Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Paraklesis to St. Tryphon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary

St. Tryphon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (source)
Paraklesis (Supplication Service) to the Glorious Martyr and Unmercenary Healer Tryphon

After the "Blessed is our God", the "Lord, hear my prayer...", followed by:
God is the Lord and He revealed Himself to us, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord (x4, with verses)

Troparion in the Fourth Tone. O You Who were lifted on the Cross.
To him who appeared as a trophy-bearer amidst struggles, and who is the namesake of godly nourishment, Tryphon the glorious Martyr of Christ, let us hymn and cry out to him: Deliver your entreaters from abject dangers, those who call upon your wondrous name with fervor, O Unmercenary.

Glory. Both now.
O Theotokos, we shall never be silent...

Then, Psalm 50, followed by the Canon in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.

Ode I. Crossing the water as on dry land.
O Saint of God, intercede on our behalf.
As you are nourished with godly nourishment in the Heavens, O Martyr Tryphon, as an all-perfect Champion, through your intercessions, deliver my soul from bitter food.

O Saint of God, intercede on our behalf.
You hearkened to the divine words, and put them into practice, O Blessed Tryphon, and you loved them practically in your holy life, therefore make be worthy to live in holiness.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
You became a shepherd of your soul, O Tryphon, with wisdom in your thoughts. Make me ever worthy to be shepherded through your compassion, O Martyr, with divine wisdom.

Both now and forever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Illumine me with the noetic Light [Christ], Whom you bore, the radiance of the glory of the Father, O all-spotless Lady, and disperse the darkness of my sin.

Ode III. You are the foundation.
O Saint of God...
You cast down the might of the evil one, O glorious Tryphon, through the power of God. Therefore, deliver us from his schemes.

You trampled upon the fleshly serpent, O Tryphon, and put to end the enemy. Therefore, ever put to death his wiles, through your divine intercessions.

With your presence alone, O Tryphon, you truly made the evil spirits flee, through the power of the Spirit.

Having you as my help, O All-Spotless one, I will not be overcome by any dangers in my life, with you as my protector, who saves me from afflictions.
St. Tryphon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (source)
Ode IV. I have hearkened and heard, O Lord.
O God-bearer and Unmercenary, surround all those who honor you, and speedily grant them healing through your intercessions to the Savior.
As one nourished with eternal glory and rejoicing, O glorious Tryphon, intercede that those who hymn you might be delivered from every trial.
As one estranged from the love of God through the guile of the serpent, O glorious one, and through your intercessions, call me back, and deliver me from his hands.
I have placed all my hopes in you, O Ever-Virgin, and I cry out to you: deliver me from every danger through your intercessions.
Ode V. Illumine us.
That I might hymn you as my protector, O glorious Tryphon, ever deliver your entreater from every danger through your prayers.
Grant me, the wretched one, victory against the enemy, O ever-memorable Tryphon, through your prayers, that, having been saved, I might ever glorify you.
Grant eternal life to your servant, O Martyr Tryphon, as a physician of souls and bodies, for I know you as a free healer of afflictions.
O Spotless Pure One, the name that is sweetest to me, through your mighty protection, save me, who have hastened to take refuge in you.
Ode VI. Have mercy on my, O Savior.
Wither the atrocious ashes and miasmas and mania of the idols, O glorious one, and water our plants with the waters of piety, for all those who praise you with gracious hymns, O Tryphon.
Your eternal and martyric blood, O Champion, ever pours forth fragrance like myrrh, pouring forth healings, and the dust of your body sanctifies the souls of those who approach you in faith.
Having seen you as a worker of healings, O glorious Tryphon, make the passions to wither, as we ever draw from you as from an unemptying spring, a river of healings and gifts of salvation.
As the true Mother of Christ, the Creator of all creation, I entreat you fervently, O All-Spotless Lady, to grant me forgiveness of my many offenses, and to deliver me from dangers.
Deliver us from dangers and afflictions, O Tryphon, through your intercessions to Christ, O Unmercenary, for those who praise you with fervor and faith.
Spotless One, who by a word did bring to us the Word eternal...
Then, the Priest says the entreaty, followed by the Kontakion in the Second Tone.
O Unmercenary, as one partaking of godly nourishment in the Heavens, through your ceaseless intercessions to God, grant deliverance from every passion of the souls of your entreaters, for you are an invincible Champion, O ever-memorable Tryphon.
Then, the Prokeimenon in Tone Four.
God is wondrous among His Saints, the God of Israel, He will give strength and support to His people, Blessed is God. (2)
Verse: In Churches, bless God, the Lord from the wellsprings of Israel.
God is wondrous among His Saints, the God of Israel, He will give strength and support to His people, Blessed is God.
St. Tryphon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (source)
The Gospel according to St. Luke (10:19-21).
Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you.  Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Through the intercessions of the Unmercenary, O Lord of mercy, wash away my many personal offenses.
Both now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, O Lord of mercy, wash away my many personal offenses.

Verse: Have mercy on me, O God...
Then the Prosomoion in the Plagal of the Second Tone. No one is turned away from you.
No one is turned away from your protection and is sent away without help against the passions and dangers, O Tryphon, Martyr of the Lord, but one asks for the grace of healings, and he receives salvation and healing through your prayers to God.

Then, the Priest says the "Save, O God, Your people, and bless Your inheritance...

St. Tryphon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (source)

Then, the Canon resumes. Ode VII. Once from out of Judea.
You rejoice, dancing together with the choirs of the Martyrs as one bearing a crown, O Tryphon, and they honor you, and hymn you in faith, as an Unmercenary who grants healing of afflictions and passions through your prayers.
The Master of all and God has placed a heavenly crown upon your head, and you have come to ever dwell in His heavenly mansions. Make us worthy of them, O Saint Tryphon, as you entreat for us.
Dry the streams of my tears, O Unmercenary Tryphon, for my heart is granted a spring welling forth healings from your Icon. Fill me with compunction, that I might be cleansed from the filth of the passions, O Thrice-blessed one.
You bore the God before the ages in your sacred arms, O All-Spotless one. Do not cease to entreat Him that your servants be granted deliverance from fire, earthquake, famine, and incurable afflictions.
Ode VIII. The King of Heaven.
As one tempted by a multitude of illnesses, O Blessed one, I hasten to you, asking for salvation, for you, O Tryphon, are a deliverance of those ailing.
As one nourished and rejoicing with the Angels in the heavenly mansions, intercede with the Lord on behalf of those who hymn you.
O Saint Tryphon, become a physician of the illnesses of your entreater, and of burdensome passions, and cut off their frenzy, through your divine intercessions.
Grant my a stream of tears, O Lady, that I might cleanse the filth of the passions from my soul, and guide me on the ways of salvation.
Ode IX. Saved through you, O Theotokos.
Entreat for us to the God of all, for nourishment with heavenly food, O glorious Tryphon, that we might be granted forgiveness of offenses.
Shining from the light of the first Light [Christ], O Tryphon, and having been set aflame with His divine radiance, through your intercessions, make us to partake of Him as well.
As one partaking of godly nourishment and joy together with the Angels, intercede with the Creator, O Blessed one, on behalf of your servants.
Grant deliverance, O Theotokos, for those ailing and from every danger, for your entreators, for they ever take refuge, praying to you. 

St. Tryphon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (source)
Then, "It is truly right to call you blessed...", followed by the Megalynaria.

The wondrous Martyr of the Lord, and most-ready helper from Lampsakos, a protector and deliverer for those who call upon him, let us all honor the divine Tryphon.

Come, O faithful, let us venerate the holy Icon of the divine Tryphon, who drives away from us the stench of the passions, and grants healing and deliverance to all.

All the ranks of Angels...

Then, the Trisagion, followed by the Troparion in the First Tone. A Heavenly Place.
You manfully endured the pains of tortures, and truly inherited the life without pain, O ever-memorable Tryphon, the foundation of Champions. Therefore, today, the Church of Christ celebrates your all-holy memory, and rejoices in a godly manner.

Then the Priest says the entreaty, followed by the Dismissal, after which the people venerate the Icon while the hymn is chanted:
Prosomoion in the Second Tone. When from the Tree.
You received from God, O Tryphon, the grace to grant healings for those who have taken refuge in your protection in faith, and who hasten to you, amidst many incurable afflictions, healing the passions through the grace of the All-Holy Spirit, O wise one. Therefore, we also entreat you: pray to the Lord of all to deliver those who honor you from dangers.

Lady do you receive...

My numerous hopes are placed...

Through the prayers...

St. Tryphon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (source)
   Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Akathist to St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr of Magnesia

St. Charalambos the Hieromartyr with scenes from his life and martyrdom (source)
Akathist to St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr of Magnesia
written by Monk Niphon of the Skete of Iveron

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
To the victorious Hieromartyr of Christ, and the wonderworking physician of soul and body, let us hymn Charalampos with our song. But as you are a great torrent of healings, deliver us from passions, illnesses and the demons, for those who cry out: Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.
The bodiless Angels, beholding your struggles, were astonished, O Martyr Charalampos, (3) and together with the Angels, all the faithful offer you a hymn, and both, being made more joyous with your glory, then cry out these things:
Rejoice, the great Hieromartyr,
Rejoice, you who stand before the Trinity.
Rejoice, the offspring of pious parents,
Rejoice, glory and boast of Magnesia.
Rejoice, for before your conception you were chosen by God,
Rejoice, for from youth you were famed everywhere.
Rejoice, canon and pride of the Priesthood,
Rejoice, the most-divine beauty of holiness.
Rejoice, the great teacher of the people,
Rejoice, our all-comely protector.
Rejoice, through whom our hope is fulfilled,
Rejoice, through whom God is entreated.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.
Beholding your enduring of pains surpassing human nature, the inhumane ruler wished to torture you, O healer of Christ and great one among the Martyrs, Charalampos, you were not dismayed by the threat of death, and cried out: Alleluia.
St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr with scenes from his life (source)
Having divine knowledge, you who were known by God, you censured the delusion of Seviros, and brought a multitude of people to Christ, O Charalampos, while the tyrant was shamed, and all the faithful were roused to cry out these things with reverence:
Rejoice, O Martyr of the truth,
Rejoice, preacher of piety.
Rejoice, you who deposed the religion of the idols,
Rejoice, you who were filled with godly wisdom.
Rejoice, for you conquered the terrible Satan,
Rejoice, for you gave honor to the people as to Christ.
Rejoice, teacher of the precepts of the Apostles,
Rejoice, you who adorned the council of the Champions.
Rejoice, servant of the worship of God,
Rejoice, adornment of your sacred temple.
Rejoice, you who lifted up the horn of the Cross,
Rejoice, you who trampled upon the thorns of the enemy.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.
Having power from on high as a weapon, O Charalampos, you endured terrible tortures manfully on behalf of Christ, even the flaying of your flesh with iron instruments, O all-blessed one, crying out to Him in the highest: Alleluia.

St. Charalampos with scenes from his life (Source)
Having vain zeal, the Duke, who was a worshiper of the idols, flayed your flesh, but his hands were cut off by bodiless hands, while you then healed him. Angels and men were astonished at this, and cry out these things:
Rejoice, O Champion Charalampos,
Rejoice, invincible Cross-bearer.
Rejoice, you who trampled upon the boldness of the Duke,
Rejoice, you who healed his mindset.
Rejoice, you who endured many forms of evil in your flesh,
Rejoice, you who withstood the tyrant's judgment seat.
Rejoice, for your body was burned with fire,

Rejoice, for you were crowned with the radiance of martyrdom.
Rejoice, through whom many were saved,
Rejoice, through whom lepers are cleansed.
Rejoice, O physician of the sick, and deliverance,
Rejoice, priest, granting to those who entreat of you.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.

Having been filled with demonic zeal, Sevios beheld you casting out demons, O Father, and making the blind to see, O Charalampos, and raising the dead, as you cried out to the God Who works wonders: Alleluia.

St. Charalambos with scenes from his life (source)
When Seviros heard of the things worked by you, he sought to pierce your body with nails, and he left you half-dead to your fellow people who received you. Your surpassingly radiant martyrdom astonished Greece, which cries out to you:
Rejoice, great trauma to the demons,
Rejoice, divine wonder of men.
Rejoice, O Charalampos, great one among the Martyrs,
Rejoice, Champion, perfect among the Priests.
Rejoice, for you were pained like no one else among the Champions,
Rejoice, for you were pierced with nails like Christ.
Rejoice, for you were impaled on a spike,
Rejoice, for your flesh was flayed.
Rejoice, through whom God has worked wonders,
Rejoice, through whom the enemy is put to death.
Rejoice, unspeakable endurance,
Rejoice, invinsible manliness.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.
You worked wonders and mighty acts through the power of the Paraclete [the Comforter], astonishing the heavenly Powers, and the wonderworking Saints, among whom you were shown as surpassing. Beholding this, that the spirits were subject to you, they cried out to God: Alleluia.
St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr (source)
Those who beheld you were in ecstasy, as they saw paradoxical wonders worked by you, for the dead man who was lying breathless, you resurrected through your word, O Charalampos, and they who beheld this all cried out with fervor:
Rejoice, you who raised the dead through your prayer,
Rejoice, you who trampled upon the potions of the enemy.
Rejoice, bestower of the Father, Word and Spirit,
Rejoice, stone of Christ, like diamond and emerald.
Rejoice, you whose face was beaten with stones on behalf of Christ,
Rejoice, you whose face was burnt with flames for Him.
Rejoice, priest, serving the awesome mysteries of Christ,
Rejoice, wonderworker, working surpassingly awesome wonders.
Rejoice, intercessor to the Lord on behalf of sinners,
Rejoice, speedy visitation of those suffering.
Rejoice, you who drive away the miasma of death,
Rejoice, song of victory of life.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.
Seviros received evils from heaven, as did Krispos, who maniacally blasphemed Christ and you, O Champion, as the mindless ones were trampled upon, while they entreated you, as you cried out on behalf of them: Alleluia.
St. Charalambos the Hieromartyr (source)
Seeking deliverance from you, Seviros was lifted up in the air. But you, O Charalampos, who endured beatings and breaking of your flesh, prayed for your enemies, while you heard:
Rejoice, offspring of compassion,
Rejoice, son of guilelessness.
Rejoice, you who through your deeds made the earth to be heaven,
Rejoice, you who brought down heaven to earth through your wonders.
Rejoice, most-radiant lamp enlightening the faithful,
Rejoice, tower the breadth of heaven that ever protects them.
Rejoice, you who loved your enemies more than yourself,
Rejoice, you who healed the pains of your torturers,
Rejoice, through whom cholera is cast out,
Rejoice, through whom the plague is removed.
Rejoice, great Martyr and sacrifice of Christ,
Rejoice, my protector and deliverer.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.
"Great is your God!" Seviros cried out, entreating you, O Charalampos to be delivered, and in condescension he descended to earth. Having been brought peace through the intercession of the Martyr, the Martyr cried out to the Lord: "Alleluia."

St. Charalampos depicted kneeling in prayer to Christ, and thereby driving away the demonic plague (source)
New tortures did Seviros breathe against you next, O Charalampos the brave champion of Christ, as he ordered that molten brass be put in your mouth. And while they taunted you, we cry out to you:
Rejoice, hero among the Martyrs,
Rejoice, worshipper of the Savior.
Rejoice, treasure of the virtues of love,
Rejoice, destroyer of the most-evil plague.
Rejoice, for you ruled over all the passions,
Rejoice, for you obtained the glory of the greatest of the Champions.
Rejoice, and I entreat you, O Martyr, to cease the pains,
Rejoice, and may you receive my prayers, O Saint, and become my physician.
Rejoice, healing of the illnesses of mortals,
Rejoice, deliverer of many who have fallen.
Rejoice, you who cast down the fall gods,
Rejoice, the foundation of the people bearing the name of Christ.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.

Again, the king of darkness wished to crush his daughter, who desired to suffer for Christ, but she became a Virgin-Martyr, together with the Angels, O Charalampos, and she cried out together with you to God, the King of Kings: Alleluia.

St. Charalampos with scenes from his life (source)

You appear as a tree full of shading branches, O Martyr Charalampos, whose height I am unable to look upon. Who can rightly praise you? For your wonders only the Angels are able to hymn, while we, astonished by you, cry out these things:
Rejoice, triumph of the Trinity,
Rejoice, amazement of the ends of the earth.
Rejoice, who before your death worked awesome wonders,
Rejoice, who every day works more wonders.
Rejoice, you who make the dry pillar to sprout,
Rejoice, you who drive away cataclysm with your might.
Rejoice, for you were seen as a disciple of the Great Teacher [Christ],
Rejoice, for you granted His heavenly mansions.
Rejoice, through whom Seviros was shaken,
Rejoice, in whom the people wonder greatly.
Rejoice, star of the Church of Christ,
Rejoice, shepherd of His inheritance.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.
The beastly ruler, having learned of every godly deed of yours, and of your wonders, O Martyr, ordered your death, which you received, O Charalampos, with ceaseless rejoicing, as you prayed to your Lord on behalf of all who chant: Alleluia.
St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr (source)

"Deliver, O God of all, from all dangers," the Martyr cried out in prayer, "O Christ, King of all, through this, the prayer of your servant." And a divine voice was heard: "Your will be done." While we, hearing this, cry out:
Rejoice, Martyr of the love of God,
Rejoice, scourger of the spirits of hate.
Rejoice, surpassing the struggles of the Martyrs,
Rejoice, humiliating the boldness of the demons.
Rejoice, for you heard that Christ would fulfill all your requests,
Rejoice, for you save from death the peoples that cry out to you.
Rejoice, you who beheld Heaven open,
Rejoice, you who beheld God and spoke with Him.
Rejoice, you who sensed the beauty of Eden,
Rejoice, you who rejoice in eternal glory.
Rejoice, you who lift up the fallen faithful,
Rejoice, you who grant them the joy of divine knowledge.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.

Wishing to save everyone, you ever entreat the life-giving Trinity on behalf of all, O Charalampos, and as you have greatest boldness before God, one who formerly lived wailing for five years, now ever rejoices to chant: Alleluia.  
St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr (source)

Awesome and strange and terrible wonders! For the bones of Charalampos work healings from God, and pour forth wonders like the Nile River from his Icon, as we who have obtained his intercessions, cry out:
Rejoice, abyss of wonders,
Rejoice, torrent of healings.
Rejoice, you who heal incurable illnesses,
Rejoice, you whose temple has been shown to be another Pool of Siloam.
Rejoice, for your glory amazes both in Heaven and on the earth,
Rejoice, for the demons are afraid of your might.
Rejoice, intercessor and protector of your entreater,
Rejoice, you who ever grant joy to those who hymn you.
Rejoice, you who deliver us from our enemy,
Rejoice, you who offer us to Christ.
Rejoice, you who shine with light and joy,
Rejoice, you who as fire burn the demons.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.

Every hymn befits you, our benefactor Charalampos and our divine protector, for you ever hasten to help everywhere. For which land has not received your help? Greece especially, which possesses your Skull as a treasure, cries out: Alleluia.
St. Charalambos the Hieromartyr (source)

Having born the wounding of your whole body, do hasten to lift up your hands to God for us, for the memory of your martyrdom ceases the rage of the Judge, and moves the Righteous One to forgive offenses, for those who cry out to you with fervor:
Rejoice, you who beheld heavenly things,
Rejoice, you who behold our earthly needs.
Rejoice, you whose Relics pour forth unspeakable fragrance,
Rejoice, you whose grace works incomparable wonders.
Rejoice, for from your Skull pours forth rivers of life,
Rejoice, for there you still bear the marks of the nails.
Rejoice, for you stand beside Meteora as their patron,
Rejoice, for you became the trophy-bearer of Magnesia.
Rejoice, for you uproot the tares of pestilence,
Rejoice, for you trample upon the thorns of delusion.
Rejoice, unassailable pillar of the faith,
Rejoice, unquenchable lamp of the world.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.

The Monastery of the First-Martyr [St. Stephen] in Meteora has been filled with grace, as she is enriched with grace through your Holy Skull, O all-glorious Charalampos, and together with her we glorify you, ceaselessly crying out to God Who glorified you: Alleluia.
St. Charalampos the Hieromartyr (source)

Chanting the hymn to you, in your Holy Church, at your Holy Relics and Icon, we pray that we be delivered from the place and from every illness. Therefore, intercede with God, that you might become the deliverer of those in dangers, as we all cry out:
Rejoice, soldier of Christ,
Rejoice, most-steadfast among the Saints.
Rejoice, the Champion Cross-bearer of the people,
Rejoice, the great fighter against the devil.
Rejoice, for you sleeplessly deliver me from the enemy,
Rejoice, for even in sleep, you protect me from him.
Rejoice, you whose blood has sanctified the earth,
Rejoice, you whose Holy Icon has been shown wondrous.
Rejoice, for the Archangels have crowned you,
Rejoice, for the demons tremble before you.
Rejoice, through whom the passions are healed,
Rejoice, through whom God is glorified.
Rejoice, O Martyr Charalampos.

O Blessed Charalampos, most-beloved servant of Christ and greatly-suffering Martyr, (3) through your intercessions, deliver all of those who hymn you, O Wonderworker, from  every affliction, and from eternal fire, as we cry out to God: Alleluia.

And again, the Kontakion.

St. Charalambos the Hieromartyr (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Excerpt from St. Athanasios the Great's "On the Incarnation"

The Nativity of Christ (source)
"For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God entered our world. In one sense, indeed, He was not far from it before, for no part of creation had ever been without Him Who, while ever abiding in union with the Father, yet fills all things that are. But now He entered the world in a new way, stooping to our level in His love and Self-revealing to us. He saw the reasonable race, the race of men that, like Himself, expressed the Father's Mind, wasting out of existence, and death reigning over all in corruption. He saw that corruption held us all the closer, because it was the penalty for the Transgression; He saw, too, how unthinkable it would be for the law to be repealed before it was fulfilled. He saw how unseemly it was that the very things of which He Himself was the Artificer should be disappearing. He saw how the surpassing wickedness of men was mounting up against them; He saw also their universal liability to death.

"All this He saw and, pitying our race, moved with compassion for our limitation, unable to endure that death should have the mastery, rather than that His creatures should perish and the work of His Father for us men come to nought, He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own. Nor did He will merely to become embodied or merely to appear; had that been so, He could have revealed His divine majesty in some other and better way. No, He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a spotless, stainless virgin, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man. He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt.

"Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father. This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, having fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for men. This He did that He might turn again to incorruption men who had turned back to corruption, and make them alive through death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection. Thus He would make death to disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire."
-St. Athanasios the Great, excerpt from "On the Incarnation"
The Resurrection of Christ (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

St. Sophrony of Essex on the Building of Churches

Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow (source)
"It is difficult to built a church today. It will rouse up all the demons," said St. Sophrony of Essex, as he proceeded to tell a parable that he had heard in Russia: "Once, someone went to Hell, but there, he wanted a church so he could pray. Despite his sinfulness, he loved God and wanted to pray. He began to measure the space to lay the foundations. A demon asked him what he was doing, and he replied: 'I want to build a holy church in order to pray.' The demon responded that it was impossible to build a church in Hell, and he tried to hinder him. He then called other demons, and they were unable as well. They mentioned it to their leader, and then they gathered many demons and threw him out of Hell so that he might not build the church." And St. Sophrony continued: "Thus, we as well build churches in order to transform Hell into Paradise, and even if we are unsuccessful with this, we will succeed in the devil not accepting us in Hell."
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

St. Theophan the Recluse on Humility, Fear of God, Repentance and Love

Jesus Christ the Son of God the Savior (source)
God is everywhere. And when He finds a heart that isn’t opposed to Him, a humble heart, He enters it and fills it with joy. The joy of the heart which has God within it is so great that it attaches itself to Him and never wants to separate from Him. The Lord doesn’t approach a heart puffed up with egotism. Such a heart is deeply sad, shrivels and slowly dissolves. It wallows in ignorance, sorrow and darkness.
No matter how sinful we are, as soon as we turn to the Lord in repentance and desire, the door of the heart opens to Him. Our inner uncleanness drains out and makes way for purity, virtue, the Savior Himself, the great Visitor of the soul, the Bringer of joy, light and mercy. This blessed state is a gift of God, not something we ourselves have achieved. And since it’s a gift, we ought, in humility, to thank the giver.
Humility! The basis of all the virtues and the fundamental requirement for spiritual fruition. Do you have humility? You have God, You have everything! You don’t have humility? You lose everything! So retain the feeling of humility in your heart. Our natural and normal relationship with God requires a heart which is impassioned, contrite and entirely devoted to Him, a heart which cries mystically at every moment: ‘Lord, You know all things; save me!’ If we surrender ourselves into His hands, He’ll do with and for us whatever’s best for our salvation, according to His wise and holy will.
The task of unceasing prayer is not only for hesychasts, but also for all Christians, whom the Lord enjoins, through His holy apostle, to ‘Pray without ceasing’. There are various stages of prayer before it becomes unceasing. They’re all the work of God, Who watches over the hearts of all of us to the same degree, be we monastics or lay people. And whenever a heart, whoever’s it may be, turns to Him, He approaches it with love and unites with it.
How fear of God is retained in the heart.
The fear of God is begotten from faith and is a requirement for spiritual progress. When it settles in the heart, then, like a good householder, it puts everything to rights. Do we have fear of God? If so, let us thank the Lord Who gave it to us and let us guard it as we would a valuable treasure. And if we don’t have it, let us do whatever we can to acquire it, in the knowledge that the reason for our lack is our own inattention and negligence.
From fear of God are begotten repentance, contrition, and lamentation over our sins. May this feeling, the precursor of salvation, never be absent from our heart. If we’re to retain the fear of God within us, we must keep in mind the whole time the remembrance of death and of the judgment, along with a sense of the presence of the Lord: God is always with us and in us, seeing, listening and knowing everything, even our most hidden thoughts.
When this triad- fear of God, remembrance of death and a sense of the divine presence- settles within us, then prayer surges from the heart spontaneously- then the hope of salvation becomes firm. It’s not so much the fear of God that preserves it; more the memory of the dread judgment. This remembrance, however, mustn’t produce dejection, but should rather inspire combativeness and repentance.
Let us try to remain unsullied by the filth of sin. And if, on occasion, we do sin, let us purify ourselves through confession. Trusting in God’s mercy in this way, we won’t lose heart. In any case, our Judge is merciful and loves us. He won’t be looking for something to condemn us for. On the contrary, he’ll try to find even the slightest reason to exonerate us.
God and the conscience.
If you decide, with all your heart, to always submit to the Lord and to please Him alone through the whole of your way of life, and if, in every predicament and need you turn to Him alone, in faith and devotion, then you can be sure that everything in your life, things spiritual and secular, will turn out successfully. It’s a great thing to realize that, without God, there’s nothing you can do about anything and, having come to understand this, to then have recourse to His assistance in full confidence. The conscience must direct the soul properly and inform it infallibly as to what is the right thing in every situation. It can’t do this, however, if it’s not pure and illumined.
So let’s clean it through ascetic efforts and observation of the Lord’s commandments, which liberate the heart from the passions, and let’s illumine it with the divine light by studying the Gospel. From there we’ll draw wise rules by which we will guide our conscience in the holy will of God.
St. Theophan the Recluse (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Forty-Day Memorial of Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Elder Ephraim of Arizona (source)
The Forty-Day Memorial of Blessed Elder Ephraim of Arizona will be celebrated in conjunction with the patronal feast of the Monastery he founded and where he is buried (in honor of St. Anthony the Great). The services will be broadcast live on Youtube:
May the Lord grant the Elder a blessed Paradise, and may we have his blessing!
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

St. Innocent of Moscow: "Do not follow other sinners, how they live..."

Lot fleeing the destruction of Sodom (source)
"Do not follow other sinners, how they live. Their condemnation will not save you."
-St. Innocent of Moscow


Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!