“Behold, I and the children God has given me”. I didn’t want to have children in the world by the flesh and God gave me you to have as my spiritual children. That saying comforts me and I imagine it brings you joy, too. I’ve got you as my children and you think of me as your spiritual father.
The spiritual father is superior to the father after the flesh. Because if I see you dashing your foot against a rock, I’ll be worried; I’ll run and help. If I see you being dragged to court over some debt that you owe, I hurry along and pay it on your behalf. If I see people condemning you, swearing at you or slandering you, I’ll hasten to take your side and defend you.
If I see you’re sad and you’ve got no consolation anywhere, I’ll try my best to let a drop of my blood drip on you, if possible, to comfort you. If I see that you’re ill, I can’t help but provide you with some sort of assistance towards your treatment. Because my soul’s in pain; I can’t see you in need and be indifferent. Because I was given you by the Holy Spirit and I feel for you.
If you’re under the sway of some demon, if you’re in danger from the passions, if you’re troubled by one thing or another, I can’t rest. I try with all means possible to relieve you of that. I even give you remission of sins, so that you can go to heaven shriven. But everything depends on you.
Everything we’ve spoken about now, I’m willing to give you. You’ve known that for many years and you see it every day. But it depends on your own faith and reverence. It rests on the devotion and fervour you have towards me. You have to have the proportionate feelings towards me, to apply what is appropriate to your position, if I’m to supervise you and to act as your shepherd. Because it appears I’m an unworthy shepherd. I’m not worthy, I know, but I’m the one who’s here.
But a shepherd’s always wary. When he sees a wolf coming, he not only attempts to guard his sheep with all available means, but he also calls on others to help. The shepherd shouts, whistles, throws stones at the animals, which are incapable of reasoning. I do the same, sisters: at time times I shout, at others I berate you, and then again I get angry. Because I’m the shepherd of sheep who have the power to reason. But there shouldn’t be any need to be like that. Because the unreasoning animals have no reason. They don’t understand. But for those who have reason, one word from the shepherd and they should listen. But since, maybe because of interference from the demons, from bad habit, or disregard for the shepherd, they don’t listen with just one word, then everything that we’ve talked about has to be applied.
Merely the written word, the word of the Gospel is enough to teach a human flock and for me to protect it from that surreptitious wolf, the devil. But since we don’t listen to the word, I am unfortunate enough to have to fight, sometimes with shouting, sometimes with penances, at other times with comfort, all the time watching over you to see you don’t overstep your bounds.
Don’t be troubled, sisters, over what I’m telling you, but rather engrave it deeply in your hearts, because one day I’ll leave and you’ll need it. It’s my love that moves me to say these things to you. There’s this spiritual affection which I can’t express to you other than through what I’m telling you.
You have to listen to me. These paltry words of mine are my testament and you must guard them.
I didn’t come here to lie down on soft mattresses and rest to my heart’s content; I came to fall into humility. I didn’t come here for glory and honour and for you to call me “Sir”; I came to be cursed, to be hungry, thirsty, to labour, to toil to be mocked, to be trampled upon for the love of Christ. I’m no “Sir”. The Mother of God and her Son are the Lady and Lord. I’m your servant. I’ve served you so many years. I’m a slave of yours; I don’t even want to be called “Elder”. I don’t like and I don’t want it but it’s to your own credit that you honour me so.
Source: Αγίου Ανθίμου της Χίου, Διδαχές Πνευματικές – Άρτος Ζωής, Edited by Antonios N. Kharokopos, vol. II, Holy Monastery of Our Lady of Help, Chios, Athens 2001. (source)
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth...And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1: 14, 16-17
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages! Amen!
"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honouring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshipping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honouring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration.
This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world." Excerpt from the Synodikon of the Sunday of Orthodoxy (http://www.anastasis.org.uk/synodikon.htm)
By the Grace of God, here are presented a few true stories of the Saints, sayings of the Holy Fathers, sacred icons, and many other things so that, maybe in a small way, we may remind ourselves that (though we might not be ready to accept it) Jesus Christ is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, and that the Holy Orthodox Church is full of Christ's GRACE and TRUTH, and is no less than the Kingdom of God on earth.
I must say that I am not a part of the clergy, so I hope to primarily put forth quotations from the Gospel, Saints and Holy Fathers, and not my own opinions. But if you see my own words or opinions, keep in mind that they are my opinions or comments and they have little weight, as opposed to the quotations from Christ, the Saints and the Fathers which do.
I ask forgiveness if in this site any of my passions are acting, hindering the Grace of the Holy Spirit because of my sins. I apologize for any errors of mine, mistakes, problems with translations, etc. due to my ignorance and conceit. If anyone notices any mistakes or can suggest a better translation, please let me know. I try to post all of my sources. Please also let me know if I am violating any copyrights or other laws, and I will do my best to comply.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!
-I try to update this site fairly regularly. If you are looking for a specific subject, feel free to search for an earlier post that might cover it. I habitually go back and update previous posts too, so though there may not be new info at the top of the site(e.g. for some saint or feast), it's possible that I've updated a previous post with more information, images, etc.
-Please consider the sources for all materials presented. I try to only post reliable information, but I can't be held responsible for every inconsistency or incorrect fact. If you notice an error, please post a comment and let me know. Please keep in perspective material presented without a source, or amateur translations from me.
-Though I don't have explicit permission to reproduce all the material I use on this blog, if I am made aware of some copyright or usage issues, I am very willing to remove the materials in question. If you quote or use material from my blog, please cite the sources where I took it from. If you use some of my amateur translations, please make it clear somehow that it was not a professional translation (unless you can verify my translation).
-Please do not make comments to a post that are irrelevant to the topic being discussed. If there are general comments / questions about the blog, feel free to search for and comment on one of the posts titled "Blog Info / Updates / Suggestions". Comments that are irrelevant to the topic of the post will be deleted.
-If you have a question or a comment about the topic of sources of a post, feel free to comment. However, I ask you to avoid being argumentative, accusatory, combative or bickering. This was not envisioned as a forum for debates, but as another venue to present the stories, writings and miracles of the Holy Fathers and the Church.