By   His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

Through the Old Testament’s prophesies, the Lord Almighty prepared mankind to receive the Messiah, Who would be God Incarnated. He would had dwelt and lived amongst men. God promises Moses, that He will built His tent amongst the people of Israel, and that He will be their God and they will be His people (Lev. 26:11, 12). The prophet Isaiah, more than any other prophet, foretold that God will take up human flesh and, as the God-Man, will live amongst men. Even the name ‘Emmanuel’, which was given by the Angel means: God is with us.
Man cannot know how God became man. Man’s mind cannot understand the depth of this “great mystery”, in other words, how God was incarnated as a perfect man and simultaneously His human nature had received the fullness of the Deity within it, without the two Natures being confused or mingle or mixed.
God the Word took up all the human nature, but without sin. The human nature is receiving all the Hypostasis of God the Son and Word and at the same time the Son remains inseparable from the Father and the Holy Spirit, filling all Creation with His Divine presence. He is presence not in partial, but as the whole God in all Creation and in all parts of the Creation. To this All-presence of the Word of God the term “Emmanuel” is expressed, which means God is with us.
The presence and dwelling of God amongst men is the presence of salvation and the source of God’s Gifts and Charismata. The presence of God the Word in man’s history was an offering of redemption, which man so desired and could not find on his own. God the Word with His Incarnation brought the Heavenly Kingdom of God to men and is extended in eternity. God had to come in a physical manner to enlighten man’s mind through His Teachings. With the sanctification of the human nature, Christ could free it from the bondage of the sinful passions. Man’s mind and heart would have been cleansed from the stain of sin and he would become free from the tyranny of guilt and death itself.
With the Incarnation of the Word man’s relationship with God the Father has been restored and men are worthy to become, through Grace, ‘sons of God’. The Incarnation of the Word of God opened Paradise and ended the authority of Satan. For the Nativity in Bethlehem of Judaea had to take place, in order that the Sacrifice on Golgotha be realized.  
Mankind, after the Fall of the first-created, was enslaved completely to sinful passions. Men’s hearts were turned to evil from their youth. Human nature was so much disfigured and corrupted, that God had decided that His Spirit will not rest amongst men, because of their sinfulness. With the Sacrifice, which was offered by Christ, all those who believe in His name, are no longer slaves, but His friends and co-heirs in His Heavenly Kingdom.
The presence of the Lord within the Orthodox Church is eternal. Emmanuel, the Son of God, the Son of the Ever-Virgin Mary, is within and remains within the Church and grants to all Orthodox faithful salvation till the ends of time.
How many times did not our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ called the men of His time and still continues calling all men to accept His Teachings? The Feast Day of Christ’s Nativity has approached. How many of us have prepared accordingly to receive Christ within our hearts?
We all have been busy with the cleaning of our homes! We all ran to make our Christmas shopping’s, to prepare Christmas sweets, to buy new clothes and festival gifts! In all these, how many of us have prepared the inner part of our souls to receive the Heavenly Infant of Bethlehem? How many of us have turned our thoughts towards our brothers and sisters who truly have the need of our support? How many have forgiven those who trespassed against them? How many of us ran and participated in the Holy Sacrament of Confession and cleansed their souls from their daily sins?   
But, my beloved brethren, how many families also cry and suffer during these holy days, because many gamble? Men, who worked throughout the year, in few moments gamble and find themselves penniless, unable to buy even the basic food for their homes? And, for all these problems the reasons rely in the passion of wanting to win more and more money. Greed blinds their thoughts and enslaves their hearts, with the hope of a quick way of becoming rich. How great pain we cause to the Infant Christ during these days. When instead of going to the Church, we prefer to stay at home or at the casino?
Christ is born in the hearts of men, when we open our hearts to Him and invite Him with true faith and love. Christ is born and man is reborn.
Beloved, on the occasion of the coming great feast of the Incarnation of the Son and Word of God, let us decorate our souls with true faith and good deeds, in order that Emmanuel will dwell within our personal life and we become the living temples of His love. Amen.


11th Sunday of St. Luke The Great Banquet

His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

«A man made a great banquet and invited many».

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God, many times used parables in order to make the people understand the heavenly truths which He revealed. Thus, today, He used an image from the daily life, in order to reveal the importance of man’s participation in the banquet which is offered by God’s Love, the Holy Sacrament of the Divine Eucharist.

Before us lays a banquet. A great banquet, which is offered by God. It is a banquet which the Wisdom of God invites all men saying: ‘Come, eat my bread and drink wine, which I offer to you”. It is a banquet of which Prophet King David had spoke of: “You have prepared before Me a banquet contrary to those who make Me sad; You have anointed My head with oil and Your cup I drunk as the most best”. It is a great banquet which is offered for our salvation by the Lamb, the Son and Word of God. A great banquet, in the midst of which the Heavenly Lamb of God invites everyone saying: “come, for all is prepared”.

            In the midst of the Holy Sacrament of the Divine Eucharist the extreme Love of God is expressed, Who “desires that all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth” (1 Τim. 2:4).  The special characteristic of God’s Love towards man is the offering and the sacrifice. He who loves sacrifices everything for him whom is loved. He, who loves less, offers less. But, he who loves more, offers even more. Our Lord Jesus Christ extremely loved “His own in the world”, and for this reason He offers Himself “for the life and salvation of the world”. St. John the Evangelist speaking about the greatness of this divine love says: “Thus God loved the world, that He gave His own begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not parish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15-16).



From "Remember thy First Love"  by Archimandrite Zacharias Zacharou.

Question: In taking the steps which you have presented W to us, the most difficult thing, I think, is to overcome the rear of shame. This is what I try to do in my parish. People will not come to confession although their souls are burdened and things are driving them crazy, because they cannot overcome the shame to admit their sins. How do you lead people in this direction?
Answer: I think that the strength to bear shame is a gift from God. When I was a young and inexperienced spiritual father, Elder Sophrony told me to encourage the young people to confess precisely the things of which they are ashamed, for if they learn to do so, shame is transformed into strength against the passions, and they will overcome sin. This is precisely what occurred in the person of Zacchaeus. He bore shame voluntarily, and the Lord, Who was on His was to Jerusalem in order to suffer the Cross of shame, saw Zacchaeus bearing shame for His sake and recognized in him a kindred spirit. Zacchaeus had put himself prophetically in the way of the Christ, in the way of the Cross, and in a prophetic way the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ was activated in the heart of Zacchaeus. His heart was enlarged and he was able to enter into the power of faith. Christ has saved us through the Cross of shame, so when we suffer shame for His sake He considers this as gratitude, and in return He transmits to us His grace which regenerates our life.
This is exactly what happens in confession. Those who confess sincerely and take upon themselves the shame for their sins are regenerated. But those who shrug their shoulders and say, 'Nothing special, the usual things...' they do not bear any shame, their heart remains unmoved, and they hardly receive any benefit. But those who, with shame and a contrite heart, strip their souls naked before God and before another mortal, 'of like passions' (Acts 14:15) with them—that shame of theirs really finds the heart, humbles it and brings it to the surface. This then, opens the heart to receive the grace of regeneration, of consolation. We see this in the life of many that come to us: the greater the shame they bear with contrition, accusing themselves before God, the greater the grace they receive to amend their lives and make a new beginning.

Orthodox Heritage Vol. 10, Issue 11-12



          My dear brothers & sisters in the Living Christ, Glory be to God.
         A group of villagers in Greece were digging in a quarry when suddenly a large section of the quarry collapsed and crushed those working there.  It appeared initially that everyone who was working in the quarry died. The wife of one of workers, Argiro, a very poor but pious women, believing that her husband was dead, requested that the village priest celebrate 40 Divine Liturgies in a chapel near where the accident took place for the repose of the soul of her husband.  She daily took a prosforo, a bottle of wine and a candle to the priest.  After the priest had celebrated 20 Liturgies, a demon became very angry with the great piety of Mrs. Argiro.
           The demon, the greatest of all deceivers in the universe transformed himself into the likeness of a fellow villager that was known to Argiro. His plan was to dissuade the priest from performing 40 liturgies for the soul of Argiro husband.  He met her one morning as she was taking the πρόσφορο, the wine and the candle to the priest in the remote chapel. He said to you: “You should know that the priest cannot go to the Church today because he has an emergency.  You need not trouble yourself by going to the Church.  You can give him your offerings tomorrow.  The demon did this three times during the course of the forty days when the forty Liturgies were to be performed. With the passing of time, a big effort was being made to recover the bodies from the caved in quarry.   Forty days had elapsed since the terrible accident took place and they were digging ever deeper into the rubble.  As they were digging one day, they reached a point when they suddenly heard a voice.  It was a human voice that was saying to them; “Be careful, I am alive! Dig carefully, because there are two rocks hanging just above me and they could fall upon me and kill me.”
            They were truly startled at hearing the voice and they continued digging very carefully around the area where they heard the voice.  They found a man alive and he happened to be the husband of Άrgiro.  They immediately told Άrgiro that her husband was the one found alive. They all wondered how it was possible for a man to stay alive for 40 days without food and water. In response to their amazement, Άrgiro husband told them the following amazing story. He told them that an invisible being would visit him every day to give him bread, a small container of wine and a lit candle. He said: “This is what happened to me during the forty days when I was buried except for three times when I did not eat; neither did I see a light.  I became very upset over this and I began lament over all the sins I committed in life.  I felt this way because   the invisible hand of God was no longer helping me.  At this point, I was ready to die from hunger and thirst.”


9th Sunday of St. Luke.

Luke l2:l6-2l
His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

            In today's Gospel reading, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ emphasied the importance of laying up treasure toward God.  He used the example of a very rich man, whose "ground yielded plentifully" (Luke l2:l6). His mind was troubled of what he should do?  So many new things were added to his riches.  What now?  Where is the space to gather all these riches?

            The rich man, as one can see clearly through the Gospel, was considered only for himself.  He spoke only with himself.  He desides things, which are profitable to him.  In his thoughts about what to do, he never, even for once, thanked God for all the plentifully goods, which God had provided him with.  The rich man is very selfish and does not think for anyone else except for his own benefits.                         

            He desides to pull down his barns and build greater, and there he will store all his crops and his goods (Luke l2:l8).  And then, as though there was one else in the whole world, said to himself: "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry" (Luke l2:l9).

            When man becomes blind, because of material and worldly riches, then he cannot see anything else beside his own needs.  To be rich is not sinful, nor can anyone say that it is  wrong.  But all riches come from God, and thus man has to use this God-given gift for the benefit of all those who are in need. 

            God entrusts you with worldly goods, in order to see how you will use them to become more richer in God through charitable deeds.  If you have achieved something in your life, do not forget that God, behind the scenes, blessed you, enlighted you and assisted you.  Therefore it is your duty to examine yourself and say, 'Why has God given me so many things?  How can I glorify my Lord and Saviour through the riches, which He has provided me with?  Whom can I help?  Whom can I feed?  Whom can I dress?  Whom should I visit in hospitals?  How can I help children to study and become important and useful people in society?

            These are the questions which all of us must have in mind, when things are going well in our businesses.  God blesses us in order that we should assist those who are truely in need.  And let no say, that they are to many beggars around the streets, who should we help?  Help one, give him foud, clothing anything.  But when you give, give it with your heart.  Do not allow evil thoughts to over rule your good intentions.  If the man is in need, your will not lose your reward.  But if you harden your heart, then you turn your back to Christ, because He said, "I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me" (Matth. 25:35-36).

Also in other part of Holy Scripture our beloved Lord promised us saying, that "And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward" (Matth. l0:42).  On the contrary, when one does not perform good deeds towards his felow man, then his actions are reflecting to Christ Himself, as this is proved with the condemnation of all those who neglected their duty to do good to others.  "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels ... Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me" (Matth. 25:4l, 45).  The results of each individuars deeds is pointed out in the following words: "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matth. 25:46).
The foolish rich man made one serious, but vital mistake in his life.  Although he was not a thief, but a very hard working man, he missed out in that he never considered the needs of those in need, the poor, the sick, the orphans, the widows, etc.  He just thaught about how he will build more stores; make more shops; make his income grow more and more, just to have everything which he will need to have a good and ease life, drinking and having sexual pleasures.
But God gave him the opportunity.  He gave him plentifully, so that he will be without any excuse.  St. Paul the Apostle of the Nations teaches us that, on the final Judgement "every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world shall become guilty before God" (Rom. 3:l9), for everyone has the chanch to practice good, but they avoid doing so.
My beloved friends, the rich man of today's Holy Gospel acted very foolish, beleiving that through the worldly pleasures he will overcome all difficulties in life.  But he never considered the Will of God, and ended dying.  Everything which he worked for was lost for him.  He took nothing.  Worse of all is the fact that he lost the eternal life offered by God.  He ended to be taken violently by the demons into everlasting damnation.
Let us, therefore wake up from the spiritual sleep, which is caused by the material things surrounding us.  Let us becoma free from the love of the vanity of this world.  Let us become true Orthodox Christians, devoted to God's Will, and let us practice His Commandments.  To achieve everlasting life, let us become workers of true Faith and good deeds for the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Elder Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia: The Disposition of a Moralist

Man has such powers that he can transmit good or evil to his environment. These matters are very delicate. Great care is needed. We need to see everything in a positive frame of mind. We mustn’t think anything evil about others. Even a simple glance or a sigh influences those around us. And even the slightest anger or indignation does harm. We need to have goodness and love in our soul and to transmit these things. We need to be careful not to harbour any resentment against those who harm us, but rather to pray for them with love. Whatever any of our fellow men does, we should never think evil of him. We need always to have thoughts of love and always to think good of others. Look at Saint Stephen the First-Martyr. He prayed, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." We need to do the same.
We should never think about someone that God will send him some evil or that God will punish him for his sin. This thought brings about very great evil, without our being aware of it. We often feel indignation and say to someone: "Have you no fear of God’s justice, are you not afraid of God’s punishment?" Or else we say, "God will punish you for what you’ve done," or, "O God, do not bring evil on that person for what he did to me"; or, "May that person not suffer the same thing."
In all these cases, we have a deep desire within us for the other person to be punished. Instead of confessing our anger over his error, we present our indignation in a different way, and we allegedly pray to God for him. In reality, however, in this way we are cursing our brother. And if, instead of praying, we say, "May God repay you for the evil you have done to me," then once again we are wishing for God to punish him. Even when we say, "All very well, God is witness," the disposition of our soul works in a mysterious way and influences the soul of our fellow man so that he suffers evil.


St Nicholas of Myra

Saint Nicholas (Greek: Άγιος Νικόλαος [="victory of the people"]) (270–6 December 346) is the canonical and most popular name for Nikolaos of Myra, a saint and Greek Bishop of Myra (Demre, in Lycia, part of modern-day Turkey). Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker (Greek: Νικόλαος ο Θαυματουργός). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas. In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari, in southeastern Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari.
The historical Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered among Orthodox Christians. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children, and students in Greece, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Albania, Russia, Slovakia, Serbia, and Montenegro.
Translation of his relics
On 26 August 1071 Romanus IV, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (reigned 1068–1071), faced Sultan Alp Arslan of the Seljuk Turks (reigned 1059–1072) in the Battle of Manzikert. The battle ended in humiliating defeat and capture for Romanus. As a result the Empire temporarily lost control over most of Asia Minor to the invading Seljuk Turks. The Byzantines would regain its control over Asia Minor during the reign of Alexius I Comnenus (reigned 1081–1118). But early in his reign Myra was overtaken by the Islamic invaders. Taking advantage of the confusion, sailors from Bari in Apulia seized the remains of the saint over the objections of the Orthodox monks. Returning to Bari, they brought the remains with them and cared for them. The remains arrived on 9 May 1087.