Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Holy Apostles of the Seventy: Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles and Aristobulus

Commemorated on October 31

Saint Amplias was a bishop in the city of Diospolis.

Saint Urban, one of the Seventy Apostles, was made a bishop by St Andrew (November 30), and was active in Macedonia. They were killed by Jews and pagan Greeks because of their zeal in preaching the Gospel.

Saint Narcissus, one of the Seventy Apostles, was made Bishop of Athens by the Apostle Philip.

Saint Apelles, one of the Seventy Apostles, was bishop at Heraclion in Trachis.

Saint Aristobulus, one of the Seventy Apostles, was the brother of St Barnabus (June 11) and proclaimed the Gospel in Britain, where he died in peace. He is also commemorated on March 16.

Saint Aristobulus

Troparion - Tone 3

Holy Apostles of the Seventy: Stáchys, Amplías, Úrban, Narcíssus, Apélles, and Aristobúlus,
entreat the merciful God
to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Kontakion - Tone 8

Let us thankfully praise the wise Apostles
Stáchys, Amplías, Úrban, Narcíssus, Apélles, and Aristobúlus,
those treasures of the Holy Spirit and rays of the Sun of glory,
who were gathered together by the grace of our God.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Venerable Dragutin (Theoctistus in Monasticism) of Serbia

Commemorated on October 30

Saint Dragutin was the brother of St Stephen Milutin, the son of King Stephen Urosh I, and the grandson of First-Crowned King St Stephen (September 24). Dragutin, a true Christian, after a short reign, abdicated in favor of his brother Stephen. He withdrew to Srem, secretly living as an ascetic in a grave which he dug with his own hands. During his righteous life, St Dragutin toiled much over converting the Bogomil heretics to the true Faith. He surrendered his soul to God on March 2, 1316.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Friday, October 29, 2010

Venerable Abramius the Recluse of Mesopotamia and Blessed Maria the Niece of Abramius

Commemorated on October 29

Saint Abramius the Hermit and Blessed Maria, his niece of Mesopotamia, lived the ascetic life in the village of Chidan, near the city of Edessa. They were contemporaries and fellow countrymen of St Ephraim the Syrian (January 28), who afterwards wrote about their life.

St Abramius began his difficult exploit of the solitary life in the prime of youth. He left his parents' home and settled in a desolate wilderness place, far from worldly enticements, and he spent his days in unceasing prayer. After the death of his parents, the saint refused his inheritance and requested his relatives to give it away to the poor. By his strict ascetic life, fasting, and love for mankind, Abramius attracted to him many seeking after spiritual enlightenment, prayer and blessing.

Soon his faith was put to a serious test, as he was appointed presbyter in one of the pagan villages of Mesopotamia. For three years, and sparing no efforts, the saint toiled over the enlightenment of the pagans. He tore down a pagan temple and built a church. Humbly enduring derision and even beatings from obstinate idol-worshippers, he entreated the Lord, "Look down, O Master, upon Your servant, hear my prayer. Strengthen me and set Your servants free from diabolical snares, and grant them to know You, the one true God." The zealous pastor was granted the happiness to see the culmination of his righteous efforts: the pagans came to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and St Abramius baptized them himself.

Having fulfilled his priestly duty, Abramius again withdrew into his wilderness, where he continued to glorify God, and doing His holy will. The devil, put to shame by the deeds of St Abramius, tried to entrap him with proud thoughts. Once at midnight, when St Abramius was at prayer in his cell, suddenly a light shone and a voice was heard, "Blessed are you, Abramius, for no other man has done my will as you have!" Confuting the wiles of the enemy, the saint said: "I am a sinful man, but I trust in the help and grace of my God. I do not fear you, and your illusions do not scare me." Then he ordered the devil to depart, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Another time, the devil appeared before the saint in the form of a youth, lit a candle and began to sing Psalm 118/119, "Blessed are the blameless in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." Perceiving that this also was a demonic temptation, the Elder crossed himself and asked, "If you know that the blameless are blessed, then why trouble them?"

The temper answered, "I provoke them in order to conquer them and turn them away from every good deed." To this the saint replied, "You gain victory over those who, like yourself, have fallen away from God. You are forced to vanish, like smoke in the wind, from before the face of those who love God." After these words the devil vanished. Thus St Abramius defeated the Enemy, being strengthened by divine grace. After fifty years of ascetic life, he peacefully fell asleep in the Lord.

St Abramius's niece, the Nun Maria, grew up being edified by his spiritual instruction. Her father died when she was seven, and so she was raised by her saintly uncle. But the Enemy of the race of man tried to turn her from the true path. At twenty-seven years of age she fell into sin with a man. Thoroughly ashamed, she left her cell, went to another city and began to live in a brothel. Two years later, when he learned of this, St Abramius clad himself in soldier's garb, so that he should not be recognized, and he went to the city to find his niece. Pretending to be one of her "clients," he revealed his identity once they were alone. With many tears and exhortations, he brought her to repentance and took her back to her cell.

St Maria returned to her cell and spent the rest of her days in prayer and tears of repentance. The Lord forgave her and even granted her the gift of healing the sick. She died five years after St Abramius.

Troparion - Tone 1

The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Father,
for you took up the Cross and followed Christ.
By so doing doing you taught us to disregard the flesh for it passes away
but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal.
Therefore your spirit, venerable Abramius, rejoices with the angels.

Kontakion - Tone 3

You lived in the flesh on earth as an angel,
and through your ascetic life you became like a tree nourished by the waters of abstinence and flourished.
You have washed away stains with the streams of your tears
and so you have been revealed, Abramius, to be a god-like vessel of the Spirit.

Troparion - Tone 1

You abandoned all earthly comforts, O Father Abramius,
Living righteously in hope of things to come and receiving a sacred anointing.
Initiated into divine mysteries, you enlighten those who cry:
Glory to him who has strengthened you!
Glory to him who has granted you a crown!
Glory to him who through you works healing for all!

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Repose of the Venerable Job, Abbot and Wonderworker of Pochaev

Commemorated on October 28
Saint Job, Abbot and Wonderworker of Pochaev (in the world named Ivan Zhelezo), was born around 1551 in Pokutia in Galicia. At age ten he came to the Transfiguration Ugornits monastery, and at age twelve he received monastic tonsure with the name Job. The venerable Job from his youth was known for his great piety and strict ascetic life, and he was accounted worthy of the priestly office.

Around the year 1580, at the request of the renowned champion of Orthodoxy Prince Constantine Ostrozhsky, St Job was appointed the head of the Exaltation of the Cross monastery near the city of Dubno, and for more than twenty years he governed the monastery amidst the growing persecution of Orthodoxy on the part of the Catholics and Uniates.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, St Job withdrew to Pochaev hill and settled in a cave not far from the ancient Dormition monastery, famed for its wonderworking Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God (July 23). The holy hermit, beloved by the brethren of the monastery, was chosen as their Igumen. St Job zealously fulfilled his duty as head of the monastery, kind and gentle with the brethren, he did much of the work himself, planting trees in the garden, and strengthening the waterworks at the monastery.

St Job was an ardent defender of the Orthodox Faith against the persecution of the Catholics. Following the Union of Brest (1596), many Orthodox living in Poland were deprived of their rights, and attempts were made to force them to convert to Catholicism. Many Orthodox hierarchs became apostates to Uniatism, but St Job and others defended Orthodoxy by copying and disseminating Orthodox books. Prince Ostrozhsky was also responsible for the first printed edition of the Orthodox Bible (1581).

In taking an active part in the defense of Orthodoxy and the Russian people, St Job was present at the 1628 Kiev Council, convened against the Unia. After 1642, he accepted the great schema with the name John.

Sometimes he completely secluded himself within the cave for three days or even a whole week. The Jesus Prayer was an unceasing prayer in gentle heart. According to the testimony of his disciple Dositheus, and author of the Life of St Job, once while praying in his cave, the saint was illumined by a heavenly light. St Job reposed in the year 1651. He was more than 100 years old, and had directed the Pochaev monastery for more than fifty years.

The uncovering of St Job's relics took place on August 28, 1659. There was a second uncovering of the relics on August 27-28, 1833.

Troparion - Tone 4

Having acquired the patience of your Forefather,
and having resembled the Baptist in abstinence,
you shared the divine zeal of both
and were counted worthy to receive their names.
You were a fearless preacher of the True Faith;
in this way you brought a multitude of monastics to Christ.
You strengthened all people in Orthodoxy,
Job, our venerable father;
pray that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion - Tone 4

Podoben: "Today You have shown forth..."
You were a pillar of the True Faith;
a zealot of the commandments of the Gospel;
a denouncer of pride,
and a defender and teacher of the humble.
Therefore, those who honor you pray for the remission of their sins,
and that this, your holy habitation, be kept safe from all harm,
Job, our father, who resembled the long-suffering Patriarch of old.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Icon of the Mother of God of "the Sign"

Commemorated on October 27

The main commemoration of the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos "Of the Sign" is November 27.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

St Theophilus of the Kiev Caves and Bishop of Novgorod

Commemorated on October 26

Saint Theophilus of the Kiev Caves, Far Caves and Archbishop of Novgorod, was chosen by lot after the death of the holy hierarch Jonah (November 5). He was elevated to the dignity of Archbishop of Novgorod on December 15, 1472 at Moscow. Until his elevation, he had pursued asceticism in the Otensk monastery.

A harsh destiny was allotted the saint in the guidance of the Novgorod flock. The mayor Martha Boretskaya and her adherents stirred up and agitated the people against the Great Prince of Moscow, Ivan III. The monk Pimen, a Boretskaya partisan, roused enmity against the archbishop in the flock. Some of the Novgorod populace were inclined to go over to the side of Lithuania. Unfaithful to the Moscow principality, they were prepared to fall into apostasy.

St Theophilus stopped the rebellious Novgorodians saying, "Do not betray Orthodoxy nor become a flock of apostates. I'll go back to my humble cell, from which you drew me out to the shame of rebellion." This letter of disavowal of the saint, written in 1479, is preserved. The short-sighted people did not heed the words of the pastor, and a fratricidal war broke out between Moscow and Novgorod. The defeated Novgorodians were compelled to beg for mercy, and many of them owed their life to the intercession of the saint. In 1480, St Theophilus was sent by Ivan III to prison in the Moscow Chudov monastery and "he sat there a full three years, and died there."

By tradition, when St Theophilus lay sick at the Chudov monastery, St Niphon of Novgorod (April 8), who is buried in the Kiev Caves of St Anthony, appeared to him in a dream. The saint reminded him of his promise to venerate the Kievan wonderworkers. It is said that the holy archbishop went to Kiev, and just as he approached the Dniepr his sickness increased. He received a revelation that although he would not reach the Caves alive, his body would rest in them. This was fulfilled.

His memory is celebrated also with the Synaxis of the Saints of the Kiev Far Caves on August 28, and on the Second Sunday of the Great Fast, with the Synaxis of the Kiev Caves Fathers.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Monday, October 25, 2010

Venerable Martyrius the Deacon

Commemorated on October 25

Saint Martyrius the Deacon and Martyrius the Recluse, of the Kiev Caves, Far Caves His holy name is remembered in the Seventh Ode of the Canon to the Fathers of the Kiev Far Caves. Here his love of toil, justice and ardent purity, and even his gift of expelling demons and healing infirmities are praised. His memory is celebrated also on August 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Sunday, October 24, 2010

4,299 Martyrs with Arethas

Commemorated on October 24

The 4299 Martyrs suffered for the Lord Jesus Christ with St Arethas in the sixth century. Arethas was prefect of the Christian city of Negran in Arabia. The Arabian (or Omirite) king, Dunaan, who was Jewish, decided to eliminate Christianity from the land. He issued an edict that all followers of Christ were to be put to death.

Because the inhabitants of Negran remained faithful to the Lord, Dunaan came with a large army to destroy the city. At the city walls of Negran the king's heralds announced that Dunaan would only spare those who renounced Christ and referred to His Cross as a "sign of malediction."

Not daring to assault the Christian city by force, Dunaan resorted to a ruse. Dunaan swore an oath that he would not force the Christians into Judaism, but would merely collect a tribute from Negran. The inhabitants of the city would not heed the advice of St Arethas, and putting their trust in Dunaan, they opened the city gates.

The very next day Dunaan gave orders to light an immense fire and throw all the clergy of the city into it in order to frighten the rest of the Christians. 427 men were burned. He also threw the prefect Arethas and the other chief men into prison. Then the oppressor sent his messengers through the city to convert the Christians to Judaism. Dunaan himself conversed with those inhabitants brought from the prisons, saying, "I do not demand that you should renounce the God of heaven and earth, nor do I want you to worship idols, I want merely that you do not believe in Jesus Christ, since the Crucified One was a man, and not God."

The holy martyrs replied that Jesus is God the Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Who for the salvation of mankind was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Those suffering said, "We shall not abjure Christ, since He is Life for us. To die for Him is to find Life."

More than four thousand Christians, men, women, both the aged and children, from the city of Negran and surrounding villages suffered martyrdom for Christ.

Troparion - Tone 1

Through the sufferings which Your holy martyrs Arethas and his companions
endured for Your sake, O Lord,
we beseech You, O Lover of mankind:
heal all of our infirmities.

Kontakion - Tone 4

Today the radiant feast of the passion-bearers Arethas and his companions comes to us as a herald of joy;
as we celebrate it we glorify the Lord on high.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Memorial Saturday of St Demetrius

Commemorated on October 23
In the spiritual experience of the Russian Church, veneration of the holy Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica is closely linked with the memory of the defense of the nation and Church by the Great Prince of Moscow, Demetrius of the Don (May 19).

St Demetrius of the Don smashed the military might of the Golden Horde at the Battle of Kulikovo Field on September 8, 1380 (the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos), set between the Rivers Don and Nepryadva. The Battle of Kulikovo, for which the nation calls him Demetrius of the Don, became the first Russian national deed, rallying the spiritual power of the Russian nation around Moscow. The "Zadonschina," an inspiring historic poem written by the priest Sophronius of Ryazem (1381), is devoted to this event.

Prince Demetrius of the Don was greatly devoted to the holy Great Martyr Demetrius. In 1380, on the eve of the Battle of Kulikovo, he solemnly transferred from Vladimir to Moscow the most holy object in the Dimitriev cathedral of Vladimir: the icon of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica, painted on a piece of wood from the saint's grave. A chapel in honor of the Great Martyr Demetrius was built at Moscow's Dormition Cathedral.

The St Demetrius Memorial Saturday was established for the churchwide remembrance of the soldiers who fell in the Battle of Kulidovo. This memorial service was held for the first time at the Trinity-St Sergius monastery on October 20, 1380 by St Sergius of Radonezh, in the presence of Great Prince Demetrius of the Don . It is an annual remembrance of the heroes of the Battle of Kulikovo, among whom are the schemamonks Alexander (Peresvet) and Andrew (Oslyab).

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Friday, October 22, 2010

Icon of the Mother of God of Andronicus

Commemorated on October 22

The Andronicus Icon of the Mother of God was a family icon of the Byzantine emperor Andronicus III. In 1347 he gave the icon to the Monemvasia monastery at Morea in the Peloponnesos. From here the image was sent to Russia in 1839. In 1877 the holy icon was placed in a temple of the Kazan women's monastery near Vyshnii Volochek. Other Feast days of this icon are May 1 and July 8.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Translation of the relics of Venerable St John the Abbot of Rila in Bulgaria

Commemorated on October 19

Today we commemorate the transfer of the relics of Saint John, Abbot of Rila in Bulgaria (1238).

The relics of St John were transferred from the city of Sredets [Sofia] to Trnovo, the capital of the Bulgarian realm, in the year 1238. See August 18 for his Life.

Troparion - Tone 1

Your life was a foundation of repentance
and a model of compunction,
an image of consolation and spiritual perfection,
equal to the angels, O venerable one.
You persevered in prayer, fasting and tears, O Father John;
intercede with Christ God for our souls.

Kontakion - Tone 8

Imitating the life of the angels and forsaking all earthly things,
you fled to Christ, O venerable one.
Protecting yourself with His commandments,
you were shown to be an unshakable pillar against the attacks of the enemy.
Therefore, we cry to you: "Rejoice, O Father John, most brilliant light!"

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Monday, October 18, 2010

Martyr Marinus the Elder at Anazarbus

Commemorated on October 18

The Martyr Marinus the Elder at Anazarbus was from Cilicia (Asia Minor). For his confession of faith in Christ the Elder was subjected to fierce beatings, and then killed on the orders of Lysias, governor of Tarsus, during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305).

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Sunday, October 17, 2010

St Joseph the Catholicos of Georgia

Commemorated on October 17
Saint Joseph (Jandierishvili) received his spiritual education at David-Gareji Monastery. He was endowed by the Lord with the gift of wonder-working. His prayers healed the terminally ill and demon-possessed. For his wisdom and virtue, he was consecrated bishop of Rustavi, and in 1755 enthroned as Catholicos-Patriarch. St. Joseph remained a monk-ascetic in spite of his hierarchical rank.

In 1764 Holy Catholicos Joseph, like St. Gregory the Theologian, humbly stepped down from the archpastor’s throne and withdrew to Akhmeta in northeastern Georgia. With his own hands he cultivated a vineyard and distributed his harvest to the poor. The climate in that region was capricious—droughts were frequent, and hail would devastate the fragile crops, laying waste to the farmers’ labors. But while St. Joseph was laboring there, the region suffered neither drought nor hail.

Through St. Joseph’s prayers, the sick were healed and the blind received sight. Those who dwelt near him loved him deeply and put their hope in him. St. Gabriel the Lesser remarked joyfully in one of his writings: “Once I saw and two times I kissed the hand of this holy man.”

Having lived in godliness to a ripe old age, Catholicos Joseph reposed peacefully in the year 1770.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Venerable Longinus of Yarenga

Commemorated on October 16

St Longinus, the wonderworker of Yarenga, is also commemorated on July 3.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Why Christianity should not change with the times

Saint Theophan the Recluse

From here.


It reached my ears that, as it seems, you consider my sermons very strict and believe that today no one should think this way, no one should be living this way and therefore, no one should be teaching this way. “Times have changed!”
How glad I was to hear this. This means that you listen carefully to what I say, and not only do you listen, but you are also willing to abide by it. What more could we hope for, we who preach as we were ordered and as much we were ordered?
Despite all this, in no way can I agree with your opinion. I even consider it my duty to comment on it and to correct it, since – even though it perhaps goes against your desire and conviction – it comes from something sinful, as though Christianity could alter its doctrines, its canons, its sanctifying ceremonies to answer to the spirit of each age and adjust itself to the changing tastes of the sons of this century, as though it could add or subtract something.
Yet, it is not so. Christianity must remain eternally unchanging, in no way being dependent on or guided by the spirit of each age. Instead, Christianity is meant to govern and direct the spirit of the age for anyone who obeys its teachings. To convince you of this, I will put forward some thoughts for you to consider.
Some said that my teaching is strict. First of all, my teaching is not my own, nor it should be. In this sacred office nobody should, nor even can, preach his own teaching. If I or someone else ever dare to do so, you can put us outside the Church.
We preach the teachings of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of the holy Apostles, and the Holy Church, which is guided by the Holy Spirit. At the same time, we make sure to do everything possible to keep these teachings whole and inviolate in your minds and hearts. Every thought we present and every word we use, we do so very carefully, so as not to overshadow this brilliant and divine teaching in any way. Nobody can act differently.

Such a law that calls for each man’s preaching in the Church to be "God-sent," was established at the creation of the world, and should thus remain valid until the end of the world. The Prophet Moses, after the delivery of the commandments from God Himself to the people of Israel, concluded: “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you.” (Deut. 4:2)
This law of constancy is so unalterable that the Lord and Savior Himself, when He was teaching the people on the mountain, said: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Math. 5:17-18)
Then He gave the same validity to his teaching, before interpreting the commandments in the spirit of the gospel, by adding: “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” (Math. 5:19)

This means that anyone who wrongly interprets the commandments of God and lessens their validity, will be an outcast in the future life. This is what He said at the beginning of His preaching. He assured the same thing to Saint John the Theologian, the beholder of ineffable revelations, to whom He described the final judgment of the world and the Church, indicating in the Apocalypse (Book of Revelations): “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” (Apoc. 22:18-19)

From the time of His first appearance in the world until the Second Coming, Christ has given the Holy Apostles and their successors the following law: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” (Math. 28:19-20)

That means “for you to teach, not what anyone else could possibly imagine, but what I ordered, and this to the end of the world.” And He adds: “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” (Math. 28:20)

The Apostles received this law and sacrificed their lives in order to keep it. And to those who wanted to keep them from preaching what it was they preached under the threat of punishment and death, they replied: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)

This clear law was delivered by the apostles to their successors, was accepted by them, and has timeless effect in the Church of God. Because of this law, the Church is the pillar and the ground of truth. Can you see then what an inviolable steadfastness it has? After that, who would be so bold as to stubbornly disturb or move anything in Christian doctrine and law?

Next listen to what is said of the Prophet Ezekiel who for seven days was in the ecstasy of prayer and after seven days heard the word of the Lord: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth” (Ezek. 3:17), and he declared to the people: Here is the law for you! If you see a wicked person committing iniquity and you do not tell him: leave your iniquity and change your way, “that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.” (Ezek. 3:18) Conversely, “if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.” (Ezek. 3:19-21)

What a strict law! And though it sounds in the consciences of all pastors during their election and consecration, when a heavy yoke is put on them, namely the instruction of the flock of Christ that He entrusted to them, big or small, not only to guide it but also to preserve it. How could anyone be so bold, to pervert everything in the law of Christ, when this involves the destruction of both pastors and flock?

If the saving power of this teaching depended on our opinion of it and our consent to it, it would make sense for someone to imagine rebuilding Christianity according to human weaknesses or the claims of the age and adapt it according to the sinful desires of his heart. But the saving power of Christian law does not at all depend on us, but on the will of God, by the fact that God Himself established precisely the exact path of salvation. Beyond this there is no other way, nor could it exist. Therefore, anyone who teaches in any other way, is deviating from the true path and is destroying himself and you. What logic is there in that?

Notice how strict judgment was mentioned when something similar happened to the nation of Israel during the difficult years of their captivity. Some prophets out of pity for the suffering and sick talked to the people, not as the Lord had ordered, but as their heart dictated. Concerning them the Lord gave the following commands to Ezekiel: “And you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own minds. Prophesy against them and say, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the women who sew magic bands upon all wrists, and make veils for the heads of persons of every stature, in the hunt for souls.” (Ezek. 13:17-18)

This means: Woe to those who order any kind of special treatment and suggest such leniency, so no one feels the slightest displeasure, either from those on top or those at the bottom, not caring whether this is for their salvation or destruction, whether it is pleasing to God, or repulsive. Woe to them, because “thus says the Lord God...your pillows and veils,” namely your candied and comforting teaching, “upon which there you are perverting souls, I will tear from your arms and I will let their souls that you are perverting, go away...” (Ezek. 13:20-21) from this teaching of yours and I will destroy you corrupters.

This is the benefit of this special treatment and leniency, such as you want to hear from preachers! When you put all this deep in your heart, it is not right for you to want us to make any concessions in Christian doctrine, having the wrong desire to be pleased by us. On the contrary, you are obliged to persistently demand from us to remain true to doctrine, as strictly and firmly as possible.

Have you ever heard of the indulgences of the Pope of Rome? Here is what they are: special treatment and leniency, which he gives defying the law of Christ. And what is the result? From all of this, the West is corrupt in faith and in their way of life, and is now getting lost in its disbelief and in the unrestrained life with its indulgences.

The Pope changed many doctrines, spoiled all the sacraments, nullified the canons concerning the regulation of the Church and the correction of morals. Everything has begun going contrary to the will of the Lord, and has become worse and worse.

Then came along Luther, a smart man, but stubborn. He said, “The Pope changed everything as he wanted, why shouldn't I do the same?” He started to modify and re-modify everything in his own way, and in this way established the new Lutheran faith, which only slightly resembles what the Lord had commanded and the Holy Apostles delivered to us.

After Luther came the philosophers. And they in turn said, “Luther has established himself a new faith, supposedly based on the Gospel, though in reality based on his own way of thinking. Why, then, don't we also compose doctrines based on our own way of thinking, completely ignoring the Gospel?” They then started rationalizing, and speculating about God, the world, and man, each in his own way. And they mixed up so many doctrines, that one gets dizzy just counting them.

Now the Westerners have the following views: Believe what you think best, live as you like, satisfy whatever captivates your soul. This is why they do not recognize any law or restriction and they do not abide by God's word. Their road is wide, all obstacles displaced. Their way is broad, all the obstacles taken out. But the broad road leads to perdition, according to what the Lord says. This is where leniency in teaching has led!

Lord, save us from this broad way! But it is better to love each difficulty that the Lord has appointed for our salvation. Let us love Christian doctrines and let us compel our mind with them, pushing it not to think otherwise. Let us love Christian morals and let us compel our will in them, forcing it to lift the light yoke of the Lord humbly and patiently. Let us love all Christian rituals and services which guide us, correct us, and sanctify us. Let us compel our heart with them, encouraging it to convey its desires from the earthly and perishable, to the heavenly and imperishable.

Let us confine ourselves as though in a cage. Or better, let us drag ourselves, as if we were passing through a narrow passage. Let it be narrow, so no one can deviate neither to the right left, nor the left. Yet undoubtedly, through this narrow way we will obtain the kingdom of the heavens in return. For as you know, this kingdom is the kingdom of the Lord. The Lord laid this narrow way and said, “Follow exactly this route and you will obtain the kingdom of heaven.”
Could anyone then doubt whether the traveler will get to his destination? And what mind would one have who starts wanting all kinds of annulment of the commandments, when by doing this he would immediately lose his way and be lost?

Once you have fully understood this assertion, do not worry if something in our teaching seems to be strict. The only thing you should strive for is to carefully make sure if it is from the Lord. And after you have made sure it is from the Lord, accept it with all your heart, no matter how strict or obliging it may be. And not only avoid wanting special treatment and leniency with doctrine and the ethics, but even flee from all these, as though fleeing from the fire of Gehenna. Those who cannot escape from this are those who think up such things and with them lure those who are spiritually weak to follow them. Amen.

December 29, 1863  Sunday after Christ's Birth

Taken from the website of the Holy Monastery of Pantokrator (Melissohori, Greece).

Originally from: St. George (periodical) 1995, vol. 20.

Pantheism and Monism

From here.

Pantheism and Monism:

The Foundation of Immorality*
By Alexander Dvorkin, Professor of the University of Moscow

With the idea of “discovering of the Messiah within you” we approach two main axioms of the New Age, one flowing from the other. One of these is New Age (or pantheistic) monism: namely the belief that everything is united. While every sort of difference between different substances – “between Joseph and Judy, between Joseph and the tree, or between Judy and God” /1/ –  all seem to be differences, nonetheless they are not. The significance of this dogma for New Agers is emphasized by Jonathan Stone, who considers it an essential component of the New World Order: “I feel that the World Order is approaching, in which science will merge with the monistic philosophy and a new consciousness will conquer the whole world. The distinguishing unifying characteristic of the World Order will be the belief that ‘all substances, all beings are one.’” /2/

Within this concept of monism there is no place for man, for the person. New Agers believe that apart from man there is no God, because man himself is God (the second claim of the New Age). Therefore, if someone examines it closer, it would appear that according to the New Age worldview neither man, nor God, nor the world exists. Author Betty Galyean writes: “When we start to realize that we are all God, that in all of us exist the capacities and qualities of God, then we start thinking that the purpose of human life is the return once again to the possession of the divinity within us, of Absolute Love, Absolute Wisdom, Absolute Understanding, Absolute Mind. We thus return to the creation itself of this ancient, this vital unity, which is also consciousness.” /3/

These are the New Age philosophical points. Their practical application appears, for example, in the already aforementioned film of actress Shirley MacLaine (in the movie production of her own book) in the scene where she stands by the shore with her teacher and raising her hands screams with all her strength “I am God! I am God! I am God!” This is more or less what our old friend Ramtha** braggingly said through his hostess Ms. Knight in one of her appearances on TV, when she said, “What is called God exists in your essence. And that which is called Christ exists in your essence. And when you understand that you are God, you will acquire happiness.” /4/ However, to the New Agers God is an impersonal absolute, indifferent to good or evil. Basically, each one of them is ready to endorse the thought of Ramakrishna who once declared: “The absolute relates neither with good nor with evil… Whatever manner of sin, evil or torment we encounter in the world are only torments, evils or sin as they relate to us… I am afraid that you must accept the events that happen in the universe exactly as they are… I see, I understand that all three – the victim that is sacrificed, the altar on which he is sacrificed and the one that sacrifices him – constitute the same essence. Oh, what a vision!” /5/

The presence of such an absolute God as the only God justifies any manner of immorality. For example, here is what guru Rajneesh says to New Agers: “Bhagwan, you teach men to care for themselves before they care for others. It appears that this contradicts many world religions which teach to serve humanity. This not only goes against many religions, but against all religions. They all teach to serve others selflessly. In my opinion (says Rajneesh), selfishness is a natural phenomenon. Selflessness is something extrinsic. Selfishness is part of our nature… You must accept this. And if it is part of our nature, it must somehow be vital, otherwise it wouldn’t have existed at all. It is exactly because of selfishness that you survive, due to the fact that it was necessary to care for yourself. Otherwise, humanity would have vanished a long time ago… I am teaching you to be natural, totally natural, shamelessly natural. Yes, I teach you selfishness. No one has ever said something like this before me. They do not have the guts to say so. And they were all selfish! Why does a monk submit himself to torments? There is a reason. He wishes to reach paradise and all its pleasures. Of course, if you sacrifice seventy years of comforts for the sake of eternal graces, this is a good bargain. I don’t believe this is selflessness.” /6/

Every moral order disappears. Here is what A. Yakovleva, former senior editor of the leading New Age journal The Road to Yourself, says about herself: “I am not obliged to live with a man just because they once placed a stamp in my passport at the registry office or because we have children. I can get up and leave him anytime. For me, the word “obligation” no longer exists. For me, only the word “want” exists. And if still to this day I have not left my husband, it only means that I want to be with this person.” /7/

The notion of the reincarnation of souls makes every ethical issue relevant: in previous reincarnations, a man could have been a woman, a son and his mother could have been lovers, this is why now everything is determined by karma and everything is allowed. For example, here is what a spirit that goes by the name Zoli declares through an intermediary-medium: “Sex and sexual union – and it does not matter whether it is sex between a man and a man, a woman and a woman, or a man and a woman – is all communication… If there is respect between father and daughter, father and son, mother and daughter, mother and son and they are all at an age that permits them to enjoy sexual union, from the height of our understanding we absolutely do not see in it anything reproachable…. If, of course, it concerns children who have not yet come to an age that is psychologically appropriate for sexual union, then it is difficult to talk about respect. However, in such relations agreement is present. The child and the other person that performs the so-called offense agreed to take into consideration this intense emotion… It is a matter of mutual action, an interaction of karma and of energy.” /8/

The feeling of shame or of embarrassment that may occur after incest or a homosexual act, according to Zoli, is the result of the degenerate influence of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. The spirit advises: “If so-called incest has taken place, above all try to overcome the feeling of guilt… The belief system that a society accepts is what causes the problem. The problem is not created by the action itself but by the feeling of guilt that follows.” /9/

*An extract from the twentieth chapter of the seventh part (pp. 732-734) of the book Sectology. Totalitarian Cults. Attempt in Systematic Research, by professor Alexander Dvorkin, written in Russian (third edition, edited and updated). The present English translation was translated from the Greek.

** Note: A spirit (according to New Agers) about 35,000 years old, which came in contact with Ms. Knight, a simple American housewife, and since then talks to the world through her.

1. Groothuis D. R. Unmasking the New Age, Downers Grove, III: Inter Varsity Press, 1986, pg. 18.
2. Stone J., SPS Journal, 1977, July. Attributed to Tucker. R. Strange Gospels, pg 338
3.    Attributed to Adeney F., Educators Look East // Spiritual Counterfeits Journal, 1981, Winter.
4. Brooks A. Theology from the Twilight Zone // newspaper Christianity Today, 1987, Sep-tember 18, pg 25.
5. Rollan P. The life of Ramakrishna. The life of the Vivekananda (in Russian), Kiev 1991, pg165.
6. Bagvan Sri Raznish, Life, Love, Laughter (in Russian), Moscow 1993, pg 70.
7. “The road to yourself” 1992, No. 5, pg 27.
8. As above, No 2, pg 32.
9. Same as above.

Journal Parakatathiki:
January-February 2006
Issue 46

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hieromartyr Lucian the Presbyter of the Kiev Caves

Commemorated on October 15

Saint Lucian is also commemorated on August 28 with the holy Fathers of Kiev's Far Caves of St Theodosius.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kosmas the Hagiopolite

October 14

Saint Cosmas was from the Holy City, Jerusalem, and was a contemporary and peer of Saint John of Damascus (Dec. 4), with whom also he was reared when, because of his orphanhood he was adopted by Sergius, Saint John's father, and with whom he had the same instructor. About the year 743, he was elected Bishop of Maiuma, a coastal city of Palestine, aforetime under the jurisdiction of Gaza, with the name Port Gaza. During the reign of Saint Constantine the Great, it became a separate township and at that time was renamed Constantia, after Constantine, the son of the Emperor (see Sozomen, Eccl. Hist., V:3). Cosmas became an excellent hymnographer, from whence he is called "the Composer and Melodist," Among his many compositions are the Canon of the Cross (Sept. 14) and the Canon for the Nativity of Christ, "Christ is born, give ye glory."

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Cosmas, you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Adorned with virtues, O blest Cosmas, and inspired of God, thou didst become a fair adornment of the Church of Christ, and with sacred songs, O Father, didst thou adorn her. Intercede thou with the Lord that He deliver us out of all the devices of the enemy, for we cry to thee: Rejoice, O thrice-blessed Father.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Icon of the Mother of God of the Seven Lakes

Commemorated on October 13
The Seven Lakes Icon of the Mother of God was brought from Ustiug near Kazan on October 13, 1615 by the monk Euthymius, founder of the Seven Lakes Mother of God monastery. He blessed the place of the future monastery with this icon.

Feastdays of the Seven Lakes Icon were established in memory of its transfer from Ustiug, in memory of the deliverance of Kazan from a plague epidemic in 1654 and 1655 (June 26), and again from pestilence in 1771 (July 28).

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Martyr Andronicus at Tarsus, in Cilicia

Commemorated on October 12

The Martyrs Andronicus, Tarachus and Probus suffered for Christ in the year 304 at Tarsus in Cilicia. When the pagans ordered him to offer sacrifice to idols, the old soldier Tarachus replied that he would offer a pure heart to the one true God instead of sacrifices of blood. Seeing the firmness of the saint's confession the true Faith, the proconsul gave them all over to torture.

The tormentors subjected the martyrs to various tortures, and then they tore the bodies of the saints apart. Christians secretly took up the relics of the saints and buried them.

Troparion - Tone 5
The heavenly powers were amazed at the triumph of the holy martyrs Probus, Tarachus, and Andronicus.
For having fought the good fight with their mortal bodies,
they conquered bodiless enemies by the power of the Cross.
Now they intercede with the Lord
that He may save our souls.

Kontakion - Tone 2

The brave warriors of Christ, the martyrs Probus, Tarachus, and Andronicus,
revealed to us the glory of the Trinity.
They refuted the godlessness of their torturers
by bravely contending for the Faith.

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Monday, October 11, 2010

Synaxis of the Venerable Fathers of Optina

Commemorated on October 11
Today the Church honors the memory of the holy Elders of Optina Monastery: St Leonid (October 11), St Macarius (September 7), St Moses (June 16), St Anthony (August 7), St Hilarion (September 18), St Ambrose (June 27 and October 10), St Anatole the Elder (January 25), St Isaac I (August 22), St Joseph (May 9), St Barsanuphius (April 1), St Anatole the Younger (July 30), St Nectarius (April 29), St Nikon (June 25), and St Isaac II (December 26).

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):

Sunday, October 10, 2010

3rd Sunday of Luke

Tone of the week: Tone Three

Ninth Eothinon

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Let the heavens sing for joy, and let everything on earth be glad. * For with His Arm the Lord has worked power. * He trampled death under foot by means of death; * and He became the firstborn from the dead. * From the maw of Hades He delivered us; * and He granted the world His great mercy.

Resurrectional Kontakion in the Third Tone
From the tomb You rose today, * O Lord of tender compassion, * also from the gates of death * You led us out, O our Savior. * On this day is Adam dancing and Eve rejoices, * and with them together Patriarchs and the Prophets * are unceasingly extolling the divine power of Your authority.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
O Protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, mediation unto the creator most constant: O despise not the voices of those who have sinned; but be quick, O good one, to come unto our aid, who in faith cry unto thee: Hasten to intercession and speed thou to make supplication, O thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee.


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also and further, 2007's):