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.

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