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The Rich Man Who Gives

November 1, 2016 | Instagram, Uncategorized, Wisdom


Holy Virgin Martyr Anastasia the Roman

October 30, 2016 | Saints & Martyrs, Uncategorized

Verses

You endured beheading with a mighty heart, Offspring of Rome Martyr Anastasia. On the twenty-ninth Anastasia submitted to a sharp sword.

The Venerable Martyr Anastasia the Roman was born in Rome of well-born parents and left an orphan at the age of three. As an orphan, she was taken into a women’s monastery near Rome, where the abbess was one Sophia, a nun of a high level of perfection. She raised Anastasia in fervent faith, in the fear of God and obedience. After seventeen years, Anastasia was known to the Christians as a great ascetic and to the pagans as a rare beauty.

The persecution against Christians by the emperor Decius (249-251)* began around that time. The pagan administrator of the city, Probus, heard of her and sent soldiers to bring Anastasia to him. The good Abbess Sophia counselled Anastasia for two hours on how to keep the faith, how to resist flattering delusion and how to endure torture. Anastasia said to her: “My heart is ready to suffer for Christ; my soul is ready to die for my beloved Jesus.” Blessed by her abbess to suffer for Christ, the young martyr Anastasia humbly came out to meet the armed soldiers.

Brought before the governor Probus, Anastasia openly proclaimed her faith in Christ the Lord. Probus asked for her name. She replied: “My name is Anastasia [“Resurrection”], because the Lord resurrected me, so that I could shame you today, and your father the devil.” On seeing her youth and beauty, Probus first attempted flattery to make her deny Christ and dissuade her from the faith, “Why waste your youth, deprived of pleasure? What is there to gain by enduring tortures and death for the Crucified One? Worship our gods, marry a handsome husband, and live in glory and honor.” The holy maiden steadfastly replied, “My spouse, my riches, my life and my happiness are my Lord Jesus Christ, and you will not turn me away from Him by your deceit! I am ready to die for my Lord, not once but – oh, if it were only possible! – a thousand times.”

Probus then subjected Anastasia to fierce tortures. The holy Martyr bravely endured them, glorifying and praising the Lord. First she was struck in the face, then they stripped her naked, to humiliate her. She cried out to the judge: “This disrobing isn’t shameful at all for me, because it’s a brilliant, most fitting adornment. I’ve been stripped of the old person and have donned the new, in righteousness and truth. I’m now ready to suffer this death you hope to terrify me with. I want it so much. Even if you cut up my members, rip out my tongue, my nails and my teeth, you’ll be granting me an even greater blessing. I devote my whole being to my Creator and Savior. I desire that He be glorified in all my members. I’ll present them to him as jewels, with the adornment of faith.”

The governor then ordered that four posts be driven into the ground, on which they stretched out the Martyr and tied her, face-down. Underneath, they lit a fire with oil, pitch and brimstone, as well as other inflammable materials, by which her breasts, stomach and internal organs were burned. From above, the heartless torturers beat her back with sticks. She suffered and was thus tortured for a good long time and her spine and all her back were cut to pieces from the beating. On her front, the flesh, the veins and her blood were all thoroughly burned and she underwent such pain and agony that it was frightening to hear her. Only with her prayers, which were like dew, was she able to moderate the fierceness of the heat, because she remembered God’s former miracles, such as the Babylonian furnace.

When the brutal and inhuman beast saw that the Martyr was not cowed by these tortures, he ordered her to be tied to a wheel. No sooner said than done, and, when the wheel was turned by some mechanical device, all the Saint’s bones were shattered, her tendons and joints stretched, her body was pulled out of its natural, harmonious shape and she became a pitiful sight.

When the tyrant saw that the Saint was able to withstand this dreadful torture, he determined to defeat her immense resilience with other tortures. So he had all her teeth and nails pulled out and her breasts cut off. Again, the Saint thanked the Lord that she had become a sharer and participant in His sufferings. At the same time, she cursed the tyrant’s gods, calling them forces of darkness, demons and perdition for the soul.

The judge could not bear to hear such words and, because the light was so hateful to his feeble eyes, he ordered that her tongue be torn out from the root. Yet again, the Saint was not cowed by this punishment; she merely asked for a little time in which to glorify the Lord with her organs of speech. Having finished her prayer, she told the executioner to set about his work, which he did, cutting off her tongue. She fainted from the pain and a Christian called Cyril gave her a little water to drink. When Probus heard this, he was so enraged that he ordered his head to be cut off.

An Angel of God appeared to Anastasia and upheld her. The people, seeing the inhuman and disgusting treatment of the Saint, became indignant, and the ruler was compelled to end the tortures. She was finally beheaded with the sword outside the city. The body of the Saint was thrown out beyond the city to be eaten by wild animals, but the Lord did not permit her holy relics to be dishonored. At the command of a holy Angel, Abbess Sophia went to find Anastasia’s mutilated body, and with the help of two Christians buried it in the earth.
In this manner, Saint Anastasia received the crown of martyrdom. Her feast day is celebrated on October 29th.** Her shinbone with skin on it as well as her right hand are kept today at Gregoriou Monastery in Mount Athos.
Notes:

* Some say it was during the reign of Diocletian.

** There is another Roman martyr named Anastasia who is celebrated on October 12th, but it is likely the same person. However, this Anastasia should not be confused with Saint Anastasia the Pharmakolytria celebrated on December 22nd.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

O holy Virgin Anastasia, thou didst redden thy robe of purity with the blood of thy martyr’s contest. Thou dost illumine the world with the grace of healing, and intercede with Christ our God for our souls.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Purified by the streams of thy virginity, and crowned by the blood of martyrdom, thou dost grant healing to those in sickness, and salvation to those who lovingly pray to thee. For Christ has given thee strength which flows to us as a stream of grace, O Virgin Martyr Anastasia.

Source:
http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2016/10/holy-virgin-martyr-anastasia-roman.html


Nature of Angels

October 21, 2016 | Instagram, Uncategorized, Wisdom

"The nature of angels is in some ways quite different from the nature of man, and in other ways similar to it. On the one hand, the differences are these: The angels are bodiless and, as such, invisible to our physical eyes. Having no body, they consequently have no bodily needs or desires and passions, no cares about food, drink, clothes or shelter. Nor do they possess the impulse and cravings for procreation. They neither marry nor are given in marriage (Matt. 22:30). They have no worries about the future either, and no fear of death. For, though God created them before man, they are neither aged nor aging, but unchangingly youthful, beautiful and strong. They have no anxiety about their salvation and no struggle for immorality, being already immortal. Unlike men, they are not faltering between good and evil, being already good and holy as when God created them. On the other hand, the angels are similar to men in that they are personalities, everyone being individually conscious of himself. Like men, they have intelligence, emotions, free will and acting capacity. And withal they bear personal names like men. Some of their names we know either from Scripture or Church Tradition. They are: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salathiel, Barachiel, Jeremiel, Jegudiel." – St. Nicholai Velimirovic #TheOrthodoxWay #OrthodoxChristian #EasternOrthodox #Christian #TheChurch #Christ #Lord #Mercy #Love #Light #Faith #Prayer #Philotimo #TheCross #World #Salvation #Angels

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Correct your own sins

October 18, 2016 | Instagram, Uncategorized, Wisdom

"Do not be irritated either with those who sin or those who offend; do not have a passion for noticing every sin in your neighbour, and for judging him, as we are in the habit of doing. Everyone shall give an answer to God for himself. Everyone has a conscience; everyone hears Gods Word, and knows Gods Will either from books or from conversation with other people. Especially do not look with evil intention upon the sins of your elders which do not regard you; "to his own master he standeth or falleth." Correct your own sins, amend your own life." – St. John of Kronstadt #TheOrthodoxWay #OrthodoxChristian #EasternOrthodox #Christian #TheChurch #Christ #Lord #Mercy #Love #Light #Faith #Prayer #Philotimo #TheCross #World #Salvation

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Do not hate the sinner

October 18, 2016 | Instagram, Uncategorized, Wisdom

Do not hate the sinner; for we are all laden with guilt. If for the sake of God you are moved to oppose him, weep over him. Why do you hate him? Hate his sins and pray for him, that you may imitate Christ Who was not wroth with sinners, but interceded for them. Do you not see how He wept over Jerusalem? We are mocked by the devil in many instances, so why should we hate the man who is mocked by him who mocks us also? Why, O man, do you hate the sinner? Could it be because he is not so righteous as you? But where is your righteousness when you have no love? Why do you not shed tears over him? But you persecute him. In ignorance some, who are considered to be discerning men, are moved to anger against the deeds of sinners. – St. Isaac the Syrian #orthodox #orthodoxy #orthodoxchurch #christian #wisdomofthefathers #stisaacthesyrian

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Enduring Affliction

October 18, 2016 | Instagram, Uncategorized, Wisdom

"We should not think it strange that Christians endure affliction and various forms of sorrow, patiently awaiting through many trials and temptations whatever their Master gives. For they have heard Him say: 'Truly I tell you, that you who are near Me shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice. Yet after a little while I will visit you through the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) and drive away your despondency; I will renew you with thoughts of heavenly life and peace with sweet tears, of which you were deprived for a short time when you were being tested. I will give you the breast of My grace, as a mother feeds her baby when it cries. When your strength fails in battle I will fortify you with power from on high, and I will sweeten you in your bitterness. I will look upon you, and your hearts will rejoice at My secret visitation; your affliction will be turned to joy, and no one shall take that joy from you' (cf. Jn. 16:20-22)." – St. John of Karpathos (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 323)

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Temptations Heal Passions

October 13, 2016 | Instagram, Uncategorized, Wisdom

​https://www.instagram.com/p/BLflbJ-jq4E/


Receive Holy Communion Frequently

October 10, 2016 | Uncategorized, Wisdom

And so, my brethren, if we do as our Holy Fathers direct and receive [Holy Communion] frequently, we have not only the cooperation and help of divine grace during this temporal life, we also have the assistance of the angels of God and of Him who is the Lord of the angels.This Blood of the Lord is salvation for our souls; with it the soul rejoices, with it, it is beautified, it is warmed; this Blood makes the mind shine more brightly than the light; it makes the soul more beautiful than gold. Those who partake of this Body stand with the angels and archangels and the powers above; with it they are adorned with royal robes and the weapons of the Spirit. Those who receive Communion receive the very King Himself. – St. Gregory the Theologian #orthodox #orthodoxy #orthodoxchurch #christian #wisdomofthefathers #stgregorythetheologian #eucharist #communion #godsgrace

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Facing the Winds of Change in Our Society

October 7, 2016 | Uncategorized, Wisdom

ARCHPRIEST PANAYIOTIS PAPAGEORGIOU, PH.D.

​Change seems to be a good thing some times; we may change schools, neighborhoods, towns, or even states; we may change cars, doctors, even political parties. Change can be a welcome renewal at times. When it comes to issues of Faith, moral issues and family values, however, change may not be the best course of action for us.

Let me use an example from everyday life: Redecorating our house, painting it a new color, moving the furniture around, getting a new couch, fixing the yard and redoing the landscaping are all welcome changes that refresh and renew our living space and may re-invigorate our lives in various ways. No one in their right mind, however, will dig into the foundation of the house or meddle with the structural beams of the building just for the sake of change. There are some things you do not touch, for the structure will come down crumbling on your head.

Similarly, the Christian Faith and the spiritual/moral aspects of our life are the foundation and structural supports of our society and humanity itself. It has taken the very humbling of God Himself and his presence on earth for these things to be fully revealed to us. In addition, two thousand years of application and testing of these principles in the lives of Orthodox Christians, has shown their great value for us both on the personal as well as the societal level.

Unfortunately, in our days, certain people, themselves removed from God and immersed in their own passions, confused about the essential things of life, have been meddling with principles that we Orthodox have held precious over the centuries: The doctrines of the Faith (the divinity of Christ and the resurrection) have been under severe scrutiny and outright mockery for decades by the so called “intellectuals” of our time; marriage has been under attack, both as a principle and also as an institution, leading to a tremendous increase in broken families with dire spiritual, moral and psychological consequences for millions of people (both spouses and children); unbridled sexuality and the idolatry of the flesh have been paraded even in our own living-rooms in the guise of entertainment and a norm of life, leading millions to sexual addictions, while virginity and the purity of body and soul have been mocked and ridiculed as backward and up-normal; the family, as a core institution of our society, is being pushed to the brink of destruction by new norms, new types of relationships and new ideas which are offering a false sense of personal freedom with dire consequences for all of us.

The question arises bigger than life: What can we do as Orthodox Christians?

The answer: Resist the winds of change!!! The Orthodox Church has survived the decadence of the Roman society and conquered it, establishing a Christian Empire and an Orthodox Christian culture that lasted over a thousand years, because it refused to go along with the norms of their time. It, then, survived fourteen centuries of subjugation to the muslims and decades of abuse by the communists because it held fast to the Christian principles of life and the Faith in Christ’s divine power and the hope of the resurrection through Him.

This is our call today as American Orthodox Christians: We need to hold fast to the principles of Faith and life as handed down through the centuries to us and resist the winds of change!!!

Source:
http://www.holytransfiguration.info/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/Syndiakonia-October-2014-Final.pdf


The Holiness of the Theotokos

October 4, 2016 | Instagram, Uncategorized, Wisdom

"If the nine orders of angels desired to descend from the heavens, and become demons; If all men would become evil; If all creations, heaven, lights, priests, animals desired to apostasize from God; All these evils of creation weighed against the fulness of the Holiness of the Theotokos could not sadden God. For only the Lady Theotokos was able to please Him in all things. She alone stands between God and men, who made God the son of men, and men sons of God. Without her intercessions no one, neither angels, nor men could entreat God, for she alone is found on the border between the uncreated and natural creation. She alone is God immediately after God and has second place to the Holy Trinity, as being truly the mother of God in essence. And she alone is not only the protector of the treasury of all the riches of the Godhead, but she is the distributor to all angels and men, all those gifts from God to the supernatural creation, illumination and divine and spiritual gifts. And there is no one who cannot call upon her with faith and not be heard with compassion. This Son of God and beloved son of the Virgin gave us His mother (and thus our mother) as such an advocate, to help us towards our salvation." -St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain #TheOrthodoxWay #OrthodoxChristian #EasternOrthodox #Christian #TheChurch #Christ #Lord #Mercy #Love #Light #Faith #Prayer #Philotimo #TheCross #World #Salvation #Theotokos #Panagia

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