Tuesday, August 20, 2019

St. Anatolios of Optina on the Best Fasting

Prayer before Christ (source)
  
"The best fasting is to endure whatever is sent to you by God."
-St. Anatolios of Optina

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

St. Iakovos of Evia: How to never fail to have God in your life

St. Iakovos of Evia (source)
  
St. Iakovos of Evia once told a pilgrim:
"Abstain from pride!
Abstain from condemnation!
Keep the faith and our holy things!
Then you will never fail to have God in your life!"

(source)

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

Friday, August 16, 2019

St. Silouan the Athonite: "She is our joy and our hope!"

The Most-holy Theotokos and Christ, "More Spacious than the Heavens" (source)
  
A remarkable and incomprehensible thing. [The Theotokos] lives in the Heavens and ceaselessly beholds the Glory of God, but she does not neglect us poor ones, and she embraces with her compassion the whole earth and all the faithful. This Spotless Mother of His the Lord gave to us. She is our joy and our hope!
-St. Silouan the Athonite

(source)

Most-holy Theotokos save us!

Archbishop Elpidophoros on Monasticism

Archbishop Elpidophoros meeting with Elder Ephraim of Arizona on his recent visit to the monastery (source)
  
A blessed and historic visit occurred by his Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America to the Holy Monastery of St. Anthony in Arizona, where he spoke to the Fathers on his love of Monasticism, relating his support of their work and giving them promises that he will be beside them as a Father at their every step.

In the photograph, his Eminence is seen meeting with Elder Ephraim, who sat with him for a while in the archontariki.

After the Divine Liturgy, the Abbot of the Monastery discussed the [hope for the] canonization of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, but also spoke on the meaning of Monasticism and its offering to the world, including America, throughout the centuries.

The Fathers of the Monastery welcomed the Archbishop, who thanked him for the effort that he made to come near them having just recently taken on his new responsibilities, relating their thanks for his interest in them and for his presence at the Holy Monastery of St. Anthony.

In his address, the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. Anthony mentioned the work of their Elder, Elder Ephraim of Arizona, and the miracle of Monasticism, for which he himself has suffered greatly, saying that they appreciate and hopeful that they will have the support of the Archbishop for the difficult work that is occurring in Arizona.

Having mentioned Elder Ephraim, a true son of the Venerable Elder Joseph the Hesychast, he expressed his faith that the Archbishop will support the work begun by their Elder.

Having mentioned Elder Joseph the Hesychast, he related that they look forward to the blessed hour when he will be canonized.

During his address, his Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros discussed his visits to Arizona, saying that it was the second time that he had come to Arizona and met with Elder Ephraim, noting that he had the blessing to hear spiritual words from his precious mouth, and came to know the brotherhood.

"This time, God has made me worthy to visit you as Archbishop of this beautiful Archdiocese, which is found to be the pinnacle of the Ecumenical Throne", said the Archbishop, while he also mentioned the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity [Halki], which was founded by the Great Patriarch Photios, of which he was the Abbot.

Reviewing the history of the Holy Monastery, the Archbishop mentioned how he himself, with the blessing of the Patriarch, began to create a brotherhood at the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, and spoke of the spiritual provisions and the asceticism and the tears of the Monks, which most likely will ultimately be that which will help to re-open the Theological School of Halki, together with all the rest that has occurred up till now.
  
Archbishop Elpidophoros arriving at the monastery (source)
  
"I entreat you, Fathers, to unite your spiritual efforts with those of the Holy Trinity of Halki, to create spiritual presuppositions that there might bear fruit again of the work of the Lord and give the Church clerics.

"The mystery of the Monastic and the Cleric is, if and to what degree, he is praying, if and to what degree he is communicating with the Lord," said the Archbishop.

"Here in Arizona, God blessed a holy Elder to come, your Elder, Elder Ephraim. He found a desert. America was not only a physical desert, but a spiritual desert thirsting, a desert that was seeking monasteries. The Elder came, and 'made the barren desert fertile'. The Good Sower [Christ], when He sows in the good earth, brings forth much fruit and increases. The Elder became a first-worker with the work of God, and bore the fruit of Monasticism in the barren land of the USA. He planted churches, monastics, which bring forth flowers and give fragrance to the USA.

"I came as Archbishop to express my thanks to Elder Ephraim who put forth many children, sons and daughters, in whom he can boast, and when the time comes for him to close his eyes, he can say: 'Master, now let Your servant depart in peace according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your Salvation.'

"Now that God has allowed him to be near us, and when the Lord wishes to take him near Him, we will all express our thanks and our respect for him and for his spiritual children.

"The Archdiocese will be the protection and support of all Monastics, all Abbots [and Abbesses], all the Fathers who have chosen this difficult life, for our Patriarch himself is a lover of monastics, and he loves monasteries, and, my mediocrity, as a spiritual child of our Patriarch, learned to love monasteries and to love and protect monasteries.

"I did not come to America as an Archbishop, but as an Abbot, of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Halki, bringing with me also the Fathers and the brotherhood.

"I also would like to live here in America like I did in Halki with my brotherhood, my spiritual children, and, if God desires, may I found my brotherhood outside the offices of the Archdiocese, in honor of my Protector, St. Iakovos Tsalikis of Evia.

"Beloved Fathers and holy Abbot, you should see in my person a fellow monastic, a brother, who always has his door open, so you may come visit, that we can pray together and liturgize together.

In this spirit, we are organizing a synaxis of the Fathers throughout all America, and every year we will have it at a different monastery, that we might embrace our monasteries, that strengthen our faith and our tradition and our Hellenic conscience. May the Lord bless you."
(source)
  
Archbishop Elpidophoros blessing the people in the Katholikon (Source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Elder Ephraim of Arizona on the Dormition of the Theotokos

The Dormition of the Theotokos (source)
  
A Transition to Life: The Dormition of the Mother of God
by Elder Ephraim of Arizona
Every time we celebrate the Dormition of the Mother of God, it’s as if we’re having Easter – the Easter of the summer. Our Lady the Mother of God prepares Easter for us. A glorious crossing “from death to life”. A second Easter, holy spotless, life-giving for the human race, because today “the laws of nature are overcome”.
  
“How the source of life goes towards life, passing through death”, says Saint John the Damascene. The death of the life-giving Mother of the Lord transcends the concept of death, so that it’s not even called death, but “dormition” and “divine transition” and an emigration and immigration towards the Lord. And even if it’s called death, it’s a life-bringing death, since it transports to a celestial and immortal life.
  
The transition of the Mother of God, as an indisputable fact preserved by sacred Tradition, has been incorporated into the teaching of the Orthodox Church and has nothing to do with the ­­­­­pietistic beliefs of the Westerners concerning the conception without seed and life without death of the Virgin Mary.
  
The Virgin was the particular creation of God who surpassed all people and the angels. She is the only mortal ever to have lived a spotless life and to have become what is beyond the understanding of all reasoning beings- the Mother of God. Because she never sinned, never gave in to sensuous thoughts, it was proper that she lived on earth without the pains of the flesh, or illnesses. Even though she had a life-giving body, still, as a human being she was subject to the sickness of death and she did, in fact, die. But her body and soul were not separated from God. For a short time, the connection binding them together was loosed, as was the case with Christ.
  
After her death, her soul was united immediately with Christ. Because at the time of the Dormition of His Mother, attended by the celestial ranks of the angels and the saints, He took her holy soul, not merely to heaven, but “to His royal throne, to the heavenly Holy of Holies”, as John the Damascene tells us. And the life-giving and God-receiving* body of Our Most Holy Lady, after three days, was transported to the celestial realms, uncorrupt, to her Only-Begotten and beloved Son. In other words, we can speak of the resurrection of the Mother of God in the flesh. But this resurrection was not activated by Our Lady herself, but by her Son and God.
  
One witness of this resurrection/transportation of the Mother of God was the Apostle Thomas, who had not been present at her interment. He arrived late, as usual- three days late, in fact- and requested the other apostles to open the grave, only to find that the God-glorified body was not there. They did, however, see the Mother of God ascending into the heavens and giving the Apostle Thomas her Precious and Holy Belt, as proof of her ascension, rather in the same way as Christ allowed the same apostle to touch His wounds after the Resurrection.
  
The body of Our Lady – like that of her Son – did not undergo any corruption in the grave, that is it was not altered, it did decompose into the material elements that constituted it. In any case, since Christ’s resurrection, the bodies of many of His saints have not decayed and have become, in part, undecomposed relics. How much more reasonable it is that the God-receiving body of the Mother of God would not decay.
  
Saint Andrew of Crete says that the fact that the Mother of God did not lose her virginity at Christ’s birth had, as its natural concomitant, that her body did not decompose at the time of death. “The birth avoided despoilment and the grave did not accept decomposition”.
  
After her Dormition, Our Lady the Mother of God became the mother of the new creation, the Church of Christ. Because she had the central position in the dispensation of salvation, since it was from her that the Head of the Church, the Lord, took His human flesh. Now, in the celestial Church, she has the fullness of Grace and glory and boldness. She has become the benefactress of the whole of nature and creation, which is why all creation venerates her as Lady and Maiden and Queen and Mother of God.
  
Through the Mother of God and because of her, the history of the whole world entered another orbit, incomparably more magnificent and superior to what had existed before her. No creature could have or could ever be more perfect than her, nor could she have been more perfect than she was. According to the Fathers, there are three things that Almighty God could not have made more perfect: the incarnation of the Divine Word, the Virgin Mother of God and the bliss that the saved will enjoy.
  
After the resurrection of Christ, Our Lady was the support of the apostles and of the newly-founded Church of Christ. She taught the new Christians, guided them and consoled them in their sorrows. In the expanded version of her Life, we read that the Archangel Gabriel visited her three days before her Dormition, as he had done at the Annunciation, and told her of her glorious transition from death to life. The Holy Spirit, in miraculous wise, then gathered all the apostles in Gethsemane, in the house of the Mother of God, so that they could be present at her interment and take her blessing. After they had lauded the greatly-praised Mother of God, they asked her to pass on to them a final teaching, as a legacy. The Mother of God then told them a parable, in which this world was compared with a trade fair at which whoever does best at trading will be the who gains the greatest profit. She went on to explain that so it is also in matters of the spirit. Whoever observes Christ’s commandments with the greatest zeal and heed will gain the greatest profit and will be glorified more greatly in the kingdom of heaven. And she urged them to persist in the “good fight”.
  
And, indeed, how greatly pleased Our Lady is when she sees us struggling for our salvation. What satisfaction this brings her! And she herself, while on earth, how hard she struggled in her quiet way- though, since she was sinless, there was no need for her to do so- so as to leave us with an example of perfect asceticism. After her dormition, they found in Gethsemane where she lived, slabs where had preformed her prostrations and they were deeply indented from all the wear and tear she had subjected them to.
  
Let us also imitate her direct obedience, her endearing humility, her secret, internal, spiritual effort, her ardent prayer, the constant watchfulness which she showed, her divine love, and the spiritual pain she felt as a knife at the Cross of her Son.
  
To those who struggle, she becomes a “supportive ally”, even if they have previously lived prodigal lives. Let’s remember that the Mother of God “stood bail” for Mary the Egyptian after the latter’s repentance. And when Saint Mary retreated into the desert to take on her relentless struggle, Our Lady herself consoled her with her divine appearances.
  
As novice-mistress of monastics, the Mother of God is also the provider of divine gifts to them, especially those on the Holy Mountain. It was she who gave the gift of the prayer of the heart to Saint Maximos Kavoskalivis, Gregory Palamas, Silouan the Athonite and also to the late Elder Iosif the Hesychast, who is directly linked to our brotherhood. Another reason why today is of particular importance to us who are the spiritual grandchildren of Elder Iosif the Hesychast is that it was on this day, in 1959, that he fell asleep in the Lord. He loved Our Lady very much- our sweet little mother, as he called her- and he received so many insights, divine appearances and gifts from her. And, indeed, one particular characteristic of the blessed Athonite Fathers is their love of the Mother of God. At the sound of her name, they were unable to restrain their tears which came from pure love for the Virgin Mother. Merely on hearing her name, a soul that loves God is moved to wonder, gratitude and  thankfulness. So even the recollection of the Mother of God, that is recalling the person of Our Lady to the mind, sanctifies the person who does this. The late Fr. Athanasios Iviritis used to say that love of the Mother of God saved people, even if they didn’t have any works to show.
  
People today have to use the mediation of the Mother of God, which is for our salvation. In every one of our sorrows and problems we mustn’t forget “the help of the saddened, the protectress, defender, comfort of the faint-hearted”, to whom we can have recourse and find consolation, immediate release and response. We pray that Our Lady the Mother of God, who has been “transported to Life”, will always give her blessing to all of us, so that we may spend the present life as safe and sound as possible from the deceits and wiles of the Evil One, and that she will make us worthy of the heavenly kingdom of her Son. Amen.
  

* The first Friday after Easter, a feast of the Mother of God, is often referred to in English, as that of the Life-Giving Spring. In fact this should be, Life-Receiving Spring. The most likely explanation, perhaps is a lapsus calami on the part of a translator, who read ζωοδότος for ζωοδόχος.
  
  
The Dormition of the Theotokos (source)
  
Most-Holy Theotokos save us!

"The Most Holy Mother of God prays for us ceaselessly..."

The Most-Holy Theotokos "The Container of the Uncontainable" (source)
  
"The Most Holy Mother of God prays for us ceaselessly. She is always visiting us. Whenever we turn to her in our heart, she is there. After the Lord, she is the greatest protection for mankind. How many churches there are in the world that are dedicated to the Most Holy Mother of God! How many healing springs where people are cured of their ailments have sprung up in places where the Most Holy Theotokos appeared and blessed those springs to heal both the sick and the healthy! She is constantly, by our side, and all too often we forget her.”
-Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

(source)
  
Most-holy Theotokos, save us!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Akathist to St. Herman of Alaska

St. Herman of Alaska (source)
  
Akathist to St. Herman of Alaska
  

Kontakion 1

O Chosen Doer of Wonders, most glorious favorite of Christ, our God bearing Father Herman, Alaska's adornment, the joy of all Orthodox in America. We sing to you, our heavenly protector and powerful intercessor before God, these songs of praise. Cease not to pray for your children, who cry fervently to you:
Rejoice our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders.
  

Ikos 1

The Creator of the Angelic Hosts, called you, Father Herman, to proclaim the Orthodox faith in the new land and to be the founder of the monastic way in the remote lands of the North. You were sent, as was the Apostle Paul, to those sitting in darkness so that the light of Orthodoxy might brightly shine to all the ends of the world. We, the inhabitants of the American continents, bring you this thanksgiving and sing this song of praise to you, our heavenly protector:
Rejoice, our Father Herman, our glory, our adornment;
Rejoice, bringer of the light of the true faith to our lands;
Rejoice, gatherer of your own glory by your great spiritual effort;
Rejoice, most honored branch of Valaam Monastery;
Rejoice, praise and joy of the Church in America;
Rejoice, comforter and protector of all of us;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 2

In your early youth, O Blessed One, enkindled by the flame of love for the Lord, you desired to serve God and Him alone. As an offering, you dedicated your youth to God, beginning your journey from the hermitage of Valaam, where many novices sang ceaselessly to God: Alleluia!
  

Ikos 2

The Most High granted you spiritual wisdom in your youth that you might know the beauty and sweetness of heaven. For this reason, the wise Igumen Nazary, teacher of the blessed Seraphim of Sarov, taught you God's wisdom and the Lord's way. Therefore, the Holy Church praises you:
Rejoice, glorious Herman dedicator of your youth to Christ;
Rejoice, disciple together with Seraphim of Sarov;
Rejoice, performer of spiritual labors in glorious Valaam;
Rejoice, honored by all the brethren of Valaam Monastery;
Rejoice, learner of spiritual wisdom in Valaam;
Rejoice, glorified now by the Orthodox Church;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 3

The power of the Most High directed the divinely-wise primate of the Church in Russia, Gabriel, to send preachers of the Orthodox Faith to Alaska. The apostolic choice fell on you, O Blessed Herman, therefore, all the people enlightened by the Light of Christ through your labors and the personal example of your life, sang to the Lord: Alleluia!
  

Ikos 3

Showing great zeal not only in your spiritual labors as a novice, but also in your Apostolic fervor as you preached to a people sitting in darkness, you, O Blessed Herman, revealed the light of Christ to them with great power. Remembering your labors as a novice and your efforts to preach; with love we praise you:
Rejoice, uncomplaining giver of obedience to your Igumen;
Rejoice, beginner of a long journey to preach;
Rejoice, steadfast in your love for the land of your birth;
Rejoice, inflamed with love for your new found home;
Rejoice, initiator of the monastic way in America;
Rejoice, zealous preacher of the Orthodox Faith;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders.
    

Kontakion 4

O Blessed Father Herman, you endured storms of evil attacks and sorrows, by your efforts you persevered in this new land. Therefore, Christ glorified you with the gift of foresight, enriching you with miracles, granting you the Kingdom of Heaven where, together with the angels, you praise God in song: Alleluia!
  
St. Herman of Alaska (source)
  

Ikos 4

Hearing of the miracles revealed to your people when a forest fire and tidal wave were made to cease by your prayers, we implore you from the depths of our hearts and entreat you to aid us who call to you:
Rejoice, ascetic and prophet glorified by God;
Rejoice, holy favorite of God;
Rejoice, our intercessor and healer;
Rejoice, helper of many who called out to you;
Rejoice, healer of many afflicted and suffering;
Rejoice, our merciful and humble Father;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 5

O Blessed One, you have shone like the North Star on Spruce Island, the New Valaam, illuminating all of America with the brightness of your love and prayer, full of God's power, so that from every corner of it the Orthodox people will sing fervently to God: Alleluia!
  

Ikos 5

Observing your humility, all are in awe of you, O Father Herman, for your rigorous asceticism and perseverance in monastic struggles. In this you followed the example of Anthony of the Caves, the founder of monasticism in Russia, even as he that of Anthony the Great, first monk of the world. You, the founder of monasticism in our land, chose in your great humility the way of a simple monk. Therefore, the holy choir of hierarchs and hieromonks sings these songs of praise to you:
Rejoice, founder of monasticism in our land;
Rejoice, imitator of Anthony the Great and Anthony of the Caves;
Rejoice, crowned, as they were, with heavenly glory;
Rejoice, promising the building of a glorious hermitage where you labored;
Rejoice, giver of your relics to your hermitage;
Rejoice, revealing a source of miracles from them to all the world;
Rejoice, our Blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 6

The wilderness of the North proclaims your works and miracles, revealing you to be a new branch of the vineyard of the Church of Russia in America. The forests and wilderness are permeated with your prayers. Following the example of the ancient hermits, you cried out in the silence of the night to God: Alleluia!
  

Ikos 6

You enlightened the people who were living in darkness; you showed them an example of the monastic way of life. O our Godbearing Father Herman, pray that we all, giving thanks to the Lord, may ceaselessly sing you these words of praise:
Rejoice, first saint of our land;
Rejoice, founder of the monastic way in our land;
Rejoice, faithful servant of the Holy Trinity;
Rejoice, humble founder of the church of the Resurrection;
Rejoice, glorious hermit of the hermitage of Spruce Island;
Rejoice, loving father of the children who came to him;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 7

The Lord chose you, O Blessed One, to bring the light of the knowledge of God to the land of the Aleuts and there to sow the seeds of the Orthodox faith. You taught all to embrace the true faith and to call out to God: Alleluia.
  
St. Herman of Alaska (source)
  

Ikos 7

You reached the heights through prayer, O Blessed One. You did not forget those who were in the depths of the earth. You manifested great concern for homeless orphans, building an orphanage and a school for them. You taught them the commandments of the Lord. Therefore, because of these labors, accept from us these praises:
Rejoice, defender of the poor and orphaned;
Rejoice, their good protector;
Rejoice, builder of a home for the orphaned;
Rejoice, servant to God with your labors;
Rejoice, provider of earthly bread to the orphaned;
Rejoice, nourisher of orphans with words of eternal life;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 8

The Lord who loves mankind, O Blessed One, gave you the gifts of foresight and healing in His desire to manifest through you a source of compassion for his people. You brought them to the love of God through your works and many words of instruction. Enlightened by the light of your spiritual labors, the people called to the Lord: Alleluia!
  

Ikos 8

The people newly illumined by the light of the Christian Faith came to you in times of illness and sorrow. As a father who loved his children, you interceded for all, bringing forth healing and comfort to all who came to you for help. Your glory has gone forth throughout all Alaska and we, your spiritual children, glorify you:
Rejoice, our merciful father;
Rejoice, our unmercenary and gracious physician;
Rejoice, merciful healer of our infirmities;
Rejoice, our speedy helper in time of trouble and need;
Rejoice, foreseer of coming events as of the present;
Rejoice, perceptive reprover of hidden transgressions;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 9

O Blessed One, you spoke with angels, according to your own testimony, relating how the angels came to you in your hermitage and you had sweet conversation with them. Now you are in the Kingdom of Heaven where with hosts of angels you pray ceaselessly to the Creator of all and the Maker of this praise: Alleluia!
  

Ikos 9

Who can enumerate the miracles witnessed by your people? The waves of the sea and a fire in the forest were calmed by your prayers. When there was a great tidal wave, you caused the stormy seas to cease by your prayers before the icon of the Mother of God, saying: "The water shall not go beyond this line." Therefore, we sing to you thus:
Rejoice, wondrous pacifier of the waters;
Rejoice, most glorious savior from a forest fire;
Rejoice, savior of the hierarch Innocent who called to you from the sea;
Rejoice, because of his prayer to you the wind at sea changed;
Rejoice, revealer of many miracles during your life;
Rejoice, revealer of many miracles even after your death;
Rejoice, our Blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 10

We bring to you a song of praise, O blessed father, concerning your righteous life. We sing praises of your honored death. You foreknew the day and hour of your blessed end. Most glorious also was your burial. For forty days a great storm raged at sea and your prophecy concerning your burial was fulfilled. Your disciple Gerasim, sensing a wondrous fragrance at the time of your death, sang to God: Alleluia!
  

St. Herman of Alaska (source)
  

Ikos 10

You were a most glorious doer of wonders during your life, O Father. At your death you manifested this wondrous miracle: your body remained incorrupt in the chapel for many days after your death. The Aleut people who saw a flaming pillar ascending to Heaven at the hour of your death, sang to you thus:
Rejoice, for your righteous end has assured us of your holiness;
Rejoice, for your ascension to Heaven was like a pillar of fire;
Rejoice, for your relics exuding an odor of sanctity are left as our inheritance;
Rejoice, for many miracles are made manifest at your reliquary;
Rejoice, giver to us of a source of holy water and healing;
Rejoice, for from this water many who are afflicted received healing;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 11

O Holy Father, from your hermitage in the North, in the midst of the wilds of nature, you sang ceaseless praises to the Holy Trinity. Moved by the Spirit you foresaw the great flowering of this vineyard planted in the soil of America and you called out with the angels of Heaven: Alleluia!
  

Ikos 11

To all future members of the monastic order, you are a source of light and illumination. For you foretold, O Blessed One, the founding of a monastery and of an archbishop's throne in this land. Today a choir of hierarchs and of monastics glorifies you in these words:
Rejoice, instructor of monastics and converser with angels;
Rejoice, most glorious founder of the ascetic way in our land;
Rejoice, foreseer of the growth of this great vineyard of Christ;
Rejoice, fulfillment of this prophecy to the coming generations;
Rejoice, giver of a true image of the monastic way;
Rejoice, for your love is made manifest to all;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 12

Seeing your grace and your great boldness before God, we entreat you, O blessed father Herman, to pray fervently to the Lord, that He will protect His Holy Church from faithlessness and schism, from false teaching and willfulness, that we may sing to God Who has dealt bountifully with us: Alleluia!
  

Ikos 12

We praise your glorification, O Blessed One, we bless you, O most powerful Intercessor and Protector of our Church, and with love we sing to you:
Rejoice, protector of all who honor you;
Rejoice, speedy responder and helper to all;
Rejoice, founder of Orthodoxy in our land;
Rejoice, strengthener of those who come to the Orthodox Faith;
Rejoice, most glorious protector of the Church in America;
Rejoice, her first saint and her wondrous Father;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 13

O Most glorious favorite of God, Our Blessed Father Herman, Accept this humble prayer we offer up in praise to you. Standing now before the Throne of the Almighty Lord, ceaselessly pray for us. In joy we sing to God:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
(Repeat Kontakion Thirteen 3 times)
(Then continue below)
   
St. Herman of Alaska (source)
     
Ikos 1
The Creator of the Angelic Hosts, called you, Father Herman, to proclaim the Orthodox faith in the new land and to be the founder of the monastic way in the remote lands of the North. You were sent, as was the Apostle Paul, to those sitting in darkness so that the light of Orthodoxy might brightly shine to all the ends of the world. We, the inhabitants of the American continents, bring you this thanksgiving and sing this song of praise to you, our heavenly protector:
Rejoice, our Father Herman, our glory, our adornment;
Rejoice, bringer of the light of the true faith to our lands;
Rejoice, gatherer of your own glory by your great spiritual effort;
Rejoice, most honored branch of Valaam Monastery;
Rejoice, praise and joy of the Church in America;
Rejoice, comforter and protector of all of us;
Rejoice, our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders. 
    

Kontakion 1

O Chosen Doer of Wonders, most glorious favorite of Christ, our God bearing Father Herman, Alaska's adornment, the joy of all Orthodox in America. We sing to you, our heavenly protector and powerful intercessor before God, these songs of praise. Cease not to pray for your children, who cry fervently to you:
Rejoice our blessed Father Herman of Alaska, America's most glorious doer of wonders.
  

St. Herman of Alaska (source)
     
Prayer to St. Herman of Alaska
O most wondrous, favorite of God, our blessed Father Herman, as a good laborer you did your great spiritual work in a harsh climate in this land. In your service to God, you were faithful in the little things. And, as the Lord said: "You have been faithful over a little, I well set you over much." Now, when this word has been fulfilled in you, the Lord has set you over our whole Church, as her heavenly protector. We all call to you in fervent prayer: Entreat the Lord to keep our Holy Church steadfast in Orthodoxy and to reveal her to be an adornment of our land.
May He protect her from all the dark powers of the enemy and drive out all adversaries. May He grant us purity of faith and beauty of soul. Pray He will grant us all the spirit of peace and love, the spirit of humility and meekness and drive out the sin of pride. Save us from self praise.
Be our guard from false teachings. Give healing to the sick; to the sorrowful be a comfort. To those who hunger for spiritual truth, give the heavenly food; that we may attain our true desire, and receive the good reward at the final Judgment. With all the saints we will praise with song: the Life creating Trinity, the Ineffable Father, the True and Only-Begotten Son, the Comforter, Holy Spirit, for ever.
Amen.
(source)
  
St. Herman of Alaska (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Elder Sophrony on the Light of Christ's Transfiguration

The Holy Transfiguration of Christ (source)
  
"Behold, the bright cloud covered them, and behold, a voice from the cloud said: This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him." (Matthew 16:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35)

Today, on the occasion of the great festival of our Church, a festival which corresponds with the depth of our approach, as we come close to the end of our earthly life, and is not only not diminished, but ceaselessly increases in power and grandeur within us, forgetting, in some manner, our weakness, we are so bold to speak about the inapproachable and never-setting Light that shown on Mount Tabor.

I entreat you, look away at this hour from my nothingness--close your eyes to my unlettered and ungainly word, and instead, if it were possible, perceive me as one of the protectors of Mount Ephraim, that cried out: "Rise up, and let us ascend to Sion towards our Lord God."

And besides all of these, we are poor in spirit. Within the bounds of the earth there is insatiable hunger and unquenchable thirst for the knowledge of God, for our struggle is to reach the Unapproachable, to behold the Invisible, to come to know Him Who is found beyond any knowledge.

This momentum increases ceaselessly in every man, when the Light of the Godhead is pleased to shine upon him, albeit somewhat dimly in His approach, for therefore to our noetic eyes is revealed in what abyss we remain. This vision astonishes the whole person, and then the soul does not know rest and cannot find it, until it is freed fully from the darkness in which it is held, until it is filled with the Insatiable Food, until that Light increases in the soul and is united together with it, until Light and soul become one, proclaiming beforehand of our vision of Divine glory.

The Transfiguration of the Lord serves as the firm foundation of our hope for the transformation of our whole life--which now is full of struggle, afflictions, fear--into a life that is incorrupt and God-like. In these, this ascent to the high Mountain of the Transfiguration is linked with great struggle."
  
(from a Sermon on the Transfiguration of the Lord and the Taborean Light, by Elder Sophrony Sakarov, (source))
 
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

"Your light has sanctified the whole world..."

The Transfiguration of Christ (source)
  
Your light has sanctified the whole world, as you were transfigured upon the high mountain, O Good One, showing Your power to Your Disciples, that You might deliver the world from transgression. Therefore we cry out to You: O Compassionate Lord, save our souls.
-Idiomelon of the Litia from the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ

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

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Church of Greece appoints Day for the Protection of the Unborn Child

The Theotokos greeting Elizabeth, and the Precious Forerunner bowing to Christ in their wombs (source)
  
Church of Greece appoints Day for the Protection of the Unborn Child
On July 9th, 2019 the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece decided to formally address the issue of abortions in the country. The movement "Let me live" was received with joy and gratefulness, and they appointed the First Sunday after Christmas (on which the Church reads the Gospel of the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents by Herod), as a day dedicated to the protection of the life of the Unborn Child. They mention specifically that: "Faithful to the Word of the Gospel and the Tradition of our Orthodox Church, [the Church] proclaims the truth, that the unborn child is a person, an icon of God, from the moment of conception, and she struggles for the protection of its life unconditionally and without presuppositions."
(source)
   
Icon of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes on St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr

St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (source)
  
Metropolitan Avgoustinos Kantiotes on St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr: He was cast out due to jealousy
"For he knew that for envy they had delivered him" (Matthew 27:18)

My beloved, we are honoring the holy memory of the Great Martyr Panteleimon. Our topic will be the question: What was the reason that St. Panteleimon was persecuted? To this we will give a short response.

St. Panteleimon lived and struggled during the era of persecutions, when the Roman Emperor was Diocletian. He was born in Nicomedia of Asia Minor. His father was an idolater, but his mother was from the women who planted deeply into the heart of their children their faith in Christ. Therefore, she taught St. Panteleimon the truths of the faith.

He was well-sown. He had a call towards learning. He studied medicine near noted scientists. He became an exemplary physician. There were many physicians then, like there are today. However, it is rare today to find a Christian physician. The majority are faithless, materialists. And these have no worth; may God protect you from falling into their hands.

St. Panteleimon differed from them. In what way did he differ? He differed in three ways.

First, regarding money. They were lovers of money. They charged their patients a lot and became rich. St. Panteleimon was unique, a man of ideology. He used science as a mission. He was seen at night visiting huts [of the poor and sick] like an angel. While the others went only to the houses of the great ones, he went to the houses of the poor and served the sick.

And a second way in which he differed from the others. As a famous Greek university professor once said, physicians frequently study medicine like veterinary medicine, and many doctors act like veterinarians. They don't see anything else beyond veins, bones, flesh, ribs, hearts and lungs. Man of course is these, but behind this is something invisible. There is a "little motor", which moves the biological body, and there is the existence of man. And the doctor, when he doesn't see this "little motor", is blind, and is not in the position to perform his work. This "little motor" is the spiritual factor, the soul of man. A multitude of experiments and observations have shown that the soul with the passions, feelings, conscience and impulse greatly impacts the body. There is an interconnectedness between body and soul. This is what our Church chants during the 15-days of August, and which is scientifically correct: "From the great multitude of my sins, ill am I in body, ill am I also in soul..." (from the Small Paraklesis to the Theotokos). And both are sick but the root of evil is sin. Therefore, St. Panteleimon made the correct diagnosis. He saw that, when the soul is freed from guilt, the body is given life, and man breathes deeply. Many illnesses (apoplexies, heart attacks, cancer) have as their cause the spiritual world. Some bitterness from remorse or from slander or from divisiveness or from injustice or anxiety waters the body with poison.
  
St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (source)
  
So he differed first for not taking money, secondly because he saw man as a psychosomatic whole, and thirdly, for besides the other medicines which the other physicians had, St. Panteleimon had a rare and unique medicine, and this was the faith. He believed deeply. Because of this, together with medicines from herbs from the earth that he gathered, he knelt next to the pillow of the sick, praying, and--let the faithless disbelieve it, we believe it--the sick man was healed. And to this day, we see the sign of the Cross in clinics, hospitals and healing centers. How truly awesome a thing is the power of faith, a medicine of healing for bodily and spiritual illnesses.

This was St. Panteleimon. And because of this, his healing center was marked every day with a line of sick people, while they did not go to the other physicians of Nicomedia anymore. This being passed over, however, enflamed the hearts of his colleagues with the yellow lamp of jealousy. They were jealous of him, they hated him. They saw that, as long as he was a physician in Nicomedia, they would have to change careers because everyone was hastening to St. Panteleimon. And the sick, who themselves were loosing hope, found their healing near him. Behold therefore the cause of jealousy. Because of this they cast him out. They hated him from the beginning. With what slander did they do so? As an unmercenary? As one taking advantage of people? As an adulterer? As a fornicator? As a dangerous person? As a criminal? None of these things. If they condemned him with these during that decadent regime, it wouldn't work. They condemned him with a condemnation that took hold. Isn't that how it is, that the slanders of the faithful change in every age? Sometimes they use slander A, other times B, other times C. I will not dwell on this, I will just mention that, from the time...with various slanders, with foolish things the jealous attack the worthy men to discredit them--though at the heart of the matter, they don't believe the slanders--and people are no longer judged according to proper and steadfast criteria (ethically), but according to other criteria (politics).

They condemned him therefore with the condemnation of that era that was so devastating: that he was a Christian. And this condemnation led man to dash him to pieces. He was seized, led before rulers, confessed his faith with boldness, suffered all kinds of martyrdom, and thus, his holy soul flew to the heavens like a wholly-white dove to dwell in the heavenly mansions, in order to rejoice together with the Holy Angels and Archangels.

Behold, my beloved, the cause of the persecution and the martyrdom of St. Panteleimon: jealousy.

O jealousy, a great and abyss of a passion! It is a worm and viper that consumes the bowels of he who is jealous, but is also the grave of great men. Terrible are its consequences. If we open the holy stories, we will see that, from the beginning, this was the destruction of the human race. "Out of the jealousy of the devil", says Solomon, "death entered into the world" (Wisdom of Solomon 2:24). Satan was jealous of the magnificence of man, and was filled with wrath against him. Because of this was the first blood spilled upon the earth, due to jealousy. Cain was jealous of his brother Abel and he murdered him "in the field" (Genesis 4:8). From jealousy Esau persecuted Jacob (ibid 27:41), the eleven children of Jacob persecuted Joseph the All-comely (ibid 37), King Saul persecuted David (I Kings 19:10), and a long line of holy men were snuffed out.

And we have examples from our own national history. Great men were snuffed out like the righteous Aristides in antiquity, Socrates who drank the poison, and in later years, Harilaos Trikoubes, etc.

But why do we need other examples? Cast your eye on the Praetorium and to Golgotha. "Which of these two do you wish that I release?" asked Pilate, "Barabbas or Jesus?" Everyone cried out together: "Barabbas". And the Evangelist notes psychologically: "This he did", Pilate, in other words, "for they delivered Him up out of envy." (Matthew 27:18) The envy of the Scribes and Pharisees, which were like fireflies quenched before the great sun that is Christ, led our Lord to Golgotha. Therefore, my brethren, it is a general rule. If there ever appears some person, some worthy personality, who would perform their duty, he will elicit envy and rouse up persecution. Meaningless people do not bother, those who offer help and give their lives to those around them, they are the ones persecuted. St. Paul said this: "All those who desire to live piously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (II Timothy 3:12). All those who believe in Christ will be persecuted, along with all those seek to live according to His commandments. It is their fate. All those living, either through his word or through his example, bring about an earthquake. However, this is an earthquake of salvation. Blessed are the communities who have such men, either in science or in the military or in politics or in the holy clergy, for they become the agents of the proper way.

Pray, my brethren, that the sickness of envy might be healed, that it might abandon you. And may our Lord, through the intercessions of St. Panteleimon, transform all our hearts, and may we go forth with virtue and love, to the glory of God. Amen.

+Bishop Avgoustinos

(Homily of Metropolitan of Florina Avgoustinos Kantiotes, delivered in the Holy Church of St. Panteleimon, Florina, 7/27/1976) (source)
  
St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

"She who loved Christ, the most beautiful..."

St. Paraskevi the Great Martyr (source)
  
She who loved Christ, the most beautiful, and through purity, was herself made beautiful in soul, and through all kinds of pains and trials approached Him as a spotless bride. Therefore, He made you worthy to dwell within His bridal chamber in the heavens, where you ever entreat Him, O All-praised Paraskevi, on behalf of those who honor you.
-Kathisma from Matins for the feast of St. Paraskevi the Great Martyr

(source)

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Akathist to Sts. Joachim and Anna the Ancestors of God

Sts. Joachim and Anna with their daughter, the Most-holy Theotokos (source)
   
Note: A wonderful edition of this beautiful Akathist is available from St. Paisius Monastery in Arizona. Please consider supporting their endeavors.
  
Akathist to the Holy and Righteous Joachim and Anna
For Blessed Married Life

Kontakion 1:
O holy and righteous Joachim and you Anna, the forbears of Christ, elect among the human race, who gave birth to the all-blessed, holy Maiden, of Whom the Son of God was born in the flesh! In that you have great boldness before Christ God and stand before His heavenly throne, earnestly entreat Him, that we may be delivered from misfortunes and thus may ever cry aloud to you: Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Ikos 1:
An angelic messenger was sent to you by God, O holy and righteous ancestors of God, when you both expressed your sorrow – You, Joachim in the wilderness, and you Anna in the garden – offering up supplication unto God. Thus the incorporeal one brought the joyful tidings that you would give birth to an all-blessed daughter, in whom the whole human race would be blessed. And with him we also offer you joyful praise:
Rejoice, branches of the vine of life who blossomed forth in holiness from the root of David!
Rejoice, you who gave birth to a daughter more blessed than all the generations of men!
Rejoice, most honored forbears of the incarnate Son of God!
Rejoice, most excellent disclosers of the mystery hidden from before time began!
Rejoice, closest relatives in the flesh to the Consolation of Israel!
Rejoice, blood relatives of the Savior Who was promised to the world!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 2:
Seeing himself belittled by the high priest in the Temple of Jerusalem because of his lack of children, the holy Joachim was sorely distressed. In bitterness of soul he withdrew to his flocks in the wilderness, and there he offered fervent supplication with tears, that the Lord grant that he might be called father by a child of his own. And thus he added fasting to prayer and in the contrition of his heart cried aloud to God Almighty: Alleluia!
  
Sts. Joachim and Anna embracing the Most-holy Theotokos (source)
  
Ikos 2:
Knowing the extent of her husband's grief, the holy Anna wept bitterly in her house and prayed that the Lord would remove from her the reproach of barrenness. And we, remembering the patience of the righteous ones, cry out:
Rejoice, O divinely chosen pair who gave birth to Her who would become the Mother of One of the Trinity;
Rejoice, you who produced an immaculate Mother for your creator!
Rejoice, you blessed pair who raised a Daughter who is most blessed among women!
Rejoice, you whom God heard amid your barrenness!
Rejoice, for your tearful entreaties passed up to heaven and reached the ear of the God of Israel!
Rejoice, for your temporal reproach has been transformed into eternal glory in heaven and on Earth!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 3:
Filled with the power of God, the angel of the Lord appeared to the holy Joachim in the wilderness and said to him, “God has heard your prayer and has been pleased to grant you His grace! Behold, Anna your wife will conceive and bear you a Daughter, who will be the joy of the whole world!” And having said these things the incorporeal one commanded him to return to the Temple of Jerusalem, where he would find his spouse praying, that with her he might also chant there the hymn of praise to the God of Israel: Alleluia!  
Sts. Joachim and Anna embracing Panagia (source)
  
Ikos 3:
Having great sorrow in your heart, O holy Anna, you entered the garden of your home, where your eye saw little chicks lying in a bird's nest in a tree, and you immediately added supplications to your prayers, that the Lord might permit you to become the mother of a child. And lo!! The angel of the Lord appeared to you, saying: “Your prayer has been heard, your sighs have passed beyond the clouds and your tears have come before God! Behold, you will conceive and bear an all-blessed Daughter, in whom all the peoples of the earth will be blessed, and through whom salvation will be given to the whole world! Her name will be Mary!” Mindful of these most angelic tidings, let us chant these things to the ancestors of God:
Rejoice, you who were chosen for ineffable glory!
Rejoice, you who walked blamelessly in all the commandments of the Lord!
Rejoice, you who received eternal consolation amid your fleeing sorrow!
Rejoice, you who were exalted beyond expectation by the right hand of God!
Rejoice, for your humility and tribulation the Lord remembered you!
Rejoice, for you were chosen to become the forebears of the Son of God!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 4:
Beset by a storm of doubt and perplexed by the angel's tidings to him, the righteous Joachim immediately set out for the city of Jerusalem, where he found before the gates of the Temple the holy Anna, greatly glorifying the Lord, who declared to him the joy of the angelic appearance and the prediction of her childbirth. Wherefore, when he had told his spouse of his own vision, he cried with her unto the Lord: Alleluia!
  
St. Anna holding the Theotokos (source)
  
Ikos 4:
When Anna's relatives and friends heard of her all-glorious conceiving, they glorified the God of Israel. And he divinely wise Anna promised the fruit of her womb to the service of God and offered up fervent thanks to the Lord. And singing with splendor the most glorious conception of the holy Maiden Mary, we say upon her blessed parents:
Rejoice, joyous heralds announcing to us the Redeemer Who is come into the world!
Rejoice, grandparents of God Who in His mercy assumed our form!
Rejoice, you who through your blessed Daughter provided flesh for the Word of God!
Rejoice, you who called the incarnate God your grandson!
Rejoice, worthy servants of the great mystery of piety!
Rejoice, most excellent means of God's condescension to men!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 5:
You were chosen to give birth in the flesh to the all-holy Birth-giver of God, the divinely radiant star who showed forth Christ God, the Sun of Righteousness, O most blessed Joachim and Anna, and have received the enviable title of Ancestors of God. At her holy birth heaven and earth rejoiced and the whole human race was sanctified, crying out to the God of Israel Who is wondrous in His Saints: Alleluia!
  
St. Anna embracing the Theotokos (source)
  
Ikos 5:
Looking as parents upon the Mother of the Creator, the holy Maiden Mary who was born of you, you reverently ministered unto her as the ark of God; wherefore, do not turn away from us who fall down before you in prayer and say:
Rejoice, you who were filled with radiant jubilation at the birth of the holy Maiden Mary!
Rejoice, you who were filled with delight at the sight of the holy Maiden!
Rejoice, you who were moved to compunction at the sound of her voice!
Rejoice, you who after these tidings were blessed by the high priest of God!
Rejoice, you who tended well the unblemished ewe lamb in your house!
Rejoice, you who received the Mother of the Lamb and Shepherd as your Daughter!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 6:
You were shown to be proclaimers of the wonders of God, O Saints, when you fulfilled your vow to God and with glory brought the three-year old holy Maiden Mary to the Temple of God, that She might abide there in the Holy of Holies; and for these things you hastened with joy to chant unto the God of your fathers, the glorification: Alleluia!
  
St. Anna embracing the Theotokos (source)
  
Ikos 6:
The divine Maiden shown forth like the full moon at Her honored entry into the Temple of the Lord and the angels marveled at Her beauty. And taken Her from your hands, O holy Joachim and Anna, the High Priest Zachariah led Her into the Holy of Holies with honor, for She was truly the living ark of God; and he blessed you as is proper with such praises as these:
Rejoice, you who have given birth to the universal joy of the human race!
Rejoice, you who have nurtured the cause of the restoration of mankind!
Rejoice, you who brought the living ark of God to the Temple of the Lord!
Rejoice, you who gave your holy Daughter to dwell in the Holy of Holies!
Rejoice, you who are revealed as the relatives of God who will become incarnate!
Rejoice, you who conversed with the angels!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 7:
Having fulfilled the desire of your soul and given your promise to God, O al-blessed Joachim, you departed this earthly life in holiness and righteousness, passing on to the Lord. Wherefore, we ask you to petition Him that we also may be counted worthy to receive a peaceful and unashamed end, crying out to Him: Alleluia!
  
Sts. Joachim and Anna embracing the Most-holy Theotokos (source)
  
Ikos 7:
You led a new and God-pleasing life in your widowhood, O holy Anna, abiding at the Temple of God and ministering to your all-blesses Daughter, wherefore, we praise you as a true and God-pleasing widow and the grandmother of Christ and with love we fervently honor you and your husband, Joachim the grandfather of God, and offer you such hymns as these:
Rejoice, you just ones whose righteousness shines like the sun forever!
Rejoice, you friends of the angels, who truly dwell with the Saints in the presence of God!
Rejoice, you who stand near to the throne of heaven!
Rejoice, you who have great boldness before Christ God!
Rejoice, adornment of the Church Triumphant in heaven!
Rejoice, good supporters of the Church militant on earth!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 8:
O holy and righteous Anna, having reached the end of your earthly journey, in the arms of your holy Daughter, the Birth-giver of God Mary, you slept the sleep of death and were transported unto God with hope; wherefore, glorifying your holy dormition, we entreat you, O most honored grandmother of God; When we also begin to fall into the sleep of death, beseech Christ the Savior that our soul may part gently from our body and escape the power of the demons, and that we may be granted eternal salvation, and may cry out to Him in the joy of the Saints: Alleluia!  
The first steps of Panagia, before her parents, Sts. Joachim and Anna (source)
  
Ikos 8:
The whole Christian world blesses you as is proper, O holy righteous and ancestors of God Joachim and Anna and in prayer glorifies your honored names. The Church of Christ celebrates your memory with splendor and offers hymns of praises unto you:
Rejoice, beacons who graciously illuminate the darkness of our souls!
Rejoice, you who mercifully look down upon mortals from the heavenly heights of your glory!
Rejoice, you who ever pray with Mary the Birth-Giver of God!
Rejoice, you who with great might move Christ God to mercy!
Rejoice, you who save from all misfortunes those who cherish faith and love for you!
Rejoice, you who deliver those who call upon your help in prayer from a violent and sudden death!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 9:
All the angels of God and the choirs of the Saints of God in heaven greet you, O holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna, and on earth the generations of men praise you with prayerful hymns and cry out to God in thanksgiving for your intercession: Alleluia!
  
Sts. Joachim and Anna, with Christ and the Most-holy Theotokos (Source)
  
Ikos 9:
Our eloquence does not suffice to praise you fittingly, O holy forbears of Christ; yet as you are merciful, do not reject our inadequate praises, but be fervent intercessors and advocates for us before the Lord, fulfilling the deficiency of our souls with your holy supplications, that we may cry out to you this hymn of thanksgiving:
Rejoice, mediators who win for us the joy and eternal glory we desire!
Rejoice, fervent advocates before the Lord who acquire temporal and eternal blessings for us!
Rejoice, you who by your intercession preserve the faithful from deadly pestilence!
Rejoice, you who by your supplications dispel mortal plagues!
Rejoice, you who by your mediation cause earthquakes and violent storms to cease and restore calm!
Rejoice, you who amid all tribulations and misfortunes hasten to our aid!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 10:
 O holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna, you have shown yourselves to be beneficial helpers of those who desire salvation of soul and diligently strive for this. Being called the guardians of monks and nuns, and offering unto God common supplication for all the faithful, that in thanksgiving into Christ the King of glory, Who has glorified you throughout the world, they all may cry out: Alleluia!
  
Sts. Joachim and Anna embracing at the Golden Gate (source)
  
Ikos 10:
With the bulwark of your prayers, O holy and righteous ancestors of God Joachim and Anna, preserve and protect us from the temptations of the diabolical who seeks the destruction of our souls; for we know that your petition before the face of Christ our God, your Grandson according to the flesh, is able to accomplish much. Never cease to make supplications to Him on behalf of all who with love honor you and cry aloud:
Rejoice, fruitful olive trees pouring forth the oil of the mercy of God upon us in abundance!
Rejoice, you two cypress trees of excellent foliage who turn the burning heat of our passions into the stillness of dispassion!
Rejoice, purple and fine linen of which the tabernacle of God's dwelling place was wrought!
Rejoice, turtle doves mated for life, who brought forth the immaculate dove!
Rejoice, you who reign eternally with your Daughter the Queen of all!
Rejoice, you who celebrate with Her in splendor in Her heavenly mansion in Sion on high!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 11:
Mercifully accept our hymns of praise and do not deprive us of your compassions, O holy Joachim and Anna, ancestors of Christ; for though we are unworthy of your holy intercessions because of our sins, yet as you are good and full of pity, grant it to us and help us to cleanse ourselves of defilement of sin through repentance, that in purity of heart we may chant unto our Creator the hymn of praise: Alleluia!
  
Sts. Joachim and Anna embracing the Theotokos (source)
  
Ikos 11:
O Brethren, let us recognize the holy ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna, as two radiant candles which lit the universal Lamp. Illuminated with the brightness of their heavenly glory, let us sing to them such words as these:
Rejoice, you were counted worthy to raise Her who is beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim!
Rejoice, you who were resplendent with heavenly brightness!
Rejoice, you who were filled with the sweet fragrance of the Spirit!
Rejoice, you who bear unto God the incense of your prayers for the whole Christian world!
Rejoice, you who ever stand before the throne of Christ with Mary the God-Bearer and John the Baptist!
Rejoice, you who stand near the throne of heaven!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 12:
O holy ancestors of God Joachim and Anna, ask the Lord that He grant us divine grace and mercy, forgiveness of sins and correction of life; and never cease to entreat the countenance of Almighty God in our behalf, in that you have acquired great boldness before Him. Falling down before you with fervor for this purpose, we beseech you as our true intercessors and helpers and with real compunction cry out to the Creator of all: Alleluia!
  
St. Anna embracing Panagia (source)
  
Ikos 12:
Singing of the great might of your intercessions before God, O righteous Joachim and Anna, we magnify Christ the Lord Who has magnified you; we sing also the praises of His all-immaculate Mother who was born of you; and in our zeal we offer you these right fitting praises:
Rejoice, you who are glorified from the East even unto the West!
Rejoice, O our protectors whose vigilance in intercession is never wavering!
Rejoice, you who grant your gracious help to every Christian soul!
Rejoice, you who fulfill the entreaties and petitions of the pious!
Rejoice, most excellent healers of the infirmities of soul and body who exact no fee!
Rejoice, most diligent and pleasing mediators who obtain for us temporal and eternal good things!
Rejoice, O holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, Ancestors of God!

Kontakion 13:
O holy and righteous ancestors of God Joachim and Anna! We entreat you with zeal and love, falling down before the footstool of your feet; we ask that you beseech the Lord God, that He will deliver us from the everlasting damnation prepared for sinners, that, saved by the loving-kindness of our God and aided by your holy prayers, we may sing in thanksgiving to Him the angelic hymn: Alleluia!

(Kontakion 13 is read 3 times, then read Ikos 1 è Kontakion 1)
  
Prayer to the Holy and Righteous Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna:
O ever-glorious and righteous forbearers of Christ, holy Joachim and Anna who stand before the heavenly throne of the great King and possess boldness before Him; He was well pleased to become incarnate of your all-blessed Daughter, the all-pure Birth-giver of God and Ever-virgin Mary. We, the sinful and unworthy, come to you as mighty intercessors and diligent advocates for us. Entreat His goodness, that He turn away His wrath from us, which we deserve because of our deeds and that, overlooking our countless transgressions, He may turn us to the way of repentance and set us firmly upon the path of His commandments. By your supplications preserve our life in peace. Ask that we may be successful in good things. By your intercession, may God grant to us all things necessary for life and piety and may He deliver us from all peril, misfortune and sudden death. May He allow us to live out our lives in peace and tranquility, in all piety and purity. Having thus passed from this transitory life in peace, we may attain unto everlasting rest, where by your holy entreaty, may we be granted the heavenly Kingdom of Christ our God, to Whom is due all glory, honor and worship with the Father and all-Holy Spirit, unto the ages of ages.
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St. Anna holding the Theotokos (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!