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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Π. Ζαχαρίας του Έσσεξ - Το μεγαλείο του ανθρώπου ως ναός του Θεού











Εκείνο που σώζει και φτιάχνει καλά παιδιά είναι η ζωή των γονέων μέσα στο σπίτι ( Αγιος Πορφύριος )

Εκείνο που σώζει και φτιάχνει καλά παιδιά είναι η ζωή των γονέων μέσα στο σπίτι. Οι γονείς πρέπει να δοθούνε στην αγάπη του Θεού. Πρέπει να γίνουμε άγιοι κοντά στα παιδιά με την πραότητά τους, την υπομονή τους, την αγάπη τους. Να βάζουμε κάθε μέρα νέα σειρά, νέα διάθεση, ενθουσιασμό κι αγάπη στα παιδιά. Και η χαρά που θα τους έλθει, η αγιοσύνη που θα τους έχει επισκεφθεί, θα εξακοντίσει στα παιδιά την Χάρη. Για την κακή συμπεριφορά των παιδιών φταίνε γενικά οι γονείς. Δεν τα σώζουν ούτε οι συμβουλές, ούτε η πειθαρχία, ούτε η αυστηρότητα. Αν δεν αγιάζονται οι γονείς, αν δεν αγωνίζονται, κάνουν μεγάλα λάθη και μεταδίδουν το κακό που έχουν μέσα τους. Αν οι γονείς δεν ζουν ζωή αγία, αν δεν μιλούν με αγάπη, ο διάβολος ταλαιπωρεί τους γονείς με τις αντιδράσεις των παιδιών. Η αγάπη, η ομοψυχία, η καλή συνεννόηση των γονέων είναι ό,τι πρέπει για τα παιδιά. Μεγάλη ασφάλεια και σιγουριά.

Τα φερσίματα των παιδιών έχουν άμεση σχέση με την κατάσταση των γονέων. Όταν τα παιδιά πληγώνονται απ’ την κακή μεταξύ των γονέων τους συμπεριφορά, χάνουν δυνάμεις και διάθεση, να προχωρήσουν στην πρόοδο. Κακοχτίζονται και το οικοδόμημα της ψυχής τους κινδυνεύει από στιγμή σε στιγμή να γκρεμισθεί. Να σας πω και δύο παραδείγματα.

Είχαν έλθει δυο κοπελίτσες σ’ εμένανε κι η μια είχε κάτι πολύ άσχημα βιώματα και με ρωτούσαν που οφείλονται. Και τους είπα:

- Είναι απ’ το σπίτι, απ’ τους γονείς σας.

Κι όπως την «έβλεπα» την μια, λέω:

- Εσύ απ’ την μητέρα σου τα έχεις κληρονομήσει αυτά.

- Κι όμως, λέει, οι γονείς μας είναι τόσο τέλειοι άνθρωποι. Είναι χριστιανοί, εξομολογούνται, μεταλαμβάνουν, που μπορεί να πει κανείς, ζήσαμε μέσα στη θρησκεία. Εκτός... αν φταίει η θρησκεία, απαντάει εκείνη.

Τους λέω:

- Τίποτα δεν πιστεύω απ’ αυτά που μου λέτε. Εγώ ένα μόνο βλέπω, οι γονείς σας δεν τήνε ζουν τη χαρά του Χριστού.

Πάνω σ’ αυτό η άλλη είπε:

- Άκουσε, Μαρία, καλά λέει ο παππούλης, έχει δίκιο. Οι γονείς μας πάνε στον πνευματικό, στην Εξομολόγηση, στην Θεία Μετάληψη, ναι... Αλλά είχαμε ποτέ ειρήνη στο σπίτι; Ο πατέρας συνεχώς γκρίνιαζε με την μητέρας μας. Διαρκώς πότε ο ένας δεν έτρωγε, πότε ο άλλος δεν ήθελε να πάνε κάπου μαζί. Έχει δίκιο, λοιπόν, ο παππούλης.

- Πως τον λένε τον πατέρα σου; την ρωτάω.

Μου είπε.

- Πως την λένε την μητέρα σου;

Μου είπε.

- Ε, λέω, με την μητέρα σου δεν τα έχει καθόλου καλά μέσα σου.

Ακούστε με τώρα. Τη στιγμή που μου έλεγαν τον όνομα, έβλεπα τον πατέρα, έβλεπα την ψυχή του. Τη στιγμή που μου έλεγαν το όνομα της μητέρας, έβλεπα την μητέρα κι έβλεπα πως κοίταζε η κόρη την μητέρα της.

Κάποια άλλη μέρα ήλθε μια μητέρα με την μια της κόρη και μ’ επισκέφθηκαν. Ήταν στενοχωρημένη. Έκλαιγε με λυγμούς. Ένιωθε πολύ δυστυχισμένη.

- Τι έχεις; την ρωτάω.

- Είμαι απελπισμένη με την μεγάλη μου κόρη, η οποία έδιωξε τον άνδρα της απ’ το σπίτι και μας παραπλανούσε λέγοντας πολλά ψέματα.

- Τι ψέματα; της λέω.

- έδιωξε προ πολλού τον άνδρα της απ’ το σπίτι και δεν μας είπε τίποτα. Την ερωτούσαμε από τηλεφώνου, «τι κάνει ο Στέλιος;». «Καλά, μας απαντούσε, αυτή τη στιγμή πήγε να πάρει εφημερίδα». Κάθε φορά έβρισκε κάποια πρόφαση, ώστε να μην υποψιασθούμε τίποτα. Αυτό κράτησε δύο χρόνια. Μας το έκρυβε, που τον είχε διώξει. Προ ημερών το μάθαμε απ’ τον ίδιο, που τυχαία τον εσυναντήσαμε.

Της λέω, λοιπόν:

- Εσύ φταίεις. Εσύ κι ο άνδρας σου. Και πιο πολύ εσύ.

- Εγώ! που αγαπούσα τόσο τα παιδιά μου, που δεν έβγαινα απ’ την κουζίνα, που δεν είχα προσωπική ζωή, που τα οδηγούσα στον Θεό και στην Εκκλησία, που τα συμβούλευα στο καλό. Πώς φταίω εγώ;

Απευθύνθηκα στην άλλη κόρη, που ήταν παρούσα:

- Εσύ τι λέεις;

- Ναι, μαμά, έχει δίκιο ο παππούλης, ποτέ μα ποτέ δεν φάγαμε γλυκό ψωμί απ’ τα μαλώματα που κάνατε μια ζωή με τον μπαμπά.

- Βλέπεις, που έχω δίκιο; Εσείς φταίτε, εσείς τα τραυματίζετε τα παιδιά. Δεν φταίνε εκείνα, υφίστανται, όμως, τις συνέπειες.

Δημιουργείται μία κατάστασις στην ψυχή των παιδιών εξαιτίας των γονέων τους, που αφήνει ίχνη μέσα τους για όλη τους τη ζωή. Η συμπεριφορά τους στη συνέχεια της ζωής τους, η σχέση με τους άλλους έχουν άμεση εξάρτηση απ’ τα βιώματα που φέρουν απ’ τα παιδικά τους χρόνια. Μεγαλώνουν, μορφώνονται, αλλά κατά βάθος δεν αλλάζουν. Αυτό φαίνεται και στις πιο μικρές εκδηλώσεις της ζωής. Επί παραδείγματι, σου συμβαίνει μια λαιμαργία, να θέλεις να τρώεις. Πήρες, έφαγες, βλέπεις κάτι άλλο, το θέλεις κι εκείνο, το θέλεις και τ’ άλλο. Αισθάνεσαι ότι πεινάεις, ότι άμα δεν φάεις, σε πιάνει μια λιγούρα, μια τρεμούλα. Φοβάσαι ότι θ’ αδυνατίσεις. Είναι κάτι ψυχολογικό, που έχει εξήγηση. Μπορεί, ας πούμε, να μην εγνώρισες πατέρα, να μην εγνώρισες μητέρα, να είσαι υστερημένος και πεινασμένος, φτωχός κι αδύνατος. Κι αυτό από πνευματικό γεγονός εκδηλώνεται αντανακλαστικώς ως αδυναμία του σώματος.

Στην οικογένεια βρίσκεται μεγάλο μέρος απ’ την ευθύνη για την πνευματική κατάσταση του ανθρώπου. Για ν’ απαλλαγούν τα παιδιά από διάφορα εσωτερικά προβλήματα, δεν είναι αρκετές οι συμβουλές, οι εξαναγκασμοί, η λογική κι οι απειλές. Μάλλον γίνονται χειρότερα. Η διόρθωση γίνεται με τον εξαγιασμό των γονέων. Γίνεται άγιοι και δεν θα έχετε κανένα πρόβλημα με τα παιδιά σας. Η αγιότητα των γονέων απαλλάσσει τα παιδιά απ’ τα προβλήματα. Τα παιδιά θέλουν κοντά τους ανθρώπους αγίους, με πολλή αγάπη, που δεν θα τα φοβερίζουν, ούτε θα περιορίζονται στη διδασκαλία, αλλά θα δίδουν άγιο παράδειγμα και προσευχή. Να προσεύχεσθε οι γονείς σιωπηλά και με τα χέρια ψηλά προς τον Χριστό και ν’ αγκαλιάζετε τα παιδιά σας μυστικά. Κι όταν κάνουν αταξίες, να παίρνετε παιδαγωγικά μέτρα, αλλά να μην τα πιέζετε. Κυρίως να προσεύχεσθε.

Πολλές φορές οι γονείς, και κυρίως η μητέρα, πληγώνουν το παιδί γι’ αταξία που έκανε και το μαλώνουν υπερβολικά. Τότε αυτό πληγώνεται. Ακόμη κι αν δεν το μαλώσεις εξωτερικά και μέσα σου το μαλώσεις κι αγανακτήσεις ή το κοιτάξεις άγρια, το παιδί το καταλαβαίνει. Νομίζει ότι η μητέρα δεν το αγαπάει. Ρωτάει την μάνα:

- Μ’ αγαπάεις, μαμά;

- Ναι, παιδί μου.

Αλλ’ αυτό δεν πείθεται. Έχει πληγωθεί. Η μητέρα το αγαπάει, θα το χαϊδέψει μετά, αλλ’ αυτό θα κάνει το κεφάλι πίσω. Δεν δέχεται το χάδι, το νομίζει υποκρισία, γιατί έχει πληγωθεί.

Αγιος Πορφύριος

A miracle of Sts. Luke of Simferopol and Panteleimon

 A young girl was going for surgery to a hospital in Simferopol. Her situation was very serious, and the surgery was difficult and dangerous.


The physician that was operating on her called the mother of the patient and told her: “The surgery is very difficult and dangerous. I can't guarantee anything. I don't know if your girl will come out alive.”


There was no other choice. The young girl was brought to the operating room.


Throughout the duration of the surgery, the mother was sitting in the yard of the hospital, and with tears in her eyes she prayed to St. Luke the Surgeon and to St. Panteleimon to help.


At one instant, before the mother's eyes, an astonishing event occurred: the wall of the hospital became invisible, like a pane of glass. The operating room appeared. In the hospital bed was her daughter, and around her were the surgeon and his helpers. Next to her was the surgical nurse who was holding the surgical instruments.


And more wondrously: Next to the surgeon she saw the Holy Physicians to whom she was praying. To the left was St. Panteleimon with a lit lamp. To the right was St. Luke, who every so often would take the tools from the nurse and give them to the surgeon!


The mother was struck with astonishment and amazement. She felt that her prayer had been answered. When the operation was finished, the surgeon exited full of joy and enthusiasm.


He called the mother and told her: “Things went very well, unbelievably well!”


Then, the mother related to him the wondrous event that she experienced. The surgeon was stunned. He did his cross and confessed: “Now I understand. During the operation, when I would want some surgeon's tool, I didn't even get to tell the nurse. As soon as I thought that I wanted some tool, I had it in my hands.”

From the book “Tachys eis Voetheian...” (“Speedy to help...”) (A 200 page book filled with new miracles of St. Luke the Surgeon),
by Fr. Nektarios Antonopoulos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Sagmata, Thebes
 

http://agapienxristou.blogspot.ca/2013/06/a-miracle-of-sts-luke-of-simferopol-and.html

Παναγιά μου ...




Saturday, May 30, 2015

Meteora - six monasteries on the rocks








The Faithful Husband That Would Not Abandon His Unfaithful Wife ( Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi )


I will tell you of another characteristic of a proper spouse, which is extremely difficult to find in our day. But we did encounter one such person. He was in every way a perfect character, a Christian, and completely social. He married late, around thirty years old, not because he was averse to marriage, but because he thought that was how it should be. So he said his prayers with faith, and found himself a young girl and married her. The girl was young, ten years younger than him. Soon after he married her, she began her mischief. He pretended not to notice; he regarded her as his daughter and himself as her father. However, they had important business interests overseas and they had to go there, even if only temporarily. So he took her and they went abroad. When they arrived, she became very obstinate, and would say to herself: "He did this on purpose, to estrange me from my environment. I will desert him." So she abandoned and left him. She came back to Greece, and where do you think she went? To one of those "casino" places, and began to live the life of a free woman - one who is paid.

The husband however, from the day that she left him, never stopped praying with tears and insisting - in fact exhorting God: "All Good One, I will not retreat, I will not leave You alone; You were the One who gave me my wife. 'By the Lord is a man and woman harmonized' (according to the Bible). I want my wife. If the young girl has been deceived, must she be lost? Why did You come down to earth? Didn't You come to find the lost ones, to heal the sick, to resurrect the dead? I will not retreat. I will not let You rest. I want my wife; bring her back to me." He wept for two whole years.

His prayer was eventually heard and the young woman came to her senses. "Oh my," she confessed, "God will have to create another Hell, because this one is too small for me!"




So she sat down and wrote him a letter, saying: "I dare not address your name; I have no such right. If I return, will you accept me as your servant?"

He replied: "My love, why did you mention that word and hurt my feelings? Wasn't it me who sent you on a vacation and I was longing for my love to return to my open arms?"

So, he went and waited for her at the airport, as they had arranged. When she arrived, she fell down and began to beat herself and cry. He took her in his arms.

"My love, why are you like this and hurt my feelings? I was longing to see you again. Let's go home now; we never parted - I was always with you."

And this young girl proved herself to be a faithful wife from then on.

And that is the stance that a man - a husband - should take.



Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi

Friday, May 29, 2015

Ходочашће у манастир Жича - Pilgrimage to Zica Monastery








The Tiger ( St. Porphyrios )

Let’s suppose someone is all alone in the desert. Suddenly he hears a voice crying out in distress in the distance. He follows the sound and is confronted by a horrendous sight: a tiger has grabbed hold of a man and is savaging him with its claws. The man is desperately shouting for help. In a few minutes he will be torn to pieces.


What can the person do to help? Can he run to his side? How? It’s impossible. Can he shout for help? Who will hear him? There is no one within earshot. Should he perhaps pick up a stone and throw it at the man to finish him off? ‘Certainly not,’ we would say. But that’s exactly what can happen if we don’t realize that the other person who is acting badly towards us has been taken hold of by a tiger, the devil.


We fail to realize that when we react to such a person without love, it is as if we are throwing stones at his wounds and accordingly we are doing him great harm and the ‘tiger’ leaps onto us we do the same as him and worse. What kind of love do we have then for our neighbor and, even more importantly, for God?


St. Porphyrios

Ὁ ἐγωισμός προκαλεῖ τήν λύπη, τήν κατάθλιψη καί τά λεγόμενα «ψυχολογικά» (Ιερομόναχος Σάββας Ἁγιορείτης)




Ὁ ἐγωισμός ὁδηγεῖ στήν λύπη· σ' ἐκείνη τήν λύπη πού δέν εἶναι κατά Θεόν. Ἡ κατά Θεόν λύπη ὁδηγεῖ στή μετάνοια. Ἡ μή κατά Θεόν λύπη ὁδηγεῖ στήν ἀπελπισία. «Ὁ ἐγωισμός φέρνει πάντα λύπη καί ἄγχος» ἔλεγε ὁ π. Παΐσιος. Ὁ πονηρός «θέλει νά μᾶς βλέπει λυπημένους καί νά χαίρεται...τό ταγκαλάκι δέν θέλει κανένας νά χαίρεται».

Ὁ ἐγωισμός ἀνοίγει τήν πόρτα στό ταγκαλάκι γιά νά μᾶς ἐπηρρεάσει ρίχνοντάς μας στήν Κατάθλιψη καί τά διάφορα λεγόμενα «ψυχολογικά προβλήματα».
Ἔλεγε καί ὁ μακαριστός Γέροντας Πορφύριος: «Κύριον αἴτιον εἰς τήν κατάθλιψη καί σέ ὅλα αὐτά πού τά λένε πειρασμικά, σατανικά, ὅπως εἶναι ἡ νωθρότης, ἡ ἀκηδία, ἡ τεμπελιά, πού μαζί μ’αὐτά εἶναι τόσα ἄλλα ψυχολογικά, δηλαδή πειρασμικά πράγματα, εἶναι ὅτι ἔχεις μεγάλον ἐγωισμό μέσα σου».

Κάνει ἐντύπωση πού ὁ γέροντας ὅλα τά ἀνωτέρω «ψυχολογικά» τά ἀποκαλεῖ πειρασμικά, δηλ. δαιμονικά, δηλ. δαιμονικές ἐνέργειες, δαιμονικές ἐπήρρειες.

Ὁ ἐγωισμός-ὑπερηφάνεια πού εἶναι καί ἡ νόσος τοῦ διαβόλου εἶναι ἡ βάση, ἡ αἰτία τῆς εἰσβολῆς καί δράσης τοῦ πονηροῦ στόν ἄνθρωπο. Ὁ διάβολος μπαίνοντας στήν ψυχή τήν γεμίζει μέ λύπη.
Κάποιος ρώτησε τόν Γέροντα Παΐσιος σχετικά μέ τήν στενοχώρια πού τοῦ ἐρχόταν γιά τίς πτώσεις του:
«- Γέροντα, κάμπτομαι ἀπό τήν στενοχώρια γιά τίς πτώσεις μου καί κουράζομαι στόν ἀγώνα μου.

- Ἀπό τόν ἐγωισμό εἶναι. Ἐπειδή δέν «κάμπτεις», γι’ αὐτό ἀποκάμνεις μετά. Δέν ὑπάρχει ταπείνωση, μετάνοια, συντριβή· ὑπάρχει ἐγωισμός, καί ὁ ἐγωισμός πάντα φέρνει λύπη καί ἄγχος. Ὅταν ὁ ἄνθρωπος δέν ἔχη μετάνοια, ἀλλά στενοχωριέται ἀπό ἐγωισμό, ἀπό ἀνθρωπαρέσκεια, ἐπειδή ξέπεσε στά μάτια τῶν ἄλλων, τότε ὑπάρχει μέσα του ἀγωνία, φαρμάκι, πόνος».

Ὁ καταθλιπτικός ἄνθρωπος βιώνει ἀκριβῶς τήν λύπη, τό φαρμάκι, τόν πόνο διότι δέν «κάμπτει», δέν ταπεινώνεται, δέν μετανοεῖ ἀλλά στενοχωριέται ἀπό πληγωμένο ἐγωισμό καί ἀνθρωπαρέσκεια.


Ἱερομόναχος Σάββας Ἁγιορείτης.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Jesus Prayer: Key to a Restful Sleep?


The best way to prepare for a restful sleep is to start a practice of nightly prayer where you repeat one hundred times or more the Jesus prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

Many of us struggle to get a sound night’s sleep. The drug stores make huge profits on sleep remedies and there are now even specialized sleep clinics. Most of us are unaware about how our dreams and negative forces impact us during our sleep. We tend to discount this aspect of our life because this all happens deep in our subconsciousness. Our minds are filled with unprocessed stimuli from our busy life during the day that carry over into our night time sleep. What we need is a way to slow down our mind, to calm it, to bring our focus on God before we go to bed so he can bless us with a restful sleep.


The best way to prepare for a restful sleep is to start a practice of nightly prayer where you repeat one hundred times or more the Jesus prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” This prayer, in the tradition of the Church, is one of the most powerful prayers. As you repeat it slowly in your mind, concentrating on the words, you mind shifts its attention away from your problems of the day. You begin to focus on God and seek His help and forgiveness. After you pray in this way, read a passage from the Bible or from the writings of one of the Church Fathers. You are now filling your mind with spiritual thoughts that will replace those you have collected from a hectic day. Then, as you get into bed, begin again to say the Jesus Prayer. Let it put you to sleep.


This is not as easy as it sounds. You will have to work at it for a while. As you practice it you will find that your mind changes and your sleep deepens and becomes more restful.
This period between being awake and going to sleep is a critical transition period. We shift from control of our conscious mind to our subconscious mind deep within. It is a time when demonic powers can interfere. This is where the prayer helps to open your heart to God in forgiveness, seeking his mercy to grant you a peaceful sleep free from troubling dreams and needless worries. As you enter into this subconsciousness, the prayer will enter deep within and help to open the door of your heart letting the Holy Spirit bring you calm and peace.


If you do experience a bad dream that awakens you, immediately begin to say the Jesus Prayer to bring your mind back to a calm state. Then keep repeating it until you again fall into sleep. After awhile the prayer will automatically begin in your subconscious mind to stop troubling dreams even before you awake.


http://agapienxristou.blogspot.ca/2012/10/jesus-prayer-key-to-restful-sleep.html

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Are You a Fly or a Bee? (St. Paisios )




Which of the following two categories fits you. Are you a fly or a bee? This was a question Elder Paisios asked guests who came to him accusing others of various things.


He says,

I know from experience that in this life people are divided in two categories. A third category does not exist; people either belong to one or the other. the first one resembles the fly. the main characteristics of the fly is that it is attracted by dirt. For example, when a fly is found in a garden full of flowers with beautiful fragrances, it will ignore them and will go sit on top of some dirt found on the ground.


It will start messing around with it and feel comfortable with the bad smell. if the fly could talk, and you asked it to show you a rose in the garden, it would answer: "I don't even know what a rose looks like. I only know where to find garbage, toilets, and dirt." there are some people who resemble the fly. People belonging to this category have learned to think negatively, and always look for the bad things in life, ignoring and refusing the presence of good.


The other category is like the bee whose main characteristic is to always look for something sweet and nice to sit on. When a bee is found in a room full of dirt and there is a small piece of sweet in a corner, it will ignore the dirt and will go to sit on top of the sweet. Now, if we ask the bee to show us where the garbage is, it will answer: "I don't know. I can only tell you where to find flowers, sweets, honey and sugar; it only knows the good things in life and is ignorant of all evil."

This is the second category of people who have a positive thinking, and see only the good side of things. They always try to cover up the evil in order to protect their fellow men; on the contrary, people in the first category try to expose the evil and bring it to the surface.


When someone comes to me and starts accusing other people, and puts me in a difficult situation, i tell him the above example. then I ask him to decide to which category he wishes to belong, so he may find people of the same kind to socialize with.


Source: Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, pp 43-44


http://agapienxristou.blogspot.ca/2012/10/are-you-fly-or-bee.html

Τό πένθος τῶν μοναχῶν ἔχει σχέση μέ τή ζωή τῶν λαϊκῶν;


Πηγαίνοντας κάποτε ο αββάς Ποιμήν προς την Αίγυπτο είδε μία γυναίκα να κάθεται πάνω σ’ ένα τάφο και να κλαίει με πικρά δάκρυα. Και είπε: «Κι αν όλα τα ευχάριστα του κόσμου αυτού έλθουν αυτή τη στιγμή εδώ, δεν θα μπορέσουν να αποσπάσουν την ψυχή αυτής της γυναίκας από το πένθος. Κατά τον ίδιο τρόπο πρέπει και ο μοναχός να έχει μέσα του το πένθος σ’ όλη του τη ζωή».


Είπε πάλι ο αββάς Ποιμήν: «Το ψυχικό πένθος έχει διπλό σκοπό. Και εργασία πνευματική πραγματοποιεί μέσα στην ψυχή του ανθρώπου, αλλά και τον προφυλάσσει».
Ένας αδελφός ρώτησε τον αββά Ποιμένα: «Τι να κάνω»; Ο Γέροντας του απαντά: «Την ώρα που ο Θεός θα μας επισκεφθεί, για ποιο πράγμα θα ανησυχήσουμε;» Του λέει ο αδελφός: «Για τις αμαρτίες μας».


Λέει λοιπόν ο Γέροντας: «Ας μπούμε επομένως στο κελί μας και μένοντας εκεί ας θυμόμαστε τις αμαρτίες μας και τότε ο Κύριος θα μας βοηθάει σε όλα».


Ο μακάριος Αθανάσιος ο επίσκοπος της Αλεξάνδρειας, παρακάλεσε τον αββά Παμβώ να κατέβει από την έρημο στην Αλεξάνδρεια. Πραγματικά, κατέβηκε και βλέποντας μία θεατρίνα, γέμισαν δάκρυα τα μάτια του. Όταν τον ρώτησαν όσοι ήταν κοντά του να μάθουν γιατί έκλαψε είπε: «Δύο πράγματα μου έφεραν τα δάκρυα… το ένα η απώλεια εκείνης και το άλλο το ότι εγώ δεν έχω τόση φροντίδα να αρέσω στον Θεό, όση έχει αυτή προκειμένου να αρέσει σε ανήθικους ανθρώπους».


Μέγα Γεροντικό 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A God-loving mind is the light of the soul. ( St. Anthony the Great )


The eye sees the visible while the mind comprehends the invisible. A God-loving mind is the light of the soul. A person who has a God-loving mind has an enlightened heart and can perceive God with the mind.



St. Anthony the Great

Practice patience without judging ( St. Paisios )


"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

St. Paisios

Monday, May 25, 2015

Η Ψυχική Υγεία των Παιδιών - π. Παύλος (Μητροπολίτης Σισανίου & Σιατίστης)








Rukous avaa tien ( Prayer opens the way )



Rukous on kaikki kaikessa. Joku sanoo, että se on minun puhettani Jumalalle, toinen että rukouksen kautta Jumala puhuu meille. Tärkeintä on, että meillä on säännöllinen rukouselämä.


Rukoukseen on kiteytynyt kirkkomme vuosisatainen tai tuhantinen kilvoitteluperinteemme. Sen kautta me liitämme itsemme kirkkomme opetukseen ja se on verraton tapa oppia tuntemaan Jumalan tahto. Evagrios Pontoslainen totesi, että se joka rukoilee, on teologi ja se joka on teologi, rukoilee.


Eräs huipentuma tästä rikkaasta rukousperinteestämme on meditatiivinen Jeesuksen rukous Herra Jeesus Kristus, Jumalan poika, armahda minua syntistä!


Rukous alkaa huuliltamme ääneen lukien, josta se siirtyy mieleemme sanattomaksi hiljentymiseksi ja nousee tai laskee lopulta sydämeemme, jolloin siitä tulee alati jatkuvaa rukousta. Tämä on rukousta aidoimmillaan, hesykhiaa, mielen hiljaisuutta. Se kirkastaa ja jalostaa ajatuksemme sanamme ja tekomme.


Jeesuksen rukous on vastalause monisanaisiin rukouksiimme ja pyyntöihin, joihin ajatuksemme tuntuvat joskus hukkuvan. Jeesuksen rukous on puhdasta yksinkertaisuutta, jossa keskitymme vain kahteen asiaan, Jeesukseen Kristukseen ja armahtamiseen. Se tyhjentää mielen ja nostaa eteemme kirkkaimmaksi timantiksi Jeesuksen nimen ja siihen turvautumisen.

Pyydä Jumalalta rukouksen armolahjaa, niin huomaat, että jaksat rukoilla yhä useammin, enemmän, keskittyneemmin ja suuremmalla antaumuksella. Siitä kasvaa sisäinen ilo, jota kaipaat yhä enemmän elämässäsi. Pyydä Häneltä vapautusta vihasta ja hädästä, niin pian huomaat, että tyyneys valtaa alaa mielessäsi.


Rukouksen tiessä on jotain erikoista. Me tulemme pyhiksi vasta silloin, kun huomaamme oman syntisyytemme ja nojaamme Jumalan armoon. Vasta kun kykenemme samaistamaan Autuuden lauseet elämäämme, me olemme lähellä. Kun me olemme hengessä köyhiä, nälkäisiä, vainottuja, armahtavia ja sävyisiä. Meitä ei pelasta se, että me olemme valmiita, vaan se vie meidät tuhoon. Meidät pelastaa kaipaus pyhyyteen ja sen ymmärtäminen, ettemme kykene yksin pelastumaan.


Entä jos huomaammekin rukoillessamme, ettei meillä olekaan mitään tunnustettava tai kaduttavaa? Se merkitsee sielumme väsymistä ja kylmenemistä. Moni meistä törmää tähän tilanteeseen aika ajoin, mutta siitä voi päästä eteenpäin kun muistaa muutaman asian. Jokaiseen rukoushetken pitää keskittyä erityisen huolellisesti. Jos luet hajamielisesti iltarukouksia, eivätkä ne saa sijaa sinussa, aamurukoukset tulevat olemaan entistä vaikeampia. Seuraavat rukoushetket voivat olla hyvin vaativia.


Itse luen entistä enemmän rukouksia, jos tunnen sydämeni kylmenevän rukoukselle. Silloin olen usein huomannut, että sydän alkaa pehmetä ja heltyä ja nöyryys palaa mieleen. Toinen vaihtoehto on lukea rukoukset entistä hitaammin ja suuremmalla ajatuksella. Joskus mieltä on rasitettava ihan todella ja todellinen hartaus syntyy vasta selkeän työntekemisen jälkeen.


Itse pyrin ajattelemaan, että kyse on kuuliaisuudessaan ja itsekurista. Laiskuudelle ja velttoudelle on helppo antaa periksi ja meidän pitää nähdä vaivaa rukouksemme eteen. Kun rukous on vaikeaa, uskon, että paremmat ajat on koittamassa, jos vain jatkan. Jos lopetan nyt, niin silloin parempia aikoja ei koskaan voi silloin tulla.

Kun me rukoilemme säännöllisesti, meidän hengellinen herkkyytemme kasvaa. Me huomaamme yhä selvemmin kaikkia synnillisiä asioita, joita sanomme ja mietimme. Me löydämme itsestämme paljon piileviä asenteita ja tuomitsemista. Huomaamme miten kaukana me olemmekaan kaikesta siitä hyvästä, johon meidät luotiin.


Saatamme myös hyvin usein kieltäytyä pitämästä tehtyä syntiä syntinä, ja selvitämme sen tekemisen jopa välttämättömäksi. Selittelemme ja puolustelemme tekojamme. Siirrämme vastuun toiselle, kuten Aadam ja Eeva paratiisissa. Saatammepa myös oikeuttaa syntimme ja tehdä sen tekemisen välttämättömäksi.




Rukouksen lahja


Keskity ja hiljenny, hengitä syvään ja sulje kaikki huolet mielestäsi. Toista mielessäsi rukouslauselmaa, Jumala puhdista minua syntistä ja armahda minua!


Kuvittele itsellesi ne asiat, joissa rukouksessa puhutaan ja erityisesti ne puutteet, joista siellä puhutaan. Kun rukouksessa sanotaan, että puhdista minut synneistäni, ymmärrä, että sinä olet tahrannut itsesi synnillä. Jos pyydät puhdistusta synneillesi, sinun on tunnettava itsesi synnin tahraamaksi, jotta voisit saada puhdistuksen armon sielullesi. Kautta aikojen kirkkomme isät ovat sanoneet, ettei synnin sairautta ei voida sielustamme puhdistaa, ellemme näytä haavoja lääkärillemme. Jos kiellämme koko sairauden olemassaolon, emme voi saavuttaa parannusta.


Tunnetko rukouksessa mainitut puutteet omaksesi? Tunnetko itsessäsi ne samat puutteet, jotka Kristuksellakin oli? Hän oli nälkäinen, koditon, hengessään köyhä, tässä maailmassa sureva ja rauhaa rakentava. Aivan kuten Autuuden lauseissa sanotaan. Oletko poistanut näitä puutteita lähimmäiseltäsi vai lisännyt hänen taakkansa.

Itse koen erityisesti pappina, että esirukoukset toisten puolesta ovat hyvin tärkeitä. Melkein yhtä tärkeää on kuitenkin löytää myös henkilökohtaisten rukousten kautta oma syyllisyys ja vieraantuneisuus Jumalan edessä. Samalla ne herättävät voimakkaan tunteen myös siitä, että taivaalliset esirukoilijat auttavat minua kilvoittelussani. Noiden rukoukseen kautta minä liityn siihen samaan rukoilijoiden joukkoon, jotka vuosisatojen ajan ovat hiljentyneet ikonin edessä.


Joskus me saatamme odottaa jotakin muuta itsellemme palkkioksi uurastuksestamme ja se voi olla kova paikka meille. Olemme tottuneet usein siihen maailmassa, että meidät palkitaan työstämme ja uhrauksemme korvataan. Me rukoilemme ja pyydämme jotain erityistä, riippumatta siitä, onko siitä meille edes hyötyä. Tätä sanotaan palkaksi mutta kristittyinä meidät on kutsuttu uhrautumaan. Meidän pelastuksemme ei ole Jumala antama palkka vaan pelastuksemme perustuu armoon. Siksi meidänkin pitää armahtaa, olettamatta palkkiota siitä. Ja mihin meidän palkkiomme edes riittäisi jos vertaamme sitä synteihin, joihin me olemme langenneet?


Vain rukouksen kautta me voimme nähdä oman keskeneräisyytemme ja tästä syntyy tilaa Luojallemme. Hän toivoo, että me kadumme, jotta hän voisi koota meidät uudelleen. Tästä syntyy todellinen paasto ja se avaa tiemme kohti rakastavaa Isää.

Ζωή του Αγίου Ιωάννη του Ρώσου






Three moving miracles of St. John the Russian




St. John the Russian
An unbelieving physician is miraculously healed

At Limne of Evia lived and worked a physician named Mantzoros. As a physician he was very good, but he did not believe in Christ, and of course did not wish to hear questions about religion and the soul. He was against religion, and his opinions were harsh on the subject of Christianity.

One day, he however became very sick. This illness had struck this unbelieving doctor with terrible pains as soon as it arrived. Amidst unbearable pains, he was taken to the Hospital of Chalkida. There, due to his illness, they were unable to help him, so they sent him to the Athens clinic “Pantocrator”, which is on September 3rd road. There they took x-rays and and ran blood tests, which showed that he had a problem with his large intestine...The physicians of the Hospital, therefore, said that if he agreed, he would be operated on the next day. He agreed, based on the medical knowledge that he had. But the words of his brethren: “Take hope in the Almighty, O brother”, led him to a spontaneous prayer from his soul the night before his surgery. He entreated God, not only to make him well, but to forgive him for the disbelief which he had shown for so many years.

During his prayer, someone knocked on his door and entered. It was a beautiful young man, who opened his door and entered the doctor's room.

“What do you have?” he asked.

“I am very sick” the doctor answered.

“But you don't have anything wrong with you” he replied.
“What are you saying, my Christian? I have colon cancer of the final stage, and tomorrow I am going to surgery. Do you understand what is going on?”

The young man replied “You don't have anything wrong with you anymore. I made you well.”

“Don't you have any shame talking like this to a sick man?” the doctor said, “Are you just trying to calm me down?”


“I am Saint John the Russian. If you insist, have the surgery tomorrow, and you will be convinced that nothing is wrong with you.” The young man disappeared.

The doctor was full of agony, and he rang the bell in his room to ask the nurses who the young man was who came to his room. However, not one of the nurses had seen anything. The next day, the sick physician went to the operating room for the surgery. The doctors were ready for the operation when they heard the doctor tell them that he didn't need the surgery, and that his health was good: “Saint John the Russian healed me”.

“What are you talking about?” they asked him, “We're in the 20th century, what are you talking about brother? Our brother must be out of it.”

Though the sick man had improved, they continued with the surgery. He went under anesthesia, and when they opened him up, they did not find any cancer. The Saint had done his miracle, and the doctors were astonished, and were looking at each other. The doctor was totally well. He relates this himself, wherever he goes. (from the book: “Lives of Orthodox Saints 9: Saint John the Russian”, published by Entheos Vios

"The Saint Was Helping Me To Pray"
Aikaterina M. from Athens related the following miracle of St. John the Russian in 1995, about her first visit to the Church of Saint John the Russian in Evia:
The first time I came here with my friends, I barely knew who St. John was, nor did I know what to expect, as I had never seen incorrupt relics before. At first I was shocked - the saint's body was certainly there, as it should not have been if it had been subject to the normal processes of nature, but his skin looked dark and a little withered, and I was fearful of coming any closer to the glass coffin. I finally gathered my courage and went up to look. His face was covered with a gold cloth, out of reverence, but I could clearly see his hands and wrists. I knelt down beside the coffin to pray, feeling that even if it seemed strange to me, I should still try to be respectful. I asked the saint to help me understand what I was seeing, and to know him. When I finished praying, I went to sit in a chair off to the side while I waited for my friends. I thought that I should pray some more, but I didn't know any prayers to St. John so I took out my Akathist Hymn to the Panagia, which I always carry with me, and told St. John that it was for him also. I begged him to forgive me for not having a special prayer for him alone.

Probably like most people, I often don't pray very deeply unless someone I love is ill or in danger, and this time I began read the Akathist to the Panagia in my usual way, although I tried hard to concentrate on the words. Suddenly, I felt that someone had come up and was standing next to me. I looked around quickly, but the nearest person was kneeling at the relics with his back to me, about a dozen meters away. I went back to my prayers, and although I didn't actually hear anything spoken aloud, I had the distinct impression that someone was praying to the Panagia with me, with great strength and love. I suddenly found myself praying with a depth I have never felt before or since - as if I was somehow in the middle of the prayer, and it was alive. I could feel the prayer moving up to heaven, and I knew in my soul that it was St. John himself, praying with me.

I was filled with such awe and joy at the nearness of the saint who was helping me to pray even though I had been afraid of him. It felt like Pascha, and as if I had just received the Holy Mysteries. I come to him now as often as I can.

The Cane
For many years, pilgrims to the shrine of St. John the Russian saw a simple cane standing before the glass-enclosed sepulchre. It belonged to an old woman, Maria Spaik, who was bent over from osteoporosis and had been unable to stand upright for eighteen years. In August 1978, he relatives brought her to the Church of St. John and lifted her in their arms so that she could venerate the relics. When Maria saw the incorrupt body of the Saint, she began to cry, asking St. John to help her. As she prayed over the relics, she felt an invisible hand touch her back. The old woman drew herself up erect. Tears appeared in the eyes of all the onlookers. The bells were rung, and a Supplication Service was sung in thanksgiving. The cane was left at the shrine as a memorial of the miracle. 


http://agapienxristou.blogspot.ca/2012/11/three-moving-miracles-of-st-john-russian.html

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Δεν ξέρω πώς γίνεται η φιλονικία ( ΜΕΓΑΛΟ ΓΕΡΟΝΤΙΚΟ )



Δύο Γέροντες ζούσαν ως μοναχοί πολλά χρόνια

μαζί και ποτέ δεν μάλωσαν. Είπε ο ένας στον άλλον: «Ας φιλονικήσουμε κι εμείς μια φορά όπως όλοι οι άνθρωποι». Ο άλλος αποκρίθηκε:

«Δεν ξέρω πώς γίνεται η φιλονικία». Και του λέει ο αδελφός: «Να, θα βάλω στη μέση ένα τούβλο. Εγώ θα λέω ότι είναι δικό μου κι εσύ να λες, όχι, δικό μου είναι, και από δω γίνεται η αρχή». Έβαλαν πράγματι στη μέση ένα τούβλο. Λέει ο ένας: «Αυτό είναι δικό μου». Ο άλλος είπε: «Όχι, είναι δικό».

Είπε ο πρώτος: «Έ, αν είναι δικό σου, πάρ΄ το και πήγαινε». Και έφυγαν, χωρίς να βρουν αιτία για φιλονικία.


ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ ΙΖ΄ 

ΑΠΟΣΠΑΣΜΑΤΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΟ 
ΜΕΓΑΛΟ ΓΕΡΟΝΤΙΚΟ

Guided By the Wing of an Angel - Elder Iakovos Tsalikis



People are blind and don’t see what takes place in church during the Divine Liturgy. Once I was serving and I couldn’t make the Great Entrance because of what I saw. I suddenly felt someone pushing me by my shoulder and guiding me toward the holy prothesis. I thought it was the chanter, and said to myself: "The blessed one, such irreverence? He entered through the Beautiful Gate and is pushing me?" I turned around and saw a huge wing that the archangel had laid on my shoulder, and that he was guiding me to make the Great Entrance. What amazing things take place in the altar during the Divine Liturgy! Sometimes I can’t handle it, and so I pass out in a chair, and thus some concelebrators conclude that I’ve got something wrong with my health, but they don’t realize what I see and hear. What wings on those angels, my child!
 

 Elder Iakovos (Tsalikis) (1920-1991) 

source

Η προσευχή όπλο ισχυρό ( Αγιος Παϊσιος )


Παλιά, για να κάνει κανείς κάτι, αν ήταν κοσμικός άνθρωπος θα σκεφτόταν. Αν ήταν πνευματικός άνθρωπος, θα σκεφτόταν και θα προσευχόταν. Στην εποχή μας ακόμη και «πνευματικοί» άνθρωποι όχι μόνο δεν προσεύχονται, αλλά ούτε σκέφτονται. Και μάλιστα, συχνά πρόκειται για σοβαρά θέματα, και αυτοί κάνουν πρόβες με τον κόσμο.

Σε όλες τις περιπτώσεις, πριν ενεργήσουμε, να λέμε: «Σκέφτηκα γι’ αυτό; Προσευχήθηκα γι’ αυτό;» Όταν κανείς ενεργεί, χωρίς να σκεφθεί και χωρίς να προσευχηθεί, ενεργεί σατανικά. Και βλέπεις, συχνά πολλοί χριστιανοί με τον τρόπο που ενεργούν, δεν αφήνουν τον Θεό να επέμβει. Νομίζουν ότι αυτοί θα τα καταφέρουν όλα μόνοι τους. Ενώ ακόμα και ο άπιστος λέει «έχει ο Θεός», αυτοί δεν το λένε (...).

Συνέχεια ανθρώπινες προσπάθειες και δεν αφήνουν τον Θεό να ενεργήσει. Δεν καταφεύγουν στην προσευχή, ώστε να απαντήσει ο Θεός δια της προσευχής. Με την ταπείνωση και την προσευχή διορθώνονται όλα τα αδιόρθωτα (...).
 

Αγιος Παϊσιος


Απόσπασμα απο το βιβλίο «Λόγοι Γέροντος Παϊσίου Αγιορείτου τ. Β΄», Ιερό Ησυχαστήριο «Ευαγγελιστής Ιωάννης ο Θεολόγος», Σουρωτή Θεσσαλλονίκης

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Evil is always evil ( St. John of Kronstadt )


Fear evil like fire. Don’t let it touch your heart even if it seems just or righteous. No matter what the circumstances, don’t let it come into you. Evil is always evil. Sometimes evil presents itself as an endeavor to God’s glory, or as something with good intentions towards your neighbor. Even in these cases, don’t trust this feeling. It’s a wrong labor and is not filled with wisdom. Instead, work on chasing evil from yourself. Evil, however innocent it looks, offends God’s long-suffering love, which is His foremost glory. Judas betrayed his Lord for 30 silver pieces under the guise of helping the poor. Keep in mind that the enemy continuously seeks your death and attacks more fiercely when you’re not alert. His evil is endless. Don’t let self-esteem and the love of material goods win you over.



When you feel anger against someone, believe with your whole heart that it’s a result of the devil’s work in your heart. Try to hate him and his deeds and it will leave you. Don’t admit it as a part of yourself and don’t justify it. I know this from experience. The devil hides himself behind our souls and we blindly think we’re acting by ourselves. Then we defend the devil’s work as something that is a part of us. Sometimes we think that anger is a fair reaction to something bad. But the idea that a passion could ever be fair is a total and deadly lie. When someone is angry at you, remember that this evil feeling is not him. He’s just fooled by the devil and is a suffering instrument in his hand. Pray that the enemy leaves him and that God opens his spiritual eyes, which have been darkened by the evil spirit. Pray to God for all people enslaved by passions because the enemy is acting in their hearts. Perhaps you hate your neighbor, despise him, don’t want to talk to him peacefully and lovingly because he has been rude, arrogant, or disgusting in his speech or manners. You may despise him for being full of himself or proud or disrespectful. But you are to blame more than he is. “Physician, heal yourself!” (Luke 4:23). So, teacher, teach yourself. This kind of anger is worse than any other evil. How could evil be chased out by another evil? How can you take a needle from the eye of another person while having a log in your own? Evil defects must be fixed with love, kindness, resignation, and patience. Admit yourself as the worst of all sinners, and believe it. Consider yourself the worst one, chase away any boldness, anger, impatience and fury. Then you may start helping others. Be indulgent about defects of others, because if you see their faults all the time, there will be continuous enmity. “The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.”(Psalm 129:3). ” For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”(Matthew 6:14). We can feel from time to time the most perfect love for God without loving each other. This is a strange thing, and only few care about it. But love for our neighbor will never come without our own effort.

A real Christian doesn’t have any reason to be angry about anybody. Anger is the devil’s deed. A Christian should have only love inside and since love doesn’t boast, he shouldn’t boast or have any bad thoughts towards others. For example, I must not think about another person that he is evil, proud etc; and I must not think that if I forgive his offense he would laugh at me or upset me again. We must not let evil hide in us under any pretense. Evil and anger usually have many different veils.

Don’t yield to gloomy feelings in your heart but control and eradicate them with the power of faith and the light of the sane mind. These strengths will make you feel secure. Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. (Psalm 25:20). Gloomy feelings usually develop deep in the heart. Someone who didn’t learn how to control them will be gloomy, pensive most of the time and it will be hard for him to deal with himself and other people. When he comes close to you, sustain yourself with inner strength, happiness and innocent jokes: and they will leave you soon. This is from experience.

Lord, give me strength to love everyone like myself and never to get angry or work the for devil. Give me strength to crucify my self-esteem, my pride, my greed, my skepticism and other passions. Let us have a name: a mutual love. Let us not worry about anything. Be the only God of our hearts, and let us desire nothing except You. Let us live always in unifying love and let us hate anything that separates us from each other and from love. So be it! So be it!

If God showed Himself to us and lives inside us as we in Him (according to His eternal Word), wouldn’t He give us everything? Would He ever , would He ever trick us or leave us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32). Now be comforted, my dear, and know nothing but love. This is my command: Love each other (John 15:17).

St. John of Kronstadt 


http://agapienxristou.blogspot.ca/2013/09/evil-is-always-evil.html

Friday, May 22, 2015

St. Demetrios twice saving Elder Philotheos Zervakos (+1980)


St. Demetrios Protects Elder Philotheos From Harm The First Time
When I fulfilled my military service and was released, I decided to become a soldier for our Heavenly King in accordance with the counsel that Father Eusebios had given me. I disclosed all my intentions to the holy Nektarios, the Bishop of Pentapolis, who then was also the director of the Rizareion Seminary in Athens (now in blessed repose), and he told me, "Your goal is good, but I advise you to go to no other monastery than the one at Paros (Lagouvardos), where the brethren are virtuous and plentiful." However, I insisted, telling him that my desire was to go to the Holy Mountain. He then said, "If you stay in Greece, go to the Lagouvardos Monastery, but if you insist on going to the Holy Mountain, then go with my blessing...."

After attending a vigil on May 8, 1907...my friend Nickolas Mitropoulos and I boarded the steamship "Pinios", and we departed for the Holy Mountain from Piraeus....

Two days later, we arrived in Thessaloniki, which was then occupied by the Turks (I had great reverence for St. Demetrios, the patron saint of Thessaloniki since I was a child). I invited my friend Nickolas to join me to go venerate the tomb of the Great Martyr, St. Demetrios the Myrrh-gusher. We then got off the ship and went to venerate his tomb with compunction. On our way back to the ship, we checked in at the Greek hotel and rested all day and night. The next day, we prepared to depart for the Holy Mountain and went to the Customs Office; however, they did not permit us to depart: "You will not leave", they told us, "because you are spies!" We, of course, denied this and pointed out that since our passports had been cleared by the Turkish Consulate and the Embassy, they should allow us to leave. However, they would not pay any attention to our words.

They did not put us in jail but under close surveillance and soldiers stood guard outside our hotel, and they followed us whenever we went out. This went on for quite a few days and we began to worry because our money was running low. One day, I told Nickolas, "I am going to the 'konaki' (governor's house), to appear before the 'pasha' (governor): he will probably allow us to leave." I arose very early the next morning and went to venerate the tomb of St. Demetrios again before going to the konaki. With tears and compunction, I asked the Saint to intercede to the Lord that we be permitted to freely go to the Holy Mountain. After praying for quite a while and sitting down to rest, the martyrdom of St. Demetrios came to my mind: I thought about how he was pierced with a lance and died for the love of Christ and for our holy faith, and how he was glorified by God both on earth and in heaven, and will be glorified unto all ages.

As I considered all this, a longing came to me to give my life for the love of Christ and the Orthodox faith too, supposing there was a way. I then asked St. Demetrios to intercede to the Lord again, however, not for my freedom, but that I be rendered worthy to die a martyr's death. I then thought of a way to accomplish this goal. I told myself, "I will go to the konaki and courageously appear before the Turks. I will give them a reason to question me about my faith and then I will bear witness to their heresy. They will probably tell me to deny my faith, but I will stand firm and prefer death. Thus I will have a Martyr's end."

I went to the konaki immediately and entered inside. While I was going up a hallway, a Turkish officer noticed me and asked me what I wanted:

"I want to see the pasha."

"And why do you want to see him?"

"I have something to tell him."

"I am the pasha's representative. Tell me what you want openly."

"Since you are the pasha's representative, then tell me, why will you not allow us to go to the Holy Mountain?"

"I will not give you a reason."

"You are not good people", I told him courageously, "you are unjust. Why are you detaining and distressing us like this? We are not at fault, we are not bad people and our papers are in order. I do not understand. Now we have run out money. How shall we live in this foreign and unknown place? How would you like it if you went to Greece and we did to you what you are doing to us?"

These words irritated him and moved him to anger. He began ringing a bell loudly and 30-35 soldiers and officers gathered around us immediately. They grabbed me and dragged me off to the White Tower, for what purpose I did not know; I thought perhaps to imprison me ... As we walked to the White Tower, I asked St. Demetrios to intercede to the Lord to grant me a martyr's death, provided it is His will; and if it was not, to be delivered from the hands of these atheistic, bloodthirsty, wild and barbaric Saracens.

After we had gone a little ways, their superior appeared and spoke to them in Turkish. I did not understand what he had told them but I did perceive that he was angry. He then lifted up his rod and struck the officer responsible for my arrest on the shoulder and sent them all away. When they left, he approached me with a cheerful grin on his face, and kindly patted me on the shoulder. He then handed me over to the prudent soldier from Ioannina and ordered him to take me to the Greek steamship "Mikali", which was in the port of Thessaloniki, so that I could return to Greece.

I asked the soldier who the man was that had given the orders, not having the faintest idea. He told me that he was the pasha. I then asked him why the pasha had struck his own personal secretary, and what he had said to him. The soldier explained, "The pasha scolded his secretary because he had condemned you to death without asking permission." I then asked him where they had been taking me. "They were taking you to the White Tower to execute you there", he said, "all those who are condemned to death are taken there - as for the others, they put them in chains and abandon them to die from hunger, from thirst and from the stench." I then rejoiced that I had been delivered from the hands of those wild Saracens - for I was not sure whether it would have been for the question of my faith that they had killed me. However, I was sad because I missed the opportunity to give my life for the faith. Martyrdom, however, must take place according to the rules as the divine preacher, the Apostle Paul, tells us, "An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules" (2 Tim. 2:5)....

The soldier and I then stopped by the hotel, where I bid my beloved friend Nickolas farewell....

Apparently, it was not the will of God for me to go to the Holy Mountain, and this is the reason I encountered all these obstacles. I feel a great debt of gratitude to my protector, the Great Martyr, St. Demetrios, through whose intercessions and prayers, I was delivered from death.

I had no idea why the pasha had shown so much interest in me, so I sought to find out. It was not until about two years later, when I went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain, that I finally learned why from my friend Nickolas, who had gone and had remained on the Holy Mountain. He told me why the pasha had set me free and sent me back to Greece:

"Two or three days after you departed Thessalonika for Greece, the adjutant officer of the pasha came up and greeted me...He was an acquaintance of mine...He took me to his home where he offered me hospitality, and the following day we went to go see the pasha together...The Pasha said to him:

'Your friend there, he was accompanied by another young man. One morning, as I was sleeping peacefully, St. Demetrios entered my room wearing a generals uniform and bearing weapons. With an austere look he commanded me: "Immediately, stand up, get dressed, put your shoes on, and go to such and such a road in the city to free a young man who has been unjustly condemned to death by your own private secretary. After freeing him, send him to the steamship 'Mikali', which is in the port of Thessaloniki and preparing to sail off for Greece."

I hastened at once to save the young man from danger, and sent him off to Greece.'"

It was then that I realized that my helper and my deliverer from death had been the Great Martyr, St. Demetrios the Myrrh-gusher.

The prophecy of St. Nektarios had been fulfilled; no matter where I would go, I would end up at Logouvardos. I had learned a valuable lesson from this: I ought to always be completely obedient to my spiritual father, without being defiant, and I ought to not seek my will, but the will of my spiritual father - in imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ, "Who came into the world not to do His own will but the will of His Father, Who sent Him."



The Myrrhstreaming and Wonderworking Relics of St. Demetrios, treasured in his church in Thessaloniki (source)
St. Demetrios Protects Elder Philotheos From Harm The Second Time
Two years later, the Balkan war took place and on the Feast of St. Demetrios (October 26, 1912), Thessaloniki was liberated through the mediation and aid of her Patron Saint.

When we sailed into the port of Thessaloniki, I decided that it would be a good idea to disembark and go venerate the tomb of St. Demetrios, my guardian, and my protector and savior after God. I do not know why, but when I disembarked, the Turks once again took me to be a spy, and put me under surveillance for quite a few days. When I decided to leave Thessaloniki, and began passing through customs, they arrested me, and took me through three rows of barbed wire and locked me in. I found a youth locked in there also, and asked him why they had locked us up. He answered, "In order to murder us." "But what evil have we done?" I asked. "Forget it," he answered "do not bother to ask why."

A moment later, a steamship from Romania sailed into the port of Thessaloniki carrying many passengers and a cargo of fuel oil. For some unknown reason, an oil container caught fire as the ship pulled in, and the flames spread rapidly through the entire ship. Loud blasts were heard a few minutes later, and flames were thrown sky high. Thessaloniki was all astir. Thousands of people came down to the shoreline - some to watch and others to rescue the endangered passengers with their boats. All the guards then left their posts to go see all the commotion. Seizing the opportunity, the young man pulled a small pair of clips from his pocket and cut through the barbed wire. Then he took me by the hand and lead me out. And paying a boatman, he told him to take us out to a Greek steamship which was anchored just outside the port. As we were climbing in the boat, the soldier who arrested me and locked me up came running over to seize me. However, the young man slapped him right across the face when he got to us, and he pulled back and walked away!

The boatman took us out to the Greek ship and we went aboard. I then went to put my things in order, and once I organized them, I went back to find the youth, my rescuer, to thank him and ask who he was and where he was from. However, I could not find him anywhere. I asked almost all the ship's passengers and crew but soon realized that nobody had seen him either boarding or disembarking the ship. Who was he and what happened to him God only knows. (The only thing that I know is that many years later - after Thessaloniki had been liberated - I was celebrating the Divine Liturgy and preaching the word of God at the Church of St. Demetrios when I saw the icon of the Saint. I noticed that the young man who had freed me and lead me to the steamship bore a striking resemblance to St. Demetrios.)



source

Οδοιπορικό στα ασκητήρια του γέροντα Ιωσήφ του ησυχαστή










Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Icon that Saved a Life!



This icon of the “Kazan” Mother of God with the words partially worn away in Latin letters, “Eta ikona budet hranit was wsu schizn,” adorns the Church of the Joy of All Who Sorrow in St. Petersburg. One of the church’s parishioners told its amazing story.
One day, an old woman came into the church and waved her arms when she saw the Kazan icon of the Mother of God.
“Where did that icon come from? I gave it to a German soldier!” She exclaimed in amazement. I recognize it by a characteristic dent in the frame.” I explained that this icon was given to the church by the German Consulate in our city. The woman broke into tears, said that her name was Vera, and told the story of how her Orthodox family icon ended up in Germany.
“I fled my native village, which ended up in the center of the battles. I wanted to leave with my sister and three children earlier, but mama fell seriously ill, and wouldn’t have survived the journey. ‘I will come later,’ I promised my sister, sending her with the children to a place near Ryazan, where our aunt lived in a collective farm village. Mama died a month later, but before her death was able to bless me with the family icon of the “Kazan” Mother of God. My reposed grandfather in his time had blessed my mother before her wedding, and mama blessed Sasha and me with it fifteen years ago, even though my husband was in the Komsomol. Now the icon lay in my threadbare refugee bag. I myself sat down under the awning of one of the station freight houses, watching the crazy dance of whirling snow. I couldn’t think about anything; I only tried to shove my fingers into the narrow sleeves of a light overcoat. Cold and hunger—that was all I could feel. Now a train rumbled up to the station, the doors of the cars opened, and the Fritzes stood in ranks handing long boxes along to each other. ‘They’ve brought weapons,’ the indifferent thought crossed my mind. But then suddenly I felt a painful stab: “It’s going to the front! Where my Sasha is fighting! They will shoot at him with those rifles, and at other Russian soldiers… Oh, the cursed ones!’
“It is strange, but the German patrols paid no attention to me, a lonely woman, emaciated with hunger. I don’t even remember when I had eaten last. I had long ago traded my watch, wedding ring, and mama’s earrings for food. I ran my hand over the brass frame behind the frosty cloth of the bag. ‘O Intercessor, Most Holy Mother of God!’ I whispered with my frozen lips. ‘Save and guard my little ones, my sister Nadya. Save and guard my husband, slave of God, soldier Alexander.’
“’Vat? Somzing wrong?’ came the words just above my ear. I raised my head. Next to the bench stood a German soldier. I could feel sympathy in his words, and answered, “It’s bad.” The German sat down next to me. He set his bulging knapsack on the ground, fished around in it for a bit, then held out his hand. ‘Nimmt!’ There was a square piece of bread on which a slice of lard lay all pink. I took the gift and devoured it. The German pulled out a thermos, poured some steaming tea into the lid, and said, ‘Heiss! Gut!’ Probably he was part of the watch here at the station. He looked about twenty years old, blue-eyed. His face was guileless. Probably his hair was light colored, like my son’s, Andreika’s, only you couldn’t see it under his cap.
“The German pointed to the train engine, then at me, and comically furrowing his brow, apparently trying to find the word, asked, ‘Far?’ “Far! Now I won’t make it there!’ I immediately started telling him that I had hoped to go to my aunt’s but was now left without anything. Ending my story I said, ‘I have children there. Kinder. Understand? I traced with my hands, from high to low. The lad nodded, ‘Oh, ja, Kinder!’ ‘But I won’t reach them. I’ll just freeze.’ I wasn’t even aware that I was crying. The German again reached into his knapsack and pulled out a weighty package. ‘Here. Take.” He opened the package and touched its contents, then licked his finger and said, ‘Gut!’ There was salt in the package. Salt… which was then worth more than gold. For salt you could get bread, milk, well, anything… There was no less than three kilograms in the package. And here he was just handing it over to me, a completely unknown Russian woman. Seeing the shock on my face, the lad smiled and said something I didn’t understand. Then he rose, screwed the lid onto his thermos, put it back in the knapsack, waved his hand, and left.
“’Stop!’ I ran after the soldier. “Was ist es? ‘This icon will guard you all your life,’ I said with firm assurance. He didn’t understand. Again I said, ‘This icon will guard you all your life!’ The lad pulled a chemical pencil out of his pocket, wetted it with spittle, and turning over the board asked me to say it again. As I repeated it slowly, syllable by syllable, he wrote it down on the back of the icon in Latin letters: ‘Eta ikona budet hranit was wsu schizn’. We never met again… But I was able to trade the salt for warm clothes, felt boots, and bread, and I reached Ryazan. In ’45 my husband, Sasha, returned from the war.”
After listening attentively to the agitated woman, I joyfully told her that what we had heard from the representatives at the German consulate who had given the Kazan icon to our church. That German soldier went through the entire war. His comrades died before his eyes; once a truck that he was riding in exploded, but he was able to jump out of it only a moment before the explosion. The rest perished. At the end of the war, a shell hit their dugout, which he had abandoned just a twinkling before. The unseen power of the Russian icon had surely saved him. He now understood and reevaluated very much his life, and his soul opened up to prayer. He returned home, married, and raised his children. He placed the icon in a beautiful glass case in a place of honor in his home, and prayed before it all his life. When he grew old, he commanded his oldest son to take the icon to the Russian consulate after his death. “This icon lived in Russia and should return there. Let them take it to Leningrad, the city that withstood the blockade, dying from cold and hunger, but not surrendering.”
That is how in the mid 1990’s, to one of the newly-reopened churches of St. Petersburg, where the rector at the time was Archpriest Alexander Chistyakov, came the small icon of the “Kazan” Mother of God with a strange inscription in Latin letters on the back.


Irina Blinova
Translation by OrthoChristian.com
04 / 11 / 2014

When does God Perform Miracles? ( St. Paisios )


Here is a story about St.Paisios where he taught the nature of miracles.



"A group of young men, of no religious background, visited the Elder. They had heard of Father Paisios and were curious to meet him. After giving them the typical Mount Athos treat (loukoumi and water), he sat next to them to listen to what they had to say. The told him:
- Father, we want you to work a miracle in our presence, so we can believe in God.
- Wait a second, he replied.
He went inside and brought a knife and said jokingly:
- Stand up in line! I will cut your heads off and then I will miraculously glue them back to their place. But please, don't stand next to each other, in case I mix them up.
The young men reacted at once"
- No!! We want to see a different kind of miracle.
then, the Elder sat by their side and told them the following:
- It would be very easy, if God wished so, to make people believe in Him by working miracles; with His supernatural power, visible to all of us, He would make everyone believe. However, God does not want people to believe in Him out of admiration for His supernatural power; on the contrary, He wants us to believe in Him and love Him because He is extremely kind.


God will never work a miracle in order to demonstrate His power, and thus acquire more believers. He works miracles to cover up human weaknesses. ..."


We cannot put the burden on God to make us have faith in Him. This is a matter for our own free-will. The Elder is beautifully telling us that it is only through a relationship of love that we embody faith and know God's power. Miracles can happen to those of faith when they are in need due to their human weaknesses. They come when we seek with humility and faith based on a love of Him.

Η οικογένεια είναι μια μικρή Εκκλησία ( Ιερομόναχος Σάββας Αγιορείτης )


 
Ο εν τω κόσμω πιστός και τα μέλη της οικογένειας στην οποία ανήκει θα πρέπει να λειτουργούν ως μέλη μιας «κατ’ οίκον Εκκλησίας». Η οικογένεια είναι μία μικρή Εκκλησία. Θα πρέπει τα μέλη της, κατά μίμηση της μοναστικής Ενορίας, να καλλιεργήσουν την κοινή λειτουργική ζωή, την νηστεία, την φιλανθρωπία, την απλότητα και αφελότητα, την ανιδιοτελή αγάπη, την κοινή προσευχή μέσα στο σπίτι καθώς και την πνευματική συμμελέτη της Αγίας Γραφής και των Πατερικών συγγραφών.

Ο συμπνευματισμός, η φιλόθεος αδολεσχία και η κοινή προσευχή καλό είναι να γίνονται σε τακτά χρονικά διαστήματα και σε καθορισμένες ώρες που να μπορούν όλοι να συμμετέχουν. Τα μικρά παιδιά ας συμμετέχουν για λιγότερο χρόνο. Η νηστεία επίσης προσαρμόζεται από τον Πνευματικό ανάλογα με τις δυνατότητες και την ηλικία του καθενός.

Πρέπει να τονιστεί ότι η κατήχηση των παιδιών από τον πατέρα που έχει και την συμπαράσταση της μητέρας, καθώς και η κοινή τράπεζα το μεσημέρι και το βράδυ είναι πρακτικές που έχουν καίρια σημασία για… την πνευματική πρόοδο των μελών της οικογένειας και την εν Χριστώ ενότητά τους.
 

Η κοινή προσευχή ας γίνεται τουλάχιστον το πρωί, το βράδυ (το Απόδειπνο) καθώς και στο γεύμα και στο δείπνο (πριν και μετά). Υπάρχουν στα συνήθη προσευχητάρια οι τυποποιημένες προσευχές πριν και μετά το φαγητό τις οποίες καλό είναι να τις γνωρίζουν όλα τα μέλη της οικογένειας και να τις απαγγέλουν. Πολύ βοηθητικό για την οικογένεια είναι να έχουν όλα τα μέλη της τον ίδιο Πνευματικό οδηγό, στον οποίον να εξομολογούνται τακτικά.

Το κορυφαίο γεγονός στην χριστιανική οικογένεια είναι η Θεία Κοινωνία στην οποία όλοι, με την ευλογία του Πνευματικού, θα πρέπει να μετέχουν πολύ συχνά.
«Φύλακας άγγελος της οικογενείας» δίδασκε ένας αγιασμένος σύγχρονος Αγιορείτης είναι η άσκηση. «Όταν λέµε άσκηση εννοούµε τη λειτουργική ζωή της οικογενείας. Χωρίς την Εκκλησία δεν µπορεί να διατηρηθεί η οικογένεια. Η οικογένεια πρέπει να έχει τον Πνευµατικό της σαν τον οικογενειακό της γιατρό. Όταν είναι υπό την παρακολούθηση του Πνευµατικού λύνονται όλα τα προβλήµατα και οι σύζυγοι αλληλοκατανοούνται.

Η πνευµατική αγάπη ανέχεται και τα αρνητικά στοιχεία του άλλου. Δεν επιµένει εγωϊστικά να εκπληρώνονται όλα τα θελήµατά του. Η νηστεία, η προσευχή και η Θεία Λειτουργία αγιάζουν τα παιδιά και τους συζύγους. Η καλυτέρη πρακτική άσκηση είναι οι µετάνοιες.

Η µεγαλυτέρη όµως άσκηση και ευλογία στην οικογένεια είναι η συµµετοχή στην Θεία Κοινωνία. Πρέπει να εγκρατεύεστε και να ρυθµίζετε έτσι την ζωή σας, ώστε µε την ευλογία του Πνευµατικού σας να µπορείτε τακτικά να κοινωνάτε Σώμα και Αίμα Χριστού. Όταν το επιτύχετε αυτό δεν ζείτε σαρκικά, αλλά πνευµατικά και η Χάρις του Θεού αναπαύεται επάνω σας. Το πρόβληµα στην οικογένεια προέρχεται από τον σαρκικό τρόπο ζωής, διότι σκοτίζεται ο νους και αρχίζει η εµπάθεια και ο εγωϊσµός.



Όταν µάς κατευθύνει µόνο το σώµα κάνουµε πολλά λάθη.
Αλλάζουν όµως τα κριτήρια όταν υπάρχει άσκηση και η βίωση της χριστιανικής ζωής. Τότε υπάρχει ευλογία και χαρά στην οικογένεια. Ο Χριστός µάς τα δίνει όλα τα αγαθά και είναι όλα ευλογηµένα. Είναι κρίµα να µήν αγαπάτε την οµορφιά και την ζεστασιά που φέρνει ο Χριστός στην οικογένεια!»
Πολύ βοηθητικό για τα μέλη της χριστιανικής οικογένειας είναι το να εκμεταλλεύονται τις διάφορες πνευματικές ευκαιρίες, να παρακολουθούν τις διαλέξεις-κηρύγματα του Πνευματικού τους και άλλων αγιασμένων προσωπικοτήτων.
Επίσης συντελούν πολύ στην πνευματική πρόοδο οι επισκέψεις σε Μοναστήρια και ο σύνδεσμος μικρών και μεγάλων με Γέροντες και Γερόντισσες. Ιδιαίτερα τα παιδιά πολύ βοηθούνται όταν αναπτύξουν πνευματική φιλία με καλούς μοναχούς, τα αγόρια και εξαγιασμένες μοναχές τα κορίτσια. Η αλληλοσυμβουλευτική που αναπτύσσεται μεταξύ των νέων δεν βοηθεί, αντίθετα τους βλάπτει πολύ. Η επικοινωνία με αγιασμένους μοναχούς μπορεί να την υποκαταστήσει πολύ επιτυχημένα.

Παράλληλα με την οικογενειακή Πνευματική ζωή ο ποιμένας της κοσμικής Ενορίας οφείλει ιδιαίτερα να μεριμνήσει ώστε να δημιουργηθεί στην Ενορία μία ακμάζουσα λατρευτική ζωή.

Ιερομόναχος Σάββας Αγιορείτης


πηγη

Αγρυπνία επί την εορτή της Αναλήψεως του Κυρίου στην Ι.Μ.Υπαπαντής Αγίων Μετεώρων.







ΑΓΙΑ ΜΕΤΕΩΡΑ - www.agiameteora.net

Jesus Prayer Not Eastern Yoga ( Metropoitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos )


A Gerondas from the Holy Mountain Athos enumerated the following points about the difference of the Jesus prayer from Yoga.


1. The Jesus prayer express faith in God through His Son Jesus as part of a trinitarian God. It emphasizes that salvation is attained through God which is why we ask for His mercy. Salvation cannot be attained by our own efforts.

2. We are not attempting to find some impersonal God or absolute truth through the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer focuses on a personal relationship with the God-Man Jesus.

3. We cannot fall into the sin of pride through the unceasing prayer of Jesus because in the prayer we continually seek mercy for our weaknesses. We consider ourselves unworthy of God’s grace and recognize our sinfulness in His eyes.

4. Salvation is about union with God. In this union we do not eliminate our personality. The human factor is not denied as it is in some Eastern yoga practices. We are not assimilated in this union, but retain our personhood.

5. As we progress in the prayer we gain the ability to discern error. We learn the movements of the devil and enhance our ability to distinguish between good and evil.

6. The struggle in the practice of the Jesus Prayer is connected with the cleansing of our body and soul from the negative effect of passions. We do not seek apathy or to destroy our passions, but to transform them into help to seek a relationship with God. Our salvation depends on this struggle of transformation, which requires the help of God’s grace.

7. We do not try and attain absolute nothingness, but seek to turn our heart so it brings the grace of God into our soul, so it can be spread throughout our body. We make no effort to negate or destroy the body, but see it as the temple of the Spirit. We practice the prayer because we want to live with God eternally.

8. We are not indifferent to the world. We continually pray for all beings. Salvation is a union with Christ, while we are in communion with other persons. It is not an individual goal.

9. We do not put great emphasis on psychosomatic methods or on body postures. They can only assist us in concentration.


The difference from “New Age” practices or Eastern yoga meditation has been described by using the analogy of a framed masterpiece. We can admire the beautiful frame of a masterpiece, but the frame is not the masterpiece.

The similarities between the Jesus Prayer and various meditation practices can be considered to be like the frame of a masterpiece. The masterpiece in the practice of the Jesus Prayer is union with Jesus Christ. The frame is only the methods used. There may be similarities with postures, techniques and other acts of the outer form of this prayer, but the content and aim is totally different and uniquely Christian.


(Metropoitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos, A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain, pp 48 -50)  

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Ἡ Ἐκκλησία θὰ ἀνεβεῖ πάλι ἀπὸ τὶς κατακόμβες καὶ θὰ χτίσει πάλι τὴν Ἁγιά Σοφιά της



Ἡ παγκοσμιοποίηση ποὺ δὲν ἔρχεται καλπάζοντας καὶ καλλιεργεῖται μεθοδικὰ ἀπὸ κυβερνητικὰ καὶ ἐπιχειρηματικὰ στελέχη εἶναι βέβαιο ὅτι θὰ σαρώσει θεσμοὺς καὶ παραδόσεις. Ἕνας θεσμὸς μόνο δὲν κινδυνεύει ἀπὸ καμιὰ παγκοσμιοποίηση καὶ αὐτὸς εἶναι ἡ Ἐκκλησία. Καὶ δὲν κινδυνεύει γιατί ἡ Ἐκκλησία ἀπὸ τὴν ἵδρυση τῆς εἶναι παγκόσμια, δὲν εἶναι ἐθνική.

Τὸν ὁποιοδήποτε ἀλλοεθνῆ τὸν θεωροῦμε δυνάμει ἀδελφό μας καὶ ὅταν εἶναι βαπτισμένος εἶναι ἀδελφός μας καρδιακὸς καὶ τίποτε δὲν μᾶς χωρίσει ἀπ' αὐτόν. Πῶς ἐξηγεῖται ὅμως τὸ γεγονός μας ἡ Ἐκκλησία νὰ εὐλογεῖ τοὺς ἐθνικοὺς ἀγῶνες καὶ νὰ εὐνοεῖ τὴν ἐθνικὴ ἀπελευθέρωση; Πῶς λέμε ὅτι τὸ ἔθνος μᾶς εἶναι συνυφασμένο μὲ τὴν Ὀρθοδοξία καὶ συμπορεύεται μαζί της; Γιατί ἡ ἐθνική μας σημαία προβάλλει τὸ σύμβολο τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας, τὸ Σταυρό;


Δὲν εἶναι δύσκολο νὰ ἀντιληφθεῖ κανεὶς ὅτι μία Ἐκκλησία οἰκουμενικὴ δὲν εὐνοεῖ καμία ὑποδούλωση καὶ εὐνοεῖ κάθε ἀπελευθέρωση. Ὥστε ἡ θερμὴ συμπαράσταση τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας στοὺς ἐθνικούς μας ἀγῶνες εἶναι μία παραχώρηση πρὸς τὶς ἀνάγκες καὶ τὰ προβλήματα τοῦ λαοῦ, μία συμπαράσταση σὲ θέμα δικαιοσύνης, μία ἔξοδος τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ἀπὸ....τὴ φύση της πρὸς βοήθεια τοῦ κόσμου.


Ἂν ἡ ἱστορία τοῦ ἔθνους μᾶς εἶναι συνυφασμένη μὲ τὴν ἐκκλησιαστική μας ἱστορία, αὐτὸ ὀφείλεται στὸ ὅτι τὸ ἔθνος ὑπηρέτησε τὴν Ἐκκλησία καὶ τὴν ὑπάκουσε. Ἔγινε δηλαδὴ τὸ ἔθνος μας(σὲ πολὺ μεγάλο βαθμὸ) ὁ κόκκος τοῦ σίτου ποὺ ἔπεσε στὴ γῆ καὶ ἀπέθανε καὶ ἔδωσεν καρπὸν ἑκατονταπλασίονα. Δὲν ἔγινε δηλαδὴ ἡ Ἐκκλησία ἔθνος ἀλλὰ τὸ ἔθνος ἔγινε(σὲ μεγάλο βαθμὸ) Ἐκκλησία.

Δὲν μᾶς παραγγέλλει ἡ Ἐκκλησία νὰ πολεμοῦμε καὶ νὰ σκοτώνουμε τὸν εἰσβολέα, ἀλλὰ ἐμεῖς,ποὺ δὲν ἀντέχομε τὴ σκλαβιά, ἀποφασίζομε νὰ πολεμήσουμε, κι ἐπειδὴ νιώθομε πὼς ὁ ἀγώνας μᾶς εἶναι δίκαιος, ἐπικαλούμαστε τὴ βοήθεια τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Γι'αὐτὸ καὶ ἡ Ἐκκλησία μᾶς εὐλογεῖ τοὺς ἀπελευθερωτικοὺς καὶ ἀμυντικοὺς πολέμους, ποτὲ ὅμως τοὺς κατακτητικούς. Αὐτὸ τὸ κατάλαβε ἐπιτέλους καὶ τὸ Βατικανὸ καὶ ἐζήτησε ἔπειτα ἀπὸ ἑξήντα χρόνια συγγνώμην γιατί συντάχθηκε μὲ τὸν κατακτητικὸ φασισμὸ καὶ συνεργάστηκε κιόλας μαζί του.

Στὶς μέρες μας πάλι ἡ Ἐκκλησία προεξάρχει σὲ ἀγῶνες κοινωνικοὺς καὶ ἐθνικούς, ὄχι γιατί ὀρέγεται νὰ γίνει μία κοινωνικὴ ἢ ἐθνικὴ δύναμη, ἀλλὰ γιατί αὐτοὶ οἱ θεσμοὶ πολεμοῦνται καὶ κινδυνεύουν. Θὰ κάνει ὄντως κανεὶς τὴ σκέψη: ἂν οἱ θεσμοὶ αὐτοὶ ταυτίζονται μὲ τὴν Ἐκκλησία τότε δὲν κινδυνεύουν, ἂν δὲν ταυτίζονται τότε ἂς κινδυνέψουν. Ἡ Ἐκκλησία ὅμως δὲν νιώθει ἔτσι, ἀλλὰ νιώθει σὰν μάνα. Ὁ κόσμος, εἴτε εἶναι κάτω ἀπ'τὶς φτεροῦγες της εἴτε βόσκει παραπέρα, τῆς ἀνήκει τὸ ἴδιο καὶ οἱ ἀγῶνες αὐτοὶ γίνονται κυρίως γιὰ τοὺς ἀδυνάτους, γιὰ τὶς λιγότερο σχετικούς.

Εἴδαμε ὅτι ὅταν τὸ Ρωμαϊκὸ κράτος μὲ τὸν ἅγιο καὶ μέγα Κωνσταντῖνο ἔγινε χριστιανικό, ἡ Ἐκκλησία εὐνόησε τὴ διανοητικὴ ρωμαιοσύνη τῶν Ἑλλήνων, γιατί δὲν τοὺς ἔβλαφτε σὲ τίποτε,καὶ παράλληλα εὐνόησε τὴν πολιτιστικὴ ἐλληνοποίηση τοῦ Ρωμαϊκοῦ κράτους, κάτι ποὺ πολὺ τὸ ὠφέλησε. Ἔτσι γίναμε κι ἐμεῖς Ρωμιοὶ καὶ τὸ'χομε καὶ καμάρι, γιατί μὲ τὸ Ρωμαίικο προσδιορισμὸ μᾶς αἰσθανόμαστε πολίτες ἑνὸς μεγάλου "ἔθνους"ποὺ τὰ χαρακτηριστικά του δὲν εἶναι φυλετικὰ ἀλλὰ πολιτιστικά. Οἱ Ρωμιοὶ εἶναι πολίτες ἑνὸς παγκόσμιου ἔθνους καὶ γι'αὐτὸ καμιὰ παγκοσμιοποίηση δὲν τοὺς τρομάζει.


Ἡ παγκοσμιοποίηση ποὺ ἐπιχειρεῖται στὶς μέρες μᾶς διαφέρει πάρα πολὺ ἀπὸ τὴ ρωμαϊκὴ-χριστιανικὴ παγκοσμιοποίηση, γιατί ἐκείνη εἶχε ἕνα μεγάλο μεταφυσικὸ μήνυμα νὰ μεταδώσει στὸν κόσμο καὶ γι'αὐτὸ τὸ μήνυμα ποὺ ἔγινε πίστη, ἕνωσε τὸ μεγαλύτερο μέρος τοῦ κόσμου. Ἡ σημερινὴ παγκοσμιοποίηση εἶναι ἀπομυθοποιητική, ἐπιδιώκει τὴ διάψευση αὐτοῦ του μηνύματος, τὴν ἐπικράτηση τοῦ φόβου, τῆς ὁμοιομορφίας, τῆς ἐμπορευματικότητας τῶν ἀγαθῶν, τῆς κατάργησης κάθε ἠθικῆς.


Ἡ ἀπάλειψη τοῦ θρησκεύματος καὶ τῆς ἐθνικότητος ἀπὸ τὶς ταυτότητες, ποὺ εἴδαμε πόσο ἀντιδημοκρατικοὶ καὶ ἀνυποχώρητα ἐνεργεῖται ἀπὸ τὸ κρατικὸ καὶ ὑπερκρατικὸ κατεστημένο, θὰ φέρει τὸ σβήσιμο τῆς ἐθνικότητος στὸ λαὸ καὶ ἴσως καὶ τῆς θρησκευτικῆς του ὑπόστασης,ἀνεξάρτητα ἂν πολλοὶ ἀκόμα ἐξακολουθοῦν νὰ πιστεύουν καὶ νὰ καλλιεργοῦν τὴν ἐθνικὴ καὶ τὴ θρησκευτική τους ταυτότητα. Καὶ ἐξηγοῦμαι.

Μὲ τὴν ἐλεύθερη διακίνηση πολιτῶν τῆς Εὐρωπαϊκῆς Ἕνωσης ποὺ ἐγκαινιάζεται σὲ λίγους μῆνες, θὰ εἶναι πολλὰ τὰ ἑκατομμύρια τῶν Εὐρωπαίων ποὺ θὰ ἔρθουν νὰ ζήσουν στὴν ὡραία Ἑλλάδα καὶ νὰ δουλέψουν σ'αὐτήν. Καὶ πολλοὶ ἀπ'αὐτοὺς θὰ εἶναι Εὐρωπαῖοι τουρκικῆς καταγωγῆς.Καὶ ὅπως τὰ καλοκαίρια ὅποιος πάει στὴ Μύκονο, ἢ στὴν Κρήτη δυσκολεύεται νὰ πιστέψει ὅτι βρίσκεται στὴν Ἑλλάδα, ἔτσι θὰ νιώθει ὁλοχρονὶς πιά. Αὐτοὶ οἱ καινούριοι συμπατριῶτες μας θὰ ἔχουν ὅλα τὰ πολιτικὰ δικαιώματα μὲ τοὺς"παλιοὺς" κατοίκους καὶ οἱ κοινότητές μας, οἱ δημόσιες ὑπηρεσίες, ἡ Βουλή μας θὰ καταληφθοῦν νομίμως ἀπ'αὐτούς.


Τότε ὅσοι ἐπιμένουν νὰ ὀνειρεύονται τὴ γαλανόλευκη, τοὺς ἐθνικούς μας ἀγῶνες, τὴν ἑλληνικὴ οἰκογένεια,τὸ φιλότιμό του Ἕλληνα, τὸν Μακρυγιάννη, τὸν Κολοκοτρώνη καὶ τέτοια, θὰ θεωροῦνται ἁπλῶς ρομαντικοί. Αὐτὰ ποὺ βλέπομε σήμερα στὰ ἀμερικανικὰ καὶ εὐρωπαϊκὰ σενάρια, αὐτὰ ποὺ διαβάζομε στὴ λογοτεχνία τους, θὰ ἀποτελέσουν μόνιμη πραγματικότητα τῆς καθημερινῆς ζωῆς. Οἱ ἄνθρωποι δὲν ἀνήκουν σὲ καμιὰ οἰκογένεια,σὲ καμιὰ θρησκεία ἢ ἔθνος, παρὰ εἶναι ἀρσενικοὶ ἢ θηλυκοί, ὁ μόνος τους προσδιορισμός.


Ἐπιμένω ὅτι αὐτὴ ἡ κατάσταση εἶναι πολὺ κοντινή, γιατί κιόλας τὸ μοντέρνο κοσμικὸ μέρος τοῦ λαοῦ μᾶς αὐτὴ τὴν κατάσταση ζεῖ. Καὶ ἡ ἀσυγκράτητη ἀντιπάθεια τῶν ἰθυνόντων πρὸς τὴν Ἐκκλησία δείχνει τὴν ἐνόχληση τοῦ κοσμικοῦ κατεστημένου, γιατί ὡς θεσμὸς ἡ Ἐκκλησία δείχνει τὴν ἐνόχληση τοῦ κοσμικοῦ κατεστημένου, γιατί ὡς θεσμὸς ἡ Ἐκκλησία τοὺς ἀναγκάζει νὰ ἀναστέλλουν τὶς ροπές τους καὶ νὰ δείχνουν ντροπὴ ἢ καὶ νὰ ντρέπονται ἀκόμη. Οἱ ξένοι τουρίστες, λ.χ. μᾶς ἀπειλοῦν μὲ ἐγκατάλειψη τῶν τουριστικῶν μας ἐγκαταστάσεων ἂν ἐπιμένομε νὰ δυστροποῦμε μπροστὰ στὴν εἰσαγόμενη χυδαιότητα.


Ἡ Ἐκκλησία μας τὰ βλέπει ὅλα αὐτὰ καὶ εὐλογεῖ κάθε κοινωνικὴ ἀντίσταση στὴν ἐπερχόμενη λαίλαπα τῆς κατεδάφισης ὅλου του πολιτισμοῦ μας, ἂν καὶ εἶναι ὁ μόνος θεσμὸς ποὺ καὶ θὰ συντηρηθεῖ καὶ θὰ βρεῖ πεδίον δράσεως μέσα στὴ ρωμαϊκὴ κοινωνία στὰ χρόνια του Νέρωνα καὶ τῆς πιὸ μεγάλης διαφθορᾶς. Μέσα στὴ μοναξιὰ καὶ τὴν ἀνασφάλεια τοῦ κόσμου, μέσα στὴν ἀβάσταχτη πλήξη τοῦ μηδενισμοῦ θὰ λάμψουν ὁ Σταυρὸς καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Καὶ ἡ Ἐκκλησία θὰ ἀνεβεῖ πάλι ἀπὸ τὶς κατακόμβες καὶ θὰ χτίσει πάλι τὴν Ἁγία-Σοφιά της.


Γι'αὐτὸ οἱ πιὸ ἀξιολύπητοι στὶς μέρες μᾶς εἶναι οἱ ἀνυποψίαστοι ἀστοί, συλλέκτες στιγμιαίων ἡδονῶν, καὶ ἀκόμα πιὸ ἀξιολύπητοι εἶναι αὐτοὶ ποὺ φόρεσαν τὸ λουρὶ τοῦ ζυγοῦ τῆς νέας τάξης καὶ παλεύουν νὰ τὸ ἐπιβάλουν στὸ λαό μας. Αὐτοὶ οἱ τελευταῖοι εἶναι τραγικὰ πρόσωπα. Ξέρουν ὅτι ὁ λαός μας(ποὺ ὑπάρχουν ἀκόμα) θὰ τοὺς συντρίψει(τὸ δείχνουν ἤδη οἱ δημοσκοπήσεις καὶ ὁ τρόμος ἑνὸς δημοψηφίσματος) ἀλλά, καὶ ἂν ταυτιστοῦν μὲ τὸ λαό, θὰ τοὺς συντρίψει τὸ νεοταξικὸ κατεστημένο.


Βέβαια, ἂν γίνει τὸ δεύτερο, θὰ γίνουν νεομάρτυρες, δὲν ἔχουν ὅμως τὴν ὡριμότητα νὰ τὸ δεχτοῦν αὐτό. Ὅταν ὅμως τοὺς συντρίψει ὁ λαός, θὰ ἀποδειχθοῦν καὶ κακοὶ καὶ γελοῖοι καὶ θὰ ντρέπονται μὲ τὴ σκέψη ὅτι τὰ ἐγγόνια τους θὰ διαβάζουν τὸ βίο καὶ τὴν πολιτεία τοὺς πρὸ πάντων τὴν πολιτεία τους.


Χαρὰ σ'ἐκείνους ποὺ θὰ παραμείνουν κάτω ἀπὸ τὶς φτεροῦγες τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Θὰ γίνουν ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων,θὰ ἰδοῦν μὲ τὰ μάτια τοὺς θαύματα καὶ ὁράματα, αὐτοὶ θὰ χορτάσουν ἀλαλαγμό.


http://agapienxristou.blogspot.ca/2012/10/blog-post_6797.html

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Faith Alone is Insufficient for Salvation ( St. Theophan the Recluse )



Many people who call themselves Christians say that it is through faith alone that you will be saved. This is a dangerous error. Salvation requires that we receive the Holy Spirit.


Saint Theophan comments,

"Believe, believe, and the Holy Spirit will come." This is the biggest lie. Faith is indeed an indispensable condition for receiving the Holy Spirit, but the very receiving of the gift comes about not from faith alone, but from faith through the Divinely-established Mysteries. This is how it was even in Apostolic times.Our current culture is misled by our dependence on rational thought which leads us to accept the idea that we only need to believe and we can be saved. This is an intellectual deception. We cannot intellectually think of God and then expect to receive the Holy Spirit which is His saving grace. This Spirt only comes with the Sacraments of His Church.


Saint Theophan makes this point through the story of Paul in Ephesus. When he came to Ephesus Paul encountered several believers and asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit. They answered that they had not even heard of the Holy Spirit. They had been baptized with the baptism of John the Forerunner. Saint Paul then baptized them with the baptism of Christ and after that he laid his hands on them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The baptism they had received earlier was only a renewal and a preparation for receiving the saving Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came through the laying on of Hands. Later the Apostles introduced Holy Chrism (a holy oil) to be used instead of the laying on of hands. Today in the Orthodox Church one is received into the Body of Christ though baptism and the sacrament of Chrismation where one receives the Holy Spirit. This sacramental act is essential.


Many Christian churches in this country do not have this sacrament. They preach the idea of faith alone. They require a confession of faith and then baptize in water, an act which is often seen as merely symbolic of their commitment to Christ. Those who follow this direction are grossly misled and never receive the Holy Spirit which they must have for union with God.


Now once you have this gift that comes through the sacrament of Chrismation, you need to nurture it so its presence and action will grow within you. If you fail to do so it will remain latent or hidden. If ignored, eventually it will become inactive. Then it is difficult to resurrect it. This is why we have the other sacraments of Holy Confession and Holy Communion to help us maintain the active work of the Holy Spirit which comes to us through these sacraments. Of course we have faith, but we also receive the Holy Spirit through Chrismation and continually renew its presence through the other sacraments. It also why we are continually engaging in ascetic efforts to purify our heart so that the "fire" of the Holy Spirit will be fanned and be allowed to act through all our bodily actions. In this way we can become virtuous and follow the Commandments of God. This is the Way to union with God and salvation.


Reference: The Spiritual Life, p 282