On this Sunday the Church tells the parable of the Father who had two sons. Like all parables, it has a symbolic meaning. Who is the Father and who are the two sons?
The Father represents God the Father, the Father of all mankind.
The elder son represents the Jewish people. The elder son represents the Jews, for alone of all people the Jewish people had kept the memory of God, accurately, faithfully conserving the stories of Creation, the story of the Fall of Mankind and the prophecies of the Coming of a Saviour, the Messiah. The Jews, the elder son, had remained with the Father.
On the other hand, the younger son represents the Gentiles, that is the pagan world. At the time of Christ, this meant the whole world except for the Jews. Unlike the Jews, the pagans had confused their memories of God the Creator with all sorts of false stories, myths and legends. They had confused the Creator with creation, and instead of worshipping God, they worshipped stones and rivers, the sun and the moon, kings and queens, thinking that they were gods and so making them into idols. The pagans, the younger son, had journeyed into 'a far country' and there 'wasted their substance'. In other words, they had distanced themselves from God, forgotten His Truth, so wasting their spiritual inheritance. As a result, they suffered from 'a mighty famine', in other words, from spiritual hunger, and so ate with 'swine', that is, ate with the illusions of the demons. However, they repented and turned back towards the Father, who welcomed them with open arms, running out towards them to embrace them.
This parable is in fact a warning to the Jews. We can see this vividly portrayed in the icon of the parable which in the middle of the church. There we see the Father showing love and forgiveness towards the repentant son, who lies at His feet, begging forgiveness. The elder son, however, is angry, full of bitterness and jealousy. In hatred he says.
Perhaps we feel some sympathy with the elder son. After all, he never wasted his substance, he did remain loyal to the Father. The problem is that the elder son's service was a form of slavery, he did not stay with the Father out of love, but out of self-interest, in expectation of a reward. This was not love freely given, but an obligation fulfilled in the hope of the payment of the hireling.
We can compare this with the attitude of the Father. He instantly forgives all that the younger son, the pagan world, has done and says: 'Let us make merry'. The attitude of the Father is not gloom, but joy. The elder son, on the other hand, is full of gloom and cannot bring himself to be joyful or express love, because he has no love for his brother. The Father says: 'All that I have is thine', and shares everything. The elder son wishes to share nothing, for he is locked up in pride and self-love. Indeed, the elder son does not want to share in all that the Father has. Yes, he wants to share in His wealth and His property, but he does not want to share in what the Father has above all else - in His merciful compassion and love.
Thus we are reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul, that though we may have all qualities, if we do not have love, then we are nothing. In this way, this parable has a meaning for us.
We may have great wealth, but if we have no love, then all our wealth is worthless and our lives, like the lives of so many very wealthy people, are futile and purposeless.
We may have a wonderful job, but if we do not use it to create something positive, then it only satisfies our own vanity and has no real significance.
We may have a beautiful house or car, but if we use them only to flaunt our riches and feed our selfishness, then they serve no purpose.
Where there is no love, there there is only the emptiness of futile vanity and the gloom of selfish pride.
Therefore, let us too make merry, for Christ the King of Love makes joy even out of the most difficult problems and all we prodigals are able to return at any moment to the Father and be embraced by His love.
Rejoice, God is with us!

Can you sleep while the wind blows?

Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He
constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. . They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic , wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops..
As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady
stream of refusals.
Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer.
'Are you a good farm hand?' the farmer asked him.
'Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,' answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work.
Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed,the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, 'Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!'
The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, 'No sir. I told you, I
can sleep when the wind blows.'
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot.
Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm.
To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down.
Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.
When you're prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have
nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life? The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm.
We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in the Word of God. We don't need to understand, we just need to hold His hand to have peace in the middle of storms.
Someone dear to me sent this to me today, and I enjoyed it so much, that I wanted to send it to you.
I hope you enjoy your day and you sleep well.
May God bless you!

MATINS HYMNS - Tone _6_ Plagal 2 - 20 Feb - 2 Triodion - Prodigal

MATINS HYMNS - Tone _6_ Plagal 2 - 20 Feb - 2 Triodion - Prodigal


SACRED LESSONS - February 2011

February 2011


If you want someone who will eat whatever you put in front of him and never say its not quite as good as his mother's

...then adopt a dog.

If you want someone always willing to go out, at any hour,
for as long and wherever you want ...

..then adopt a dog.

If you want someone who will never touch the remote, doesn't care about football, and can sit next to you as you watch romantic movies

...then adopt a dog.

If you want someone who is content to get on your bed just to
warm your feet and whom you can push off if he snores

..then adopt a dog !

If you want someone who never criticizes what you do, doesn't care if you are pretty or ugly, fat or thin, young or old, who acts as if every word you say is especially worthy of listening to, and loves you unconditionally, perpetually ..

..then adopt a dog.

BUT, on the other hand, if you want someone who will never come when you call, ignores you totally when you come home, leaves hair all over the place, walks all over you, runs around all night and only comes home to eat and sleep, and acts as if your entire existence is solely to ensure his happiness .,

...then adopt a cat!

Now be honest, you thought I was gonna say... marry a man, didn't you?

Send this to all the women you know to brighten their day.
Send this to all the men just to annoy them!


.....have a GREAT Day!!!


The Spiritual Warfare -- A Homily by Elder Ephraim of Philotheou & Saint Anthony (Rare Footage)

his is video from 1992 and filmed at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh, PA upon an unexpected visit from Elder Ephraim.

Archimandrite Ephraim of Philotheou, commonly known as Elder Ephraim, is an archimandrite and former abbot of Philotheou Monastery on Agion Oros. He is also the Elder of at least four (as of 2002) of the twenty main monastic houses on the Holy Mountain, and one skete, as well as many monasteries and convents throughout Greece. He is also the founder of numerous monasteries and convents in the United States. He resides in Florence, Arizona at St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Monastery. Elder Ephraim has been a priest-monk for the past 60 years and has served as an elder for almost 50 years. He was a disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast of Mount Athos and lived in monastic obedience to him for 12 years until his Elder's repose on the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God in 1959.

download entire video here: http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/cat...

Lets quickly pray

Father in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, I pray you open doors for the person who sent me this as well as those I am sending it to. Only you can open doors no man can close and for that we honour you today. Thank you for the open doors of life, health, strength, prosperity, wealth, and love. Also, thank you for closing the doors of death, sickness, weakness, despair, poverty, and bitterness. We love you today Lord and give you all the glory and all the praise. I seal this prayer in Jesus ‘name, Amen!!!

If you need God to open a door, pray this prayer for the person who sent it to you and for those you are sending it to. Believe in your heart and you shall receive what
God has for you.
I need a door to open...

God closes doors no man can open & God opens doors no man can close. Even if you do not need God to open some doors for you pass it on anyway.

"To have God in our side doesn't mean sailing on a boat with no storms, it means having a boat that no storm can sink!"



I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice

Herb, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, 'What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

'And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber - give me a clue.'
'Hush, child,' He said, 'they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you..'


Remember...Just going to church doesn't make you a
Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Every SAINT has a PAST...
Every SINNER has a FUTURE!


The publican and the pharisee.

This parable adds to the two previous parables about God's grace, showing that a man's humble recognition of his own depravity is more important to God than the mock virtues of the proud.

"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in a week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Lk. 18:9-14).

It is quite likely that the Pharisee depicted in this parable was not a bad man; he did no harm to anyone. The parable does not say, however, that he has done any real good works; rather, he strictly follows the various, minute, secondary religious rites, even those of them which were not required by the Old Testament laws. Following these rites, he had no mean opinion of himself. He fits this expression of St. John Chrysostom, "He judged the whole world but justified himself!" People of this disposition are unable to evaluate themselves critically, repent and start a good life. Their moral self is dead. More than once, the Lord Jesus Christ publicly castigated the hypocrisy of Judaic scribes and Pharisees, but in this parable Christ only remarks that it was the tax collector who ‘went down to his house justified rather than the other’; in other words, it was the tax collector's sincere repentance that was accepted by God.

These three parables let us understand that a human being is fallen and sinful. A human has nothing to boast of before God. But with sincere repentance he must come back to his Heavenly Father and expose his life to the leadership of God’s grace, like the lost sheep who passed the work of its salvation to the good shepherd!

The following parables teach us to follow God in His mercy, and how to forgive and to love our neighbors — people both close and distant alike.

From: http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/parables/publican.shtml



When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan,
the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father
bore witness to Thee, and called Thee His beloved Son!
And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His word.
O Christ our God, who hast revealed Thyself
and hast enlightened the world, glory to Thee!
[Apolytikion for Theophany]

On the 6th of January we celebrate Holy Theophany, the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, which took place when our Lord was 30 years old. He was baptized in the Jordan River by the Forerunner and this was witnessed by God the Father through His voice and the Holy Spirit which appeared in the form of a dove. From the moment when our Lord became a man for our salvation, He fulfilled the entire Law throughout His life. When St John the Forerunner was baptizing in the Jordan according to God’s command, and as the Lord wanted to fulfill this Law too, once He was 30 years old, He approached St John, wanting to be baptized as all people were, despite the fact that He had no need of baptism as He was sinless. When St John saw Him, he said to Him: “It is I who needs to be baptized and yet you come to me?” But the Lord encouraged him and answered him “as I have fulfilled all the other commands of divine Law, so I must fulfill this one too”. Then John baptized our Lord who immediately came out of the water, while all others who were baptized remained in the water until they had confessed all their sins. Immediately, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended in the form of a dove and a voice was heard saying: “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”.
In this way He passed on to us who believe in Him to be baptized with three immersions and so to receive the Holy Spirit and to keep ourselves as clean and pure as possible, from sin so that we may inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
A few basic questions arise from this great feast of Theophany:

1. Why did Christ choose to be baptized even though He was sinless?
Baptism is redemption from the sins of humanity and a cleansing of original sin. Christ was sinless. So, why was He baptized? He was baptized in order to show us that the sacrament of Baptism is great and wondrous and is one of the seven sacraments of our faith. And in order to show that it is the first and great sacrament, He too was baptized and as is recorded in the Holy Gospel: whoever is not reborn through Holy Baptism cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
2. Why was He baptized in the Jordan and not in any other river?
Christ chose the Jordan for His baptism, because many miracles had taken place in this river and it was sanctified and full of miracles. For example, it was this river that Joshua Son of Nun crossed with the ark and then, again, the waters of the Jordan pulled back and the priests carrying the ark were wet only up to their ankles. Also, when the Prophet Elijah crossed the Jordan with Elishah, the River Jordan opened up and dry land became visible for the Prophet to cross – there are many other instances also mentioned in the Old Testament. This is why Christ chose to be baptized there – because of the many miracles which had taken place in the river.

3. Why did the Holy Spirit descend?
When Christ was being baptized, the heavens opened and the voice of God the Father was heard saying: “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased”. Because the Father was witnessing with these words, the Jews thought that the voice was speaking of the Forerunner. That is why the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove on to the head of the Lord, showing all that the voice was speaking about Christ.


St. Anthony

St. Anthony from Randy Sturgill on Vimeo.

A really good video telling about the life of the Orthodox Saint Anthony.


A Song for Simeon

Lord, they Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls
and The winder sun creeps by the snow hills;
The stubborn season has made stand.
My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.
Grant us they peace.
I have walked many years in this city,
Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor, have given and taken honour and ease.
There went never any rejected from my door.
Who shall remember my house, where shall live my children's children?
When the time of sorrow is come?
They will take to the goat's path, and the fox's home,
Fleeing from foreign faces and the foreign swords.
Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation
Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel's consolation
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.
According to thy word.
They shall praise Thee and suffer in every generation
With glory and derision, Light upon light, mounting the saints' stair.
Not for me the martyrdom, the ecstasy of thought and prayer,
Not for me the ultimate vision. Grant me thy peace.
(And a sword shall pierce thy heart, Thine also).
I am tired with my own life and the lives of those after me,
I am dying in my own death and the deaths of those after me.
Let they servant depart, Having seen thy salvation.


Hippocrates' Oath

I SWEAR by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius, and Health, and Allheal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others. I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons labouring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional practice or not, in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times! But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot!