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.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Keeping it simple: ‎"One Lord, one faith, one baptism."

Truth is simple, and without confusion or contradictions. Truth is absolute, and not subject to change. There is no such thing as relative truth (relativism): God is the Truth:
The Truth is not an abstract idea or thought. The Truth is a Person. I am the Truth,Christ announced. He did not say,"I came to tell you a few nice things about truth to help you along" He said; I am the Way & the Truth & the Life! (John 14:16)
Same Lord, yet diametrically opposed beliefs?
Same Lord, different Christological teaching?
Same Lord, different doctrine?
Same Lord, different spirit?
Same Lord, different faith?
Same Lord, different practices?
Same Lord, different mind-sets/accord?
Same Lord, different accountability?
Same Lord, different voice?
Same Lord, different ecclesiology?
Same Lord, different theology?
Same Lord, different soteriological teachings/methods of salvation, purity, enlightenment etc.?

"Is Christ divided?" (1 Cor 1:13)

No, then why do some dismember Him?

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever;" (Heb 13:8)

Why do some wish to change His teachings and way, to their teachings and ways?

"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication" (Acts 1:14) "that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;" (Phil 1:27)

God is not an author of confusion; a revealer of contradicting beliefs; a giver of deception; a skitso, lunatic, liar and ever-changing, watered down mere man with no authority, but fully Perfect-God and fully Perfect-Man, Who does not teach diametrically opposed beliefs, or create warring factions/sects and heresies...

"you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once and for all delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1:3)
  • 'THE FAITH' = Singular, 1;t
  • 'WAS' = it 'was' given... describing a specific event/point of time in history, a revelation in the past.
  • 'ONCE' = A 1 time event that has already taken place once.
  • 'AND FOR ALL DELIVERED' = this event/revelation has not, will not and cannot take place again.
  • 'UNTO THE SAINTS' = the lower case 's' saints, refers to those who are baptized/chrismated and members of His One, Holy Universal, Apostolic Church and unchanged faith. It is these saints (believers, Orthodox Christians), who hold unto the ancient, unchanged, original faith, which does not change as time goes by, for it is timeless and perfect.
Same Lord, separate paths/ways?

ONE WAY = "I AM The Way, The Truth and the Life" (John 14:6)

Remember... Our and Saviour Jesus Christ and His Apostles warned us, that even if an angel was to come and preach "another gospel" to reject him, and let him and his teaching be "anathema" (eternally damned).  Elsewhere we are warned of false prophets, false apostles, false brethren and false Christ's... And today's 40,000+, 'Christian' sects/ideologies, do just that, teach a false doctrine which promotes a false Christ and another 'way'.

His Holy Word also warns us strictly, against giving private interpretations and not holding fast to Sacred Tradition, and Sound/Orthodox Doctrine. Therefore, we must be very careful/vigilant and 'wise as serpent', having discernment, and seeking guidance, just as the Ethiopian Eunuch did, with Apostle Philip in the Book of Acts. 

Are We Living In The End Times?

- by Monk Moses the Athonite

In todays pursuits there is a strong demonology, antichristology and eschatology, which unfortunately is established on a false foundation. Extremism, setting dates for the end of the world, reports about the birth of the Antichrist and so on, create terror and fear in the souls of Christians, which is improper and undesirable. Some talk more about the Antichrist and less about Christ. Their permanent occupation is the interpretation of the times. Many who are wise and prudent are concerned for the great concerns of the people. Every news story which confirms their suspicions becomes their permanent concern. We do not consider this overreaction normal.
People have abandoned the war against the unnatural passions and the cultivation of the natural virtues to engage all day with fantasies, fears, superstitions and the possibility of any magic performed on them, worrying if perhaps they acquired a certain number. They have forgotten study, prayer, good works, repentance, and the sacramental life of the Church in their struggle with subjective explanations and outlandish theories. These topics distance one from the essence, from the basis, and from the joy of spiritual life and lead people in a dark demonic labyrinth.

In saying this, we do not mean to say that there is nothing going on. We are not talking in favor of unhealthy complacency, or laziness, or being mislead, or indifference. There is definitely a need for wakefulness, for standing up, for upliftment, for courage, and for resistance to what is unholy, untrue and dishonest. The freedom of the human person is very important and should always and everywhere be defended in every way. All our attention should turn to what is essential, vital and true in themselves. Unfortunately many people are afraid to embrace truth, to see their internal nakedness. This is why they want to deal with what has personal benefits.
People today are anxious that perhaps they may not be able to use their spoons and forks, because they will not have anything to eat. They gather food for the difficult days ahead. Even without a date for the end? With what joy will they eat when their brethren around them are dying of hunger? Did not Christ teach the "Our Father"? Does it not say "give us this day"? In other words, even Christians are interested only in chewing? It is important to carefully see where the militancy of our Christians goes. Do not give these ironic lurkers who do not fear God, who lately have increased, the occasion to laugh.

We are judged by our choices. We have a responsibility for our choices. There is a necessary need for study, knowledge, experience, enlightenment and advice. Let me say it again. We all need sincere repentance, a healthy change, a change of mind, a new way of life, a new culture, another destination, a different goal, a higher aim, a meaningful life. Honorableness, righteousness, and honesty can return to this wretched place.
If the much debated citizenship card deprives us of our freedoms, then of course we should not receive it, obeying the decisions of the Church. But we should not ever have to live with suspicion, fantasies, exaggerations, fanaticism, extremism and factions. Fear, terror, panic and reactionary uprising against everything is not the proper way of spiritual life.
Are we in the end times? Have the signs of the times come? Has the Antichrist set his seal? Has the end of the world come? All will be done according to God's will. The ancient Saint Silouan said: "Even if heaven and earth unite, I will not be afraid." Christ gives believers fearlessness, calmness, hope, optimism and joy. Defeatism, gloom, pessimism and disorder never belongs to Christians.

May the celebrated saints, the Three Hierarchs, illuminate for us the path of discernment.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Prayer to Theotokos (in Greek)

Δεν Σου ζητώ Παναγιά μου,
να σηκώσεις κανένα βάρος
από τους ώμους μου ...

Σου ζητώ μονάχα να με στηρίξεις
και να με κρατήσεις γερά
να μην λυγίσω,
υπό το όποιο βάρος αποφασίσει
ο Υιός Σου να εναποθέσει
στους ώμους μου ...

και να με αφήσεις να Σε κρατώ
απ΄ Τον Άγιο Χιτώνα Σου ,
για να παραμείνω κοντά Σου,
υπό την Άγια Σκέπη Σου,
σε όλη την πορεία της ζωής μου.


A little bird

A Little Bird

In alien lands devoutly clinging
To age-old rites of Russian earth,
I let a captive bird go winging
To greet the radiant spring's rebirth.

My heart grew lighter then: why mutter
Against God's providence, and rage,
When I was free to set aflutter
But one poor captive from his cage!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reading the Holy Fathers (advise)

On Reading the Holy Fathers
by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

Conversation and association with one's neighbors very much affects a person. Conversation and acquaintance with a learned man communicates much knowledge; with a poet, many exalted thoughts and feelings; with a traveler, much information about countries, about the characters and customs of peoples. It is obvious that conversation and acquaintance with the saints communicates holiness. "With the holy man wilt thou be holy, and with the innocent man wilt thou be innocent. And with the elect man wilt thou be elect" (Psalms 17:25-26).From henceforth, during the time of this short earthly life, which Scripture has not even called "life," but rather "journeying," let us become acquainted with the saints. Do you want to belong to their society in heaven, do you want to be a partaker of their blessedness? From henceforth enter into association with them. When you go forth from the house of the body, then they will receive you to themselves as their own acquaintance, as their own friend (Luke 16:9).

There is no closer acquaintance, there is no tighter bond, than the bond of oneness of thoughts, oneness of feelings, oneness of goal (I Corinthians 1:10).

Where there is oneness of thoughts, there without fail is oneness of soul, there without fail is one goal, an identical success in the attaining of one's goal.

Appropriate to yourself the thoughts and the spirit of the Holy Fathers by reading their writings. The Holy Fathers attained the goal: salvation. And you will attain this goal by the natural course of things. As one who is of one thought and one soul with the Holy Fathers, you will be saved.

Heaven received into its blessed bosom the Holy Fathers. By this it has borne witness that the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the Holy Fathers are well-pleasing to it. The Holy Fathers set forth their thoughts, their heart, the image of their activity in their writings. This means: what a true guidance to heaven, which is borne witness to by heaven itself, are the writings of the Fathers.

The writings of the Holy Fathers are all composed by the inspiration or under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Wondrous is the agreement among them, wondrous is the anointing! One who is guided by them has without any doubt whatsoever the guidance of the Holy Spirit.All the waters of the earth flow together into the ocean, and it may be that the ocean serves as the beginning of all the waters of the earth. The writings of the fathers are all united in the Gospel; they all incline towards teaching us the exact fulfillment of the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ; of all of them both the source and the end is the holy Gospel.

The Holy Fathers teach how to approach the Gospel, how to read it, how to understand it correctly, what helps and what hinders in comprehending it. And therefore in the beginning occupy yourself with the reading of the Fathers. When they have taught you how to read the Gospel, then read the Gospel primarily.

Do not consider it sufficient for yourself to read the Gospel alone, without the reading of the Holy Fathers! This is a proud, dangerous thought. Better, let the Holy Fathers lead you to the Gospel, as their beloved child who has received his preparatory upbringing and education by means of their writings.

Many people, all who have senselessly and presumptuously rejected the Holy Fathers, who have come without any intermediary, with a blind audacity, with an impure mind and heart to the Gospel, have fallen into fatal delusion. The Gospel has rejected them; it grants access to itself only to the humble.

The reading of the Fathers' writings is the father and the king of all virtues. From the reading of the Fathers' writings we learn the true understanding of Holy Scripture, right faith, the way of life in accord with the Gospel's commandments, the deep esteem which one should have toward the Gospel commandments—to say it in a word, one learns salvation and Christian perfection.

Because of the diminishing of Spirit-bearing instructors, the reading of the Fathers' writings has become the main guide for those who wish to be saved and even attain Christian perfection. (Rule of St. Nil Sorsky)

The books of the Holy Fathers, as one of them has expressed it, are like a mirror; looking into them attentively and frequently, a soul can see all of its shortcomings.

Again, these books are like a rich collection of medicinal means; in them the soul can seek for each of its illnesses a saving remedy.

St. Ephphanius of Cyprus said, "A mere glance at holy books arouses one towards the pious life." (Alphabetic Patericon)

The reading of the Holy Fathers should be careful, attentive, and constant; our invisible enemy, who hates the voice of confirmation (Proverbs 11:15), hates especially when this voice comes forth from the Holy Fathers. This voice unmasks the wiles of our enemy, his evilness, reveals his snares, his way of working; and therefore the enemy arms himself against the reading of the Fathers by various proud and blasphemous thoughts, tries to cause the ascetic to fall into vain cares in order to distract him from this saving reading, fights with him by means of despondency, depression, forgetfulness. From this warfare against the reading of the Holy Fathers we should conclude how saving (is) the weaponry for us, by the degree to which it is hated by the enemy. The enemy makes all efforts to wrest it out of our hands.

Let each personally choose for himself the reading from the Fathers which corresponds to his way of life. Let the hermit read the Fathers who wrote about the solitary life; let the monk who lives in the cenobitic life read the Fathers who wrote instructions for cenobitic monks; let the Christian who lives in the world read the Holy Fathers who pronounced their teachings for all Christianity in general. Let everyone, in whatsoever calling he be, draw forth abundant instruction in the writings of the Fathers.

It is absolutely necessary that the reading correspond to one's way of life. Otherwise you will be filled with thoughts which, although holy, will be unfulfillable in the actual deed and will arouse you to fruitless activity in only the imagination and desire; the work of piety which does correspond to your way of life will slip out of your hands. Not only will you become a fruitless dreamer—your thoughts, being in constant opposition to your sphere of activity, will without fail give birth to turmoil in your heart, and to uncertainty in your conduct, which are burdensome and harmful for you and for your neighbors. By an incorrect reading of Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers, one can easily deviate from the saving path into impassable thickets and deep abysses, which has happened with many. Amen.

From Living Orthodoxy (Vol. XVII, No. 2, March-April 1995)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Remember ...

The Apostolic reading for today is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 8:7-15:

Brothers and sisters, as you excel in everything in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us, see that you excel in this ... gracious work also.

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I give my advice: it is best for you now to complete what a year ago you began not only to do but to desire, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he has not. I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. As it is written,
"He who gathered much has nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack."

Friday, September 2, 2011

The torn cloak ...

One day a soldier asked an elder whether God grants pardon to sinners. The elder answered, "Tell me, my good friend, if your cloak is torn , do you throw it away?" The soldier replied, "No, I mend it and continue to use it." The elder concluded, "If you take good care of your cloak, will not God be merciful to his own image?"

- Sayings of the Desert Fathers (In T. Merton, p. 113)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Christ rejoices to see such a couple

How sweet the yoke that joins two of the faithful 
in the same hope, the same law, the same service!

Both are brethren in the service of the same Lord.

They are truly two in one and the same flesh.
And where the flesh is one, the spirit is one.

Together they pray ... 
instructing, encouraging and supporting each other in turn.

They are equal in the Church of God, 
equal at God's banquet, 
they share equally troubles, persecutions and consolations.

They hide nothing from each other,
they never avoid each other's company, 
they never cause each other pain.

Christ rejoices to see such a couple 
and He gives them His peace.

Where they are, there He is himself.

-- TERTULLION To his Wife.

Όλα τα' χω μα δεν έχω πια το ταίρι μου

Sad heart ... open your eyes!

The Lord is our mirror:

open your eyes,

look into it,
learn what your faces are like!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The difficult love ... agony

Spiritual progress has no other test or expression than our ability to love:

  • Unselfish;
  • Founded on respect;
  • a service;
  • Disinterested affection that does not ask to be paid in return.

but most of all

  • a sympathy, an empathy, that takes us out of ourselves.

This empathy enabling us to "feel with" the other person and indeed to feel him or her.

Love gives us the ability to discover in the other person an inward nature as mysterious and deep as our own, but different and willed to be so by God.

That love which is agape discovers that each individual, especially that one who is suffering, is a sacrament of Christ, "another Christ", as St John Chrysostom says.
When perfect love has driven out fear, or fear has been transformed into love, then everything that has been saved will be a unity growing together through the one and only Fullness, and everyone will be, in one another, a unity in the perfect Dove, the Holy Spirit. - St Gregory of Nyssa.
The person without compassion is an obstacle to knowing God. 
Brother, I recommend this to you: "Let the weight of compassion in you weigh the scales down until you feel in your heart the same compassion that God has for the world." - Isaac of Nineveh
For compassion comes in the end to be united with the same compassion that God feels for the world, His 'pathos'.

Jesus will be in agony until the end of the world.

"This is the sign by which to recognise those who have arrived at perfection: even if they were to throw themselves into the fire ten times a day for the sake of others, they would not be satisfied."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Saints are medicine ...

THE SAINT is a medicine because he is an antidote.

Indeed that is why the saint... is often a martyr;

he is mistaken for a poison because he is an antidote.

He will generally be found restoring the world to sanity
by exaggerating whatever the world neglects,
which is by no means always the same in every age.

Yet each generation seeks its saint by instinct;
and he is not what the people want,
but rather what the people need.

This is surely the very much mistaken meaning
of those words to the first saints,

“Ye are the salt of the earth”.

~GKC: ‘St. Thomas Aquinas,’ I.

The heart of a mother (poem in Greek)

Ένα παιδί, μοναχοπαίδι αγόρι,
αγάπησε μιας μάγισσας την κόρη.
-Δεν αγαπώ εγώ, του λέει, παιδία,
μ’ αν θέλεις να σου δώσω το φιλί μου,
της μανας σου να φέρης την καρδιά
να ρίξω να την φάη το σκυλί μου
Τρέχει ο νειός, την μάνα του σκοτώνει
και την καρδιά τραβά και ξεριζώνει
και τρέχει να την πάη μα σκοντάφτει
και πέφτει ο νειός κατάχαμα με δαύτη.
Κυλάει ο γυιός και η καρδιά κυλάει
και την ακούει να κλαίη και να μιλάη.
Μιλάει η μάνα στο παιδί και λέει:
-Εχτύπησες, αγόρι μου;…και κλαίει!
- Αγγελος Βλάχος (1838-1920)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A modern day Creed for Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy is Buddhist (Enlightened - hence Christians means Enlightened Ones), but not Eastern occult Buddhism.
Orthodoxy is Islam (Islam means Submission to God) but not Mohammadean/Muslim.
Orthodoxy is Jehova's Witnesses/Martyric, but not false witnesses and false 'profit$$$';
Orthodoxy is Charismatic, but not Pentecostal and pseudo-charismatic.
Orthodoxy is Evangelical but not Protestant; Orthodox, but not Jewish;
Catholic, but not Roman; and is not non-denominational, but is PRE-DENOMINATIONAL.
* * *

Orthodoxy is the ancient Faith in Modern Age (unto the ages of ages), but not New Age.
Orthodoxy is filled with spiritual Joy, but not Hedonistic (sinful pleasures of flesh).

* * *
Proclaiming The Truth since Christ.
Orthodoxy is the One Holy and Catholic and Apostolic Church; 
the Body of Christ: The Ark of Salvation.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An ascetic prayed to God ...

An ascetic prayed to God to reveal to him many mysteries. Leaving his cell to go to another village, he met an angel on the way, but he didn't recognize him. He thought the angel was a human being. On the way they came upon a dead horse. The ascetic held his nose, the angel did not. They went on further and they passed a dead cow which stunk. Again the ascetic held his nose, the angel did not. They went on and came upon a dead dog; the ascetic held his nose, the angel did nothing.

When they were about to come to the village, they met a beautiful girl dressed in beautiful clothes and jewelry. Then the angel held his nose. Seeing this, the ascetic said: "What are you - angel, human, or devil? We met a dead horse which stunk and you didn't hold your nose. The same was true with the cow and the dog. I didn't see you hold your nose. Now that we've met such a beautiful girl, you hold your nose?"

The angel then revealed himself and said: "Nothing stinks to God more than pride." And saying this, he disappeared.

The ascetic immediately turned back to his cell and cried for his sins, praying to God to guard him from the snares of the devil and not to allow him to fall victim to pride and be lost.

Love is madness ...

A friend on Facebook shared this wonderful quote by Saint Augustine that was too good to not share on this blog.

‎"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have been so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you shouldever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not promulgation of promises of eternal passion. This is just being "in love" which any of us can conceive ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two." - St. Augustine

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

An angel of the Lord told father Pachomius ...

One day an angel of the Lord told our father Pachomius to teach a brother about his salvation. This brother was engaging in great practices and a harsh ascesis, but he was doing so not for God but for vainglory.
* * *
Our father Pachomius took him aside and told him, "It is written, 'I have come down from heaven not to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me.' Now obey me: when the signal is given at midday to call the brothers to eat, you shall go too and you shall eat a little. And whatever food they eat you shall take a little of it too, although without eating your fill. But at evening, when the signal is given again, let us go and eat properly. So obey me, for I see that the enemy envies you and wants to destroy all your labor."

The brother cheerfully obeyed the instructions our father addressed to him.

Later, when the signal summoned the brothers for the midday meal, he got up too and went off to eat with the brothers. But once more he fell into his deception, saying to himself, "Where is it written, 'You shall not fast?'" And so again he followed his vain judgment and did not go in to eat with the brothers.

Our father Pachomius was sad about this brother, and he called Theodore and sent him to him, saying, "Go and see what that brother is doing. If you find him in prayer, hold him till I come, and vainglory will at once show itself forth in a lively manner in him."

Theodore arose and did as our father Pachomius had ordered him. And when he arrived where the brother was, he found him busy praying, and he held him.

At once, the brother grew angry like a devil.

He seized a big stone to throw at Theodore's head and kill him, and said to him, "Impious Theodore! Is it you who will keep me from praying to the Lord God?" Theodore rebuked him, and at once the demon who was living in him kept still. And the demon said, "Do you know that I am the one who is at work in those who sing the office for sheer pleasure? If you do not believe me, listen to that brother who is singing. He is going to say that verse nine times."

There was a brother in a cell who was singing the beginning of the Canticle of Moses with these words: Let us sing to the Lord, for He has been exalted gloriously. Theodore pricked up his ears, and what the demon had said happened. Reflecting on the devil's devices, he was awestruck, and wondered if the man would be able to escape a lot of trouble.

While Theodore was seated near the brother and watched over him, our father Pachomius came. He stood, as did Theodore, and they prayed together over the brother. The Lord healed him.

He opened the eyes of his heart so that he could understand how he must behave, "not as a fool but as one wise." And he gave glory to God.

- From the Bohairic Life of St. Pachomius, 64 St. Theodore the Sanctified, disciple of St. Pachomius

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

the Concept of our free will ...

Saint Peter of Damascus, emphasizes this concept of our free will, of our freedom to choose God’s way, or, in contrast, the way of fallen mankind:

“We do not all receive blessings in the same way.

Some, on receiving the fire of the Lord, that is, His word, put it into practice and so become softer of heart, like wax, while others through laziness become harder than clay and altogether stone-like.

And no one compels us to receive these blessings in different ways. It is as with the sun whose rays illumine all the world: the person who wants to see it can do so, while the person who does not want to see it is not forced to, so that he alone is to blame for his lightless condition. For God made both the sun and man’s eyes, but how a man uses them depends on himself. Similarly, then, God irradiates knowledge to all and at the same time He gives us faith as an eye through which we can perceive it.”

May all of us choose wisely!
May all of us reject the easiness of our own will!
May all of us reject the wiles of this world and choose instead that which is everlasting!

He is ...

He is with me, He who left the world behind.
He is present in me, He who left His nature.
He dwells in me, He who denied Himself.
He is wholly for me, He who lost His life for me.

~ St. Ambrose.

I spoke to her of you ...

I spoke to her of you,
Silently, she listened to me.

I told her of your pain.
For the love you so longed for.
For the loved one you never enjoyed.

I told her of your broken heart.
For the tenderness you never felt.
For the embrace you reminisce.
So many things, that were never felt,


I told her of your unhappy soul.
That your joy and love is lost; somewhere and you are seeking them.

She never spoke to me. She never answered me.
She is a beautiful silence.

Though everything is motionles, and nothing canbe heard
Can you hear the silence of the Angels?
They hymn your mother, the Panagia.

I left you my sweet angel, in her Great embrace!
Listen to her heartbeat. It is for you, filled with agony, love and tenderness.
I left you in the embrace of Panagia, your mother.
Hide there. Hold her close, hold her tightly, hold on to her ...
She knows what you need.


π. Ανδρέα Θεμιστοκλέους wrote the original poem in Greek. This is a personal variation and interpretation of this original so is not true to the proper poetic form of the Greek.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Honourable Cross of Christ ...

O Cross, ineffable love of God and glory of heaven!O Cross, eternal salvation!
O Cross, terror of the reprobate!
O Cross, support of the just, light of Christians!
For you, God became a slave in the flesh, here on earth; by your means, man in God is crowned king in heaven; from you streams the true light, victorious over accursed night.

You gave believers power to make the pantheon of the nations quake; you are the soul of peace that unites men in Christ the mediator; you are the ladder for man to climb to heaven.

Be always for us, your faithful, both pillar and anchor; watch over our homes, set the course of our ship.

In the Cross may our faith remain strong, and there be our crown prepared.

~ St. Paulinus of Nola (352-431), Carmina 19.718-730

Abba Theodoulos said to me: "One day I went up from the monastery to the Holy City (Jerusalem) to venerate the Holy Cross. After I had performed my devotions, as I was coming out of the ante-chamber of the church of the Holy Cross, I saw a brother standing at the door, neither going in nor coming out. I also saw two ugly crows flying in his face and brushing their wings against his eyes, effectively preventing him from entering the shrine. Knowing them to be demons, I said to him, "Tell me, brother, why do you hesitate in the doorway itself and not go in?"

He said, "Forgive me, abba. I have conflicting emotions, sir. One urges me to enter and to venerate the honorable Cross, but the other says, "No, make an excuse and make your devotions some other time."

When I heard this, I took him by the hand and led him into the shrine; the crows immediately fled from him. I got him to venerate the Holy Cross and the Holy Sepulchre of Christ our God, then I dismissed him in peace." Abba Theodoulos said these things to me because he could see that I was much distracted by my duties and he perceived that I was neglecting my prayers.

Source: John Moschus, Leimonarion (The Spiritual Meadow) 105

Joy of all who sorrow by Peter Mavrommatis

Joy of all who sorrow

by Peter Mavrommatis on Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 9:58pm

Many things happen in our lives that take away a most valuable gift, that of happiness. For this reason, contrary to the beliefs and perversions of those who put on airs of mourning and sadness, as if these are 'virtues', we request from the All-Holy Theotokos in the Supplicatory Canon (Παράκλησις), and through her to the Lord Himself,

Χαρᾶς μου τὴν καρδίαν, πλήρωσον, Παρθένε, ἡ τῆς χαρᾶς δεξαμένη τὸ πλήρωμα... (Fill my heart with gladness, Most holy Virgin lady, for you are she who received the abundant joy...)

The Holy Hymnographer makes further reference to the need for joy in one’s life singing,
τῆς ἀθυμίας τὴν ζάλην, διασκεδάσαι μου... (Disperse the storm of my grief, and the soul's most inward confusion...).

We therefore pray that we are delivered from any sadness. Because profound sorrow is not only undesired but the extreme opposite of how we ought to live, we pray again,

Ῥοήν μου τῶν δακρύων, μὴ ἀποποιήσῃς, ἡ τὸν παντὸς ἐκ προσώπου πᾶν δάκρυον, ἀφῃρηκότα... (Do not reject the streams of my many tears, Holy Virgin; for you gave birth to the One who dried all the tears, from all the faces of people...).

We continue,
Ἔμπλησον, Ἁγνή, εὐφροσύνης τὴν καρδίαν μου, τὴν σὴν ἀκήρατον διδοῦσα χαράν, τῆς εὐφροσύνης, ἡ γεννήσασα τὸν αἴτιον. (Pure one, fill my heart with happiness; bestow on me your spotless joy, for you have given birth to Him Who is the cause of joy.)
Joy is therefore not only seen as a valuable but is a necessary element of the life in Christ. Those who expect, want or present a morose attitude have simply misunderstood the Christian spirit which is one of joy and gladness – “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10), while Christ Himself prays on our behalf to the Father “that we may have My joy fulfilled in ourselves” (cf John 17:13).

The misunderstanding that exists is likely a result of identifying joy with sin and so many assume that Christ preaches against joy. 

The Paraclesis however identifies joy with virtue and sin with sorrow.

Sadness is caused by spiritual trouble, while happiness presupposes the abandonment of sin -
Ἱκετεύω, Παρθένε, τὸν ψυχικὸν τάραχον, καὶ τῆς ἀθυμίας τὴν ζάλην, διασκεδάσαι μου... (I entreat you, O Virgin, disperse the storm of my grief, and the soul's most inward confusion, scatter it far from me...)
We see again, that joy and sin cannot co-exist:
- Χαρᾶς μου τὴν καρδίαν, πλήρωσον, Παρθένε, ἡ τῆς χαρᾶς δεξαμένη τὸ πλήρωμα, τῆς ἁμαρτίας τὴν λύπην, ἐξαφανίσασα. ... (Fill my heart with gladness, most holy Virgin lady, for you are she who received the abundant joy; take the grief of my sinfulness, and make it disappear.)
Consequently, irreproachable or perfect entertainment is not against the spirit of Christ.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"Christ in the heart
of every one who thinks of me.
Christ in the mouth
of every one who speaks of me.
Christ in every eye
that sees me.
Christ in every ear
that hears me..."
+Ayios Patrikios

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice. - Woodrow T. Wilson.

Has everyone in this world forsaken you? Then remember Apostle Paul in prison (Acts 5:41) and understand that to be alone is not to be forsaken ... then you will consider worldly beauty to be ugly. Think of his face streaming with tears; day and night for three years he never ceased to cry (Acts 20:31) and make your own face bright with tears - imitate his weeping.

‎... weep for your sins: your anger, your loss of self-control, your love of revelry. Imitate Paul's tears and you will laugh to scorn the vanities of this passing life. Christ BLESSED these tears when He said: "Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh." (Lk 6:21). Nothing is sweeter than these tears; they are MORE to be DESIRED than ANY laughter.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Prayer attributed to St Columba

Let me bless almighty God,
whose power extends over sea and land,
whose angels watch over all.

Let me study sacred books to calm my soul:
I pray for peace,
kneeling at heaven's gates.

Let me do my daily work,
gathering seaweed, catching fish,
giving food to the poor.

Let me say my daily prayers,
sometimes chanting, sometimes quiet,
always thanking God.

Delightful it is to live 
on a peaceful isle, in a quiet cell,
serving the King of kings.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Greek fisherman!

I am taking a small interuption to share this wonderful little anecdote. Know where you are going in this life. As we enter into the Great Sarakosti for 2011 may we all move that extra step forward in humility and love and repentance:


An American tourist while visiting a tiny Greek village complimented the Greek fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Greek.

"But then, why don't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.

The Greek explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family. Then the American asked,

"But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, then I fish a little, and in the afternoons play with my children. In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends, dance a little, drink a bit, and sing a few songs." Then the American offered,

"I have an MBA from Stanford and can help you. You could start by fishing longer every day. You could then sell the extra fish you catch. With the revenue, you could buy a bigger boat.

With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you could buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you could negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.

You could then leave this little village and move to Athens, London or even New York City! From there you could direct your enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the Greek.

"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.

"And, after that?"

"That's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, catch a few fish, play with your grandchildren and spend your evenings singing, dancing, playing and drinking with your friends."

Then the Greek fisherman asked: "With respect, that is what I am doing now. Why take the 25 years?"

The moral of the story: "Know where you're going. You may already be there!"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Instructions for One Day - Part 1 - In the Morning - Part c

How should we conduct ourselves in the morning?

Cont ..

6. Because of our long familiarity with them, prayers learned by heart or read from a book are sometimes said without due attention to their contents, and we therefore are actually not praying, but just dreaming that we are praying. For this reason we may pray at times using words other than those of the prayers that are prepared and designated by the Holy Church. But when you pray this way, always carefully observe the following:

a) Thank the Lord God that He preserved your life during the past night and is again giving you time for repentance and amendment of your life, for each new day is for us a new and not in the least bit deserved favour from God, because no new day automatically follows after night. Very many people, having quietly gone to sleep in the evening, have awakened not in this life, but in another one: eternity. 

Is it really that difficult for a person to lose his life? Sometimes even a mild fright can cause us to die. Not one night passes without many people dying during it. What preeminence do we have over those who have died in the past night? Could we not also die? Yes, we could, very easily. But who has preserved us from death, if not the All-good and All-merciful God, Who continuously awaits our repentance and amendment of our lives? He preserved us and has granted us a new day, that we might save our souls. So, can we not give thanks to the Lord God? 

Each morning thank Him with all your soul, like this, for example:

"My Lord God and King! I thank Thee that during the past night Thou has preserved my life and that Thou has again granted me time for repentance and amendment of my life. Many, many people have been deprived of their earthly lives in the past night. The day that is beginning is not an inevitable day in my life. It is beginning only because Thou art giving it to me because of Thine unspeakable mercy. I could easily have died in the past night. But Thou, O All-good One, hast saved me and hast given me a new day, that I might save my soul. I thank Thee with all my heart, O All-merciful One."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Instructions for One Day - Part 1 - In the Morning - Part b

How should we conduct ourselves in the morning?

Cont ..

5. After having washed and dressed, stand before the holy icons and say those morning prayers as specified and in the order specified by the Holy Church, the interpreter and guardian of the path to salvation. So that you may pray unimpeded, especially if you do not know how to read, learn by heart at least the beginning morning prayers. Is this difficult? And how could you not know by heart even the Lord's Prayer, that is, the prayer
"Our Father, Who art in the heavens." 
Learn it! This is the most important prayer and most salvific for all occasions.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Instructions for One Day - Part 1 - In the Morning - Part a

How should we conduct ourselves in the morning?

In the morning, conduct yourself in the following manner:

1. Upon awakening, try first of all to direct your thoughts to the Lord God. Directing your thoughts to the Lord God should be our most natural activity at every other time of the day as well, because there is absolutely no one who could be so necessary for us, so dear and precious for us as God. For absolutely everything that we have now and that we have ever had, including even our very being-absolutely everything is a gift from God. The person who is the most needed, the most precious, the dearest of all for us is the one who usually first comes to our minds in the morning.  As soon as we wake up in the morning, the thought of whoever or whatever is the most needed and dear to us wakes up as well. This always happens in the natural course of things. Therefore, it is always natural for our thoughts to turn first of all to the Lord God with some heartfelt appeal, such as "Glory to Thee, O Lord! Glory to Thee O All-Merciful One!" We would be unworthy of the name Christian if, waking from sleep, we were to open only our physical eyes, and not our spiritual ones, and were to think first of the earth and of earthly things, and not of the Lord God.

2. If the time at which you woke is the time at which or near which you should get up, then without any delay say, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," while making the sign of the cross. And then, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

3. Right after this, or at the same time, get out of bed. Getting out of bed quickly is often very unpleasant for our flesh, because our flesh, like a lazy servant, always likes to lie and sleep or to luxuriate and remain idle. Every single morning act against the base desires of your flesh. Let this opposition to the flesh be your first sacrifice to the Lord God. Among other reasons, quickly getting up in the morning is very beneficial for the soul because (as all those who fervently strive for salvation have long observed) when we lie in bed for a long time after waking, impure tendencies very easily arise in our bodies, and impure thoughts and desires in our souls. Later in the day these easily cause the careless to fall into serious sins and into great danger of losing their salvation. But whoever bravely opposes the wishes of his flesh in the morning will resist temptation besetting him during the day and evening, even very serious ones. But if you have been watching after yourself to any degree, you already know this.

4. Having risen from bed, wash immediately, and having washed, dress immediately in a way that befits a respectable person. It is necessary to get dressed immediately like this in the morning, although there may be no one with us, because:

First, we never are completely alone; always and everywhere our Guardian Angel and the Lord God are with us. Our Guardian Angel, if we ourselves do not drive him away from us, is always with us, and the Lord God unquestionably is always with us by His very essence, because He is an omnipresent God. For in him we live, and move, and have our being, says the holy apostle (Acts 17:28).

Second, after having woken and washed, we should immediately stand before the Lord God with our morning prayers. And we would never dare to appear before even any of our lower-ranking earthly bosses without having dressed properly.

And finally, if you have dressed decently immediately after sleep, you will guard yourself from two dangers to which unfortunately very many people are subjected to in our times, namely: from the danger of causing temptation for others and from the danger of becoming infected with the spirit of shamelessness.

My friend, 
what can we expect in the midday and evening 
from one who is shameless in the morning?

* * *
... tomorrow Part b of How should we conduct ourselves in the morning?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Appeal to Christians - part 2

The Christian must be such as was Jesus Christ.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, said the Holy Apostle Paul (Phil 2:5). Are you the kind of person that Jesus Christ was? Do you behave as He did? Do you live by His teaching, or Gospel, that He gave us as a rule of life?

A Christian must not love the world (I John 2:15). But many are completely bound to the world, so that it seems like they live only for the world: they always think like the world, they behave like the world, and all the rules that they follow in their likes are precisely those rules that the world follows. Aren't you such a person? Such a life is not a Christian one and is quite disastrous.

The Lord once said in the Old Testament through the Holy Prophet to His Chosen People:

Judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down. (Isa. 5:3-5)

Can not the Lord God with incomparably greater right in the New Testament tell us who are disobedient to Him, "What could I do for you that I have not done? I redeemed you with My Blood, gave birth to you the bosom of My church; enlightened you with the light of the true faith, gave you all the means and abilities for salvation, prepared eternal blessedness for you and constantly in every way disposed you to seek this blessedness. Did I not sufficiently show My love for you? Wretches! I became your Saviour and try in every way to lead all of you into eternal blessedness, but you only endeavor in every way not to find yourself in eternal blessedness, but for Me to become your judge and give you up to eternal torments. I created you to be eternally with Me and to experience My joys, but you behave yourselves in such a way that I would abhor you and repudiate you. I am very merciful towards you, but you by your ingratitude and your self-will try only to enflame My anger toward you. Neither My mercy, which I constantly show you, nor eternal blessedness, to which I so often and so earnestly call you, nor the terrible torments of hell, with which I threaten you, rouse you onto the path of salvation. Would it not have been better for you if you had not been born, and the light of faith had not shone on you?"

My friend, what if one day we shall have to hear such words from the Lord? Such words even now, when we have not yet heard them, tear at the heartstrings. What will it be like when we do hear them and when we have to reap what we have sown for ourselves by our sins?

Have fear in your heart! Cease your customary way of life and begin to live according to the Lord's teaching, which is written in His Holy Gospel, a God-pleasing, holy life.

So that you will be able to more quickly get started, I offer instructions for one day.

If you faithfully follow these instructions, you will see that you will need no other instructions. You should pass every subsequent day just as you did the first one.

... tomorrow Part 3, How should we conduct ourselves in the morning?

Appeal to Christians - part 1

Do you call yourself a Christian?

Are you a Christian in actual fact?

Do you live as a Christian should live - that is, do you fervently desire and earnestly seek after that which a true Christian desires and seeks after?

The blessings that the Lord promises the true Christian in the future life are to be highly desired. And inexpressibly horrible is the misfortune into which sin plunges us, if we do not desire and do not seek what a Christian must desire most fervently and seek after most earnestly

What will happen if you do not receive the promised blessings and are cast into eternal torments?

You have already lived a considerable time, but have you ever asked yourself these and similar questions? In particular, have you ever contemplated upon them seriously?

... tomorrow Part 2 of  ... an appeal to Christians