Thursday, December 5, 2019

Paraklesis to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

St Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
  
Note: May this be offered in prayer to St. Nicholas, that through his intercessions to the Lord, that mercy, life, peace, health, salvation and visitation may be granted to all those sick and suffering throughout the world, and especially, that he grant peace, unity, forgiveness and reconciliation to the Orthodox churches threatened with divisions, hatred and enmity. Archbishop Elpidophoros also recently requested the parishes of the GOA to consider praying the Paraklesis for St. Nicholas' blessing and intercessions, especially entreating for his help rebuilding his church at Ground Zero. May the Saint's blessing we with us all, and may we imitate his love for Christ and for his fellow men! Also, please note that the text below is not set to the Byzantine musical meter.
  
Paraklesis to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

The Priest says the "Blessed is our God...", followed by the Psalm "O Lord hear my prayer..." (Psalm 142).

Tone 4.
God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord. (x4, with verses)

Troparion in the Fourth Tone.
Let us hasten to the all-sacred Icon of the Hierarch, O faithful, and cry out to him, we who are drowning in many sins: Hasten, O Nicholas, Hierarch of the Lord, that through your holy intercessions to the Lover-of-mankind, that we all may be delivered from every danger, sadness and corruptions, and terrible illness.

Glory.
Apolytikion of the Saint of the Church.

Both now. Theotokion.
O Theotokos, we shall never be silent...

Then Psalm 50.
  
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
  
Ode I. Plagal of the Fourth. The Charioteers of Pharaoh.
 O Saint of God, intercede for us.
Through your prayers, O sacred Nicholas, entreat God that the dark cloud of my sadness would be dispersed, O all-blessed one, that I may be filled with gladness and joy, for you stand before the King of all.

O Saint of God, intercede for us.
I am surrounded by the storms of passions on all sides, and a frenzy of thoughts. Make my soul vibrant and guide me safely to the harbor of the will of Christ, through your prayers, that I might glorify you, O Nicholas.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
The fellow-dweller of the Apostles and the Venerable you were shown to be, ever full of divine radiance. Show those who venerate your sacred Icon today to be partakers of light through your prayers, O all-blessed Nicholas.

Theotokion.
Both now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
O Spotless One, you received within your womb the uncontainable fire, I entreat you with faith that you deliver me from Gehenna, and from the multitude of my offenses, and deliver me from Hell, through your fervent prayer.

Ode III. You are the foundation.
That we might glorify you and praise you as is proper, grant us peace, O blessed Nicholas, through your intercessions.

Through your fervent entreaties, O Nicholas, cut off the assaults of afflictions, we pray.

Deliver me, O Nicholas, from the passions and temptations that surround us, and the multitude of dangers, through your intercessions, and save me.

Theotokion.
I have you, O All-Spotless One, as the protector of my life, and an unassailable wall, therefore, I do not fear my passing from this vain life.

Deliver your servants from dangers, O Theotokos...

Look down on me...

And the Priest makes the entreaty.

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (Source)
  
Ode IV. I have hearkened.
Hasten to deliver me, O Nicholas, from the multitude of illnesses and many offenses that I have fallen into, O All-Sacred One, through your intercessions to the Master.

You delivered three innocent young men from death; hasten to deliver me, O Nicholas, from eternal condemnation.

I am justly condemned, for I have lived my life in heedlessness and I am wretched. Through your intercessions, O Saint Nicholas, guide me on the path of repentance.

Theotokion.
Cleanse me from filth, and raise me up who am dead, O Ever-virgin Theotokos, you who gave birth to Him Who gave life to the dead.

Ode V. Why do you deprive from me.
Unflinching in mind, you ascended to the Lord on high, from Whom you received the grace of the greatest wonders, O blessed Nicholas. Therefore, deliver your entreaters from dangers and illnesses.

At your divine memory, O Nicholas, the multitude of Priests rejoice, and the choirs of the Faithful partake of your wonders and are nourished with joy, and they hymn you as their own protector and call upon you O great one.

Being radiant with divine light, your heart was truly shown to be Paradise, in the midst of which the Lord placed the Tree of Life. Entreat Him, O Father, that your servants partake of the nourishment of Paradise and of glory.

Theotokion.
I have placed in you, O Lady, all of my hopes for salvation. Therefore, I entreat you, do not disdain me who am terribly storm-tossed by the waves of temptations, but grant me your help, as your Son did to Peter, and save me.

Ode VI. My entreaty.
I am tossed about by the storm of dangers, but they have not been able to drown me, O Blessed One, for I have been ever enriched to have you as my Guide towards the calm harbor, and that I might reach Heaven through you, O Hierarch Nicholas.

Have compassion on your servants, O All-Blessed One, and grant them health and deliverance as one good who loves mankind by nature, and deliver from dangers and trials through your divine intercessions to God, O Nicholas of godly mind.

You once were seen to deliver young generals from death, O Father, in like manner, deliver us from every trial and illness, O Nicholas, that I might honor your memory with fervor.

Theotokion.
O Lover-of-Good, through your fervent intercessions, raise me up from my heavy sleep and laziness, and do not let your servant sleep unto death, for I inscribe you as my protector and guide in life.

Look down with compassion, O Blessed Nicholas, and through your intercessions, deliver our souls from every danger, for your entreaters.

O Spotless One, who by a word did bring to us the Word eternal...

And the Priest reads the entreaty.

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
  
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone.
The rays of your wonders, O Nicholas, have illumined everything under the sun, and you dissolve the clouds of trials and relieve the attacks of dangers, for you are a most-fervent protector.

Prokeimenon.
Your Priests, O Lord, are clothed with righteousness, and your Righteous Ones shall rejoice. (2)
Verse.
The Righteous will boast in glory, and will rejoice upon their beds.
Your Priests, O Lord, are clothed with righteousness, and your Righteous Ones shall rejoice.
  
The Gospel according to Saint John (10:1-9)
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

Glory.
Through the intercessions of the Hierarch, O Lord of mercy, wash away my many personal offenses.

Both now.
Through the intercessions of the Theotokos...

Plagal of the Second. Having placed all their hopes.
O Merciful One, have mercy on me...
I have passed all my life in heedlessness, and I have reached my end, having been shown to be fruitless and foolish, O Surpassingly Good One, and I only have shown forth evil deeds that now burden me and are hard to bear, O Lover of mankind. Through Your mercy, incline to drive them away, and grant me contrition and a saving return, through the fervent intercessions of Nicholas, O God, whose intercessions I offer to you, along with her who gave birth to you.

The Priest says the "Save O God, Your people..."

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
  
Ode VII. The Hebrew Children
You were shown to be a deliverer of those who travel, and a protector of widows, a harbor for orphans, and an enricher of the poor. Therefore, deliver us from dangers through your intercessions.

You work strange wonders for those far off at sea and for everyone under the sun. Ever hastened to deliver those who are suffering and delivering them from illnesses and dangers.

You are seen to be the Physician of all those with illnesses and dangers, O thrice-blessed Nicholas. Therefore, heal the affliction of my soul and grant me strength through your godly intercessions.

Theotokion.
Lift up your hands, O Virgin, to the compassionate God and King, that through your mighty intercessions, your entreaters be delivered from terrible temptations and illnesses and dangers.

Ode VIII. The King of Heaven.
Save those who are now sinking into the depths of temptations, and save your entreaters, O Nicholas, granting them deliverance through your intercessions.

As one nourished in the pastures of Heaven, O Blessed One, make those who hymn you to partake of that glory, and deliver them through your prayers.

Having been illumined by the unapproachable Light, O Father, shine upon the souls of those who are in trials, dissolving all of the dark clouds of their temptations.

Theotokion.
You, O Lady, were made worthy to give birth to the most-compassionate Savior of the world, therefore, I hastened to your fervent help.

Ode IX. Saved through you, O Theotokos.
All creation has come to know, O Blessed Nicholas, of your virtues and the abyss of your wonders, therefore, she rejoices and names you as her protector.

O All-blessed Nicholas, save from dangers your entreaters, who glorify you with faith, for you are an imitator of the Savior worthy of wonder.

As you are nourished with heavenly good, in the divine Bridal Chamber, O Father Nicholas, blessed by God, save us and cover us through your protection.

Theotokion.
O Mary Theotokos, please make good again my soul that was made evil through sin, and make me to be a partaker of eternal good things.

Truly it is proper to call you blessed...
  
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
  
Megalynaria.
O Blessed Nicholas, do now stand beside us as a protector and guardian, and deliver all of us from all kinds of dangers, all those upon the earth and the sea, those who fervently call upon you and magnify you.

Rejoice, the steadfast pride of the Fathers, and the pure adornment of the Trinity, the protector of the faithful, and the helper and protector of those who sail, O Father Nicholas.

In sicknesses, we have you as our Physician, in dangers, our deliverer, a guide for orphans, and enricher of the poor, and savior of those upon the sea, and joy of those in sorrows, O wise Nicholas.

We have you as a protector for orphans and widows, the feeder of the hungry, the enricher of the poor, the deliverer of captives, and savior of those sailing, O All-blessed one, wise Nicholas.

All the ranks of Angels...

Then the Trisagion, followed by the Apolytikion of the Saint: "The truth of things have revealed thee to thy flock..." Then the entreaty by the Priest, the Apolysis, followed by the hymns:

Second Tone. When from the tree.
You received grace richly from God to bestow healings for those under your protection, O Saint Nicholas, and for those who hasten to you, drive away the demons, and incurable passions, through your protection. Therefore, we entreat you: intercede with the Lord, that we who hymn you may be all delivered from dangers.

Lady do you receive...

My numerous hopes are placed...
(source)
   
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Fervent Protector (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

"You soar above the flowers of the Church..."

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
  
You soar above the flowers of the Church, as a new hatchling from the nest of the Angels on high, O thrice-blessed Nicholas, you ever cry out to God on behalf of all of us, who are in needs and dangers and temptations, and you deliver us through your intercessions.
-Prosomoion of the Praises from the feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

(source)

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

Recording of the Akathist to St. Sabbas the Sanctified (in Greek) from his Monastery

St. Sabbas the Sanctified (source)
  
Here is a recording of the Akathist to St. Sabbas the Sanctified, Chanted in Greek by the Monks of his Monastery in the Holy Lands. May the Saint bless and protect all those in dangers throughout the world! (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Answer to "Why me?"

The Crucifixion of Christ (source)
  
"The answer to 'Why me?', to the sorrows that occur for you, are you yourself."
-St. Sophrony of Essex
   
"The greatest humility is for our nous to submit before the mysteries of God, and not to ask "how" and "why".
-Blessed Ierotheos of Hydra
  
"After our death, when we face Christ face to face, we will understand the 'why' and 'how' of our life, and He will explain to us everything that we passed through in that world. Then, with the whole strength of our being, we will tell Him: 'Thank you, my God, that You allowed those things to happen to me!'"
-St. Paisios the Athonite

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

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

St. Porphyrios: A Gift from God to Humanity

St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (source)
  
St. Porphyrios: A Gift from God to Humanity
"St. Porphyrios is a gift from God to humanity, to an age very tired and burdened.
We still have not come to understand what Porphyrios means. He was greatly ahead of his time, ahead of the perceptions and attitudes of many within the Church.
In St. Porphyrios, you do not find "do" and "don't"***, forcing and angst, extremes and exaggerations. You will not find cheap and shallow explanations.
There is not shame nor threats, nor fear and misery. His teaching is full of Christ, light, joy and freedom.
  
"An Athonite Abbot told me: "My Father, you find one like Porphyrios every 1000 years or so...a great gift from God..."
Another monk, exhausted and crushed by strict and rigid canons, told me: 'With St. Porphyrios, I found rest. I found Christ, freedom, I found myself...Believe me, Father, for two years I do not allow anything within my nous other than the Gospel, the Gerontikon, and the words of St. Porphyrios. And I am happy..."
However, the great Porphyrios was a simple little Elder. A little priest who wouldn't even catch your attention. You would likely pass by him with indifference. You would not see him "selling" holiness.
  
"Because holiness is simplicity, humility, immediacy, it does not ring bells and does not shine windows, it is not sold in the markets, like another honored Athonite Father says.
Elder Porphyrios did not call anyone to him; he did not burden or force anyone. He let you come to him, to want him and to desire him. He did not have any manic "catechism", no angst to show off something; he was free. He did not preach himself, but his life spoke!!!

"He gave to you when you were ready. He opened your eyes to look on Heaven when you were ready to see, with discernment, simply, beautifully. Together with him was your being, your uniqueness, and thus he helped you to breathe deeply, to become beautiful and magnificent, to become that which you always were but had forgotten."
-Quote of Fr. Livios on St. Porphyrios
(source)
  
***Note: St. Porphyrios did routinely emphasize the need for asceticism (see examples here and here), and did not justify sin. The author however is highlighting how the Saint focused on inspiring the love of Christ within people, and that this would transform the rest, helping to transform their lives.
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!
 

St. Porphyrios bringing young people to the Church

St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (source)
  
One Sunday morning, St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia was traveling together with a well-known older villager towards the village church. On the road, they met a group of six or seven young people traveling in the opposite direction. The villager asked the young people:
"Where are you going guys?"
What did they respond? "To the coffee shop."
Then, the villager (who was very austere) told them:
"Aren't you ashamed, today on Sunday morning, of going to the coffee shop instead of church? Are you Christians?"
And he pelted them with a zealous sermon. The young people cursed at him and continued on their way. St. Porphyrios was silent. The villager, full of excitement and self-assurance, said to the Elder:
"Did I speak well to those brats?"
And St. Porphyrios responded: "No, you did not speak well..."
The villager, who was expecting congratulations, was embittered by the response of the Saint. They reached the church and St. Porphyrios went to the Holy Altar and the villager took a seat in church.
Not even a half hour passed, until all of the young people of that group entered the church! The villager was rubbing his hands out of satisfaction. As soon as the Divine Liturgy was finished, St. Porphyrios left the Holy Altar, and the villager hastened to meet him and pointed to the young people, saying to him:
"You said that I didn't speak well? They thought of my words and came to church."
And St. Porphyrios smiled, and explained to him that they came because he was praying silently for them and not that they were moved by the villager's stance....
In reality, prayer moves and transforms other people, not our words... Because of this we should not [primarily] speak to others about God, but speak to God about others.
(source)

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

Monday, December 2, 2019

Feast of St. Porphyrios in Milesi, Attica

This is a video of the feast of St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia served at the Monastery built by him in Milesi, Attica, and serves as the largest pilgrimage of the Saint. (source)

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

Chapel of St. Porphyrios in Jamaica, NY

Chapel of St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia, belonging to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Jamaica Queens, NY (source)
 
Likely the first chapel built in honor of St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia in the Western Hemisphere is that located in St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Jamaica Queens NY.

St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (source)
 
The first feast of the Saint is celebrated 12/2/19, while the church is planned to be consecrated Saturday 12/7/19 by Archbishop Elpidophoros.

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