Thursday, January 31, 2019

Akathist to Sts. Emmelia, Nonna and Anthousa, the Mothers of the Three Hierarchs

Sts. Nonna, Emmelia and Anthousa, the Mothers of the Three Hierarchs: Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, commemorated after the Sunday of the Feast of the Presentation of Christ to the Temple (source)
  
Akathist to Sts. Emmelia, Nonna and Anthousa, the Mothers of the Three Hierarchs
  
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone. O Champion General.
The chaste Mothers of Basil, Gregory and John, let us praise with odes: Emmelia, Nonna and Anthousa, for they raised their children in piety, and together with them they rejoice and intercede for those who now cry out: Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.
  
Angels with men rejoice fervently at your divine Synaxis (3), and together, with odes they hymn Emmelia, faithful Nonna and Anthousa, standing before them in wonder before their radiant lives, crying out:
Rejoice, through whom joy has shinned forth,
Rejoice, through whom the faithful are radiant.
Rejoice, the restoration of fallen men,
Rejoice, the consolation of saddened souls.
Rejoice, compassionate Mother filled with mystical grace,
Rejoice, vessel of the pious life.
Rejoice, for you now take pasture with the Angels in heaven,
Rejoice, for you ceaselessly intercede to the Trinity.
Rejoice, for your received chaste light of grace,
Rejoice, for your wisdom shown forth to the ends of the earth.
Rejoice, through whom creation is gladdened,
Rejoice, through whom the Creator is glorified.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.

The multitudes of the Orthodox, beholding your life, and all your virtue that are most clearly revealed, cry out at your wondrous deeds surpassing nature, therefore they bend their knee and honor your person, O Mother, crying out: Alleluia.
  
St. Emmelia (source)
  
Being filled with knowledge in your life, O Mother Emmelia, you served in your home, therefore without glory but with great piety, you bore and raised ten children, who cry out to you things like these:
Rejoice, wise deliverer of those in dangers,
Rejoice, fervent prayer of faith.
Rejoice, ever-flowing spring of reverence,
Rejoice, lily of the grace of virtuous life.
Rejoice, ladder bearing up the faithful towards heaven,
Rejoice, most-fervent intercessor, bringing requests to Christ.
Rejoice, you who speak among the choirs of heavenly minds,
Rejoice, for you share the dwelling of the Venerable Saints.
Rejoice, radiant adornment of mothers,
Rejoice, example for families.
Rejoice, protector of the faithful home,
Rejoice, good worker of the Lord.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.
  
Divine power from heaven was sent by Him Who beholds all things, to enlighten your nous, full of knowledge and wisdom, in which God came to dwell, O Emmelia. Therefore, you ever hasten to pray to Him and ceaselessly chant: Alleluia.
  
St. Nonna (source)
  
Having your nous on the things above, you ceaselessly prayed, dissolving the bonds of barrenness, and you struggled ascetically, O Nonna, increasing the streams of your tears, fasting and continence, therefore we honor your pains, crying out:
Rejoice, branch of unfading root,
Rejoice, fruitful tree of the faithful.
Rejoice, myrrh-vessel of the virtues of the Spirit,
Rejoice, the most-divine praise of the faithful.
Rejoice, dwelling-place that estranged temptations,
Rejoice, wailing and pain towards the assaults of the demons.
Rejoice, for you pour forth the streams of healings,
Rejoice, the baptismal fount of your spouse.
Rejoice, fervent incense of intercession,
Rejoice, you who drive away satan the deceiver.
Rejoice, you who lead us towards salvation in God,
Rejoice, our entreaty towards Christ.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.

O Mother Nonna, you cast out troubling frenzy and dark and soul-destroying thoughts, cleansing your nous, and you teach mothers by both theoria and praxis to build up virtue and to be pleasing to God and chant: Alleluia.
  
Sts. Emmelia, Nonna and Anthousa (source)
  
Sekoundos saw you and took you as his wife, O Anthousa, who then bore John. But straightaway, as a young mother, you became a widow, but you continued to raise him in faith, praying for him, therefore we rightly cry out to you:
Rejoice, the offspring of Antioch,
Rejoice, the crown of a pious home.
Rejoice, the deliverer from various enemies,
Rejoice, good dwelling-place of the married life.
Rejoice, for the heavens rejoice with the earth,
Rejoice, for those on earth praise your life.
Rejoice, the God-inspired mouth of reverence,
Rejoice, you who bore the great weight of widowhood.
Rejoice, radiant support of the faith,
Rejoice, brave example of tender love.
Rejoice, through whom idols were removed from the earth,
Rejoice, through whom satan was deposed.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.
  
O Mother honored by God, sacred Anthousa, you were shown to be a pillar of chastity for the Antiochians, therefore, Livanios the Rhetor praised you as a Christian mother, as we cry out: Alleluia.
  
St. Emmelia (source)
  
You preached to all righteously, through your godly mind and your righteous deeds, and you were seen to be a philanthropist and a lover of your children, to whom the faithful, having received charity through you, O Mother Emmelia, hasten, saying with fervor:
Rejoice, radiant offspring of Caesarea,
Rejoice, glory of the pious faithful.
Rejoice, the censure of the deceitful demons,
Rejoice, the unwavering psalmody of the Trinity,
Rejoice, you who educated and raised your children in Christ,
Rejoice, you who taught faith and piety in God.
Rejoice, the unsleeping protector of your children,
Rejoice, you who with faith drove away the assaults of the deceiver.
Rejoice, divine preaching for the senseless,
Rejoice, you who make known meekness to the faithful.
Rejoice, tool of every divine virtue,
Rejoice, wise and motherly protection.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.
     
Your life became a preacher for Cappadocia, O Emmelia, wife and mother, therefore, together with your spouse, and your five children Saints, showing forth to the Church Basil the Great, while they chant unto God the hymn: Alleluia.
  
 St. Nonna (source)
  
The divine Nonna shown forth radiantly with piety, transmitting her faith to her children, whom she raised in a godly manner with good words and deeds, granting Saints to the Church of Christ, therefore we cry out to you tunefully:
Rejoice, uplifting of the pious,
Rejoice, healing for those ailing.
Rejoice, the unquenchable lamp of the Church,
Rejoice, the unspeakable glory of Nazianzus.
Rejoice, sea drowning the pains of temptations,
Rejoice, vessel pouring forth myrrh, watering the faithful.
Rejoice, fiery pillar of prayer with tears,
Rejoice, the protector of children and mother of Saints.
Rejoice, unending nourishment of the poor,
Rejoice, chaste boast of Mothers,
Rejoice, guide of the faithful towards truth,
Rejoice, from whom spring forth divine streams.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.
  
Remaining in church in prayer, O Nonna, God paradoxically loosed the bonds of barrenness, granting you three children straightaway, O Mother, and to Him Who granted them to you, you offered thanksgiving, crying out to the Fashioner: Alleluia.
  
St. Anthousa (source)
  
Bringing to mind Christ's victory over death, you were patient in your widowhood, O Anthousa, and you nurtured him with motherly tenderness together with godly words, therefore to you was granted that great Hierarch of Christ, who cries out:
Rejoice, the radiance of chastity,
Rejoice, the mother of truth.
Rejoice, the speedy deliverer of all,
Rejoice, the nourishment of prayerful mothers.
Rejoice, breath of the divine Spirit which refreshes the faithful,
Rejoice, most-radiant vessel which nourishes mortals.
Rejoice, you who direct the Antiochians to God,
Rejoice, the guide and protector of those of godly mind.
Rejoice, entreaty to the righteous Judge,
Rejoice, divine consolation for sinners.
Rejoice, Rejoice, holy stole of virtues,
Rejoice, desired food of Paradise.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.
  
Truly strange are the awesome and godly things that we see in you, O Anthousa, as you lived your life in holiness and chastity, and with endurance withstood everything, fasting and casting out the multitudes of demons, and chanting: Alleluia.
  
St. Nonna (source)
  
You became wholly illumined, and a vessel of God-pleasing prayer and of the Spirit, Who came to dwell within you truly,  O Nonna, and we wretched ones, coming to know the fullness of the Godhead through you, in faith cry out to you in hymns:
Rejoice, gate of the ineffable mysteries of God,
Rejoice, chaste pillar of chastity.
Rejoice, harshest censure of heretics,
Rejoice, the exceptional praise of the Orthodox.
Rejoice, cloud spread out above the road to the heavenly Sion,
Rejoice, mirror of the Spirit and dwelling-place in the heavens.
Rejoice, you who supported your brethren in pain,
Rejoice, you who led those deluded towards God.
Rejoice, through whom the enemies are driven away,
Rejoice, through whom are defeated those who war against us.
Rejoice, fulfiller of faith and motherhood,
Rejoice, firm exposer of satan.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.
  
All natures of Angels were astonished, beholding your life in the flesh equal to the Angels, for God Who is unapproachable, gave you truly wondrous grace, O Nonna, and after your repose, He showed you forth to all the faithful as one working wonders, for those who cry out: Alleluia.
  
St. Nonna (source)
  
You were shown to be wise before the rhetors of faithlessness, by your chaste life, for you led those deluded by heresy and the demons, O Mother, towards the light, preaching with faith, directing towards Christ, therefore we cry out to you:
Rejoice, treasury of the wisdom of God,
Rejoice, vessel of His graces.
Rejoice, two-edged sword against atheism,
Rejoice, ready blade against those of evil life.
Rejoice, for terrible heretics were deposed,
Rejoice, for in you the land of Antioch was gladdened.
Rejoice, divine adornment of all mothers,
Rejoice, speedy deliverer of those who pray to you.
Rejoice, radiance of the light of the Sun,
Rejoice, deliverance of faithful men.
Rejoice, you who made known the traps of satan,
Rejoice, you to whom was granted the Golden-tongued [Chrysostom].
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.
  
Save all through your prayers, O all-honored Mother, ceaselessly entreating the Lord, as we embrace your image with joy and all piety, and for the honor that we show you, you grant in return even greater things, for those who hymn you, O Anthousa, chanting: Alleluia.
  
Sts. Nonna, Anthousa and Emmelia (source)
  
Ranks of the Bodiless [Angels] counted your life and received your motherly spirit, for the Creator truly sanctified you, O Emmelia, Whom you pleased with pain, teaching the faithful to cry out to you:
Rejoice, O pillar of chastity,
Rejoice, O gate of compassion.
Rejoice, you who raised your children tenderly,
Rejoice, You who nursed them with godly milk.
Rejoice, for you taught them faith in Christ,
Rejoice, for you led them towards reverence to God in all things.
Rejoice, spouse of the priest Basil,
Rejoice, mother and all-joyous nourisher of Saints.
Rejoice, famed rejoicing of the faithful,
Rejoice, chaste nourishment of mothers.
Rejoice, speedy helper and deliverer,
Rejoice, fervent intercession towards the Master.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.

Receive these divine hymns, O Mother Emmelia, which we offer in faith, seeking that we be delivered from many temptations and trying circumstances, from passions and from the fires of hell, through your prayers to the Lord for those who cry out: Alleluia.
  
St. Emmelia (source)
  
You pleased the Light-giver and Master through your faithful life, O Nonna, together with your spouse, for in you dwelt the uncreated light, leading you towards perfect knowledge of God, therefore we proclaim Christ’s wonders and cry out to you:
Rejoice, boast of your fatherland and your race,
Rejoice, our mighty weapon.
Rejoice, you who touch pious souls with the Spirit,
Rejoice, the divine root of Nazianzus.
Rejoice, for you truly heal illnesses,
Rejoice, for you wondrously redeem from the wounds of the soul.
Rejoice, the prayerful defender and protector,
Rejoice, you who stand beside those who mourn with joy.
Rejoice, you who raised your children with tenderness,
Rejoice, seal of the faith in the Trinity.
Rejoice, divine lighthouse of the light of Christ,
Rejoice, unfading strength of the faithful.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.

O divine Emmelia, grant grace to those who in faith and hymns honor your icon, and grant to those with fervor holy and spiritual fruit, godly zeal for virtue, readiness towards repentance and a good defense before God, chanting: Alleluia.
  
St. Emmelia (source)
  
The divine members of the choirs of the faithful praise you, O Mother Anthousa, and we honor your feast, rejoicing and praying with vigilance, offering our entreaties which you receive, and you grant even greater things to those who hymn you:
Rejoice, divine stole of grandeur,
Rejoice, joyous pillar of chastity.
Rejoice, ark and temple of holiness,
Rejoice, treasury and vessel of divine grace.
Rejoice, defender of the faith and salvation of the faithful,
Rejoice, sacred boast of pious mothers.
Rejoice, the unassailable pride of the Church,
Rejoice, the greatly-fervent horn of the Orthodox.
Rejoice, through whom the world was illumined,
Rejoice, through whom Chrysostom has shown forth.
Rejoice, humble and living protector of the faithful,
Rejoice, the intercessor for the salvation of souls.
Rejoice, O godly Synaxis.

O choir of Saints, Anthousa, with Nonna and Emmelia, the lights among mothers (3), those who chant this ode to you, deliver from every trying circumstance, and intercede to God for the salvation of those who cry out in faith: Alleluia.

And again the Kontakion.
  
 
Sts. Emmelia, Nonna and Anthousa before their sons, the Three Hierarchs (source)
     
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesou: "Let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God..."

This is a wonderful talk (with English subtitles) by Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesou on the importance of hope and trust in the providence of God, summed up by the phrase from the Divine Liturgy: "Let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God..." (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

"Being transformed by paradoxical and divine nourishment..."

St. Tryphon the Great Martyr and Unmercenary (Source)
  
Being transformed by paradoxical and divine nourishment*, you joined table with the Angels, O blessed one, and he who shepherded geese in the valley, has proceeded towards God, being granted the grace of healings, O Great Martyr Tryphon, to heal the afflictions and illnesses of mortals.
-Exaposteilarion for the feast of St. Tryphon the Great Martyr
 
(source)
  
*Note: The name "Tryphon" means "food" or "nourishment".
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"Come, O worshippers of the heavenly Trinity, and let us praise the earthly trinity of divine Hierarchs..."

The Holy Three Hierarchs Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom (source)
  
Come, O worshippers of the heavenly Trinity, and let us praise the earthly trinity of divine Hierarchs: Gregory, the namesake of theology, Basil, who bears the name of the Kingdom, and John, whose name is truly filled with grace. They sail the deep of wisdom, and the streams of the ocean of the Spirit, and ever draw forth living water from the spring welling forth to [eternal] life, they shine forth like pearls, the rudder of the Church, the tree greatly-laden with fruit, the stewards of grace, the mouth of Christ, the defenders of the Trinity, from whom we immediately are enlightened, and who ceaselessly entreat on behalf of our souls.
-Idiomelon of the Litia for the Feast of the Three Hierarchs
  
(source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

"She put him on her shoulders and carried him..."

St. Xenia of St. Petersburg (source)
  
A recent miracle of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg
Right after the sanctification of the Church in honor of St. Xenia, in the 6th district of Klin, a woman named Ludmila came to the editorial office of ‘Orthodox Klin’ and told the following story about her father.
  
In 1946, when he was 14 years old, he started working at the brick factory, to work the diesel tractor. He was a tall, strong, muscular fellow.
  
Once they sent him to drive peat from the Golikov marsh to the brickyard on the tractor. Captive Germans loaded the peat.
  
And so, the trailer got stuck in the marsh mud. The next day, my father returned, with Serezha Nikitin from Talizi, on the tractor, taking a cable along to pull the trailer out of the marsh. My father took the cable, put it on the trailer device and stepped on it with his foot — he wanted to get into the cabin. But the tractor driver suddenly took off, the cable got hooked on the caterpillar track, his foot became trapped in a noose, which pulled his leg between the tractor’s body and the track. My father screamed: ‘Serezha, stop!’ but his friend could not hear. While falling, my father struck Sergey on the back with his hand, and only then the tractor stopped and went into reverse.
  
When he took the foot out of the boot, there was a lot of blood inside. The heel was like cotton wool. He told the tractor driver that he would walk home himself, but it was six kilometers to his house in Napurgovo. He made two steps vigorously, and fell. He began to crawl on his hands and knees. It was July, and hot. When he managed to crawl to the road, he went into shock. He lost consciousness from the loss of blood. When he came to, he took off his shirt, wrapped the foot with it, then threw it away. Then he took off his undershirt. He threw that away, too. He lost consciousness again. Whenever he came to, his vision was foggy. Then he came about, and he saw a woman, going toward the city. He called for help, cried, but she became frightened and passed him by. He lost consciousness again.
  
He came to, when someone touched him on the shoulder and he could not believe his eyes: he could see everything around him and he stopped feeling pain. In front of him, there was a small thin elderly woman, a little stooped, in a long black skirt, white kerchief, with a bundle and a cane.
  
She did not say a thing, doing everything silently. She put him on her shoulders and carried him. He was even surprised — how she carried him. But she carried him a little, then motioned that she was tired. My father thought that she was mute. He could not step on one foot, but he did not feel any pain. He motioned to her that she could take the cane in both hands, while he could follow her, by holding onto the cane and hopping after her on one leg. Thus they moved towards Klin, until they met some horse-drawn wagons. They laid him in one, and though it was going toward the village, the woman, motioning, persuaded that wagon to return to Klin, and then the woman disappeared. My father never saw her again. When he was brought to the clinic, 7 hours had passed from the moment that he fell under the tractor’s track. They made a splint, bandaged the foot and kept him in the hospital for 3 months.
  
My father is thankful to that woman to this day. She saved his life; otherwise he would have died from loss of blood. If she had not saved his life, Ludmila would not have been born. And this is what happened later. Once, Ludmila happened to buy the Akathist of Blessed Xenia of Petersburg. And, by chance, her father saw the image of St. Xenia on its cover. He was amazed to no end. ‘ I, — he said, — visited monasteries and churches all over Russia (he was a bus driver and drove people on excursions, including to sacred places), put candles in front of the icons and asked the Lord to give me a chance to meet that elderly woman and thank her. But I never met her. And here she is, on the picture – it is definitely she.’ Her father realized who had helped him. On the Nativity in 1998 he came to the church of his own volition, stood through the entire service, and kissed the Cross.
"Blessed St. Xenia helps me greatly in my life, too. — continued Ludmila. — I constantly feel her presence and the warmth, that she emits..’
  
Icon of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg from Sretensky Monastery (source)
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

An Orthodox Prayer for the Victims of Abortion

Icon of Christ and the Holy Innocents (source)


An Orthodox Prayer for the Victims of Abortion
O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, Who are in the bosom of the Father, True God, source of life and immortality, Light of Light, Who came into the world to enlighten it: You were pleased to be conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary for the salvation of our souls by the power of Your All-Holy Spirit. O Master, Who came that we might have life more abundantly, we ask You to enlighten the minds and hearts of those blinded to the truth that life begins at conception and that the unborn in the womb are already adorned with Your image and likeness; enable us to guard, cherish, and protect the lives of all those who are unable to care for themselves. For You are the Giver of Life, bringing each person from non-being into being, sealing each person with divine and infinite love. Be merciful, O Lord, to those who, through ignorance or willfulness, affront Your divine goodness and providence through the evil act of abortion. May they, and all of us, come to the light of Your Truth and glorify You, the Giver of Life, together with Your Father, and Your All-Holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
(source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

St. Iakovos of Evia: "For married people, your prayer ropes and prostrations are your children..."

Christ blessing the children (Source)
  
There was once a pious couple with nine children. The husband was very pious and a little overly-zealous as regards spiritual things.

By letter he said that he wanted to do everything like a monk. His wife complained to St. Iakovos of Evia that she was exhausted and that she wanted help. When they came to the Monastery of St. David, at night, while the children were crying and screaming, the wife also was crying because she was so tired...

The husband went to a chapel at the Monastery of the Holy Unmercenaries and was doing prostrations, praying the prayer rope and serving vigil.

The wife complained to St. Iakovos and she was right.

The next day, the Saint, as soon as he saw them in the courtyard of the Monastery, understood what was going on and that they were starting to fight amongst themselves.

The Saint spoke with sweet words and with discernment in order to comfort the pained and exhausted mother, and with discernment and a smile he said to the father: "I was proud of you last night. You chanted all night and prayed. Good job! But you would have had an even greater blessing and reward if you sat a half hour instead of three, near your wife helping her to feed the children and put them to bed, because for married people, your prayer ropes and prostrations are your children. When they grow up you will have time to do them, but "a brother is helped by a brother". Let everything be done by mutual consent."
(source)
  
St. Iakovos of Evia surrounded by children (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Elder Nikon of New Skete: "Show me your faith from your works..."

Excerpt from an interview with Elder Nikon of New Skete where he discusses faith, works and evangelism as regards the Christian faith (source)
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Eldress Makrina: "When we make our nous a Heaven..."

Jesus Christ Pantocrator, the Son of God, the Savior of the World (source)
  
When we make our nous a Heaven and our mouth a Church and we are patient, God will number us with the monastics of the end times, whom a saint has said will have greater glory than any monastics from any other age. This is because today there are no virtuous guides as examples and everyone struggles alone as he is able. We need to protect our eyes and our ears and ceaselessly pray in order to have the grace of God.
-Gerondissa Makrina Vassopoulos of Portaria
  
(source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, January 18, 2019

St. Athanasius the Great: "Everything about is marvelous..."

Christ creating the birds and fish (source)
  
For, indeed, everything about is marvelous, and wherever a man turns his gaze he sees the Godhead of the Word and is smitten with awe.
-St. Athanasios the Great
  
(source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

38 Beneficial Sayings of St. Anthony the Great

St. Anthony the Great (Source)
  
Thanks to the blog Ora Et Labora for this wonderful post on the famous and spiritually-beneficial 38 sayings of St. Anthony the Great.

"In his 2007 Commencement Address at St Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary, Fr Thomas Hopko had this to say:
I urge you, and, if I could, I would command you, to read St. Anthony’s thirty-eight sayings in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Everything we need to know in order to live is there for us in its simplest and clearest form.
Heeding his command, I reproduce below these thirty-eight sayings, as translated by the late Sr Benedicta Ward SLG in her collection The Sayings of the Desert Fathers:
  
St. Anthony the Great (source)
1. When the holy Abba Anthony lived in the desert he was beset by accidie, and attacked by many sinful thoughts. He said to God, "Lord, I wand to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; what shall I do in my affliction? How can I be saved?" A short while afterwards, when he got up to go out, Anthony say a man like himself sitting at his work, getting up from his work to pray, then sitting down again and plaiting a rope, then getting up again to pray. It was an angel of the Lord sent to correct and reassure him. He heard the angel saying to him, "Do this and you will be saved." At these words, Anthony was filled with joy and courage. He did this, and he was saved.

2. When the same Abba Anthony thought about the depth of the judgments of God, he asked, "Lord, how is it that some die when they are young, while others drag on to extreme old age? Why are there those who are poor and those who are rich? Why do wicked men proper and why are the just in need? He heard a voice answering him, "Anthony, keep your attention on yourself; these things are according to the judgment of God, and it is not to your advantage to known anything about them."

3. Someone asked Abba Anthony, "What must one do in order to please God?" The old man replied, "Pay attention to what I tell you: whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes, whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures; in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it. Keep these three precepts and you will be saved."

4. Abba Anthony said to Abba Poemen, "This is the great work of man: always to take the blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath.

5. He also said, "Whoever has not experienced temptation cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." He even added, "Without temptations no-one can be saved."

6. Abba Pambo asked Abba Anthony, "What ought I to do?" and the old man said to him, "Do not trust in your own righteousness, do not worry about the past, but control your tongue and your stomach."

7. Abba Anthony said, "I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, 'Humility.'"

8. He also said, "Some have afflicted their bodies by asceticism, but they lack discernment, and so they are far from God."

9. He said also, "Our life and our death is with our neighbor. If we gain our brother, we have gained God, but if we scandalize our brother, we have sinned against Christ."

10. He also said, "Just as fish die if they stay too long out of water, so the monks who loiter outside their cells or pass their time with men of the world lose the intensity of inner peace. SO like a fish going towards the sea, we must hurry to reach our cell, for fear that if we delay outside we will lost our interior watchfulness."

11. He said also, "He who wishes to live in solitude in the desert is delivered from three conflicts: hearing, speech, and sight; there is only one conflict for him and that is with fornication."

12. Some brothers came to find Abba Anthony to tell him about the visions they were having, and to find out from him if they were true or if they came from the demons. They had a donkey which died on the way. When they reached the place where the old man was, he said to them before they could ask him anything, "How was is that the little donkey died on the way here?" They said, "How do you know about that, Father?" And he told them, "The demons shewed me what happened." So they said, "That was what we came to question you about, for fear we were being deceived, for we have visions which often turn out to be true." Thus the old man convinced them, by the example of the donkey, that their visions came from the demons.

13. A hunter in the desert saw Abba Anthony enjoying himself with the brethren and he was shocked. Wanting to show him that it was necessary sometimes to meet the needs of the brethren, the old man said to him, "Put an arrow in your bow and shoot it." So he did. The old man then said, "Shoot another," and he did so. Then the old man said, 'Shoot yet again," and the hunter replied "If I bend my bow so much I will break it." Then the old man said to him, "It is the same with the work of God. If we stretch the brethren beyond measure they will soon break. Sometimes it is necessary to come down to meet their needs." When he heard these words the hunter was pierced by compunction and, greatly edified by the old man, he went away. As for the brethren, they went home strengthened.

14. Abba Anthony heard of a very young monk who had performed a miracle on the road. Seeing the old man walking with difficulty along the road, he ordered the wild asses to come and carry them until they reached Abba Anthony. He said to them, "This monk seems to me to a ship loaded with goods but I do not know if he will reach harbor." After a while, Anthony suddenly began to weep, to tear his hair and lament. His disciples said to him, "Why are you weeping, Father?" and the old man replied, "A great pillar of the Church has just fallen (he meant the young monk) but go to him and see what has happened." So the disciples went and found the monk sitting on a mat and weeping for the sin he had committed. Seeing the disciples of the old man he said, "Tell the old man to pray that God will give me just ten days and I hope I will have made satisfaction." But in the space of five days he died.

15. The brothers praised a monk before Abba Anthony. When the monk came to see him, Anthony wanted to know how he would bear insults; and seeing that he could not bear them at all, he said to him, "You are like a village magnificently decorated on the outside, but destroyed from within by robbers."

16. A brother said to Abba Anthony, "Pray for me." The old man said to him, " I will have no mercy upon you, nor will God have any, if you yourself do not make an effort and if you do not pray to God.

17. One day some old men came to see Abba Anthony. In the midst of them was Abba Joseph. Wanting to test them, the old man suggested a text from the Scriptures, and, beginning with the youngest, he asked them what it meant. Each gave his opinion as he was able. But to each one the old man said, "You have not understood it." Last of all he said to Abba Joseph, "How would you explain this saying?" and he replied, "I do not know." Then Abba Anthony said, "Indeed, Abba Joseph has found the way, for he has said: 'I do not know.'"

18. Some brothers were coming from Scetis to see Abba Anthony. When they were getting into a boat to go there, they found an old man who also wanted to go there. The brothers did not know him. They sat in the boat, occupied by turns with the words of the Fathers, Scripture and their manual work. As for the old man, he remained silent. When they arrived on shore they found that the old man was going to the cell of Abba Anthony too. When they reached the place, Anthony said to them, "You found this old man a good companion for the journey?" Then he said to the old man, " You have brought many good brethren with you, father." The old man said, "No doubt they are good, but they do not have a door to their house and anyone who wishes can enter the stable and loose the ass." He meant that the brethren said whatever came into their mouths.

19. The brethren came to the Abba Anthony and said to him, "Speak a word; how are we to be saved?" The old man said to them, "You have heard the Scriptures. That should teach you how." But they said, "We want to hear from you too, Father." Then the old man said to them, "The Gospel says, 'if anyone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.'" (Matt. 5.39) They said, "We cannot do that." The old man said, "If you cannot offer the other cheek, at least allow one cheek to be struck." "We cannot do that either," they said. So he said, "If you are not able to do that, do not return evil for evil," and they said, "We cannot do that either." Then the old man said to his disciples, "Prepare a little brew of corn for these invalids. If you cannot do this, or that, what can I do for you? What you need is prayers."
  
St. Anthony the Great (source)
20. A brother renounced the world and gave his goods to the poor, but he kept back a little for his personal expenses. He went to see Abba Anthony. When he told him this, the old man said to him, "If you want to be a monk, go into the village, buy some meat, cover your naked body with it and come here like that." The brother did so, and the dogs and birds tore at his flesh. When he came back the old man asked him whether he had followed his advice. He showed him his wounded body, and Saint Anthony said, "Those who renounce the world but want to keep something for themselves are torn in this way by the demons who make war on them."

21. It happened one day that one of the brethren in the monastery of Abba Elias was tempted. Cast out of the monastery, he went over the mountain to Abba Anthony. The brother lived hear him for a while and then Anthony sent him back to the monastery from which he had been expelled. When the brothers saw him they cast him out yet again, and he went back to Abba Anthony saying, "My Father, they will not receive me." Then the old man sent them a message saying, "A boat was shipwrecked at sea and lost its cargo; with great difficulty it reached the shore; but you want to throw into the sea that which has found a safe harbor on the shore." When the brothers understood that it was Abba Anthony who had sent them this monk, they received him at once.

22. Abba Anthony said, "I believe that the body possesses a natural movement, to which it is adapted, but which it cannot follow without the consent of the soul; it only signifies in the body a movement without passion. There is another movement, which comes from the nourishment and warming of the body by eating and drinking, and this causes the heat of the blood to stir up the body to work. That is why the apostle said, 'Do not get drunk with win for that is debauchery.' (Ephes. 5.18) And in the Gospel the Lord also recommends this to his disciples: 'Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness.' (Luke 21.34) But there is yet another movement which afflicts those who fight, and that comes from the wiles and jealousy of the demons. You must understand what these three bodily movements are: one is natural, one comes from too much to eat, the third is caused by the demons."

23. He also said, "God does not allow the same warfare and temptations to this generation as he did formerly, for men are weaker now and cannot bear so much."

24. It was revealed to Abba Anthony in his desert that there was one who was his equal in the city. He was a doctor by profession and whatever he had beyond his needs he gave to the poor, and every day he sang the Sanctus with the angels.

25. Abba Anthony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"

26. The brethren came to Abba Anthony and laid before him a passage from Leviticus. The old man went out into the desert, secretly followed by Abba Ammonas, who knew that this was his custom. Abba Anthony went a long way off and stood there praying, crying in a loud voice, "God, send Moses, to make me understand this saying," Then there came a voice speaking with him. Abba Ammonas said that although he heard the voice speaking with him, he could not understand what it said.

27. Three Fathers used to go and visit blessed Anthony every year and two of them used to discuss their thoughts and the salvation of their souls with him, but the third always remained silent and did not ask him anything. After a long time, Abba Anthony said to him, "You often come here to see me, but you never ask me anything," and the other replied, "It is enough fo rme to see you, Father."

28. They said that a certain old man asked God to let him see the Fathers and he saw them all except Abba Anthony. So he asked his guide, "Where is Abba Anthony?" He told him in reply that in the place where God is, there Anthony would be.

29. A brother in a monastery was falsely accused of fornication and he arose and went to Abba Anthony. The brethren also came from the monastery to correct him and bring him back. They set about proving that he had done this thing, but he defended himself and denied that he had done anything of the kind. Now Abba Paphnutius, who is called Cephalus, happened to be there, and he told them this parable: "I have seen a man on the bank of the river buried up to his knees in mud and some men came to give him a hand to help him out, but they pushed him further in up to his neck." Then Abba Anthony said this about Abba Paphnutius: "Here is a real man, who can care for souls and save them." All those present were pierced to the heart by the words of the old man and they asked forgiveness of the brother. So, admonished by the Fathers, they took the brother back to the monastery.

30. Some say of Saint Anthony that he was "Spirit-borne," that is, carried along by the Holy Spirit, but he would never speak of this to men. Such men see what is happening in the world, as well as knowing what is going to happen.

31. One day Abba Anthony received a letter from the Emperor Constantius, asking him to come to Constantinople and he wondered whether he ought to go. So he said to Abba Paul, his disciple, "Ought I to go?" He replied, "If you go, you will be called Anthony; but if you stay here, you will be called Abba Anthony."

32. Abba Anthony said, "I no longer fear God, but I love Him. For love casts out fear." (John 4.18)

33. He also said, "Always have the fear of God before your eyes. Remember him who gives death and life. Hate the world and all that is in it. Hate all peace that comes from the flesh. Renounce this life, so that you may be alive to God. Remember what you have promised God, for it will be required of you on the day of judgment. Suffer hunger, thirst, nakedness, be watchful and sorrowful; weep, and groan in your heart; test yourselves, to see if you are worthy of God; despise the flesh, so that you may preserve your souls.

34. Abba Anthony once went to visit Abba Amoun in Mount Nitria and when they met, Abba Amoun said, "By your prayers, the number of the brethren increases, and some of them want to build more cells where they may live in peace. How far away from here do you think we should build the cells?" Abba Anthony said, "Let us eat at the ninth hour and then let us go out for a walk in the desert and explore the country." So they went out into the desert and they walked until sunset and then Abba Anthony said, "Let us pray and plant the cross here, so that those who wish to do so may build here. Then when those who remain there want to visit those who have come here, they can take a little food at the ninth hour and then come. If they do this, they will be able to keep in touch with each other without distraction of mind." The distance is twelve miles.

35. Abba Anthony said, "Whoever hammers a lump of iron, first decides what he is going to make of it, a scythe, a sword, or an axe. Even so we ought to make up our minds what kind of virute we want to forge or we labor in vain."

36. He also said, "Obedience with abstinence gives men power over wild beasts."

37. He also said, "Nine monks fell away after many labors and were obsessed with spiritual pride, for they put their trust in their own works and being deceived they did not give due heed to the commandment that says, 'Ask your father and he will tell you.'" (Deut. 32.7)

38. And he said this, "If he is able to, a monk ought to tell his elders confidently how many steps he takes and how many drops of water he drinks in his cell, in case he is in error about it."
(source)
  
St. Anthony the Great (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen! 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Metropolitan Pavlos of Siatista (+2019): "I love you because you are you"

Metropolitan Pavlos of Siatista (+January 13th, 2019) (source)
   
Suddenly today, Metropolitan Pavlos of Siatista, reposed in the Lord. He was a very beloved and respected hierarch of the Church of Greece and a spiritual child of St. Iakovos of Evia. His words, example and advice carry great weight and his talks are filled with true love and wisdom. Below are a brief biography and a wonderful recent talk of his with English subtitles. May he have a blessed Paradise, and may we have his blessing!

Brief Biography of Metropolitan of Pavlos of Siatista
He was born in Halkida in 1947. After his cycle of studies he entered the Theological School of Athens and graduated in 1971.

In 1973 he was ordained a Deacon by Metropolitan Nikolaos of Halkida, Istiaias and Northern Sporades and appointed to serve in Mantoudi.

In November 1974 he was ordained a priest and received the position of Archimandrite from Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Halkida and served the parish of Mantoudiou for 25 years.

In that area he became the Hierarchical Representative and was a respected preacher and pastoral guide. For over thirty years he focused on the youth and their problems, as a priest, spiritual father, catechist and educator, while at the same time he was called to speak to schools of parents, religious and youth gatherings in many Metropolises in Greece and Cyprus.

On February 28th, 2006, he was elected by the hierarchy of the Church of Greece as Metropolitan of the Holy Metropolis of Sisaniou and Siatistis, his ordination taking place on March 4th, 2006 in the Holy Metropolis of Athens.
    
Metropolitan Pavlos of Siatista with his beloved St. Iakovos of Evia (source)
   
He took special care to cultivate the ranks of priests and monastics in his Metropolis.

In his 14 years of shepherding the Holy Metropolis of Sisaniou and Siatistis, he built and consecrated many holy churches, founded new parishes and ordained new clergy.

He was the author of books and had circulated many religious articles.
   
His last night he spent in the Monastery of St. David of Evia and St. Iakovos, which he loved so much, and until noon of his last day he was near there in Rovies, serving his final Divine Liturgy on Sunday January 13th next to the Precious Skull of St. David.
   
In his home town of Halkida there will be a viewing on Monday January 14th in the Church of St. Paraskevi. There will be a vigil that evening served by Metropolitan Chrysostom of Halkida. On January 15th, the body of the blessed Metropolitan Pavlos of Sisaniou will be brought to Siatista where there will be another viewing. His funeral will be served on Wednesday January 16th at noon in the Metropolis Church of St. Demetrios in Siatista.
   
Metropolitan Pavlos of Siatista in a recent talk on the popular but meaningful song: "I love you because you are you." (source)
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!