The Monastery of Levin New Zealand B'

Sacred Monastery of the Holy Archangels and St. Basil - Neo Tharri Levin, New Zealand.

Our revered Elder Metropolitan of New Zealand Amphilochios from the beginning of his presence in this beautiful country was searching for a suitable location for establishing a male Monastery.

Upon investigation and in a wonderful way, the required was found in an idyllic setting on the North Island of New Zealand outside the town of Levin: a piece of earthly paradise on 104 acres, crowned by New Zealand bush of silver fern on the top and with a large Makahika river

 swirling like a giant snake at his feet, making its prostration.

Amidst the "Eden", the presence of God, wonderfully harmonized with the environment a church of the Grand Commanders of the Heavenly hosts with a chapel of St. Basil, has become a pole of attraction, as believers are coming from everywhere to relax and spiritually rejuvenate.

In this ‘‘spiritual lung’’ many New Zealanders as well are approaching to be edified and included within our Holy Orthodoxy


The Church of the Archangels has dimensions 9mx5m and the adjacent Chapel of St. Basil 6mx2.5m. The construction work began less than two years ago and the opening service of the two churches were
 on May 1. 2010.


Alongside a Baptistery in the shape of cross was built, and so far there have been several baptisms.


The brotherhood of the monastery consists of 4 monks and a novice brother. Authorized is the Father Meletios, who comes from Serbia.
Some of the monastery chores are gardening, farming, beekeeping and the production of candles.

A house, which from before existed on the property was adapted for monastery use but is found to be insufficient for the monks and the hospitality of the pilgrims.
So now there is a plan for construction of another building.
The assistance of any kind for the continuation of this God blessed work is welcome and also blessed by God.

We kindly ask you if you can donate whatever you can in this account:

Bank Westpac: Branch, 2 Devon St. East, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Name: Amfilochios Tsoukos
Full account number: 03-1566-0068447-00
Swift code: WPACNZ2W

Thank you for your support. May the Archangels be of help to you and your families and may you have the blessings of Saint Basil the organizer of Orthodox Monasticism.

Saint Kosmas the Aitolian, or Patrokosmas,

as he is called, is a figure in both church and national history who in the 18th century cast his light upon the path which the Greeks would follow a little before the outbreak of the Struggle for Liberation. He was the son of devout parents who brought him up accordingly, and he came from the village of Mega Dendron in Aitolia. His aptitude for learning took him to the school run by the Vatopedi Monastery on the Holy Mountain, where he studied under teachers famed for their learning. When the Athonite Academy fell into decay, the young Kostas (his name in the world) went to the Philotheou Monastery. There he was tonsured a monk and given the name of Kosmas and zealously engaged in many ascetic practices. At the request of the fathers of the Monastery, he was ordained a priest. St. Kosmas had a burning desire to be of service to his brothers in Christ who were suffering so many hardships. The enslavement of many years with the subsequent degradation of life, ignorance, and the decline into barbarity in behaviour were the scourges of the mass of Christians. The reflections of St. Kosmas on this situation led him to go out to the people and begin a series of preaching tours. As his thoughts matured, with the permission of the fathers of the Monastery, around 1760 he left for Constantinople, where he received the blessing of the Patriarch Seraphim II. St. Kosmas began his preaching from the enslaved Capital itself. He then went to Nafpaktos, Mesolonghi, and other areas, returning to Constantinople in 1774. With the permission of the new Patriarch Sophronius II, the Saint resumed his apostolic task. He returned for a little while to Athos, but his love for the Church’s flock led his steps to Thessaloniki, Veria, and other parts of Macedonia. From there, he moved on to Acarnania and Aitolia, as far as Arta and Preveza. Because of the large crowds which followed him, the Saint used to preach on open plains, always with the permission of the local bishop and aga (local Turkish official). His words were simple, but filled with the Holy Spirit. It was his custom wherever he was going to preach to tell the people to construct a wooden cross. He would then place a stool which he carried with him against the cross and preach standing upon it. The cross would remain as a reminder of his preaching. The Saint urged the Christians to build schools so that their children could learn about the Faith and be well-grounded in Christian piety. He would speak to them about the services of the Church, explain to them the value of repentance and confession, warning them against sin and urging them to lead lives of goodness. As with the Apostles, St. Kosmas’ preaching was often confirmed by miraculous signs. The Saint was admired and even feared by many Turks, and hated by many Jews. They spread unfounded accusations against him and slandered him to Kurt Pasha, to whom they offered money if he would put St. Kosmas to death. Kurt Pasha conspired with the hodja of the village of Kolikontasi in Albania that a trap would be set for St. Kosmas. On the pretext that the Pasha wished to see him, they took the Saint to a remote spot and hung him on August 24th, 1779. His murderers stripped the sanctified body of the Saint, tied a stone to it, and threw it into the river. The local Christians looked for his corpse, but could not find it. In a miraculous manner it rose to the surface and was pulled out by Papa Markos, the priest of the All-Holy Theotokos of the Presentation Monastery, which is near Kolikontasi, and buried it at the back of the sanctuary. Many other miracles followed the martyr’s death of the Saint, and he was quickly established in the mind of the people not only as a martyr but as a true apostle.


Hieroschemamonk Macarius (Ivanov)

1788 - September 7, 1860

Elder Macarius's face was scarred by smallpox, he stuttered and was always poorly dressed, but he was distinguished by a very refined personality. He was born to a landed gentry family, loved music and was a talented violinist. After some years' experience in the world as a bookkeeper, in 1818 he entered upon the monastic path at the Ploshchansk Hermitage. There he formed ties with Elder Leonid and followed him to Optina.

With Elder Leonid's repose, the burden of the spiritual guidance of the skete fell to Elder Macarius. He was soft-spoken and emanated a quiet joy in the Lord. Like Elder Leonid, he used his gift of spiritual discernment to work numerous healings, especially of the demon-possessed. He also carried on a tremendous correspondence: his letters of counsel fill two volumes, each numbering a thousand pages.

Elder Macarius did not tolerate idleness among the brethren. He introduced various handcrafts: bookbinding and woodworking. He also adorned the skete with mass planting of flowers. His greatest contribution to Optina, however, was to initiate its work of publishing patristic texts. This was historically significant, since Peter's reforms had greatly curtailed such activity, which subsequent laws restricted to ecclesiastical print shops. The result was that many works of Holy Fathers existed only in manuscript form or in very limited editions. Meanwhile, the secular press was churning out translations of mystical-philosophical works from the West, some of them plainly hostile to Orthodoxy. With the blessing and earnest support of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, and the active collaboration of the Orthodox writer and philosopher Ivan Kireyevsky, Elder Macarius began meticulously editing manuscripts translated from the Greek by Paisius Velichkovsky, which he had acquired in Ploshchansk, and other patristic manuscripts donated by various individuals, thus launching an undertaking which, in 50 years, produced more than 125 books in 225,090 copies. These were sent to libraries and seminaries all over Russia, putting into circulation the works of St. Isaac the Syrian, St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Nilus of Sora, Elder Paisius (Velichkovsky), and others, and inspiring a growing circle of religiously inclined intelligentsia.

Counsels of Elder Macarius

“To your question as to what constitutes happiness in life—whether it is grandeur, glory and wealth, or a quiet, peaceful family life—I will tell you that I agree with the latter, and I will also add that a life spent with a pure conscience and with humility brings peace, tranquility, and true happiness, while wealth, honors, glory, and high position are often the cause of many sins and do not bring happiness.

“People for the most part desire and seek well-being in this life, and tend to avoid sorrows. This seems to be good and pleasant, but constant well-being and happiness are harmful to a person. He falls into various passions and sins and offends the Lord, while those who lead a life of sorrow attain salvation, and for this reason the Lord has called a merry life the broad path: For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat (Mt. 7:13), while the life of sorrow He called strait: Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Mt. 7:14). Thus, out of His love for us and seeing its possible benefit for those who are worthy of it, the Lord leads many people away from the broad path and places them on the narrow and sorrowful path, in order to arrange their salvation through their endurance of illnesses and sorrows, and to grant them eternal life.”

“You not only wish to be good and not do anything bad, but you also wish to see yourself as such. The desire is laudable, but the wish to see one’s own good qualities provides food for vanity. Even if we acted sincerely and correctly in all things, we still would have to regard ourselves as unworthy servants. However, being faulty in all things, we must not consider ourselves to be good even in our thoughts. For this reason we are embarrassed instead of being humble. For this reason God does not give us strength for the execution of things, in order for us not to have pride in ourselves, but to attain humility. And when we do attain it, then our virtues will be strong and will not allow us to be vain.”

“We, weak-minded people, thinking to arrange our possessions, bustle around, despair, deprive ourselves of rest, only in order to leave our children a good estate. But do we know whether it will be of benefit to them? A foolish son is not helped by wealth—it only serves to lead him into immorality. We must concern ourselves with leaving our children the good example of our lives and rearing them in the fear of God and His commandments—that is their primary treasure. When we seek the Kingdom of God and His truth, all that is needful here will also be added (cf. Mt. 6:33). You will say: but we cannot do this, the modern world requires different things now! All right, but have you borne your children for this world only, and not for the hereafter? Comfort yourself with the word of God: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. (Jn. 15:18), while the carnal mind is enmity against God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be (cf. Rm. 8:7). Do not desire earthly glory for your children, but that they may be good people and obedient children, and when God grants it—kind spouses and tender parents, concerned for those serving them, loving to all, and tolerant of their enemies.”

“You wish to get nearer to God and attain salvation. That is the responsibility of all Christians, but it is done only through the keeping of God’s commandments, which consist entirely of love for God and neighbors, and even stretch to love for one’s enemies. Read the Gospel and there you will find the way, the truth, and the life; preserve the Orthodox faith and the canons of the Holy Church; study the instructions contained in the writings of church pastors and teachers, and arrange you life according to these teachings. However, rules of prayer alone will not help us do good… I advise you to pay as much attention as possible to works of love for your neighbors, to your relations with parents, spouses, and children, and try to bring up your children in the Orthodox faith and good morality. The holy Apostle Paul, enumerating the different types of virtues and labors of self-sacrifice, says: “Even if I do such-and-such, but have no love, there is no benefit to me.”


Adventures of an Orthodox Mom: Baking Prosphora {Athonite Style}

Adventures of an Orthodox Mom: Baking Prosphora {Athonite Style}: Today I made prosphora and I decided to post how we do it here at the monastery. It's very different from the typical phrosphora used in ...


50+ Photos from the Feast of Humbleness

Saint Evdokimos is an unknown saint found in the Vatopaidi’s ossuary in 1840, during some reconstruction works. He was found by the beautiful fragrance of his holy relics. He was found dead in a prayer position with an icon of Virgin Mary on his chest. Judging from his clothes, he was dead 100 – 150 years before. From then, the saint does many miracles to the ones who pray to him.
..but besides that, there is a very important aspect: he knew that he will die and he went away from the glory of the humans to be with God. Only with God. And God accepted him.
Nowadays, we do exactly the opposite: we go away from the true glory which came only from God and hunt the vain glory that comes from humans – soap bubbles which is several seconds disappear in the thin air.
Perhaps God urges us to bend our knees in front of the virtue of humbleness of this unknown saint and ask for his help, in order to show us that we are in the wrong way.
See the photos to convince for yourself.





Confession of the Blind Woman. Xeni Of Aegina, Greece (1867-1923)

People, hear and pity me, for this, my situation,

and pray to God for me, to give my wretched soul salvation.

Believe me, all of you, my brethren, truly I'll explain,

in me is found abundantly the works I now will name.

If you would like to know which virtues I have called my own,

I'll tell you: naked is my soul of good in every form.

Utterly devoid of virtue, sentenced to be damned,

and by every purity most utterly abandoned.

Poverty past bounds is mine, and wounds and ill diseases,

and being lost forever in the folds of death's deep creases.

Severe insentitivity and stupor overcome me,

anger, pride, hard-heartedness and evil have undone me.

To virtue I am cold as ice, but warm to wickedness,

always ready for laughter's lure and for talkativeness.

Instead of being compunctionate I'm totally unfeeling,

instead of weeping constantly, I laugh, the wretched worldling!

But there is something yet, that hides so perfectly these evils.

How long will I so fool the world, though I am like the devils,

with my false piety, fake virtue and hypocrisy?

When the world regards me highly, I rejoice and boast,

but when they criticise me, even kindly, I am sad, and mope.

Whomever of you knows me, I exhort you to feel piety,

and when reminded of me, weep for my iniguity.

Beg our God that someday He enlightenment will send me;

and by your prayers, my brethren, I hope that He will save me,

and from my somber wickedness and evil, He will free me.

On Raising Children

An elder said:
Prayer is trusting God. When your trust is completely in God, it is not even necessary to pray for something, for God takes over. It's just that one ought to wait with patience for
the fruit to ripen and fall off the tree. Therefore, parents, trust your children in God.
For you have given them only your flesh, but God has created their souls. So He is obliged to take care of them.

Another elder offered the following thoughts:
A child needs a lot of guidance and love. Watching television is destructive.
A man gives his flesh to his child. God creates a child's soul. When a child grows up, the parents are not responsible for him any longer. God assigns a guardian angel to every person born, to help him through his entire life. Therefore should we not trust in God ourselves?
You ought to help your children to a point. Beyond that, leave them under God's care. Their guardian angel is al- ways by them. One might say, 'If a person yields to temptation, his guardian angel stays away. But the angel does not despair; he stands nearby. Even when one goes astray, still God through the guardian angel sends good thoughts to that person.
We should not distance ourselves from God, for that is so painful. The guardian angel tries throughout one's life to introduce good thoughts, waits and suffers, is saddened when a man commits a sin, and stands before God empty-handed. Let us think about that! That alone creates such pain! If for only this reason, one should not distance himself from God's presence by refusing to do His will. Some angels with some effort, and some with none at all, present a man's soul to God. But other angels with great effort, torment and suffering come before God empty-handed. It is so painful. Imagine! It is worthwhile for one to strive with dignity so that his guardian angel might not be hurt. There are many people who have seen their guardian angel. If only one can see his angel, he will not ask for anything else. When we see little infants smile when sleeping, it is because they see their angel.
You ought to teach small children how to pray, for God answers their prayers. The children's prayer ought to enter their hearts. There is no benefit from a prayer unless it is from the depth of one's heart.
Try to help children when they are small with kindness, so that they experience a deeper meaning of life. Always treat them with kindness.

To his visitors an experienced ascetic gave good advice on raising children:
I am still sad because I did not go to confession until I was eighteen years old. I am still sad about it. When a child is about six to seven, it is time to see a spiritual father. Let it be so.
So, as soon as you return to your homes from the Holy Mountain, pay attention to your children, catechize them, and guard them, especially with your prayers. Pray as Patriarch Jacob prayed for his children. Pray like this 'Holy Theotokos, protect, help and oversee my children.' Also cross yourselves while praying and chant a hymn to Panagia. Watch over them. Make sure you know where they go at night and with whom they keep company. For bad company destroys good morals. Your child might be good, but someone else's might be a bad influence on him. This is my advice to all lay people.


St.Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery, Florence, Arizona

In the summer of 1995 six monks arrived in the southern Arizona desert to establish St. Anthonys Monastery, carrying with them the sacred, millenial heritage of the Holy Mountain, Athos. Elder Ephraim, a disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, having restored and repopulated four Mt. Athos monasteries and having established several mens and womens monastic communities throughout Greece and North America, transferred six Athonite monks to the Sonoran Desert to start a new monastery. The monastery, which covers over 100 acres, is dedicated to St. Anthony the Great, the father of monasticism, the renowned 3rd century anchorite. There are chapels dedicated to Saints Seraphim of Sarov, Demetrios of Thessalonica, John the Baptist, George the Great Martyr, Nicholas the Wonderworker, and Panteleimon the Healer. The main church is dedicated to Saints Anthony and Nectarios the Wonderworker. The monastery follows the coenobitic rule of monastic life: a brotherhood of monks and novices holding all things in common follow a daily schedule of prayer and work under obedience to the abbot, their spiritual father. There are over 40 monks there today.
 Visit the Monastery website here: www.stanthonysmonastery.org


The little things in life

After Sept. 11th, one company invited the remaining members of other companies who had been decimated by the attack on the Twin Towers to share their available office space.

At a morning meeting, the head of security told stories of why these people were alive... and all the stories were just about:

e 'L I T T L E' things.

As you might know, the head of the company survived

because that day his son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was

his turn to bring donuts.

One woman was late because her

alarm clock didn't go off in time.

One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike

because of an auto accident.

One of them

missed his bus.

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take

time to change.


car wouldn't start.

One went back to
answer the telephone

One had a

child that dawdled

One man was delayed by

A faulty traffic light

and didn't get ready as soon as he should have.

One couldn't

get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man

who put on a new pair of shoes that morning,

took the various means to get to work

but before he got there, he developed

a blister on his foot.

He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.
That is why he is alive today.

Now when I am

stuck in traffic,

miss an elevator,

turn back to answer a ringing telephone...

all the little things that annoy me.
I think to myself,

this is exactly where

God wants me to be at this very moment..

So, the next time your morning seems to be

going wrong,


the children are slow getting dressed,

you can't seem to find the car keys,

you hit every red traffic light,

the traffic is slow for no reason;

you pick the wrong lane and its not moving;

Don't get mad or frustrated;

God is at work watching over you.

May God continue to bless you

with all those annoying little things

How old is the orthodox faith?

If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.

If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to re-marry.

If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560.

If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.

If you are Protestant Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England, founded by Samuel Senbury in the American colonies in the 17th century.

If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1606.

If you are of the Dutch Reformed Church, you recognize Michelis Jones as founder because he originated your religion in New York in 1628.

If you are a Methodist, your religion was founded by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1774.

If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, New York, in 1829.

If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.

If you are Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.

If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as "Church of the Nazarene, Pentecostal Gospel," "Holiness Church," or "Jehovah's Witnesses," your religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past hundred years.

If you are Roman Catholic, your church shared the same rich apostolic and doctrinal heritage as the Orthodox Church for the first thousand years of its history, since during the first millennium they were one and the same Church. Lamentably, in 1054, the Pope of Rome broke away from the other four Apostolic Patriarchates (which include Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem), by tampering with the Original Creed of the Church, and considering himself to be infallible. Thus your church is 1,000 years old.

If you are Orthodox Christian, your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It has not changed since that time. Our church is now almost 2,000 years old. And it is for this reason, that Orthodoxy, the Church of the Apostles and the Fathers is considered the true "one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." This is the greatest legacy that we can pass on to the young people of the new millennium.

by Rev. Dr. Miltiades Efthimiou 


Three parables

Very nice and instructive short movie.

Three parables from Srboljub on Vimeo.


Daily readings from scriptures October 2011

1  Acts 9:10‐12 Lk 5:17‐26
2  2Co 6:1‐10 Lk 6:31‐36
3  Acts 17:16‐34 Lk 6:24‐30
4  Eph 2:19‐3:7 Lk 6:37‐45
5  Eph 3:8‐21 Lk 6:46‐7:1
6  1Co 4:9‐16 Jn 20:19‐31
7  Eph 4:17‐25 Lk 7:31‐35
8  1Co 14:20‐25 Lk 5:27‐32
9  2Co 6:16‐7:1 Lk 7:11‐16
10  Eph 4:25‐32 Lk 7:36‐50
11  Acts 8:26‐39 Lk 8:1‐3
12  Eph 5:25‐33 Lk 8:22‐25
13  Eph 5:33‐6:9 Lk 9:7‐11
14  Eph 6:18‐24 Lk 9:12‐18
15  1Co 15:39‐45 Lk 6:1‐10
16  Titus 3:8‐15 Lk 8:5‐15
17  Rom 9:18‐33 Lk 9:18‐22
18  Col 4:5‐11,14‐18 Lk 10:16‐21
19  Acts 2:14‐21 Lk 9:44‐50
20  Php 1:20‐27 Lk 9:49‐56
21  2Co 9:6‐11 Lk 10:1‐15
22  1Co 15:58‐16:3 Lk 7:1‐10
23  Gal 1:11‐19 Lk 8:26‐39
24  Php 2:12‐16 Lk 10:22‐24
25  Php 2:17‐23 Lk 11:1‐10
26  2Ti 2:1‐10 Jn 15:17‐16:2
27  Php 3:1‐8 Lk 11:14‐23
28  Php 3:8‐19 Lk 11:23‐26
29  2Co 1:8‐11 Lk 8:16‐21
30  Gal 1:11‐19 Lk 16:19‐31
31  Php 4:10‐23 Lk 11:29‐33