the Word. Rejoice, Holy one, holier than the Holies.

Rejoice, Ark made golden by the Spirit. Rejoice, inexhaustible Treasury of Life.

Rejoice, precious Diadem of godly kings. Rejoice, venerable Boast of faithful priests.

Rejoice, unshakable Tower of the Church. Rejoice, impregnable Bulwark of the Kingdom.

Rejoice, thou through whom trophies are raised up. Rejoice, thou through whom enemies are cast down.

Rejoice, Healing of my flesh. Rejoice, salvation of my soul.

Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.

O All-Hymned Mother, who didst bear the Word (3 times). Who is more holy than all the Saints, as thou recievest this our offering, rescue us all from every calamity, and deliver from future torment those who cry with one voice:


An Angel, and the chiefest among them, was sent from Heaven to cry: Rejoice! To the Mother of God. And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form, he stood in awe, and with his bodiless voice, he cried out aloud to thee such things as these:

Rejoice, thou through whom joy shall shine forth. Rejoice, thou through whom the curse shall be blotted out.

Rejoice, thou the Restoration of the fallen Adam. Rejoice, thou the redemption of the tears of Eve.

Rejoice, Height hard to climb for human thought. Rejoice, Depth hard to explore even for the eyes of Angels.

Rejoice, for thou art the Throne of a King. Rejoice, for thou sustainest the Sustainer of all.

Rejoice, Star that causest the Sun to appear. Rejoice, Womb of the divine Incarnation.

Rejoice, thou through whom creation is renewed. Rejoice, thou through whom the Creator becometh a babe.

Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.

To Thee, the Champion Leader, we thy flock dedicate a feast of victory and of thanksgiving, as ones rescued out of sufferings, o Theotokos. But as thou art one with might which is invincible, from all dangers that can be do thou deliver us, that we may cry to Thee:

Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded.


The salvation of the soul

by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

After a large number of people had gathered around our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord spoke these words: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” In addition, He spoke these words: “What can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

This means that a man’s soul has more value than the whole visible world. And if a man loses his soul, with what can he make payment, with what can he buy it back again? With nothing in the world. Not even if he gives the whole world can he buy his lost soul.

Blessed is he who knows this, and who guards his soul as his greatest treasure. Blessed is he who stands guard over his soul every day and does not permit his soul to suffer harm in any way. For he who saves his soul will save everything, and he who loses his soul will lose everything.

In a small town there once lived a very rich man. He lived in a small dilapidated house. He did not want to renovate his house, but saved and guarded his wealth.

Now this one night his house happened to catch fire and burn down. The man, however, jumped out of bed undressed, searched out his saved-up treasure, and leapt out of the house. His whole house was reduced to ashes, but he did not feel sorry about it at all. Rather, with his wealth he moved to a large city, and in this large city he built a beautiful palace, and there he continued to live cheerfully and free from worry.

What does this story symbolize? The small town represents this world, in which men live as guests for a short time. The small dilapidated house represents man’s body, the home of man’s spirit. The rich man represents a sensible Christian, who has heard, understood, and laid up in his heart the words of Christ: “What does it help a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”

The great wealth of the rich man represents the rich soul of a sensible Christian, who labored for a whole lifetime to live according to the law of Christ and amass into his soul all those good works which shine more brightly than gold or silver or precious gems. That spiritual gold and silver, that great spiritual treasure is: faith and hope in God, love for God, prayerfulness, mercy, goodness, peace, brotherly love, humility and purity.

What does the burning down of the house represent? It represents bodily death. The unexpected fire in the night represents unexpected bodily death, of which no mortal knows the day or the hour. The awakening of the rich man from sleep at the moment of the fire and the moving to the large city represent the freeing of the soul from the body at the hour of death and the moving to the other world.

The large city represents the eternal kingdom of Christ, in which only the angels and the righteous live. The beautiful palace in the large city represents the dwelling place of every righteous soul in that world, in the eternal and everlasting kingdom.

This story is clear and the moral is beautiful. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear. Let no one place his hope in this transitory life, which passes as quickly as a cloud driven by the wind from Perister to Oblakov. Let no one take pride in his body, for every human body is a dilapidated house, which death will soon reduce to ashes.

But let every Christian man and woman ceaselessly take thought for their souls, for that unique treasure, which can save them from death and destruction. Whoever takes thought for his soul, listens to Christ’s words and carries out His holy commandments–the meek Christ helps such a man and helps him without ceasing. He watches over him as a mother over a child in a cradle. And He nourishes him and waters him day and night with His Holy Spirit. And He gives him a guardian angel to protect him in all the paths of life and to take away his soul at the hour of death and lead it into the Heavenly Kingdom.

To our God be glory and praise. Amen.


Is the Holy Bible the ONLY source of faith?

Recently, we had extended an invitation to Protestants everywhere. We had dared them to show us AT LEAST ONE VERSE OF THE HOLY BIBLE that says we should accept only the Holy Bible as the source of faith.

In reply, we received the following verses, which we studied appropriately, and are submitting them here, for all those who might be interested.

As any logical person can see, none of these verses responds to our invitation.


Those who uphold the Protestant viewpoint that we are supposedly obliged to accept “ONLY” the Holy Bible as the Word of God and nothing else, have –in their desperate attempt to prove the unproveable- quoted a multitude of verses, which, however, say nothing of the sort. As the reader will observe, these are verses that are entirely irrelevant to the whole of the Holy Bible and are being used in a desperate attempt, for lack of other verses.

Further down, we shall submit a few of them, in the hope that Protestants will rethink matters seriously, and realize that their faith is entirely groundless, and definitely not Christian.

Revelations 22/XXII “…to the prophecy of this book if anyone adds anything, God shall add upon him afflictions…. And if anyone removes something from the book of this prophecy, God shall remove….. from the tree of life…”

The reference here is ONLY to the prophetic book of Revelations. If it was referring to the entire Holy Bible, then we shouldn’t be accepting the last epistles by John, because they were written later than the Revelations! Neither do the other writings add to the Holy Bible, as they comprise independent texts and they do not make any such assertions.

Deuteronomy 12/XII 32:
“Everything that I command you to do, make sure that you do it; you shall not add to it, nor remove anything from it”

This verse is not referring to the Holy Bible, but to any commandment of God whatsoever, which includes the entire Holy Tradition. If it were referring to the Holy Bible, then no other book after Deuteronomy should have been added!

Whoever accepts ONLY the Holy Bible as the source of faith is opposing this verse, because it means they are removing the rest of Holy Tradition from the Word of God.

Deuteronomy 17/XVII 18 - 20: “...he shall write for himself a copy of this law, in a book……and he shall read from it every day of his life…. to guard all of the words of this law and these commandments, so that he may enforce them…. and not stray from these commandments to the right or the left…”

Here, reference is made to a small fragment of the Holy Bible, namely, the Law. Nowhere does it say that no other books are to be written within the Holy Bible later on, or even outside of the Bible. If this verse was confined “only to the Law”, then the New Testament never should have been written! And if this verse is not restrictive to the New Testament, it is equally not restrictive for the remaining, Divinely inspired Holy Tradition!

We therefore ask those who use this verse “without straying from the law” (meaning the Law of Moses): Do they uphold the Sabbath as foreseen by the Law, or do they perhaps “stray from it”? Are they still “under guardianship”? (Galatians, 4/IV 1-9)

Deuteronomy 5/V 32: “You shall therefore take care that you do as the Lord your God commanded you. You shall not stray to the right, or to the left”.

The same also applies here as in the previous reply, where the verse commands a precise compliance with God’s commandments in the Mosaic Law. If someone wishes to apply it to the Holy Bible, then it should be applied to the Divinely inspired Holy Tradition, both written and spoken. (Thessalonians II, 2/II 15)

Deuteronomy 4/IV 2: “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor shall you deduct from it, so that you might guard the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you”

Here also, Moses warns the Israelites not to add or deduct anything form the Law that he delivered to them.

We wonder, if the numerous other books that were added in the Holy Bible at a later time are not considered “additions” and foreign to the Law, why should the remaining Holy Tradition be considered so?

If someone accepts the addition of the remaining books of the Holy Bible, then they should also accept the “addition” of the remaining, Divinely inspired sources of the faith. Otherwise, they should stick to the Pentateuch alone!

Proverbs 30/XXX 5 - 6: “Every word of the Lord is tested….. Do not add to His words, in case He ever checks you and you are found to be a liar”

Contrary to this verse, some people add their own viewpoint, by saying that it is referring to the Holy Bible, whereas the verse does not say anywhere that the “Word of God is only the Holy Bible”.

The word of God is many more things than a single book, even a Divinely inspired one. The word of God has been recorded by the Church in a multitude of writings besides the Holy Bible, which makes “liars” of all those who wish to confine it to the Holy Bible. The verse says “every word of the Lord” – something that obliges them to accept it from other sources also, which the Church has delivered to us, even outside the Holy Bible.

John 15/XV 15: “... and I have considered you as friends, for I have made you familiar with everything that I heard from my Father”

Again, this verse doesn’t say that EVERYTHING Jesus heard from His Father has been written in the Holy Bible. On the contrary, John himself in the last verse (John 21/XXI 25), says that: “There are many other things that Jesus did, which, if written down one by one, there would not be enough space in the world to hold the books that would be written.” So obviously, since the world cannot fit all those things that Jesus showed us, there must be many more things other than the Holy Bible that should be accepted by those who claim to be Jesus’ “friends”, knowing how many things He must have to say to them.

John 17/XVII 17:
“... Your word is the truth”.

Again, it doesn’t say that the word of God is only the Holy Bible. His word includes much more.

Galatians 10/X 6 - 10: “ I wonder, at how you so speedily move from the one who called to you in the grace of Christ, to another gospel…. those who upset you and meaning to turn about the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preaches to you the gospel different to how we preach it, let it be an anathema ….if anyone preaches to you differently than what was received by you, le it be an anathema”

It is admirable, how they who adulterate the Gospel, (in their desire to limit it to only one, Divinely inspired book – the Holy Bible), use this verse for true Christians, who embrace the entire word of God, and every spoken or written Divinely inspired Tradition that contains various aspects of the Gospel of Christ.

These people teach a warped Gospel, inasmuch as THE GOSPEL is ONLY the Holy Bible and that we should not accept anything else outside of it! Even if the Holy Bible says no such thing anywhere! This false Gospel has led confessed Christians to become faithful to the letter and not to the Spirit!

And they are so short-sighted, that even though they use this verse of Galatians, they do not read further down, where the Apostle Paul writes exactly those things against the people of the letter, who adhere ONLY to the Holy Bible (=the written Law), abandoning the Spiritual meaning of the words that are contained therein: (2/II 16): “for no flesh shall be vindicated by its enactment of the law…” (3/IIIγ΄ 3): “..are you so foolish, that having commenced in the Spirit you are now actuating in the flesh?”

But even in his epistle to Romans, the Apostle Paul speaks of the same subject: Romans 2/II 29, 7/VII 6: “…. Circumcision of the heart according to the Spirit, not the letter…”, “.. you should labor in the newness of the Spirit and not the oldness of the letter…” and in Corinthians 3/III 6: “… who also made you able deacons of the New Testament, not according to the letter but the Spirit; for the letter deadens while the Spirit vivifies”.

So, those who say that “We don’t accept anything else apart from the Bible” should understand at last, that the Holy bible itself condemns them, because the Christian Gospel is not the Holy Bible, but the “life in the Holy Spirit, and salvation through Jesus Christ”. And the Holy Bible speaks of this.

Colossians 2/II 8, 16 - 18: “See that no-one of you is the one who misguides through any philosophy and empty deception against the traditions of men according to worldly evidence and not according to Christ… therefore let no-one judge you in eating and drinking or during a feast or a new month or any Sabbath…”

With this verse, they are obviously attempting to offend the Holy Tradition of the Church. But this verse actually turns against them, as it speaks of “human tradition”, while we accept the spoken and written tradition of the Apostles, which is Divinely inspired. (Thessalonians II, 2/II 15). In fact, verse 16 becomes very specific, that it is referring to those who uphold the law of Moses on “eating and drinking or during a feast or a new month or any Sabbath”. In other words, it speaks against those who abandon the Spirit and become attached to the letter of the Mosaic Law, by upholding the Sabbaths and feasts, and abstaining from certain food according to the Law. We are of course referring to the Law that verses of Deuteronomy 12/XII 32, 17/XVII 18 - 20, 5/V 32, 4/IV 2 specify that we should not stray from these commandments of God, and that nothing should be added or deducted from these! These are the verses that we explained at the beginning, and which they provide as proof that we should accept only those that are mentioned there! But here, the Apostle (in the same verse that they mention) says that all these things of the Law are traditions that are not binding for Christians! So obviously, these people must re-examine what these verses mean!

Titus 1/I 9: “ upholding the faithful word as you were taught, so that you be strong or comforting during healthy preaching, and reprimand those who contradict”.

Once again, it doesn’t say here that the “faithful word” is ONLY the Holy Bible. On he contrary, (according to Christians), it refers here to the entire Holy Tradition.

Timothy II, 3/III 16,17: “Every Divinely inspired Scripture is also beneficial for teaching, for checking, for restoring, for educating in justice, so that the person of God be complete, and equipped for every good deed.”

Nor does this verse refer to THE Holy Bible (since it doesn’t have a definitive article, nor was the Holy Bible fully structured yet); it refers to “any divinely inspired scripture”, which means “any writing that was divinely inspired” and implies the whole of written Holy Tradition. In fact, even if it did refer to the Holy Bible, nowhere does it say that ONLY the Holy Bible is Divinely inspired.

Timothy I, 4/IV 15 - 16, 6/VI 3 - 14: “ these you should study, in these you should stand, so that your diligence is evident to everyone. Keep for yourself also the teaching, persistently. In doing this, you save yourself as well as those who listen to you.” “If someone teaches other things and does not listen to the healthy words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teachings of reverence…. falling sick over conversations… you must keep the commandment unblemished, irreproachable, until the epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

As any logical person can see, neither here is there any mention that we should accept ONLY the Holy Bible; in fact, it isn’t even talking about the Holy Bible. On the contrary, it talks of “words”, which directs us basically to spoken tradition, given that they were later recorded in a multitude of texts (including the Holy Bible).

Ephesians 2/II 19 - 22: “... being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, whose cornerstone is Jesus Christ”.

Here it doesn’t even refer to writings a all, only to the building of the Church. But even if was referring to writings, the fact that something is built upon the foundation of the apostles, would prove that newer, divinely inspired books are also acceptable.

Acts 20/XX 28 - 31: “...and amongst you will arise men who will speak in perverting ways, in order to attract disciples to follow them… I did not cease to tearfully counsel them, one by one”.

Here he speaks against those pseudo-Christians who “perversely” say that we should accept only the Holy Bible and reject verbal tradition, which the apostle “tearfully” taught to a multitude of saints, personally.

John I, 4/IV 6:
“...listens to us...”.

This refers to a sermon, not the Holy Bible.

Troy Polamalu says 'Kala Christougena!'

Christmas arrives today for many Orthodox Christians around the world
The most famous Orthodox Christian in Pittsburgh, if not the nation, has a greeting for his fellow believers today:
"Kala Christougena!" said Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. That's Greek for "Merry Christmas!"
Mr. Polamalu and his wife, Theodora, actually celebrated Christmas 13 days ago, but they keep the same Orthodox traditions as those who observe today. Most Orthodox celebrate on Dec. 25, but many Slavic churches tie liturgy to the old Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. The Greek Orthodox Church and some others have adopted the Gregorian calendar -- except at Easter.
"We all celebrate Easter on the same day," said Mr. Polamalu, 29. Orthodoxy is the Eastern wing of the earliest Christian church, which split into the Orthodox and Catholic churches in 1054.
He and Theodora converted to Orthodoxy about five years ago. His background was Catholic and Protestant, hers Muslim and Protestant. They were Christians in search of a deeper, more consistent experience of God.
"Orthodoxy is like an abyss of beauty that's just endless," he said. "I have read the Bible many times. But after fasting, and being baptized Orthodox, it's like reading a whole new Bible. You see the depth behind the words so much more clearly."
That fasting is a Christmastime difference between Eastern and Western Christians. While many Americans pile on the food from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Orthodox Christians start fasting Nov. 15 or 28.
"Christmas Lent" or "Winter Lent" lasts 40 days, broken by a feast on Christmas, said the Rev. Stelyios Muksuris, administrative assistant to Metropolitan Maximos of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Pittsburgh and professor of liturgy and theology at Ss. Cyril & Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary. Slavic Orthodox keep a strict fast, abstaining from meat, dairy products, oil and fish for 40 days. Greeks usually permit fish, cheese and oil for the first few weeks, then fast strictly for the last two, he said.
Mr. Polamalu is of Samoan heritage, and belongs to the Greek church, but fasts like a Russian.
His consists of a "fast from dairy, from meat and from oil for 40 days -- as well as from sex," he said. "It's to prepare you for the birth of Christ, of God incarnate."
Fasting doesn't affect his football fitness, he said. "When you fast, you can eat extremely healthy by eating a lot of light food, like fruits and vegetables."
There are other aspects to fasting.
"Maybe not watching as much TV, or not getting caught up in idle talk or different things, in order to keep you spiritually healthy," he said.
The most important Orthodox fast is Great Lent, for 50 days before Easter.
When he has kept longer fasts "I have never felt more spiritually strong," he said. Referring to great theologians of the early church, he said, "The church fathers have said that when you eat gluttonously or you eat a lot of meat, your passions get stronger, so your inclination toward sinning becomes stronger. ... [Fasting] really does soften your passions. It gives you spiritual insight."
In Orthodox theology "passions" are negative impulses -- such as sadness or greed -- that can harm the soul.
He doesn't claim that practicing the faith improves athletics. The player known for crossing himself on the field has seen his faith grow more from his injuries than his interceptions.
"When I got injured, I learned so much from it spiritually, just thanking God for the health that I had when I was healthy," he said.
"People have this idea that the more pious and devout I am, the more successful I am. Which is very dangerous. If you look at faith in that way, you're bound to fail at both -- spiritually and in your career."
As the Polamalus build Christmas traditions for their children, Paisios, 2, and Ephraim, 3 months, "It's become less about Santa Claus and more about the birth of Christ and the celebration of the Virgin birth," he said.
They spent Christmas Eve at an Orthodox monastery. The service lasted several hours, ending at 1 a.m. It was entirely chanted.
"Orthodox chanting is non-emotional, it's very monotone," said Mr. Polamalu, who also calls it "the most beautiful thing."
"It's the perfect environment for prayer," he said. "Chanting in Greek ... is like a beautiful opera, but way better. You have candles, not [electric] lights. It's dark. You have the women sitting on the left and the men sitting on the right. Everything is to keep your mind focused on God. ... To me the most beautiful thing anyone on earth can experience, other than maybe marriage and child-bearing, would be the Orthodox Liturgy."
Before he became Orthodox, he said, songs in church sometimes moved him to tears. He now distrusts those passing feelings.
"I'd start crying and feel 'This is awesome.' If I'd had a Red Bull, I'd feel it even more. If I'd had breakfast, I'd feel good. If I didn't have breakfast, I didn't feel anything, I was grumpy," he said.
"It was a very superficial experience. I was thinking, 'God, why did I not feel you today?' because I wasn't feeling the music today. Orthodoxy is very sensitive to that, to take the emotion out of it, to really go after the heart."
The difference between the heart and emotion, he said, is like the difference between the deep love he has for his wife and their daily ups and downs.
"I could say, emotionally, I'm mad and sad with my wife. But that has nothing to do with how much I love my wife within my heart," he said.
"Before we were Orthodox we were able to separate our spiritual lives and our daily lives. Now that we're Orthodox, because of the prayer life that is required ... and the fasting, it consumes your life. It's the number one thing in your life."
Ann Rodgers Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: arodgers@post-gazette.com
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11007/1116221-323.stm##


O Lord and God

O Lord and God of all the world,
We praise, adore and worship Thee.
Thank you for coming to the world,
To save us from our sins.

We fear we are not good enough,
To live with Thee in heav'n above.
Please help us to see our own sins,
We pray, have mercy on us.

0 Lord and Master of my Life,
Teach me to know wrong from right;
That I might see my own faults,
1 pray, have mercy on me.

O God of love and forgiveness,
Of mercy and compassion,
Weak as I am, I want to be,
A loving servant of Thine.

Dear Father, Son and Comforter,
Please help us live our lives
According to Thy commandments,
We pray, have mercy on us.

By Marthas Avierinos



When thou hast partaken of the life-giving and mystical gifts praise God straightway. Give much thanks and say with a fervent soul:
Glory be to Thee, O God. Glory be to Thee, O God. Glory be to Thee, O God.
And then these prayers of thanksgiving
I thank Thee, O Lord my God, for that Thou hast not rejected me, a sinner, but hast suffered me to be a partaker of Thy holy things. I thank Thee that unworthy as I am Thou hast enabled me to receive of Thy most pure and heavenly gifts. And yet more over I beseech Thee, O Lord and lover of mankind, who for our sakes didst die and rise again, and hast provided us these dread and life-giving mysteries unto the benefit and hallowing of our souls and bodies: Grant that these Thy gifts may be even unto me for the healing of soul and body, and the driving out of every adversary; for the enlightening of the eyes of my understanding, and peace for the powers of my soul; for faith unashamed, and love without dissimulation; for the fullness of wisdom, and the keeping of Thy commandments; for the increase of Thy divine grace, and an inheritance in the kingdom. That preserved by them in Thy holiness I may be ever mindful of Thy grace, and not henceforth live unto myself but unto Thee, our bountiful Lord.
And when I have departed this life in the hope of life everlasting, vouchsafe that I may enter unto eternal rest, where the voice of them that flourish is unceasing, and the delight of them that behold the unsearchable beauty of Thy countenance knoweth no bound: for Thou art the true desire and the ineffable joy of them that love Thee, O Christ our God, and all creation doth sing Thy praise, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lord Christ our God, King of the ages and Maker of all things: I thank Thee for the blessings that Thou hast bestowed on me, and for the communion of Thy pure and life-giving mysteries. Wherefore I beseech Thee, gracious Lord and lover of mankind. Protect and hide me under the shadow of Thy wings; and grant me even unto my last breath to partake of Thy sacred gifts, worthily and with a clean conscience, foe the remission of sins and unto life everlasting. For Thou art the bread of life, the wellspring of holiness, the giver of all good; and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost; now and for ever: world without end. Amen.

O Thou who didst gladly give me Thy flesh for nourishment; who art fire to consume the unworthy: Burn me not, O my Creator, but search out my members. Quicken my reins and my heart. Let Thy flames devour the thorns of all my transgressions. Purify my soul. Sanctify my thoughts. Knit firm my bones. Enlighten my senses. Piece me with Thy fear. Be Thou my continual shield. Watch over and preserve me from every word and deed that corrupt the soul. Purge me and wash me clean and adorn me. Order my ways, give me understanding and enlighten me. Make me the temple of Thy Holy Ghost, and no more the habitation of sin, that as from fire all evil, every passion, may flee from me, who through Holy Communion am become a place for Thy dwelling. I bring unto Thee all the saints to make intercession: The ranks of the heavenly hosts; Thy forerunner; the wise Apostles; and withal Thy pure and holy Mother. Their prayers receive, O merciful Christ, and make Thy servant a child of light. For Thou art our hallowing, Thou only art the brightness of our souls, O gracious Lord: And we rightly give glory to Thee, our Lord and our God, All the days of our life.

Lord Jesus Christ our God, may Thy sacred body be for me unto life everlasting, and Thy precious blood unto remission of sins. May this Eucharist be for me unto joy, health and gladness. And at Thy dread second coming, account me, a sinner, worthy to stand on the right hand of Thy glory: By the prayers of thy most holy Mother, and of all Thy saints.

Most holy Mother of God, who art the light of my darkened soul; my hope, my refuge and shelter; my comfort and my joy: I give thee thanks for that thou hast suffered me, unworthy as I am, to be a partaker of the pure body and precious blood of thy Son. Do thou who didst bring forth the true light, enlighten the eyes of my understanding. Thou that gavest birth to the fountain of immortality, quicken me who am slain by sin. Thou who art all compassion, O Mother of the merciful God, have mercy upon me, and bestow on me the spirit of remorse and a contrite heart. Give me lowliness of mind. Loose my captive thoughts. And vouchsafe that even unto my last breath I may without condemnation receive the hallowing of the most pure sacrament unto the healing of soul and body. And grant me the grace of repentance and confession that I may praise and glorify thee all the days of my life.
For blessed art thou and all glorious for ever and ever. Amen. [3]

Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.
O Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us. (3)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, world without end. Amen.
Most Holy Trinity, have mercy upon us; O Lord, cleanse us from our sins; O Master, pardon our transgressions; O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name’s sake.
Kyrie eleison. [3]
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end. Amen.
Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever: world without end.

Then after the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
Troparion to St. John Chrysostom.
Grace shone forth from thy lips like a flame of fire to illumine the universe. Thou didst teach us to neglect the treasures of this world. Thou hast shewn unto us the height of divine humility. Thou whose words are for our admonition, O Father John Chrysostom, pray unto Christ the Word that our souls be saved.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
And the Kontakion
From on high didst thou receive grace divine, and the words of thy lips instruct all men to worship one God in the Holy Trinity. O blessed Saint John Chrysostom, we rightly praise thee, for thou art our guide who dost manifest things divine.

After the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great.
Troparion to St. Basil the Great
Thy voice is gone out into all the earth, all peoples have received thy word, wherewith thou didst teach fitly of God; wherewith thou didst expound the nature of all things; and didst adorn the manners of men. O holy father, royal priesthood, pray to Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
And the Kontakion
Rock-like foundation of the Church hast thou shewn thyself, dispensing unto all men dominion inviolate, sealed by thy testimony, O Basil proven by heaven most holy.
After the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
Troparion of St. Gregory Dialogos, Pope of Rome.
O blessed and glorious Gregory, endowed with divine grace from God on high, and strengthened by His might, thou didst choose to walk in the way of the Gospel. Wherefore hast thou received in Christ the reward of thy labours. Do thou intreat Him to save our souls.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
And the Kontakion
O Gregory out father, thou hast shewn thyself a shepherd like unto Christ the shepherd, leading companies of monks to the heavenly fold, and from there hast taught to his sheep the commandments of Christ. And now thou dost rejoice with exceeding great joy with them in the height of heaven.
Now and for ever: world without end. Amen.
O Lord, by the intercessions of the Mother of God and of all Thy saints, do Thou grant unto us Thy peace and have mercy upon us, for Thou alone art loving-kind.
Kyrie eleison [12], Glory… Now… More honourable than the cherubim…
Holy Father, give the blessing.
May [He who is risen from the dead], Christ our true God, by the prayers of His most holy Mother; of the holy and all-glorious Apostles; of [Name of the saint to whom the Church is dedicated]; of our father among the saints, John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople [or if the Liturgy of St. Basil was celebrated then Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia]; and of all the saints, have mercy upon us, and save us, for He is good and loving-kind.
By the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy upon us and save us.



A Nativity Scene was erected in a church yard.

During the night the folks came across this scene.

An abandoned dog was looking for a comfortable, protected place to sleep. He chose baby Jesus as his comfort. No one had the heart to send him away so he was there all night.

We should all have the good sense of this dog and curl up in Jesus' lap from time
to time.
This is too sweet not to share. No one mentioned that the dog breed is a "shepherd!"


Sunday after Epiphany

Jesus God and Man, the great Light of the world.

Beloved friends, today is the Sunday after Epiphany. The God-man Jesus, having been baptized by John in the Jordan River, the Holy Trinity was made manifest. He then left the Jordan and went to the desert which was close by and fasted for forty days and forty nights. He was then tempted by the devil whom He vanquished. The angels came and comforted Him. And so, very slowly, He began His public ministry, His work of salvation.
When He heard that John had been imprisoned by Herod Antipas, He left Judea and went to Galilee. Later, He also left His homeland of Nazareth and went to Capernaum, which was close to the Sea of Galilee and Capernaum thus became his second home. We all have need of a homeland, even Christ; we must love it and show our concern for it.
As Jesus Christ went to Capernaum and to Galilee, the Evangelist Matthew writes that: “…it was then that the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled that says that the lands which are near the Sea of Galilee and which extend past the Jordan, saw the great light, the light of Christ, while they were sitting in darkness – the darkness of idolatry, of impiety and delusion”. They saw Christ the “great light” and those who were living in the land of sin and spiritual death, saw and experienced the Light of the Lord.
Today is the Sunday after Epiphany and this is why the Holy Gospel mentions all these wonderful things. Christ shone as a “great light” both in Galilee as well as in the entire Universe. And so Christ began His great preaching, saying exactly what St John the Baptizer had said: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. In this way He confirmed that John was His Forerunner, the beginning of His Gospel.
The Lord begins with repentance. Repentance is the change in us – the change in outlook, change in life, a change of direction and a switch in our lives. Repentance is also the awakening of love in our souls and the giving of it not to idols, not to darkness, not even to our evil selves, but to Jesus Chris, our first and last love, to Him who “loved us to the end” and is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of our lives.
“He also told them that the Kingdom of God is at hand”. The Kingdom of God is not a material kingdom as the Jews thought and expected it to be. Rather it was spiritual. The Kingdom of God is Christ Himself, so let us love Him, let us stay close to Him, let us always seek His light of salvation and feel that He is ours. Let us also always know one thing: that we are only passing through here on the way to His Kingdom, His Paradise.

George 13/01/2008


Man in Coffee...

Read the caption under the coffee bean picture before you start looking for the man!!


This is cool.....right brain the artistic side...left brain the logical ....

This is bizarre - after you find the guy - it's so obvious. Once you find him - it's embarrassing, and you think, why didn't I see him immediately?

Doctors have concluded that if you find the man in the coffee beans in 3 seconds, the right half of your brain is better developed than most people. If you find the man between 3 seconds and 1 minute, the right half of the brain is developed normally. If you find the man between 1 minute and 3 minutes, then the right half of your brain is functioning slowly and you need to eat more protein If you have not found the man after 3 minutes, the advice is to look for more of this type of exercise to make that part of the brain stronger!!!
And, yes, the man is really there!!!

The image of the Baptism

The Epiphany is one of the biggest celebrations of Christianity. The event celebrated the Baptism of the Lord in Iordaneia springs and also manifests the Trinitarian Godhead in the world.
The importance of the feast is shown by historical evidence indicating that after Easter, the feast of Epiphany is the oldest Christian celebration.
The fact of Baptism has tremendous theological significance. The artist managed to capture the colors this rich meanings event.
Christ is among high rocks, which come together and form a "musty". The water, which is not blessed, we recall the image of death - cataclysm. The symbolism of the rocks of the image of birth continues to view the Epiphany and ends on the image of Christ's descent into Hades. The picture shows the baptism of Jesus enters the water, the watery grave. Hades in the form of a dark cave, which contains the whole body of Christ, showing prokathodo to Hades, to dispel possible of this world. As mentioned by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Jesus' Katavia en Edison ydasin the powerful. "
The Descent of Christ in Iordaneia water means the consecration of the water element, which is the basis of life in all creation and hence the consecration of the whole of creation, which because of human sin, "we know that any gar the creation groans and travails in pain together until now "(Rom. 22).
Christ stands in the middle of the Jordan naked or with white cloth in the middle of. His body was like a carved wood in various shapes and vigorously written, not fleshy. It is dressed with Adamiki nudity so give humanity the glorious heavenly garment. On the right, or with two hands bless the waters and is preparing to make the waters of baptism, which justifies with his dive. Christ had no need of purification, it was pure proaionios. It took John's baptism of humility and respect for human tradition. Baptism, the Lord does not agiastike the water but the water is sanctified and with it the whole creation.
One foot forward in front, to show the utmost initiative, to be baptized by John and go out in public action. The testimony of John about Christ that is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John, a 29), was crucial. In some pictures of the baptism of Christ depicted may stand on a plate, which are crushed beneath snakes that pop their heads wanting to escape. The scene is taken from the book of Psalms and sits on the verse "thou ekrateosas Holy and under the sea thou thy crushed the heads of the dragons upon the water." (Psalm og 13).
Through the Jordan and around the body of Christ, swimming fish. Lower stand a woman and an old man sitting on theriopsara. She symbolizes the sea and the old man the Jordan River. The old man holds in his hands a jug from which water flows. These faces are painted based on the psalm verse "The sea saw and fled the Jordan estrafi in the rear. (Ps. rig 3).
St. John Chrysostom sees a profound shift in the metaphor of the Jordan to the rear. The river originates from two sources, one called Jor, and the other called Dan. From the combination of the two rivers shows that the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea. So the human race came from the grandparents, Adam and Eve. After the defection of the human race marched in sin and spiritual death, which is an allegory to the Dead Sea. Saviour Christ the incarnation of human nature freed from enslavement to corruption and death as a result even the Jordan River to want to move backwards and do not want to die.
The Baptism of Christ is also called Epiphany. The revelation of the Holy Trinity icon painter says the hand of the Father, blessed by a section of a semi-circle represents the heavens. From this cycle departing light rays characteristic of the Holy Spirit and brighten the pigeon. At the moment the Father shows the Son's divinity and called beloved Son. The Son who is baptized in the Jordan illuminate the world, freeing it from the domination of Satan. The Holy Spirit, who descends in the form of dove, confirming the testimony of the Father and gives us the adiasalefto foundation of our faith. It is the Spirit who "commanded" to Christ and leads the public mission.
By John of Damascus in proportion to the cataclysm and the dove with the olive branch is a sign of peace. The Holy Spirit in the creation of the world "epefereto up" from the primordial waters and has made his life (Gen. A 2). So now Christening hovering over the waters of the Jordan River and causing the second birth of a new creature.
On the left side of the picture John the Baptist bows with humility and respect for the person of the Messiah. It points to the Holy Spirit, descends "As a dove." His face is painted in profile position because of supernatural appearance of the Holy Spirit. His right hand touches the head of Christ and the left is stationary supplication. The head is disheveled and his beard sparse. The expression is strict and serious. Hands and feet are fleshless, because 'he not feed his locusts and wild honey "(Mt. c 4). His face painting scrawny and dark complexion, to indicate the heat of the desert. She wears clothes made of camel hair and leather belt at the waist (Mt. c 4).
Beside the Baptist is a pickaxe wedged between the branches of a tree. It symbolizes the words of the prophet John: "... But already the pickaxe with no root of the trees located ˙ every tree, then, lest notify honorable ekkoptetai fruits and inserted into the fire" (Mt. c 10). Here is revealed the nemesis that is already among us to pick the fruit from the fruitless trees.
On the right side of the image are the angels. They marinate their hands and suggest to Christ, be ready to serve. A special fabric or garment covers the open palms, which have shaped prayer, yet willingness to serve.
The bright colors that suddenly getting out of the sky and descended as Christ, the Angels and the Baptist, "creating sacred transcendental atmosphere suitable for the image of the Baptism is full of supernatural elements, such as the magnificent voice of the Father and the descent of Holy Spirit. "
Despina Ioannou - Kingdom
Priestess - Teacher
Excerpt from the book: the twelve
Image: The other language of theology.

Pine Trees Know When it is Easter....


Last year April on a Sunday we took one of our "nowhere" drives. My husband was quietly driving a back road. I was occupied in the front passenger seat watching the scenery.

I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my husband was straining to look out my window. This startled me, since his eyes should have been on the road in front of him. I asked him what he was looking at out the windows, and he quietly replied, "Nothing." His eyes went back to the road in front of him.

After a few minutes, I looked over at my husband and noticed a tear. I asked him what was wrong. This time he told me, "I was just thinking about my late father and a story he had once told me"

Of course, because it had to do with his Dad I wanted to know the story, so I asked him to share it with me. He said, "When I was about 8 years old, Dad and I were out fishing and that's when he told me that the Pine trees know when it is Easter.."

I had no idea what he meant by that, so I pressed him for more information. He continued on... "The Pine trees start their new growth in the weeks before Easter -- if you look at the tops of the Pine trees two weeks before, you will see the yellow shoots. As the days get closer to Easter Sunday, the tallest shoot will branch off and form a cross. By the time Easter Sunday comes around, you will see that most of the Pine trees will have small yellow crosses on all of the tallest shoots."
I turned to look out the window and I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a week before Easter, and you could see all of the trees with the tall yellow shoots stretching to Heaven. The tallest ones shone in the sunlight like rows of tiny golden crosses.


Begin the New Year with courage!

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Before we pray, I should like to introduce our prayers so that when we pray, we do it more effectively, with one mind and with one heart. Year after year I have spoken of the New Year that was coming, in terms of a plain covered with snow, unspoiled, pure, and called our attention to the fact that we must tread responsibly on this expanse of whiteness still unspoiled, because according to the way in which we tread it, there will be a road cutting through the plain following the will of God, or wandering steps that will only soil the whiteness of the snow. But a thing which we cannot, must not forget this year perhaps more than on many previous occasions, is that, surrounding, covering this whiteness and this unknown as with a dome, there is darkness, a darkness with few or many stars, but a darkness, dense, opaque, dangerous and frightening. We come out of a year when darkness has been perceived by all of us, when violence and cruelty is still rife.

How shall we meet it? It would be naive, and it would be very unchristian, to ask God to shield us against it, to make of the Church a haven of peace while around us there is no peace. There is strife, there is tension, there is discouragement, there are fears, there is violence, there is murder. We cannot ask for peace for ourselves if this peace does not extend beyond the Church, does not come as rays of light to dispel the darkness. One Western spiritual writer has said that the Christian is one to whom God has committed responsibility for all other men, and this responsibility we must be prepared to discharge. In a few moments we will entreat for both the unknown and the darkness, the greatest blessing which is pronounced in our liturgical services, «Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost» – blessed is the kingship of God.

These words are spoken rarely: at the beginning of services, at the outset of the Liturgy, as a blessing upon the New Year, and at moments when eternity and time unite, when with the eyes of faith we can see eternity intertwined with time, and conquering. The Christian is one who must be capable of seeing history as God sees it, as a mystery of salvation but also as a tragedy of human falleness and sin. And with regard to both we must take our stand. Christ says in the Gospel, «When you will hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled»; lift up your heads. There is no space in the heart and in the life of the Christian for cowardice, faintheartedness and fear, which are all born of selfishness, concern for self, even if it extends to those whom we love. God is the Lord of history, but we must be co-workers with God, and we are sent by Him into this world of His, in order to make the discordant city of men into the harmony which will be called the city of God.

And we must remember the words of the Apostle who says, whoever will wish to work for the Lord will be led into trial, and the words of another Apostle who tells us not to be afraid of trial by fire. In the present world we must be prepared, ready for trials and ready to stand, perhaps with fear in our heart for lack of faith, but unshaken in the service of God and the service of men.

And when we look back at the past year the words of the litany hit us and accuse us. We ask God to forgive us all that we have done or left undone in the past year. We claim to be Orthodox; to be Orthodox does not mean only to confess the Gospel in its integrity and proclaim it in its purity, but it consists, even more than this, in living according to the Gospel. And we know that Christ comes to no compromise with anything but the greatness of man and the message of love and worship. We can indeed repent because who, looking at us, would say as people said about the early Christians, «See how they love one another!» Who would say, looking at us, that we are in possession of an understanding of life, of a love which makes us beyond compare, which causes everyone to wonder where it comes from? Who gave it to them? How can they stand the test of trial? And if we want this year to be worthy of God, of our Christian calling, of the holy name of Orthodoxy, we must singly and as a body become to all, to each person who may need us, a vision of what man can be and what a community of men can be under God.

Let us pray for forgiveness, we who are so far below our calling, let us pray for fortitude, for courage, for determination to discount ourselves, to take up our cross, to follow in the footsteps of Christ whithersoever He will call us.

At the beginning of the war King George VI spoke words which we can repeat from year to year. In his message to the Nation he read a quotation: «I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown, and he replied: go out into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God that shall be better to you than light and safer than a known way.»

This is what we are called to do, and perhaps we should make today a resolution, determined to be faithful to our calling and begin the New Year with courage. Amen