Thursday, November 27, 2014

St. Porphyrios on the Fragrance of Prayer

Entering an Orthodox Church on Cyprus (source)
  
Once we visited the Monastery of Vella, and entered an old church with frescoes. We were amazed at them, while [St. Porphyrios] disappeared into the holy altar. I was by myself in the one aisle, and the rest in the other. In a short time I sensed a fragrance...The church was old and did not function anymore. As time passed, the fragrance got stronger. I looked around. I noticed that it was the strongest towards the holy altar. "Ah, I understand," I thought, "The Elder lit a charcoal and put on some incense."

When he exited the altar, I told him unprompted: "That charcoal you lit, Elder, it smells very beautiful."

He looked at me with a strange smile. "No," he told me, "I didn't light anything!"

Later, he told us: "When I enter the altar of a church, however, I pray. And I sense all of the prayers that had occurred there. This happened a short time ago in the altar. I prayed, and A. sensed it. Don't we say that prayer rises to God like incense?"

At St. Ierotheos I experienced the same thing. There, as soon as we exited the church with the Elder and got in the car and drove away from the church, there came a wave of fragrance. The Elder said with a smile, without anyone asking him: "This was a special blessing of the Saint."
  
(amateur translation of text from source: Άγιος Πορφύριος http://www.porphyrios.net/?p=2345)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

St. Porphyrios: "Difficult times are coming, and the world will need help from the monasteries.”

St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (source)
  
“In the spring of 1985,” relates Abbess Theodosia of the Holy Monastery of Saints Theodore, Kalavryta, “I was at our monastery, and one night around 2:30AM I heard outside the window of my cell, in the monastery courtyard, that someone was digging. To confirm this, I blew out the light in my cell, and I looked out the window. I saw the flashes of a flashlight. Then I prayed to our wonderworking Saints to protect us.
  
I checked the windows and secured the doors to the courtyard of the deserted monastery, so that no one would be able to enter, and as I confirmed that the area was silent, I returned to my cell.
In the morning, we had a special liturgy. At the time that I was getting ready to go to church, around 5:55AM, the telephone rang. I thought that this was maybe some pained soul with some problem—something which occurs frequently—so I picked up the phone. To my great astonishment I heard:
“Listen, my child, this is Elder Porphyrios. Don't go outside when you hear them digging, they will attack you. Infernal people are surrounding your monastery.”
  
I asked him: “Elder, why are they digging? Did they find anything?”
  
He answered: “No, my child, it was taken by others earlier.”
  
I asked him again: “Elder, have you ever been to our monastery?”
  
He replied to me: “No, my child, but now I am there. Ask me whatever you want.”
  
Taking advantage of the opportunity, I asked him of the historical significance of the caves at our monastery. He replied: “Which caves? Because there are two caves near you. The one where the first nuns stayed?”
  
I replied: “Yes, Elder.”
  
He told me: “It would be good, my child, to do that, because the cave is holy. But will the villagers allow you? They will protest.”
  
I remained on the phone, without speaking due to my astonishment, because he spoke to me about real events. It should be noted that there are truly two caves, but we had not seen the second cave until we were in the monastery for over a year. The shepherds of the area had told us that there was a second cave.
  
That time when I remained speechless, with the phone in hand, I heard the Elder tell me: “Fish, O Abbess, fish!”
  
I asked him: “What fish, Elder?”
  
“My child.” he told me, “isn't the water in those springs perfect for fish? Put some fish in there, so that the people can eat. Difficult times are coming!”
  
In truly, when we came to the monastery, I tested the chemical status of the water that ran from two springs within the courtyard of the monastery to see if it was potable and correspondingly if it could support fish, to support the needs of the monastery and for the pilgrims that we show hospitality to. Truly, the water was clean, and corresponding to raising fish...
  
The presence of Elder Porphyrios, I sensed clearly, because in every dilemma that we would face, he was with us and gave us a solution. Once, he told me over the phone: “My child, you have a great struggle, but don't be afraid, I am praying with you every night.”
  
It should be noted that I had never met the Elder, nor had I ever seen him. I only had heard of his gift of foresight from others, but neither had I ever called him over the phone. I was astonished as to how he knew our problems and how he found our telephone number. Because of this, I called the Abbess of another monastery who knew the Elder, and I asked her: “Did you, by any chance, O Abbess, give our number to Elder Porphyrios?”
  
She replied” “Did I need to give it to him? The mind of Fr. Porphyrios is a [spiritual] television.”
Once, I and some of the sisters of our monastery were visiting another monastery. Elder Porphyrios, because it was a pertinent and important matter, called there, and asked for me, saying: “My child, the five men that want to be witnesses against the monastery's property, let them go to court. The truth must be heard, and they must know that this belongs to the monastery, because difficult times are coming, and the world will need help from the monasteries.”
  
In reality, five older individuals, who were very generous to the monastery, sought the truth regarding an injustice that had been done at the expense of the monastery. Thus, the monastery was justified.”
  
From the book: Elder Porphyrios, the Spiritual Father and Teacher.
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!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

St. Luke of Simferopol on the Fragrance of Christ

Icon of the Theotokos and Christ, the "Unfading Rose" (source)
  
The rose does not speak, but puts forth a strong fragrance. We too, should put forth fragrance, pour forth spiritual fragrance, the fragrance of Christ. The fragrance of our deeds should be heard from far around: good, pure, and righteous deeds, full of love. Only thus can the Kingdom of God appear within our hearts, appearing not through words, but with power. Amen.
-St. Luke of Simferopol
  
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Elder Iakovos Tsalikis on Fasting

St. John the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ, who fasted his entire life in the desert (source)
  
"Fasting is a commandment of God. Because of this, we should also fast, my children. I have not neglected fasting in my 70 years. My mother taught me fasting from childhood. I am not being a hypocrite, my children, when I fast, but I am doing that which my parents taught me and that which I keep until today, my children. Fasting has never brought sickness upon me.

Physicians and Bishops say that frugal fasting is very beneficial to man. Once, a doctor told me: "Father, don't eat for five days, nor even drink a drop of water, because we will do a test to see what is going on with your body." Therefore I fasted for five days. It had done great things to me. How much more are we benefited when we fast for our soul! Because within our body inhabits an eternal soul. Therefore, let us take care for our soul, which is truly an immortal thing.

Let us fast, my children, do not listen to those who say that fasting is nothing, and that this is something from monks. This is not from monks, my children, forgive me, God says this. The first commandment of God is fasting, and our Christ fasted.

We can say that we are fasting, and eat so much. Now, what fasting are we doing, my children? When we eat, forgive me, so much food, even if it is without oil. It is sufficient that man have his health and the desire to fast.

Once, someone came to me and said: "My priest, they told me that fasting doesn't exist." "And who told you that there was no fasting? Go tell the Priest to open the Bible and see that which discusses fasting: 'without prayer and fasting' (Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29), which our Christ says, and other things.' And the demons, and sicknesses, and all the passions are cast out with fasting. The Holy Forerunner, what did he eat in the desert? What did the Venerable David eat? With an antidoron, he passed the whole week in his cell of asceticism."
-Elder Iakovos Tsalikis of Evia
  
(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, November 12, 2014

A Byzantine Christmas Carol: "The Beginningless God descended..."

The Nativity of Christ (source)
  
Greetings!

As we are beginning the Advent season, I pray that this may be a time when we might all draw closer to the Lord, Who is coming to save us.

I came across this Byzantine Christmas carol, originally from Pontos of Asia Minor, "Anarchos Theos Kataveviken" ("The Beginningless God descended..."), and I thought to share a translation of such a beautiful and theological and moving carol (sung with Byzantine chant and instruments, but not at all used liturgically). May the Lord, Who is coming to be born in the flesh for our salvation, have mercy on us all and save us!

(Greek text)
Άναρχος Θεός καταβέβηκεν και εν τη Παρθένω κατώκησεν
Βασιλεύς των όλων και Κύριος, ήλθε τον Αδάμ αναπλάσασθαί
Γηγενείς σκιρτάτε και χαίρεσθε, τάξεις των αγγέλων ευφραίνεσθε
Δέξαι Βηθλεεμ τον Δεσπότην σου, Βασιλέα πάντω και Κύριον
Εξ ανατολών Μάγοι έρχονται, δώρα προσκομίζοντες άξια
Ζητούν προσκυνήσαι τον Κύριον, τον εν τω σπηλαίω τικτόμενον
Ήνεγγεν αστήρν μάγους οδηγών, ένδον του σπηλαίου εκόμισεν
Θεός, βασιλεύς προαιώνιος, τίκτεται εκ κόρης Θεόπαιδος
Ιδών ο Ηρώδης ως έμαθεν, όλω εξεπλάγη ο δείλαιος
Κράζει και βοά προς τους ιερείς, τους δοξολογούντας τον Κύριον
Λέγετε σοφοί και διδάκαλοι άρα που γεννάται ο Κύριος;
Μέγα και φρικτόν το τεράστιον, ο εν ουρανοίς επεδήμησεν
Νύκτα Ιωσήφ ρήμα ήκουσε, άγγελος Κυρίου ελάλησεν
Ξένον και παράδοξον άκουσμα και η συγκατάβασις άρρητος
Ο μακροθυμίσας και εύσπλαχνος, πάντων υπομένει τα πταίσματα
Πάλιν ουρανοί ανεώχθησαν άγγλοι αυτού ανυμνήτωσαν
Ρήτορες ελθόντες προσέπεσον βασιλέα μέγαν και ένδοξον
Σήμερον η κτίσις αγάλλεται και πανηγύρίζει κι ευφραίνεται
Τάξεις των αγγέλων εξέστησαν επί το παράδοξον θέαμα
Ύμνους και δεήσεις ανέμελπον των πάντων δεσπότην και άνακτα
Φως εν τω σπηλαίω ανέτειλε και τοις εν τω σκότει επέλαμψε
Χαίρουσα η φύσις αγάλλεται και πανηγυρίζει κι ευφραίνεται
Ψάλλοντες Χριστόν, τον Θεόν ημών, τον εν τω σπηλαίω τικτόμενον
Ω Παρθενομήτορ και Δέσποινα, σώζε του εις Σε καταφεύγοντας.
(source)
  
(amateur translation of the above text)
The Beginningless God descended, and dwelt in the Virgin.
 
Erouem, erouem, erou erou erouem.
Hail, O Spotless One.
(repeated after each verse)
  
The King and Lord of all, came to refashion Adam.
O men of earth, dance and rejoice, and you ranks of the Angels be glad.
Receive, O Bethlehem, your Master, the King and Lord of all.
Magi are coming from the east, to offer Him worthy gifts.
They seek to worship the Lord, Who is born in the cave.
God, the King before the ages, is carried within the cave.
Behold, Herod having learned of this, was utterly astonished, the wretched man.
He cries out and screams towards the priests, who are glorifying the Lord:
“Say, O you wise ones and teachers, where is the Lord being born?”
O great and awesome wonder, for He Who is in the heavens, departs them.
At night, Joseph heard the angel of the Lord speak.
O strange and paradoxical hearing, and unspeakable condescension.
He Who is forbearing and compassionate, endures the offenses of all.
Again, the heavens are opened, and angels hymn Him.
Rhetors have come, and fell down before the great and glorious King.
Today, creation exalts and celebrates and rejoices.
The ranks of the angels are astonished at the paradoxical sight.
Hymns and entreaties they offer to the Master and Ruler of all.
A Light has dawned in the cave, enlightening those in darkness.
Nature rejoices and exalts, and celebrates and is glad.
Let us chant unto Christ our God, Who is born in the cave.
O Virgin-Mother and Lady, save those who have taken refuge in you.
 
Children depicted singing Greek folk songs door to door (source)
     
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

A recent appearance of the Theotokos on Mount Athos

The wondrous icon of Panagia Pantanassa, from the Katholikon of the Monastery of Vatopedi, Mount Athos (source)
  
Mr. K.P. had gone to the Holy Mountain, and was shown hospitality by the fathers of the Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi. On October 26th 2014, he asked the fathers there if he could go to confession. The fathers told him that the next day, which was Monday morning, he could go.

On October 27th, 2014, at 4AM, the Orthros service began, and he went down to the Church, and having venerated the icons, went and sat down. The church had many people in it, and at the stall where he went, he sat next to one man, but the other side was empty.

He waited patiently, but the time was passing, and the monk had not appeared who would have led him to the confessor. Around 4:20AM, he turns around, and sees next to him, in the formerly empty stall, a nun! The nun approached him and said: "Wait, everything will go well, you will confess. Don't worry, just wait a little."

He thought that most likely, the large monasteries had some nun there to help in the church. A short time passed, and the impatient man thought that he would leave to find someone to take him to confession. It was around 4:45AM when he planned to leave. He took a step, and again he saw the nun approach him, grab him by the shoulder, and lightly turn him back towards his stall. And she told him: "I told you to be patient and wait...Now the Six Psalms are finishing, and the monk will come to take you to the confessor for you to confess."

In reality, after two minutes, the monk came to lead him to the confessor. K.P. did not say anything to that monk because he was suspicious. In reality, when he reached the confessor, having spoken a bit, K.P. told him:
"It's good that you had that nun there to strengthen me to be patient and wait..."

"What nun are you talking about, blessed one? There are no nuns here. This is the Holy Mountain, women and nuns aren't allowed!"

"But, I spoke with her twice!"

The spiritual father replied: "You spoke with our Panagia, but you didn't realize it, my child!"

Then the confessor asked him to describe her. K.P. said: "She was tall, around 30-35 years of age, and very beautiful!"
  
(amateur translation of text from source)
  
Most-holy Theotokos, save us!

Monday, November 10, 2014

St. Porphyrios on the Jesus Prayer

St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (source)
  
"And what are you looking for regarding prayer, like a recipe to prepare food or medicine? I told you to only seek the salvation of your soul.

In other words, you should try to become an inheritor of the eternal Kingdom of the Heavens. And everything else you should leave to the judgment of God. I remind you, again, to "seek first the Kingdom of the Heavens."

Is this not enough for you? If this is not enough for you, or if you are not satisfied completely, restrict yourself to noetic prayer. For me, the "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me", says everything. And whatever else from that which you are saying. It is enough to say it with faith and determination.

And of course, at that hour, perceive that you have before you, the crucified Jesus. And listen. The hour that you saw it, turn your nous here, towards me. And I will understand your thought, and will pray with you for you. This is the best. I recommend you to do this...

Why do you separate yourself from the rest of the world? This is not at all correct. When we love ourselves, thus we must love our neighbor. I love the whole world as myself. Because of this, I see no reason to say: "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us" and not "have mercy on me". Because the world and I are one and the same! Thus you say: "have mercy on me".
  
Source: Theology and Miracles of Noetic Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me" (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!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Poem of St. Nektarios the Wonderworker: "O Divine Love"

St. Nektarios the Wonderworker, Bishop of Pentapolis (source)
  
A Poem of St. Nektarios the Wonderworker: "O Divine Love"
  
O Divine Love, come, I entreat you,
From all my soul and within my heart,
And a divine dwelling-place, O Christ, make me
And from every stain, O cleanse me.
 
O Divine Love, godly love
I ask You to fill my soul
With divine eros. O Divine Love,
Fervently I entreat you, to grant to me, Your servant.
 
O Divine Love, I entreat You,
To grant love to those who ask of You,
For Your love is to fulfull
Your Divine Law, O sweet Love.
 
O Divine Love, who alone fills
The whole world and preserves it,
You are the law of the heavens,
You are the law of the earthly.
 
Your Kingdom is love,
In which reigns joy and peace,
In which reigns blessedness,
The eros of the Divine and rejoicing.
  
(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, November 5, 2014

St. George Karslides heals the Metropolitan

Metropolitan Benediktos of Philadelphia, venerating the holy tomb of St. George Karslides (source)
  
On the feast of St. George Karslides in Drama (11/4/14), was found the Metropolitan Benediktos of Philadelphia as a pious pilgrim.

His Eminence wished to thank the celebrating Saint from his heart for the miracle that he worked for him recently.

According to information from Romfea.gr, a short time ago, there appeared a serious problem with his vocal cords.

He made numerous visits to special physicians, without finding the cause of his problem or more importantly giving him healing.

When, at the suggestion of the Abbess of the Holy Monastery (of the Ascension of Christ, Sipsa), Gerontissa Porphyria, he drank some holy water from the grace-flowing relics of St. George, and after prayer, his throat was healed.

As a sign of thanksgiving for the Saint's miracle, he vowed to take a cow to his monastery, on his feast.

The fulfillment of his vow occurred on November 4th, 2014, and the pictures are incontrovertible.

It should be noted that the Metropolitan of Philadelphia was granted hospitality like Abraham by the local Metropolitan Paul of Dramas, who had been his friend for many years.
(source)
  
The Metropolitan bringing a cow to the monastery as a gift (source)
     
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Video of the Service of the Holy Myrrh of St. Demetrios the Great Martyr, 2014



This is a live video of the 2014 service of the Myrrh of St. Demetrios in the Church where his holy relics are treasured by the city of Thessaloniki. This service, which is the ninth day after his holy feast day (October 26th), serves several purposes. One, this serves as an "Apodosis" or Leave-taking of the Saint's feast, which began one week before his feast, with the so-called "Holy Week" of St. Demetrios. Second, there is an official service, calling upon the Holy Spirit to bless this myrrh, granting it the power to heal the infirmities of body and soul. And finally, it is an opportunity for the clergy and the faithful to open the reliquary of the Saint and gather the fragrant myrrh which still wondrously exudes from the Saint's Relics to this day. As the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki chants at the end of the service: "Who is so great a God as our God? You are the God Who alone works wonders!" May we have the Saint's intercessions and protection, especially for all those who suffer or are in danger throughout the world! Amen!
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Homily on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes


The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (source)

Homily on the Fifth Sunday of Luke (The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus - Luke 16: 19-31), by Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes of Florina (+2010)
"Life beyond the Tomb"
Many things, my beloved, make man afraid. But that which frightens him more than anything is death. Even the word “death” alone brings trembling. Death is a great mystery!

Everyone, more or less, has the question: what happens after death? Is there anything beyond the tomb, or does life end there, and man is extinguished?
The question is an important one. If we believed that life ends in the tomb, then man would be free to do whatever he wishes: to sin, to fornicate, to commit adultery, to break the greatest rules, as long as he evades the eyes of the police and justice. If, however, there is life beyond the tomb, then man must count how he lives in this life, according to the voice of his conscience and the will of God.

To the question as to what is there after death, the answer is given us by today’s Gospel, the beautiful Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, which you just heard. What does it tell us?
There was a rich man, who had all of the good things from God. But all of these (houses, fields, everything else), he used for himself alone. He was a selfish self-seeker, and a worshipper of the flesh. He had the best clothes, wore expensive outfits, which only kings would wear, and ate the best food and drank the best wine, and spend his days in his great home. There were people playing music every night there, and sinful women danced unethical dances. Thus he spent his life, “rejoicing radiantly every day” (Luke 16:19). He did not give meaning to anything else.

At his door lay Lazarus, a poor and sick man, alone and abandoned, whom no one gave even the shelter of a roof, or medicine, or any other human help. The rich man never opened his door to show him hospitality, and he tried to survive on the crumbs that fell from the table of the rich man. He was full of wounds, and the dogs licked his wounds. Thus he lived.
But one day, the rich man, who thought that he would live as long as the mountains, heard a knock at the door. Who was it? Death! This is the dark visitor, who comes at an hour that we do not expect him, and seizes old and young, rich and poor, and leads them to the other world. He died, therefore. And his body became the food for worms and odor, and his soul went to Hades, where he sensed the reproaches of his conscience. And he would have preferred, as the Blessed Chrysostom says, to be stung by a scorpion, rather than experience the sting of the conscience. This he learned, when he was in the other world.

Where he was, the rich man sensed a far away other place, a place of light and beauty and joy: Paradise. And he sees in the heart of Paradise, in the bosom of Abraham, whom? Lazarus, the poor man, together with the righteous. Then his soul cried out and said: What did I suffer, why did I believe that there was not another world? And he entreated Abraham for two things. One, to send Lazarus to refresh him with one drop of water, for as he said, he was burning in that abyss. And the other, for Lazarus to go to the world below, to inform his five brothers, that they should remember their ends. But Abraham did not answer his entreaties. He said that there was a chasm between them: “between you and us there is a great chasm that was set” (Luke 16:26). There is no bridge to join the abyss with Paradise, and furthermore, there is no need for anyone to go to the world below, because they have the Scriptures, which bear witness to the other world.
Therefore, my brethren, there is another life. If someone would ask this today, he would find that the majority of so-called Christians do not believe these. What years we are living in! In years past, there were no radios or televisions, and people lived in huts. But within these huts they lived like angels, like holy men, like Lazaruses. Now, God has given them money. Those blessed years, each would wish each other “Good Paradise”. Today, does anyone hear anyone say to another “Good Paradise”? Now, we don’t believe. Children get such an education from schools. In one village, there was a 90 year old woman, who was in danger of dying. Her good spiritual father went to her and told her: “My good Lady, have you ever confessed?” “Never,” she replied. “Have you communed?” “A few times.” “Do you go to church?” “Not much.” “Why, because you are getting ready to go to the other world.” “Bah,” the woman said, “these are myths.” “My Lady, who told you that these are myths?” “My one grandson, who went to university in Thessaloniki, came and told me that there is nothing after death, that man is just physical, flesh and bones…”

Thus faith in the other world is uprooted. To such, the Gospel confirms that that world exists. “And who saw it?” you might say. But have you seen America? Have you seen Australia? Have you seen Canada? Someone else told you that they exist, and you believe. If someone then told you that they did not exist, you would laugh. Thus, as surely as there is an Australia, as there are stars, as this place exists, there is surely the other life, for which man was fashioned. Who confirmed this for us? Christ Himself. And if we do not believe in Christ, who should we believe, the devil?
Therefore, as it is certain—utterly certain that there is another life, what should we do?

First, we should think that the souls will continue to live on there, and that there will come the day when the Lord will stand in judgment inexorably of all, and “those who have done evil” will go to the eternal abyss, but “those who have done good”, to eternal Paradise (John 5:29). You should believe this. You don’t believe this? You are not a Christian, you are a naturalist. You only speak of physical things, and that there is only matter that exists. But man, however, is not just matter.

Second, we should prepare ourselves, we should be ready. We do not know the hour of our death. As the thief does not inform when he will come to break in, it is unknown when death will take us. And when it is time to travel, it is important to have prepared beforehand, and have your ticket in your pocket for when they ask it of you, for without a ticket, you are going nowhere. Our ticket is what? Faith in Christ, our good works, love, philanthropy, showing compassion, whatever is good and beautiful.
I will end with a story. Once, there was a king who had the mindset of the Rich Man in today’s parable. He did not believe in the other world, he partied, wasted time, participated in orgies. In that palace, there was a court jester. What does this mean? They did not have theaters and movies back then, so they had jesters for entertainment. He made the king laugh with the jokes that he said. And he was part of his personal entourage. One day, the king told him: “Take this cane, and I give it to you like a prize. If you ever find someone more senseless, more ridiculous, more wretched than you, give it to him…” He kept the cane. After some years, the king got sick, and was bedridden. He called the doctors, nothing. He took medicine, nothing. He was approaching death. Then, the jester came to him for the last time. “King, what is going on?” he asked. “I am not well. I am leaving for a great journey,” he replied. “And when will you return? he asked.  “I will never return again.” “Have you made any plans, have you prepared?” “No.” “Then, I have found the most wretched one in the world. Take the cane!”
Because of this, my beloved, let us close our ears to the faithless, and let us believe what our Church tells us: “I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come. Amen” (The Creed) Let us be ready, wherever we are, for death, that we might go to the other world, where are the saints and the angels, and where is Christ, the King of the Ages. Amen.
+Bishop Avgoustinos
(preached in the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, Petron-Amyntaios, 10/30/1983; amateur translation of text from source)
  
Icon depicting the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!