An Irish Welcome

Céad Míle Fáilte friend and rover ...
Wherever you come from and whosoever you may be.
That's an Irish greeting and it means

you are welcome
a thousand times over.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Peace of soul

One must by every means strive to preserve peace of soul and not be disturbed by offenses from others; for this one must in every way strive to restrain anger and by means of attentiveness to keep the mind and heart from improper feelings. And therefore we must bear offenses from others with equanimity and accustom ourselves to such a disposition of spirit that these offenses seem to concern not us, but others. Such a practice can give quietness to the human heart and make it as dwelling for God Himself. 

- St. Seraphim of Sarov

And this is love

And this is love, that we walk after His commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it." Divine Truth is contained and found in the commandments of the Gospel. Divine love gives us will, strength, and perseverance for we walk after the [divine] commandments, for we walk after His commandments in them and with them. Our love -- as much towards the Lord Christ as towards men -- consists of living according to the commandments of Christ. For at the end, everything comes back to this double commandment: the commandment of love of God and one's neighbor. This is why the holy Evangelist recalls all the commandments to a single one: This is the commandment, That ... you walk in it [love]. We now know that the entire Gospel of Christ is contained in the single commandment on love: he who lives in love lives in Christ God. Thus, he who fulfills the Gospel of God is deserving of heaven and earth. 

Commentary on the Second Epistle of St. John by St. Archimandrite Justin Popovich.

Desire and love ...

Do not look for status or glory on this earth, but seek only the good opinion of God himself. Desire God alone, that He may desire you, and so guide you into His eternal Kingdom. Listen to me not because I am your chosen pastor, but because as someone who is shortly to die I have no reason to deceive you: as death approaches, the truth is all that matters.

Patience, forgiveness and joy are the three greatest characteristics of divine love. They are characteristics of all real love - if there is such a thing as real love outside divine love. Without these three characteristics, love is not love. If you give the name 'love' to anything else, it is as though you were giving the name 'sheep' to a goat or a pig.

-St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Prayer of marital love ...

Saint Chrysanthus counsels Daria:

O virgin, forsake the lie
And do not venerate the idols as gods;
Neither seek, you, truth from the world.
The truth is in the One God,
The One Triune God
Who created the heavenly armies
Of angels and heavenly powers;
Who created the whole universe,
And of the universe, man, the crown.
The only One, immortal and living,
He, out of the earth, creates wrappings
And the clothing of spiritual wealth.
Our soul is spiritual wealth
Wrapped up in the dust of the body.

The soul should be tenderly nurtured
As a bride to make ready for Christ.

Forsake, O virgin, the bodily,
It leads to suffering and sorrow.
God does not look into the vessel of the flesh
But at the flower which grows in it.
O virgin, clothed in death
Today, tomorrow consumed by death:

Adorn your soul with the flower of virtues,
Sow the flower with faith in the Lord,
Enclose it with hope and love,
Water it with the Life-creating Spirit,
Weed it of the weeds of sins,
Let grow the flower of virtues,
Let grow the flower of piety,
Let grow the flower of charity,
Let grow the flower of repentance,
Let grow the flower of patience,
Let grow the flower of abstinence,
Let grow the flower of obedience.
As a hymn of Paradise, your soul is,
Let it smell like a garden in May.
And may God to dwell therein,
For which He created it.

Daria listened to Chrysanthus,
Her soul to Christ she wedded,
Her body to torture she submitted
With Chrysanthus, her spiritual brother.
And God transplanted them to Paradise,
With them, adorned the garden of Paradise.

-- Hymn of Praise, Ss Chrysanthus and Daria - March 19.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Repentance ...

For all the sins of men I repent before You, Most Merciful Lord. Indeed, the seed of all sins flows in my blood! With my effort and Your mercy I choke this wicked crop of weeds day and night, so that no tare may sprout in the field of the Lord, but only pure wheat.

I repent for all those who are worried, who stagger under a burden of worries and do not know that they should put all their worries on You. For feeble man even the most minor worry is unbearable, but for You a mountain of worries is like a snowball thrown into a fiery furnace.

I repent for all the sick, for sickness is the fruit of sin. When the soul is cleansed with repentance, sickness disappears with sin, and You, my Eternal Health, take up Your abode in the soul.

I repent for unbelievers, who through their unbelief amass worries and sicknesses both on themselves and on their friends.

I repent for all those who blaspheme God, who blaspheme against You without knowing that they are blaspheming against the Master, who clothes them and feeds them.

I repent for all the slayers of men, who take the life of another to preserve their own. Forgive them, Most Merciful Lord, for they know not what they do. For they do not know that there are not two lives in the universe, but one, and that there are not two men in the universe, but one. Ah, how dead are those who cut the heart in half!

I repent for all those who bear false witness, for in reality they are homicides and suicides.

For all my brothers who are thieves and who are hoarders of unneeded wealth I weep and sigh, for they have buried their soul and have nothing with which to go forth before You.

For all the arrogant and the boastful I weep and sigh, for before You they are like beggars with empty pockets.

For all drunkards and gluttons I weep and sigh, for they have become servants of their servants.

For all adulterers I repent, for they have betrayed the trust of the Holy Spirit, who chose them to form new life through them. Instead, they turned serving life into destroying life.

For all gossipers I repent, for they have turned Your most precious gift, the gift of speech, into cheap sand.

For all those who destroy their neighbor's hearth and home and their neighbor's peace I repent and sigh, for they bring a curse on themselves and their people.

For all lying tongues, for all suspicious eyes, for all raging hearts, for all insatiable stomachs, for all darkened minds, for all ill will, for all unseemly thoughts, for all murderous emotions--I repent, weep and sigh.

For all the history of mankind from Adam to me, a sinner, I repent; for all history is in my blood. For I am in Adam and Adam is in me.

For all the worlds, large and small, that do not tremble before Your awesome presence, I weep and cry out: 

O Master Most Merciful, have mercy on me and save me!"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Prophecy of Kosmas Aetolian

The following photograph was taken of the Patriarch, 15 August 2010 just prior to descending 64 stairs to the Church of Panagia in Soumela (of Pontus). In the following picture, we see a local Pontian man playing the "kementze" which is the traditional organ of the Pontians. This fulfills a prophecy made by St Kosmas the Aetolian many hundreds of years ago - which warns that the Greek people do not have long ... they should store their wheat for the great hunger.

Η συγκεκριμένη προφητεία δημοσιοποιήθηκε για πρώτη φορά το 1998 στην εκπομπή "Ελλήνων Μυστήρια" και έχει ως εξής:

"Θα έρθει καιρός που στα μέρη της Καλλίστης και του Μελά θα δείτε τον Πατριάρχη να κατεβαίνει τα 64 σκαλιά της Παναγιάς και να ακούει κεμεντζέ. 

Τότε ολίγον καιρό έχετε. 

Βάλτε στην άκρη ένα σακούλι στάρι να μη χαθείτε από την πείνα."

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Old Church of the Assumption in Bucharest

In honour of the Dormition this August 15, I offer you an old photo from a Church that was destroyed by the Communists in 1983. The Church was dedicated to the Assumption and was located in Bucharest. This photo was taken in December, 1977 from archives found in a certain Hermitage in that area. 

Messengers of God

"When the stars were made, 
all my Angels praised Me with a loud voice"

said the Lord to Job (Job 38.7)

We have all heard about Angels ... from the very beginning of man they have been there. God placed a Cherubim with a flaming sword to guard the entrance of Paradise (Gen 3:24); Jacob saw Angels in his vision (Gen 23:12); Genesis 32:1-2; Psalms 148:2; Psalms 90:11; the Prophet Isiah saw Seraphim surrounding the Throne of God; the Prophet Ezekial saw Cherubim in his vision of the House of God. The New Testament also contains many references to angelic beings, example Luke 1:11, 12 and 19.

Seven of the high-ranking Angels have been revealed to us:

"Who is Like God" (Dan 10.13)

"Man of God" (Luke 1.19 and 26)

* * *
 "The Help of God" (Tobit 3.17 and 12.12-15)
"The Fire of God" (III Esdras 4.1 and 5.20)
"Prayer of God" (III Esdras 5.16)
* * *
* * *
"Praise of God"
"Blessing of God"
* * *

"Grace be unto you and peace from Him, 
which is, and which was, and which is to come, 
and from the seven spirits which are before His Throne"

writes Apostle John the Theologian in Apoc. 1.4.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Calm the Storm, O Lord

Calm me, O Lord, as You stilled the storm;
Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease.

Enfold me, Lord, in Your peace;
And may the peace of all peace be mine this day:
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


(prayer from Compline)

Distinguishing the penitent from the sinner

One needs to distinguish a sinner from a penitent.

If you have taken upon yourself the role to rebuke the sinner, guard yourself well, that you do not rebuke the penitent also. How dear the repentant sinner is to God; call to mind the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Therefore, let it be very dear for you, he who has become dear to God.

At one time it happened that a monk succumbed to sin for which he was banished from the monastery. This monk went to St. Anthony, confessed his sin, repented and remained with Anthony for a period of time. Then Anthony sent him back again to the monastery but they did not receive him and, again, they banished him. Again, the penitent came to Anthony. Again, Anthony sent him back to the monastery with a message to the fathers of the monastery:

"One boat experienced shipwreck and lost its cargo; with great difficulty did that boat arrive in the harbor and you wish to drown even that which was saved from drowning!" 

Hearing this wise message, the fathers received with joy the penitent brother into the monastery.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You must endure

"Tremble with awe, O men! The insults God suffered for the sake of our salvation you too must endure! God is slapped on the face by the basest of slaves (Jn. 18:22). He gives you an example of victory, yet do you refuse to undergo this at the hands of a man of like passions as yourself? You are ashamed of becoming an imitator of God (Eph. 5:1), how then will you reign with Him and share in His glory in the kingdom of heaven if you do not endure that man?

- From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 292)

"…the more have been your trials, look for a more perfect reward from your just Judge. Do not take your present troubles ill. Do not lose hope. Yet a little while and your Helper will come to you and will not tarry (cf. Hab. 2:3)."

- From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII pg. 280)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Let fall a tear ...

Once Father Herman was invited to dine aboard the frigate which had arrived from St. Petersburg, with Captain G., who had been sent, on Imperial instructions, to inspect all the colonies. Captain G. was a very intelligent and educated man. At his table there were some 25 officers, chosen from the best in the fleet, all well educated and learned. And in such a company of educated men, together at table with them, sat a simple monk, a small man, wearing threadbare clothes, ill-educated. And he put to them questions which stumped them all, which they could not answer. Captain G. told me this himself: "We had no answers, we were like fools in front of him!" 

He put to them the question, 

"What do you love most and dearest of all? What would make you happy?"
Many wishes were expressed in answer to this: one wanted riches, another fame, another a beautiful wife, another a splendid ship to sail on, and many other things. 

Father Herman said, "Is it not true that of all your answers and desires one thing may be concluded: each of you gentlemen requires that which he thinks best and loves most?" 
They all answered that this was so. Then he said to them, 

"What could be better, higher, more worthy of love and more splendid than Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who created the firmament, and adorned everything, gave life to everything, Who keeps everything, feeds everything and loves everything -- Who is Himself love, more splendid than all men! Should you not love God above all things, wish for Him and seek Him?" 

They all answered, "Of course we love God; how can one not love God?" 

At this he sighed, let fall a tear, and said, 

"I, poor sinner, have been trying to learn how to love God for more than forty years, and I cannot say even now that I love Him properly." And he showed them how one should love God, "If we love someone, then we think of them always. We try to please them day and night, our heart and mind are full of the object of our love. So then, gentlemen, do you love God? Do you turn to Him often? Do you remember Him always, always pray and perform His will, His Holy Scriptures?" 

They had to admit that they did not.

"For our good, for our happiness," he said, "let us make a vow: at least from this day, from this hour, from this very minute, we should try to love God above all else and carry out His teachings."

-- Letter from Simeon Ianovskii (Yanovsky) to Igumen Damascene of Valaam, 22 November 1865

Milk and honey ...

From the height of the heavenly sky, I could see below me a most magnificent sight - an enormous city of unfathomable size ...everything shimmered and shone from the unusual heavenly dazzle of light. My attention was attracted by two huge rivers which flowed slowly through the city; in one of them flowed a yellow liquid and in the other a white one. This puzzled me and my Angel understood, so he explained that they were milk and honey ...

Under the influence of this sight before me, I felt a kind of flutter in my soul which filled me with such rapture that, unconsciously, I stretched my arms in that direction. My wish to touch and stroke all this was so great, but my Angel guide took me and we descended quickly into these beautiful surroundings. There was no end to my joy and surprise when I saw everything around us.

I didn't know where to look first.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy Birthday

From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 12):

"Our requests are necessary expressly to strengthen our faith, through which alone we can be saved. 'By grace are we saved through faith' (Eph. 2:8). 'O woman, great is your faith' (Mt. 15:28). For this reason the Lord made the woman pray earnestly, in order to awaken her faith and to strengthen it."

* * *
Once I asked him, "Father Herman, how can you live on this island, alone in the forest? Do you not get lonely?" He replied, "No, I am not alone, for God is there, just as He is everywhere, and the Holy Angels are there also. How can I be lonely?
With whom is it better and more pleasant to speak -- people or angels? Angels, of course!"

* * *
"The Lord has ordered us to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, and to do good to those who persecute us. What danger we are in then, when we hate one another, when we hate our co-members, one with us, sons of God, branches of the true vine, sheep of the spiritual flock gathered by the true Shepherd, the Only-Begotten Son of God, Who offered Himself in sacrifice for us! The Living Word underwent these sufferings for so great a work, and you, man, hate it through jealously and vaniglory, or avarice, or contempt - things for which the enemy has ensnared you, to make you a stranger to God. What defence will you present before Christ?"

St. Pachomius the Great

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Eulogy on the Transfiguration

Eulogy on the Transfiguration of the Holy One-equal-to-God's Leading People to the Truth
    We all adore Thee! O Saviour! Thou art the Holy One equal to God! Thou art merciful as the Father, the true God Himself! Thy raiment is like the Precious Gem glorified in the Radiance of the Sun and the brightness of the Moon! Thy virtues, lofty and majestic, ever excel those of all the Saints and Sages. The Glad-tidings of Thine! Oh, Thy Teachings of Wonderful Love! These are sounding throughout the world like the Golden Bell! The gracious influences of the Merciful Laws of Thine! These are spread throughout the world, lest all the souls be lost Forever! Being in the dark, these piteous souls are to be lost, Were it not for Thy Great Mercy! For they have already lost their true nature In consequence of all the poisonous evils they received. Thou alone art the Holy One who is equal to God Almighty! Thou art our King and Redeemer! Dwelling in the Divine Light of peerless effluence, visible only to the Saints. Thou reignest over us all from on high! In the form of the sacred streaks of Light, Thy Mercy shines forth Far and near, Rendering all kinds of iniquities to ashes in order to purge All the evil ones from the world! Thus Thou showest to us clearly and distinctly that Thou art the real Protector of Thy people! And by many excellent methods and ways Thou governest All the nations, Keeping Thine own people from going astray! And thus for them Thou preservest Thy merciful Way of Benevolent life!

- Adam, Bishop of Xi'an c. AD 780.
Found at Dunhuang, along the Silk Road in western China, on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert.

Till Tomorrow

Words support
and words can hit
Words resemble walking sticks

Words surrender
Words betray
Words give hope and love away

Words compel
and words deceive
Your words comfort and yet you leave

Words give all
and words still lack
Bitter words behind your back

Words confirm
and yet deny
Slay your soul with vicious knives

Words to cure
Words to lure
Words through clenched teeth – nothing new

Words of love
and words of hate
Words have put you in the grave

Wrath-rotten voice
Empty word make empty noise

Words of sorrow
and frustration
due to words alienation

Words restrict
and words retrieve
Words of wisdom, words naive

Words create
and words destroy
Mighty words in mighty voice

Words can judge
and words forgive.
Word of God, do you believe?

Can I be what
I want to be?
Still man of words but man of deeds.

You wait and see,
Just wait and see.

I’ll pray for you , you pray for me.

Source: Botolphs Antiothian Orthodox Church

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The making of a Saint

The Making of a Saint ...

Tyler Neitzel of Warner Bros "300" introduces the two hour feature documentary The Making of a Saint. This documentary, focuses on the canonization process of Blessed Elder Archimandrite Philotheos Zervakos of Longovarda (1884-1980) within the Greek Orthodox Church. It traces the true story of a Greek-American family and the healing miracles associated with Saint Nektarios and Saint Philotheos.

Find out more about the film at

A Thousand Winds

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.

I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.

I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.

I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.

I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

- a poem written by Mary Elizabeth Fry

Monday, August 2, 2010

A prayer of St Silouan for the Theotokos

A prayer of St. Silouan the Athonite:

O holy Virgin Mary, tell us, thy children, of thy love on earth for thy Son and God.
Tell us how thy spirit rejoiced in God thy Savior, Tell us of how thou didst look upon His fair countenance, and reflect that this was He Whom all the heavenly hosts wait upon in awe and love.
Tell us what thy soul felt when thou didst bear the wondrous Babe in thine arms.
Tell us of how thou didst rear Him, how, sick at heart, thou and Joseph sought Him three long days in Jerusalem.
Tell us of thine agony when the Lord was delivered up to be crucified, and lay dying on the Cross.
Tell us what joy was thine over the Resurrection.
Tell us how thy soul languished after the Lord’s Ascension.
We long to know of thy life on earth with the Lord but thou wast not minded to commit all these things to writing, and didst veil thy secret heart in silence.

Wash away the defilement

From St. Seraphim of Sarov (Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pg. 94) to me:
"... the people who, in spite of the bonds of sin which fetter them and hinder them (by constraint and by inciting them to new sins), come to Him, our Savior, with perfect repentance for tormenting Him, who despise all the strength of the fetters of sin and force themselves to break their bonds ? such people at last actually appear before the face of God made whiter than snow by His grace. 'Come, says the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them whiter than snow' (Isa. 1:18)."
From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 97):
"Let us repent with all our heart and cast away not only our evil deeds, but also the wicked and unclean thoughts of our hearts and obliterate them in accordance with that which is written: 'Rend your hearts and not your garments' (Joel 2:13). Tell me: What use is it if we distribute our goods to the poor, but fail to make a break with evil and to hate sin? What use is it if, while we do not actively commit bodily sin, we mentally engage in shameful and unclean thoughts and invisibly commit sin and are governed and controlled by restrained passions of soul? I beseech you, let us cast away, together with our wealth, the habit of servitude to the evils we have mentioned. Nor let us stop at this, but let us eagerly wash away their defilement with tears of penitence."