Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Elder Paisios heals a child

Elder Paisios depicted giving a child a loukoumi (source)
 
The doctors were disillusioned, as my parents later told me, that they had to go make a surgical incision in my chest to relieve the fluid that that collected around my lungs. My young age, however, made this intervention even more difficult. The necessary tests were performed on that Friday, which showed that things were totally bleak, so at the meeting of the Physicians, they decided to go ahead the next Monday with further tests and the ultimately the surgical procedure.

On Friday evening, while I was sleeping in bed with the protective railings up, my mother was sleeping in a chair next to me, and something immediately woke me up, and I saw an elderly monk enter in from the door to the balcony. He turned towards me, put down the iron railing, and made the sign of the cross, blessing me three times. I was startled, and with joyous surprise, I cried out loudly to my mother who was next to me, but she, strangely, did not here me. That unknown monk smiled lovingly, and then left straightaway.

When my mother awoke the next morning, she saw with astonishment that the railing was down, and that I was cheerful. I explained as best I could at that age about this wondrous visit by a monk, and they began to show me different pictures of Saints so I could indicate which that monk might resemble. My gaze, however, fell on the picture of Elder Paisios from a book from the Holy Monastery of Souroti which my mother was reading those days.

On Monday, the doctors performed the prerequisite tests, and then were speechless. They confirmed the wondrous improvement in my health. The surgery was cancelled, and in a few days, I returned joyously to my home again. So great was the happiness and gratitude of my parents for this miracle of Elder Paisios, that my next brother that was born they named Arsenios.
   
(amateur translation of text from the Holy Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos, Navplion, http://orthodoxianpress.com/, source)
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Canons in the Eight tones to St. Panteleimon, by St. Joseph the Hymnographer: Second Tone

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary Healer of Christ (source)
   

Note: The following is my amateur translation of the second canon (in the second tone) in a series of eight canons in the eight tones written by St. Joseph the hymnographer to honor the great martyr and healer of Christ, St. Panteleimon. These are very beautiful and compunctionate hymns, and rightly praise such a great wonderworker of Orthodoxy. For the full texts of the canons in Greek, see here. If I am not mistaken, these are used around the feast of the Saint (i.e. either in the days leading up to or following his feast) in his Monastery on Mount Athos to more fully celebrate this great feast, the feast of the Russian Monastery of the Holy Mountain. May St. Panteleimon intercede for us all, and grant us healing of the passions of our souls and bodies! Amen!
  
Canons in the Eight Tones to St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary
Written by St. Joseph the Hymnographer (+883AD)

Canon II in the Second Tone
The acrostic, from the first to the seventh, according to alphabet, in the eight and ninth: “Song of Joseph”

Ode I. Come, O people.
Entreat for our sanctification and enlightenment from God, O all-joyous one, for those who praise you with holy melodies, and who are enriched by you as a divine protector.

You disdained royal and lawless commandments, and hastened to the eternal, heavenly Kingdom, which you received, having struggled, O Panteleimon.

You clearly denied the generation and the worldly pride, O wise one, and struggled steadfastly. Entreat the Savior, that those who ever hymn you may be saved.

Theotokion.
You are the glory of the faithful, O Birth-giver of God. Make those who faithfully hymn you to partake of the joy to come and eternal glory, through your protection.

Ode III. Strengthen us.
Having believed in God and having called upon Him in holiness, you raised the dead man, O blessed one. But entreat that I be saved, who am dead by all kinds of offenses.

Having desired the true life, you endured the storms of tortures, O all-blessed one, and were tied to a tree, as your flesh was torn apart with iron.

The Judgment is now at the gates, be watchful, my soul, and cry out: “Save me, have mercy on me, O Master, through the intercessions of Your divine Champion.”

Theotokion.
Having given birth to God in the flesh, O Virgin, ceaselessly entreat on behalf of those who hymn you, O unshameable protection of the world.

Ode IV. I have hearkend, O Lord.
You were offered as a pure sacrifice to Him Who was pierced for us, O greatly-suffering Martyr Panteleimon.

Your flesh was utterly and mercilessly burned with torches, O all-blessed one, as you received divine refreshment from on high.

Enlighten me with the light of repentance, through your bright prayers, O Champion, and deliver me from eternal torments.

Theotokion.
Cleanse us all from the pollution of the passions, O Birthgiver of God, for you bore the Source of dispassion.

Ode V. O, the source of light.
Keeping the law of God, and deposing the wiles of the lawless, you were cast into the sea, O Martyr, but were saved by the mighty hand of Christ, our only God.

You struggled in a strange manner, and befriended God, O glorious one. Enlighten the eye of our heart, which was darkened by the passions of life, O wise one.

Theotokion.
O Pure and Virgin Mother, the eternal beauty of the Champions, and the refuge of those repenting, help us, who are terribly endangered on the sea of life.

Ode VI. In the abyss of offenses.
Arrayed with divine grace, O all-blessed one, amidst beasts you remained unmoved, O glorious Panteleimon, amazing all who gazed upon you with faith.

We have been enriched by you as our protector and most-fervent intercessor, O Panteleimon,. Deliver us from fatal trials and dishonorable passions, through your prayers.

Those who beheld the multitudes of wonders worked by you came to believe in Christ, O Champion, and you inherited that [eternal] mansion through your blood of martyrdom.

Theotokion.
Entreat the All-good Word, O you who are graced by God, on behalf of us all, that we be granted remission of offenses, and that we receive eternal life.

Ode VII. The children were shown to be rhetors.
As your members were utterly flogged on behalf of the Lord, O Champion, you were unjustly bound to a wheel, but preserved by the hand of an Angel, and you conquered the bodiless foes through your body, O blessed-one.

Through the grace and strength of Christ, you joyously cast out our illnesses, O godly-minded Panteleimon, therefore I cry out to you: heal the passions of of my heart, entreating the Good and only Benefactor [Christ].

Preserve my soul from every snare of the enemies, O Panteleimon, I entreat you, that as you formerly healed the paralytic, now heal me, that I might walk the good path righteously, through your prayers.

Theotokion.
As the Throne of the King of All, you became fiery, O Chaste One, in which sat He Who raised those bodies long-dead, and refashioned those who had been terribly shattered by sin.

Ode VIII. In the furnace fire.
Rejoicing in mind, you were placed in boiling oil, but were not burned, as you were aflame, O Martyr, with the love of Christ, and you received the refreshment from on high. Therefore, we honor you, O wise Panteleimon.

You stood with your feet immovable on the rock of the knowledge of Christ, and were not shaken by the many forms of tortures which were thrown at you in evil. Therefore, we hymn you, unto all the ages.

Theotokion.
I ceaselessly entreat you, O Birthgiver of God, to deliver me from the evil path and impure thoughts, and every other soul-corrupting danger, that I might hymn you, unto all the ages.

Ode IX. God the Word from God.
That you might gain the riches of heaven, O Martyr, you counted the thoughts and joys of this world as refuse, and endured the greatest pains of your flesh manfully, thus righteously pleasing the Master of all.

Having imitated Christ, the Giver of Mercy, O Panteleimon, you were renamed according to the mercy which you showed towards all men, as you truly pour forth healing for every disease, O godly-minded one, for those who hasten to you.

Through your prayers for us, O Martyr, deliver us from the many forms of temptations, and terrible sicknesses and afflictions, O Panteleimon, and deliver from the eternal fire those who hasten to your protection with faith, O all-joyous one.

The awesome [Second] Coming of the Master approaches; who would not be pained at you, O wretched soul? Hasten, arise, cry out to Jesus, my God: “have mercy on me, save me, through the prayers of the wise Champion, as the only Surpassing-Good One.”

Theotokion.
I am a lover of sin, and I shudder at the Judgment which awaits me there, O Birth-giver of God and All-Spotless One, namely terrible punishment. Therefore, I entreat your motherly prayers, which surpass understanding, to have mercy on me and save me.
   
For Canon I (in First Tone) to St. Panteleimon, see here.
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

A recent miracle of St. Paraskevi the Great Martyr

St. Paraskevi the Great Martyr and Wonderworker (source)
 
For the account of an astonishing recent miracle of St. Paraskevi, at her Shrine in Woodlawn, NY, see the following site. May St. Paraskevi pray for us all, that we be healed of our bodily and spiritual blindness!

Doxastikon of the Praises for St. Paraskevi in the Second Tone.
In the city of our God, on His holy mountain, there the Saint has come to dwell, keeping her lamp unquenchably. Let us hear the praise of the virgin: "O virginity, the temple of God! O virginity, the glory of the martyrs! O virginity, the partaker with the Angels!"
   
(amateur translation of text from source)
 
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A recent miracle of St. Luke the Surgeon

St. Luke the Surgeon (source)
 
My name is X. M., and I am 38 years old and from Kavala, married and the mother of two boys, 13 and 8. I wanted to spread among you a story, my experience of a miracle...

From a young age I had health problems. In high school I had problems with my knees. Working as a hairdresser (20 years old), I developed carpal tunnel syndrome. After my first pregnancy (25 years old), the great problems started. Osteoarthritis, sacroileitis, tendonitis in many places of my body, spondyloarthritis, hypothyroidism...

Over the next ten years and after my second pregnancy, the state of my health had clearly worsened, and the last three years I was a "walking pharmacy": injections, pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and other things to fight the pain that I was fighting on a daily basis. And furthermore, on a daily basis: moaning, crying and anxiety.

Christmas of 2013 I visited a Neurosurgeon, who after all of the tests "discovered" a bulging disc in my spine. I believed that with surgery, I would get well! When, however, the doctor saw the MRI, he found that the bulge was so small that despite surgery, my problem would not go away. He suggested that I look elsewhere for my problem. I was going crazy, and believed that I was sick in my head, and I cried for two days straight...

I looked online to find some site, and I came across a site from two doctors with the phrase: "Fibromyalgia". Studying the symptoms of this syndrome, I found that I had all the symptoms! Pains in my muscles, in my joints, insomnia, depression...pain everywhere...During that period I began to read about the miracles of St. Luke the Surgeon, from a book that my husband had brought from Mount Athos. That was my first sign that the Saint was and is near me.

One night, as I was reading from his miracles, and as I was half-way through the book, I began to doze-off and as I had begun to sleep, left the book in the corner and tried to sleep. It was futile, however. I then had a clear sense that something was fragrant in my room, which only I could smell! When I learned that the fragrance was "myrrh", I took the book and continued to read. The fragrance left as soon as I finished reading the miracle!!!

Up to Pascha of 2014, the pains had become unbearable. I could not sleep, couldn't drive, couldn't cook...and the worst of all was that I couldn't hug my children, because every encounter with them was painful. I was in great pain and cried continuously...I couldn't bear this state any more, so I decided with my doctor to perform a series of injections, which had many severe side effects, and could even cause cancer. In light of the therapy with the injections, my husband, who was beside me all these years, and who I truly could not life without, suggested to me that we visit the Monastery of Sagmata in Thebes, to venerate the holy relics of St. Luke the Surgeon, and to pray for the intercessions of the Saint! Despite my terrible state, he did not have to ask me a second time...

The next day, May 3rd 2014, we left the children at my cousin's house, who was a great support for me throughout all these years, and traveled to Thebes. As we approached the Monastery, for some reason I was continuously tearful, and when I venerated the relics of the Saint, I began to cry even more. I entreated him to take away half of my pain (that would be enough), while my husband prayed that I not suffer all of the side effects of the injections. As I left, and as I heard the bells of the Monastery, I began to cry again!

Reaching Chalkida, where we were staying the night, we had dinner, and immediately returned to the hotel. I was worse than ever before, with heavy breathing and pain. I lay down at 8PM, and reading the life of the Saint, and I was able to sleep around 2AM. At 2:30AM, I awoke and complained: Oh, my God, I only slept half an hour!!! I tried to get up, and found that nothing was wrong, I had no pain anywhere!!! The fibromyalgia was gone! The help of St. Luke came unexpectedly quick! In the morning, when my husband awoke and saw me with a huge smile, he understood immediately what had happened.

When I returned and hugged my children, they understood what had happened, and began to dance from their joy. My cousin and my koumbara understood the difference over the telephone as soon as they heard me, without even seeing me. My doctor told me that I gave him the greatest gift, that he did not have to give me injections any more.

My spiritual father, Fr. T., my mother, and some of my close friends knew what I experienced, and they were next to me all these years, and they couldn't do anything other than rejoice at what occurred, and making my joy even greater. The moaning and weeping has ceased. I gained my life back again.

I will always be grateful to St. Luke the Surgeon, and I thank him for his immediate and unexpected prayers...

X. M., Kavala
   
(Amateur translation of text from source)
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

St. Porphyrios' Advice to a Pediatrician


St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (source)
  
St. Porphyrios once told a Pediatrician: "Listen to what I have to say to you. Every time you examine a child*** you should offer a fervent prayer with love: Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on your servant."

As he said this he took a deep breath while he opened his hands. "It is in this way that you should pray for every child. God has sent a precious soul into your hands. As you place your hands on them pray fervently within yourself that the grace of God will be transfused into the soul of the child.

"Do all this things spiritually and in secret. The others who are present won't understand anything. You will prescribe to them medicines which science dictates but in the final analysis Christ will heal the child."
(source)
   
***Of course this beautiful advice can apply to anyone in healthcare, for any age.
 
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Monday, July 14, 2014

120,000 people visited the Grave of Elder Paisios

The humble grave of Elder Paisios of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Souroti (source)
 
On the 20th anniversary of the repose of Elder Paisios, the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Souroti (outside of Thessaloniki), where the Elder is buried, as usual holds a vigil service along with memorial for him. This year estimates hold that 120,000 of the faithful visited the Elder's grave. Some patiently waited up to four hours in line...

These thousands of people (including many young people) were present, and even though the church was open, it could not hold all of this sea of pilgrims, so many prayed in the courtyards of the Monastery. According to Police, 50,000 people remained for the vigil service, while a total of 120,000 people visited the grave of the Elder on July 12th.
(source)
 
May we have his blessing!
   
The multitudes of people waiting to venerate the grave of Elder Paisios (source)
 
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Excellent Documentary on the life of Elder Paisios

 
Here is an excellent and extensive (3 hour long) documentary on the life of Elder Paisios. It has Greek narration, but English subtitles, with many excellent icons and pictures of places associated with the life of the Elder. They discuss the Elder's life, teachings and miracles before and after his repose. The official title is:
Elder Paisios the Athonite (1924-1994): "The Signalman of the Army and of God"

May we all have his blessing!

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