19/07/2021

Twenty-four hours with St. Amphilochios


 1.Cultivate the Jesus Prayer and a time will come when your heart will leap with joy, just as it does when you are about to see a person who you love very much.

2.Do not neglect evening prayer. Pray with eagerness like those who are going to a feast. They are awake and feel joy alone. Thus, since you are going to speak with your Bridegroom, do not listen when the Tempter tells you various things in order to hinder you, because you know there is someone who cares for you.

3.-“Elder, how must we picture Christ?”

-“We must always bring Christ to mind with love. We could be holding the photograph of someone in our hands, but since we do not know them, we do not love him, we are not moved. Whereas, when we pick up a photograph of our mother, our soul immediately leaps and cries out with love.

4.A person can be raised up above the earth by two wings, one is simplicity and the other is purity of heart. You must be simple in your actions and pure in your thoughts and feelings. With a pure heart you’ll seek God and with simplicity you’ll find Him and be glad. A pure heart passes through Heavens gate with ease.

5.Self-denial must be cultivated with discernment, otherwise we reach the point of suicide.

6.We are on the high seas of life, sometimes there are storms and at other times calm. God’s grace does not leave us. Else, we would have sunk, if he had not held us up.

7. The saints always look to the other life. It is the grace of the remembrance of death.

8. God guards us from temptation. He does not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength. He allows everything for our good.

9. When spirituality increases, even sleep will have been fought off.

10. Prayer is grace. God gives it when zeal and humility exist.

11.Fight the Hater of Good, who envies you, bravely suffer whatever befalls you with fortitude, patience and faith.

12.Do not allow your soul’s enemy to wage war against you. He appears in sheep’s clothing, supposedly wanting your soul’s benefit.

13.Trust in the Lord always and he will nourish you in time of hunger. … Spiritual bonds become unbreakable when they come across a child-like spirit, innocence and sanctity.

14.With a good word for your neighbour, supporting him, you buy paradise.

15.Repentance must occur, not from fear of punishment but because we have sinned before God. Sweeten your thoughts with words of consolation and hope. Warm your words with the warmth of your love towards your Bridegroom and remember His Passion, which he underwent for you, so that you would remain firm, devoted and humble. Give your whole self completely over to the protecting veil of the Panagia.

16.Love giving hospitality, my child, for it opens the gates of Paradise. In this you also offer hospitality to angels. “Entertain strangers so that you won’t be a stranger to God.”

17.The saints submitted to whatever God sent them, with childlike simplicity, “That’s the way You want it. Let Your will be done.”

18.Hospitality… the greatest of virtues. It draws the grace of the Holy Spirit towards us. In every stranger’s face, my child, I see Christ himself.

19.Sorrow is pleasing to God, in as much as it doesn’t take away our courage to fight.

20.It is necessary and beneficial for a general self-examination to take place from time to time, remembering all former sins. … Our deeds, dear sister, will not save us; God’s infinite mercy will.

21.Leave all your concerns to the hands of God. Ask for whatever you want, like a child asking from its father. … Prayer is a gift from God. Always ask with hope.

 The nunnery of  Evangelismos “The Annunciation to the Mother of the Beloved One” was built in 1613 from a Cretan monk of the Monastery, named Nikiforos. It is southwest of Chora. It consists of the temple of the Evangelistria (Our Lady of the Annunciation) of the side chapel of St. Luke and from a three-floored fortified tower with the side chapel of St. Antonio. The foundation of the monastery is dated from 1936, from the monk Amphilochios Makris, a great spiritual figure. He worked hard for the foundation and the development of the nunnery. The icons in the church date back to the 15th, 16th and 17th century. The sisterhood is home to over 40 nuns who apart from praying, occupy themselves with social welfare, gardening, beekeeping and Byzantine embroidery called the”spitha” (spark). The same stitch was used to make embroidery for aristocratic Byzantine families from the time of Hosios Christodoulos.

Spiritual Counsels and Sayings Translated by Marina Robb.

http://apantaortodoxias.blogspot.com/2021/07/twenty-four-hours-with-st-amphilochios.html

02/07/2021

This sheep dog is covered in his own blood after fighting off wolves protecting his flock, while the sheep gently comforts him.

 


This sheep dog is covered in his own blood after fighting off wolves protecting his flock, while the sheep gently comforts him.

Regardless of how physically strong or emotionally tough someone is, showing them how much you appreciate their efforts goes a long way.

The dog is willing to die for his sheep, and the gesture of the sheep comforting him is all he needs.

Never take someone for granted who is willing to fight for you or stand by you in your time of need. Appreciate their efforts, and show them that you are grateful.

01/07/2021

My children, I don’t want Paradise without you.


 My children, I don’t want Paradise without you. Whoever plants a tree, plants hope, peace, and love and has the blessings of God. Consider all people to be greater than yourself, though they may have many weaknesses. Don’t act with hardness, but always think that each person has the same destination as we do. Through the grace of God I consider all people to be saintly and greater than myself.

St Amphilochios of Patmos

                 Somebody said:

Without trees

Without trees, there is no shade.

Without trees, no icons are made.

Without trees, no barbecue for heat.

Without trees, there is no fruit to eat.

Without trees, there is no home for birds.

Without trees, no paper for these words.

16/06/2021

THE DREAD JUDGMENT St. John of Shanghai


Today Is the Sunday of the Dread Judgment, and it is natural for us to speak of the Dread Judgment and of the signs of the end of the world. No one knows that day; only God the Father knows; but the signs of its approach are given in the Gospel and in the Revelation [Apocalypse] of the holy Apostle John the Theologian. Revelation speaks of the events at the end of the world and of the Dread Judgment principally in images and in a concealed manner; but the Holy Fathers have explained it, and there is an authentic Church tradition that speaks to us both about the signs of the approach of the end of the world and about the Dread Judgment.

Before the end of life on earth there will be confusion, wars, civil strife, famine, and earthquakes. Men will suffer from fear; they will expire from the expectation of calamities. There will be no life, no joy of life, but a tormenting state of falling away from life. There will be a falling away not only from life, but from faith as well: when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8).

Men will become proud and ungrateful, denying the Divine Law: together with a falling away from life there will be also a dearth of moral life.

There will be an exhaustion of good, and a growth of evil. The holy Apostle John the Theologian, in his divinely-inspired work, the Revelation, also speaks of this time. He himself says that he "was in the Spirit," which means that the Holy Spirit Himself was in him when the fate of the Church and the world was revealed to him in various images, and that is why it is God's Revelation.

He represents the fate of the Church in the image of a woman who, in those times, hides in the wilderness: she does not show herself in public life, just as in Russia today.

Those forces that are preparing the appearance of Antichrist will have a leading significance in public life. Antichrist will be a man and not the devil incarnate. "Ann" is a word meaning "old," or it means "in place of" or "against." That man wants to be in place of Christ, to occupy His place and possess that which Christ ought to possess. He wants to possess the same attraction and authority over the whole world.

And he will receive that authority before his own destruction and that of the whole world. He will have a helper, a Magus, who, by the power of false miracles, will fulfill his will and kill those that do not recognize the authority of Antichrist. Before the destruction of Antichrist, two righteous men will appear who will denounce him. The Magus will kill them and their bodies will lie unburied for three days, and Antichrist and all his servants will rejoice exceedingly. Then suddenly, those righteous men will resurrect, and the whole army of Antichrist will be in confusion and horror, and the Antichrist himself will suddenly fall dead, slain by the power of the Spirit.

But what is known about this man, Antichrist? His precise ancestry is unknown. His father is completely unknown, while his mother is a defiled, pretended virgin. He will be a Jew from the tribe of Dan. There is an indication of this, in that Jacob, when dying, said that [Dan], in his posterity, would be a serpent by the way… biting the heel of the horse (and the rider shall fall backward) (Gen. 49:17). This is a figurative indication that he will act with craftiness and evil.

In Revelation, John the Theologian speaks of the salvation of the sons of Israel that before the end of the world a multitude of Jews will be converted to Christ; but the tribe of Dan is not included in the enumeration of the tribes that are saved.

Antichrist will be very intelligent and gifted with the ability to deal with people. He will be charming and affectionate.

The philosopher Vladimir Soloviev worked extensively on this subject in order to present the advent and the personality of Antichrist. He made careful use of all relevant materials, not only Patristic, but also Muslim, and produced a very striking picture.

Before the advent of Antichrist, his appearance is already being prepared in the world. "The mystery is already at work" (cf. II Thess. 2:7), and the forces preparing his appearance struggle above all against lawful royal authority. The holy Apostle Paul says that Antichrist cannot appear until "he that restrains" is removed. John Chrysostom explains that "he that restrains" is the lawful, godly authority.

Such an authority struggles with evil. The "mystery" working in the world does not want this; it does not want an authority that wars against evil; on the contrary, it wants an authority of iniquity, and when it succeeds in bringing this about, then nothing will stand in the way of the coming of Antichrist. He will be not only intelligent and charming: he will be compassionate, he will be charitable and do good, for the sake of consolidating his power. And when he will have strengthened it sufficiently, so that the whole world acknowledges him, then he will show his real face.

He will choose Jerusalem as his capital, because it was here that the Saviour revealed His Divine teaching and His Person, and the whole world was called to the blessedness of goodness and salvation. But the world did not accept Christ and crucified Him in Jerusalem; while under Antichrist, Jerusalem will become the capital of the world that has recognized the authority of Antichrist.

Once having attained the summit of power, Antichrist will demand that men acknowledge his attainment as something to which no other earthly power and no other man could possibly attain, and he will demand that men bow down to him as to a superior being, a god.

Soloviev describes well the character of his activity as Supreme Ruler. He will do what pleases men, on the condition that they recognize his Supreme Authority. He will let the Church function, and allow her to hold Divine services, he will promise to build magnificent temples—provided he is recognized as the "Supreme Being" and that he is worshipped. He will have a personal hatred for Christ. He will live by this hatred and will rejoice at seeing men apostatize from Christ and the Church. There will be a mass falling away from the faith; even many bishops will betray the faith, justifying themselves by pointing to the splendid position of the Church.

A search for compromise will be the characteristic disposition of men. Straightforwardness of confession will vanish. Men will cleverly justify their fall, and an endearing evil will support such a general disposition. Men will grow accustomed to apostasy from the truth and to the sweetness of compromise and sin.

Antichrist will allow men everything, if only they "fall down and worship him." This is not something new. The Roman emperors were similarly prepared to grant the Christians freedom, if only they recognized [the emperor's] divinity and divine supreme authority; they martyred Christians only because they professed: "Worship God Alone and serve Him Alone."

The whole world will submit to him, and then he will reveal his hatred for Christ and Christianity. Saint John the Theologian says that all who worship him will have a mark on their forehead and right hand. It is not clear whether this will be an actual mark on the body, or if this is a figurative expression of the fact that men will acknowledge in their minds the necessity of worshipping Antichrist, as well as submit their wills to him. And when the whole world manifests such a complete submission—of both will and conscience—then the two righteous men [already] mentioned will appear and will fearlessly preach the faith and expose Antichrist.

Holy Scripture says that before the coming of the Saviour two "lamps," will appear, two "burning olive trees," "two righteous men." Antichrist will kill them by the power of the Magus. Who are these men? According to Church tradition, these are the two righteous who never tasted of death: the Prophet Elias and the Prophet Enoch. There is a prophecy that these saints, who had not tasted of death, will taste it for three days; but after three days they will resurrect.

Their death will be a great joy for Antichrist and his servants. Their rising three days later will bring them unspeakable horror, terror and confusion. And then will come the end of the world.

The Apostle Peter says that the first world was created out of water and perished by water. "Out of water" is also an image of the chaos of the physical mass, while "perished by water" is [an image] of the Flood. And now the world is reserved unto fire.....The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (II Peter 3:7-10). All the elements will melt. This present world will perish in a single instant. In an instant everything will change.

And the sign of the Son of God will appear, that is, the sign of the Cross. The whole world, having willingly submitted to Antichrist, "will break out in lamentation," Everything is finished. Antichrist is slain. The end of his kingdom, the end of the war with Christ. The end, and accountability for one's whole life, an account to the True God.

Then, from the mountains of Palestine, the Ark of the Covenant will appear. The Prophet Jeremiah hid the Ark and the Holy Fire in a deep well. When they took water from that well, it burst into flame. But the Ark itself they did not find.

When we look at life today, those able to see, see that everything foretold about the end of the world is being fulfilled.

Who then is this man — Antichrist? Saint John the Theologian figuratively gives him the name 666; but all attempts to understand this designation have been futile.

The life of the contemporary world gives us a fairly clear understanding of the possibility of the world burning up, when all the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Atomic fission gives us that understanding.

The end of the world does not signify its annihilation, but its transformation. Everything will be changed, suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye. The dead will resurrect in new bodies — their own, but renewed — just as the Saviour arose in His Body, and on it were the traces of the wounds from the nails and the spear; but it possessed new properties, and in this respect it was a new body. It is unclear whether this will be an altogether new body or that with which man was created.

And the Lord will appear on the clouds with glory. How will we see Him? With our spiritual eyes. Even now, at death, righteous people see that which other people around them do not see.

The trumpets will sound, loud and powerful. They will trumpet in men's souls, in their conscience. Everything in the human conscience will become clear.

The Prophet Daniel, speaking of the Dread Judgment, relates how the Ancient of Days, the judge, is on His throne, and before Him is a river of fire. Fire is a purifying element. Fire scorches sin, it burns it up, and woe also burns it up; if sin has become natural to a man, then it burns up the man himself as well.

That fire will flare up inside a man: on seeing the Cross, some will rejoice, while others will fall into despair, confusion, terror. In this way, men will immediately be separated. In the Gospel narrative, some stand to the right of the Judge, some to the left — their inner consciousness separated them. The very state of a man's soul casts him to one side or the other, to the right or to the left.

The more consciously and persistently a man strives toward God in his life, the greater will be his joy when he hears the words: "Come unto Me, ye blessed"; and conversely, those same words will call forth the fire of horror and torment on those who did not want Him, who fled or fought or blasphemed Him during their life.

The Dread Judgment knows no witnesses or charge-sheets. Everything is recorded in men's souls, and these records, these "books" are open. Everything becomes clear to all and to oneself, and the state of a man's soul assigns him to the right or to the left.

Some go to joy, others to horror.

When the "books" are open, it will become clear to all that the roots of all vices are in man's soul. Here is a drunkard, a fornicator; some may think that when the body dies the sin dies as well. No; the inclination was in the soul, and to the soul the sin was sweet.

And if [the soul] has not repented of that sin and has not become free of it, it will come to the Dread Judgment with the same desire for the sweetness of sin and will never satisfy its desire. In it will be the suffering of hatred and malice. This is the state of hell.

The "fiery Gehenna" is the inner fire; this is the flame of vice, the flame of weakness and malice; and there will be [the] wailing and gnashing of teeth of impotent malice.

St. John of Shanghai

Fr. Alexander.org

http://apantaortodoxias.blogspot.com/2021/06/the-dread-judgment-st-john-of-shanghai.html

08/06/2021

SAINT NIKODEMOS THE HAGIORITE

 


 BY DIMITRIOS PANAGOPOULOS

Saint Nikodemos the Haghiorite is an offspring of the island of Naxos in the Cyclades Islands. While young, he studied Greek letters in Smyrne under Ierotheos the Teacher. He came to the Holy Mountain in 1775 and was tonsured a Monk in the Sacred Dionysiou Monastery being renamed Nikodemos from Nicholas. In 1809 on July 14th he reposed, at 60 years of age.

Saint Nikodemos is a Saint unknown to most people even today, despite the fact that our Church from 1955 has officially proclaimed him a Saint and celebrates his memory.

Many visitors to the Holy Mountain don't know that in Karyes, the Cell, of the Skourtaion, houses the relics of his Holy Skull, and due to this ignorance they are deprived of the blessing of this treasure.

The works of Saint Nikodemos need to be revealed need to be projected, need to be read. Our Church and our people are deprived of many things because they have not yet come to know the full work of Saint Nikodemos.

Saint Nikodemos has left a multitude of writings of incalculable spiritual Orthodox value which in summary are the following: The Philokalia, Evergetinos, Concerning Constant Divine Communion, Alphabetalphabetos, Handbook of Spiritual Council, All the Writings of Symeon the New Theologian, Confessional Handbook, Invisible Warfare, New Martyrology, Spiritual Exercises, Neon Eklogion, The extant Writings of St. Gregory Palamas, The Sacred Rudder, The Epitaphion Engomia, New Theotokarion, Christoetheia, Euchologion, The Catholic Epistles, Epistles of the Apostle Paul, Commentaries on the Psalms, Garden of Graces, Barsanouphios, Commentary of holy Haghiorite men, New Synaxaristes, Confession of his own Faith, Eortodromion, New Ladder, and a multitude of troparions, oikos asmatic canons and engomia to many Saints.

The Holy Skull of Saint Nikodemos is kept by Father Ananias, over 90 years old in our opinion. Furthermore it is Father Ananias' efforts to erect a church in Saint Nikodemos' name.

Saint Nikodemos the Haghiorite, does not only have an eminent place in the literature of the Greek Church, as a Father and Teacher who has written a multitude of writings, but by rights enters in as one of the greatest factors, in the area of the very stormy history of Orthodoxy. He lived at a very critical time of our Church's history, and the Venerable Nikodemos was called to play a primary role in the spiritual and religious life, clearing up the thickening clouds of Aristotelian scholasticism appearing from the West, and influencing a great number of his contemporary Greek Orthodox Scholars, who adopted this prevalent western spirit.

Saint Nikodemos the Haghiorite's work presents a very multifaceted radiance of the Spirit. Other than its voluminous side, the great role played by his work during that age of full illiteracy concerning pure Orthodox though, and the consequence which his very spiritual writings had on the subsequent course of the Church, has not been duly appreciated. However, Saint Nikodemos was fully conscious of the mission, which Divine Providence had for him. This is ascertained by his struggles against the Westerners and towards those "Orthodox", who perverted the Orthodox teaching.

Saint Nikodemos' work judged from the above mentioned viewpoint, in the time period of the final quarter of the eighteenth century creates the obligation for those occupied with it, to confess that the Venerable Father contributed, as no one else, during the post Byzantine years, in refuting the threatening wind, of western humanism, and in preserving the spiritual treasures of Orthodoxy.

At an age during which not only Orthodox spirituality was virtually unknown, but also those multifarious false beliefs, which were coming in "in sheep's clothing" in the courtyard of Orthodoxy," it would not be the least bit difficult for the rationalist spirit of "humanism" to infiltrate and satisfy those waning souls and have them accept the false spirit over the genuine one. The Venerable Nikodemos alone arose, to obstruct the foreign teaching and to reveal the sacred heritage of Orthodoxy to the Orthodox Church.

When the great personality of Saint Nikodemos draws more attention from the students of Church history and ends up an object of special research, then it will become apparent what work of huge importance proceeded from the holy mountain, through the most wise Saint Nikodemos the Haghiorite, and what consequences this work had for the later course of the religious life of the believers. Here we will limit ourselves to point out, that, had the Church not become familiar with the writings of Nikodemos, one after the other, which are very voluminous and completely faultless regarding truth and Orthodoxy, she would have undergone a period of uncertainty and would be ignorant of all that the divine pen of the Venerable Father wrote and organized with so much precision and fullness.

His great contribution is not only concerning the dogmas of the Church and the Sacred Canons, which he codified, simplified, and interpreted, but also the definition of the relationships between them and the points wherein they coincide in his Rudder. Also concerning the spirituality of Orthodoxy, which he wrote down in the "Spiritual Exercises", the "Unseen Warfare", and the "Eortodromion", and in General in all his writings, upon which he also placed the seal of holiness.

The very fact that one Ecclesiastical writer of tens of volumes of many pages manages to preserve the spirituality of Orthodoxy in a refined analysis, means that he "has the Spirit of God". Spirituality in the Orthodox understanding comprises the reflection of what proceeds from the heart, which is a product of a constant living of Christianity, of life in Christ.

It is difficult for one to truly apprise what sort of influence the work of Saint Nikodemos had on the course of the Church in an age, during which everything was characterized by lethargy and Orthodoxy comprised an unobstructed vineyard and easy pray for the "new demons" setting out from the West.

Our Holy Church honors her servant Nikodemos, because she did not present someone similar to him in the post Byzantine times. The Church also knows what a theologian means for that time, with the multi-faceted Grace of Nikodemos, with the rare talent of the Canonologist, the skill of the Academician, the elevation of the Hymnographer, the penetration of the Critic, the fullness of the Haghiologist, the mystagogicalness of the Liturgiologist, the experience of the Ascetical author, very rare charismas, all of which were wonderfully combined in one personality.

We could name Saint Nikodemos, a plaster cast of all the Christian virtues, a vessel of the unblemished and infinite cluster of gifts, an astonishing icon of Orthodox dogma, and a Teacher of universal authority!

Because we don't know many people in Orthodoxy doing "noetic pray" and authoring at the same time, preparing a "Handbook of Spiritual Counsel", while they are using the two-pointed mattock with the prayer rope in the left hand and the pen in the right hand, as the Venerable Nikodemos lived and also fought unto his last minute.

Dimitrios Panagopoulos

*Editors Note- This original Greek text written by lay-teacher Dimitrios Panagopoulos was published more than twenty-five years ago. Since then a number of this Saint's works have been published in many languages and Saint Nikodemos is becoming a teacher of universal authority. His books occupy a central position in the shelves of the traditional Orthodox world wide.

Translating and Editing: Palis and Zalalas

By: http://www.saintnicodemos.com/articles/saintnikodemoshagioritearticle.php

03/06/2021

Who is in Paradise ?

 


There was a very poor woman that was living in a small village in the center part of Greece and she had three children. She was able to raise them with incredible difficulties and in immense poverty. However, she never lost her integrity and her love for Christ. Her name was Vasiliki. She died one day before the celebration of our Mother, the Theotokos, in 1998. The next day which was the 15th of August, her body was in a very cheap coffin on the pickup track of the priest on the way to the cemetery to be buried.  On the way to the burial site, there were a few people from her village following and they were talking about how difficult was her life, when suddenly the entire area started smelling incredibly nice like there were a thousand flowers at this spot. Among the people following her there was a spiritual child of Elder Ambrosios Lazaris (1912-2006). When the Elder learned about the incidence he said: “This woman is among the Saints in the Heaven and do you know why? Because she never complained in her life. God wants people like her to fill the Paradise and to have the Second Coming.”

Elder Ambrosios Lazaris of Dadiou Monastery

26/05/2021

A visit by Father Fotis.


 One time late in the day, the hieromonk Father Fotis visited a house in our town Mytilene of the island of Lesbos, and he stayed there over night. Before he fell asleep, he gave the following command to the owner of the house: “Tomorrow morning we have a job to do.”

Upon waking up the next morning, they left Mytilene and went to Father Fotis’ sanctuary, where he quickly took the sacred utensils and his priestly attire. Together they headed to the picturesque church of the Mother of our God the “Milk-Giver”, within the old castle of the city.

Once there, Father Fotis performed the Holy Liturgy and then picked up the Holy Gifts and as he was fully dressed in his priestly vestments he headed to one of the brothels which, in those times, used to be in that area.  There, the Father administered last rites to a dying prostitute named Evlambia (last rites in the Orthodox tradition consist of the Sacred Mysteries of Confession and the reception of Holy Communion).  The woman, immediately after receiving communion found “Rest in our Lord” and died.

Later on, the house owner asked him about this incident, and Father Fotis said:

 “Incidents such as this have happened many times before. One woman close to the Church of Saint Symeon told me of such occasions, and so I started visiting the troubled souls in the brothels. They allowed me in with respect and courtesy. I was talking to them about the repentance from sins, the salvation of their souls, and the life to come. I never talked meanly to them, but lovingly, and I would tell them to repent and that Jesus would take care of them and would fully restore them in his heart. Many of them repented.”

Father Fotis then told the man: “You asked if I was scared. Who should I be afraid of? We only fear God when we sin. I do not care about what people will say; I was acting for Christ!”

Father Fotis Lavriotis (of the monastery of Great Lavra)