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Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Whole Person - We are both soul and body - Abbot Tryphon, Vashon Island, WA, USA


FAITHBOOK - ORTHODOXY



The Whole Person - We are both soul and body

Abbot Tryphon, Vashon Island, WA, USA

Source:

https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/

https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2018/12/the-whole-person-2/

ANCIENT FAITH

MORNING OFFERING

Unlike angels, who are entirely spiritual beings, God has made each of us as creatures dwelling in a material world. To be whole, we must worship God both in body and soul. This teaching is central to our Christian faith and is an affirmation of the sacramental nature of this material world. Because of this truth icons have played a central role in Christian history, for they proclaim Jesus Christ’s physical reality as God Incarnate.

Our Lord told his disciples that “he who has seen me, has seen the Father”. Icons depicting the Holy Virgin show the Christ Child with bare feet, reminding us that he walked the earth among us. He (the Logos) through Whom all that is was brought into existence, condescended to take on our flesh and walk among us. He joined His divinity to our humanity, that we might become gods.

The Lord Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and rose from the dead in this material world. He broke bread with disciples, ate fish with his friends, and invited His disciple Thomas to feel the wound in his side, after His holy resurrection. Most of the miracles He performed were in the nature of physical healing.

Because of the Incarnation, our use of icons bring our whole nature, body and soul, into the material world. This physical aspect of prayer is what connects us to our true self, composed of body and soul. This is where God reaches down to embrace us.

Icons are wonderful aides in our communion with God because they serve as bridges to Christ and links with the Holy Virgin and the saints. They are by no means the only means , for sitting on the top of a mountain, or walking on the seashore, eyes open, allows us to behold the beauty of God’s creation, and His love for us. The icons, like the glory of creation, are windows into eternity, and invite us who live in this material world, into an encounter with God.

Icons are necessary and essential because they protect the full and proper doctrine of the Incarnation. While God cannot be represented in His eternal nature (“…no man has seen God”, John 1:18), He can be depicted simply because He “became human and took flesh.” Of Him who took a material body, material images can be made. In so taking a material body, God proved that matter can be redeemed. He deified matter, making it spirit-bearing, and so if flesh can be a medium for the Spirit, so can wood or paint, although in a different fashion.

“I do not worship matter, but the Creator of matter, who for my sake became material and deigned to dwell in matter, who through matter effected my salvation… (Saint John of Damascus).” The seventh and last Ecumenical Council upheld the iconodules’ position in AD 787. They proclaimed: “Icons… are to be kept in churches and honored with the same relative veneration as is shown to other material symbols, such as the ‘precious and life-giving Cross’ and the Book of the Gospels. The ‘doctrine of icons’ is tied to the Orthodox teaching that all of God’s creation is to be redeemed and glorified, both spiritual and material.”

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

If you believe what you like in the Gospels - Saint Augustine of Hippo, North Africa (+430)




If you believe what you like in the Gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.

—Saint Augustine of Hippo, North Africa (+430)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Korea: The touching conversion story of an elderly Korean woman from Buddhism to Orthodoxy


MULTILINGUAL CHRISTIANITY – ORTHODOXY


Korea: The touching conversion story of

an elderly Korean woman from Buddhism to Orthodoxy

“This grandma case was very touching. She lives in Seoul, close to her other children. One of her sons and his family who live in the village Polang-Ree converted to Orthodoxy a long time ago. He had announced this to his mother, trying to motivate her to convert to Christianity as well. But as she was an elderly woman, she couldn’t understand much of what they were telling her. Until, one day, one of her son’s daughters, who worked in some private business doing very hard work all week, moved to Seoul. Every Saturday she would say:

-Granny, I’m going to Church after work for my singing rehearsal and the Vespers.

And on Sundays, very early in the morning:

-Granny, I have to go. I’m teaching the morning group of Sunday School. Then, there’s Holy Liturgy. Then, our youth congregation. We’re going to have lunch all together. Don’t worry that I’ll be back in the afternoon.

-Don’t you get too tired my child?

-No, granny. This relieves me from all tiredness and troubles of the week. It gives me strength, joy… It revives me. Because I find Christ in Church , granny, the real God. I receive Him in my soul.

And her granddaughter shone all over. She was so much different from all other girls her age grandma knew.

“So these were my sons words I could not understand”, she was thinking…

Months went by. Every Sunday her granddaughter looked just as happy on the outside as well as in her heart each time she returned from the Church. The same thoughts were on granny’s mind.

In the end she made her decision:

-You said that you teach children about Christ. Can you teach me as well , who is He who gives you so much happiness?

The granddaughter jumped for joy! She’d been praying all this time in secret for this blessed moment to come for her beloved granny. Little by little with patience and love she started catechizing her. What helped her most was her own life’s good example.

Granny started coming to Church. Sunday after Sunday , her adaptation to this new experience was remarkable:

-I want to be baptized before I die…

This was her desire.

She even attended some special classes.

-I believe and I love Christ.

And when the preparation for her Holy Baptism started, she timidly asked:

-Can I be given my granddaughter’s name, who led me to this Paradise?

“Come and see” is addressed to the souls of the Korean people who never got to know Christ, our Saviour, in such ways of life testimony. In the tension of their life struggles, material needs or goals of their lives, beaten by insecurities, by despair, the most convincing invitation to His Kingdom is a silent testimony of a genuinely Christian life”.

Sources:

http://orthodox-heart-sites.blogspot.com

http://www.truthtarget.gr

Translation:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqNCEoRaEGYLYyaXLyN89Jw

VASILEIA

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Are there demons or devils? - Saint Sebastian Dabovich of Jackson & San Francisco, CA, USA (+1940)


Are there demons of devils?

Saint Sebastian Dabovich of Jackson and San Francisco, CA, USA (+1940):

“I have heard people say that there are no demons or devils. . . . . the Devil surely will not reveal himself to people who do not believe; for, should he do so, they might believe, and that would be against his own sly, diabolical policy, as he would have all in the dark, so terrible is his enmity against the Eternal Source of Light and Treasure of Goodness—God Almighty”.

Source:

http://www.orthodoxchurchquotes.com

http://www.orthodoxchurchquotes.com/2015/07/06/st-sebastian-dabovich-i-have-heard-people-say-that-there-are-no-demons-or-devils/

ORTHODOX CHURCH QUOTES

Monday, May 13, 2019

What is the Holy Bible?


HEAVEN ON EARTH - ORTHODOXY


What is the Holy Bible?

We believe the Holy Bible, comprised of the Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In faith we hold the Holy Bible to be inerrant in the original writings, God-breathed, and the complete and final authority for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

While still using the individual writing styles of the human authors, the Holy Spirit perfectly guided them to ensure they wrote precisely what He wanted written, without error or omission (2 Peter 1:21).

Source:

http://heartquestionsandanswers.wordpress.com

HEART QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Monday, April 22, 2019

Why is the Church called Apostolic?


ORTHODOXY IS LOVE



Why is the Church called Apostolic?

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Topic 274 of the Catechism

of Saint Philaret of Moscow, Russia (+1867)

November 19

Because she has from the Apostles, without break or change, both her doctrine and the succesion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, through the laying of consecrated hands. In the same sense the Church is called Orthodox, or Right-believing.

"You are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;" (Eph. 2:19-20).

Source:

http://loveandrepentance.tumblr.com

LOVE AND REPENTANCE

Monday, March 11, 2019

Protection of the Mother of God


HOLY VIRGIN MARY MOTHER OF GOD



Protection of the Mother of God

The Protection of the Mother of God is one of the most beloved feast days on the Orthodox calendar among the Slavic peoples, commemorated on October 1. The feast is celebrated additionally on October 28 in the Greek tradition. It is also known as the feast of the Virgin Mary’s Cerement.

In most Slavic languages the word “cerement” has a dual meaning of “veil” and “protection.” The Russian word Pokrov (Покров), like the Greek Skepi (Σκέπη), has a complex meaning. First of all, it refers to a cloak or shroud, but it also means protection or intercession. For this reason, the name of the feast is variously translated as the Veil of Our Lady, the Protecting Veil of the Theotokos, the Protection of the Theotokos, or the Intercession of the Theotokos.

The feast

The feast day celebrates the appearance of the Mother of God at Blachernae (Vlaherna) in the tenth century. At the end of St. Andrei (Andrew of Constantinople) Yurodivyi’s life, he, with his disciple St. Epiphanius, and a group of people, saw the Mother of God, St. John the Baptist, and several other saints and angels during a vigil in the Church of Blachernae, nearby the city gates. The Blachernae Palace church was where several of her relics were kept. The relics were her robe, veil, and part of her belt that had been transferred from Palestine during the fifth century.

The Theotokos approached the center of the church, knelt down and remained in prayer for a long time. Her face was drowned in tears. Then she took her veil (cerement) off and spread it over the

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

How can God be one in three persons?


HAVE FAITH - ORTHODOXY



How can God be one in three persons?

Christians call this the Holy Trinity (literally: 'Tri-unity').

To explain this, we must distinguish between God's nature and his manifestation to us. God's nature is oneness, yet he has revealed himself to us in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All three are God, yet are also distinct persons within his one nature.

We can think of the Holy Trinity mathematically: 1 x 1 x 1 = 1 rather than 1 + 1 + 1 =3, which would imply that there are three gods.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

If God is loving, why does he send people to Hell?


TEXTS - ORTHODOXY



If God is loving, why does he send people to Hell?

God does not send anyone to Hell. By his very nature, God is holy and cannot overlook sin, yet he desires that all should come to know him through faith. However, God does not compel us to love him, for forced love is not love at all. Thus Hell is something that humans choose voluntarily, through their rejection of God.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Icon corner


TEXTS - ORTHODOXY


Icon corner

The icon corner is a small worship space prepared in the homes of Eastern Orthodox Christians.

The Book of Acts and the Epistles of the Apostle Paul record that in the early Church, Christians used to meet in the homes of the faithful. (Acts 2:46, Acts 20:7-12, 1 Corinthians 16:19, etc.) This tradition of the "House Church" continues to this day in Eastern Christianity. The home is considered to be a microcosm of the Church. The parents (both the husband and the wife) are the "clergy" of the house church, and the children are the "laity". The wedding ceremony ("crowning") is analogous to Ordination, and the house is blessed with a rite that is based upon the Consecration of a Church. Once a year, the priest will come to bless the house with Theophany Water.

An Orthodox Christian is expected to pray constantly. According to Bishop Kallistos Ware, "In Orthodox spirituality, there is no separation between liturgy and private devotion". Thus the house, just like the Temple (church building), is considered to be a consecrated place, and the center of worship in the house is the icon corner.

An icon corner is normally oriented to face east. It is often located in a corner to eliminate worldly distractions and allow prayer to be more concentrated. Here is where the icons that the family owns should be located, normally including at least icons of Christ, the Theotokos, and the Patron Saint(s) of the family. An oil lamp normally hangs in front of the icons. The careful trimming of the lamp to keep it burning at all times is interpreted as symbolic of the attentive daily care faithful Christians should take over their souls. Relics of saints (if the family possesses any) and a Gospel Book and a blessing cross would be kept there, as well as incense, holy water, palms and pussywillow from Palm Sunday, candles from Pascha (Easter), and other sacred items, as well as a personal Commemoration Book (containing the names of family and loved ones, both living and departed, to be remembered in prayer).

Ideally, the icon corner is located so that it is visible when one first enters the house from the main entrance. Traditionally, when first entering the house, an Orthodox Christian would venerate the icons before greeting the members of the house.

A traditional Orthodox family will gather together every day for morning and evening prayers. Sometimes, at the end of the prayers, the head of the household will take the hand censer and cense the icons and all of the members of the household.

Often, in addition to the icon corner, a family will hang a small "portal icon" (usually of the Virgin and Christ Child) by the door, which is venerated by family and guests whenever going in or out of the house.

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Holy Bible verses about Holy Angels and humans


SAINTS OF MY HEART



Holy Bible verses about Holy Angels and humans

Hebrews 1:1-14
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? ...

Hebrews 13:2
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Hebrews 2:9
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Hebrews 1:14
Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

1 Corinthians 11:10
That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

1 Corinthians 6:3
Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

Psalm 103:20
Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!

Psalm 91:11-12
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

Jude 1:9
But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Luke 16:22
The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried,

Luke 15:10
Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Isaiah 6:2
Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

Matthew 25:41
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

2 Kings 6:17
Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Genesis 6:1-22
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ...

Isaiah 6:1-3
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

Job 38:4-7
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Job 1:6
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.

Mark 8:38
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Colossians 1:16
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Acts 8:26
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place.

Luke 20:36
For they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Isaiah 41:13
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Isaiah 6:3
And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

Psalm 148:2
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!

Psalm 118:8
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.

Jude 1:14
It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones,

1 Peter 1:12
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Luke 24:4
While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.

Luke 12:8
“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God

Matthew 25:31
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.

Matthew 24:31
And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Matthew 22:30
For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Daniel 12:1
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.

Psalm 148:5
Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created.

Job 2:1
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord.

James 1:7-8
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Hebrews 12:22-23
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect

Luke 1:41-42
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

Matthew 4:11
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Psalm 91:11
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

Hebrews 12:22
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,

Colossians 1:16-17
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Ephesians 3:10
So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

Acts 27:23-24
For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’

Acts 12:5-10
So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. ...

Acts 10:3
About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.”

Luke 20:34-36
And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Luke 9:26
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Luke 2:13
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The rites of Baptism and Christmation


TEXTS - ORTHODOXY



The rites of Baptism and Christmation

The Rites of Baptism and Christmation (known as Confirmation in the Western) are the rites of passage and entry into the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is the Divine Economy of Faith, what brings Life to all Christians that become in Communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople, the First Among Equals. For of course,  ”In the beginning God made the Heavens and the Earth. But the Earth was unsightly and unfurnished, and darkness was over the deep, and the Spirit of God moved over the waters.” (Genesis 1:1,2) These are the very first words of Scripture! The “Spirit of God,” the Holy Spirit, was in “the waters.” This is a prefigurement of baptism, of what gives us life, since God used water to make creation, but also uses it to renew creation.

He then did just that, by renewing creation through the flood. “And the flood was upon the Earth forty days and forty nights, and the water greatly abounded and bore up the ark, and it was lifted on high from off the Earth… and the ark was borne upon the water… and (water) covered all the high mountains which were under the Heavens… And there died all flesh that moved upon the Earth, of flying creatures and cattle, and of wild beasts, and of every reptile moving upon the Earth, and every man… (But) Noah was left alone and those with him in the ark… (Genesis 7:17-24) All Christians are “lifted on high from off the Earth,” towards the “Heavens” when they are baptized, since they are renewed as Creation was renewed, and become one with God. Noah’s ark is a type of the Church, and we all must be purified by water and Spirit to enter this Church, and not die like the men and women who laughed at Noah. Indeed, they died because of their wickedness and lack of faith. But Noah was faithful,and was a type of Christ.

And then, in Exodus, there is the crossing of the River Jordan and the Pillars of Cloud and Fire:

“And the Angel of God that went before the camp of the children of Israel removed and went behind, and the pillar of the cloud also removed from before them and stood behind them. And it went behind the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel, and stood; and there was darkness and blackness; and the night passed, and they came not near to one another during the whole night. And Moses stretched forth His hand over the sea, and the Lord carried back the sea… And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry land, and the water of it was a wall on the right hand and a wall on the left. And the Egyptians pursued them and went in after them… (with) Pharaoh… And it came to pass in the morning watch that the Lord looked forth on the camp of the Egyptians, and bound the axle-trees of their chariots, and caused them to go with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them… And the Lord said to Moses, ‘stretch forth thine hand over the sea, and let the water be turned back to its place, and let it cover the Egyptians…’ And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea…  and the Lord shook off the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the water returned and covered the chariots and the riders… and there was not left of them even one… So the Lord delivered Israel in that day from the hand of the Egyptians… (and) the Egyptians (were) dead by the shore of the sea.” (Exodus 14:19-30)

This pillar of cloud was a type of the soothing waters of Baptism, and the pillar fire which led them by night was a type of the fire of the Holy Spirit within every follower of Christ. This cloud of

Friday, September 28, 2018

Epistle, Gospel and Sermon – Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece


DIVINE LITURGY – EXPERIENCE


Epistle, Gospel and Sermon

Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece

God speaks to us through the Sacred readings. The reading from Holy scripture tell us about Jesus’s life and how to follow His teachings. Gospel means “good news.” Both the Gospel and the Epistle readings are meant to inspire us with the good news about God’s love for all of us.

First the Epistle is read. The Epistle is a letter that was written by Saint Paul and other apostles and deemed by the Church to be Holy Scripture. At the beginning we are called to be attentive, to listen closely as we are about to hear God’s wisdom. Then there is the “prokeimenon.” This is a short verse from the Psalms that reveal God’s wonders to us. The reading symbolizes the revelation of the divine mysteries by the Prophets and anticipation of the Kingdom of God on earth. Originally it was a whole psalm chanted in antiphons.

Why is that the Epistle comes before the Gospel? We have an answer given by Saint Nicholas Cabasilas:

“What is said by the Lord Him self is the most perfect revelation, compared to that which is said by the Apostles. And since we mentioned that way is performed in the Divine Liturgy is revealed gradually, there is an upward, gradual journey that is why as we are moving from lower to higher, we first read the Epistle readings and then the Gospel readings” (Saint Nicholas Cabasilas, P.G. 150, 416C).

At the end of the Epistle reading we sing, Alleluia, which is an exclamation of joy which is sung majestically, slowly and melodically. Its actual meaning is “Glorify the Lord God!” It is the hymn of the Angels. It arouses our souls so our heart can turn towards heaven.

Before the reading of the Holy Gospel the priest will cense the Holy book read the following prayer.

“Shine in our hearts, O Master, Who lovest mankind, the pure light of Thy Divine Knowledge, and open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Thy Gospel teachings; implant in us also the fear of Thy blessed commandments, that trampling down all desires of the flesh, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing the things which are well-pleasing unto Thee; for

The Priest is standing before the Holy Gate and exclaims: “Let us attend…” – Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece


DIVINE LITURGY – EXPERIENCES


The Priest is standing

before the Holy Gate and exclaims: “Let us attend…”

Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece

The Priest is standing before the Holy Gate and exclaims: “Let us attend…”, many times in fact. However, this entreaty is the voice of the Church but most people do not pay attention to it… “Let us attend…”, “let us attend…”, and no one attends.

Many say: “We will hear the same things again… again and again”.

Others again say: “We do not understand anything they say…”.

How dare you say that whatever it is they read it is always the same, for you know neither the names of the Prophets, nor the names of the Apostles, nor the names of the Evangelists?

And again, how do you dare say that you do not understand the sacred texts of the Readings during the Diving Liturgy, when you do not study them at home at all? . . .

In order for us not to be “judged”, let us attend! Let us attend! Let us be attentive!

From the book:

Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Experiences During the Divine Liturgy

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Reasons to study the Holy Bible from Saint Justin Popovich of Serbia (+1979)


TEXTS - ORTHODOXY



Reasons to study the Holy Bible 

from Saint Justin Popovich of Serbia (+1979)

The biography of every man – everyone without exception – is found in the Bible. In it each of us can find himself portrayed and thoroughly described in detail; all those virtues and vices which you have and can have and cannot have.

You will find the paths on which your own soul and everyone else’s journey from sin to sinlessness, and the entire path from man to God and from man to Satan. You will find the means to free yourself from sin. In short, you will find the complete history of sin and sinfulness, and the complete history of righteousness and the righteous.

If you are mournful, you will find consolation in the Bible; if you are sad, you will find joy; if you are angry – tranquility; if you are lustful – continence; if you are foolish – wisdom; if you are bad – goodness; if you are a criminal – mercy and righteousness; if you hate your fellow man – love.

You will find a remedy for all your vices and weak points, and nourishment for all your virtues and accomplishments. If you are good, the Bible will teach you how to become better and best; if you are kind, it will teach you angelic tenderness; if you are intelligent, it will teach you wisdom.

If you appreciate the beauty and music of literary style, there is nothing more beautiful or more moving than what is contained in Job, Isaiah, Solomon, David, John the Theologian and the Apostle Paul. Here music – the angelic music of the eternal truth of God – is clothed in human words.

The more one reads and studies the Bible, the more he finds reasons to study it as often and as frequently as he can. According to St. John Chrysostom, it is like an aromatic root, which produces more and more aroma the more it is rubbed.

Source:

http://www.pravmir.com/reasons-study-bible-frequently-st-justin-popovich/

PRAVMIR.COM

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY AND THE WORLD

Friday, August 17, 2018

How to know God?


FAITHBOOK – ORTHODOXY



How to know God?

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/114043.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

How can we know God? The Creator Himself imparted to man the beginnings of wisdom and spirit, so that man might know Him and His will. Throughout our entire life, we are called to continually and ever more discover and know our Heavenly Father, to love Him, and to find our eternal blessings in Him. There is no creative work of any kind, whether in the realm of science, art, or other creative activity in the world, that is conceivable without that origin of reason and spirit. Through his faith, through higher intuitive comprehension, man begins to see and perceive God; with his inner hearing, man is capable of hearing Divine truth and love. The world was created with love that is greater than worldly love, and believers begin to love that love, to serve it amid all that is encountered in the world, all of the trials and tests the soul faces in preparing itself for its higher, eternal existence… The Gospel states that who has been faithful over a few things will be faithful over many things. The purpose and meaning of our earthly existence is to ascend through this brief, temporal, life, to eternal life on high.

All of the teachings of the Gospels are directed toward understanding of that very exalted, higher, meaning of life, love toward God and service to the Kingdom of love among men. Everyone is called to serve God and to help others, our brethren here on earth, in God’s truth. People are not simply one another’s brethren, but even more than brethren; they are blood relatives, brothers sharing the same Heavenly Father. Living in various countries, belonging to various peoples, they are all compatriots

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Life of the Holy Theotokos (God-Bearer): Whom the Grave Could Not Contain


HOLY VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF GOD



The Life of the Holy Theotokos:

Whom the Grave Could Not Contain

Source:

http://deathtotheworld.com

http://deathtotheworld.com/articles/the-life-of-the-holy-theotokos-whom-the-grave-could-not-contain/

DEATH TO THE WORLD

The Theotokos (God-Bearer) was born of the elderly Joachim and Anna as an answer to their prayers. After being humiliated and run out of the Temple, Joachim stood in prayer and fasting, in the same cave as once did Elijah the Prophet, begging God to give him and his barren wife a child. In their garden, Anna stood in prayer also, fervently asking God to take away her sorrow. An angel appeared to them both telling them of the great mystery that would be given to them, a daughter who would bear the Life of the World.

Joachim and Anna made a promise that they would give the child back to God, and being very pious and devout, they offered Mary up to be raised in the Temple at the age of three. The High Priest Zacharias, the husband of Anna’s niece and father of John the Baptist, welcomed the child Mary with great delight. Seeing that she would be made the new Ark, carrying within her the New Covenant, he was filled with the spirit and exclaimed, “The souls of the condemned rejoice and the patriarchs exult. Our prophets hoped in thee that they might be delivered from the hands of the devil!” Taking her into the Temple he placed her in the Holy of Holies saying, “Enter into the Holy of Holies, for thou art much purer than myself… For thou art the Temple of God, therefore, remain in the Temple.” The High Priest said that she was the “dry rod of Aaron,” the “bush which burned without being consumed,” “the fleece of Gideon”, and he called her “the Queen David spoke of” saying “At Thy right hand stood the Queen, arrayed in a vesture of inwoven gold, adorned in varied colors”(Ps. 44:8)

The young maiden grew up in the Temple, frequently visiting God in the Holy of Holies. Her parents came to visit her every year until they died of old age. When Mary reached the age of 13, she was forced to leave the temple because, according to Jewish law, a woman became unclean when they started their minstrel cycle. Seeing that Mary was deeply grieved, because she wanted to live in virginity, Zacharias found an older man, Joseph, who would only betroth her. Being betrothed was like engagement, it was before a formal wedding. Betrothal was binding in the Jewish tradition, but during the betrothal period you did not engage in sexual relations. Because of Mary’s desire to stay a virgin, history records that Joseph and Mary stayed only betrothed until Joseph’s death. This is why the Early Church always viewed Mary as being ever virgin.

Not long after living outside of the Temple, Gabriel the Angel announced to Mary what is strange to the angels and to the minds of men, that the Uncontainable God would be contained in her womb. On this day “the Son of God became the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel announces good tidings of grace. Therefore, let us also join him and cry aloud to the Theotokos: ‘Rejoice, thou who art full of grace: the Lord is with Thee!’”(Saint Ramonos). At this Mary was filled with joy and submitting to the will of God she said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”(Luke 1:38). Mary then went into the hill country to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the city of Judah. Upon seeing her, Elizabeth’s baby, the future John the Baptist, leaped in her womb and she cried out to

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Concerning Paradise - Saint John of Damascus


ORTHODOXY IS LOVE



Saint John of Damascus

"An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith"

Concerning Paradise

BOOK II CHAPTER XI

Now when God was about to fashion man out of the visible and invisible creation in His own image and likeness to reign as king and ruler over all the earth and all that it contains, He first made for him, so to speak, a kingdom in which he should live a life of happiness and prosperity. And this is the divine paradise, planted in Eden by the hands of God, a very storehouse of joy and gladness of heart (for “Eden” means luxuriousness). Its site is higher in the East than all the earth: it is temperate and the air that surrounds it is the rarest and purest: evergreen plants are its pride, sweet fragrances abound, it is flooded with light, and in sensuous freshness and beauty it transcends imagination: in truth the place is divine, a meet home for him who was created in God’s image: no creature lacking reason made its dwelling there but man alone, the work of God’s own hands.

In its midst God planted the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. The tree of knowledge was for trial, and proof, and exercise of man’s obedience and disobedience: and hence it was named the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or else it was because to those who partook of it was given power to know their own nature. Now this is a good thing for those who are mature, but an evil thing for the immature and those whose appetites are too strong, being like solid food to tender babes still in need of milk. For our Creator, God, did not intend us to be burdened with care and troubled about many things, nor to take thought about, or make provision for, our own life. But this at length was Adam’s fate: for he tasted and knew that he was naked and made a girdle round about him: for he took fig-leaves and girded himself about. But before they took of the fruit, They were both naked, Adam and Eve, and were not ashamed. For God meant that we should be thus free from passion, and this is indeed the mark of a mind absolutely void of passion. Yea, He meant us further to be free from care and to have but one work to perform, to sing as do the angels, without ceasing or intermission, the praises of the Creator, and to delight in contemplation of Him and to cast all our care on Him. This is what the Prophet David proclaimed to us when He said, Cast thy burden on the Lord, and He will sustain thee. And, again, in the Gospels, Christ taught His disciples saying, Take no thought for your life what ye shall eat, nor for your body what ye shall put on. And further, Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. And to Martha He said,