Friday, February 15, 2019

Akathist to St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia the Wonderworker

St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia the Wonderworker (Source)
May St. Gerasimos help all those who are sick and suffering throughout the whole world, especially those possessed by, under the influence of, or afflicted in any way by the demons, as he is a mighty protector of Orthodox Christians.
Akathist to St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia the Wonderworker

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As a deliverer and fervent protector, O glorious one, you ever hasten to help those in dangers, therefore we praise you in hymns, O God-bearer Gerasimos, and we praise you faithfully and ascribe you as the most-compassionate protector of your island, as we cry out: Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.

You were known to be an Angel of godly-mind in the world, O Gerasimos, as you lived like the Bodiless [Angels] (3), and your body has remained incorrupt, and pours forth heavenly fragrance for those who behold you, and compels them to cry out these things:
Rejoice, the glory of priests,
Rejoice, the boast of monastics.
Rejoice, the fellow-dweller with the Holy Angels,
Rejoice, the all-joyous home of the Trinity.
Rejoice, height of divine knowledge that cannot be searched by many,
Rejoice, depth of humility that cannot be perceived by mortals.
Rejoice, for you were seen as the pinnacle of theoria,
Rejoice, for you appear to be a guide in praxis.
Rejoice, the unassailable pillar of Cephalonia,
Rejoice, the closest friend of the Lord.
Rejoice, lamp-lighter of reverent truth,
Rejoice, seal of noetic work.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
The famed island of Cephalonia, beholding the wonder of your sacred Relic, with fervor praises the ineffable grace and healing granted by you, O Gerasimos, crying out to God the hymn: Alleluia.
Bearing godly knowledge, O pinnacle of Venerable Saints, you hastened towards the Promised Land, and having remained in the desert fasting for forty days, you received the grace to foresee the future and you hear from us:
Rejoice, you who cast away demons through your body,
Rejoice, you who bear zeal in your heart.
Rejoice, the pinnacle of sacred Venerable Saints,
Rejoice, the radiance of holy pure ones.
Rejoice, you who dwell with the choirs of the Angels,
Rejoice, you who partake of the food of Paradise.
Rejoice, you who are alive in your soul while dead in your body,
Rejoice, you who dwell in the mansions of heaven.
Rejoice, you who heal the passion of hemorrhage,
Rejoice, you who lifted up the woman from the well.
Rejoice, guide and protector of those upon the sea,
Rejoice, savior and deliverer of those in dangers.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Power from heaven was granted to you, O thrice-blessed Gerasimos, for you remained fasting with only a zucchini, and foreseeing through the Spirit, not seeking respite of the body, while saying: Alleluia.
Having you as its great patron and light, Cephalonia greatly boasts in you, and rejoicing in spirit, she cries out to you, chanting things such as these:
Rejoice, unending spring of wonders,
Rejoice, unsleeping protector of true dogmas.
Rejoice, the speedy consolation of those mourning,
Rejoice, the ready lifting up of the deluded.
Rejoice, light of discernment that shines clearly,
Rejoice, star of clairvoyance that radiates brightly.
Rejoice, unemptying source of miracles,
Rejoice, unhealable wound to the demons.
Rejoice, the wise advisor of chastity,
Rejoice, the speedy deposer of intemperance.
Rejoice, divine vessel of Christ,
Rejoice the great surrounding wall of the faithful.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Fleeing from the insanity of the world, O blessed one of God, you lived with hesychia on Mount Omalon, and you worked a multitude of wonders, saving and leading your Nuns towards the calm waters of the Kingdom, as they cry out: Alleluia.
St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia (source)
The ends of the earth have heard of your strange wonders, O Gerasimos, which you work daily, and those who are sick hasten to the sacred spring of your wonders, which we honor, saying:
Rejoice, you who traded corruptible things for those of heaven,
Rejoice, you who destroyed the ranks of the demons.
Rejoice, you who gather with the pastures of the Angels,
Rejoice, you who dance together with the Saints unto the ages.
Rejoice, the most-fervent fellow-servant of the wise Angels,
Rejoice, the most-wise guide of monastics.
Rejoice, the sacred adornment of the Venerable,
Rejoice, the radiant rejoicing of the Fathers.
Rejoice, the firm protector from passions,
Rejoice, you who bear the trophy of God.
Rejoice, you who surpassed the knowledge of the wise,
Rejoice, you who enlighten the minds of the faithful.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Perceiving Gerasimos to be a God-bearer, and beloved by the youth, many hasten in faith to be delivered from the demons, and having received their deliverance, they cry out to the Savior with godly fervor: Alleluia.
Your life shows us the heavenly road, O Gerasimos, and boast of the Venerable, through uplifted asceticism and godly struggle, which we are called to follow, as we cry out these things with fervor:
Rejoice, standard of self-control,
Rejoice, lamp of piety.
Rejoice, spiritual statue of asceticism,
Rejoice, imprint of the monastic life.
Rejoice, high mountain of true virginity,
Rejoice, the wise consolation of holiness.
Rejoice, canon of fasting equal-to-the-Angels,
Rejoice, icon of purity granted by God.
Rejoice, way of life of truth,
Rejoice, bearer of wise providence in mind.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Counting worldly passions and the flesh as nothing, O blessed Gerasimos, you had zucchini for your food and water to drink, and a poor garment, while you thought only of your soul, saying: Alleluia.
You nurtured your flock with your words and your life, leading them towards the life of green pasture, and watering them, as a loving and caring Father, strengthening them paradoxically with your wonders, and healing those who are suffering terribly, who therefore cry out:
Rejoice, radiant vessel of the Trinity,
Rejoice, joyous treasure of purity.
Rejoice, you who worked wonders before your repose,
Rejoice, who after your repose work awesome deeds.
Rejoice, you who were laid in the grave as one dead,
Rejoice, you who proceed throughout the earth as one alive.
Rejoice, you who are hymned by the multitudes of Cephalonians,
Rejoice, you who are praised by the ranks of Monastics.
Rejoice, lamp-lighter among the Venerable,
Rejoice, lightning of godly graces.
Rejoice, you who received the unfading crown,
Rejoice, you who inherited the eternal mansion.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
O thrice-blessed One, your proceeded to the life to come from this passing life, towards the heavenly mansions, and you bent your knee, fervently praying that your spirit might be delivered to the hand of God, as those who beheld you were astonished, crying out: Alleluia.
St. Gerasimos of Kefalonia (source)
A new song is offered to you loudly, O Gerasimos, as we cry out of your great feats that you work for the sick, healing demoniacs, and granting all requests, and we all therefore cry out in reverence:
Rejoice, you who trampled upon the worldly ideas,
Rejoice, you who deliver from the bitter things of life,
Rejoice, you whose body was shown to be a spring of wonders,
Rejoice, you whose soul has joined with the Angels.
Rejoice, for you bore Christ your God in your mind,
Rejoice, for you desired the joys of Paradise.
Rejoice, you who studied the uplifted way to heaven,
Rejoice, you who dwell in the pure mansions on high.
Rejoice, for you ever have the Angels as your compatriots,
Rejoice, for you have inherited the Saints as your friends.
Rejoice, through whom light has shined upon the faithful,
Rejoice, through whom the faithless are inflamed.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.

We behold a strange wonder, as your long-dead body appears alive in your reliquary, and through this the uplifted God has given to those upon the earth the power to cast out the demons, and to God we cry out: Alleluia.
While being wholly in the flesh below, your soul has not left the things above, O Gerasimos. You work wonders that astonish every mind and ear, and therefore we are astonished and cry out things like this:
Rejoice, he who is full of the wisdom of God,
Rejoice, mystic of His providence,
Rejoice, rhetor taught by God, teaching towards Christ,
Rejoice, spring of healings welling up for the faithful.
Rejoice, you who lived in purity before your death,
Rejoice, you who after your repose proceeded towards God.
Rejoice, you in whom the light of God has been founded,
Rejoice, you in whom His grace has come to dwell.
Rejoice, oasis for the pious Orthodox,
Rejoice, sharp sword against the faithless.
Rejoice, you who drive away the madness of the demons,
Rejoice, you who shine forth with the rays of wonders.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
You have received every grace from heaven, O thrice-blessed Gerasimos, working wondrous things and living well in asceticism like the bodiless ones, overcoming the laws of nature while your body has remained incorrupt, healing those who cry out: Alleluia.
You have been shown to be a mighty protector of the Church of Christ, O blessed Gerasimos, and a great defender of the faithful people, for they know of the many dangers that they have been delivered from and ever take refuge in you, and are moved to cry out to you:
Rejoice, protecting wall of the pious faithful,
Rejoice, pride of the nations bearing the name of Christ.
Rejoice, firm strength of monastics,
Rejoice, radiant boast of priests.
Rejoice, you who grant every grace to those who hymn you,
Rejoice, you who grant every healing to the faithful.
Rejoice, for you are a godly pillar of graces,
Rejoice, destroyer of the demons through divine power.
Rejoice, pure dwelling-place of God,
Rejoice, chaste chosen one of Christ.
Rejoice, fragrance of Christ,
Rejoice, delectable nourishment of the faithful.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Save all of those who honor your memory with fervor, and who honor your divine icon, and deliver them from every danger and distress, and save those who call upon you, crying out to God: Alleluia.
St. Gerasimos of Kephalonia (source)
You have become a protecting wall for Cephalonia, O Father, and for all those who take refuge in you, therefore deliver from famine and earthquake, and hasten to everyone in need, while they cry out to you these things in thanksgiving:
Rejoice, eternal nectar of mortals,
Rejoice, flower-bearing springtime of men.
Rejoice, the ready consolation of those saddened,
Rejoice, the speedy lifting up of those deluded.
Rejoice, you who entreat towards the good disposition of God,
Rejoice, the compassionate deliverer from depression.
Rejoice, health for those ailing among the faithful,
Rejoice, purity for those amidst corruption.
Rejoice, great savior of those cast down,
Rejoice, divine entreaty for sinners.
Rejoice, you who grant to us from the sea of your graces,
Rejoice, for you show the mercy of your wonders to all.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
We all offer hymns, O blessed one, at the treasure of your Relic, O God-bearer Gerasimos, offering tears with our odes in response to the graces which you have granted to us the faithful, and who cry along with you: Alleluia.
The treasure of your sacred Relic has been shown to be light-bearing, O Father Gerasimos, and it shines with grace like rays of light upon those who approach, granting joy and health that you speedily send forth, as we who embrace them cry out these things:
Rejoice, you who called forth hymnologists at your burial,
Rejoice, you who put to death those who speak false things through your might.
Rejoice, for you grant us grace from the sea of your graces,
Rejoice, for you grant to all the myrrh of your mercy.
Rejoice, the sure consolation of those who take refuge in you,
Rejoice, the salvation of those who approach you in soul.
Rejoice, you who drive out the dangers of the demons from your island,
Rejoice, you who trample upon their evil assaults.
Rejoice, you who depose the boldness of barbarians,
Rejoice, you who put to naught to darkness of the demons.
Rejoice, tower that reaches the heights of heaven,
Rejoice, wall raised up against the battle of the enemies.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Bearing grace from above, O Gerasimos, you drive out every assault of the enemies, and your preserved your island from famine, hastening and walking upon the sea to those who call upon you, delivering everyone from dangers who cry out to God: Alleluia.
As we chant this hymn to your, O ever-memorable Father, we encircle your holy reliquary, which pours forth the grace of wonders for those who approach it with faith, and you therefore protect those who cry out to you:
Rejoice, you who extended your soul towards God,
Rejoice, who drove away the assaults of the flesh.
Rejoice, you who grant to those present as ones without any help,
Rejoice, you who care for the abiding things to come.
Rejoice, you who deliver from famine and drought,
Rejoice, you who deliver many from hunger.
Rejoice, unsleeping shepherd of the Monastery of Omalon,
Rejoice, free physician and protector of many.
Rejoice, for you pour forth myrrh from your Relic freely,
Rejoice, for your Church pours forth a multitudes of graces.
Rejoice, through whom the sick are healed,
Rejoice, through whom the passions are cast out.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
O thrice-joyous Father, the protector of your island and of the unassailable intercessor for all, (3) receive these proper odes from us, your entreators, and deliver from eternal hell, through your intercessions to God, those who cry out to you: Alleluia.
And again, the Kontakion.
St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

St. Paisios the Athonite on Abstinence as Martyrdom

St. Paisios the Athonite, depicted with St. Arsenios and St. Euphemia (source)
The abstinence and chastity of the young people will be considered as a martyrdom of the moral sense.
-St. Paisios the Athonite
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

St. Luke of Simferopol on the Raising of Children

Christ blessing the Children (source)
"Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life."
(Mark 10:29-30)

This word of the Lord is not a lie. I confirm to you that, when I left my children and entrusted them to God, He took care of them.*** My children grew up well and I think that even I couldn't raise them so well. And my Lord granted me a hundred-times more children. He gave me all of you. He gave me your hearts, because I know how much you love me and I return your love with my own fervent love. So many children has God given to me!

And your own children must be educated. But do not only make plans for their education in outward wisdom, in the wisdom of this world.  They should learn at the same time the wisdom from above, and the highest truth. They should learn the law of God and the commandments of Christ, to learn with reverence how to always have the memory of God and the true Christian path. Only then will your children not be lost on the ways of human wisdom. Only then, above all else, they will have Christian wisdom, the knowledge of God. In this way, therefore, we must educate our children.

You will have to give an account before God for the evil examples that you give to your children, for the arguments that occur before their eyes, for the chatter that they hear you say. If you yourselves do this, then what will your children learn from you?

We must begin this effort from the beginning, because only very small children easily receive our advice and suggestions. Their soul is like a soft candle, which every one of your words or deeds make an indelible impression on, whether good or evil.

"A small plant, wherever you train it, that shape it will take, and a new container will bring forth either fragrance or stench based on what you fill it with, placing in it either perfumes or filth." (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk)

Mother, the most beloved person for the child, the source of tenderness and nourishment, stands in prayer before the icon of Christ. The child looks at her then at the icon and does not need long explanations about what is happening. Here is the first and silent lesson of godly knowledge. This is the first and most significant lesson of piety. This lesson you can and you must give to your children.

There is no greater responsibility for the mother, no holier work, for which you will have a responsibility before God, than the raising of your children. To God you will have to give a word if you are negligent before this work. And from now you will begin your tortures and you will shed bitter tears and you will groan seeing your children.

Therefore: "Do not neglect one of these little ones." (Matthew 18:10) You must take care of your children, that you might be for them an example of the true Christian life, and then the blessing of the Lord will be with all of you and with your children unto the ages of ages.

***Note: St. Luke was forced to leave his children when he was exiled and tortured on behalf of Christ.
Icon of St. Luke the Blessed Surgeon of Simferopol and Crimea, from the newly-built and beautiful Church of Sretensky Monastery (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Abbot Tryphon: "We must recognize infanticide and abortion for the evil that it is..."

The Slaughter of the Holy Innocents (source)
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20
Washington, Oregon, New York, and California, allow for the killing of newborn infants. Calling it late term abortion, it is in reality, the murder of newly born children. That the United States has lowered the moral and spiritual level to allow the holocaust of our own children, is beyond belief.
I see absolutely no difference between the Nazi slaughter of innocent men, women, and children, and the taking of a child’s life through abortion. Aborting children in the early stages of development was heinous. The fact that millions were being aborted simply for the convenience of the mother was even worse. And now, we’re being told that it is not only acceptable, but a celebrated choice to end a child’s life at full term. This is pure, unadulterated evil.
As a young man growing up in a German Lutheran Church in Spokane, WA. I prayed God would have granted me the courage to speak up and denounce the slaughter of innocents at the hands of the Nazis had I been alive during World War II.  How can anyone who says he loves God, ignore the plight of millions of children who are murdered each year? Are we to remain silent, as did so many Germans under the Nazis, or are we to be bold in our refusal to remain silent concerning this new holocaust?
There is absolutely no difference between allowing a newly born child to die alone on a hospital table, and the holocaust done by the Nazis. Abortion and infanticide have no place in a nation that places so much emphasis on the importance of human rights, gay rights, women’s rights, and the rights of immigrants. We must wake up to the evil that has taken our country, and we must speak out against this evil.
With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon
The Holy Innocents (Source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

"The Champion of Christ of great name..."

St. Theodore Stratelates the Great Martyr (source)
The Champion of Christ of great name, he who is beloved by God and the Angels, the wondrous and glorious Theodore, today makes to rejoice everyone under the sun, and the holy Church in the Holy Spirit, and they all celebrate with joy, preparing his memorial.
-Kathisma for the feast of St. Theodore Stratelates the Great Martyr
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

St. Dorothea (Dorothy) the Virgin Martyr of Caesarea

St. Dorothea (Dorothy) the Virgin Martyr of Caesarea - Commemorated February 6th (source)
The Holy Martyr Dorothy, the Martyrs Christina, Callista and the Martyr Theophilus lived in Caesarea of Cappadocia and suffered under the emperor Diocletian in either the year 288 or 300. Saint Dorothy was a pious Christian maiden, distinguished by her great beauty, humility, prudence, and God-given wisdom, which astonished many. Arrested upon orders of the governor Sapricius, she steadfastly confessed her faith in Christ and was subjected to tortures.    Failing to break the will of the saint, the governor sent to her two women, the sisters Christina and Callista, who once were Christians, but fearing torture, they renounced Christ and began to lead impious lives. He ordered them to get Saint Dorothy to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, but just the reverse happened. Saint Dorothy convinced them that the mercy of God is granted to all who repent, so they corrected themselves and returned to Christ. The tormentors tied them back to back and burned them in a vat of tar. Through martyrdom, Christina and Callista atoned for their sin of apostasy, receiving from God not only forgiveness, but crowns of victory.
The church of St. Dorothea in Rome, where is treasured her Holy Relics (source)
   Saint Dorothy was again subjected to tortures, but she gladly endured them and accepted the death sentence. She cried out with joy, thanking Christ for calling her to Paradise and to the heavenly bridal chamber. As they led the saint to execution Theophilus, one of the governor’s counselors, laughed and said to her, “Bride of Christ, send me an apple and some roses from the Paradise of your Bridegroom.” The martyr nodded and said, “I shall do that.”    At the place of execution, the saint requested a little time to pray. When she finished the prayer, an angel appeared before her in the form of a handsome child presenting her three apples and three roses on a pure linen cloth. The saint requested that these be given to Theophilus, after which she was beheaded by the sword.    Having received the gracious gift, the recent mocker of Christians was shaken, and he confessed Christ as the true God. His friends were astonished, and wondered whether he were joking, or perhaps mad. He assured them he was not joking. Then they asked the reason for this sudden change. He asked what month it was. “February,” they replied. “In the winter, Cappadocia is covered with ice and frost, and the trees are bare of leaves. What do you think? From where do these apples and flowers come?” After being subjected to cruel tortures, Saint Theophilus was beheaded with a sword. The relics of Saint Dorothy are in Rome in the church dedicated to her, and her head is also at Rome, in a church of the Mother of God at Trastevero.
St. Dorothea the Virgin Martyr (source)
Apolytikion for the Saint in the Fourth Tone
O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, February 1, 2019

"The Ancient of Days, Who formerly granted the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai..."

Detail from the icon of the Presentation of Christ to the Temple (source)
The Ancient of Days, Who formerly granted the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, today is seen as an infant, and according to the Law, as the Creator of the Law fulfills the Law, being brought into the Temple and is given to the Priest. The Righteous Symeon receiving Him, and beholding the dissolving of bonds being performed, cries out joyfully: My eyes have seen the Mystery hidden from before the ages, but which has been revealed to us in these latter days, the Light that disperses the darkness of the faithless nations, and the glory of the new Israel. Therefore, let your servant depart from the bonds of this flesh towards the heavenly and wondrous eternal life, You Who grant the world the great mercy.
-Idiomelon from the Litia of Vespers for the Feast of the Presentation of Christ to the Temple
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!