Κατηγορία

In English

sweetest

Sweetest of all (Saint Isaac the Syrian)

Κατηγορίες: In English

Patience over a long period of time engenders humility. Humility leads to the health of the soul. Health of the soul brings knowledge of God. Knowledge of God brings love of God. And, finally, love of God attracts God’s grace, which is the sweetest of all.

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summer-flowers

The Epistle Reading for the 4th Sunday in Lent

Κατηγορίες: In English

In today’s Epistle, Saint Paul calls hope ‘a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul’. A ship without an anchor runs the risk of being dashed against the rocks along a coast. When people without hope are faced with the adversities of life, they’ve got nothing to lean on. What an anchor is for a ship, or air for the lungs, hope is for our spiritual existence. Hope is the anchor of the ship of life. Hope becomes our support in times of sorrow and of trials, of pain and failure. Hope urges our tired footsteps forward, illumines the dark and uncertain path of life and expels confusion, stress and turbulence from our heart. Naturally everywhere we turn our gaze around us, ...

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ypotagi-ups

The Theology of Gender – 5. Woman in the New Creation. The “submission” (Sofia Matzarioti-Kostara)

Κατηγορίες: In English

St. Gregory of Nyssa, in an extensive homily on 1 Co 15:28, written to challenge the heresy of Eunomius, explains the various meanings of the word ὑποταγή (submission) in Scripture. He clarifies that the word is used in the case of war to indicate subjugation to the victor, as well as the power of humans over nature and other living creatures. With regard to subjugation, he also mentions slavery where there is unavoidable necessity, and finally, the faithful who submit themselves to God for the purpose of salvation. His point is to differentiate these meanings from that of submission (ὑποταγή) of the Son to the Father. Interestingly enough, in the entire homily St. Gregory does not mention the case of ...

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iwkl

St John of the Ladder – Part I (Colm Luibheid)

Κατηγορίες: In English

To Western eyes, the monk, increasingly, is a figure of yesterday, and the commonest images of him are of the kind to make easy the patronizing smile, the confidently dismissive gesture, or that special tolerance extended to the dotty and the eccentric. Around Friar Tuck, with his cheerful obesity, and Brother Francis, harming no-one as he talks to birds and animals, vaguer ghosts manage to cluster, gaunt, cowled, faintly sinister, eyes averted or looking heaven-wards, a skull clutched in a wasted hand, with gloom arising, and laughter dead. Somewhere in the background there are bells and hymns, and psalms chanted well after midnight; and, as if to confirm that these are only the leftovers of a past surely and mercifully gone, ...

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triodio2

‘Do not turn away your face’ (sung by Matthaios Tsamkiranis)

Κατηγορίες: In English

In Great Lent, the Orthodox Church, through its long, penitential services, seeks the mystical experience and approach of the Passion and the Resurrection. With this in mind, the hymns of this period are of an appropriate content, and present the events of our salvation to us the faithful. The joyful sorrow of Great Lent is introduced into the liturgical cycle of services by Penitential Vespers which is celebrated every Sunday evening. At this service the Great Prokeimenon is sung: ‘Do not turn away your face from your servant, for I am afflicted. Hear me speedily; attend to my soul and deliver it’. (Ps. 68, 18). Sung here, in tone plagial 4, by the late master of the art of church chant, Matthaios ...

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maximos-syn

Saint Maximus the Greek, the tireless preacher of Patristic Tradition

Κατηγορίες: In English

During its long historical past the Great Holy Vatopedi Monastery has proved to have played a double role in its spiritual activities. It pursued both a  hesychastic life and freedom from worldly care, that are the basics to achieve theosis, and it also sent its saintly children out on missionary work  to be the living examples of the Orthodox Athonian Tradition  and thus support the people of God, something not alien in the life of the Church through the centuries. We can here say that it excelled in this role so much that the lot of missionary work fell on it not only within Greece but out of it too. St. Maxim Vatopedinos, known as “St. Maxim the Greek”, was one ...

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set2

Gluten-free Lenten Tapas (James W. Lillie)

Κατηγορίες: In English

If you want to make a special ascetic effort for Lent, you could always eat what the Prodigal Son wanted to. When he was away being prodigal, I mean. I’m not suggesting you go out and slaughter a fatted calf to help you through fifth week. We’re told that, when he was looking after the swine, ‘he would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; but no one gave him anything’ (Luke 15, 16). Of course, we don’t know the exact word that Christ used for ‘pods’, but the Greek translation, keration, strongly suggests the Ceratonia siliqua or carob tree. The carob is native to the Eastern Mediterranean and we know that, today, the pods and ...

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Ioan-Scararul-Sinai-s13-syn1

Saint John of the Ladder (Archimandrite Georgios Alendas)

Κατηγορίες: In English

Great Lent is a period of repentance, during which our stony hearts must become, through God’s grace, softened in the flesh, and move from being callous to being sensitive, from cold and hard to warm and open to others, particularly God Himself. Saint John of the ladder with his companions, 11th Century byzantine manuscript Great Lent is a time of renewal when everything, as is the case every spring, makes a new beginning and our sunless lives are again brightened by all the intensity that God can give us, making us His confidants, through the Holy Sacraments and His costly gifts. This reconciliation is a joy; for both us and for God – a new beginning. The fourth Sunday of Lent is ...

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therapy

Means of therapy (Elder Efraim Vatopaidinos)

Κατηγορίες: In English

Church is a spiritual locus for us to find communion with God, and this is very, very important. This is why, if we want to be calm, if we want to be peaceful, if we want to find our inner harmony, we have to communicate properly with God. And how do we do that? By observing the commandments. The commandments are the way in which we’re cured. If we keep the commandments, we receive the uncreated divine energy, as Saint Gregory Palamas says.

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Agioreitiko-Topio-532

Only violence against our false self brings us freedom (Metropolitan Amfilhije (Radović) of Montenegro and the Littoral)

Κατηγορίες: In English

All of this (see Coercion and violence are the basic characteristics of the patricidal society, also by Bishop Amfilohije) is inevitable, because necessity and violence beget only violence and enslavement. This is clear from the waves of organized terrorism today, which have now assumed global dimensions. The root of this evil lies in the thirst for liberation from the overarching coercion which is evident in all the structures of modern ‘bourgeois’ society. It also lies in the deep disappointment regarding the effectiveness of other revolutionary movements so far, which bind themselves to the norms of a previous form of state coercion, violence and ideological elitism. So, behind this new wave, is there not the despairing cry of a generation which ...

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12-2

How should we describe heaven and hell to children? (Maria Dimitriadou, Pedagogue)

Κατηγορίες: In English

The soul of a child should feel death as the threshold of life in heaven, a stepping-stone towards eternal life with Christ’, that is, paradise. The main role in the Orthodox spiritual development of a child is played by the family in which it grows up. The notion of Paradise, however, is of great importance for psychology, even in cases where there is no religious input. The deceased live happily in Paradise, that is a beautiful place which we can’t see, but from which they can see and hear us. Particularly in pre-school years, the presentation of life after death is not merely important but actually necessary. Teaching children about life after death and the presentation of Paradise and Hell must ...

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Homily on the Annunciation (Saint Gregory the Wonder-Worker, Bishop of New Caesarea (ca. 213-270))

Κατηγορίες: In English

Today Gabriel, who stands before God, came to the pure virgin, announcing the glad tidings: ‘Hail, you who are full of grace’. She tried to think what kind of salutation this might be. But the angel went straight on to say: ‘The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary. You have found favour with God. You will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob unto the ages And of His kingdom there will ...

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weakness

What derangement, what weakness (Saint John of Kronstadt)

Κατηγορίες: In English

What darkness, what delusion, what weakness and what a terrible, deathly power sin is. Is it other people’s fault that they’re different from us and so we hate them, or that they disagree with us or that they don’t play to our egotism and don’t flatter our passions? Don’t we all have our own free will, our own idiosyncrasy, our temperament, habits and little ways? We should be understanding towards others and respect other people’s freedom, which even God Himself doesn’t infringe.

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evagelismos

Feast of the Annunciation

Κατηγορίες: In English

The biblical story of the Feast of the Annunciation is found in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke (1:26-39). The Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary, who was living in Nazareth, and said to her, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” Mary was perplexed and wondered what kind of greeting this was. The angel told her not to be afraid, for she had found favor with God. He said, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and ...

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saint-mart-ups1

The Theology of Gender – 4. Woman in the New Creation. The Early Church (Sofia Matzarioti-Kostara)

Κατηγορίες: In English

The destiny of humanity changed radically after Christ’s Incarnation, and a living model of human behavior was initiated by the second Adam, the perfect Man, who is Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, Christ’s teaching did not come as a secular revolution. This is what His contemporary Jews did not understand. On the contrary, salvation in Christ came to this world in a silent but powerful way: internally through patience, love, sacrifice, and humility. Although Christ’s teaching introduced a revolutionary model of life where equality, justice, love, and mutual sacrifice are the motives of human behavior, Christ’s Incarnation did not aim for liberation from any social injustice, but liberation from death and corruption. However, people are still dying and this world is more ...

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253

The message of our salvation (Petros Panayiotopoulos)

Κατηγορίες: In English

Today is a bright and joyful day for the human race. The Archangel Gabriel brings the message of our salvation to the Virgin Mary. God comes to be born in the flesh, to dwell in a human body, to expunge the curse, to bridge the gap that separated God from people. The Lord of the Heavens asks the permission of a person He created, to plight Himself to the lowliness of her nature. Today is revealed the ineffable magnitude of God’s mercy towards us rebel humans. He Who is boundless comes into nature and becomes the son of a human being, in the “form of a servant” and “takes on created flesh”. In spring, the season of the renewal of nature, ...

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asteris2

‘To you victorious leader of triumphant hosts’, ancient melody, 4th plagial tone (former Protopsaltis Archon Leonidas Asteris)

Κατηγορίες: In English

The Akathistos Hymn occupies an important in the reverential period of Great Lent and is one of the most popular and well-known hymns, both in terms of its melody and poetry. Its inclusion in the Triodio can be explained by the fact that the content is linked to the joyful message of the Annunciation, which is why the Fridays before and after the feast both announce it and recollect it. A special place in the service of the Akathistos belongs to the proem to the kontakion ‘To you victorious leader of triumphant hosts. It’s sung ‘slowly and melodically’, clearly in order to emphasize the historical depth of the faith of Christians that ‘the triumphant leader’ is our protectress and helper in ...

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