Friday, September 14, 2018

"In Paradise formerly, we were stripped naked..."

The Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross of Christ (source)
In Paradise formerly, we were stripped naked through tasting of a tree, and death was brought about by the enemy. And now, by the tree of the Cross, the garment of life is brought to men upon the earth, and the whole world is filled with joy seeing it exalted, as the people all together cry out in faith to God: Your house is filled with glory.
-Kathisma from the feast of the Holy Cross
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Akathist to St. Amphilochios (Makris) of Patmos

St. Amphilochios of Patmos (source)
Note: In honor of the upcoming feast of the Translation of the Holy Relics of St. Amphilochios of Patmos on September 19th (notably his primary feast is April 16th which often falls in Great Lent), and in honor of this great and newly-canonized Saint of the Orthodox Church, the following is my translation of the Akathist to the Saint from the Greek text here, offered for the many who love the Saint and who benefit from his speedy help. Also note that the meter of this translation is not set to match the original music. May St. Amphilochios intercede for us before the Throne of our Lord, to help all who suffer throughout the world, to help heal the wounds of Orthodox Christians, to guide our leaders towards peace, reconciliation, love and truth in these difficult times, and to especially protect his Monasteries and spiritual children!
Akathist to St. Amphilochios (Makris) of Patmos
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone. O Champion General.
To praise you as is right, O Amphilochios, we would need heavenly mouths and tongues, for similarly you appeared to the Bodiless Ones, but desiring to hymn your victorious struggles from defiled lips, therefore I cry out to you: Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

You appeared as an Angel, O Father Amphilochios, living righteously in the world (3), and having found the ancient beauty, you madly loved God, O venerable one, together with your neighbor, therefore you hear from us these things:
Rejoice, you through whom Christ is hymned,
Rejoice, you through whom the enemy is defeated.
Rejoice, the strengthening of the Orthodox fold,
Rejoice, the folly of heterodox rulers.
Rejoice, earthly angel of heavenly mind,
Rejoice, man translated to and ever dwelling in Eden.
Rejoice, for you stand before the throne of the King of all,
Rejoice, for you dissipate earthly pains.
Rejoice, river pouring forth healings,
Rejoice, spring watering forth wonders.
Rejoice, you through whom the Church now rejoices,
Rejoice, you through whom the island of Patmos rejoices together.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

Beholding you greatly shining like a radiant star with the glory of the Lord, we who have been darkened in mind have received the gifts of your wonders, O all-radiant one, and we therefore in gratitude cry out to God Who enlightened you: Alleluia.

The land of Patmos which formerly received John [the Theologian] as a prisoner, also received him as a fruitful sower, from which the Gospel took root. You, O Amphilochios, blossomed from this, as being full of myrrh from the Divine Spirit, and we cry out these things:
Rejoice, gladness for those who honor you,
Rejoice, protection for those who call upon you.
Rejoice, namesake of eternal life beforehand,
rejoice, fellow namesake of the mystic of Iconium.
Rejoice, verdant shoot from the pious Emmanuel,
Rejoice, God-planted child of the chaste Irene.
Rejoice, for you are the glory of the Patmians,
Rejoice, for you encircle the faithful like a tower.
Rejoice, light enlightening the whole world,
Rejoice, new song of praise of Greece.
Rejoice, the boast of Leipso and Patmos,
Rejoice, the most-radiant brightness of your homeland.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

Receiving the teachings, O Father, and written words, you learned knowledge and desired things divine, therefore your spiritual father and fellow namesake offered you guidance which you heard as a novice, becoming a descendent of the Fathers, who cry out: Alleluia.

You were filled with divine fervor from childhood, and you loved Christ your Bridegroom from your soul, and taking up His Cross on your shoulder, you traveled the narrow path of the monastery, through which you entered into Paradise, where you hear:
Rejoice, siren of the righteous life,
Rejoice, active educator.
Rejoice, confirmation of the life to come,
Rejoice, justification of Orthodox dogmas.
Rejoice, tree watered by the streams of the waters,
Rejoice, tree adorned with the fruits of virtues.
Rejoice, for through fasting you became like the Angels,
Rejoice, for through ascesis you became like the venerable Saints.
Rejoice, equal in honor to all the Saints,
Rejoice, fellow-dweller with the Bodiless ones.
Rejoice, for you diminished the might of the enemy,
Rejoice for you were filled with many wonders.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

Having godly zeal, you venerated the Holy Lands, where the feet of the Lord walked, and went to the holy city of Sion, as a deer thirsting for the spring of water, and as a bee gathering pollen, crying out to God: Alleluia.
St. Amphilochios of Patmos (source)
You came secretly to the city of the Great King, fleeing the grace of the priesthood, but perceiving this great calling upon the earth, you later received this, O conscientious priest, and were made worthy to serve the liturgy, hearing:
Rejoice, boast of sacred priests,
Rejoice, praise of chaste monastics.
Rejoice, representation of the sacred Scriptures,
Rejoice, imprint of the Fathers of old.
Rejoice, sacred mystic who blesses the faithful,
Rejoice, for you join rank with the liturgists on high.
Rejoice, for you were crowned with a God-plaited crown,
Rejoice, for you partook of astonishing gifts.
Rejoice, for you pillaged the land of the demons,
Rejoice, for you lifted up the ethos of the world.
Rejoice, the boast of righteous and sacrificing Saints,
Rejoice, you who dissolve the dread of the passions.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

The Monastery of the Son of Thunder [St. John the Evangelist], which was founded by St. Christodoulos, became the theater of your struggles and the stadium of your feats, for you did not shy away from struggles, and now together you cry out in Eden: Alleluia.

You followed the ways of St. Christodoulos, and with unapproachable fervor you struggled in asceticism, imitating him and honoring his precepts perfectly, therefore, O godly-minded one, you hear from your fellow monastics things such as these:
Rejoice, boast of the Monastery of the Theologian,
Rejoice, light of the choir of monastics.
Rejoice, affection of the ancient Fathers,
Rejoice, ready helper of the faithful who call upon you.
Rejoice, victory and foundation of the sacred one from Latrinou [St. Christodoulos],
Rejoice, boast and adornment of your fellow venerable Saints.
Rejoice, for you protect the monastery of your repentance,
Rejoice, for you dissipate the cloud of ignorance.
Rejoice, icon of godly monasticism,
Rejoice, for you ever partake in theosis.
Rejoice, innocent type of Christ,
Rejoice, dwelling-place of the Holy Trinity.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

Not knowing your labors, all the faithful people of the Dodecanese out of love came and were granted rest from their labors, for you liturgized in the Cave [of the Apocalypse], and you received them as your children, teaching them to cry out with you: Alleluia.

You were placed as a lamp upon a lamp stand, shining forth as the Abbot of the Monastery of the Theologian, which boasts in you, O Saint, the new one among the Fathers, crying out to you such things as these:
Rejoice, boast of wise abbots,
Rejoice, benefactor of the faithful who entreat you.
Rejoice, adornment of the ancient Monastery,
Rejoice, pride of the Kathisma of Kouvariou.
Rejoice, protector and deliverer against evil foes,
Rejoice, foundation of the faith against dangerous heresies.
Rejoice, for you trample upon the wiles of belial,
Rejoice, for you grant healing to those ailing.
Rejoice, divine protecting wall for the faithful,
Rejoice, protector of your monastery.
Rejoice, famed guide of women Eldresses,
Rejoice, the song of the Bodiless Angels.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

You protected your homeland like a great cloud during a time of slavery, which darkened the souls of the Orthodox, and you did not at all bend to the wiles of the tyrant, and in your soul you bore the marks of exile, crying out to Christ: Alleluia.
St. Amphilochios of Patmos (source)
Through divine command, you fled to famed Crete, which you became spiritually linked with, and through your prayers, the first church of St. Nektarios, the greatly-wondrous one, was built, and a philanthropic foundation was built by your children, who cry out:
Rejoice, divine vessel of grace,
Rejoice, container of every virtue.
Rejoice, most-tender father of your children,
Rejoice, winged eagle of virtue.
Rejoice, most-fervent defender of orphans and widows,
Rejoice, calm harbor for those troubled by the passions.
Rejoice, for you protect Crete through your prayers,
Rejoice for you protect the city of Chania through your intercessions.
rejoice, most-gladsome feeder of the poor,
Rejoice, for you had nothing of your own, O estranged one.
Rejoice, award of the honor granted you,
Rejoice, treasury of many wonders.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

Your philosophical life was strange to the world, as you founded many schools [of virtue] on Patmos, Rhodes, Ikaria and Aegina along with Kalymnos, and practically served as a most-tender Father, while the choirs of monastics cry out: Alleluia.

Having wholly spent your life in asceticism, you worshipped your Creator only, perceiving His finger working in creation, O all-wise one, as you worked and protected and taught those who now cry out:
Rejoice, shepherd of the rational sheep,
Rejoice, river of living waters.
Rejoice, the complete deliverance from afflictions,
Rejoice the granter of various wonders.
Rejoice, heavy-laded cluster of grapes granting joy,
Rejoice, root full of fruit which nourishes the faithful.
Rejoice, for you respected nature in practice,
Rejoice for you taught to protect creation.
Rejoice, spring rising from the earth,
Rejoice, deliverance from bitter circumstances.
rejoice, pinnacle of wise teachers,
Rejoice, you who worshipped with the Prayer of Jesus.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

Through your labor pains, you founded the virginal choir of nuns on Patmos named "The Mother of the Beloved", and you led them towards Paradise that is desired, where you join ranks together with the Angelic Armies, crying out to the Lord: Alleluia.

Through your godly-wise words as a staff, you strengthened everyone on the path, and you wrote epistles to your children near and far as an act of perfection, rousing them to cry out these things:
Rejoice, radiant adornment of monastics,
Rejoice, rhetor of the heavenly life.
Rejoice, sweet-voiced swallow of good things,
Rejoice, strong-voiced nightingale of gifts.
Rejoice, you who related the beauties of Paradise like Moses,
Rejoice, you who healed incurable pains with your prayer.
Rejoice, for you were a student on Halki,
Rejoice, for the nations have come to see your light.
Rejoice, tuneful harp of the Spirit,
Rejoice, songful ode of the venerable Saints.
Rejoice, steady staff of your children,
Rejoice, eternal intercession for your monastery.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

All of the world has been enlightened by the rays of light of your godly knowledge, therefore, God-loving souls dwelling in shadow you enlightened, guiding them to walk with the teachings of Orthodoxy, crying out: Alleluia.
St. Amphilochios of Patmos (source)
You became a dwelling-place of the Comforter, founded by the Word [of God], and you worked with pain of soul to receive and walk with God, as we who behold this are astonished, and cry out:
Rejoice, trumpet of dispassion,
Rejoice, cymbal of purity.
Rejoice, lightning dissolving clouds [of sin],
Rejoice, awesome thunder of theosis.
Rejoice, heavenly-breathed breeze that refreshes the faithful,
Rejoice, wine offered up to gladden the people.
Rejoice, flower adorning the heavenly house,
Rejoice, fragrant lily bearing the fragrance of graces.
Rejoice, mixing bowl of many wondrous things,
Rejoice, voice of bold sounds.
Rejoice, for you remove utter sadness,
Rejoice, for you grant gladness to the faithful.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

While awake, Mary, the Theotokos appeared to you, together with the Beloved Disciple John, informing you before your last Pascha of your coming repose, not fulfilling your fervent request [of delaying your repose]. This showed the love of your soul for your children even in death, crying out: Alleluia.

Being a friend and fellow-dweller with the Saints and all the prepared righteous ones on the earth, from above you look down on us and hasten to deliver from every danger through your divine intercessions, delivering those who cry out these things:
Rejoice, joyous dweller in Eden,
Rejoice, founder of your famed monastery.
Rejoice, imitator of the life of the Bodiless [Angels],
Rejoice, deposer of the boldness of the ancient enemy.
Rejoice, book inscribed by the finger of God,
Rejoice, most-true friend of the wondrous Nektarios.
Rejoice, for beforehand on earth you looked towards things above,
Rejoice, for your prayers sprinkle dew on those below.
Rejoice, canon of the perfect life,
Rejoice, quencher of the flames of passions.
Rejoice, the unsleeping protector of your monastery,
Rejoice, ever-flowing spring of wonders.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

As the Psalm says, grace pours forth from your relics, curing the weakening by illnesses and filling our senses with the fragrance of the Holy Spirit, O all--joyous one, inciting us to cry out to God: Alleluia.

Chanting these verses to you out of longing, and wishing to honor you with all fervor, protect from all kinds of dangers of the enemy through your speedy intercessions, O Amphilochios, you who ever hear from all:
Rejoice, faithful Levite of Christ,
Rejoice, fearsome fighter of the enemy.
Rejoice, the perfect interpretation of the Scriptures,
Rejoice, depiction beforehand of the life to come.
Rejoice, steady might and protection of the faithful,
Rejoice, protection of your monastery and of the choir of nuns.
Rejoice, for you enrich your monastery with your Relic,
Rejoice, for you gladden the Church with your light.
Rejoice, the boast of those who hymn you,
Rejoice the divine adornment of Patmos.
Rejoice, you who relieve pains of the flesh,
Rejoice, you who lead souls towards heaven.
Rejoice, O blessed Amphilochios.

O boast and pride of Patmos, Amphilochios, faithful healer of the Church (3), do not cease to entreat Christ that we might be granted to dwell together with Him in Eden, and that we might together join chorus to ceaselessly cry to God: Alleluia.

Then the Kontakion again straightaway.
St. Amphilochios of Patmos (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Elder Amphilochios (Makris) of Patmos is Canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate

St. Amphilochios (Makris) of Patmos (+1970) (source)
The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is gathering in the Phanar, under the leadership of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, has decided, according to sources, today (August 29th, 2018) to canonize Elder Amphilochios Makris of Patmos (1889-1970).

This new Saint of the Orthodox Church was a friend and spiritual child of St. Nektarios. He was a spiritual father to many people of the Church, both Greeks and foreigners.

He served as the Abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian on Patmos. Furthermore, he founded the women's Monastery of the Annunciation [of the Theotokos], the "Mother of the Beloved", in 1937.

Elder Amphilochios made his mark on Patmos with his great spiritual, ethnic and ecological service.

He became an inspiration for missionary work in Africa and many other places.

May we have his blessing and may he intercede for us!
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

"You shine with eyes sweet as the sun..."

The Holy Mandylion of Christ (source)
You shine with eyes sweet as the sun, and Your appearance is even sweeter still, O Christ***, for You enlighten both the physical and the noetic senses.
You Who created all things by Your word, and took on the form that was not Your own, you left to us Your appearance which we have received and rejoice in gladness.
-from the Canon for the Holy Mandylion
(amateur translation of text from source)
***See the Psalmic prophecy of David: "Thou art more beautiful than the sons of men: grace has been shed forth on thy lips" (Psalm 45:2)
The story of the Holy Mandylion (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Elder Nikon on the Theotokos

This is a beautiful talk on the Theotokos by Elder Nikon of New Skete. May Panagia help all those who need her comforting embrace throughout the world!
Most-holy Theotokos, save us!

Monday, August 13, 2018

St. John of Kronstadt on the Dormition of the Theotokos

The Dormition of the Theotokos (source)
(Refrain for the 9th Ode of the Canon)
Let us be happy, beloved brothers and sisters that we belong to the Holy Orthodox Church, worthily and rightly glorifying the Most Holy Sovereign Theotokos on this eminent day out of all the days of the year with special solemnity. There exists on earth many societies and entire governments that do not consider the need nor the obligation to call upon and glorify the Queen of heaven and earth, the Mother of Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ, and other saints and angels; to submissively serve Her lovingly, as the true Mother of God. Sadly in Russia nowadays we have heretics (among us) who actively dishonor the Mother of God, the saints, their icons, their relics and their festivals. O, if only they also unanimously with us glorified the worthy Queen of heaven and earth!
Today the Holy Church solemnly glorifies the honorable Dormition or translation of the Mother of God from earth to heaven. A wonderful translation – she died without serious illness, peacefully. Her soul is taken up in the divine hands of Her Son and carried up into the heavenly abode, accompanied by the sweet singing of angels. And then, her most pure body is transferred by the apostles to Gethsemane where it is honorably buried, and on the third day it is resurrected and taken up to heaven. You see this on the icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos. On it is represented the life-bearing body of the Theotokos laying on a bier, surrounded by the apostles and hierarchs, and in the center of the icon the Lord holding in His hands the most pure soul of the Theotokos. The translation of the Mother of God is a paradigm of the translation in general of the souls of Christians to the other world.
We say that our dead have “fallen asleep” or “passed away.” What does this mean? This means that for the true Christian there is no death. Death was conquered by Christ on the cross. But there is a translation, i.e, a rearrangement of his condition, i.e. his soul is in another place, in another age, in another world beyond the grave, eternal, without end, that is what is meant by “falling asleep”. It is as if it were a temporary dream after which, by the voice of the Lord and the fearful yet wonderful trumpet of the Archangel, all the dead shall live and come forth each to his place: either to the resurrection of life or to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:29). This is what the Christian means by translation. We should be ready for this translation, for the day of the general resurrection and judgment, for this indescribable world event, recorded in the Holy Scriptures.
This preparation for the meeting of the heavenly King before the dread judgment seat, after death, is essentially the person’s preparation throughout the whole of his life. This preparation means a change in all his thoughts, and the moral change of all his being, so that the whole man would be pure and white as snow, washing clean everything that defiles the body and spirit, so that he is adorned with every virtue: repentance, meekness, humility, gentleness, simplicity, chastity, mercifulness, abstention, spiritual contemplation, and burning love for God and neighbor.
Our preparation for meeting the heavenly King, and for the inheritance of eternal life in heaven, should consist of these things. The heavenly King desires souls adorned with immutable virtue, souls prepared so that the Very Lord Himself could abide in them. Do not marvel that the Very Lord wants to live in us. In fact the human soul is more spacious than the heavens and the earth, for it exists in the image of God. And if one removes sins from the soul, the Lord of all will settle in it and will fill it with Himself. “We will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (John 14:23), says the Lord about the souls who love Him.
And so, ye participants in the Christian feasts, and especially the present feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, ye who are brightly adorned with every virtue and translated to the heavenly kingdom, to Her Son and God, proclaim to each and every one about preparing their souls to be the dwelling place of the Lord, about continual repentance, and about the incorruptible adornment of Christian virtue. Let your death also be unashamed and peaceful, serving as the pledge of a good answer at the dread judgment seat of Christ. Amen.
The Dormition of the Theotokos (source)
Most-holy Theotokos save us!

Friday, August 3, 2018

"O, what a great and awesome sight that is seen today!"

The Transfiguration of Christ (source)
O, what a great and awesome sight that is seen today! He Who is from heaven is perceived, and upon the earth shines incomparably greater than the sun, as the noetic [Sun] of Righteousness, upon Mount Tabor.
-from the Matins Canon of the Transfiguration
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!