Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Video of Mother Makaria telling of the Revelation of the Relics of St. Ephraim of Nea Makri

 Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

Here is a video of Mother Makaria of blessed memory, telling in her own words the story of the Revelation of the Holy Relics of St. Ephraim of Nea Makri. May the Lord bless and protect all those suffering through the world through their prayers! (source)
   
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Vasiliki Rallis on the Revelation of Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!   
This is a moving talk from Mrs. Vasiliki Rallis, who was one of the many simple villagers who witnessed the appearing and miracles and the finding of the Holy Relics of Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene in Thermi of Lesvos. Her talk is in Greek with English subtitles (source)
   
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Quote from Elder Ephraim of Arizona on Holy Pascha

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
The Resurrection of Christ (source)

March 24th, 1980. Holy Pascha.

Today is the Resurrection of Christ.

"Come, receive the light, from the never-setting light..."

O, never-setting, perfect light that never sets, surpassingly bright and surpassingly white, O how you magnetize my nous, my soul, my heart! I desire you endlessly, with love and eros unending. When will I be made worthy of the gift of the compassion of my Most-Holy God the Father, to partake of You unto the ages of ages!

My unworthiness troubles me, that I am not worthy of such a place among the saved, but I am worthy of hell and of eternal punishment.

The Resurrection, the eternal Pascha, attracts me terribly. It draws me above the state of things. Above heaven. Above to the sure desire, which I greatly desire to find. But, when will this occur?

O Pascha, together with the Angels, with the Saints, dressed in white, who so greatly desire me and attract me! New songs and unspeakable words are chanted and praised to God, with an awesome, but also unspeakable peace and serenity.

O Pascha, without end, and transformation of the unspeakable joy and Festival! My Father and my God, preserve me from every evil that I myself might be made worthy, I the refuse, one day to be found at that Pascha which cannot be described in human words, nor expressed and spoken of.

Rejoice and exalt, you to as well, O my Lady Theotokos, at the arising of Your Son and God. In the divine beauty of your Son and God, remember me, the wretched one, that I might be found together with you in the eternal Pascha!

...It is the day of Resurrection, let us brilliantly shine forth, O people, Pascha, the Lord's Pascha.

I greet you this year, my Pascha.

(source)

Elder Ephraim at Pascha at St. Anthony's Monastery, Arizona (source)

Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!

Truly He is risen!

Friday, March 26, 2021

"O faithful, share the glad tidings of the recreation of the world"

The Annunciation of the Theotokos (source)

The General of the Angelic Powers was sent from God Pantocrator to the Pure Virgin to bring the strange good news of the incomparable wonder: that God will become a babe from her, without seed, refashioning mortals of every race. O faithful, share the glad tidings of the recreation of the world.

-Exaposteilarion of the Great Feast of the Annunciation

(source)

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

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

St. Leonidas with his Seven Disciples: Sts. Vasilissa, Galini, Theodora, Kallida, Nike, Nounechia and Charissa the Martyrs of Corinth

St. Leonidas with his fellow martyrs and disciples: Sts. Vasilissa, Galini (or Galina), Theodora, Kallida (or Cali), Nike, Nounechia and Charissa (or Chariessa) the Martyrs of Corinth - Commemorated April 16th and on Bright Wednesday (Source)

St. Leonidas with his Seven Disciples: Sts. Vasilissa, Galini (or Galina), Theodora, Kallida (or Kali), Nike, Nounechia and Charissa the Martyrs of Corinth

These holy Martyrs struggled in Corinth during the holy days of Pascha under the reign of the Emperor Decius (249-251AD)

St. Leonidas was "exarch" in the spiritual realm, in other words, was an abbot of a group of disciples of the Lord. They were all seized in Troizinia of the Peloponnese during the days of Holy Week, and led to Corinth. Nounechia and Vasilissa (the mother of Nunechia), Galine, Theodora, Kalida, Nike and Charissa were led with him to the governor Venousto.

There, the governor tried to sway them at first with flattery, but later with threats, to forth St. Leonidas and the seven women to deny their faith in Christ. The Martyrs, however, remained unshaken. Venoustos, doubting that St. Leonidas would remain steadfast in his faith in Christ, ordered him to be hung up high and for his body to be torn apart with terrible instruments. He then gave the command to drown the Martyr in the Corinthian Gulf together with the women Saints.

St. Leonidas the Martyr, before the sea were he was martyred (source)

And though these women Martyrs were led by the executioners and thrown into the sea, they walked upon the waters as on dry land, as St. Charissa chanted like the Prophetess Miriam, while the Egyptians were being drowned in the Red Sea: "I have run one mile, O Lord, and an army pursued me, but I did not deny You, O Lord. Save my spirit." As the boat reached them, they continued to chant odes until their executioners tied them with stones and drowned them in the depth of the sea. The Saints entered into Paradise on the great day of Holy Saturday.

Pious Christians gathered their Holy Relics and buried them, at the place were years later was built the famed Lechaion Basilica, which, at the time of its construction, was the largest known church in the world. The church was destroyed, however, and the Holy Relics of the Saints were lost until 1917, when pious inhabitants of Epidavros received visions to dig in a certain place, and that they would find a sacred treasure. At the place where they dug, they found a sarcophagus, which which were placed the Holy Relics of the Seven Women Martyrs, and another sarcophagus with the Holy Relic of the Martyr Leonidas. Immediately, the faithful people began to build a church in honor of the Saint, in which they placed the Holy Relics. To this day, the Holy Relics of St. Leonidas and his seven women disciples are treasured in the Holy Church of the Annunciation in Epidavros, and are festally taken to the Church of the Holy Martyr Leonidas (in the same town) on Bright Wednesday annually for their feast day.

(source)

The full life of the Saints are part of the life of their spiritual brother and teacher, St. Kodratos, written by Nikephoros Gregoras. It can be found in Patrologia curses completus, series graces.

St. Leonidas with his seven disciples (source)

Selected hymns translated from the Service to St. Leonidas the Martyr and his seven female disciples. (Note that the hymns are not metered)

Prosomoia of the Stichera from Great Vespers in Tone Four. As the brave one among martyrs.

Let us all honor the brave and divine Martyrs of Christ, the all-perfect Leonidas, and together with him, those virgin and martyred young women, who faithfully and steadfastly confessed Christ together with him, and they all received the crowns of victory, as manly champions of our spotless and holy faith.

You followed after Christ, O all-glorious Leonidas, and you became a dwelling place for Virgins, and you struggled together with them, wholly casting down the passions of the body, and you struggled with manliness, approaching the Lord wearing a crown, being martyred in a godly manner, as most-brave Martyrs.

You loved Christ, and you followed after His teachings, gathering your beauty together, O Venerable Ones, in the Spirit, and you were led by the famed Leonidas, and with manliness kept the good confession of Christ, and you all struggled together, while you ever now rejoice in Heaven.

St. Leonidas with his seven disciples (source)

Doxastikon of the Stichera in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.

You hearkened to the words of Christ the Teacher, and with manliness you took up His Cross of martyrdom. And having lived a holy life, through your blood, and in the depths of the sea, you were put to death with radiance, O all-perfect Martyrs: Leonidas the glorious, Chariessa and Nike, Nounechia, Vasilissa, Galini, Theodora and Kallis, the beautifully victorious Virgins of the Lord, with spotless and sacred lives. Entreat Him on behalf of us, that we be delivered from the traps of the enemy, we who praise you in faith, and with fervor celebrate your all-sacred memory.

Idiomelon of the Litia in the First Tone.

Come, O faithful, let us gather together in the house of the Lord, and let us hymn with hymns of praise the glorious athlete of Christ, Leonidas the Martyr, and those precious women who were crowned together with him, having been martyred through a terrible martyrdom. These with boldness and bravery in mind imitated the confessors, and became martyrs in their disposition, that we might find grace in the Heavens on the day of judgment.

Doxastikon of the Aposticha in the Plagal of the First Tone.

Let us trumpet forth with the trumpet of song, and let us hymn with rejoicing the true athletes of Christ the the martyrs of the true faith, for they smashed down the wiles and threats of the enemy upon the firm rock of their hearts, and struggled with manliness in mind, and though cast into the depths of the sea, they harmoniously chanted to the Lord: "I have run one mile with you, O Lord, and I have not denied You, though an army persued me; save my spirit." O beautifully victorious Martyrs, and the sacred choir of Leonidas: intercede with the Lord, as you have great boldness before Him, on behalf of those who with faith and fervor hymn your all-honored memory.

St. Leonidas with his seven disciples (source)

Apolytikion in the Third Tone. The world has found you.

You have become a great defender of Epidavros, O Leonidas, and you were not shaken by the wiles of belial, as you cast down the honor to the demons, and you confessed Christ with boldness, together with the wise Women, O All-blessed Ones, ceaselessly entreat that we be granted the great mercy.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone. O You Who were lifted up upon the Cross.

Let us now honor the protectors of Epidavros, and let us praise the famed Martyrs, Leonidas the glorious soldier of Christ, and the seven Women Champions who celebrate together with him, who now stand at the Throne of glory, fervently entreating. Christ on behalf of those who with faith celebrate their memory.

Oikos.

You counted all the things of the earth as refuse, and now dwell before the Heavenly Throne in glory, as worthy Martyrs of the Lord, for you, O Leonidas, were hung upon the wood, and you life was then ended by being cast into the sea together with your fellow athletes. Having reached Him, O true soldiers of the Lord, you were received and made worthy of the good things of Heaven, and you now ever entreat Christ on behalf of those who with faith celebrate their memory.

Synaxarion

On this day (April 16th, or Bright Wednesday), the memory of the Holy Martyrs Leonidas, Chariessa, Nike, Galini, Kallidos, Nounechias, Vasilissa and Theodora.

St. Leonidas with his seven disciples (source)

Verses

To Leonidas

The bosom of the sea receives Leonidas, who has reached the bosom of Abraham.

To Chariessa

"The sea," says Chariessa, "does not frighten me, but the sea becomes a foretaste of graces for me."

To Galini and Nike

Galini and Nike are cast into the deep, bringing up victory and peace from the storm.

To Kallida

The depth of the sea receives Kalida, who was aflame with eros for the beauty of the Lord, loved by her soul.

To Nounechia

Having found a reward of salvation from the deep, you were shown to be mindful, O Nounechia.

To Vasilissa and Theodora

The womb of the sea receives two daughters, who fled the womb of the enemy.

St. Leonidas with his seven disciples (source)

Exaposteilarion in the Third Tone. O Apostles from afar.

In hymns let us praise the Martyr Leonidas and his seven-membered band, who fled to Christ, having cast down belial.

Prosomoia of the Praises in the First Tone. O all-praised Martyrs.

O beautifully victorious Martyrs of God, who honored the Lord Who is the Creator of all creation, you were in no way swayed by the threats of the enemy, and you lawlessly were put to death. And now you intercede that our souls might be grated peace and the great mercy.

Having reached your blessed end through martyrdom in the depth of the sea, O glorious Martyrs, you truly  dried up the rivers of vanity and the streams of evil through your steadfastness. Therefore, entreat that our souls be granted peace and the great mercy.

Come, O faithful, let us all bless Leonidas, Nike and Chariessa, and Nounechia, Vasilissa, Galini, Kalida, and Theodora, who have come to dwell in the Kingdom, and let us cry out to them: through your prayers to Christ, may He grant peace to His world.

Doxastikon of the Praises in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.

Come, O band of people who love the Martyrs, to glorious Epidavros that has gathered as is truly right to honor the glorious Martyrs, and with reverence, let us embrace the treasury of their Relics, and praise them as worthy athletes of the Lord: O spiritual priest, glorious Leonidas, together with the Seven Women, the foundations of the Church, entreat God on behalf of us, that He have compassion upon us, and save the souls of those who praise your sacred struggle.

Megalynarion.

Rejoice, O all-radiant lights, divine Leonidas, and the seven-numbered Choir of Women Martyrs, the pride and protectors of glorious Epidavros, and our defenders in the faith.

(source)

St. Leonidas with his seven women disciples (source)

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

Saturday, February 27, 2021

St. Ephraim of Katounakia: The Martyr of Obedience

 

Here is a video with English subtitles of a talk of Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesou on the newly-canonized St. Ephraim of Katounakia, including video clips of the Saint himself, who is celebrated today as his first feast day. May we have his prayers and blessings! (source)
   
Selected hymns from the service to St. Ephraim of Katounakia (Commemorated February 27th), written by Dr. Charalampos Bousias, Hymnographer of the Patriarchate of Alexandria 

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone. Let us worship the Word.
O newly-shining lamp-lighter of noetic prayer, as a dweller of Katounakia and a light of the Holy Mountain, who illumined all with the light of your virtues, O most-divine Ephraim, who proceeded to the heights of theosis, dispassion and nepsis: Do not cease to entreat Christ for us.
 
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
Let us praise the hard-working, prayerful and neptic ascetic of Katounakia, who was lifted up from every baseness of the nous towards the virtues through purification, as one equal to the Angels, let us mortals praise him with psalms and divine hymns, crying out: Rejoice, O most-divine Father.
 
Oikos
The Angels were astonished, beholding your feats in Katounakia, O Ephraim, and the chaste citizens of Athos beheld the grace that dwelt in you through your monastic way of life, and they cry out these things with compunction in soul:
Rejoice, bodiless one bearing flesh,
Rejoice, inheritor of Heaven.
Rejoice, defender of dispassion and nepsis,
Rejoice, fellow-dweller with non-possessiveness and grace.
Rejoice, unassailable foundation of prayer of the heart,
Rejoice, greatly-varied stream of perfect obedience.
Rejoice, you who were a disciple at the feet of Joseph,
Rejoice, you who showed to all the virtue of your heart.
Rejoice, godly offspring of Thebes,
Rejoice, goodness by canon and knowledge.
Rejoice, dweller of Katounakia,
Rejoice, protector of those who approach you.
Rejoice, O all-venerable Father.
 
Synaxarion
On this day (February 27th), the memory of our Venerable and God-bearing Father Ephraim, who lately lived in asceticism in Katounakia.
 
Verses
Obedience, prayer and a harsh way of life
You lived, O Ephraim, in Katounakia.

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

Friday, February 26, 2021

Akathist to the Holy Prophet Elias (Elijah) the Tishbite

Holy Prophet Elias (Elijah) the Tishbite (source)

Akathist to the Holy Prophet Elias (Elijah) the Tishbite - The Great Prophet of Fire, 900 BC, - 20th of July

Kontakion 1

Chosen by God to turn Israel from the deception of Baal, dread denouncer of lawless kings, you shone forth with flaming zeal for God Almighty with holiness of life and miracles, who in the flesh was caught up to the heavens and shall come again before the Second Coming of Christ: to you do we dedicate hymns of praise, O Elijah, prophet of God. As you have boldness before the Lord, by your prayers free from all evil and adverse circumstances us that piously cry out to you: ~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Ikos 1

You were an angel in the flesh, O prophet, in your zeal for God and in your pure life, for while you were yet an infant, your father, Sobah, beheld radiant angels conversing with you, swaddling you in fire, and nourishing you with flames, which was an omen of your flaming zeal for God, the power of your words and your blameless life which was a light. Wherefore, with amazement we cry to you such things as these:

~Rejoice, you who from eternity were chosen for the ministry of saving the children of Israel!

~Rejoice, you who from your mother’s womb were prepared as a herald of divine truth and piety!

~Rejoice, you who astounded your father with the most glorious vision which concerned you!

~Rejoice, you who from your youth did love virginal purity and silence!

~Rejoice, you who despised the vanity of this world and all its goods, and

did consecrate your soul totally to the Lord!

~Rejoice, you who were illumined by God with the light of wisdom and from childhood drank your fill of the teaching of piety!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 2

Beholding impiety and perversion in Israel, O most glorious prophet, you were greatly vexed of spirit, and were inflamed with zeal for the glory of God, for the children of Israel were bowing down before abominable idols and had departed from the true God, to Whom all the armies of heaven cry out with fear: Alleluia!

Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 2

Ahad, the unjust king of Israel, blinding his reason with evil intent, forsook God Almighty and worshipped the abominable idol Baal, and in his kingdom he propagated idolatry and impiety. But you, O prophet, filled with great zeal for God, boldly denounced the king, proclaiming to him that, as punishment for him and his kingdom, there would be neither rain nor dew for three years and six months, and that there would be a great famine throughout all the land. Marveling, therefore, at such zeal for God and great boldness, with love we cry to you:

~Rejoice, fearless preacher of the truth and mighty champion of piety!

~Rejoice, zealous denouncer of impiety!

~Rejoice, you who did move our longsuffering God to punish unrepentant sinners!

~Rejoice, you who did close heaven with your word and did make barren the fruitful earth!

~Rejoice, you who did ask of the Lord a three year famine on account of the people’s impiety!

~Rejoice, for the Lord Most High made you a god to Ahab, as of old He made Moses to Pharaoh!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 3

Truly by the power of your prayer, O most wondrous prophet, was the sky closed, and it did not rain for three years and six months, and great famine was there throughout all the land, that, perhaps, tormented by burning heat and hunger, the impious people might repent and turn to the Lord, crying out to Him in compunction: Alleluia!

Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 3

Having great goodwill towards you, O prophet, the Lord wished to set you apart from the unjust children of Israel, that you might not endure hunger and thirst with them; and He commanded you to go to the brook of Cherith, where ravens fed you, bringing you bread and meat. Wherefore, we bring you these praises:

~Rejoice, you who by fasting and vigilance did blot out all earthly and vain imaginations!

~Rejoice, you who by prayer and thought of God did give wings to your mind that it might fly to the heights!

~Rejoice, exultation of patriarchs and adornment of prophets!

~Rejoice, boast of virgins and glory of the venerable!

~Rejoice, instructor of holy hierarchs and strength of martyrs!

~Rejoice, for you did turn the children of Israel, blinded by impiety and unbelief, back to the path of truth!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 4

A great tempest which ruptured the mountains came before the Lord approached you on Horeb, O prophet; then there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, there was the voice of a gentle breeze, and as such did the Lord make Himself manifest unto you. Perceiving His presence, you did cover your face with your mantle, crying out to Him in fear and joy: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 4

Ahab, on hearing your command, that he gather together all the tribes of Israel on Mount Carmel and invite thereunto all the shameful prophets of Baal, straightway sent word and assembled all, and he himself came there. And you, O zealot of the glory of God, wishing to put the abominable idols utterly to shame and to glorify the true God, commanded that two sacrifices be made ready, but that they not be set on fire, saying: “The God Who shall answer by fire, He is God.” And, on hearing this, all the people said: “Good is the word of Elijah. Let it be so!” And we, magnifying you, cry out:

~Rejoice, great emissary of the heavenly King and herald of His holy Commands!

~Rejoice, adamant unsurpassed in zeal, and unshakable pillar of piety!

~Rejoice, mighty protector of truth and steadfast opponent of the enemies of God!

~Rejoice, up-rooter of impiety and instiller of piety!

~Rejoice, flaming zealot of the glory of God!

~Rejoice, for even in the last days of the world you shall preach the true God and denounce the wretched Antichrist!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 5

Jezebel, the unjust queen, thought to extinguish you, the divinely guided star; for, filled with wrath against you because of the destruction of her shameful prophets, she wished to slay you, for her heart was hardened , and she wished not to believe in your wonders, O prophet, or to acknowledge the true God, chanting unto Him: Alleluia!

The wondrous icon of the Holy Prophet Elias from the Skete of the same name, on Mount Athos (source)

Ikos 5

All the people of Israel, beholding the fire from the Lord which at your prayer came from the heavens upon your sacrifice, O all-praised prophet, and which burnt it all, devouring the wood and the stones, earth and water, fell upon their faces, crying out: “Truly the Lord is God! He is God!” And the people believed in God, but you did slay the shameful prophets of Baal. Therefore, glorifying Almighty God, Who works wonders, thus do we say to His favored one:

~Rejoice, you who did acquire exceeding great boldness before the Master of all!

~Rejoice, you who did confirm divine truth with signs and wonders!

~Rejoice, you who put the deception of the demons to shame and glorified the true faith!

~Rejoice, you who did enlighten the unbelieving with the true knowledge of God!

~Rejoice, you who, in pouring water thrice upon the sacrifice, did reveal the mystery of the All-holy Trinity!

~Rejoice, for the nature of all things that are were subject to you, and fire and water obeyed you!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 6

You did show yourself to be a preacher of true knowledge of God and piety, not only in Israel, but in a heathen land as well, O prophet, being sent by the Lord to Zareptah of the land of Sidon to be maintained by a widow, or rather that you might maintain her during the famine; for, possessed of the great grace of working wonders, you did abundantly increase the flour and oil in her house until the time of famine passed, and by breathing thrice you did, through prayer, resurrect her dead son, chanting to God Who works wonders: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 6

Shining forth with great zeal for God Almighty, O prophet, you were exceedingly grieved that the children of Israel had forsaken His covenant, had cast down His altars and slain His prophets. And the Lord, for your comfort, told you that not all of Israel had departed from Him, but that there would be seven thousands of His hidden servants, who had not bent their knees to Baal. Wherefore, mindful of your zeal for God, with reverence we sing to you such things as these:

~Rejoice, faithful servant and close friend of the Lord!

~Rejoice, model and boast of pious pastors!

~Rejoice, teacher of salvation and enlightenment for them that sit in darkness!

~Rejoice, you who are attentive to the courage of defenders of the truth and do strengthen them in their struggles and sufferings for righteousness!

~Rejoice, for you did burn with seraphic love for God!

~Rejoice, for the Lord obeyed you in all and did everything according to your request!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 7

The Lord Who loves mankind, wishing to manifest His lovingkindness to repentant sinners, when the time of the famine which had been foretold had passed, sent down at your prayer and through the word of your lips, O prophet, a gentle and abundant rain upon the burnt dry land. And the children of Israel, granted such great mercy, in compunction of heart thankfully cried out to God: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 7

The impious king Ahab added a new crime to his iniquities when he commanded that the innocent Naboth be slain and his vineyard seized. Wherefore, denouncing the lawless king, you did foretell to him, O prophet, that swine and dogs would lick his blood where Naboth was put to death, and that the dogs would devour Jezebel, his wife, and that all his house would be utterly destroyed. Therefore, mindful of this dread prophecy, which was fulfilled, we are filled with terror, crying:

~Rejoice, dread one who take vengeance upon oppressors and the cruelhearted!

~Rejoice, mighty helper of orphans and of those that are tried!

~Rejoice, punisher of those that honor not the feast of the saints of the Orthodox Church!

~Rejoice, you who cast down audacious blasphemers of the name of God!

~Rejoice, you that with a word of reproof, as with thunder, strike down iniquity!

~Rejoice, you who know things of the future as though they were present, and see things afar off as though they were near!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 8

Strange and supernatural foresight did the Lord show in your regard, O prophet, when He commanded the hungry and child-hating ravens to feed you during the famine by the brook of Cherith, where, ever abiding in prayer and thought of God, you did sing to God: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 8

Wholly adorned were you with great humility, O prophet of God. Wherefore, with fire did you consume the two captains of fifty with their warriors who came with pride to take you to the unjust king Ahad; but you did have mercy on Obadiah, who had fed the disciples of the prophet. Wherefore, we offer you these hymns of praise:

~Rejoice, humbler and punisher of the prideful, and protection and helper of the lowly!

~Rejoice, chastiser of corrupt judges, and helper of them that judge righteously!

~Rejoice, champion of pious soldiers amid battle, and subduer of the impious adversary!

~Rejoice, you who were clad in wisdom as with a breastplate, and protected with righteousness as with a shield!

~Rejoice, you who were armed with zeal for God as with a sword, and were feathered with fasting as with wings!

~Rejoice, you who were covered with faith as with a helmet of salvation, and were crowned with love as with a diadem most radiant!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 9

All of human nature was exceedingly amazed at how you, O most wondrous prophet, did walk for forty days, neither eating nor drinking, until you did reach Mount Horeb, where you were granted the most glorious vision and the most sweet discourse of the Lord Almighty, chanting to Him: Alleluia!

The ascent of the Holy Prophet Elias in the fiery chariot (source)

Ikos 9

The most eloquent of orators are at a loss how to understand and explain sufficiently how you, O Elijah of great renown, being of human flesh and subject to such passions as we are, were caught up in your body to heaven in a fiery chariot which appeared to you, drawn by fiery horses. Therefore, glorifying the Lord Who has magnified you and marveling at your ascension, we reverently cry to you:

~Rejoice, that with most wondrous abstinence you did slay within yourself the old man!

~Rejoice, that with the fire of divine zeal you did consume within yourself every material imagination!

~Rejoice, you who made glad the human race by your translation to heaven and have confirmed that life is indeed eternal!

~Rejoice, you who were honored by God with surpassing honor and glory, and were glorified more than all the prophets of old!

~Rejoice, you who were greeted joyously by the angelic choirs in the heavenly mansions!

~Rejoice, for your name is honored throughout the entire world and your zeal for God is exceedingly glorious!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 10

The Most Good God, wishing to save the people of Israel from the deception of Baal, chose you, O great prophet, as the instrument of His will and robed you with divine authority, that you might convert the unbelieving, correct transgressors, enlighten the ignorant and teach all to chant unto God: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 10

Be a rampart and an aid unto us, O most holy prophet, appeasing by your mighty mediation the righteous wrath of God, which does strike us, the sinful and unprofitable, with drought and famine, as also with destructive winds and plagues; that, delivered from misfortune, we may thankfully chant unto you:

~Rejoice, you who close and open the sky with your prayers, and send from God fruitfulness and barrenness of the earth!

~Rejoice, you who by your intercession before God send down gentle rains and life-giving dew upon the plants of the earth!

~Rejoice, you who calm the raging waves of the sea and the dreadful tempests, and direct the thunder and lightning in accordance with God’s will!

~Rejoice, you who subdue destructive winds and pestilence which attack both man and beast!

~Rejoice, nourisher of orphans and widows, and protector of compassionate people!

~Rejoice, for you do strike down impious blasphemers and persecutors of the true Faith, and drive away spirits of malice from the servants of God!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 11

Accept from us this compunctionate hymn, O Elijah, prophet of God, as you did accept the petition of Elisha when he asked you for a double portion of the Spirit which was in you; and when, caught up to heaven, you did let fall your mantle upon him, which he took up, he parted the waters of the Jordan, as you had before, and became the heir to the grace of God which worked within you. Thus, with the mantle of your mercy do protect us also from every misfortune and evil circumstance, that with thanksgiving we may cry out to God: Alleluia!

The ascent of the Holy Prophet Elias in the fiery chariot (source)

Ikos 11

A radiant beacon were you in Israel, O all-praised prophet, shining forth in your wisdom and your life, which equaled that of the angels and yet, more with your extraordinary zeal for God and with most glorious miracles, illumining the people with true knowledge of God and driving away the gloom of idolatry. Wherefore, we dedicate hymns of praise to you, singing:

~Rejoice, bright star that has illumined the entire universe with your radiance!

~Rejoice, luminous lamp, ever burning and casting light upon those that sit in darkness!

~Rejoice, you who were enlightened with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and were full of the spirit of counsel and might!

~Rejoice, you who were illumined with the spirit of knowledge and piety and were watered with the spirit of the fear of God!

~Rejoice, you who were adorned with lofty virtues and most glorious miracles!

~Rejoice, for you did fulfil the judgments of God on earth, and did anoint prophets and kings!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 12

Great grace was given you by God, O all-praised prophet, for in your earthly life you did prophesy and did work wondrous miracles, and then you were in your flesh caught up to heaven. And after you were caught up, you did wondrously stand on Tabor before the Transfigured Lord and did converse with Him; and even until this day, you do not cease to work wonders and to pour forth mercy and healing upon them that ardently honor you, faithfully chanting to God: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 12

Hymning your flaming zeal for God and your life, which equaled that of the angels, and your marvelous and most glorious wonders and the Lord’s surpassing good pleasure toward you, we praise you, O Elijah, prophet of great renown. Yet, unable fittingly to describe your greatness and glory, with compunction we cry to you such things as these:

~Rejoice, ark of divine glory and most honored temple of the all-holy Trinity!

~Rejoice, ever-burning lamp of the Churches, and fragrant blossom of the paradise of God!

~Rejoice, guide of pious desert-dwellers and instructor and strengthener of virgins!

~Rejoice, for you rouse sinners to repentance, and by your intercession do obtain everlasting life for the whole human race!

~Rejoice, for you delight yourself in the holy splendors of ineffable glory, and ever glorify the Lord!

~Rejoice, for at the end of time you will work great signs and wonders for the confirmation of the people in the true Faith, and for the denunciation of Antichrist!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 13

O most wondrous and most glorious Elijah, prophet of God, great zealot of God, who from God send down both fruitfulness and barrenness upon the earth: hear this modest prayer which we reverently offer you, and by your fervent intercession before the Lord preserve us from drought, famine, and deadly pestilence; and grant us seasonable weather and an abundance of fruit, and a spirit of true faith and piety, that, delivered from eternal torment, we may be granted the blessedness of paradise, chanting unto God: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! (Thrice)

Ikos 1 and Kontakion 1 are repeated.

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Prayer to Holy Elijah, Glorious Prophet of God

O all-laudable and most wondrous Elijah, prophet of God, who in your life, which equaled that of the angels, shone forth upon the earth with flaming zeal for the Lord God Almighty, and yet more with most glorious signs and wonders; and then, in accordance with God’s extreme good pleasure in your regard, was supernaturally caught up to heaven in your flesh on a fiery chariot, was granted to converse on Tabor with the Transfigured Savior of the world, and now ever abide in the mansions of paradise, and stand before the throne of the Heavenly King: hear us, who are sinful and unprofitable, who at this hour stand before your holy icon and earnestly have recourse to your mediation. Entreat God, who love mankind, on our behalf, that He grant unto us the spirit of repentance and contrition for our sin and help us with His all-powerful grace to depart from our ways of impiety and to prosper in every good work; that He strengthen us in the battle with our passions and lusts; that He implant in our hearts the spirit of humility and meekness, the spirit of brotherly love and absence of guile, the spirit of patience and chastity, the spirit of zeal for the glory of God and for the salvation of our neighbor. By your supplications, O prophet, set at nothing the evil ways of the world and, moreover, the pernicious and destructive spirit of this age, which afflicts the Christian race with irreverence for the divine Orthodox Faith, for the order of the Holy Church and for the commandments of the Lord, and with disrespect for parents and the ruling authorities, and cast the people down into the abys of impiety, subversion and perdition. By your intercession, O most wondrous prophet, turn away the righteous wrath of God from us, and deliver all the cities and villages of our land from drought and famine, from fearsome tempests and earthquakes, from deadly plagues and pestilence, from the incursion of enemies and from evil strife. By your supplications, O most glorious one, strengthen our civil authorities in the great and burdensome task of governing the nation, and make them prosper in all good works and undertakings which lead to the establishment of peace and justice in our land. Aid our military forces in battle against the enemy. O prophet of God, beseech the Lord that He grant: our pastors—holy zeal for God, heartfelt concern for the salvation of their flock, wisdom in teaching and correction, piety and strength amid temptations; our judges—impartiality and detachment; the oppressed—justice and sympathy; all in authority—concern for those that are governed, mercy and justice; the governed—obedience to the authorities and ready fulfillment of their obligations, that living in this age in peace and piety, we may thus be granted to partake of the eternal blessings in the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom is due glory, honor and worship, with His Un-originate Father and with the All-Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

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Holy Prophet Elias (source)

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Homily on Theophany by St. Luke of Simferopol

The Baptism of Christ, the Great Feast of Theophany (Source)

Homily on Theophany by St. Luke of Simferopol

The Gospel reading of Theophany provides a word of Christ of great importance. And on this I wish now to turn your attention for a bit.

This great event of the Theophany of the Lord was preceded by the preaching on the banks of the Jordan River by John, the Forerunner of the Lord, the greatest among those born of women. His fiery preaching of repentance, for which he prepared beforehand for twenty years in the desert of Judea, attracted to him a great multitude of people. The fiery word of his preaching set ablaze the hearts of men, whom he baptized in the waters of the Jordan to purify their sins.

But on that great day, to his great astonishment, among the others who were coming to be baptized was Him Who he had never seen, but was Him Whom he revealed would come to baptize him with the Holy Spirit. And having fallen at His feet, he told Him with reverence: "I have need to be baptized by You, and You come to me?" (Matthew 3:14)

We, hope are truly baptized by the Holy Spirit and fire, could not understand why the sinless Son of God went to His servant John and asked to be baptized by him with the baptism of repentance, in order for Him to be loosened from sins that He did not possess, if Christ had not responded to the question of the Forerunner in this way: "Let it be so, for thus we will fulfill all righteousness." (Matthew 3:15)

O, our Lord! We venerate You and Your Forerunner, and we thank You from the depths of our hearts for teaching us to respect and honor "all righteousness", and to hate any type of injustice, for this comes from the devil. Every righteousness, even the most insignificant righteous act, is blessed by God. You received baptism from John in the Jordan River for the remission of sins, because You wished to fulfill whatever was seen beforehand in the plan of God. The descent into the waters of the Jordan served as a seal of repentance for those who were coming to be baptized. For repentance from one's whole heart in those who received the baptism of John, received from God remission of their sins...

Therefore, the baptism of John was righteous. Our Savior was not speaking only about this righteousness to John, however, in order to silence him and to answer his question, but He was speaking about every righteousness, in other words, regarding the plan of God. With His Divine Word, He sanctified and blessed every truth and simultaneously condemned every injustice.

Think, my beloved, people of the spirit as myself, communicants of the little flock of Christ, how much injustice exists in the word! What a great sin is war, when the faithful, and especially Christian people kill each other! If the murder even of one person is punished by death in many peoples, then, how much will our Lord punish those who have led the murder of tens of millions of people?! Any sin is injustice, and war is the greatest injustice, which we all must despise...

The Baptism of our Lord has for us an exalted meaning as well, for we have the revelation of the Holy Trinity. At the instant when the Lord stood up from the water, from Heaven was heard the voice of God the Father, Which bore witness to the Son, saying: "This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased." (Matthew 3:17) And the Holy Spirit "in the form of a dove", descended from Heaven upon the head of the Pre-eternal Son of God. This Theophany has great importance, as it is also called besides the Baptism of the Lord. He Himself, the tri-hypostatic God, revealed the divinity of His Second Person, of the incarnate Word of God. God--Father and Holy Spirit as well--were revealed as well to mankind together with the Savior of the race of men...

O, Son of God! O, our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ! To Your works of love, to Your countless wonders, please do another wonder: draw close with Your right hand to my stony heart and turn it to a "heart of flesh". Amen.

-From the Words and Homilies of St. Luke of Simferopol, Vol. II., Published by Orthodox Kypseli

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