Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"Physicians of the sick, treasuries of healings..."

Sts. Cosmas and Damian the Holy Unmercenaries and Wonderworkers (source)
Physicians of the sick, treasuries of healings, saviors of the faithful, O all-famed Unmercenaries, those in dangers and suffering in pain cry out to you for healing, together with [your mother] Theodoti, entreating: O God of good things, deliver us from the traps of the enemy.
-Idiomelon of the Praises for the Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries Sts. Cosmas and Damian
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Excerpt from the Homily on St. Demetrios by St. Gregory Palamas

St. Demetrios the Great Martyr and Myrrh-streamer (source)
"This Demetrios was a teacher and an apostle, a wise man, a virgin, a venerable one, and as was said, all-comely and all-spotless in nature and greatly radiant with grace. And of this Demetrios, as was said of [the Prophet] Job, there was no one like him upon the earth among men. He was blameless, therefore, righteous and pious. And as Job was beforehand, Demetrios was later, though Job did not have the praise of virginity. For virginity the young [Demetrios] was crowned, for overcoming nature, he was shown to be equal to the Angels according to God. And his body was wounded greatly, by contending with the ancient enemy. He, therefore, withstood to the end even [the shedding] of his blood to fight against evil…
"And therefore this divine Demetrios became spoken of as a wonder for the whole world, the fragrance of Christ, according to St. Paul, for those who are being saved and for those who are redeemed, for the smell of death is death, but that of life is life. This incomparable fragrance I do not have words to speak of, of the myrrh and wonders granted by God from the body of the Great Martyr..."
-Excerpt from the Homily on St. Demetrios by St. Gregory Palamas
(amateur translation of text from source)
See here for the full translations of the homilies of St. Gregory Palamas.

Sts. Gregory Palamas and Demetrios the Myrrh-streamer, the great protectors of Thessaloniki (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

"Your spirit, O wise Martyr Demetrios..."

St. Demetrios the Great Martyr and Myrrh-streamer (source)
Your spirit, O wise Martyr Demetrios, was taken up by God unto the heavenly mansions, for you became the defender of the Trinity, and manfully struggled as steadfast as a diamond in the stadium, and your spotless side was pierced, O all-honored one, imitating Him Who was pierced upon the Cross for the salvation of the whole world. And you were granted the power of working wonders, endlessly bestowing healings for those who suffer. Therefore, we who celebrate your repose today, rightly glorify you, who was glorified by the Lord.
-Doxastikon of the Litia for St. Demetrios the Great Martyr and Myrrh-streamer
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Elder Ephraim of Katounakia on making excuses

The Martyrdom of St. Demetrios the Great Martyr (source)
Making excuses is not written in the Scriptures. The Saints not only did not justify themselves, but they suffered willingly on behalf of others.
-Elder Ephraim of Katounakia
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Repose of Elder Gregory of Docheiariou (+2018)

Elder Gregory of Docheiariou (source)
Elder Gregory (Archipelagitis), the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Docheiariou on Mount Athos, reposed yesterday at the age of 76.

Elder Gregory was from the island of Paros, and for the last 41 years served and led in the Holy Monastery of Docheiariou on the Holy Mountain. Beforehand he had served as Elder of the Monastery of Panagia Prousiotissa in Karpenisi and also lived on the island of Patmos.

He was a spiritual child of the contemporary saintly Elders Amphilochios Makris and Philotheos Zervakos.

All knew of his simplicity and honorable life and personality. His burial occurred on Tuesday October 23rd at Docheiariou Monastery on Athos.
May the Lord grant him a blessed Paradise!

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

Thursday, October 18, 2018

St. Porphyrios: God has everything

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior (source)
God has everything.*** When you are despairing, He sends you something that you did not expect...It is enough for you to believe in Him and love Him.
-St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia
***Note: The commonly used Greek phrase: «Έχει ο Θεός» is not easily translated. Literally it means "God has", but it signifies humility and trust in the Providence our Lord, Who holds us and all creation in the palm of His hand.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, October 12, 2018

"Do not therefore be cast down..."

Christ calming the storm (source)
"Come now let me relieve the wound of your despondency, and disperse the thoughts which gather this cloud of care around you. For what is it which upsets your mind, and why are you sorrowful and dejected? Is it because of the fierce black storm which has overtaken the Church, enveloping all things in darkness as of a night without a moon, and is growing to a head every day, travailing to bring forth disastrous shipwrecks, and increasing the ruin of the world? I know all this as well as you; none shall gainsay it, and if you like I will form an image of the things now taking place so as to present the tragedy yet more distinctly to you. We behold a sea upheaved from the very lowest depths, some sailors floating dead upon the waves, others engulfed by them, the planks of the ships breaking up, the sails torn to tatters, the masts sprung, the oars dashed out of the sailors' hands, the pilots seated on the deck, clasping their knees with their hands instead of grasping the rudder, bewailing the hopelessness of their situation with sharp cries and bitter lamentations, neither sky nor sea clearly visible, but all one deep and impenetrable darkness, so that no one can see his neighbour, while mighty is the roaring of the billows, and monsters of the sea attack the crews on every side.
"But how much further shall I pursue the unattainable? For whatever image of our present evils I may seek speech shrinks baffled from the attempt. Nevertheless even when I look at these calamities I do not abandon the hope of better things, considering as I do who the pilot is in all this — not one who gets the better of the storm by his art, but calms the raging waters by his rod. But if He does not effect this at the outset and speedily, such is His custom — He does not at the beginning put down these terrible evils, but when they have increased, and come to extremities, and most persons are reduced to despair, then He works wondrously, and beyond all expectation, thus manifesting his own power, and training the patience of those who undergo these calamities. Do not therefore be cast down. For there is only one thing, Olympias, which is really terrible, only one real trial, and that is sin; and I have never ceased continually harping upon this theme; but as for all other things, plots, enmities, frauds, calumnies, insults, accusations, confiscation, exile, the keen sword of the enemy, the peril of the deep, warfare of the whole world, or anything else you like to name, they are but idle tales. For whatever the nature of these things may be they are transitory and perishable, and operate in a mortal body without doing any injury to the vigilant soul. Therefore the blessed Paul, desiring to prove the insignificance both of the pleasures and sorrows relating to this life, declared the whole truth in one sentence when he said — “For the things which are seen are temporal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 Why then do you fear temporal things which pass away like the stream of a river. For such is the nature of present things whether they be pleasant or painful. And another prophet compared all human prosperity not to grass, but to another material even more flimsy, describing the whole of it “as the flower of grass.” For he did not single out any one part of it, as wealth alone, or luxury alone, or power, or honour; but having comprised all the things which are esteemed splendid among men under the one designation of glory he said “all the glory of man is as the flower of grass.” Isaiah 40:6
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world (source)
"Nevertheless, you will say, adversity is a terrible thing and grievous to be borne. Yet look at it again compared with another image and then also learn to despise it. For the railings, and insults, and reproaches, and gibes inflicted by enemies, and their plots are compared to a worn-out garment, and moth-eaten wool when God says “Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings, for they shall wax old as does a garment, and like moth-eaten wool so shall they be consumed.” Isaiah 50:7-8 Therefore let none of these things which are happening trouble you, but ceasing to invoke the aid of this or that person, and to run after shadows (for such are human alliances), do thou persistently call upon Jesus, whom you serve, merely to bow his head; and in a moment of time all these evils will be dissolved. But if you have already called upon Him, and yet they have not been dissolved, such is the manner of God's dealing (for I will resume my former argument); He does not put down evils at the outset, but when they have grown to a head, when scarcely any form of the enemy's malice remains ungratified, then He suddenly converts all things to a state of tranquillity and conducts them to an unexpected settlement. For He is not only able to turn as many things as we expect and hope, to good, but many more, yea infinitely more. Wherefore also Paul says “now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20 Could He not, for example, have prevented the three children at the outset from falling into trial? But He did not choose to do this, thereby conferring great pain upon them. Therefore He suffered them to be delivered into the hands of barbarians, and the furnace to be heated to an immeasurable height and the wrath of the king to blaze even more fiercely than the furnace, and hands and feet to be bound with great severity and they themselves to be cast into the fire; and then, when all they who beheld despaired of their rescue, suddenly, and beyond all hope, the wonder-working power of God, the supreme artificer, was displayed, and shone forth with exceeding splendour. For the fire was bound, and the bondmen were released; and the furnace became a temple of prayer, a place of fountains and dew, of higher dignity than a royal court, and the very hairs of their head prevailed over that all devouring element which gets the better even of iron and stone, and masters every kind of substance. And a solemn song of universal praise was instituted there by these holy men inviting every kind of created thing to join in the wondrous melody; and they uttered hymns of thanksgiving to God for that they had been bound, and also burnt, as far at least as the malice of their enemies had power; that they had been exiles from their country, captives deprived of their liberty, wandering outcasts from city and home, sojourners in a strange and barbarous land; for all this was the outpouring of a grateful heart. And when the malicious devices of their enemies were perfected (for what further could they attempt after their death?) and the labours of the heroes were completed, and the garland of victory was woven, and their rewards were prepared and nothing more was wanting for their renown; then at last their calamities were brought to an end, and he who caused the furnace to be kindled, and delivered them over to that great punishment, became himself the panegyrist of those holy heroes, and the herald of God's marvellous deed, and everywhere throughout the world issued letters full of reverent praise, recording what had taken place, and becoming the faithful herald of the miracles wrought by the wonder-working God. For inasmuch as he had been an enemy and adversary what he wrote was above suspicion even in the opinion of enemies.
"Do you see the abundance of resource belonging to God? His wisdom, His extraordinary power, His loving-kindness and care? Be not therefore dismayed or troubled but continue to give thanks to God for all things, praising, and invoking Him; beseeching and supplicating; even if countless tumults and troubles come upon you, even if tempests are stirred up before your eyes let none of these things disturb you. For our Master is not baffled by the difficulty, even if all things are reduced to the extremity of ruin..."
-Excerpt from St. John Chrysostom's letter to St. Olympia
Icon of Christ calming the sea (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, October 5, 2018

A Prayer for Peace and Unity in Ukraine

The Baptism of St. Vladimir and the Slavic People (source)
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, look down with Thy merciful eye upon the sorrow and greatly-painful cry of Thy children, abiding in the Ukrainian land. Deliver Thy people from civil strife, make to cease the spilling of blood, and turn back the misfortunes set against them. Lead unto sanctuary those bereft of shelter, feed the hungry, comfort those who weep, and unite the divided. Leave not Your own flock, who abide in sorrows on account of their kinsmen, to diminish, but rather, as Thou art benevolent, give speedy reconciliation. Soften the hearts of the unmerciful and convert them to the knowledge of Thee. Grant peace to Thy Church and to Her children, that with one heart and one mouth we may glorify Thee, our Lord and Savior, unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!