Thursday, May 21, 2015

"This is truly the King of glory. And why are Your garments scarlet?"

Icon depicting Christ's Ascension. It is interesting to note, and theologically correct, that the iconographer depicts the wounds from the Crucifixion in Christ's hands and feet. The Fathers hold that Christ had these wounds after His Resurrection, ascended with them into Heaven, and will have them for the rest of eternity as a sign of His love and what He suffered to save the world. As the Holy Angels saw Him ascending into Heaven, they marveled at this wonder. This fact was prophesied beforehand in the reading included below by the Prophet Isaiah (i.e. the Savior seen with the "clothing" of the flesh, which are "red", "as from a trodden winepress" from the Holy Passion), and mentioned in the hymn below as well. (source)
The Reading is from the Prophecy of Isaias.
[62,10-63,3; 7-9]
Thus says the Lord: Walk, go through my gates; prepare my way and make a way for my people, and cast the stones out of the way; raise up a standard for the nations. For see, the Lord has made it heard to the ends of the earth: Say to the daughter of Sion: See, your Saviour has come, and his reward is with him, and his work before his face. And he will call it a holy people, redeemed by the Lord; while you will be called a city sought after, and not forsaken. Who is this who comes from Edom, the scarlet of his garments from Bosor, thus beautiful in his apparel? He cries out with much strength. I reason of justice and judgement of salvation. Why are your garments red, and your clothing as from a trodden winepress? I am full of the trodden grape; I have trampled the winepress quite alone, and no man from the nations was with me. I have remembered the mercy of the Lord, I will recall the Lord’s virtues, the Lord’s praise for all the things with which He rewards us. The Lord is a good judge for the house of Israel; he deals with us according to his mercy and according to the multitude of his justice. And he said: Are you not my people? Children will surely not be rebellious; and he became for them salvation out of their every distress. It was not an emissary, not an Angel, but the Lord himself saved them because he loved them and spared them. He redeemed them and took them up and exalted them all the days of the age.
Christ's holy wounds from His passion (source)
As you were taken up from the mount of Olives, the powers seeing you cried one to the other: Who is this? And they were told: This is the Mighty One, the Powerful, this is the Powerful in war, this is truly the King of glory. And why are your garments scarlet? He has come from Bosor, that is, from the flesh. But as God seated at the right hand of the Majesty you have sent us the Holy Spirit, to guide and save our souls.
-Idiomelon of the Aposticha for the Feast of the Ascension, in the Second Tone.
Icon depicting the Ascension of Christ, and the Etimasia (Preparation) of the Throne, and the Holy Trinity. Also included are icons of Sts. John the Forerunner, James the Apostle, Nicholas the Wonderworker, Anthony the Great, Onouphrios the Great, Sebastian the Martyr, Catherine and Paraskevi the Great Martyrs, and Constantine and Helen (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Homily on the Ascension, by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes (+2010)

The Ascension of Christ (source)
Homily on the Ascension, by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes (+2010)
Today, my beloved, is a great feast of the Master, the Ascension of the Lord. What is the story of the day? I will speak simply, so that everyone can understand me, so that it is not a sermon with the “voice of one crying out in the wilderness.” (Matthew 3:3)

Forty days have passed since our Lord rose from the dead. He appeared to many. His disciples saw him blessing them, heard Him and touched Him. And Thomas furthermore was compelled to say: “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28) Forty days later, He told them to gather at the Mount of Olives, a hill a short distance from Jerusalem. They gathered there. It was Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Jude the son of James. Together with them were the Myrrhbearers, Mary, the Panagia and Mother of the Lord, as we see in the icon of the Ascension, and those who were called his brethren. (see Acts 1:13-14)
As they waited, Christ appeared before them, spoke to them, and gave them His final commandments. He blessed them, and then--even if the faithless do not believe, it is their right--a miracle occurred. As they were watching Him, the holy feet that had walked kilometers to find the lost sheep, the human sinner, those feet that furthermore bore the marks of the nails of the Cross, began to not walk on the earth anymore, but to be lifted up…
I once saw an eagle seated on a stone high up in the mountains of Grevena--it was a golden eagle--and I was amazed. And straightaway, I see it open its great wings and to fly. And I kept looking at it ascend into the air, ascend high, very high, as it turned into a small dot, and ultimately disappeared into the skies. The same occurred with Christ, Whom is named an eagle by the Revelation (12:14). It is Him Who have power to birds to fly, wouldn’t He have the same power?
Christ--to use a modern tongue--like the airplane which breaks through the clouds, ascended. And the disciples gazed at Him ascending. The Lord “ascended to heaven” today, and “sat at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). Then two angels appeared and told them: “Why are you standing looking at heaven? This Jesus that ascended, will return again in the same manner."
Yes, He will come. What are we thinking? --Who will come! Are you are telling us fairy tales now? Yes, the Lord will come “in [great] glory” (Matthew 24:30), to the wailing of the demons, to judge the whole “world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31). The Lord will come: joy to the righteous, and sadness to the sinners.
This is the story of the feast. From everything we have said, let us pay attention to one thing: that the disciples and the Panagia remained looking up at heaven. They did not look down at the earth. They were looking high up. What does this mean?
From the creations of God, the four-legged creatures walk with their heads looking down. Only man was created to walk upright. Many say that this is a wonder. And the word “human” (“anthropos” in Greek), if we look at it etymologically, what does it mean? It means he who faces upwards. He looks on high, for he was created for the heavens.
It is said that an atheist once wanted proofs. When it became night, one of his friends showed him the countless stars and asked: “Who made all of these?” There is one answer, no other: God! Gaze above, therefore, at the firmament, and you will trust that God exists. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament is the work of His hands.” (Psalms 18:2)
A German poet saw a herd of pigs in the forest. The pigs love acorns. They therefore gathered to eat those that fell in the forest. And the poet, with an eloquent tongue, noted this. When he left the forest, no one returned to look at the acorns to say thank you!... Thus are many of us, and this comparison should not appear offensive to us. Our Christ thus characterizes some people: “Do not give the holy things to the dogs, and do not put pearls before swine.” (Matthew 7:6) This occurs. We partake of myriads of good things, but we never lift up our eyes to say: “Glory to You, O God.”
Is this perhaps a hyperbole? ...When you get up in the morning, and see the sun shining brightly, you should say: “Glory to You, O God”, “Glory unto You Who have shown forth the light” (Great Doxology). Nothing. You go out to go to work. Entreat God, and make the sign of the Cross. But not even one Cross [do we do]. Noon comes, you at the table for lunch, you have all good things: say a prayer. Nothing without thanksgiving. When you drink water, you should say thank you. When you eat bread, you should say thank you. The situation is becoming like swine. Have in mind that famine is coming, a great famine, and our bread will be little.
How it was in the older years! I remember in my village, around 1910, there were some older people who had not gone to school, neither high school nor college. Before they drank a cup of water, they made the sign of the Cross. And do you see anyone do it now? Because of this I tell you, the hour is coming that there will be a shortage of water, and fountains and springs, rivers and lakes will be dry, the water will become twice as valuable. And then, a glass of water will cost a lira! As St. Kosmas Aitolos prophesied, a handful of flour will cost a handful of gold. We will be punished for our swine-like state, where we live like animals, without being raised, without exalted thoughts, and in some ways being worse that animals. Do you see the dog? You toss him a bone, and though he doesn’t have a tongue, he turns to you as if to say: “Master, thank you.” Thankless and pitiless people, who often times blaspheme God night and day.
This is how it is, therefore. We are lower than animals. There is not the time to develop the theme and explain the word of the Psalms which says: “Man cannot abide in his pomp, he is like the beasts that perish.” (Psalms (Septuagint) 48:13). He is equal to, and sometimes lower than the animals (oxen, sheep, goats) and birds.
On the domes and bell-towers of churches, we see the birds’ nests. What should we say about the stork? The stork loves his children, and they love him. When a stork gets old, do you know what occurs? His children bring him food. And because the old stork is shedding and cold, they warm him with their wings! And man? When he doesn’t have ideals, resurrections, exaltations, and great ideas, what should we say of man? Tell me what he thinks about at midnight, and I’ll tell you that he is. If he thinks of money, rewards, women, other earthly things, then what is he? A small and insignificant being.
It is said, my beloved, that the pig, as we mentioned, that has its head turned down and eats clay, only once looks up to see heaven. When? When the butcher takes him to slaughter him. This also occurs with many people. They don’t think about God, they don’t step foot in church, they don’t pray. And they think that it will always be thus. However, the hour of death comes. Then, at the last instant, the Archangel will come with his sword, and they will only then remember God.
We were not created for the earth, which is a handful of sand, a drop amidst the universe. Is it worth it, O man, for a handful of sand or a drop of water to wage wars and shed blood of humanity? We have departed from God. Because of this: “Let us lift up our hearts.” (Divine Liturgy). And not just today, but the whole year. This is what the Ascension means. In every Divine Liturgy we honor the Ascension. When the Priest says: “Let us lift up our hearts”, what does he mean? Gaze on high, for you were created for heaven, for great and uplifted things. This does not mean indifference for this present life, no. If we embrace the whole Gospel of Christ, this earth will become Paradise. Now, old, young, grandfathers, bishops, right-wing, left-wing, white, black, in many ways we have trampled upon the Gospel, and this earth has become hell.
May we repent. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless everyone, Whom, O children of the Greeks, praise and exalt supremely, unto all the ages. Amen.
+Bishop Avgoustinos
Delivered in the Church of the Ascension, Perdikka, Eordaias, May 24th, 1990
(amateir translation of text from source)
The Ascension of Christ (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Selected hymns to Blessed Father John Karastamatis (+1985) of Santa Cruz

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Icon of Blessed Father John Karastamatis (+1985) of Santa Cruz (source)
Fr. John Karastamatis was a Greek Orthodox priest, originally from the island of Andros in Greece. He later served in many places in the United States, and was known for his virtue and love to spread the Orthodox faith. He was killed on May 19th, 1985 in the church were he was serving in Santa Cruz. From the radiant life that he led, from his brutal sacrifice for Christ at the hands of satanists, and for the miracles that bear witness to his holiness, many throughout the world hold him to be a Saint and a new Hieromartyr of the Church, though he has yet to be officially acknowledged so by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Out of reverence for him, a service has been written in his honor (likely by Nun Isidora the Hymnographer, from source), and I provide my amateur translation of some selections below for any whom they would benefit. May the Lord continue to grant help and consolation to his family and his flock, and may we imitate his life, his faith, and his willingness to give his life for Christ!
Doxastikon of the Litia in the Plagal of the First Tone
Let us rejoice and exult in you, in the joy of the Resurrection, O Hieromartyr John of Santa Cruz. For your rejoicing has become joy for all the Orthodox. What mystagogy occurred on that night? You offered your fervor to the incorruptible Bridegroom, Who says: “Those who love me, I will love.” The Beloved therefore revealed His mystery to him whom He loved. Therefore, you were made worthy to resemble the Master’s passion, and were made worthy to resemble His glory. Therefore, as you now are at the Master’s bosom at His banquet, you have found all mercy.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
The radiance of the New World, and from the root of Andros, the glory of Hieromartyrs, let us honor John, for he was slaughtered in the Church on behalf of Christ, and shown forth perfectly in Santa Cruz, and he calls all the Orthodox everywhere to cry out: glory to Christ Who glorified you, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who showed you to be a wondrous protector of the nations.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O John, you served your sacrifice in imitation of Christ, and were shown to be the adornment of Andros, and a God-inspired Apostle to Alaska, but as you laid down your life for your sheep, you now grant the gifts of wonders to those who cry out: Rejoice, O all-joyous Martyr.
The Bodiless [Angels] join chorus to hymn with fervor, John, the mystic from Andros, and as you were slaughtered for Christ, you enlighten the Church with wonders, and granting graces to those who cry out to you:
Rejoice, revealing of divine co-mingling,
Rejoice, drop of mystical renewal.
Rejoice, you who hasten to your friends in haste,
Rejoice, you who strengthen those who entreat you with fervor.
Rejoice, fragrant cluster of lilies,
Rejoice, new ladder leading to the skies.
Rejoice, vessel of golden thanksgiving,
Rejoice, newly-woven crown of martyrdom.
Rejoice, you who received all kinds of wounds for God,
Rejoice, sprinkling of love.
Rejoice, good heart resembling a temple,
Rejoice, icon of divine sacrifice.
Rejoice, O newly-sacrificed Martyr.
On the 19th of this month (May), the Holy New Hieromartyr John the Priest, who was killed in the city of Santa Cruz in America in the year 1985, by satanists.
You appeared as one offering the bloodless sacrifice,
O John, and you also became a sacrifice of blood.
On the nineteenth, John was violently flayed.
Doxastikon of the Praises in the Plagal of the First Tone
Pour forth, pour forth from your myrrh, O all-pure Lady of Andros, for the resurrectional joy of spring has called us together to hymn your mystic. For he himself became the fragrance of Christ, like pure nard offered to the Church. What could be higher that to be born again for Him Whom you love, and to be received by Him Whom you desire? For he says, “I am wounded by Your love!” Therefore, this wound became your boast, as you offered yourself as a martyrical sacrifice, prepared for the Master. Your soul, as a purified bride, was received by the Bridegroom into incorrupt eternity, O Hieromartyr John of Santa Cruz. And ever intercede, that our souls be shown mercy.
Rejoice, the light of the New World, rejoice, root from Andros, rejoice, the fragrance of the Theotokos, rejoice the joyous consolation of the Orthodox, and protector of Santa Cruz, O universal Father.
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Elder Ephraim of Arizona on Slander

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Synaxis of the Holy Athonite Fathers (source)
As time passes, it has been disheartening for me to see more and more slander and hatred directed towards Elder Ephraim of Philotheou (now Arizona), and the monasteries which he helped to build in America. I do not know what is in the minds and hearts of those who write condemnations about this great man and his work, which continues to be strengthened through the Grace of the Holy Spirit. In short, all that I can say is that I have seen first-hand what a great blessing that we all have been given.
As for myself, I have never, ever seen anything (in many readings of his, in visits to monasteries, in meetings and discussions with monks and nuns from throughout the world) that is out of line from true Orthodox tradition. What I have seen consistently is a love for patience, prayer, ascesis, forgiveness, humility and love: essentially, an angelic life that is Orthodoxy. I have seen time and time again how such love then transforms other people's lives, making their hearts aflame with the love for Christ and for their fellow men. And this is how it is meant to be, as St. John Climacus writes: "Angels are a light for monks, and the monastic life is a light for men." I do not intend this to be a formal defense of Orthodox Monasticism in the country, but just to give my perspective on events as I have seen them.
As today is the Sunday of the Blind Man, I pray that we might be like him who allowed the Lord to heal his physical and spiritual blindness. While those around him never did accept the miracle before their eyes, but breathed condemnations and slander against the work of God, the Blind Man proclaimed Christ, and was granted to see and venerate his Creator. May the Lord heal all of our blindness, and may these moving words of Elder Ephraim below help keep us from slandering our brethren (which is a great sin) and lead us all to repentance!
Elder Ephraim of Arizona on Slander
Slander is a great evil. Just as the little rudder steers the whole ship wherever it wants, likewise the tongue leads a person either to good or to evil. The holy fathers greatly censure judging other people’s sins, faults, or evil habits. When we judge our brother, we condemn ourselves to a great sin. But when we cover our brother, God will also protect us from great sins. When we expose our brother, we drive the grace of God away from us and He permits us to fall into the same sins so that we learn that we are all weak and that the grace of God supports us. Whoever guards his tongue guards his soul from great sins and grievous falls. The chief cause of criticism and slander is pride and egotism, because one considers oneself better than the others. For this reason it is very beneficial for a person to think of himself as below everyone, so that he considers his brother than him in order that, with the help of God, he may be delivered from this evil.
If something pushes you to criticism in any matter regarding a brother or the monastery, try to pray about the matter instead, without passing it under the judgment of your reason. If you turn within yourself through prayer, humility, and mourning, you will find a spiritual treasure—just keep pride and criticism far from you.
Be attentive, my child, that you not judge any soul. For God permits the one who judges his neighbor to fall, so that he learns to have sympathy for his weak brother. The mercy of God supports all of us, but if we become proud, God will remove His grace and we shall become worse than the others. It is one thing to condemn someone and another to be fought by thoughts of condemnation. To condemn is a terrible passion, but to be fought by such thoughts and to fight back—this is an occasion for crowns.
Each person must bear the weaknesses of others. Who is perfect? Who can boast that he has kept his heart undefiled? Hence, we are all sick, and whoever condemns his brother does not perceive that he himself is sick, because a sick person does not condemn another sick person. Love, endure, overlook, do not get angry, do not flare up, forgive one another, so that you resemble our Christ and are counted worthy to be near Him in His kingdom. My children, avoid condemnation—it is a very great sin. God is greatly saddened when we condemn and loathe people. Let us concern ourselves only with our own faults—for these we should feel pain. Let us condemn ourselves and then we shall find mercy and grace from God.
Love one another, and do not be embittered out of egotism. Humility is a sure guide; it does not let the one who possesses it hit the reefs of carelessness and be shipwrecked, but as a luminous guide it leads him faultlessly on sure ground. Egotism is the most evil of evils; it causes all our lapses through unsubmissive thoughts. Fear this and strive to get rid of it, for the more it remains within us, the more it will wound us with the proportionate pain. I beg that you not criticize one another, for this is downright egotism. Excuse your brother’s fault; this is evidence of humility and love. The brother who acts thus will find much grace from God, but he who judges and scandalizes his neighbor should know that not only will he not find grace, but even if he has something he will lose it, so that he may learn the lesson of humility through suffering. Be particularly afraid of inner criticism, that is, thoughts of criticism, because it does not come to light through the spoken word, in which case it is likely to be corrected by someone who hears it. Be careful, I say, about criticism from within, which imperceptibly makes us fatally guilty and deprives us of the life of divine grace and offers as a most bitter drink the death of the soul. I pray that love and freedom from criticism will reign in every expression among you, so that the Holy Spirit may rest in your souls.
Experience has shown that it is wrong to accuse and condemn someone without letting him defend himself. As also the sacred Gospel says: “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (Jn. 7:51 ). If we are not attentive, many sins of condemning others heap up within us, and then repentance is needed. How often a person repents because he spoke! Let us bear in mind the words of Abba Arsenios: “I have often repented for speaking, but I have never repented for keeping silent”. If we are often deceived by the sense of touch, how much more so we are by people’s words. Therefore, much attention is needed, for the devil prowls around roaring to devour us (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8 ). A Christian ought to be like the many-eyed Cherubim, for evil has multiplied greatly, especially the sin of condemnation, which is a common as “bread and cheese”. May God cleanse us and sanctify us for His glory. “Do not let the sun go down on the wrath of your brother” (cf. Eph. 4:26 ). That is, let no one be angry and enraged against his brother past the setting of the sun. have you heard about that brother who was negligent and lazy, who did not go to the all-night vigils and did not do his duties, whom the brethren knew to be a negligent monk? When he fell ill and the hour of his death drew near, the brethren gathered to hear something beneficial, or to comfort him, or in case he wanted to say something to them, but they saw him joyful, cheerful. One brother was scandalized and said, “What is this we see in you, brother? We see that you are joyful even though you are approaching death. But we have the thought that you were not a violent monk, so how do you have such courage and a cheerful face? How do you justify yourself?” “Yes, brethren”, he said, “indeed I was a negligent person and I did not fulfill my duties. But I achieved one good thing, by the grace of God: not to condemn any brother and not to scandalize anyone; and never did I let my heart have something against any brother of the monastery when the sun set. And inasmuch as I did not judge any brother, I believe that God will not judge me either, for He said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Mt. 7:1 ) and since I did not judge, I will not be judged”. The brethren marveled and said, “Brother, you found the way of salvation very easily”. And the brother died with much joy. Do you see how the Fathers struggled and how they found the way of salvation?
Elder Ephraim of Arizona, blessing (source)
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Give sight, O Lord, to the eyes of my soul..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Christ healing the man born blind, fresco from Dionysiou Monastery, Mount Athos (source)
Give sight, O Lord, to the eyes of my soul, maimed by gloomy sin, by grafting in humility, O merciful, and cleansing me with tears of repentance.
-Exaposteilarion from the Sunday of the Blind Man

Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

The ascetical places of Elder Joseph the Hesychast

Elder Joseph the Hesychast and Cave-dweller (+1959) (source)
The following is a beautiful video from a pilgrim to Mount Athos, which discusses Elder Joseph the Hesychast (+1959), a true spiritual giant of the 20th century (not yet officially canonized). The video discusses his life (in Greek) and shows many pictures. More interestingly, they show video of some of the various places where Elder Joseph lived with his synodeia on the Holy Mountain. These humble dwellings are very moving to see.
Here are a few directions, for those who can't understand Greek:
-1:45 - Cave of the Theotokos
-3:18 - Fr. Ephraim of the synodeia of Elder Ephraim of Katounakia, of Blessed Memory, as the tour guide of the video. His kalyve (hut), named after St. Ephraim, is where his Elder lived.
-8:20 - The kalyve of the Annunciation (essentially a cave), where Elders Joseph and Arsenios lived under obedience to Elder Ephraim the Barrel-maker. Fr. Ephraim mentions that the Elder Joseph would pray here noetically for six hours every night.
-10:27 - The kalyve of St. Basil, where the Elders moved for further silence and prayer.
-12:25 - The chapel at St. Basil's. Here Elder Joseph lived great deeds of ascesis and witnessed many wonders. His first synodeia lived here.
-15:01 - A cave at St. Basil's where Elder Joseph lived in asceticism.
-16:35 - Room where Elder Joseph slept, and where he wrote many of his grace-filled letter.
-23:30 - The cave near Mikri Agia Anna (Little St. Anna's Skete) where they then moved, with the chapel built in honor of the Precious Forerunner (celebrated the feast of his nativity).
-26:12 - The cells which they built to live in near Mikri Agia Anna.
-34:58 - The chapel built at the grave of Elder Joseph, in New Skete.
This is a special blessing, especially for those unable to travel to Mount Athos. May these places, filled with grace from the prayers and ascesis of many righteous men, help kindle our zeal for the risen Lord! And may we have his blessing!
Elder Joseph the Hesychast (source)
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

St. Porphyrios on Egotism and Raising Children

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (source)
"The truth of Christ stresses that, if you praise a person, you make him an egotist. The egotist is burdened, and is guided by the devil and the evil spirit. Thus, growing up in the midst of egotism, the first act is to deny God and to be an egotistical misfit in society..."

"When, therefore, we praise the child we create this 'super-ego', we choke him with egotism, and we cause a great evil. We make him more susceptible to diabolic things..."

"In all things, we should teach children to seek the help of God...To the child you shouldn't say: 'You did it, you are the most impressive, you are young, you are brave, you are perfect!...' The child is not helped by this. You can, however, tell him to pray. Tell him: 'My child, the gifts that you have, God gave to you. Pray that God gives you His grace.' This is the perfect [way]..."

"You should tell the truth, so that the person can learn. Otherwise, you support them in their ignorance. When you tell someone else the truth, this instructs them, he pays attention, and when he hears it from others, it is strengthened. Thus, you should tell the child the truth, you should scold him, saying that that which you are doing is not good. What does the wise Solomon say? 'He who spares the rod, hates his son, but he who loves him will carefully chasten him.' However, you are not to flog him with the stick. Then we go outside the boundaries and the opposite occurs..."

"Parents are responsible first for the failures of children in life, and teachers afterwards. They praise them constantly. They speak to them with egotistical words. They don't offer the Spirit of God, they estrange them from the Church. When the children get a little older and go to school with this egotism, they flee from religion and despise it, loosing their reverence towards God, towards their parents, towards everyone. They become untamed and harsh and apathetical, without honoring religion nor God. We release egotists into life and not Christians..."

"The devil has managed to remove himself from people [directly]. and to use other names. Doctors and psychologists say continuously that a person is suffering: 'Ah, you have neuroses! Ahh, you have anxiety!', and the like. They don't accept that the devil stimulates and excites egotism within man. And where there is the devil, there is the evil spirit...The first people, Adam and Eve, were simple and humble, and because of this they lived in Paradise. They did not have egotism...After...the devil managed to praise them and delude them. He filled them with egotism..."

"Praise makes man deaf and drives out the grace of God..."

"The grace of God comes only with holy humility..."

"We must teach children to live humbly and simply, and to not seek praise and a 'bravo'. We should teach them that humility exists, which is the health of life..."
(amateur translation of text from source)
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!