Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Akathist to St. Matrona of Moscow

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
St. Matrona of Moscow (source)
   
Akathist to St. Matrona of Moscow, the Venerable Wonderworker
Translated from the Church Slavonic by Mr. Andreas Moran here.


Kontakion 1
Chosen by the Holy Spirit of God from thy swaddling clothes, blessed eldress Matrona, thou didst receive bodily infirmity and blindness from God for thy spiritual cleansing. Thou wast enriched with the gift of foresight and wonderworking, and hast been adorned with an incorruptible crown from the Lord. Wherefore in gratitude we on earth offer unto thee crowns wrought from praises, crying out:
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.
   
Ikos 1
As an angel in the flesh didst thou appear on earth, blessed Matrona, fulfilling the will of God. Though born in bodily blindness, yet the Lord, Who maketh wise the blind and loveth the righteous, enlightened thy spiritual eyes, that thou mightest serve His people, and the works of God be made manifest through thee. Wherefore with love we cry unto thee such things as these:
Rejoice, chosen by God from infancy;
Rejoice, thou that wast covered by the grace of the Holy Spirit from thy cradle;
Rejoice, thou that from childhood wast enriched with the gift of miracles;
Rejoice, thou that wast filled with wisdom from God on high;
Rejoice, thou that didst foresee the will of God through spiritual eyes;
Rejoice, thou that puttest to shame the wise of this age that are blinded in mind;
Rejoice, thou that leadest deluded souls unto God;
Rejoice, thou that relievest from grief and from sorrow;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

   
Kontakion 2
When thou wast baptised, blessed one, the people and the priest beheld a wonderful pillar like smoke above thy head, and smelled a strong fragrance. Astonished, they wondered what this maid was destined to be, whilst singing unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 2
Being enlightened in mind, the priest of God Vasily, discerned her whom he baptised to be a vessel of the grace of God, and called thee, righteous Matrona, a holy maiden. In our zeal we bring praises such as these:
Rejoice, thou that wast made fragrant in the holy font by the grace of the Holy Spirit;
Rejoice, for the sign of the cross was imprinted on thy chest;
Rejoice, thou prayerful one given to the people by God;
Rejoice, ever-burning candle, shining before the Lord;
Rejoice, thou that by the gift of miracles from God wast famed upon earth;
Rejoice, thou that by thine unfading crown art crowned by the Lord in heaven;
Rejoice, herald to sinners of the mercies of God;
Rejoice, thou that from the source of living water dost refresh the thirsty;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

   
Kontakion 3
Thou didst feel the Power of God's grace whilst yet in infancy, blessed Matrona, stretching forth to the holy icons, and with a pure heart and infant lips proclaimed praise unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

Having from God the gift of foresight from infancy, blessed mother, thou knewest the most hidden things in the hearts of them coming to thee, telling the future like the present, and by this set many people on the path of righteousness. Whereby thou didst glorify God, making wise the blind, and we cry out to thee thus:
Rejoice, wondrous seer;
Rejoice, denouncer of hidden sins;
Rejoice, brightest teacher of darkened souls;
Rejoice, merciful guide of them that had gone astray;
Rejoice, star pointing the way to the faithful;
Rejoice, candle giving light in the darkness of this age;
Rejoice, thou that didst serve the one God;
Rejoice, for by the grace of the Holy Spirit thou didst trample down the wiles of the devil;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

   
St. Matrona of Moscow (source)
   
Kontakion 4
A storm of bewilderment and confusion in the people concerning thy miracles was dispelled, and them that were made wise by God, Who is wondrous in His saints, glorified and praised thee, and with thanksgiving sang unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

Hearing how thou givest help in sicknesses of spirit and body, mother Matrona, people came to thee with hope, and, receiving favourable counsel and healing, gave thanks to God and sang unto thee:
Rejoice, for thou receivest them of a diseased and suffering soul;
Rejoice, for thou bestowest peace upon grieving souls;
Rejoice, enlightener of them that were in delusions;
Rejoice, teacher of piety;
Rejoice, reliever of our sorrows;
Rejoice, consoler in griefs;
Rejoice, blessed unmercenary;
Rejoice, benevolent healer of divers ailments;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

   
Kontakion 5
As a divinely moving star, blessed mother Matrona, thou didst shine forth in evil times in the land of Russia as a new confessor, and didst bear the yoke of Christ boldly and fearlessly throughout thy life; and strengthened by the grace of God, thou gavest enlightenment to the bewildered, relief to the suffering, and healing to the sick, who thankfully cried unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

Seeing miracles and healings given by thee through the grace of God - the lame walking, the paralytic and bedridden healed, evil spirits cast out of the possessed - many Russian people rushed to thee, mother, as to a source inexhaustible and drank from it profusely, and with tender heart cried out to thee thus:
Rejoice, called to the right path from infancy;
Rejoice, righteous one, bestowed upon us by God;
Rejoice, healer of our ailments;
Rejoice, speedy helper in our needs;
Rejoice, thou that enlightenest us through thine inspired advice;
Rejoice, quick resolver of our bewilderment;
Rejoice, thou that drivest away unclean spirits from the people;
Rejoice, thou that protectest from every evil by thy prayer;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

   
Kontakion 6
Herald of the holiness and righteousness of thy life, blessed mother, the holy and righteous Father John of Kronstadt appeared to be when he saw thee in the church, and he called thee his heir and eighth pillar of Russia. And all that heard this glorified the Lord, proclaiming to Him: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

Through thy prayers, mother Matrona, the light of God's grace shone in hearts of them having no knowledge of God and burdened by many sins which angered Him. And seeing the miracles performed by thee, they turned to the Lord, crying to thee in gratitude thus:
Rejoice, thou whose feats glorify God;
Rejoice, revealer to us of the glory of God;
Rejoice, guide of the faithless to the right path;
Rejoice, thou that cleansest by thy prayers those defiled by sins;
Rejoice, thou that callest us to repentance;
Rejoice, thou that dost admonish us to thank the Lord for all things;
Rejoice, thou who dost teach us to love the divine Church;
Rejoice, gatherer of the scattered sheep within the walls of the Church;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

   
Kontakion 7
Wishing worthily to glorify the Most Holy Lady Theotokos, mother Matrona, thou didst order the people to have her depicted in the most honourable icon called "Seeker of the Perishing" and place it in God’s church in thy village, that all who look upon the bright face of the most pure one, might tenderly praise her, and to the Lord also cry out: Alleluia!
   
Ikos 7
The Lord gave thee as a new protectress, prayerful mediator, and intercessor with God, to the Russian people in the hard times when many forsook the holy Church; and thou, mother, by word and deed, didst set on the right path the fainthearted and deceived, revealing the wonderful miracles of God. Wherefore we hymn thee thus:
Rejoice, thou that dost feel ceaseless compassion for the country of Russia;
Rejoice, intercessor for our salvation;
Rejoice, thou that movest to compassion God the righteous Judge;
Rejoice, protectress of the diseased and wronged;
Rejoice, helper of the weak and desperate;
Rejoice, ceaseless warrior against the spirits of malice;
Rejoice, for at thee the demon chiefs do tremble;
Rejoice, for at thee angels and people rejoice;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

   
Kontakion 8
Strange it was for the weak in faith and the unwise that, though born blind, thou couldest see and know not only the present, but also the future, for they knew not that the power of God is fulfilled in human weakness. And we, blessed mother, seeing the wisdom of God manifested in thee, cry out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

Many vexations and offences, exiles and reproaches didst thou bear, blessed mother, not complaining of these, but in all things thanking God. For these things and for teaching us each with patience to carry his cross, we praise thee thus:
Rejoice, thou that prayed without ceasing;
Rejoice, thou that drove away spiritual wickedness by fasting and prayer;
Rejoice, thou that hast gained graceful peace;
Rejoice, for by thy love many about thee were saved;
Rejoice, for thy life of service to many;
Rejoice, for after thy repose people are ever helped by thee;
Rejoice, for now thou fervently heedest our petitions;
Rejoice, thou that leavest not them that put their trust in thy care;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

   
 St. Matrona of Moscow (source)
   Kontakion 9
All manner of sorrows and diseases thou didst bear, mother Matrona, ever leading the struggle with the forces of darkness, denouncing their machinations and guile, and expelling demons from the possessed; and up to the end of thy days thou didst help them in sufferings, illnesses and grievings, ever singing unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

Eloquent orators are not able worthily to glorify thy holy life, nor the miracles wrought by thee through the power of God, most marvellous eldress. And we, wishing by hymns to praise God in His saints, and with heartfelt love inspired, dare to sing to thee thus:
Rejoice, thou that didst choose the narrow path and strait gates;
Rejoice, thou that shone by many virtues;
Rejoice, thou that didst reject all in life that is passing;
Rejoice, thou adorned with the precious crown of humility;
Rejoice, thou bird of heaven, that didst live the Gospel on earth;
Rejoice, thou that followed the Son of God Who had not where to lay His head;
Rejoice, thou rejoicing now in the mansions of paradise;
Rejoice, thou whose mercy is never failing to us sinners who pray to thee;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

   
Kontakion 10
Wishing to save many people from bodily sufferings and spiritual sicknesses, thou didst stay all night in prayer, O righteous one of God, beseeching for them help and strengthening of our Lord Jesus Christ, singing to Him: Alleluia.

Ikos 10

A rampart and protection wert thou in the days of thy life, blessed mother, to all who resorted to thee, and after death thou ceaselessly intercedest before God for the people who in faith run toward to thy tomb. Wherefore, hearken now unto us sinners, by sorrows, sickness and many griefs consumed, and hasten to help by thy prayers all that cry unto thee:
Rejoice, speedy intercessor for the distressed;
Rejoice, comforter of them bearing hardships;
Rejoice, guardian of worthy marriage;
Rejoice, pacifier of all that persist in strife;
Rejoice, defender of them brought unjustly to trial;
Rejoice, merciful advocate before God for those guilty before an earthly judgment;
Rejoice, refuge of them deprived of shelter;
Rejoice, protectress of all that call upon thee;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

    
Kontakion 11
Thou didst hear angelic singing, worthy mother Matrona, whilst yet living on earth. And teach us, the unworthy, how we should glorify God in the Trinity worshipping Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to Whom also the heavenly host unceasingly sing with a great voice: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

Thy life shineth with luminous light, blessed Matrona, enlightening the darkness of this too-busy world, and thou dost draw unto thee our souls. Wherefore we, by the ray of the grace of God, will be enlightened, and our mournful way in this temporal life shall pass in a manner pleasing to God, and thus attain unto the kingdom of God, where thou, mother, now takest up thine abode, hearing our voice calling to thee:
Rejoice, ever-burning candle of God;
Rejoice, precious pearl, illuminating us by the light of thy holiness;
Rejoice, sweet-smelling flower that by the Holy Spirit coverest us with fragrance;
Rejoice, rock of faith, stablishing the fainthearted in piety;
Rejoice, brightest star pointing out to us the right way;
Rejoice, good warrior of Christ, by the sword of prayer frightening demonic hosts;
Rejoice, for throughout thy life thou wast holy and undefiled;
Rejoice, for thy death is precious in the sight of the Lord;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

  
Kontakion 12
The grace of God, already richly perceived even from the cradle, O blessed mother, will be with thee all the days of thy life. We believe without doubt, that also after thy repose this grace is with thee abundantly. Wherefore, falling down before thee, we pray: deprive not us still wandering on earth of thy help and intercession, beseeching the Lord to have mercy on all who sing unto Him: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

Singing of thy many and marvellous wonders, mother Matrona, we glorify God Who gave thee to the city of Moscow and to the Russian land in the days of atheism and persecution as a staunch pillar of piety and faith. Now, blessed mother, with grateful heart we hymn thee thus:
Rejoice, for thou hast attained the peace of Christ in thy soul;
Rejoice, for many people about thee thou didst lead to God;
Rejoice, for in thy feeble body, the power of God's grace was shown;
Rejoice, for in the finding of thine honourable relics, God’s mercy to us is revealed;
Rejoice, thou that dost bloom in the assembly of the saints of Moscow;
Rejoice, glorious adornment of the city of Moscow;
Rejoice, constant intercessor for the Russian land before God;
Rejoice, thou that callest all to repentance and prayer for the Russian land;
Rejoice, righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor for us before God.

   Kontakion 13
O blessed mother, hear now our hymns of praise which we sing to thee, and ask for us of the Lord Jesus Christ, the remission of sins, a Christian death, and peaceful repose, and a good answer at His dread judgment, and that we shall be blessed with thee in the dwellings of Paradise to glorify the Holy Trinity, crying: Alleluia.

Repeat Ikos 1 and Kontakion 1


 St. Matrona of Moscow (source)
   Prayer
Blessed mother Matrona, thy soul in heaven standeth before the throne of God, thy body resteth upon earth, and thou bestowest divers miracles through grace given thee from on High. Look down with thy merciful eye upon us sinners who pass our days in sorrows, sicknesses and sinful temptations. Console us who are in despair. Heal our grievous ailments which God allowed because of our sins. Deliver us from many misfortunes and attacks of evil spirits. Beseech our Lord Jesus Christ to forgive us all our trespasses, transgressions and falls, and our sins committed from our youth up to the present day and hour. And by thy prayers obtain for us grace and great mercy, that we may glorify the Trinity, one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Troparion, Tone 2

Let us the faithful today praise blessed eldress Matrona made wise by God; flower of the land of Tula and glorious adornment of the city of Moscow, for whom daylight was unknown but who wast enlightened by the light of Christ and enriched by the gifts of insight and healing: Thou wast a sojourner and wanderer upon earth, but now in the heavenly chambers thou standest before the throne of God and intercedest for our souls.

Kontakion, Tone 7

Thou wast chosen from thy mother’s womb for service to Christ, righteous Matrona, treading a path of sorrows and griefs, but showing firm faith and piety which were pleasing to God. Wherefore, we venerate thy memory, and we beseech thee, blessed eldress: help us to dwell in God’s love.

Magnification

We magnify thee, O holy righteous blessed Matrona, and honour thy holy memory, thou that dost pray for us to Christ our God. 
   
 Sts. Xenia of St. Petersburg and Matrona of Moscow, two great ascetics and wonderworkers of Russia, who help many throughout the world (source)
   
Christ is risen from the dead, by dead, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life! Truly the Lord is risen!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Holy Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Kokkinara, and St. Matrona of Moscow

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
 The Holy Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Kokkinara, Penteli (source)
   
The Holy Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Kokkinara, Penteli (amateur translations below)
The Holy Monastery of the glorious Great Martyr and Healer St. Panteleimon is found on the north limit of a property of the founding and historic Holy Monastery of the Bodiless Powers, named "Petraki", which is in the area of Kokkinara of Mount Penteli, a short distance below the peak of St. Panteleimon (870 meters).

This property (6,000 stremata then), as it appears in the Great Codex of the Kyriarchou of the Holy Monastery, on March 29th 1837, was purchased (as also its whole property and not from gifts) from those who were then living there in asceticism for their benefit and relief, because after the armed and glorious revolution of [Greece] in 1821, the Holy Monastery was stripped of many of its properties, which it gave to the then newly-organized State, for the creation of a series of common works.

Within the scope of the Monastery were built the Hospital Artetaion, Evangelismos, N.I.M.T.S., The Children's Hospital, etc. the Academy, the National Library, Alse Sygrou, and Pangratiou, City Schools and Parks, the Workhouse of the Merciful for the Poor, the Marasleios, the Gennadeios, and other important buildings of the capital.

 Mosaic of St. Panteleimon outside the Katholikon of the Monastery (source)
 
In the property of Kokkinara, therefore, there was a church in the name of the Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon, along with some cells, which were used at times by some Fathers visiting the Holy Metochion (Dependency).

It should be noted that the area was inhabited from before then. The Abbot of the Monastery of Penteli, Kyrillos Degleres, in his Apomnemoneumata mentions that "he (the founder of the Monastery of Penteli, St. Timothy, before 1578) went from end to end of the Penteli mountain, finding there various learned clerics inhabiting it, wherever on the mountain there was water and a church, including St. George Kokkinara, St. John, St. Panteleimon, St. Luke, St. Chrysostom, St. Nicholas in the Cave, the Taxiarchs in Kamari, the Frankish church at Boyiate, and St. Peter. All of these places were on Penteli Mountain, and those who dwelt on it were marked with gardens, for in all these areas there was water." (V. D. Kampouroglou, History of Athens) These learned monks, with their meager belongings and their small synodeies, descended from their cells to the Monastery which was founded by St. Timothy for Liturgy, and eventually joined the Monastery of Penteli.

 The Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Kokkinara, Penteli (source)
 
This property was noted in the codex of Petraki Monastery as "a marble-bearing area". Truly, the whole Mount of Penteli was known since antiquity as the most ancient marble mine, of an exceptional amount, the white marble of with which was used to construct many ancient and newer monuments of Athens, such as the Parthenon, the Erectheion, the Propylaia, the Theseion, the Temple of the Olympian Dios, the Academy of Athens, the Palace of Otto (today the Greek Parliment), etc. Three were the most significant mines that functioned on Mount Penteli: "Raikou", "Maltezou", and "Kokkinara".

With the State law (669/77), however, the uses of the southwest mountain for mining marble were  stopped. Because of this, however, Mount Penteli was then proclaimed a "place of special natural beauty". The recent fires and the former mining of marble had destroyed much of its natural beauty, despite the activities to fill the area with material from the construction of the Attica highway.

Elder Simon Arvanitis (+1989) (source)
 
In 1965, the ever-memorable Elder Simon Arvanitis, the then Priest of the parish Church of St. Barbara Lykovrysi of the Metropolis of Attica, requested and received the Dependency of St. Panteleimon with the desire to render it a workshop for souls. And this granting of rest through the Mystery of Repentance on the one hand was through the asceticism of the Fathers that had come to dwell with him, and on the other hand, for the many multitudes of pilgrims and spiritual children of his. He built a new Church, cells, supporting areas and reception spaces for the many pilgrims, who began to flood the Dependency.

In the place of the ailing Elder Simon (+1988) was placed in 1984 Archimandrite Joseph Manettas, and in 2007, at the decision of the Abbot's Council of the Monastery, the Metochiares (Head of the Dependency) was made Archimandrite Onouphrios Kostopoulos.

 Bishop and Abbot of Petraki Monastery Iakovos (right) and Elder Onouphrios (left), with many pilgrims, at a recent feast of St. Panteleimon at the Dependency (source)
   
Today, at the Holy Dependency of St. Panteleimon, there are nine monks and hieromonks living under Elder Onouphrios, taking up the struggle to remodel and beautify it. Besides the former Fathers of the Dependency, since 2007 six new Fathers have been tonsured by [now Bishop] Iakovos Mpizaourte, taking up the "good fight".

Outside of the Katholikon of the Dependency are Chapels dedicated to St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, the Transfiguration of the Savior, the Holy Apostles (where are preserved many holy relics of various Saints), of St. Nektarios, and of the Akathist hymn.
(source)
 
 Wondrous icon of St. Matrona of Moscow, treasured by the Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Kokkinara, Penteli, with many offerings and flowers given out of love and thanks to the Saint (source)
 
In the Holy Dependency is preserved a portion of the Precious Relic, and also the Holy and Honored Icon of the Wonderworking St. Matrona of Russia, the Blind, through which countless miracles have taken place, and which have become a wonderworking spring of healings for all those who hasten to venerate the Saint with reverence. Witnesses to the incomparable miracles that are worked are the countless offerings placed upon the icon by the faithful, along with the many fragrant flowers which they offer in her honor, as she had great love for them during her earthly life.

Her memory is honored with a festal holy Vigil from May 1st - 2nd every year, during which a multitude of the Faithful approach this place to honor this great and wonderworking Saint of our Church.
(source)
 
 The Holy Relic of St. Matrona of Moscow, treasured by the Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Kokkinara, Penteli (source)
 
The Holy Dependency of St. Panteleimon, Kokkinara, Penteli,
in the Holy Archdiocese of Athens,
under the Holy Monastery of the Bodiless Powers, Petraki

Visiting Hours
The Holy Dependency receives pious pilgrims daily according to the following schedule:
-Tuesday to Friday - 9AM-1PM, and 4PM until the end of the service.
-Saturday - 9AM-1PM, and 4-6:30PM (winter hours) vs. 5-7:30PM (summer hours)
-Sunday - 7AM-1PM, and 4-6:30PM (winter hours) vs. 5-7:30PM (summer hours)
-Every Monday the Dependency is closed to pilgrims.
(source)

 The icon of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr in the monastery that bears his name, Kokkinara (source)
   
Schedule of Services
Daily services (Vespers, Orthros and Divine Liturgy) are celebrated in the evening (beginning at 8:30PM).

The morning of the following day there is no Divine Liturgy, and the gate of the Monastery opens at 9AM.

Saturday and Sunday Vespers are celebrated at 6PM, and the Sunday Divine Liturgy is at 7AM. And the rest confirms the canonical program of the Holy Dependency.
(source)
 
 The Holy Monastery of St. Panteleimon, Kokkinara, Penteli (source)
 
Christ is risen from the dead, by dead, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life! Truly the Lord is risen!

Monday, April 28, 2014

St. Panteleimon saves a young cardiac patient

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
 St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (source)
   
Below you will read another clear example of our living faith and the palpable presence of the Saints in our life. The cardiologist Mr. Vasilios K. confesses an astonishing experience and a great miracle by the great Physician, our Saint Panteleimon.
   
I will mention in detail one of the many medical miracles which many of my colleagues have experienced in their medical careers without always being communicated publically. It was the summer of 2000 or 2001, I don’t remember the exact year, and I was on call as the specialist Cardiologist in the Hospital “Soteria”. I always took the so-called “German time” [shift] 3-6AM.
   
Like every call, even though it was summer, it was sufficiently exhausting. After 5AM, however, there were no patients coming to the emergency room. It was the morning of July 27th, and at 6AM I went off shift. At 5:55AM, I, exhausted but joyous, began to gather my things to begin my vacation, and to close my call book to leave.
   
Then, there entered a stretcher from an ambulance. It was a woman whom the EMS said was from the community hospital “Gennemata”, who was having chest pains, and asked to be transferred to our hospital, to be examined by a Cardiologist. I told the EMS to put her in the exam room, while she tried to console me, saying: “Doctor, don’t worry, she has nothing wrong, she is 45 years old, it’s probably her nerves.” As I entered the room, however, the nurse called out: “Doctor, quickly. She is in cardiac arrest!”
   
I ran over and began resuscitation, defibrillation, etc. We worked on her for a while, but the patient had flat-lined and cardiac, pulmonary and cerebrally the patient was dead, and the nurses were preparing to transfer her to the morgue. Deeply upset for this young woman, a thought struck me like lightening, that it was the feast of St. Panteleimon. I grabbed the defibrillator and entreated within me: St. Panteleimon, you are a physician, help this young woman today on your feast.” Immediately I did the medically pointless defibrillation, because the monitor showed no signs of life, but the monitor them immediately began to show a heartbeat, pointing towards a heart attack.
   
Immediately we took her to the cardiac unit. Note that the woman, throughout our whole encounter, did not see me at all, for she was in cardiac arrest or in a coma. I left exhausted for my house, and I put the event out of my mind for the rest of my summer vacation. I returned on August 14th at 8AM for work, and when I greeted the nurses of the morning shift, immediately I remembered the event. I asked if the patient on that call was still living, even though I didn’t remember her name, and the nurse replied: today, she is going to that room. Without wearing my jacket, I ran to the room that she indicated. Without speaking I saw a woman who was eating her breakfast sitting upright. As soon as she saw me, her face shown, and she said: “Thank you for saving my life.” I told her that, no, someone else had saved her. With tears in my eyes, she showed me an icon on her bureau.
   
It was St. Panteleimon. Truly moved and shaken, I left her room without saying another word. To this day, I do not know the name of this woman. This is a sign of the living presence of our faith in God and of our Saints.
With respect,
Vasilios K., Cardiologist
Athens
   
(amateur translation of text from source)
   
Christ is risen from the dead, by dead, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life! Truly the Lord is risen!

Elder Amphilochios Makris likely to be canonized soon

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Elder Amphilochios Makris (+1970) (source)
   
Elder Amphilochius Makris (+1970), along with several other Elders from the 20th century are likely to be canonized soon, according to some sources. Please see the link above for the life of this great Elder, full of grace, and a true spiritual guide to many. May we have his blessing!

Icon depicting the Blessed Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (source)
  
Christ is risen from the dead, by dead, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life! Truly the Lord is risen!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Excerpt from the Akathist to the Theotokos, the "Life-giving Spring"

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
The Most-holy Theotokos, the "Life-giving Spring", who bears Christ, commemorated the Friday of Bright Week (source)
   

Excerpt from the Akathist to the Theotokos, the "Life-giving Spring"


Note: The following is an amateur translation from the Greek text, and as such, I request reviewing the translation before any public / liturgical use. Also note that the meter of this translation is not set to match the original music. Finally, please note that the Greek source text is missing several pages (about 4 sections in all), so if anyone if able to provide these, I would be happy to complete the translation. 

May the Holy Theotokos fill our lives with healings of soul and body as we praise her Son Who is risen, and her who gave birth to Him!


Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
To your Life-giving Spring, O One graced-by-God,
Your fervent servant now approaches,
O Lady, and has dared to hymn, O Theotokos,
But as you are the Mother of the King of All,
Shed upon me the streams of your mercy,
That I might cry to you:
Rejoice, O water of salvation.

Angels together with men, truly out of need, O Virgin say to you: "Rejoice," (3) and as you gave birth to Christ, and look with motherly favor upon those in pain, we stand in awe and cry out to you such things:
Rejoice, through whom joy has been granted,
Rejoice, through whom the curse has ceased.
Rejoice, the revelation of the ancient mystery,
Rejoice, the fulfillment of the Will of the Most-High.
Rejoice, for the Holy Spirit came upon you,
Rejoice, for He Who was born from you is Holy.
Rejoice, you who are revered by mortals and Angels,
Rejoice, you who are glorified unto the ages of ages.
Rejoice, through whom we receive remission,
Rejoice, through whom we partake of healing.
Rejoice, river in the house of the Lord,
Rejoice spring of saving water.
Rejoice, O water of salvation.

The God-seer [Moses] beheld you as the [Burning] Bush, when he heard the Divine voice, while Leo the great King, within the forest, having heard your holy voice, found the water, and in astonishment cried out: Alleluia.

The race of Adam is saved through you, O All-Spotless Pure One, beholding the Savior and Creator unspeakable and supernaturally born from you. Therefore, you move every tongue to utter these in your praise:
Rejoice, honor of the mortal race,
Rejoice, glory of the whole world.
Rejoice, Mariam, the sweetest name,
Rejoice, the meditation of my wretched soul.
Rejoice, for you gave birth to my Savior, Christ,
Rejoice, for you nursed Him Who is the nourishment of all.
Rejoice, for you sprouted from the root of Jesse,
Rejoice, for you were paradoxically born of a barren womb.
Rejoice, the prelude of God's good pleasure,
Rejoice, the cornerstone of our salvation.
Rejoice, for you are she who is called upon by all the faithful,
Rejoice, for you are the help that is sought for.
Rejoice, O water of salvation.

The power of the Most-High, is truly beheld in the waters of your Spring, O Virgin, for those who hasten to it: blind, deaf, and all people in general, partake of healing of soul and body, crying out: Alleluia.

Your city, having your Spring as a treasure of healings, O Virgin Theotokos, is enriched in the faith, and having you as her firm protectress, we rejoice together with her, and cry out these things:
Rejoice, the glory of the Church,
Rejoice, the radiance of Orthodoxy.
Rejoice, the divine adornment of Kings,
Rejoice, the sacred boast of Patriarchs.
Rejoice, for you are the cornerstone of both Testaments,
Rejoice, for you are the shepherd staff of noble Hierarchs.
Rejoice, the beauty and radiance of priests,
Rejoice, the joy and rejoicing of deacons.
Rejoice, the sacred saying of the Clerics,
Rejoice, the great nourishment of the Ascetics.
Rejoice, the glory of the faithful Orthodox,
Rejoice, the protector of victory for the upright.
Rejoice, O water of salvation.
   
“Keep searching, and you will find the water within the woods, O Leo. And anointing the blind man with this water, his eyes of clay will be healed. And more so I will dwell in this place, as you cry out with knowledge: Alleluia.

The Life-giving Spring of the Theotokos (source)

   
Hearkening to your voice, [Leo] uncovered your Spring. And for this truly philanthropic act, Leo was made very wealthy, and thus founded your home, teaching all to cry out to you:
Rejoice, unemptying spring of myrrh,
Rejoice, krater of the ever-flowing stream.
Rejoice, ever-springing river of Paradise,
Rejoice, water that is higher than the pool of Siloam,
Rejoice, the healing of all who cry out: "Mariam"!
Rejoice, for you are the hospital for the sick,
Rejoice, for you cleanse the souls of men.
Rejoice, you who quench the flame of the passions,
Rejoice, you who deliver from every danger.
Rejoice, for you are venerated by your servants,
Rejoice, for you we call upon in faith.
Rejoice, O water of salvation.

The young man from Thessaly, you suddenly raised by the three-fold pouring of water, and though he was dead, he had longed [to venerate you], and you brought him again to life wondrously, as he glorified, and magnified and chanted together with all: Alleluia.

Behold my need, and my sorrow, O Virgin, and visit the corruption which I have in the flesh, for I am terribly ill-treated, and I am ever to be pitied, and therefore, I call upon you, wailing bitterly, crying out:
Rejoice, the visitation of the sick,
Rejoice, the supplication of the mourning.
Rejoice, the lifting-up of those bedridden,
Rejoice, the dissipater of spiritual passions.
Rejoice, the deliverance from all wasting of the flesh,
Rejoice, the speedy correction of those sick in the mind.
Rejoice, for you cease the pains of the flesh,
Rejoice, for you deliver all souls.
Rejoice, physician of soul and body,
Rejoice, giver of every good thing.
Rejoice, the well of life eternal,
Rejoice, from whom divine streams pour forth.
Rejoice, O water of salvation.

A ladder reaching from earth to heaven, you appeared to be, leading from earth to the heights, which our Forefather Jacob saw formerly, which God placed on the earth, O All-pure One, showing you to be a spring of life for us who cry out: Alleluia.

The words of my lips and the fervor of my heart, do receive, O Maid and Unwed Mother, and be my deliverance and protection, O Lady, and make me worthy of your pity of my wretchedness, as I cry out from the soul these words:
Rejoice, the hymnody of the Angels,
Rejoice, the salvation of men.
Rejoice, the Chaste proclamation of the Prophets,
Rejoice, the boast of the First-formed [Adam and Eve], O Pure One.
Rejoice, for you are the gate which Ezekiel beheld,
Rejoice, for you are the mountain which Daniel foresaw.
Rejoice, for you were called a “Virgin” by Isaiah beforehand,
Rejoice, for you are proclaimed the Mother of God.
Rejoice, for you surpass all the prophets,
Rejoice, for you are the Queen of all women.
Rejoice, the honor of all the Righteous,
Rejoice, the glory of all the Saints.
Rejoice, O water of salvation.

As the Church of your Spring was going to be trampled upon, O Most-Pure and Holy Virgin, you kept it upright until the multitude of the faithful had left, for you do not desire the death, but the life of those who cry out: Alleluia.

The Life-giving Spring of the Theotokos (source)
   
Flowing from your spring profusely and in abundance, are the streams of your wonders, O Theotokos, and they truly cover the face of the earth and the sea, and summon all with one mouth to cry out to you:
Rejoice, the preserver of health,
Rejoice, the dispeller of sickness,
Rejoice, you who deliver many from dangers,
Rejoice, you who draw up praise from babes.
Rejoice, for you we call upon day and night,
Rejoice, for you stand to help mightily.
Rejoice, for you are Mother and nourishment,
Rejoice, for you have become my protection and deliverance.
Rejoice, the refuge of Christians,
Rejoice, the protecting-wall of the faithful.
Rejoice, the foundation of those who stand near you,
Rejoice, the correction of those who are guilty.
Rejoice, O water of salvation.

The water of your Spring, O Virgin, has worked strange and awesome deeds surpassing words, and your deeds are strange to hear and surpassing nature, but for us who believe, we venerate them, crying out: Alleluia.


The water of incorruption and drink of ambrosia, and the wine bearing nectar, with joy O brethren, let us drink of with joy and fervor, from the Life-bestowing Spring, and let us venerate her all-sacred Icon, crying out: Alleluia.

Bearing in your womb Him Who, before the ages, was begotten of the Father, the Forerunner, hidden within the barren woman's womb, leaped for joy, and glorified, and cried out to the Virgin:
Rejoice, O Pure One Full-of-grace,
Rejoice, she who is blessed among women.
Rejoice, you who gave birth to the Savior of souls,
Rejoice, you who bore the Giver of good things.
Rejoice, for after you, the Lord began to be praised,
Rejoice, for the fruit of your womb is blessed.
Rejoice, through whom grace was given to men,
Rejoice, through whom the bitterness of the curse has ceased.
Rejoice, you who pour forth sweet flowing water,
Rejoice, for you cast out the leader of delusion.
Rejoice, for you bore the spring of life,
Rejoice, for your wondrously multiply your Spring.
Rejoice, O water of salvation.

I cry out to you “Rejoice”, as you unspeakably have birth to the joy of the world, O Theotokos, and at all times I entreat you to ever make me a partaker of your joy, that with a voice of exaltation and a hymn of celebration you might hear: Alleluia.

“Chant,” cries out the Prophet of God, “let all chant unto the King.” With this hymn, we praise you, the perfect beauty of Jacob, and we together with the Forefathers, cry out the following:
Rejoice, the hymn of the Church,
Rejoice, the ode of your inheritance.
Rejoice, the divine subject of the melodists,
Rejoice, the hymn of choirs of musicians.
Rejoice, the all-joyous Psalter of the Forefather David,
Rejoice, the song of Solomon praised by every breath.
Rejoice, for you enlighten the blind through your water,
Rejoice, for you enlighten the fools through your light.
Rejoice, you who seize the faithful from Hades,
Rejoice, you who save the souls of your servants.
Rejoice, through whom I hope for salvation,
Rejoice, in whom I place my hope when I die.
Rejoice, O water of salvation.

O Life-giving Spring, which pours forth deliverance to all of soul and body, (3) receive this poor prayer, and deliver from dangers of all kinds, and deliver from eternal punishment, those who cry out: Alleluia.


And again Ode I, followed by the Kontakion.
   
The Life-giving Spring of the Theotokos (source)
   
Christ is risen from the dead, by dead, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life! Truly the Lord is risen!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Monastery of Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, Griva, Goumenissa, and a "Resurrection" by the Saint

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene the Newly-revealed (source)
   

A “Resurrection” by St. Raphael
On June 21st 1995, 46 year old Katerina N. T., an inhabitant of Kalamarias, Thessaloniki, after a terrible car accident, was transferred to the Hospital “Papanikolaou” with a serious cranioencephalic condition: her skull on her forehead was traumatized, and her meninges, blood and soil were mixed together on her forehead. After five hours in the operating room, they took her to the ICU. Objectively, the doctors did not give her any hope of living, not even one in a million, and they said that if she would live, she would be a “vegetable”. Her relatives, full of agony regarding her state, but also with deep faith, all night entreated St. Raphael.

The next day they learned that there would be a vigil at the Holy Hesychasterion of the Precious Forerunner, Metamorphosi, Chalkidiki, where they took part and gave her name to be commemorated in the Holy Proskomidi [Oblation]. They left with souls less burdened, full of hope in God, even though the medical state of the sick woman was hopeless.

The next evening, the medical information was disheartening. Some doctor told them that the cranioencephalic damage was so severe that he could not leave them any hope, other than if she could get a “head transplant”! The mother, when she returned to the ICU after a few days, could not recognize her daughter if the nurse had not pointed her out to her!

Sunday June 25th, they went in the morning to the Monastery of St. Raphael in Griva of Goumenissa. The Metropolitan of Goumenissa, Demetrios, was serving Divine Liturgy, and he told them not to loose hope, but to entreat the Saint, and he will work his miracle, as so many unbelievable miracles had occurred up to that point. They kneeled with tears and prayed in the Paraklesis which they asked to be served after the Divine Liturgy. They took holy oil and water. They then descended to the Holy Monastery of Panagia in Goumenissa, and were received with pain of soul before the wonderworking icon that this miracle might occur.

Daily they served Paraklesis to St. Raphael and to other saints in Thessaloniki. In the daily Divine Liturgies and holy Paraklesis services at the Monastery, they would continuously remember the name of the sick woman.

On July 2nd and 9th, both Sundays, at dawn all her relatives again ascended to the Holy Monastery for Divine Liturgy, and gave a prosphoro with the name of the sick woman, praying with deep faith and hope, kneeling with tears in the Paraklesis after the Divine Liturgy.

On July 9th, there happened to also be a busload of pilgrims from Kozani who also prayed with them fervently, chanting along with them “Lord have mercy” in the Paraklesis.

The next day, after 18 days in the ICU, the sick woman recovered! The miracle had occurred. The objectively negative scientific prognostications were reversed! And while the previous days there was a significant risk of meningitis or stroke, ultimately, the Grace of God prevented these dangers. They transferred her to the Neurosurgical Clinic, from which she was discharged. When she recovered somewhat, they ascended as a family to the Monastery and had Divine Liturgy served.

She entered the Hospital again for plastic surgical repair of the bone of her forehead on September 20th, and again, on October 10th for another procedure on her eye and on her jaw. All of the surgeries were successful. After the most recent test, Professor F. confirmed that there was no more problem, despite her near death adventure.

In August, the woman who was healed, one night in her sleep saw that someone was knocking on her door, and opening it, she saw St. Raphael. She entreated him to come into her home to help her, but the Saint told her: “You don't have any more need, you are no longer in danger.” She awoke full of joy for the protection of the Saint.

And her husband was made worthy to see the Saint once in his dream fully alive in their house, for the first time. In the beginning, he did not understand who he was, and he was afraid of this unexpected visitor. The Saint blessed him, telling him to not be afraid, because he came for their good.

The whole family confesses the great miracle which St. Raphael worked for Katerina. They visit the Monastery routinely, to express their deep thanks to this wonderworking Saint of God.

Several times, it happened that the policeman Demetrios T. was also present as a pilgrim together with his family. He was the policeman who first raced with his car to meet the scene of the accident. Seeing her state, he could not believe that she could be saved, and however, with deep faith, he crossed her with holy oil of St. Raphael, which he always keeps with him in his car, and he entreated for his intercessions for her.

It is true that this event was a “resurrection”. Our brother and friend who is a surgeon in that Hospital ICU said clearly: “I remember at that time three 'corpses'; one of them was raised!”
(amateur translation of text from source)
   
The Holy Monastery of St. Raphael, Griva, Goumenissa (source)
  
The Monastery of Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, Griva, Goumenissa, Greece
The Holy Monastery of St. Raphael is found on the verdant slope of the Paikou Mountain, at a height of 600 meters, with a view of the valley of Axiou, in the area of Griva, 7km from Goumenissa, Kilkis [about 1 hour from Thessaloniki].

It is a men's monastery. It was founded in 1992 by the Metropolitan of Goumenissa Demetrios and his synodeia, and it is the fruit of a special reverence towards the newly-revealed martyred Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, who appeared during our era (1959-1962), 500 years after their martyrdom.

It celebrates on the Tuesday of Bright Week (Monday evening to Tuesday morning after Pascha), on the day when the Saints were perfected in martyrdom in Thermi of Lesvos, 1463. Furthermore, they also especially celebrate the feasts of the Holy Myrrhbearers, and St. Basil the Great, to whom are offered chapels in their honor in the original building complex of the Monastery.

The Katholikon of the Monastery (source)
   
The main church of the Monastery (the “Katholikon”) is dedicated to Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene. There are also two chapels dedicated to Sts. Peter and Paul, and to the Apostle Andrew.

Special care was given to the architecture of the church which joins the Athonite form with designs from Constantinople (a central dome, four surrounding domes, a dome above the Holy Altar, choirs, chapels, a dome in the narthex, and an external patio).

Due to the complex and costly construction, the church is still not fully finished. For the completion of the church, donations can be sent to the Ethniki Trapeza 250/601365-19.

In the Monastery are preserved portions of the Holy Relics of: Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, St. Mary Magdalene the Myrrhbearer, and a small portion of the Precious Cross, given by the Blessed Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem to Metropolitan Demetrios.

The Holy Relics of Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene treasured by the Monastery (source)
   
Liturgical program:
Divine Liturgy daily until 9AM, Sundays until 10AM.
Vespers and Paraklesis: 5PM.
Holy Unction: The first Sunday of every month, after Vespers.

Feasts:
St. Raphael: Tuesday after Pascha
St. Basil (Divine Liturgy on January 1st)
Finding of the Relic of St. Nicholas (Divine Liturgy on June 13th)
Sts. Peter and Paul the Apostles (Divine Liturgy on June 29th)
The Veneration of the Precious Cross (September 14th)
St. Andrew the Apostle (Divine Liturgy on November 30th)

Vigils (8PM-2AM):
The Finding of the Relic of St. Raphael (June 22-23)
St. Mary Magdalene (July 21-22)
The Finding of the icon of the Christ Pantocrator (August 1-2)
St. Catherine (November 24-25)

The Monastery remains open from 7AM until sunset.

Fervent request to pilgrims:
The Monastery is a place of Divine Worship, honor of the Holy Martyrs, and prayer and ascesis of the monks. Because of this, please respect the holiness of the place, and the religious consciences of the other pilgrims.

Do not come to the Monastery with improper clothing (e.g. women with low-necked garments, short skirts, pants, and any provocative outfits, and men with shorts).

The Monastery has many publications (including many miracles of the Saints) and many recordings of services. See the link below for some of the titles.

Address:
The Holy Monastery of St. Raphael,
Griva, 613 00 Goumenissa
Telephone: 23.430-20.270
Fax: 23.430-20.271
Email: agiosrafailgriva [at] gmail.com
(source)
   
Litany with the icon and holy relics of Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene (source)
   
Christ is risen from the dead, by dead, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life! Truly the Lord is risen!